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V5: Thralls, ghouls, etc. post-character creation

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  • #16
    In Dungeons and Dragons, do you use up your XP every time you pick up gold or magic items or gain possessions or make friends? Why, in the more grounded setting of WoD, does practicing your social skills to forge real connections need more of an xp sacrifice than practising the same social skills to... not forge connections?


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    • #17
      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      In Dungeons and Dragons, do you use up your XP every time you pick up gold or magic items or gain possessions or make friends? Why, in the more grounded setting of WoD, does practicing your social skills to forge real connections need more of an XP sacrifice than practicing the same social skills to... not forge connections?
      No, but when your ranger wants his animal companion feature, or your druid wants his conjure animal spell they need XP to gain the level that grants these features. A ghoul, with good stats and maybe even a dot in one discipline is a powerful tool, the same goes for resources or allies, you put time and effort to gain these advantages in the game, and becoming more powerful costs XP, just like D&D.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Godforsaken View Post
        Not sure I get the point. You pay XP to improve the features of your character. Backgrounds are features. The fact that you need to do an in-game activity to validate the purchase doesn't make it free. If your character fights every session with a sword, but you invest your XP on Presence then "practicing by using your abilities" doesn't mean anything. If you want to improve a feature of your character, you strive for it in-game, and when you have the XP to pay for it you get it.

        In the end, it's the gamemaster's choice I guess. But not paying XP for retainers sounds broken to me.

        Retainers are NPCs, not 'class features' you get them via RP, and keep them that way (also given the homeopathic amount of XP 5e gives, where it can take months, or even years, of RL to get enough to increase a single skill, any attack on that is going to feel terrible). DnD et al have character progression at a far higher rate than 5e, where you are basically unchanging.
        Last edited by Taggie; 03-11-2021, 07:05 AM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Taggie View Post


          Retainers are NPCs, not 'class features' you get them via RP, and keep them that way (also given the homeopathic amount of XP 5e gives, where it can take months, or even years, of RL to get enough to increase a single skill, any attack on that is going to feel terrible)

          Yes, they are NPCs that are very powerful (sometimes even more powerful than the PC in certain aspects), if your gamemaster allows you to accumulate retainers only through RP then good for you. But considering the fact that when you create a character you buy backgrounds with points and not just get them for free in accordance with your character backstory, paying XP is a balancing act. Because a vampire can blood bond and ghoul an infinite amount of mortals.
          Backgrounds have a cost per dot in V5 just like any other improvable aspect of your character. And the XP payment represents the effort you put into acquiring this new advantage.
          Last edited by Godforsaken; 03-11-2021, 07:23 AM.

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          • #20
            So lets say i'm a social primary and have Animalism 5 Dominate 5, Presence 5, Resources 5 and a healthy amount of allies, contacts and influence.

            are you saying I should struggle just as much as freddy the fledgling, with none of those things, to obtain retainers?

            Just sounds like someone who isnt as good as others at getting backgrounds through RP is bitter and wants to bring everyone down to their level.


            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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            • #21
              Originally posted by Godforsaken View Post


              Yes, they are NPCs that are very powerful (sometimes even more powerful than the PC in certain aspects), if your gamemaster allows you to accumulate retainers only through RP then good for you. But considering the fact that when you create a character you buy backgrounds with points and not just get them for free in accordance with your character backstory, paying XP is a balancing act. Because a vampire can blood bond and ghoul an infinite amount of mortals.
              Backgrounds have a cost per dot in V5 just like any other improvable aspect of your character. And the XP payment represents the effort you put into acquiring this new advantage.



              with what XP? Given the awards for 5e are tiny, and it would take years to have the XP to do what you suggest, what would be the point.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                So lets say i'm a social primary and have Animalism 5 Dominate 5, Presence 5, Resources 5 and a healthy amount of allies, contacts and influence.

                are you saying I should struggle just as much as freddy the fledgling, with none of those things, to obtain retainers?

                Just sounds like someone who isnt as good as others at getting backgrounds through RP is bitter and wants to bring everyone down to their level.

                You "struggle" like Freddy in improving any other aspect of your character. Obviously, you will have all the advantages of finding exactly the type of retainer you want, unlike Freddy who can't pick and choose. Why my Intelligence 5 character pays the same XP as the Intelligence 1 character when they study the occult and try and learn a new power?

                Your character doesn't need 5 in Dominate to blood bond a mortal and create a ghoul. You and Freddy are equal here. You both have this feature, so you will most likely spend the same amount of time making sure that this retainer is effective. Just like the smart character spends the same XP as characters not as smart when they study to improve a skill or power.

                The powerful character in your example will have many more opportunities to find what they are looking for, they want a SWAT fighter as a ghoul, sure, they can easily find one with their powers, Freddy can't.
                Last edited by Godforsaken; 03-11-2021, 07:48 AM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Taggie View Post




                  with what XP? Given the awards for 5e are tiny, and it would take years to have the XP to do what you suggest, what would be the point.

