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Isn't Genius Loci too op!?

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  • Isn't Genius Loci too op!?

    I mean, I never paid much attention to the krainas and all, specially because I didn't like most of them in the first place, but then a player of one of my tables, is creating a Tzimisce and he told me he would like to get this "Path" (in earlier versions it was known as Path/Way of Spirit), So I told him it was supposed to be used in one's dominion, but then the player told me that Genius Loci isn't tied to one's dominion and can be used freely anywhere the "damn son of a bratovitch" is treading. And to make matters worse, the power description explicity states that Obfuscate can't fool the Tzimisce using this ├╝ber power, so I thought "wtf!?" and told my player I needed time to evaluate this unexpected turn of events lol!

    So all in all, do you guys think this power is fine as it is? Can you give me a reason not to only restrict it to the Tzimisces dominion?

  • #2
    Honestly? There doesn't appear to be a good reason to restrict it to the Koldun's domain. That would wildly unbalance the power versus its cost and difficulty of use.


    I'd take a step back, give it a reread and look at the elements of the power, how they work together, and the opportunity cost of buying Genius Loci.


    First, this path can't be bought as a primary path. On top of this, Koldun also isn't an in-clan discipline. This means that Koldun can't be bought with starting discipline dots - so that Tzimisce has to buy his primary Koldun path with freebies/XP then buy up his Genius Loci path once he's got his primary high enough. Unless they're drowning in char gen XP, that's going to be disproportionately expensive for them. I'd check your player realizes this.


    Second, this power costs a willpower and a blood point per activation, and only lasts a scene per success rolled. Willpower is difficult to regain - so if you track their duration (NB: Explicitly call the end of scenes) and willpower, you'll find they're going to struggle to use it continually (especially the higher end of the power - see next point).


    Third, Koldun roll difficulties scale with path level, and are no joke at the medium-high end. It also uses a random attribute with occult for their pool. In the case of "Genius Loci", it's Charisma. Chances are pretty good your Bratovitch isn't going to have a pool that can support high end Genius Loci (again, unless he's mostly a pile of character gen XP wearing a small hat ).


    Fourth, keep in mind the limitations of the power. Genius Loci doesn't give his coterie the same advantages he'll have (the Nos is where?), has a defined range, a limited duration, and doesn't mystically let him read minds/motivations or know when someone wouldn't otherwise be perceived by him.
    Last edited by Obyrne; 06-09-2019, 10:02 AM.

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    • #3
      it's the koldun correspondence equivalent,
      every mage school (including vampire blood magic) has their own correspondence, which allows them to expend the range at which they can use their magic

      for the koldun, it's done by expending their spiritual presence,
      and since obfuscate doesn't work on spirits, it makes sense that it wouldn't work on koldun either

      Tremere (and thaumaturgy in general) use the usual hermetic correspondence, I believe, like True Names, to apply magic on any target at any time in any place (which is even worse than koldun imo),

      plus they get some vampire specific links like blood,
      so they can use your own blood to find true names, or even blood taken from your childe or ghoul to target you,
      I think even blood bonds and vinculi can be used in this manner, though I'm not sure where the limits are

      so, yeah, that koldun way is def op, as is any other type of correspondence (check the Mage books, and you may find even worse ones like your own facebook profile being a link...no joke)


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      • #4
        also, about obfuscate vs koldun...just don't, it won't work

        koldun speak with spirits, and they have spirits constantly surrounding them whispering things,
        they gonna see your obfuscated dude, and they're gonna tell the koldun you're there

        koldunism isn't the same as thaumaturgy, the koldun doesn't do anything, the spirits do,
        the koldun just gives the orders (so, it's like dominate or presence, except on spirits),
        so the koldun can just tell them to smoke you and they will within the range of his "special" presence, which is what the way of the spirit is supposed to represent


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        • #5
          Well, thank you very much guys. I think that given the arguments presented I'm gonna let the player have it his way and use it anywhere, but keeping in mind tha it's his connection with the spirits of the land and not just himself being able to clearly see through obfuscate powers etc. I also think that it's thematically approriate that he should familiarize himself with the spirits of the region in order to use it properly.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post
            Well, thank you very much guys. I think that given the arguments presented I'm gonna let the player have it his way and use it anywhere, but keeping in mind tha it's his connection with the spirits of the land and not just himself being able to clearly see through obfuscate powers etc. I also think that it's thematically approriate that he should familiarize himself with the spirits of the region in order to use it properly.
            Moreover, if you want, you could turn the wide-spread manipulation of spirits into, if not a detriment, then a problem that needs solving.

