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V5 Touchstones and Humanity; Why I dislike them

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  • No. In my experience, many people simply don't know how. Remember, V5 wasn't designed for experienced roleplayers. It was designed for people brand new to the hobby and touchstones encourage them to think about their characters as people instead of dots. Most new gamers need that nudge to help them flesh out their characters. Hell, my group is made up of all 10+ year experienced storytellers and it drew us deeper into our characters. Also it encourages PCs to be involved with the NPC creation process. They get to design an NPC that they feel close to. That helps storytellers understand the character and focus a bit on that characters history. A good character background IS organic yet often falls to the wayside. This system encourages PCs and Storytellers to delve deeper into the characters.

    Developing touchstones afterwards is just a well crafted npc which should be happening anyways. But I have seen even the most experienced storyteller fail to rope in a shy pc with the best NPCs.

    The main issue is experienced players shitting on a system that wasn't designed for them. Any good VTM storyteller has been crafting 3 dimensional NPCs for years and their players are accustomed to heavy roleplaying. We have also been practicing the golden rule. If its that offensive, don't use it. But I've been storytelling for 20+ years and I've had great experiences with it. Its been a great addition and caused hours of in depth, heavy rp.


    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. 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!
      Because it's not an Optional rule. It should be, and I think that it gives great opportunities for those who want to play that style of game. But that's not how V5 is designed.

      If Players created lone wolves before, that's because they didn't want to explore those aspects of community. If the ST wants to focus on it, they should be directing the players not to make lone-wolves. Easy done.
      The changes like this in V5 seem to be heavy handed, when a ST could control things to play those aspects if they advertised the game as such and guided character creation. Just like the "Focus on street level" that's great if that's what you want for the game (Honestly, with no sarcasm) but V5 has rammed that in as the only option with the rules

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      • It totally is an optional rule. Just like some STs don't use thin bloods. Others don't use humanity. Others RP combat instead of rolling for it. The golden rule still applies. Why could we indiscriminately use it in previous editions but we can't on V5?


        Currently running: Gary/Chicago By Night

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        • Originally posted by Schwartzung View Post
          It totally is an optional rule. Just like some STs don't use thin bloods. Others don't use humanity. Others RP combat instead of rolling for it. The golden rule still applies. Why could we indiscriminately use it in previous editions but we can't on V5?
          Ok, using that reasoning, everything is an optional rule. Yes, the "Golden Rule" allows you to change it, even without the Golden Rules, you can change it.
          But it's not Presented as an Optional rule, which means that if you get in to a game, you have to assume that it is in play unless you can convince the ST to house rule it to change.

          There is a big difference between something listed in a Rule Book as Optional and being able to change the rules listed in the book, as such, it is not an "Optional Rule" but it can, as any rule, be changed.

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          • Your argument also applies to Humanity which many storytellers don't use. And that has NEVER been presented as optional. Same with bloodlines. We tell people all the time "if you don't the generation background, don't use it". How is this any different? It's not. Not at all. In fact the side bar rules vs the actual rules in previous editions measure at 1-100. We cut stuff all the time and use the rules to suit our games. So why does "this ruin VTM"? Why is this rule concrete but we can just claim that "the Sabbat doesn't exist in my game!". Quite simply, the golden rule applies to all rules or none at all. But it's very unfair to hold something you don't like against this edition and not the others.

            (Of course, I'm just positing examples and not tossing accusations)


            Currently running: Gary/Chicago By Night

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            • Originally posted by Schwartzung View Post
              Your argument also applies to Humanity which many storytellers don't use. And that has NEVER been presented as optional.
              Soooo, what does that mean for Paths and Roads, then?
              Last edited by Nyrufa; 05-06-2019, 01:04 AM.

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              • Nothing. Use them if you want. Don't if you don't. Many storytellers don't use them. Others do. Listen, you can nitpick any rule and the golden rule applies.
                Right now I'm not using paths. Simply because I want to see what they do with them so I'm not allowing them. I don't allow them for new players. I generally don't allow them for neonate games or camarilla games. And there's no problem. I use them when appropriate for the game or story I'm working on.


