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HELP: what's wrong with clan curses?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Kalendeer View Post
    Apparently the guy likes women
    Wait minute, a powerful french dude would have a thing for gorgeous women ? I don't believe you !
    More seriousy, that's a good way to illustrate the impact of the Toreador curse.

    Would you say the weakness of your Lasombras has an impact on their life on a day to day basis ?


    • #17
      Originally posted by PewPew View Post
      The Ravnos are great, leave them alone. Best clan.
      That's because I love them so much that I want to fix things I don't like about them.
      I'm like their over possessive girlfriend.


      • #18
        Revised explained the Ravnos weakness I think the best, where it isn't so much an addiction to a vice, but rather that the Ravnos's Beast is somewhat similar to a Wraith's Shadow or Kuei-Jin's P'o. Or that they almost have a second Beast. It is actively trying to get them to slip, whispering temptation into their minds in an effort to undermine their plans, severe their alliances, and cut them off from friends and family.

        I don't really buy the racist angle as much, as it could apply to whatever group. Imagine swapping the Ravnos and Giovanni curses for instance. Or even Ravnos and Setite. Or really just about any Clan. All "Italians" are criminals is just the same. The main issue is that the Ravnos, for the most part have a history of very restricted ethnical or racial stock. So any weakness can be ascribed to racism, and in molany cases their weakness given to someone else still has the same issues.


        • #19
          Originally posted by Chili Klaus View Post
          Man, I have nothing to say about the Gangrels, I really like their curse
          Hard to say. I don't dislike it, per se, but I don't think it meshes well with the lore. Gangrel are know as primal sages, having special insight and understanding of the Beast. But, their weakness, (even with bith animal behaviors and temporary features) really works against that, as Gangrel should struggle to never, ever Frenzy, lest they get some random feature like a pig's tail or baboon's butt or whatever. They don't get any special resistances to Frenzy either.


          • #20
            For the Gangrels, I'd say that behind every curse lies a tragedy and the one involving the sons of Enoïa is very cool.
            Yes, they are primal sages, they undestand the Best like no others but in the mean time this connexion comes at a cost. It is only because they are so well connected to their Beast that everytime tthey loose control, the Beast becomes more powerful.

            About the features, I'm pretty sure they can only get something related to predators (even if I REALLY do like the baboon's butt). I agree with you, it's a very handicapping curse but it's balanced by Proteism which is OP, don't you think ?

            It's funny that you talked about the Gangrels because I was wondering if we could use something similar for the Lasombras.
            Like, instead of not having a reflection they could get weird features because of their connexion to the Abyss. Something close to the marks a kindred can inherit from using the Abyss Mysticism.


            • #21
              Just my 2 cents:
              I use Lasombra having no reflection (because I really like this part of the myth) but I changed the "extra-vulnerable to sunlight" (because it's not like sunlight is the great equalizer to vampires). My Lasombra recoil from mirrors, terrified by the reminder what they truly are not: part of this world. So, mirrors that someone shoves into a Lasombra's face (I'm not silly, it's easy not to look into a mirror when you try) counts like someone with True Faith Lvl 1 holding a holy symbol.


              • #22
                Originally posted by Chili Klaus View Post

                Wait minute, a powerful french dude would have a thing for gorgeous women ? I don't believe you !
                More seriousy, that's a good way to illustrate the impact of the Toreador curse.
                Well I also have this powerful french dude who has "dancing" as his beauty focus... so when the App5 PC rolled 7 successes on her performance roll, not only was he unable to stop dancing with her, but he became so obsessed with the idea of not only dancing with her again, but seeing her dance with his ancilla boyfriend. He's very lucky said boyfriend is open minded and understands that Toreadors can't really help themselves.

                Playing the Toreador curse that way means that they have to secure ways to live with their curse. The one with dancing fought hard to be the patron of one of the two best dancing institution in Lyon, because he needs a steady flow of shows, new dancers, and it is becoming harder and harder for him to feed on anything that isn't moving beautifully. He could, he doesn't have the Ventrue flaw, but the hunt, the seduction, even the pleasure of the Kiss would feel hollow.

                Would you say the weakness of your Lasombras has an impact on their life on a day to day basis ?
                In our campaign, most Lasombra buy a fake reflection from the Tremere, unless they are planning to never go out. In a world with glass everywhere, cameras and photos, looking like a blury ghost on every shot and having no reflection is seen as a light masquerade offense by the Camarilla. Since the Tremere invented the ritual, I'd say the biggest impact on young Lasombra's life is that they are usually indebted to the House. Older Lasombra will either have a Tremere friend who will do it for free or will grumpily not leave their haven as often as they would.

