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V5 Touchstones and Humanity; Why I dislike them

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  • #91
    Okay, then... what would you like to happen when you choose Convictions that mirror conventional morality? Gain Humanity? Because in a situation where you were never in danger of losing Humanity because you adhere to the Tenets anyway, what Humanity-related benefit could you gain, considering "nothing happens" is usually the best you can hope for when it comes to Humanity changes?
    V5 makes it worthwhile to stand up for your beliefs. That benefit is located outside of the Humanity meter, though it is very helpful in keeping Humanity, because more Willpower is always a good thing when the Beast comes calling.

    Further, Convictions of course are "The stuff I was going to do anyway" - the difference is that there's now a baseline for the group that can get modified, but no longer ignored outright. Even a Conviction "murder hoboes are the best thing ever!" cannot completely save you from the "Don't murderhobo!" Tenet completely.

    Also, assuming you disallow some extremely vague and blanket Convictions like "Do what's necessary", could you provide some where you feel that a good guy vampire would be better-served touchstoning a psychopath?

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    • #92
      Originally posted by Cifer View Post

      Further, Convictions of course are "The stuff I was going to do anyway" - the difference is that there's now a baseline for the group that can get modified, but no longer ignored outright. Even a Conviction "murder hoboes are the best thing ever!" cannot completely save you from the "Don't murderhobo!" Tenet completely.
      The reason I would see an issue with this is two fold:

      1 - If your Convictions mirror conventional morality anyways, then either the convictions, or the morality itself becomes redundant. You've got two forces driving your character into the same code of behavior.

      2 - If your Convictions are opposed to conventional morality, then it goes back to my earlier post about using game mechanics to do the exact opposite of what conventional morality dictates you should do. In which case, deciding on a conventional set of morality between everybody was a waste of time, because your players are actively finding loop holes to get around it.

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      • #93
        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
        1 - If your Convictions mirror conventional morality anyways, then either the convictions, or the morality itself becomes redundant. You've got two forces driving your character into the same code of behavior.
        When you drink blood, you reduce the frequency of Messy Criticals and Bestial Failures. When you drink blood, you can also use more discipline powers. Should the latter part be excised from the game because drinking blood is already incentivised?
        Additionally, Convictions and Tenets do not usually drive the same kind of behavior. Tenets inform what you've got to do, or, more often, not do, to not be a monster. Convictions inform what you're willing to suffer for in order to be a good person.
        The Tenet "Thou shalt not kill" means you shouldn't kill anyone and probably also not directly cause the death of people. That mugging over there in the dark alley that looks like it might go wrong? You might not feel great about it, but it's not your problem.
        That's when the Conviction "Thou shalt not kill" incentivises you to sigh, turn around and do something about it, maybe even jump in front of a bullet if you have to.

        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
        2 - If your Convictions are opposed to conventional morality, then it goes back to my earlier post about using game mechanics to do the exact opposite of what conventional morality dictates you should do. In which case, deciding on a conventional set of morality between everybody was a waste of time, because your players are actively finding loop holes to get around it.
        The game has rules for what happens when you are hit by a bullet in a mugging in a dark alley. The game also has rules for Fortitude. Does possessing Fortitude mean "actively finding loop holes" when your group has agreed that getting shot is usually a bad thing?
        Just like with bullets and Fortitude, people with certain Convictions can stomach specific sins more easily. And the word specific is important here, because it will be rare for anyone to possess a Conviction that is the exact opposite of a Tenet and applies in every situation where the Tenet is broken. Instead, it will usually modify the Tenet for specific players. Where others have "Thou shalt not kill", for some players it may be "Thou shalt not kill, but it's a little less bad when you're killing a slaver." And I must say I like how Vampire has finally found a good way to handle conflicting ideals for characters here. Not everyone has the same exact morality, but most people agree on some basic things and differ in the specifics rather than being either completely of one mind or having a wildly diverging and utterly inhumane code.
        Last edited by Cifer; 04-25-2019, 05:27 PM.

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        • #94
          Originally posted by Cifer View Post
          When you drink blood, you reduce the frequency of Messy Criticals and Bestial Failures. When you drink blood, you can also use more discipline powers. Should the latter part be excised from the game because drinking blood is already incentivised?

          The game has rules for what happens when you are hit by a bullet in a mugging in a dark alley. The game also has rules for Fortitude. Does possessing Fortitude mean "actively finding loop holes" when your group has agreed that getting shot is usually a bad thing?

