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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

    The treatment of all the sects has been pretty disappointing as a primary carmarilla I'm frustrated at how cartoonishly evil and stupid the sect was written and anarchs have no were near enough material was provided to justify the emphasis on them as the editions protagonists. A lot of the clans havnt faired much better, pretty much the only ones I like what they did are the ones they did nothing with.

    Edit-actually I quite like the ravnos revisions. Although bizarrely the only romani I know doesn't
    I admit I am very happy the Anarchs are finally getting the coverage they deserve.


    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 Heavy Arms View Post
      This doesn't surprise me too much, but the Romani that I know that are WoD fans that are still playing tend to fall into two categories regarding this: they haven't cared about VtM's official material on the Ravnos in decades and have their own fanon to replace it that they like better (sticking to pre-V5, or adapting it to V5), or they tend to like the transgressive nature of playing stereotypes about their our demographics (and not just being Romani) and tend to prefer the 2e gonzo era mentality on things rather than attempts to "fix" it.

      Though I can imagine that there's plenty of Romani that might have other reactions to the Ravnos changes.
      That makes sense, as a mega-Celt myself I've enjoyed leaning into the archetypes and occasionally stereotypes of my own culture when I've played fianna or verbena it's strangely comfortable to wear the trappings unapologetically. I know the russian guy I sometimes play with embraced the fangs, Lords and fiends with glee.
      Last edited by Ragged Robin; 10-12-2021, 09:21 PM.

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      • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

        I admit I am very happy the Anarchs are finally getting the coverage they deserve.
        I'm surprised to hear you say that, v5 sabbat book may be controversial but v5 anarch was an outright stinker and probably were v5 starts to go south for me.
        Last edited by Ragged Robin; 10-12-2021, 06:51 PM.

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        • Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post

          I'm surprised to hear you say that, v5 sabbat book may be controversial but v5 anarch was an outright stinker and probably were v5 starts to go south for me.
          It was terrible. However, LA By Night, Winter's Teeth, and Chicago by Night are much better.

          My opinion of V5 would much lower if not for the spinoff material.


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

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          • I personally think that the treatment of Ericsson by parts of the community and Paradox was shameful. This doesn't include justified criticism and dislike of rules or how Ericsson did PR. Bad faith groups throwing hyperbolic and/or wrong statements on social media around and media amplifying and validating them seems to be a problem in multimedia journalism.

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            • Originally posted by Ignithas View Post
              I personally think that the treatment of Ericsson by parts of the community and Paradox was shameful. This doesn't include justified criticism and dislike of rules or how Ericsson did PR. Bad faith groups throwing hyperbolic and/or wrong statements on social media around and media amplifying and validating them seems to be a problem in multimedia journalism.
              Let's avoid discussing this topic for a variety of reasons.
              Last edited by CTPhipps; 10-13-2021, 04:16 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 monteparnas View Post
                So you're a better reviewer than many (and I'm not counting CTPhipps whose review I just disagree, don't find bad, and I know that reviewing professionally is a very different kind of animal).

                But let me comment on your points, and I'll actually agree with many of them, yet it won't make me like V5's current path.

                I wanted what I think everyone wanted from V5: an overhaul on the rules and a bg change in the setting. And I find extremely offensive the insistence in believing everyone's complains about the changes is because they wanted to play the same game as ever. VtM had bad rules forever. They missed every opportunity to make them even as they made better rules for their other products in the past. Time of Judgement put the setting into a crossroads, where it couldn't go on without dropping some themes to embrace new ones. Those were all things I expected and wanted.

                Most of the mechanics delivered, and I mean it. The new dice mechanics are interesting and flow smoother. The combat mechanics are easy and stay on what the game proposes instead of saying they won't be the focus and then diving into a rabbit hole of a simulationist mess. Hunger, Messy Criticals, Blood Potency, 5-dots cap, Humors and Dyscrasias, Convictions and Touchstones, Loresheets, those are all rules that are at least conceptually good and just need polishing, Touchstones more, Loresheets less, I'm not as excited about some as you, but I'm maybe even more excited about others.

                Don't get me wrong, I'll definitely try to convince my players to at least give the system a try, just some tweaks here and there. Thin Bloods became better in my opinion too. Their Alchemy is at least a good idea, although it needs some heavy tinkering. The same goes for Disciplines in general, to a lesser extend, I think the concept of the power tree is good, but the execution needs a lot of tinkering and Oblivion is objectively a bad idea. Oblivion, specifically.

                Requiem stats were a given, they would have to be too obnoxiously stubborn to not make this change, and wildly creative to find another change.

