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[V5] Homebrew Rules for Paths

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  • [V5] Homebrew Rules for Paths

    I can't wait for canon rules for Paths, so I came up with this.

    It's a little complicated and convoluted, but here goes:

    Main Rules Changes:
    1. Take the Conviction "Support and follow the teachings of Path X, as explained in book XX on pages XX-XX".
    2. Take a Touchstone. This is a human who in some way represents the Path. (eg: a pathologist for Death and the Soul, a prostitute for Cathari, or an archeologist for Caine)
    3. (optional) For the hardcore homebrewers, who want non-human Touchstones, fine. Take your mentor from your Path indoctrination, or someone you have mentored.
    4. Other Convictions may or may not contribute to your Path. A conflicted character is a good character.
    Generic Loresheet:
    1. You maintain friendly contact with others. Gain Mawla 2: local path followers.
    2. You gain a dot in Occult, and a specialty called "Your Path".
    3. You know humans who fit well with your Path's ideology. Gain Herd 4.
    4. Gain the additional permanent Ambition: "Exemplify Your Path". This makes it easier to regain willpower.
    5. You are considered something of an expert on your path. Gain Status 5, among fellow path followers. Expect younger vampires to trade favors for instruction.

    Does this work?

  • #2
    2. As an idea to model moral systems that place little value in, well, what humans think or do (which it's nearly all of them), I hate it. I.E. Human pathologists tend to be more interesting dead than alive for vampires on the Path of the Death (in my experience).

    3. It's plainly booring: There's so much non-human in the world (institutions, places artificial or natural, artifacts, other supernaturals like ghosts or demons) and yet you make it sound like you have to chose vampires (and either sire or childe). Why constrain the choice so much?

    All in all, I think it's a start.

    Here a debate about homebrew morality rules for V5 (that can be used to model Paths):
    Last edited by Aleph; 09-02-2019, 01:29 PM.


    • #3
      Hey, my thread getting brought up - thanks for keeping it in the discussion. That system has been working well for me, along with a couple other tweaks to sure up V5 for my own personal preferences.

      I'd also agree that this seems like a potential start down into something, but it is still very half baked still and could use some more time and care put into it. Still, a start is a start, I'll be curious to see where this might go.

      V20 Content: Age & Potency
      V5 Content: The Masquerade, Tzimisce and Vicissitude, Loresheet: Chicago, Resonance Flavor, Morality System
      Brand Manager, Developer at Hunters Entertainment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post

        Does this work?

        Herd 4 is way too much i think.

        1st objection: It is 12 xp straight up, It removes a big aspect of the game. I.e. hunting.
        2d objection. Status5 among path followers is so overpowered.

        Considering that I can jump to 4 or 5 without taking Loresheet 1-3 before, makes this LS way overpowered.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Aleph View Post
          2. As an idea to model moral systems that place little value in, well, what humans think or do (which it's nearly all of them), I hate it.
          No need to sugar coat it. Tell me what you really think.

          Originally posted by Aleph View Post
          I.E. Human pathologists tend to be more interesting dead than alive for vampires on the Path of the Death (in my experience).
          I included the option of taking a human Touchstone, because that's where canon is, at the moment. Remember, there is nothing to say a vampire in V5 has to be nice to their Touchstones. They just have to prevent "something bad" (V5, p240) from happening to them. My including this option modifies the definition of "something bad" to allow treatment of Touchstones that might normally be considered bad by the general public, but in the context of a given path is not.

