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My review of SABBAT: THE BLACK HAND 4.5/5

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  • Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
    Yes but will you conceed that fucking your clan into the dirt but somehow coming out stronger despite that being the exact opposite of how things work irl is really really bad writting?
    Like I said, I don't get your reasoning at all. Can you explain what would have been better terms? I mean, disregarding sticking with the Sabbat which is a non-answer.

    Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post

    Yeah thats my point. Social darwinism is nonsense but it certainly wouldnt advocate deliberatly disadvantaging yourself for some artificial challenge I mean a being who bends the knee in the manner the Lasombra did would be fundamentally inferior one in such a world view.
    Truthfully describing the situation in optimistic terms is more reminiscent of deluded spin than anything.
    Except that a Lasombra who kills another Lasombra gains all of their power and wealth while creating a new position for themselves. Lasombra Elders do not help Lasombra Neonates or Ancilla. They actually oppress them because they view it is as a way to make them stronger.

    Where do you get this weird idea the Lasombra Clan. Hell, ANY CLAN, benefits from having oppressive Elders?

    Every Clan would be stronger if they purged the majority of them because they're the biggest opposition for building power in the Modern Nights.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-28-2021, 06:16 PM.


    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 CTPhipps View Post
      It would make the Camarilla look stupid if they were accepted without penalty and it would make the Lasombra look dumb if they couldn't navigate the Cammie's terms.
      It already made the Cam look stupid. It was the kind of shitty proposal you make just as the opening salvo of a negotiation or when you're a really stupid negotiator. Mind you, this level of imbecilic proposition does have a long history irl, including the terms that all but guaranteed that the Japanese would pay to see the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, since it was utterly ridiculous to agree with Allied demands before witnessing that horror*. It is something you negotiate when you're about to launch complete obliteration and have all the cards, and even then it can backfire royally.

      Was I a Cam member in the negotiation table and witnessed them accept this first demand that way, I would cancel the meeting arguing simply that such a bunch of crazy death seekers won't be anything to the sect but a liability.

      And it was equally bad for the Lasombra. They simply asked an all-out civil war to be carried in the shortest amount of time without almost no previous preparation, unless some Lasombra seer had predicted this a decade earlier. Their acceptance doesn't show confidence or negotiation ability, it shows utter despair and stupidity. As much as they are defecting for survival they are still an asset for the Camarilla. In the history of war the first thing any defector asks and is offered is safety, not a bounty in heads of the group you're defecting from. If they could do that, why were they defecting in the first place if they could just go Independent?

      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      Except that a Lasombra who kills another Lasombra gains all of their power and wealth while creating a new position for themselves.
      They're defecting from their sect. They are not getting the wealth of their victims, Lasombra or not, they're leaving everything behind like defectors and refugees. Any resource they can actually bring with them will be probed by the Cam, because that's what you do with defectors. You don't strip them of every possession, but you do make sure that they're not bringing anything they can use to betray you.

      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      Lasombra Elders do not help Lasombra Neonates or Ancilla. They actually oppress them because they view it is as a way to make them stronger.
      Leaving your elders behind to die in the Gehenna War is even simpler to get rid of them. Trying to kill such a huge number of targets before leaving the sect is just plain suicidal.

      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      Every Clan would be stronger if they purged the majority of them because they're the biggest opposition for building power in the Modern Nights.
      Even if that was true there's a huge difference between a well thought and prepared coup, like the ones that happened in the Middle Ages, and simply accepting such terms and almost immediately going on a killing spree.

      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      Like I said, I don't get your reasoning at all. Can you explain what would have been better terms? I mean, disregarding sticking with the Sabbat which is a non-answer.
      Offering resources and information in exchange for safety and accepting a harsher first decade as a "probation" time. Or something based on some historical account of defection where things actually worked and the situation was similar. But information for safety is pretty standard and well accepted as payment for defection at any moment in human history.


