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My review of SABBAT: THE BLACK HAND 4.5/5

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  • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    The Camarilla as the Mob and The Duty of a Prince is to be the Designated Asshole
    Here you're doing the same thing Chris24601 did. You're saying the Camarilla is that because you play it as that.

    Assuming the Camarilla before V5, this is a pretty valid take on them, but it isn't the only one. Even when accepting the mobster comparison.

    By going with your comparison, the thing is that the Anarchs and other vampires aren't the people harassed by the mob, they're the other criminals in the mob. And as much as the big bosses don't care with the Don's methods as long as they work, just because the Don can be a jerk to the thugs it doesn't mean they will be.

    Which isn't to say that the comparison is the best one, because the Camarilla have a far different goal from the mob. The Commission want the Don to provide profit, they have their own safety guaranteed. Achieving a degree of safety from the police for the local mob is beneficial to the Don, but they're unconcerned. The Camarilla want safety in the form of the Masquerade, and it is the profit of the Prince that they're less concerned about, as they already have their own.

    This is why the pre-V5 Camarilla don't endorse Noddism. And here we have to keep in mind that there is a difference between individual elders' beliefs and party line. The Scourge isn't an official Camarilla position, it is a common position in paranoid domains by the turn of the millennium. No one from without the city told the Princes to create them.

    Fight in the streets is a liability. Giving reason for someone to ignore the Masquerade is a liability. Apocalyptic fear is a liability. Only by providing some safety for everyone can you protect the Masquerade, as even rebels will thread with care if they're not fighting for their lives all the time. You can give them a hard time to appease those you consider more important citizens, but if they're too pressed things may get hard to hide, and the Camarilla doesn't want that. Of course, a petty Harpy infuriated with excessive leniency to "peasants" may be just as dangerous to the Masquerade in the long run. No one said it would be an easy job.

    In the end there are many ways the Camarilla can go about their job. Mobsters appointing a Designated Asshole to hunt down undesirables is certainly a valid one, but just that no matter how much you like it.

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    V5 is best thought of as 1st Edition/Revised+/Requiem.
    The argument of "The Goo'old Days" is a standard for romanticized discourse. V5 defends a stricter view of how the game should be played, then justify it by arguing with how the game was "back then". The fact that this "back then" is inconsistent and actually mixes a lot of things and ignores a lot of others from the same periods is irrelevant to the observed phenomenon. As every romanticized view of something it alludes to a reality thought of as objective, but that actually only exists in their own current perception.

    You don't need to agree that V5 does defend a stricter style, either. This is valid for anyone defending it, or actually any other edition, based on a romanticized view of how things were.


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    • The argument of "The Goo'old Days" is a standard for romanticized discourse. V5 defends a stricter view of how the game should be played, then justify it by arguing with how the game was "back then". The fact that this "back then" is inconsistent and actually mixes a lot of things and ignores a lot of others from the same periods is irrelevant to the observed phenomenon. As every romanticized view of something it alludes to a reality thought of as objective, but that actually only exists in their own current perception.
      It reminds me in a really depressing way, of superhero comic books, as far as what is this sort of exasperating trend of writers or editors that will come in and be all "I want this comic/entire line of comics to be like it was back when I liked comics as a fan/kid/whatever!" only it will instead be some distorted view of what comics were at the time, ranging from some kind of grim fanfic version of the Silver Age, to just this odd feeling mishmash of stuff. And also include a hearty serving of "if you liked any comics from the period in time I don't like, you were a big dummy who liked bad things".

      There was a recent full out Avengers comic that was basically to the theme of "if you liked any lasting incarnation of She Hulk inbetween Savage She Hulk until when I took the character over, you only liked them for dumb shallow humour and T&A, you loser."

      It was depressing.

      I was kinda reminded of it by both this discussion and your icon!

