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What's with all the V5 sour grapes?

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  • Originally posted by Murder-of-Crows View Post

    Vampires are blood junkies! However you look at the game: you are playing a junkie who gets high on the lifeblood of others. A vampire is living of humans as a predator. A vampire is not a nice guy, and certainly the beast is not a blessing. The Beast is essentially turning a vampire into an animal completely driven by instinct: hunt, feed, sleep. The irony is: a vampire would be best suited to the wilderness, except for one thing: blood can be found more easily in cities. The core existence of a vampire is defined by that contradiction; being a solitary predator, but being forced to live among the herd, and thus into conflict with their own kind. Why do you think domains are baked into the game? That's hunting territory. The Camarilla, Sabbat, Anarchs, whatever is just a way to deal with territoriality, the instincts of the beast, and trying to give their existence meaning. By the way, all these themes have been there from Day 1 in 1991. The former implementations were just not rather good at show-casing the main struggles of being a vampire. The vampire part could be too easily pushed aside and VtM turned into a generic urban fantasy. I think V5 really re-focuses that part of the franchise. Which also differentiates it from all the nice-guy vampires we've seen in True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.If VtM is going to become a transmedia success, it must find it's own tone of being a vampire separate from the latest incarnations.

    Have you never heard of a functional addict? Blood pool allowed you to play one, you were always addicted to blood and feeding, but you could manage it. Hunger makes you a junkier, which is a very different kind of addict, best described, by bloodpool standards, as a low humanity low self control shovel head. If all vampires are like this all the time, i can't see how there could be a Masquerade at all. I can just about suspend disbelief for sabbat cities barely maintaining the silence of the blood, but if everyone is constantly two bad rolls from having the beast wreck stuff, then everyone would know.
    Playing a junkie is something you could do before, probably short term because you'd almost certainly get put down for fucking up in short order. Making everyone play one is massively limiting.

    If you can't incorporate needing blood into your character without this mechanic, i don't know what to tell you.

    You know why those shows were popular? Not all Vamps were blood junkies. Even in Buffy and Angel, the evil vamps had more self control than this. I can't think of any way to make this appealing, except as misery porn...



    Prone to being a Classic Curmudgeon, goshdarned whippersnappers...

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    • Originally posted by Schwann145 View Post

      You're not supposed to overcome your hunger. It is always supposed to be nagging at you unless you're willing to give in to the monster inside and drink your victims dead.
      The alternative is called Golconda, and it's treated as a myth for a reason (you're not supposed to reach Golconda, it's supposed to be that goal that's basically always out of reach).

      --------

      This is where I think the disconnect really comes from. From my perspective, at least, it sounds like people just don't want to play vampires; they want to play mages that use blood as a resource. However, saying this outright gets people feeling insulted and hostility rises, but then, a counter point is never provided.
      Frankly, IMO, the challenges of roleplaying the downsides of being a vampire are what make this game great - you have plans and ambitions and this huge political arena of the night to play in and all these neat new powers to help you get there, but you have the nagging beast who is always there and always hungry potentially messing things up, and the challenge is to find a way to succeed despite it all.

      It comes as no surprise that I keep seeing some of the biggest opponents of the new hunger mechanics also outright saying that Mage is their preferred game, cuz, well, yeah it kinda sounds like it would be.

      Maybe it's my experience with Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying (my preferred rpg) but that game really drives into you how "losing" isn't necessarily a bad thing - "How is your character going to die?" is one of the character creation questions you're asked, and I think that kind of thinking would go a loooong way in WW games. Losing to hunger or frenzy or even final death isn't a bad thing, as long as the story stays interesting.
      The only way to lose in this game is to have a boring story, after all.
      I've never gone for Golconda, all my characters have accepted that they need to feed on blood. They've had different reactions to it, obviously, but i've never played blood as mana pool, it's impossible on humanity, only viable if you're on a path and even then the fact you have to kill people to maintain the silence of the blood is not easy.

      Characters die, fine, that's not loosing. The dice constantly battering me over the head with a motivation that doesn't suit a character is not fun, and that is what i'd call loosing.


      Prone to being a Classic Curmudgeon, goshdarned whippersnappers...

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      • Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post

        I've never gone for Golconda, all my characters have accepted that they need to feed on blood. They've had different reactions to it, obviously, but i've never played blood as mana pool, it's impossible on humanity, only viable if you're on a path and even then the fact you have to kill people to maintain the silence of the blood is not easy.

