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HELP: what's wrong with clan curses?

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  • HELP: what's wrong with clan curses?

    Hi guys, french DM here.

    I’ve been playing VtM for more than 15 years and something always bothered me about the game : the clan curses.
    Don’t get me wrong, I understand their importance and, for some of them, I think it’s a good way to improve a character’s concept (especialy with the Ventrues, the Brujahs or the Malkavians).

    However, in my opinion, few clans have... dumb curses. By "dumb" I mean : artificialy handicapping (Tzimisce), uninterresting and somehow a little bit racist (Ravnos), anecdotic / lazy (Toreador), simply irrelevant (Lasombra).

    What I don’t like about the Tzimisce : it’s not subtle, mostly annoying / uninteresting to deal with during the game from a DM’s point of view as much as a player’s point of view. Plus, you can deal with it very easily just by using Vicissitude, which makes a weakness of it, not a CURSE.

    What I don’t like about the Ravnos : I’m not confortable with the idea of having another clan made 100% of « vicious » vampires. I mean, hello ? Don’t we already have the Followers of Set for that ? And what’s the connexion between the explanations given in the Erciyes Fragments and the actual curse ? "He, who took no action, but/abandoned other to their fate,/Shall be himself Outcast and/trusted by none." Alright so they’re just gonna be depraved and tied to their depravation ? It does not make sens. I expect so much more...

    What I don’t like about the Toreadors : too situational. What happens if your player does not agree that the thing you are describing to his character is, in fact, beautiful ? You just shut him up and move on ? Well, that's not the kind of communication I have with my players. What annoys me most is that you can easily forget it depending on the place your action takes place.

    What I don’t like about the Lasombras : it does not make any sens. I fully understand the connexion with the Abyss but I just don’t buy it. It would have been way better to think about something else to loose when dealing with the darkness. Moreover, no restrictions at all before the modern nights and the curse becomes a ridiculously powerfull merit with technology. Just check this very good thread on Reddit if you disagree : http://bit.ly/2EbTpMx

    To conclude, I just want to say that I don't need to be convinced that the curses I'm complaining about are, contrary to what I say, awesome. I'm sure that many players see things differently than I do. No, I have my opinion but I'm looking for help to try to fix what I think is wrong with these clans.

    So here are my questions :
    Have some of you tried to change these curses for their own personal versions ? Or other curses, i'm curious.
    If so, would you be kind enough to share your views with me ?
    If not, do you have any input to help me change them ?


    Thank you for your time. Peace.

    - Chili Klaus


    Last edited by Chili Klaus; 02-05-2018, 06:03 PM.

  • #2
    The Ravnos are creatures of Sin, tying in to the Rakasha of Hindu legend. The Setites are Dionysian (in the way that Fredrick Nietzsche used the term), the enemies and underminers of the traditional Apollonian social structures that restrain and limit their inherent primordial power. The archetypical Ravnos struggles with her own worse impulses, while the archetypical Setite strives to become the ubermench who creates her own morality.

    As far as the Erciyes Fragments are concerned, back when it was first released, I had a discussion with authors of the Ravnos and Assamite clanbooks and the general consensus was that the monks commenting on the clan curses got those two backwards, with the original Assamite curse being that their skin darkens with age in contrast to all other vampires.

    I'm not sure how Vicissitude overcomes the Tzimisce weakness of having to sleep in soil of their native land. Did you mean the Nosferatu or is there some sort of radical change to the Fiends in V20 I'm unaware of?


    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

    Comment


    • #3
      I've always thought it would be more suitable for the Tzimisce to be unable to anothers home unless invited. Now that is a serious flaw. Especially since they dont have Dominate or Presence in clan.
      To be honest i find it very strange that during the 25+ years that vampire has been around i have never seen that flaw published. I mean that is a flaw that is as common in the vampire mythos as allergic to garlic or can't cross running water





      English is not my native language, so i apologize for errors in grammar or spelling.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Cadmiumcadamium View Post
        I've always thought it would be more suitable for the Tzimisce to be unable to anothers home unless invited. Now that is a serious flaw. Especially since they dont have Dominate or Presence in clan.
        It would become quite impossible to deal with don't you think? ^^

        As for the flaw that you mentioned, doesn't it come from Anne Rice personal views on the myth of the vampire? I'm not an expert but, still, I'd say I'm quite familiar with the balkans foklore and I don't remember any word about this. Anyway, I suppose VtM authors wanted something original for their game.

        How do you deal with the curse of the Tzimisce clan in your campaigns?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
          The Ravnos are creatures of Sin, tying in to the Rakasha of Hindu legend. The Setites are Dionysian (in the way that Fredrick Nietzsche used the term), the enemies and underminers of the traditional Apollonian social structures that restrain and limit their inherent primordial power. The archetypical Ravnos struggles with her own worse impulses, while the archetypical Setite strives to become the ubermench who creates her own morality.

