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[V5] The Sabbat in V5

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  • CTPhipps
    started a topic [V5] The Sabbat in V5

    [V5] The Sabbat in V5

    How would you handle the Sabbat in V5.

    This was posted in another thread and really interesting.

    Originally posted by Val_Nir
    Didn't get my hands on those, so can't comment. I still think V5 books just present Sabbat as in the 1ed - nothing but vague speculations and an amplified aura of 'booo scary' for Anarch kids. In the corebook, they even added another alias of the sect - Black Church. Lol, seriously? What's next, Spooky Castle?

    I've read the post on your vision and could agree only on loyalists going into anarchs, making them more violent overall. I partially agree Moderates' elders going Camarilla or Oradea league or independent. However, after reading BJD and V5 corebook, I think we can safely say the authors articulated their idea pretty well: the most of Sabbat slowly but steadily has migrated to MENA and other warzones. 'Sabbat cities emptying out' is a pretty straightforward statement which leaves almost no room for interpretations. That also means the crusaders will become the core line of the sect, regardless if or when the Crusade ends.

    Now, here is where yours and my visions go the opposite ways. Your playable Sabbat is the back-up Sabbat - those who stayed, for whatever reason. Orthodoxy theologists mixed with some Inquisition mixed with some particularly devoted Loyalists and some particularly devoted Moderate researchers and scientists. The role of Belial brood in your version is left to crusaders who - most obviously in canon too - will form the bulk of the sect, with your playable 'sedated Sabbat' numbers-wise being nothing more than a handful of undercover agents and covens scattered across both Americas and Europe.

    My version makes the Sabbat cut out the ones who left or defected and leave the returning crusaders as playable. I would like to have them as a militant Tal'Mahe'Ra but with an opposite ideology and goals, being led by the Inquisition - False Hand either compromises itself completely (their ties with Ancients' worshippers cult got publicly exposed, for example) and was disbanded or put the goals of the sect first and merges with the Inquisition in order to avoid political infighting in the times of war. The Focus will shift from Cam-Sabbat war to Methuselahs-Tal-Mahe-Ra-Ancients-Infernalists, with Camarilla or Anarchs becoming targets of second or even third (after Second Inquisition) priority; Anarchs will be facing Sabbat only when the circumstances demand it from the latter (no more overt war on all fronts with everyone who's not Sabbat, I'd rather have such lunatics perish first under elders' fangs in the crusade. War is a harsh but very effective teacher).

    Rise of Inquisition is also heavily implied by BJD. As a long time Sabbat player, I noticed this trend in V20, when RotB introduced the Orthodox faction and their rites. Then we had BJD where Black Hand - the Revised's Sabbat champions who even got their own awesome book Caine's Chosen back in 2003 - were depicted as fallen from grace and eviscerated across Mexico City by Inquisition packs as the new civil war erupts. At the same time, Inquisition glows up from being a small club of 20 or so cainites in Revised to a heavyweight political player - Lucita as Regent will likely support Inquisition instead of Hand, and then Sandoza herself is presented as a possible Regent candidacy. That shift in the mood could indicate a crucial role Inquisition might play in the new Sabbat. One of their new primary goals would be the pruning of the new-Sabbat ranks from 'montycovened locusts' who lost their minds after gorging on elder blood.

    I really loved BH (Zillah's tribe) in revised and thought of them as an example of where I see the sect but writers went out of their way in V20/BJD to depict how irreversibly deep the Tal'Mahe'Ra infiltration goes. At this point, I don't believe False Hand can go on waging war on Ancients when there are the ancients' defenders among their very ranks. Sabbat got their suspicions voiced in 2004, I believe they'll manage to clear it all up by 2020 or whenever Sabbat is back as playable. I am also sure the Inquisition will probably do a much better job at educating younger Cainites embraced before and during the war in Paths; they are more into occult than Black Hand too, the very blob dedicated to the sect in V5 corebook says 'occultation of the Sabbat'. Obviously, I'm trying to connect all the dots here.

    Yes, I am pretty sure the Paths are crucial to the Sabbat, especially after going through hell of a war trying to fulfill their purpose and destiny as a sect; after supernatural horrors and atrocities they witnessed and committed 'over there', I doubt Humanity could hold any single one of them sane, let alone the newly embraced ones who will likely be the PCs. Paths were almost always either a central theme of my own Sab chronicles or of extreme importance.