                  I play the game by the rules so far, and my players got a very powerful ghoul as coterie background by sharing XP. It was a long story arc and they worked hard for it in-game and now they are much more powerful.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Godforsaken View Post


                    I play the game by the rules so far, and my players got a very powerful ghoul as coterie background by sharing XP. It was a long story arc and they worked hard for it in-game and now they are much more powerful.

                    how often do you get to play? IT may just be because RL gets in the way so often, that it feels so bad

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Taggie View Post


                      how often do you get to play? IT may just be because RL gets in the way so often, that it feels so bad
                      Once a week. I agree with you that it's really tough. But for this street-level fledgling campaign, it's really working. I do give them a free background point at the end of a chapter, to make things a little easy. And I do give "free" background points for things outside of their own initiative that happens during play like maybe a strong kindred take them under their wing (to achieve their own goal), so they will get some points of Mawla for a while, and stuff like that, or a detective that works with them to find a killer can be a temporary ally. But if they initiate and want to make something a permanent part of their character (as permanent as things can be in the World of Darkness) they will have to pay for it.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Godforsaken View Post

                        Once a week. I agree with you that it's really tough. But for this street-level fledgling campaign, it's really working. I do give them a free background point at the end of a chapter, to make things a little easy. And I do give "free" background points for things outside of their own initiative that happens during play like maybe a strong kindred take them under their wing (to achieve their own goal), so they will get some points of Mawla for a while, and stuff like that, or a detective that works with them to find a killer can be a temporary ally. But if they initiate and want to make something a permanent part of their character (as permanent as things can be in the World of Darkness) they will have to pay for it.


                        Ah a couple of hours a month here, it's supposed to be every fortnight, but RL keeps getting in the way , so things feel really static, and any expenditure that isn't for the one thing you have been saving for since the start of the chronicle feels terrible. But hey, we are ditching for Dark Ages so I finally get to play with paths again (rather than not having touchstones at all, and deciding I'd rather loose the character than interact with the radioactive dumpster fire that is the 5e morality system)
                        Last edited by Taggie; 03-11-2021, 08:20 AM.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Taggie View Post



                          Ah a couple of hours a month here, it's supposed to be every fortnight, but RL keeps getting in the way , so things feel really static, and any expenditure that isn't for the one thing you have been saving for since the start of the chronicle feels terrible.
                          Yeah, I had such a campaign I totally get it. I tried to make every session a one-shot (it was all one story but each session had a beginning, middle, and an end, like a tv episode), and we used a discord channel to run the downtime between those sessions, it moved in real-time, the session was one night and then the 3 weeks between sessions were 3 weeks of downtime and personal staff for the characters, so I ren solo things to people through text and they gained more XP like that.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Godforsaken View Post


                            You "struggle" like Freddy in improving any other aspect of your character. Obviously, you will have all the advantages of finding exactly the type of retainer you want, unlike Freddy who can't pick and choose. Why my Intelligence 5 character pays the same XP as the Intelligence 1 character when they study the occult and try and learn a new power?

                            Your character doesn't need 5 in Dominate to blood bond a mortal and create a ghoul. You and Freddy are equal here. You both have this feature, so you will most likely spend the same amount of time making sure that this retainer is effective. Just like the smart character spends the same XP as characters not as smart when they study to improve a skill or power.

                            The powerful character in your example will have many more opportunities to find what they are looking for, they want a SWAT fighter as a ghoul, sure, they can easily find one with their powers, Freddy can't.
                            This is pretty far from the reality of the game.
                            In V5, a retainer is composed of several points, there is dots for competence and dots for how often they show up. So a guy with all the connections.. might be able to find the right people more easily, but has to spend more xp as a result.

                            Dominate is of course useful in getting/training/securing people. Retainers, though i dont know if this still holds true in v5, arent exlusively ghouls. They respond well to pay and such. Classic Dominate 4 is a method specifically tailored towards acquiring backgrounds, while nuDominate has some helpful tricks and Presence obviously has good tools too.


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

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                              This is pretty far from the reality of the game.
                              In V5, a retainer is composed of several points, there is dots for competence and dots for how often they show up. So a guy with all the connections.. might be able to find the right people more easily, but has to spend more xp as a result.
                              Nope, only Allies have two categories. A retainer is assumed to be always at the ready.

                              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                              Dominate is of course useful in getting/training/securing people. Retainers, though i dont know if this still holds true in v5, arent exlusively ghouls. They respond well to pay and such. Classic Dominate 4 is a method specifically tailored towards acquiring backgrounds, while nuDominate has some helpful tricks and Presence obviously has good tools too.
                              Yeah, retainers are not exclusively ghouls.

                              If a PC creates thralls through the usage of powers he paid XP for, then they won't have to pay XP again to make it a background, but said thrall won't be added as a background, they are the product of a power, like the summoned animals called forth by the Animalism discipline, or the Famulus. And said powers require other resources, like rouse checks. Meanwhile, if a player buys a retainer via XP he won't have to maintain them the same as using disciplines for example (if the retainer is a ghoul they will still have to feed them blood from time to time of course), but if you pay some mercs to kill your enemies you use your resources background and they do their job and go away, they are not your best friends now and they are not added to your backgrounds as such.

                              We are entering the gamemaster ruling territory here, so I am explaining how I would rule such a thing in my game.
                              Last edited by Godforsaken; 03-11-2021, 09:13 AM.

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