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  • Questions: Ghouls and Harpies

    Hi.

    1. Most ghouls are blood bonded. Would that prevent them from doing things like spying on their domitors (for other vampires) or betraying them directly?

    2. How do Harpies keep track of boons? Do other vampires call them to tell them "I owe this to that kindred in exchange for this or that service"? Knowing who owes what to whom (and why) wouldnt make them terribly powerful? What would prevent them from using that info for their own schemes?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Argonot View Post
    1. Most ghouls are blood bonded. Would that prevent them from doing things like spying on their domitors (for other vampires) or betraying them directly?
    Yes, that is the point of blood bonding them. Of course, it's not 100% reliable, but causing a ghoul to willingly betray their domitor is no little feat.

    Originally posted by Argonot View Post
    2. How do Harpies keep track of boons? Do other vampires call them to tell them "I owe this to that kindred in exchange for this or that service"? Knowing who owes what to whom (and why) wouldnt make them terribly powerful? What would prevent them from using that info for their own schemes?
    There's no point in telling harpies the "why" ("I owe this guy a life boon because they covered up my Masquerade breach so the Prince never found out. Oops!"). The "what" suffices. And yes, depending on how openly boons are traded, that absolutely makes harpies extremely powerful when it comes to figuring out who can be expected to draw on whose help when necessary.

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    • #3
      On your second question:

      Harpies are a pet group of mine, and I've been getting into the nuts and bolts of how to run one well.

      A harpys main power is, besides normal kindred scheming, to be a pipeline into "the talk of the town". A harpy knows the rumors, and can create rumors as well. People often come to a harpy for their Kindred news, because they know the Harpy will have interesting stuff for them.

      This is what makes them effective for enforcing boons. Let’s say you’re Billy Brujah, making a deal with Nellie Nosferatu. You don’t trust this shifty bottom feeder as far as you could throw them, but you kinda need this deal. So you involve a harpy, and make sure the harpy knows you’re making this deal. If Nellie now breaks your deal, the harpy knows, and will (for a price) make damn sure everyone else knows as well.

      In this context, a harpy becomes less of a police force, and more of a Sword of Damocles for hire. A harpy’s power in this type of situation doesn’t come from honor or duty. It comes in the form of a threat, a neutral shotgun pointed at both parties’ credit rating. They HAVE to stay in line, or everyone and their mom and their mom’s goldfish will know that you don’t keep your word. And that spells doom for a kindred.


      Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

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      • #4
        Awesome, I get it. But would that be the only way - kindred not trusting their peers and involving them- Harpies keep track of boons?

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        • #5
          In the LARP, the harpies in my city (in two separate chronicles mind) and in most others keep a handwritten book meant to pass on to successors. It is the responsibility of the parties to ensure the boon is recorded along with other relevant information (i.e. can it be transferred or not, if it can't be used to undermine a particular project, etc). Usually (not sure if this in the TT or just a club norm) it is also supposed to be the owning party notifying that the boon is owed, and the owed notifying that it was called in. This way no one can claim a boon on someone who didn't promise, and no one can claim one resolved that was not.

          And no, the reason for owing isn't a standard part. It is sometimes included if it is a public matter but even then usually just the size of boon is recorded. When it is called upon it may or may not be noted what for. Noting the favor may reveal more than you want, but also ensures that everyone knows not to mess with it as it is done through prestation. Thus, it can offer some protection in a politically dicey situation.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Argonot View Post
            Awesome, I get it. But would that be the only way - kindred not trusting their peers and involving them- Harpies keep track of boons?
            "Kindred not trusting their peers" is pretty much a tautology. But what ways other than "people tell them" were you thinking of?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Argonot View Post
              Awesome, I get it. But would that be the only way - kindred not trusting their peers and involving them- Harpies keep track of boons?
              Other than spying on literally every conversation, yeah. People come to a Harpy and tell them shit because they want it out there. Secret dealings happen all the time, enemies exchanging boons behind closed doors. A harpy won't know about that, and has no need to.

              What's important to understand is that "Harpy" isn't an official post, unlike Sheriff or Primogen. A harpy is something you become by being good at the social game. That means you have zero responsibilities besides to yourself, and to whatever deals you've made.

              So a harpy is under no obligation to know who owes whom. It's useful information to have, granted, and they might WANT to know. But you can never punish a harpy for not knowing a boon was struck.


              Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

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              • #8
                I understand the whole concept much better, folks. Thanks for the insight.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Argonot View Post
                  Hi.
                  1. Most ghouls are blood bonded. Would that prevent them from doing things like spying on their domitors (for other vampires) or betraying them directly?
                  If you want insight into the messed up minds of ghouls - Check out Fatal Addiction.
                  A Ghoul that is blood bonded can be the worst of a codependent lover and sycophant at the same time; doing what They think is best for you based on their perception. So maybe that includes reporting to someone else so they can help because you've been worried. Maybe it's killing your other ghouls because they aren't as loyal and you only need one ghoul to fulfill them. There's a lot of scope.
                  Like much of Vampire, they represent a corrupted version, in this case a corrupted version of Love.

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                  • #10
                    Wow, thats an awesome resource for intrigues and twisted stuff.

                    Now, I have another question: Does every mortal who drinks from a vampire turn into a ghoul?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                      If you want insight into the messed up minds of ghouls - Check out Fatal Addiction.
                      A Ghoul that is blood bonded can be the worst of a codependent lover and sycophant at the same time; doing what They think is best for you based on their perception. So maybe that includes reporting to someone else so they can help because you've been worried. Maybe it's killing your other ghouls because they aren't as loyal and you only need one ghoul to fulfill them. There's a lot of scope.
                      Like much of Vampire, they represent a corrupted version, in this case a corrupted version of Love.
                      That being said, such stuff is the exception rather than the rule - after all, that's why most vampires are using ghouls in the first place. Most vampires are relatively adept at channeling their ghouls' obsessions into productive actions or else noone would bother creating them.

                      Originally posted by Argonot View Post
                      Now, I have another question: Does every mortal who drinks from a vampire turn into a ghoul?
                      Depends on the amount of blood. If you give someone just a few drops, they merely get bonded. Ghouling someone for a month takes one Blood Point or one Rouse Check worth, depending on the edition you're playing.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                        That being said, such stuff is the exception rather than the rule - after all, that's why most vampires are using ghouls in the first place. Most vampires are relatively adept at channeling their ghouls' obsessions into productive actions or else no one would bother creating them.
                        I think it's about the perspective of the game you want to play, and the focus you want to put on it (or the perspective Players want to experience)

                        Playing Vampires, the Ghouls are mostly resources - easily managed to achieve tasks.
                        Playing Ghouls, you have the drama to play through because politics is out.

                        You can instill the drama of ghouls if you want to play up the fact that vampires "Eat only Ash" (Live off of destruction/corruption) and like the Renfield aspects of Dracula.

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                        • #13
                          This has definitely been enlightening. Thank you.

                          What would happen if a group of Kindred gather communal vitae to ghoul someone? Would that ghoul be bonded to all the participants or none at all?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Argonot View Post
                            What would happen if a group of Kindred gather communal vitae to ghoul someone? Would that ghoul be bonded to all the participants or none at all?
                            Under normal circumstances, they would at first be bound to all of them equally (first two levels of the bond). Then a presumably random one gets the third level and all other bonds are destroyed.
                            The only way to avoid this is to use the Sabbat Vaulderie, a ritual way to prepare such communal blood in a way that doesn't favor one donor.

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                            • #15
                              Thats exactly what I thought. Thank you.

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