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V5 Touchstones and Humanity; Why I dislike them

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  • #61
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    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.

    Stories about being charismatically evil are just as hard, and arguably even more fun, if you can successfully pull it off.

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    • #62
      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:

      "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."
      Yeah, and it's VtR 1e, which is just one of the many takes possible on vampirism and it was somewhat of a reactionary, well, reaction, precisely for the 15-ish years of VtM, focusing on one particular playstyle and throwing out many things the mentioned fans, who never came around to make peace with VtM's epic elements and how many people played it, complained for long, as a very vocal, but not majority part of the fanbase (again, including some writers and developers). That's why VtR was "how Vampire should have been all along" for those people. It was the first step in the direction that culminated in V5 (hell, the WW folks even said that in their oppinion, VtR is propbably the "better" game, which I take as they are in that camp). No wonder many VtM fans hated it with fervor, until V20 came along and they got back the game they wanted, which was as much QotD and Lost Boys as Interview.

      Of course, it all falls down to personal tastes, but this is my preferred atmosphere.
      And there's nothing wrong with that. VtR is absolutely legitimate and has its ardent fanbase, just like V5 and old VtM. All are valid takes on the general theme and I won't berate anyone preferring any of them over the others.

      Hell, there are other games out there, where you could play a vampire, without any of the Beast and Humanity stuff, just having the need for blood and the usual curses and they're totaly okay too.


      If nothing worked, then let's think!

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      • #63
        Also, it came to my mind yesterday, after this discussion, but let's entertain this idea: how much the allure of vampirism is different from transhumanism, really?

        Both are stemming from the profound fear of dying, or growing old and from the desire of transcending the limitations of the human flesh. Both have their assumed downsides, the alienation aspect, etc. It's just, one is mystical and the other a scientific approach to it.

        And yeah, transhumanism has its questions adn many fears attached to it, but we don't regard it as an absolute negative.

        Also, consider this too: who was saying, in WoD, the most ardently, that vampires are damned, that vampirism is a Curse of God? The church. What is the thing the Church sells and controlls people with? Yep, the promise of an afterlife and eternal existence...


        If nothing worked, then let's think!

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Illithid View Post
          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.
          Yup.



          "Still whining Louis!" - Lestat, his maker.
          Hah, I loved that!

          Also, the end of the movie, where he says to the riporter, as listening to the interview: "Could you imagine? I had to listen to this shit all the fucking time." Or something along those lines.


          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.
          Yes. Playing the reluctant vampire, who's struggling with his state could be a great experience and fun,a s well as playing the opposite.


          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.
          Absolutely agree, with all my heart.



          If nothing worked, then let's think!

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by PMárk View Post
            I'd be a bit more pesky about the details, though, since if I'd want to put any label on myself, which I don't, normally, it'd be "individualist". I'd have serious problems with the idea of serving a higher power. Again, no wonder Mage had a profound impact on me, as a teen and during my early twenties and that my favorite group is the Hollowers.
            Yeah, I would personally prefer to remain an individualist, as well. But if the way to get what I want involves serving a higher power, then so be it. I like to think of myself as a pragmatist, and I've got no problems with working alongside my enemies, so long as I get what I want out of the arrangement.

            The primary reason why I love magic so much, is because it offers the power to change the world. I don't mean some metaphorical bull crap like revolutionizing society, I mean truly change the way the world works. Access to magic, bending reality itself to our own will, is perhaps the closest we mortals can get to achieving divinity. And if I ever Awakened, I would fight tooth and nail to destroy the Technocracy and all that it stood for.

            As you can probably guess, my favorite group seems to be The Marauders.
            Last edited by Nyrufa; 04-23-2019, 12:43 PM.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              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.
              I'm not going to argue on what's best, I don't care about what is best, because I want options, not to play the "Best" as the only thing, I want to explore good and evil, or Blue and Orange Morality. I want things that are different.

              There are Stories, good or Bad from different perspectives, but My Bad could be your good and Vice Versa.

              Narrowing the options is a disappointment, saying there's one way that you're "supposed to" is saying that they way you enjoy it is the way everyone should enjoy it or play something different.

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                I'm not going to argue on what's best, I don't care about what is best, because I want options, not to play the "Best" as the only thing, I want to explore good and evil, or Blue and Orange Morality. I want things that are different.

