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Path of the Levinbolt Issues

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  • Mist-Walker
    started a topic Path of the Levinbolt Issues

    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.

  • Theodrim
    replied
    Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
    Spark can do damage (if minor) and probably relatively subtle.
    I wouldn't exactly call as much damage as a 9mm minor. It's enough to knock a mortal out of the fight, if not incapacitate or kill. Experienced players tend to lose sight of exactly how nasty even minor levels of lethal is against mortals, and underestimate the number of times vampires may come into conflict with mortals over the course of a chronicle...let's face it, fights against mortals are of the "random encounter" variety as opposed to "level boss", "dungeon boss", "mid boss", or "final boss" to use D&D/video game language.

    I mean, let's put this in perspective. If a Tremere has Levinbolt as a secondary path, their primary path has to be at least three. That means, if it's Path of Blood, they can lower their generation to 7th or 6th, blood buff Strength into the stratosphere, then be dealing brawling damage with that plus bonus lethal from Levinbolt. Or, if it's something like Hands of Destruction, they'll be dealing aggravated with brawling damage plus Levinbolt.

    Spark and Illuminate kind of specify their use with a weapon, by saying the power discharges on whatever the vampire contacts and tends to destroy or damage held objects, but I'll admit it's fuzzy and a ST may rule weapons that conduct electricity will deliver it on that basis. I've also played a Tremere with Levinbolt (the old, shitty, VtDA version no less), and considering the absolutely ridonculous amounts of damage that character could output on a single hit (once tagged an NPC for 16 aggravated plus another 8 lethal) I'd advise against it.

    Really, my only beef with Levinbolt's V20 iteration is OPP removed its one, best, utility on the presumptive notion the improved (but not really) damage would need a balancing aspect: its ability to power or charge electronic devices.
    Last edited by Theodrim; 05-22-2018, 02:01 AM.

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  • Monalfie
    replied
    It took me a little to find my copy of V20 Rites of the Blood, so hopefully I can give a better answer to the other questions.
    'Why not just use Machine Blitz for one and two?'
    Level One - Flicker is one and done, you use it and the device is out for ten minutes per success. Machine Blitz requires concentration on what you want to interfere with. I assume (though, the ritual is very vaguely written) you also can't maintain it on multiple devices at once. Something like Flicker might be more useful in such a situation where you need to do several things and/or disable several devices (like camera, security doors, etc).
    Level Two - Spark can do damage (if minor) and probably relatively subtle. And is also a more subtle deactivation than Flicker, though lacking the same range.

    "Can you use Spark or Illuminate with a weapon? Do these attacks require split actions?"
    It doesn't specify, but I think it'd be fair to say you could use certain weapons (an aluminum bat or certain swords) to channel the power.
    And yes, if you wanted to do it in a turn, it seems you'd have to split between activation and hitting. You could also assumedly charge up one turn and use it in subsequent turns. Or immediately apply it if you are already touching someone or they are touching you.

    "Isn't a crossbow better?"
    I can agree the range on Thor's Fury is a bit backwards for what it is (it says you can 'strike enemies from afar as though you were a god and I think Zeus could toss further than four yards). That said, I tried to note the general overall benefits of the power over a crossbow. (Always on you, can disable electrical devices, can generate light.) And yes, other abilities have overlap, but not entirely. Crossbows, I think, also require five turns to reload.

    Now, Lure of Flames would probably be superior if literally all you wanted was an effective combat path. But the two paths do different things. You can accidentally cause your allies to fear frenzy or light the building you are in on fire with Lure. Where Levinbolt can attack (to a lesser extent) as well as short out machines, provide light, and power some machines. Obviously your mileage may vary in the use, but I don't think it appropriate to compare apples to oranges here.

    And as Theodrim kind of noted, Lure of Flames can be a little boring at times. It is a combat path and basically just that. Having utility can be a lot more interesting/fun.

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  • Theodrim
    replied
    Originally posted by Spencer from The Hills View Post
    I thought that it was intentionally written as a path has little practical use, in spite of the efforts of those who developed it. That's why Tremere are more likely to study Lure of Flames for brute destructive force.
    Having played a Tremere whose primary path was LotF, it's ludicrously overrated. Good, sure, but not the end-all, be-all of destructive Thaumaturgy paths. Its ability to deal aggravated isn't even its primary strength; its ability to inflict Rotshreck is. And, even then, until level 3 or higher the Rotshreck difficulties aren't appreciably high, and Courage is a Virtue not usually neglected least of all for its impact on Willpower at character generation.

    The damage isn't great (maximum of three aggravated at level 5), the flames die down quickly unless they spread, and once released the flames are no longer in the Tremere's control without Extinguish, which only affects campfire-size flames and smaller. Moreover, once released the Tremere is subject to Rotshreck just like any other without ritual use. If a target has Fortitude, it's not until level 4 or higher that it becomes appreciably difficult to soak.

    It's a high-risk, blunt instrument. Levinbolt, on the other hand, is extremely precise and does a ton of damage for what it is.

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  • Piratejm
    replied
    Problem is Levinbolt as no use in anything : It's not a support path, it's not a utility path (or at least not good enough) and it's not a combat path.
    The only thing it could be is a Role-play path, but role-play should be supported with practicality : even for role play, i don't see a player wasting around 6 sessions worth of game without any investment in an actual useful skills. It will make their game less fun, and resent from the comrade, even the most understanding ones. . .

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  • Spencer from The Hills
    replied
    I thought that it was intentionally written as a path has little practical use, in spite of the efforts of those who developed it. That's why Tremere are more likely to study Lure of Flames for brute destructive force.

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  • Piratejm
    replied
    One all problem solving answer : House-ruling

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  • Illithid
    replied
    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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  • Bluecho
    replied
    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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  • Bluecho
    replied
    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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  • Theodrim
    replied
    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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  • Eldagusto
    replied
    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.

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  • Monalfie
    replied
    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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  • Mist-Walker
    replied
    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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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    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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