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

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  • Coridan
    replied
    I think consensualist is supposed to encompass a lot more than just that one example of tricking them, and I think it means more not forcing yourself on them. The big difference is a Bagger can take old blood bags, the consensualist in the example is getting it fresh just via a syringe and then going behind a curtain lol

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  • Monalfie
    replied
    Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
    Weirdly enough "Consensualist" doesn't actually mean feeding with consent in V5. If you go to the rolls chapter and look up hunting, you'll see it say that "pretend to be a doctor and steal their blood donation" is totally valid. So you can just be a short-circle bagger as a "consensualist".
    The benefit here is getting Humanity 8 and unlike V20 that's actually a benefit and not a punishment. But it's a very lousy benefit.
    Yeah, it is a distinction that annoys me since the distinction between a Bagger is vague.
    Consensualist - You never feed against your victim’s free will. You masquerade as a representative of a charity blood drive,
    Bagger - You steal, buy, or otherwise procure cold blood rather than hunt, relying on the black market or your skills as a burglar or ambulance chaser. Perhaps you still work the night shift at the hospital.
    But more-so that lying to get consent seems to defeat the idea of being a Consensualist. Even the book seems to acknowledge that trickery isn't fine for consent. So it leaves the entire situation rather awkwardly placed to me.
    Unless the character has a willing Herd or is a dedicated Consensualist, Bagger, Farmer, or Blood Leech (core book, pp. 175-178), feeding scenes often involve using Disciplines, tricking, or forcing a human into a situation where you can attack them and steal some of their blood.

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  • Kammerer
    replied
    Consensualist - Seems like something to avoid if you're a min/maxer. A lot of risk with little reward.
    Weirdly enough "Consensualist" doesn't actually mean feeding with consent in V5. If you go to the rolls chapter and look up hunting, you'll see it say that "pretend to be a doctor and steal their blood donation" is totally valid. So you can just be a short-circle bagger as a "consensualist".
    The benefit here is getting Humanity 8 and unlike V20 that's actually a benefit and not a punishment. But it's a very lousy benefit.

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  • Monalfie
    replied
    Clans

    Overall
    Caitiff - Probably the ideal if you don't plan on getting more than three dots in a discipline. Being able to pick what disciplines you have and the Bane situation isn't too bad depending how social the game will be. Arguably it'd be easy to buy out of the status issue if you pretend to be of another clan.
    Physical
    Gangrel - These will be on the top of my list. Having Protean and Animalism together seems like it could be a potent combination. And the Bane seems pretty mild.
    Toreador - Good disciplines together. The Bane is hard for me to judge. I'd say it isn't all that bad, though. Given the penalty aspect is only on discipline rolls.
    Brujah - Good discipline mix. How bad the bane is will depend on the character and game. Though, I'd say it is typically A Problem if you aren't intending to fight a lot anyway.
    Nosferatu - Always tricky in relation to having to disguise yourself. And I'm not super in love with the discipline choices together.
    Social/Mental
    Tremere - A good pick if you go Auspex Dominate. Arguably an overall better mental character pick than Malkavian because in some regards their Bane is a boon if you want to feed an elder.
    Ventrue - Mixed spread. I like Dominate, but having the option with it and Presence seems a waste. And I'm not a Fortitude fan. The saving grace, as noted, is that not only can you ignore this with Willpower spent, you can actually detect if someone meets the qualifications with a roll. That's like a free Auspex power. Obviously the key point will depend on how rare the feeding restriction is. That said, if you have a Ventrue and Tremere buddy up, the Ventrue can just drink from the Tremere without being bonded, since their Bane only denotes a mortal preference.
    Malkavians - Another really good discipline spread, though much more-so for a mental character. I'd say this is a more problematic Bane to deal with.


