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  • #46
    It is a well-known fact that I utterly detest the Humanity mechanic in Masquerade (at least the modern setting of it) and I would never enforce it as an ST, or if I did, I would make alterations to it so Vampires can gain Humanity by doing good things as I like the concept of the heroic/anti-heroic vampire and do not like the concept of personal horror as nine times out of ten, it devolves into little more than pretentious supernatural wangst.

    But I figured I'd try to constructively contribute to this discussion and give my perspective on Paths vs. Humanity and the Roads in Dark Ages

    The Paths were basically an after-thought devised means to allow Sabbat and Independent PC's because the original Humanity mechanic was incompatible with such concepts. Humanity itself was a bit of mess to begin with due to being mostly based on 20th Century Judeo-Christian virtues (which makes sense in the Western world, but not elsewhere), and in my games, I either don't enforce Humanity or make alterations to it. As for Paths, I would do the same.

    Path ratings can decrease when you go against their tenets but can increase when you go above and beyond to uphold the code of said Path.

    Now, when it comes to which is more valid, well I like to think that Humanity and the Paths are mostly equal or near-equal save for a few noted exceptions such as the Path of Evil Revelations and there is a reason for that and it ties into Dark Ages and the Roads.

    The Roads in Dark Ages, however, I do like and I actually would enforce the Roads in a Dark Ages game. The reason being is that the Roads are generally treated as mostly equally valid unlike in the modern setting, where Humanity is clearly the superior alternative to the Paths.

    Now, I could make alterations to the Roads to allow the gaining of Road ratings, but I'd keep the tenets and principles the same.

    And I'd also move Path of Watchful Gods and Path of Eightfold Wheel into Road of Heaven instead of Road of Sin.
    Last edited by Camilla; 10-12-2018, 08:41 AM.

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    • #47
      I think a lot of people who think V:TM shouldn't be "superheroes with fangs" miss that doing good deeds can and should be part of the "personal horror" element. The best games are when the characters are trying to atone for something they've done terrible in the past and may do in the future.

      So, yes, Angel is actually a decent way of running V:TM in my view.

      Except instead of a magical curse, it's just being a vampire.


      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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      • #48
        You bring up a very good point.

        Personally, I like the Action-Horror approach (or as others may derisively call it, "Superheroes With Fangs") and I generally find it to be far more enjoyable than how most people do so-called Personal Horror.

        Now, a mix of Action Horror, Poltiics, and well-executed Personal Horror (well-executed being the key word here) could actually make for an awesome VTM game.

        One of my core setting hacks, in addition to removing the metaplot and the two more problematic gamelines (Demon: The Fallen and Kindred of the East) and replacing said problematic games with more enjoyable gamelines (Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game and Senshi: The Merchandising) is that when a Vampire achieves Golconda, they become human again and are essentially redeemed.

        Personal Horror can work well if there is a carrot at the end of the stick, a light at the end of the tunnel. Make the players earn their happy ending, or at least a bittersweet ending. The "all doom and gloom, no coolness allowed" supernatural wangst that most of the so-called "personal horror" crowd are in favor of is not really that interesting to me. In fact, it's a bit of a downer and not in a good way.

        However, if done as a story of atonement, redemption, and salvation, personal horror works very well.

        In fact, I might run a V1 or V20 chronicle that is just that (I don't have V5 yet). A chronicle that is a mix of "Personal Horror" and "Superheroes With Fangs" just to show that it can be done and that deep stories and trenchcoats and katanas are not as mutually exclusive as some people think.
        Last edited by Camilla; 10-12-2018, 11:16 AM.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

          Id be interested in hearing more.
          The problem I have with this path is that it deals only with the relationship the character has with the gods, symbols and places associated with gods, while being a Roman is upholding far more values than this. Disrespecting one's father or mother is a great sin for Romans and Greeks both, cowardise is frowned upon, as is dishonnesty and lack of loyalty toward one's city. The scale simply ignores all crimes against social order and the family. Considering it's worse to kill your father than to disrespect the gods (or at least as grave), there should be something there.

