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  • Originally posted by CoriolisEffect View Post

    Yes, this is an issue that keeps popping up.

    WoD is an extremely setting focused rpg. It's what it's about. But an inevitable consequence of that is every group makes their own version of their WoD. You find the game, you like it, you make it your own, you make the setting your own and then suddenly everyone have their WoD and nothing matches up with anyone elses. Don't think there's any real solution to that. People have to be able to make the setting their own, as it is a setting focused game.

    My WoD looks drab and grey on the surface, but underneath it all there's vast societies, almost like hidden countries. It is deeply political, deeply personal and quite, quite alive (even the vampires, hell especially the vampires).
    Yes. My WoD is a lot similar to that. I like to say that for me, as a whole, the WoD is dark urban fantasy, with strong horror elements (though the mileage vary between the games). It encompasses personal horror as one of the angles that could be played with it, but it's a lot more than that and I like the epic side too. I also took the gothic-punk as it was described in earlier books (especially the V20 core) to my heart, as a fundamental basis for the setting's themes and mood and general feel.


    Also you mentioned something... this:
    3. They exist to remove the somewhat eye-rolling dismissal of mortals by vampire fans.

    I see this attitude pop up a lot of times and IMO it's entirely on its head.

    How should I put it

    WoD is build to be flexible. This allows people to discard boring setting elements and focus on what they want. From a design perspective, it is naive to force a user to use a tool for what you intended it to be used for. Rather you should build the tool to be what people use it for.

    It's like the whole 'People don't play the Personal Horror aspect' thing. Of course they don't. Personal horror can be cool, but it can also be a pretty niche genre only a few people will be interested in. And even then you get tired of it after one or two times. Only a very small set of people is going to want to keep playing it more than that. The reaction to people not playing personal horror shouldn't be "The game needs to cater to what the original tag line says it is about" it should be "that is amazing people are using our game to play political intrigue, character driven drama, and occasionally superhuman action. We should cater to that.", quickly followed up with "using setting elements, not rules, because it is setting focused"
    Can't help but wholeheartedly agree with that.


    People dismiss normal mortals in WoD games because the splats are excellently made and so they are more interesting than "normal people". The only good way to solve that would be to make a mortal splat. (I think nWoD had that and that it was pretty popular? Do not have a good grip on the nWod.). Also the SI seems less interesting than normal mortals... so that's not good.
    Yes, the NWoD mortal (core/blue book) line was excellent, probably one of the best parts of the whole NWoD endeavour, IMO. I see Hunter: the Vigil somewhat as its direct extension too and like it a lot better than I ever did Reckoning. It gave tools to play genuine mortal games, either in the vein of X-Files, or early Supernatural, or as any kind of horror movie with great sourcebooks. It was something CWoD sorely lacked and there aren't many aspects I'd say that about. Even Hunters Hunted 2, which is an excellent sourcebook, approached playing with mortals only from the perspective of Vampire. So yes, the mortal books, IMO were one place where NWoD absolutely and undoubtedly surpassed CWoD, in my eyes.

    Also, As I've said many times in the past: the best way to make mortals intereting is by making interesting and important mortal characters in the setting, stories and modules. Not by making arbitrary mechanics that forces you to obsess above mortals, or making up overpowered, but very vaguely described (and honestly, quite unbelievable and incostintent with earlier material) organizations.
    Last edited by PMárk; 08-21-2019, 11:19 AM.


    If nothing worked, then let's think!

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    • Originally posted by PMárk View Post

      Yes. My WoD is a lot similar to that. I like to say that for me, as a whole, the WoD is dark urban fantasy, with strong horror elements (though the mileage vary between the games). It encompasses personal horror as one of the angles that could be played with it, but it's a lot more than that and I like the epic side too. I also took the gothic-punk as it was described in earlier books (especially the V20 core) to my heart, as a fundamental basis for the setting's themes and mood and general feel.




      Can't help but wholeheartedly agree with that.