          It is far from a hard-and-fast rule of most paths that there can be no concern with mortals. For some examples of this in play, let's look at Montreal:
          • Archbishop Carolina Velez (Honorable Accord 6) keeps her mortal granddaughter nearby as a reminder of her own beauty.
          • Marie-Helen Dutoit (HA3) is "grooming influential sovereigntists" for the embrace, to advance her vision of an independent Quebec.
          • Creamy Jade (Cathari 9) is fascinated with children and works to find a way to preserve their innocence.
          • Black Lotus (Power/Inner Voice 6) has many clients whose memories she slowly removes.
          • Celeste (Harmony 8) is a friend of some local lupines, going so far as to have a one-night stand with Jeremy Swiftrunner. She's also in a human band, called Wyldchylde.
          • Alfred Banezri (Nocturnal Redemption 7) draws his audience for poetry readings mostly from the Arab and Iranian immigrant communities.
          • Frere Marc (Noct Red 7) is obsessed with First Nations peoples, and experiments on them to discover their tie to the demon under Montreal.
          • Raphael Catarari (Noct Red 8) believes himself an angel, and reveals himself to humans to evangelize.
          • Cherubim (Noct Red 4) hunts pedophiliacs, and not just for dinner.
          • Sabrina (Noct Red 5) takes on projects among humans, making the ugly beautiful, and the beautiful ugly. She had a long-term relationship with a supermodel which ended with the woman defacing herself. Literally.
          • Beatrice L'Angou (Noct Red 7) has a study buddy who is a Sluagh.
          • Sebastien Goulet (Power/IV 7) plays extended games of seduction with straight men, sometimes pursuing them for more than a year.
          • Caroline Bishops (Harmony 4) spends a great deal of time in lesbian clubs, mingling with the women there.
          • Maciej Zarnovich (Death and the Soul 7) maintains a troupe of barely human "creations". Cruel, but social, I suppose.
          • Midget (Evil Revelations 4) is building a cult of humans.
          • Tears, the Twisted Pierrot (Cath 6) is an artist whose medium is human emotions. Obviously, he interacts with humans regularly.
          Now, in fairness, several of them are edge cases. Like Zarnovich's creations, and L'Angou's Sluagh. Some are more implied than stated outright, like the unnamed members of Celeste's band, and Black Lotus's clients. There also seems to be a pattern of cycling through relationships quite quickly, but notice that when they are destroyed or corrupted, it is usually in a manner appropriate to the vampires' Paths.

          The slamdunk example is Velez. In her description it specifically states that she maintains her grand-daughter as a reminder of her own human beauty. Of course, this is more tied up in the Lasombra flaw than her path, but it is still easily modeled using Touchstones. Besides, her maintaining her grand-daughter with revenants who serve the Sabbat could be seen as fully proper treatment for someone on Honorable Accord. Velez sees the structures of the sect as the means to handle all problems, including deeply personal ones.

          Originally posted by Aleph View Post
          3. It's plainly booring: There's so much non-human in the world (institutions, places artificial or natural, artifacts, other supernaturals like ghosts or demons) and yet you make it sound like you have to chose vampires (and either sire or childe). Why constrain the choice so much?
          I meant the mentors and proteges as examples, not the only options. You could also choose a sire or childe. Or, another vampire. I was trying to stray from V5 canon as little as possible. My bad, I should have been clearer. Though, in fairness, path followers do tend to forge strong relationships with other members of their path. Those would be obvious choices for Touchstones if you are allowing vampiric TSs.

          Of course, if you like unusual Touchstones some other thing entirely, like a truck stop or a baseball card collection, could work. (Though making them exemplify a path could be difficult.) Listing all the options, and explaining how to use them takes us down a path to a more complex system than I'd like. Brevity was the goal.

          As for boring... well, that was almost my goal. On this board, many of us -myself included- have been chasing our tails and worrying about "how are we ever going to have paths again?" So, I came up with a super-simple, highly generic patch that can work with any path. If it seems flat and flavorless, it's because it was designed to be brief enough to write on an index card, or explain in under a minute to players sitting around a table.

          So, thank you. Pure boring crunch was the goal.

          Originally posted by Aleph View Post
          All in all, I think it's a start.
          Thank you.

          Originally posted by Aleph View Post
          Here a debate about homebrew morality rules for V5 (that can be used to model Paths):

          Thanks. That thread... which I followed closely... sort of inspired my creating an intentionally stripped-down mechanic.

          Recently, someone asked me in a pm if I write my stuff ahead of time. I don't. On this board, I usually just extemporize, then do a quick edit for clarity. I decided to try a traditional "outline-rough draft-revision-edit" model of writing to see what I'd get. I had gone through it trying to incorporate the best of everyone's ideas, and was writing this incredibly complex document. Then I went back to do a quick edit and realized I had vastly over complicated it.

          So, I took my outline and used it as the whole mechanic. I think it works as a patch.


          • #6
            Little_Miss_ Serneholt

            Overpowered? Maybe. I'll show my work, and you decide.

            I based it on existing Loresheets in V5 core. I think I have set reasonable power levels, comparable to the canon Loresheets. Commonly, Loresheets that grant Background dots give one more than the LS's purchase cost in the Background. So, a level 3 Loresheet trait would be expected to give 4 dots in Background(s).