            Consider: Tzimisce tend to see themselves as masters of the land, and lord of the spirits therein. It's this feudal relationship - that of lord reigning over subjects - that allows Koldun to dodge the Sabbat Inquisition, who look down upon dealings with spiritual entities that put vampires on the servile end. If the vampire doesn't work with the spirit as its equal or better, that's too close to Infernalism for the Inquisition. Koldunism is allowed because of the Koldun's lordship over the spirits.

            However, because the Koldun sets himself as lord over the domain's spirits, by the same token it means the vampire is saddled with the responsibilities of lordship. True, Noblesse Oblige is generally a Ventrue thing, but even Tzimisce have a duty to their subjects, in much the same way that the subjects have a duty to their master.

            So play with that angle. As the Koldun PC grows in power - especially with Genius Loci - have the spirits start relaying their own needs. Some party or another might be damaging the spiritual landscape of the Koldun's territory, causing problems for the spirits of the land. The spirits, in turn, flock to their "Lord", crying out to be saved. If the Tzimisce has any sort of honor (however twisted), or even merely self-interest, he'll be obligated to "ride out" and confront whatever is afflicting his subjects. After all, no lord worth his salt would allow vandals, invaders, or other poisons to damage his lands or the subjects therein. Only the Tzimisce is allowed to abuse his subjects. To allow such offenses to go unpunished would be to broadcast that the lord is too weak or too apathetic to defend his territory.

            Not to mention if a spiritual problem grows too severe and the Koldun does nothing, the "subjects" may, in time, revolt...


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
              Moreover, if you want, you could turn the wide-spread manipulation of spirits into, if not a detriment, then a problem that needs solving.

              Consider: Tzimisce tend to see themselves as masters of the land, and lord of the spirits therein. It's this feudal relationship - that of lord reigning over subjects - that allows Koldun to dodge the Sabbat Inquisition, who look down upon dealings with spiritual entities that put vampires on the servile end. If the vampire doesn't work with the spirit as its equal or better, that's too close to Infernalism for the Inquisition. Koldunism is allowed because of the Koldun's lordship over the spirits.

              However, because the Koldun sets himself as lord over the domain's spirits, by the same token it means the vampire is saddled with the responsibilities of lordship. True, Noblesse Oblige is generally a Ventrue thing, but even Tzimisce have a duty to their subjects, in much the same way that the subjects have a duty to their master.

              So play with that angle. As the Koldun PC grows in power - especially with Genius Loci - have the spirits start relaying their own needs. Some party or another might be damaging the spiritual landscape of the Koldun's territory, causing problems for the spirits of the land. The spirits, in turn, flock to their "Lord", crying out to be saved. If the Tzimisce has any sort of honor (however twisted), or even merely self-interest, he'll be obligated to "ride out" and confront whatever is afflicting his subjects. After all, no lord worth his salt would allow vandals, invaders, or other poisons to damage his lands or the subjects therein. Only the Tzimisce is allowed to abuse his subjects. To allow such offenses to go unpunished would be to broadcast that the lord is too weak or too apathetic to defend his territory.

              Not to mention if a spiritual problem grows too severe and the Koldun does nothing, the "subjects" may, in time, revolt...

              Many interesting ideas there. I completelly agree with the concept you are presenting and it even inspired me to use it in one of the stories of my current chronicle. The idea that the Tzimisce should act as a feudal lord to his "spiritual vassals" is a great one, for if the spirits don't see the character as a proper lord and protector they could in time turn to another potential lord to serve their interests better.

              Thank you very much sir! Your ideas are much appreciated!

