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Suggestions for how to powergame and min/max V5. Yes, really.

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  • #16
    Originally posted by CookieSorcerer View Post
    Giovanni here resurrecting this thread. How would you rank thin blood merits and flaws, since they can't pick predator types?
    There's only one line in the book saying Thin-Bloods can't take predator type, and its validity is extremely questionable.


    • #17

      Thin Bloods are a big topic for min/maxing. Because they are, in large part, not the same thin-bloods that existed in V20&pre it can be hard to analyze. I think they are still sort of in the testing phase until WoD players and STs have time to play with them and find all the loopholes. (cf: It took a few years in the 90's for players to grasp the sheer combat power available to a Wareador. Once we did, a lot of sexy military veterans and cops started showing up in games.) Also, because of the vagueness and disorganization of V5 products, it is a little hard to nail down details. I expect once Onyx Path gets hold of the material, things will become clearer.

      That said, I'd be happy to take a crack at them. As always, this is just my own opinion, ymmv, ask your ST, etc. I'm certain others will jump in with opinions on them, as well. Anywhere you see the notation *****, it means check with your ST, because there is a vagueness in the rules that can be interpreted anywhere from over-powered to under-powered, depending on the ST.

      First, understand that TBs are barely vampires. No, wait, it's not that they are barely vampires, it's that they are a different and parallel species of vampire that somehow arise from the standard WoD vampires. More like they are super-revenants, I guess? So, I'll compare and contrast TBs and standard vamps, since if TBs are vastly better or worse than vampires just as base characters, it doesn't matter how good or bad the merits and flaws are.

      Note, that this only uses the V5 corebook. Also, note, I have not proofread or edited this post. It is pure stream of consciousness. Let's pretend there's a thing called "artisanally written".

      Differences from book standard non-TBs:
      1. Thin Blood do not age, get mortal diseases, and are unable to have babies.
      2. Social: the Camarilla has worked to mark all TBs with a brand. Supposedly, everyone... even Anarchs who ignore Camarilla law otherwise... treat the TBs who are marked like shit because of this. Why do the Anarchs, Autarkis, etc. all go along with this? Because the books says so, that's why. ***
      3. All TBs always have the Blush of Life active. The precise effects of this depend on Humanity, but it makes bledning in with humans much, much easier. Which, no one in-universe seems to have noticed, because...
      4. "Many Kindred view the thin-bloods as a threat to the Masquerade and will destroy them, if given the chance." Why? Because the book says so, that's why. *****
      5. TBs do not suffer from their ancestors' clan curse, or clan compulsion.
      6. Generation is essentially meaningless to TBs. All have Blood Potency 0. They are not able to create a blood bond, or embrace with any certainty. If they feed a ghoul, it only powers that ghoul for one night. Since they can't bond, this could lead to a ghoul holding a TB for their nightly fix.
      7. Staking them does not paralyze them. It just causes massive damage. Kind of like when... you know... a human gets stabbed through the heart with a stake.
      8. In addition fire that agg damages standard vamps, TBs also take agg damage from the stuff that causes agg damage to humans, like slashing and piercing weapons. Upside: once damaged, they heal like other vampires.
      9. Disciplines. They don't, usually, have any dots in disciplines. Instead, they gain a single dot and power (or, rarely, more) in a discipline from the resonance of their last meal, even if that blood wouldn't ordinarily have much resonance. They keep this power until Hunger reaches 5, or they feed again, at which point they gain a new power. V5 core is super-vague about how this power is selected. It is possible a TB going into Elysium could feed on the right vessel and get Presence, while one entering combat could feed for a physical discipline. In theory, this could work as "I have access to all one dot powers, if I plan my meals right". Downside, they will only ever have a single dot of a single discipline, because they can't increase it with xp. *****
      10. TBs never frenzy until provoked by a power of some sort that causes frenzy.
      11. Hunger works the same for TBs.
      12. TBs only take 1 level of superficial damage per turn from direct sunlight. TBs can block this with high SPF sunscreen, long sleeves, and floppy hats. (Seems dressing like a granma at a swimming pool is now goth.) Normal vamps suffer their Bane Severity in agg per turn.
      13. If a TB diablerizes a standard vamp, they increase their BP and gain the victim's clan. It is not explained how the clans react to this. ("Hi, Ventrue elders, I'm a new Ventrue." "None of us embraced you." "Right, I diablerized one of you." "Oh, okay. Welcome to the clan!")
      14. It is vaguely hinted at in V5 that there are ways to get back to being human, such as killing the sire. No mechanics, of course.
      15. It is unclear whether a TB takes a Predator Type, and, if so, how. Predator Types give a permanent dot in a discipline, which is contradictory. *****
      16. There is no Thin Blood specific Loresheet, which is a minor pitfall.

