Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

My review of SABBAT: THE BLACK HAND 4.5/5

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • I personally don't think that V5 is written for a mature audience. A mature audience can decide for themselves how to engage with mature content and doesn't need a book telling them the one true way to play the game. Therefore a mature gaming system would give the players tools to customise their experience to their liking and V5 tries to patronize players because they could do deplorable stuff in a fictional TTRPG. Furthermore their worlds building lacks nuounce and depth, which makes their claim that VTM makes you understand the problems facing us to be better equipped to fight them ridiculous.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Ignithas View Post
      I personally don't think that V5 is written for a mature audience. A mature audience can decide for themselves how to engage with mature content and doesn't need a book telling them the one true way to play the game. Therefore a mature gaming system would give the players tools to customise their experience to their liking and V5 tries to patronize players because they could do deplorable stuff in a fictional TTRPG. Furthermore their worlds building lacks nuounce and depth, which makes their claim that VTM makes you understand the problems facing us to be better equipped to fight them ridiculous.
      I, of course note that the flexible Humanity system means that V5 is the most useful for playing multiple playstyles at the comfort level of the players.


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

      Comment


      • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
        As much as I want to state that I am disappointed at the length and simplicity of this book (it would be 5 stars if it had included the complexity it deserved), I feel like you are inaccurately describing Justin Achilli and how he treated both the Giovanni and the Sabbat. Justin Achilli is the guy for which the Giovanni were stated NOT to be the mafia. Indeed, Justin Achilli said that the only Italian gangsters in the Clan were the Pisanob and didn't even want to include them but felt like he had to for the sake of those who enjoyed them.
        Perhaps so, but if that is the case I feel Justin Achilli is himself to blame. If he didn't want to associate the Giovanni with the mafia, then why make the clanbook's POV sound like it is from one of them? Why not use someone who sounds like he is from a rich, northern Italian mercantile family with a pedigree to the Middle Ages? Why not go into some detail of the history of the Venetian Republic and how that helped the clan to spread as traders? Instead we get practically no information on that. We do, however, get an entire section on the La Cosa Nostra.

        I think you mean the Putanesca, not the Pisanob (Aztec/Mayan death priest necromancers), as the gangsters. The Putanesca are mentioned as part of the minor families, but get this - the entire New Jersey style gold chain wearing goombah persona who's been our POV this entire time is not one of them. So this POV guy - the one saying things like "his lackey Japheth and some bitch named Constancia", "self-important douchebags", "Crappadocious", "Fuck'em in the ear", "crackpot Jew", "haggis-laden Scotland", etc. Turns out that guy isn't a gangster. He just sounds and acts like one! Despite saying things like Italians aren't all mafioso, Justin apparently thinks they all sound like one. How can anyone imagine that one of the ancient Venetian families, that should be one of the patricians of the Venetian Republic, would sound like this? Tony Soprano as the Doge of Venice. Joe Pesci's Tommy as Verdi.

        Blech.

        The clanbook is also an indication how Justin ignores previous information. One of the interesting things about the original clan description in the Player's Guide is that the Giovanni are only allowed 3 embraces in a Generation. No mention of this at all in the clanbook, yet it would seem this should be an important thing to be discussed. (Now this is likely a totally forgotten element of the clan.) Furthermore, while one can read into the original clan description that perhaps that rule is due to the strict control of Augustus, it would make far more sense that this is one of the restrictions imposed on the clan by the Camarilla that Augustus agreed to so his clan wouldn't be destroyed. An elaboration of the restrictions imposed on the Giovanni by the Promise of 1528 and how the Giovanni chafe against them and try to undermine them would have given STs ideas on how to use the clan. Instead, we get nothing and it seems like the Promise of 1528 not only does not seem to impose any practical limits on the Giovanni, but if anything restricts what the Camarilla can do to them. It's a total inversion of what it should be. Yeah, you can argue that is merely a POV depiction, but when that is the only side presented, it hides a lot from the readers looking to the clanbook as an actual guide on how to RP the Giovanni (whether as PCs or ST using them as NPCs).