      *Despite my personal beliefs about the monstrosity of the bombs, I'm not holding that the allies understood the situation in such terms. The ultimate failure of the Terms of Surrender as a means to achieve a pacific end to the war is obvious in hindsight, now that we have comprehensive accounts about the two sides at the time, and considering modern understanding of international politics. The matter of the real life decision is complex and far from closed, but the terms themselves remain an example of how presenting unfair options for a compromise can harm the negotiation for everyone involved.


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      • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

        Like I said, I don't get your reasoning at all. Can you explain what would have been better terms? I mean, disregarding sticking with the Sabbat which is a non-answer.



        Except that a Lasombra who kills another Lasombra gains all of their power and wealth while creating a new position for themselves. Lasombra Elders do not help Lasombra Neonates or Ancilla. They actually oppress them because they view it is as a way to make them stronger.

        Where do you get this weird idea the Lasombra Clan. Hell, ANY CLAN, benefits from having oppressive Elders?

        Every Clan would be stronger if they purged the majority of them because they're the biggest opposition for building power in the Modern Nights.

        It isnt a non-answer. Staying in the Sabbat is a better option or go anarch, not in the least because the threat of either gives you room to negotiate.

        -No they don't , especially not now.
        -You don't 'benifit' from eldars you benefit from the cohesion prestige and power of a clan backing you up. Your position in vampire society is directly liked with the clan you're a member off, Elders being creatures of power invested in that structure and anchor the whole thing. Without them their is no clan.
        -this is an incredibly simplistic approach to clan politics. The Eldars may be vile hateful old monsters (as opposed to neonates who are hateful young monsters) but the truth is when removed the power structure ultimately defaults to rule of the next oldest since they're bigger than everyone else. until new Eldars are established which considering how Vampire ecology works will inevitably occur.The Eldars of your clan alone being wiped out isnt a brave new world either. More likely you're clans assets are now easy prey for rival clans as mr lasombra neonate has to square off against against either Rival clan neonates who know how vulnrable he is since no bigger boys are backing him now or anchilli/eldars who've played this game for centuries . Most likely a mix of all three.

        Question if it's so great not having Elders why arnt caitiff running circles around everyone?
        Last edited by Ragged Robin; 09-28-2021, 08:03 PM.

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        • Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
          -You don't 'benifit' from eldars you benefit from the cohesion prestige and power of a clan backing you up.
          The very action of going against all your elders that way pretty much destroys a huge chunk of your clan structure, which not only means not getting all the assets of your elder, but actually loosing yours as the structure where they existed is no more.

          And that is specially dumb when your elders already did the same to THEIR elders in the past, in a smarter way.


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          • Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
            The very action of going against all your elders that way pretty much destroys a huge chunk of your clan structure, which not only means not getting all the assets of your elder, but actually loosing yours as the structure where they existed is no more.

            And that is specially dumb when your elders already did the same to THEIR elders in the past, in a smarter way.
            Yeah I mean on a practical level the clans infrastructure in the anarch revolt was largely intact. Its probably worth noting the coup was followed by the defection of the majority of Clan eldars.
            The way I've ran the lasombra defection is the King's and Queens of shadow have been negotiating with established carmarilla via lasombra antitribu for a couple of years and the defection price tag is the accumulated assets of the King's and Queens-aka a shit ton if money. The clan is still majority sabbat but theirs now a prominent carmarilla minority group. Ironically they're finding themselves doing the muscle work since the brujah and gangrel have gone.
            Last edited by Ragged Robin; 09-28-2021, 07:56 PM.

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            • I keep trying to give V5 a shot and was putting a lot of hope into this book.
              But at this price point, the complete absence of rules for playing Sabbat, or even anyone who's not following the Path of Humanity just really doesn't seem worth it.

              I'll stick with V20 and may just adopt the antitribu idea.

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              • Originally posted by Lepaca View Post
                I keep trying to give V5 a shot and was putting a lot of hope into this book.
                But at this price point, the complete absence of rules for playing Sabbat, or even anyone who's not following the Path of Humanity just really doesn't seem worth it.

