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[WIR] Beckett's Jyhad Diary - The Big book of Metaplot

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  • And here's House Ngoma:

    https://whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/House_Ngoma


    Matthew Dawkins
    In-House Developer for Onyx Path Publishing


    Website: https://www.matthewdawkins.com
    Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/matthewdawkins

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    • Originally posted by The Gentleman Gamer View Post
      Worth mentioning of course that Saulot is also angelic and pure Saulot in this book. Choose your own adventure.
      There was a nice balance of conflicting adventure hooks and mythologizing.


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

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      • From Russia with Apathy

        From 2010 to 2012 I lived in Bulgaria – a Slavic country. I can still read the Cyrillic alphabet. Slavic nations, history and folklore interest me. But there is more to all of it than Baba Yaga, as interesting and horrible as she is. And she is both interesting and horrible. Indeed, in the World of Darkness she is vastly worse than depicted in the recent Hellboy movie.



        And as aside, I know the timeline of both the book and its writing don’t permit it, but I kept hoping that a terribly lethal mortal assassin would show up at some point as Beckett kept running around looking for Baba Yaga. The kind of nobody “you sent to kill the fucking bogeyman.”



        It has been ages, but I recall the decision to destroy Baba Yaga came down to Justin Achilli. I believe the reasoning was that VtM was not about battling supervillians, but dealing with one’s own moral corruption and damnation. The Little Grandmother shifted that dynamic. Arguably, Ur-Shulgi fulfills the same function – an essentially unstoppable supervillain. But perhaps she was too center stage, stealing the spotlight from the actions of the PCs. Ur Shulgi is, by definition, off in the shadows as a lurking menace.

        Perhaps the WoD version of her escaped into the Middle Umbra. That would be more interesting that her just dying in such an anticlimactic manner. This would allow her to be a lurking shadow menace.

        I am a bit more forgiving of this chapter than CTPhipps, but not much more. His complaints generally match my own. The chapter spends too much time chasing the ghost of Baba Yaga – essentially the supervillian from another splat – and too little time diving into the current political situation of the Russian vampires.

        I mentioned above how Beckett’s says he will get back to the subject of Anastasia, but then never mentions here again in the entire book. Not even later in the chapter where he and Vykos chase a dozen Rasputins across South America. My problem with this is not that she didn’t make some kind of appearance. My problem is that something interesting in mentioned, but Beckett essentially runs by as he keeps chasing Baba Yaga’s ghost. That is ghost in the metaphorical sense, not that he is actually chasing her wraith. But lost in all of this are all but the most fleeting mentions of the (then) current situation in Russia.

        In the V5 Anarch book (pg 27) is a brief dialogue from a surviving member of the Brujah council, who pines for the good old days of totalitarianism. Having this character, or at least one like them, and talk to Beckett about the USSR would have improved the chapter considerably.

        In anycase, this chapter felt a bit like reducing all of America down to Lex Luthor and Superman. There is so much more going on that just that.

        Lastly, about the teeth Beckett finds. Baba Yaga is described as possessing iron teeth, which are like those of a shark. Presumably she sheds them.

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        • Eye see what you did there

          This chapter is a highlight of the book. Also, it is one that can be pinned down in terms of the timeline. It occurs after Beckett’s adventures in Russia, and after Lutica is thrown in as a contender for the position of regent. Also, I am more forgiving of Beckett here than is CTPhipps. It is implied that Lucita voched for Maria Sandoza – Lucita’s note reads “I’ll be having words with Maria when next we meet.-L” On the other hand, Lucita also writes “Ut sementem feceris. Moron.” The first parto f that is Latin, and basically mean “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Perhaps she is angry and disappointed with both Beckett and Maria.

          Come to that, I suspect Lucita is perpetually angry with and disappointed by her circle of “friends.”

          In terms of the temple having interior rooms, I always just chalked that up to changes Goratrix made once he was in possession of the place. Or that fact this is the world of Darkness, and lots of buildings have hidden rooms and secret passages.

          Originally posted by BJD pg 289
          Kidiaba tells me Goratrix made this place his haven when he migrated to the New World, moving Heaven and Earth — perhaps literally — to convert an inverted Aztec temple into his domain.
          How does Beckett even know House Ngoma? They are mortal mages. Why did they provide him, through Kidiaba, with the charm? Who is Kidiaba?