        Justin certainly has his strengths as a writer. There definitely are a lot of things in the clanbook that are useful and good, but he got the big picture wrong. It's like a smart student writing an excellent essay which nonetheless does not address the actual question on the test. No matter how well it's written, the teacher needs to mark it wrong. Back when I LARPed, there was a definite tendency for players to depict the Giovanni as gangsters purely because of how Justin wrote them in the clanbook. I initially really liked his work until I noticed he was gradually destroying the setting. At this point, I am completely jaded. As I said, I think he'd run a really fun chronicle to play in. The problem is that he's supposed to be writing materials to help other STs run the chronicles they want to run. And his work doesn't do that (and as I said, this may not entirely be his fault - some of his work was written for others who had final say).

        Comment


        • My apologies on mixing up the two families. Thanks for the correction, Black Fox.

          Even so I think the "three Embraces a generation" would almost certainly restrict the Giovanni to only being Italian bankers and significantly impede the attempts to make the Clan significantly more diverse.
          Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-27-2021, 08:20 PM.


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

          Comment


          • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
            I, of course note that the flexible Humanity system means that V5 is the most useful for playing multiple playstyles at the comfort level of the players.
            Yes, they got one thing right, even if its utility for new players is limited by a lack of deeper examples. Something that could have been done with Paths, by the way. But I won't lie, it is a good rule.

            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
            Even so I think the "three Embraces a generation" would almost certainly restrict the Giovanni to only being Italian bankers and significantly impede the attempts to make the Clan significantly more diverse.
            I always had the impression that the depiction of the other families as having multiple vampires makes the Giovanni weirdly bloated, and the limit puts a nice touch to it. With around 60 new Embraces since the Promise the Giovanni would have to be extremely careful with each Embrace... which makes sense for them, and makes each Embrace an important family matter... which also makes sense for them. It would also make them rely on their mortal family more than in vampiric numbers and instead of several vampires from the secondary families they would be important due to their mortal and ghoul members instead, maybe with one or two vampire overseers each.

            Literally everything in this makes for an interesting clan that chooses to remain independent instead of risking its members on broader vampire politics. And I, personally, think that it is still space to make the clan diverse as no generation can be wasted or have the advantage of numbers after the Promise.


            #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
            #AutismPride
            She/her pronouns

            Comment


            • True but is it really a Clan then and not a Bloodline?

              How would it have destroyed the Cappadocians?

              Antediluvian fiat?

              But you're correct that a 60 person Bloodline would be an interesting but small part of vampire society.


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

              Comment


              • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                True but is it really a Clan then and not a Bloodline?
                Arbitrary concept, as the books always stated it to be. As far as I know the Daughters of Cacophony may be more numerous than the Lasombra, we don't know and it won't make a difference. The Giovanni wanted the cute title and were heirs of the Cappadocian, this literally is the only reason they're called a clan.

                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                How would it have destroyed the Cappadocians?
                Putting aside my opinion on how thorough this "destruction" could conceivably be, numbers built before the Promise, they had been working on this for centuries and were known as a particularly prolific lineage. Their war already raged for almost 100 years when the Promise was exacted and the most powerful elders of the Cappadocians had been the very first victims, not counting the ones that wanted the main clan destroyed anyway because of the Feast of Folly. At this point new Embraces would hardly have that big an impact on their ability to "destroy" the Cappadocians.

                For all practical effects, when the Promise was done they officially acquired rights for the "Clan" status and the Cappadocians were too weak as a group to do much anymore.

                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                But you're correct that a 60 person Bloodline would be an interesting but small part of vampire society.
                60 new, they'd still have some awake elders from before the Promise.


