Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

V5- The Masquerade was always untenable.

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • V5- The Masquerade was always untenable.

    I've found that I like V5 far less for, amongst other things, a completely undermined masquerade. Not only is the masquerade mostly-broken with the inquisition, but it never would have worked given the rule changes. Infact, I'm pretty sure if you ran the v5 scenario with v20 rules, your average coterie would've nipped the second inquisition in the bud by now.

    Look, Vampire: the masquerade's one of those things where at first you think 'Nah, vampire's could never hide amongst humans', but then as you get into it and understand the context, you can justify it quite handily
    -The world is vastly more overpopulated than the real world, law an order is half as competent and twice as corrupt
    -Missinformation campaigns, 'Fake news', Identity politics, hollywood vampires, photoshop, CGI and so on and so forth keep the populace ignorant. The average human is weak willed, gullible and under-educated and they're all sure they're in the right. Oh yes, this applies doubly for the World of darkness.
    -Vampires are mostly in control of their beasts
    -Obfuscate is a powerful discipline
    -Dominate is a powerful, covert and subversive discipline.
    -Technomagic is an excellent tool for aiding the masquerade in modern nights, disseminated throughout the tremere and anarch free states. Constant development is put into this emerging magic to better safeguard against the emerging threat of the information age.
    -player characters are clowns that aren't really representative of your average, well selected and groomed Vampire. Storytellers use the messiest cities during times of turbulence rather than the standard, well oiled machines.

    Yeah, it's a stretch, but it works more than not. The more you know, the less 'vampires run the world' seems ridiculous. Sometimes when I look at the news I have to remind myself that there probably isn't any literal vampires and that I do not live in the world of darkness (I cannot be sure though)

    Now, Let's turn to V5
    The first point's true (I think), the second point's arguably true. But then we move on
    -The beast is constantly being a pest and making vampires commit stupid acts.
    -Obfuscate is twice the investment for half the benefits. Still useful? Yes, when you're an ancillae.
    -Dominate is an entirely different discipline. No longer with dominate two can you implant a false thought, set a trigger for a behaviour or have someone repeat acts or not-do-something for months. Now, you tell them what to do and they go "Yes master" and sleepwalk themselves to a an immediate task. The greatest boon to the masquerade became one of the greatest liabilities. With old dominate, you could easily have the inquisition tear itself apart. With new dominate, you just can't use it. Sure, maybe at elder levels it becomes valid, but most Kindred don't have access to dominate at elder levels.
    -Blood sorcery. Honestly you'll have to fill me in on that one. It seems a lot more gamey and obviously nobody at nu-White Wolf has ever heard of paradigms. Once disorganized Thinbloods have somehow disseminated fantastic rituals between themselves.
    -Disciplines in general are more overtly flashy and supernatural, most of them (as opposed to almost none of them in v20) use blood or 'rouse the beast' for additional problems.
    -Player characters being clowns is entirely representative of the rest of the vampire population. House Carna (and arguably the Vienna bombing) is obviously the result of someone's wish fulfillment rather than something that could actually happen within the context of clan tremere (they're smart and picky to say the least). Theo Bell'd be killed for killing Hardestadt without question, instead he's acting intermediary for two factions who'd more realistically strap him to a rocket so he could meet the sun. The camarilla has, for no reasonable reason, decided to become an old-boys club and have all the neonates and territories become anarch, which is what they've been fighting since the camarilla's inception (and this is of course harmful for the masquerade!) Plus every vampire is subject to the beast constantly being a pest and committing stupid acts. Clowns everywhere!

    There could have never, ever been a masquerade with v5 rules. There can be no suspension of disbelief for anyone decently familiar with the setting.


    Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

  • #2
    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    -Player characters being clowns is entirely representative of the rest of the vampire population.
    Players turning a game into a slapstick farce comedy is a part of all games. But VtM, and the larger WoD, is a horror and tragedy setting. How much of those themes should be compromised to allow the players to act like jackasses without meaningful consequence?

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    - House Carna (and arguably the Vienna bombing) is obviously the result of someone's wish fulfillment rather than something that could actually happen within the context of clan tremere (they're smart and picky to say the least).
    Prior to the collapse of the pyramid the Warlocks were a rather monochromatic organization. Each chantry was too similar to all the other chantries. They only practiced one form and style of magic. They were the only accepted magicians inside the Camarilla.

    The fracturing of the Tremere presents story possibilities. The feuding between the factions provides story possibilities. The factions allows the use of different types of magic. The collapse of the pyramid allows the Banu Haqim and others to be recognized magicians inside the Camarilla.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    -Theo Bell'd be killed for killing Hardestadt without question, instead he's acting intermediary for two factions who'd more realistically strap him to a rocket so he could meet the sun.
    The final chapter to Bell’s story should be written by the PCs, not by the NPCs.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    -The camarilla has, for no reasonable reason, decided to become an old-boys club…
    Have you ever had to deal with an exclusive country club when you are not a member? The people who hang out in and run these places are some of the worst blue-nosed toffs and are miserable to deal with, unless you are also a toff blue nose.