      Yes, the NWoD mortal (core/blue book) line was excellent, probably one of the best parts of the whole NWoD endeavour, IMO. I see Hunter: the Vigil somewhat as its direct extension too and like it a lot better than I ever did Reckoning. It gave tools to play genuine mortal games, either in the vein of X-Files, or early Supernatural, or as any kind of horror movie with great sourcebooks. It was something CWoD sorely lacked and there aren't many aspects I'd say that about. Even Hunters Hunted 2, which is an excellent sourcebook, approached playing with mortals only from the perspective of Vampire. So yes, the mortal books, IMO were one place where NWoD absolutely and undoubtedly surpassed CWoD, in my eyes.

      Also, As I've said many times in the past: the best way to make mortals intereting is by making interesting and important mortal characters in the setting, stories and modules. Not by making arbitrary mechanics that forces you to obsess above mortals, or making up overpowered, but very vaguely described (and honestly, quite unbelievable and incostintent with earlier material) organizations.
      Talking about setting first design one of the things that would be awesome is just a list of as many official npcs in the game as possible and a quick note where they are at in the metaplot. Alive, dead (if so when, and how), what they are up to, with a note at the top "st may change this for your game"

      Just something real simple like "Beckett - Noddist Scholar - Alive - Travelling Europe - Handling the aftermath of the Week of Nightmare" or whatever he's up to.

      Mortals work better in Mage, cause vampires are so insular. Also the mage sidekick class are literally mortals that have been told about the supernatural world. Not ghouls like with vampires or I dunno, relatives like with werewolves.

      With vampire mortals it feels like you either kill them, brainwash them, or keep them in the dark. And the SI still falls under that, even more so than normal mortals. With Mage it's like "you wanna teach yourself to be awesome... and also these people! And not these other people, but they'll help you out anyway! And these other people are hired by the technocracy, and they are SUPEREDUCATED and you might be able to recruit them! Aaaaand this is your teachers daughter and you need to do a long running escort mission with her! Aaaaaaand this homeless person is haunted by a GHOST! And these people are mucking about with the supernatural so you gonna help 'em, stop them, or something else?"

      I'm not familiar with Hunter in either nwod or cwod, and the only nwod thing I know about is Changeling the Lost. But it would be cool to play as a mortal, I like the sidekick splats, one of my favorite characters was a ghoul that got abandoned by his master and became a thrall instead (deamon sidekick). I also played as a mortal who became an acolyte in a sorcerers crusade campaign, it works though it helps having allied supernaturals.

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      • Originally posted by CoriolisEffect View Post

        Talking about setting first design one of the things that would be awesome is just a list of as many official npcs in the game as possible and a quick note where they are at in the metaplot. Alive, dead (if so when, and how), what they are up to, with a note at the top "st may change this for your game"

        Just something real simple like "Beckett - Noddist Scholar - Alive - Travelling Europe - Handling the aftermath of the Week of Nightmare" or whatever he's up to.

        Mortals work better in Mage, cause vampires are so insular. Also the mage sidekick class are literally mortals that have been told about the supernatural world. Not ghouls like with vampires or I dunno, relatives like with werewolves.

        With vampire mortals it feels like you either kill them, brainwash them, or keep them in the dark. And the SI still falls under that, even more so than normal mortals. With Mage it's like "you wanna teach yourself to be awesome... and also these people! And not these other people, but they'll help you out anyway! And these other people are hired by the technocracy, and they are SUPEREDUCATED and you might be able to recruit them! Aaaaand this is your teachers daughter and you need to do a long running escort mission with her! Aaaaaaand this homeless person is haunted by a GHOST! And these people are mucking about with the supernatural so you gonna help 'em, stop them, or something else?"

        I'm not familiar with Hunter in either nwod or cwod, and the only nwod thing I know about is Changeling the Lost. But it would be cool to play as a mortal, I like the sidekick splats, one of my favorite characters was a ghoul that got abandoned by his master and became a thrall instead (deamon sidekick). I also played as a mortal who became an acolyte in a sorcerers crusade campaign, it works though it helps having allied supernaturals.
        I think part of the issue is that V:TM was always meant to incorporate humans as a major part of the story but they were almost completely cut out of the game proper. Vampires only interacted with humans as a method of using them, tools, or food. The idea of cultivating a relationship with them as a Touchstone would be was something that struck a lot of fans as counter-intuitive to the way the Masquerade was described. Vampires dwelt completely separate from humanity save as food, ghouls, or Dominated tools.

