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[V5] The Sabbat in V5

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  • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

    If that includes resetting things to make the Sabbat a playable faction great. But if plan is still that they're intended to be an NPC only faction, I'm uncertain how much the status quo reset will help. At least as far as I'm concerned that still seems like an uncorrectable misstep in the wrong direction.

    "Everything is basically just like it used to be, except that now you don't get to play Sabbat. Have fun!"
    Not to be contrary but they've said they will include all the rules you need to play just not treat it as a PC faction. Which is splitting hairs, IMHO.

    I mean, no one is going to take your books if you run a Sabbat game.

    Originally posted by Garygeneric View Post
    This wouldn't surprise me, but wouldn't that be V5 shooting itself in the foot, lorewise? Would feel like retconning the current edition while it's in progress. Seems strange.
    I think it can probably be summarized as this (and this is just me guessing):

    Jason Carl, Line Developer: Hates the Sabbat, Loves Anarchs

    Justin Achilli, Line Developer: Loves the Sabbat, Hates Anarchs


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

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    • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

      Not to be contrary but they've said they will include all the rules you need to play just not treat it as a PC faction. Which is splitting hairs, IMHO.

      I mean, no one is going to take your books if you run a Sabbat game.
      We had rules for Baali back in Dark Ages or rules for Nephandi or Black Spiral Dancers. And technically you could use those rules to make them into player characters. But those groups were never intended to be player characters, even if they had extensive rules designed to let them interact with the game system, up to the point that if you really wanted to, you could use them as player characters. But that was very much going against the writer and the games lines intentions.

      As a result the setting and lore was never written in a way that assumed people would be playing those groups and you very much never got, "The Players Guide to the Black Spiral Dancers" or anything of the sort. Those groups generally got their one-off book that provided just enough mechanics to use them as antagonists and sort-of-PCs if you really wanted to, and then never got a whole lot of focus ever again (Baali were a notable exception since in V20 they became a Player faction and we got a lot more material expanding on them).

      So the problem is not that that White Wolf is going to send vampire ninja-assassins to my house to steal my books, but rather that going forward the setting and lore will be written from the perspective that the Sabbat are nothing more than, and never will be anything more than, NPC antagonists.

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      • Thing is that Werewolf was about deeply flawed heroes fighting evil. Mage is about deeply flawed heroes trying to uplift humanity. It makes sense for them to have non-player factions, and one of the smartest things they did with mage was to open up the Technocracy for players.

        Vampires are fundamentally different. They aren't deeply flawed hereos, they're villains with noble qualities. The Camarilla is bad and dishonest, the Anarchs are worse and more dishonest, and the Sabbat are the worst and they know it. Unless you're looking to return to humanity, you're a nasty person, it doesn't matter what sect you're in. The only faction bad enough for you to not join was the Baali, and that's a mistake that was low key enough to survive four editions. First and second edition of vampire say something like thus: "Morality is chosen, Not Ordained". Vampire presented itself right out of the gate as a game where good and evil were up to the players, not up to some writer. Writing the Sabbat as an NPC faction because they're "bad" is fundamentally against the spirit of VtM.


        Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
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        • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

          I think it can probably be summarized as this (and this is just me guessing):

          Jason Carl, Line Developer: Hates the Sabbat, Loves Anarchs

          Justin Achilli, Line Developer: Loves the Sabbat, Hates Anarchs
          I occasionally wonder if their was also a influence from Paradox, from a detached corporate perspective "How do you do fellow kids" Anarchs look a lot more marketable than the weird unpleasent Sabbat, it also might explain why they're so underdeveloped in their book.

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          • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

            Weirdly enough, MWIS, you remind me a lot of a Trekkie I know over in the Star Trek BBS where I also haunt. The guy INSISTS that everyone should join the Federation, everyone loved it, and it was the most hyper-advanced perfect society ever. You kind of have that attitude with the Camarilla and Tremere I feel. The idea they're a lot smarter, savvy, and loved than they are. The Camarilla was depicted as the enemy for a good half of the player base from the very first Edition of V:TM and V20 showed just how crumbling it was in many places.

            And even then in V20, a good huge chunk of the Vampire RaceTM chose not to be part of it. The Independents, Ashirra, Laibon, Sabbat, Anarchs, The Brujah Council [which is still around if Baba Yaga never comes up], and more.