    The Camarilla has always been depicted as an evil country club. Now it is simply more express.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    -Plus every vampire is subject to the beast constantly being a pest and committing stupid acts. Clowns everywhere!
    This is an improvement to the rule, because it makes express in the rules that vampires and an evil, hopeless, monster.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      -The beast is constantly being a pest and making vampires commit stupid acts.
      Depends how hungry you are. But wasn't the Beast always supposed to be a threat like this, thematically?

      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      -Obfuscate is twice the investment for half the benefits. Still useful? Yes, when you're an ancillae.
      Aren't the first few dots unchanged from DAV20? Silence of Death at 1, Unseen Presence at 2?

      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      -Dominate is an entirely different discipline. No longer with dominate two can you implant a false thought, set a trigger for a behaviour or have someone repeat acts or not-do-something for months. Now, you tell them what to do and they go "Yes master" and sleepwalk themselves to a an immediate task. The greatest boon to the masquerade became one of the greatest liabilities. With old dominate, you could easily have the inquisition tear itself apart. With new dominate, you just can't use it. Sure, maybe at elder levels it becomes valid, but most Kindred don't have access to dominate at elder levels.
      Dominate 1 can now erase memories of a full scene, which required three dots before. Seems like a benefit for the Masquerade?

      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      -Blood sorcery. Honestly you'll have to fill me in on that one. It seems a lot more gamey and obviously nobody at nu-White Wolf has ever heard of paradigms. Once disorganized Thinbloods have somehow disseminated fantastic rituals between themselves.
      I would honestly say less gamey now: it's focused on blood rather than Fireballs and Magic Missiles. Blood Sorcery explicitly isn't True Magick—the Tremere lost their Avatars when they became vampires, which is why their magic is so much more limited than actual Mages' (but on the flipside, no Paradox either).

      Thinblood alchemy has various presentation issues, but I think the intent isn't that they're disseminating the rituals widely, but that individual Thinbloods are all separately reinventing the wheel, and the list in the book is for the ST and players OOC rather than something any individual TB actually knows in-universe.

      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      -Disciplines in general are more overtly flashy and supernatural, most of them (as opposed to almost none of them in v20) use blood or 'rouse the beast' for additional problems.
      Blood costs are definitely higher, but did anything really become more of a breach than before? Dominate, Presence, Auspex, Obfuscate are as subtle as ever, Protean, Animalism, Sorcery have always been overt, Celerity, Fortitude, Potence depend what you do with them.

      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      -Player characters being clowns is entirely representative of the rest of the vampire population. House Carna (and arguably the Vienna bombing) is obviously the result of someone's wish fulfillment rather than something that could actually happen within the context of clan tremere (they're smart and picky to say the least). Theo Bell'd be killed for killing Hardestadt without question, instead he's acting intermediary for two factions who'd more realistically strap him to a rocket so he could meet the sun. The camarilla has, for no reasonable reason, decided to become an old-boys club and have all the neonates and territories become anarch, which is what they've been fighting since the camarilla's inception (and this is of course harmful for the masquerade!) Plus every vampire is subject to the beast constantly being a pest and committing stupid acts. Clowns everywhere!
      I agree the Theo Bell plotline has been presented badly—in my canon, he's absolutely not a trusted mediator, but the fact that he wasn't immediately killed prompted a lot of whispering and rumors about whether the Camarilla is actually weak, or if this was actually orchestrated from behind the scenes by someone with more power. You know how the Ventrue Antediluvian, with ridiculous levels of Dominate and Fortitude, was supposedly killed off-screen and everyone just accepted it? Now one of the most powerful Ventrue in the world, with ridiculous levels of Dominate and Fortitude, was supposedly killed off-screen too, removing the risk of him getting Vienna'd while giving the entire Camarilla an easy Goldstein-esque reason to hate the Anarchs. Hmm. (I'm probably never going to actually decide on the Single Canonical Truth, but there are quite a lot of in-universe rumors flying around!)

      For Vienna on the other hand, how many groups hate the Tremere and know where the Prime Chantry is? The BH, the Tzimisce, the Gangrel, the Nosferatu, the Gargoyles, the Salubri, House Goratrix, the Tremere Anarchs…and wards that are tremendously effective against individual mortals are a whole lot less useful against drone strikes. There's also the rumor that Vienna was an inside job, maybe with even Tremere himself(!) poking holes in the defenses so that the Saulot-worm could be destroyed.

