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  • Bringing meta plot updates into 20th

    So I have been thinking of using a few things like the SI and was wondering what people actually thought worked from v5 in practice, and what changes they needed to make.

    In my version of Chicago by Night the Brujah (at least main ones) all met their ends, Helena just had too much power with Menele napping, however thinking all the Brujah would up and leave the Camarilla is not something I think works or makes any sense so that part is out of my game. On the other hand Lasombra and Tzimisce, as well as people from independent clans and bloodlines in the Camarilla openly is probably something that should have happened long ago anyway so that part I do like.

    In my games the 1st-3rd gens are all long dead, so the Beckoning is out, mostly because I dislike it so why make up a new reason for it. At the same time I hardly use the Sabbat, and it got me thinking if the SI had managed to clean house in many areas that were controlled by Anarchs and the Sabbat, what an opportunity it could be for the independant clans to really claim areas like the Giovanni sub family took Boston. I think having a clan make a concerted effort to take control of even an entire state might be interesting. Say the Giovanni wanted Tennessee for tax reasons theirs really only Memphis and Nashville and then maybe a handful of cities with a population over 100,000. Was Tennessee controlled by the Sabbat? Maybe the Setites saw Utah as the perfect place for New Egypt. Haha I'll kick it around but Second inquisition is in and maybe they were so successful with the unorganized the results of the Beckoning could still take place in areas.

    Again just really curious now that 5th has got some playtime under it's belt, what story elements you thought worked in actual play.

  • #2
    I've been doing some things with my own version of Boston (I thought the official version was lame so its all original characters; though in classic VtM style a number of them were real people) involving a goodwill ambassador from the Banu Haqim who arrived at court because negotiations with the Camarilla after the Assamite schism were nearing completion and Setites making inroads with the local Anarchs.

    That said, the Brujah are still a major force in the Camarilla in my setting (only the Gangrel peaced-out and are now independent rather than joining the Anarchs in large numbers) with a major focus on the education side with the Brujah primogen having pretty much Harvard's whole board under his sway while his whip seeks to affect social change via influence over Antifa, BLM and other social justice groups active in the Boston area.

    Thus the Banu Haqim are coming in mostly as a replacement for Gangrel, so the warrior side is appealing while the addition of blood magic from the sorcerers among them offers up a way to weaken the Tremere influence just a bit (or at least make their favors less costly since the services they offer are no longer 100% exclusive).

    I haven't done anything with the Hecata just yet; frankly the Giovanni in Boston are running largely independent with of the lesser families cementing control over the Irish mafia and the one with the actual Giovanni surname more interested in the many ghosts associated with Boston's history than any sort of direct power plays (his import/export/transportation front is mostly about getting funds and favors from other Kindred in order to support his ongoing research). As such, the whole Family Reunion just isn't relevant to the current game; if someone rolled up a Giovanni PC who was more interested in family politics I'd be inclined to foreshadow and even play out the impending event, but for now there's just not much reason when I've already got the Banu Haqim ambassador shaking things up and causing all sorts of ripples in the Court and the various subfactions maneuvering in response.

    Another one that hasn't been particularly relevant yet has been the Second Inquisition and/or destruction of the Vienna Chantry. Right now the Camarilla in Boston are their own worst enemies and something like the SI coming along and giving them something to unite against doesn't offer nearly as many RP opportunities for the PCs. Similarly, blowing up Vienna will wait until there's an actual Tremere PC around so its loss will actually have some meaning as the Chantry elders scramble in the aftermath.

    Likewise, given the established Ravnos PC who is the most proactive PCs in dragging the group into the major subplots, I'm in no hurry to redirect their focus from that to finding new places to sleep each night because their Clan weakness has changed (also, their Ante was killed two decades ago and this PC has been played for years... having it just randomly change NOW vs. the V5 presumption that this bane has been in place since 1999 and applies to all PCs because you're making a new one just doesn't make much sense for the campaign).

    Since its still using V20 mechanics, the need for elders to "exit stage left" via the Beckoning also doesn't feel like it would add anything at the moment. Similarly, the Sabbat leaving for there en masse is another of those "more interesting with PCs experiencing the fallout directly" things (and as such, no need for the Lasombra to jump ship to the Camarilla either).

