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V5 Touchstones and Humanity; Why I dislike them

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  • #46
    Originally posted by PMárk View Post


    Definitely agree with the monotony part. Let's face it: most people's lives are horribly, mind-boggingly, soul-crushingly boring. That's, in part, why we're playing rpgs, for example.

    Also, again, as Marius said in The Vampire Lestat, you can't really be bored, as a vampire, if you have even the slight inclination to learning and experiencing new things, because those pesky mortals are always coming up with some insane shit.
    In 1903, mankind invented the first working airplane, thus fulfilling a dream that mankind had possessed since the dawn of civilization. The power of flight!

    And then 60 years later, we got bored with the sky, and put a man on the moon! In fact, we didn't just put a man on the moon, we put a flag on the moon. Having no regard for what any celestial deities might have to say about mortals showing up on their front lawn and claiming it for their own!


    ----------------------------------------


    Another thing to point out is that even Humanity itself may very much be overrated. According to the rule books, your average human only maintains a Humanity rating of about 7, while those who struggle to remain above that threshold are "more human than human." Whatever the heck that means. I also just went back and read V20, and it says people who try to maintain humanity of 8-10 can be annoying to have to deal with, due to their almost saint-like mentality.

    And most Elders reach a stabilizing point around 4 Humanity, and only those who are actively trying to be as edgy as possible have to worry about dropping to 3 or lower.

    So really, it sounds like both Humans and Vampires alike aren't too heavily reliant on the system in order to maintain their self control. If I'm guilty of trying to romanticize existence as a vampire, the game seems to be guilty of trying to romanticize existence as a human.
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 04-22-2019, 11:39 AM.

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    • #47
      Nice that this is the op of the list. We played our first session of Vampire V on Saturday. Been playing every edition since 1st, and most like OP has said were political intrigues, even if some were not Vampiric political intrigues.

      We went in expecting that. But the story we told on Saturday was almost exclusively about the touchstones. Not so much about humanity, though a character did lose a point for an unintentional action. While the politics of the City influenced the story, it was one of personal horror, confusion, and attempt at making good on personal goal. We expect this to change. But I, as ST, hope that it is an organic shift. watching the characters move from personal goals to politics to achieve their goals.

      From my previous experience, Vampiric Politics without personal human centric goals always felt empty to me, at least in regards to younger Vampires. The shifting of touchstones from personal connections, or farcical representations of a long lost human life is awesome in more ways than I can define. .

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      • #48
        Originally posted by PMárk View Post

        I don't think any one of us is talking from experience...



        Well, to harken back to an eariler part of the discussion, I'm on Lestat's and especially Marius's side on this.

        Yeah, even if examining it just in the context of WoD, being a vampire has a lot of drawbacks and dark, shitty parts. It's no romantic eternal living as a rock-star (not that that would be enjoyable). Yes, the leaving behind your old life could be highly traumatic, though it depends on the peson, for a lot of people it could be an absolute net positive.

        But you know what? Regardless all the bad parts, it beats the crap out of growing old, having your body slowly crumbling away under you, having it, and possibly even your mind betraying you and seeing your loved ones dying, not to mention struggling for years with some serious disease, before dying of it. Then, there's the whole death thing and the fact we don't know if there's even anything beyond that, or that we'll just cease to exist and that's it.

        Everything vampiredom could throw at you, you could learn to manage and (un)live with, given enough time, resourcefulness and some luck. After that, it's on you finding stuff that will occupy you for the coming years and trying to build relationships that will hopefully last, if you want. Or just accepting that you'll live your life not as a long stretch, but as a series of sequences.

        Truly, I think those kindred who couldn't manage it and died as neonates are the ones who just weren't cut out for it in the first place. You have all eternity and you'll greeting the sun, because you can't stand being apart from your girlfriend from college, or picking up the phoe and calling your mom? Well, you aren't cut out to be a kindred, frankly.


        It's easy to say, "you wouldn't want to be a vampire", when you're in your twenties, thirties, or even forties, if you're lucky and/or carefull enough. Try again, when you're past fifty and start to really feel and see the effects of age.

