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Path of the Levinbolt Issues

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  • Path of the Levinbolt Issues

    So, I am having some serious issues with this Path. I feel like I am missing something, so I decided to come to the forums to get some additional opinions.

    Issue #1:

    The first two levels of power do nothing but disable an electronic device to varying degrees. Why would you ever want this, a power that requires you to spend a blood point per use, when you could use the Machine Blitz ritual instead for free at no experience point cost?

    Issue #2:

    By touch, levels two and three can cause electrical damage. The problem is, the attack used to say in previous books you could use this as a weapon but V20, the most recent printing, just says "By touch". Does this allow you to do with a weapon, or has this become a weird comparison to the Shocking Grasp spell from D&D. It also says that these touched require a Dexterity + Brawl rolls. So trying to zap someone now takes two actions, is that right? So I need to split my dice pool between a Dexterity + Brawl roll AND the Willpower roll to activate these? That's terrible.

    Issue #3:

    Thor's Fury. The thrown lightning power. This power requires a Perception + Science roll, so let's already get out the way that you need to raise two non-combat stats, including an ability that almost never comes up as a rolled trait in games (Science). Now we have the range, which is and I quote:

    "...difficulty of 6 plus the range in yards/meters, maximum 4 yards/meters."

    So, let me get this straight. A crossbow at this range would be difficulty four and cost me no experience points to buy. But this power, which requires a blood point to use every single time and an investment of 31 experience points to even have, is difficulty 7 to use at the incredible distance of three feet? And it can never fire more than sixteen feet, assuming you want to try to hit at a whopping difficulty 10?

    We'll leave guns out of this example, since a vampire is going to half the damage for bashing. So we'll go with a relative mundane counterpart, the crossbow.

    Crossbow:
    Base Damage: 5
    Range: 20
    Difficulty 4-6
    Expends: Nothing
    Experience Cost: 0

    Thor's Fury:
    Base Damage: 0
    Range 4 (at best)
    Difficulty 7-10
    Expends: Blood
    Experience Cost: 31



    Someone please explain to me why Thor's Fury loses out in every single way to a mundane crossbow I can get my hands on with one dot of Resources.

    The ONLY advantage it seems to hold is that the damage is two points harder to soak (8) than other forms of damage (6).

    I desperately want to be wrong about all of this. Someone please make that happen, because I don't like what a huge waste this is when any starting Protean user can whirlwind unlimited amounts of aggravated damage for an entire scene and I get.... this. At this rate, there's no reason you'd ever NOT take Lure of Flames.

  • #2
    I think Rituals take time to prepare and cast, where as spells are something you can whip out on the fly. So to answer issue 1, it would depend on how badly you need the electronic disabled.

    I highly doubt the guard observing you on the security monitor is going to refrain from pressing the alarm while you arrange your silver candles, stand in a ring of magnetic sand and carve symbols into your arm so you can disrupt the video system.

    I know the ritual probably doesn't work like that, I was just using a dramatization to showcase my point.


    As for Issue 3: You seem to forget that the most likely characters who will be using this power are the Tremere, who are predominantly made of scholars and academics. They're not the kind of person who's liable to throw a punch or stab somebody in the face when they have far more elegant methods of taking them down. Plus, the Tremere's approach to blood magic is grounded in Science, over mysticism.

    As for why it's so difficult to use, I would probably explain it in the sense that lightning doesn't exactly travel in a straight line. It arcs, zigzags and even forks itself as it travels between points. It's not exactly something you throw around when it comes to precision accuracy.
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 05-15-2018, 03:50 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
      I think Rituals take time to prepare and cast, where as spells are something you can whip out on the fly. So to answer issue 1, it would depend on how badly you need the electronic disabled.

      I highly doubt the guard observing you on the security monitor is going to refrain from pressing the alarm while you arrange your silver candles, stand in a ring of magnetic sand and carve symbols into your arm so you can disrupt the video system.

      I know the ritual probably doesn't work like that, I was just using a dramatization to showcase my point.


      As for Issue 3: You seem to forget that the most likely characters who will be using this power are the Tremere, who are predominantly made of scholars and academics. They're not the kind of person who's liable to throw a punch or stab somebody in the face when they have far more elegant methods of taking them down. Plus, the Tremere's approach to blood magic is grounded in Science, over mysticism.

      As for why it's so difficult to use, I would probably explain it in the sense that lightning doesn't exactly travel in a straight line. It arcs, zigzags and even forks itself as it travels. between points. It's not exactly something you throw around when it comes to precision accuracy.


      Normally you are correct about the first statement, but Machine Blitz is insanely easy and requires a tiny object you keep in your pocket. No one even knows you are doing it.