                I'll stick with V20 and may just adopt the antitribu idea.
                Yeah, that's kind of where I'm at. The Sabbat book was the "make it or break it" moment for whether I was going to keep purchasing V5 products or not and sadly it looks like I won't. So I'll probably just stick to V20 and use any of the metaplot developments from V5 that I like. It sucks but it also won't be the first time I've skipped an edition of an RPG because of mechanic and setting changes I didn't care for.

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                • Wow....seeing a lot of comments around the traps saying they're glad that Sabbat players will no longer be welcome in VtM as everyone was just edgelords and murder-hobos. Not only does this tell me that they were never involved in the Sabbat games that I was part of or witnessed but that someone has done a very good job of othering those of us who did play them for the new fanbase.

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                  • Originally posted by Damian May View Post
                    Wow....seeing a lot of comments around the traps saying they're glad that Sabbat players will no longer be welcome in VtM as everyone was just edgelords and murder-hobos. Not only does this tell me that they were never involved in the Sabbat games that I was part of or witnessed but that someone has done a very good job of othering those of us who did play them for the new fanbase.
                    No one said that. This is deliberate baiting.


                    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 CTPhipps View Post

                      No one said that. This is deliberate baiting.

                      I said ' around the traps', not here.

                      I have not seen it here and hope not to.

                      I have however seen it on reddit, discord and facebook.

                      Sorry if my colloquialism was misunderstood.

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                      • Understood.


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

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                        • https://twitter.com/jachilli/status/1442882322890698752

                          Justin Achilli has given us a bunch of interesting insights into the Sword of Caine.

                          1. As of V5, the Sabbat is "hollowed out." It has some elders, it has uncountable neonates and fledglings, but its ancillae are almost entirely absent, casualties of the Gehenna War. The Sabbat strategy is to throw bodies at the problem.

                          2. That's what's behind the disappearance of factions within the Sabbat (Status Quo, Loyalists, Ultra-Conservatives, etc.). The elders don't care about that stuff and the neonates and fledglings never really get a chance to care.

                          3. The "Sword of Cain" sobriquet isn't just coincidence or grandstanding. The elders of the sect use the "Sword" as a tool, a weapon, hurling sect vampires into conflict. It's also a defensive weapon, interposed between the elders wielding it and its enemies.

                          4. That is, those "guiding" the Sabbat (as it were) know EXACTLY what they're doing with it. (Although, for Storytellers, there doesn't necessarily need to be an elder mastermind in every chronicle. Some and perhaps most domains just end up in the path of destruction.)

                          5. The big change between editions is that Sabbat sect structure no longer exists in mockery of the Camarilla, as it did in certain legacy editions (VRev/ V20). That's why the book opens with Vykos admonishing the assembled leaders "the way we did things doesn't hold up anymore."

                          6. Straight up, the Sabbat has been WRECKED, crushed between Second Inquisition and Gehenna War. It's eviscerated sect ranks, putting them on the succeed-or-die-trying trajectory. They exist to provoke, and to show the costs of taking the blood-and-fire approach to problem solving.

                          7. The Sabbat book in particular takes this "what's happening NOW?" approach to using them. You can use the legacy-edition materials to help give context, but if you're running a V5 chronicle, you don't need to use that info, and you can plug-and-play introduce them to a chronicle.

                          8. Insofar as "the entire sect" equals actually any one thing, probably. "The entire sect" includes everything from holdout domains still observing the rites of the past to the 12-strong pack of Vaulderie-bound blood-maniacs not knowing there's anyone other than them doing it.

                          9. There's absolutely nothing wrong with playing an edition you prefer. Dance with the one who brung ya, if that's what gives you the most enjoyment!

                          10. Did you get the Companion? It's free and covers the Tzimisce. I'm sure there are individuals of "Pander lineage" out there, but the Sabbat doesn't afford clan much significance as of V5... and there were probably a lot of Panders-descended Cainites thrown into the breach already.

                          11. Indeed. And the (non-fledgling) Tzimisce have returned to not giving a shit about larger vampire politics as the usefulness of the Sabbat has eroded.


