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How to adjust the "classic" Sabbat to the V5 Sabbat

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  • #61
    Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
    I'd mostly just adopt various fanmade mechanics to the Paths of Enlightenment, and continue with the classic status quo. Here's the thing from my perspective: the old status quo of the Sabbat having substantial territory was a great story-engine. Sabbat with their own cities could have internal conflicts between packs and paths and all sorts of things. That goes away if the Sabbat don't have their own territory. Conflicts between Packs mostly just means they avoid each other or settle it in one straight-up fight if everyone is nomadic.

    Depriving the Sabbat of territory is clearly designed for them to be purely enemies who encroach on Cammy/Anarch territory. It lacks story-engine material for playing Sabbat because they don't want the Sabbat to be playable. They have made the Sabbat unplayable not just by not providing Path of Enlightenment mechanics, but by obliterating secondary features of the setting required to tell Sabbat-centric stories.

    So I've pretty much got to drop almost all of the current metaplot. About the only thing I can use is a toned-down version of the Lasombra defection, where the defection of a small number of Lasombra, combined with those ancient Lasombra who were always Camarilla breeding, has resulted in a significant Lasombra presence in the Camarilla.


    I have a somewhat tinfoil hat esque theory actually that the issue is a bit more complicated than that.

    My theory is the Sabbat losing its territory is due to the fact that its a domino effect of the more international nature of Vampire: The Masquerade fandom than used to be the case in 2004. Paradox Interactive contracted the good people behind CHAPTERS and the first thing the development team asked? "Hi, we're some people based in Montreal and can we remove the Sabbat? We'd like to tell a Camarilla story here because we played V:TM as teenagers and always did Camarilla." Mexico City? It turned out there was a substantial V:TM fandom there. What did they play? Camarilla. Rio? It turns out they have a massive V:TM community as well and don't like playing Sabbat.

    What real life cities do you say are going to have a bunch of murderous rapacious vampires that indiscriminately murder the innocent and turn it into a crime-ridden hellhole?

    Mind you, speaking as a Sabbat player, I feel like city based games of Sabbat are not necessary for the Sabbat to possess cities themselves. There's nothing preventing the Sabbat from living in Chicago or Mexico City or New York and carrying on their own parallel society independent from the Camarilla until they can take the territory over or expel the Camarilla. Before the Sabbat were effectively divorced from interacting with the Anarchs and Camarilla but putting them inside the cities makes a much more dynamic set of possibilities.

    We can finally acknowledge that the undead can theoretically indefinitely avoid one another.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-05-2021, 11:17 PM.


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    • #62
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      Mind you, speaking as a Sabbat player, I feel like city based games of Sabbat are not necessary for the Sabbat to possess cities themselves. There's nothing preventing the Sabbat from living in Chicago or Mexico City or New York and carrying on their own parallel society independent from the Camarilla until they can take the territory over or expel the Camarilla. Before the Sabbat were effectively divorced from interacting with the Anarchs and Camarilla but putting them inside the cities makes a much more dynamic set of possibilities.

      We can finally acknowledge that the undead can theoretically indefinitely avoid one another.
      That's a sensible compromise, and the Camarilla may use the same tactic, but it doesn't change that this isn't what they're doing with the current lore. They didn't decided the Sabbat don't officially control cities but live in cities, they decided the Sabbat is a wandering army on eternal war.

      Which kind of defeat their purpose in creating the new Kindred society and left only the Ante Hunting.

      Unfortunately this is true: I don't believe many regions in the world will have a player base where the majority vote is for their city to be Sabbat. And that has been a sore point for many places.

      Still, I think there is an even simpler answer that should have been the default since always: don't make official statements on where the territories are.

      It's easy to stick to unnamed cities and undefined territories when describing most of the game and its NPCs, then name things only when necessary, like a By Night, or even make fictional cities. Is it less fun? Yes. But then you don't force yourself to crap on someone's game.


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      • #63
        Yeah, my New Orleans has been Sabbat since I first started running three decades ago.