            Note that Loresheets are an optional choice for players to take. So, if a given Loresheet brands you as a loyal Anarch, or a loyal Ventrue or whatever... well, I assume you wanted to play one of those anyway, so people knowing your affiliation shouldn't be a big flaw. The implied flaw among Path followers, of course, is that those not on the Path find you more than a little weird. It's similar to the Living in the Past flaw, only moreso.

            Also, note that where a Loresheet trait allows dots to be allocated among a selection of skills or backgrounds (rather than one specific trait) this added flexibility carries added value.

            Obviously, the examples I give below are highly simplified, and there are details which make the traits more or less valuable. For example, some can only be used once per story, or involve associating with particularly heinous people. I typed this pretty quickly, while there was a hurricane outside my window, so if I missed any nuances or made any errors, let me know.

            In general, Loresheets that give background dots give one more dot than the value of the Loresheet.:
            Xaviar 1: gives 2 dots in Status.
            Zelios 1: gives 2 dots to distribute among two different backgrounds.
            Cainite Heresy 2: gives 3 dots to distribute among four different backgrounds.
            High Clan 2: gives 3 dots in Mawla.
            Sect War 2: gives 3 dots to distribute among two different backgrounds.
            Circulatory System 3: gives a 4 dot Herd.
            First Inquisition 3: gives a 4 dot Contact.
            Neillson 3: gives 4 dots in Haven.
            Xaviar 3: gives 4 dots to distribute among three different backgrounds.
            Theo Bell 4: gives a 5 dot Mawla.
            Trinity 4: gives a 5 dot Mawla.
            Tyler 4: gives 5 dots in Allies.
            Rudi 5: gives 6 dots to distribute among three different backgrounds.

            A few give dots roughly equal to the Loresheet value:
            Low Clan 3: gives 3 dots to distribute among two different backgrounds.
            Theo Bell 5: gives 5 dots to distribute among four different backgrounds. It also includes sect neutrality, which itself has some value. There's no mention of anyone else respecting that neutrality, though.

            Two do not measure up, giving less than the cost of the Loresheet:
            Helena 1: gives 1 dot in Status, though dropping Helena's name too often is gauche. Or, you could just buy Status 1 (Toreador) and use it as often as you like.
            Voerman 4: gives a 3 dot Mawla. It would be cheaper to buy Therese as a Mawla 3, in regular backgrounds.

            Some are especially good deals. Giving more than one dot over their Loresheet cost:
            Theo Bell 1: gives a 3 dot Ally.
            Savona 1: gives a gifted mortal Retainer, which is the equivalent of 3 dots. Yeah, they spy on you, but all Retainers have a downside.
            Voerman 3: gives a 4 dot Mawla, plus some unspecified Haven privileges.
            Helena 4: gives 2 dots in Chasse, and 4 dots to distribute among three backgrounds.

            Some are complicated to analyze for cost/benefit:
            Sect War 4: adds 2 dots to Portillon, plus 2 dots among several skills. Those skill dots are effectively Specialties, so worth 6 xp.
            Helena 3: gives 2 dots in Status or Influence, only for the duration of a party. You increase your Status among "an invited group". If you invite "local garou", "all arch-mages" or a similar group, do you gain Status 2 among those groups for the duration? If so, wow.
            Voerman 5: gives 4 dots to distribute among four different backgrounds, which can be reallocated over time. Plus, you have control of an Elysium. How much is owning an Elysium worth?
            Hardestadt 3: gives 3 dots in Status, among Ventrue. RAW this seems to be permanent and cannot be lost, if so that's added value. How this works among mixed groups is left unexplained.
            Savona 3: gives a 3 dot Mawla, and arguably some dots in Resources. The issue here is the Mawla rating seems too low, as it gives private jets, insider trading info, a voice on your behalf among Ventrue, etc.
            Savona 4: gives 6 dots to distribute among three different backgrounds. This carries a blood bond, which can be read as good or bad. You're bound to the Ventrue directorate, but wouldn't most Ventrue heed them anyway? Plus, it means you are hard to be bound by someone else.
            Schreckt 4: gives a 4 dot Ally, and this is a different type of supernatural, such as a mage or garou. Should a Garou ally only be 4 dots? And as for a Mage ally? Two words. Lawn. Chair.
            Week of Nightmares 3: gives you Status among Kindred historians, but does not say how much, so, umm, yeah.
            Rudi 4: gives 3 dots in Mawla. This vampire group looks stronger than 3, though. They are really good at rousing revolutionaries, and they like to get in fights on your behalf.
            Maropis 5: gives two 2 dot Masks, and you are Zeroed. This would cost 5 xp, if bought at chagen. Plus, you have extra dice against being researched. Oh, and it fulfills the prerequisite for Cobbler.