            If the Camarilla doesn't exist in RUSSIA then it really is just a European-North American thing.
            Well, the British barely squeezed out a vote to leave the European union. Was this the result of rational, well informed voters; has it done well? Or did the idea of seperation come from romanticly vague ideas of "sovereignty" a love for the tiny fishing industry, or the earnest belief that the Right wing government that's been dismantling the health service for years would turn around and use it's EU money on public sector hospitals just like the pathological liar said.

            Just because something's the best thing for somebody, doesn't mean they're going to want it. Perhaps a better example: Vaccinnes. One study that says they cause autism and a thousand that says they don't. Honestly speaking? After taking my Daughter for a few Vacines and having her panic even thinking she's going to get a jab, I get it. I really do. Logic says the Camarilla is good. Feelings say join the Anarchs.

            Vampires are of course going to resist the Camarilla. nevermind getting their info from a morally bankrupt news outlet, most of them are in a cult. Sabbat? Cult. Followers of Set? Cults. Assamites? Cult. Ravnos? Cult. Giovanni? Family-cult. Inconnu? Cult. TBH? Cult. With the Ashirra being a questionable relic, there are two/three/four types of Vampires that don't default to cult: Camarilla, Anarchs and Autuarks/Old-School pre-sect vampires. The definitions are questionable there because I'm pretty sure the Anarchs that don't identify as reformist Camarilla are often drinking the Freedom flavoured Kool-Aid. Most Vampires don't have the luxury of choosing what sect to support. Their information is Biased, and they're pretty sure they'll be killed by the people they want to defect to (unless we're talking about the FoS, those guys are super nice to those that sign up)


            Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
            There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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            • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              I mean, no one is going to take your books if you run a Sabbat game.
              Unfortunately, those people won't come to the store and take V5 books either. If they don't support what they want to play, they are not going to shell out the money on them. And it becomes an even harder sell as many of them will already have money invested in a system that does support what they want to do.

              I've been thinking about what the reasoning behind V5s changes was. I wanted to write a longer post about how and why to launch new editions, but the short version is:

              Superficially, it looks like the developers slipped the reins and produced an edition solely to support their preferred way of playing, while putting the foot down on anything else. But I don't really think that is possible. This is not some single artists personal vision of the right way to play Vampire, or an artistic project. It is a collaborative, commercial product, that I believe had some personnel changes on the way. The changes they have instituted, especially to the Sabbat, but also to the Camarilla, paths, elders etc seem designed to cut out large parts of the customer base.

              For a commercial project that makes no sense, generally. I suspect the strategy they are going for is to try a repeat of the initial model of the game. When Vampire was first published, it was into an environment where role-playing was still an unsexy, nerdy and socially disapproved of. Vampire expanded the customer base into a large customerbase outside the existing one

              The setup -play the "good guys" young rebels versus old and static, hunted by the authorities -it smacks of focus group to me. "How do we best market it to todays generation?" sort of thing. I think it is more aimed at being a support vehicle for the really profitable forms of media, and expanding into new customer demographics than actually retaining old fans. They are still selling V20 for us.

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              • Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
                I occasionally wonder if their was also a influence from Paradox, from a detached corporate perspective "How do you do fellow kids" Anarchs look a lot more marketable than the weird unpleasent Sabbat, it also might explain why they're so underdeveloped in their book.
                My own theory is that whoever bought V:TM was an INCREDIBLY HUGE Bloodlines fan. Which is why the Anarchs are front and center.

                Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary
                Well, the British barely squeezed out a vote to leave the European union. Was this the result of rational, well informed voters; has it done well? Or did the idea of seperation come from romanticly vague ideas of "sovereignty" a love for the tiny fishing industry, or the earnest belief that the Right wing government that's been dismantling the health service for years would turn around and use it's EU money on public sector hospitals just like the pathological liar said.
                I think it's pretty much where we have our issues that you associate the Camarilla with the European Union and I associate them with the Boris Johnson Old Boy private networks working to preserve their power. Of course the thing is that neither of us is right as a lot of this is just however the ST wishes to play it. I don't disagree the Anarchs are a bunch of assholes as the first one we meet is Juggler.