                And most of my thoughts apply to the metaplot in some way. As I said, I did wanted change, I wanted the end of the world to be delivered fully. But then we got the same problems but intensified: good concepts, bad executions, except this time it is a worse execution and, being the plot instead of the rules, polishing is harder. We also got the same stance of ditching things out, but plot development isn't the place to do this. You can simplify the setting by ignoring elements for now instead of actively butchering then.

                The Beckoning? Intriguing. But what's happening to those elders? Where are they going and what they're doing there? They went to the Middle East, not to another world, the lack of info isn't disturbing, it just sounds lazy. The Camarilla changing for its elders to survive? Excellent. The Camarilla turning into the GOP? Just what? The Anarchs rise to power in this vacuum is a good development. The Anarchs being regarded as the only sensible faction in the core and getting the treatment they got in their book, not so much. The Second Inquisition? With a proper blown up of the Masquerade as we know it would be a fantastic touch. As the same hunters from before, but nastier because lols and historical buildings in Vienna got "casually" blown up without the no one finding out it was a secret society? That's pretty much intellectually offensive. Sabbat fighting in their sacred war? Good. Becoming dumber and simpler under the justification that every sensible member went to other sects and we don't need the Sabbat anymore? No, thanks.

                We got V5 in the last half of the 2010's. This isn't a 20-something American with no proper research tools doing a semi-professional job anymore. Changing was a given, a necessity, but those changes should be well delivered. They should be good ideas with good executions, they didn't need to be awesome either, but good. The setting development ignored a big chunk of the same 30 years of game design innovations that made the rules deliver. Most changes were just focused on the already mentioned subtraction of play styles. The factions got individually dumber, important events went unexplored beyond their intended consequences, and the game is honestly shy from actual major changes, which makes the minor ones seem nonsensical. And they are still horrible at reaching for information and players from other places before writing about those places, making instead shallow references. The Chechnya incident was only the most prominent in the media, but the actual worse example is how they used the Middle East as the focal point of so many things and actually didn't even tried to describe it in any form.

                Now you want to blame the backlash on people being envious? Of course it can't have anything to do with context and reality being a complex place. Ericsson didn't loose his job because people freaked n the internet, he loose his job because Paradox freaked out, don't blame company decisions on fans. Yes, the whole debacle was a sorry mess, but unfortunately this is how public opinion works, sorry messes happen and companies need to navigate. In this case, it happened because WoD unfortunately already have a history with neo-nazi players, it isn't the company's fault, but is context.

                Please stop simplifying other people's positions for your own convenience. You're in your right to be well served by V5 and like it. You're in your right to defend it with good arguments and you do have them. You're on your right to be angry at what happened to Ericsson and I am too. But reality is this complex, nuanced place where things we like may have problems and people may have different opinions for a good reason, not just because they're envious (this REALLY pissed me off). You have a right to contextualize the game you like to see it under a better light, but not to demand others to do the same, and without contextualizing their opinion when it isn't convenient.
                Thanks,

                I don't think that people who have an issue with V5's metaplot are complaining about change in general. I do think it boils down to the fact that a lot of the changes are things they specifically disagree with. To use a comparison, if you are a fan of Luke Skywalker and you hated his portrayal in THE LAST JEDI then you aren't being a bad fan of Luke Skywalker. You just don't like what was done to him and are expressing that opinion. It doesn't mean people who liked Luke Skywalker's treatment in said movie are wrong, it's a matter of taste and opinion. It just so happened the latter people are wrong.

                :rimshot:

                JK.

                I'm generally a big defender of V5 but I'm also going to admit that I also feel like OPP has been cleaning up a huge amount of what I perceived to be a mess. I feel the enthusiasm for V5 from the new book but I also feel like the original book had serious issues of lacking good rules for the Sabbat, very poor connection to the previous editions (HOW did it get to be like this), poor explanation of things like the Second Inquisition, and lacking rules for a good half of the clans. I feel like radical change was necessary for reasons listed below but we had a lot of statements without much explanation of what they MEANT.

                For example: The Beckoning was something that was stated to have gotten rid of the Elders. Given that a massive chunk of the game is based on the conflict with the Elders, this was a change that would have ruined my games. I feel like OPP carried a lot of water for Paradox by creating Chicago by Night and explaining: "No, not every Elder went to the Middle East. Some stayed. Here's some reasons why." They also gave us examples of how the Anarchs and Camarilla interacted, how the technology ban was being dealt with [with great hypocrisy], and gave us the Lasombra.

