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V5 did the Lasombra right...and wrong

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  • V5 did the Lasombra right...and wrong

    short version

    when it was revealed that for V5, Lasombra would get their clan weakness extended to a handicap related to technology use,
    I was one of those (maybe few) who welcomed the news

    for me, it improved the Lasombra as player characters, as it gave the lasombra a more obvious struggle that would be easier to engage with and translate into play than the absence of reflection

    unfortunately, it was short lived, as it turned out obtenebration was severely nerfed and crippled in v5,
    making the Lasombra relatively too weak in V5, and ruining them as both player characters and npcs


    long version

    if you're familiar with the sabbat in previous editions, you'd be familiar with the fact that the main antagonist of any Sabbat isn't the Camarilla or even the antideluvians but enemies closer to home,
    the Lasombra, Tzimisce, Black Hand, Inquisition etc

    and the Lasombra (sabbat or antitribu) were arguably the worst of them...

    ...and their design helped in that respect...

    they were overpowered in every way,
    they had a great/versatile discipline spread

    their clan weakness (no reflection) allowed them to recognize each other,
    made them immune to certain technological devices (cameras being the most common),
    combined with obtenebration, they were pretty good at maintaining their masquerade,
    and the sour feeling they got from the absence of their reflection helped in raising the young lasombra into more ruthless individuals, in a similar fashion to the Nosferatu ugly appearance

    they had a clan body to regulate their conflicts and diableries, keeping a fairly stable and strong clan

    the ritae always acted in their favour,
    the vinculum made sure that any hostile sentiment towards the clan (by the antitribu or otherwise) was shut down,
    the monomacy was rigged in favor of obtenebration users, which worked well in combination with potence, and they had dominate and exclusive access to abyss mysticism for the few cases where the first two failed

    the obtenebration nerf in v5 ruined it
    they're not as intimidating anymore

    ...but they sucked as player characters

    for the reasons above, the lasombra PCs were privileged in every way, in addition to having the easiest access to some of the best mentors

    their clan weakness wasn't enough to offset the balance, at least not to the same extent that other clan weakness like the Nosferatu weakness did,

    even if the absence of reflection would be a real struggle in real life, it didn't translate well in a PnP game,
    plus, there are ways to get around it (having someone draw your portrait)

    that's why, the technology handicap in V5 was good imo,
    but without obtenebration...it's just overkill
    Last edited by Pleiades; 05-30-2020, 11:14 AM.


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  • #2
    No, I don't agree. The technology bane is so hamfisted its not even funny. +2 difficulty to even drive now, use smartphones, operate computers, etc. They aren't viable as PCs at all by any margin, now they would be annoying to play. Though I do agree that the destruction of Obtenebration for "Oblivion" is really nonsensical since it seems Low Umbra/Necromantic in flavor while Obtenebration had something to do with pure cosmic alien darkness.
    Last edited by Shakanaka; 05-31-2020, 02:09 AM.


    Jade Kingdom Warrior

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
      No, I don't agree. The technology bane is so hamfisted is not even funny. +2 difficulty to even drive now, use smartphones, operate computers, etc. They aren't viable as PCs at all by any margin, now they would be annoying to play. Though I do agree that the destruction of Obtenebration for "Oblivion" is really nonsensical since it seems Low Umbra/Necromantic in flavor while Obtenebration had something to do with pure cosmic alien darkness.
      Both the Underworld and Umbra have cosmic alien darkness.

      It's like saying, "It's alien and incomprehensible like Cthulhu!"

      Me: "Cthulhu exists in the game. He's in the Labyrinth."


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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
        No, I don't agree. The technology bane is so hamfisted is not even funny. +2 difficulty to even drive now, use smartphones, operate computers, etc.
        you can have a ghoul use them for you, or dominate someone into using them for you,

        and obtenebration makes up for it (well, used to),
        you can't use a car, but you can teleport through shadows or turn into a shadow and move through cracks

        if obtenebration wasn't as weak as it is now, the new weakness wouldn't be as damning


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        • #5
          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

          Both the Underworld and Umbra have cosmic alien darkness.

          It's like saying, "It's alien and incomprehensible like Cthulhu!"

          Me: "Cthulhu exists in the game. He's in the Labyrinth."
          The Low Umbra has nothing to do with Cthulhu. Not everything that is "spooky, mysterious, or incomprehensible" has to do with Cthulhu. Bringing up that point to justify this.. "Oblivion" technique doesn't do anything for me, its literally how some people in the Whitewolf reddit always say any combat in VTM is "literally DnD". Even then Oblivion doesn't make sense for the Lasombra because apparently its also a Necromantic based power in lieu with the so called "Hecata" also having it. I assume this was only ever done because for some reason they wanted to scrap all the unique Necromantic disciplines, while taking out Obtenebration.. for whatever reason. "Two birds, one stone," something I remember typing out avidly in another thread speaking about this topic.

