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V5 Touchstones and Humanity; Why I dislike them

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  • PixelPuzzler
    started a topic V5 Touchstones and Humanity; Why I dislike them

    V5 Touchstones and Humanity; Why I dislike them

    So the premise here is fairly simple. Humanity as a system exists to more or less punish players for being shitty and add some drama for doing so. Not a bad idea. Touchstones seem like a way to encourage characters to care about humanity and Humanity by giving them concrete representations of what they value.

    Here's the issues I run into, having played Revised, V20 and now V5. The game is supposed to be one of personal horror but I've never actually played in one in over 6 years that wasn't just political intrigue. Humans are never interacted with outside of using them as tools, they just get a social discipline dropped on their head and move on. No one interacts with or cares about humans in most iterations of the game to my experience, and focusing on them detracts from what I have seen to be people's actual interest in the game. Politics and Power (Disciplines and otherwise).

    I've been in a few games of V5 so far and this co tinues to hold true. No one interacts with their touchstones and hell, you don't even really need interactable touchstones per many of the books suggestions (Baseball players and the like, people you just glance at from afar once every week). So touchstones are just a theoretical for the most part, a minor distraction during chargen and either forgotten about or distracting from the actual "fun" bits of the game.

    Adding to that, Humanity falls into a similar boat, slapping you with a penalty that discourages you from interacting with humans even more as it drops and discouraging you from playing the way the writers portray vampires. Vampires are callous bastards who don't give a shit about people in all the written stories and in most games and honestly just giving your enemies more weak points to target, which will ruin you. Add to that the insane difficulty of raising humanity and the inevitability of incurring stains thanks to hunger dice and I see little point.

    So I think touchstones are largely just a huge section of wasted material, humanity is an annoying stick for the GM to slap you with, and the whole combination just something that gets in the way of actual gameplay.

    Thoughts?

  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Or 5E Humanity is not Classic Humanity.

    Leave a comment:


  • Redwulfe
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    I think the Old Heirarchy doesn't apply because the new Humanity is not humanity as we knew it.

    It's about staining your Convictions and the Chronicle Morality.

    Which could have used more detail than more Feeding types.
    A much less lengthy way to boil it down to what I think the system tells me. Humanity is not Humanity. Thanks, CTPhipps.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Redwulfe View Post

    Sticking to RAW my explanation is this: There is no listing of what would cause you a stain in the Humanity level descriptions. And yes they are similar to previous edition description but these are just descriptions, not the rules that cause humanity to drop. The descriptions read more like guidelines on how a vampire of that level would behave or act. The rules for each level are bullet pointed to distinguish them from the description which further seems to me that they are trying to make a distinction but that is an interpretation as I don't know what the writers intended.

    In previous editions, they used a Hierarchy of Sins to tell you what would cause you to make a humanity roll to see if degradation would happen, in this one you get stains that are then dealt with with a remorse roll to see if you humanity degrades

    The only thing that gives you stains as stated in the book are actions that breach a tenet, Blood bonding mortals, Embracing mortals, and damage to or destruction of your Touchstones. Now obviously you can apply one of the core designs of the game and give stains for whatever you wish. The design of the game from the golden rule to several passages in the text encourage you to change what you don't like or choose how you wish to play or apply the guidelines therein.

    Humanity is a part of the equation that encompasses the moral system of the game. Tenets, Stains, and Convictions make up the rest. but that is just my opinion, I would encourage anyone to play however you wish and using previous editions Hierarchy of sins would be just fine in this system as an extension to the Stain chart on page 240 if you wish.
    I think the Old Heirarchy doesn't apply because the new Humanity is not humanity as we knew it.

    It's about staining your Convictions and the Chronicle Morality.

    Which could have used more detail than more Feeding types.

    Leave a comment:


  • Redwulfe
    replied
    Originally posted by PMárk View Post

    Then, explain the description of the levels of humanity (almost copy-paste of the earlier editions) in the corebook and the remark of the writers that certain actions should always cause stains.

    Yes, it doesn't have a hierarchy of sins. They've tried to blend the old Humanity's moral approach and the VtR2 take on humanity. How well they've succeded is up to everyone's personal taste, but I'd say it undeniably has a moral aspect, not just the VtR2-like mingling with humans and avoiding vampiric stuff as a benchmark for humanity.
    Sticking to RAW my explanation is this: There is no listing of what would cause you a stain in the Humanity level descriptions. And yes they are similar to previous edition description but these are just descriptions, not the rules that cause humanity to drop. The descriptions read more like guidelines on how a vampire of that level would behave or act. The rules for each level are bullet pointed to distinguish them from the description which further seems to me that they are trying to make a distinction but that is an interpretation as I don't know what the writers intended.