    ****

    TL;DR there's actually a lot of good ideas in V5, but they're more interesting to play through than just have them be various past events.

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    • #3
      Thin-bloods you can plug in and play with at leisure. Anarchs Unbound has them be a thing. They're just more common than people thought.

      I think the Second Inquisition works very well in V20. V20 Companion said we were headed for an irreversible Masquerade breach and it was written in... 2011?

      You can play the threat up or down as desired, though. METS just had all the sects be more careful and the Sabbat ditching its "screw the Masquerade!" attitude. Again, V20 was also headed in this direction, with the developments in Hunters Hunted II suggesting hunters were getting more effective.

      At the same time, it's easy if you don't want to have the SI systematically purging major cities like Paris and Vienna. One of my players is in the military and found the level of cooperation between international intelligence agencies to be absolutely ridiculous. In his words, spies never play nice. Frankly, I think you need an explanation like "the Technocracy did it" to explain how the U.S. government could be extending so much trust to the Society of St. Leopold and other groups.

      The Hecata you could have as resurgent Cappadocians not as dead as everyone thought, and probably at war with the Giovanni. Really, it's the Harbingers getting bigger and fighting more of the clan than the Pisanobs.

      You can probably mine a lot of stuff from Beckett's Jyhad Diary. It's on the precipice of V5 without taking the full plunge.


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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
        TL;DR there's actually a lot of good ideas in V5, but they're more interesting to play through than just have them be various past events.
        Having years of building up a potential giovanni coup and unceremoniously having it happen between editions is a literary crime. I get why they wouldn't want to do it with the Tremere (that'd require some kind of "the truth") but the Hecata? Criminal.

        Brujah, similarly; would this actually happen if it wasn't done in the past? Probably not. It's out of character for the Brujah to give up their power within the camarilla based on the actions of a few.
        The SI, likewise, would be really hard to do real-time with 20th rules, since players would simply steamroll inquisition cells with pre-v5 Dominate and such, completely undermining the idea that they're an existential threat.


        Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
        There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
          Having years of building up a potential giovanni coup and unceremoniously having it happen between editions is a literary crime. I get why they wouldn't want to do it with the Tremere (that'd require some kind of "the truth") but the Hecata? Criminal.
          The way I want to do the split/civil war is basically by the novel. Ambrogino is instrumental in taking out Augustus. I feel like Lazarus now leads the Hecata with the Harbingers leading in most areas and Ambrogino heading the Venice and a strong voice in Europe. The Giovanni who threw in are the double blooded lesser families, while single blooded Giovanni regrouped. I lowered Isabel's generation and see her as the lead for what is left of the loyalists. Being American, and Isabel spending most of her years in America anyway it just feels like a good move. Just looking at the population I think I will have a TN take over of sorts and keep them as Giovanni, with the lesser families joining the Hecata under Ambrogino.

          Your right, it was hinted at for so long it needed more show, less tell.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
            Thin-bloods you can plug in and play with at leisure. Anarchs Unbound has them be a thing. They're just more common than people thought.

            I think the Second Inquisition works very well in V20. V20 Companion said we were headed for an irreversible Masquerade breach and it was written in... 2011?

            You can play the threat up or down as desired, though. METS just had all the sects be more careful and the Sabbat ditching its "screw the Masquerade!" attitude. Again, V20 was also headed in this direction, with the developments in Hunters Hunted II suggesting hunters were getting more effective.

            At the same time, it's easy if you don't want to have the SI systematically purging major cities like Paris and Vienna. One of my players is in the military and found the level of cooperation between international intelligence agencies to be absolutely ridiculous. In his words, spies never play nice. Frankly, I think you need an explanation like "the Technocracy did it" to explain how the U.S. government could be extending so much trust to the Society of St. Leopold and other groups.

            The Hecata you could have as resurgent Cappadocians not as dead as everyone thought, and probably at war with the Giovanni. Really, it's the Harbingers getting bigger and fighting more of the clan than the Pisanobs.

            You can probably mine a lot of stuff from Beckett's Jyhad Diary. It's on the precipice of V5 without taking the full plunge.

            To the Thin Bloods I don't think I want to make up an Alchemy thing to port into the game. I like them as is V20 style.