        The funny thing is that most people traditionally chosen for the Embrace are young, beautiful people who have their whole lives in front of them. It's rare for someone to Embrace a dingy old man in the twilight of their years, they have lives and families they need to leave behind. The one thing I agree is it's true someone will take to unlife like a fish to water, but these people tend to be "damned" in the traditional sense already, and they tend to be of the most reprehensible sort, so reprehensible that they wouldn't find any qualms with feeding on the blood of living humans to survive.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by PMárk View Post

          But you know what? Regardless all the bad parts, it beats the crap out of growing old, having your body slowly crumbling away under you, having it, and possibly even your mind betraying you and seeing your loved ones dying, not to mention struggling for years with some serious disease, before dying of it. Then, there's the whole death thing and the fact we don't know if there's even anything beyond that, or that we'll just cease to exist and that's it.

          Living with somebody who's recently started to manifest symptoms of dementia (which seems to run in my family), I can absolutely confirm this to be the case. Being a vampire might not be as glamorous as the teenagers like to fantasize it as, but it is a hell of a lot better alternative to whatever personal horror nature has planned for your future!


          I'll gladly endure struggling against the impulses of the Beast, if it means I get to avoid a slow, painful decline into madness!

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post


            The funny thing is that most people traditionally chosen for the Embrace are young, beautiful people who have their whole lives in front of them. It's rare for someone to Embrace a dingy old man in the twilight of their years, they have lives and families they need to leave behind.
            How would you like to spend eternity, as a dingy old person, or as a twenty or thirtysomething? I'd certainly choose the second.

            That you're young doesn't necessarily mean you're unaware of what future holds for you, as a mortal. It's enough to see it in the family, among your loved ones and such. That your whole life is ahead of you? Children and marriage and sunny Sunday afternoons? Not everyone is so keen to have that and, well, compared to eternity and all the mentioned stuff, it's a no brainer for many people I think.

            The one thing I agree is it's true someone will take to unlife like a fish to water, but these people tend to be "damned" in the traditional sense already, and they tend to be of the most reprehensible sort, so reprehensible that they wouldn't find any qualms with feeding on the blood of living humans to survive.
            Well, I don't think they have to be "damned", to take to vampirism more easily. Not to the cutthroat-backstabbing nature of Kindred politics (for taking that in stride immediately, you'd indeed had to be a complete asshat in life), but being a vampire on itself.

            Also, call me reprehensible, if you'd like so, but I never really understood this whole ado around drinking the blood of the living. Especially if you are a considerate feeder and don't kill your donors. Humans kill other beings by the millions every day. You don't even have to kill, you don't have to cause any serious damage, or suffering. Hell, in VtM, the donor will likely thank you after it.

            Yeah, I get it, it's the taboo of cannibalism and the deeply ingrained fear from death manifesting in the collective psyche as the dead feeding on the living. Still, as it works in VtM, honestly, it isn't that bad, or doesn't have to be.
            Last edited by PMárk; 04-23-2019, 12:18 PM.


            If nothing worked, then let's think!

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            • #51
              Also, I just want to mention, that one among the many reasons I love Only Lovers Left Alive, is how it portrays the protagonists as vampires. So different from the usual Interview-like agonizing about being a vampire, or the contemporary obsessing-about-humans melodrama. It was a nearly perfect portrayal of how I envisioned vampires in VtM, particularly the older ones.


              If nothing worked, then let's think!

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              • #52
                It's also funny thing how you guys envision vampirism to be more fun and less boring than being mortal, when it's made a constant point that Kindred politics also serve as diversion from the boring, mind-crushing weight of waiting years and years go by.

                So yeah, humans play video games to escape boredom of being human, vampires engage in politicking to kill each other to escape the boredom of being a vampire. It's all the same thing in the end.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
                  It's also funny thing how you guys envision vampirism to be more fun and less boring than being mortal, when it's made a constant point that Kindred politics also serve as diversion from the boring, mind-crushing weight of waiting years and years go by.

                  So yeah, humans play video games to escape boredom of being human, vampires engage in politicking to kill each other to escape the boredom of being a vampire. It's all the same thing in the end.

                  At no point, have I found any information saying vampires can't do the same things to pass the time as mortals. And now I like to imagine a vampire with a decently high level of humanity distracting himself from the Beast by hanging out in his haven all night playing video games, or producing their own youtube series.

                  Besides, it's not like vampires have actual "eternity" on their side. Unless the Technocracy gets off its ass and gives us the secret to intergalactic travel, mortals are stuck on this planet waiting for the sun to explode. And when that happens, it's going to kill everybody, mortals and kindred alike!

