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Paths and the Sabbat in 5e

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  • Mr. Sluagh
    started a topic Paths and the Sabbat in 5e

    Paths and the Sabbat in 5e

    So, I just read the new Humanity system, and I think it's enough to dissuade me from 5e.

    Mainly because I don't see how Paths of Enlightenment, let alone the entire Sabbat, is going to work under this system.

    Then again, the Camarilla also seems a little problematic. Now, telling someone to maintain their humanity, while also keeping their nature secret from humans, is even more of a catch-22 than it used to be.

    What I like even less is how now, it looks like every single elder has to be Barnabas Collins. And that takes a whole lot of luck when you can never get a fourth touchstone (You keep saying that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.), and if you even want to maintain three, they have to die peacefully and have successors. Now, to be fair, the alpha document doesn't seem to have the experience rules. I could stomach what I'm seeing a little better if one could gain more touchstones through experience over time.

    I like the idea of an elder who counts as touchstones every single person descended from some once-significant line of nobility. But that also seems like it wouldn't work under this system, because touchstones are actually liabilities -- you would have to have humanity in the hundreds to accept the risk from any of your hundreds of touchstones being damaged.

    So no, come to think of it, I guess the real goal is just to abandon touchstones as gently as possible, while raising Humanity by abstaining from human blood. Once your last touchstone is gone, you're in the clear as long as you keep your heinous acts short of "painting the walls with blood and offal". Which I like even less.

    And if this does mean Paths of Enlightenment are no longer part of the setting, I really don't like that. I respect Requiem for trying that. That's part of what made Requiem its own thing. But Paths were always an important part of Masquerade's world. I also think they're important thematically, because choosing Humanity isn't as meaningful a choice if it's a choice between that and being a wight.

    I also dislike clan compulsions. They seem like a bloated version of Nature and Demeanor (which I never liked). Hollow role playing cues with few mechanical effects, except the ST can give you points for following a cue. It's what I call a "Whose Line is it Anyway?" mechanic, which is a habit I keep hoping White Wolf will break someday, and they never do.

    So no, from what I'm seeing so far, I think I'll pass on this and stick with V20.
    Last edited by Mr. Sluagh; 05-04-2018, 07:32 PM.

  • Darthpalpy
    replied
    Why should we better the lives of mortals?
    Do they not hound me and strike at me at every turn? I owe them nothing but ashes and spite and would not stoop to help them even if we all became safer for it!
    Dixit Hardestadt, leader of the Camarilla at the Convention of Thorns, and with a beautiful 2 in Humanity ^^ .
    Connection to mortals just appears, in this case alone, more than failing...

    Leave a comment:


  • PMárk
    replied
    Originally posted by Ben Linus View Post
    The objective seems to me to reduce the political game and to say to fight to protect some mortal is to increase personal horror, which is not true. Vampiric paranoiac politics was a byproduct of personal horror and how the beast acted to generate mistrust and corruption about their relationships, feelings and ideals, which led the spiral to use ever more obscure means and to create such a political environment. oppressive and hateful relationships so toxic to be maintained by kindred rather than simply solve problems, cultivate them carefully.
    As I see it, the Touchstones system, since Requiem 2e was designed to drive home the point that you became a monster and you are no longer a part of society, but you're trying to, because that keeps you sane. So, yeah, it is designed to increase "personal" horror as in, existential horror and feeling of otherness and ostracism. And in Requiem 2e, it works. I just don't particularly like it, because it stresses one kind of stories and not really support (or even actively hinders) others.

    And really, it goes against just too many things in VtM's fluff. How many clans' first thing to do after Embrace is severing all ties with the childe's old life? What about how vmpires call humans? Kine. Cattle.

    Yes, Touchstones could have a part, because it's good if the game has ample tools to handle the wanting-to-be-human and part of humanity vampires kinda stories, but it shouldn't be the baseline, IMO. VtM has a much wider focus than that and for good.

