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

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  • There's a lot of conversation here so I think I'll divide it into multiple sections like Grumpy RPG Reviews .

    Why Do Metaplot?

    For me, there's a fundamental difference between V:TM and other games. Part of this is due to the fact that this is set in the "real world" to an extent so that means that history will keep going on around the player characters no matter what. If you started in 1991, your characters will eventually experience the Berlin Wall falling, the end of Communism, 9/11, the Patriot Act, the proliferation of cellphones, and the advent of the computer age in every cellphone.

    The next issue is the fact that V:TM is a game in part about insignificance. If I were to compare it to any other supernatural setting in any media property whatsoever, I would say that V:TM is most similar to the classic Hellblazer run with John Constantine. Even though he's a hedge mage and not a vampire, he's the ultimate Anarch. John cannot defeat the fact the universe is fundamentally an unfair place. Heaven is the Camarilla, corrupt and (l)awful, while Hell is the Sabbat, chaotic and even worse.

    The Jyhad is predicated on the fact that the player characters can never really defeat Sauron, destroy the One Ring, and save the world. That's not because you can't but that the World of Darkness has an abundance of Saurons. Tiamat, the Wanderer, Helena (more like the Lady of Black Company), Kupala, Tremere, Augustus Giovanni, and numerous other fourth generations could all make the world a terrible place if they weren't fighting each other.

    Generally, you're never going to be able to kill Sauron in this game. Not even a Ringwraith. What you can, however, do is deal with your local Grima Wormtongue or the Mouth of Sauron. Maybe even a Saruman or two looking to become the next Sauron. Like John Constantine, you exist to thwart a murdering rapist serial killer one day and maybe you might unwittingly thwart the century-long plans of Vykos another.

    How does this tie into metaplot? Metaplot benefits the setting, even when it's not the focus of your game, by making the world a living place. There's always a sense of evil plots in motion around the player characters that let them know things are happening that they can be a part of or not. The player characters in Washington D.C. may actively resent the idea that their city is about to be taken by the Sabbat if you are using WDCbN when the Powers that Be decided you're about to lose it. On the other hand, that's going to be a potentially awesome plot hook. Maybe your player characters can repel it or maybe you won't and they have to relocate to somewhere else or fight to retake the city.

    You may argue, "But if I have to change it then what's the point of it?" Well, if everything is the same but Washington D.C. remains under the control of the Camarilla, perhaps Prince Steve Jones the PC, then that's still 98% the same gameworld. Which is good for discussing details and new plots with your fellow gamers who may have their own takes on things. The metaplot is basically a subscription to a continuing magazine of new ideas and possibilities to work from. The vast majority of Kindred will never journey to Russia to deal with the Shadow Curtain but you could easily have refugees from there or Baba Yaga's Hutt put on display as a work of art in a museum (only for her to regenerate from it in your city!).

    Metaplot is also just inherently interesting in itself. What is Beckett up to? What is going on in LA? How about Chicago? The stories of people like Kevin Jackson are worth buying a copy of V5 Chicago by themselves, IMHO. They can also be adapted to other settings as I had a very lengthy New York by Night game with Chicago's NPCs and my gamers never suspected until years later.

    Why do I like V5's metapolot?

    My first campaign for V5 was a revival of a college-era campaign where the player characters entered torpor and then awoke about 14 years later in 2018. It was a very effective campaign because the events of V5 were things that actually had serious effects on their day-to-day lives. I had the Second Inquisition and Beckoning played up heavily as existential threats to Kindred lives. I didn't just use it mildly but stated that the city (Chicago) was one of the last "safe" cities in the world. That the majority of cities across the globe were Kindred free and there was perhaps only half the original vampire race.

    I was particularly proud of this quote I said at the start of the game, "This is how the Kindred race ends, not with a bang or even a whimper. The extermination of humanity's longest foe and dark reflection happens in the shadows, unseen. Hunters will finish the job, perhaps, and then go home to a bright new day with none of the Kine ever the wiser."