          As far as the Erciyes Fragments are concerned, back when it was first released, I had a discussion with authors of the Ravnos and Assamite clanbooks and the general consensus was that the monks commenting on the clan curses got those two backwards, with the original Assamite curse being that their skin darkens with age in contrast to all other vampires.
          Okay but... that's not my point
          I'm not satisfied with the curse of the Ravnos clan because 1) it's realy not original, 2) it does not impact or define your character (contrary to the curse of the Ventrue clan for example), 3) you can overcome it with a dice roll - which is a bad idea. But what would you change about it if you could ?

          Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
          I'm not sure how Vicissitude overcomes the Tzimisce weakness of having to sleep in soil of their native land.
          Well, you can just put some of that soil in your body and boom ! You're fine. Two handful of soil is realy not a big deal compared to other curses imo.

          Comment


          • #6
            Ravnos are a clan addicted to sin or virtue they have an actual driving weakness that is useful and entertaining.. you should be giving Settites crap for having a worthless situational weakness, on the rare as fuck occasion when you take sun damage you take more.. oh so much.

            Toreador I'd say..give them the same weakness the Ravnos they MUST engage with beauty regularly or they lose wp. Simple enough addiction to beauty is far more useful than "overcome by beauty unless you have have low self control".

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            • #7
              We currently play a vanilla campaign and a campaign with some twists, and the weaknesses we corrected in the twisted VtM version:
              • Lasombra do not have a reflection but they are also allergic to silver (since many mirrors were, at some point, made with a silver sheet, the two are kinda connected).
              • Each Toreador may go into a transe when "his" kind of beauty is involved; only works of enormous beauty will make them all go into a transe. The transe is actually addictive and their Beast will push them to indulge in their kind of beauty, even if they have to become horrible persons to do this. In our game a Toreador Ancilla with dancing as his weakness focus spent a whole night dancing with this new, beautiful, surprisingly good dancer, a Neonate who was also the Childe of his own lover. He would probably have frenzied if anyone had tried to keep them appart, but his lover was... less than thrilled. Toreadors, as grow older, will shape their whole way of life toward their focus, to the point that some even develop feeding restrictions.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kalendeer View Post
                Each Toreador may go into a transe when "his" kind of beauty is involved; only works of enormous beauty will make them all go into a transe.
                That's actualy pretty close to the corrections we made, my players and I.
                In fact, we also decided that each Toreador should have his own "passion" / "views" as an aescthete. We believe that the triggers of the Transe should be defined clearly, as much as possible during the creation of the character in order to help the DM find good ways to implement it to the campaign.

                What I like about your version is that the behaviour of the kindred who went into a Transe is somehow closer to madness than extravaganza or pure hypnosis. Moreover, I absolutely agree that this curse should shape the whole way of life of the Toreador. It is the very essence of aescthetism after all, shaping the life of the aescthete.

                Quick question about frenzy : how do you deal with it ? The kindred looses control automaticaly or can he roll for Self control/Instinct to avoid killing everybody ?

                Originally posted by Kalendeer View Post
                Lasombra do not have a reflection but they are also allergic to silver
                Looks a lot like the weakness of the modern Kyasids. What were your motivations regarding the allergy to silver ?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lian View Post
                  ... you should be giving Settites crap for having a worthless situational weakness, on the rare as fuck occasion when you take sun damage you take more.. oh so much.
                  Situational ? In modern nights ? I disagree. Modern era has introduced the idea of ever-present bright lights in most cities. Which means Setites loose one dice to roll every single action they make. Moreover, taking two additional dmg from the sun is far from annecdotic. A character may just die purely and simply because of a small mistake he made.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chili Klaus View Post

                    Situational ? In modern nights ? I disagree. Modern era has introduced the idea of ever-present bright lights in most cities. Which means Setites loose one dice to roll every single action they make.
                    Um no?



                    v20:also lose one die from dice pools for actions taken in
                    bright light (police spotlights, stage lights, flares, etc.)

                    Those are no where near "Ever present" When you have a spotlight shined in your eyes or someone has a flare infront of you you lose a die. That's it. It a pretty rare occurance it also.. doesn't promote roleplay very much, doesn't at all cover the "Sin" clan thing you talked about before and has no relation to the Ravnos at all. I will say again if we look at the two the Ravnos have a good clan flaw, it promotes rp, says something about your character and says something about the clan.

                    How many players go "Being slightly more annoyed by someone flashing the high beams on me really gives me a solid hook for rp"


                    Moreover, taking two additional dmg from the sun is far from annecdotic. A character may just die purely and simply because of a small mistake he made.
                    Its extremely situational. Yeah you might die from sunlight if you aren't careful... LIKE EVERY OTHER VAMPIRE. No vampires are running around without sunup plans.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Im not sure I agree, overall.