    Leave a comment:


  • PMárk
    replied
    Originally posted by Murder-of-Crows View Post
    Let's take a look at Requiem 2. Touchstones there don't have to be your BFF. They can be incidental humans that you meet during your nightly routine. The newspaper seller where you've bought newspapers each night for three years, the bus driver that sometimes chats with you, or the old cat lady that's always up when you are. You don't even have to figure prominently in their lives; they just have to remind you what it means to be human.

    If I had to pick three touchstones that remind me of humanity, it would be the nice woman at the butcher's account with who I am bantering each time I see her. The barister at the café where I am buying me breakfast each morning. He actually genuinely smiles. But also my godchild who I see growing up into a talented woman. These are not my BFFs, not even the people I spent most of my time with. But they remind me of kindness, growth, and small things that make me happy.

    This can work for any Kindred, and any Cainite. No human is a complete monster, and no vampire is either. If you live your unlife without any meeting any human at all, I am curious how a vampire is going to do this inside their natural habitate: cities! You will run across some humans eventually that you don't kill on sight.
    Yeah, and that's why I say Touchstones could be an, in fact, nice addition as a background, or merit. I just disagree with the premise of this take on Humanity as a baseline.

    As I said above, that's the Being Human/Vampire Diaries kind of humanity. You are more human, because you connect with humans. That's, again a viable approach, but it doesn't fi a lot of characters, from VtM and other source material too. That Humanity is keeping yourself adhering to humane morals, instead of becoming an inhuman monster is also a viable take.

    Leave a comment:


  • PMárk
    replied
    Originally posted by Teylen View Post
    I would argue that if you do remove the literal human part of the equation the character in question would clearly be on a path.
    Though I don't see characters who view and value humans as (much as) zombies on humanity, let alone on high humanity. The claim occurs to me rather as an idolization of sociopathy.
    Though that's already leaning toward the interpretation of humanity as connection to humans. They had very deep relationships with each other and with other vampires, they clearly weren't sociopaths. They've just distanced themselves from humans after several hundreds (maybe more) years of unlife, but they weren't inhuman or monstrous. You could do that with the old Humanity, while maintaning a high value, but not with the Touchstones system.

    The point of Humanity as morality, instead of connection to humans, is keeping human values as guidelines and restrictions against the Beast. The Paths are keeping inhuman values (from the viewpoint of humans) as such.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ben Linus
    replied
    The objective seems to me to reduce the political game and to say to fight to protect some mortal is to increase personal horror, which is not true. Vampiric paranoiac politics was a byproduct of personal horror and how the beast acted to generate mistrust and corruption about their relationships, feelings and ideals, which led the spiral to use ever more obscure means and to create such a political environment. oppressive and hateful relationships so toxic to be maintained by kindred rather than simply solve problems, cultivate them carefully.

    Leave a comment:


  • Murder-of-Crows
    replied
    Let's take a look at Requiem 2. Touchstones there don't have to be your BFF. They can be incidental humans that you meet during your nightly routine. The newspaper seller where you've bought newspapers each night for three years, the bus driver that sometimes chats with you, or the old cat lady that's always up when you are. You don't even have to figure prominently in their lives; they just have to remind you what it means to be human.

    If I had to pick three touchstones that remind me of humanity, it would be the nice woman at the butcher's account with who I am bantering each time I see her. The barister at the café where I am buying me breakfast each morning. He actually genuinely smiles. But also my godchild who I see growing up into a talented woman. These are not my BFFs, not even the people I spent most of my time with. But they remind me of kindness, growth, and small things that make me happy.

    This can work for any Kindred, and any Cainite. No human is a complete monster, and no vampire is either. If you live your unlife without any meeting any human at all, I am curious how a vampire is going to do this inside their natural habitate: cities! You will run across some humans eventually that you don't kill on sight.

    Leave a comment:


  • Monalfie
    replied
    Originally posted by Teylen View Post
    I would argue that if you do remove the literal human part of the equation the character in question would clearly be on a path.
    Why would you argue that? Again, the text makes a few things abundantly clear.
    - Humanity is about how close your are to human concerns.
    - Touchstones matter because they represent what the Kindred valued in life.
    The rule that a Touchstone must be human seems exceedingly arbitrary given these reasons. More-so when some of the humans only matter in-so-far as their connection to a place or object. What is valued in life, human concerns? Very much can relate to objects and places. The idea that Igor the Gravetender getting fired might cause you to lose Humanity, but the actual tombstone weathering away wouldn't? That seems backwards based on the very principles laid out.

