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  • #76
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    1. I don't think the two are necessarily incompatible but do need a bit of explanation. Even if there's a powerful woman on the Council of Seven, she's the only woman and while that means Carna wasn't the first woman (or even near it as we also have Virsitania and Marianna), there's plenty of ways that the organization could have been overly repressive to women. After all, most Tremere recruits are going to be from university educated backgrounds that women were historically denied. So women recruits will tend to have come from Mage groups that have been historically more egalitarian in the WOD. There's always going to the Madame Curries, self-educated women, and Ducheski Revenants as well but they're going to be forced to iceskate uphill as the Daywalker says.
    Don't misunderstand. I have no problem believing Clan Tremere was sexist as hell back in the day, because that was the world at the time. All the vampire clans would have been at the very least, casually dismissive of women until the early to mid 20th century. But there's a difference between the casual sexism of being brought up in a world where women are treated differently than men, and the codified sexism of a blatantly "women are inferior and cannot be given power" societal hierarchy. The Tremere have always been portrayed as a meritocracy, for all its other failings. And with Meerlinda at the highest rung of the Pyramid (at least as far as anyone *not* named Tremere is concerned), I don't see how the organization could be the latter. I have no doubt she had to work ten times as hard to prove herself in the male-dominated society she was born in, but her very presence puts the lie to Carna's "women have no place in the Tremere" backstory she was originally given.

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    LA by Night also makes it clear that the Ivory Tower Tremere are working to exterminate House Carna and many have fled to the Anarchs. My assumption is that House Carna isn't allied with the Anarchs voluntarily but is being slowly forced into it.
    LA By Night is the entire reason I'm giving V5 a second glance. Jason's done a remarkable job toning down the elements I dislike and playing to its strengths. I do have to say, I find it amusing that it's considered "canon", because so far, the Camarilla seems to be acting exactly like its old self, rather than the Invictus-Lite of the Cam guide. (Another rant I'd like to go off on, but this isn't the thread).

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    There's also the fact that while I'm sure sexism is a big issue of House Carna's list of complaints, it's not the only one.
    The entire reason I brought it up is that apparently it is one of *the* founding principles of the House because I've found no less than three different places (probably more I wasn't counting) where House Carna is *specifically* cited as the new feminist House and haven for female practitioners. In fact, that's one of the only solid details given of the House, aside from its founder and the Book of the Grave War. Which is why I'm not over fond of it, and its continued hands-off treatment in the source material. It gives the impression that sexism is the main reason for the break-away when there are SO many reasons for neonates and ancillae to want to get away from the Pyramid.
    Last edited by Barachiel; 07-16-2019, 08:05 AM.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by Athanasius View Post
      @Topic: I just finished the first "walk-through" of BJD and I gotta thank CTPhipps for this thread because it made me go for that second read I was planning "maybe later": It's amazing how much I missed. As english is not my mother-tongue and I tend to read certain sentences rather quickly (for instance scenery descriptions or architecture will essentially be skipped for dialogue or "action"). It's not that I missed the important parts of Metaplot, but what I occasionally missed are a lot of foreshadowing moments or simple links between chapters, sometimes 400 pages apart. So, thanks again, it is really worth it.

      I was planning on doing a similarly detailed read-through and commenting on every chapter, but as you are simply too quick for my pace, I'll be starting here and adding stuff when I've got the time
      Thank you and welcome aboard. Like I said, I'll be slowing down a bit and letting everyone catch up. I just had a bit of free time this week that I probably should have used to write some of my books my publisher wants and my fans desperately need. However, when you're in a vampire mood, you're in a vampire mood.

      Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
      So curious after Theo Pulled a Tyler on Hardstadt, how many members of the Camarilla even knew about Hardstadt? He was a mover and shaker so I figure a lot of Neonates would have no idea who he is but Elders and many Ancillae would have heard some of the names of the top Ventrue.
      My interpretation of V:TM is that most vampires actually don't even know who the Independent Clans are as often as not, let alone minute details of vampire society. The secrecy of V:TM is such that it's actually an accomplishment that you learn the local movers and shakers. For the majority of younger vampires, Hardestadt is going to be a name that has no meaning or just a vampire that is "one of the Founders of the Camarilla." The older and more powerful you are, the more the name has resonance, though until the death of him is like saying someone killed Julius Caesar or George Washington during his Presidency.

      Then one step further to the Ancients, it's like, "Oh yeah, that upstart."

      So, for a lot of Brujah the discovery they've been exiled from the Camarilla and have no representation will be a complete surprise--probably along with, "Wait, I have representation?"

      Then the Blood Hunts and exiles of them from Camarilla territory will cause a lot of them to react....poorly.
      Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-16-2019, 09:04 AM.


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      • #78
        Originally posted by Barachiel View Post
        Don't misunderstand. I have no problem believing Clan Tremere was sexist as hell back in the day, because that was the world at the time. All the vampire clans would have been at the very least, casually dismissive of women until the early to mid 20th century. But there's a difference between the casual sexism of being brought up in a world where women are treated differently than men, and the codified sexism of a blatantly "women are inferior and cannot be given power" societal hierarchy. The Tremere have always been portrayed as a meritocracy, for all its other failings. And with Meerlinda at the highest rung of the Pyramid (at least as far as anyone *not* named Tremere is concerned), I don't see how the organization could be the latter. I have no doubt she had to work ten times as hard to prove herself in the male-dominated society she was born in, but her very presence puts the lie to Carna's "women have no place in the Tremere" backstory she was originally given.
        AND

        Originally posted by Barachiel
        The entire reason I brought it up is that apparently it is one of *the* founding principles of the House because I've found no less than three different places (probably more I wasn't counting) where House Carna is *specifically* cited as the new feminist House and haven for female practitioners. In fact, that's one of the only solid details given of the House, aside from its founder and the Book of the Grave War. Which is why I'm not over fond of it, and its continued hands-off treatment in the source material. It gives the impression that sexism is the main reason for the break-away when there are SO many reasons for neonates and ancillae to want to get away from the Pyramid.
        One thing I often try to remember when on forum games is that as much as the books help us keep a shared mythology from which we all draw, it's also something that is always going to be subject to interpretation.

