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House Carna discussion thread- The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy

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  • House Carna discussion thread- The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy

    Carried over from the Anarch thread.

    http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...78#post1421678

    The thing about House Carna is that they're not fighting for progressive women's rights either or at least in the context that they're complaining about job opportunities or a glass ceiling or the right to vote in the Pyramid. House Carna's feminist agenda is supernatural based with the fact that they want to divorce the Pyramid from male orientated magic to atavistic nature magic with a feminine role in the supernatural. It's a fundamentally occult-based rebellion that could be summarized as, "Less Order of Hermes, more Verbena!"

    I think this was a good decision because while vampires may or may not care about oppression, at least any except their own, I feel like their complaints will be a lot...WEIRDER than your typical humans.

    If a Follower of Set complains about sexism, she's probably complaining about the Church of Set refusing to allow women to perform the Rite of the Heirophant and demand they submit to the 5th Benediction of Nephyths.
    And yet, Carna is absolutely 100% correct that the most Tremere are orthodox followers of Hermetic magic when there is no reason that Blood Sorcery/Thaumaturgy practitioners should be limited to it. We have Technomancy, Assamite Babylonian and Caanite Sorcery, Followers of Set Egyptian true name sorcery, and Marcus Vitel's Roman Numena that may actually have been a Lasombra or Venture sorcery that has since been lost. Baba Yaga is also a perfect source of Verbena-esque Sorcery.

    Is it weird I find the conflict over styles of magic (feminine, sex, blood, and moon based vs. methodical, book, number, and name based) more interesting for House Carna vs. Tremere than I would over more "normal" sexism and oppression? Maybe. On the other hand, that's what the Loresheets imply. Besides, THE BOOK OF THE GRAVE WAR is about liberating yourself and your mind from mind-control and the Blood Bond so it's not like Carna is LIMITED to women.

    It's just her magic style primarily appeals to them.

    But it helps explain why Carna is in the Camarilla and not the Anarchs once she had a choice. Carna is concerned with issues unrelated to Anarch ones. You are 100% correct that Carna Tremere are still the same scheming Elders and plotters of regular Clan Tremere. They're just wearing pointy hats and standing over cauldrons with silver slippers.
    My view on Carna's history is:

    1. Carna discovers a magic ritual that breaks Blood Bonds, Dominate, and other mind-control. It is the Book of the Grave War.

    2. She passes it around among her fellow American Tremere and others she invites

    3. She flees Milwaukee with it and her fellow defectors to the West Coast. Carna and her followers, however many exist, expect a massive retaliation.

    4. The Tremere Pyramid unexpectedly is annihilated by the Second Inquisition, possibly with the help of an outside party

    5. Carna discovers she DOESN'T NEED to join the Anarchs as her enemies are now far weaker.

    6. Carna leverages her position to becoming a Clan Faction protected by the Camarilla.

    7. The Loyalist Tremere lose their shit but can't fight a war against them right now.

    8. Carna develops her Loresheet that is a lot of sex and cauldron magic.


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

  • #2
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    I think this makes the most sense. While I have no doubt the mortal House Tremere was sexist in the Middle Ages, and that this continued as tradition in the first few centuries as vampires, I think at some point vampires discard anything psychological which is really based on biological life as they accept and understand what it is to be a sexless corpse that hungers for blood. So I imagine as more of the Tremere becames elders they were more open to jettisoning obstacles based on biological sex to advancement within the clan. That doesn't mean younger vampires brought up in that earlier tradition wouldn't sabotage it. But I think in Carna's case, as someone who already been a Prince and was either a Tremere Regent in control of her own Chantry or more likely a Lord, she's overcome that. It makes much more sense that she was frustrated by crossing a line the Tremere leadership would not countenance - a fundamental change in approach of magic that overturns everything Tremere and his disciples have done. That would be heresy. And it threatens the smooth operation of the system that worked to make the Tremere a very powerful and influential clan from one that was once hated and despised as usurpers. Why change that for someone's pride? Hence Carna needed to break away. That makes more sense to me than the feminist interpretation.

    But I don't think it's going to work out for her and her cronies in the long term.

    Versus

    I actually agree with MyWifeisScary on this one. If you simply look at it from the lens of game mechanics when all you need to do is spend XP, then CTPhipps is right. Why not spend your XP on all this stuff? Many STs are just going to approve it anyway and not ask for real justification from their players.

    But if we want to take the setting seriously, then MyWifeisScary is correct that the Tremere pursuit of Thaumaturgy on Hermetic principles simply produced a far more powerful and effective Clan/faction. That these other traditions exist and can be learn is beside the point. They'd be a distraction that is only going to gum up the works. In the setting, there is a reason why Clan Tremere rose to power, and the vampire adherents of these other Paths didn't achieve anything close. We the players now have lots more written Paths and Rituals after thirty years of gaming than what originally existed in 1991. But nothing has actually changed in the setting itself. The Tremere became powerful and influential and these other groups did not. Relatively speaking, they lost out badly. There is a reason for this. Carna has just created another small group obsessed with some fringe theories based on psychological obsessions. From a power perspective, it's a losing proposition.
    Obviously, it's going to be up to individual games but the Tremere orthodoxy and overreliance on Hermeticism is probably their greatest weakness leading up to the Fall of the Clan in Vienna where it was revealed they were overly centralized. One of the lessons of Mage: The Ascension is that the kind of magic you use is basically what sort of pencil you use to achieve the same result. As such, the overfocus on Paradigm has resulted in the deaths of thousands of mages for little more than blind adherence to ideaology (which has NEVER happened in real life).