    The main themes and moods would be post-human relationships; the price of war on human and post-human mind; the search for redemption in the face of atrocities both witnessed and committed; the consequences of indoctrination; and most of all, trauma and a quest for spirituality, camaraderie and brotherhood in the face of the worst the Vampire can put you against - your Beast, maddened by years of relentless global conflict against powers you can barely comprehend. How do you deal with it, where do you look for a moral compass and a backbone to carry on when the cosy familiar human-centric set of values (Humanity) is gone and your inner darkness is pressing down on you, who is beside you in these darkest moments and how it feels to see them meeting Final Death. I always felt the war or rather post-war themes present a unique opportunity for the most emotionally powerful Sabbat chronicles; the gehenna war and it's consequences are just that.

    I digress heavily from the thread's matter and I'd rather have a separate thread on Sabbat since it's my favorite part of VtM; I'd rather stop at this point

  • Banu_Saulot
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    https://www.reddit.com/r/WhiteWolfRP...5_sabbat_work/

    These are some good rules for using the book in a player contexr.

    Nice suggestions. The way I homebrew Paths throughout this year, culminating with some tweaks from the Sabbat book is something not too much removed, but a bit more complex and personal.
    First you look if your Path type is Vampiric or Inhumane, the names might no be perfect, but the first one are Paths that don't strain too far away from Humanity, and the second one does. Bring down your Humanity till the max level (3 if Inhumane, 5 if Vampiric), and then with a Mawla you can start buying levels in the Path (you can only have one of course). Thing is, you start converting Humanity points from the 2nd slot forward (to the right), always maintaining the 1st level of Humanity. Each pair of Path levels gives you a Conviction from that Path (each one has a list of 5); Paths don't have Touchstones, they have either have Taboos or Sanctity, which acts as the equivalent to Touchstones, but more like objects, or types of people... that you get Stains for doing things against it as the corebook has tables for. Yeah, this Taboos/Sanctities thing isn't that good, and it isn't really a great substitute for the Touchstone but for the moment is what I have.
    This makes the definition of the 5 Convictions each Path has, and their Taboo or Sanctity very important to define at your own Path catalog.
    In the end Vampiric Paths work pretty much like Humanity, with its Convictions either mitigating or causing Stains depending of your action, and mechanically it gives the same benefits in the end. Inhumane Paths only count for the natural benefits of Humanity the levels you actually have as such, that will be miniscule, and when you start getting levels on the Path will remain 1. But, the more Path you have, the less you suffer from being terrible at dealing with humans (Humanity 1 is a -8), but even if you have 8 levels in the Path, you still suffer -4, which is significant, but you have more control than someone on the Path that has not many levels in it. Also, Inhumane Paths don't suffer much from the universal Stains.

    That is kind of it. And I don't know how my players will like this organic system (which I gave a summary, if you can believe it), but the more problematic is defining the details of each Path, because you got to make each Conviction matter and represent it.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    https://www.reddit.com/r/WhiteWolfRP...5_sabbat_work/

    These are some good rules for using the book in a player contexr.

    Leave a comment:


  • MyWifeIsScary
    replied
    Decanonized the week of nightmares, or make it a -if you wanna run a Gehenna scenario, this is a Prelude sample, but if you don't wanna run Gehenna, ignore it.

    As someone who really, really likes Ravnos, the destruction of their clan is toxic bullshit.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Brickman View Post
    I've always run it that there were such high levels of Chimerstry being thrown around in that event that nobody has any real clue what was going on.
    A bunch of spirit nukes went off and all the world saw was a typhoon? Seems pretty plausible, especially given BJD has mystically appearing cities in it if I remember rightly.
    I still lean into the story that an antideluvian awoke, devoured most of their bloodline (or got them to kill themselves) and then went back to sleep. Pretty much exactly how Gehenna is supposed to go.
    Problem here is, again, that we have a detailed account of what happened. So no, the official account isn't plausible.

    Chimerstry was used to create monsters, period. The typhoon was ridiculously big by itself. The nukes were clearly defined as neutron bombs, they had a spiritual effect, they weren't spiritual in the sense of existing in the Umbra, they were pretty much physical nukes. And 1.3 million people dying on a typhoon isn't something the entire world just brushes off, it may be something a typical US citizen brushes off (it was far from the US), but US opinion shouldn't be the only that counts for the Technocracy.