    Leave a comment:


  • Teylen
    replied
    Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
    I don't see how an object or place couldn't serve these functions where a human does. Heck, it even says someone can be a touchstone because they guard or protect something you value (a doorman for your building, someone who lives in your old house, the person who cleans your gravesite).
    I would argue that if you do remove the literal human part of the equation the character in question would clearly be on a path.
    Though I don't see characters who view and value humans as (much as) zombies on humanity, let alone on high humanity. The claim occurs to me rather as an idolization of sociopathy.

    Leave a comment:


  • PMárk
    replied
    Originally posted by Illithid View Post
    "I love Only Lovers Left Alive"
    I think it meshes with my idea of humane vampires - try not to kill. Tell someone off for killing for feeding while understanding the fact that the hunger is so massive. It's a great way to express higher and low humanity in 1-4th edition.
    Even touchstones don't work for them because, while the main character is hesitant to leave what he's built up, he does so for survival without it impacting his "humanity" just the emotional fall out of leaving something loved behind.
    Yeah. I'd argue, even the manager/delivery boy wasn't really a touchstone for Adam... just a convenience.

    Honestly, it was the most Masquerade-ish film I've ever seen. The two main characters are just Autarkis Torreador ancillae (say hello to Auspex as touch!), with a respectably high level of Humanity, who are trying to lay low, leave out of the Jyhad and doing their own thing. The little sister might have been an Anarch from the West Coast who fucked up some shit and had to run.

    In short, humans as Touchstones as the base for the Humanity system is stressing the idea of vampires trying to remain human by connecting to humans. That is a viable take on the matter, but it's not the only one and Masquerade always made others possible and featured extensively in the setting and fluff and rules. I believe it should remain that way, because that kind of diversity in possible stories and playstyles is a strength of Masquerade.

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  • Illithid
    replied
    Originally posted by PMárk View Post
    Even in modern media. A lot of the tv-shows and movies like the whole connection with humans aspect, because they want to protray a much more consummable,much more mainstream-audeince friendly, much more "domesticated" picture of vampires. True Blood, Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Being Human. It's not a bad thing, it's a viable approach and understandable. It's much more relatable and, well, humane, if vampires are acting like human, eating food, walking in daylight.

    But take more "serious" works. For example (as I say frequently, I love the film), Only Lovers Left Alive. If anything, the characters' touchstones in that movie is their books, their place of living, the music they're making and each other and some fellow vampires. They're literally calling ordinary humans "zombies", for f's sake.
    "I love Only Lovers Left Alive"
    I think it meshes with my idea of humane vampires - try not to kill. Tell someone off for killing for feeding while understanding the fact that the hunger is so massive. It's a great way to express higher and low humanity in 1-4th edition.
    Even touchstones don't work for them because, while the main character is hesitant to leave what he's built up, he does so for survival without it impacting his "humanity" just the emotional fall out of leaving something loved behind.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ben Linus
    replied
    Beyond the fact that the paths were not merely alternative moralities but social structures that refer to alliances and prohibitions. Removing them sounds like removing entire clans from the scenario.

    If this review of humanity comes. I'm going to press for editors to adopt this just as initial morality and eventually a vampire will join a trail (being old humanity one of them) in some supplement.

    Leave a comment:


  • PMárk
    replied
    Even in modern media. A lot of the tv-shows and movies like the whole connection with humans aspect, because they want to protray a much more consummable,much more mainstream-audeince friendly, much more "domesticated" picture of vampires. True Blood, Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Being Human. It's not a bad thing, it's a viable approach and understandable. It's much more relatable and, well, humane, if vampires are acting like human, eating food, walking in daylight.

    But take more "serious" works. For example (as I say frequently, I love the film), Only Lovers Left Alive. If anything, the characters' touchstones in that movie is their books, their place of living, the music they're making and each other and some fellow vampires. They're literally calling ordinary humans "zombies", for f's sake.