    My subsequent V5 games haven't been quite so extreme but I like the fact that they're emphasizing the fact that vampire society is in a period of tumult and change, brought about primarily by the advent of new technology as well as the fact that old vampires simply can't keep up. So they've doubled down on oppressing younger vampires while trying to make (ironically enough) elf-like pockets where things are effectively the 19th century forever. Because that's the last time any of these guys really felt comfortable.

    The Gehenna War is essentially something that I have been using as a substitute for Gehenna itself. Cribbing the cyclical Gehenna concept from BJD, the idea is that the Beckoning is a "Feast of Folly" type situation. The Antediluvians are summoning their Eldest Children first to feast upon or spare depending on their preferences. The Sabbat fighting lesser elders spills blood that they feed on indirectly and allows their torpid children to rise by possessing younger bodies (ala Monty Coven) as otherwise they'd sleep forever. It makes Noddist lore and the apocalypse relevant without something like "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies. The player characters aren't food but if they survive 800-1000 years, they probably will be next time and there's not a damn thing they can do about it.
    Probably.

    Despite how much I've talked up the Anarchs, I've also run a couple of good V5 Sabbat games because this is a great time to be a member of the Sword of Caine. Obviously, we need more material for it but I am using (of all things) the Post-Endor Galactic Empire as a model. The Sabbat is a failed dictatorship and now it's after D-Day for the Nazis, Reconstruction for the Confederacy, or the fall of the Berlin Wall. The player characters must now figure out how they fit into a world where the Sabbat is disintegrating.

    I had player characters who decided to become infiltrators to the Camarilla, guys who wanted to reform the Sabbat in secret, and those who wanted to just bring the Cainite religion to the Anarchs. One of the funnier Chronicles we did had Edward Neally, of all people, as the Regent of one of the Sabbat Remnants. He had the support of the Grimaldi and they were attempting to make a Sabbat based around defeating the Antediluvians through wealth. They ended up as food for Tiamat. I also said that there were plenty of "Sabbat Warlord" states where it was like they were still in 1999. The Second Inquisition and Camarilla would come for them but they refused to admit the cause was lost.

    And the Anarchs? Well, I moved much of what I liked about the Sabbat to them with Caine mysticism and more violent overthrow of the Camarilla as an aim. They were "half-Sabbat" and more playable.

    It is a very exciting and dangerous time but it is very DIFFERENT.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-30-2019, 07:33 PM.


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

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    • It’s really tempting to pin the fans’ love of metaplot as something that Twin Peaks and The X-Files trained us for. “This means something! It all ties together somehow!” The writers of those shows were making it up as they went along of course, and White Wolf’s writers disclosed that they were doing the same at least as early as the first “Kindred of the East” hardcover book. “Is the Scarlet Queen Lilith? Sure, why not, if it works for you.” I’m paraphrasing, but not by much. Even if we know they’re making it up as they go along, it’s fun to pull the wool over one’s own eyes and pretend that there really is a greater plan for the story.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Reasor View Post
        It’s really tempting to pin the fans’ love of metaplot as something that Twin Peaks and The X-Files trained us for. “This means something! It all ties together somehow!” The writers of those shows were making it up as they went along of course, and White Wolf’s writers disclosed that they were doing the same at least as early as the first “Kindred of the East” hardcover book. “Is the Scarlet Queen Lilith? Sure, why not, if it works for you.” I’m paraphrasing, but not by much. Even if we know they’re making it up as they go along, it’s fun to pull the wool over one’s own eyes and pretend that there really is a greater plan for the story.
        I, of course, love Twin Peaks and wrote it....with shifters.



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

        Comment


        • I was an avid fan of X-files and even more of Millenium (even if it didn't last long.) I vaguely recall Twin Peaks but it was alot.. stranger. I do know I've had a lasting love of any genre or fictional setting that has a wealth of background building. I was also a big fan of Babylon 5 back in the day. And whilst I found Lord of the Rings kinda dry and historical story-wise, I loved the mythology behind it. (It's also what drew me to Stephen King's dark tower and to Warhammer 40K.)

          We see more modern iterations of that in certain fandoms like Five Nights at Freddy's or Undertale as well. That compulsive desire to solve puzzles and uncover secrets... only to have more mystries draw you on. It can be addictive.