    In previous editions, they used a Hierarchy of Sins to tell you what would cause you to make a humanity roll to see if degradation would happen, in this one you get stains that are then dealt with with a remorse roll to see if you humanity degrades

    The only thing that gives you stains as stated in the book are actions that breach a tenet, Blood bonding mortals, Embracing mortals, and damage to or destruction of your Touchstones. Now obviously you can apply one of the core designs of the game and give stains for whatever you wish. The design of the game from the golden rule to several passages in the text encourage you to change what you don't like or choose how you wish to play or apply the guidelines therein.

    Humanity is a part of the equation that encompasses the moral system of the game. Tenets, Stains, and Convictions make up the rest. but that is just my opinion, I would encourage anyone to play however you wish and using previous editions Hierarchy of sins would be just fine in this system as an extension to the Stain chart on page 240 if you wish.

    Leave a comment:


  • PMárk
    replied
    Originally posted by Redwulfe View Post
    I didn’t say humanity as in what we know from early editions. I meant trying to be close to what they did in real life as a human. Going out to clubs, hosting parties socializing with other humans. Art gallery openings and the like.

    Humanity in V5, from my understanding of the system I am reading and playing with, is about how human you are not how humane you are. Basically, it's not an all-encompassing moral system with a hierarchy of sins and such. Your personal beliefs, your path from older systems, is what convictions represent and your societal morals, the hierarchy of sins, is represented by the chronicle tenets, which apply to and are chosen by the player characters. It seems to be more of a scale form paragon of Humanity as a whole, pious individuals, to you are nothing more than a vampiric beast. Humanity (V5) in my opinion is not Humanity (Earlier editions).

    This is why it makes sense to me that you will physically become more inhuman the lower you go. In an actual human, they may have that look about them but in vampires, it is more looking dead than fully tattooed, scared or rough looking. The book describes the ramifications for vampires since it is written for that rather than for playing a mortal. Or at least that is my understanding of what is being conveyed in the text.
    Then, explain the description of the levels of humanity (almost copy-paste of the earlier editions) in the corebook and the remark of the writers that certain actions should always cause stains.

    Yes, it doesn't have a hierarchy of sins. They've tried to blend the old Humanity's moral approach and the VtR2 take on humanity. How well they've succeded is up to everyone's personal taste, but I'd say it undeniably has a moral aspect, not just the VtR2-like mingling with humans and avoiding vampiric stuff as a benchmark for humanity.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post


    Burying a corpse in a king's tomb with a line of tourists won't make it any more alive than a shallow ditch in the middle of nowhere.

    Still, I find myself wondering why the Toreador, of all clans, are the ones who are said to have such an easy time of blending in with society. Brujah share two of their disciplines. And the Followers of Set are all about corrupting society from the inside out. Any of the clans which have access to Presence, and some kind of driving motivation to engage with society could do what the Toreador do.
    To be fair, the Toreador and Brujah are the two clans that blend in easiest.

    The Followers of Set and Ventrue are able to rule over humans but never blend.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nyrufa
    replied
    Originally posted by Redwulfe View Post
    I didn’t say humanity as in what we know from early editions. I meant trying to be close to what they did in real life as a human. Going out to clubs, hosting parties socializing with other humans. Art gallery openings and the like.

    .

    Burying a corpse in a king's tomb with a line of tourists won't make it any more alive than a shallow ditch in the middle of nowhere.

    Still, I find myself wondering why the Toreador, of all clans, are the ones who are said to have such an easy time of blending in with society. Brujah share two of their disciplines. And the Followers of Set are all about corrupting society from the inside out. Any of the clans which have access to Presence, and some kind of driving motivation to engage with society could do what the Toreador do.
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 06-06-2019, 12:06 PM.

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  • Redwulfe
    replied
    I didn’t say humanity as in what we know from early editions. I meant trying to be close to what they did in real life as a human. Going out to clubs, hosting parties socializing with other humans. Art gallery openings and the like.

    Humanity in V5, from my understanding of the system I am reading and playing with, is about how human you are not how humane you are. Basically, it's not an all-encompassing moral system with a hierarchy of sins and such. Your personal beliefs, your path from older systems, is what convictions represent and your societal morals, the hierarchy of sins, is represented by the chronicle tenets, which apply to and are chosen by the player characters. It seems to be more of a scale form paragon of Humanity as a whole, pious individuals, to you are nothing more than a vampiric beast. Humanity (V5) in my opinion is not Humanity (Earlier editions).

    This is why it makes sense to me that you will physically become more inhuman the lower you go. In an actual human, they may have that look about them but in vampires, it is more looking dead than fully tattooed, scared or rough looking. The book describes the ramifications for vampires since it is written for that rather than for playing a mortal. Or at least that is my understanding of what is being conveyed in the text.
    Last edited by Redwulfe; 06-05-2019, 07:05 PM.

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    Originally posted by Redwulfe View Post
    Not to mention Toreador by stereotype try to cling to there human nature more than other clans. This may be a reasoning why they do so.

    Actually, if there are any clans who cling to humanity, it's the Brujah and the Tremere.