        For example, right here I'm going to say that I never felt that House Carna was 100% about the sexism and it was just a major irritation to them -- something that directly contradicts your point in the second comment. It's certainly a major theme and one that plenty of forum posters have brought out their objections to or points in the favor of it but it's not ALL the House has going for it by far.

        Plus, it will largely depend on how you feel about the subject and how it's presented in your games. Every Storyteller will have a slightly different take on things like the Sabbat, Camarilla, and Anarchs that dramatically changes how they exist in campaigns. I've played in games, for example where the Anarchs were considered such losers that the very idea of the PCs siding with them was mystifying to the other players while others that they're the last heroic breath against vampire oppression.

        So really I think it depends on your interpretation of how much sexism is THE primary component of life in the Tremere's women (Ailsing Sturbridge, Marianna, Erichtho, Carna, Merlinda, etcetera, etcetera) vs. just one of the many greviances nailed to the front of the cathedral door by Martin Luther. You could make it a long simmering irritation that is a "slow boil" for example that all Tremere women who are NOT 4th generation Methuselahs have to deal with. Constantly passed over for promotions, obstructive bureaucracy, exiled to the (shudder) NEW WORLD chantries, and the subject of petty Order of Hermes gossip like how Erictho was Embraced for her looks rather than the fact she's a brilliant mage (which she was--making it more irritating despite being better qualified than 99.99% of candidates by pure irony).

        You can also make it so Merlinda is someoen that the Tremere misogynists are perpetually vexed by or make the "credit to her sex" exception for. Queen Elizabeth the First was simultaneously worshiped and loathed in her misogynist time--the subject of plots, invasions, and subversion primarily by her sex while also held above other women through a fabricated mythology. Sometimes both at once. "Yes, Merlinda was one of Tremere's disciples but no other woman in history could EVER be like her." or the typical. "She was actually Tremere's lover. Only reason why." Which is doubly ironic given we know Goratrix was bisexual and in a relationship with the House Founder now.

        Mind you, you'd have to be batshit insane or with a Final Death wish to say it to her or in earshot of her servants. But maybe even she's suffered the indignities of office politics--after all, she's the Council of Seven member who was passed over for Paris and then sent to the NEW WORLD.

        Originally posted by Barachiel
        LA By Night is the entire reason I'm giving V5 a second glance. Jason's done a remarkable job toning down the elements I dislike and playing to its strengths. I do have to say, I find it amusing that it's considered "canon", because so far, the Camarilla seems to be acting exactly like its old self, rather than the Invictus-Lite of the Cam guide. (Another rant I'd like to go off on, but this isn't the thread).
        This is another point where interpretation matters because what I love about LA by Night is that it so completely embraces the "new" Camarilla and leaves the old one in the dirt. A major theme of Season 2 was Victor Temple (Baron of the Valley) trying to get a meeting with Prince Vannevar Thomas so he could try and negotiate a ceasefire/truce/settlement. He talked like Vannevar was a man to be respected and a reasonable figure. When he actually met with the Ivory Tower, it was an enormous shit show that made it clear they were decadent self-absorbed aristocrats with no interest in peace. That the entirety of their meeting was an amusement and the Camarilla were going to exterminate or subjugate the Anarchs.

        Part of what I love about the New Camarilla is it fully Embraces the "smug entitled Elder" role that the Anarchs always accused them of being and makes their cause seem a lot more justified.


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        • #79
          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

          This is another point where interpretation matters because what I love about LA by Night is that it so completely embraces the "new" Camarilla and leaves the old one in the dirt. A major theme of Season 2 was Victor Temple (Baron of the Valley) trying to get a meeting with Prince Vannevar Thomas so he could try and negotiate a ceasefire/truce/settlement. He talked like Vannevar was a man to be respected and a reasonable figure. When he actually met with the Ivory Tower, it was an enormous shit show that made it clear they were decadent self-absorbed aristocrats with no interest in peace. That the entirety of their meeting was an amusement and the Camarilla were going to exterminate or subjugate the Anarchs.

          Part of what I love about the New Camarilla is it fully Embraces the "smug entitled Elder" role that the Anarchs always accused them of being and makes their cause seem a lot more justified.
          Okay, then explain something to me (seriously, because I don't get it.).Also, understand, I'm only up to Season 2 Episode 5 as of this moment.

          The New Camarilla has kicked out the Anarchs, closed ranks, and one has to be admitted to the Camarilla, or at the very least, Embraced by a Camarilla vampire to gain admission. Correct?

          So now, Vannevar Thomas has rolled in, claimed Praxis to an Anarch domain, and expects all Anarchs to bend the knee.

          Um, what? That's the OLD Camarilla way. The Anarchs are being treated as a distasteful, rebellious faction, but one they can still control and enforce their will upon. The New Camarilla, to my understanding, should basically drive the Anarchs out, if not outright exterminate them, because anyone not in the Camarilla is an enemy. Thomas sure as hell can't just declare a city's worth of Anarchs under Camarilla jurisdiction, because that basically means all the Anarchs are being forced to JOIN the Camarilla. Which makes the whole "closed ranks" and "invitation only" things complete BS.

          So which is it? Old Camrilla-Ruling-Over-Anarchs or New-Camarilla-Casting-Out-Anarchs? Because it can't be both.

