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Why do most Methuselah have thaumaturgy ?

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  • Why do most Methuselah have thaumaturgy ?

    Hello everyone !

    I was browsing the sheets of several famous methuselah (Mithras, Helene, Vitel...), and noticed that a lot of them have thaumaturgy. It seems weird, as it's supposed to be recent (an invention of the Tremere), and most of thoses methuselah weren't awake for most of the time between the rise of the tremere and the modern nights, and it's also supposed to be super secret, being so powerful and well guarded that it justifies the presence of the tremere in the camarilla despite the fact that everyone hate their guts. So, why does it seem so common among ancient vampires ? I mean if it was some other form of sorcery (abyss mysticism, koldunism, assamite sorcery, whatever), I could understand it, but to me it seems that thaumaturgy would mean that got someone to teach them at some point.

  • #2
    I think the Revised explanation is that it is another form of sorcery, Dur-An-Ki, which is said to have been more widespread among Kindred during antiquity. Do the books that stat methuselahs with thaumaturgy stat other characters with blood sorcery under other names?

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    • #3
      Blood magic has always existed among the Damned. It's just that the Tremere standadized an exclusive skill.


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

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      • #4
        I think the Revised explanation is that it is another form of sorcery, Dur-An-Ki, which is said to have been more widespread among Kindred during antiquity. Do the books that stat methuselahs with thaumaturgy stat other characters with blood sorcery under other names?



        I don't know about all of them, but in Chicago by Night, Menele, Helene, some nosferatu, and even caitiff have it, and I don't think it's ever explained that it's actually another form of sorcery.
        Last edited by Yorkblack; 02-13-2020, 08:12 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
          Blood magic has always existed among the Damned. It's just that the Tremere standadized an exclusive skill.

          So, what's the point of the tremere if any clan can learn it ?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Yorkblack View Post
            So, what's the point of the tremere if any clan can learn it ?
            I dunno, what's the point of the Ventrue if other clans have Dominate and money?

            Do you not like anything else about the Tremere?


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

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            • #7
              Ye olde oWoD writers were really fond of cramming every skill and power imaginable into elders, which is why so many elders are virtually indistinguishable mechanically. My recommendation would be to scale the power level down and emphasize specialities of individual characters. Keep in-clan disciplines in clan, or province of caitiff and narrative arcs. Don't give NPCs more than one 6+ discipline. Then you'll have nice clean differentiation of who is the Big Specialist in what, and keep big magical tricks big and magical, instead of something everyone has.

              But one look at the V5 rules discussion thread will tell you that there plenty of people are very invested in their "Win: yes" elders, and my opinion is a minority report.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Yorkblack View Post
                So, what's the point of the tremere if any clan can learn it ?
                There's a lot of land to walk from *can* to actually having it. All the Tremere have Thaum by default. Outside it's rare, mostly the province of Elders and obscure factions that aren't very approachable (less so than the Tremere, at least).

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                • #9
                  Elders and methuselah have Blood sorcery for the same reason most elders have dominate, or protean and so on, even if they should not possess them as a clan discipline: because it's useful, because they had the time and because they had the necessary boons that granted them access to the teachers.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yorkblack View Post


                    So, what's the point of the tremere if any clan can learn it ?
                    Any kindred can learn it. Only one (pre-V5) clan has it. It's like asking what the point of all the clans are when any kindred can learn any discipline (provided a teacher can be found of course). No discipline is specifically limited to only one clan; some guys might have it in-clan, but they can always teach an outsider for a sufficient boon.

                    Regarding the initial question, in 1e and early 2e, you'll find a surprising number of kindred with access to clan-specific disciplines. Protean's another good example of a discipline normally associated with one clan that has a number of non-Gangrel with dots in it. It's a thing that was tightened up a bit by Revised. Also, specific to Thaumaturgy, it was used as a catch-all discipline. Want the NPC to be able to do something that their discipline spread shouldn't allow? Give 'em Thaum. Want them to have a unique ability that doesn't fit any disciplines? Thaum answers that. Need a millennias-old witch? Thaum them up! It's just the way things were treated back in ye olde days.


                    Writing up Clanbook: Aabbt

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                    • #11
                      Yes, that's what I realize. It's just that I was under the impression that thaumaturgy was really a very "secret" discipline, and what allowed the tremere to survive and not be massacred by every clan, considering how hated they are, was that they were the only ones with access to thaumaturgy (though other clans had their brand of blood magic), and that to keep this advantage (and thus continue to survive), they needed to make sure they kept that monopoly. Also, it's the whole identity of the clan : the ventrue aren't the dominate masters, they're the aristocrats, and even gangrels aren't the shapeshifting masters, they're the wild vampires, but tremere are really defined as the wizard vampires : it's their nickname, after all, and they have that whole history of being human mages and everything. I was also under the impression that even if there were other kinds of blood magic before that, they're the ones that created thaumaturgy, streamlined it, refined it, and created most paths of thaumaturgy and thaumaturgical rituals, so people having access to it without a very good reason (having captured a tremere who taught them, idk) seemed to go against the whole point of it : how did they get it before thaumaturgy was even invented, and how do the tremere survive if they don't actually have a monopoly on thaumaturgy ?
                      Now, on a gameplay level, I understand using it as a "special powers : yes" kind of thing, but in universe, it seems to go against the whole point of the tremere being the creators of the discipline and having the monopoly on it. But then again, maybe I was just mistaken on that part.
                      Also, I like the tremere for a whole bunch of reasons other than the thaumaturgy, that's not really the point, I'm more sceptic about the continued survival and acceptance in the camarilla of the tremere if they don't have that monopoly, but I like my blood wizards, their pyramid, and also their other powers (let's be honest, auspex, dominate, and thaum are probably the best set of disciplines for a clan) just fine !

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yorkblack View Post
                        Yes, that's what I realize. It's just that I was under the impression that thaumaturgy was really a very "secret" discipline, and what allowed the tremere to survive and not be massacred by every clan, considering how hated they are, was that they were the only ones with access to thaumaturgy (though other clans had their brand of blood magic), and that to keep this advantage (and thus continue to survive), they needed to make sure they kept that monopoly.
                        That's really only been the case (roughly) since Revised Edition. Especially in 1st Edition, the idea of disciplines that were exclusive to one clan wasn't really a thing (although each clan added after the core seven started to move away from that initial paradigm). The Tremere had access to Thaumaturgy with in-clan costs and were backed up by an organization of teachers ready to educate neonates in the ways of blood sorcery, which were already huge advantages compared to other Thaumaturgy users. In 1st and 2nd Edition, Thaumaturgy was simply synonymous with blood sorcery. It's just an example of different design principles than what later editions used. I don't think one is really superior to the other.

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                        • #13
                          Oh, that explains it. I've only read revised and V20, so I don't know how it was in 1e or 2e.

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                          • #14
                            Thaumaturgy is a modern form of blood sorcery created by the Tremere. Or that's how it used to be. It doesn't make sense to me that these ancient vampires have it as a disclipline. Perhaps it's a case of bad wording. They should have simply called it blood sorcery or used a more ancient form of blood sorcery like Quietus, Dur An Ki, Akhu, Sadhana etc.

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                            • #15
                              It's the sort of dark secret power that an ancient would eventually pick up. Honestly, I don't think the mistake was making ancients have it. I think the mistake was ever making it a clan discipline for the Tremere. Thaumaturgy should be one of those things that elders pick up because their constant search for obscure sources of power eventually leads to them discovering all sorts of esoteric knowledge. Having every neonate of a particular clan having access to it has never worked for me. It should be a sign that the elder is truly ancient and mysterious that he's even learned dark magics.

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