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  • Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

    I do think there is something good to say about recognizing all the Cappadocian bloodlines as a single clan again. I liked that in the original game, it was a mystery to be worked out as Gehenna approached. But at this point, we can all admit that Giovanni, Samedi, Harbingers, and a few more are all Cappadocians (or whatever new name you want to give them). But there was no reason for the Nagaraja to be part of that group.

    Furthermore, simply recognizing these groups as part of the same clan does not mean all members of the clan are politically together. What makes sense would be 1) the core Giovanni to remain independent, 2) the more humane Cappadocian survivors to join the Camarilla, and 3) the more monstrous or inhuman Path Cappadocian survivors that couldn't fit in with Humanity-Masquerade loving Camarilla would go to the Sabbat.

    I was never a big fan of the Harbingers being members of the Sabbat. They suddenly appeared - along with others - as Sabbat simply to give that sect a big boost to make them even more of a threat in a scenario where Gehenna has started. As such, they had weak IC motivations. It was all OOC scripting reasons. (Same thing with the Salubri anti-tribu's membership. - "I thirst for unholy vengeance against those who persecuted me for centuries!" "Dude, weren't you just embraced like 3 days ago? And the Sabbat has Tremere too and all the Sabbat clans likewise left you to die.") The Cappadocians were known for their alliance with the Ventrue, and weren't particularly inhumane. And there was a decent chance that some of the Harbingers could still claim some sort of friendship, perhaps even boons, among very old Camarilla elders from the time before they disappeared. That doesn't mean there is not an argument for the Sabbat. But clearly there should have been division among them. Splitting up the Harbingers makes better sense.
    Technically, the Sabbat didn't have Tremere at that time. Honestly, I think they killed all of the Tremere Antitribu solely so they could introduce the Salubri Antitribu.


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

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    • I misremembered the timing then on what happened when.

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      • Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
        I misremembered the timing then on what happened when.
        I never much cared for the mass murder of the Tremere Antis....and not just because I played a Tremere antitribu.


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

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        • The Harbringers in general always felt pretty awkward to me. Their main beef was with the Giovanni. But the Sabbat and Giovanni never really had any deep grudges with one another. The Giovanni weren't part of the Camarilla. They didn't support the Antediluvians. In fact their leader had killed one of the Antediluvians and wiped out his clan of loyal followers. If anything there was probably a certain amount of grudging respect for the Giovanni because what he pulled off is exactly what many of the Antitribu clans in the Sabbat want to do someday. Certainly there might have been certain areas (political, economic, etc) in which the Giovanni and the Sabbat were rivals, but for the most part I have to imagine the Giovanni would have been at or very near the bottom of the Sabbat's hit list.

          But even even their beef with the Giovanni was awkward. The Harbingers were survivors of the Feast of Folly and had been entombed and trapped by Cappadocius and the extent of their problem with the Giovanni seemed to be, "We wanted to kill Cappadocius but by the time we escaped you guys had already killed him and we're really, really pissed off about it." The whole thing was just badly written. The Harbringers should have been a sect of Cappadocians who had been banished to the Shadow Realm by Augustus, at least then their grudge would have been a bit more sensible.

          Ultimately the Harbringers wanted to use the Sabbat against the Giovanni, but the Sabbat didn't care much about the Giovanni. And the Sabbat wanted to used the Harbringers against the Camarilla, but the Harbringers didn't care much about the Camarilla. It was a temporary alliance of convenience at best and it wouldn't be a surprise that it didn't end up working out in the long term.
          Last edited by AnubisXy; 03-09-2021, 12:31 AM.

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          • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
            I never much cared for the mass murder of the Tremere Antis....and not just because I played a Tremere antitribu.
            I thought it was a very cool and interesting chronicle event. However, it works best as something an individual ST does in a home chronicle, not as a permanent change to the setting that takes away the toy for someone else to use.