                  Shawarbaaz Oh, yes, having their whole lives ahead of them is really going to matter when you turn them into a vampire and effectively take that opportunity away from them. The thing about being young is that people often assume it means you're inexperienced, or seeking to bring some change to the system.

                  Where as people who are embraced later on in life are probably the kind of people who have built up the necessary resources and connections to be self sufficient in the world of kindred (or at the very least, they've given up on the dreams of youth), and they are less likely to want to change a system that they've already grown comfortable / indoctrinated with over the decades.
                  Last edited by Nyrufa; 04-22-2019, 05:48 PM.

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
                    It's also funny thing how you guys envision vampirism to be more fun and less boring than being mortal, when it's made a constant point that Kindred politics also serve as diversion from the boring, mind-crushing weight of waiting years and years go by.

                    So yeah, humans play video games to escape boredom of being human, vampires engage in politicking to kill each other to escape the boredom of being a vampire. It's all the same thing in the end.
                    You're approaching it from the wrong direction all along, IMO. It's not that being a vampire is inherently more fun, or that a vampire can't be bored to hell and back. It's that they just don't have to waste their life on a big portion of the boring stuff mortals have to do and they could concntrate on the things they feel have a meaning behind them, the things that motivate them.

                    For some, it's politics and court life and bickering with others. For others, it's traveling, or researching ancient lore, or fighting for a "better" world, whatever.

                    Saying that "it's just a distraction" is one way to look at it, but, IMO, a very cynical way. Yes it is. Everything is a "distraction", in comparison to doing nothing, just twirling your thumb. You just have much more time on your hand and more freedom to choose the "distractions" you want to pursue, the ones you feel and think are having a meaning, or at least, are enjoyable, than you do as a mortal, with all the "must do it" stuff and obligations. it's the simple fact that you have the luxury to spend your time on those "distractions", because you don't have to do all the stuff mortals have. Yes, you have different obligations, as a vampire, especially, as a young vampire, but again, you have immortality, you could afford to be patient now, instead of rushing through your life and not doing even ten percent of the stuff you wanted, because of daily life and realizing it only when it's too late and you're old.

                    Also, it's not just vampires. Archmages are extending their lives greatly for the same reasons. Vampirism is just easier to access.
                    Last edited by PMárk; 04-22-2019, 06:08 PM.


                    If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                    • #55
                      PMárk


                      Not to mention that with supernatural powers like those of the vampire, fulfilling those desires would be about 20 times easier than attempting them as a human. I don't ascribe to the idea that a reward isn't satisfying if you don't earn it. I may have a code of honor when it comes to multiplayer, but I always use cheat codes and exploits when I'm playing the game solo.

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                      • #56
                        All interesting, valid ways to look at it, but this paragraph from 1st VtR will always be the way I run things:

                        "If anything is certain, it’s that the Embrace is not some kind of blessed immortality. Existence as a vampire is a curse, and quite possibly a curse handed down by God Himself. While being one of the undead certainly has its advantages — Disciplines, deathlessness, the potential to transcend mortal boundaries — the drawbacks easily outweigh them. The price of undeath is steep, as foolish romantics infatuated by the myth of the vampire occasionally learn. One is forever apart from the world into which he was born, unconsciously shunned by it. Indeed, he can only pretend to be a part of it, and even that for only a short while, as the vampiric state forces him to prey on that world. It is his sustenance now, rather than his company. Never again shall a vampire see the light of the sun without feeling it burn him. Never again will he know the vital pleasures of life. The Requiem is a forced ostracism that may literally last forever. No wonder, then, that so many of the Kindred blind themselves to it with their petty schemes and rivalries. Their endless war, the Danse Macabre, might be the only way to escape their damnation, and even then, it is only a distraction and not true redemption."

                        Of course, it all falls down to personal tastes, but this is my preferred atmosphere.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
                          One is forever apart from the world into which he was born, unconsciously shunned by it. Indeed, he can only pretend to be a part of it, and even that for only a short while, as the vampiric state forces him to prey on that world. It is his sustenance now, rather than his company.
                          So, basically my position in real life, except I get super powers to help me cope with it?

                          Yep, I see no downside here!

                          This is pretty much why I said Changeling is the only game in the series that makes me uncomfortable. Most of the other splats (except Wraith, obviously) would be a step up from my current existence. Changeling, however, would be a step down.