          As far as House Carna goes, you are correct it's open to interpretation. I only called it out because the books seemed to like drawing attention to it, and when they're giving out so little in the way of details, ANY detail, to me, takes on a larger significance. Again, I have nothing against the concept of anything in V5. It's the overall execution, combined with the intentional lack of information regarding all but the basic details, that I find frustrating.
          Last edited by Barachiel; 07-16-2019, 12:12 PM.

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          • #80
            This is jumping ahead as our next chapter is Los Angeles and the Anarch Free States that I hope to do a couple of entries on as I love the Anarchs so much.

            Originally posted by Barachiel View Post
            Okay, then explain something to me (seriously, because I don't get it.).Also, understand, I'm only up to Season 2 Episode 5 as of this moment.

            The New Camarilla has kicked out the Anarchs, closed ranks, and one has to be admitted to the Camarilla, or at the very least, Embraced by a Camarilla vampire to gain admission. Correct?
            Yes, if you are an Anarch then you are no longer part of the Camarilla. The previous Camarilla was composed of the Anarchs and the Camarilla loyalists as well as Independents or anyone who wanted to be part of the Camarilla. They claimed to be a "big tent" organization that represented all of the Clans in the world ranging from the highest Ventrue to the lowliest Caitiff. You were actually considered to be a member even if you were an Independent or Sabbat--it's just the latter were in open revolt. You may not have representation on the Inner Council but the conceit of the Camarilla was that it was a society for the betterment of all vampires.

            So now, Vannevar Thomas has rolled in, claimed Praxis to an Anarch domain, and expects all Anarchs to bend the knee.
            Yes, abandon being an Anarch or die. So much so that Eva and Nelli G say they would rather than die than return to the Ivory tower. There's also more to Vannevar declaring Praxis over the city as I'll get into discussion of it later. Quite a bit of this is obviously in V5 and relates to how the Anarchs relate to the Ivory Tower in The Camarilla book and how it's described in Chicago by Night 5E but that's an entirely different subject.

            Um, what? That's the OLD Camarilla way.
            Nope. They were allowed to be Anarchs as the Camarilla claimed to represent everyone. It was indeed part of the Convention of Thorns that Anarchs received, essentially, "Freedom of Expression" that you might be able to kill someone for breaking the Traditions or any number of other crimes but you can't kill someone for just BEING an Anarch. Prince Lodin was rather infamous and nearly lost control over his city because he was a known exterminator of Anarchs.

            Previous to the Brujah expulsion, you could work for Kindred equality and gather freely or have independent coteries. All that went away with Theo Bell's assassination of Hardestadt.

            The Anarchs are being treated as a distasteful, rebellious faction, but one they can still control and enforce their will upon.
            The Anarchs are now an enemy faction like the Sabbat. They've gone from being annoyance to rebels to be executed or driven out with no territory to themselves.

            The New Camarilla, to my understanding, should basically drive the Anarchs out, if not outright exterminate them, because anyone not in the Camarilla is an enemy. Thomas sure as hell can't just declare a city's worth of Anarchs under Camarilla jurisdiction, because that basically means all the Anarchs are being forced to JOIN the Camarilla. Which makes the whole "closed ranks" and "invitation only" things complete BS.
            That's the plan, yes. It should be noted that Vannevar Thomas has not made any offers to anyone but Jasper, Nelli G, and Victor Temple to join the Ivory Tower. Jasper being a member of the Nosferatu, Nelli G a Toreador, and Victor Temple being a well-connected Ventrue. There hasn't been any offers to the Annabelle, the Valkyries, or anyone else with the exception of Baron Therese (who has accepted).

            The thing to understand is that Vannevar Thomas does not want to rule the VAMPIRES of L.A., he wants to rule the TERRITORY of L.A. This is not him declaring himself their ruler, this is him invading their territory. He's managed to establish himself as ruler of Beverly Hills but plans to take all of the Anarchs territory from them. The goal is to either drive them out or kill them because he intends to give all of L.A. to his own vampires that have sworn allegiance to him.

            This is similar to Kevin Jackson in Chicago that wishes to exterminate all of the Anarchs in Chicago except for a list of ten (that he's given to Damien and Gengis both--claiming they can choose who lives and who dies). He's not raising an army to exterminate them anymore than Vannevar Thomas is as the Camarilla doesn't work like the Sabbat. He'd rather just drive them out individually.

            Yes, they must renounce being members of the Anarchs and swear loyalty to the Camarilla, which none of the Anarchs are willing to do.
            Yes, that is the big difference.

            So which is it? Old Camrilla-Ruling-Over-Anarchs or New-Camarilla-Casting-Out-Anarchs? Because it can't be both.
            The New Camarilla can order any Anarch killed for any reason but doesn't necessarily want to expend the resources to kill them. The Anarchs must renounce their membership and swear allegiance or they're banished from Elysium and have no standing in their society. The Camarilla claims all Anarch territory as their own and is doing its best, albeit slowly, to drive other vampires from it or destroy them.

            It's just it does so without armies of shovelheads but slowly taking over the police, businesses, and so on as we see with the Grove incident and Miranda's bad paperwork.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-19-2020, 12:43 PM.


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

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            • #81
              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
              I imagine that with Methuselahs, there's only two ways they go: 1) the lose patience with everything and go full tilt on the "my way or the highway" Grandiosity, or 2) they learn to be VERY patient, because everyone is like a child to them. That Tegyrius is not an asshole is testament to him being the latter. Serving as one of the leaders of a close-knit Clan of vampires for thousands of years - AFTER being a Mage (and presumably one of great enlightenment) - gave him a better perspective on things. Especially in contrast to many other Methuselahs, who retire from outside contact and plot the downfall of everyone else.
              That's probably a good way of looking at it but Tegyrius is impressive given that he's the only Methuselah we've met so far who doesn't act like a Gould from Stargate SG-1.