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            • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
              The Harbringers in general always felt pretty awkward to me. Their main beef was with the Giovanni. But the Sabbat and Giovanni never really had any deep grudges with one another. The Giovanni weren't part of the Camarilla. They didn't support the Antediluvians. In fact their leader had killed one of the Antediluvians and wiped out his clan of loyal followers. If anything there was probably a certain amount of grudging respect for the Giovanni because what he pulled off is exactly what many of the Antitribu clans in the Sabbat want to do someday. Certainly there might have been certain areas (political, economic, etc) in which the Giovanni and the Sabbat were rivals, but for the most part I have to imagine the Giovanni would have been at or very near the bottom of the Sabbat's hit list.

              But even even their beef with the Giovanni was awkward. The Harbingers were survivors of the Feast of Folly and had been entombed and trapped by Cappadocius and the extent of their problem with the Giovanni seemed to be, "We wanted to kill Cappadocius but by the time we escaped you guys had already killed him and we're really, really pissed off about it." The whole thing was just badly written. The Harbringers should have been a sect of Cappadocians who had been banished to the Shadow Realm by Augustus, at least then their grudge would have been a bit more sensible.

              Ultimately the Harbringers wanted to use the Sabbat against the Giovanni, but the Sabbat didn't care much about the Giovanni. And the Sabbat wanted to used the Harbringers against the Camarilla, but the Harbringers didn't care much about the Camarilla. It was a temporary alliance of convenience at best and it wouldn't be a surprise that it didn't end up working out in the long term.
              While true, you can literally not underestimate how much of a petty bunch of assholes that any group of vampires might be. Mind you, the Harbingers feel like they are constantly moving from one band of crazy to another.

              Harbingers: After a 1000 years, I'm free, TIME TO CONQUER EARTH!

              True Hand: Hey, we helped free you.

              Harbingers: Oh, sweet, awesome.

              True Hand: We worship the Antediluvians and are trying to bring about Gehenna.

              Harbingers: What the absolute fuck. *slowly steps back*

              True Hand: No, no, we'll survive! Honest! Oh and these are our new friends: the Baali!

              Harbingers: Uh huh.

              True Hand: But the good Baali who want to keep Cthulhu asleep by the screams of dead infants we sacrifice!

              Harbingers: Right, let's go join the Sabbat.

              Sabbat: Hey, we're all going to Syria where all the Elders have been Beckoned! TO FIGHT THE ANTEDILUVIANS! In hand to hand combat!

              Ravnos: They're probably unlike the one who required three nukes and a satellite weapon! Oh and who killed 90% of his clan with his dying breath!

              Harbingers: You know, maybe we should think about making peace with the Giovanni.

              Isabel: NEVER! You are the Old Clan and our Loyalty is to our master!

              Augustus: Oh shit, lost control of those 10,000,000 souls who all want to kill us.

              Isabel: Okay, what's your plan?
              Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-09-2021, 01:06 AM.


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

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              • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                The Harbringers in general always felt pretty awkward to me.
                I agree. I honestly don’t feel like the revenge motive makes sense directed at the Giovanni. Sure, they might be irritated that the Giovanni killed Cappadocius instead, but it shouldn’t be this all consuming thirst for revenge. It would make a lot more sense for loyalist Cappadocians to awaken and want revenge because they were loyal to Cappadocius. That is one reason I like the theory that the Harbringers were the chosen of Cappadocius and over time they changed in some way that Cappadocius wanted and they came to realize this. They want revenge because they know their master was protecting and improving them.

                Also, as you say, the Sabbat isn’t really the place to go for revenge against Giovanni. They would be better off staying neutral and just going after the Giovanni by themselves.

                If we go with the theory that Cappadocius saw what was coming, then the Harbringers of Ashur (why name yourself after the one who locked you away to die?) could still be carrying out his plans or even orders that go beyond simple revenge. It could be that the creation of the Hecata is part of that plan.