    Discplines

    Animalism: Overall doesn't impress me much. But the Famulus synergy is nice in some fields. Not something I'd suggest getting over three dots in.
    Bond Famulus - can you bond any creature with this at creation? It would seem quite cost efficient if you can pick say, a bear or tiger as a blood bound guard without blood upcost with just a level one power.
    Animal Succulence - If you're ever feeding from animals or traveling the wilds, this is quite nice. Perhaps not nice enough to justify level three, but the package gives enough (increase hunger slaking from animals, counts blood potency as lower for animals, and can consume your Famulus for a good buff for possibly a couple nights).
    Auspex: Nice value on the lower powers. The amount of information you can obtain seems great. Though lacks some in the combat field.
    Sense the Unseen - The broad host of things this can detect at such a low level puts it at a great value. Free chance to detect a lot number of supernatural things you'd want to notice and probably have no means of noticing otherwise.
    Scry the Soul - I feel the same way about this as Animal Succulence. It might not be worth a level three, but it packs some darn good utility into it. Being able to determine any sort of supernatural type? Being under any sort of magic influence? The fact you can do this with a crowd just makes it aces.
    Share the Senses - Normally I'd shy away from powers that require excess planning to be useful. But the ability to use this at distance on people you know seems potent if used effectively. And if we pair it with something like Dominate, I can see a host or checky plays that make it a great asset.
    Celerity: The strength in these powers seem to be how you can use them with other powers.
    Cat's Grace - Another power I normally wouldn't like. But I'm imagining good synergy with powers like Potence (Soaring Leap) and/or Protean (Weight of the Feather).
    Blink - I quite like this ability. Just really cuts out the middleman and engage with a target. I'd rate it rather high if it is intended that Cat's Grace works while using it to avoid the suggested stumbling rolls.
    Unerring Aim - Seems pretty potent for combat.
    Split Second - I question how you could ever ambush someone with this and Blink. A very permissible power to get out of danger. Getting sniped? A bomb goes off? Just zip on away.
    Dominate: It isn't that I dislike Dominate, it has nice powers. But the way the limitations are given seem to hurt a lot of the uses.
    Terminal Decree/Mass Manipulation/Submerged Directive/The Forgetful Mind/Mesmerize - A costly bunch, but the end result seems pretty darn amazing. Start a cult of mind slaves, get an enemy Sabbat Pack to kill themselves, etc.
    Fortitude: I dislike almost every power in this. Just doesn't seem like you're getting much bang for your buck.
    Flesh of Marble - The only one that I think gives some strength and even then, I question it because it is level five. Really good in a duel. Questionable otherwise.
    Obfuscate: I usually like Obfuscate. That said, nothing here really jumps out and screams at me as especially amazing. Nice set of powers that build on each other, but don't necessarily give you anything to ruin someone's day.
    Potence: Not feeling it that much. Maybe if you have good ways to apply Lethal Body. Otherwise, not sure it is the best combat choice when you could be spending it elsewhere.
    Lethal Body - Free aggravated damage to mortals for unarmed attacks and armor pen? Yes please.
    Prowess - If you're already getting Lethal Body, seems like a logical choice for beefing up brawling damage.
    Presence: The fact these powers don't stack and mostly can't be used in combat is a bit turnoff for me. Not to say they are bad, but it'll kill it a lot more versus Dominate. Also, it says you can only use Dread Gaze and Majesty in combat. Makes me question how Daunt plays into that?
    Protean: I like a lot of these powers. You'll just find some good utility extended into various fields.
    Weight of the Feater - There was another thread noting how problematic the description of this power was in regards to 'collisions'. That said, even without that, really great value for a level one power with no rouse cost. Being immune to fall, thrown, or collision damage gives you a whole lot to stay safe from.
    Feral Weapons - Overall a pretty nice fighting ability if you want to be using brawl. Though it doesn't seem to have great synergy beyond that.
    Shapechange - Bothers me that the selection of pregen animal stats is so limited. Giant snake is an example, yet not clearly outlined. That said, I generally like this point because it is versatile. Combat use, disguise use, alternative transportation (flying, swimming, squeezing places). And nice in that you can meld it with Potence and Protean.
    Metamorphosis - Seems really good with a liberal Storyteller. But the vague wording is annoying. It says you can change size, but without clear guidelines on what those limitations are beyond a few unclear examples. If this is level four, should have a good expected value to it.
    Mist Form - Actually has a buff in that you need 'immaterial supernatural attacks', fire, or sunlight. And given that immaterial supernatural attacks have become extremely rare for the time being, it is a rather nice escape. Though perhaps overrated given it is a fifth level power.
    Blood Sorcery: I dislike most of the standard powers for this. Not sure if that's because I'm comparing it to the V20 iteration or not. But most of these are boiled down to be fairly weak in my view. Warding Circles are nice. But a lot of stuff you could use with something else instead that integrates better.
    Scorpion's Touch - Generally seems like a nice combat ability. Given the various ways to apply it, seems like you could get good synergy with Dominate (ordering someone to kiss you). And given the knocking out mortals effect, could probably come up with some creative ways to use this.
    Incorporeal Passage - Worse than it used to be. Yet, still quite good. Can bypass a whole lot with this.