      And for the Camarilla? Their job in the past was to make sure nobody realized vampires existed, which is why they welcomed all sorts of vampires—every neonate brought into the Ivory Tower was one less threat to their whole existence. But now, the SI knows. Now, every neonate in the Ivory Tower is a potential SI informant who could be captured and interrogated for knowledge of who all the Primogen were. And every neonate outside the Tower is a potential sacrifice who could distract the SI and keep them occupied while the Prince heightens his security. They never really cared about the common neonate, but in the past, pretending to care was the best way to protect the 1%. Now the situation has changed, and the Camarilla has had no qualms about revealing who it actually cares about.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

        Players turning a game into a slapstick farce comedy is a part of all games. But VtM, and the larger WoD, is a horror and tragedy setting. How much of those themes should be compromised to allow the players to act like jackasses without meaningful consequence?
        I'm sorry I'm not following you here. Could you explain this relate to the topic?


        Prior to the collapse of the pyramid the Warlocks were a rather monochromatic organization. Each chantry was too similar to all the other chantries. They only practiced one form and style of magic. They were the only accepted magicians inside the Camarilla.

        The fracturing of the Tremere presents story possibilities. The feuding between the factions provides story possibilities. The factions allows the use of different types of magic. The collapse of the pyramid allows the Banu Haqim and others to be recognized magicians inside the Camarilla.
        First off, the Assamites would've became recognized magicians anyhow. That was one of the interesting things of V20: you could see the gradual demise of the Tremere as their monopoly was increasingly threatened by the assamite schism and the Anarch movement''s increasing profileration of magic (Rites of the Blood is an excellent read.)

        Second, house carna would in no way rise from the Tremere. The Tremere are:
        -smart
        -selective (they embrace good fits and are extremely unlikely to select those with such... politics)
        -Can't easily change their paradigm from hermetic theory to... Paganism was it? What a fruitless and unpopular drain on resources
        -paranoid

        There just isn't a base for her.

        Have you ever had to deal with an exclusive country club when you are not a member? The people who hang out in and run these places are some of the worst blue-nosed toffs and are miserable to deal with, unless you are also a toff blue nose.

        The Camarilla has always been depicted as an evil country club. Now it is simply more express.
        A more apt analogy would be to say the camarilla is like a piramid scheme that's decided it doesn't want lower-rung members. Oh wait, that's actually an absolutely terrible way to do a pyramid scheme.


        This is an improvement to the rule, because it makes express in the rules that vampires and an evil, hopeless, monster.
        I don't think that's how Masquerade is supposed to work, but if things were so bad one has to wonder why don't they kill themselves. If we think about the topic at hand, objectively the increased hold of the beast on a kindred and all the involuntary shit they now do makes it harder to have a masquerade. The masquerade is less feasible when, no matter how strong willed or how practiced a vampire's self-control is, they're still not in control unless they murder someone through feeding.



        Originally posted by Draconis View Post
        Depends how hungry you are. But wasn't the Beast always supposed to be a threat like this, thematically?
        Aye, but if you played smart you could mitigate the risk in VtM. You can't mitigate the risk in V5.

        Aren't the first few dots unchanged from DAV20? Silence of Death at 1, Unseen Presence at 2?
        Firstly, IIRC I believe unseen presence now requires a rouse, which is problematic. Mask of a thousand faces has been pushed up which is really part of the problem.
        Silence of death (which doesn't metaphysically belong in obfuscate) is worse than the old obfuscate 1, not mechanically, but in that it's worse for the masquerade.

        Dominate 1 can now erase memories of a full scene, which required three dots before. Seems like a benefit for the Masquerade?
        It's clumsy.
        Trust me, as someone who thinks of dominate as the bee's knees for a creative player, V5 has utterly raped the discipline. Sure, it's got a little better in one very specific circumstance, but on the whole the changes have added problems and removed solutions.
        I would honestly say less gamey now: it's focused on blood rather than Fireballs and Magic Missiles. Blood Sorcery explicitly isn't True Magick—the Tremere lost their Avatars when they became vampires, which is why their magic is so much more limited than actual Mages' (but on the flipside, no Paradox either).
        "magic missiles"

        Thinblood alchemy has various presentation issues, but I think the intent isn't that they're disseminating the rituals widely, but that individual Thinbloods are all separately reinventing the wheel, and the list in the book is for the ST and players OOC rather than something any individual TB actually knows in-universe.
        Thin bloods were already a masquerade risk. Then V5 kicked that to 11.

        Blood costs are definitely higher, but did anything really become more of a breach than before? Dominate, Presence, Auspex, Obfuscate are as subtle as ever, Protean, Animalism, Sorcery have always been overt, Celerity, Fortitude, Potence depend what you do with them.
        Yes, absolutely! The blood costs increase the hunger nonsense. It is now impractical to obfuscate a lot. Dominate puts people into a trance. v20 animalism and most blood magic was covert.


        Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 11-14-2019, 06:43 PM.


        Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
          Second, house carna would in no way rise from the Tremere. The Tremere are:
          -smart
          -selective (they embrace good fits and are extremely unlikely to select those with such... politics)
          -Can't easily change their paradigm from hermetic theory to... Paganism was it? What a fruitless and unpopular drain on resources
          -paranoid

          There just isn't a base for her.
          Half the reasons you mentioned are exactly why House Carna rose.

          Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
          A more apt analogy would be to say the camarilla is like a piramid scheme that's decided it doesn't want lower-rung members. Oh wait, that's actually an absolutely terrible way to do a pyramid scheme.
          It's not if your members all have the potential to rat you out (intentionally or not) and the feds are closing in.

          As for the rest... it mostly sounds like you're angry that all your best game-breakers were taken away and replaced with stuff that has a slightly more reasonable power level. Yes, maintaining the Masquerade actually means work past Dominate 3 now. But either it's still possible today because incompetence, corruption and cynicism are still the vampiric world's best allies or it was never possible at all.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'll answer properly later, but re this part:

            Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
            Firstly, IIRC I believe unseen presence now requires a rouse, which is problematic. Mask of a thousand faces has been pushed up which is really part of the problem.
            Silence of death (which doesn't metaphysically belong in obfuscate) is worse than the old obfuscate 1, not mechanically, but in that it's worse for the masquerade.
            Silence of Death was literally the only Obfuscate 1 power in DAV20, the most recent corebook before the V5 one. Quietus 1 in that book is Blood Essence (extract a human's soul) or Blood Tempering (strengthen an object), both of which honestly feel more like rituals than general-purpose Discipline powers, but that's a separate issue.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
              I've found that I like V5 far less for, amongst other things, a completely undermined masquerade. Not only is the masquerade mostly-broken with the inquisition, but it never would have worked given the rule changes. Infact, I'm pretty sure if you ran the v5 scenario with v20 rules, your average coterie would've nipped the second inquisition in the bud by now.

              Look, Vampire: the masquerade's one of those things where at first you think 'Nah, vampire's could never hide amongst humans', but then as you get into it and understand the context, you can justify it quite handily
              -The world is vastly more overpopulated than the real world, law an order is half as competent and twice as corrupt
              -Missinformation campaigns, 'Fake news', Identity politics, hollywood vampires, photoshop, CGI and so on and so forth keep the populace ignorant. The average human is weak willed, gullible and under-educated and they're all sure they're in the right. Oh yes, this applies doubly for the World of darkness.
              -Vampires are mostly in control of their beasts
              -Obfuscate is a powerful discipline
              -Dominate is a powerful, covert and subversive discipline.
              -Technomagic is an excellent tool for aiding the masquerade in modern nights, disseminated throughout the tremere and anarch free states. Constant development is put into this emerging magic to better safeguard against the emerging threat of the information age.
              -player characters are clowns that aren't really representative of your average, well selected and groomed Vampire. Storytellers use the messiest cities during times of turbulence rather than the standard, well oiled machines.

              Yeah, it's a stretch, but it works more than not. The more you know, the less 'vampires run the world' seems ridiculous. Sometimes when I look at the news I have to remind myself that there probably isn't any literal vampires and that I do not live in the world of darkness (I cannot be sure though)

              Now, Let's turn to V5
              The first point's true (I think), the second point's arguably true. But then we move on
              -The beast is constantly being a pest and making vampires commit stupid acts.
              -Obfuscate is twice the investment for half the benefits. Still useful? Yes, when you're an ancillae.
              -Dominate is an entirely different discipline. No longer with dominate two can you implant a false thought, set a trigger for a behaviour or have someone repeat acts or not-do-something for months. Now, you tell them what to do and they go "Yes master" and sleepwalk themselves to a an immediate task. The greatest boon to the masquerade became one of the greatest liabilities. With old dominate, you could easily have the inquisition tear itself apart. With new dominate, you just can't use it. Sure, maybe at elder levels it becomes valid, but most Kindred don't have access to dominate at elder levels.
              -Blood sorcery. Honestly you'll have to fill me in on that one. It seems a lot more gamey and obviously nobody at nu-White Wolf has ever heard of paradigms. Once disorganized Thinbloods have somehow disseminated fantastic rituals between themselves.
              -Disciplines in general are more overtly flashy and supernatural, most of them (as opposed to almost none of them in v20) use blood or 'rouse the beast' for additional problems.
              -Player characters being clowns is entirely representative of the rest of the vampire population. House Carna (and arguably the Vienna bombing) is obviously the result of someone's wish fulfillment rather than something that could actually happen within the context of clan tremere (they're smart and picky to say the least). Theo Bell'd be killed for killing Hardestadt without question, instead he's acting intermediary for two factions who'd more realistically strap him to a rocket so he could meet the sun. The camarilla has, for no reasonable reason, decided to become an old-boys club and have all the neonates and territories become anarch, which is what they've been fighting since the camarilla's inception (and this is of course harmful for the masquerade!) Plus every vampire is subject to the beast constantly being a pest and committing stupid acts. Clowns everywhere!