            SI no brainer, I love an active mortal threat, Though I agree with MWIS I don't think Chicago kindred are in danger for the most part. Just too powerful and wouldn't let too much funny business go down. I think random Sabbat and Anarch cities would be far more vulnerable than Chicago could ever be.

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            • #7
              @Chris24601

              Sounds like fun! I love the Giovanni story and have been trying to think of ways to put them into my game more since I found out they were unpopular lol. Sharing a border with 8 other states, the Giovanni trying to play gatekeepers to all of TN sounds like a lot of interesting conflict. It doesn't seem that outlandish looking at the population numbers, and as you rake in those billions, no state income tax. I had thought first of Kentucky for the closeness to IL, but it's just too small.

              I don't see the loyalists as having the power to make a play for Venice, America really does sound like the perfect alternative for them. With a split like this how much cooperation or antagonism do you think they would have with the Hecata?

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              • #8
                Another thing I really like the sound of is a limit of 5 for stats and skills. Having 7 in melee or Sta is easy to wrap my head around, but a 7 in science or an 8 int not so much. I'm wondering how this plays out in practice. Like how much impact does going from say 14 dice to make a discipline roll to 10. I get its 1 or 2 successes on average depending on target number but does it feel like a big downgrade for ancient vampires or the powers are enough they still crush it?

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                • #9
                  7 science and 8 in int is pretty easy to wrap your head about. You don't unlock the knowledge to make super-bateries and dyson spheres and hyperdrives, you just come to the correct conclusions faster, more intuitively and more confidently. It's like you can casually read a scientific journal and intake all the findings and results as if you were there. It's like you can look at the box art and then build a lego set exactly as the instructions say without looking at the instructions.

                  But yeah it's pretty hard to play up that high. Can't have a genius-above geniuses making shitty plans after all. It's not as hard as charisma or manipulation (above 5 of course, I'm only peak charisma)


                  Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                  There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Vamps Like Us View Post
                    Another thing I really like the sound of is a limit of 5 for stats and skills. Having 7 in melee or Sta is easy to wrap my head around, but a 7 in science or an 8 int not so much. I'm wondering how this plays out in practice. Like how much impact does going from say 14 dice to make a discipline roll to 10. I get its 1 or 2 successes on average depending on target number but does it feel like a big downgrade for ancient vampires or the powers are enough they still crush it?
                    Keeping it to 5 is pretty easy even in V20; just keep the PCs/NPCs to 8th Gen or higher.

                    That actually was my solution for my Boston campaign; there's literally only one NPC that's lower than that, and he's a 7th Gen Ventrue who was Prince, but turned that duty over to his childe for day to day matters while he's turned recluse and pursues his own interests. Most of the Camarilla elite are 8th and 9th Generation (with a few 10th Gen subordinates) and are more than dangerous for the PCs due to their resources and influence.

                    This also means that the PCs ultimately have a chance at removing and taking the place of the current leadership if they can cooperate with each other long enough to do so.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                      7 science and 8 in int is pretty easy to wrap your head about. You don't unlock the knowledge to make super-bateries and dyson spheres and hyperdrives, you just come to the correct conclusions faster, more intuitively and more confidently. It's like you can casually read a scientific journal and intake all the findings and results as if you were there. It's like you can look at the box art and then build a lego set exactly as the instructions say without looking at the instructions.

                      But yeah it's pretty hard to play up that high. Can't have a genius-above geniuses making shitty plans after all. It's not as hard as charisma or manipulation (above 5 of course, I'm only peak charisma)

                      I don't know, talents sure but the level 5 descriptions of skills and knowledges, I mean Why aren't you unlocking the knowledge to make super-batteries and Dyson spheres and hyperdrives? You are immortal and so much more skilled than a human could hope to be. Not that I ever had a player try to become Reed Richards.


                      Chris24601
                      I avoid even the most dedicated players from getting 5th gen. I think the game strays too much into comic book power levels when you start looking at some of those level 8 powers. Seventh and sixth generation is pretty easy to handle, and I mean in a Dark Ages game do players really not all start off at 7th? As a player I would. I do veto a power choice now and then if I find it too broken, or at least rework it to be more reasonable, looking at you 6 Dominate Implanted Opinion, or what's the level 7 Protean ghost form? I find an 8th generation murder machine who pumps every last experience point into killing more annoying than a player who has a 6 obfuscate and easily avoids physical altercations. I find the lack of discipline powers for elders to really separate them from the pack a glaring weakness of V5.

