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[Essay] Top Ten Tips to running Thin-Bloods in V5

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  • [Essay] Top Ten Tips to running Thin-Bloods in V5

    http://unitedfederationofcharles.blo...ods-in-v5.html

    Hey folks, I'm pleased to say I'm returning to these Top Ten Lists now that I've managed to get some more work done on my recent novels. I encourage people to check out the omnibus of my Red Room series that was just released and pre-order my upcoming Psycho Killers in Love book if you love slashers as well as humor. With that out of the way, I'm pleased to say that I've decided to do a piece on an underrated piece of Vampire: The Masquerade media: Thin-Bloods!

    The Thin-Bloods (or Duskborn as they now like to style themselves) are a group that was updated heavily for the newest edition of vampire. I thought I'd share some of these elements and give my thoughts to incorporating them into games.

    1. The Thin-Bloods are now a power

    The Thin-Bloods only started occuring en masse during the Time of Thin-Blood circa 1999. While previous examples of 14th and 15th generation (or even 16th) may have existed, it was only then that they became a matter of proper concern. Initially, they were scorned by all factions and the Camarilla re-instituted the Scourge as a weapon to destroy them. The past twenty years have benefited the Duskborn, however. They have reached enough numbers and made enough alliances that they can no longer be dismissed as a force. Thin-Blooded alchemy, their ability to better blend in with Kine, organization by individuals like Jenna Cross, social media, and reasonably progressive Kindred allies have made them stronger than any Bloodline if not as powerful as a Clan.

    2. Thin-Bloods are unwelcome in the Camarilla

    The Camarilla remains as disgusted by the Duskborn as ever. The Beckoning, Gehenna War, Week of Nightmares, and other events have resulted in the Ivory Tower abandoning their previous secular stance. Gehenna is upon us and the Duskborn are considered one of the most visible signs of the End Times. No Thin-Blood can truly be considered a member of the Camarilla despite some wielding vast wealth like Noah "Flyboy" Grewal (i]Chicago by Night[/i]) or official position like Robert Larson the Thin-Blood "Primogen" (Coteries of New York). Scourges still hunt and exterminate the Duskborn when they cannot make themselves useful to an Elder or threatening enough to be left alone. A handful might be accepted among the elite but only at the suffering of the Harpies. But then agian, hasn't that always been the case for the young?

    3. Thin-Bloods are tolerated by the Anarchs

    Somewhat more welcoming than the Camarilla are the Anarchs that the vast majority of organized Thin-Bloods are members of by default. The Anarchs theoretically defend the freedom of all Kindred and welcome any allies against the Elders but most have little use for the Duskborn. Some even defend the rights of Thin-Bloods to have families despite their danger to the Masquerade, though. The Anarchs' brutality and reliance on raw power to determine pecking order means that few Thin-Bloods will rise high in their ranks. Thin-Blood organization, willingness to use modern tech, and the addition of Thin-Blood Alchemy means they have plenty to contribute to the Movement, though. Smart Thin-Bloods will never trust the charity of the Anarchs and rely on each other primarily.

    4. Thin-Bloods are cursed but not damned (at least comparatively)

    Thin-Bloods have a fundamentally different relationship to both the Curse of Caine in general as well as the Beast in particular. Barring the use of Disciplines or other direct event, most will never suffer the horror of frenzy. This dramatically changes Thin-Bloods relationship to Kine as they can effectively live among them safely. Even the kindest "true" vampire is a danger to his loved ones as a frenzy from Hunger or rage is always possible. Thin-Bloods are always considered to be using the Blush of Life so have far less to fear from Hunters or modern technology. They also not crippled by the sun, even though most cannot tolerate it for long. While tasteless, Thin-Bloods are also capable of surviving on animal blood or blood bags that other Kindred need Disciples or a very high generation to enjoy.

    5. Thin-Blooded Alchemy is powerful

    The biggest change to Thin-Bloods in recent years is the discovery of Thin-Blood alchemy. In simple terms, if a Thin-Blood mixes their blood as well as the blood of regular humans of a specific resonance with everyday common household products then SOMETHING will happen. Usually, this will result in the imitation of a pre-existing Kindred discipline. It is very much an art in development with the most advanced powers requiring months of refinement as well as Walter White-esque set ups. However, the simple fact that Thin-Bloods often freely share information and have the sole access to this resource means they have gone from complete weaklings to genuine threats.