                Allergy to silver will usually not be an issue unless someone is trying to kill the Lasombra, but can be pretty hardcore in a fight. Silver powder in their face will burn horribly and blind them, and any weapon will do aggravated damages. But this part of the flaw is mostly there to add a bit of weirdness to the PC.


                • #23
                  One additional angle on the Ravnos is related to the concept of dharma.

                  Yes, there are good and evil actions, like feeding the poor or killing innocent people. And there are actions that are considered proper or improper, like thanking someone for a gift, or telling dirty jokes to your grandmother when her friends come over for tea.

                  Dharma, though, is also related to your role in society. If you are a teacher, be an effective teacher. If you're a streetsweeper, be the best streetsweeper you can be. This is your role in society, indeed in the universe, so you have a duty to be good at it. There is virtue in fulfilling your duties, whether they are exalted or humble. Indeed, some duties may seem completely pointless, but if it's what you are meant to do, then do it well!

                  Now, if you consider the Ravnos to be essentially demons, whose role it is to commit evil, or at least inappropriate deeds, then it is incumbent on them to be really good at being really bad. So, their clan weakness is a mechanical way of representing their desire (conscious or unconscious) to fill the role of evil demon. In DAV20, this was expanded to include any action which they feel a strong need to perform, from mass murder to feeding the poor. This is probably a better representation of the original flavor of Hindu supernatural creatures, since few are strictly good or strictly evil.

                  Several other clans have similar weaknesses, if you consider the dharma of Toreador to be "appreciate beauty", the dharma of Brujah to be "be angry", and the dharma of Tremere to be "serve the clan".

                  This all sounds simple enough, but it took WW a few tries to get that far. In early editions, the Ravnos were... sigh... problematic.


                  • #24
                    I know this might not be what you want to hear I’d say I consider all those Clan weaknesses quite appropriate and meaningful though others do come up more than others. Lasombra weakness is almost always at the foreground while the Tzimisce one can stay at the backgroundfor an extended time untill it suddenly is very much the thing to deal with.

                    So I’m going to go through these in the same order as you did.

                    Tzimisce: I’ve always read it as one needing to actually sleep in the dirt, meaning that while you can store the two-handfulls within your body you need to scatter them on the ground to sleep upon to get your rest, meaning that as time passess those few handfulls will slowly be lost as each time you use them to rest some will get lost as it is really hard to get all that dirt gathered back. I consider it a quite serious weakness since, unless you remain in your homeland indefinately, you will have to do a lot more planning while travelling than any other Clan. Basically even knowledge of Protean will not help you that much when travelling, whether by choice or because you had to leave. If outside your native soil you must get that soil importet which makes changing havens difficult, if it is ever discovered.

                    All this means that the Tzimisce have really hard time to be a part of a roaming pack and should Sabbat be forced out of town by the Camarilla they will have considerable difficulties relocating, especially should that be done quickly. All of this is even more difficult for those Koldun whom are tied to land that is not native to them.

                    So where relocation is always a choice for other Cainites it is not so for the Tzimisce.

                    Also I wouldn’t allow the Tzimisce to change their ties without some serious magical mojo as that goes heavily against the spirit of the weakness. All in all I think it is in many ways on par with the Ventrue weakness and would only allow changing the focus under similar circumstances, that is if for some reason such soil becomes completely unavailable and even then it would be hard change during which they would likely suffering heavily under their curse untill their spirit would form ties with a new land.

                    Ravnos: Like Beckett mentioned CB: Ravnos Revised explained their weakness as them having semi-sentient Beasts that whispered temptations to them, closer to the Po of the Hungry Dead or the Shadow of a Wraith. I personally like that take on them and mechanically would use the weakness as described in V20DA.

                    Toreadors: This can be very situational, but then again there are plenty of examples of universal beauty. Also I tend to talk about the characters likes and dislikes during character creation so that I get an idea of what would trigger this weakness. Also the I expect the player to tell me if a situation would in their mind call for the roll.

                    Lasombra: Well here I think our opinions differ the most. For me this is one of the big weaknesses, one that is always on the foreground and almost impossible to avoid. First of all having no reflection, and I personally extend this to all forms of photography and recordings that would capture their image, makes you a walking masquerade breach especially during the modern times where glass, mirrors and cameras are everywhere. For the same reasons it makes you an easy target for hunters of all sorts. The minor extremely situational benefit of not showing on security footage is not that big of a benefit either. It might hide you identity but any vampire would know to look for a Lasombra and the rest of the supernaturals would instantly know something supernatural is involved here and could make their own conclusions. Meanwhile the footage is likely considered a major maquerade breach by the Camarilla.

