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Reworking Touchstones

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  • #16
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Honestly, the thing is the Paths ARE about being a murderhobo.

    If you weren't a murderhobo, you wouldn't need a Path.
    Well, if you're a well entrenched and well financed murder-bourgeois, you may need a Path too. I think it all depends on what do you do in your basement. :P

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    • #17
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      That's a bit overstating things as while true, any relationship can reinforce your conviction.
      Ahem. V5, p. 173:

      "Each vampire begins with as many Touchstones as Convictions: humans who represent what you used to value in life, someone who represents or seems to incarnate one of your Convictions."

      A Touchstone has to embody (to your character even if not in reality) your Conviction.

      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      But the thing about Touchstones is if you don't want one, don't make one.
      Technically, you have to make at least one, because you have to start with at least one Conviction.

      And before you argue, BUT THE RULES SAY I HAVE TO.
      Ok....but....

      THE RULES SAY YOU HAVE TO AND NOTHING YOU'RE SAYING DISCOUNTS THAT BECAUSE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE RULES. YOUR BOILERPLATE V5 IS PERFECT BECAUSE IT CATERS TO YOUR GAMING WANTS YELLING DOESN'T MEAN JACKSHIT HERE.

      I point out the rules are also about saying humanity is important but I've had many players take CIA assassins, mob hitmen, and even a Malkavian serial killer.
      Yes, it's been a consistent thing that VtM, from 1e and include V5, and even VtR 1e have made the baseline starting Humanity a set value that ignores the moral standing of the characters before Embrace. A different problem doesn't address the problems with V5 we're actually trying to talk about.

      Your concept should determine it but that just means that this is there as a benefit to those who do want to play the classically tortured vampire who wants to be close to human but can never be...
      Again, nothing in the rules actually reinforces this specific narrative, and it's incredibly simple to play out without Touchstones at all. At least in VtR 2e you can get Touchstones back and keep playing this for at long as you want, instead of V5's "strike three and your out" approach as your toxic stalking eventually leads to the lose of all your Touchstones.

      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      Honestly, the thing is the Paths ARE about being a murderhobo.
      No, they're not. Some of them explicitly are, lots aren't. The Path of Honorable Accord might be far less worried about the ethics of killing than Humanity, but it has it's own rules that separate justified killing from murder and thus sin. Also it really doesn't work well for being a hobo in the sense of the jargon.

      The Paths are about addressing two things evident from 1e:

      1) Humanity is set up as needing to act moral instead of human to maintain Humanity, but Humanity only offers a limited way to act moral and there should clearly be other codes of conduct that work to this purpose; especially in its very Western Humanist structure.

      2) The way Humanity works undermines other aspects of the setting. Ancient Elders, the Sabbat, etc. are all pointless weak if they're all struggling to hold on to Humanity 1. To maintain setting cohesion, ways to fend off the Beast as clinging to human-ness through morality become impossible were necessary to include in the game.

      Originally posted by Draconis View Post
      For some characters it makes a lot of sense to tie Convictions to living humans, but given the way that V5 humanity works (it's not about being human but about being moral) it seems weird to derive all morality from contact with humans.
      Even more paradoxical of the rules, the primary function of Convictions is when your Convictions clash with the Chronicle Tenets. You technically are deriving your personal morals being able to mitigate violating the general morals from contact with humans.

      And we're back to the Paths system. I'll be honest…I've always hated Paths, because when I see them in play, they've usually been an excuse to be a murderhobo (see the "Path of Whatever I Was Going To Do Anyway"). To me, the Beast is kind of central to the themes of Vampire, so saying "yeah I never have to worry about that because I only lose humanity for not eating people's souls!" flies in the face of that.
      While there were definitely some pretty poorly done Paths over the years, I never really liked the "Path of What I Was Going to Do Anyway," thing because... that's true of plenty of the non-murderhobo Paths. I've seen people purposefully playing Humanity 9 characters because Humanity was the Path of what there were going to do anyway.

      Part of it for me, is I got started with Dark Ages vampires over modern nights ones, where the DA Road approach is much better for avoiding the murderhobo issues of the modern day Paths mostly meant to keep the Sabbat and Assamites from all being Humanity 0.

      But Paths are one of the things that separates VtM from VtR in this sense. They're different approaches to what fends off the Beast. It's worth considering keeping that difference and making it more fun to use rather than scraping it.