          WoD was huge, convoluted, and often quite contradictory.. but I loved it for its scope, its feeling of epic-ness, and the quest to delve into the material to try and uncover more clues that might provide a crucial piece linking together different mysteries and presenting a more coherent whole. I find that when I revisit it, that same appeal (and passion) has not left me and if anything has become more refined, and so I appreciate it more than when I was younger. And delving into V20 has only enhanced that appreciation further. Even if there are changes and other potential contradictions to deal with.

          For me its always been more about the journey than the ending,
          Last edited by Mister_Dunpeal; 08-31-2019, 08:55 PM.

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          • This is just a guess but I think October is possibly when they'll do the Cult of the Blood Gods Kickstarter after Deviant: The Renegade's.

            Maybe November with a month between.

            Again, just speculation.


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

            Comment


            • So I'm a bit late to the party, but anyhow. ^^
              What I found interesting was:

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

              What I tend to favor, though?

              What is *MY* Vampire: The Masquerade?

              For me, the game is about the uphill struggle after the downward slide. The game is about being a monster and everything being stacked against you to try to not be a completely shitty person (and by that I mean a f***ing serial killer) but your character tries not to to be one. That means trying not to kill, killing only complete assholes, doing good to try to atone for the evil deeds you did, and attempting to reign in your beast as well as feed yourself semi-ethically. The big difference between this and say, Forever Knight, being that you are expected to fail along the way. I often use alcoholism and addiction metaphors and coming from a family with a lot of that -- I know how to mine both.

              The moment a vampire essentially becomes like Son or even your typical Sabbat is when the characters become uninteresting to me. Even Lodin and Jackson, at least the way I run them, have ways of justifying what they are and that's the point of the game -- finding reasons to continue existing if you do care about the people you eat. I actually encourage my Players to make high humanity and "good" characters at the start--because that gives a much cooler arc for them as they fall, fail, compromise, and fuck up.
              I see it similar but, with the exception, that no matter how much you struggle, you will always slide down in the end. There might be ups and downs but no way out. And the downs will always come back. Because you are a monster now, you are damned. And the only “good” option for you is to walk into the sun. (Maybe Golconda is the realization that your time is up and your parasitic clinging to unlife through others has to stop)
              And I detest any form of Vampire Saints because of that. Oh you might try to be a Saint, but the day will come when you come to your senses in the middle of a bloodbath you caused.
              Doesn't mean I want players to play monsterous vampires, on the contrary start with high humanity, struggle to keep it but in the end...

              So I actually have the opposite conclusion when it comes to Saulot.
              Saulot the good guy vampire hero messiah, is fine when you have a superheros with fangs game. Protecting mankind with their trenchcoats and katanas in the shadows, saving the day by fighting of eeeviiel Sabbat, Baali etc.

              But the personal horror, downward spiral, struggle with humanity, there is no vampire messiah. Saulot is just the same immortal blood god bastard as all the others. Maybe the Saulot who has his ups and downs, or the Saulot who cares about nothing but his own enlightenment and does whatever he thinks might help him on the way.
              The only version of a good Saulot her I like is the one that appears like evil Saulot to most of us because he tries to win the Jihad and eradicate all vampires from the face of the earth.( which would make him good Saulot because, you know, riding the world from Vampires, all in all, the good thing to do)

              Comment


              • Originally posted by nobby View Post
                So I'm a bit late to the party, but anyhow. ^^
                What I found interesting was:

                I see it similar but, with the exception, that no matter how much you struggle, you will always slide down in the end. There might be ups and downs but no way out. And the downs will always come back. Because you are a monster now, you are damned. And the only “good” option for you is to walk into the sun. (Maybe Golconda is the realization that your time is up and your parasitic clinging to unlife through others has to stop)
                And I detest any form of Vampire Saints because of that. Oh you might try to be a Saint, but the day will come when you come to your senses in the middle of a bloodbath you caused.
                Doesn't mean I want players to play monsterous vampires, on the contrary start with high humanity, struggle to keep it but in the end...

                So I actually have the opposite conclusion when it comes to Saulot.
                Saulot the good guy vampire hero messiah, is fine when you have a superheros with fangs game. Protecting mankind with their trenchcoats and katanas in the shadows, saving the day by fighting of eeeviiel Sabbat, Baali etc.