          Also to respond back to Pleiades, the new bane for Lasombra as it is, is WAY, WAY, too much. Its a really strange retcon to the already servicable curse the Lasombra used to have. Because since when did being cursed due to the closeness of shadows all of a sudden now has to deal with technology? This also breaks how the Lasombra are because their practically a clan focused on pulling your own weight and not relying on others as much- now they have to use a bunch of Ghouls just to be viable, wut?
          Last edited by Shakanaka; 05-31-2020, 02:11 AM.


          Jade Kingdom Warrior

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post

            The Low Umbra has nothing to with Cthulhu. Not everything that is "spooky, mysterious, or incomprehensible" has to do with Cthulhu. Bringing up that point to justify this.. "Oblivion" technique doesn't do anything for me, its literally how some people in the Whitewolf reddit always say any combat in VTM is "literally DnD". Even then Oblivion doesn't make sense for the Lasombra because apparently its also a Necromantic based power in lieu with the so called "Hecata" also having it. I assume this was only ever done because for some reason they wanted to scrap all the unique Necromantic disciplines, while taking out Obtenebration.. for whatever reason. "Two birds, one stone," something I remember typing out avidly in another thread speaking about this topic.

            Also to respond back to Pleiades, the new bane for Lasombra as it is, is WAY, WAY, too much. Its a really strange retcon to the already servicable curse the Lasombra used to have. Because since when did being cursed due to the closeness of shadows all of a sudden now has to deal with technology? This also breaks how the Lasombra are because their practically a clan focused on pulling your own weight and not relying on others as much- now they have to use a bunch of Ghouls just to be viable, wut?
            I'm going to assume you're joking with me because it's not about Cthulhu, it's about spooky and incomprehensible things period. Which is to say that the spooky and incomprehensible things of the setting are not undefined, they're defined in-universe all the time.


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

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            • #7
              I actually find the challenge in playing the Lasombra quite rewarding and the “nerf” to Obtenebration is slightly annoying and at times confusing lore-wise, I still find it incredibly fun to give the Clan a new unique set of challenges and rewards the player much more for heavier role playing. I like that they have to think through more than just “Shadow Magic bash” everything into the dirt. It allows them to truly strive for that feeling of superiority when a plan works out with what they have. There is a lot about V5 that I have to admit I house rule, mostly because my players are dogmatic about role playing through challenges and the rules are really loose and general, but I think they did great making the Lasombra both fun and challenging to play, not to mention making them fit a bit more with their Camarilla cousins.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                I'm going to assume you're joking with me because it's not about Cthulhu, it's about spooky and incomprehensible things period. Which is to say that the spooky and incomprehensible things of the setting are not undefined, they're defined in-universe all the time.
                Huh? You mentioned Cthulhu in the first place to begin with as some sort of example. Either way it still doesn't really remotely justify for why Obtenebration and the various Necromantic paths should've been merged. Obteneration is one thing entirely, it tenuously has anything to do with Necromancy to begin with besides both being "dark"- Obtenebration is mostly Deep Umbric aligned, while Necromancy is solely based on the Low Umbra alone, i.e the Underworld. Where has it been noted that the Lasombra heavily deal with Necromancy? You can't because they never practiced it in a clan wide manner at all, maybe a miniscule amount of Lasombra learned Necromancy (pre-V5 of course) from trading favors with the Giovanni, Nagaraja, Samedi, etc.

                At the meat of it though the merge doesn't make sense at all.

                Also make the Lasombra fun to play? Yeah I don't know about that. The way V5 has it, your now more tailored to being a neonate now more than ever before. Though if you play as a Lasombra who has been embraced recently, now you can't use Tech anymore at ALL. Can't use ATMs, can't use your phone anymore, your computer is useless now, can't drive your car, and a whole bunch of other things. People just say use Ghouls, but how can neonate expect to maintain a whole bunch of Ghouls when they're so weak starting out? The Lasombra are tedious now. Not to mention that realistically the Lasombra would be taken WAY advantage of. They'd probably owe a huge bunch of favors to the Noseferatu just to get even the most miniscule of things done.
                Last edited by Shakanaka; 05-31-2020, 02:18 AM.


                Jade Kingdom Warrior

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                • #9
                  The Abyss is one of the name of the section of the Labyrinth where the Nephandi Lords, the Neverborn, and creators of all things eldritch and horrifying via their dreams exist. Those beings were also revealed to be the Archemons from Demon: The Fallen.

                  Obternation tapping into the Underworld abyss would actually tie together:

                  * The Abyss
                  * The Underworld
                  * Cthulhuoid Horrors
                  * The Lasombra's weird Catholicism

                  Sorry for the confusion but I was just using Cthulhu as an example of, "People say the Lasombra were tied to something alien and incomprehensible but if they were tied to something existing, they'd have an alien and incomprehensible example there."
                  Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-30-2020, 02:27 PM.