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              • #8
                the Inquisition doesn't mind koldun having spirit servants (assuming they care about details),
                they are usually against koldun who got their power from higher spirits in a similar manner that infernalists get dark thaumaturgy,

                an example would be Tlaloc who teaches koldunism in exchange for a piece of the koldun's soul and sacrifices

                however, the koldun will still be subject to Inquisition scrutiny, even if their dealings are clean because...well, most of the Inquisitors aren't very bright, or too extremist and may abuse their power (the usual crap, you know),
                so the koldun will have to work on being on good terms with local sabbat or the Inquisition etc (if they're sabbat that is)


                another interesting plot point to use is rival koldun or other spirit mages, garou or any entity that has sway over spirits that can constitute an obstacle for your koldun

                for example, in the Carpathians, Kupala has sway over most (if not all) spirits in the area,
                if she doesn't approve of your kolduns actions, she may prevent the spirits from obeying you since your presence probably doesn't compete with hers


                lastly, as Bluecho mentioned, the spiritual landscape will be affected by your koldun's meddling,

                normally, most spirits don't like to ally with vampires, they can sometimes make deals, but alliances are almost impossible,
                koldun bypass that restriction by "forcing" such alliances with koldunism,
                but that doesn't mean it doesn't have repercussions in spirit societies

                one of the repercussions is that the spirits are personally affected by orders that force them to take actions that are contrary to their nature,
                this can result in them becoming more agitated, aggressive, destructive and affect their surroundings if the koldun is negligent,
                vicissitude becoming a disease and the carpathians becoming a corrupt land is sometimes attributed to such negligence

                another one is that spirits have broods and factions, and koldun meddling will cause conflicts between different spirit groups,
                a koldun won't like having his group of spirit servants getting rekt by a rival group of spirits who didn't like the sudden change in the landscape


                there's probably more scenarios I'm missing, so good luck
                Last edited by Pleiades; 06-10-2019, 05:11 AM.


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                • #9
                  I'd probably compromise. Its generally BEST to use it in your domain, you've had time to bend all the spirits in line there. You probably don't have a whole bunch of Garou nearby or mages or what have you.. Once you are out in the world bending the way of the spirit i'd argue this will get the attention of others eventually, whether its other supernatural beings or another Koldun(Remember Koldun are SUPER territorial now). This is something his character will know so tell him each time he has a chance of getting something attention.. something he doesn't like.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pleiades View Post
                    the Inquisition doesn't mind koldun having spirit servants (assuming they care about details),
                    they are usually against koldun who got their power from higher spirits in a similar manner that infernalists get dark thaumaturgy,

                    an example would be Tlaloc who teaches koldunism in exchange for a piece of the koldun's soul and sacrifices

                    however, the koldun will still be subject to Inquisition scrutiny, even if their dealings are clean because...well, most of the Inquisitors aren't very bright, or too extremist and may abuse their power (the usual crap, you know),
                    so the koldun will have to work on being on good terms with local sabbat or the Inquisition etc (if they're sabbat that is)


                    another interesting plot point to use is rival koldun or other spirit mages, garou or any entity that has sway over spirits that can constitute an obstacle for your koldun

                    for example, in the Carpathians, Kupala has sway over most (if not all) spirits in the area,
                    if she doesn't approve of your kolduns actions, she may prevent the spirits from obeying you since your presence probably doesn't compete with hers


                    lastly, as Bluecho mentioned, the spiritual landscape will be affected by your koldun's meddling,

                    normally, most spirits don't like to ally with vampires, they can sometimes make deals, but alliances are almost impossible,
                    koldun bypass that restriction by "forcing" such alliances with koldunism,
                    but that doesn't mean it doesn't have repercussions in spirit societies

                    one of the repercussions is that the spirits are personally affected by orders that force them to take actions that are contrary to their nature,
                    this can result in them becoming more agitated, aggressive, destructive and affect their surroundings if the koldun is negligent,
                    vicissitude becoming a disease and the carpathians becoming a corrupt land is sometimes attributed to such negligence

                    another one is that spirits have broods and factions, and koldun meddling will cause conflicts between different spirit groups,
                    a koldun won't like having his group of spirit servants getting rekt by a rival group of spirits who didn't like the sudden change in the landscape


                    there's probably more scenarios I'm missing, so good luck

                    Many interesting scenarios there in your post. One interesting thing is the relationship between spirits and cainites as this has many times causes some heated discussions in my group, as there is always some player(s) that prefer to look at things spiritual through Garou's lens, so to speak. So this (these) guy(s) always argument that only corrupted spirits would ever make deals and alliances with cainites, no matter how "good" the cainite character is and then the cainite player argues that it's only so in the garou's perspective etc.