                Currently running: Gary/Chicago By Night

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                • Originally posted by Schwartzung View Post
                  Your argument also applies to Humanity which many storytellers don't use. And that has NEVER been presented as optional. Same with bloodlines. We tell people all the time "if you don't the generation background, don't use it". How is this any different? It's not. Not at all. In fact the side bar rules vs the actual rules in previous editions measure at 1-100. We cut stuff all the time and use the rules to suit our games. So why does "this ruin VTM"? Why is this rule concrete but we can just claim that "the Sabbat doesn't exist in my game!". Quite simply, the golden rule applies to all rules or none at all. But it's very unfair to hold something you don't like against this edition and not the others.
                  Sure, Humanity is a rule (that can be changed) not an "Optional rule" It's a house rule if you want to get rid of it.
                  Discussing whether rules work or not within the system in place, we have to assume all "Rules" are there.

                  If you want to discuss any particular one, we can. BUT the criticism of rules don't disappear because you can house rule them to be removed. In fact, house ruling them to be removed infers an issue with the rule itself (For the group at least)

                  You can't have a meaningful discussion about a game system or aspects of it if the counter point is "You don't have to play it/you don't have to use that rule" It doesn't lead anywhere, it doesn't continue the dialogue on the subject.

                  I want to say, that you're not playing wrong or against the intent by making those changes, just that discussion isn't aided by saying it can be removed.

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                  • I have demonstrated several times why and how touchstones work. The only response I have gotten unless I'm misunderstanding is "I don't like it" so the only other solution is to remove it which is perfectly viable as well.

                    Hating on a game line who's number one rule is to not use what you don't like is silly in my eyes. Totally hypocritical if you look at the fact that we as a community have been cherry picking the rules we use since day one.

                    V5 does have a few issues to be sure, but its not the flaming dung heap people are claiming. Again, as a 20+ yr veteran of WW games, my gaming group of storytellers have fallen in love with V5. And we walked in expecting to hate it. And to be honest, when I see hate towards something as simple and tiny as touchstones, it irks me. Had the debate been about the hunger pool, well I'd be interested to see people's takes who have played. But really, "fully fleshed out npcs, that are made at character creation that my character respects" is the straw that broke the camels back?

                    I've been following this thread trying to understand and I can't see it so I'm merely positing that if its something some people don't like, then remove it.


                    Currently running: Gary/Chicago By Night

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                    • Originally posted by Schwartzung View Post
                      Hating on a game line who's number one rule is to not use what you don't like is silly in my eyes. Totally hypocritical if you look at the fact that we as a community have been cherry picking the rules we use since day one.
                      Yes, games will be plaid with altered rules, I don't deny that, in fact I don't think I've been in a White wolf game that didn't have (and need) House rules since.. early 2nd Ed Exalted.
                      My point is that being able to change it does not make the complaints about aspects of the game invalid.

                      Originally posted by Schwartzung View Post
                      V5 does have a few issues to be sure, but its not the flaming dung heap people are claiming. Again, as a 20+ yr veteran of WW games, my gaming group of storytellers have fallen in love with V5. And we walked in expecting to hate it. And to be honest, when I see hate towards something as simple and tiny as touchstones, it irks me. Had the debate been about the hunger pool, well I'd be interested to see people's takes who have played. But really, "fully fleshed out npcs, that are made at character creation that my character respects" is the straw that broke the camels back?
                      I personally think that, as a stand alone game, V5 is internally consistent and in line with the set out themes.
                      If it wasn't marketed as an edition of Vampire the Masquerade, I'd have no issues whatsoever (From what I can remember, I don't think I had problems with how it works, just that it doesn't flow organically from the 25 years of history of Masquerade, just from 1st edition [Like 1 year of History, 24 years ago] and Requiem
                      As to Touchstones being the straw that break's the camel's back - If it were my only issue, it'd be really easy to eliminate. But this page is specifically "V5 Touchstones and Humanity; Why I dislike them"
                      It's going to focus on that.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Illithid View Post




                        I personally think that, as a stand alone game, V5 is internally consistent and in line with the set out themes.
                        If it wasn't marketed as an edition of Vampire the Masquerade, I'd have no issues whatsoever (From what I can remember, I don't think I had problems with how it works, just that it doesn't flow organically from the 25 years of history of Masquerade, just from 1st edition [Like 1 year of History, 24 years ago] and Requiem
                        As to Touchstones being the straw that break's the camel's back - If it were my only issue, it'd be really easy to eliminate. But this page is specifically "V5 Touchstones and Humanity; Why I dislike them"
                        It's going to focus on that.
                        V5 is indeed a natural progression from the previous editions. I think we can all agree that every edition has had its...issues. Even V20 had a number of issues. And WW has never been clear on their ruleset. It's a running joke at a number of tables "another white wolf rule we have to fix". But thematically they have always been very clear.

