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Power Scaling in 5th Edition: Broken, or Not?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
    That's why I'm trying to find out more information about it. I'm undecided about whether or not to buy 5th edition, and I'm seeing an awful lot of people openly mocking the game and berating the changes that were introduced in 5th edition. Heck, I've seen multiple saying something along the lines of "thank God I still have v20!"
    The core book of V5 costs 22 € in PDF form. I do not know you or your financial situation so I won't guess whether that is a lot or a little money for you. But judging by how much time you have already spent guessing about its mechanics in this and various other threads, I think the investment could be worthwhile.

    As for Thinbloods: Yes, they can gain access to one regular Discipline with a Merit. They can have at most three of those Thinblood Merits, balanced out by up to three Thinblood Flaws. Other interesting Merits: Not taking all weapon damage as Aggravated. Your existence being tolerated by the Camarilla. Gaining early access to Thinblood Alchemy rather than having to learn it within the game. Being weakened instead of destroyed by sunlight.
    As for the flaws, there are such gems as not having proper vampire teeth, being affected by Frenzy like a normal vampire, being subject to a Clan Bane, being unable to use vampiric healing at all or your body not being preserved against putrefaction.

    CTPhipps
    While I absolutely enjoy LA by Night when it comes to how V5 can feel, I would really not recommend it for someone who wants to learn the mechanics of the game beyond the Golden Rule. Jason Carl (quite rightly) makes up a lot of stuff on the fly to keep the game moving rather than looking up rules.

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    • #17
      Also just going to add: in V5, thinbloods can't downgrade damage like other vampires do. If you shoot bullets at a fullblooded vampire, they divide that damage by two, then apply it as "superficial" (a combination of bashing and lethal from earlier editions). If you shoot bullets at a thinblood, they take that entire amount of damage as aggravated, which can put them straight into torpor.

      Similarly, Potence 1 lets your barehanded attacks to agg to mortals and thinbloods. An elder Nosferatu can torpor a thinblood in one hit with a good roll.

      So while thinbloods may have some advantages over other vampires, straight-out combat is definitely not one of them. They're scary because you don't know what they're capable of (Alchemy is badly understood) and because they don't necessarily have to fear sunlight, which means they can do things during the day when you can't directly respond. Same reasons why vampires are afraid of mortal hunters. But in a one-on-one fight, they'll usually get thrashed.

      P.S. re Disciplines, thinbloods have versatility but lack reliability. Discipline Affinity can only be taken once and comes at a big opportunity cost, since you can only ever have three thinblood merits (including things like "can walk in the sun" and "can never be detected as a vampire"), and each has to be balanced out with a fairly debilitating flaw (like "your body continues to rot"). Gaining disciplines through Resonance is unreliable and feeding again will wipe them out. And alchemically-simulated Disciplines get you only one use per scene, generally, since you have to redo the formula for every activation. So it's hard to ever predict what they can do, but on the other hand that doesn't mean much against a Brujah with reliable, consistent access to Celerity and Potence.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Draconis View Post
        Similarly, Potence 1 lets your barehanded attacks to agg to mortals and thinbloods. An elder Nosferatu can torpor a thinblood in one hit with a good roll.
        Slight correction: An elder Nosferatu can torpor anyone (*) in one hit with a good roll. Assuming an average Stamina 2 resulting in health 5, a Thinblood can be torpored by a neonate Nosferatu, really - two dots of Potence, Lethal Body + Prowess, 3 net successes on the attack roll, plus two damage from the Prowess = 5 Aggravated on a Thinblood.

        (*) barring excessively good defenses, high Fortitude and the like.

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        • #19
          I haven't seen Thin Bloods in action, but in my own rendition of Los Angeles By Night (I've two groups, one for L.A. and one for Chicago), the 4 PCs playing "full blooded" Kindred were part of an Anarch counter-attack on a Sabbat temple. They ended up facing a Tzimisce elder (substituted some reskinned Protean powers to compensate for the lack of an official Vicissitude). It was very nearly a TPK. I 'd be surprised if four Thin Bloods had an easier time of it than two Brujah (One 9th generation via a diablerie of a member of the Black Hand, one 10th), a 10th generation Gangrel and a 11th generation Nosferatu.

