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Ghouls and Mortals (V5 Players Companion)

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  • Ghouls and Mortals (V5 Players Companion)

    Honestly, I am more interested in mechanics on creating ghouls and mortal characters than I am the additional clans that will be in the Players Companion. Creating them from templates on page 185 worked well enough for SPCs but I'm hoping that they will get more viable creation details for PCs.


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  • #2
    I’m looking forward to it too.

    Hopefully, they’ll either include outright or at least present enough of a framework to create Dhampirs as well since they’re one of the few ways I’m interested in participating in VtM as a player; particularly with some of the changes V5 has made.

    And before anyone mentions using Thinbloods, the key points of Dhampirs for me has always been not hungering for blood (meaning recovering the lost spiritual energy requires time so you can’t just top off by feeding on random NPCs if you’ve burned enough to vulnerable) and getting the actual first dot in various disciplines (vs. thinblood alchemy where you have to feed to get access to any disciplines) because it presents more interesting ways to specifically tailor the character’s supernatural gifts rather than the one-size fits all of thinblood alchemy.

    The other reason I’m looking forward to it is that playable mortals (particularly if they include some of the types who show up among Hunters) is the first step towards seeing the potential direction of M5 (Mages being basically Human+ vs. the more inhuman supernaturals like vampires, werewolves and ghosts and any potential Hedge Magic or psychic powers they include serving as guideposts in the direction of of Arete/Spheres).

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    • #3
      I see thinblood alchemy and the loss of thinblood disciplines as a nonsensical attrocity. I can't imagine anyone of even thinner blood getting any kind of justice done for them given such context. at best they'll just make thinbloods worse as an outlier.


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      • #4
        Definitely not going to argue with your assessment of Thinblood Alchemy. If anything it feels like if it had existed in previous editions it would have been a Blood Magic Path and not something possessed by Thinbloods.

        The great thing with prior editions was you could see the logic of the sliding scale caused by generation... 13th = max 5 dots, 14th = max 4 dots, 15th = max 3 dots, 16th = max 2 dots, Dhampir/Revenant = max 1 dot.

        That said, I think the previous editions could be used to argue for some degree of “hybrid vigor.” Specifically, unlike their thinblooded parents, a Dhampir does not have the Thin Blood flaw (i.e. it doesn’t cost them double to use disciplines) and has access to a full 10 blood points* (although these points are expressly spiritual, unlike a ghoul or revenant they lose no blood volume when expending them).

        In some ways they’re more on par with a 13th Gen neonate than their thinblooded parent (that said they also pretty much cap out at 13th Gen neonate; they could figure out a bunch of one dot disciplines in time, but by the time the neonate is an ancille they’ll have significantly more powerful disciplines).

        * my personal theory is that they have ten points not so much because their blood is more potent, but that because they’re fully alive their vampire side essentially has a reservoir of fresh blood to feed on as a free action, but can only pull so much spiritual strength from a given volume so it caps out at 10 BP and can’t convert any more until fresh blood is produced (at the normal mortal rate of 1 BP/day).

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        • #5
          The companion drops, or will be available on the 16th - which is two days from now. I hope in addition to rules for the remaining clans, ghouls, and mortals that it also has rules for running song and dance numbers. But I might be alone in that hope.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
            That said, I think the previous editions could be used to argue for some degree of “hybrid vigor.” Specifically, unlike their thinblooded parents, a Dhampir does not have the Thin Blood flaw (i.e. it doesn’t cost them double to use disciplines) and has access to a full 10 blood points* (although these points are expressly spiritual, unlike a ghoul or revenant they lose no blood volume when expending them).
            I thought that last was supposed to be true of ghouls and revenants as well? When they spent blood points, blood wasn't actually disappearing from their circulatory systems, it was just being rendered mystically inert as the vital energy was drawn out of it?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post

              I thought that last was supposed to be true of ghouls and revenants as well? When they spent blood points, blood wasn't actually disappearing from their circulatory systems, it was just being rendered mystically inert as the vital energy was drawn out of it?
              In V20 both Ghouls and Revenants could only store 2 blood points in their systems due to all the mortal blood already in there... any more would cause bloating and general unpleasantness. With long years this amount could increased by a point every century or two. Several descriptions make it clear that they are actually burning blood volume when they use the vitae in their system.

              By contrast, Dhampirs are born able to draw magical power out of all ten of their innate blood points and it explicitly does NOT affect their blood volume in any way. It was a subtle, but important difference that somewhat puts a lie the claim that Dhampirs are physiologically identical to Revenants... and that difference makes even more sense when you throw in the divine/supernatural side of things. Ghouls are mortals deliberately corrupted by the Curse of Caine without becoming vampires themselves. Revenants are specially bred ghouls who maintain the corruption on their own. All of it is essentially hijacking the ability to create life from mortals and deliberately using it for the vampires' ends. Spiritually speaking every vampire past Caine and every ghoul/revenant line created by them is a deliberate defiance of "God's Will."

