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  • Auspices - for Vampires?

    So, as in sure most of you know, werewolves have not only a Tribe, the equivalent of a Clan, but an Auspice as well - which helps define their power set and their role in the Tribe. So the Get of Fenris are quite s militant Tribe, but you could still be a relatively peaceful (as werewolves go) Ragabash from that Tribe. In the other hand, you could be an Ahroun in the Children of Gaia.

    So what if we had something similar for vampires? Each Clan has its own tendencies, with some being more physical, more social, more mystical (just like Tribes) but then you could have some other division that cuts across Clan boundaries. It likely shouldn't be based on phase of the moon though.

    So we could have social Gangrel, warrior Malkavians, etc.

  • #2
    There's precedent for this in the lore. We have Warrior Setites for example.

    Here's a quick way of doing this.



    Pick the Discipline which is LEAST important to a Clan's identity. Potence for Nosferatu, for example. Now, come up with two alternatives, and make those Roles. All Nosferatu have Animalism and Obfuscate.

    Potence Nosferatu - Digging tunnels, enforcing. Physical focus.

    Auspex Nosferatu - Gathering and sharing information. When animals aren't enough, they have keen ears of their own. Mental focus.

    Presence Nosferatu - The public face at Elysium. Uses Obfuscate 3 to make their strange Discipline spread highly effective. Social focus.



    Now, let's look at Brujah. All Brujah have Potence and Celerity.

    Presence Brujah - The rabble-rousers. Social focus.

    Animalism Brujah - A slightly more mystical bent. Understanding and quelling their own Beast, and teaching other Brujah how to manage theirs. Mental focus.

    Fortitude Brujah - They can take everything they can dish out. Tough nuts. A liability if they go into frenzy; just try getting them into Torpor. Physical focus.




    All Toreador have Presence and Auspex.

    Celerity Toreador - Athleticism, dancing, performance, grace. Physical Focus.

    Obfuscate Toreador - Obfuscate is an incredible resource in social situations... hiding the blood on your shirt, disguising yourself when you are persona non grata. Most importantly, combined with Auspex this makes you the perfect Kindred for intrigue and information-gathering, outside of the Nosferatu... Mental Focus.

    Dominate Toreador - Sometimes it isn't enough to ask nicely. Harpies and Ducti, by and large. Social Focus.


    Rules-wise, PCs would pick a Focus, and once their position in society and within their clan has shifted enough I would allow them to switch role once. A Physical Brujah Neonate might have a Frenzy crisis and come close to becoming a Wight, only to renounce their head-bashing ways and try to get some real control over their Beast, dropping Fortitude as an in-clan Discipline and taking Animalism as a new one (keeping the old dots of course). This would be akin to the Gurahl changing Auspices as they age.



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    • #3
      I remember once Deirdre Brooks proposed the idea of vampires getting one Clan discipline, one they inherit from their Sire, and one that's personally important to them on some level as their three affinity disciplines.

      As for Auspices (or something similar as a Y-axis splat), perhaps ones that focus on Humanity, The Beast, Willpower, and/or the various Virtues. Alternately, ones based on what the vampires in question have to feed on (blood, flesh, breath, dreams, etc.).


      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)

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      • #4
        Tremere. All have Thaumaturgy and Auspex.

        Dominate - Social. These Tremere manage ghouls and various retainers, protect the Masquerade and keep Apprentices in line. They also condition Gargoyles in some cases.

        Fortitude - Physical. Conjuring up fire and creating Gargoyles is rather risky, and a bit of Fortitude helps to mitigate this. These Tremere were commonplace in the Dark Ages, where the clan's survival was far from guaranteed. These days Tremere of a physical bent are more rare, but tend to be those who deal with rogue blood mages and do rough work for the Camarilla.

        Necromancy - Mental. While exceptionally rare, these Tremere (who mostly come from a special society within the Tremere who hope to find the "missing link" that will bring Blood Magic into a singular art under Hermetic principles) practice a Hermetic variant of the Western Necromancy of the Giovanni. A lot of their knowledge was stolen from kidnapped Giovanni through use of Dominate and threats of death, and from powerful bound Wraiths. The Ritual selection is very slim, but all of the Giovanni's paths have been mastered by the society.



        Gangrel. All have Protean and Fortitude.

        Animalism - Social. Wolves and bears don't make for the best conversation, but these Gangrel are expert socialites... in the wild, at least. Their animal magnetism will do fine in a bar, but they really shine when working with animals, tame or otherwise.

        Auspex - Mental. Within a pack of Gangrel, it's useful to have a gal who can pick up the scent of a Lupine from a few miles away. And when I say "useful" I mean "mandatory", if you've pissed off the local werewolves at least. These Gangrel are expert survivalists with an inward focus, calculating a smart path to survival rather than clawing their way out of every problem.