                #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
                #AutismPride
                She/her pronouns

                Comment


                • Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                  Arbitrary concept, as the books always stated it to be. As far as I know the Daughters of Cacophony may be more numerous than the Lasombra, we don't know and it won't make a difference.
                  that does raise an interesting point considering the probable casualty rates the rates the lasombra probably suffered in defecting are they even really a clan anymore?

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post

                    that does raise an interesting point considering the probable casualty rates the rates the lasombra probably suffered in defecting are they even really a clan anymore?
                    The Sabbat book, notably, say the Sabbat procreate so quickly that they haven't lost much in the way of their numbers at all.

                    They've lost domain but are still as numerous as ever.

                    Similarly, I doubt the Lasombra lost that many more members than they did any other Clan to the Beckoning and Second Inquisition. Remember the Lasombra didn't say LASOMBRA elders had to be killed, the deal said SABBAT elders.

                    And this isn't me headcanoning or interpreting data, it's stated specifically in the text.
                    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-27-2021, 09:58 PM.


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

                    Comment


                    • Cappadcious "died" because he let Augustus to it to shed his mortal form..ascend to heaven and become the new God. He was insane...and also just ended up a specter. It's all covered in the Giovanni chronicles. Thr Giovanni didn't need huge numbers or power when your 3rd gen let's you do it as part of his master plan.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by SuperSabbatST View Post
                        Cappadcious "died" because he let Augustus to it to shed his mortal form..ascend to heaven and become the new God. He was insane...and also just ended up a specter. It's all covered in the Giovanni chronicles. Thr Giovanni didn't need huge numbers or power when your 3rd gen let's you do it as part of his master plan.
                        That's before the Promise, it doesn't necessarily affects the difficulty in dealing with the rest of the clan or with being recognized as a clan. After all, Diablerizing the Antedilluvian didn't made Augustus into an Ante, it didn't even give him enough XP to buy the hugely expensive 10th dot of Necromancy. Being 3rd generation for a 4th generation isn't so much an injection of power.


                        #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
                        #AutismPride
                        She/her pronouns

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                          I always had the impression that the depiction of the other families as having multiple vampires makes the Giovanni weirdly bloated, and the limit puts a nice touch to it. With around 60 new Embraces since the Promise the Giovanni would have to be extremely careful with each Embrace... which makes sense for them, and makes each Embrace an important family matter... which also makes sense for them. It would also make them rely on their mortal family more than in vampiric numbers and instead of several vampires from the secondary families they would be important due to their mortal and ghoul members instead, maybe with one or two vampire overseers each.

                          Literally everything in this makes for an interesting clan that chooses to remain independent instead of risking its members on broader vampire politics. And I, personally, think that it is still space to make the clan diverse as no generation can be wasted or have the advantage of numbers after the Promise.
                          It's entirely possible that ignoring the old clan description limit of three embraces per generation was purposefully ignored/retconned by the powers at White Wolf in order to make the clan larger and playable by more PCs. That's not really an issue for tabletop where the number of players are limited. But LARP was beginning to hit big and have multiple organizations having multiple city linked chronicles. In that format, there was clearly more people who wanted to play Giovanni than would have been allowed (then again LARP is always like that because one's game is as big as the number of players who are interested). Was that part of the reason? I have no idea.

                          However, I always liked the idea that the Giovanni were a particularly small clan for the reasons you gave. They could punch above their weight class because they were highly organized and had some very powerful vampires of low generation, but they were still small and vulnerable. That being the case, some of the minor families may have extremely small number of vampires, and even the "major" (non-Giovanni) families not too much more. Interestingly the original clanbook also mentioned "breeding families" which were mortal families selected as mates for their mortal families. Even having one vampire among them was supposed to be a big deal. Of course, future books implied these too have many vampires among their number.