                I'm going to be honest that I feel like OPP "soft-rebooted" 5th Edition by clarifying a lot of things that weren't necessarily WRONG by strict interpretation of 5th Edition, Anarchs, and Camarilla but they certainly gave us a lot of information that made things less radical than hinted at. My love of Chicago by Night might be blinding me but I feel like the 5th Edition of that book is what got me interested in V5 more than V20 because it managed to preserve a lot of what I loved about older editions while incorporating the best elements of V5's changes. In such a way that I felt it was superior to the initial V5 portrayal AND older editions.

                The thing is that people who experienced V5 only through the main book weren't going to get that full experience. I'm also a fan of LA by Night where Jason Carl also seemed to dial back some of the radical changes of V5 and present something closer to the classic Masquerade "feel" with a focus on relatively pleasant good-ish (Neutral-ish) vampires against a hostile Camarilla. Fans who were initially offput by the idea of V5 going "all in" on vampires being horrifying monsters got some reassurance there too.

                Cults of the Blood Gods also felt like they salvaged a bunch of dropped plots from Beckett's Jyhad Diary and canonized ideas that were worth salvaging. Throw in Let the Streets Run Red and the Chicago Folios and I'll be honest that my love of V5 is very much OPP's V5. It's not that I hate the "main" V5 but I think that a lot of the best stuff was done by people who were in love with the minutia of the Old World of Darkness that I feel was absent here. To use an example: I like Discovery, I really like Picard, but I am in LOVE with Lower Decks. The continuity of all the OPP books is what makes their V5 best and V5's "main" line seems determined to break with the past.

                The Sabbat book had a lot going for it but I feel like if OPP had done it then they probably would have had a lot more connective tissue to the past. V5 wanted a Sabbat book that presents them for entirely new audiences and I feel that will hurt some fans who want it to be full of a lot more information about the transition from 2004 to 2021. Those decades of the World of Darkness need to be filled in. The thing is that OPP has published 7 or 8 books on V5 while the main books are like 4 now.

                There's a reason my V5 is mostly defined by OPP and that's because they ARE the best parts of V5 for me. It's just a lot of fans will never experience that because they stopped at the main book.


                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

                  There's a reason my V5 is mostly defined by OPP and that's because they ARE the best parts of V5 for me. It's just a lot of fans will never experience that because they stopped at the main book.

                  As much as I may not like some of the choices made by the developers and writers I 100% agree that OPPs V5 books are heads and shoulders above Paradox/Modiphius/White Wolfs in terms of quality of writing, coherence and usefulness.

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                  • I think we're all agreed that the OPP books are the best. I think it comes from having lots of experience of the WoD, as well as being the heirs to the original WW. Rich T and his team know this game intimately, and they have cultivated a longstanding relationship with a varied collection of fans, so they know how to please a broader demographic.

                    Obviously, they don't have the distribution in place that V5 needs, but I think a better idea from day one would've been to commission OPP to write V5 and outsource distro to Modiphius or Renegade.

                    That way, you'd have the best of both worlds: writers and devs who really get the material and why fans love it, but international distro that reaches bricks and mortar stores.

                    That was unlikely to happen, though, given that OPP probably wouldn't have the resources to take that plunge and print loads of books to make into market, since their primary model is to crowdfund the upfront costs. But Paradox could have fronted them the money, or outsourced that part to Modi, so that it was more of a partnership between the two companies.

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                    • Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
                      I think we're all agreed that the OPP books are the best. I think it comes from having lots of experience of the WoD, as well as being the heirs to the original WW. Rich T and his team know this game intimately, and they have cultivated a longstanding relationship with a varied collection of fans, so they know how to please a broader demographic.

                      Obviously, they don't have the distribution in place that V5 needs, but I think a better idea from day one would've been to commission OPP to write V5 and outsource distro to Modiphius or Renegade.

                      That way, you'd have the best of both worlds: writers and devs who really get the material and why fans love it, but international distro that reaches bricks and mortar stores.

                      That was unlikely to happen, though, given that OPP probably wouldn't have the resources to take that plunge and print loads of books to make into market, since their primary model is to crowdfund the upfront costs. But Paradox could have fronted them the money, or outsourced that part to Modi, so that it was more of a partnership between the two companies.
                      Mind you, I don't think the writing talent is a problem.

                      A lot of the same authors are working on this and great authors. They just seem to not want to do books that are heavily involved in past lore in the "main" line.