              "BOW BEFORE THE GOD OF DARKNESS!"

              Concerning the Schism as a whole, I really enjoyed this chapter. Making the Web of Knives its own particular cultural and political group goes a long way towards not only reconciling older material with later revisions (while still being coherent), it also adds great potential for conflict. The Banu Haqim represents more moderate Assamites, ever in conflict with the religious extremists of the Web of Knives. A conflict which will inevitably spill over into the rest of Kindred politics, a fact which only becomes more pronounced as the Tremere curse is lifted and the Web of Knives becomes free to pursue Diablerie on whomever they please.
              Oh, I 100% agree as I think the Web of Knives works much better as a powerful but dangerous Gehenna Cult versus the entirety of the Assamites. It's part of why I approve of the Ministry as they managed to broaden the Clan's position significantly. I have no doubt that this will continue for the Hecata and probably the Ravnos too. Basically, the Web of Knives gives you a Kindred terrorist group while regular Banu Haqim aren't.

              There's also something to be said about how, up until now, the Web of Knives basically held other Assamites hostage, literally and politically, for centuries. The whole "blood tithe" matter than went on after the Tremere curse was imposed upon all Warrior Assamites (and probably many non-Warriors as well). While I think some non-extremist Warriors would continue to sell their services, because it's a profitable set of skills (those skills being the ones for separating men from their ghosts), they wouldn't continue the practice of taking payment in blood. Not unless Camarilla Banu Haqim were interested in leveraging their Blood Magic Diablerie Substitute for some other purpose, after the Tremere curse is lifted. There's probably plenty of Kindred who would give Boons aplenty for a chance to lower their Generation without Diablerie.
              I'm inclined to think that the Blood Tithe is something that required the explicit aid of the Sorcerer Caste to pull off and I'm inclined to think theres' a reason why vampires don't practice it anymore because it would be too game-breaking/changing otherwise. Maybe there's a Humanity-dropping element like a Human sacrifice being required or otherwise. Mind you, I'm wondering what it means that Blood Sorcery is a Banu Haqim Discipline in this version and whether the Sorcerer/Vizier/Warrior castes even exist anymore.

              Hell, the Camarilla would probably prefer that to the alternative, for obvious reasons. Creating a situation where more blood is traded in Boons, among Camarilla Kindred, because of how valuable it can be for this purpose. Though obviously most Kindred would insist on only giving the blood when it was actually be used for that express purpose, since a Kindred's blood can be used for all sorts of shady sorceries (usually at the expense of the Kindred in question).
              One thing I actually like about V5 and Generation is that some vampires might actually prefer the altenative. With animal blood, blood bags, and other older blood being unpalatable to lower generation Kindred--you actually have a reason to play 13th generation vampires now. Plus, add the Beckoning in and some lower generation vampires may bitterly regret their previous state. Hell, Thin Bloods actually have a pretty good utility now even if I think "Thin Blood Alchemy" is silly as their only power.

              RE: Timeframe, my understanding of Beckett's Jyhad Diary is that the events are happening around 2004-2005. I could be incorrect about this, but it was the impression I got from context. Which would mean that by V5, several years will have gone by since then. Enough to allow various new or reshuffled groups to form and settle, like House Carna, the Banu Haqim, and the like. And for a whole Sabbat Civil War and/or Gehenna Crusade to have happened. (Personally, I don't like the Gehenna Crusade, as a means of just wiping out most of the Sabbat. I LIKE the Sabbat, and its myriad factions. But I'm not against a Civil War, which could potentially fragment the sect into competing groups.)
              As mentioned, I don't think the Sabbat will end up wiped out. Just probably much smaller and more like a terrorist organization with multiple factions than a rival sect.

              With the matter of the Banu Haqim and the Tremere, I imagine that if you go with the idea of Clan Tremere fragmenting after the loss of the Vienna chantry, it makes the inclusion of the Banu Haqim in the Camarilla ranks all the more likely. The Tremere just became considerably less powerful, as well as considerably less reliable. For other Kindred, Blood Sorcerers are simply too valuable to go without (or at least to be without the option), so it's useful to have the Assamite Sorcerer caste on hand. Plus, having Tremere and Assamite sorcerers - along with any local Anarch sorcerers - gives Kindred the benefit of more choices, making it a buyer's market.
              This is a good point.


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              • #82
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                * Polonia either wins or doesn't lose the fight for Regent because the Gehenna Crusade is his baby.
                I suspect the Gehenna Crusade was another Sabbat split. BJD discusses multiple Sabbat splits, such as one being around Mithras-Coven, one around Lucita and so forth. Anyway, I think a split happened around Polonia and his Crusade. He said something to the effect of "Who's with me," a lot of the martial ones ones said "Me" and they all ran off to the Middle East.

                And died.

                The mutliple Sabbat splits, and the loss of many of its most martial types, weakened it a great deal. And it got hammer by the SI. But it isn't actually gone.
                Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 07-16-2019, 05:25 PM.

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                  That's probably a good way of looking at it but Tegyrius is impressive given that he's the only Methuselah we've met so far who doesn't act like a Gould from Stargate SG-1.

                  "BOW BEFORE THE GOD OF DARKNESS!"
                  Hey now, that's not entirely accurate. Helena stays undercover. Meneleus does too. Neither of them have a god complex. Mithras had his cult, but even he seemed tired of the godhead schtick. He's probably the closest, though. If you included 5th Gens, Marcus Vitel might qualify, but he always tempered his ego with a healthy dose of machiavellian pragmatism. He's more like Baal from SG-1 (That's it... just... Baal? As in bocce?)