      For the rest of your points, I don't disagree with them from a point of realism. But they are AWFUL from a game design standpoint. Especially when one of them appears to be a reversal of something we used to be able to do, at the minimum.

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      • #4
        Machine Blitz requires concentration and doesn't break the machine, from what I know.
        As for other general notes, you can power stuff with it, which Lure can't. And a crossbow is something people can take off you or search for. As long as you have blood, you aren't without Levinbolt.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nyrufa
          As for why it's so difficult to use, I would probably explain it in the sense that lightning doesn't exactly travel in a straight line. It arcs, zigzags and even forks itself as it travels. between points. It's not exactly something you throw around when it comes to precision accuracy.
          A terrible explanation, even out of game design (which was already pointed out). We have pointy metal bars, called lighting rods, and somehow ligthining nearly always manage to strike them - this seems to implicate that lightning, in spite of zigzaging, travels in a predictable fashion. If your magic can't duplicate that when you hurl the bolt antinaturally, shame on you.

          Also, Weather Control lightning bolt doesn't have such limitations, and has a neat 10 dice of damage.

          Originally posted by Monalfie
          As for other general notes, you can power stuff with it, which Lure can't. And a crossbow is something people can take off you or search for. As long as you have blood, you aren't without Levinbolt.
          Powering random stuff with lightning tends to be a bad idea, does the power explicitly say that it can be used in such a way?

          And there's lot of powers that people can't take off you, like Lure...
          Last edited by Aleph; 05-15-2018, 03:54 PM.

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          • #6
            Notes.

            Machine Blitz allows no control over how the machine in question stops, nor any control over what happens after. It's obvious the machine has malfunctioned, and this can have catastrophic consequences if used unwisely or improperly. Additionally, the machine in question can be immediately recharged, repaired, or restarted.

            Meanwhile, Flicker has a duration, and so long as the power's use remains unseen or unnoticed, it is not immediately apparent why or how the targeted device is malfunctioning.

            Spark permanently damages or destroys (un-hardened) electronics. Four dice of lethal that's soaked at difficulty 7 is nothing to slouch at -- that's as much as a 9mm pistol, remember -- more than enough to incapacitate a mortal. Depending upon ST, they may rule that since such attack is delivered by touch, combat overage applies, and it is an attack that can only be dodged (since a parry or unarmed block will still trigger the damage).

            Illuminate does eight dice of lethal that's soaked at difficulty 8. That's as much damage as a shotgun, except it's harder to soak and it's lethal versus vampires.

            Targets don't get a dodge roll against Thor's Fury, and there's no damage roll -- successes on the attack roll convert straight to damage. Here's where Thor's Fury gets real kinky; you're right, it's a Perception roll. That targeting roll is a sensory roll, and Tremere have Auspex.

            As far as I know, or have read, Levinbolt powers don't have to be discharged in the same round they're charged. It would be a pretty radical departure for V20 to do this, since that's been the norm of Levinbolt since the first edition in which it appeared. And, they can still be employed as part of a good old-fashioned brawling attack or grapple. Meaning, you're doing your Strength in damage, plus overage, plus incidental bonuses and Potence, in bashing, lethal, or aggravated, plus the Levinbolt damage.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Aleph View Post

              A terrible explanation, even out of game design (which was already pointed out). We have pointy metal bars, called lighting rods, and somehow ligthining nearly always manage to strike them - this seems to implicate that lightning, in spite of zigzaging, travels in a predictable fashion. If your magic can't duplicate that when you hurl the bolt antinaturally, shame on you.

              Also, Weather Control lightning bolt doesn't have such limitations, and has a neat 10 dice of damage.

              I totally forgot about that, thank you.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mist-Walker View Post



                Normally you are correct about the first statement, but Machine Blitz is insanely easy and requires a tiny object you keep in your pocket. No one even knows you are doing it.

                For the rest of your points, I don't disagree with them from a point of realism. But they are AWFUL from a game design standpoint. Especially when one of them appears to be a reversal of something we used to be able to do, at the minimum.


                Well, 4 yards is still 12 feet worth of lightning bolt. But you're right, it does seem woefully unimpressive for such a high level discipline. Since only the truly old vampires are likely to have anything above 5th dot level, they could have beefed this spell up some more.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Theodrim View Post

                  Illuminate does eight dice of lethal that's soaked at difficulty 8. That's as much damage as a shotgun, except it's harder to soak and it's lethal versus vampires.

                  Targets don't get a dodge roll against Thor's Fury, and there's no damage roll -- successes on the attack roll convert straight to damage. Here's where Thor's Fury gets real kinky; you're right, it's a Perception roll. That targeting roll is a sensory roll, and Tremere have Auspex.