    The magic of the Tremere is centralized, ordered, and alphabatized but it is no more powerful or effective than any other kind of vampire sorcery. To explain just how wrong they are with it, the Giovanni have pretty much the same level of uniquity with their dark magic (Necromancy) because sorcery isn't in the graphs and figures but in the blood as well as talent.

    The problem of sticking so closely to the Hermetic paradigm is it's impaired their ability to create Technomancy, control the changing tides of magic, and blocked off avenues of sorcery that would be available if they were more flexibilty. Carna is going to areas the Tremere would normally disdain.

    Individuals pursuing their own study of blood sorcery can become just as powerful as anyone else. I imagine Baba Yaga probably is/was more powerful than even Tremere himself. But the Tremere method has worked much better for a group. And that is not the same thing. It could be theoretically possible for one of these other blood sorcery traditions to reach the same level of the Tremere. But they didn't. And for good reason. And I don't think its good to just hand wave that away. It would undermine the fundamental constructs of the setting in favor of a Wrestlemania style metaplot.
    Arguably, the Tremere were hamstrung by the fact that they were constantly focused on Thaumaturgy above all else. There were almost no Tremere Princes, very few Primogen, and only a handful building up their financial as well as social resources. They were a one-trick pony and while a good trick, it cost them badly. It also is now SEVERELY less useful since there's now another Clan with Thaumaturgy and thousands of years of experience developing it.

    I think Carna can probably survive quite well with her merry cult for some time. But probably within 100-200 years at latest, her entire chantry/coven gets destroyed sending a clear message one does not betray the Pyramid. But there will be a few more Paths out there of dubious benefit, most of which becomes forgotten in the long term.
    Frankly, the Pyramid was stupid and a web is better. There's no reason that the Tremere as a whole can't benefit from Carna. Given that my theory is Tremere himself destroyed the Council of Seven, its unlikely they'll be rebuilt.


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

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    • #3
      Ah yes House Carna or Hermeticism is too hard a concept to grasp so let's dumb it down with Hollywood's idea of pagan magic......


      You've been playing around the magic that is black
      But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back

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      • #4
        The idea of House Carna as a mini-sect, structurally and thematically similar to the Hecata, only occurred to me today. House Carna would be more Camarilla adjacent that is the Hecata, but is also not in lock step with the remains of old school Clan Tremere. Which is a big part of the appeal for me of House Carna. This should allow rogue Tremere Antonio Calbullarshi and his group to find some allies.

        Just to hang a lantern (or lampshade) on this, the Tremere and blood magic are not real. It follows from this then that an actual assessment of the logistical practicality of the pyramid or Hermetic methodology is impossible. Those two assessments result in a conclusion that asserting the pyramid, and the Hermetic methodology to blood magic, to be the best is simply opinion and not a verifiable fact (its falsity cannot be determined either).

        Going on from the fact that blood magic is not real, and that positions on how it should be done are simply opinion; my opinion is that because these elements are part of a game, and the game should be enjoyable to the largest group of people reasonably possible, then limiting the Tremere to the pyramid and blood magic to the Hermetic approach is at best unnecessary and at worse reduces the games appeal and utility by needlessly limitings its flexibility and appeal to gamers.

        Not everyone is going to groove on playing Evil Vampire Elminster or Evil Vampire Merlin or Evil Vampire Dr. Strange - and that is fine. Some will want to run Evil Vampire Sabrina or Evil Vampire Samantha Stephens or Evil Vampire Laveau. And that is groovy because it's just a damned game, it is supposed to be fun and about vicarious empowerment and I'm not going to tell people they are doing fun wrong.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Dwight View Post
          Ah yes House Carna or Hermeticism is too hard a concept to grasp so let's dumb it down with Hollywood's idea of pagan magic......
          In a game about Hollywood vampires?




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

          Comment


          • #6
            Wait a minute, with the Pyramid completely gone and with the Tremere as a Clan practically defunct now, what's their clan curse now; seeing as their is no more chain of command blood-bonding anymore (or am I wrong about this?).

            EDIT:

            Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews
            the Tremere and blood magic are not real.
            What the heck? Blood Magic isn't real? WTF? You do know other clans have been using blood magic for ages even before the start and rise of the Tremere right? Also Blood Magic can be learned by any Vampire with the right tutors complemented with good boons. Certainty not from Tremere of course (or if you REALLY have a big boon on a Tremere and they CAN'T refuse your request for tutorship) because they're close sourced- but either Setites, Assamites, or even magic-enthused Kindred can be learned from. Another avenue of learning Blood Magic would be simply going on a mini-Chapter in the Chronicle where you ask the ST to allow your character to find some vampiric tomes to learn Blood Magic...

