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  • #61
    Originally posted by PMárk View Post
    Also, if that's true, that the intent was that certain acts cause stains, no matter what, that's even worse, because that takes away the whole premise of vampires being able to adopt inhuman morality systems, which was, IMO a quite interesting concept. If certain acts are "bad", no matter what, then that' more like a D&D-esque cosmic outlook on morality (and, as the above point, the Tenets are somewhat like that already, just mutually decided, by the group). You're taking stains, not because you did something you're unable to reconcile with, within the boundaries of your moral outlook, but because you "sinned" in the eyes of the universe (in this case, the writers).
    Well I'm hardly alone in thinking Paths are the worst thing to happen to Vampire: The Masquerade.The "Path of what I want to do anyway" led to some of the worst behavior in my games and players often resented when I made them lose their points even faster than Humanity when they didn't stick to it. Certainly, I also felt a lot of Paths were also inconsistently written up.

    Roads, IMHO, were superior.

    I don't hate Paths but I definitely think they were made out to be too easy and too common. You can't just decide to wake up one morning thinking. "I find murdering children to be a righteous good, this will keep me from the Beast." It removes all the teeth from wassail and the whole point of keeping your humanity gets thrown out the window.

    Why bother?

    At the very least Paths needed to be seriously revised so they were variations on humanity (i.e. you aren't a complete monster) or that it's something for NPCs.

    Or, as with Touchstones and Convictions, its easier to play your bad guy without being a guy who kills people in a nursery for fun.


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

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    • #62
      As someone with a tenuous grasp of Dark Ages, what are the defining differences between Paths and Roads that cause you to like one and not the other?

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      • #63
        Originally posted by PMárk View Post
        So, the Humanity debacle again.


        However, VtM's approach to Humanity was about morality (which also allowed non-human moral systems). You could have strong principles and, ahhem, convictions (with actual effects expressed in the rules), without the need for tying those to NPCs you're obsessing over. It also didn't force obligatory damsels in distress on you, if you wanted to have a character with principles. It's a totally viable take on Humanity too and it's kinda the way how, for example, the Anne Rice books, or Only Lovers Left Alive portray vampires.

        Ultimately, it's about whether you prefer an externally (or socially)-, or internally-focused system for this, because both are fine. Needless to say, I prefer the second, for various reasons, as like many others do, but others like the first more.

        My problem with V5, in this regard, is that while yes, the old system did only the second, the new system does only the first. I'd prefer having both, that's why I'm saying I'd like a Humanity system being based on the second (simply because I believe that's a lot more flexible, to allow different character concepts), while Touchstones should be an addition you could use, as a background, or merit, because it could be very thematic for specific characters and also having positive effects, but downsides too.

        About tenets. On the surface, it's flexible, because yay, we can build the perfect morality system for our chronicle, right? Not really, IMO. First, having just three tenets for describing a full moral outlook is inadequate, in my oppinion. Second, it has a problem of how do we mix different playstyles and chronicle backgrounds? Cool, we can use different tenets for a Sabbat Chronicle and an Anarch Chronicle and a Cam chronicle. But what happens, when you want to mix those, in one story? One will be the baseline and thus, it'll likley make the other groups having sane vampires stretching plausability. The old system sidestepped the whole issue by internalizing the morality system, into the character itself, with the different paths/roads, which is more like "what your character deem acceptable" rather than "what is acceptable in this genre we're playing in". Again, I prefer the internal way, for various reasons.


        There is a perfectly viable solution to having both systems. And this solution still manages to bring the old systems of humanity and roads without needing a new edition.

        It is enough to treat that the new system is an insipient but natural morality that the vampire has if it needs to conform to a complex ethical system, whereas the Old System (and in this case the old humanity is only a Road, like in Dark Ages) an organized morality and more efficient of which the members migrate with the time, which even creates an interesting type of game in which we have a series of vampires within the society without a religion against the Beast and therefore the merce of a solid dispute between the different roads, in a very violent contest for a grand prize.