                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                  Oh, I 100% agree as I think the Web of Knives works much better as a powerful but dangerous Gehenna Cult versus the entirety of the Assamites. It's part of why I approve of the Ministry as they managed to broaden the Clan's position significantly. I have no doubt that this will continue for the Hecata and probably the Ravnos too. Basically, the Web of Knives gives you a Kindred terrorist group while regular Banu Haqim aren't.
                  I honestly prefer my homebrew V20 retcon to the Ministry. It still sounds incredibly cultish, and given that the Kindred's whole schtick is supposed to "slow to adapt", the entire concept of rebranding seems like some neonate's retarded idea that'll take centuries to pay off... if EVER. Years ago, I got my Thanos on, and snapped the Setites into the Mekhet from Requiem, and made the Followers of Set a rogue faction that started as a bloodline in the Mekhet, and eventually inducted other clans, like the Baali do.

                  V5's Blood Potency is overly punishing. I adapted VtR 2nd's BP rules into V20 a while back, and it's noticably a bit more forgiving in the age department. Then again VtR 2nd abanded the first edition's hare-brained attempt to say that no vampire over 300 existed because of thickening blood driving them all into torpor, combined with the Sleep of Ages screwing up their memories badly.

                  I really want to love V5. I enjoyed Requiem 2nd and V20. I'd have happily embraced a melding of those two editions. Instead V5 looks like a melding of the first editions of Masquerade and Requiem. There's a reason why later editions opened up to additional storytelling styles; street-level neonate play with a heavy focus on the angst of being a monster is fun at first, but eventually you want to do something else.
                  Last edited by Barachiel; 07-16-2019, 05:48 PM.

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                    I suspect the Gehenna Crusade was another Sabbat split. BJD discusses multiple Sabbat splits, such as one being around Mithras-Coven, one around Lucita and so forth. Anyway, I think a split happened around Polonia and his Crusade. He said something to the effect of "Who's with me," a lot of the martial ones ones said "Me" and they all ran off to the Middle East.

                    And died.

                    The mutliple Sabbat splits, and the loss of many of its most martial types, weakened it a great deal. And it got hammer by the SI. But it isn't actually gone.
                    I don't think they died so much as became something infinitely worse than what they were.

                    There's now hundreds of Monty Covens.

                    Though I agreed with the rest.


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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Barachiel View Post
                      Hey now, that's not entirely accurate. Helena stays undercover. Meneleus does too. Neither of them have a god complex. Mithras had his cult, but even he seemed tired of the godhead schtick. He's probably the closest, though. If you included 5th Gens, Marcus Vitel might qualify, but he always tempered his ego with a healthy dose of machiavellian pragmatism. He's more like Baal from SG-1 (That's it... just... Baal? As in bocce?)
                      Well, the depiction of Helena when she's not Portia seems to be every bit as arrogant and god-complex as anyone else. Meneleus lives entirely off the grid but rules a vast and complicated network of slaves. Kemitiri is a woman who stands up to the entirety of the Camarilla by herself. We have Tiamat and the Wanderer as well. But I supoose it is a bit of a blanket statement since the sire of Christopher was 4th Generation and cared about typical Toreador art shows.

                      I honestly prefer my homebrew V20 retcon to the Ministry. It still sounds incredibly cultish, and given that the Kindred's whole schtick is supposed to "slow to adapt", the entire concept of rebranding seems like some neonate's retarded idea that'll take centuries to pay off... if EVER. Years ago, I got my Thanos on, and snapped the Setites into the Mekhet from Requiem, and made the Followers of Set a rogue faction that started as a bloodline in the Mekhet, and eventually inducted other clans, like the Baali do.
                      For me, the Ministry is about the expanding of the character concepts that were overly narrow in the 1st through Revised Editions. The Ministry isn't the Followers of Set because as early as the Followers of Set Clan Book, we've had various bloodlines and gods than just Sutekh. There's also the fact that the religion Set comes from isn't monotheistic so why would they only have worshiped Set to begin with?

                      I also felt like it was weird there was no Noddist sect of the FoS.

                      V5's Blood Potency is overly punishing. I adapted VtR 2nd's BP rules into V20 a while back, and it's noticably a bit more forgiving in the age department. Then again VtR 2nd abanded the first edition's hare-brained attempt to say that no vampire over 300 existed because of thickening blood driving them all into torpor, combined with the Sleep of Ages screwing up their memories badly.
                      I never liked that either, even though I do like the Fog of the Ages as a concept. You can have Elders remember things like dragons, Atlantis, King Arthur, and other things--did they really?

                      I really want to love V5. I enjoyed Requiem 2nd and V20. I'd have happily embraced a melding of those two editions. Instead V5 looks like a melding of the first editions of Masquerade and Requiem. There's a reason why later editions opened up to additional storytelling styles; street-level neonate play with a heavy focus on the angst of being a monster is fun at first, but eventually you want to do something else.
                      I think the refocus is a good thing but takes some getting used to. Then again, I've always been #TeamAnarch so I was inclined to love this edition.


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                      • #86
                        (shrugs) Mortimer the 9th generation Brujah walks into the tomb, tries to eat someone, and Aga of Kish walks out in Mortimer's body. Mortimer is, for all intents, is dead and gone.

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          Well, the depiction of Helena when she's not Portia seems to be every bit as arrogant and god-complex as anyone else. Meneleus lives entirely off the grid but rules a vast and complicated network of slaves. Kemitiri is a woman who stands up to the entirety of the Camarilla by herself. We have Tiamat and the Wanderer as well. But I supoose it is a bit of a blanket statement since the sire of Christopher was 4th Generation and cared about typical Toreador art shows.
                          Yeah, but the Goa'uld are nothing but blowhards with some stolen tech, who pose as gods to intimidate superstitious masses who are kept ignorant. Methuselahs actually *do* have godlike power, and are vastly superior to any coterie or mortal team of hunters.