                          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 Damian May View Post
                            Wow....seeing a lot of comments around the traps saying they're glad that Sabbat players will no longer be welcome in VtM as everyone was just edgelords and murder-hobos. Not only does this tell me that they were never involved in the Sabbat games that I was part of or witnessed but that someone has done a very good job of othering those of us who did play them for the new fanbase.
                            As someone who has been on the forums since the start of the original forums going all the way back, pretty much as long as they've existed, there's been a lot of edition warring, and line warring. But damn if I am incredibly disappointed all the same by what I've in regards to this again. I was never much of a Sabbat player, only briefly playing one on the first WoD chats, but I've seen those same one note comments on what they think Sabbat games and players were. Again, very disappointed.
                            Last edited by TyrannicalRabbit; 09-28-2021, 10:53 PM.


                            Not returning to the forums, just stopping in for a moment.

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                            • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                              https://twitter.com/jachilli/status/1442882322890698752

                              Justin Achilli has given us a bunch of interesting insights into the Sword of Caine.

                              1. As of V5, the Sabbat is "hollowed out." It has some elders, it has uncountable neonates and fledglings, but its ancillae are almost entirely absent, casualties of the Gehenna War. The Sabbat strategy is to throw bodies at the problem.

                              2. That's what's behind the disappearance of factions within the Sabbat (Status Quo, Loyalists, Ultra-Conservatives, etc.). The elders don't care about that stuff and the neonates and fledglings never really get a chance to care.

                              3. The "Sword of Cain" sobriquet isn't just coincidence or grandstanding. The elders of the sect use the "Sword" as a tool, a weapon, hurling sect vampires into conflict. It's also a defensive weapon, interposed between the elders wielding it and its enemies.

                              4. That is, those "guiding" the Sabbat (as it were) know EXACTLY what they're doing with it. (Although, for Storytellers, there doesn't necessarily need to be an elder mastermind in every chronicle. Some and perhaps most domains just end up in the path of destruction.)

                              5. The big change between editions is that Sabbat sect structure no longer exists in mockery of the Camarilla, as it did in certain legacy editions (VRev/ V20). That's why the book opens with Vykos admonishing the assembled leaders "the way we did things doesn't hold up anymore."

                              6. Straight up, the Sabbat has been WRECKED, crushed between Second Inquisition and Gehenna War. It's eviscerated sect ranks, putting them on the succeed-or-die-trying trajectory. They exist to provoke, and to show the costs of taking the blood-and-fire approach to problem solving.

                              7. The Sabbat book in particular takes this "what's happening NOW?" approach to using them. You can use the legacy-edition materials to help give context, but if you're running a V5 chronicle, you don't need to use that info, and you can plug-and-play introduce them to a chronicle.

                              8. Insofar as "the entire sect" equals actually any one thing, probably. "The entire sect" includes everything from holdout domains still observing the rites of the past to the 12-strong pack of Vaulderie-bound blood-maniacs not knowing there's anyone other than them doing it.

                              9. There's absolutely nothing wrong with playing an edition you prefer. Dance with the one who brung ya, if that's what gives you the most enjoyment!

                              10. Did you get the Companion? It's free and covers the Tzimisce. I'm sure there are individuals of "Pander lineage" out there, but the Sabbat doesn't afford clan much significance as of V5... and there were probably a lot of Panders-descended Cainites thrown into the breach already.

                              11. Indeed. And the (non-fledgling) Tzimisce have returned to not giving a shit about larger vampire politics as the usefulness of the Sabbat has eroded.
                              Thank you for the information, that helps to contextualize.

                              But unfortunately it seems by those answers, and especially by #6 that all my assumptions weren't just right, but it was indeed by design.

                              It is a dumber Sabbat, made dumber for the purpose of showing that acting dumb gets you killed.

                              Orcs never were that imbecile.


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                              • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                                No one said that.
                                I think it's interesting that no one said that. Apart from praise towards the Art and layout of the book, you seem to be the only person saying positive things about it.


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