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                • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  While true, you can literally not underestimate how much of a petty bunch of assholes that any group of vampires might be. Mind you, the Harbingers feel like they are constantly moving from one band of crazy to another.
                  I mean yeah, that's was my issue. The extent of the reasoning for the Harbringers to join the Sabbat was that they're petty and spiteful. Which isn't implausible or anything (people do all kinds of shit purely out of pettiness or spite), but petty spitefulness hardly makes a solid basis for an alliance, or at least not a long lasting one.

                  eally, the Harbringers were always going to be part of the Sabbat only for as long as it took them to realize that the Sabbat would not be a useful tool in their quest for vengeance. So having them out of the Sabbat is great because it was rather silly for them to be in the Sabbat to begin with. It always felt like the writers had a cool idea but never really finished thinking it through.

                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  True Hand: We worship the Antediluvians and are trying to bring about Gehenna.

                  Harbingers: What the absolute fuck. *slowly steps back*

                  True Hand: No, no, we'll survive! Honest! Oh and these are our new friends: the Baali!
                  Man, the True Hand are just so adorable. I want to pinch all of their cheeks.

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                  • Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post
                    It would make a lot more sense for loyalist Cappadocians to awaken and want revenge because they were loyal to Cappadocius.
                    Yes, it would have made more sense to learn that the Giovanni claim to have hunted down and destroyed all the Cappadocians was just flat out wrong, and that tons of Cappadocians had simply melded into the earth or otherwise hid until there was a better time to fight back when the Giovanni had become complacent and vampire politics was very different.

                    At least when the Tremere ostensibly hunted the Salubri, they had several more centuries to do so, convinced all other vampires that the Salubri were a menace (so they didn't have to kill them by themselves), and already had an extensive system of chantries and new recruits they could use to do so. The Giovanni just had... their own family in one city. One of the other Cappadocian elders could have easily arranged things to save whatever Cappadocians he wanted, perhaps at the antedeluvian's behest or their own initiative.

                    However, the Feast of Folly is evocative and was obviously the Chekhov's Gun of the Dark Ages clanbook, so it had to be fired at some point. What might have been a better twist is for the loyal Cappadocians to awake first to go after the Giovanni, and then later some of the survivors for the Feast to finally escape and get revenge of every other clan member that escaped being consigned to the Feast (both the loyalists and the Giovanni since they were the childer of someone Cappadocious embraced afterwards).

                    = = =

                    I also think that the reason Cappadocious embraced Augustus Giovanni should have been better. Like a lot of supposed master plots in VtM, it doesn't really come together. The Underpants Gnomes strike again. If Cappadocious just wanted to die in order for his plot to succeed, he could have achieved it by much easier means. Why did he need to be diablerized? What was the point of the Giovanni developing Necromancy (or just new Paths of it now that Necromancy has many paths independent of the Giovanni)? Does it make sense that this small family of Venetian necromancers developed the Discipline as opposed to having thousands of years of other vampires to do the same, plus an entire civilization obsessed with death like Egypt? And why did "all" the Cappadocians need to die? Why shouldn't the surviving Cappadocians have defeated the Giovanni? These points really don't connect with one another. (At least the various theories about Saulot and the Tremere make some sort of theoretical sense.)

                    Well the reason is that people were making things up as they went along and did the best they could while trying to stick to established continuity. I don't want to be too harsh on the writers - they created a lot of cool stuff under deadline pressure.

                    If you don't mind doing a retcon, you would want something that ties everything together. Cappadocious embraces Augustus because he knows he'll develop some unique Necromancy magic. Your manipulate him so he becomes aware of some strange necromantic ritual that he'll want to use, but which will actually help Cappadocious instead. The ritual involves killing off all other members of Cappadocious's bloodline for some reason. If Cappadocious is sacrificed as part of this ritual, then Cappadocius would benefit by this self-sacrifice in the same away other mythic figures sacrificed themselves. Augustus does this thinking he'll benefit from it when it will actually benefit Cappadocious. But for some reason Cappadocious can't be the one who performs the ritual, so he cons Augustus into doing it for him. Perhaps the intention was for the plan to succeed only when the entirety of Cappadocius's vitae is destroyed in the sense of him and all of his childer are gone, so not only does it require all Cappadocians to be destroyed, but for the Giovanni themselves to inadvertently destroy themselves (perhaps through Augustus's own crazy plans inspired by Cappadocious's earlier manipulations). Only then would Cappadocious "move" to the final stage. (It's entirely likely that Cappadocious intended a magical reenactment of the death of Jesus with Augustus acting as Judas, thinking that he'll somehow be Resurrected and attain godhood. But if so we should see something blasphemous like a series of events where Cappadocious undergoes a magical allegory of the Stations of the Cross.) There's a lot that would still need to be figured out, but in theory this would help explain why things happened as they did. It's OK for the plot to have somehow failed - either because something went wrong or most likely because it was insane and would never work. But at least it would explain things.

