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What are the Harbingers of the Skulls anyway? (V20)

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  • #16
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    If this is confirmed, it is one more indication that the Harbingers freedom ins't just the result of any particular power even from a Methuselah.
    I did check Guide to the Sabbat and it only infers that their return was tied to the 6GM, saying that they only returned from the Underworld a few years prior which is in line with the 6GM. It doesn't say definitively one way or the other. V20 takes the approach that it was the Capuchin/Lazarus/Jepheth that freed them. When it comes up in V5, they take the same stance as V20. Probably because they were both written by OPP and were simply working off their existing material.

    In fact, I can't recall off the top of my head if they ever mention the 6GM at all in V5. A quick scan of CotBG sees nothing, not even a passing mention of it.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    My opinion is that Japheth realized things weren't going well during Augustus' Embrace. Both him and Constancia were superlative Auspex users and found Augustus particularly abhorrent. His soul was rotten to make Constancia sick, and she isn't exactly a kind vampire.
    True but in Giovanni Chronicles 1 we see his death and while he isn't pleased by what's about to happen, he makes no effort to interfere with Cappadocius' will and straight up always himself to die. In fact in his character write-up it straight up says that he follows Cappadocius' commands without question.

    Hence my thinking that his loss of faith in Cappadocius happens after his death.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Those Methuselah also all bring something new to the clan. Byzar had learned under Saulot, Japheth became a Wraith, ad Lazarus learned a lot with the Followers of Set. None is a pure representation of the clan, but the purest representations both went nuts over quest that got really out of hand.

    Byzar does seem as the most versed on the Jyhad, though. While both the other two had quiet existences in their own way, Byzar had vast experience interfering with the history of Istanbul. He is a master of the craft when it comes to politics, manipulation and strategy, on par with any Ventrue of similar age, something the Cappadocian always lacked.
    Fair enough. Of the three Byzar's the one I know the least about.


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    • #17
      Originally posted by AkatsukiLeader13 View Post
      Fair enough. Of the three Byzar's the one I know the least about.
      He's one of the archetypal Princes, along with Mithras, the ultimate representation of a mastermind behind a Domain.

      Basically he manipulated things for Byzantium to be founded and made the city his pet project ever since, accompanying most of its history and trying to make it the greatest city in the world, rich, beautiful and enlightened, even after its change to Constantinople and then Istanbul.

      And since it made the city a focal point for a huge amount of important things through the ages, it means he developed a keen sense of politics on a global scale very early. He isn't unbeaten, but he never spent much time away from this obsession, not even when learning with Saulot, so his sheer experience with politics, war and manipulation behind several layers is just far beyond any other Cappadocius.


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      • #18
        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
        The Risen are basically the WoD's version of actual revenants (not the ghoul family Revenants) - corpses that come back to "life" to trouble the living. The inclusion of actual Disciplines for the Risen never made sense as they don't have vitae.
        Originally posted by Trollroot View Post
        Personally I enjoyed that, because it hinted that some disciplines are intrinsic to being a walking corpse in the WoD, and that does give us a hint at an origin for kindred not tied to the Caine story.
        I like to think along the same lines. Whether some of the powers used by the Risen truly are identical to Kindred disciplines, or merely the "functional equivalents" thereof, as they are described in the 20th Anniversary Edition of Wraith: The Oblivion, the crossover goes a little beyond the standard convention of assigning vampires "Gifts" in Werewolf books and so on. The link between Kindred and Risen powers is also discussed in-character by the vampire narrator of Chapter One of The Risen:

        Originally posted by The Risen, p. 26
        Oddly enough, the physical Disciplines possessed by both vampires and Risen (such as Potence or Celerity) would seem identical, so much so that a Risen could teach them to one of the Kindred. The more intellectual Disciplines, on the other hand, are a different matter. Many of the Disciplines available to those of the blood are unavailable to Risen, and certain of their talents are barred to us.
        This is no longer just a matter of assigning the various supernatural creatures that exist in the setting abilities from the same game line for the sake of convenience, but a deliberate design decision to emphasize both in the fiction and the rules some kind of a connection between the dead who return to life through the power of the blood and the dead who claw their way back into the Skinlands on their own. And that's a pretty cool thing in my book.

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        • #19
          I think whether Risen truly know actual vampiric Disciplines or just special Arcanoi, that has identical effects, is something that is going to be decided more on one's game philosophy and personal tastes than anything else. I don't think there's much proof in the text. Even in the Risen book itself, we have contradictory information.