        Potence - Physical. With the gradual decline in the importance of horses, dogs and livestock in society, Animalism has become less useful in cities. Since most Gangrel actually do live in urban areas, a punch that can crack concrete often beats the power to pick up gossip from the local rats. Such Gangrel tend to be younger, and over-confident in their combat prowess. They pack a mean punch, but without animal allies they can often falter.




        Malkavians. All have Dementation and Auspex.

        Dominate - Social. A crafty tool for those who wish to subtly warp the reality of a person's mind. You can make a person doubt their sanity if you condition those around them to gaslight them (an old favourite), and these Malks won't struggle to find retainers who can help with their schemes.

        Obfuscate - Mental. A great talent for the neurotic, the paranoid and the anxious. A wonderful way to hide from the consequences of spreading madness to achieve your goals.

        Celerity - Physical. A useful trick for a prankster, these Malkavians love to weave and dodge and run away after they've forced someone into a mental breakdown. Push a Brujah into Frenzy and you'd better hope you can run circles around them as they thrash.



        Ventrue. All have Dominate and Fortitude.

        Presence - Social. Princes, Bishops, leaders of the Inquisition. This package is the classical elitist Ventrue Elder, untouchable and aloof, ready to warp the wills of those around them to suit the Greater Good.

        Potence - Physical. Many Ventrue Neonates and Ancilla, and even some Elders in the Sabbat, prefer a more direct approach to correcting those who need it. Giving a challenger a sound beating is a great way to win respect in some circles, even if it isn't suitable for most Princes.

        Auspex - Mental. Know everything, control everything. These Ventrue are talented preservers of the Traditions, as they can read the thoughts of others and correct memories to restore the Masquerade. These Ventrue make great advisers and often support a more public face.



        Lasombra. All have Obtenebration and Potence.

        Fortitude - Physical. These are shock troops, commanders and templars. Their Potence and Fortitude synergise with their Obtenebration to produce terrifying physical prowess.

        Dominate - Social. Archbishops, Bishops, Ducti. Leaders, recruiters. Dominate allows them to wipe the memories of Shovelheads and condition them for greater loyalty.

        Obfuscate - Mental. Taking to the shadows, these Lasombra tend to contemplate the nature of the Clan's Curse, the nature of Obtenebration, the Occult, and the human mind. This focus is common among Abyss Mystics.



        Tzimisce. All have Vicissitude and Auspex.

        Animalism (Main Clan) OR Dominate (Old Clan) - Mental. These Tzimisce work with animals, wights and Vozhds OR with Ghouls and Cainites, who they shape mentally and physically. For Tzimisce, Animalism and Dominate tend to be used in a contemplative way, gradually shaping a mind to achieve a certain effect.

        Fortitude - Physical. A metamorphisist must push their body to the very limits to gain greater understanding. If a Tzimisce treats their own body as harshly as they do others, Fortitude is a must.

        Presence - Social. With the full weight of their uncanny beauty (or fearsome and monstrous visage) behind them, a Fiend may wield Presence with devastating effect. These tend to be the Pack Priests, the Koldunists, the Cultists.

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        • #5
          11twiggins You’re ideas on this are actually super interesting.

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          • #6
            It's probably not something done often with vampires because they are mostly focused on individual survival rather than fulfilling a societal role. Kinda makes it a pain if you are trying to fill the traditional Tank/Healer/Damage roles of standard games. Werewolf is much more designed to create something akin to D&D with werewolves.

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            • #7
              I like all of the suggestions so far. I think that I might tweak twiggins' Disciplines a bit, but the idea is a quick and easy fix.
              Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
              I remember once Deirdre Brooks proposed the idea of vampires getting one Clan discipline, one they inherit from their Sire, and one that's personally important to them on some level as their three affinity disciplines.

              As for Auspices (or something similar as a Y-axis splat), perhaps ones that focus on Humanity, The Beast, Willpower, and/or the various Virtues. Alternately, ones based on what the vampires in question have to feed on (blood, flesh, breath, dreams, etc.).
              That gives me an idea. There are a number of vampiric archetypes in V:tM that are based on power sets or roles, though some of the ones that are left out of Clans are archetypes based on morality. I mean, you have that to some degree with the Camarilla vs the Sabbat and Paths of Enlightenment, but I don't know if either can encapsulate the different types of vampires that exist in fiction in regards to their humanity.

              What do I mean by that? Well, you have some vampires in fiction who struggle to be more human, who drink only animal blood, who resist their urges to do bad things. You have other vampires who are utterly cold hearted and see humans as prey. You have some vampires which are more human in nature - resistant to sunlight, have pass for being alive, much more self control, etc. You also have vampires that are just about like animals are throw themselves at victims and tear the apart. These ideas can be explored a bit in V:tM, but it can be a bit awkward. Maybe the other axis to contrast with Clans could be the relationship between the vampire and its Beast. This could go along with the morality system, maybe it could even replace it.