    Predator Types

    Sandman - Pretty cool. As you noted, there's no real downside? Bit odd.
    Bagger - Probably wouldn't suggest this for a Tremere. But if you're going Obfuscate, might as well. Since this works against the flaw it gives you by making you a better hider.

    Osiris - Nice for a Tremere or Presence Toreador or Ventrue.
    Siren - Seems like a more generalized version of Osiris. And the drawback isn't all that bad.
    Alleycat - Great for a melee character. Good discipline and specialties. Probably the choice for a Toreador, Gangrel, or Brujah.
    Farmer - Good if you have the Animalism to easily support it. Especially using Animal Succulence.
    Cleaver - Nice if you are going Dominate. Because it will in turn be very useful hiding the situation from others and your family with it.
    Scene Queen - Tough call. Probably good if you have a board enough subculture. This is probably best for a Ventrue that'll already be restricting their feeding habits and get Dominate.

    Consensualist - Seems like something to avoid if you're a min/maxer. A lot of risk with little reward.
    Blood Leech - If you have absolutely no care about social stuff, probably ok. But really, there are better options that don't necessitate weird feeding restrictions and people hating you.


    Merits/Flaws

    Illiterate - If you're a combat dude, being able to read and write is probably low on your list of need to dos.
    Repulsive - Same as above. Also true if you have Dominate. Being ugly won't be a hinderance if social stuff isn't your bag.
    Living in the Past - This actually seems good in some regards because you have more wiggle room with odd convictions.
    Unbondable - Use might vary and it is expensive. But usually a pretty nice choice.
    Prey Exclusion - Should be easy enough to find a group you won't run into much. And why not take this and Vegan?
    Folkloric Bane - The kind of person who will have silver weapons to use on you will probably have better stuff anyway. So why not?
    Folkloric Block (Wild roses) - How often will this honestly come up?

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  • Kammerer
    replied
    Touchstones don't have mechanics for how self-sufficient the TS needs to be. Which is riskier: a child who lives in gang territory, or the wife of a prominent politician? One could die tomorrow, the other likely has full-time security. Nothing says your TS can't be a recently retired SpecOps officer, or a beloved religious leader.
    Physical harm is not the only harm that can violate your Touchstone. The thing about touchstones is that you are obsessed with keeping them they way they are, forever. A retired specops officer is probably a touchstone for some feeling of leaving violence behind you. Which means that when said officer gets pushed a bit too far and goes Max Payne on the city - you get fucked.
    And against supernatural threats being a retired SPESS MEHRINE! doesn't mean much. It doesn't matter how good you are with a gun - you can't outshoot Dominate.

    Predator Types. Hmm... which one? They all have Advantages and Flaws attached to them. Oh, wait, except for Sandman. An extra dot of Resources is useful, and either Auspex or Obfuscate are solid disciplines. If in the layout phase they forgot to include flaws, well, that's makes this the PT of choice. (V5, p178)
    I have many words for whomever wrote the advancement chapter, and none of them are kind. The reality of V5 is that by RAW you either diablerize or you never advance. Buying level 3 in a discipline costs 15xp. You get one xp per session. ONE.
    So the best predator type is whichever gives you the third dot in a discipline.
    And of course be mindful that being a Leech makes Unbondable and Lore Sheet (High Clan) 2 merits mandatory.

    ThinBlood D
    Strong disagree about Thin-Bloods being weaker. As a thin-blood it's basically mandatory to take Discipline Affinity and Thin-Blood Alchemist, and for your third merit I'd strongly suggest Day-drinker. The big things Thin-Bloods have going for them are:
    * Flexible power set. Buy a Herd - swap out 2 dots of disciplines whenever you need them. Presence, Dominate and Animalism are the top contenders here.
    * Human-passing. Big in games with strong hunter presence. Now I personally think Second Inquisition is a stupid and unworkable idea, but such is the canon.
    * Flexible power set. Thin-blood alchemy is... well it's not great, but it's pretty good. It's important to take Athanor Corporis over other distillation types, because it distills in three seconds and everything else doesn't. Waiting three months to distill a single use of a level 2 discipline gets a strong no from me. But you get good benefits, such as the ability to cheaply snag amalgam powers. There's only one good one - Dementation, but it's the thought that counts.