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

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                      • I think the big issue is going to be how they go moving forward. A lot of the fluff changes are either badly written or underwritten. The Anarchs for the primary faction are criminally underdeveloped and are frankly, relying on poisoning the well for the other better developed sects. But this is a doomed strategy-stopping people from playing what they want isn't going to make them play what you want.
                        If the anarchs are going to be the default protagonist faction (an idea I sincerely loathe incidently since I like the other two sects a lot more), then they're going to need a lot of fleshing out. Otherwise we're going to eventually saunter back to circa 1999 we're the better written sects are the primary. Something I'd actually prefer over the dumber carmarilla and the unplayable sabbat and I get the impression I'm not the only one. Time to shit or get off the pot.
                        Also a lot of the mechanics need work. Oblivion is a total mess and feeding needs re-streamlining badly.
                        Last edited by Ragged Robin; 10-13-2021, 04:51 AM.

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                        • Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
                          I think the big issue is going to be how they go moving forward. A lot of the fluff changes are either badly written or underwritten. The Anarchs for the primary faction are criminally underdeveloped and are frankly, relying on poisoning the well for the other better developed sects. But this is a doomed strategy-stopping people from playing what they want isn't going to make them play what you want.
                          If the anarchs are going to be the default protagonist faction (an idea I sincerely loathe incidently since I like the other two sects a lot more), then they're going to need a lot of fleshing out. Otherwise we're going to eventually saunter back to circa 1999 we're the better written sects are the primary. Something I'd actually prefer over the dumber carmarilla and the unplayable sabbat and I get the impression I'm not the only one. Time to shit or get off the pot.
                          Also a lot of the mechanics need work. Oblivion is a total mess and feeding needs re-streamlining badly.
                          Anarchs 4 Ever.



                          But yes, I'd prefer a book like Anarchs Unbound. The Anarchs are by far the best sect but they're also not a sect but a loose alliance of gangs, sects, and groups.

                          We need a book detailing the various Anarch factions like CULTS OF THE BLOOD GODS.

                          GANGS OF THE ANARCHS:

                          * Marcus Vitel's Centurions
                          * LA's Free Staters
                          * Smiling Jack's Freebooters
                          * The Brujah Council (COMMUNIST VILLAINS!)
                          * The Church of Caine, Anarch (I admit, I made this)
                          * Maldavis' Unionists

                          And so on
                          Last edited by CTPhipps; 10-13-2021, 05:15 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 CTPhipps View Post

                            Anarchs 4 Ever.



                            But yes, I'd prefer a book like Anarchs Unbound. The Anarchs are by far the best sect but they're also not a sect but a loose alliance of gangs, sects, and groups.

                            We need a book detailing the various Anarch factions like CULTS OF THE BLOOD GODS.

                            GANGS OF THE ANARCHS:

                            * Marcus Vitel's Centurions
                            * LA's Free Staters
                            * Smiling Jack's Freebooters
                            * The Brujah Council (COMMUNIST VILLAINS!)
                            * The Church of Caine, Anarch (I admit, I made this)
                            * Maldavis' Unionists

                            And so on
                            Screw ups and hypocrites with no long term plan The minute the inquisition is gone and the other two pull their heads our their asses they're just real estate for the actual sects.
                            They 'won' by being the only piece on the boards in an age of chaos that's not a sect that's a npc Rebel generation in strategy games



                            Anyway back out of character I'd also argue what they also need is a unifying manifesto and an idea of how they're going to go forward. Coherent institutions offices and checks and safeguards. Otherwise they're just going to end up being the carmarilla 2.0 or more likely a less functional sabbat. At the moment the anarchs are a joke and the punchline is "they're winning" but you can't just be 10 guys on motorcycles who constantly call the prince a fascist because he's annoyed you killed some cops

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                            • CTPhipps (to avoid a huge wall of text quote) For me V5 did a 'worst of both worlds' it made what would have been low Humanity mindless monster the default, but ditched the ability to do genuinely alien mindsets (as much as that is possible for a player to do anyway) and genuine Golconda seeker types as well, as well as the Sects becoming parodies of themselves, and the 'suggested' playstyle being basically mandatory, as the rule set really doesn't have as much freedom as it used to.
                              Last edited by Taggie; 10-13-2021, 05:55 AM.

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                              • Originally posted by Taggie View Post
                                CTPhipps (to avoid a huge wall of text quote) For me V5 did a 'worst of both worlds' it made what would have been low Humanity mindless monster the default, but ditched the ability to do genuinely alien mindsets (as much as that is possible for a player to do anyway) and genuine Golconda seeker types as well, as well as the Sects becoming parodies of themselves, and the 'suggested' playstyle being basically mandatory.
                                Taggie, I think we all know you hate the Humanity system.


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

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