    6. There are traitors to Caine and Lilith among the Dustborn

    Not all Thin-Bloods identify more with their undead cousins than with regular humanity. The undead, after all, persecute them every bit as much as Hunters would be inclined to. As such, there are Thin-Bloods who have decided to fully side with the Second Inquisition against the Sons and Daughters of Nod. These are not a large group of Cainites, probably, but Thin-Bloods like Noah "Flyboy" Grewal and Gabrielle Ellis (The Fall of London) are Thin-Bloods accepted by their governments as agents.

    7. Daywalkers exist

    One of the greatest examples of the Duskborn escaping the Curse of Caine is the fact a small number of them have the ability to survive the Sun. While all Thin-Bloods are more resistant to the sun's ways, some can walk as mortals do. This provides a profound advantage for those few Kindred who possess the power and serves as a source of great envy. Those possessing the gift will exploit it against Kindred restricted during the day while more occult or scientifically minded vampires will attempt to divine its secrets.

    8. Thin-Bloods cannot reliably pass on their condition

    Thin-Bloods, for all of their advantages, have a serious one in that they cannot reliably Embrace new vampires. A vampire Embraced by a Thin-Blood will as often as not die and even if they do transform, it may be hours or even days later. Thin-Bloods also cannot create ghouls, though they can perhaps make one for a single day. This means that Thin-Blooded alliances must be tighter and more closely aligned than other vampire coteries. They cannot build the kind of empires of minions that other vampires can or create their own allies. Thin-Bloods can sire and theoretically bear children but this is not a reliable way to create soldiers.

    9. The only cure for being a Thin-Blood is diablerie

    Thin-Bloods are easy to view as the underdogs of Kindred society and sympathetic victims of an oppressive Kindred society. This is a misleading view as Thin-Bloods are still vampires and while their Beast is muted, it still exists. Thin-Bloods who crave the power, influence, and pleasure of more powerful Kindred have only one recourse: the heart's blood of true Kindred. This will turn them into a 13th generation of whatever Clan they have hunted down and murdered. Many Thin-Bloods have learned of this "rumor" and see no reason they should spare their oppressors or even friends if it means the power of Caine is their's. The fact they have committed the sin once also means that they have little reason not to do it again and again.

    10. The Ashfinders are a rising power among the Duskborn

    Thin-Blood Alchemy's origins remain nebulous but it seems very possible it's related to the mysterious Doctor Mortius of Clan Tremere and his relationship to the Ashfinder blood cult. The Ashfinders are Thin-Bloods who are tech-savvy and extraordinarily rich. They do not need Dominate, Presence, or Revenant families to have billionaire empires stretching from Silicon Valley to Dubai. They have also begun transforming the ash of Kindred Elders into a drug that bestows even more power than traditional Thin-Blood Alchemy. The Gehenna War, Second Inquisition, and ongoing wars have provided their numbers all the Elder ash they can want without hunting but their hunger for such thing grows with every dose. It soon may be as much a need among Thin-Bloods as the heart's blood.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-25-2020, 02:01 AM.


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

  • #2
    *Gets popcorn* This should be good.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      5. Thin-Blooded Alchemy is powerful

      The biggest change to Thin-Bloods in recent years is the discovery of Thin-Blood alchemy. In simple terms, if a Thin-Blood mixes their blood as well as the blood of regular humans of a specific resonance with everyday common household products then SOMETHING will happen. Usually, this will result in the imitation of a pre-existing Kindred discipline. It is very much an art in development with the most advanced powers requiring months of refinement as well as Walter White-esque set ups. However, the simple fact that Thin-Bloods often freely share information and have the sole access to this resource means they have gone from complete weaklings to genuine threats.
      [citation needed]

      As far as corebook chargen PCs are concerned, you start with a single dot and a single power, and pay through the nose for effects at best comparable to normal disciplines. "Thin-Bloods freely share information" is a non-sequitur, as other vampires don't need to share the information on their disciplines at all (unless they are learning blood sorcery rituals), and Thin-Bloods still need to pay a hefty XP price for both the Alchemy dot and the power.

      Furthermore, only Fixatio alchemists can reliably get even a "normal" result on the distillation, and only with a very strict setup of Intelligence 4 + Haven 3 (Laboratory (Alchemy) 5). Good luck consistently distilling as any other alchemist.

      Finally, the alchemy rules suffer from numerous inconsistencies and holes. Ashfinders in particular are the worst, as their formulas are limited by distillation method, so you need to have a Mawla of like-minded Ashfinder alchemists if you want to use any of it.