        Basically make the two systems of morality work in different tiers. And it would even be a good solution to the basic book, because if it were addressed that way, they would basically say that the old morality still exists, but it is not the subject of this book.

        I think in a similar way to blood resonance, it could be easily implemented in the old system of antecedents (both what one eats when hunting) or in the system of qualities. Although I find that the resonance system has absorbed the disciplines it strips the disciplines of its mystical and metaphysical essence as costly curses that exist in vitae by contaminations and as price that God imposes (but nothing like the conscious illness as the vicissitude won in the modern setting ). Yet resonance could give auras, qualities, defects (more qualities than defects) and even at maximum levels strange blood structures like the ability to embrace dead or to consume food and be able to eliminate it simply by wasting blood.
        Last edited by Ben Linus; 02-18-2019, 04:35 PM.

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        • #64
          Not pointed at me, but:

          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

          For me, it's re-emphasizing that it's not about being a good person but having something that makes you human.
          And that is a difference in preferences right there. I, for example, prefer Humanity to be a moral system and absolutely about being a good person. I also don't like the premise that you're only "humane" because of your connections to humans and that you can't be virtous on your own. I'm not saying it's not a viable take on vampirism, just that I don't like it. I prefer morality and virtues to being an internal thing, a decision.

          Like, Batman doesn't not killing villains, because the other characters are holding him back (and I dislike how the new Titans series implied that), but because it's his code he's decided on. Sure, the others help, when he's wavering on the edge, but ultimately, he stays his hands, because that's the last and biggest principle he has.

          The V5 Humanity is too socially-focused for my tastes. Yes, we're social animals and holding social ties to mortals could help a vampire to hold the Beast at bay, but I don't like the idea that it's the only thing that is there to it.


          One of the things that often comes up as a problem in vampires is that it's hard to make a convincing social villain in the games as the more awful you are, the more an inhuman beats you are.

          Touchstones lessen the severity of humanity's penalties while also making it clear vampires can and have predatory dysfunctional relationships with humans that keep them sane.
          You're still more awfull as you became more inhuman in V5 and even more harshly. You could have touchstones and that effect, without making them a necessity for having principles.


          If nothing worked, then let's think!

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          • #65
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

            Well I'm hardly alone in thinking Paths are the worst thing to happen to Vampire: The Masquerade.
            And I'm hardly alone thinking they aren't.

            The "Path of what I want to do anyway" led to some of the worst behavior in my games and players often resented when I made them lose their points even faster than Humanity when they didn't stick to it. Certainly, I also felt a lot of Paths were also inconsistently written up.
            No arguments that the executiin wasn't always stellar and that influenced unfortunate player behavior. Still, the idea is one of my favorites.

            Roads, IMHO, were superior.
            Never got into DA in depth, so I'd ask too, what's that big of a difference between the two, regarding the gist of the idea, not just the actual quality of the writing?

            I don't hate Paths but I definitely think they were made out to be too easy and too common. You can't just decide to wake up one morning thinking. "I find murdering children to be a righteous good, this will keep me from the Beast." It removes all the teeth from wassail and the whole point of keeping your humanity gets thrown out the window.
            Well, considering how difficult it is to change for a Path, rules-wise, I'd say it never was the intention.

            Why bother?

            At the very least Paths needed to be seriously revised so they were variations on humanity (i.e. you aren't a complete monster) or that it's something for NPCs.
            Our mileage might differ about "complete monster". I usually prefer to play characters on Humanity, but I like the philosophical side of Paths and again, the whole gist of the idea that vampires could adher to moral codes which are inhuman to humans. Playing them , that depends on how mature the players are.

            That some of them needs rewriting isn't an argument.