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

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                    Also to respond back to Pleiades, the new bane for Lasombra as it is, is WAY, WAY, too much. Its a really strange retcon to the already servicable curse the Lasombra used to have. Because since when did being cursed due to the closeness of shadows all of a sudden now has to deal with technology? This also breaks how the Lasombra are because their practically a clan focused on pulling your own weight and not relying on others as much- now they have to use a bunch of Ghouls just to be viable, wut?
                    well, even if you can use technology,
                    you still need people to build your castle,
                    you need them to build your car, your TV, your cellphone and write the code for you computer,
                    you need them to dig the oil for fuel, make batteries and plug some electricity into your haven

                    relying on technology doesn't make you independent, quite the opposite, it makes you very dependent on others

                    what makes vampires independent is their vampiric powers,
                    and all you need for vampiric powers to work is blood

                    and, if you're already using humans for blood, might as well use them to run your PC,
                    which vampires probably don't use cause they have better senses, the fans are too loud and the frame rate (which is probably slow by their standards) is jarring to their eyes


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                      Where has it been noted that the Lasombra heavily deal with Necromancy?
                      Beckett's Jyhad Diary page 474.

                      I'm not a huge fan of the necromancy/obtenebration merger, but there is lore backing for it, even if I don't particularly like it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Draconis View Post

                        Beckett's Jyhad Diary page 474.

                        I'm not a huge fan of the necromancy/obtenebration merger, but there is lore backing for it, even if I don't particularly like it.
                        the whole obtenebration-underworld thing dates back to 2nd ed, I believe

                        it was forgotten in revised, and brought back later,
                        Revised was more "obtenebration is Dark Matter, black-holes are cool, Lasombra do Astrophysics" or something like that


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                          Though if you play as a Lasombra who has been embraced recently, now you can't use Tech anymore at ALL. Can't use ATMs, can't use your phone anymore, your computer is useless now, can't drive your car, and a whole bunch of other things. People just say use Ghouls, but how can neonate expect to maintain a whole bunch of Ghouls when their so weak starting out? The Lasombra are tedious now. Not to mention that realistically the Lasombra would be taken WAY advantage of. They'd probably owe a huge bunch of favors to the Noseferatu just to get even the most miniscule of things done.
                          According to the book they can't drive cars, use ATMs, etc, but according to one of the devs that's an error. The intent was that anything capturing their image or likeness, or transmitting a representation of them, glitches out (as an extension of the previous "no shadow" thing). The extent of the issues depends on their age; older and more powerful Lasombra have more issues than neonates do.

                          So (according to dev intent) touchscreens, voice and video calls, and on-screen keyboards pose an issue, but cars, physical keyboards, and even touchscreens with an appropriately-modified stylus are fine. The core of the bane is the same as it's always been—people who know what they're looking for can identify Lasombra easily. (Which means other Lasombra, but also means the Society of Leopold etc.)

                          (And this is absolutely a flaw in the books, and one that I hope gets corrected. Because I agree that Lasombra not being able to drive cars is annoying.)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                            Both the Underworld and Umbra have cosmic alien darkness.

                            It's like saying, "It's alien and incomprehensible like Cthulhu!"

                            Me: "Cthulhu exists in the game. He's in the Labyrinth."
                            Depends, yes ok you can have monsters in the Labyrinth...but they are to human, they are to bound to earth and human souls, to really hit the Outer God, Elder God etc terror of the Mythos, that sure knowledge that their are brings beyond comprehension who could obliterate the world (or universe, depending on which deity...but they don't care) the Incarna in the Labyrinth explicitly do care, they need human souls, so they don't fulfill the same Cosmic Horror role, they aren't incomphrensible, they aren't alien, they are fallen angels, that's it . Terrifying in the way a nuclear weapon is, directed power and malice, not the way a Gamma Ray Burst is, no malice, no interest, no intent, just obliteration of everything for no real reason you could ever begin to grasp.
                            Last edited by Taggie; 05-30-2020, 02:46 PM.

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                            • #15
                              The Lasombra Bane was a good bane. Try getting into the back of a taxi. Try walk around in the glass metropolises we've built, or approach wet roads as they reflect the light. Your enemies can practice area denial by installing mirrors in the public places you want to visit. Sure, it had advantages, but most clan banes have a minor positive aspect to it (Bloodlines with no positive: Settites, Baali... Blood brothers don't have anything nice for themselves but the no-sire rule is good for creators) . The lasombra bane did not need to change.

                              Now, for Obtenebration.
                              I'll agree that it was too strong in prior editions.
                              I'll agree that Oblivion's a bad joke.

                              But I'm telling ya.
                              Lasombra PCs were great. Lasombra Antitribu PCs are also great. They're fun and work with the party.

                              I don't think the old lasombra are thematically compatible with V5. They're too goal oriented for personal horror.


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

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