                However, I tend to definitely put them as the lesser evil.

                Originally posted by Trollroot
                The setup -play the "good guys" young rebels versus old and static, hunted by the authorities -it smacks of focus group to me. "How do we best market it to todays generation?" sort of thing. I think it is more aimed at being a support vehicle for the really profitable forms of media, and expanding into new customer demographics than actually retaining old fans. They are still selling V20 for us.
                Possibly. I think it's actually possible this is someone making an artistic decision (whether good or bad). The suits at EA would have probably written the least controversial Mass Effect 3 ending they could have but the writers stuck their foot down because they thought it was brilliant.

                Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                We had rules for Baali back in Dark Ages or rules for Nephandi or Black Spiral Dancers. And technically you could use those rules to make them into player characters. But those groups were never intended to be player characters, even if they had extensive rules designed to let them interact with the game system, up to the point that if you really wanted to, you could use them as player characters. But that was very much going against the writer and the games lines intentions.

                As a result the setting and lore was never written in a way that assumed people would be playing those groups and you very much never got, "The Players Guide to the Black Spiral Dancers" or anything of the sort. Those groups generally got their one-off book that provided just enough mechanics to use them as antagonists and sort-of-PCs if you really wanted to, and then never got a whole lot of focus ever again (Baali were a notable exception since in V20 they became a Player faction and we got a lot more material expanding on them).

                So the problem is not that that White Wolf is going to send vampire ninja-assassins to my house to steal my books, but rather that going forward the setting and lore will be written from the perspective that the Sabbat are nothing more than, and never will be anything more than, NPC antagonists.
                As a long time Sabbat player, you're not going to need to convince me of water being wet. The Sabbat are inherently cool. They're fun, they're rich in lore, and cathartic. I also remember when people freaked the hell out about the Baali book being released for Dark Ages and the BLACK DOG Logo itself.

                I wonder how much of the gunshy nature of the Sabbat is due to the fact they are trying to be more "serious" about vampirism. The internet freaked the fuck out about the Ventrue who drank from children (not even sex just that they fed from children) and the Brujah Neo-Nazi. The Sabbat are people who canonically had a tiny person with severed limbs they used as a football.

                I mean they're a HOUSE OF A THOUSAND CORPSES bunch of Satanist mass murderers. It may be they're just gun shy.
                Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-28-2021, 12:20 PM.


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

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                • Ah, you see, to me, Boris Johnson's Old Boy private networks are the works of individual municipalities. The EU itself is more good than not, but not all states are equal. A Camarilla city could be Germany, Sweden, Denmark: places where the Gov is quite transparent and corruption is a scandal. or we could have Romania or Greece, where shit is the norm. It's not the EU's fault Romania is a political crapshoot, and it's not the Camarilla's fault that your local prince is a shit.


                  Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                  There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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                  • Well, Vampire the Masquerade (and the texts in it kinda say the same thing, even if through the mouths of in-game characters) is a product, and it is written by people with their own tastes, agendas and obligations. For market reasons, for pure personal preference reasons, for biased reason, it doesn't really matter, and it brings good an bad things to the product that we consume (or don't consume 'cuz we dislike it), so in a way we are more discussing what we think and feel about, and not producing an analyses of why it has become something better or worse objectively. So I won't be questioning the visions each has, how they run things, how they like things. Either way, it seems most aren't satisfied with the execution of mostly everything in V5, so we might either form ourselves a headcanon for what the Sabbat 'should be' in the current situation, or theorize how it 'might be' in the coming book and products.


                    I believe the Sabbat should've been still a stated Player faction, but with clear distinction from the others, be it in play and feel, and it certainly isn't a pleasant game, being callous is almost a must for the sect characters. It would be cool if they switched to be more mission-bound than the Camarilla play, where you're building your powerbase and working the network, and the Anarch, where you are defending you're turf, going after your projects, trying to keep your freedom... Sabbat I think it's more focused behind some general objectives and beliefs of the sect, and more specific objectives of the region, be it given by a Bishop or higher-up. Really go with the christian church structure of calling crusades and holy quests up. Of course, so will be more spiritual in their calling, others will be more tactical and military, and some might just be chieftain-like promising loot, blood and glory. There will always be the heretics, friars and monks... Sabbats might wish to stay fixed in a territory indefinitely going after an objective that a Bishop thinks is worthy (or was convinced it was, maybe the pack is just too prestigious or troublesome to say no). Others might not ask no permission whatsoever, but the Inquisition might not like the lack of contact, this breeds heresy and infernalism. All of this is already written in previous editions, but if it was given more focus it would give the faction not only an even more religious feel, but an intense guerrilla and crusaderly vibe. With a good part of the sect gone in far off wars, it needs coordination, more spiritual resolve, and even more questionable morals.