          The entire section where, apparently, Tremere in the body of Goratrix, destroys the “Spellbinders” is interesting. It is, more or less, lifted from Transylvania Chronicles IV. But it still asks many questions.

          How long has Tremere occupied the body of Goratrix? In the original TC IV it was a new thing. However, in some of the changes to the timeline across the editions this possession actually dates back to when “Goratrix” first fled clan Tremere, well before the founding of the Sabbat?

          Why did he open his third eye?

          What if it was not Tremere opening that eye, but Saulot, so he could watch. If so, how much is Tremere being influenced by Saulot?

          Beckett’s stay in the town of Hunedoara is deeply interesting and foreshadows events to come later in the book. This second half of the book is more closely thematically tied together than is the first half.

          The scenes with Herr Schrekt – who I think of as a borderline Hydra villain from Marvel – are solid. But @CTPhippis is interesting, in that Schrekt basically spills the beans about what Clan Tremere faces. And of course what happens to Clan Tremere and the Main Chantry between BJD and V5 becomes ever more interesting because of this chapter.

          And it is that bitch Talley who drives a dump truck through the Tremere vehicle to get Tsang.

          Honestly, my only complaint about this chapter is one bit towards the end.

          Originally posted by BJD pg 301
          Beckett: I won’t let that happen. I will save you and Mahtiel from these intrigues.
          Cuthbert strikes a heroes pose, or at least he tries to do so. And it feels out of character – deeply out of character actually. The Noddist scholar is a selfish creature. He states this in the text. He is insensitive, rude, and a creature of depraved indifference outside of his scholarly interests. The hero talk comes from nowhere, goes nowhere, and is never justified by anything about him.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
            From Russia with Apathy

            From 2010 to 2012 I lived in Bulgaria – a Slavic country. I can still read the Cyrillic alphabet. Slavic nations, history and folklore interest me. But there is more to all of it than Baba Yaga, as interesting and horrible as she is. And she is both interesting and horrible. Indeed, in the World of Darkness she is vastly worse than depicted in the recent Hellboy movie.



            And as aside, I know the timeline of both the book and its writing don’t permit it, but I kept hoping that a terribly lethal mortal assassin would show up at some point as Beckett kept running around looking for Baba Yaga. The kind of nobody “you sent to kill the fucking bogeyman.”



            It has been ages, but I recall the decision to destroy Baba Yaga came down to Justin Achilli. I believe the reasoning was that VtM was not about battling supervillians, but dealing with one’s own moral corruption and damnation. The Little Grandmother shifted that dynamic. Arguably, Ur-Shulgi fulfills the same function – an essentially unstoppable supervillain. But perhaps she was too center stage, stealing the spotlight from the actions of the PCs. Ur Shulgi is, by definition, off in the shadows as a lurking menace.

            Perhaps the WoD version of her escaped into the Middle Umbra. That would be more interesting that her just dying in such an anticlimactic manner. This would allow her to be a lurking shadow menace.

            I am a bit more forgiving of this chapter than CTPhipps, but not much more. His complaints generally match my own. The chapter spends too much time chasing the ghost of Baba Yaga – essentially the supervillian from another splat – and too little time diving into the current political situation of the Russian vampires.

            I mentioned above how Beckett’s says he will get back to the subject of Anastasia, but then never mentions here again in the entire book. Not even later in the chapter where he and Vykos chase a dozen Rasputins across South America. My problem with this is not that she didn’t make some kind of appearance. My problem is that something interesting in mentioned, but Beckett essentially runs by as he keeps chasing Baba Yaga’s ghost. That is ghost in the metaphorical sense, not that he is actually chasing her wraith. But lost in all of this are all but the most fleeting mentions of the (then) current situation in Russia.

            In the V5 Anarch book (pg 27) is a brief dialogue from a surviving member of the Brujah council, who pines for the good old days of totalitarianism. Having this character, or at least one like them, and talk to Beckett about the USSR would have improved the chapter considerably.

            In anycase, this chapter felt a bit like reducing all of America down to Lex Luthor and Superman. There is so much more going on that just that.

            Lastly, about the teeth Beckett finds. Baba Yaga is described as possessing iron teeth, which are like those of a shark. Presumably she sheds them.
            The thing about Baba Yaga is that she's not a Vampire: The Masquerade villain at all, she's a Werewolf: The Apocalypse villain. W:TA, for all the wonderful politics and deep storytelling you can do, is a game about slaying monsters in much the same way Exalted is. She was also safely "isolated" from the rest of the campaign setting

            I actually always felt Ur-Shulgi was more disruptive game-wise since his support for the Web of Knives meant that he was going to be unleashing the Banu Haqim on the rest of Kindred society. Baba Yaga was focused on Russia and wasn't going to be invading anything else. Plus, I also felt their power levels (despite similarity) were vastly different by virtue of their opponents.