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      • Originally posted by MarkK View Post

        It reminds me in a really depressing way, of superhero comic books, as far as what is this sort of exasperating trend of writers or editors that will come in and be all "I want this comic/entire line of comics to be like it was back when I liked comics as a fan/kid/whatever!" only it will instead be some distorted view of what comics were at the time, ranging from some kind of grim fanfic version of the Silver Age, to just this odd feeling mishmash of stuff. And also include a hearty serving of "if you liked any comics from the period in time I don't like, you were a big dummy who liked bad things".

        There was a recent full out Avengers comic that was basically to the theme of "if you liked any lasting incarnation of She Hulk inbetween Savage She Hulk until when I took the character over, you only liked them for dumb shallow humour and T&A, you loser."

        It was depressing.

        I was kinda reminded of it by both this discussion and your icon!
        There's a lot to unpack with recent depictions but I'll say I have my....concerns about how recent authors view sexually confident women.

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        • Originally posted by MarkK View Post
          I was kinda reminded of it by both this discussion and your icon!
          Most of my fav moments of her have "shallow" humor, by the way!

          But this trend is old, like as old as humanity. Both the part where romantic views mix a lot of things then presents as "the true way it was", and that it is heavily colored by interpretations that didn't existed at the time. I always remember how most of the "classic view" of the Samurai ethos in Japan is actually Ieyasu's fanfic about the Sengoku after the fact. The same occurred with medieval armored knights, whose classical outlook was created by French writers during the Renaissance.


          #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
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          • Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
            Most of my fav moments of her have "shallow" humor, by the way!

            But this trend is old, like as old as humanity. Both the part where romantic views mix a lot of things then presents as "the true way it was", and that it is heavily colored by interpretations that didn't existed at the time. I always remember how most of the "classic view" of the Samurai ethos in Japan is actually Ieyasu's fanfic about the Sengoku after the fact. The same occurred with medieval armored knights, whose classical outlook was created by French writers during the Renaissance.

            Same! I'm hoping the upcoming live series dips into those moments.

            As for the rest, yeah, it's a thing we do a lot as people I grant. It's just woeful sometimes for the results, in ways both big and small for their ramifications.

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            • Originally posted by MarkK View Post


              It feels at this point like it's very important to you to be able to present the history of Vampire the Masquerade as being a game where the Anarchs, the clearly best and most popular sect in the gameline until, what, 1994? but were then betrayed (along with, apparently, the majority of the fanbase, according to the idea that the Anarchs were the fanbase majority sect of choice) by its writers, an act which apparently betrayed the entire structural and thematic purpose of Vampire. That V5 is a triumphant restoration of their prominence and quality, and thus VtM itself (with Anarchs Unbound as, I suppose, a slight pre restoration in V20th). Which..

              Look. There's nothing wrong with being really, really into the Anarchs. They're certainly one demonstrable way to play Vampire the Masquerade, and obviously one popular enough to create really passionate fans of them like yourself. And certainly there are people that like them as the option for playing Vampire. But you can like something without needing it to also have been the best/the most popular even when other playstyles became available/etc. Especially when that's instead extremely subjective by anything we can actually look at that tangibly exists or has been provided. It otherwise seems to reach a place where people can't even question the stuff you say without you seeming to need to recast their questions to fit your narrative and the very narrow paths and roles it allows for (I seem certainly to be at some point its villain, for my questioning the notion of past supreme Anarch popularity until mid second edition). Or certainly that's how it has felt with me, when I'm at a point of having to requote my own posts to show their content. It's kinda frustrating, to be honest with you. You keep outlining things as starkly as possible.

              Also, once again, what I questioned was you claiming that the Anarchs were the most popular sect in the game in Vampire second edition before LA By Night came out. You're again adding stuff.
              Ehhhh.

              *waves hand*

              I feel like my love of the Anarchs can be compared to my love of V5. I have a huge number of complaints, thoughts, and corrections about both. Things I definitely think could have been done better but I feel like my general like of V5 is far more than some other posters so I don't get to share my issues with it nearly as much. Similarly, there's a lot of people who really don't care for the Anarchs (for justifiable reasons) so I find myself touting their appeal more than sharing what I think is wrong with them.