    Leave a comment:


  • PMárk
    replied
    Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
    Teylen

    The main problem I have with Touchstones (and there are several) arises with vampires... elder or not... who, as part of their character concept, are more introverted.

    It's common, especially in American culture, to believe that the only way to be a healthy, sane, whole person is to engage with others. This rests on the assumption that everyone feels under-stimulated, bored, or lonely when alone. For roughly a third of people, this is not the case. For introverts, quiet time alone isn't what tires them. It's what rejuvenates them! Writing a new song, browsing through random wikipedia pages, or tinkering in a home workshop is, for them, as restorative as dropping by a friend's party, watching the big game at a sports bar, or attending a family dinner is for extroverts.

    The emotional distress that some extroverts feel when they find themselves alone, abandoned, or ignored carries real emotional pain, yes. But, introverts feel the same degree of emotional turmoil when forced into a social situation in which they are overwhelmed by ten different discussions, loud music, and a roiling crowd. So, when real tragedy strikes and when real moral quandaries arise, extroverts seek out the counsel, support, and comfort of others, while introverts need time to retreat, ponder their situation, and invest time in charting the way forward. If either personality type tries to use the wrong tools for them it will only make matters worse.

    The Touchstone system is (perhaps not so) subtly built on the assumption that the only valid way to function... indeed the only way to be sane, moral, and humane... is to be connected to others.

    Now, few people are pure extroverts or pure introverts, but that's sort of my point. If we are going to have the Touchstones system at all, I want the freedom to build a character whose Touchstones include people, yes, but also places where they can retreat to ponder existence (like the local library in their hometown?), items they value as a reminder of their values (like a well-worn family bible?), and activities that give them a sense of achievement (like creating art or music?).

    The current system creates a situation where you can lose Humanity because your best friend leaves town to take a great job in the exotic locale they've always dreamed about, but not lose Humanity when your house burns down, with years of memories and keepsakes turned to ash. I just want the system to be broad enough to tell the stories of many, many different kinds of people.

    Not just the people who need people.
    I didn't think about it like that, until now, but honestly, well said.

    That's realy the problem with the whole Touchstone-Humanity concept and I had the same problem with requiem 2e back then. It makes introvert or straight up antisocial and not-keeping-humans-in-high-regard vampires unplayable, or at least strongly discouraged. It stresses playing one kind of vampires and telling a specific kind of stories. I could resign for that, in the case of Requiem, but Masquerade already has tons of material, including signature characters, whole sects and so on, to whom, connection to specific mortals is just not an important thing. Attitude toward mortals, or really, toward anyone and generally, keeping up with the values presented by mortal society (like, killing each other is bad) is, however, could be.

    You can mock the "badass loner" archetype, but it is a thinga and not even the most important thing. I just don't like the concept on the whole, that for keeping your Humanity, your soul, your personality and not succumbing to the Beast, you have to have human relations. How it should work with the method of a lots of the clans, who are stressing, in the upbringing of their childe, the severing of connectons with your former, human life? The whole thing is just going agaisinst too much of the established setting.

    So, this version of Humanity was okay in Requiem, but Requiem (2e) is a game with different premises and take on vampires.

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  • Monalfie
    replied
    Originally posted by Teylen View Post
    Nosimplehiway
    I see it rather as a connection to humanity for a creature that due to its state of being isn't human. I don't see how a place or an abstract concept would achieve that.
    "Humanity measures how close you are to your human life, to specific people that draw you toward life and light, and to human concerns generally."
    "Each vampire begins with three Touchstones: living humans who represent what you used to value in life."
    I don't see how an object or place couldn't serve these functions where a human does. Heck, it even says someone can be a touchstone because they guard or protect something you value (a doorman for your building, someone who lives in your old house, the person who cleans your gravesite). The humans themselves, on that note, are only important because of what they represent (a connection or ideal, like a baseball player or priest of your faith). If these people matter because they represent or guard something of importance, seems like cutting out the middle man makes more sense. Because really, it is those ideals or places (and what they mean) that is tying the person to being human.

    Leave a comment:

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