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                      • #12
                        I’ve talked about this sort of thing before with my 20.5 philosophy posts and this will be far from a comprehensive index but here are some examples of how I’ve used V5 as inspiration for metaplot updates in my V20 games.

                        •The Ministry
                        The Ministry is a name for a new faction of Settites who describe themselves as secular break-aways from theological Settites. They have approached the Camarilla and Anarch Movement, although particularly the latter, with the use of ‘The Ministry’ as a faction. Ministry Settites espouse an allegorical reading of the Set stories and the use of Set as a metaphor for personal enlightenment (and freedom, when speaking to Anarchs). These factions claim to be leaving the internal fighting of the Settite theological sects and have a broad scope of actual philosophical and theological beliefs within them.

                        •The Gehenna Crusade
                        I use the Gehenna Crusade to an extent, alongside the Fourth Sabbat Civil War. It highlights the regional, factional, and theological divides within the sect. You have loyalists against status quo and hyper-conservatives. You have Lasombra against Tzimisce against Brujah Antitribu. You have the scramble to bolster the Black Hand’s ranks after the exodus of many Assamite Antitribu. You have figures like the Gehenna Prophestess Vasantasena leading loyalists and zealous Sabbat to the Holy Lands in an endeavor to find, consume, and destroy the ancients; a crusade triggered by the apocalyptic hysteria of the red star and the turn of the millennium. Compound this with the infighting about who should be the new regent after the destruction of Melinda Galbraith and you have a recipe for chaos. It’s no wonder that with the rise of fundamentalist theology and loyalist movements and zeal crusades that many of the more status quo/conservative Lasombra chose to follow the former Archbishop of Milan, Giangillanzo in his departure from the sect. Clan Lasombra remains a great power within the Sword of Caine but many have chosen to leave for greener pastures, a minority but a sizable one.

                        •House Tremere
                        I don’t use the SI as the cause for what I call ‘The Vienna Incident’ but I do say that something mysterious and catastrophic happened in Vienna which disrupted the clan’s organization. Not long after House Carna performed its ritual to cleanse itself of the Inner Circle’s blood bond and fled to the Anarch Movement en masse for security (although some also became mercantile warlocks, willing to work in any domain which wanted thaumaturgy but not from House Tremere). Similarly there was the rise of the remnants of House Goratrix within the Sabbat and with that as well as internal struggle and the rumors of triclop vampires, the House of Tremere remains a pillar of the Camarilla but without the power it once had - particularly as Assamite Schismatics (including sorcerers) flow into Camarilla domains.

                        •Second Inquisition
                        I don’t have them all working together or even always being aware of each other, but I do have Hunter groups on the rise and with a notable increase of impact and organization, which some vampires have called the ‘Second Inquisition’ although it’s more of a movement then an organization. Vampiric conflicts since the Gehenna hysteria of the turn of the millennium and those resulting from overpopulation and the Sabbat Civil War and General sect warfare have bolstered hunter ranks from the Society of Leopold to criminal syndicates to government investigations. This all without mentioning the continued activity of mysterious hunters of great power and skill (the imbued). This as well has increased tensions in vampiric domains as sect conflict and hunter action grow.

                        •The Fourth Anarch Revolt
                        Happening alongside the Red Question movement and the proliferation of Anarch activity and organization online, the Anarch Movement is bouncing back from its struggles in the near-collapse of the Anarch Free State. The Red Question and the growth of neonate & fledgeling numbers and communication online have bolstered Anarch influence alongside a growing culture of political engagement and dissatisfaction. Then the defection of Tyler gave a new boom to the Movement as the tensions between the sects grow globally. (I do not use Theo Bell’s assassination of Hardestalt the Younger or the full Anarch-Camarilla war but the tensions I have in the setting I use do make such events possible).

                        These are just a few of the ways I take inspiration from V5 for my contemporary V20 setting and I hope it was interesting for others.

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