              You could have, for example, a day walker vampire. They would be supernaturally weaker than other vampires but also more resistant to banes of vampires, like the sun or need to feed. You could have vampires who have more or less given themselves to the Beast and frenzy at the drop of a hat (or ride the wave) but who have enhanced physical powers, maybe even special enhancements when they are in a frenzy. For the cold hearted vampire, they could also have enhanced supernatural powers but perhaps greater weaknesses to vampire banes like the sun or maybe they more closely resemble corpses. It might be possible to come up with a few such archetypes and give them a set of special advantages and weaknesses based on that archetype.

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              • #8
                The main issue I see is that VtM already has or allows for that, without it being predefined. It is an option, with various ways to accomplish it rather than it being required.

                One way I could see it working is by having the different subgroups being based off of the circumstances of the death, Embrace, and initial introduction into Cainite Society prior to being Released.

                1.) The Prodigy: You were molded for the Curse of Caine by a Sire who made proper preparations for the transition. This allows you to have access to Status, Herd above 1 dot at Character Creation, (others may not), and also that you are familiar with Cainite lore, history, and more than just the fundamentals of your Sect's values, such as the Traditions. The ST chooses one Attribute, Ability, and also Discipline, (based on your Clan), that you recieve a 1 XP discount to raise. However, you are also held to a higher standard, and every offense committed against your Clan or Sect will be punished on the harsher side of the spectrum, as you may not claim ignorance or attempt to place blame elsewhere.

                2.) The Orphan: You where Embraced by happenstance, perhaps the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and Embraced on the spot as a form of penitence, or you might have simply been Embraced as shock troops for a raid. Perhaps your Sire died before being able to instruct you on the ins and outs, or simply abandon you for whatever reason. That you survived means you had to learn quickly on your feet. This means you have an incomplete understanding of Cainite lore and your Sect's beliefs and practices at Character Creation, but the XP and Freebie Point cost to increase Stamina, Wits, Alertness, Survival, and Investigation are one less than normal. You are however restricted to 1 dot in Mentor and Status at Character Creation.

                3.) The Norm: You might have been set up for success with your Embrace, but failed to live up to your Sire's standards or expectaions, or perhaps luck was against you at some crucial moment in your early initiation into Cainite Society where you failed, but not spectacularly so at some task that dropped you from favor. Alternatively, while you have not accomplished anything phenomenally noteworthy just yet, the characteristics your Clan emphasizes are strong in you. You are educated in Cainite lore and Sect and Clan practices, but have no notable advantages or disadvantages.

                4.) The Outlier: Something went wrong in your Embrace, leaving you slightly different than the majority of your Clan. Perhaps you became Caitiff, perhaps one of the rare breeds or uncommon variations of your lineage has taken root in you, (such as "Old Clan" Tzimisce, "Dominate" Malkavian, Warrior Setite, or non-Healer Cast Salubri). This could be simply that your affinity and talents are counter to the Clan's normal strengths, or, with ST approval, could allow you to play, or at least access some of your Clan's Bloodlines or variations. The more you deviate from the normal Clan, the more your Clan, (and Sect) mates mistrust and dislike you, however, restricting your ability to gain Status, prestige, and to gain or keep Mentors.
                Last edited by Beckett; 03-17-2018, 06:38 AM.

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                • #9
                  All Setites have Serpentis and Obfuscate.

                  Potence - Physical. Known as the Horned Vipers, these warriors are staunch defenders of the clan.

                  Presence - Social. The most common focus, these Setites are temptation incarnate. Drugs, sex, games of chance, if it's tempting they can sell it.

                  Akhu - Mental. These devout clergy are religiously devoted to Sutekh (or one of his Masks) and wield devastating magical power. The path is long and arduous, but a cult with a true Akhu Priestess or Priest behind it has a huge advantage.



                  All Giovanni have Potence and Dominate.

                  Fortitude - Physical. Mafiosa, enforcers, handlers. Your cousin/uncle who can handle a crowd of crazed and uncontrollable Zombies, and who knows how to make people disappear.

                  Necromancy - Mental. Contrary to popular belief, not all Giovanni are Necromancers. The Discipline is the core of their power base, but it's inefficient to teach occult powers to every person in the family. Not everyone has a talent for whispering to the dead, and that's fine. Besides, the powers of Necromancy work as well for 5 people as they do for 1; a branch of the family only truly needs 1 or 2 powerful Necromancers.

                  Presence - Social. You're a breadwinner, a dealmaker, a diplomat and a salesman. A Greek businessman wants to discuss an oil sale? You're there to get a deal which would be impossible without the crushing weight of your Presence.