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  • Brickman
    replied
    I've always run it that there were such high levels of Chimerstry being thrown around in that event that nobody has any real clue what was going on.
    A bunch of spirit nukes went off and all the world saw was a typhoon? Seems pretty plausible, especially given BJD has mystically appearing cities in it if I remember rightly.
    I still lean into the story that an antideluvian awoke, devoured most of their bloodline (or got them to kill themselves) and then went back to sleep. Pretty much exactly how Gehenna is supposed to go.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Taggie View Post
    If they had done it, and had the Masquerade implode, the Ascension War go public etc, as the world has a demonstration of what lives among them, that would have been one thing, and probably the best way it could have been dealt with.
    Not to say that I think a better conceived Week of Nightmares couldn't be more subtle without ceasing to be awesomely packed with action and special effects, but not only due to it I fully expected when V5 was announced a game set in a post-veil world where the Masquerade as a whole doesn't exists anymore (which doesn't mean that the Tradition couldn't exist as a protection for individuals and groups instead of the whole species. People knowing vampires exist don't mean knowing you're one of them).

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  • Taggie
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    I must say that despite all the stupidity involved, as an action flick it was extremely entertaining and yes, that was the kind of thing we needed at the time if it is to push the start on Gehenna. As a concept it was the right idea, and the execution was outright good. It is something that needs tweaking, not complete removal and to be forgotten, as none of the stupid problems are inherent to its intention.

    If they had done it, and had the Masquerade implode, the Ascension War go public etc, as the world has a demonstration of what lives among them, that would have been one thing, and probably the best way it could have been dealt with.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Taggie View Post
    I guess, they were trying to show multiple things: Antedeluvians are world ending threat, that can wassail, and that the Technocracy is terrifying...what they made was a mess, but I think that was the idea.
    I must say that despite all the stupidity involved, as an action flick it was extremely entertaining and yes, that was the kind of thing we needed at the time if it is to push the start on Gehenna. As a concept it was the right idea, and the execution was outright good. It is something that needs tweaking, not complete removal and to be forgotten, as none of the stupid problems are inherent to its intention.

    Leave a comment:


  • Banu_Saulot
    replied
    I really loved the idea of the cyclical Gehennas of BJD, especially about the rethickening of the blood by the awakening ancients and devouring back the blood of the generations. To me, the power of Antes is not Phenomenal Cosmic Powers capable of destroying continents, but the ability to command their children to do their bidding, as well as sometimes just breaking rules by dividing themselves as Cappadocius, Tzimisce, Lasombra and Malkavian did some way or another (Saulot too I guess).

    And well, although it has no proof, and it isn't something I would define as fact, but I think my hypothesis that when a vampire just ups and dies, without having its blood drunk, their potency might just disperse into every vampire of their bloodline (like worldwide bluetooth blood potency dispersal), and in the case of thinbloods and caitiffs it is for every vampire on Earth. Of course this wouldn't make a difference, especially not mechanically, but it is what happens when a vampire isn't diablerised (where his/her power is taken all by one single vamp). This is some way also gives point to the whole killing of thinbloods rousing the Ancients, the more they kill each other, the more the Ancients get powerful without doing nothing. But just an idea lol

    But I do like the idea that Ravanna is really dead. Even if like... as akin to Cappadocius, his physical form is destroyed, but maybe his psychic or "illusion" form (if there is such a thing) still exists, and it is much more tranquil. This is, if we (each Storyteller and Player) want Ravanna alive in our table, and if his significance is that much. Maybe he was just a Methuselah going nuts, if we diminished the scale of the Week of Nightmares, maybe even more than one Methuselah. Anyway, I guess this all is why V5 doesn't touch much on the facts of events, just the outcomes XD

    Leave a comment:


  • Taggie
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I think you also miss monteparnas that the big issue is not necessarily (at least for tabletop gaming) that it was a death of millions but the fact that it was so overtly STUPID an event. The Ravnos Antediluvian woke up and started throwing around magic indiscriminately like Godzilla stomping Tokyo. It was mindless and according to Beckett's jyhad diary, a Wight possibly. If the Amtediluvians are real in your or my campaign, I assume they're going to be vast intelligences akin to Q and people who have been shaping the course of human destiny for the past 10,000 years like Menele and Helena x 10.

    Not acting like mindless Orks or soccer hooligans.

    So, it's really a question of what they hoped to accomplish by having an Antediluvian do this unless they wanted to suggest that they were going to stand still long enough to nuke.