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                    • The Capadocians are by far the most uninteresting of necromancers, perhaps vampires in general.

                      Fortitude and Auspex are great disciplines*, but disciplines tell a story of how vampires hunt and thus who they are (fuck resonances), and Fortitude and Auspex are by far the least useful in hunting. The Caps have three supporting disciplines, but no breadwinner. They'll have stronger elders, but their neonates will struggle more as a result. They're poor, lonely scholars.
                      Also corporeal death magic (corpse in the monster, bones, humour) is just flat inferior to incomporeal necromancy (Sephulcre, ash, virteous, ceno)

                      Frankly, they deserved to get ashed by the Giovanni. Potence and dominate is a combo for assertive, agressive, dominant, overbearing vampires who want to get shit done. It fits the Giovanni (and the Lasombra) perfectly. The Giovanni just aren't an Auspex-Fortitude people.

                      *Auspex is a must have. Fortitude is laughably weak in revised and v20, but pretty good in v1/v2/v5.


                      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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                      • Someone mentioned the Tremere and Tzimisce having almost identical Discipline spreads, but I can't find the post to quote it now. Anyway, I think that makes sense, since the Tremere used Tzimisce blood in their own creation.

                        Re: Harbingers, I always assumed a) they were insane after centuries of imprisonment, b) they were conflicted in their vengeance (they want vengeance on the Giovanni for killing Cappadocius, but also for usurping them as a clan and having what should be theirs, by right), c) most of them are old enough to remember and hold these grudges, and d) their Sabbat membership could be tied to the Tal'mahe'Ra's habit of infiltrating the other two sects for various reasons.

                        Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                        If you're a musician, there's no harm in calling yourself a musician. Calling yourself a 'snake-king' when you're not a king or a snake... Just sounds like a shitty gang/band name.
                        I always assumed it was a clue to their ancestry (descent from the Setites). But yeah, I can totally see that now. I also thought it could be a generally 'exotic Eastern' name like the Sanskrit version of Evil McEvilFace or something.

                        Now I'm imagining them as the Serpents from Riverside, though, complete with matching jackets and 30-year old teenagers!

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                        • Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                          However, the Feast of Folly is evocative and was obviously the Chekhov's Gun of the Dark Ages clanbook, so it had to be fired at some point. What might have been a better twist is for the loyal Cappadocians to awake first to go after the Giovanni, and then later some of the survivors for the Feast to finally escape and get revenge of every other clan member that escaped being consigned to the Feast (both the loyalists and the Giovanni since they were the childer of someone Cappadocious embraced afterwards).
                          Always thought it would have made more sense for the Harbringers to have a grudge against Lazarus and his brood, as well as the Setites rather than the Giovanni.

                          Lazarus skipped out on the Feast of Folly because he knew Cappadocius was planning something and felt he'd end up being a victim. He allied with the Followers of Set in order to get protection, and later when Caias (the first childer of Cappadocius) showed up, Lazarus murdered him and then stayed in Egypt under the protection of the Setites. Lazarus knew all about the Feast of Folly, he knew what happened, he knew there were lots of other Cappadocians entombed there, and after the Giovanni killed Cappadocius nothing was really stopping Lazarus from going to Kaymalki and freeing his brothers who were trapped there. But he didn't and just stayed in Egypt with the Setites and left them to rot for a thousand years.