            From outside the in-character explanation to the OOC manner of getting Blood Magic- simply spend your XP with the out-of-clan price... The methods of acquiring a certain knowledge in Blood Sorcery/Magic being outside the Tremere isn't hard at all. So the whole "errr lets destroy the prominent feature of the Tremere (the inner Pyramid organization of the clan and its focused Hermetism style) for the sake of it" makes absolutely no sense.

            Not only that its very debatable Tremere fans (that is the people who loved the way they were pre-V5 or people who didn't really picked them but loved their interesting lore and rise) even like these changes. Also I'm very curious of what this "large group" you infer too... who are they exactly and why do they supposedly laud this dastard change to the Tremere vs how the fans of the clan want it?
            Last edited by Shakanaka; 11-04-2020, 09:51 PM.


            Jade Kingdom Warrior

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
              Wait a minute, with the Pyramid completely gone and with the Tremere as a Clan practically defunct now, what's their clan curse now; seeing as their is no more chain of command blood-bonding anymore (or am I wrong about this?).
              They can no longer Blood Bond a fellow vampire ever. Which is part of why I think Tremere destroyed the Council of Seven then laid a curse on them so they could never rebuild the old Pyramid.

              And I'd argue the Tremere are probably better off than they've ever been. The Council of Seven's grip prevented them from expanding as a Clan.


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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                Obviously, it's going to be up to individual games but the Tremere orthodoxy and overreliance on Hermeticism is probably their greatest weakness leading up to the Fall of the Clan in Vienna where it was revealed they were overly centralized.
                Centralization has its good points and bad points, but it's not like the Tremere were micromanaged by the top. The pyramid structure is simple, but effective. A seven tier system isn't particularly centralized or decentralized. It all depends on how much autonomy each level has. I've always thought that Regents ran most of their chantries quite independently. They simply had to send reports up the chain, and fulfill certain commands. Everyone else I know who has played or run the game ran it the same way.

                The Tremere were certainly hierarchical in its dominance and submission, and orders were expected to be obeyed. But the clan was also always mentioned as rewarding successful deviance. The clan was always portrayed as highly competitive. This is not a static organization. This was not a clan for vampires who lacked initiative and only did what they were told.

                Tremere orthodoxy, hermetic background, organization, and resources are not things that hold them back. It's what allows them to effectively train large numbers of vampires in using magic. No other group has anything like that.

                As I've stated before, I am not a fan of the V5 metaplot and don't use it (although there are various parallels to what V5's creators have done and how I've done my own chronicles - so I think I understand why they made certain decisions even if I don't like the execution of much of them). I find much of its metaplot to be "we need this to happen, so it happens". So I'm not very impressed by appeals to its authority. (My feelings about metaplot is that it is best seen as fan fiction that is currently approved. But only wait a while, and the retcons will come and what was once approved is now not only disowned, but possibly mocked. Other than pillaging it for ideas, I ignore it.) I am not a Tremere fanboy and often argued against players who were, but I always acknowledged that the Tremere of the modern nights were meant to be powerful in the setting.

                While I won't be using the House Carna plot, I do think the discussion has general relevance because the possibility of any Tremere going rogue, or any non-Tremere organizing into some kind of arcane group to rival them is something that can happen in many chronicles and gaming groups. (In my own chronicles, I have a secret group within the Camarilla that knows earlier Blood Sorcery Paths that predate the Tremere that sometimes work against the Tremere, and I have certain Paths be openly known so that they are theoretically available to any vampire - even anarchs - simply because I think Movement of the Mind and Weather Control are so evocative to vampires in general, I don't think the Tremere or others should have them exclusively).

                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                The magic of the Tremere is centralized, ordered, and alphabatized but it is no more powerful or effective than any other kind of vampire sorcery.
                At the end of the day, while certain Paths are mechanically available to other traditions of blood sorcery, and each group has its own Paths unique to them, there's a difference between saying theoretically none is superior or inferior to another, and acknowledgment that in the setting the Tremere amassed far greater knowledge collectively than any other group and transformed that into major power among the Kindred. If you just ignore that, you are ignoring a major component of the setting.

                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                The problem of sticking so closely to the Hermetic paradigm is it's impaired their ability to create Technomancy, control the changing tides of magic, and blocked off avenues of sorcery that would be available if they were more flexibilty. Carna is going to areas the Tremere would normally disdain.
                I think all of this is nonsense. It's a made up argument that exists simply to prove one interpretation is correct. That's your view, and that's fine. I'm sure you view my opinion as equal nonsense. Since none of this is based on reality, neither of us can say who is really right in our view of fictional vampire magic.