            Or, as with Touchstones and Convictions, its easier to play your bad guy without being a guy who kills people in a nursery for fun.
            I don't think there was anything in the old system that forced you to kill bavies if you wanted to play a selfish and manipulative person. Or how do you mean "bad guy"? Surely, a bad guy does some "bad guy stuff", which would be considered amoral, or immoral?


            If nothing worked, then let's think!

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Ben Linus View Post

              There is a perfectly viable solution to having both systems. And this solution still manages to bring the old systems of humanity and roads without needing a new edition.

              It is enough to treat that the new system is an insipient but natural morality that the vampire has if it needs to conform to a complex ethical system, whereas the Old System (and in this case the old humanity is only a Road, like in Dark Ages) an organized morality and more efficient of which the members migrate with the time, which even creates an interesting type of game in which we have a series of vampires within the society without a religion against the Beast and therefore the merce of a solid dispute between the different roads, in a very violent contest for a grand prize.

              Basically make the two systems of morality work in different tiers. And it would even be a good solution to the basic book, because if it were addressed that way, they would basically say that the old morality still exists, but it is not the subject of this book.

              I think in a similar way to blood resonance, it could be easily implemented in the old system of antecedents (both what one eats when hunting) or in the system of qualities. Although I find that the resonance system has absorbed the disciplines it strips the disciplines of its mystical and metaphysical essence as costly curses that exist in vitae by contaminations and as price that God imposes (but nothing like the conscious illness as the vicissitude won in the modern setting ). Yet resonance could give auras, qualities, defects (more qualities than defects) and even at maximum levels strange blood structures like the ability to embrace dead or to consume food and be able to eliminate it simply by wasting blood.
              Hmm. Those are something to consider, that's sure.


              If nothing worked, then let's think!

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              • #67
                I admit, I have House Rules for Paths already in my 5E Game. They manifest as Lore Sheets.

                Furthermore, they come with the caveat that you can buy them with experience and roleplaying.

                Generally, they work like this:

                LORE SHEET: PATH OF ENLIGHTENMENT

                * You can re-roll a failure if you lose a point of Humanity on your Path. At your ST's discretion as you must be portrayed as following your Path correctly.

                ** You can regain a point of humanity by fulfilling one of the central tenants of your path (diablerie for the Path of Caine to lower a generation, corrupting a humane vampire to the Path of Typhon, or making a significant stride to Golconda for the Path of Self-Focus).

                *** You don't lose a point of Humanity whenever you do an act in line with your path's precepts. This only applies to acts demanded of your Path.

                **** You may attempt to control the nature of a Hunger Dice and re-roll a failed frenzy check by calling upon the nature of your enlightenment. You may also choose to direct that frenzy instead automatically, not attacking allies or people protected by your path.

                ***** You are considered a paragon of enlightenment among your Path followers and automatically have the equivalent of 3 status when dealing with them. You may be sought out for guidance by them and gain the equivalent of an Ally (***) for as long as someone is learning from you.
                Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-18-2019, 06:54 PM.


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

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by PMárk View Post
                  Never got into DA in depth, so I'd ask too, what's that big of a difference between the two, regarding the gist of the idea, not just the actual quality of the writing
                  I think the big differnce is that in DA Humanity is also just a road, and that all roads are considered (with a few exceptions) considered equally valid player options.

                  Opposed to Masquerada were Path are supposed to be unnatural and evil.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Aahz View Post
                    I think the big differnce is that in DA Humanity is also just a road, and that all roads are considered (with a few exceptions) considered equally valid player options.

                    Opposed to Masquerada were Path are supposed to be unnatural and evil.
                    Ah, okay, well, I agree that's preferable, by a wide margin.

                    Also, to be fair, I never liked the Humanity's hierarchy of sins. The levels were weirdly assigned and I never liked that, taken literally, you couldn't break things, or even kill in self-defense, or even for rescuing an innocent, without rolling for degeneration, unless you're quite low on it already. So, I'd never say the system is perfect, it certainly needs a lot of improvements and yes, some room for personal convictions.