                    Yet, I think V5 will keep Sabbat in the dark, and the book won't break that as much, just a bit. It seems abrupt the pilgrimage because it simply isn't being showed, if we looked at the whys, wheres and hows, than it would kill the mystery surrounding the sect. The book might even show how Sabbat would be if none of this occurred, to permit Gaming Tables to run Sabbat as-it-was but I don't see V5 going back on the whole "them gone in droves to Gehenna". Bringing whole survivors back to tell stories would probably murder the core ambiguities of the Vampire setting, so we prob. won't be seeing many. Either way, I hope everyone can take something they like from the book in the end.


                    Strange... When coincidence seems too convenient, I prefer to call it fate.

                    -Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain d=

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                    • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                      I wonder how much of the gunshy nature of the Sabbat is due to the fact they are trying to be more "serious" about vampirism. The internet freaked the fuck out about the Ventrue who drank from children (not even sex just that they fed from children) and the Brujah Neo-Nazi. The Sabbat are people who canonically had a tiny person with severed limbs they used as a football.
                      I doubt it's a matter of "seriousness" or worries about "campy" material that comes off as kind of silly, because it's pretty easy not to include that sort of thing in the base player book or, indeed, in any book.

                      Rather I think you hit the nail with your second sentence. I'm sure what they're actually worried about is the backlash and bad publicity that would come from encouraging people to play what are basically supernatural serial killers. Old White Wolf tended to wear controversy as a badge of honor and was willing to release very controversial material. New White Wolf seems much more skittish and worried about releasing content that might upset the general public too much.

                      And to be clear it's not like I'm blaming them for valuing profits or anything, especially since White Wolf is now a subsidiary of a larger company and controversy over White Wolf could cause problems for other people in the greater organization.

                      I'm just kind of bemoaning the fact that that's how things are today.

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                      • I think enough people bemoan it that they'd celebrate any developer that looks like it doesn't give a fuck, and that's not just the right-wing outrage lot who watch videos on why Star Wars now sucks that are longer than the actual movies. Normal people don't like the bullshit. I remember when V5 first released someone doing reviews was upset that you had to suck blood... where the fuck do they get these people?

                        1- The writers aren't really good at writing edgy content without looking silly. (I'd phrase this differently, but rules)
                        2- They don't have a Chain-smoking PR guy to act as the voice of jaded reason.


                        Scandals sell. They should revive Black Dog and make some noise.

                        (I can't see the picture after I send this post. Hmm. Well, it's that picture of Black Dog fans around the table. You know the one where the girl is cutting herself and someone's blown their brains out?)

                        ^This is how they should see us. It'd work great for sales. It seems like people have no idea how much pre-v5 appeals to today's teens and young adults. If people knew it was there, they'd get into it.
                        Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 08-29-2021, 04:38 AM.


                        Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                        There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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                        • Originally posted by AnubisXy
                          I'm sure what they're actually worried about is the backlash and bad publicity that would come from encouraging people to play what are basically supernatural serial killers.
                          You really think White Wolf would get bad publicity or backlash about "supernatural serial killers"? Dead by Daylight is one of the most popular games right now, with accredited ratings by multiple sites and 82% "Very Positive" margin on Steam.

                          Unless its outright explicit porn material, American culture and media barely cares about violence in games and only blows up in a fuss after some major or national incident, but then everything predictably blows back down. And any true reviewer or literally ANYONE who knows a little about Vampire: The Masquerade already know about the Sabbat.