                        But keeping to the thread, again I reiterate: the complaint with touchstones amounts to: "I don't like in depth npcs connected to the characters" which to me blows my mind. Again, we all play the game differently and I respect that. But in a role playing game, I fail to see how this is a major issue. Why this makes the edition trash. Now many people have made up their minds. To be fair, I had too until I played it. Thus my point. 90% of people are judging the game without even trying it. We had our doubts during character creation, but in practice the touchstones have had very little effect...no different than a valued npc. Except a couple rules behind it both to the benefit and detriment of the pc. So I guess I'm asking for a concrete argument against it. An informed concrete argument.

                        Reading the book doesn't count. That's like saying a car is garbage because you read the manual but never drove it.


                        Currently running: Gary/Chicago By Night

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                        • Originally posted by Schwartzung View Post
                          Nothing. Use them if you want. Don't if you don't. Many storytellers don't use them. Others do. Listen, you can nitpick any rule and the golden rule applies.
                          Right now I'm not using paths. Simply because I want to see what they do with them so I'm not allowing them. I don't allow them for new players. I generally don't allow them for neonate games or camarilla games. And there's no problem. I use them when appropriate for the game or story I'm working on.

                          I fear you may have missed the point of what I was asking. You said that Humanity was "NEVER" presented as being optional. When the implementation of Paths and Roads as alternate morality systems to Humanity contradicts that very claim.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                            Indeed. Short of a time skip, how would you go about "waiting for them to die?"
                            You were the ones thinking "long-term", so I was assuming a classic chronicle that spans across centuries. I've heard that most humans tend not to survive those.

                            Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                            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
                            1) Sure. You can also minimize Hunger by just never using disciplines above level 1.
                            2) First, it's not just "waiting it out". You need to work on your Ambition for Agg WP to heal - and being too ambitious while low on WP sounds like a recipe for disaster of its own. Second, just how do your game sessions work? Does your group allow you to just put things on hold and spend three sessions idling away, not continuing with the plot while you slowly recuperate your willpower?
                            3) Obviously, yes. But I'd say that's simply balancing that every group has to go through, just like how combat disciplines become much more valuable in chronicles with frequent fights and lenient violence Tenets.

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                            • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post


                              I fear you may have missed the point of what I was asking. You said that Humanity was "NEVER" presented as being optional. When the implementation of Paths and Roads as alternate morality systems to Humanity contradicts that very claim.

                              Not at all. It was an either/or scenario. The concept of morality in some form was never optional and always based on some level as humanity (though I may have worded it poorly. It was late)


                              Currently running: Gary/Chicago By Night

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                              • Originally posted by Schwartzung View Post

                                V5 is indeed a natural progression from the previous editions.
                                No, it's a regression to how a portion of the fanbase always wanted VtM to be (or more accurately, be only just that), some romanticized view stemming from the 1e corebook. It took away stuff and options that were there for 25 years and changed a lot of things, from rules to the overall feel of the setting, so I refuse to call it natural progression. That's like saying D&D 4e's system and the post-Spellplague FR was a natural progression. It's like saying NWoD and Requiem was a natural progression of CWoD and Masquerade.


                                But keeping to the thread, again I reiterate: the complaint with touchstones amounts to: "I don't like in depth npcs connected to the characters" which to me blows my mind. Again, we all play the game differently and I respect that. But in a role playing game, I fail to see how this is a major issue. Why this makes the edition trash. Now many people have made up their minds. To be fair, I had too until I played it. Thus my point. 90% of people are judging the game without even trying it. We had our doubts during character creation, but in practice the touchstones have had very little effect...no different than a valued npc. Except a couple rules behind it both to the benefit and detriment of the pc. So I guess I'm asking for a concrete argument against it. An informed concrete argument.
                                The problem doesn't lie in having fleshed-out npcs. The problem lies in what kind these npcs are and that the rules are forcing them on you, if you want to have convictions. The problem is having obligatory mortal damsels in distress and forcing a particular kind of story down your throat.

                                The backgrounds Allies, Retainers, Mentor, etc. in previous editions always encouraged fleshed-out npcs tied to the character, but they weren't obligatory, tied to the Humanity system, or assumed a specific style of play and story type.


                                If nothing worked, then let's think!

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