                    I just don't like V5's answer to that. Also, it's strange, how V5 almost copy-pasted the humanity levels' descriptions from the earlier books. That indeed strongly suggests a "hidden cosmic morality" being present, since if it's only the Tenets that are standing as the chronicle's moral guidelines, it doesn't make sense. However, the book never describes that morality system precisely, so I guess it's up to the ST, who could arbitrarily decide what's worth a Stain and what isn't. For example, the Tenets don't say "You should not kill", but the ST still thinks so. Okay, Humanity and calling for degneration was always a ST decision, but at least we had guidelines the player could work with and the game had alternative morality systems.




                    If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                    • #70
                      Also, just for being fair and showing that I really do not think V5 is all bad and that yes, it has many good ideas (even when I don't like their execution frequently), there's another point, beside the mentioned YAWYE chapter: I like the combination of Generation and Blood Potency. I'm even thinking about the best approach to import it to V20.


                      If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                      • #71
                        I dislike Touchstones as they seem to be used exclusively to screw the players. There is no upside to having them and I don't even mean entirely mechanically. To utilize them correctly I have to keep putting the PC's touchstones front and center in the story's narrative or they become pointless. This distracts from the narrative of the story I'm trying to create with the PC's. I much prefer using contacts and allies to keep the PC's connected to the mortal world and those I can use as potential plot hooks when it seems appropriate but its not something forced on me as a ST to use to make Humanity something relevant.

                        I also don't like using arbitrary Chronicle Tenets to administer Humanity degeneration. While I didn't always think the Hierarchy of Sins was something that needed to be followed religiously when determining what prompted a Humanity roll they at least gave a guideline to go off of. At the end of the day I as a ST know what actions taken by the PC's are immoral and don't need a few randomly chosen tenets to determine the PC's morality. What if I choose the tenants from the V5 Creed of Justice example but then one of my PC's torture a NPC. That's not one of the Chronicle Tenets so do I not have them gain a stain?

                        edit: Also it is so much more work for me as a ST to have to track 4-5 PC's individual Convictions and Touchstones as well as the Chronicle Tenets. That's 33(taking 3 convictions, 3 touchstones per character for 5 PCs) things I as a ST have to keep constantly in the front of my mind while also trying to tell a cohesive story.
                        Last edited by Frontline989; 02-20-2019, 04:18 PM.


                        The Hecata are a sect not a clan.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Frontline989 View Post
                          I also don't like using arbitrary Chronicle Tenets to administer Humanity degeneration. While I didn't always think the Hierarchy of Sins we're something that needed to be followed religiously when determining what prompted a Humanity roll they at least gave a guideline to go off of. At the end of the day I as a ST know what actions taken by the PC's are immoral and don't need a few randomly chosen tenets to determine the PC's morality. What if I choose the tenants from the V5 Creed of Justice example but then one of my PC's torture a NPC. That's not one of the Chronicle Tenets so do I not have them gain a stain?
                          The Tenets really shouldn't be limited to 3 (10 tenents would provide much more margin to construct a morality and would have connected better with previous editions as a bonus). And V5 should have a better guideline about how to build them. It's not a minor aspect of the system.

                          Touchstones should be optional.

                          These changes are so easy to implement that I really don't think it's necessary a new edition to have them. The Players Guide could easily provide options and guidelines on these subjects.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Frontline989 View Post
                            I dislike Touchstones as they seem to be used exclusively to screw the players. There is no upside to having them and I don't even mean entirely mechanically. To utilize them correctly I have to keep putting the PC's touchstones front and center in the story's narrative or they become pointless.
                            Allow me to use the universal language of Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines to show how you're wrong.

                            The Player (as I call the PC in my games) has a Touchstone who plays a front and center role in the game without drowning out the storyline. She was introduced in the chronicles, helps underline what sort of person the Player is, and also helps them maintain their humanity even when they're utterly abusive.