              A short list of them:

              1. Anarchs are shit for LARP: I feel like this is a problem for them because the Anarch stereotype is a disruptive unsubtle type so they don't have much appeal for the "gather around and play social schemers" events that is what made V:TM what it is. They need to create an entirely new faction of the Anarchs if they ever want any LARP money.

              2. Anarchs are often portrayed as morons: This is something that was originally more balanced but has kind of been hurt by the fact so many of them are described as, "guy in leather jacket, angry, carries shotgun." So much so it was kind of a funny joke Theo Bell is the Anarch stereotype who worked for the Camarilla.

              3. Anarchs lack history: The Anarchs have a six hundred year history after the Treaty of Thorns and it doesn't seem to have any events in it until the California revolt. Which is pretty piss poor success. Tying them to the French Revolution and Bolshevik Revolution was a good first step but they should also be with the American Revolution (and rapidly lost all of their territory) and other things.

              4. Anarchs lack Signature Characters: Aside from Ramona, there was no Signature character for the Anarchs and a lot of the rebellious anitheroes were changed like Lucita. MacNeil was famous but his whole philosophy was, "Do nothing." Salvador is also kind of a dozen stereotypes itself.

              5. The Anarchs need formalized factions: They don't need to be one thing but a dozen things would certainly help as there should be philosophies beyond gangs. The Democratic Anarchs, the Help Humans Anarchs, the Rule Humans like Cattle Anarchs, and so on. The Anarchs Unbound hints at all of these existing but it's a very different beast from saying, "The Children of Osiris? Remember those guys? Anarchs."

              If I were to do an Anarch book, it would be filled with Anarch groups. Dozens of them.
              Last edited by CTPhipps; 10-15-2021, 08:45 PM.


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

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              • I feel like my love of the Anarchs can be compared to my love of V5. I have a huge number of complaints, thoughts, and corrections about both. Things I definitely think could have been done better but I feel like my general like of V5 is far more than some other posters so I don't get to share my issues with it nearly as much. Similarly, there's a lot of people who really don't care for the Anarchs (for justifiable reasons) so I find myself touting their appeal more than sharing what I think is wrong with them.
                Okay, let me put it like this then. As far as it goes, the Anarchs have, for lack of a better term, won on the actual meta level. They are considered by the developers of V5 to be the morally superior, best choice gaming focus of the entire game, in their own words. The game going forward is going to be Anarch focused, with the Sabbat as a thinly detailed antagonist nonentity and the Camarilla being.. what it is. When people say stuff about the Anarchs they don't like, it won't change that. There's no real need to have to balance it out by defending them. They don't need the defense. They don't need to be touted. Neither really does V5 when someone expresses a dislike of what it's doing, the game itself is being run by people who have a certain renown for almost spitefully going forward in the face of gripes. And when their stated intent comes off not really caring much for previous players and angling for new ones (which is a baffling claim to make when they can never ever stop talking about Vampire 1e, but it is what it is) it's not thereby really a bad thing that the people who are basically utterly left behind by that/pushed out from the game going forward/don't actually like this stuff/etc. have some space to gripe about that.

                I mean even V20th was what VtM was until.. what, 3 years ago? (had to check when Beckett's Jyhad Diary came out as far as the last V20th book) and for a new edition to come out thereby and basically say "we consider old players of the game to be people who were playing vampire even 3 years ago. They were into a 'legacy edition' This is for new players." That's some jarring, even dismissive stuff. You're going to have people not liking that.

                But that doesn't change what Vampire 5 is, how it's going to go forward, and what it focuses on, and that it definitely doesn't need commentary on it especially balanced out. I take some satisfaction in getting to vent/comment/discourse on this stuff as much as the next guy, but it's not as though I'm under the impression it's going to change anything.