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        • #64
          In my experience there's two big reasons why people dislike playing as Sabbat and in turn, Sabbat Cities. The first is the utter inhumanity of the Sabbat. Some simply don't want to play that. They want Humanity and the struggle to maintain it, not the Paths of Enlightenment. Others are incapable of playing Sabbat as anything but a jackass murderhobo that annoys everyone else at the table and can potentially ruin the whole game. A frustration I've learned from personal experience multiple times.

          Second is that the Sabbat don't play well with others. You can have PCs from other Sects and the Independents working together without too much bending and stretching of things. I've been in games where the PCs were Anarch, Cam and Independent without it being any particular stretch of things.

          Though admittedly with the events of V5, it's harder to justify Anarchs and Cam working together.

          But the Sabbat on the other hand, beyond being a covert agent, you don't have a lot of options for having a Sabbat PC being in a coterie with members of the other Sects. Or for that matter engaging with members with other Sects in ways beyond violence. It was one of the few things I liked about 1E VtR when it dropped that the Sects generally tolerated each other so people could have coteries made up of Kindred from different Sects together.

          As a result, I can see the rather lackluster appeal in having Sabbat cities around anymore. Frankly I think the Sabbat works best as one part cult, one part insurgency, one part Kindred boogeyman, lurking in the shadows of the Kindred world.


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          • #65
            I get the impression sects actually are much more hostile but individual members LESS hostile.

            A Blood Cultist, Anarch, and a Camarilla member can work together because they basically consider all of it bullshit.


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            • #66
              Originally posted by AkatsukiLeader13 View Post
              Frankly I think the Sabbat works best as one part cult, one part insurgency, one part Kindred boogeyman, lurking in the shadows of the Kindred world.
              And I think Cammies work best as fools attempting to emulate the behavior of a different species, and therefore doomed to becoming wights, as humanity and the behavior needed to survive as a vampire are antithetical. So here's an idea: instead of making our preferred game the only canon way of playing, what if we make the mechanics flexable enough for both types of games, and just leave each other in peace? I don't feel the need to destroy your game in order to play mine. Please extend me the same courtesy.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post

                And I think Cammies work best as fools attempting to emulate the behavior of a different species, and therefore doomed to becoming wights, as humanity and the behavior needed to survive as a vampire are antithetical. So here's an idea: instead of making our preferred game the only canon way of playing, what if we make the mechanics flexable enough for both types of games, and just leave each other in peace? I don't feel the need to destroy your game in order to play mine. Please extend me the same courtesy.
                I never said they shouldn't playable. Merely that I don't think they should control cities.


                Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

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                • #68
                  Which, in practice, makes them unplayable.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by AkatsukiLeader13 View Post
                    I never said they shouldn't playable. Merely that I don't think they should control cities.


                    so should be destroyed as a playable faction.

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                    • #70
                      The ban against edition warring is still in effect everyone. Take note that this is only a friendly reminder. You are free to dislike a thing but remember to keep respect for posters who like it and the people who produce content.


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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                        And I think Cammies work best as fools attempting to emulate the behavior of a different species, and therefore doomed to becoming wights, as humanity and the behavior needed to survive as a vampire are antithetical.
                        That's an interesting take on the subject and you're probably right. However, I'd also argue that it'd be best to make it clear that Paths of Enlightenment and Roads are also unteneble. Mostly because the need of vampires is to stay close to their prey and even if you manage to stabilize yourself as a predator, a Path follower is so inhuman that it makes itself stand out so wildly that it becomes easy to spot. Eventually, hunters or your own actions will destroy you. Then again, I'm someone who loves Morton's Forks where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

                        Originally posted by CajunKhan
                        So here's an idea: instead of making our preferred game the only canon way of playing, what if we make the mechanics flexable enough for both types of games, and just leave each other in peace?
                        No one here is writing these books and we're all just leaves in the wind for the decisions made by Paradox Interactive. I will say that I am overall disappointed by the decision by Paradox to make Paths of Enlightenment a thing with no rules AND not amending Convictions. There's no reason the new Humanity system couldn't have had adjustments like non-Human Touchstones and inhuman convictions. This is something that is the worst of both worlds.