                          Of course things were a bit more complicated than that, Lazarus ended up going into Topor after his fight and even if he'd been awake would have had to be careful of the Giovani, but for angry Harbringers those would have been minor issues.

                          So I always felt that the Harbringers, on getting free, would have been rather more upset at Lazarus, and by extension the Followers of Set who had protected him, than at the Giovanni who weren't even created until well after they'd all been locked away. And, of course, (beyond the simple fact that the Followers are everything the Sabbat hates) since the Sabbat had given its protection to the Serpents of Light, the sect was functionally at war with the Followers of Set, so the Harbringers joining the Sabbat to get revenge against the Setites would have been eminently practical.
                          Last edited by AnubisXy; 03-09-2021, 09:20 AM.

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                          • It made more sense to me that the Harbingers, having been on the other side of the Shroud until recently, would have run afoul of all sorts of ghostly Giovanni shenanigans over the last 5 centuries and developed antipathy based on being nibbled to death by ducks rather than revenge for a single great betrayal (and of someone who betrayed them!). Not so much "you must all die for your patriarch's crime of diablerizing our beloved clan founder!" as "these are the meddling kids that have been snatching the ghosts crucial to our plans to return or turning them into spectres and cost us a half millennium in the netherworld—step on the fuckers like roaches!"

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                            • As long time Giovanni fan and someone that generally likes the Hecata and what has been done to them, I thought I'd share some of my own thoughts on stuff that's being talked about.

                              With regards to the Giovanni and the Harbingers, their whole thing has always been off. The earliest write-ups of them have always been vague on why exactly they hated the Giovanni. But it has also been noted that the Pisanob bloodline in particular had been receiving a lot of their attention. Now the first thing that comes to mind in that is that Pisanob are the Giovanni based in South and Central America, where the Sabbat are strong. Obviously many Harbingers would target them first due to their proximity to Sabbat strongholds but there are two things that put an interesting spin on that. First in V5 it's noted that the Harbingers had brought the Bloodline to near destruction until their founder and leader offered his life up in exchange for the survival of the rest of the Pisanob. An odd thing for a Giovanni Bloodline to get more attention than the main family. Until we factor in the second thing, the Pisanobs were vampires before the Giovanni found them. Their founder and leader, Pochtli was long suspected to be a Cappadocian.

                              And that piece might just be the thing to explain it all.

                              Now this is pure speculation on my part but I think there are two things that drove their aggression against the Giovanni (well aside from the fact that as rival Necromancers they are a threat to them), the first being vengeance by proxy. They can't get revenge against Cappadocious anymore but they can go after the ones that still carry his Blood, Augustus and those Giovanni embraced before Cappa's death. The second reason is to go after those Cappadocians that defected to the Giovanni to save their own hides. Like I said, Pochtli was almost certainly a Cappadocian but there's also been vague talk over the years that some of the Premascine within the Giovanni were of Cappadocian Blood but not Giovanni stock. To a Harbinger, they would be worse than the Giovanni. They abandoned their Clan mates to their fate to save themselves just as so many Cappadocians abandoned them during the Feast of Folly.

                              It would help explain why they were so against the Giovanni yet also willing to take part in the Family Reunion and join the Hecata. Those that were focus of their ire were by that point dead or subdued while they are now a leading voice in the Clan of Death (something they likely never had with the Cappadocians) as well as regaining their ability to Embrace. In fact of all the Bloodlines, the Harbingers have gained the most from the Family Reunion. They've even eclipsed their Cappadocian kin in terms of power and prominence.

                              Finally, Lazarus and the Harbingers. On the surface of things, I could see why some would think that the Harbingers should hate him but if the material from V20 on the matter holds true in V5 (which in this case I don't see why it wouldn't) then the generally it would be reverse. In the V20 Black Hand book it was revealed that the Capuchin is a trio of Cappadocians (rather two Cappa and the wraith of one), Japheth, Byzar and Lazarus. And the Capuchin has long been a shadow player in the Giovanni as well as potentially one that freed at least some of the Harbingers. In fact one in Lore of the Bloodlines claims that the Capuchin unmasked himself to them, revealing himself to be Lazarus and that he gave them their name, the Harbingers of Skulls. Of course another Harbinger claims otherwise, muddying the situation. But generally their chapter presents Lazarus as a respected figure among the Harbingers, even those that dispute him saving them acknowledge him as someone to respect.