    I guess, they were trying to show multiple things: Antedeluvians are world ending threat, that can wassail, and that the Technocracy is terrifying...what they made was a mess, but I think that was the idea.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Good point.
    Hell, it's not even a very big win for the Technocracy as they killed an Antediluvian with an Intelligence of 0.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Good point.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    I think you also miss monteparnas that the big issue is not necessarily (at least for tabletop gaming) that it was a death of millions but the fact that it was so overtly STUPID an event. The Ravnos Antediluvian woke up and started throwing around magic indiscriminately like Godzilla stomping Tokyo. It was mindless and according to Beckett's jyhad diary, a Wight possibly. If the Amtediluvians are real in your or my campaign, I assume they're going to be vast intelligences akin to Q and people who have been shaping the course of human destiny for the past 10,000 years like Menele and Helena x 10.

    Not acting like mindless Orks or soccer hooligans.

    So, it's really a question of what they hoped to accomplish by having an Antediluvian do this unless they wanted to suggest that they were going to stand still long enough to nuke.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Banu_Saulot View Post
    That is how I would rationalize it, but I guess we will have to wait and see the coming book of V5 about SI to know if they will touch in the Week of Nightmares again or not.
    My own take on the Week of Nightmares would depend on my plans for Gehenna:

    Go Big and Buy Time: kind of what they wanted for it, something unmistakable for whomever learned about it, but subtle enough just to not put the entire world on alarm for the next years. It would have to be somewhere uninhabited and on a somewhat lesser scale. Nothing undoable, Purbasha and Chhera islands fitted this description perfectly in Bangladesh and Purbasha had the added benefit of mystery as it appeared "out of nothingness" in 1970 due to a typhoon, is a disputed area on a geopolitical level (oil and mineral deposits) and is completely unstable anyways (so much so that it in fact disappeared in 2010).

    Reduce the scope a little, have a little more cooperation between the supernaturals on field, do not kill every Bodhisattva present (that'll only make the Ancients too obviously unkillable), add the Union worrying because it will be impossible to cover until they realize the "allied forces" are taking the beast to a deserted island, and for goodness' sake add native characters (preferably created by native players if at all possible). Oh, and eliminate the ridiculous notion of every mental health patient in the world going through the same sudden hallucinatory crisis at the same time. That's insensitive with them and with the competence of mental health professionals alike.

    The next years are a build-up for Gehenna and the involved in the "Bengal Incident" know the secret won't lie down forever. It will attract more players to the stage as governments and intelligence and paramilitary agencies of all kind learn about the incident, and eventually it will blow up.

    Go For It Big Time: run it mostly as described and screw the Masquerade. The world don't know what happens, but it is impossible to deny that something happened, and isolating the entire affected area is ridiculous. It is a catastrophe of surreal proportions and investigators from all around the world find weird stuff all the time no matter the efforts otherwise. The Union would have to abandon everything else to even have a chance, so no.

    Big "secrets" like the mere existence of the supernatural, vampires, werewolves and spirits go down in a matter of weeks as journalists gather information and evidence. The Masquerade still exists on an individual basis, for now. Hunters are as exposed as everyone else.

    Supernatural World War: kind of V5 status quo. Tone it down a lot, but still have it big enough for governments and other big players to notice something is amiss. It must be a far more grounded threat, though, and subtle enough to be hidden from the masses. The Ravnos aren't wiped out, but the Sabbat knows the time has come, everyone is preparing for the worse and the Second Inquisition does start indeed as the Masquerade is half broken at Intelligence levels.

    What it distinguishes from V5 for me is that this is still a Gehenna scenario. Things won't stay that "tame" forever as the conflicts between all the factions involved will evolve and escalate, and the other ancients will awaken, but by itself the Week of Nightmares' effects end here.

    No Gehenna: my take if the setting didn't go boom, and my headcanon overall about Gehenna. If an ante indeed awake, it wasn't really that big a deal. I mean, it's still a powerful vampire, but not so more powerful than a Methuselah already is, and "transcendence" is just achieving a neat level 10 Combo Discipline. That dude made a loot of trouble, but either eventually calmed down or was killed with a big effort, but a thousandth of the death toll or less. Neutron bombs are overkill and the solar attack wasn't strictly needed, although it may have helped. No world-around effects occurred except maybe for really sensitive ESPers picking something up.

    Ancients simply aren't the insurmountable threat described in legend, they're just really old. Their "transcendence", if it occurred, was spiritual/philosophical in nature, or even was the discovery of how to thin your own blood and memories like in Requiem's torpor to go back to feed on animals or mortals. Whatever the truth of it, if any, they may integrate in Kindred society without many vampires even noticing and the world goes on.

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