              There could have never, ever been a masquerade with v5 rules. There can be no suspension of disbelief for anyone decently familiar with the setting.
              Agreed. Now with every vampire killing one person each night/doing stupid things from the compulsion chart theres no place to the masquerade.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                Half the reasons you mentioned are exactly why House Carna rose.
                A sane Tremere would assume that the breaking of their blood bond to the house was a trap, it's a test of loyalty for these trying times where they need everyone on the same page to keep the monopoly. Fall outside the lines and Boom, You got goratrix'd.
                But in all seriousness
                The Tremere just don't recruit radical feminists who want a pagan religion. One, maybe two, might fall through the cracks. Maybe you get a regent who tries to fill a chantry with such people, but that's as far as it goes before being nipped. The Tremere recruit smart, successful people that don't need radical social change to excel. And changing from standardized hermetic theory to a veneration of gods? At best, they're not going to agree on gods, at worst, well, that sounds like infernalism to me.
                It's not if your members all have the potential to rat you out (intentionally or not) and the feds are closing in.
                Bah, keep your enemies close. There's certainly more cons than pros to this move. You're going to foster a lot of resentment.
                As for the rest... it mostly sounds like you're angry that all your best game-breakers were taken away and replaced with stuff that has a slightly more reasonable power level. Yes, maintaining the Masquerade actually means work past Dominate 3 now. But either it's still possible today because incompetence, corruption and cynicism are still the vampiric world's best allies or it was never possible at all.
                Are you implying that V5 is balanced? How does something being 'rightfully nerfed' make it OK for the masquerade?
                The incompetence, corruption and cynicism seem to be on the vampire's side. No wonder there's an inquisition. If only vampires were from V20 then they'd at least halfway be competent.


                Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                  I'm sorry I'm not following you here. Could you explain this relate to the topic?
                  You mention the PCs clowning around. Players are often clowning around. That doesn't mean the rules should be bent.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                    Fall outside the lines and Boom, You got goratrix'd.
                    That's been retconned; House Goratrix still exists.

                    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                    The Tremere just don't recruit radical feminists who want a pagan religion. One, maybe two, might fall through the cracks. Maybe you get a regent who tries to fill a chantry with such people, but that's as far as it goes before being nipped. The Tremere recruit smart, successful people that don't need radical social change to excel. And changing from standardized hermetic theory to a veneration of gods? At best, they're not going to agree on gods, at worst, well, that sounds like infernalism to me.
                    The Tremere, until the Pyramid fell, relied on blood bonds to ensure loyalty. They didn't expect that a half-insane Humanity 1 elder would come across a way to break herself free, then go around breaking others free and bonding them to her and probably Embracing and bonding dozens of childer all across America—it's just not one of the contingencies they were prepared for. (That's all in BJD, by the way, so pre-V5.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                      Plus every vampire is subject to the beast constantly being a pest and committing stupid acts. Clowns everywhere!
                      My issue with the new rules basically boils down to this change. From a dice/statistics perspective, it's pretty dubious that the first few thousand years vampire history would play out as written in older editions. A pretty esoteric (but I think damning) example would be the sheer amount time that the Tremere were supposed to have been able to successfully hide the slow switchover to vampirism from the Order of Hermes. It's plausible under the old rules because the beast, while a serious liability, was ultimately manageable enough. Of course I fully expect that all V5 fans can and will head cannon things (or just outright ignore certain parts of the old history) to make it square with the new rules, tone, theme, style, etc., but the fact remains that it was incredibly impressive for the Tremere to pull off what they did precisely because it was such a high-wire act; by changing the fundamental rules without changing the history, it basically implies that the Tremere's margin of error there was much wider than we one might have previously thought, if they still pull it off despite the beast having (retroactively) been made so much more difficult to deal with.

                      Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                      This is an improvement to the rule, because it makes express in the rules that vampires and an evil, hopeless, monster.
                      The problem is that the kind of "evil" that a vampire is as now expressly required by the rules is (for me at least) a sort of more pedestrian evil. There is one level of horror, certainly, that comes from the first time a character loses their shit, blacks out, and when they come to, they've slaughtered their entire family. I mean, obviously that's a frightening and horrifying thing to live with: a monster inside that is constantly looking to get out to kill, feed, do what it wants, etc. But what are you really exploring there? It's like being possessed, or the Hulk--if you lose control and become something else, the horror is basically "oh no, is this what I am?" over and over again, referring to an alien thing within that literally takes control and makes one act in ways they otherwise absolutely would not. But how does that really scale as you get older? You get more powerful and more destructive I suppose, but let's face it, the beast goes HAM every time--if you've woken up in a room filled with former loved ones torn to pieces once, you've done it a dozen times.