          I am bothered by "not honoring priest" since priests are both very rare and everywhere (the Pater Familias is a priest for the gods of the family, and some random married citizen who bore children may be priestess for the night for one ceremony). I am not saying there is no clergy, but the limit between who is a priest and who isn't is not as clear cut as it is with catholicism.

          Hubris is a very big theme but it's nowhere on the scale.

          Romans are also big on dignity. The main virtue, Virtus, is a mix of bravery, social achievements and charisma, and it's so big that it's the origin of the word virtue.

          By the way, a Roman would never drop Self-Control for Instinct, and I have serious doubts for ancient Greeks as well, since both believe that barbarians are closer to animals and self control is exactly why they are superior to them.

          If you want to play a Roman, you may consider the Path of Chivalry, Path of the Tyrant, Path of the Vizier, all three are much better even if you want to make a pious Roman. All three Paths go by the idea that you must show respect for your superiors, and Romans believe the gods of their city are some kind of "super citizens" who have a contract with Rome. Disrespecting the gods is already a sin for those Roads (level 4 sin for Chivalry).

          Here is the path of Chivalry with the main roman virtues:
          10 Neglecting your duty for any reason.
          9 Dishonorable acts (ambush, deceit, etc). Breach of Dignitas, Fides or Virtus
          8 Treating another with disrespect. Breach of Dignitas, Fides, Clementia
          7 Behaving in an unjust manner. Breach of Dignitas, Fides, Virtus or Pietas
          6 Behaving shamefully before your peers. Breach of Dignitas, Virtus, Gravitas or Majestas
          5 Failing to come to the aid of those in need. Only if "those in need" are fellow citizens. Breach of Virtus or Pietas
          4 Treating a superior with disrespect. Breach of Pietas
          3 Failing to answer a challenge to your honor. Breach of Virtus, Dignitas or Majestas
          2 Breaking your word. Breach of Virtus, Fides
          1 Breaking a sworn oath. Same
          I would actually put 1 and 2 together since they are basically the same and add somewhere "act against the well being of the community", the community being either the family or the citizens as a whole, but either than that I can translate just every single sin into something that fits with Romans without restricting them to a very narrow view of their spirituality.

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          • #50
            All of my Vampire: The Masquerade games generally are some manner of intrigue, plot, or danger with a few involving the chance to actually prevent the world from being destroyed (damn you, Baali!). This is a roleplaying game and the thing about "superheroes with fangs" is that a lot of people think its a derogatory term for a lot more playstyles than it is.

            Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines has huge amounts of combat, adventures, and occasionally protecting people.

            It is NOT how I see Superheroes with Fangs.

            I tend to see that as a term which only applies to the idea your character doesn't suffer any downsides or horror elements to his condition.



            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              The discussion of Kindred morality and how it works has come up at my table. I was thinking about how to handle it at my table and was curious how you handled it at yours.
              We never actually messed with it, since we universally played Camarilla vampires on the Path of Humanity, but our group seemed to mostly agree that the 'Sabbat Paths' were kind of oddly permissive. (Or, as they were sometimes called on the WW forums, 'Path of Whatever I Was Going to Do Anyway.')

              Our theorycrafted solution was that everybody used the Path of Humanity, with the Sabbat, Setites, Assamites, etc. having suitably low scores, but the various Paths existed as Merits that they could learn, representing centuries worth of lore and training and, basically, rationalizations, that they'd come up with as a buffer that gave them a few extra dice to roll to avoid losing what little Humanity they had left (sort of like 'virtual' Humanity points). So a Lasombra might have Humanity 2, and be circling the drain, by Camarilla standards, but have two or three levels of the 'Path of Caine' merit purchased through experience over the decades, so that he's 'effectively' got a Humanity score of 4 or 5, and isn't in as imminently dire a state as someone with Humanity 2 and no special philosophical or religious background to help keep his head above water.



