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The Morality Thread - How evil are your Kindred?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    Sabbat: Is it evil to consider mortals to be valueless as anything but food?

    Anarch: YES!

    Sabbat: Well now you're just prejudiced!
    That would imply that the Sabbat don't either know they are evil and not caring at all, or give any credence to the concept of evil at all. (So yes they are evil as sin, but by far the most interesting faction for me)

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Taggie View Post

      That would imply that the Sabbat don't either know they are evil and not caring at all, or give any credence to the concept of evil at all. (So yes they are evil as sin, but by far the most interesting faction for me)
      Older Sabbat have morality systems that reject human morality and consider it baby-like. They're the Doctor Doom, Magneto, Apocalypse, and Red Skull types.

      Younger Sabbat revel in being called evil and amoral. They're the Joker, Green Goblin (not Norman Osbourne), and Carnage types.

      At least, IMHO.


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

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      • #18
        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

        Older Sabbat have morality systems that reject human morality and consider it baby-like.

        Younger Sabbat revel in being called evil and amoral.

        At least, IMHO.
        Shovelheads do, but they grow out of it or get used as Crusade fodder. After that depends on which Path. Basically IMHO True Sabbat are the ones who have started on a Path, and if that takes longer than a few years, they are used up in suicide actions, defect, or wassail, certainly no pc on a standard game should be on humanity. Paths should be hard, but they should fit, to stretch you example, the correct Path should be like finding the right congregation and priest, whose rites and doctrines suit the person you have become.
        Last edited by Taggie; 09-19-2020, 03:25 PM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Taggie View Post

          Shovelheads do, but they grow out of it or get used as Crusade fodder. After that depends on which Path. Basically IMHO True Sabbat are the ones who have started on a Path, and if that takes longer than a few years, they are used up in suicide actions, defect, or wassail, certainly no pc on a standard game should be on humanity.
          Yeah, but Shovelheads and Neonates make up a majority of the Sabbat. I also don't see them moving out of the "revel in being an evil asshole" stage until their Ancilla years.

          As for PCs, that depends on what kind of character you want to be. Do you want to be an alien inhuman Cthulhu cultist or mad scientist? Be on a Path.

          You want to be a guy who does crazy shit for fun? Be on Low Humanity.


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

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          • #20
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

            Yeah, but Shovelheads and Neonates make up a majority of the Sabbat. I also don't see them moving out of the "revel in being an evil asshole" stage until their Ancilla years.

            As for PCs, that depends on what kind of character you want to be. Do you want to be an alien inhuman Cthulhu cultist or mad scientist? Be on a Path.

            You want to be a guy who does crazy shit for fun? Be on Low Humanity.
            Which is why I prefer 2e, yes everyone on a path was a stretch, but it seperated the secta properly. Oh and crazy shit for fun? The Cathari would like to meet you. Also Harmony was still a thing in 2e.

            At a very basic level, if you aren't on a Path, you should imo still be a shovelhead
            Last edited by Taggie; 09-19-2020, 03:34 PM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Taggie View Post
              Basically to me a vampire having a humanity score makes as much sense as a human having an ape track.
              Unless that human spent an entire life as an ape, had ape parents, went to ape high school, had their first kiss with an ape girl/boy, etc. then yes, it makes no sense.

              But the vampire *did* start as a human, and live a human life, and grow up with human morals and ethics and guidance and values.

              No matter how hard and fast they are running away from that humanity, *they are still defined by it.*

              The hungers, the territoriality, the power lust, the greed, the competitiveness, it's all utterly human. Sure, they can get all precious about having grown beyond humanity and more advanced or evolved or whatever now than they were as mortals, but they are just holding their hands over their eyes and saying 'nuh huh!' because that's *human nature,* to downplay what we've lost.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by Ian Turner View Post

                Unless that human spent an entire life as an ape, had ape parents, went to ape high school, had their first kiss with an ape girl/boy, etc. then yes, it makes no sense.

                But the vampire *did* start as a human, and live a human life, and grow up with human morals and ethics and guidance and values.