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                • Originally posted by MarkK View Post

                  Okay, let me put it like this then. As far as it goes, the Anarchs have, for lack of a better term, won on the actual meta level. They are considered by the developers of V5 to be the morally superior, best choice gaming focus of the entire game, in their own words. The game going forward is going to be Anarch focused, with the Sabbat as a thinly detailed antagonist nonentity and the Camarilla being.. what it is. When people say stuff about the Anarchs they don't like, it won't change that. There's no real need to have to balance it out by defending them. They don't need the defense. They don't need to be touted. Neither really does V5 when someone expresses a dislike of what it's doing, the game itself is being run by people who have a certain renown for almost spitefully going forward in the face of gripes. And when their stated intent comes off not really caring much for previous players and angling for new ones (which is a baffling claim to make when they can never ever stop talking about Vampire 1e, but it is what it is) it's not thereby really a bad thing that the people who are basically utterly left behind by that/pushed out from the game going forward/don't actually like this stuff/etc. have some space to gripe about that.

                  I mean even V20th was what VtM was until.. what, 3 years ago? (had to check when Beckett's Jyhad Diary came out as far as the last V20th book) and for a new edition to come out thereby and basically say "we consider old players of the game to be people who were playing vampire even 3 years ago. They were into a 'legacy edition' This is for new players." That's some jarring, even dismissive stuff. You're going to have people not liking that.

                  But that doesn't change what Vampire 5 is, how it's going to go forward, and what it focuses on, and that it definitely doesn't need commentary on it especially balanced out. I take some satisfaction in getting to vent/comment/discourse on this stuff as much as the next guy, but it's not as though I'm under the impression it's going to change anything.
                  I'd argue it doesn't matter what the developers think.

                  If the Anarchs aren't something that can be made enjoyable to the players then it doesn't matter because they're the people on these forums. These forums aren't about the developers but about discussing ways of making setting elements better and enhancing the gameplay experience. I may never use the True Black Hand but if there's a thread about them, the point should be how to use them as absolutely the best they can be in a game and what to change/highlight.

                  At least, IMHO.

                  And I absolutely think there should be room for every kind of Vampire: The Masquerade player no matter what edition. We're all fans of the same game.


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

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                  • I mean it unavoidably matters what they think, they're the ones that provide the material that we have to work with. Sometimes a game does get to a point where you're left with "I can't really do anything with this" or "I'd have to change so many things that it would be a waste of money to buy this game."

                    Even in this thread, to try and take a long, long journey back to being topical, you had people basically noting that they were not inclined to buy the Sabbat book to eyeball because it was past a point where they could find value in this stuff.

                    There's also a difference between "how can a thing be changed to make it good" and "this thing is already good, you just don't get how."

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                    • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                      Not to point out but you basically are saying, "Anarchs aren't cool because I play them as poseurs and losers"?
                      No, I'm saying everyone I've ever played with in my area treats Anarchs that way. That is the universal impression of Anarchs in my area.

                      The Anarch's whole 'Fight the Man' just is not a popular sentiment in my part of the country (I'd provide examples, but they'd be rather political and off-topic)..

                      Also, I hate to point this out but if you're playing a Thin Blood out to survive and kill the guys in power then that's pretty much an Anarch.
                      Except, as mentioned, thinbloods in the city weren't welcome among the Anarchs because its "not their fight." Basically right out of the description on page 63 of Time of Thin Blood;

                      "One might think the anarchs natural allies of the thinblooded; After all, the former are responsible for siring a sizable number of the latter. More often, however, the new vampires are regarded as disaster magnets, invitations to the scourge, and thus driven away. Furthermore, neonates who have tried to sire and failed can become astonishingly bitter. In their disappointment, they turn on their more fortunate brethren and them of hoarding occult secrets. Such rivalries have torn more than one anarch nest apart."

                      Also the PC was not out to kill everyone in power; just the specific individuals who betrayed their parents (Scourge is going to Scourge, but the Anarch promised safe passage for pay and turned them over to the Scourge instead).