      So, how do TBs stack up against Standard Vamps? Well, there are several judgment calls involved, but over-all quite well. Especially, if the ST allows you to pick your power du jour from feeding, TBs are awesome. I would avoid dealing with standard vamps as much as possible, because most could curb stomp you. You can still keep something like a mortal life, though, maybe working at night or in a place that doesn't have lots of windows. Is immortality a good thing if you have to work as a subway toll booth attendant forever? YMMV.

      A few min/max tips that apply to all TBs.
      1. You can always stop being TB if one of your coterie can embrace someone and you diablerize them.
      2. Flipside, if you have someone who can't feed in humans anymore, let them feed on you.
      3. Be active mostly during the day, to avoid standard vampires. Choose a character concept that fits with covering up in the sun, like a woman who wears a hijab, or old person paranoid of skin cancer.
      4. Absolutely, take a Predator Type, if the ST allows it. I still like Sandman. It gives a permanent dot of Resources, and no flaws. Cleaver is an obvious choice for TBs, as well. Bagger is not bad. Avoid any that require lots of visibility, like Osiris or Scene Queen. *****
      5. Buy the Bloodhound merit! You can sense resonances, and choose your nightly power.
      6. Iron Gullet is also useful, since TBs often have to scrounge dinner.
      7. Caitiff can't buy Status at chagen, but I can't find anywhere that limits background purchases for TBs. Buy a dot each in Camarilla and Anarch Status. A Mawla or Contact in both sects might be helpful, too. Herd and Resources are always helpful. High Resources is invaluable to hiding among humans, as no day job is necessary.
      I can't find anywhere that disallows ***** Thin Bloods from taking Loresheets. Consider some of these:
      1. Circulatory System 1 makes finding specific resonances easier.
      2. Circulatory System 2 buffs TB alchemy. Also, useful for temporarily gaining an unusual one-night power.
      3. Carna 4 might allow a sort of blood bond. *****
      4. Convention of Thorns 2 lets you write minor laws, like, oh, say, "Thin Bloods are awesome." *****
      5. Sect War Survivor 2 gives three dots of Status or Mawla.
      6. Trinity 2 defuses violent actions against you by the local court.
      7. Voermann 1 makes feeding easy.
      8. Voermann 2 gives an entry into the prestation economy.
      9. Rudi 3 makes you sort of the local rep for the Gangrel. Odd, because there is no "Gangrel Only" tag on the Loresheet. *****
      10. See if a high-clan member of the coterie is interested in High Clan 3, to secure basic rights for TBs. Also, check with your ST. *****
      11. Fiorenza 1. Free servant/babysitter. Loresheet doesn't have a "Ventrue Only" tag. *****