                    Also people tend to forget how serious this weakness is for the Vampire itself whose self-image will be distorted as they run the risk of forgetting what they look like. It’s impact on the personality of the Lasombra will be considerable. First like others have mentioned it will remind him that he does not belong on this world, or is a mere Shadow here hollow and not even worth a reflection. Secondly it makes one unsure of their own appearance, you can never be sure if your face is dirty, your makeup gone bad, hair a mess or if some of the blood of your last victim is still there for all to see and there is no way for you to know for sure other than asking someone, and how well can you trust anyone really.

                    All this has a huge psychological impact upon the Lasombra whom will likely become more and more obsessed about their looks and will need paintings of them to remind themselves of how they look.

                    If you think that the not shoving in cameras and recordings is too much of a benefit limit it to their actual forms, let their cloths be show’n there but I personally see no need for it. Afterall the weakness makes them huge somewhat easily identified targets for hunters off all sorts, walking masquerade breaches and meses up their psyche. Only the Nosferatu have it worse.

                    Naturally YMMV but like you can see I do like the Lasombra weakness quite a bit just as I do the Tzimisce one and do consider them to be quite strong curses indeed.


                    • #25
                      But the lasombra do show up in cameras and stuff, even if they didn't, and if they were that freaked out about how they looked they'd probably build towards dominate 5 and possess someone to look at themselves for them, or get an artist.

                      Be correct.


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by PewPew View Post
                        But the lasombra do show up in cameras and stuff, even if they didn't, and if they were that freaked out about how they looked they'd probably build towards dominate 5 and possess someone to look at themselves for them, or get an artist.
                        They shop up in cameras only if that is the ST’s decision, and if they do then the whole weakness is considerably weaker as it lessens both the psychological impact as well as the impact upon the masquerade. Admittedly V20 entry on them only specifically mentions reflections in water, glass, mirrors Etc. Not a word about cameras but those have been mentioned specifically in older books. Lore of the Clans on the other hand toiches upon the psychological implications on p.116 but admittedly there it also mentions that cameras that do not use mirrors, like most modern digital ones, can still capture their image. Still ST call I’d say. YMMV .

                        And as for the artists that has been a Lasombra thing since the beginning but it hardly help that much. It only gives you someone elses vision of you, portraits may be incredibly accurate but they are still affected by the artists style and skill. And it only help in reminding what you look like. As for Dominate, many probably will but it get’s pretty possessive to possess people each time you need to check your make up or hair or even after feedings or combat to make sure you aren’t walking out in the open with blood on your face.

                        So if you start possessing people to check yourself out I’d say it has at that point had quite an impact on your psychological profile and the curse is working as intented.


                        • #27
                          I mean, psychological effects are all fine and dandy, but that is kind of up to the individual player or character for how much it affects them. And if one can simply whip out their cell phone and take a picture, or heck, even take a selfie video to groom and dress, not reflecting in mirrors is basically meaningless.

                          The only time I can really think of when the Lasombra weakness had any real effect was someone wanting to find out if the person they spoke to was actually in charge. Pulled out a mirror, saw a reflection, "Yah, let me talk to the real boss."
                          Last edited by Beckett; 02-07-2018, 11:57 AM.


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Beckett View Post
                            The only time I can really think of when the Lasombra weakness had any real effect was someone wanting to find out if the person they spoke to was actually in charge. Pulled out a mirror, saw a reflection, "Yah, let me talk to the real boss."
                            That's funny, but the plot twist is that the guy behind the guy you're talking to is a dupe for a dupe for a dupe. There's a methuselah in some dirt somewhere and who knows where you can find him.

                            Now this is pretty obvious and I can't believe it's not said yet but the mix cameras and reflections is important. If neither camera nor reflection can take you, then someone can take a picture of you infront of a mirror and you wouldn't be in any sort of trouble. If the camera can take you but the reflection can't, you're in for the wonderful world of masquerade violation and of course the hunter knows your face and how to find you. But simply nothing can capture your image but the organic eye. Is far too forgiving.

                            Also wet nighttime roads and shopping window glass are something easily overlooked but very prevalent.

                            (in turn, the real question is on if your camera recording has a reflection when viewed through a mirror)

                            Be correct.