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          For me, the Ministry is about the expanding of the character concepts that were overly narrow in the 1st through Revised Editions. The Ministry isn't the Followers of Set because as early as the Followers of Set Clan Book, we've had various bloodlines and gods than just Sutekh. There's also the fact that the religion Set comes from isn't monotheistic so why would they only have worshiped Set to begin with?

                          I also felt like it was weird there was no Noddist sect of the FoS.
                          Eh, I never cared for most of the "independent" clans. They've always felt like odd cultural stereotypes that made more sense as sects than actual Clans. Well, maybe not the Ravnos, but they had their own issues. Thank God for the Revised Retcon. If I'm looking at a clan and am going "um, that's a bit racist, guys" then you *know* its bad. But an order of assassins, a cult of snake worshippers who want to corrupt everyone? Yeah, those are sects, not clans.

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          I never liked that either, even though I do like the Fog of the Ages as a concept. You can have Elders remember things like dragons, Atlantis, King Arthur, and other things--did they really?

                          I think the refocus is a good thing but takes some getting used to. Then again, I've always been #TeamAnarch so I was inclined to love this edition.
                          Don't get me wrong. What V5 wants to do, it does well. I just don't like how limited it is. And my inner writer chafes at how many moments of "Storyteller Fiat" drips from so many of the concepts. Quick, but minor example. The Lasombra Clan Weakness has always made them completely invisible to any kind of reflective surface or recording device. This is because the old writers didnt' want Lasombra using tech to get around the angst of never seeing their reflection. Then V5 rolls around, and now they *do* appear in modern technological imaging, but in a very obvious and distorted way. Because now the current writers care less about the angst of never being able to see yourself and care more about enforcing the "you can't hide from the SI" schtick.

                          I don't know, I just find it kind of offensive, and indicative of how the entire edition is laser-focused on this ONE thing to the point of contradicting a Clan weakness, just to belabor the point.

                          it's also compounded by the fact that I can feel tonal whiplash all over the place, as different (current) writers have differing interpretations on things, and I honestly wonder if there was any oversight in the editorial process. I mean, the infamous Chechnya chapter was a bad enough gaffe, taking a two-person debate scene and truncating into a poorly through out out single-person monologue. But there's the Sabbat chapter, that opens with the Victoria Ash letter talking about how the Camarilla elders are *not* winning the Gehenna War out East. Then two paragraphs down, when the text switches POVs to someone talking about her letter, it states, "she says we're winning. We're not." At first I thought it was some Sabbat's POV, contradicting hers, but no, it's another Cam vampire.

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                          • #88
                            A lot of the problems with V5 Camarilla, and to a greater extent V5 Anarch, is simply bad editing and planning.
                            Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 07-17-2019, 01:36 PM.

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                            • #89
                              Chapter Seven: The Anarch Freefall part 1

                              This is going to be an extra long pair of chapters and I'm going to just intersperse my notes into the text itself because it's actually one of the less eventful chapters of the book. Basically, Beckett meets with Ramona and has an interview before she talks about the Anarch Free States's up's and down's. Then he talks with some more people like Victoria Ash and chats with a few others online. It's not the events, though, but the updates to the setting that matters.

                              To discuss them, though, we need to handle the background.

                              Background

                              I have mixed feelings about Los Angeles by Night (the sourcebook) and the Anarch Free States as a whole because I feel like they're where the Anarchs lost a lot of their momentum in fandom. Rather than being the oppressed heroes of the setting like Maldavis or Anita Wainwright with some sellout members like Juggler and Gengis, the Anarchs are portrayed as thugs who don't know what to do with victory once they've actually achieved it.

                              The Anarch Free States were depicted as nothing but feuding gangs divided between various bosses with most of Los Angeles culture being ignored in lieu of violent territory battles. I felt this was exploitative of the real-life deaths of young men in the city going on at the time (The Bloods and Crips being vampire hunters/vampires--which oddly enough makes Snoop Dog a Lasombra ghoul in this universe and Suge Knight a vampire hunter). It also ignored Hollywood, the city's history of corrupt business deals, and the entirety of Film Noir.

                              My opinion was hardly alone in this as the Anarchs lost a lot of their popularity with this depressing view of what would happen if the Elders were overthrown happened. Afterward, the Camarilla was gradually moved to becoming the default PC faction with the player characters expected to protect it from the Sabbat. The Clan Novels had the Anarchs moved from actively trying to overthrow the Princes of cities to protecting said Princes. Being the Loyal Opposition is not what most Anarch Players interested in. Indeed, the Sabbat stole a lot of the thunder for FREEDOM and killing ancient monsters.

                              The Anarch Free States was so unnecessary to the Sabbat vs. Camarilla central conflict and metaplot that it was destroyed like the Tal'Mah'Ra and Tremere Antitribu. The Kuei-Jin needed someone to score some cheat heat over and taking the Anarch Free States away from them were a way to do it. I liken it to professional wrestling with the big bad scoring some nasty victories so the real hero (The Camarilla in this case) can retake things. San Fransisco by Night is based around the idea of the players fighting the EVIL Kuei-Jin to restore Camarilla rule. Which rubs me the wrong way for several reasons, not the least being the Great Leap Outward.

                              Weirdly, it reminded me of the 1989 Punisher movie with Dolph Lundgren. The premise of that movie was the fact Frank Castle has been fighting the Italian mafia for years and has successfully driven it to its knees. This allows the much-much more evil YAKUZA *scare chord* to come and slaughter them all. Which if you know anything about real life gangsters is playing into some very unfortunate stereotypes.
                              The funny thing is, I'm not 100% against the Kuei-Jin as for every bad thing about them, I also think there's some good things. I get the idea that the WOD's creators were trying to make a new monster splat that encouraged players to play outside their comfort zone as well as use actual mythology the region. They also wanted to have them make a big splash in the setting, Unfortunately, they went about it in a way that was less cheeky fun and more openly antagonistic. If you wanted to introduce the Ashirra in Moden Nights, for example, I wouldn't have them slaughter all the vampires in Chicago.

