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[V5] Amalgams and Advanced Disciplines

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  • #61
    I like 6+ Disciplines. I just didn't like the way White Wolf implemented them.

    6+ Disciplines have their place in the setting, I think. Michael uses Presence 9 to enthrall an entire city and drive its Cainites to religious delusion. Yorak uses Vicissitude 9 to craft the Cathedral of Flesh. Strictly speaking, are they narratively necessary? Probably not, you can handwave the Cathedral's creation ("amalgams") and attribute Constantinople's problems to mundane reasons rather than an insane methuselah (also) misusing his powers. 6+ Disciplines are mostly just plain cool. Masquerade is a game with high power levels. If you want a game with more down to earth elders, that's Requiem.

    White Wolf did two main things wrong with elder Disciplines, though. The first was that authors spilled way too much ink on those powers when they are largely inaccessible to PCs. They're like epic levels in D&D. Only a very small subset of your customer base is going to make use of these rules on the player rather than the GM side, so it was dumb to insert random lists of 6+ powers into books like Guide to the Camarilla. I think the only place that 6+ Disciplines have their place is in the writeups for specific NPCs in the By Night books. Early city books had that. "Gustav Breidenstein's extra Presence dots allow him to do X, Y, and Z."

    The other problem was that a lot of 6+ powers were stupid as 6+ powers and would've worked better as 1-5 amalgams. "I turn into a tree" does not need to be a 6+ power. But the system only allowed multiple powers per level at 6+ dots if amalgams weren't used, so the authors were working within the limits of the system they had. (V5 allowing players to pick between multiple powers at a given Discipline level was one of the new system's better ideas.) My personal rule for 6+ powers is that they should either work on a massive scale (Michael's city-wide "still works in torpor" Presence 9) or break the established rules of the Discipline/being a vampire in a way that GMs want to keep out of PC hands (Protean 9's/Serpentis 9's "you can walk in the sun for a day" power). Anything else probably works just fine at levels 1-5.

    I'm not a fan of the Requiem method of Blood Potency requirements for amalgam Disciplines, though. If you're making a 5-dot Discipline also exclusive to Blood Potency 9, that's functionally the same as making it a 9-dot Discipline. Just call a spade a spade.
    Last edited by False Epiphany; 08-15-2020, 10:12 AM.


    Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
      White Wolf did two main things wrong with elder Disciplines, though. The first was that authors spilled way too much ink on those powers when they are largely inaccessible to PCs. They're like epic levels in D&D. Only a very small subset of your customer base is going to make use of these rules on the player rather than the GM side, so it was dumb to insert random lists of 6+ powers into books like Guide to the Camarilla. I think the only place that 6+ Disciplines have their place is in the writeups for specific NPCs in the By Night books. Early city books had that. "Gustav Breidenstein's extra Presence dots allow him to do X, Y, and Z.
      I agree with most of what you said, save this part. In my experience, players will want to play with the 6+ disciplines at some point. It could be at the end of a long running campaign or just a one-off, but elders games do happen and they aren't rare edge cases.

      The dark ages setting even let players get 7th gen when they bought the generation background up to 5, so I think it's more a case of writers giving options to keep games fresh.

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      • #63
        I tend to think that elders want to play like me.

        You're embraced as good-at-something
        You acquire some bare minimum skills
        You raise your clan disciplines, at least the ones you use, to about three or maybe four; you really try to nail that thing you're good at.
        You try to acquire common out of clan disciplines and skills in areas that would be considred a weakness, so that when they fuck up their primary strategy they're not completely hopeless. A malkavian likely learns potence, a Nosferatu might learn dominate, A Tremere would be wise to learn Fortitude, a Toreador is a vapid, uselesss thing that's content with their disgusting generalist disciplines, A lot of people gravitate towards either Auspex or Obfuscate.
        Once you have about two dots in these new disciplines, you build up your in-clans again and then you once again move to diversify again and perhaps gain third dots in your OoC's.

        The thing is, with out of clans, in most cases getting more than 3 dots becomes an expense that's not worth taking. In some disciplines, namely auspex, It's totally worth it, but in general disciplines in V1-V20 had broadly applicable powers at the lower levels and highly specific powers you rarely use at higher levels. In most cases I could do more with a 6th level of -that power I use all the time- than I could use with -that power I keep in reserve-. Like, If I'm a Malkavian elder, having Potence 3 is going to be pretty handy in athletics rolls and the rare, rare instances where I've been suckered into a brawl, but getting potence 4; from a cost benefit analysis, isn't really worth it. It'd be better and cheaper for me to have obfuscate 6, or raise other out of clans to 3, or perhaps even invest in a rare discipline.