    Tremere
    Unfortunately, Blood Sorcery is really bad.
    Level 1: You have a choice between the useless ability to waste blood on slowly degrading a limited range of materials and the useless ability to divine someone's blood potency assuming you somehow got their blood. I don't know why you'd care about either.
    Level 2: Extinguish Vitae is kinda okay I guess? By the time you brought someone to Hunger 5 the Brujah combat monsters probably already activated all their buffs and don't care about not being able to activate more. But could be situationally useful.
    Level 3: Blood of Potency. Risking Hunger in hopes of getting a crit and getting one more die from blood buff is not worth it in my book. Really useless unless you crit. Scorpion's Touch is not as good as having a gun, but okay I guess.
    Level 4. Absolute dumpster fire, worse than Corrosive Vitae. Why oh why would I ever want to magically feed on mortals in a spectacular masquerade violation instead of non-magically feeding on mortals with no masquerade violation? It also takes you out of combat since you have to stand there and drink blood for undefined amount of time.
    Level 5. Baal's Caress is the good choice and Cauldron of Blood is the bad choice. They do the same thing, except Baal's Caress is a ranged attack that doesn't automatically give you stains.

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  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post

    You may be right, and I went back and forth on who was the A- and who was the B+. Either of these could go up or down with future books. If the Camarilla book introduces an idea that "beautiful surroundings" are only those of a Resource 5 location, built with 5 or more successes from the designer, then Toreador drop like a rock. If, otoh, the Anarch book introduces something about "every Toreador is unique, with unique definitions of beauty" then nice garden gnomes in a suburban yard could work, and Toreador go up. This is all, a preliminary run-through.

    Things is, the Toreador weakness says:

    So, activation rolls are reduced by BP, but most level one disciplines don't have an activation roll. They look more like merits that bend the rules for the vampire who knows them.

    Run-down of the impact this Bane has on level one discipline powers

    Heightened Senses: No activation roll, per se, you add Auspex rating to perception rolls. Loud noises, etc. require a Wits+Resolve roll, which is penalized.
    Sense the Unseen: Activation roll is penalized.
    Cat's Grace: No activation roll to penalize, indeed it makes it so no roll is needed for balancing whatsoever.
    Rapid Reflexes: Has no activation roll to penalize.
    Awe: Adds Presence to "Charisma-related rolls at ST's discretion". If someone knows they are being influenced, there is a contested roll, which is penalized.
    Daunt: Has no activation roll to penalize. Adds Presence to Intimidation rolls. Anyone who wants to attack must succeed on a save to do so.

    Now, there are some grey areas for the Bane.

    I'm not certain if it penalizes rolls that are passively enhanced by a discipline, but don't need an actual activation. (eg Heightened Senses, Awe, and Daunt). Also, not sure whether the rule bend-ey powers have related rolls penalized. (eg Rapid Reflexes removes the need for cover to dodge bullets. Is the dodge roll then penalized?) In both these cases, I think no, the penalty does not apply, as the powers are passively used, rather than activated. Depending on your ST, ymmv.
    I thought they covered that in the Ashcans comment in v5. It looks like the INTENT at least is Neonates aren't heavily bothered by their bane and you get Toreador Elders/ancilla who never leave their houses filled with paintings.

    As for the Tremere, take a look at the High Clan Loresheet: Blessed Not Cursed. (V5 p400) It says Tremere are sometimes High Clan, in some places. Think of how BNC plays out for Tremere. Ordinarily, they can't blood-bond a vampire. With BNC, they can spend a willpower and once per session ignore their Bane. So, if each session is one night in-game, then they can bond a vampire with three willpower over three sessions. This is, clearly, highly dependent on the ST's ruling. ****

    Tremere have top-notch disciplines. Even with a (possibly) nerfed Blood Sorcery, you still get the ritual add-on. Imagine if Dominate 1 or Potence 1 also came with the choice of Wake With Evening's Freshness, Clinging of the Insect or Ward vs. Ghouls.
    I THINK they might drop the whole "infinite paths" setup but even if that's the case the will likely keep offering a whole bunch of new powers for each of the discplines, Rituals adding up like you said will be the big definer of blood magic.