            Ur-Shulgi is a vampire who can break the Council of Seven's curse on the Assamites with a wave of his hand. Vampires are inclined to be small Neonate coteries and if they're Elders have their own agendas. Garou, by contrast, can and often do work together to achieve Godzilla-slaying actions. It's why I always had the Camarilla have the US government bomb Alamut (or First Light) because taking Ur-Shulgi off the board prevents a continuing Kindred genocide from him.

            In W:TA, you can have the PCs confront Baba Yaga and they'll probably lose but not necessarily, especially if they have aid of some kind from their fellows. In Ur-Shulgi's case, you need a Maguffin of some kind to defeat him or another similarly powered NPC like Tremere or an Antediluvian to stop him.

            But yes, I basically agree the problem with the chapter is too much time is spent on the aftermath of Baba Yaga when she's already a villain who is dead. Like her end or not, the storyline was over and it's time to begin new ones.

            You're right that something like that Ex-KGB Brujah would have been more interesting.

            While it's also from V5, I also like the idea the Second Inquisition in the Russian Federation is more interested in using Kindred than killing them.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-04-2019, 03:03 AM.


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

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            • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              It was weirdly condescending about a decision that came out of nowhere.
              Sadly, that kind of thing is scattered across the old World of Darkness.

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              It could very well be the Ordo Dracul equivalent when it's detailed if he opens it up to non-Tremere.
              My theory is House Goratrix is, or can be, a stand in for the Ordo Dracul and House Carna can be a stand in for the Circle of the Crone. The House Goratrix serves Tremere, the Tremere serve P’o Saulot (or did until the fall of Vienna), and it remains to be seen where House Carna falls.

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              2. Goratrix/Tremere relationship: Oh and Tremere/Goratrix are confirmed as lovers here. Like Divis Mal, Tremere being gay changes nothing but is interesting.
              This is a good point. What does it matter if Tremere was gay as a human? Even then, he was essentially a complete monster. And he got worse when he became a vampire.

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              I feel sad that I know that.
              Me too. But the scene in House Tremere where it happens does paint Etrius as kind of a petty bitch. The castration ritual might have been Etrius’s idea anyway.

              [QUOTE=CTPhipps;n1329092]I'm honestly surprised he hasn't been Beckoned but my choice is to believe the Antediluvians are afraid of him like Chuck Norris.[quote]

              After the Fall of Vienna, are the Tremere even being Beckoned?If so, to where?

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              Plus Golconda is already treated as almost impossible to get that it might as well not be in the game…
              A number of writers over the years have dismissed the idea not so much of Golconda, as of “good vampires.” I think some of them would dismiss the idea of Golconda entirely if they could.

              As for Saulot, I like the ambiguity of good or evil Saulot who might be both. I’ve no idea what Evil Saulot (P’o Saulot) is up to, aside from being involved with the Master of Ravens. However, I think even Good Saulot (Hun Saulot) seeks to destroy the entire vampire race. Which would be hard to identify as good if you are a vampire.

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              5. I'm pretty sure most of us agree that V5 Tremere probably lowered the defenses of the Vienna Chantry...
              Actually, I think there are equal odds between it being Tremere, or either of the two Saulots. The P’o Saulot – formally the white worm – might do it to stages its own destruction. The hun Saulot might do it to try and destroy the P’o Saulot. Or Herr Schrekt did it to destroy the worm and it got out of hand, doing more damage than he intended.

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              6. The Blood Brothers are a bloodline that don't really have much use as PCs because the whole point is that you destroy your individuality
              I agree. They make decent enemies but are not really suited as a PC.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                Eye see what you did there

                This chapter is a highlight of the book. Also, it is one that can be pinned down in terms of the timeline. It occurs after Beckett’s adventures in Russia, and after Lutica is thrown in as a contender for the position of regent. Also, I am more forgiving of Beckett here than is CTPhipps. It is implied that Lucita voched for Maria Sandoza – Lucita’s note reads “I’ll be having words with Maria when next we meet.-L” On the other hand, Lucita also writes “Ut sementem feceris. Moron.” The first parto f that is Latin, and basically mean “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Perhaps she is angry and disappointed with both Beckett and Maria.