        Characters die, fine, that's not loosing. The dice constantly battering me over the head with a motivation that doesn't suit a character is not fun, and that is what i'd call loosing.
        You know that scene from ATLA with the throat chakra? It deals with truth, and is blocked by lies, specifically the ones we tell ourselves. One motif I have always wanted to use is a Vampire/Mage/Hungry Dead who is from an eastern tradition of philosophy, who tells a Vampire that they must let go of the lies they have told themselves.

        "The fact is that you are kindred, and kindred feed on blood. This is a part of yourself that you must accept, and learn to manage. Unless you embrace this, the lies you tell yourself will poison your mind and soul."

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        • When did Vampire become Train: The Spotting? There's a distinction between addiction and dependency. Humans are dependent on oxygen, food and water to survive, and their behaviour becomes erratic or dangerous if they're denied these (until they die, obviously). That said, a game around eating three regular meals a day with all your macros would be dull, dull, dull.

          Even Trainspotting isn't all about drugs, or it would get very old very quickly. It's about the culture around drug-taking, the kind of people who are caught up in it, and the effects of urban deprivation. In fact, the film ends up being about a con job of sorts, as Renton legs it with the money. It actually succumbs to other, more traditional generic conventions because endless angst and wallowing in drug use gets tired quickly.

          The point is that vampires don't necessarily *always have to be all about blood*. They are driven by, and structure their lives around, blood, but this is no different to human feeding and so it would become a relatively quotidian matter for most vampires. They have their herds, their hunting grounds and their lackeys, which fills up a significant portion of their lives, but it wouldn't be the thing vampires tell tales about.

          I think I like the idea of *adding* Hunger Dice. That makes more sense to me. Then it's a risk you choose to take. That's also more in-keeping with an addiction metaphor too, if that's your bag.

          Addiction isn't just about a need for a substance, but about how the culture the addict is in, including their friends and associates, keeps them involved. There may be, and often are, rewards that are double-edged. Drug culture works hard to keep you hooked, after all. You're skint so you deal a bit on the side, so you go out more, so you need a little pep to get you through, so you buy more drugs, so you need to sell more, so you need to go out more, so you couldn't hold down a 9-5 even if you wanted to, so you need to keep selling, so you need to hang around other users, and so on...

          All your friends want you to stay involved in drugs because it's more convenient for them, and it's all terribly codependent anyway. Breaking the cycle not only requires discipline but resources. You need to be able to step away and support yourself. To present as 'normal' so you can get a job. To keep away from bad influences. To be well enough not to need to self-medicate, despite perhaps years of drug abuse changing your biology. And all of these parts of the 'story' of addiction are more interesting than the actual taking of or purchasing the drugs themselves.

          The problem with Hunger Dice as written is that they assume that the physical need is the most interesting or important element, rather than the stories around that need. And that's still assuming that we all want to play a role playing game around addiction rather than admitting a huge part of the (current) cultural fascination with vampires is that they're Gothic, Romantic antiheroes with dark superpowers. That's why we like playing them. Sure, they can also make terrifying antagonists, but this isn't about vampires as adversaries, or we'd all be playing Hunter.

          Even Anne Rice, queen of the angsty vampire, focuses more on epic blood opera, and her characters epitomise the Romantic outsider as the ultimate iconoclast--not as junkies. The books deal more with coded LGBT lives than they do with addiction, and a huge part of their appeal is the power fantasy of being an outsider with the magical abilities to stand up to your oppressors (or, you know, getting on with being fabulous without worrying about rules).

          Making Hunger more akin to gambling works better for me. I'm not sure I'd use the Conditions of Requiem, but there must be a way to do it that gives you risks and benefits, as well as creating drama effectively rather than making you simply avoid dice rolls (as Hunger and 'take half' does).

          Maybe it's as simple as Hunger replacing dice in social and mental feats, to reflect divided attentions, but adding to dice pools for physical or monstrous activities? I'm not sure. Someone may have better ideas than me.
          Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 08-18-2018, 10:46 AM.

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          • While i agree with most of what you wrote, the Circulatory System loresheet gives us more about the culture that would come with the kind of kindred written in V5.