                There are Stories, good or Bad from different perspectives, but My Bad could be your good and Vice Versa.

                Narrowing the options is a disappointment, saying there's one way that you're "supposed to" is saying that they way you enjoy it is the way everyone should enjoy it or play something different.

                Agreed 100%. I always hate being forced to play a character in one specific focus. To me, it feels like the agency of choice has been stripped from me as a player, and the character I made is being railroaded towards a certain play style.

                On a slightly related note, this is the reason why I prefer Pathfinder's version of Tieflings, to those of D&D. The later's Tieflings are all assumed to be descended from one of the nine Arch Devils of Hell. While the former allows Tieflings from virtually all species of Fiend. I wouldn't be opposed to playing a Devil blooded Tiefling, but I want it to be my choice to do so, rather than having the game force me into taking that route.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                  On a slightly related note, this is the reason why I prefer Pathfinder's version of Tieflings, to those of D&D. The later's Tieflings are all assumed to be descended from one of the nine Arch Devils of Hell. While the former allows Tieflings from virtually all species of Fiend. I wouldn't be opposed to playing a Devil blooded Tiefling, but I want it to be my choice to do so, rather than having the game force me into taking that route.
                  From 3.5 or 4th ed, I don't think they'd put in the specific heritage, it was just something "demonic/devilish" (But that's a long time since I looked at those books.)
                  More importantly, in the core books, what ancestor you had didn't have a Mechanical difference, It was just story. And My main groups' roleplaying style is heavily focused on the Story being the most important thing

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                  • #69
                    Vampire has always been game of thrones with fangs.

                    The personal horror was there but was a secondary thing becuase you cannot have vampires doing bizantine politics and backstabbing if all of them are busy morning over the exanguinated body of their girlfriend or having problem to feeds.Heck if the vampire in question doesn´t have the mental resilence to acept the fact that he is no longer human then he is ashes in the morning , it´s called the survival of the fittest.

                    That said what it is the main theme is completly irrelevant becuase there isnt any supossed true way of playing the game as long as you are having fun.


                    https://www.deviantart.com/cicerondixit/gallery

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                    • #70
                      Now analizing the touchstsones they are a great concept that personally i would integrate in the masquerade as a merit but as V5 is obssesed with forcing the players to play as angsty teenager vampires the idea becomes limited and repetive to the point where instead of making the players want to play personal horror histories the mechanic is so boring that the players and ST just outright ignore it as the OP said.

                      Examples of this repetitiveness comes in the form of overload becuase as you have to create 3 touchstones per character , so now thes ST has the problem of having to add 3 extra NPCs in a Story taking time from the session , the Story essential NPC and more importantly the PCs so touchstones become tertiary characters at best.

                      Another problem of the Touchstone thing is that each one represents one human value and that means that we are AGAIN being limited , where have the paths gone? I love the idea of having a tailored humanity but V5 takes and smashes it to the ground by taking from the players the hability to chose to an alien morale.

                      Requiem 2ED touchstone system worked well becuase it was flexible and allowed you to have non-human touchstones and never forced you to have more than one so if you didnt like the rule you could just make the others players your touchstones to add more drama if one of them dies or outright choose a place or item as a touchstone.


                      https://www.deviantart.com/cicerondixit/gallery

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Illithid View Post

                        From 3.5 or 4th ed, I don't think they'd put in the specific heritage, it was just something "demonic/devilish" (But that's a long time since I looked at those books.)
                        More importantly, in the core books, what ancestor you had didn't have a Mechanical difference, It was just story. And My main groups' roleplaying style is heavily focused on the Story being the most important thing

                        I was more happy about the concept of different body types. Since D&D's are pretty much stereotyped as being these clearly fiendish, yet still extremely attractive devil people. While in Pathfinder, you've got Tieflings descended from Qlippoth, Rakshasa, Oni est. All of which can have appearances and features that drastically differ from the norm.

                        Beast-Brood, for anybody who's ever wanted to play a Furry Tiefling.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Leandro16 View Post

                          Examples of this repetitiveness comes in the form of overload becuase as you have to create 3 touchstones per character , so now thes ST has the problem of having to add 3 extra NPCs in a Story taking time from the session , the Story essential NPC and more importantly the PCs so touchstones become tertiary characters at best.

