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[V5] What rules you like and what do you not?

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  • [V5] What rules you like and what do you not?

    Generally speaking I find it a mix of pros and cons. I am really liking this version of Vampire: The Masquerade and am happy to update my campaign from V20 (which is really just Revised+) to the game but have the following observations.

    Criticisms

    + The game doesn't feel like it's meant to have that many die rolls during gameplay. The Hunger Dice system seems based around the idea that you do most of your roleplaying diceless and then do dice for difficult things and plot critical elements.

    + Humanity is basically a non-enity now since your Chronicle Tenets and personal Humanity mean that you probably won't lose any unless you're really strict. "Do not kill Innocents" seems the most common Chronicle tenet so you can make an action game that will never bring it up unless you go out of your way to take a restrictive personal Tenet like, "Never kill anyone." It more or less eliminates the need for both Humanity and Paths.

    + Clan Banes lend themselves to being a bit more stereotypical in your clan, which can be a problem. There's actually rules, for example, for making your Tremere suddenly freak out and need to find a piece of occult low or the Nosferatu a secret. I felt this was unnecessary and prevents you from having, say, a Ventrue who don't give no shits about society.

    + I think Blood Resonance is honestly kind of stupid. It makes sense that vampires can maybe grow stronger if they feed on nothing but athletes and steroid abusing goons but it seems weird to have your guy grow sexier if he feeds on sexy people. It imbues regular blood with magic rather than just vampires.

    + I think Loresheets are more confusing than Backgrounds and Merits, combining both awkwardly. There's some really awesome ones but I think they could have
    been done as one or the other without difficulty.

    + Elders not having Disciplines over 5 just does not fit in the setting. Much of the game's lore is based around having godlike dangerous Elders like Ur-Shulgi, Antediluvians, and so on.

    Positives

    + I think the changes to generation were extremely well done as now you can just choose your generation and deal with the benefits (bigger punching power) and flaws (less ability to drink weak blood) accordingly. The game now incentivizes playing Higher Generation Kindred with Animal Blood and Bagged blood being off limits to low generation Kindred. Thin Bloods being "living vampires" is also mechanically incentivized.

    + I like the new Rouse check system and Hunger Dice so that frenzy as well as Hunger are always present without necessarily going to explode completely. Bestial Failures can make you feel like the Beast is a constant threat without necessarily meaning that you rip someone's face off either.

    + I feel like Predator Types do an amazing job incentivizing explaining how a player character seeks out their blood and get it in game with benefits that suit their preferred way of hunting. It actually makes it interesting and gives you something to do with them. Are you a Bagger, a Vegetarian, a Osiris, a Consensualist (fool!), or a Seducer?

    + Combo disciplines and the combination of disciplines means that vampires are now much more unique. Say, you want a vampire who becomes a flock of ravens instead of a bat or mist? That's possible now. Say you want a kind of Dominate that allows Mortals to rationalize away anything supernatural they see versus commanding them to forget. You can do that too.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-30-2020, 07:56 AM.


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

  • #2
    My only real criticism is the hunger system. The hunger system makes me wonder how any vampire lasts more than a few years without getting themselves killed - for the last dozen sessions of V5 I've run I've seen at the minimum a half-dozen beastial failures/messy criticals per session just for the PC, and had to ignore the vast majority of them because otherwise my player would be writing a new character every two sessions. And that's not even for plots that are naturally dangerous, like combat missions.

    Under the hunger system the Beast feels less like a constant malignant presence you have to manage to keep in check, and more like a car which has rapidly-fluctuating levels of fuel consumption and an overwhelming tendency to veer into oncoming traffic at the drop of a hat.

    The positive: not having the Ravnos available thus far for V5. Props to Onyx Path for trying to salvage them with V20, but all of the pre-established problems with that Clan (especially shit like a literal culture of "one of us got banned from the city for poaching from a Primogen's herd, so let's get several-dozen of us together and absolutely fucking tank this city") make it highly undesirable to have them show up in a game as anything more than antagonists and sheer nuisances.

