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(v20) Tremere and learning new paths

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  • (v20) Tremere and learning new paths

    How do you handle Tremere learning new paths and finding new rituals?

    On the one hand, there are hundreds of them, which entices you to make new and interesting combinations.
    On the other hand, everyone is super-secret with their magic, and hates teaching it.

    How to tackle this problem?


    Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

  • #2
    Mentors can teach them if applicable.
    The Keys to the Library merit is good to just grab a book and learn on your own.
    Side quests.
    Be very cautious if you plan to allow homebrew rituals, as they could break the game quickly.

    Comment


    • #3
      To answer the second question first, learning anything new would require some knowledge of what you want, good reason for the character wanting it (in-game), and why they deserve to learn it (usually through acts helping the clan or teacher).
      As to how many, there are enough to going overboard isn't necessary. Can just talk to players if they ever have interests and how that might play into things.

      Comment


      • #4
        The Quandary I have placed myself in is that the players are playing the entire Tremere clan, minus their Regent.

        That means mentors are kind of out, and so is deeper secrets of the chantry. They recently built the chantry themselves ^^


        Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

        Comment


        • #5
          My answer is a little wonky because of how I build Tremere chantries.

          When I sit down to make a chantry, I try to brainstorm what paths are primarily used at that chantry, such as the Green Path at a garden chantry or Neptunes Might at a lighthouse chantry, etc. This ensures each chantry is optimized for use with the primary paths and that results in chantries with more character to them than the default mansion lots of people go with.

          Due to each chantry having this sort of focus, I tend to run things where if a Tremere wants to learn a new path or ritual, they have to get a temporary transfer to a different chantry. They stay there a while and learn from the masters. Think of it as immersion training, rather than say a online course or night class. You eat, sleep, and breathe your new path. Kind of like a cross between going to a new dojo or getting into a prestigious cooking academy (Food Wars for the win).

          This means you have plenty of RP possibilities for making the arrangements, traveling there and back, dealing with the politics of the new chantry, etc. This also makes for a good built in story option if the tremere player has to skip a few games. They were just off at a different chantry for a study session.

          As for dealing with the fact that Tremere love to hoard power, it is a balancing act. If more Tremere know a path or set of rituals, then your personal power is diminished. On the other hand a lot of the fluff from previous editions gives the feeling that there is plenty of clique-ish behavior going on regarding who practices what.

          For instance some older Tremere might refuse to validate a given path, but newer Tremere might be wanting to spread the knowledge around so that they essentially enlarge their group as it were. Thus if say 10% of modern Tremere know a path that annoys the elders, personal power doesn't do you much good. But if say 60% to 80% of modern Tremere know that path, the loss of personal power is far out weighed by the clan level political benefits.

          A key thing to always remember is that the Tremere are like a mega-corporation. They will restructure a branch of the company as required to ensure the growth of the company. Thus I could see the Council of Seven requiring most chantries to have quotas when it comes to teaching a minimum of non-resident Tremere. Of course you could fill that quota by just teaching basics or making up for a regent getting killed. You don't have to teach your personal project results unless the Council gives you a direct order to do so.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pang4 View Post
            The Quandary I have placed myself in is that the players are playing the entire Tremere clan, minus their Regent.

            That means mentors are kind of out, and so is deeper secrets of the chantry. They recently built the chantry themselves ^^
            What's the problem with having the Regent play that role or be able to request texts for them to study from should they follow the above?


            Comment


            • #7
              Something I have always been a little confused by is Tremere hoarding of paths and rituals from one another.

              I get that some paths and rituals are naturally suspect. A ritual that hides diablerie marks is obviously dangerous for a stronger blooded Regent to teach their apprentices. But, with the Tremeres' many enemies beating at the door of the Chantry (eg: Tzimisce, hunters, garou, Assamites, Baali, the Sabbat, and on and on and...) how could it possibly be a bad thing for every single Tremere to have at least a basic grounding in all of the least controversial paths?

              Were I a Regent, I would require (as a minimum) knowledge of the first two dots in one of the following basic paths: Movement of the Mind, Focused Mind, Flames, Weather Control, Elemental Mastery, Conjuring, or Blood. Plus, a special interest path related to each members' interests and responsibilities, such as Green Path, Biothaumaturgy, Hearth, or one of the basic paths. Mechanically, these three dots could be available to book standard fledglings.

              What I explicitly wouldn't do is require every member to have Blood as primary. I mean, it's a good path and all, but how many fledglings does a chantry need who can test someone's blood? Especially, given that a level two ritual exists that can more-or-less emulate it.

              As for rituals, why would I hoard them? Especially for first level rituals that have little chance to be used against superiors, I would want fledglings to know as many rituals as practical.

              Sharing magical knowledge strengthens individual Tremere, which strengthens the clan as a whole. No one person can know every path and ritual, so a broad diversity of knowledge serves to advance the clan. Oh, and the hoarding of magical knowledge is specifically forbidden in the Code and Oath of the Tremere:

              I will not deprive nor attempt to deprive any member of House and Clan Tremere of his magical power. To do so would be to act against the strength of our House.
              ...
              I shall further the knowledge of the House and Clan and share with its members all that I find in my search for wisdom and power. No secrets are to be kept or given regarding the arts of magic, nor shall I keep secret the doings of others who might bring harm to the House and Clan.
              -LotC, p. 214

              Now, I get that when Clan Tremere were first introduced, in First Edition (or prior to it, depending how you reckon), they were over-powered. As the number of paths and rituals inevitably grew, it became harder and harder to justify the clan not ruling the vampiric world, if not the world as a whole. There was a period in the mid- to late nineties when it seemed every mention of the Tremere included another means to weaken them. Okay, I get the need to rebalance some.