                      Tzimisce might not come up often, but when it does it, it can be devestating. But also keep in mind, for immortals who often engage in machavalian politics, being heavily tied to a specific location can be bad if your haven is burned down or you have to flee to another Domain. Or even just travel. The weakness is based off of Dracula, who was secretely shippimg cases of dirt across London for him to be able rest and replenish.

                      Toreador, I really feel should be much more specific. I personally do not restrict it to an idividual's chosen art, and don't really let it be too subjective. I, generally, tell the plater/character that they do find something beautiful, (not asking them), because what we like is not really under our control, within reason. It happens, and they roll to resist being overcome. Even then, I still feel it is overall rather weak, comparitively. I might add in something like every time they do resist such a trance, they take a dice penulty (-1 or -2) for the night or scene, or they loose a WP, in addition to any spent to resist.

                      Lasombra weakness,... never really a fan. Revised had them also taking an additional level damage from the sun, but even then, so what. The no reflection weakness also has a lot of potential issues tied into it, (can they be photographed, do their cloths appear, if eye sight is based off of the eye reflecting an image between the lens, cornea, retina, wouldn't Lasombra be invisible, etc...)

                      The original Dracula mirror thing was that he could not handle seeing mirrors in addition to having no reflection. Perhaps the presence of a mirror could force a Fear Frenzy-like roll, Diff 5, while someone presenting it, (either like a cross to repel or "hey, look at this" on accident) might be Diff 6. Failure causes an immediate Frenzy, where the Lasombra can only cover, remove, or destroy the mirror, and ends immediately afterwards. Lasombra can not "ride the wave" in this case. Mirrors need to be looked at directly, not just present or in the periphery, so avoiding looking at a mirror might be a Willpower point or roll Diff 7-9 based on size, location, and number of mirrors. Because one can see through one's own Obtenebration, darkness does not help at all.

                      Personally, the two Clan weaknesses I have the most trouble with are the Tremere and the Gangrel.

                      For the Tremere, depending on edition, they range from not having one to not having a meaningful one in any realistic way that is basically a free strength in a sense, immune to Blood Bonds to others.

                      Gangrel's, in my opinion, does not really match the flavor well. That the Clan is closer and better understands their Beast, but realistically have every incintive to avoid Frenzy unless they suddenly grow a curly pig tail or something. I would rather have a weakness that either tempted them to Frenzy or one that while they Frenzy they get greater benefit, but at a cost.

                      Perhaps they automatically burn BP to boost Str and Sta when they Frenzy (not counting against Gen limit), and must activate other Disciplines at ST descretion, using BP equal to successes on their initial Self-Control/Instinct roll?


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Tzmisce
                        I've never thought about hiding the dirt in you. I agree that it's easily one of the worst weaknesses though.

                        I think the toreador should have their weakness worsen when they use heigtened senses. Also, you should get to know the player's character, but there's a few things out there that'd be considered near universally beautiful.

                        Lasombra.
                        The modern world has a lot of mirrors and most modern cameras don't use them. It's pretty bad.

                        The Ravnos are great, leave them alone. Best clan.


                        Be correct.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chili Klaus View Post

                          That's actualy pretty close to the corrections we made, my players and I.
                          In fact, we also decided that each Toreador should have his own "passion" / "views" as an aescthete. We believe that the triggers of the Transe should be defined clearly, as much as possible during the creation of the character in order to help the DM find good ways to implement it to the campaign.

                          What I like about your version is that the behaviour of the kindred who went into a Transe is somehow closer to madness than extravaganza or pure hypnosis. Moreover, I absolutely agree that this curse should shape the whole way of life of the Toreador. It is the very essence of aescthetism after all, shaping the life of the aescthete.

                          Quick question about frenzy : how do you deal with it ? The kindred looses control automaticaly or can he roll for Self control/Instinct to avoid killing everybody ?
                          He can roll Self Control or spend willpower to get out before he frenzies.

                          To give an example of a well known Toreador we used in the campaign: François Villon, Prince of France. Apparently the guy likes women, so I decided that "his thing" was beautiful women. In our game, elders with his blood potency and age need to feed on fledglings and neonate because human blood is too poor for them. The result is that Villon's obsession with beautiful women (sometimes beautiful men too, but they must be somewhat androgynous) and his need to feed collide and influence his policies. He will try to attract beautiful female neonates, mostly performers and artists, but to attract them only for a short time. Big events like art competitions for neonates, the Fashion Weeks or even personnal invitations from the Prince toward young female Kindred of nearby domain are common and shape parisian unlife, because he is obsessed with this kind of food and avoids drinking from the same girl twice in less than six months to avoid blood bonds.