          1 - Drinking blood to keep the Beast at bay is a necessity, and is in no way associated with morality. That's like saying a human is morally obligated to consume food, so that they don't suffer from debilitating hallucinations before collapsing from exhaustion.

          2 - Getting hit by a bullet is a bad thing for a mortal, sure. But as I said before, you aren't playing a mortal, you're playing a vampire. The bullet is going to hurt, sure, but if it's just one bullet fired from a sidearm you can purchase off the street, then it's probably not going to inflict more than superficial damage to the vampire. If anything, it's probably going to piss them off, as they proceed to rip the gun out of the mugger's hand and beat them unconscious with it.

          Do bullets still inflict Bashing damage to vampires in 5th edition?
          Last edited by Nyrufa; 04-25-2019, 05:42 PM.

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          • #95
            Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post


            1 - Drinking blood to keep the Beast at bay is a necessity, and is in no way associated with morality. That's like saying a human is morally obligated to consume food, so that they don't suffer from debilitating hallucinations before collapsing from exhaustion.

            2 - Getting hit by a bullet is a bad thing for a mortal, sure. But as I said before, you aren't playing a mortal, you're playing a vampire. The bullet is going to hurt, sure, but if it's just one bullet fired from a sidearm you can purchase off the street, then it's probably not going to inflict more than superficial damage to the vampire. If anything, it's probably going to piss them off, as they proceed to rip the gun out of the mugger's hand and beat them unconscious with it.

            Do bullets still inflict Bashing damage to vampires in 5th edition?

            There is only Superficial and Aggravated damage in V5. Bullets, swords, etc. all inflict Superficial damage to Vampires, while they inflict Aggravated damage to mortals. Vampires take agg from certain powers, sunlight, fire, and fangs (which do a fixed damage amount).

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            • #96
              As a player of many older Vampires (Because I love a good Chronicle of Ages) you know what; the new "Aggravated" Willpower damage issue isn't a strong factor for needing those touchstones. We're talking about planning out the long game; with tactics like killing said Touchstone to maintain humanity in the long run; recover Agg WP damage in whatever usual time you can, just use the time to plan things out better and avoid conflict. That's how a vampire survives to old age.
              That, and getting lackeys in to the front lines to take that damage for you...

              *But I personally think that the Willpower damage from social encounters as well as the Bestial Failure/Messy Critical systes combine to make Vampires unable to be social in groups like at Elysium, Especially if the rules are applied across the NPC-NPC interactions as they should theoretically be.

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              • #97
                Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                As a player of many older Vampires (Because I love a good Chronicle of Ages) you know what; the new "Aggravated" Willpower damage issue isn't a strong factor for needing those touchstones. We're talking about planning out the long game; with tactics like killing said Touchstone to maintain humanity in the long run; recover Agg WP damage in whatever usual time you can, just use the time to plan things out better and avoid conflict. That's how a vampire survives to old age.
                That, and getting lackeys in to the front lines to take that damage for you...

                *But I personally think that the Willpower damage from social encounters as well as the Bestial Failure/Messy Critical systes combine to make Vampires unable to be social in groups like at Elysium, Especially if the rules are applied across the NPC-NPC interactions as they should theoretically be.
                I actually mostly agree. It is absolutely inevitable that you'll roll a bestial failure or messy critical at some point, and because willpower damage is incurred in social conflicts, spending willpower to reroll that is even more harsh, and that's even assuming it's possible (Two huger dice coming up ten, not that unlikely in an elysium with likely vast amounts of social disciplines being thrown around and a lot of social combat occuring resulting in a lot of dice rolls. I mean, shit, even if there are only like 10 vampires there you're almost guranteed a messy crit or bestial failure every time they meet

                Unless the assumption is that they just drain a mortal to death every time they plan on attending... Which I guess is plausible but seems to once again point to there perhaps being something flawed with the presentation of things.
                Last edited by PixelPuzzler; 04-25-2019, 11:57 PM.

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by PMárk View Post

                  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.

                  I realize this contradicts my previous stance on being in favor of existence as a vampire. But this reminds me of a funny quote I found on a video about ideas for the Vicious Mockery cantrip:

                  "Elves live 10 times longer than humans, and accomplish 10 times less!"