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Chili Klaus View Post

                              Okay but... that's not my point
                              2) it does not impact or define your character (contrary to the curse of the Ventrue clan for example),
                              In your games, maybe. In mine, it's a cornerstone of character concept, deeply tied into the character's history, personality, inner demons, drives and weaknesses. It is every bit as important as how a Malkavian's Derangement manifests, what passions drive a Brujah, or how a Nosferatu reacts to her new form.

                              3) you can overcome it with a dice roll - which is a bad idea.
                              As opposed to just spending a Willpower point (Malkavian)?

                              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.
                              Until you lose said soil, from either further shapeshifting, massive physical damage, or circumstance. Then you are effectively crippled until you are able to replace it.

                              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)


                              • #30
                                I like those clan weaknesses that create an incentive for individual vampires to adhere to the stereotypes of their clan. Not because I am a clan concept purist; Ventrue anarchs, and working-class, physically-oriented Tremere are among my favorite concepts to play. Rather, I like when weaknesses and clan disciplines serve as a clear explanation of why a particular clan culture developed in the direction it did.

                                Some weaknesses advance the flavor of their clan, and some don't.

                                For example, if a Tzimisce loses their domain and have to move, it is a possibly life-threatening development. So, they become quite possessive of their domains, have complex etiquette for visiting clan-mates, and spend most of their time in their homes. The last part leads to their being insular, secretive, and eccentric. Locking themselves away in their haven, with nothing to do but study, brood, and get up to kinky hijinx for a thousand years is the natural outcome. Their disciplines lend themselves to avoiding primary relationships with humans, observing their tiny piece of the world in minute detail, and treating others as playthings to bend to their whim... whether through Vicissitude or Dominate. There are certainly other ways a vampire could grow into a life-style like that. I'm sure somewhere out there there is a Ravnos or a Brujah who people would mistake for a Tzimisce, but the weakness and the disciplines of the Fiends make it natural for a fledgling... even one with little contact with their sire or clan... to develop along those lines.

                                On the other hand, the Toreador antitribu weakness, of always having the urge to do or say cruel things to the people around them, actively works against their supposed clan concept as avant garde artists and Sabbat socialites. How do so many Toreador antitribu operate in polite society when they have the constant urge to be hurtful to those around them? How many times can you tell the Lasombra archbishop that her make-up isn't blended quite right, or vandalize a Tzimisce priscus' haven before no one wants to associate with you anymore? Or worse. Yes, the Sabbat enjoy games of cruelty, but they are not known for having a sense of humor about cruelty when it is at their expense. Remember, this weakness is present from the moment of the embrace. So, a Toreador antitribu shovelhead comes out of the ground insulting the pack priest, and randomly setting fire to their pack-mates' belongings. This a weakness that directly works against the stated clan culture of the Toreador antitribu. Not only should they be largely unable to be socialites, they should mostly be perceived as sociopaths and straight-up assholes.

                                The Ravnos weakness explains some of their clan culture. If you have a strong urge to commit a particular crime, you will eventually be run out of town... thus they are nomadic. (cf Toreador antitribu, above) Their disciplines are a bit odd. I would expect some Obfuscate in there, maybe some Celerity to show they quickly adapt to new circumstances. Instead, we get Animalism and Fortitude. The Ravnos were originally presented as sort of a Rom (the books used the term "Gypsy" back then) sub-clan of the Gangrel. The Ravnos discipline spread is largely a historical artifact of that heritage.

                                For Lasombra, in some ways the opposite situation from the Ravnos, their disciplines help explain the clan culture, but the weakness is strangely disconnected from their concept. I'm not judging whether it is a mechanically strong or weak flaw, just that it doesn't advance their themes beyond some vague handwaving about "vanity and lost souls" or some such, and seems rather generic. That is, had the "no mirrors" flaw been given to any of several other clans, it might have fit them better. As perhaps the most flagrantly supernatural flaw, it would have worked for the Tremere, Kiasyd, Giovanni, or Setites. (Why it works so well for the last one is best explained over in VtR, Clanbook Mekhet. No reflection is perfect for Egyptian mystics.) It could have worked as the flaw for the Brujah, implying a lack of self-knowledge or unawareness of how others see them. It could even have worked for the Gangrel, resulting in a clan largely unconcerned with their outward beauty and avoiding large groups of people, where it matters if you don't have a reflection. There aren't a lot of mirrors in a forest, and the squirrels wouldn't notice anyway.

                                Since it works just as well for other clans, the Lasombra flaw, while fine enough as it goes, just seems a little tacked on and random.