                No matter how hard and fast they are running away from that humanity, *they are still defined by it.*

                The hungers, the territoriality, the power lust, the greed, the competitiveness, it's all utterly human. Sure, they can get all precious about having grown beyond humanity and more advanced or evolved or whatever now than they were as mortals, but they are just holding their hands over their eyes and saying 'nuh huh!' because that's *human nature,* to downplay what we've lost.

                We did spend all that time as apes, humans are apes. All those traits and instincts..also all ape traits That was my point. To measure ourselves by how apey we are makes no sense however, we are seperate but related beings.
                Last edited by Taggie; 09-19-2020, 03:38 PM.

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                • #23
                  In the Cam, it's very individual really. Some elders are Evil-As-Fuck out of boredom, some elders are the mortal idea of normal , some elders might actually genuinely be nice or moralizing, but humanity above 7 is rare among elders and is usually a sign they'll be offed by a rival for their weakness or suicide. I am very fond of -I did some unspeakable shit while I was young but i'm not doing that anymore- dark-secret elders.

                  In the Anarchs, you've got more polarization among neonates.

                  In the Sabbat, because of the pack system, you've got good and evil groups. The best and the worst can't stand being in the same pack and they can go either one way or the other.

                  The Giovanni are bad. Assamites are Nazis, The Setites, by sheer merit of a cohesive worldview, are good and noble characters.

                  A lot of my Baali aren't evil at all, they're just unfortunates stuck with the wrong bloodline trying to hide among the masses.

                  Most kindred have a humanity of 5.


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

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                  • #24
                    I prefer there to be a broad spectrum. Humanity ranges from 0 to 10 and if characters with 0s or 10s don't ever show up in games/supplements, there's no point in having those ratings. It always bugged me how there were virtually no published Path followers with 10 ratings.

                    I suspect that's true for most people's games and what counts is how commonplace vampires at a given rating are, rather than whether they exist period. This will obviously set a very different tone for your game if Humanity 2 vampires are commonplace and Humanity 10 ones are vanishingly rare, or whether it's the other way around.

                    Vampire Ratings

                    Broadly speaking, I think you can divide characters into five "morality ratings."

                    Good guy vampires. These are actively principled vampires. They either have a firm moral code or are just naturally decent, wholesomeone people the Embrace didn't manage to ruin. They aren't saints--they're not necessarily going to sacrifice themselves to save a stranger's life. They are, however, better people than your average guy off the street. They try to use their powers responsibly and in some cases for active good. They go out of their way not to kill, and when they do, they will feel horrible about it and try to make things right (e.g., setting up a trust fund for a victim's children). Most vampires at this level of morality are neonates, but you'll occasionally find an elder who's managed to remain true to a moral code against all odds. There's probably a 50% chance that an elder at this morality rating is pursuing Golconda--they know the war for their soul favors the Beast. All it takes is one lapse of control to set back centuries of upright behavior.

                    Examples: Maldavis. Johnann Weltmann. Menele (as he tried to be). My campaign has a couple of these guys to serve as foils and inspiration for PCs, but they are at most 5% of the population. They are the smallest morality demographic bloc.

                    Average guy vampires. These are your average John or Jane off the street who just happen to drink blood. They're probably not trying to make the world a better place (except for their loved ones), but they don't want to make it a worse one either--they just want to get by. They feel bad when they kill, but if they're old enough, or were Embraced under less than perfect circumstances, chances are they've left behind at least one body. They may or may not try to make up for it. Probably depends who the victim was--it's one thing to kill a family member when you can see the hole that'll leave in people's lives, and another to kill a stranger. Still, they actively try to avoid killing, out of principle as well as utility. Most of the time. They might do it if circumstances get really ugly--and they always do, don't they? The downward spiral begins here.

                    Alternatively, a vampire at this morality rating might be a "realistic" principled elder--one who tries to follow a moral code, but who's committed some serious misdeeds, likely as a result of continued significant participation in Kindred society. Their soul shines brighter than most elders, but is still less than squeaky-clean. This is the most moral that most princes can aspire to (and which most princes fall short of). The very nature of the job entails no-win situations that require moral compromise.