                  All Assamites have Quietus and Obfuscate.

                  Celerity - Physical. Warriors. The most common branch. Cursed with a hunger for Vitae (if the Tremere curse is gone).

                  Dur-an-Ki - Mental. Sorcerers. The smallest branch. Embraced from sorcerers and mages. Cursed with a powerful attention-grabbing Aura.

                  Auspex - Social. Viziers. These are the judges, the diplomats, the demon-hunters. Their Auspex allows them to learn what they need to say, and to learn who is in need of judgement.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                    It's probably not something done often with vampires because they are mostly focused on individual survival rather than fulfilling a societal role. Kinda makes it a pain if you are trying to fill the traditional Tank/Healer/Damage roles of standard games. Werewolf is much more designed to create something akin to D&D with werewolves.
                    I entirely agree with you on this. Vampires are solitary hunters. Garou are pack hunters.

                    It just doesn't make sense to have auspices, which is sort of a werewolf way of saying "dharma", if every vampire has to depend on themselves with only occasional alliances of convenience with other vampires.

                    11twiggins
                    These are all excellent ideas, but they're not auspices. They feel more like specialized bloodlines or clan castes. They still don't create the sort of "I am living Gaia's plan for me" certitude about their role in the universe the way Auspices do. Remember, for a Garou to take on a role outside their auspice is nearly considered profane. The closest parallel for vampires is probably Path or Nature.

                    Also, the mechanics need some tweaking. So, a Brujah can buy up Fortitude to the level they want at in-clan cost, then switch over to Animalism for in-clan cost there as well?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                      Also, the mechanics need some tweaking. So, a Brujah can buy up Fortitude to the level they want at in-clan cost, then switch over to Animalism for in-clan cost there as well?
                      They're quite different from Auspices, yes. Much less strict. It's more about character concept and tweaking how your vampire plays, giving freedom.

                      They can, with a good justification for the change. I'd rule that each player can switch Focus once per Chronicle, with an important change in their character's outlook and role in society. A Ventrue PC becomes the Prince's right hand man? He can use that to justify a change. A Brujah almost becomes a Wight and kills his beloved ghoul in a Frenzy? Perfect time to learn Animalism and begin mastering his beast. A Tremere finds an old necromantic grimoire which is the fetter for a powerful Wraith? Great moment to pick up Necromancy as in-clan.

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                      • #12
                        I suppose the absolute least-amount-of-work option to do a y-axis splat for Vampire would be to use the Dark Ages Roads in the modern day. Obviously not as much fun from a creative standpoint, but it would be kind of interesting to see the Camarilla dealing with members on the Road of the Beast or of Sin.


                        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)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                          ...Pick the Discipline which is LEAST important to a Clan's identity...
                          That's really subjective and subject to time and place. One thing that's continually driven home is the clan's refocus on being the spies, information brokers, and saboteurs of the World of Darkness, is that it's more or less a side effect of the modern world. Prior to that, they were the survivors, monsters, and boogeymen of the World of Darkness. Even in modern nights does this faction of Nosferatu exist, despite being a minority among the clan in sum; in the DA:V setting, the Nosferatu are in the throes of that identity crisis as the remain split between the more humane among them that seek to settle in gutters, sewers, and ghettoes, while the less humane cleave to Roads that embrace the Beast and seek to predate humanity.

                          For the animalistic, bestial, faction, you could argue Potence and Obfuscate are more important to their identity. Or even Potence and Animalism. You could even argue Obfuscate, in historical settings, is less important to the "Lepers" than Potence or Animalism, due to the fact they either embrace their deformities or can hide them (well enough) with simple disguises, and that they tend to take on roles as shepherds and protectors of the downtrodden kine.

                          Even in the modern nights setting, you can make an argument Obfuscate isn't that important, because everything they need to do on a nightly basis, they can do with a PC or smartphone, and an internet connection. They only need to venture beyond the warren to feed (something Obfuscate helps, but is not sine qua non), or make appearances in Elysium, and that task often falls to chosen spokes-Nossies.

                          The only time a discipline tends to be central to that clan's identity, is when they have a proprietary discipline. And then, not even in all cases is this absolute. The most "absolute" case you could make for this, are Malkies and Dementation as all Malkies are mad...but then, you have Dominate Malkies.

                          The best way to go about this, were you to go about this, would be to say "pick two of their default spread, and pick a third (common) discipline that best-fits your character concept".
                          Last edited by Theodrim; 03-18-2018, 01:12 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Generally speaking though auspices are shared among groups, all Ragabash share gifts, all Pillars share gifts etc. Rather than reworking the clans why not add "auspices" to sects. You get your 3 in clans plus if you are say in a part of the Inquisition in the sabbat you get your shared Inquisitor sets for example.

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