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            • Originally posted by Crytash View Post
              While i agree with most of what you wrote, the Circulatory System loresheet gives us more about the culture that would come with the kind of kindred written in V5.
              I think this right here is what bothers me most about V5: they didn't just change Vampire in how it works, they changed how vampires themselves work. The Beast is, pardon the wordplay, a different animal now. Their relationship to blood is different. To me, V5 Kindred seem about as functionally different as VtR Kindred. That's no jab at VtR, as I play and run Requiem and enjoy it as it's own thing. Because it's noticeably different from Masquerade, mechanically and in how vampires work. Do you see how that might be a problem in this context, though?

              These vampires are a whole new breed of bloodsucker. Sure, some of the themes being harped on are part and parcel of what playing a game about vampires is, but that goes for any game featuring blood-drinking undead as player characters. There's only so much you can change about VtM vampires before they become a bit generic. And if I wanted to play generic vampires in a cleared out setting, I could just play GURPS or something. Masquerade has always been more than that.
              Last edited by AzraelFirestorm; 08-18-2018, 10:52 AM.


              “Nobody is purely good or purely evil. Most of us are in-between. There are moths that explore the day and butterflies that play at night.”
              - Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute The Sun
              (She/Her)

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              • There are people here saying "Oh, finally we have rules for hunger!" or "VTM never had rules for that!". Except that, yes, there was. Page 197, 2E. Page 228 in Revised. Page 260 and 298 in V20. So, all this "Oh, finally we have rules for hunger" isn't really like that. The rules have always been there. If no one used the problem maybe it was not from the system. It could be better? Yes, it could. But did not have to throw away all the Blood Pool rules for that. You could add something similar above those rules.

                Again, I like the idea behind the new Hunger Rules. But the execution of those ideas could have been much better. And they are not excatly new.

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                • Originally posted by AzraelFirestorm View Post

                  I think this right here is what bothers me most about V5: they didn't just change Vampire in how it works, they changed how vampires themselves work. The Beast is, pardon the wordplay, a different animal now. Their relationship to blood is different. To me, V5 Kindred seem about as functionally different as VtR Kindred. That's no jab at VtR, as I play and run Requiem and enjoy it as it's own thing. Because it's noticeably different from Masquerade, mechanically and in how vampires work. Do you see how that might be a problem in this context, though?

                  These vampires are a whole new breed of bloodsucker. Sure, some of the themes being harped on are part and parcel of what playing a game about vampires is, but that goes for any game featuring blood-drinking undead as player characters. There's only so much you can change about VtM vampires before they become a bit generic. And if I wanted to play generic vampires in a cleared out setting, I could just play GURPS or something. Masquerade has always been more than that.
                  You are right, that it is not vampire: the masquerade anymore or at least not what we knew it was.
                  That doesn't mean that the new product is good or bad. It is different and the "you eat what you are" approach and the esp. the idea that there is an organisation that goes all out in that particular direction. The 4 point merit "Secure Transit", is something i always loved and created some characters quite like that.
                  Last edited by Crytash; 08-18-2018, 11:27 AM.

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                  • Originally posted by Ghostwalker View Post
                    There are people here saying "Oh, finally we have rules for hunger!" or "VTM never had rules for that!". Except that, yes, there was. Page 197, 2E. Page 228 in Revised. Page 260 and 298 in V20. So, all this "Oh, finally we have rules for hunger" isn't really like that. The rules have always been there. If no one used the problem maybe it was not from the system. It could be better? Yes, it could. But did not have to throw away all the Blood Pool rules for that. You could add something similar above those rules.

                    Again, I like the idea behind the new Hunger Rules. But the execution of those ideas could have been much better. And they are not excatly new.
                    While I agree that the rules could be improved (the chances for messy crits and botches seem a little high), I must say the Hunger rules in general are far more fluid in going between "everything's fine" to "needbloodnow!" than the prior editions that were rather binary in that regard. A vampire with 2 self-control and a blood pool of 5 is completely fine while drinking, one with a blood pool of 4 has a one-in-four chance of frenzying and most likely killing the vessel.

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                    • Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                      While I agree that the rules could be improved (the chances for messy crits and botches seem a little high), I must say the Hunger rules in general are far more fluid in going between "everything's fine" to "needbloodnow!" than the prior editions that were rather binary in that regard. A vampire with 2 self-control and a blood pool of 5 is completely fine while drinking, one with a blood pool of 4 has a one-in-four chance of frenzying and most likely killing the vessel.
                      This isn't quite true. You drain 3 points in a turn, and you can spend Willpower to avoid Frenzy for a turn unless you botched. You can then roll each turn to resist Frenzy, and spend more Willpower if you like, to avoid murder. You'd have to be very unlucky, or completely drained of willpower, or starving, or not care about the person, to end up exsanguinating them. Also you can use your Conscience to avoid frenzy behaviour which contradicts your current level of Humanity, although the roll is difficult and the rules may state that avoiding feeding with this isn't allowed. So if you were about to frenzy and drink from a sick person who would die, Conscience could save you if Self-Control failed.