                      I think the more mature horror (which is an important thing that I think the games used to strive for: mature) comes from getting older, more in control, and more scheming. Lots of people poo-poo the old elder game, but it's in the scheming and machinations, and growing more coldly rational and unsympathetically pragmatic about achieving one's long turn goals where you're most likely to explore the sorts of personal horror (and evil) that very clearly exist in real life, and which are more likely to impact the human being playing the game. Habitually flying into a blind rage and committing bloody atrocities that one cannot remember is more cartoon than reality--it's something I can abstractly imagine, but only in the same way that I can somehow imagine what it might be like to fire lasers from my eyes; the thought only goes so far because the unlikelihood of that ever actually happening to me robs it of the sort of emotional or cathartic weight that other sorts of thought experiments might have. What's more realistic, if we're talking about a frightening slide away from ostensible civility and relative moral rectitude (as defined by the general accepted morays of Western liberal democratic societies), is the process by which one amasses power (and age) and begins to dissociate from others and essentially discard the notion that human life has intrinsic value; calculating to come up with an expedient and functional means of dealing with a prescient issue affecting one's holdings, and then with full knowledge of the foreseeable consequences, dispassionately committing a careful and deliberate destruction that ruins or ends the lives of dozens, hundreds, or thousands (directly or otherwise)... now we're into the realm of thought that probably occupies the time of a great deal of actually-existing-today powerful and (arguably evil) people. I mean, you can get to the "slowly grow to realize that you are the monster" trope via literally becoming a ravenous-monster-jumping-out-of-the-bushes, but that feels painfully 'on the nose'--personal horror equivalent of a story in which the hero just needed to realize that "I don't need the magical ring/amulet/baseball/coin! The power was inside me all along!" But you can also get there by having a game in which the character slowly amasses power and holdings that bring them into conflict with other powerful elders, are forced to 'play the game', and in so doing they (or more likely the player) realize that they've rationalized committing an atrocity because having done otherwise would have meant having lost [insert temporal wealth or power which the vampire literally would have had forever to reacquire]; or (to play on the banality of evil) participated in some unspeakable campaign because this is just how this part of the game is played--you murder, enslave, buy and sell life, and much worse... but I can't be the only one who doesn't do it, or I might lose...

                      And look, I am not saying that the kind of horror I clearly find more interesting is not possible in V5--but it does seem like the new rules disfavor, or de-emphasize the more plodding pace and scheming in favor of more visceral aesthetics and gameplay. The kind of gameplay I'm talking about could probably be achieved in most RPGs (even if V:tM should be peculiarly suited to it by dint of the concept alone), so it can obviously still be achieved here by mature and thoughtful players and storytellers. However, the new rules make understated descent into amoral decadence type of game more difficult (because creating an empire requires being able to reliably go about the individual tasks of meeting with underlings and colleagues, cultivating resources, otherwise managing one's 'vampiric portfolio', for lack of a more apt term), and point very strongly at playing vampires who were embraced relatively recently and are more concerned with what they're wearing to Elysium, and not eating their Uber or Lyft driver (or that cop that stared too long, or the dog walker who looked at them funny, or that squirrel, or my coterie mate, etc.) before they actually get to the club, but then very likely do eat one or more of those people, and never make it to the club (and so don't make whatever meetings they had planned) because they had to cover up a crime of passion for some sizeable portion of the rest of the navigable evening. It's like if someone said "I'd like more explosions in my D&D game," but instead of taking more fire-type spells (which I assume make things explode more... admittedly I don't know much about D&D), they decide instead that every person, animal, monster, rock, and tree have a 20% chance of exploding when impacted with anything more than an average human footfalls-worth of force. Obviously a lot of this is a matter of taste as well--I mean, they wrote the game they wanted to play. But I do think it's totally shortchanging the older editions of the game to say or even imply (as has been done) that they were/are mechanically less suited to foster a game of personal horror than the V5.
                      Last edited by CaptOtter; 11-15-2019, 01:54 AM.


                      Sig

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                        You mention the PCs clowning around. Players are often clowning around. That doesn't mean the rules should be bent.
                        Ah I see, you misunderstand.
                        In V20, The setting is full of competent vampires and most cities are smothly run. (new) Players are the exception rather than the norm. You can trust that a lot of the mistakes players make are not often repeated by other kindred.
                        In V5, The setting is filled with innept vampires and every city is at risk. The Average elder acts like the neonate controlled by a first time player it seems. (Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but wow)

                        Originally posted by Draconis View Post
                        That's been retconned; House Goratrix still exists.
                        I recall the meeting to be written like bad fan fiction. A retcon is hardly the best validation.

                        The Tremere, until the Pyramid fell, relied on blood bonds to ensure loyalty. They didn't expect that a half-insane Humanity 1 elder would come across a way to break herself free, then go around breaking others free and bonding them to her and probably Embracing and bonding dozens of childer all across America—it's just not one of the contingencies they were prepared for. (That's all in BJD, by the way, so pre-V5.)
                        Hardly. The pyramid would work without bonds. I strongly suspect a lot of you haven't played much with Tremere. But you need that pyramid: Easy access to magic, defence because half the clans want your blood, political backing, immense resources. The Tremere are more carrot than stick.