                    Examples: Damien (1e). Inyanga. Bobby Weatherbottom (1e). Yaryan. In my chronicles, these vampires are perhaps 30% of the population, and the bulk of whom are neonates.

                    Jerks. These vampires are worse people than your average guy off the street. Lying, cheating, extortion, and assorted criminal acts are everynight occurences to these vampires. They're not actively malevolent, but they're not shy they're looking out for #1 first and foremost. They'd prefer not to kill, but if push comes to shove, you probably won't have to shove them that hard. Principle may still matter, but it takes a backseat to practicality. Corpses are Masquerade breaches. Chances are they'll feel a pang of conscience over killing an innocent victim, but they're not likely to pursue active atonement. It's a rough world. If you know what's good for you, you'll stay out of their way, because they definitely won't balk at killing if you've crossed them first. This is the first morality level where vampires start to actively engage in twisted shit like ghouling loved ones they can't bear to let go. They probably still have reservations about it, but who knows how much longer that will last? Eternity is a long time.

                    Examples: Annabelle Triabelle. Bobby Weatherbottom (V5). Menele (as he actually was). Celia from the Winter's Teeth comics. In my chronicles, these vampires are perhaps 30% of the population--neonates who've "grown up," many ancillae, and elders who are "decent enough. For an elder." This is the most decent prince most Camarilla cities are realistically likely to wind up with. Overthrow them and there's decent odds their replacement will be worse.

                    Assholes. A step beyond just killing when they have to, these vampires will kill whenever it suits them and are largely blase to death. Another body doesn't mean all that much. They are a lot worse than your average guy off the street, most of whom will react with horror to their misdeeds and call them monsters. They can get off to all sorts of sadistic acts for shits and giggles, or they might just be utterly ruthless and practical-minded, seeing lives as little more than numbers. While they might still adhere to a moral code, it's probably one grounded in distinctly inhuman values--e.g., the Tzimisce who'll flay a ghoul's skin for disobedience, but who wouldn't dream of betraying a guest in their domain. These vampires may still have Touchstones/morality pets who they may be kind and decent towards, but it's utterly at odds with the rest of their behavior--after all, Hitler was a vegetarian. It is tragically easy for them to ruin these Touchstones' lives, even unintentionally. Still, such morality pets offer a glimmer of hope that the person they used to be isn't completely gone. Just mostly gone. Woe to anyone who gets in their way. They won't just kill you, they'll make you suffer first.

                    Examples: Capone. Helena. Lodin. Kevin Jackson (V5). In my chronicles, they are perhaps 25% of the population. Most elders and jaded ancillae fall into this category. A few neonates who've been through some seriously twisted shit might wind up here. It is pretty typical to have a prince at this morality level. The bright side is you can definitely do better by overthrowing them.

                    Monsters. There are monsters and then there are monsters. These guys give even their fellow Damned a bad name. Diablerie, pedophilia, torture, mass murder--it's all fair game, and probably lots of fun, too. The Camarilla observes more than one type of Masquerade, and these vampires are more monstrous than it is socially acceptable to openly be--they remind their fellow Damned just what they really are underneath the facade of humanity. They disgruntle the Assholes, disturb the Jerks, and horrify the Average Guys. The smarter ones learn to hide the full extent of their crimes, because they know the Camarilla cares more about politeness than morality. Don't rock the boat and you can get away with a lot more than just murder. The dumber ones who don't grasp this tend to burn out fairly soon, whether at the hands of vampire hunters or fellow Kindred tired of the messes they keep leaving. These vampires may have Touchstones, but if they do, there's decent odds they're just as cruel to them as any other victim. God help anyone who crosses one of these vampires and loses. Final death may seem a mercy.

                    Examples: Son. Ballard. Gordon Keaton. Jacob Schumpter. In my chronicles, they are perhaps 10% of the population. The most common ones are diablerists hiding their crimes. They're a minority, but they're regrettably more common than the Good Guys.