                          Everyone's tastes are different, but I think having very few numbers of vampires was something that helped set the Giovanni apart and made their clan more interesting.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                            I, of course note that the flexible Humanity system means that V5 is the most useful for playing multiple playstyles at the comfort level of the players.
                            Which would make sense, if the books wouldn't tell me multiple times what the outcome of those rules should be. Sometimes those text passages even contradict previous ones. One of the first text passages in the Core book (that isn't using unreliable narrators) says that "Everyone is a monster, there are no heroes, humanity is just a distant memory, you will only have the memory of a memory until you are an effigy." This clearly indicates that the conviction system is only there to either slow down or accelerate this process, not supporting multiple playstyles.

                            Comment


                            • The Giovanni subject, and recent musings in another thread about possible ratios of vampires to mortals, are a potentially interesting topic of discussion that could be split off into its own thread: How rare are your vampires?

                              Like Black Fox, I've always seen the Giovanni as a very small clan, with members numbering in the hundreds rather than the thousands. However, I'm ashamed to admit that I have either completely missed, or noted and subsequently forgotten about, the stipulation of only three Embraces per each mortal generation that was written in the original Players Guide and retained in the 2nd Edition update. Thank you for pointing me to it! That forgotten detail makes me more confident than ever in my portrayal of the Giovanni as by far the smallest of the 13 clans.

                              Although the publication of the Giovanni predates the introduction of the antitribu and the development of the Cappadocians, you could argue that the Giovanni are basically the Cappadocian antitribu, and have a number of members comparable to other antitribu. Indeed, all antitribu explicitly want to destroy their parent clans; that's what the antitribu label originally meant, when it was introduced in The Players Guide to the Sabbat. The Giovanni are like the only antitribu in the world that has managed to accomplish what all antitribu want to do.

                              The question "Why are the Giovanni a clan and not a bloodline?" does not make much sense to me. It's very tempting to backport knowledge from later editions of the game when looking at the earliest products in the franchise. We in 2021 may be able to say that of course a niche concept like the original Giovanni should be a bloodline rather than a clan. Of course! Clans should support the broadest possible number of concepts! But we have ample evidence to suggest that this is not at all how the early designers thought.

                              Every clan added to the game after the original seven was much more narrow in scope, and I don't think it's outrageous to argue that this was by design. The original writers were not bumbling idiots who thought that they were writing the Assamites and Giovanni to have the same conceptual breadth as the Toreador and Ventrue, only to fail spectacularly. The 13 clans may have shared the same label of "clan", but they were not in the slightest supposed to have the kind of conceptual parity that we are used to.

                              Remember that the four independent clans were introduced together with the original bloodline in the 1st Edition Players Guide. There were only seven members of the Salubri in the entire world! That is how extremely small bloodlines were supposed to be in the beginning. And the Salubri were not the only bloodline to have only a handful of members across the globe. I remember how it blew my mind the first time I read in the original Euthanatos Tradition Book (pages 42-43) that less than a dozen Nagaraja exist. Not "less than a dozen are known to exist." The text just flat out states out-of-character that, by the way, there are only 11 or fewer Nagaraja in the world.

                              Two examples are not enough to form a pattern, but I feel like the early treatment of the Salubri and Nagaraja is enough to at least give us a hint of how the early writers thought about bloodlines. They were comparable in size to individual mortal families. Armed with this knowledge, of course it makes sense that the Giovanni are not a bloodline. When the distinction between clan and bloodline was first made, the Giovanni were seen as much more numerous and influential than a bloodline could ever hope to be.

                              All the clans added to the game after the original seven occupy a space between the seven clans and bloodlines -- not as conceptually broad and player-oriented as the former, but not as extremely tiny and conceptually narrow as the latter.

                              Comment


                              • I think the 3 embraces a generation limit is pretty interesting, but I also really like where the Giovanni are as of right now. They are most numerous and the "face" of the Hecata but by all accounts it's the Cappadocians that are actually running the show. Actually I would even go so far as to say I think the Hecata are the best written and most fleshed out sect in V5.

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X