                        They didn't expect an insane (half? Are you serious?) elder with humanity 1 would wake up and make house carna because that's bullshit. But I didn't make a thread to house carna (honestly, I thought defending house Carna was also completely untenable, but I guess if you have someone of a very specific political persuasion wishfull thinking takes it's tole.)
                        The V20 direction for anarch sorcerers was excellent. Carna upended that.in a contrived way. This contributes not only to the "masquerade is untenable" argument in that it supports the notion that Vampires are very, very stupid. But also the undivided Tremere, Anarch techno thaumaturgists and perhaps soon the Assamite schismatics were going to make the masquerade easier before V5 turned everything on it's head.
                        Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 11-15-2019, 06:19 AM.


                        Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                          A sane Tremere would assume that the breaking of their blood bond to the house was a trap, it's a test of loyalty for these trying times where they need everyone on the same page to keep the monopoly. Fall outside the lines and Boom, You got goratrix'd.
                          The blood bonds are broken anyway. All of them.

                          But in all seriousness
                          The Tremere just don't recruit radical feminists who want a pagan religion. One, maybe two, might fall through the cracks. Maybe you get a regent who tries to fill a chantry with such people, but that's as far as it goes before being nipped. The Tremere recruit smart, successful people that don't need radical social change to excel. And changing from standardized hermetic theory to a veneration of gods? At best, they're not going to agree on gods, at worst, well, that sounds like infernalism to me.
                          The Tremere recruit smart people with strong wills and expect indoctrination and the first step of the blood bond to keep their personal ideology in check. And they did. During a time when there was an intact pyramid that could reward conformity and punish outliers. After that had crumbled, you had a few hundred or thousand headstrong people who suddenly were as free to follow their own ideas of how their society should look like as all other vampires.
                          And no, House Carna doesn't want "one pagan religion" – they want their people to be free to figure out what works without being bound to one specific pre-chosen way. And by the way, Clan Tremere has already been there: The Telyavelic Tremere managed to incorporate pagan beliefs into their thaumaturgy quite well.

                          Bah, keep your enemies close. There's certainly more cons than pros to this move. You're going to foster a lot of resentment.
                          First pro: When a careless neonate doesn't notice they're being tracked by the SI, they're not immediately outing everyone present up to the Prince as soon as they go to Elysium. Which con makes up for that?

                          Are you implying that V5 is balanced? How does something being 'rightfully nerfed' make it OK for the masquerade?
                          I'm saying V5 is closer to balancing than previous editions were. And, again, the Masquerade is roughly as tenable or untenable as it was in previous editions.

                          Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                          My issue with the new rules basically boils down to this change. From a dice/statistics perspective, it's pretty dubious that the first few thousand years vampire history would play out as written in older editions. A pretty esoteric (but I think damning) example would be the sheer amount time that the Tremere were supposed to have been able to successfully hide the slow switchover to vampirism from the Order of Hermes. It's plausible under the old rules because the beast, while a serious liability, was ultimately manageable enough. Of course I fully expect that all V5 fans can and will head cannon things (or just outright ignore certain parts of the old history) to make it square with the new rules, tone, theme, style, etc., but the fact remains that it was incredibly impressive for the Tremere to pull off what they did precisely because it was such a high-wire act; by changing the fundamental rules without changing the history, it basically implies that the Tremere's margin of error there was much wider than we one might have previously thought, if they still pull it off despite the beast having (retroactively) been made so much more difficult to deal with.
                          I think one important aspect to note is that V5 moves (further) away from simulationism towards narrativism. The rules don't attempt to create a faithful simulation of the world, they attempt to facilitate stories within this world. Stories that are plausible within the fantasy of that world, but that may not be the most likely chain of events.
                          For an example, suppose there was a roll for determining whether a demon summoning goes awry in a game where PCs usually don't summon demons themselves. A simulationist rulebook would consider how much risk is acceptable for a demon summoning tradition to develop at all and set the chance at maybe 1 in 200. A narrativist rulebook would say "Demon summonings going awry make for great stories!" and set the chance at 1 in 4. That doesn't mean one in four demon summonings in the world leads to rampaging demons, it just means the ones the PCs meet will more likely be the non-boring ones.
                          Last edited by Cifer; 11-15-2019, 06:33 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                            The blood bonds are broken anyway. All of them.