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      • #18
        the murderhobo debate is pointless since, regardless of whether or not paths were murderhobo in the past (which they weren't), murderhobo is the only thing you can be in the new sabbat,
        other than maybe a pack animal on the path of the beast or something

        without hierarchy, political structures, churches, religious groups, territories, social structures and gatherings etc, alot of the non-murderhobo activities won't be possible,
        add to that the inquisition and...well, it just won't work really

        picking a path in v5 will probably be all about choosing your flavor of murderhoboing

        touchstones are gonna be packs and ritae, maybe noddist bibles or whatever remains of the code of milan

        or it could just as easily be dead inquisitor bone ornaments...you know, the murderhobo touchstone


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        • #19
          Originally posted by Pleiades View Post
          the murderhobo debate is pointless since, regardless of whether or not paths were murderhobo in the past (which they weren't), murderhobo is the only thing you can be in the new sabbat,
          other than maybe a pack animal on the path of the beast or something

          without hierarchy, political structures, churches, religious groups, territories, social structures and gatherings etc, alot of the non-murderhobo activities won't be possible,
          add to that the inquisition and...well, it just won't work really

          picking a path in v5 will probably be all about choosing your flavor of murderhoboing

          touchstones are gonna be packs and ritae, maybe noddist bibles or whatever remains of the code of milan

          or it could just as easily be dead inquisitor bone ornaments...you know, the murderhobo touchstone
          Well the new Sabbat is going to be more like the Sith rather than murderhobos.

          That's the Anarchs thing now.

          They're going to be a bunch of ancient as shit evil old monsters from before history.

          Ur-Shulgi in 6th generation bodies.


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

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          • #20
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
            Ur-Shulgi in 6th generation bodies.
            Ur-Shulgi the king of assasins...

            In the body of a disenfranchised vampire that left everything behind to immolate against the Antes...

            How it's that not a murderhobo?

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            • #21
              Paths are really not that difficult to create using the V5 rules.

              First of all, if your ST and your coterie want to play a game like this, work together to create chronicle tenets that represent the paths you want to play. Then, create convictions that represent your altered "morality." The only part of this that will require thought would be how to tie these convictions to touchstones.

              Let's look at the Path of Night as an example. Possible tenets for this path would be (for example):

              We are horrors. Let us show the mortals their frailty without wanton murder
              If you must kill, make death a tool. Kill selectively and learn from the victims' passing.
              Compassion has no place in a vampire's undead heart.
              The Kindred's purpose is to cause repentance, not to practice it.

              Now, just make convictions that would be appropriate to those tenets.

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              • #22
                An additional issue is that a game where multiple Paths/Roads are being played together (common in DA and Sabbat games) doesn't really lead itself to using Chronicle Tenets to address it because there's just too few of them; you need more nuance than three basic statements for everyone will allow, or Humanity loses all its teeth in how broad the Tenets will end up. Paths also lose a lot of their meaning if they're not in contrast to Humanity (or in this approach Chronicle Tenets).

                Also, just picking three Convictions to represent a Path doesn't really replicate a Path's function as a replacement for Humanity. It just slows degeneration by reducing how many Stains you take when acting in service of your Path so you might have more dice on the Remorse roll later. It also does nothing to mitigate the Impaired state if you have too many Stains at once, which forces you to obey Chronicle Tenets or make a fairly high difficulty Frenzy check (which could easily end up a violation of a Path in either circumstance).

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                • #23
                  Indeed.

                  Tenets are the general morality of "the setting". I.E: if you want to play a war you don't use a tenet that would punish killing enemies

                  That's not what Paths are. Paths are much more contrarian, and this is evident in practice: Most games that involve Paths (Sabbat, Dark Age) don't have *one* Path that everyone agrees upon, but a variety (at least in my experience). A Path system needs to allow this.

                  Hence why this proposed strategy of creating "monstrous Tenets" isn't going to work. I would rather have mostly "humane" Tenets, but understanding that the idea of this play style it's to go against them.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    An additional issue is that a game where multiple Paths/Roads are being played together (common in DA and Sabbat games) doesn't really lead itself to using Chronicle Tenets to address it because there's just too few of them; you need more nuance than three basic statements for everyone will allow, or Humanity loses all its teeth in how broad the Tenets will end up. Paths also lose a lot of their meaning if they're not in contrast to Humanity (or in this approach Chronicle Tenets).
                    that may be true for roads, as they're very conflicted
                    but sabbat paths (not other paths) have some degree of compatibility,
                    and limiting the setting to a few tenets can work by focusing on tenets where the paths tend to agree on

                    for example, path of caine and cathari don't match up very well in general,
                    but both paths are ok with attacking the camarilla and "diablerizing the weak",
                    and both agree that ancients are a threat to their existence and their freedom, which both value to a certain degree,
                    so having the tenets focus on those aspects can work


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                    • #25
                      OK.