        Oddly, one of the best aversions of this I felt was Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines that remembered that humans were people too (as if that needed to be said). Fat Larry, Venus, the Bounty Hunters, and so on are just as interesting characters as anyone else--and doesn't even include the ghouls.

        You SHOULD have people that are favored vessels, humans you're protective of, the equivalent of Lucys or Minas, and faithful servants.

        Or maybe human family or friends.


        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

          I think part of the issue is that V:TM was always meant to incorporate humans as a major part of the story but they were almost completely cut out of the game proper.
          I am skeptical to this. I think this is incorrect. If it is correct it's a good thing that was dropped in favor of a tighter focus on the vampires.

          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

          You SHOULD have people that are favored vessels, humans you're protective of, the equivalent of Lucys or Minas, and faithful servants.

          Or maybe human family or friends.
          It's a roleplaying game. You should have fun. No all caps either. Just should. Don't limit yourself to some bland tropes you force yourself to overuse.

          I've played as "favored" mortals, it was fun. But if I had to limit myself to that and if the game tried to brute force people into that I'd get sick of it in minutes.

          I can easily make a cool character concept with lots of connected family and friends. And I can make two dozen equally or more interesting concepts without those things. WoD should cater to the latter. You should be able to make up a character that'd live in that universe and then the system should give you the tools you need to model it. Vampires should need to surround themselves with mortals no more than a super hero has to have a sidekick. It's a useful trope and should be used as such, applied only when it makes sense, not universally. Especially since mortals work best as extras.

          Now if you want an easier time to include interesting mortals in your game, that's fair, but I don't think the SI does that. Or the touchstones.

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          • I disagree.

            We need more decent human NPCs but YMMV.


            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
              I disagree.

              We need more decent human NPCs but YMMV.
              I play a human, play with humans, and have conflict with humans every day of the week. Do I really have to babysit pretend humans in my game as well?

              Besides, Vampires are immortal, humans are not. While this growing apart is a theme in V1 (and getting droppen quick in later editions), it is far from being the only theme. A vampire of even 50 years of unlife should have a lot more entaglement and a lot more investment with Vampires, rather than be tied down with humans.

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              • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                I disagree.

                We need more decent human NPCs but YMMV.
                I agree and have hopes for the eventual SI book, painting those hunters as decent people. To remind everyone that vampires are bad people.

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                • Originally posted by Herbert_West View Post
                  Do I really have to babysit pretend humans in my game as well?
                  Ultimately no? It's just more useful to do so than not mechanically in an attempt to refocus the narrative of the game.

                  While we're pretty far off from Vienna with this tangent, it's yet another example of V5's rough execution of concepts not playing out well.

                  Touchstones were lifted from Requiem 2e, without the specific reframing of things Requiem did. Requiem 2e made sure that Humanity was far more detached from morality and focused on the conflict of trying to maintain a sense of "human-ness" in the face of being an immortal undead monster. So Touchstones in Requiem are things that make you feel more human, making it easier to maintain your Humanity; but being made to feel human does require active involvement with your Touchstones. Requiem also made sure to include from the get go that while it is common for young vampires to have single individual humans as Touchstones, lots of other things can function as Touchstones and older vampires tend to have broader/enduring things like any of their mortal family (including ones to be born in the future) instead of a specific member of it.

                  Doing it that way allowed a lot of flexibility. If you want lots of interesting human NPCs that will matter to the story, the Requiem approach gave you a great mechanical incentive to slot those characters into. If you don't, the game doesn't punish you for using Touchstones that are more narratively useful for a more vampire-centric game. If one of your Touchstones is your childhood church, then it can mostly come into the game as vampires jockey over Domain and such, rather than worrying about detailing out the current living congregation.

                  Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                  To remind everyone that vampires are bad people.
                  I think V5 core already spent too much time hammering on this point as it is. Way too much tell, and not nearly enough show.

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                  • Originally posted by Herbert_West View Post

                    I play a human, play with humans, and have conflict with humans every day of the week. Do I really have to babysit pretend humans in my game as well?