                But the personal horror, downward spiral, struggle with humanity, there is no vampire messiah. Saulot is just the same immortal blood god bastard as all the others. Maybe the Saulot who has his ups and downs, or the Saulot who cares about nothing but his own enlightenment and does whatever he thinks might help him on the way.
                The only version of a good Saulot her I like is the one that appears like evil Saulot to most of us because he tries to win the Jihad and eradicate all vampires from the face of the earth.( which would make him good Saulot because, you know, riding the world from Vampires, all in all, the good thing to do)
                Eh, to each their own but with no hope, there's no point to the game as you have the answer. Suicide is the right choice and then there's no reason not to kill every vampire in the world.

                The Second Inquisition is the good guys and you're a coward unless you wipe them all out.

                #NathanielBorduffWasRight.

                That just doesn't sit with me right either.

                But everyone's game is their own.


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

                Comment


                • I disagree with the consensus of others, in that I don't think a vampire's quest to be good should be doomed to fail. Vampires SHOULD be capable of being Good - or at least Less Evil - because that makes success more gratifying and failure more tragic. If the fall from (relative) grace is inevitable, then there's no horror because the character really couldn't do anything about it.

                  This is what set VtM apart from many earlier depictions of vampires, who always killed when they fed, were inherently stunted in their capacity for compassion, and would become complete monsters sooner or later. In VtM, what makes monstrous Kindred monstrous is their failure to be good; describing moral compromise as the "default assumption" is the way Kindred rationalize their own moral compromise. They didn't always NEED to do the evil they've done. It's just easier than doing the "right" thing.

                  Which is the way I tend to view high Humanity games. They're just Hard Mode.

                  Being evil is so much easier for Kindred than not being evil. You have to avoid employing obvious tactics that could be really effective. You have to curb your own grandiosity. You have to be more careful, because you can't just kill whomever gets in your way. You have to avoid conflicts, or even work to resolve them peacefully (even if others are patently untrustworthy). You have to spend EXP on buying higher Conscience and Self-Control (and buying back Humanity), rather than investing into flashier Disciplines or Abilities. You have to give up control of other people (ghouls, Dominated servitors, etc) in order to keep control of yourself. And you have to KEEP doing all of this. Forever.

                  I don't think that inevitable slide into evil is what makes vampires damned. It's that they've been saddled with greater than normal temptations to evil, and then placed in a situation with far higher stakes. With the Jyhad having such a high price for failure and such great rewards for success, it's incredibly easy to give in. To not only decide that moral compromise is the only way to "win", but to completely refute the idea that another way is even possible. When EVERYONE does that, it can seem suicidal to be too squeamish. Over a long enough time frame, instances of moral failure are inevitable (especially since, with the Beast, a vampire is not always her own master).

                  The important thing is not in never erring, however. That's impossible. The important thing - for vampires as well as humans - is recognizing that failure for what it is, and to never stop trying to be better. In that way, Vampires are little different than us.


                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                    Eh, to each their own but with no hope, there's no point to the game as you have the answer. Suicide is the right choice and then there's no reason not to kill every vampire in the world.

                    The Second Inquisition is the good guys and you're a coward unless you wipe them all out.

                    #NathanielBorduffWasRight.

                    That just doesn't sit with me right either.

                    But everyone's game is their own.
                    It doesn't mean that the characters have no hope, they still can and should. I guess I see Vampire a bit like Call of Cthulhu, in its a downward spiral. (guess I also just have a thing for doomed characters and Vampires ties to gothic horror which is full of doomed characters^^)
                    Also I think the personal aspect of personal horror and your struggle for redemption gets lost when Vampire messiahs comes around.


                    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                    I disagree with the consensus of others, in that I don't think a vampire's quest to be good should be doomed to fail. Vampires SHOULD be capable of being Good - or at least Less Evil - because that makes success more gratifying and failure more tragic. If the fall from (relative) grace is inevitable, then there's no horror because the character really couldn't do anything about it.