        Now, If we were stuck in the world of V5 and my malkavian elder couldn't buy obfuscate 6, I already have impressive mundane skills, and there's nothing to buy, I suppose I could get potence 4... Mind you the powers in V5 are really specific so there's goals to work forward to and such but....

        If all the elders are forced to go wide because they can't go up, wouldn't they all start to look the same?


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

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        • #64
          Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
          I tend to think that elders want to play like me.

          You're embraced as good-at-something
          You acquire some bare minimum skills
          You raise your clan disciplines, at least the ones you use, to about three or maybe four; you really try to nail that thing you're good at.
          You try to acquire common out of clan disciplines and skills in areas that would be considred a weakness, so that when they fuck up their primary strategy they're not completely hopeless. A malkavian likely learns potence, a Nosferatu might learn dominate, A Tremere would be wise to learn Fortitude, a Toreador is a vapid, uselesss thing that's content with their disgusting generalist disciplines, A lot of people gravitate towards either Auspex or Obfuscate.
          Once you have about two dots in these new disciplines, you build up your in-clans again and then you once again move to diversify again and perhaps gain third dots in your OoC's.

          The thing is, with out of clans, in most cases getting more than 3 dots becomes an expense that's not worth taking. In some disciplines, namely auspex, It's totally worth it, but in general disciplines in V1-V20 had broadly applicable powers at the lower levels and highly specific powers you rarely use at higher levels. In most cases I could do more with a 6th level of -that power I use all the time- than I could use with -that power I keep in reserve-. Like, If I'm a Malkavian elder, having Potence 3 is going to be pretty handy in athletics rolls and the rare, rare instances where I've been suckered into a brawl, but getting potence 4; from a cost benefit analysis, isn't really worth it. It'd be better and cheaper for me to have obfuscate 6, or raise other out of clans to 3, or perhaps even invest in a rare discipline.

          Now, If we were stuck in the world of V5 and my malkavian elder couldn't buy obfuscate 6, I already have impressive mundane skills, and there's nothing to buy, I suppose I could get potence 4... Mind you the powers in V5 are really specific so there's goals to work forward to and such but....

          If all the elders are forced to go wide because they can't go up, wouldn't they all start to look the same?

          They'd only be samey if you take the core book as a vacuum, but we know that's not the case, as more powers have been released in most of the books that have come out, which is in-world indicating a huge breadth of possible abilities of the blood. So elders would just have more time to research and cultivate conditions for uncommon abilities of the blood.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by elmerg View Post

            They'd only be samey if you take the core book as a vacuum, but we know that's not the case, as more powers have been released in most of the books that have come out, which is in-world indicating a huge breadth of possible abilities of the blood. So elders would just have more time to research and cultivate conditions for uncommon abilities of the blood.
            Maybe, but V5's disciplines tend toward being less flexible,even less powerful with the extra blood potency dice included(potence), and all vampires are capped at 5 powers per discipline.

            Elder would have to have a frankly absurd number of disciplines to make up that difference, to the point of needing 3-5 in Every common discipline, and even then could still be offed by a neonate that gets lucky.

            It's more a problem of scale than anything else.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Prometheas View Post

              Maybe, but V5's disciplines tend toward being less flexible,even less powerful with the extra blood potency dice included(potence), and all vampires are capped at 5 powers per discipline.

              Elder would have to have a frankly absurd number of disciplines to make up that difference, to the point of needing 3-5 in Every common discipline, and even then could still be offed by a neonate that gets lucky.

              It's more a problem of scale than anything else.

              The scale is entirely different in V5 than prior editions though, across the board. So it's not really a problem; the problem is continuing a 1-to-1 comparison when the mechanic scale is KNOWN to be different. When a neonate caps out at 10-11 dice without mods with their BP, while a BP8 elder caps out at 14, there's already a scale difference. Add on surge, that neonate has an 11-12, that elder has an 18. Then stack on any other bonuses that might add to it. A neonate heals 1 damage versus a methuselah healing 4-5. A neonate adds 1 to any dice roll while a methuselah adds 4-5. You can math all this out and on averages, the methuselah is going to win. Especially a methuselah played smartly, like they should and the fiction says they do for the Jyhad, not a 'lol come at me bro!' methuselah RPG Boss Monster.