                Come to that, I suspect Lucita is perpetually angry with and disappointed by her circle of “friends.”
                Perhaps the first sign that she's actually friends with them versus just being disposable pawns.

                How does Beckett even know House Ngoma? They are mortal mages. Why did they provide him, through Kidiaba, with the charm? Who is Kidiaba?
                I found it cute Anatole had this very same question. Maybe he somehow figured out a way to talk to Erichtho again after the disaster in Chicago.

                The entire section where, apparently, Tremere in the body of Goratrix, destroys the “Spellbinders” is interesting. It is, more or less, lifted from Transylvania Chronicles IV. But it still asks many questions.
                I admit in my games, whenever I addressed this unpopular plot, it was like this.

                Saulot/Tremere have merged into one being.

                The Worm is Kupala now a Demon-Antediluvian.

                The scenes with Herr Schrekt – who I think of as a borderline Hydra villain from Marvel – are solid. But @CTPhippis is interesting, in that Schrekt basically spills the beans about what Clan Tremere faces. And of course what happens to Clan Tremere and the Main Chantry between BJD and V5 becomes ever more interesting because of this chapter.
                Karl is kind of hilarious in the fact there should be few figures more unambiguously evil than a Tremere Justicar of the Camarilla. However, the irony of this chapter is that it pretty much paints all of his paranoia and belief in the diabolical evil of the Salubri as objectively right. Add that to the fact he is a demon hunter and that he constantly shows up in the middle of horrifying situations then you get a character I'd argue probably could do the "Superheroe with Fangs" storyline.

                It's doubly funny that Karl is probably one of the only vampires (especially the Tremere) who is NOT actively plotting against his superiors.

                That practically makes him a Kindred paladin.

                But yes, I do find it funny he tells Beckett all this information and then Beckett immediately shows why you should never trust any other Kindred--even the "heroes."

                Cuthbert strikes a heroes pose, or at least he tries to do so. And it feels out of character – deeply out of character actually. The Noddist scholar is a selfish creature. He states this in the text. He is insensitive, rude, and a creature of depraved indifference outside of his scholarly interests. The hero talk comes from nowhere, goes nowhere, and is never justified by anything about him.
                I think a lot of vampires occasionally have moments where they try and regain a bit of their souls by doing something noble. Of course, Beckett doesn't and ends up forgetting about it soon after.


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

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                • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                  It has been ages, but I recall the decision to destroy Baba Yaga came down to Justin Achilli. I believe the reasoning was that VtM was not about battling supervillians, but dealing with one’s own moral corruption and damnation.
                  Based on the metaplot from Revised, I would have thought his version of VtM was about fighting hordes of shambling multi-bodied former human monstrous hulks on the streets of major cities and dropping spirit nukes on supervillains.

                  There is such a huge difference between what people SAY and what they actually DO.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                    4. I hate Evil Saulot and the falsehood of Golconda. Evil Saulot is something that the gameline tried to sell as something shocking and twisting but its twist is, "He's just like the other Antediluvians! He's a meanie!" This is one of those things that I feel like was sold hard and it's not something that really is all that interesting. I think part of is the Antediluvians aren't really characters but "forces" in the world anyway. It doesn't help that the whole premise is not only is Evil Saulot evil but he has to be the absolute EVILEST of all Antediluvians. He's the Demon Emperor of the universe! He terrifies the Wan Kuei/Kuei-Jin! He sired the Baali! It's all part of his evil plan! Ho ho ho!

                    Plus Golconda is already treated as almost impossible to get that it might as well not be in the game, I'm of the mind we need to reverse it and make playable Golconda and it less overtly superpowered. So, making it fake just is kicking the personal horror element as you need an escape to make damnation interesting.
                    This is one of the reasons why RPGs should not have metaplots. The should set up a status quo and allow the STs to make their own determination of what to do. Allow the STs to come up with their own solutions to the game's mysteries instead of revealing it later on.

                    For the vast majority of games, the question on the real nature of Saulot will be completely irrelevant. But for those where it is important, the ST should feel free to come up with an answer that works for them. It's perfectly valid for one ST to see Saulot as a troubled soul who honestly worked to free himself (and others) from the Curse, and for another to reveal that to be a lie and make him just as monstrous as any other. The modern vampire mythos works either way.