    Comment


    • #3
      Criticisms
      • "Tenets" was an unfortunate choice of words. Everyone seems to confuse it with "Tenants".
      • In my experience Hunger Dice lead to a very paranoia-esque gameplay. I generally see 3-4 messy criticals/bestial failures per session.
      • Because the development is spread across multiple independent teams, the tone and power level is all over the place. In Chicago and Cults the Second Inquisition and police are a bunch of dudes. In Fall of London they are staffed by Space Marines that eat elders for lunch.
      • Speaking of Fall of London - the first V5 Chronicle being about Elders sending you on a macguffin hunt.
      • Thin-Bloods and blood sorcerers had no love since the core book, and thin-bloods really need more love and an alchemy errata/rewrite.
      • A prestige class-esque Loresheet bloat. Did we really need three Second Inquisition loresheets that all effectively cover the same space? I mean Firstlight, Blacksite 24 and Operation Antigen. At least Society of St. Leopold doubles up as a "member of the church" loresheet, though it has some iffy design.
      • The design of the Hecata is really iffy to me. What was the point of merging Obtenebration and Necromancy if you are going to put a ton of gates to keep the clan powers separate?
      Positives
      • New Malkavian bane is good
      • Loresheets are a fantastic way to tie your character to the iconic parts of WoD that you like.
      • It's a matter of taste, but I like the toning down of the game's power level.
      • Predator Type is a good idea overall, though I would have preferred a "build-your-own-predator" generator over a list of preset predators.
      • Rouse Checks are a solid system overall
      • Disciplines using Stat+Discipline.
      • The new Humanity system. I really like Convictions and the ability to make your own Path out of them.

      Comment


      • #4
        The Bad
        Many of the rules, especially around rousechecks and hunger, seem designed to discourage disciple use. It's rather irritating to someone who likes to change into a bat and back again on a routine basis. It really feels like they want us to play as humans who have a little boost they can throw in every once in a great while in extreme emergencies. Since I'm not here to play Human the Humaning, this can get irritating fast.

        Thaumaturgy no longer has a weather-control path, which is one of Dracula's iconic powers. Being forced to take blood powers annoys me to no end.

        No Paths of Enlightenment. I know some people abused paths, but bad players will abuse anything. I enjoyed playing the complex, alien behaviors of someone with high path ratings. That's gone now.

        The Good
        The dice mechanics are much cleaner. The original mechanics were painfully clunky. Current mechanics are smooth as glass.
        Last edited by CajunKhan; 01-30-2020, 10:13 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Criticisms

          I'm echoing these two:

          Originally posted by CTPhipps
          The game doesn't feel like it's meant to have that many die rolls during gameplay.
          This is the impression it gives to me, and also what most people that played the game here seem to attest. Some even as a positive! . This could be a problem for my style of playing...

          ...also, if V5 intended to be a game with few rolls. I find it's awkward that most of the system it's actually designed to roll stuff. Your character sheet it's full of dicepools. Discipline success it's perhaps more dependant on rolling than the old system. There aren't many "narrative" rules to solve conflict beyond just succeeding when you're good at something. And even then you're not supposed to use that rule when combat happens...or when it's 'dramatic'. In general, games that discourage rolls have more static values

          Looking at how rolls work, and to the Messy Criticals/ Bestial Failures...it looks like that to enjoy V5 it's important to have a ST that uses the flexibility of the rules to benefit the PC. I wouldn't play V5 with even a mildly antagonistic ST.

          Elders not having Disciplines over 5 just does not fit in the setting. Much of the game's lore is based around having godlike dangerous Elders like Ur-Shulgi, Antediluvians, and so on.
          That, and you can buy only 5 powers per Discipline. Less if you have Amalgams. I still have hope that rules to make Elders more godly are going to be released in future supplements.

          +Also I don't like the way Touchstones interact with Convictions.

          That being said, I like Touchstones "existing"...because they do add an interesting element of parasitic, alien, relationship with humans ...I just don't like that they're mandatory to have a personal moral code (that's, actually, kinda supposed to be "humane" rather than alien).

          Fluff wise, it's very counter-intuitive to relate supposedly "human" morals (because that's how the fluff defines them) with singular people like that. It's all good and fine that caring about humans it's an element of humanity, but it's unnecessary and counterintuitive to place a direct paralel between said care about humans and the stength of your own personal moral codes...more so when they're unhealty relationships. To paraphrase Invader Zim: More humans (in my thrall) means more ethics ...

          And I'm all for alien, cthulhu, morals...but reading the fluff I really don't think that was the intention. More importantly, I don't think these should be mandatory for your concept. In a system where you supposedly have more leeway to define your own codes of conducts (which it's a positive in my opinion), it restricts character concepts to ones that values human relationships.

          I think these two should be sepparate mechanics. And I think it would be easy to houserule...but it would be much better to have that as an option in the players guide, because in my experience it's easier to convince STs and players to play with optional rules than it's to convince them to use your own shinny houserule.

          +Humanity can't model what was interesting about Paths, not w/o some serious house-ruling. It would be interesting to see if Parawolf devices some way when/if the Sabbat becomes playable again

          +I'm not liking what I hear about what they did to Obtenebration, albeit it needed a nerf.