                          Another problem of the Touchstone thing is that each one represents one human value and that means that we are AGAIN being limited , where have the paths gone? I love the idea of having a tailored humanity but V5 takes and smashes it to the ground by taking from the players the hability to chose to an alien morale.


                          Wait, they have to be living people? That's even more of a terrible decision! What are you going to do in a couple generations, when your touch stones grow old and die? Latch on to their descendants? That doesn't sound like you're holding on to your humanity, it sounds like you're desperately struggling to let go of your old life, and it will probably result in a downward spiral into madness!

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                            Wait, they have to be living people? That's even more of a terrible decision! What are you going to do in a couple generations, when your touch stones grow old and die? Latch on to their descendants? That doesn't sound like you're holding on to your humanity, it sounds like you're desperately struggling to let go of your old life, and it will probably result in a downward spiral into madness!
                            Yes they have to be living, so you will drop humanity when they die or have to transfer the ideal to another living embodiment of the concept (With a difficult roll)

                            To game the system, you select one (As it's 1-3) at character creation and kill them. You drop 2 humanity, but don't risk the humanity loss of bad things randomly happening to them or other vampires targeting you through the touchstones.

                            The fact that you can game it by doing the opposite of intended really makes it seem poorly designed

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                            • #74
                              Indeed. And you don't even drop 2 humanity, if I understand it well. You gain 3 Taints, which may or may not affect your Humanity depending on how well you roll (hence it's better to break your bond at the end of the sesion, to better calculate the guilt)

                              Another irony (considering that Touchstones are supposed to represent a bulwark for your morality) it's that if you already intended to RP a "good vampire" in a general sense and thus, most likely, you intended not to break the Tenents, you may be better off without Touchstones. Having them gives you a shield for when you break the Tenents (sometimes) in exchange for other ways of losing humanity. So, the more you manage to avoid breaking the universal morality of the chronicle, the less net gain you get from having Touchstones.

                              If we go to that, the more your Convictions reflect the general morality, the less useful they are (as a shield for when you break it). So, if you plan to use Touchstones to keep Humanity, you may end being better off adoring a psychopath sadist than a benevolent martir
                              Last edited by Aleph; 04-24-2019, 08:47 AM.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                                Yes they have to be living, so you will drop humanity when they die or have to transfer the ideal to another living embodiment of the concept (With a difficult roll)
                                That is not what happens. A touchstone dying peacefully without somehow betraying what they stand for in your mind does exactly nothing to reduce your Humanity. It can remove the conviction if you can't find a suitable replacement and bond with it (it's unclear if you can try that multiple times upon finding suitable potential touchstones), but unless your touchstone dies violently or by your actions, nothing happens to your humanity, barring very strange chronicle tenets.

                                To game the system, you select one (As it's 1-3) at character creation and kill them. You drop 2 humanity, but don't risk the humanity loss of bad things randomly happening to them or other vampires targeting you through the touchstones.

                                The fact that you can game it by doing the opposite of intended really makes it seem poorly designed
                                Why do you think that is "the opposite of intended", considering the very same page gives the example of a vampire doing just that? "I must be free of this vulnerability, so I'll kill it myself" is absolutely a common literary motif. However, most games will likely have tenets that go against murder, so you'll likely take more than the minimum 3 Stains.

                                Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                                Another irony (considering that Touchstones are supposed to represent a bulwark for your morality) it's that if you already intended to RP a "good vampire" in a general sense and thus, most likely, you intended not to break the Tenents, you may be better off without Touchstones. Having them gives you a shield for when you break the Tenents (sometimes) in exchange for other ways of losing humanity. So, the more you manage to avoid breaking the universal morality of the chronicle, the less net gain you get from having Touchstones.

                                If we go to that, the more your Convictions reflect the general morality, the less useful they are (as a shield for when you break it). So, if you plan to use Touchstones to keep Humanity, you may end being better off adoring a psychopath sadist than a benevolent martir
                                While that may be the case, you seem to be ignoring another massive benefit of Touchstones and Convictions: You can use them to regenerate Aggravated Willpower damage (see page 159). Speak up on behalf of the elder's mistreated ghouls? You may have earned yourself a kicking, but since Slavery Is Evil, you also got that Agg WP back. Considering that you can heal at best one per session otherwise, that is extremely helpful.
                                Last edited by Cifer; 04-24-2019, 09:50 AM.

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