                            The Tremere recruit smart people with strong wills and expect indoctrination and the first step of the blood bond to keep their personal ideology in check. And they did. During a time when there was an intact pyramid that could reward conformity and punish outliers. After that had crumbled, you had a few hundred or thousand headstrong people who suddenly were as free to follow their own ideas of how their society should look like as all other vampires.
                            And no, House Carna doesn't want "one pagan religion" – they want their people to be free to figure out what works without being bound to one specific pre-chosen way. And by the way, Clan Tremere has already been there: The Telyavelic Tremere managed to incorporate pagan beliefs into their thaumaturgy quite well.
                            Nature/Demenor is seperate from willpower. Look, it just ain't happening. The Tremere don't recruit from the types of people who think gender studies is legit useful. What sane, mental primary goes 'Yes, That Carna has the right idea'? Paganism's dumb. Why take risky (possibly infernal) religious magic when you could use old reliable? The sociology just points to it not happening. You might as well pitch a complete firearm ban at a NRA rally or Trickle down economics to Karl Marx. Why leave the safe confines of the Chantry for a chance to die a pointless death in the name of "freedom"

                            Look, maybe the tremere could've opened anarch chantries that they secretly supported for their own political ends. But Carna? Das whack bra. Don't insult Tremere like that.

                            First pro: When a careless neonate doesn't notice they're being tracked by the SI, they're not immediately outing everyone present up to the Prince as soon as they go to Elysium. Which con makes up for that?
                            The SI would be a less significant threat in V20. The Security at Elysium's pretty good and whenever the inquisitors prepare a move they'll have an unfortunate incident where someone goes postal at the office. Someone would notice the dudes in a white van, guaranteed. Having someone lower than you on the totem pole to do your dirty work is infinately more useful than slightly increasing the opportunity to have a hunter find elysium and maybe see someone leave. Throwing out everyone to the wolves is going to foster more resentment for elders and increase the number of enemies, reduce the power of camarilla Elders and their hold they have on others, completely invalidate the Camarilla's main mission... Look man, you just can't. It's an abysmal idea short term, a terrible idea long.
                            And, again, the Masquerade is roughly as tenable or untenable as it was in previous editions.
                            Is there something I'm missing? Because I've only heard one thing in support of that (Dominate 1's memory wipe) and so, so many things that go against it.
                            I think one important aspect to note is that V5 moves (further) away from simulationism towards narrativism. The rules don't attempt to create a faithful simulation of the world, they attempt to facilitate stories within this world. Stories that are plausible within the fantasy of that world, but that may not be the most likely chain of events.
                            V5's metaplot isn't plausible within the fantasy of oWoD. Simulationist or narrativist, it doesn't work. The question of V5 is 'how did the humans not wipe us out sooner' because vampires are a mess.
                            Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 11-15-2019, 09:55 AM.


                            Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                              I think one important aspect to note is that V5 moves (further) away from simulationism towards narrativism. The rules don't attempt to create a faithful simulation of the world, they attempt to facilitate stories within this world. Stories that are plausible within the fantasy of that world, but that may not be the most likely chain of events.
                              For an example, suppose there was a roll for determining whether a demon summoning goes awry in a game where PCs usually don't summon demons themselves. A simulationist rulebook would consider how much risk is acceptable for a demon summoning tradition to develop at all and set the chance at maybe 1 in 200. A narrativist rulebook would say "Demon summonings going awry make for great stories!" and set the chance at 1 in 4. That doesn't mean one in four demon summonings in the world leads to rampaging demons, it just means the ones the PCs meet will more likely be the non-boring ones.
                              This is pretty bunk.

                              V5 is still a simulation focused system. The whole simulation vs. narrative design approach isn't about which "facilitates" stories within this world. It's different approaches to that. The simulation approach is to have mechanics that focus on providing a verisimilitudinous answer to, "what happens when my character tries to do X?" and relies on the people playing the game to create the dramatic conflicts that will give rise to a narrative (either purposeful or emergent). The narrative approach is to have mechanics that focus on providing a dramatic answer to, "what are the consequences of my character doing X?" and relies on the people playing the game to weave these dramatic moments into a cohesive story.

                              The demon summoning example isn't, at all, how narrative focused rules approach things. A narrative focused game wouldn't just make demon summoning insanely more likely to happen (that's just simulating a very dangerous summoning method). It would create an avenue to ensure the demon summoning the player characters come across in the one that screws up. For example the system might generate a GM meta-currency pool that the GM spends to make the summoning go awry at the right time for the story to get interesting (or not spend if it's the wrong time).

                              Having two axis results (yes/no + and/but), and randomizing elements that weren't before doesn't make it a narrative focused system. It just makes it a less predictable system. V5 might work in some tools from narrative focused games here and there, but the primary mode of play is still answering, "what happens when I roll Attribute + Skill to do X task?"

                              And this is a core complaint lots of people had about VtM way back in 1e, and V5 hasn't really full addressed it. Not that it has to address it beyond "well that's not VtM," because there's nothing wrong with sticking to a more traditional simulation style system. But it does mean that, "this is a narrative focused game," doesn't really defend the implications of the mechanics since the mechanics aren't actually operating under those assumptions.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X