          Positives

          +As I said, a more flexible, personal, moral. It never sat well with me to have a static, universal, "not to do" list to "act like a human" or "lie to yourself that you're still human". Actual humans don't act like that.

          +I liked Blood Resonance and Discrasias. The criticism that rather than make humans "special" (the intention) it would just transform the Hunt into a pokemon hunt (gota catch'em all...) it's , I think, somewhat valid. They're still blood bags, it's just that now they come in flavors

          Still, it adds a certain value to some blood bags. I like that, say, a Prince may have his "prize cows", so to speak. I like the image of vampires being chefs of the blood, thinkering with their herds to get the most of them. IDK, I like it.

          +Loresheets and Predator Types are very cool. Although I agree that Loresheets could have been done better (just not needing 5 levels like a background would have sufficed, I think)

          +I like that they're trying to make a more "modern", abstract conflict system. I don't think it's great, but I don't think it's worse than what we had either.

          Originally posted by CTPhipps
          + Combo disciplines and the combination of disciplines means that vampires are now much more unique. Say, you want a vampire who becomes a flock of ravens instead of a bat or mist? That's possible now. Say you want a kind of Dominate that allows Mortals to rationalize away anything supernatural they see versus commanding them to forget. You can do that too.
          Nothing to add there.

          +As tough as it is, I liked how they scrapped most Disciplines, and what they did with Blood Magick.

          Blood Magick was all over the place, it needed a nerf (nearly everyone thought it was OP) and a reduction to a more manageable form. Perhaps it went too far (replacing paths with rituals feels very awkward most of the time), but as an old peeve I had with the game ... I feelt dark joy seeing how they've obliterated it. Something had to be done, and something was done...albeit maybe it went too far.

          Same with bloodlines each with their own snowflake discipline (AND combo disciplines, let's remember that they existed before). Now they can have their own combo.

          +In a similar vein: No more multiple actions. They were OP to the point of nearly excluding other strategies. They slowed combat (ironic). Good riddance to them.
          (well, they still kinda exist if you divide dice pools on some circumstances, but are rarer)
          Last edited by Aleph; 01-30-2020, 10:27 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Positives

            Predator Types: Like Backgrounds in D&D I like that they give your character a bonus mechanically that helps define the type of predator you are. It has RP benefits at the table and gives bonuses to your character at the beginning of your chronicle that are not game breaking but help define your PC.

            Loresheets: A great way to help tie your PC into the metaplot. I think they should be divorced from backgrounds however and given as a bonus to character creation if desired by the ST. I would tell my players you may each select one loresheet at the first level at character creation and it can be increased over the course of the chronicle. It might require reworking them to something that can be worked towards maxing out instead of buying a level five loresheets at character creation with points that might need to be invested elsewhere.

            Generation: I absolutely love that generation is not bought with background points any longer. I like delineating the type of chronicle your running based on the PC's age(thin blood, neonate, ancillae) and having everyone be at the same generation. It eliminates the worry about which PC is stronger because of how many points he pumped into the stat.

            Disciplines: I like giving more options for each discipline depending on how you want to specialize your character and helps give variety to the different disciplines.

            Hunger: I like the hunger mechanic as a whole over blood points but as I will discuss in my dislikes it needs to be reworked a bit to make it less punishing. Overall its fun to see you hunger increase as you use your supernatural abilities and adds tension to the game which I like.

            Humanity: I like the way degeneration is handled in the game now with the stains and rolling for remorse. Its a system that is easy to manage for the ST but it also needs to be reworked which I will discuss below.

            Bestial Failures/Compulsions: Love how they are handled over botches in the other editions. It is one of the positives that make the negatives of the hunger system a mixed bag that needs to be refined in a updated core book sooner rather than later IMO.

            Dislike

            Thin Blooded Alchemy: I hate everything about it. I think if your going to play a thin blood you need to just accept you're weak compared to other vampires and its that that makes playing your character smartly important. Don't try to compensate for something that should be point of having thin blooded in your game with some convoluted system.

            Merits and Flaws: I just hate how half assed they are. Compared to the varied list of previous edition we have an anemic list that makes me think they just threw them in at the last minute without much thought.

            Humanity: Convictions, Touchstones, and Chronicle tenets make the humanity system of this game a nonsensical mess. I don't mind touchstones and convictions as a rule but don't tie them into the humanity system. They should be used to enhance the depth of your characters backstory not weigh you down and punish you. Chronicle tenets over a humanity track was just a huge miss step IMO. Its doesnt have to be the same list we're used to but making it subjective and not consistent from game to game just causes chaos.