                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                Arguably, the Tremere were hamstrung by the fact that they were constantly focused on Thaumaturgy above all else. There were almost no Tremere Princes, very few Primogen, and only a handful building up their financial as well as social resources. They were a one-trick pony and while a good trick, it cost them badly. It also is now SEVERELY less useful since there's now another Clan with Thaumaturgy and thousands of years of experience developing it.
                I find this completely bizarre. Tremere so overfocused on Thaumaturgy that they neglected everything else? In every prior edition of the game, it was always mentioned that the Tremere was assembling massive power in the Camarilla and threatening the Ventrue's dominance over it. Tremere influence over other vampires and control over mortals was always mentioned. They were owed a lot of boons. And if there weren't many Tremere Princes, it was by choice - choosing other avenues of influence like being advisors, or collecting occult artifacts and powers unavailable to other clans.

                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                Frankly, the Pyramid was stupid and a web is better.
                A web has a center as well. I can draw a hierarchy in a web format just as easily as I can in a top-down structure. I can make connections - whether formal or informal - between members of the same group and between peers. I don't think this is as great distinction as you think.

                Like many of our arguments, this ultimately comes down to a matter of taste. Thaumaturgy is one of those things that have changed wildly over the years. I remember when the developers of Revised routinely complained about the amount of Blood Magic out there even while pumping out multiple supplements expanding it. So it now seems far more ubiquitous than it was meant to be. Everyone is going to deal with it differently. So now that I had my say, I'll move on. Otherwise both of us will just rehash the same arguments over and over. Thanks for sharing your views.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Black Fox
                  At the end of the day, while certain Paths are mechanically available to other traditions of blood sorcery, and each group has its own Paths unique to them, there's a difference between saying theoretically none is superior or inferior to another, and acknowledgment that in the setting the Tremere amassed far greater knowledge collectively than any other group and transformed that into major power among the Kindred. If you just ignore that, you are ignoring a major component of the setting.
                  It had the broadest power base but both Baba Yaga and Ur-Shulgi implied that as powerful as the Council of Seven or even Tremere was, they were still only methuselahs playing at the games of gods. The big difference between the Tremere and, say, the Followers of Set or the Tzimisce is that the latter too had magical traditions as SUPPLEMENTS to their existing power bases while the Tremere devoted themselves whole hog.

                  But even then, the existence of the Sorcerers caste implies that the Tremere's accumulated wisdom wasn't perhaps as vast as they thought.

                  And yes, this is a matter of taste.

                  Edit:

                  Added a bit more Black Fox

                  Originally posted by Black Fox
                  I think all of this is nonsense. It's a made up argument that exists simply to prove one interpretation is correct. That's your view, and that's fine. I'm sure you view my opinion as equal nonsense. Since none of this is based on reality, neither of us can say who is really right in our view of fictional vampire magic.
                  Yes, at the end of the day this is all just us debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pen. None of us can be RIGHT or WRONG about fictional bloodsucking monsters but the whole point is that we have FUN discussing the idea. The point of discussion aside from entertainment is to share what we think about the setting, have a few laughs, and then see if there's anything worth stealing for our own games.

                  There's no right or wrong answer but the benefit of these arguments is that we get different perspectives as well as learn to see different perspectives.

                  Originally posted by Black Fox
                  I find this completely bizarre. Tremere so overfocused on Thaumaturgy that they neglected everything else? In every prior edition of the game, it was always mentioned that the Tremere was assembling massive power in the Camarilla and threatening the Ventrue's dominance over it. Tremere influence over other vampires and control over mortals was always mentioned. They were owed a lot of boons. And if there weren't many Tremere Princes, it was by choice - choosing other avenues of influence like being advisors, or collecting occult artifacts and powers unavailable to other clans.
                  For whatever reason, they decided to make it so that Tremere didn't have any Princes [that they were the clan with the least number in fact] and that they were constantly in-fighting. I never liked the fact the Tremere practiced their own form of monomancy and were in-fighting with the Sith but the price of their strong centralization seems like they wanted to weaken the Tremere by having them both completely under control but feuding for the prestige of the Council of Seven within their own Clan.

                  I always viewed the Tremere as the 2nd most powerful Clan in the Camarilla (The Toreador are the 3rd) but I feel like that they were overly obsessive with Thaumaturgy even in-universe and that they neglected their other disciplines' benefits like Dominate. The Tremere could have benefited from more Dusables and less Nicolai's is all I'm saying.
                  Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-05-2020, 04:46 AM.


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

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                  • #10
                    You seem to have left out my post when quoting the last thread, one that roundly defeats yours, and I can't tell if that's deliberate or not.
                    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                    She's 100% wrong. First off, consider how much of a fucking pain it would be to manage a chantry where everyone's speaking a different language compared to a chantry where everyone's doing the same fucking thing. The standardization of Hermetic thaumaturgy is an absolute gift; Everyone's on the same page when it comes to teaching and learning. It may not be as exciting, but it's a thousand times more effective. Oh and they're not killing eachother over superstition disputes or anything like that, which is nice.
                    Second.
                    Different styles of magic have advantages and disadvantages to them. A Setite sorcerer absolutely needs to larp as a priest(ess) to do a ritual, Dur-An-Ki requires you to get into an ecstatic state. The former has you worship the dark god and defend a shrine and the latter has you mess with entities you don't quite understand and get high while you're doing it. Sure, these styles come with their small advantages that the Tremere don't have, but the tremere have done really well in eliminating the weaknesses of their style.