                          Looks a lot like the weakness of the modern Kyasids. What were your motivations regarding the allergy to silver ?
                          Well the first motivation is that it does link them to the Kyasids, who are a lasombra bloodline in our game.
                          The second motivation is that in our game, the Lasombra are part of the Camarilla and buy fake reflections from the Tremere. One of our PC is a Lasombra, with a Tremere sire who dominated her and is consistently negating the absence of reflection to keep her in the dark (ok, joke intended). As a ST another weakness was needed, and allergy to silver was bound to be noticed at some point. Once it happens the PC can start wondering why she sucks at Thaumaturgy, is oddly strong, bad at Auspex, and is allergic to silver. So basically the weakness was changed for scenaristic reasons.

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                          • #14
                            Well Lian, for someone living in a big city (Paris), I can tell you that you can come accross a lot of bright light sources just by walking in the street during the night.

                            Here are some examples : the public lightning, 500 to 1000 W ; spotlights, having wattages from 300 to 10 000, that you can encounter not only in every theatres or clubs but also in big restaurant or hotels. Light from police beacons is not even close to this. Anyway, my point is : it is very common to find lights having heavy wattages nowadays, even outside big cities. Just look at the pictures of the dark side of Earth astronautes take from space. Lights everywhere.

                            About the Sun extra damages, it's a bigger deal that you might think it is. Sun rises at the end of every single night. It's a day to day (or night to night) threat and a powerful tool in the hands of vicious ennemies. I think you miss something very important about the game if you just underestimate that threat. Sun has always been a big deal in my campaigns.

                            But I understand what you mean. Let's take a quick look at the rules.

                            Our character is a Setite. The Sun is here, threatening to destroy the kindred who is still awake and will do his best to survive.
                            He can't roll more dices that the number of dots he has in his Path. Let's give him an average 5 just for this example. It quickly becomes 4 because of the strenght of the sunlight. In a way, he's already been injured by the Sun.
                            Now, let's say he is not careful, or he has been trapped by an ennemy, whatever, and he's exposed to dim light filtering through curtains. He does not have Endurance so he takes the damage even if the difficulty to absorb it is not higher than 3. But as a Setites he takes 3 damages instead of 1 and drops directly to Wounded, which means -3 dices instead of -2 because, again, he's a Setite.
                            He now has only 1 die to save his ass. Btw, if he does not move he dies next turn.
                            Pretty bad don't you think ? A kindred from any another clan would have higher chances to survive this situation. And even if he survives, he will have to spend a crap load of blood and willpower to heal... unlike other vampires.

                            Regarding the Ravnos, I don't think their curse says something truly original about the clan and its members. There are only limited sins and virtues, meaning that many Ravnos will inevitably have the same "thing" that drives them. I have the same problem with Toreadors to be honest, lack of diversity (and btw, the fact that you recommend to give Ravnos the same weakness than the Toreadors does not make it more original ).

                            Moreover, I find it difficult to believe that the clan has such a bad reputation because of their "sins". How could kindred have only one opinion about what is sinful and what is not knowing that most vampires follow a Path of Enlightenment that has its own views about sins and virtues ?

                            Just to clarify, I'm not giving crap to the Ravnos. I love this clan, it's one of my favorite, but I believe their curse could be more interesting.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Beckett View Post
                              But also keep in mind, for immortals who often engage in machavalian politics, being heavily tied to a specific location can be bad if your haven is burned down or you have to flee to another Domain.
                              I'm looking at you, Vladimir Rustovitch !

                              I agree with what you said about the Tzimisce. The idea behind the curse is great but its application is not. That's why our version of the curse keeps the idea of being tied to a specific land (country or city).

                              However, we changed it. This land is not necesseraly the one where the Tzimisce is born, it can be the place were he truly, deeply feels like home. For example, the elders of the Voïvodat will always consider the Balkans as their homeland but what about the Tzimisces who had to leave Europe during the Anarch Revolt ? They had to find a new home, the same way the pilgrims had to when they first came to America.

                              We also think that the land chosen by the Tzimisce can change during his life. For example, a roman kindred could have felt like Rome was not his home anymore after the end of the Roman Empire. Then, he would have been forced to travel to find a new home or, if he comes from another part of the world, go back there full of sadness.

                              Originally posted by Beckett View Post
                              I might add in something like every time they do resist such a trance, they take a dice penulty (-1 or -2) for the night or scene, or they loose a WP, in addition to any spent to resist.
                              I like the idea of having a dice penalty even if the overcome the Transe.

                              Regarding the other clans :

                              What I did for Tremere : their life is a nightmare inside the Pyramid, everybody Dominates the kindred easily to force him to execute any task. Plus, it's easier to bloodbond them for any clan.

                              Man, I have nothing to say about the Gangrels, I really like their curse

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