            Messy Criticals: I think the game could be vastly improved by just getting rid of messy criticals. Don't punish me for rolling well. I know what they were going for but it just doesn't work in practice and makes the ST's job so much harder.

            Discipline/Elder system: As stated the elders of this game are a joke. Maxing everything at 5 and making a neonate able to have a reasonable shot at taking out a methuselah is just not Vampire the Masquerade IMO. Elders in my game will just not be stated out and I'm just going to have to use my powers as god at the table to rule that if the PC's are dumb enough to try to kill a 1000 year old monster that they die horribly.
            Last edited by Frontline989; 01-30-2020, 12:26 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Honestly, I don't see the utility or reason for blood resonance or predator type. To a certain extent, that's baked into the processes of character generation and experience expenditure themselves as players will inherently pick a hat when generating their character, play to that character's strengths and weaknesses, then spend experience accordingly. One doesn't necessarily need to incentivize something players will do of their own accord given the opportunity, because that's how they intended and built their character to be played. If anything, it strikes me as a mechanized reminder to the ST, to allow players to decide for themselves how to feed and to run the occasional feeding scene to keep players on their toes.

              The only time this would, or even should, be an issue is when "predator type" wouldn't matter: when vampires are forced to feed outside their preferred context. Say, a starving Toreador forced to roll a bum because they can't risk going into a Rack and frenzying. In which case, they're going to be leaning on dice pools they likely won't have built up and wouldn't get bonuses anyways. You could say, "I'm going to bite my tongue, hope nobody's watching, and seduce a bum!"...but you're still falling back on preferred dice pools anyways.
              Last edited by Theodrim; 01-30-2020, 01:32 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                As I've expressed in previous threads:

                Every rule in V5 had potential to be good. But I find myself disliking all of them for the overall poor execution. Some of the poor execution is in specific mechanics individually (the new core dice-pool system's pairing method makes no sense), and sometimes more in how different mechanics interact as a whole (as others have gone into the morality systems combine together very poorly). Well really, it's both most of the time.

                It also strikes me that a lot of the rules regarding old stuff look good on the surface because they're improvements on some level of 30 year old problems (that most of us have house rules addressing by now), but it's clear from the new stuff (or the new to VtM stuff as I frequently point out because I think credit to systems blatantly lifted from other games is important to acknowledge and is important to....) that the lessons of how those problems came about was never learned; and thus repeated.

                For example V5 does a good job of cutting back on optimization traps by moving to array based creation (assign so many 1s, so many 2s, etc.), using XP instead of BP at creation, and making Generation a table decision instead of a trait to buy. But the mechanics of Predator Archetypes add optimization traps right back into the system.

                If I had to summarize in one broad stroke:

                V5 is a game that wants to be a more narrative and negotiation driven game, but by clinging too much to sacred cows of traditional game design, shackles the ST with too many vital decisions and no guidance through them, while failing to fully empower the players are collaborators.

                Comment


                • #9
                  V5 actually has some basic ideas that have potential but the thing is that no matter the idea if the execution is poor then the result is going to be poor and this comes from a dude who was REALLY HYPED about V5 because said potential.

                  V5 is actually a PC GAME .
                  Now the impresion that I get from V5 is that is designed to be a PC game instead of a TTRPG that you shit to play with your friends at your house or at a bar for a few hours

                  Hunger Dice
                  They infect other dice pools and add extra rolls for each power activated wich is something that in an game will be done by the PC but in a TTRPG it just slows the game and fucks the inmersion and this comes from someone who actually has implemented in his games a form of randomizing blood pool that is fast and doesnt come with those problem so the idea here is that the implementation sucks.

                  The disciplines
                  The disciplines spliting like a branch it´s stuff you actually expect from online games where you get an skill three and while in theory it should give you more options in reality cuts a lot of stuff and i am not talking about elder powers only but about disciplines that get cut in half in order to give you the sense of choice when you in some times don´t even have it thanks to stuff like amalgams who act as a barrier of entry.

                  The Farming
                  XP curve in V5 is slow because like in PC games you are supposed to farm but the reality of TTRPG is that not everybody does have a group with can hang out every week like or has a long term cronicle in mind and this limits them a lot along no

                  The System is too rigid
                  V5 limits you a lot and some of their mechanics stop working as expected when you use certain amount of dice because it is supposed to be a PC game where you can do certain stuff and changing a little thing with a mod/homebrew makes the whole system bug because you are not supposed to mess with the code and thus to prevent this V5 does indeed smell of onetruewayism and the true reason why they eliminated the elders is not other but because they didn´t want to backpedal on their errors.