                    Next, of course, Hermeticism is an all-encompassing philosophy. If it exists, they can make magic of it. "As above, so below". If you're following a pagan pantheon, you are limited to learning magics appropriate to your view of that pantheon: You can't learn Lure of Flames if you don't have a fire deity in your pantheon, or if the fire deity in your pantheon is opposed to the god you like. Most pantheons don't have a tech God, so you can never learn technomagic... But, if your pantheon had, say, something totally cool like a Goddess of Bees, and you could make the "Path of Bees", the Tremere wouldn't take all that long to steal it and adapt it to their system. You would never be able to use the Path of Bees if you didn't have a God of Bees.

                    The Tremere don't celebrate their Thaumaturgy above others entirely because of hubris; by most rationalization their magic is the best, and their organization and ability to diseminate magic safely and effectively is the reason why they 'won' their monopoly over magic. You could make the same argument for the Order of Hermes: it's not a coincidence that they lead the traditions.

                    In summary; Abandoning Hermetic Thaumaturgy to accept all kinds of magicians is just foolish.

                    Edit: I get that you might like Carna because it caters to more casual play of thaumaturges and it's nice to put your own worldview into things, that's fine. I'm not going to deride you for that. But from a pure-in universe perspective, it's bad and shouldn't work, and I think the direction Rites Of The Blood was going by adding all sorts of Anarch sorcery categories would do much better in accommodating everyone. Because what was in RotB worked for everything. Additions like House Carna (if played straight) or the witches of echidna are just harmful to people who enjoy the original material. (and overthinking a work of fiction)
                    You know, for the past few days I've been really tempted to make a thread on the way V5 treats magic. Because it's a bigger issue than just house Carna. The writers of V5 either don't know or don't care about the setting's magic (likely some combination of both) or perhaps they actively despise it and want it gone and punished. Hence they're encouraging hollywood's casual witchcraft rather than actual miracle working with compelling philosophy. V5 has screwed over the Tremere, Assamite sorcerers, Settites, and Anarch sorcerers... and the entirity of india's sorcerers if we extrapolate. It's also royally screwed over the necromancers, not just in the way they intended, but by lumping all the diverse bloodlines and paths into a single mold. Magic in V5 is a metaphysically different thing. Before V5, it was something that came from the soul, and being a vampire just gave you a convenient power supply for it, but being a vampire wasn't necessary. In V5, they've doubled down on it being about blood; The soul doesn't matter any more, it's a bloody practice of blood sorcerers... and I just think that's a bit juvenile. In any case, A discipline of the soul (that you can't use in frenzy) could have a character think that through thaumaturgy, they're finding enlightenment and a higher purpose... maybe there's a ritual to become human again around the corner, maybe you can transcend the vampiric state, maybe you're becoming closer to God with your philosophy. With 'Blood magic' that's clearly a dead end. You're just becoming more bloody.
                    It's also less desirable as a result. All varieties of Sorcerers (thaumaturges, necromancers, kolduns) were jealous and paranoid things. They needed to band together, hoard their secrets; At best they want to be the only one with the ritual so they can get a bigger favour for it, at worst they could be targeted for their knowledge. Magic required lots of study, but it could achieve miraculous effects that impressed. Now, with house Carna, it seems that at best, anyone can do it, and if it is still hard, it can no longer achieve the flashy miracles with the ease that path magic provided, and is no more desirable than the much easier to learn Animalism or Presence.
                    Magic characters are a little more accessible now, but they're just so much less interesting to play, both from a mechanical standpoint and a roll-playing standpoint.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                      You seem to have left out my post when quoting the last thread, one that roundly defeats yours, and I can't tell if that's deliberate or not.
                      A couple of points.

                      1. I only quoted myself, not posts in general.

                      2. In your dreams.

                      But feel free to repost yours and I'll rebut it.



                      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                      You know, for the past few days I've been really tempted to make a thread on the way V5 treats magic. Because it's a bigger issue than just house Carna. The writers of V5 either don't know or don't care about the setting's magic (likely some combination of both) or perhaps they actively despise it and want it gone and punished. Hence they're encouraging hollywood's casual witchcraft rather than actual miracle working with compelling philosophy.
                      Thaumaturgy may be miracle working but it is important to understand the Tremere have utterly removed all elements of religion, enlightenment, or self-improvement from their Hermeticism. Tremere blood sorcery is an atheist secular Art that lacks all of the real life Hermetic order's spiritual element to be purely focused on Blood as well as practical results. It is actual "miracle working" but without any of the veneration or spirituality associated with Assamite Blood Sorcery (hypocritical as it may be to call on Babylonian gods in Allah's name) or the Followers of Set that do the same with the Path of Corruption. Baba Yaga and the Tzimisce are "hollywood witches" the same way that House Carna is and are a baked in part of the setting.