                    This is what set VtM apart from many earlier depictions of vampires, who always killed when they fed, were inherently stunted in their capacity for compassion, and would become complete monsters sooner or later. In VtM, what makes monstrous Kindred monstrous is their failure to be good; describing moral compromise as the "default assumption" is the way Kindred rationalize their own moral compromise. They didn't always NEED to do the evil they've done. It's just easier than doing the "right" thing.
                    Something V5 lays more focus on, if you actually play through feeding scenes, it is, I find, incredible hard not to view any Vampire es a bad guy.

                    And as you get older and older statistically, you will fuck up and kill someone accidentally.

                    Especially with V5s mechanics. Getting by on animal blood? Not past a certain age. Your hunger never quiet goes away without killing.( things that I feel where present in the fluff before but never enforced mechanically)

                    Even if you are a consensualist, a single person can't sustain you, even without you using blood for anything but waking up at night. And you have to feed often to keep your hunger down. Otherwise chances of you doing something bad increase, a lot.
                    So you need more than one person in the know. Even then one day, they die, you need to find new people. Even before that, the lives of those people will suffer due to constant anemia. How many people do you need? To keep your hunger as low as possible while not have to drink more often then necessary you have to feed every other night. How often can a human give blood without risking his own health? According to a blood donation website: “Male donors need to wait a minimum of 12 weeks between whole blood donations and female donors 16 weeks.”
                    So assuming you have an all male herd, it takes 60 people who know what you are to sustain you. You have to manage them, while keeping out of Vampire politics entirely.

                    What when they become ill? You can't drink from them when they need all their strength to recover. Or even worse, you drink from them shortly before they are hit by serious illness or have an accident involving blood lose. You just having weekend them might cause them to die in that case.

                    In short your continued existence will at some point inevitably cause the death of a human being. Which by most human standards is bad.
                    Last edited by nobby; 09-02-2019, 04:00 PM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by nobby View Post
                      Something V5 lays more focus on, if you actually play through feeding scenes, it is, I find, incredible hard not to view any Vampire es a bad guy.

                      And as you get older and older statistically, you will fuck up and kill someone accidentally.

                      Especially with V5s mechanics. Getting by on animal blood? Not past a certain age. Your hunger never quiet goes away without killing.( things that I feel where present in the fluff before but never enforced mechanically)
                      See, this is another reason why I dislike V5. Vampires in previous editions didn't need any more help to be evil. The system could handle giving them "concessions" to morality - such as not automatically making a vampire unable to feed from animals after a certain point (the Children of Osiris even had a Discipline that made it more efficient) - without breaking the themes, because just being a vampire was such an ethical tightrope at the best of times. Feeding from plentiful humans is very easy (and, at least according to fluff, more satisfying) compared to feeding from animals.

                      V5 doesn't let you do that. It takes away a survival strategy players could adhere to if they really wanted to (and thereby making every feeding from humans more ethically significant, for all the points you raise, because in old editions vampires didn't HAVE to feed from humans). There are now fewer options for players and storytellers, when it comes to how they approach VtM.

                      I'm on the record saying that, all else being equal - and I will repeat that part, ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL - having more story/character options is better than having fewer of them.

                      Do not cite "V5 lets you do X" at me. Earlier editions were very flexible, and could accommodate all the same kinds of stories, with the right storytelling and character options, as V5. Including with Methuselah's Curse, which can mimic on a character-specific level what is described above, while keeping the matter optional.

                      Even if you are a consensualist, a single person can't sustain you, even without you using blood for anything but waking up at night. And you have to feed often to keep your hunger down. Otherwise chances of you doing something bad increase, a lot.
                      So you need more than one person in the know. Even then one day, they die, you need to find new people. Even before that, the lives of those people will suffer due to constant anemia. How many people do you need? To keep your hunger as low as possible while not have to drink more often then necessary you have to feed every other night. How often can a human give blood without risking his own health? According to a blood donation website: “Male donors need to wait a minimum of 12 weeks between whole blood donations and female donors 16 weeks.”
                      So assuming you have an all male herd, it takes 60 people who know what you are to sustain you. You have to manage them, while keeping out of Vampire politics entirely.

                      What when they become ill? You can't drink from them when they need all their strength to recover. Or even worse, you drink from them shortly before they are hit by serious illness or have an accident involving blood lose. You just having weekend them might cause them to die in that case.