                          Unfortunately, Chronicles of Darkness does not appear to have any games with a premise like Dreaming's, which makes it very difficult to get across the theme of personal horror for people like me.
                          Last edited by Nyrufa; 04-22-2019, 10:59 PM.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                            Vampire can be about multiple things but I do think you lose something fundamental when you forget being a monster is something you're not supposed to Embrace.
                            Not supposed to do?
                            CT, as a writer, I expect better of you: There are stories to be told, and played out by embracing your monster

                            Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
                            Also the way I see it Paths of Enlightenment are a copout. In the end they all boil down to "I want to be the worst possible thing I can be, because that's cool and edgy".
                            Some are bad; I'll admit, but others (most) are great roleplaying tools that allow you to get in to a mindset of someone different and even alien to yourself. They constrain your actions to a certain viewpoint, and make for really interesting philisophical debates in character. I understand that a lot of people don't want that, but that's what the tools are there for, to pull out and use when needed.

                            *It's the crux of the issue with V5's humanity and Touchstones. They aren't a tool you CAN use, but a base that you must, and it eliminates a lot of the possible stories that could be told before.

                            Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
                            The problem with this is that you imagine yourself as the spider in the web, not the fly, when most likely you'll be the latter.
                            It feels like you don't want to have "Fun" with a Vampire game, which can still be there, even with being monsters.
                            But specifically, the Jyhad is set up so that Vampires are Spiders in this Analogy, but neonates are fighting each other for spies, rarely realising that there are bigger spiders up the food chain. You can play the spider to mortal flies for all the time you want (which kinda feels how V5 wants you to play) but I enjoy moving up the chain to get mixed up in the webs of bigger spiders.

                            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                            "Louis" is the main character of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. He is pretty much the source for the Toreador and high humanity vampires who deplore their state.
                            "Still whining Louis!" - Lestat, his maker.

                            In the original text it shows multiple views of Vampirism, some of us sympathise with Lestat and others. Some with the Lost Boys (another influence)
                            None are meant to be "Wrong" They are all options for V:TM. But that means not everyone is meant to be a Louis as well.

                            Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
                            All interesting, valid ways to look at it, but this paragraph from 1st VtR will always be the way I run things:
                            Of course, it all falls down to personal tastes, but this is my preferred atmosphere.
                            If you enjoy Requiem, hats off to you,
                            However (As I've said countless times) this is Masquerade, and it was meant to be the fifth edition of Masquerade, not a new edition of Requiem. Those of us that played early Masq but liked the changes in Req went to play it, perhaps that was you originally playing Masq, but finding it lacking, so you moved to Req. I am honestly happy that you found a better Vampire game for what you want in a Vampire game.

                            But I don't like that Masq is changing to be more like Req - I stayed with Masq because I didn't like the majority of those changes.
                            Last edited by Illithid; 04-23-2019, 01:54 AM.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                              Some are bad; I'll admit, but others (most) are great roleplaying tools that allow you to get in to a mindset of someone different and even alien to yourself. They constrain your actions to a certain viewpoint, and make for really interesting philisophical debates in character. I understand that a lot of people don't want that, but that's what the tools are there for, to pull out and use when needed.

                              *It's the crux of the issue with V5's humanity and Touchstones. They aren't a tool you CAN use, but a base that you must, and it eliminates a lot of the possible stories that could be told before.
                              Path of the Feral Heart is particularly fascinating, because it teaches the vampire to eschew human conveniences and rely almost exclusively on their own vampiric abilities. There can be a lot of fun exploring ways for the vampire to counter human technology with the aid of supernatural abilities.


                              Human: I have a cell phone, allowing me to communicate with people at long distances.

                              Vampire: I have Auspex, allowing me to communicate with people at long distances, and in complete secrecy. And unlike that cellphone of yours, it can't be stolen, hacked into, nor does it leave behind incriminating evidence!

                              Human: Yeah, but unless they're within your range of vision, you have to be familiar with the person to establish a connection.

                              Vampire: Oh really? So how many of those recorded phone numbers did you manage to obtain through guess work? And for that matter, how many random strangers don't immediately hang up on you, after saying you dialed the wrong number?
                              Last edited by Nyrufa; 04-23-2019, 07:53 AM.

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                              • #60
                                Not supposed to do? CT, as a writer, I expect better of you: There are stories to be told, and played out by embracing your monster
                                Stories of being evil are easy.

                                Stories of being good but failing is hard.

                                For me, the best stories in vampires are trying to be good and being twisted because you can't escape the Beast.


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

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