                    Chronicle Ratings

                    It's come up in several different discussions that 1e had a lot more Good Guy and Average Guy vampires than later editions like Revised and V5.

                    Broadly speaking, I think there is a spectrum that chronicles fall into. Also with one to five dots because hey, it's the WoD.

                    Vampions. Vampires are superheroes with fangs. Personal horror is not a significant part of the game. Run your game how you want to, there's no wrong way to have fun, etc. etc., but this style of play is not my cup of tea.

                    1e/some 2e. The largest demographic of vampires are Average Guys. There is an even split between the Good Guys and the Monsters. Carthage was a utopida of Golcona seekers. The Inconnu are Golconda seekers. Saulot was vampire Jesus who definitely didn't sire the Baali. Your average city has at least one vampire in Golconda, and possibly more. These chronicles don't just tend to place greater emphasis on morality, they often believe that being a vampire doesn't necessarily make you a monster.

                    V20/some 2e. The largest demographic of vampires is split between Average Guys and Jerks. Monsters outnumber the Good Guys, perhaps by 2:1, but the latter still exist. Carthage may have had Golconda seekers, but it may have been a den of infernalism too, or it may not be as bad or as good as is commonly thought. The Inconnu are a mystery who might be sinister or benign, but even if they're benign, forget about them all being in Golconda. Saulot may or may not be a good guy who may or may not have sired the Baali. Golcona probably exists, but your average city isn't guaranteed to have a Golcondite, and almost certainly won't have more than one. There are rumors Golconda isn't as wholesome as most Kindred think. These chronicles tend to believe that vampires as a whole are worse than humans, but they aren't categorically monsters. Just predisposed towards it. The odds are stacked, but can be beaten. This is the level that I personally prefer in my chronicles.

                    Revised. Most vampires are Jerks, there's lots of Assholes, still a fair number of Average Guys, and vanishingly few Good Guys. Carthage was an infernalist den of horror, the Inconnu are a mystery, Saulot is a bad guy who doesn't feel bad about siring the Baali, and Golconda itself may not even be the vampire nirvana it's cracked up to be. Princes engage in mass pogroms against thin-bloods, the Camarilla and Sabbat are at war and can't be weighed down by sentiment, and the Camarilla honestly might not be that much nicer than the Sabbat (if it even is at all). Vampires are almost all bad people--if God were to wipe every bad one from the earth, he'd only leave behind a single church of determined redemption seekers. Still, morality isn't completely gone, just a lot rarer. Lair of the Hidden is one of my favorite Revised supplements (and one of my favorite VtM supplements, period) centering around a coterie of failed Golconda seekers who PCs can damn or redeem, depending on their actions.

                    V5. Arguably the darkest iteration of the game yet, vampires are monsters, full stop. Don't even pretend they're anything better. They are bad people who are kidding themselves if they think they can be anything better. Vampire parents who ghoul their babies, killing your ghoul's family as a matter of "good sense," killing your sexual partners and laughing it off with an "oops," it's all fair game. Most vampires seem like Assholes, with a large cohort of Monsters, and no real Average Guys. Forget about Good Guys. Depictions of Kindred callousness and atrocity are so commonplace that the writers start to play it for comedy (something even Revised never did) just for there to be greater diversity in tone. I can see why they did it, because you do need points of light to contrast the darkness. But if there's so much darkness that you need to laugh at it to break things up, might be you could stand to have a little less darkness.

                    In fairness to Onyx Path, Chicago V5 is probably closer to Revised (and arguably V20) in its level of morality. Anarchs, though, very much falls under this rating, as I've expressed in its thread.

                    Player Ratings

                    So where do players/PCs tend to fall? In my experience, they trend towards averages. They'll do what's convenient, be kind and decent towards the NPCs who earn their affection, and cruel towards the ones who earn their ire. They often have principles and lines in the sand, but these are rarely completely inviolable.