    The former are consumed by passion and ideologies which the other clans have become numb to, both on the inside and out. Even if rebellion is part of their curse, the fact remains that the Brujah are still able to believe in something greater than themselves. A notion which may be ridiculous to the self centered, power hungry members of the other clans.

    The later are obsessed with bettering their lot in life, exploring new ways to tackle old problems, and always striving for greater achievements. They bow to no gods, and they dare to ask the questions nobody else will. And if a plan does happen to backfire on them (such as retaining their immortality), they do not succumb to defeat, but rather they look for ways to make the most of a bad situation!

    Toreador... they chase after trends, before abandoning them the moment they go out of style. They crave beauty to the point where they actually suffer outside of its presence. They are a shallow, pathetic clan of hedonists. And if it weren't for their supernatural charisma, they would surely have fallen into ruin after the renaissance period!
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 06-05-2019, 03:23 PM.

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  • Redwulfe
    replied
    Not to mention Toreador by stereotype try to cling to there human nature more than other clans. This may be a reasoning why they do so.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cifer
    replied
    Originally posted by MCN View Post
    Meanwhile, compare to the Toreador, who are basically Masquerade's version of a succubus or siren. The whole Ann Rice romantic vampire seducer. That's their archetype. As a vampire goes down in humanity, these vampires literally forget how to fulfill their archetype. They forget how to empathize or seduce humans, they forget how to have sex. Even Presence can't entirely offset it. If you want to play this kind of Anne Rice vampire, then you're slightly constricted in what kind of playstyle you can have, or you have to abandon the archetype.

    So, while the Nosferatu (and Tzimisce and the Clans of the Dead, maybe others) do become closer to their archetype as humanity falls, a number of other clans or bloodlines... move farther and farther away from it.
    That is actually just partially true - in V5 rules, certain kinds of interaction with humans are exempt from the humanity penalty:
    You suffer a one-die penalty on rolls to interact
    with humans. This penalty applies to most Social
    dice pools (including tests for interacting with
    Touchstones), especially Insight and Persuade, but
    not to terrifying Intimidation, inhuman Subter-
    fuge (Seduction), or to any test to hunt or kill a
    human.
    Toreador have another problem:
    This penalty also applies to creating art
    or other humanities; for example, Kindred prose
    markedly worsens and becomes more florid as
    they degenerate.
    That does however play into the concept of creative sterility that the clan dreads. Ancillae Toreador may have a tendency to seek out ever new muses who hopefully can rekindle their spark, while elders stop creating altogether and instead start searching for new artists to pass the brush to (and bring into the clan to preserve their talent for eternity - or at least until their humanity drops, renewing the cycle).

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  • MCN
    replied
    Part of the appeal of the Nosferatu is the inhuman looks, in my opinion; there's more than a few that look like zombies from the Walking Dead. So, it does kind of fit for the Nosferatu here, though you can achieve the same effect through rising Generation / Blood Potency.

    Meanwhile, compare to the Toreador, who are basically Masquerade's version of a succubus or siren. The whole Ann Rice romantic vampire seducer. That's their archetype. As a vampire goes down in humanity, these vampires literally forget how to fulfill their archetype. They forget how to empathize or seduce humans, they forget how to have sex. Even Presence can't entirely offset it. If you want to play this kind of Anne Rice vampire, then you're slightly constricted in what kind of playstyle you can have, or you have to abandon the archetype.

    So, while the Nosferatu (and Tzimisce and the Clans of the Dead, maybe others) do become closer to their archetype as humanity falls, a number of other clans or bloodlines... move farther and farther away from it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nyrufa
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    One thing I'm iffy about in games is the role of Humanity as having physical affects on Kindred. I.e the idea of the Kindred who looks like a pallid walking corpse, has to wear sunglasses because he doesn't blink, and can't have sex because he no longer remembers humanity enough to do that.

    Physiological changes because of your Humanity is a bit weird.

    I'm also not a fan of the idea that being a vampire suddenly makes it very difficult to gain pleasure from sex. I can understand the idea that your sex drive itself stops functioning, since vampires don't reproduce the natural way and therefor would have no biological need for one. But the pleasure that comes with the physical act of sex should not in any way be linked to one's humanity rating.

    In my house rule, sex would feel good for a vampire regardless of their humanity. But their level of humanity would determine how much they feel the need to take part in it. With lower humanity vampires preferring the far superior Kiss, over the now pointless act of sexual intercourse.

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  • Crytash2
    replied
    That is something my low humanity player (humanity 2) loves. He is Nosferatu to begin with, but the idea that he becomes more and more predator like, scary and inhuman gave him a kick. Another important thing is, that other kindred started to recognize him for what he is and therefor handle him differently.
    For example my keeper of Elysium has introduced an Assamite to help with guarding the Elysium. First thing the Assamite did after scanning the room and getting introduced to kindred was to talk to the Nosferatu player, just to make sure that he wasn't a troublemaker.

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