                      This isn't a dig at the Tremere. The fact that they are purely pragmatic in their magic is part of their charm. Slaughter an elk, cast the incantation, and ignore what answers save how it responds to you.

                      V5 has screwed over the Tremere, Assamite sorcerers, Settites, and Anarch sorcerers... and the entirity of india's sorcerers if we extrapolate. It's also royally screwed over the necromancers, not just in the way they intended, but by lumping all the diverse bloodlines and paths into a single mold. Magic in V5 is a metaphysically different thing. Before V5, it was something that came from the soul, and being a vampire just gave you a convenient power supply for it, but being a vampire wasn't necessary. In V5, they've doubled down on it being about blood; The soul doesn't matter any more, it's a bloody practice of blood sorcerers... and I just think that's a bit juvenile. In any case, A discipline of the soul (that you can't use in frenzy) could have a character think that through thaumaturgy, they're finding enlightenment and a higher purpose... maybe there's a ritual to become human again around the corner, maybe you can transcend the vampiric state, maybe you're becoming closer to God with your philosophy. With 'Blood magic' that's clearly a dead end. You're just becoming more bloody.
                      As usual, I disagree with your interpretation and think that Thaumaturgy has gained tremendously from the revision. Mind you, my love of Thaumaturgy is fluff-based rather than crunch. The changes postulated in CULTS OF THE BLOOD GODS means that there's now a lot bigger connection between religions, cults, rituals, and Blood Sorcery. It's a much greater focus on the spiritual and mystical elements of magic versus the pure pragmatic D&D sorcery of before.

                      And yes, that means that we literally believe the exact opposite about the changes.

                      It's also less desirable as a result. All varieties of Sorcerers (thaumaturges, necromancers, kolduns) were jealous and paranoid things. They needed to band together, hoard their secrets; At best they want to be the only one with the ritual so they can get a bigger favour for it, at worst they could be targeted for their knowledge. Magic required lots of study, but it could achieve miraculous effects that impressed. Now, with house Carna, it seems that at best, anyone can do it, and if it is still hard, it can no longer achieve the flashy miracles with the ease that path magic provided, and is no more desirable than the much easier to learn Animalism or Presence.
                      Magic characters are a little more accessible now, but they're just so much less interesting to play, both from a mechanical standpoint and a roll-playing standpoint.
                      I'm wondering where exactly your resentment of House Carna is coming from because the questions of where, exactly, your objections come from baffles me. House Carna teaches that magic is something that requires "everybody" to do it. Indeed, our greatest source on it in V5 says the exact opposite.

                      Carna Loresheet

                      * Embrace the Vision: You are fully committed to Carna’s vision for a new Tremere clan and find yourself possessed of a greater sense of self-belief in the presence of your fellow sub-faction Kindred. When around other members of House Carna, you have one additional die for all Willpower tests.

                      ** The Rebel Trail: You followed Carna’s trail after her initial breakage from Clan Tremere, soaking up the feelings of rebellion and freedom. You resolve to never be a Blood slave again. Whenever at risk of becoming Blood Bound, you may make a Willpower test (with a Difficulty equal to the Blood Potency of the ingested vitae) to ignore it.

                      *** Unorthodox Rituals: Carna gives of her sanity or her soul to fuel her magic, instead of divesting her vitae in Hermetic orthodoxy. Your understanding of her process enables you to perform rituals in the same way. You can perform one known ritual per story without the need to expend Blood, but on a messy critical, you also become deranged in some way (typically becoming intensely paranoid or fearful of blood) until the end of the story.

                      **** Reimagined Bond: You have studied Carna’s magic and her unusual method of reimagining the vinculum, and you can extend the effects of her
                      ritual to others. Having sex with a target, mortal or undead, creates a Blood Bond between the partner, yourself, and Carna, despite Carna’s absence. Repeated sexual encounters strengthen the Blood Bond, as per the normal Bond. You can thus circumvent the Tremere clan bane, but the Bond only lasts until the conclusion of the story.

                      **** Book of the Grave-War: According to rumor, the tome known as the Book of the Grave-War allowed Carna to break her Bond to Clan Tremere. You
                      own a copy, granting you one automatic success on all Occult tests pertaining to Gehenna, its prevention, and breaking the shackles binding vampires to their elders.
                      The book makes you unbondable for as long as you retain it and follow its arcane teachings. However, Tremere seek to destroy you and the book; the Storyteller can also penalize you one die on any Social or Mental test affected by your ongoing paranoia.
                      The Carna are as studious as the regular Tremere but have a greater appreciation of the spirituality and purity of the magic they practice.
                      Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-05-2020, 05:03 AM.


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

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                      • #12
                        Is that not you quoting black fox (quoting me) in the second post?

                        And yes, I've been awaiting a rebuttal for quite some time now.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                          Is that not you quoting black fox (quoting me) in the second post?