          With regards to past editions and the present edition, pack tactics in the case of the Sabbat (or coterie tactics in the case of anarchs) work; depending on the chosen target and the strength of the pack or coterie. I don't think that's changed with 5th edition.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Ruthven View Post
            I haven't seen Thin Bloods in action, but in my own rendition of Los Angeles By Night (I've two groups, one for L.A. and one for Chicago), the 4 PCs playing "full blooded" Kindred were part of an Anarch counter-attack on a Sabbat temple. They ended up facing a Tzimisce elder (substituted some reskinned Protean powers to compensate for the lack of an official Vicissitude). It was very nearly a TPK. I 'd be surprised if four Thin Bloods had an easier time of it than two Brujah (One 9th generation via a diablerie of a member of the Black Hand, one 10th), a 10th generation Gangrel and a 11th generation Nosferatu.

            With regards to past editions and the present edition, pack tactics in the case of the Sabbat (or coterie tactics in the case of anarchs) work; depending on the chosen target and the strength of the pack or coterie. I don't think that's changed with 5th edition.

            Well, the coterie in Blood Lost consists of an 80 year old woman named Florence (who spent the last 40 something years as her now late husband's Ghoul. A cosplaying internet celebrity named Nate Ruaric (he's the one that was less than 2 months old), A 12th generation Toreador named Ferris Vauderville (he's actually Nate's sire, but diablerized the Ventrue Primogen to decrease his Generation from 13 to 12), A roller derby alchemist named Alex Moreau, who accidentally figured out a formula to break blood bonds, and an extremely paranoid information broker named Low Key, who has recently betrayed the coterie after his irrational suspicions lead to them having a falling out.

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            • #21
              Also from personal experience, my thinblood PC in combat with the Sabbat went something like this:

              - Turn 1: attempt stolen thaum (Extinguish Vitae) on the leader
              - Turn 2: run like hell
              - Turn 3: keep running like hell and get caught
              - Turn 4: scream a warning to the ghouls, then get your skull caved in with Potence

              The lack of damage downgrading is extremely painful: even with Fortitude, as soon as you get hit once, the fight can be over.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post

                That's why I'm trying to find out more information about it. I'm undecided about whether or not to buy 5th edition, and I'm seeing an awful lot of people openly mocking the game and berating the changes that were introduced in 5th edition. Heck, I've seen multiple saying something along the lines of "thank God I still have v20!"

                In other words, most of the people I've seen who have looked into 5th edition have a lot of scorn directed towards it. And that has so far put me off to the idea of buying it without getting more information first.
                There are reviews, including by C.T. that give a good idea on it in general.
                However, my best recommendation is to borrow a copy from someone and have a read. Maybe in your country there is an allowance to lend a digital copy even.
                I'm about as enthusiastically against V5 as C.T. is for it, but I do think it depends on what you want in a Vampire game for if it's good for you or the group that you play with.
                There are a number of significant differences that may make or break it depending on how you play/played the game.

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                • #23
                  https://booknest.eu/reviews/charles/...rade5thedition

                  Here's my review of 5th Edition.


                  Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post

                    That's why I'm trying to find out more information about it. I'm undecided about whether or not to buy 5th edition, and I'm seeing an awful lot of people openly mocking the game and berating the changes that were introduced in 5th edition. Heck, I've seen multiple saying something along the lines of "thank God I still have v20!"

                    In other words, most of the people I've seen who have looked into 5th edition have a lot of scorn directed towards it. And that has so far put me off to the idea of buying it without getting more information first.
                    Dude seriously, just buy the book. Like at this point you're trying to read it, just you're trying to read it by making thread after thread asking about it.

                    Buy it, read it, make up your own mind. Make thread's about what you think about it.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by CoriolisEffect View Post

                      Dude seriously, just buy the book. Like at this point you're trying to read it, just you're trying to read it by making thread after thread asking about it.

                      Buy it, read it, make up your own mind. Make thread's about what you think about it.

                      Thread after thread?

                      I made one asking about a basic description (not even the mechanics) of the individual powers of Potence, Celerity and Fortitude. I made this thread asking about the rate of power scaling, after watching some people who actually played the game pull off some ridiculous feats. And I joined in on a thread discussing the drawbacks of making human touchstones mandatory for 5th edition.