      Even with all the flaws inherent to being TB, you still need to pick a flaw like any other SV.
      1. Any of the Bond flaws are good, if you can be bound to a coterie-mate.
      2. Stake Bait might be good, if you are not overly attached to your pc. You'll probably die if staked, anyway, even if you don't take this.
      3. No Haven might be a good choice. With resistance to sunlight, it's much easier to find shelter.
      4. Consider Dark Secret: Thin Blood. This makes it so that your character concept is "someone no one knows is thinblood". This gets you the social benefits of SVs, with the mechanical benefits of a TB. Sell it to your ST as adding drama to the chronicle. ****
      Now, onto the actual question... merits and flaws:
      • Baby Teeth: For animal blood drinkers or baggers, no problem. Otherwise, nope.
      • Bestial Temper: Not bad, unless you maintain a mortal life or like to walk in the sun. Puts you at book standard.
      • Branded by Camarilla/Shunned by the Anarchs/Anarch Comrades/Camarilla Contacts: Depends. If your ST runs the npcs as hating you anyway, take the flaws. if your ST runs npcs as judging you as an individual, take the merits. Otherwise, no. Ask the question during chagen, "If I don't take this, how will they treat me"? Decide from there. Also, if you have already decided to side with one sect or the other, then take them.
      • Clan Curse: Take this one. Ventrue is best choice, since you can ignore it by spending only 1 willpower, plus it grants a detection power. Tremere is second choice, since what are the odds you'll be in a position to bond another vampire anyway? Brujah is acceptable. Frenzies are bad, but a one die penalty to resist frenzy and taking Bestial Temper is basically one flaw, but you get credit for two. Gangrel, Malkavian, and Toreador are all scaled with Blood Potency, which is 1 for these purposes, so that's okay. Avoid Nosferatu, unless you want to hide your TB status. If you weren't planning to take Status anyway, ask your ST if Caitiff is an option.
      • Dead Flesh cancels one of the main benefits of being TB. So, a hard no. Well, maybe, if you take Clan Curse Nosferatu, and hide with them.
      • Mortal Frailty. No, except in a one-shot or if you are okay with dying a lot.
      • Vitae Dependency: Take it, if you have a coterie-mate who's a Tremere, or if you take unbondable.
      • Catenating Blood: Take it. The lack of blood bonds is the big downside of TBs.
      • Day Drinker. Take it if you want to hide as a mortal, or have a day job. Not if you are hiding as a standard vampire.
      • Discipline Affinity: Every TB should take this! Ask your ST if you can take it twice.
      • Lifelike: Okay for hiding among mortals; terrible for hiding among standard vampires. How often has your boss asked you to take an MRI to make sure you were alive, anyway?
      • Vampiric Resilience: Obligatory for any TB focused on combat, but I wouldn't take TB for that concept, anyway. Nice on the rare occasion you get staked. You already heal like a vampire, so maybe better to work on your blood supply to heal.
      Thin-Blood alchemy deserves its own section. It is too soon to tell. If your ST loves TBA, take it because they will allow all sorts of stuff just to try out the system. If, like me, they're wary of it since there hasn't been enough work done on the mechanics, don't take it. Also, note there is no clear ruling on whether you lose it by committing diablerie and ceasing to be a TB. All those points could just go away. Wait for more rules to come out in new books before taking it. In summary, everything about TBA is TBA.

      So, here's my summary:
      • Take ThinBlood if you are in a street-level chronicle where being a social outsider is true of all pcs, regardless of clan. Otherwise, probably not.
      • There are two basic paths: hiding among humans to avoid vampires, and hiding as a vampire among your betters. If you do the former, choose your concept carefully, take Catenating Blood to nail down one loyal human ally, and take human backgrounds like Resources. If the latter, take vampire society backgrounds (like Status and Mawla), consider a clan flaw, and look at how Loresheets can help you... especially the Voermanns.
      • Thin Bloods are not combat monsters against vampires, unless they attack during the day.
      • Attack during the day.
      • TBs are best suited to support roles, like a daytime gofer for a sect.


      • #18
        Correction: Clan flaws scale with Bane Severity, which is always 1 for Thin Bloods with the clan curse flaw, not Blood Potency directly.


        • #19
          Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
          [*]Social: the Camarilla has worked to mark all TBs with a brand. Supposedly, everyone... even Anarchs who ignore Camarilla law otherwise... treat the TBs who are marked like shit because of this. Why do the Anarchs, Autarkis, etc. all go along with this? Because the books says so, that's why. ***
          The obvious answer is that Anarchs are cut from the same cloth as the Camarilla, and have continued carrying the prejudices of the Camarilla. That's consistent with everything we know about Anarchs.

          Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
          All TBs always have the Blush of Life active. The precise effects of this depend on Humanity, but it makes bledning in with humans much, much easier. Which, no one in-universe seems to have noticed, because...
          I'm sure they have noticed, but so what? Vampires can already activate Blush of Life. Or send a ghoul to act on your behalf during the day. And ghouls have a benefit of not being involved in any doomsday prophecies.

          Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
          "Many Kindred view the thin-bloods as a threat to the Masquerade and will destroy them, if given the chance." Why? Because the book says so, that's why. *****
          Because your stereotypical thin-blood has been embraced by accident, has no sire taking care of them and is completely clueless. Like a Caitiff, but of even lower class.


          • #20
            I think there are things to consider when it comes to merits:

            Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
            Baby Teeth: For animal blood drinkers or baggers, no problem. Otherwise, nope.
            This is mostly a roleplaying challenge. Baby Teeth makes it way harder to feed spontaneously. But you can likely figure out a feeding routine for how people let you drain them. 100% for Consensualists, and everyone with Presence or Dominate,

            Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
            Clan Curse: Take this one.
            Clan Curse is very good. The best by far is the Assamite clan curse because it will probably never come up.

            Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
            Mortal Frailty.
            IMHO, Mortal Frailty is fine. Just avoid combat.

            Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
            Vitae Dependency
            The cheese way with this is to take a High Clan loresheet (because you claim to be a Toreador or something) and take High Clan 2 for a sub-coterie of thin-blood underlings.

            Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
            Day Drinker.
            Day Drinker is really good, but is kind of a pain in the ass for your ST. Because when you have one Thin-Blood, Day Drinker means splitting the party. IMHO, both it and Golconda 5 should be a once-per-session ability.

            Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
            Discipline Affinity: Every TB should take this! Ask your ST if you can take it twice.
            I disagree. Disciplines are pricy for thin-bloods, and you could very well be spending this XP on being Mister Skill or being the world's smartest vampire. Or, you know, pumping all the XP into the star of the show - Thin-Blood Alchemy.

            Thin-Blood Alchemy
            IMHO, the reason to play a thin-blood. However, Thin-Blood Alchemy is really, really badly written. How long do the powers last? Is Athanor Corporis the best distillation method because it distills in three turns and everything else takes months? In what world is Calcinatio remotely plausible for a PC?

            Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
            The main benefits of Lifelike are the ability to eat food and have sex and all that fun stuff. Lifelike + Day Drinker combo is amazing for a person, and more or less means you are a Human+. But it's not actually that great for a player character, so I think there are better things to do with your three merit slots.
            Generally, my Thin-Blood grocery list looks like this:
            • Thin-Blood Alchemist
            • Day Drinker
            • Lifelike (for roleplaying) or Catenating Blood (for power)
            • Shunned by the Anarchs
            • Mortal Frailty (don't forget to put dots into medicine)
            • Clan Curse


            • #21
              Originally posted by Nosimplehiway
              It took a few years in the 90's for players to grasp the sheer combat power available to a Wareador
              As a small digress, going outside V5 and into older editions for the Wareador: If your Toreador considers violence an art form, if you think combat it's beautiful...shouldn't that imply that seeing combat triggers your Toreador weakness forcing you to make a Willpower roll to keep battling instead of becoming immobilized with fascination at the technique showed by your enemies?.
              Last edited by Aleph; 07-26-2019, 08:50 AM.


              • #22
                I'm gonna give a hard take, but the linked article is garbage. It's vastly overstating the "issue" of Wareador (despite correctly noting that any other clan with Celerity works just as well), but also gives this:
                Wareadors don’t fit into the World of Darkness for a different reason. Toreadors love art and the expression of their creativity. A Toreador who was a martial artist might be extremely good at the exhibition of the martial art that they study, but might not be good at applying it. A Toreador martial artist might use a flying round house kick, which is gorgeous in the dojo, but is almost useless in a real fight. Certainly, this Toreador martial artist wouldn’t have ever killed anyone. And the first time that this Toreador martial artist does kill someone, it would shake him to his core, making him question his values. How would he feel as he realizes that he’s killed someone, even in self defense? He’s a murderer. This is a much different character from the Wareador who slices through every problem with his twin katanas and diablerizes his way up the generation chart.
                A "Toreador" loves whatever they want to love. Every Toreador is fascinated by art, they get fuzzy-wuzzies from seeing art, but they don't have to be an artist. A mob collector who goes to an art gallery on Sundays to get off to Van Gogh is a perfectly fine Toreador. A McDonalds burger flipper with a gelbooru account is a perfectly fine Toreador. A papparazi is a perfectly fine Toreador.

                Clan is not a mold you stamp on the character. Yes, some traits will be similar among the clan members. There are probably a lot of Toreador artists precisely because Toreador are fascinated by art and thus are likely to have positive feelings towards an artist and want to embrace them. But there's probably quite a few Toreadors who've been embraced as a reward for a service, promoted ghouls, mass embrace survivors, etc.


                • #23
                  How on earth are you not rating Animalism higher? Sense the Beast passively informing you of all hostile intent is absolutely amazing. Easily one of the best level 1 powers. Feral Whispers at level 2 is just as versatile as the combination of the first two dots in previous editions. Need spies? Got em. Non-technology based messaging? Got that too. It's such a powerful discipline with a creative player. Power gamers should be all over it.