                    By introducing metaplot, an RPG basically steamrollers the work that STs have done and made their chronicles "wrong". That's just bad marketing strategy in the long term, even if it provides a temporary boost in sales revenue. I would prefer it if instead of "canon" metaplots, the game took the approach of toolkits. Here is a book of metaplots you could use in your game - and give us all the stuff they've done (much of which they invalidate themselves whenever they feel like it), but keep the core setting intact.

                    Not all the ideas of V5 are bad, but I prefer a metaplot neutral setting like V20 where the publishers not end up telling you that you're doing it wrong.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews
                      My theory is House Goratrix is, or can be, a stand in for the Ordo Dracul and House Carna can be a stand in for the Circle of the Crone. The House Goratrix serves Tremere, the Tremere serve P’o Saulot (or did until the fall of Vienna), and it remains to be seen where House Carna falls.
                      My inclination is that:

                      Anarchs=Carthians
                      Ivory Tower=Invictus
                      Church of Caine=Lancea Sanctum
                      Bahari=Circle of the Crone
                      Ordo Dracul = The New Tremere

                      I do think it's been established that Herr Schrekt is the internim head of House Tremere, though. Ironically, the 5th generation Justicar who was always first and ready to service is now the sole leader versus the scheming Council of Seven. It's really interesting that in addition to being the vampire Dos Equis guy, he's now the equivalent of Cincinattus. No other Tremere is less ambitious but more capable of ruling.

                      Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews
                      This is a good point. What does it matter if Tremere was gay as a human? Even then, he was essentially a complete monster. And he got worse when he became a vampire.
                      It's also a nice inversion as some of my previous Tremere gamemasters assumed Merlinda and Tremere were lovers (w/ all the unfortunate implications that implies).

                      Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews
                      A number of writers over the years have dismissed the idea not so much of Golconda, as of “good vampires.” I think some of them would dismiss the idea of Golconda entirely if they could.
                      I appreciate that Justin Achilli decided to darken up Vampire: The Masquerade with Revised. I recall that CLANBOOK: GIOVANNI 1st Edition was one of the few books to really Embrace (pun intended) the fact being a vampire was horrifying and terrible. However, I do think he went a little overboard with it. Still, I think it was the right call making it so that Paths of Enlightenment weren't just "I'm okay, you're okay" but horrifying indoctrination into serial killer ideologies.

                      But I think Golconda is something that is thematically very important. The way it's portrayed is something few characters will follow (basically, you have to live like one of the Children of Osiris it seems) but the idea it's out there informs the gameworld.

                      "Good" vampires may be an oxymoron but if everyone is evil then the game kind of becomes pointless to me. The whole point, at least, is you want to be good but you're cursed that you can't be.

                      Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews
                      As for Saulot, I like the ambiguity of good or evil Saulot who might be both. I’ve no idea what Evil Saulot (P’o Saulot) is up to, aside from being involved with the
                      Master of Ravens. However, I think even Good Saulot (Hun Saulot) seeks to destroy the entire vampire race. Which would be hard to identify as good if you are a vampire.
                      Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the insight but when we get into whole thing that Saulot has multiple souls, Kupala, Tzimisce, Tremere, influencing who and who, the Baali, and so on, it feels more and more like this.

                      https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KudzuPlot


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

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                      • Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                        Based on the metaplot from Revised, I would have thought his version of VtM was about fighting hordes of shambling multi-bodied former human monstrous hulks on the streets of major cities and dropping spirit nukes on supervillains.

                        There is such a huge difference between what people SAY and what they actually DO.
                        I think the Clan Novels to Revised are the "Trenchcoat and Katana" period of Vampire: The Masquerade history when the assumption was the majority of V:TM gamers were 14 and 16 year-old boys. It, admittedly, was about the time I was 15-16 years old myself.

                        A lot of people use the "Superheroes with Fangs" as a perjorative but I think it was one of the most pure fun times of the series. V:TM Redemption and V:TM Bloodlines are a lot of fun with the fact they're about being player character action heroes slaying monsters worse than themselves. The "Underworld" style of gameplay is something I have gotten a lot of fun from.

                        But I admit, I didn't much care for the hyper focus on the Camarilla vs. Sabbat. Not just because of the Anarchs getting lost in the shuffle as "Camarilla soldiers with attitude" but also that it distracted from the more personal stories. War story horror is a different beast from personal horror.