                          And yes, I've been awaiting a rebuttal for quite some time now.
                          Yeah, I quoted him but got distracted from any other response by this whole election thing and writing my next book.



                          Wasn't meant to be a slight and I'll respond now if it makes you feel more appreciated. You are a regular poster here and deserve that consideration. However often we disagree.

                          [QUOTE=MyWifeIsScary;n1421762]She's 100% wrong. First off, consider how much of a fucking pain it would be to manage a chantry where everyone's speaking a different language compared to a chantry where everyone's doing the same fucking thing. The standardization of Hermetic thaumaturgy is an absolute gift; Everyone's on the same page when it comes to teaching and learning. It may not be as exciting, but it's a thousand times more effective. Oh and they're not killing eachother over superstition disputes or anything like that, which is nice.]/quote]

                          Standardization of Hermetic magic is ultimately something that will provide you a huge number of tools but will ultimately mean very little in terms of personal enlightenment. Thaumaturgy is based around the creation of rituals and mastering your own will to move beyond your limitations. The Tremere stifled research outside of certain lines and created an in-universe simmering resentment from multiple geniuses like Doctor Mortiuis, the Technomancers of Washington D.C., Erictho (who is a hippie spiritualist so, yes, she should be ignored).

                          Ultimately, Carna's chief benefit is that she wanted to use the Book of the Grave War to escape the domination of the Antediluvian of the Clan (Saulot, Tremere, Tzimisce, or Kupala) as well as explore avenues of sorcery that were denied her as well as her followers. It's not abandoned the past principles of the Tremere and bluntly since the Book of the Grave War is an eldritch artifact of immense power--clearly you need to be among the top Tremere to understand it. You seem to assume Hollywood witchcraft requires less intelligence and that is a silly thing to say but typical of Hermetics to Verbena.

                          [Different styles of magic have advantages and disadvantages to them. A Setite sorcerer absolutely needs to larp as a priest(ess) to do a ritual, Dur-An-Ki requires you to get into an ecstatic state. The former has you worship the dark god and defend a shrine and the latter has you mess with entities you don't quite understand and get high while you're doing it. Sure, these styles come with their small advantages that the Tremere don't have, but the tremere have done really well in eliminating the weaknesses of their style.
                          Except for the weakness of being inflexible, stuck in the old ways, and ultimately increasingly irrelevant in an age of Modern Technology. Carna may not be the solution to this problem, quite the opposite, Doctor Mortius and House Ipsissimus are probably the best Tremere House for the 21st century (or House Goratrix depending on what you think Tremere is up to) but they recognize the failure of the Old Ways of Blood Bonds, Domination, Darwinist jockeying for power, and being enslaved by the Antediluvians/Methuselahs of the Clan.

                          Next, of course, Hermeticism is an all-encompassing philosophy. If it exists, they can make magic of it. "As above, so below". If you're following a pagan pantheon, you are limited to learning magics appropriate to your view of that pantheon: You can't learn Lure of Flames if you don't have a fire deity in your pantheon, or if the fire deity in your pantheon is opposed to the god you like. Most pantheons don't have a tech God, so you can never learn technomagic... But, if your pantheon had, say, something totally cool like a Goddess of Bees, and you could make the "Path of Bees", the Tremere wouldn't take all that long to steal it and adapt it to their system. You would never be able to use the Path of Bees if you didn't have a God of Bees.
                          You are 100% correct that House Carna fiddling with witchcraft and the female led sorcery of the Verbena with its spirituality is going to come with a bunch of weaknesses. Indeed, it may be a lost cause because vampires are UNNATURAL and there's no actual Golconda at the end of the rainbow for someone who wants to get in touch with nature since the undead are creatures of the Wyrm as well as Weaver. While a different gameline, it basically summarizes, "Unnatural Abominations do not get to touch Mother Earth."

                          However, Koldunism and Baba Yaga's magic are based around SUBVERTING and CONTROLLING magical forces. We also have the Bahari illustrating that there is a demonic evil force that can be harvested for the feminine animus in Lilith (be she goddess, demon, or 2nd generation Cainite). Indeed, the Bahari and Carna are destined to meet at some point and it may be that my money is on the Bahari absorbing the latter versus the former. For all the skill of Carna at liberating the mind from slavery and expanding her horizons--the worshipers of Lilith are far far older and masters of powers that she would not understand.
                          That doesn't mean Carna is WRONG, though. It just means that there's a good story ahead. Playing with forces you don't comprehend is a great avenue for a Tremere witch.

                          The Tremere don't celebrate their Thaumaturgy above others entirely because of hubris; by most rationalization their magic is the best, and their organization and ability to diseminate magic safely and effectively is the reason why they 'won' their monopoly over magic. You could make the same argument for the Order of Hermes: it's not a coincidence that they lead the traditions.
                          Tremere arrogance about their sorcery is hard to take seriously when it is a 2000 year old magical tradition based on a hybrid of Egyptian magic and Roman Numena updated by the Middle Ages. The Setites practiced the original deal and the Assamites proved how powerful their version of it was when Ur-Shulgi waved his hand and broke their spell.