                            The Player Character's Touchstone is Heather Poe.

                            Heather Poe the Touchstone is created by an act of Humanity on the player character's part. She's dying of injuries sustained in a car crash and there's no chance anyone is going to save her life because someone with a better HMO is being treated first (or maybe it's just that bad of a neighborhood). Either way, the player character has established a measurable connection with a human being.

                            However, as a ghoul, the relationship is inherently fucked up. There's many shades of the fact that Heather can (and even wants to be, thanks to the Blood Bond) the Player's sex slave. She dresses up however the Player wants her to and gladly gives her blood to them. She's abandoning college, leaving her grandmother (among other family), and is fully prepared to grab a guy off the street for the player character to murder.

                            If you are a Humane vampire then you will now have a face to your victims. The whole point of a Touchstone being that you know someone other than "B-positive", "AIDs victim", "Alcoholic", and "Does spinning classes so her blood is extra oxygenated." You are ultimately given the choice of letting Heather go and gaining some more Humanity, getting her murdered by the Sabbat, or (with mods) keeping her as your connection to Humanity--however abusive that relationship is.

                            Ghouls are the best Touchstones and you can roleplay how much or how little your player character cares for them.


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

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post


                              Ghouls are the best Touchstones and you can roleplay how much or how little your player character cares for them.
                              Could you not have the exact same NPC represented by Retainer 1 background with all the same moral questions and pitfalls without having to mechanically tie it to the Humanity degeneration system? How does any background not serve the exact same function as the Touchstone system?


                              The Hecata are a sect not a clan.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Frontline989 View Post
                                I dislike Touchstones as they seem to be used exclusively to screw the players. There is no upside to having them and I don't even mean entirely mechanically. To utilize them correctly I have to keep putting the PC's touchstones front and center in the story's narrative or they become pointless. This distracts from the narrative of the story I'm trying to create with the PC's. I much prefer using contacts and allies to keep the PC's connected to the mortal world and those I can use as potential plot hooks when it seems appropriate but its not something forced on me as a ST to use to make Humanity something relevant.

                                This quote from the book shows exactly the intention:

                                Of course, any Storyteller worth their salt creates story and drama that puts pressure on the player to decide between harming their Touchstone and achieving some vampiric goal.
                                I'd call that forced drama, which also assumes a very distinct style of story. It's so not how I prefer to play and structure stories on so many level.



                                I also don't like using arbitrary Chronicle Tenets to administer Humanity degeneration. While I didn't always think the Hierarchy of Sins we're something that needed to be followed religiously when determining what prompted a Humanity roll they at least gave a guideline to go off of. At the end of the day I as a ST know what actions taken by the PC's are immoral and don't need a few randomly chosen tenets to determine the PC's morality. What if I choose the tenants from the V5 Creed of Justice example but then one of my PC's torture a NPC. That's not one of the Chronicle Tenets so do I not have them gain a stain?
                                Precisely. The description of the Humanity levels and Karim's saying that it was the intention that some things always cause stains points in the direction that yes, the flexibility of Tenets are not that flexible (and if they would be, then that leads to the situation you're describing). On the other hand, there's no hierarchy, as a guideline and no alternative morality systems.

                                Also tenets are having the problem I mentioned earlier, as how would you reconcile characters in the same chronicle that would need compeltely different chronicle tenets, to work without degrading into slavering beasts pretty soon.

                                All in all, the promise of Tenets sounds good on paper, but I think it has many problems.

                                edit: Also it is so much more work for me as a ST to have to track 4-5 PC's individual Convictions and Touchstones as well as the Chronicle Tenets. That's 33(taking 3 convictions, 3 touchstones per character for 5 PCs) things I as a ST have to keep constantly in the front of my mind while also trying to tell a cohesive story.
                                There's that too, certainly.


                                If nothing worked, then let's think!

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