                  Loresheets are merits made loading screens
                  It´s just like skyrim but with mechanics atached with makes them kinda bad becuase those mechanics are cut from other places like for example xaviar bat form is actually Chiropteran Marauder wich is the Iconic final form of the two PC games final bosses with should have been protean or Vicissitude.

                  DLC Policy
                  A lot of stuff has been cut off to sell it later as expansion pass like the LaSombra on Chicago By Night 5TH (Wich I didnt read bu the art is actually good) , heck i for example like blood magic becoming more ritual like but the lack of rituals avalible fucks the purpourse of the idea.

                  Conclusions .
                  Those are just a few examples but the thing is that I cannot stop getting the feeling that paradox as a game devoloper wanted to recycle stuff from the cancelled online game without understanding that it´s a different fucking media.

                  Personally I would have loved to see an V5 devoloped by Onix Path after the wonderful work that they did with VTR 2E and V20 becuase , the art they used was also good (with is why V5 chicago being done by onix path doesn´t cause agg to tories anymore) and the base ideas that where planted in Beckett Jyhad whre great , now the execution...
                  Last edited by Leandro16; 01-30-2020, 03:50 PM.


                  Hunger pool

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Leandro16 View Post
                    Those are just a few examples but the thing is that I cannot stop getting the feeling that paradox as a game devoloper wanted to recycle stuff from the cancelled online game without understanding that it´s a different fucking media.
                    I mean, we know this is true, because Martin mentioned that he wanted to work in some of the design ideas from the MMO to V5 because he felt they would improve things. So it's hard to say how much of that leaked in as the core motivation for the rules being the way they are, but we know it was a factor according to the guy in charge of making it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just going off rules, and not fluff? That'll be hard because some of the problems I have with rules are because of fluff, but I'll have a go.

                      The Good:
                      - 2/1/0 for disciplines. It's good for balance.
                      -

                      The Bad
                      -Character creation is now much more convoluted.
                      -Previously simple disciplines,especially the physicals are now overcomplicated messes with pick-and choose powers.
                      -Combat simplified/abstracted too much.


                      The Ugly
                      - Background name changes to make stuff more convuluted than it needs to be. What smug fool thought this was a good idea? Haven't they ever heard the design motto 'Keep it simple, stupid'
                      -The changes and balances to powers go against established metaphysics, especially when it comes to rare disciplines being amalgamated/treated as blood sorcery. Obtenebration is necromancy now? Right, I'm sure all those lasombra using instinct paths will be happy to get the memo. Quietus is sorcery? What was that whole cast system about? But now obfuscate, a mind trick, can make genuine silence (I'm aware DAV20 did this too)?
                      -Morality, all of it.
                      -hunger.
                      -There's not a single thing that Is better than V20


                      V5 is not VTM

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                        Just going off rules, and not fluff? That'll be hard because some of the problems I have with rules are because of fluff, but I'll have a go.
                        Just rules, we have plenty of other threads for fluff.



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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
                          My only real criticism is the hunger system. The hunger system makes me wonder how any vampire lasts more than a few years without getting themselves killed - for the last dozen sessions of V5 I've run I've seen at the minimum a half-dozen beastial failures/messy criticals per session just for the PC, and had to ignore the vast majority of them because otherwise my player would be writing a new character every two sessions. And that's not even for plots that are naturally dangerous, like combat missions.
                          This part honestly surprises me a lot. I'll preface by saying I don't like bestial failures and messy crits either, they're one of the things I like least about V5. But I've played in, what, three decently-long-running V5 chronicles, plus three more that died before too long, and in that entire time I've only had a single messy crit and no bestial failures.

                          Do people actually run into a half-dozen of them per session? Are the games I play in just all outliers?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Draconis View Post

                            This part honestly surprises me a lot. I'll preface by saying I don't like bestial failures and messy crits either, they're one of the things I like least about V5. But I've played in, what, three decently-long-running V5 chronicles, plus three more that died before too long, and in that entire time I've only had a single messy crit and no bestial failures.

                            Do people actually run into a half-dozen of them per session? Are the games I play in just all outliers?
                            Would you say your games had a high number of dice rolling or a low number of dice rolling opportunities per session? You may be an outlier but your style of play may be influencing this as well.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yeah, I'm in the camp that "setting metaphysics" be damned, V5 did not go far enough in rebooting the setting and the mechanics. Don't "muh Requiem" me. It's possible to clean and modernize a game without throwing away the baby.

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