              Dhampirs, by contrast, are literally new life springing from the dead, not through corrupting existing life, but actual children born from those at the far end of the vampire's line of corruption (from those whose curse is so weak that it cannot be spread in any traditionally vampiric manner; no embraces, no ghouls. As such, Dhampirs are literally the antithesis of Caine (or whoever you have as your first vampire... Dhampirs are new life after the last vampire). So from a spiritual sense it makes sense that they're not exactly the same as the corruptions created by the vampires.

              * * * *

              All that said, the V5 Companion mechanics for ghouls are probably "good enough" to be able to run a Dhampir or Revenant. The only difference is that Dhampirs and Revenants don't need to be fed blood every month to sustain their supernatural abilities.

              That said, a minor addition for Revenants and Dhampirs like being able to make the equivalent of a Rouse Check for healing or boosting a check once per day to represent their self-recharging vitae supply probably wouldn't be out of line either (perhaps a pool of rouse uses for a Dhampir that recharges at 1/day).

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              • #8
                Dhampirs would work better as revenants. It'd be a good explanation for how to get revenant families, beyond selective breeding or rituals. It's just a nice way to tie things together.


                Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                  Dhampirs would work better as revenants. It'd be a good explanation for how to get revenant families, beyond selective breeding or rituals. It's just a nice way to tie things together.
                  And I’d prefer they be different because I find the thematic elements of Dhampirs as essentially the Anti-Caine (and the end of/deliverance from Caine’s curse) far more compelling than them just being yet another corruption of life by the undead.

                  Then again, I’m also apparently rather alone in finding the Wormwood ending in Gehenna to be the most compelling of the provided endings and in preferring the game as a straight up Christian morality tale rather than diluting it with “every vampire myth from every culture in the world is true.”

                  Dhampirs fit that mythology (a sign of God’s mercy and a blessing of life from death) in a way that is basically the opposite of the revenants (a deliberate corruption of life by even greater perversion of the curse of undeath).

                  It’s honestly why I really liked that V20 set up more distinct differences between revenants and Dhampirs (Dhampirs have a larger blood pool, but as written gain zero benefit from being ghouled while Revenants have a smaller pool, but can learn more potent disciplines if they get a powerful enough domitor and retain them since they have their own blood supply).

                  But as I said previously, I can live with a quick and dirty hack to Ghouls of just using their mechanics without a need to be fed vitae. V5 has dialed back on the level of mechanical detail in the areas where Ghoul/Revenant/Dhampir are most likely to be dissimilar so until something better comes along, ghoul who doesn’t need to feed is “good enough.”

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                  • #10
                    I actually like the idea of every vampire myth being true but I also like the idea of dhampirs as well (both the Western version and the Asian version from KotE). I think the Tzimisce with their variant form of Protean make especially fertile (pun intended) ground for having dhampir children. I see the Tzimisce as cold and alien, but also as intimately tied to the twisted but still life-giving energy of the god Kupala, who represents the rich soil of Transylvania. I could see a Tzimisce being either redeemed or destroyed or both by the efforts of her dhampir child.
                    Last edited by Penelope; 12-26-2020, 08:30 PM.


                    “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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                    • #11
                      On a completely different topic from Dhampirs, is there any advice on balancing Ghouls and Mortals relative to the different starting ages (childer vs. neonate vs. ancillae)?

                      V5 seems to be focused on making sure the PCs are about the same level of strength in terms of its generation rules (i.e. every PC should be a childer or neonate, not one playing a neonate and another an ancillae), but ghouls and mortals seem balanced about childer level.

                      Now I fully admit it could be that with JA's return to Vampire that concerns about balancing things are no longer as important, but in case its not I figured I'd see what others thought about it since its likely based on player preferences that if we did start a V5 campaign after our current V20 ends that the players who prefer vamps would lean more neonate or ancillae which would put the ones who prefer mortals/ghouls/dhampirs at a bit of a disadvantage.

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                      • #12
                        I suppose one could play someone who's been a ghoul long enough to justify additional experience points and keep up, though I don't imagine that people who are concerned about their characters being powerful are going to line up to play ghouls.

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                        • #13
                          The inbuilt restrictions on disciplines and inability to use rouse checks pretty heavily caps the power of ghouls as it is. One could argue too that because they’re still mortal, they grow and adapt more quickly such that a ghoul of 30 years might grow as much as a vamp does in 60-100 (so in a neonate game they’d get the same starting +15 xp as a neonate embraced c. 1920 if they became a ghoul in the 90s.

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