                              And given the Capuchin was involved in the Family Reunion, with it being suggested that he gave them their new name, it wouldn't surprise me if the Capuchin was the driving force behind the Reunion and that to do he unmasks himself as Lazarus to get the Harbingers and Cappadocians to general play ball. Or even the aforementioned trio to reveal themselves as the Capuchin. Which actually now that I say that out loud I realize that the reveal of the Capuchin being three people would play into the trinity motif that is present in the Hecata.

                              As for the Hecata and the other Sects, there are some points in V5 Cults that I wish to bring up. First is that the book notes that not all Cappadocians rescued from Torpor aren't okay with joining up with the Giovanni and that they are looking to join the Camarilla. The other being that most outside the Hecata don't know that the Hecata are what they are and are using that to their ends. At the moment, the Cam and Anarchs think that the Giovanni has just reorganized and rebranded themselves. And with the Giovanni continuing to be the face of the Clan, others are offering their services as alternatives to the Giovanni when in reality they're buying the services of the same group.

                              More importantly, the book very much takes a stance that I've long held with the Giovanni in my games, that neutrality does not equal inactivity. In my games, I've long had the Giovanni be a fixture of local politics, regardless of whether the city's Cam or Anarch. Giovanni reps frequently appear at Elysium and other major events because the Princes and Barons don't trust them but also can't afford to alienate them lest they decide to quietly send aid to their rivals and foes or worse.

                              And with the uneasy new politics of the Hecata, there's plenty of room to get non-Hecata dragged into their schemes and games. Hell, that the Hecata chronicle within the book includes a sample coterie with non-Hecata in it is proof of that alone.



                              Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

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                              • Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                                The Capadocians are by far the most uninteresting of necromancers, perhaps vampires in general.
                                Well, some of this is due to them being the most undeveloped of the clans. They've only been treated as a real clan once in the Dark Ages game, and any other time it's only been as a metaplot element. So they're detailed in one clanbook set in the Dark Ages. In contrast, all the other clans have had two clanbooks, a Dark Ages supplement, and much greater use as NPCs and addressed in sect sourcebooks. If the Cappadocians had gotten the same treatment, they'd likely seem much more interesting.

                                A big part of vampire lore is showing vampires laying in crypts, dead relatives coming back to your home, and deathly pale pallor. That is somewhat neglected in VtM, and the Cappadocians are a natural fit there. I think they have a lot of potential even in a modern setting.

                                Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                                Fortitude and Auspex are great disciplines*, but disciplines tell a story of how vampires hunt and thus who they are (fuck resonances), and Fortitude and Auspex are by far the least useful in hunting. The Caps have three supporting disciplines, but no breadwinner. They'll have stronger elders, but their neonates will struggle more as a result. They're poor, lonely scholars.
                                I do agree that it seems to be one of the poorer in-clan sets. The in-clan discipline sets really do help determine the feel of the clan, and these are all so passive. It'd help if one of them was a more active use Discipline - something they do to someone else.

                                I have never been a fan of the idea of Disciplines changing or sub-clans having different in-clans. I think that's a sign of poor design. In an ideal reboot, I'd prefer for all the sub-clans of the Cappadocians to have the same Discipline set, including the Giovanni. So it'd have to be something that fits both within the theme of the original Cappadocians (scholars of death) and the Giovanni (modern decadent Borgias). We need to keep Necromancy or whatever V5 call its. I also think Auspex works for both. Scholars and degenerates could make use of it. So that leaves swapping Fortitude for something else. Does Potence make sense (it could be a rigor mortis theme)? Dominate to represent their willpower as they explore the mysteries? It's not a natural fit, but it'd help them feed. Or is something else better?

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