                      In short your continued existence will at some point inevitably cause the death of a human being. Which by most human standards is bad.
                      This here is why I made a point of saying this in my earlier post:

                      Originally posted by Me
                      The important thing is not in never erring, however. That's impossible. The important thing - for vampires as well as humans - is recognizing that failure for what it is, and to never stop trying to be better. In that way, Vampires are little different than us.
                      Of course over a long enough time period, the chances of murdering a vessel approach 100%. (Though, as I explained earlier, animal blood is a workaround so long as the edition in question allows it as an option). The point is that moral failing comes, not just from making mistakes or "Doing A Homicide", but from an unwillingness to accept responsibility for said actions and working to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

                      The key aspect of pre-V5 VtM is that the loss of Humanity was not simply tied to the act of violating a tenet of Morality, but in the failure to see it for the wrong that it was. Or, alternatively, a success is rationalizing away the vampire's actions, and thus ceasing to care about the moral question or the worth of what was violated (such as the sanctity of human life). From 1e to V20, ergo, high Humanity vampires not only sought to avoid sinning where possible, but also to take their failure to do so seriously. Rather than becoming jaded, apathetic, and selfish.

                      What makes the Jyhad so deplorable is the degree to which it encourages the adoption of a myopic and ego-centric attitude on the part of all Kindred who engage in it; the "fuck you, got mine" mentality that feeds an endless cycle of abuse, violence, and vendetta throughout the ages, that didn't necessarily NEED to happen. The Tragedy is in how it could all have been avoided. (Indeed, this is true of Human Civilization as well).

                      Sure, yes, the vampiric condition lends itself to great harm and sorrow, simply by the vampire existing. But that doesn't invalidate the struggle against the moral path of least resistance that fuels much of the Jyhad and the night to night horror for which VtM is so famous.


                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Bluecho View Post

                        V5 doesn't let you do that. It takes away a survival strategy players could adhere to if they really wanted to (and thereby making every feeding from humans more ethically significant, for all the points you raise, because in old editions vampires didn't HAVE to feed from humans). There are now fewer options for players and storytellers, when it comes to how they approach VtM.
                        To be fair if we stick to player characters, not being able to feed from humans should not become an issue in a purely modern game with nenonate characters.


                        Apart from that I can see your point.
                        With the slight exception of animal blood, in that, from the mechanical point of view, in older editions it didn't make a lot of sense that most vampires wouldn't feed from animals instead of humans, except for the sake of being evil or at least edgy. It would certainly be more convenient and easy, since animals don't come at you with fire by day. I don't quiet see where feeding from humans is more easy then feeding from animals. In my opinion it's the exact opposite.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by nobby View Post
                          To be fair if we stick to player characters, not being able to feed from humans should not become an issue in a purely modern game with nenonate characters.


                          Apart from that I can see your point.
                          With the slight exception of animal blood, in that, from the mechanical point of view, in older editions it didn't make a lot of sense that most vampires wouldn't feed from animals instead of humans, except for the sake of being evil or at least edgy. It would certainly be more convenient and easy, since animals don't come at you with fire by day. I don't quiet see where feeding from humans is more easy then feeding from animals. In my opinion it's the exact opposite.
                          If I said feeding from humans was "easy", I apologize. What I meant is that humans are more immediately plentiful, since most Kindred dwell in cities (to avoid Lupines for one, and because cities are where all the best "stuff" is for another).

                          There's also something to be said about Disciplines. Some, like Animalism, make it far simpler to subsist on animal blood. Others, like Dominate, Presence, and Obfuscate, make it criminally easy to feed off humans, but not animals. This, of course, is why Clans like the Nosferatu and Gangrel are more likely to feed off animals, while Clans like the Ventrue, Toreador, Tremere, and Brujah tend to feed on humans more. For them, it IS far easier to feed on humans. Trivial, even. That's even setting aside that regular old Social Attributes and Abilities can get a vampire quite close to a mortal, one way or another.

                          (As an aside, it's established in the books that Kindred without Animal Ken or Animalism tend to put the fear in animals, who are more sensitive to the undead predator in their midst. Humans, by contrast, are very good at convincing themselves that any "bad vibes" they get off a person are irrational and not worth listening to. Even when a person's instincts or intuition turn out to be spot on.)