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      • #4
        what's with that (not so recent) fixation devs have with giving blood magic to youngsters wanting to hunt down their elders

        first it's the sabbat thaumaturgy in Revised
        then Anarch blood magic in V20
        now, it's thinblood alchemy

        this is one of the few instances where I prefer the 1st ed version: wanna hunt down elders? just punch them hard enough

        not the most inspired design, but it's better than "muh thaumaturgy" or...vampire twitter


        -

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        • #5
          Thinblood alchemy is one of those things that struck me as a "why?". I can understand the Blood(tm) having a lot of special properties that thaumaturges doing extreme and lengthy study could extract, but thinbloods aren't really... that. Thinblood alchemy strikes me as something of a consolation prize, and the actual effects of thinblood alchemy seem rather random. Where did the telekinesis come from, exactly?

          I know thinbloods are a controversial element of the game, but I unfortunately find myself siding with the anti-thinbloods here. It's very hard to articulate, but I feel they don't actually do anything for the game that couldn't be accomplished by dhampirs or ghouls. It might be born from my general dislike of generation as a mechanic.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
            http://unitedfederationofcharles.blo...ods-in-v5.html


            6. There are traitors to Caine and Lilith among the Dustborn

            Not all Thin-Bloods identify more with their undead cousins than with regular humanity. The undead, after all, persecute them every bit as much as Hunters would be inclined to. As such, there are Thin-Bloods who have decided to fully side with the Second Inquisition against the Sons and Daughters of Nod. These are not a large group of Cainites, probably, but Thin-Bloods like Noah "Flyboy" Grewal and Gabrielle Ellis (The Fall of London) are Thin-Bloods accepted by their governments as agents.


            .
            Sounds like someone wants to get the Kue-jin ending from Bloodlines.

            I think it strange you didn't put some useful stuff in here. Like, thinbloods are now pretty different from what they were in prior editions. There's no 14/15 difference, I think they can't learn disciplines... and this could all just be me not remembering things right because I read the thinblood sections once or twice and then actively tried to forget it.


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

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
              Sounds like someone wants to get the Kue-jin ending from Bloodlines.

              I think it strange you didn't put some useful stuff in here. Like, thinbloods are now pretty different from what they were in prior editions. There's no 14/15 difference, I think they can't learn disciplines... and this could all just be me not remembering things right because I read the thinblood sections once or twice and then actively tried to forget it.
              I admit, I had to pick and choose what elements to focus on and chose those that I felt would best handle them as a storytelling device. There's only 10 slots after all.

              Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
              Finally, the alchemy rules suffer from numerous inconsistencies and holes.
              It's still a developing discipline among Thin Bloods but the power of it and potential dramatically change the average Thin Blood from "nearly powerless" to potentially "very powerful." No, not all Thin Bloods have strong abilities but most with some access to it have SOME which is more than they had before.
              Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-25-2020, 10:21 AM.


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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MalkSam View Post
                Thinblood alchemy is one of those things that struck me as a "why?". I can understand the Blood(tm) having a lot of special properties that thaumaturges doing extreme and lengthy study could extract, but thinbloods aren't really... that. Thinblood alchemy strikes me as something of a consolation prize, and the actual effects of thinblood alchemy seem rather random. Where did the telekinesis come from, exactly?
                Thin-Bloods contains all the potenital power of other Clans and they can draw on that power in its raw state to create their own disciplines according to previous editions. This moves that down a little and makes it so that it is specific powers created by using the blood of certain humans as well as other products. It gives them a special ability in the setting that

                I know thinbloods are a controversial element of the game, but I unfortunately find myself siding with the anti-thinbloods here. It's very hard to articulate, but I feel they don't actually do anything for the game that couldn't be accomplished by dhampirs or ghouls. It might be born from my general dislike of generation as a mechanic.
                Well dhampyrs canonically don't exist in Vampire: The Masquerade unless they're the children of Thin Bloods.

                I think the Thin Bloods represent multiple things in the game:

                1. They represent vampires who are closer to their human side than traditional vampires. They basically are thrust into the world of vampires independent of masters like ghouls but having most of their humanity intact. They can be a reminder of the better side of Kindred natures and that the choice to become a monster is usually a choice. Which makes those Thin Bloods who are a bunch of serial killers and diablerists all the worse.

                2. They're good for people who love anti-Twinking. Power gamers are very common but there's also people who don't like being the biggest badass on the block. The Thin Bloods allow you to start at the very bottom and decide to remain there while having enough advantages over regular Kindred to be useful.

                3. I think they help add a new layer to the War of Ages. Thin Bloods don't have Disciplines, the vast resources of the Elders, or ancient alliances. They do, however, have cellphones and guns as
                well as human loved ones. The Elders are creating a new front in the war and the Thin Bloods are a unique thing that isn't totally in line with the Anarchs.