                      Pick any five "Sabbat" Paths (including potentially Humanity, since plenty of Sabbat are still on Humanity).

                      Give me three Chronicle Tenets that work as compatible values between all five of them.

                      Explain how this setup doesn't end up making the current Humanity rules toothless with Tenets the characters will basically have no reason to break.

                      And I'll reconsider.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        OK.

                        Pick any five "Sabbat" Paths (including potentially Humanity, since plenty of Sabbat are still on Humanity).

                        Give me three Chronicle Tenets that work as compatible values between all five of them.
                        I tried x_x

                        we consider a chronicle with a group of sabbat in a cam city fighting the cam and the inquisition,
                        the 5 sabbat paths are power, death, beast, cathari and honorable accord (well, they're the only actual sabbat paths)

                        - the beast is a tool, not a master, don't let it ride you: easy one I guess

                        - accept your undead nature, don't deny your vampiric needs (feeding etc...whatever 'etc' stands for in v5)

                        - eliminate the enemies of the sect...I guess? it sounds broad, but every path will have their reason for the action,
                        for path of Death, it's to get insight on death
                        for honorable accord, it's their duty etc
                        and by enemy, I mean Camarilla and Inquisitors

                        - embrace/convert the worthy to your cause, eliminate the weak

                        Explain how this setup doesn't end up making the current Humanity rules toothless with Tenets the characters will basically have no reason to break.
                        well, I'd say all those Tenets are challenging,
                        obviously, frenzy is a recurring problem that all paths have to fight against,

                        feeding is challenging cause of masquerade and stuff,
                        and instinct paths have additional vampiric needs in having to entertain the beast with hunting and the occasional violence

                        eliminating enemies is challenging (especially when elders are concerned),
                        with plenty of reasons to break depending on the path,
                        (e.g both beast and cathari value self preservation to a fanatical degree)

                        last one is, you can't successfully convert everyone, and embrace is quite the burden

                        I still prefer the old system, but I think this could work


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                        • #27
                          OK, those Chronicle Tenets are kinda functional for a general Sabbat game (even if 2 and 3 overlap a bit), but really favor some over others. #1 is a big problem for Instinct Paths (Cathari and Feral Heart both have failing to ride a Frenzy as a sin for example).

                          Frenzy is a problem for some of them. Though actually Frenzies are going to be pretty rare if you can drink people dry without gaining Stains so you can be at Hunger 0 most of the time.

                          Feeding isn't really an issue; the Sabbat aren't that worried about the Masquerade and all that, plus none of those Paths disallow you from covering up your feeding (some would require it).

                          Interpreting "eliminating enemies" to the point of taking on Stains for not suicidal attacks on those stronger than you seems pretty harsh; even if you keep it to 1 Stain, that means Convictions would reduce it to zero anyway.

                          Embrace is far less of a deal for the Sabbat, and again, punishing with Stains for trying but failing to convert people isn't really in-keeping with the ideals of those Paths. They all recognize you can't get to everyone.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            #1 is a big problem for Instinct Paths (Cathari and Feral Heart both have failing to ride a Frenzy as a sin for example)
                            why? they're still preventing the beast from having it their way,
                            instinct pathists can't resist frenzy, but they can ride the wave, to keep control and direct the anger where they see fit,

                            it's the difference between losing control and killing the guy that provoked you,
                            and riding the wave and instead of killing him, you scare them off with dread gaze or give them a punch to show them who's boss

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            Feeding isn't really an issue; the Sabbat aren't that worried about the Masquerade and all that, plus none of those Paths disallow you from covering up your feeding (some would require it).
                            on a stable sabbat territory, yes.
                            on a territory controlled by camarilla, swarming with hunters (or even technos if we consider the one world of darkness shenanigans),
                            breaking the masquerade means risking exposure to your enemies

                            masquerade is also a tool used by modern sabbat in ennemy territory, like in New york,
                            where some sabbat used the masquerade as a barrier to operate in plain sight while the camarilla would be reluctant to act against them (cause of the risk of breaches)

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            Embrace is far less of a deal for the Sabbat, and again, punishing with Stains for trying but failing to convert people isn't really in-keeping with the ideals of those Paths. They all recognize you can't get to everyone.
                            true, my idea was to have a tenet that would have the sabbat not go straight into a 'kill on sight' mentality when it came to enemies,
                            they would have to interact with them or test them within the frame of their path

                            such as a vampire on the path of Caine when pitted against a Camarilla elder who happens to be a scholar and well versed in noddism,
                            if the pathist straight up kills/diablerizes the elder, then he's losing opportunity to accumulate some noddist lore