                        I also maintain any stragically minded Kindred would realize 15 ghouled soldiers attacking Pack Havens during the day is a 100% more effective than Gangrel and Brujah duking it out with the Antitribu in the street.

                        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                        This is one of the reasons why RPGs should not have metaplots. The should set up a status quo and allow the STs to make their own determination of what to do. Allow the STs to come up with their own solutions to the game's mysteries instead of revealing it later on.

                        For the vast majority of games, the question on the real nature of Saulot will be completely irrelevant. But for those where it is important, the ST should feel free to come up with an answer that works for them. It's perfectly valid for one ST to see Saulot as a troubled soul who honestly worked to free himself (and others) from the Curse, and for another to reveal that to be a lie and make him just as monstrous as any other. The modern vampire mythos works either way.

                        By introducing metaplot, an RPG basically steamrollers the work that STs have done and made their chronicles "wrong". That's just bad marketing strategy in the long term, even if it provides a temporary boost in sales revenue. I would prefer it if instead of "canon" metaplots, the game took the approach of toolkits. Here is a book of metaplots you could use in your game - and give us all the stuff they've done (much of which they invalidate themselves whenever they feel like it), but keep the core setting intact.

                        Not all the ideas of V5 are bad, but I prefer a metaplot neutral setting like V20 where the publishers not end up telling you that you're doing it wrong.
                        I have a mixed set of feelings regarding metaplot.

                        I initially ignored V20 and was deeply stupid for it. Onyx Path probably produced the best Vampire: The Masquerade had to offer in any edition and I was kind of iffy about it because of the fact that it was metaplot agnostic. Crazy, huh? However, it wasn't until Beckett's Jyhad Diary and Dust to Dust (there's an odd pairing) that I started buying all the books up retroactively. For me, Metaplot is a major motivation to buying new books. I like the sense of living in a "living world" and the "periodical" element of RPG supplements that, "So what's going on in Toril this week." I had a friend who was similarly addicted to all the changes that happened in Rokugan due to the Tournaments.

                        I think the Antediluvians, Gehenna, and Methueslahs can be bad for this, though as they're a bit too much and gameworld breaking.

                        UTILITY MUFFIN LABS said that the worst use you can have for someone like, say Lucifer or Caine is have them show up. Because, after that, what's left to say?

                        (I did have Anatole claim to be possessed by Caine for a game based on the False Caine adventure, though)


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

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                        • I like to take the view that Saulot is old enough and introspective enough to have gone through phases where he carved out spaces at the top and the bottom of the moral scale, all in search of a way of giving his immortal existence some kind of meaning. He can be the prophet of Golconda and the guy who aspires to be the Demon Emperor, depending on what millennium it was when the diary entry was carved.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                            I agree. They make decent enemies but are not really suited as a PC.
                            Hmm, I don't know. I think Blood Brother PCs could work, if you're willing to play with some of the game's core assumptions.

                            For instance, why not let the player run, not a single Blood Brother, but an entire group of them? They're basically already a unit, so why not just let one player control the whole set? Do the Ars Magicka thing.

                            Yes, absolutely, this is a huge gamble, giving a single player access to multiple vampire characters at once. The whole gaming group would need to be on board with the idea before it's implemented, since it's giving such an advantage to one member. Multiple "units" in a battle at once heavily stacks the action economy in the favor of that player.

                            On the other hand, so does high levels of Celerity. Moreover, there might be ways to balance out this arrangement, like letting the other players run older, more experienced vampires. Or just letting everyone have multiple characters. In that way, it wouldn't just be a Coterie, but a Coterie of Coteries. To be clear, I probably wouldn't let a Blood Brothers player run more than three of them at once, simply because they become a headache to keep track of.

                            [EDIT: Letting one player control a whole squad of Blood Brothers would also be a useful thing to try in a one-on-one campaign. The Storyteller gives control of the squad to the single player, who controls them in a tactical manner. That they don't have individual personalities also makes them easier to roleplay, although some may enjoy the challenge of running different personalities at once.]

                            Even assuming that you're not letting a player run multiple characters, you could play with the assumptions about what a "Blood Brother" is. Have alternate "strains" of the Bloodline, with different Discipline spreads. A while back I considered a group of female Blood "Brothers" that spec more towards mental abilities, making them vampiric versions of the Stepford Cuckoos from the X-Men comics. Instead of being a purely physical threat, they would be a cerebral threat, combining their mental strengths to wreak havoc on others. Disciplines like Auspex, Dominate, even Dementation could be potent, if welded to Combination Discipline powers that incorporate Sanguinous.