                          Even the odd theoretical potential new reviewer, who dives in to take a peak at VTM and has no prior familiarity of the franchise, could either find the Sabbat strange and murdery or awesome as hell, but that'd be it most-likely. And the argument for games being the catalyst to "encourage" violence is milquetoast at best and has been done-in already over the years too.

                          So no, I don't think its about profits or worrying about controversy that's not going to come about at all (unless they do something really out there with the who Chechnya thing? But I'm not really familiar with that particular debacle), its just that some part or what is doing this edition seems to not like the Sabbat.


                          Jade Kingdom Warrior

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                          • Originally posted by Banu_Saulot View Post
                            Well, Vampire the Masquerade (and the texts in it kinda say the same thing, even if through the mouths of in-game characters) is a product, and it is written by people with their own tastes, agendas and obligations.
                            Generally, I don't think it is produced like that, with the non-management level having that much power to set the agenda. If they did, and it resulted in a product that shut out all the customers that like the Sabbat, all the ones that like Paths, everyone that isn't into Camarilla vs. Anarchs and all the other changes, it would be a pretty epic management failure, Not that epic management failures don't happen.

                            Originally posted by Trollroot View Post
                            The setup -play the "good guys" young rebels versus old and static, hunted by the authorities -it smacks of focus group to me. "How do we best market it to todays generation?" sort of thing. I think it is more aimed at being a support vehicle for the really profitable forms of media.
                            Having thought about it, I am pretty sure this is the reason.

                            They want to use the game as a promotion for other media, not the other way around. I looked up some numbers, and they heavily support that. The most valuable supernatural TV-series took in 2.3 billion dollars in profit. The online game market is bigger than Hollywood, and the biggest game takes in about 10 billion per year in revenue. The tabletop roleplaying market -the entire market- is about 35 million dollars from what I can see. (Bit hard to estimate, seems Hasboro does not release separate numbers for D&D. MTG is far bigger though) So table top is maybe 1% of the value of the biggest TV series, and 0.3 % of the biggest online game. And that is the whole tabletop market.

                            Of course, they'd burn the game to the ground for a shot at those kind of numbers. Its just business, and the financial leverage is pretty overwhelmingly against the tabletop game.



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                            • Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post

                              You really think White Wolf would get bad publicity or backlash about "supernatural serial killers"? Dead by Daylight is one of the most popular games right now, with accredited ratings by multiple sites and 82% "Very Positive" margin on Steam.
                              I'm not so sure because V:TM 5th Edition has a veritible endless streams of scandals.

                              1. The Ventrue child molester accusation
                              2. The Alt-Right Brujah
                              3. The Chechnya Incident that became INTERNATIONAL NEWS
                              4. The "We Eat Blood" creator's issues [that wasn't about content]

                              There's a reason Jason Carl had to directly tell the fans, "We are a anti-Nazi, anti-racism publication. Nazi punks fuck off."

                              Which makes them like the Dead Kennedy's in that respect.


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

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                              • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                                I'm not so sure because V:TM 5th Edition has a veritible endless streams of scandals.

                                1. The Ventrue child molester accusation
                                2. The Alt-Right Brujah
                                3. The Chechnya Incident that became INTERNATIONAL NEWS
                                4. The "We Eat Blood" creator's issues [that wasn't about content]

                                There's a reason Jason Carl had to directly tell the fans, "We are a anti-Nazi, anti-racism publication. Nazi punks fuck off."

                                Which makes them like the Dead Kennedy's in that respect.

                                Which makes this all ironic, considering none of these incidents (to my knowledge, correct me if I'm wrong) have nothing to do with the Sabbat to begin with. But then somehow the theory mill points to "potential controversy" that can accredited to the Sabbat, when like you point out, V5 is making all kinds of controversy by itself with only the Anarchs and the Camarilla at the forefront of the franchise at this point.

                                EDIT: And like in the other part of my previous post, it's a "degree" type of situation here for potential controversy. Killers or killing is a common staple of the RPG-TTRPG-JRP spectrum. Even in all action games and most adventure games, killing is something that happens. The Sabbat being "supernatural serial killers" of some margin is NOT going to garner up controversy.

                                Those other four things you listed? Those are incidents that will DEFINITELY cause controversy.
                                Last edited by Shakanaka; 08-29-2021, 07:08 PM.


                                Jade Kingdom Warrior

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