          Originally posted by The Risen, p. 49
          In certain esoteric circles, there is much debate as to why Risen can learn these skills. Popular speculation at the moment suggests that Risen and Kindred may not in fact be ultimately utilizing the same powers, instead walking different paths to achieve similar effects.
          This is in a more explicit OOC narrated section, so I treat this as more accurate than anything written IC. To me, this shows the writers are clearly hedging their bets, likely anticipating the debate we're now having, allowing both sides of the argument to do whatever they think makes the most sense.

          Personally, I think there are many points wrong in the earlier IC argument Elphilim posted. How exactly is Obfuscate not one of those "intellectual" Disciplines Risen can't use? Why would "Celerity" be the same power when in vampires one must spend Blood Points, but Risen spend Pathos? Vitae and Pathos are very different things, and to my mind if the fuel is different then the engine must be different. Obviously it is not the same power common to both kinds of creatures. Not even the idea that Risen might train a vampire in that Discipline means anything because the IC voice actually seems to be speculating since they "seem identical" he theorizes they "could teach" the Discipline, not that they can. And since the entire notion of "teaching" Disciplines itself relies on flavor text ideas rather than anything concrete, even that could be explained away while still keeping them separate.

          If I was playing in a game where I was a vampire PC and a Risen character was introduced and the ST said they used actual vampire Disciplines, I'd mention to the ST at some point that I disagree and explain why they should not be considered the same, but if the ST came back and said that was how she was running it, I'd shrug my shoulders and move on. The distinction is not likely to have any real impact to the game. But if I was the ST, it certainly wouldn't be the same.

          But I certainly understand why some players like the theme that because both groups are walking corpses, that certain powers are intrinsic to both. But that runs against my own preferences.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
            But I certainly understand why some players like the theme that because both groups are walking corpses, that certain powers are intrinsic to both. But that runs against my own preferences.
            That's certainly a valid take. But is the idea of different creatures using the same abilities but swapping the power source behind the abilities that strange? You are more versed in Werewolf than I am, so feel free to school me on the subtleties involved, but don't the Ananasi use blood instead of Rage? The idea of two different types of walking corpses using either blood or Pathos to fuel the same kind of powers does not seem that much different to me.

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            • #21
              ‚ÄčI agree with Elphilm on that. I wouldn't say that it settles the question or anything to that effect. Their intention on making it ambiguous is itself clear to me, so you can run things either way.

              But it is precisely because you can run things either way that their use of Disciplines there is, indeed, deliberate. It may be just a better way to run the power, yet it deliberately makes it so that it may very well be the same thing, or if not the same, more closely related than Arcanoi.

              And it is interesting by itself. Even if I decide for a given chronicle that it isn't actually the same thing, running an investigation on the possibility would be a valid plot point. And if the chronicle gets better with the other interpretation, why not run it? I don't see the point of such certainty despite having a similar preference to Black Fox. If a player wanted to explore the idea, sure, why not?

              Originally posted by Elphilm View Post
              But is the idea of different creatures using the same abilities but swapping the power source behind the abilities that strange? You are more versed in Werewolf than I am, so feel free to school me on the subtleties involved, but don't the Ananasi use blood instead of Rage? The idea of two different types of walking corpses using either blood or Pathos to fuel the same kind of powers does not seem that much different to me.
              The Ananasi don't use Blood in the same way they use Rage, so it isn't exactly the best analogy, but they do have Gifts that use Blood IIRC.

              Indeed, Werewolf have a number of gifts running on different "fuels", and Mage have a number of things to say about how different or similar all those fuels actually are.

              As much as Pathos and Vitae aren't the same thing, it doesn't imply a power have to be a different thing just because it runs on one or the other.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by AkatsukiLeader13 View Post
                True but in Giovanni Chronicles 1 we see his death and while he isn't pleased by what's about to happen, he makes no effort to interfere with Cappadocius' will and straight up always himself to die. In fact in his character write-up it straight up says that he follows Cappadocius' commands without question.

                Hence my thinking that his loss of faith in Cappadocius happens after his death.
                That might indicate it wasn't so much faith in Cappadocious as being blood bound or mentally controlled by him.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post
                  That might indicate it wasn't so much faith in Cappadocious as being blood bound or mentally controlled by him.
                  Hardly just that.

                  The Blood Bond specifically never had the effect of making you follow orders without question unless that was already kind of your thing. And Mental Control extract a lot of decision capacity of the victim.

                  As much as Japheth never considered disobedience in life, he never gave any evidence of being under such circumstances, either. He argued against Cappadocius' plan to Embrace Augustus and had several plans, actions and functions that this kind of thrall wouldn't be able to perform.

                  Not that there was no Blood Bond. Most probably was. But Blood Bond don't make you obey orders to let a third party diablerize you.


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