                    In my current chronicle, now 5.5 years old, I've had PCs at the following ratings:

                    * 2 Good Guys
                    * 5 Average Guys
                    * 5 Jerks
                    * 6 Assholes
                    * 2 Monsters

                    What's very common is the downward spiral. Most PCs started at higher ratings than they wound up as. This fits with the setting's themes and my personal tastes--Humanity tends to go down rather than up, and it's easier to become a worse monster than a better person. It has been pretty rare that I've seen a PC's Humanity go up, though it has happened a few times.

                    I typically prefer to GM for PCs who are Average Guys or Jerks. I'm okay with Good Guys if the player understands that it will be a hard and lonely road. (I'd love to GM a Golconda arc for a PC, but have yet to do so.) I'm okay with Assholes if they have Touchstones they deeply care for. Granted, that's something I'd want anyways. The bottom line is that I want something I can still use to horrify them with, whether that's via external dangers or the PC's growing monstrosity towards their loved ones. Gordon Keaton-esque Monsters tend to work better as NPCs. Ultimately, Masquerade is a horror game, and it's very difficult to horrify a PC who is already blase to atrocity. Usually too difficult to still be fun.


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

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Taggie View Post

                      We did spend all that time as apes, humans are apes. All those traits and instincts..also all ape traits That was my point. To measure ourselves by how apey we are makes no sense however, we are seperate but related beings.
                      At the end of the day, vampires are just humans with violent psychosis. Giving into that violent psychosis is just the same as a human deciding to be a mobster.

                      Some vampires have delusions of being more but, sadly for them, it's just a delusion.



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

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                      • #26
                        Yeah don’t Elders Hold random Torture parties?

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          At the end of the day, vampires are just humans with violent psychosis. Giving into that violent psychosis is just the same as a human deciding to be a mobster.

                          Some vampires have delusions of being more but, sadly for them, it's just a delusion.

                          do humans sense blood, get excited at its sight or smell, get instense pleasure from drinking it?

                          are they immune to disease, do they read minds, play with minds, rewrite minds, destroy minds, unveil secrets, force people to fall in love with them, see spiritual images, create illusions, see in the dark, see ghosts, extend their presence pas their bodies, get paralyzed by beauty, turn ino animals, talk to animals, share animal senses, lift cars, break bones with a touch, dig tunnels with bear hands...

                          there are more differences between vampires and humans than there are between humans and cows


                          -

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Pleiades View Post

                            do humans sense blood, get excited at its sight or smell, get instense pleasure from drinking it?

                            are they immune to disease, do they read minds, play with minds, rewrite minds, destroy minds, unveil secrets, force people to fall in love with them, see spiritual images, create illusions, see in the dark, see ghosts, extend their presence pas their bodies, get paralyzed by beauty, turn ino animals, talk to animals, share animal senses, lift cars, break bones with a touch, dig tunnels with bear hands...

                            there are more differences between vampires and humans than there are between humans and cows
                            Yes, they're humans called vampires.

                            And before you say all the superpowers make them not human, almost all of them can be done by humans called mages.

                            And every human being can become that.


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

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                              At the end of the day, vampires are just humans with violent psychosis. Giving into that violent psychosis is just the same as a human deciding to be a mobster.

                              Some vampires have delusions of being more but, sadly for them, it's just a delusion.

                              That's the other view of vamps. I'm firmly in the they are something definitely other. I wouldn't enjoy your style of game, you wouldn't enjoy mine, but as yet mine isn't possible this edition (and honestly was difficult in Revised)

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Taggie View Post

                                That's the other view of vamps. I'm firmly in the they are something definitely other. I wouldn't enjoy your style of game, you wouldn't enjoy mine, but as yet mine isn't possible this edition (and honestly was difficult in Revised)
                                Eh, I don't think my game would be interesting without the other side represented. The confusion is where the drama exists.

                                Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
                                Yeah don’t Elders Hold random Torture parties?
                                Depends on the Elders.

                                I think Annabelle is a Elder who hosts parties of art, music, occasional orgies, and blood tastings.

                                Helena would be annoyed they don't include mass murder and burning Christians like she used to enjoy with Nero and give them a swipe left.

                                Because Toreadors are the worst.


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

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