                              Particularly if people are playing there.

                              I even don't have an issue with the Great Leap Outward (horrible naming after a real life tragedy notwithstanding) in concept. It's no different from the Sabbat invading the East Coast after all--despite what I just said. However, the treatment was received by fans with a lot of....well, I hesitate to use the term racism when involving fictional monsters but at the very least cultural insensitivity... in certain places. The Camarilla vs. Sabbat is evil versus evil and we know the Camarilla is no better than the Sabbat. However, you can get a sense of what was wrong with the treatment of the Kuei-Jin with this description of the Torture skill. "The Devil Tigers know some things that make the Tzimisce sick." The Yellow Peril trope wasn't consistently applied through the Kindred of the East Line and they rolled back its elements quickly but the damage was done when our first intro was expecting us to slaughter the Kung-Fu Vampires as new targets for our dragonsbreath shotgun and katana-wielding antiheroes.

                              I always liked the idea that some developers were starting with in the Old World of Darkness that after the initial fighting that the young Kuei-Jin found they had a lot more in common with the Anarchs than they did their own Elders and wondered why they'd bought into all this, "Evilllllll Cainite" business. There's a good fan story called Dance of the Thrashing Dragon that I recommend people watch if they want to watch an actually interesting sympathetic depiction of the Kuei-Jin in Bloodlines.


                              In Nights of Prophecy the Anarch Free States/Kuei-Jin/Camarilla conflict ends with the Camarilla buying them off or the PCs disrupting the pay off. Honestly, I really liked that because the idea of the Great Leap Outward being an ANNOYANCE for the Camarilla and solved by them just writing a check was actually perversely humanizing for all parties involved. It also deflated the whole "existential threat from alien scary Kindred."

                              Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines redeemed the setting for me. Nines Rodriguez managed to convey more dignity to the Anarchs than the vast majority of leaders as the game also returned to portraying the Prince (La Croix) as the primary foe. Nines successfully did in one conversation what no supplement had done in a decade by having him articulate the Anarch ideology:

                              "The Elders are assholes, they will kick us around for no good reason, join us and we won't let them."

                              Humorous Webcomic on the Subject: https://i.imgur.com/wxsOE0k.jpg

                              The Camarilla was shown to be an effective antagonist even if you could side with it voluntarily. It had the Anarch Free States as diminished but still extant after a long war with the Kuei-Jin that allowed the Camarilla to come back in and declare Praxis. It ended, canonically it seems, with the Fledgling winning the war for the Anarchs by killing Ming Xiao as well as her cronies then La Croix blowing himself up.

                              But none of that mattered because Gehenna was literally just months away.

                              V5

                              I really liked this chapter and it's interesting how this may be one of the most influential ones in the setting for V5. Jason Carl has said that the information found in his very successful LA By Night (web series) is canon to V5. It also draws from a lot of the changes described here in the book. I'm a huge fan.

                              However, there is a conspicuous absence of the Wan Kuei (never referred to as the Kuei Jin--as I suspect someone realized that was a misspelling ala Lucita). Vannevar Thomas was driven out of his territory by the Second Inquisition and there's so far been no mention of the Eastern Kindred. Indeed, there's a question if the Wan Kuei are even canon in V5 unlike V20. The city of Tokyo in The Camarilla sourcebook is firmly under Camarilla control and while there's SOMETHING going on there -- the narrator clearly acts like they are just regular Cainites with the Prince/Primogen/citizen structure.

                              While I've expressed my desire for the Kuei-Jin/Wan Kuei to be statistically Cainites but culturally unique (ala the Laibon), it's interesting to see what if any future the classic monsters have as well as how much of their past is still canon.

                              You could easily do Ming Xiao as a Chinese Tzimisce for example or whatever they're called in her homeland.

                              In this chapter, though, the Eastern Kindred as absolutely still canon, though.

                              On a less KOTE-related note, it's notable that this is the chapter that starts actively including even more references to Bloodlines and those characters have played a pretty huge role in V5 both with LA by Night as well as in the Anarch books. They're rather seamlessly woven into all of this and I applaud the authors
                              for it.

                              The Movement certainly changes as well as it's gone from being a thing limited to California to a massive international conspiracy that has taken Berlin, Indianapolis, New Zealand and other locations. Mind you, part of this was done in Anarchs Unbound.

                              So, with all this background out of the way -- WHAT DID BECKETT'S JYHAD DIARY MAKE OF THE ANARCH FREE STATES AND ITS METAPLOT?
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-17-2019, 07:10 AM.


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

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                              • #90
                                Chapter Seven: The Anarch Freefall part 2

                                Okay, getting into the actual chapter and its changes.

                                I like Beckett and Ramona's relationship. It was (mildly) controversial when Beckett wasn't the star of the Gangrel Signature novels but Ramona. Personally, I think Ramona was a better choice as those books were saturated with Elders but Beckett was sorely missed. Certainly, he would have made a good addition elsewhere. Seeing those two interact is quite entertaining.

                                Ramona explains the Anarchs appeal and flaws in a way that I think works well. The Barony system is flawed and a failure of the Free States but it's still preferable for most Kindred to the Anarchs. She also blames Jeremy Macneil for much of the Free States failure as she says that not only is he refusing to lead but he actively undercut any actual attempts to lead.

                                Personally, I always felt the ideal Anarch leader was Cyrus from The Warriors.

                                CAN YOU DIGGGGG IT?