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                  • #99
                    Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                    As a player of many older Vampires (Because I love a good Chronicle of Ages) you know what; the new "Aggravated" Willpower damage issue isn't a strong factor for needing those touchstones. We're talking about planning out the long game; with tactics like killing said Touchstone to maintain humanity in the long run; recover Agg WP damage in whatever usual time you can, just use the time to plan things out better and avoid conflict. That's how a vampire survives to old age.
                    That, and getting lackeys in to the front lines to take that damage for you...
                    I think particularly in the long run, killing touchstones is a pretty bad idea. First, it seems you can simply wait for them to die on their own and then not look for replacements. Second, consider that a touchstone destroyed by something other than your actions only gives you two stains - that means if the Conviction applies for stain reduction three times, you're already in the plus humanity-wise.
                    And further, having more WP available actually is the thing that allows you to plan things out better. Every two WP is one extra success on a roll against Frenzy. Every one WP is three rerolled dice in the check that really counts. Because sure, you can try to live slowly and carefully, but sooner or later, there will be situations that are do-or-die. You can minimize the amount of those, hide behind underlings, roll over rather than stand up, but that doesn't eliminate the possibility – and when those situations aren't random, but at the hands of your enemies, they will try and aim for the times where you're as vulnerable as possible.

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                    • Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                      I think particularly in the long run, killing touchstones is a pretty bad idea. First, it seems you can simply wait for them to die on their own and then not look for replacements. Second, consider that a touchstone destroyed by something other than your actions only gives you two stains - that means if the Conviction applies for stain reduction three times, you're already in the plus humanity-wise.
                      And further, having more WP available actually is the thing that allows you to plan things out better. Every two WP is one extra success on a roll against Frenzy. Every one WP is three rerolled dice in the check that really counts. Because sure, you can try to live slowly and carefully, but sooner or later, there will be situations that are do-or-die. You can minimize the amount of those, hide behind underlings, roll over rather than stand up, but that doesn't eliminate the possibility – and when those situations aren't random, but at the hands of your enemies, they will try and aim for the times where you're as vulnerable as possible.
                      It'd be an interesting thing to look at in depth; but raw randomness (And emphasis in the particular story) would factor in too much to analyse well
                      Touchstones with their convictions can benefit you - lowered "Sin Stains" for maintaining humanity. (*1) and healing Agg willpower (*2)
                      but could cost you stains as they change or are damaged (*3)

                      *1 - Negated use by playing a character in line with the chronicle tenants and not getting said sins in the first place
                      *2 - Can just wait it out to heal instead
                      *3 - very much weighted on how much the ST or other players are going to target the touchstones in game

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                      • Originally posted by Illithid View Post

                        *3 - very much weighted on how much the ST or other players are going to target the touchstones in game
                        Indeed. Short of a time skip, how would you go about "waiting for them to die?"

                        It would raise some suspicion if your Touchstone is attacked or captured, and your character decides to just stand there, or wander aimlessly through the city, rather than attempt to save them.

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                        • I think you guys are losing the spirit of touchstones. This is an RP opportunity for the character and player as well as an npc that is important to a pc. It may be a resource or something else but its there intrinsically tied to your character. If you don't want it, simply don't use it. Why make it complicated with trying to kill it (how a character can justify that, I have no idea) or just waiting for it to die (again, important to the pc...) when you simply don't need to use the rule. In my game, we don't even notice the touchstones but we have great npcs the players engage with and have some history with and it works great!


                          Currently running: Gary/Chicago By Night

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                          • Originally posted by Schwartzung View Post
                            I think you guys are losing the spirit of touchstones. This is an RP opportunity for the character and player as well as an npc that is important to a pc.
                            As somebody who occasionally writes as a hobby, I must disagree with this assessment.

                            Back in the old days, when we wanted our characters to have a strong, emotional connection to each other, we formed it organically through the spirit of role playing. We didn't need some in game mechanic shouting "you are emotionally invested in this character's well being!"
                            Last edited by Nyrufa; 05-05-2019, 10:18 PM.

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                            • Oh I agree. Unfortunately I can't count the number of games I have seen where everyone the new character knows is dead and they are the solo lone wolf. Seems pretty standard. So any mechanic that encourages great npcs and brings people out of their shell and helps them roleplay, I am 100% behind


                              Currently running: Gary/Chicago By Night

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                              • Originally posted by Schwartzung View Post
                                Oh I agree. Unfortunately I can't count the number of games I have seen where everyone the new character knows is dead and they are the solo lone wolf. Seems pretty standard.
                                But that's the main issue though, isn't it?

                                If the standard role playing experience is the player's character not having much (if any) remaining attachments to their former life, it probably signifies they aren't interested in those kinds of stories in the first place. And forcing them into such a narrative is likely to scare them off, rather than pull them in.

                                A better option would be to allow the player to develop touchstones after character creation (rather than during it), so that it both feels more organic, and gives the player the sense that they had some say in the matter.

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