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                      • Originally posted by Schwann145 View Post
                        This is where I think the disconnect really comes from. From my perspective, at least, it sounds like people just don't want to play vampires; they want to play mages that use blood as a resource.
                        Vampires are not just one thing.

                        "I want to play a vampire" is a statement that is practically meaningless in communicating what you want to play, because it could mean hundreds of things.

                        It's really very simple. Long time VtM fans are invested in the specific way VtM defined its vampires. Because every vampire story, let alone game, defines vampires for itself. V5 defines vampires in some fairly significantly different ways from the previous editions. People that still want to play pre-V5 VtM vampires feel like they can't play that in V5, despite V5 supposedly being a continuation of the same game. It's not complicated, the weasel wording with things like "mages that use blood," is nothing but obfuscation.

                        An important lesson from folklore and mythology: there aren't clean lines between monsters. "This is a vampire story." "This is a wizard story." "This is a werewolf story." Etc. Those are all modern conceits. Are the folktales about Elizabeth Bathory about a vampire that needs the blood of virgins to survive, or a witch using vile magics sacrificing the blood of virgins for her spells? The answer is both, and neither, because when those stories were started people didn't care about drawing such lines, and when we recontextualize those stories for modern literary purpose we decide what aspects of them to use to highlight what we want from them.

                        VtM is a vampire game with blood mages. MtA is a wizard game with parasite-like addicts for power. Each game does, indeed, have different focuses and themes, but there's a reason things get blurry at the edges.

                        On top of this the whole mechanical abstraction of choice thing is very obnoxious. Why shouldn't I accuse you of wanting to play werewolves that drink blood instead of vampires, because you like a game that uses d10s instead of d8s? I mean, d10s are clearly werewolf, and d8s are clearly vampire, right? Or can you acknowledge that a specific form of abstraction alone doesn't magically capture all of what makes a game what it is?

                        However, saying this outright gets people feeling insulted and hostility rises, but then, a counter point is never provided.
                        We've provided lots of counter-points. Though the specific, "mages that use blood as a resource," thing doesn't deserve much of a counter point other than: this is a bullshit statement that doesn't need to be refuted directly because it's so obviously flawed on a foundational level.

                        It comes as no surprise that I keep seeing some of the biggest opponents of the new hunger mechanics also outright saying that Mage is their preferred game, cuz, well, yeah it kinda sounds like it would be.
                        Yeah, no, fuck this noise.

                        I brought up my preference because it informs my opinions on a specific mechanic. I've spent years with my favorite game being let down by its Paradox drawback rules.

                        My complaint is that V5 makes things mechanically more like Mage mechanically and in my estimate makes a mistake in the process instead of learning from the decades of Mage games struggling with the values it made in how it was constructed.

                        You're completely twisting things here in a very disingenuous way. By your phrasing Mage fans should love V5, not be its biggest detractors, because it's doing things more like what we love. But instead it's the opposite, because I see V5 repeating a mistake Mage made decades ago and didn't fix until Awakening 2e.

                        Maybe it's my experience with Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying (my preferred rpg) but that game really drives into you how "losing" isn't necessarily a bad thing...
                        It's funny that this is only brought up by one side to try to paint the other side of the debate in a bad light.

                        I can't imagine you'd enjoy Lot5R's rules being changed to, "you never roll to win fights, all contests - of swords, of wits, of honor - are rolled simply to see how much you lose," because losing isn't a bad thing. The game turned into a constant grinding down of your character until they finally have nothing left to do but die, having never achieved anything for their sacrifices; achievements are just another thing that are destroyed as your character loses everything.

                        That's why we don't like. V5 goes from, "hey you can lose, and that can be fun gaming to," to, "you will lose, and you can only delay the inevitable, making anything you do about it pointless and boring."