                      That's hardly an attempt by me to read the book without purchasing it. That's simply me expressing some curiosity about the state of the product.
                      Last edited by Nyrufa; 06-12-2019, 03:21 PM.

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                      • #26
                        I've played Vampire since first edition and I find 5th edition an elegant capture of playing a vampire in the 21st century. I think the Humanity mechanic is greatly improved. It's not constructed purely on a strict, Judeo-Christian hierarchy of sins. There's an interplay between a chronicle's tenets and a vampire's personal convictions that allows for more nuanced moral exploration. I think the Hunger mechanic is better than the blood pool system because hunger now has a persistent affect on a vampire's behavior in stressful situations (meaning, when you need to make a roll to accomplish a task). It gives the feel that the Beast is always rattling its rusty cage because of the pangs of hunger. I like how you can tailor the individual discipline powers, and how the disciplines are also affected by the choice of your general modus operandi for feeding. This helps cultivate "the vampire driven by the hunger for blood" theme and it t compliments the Hunger mechanic. I like Blood Potency as a mechanic within the generation system. Now, an old vampire is likely to have greater, personal power in comparison to a childe or neonate of the same generation- age has some relevance- but its not an absolute; given the possibility of diablerie or torpor's affect on blood potency. I like that increasing blood potency has a price- with power comes the risk of more inhumanity; in order to quiet the Beast. A very potent vampire must acquire human or even Kindred blood, and to fully quench the Hunger, the vampire must kill; that's quite a severe and appropriate price for power.

                        In terms of the power scale, I don't compare 5th edition to previous editions, I don't see much point in that. It's not like 1st-4th edition vampires are going to appear in a 5th edition supplement unmodified with their higher level disciplines and stats (or humanity ratings of "0" if you recall first edition). I compare the power scale within the edition itself. From what I've run, elder vampires, if played as lovingly or thoughtfully as PCs play their own characters, are still extremely dangerous. If the Storyteller is just using the elder as a stepping stone in the story, then yes, maybe a coterie of Thin Bloods would prevail with relative ease. But, if the Storyteller is playing the SPC as a key, long-term antagonist, and employs the SPC with all the cunning, skill, personal power and assets that the elder possesses- including the smarts to flee to fight another night- you will find that the 5th edition changes do not impede the elder's dangerousness. If some people feel it's a bit easier for packs and coteries to succeed than in previous editions, I don't actually find that a negative. The backstory/metaplot of Vampire the Masquerade is rife with young vampires rising against their elders, successful Sabbat crusades, Anarch Free States and so forth. It's one of the central conceits of the setting. If the elders were completely invincible, the "War of Ages" wouldn't seem plausible.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Ruthven View Post
                          A very potent vampire must acquire human or even Kindred blood, and to fully quench the Hunger, the vampire must kill; that's quite a severe and appropriate price for power.

                          While I don't disagree with the idea that a vampire would be required to kill in order to satiate their hunger, I feel like the way 5th edition handled the situation is a little backwards. It would have made more sense for the killing requirement to be done at Hunger level 4 or 5, rather than 1. Maybe have it so that the further your Hunger progresses, the more difficult it is to stop yourself in the middle of feeding. After reaching Hunger 5, the urge is feed becomes too strong to fight against, and you're forced to kill.

                          As it stands now, the Hunger mechanic is equivalent to wolfing down a 4 course meal, when a simple hot pocket would have done the trick.

                          "You have 1 hunger, that means you're a little bit peckish. How do you resolve the situation?"

                          "I suck the cheerleader dry!"

                          To me, that suggests the Beast isn't hungry for blood, it's just hungry for murder.
                          Last edited by Nyrufa; 06-12-2019, 04:56 PM.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Ruthven View Post