                    I like to think that the WoD is not a manichean world and I usually tell this to the garou players, because they tend to see things in a more "black and white" way. So I myself don't see a problem with Spirits allying themselves with cainites nor do I think this should be restricted to "only corrupted spirits" as I see the spiritual world more in a "shades of grey" than "black and white" way.
                    But, nevertheless, this is always an interesting discussion.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lian View Post
                      I'd probably compromise. Its generally BEST to use it in your domain, you've had time to bend all the spirits in line there. You probably don't have a whole bunch of Garou nearby or mages or what have you.. Once you are out in the world bending the way of the spirit i'd argue this will get the attention of others eventually, whether its other supernatural beings or another Koldun(Remember Koldun are SUPER territorial now). This is something his character will know so tell him each time he has a chance of getting something attention.. something he doesn't like.
                      Yes, I'd always tell him. Specially because at the moment the coterie is dealing with an all-powerful Koldun and I'm pretty sure the player is going to try to offer a deal with the spirits of the Koldun's domain. I'm still thinking about how will they answer his offer

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post
                        I like to think that the WoD is not a manichean world and I usually tell this to the garou players, because they tend to see things in a more "black and white" way. So I myself don't see a problem with Spirits allying themselves with cainites nor do I think this should be restricted to "only corrupted spirits" as I see the spiritual world more in a "shades of grey" than "black and white" way.
                        But, nevertheless, this is always an interesting discussion.
                        well, the matter is a bit complicated and not very well documented to be honest,
                        but, afaik, you're both wrong, since the matter isn't about being nice or bad/corrupt, it's more about vampiric nature

                        the regular Garou aren't nice or bad, their nature makes them allied with spirits of Gaia (because they come from Gaia) and enemies of Banes

                        vampire nature makes them enemies of Gaian spirits and Helios spirits (sun spirits), maybe other spirits,
                        otherwise, other spirits don't care one way or the other,
                        not because vampires aren't nice enough or aren't bad enough, it's just that they have no real spiritual identity,

                        at worst, spirits will find them distasteful, because they're devoid of spiritual presence and because the vitae causes disruptions in the tapestry (which drives spirits mad),
                        conceptual spirits can't even begin to understand vampires, because vampires defy existence and no one can understand how they fit into the great scheme of things (because they don't fit),

                        as for 'corrupt' spirits, by which I assume he meant 'banes' or wyrm spirits,
                        same thing, vampire beasts radiate wyrm taint, bu vampires themselves aren't wyrmish,
                        same for garou who have a beast and some wyrm taint, that doesn't make them of the wyrm,

                        there are exceptions of course, such as vampire infernalists who serve some wyrmish avatars, vampire fomori (vampire banes),
                        as well as vampire drones who swore allegiance to Big brother Weaver, will probably be allied to either Banes or Weaver spirits,
                        otherwise, none

                        all this to say, vampires can bargain with any type of spirit on an individual basis (exception made of gaian and helios spirits of course),
                        there's always spirits that require services in the material world, and vampires are as good a way to get those services as any
                        (except for the fact that vampires are backstabbing bastards, but most spirits are too dumb or too simple minded to realize that...lol)

                        alliances are more difficult,
                        it's already difficult for Garou and Kuei-Jin, despite all the means they have at their disposal,
                        for Cainites, it's even more difficult, due to the difficulties of accessing the umbra, their lack of spiritual identity, their disruption of the tapestry,
                        and because allying with spirits is already risky and unpredictable, and vampires don't like risky and unpredictable
                        Last edited by Pleiades; 06-11-2019, 07:14 AM.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pleiades View Post
                          snip
                          I don't think Herr Meister was making a statement about morality - of Good or Evil - but rather of Absolutes versus Ambiguity.