                        The only way to lose in this game is to have a boring story, after all.
                        Right, and after 20+ years of dealing with Ascension's Paradox system's attempts to do similar things to V5 Hunger's intentions, I have seen exactly how boring stories get under this conceptual design. The incentives and designs aren't there to promote interesting stories over the long run, because they're too focused on a specific story, repetition breeds familiarity, and thus we get to boring.

                        Originally posted by Murder-of-Crows View Post
                        Vampires are blood junkies!
                        Vampires are whatever we want them to be. There's lots of vampire stories where "junkie" is not an appropriate descriptor for vampires, and blood is no more or less important to them than a balanced diet is to you and I.

                        Others have already beaten me to pointing out a lot about addiction and fiction and vampires.

                        By the way, all these themes have been there from Day 1 in 1991.
                        As has been pointed out repeatedly though, so are other themes that feel like they're getting brushed aside to focus on being blood junkies (including exploring addiction and dependency on a larger scale than just someone itching for a fix).

                        The former implementations were just not rather good at show-casing the main struggles of being a vampire.
                        No, the were just not rather good at forcing the struggles of being a vampire into the forefront mechanically that you want to have put forward the most.

                        While flawed, VtM pushed the "monster I am, lest monster I become," angle far harder than the blood addict angle. This isn't right or wrong, more or less vampire, just what the game focused on. It's an essential part of the sell a lot of us bought though.

                        If VtM is going to become a transmedia success, it must find it's own tone of being a vampire separate from the latest incarnations.
                        If we've learned anything from recent media, this isn't nearly so simple; especially for established franchises (even if ones long out of mainstream consciousness).

                        One thing we can definitely see, is that a transmedia property does much better making sure it's focused on being true to itself, than trying to worry about what other similar properties are doing.

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                        • Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                          Vampires are not just one thing.

                          "I want to play a vampire" is a statement that is practically meaningless in communicating what you want to play, because it could mean hundreds of things.
                          I actually disagree with you. While certainly there are many ways Vampires are portrayed in popular media, movies, tv shows etc from an anatomy perspective, there are also very specific ways they are described in VTM. RPG gamers and ST’s have taken great liberties in their own chronicles with this, which is perfectly legitimate (it even tells you to do that in every VTM book), but Vampires in VTM are ONE way in each edition. That’s it. Every VTM book has a section where it describes what Vampires are.. that’s the VTM describtion and I will point out that it was different in pretty much every edition of the game. In V5 its also very specific, there is a clear picture of what a VTM V5 vampire is.. its different from VTM20, just like VTM 20 is different from revised and revised is different from 1st edition. White Wolf has described Vampires in more than one way over the years and players have always taken liberties altered them.

                          What I think your upset about is that it wasn’t defined how YOU.. not the community, YOU, want it. What I challenge and call total bullshit on, is that V5 is any more or less flexible in re-defining what a Vampire is mechanically than any previous edition.

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                          • Originally posted by xguild View Post

                            What I think your upset about is that it wasn’t defined how YOU.. not the community, YOU, want it. What I challenge and call total bullshit on, is that V5 is any more or less flexible in re-defining what a Vampire is mechanically than any previous edition.
                            Really? I want to play a vampire that is capable of maintaining enough self control to operate like a character, not a caricature of a junkie. Both were equally playable before. But now?

                            d20 Vampire: the Next Hit

                            Please tell me how, with out house ruling, which wasn't needed for a junkie in V20, i can play a character that isn't constantly hungry if he hasn't just killed someone?
                            Last edited by jamiemalk; 08-18-2018, 02:06 PM. Reason: Goddamn quotes again


                            Prone to being a Classic Curmudgeon, goshdarned whippersnappers...

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                            • Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post

                              Really? I want to play a vampire that is capable of maintaining enough self control to operate like a character, not a caricature of a junkie. Both were equally playable before. But now?

                              d20 Vampire: the Next Hit

                              Please tell me how, with out house ruling, which wasn't needed for a junkie in V20, i can play a character that isn't constantly hungry if he hasn't just killed someone?
                              Easy.. use the default system.. and done.

                              Your exageration that the default system is ”Vampire Junkie”.. is a stretch at best, absolute bullshit at worst.

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                              • Originally posted by xguild View Post

                                Easy.. use the default system.. and done.

                                Your exageration that the default system is ”Vampire Junkie”.. is a stretch at best, absolute bullshit at worst.

                                He is not being that exaggerated. The current V5 rules about Hunger affects almost every dice you roll.

                                And can you please stop being so aggressive in your comments?

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