                    Besides, Vampires are immortal, humans are not. While this growing apart is a theme in V1 (and getting droppen quick in later editions), it is far from being the only theme. A vampire of even 50 years of unlife should have a lot more entaglement and a lot more investment with Vampires, rather than be tied down with humans.
                    I think the argument is best actually used with superheroes.

                    Is Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White a bad fit for Superman as a genre?

                    Because Superman is an immortal demigod who hangs with Wonder Woman and Batman.

                    Are games with the former emphasized worse than the latter?


                    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 Heavy Arms View Post
                      Touchstones were lifted from Requiem 2e, without the specific reframing of things Requiem did. Requiem 2e made sure that Humanity was far more detached from morality and focused on the conflict of trying to maintain a sense of "human-ness" in the face of being an immortal undead monster. So Touchstones in Requiem are things that make you feel more human, making it easier to maintain your Humanity; but being made to feel human does require active involvement with your Touchstones. Requiem also made sure to include from the get go that while it is common for young vampires to have single individual humans as Touchstones, lots of other things can function as Touchstones and older vampires tend to have broader/enduring things like any of their mortal family (including ones to be born in the future) instead of a specific member of it.
                      We're definitely off on a tangent now, but agreed, this is one thing that I think was a design mistake in V5.

                      Requiem allows basically anything to be a touchstone if it makes sense thematically: one of my characters likes to go look at the gravesite his family made when he was declared missing-presumed-dead because it reminds him of what he's lost, for example, while another has poured huge amounts of time and money into revitalizing an artistic collective, and stays in touch with the institution even as individual people come and go.

                      Requiem also puts a specific (though not debilitating) drawback on taking a touchstone that's not a living human: human touchstones can talk you down and bring you out of frenzy, while a building isn't going to do that. Given that the devs have hinted at non-human touchstones before, I'm hoping the Player's Guide introduces something like this: touchstones can be humans (with the benefit of bringing you out of frenzy, and the drawback of being, well, mundane humans) or anything else (with the drawback of not bringing you out of frenzy, but the benefit of not being a fragile mortal person).

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                      • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                        I think the argument is best actually used with superheroes.
                        Not.. really?

                        The problem is that humans in superhero genre stories are not default-Touchstone analogs. They're cast members.

                        It's pretty simple: Solo comic book heroes tend to have very large ensemble casts, and more 'normal' human characters for it (assuming the superhero is actually significantly powered). Team comic book heroes don't have all of these satellite characters. The Fantastic Four, X-Men, and so on don't have all of these characters. Why? Because the team fill out roles that satellite characters do for solo heroes. Love interests tend to be within the teams rather than outside them. Teams don't tend to have side-kicks instead of new members (aka more super-heroes). Etc.

                        What's weird in superhero comics are the team-up-teams. That are things like the Justice League and the Avengers, where normally solo act heroes band together as a standing thing.

                        But... the dichotomy doesn't actually change. When Superman is doing JL stuff? Lois and Jimmy rarely matter unless specifically picked to be part of the story. But then Superman goes back to Metropolis and suddenly they're super important to the story again.

                        So how does a VtM game work? Like a solo act, or like a team?

                        Well, V5 even more so than any edition? It's a team. The coterie is much more strongly built into the game as it's own entity (things like the Relationship Map). Campaign Tenets reinforce that this is the story of a group of main characters, not a main character and a bunch of satellite characters. I'll add your love of Bloodlines is a great example here... Bloodlines is a solo act, and unsurprisingly it's easier for Bloodlines to have more mortal NPCs that matter and are interesting.

                        So no, it really shouldn't be surprising that people balk at V5 also trying to wedge humans into the forefront.

                        Are games with the former emphasized worse than the latter?
                        This is really unfair. V5 is demanding that you write up a Jimmy, Lois, and Perry for all of your characters. Being annoyed that you have to go this route (at least to have Convictions) isn't a statement of one game being better or worse than another. It's a statement of the game not supporting both equally.