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              • #52
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines has huge amounts of combat, adventures, and occasionally protecting people.
                Interesting that you consider it to be so ; I don't think that this PC game has a large amount of combat at all. As far as I see it, and as far as I recall from my two playthroughs, the principal focus and intensity is in regards to social interaction, defining the player's character, choices as a character, exploration, and figuring solutions to situations ( social, mystical, and those involving the environment ) . It could be said that there is a large amount of enemies in some areas, but I'd say this is debatable ; especially considering how easily the player's character can defeat the vast majority of them in combat - and this becomes even easier if some of the Disciplines are used in combat by the player.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                  Interesting that you consider it to be so ; I don't think that this PC game has a large amount of combat at all. As far as I see it, and as far as I recall from my two playthroughs, the principal focus and intensity is in regards to social interaction, defining the player's character, choices as a character, exploration, and figuring solutions to situations ( social, mystical, and those involving the environment ) . It could be said that there is a large amount of enemies in some areas, but I'd say this is debatable ; especially considering how easily the player's character can defeat the vast majority of them in combat - and this becomes even easier if some of the Disciplines are used in combat by the player.
                  Compared to Doom?

                  No.

                  However, compared to a purely social game? Yes.


                  Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                  • #54
                    I think all Paths (including Humanity) are artificial moral codes with one purpose - restraining the Beast. They are all about creating things in the mind of the vampire that they won't do so that there is some kind of control over the Beast. Of course, in order for them to work, they must be a consistent and coherent system of "ethics" - otherwise the Beast will know the vampire knows it's all BS and be able to take control anyway.

                    Humanity is the default because human philosophy in general has generated some consistent moral codes that are broadly the same despite coming from different cultures. While they may argue about what it is right when it comes to certain moral dilemmas, they are broadly compatible (at least below the levels of 8-10). It is very easy for vampires to carry over that code once they become vampires (and for players to understand what the code allows them to do and what it prohibits). But to a very real extent, it is just as artificial as any of the other Paths. But it is well developed and easy to understand for the vast majority of vampires. They don't need to be master philosophers to understand why doing X is bad, and doing Y & Z are even worse.

                    The problem with most of the Paths of Enlightenment is that many of them are not very well thought out or internally consistent. Too many are "the Path of Whatever the Hell I Want to Do Anyway", and quite frankly that is probably how most of the vampires in the Sabbat see them. So most of them do the job of constraining the Beast very poorly. It's like any number of "spiritual but not religious" people, or those who adopt exotic or novel religions or certain philosophers - many have very poor understanding of what it is they are supposedly adopting, and essentially do so only because they think it allows them do X. However, because the people around them know even less about that religion or philosophy, they can't call them out on it. If someone actually doesn't understand Nietschze, 99% of the people they meet aren't going to be able to explain to them why they're wrong.

                    I think some of the Paths of Enlightenment work very well because they do provide enough of a coherent guide that they work well enough to level 7-6 or so. Others fall apart at much lower level - say 4-5. And some are essentially useless unless the vampire in question is indeed a master philosopher. The problem is that many of them are so essentially alien, that it is impossible to explain them adequately to Players that are for all practical purposes "the Path of Whatever the Hell I Want to Do Anyway". While it is possible for the ST to portray certain NPCs as being master philosophers who do indeed feel constrained by their paths, most players can't pull it off. They lack enough guidance provided by the game itself, or having enough background to fill in the holes. As such, most Paths are inappropriate for most players.

                    Outside of the idea that Paths exist for constraining the Beast, I do believe there is an actual moral code (right versus wrong, good versus evil). Humanity and some of the other paths, broadly align with that. Most Paths are terrible at it as their internally consistent set of "ethics" is not based on any kind of actual ethical behavior.