              And I mean, HElena's stat block has mostly 5s and a couple of 3s. And 'having 3-5 in every common Discipline' was the hallmark of old NPC sheets regardless of Generation at times, not to mention scads of out of clan Disciplines. So it's not outside of what already existed.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by elmerg View Post
                The scale is entirely different in V5 than prior editions though, across the board. So it's not really a problem; the problem is continuing a 1-to-1 comparison when the mechanic scale is KNOWN to be different. When a neonate caps out at 10-11 dice without mods with their BP, while a BP8 elder caps out at 14, there's already a scale difference. Add on surge, that neonate has an 11-12, that elder has an 18. Then stack on any other bonuses that might add to it. A neonate heals 1 damage versus a methuselah healing 4-5. A neonate adds 1 to any dice roll while a methuselah adds 4-5. You can math all this out and on averages, the methuselah is going to win. Especially a methuselah played smartly, like they should and the fiction says they do for the Jyhad, not a 'lol come at me bro!' methuselah RPG Boss Monster.

                And I mean, HElena's stat block has mostly 5s and a couple of 3s. And 'having 3-5 in every common Discipline' was the hallmark of old NPC sheets regardless of Generation at times, not to mention scads of out of clan Disciplines. So it's not outside of what already existed.
                The scale is a problem if they want to say that all the previous editions existed at all. If V5 was it's own game, then their'd be no issue. The fact that V5 is a VTM game is what makes it an issue.

                I'll concede a bit on the "every common discipline" point, VTM is a bit notorious for not following it's own character creation rules when it comes to important NPCs. On the other hand, I will point out that said elders that had points in every common discipline And 6+ abilities won't translate to V5 at all. There is no way to give them the sheer number of powerful abilities they had in previous edition, especially if you consider that it takes several power slots to re-create what was a single ability for several disciplines. This makes many things in the lore impossible.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Prometheas View Post

                  The scale is a problem if they want to say that all the previous editions existed at all. If V5 was it's own game, then their'd be no issue. The fact that V5 is a VTM game is what makes it an issue.

                  I'll concede a bit on the "every common discipline" point, VTM is a bit notorious for not following it's own character creation rules when it comes to important NPCs. On the other hand, I will point out that said elders that had points in every common discipline And 6+ abilities won't translate to V5 at all. There is no way to give them the sheer number of powerful abilities they had in previous edition, especially if you consider that it takes several power slots to re-create what was a single ability for several disciplines. This makes many things in the lore impossible.
                  This might be one of the core problems with V5. It wants to have it's cake and diablerize it too. V5 may have worked out better as a Hard reboot of the setting, instead it gets weighed down by the stuff the new system doesn't have (like 6+ disciplines for example) that explained old plotlines. Instead we get an incredibly awkward soft reboot of the setting, with mechanic and lore questions most caused by the instance of continuity with the previous game settings. And I honestly think that V5 would have been better received by those who don't like it if it would have released as VTM: Re-imagined. It would also allow for the changes in setting (such as clans of death being one clan) without a ton of WTF moments.

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                  • #69
                    To some extent the argument would shift from "they ruined VtM" to "this is just a bad knockoff"
                    Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 08-17-2020, 03:32 AM.


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

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Gubenyochi View Post

                      This might be one of the core problems with V5. It wants to have it's cake and diablerize it too. V5 may have worked out better as a Hard reboot of the setting, instead it gets weighed down by the stuff the new system doesn't have (like 6+ disciplines for example) that explained old plotlines. Instead we get an incredibly awkward soft reboot of the setting, with mechanic and lore questions most caused by the instance of continuity with the previous game settings. And I honestly think that V5 would have been better received by those who don't like it if it would have released as VTM: Re-imagined. It would also allow for the changes in setting (such as clans of death being one clan) without a ton of WTF moments.
                      Yeah, no edition warring.

                      This is now an official warning since you were warned yesterday.


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

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                        To some extent the argument would shift from "they ruined VtM" to "this is just a bad knockoff"
                        Maybe, but I doubt people would be as vocal if they kept V5 and V20 in separate pools. V5 doesn't have enough supplemental material to cover in order to completely re-imagine the setting, but that'd be forgivable if it was seem more as a spin-off than a re-boot. As it stands, it makes complete sense that there's controversy over the game.

                        On that note, making it a spin-off would have not only given them time to build suppliments, it would have been a chance to test the waters to see what sold better and received fan-feedback over the least like rules. They could have than ran with whichever rules were the most well received and Then created a "5th edition" based on what they learned.

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