                        Originally posted by Draconis View Post
                        I'm hoping the Player's Guide introduces something like this: touchstones can be humans (with the benefit of bringing you out of frenzy, and the drawback of being, well, mundane humans) or anything else (with the drawback of not bringing you out of frenzy, but the benefit of not being a fragile mortal person).
                        I think the PG also need to address the "one Touchstone to one Conviction," issue for this to really work out. One of the reasons Touchstones work in Requiem is they're all attached equally to Humanity as a whole. Why a Touchstone matters is because they matter to your character in a meaningful way to support the broad idea of Humanity. V5 insisting that each Touchstone being linked to a specific ideal/belief/etc.gives an off-putting and ill-fitting forced narrative on them; esp since V5 doesn't let you regain Touchstones if you lose them (opposed to when you can transition from one to the other).

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                        • Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                          Not.. really?

                          The problem is that humans in superhero genre stories are not default-Touchstone analogs. They're cast members.

                          It's pretty simple: Solo comic book heroes tend to have very large ensemble casts, and more 'normal' human characters for it (assuming the superhero is actually significantly powered). Team comic book heroes don't have all of these satellite characters. The Fantastic Four, X-Men, and so on don't have all of these characters. Why? Because the team fill out roles that satellite characters do for solo heroes. Love interests tend to be within the teams rather than outside them. Teams don't tend to have side-kicks instead of new members (aka more super-heroes). Etc.

                          What's weird in superhero comics are the team-up-teams. That are things like the Justice League and the Avengers, where normally solo act heroes band together as a standing thing.

                          But... the dichotomy doesn't actually change. When Superman is doing JL stuff? Lois and Jimmy rarely matter unless specifically picked to be part of the story. But then Superman goes back to Metropolis and suddenly they're super important to the story again.

                          So how does a VtM game work? Like a solo act, or like a team?

                          Well, V5 even more so than any edition? It's a team. The coterie is much more strongly built into the game as it's own entity (things like the Relationship Map). Campaign Tenets reinforce that this is the story of a group of main characters, not a main character and a bunch of satellite characters. I'll add your love of Bloodlines is a great example here... Bloodlines is a solo act, and unsurprisingly it's easier for Bloodlines to have more mortal NPCs that matter and are interesting.

                          So no, it really shouldn't be surprising that people balk at V5 also trying to wedge humans into the forefront.



                          This is really unfair. V5 is demanding that you write up a Jimmy, Lois, and Perry for all of your characters. Being annoyed that you have to go this route (at least to have Convictions) isn't a statement of one game being better or worse than another. It's a statement of the game not supporting both equally.



                          I think the PG also need to address the "one Touchstone to one Conviction," issue for this to really work out. One of the reasons Touchstones work in Requiem is they're all attached equally to Humanity as a whole. Why a Touchstone matters is because they matter to your character in a meaningful way to support the broad idea of Humanity. V5 insisting that each Touchstone being linked to a specific ideal/belief/etc.gives an off-putting and ill-fitting forced narrative on them; esp since V5 doesn't let you regain Touchstones if you lose them (opposed to when you can transition from one to the other).
                          Yup, exactly, especially the bolded part.


                          If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                          • Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            ,long, detailed description of how Touchstones work in V:R2>
                            That you, I will now use this instead of the V5 bodgejob, if I ever need to.

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                            • If you're interested in adapting a more Requiem approach to Touchstones to VtM (whichever edition), we should probably start a new thread. While the broad strokes stuff I detailed are useful for the specific issue of V5's defining of what a Touchstone can be, there is a broader mechanical context to consider if actually porting things over.

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                              • Time for some tin-foil!

                                The Tremere have been going on around a thousand years and they're still the most hatred Clan in the Kindred world. With the schenanigans going on with folks directing mortal intelligence and military forces against their enemies, sooner or later someone was going to decide to just start dropping hints about every Tremere they could in the laps of the CIA or the GRU. The Tremere asked themselves "what's harder than killing us all when we're part of one Sect?" and then decided to make their play.

                                They cleared out everything legit from the Prime Chantry and left only occult mock-ups and the more disposable folks, then anonymous dropped enough details to various members of other Clans who would have loved to kill off the Tremere and let them go to work running to the SI. Now they're just waiting for a few more years to pass, at which point they'll be firmly entrenched across three Sects and can then start exposing/"exposing" all the folks who you see in the Anarch and Camarilla books talking about how their Clans were behind the Prime Chantry attack. "They were talking about their Clan colluding with the SI a few years back. Go on. Ask them. Then make some calls, cause I'm sure the Inner Circle would love to hear about this."

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