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

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                • #9
                  Not really anti.... I think I know what you meant to say there, when they've got cool new super exclusive alchemy powers (That, from a metaphysical standpoint, I object to). If you wanted to play the struggling little guy, the former thinbloods were an excellent option and so were ghouls.


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                    Not really anti.... I think I know what you meant to say there, when they've got cool new super exclusive alchemy powers (That, from a metaphysical standpoint, I object to). If you wanted to play the struggling little guy, the former thinbloods were an excellent option and so were ghouls.
                    Honestly, the previous Thin Bloods felt like Neonates lite.

                    Not nearly as different from regular Cainites as they could be.

                    "Oh, we can only get up to a 3 in a Discipline. Woo, most Neonates stop there."


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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ok, theory time.

                      Hermetics believed that the human body could be transmuted through "alchemy" to a higher state; Turning 'lead into gold' was often more metaphorical than it was literal. Alchemists could awaken divine human potential and then get into contact with gods and demons.

                      The Vampiric state is a form of alchemy. The embrace changes 'lead into gold' so to speak in changing blood into Vitae. Caine (and lilith) managed the most pure form of vampiric alchemy (which isn't very pure given all the weaknesses vampires have), and it has been diluted with the Generations. This is why disciplines from 1-5 were all the same; the vampire wasn't learning new things but rather unlocking their potential (from the alchemical process of refining blood with more blood)

                      Ergo, it made perfect sense that thinbloods were what they were; Half the strengths, half the weaknesses, nothing special from the half in-half-out state. V5 thinbloods being something else entirely with their own 'alchemy' doesn't make much sense.


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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I do find the new Thin Blood Concept intriguing, but
                        1. It breaks the theme/atmosphere that they have it best as the new guys. They get few of the negatives of vampirism. Once they have established themselves the writers will have a hard time explaining how they do not supersede vampires as the next evolutionary step so to speak. The old guard towering over and exploiting the new - out of the window.
                        2. As a Tremere fan I canĀ“t suppress a degree of envy towards TB Alchemy.

                        I have an idea I really like that i want to try on my next group. Blood of Potency is meh, but I want to include an NPC that uses it to temporarily get a higher generation - turning into a thin blood. He could do a lot of things that no one expects. I think it would mess with both PCs and NPCs. It could also help older kindred, but for different reasons.
                        Last edited by mfalkenb; 06-25-2020, 01:45 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                          Ok, theory time.

                          Hermetics believed that the human body could be transmuted through "alchemy" to a higher state; Turning 'lead into gold' was often more metaphorical than it was literal. Alchemists could awaken divine human potential and then get into contact with gods and demons.

                          The Vampiric state is a form of alchemy. The embrace changes 'lead into gold' so to speak in changing blood into Vitae. Caine (and lilith) managed the most pure form of vampiric alchemy (which isn't very pure given all the weaknesses vampires have), and it has been diluted with the Generations. This is why disciplines from 1-5 were all the same; the vampire wasn't learning new things but rather unlocking their potential (from the alchemical process of refining blood with more blood)

                          Ergo, it made perfect sense that thinbloods were what they were; Half the strengths, half the weaknesses, nothing special from the half in-half-out state. V5 thinbloods being something else entirely with their own 'alchemy' doesn't make much sense.
                          Well Doctor Moritus the Tremere is strongly implied to have created Thin Blooded alchemy (or at least that's a conclusion I reached) in Blood Cults.


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

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                          • #14
                            What I'm saying is
                            I don't think there's room for a magic system particular to thin bloods.
                            Either Vampires can do "thin blood alchemy" or thin blood alchemy is a sorcery available to normal humans. A happy between point that makes some kind of new magic doesn't make sense given the context we have. An Abomination doesn't get some imbetween powers unique to abominations, they just have vampire and werewolf powers. Though Maegar get a cool power due to their fae blood, that power can be learned by other vampires... There is no context for thinblood alchemy to work.


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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                              What I'm saying is
                              I don't think there's room for a magic system particular to thin bloods.
                              Either Vampires can do "thin blood alchemy" or thin blood alchemy is a sorcery available to normal humans. A happy between point that makes some kind of new magic doesn't make sense given the context we have. An Abomination doesn't get some imbetween powers unique to abominations, they just have vampire and werewolf powers. Though Maegar get a cool power due to their fae blood, that power can be learned by other vampires... There is no context for thinblood alchemy to work.
                              That's silly. Thin Blood alchemy works because Thin Bloods are capable of using it. Other vampires aren't. It's blood and Abraxo soda flakes for anyone else.

                              Same reason why Tremere can't use Garou magic.


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

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