                          From the Werewolf perspective, regardless of value judgments, the facts of the matter are cut and dry. Your post itself shows what amounts to a bullet list of things that, from the Werewolf side of the WoD, are JUST TRUE:

                          -Vampires have no spiritual identity
                          -Spirits find vampires distasteful, categorically (unless they're Banes)
                          -Vampires disrupt the spiritual fabric just by existing

                          For a Vampire game, however, things can - and probably should - be less clear cut, and more debatable. Because in Vampire, not even vampires can agree on basic theological or spiritual facts. These are open questions, because Vampire is meant to be Ambiguous, to create drama from the philosophical choices.

                          Werewolf is a game where, setting aside moral concerns, everything is Absolute in its understanding of basic facts. Matters of personal character can be in question, but there are no mysteries. The Werewolves and Spirits know exactly where everything stands in relation to everything else. The conflicts are "Black and White", in the sense that everyone has already made up their minds about what their place in the world is, and who is on whose side.

                          A game of Vampire - like much of vampiric existence - is "Shades of Grey" in the sense that even basic assumptions are in question. None more so than ones concerning the nature of a vampire's soul - whether they even have one - and what a vampire ought to do about it. The fact that Golconda is even a goal worth pursuing attests to a vastly different set of assumptions that Vampire: The Masquerade is making about what vampires are, than those of Werewolf: The Apocalypse.

                          And if you're going to run a Vampire game, instead of a Werewolf game, you must work from Vampire's assumptions first. Even if that means making Werewolf "wrong". Indeed, especially if it makes Werewolf look wrong, because that makes players who cut their teeth of Werewolf suddenly have far fewer answers about the Vampire game they have in front of them. Reinforcing the mystique that is the cornerstone of Vampire's tone, themes, and appeal. They don't know where this is going, because suddenly their existing assumptions are in question.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                            I don't think Herr Meister was making a statement about morality - of Good or Evil - but rather of Absolutes versus Ambiguity.

                            From the Werewolf perspective, regardless of value judgments, the facts of the matter are cut and dry. Your post itself shows what amounts to a bullet list of things that, from the Werewolf side of the WoD, are JUST TRUE:

                            -Vampires have no spiritual identity
                            -Spirits find vampires distasteful, categorically (unless they're Banes)
                            -Vampires disrupt the spiritual fabric just by existing
                            well, they don't disrupt just by existing, vitae usage is what disrupts (disciplines and such),
                            this isn't from werewolf btw, it's from Kote,
                            kote had a good amount of lore explaining cainite nature,
                            and according to it, vampire activity disrupts the flow of chi and such,
                            in the crossover scenarios, the kuei-jin had trouble in cainite territories due to cainites not maintaining a healthy feng shui and driving spirits mad

                            vampires not being spiritual makes sense, it might just be an aspect of the curse, the one where Caine was cursed to wander the earth for eternity,
                            and in turn, was prevented to escape to the Umbra or whatever, which explains why cainites have so much trouble accessing the umbra fully


                            now, it's understandable if people don't want to use other game lines fluff as reference,
                            and, to be fair, is really not necessary,
                            have cainites ally with spirits all they want, doesn't really matter

                            but, when you want to debate canon, the Kote/werewolf/mage lore is a good reference, and the only real reference, because VtM doesn't give enough information,
                            in fact, vtm sometimes asks you to refer to other gamelines for spirit related things (like for crafting artifacts, where they ask you to refer to WtA fetishes)


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                            • #15
                              Well, I don't think it's so night impossible for vampires to make deals with spirits of the sun/fire. Both Cretheus and his childe Hillderic use many pacts with fire and sun spirits and have such spiritual minions at their disposal, they basically have a paradigm where they consider these entities as holy as they consider themselves. Bluecho understood exactly what I meant when I exposed my interpretation of the WoD. I don't see the WoD in the same light as garou see. For me things are much more ambiguous and mysterious than what they tend to believe. The Garou basically think they know for sure how the spiritual world works, how the world was created and so on and that fits well with their rather animistic weltanschauung, but it's in no way the absolute truth in the World of Darkness. At least not in my opinion. It's just their worldview. I prefer to have an open mind with the supposed "absolute truths" of the WoD and that's why I quite enjoyed the more "agnostic" version of the WoD presented in the v20 lines.

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