                      Finally, the PC's only actual ally in the setting was the Nosferatu primogen who was sheltering a lot of the Thinbloods in the sewers (high humanity + sympathy for being persecuted for something beyond your control) so they had no Anarch affiliations or loyalties at all and were closest to being an Autarch insofar as a Dhampir could be anything related to the vampire sects.

                      One of my all time favorite Anarchs is Jenna Cross and she's a Thin Blood revolutionary trained by Smiling Jack.
                      To again reinforce a point I've been making for awhile now... WHO?

                      I get that you're into the whole fiction-side, but for a lot of people who just play the game these characters you bring up are non-entities and so are the metaplots associated with them that often require existing home game NPCs to take nonsensical actions in order to align with the "canon."

                      Ex. If the setting we've been using had to align with the V5 metaplot then virtually all the Brujah would have to abandon the Camarilla because one dev's pet NPC killed another NPC that most PCs and local NPCs have never even heard of. It then expects reactions from characters who might be primogens, sheriffs and even princes who've never even met Theo Bell to abandon their positions because some stranger did something stupid vs. the much more logical outcome that all those Brujah with any status would be demanding Theo Bell be placed on the Red List and reconfirm their loyalty to the Camarilla by initiating retaliatory strikes on the Anarchs so they won't want to touch Bell with a 20' pole and not for the slightest moment thinking of surrendering their power within the institution that they've been climbing for decades or centuries.

                      But I don't disagree yours is a valid interpretation either as dealing with poseurs and hypocrites is something every Anarch should deal with. The PCs are usually the only Anarchs who are 100% true to the cause because it's their job to be the protagonists and guiding voice in the Movement. It's why Mark Rein Hagen made the first Anarch we meet in V:TM be Juggler, the ultimate in poseur rebels with the possible exception of Gengis.
                      Funnily enough, I never got to meet Juggler even in reading the books because by the time I got into Vampire, that book just wasn't available in any of the hobby shops anymore. I only had Chicago by Night 2e because of the compilation book that included Under a Blood Red Moon... which I only picked up because I needed a town geography sourcebook for my Mage campaign. The vampire NPCs were afterthoughts to the point that I probably couldn't even name one of them without actually digging out the book.

                      Basically, like I said above... all these characters you love that define how you perceive the setting are giant nobodies to me. They have had zero bearing on any campaign I've ever run or played in.

                      What does tend to have bearing are the stereotypes yoinked out of the splatbooks like the bit about the Anarchs driving out the Thinbloods.

                      The entire canon lore for Boston got thrown out in our campaign because everyone agreed a Malk prince who thinks he's King Arthur was stupid for a city that has so much rich history to pull from in populating it with vampire NPCs.
                      Last edited by Chris24601; 10-15-2021, 10:06 PM.

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                      • Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                        What does tend to have bearing are the stereotypes yoinked out of the splatbooks like the bit about the Anarchs driving out the Thinbloods.
                        Good for you.

                        I think I mentioned I don't have any use for generic information. I buy for adventure ideas and NPCs.

                        Everyone's table is different.


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

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                        • Just to chime in about the "1st edition = Anarch edition" bit.
                          As someone who owns and has read 1st edition, I can say.... Um, no?

                          Camarilla was still very much the default.

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                          • Originally posted by CTPhipps

                            And now you're banned for the week.
                            And that is flat abuse of power, you did lie about what he said.

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                            • Originally posted by Taggie View Post

                              And that is flat abuse of power, you did lie about what he said.
                              All bans are reported to the other moderators for review.

                              Please also note that he was banned after he posted in a thread he was asked to leave and argued with the mod.

                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 10-15-2021, 11:29 PM.


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

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                              • I thiiiink I need to trouble tickets this, but all my posts seemed to vanish from the thread for like 5 seconds, then when I refreshed, they were back. I don't suppose anyone else noticed that?

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