                    This has an obvious impact in the portrayal of NPCs in my chronicles. The Sabbat, for the most part, is comprised of high turnover blood crazed monsters who barely function while a brief few manage to adapt long term to being able to constrain the Beast by adopting one of the stronger Paths of Enlightenments. Those who adopts one of the weaker Paths actually never develop in it because it doesn't actually constrain their behavior. Only a very few vampires who adopt these Paths do so in a way that constructs an actually viable system that constrains their behavior in a way that Humanity does. The Independent Clans have some advantages of the Sabbat in that they are not at constant war with the Camarilla, and there is only one Path of Enlightenment that is really taught by the clan instead of a system of competing Paths. So they have much more time to adequately teach fledglings (as well as selecting new recruits in a better way that grabbing the odd person and hitting them in the head with a shovel).

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                      Compared to Doom?

                      No.

                      However, compared to a purely social game? Yes.
                      True enough. I think that Vampire Masquarade: Bloodlines should have had more options and possibilities for skipping some of the combat sections, or reducing the amount of enemies in them.

                      What player characters did you choose to play with in your playthrough(s) ? I chose a Toreador Vampire on my first playthrough, and a Tremere Vampire on my second. Both of these characters were women.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                        True enough. I think that Vampire Masquarade: Bloodlines should have had more options and possibilities for skipping some of the combat sections, or reducing the amount of enemies in them.

                        What player characters did you choose to play with in your playthrough(s) ? I chose a Toreador Vampire on my first playthrough, and a Tremere Vampire on my second. Both of these characters were women.
                        Malkavian male

                        Toreador male

                        Alas, a Follower of Set wasn't available.


                        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Ian Turner View Post

                          We never actually messed with it, since we universally played Camarilla vampires on the Path of Humanity, but our group seemed to mostly agree that the 'Sabbat Paths' were kind of oddly permissive. (Or, as they were sometimes called on the WW forums, 'Path of Whatever I Was Going to Do Anyway.')

                          Our theorycrafted solution was that everybody used the Path of Humanity, with the Sabbat, Setites, Assamites, etc. having suitably low scores, but the various Paths existed as Merits that they could learn, representing centuries worth of lore and training and, basically, rationalizations, that they'd come up with as a buffer that gave them a few extra dice to roll to avoid losing what little Humanity they had left (sort of like 'virtual' Humanity points). So a Lasombra might have Humanity 2, and be circling the drain, by Camarilla standards, but have two or three levels of the 'Path of Caine' merit purchased through experience over the decades, so that he's 'effectively' got a Humanity score of 4 or 5, and isn't in as imminently dire a state as someone with Humanity 2 and no special philosophical or religious background to help keep his head above water.
                          It's interesting, the more recent version of MET has the paths as Merits.
                          Everyone has the humanity sins but it basically applies that a Path gives you "It doesn't count as a sin if ....." and gain these two new sins that apply.
                          EG Death and the Soul
                          "You do not ...... sin, as long as you commit that sin while actively seeking to understand the mysteries of death or the nature of the soul. If you voluntarily ignore an opportunity to study death, you ....... committed a level 1 sin. If you voluntarily act on emotion or show regret, remorse, or empathy, ....... you committed a level 4 sin." (Edited so I don't have to explain the base Morality system in the MET system)

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                            Malkavian male

                            Toreador male

                            Alas, a Follower of Set wasn't available.
                            ( In case you didn't know about them ) There are two mods for Vampire the Masquarade: Bloodlines that allow for play with characters from different Clans and Bloodlines ; the Bloodlines Antitribu mod and the Clan Quest Mod.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                              ( In case you didn't know about them ) There are two mods for Vampire the Masquarade: Bloodlines that allow for play with characters from different Clans and Bloodlines ; the Bloodlines Antitribu mod and the Clan Quest Mod.
                              I have played both but I will say I don't have much desire to play the Sabbat of the game who are delightfully assholish but decidedly too sympathetic for my tastes.


                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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