                  As far as I know, or have read, Levinbolt powers don't have to be discharged in the same round they're charged. It would be a pretty radical departure for V20 to do this, since that's been the norm of Levinbolt since the first edition in which it appeared. And, they can still be employed as part of a good old-fashioned brawling attack or grapple. Meaning, you're doing your Strength in damage, plus overage, plus incidental bonuses and Potence, in bashing, lethal, or aggravated, plus the Levinbolt damage.

                  Re: Bolded Text

                  Now that part I forgot about. That does makes this a lot less awful to fire.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                    Powering random stuff with lightning tends to be a bad idea, does the power explicitly say that it can be used in such a way?
                    I don't have the book right in front of me, but from memory (and what I see off Google), yes. It is partly designed to be used in such a manner.
                    And there's lot of powers that people can't take off you, like Lure...
                    ....
                    Sure. That comment was addressing how it has advantage over a crossbow, not how it has universal advantage over all weapons that can't be taken from someone. Which is why I mentioned an aspect like powering stuff could be a benefit over that.

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                    • #11
                      Yeah I wish it was redone so it would have been useful from a historical perspective, like maybe replace some with more broad magnetic powers to pull metal and hex magnets.


                      It is a time for great deeds!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mist-Walker View Post
                        Now that part I forgot about. That does makes this a lot less awful to fire.
                        What makes it especially entertaining, is that nothing in the description specifically says the Tremere has to see their target, just perceive them to throw the lightning bolt. Any savvy ST would immediately shoot back by saying if a Tremere uses Heightened Senses to aim better, they're going to blind and deafen themselves due to the fact, well, it's a fucking lightning bolt.

                        And, that's absolutely true, but vampires still have noses. Vampires, some moreso than others, can get pretty odoriferous without really ever considering the implication. It should be pretty obvious by now I'm being cheeky for the sake of being cheeky, but atop that powers like Shroud of Night specify they confound sight, hearing, and touch, but never smell...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Theodrim View Post
                          And, that's absolutely true, but vampires still have noses. Vampires, some moreso than others, can get pretty odoriferous without really ever considering the implication. It should be pretty obvious by now I'm being cheeky for the sake of being cheeky, but atop that powers like Shroud of Night specify they confound sight, hearing, and touch, but never smell...
                          Or, for that matter, Touch. The ability to feel sensation through the skin isn't limited to what's directly ON the skin. You can feel vibrations through objects, too. Vibrations like from footfalls, that travel through the floor.

                          Ditto for sensing heat, like from a body. I suspect certain vampires with Auspex get sensitive enough to find a person based solely on how their body heat differs from the surrounding environment.
                          Last edited by Bluecho; 05-17-2018, 09:24 PM.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mist-Walker View Post
                            Issue #2:

                            By touch, levels two and three can cause electrical damage. The problem is, the attack used to say in previous books you could use this as a weapon but V20, the most recent printing, just says "By touch". Does this allow you to do with a weapon, or has this become a weird comparison to the Shocking Grasp spell from D&D. It also says that these touched require a Dexterity + Brawl rolls. So trying to zap someone now takes two actions, is that right? So I need to split my dice pool between a Dexterity + Brawl roll AND the Willpower roll to activate these? That's terrible.
                            Just because the attack requires two ROLLS does not mean it requires two ACTIONS. Over in Mage, magical effects that are aimed (like an empowered punch or a shot from a laser) require both an Arete roll (to determine if the spell occurs at all) AND a [Attribute] + [Ability] roll (to determine if the spell hits). So long as the Instrument used is part of the attack (or if not, if the mage is fast-casting), there are two ROLLS but only a single ACTION.

                            I don't see any reason why this also wouldn't be true of blood magic. You roll Willpower to see if it works, and then Dexterity + Brawl to see if you connect.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                              Just because the attack requires two ROLLS does not mean it requires two ACTIONS. Over in Mage, magical effects that are aimed (like an empowered punch or a shot from a laser) require both an Arete roll (to determine if the spell occurs at all) AND a [Attribute] + [Ability] roll (to determine if the spell hits). So long as the Instrument used is part of the attack (or if not, if the mage is fast-casting), there are two ROLLS but only a single ACTION.

                              I don't see any reason why this also wouldn't be true of blood magic. You roll Willpower to see if it works, and then Dexterity + Brawl to see if you connect.
                              In Vampire, a discipline activation is normally an action, Thaumaturgy always counts as an action ... (Except for one path that explicitly isn't)
                              You could split - using whatever edition's rules for splitting exist.

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