                                Ramona asks for a ride out of town and also refuses to discuss the Eye of Hazimel business. She also states that only about half of the Gangrel actually left the Camarilla under Xavier. If I were the Gangrel who lost their Inner Council seat, I would have been pissed (also, they kept their justicar--at least for awhile).

                                Beckett proceeds to stay at the Ocean View Hotel which is apparently still haunted so either the PC gave the amulet to Jeanette or their attempts to exorcise the place have proven to be futile (or maybe they got rid of one ghost and more moved in--which is entirely possible with Wraiths and Haunts).

                                It's interesting how Beckett manages to irritate the Anarchs in the same patronizing way he does Elders. Beckett just can't treat people like they're morons even if he tries. Really, it's sad Beckett lived so many centuries before the internet. Like H.P. Lovecraft, he would have thrived being a rude asshole to a much-larger audience.

                                We get some biographies of main characters in the series like Jeremy MacNeil, Salvador, Gloria Martinez (notable mostly for being a Manchurian Candidate whose Dominator is dead), Armando Rodriguez (Nines), Tara, and Jiefie Li who is the leader of the New Promise Mandarate and doesn't have many characteristics other than she hates Kindred. This seems to be a character meant to serve as a stand-in for the dead Ming Xiao even as Vannevar is a substitute for La Croix. Basically, if you want to play Bloodlines for your PCs then this game does a good job of allowing something similar to go down.

                                Which isn't a bad thing.

                                Beckett also talks to Victoria Ash about the Succubus Club, which is nice to include but I've never been particularly fond of Dead Man's Party since I much preferred the original Succubus Club and if you are going to have a vampire night club then why have a traveling one? Just make your analog to the SC and name it something suitably vampy: Lamia, Incubus, Devil, Inferno, or whatnot.

                                What they discuss is interesting as it states that Vannevar Thomas is being driven out of San Fransisco by the Wan Kuei. This is an interesting retcon as Van Nuys was the Prince of the City and someone in-between at various points. So was Julian Luna (non-canon but needed to be mentioned). Basically, the story I heard is that people generally forgot Vannevar existed multiple times writing various books.

                                I've always found this a little weird because Vannevar Thomas is a guy who starred in two novels: Prince of the City and Dark Prince. Both of which I've read. He was actually a character that, if not predating Lodin, is one of the earliest examples of the Prince we have. BJD manages to reconcile all of these things that were confused even further by SbN (which established Vannevar was overthrown then the person who overthrew him was overthrown). He's since become a major character in LA By Night and will presumably be known as the Prince of LA to a whole new generation of V:TM fans. As we see in LA by Night, the seed that the Camarilla (through Cock Robin) sends Vannevar to LA instead of helping him recover his city is laid out here.

                                Beckett warns Victoria Ash that Salvador Garcia is apparently talking with the Wan Kuei. I don't remember when the Salvador is a traitor to the Anarchs plot got started but I think it predates BJD (was it Nights of Prophecy?) but never worked out very well. Unlike Damien in CBN, it seems to come out of nowhere and doesn't seem to be well-supported by either Salvador's character or events. I mean, yes, Salvador is a communist but the Wan Kuei are pretty much by nature spiritualists. You have to bend Maoism pretty hard to get any common ground there when you know Hell exists. They also retcon this treason away in The Anarchs so it's not an issue anyway. It's just Camarilla slander apparently.

                                House Carna is mentioned as being in the area but Beckett can't find them.

                                Cock Robin and Kirsten Bellamy are then introduced as the Camarilla's two hands in the Anarch Free states. Cock Robin being the hardliner Petradon substitute who wants to see it wiped out and Kirsten being the reasonable one. I've always liked Kirsten because she's kind of what Jan Pieterzoon pretends to be. She's been spoiled sweet by the Camarilla so far and allowed to rocket up the ranks so that she doesn't realize they're all a bunch of twisted evil bastards. One of my favorite characters from V20.

                                Adventure Hooks

                                This section describes a bunch of possible angles for pursuing a complex political story through the Anarch Free States. I rather like they're mostly character-based and have a lot of appeal based around the fact every single major character is flawed. MacNeil is particularly interesting as it's clear he flat out just hates the AFS but refuses to accept any responsibility for it. Nines could rise up to be the new Salvador but the old one needs to go first and he thinks he's doing it right by enforcing a new government over the Anarchs.

                                What do I think?

                                I think this chapter did an amazing job untangling a lot of the complicated plot threads and politics of the Anarch Free States as well as create a complicated yet rich environment for storytelling. You can side with the Anarchs, the Camarilla, or maybe make a deal with the Wan Kuei (though I would advise against that as they're still a bit two-dimensional, though that's an improvement over the one-dimensional portrayal before).

                                The Wan Kuei are still a threat to the Camarilla and Anarchs both but they're not on a mission of genocide against the local Kindred. They're just taking San Fransisco and maybe some more territory and that leaves them a threat but not an all-encompassing one. I would have preferred some more sympathetic ones but there's only so much space available.

                                There's a lot of Grey and Gray Morality here. The Camarilla isn't necessarily super-evil and Vannevar is far more competant as well as sympathetic than La
                                Croix (essentially losing his city only to be given another one that still has occupants by the Camarilla). The Anarchs are flawed but worth following too--except for the traitors.

                                Even Tara, the original Judas Anarch, isn't entirely wrong and far more sympathetic than their version of Salvador.

                                The book ends with Beckett surviving an attack and then deciding to stay in LA a bit longer.

                                So very good chapter.

                                I'm a little disappointed Isaac Abrams and Christopher weren't mentioned but the latter character is a base-breaking one that I almost feel was made to make fun of "A Methusaleh is maneuvering things behind the scenes."
                                Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-07-2019, 02:57 AM.


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

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