              The difficulty members of Clan Tremere have in getting other members to teach them any magic at all just seems counter-intuitive. The clan's main strength lay in it's magic.

              Clan Tremere's current educational system is like if mortal recruits to a mortal army showed up for basic training and the drill instructor handed them a box containing the parts of a disassembled rifle, plus the materials to make bullets from scratch, and told the recruits to, "put it all together and learn to use it. Here are some uniforms. Here are some hair trimmers. Here's a copy of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and a wikipedia page on military best practices. The exercise equipment and obstacle courses are that way. I'm going on leave for a month or two. I'll need you all to take care of my house and dog while I'm gone. Oh, and the enemy might attack at any time, because we're in a war zone right now. I would really prefer if you didn't teach one another stuff. It's best for everyone to figure it all out on their own. Call me when you're all fully trained."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                how could it possibly be a bad thing for every single Tremere to have at least a basic grounding in all of the least controversial paths?
                My assumption on this is pretty straightforward (just my personal view), allowing for that is risking an established means of control and power.

                Control because knowledge is power. The less knowledge one has, the more beholden they are to the Clan. And it, of course, requires a delicate balance to withhold (to keep them wanting) and to give (to keep them competent). Obviously the clan has other means of control (Dominate, Blood Bond, general social loyalty, rituals, etc). But this is just another means for it.

                And power in that the more an individual knows, the more they can give away. Either by coercion or freely. And keeping Thaumaturgy as exclusive as possible (in spite of the bloat VtM has suffered in blood magic diffusion among clans, in spite of the fluff/lore).

                What I explicitly wouldn't do is require every member to have Blood as primary. I mean, it's a good path and all, but how many fledglings does a chantry need who can test someone's blood? Especially, given that a level two ritual exists that can more-or-less emulate it.
                This is, again, a problem where the lore/fluff doesn't match the mechanics. The reason Path of Blood is taught as the primary (which you likely know) is because it is the path that best teaches the thaumaturgical basics to a student. The problem is that someone with this as their primary doesn't actually get any quantifiable advantage with Thaumaturgy. Which is a shame.

                Sharing magical knowledge strengthens individual Tremere, which strengthens the clan as a whole. No one person can know every path and ritual, so a broad diversity of knowledge serves to advance the clan.
                I'd say yes and no. Again, it is a balance because strong individuals is a boon, but for a pyramid scheme, also a risk to the established order.

                Clan Tremere's current educational system is like if mortal recruits to a mortal army showed up for basic training and the drill instructor handed them a box containing the parts of a disassembled rifle, plus the materials to make bullets from scratch, and told the recruits to, "put it all together and learn to use it. Here are some uniforms. Here are some hair trimmers. Here's a copy of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and a wikipedia page on military best practices. The exercise equipment and obstacle courses are that way. I'm going on leave for a month or two. I'll need you all to take care of my house and dog while I'm gone. Oh, and the enemy might attack at any time, because we're in a war zone right now. I would really prefer if you didn't teach one another stuff. It's best for everyone to figure it all out on their own. Call me when you're all fully trained."
                Arguably their training program isn't ideal. But I wouldn't go so far as to equate Thaumaturgy with something like a gun in this instance for various reasons. But I'm not sure I can think of an alternative that would fit my idea of it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pang4 View Post
                  How do you handle Tremere learning new paths and finding new rituals?

                  On the one hand, there are hundreds of them, which entices you to make new and interesting combinations.
                  On the other hand, everyone is super-secret with their magic, and hates teaching it.

                  How to tackle this problem?
                  I never actually made my main point: if your players want a path or ritual, and you are okay with it entering your game, let 'em learn it without too much fuss.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pang4 View Post
                    The Quandary I have placed myself in is that the players are playing the entire Tremere clan, minus their Regent.

                    That means mentors are kind of out, and so is deeper secrets of the chantry. They recently built the chantry themselves ^^
                    If you don't want to go with what I believe is an excellent build from Thoth on how to do a Chantry, or it's not feasible for PCs to split up into separate Chantries for months or more to learn, then you do have a great reason you've already vreated.

                    They have recently built the Chantry, the Regent needs to fill the library with texts and lore, so will need to requisition copies from other Libraries. The copying can be as fast or slow as it needs to be for the story; you get to control what info is provided, what rituals they have access too. Usually ones that have just been shown to be useful (too late) or provable to be needed soon.

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                      What I explicitly wouldn't do is require every member to have Blood as primary. I mean, it's a good path and all, but how many fledglings does a chantry need who can test someone's blood?
                      Some Tremere Vampires might prefer to have many Chantry members capable of testing blood with the Path of Blood 1 A Taste of Blood, so that a person capable of doing this is practically always available, no matter the circumstances.

                      Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                      (...)
                      The difficulty members of Clan Tremere have in getting other members to teach them any magic at all just seems counter-intuitive. The clan's main strength lay in it's magic.
                      (...)
                      While it might seem at times that the hierarchy and the organization of the Clan Tremere result in many difficulties for Tremere Vampires, it has to be noted that the way Clan Tremere is organized and set up makes it so that, among other benefits, the hierarchy and the organization will teach Tremere Vampires about ambition and how to be ambitious, and also teach in regard to being patient. I think that these two qualities, characteristics, and attitudes being taught and shown in this way to members of the Clan Tremere benefits Tremere Vampires - as individual persons, and as a Clan - significantly and in variety of ways.

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