                            Alternatively, you could tie the "Blood Brother" label to the Sanguinous Discipline itself, rather than the specific Bloodline. Any two individuals who know Sanguinous and share a Blood Bond (or Vinculum, where appropriate) could interact with one another, so long as they've renewed their bond in the last month or so. Suddenly, whole packs of Sabbat vampires are "Blood Brothers", in the sense that they're swapping body parts and sharing blood. This creates the potential for a wide variety of different "Blood Brothers" playstyles, since different members of the collective have their own powers, weaknesses, and even interests, though the strength of their bond keeps them together for the most part. It would be an...interesting Sabbat campaign, to be sure.

                            Even if you don't want to go as far as to make anyone a potential "Blood Brother", you could have shades of this by making a variant of the Bloodline that has members develop different "in-Clan" Disciplines (other than Sanguinous, of course, which is constant). Making them more than just a bunch of bruisers, but a complex and holistically combined unit.
                            Last edited by Bluecho; 08-04-2019, 03:21 AM.


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                            • You see Saulot is actually manipulating Tremere, except Kupala is possessing the Cathedral of Flesh, while Tzimisce has infected everyone who has tasted his blood, yet the Tremere are actually going to leave his body to possess Goratrix, while the Worm is entering its crysalis, yet Saulot could actually be good (Hun) while also being evil (Po), and the Nosferatu Antediluvian is launching nuclear missiles to get back at Toreador.



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

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                              • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                                Chapter Sixteen: The Deaths of Baba Yaga
                                Sorry to be late to the party - again -, but I just re-read the chapter yesterday and wanted to add some thoughts.

                                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                                Also, Lucita lose her friend Selene in Russia. First of all, I don't know if this is meant to be another canon character or just sharing a name with the Underworld character. Next, I'm surprised Lucita has any friends other than Beckett and Anatole.
                                That has to be a nod to Underworld. I can't be the first one to notice the similarities between Selene (bad ass, leather-wearing, gun-wielding, killer chick with sire-issues) and Lucita (the same, basically)?

                                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                                Beckett ends up with a vampire named Angus and explores the woods of Russia until they find a huge chunk of Nosferatu vampires related to Baba Yaga and in torpor due to magical means. He then later finds Angus killed, some iron teeth around him, and a mysterious message from Absimiliard. Beckett believes that Baba Yaga might or might not still be dead due to the iron teeth around him but wouldn't that be a sign she IS dead?
                                What I like about Angus are two things, not really related to him as a NPC: 1) The parallels to his relationship with Beckett with that of his sire Okulos'. 2) Him being a perfect example of how cold/fanatical Beckett can be in his search for answers. He just uses Angus, puts him into harms way, even though he could have easily helped him in finding Okulos.


                                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                                Thoughts
                                This chapter leaves me cold, I'm going to be honest. It's still steak and well-done steak but it's a little too well-done and not my favorite in the work. I appreciate the follow-up to the silliness of the Shadow Curtain and the willingness of the book to touch EVERYTHING metaplot related but this is entirely my own issues here.
                                Basically, I have to agree with you here, that it seems to be more than an epilogue, than a starting point. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, though. As for the Shadow curtain, I think there are plenty of opportunities to create a story around missing childer, revenge-seeking prisoners and the like. I also like Baba Yaga being dead, with all the methuselahs having survived/faked their deaths in this book alone (notably, Vitel or Mithras), I wouldn't appreciate another "but what if she survived..." chapter.
                                I do think that there are a lot of unexplained mysteries in this chapter as well, though. The knife-demon at least gets a plot hook, but one that escapes me again, despite having read it yesterday - well, I was a bit tired. You already mentioned the question of Baba Yagas torpid childer and I myself was intrigued by the fate of Gutka, the Salt-Queen, who seems to have perished in a train station of St. Petersbourg. I think she tries to reach her sire, when Baba Yaga awakens, as per TbN, but I don't remember her exact destiny. But than again - this chapter doesn't give you much to work with. The same goes for the whole russian setting. Where BJD gives us rather detailed updates of half a dozen north-american cities, we don't know anything about Russia after Baba's death aside of Nicolai. I can't say that I planned to place a story there anytime soon, but had I planned one, I wouldn't be much wiser after reading this unfortunately.

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