                            I couldn't find a tenet that would be compatible with all paths that wouldn't be too broad,
                            so I used embrace and conversion cause that sounded less broad and that's still something that all paths would agree with

                            I admit, it's not great...but it works :/

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                            Interpreting "eliminating enemies" to the point of taking on Stains for not suicidal attacks on those stronger than you seems pretty harsh; even if you keep it to 1 Stain, that means Convictions would reduce it to zero anyway.
                            true

                            again, it's not great but it works

                            it's also a tenet that would make the sabbat feel less like ammoral murderhobos,
                            if they only kill youngsters and easy targets, they'd start questioning the sabbat's values and their path's values,
                            the original anarchs fought elders and ancient horrors for freedom after all,
                            and the deaths of the enemies only serve the sabbat and their paths when those deaths had purpose,
                            killing an elder to claim their blood or to free their slaves is always better than murdering youngster mobs (alot of which just happened to be on the wrong side of history)

                            so, it's definitely a harsh tenet, but a fair one imo
                            Last edited by Pleiades; 09-06-2019, 03:30 PM.


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                            • #29
                              [QUOTE=Pleiades;n1334218]why? they're still preventing the beast from having it their way,[quote]

                              No. They're having a cooperative experience with their Beast (sating it's desires, but guiding it to targets they see as acceptable), which doesn't really line up with the first Tenet as posed. Instinct as a Virtue doesn't see the Beast as a tool, but accepts it as part of their inherent nature and to not try to constrain it.

                              instinct pathists can't resist frenzy, but they can ride the wave, to keep control and direct the anger where they see fit,
                              Which in V5 is fairly meaningless distinction. Riding the Wave is automatic and requires no rolls or anything; even for normal Humanity vampires (it used to require being an Instinct Path vampire). You skip the Frenzy check, automatically Frenzy, and the player keeps control of their character instead of temporarily giving it to the ST.

                              it's the difference between losing control and killing the guy that provoked you,
                              and riding the wave and instead of killing him, you scare them off with dread gaze or give them a punch to show them who's boss
                              Riding the Wave has never been able to exert that level of control. Riding the Wave allows the player to direct the Frenzy, not to ignore it.

                              on a stable sabbat territory, yes.
                              on a territory controlled by camarilla, swarming with hunters (or even technos if we consider the one world of darkness shenanigans),
                              breaking the masquerade means risking exposure to your enemies
                              Take your victim into a dark alley away from the cameras and all that.
                              Drain them dry.
                              Take anything of value on them.
                              Stab them in the kidneys, liver, etc.
                              Take some minimal effort to hide them.
                              The normal police find the body, assume a mugging gone wrong, and assume the body was moved because there should be blood everywhere but there isn't; leaving them to spin their wheels looking for evidence of the body being moved.
                              Finish your business in enemy territory within a month or so before the Cam or SI or whatever start to pick up the pattern by sifting through homicide reports that don't have any obvious signs of vampire activity involved.

                              And this is without any Disciplines or whatever involved.

                              Also, if things don't really matter in a Sabbat territory, then the Chronicle Tenets don't really work for a Sabbat game, they only work in a fraction of Sabbat games.

                              I couldn't find a tenet that would be compatible with all paths that wouldn't be too broad,....
                              You realize this was my whole point from the beginning, right?

                              so I used embrace and conversion cause that sounded less broad and that's still something that all paths would agree with
                              But... they don't?

                              again, it's not great but it works
                              You've said this a few times, but it comes off a lot more, "it works in a very select situation, and otherwise falls apart," which doesn't really mean it works to me.

                              so, it's definitely a harsh tenet, but a fair one imo
                              It's only harsh if you interpret it in a ridiculously harsh way. If the Sabbat are allowed to be anything other than amoral murderhobos that attack any enemy on sight, then eliminating Sabbat enemies is something that pretty much every Sabbat member is working on either directly or indirectly all the time.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                                You've said this a few times, but it comes off a lot more, "it works in a very select situation, and otherwise falls apart," which doesn't really mean it works to me.
                                yea that sums it up pretty nicely,
                                and you're probably right

                                at first, I thought the tenets imposed similar restrictions to previous editions,
                                the paths were conflicted and you had to find a common ground for the game, even if it meant the pathists ratings would be lower the more they are diversified,

                                but the more I think about it, the more I discover new restrictions,
                                like previously, pathists could isolate themselves or ignore the rest of the team to some extent, or just not take part in the activities that didn't concern them,
                                but in the new system, the tenets still apply even if they're isolating themselves

                                it might still work with two or three different paths (easier to find tenets), but at 5...too hard


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