                          Another note: human blood is not only tastier to vampires (which unto itself is all the reason for vampires to prefer drinking from them), it's also more filling. Cattle have more blood in their bodies than humans, by volume, yet contain half as many Blood Points. If a vampire wanted to get 2 BP per hunting trip - enough so they only had to feed every other night - they could leave a human vessel light-headed, but will probably kill the bovin every time (it IS two fifths of the cow's blood, which can't be healthy). Animals winding up dead every few days, from mysterious blood loss, is problematic for vampires, to say the least. Not to say it can't be done, just that for many vampires working to feed covertly from humans (that usually don't need to die) is preferable.

                          Not unless the vampire raises their own animals for feeding. Typically, though, this is inefficient. The most economical method would involve raising rats, which need to be succ-ed four at a time to get a single blood point. Four rats a night is...a LOT of rats.

                          It works much better for Children of Osiris, whose Bardo 3 ability lets them get 3 BP per rat instead of 1/4th BP per rat. Now THAT is efficiency.


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                          • Ironically, this is actually why I think the "superheroes with fangs" thing is a misnomer because I think that it severely maligns what is a supported playstyle. Which is to say that some vampires will want to try to atone for their actions. In Bloodlines, you have the opportunity to solve murders and talk your fellow vampires down from self-destructive paths. You can and should set out to do "good" things I think if you want to maintain your humanity. There's nothing out of genre in that, especially if you end up scaring the shit out of the people you're supposed to protect.

                            I should also note one of the things that's beneficial in V5 is that it actually made higher generations relevant in the game. You can feed on Animal Blood at 13th, 12th, and 11th generations as well as bagged human blood for 10th. It means that if you WANT to play the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire as a High Generation Vampire, it is DIFFICULT but not impossible. It becomes a very good trade-off of power versus humanity with the oldest and strongest vampires being the most inhuman. Since you can choose your generation in V5, it's now actually a form of playstyle. You can also do it with Lower Generations if you have animal blood.

                            Before, in my Revised games, I just had it so that drinking animal blood was rancid tasting. That meant that vampires who were determined to feed off of others not only had to give up the beautiful sweet taste of sex-heroin (which is how I describe feeding off humans) but they had to drink a glass of raw sewage every day. That, alone, would put off most vampires but it was just flavor text. Hehe, flavor text. That was unintentional. Now I can still do that but Animalism and High Generation means it just tastes flavorless and is like drinking Slimfast or bottled water. Still not as good as sex heroin but you can understand vampires who live off of it. It also widens the gap between the Elders and Neonates as the Higher Generations can live more peacefully with humans.

                            It also ties into the fact that Thin Bloods may be a form of evolution for vampires.

                            Mind you, I prefer not to allow vegetarian vampires in my games completely. There's always the taste and need but it's something that some try to do. In my novel, Straight Outta Fangton, I have it so that animal blood is something that vampires can supplement themselves on but you can't live off indefinitely or it will drive them to draugr (zombie)dom. You need human blood but you can moderate yourself on it.


                            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
                              Ironically, this is actually why I think the "superheroes with fangs" thing is a misnomer because I think that it severely maligns what is a supported playstyle.
                              I believe "superheroes with fangs" is acceptable only if they are Frank "the Punisher" Castle types of superheroes. Which is to say they are only morally and ethically acceptable (if at all and only then) because they are surrounded by murderers, drug peddlers, human traffickers, sadists, lunatics, serial killers, and jay-walkers.

                              This is perhaps the bets way to think of the Salubri Antitribue - an entire bloodline of Frank Castles.

                              This also points to how fucked the vampires are as a "species," that the best of the vampires are trying to murder all of the other vampires.

                              BJD could have used some more of that bitter pill quality, but I've said that over and over.

                              Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 09-02-2019, 08:46 PM. Reason: Frank asked me nicely.

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                              • 27:30

                                Some more news about the upcoming vampire products. I'm fascinated about what sort of changes might have been made to the Church of Caine and the Chronicles in LTSRR.




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

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