                          Carna also doesn't accept ALL kinds of magic. It's not the "Anarch" House, it is the WITCH house. House Ipsissimus is the one combining technology, magic, and DIY sorcery.

                          In summary; Abandoning Hermetic Thaumaturgy to accept all kinds of magicians is just foolish.
                          They didn't exactly go on a book burning spree. They've expanded their sorcery and added to it, not undermined it.

                          Edit: I get that you might like Carna because it caters to more casual play of thaumaturges and it's nice to put your own worldview into things, that's fine. I'm not going to deride you for that. But from a pure-in universe perspective, it's bad and shouldn't work, and I think the direction Rites Of The Blood was going by adding all sorts of Anarch sorcery categories would do much better in accommodating everyone. Because what was in RotB worked for everything. Additions like House Carna (if played straight) or the witches of echidna are just harmful to people who enjoy the original material. (and overthinking a work of fiction)
                          Out of universe, adding witchcraft tropes to the Tremere is not remotely casual friendly because Tremere previously worked on a purely practical level.

                          This is about enriching the roleplaying of Thaumaturgy.

                          Why so many Blood Cults now have their own Thaumaturgy paths. The Lure of Flames, for example, has been renivisioned as an entire magical philosophy created by the Church of Caine for instance.
                          Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-05-2020, 05:23 AM.


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

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                            The standardization of Hermetic thaumaturgy is an absolute gift; Everyone's on the same page when it comes to teaching and learning. It may not be as exciting, but it's a thousand times more effective. Oh and they're not killing eachother over superstition disputes or anything like that, which is nice.
                            I think this pretty much nails it. As someone, who really likes Ars Magica one of my first thoughts reading about Carnas movement was, how european mages killed each other over quarrels and out of paranoia before the advent of Bonisagus' unified hermetic theory.
                            This is also the way I treat Carna during my chronicles: The biggest threat she poses to the pyramid is not through her (alegedly) 'antiauthoritarianism' but through her dissolution of a unified hermetic theory. And this is also the reason why I like her addition to the metaplot so much: It gives a new kind of threat, which makes for nice stories to play.

                            One thing though which I don't like is how Carnas 'feminism' was combined with her being more spiritual and about feelings versus house Tremeres rational approach. This is not bad writing, because it's a valid depiction of what some people really think, but it's a stereotype. And a harmful one on top. I would have preferred a quarrel inside house Tremere with maybe a feminist strain of the house going even more authoritarian than before. But yeah, that's that.

                            Speaking of stereotypes: Am I the only one, who didn't like how Dur-An-Ki, besides being a pre-islamic mesopotamian thing, played into the stereotype of the ecstatic hashish-consuming mystic (arab), that's so prevalent in fantasy? This is one of the few reasons, why I find the new approach to blood sorcery at least ok. Now I can play my Banu Hakim socerers like classical arabic magicians, with a flair of theurgy and proto-hermetics.
                            Also I like the depiction of thaumaturgic paths via rituals. Makes it easier for the ST. (I loved reading through the thaumaturgy books for hours when I went to school and had the time, but nowadays I need something more pragmatic.)


                            "Life's barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at."

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                            • #15
                              The Tremere have always been depicted as the most vibrant community of miracle workers in the WoD. They have the organization, and they have the culture and philosophy. The Setites and Assamites may predate them by several millenia, but those groups are stagnant, to say less for the independent thaumaturges of the dark ages. A Tremere neonate can benefit from the knowledge and security of everyone in their chantry; A settite only from their small group, and an assamite sorcerer largely has to rely on master-apprentice learning and security from the other castes who don't much like them. Sure the Tremere had reservations about technomancy, but that was something that was going to win out inevitably, and it's not like the Setites were going to develop technomancy anytime soon. The Tremere are the only group to have developed technomancy, and they have the widest selection of paths and rituals available to them. It's only been in V5 that the Tremere have been labeled as stagnant, and by the most biased narrator at that (was it Carna herself? I think it was).


                              Saturno
                              Actually, I looked into the history of this, and the more I think about it, the more I love it. The original Asāsiyyūn apparently never used poison either; They would always kill their foes with a blade, and would often do so in the most high-profile way they could for honour. The sect's enemies on the other hand spread elaborate stories of the Asāsiyyūn as drug fueled nutjobs with large harems who poison everyone; Perhaps they confused the Asāsiyyūn with our darling assamites? I relate Quietus to drugs and poison; Assamites cultivate Quietus through consuming vast quantities of blood from poisoned and drugged victims. This makes for an interesting dynamic where Assamites are always struggling between extreme disciplined asceticism and being wanton addicts, It fuels the divide between warriors, who drink nasty stuff, and viziers, who drink all the fun drugs; and also helps to fuel their rivalry with the Settites for the Drug trade. Assamite sorcery is just gravy on top of all of this.
                              (also, this should end up in the storyteller's vault this month. Get Hyped)

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