    Converely if we see "secondary paths" of blood magic come into play.. I EXPECT not soon after rules will come up for "secondary" manifestations for other powers

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  • Nosimplehiway
    replied
    Originally posted by Lian View Post

    I think Warrioriador are only going to go down in value with the bane as v5 comes out. There's going to be more and more ugly places to fight and since every discipline is going to get a bit of power creep with this edition I think really the bane is going to be the big issue.

    Conversely.. once again.. Tremere basically have no clan flaw on an individual level. This may more than the "we need to add 3 books of thaum" give them the real power edge.
    You may be right, and I went back and forth on who was the A- and who was the B+. Either of these could go up or down with future books. If the Camarilla book introduces an idea that "beautiful surroundings" are only those of a Resource 5 location, built with 5 or more successes from the designer, then Toreador drop like a rock. If, otoh, the Anarch book introduces something about "every Toreador is unique, with unique definitions of beauty" then nice garden gnomes in a suburban yard could work, and Toreador go up. This is all, a preliminary run-through.

    Things is, the Toreador weakness says:
    While your character finds itself in less than beautiful surroundings, lose the equivalent of their Bane Severity in dice from dice pools to use Disciplines.
    So, activation rolls are reduced by BP, but most level one disciplines don't have an activation roll. They look more like merits that bend the rules for the vampire who knows them.

    Run-down of the impact this Bane has on level one discipline powers

    Heightened Senses: No activation roll, per se, you add Auspex rating to perception rolls. Loud noises, etc. require a Wits+Resolve roll, which is penalized.
    Sense the Unseen: Activation roll is penalized.
    Cat's Grace: No activation roll to penalize, indeed it makes it so no roll is needed for balancing whatsoever.
    Rapid Reflexes: Has no activation roll to penalize.
    Awe: Adds Presence to "Charisma-related rolls at ST's discretion". If someone knows they are being influenced, there is a contested roll, which is penalized.
    Daunt: Has no activation roll to penalize. Adds Presence to Intimidation rolls. Anyone who wants to attack must succeed on a save to do so.

    Now, there are some grey areas for the Bane.

    I'm not certain if it penalizes rolls that are passively enhanced by a discipline, but don't need an actual activation. (eg Heightened Senses, Awe, and Daunt). Also, not sure whether the rule bend-ey powers have related rolls penalized. (eg Rapid Reflexes removes the need for cover to dodge bullets. Is the dodge roll then penalized?) In both these cases, I think no, the penalty does not apply, as the powers are passively used, rather than activated. Depending on your ST, ymmv.

    As for the Tremere, take a look at the High Clan Loresheet: Blessed Not Cursed. (V5 p400) It says Tremere are sometimes High Clan, in some places. Think of how BNC plays out for Tremere. Ordinarily, they can't blood-bond a vampire. With BNC, they can spend a willpower and once per session ignore their Bane. So, if each session is one night in-game, then they can bond a vampire with three willpower over three sessions. This is, clearly, highly dependent on the ST's ruling. ****

    Tremere have top-notch disciplines. Even with a (possibly) nerfed Blood Sorcery, you still get the ritual add-on. Imagine if Dominate 1 or Potence 1 also came with the choice of Wake With Evening's Freshness, Clinging of the Insect or Ward vs. Ghouls.

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  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post

    Toreador: A- Awesome disciplines. Bane not bad for either those who move in stylish circles (buy Luxury Haven!) or take disciplines with no roll. Note that Celerity has no activation rolls at level one, and Daunt's requirement that attackers succeed on a roll to attack is not hurt by the bane, since it's the attacker rolling, not the Toreador. Long live the Wareador! **

    Tremere: B+ Disciplines still quite good, even with Blood Sorcery changes. Disciplines likely to improve with new books expanding Thaum. power creep.

    !
    I think Warrioriador are only going to go down in value with the bane as v5 comes out. There's going to be more and more ugly places to fight and since every discipline is going to get a bit of power creep with this edition I think really the bane is going to be the big issue.

    Conversely.. once again.. Tremere basically have no clan flaw on an individual level. This may more than the "we need to add 3 books of thaum" give them the real power edge.

    Leave a comment:

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