            As to your specific objections...

            Herd 4 is an allowed part of the game for pcs, without Loresheets. Should Herd 4 not be something a player can purchase in chagen?

            I wouldn't say it "removes" hunting. It certainly makes it easier, but that's what backgrounds do, they make unlife easier.

            As I hope I've shown, Loresheet 5 giving Status 5 is actually slightly less powerful than other level 5 Loresheets.

            For comparison:

            Bahari 5 does the following:
            • You stretch the definition of "night" to include an additional two hours each day.
            • You can engage in intercourse without rousing the blood. (It's unclear whether this means low Humanity vampires can still engage in intercourse with this trait.)
            • All tests to ostracize or slander you have their difficulties raised by 1.
            • Anyone who views your aura with Auspex has their Resolve and Willpower drained for the scene, due to a migraine.
            • Only downside, you gain the Obvious Predator flaw. If you weren't planning to have pleasant social interactions with humans anyway... a common choice for Bahari... then, no big deal.
            Golconda 5 makes you immune to sunlight. Yep. Full on day-walking. The only catch? You awaken in a Hunger frenzy when the sunset comes.

            Descendant of Tyler 5 allows you to command Anarch Brujah to do anything, up to and including embarking on suicide missions. No roll is necessary.

            High Clans 5 allows you to completely ignore your clan bane once per session by spending a single willpower.

            Low Clans 5 allows you to spend background dots, once per chronicle. For each dot sacrificed, you "bring down" a high clan vampire, with no roll needed and no limit on who is vulnerable. You can spend up to 10 dots, to remove 10 vampires... of any strength. In theory, raw, you could take down all the antes of the High Clans. Come to think of it, Tremere are considered High Clan in Vienna. This might explain why they went boom. (NB: There is no clear explanation of what "bring down" means. RAW, it could range from destroying them, to making them mildly sad.)

            Does getting Status 5 among a small group of vampires who already share the same Path really seem like too much?


            • #7
              For Loresheet:
              I think 3. is not fitting since a path removes you from humanity. So gaining easier aces to a herd with your path seems unfitting to me.
              I have also problems with 1. since you would most likely require a certain amount of Mawla(path follower) in the first place to learn a path

              Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
              Take a Touchstone. This is a human who in some way represents the Path. (eg: a pathologist for Death and the Soul, a prostitute for Cathari, or an archeologist for Caine)
              On Touchstones, if you want to keep it super simple(personally I'd make them more complex) I would rather drop them then implement them in that way. You follow a path now. You no longer get the benefit of your connection to a human touchstone in keeping away the beast, but you also no longer are affected by negatives happening to your touchstone.


              • #8
                I'm going to give an unconventional answer, but you don't need homerules for Paths. Core Humanity is perfectly capable of handling paths. The trick here is to pick the right convictions. Look at the Path you want, and pick convictions which to you define the core of the path. For example, "Never ignore the opportunity for power", or "Obey by no laws by those of Hell". Pick Convictions that will shield you from gaining stains you'd get for doing path-specific things. Path of Caine might have a conviction about the wonders of diablerie. Path of Metamorphosis might have a conviction about missing opportunities for knowledge.

                And voila - you have your Path. This nicely sidesteps the philosophical issue of old editions declaring the Paths as being some weird alien thing no mortal man can comprehend. Paths as Convictions means you maintain your humanity by embracing specific intellectually derived manifestations of being human - change, ambition, servitude, innovation. Whatever. Just stop treating Convictions as an anchor on your neck and start treating them as your shield.


                • #9
                  Nosimplehiway Schreckt 4 is entirely in line with one dot discount. It's just an Ally split into Deadliness 4 and Reliability 1. Deadliness 4 already means your ally is supernatural of some sort. Schreckt 4 having a limitation of once per story is meaningless, since Ally background already says that an ally shouldn't show up more than once per story.