                            In terms of the power scale, I don't compare 5th edition to previous editions, I don't see much point in that. It's not like 1st-4th edition vampires are going to appear in a 5th edition supplement unmodified with their higher level disciplines and stats (or humanity ratings of "0" if you recall first edition). I compare the power scale within the edition itself. From what I've run, elder vampires, if played as lovingly or thoughtfully as PCs play their own characters, are still extremely dangerous. If the Storyteller is just using the elder as a stepping stone in the story, then yes, maybe a coterie of Thin Bloods would prevail with relative ease. But, if the Storyteller is playing the SPC as a key, long-term antagonist, and employs the SPC with all the cunning, skill, personal power and assets that the elder possesses- including the smarts to flee to fight another night- you will find that the 5th edition changes do not impede the elder's dangerousness. If some people feel it's a bit easier for packs and coteries to succeed than in previous editions, I don't actually find that a negative. The backstory/metaplot of Vampire the Masquerade is rife with young vampires rising against their elders, successful Sabbat crusades, Anarch Free States and so forth. It's one of the central conceits of the setting. If the elders were completely invincible, the "War of Ages" wouldn't seem plausible.
                            That's the thing, though, these elders weren't being depicted as stepping stones. In fact, several of them were actually offering to HELP the coterie in various situations. But because the player characters were either too humane (as in the case of Florence), or too impetuous (as in the case of Nate), they refused to make compromises. This lead to them turning hostile against the very people who could have helped them succeed in unlife.

                            As I said, there was no strategy or coordination that went into these fights. The players showed up, exchanged some heated arguments with the enemy, and then flung themselves into combat. And somehow, despite these completely improvised scenarios, they came out the victors!

                            The story revolves around a magic barrier trapping kindred from leaving the city. Anybody who tries to leave immediately starts having seizures and profusely bleeding. There are several NPC's that have appeared in the story that are trying to figure out a way to remove the barrier and save the city's kindred from being trapped in a cage while the Second Inquisition moves into the area. And thus far, the coterie of thin bloods appears hell bent on fighting them, rather than cooperating for survival.

                            Honestly, if I were the Prince of this city, I would have called a Blood Hunt on all of them by this point. Their constant interference is endangering the lives of every kindred in the city, and the fact they killed 2 Primogen within their own territories shouldn't be overlooked, either.
                            Last edited by Nyrufa; 06-12-2019, 05:14 PM.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                              While I don't disagree with the idea that a vampire would be required to kill in order to satiate their hunger, I feel like the way 5th edition handled the situation is a little backwards. It would have made more sense for the killing requirement to be done at Hunger level 4 or 5, rather than 1. Maybe have it so that the further your Hunger progresses, the more difficult it is to stop yourself in the middle of feeding. After reaching Hunger 5, the urge is feed becomes too strong to fight against, and you're forced to kill.
                              That's still the case: if you're extremely hungry, you're more likely to get a messy crit when feeding, or go into frenzy and kill your vessel.

                              The trick is, killing someone reduces your hunger to zero from whatever it is. If you drain someone dry you can go from one to zero, or from five to zero. If you don't kill, you're always going to hit a minimum of one: the Beast is still there, and won't go entirely quiet unless you indulge it at the cost of your Humanity.

                              (And in Masquerade, the Beast is hungry for murder as well as blood. The frenzy system specifies that there should be maximum collateral damage. Which is something I don't particularly like, but it's a part of the setting at this point. As opposed to Requiem, where the Beast will get what it wants by whatever means necessary, but won't just kill people for the hell of it.)

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post

                                While I don't disagree with the idea that a vampire would be required to kill in order to satiate their hunger, I feel like the way 5th edition handled the situation is a little backwards. It would have made more sense for the killing requirement to be done at Hunger level 4 or 5, rather than 1. Maybe have it so that the further your Hunger progresses, the more difficult it is to stop yourself in the middle of feeding. After reaching Hunger 5, the urge is feed becomes too strong to fight against, and you're forced to kill.

                                As it stands now, the Hunger mechanic is equivalent to wolfing down a 4 course meal, when a simple hot pocket would have done the trick.

                                "You have 1 hunger, that means you're a little bit peckish. How do you resolve the situation?"

                                "I suck the cheerleader dry!"

                                To me, that suggests the Beast isn't hungry for blood, it's just hungry for murder.
                                That's not what it means at all. Hunger 1 means you always feel the tinge of hunger but you don't NEED to feed. You can never stop that tinge unless you kill but you aren't likely to want to do that unless you are at Hunger 4 or 5. It's not like a Vampire at Hunger 1 goes "welp, I could get a bite" and then just kills someone. That would definitely mean huge amounts of stains against their Humanity (and I'd argue an auto loss if it was truly that casual and they were relatively high with their Humanity). There are costs for that sort of behavior so no Vampire is going to do it unless they're already inclined to kill.


                                "The only consistent wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" ~ Socrates

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