                        A lot of fan content on how to fix Convictions would have been better and OPP's material in COTBG hinted they could have gone this way.

                        Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                        Which, in practice, makes them unplayable.
                        I can think of a lot of ways you could do Sabbat games without them controlling territories. After all, Nomad Packs are a thing that have been there from the beginning. So have infiltrator packs. So is the Sabbat living secretly in cities and performing their rituals in secret.

                        It should also be noted the Sabbat have lost most of their territory but are still in possession of some cities. Just have given up most.
                        Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-06-2021, 05:48 AM.


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                        • #72
                          V5 Sabbat Storytelling Ideas

                          This is a thread about adjusting the past Sabbat to the V5 and benefits thereof so I thought I'd share some of my mindset for what the benefits of such a game can be. Obviously, this is just from me and is also coming from the perspective of, "Someone who thinks the V5 Sabbat have value" and if you aren't going to ever believe that, this probably isn't going to be a thread you approve of. There's nothing wrong with that but this is definitely from the perspective of people who want to make the transition in their games. Here's some possible ways of pursuing V5 Sabbat storytelling that I think could make compelling games.

                          1:] Increasing the role of the Sabbat infiltrator

                          The Sabbat no longer holding public territory except for "fortress cities" (I'd use that terminology in my game and it comes from my old Star Wars games) means that the Black Hand need other ways to exist in cities. An interesting way to do that and use them for games is the Sabbat choosing to adopt cover identities in cities as Anarchs and Blood Cults that interact with other Cainites. Rather than using the Sabbat as "orcs", the Nu Sabbat increase their missionary efforts by living in public and slowly luring in new Kindred.

                          2:] Convictions vs. Paths as a storytelling element

                          For this one, you have to outright break the rules but there's no argument that the absence of Path rules is unfortunate, IMHO. However, to use it in-universe, you might make a game about how the Sabbat's new leadership have started "hollowing out" the Paths and removing their spiritual elements to replace them with the Blood Bond as well as brainwashing. Those who have Convictions inspired by the Paths (like COTBG) remain the only "true" Path followers left. Obviously, you have to implement nonhuman Touchstones. You could get a lot of deep harsh roleplaying about them destroying the ancient religions of the Kindred to justify people jumping into the jaws of the Ancients.

                          3:] The Last Sabbat City

                          An interesting campaign idea would be to do a Sabbat game in a fortress city and deal with the changes to the V5 Sabbat from the perspective of people living in a place where it has largely not changed. How does the Sabbat deal with the fact that outside of their city their allies have largely been defeated or changed from an empire to a nomadic army? The Second Inquisition (food that fights back!)? Or the Lasombra defection of so many higher ups. You could do a lot of good roleplaying sessions just dealing with news carried by lone Sabbat refugees or whispers under an oppressive Archbishop trying to keep things secret. At what point is it best to flee a sinking ship?

                          4:] Rebuilding the Sword of Caine

                          The kind of high-level politics that this would require is beyond the scope of most Chronciles but could be an interesting storyline for someone who is allied to a particularly famous NPC. Sascha Vykos, Lucita, a still-alive Jalan or other famed Sabbat could recruit the PCs to run a local Blood Cult in the PCs' home city and get them to slowly rebuild. Perhaps the Church of Caine is nothing more than a front to slowly change the Camarilla and Anarchs from the inside into a new Black Hand.

                          5: What Price Loyalty?

                          This is a pretty dark theme but a perfectly valid one. Basically, "At what point do you abandon ship?" The inmates are running the asylum and the Sabbat is becoming a brutal death cult that only a small elite core of Kindred are protected from the consequences of. The players are presented with the fact that the Sabbat as they knew it is dead. Do they keep fighting knowing the war is lost or scurry away? At what price is loyalty? The Final Death? Abandoning your loved ones? Betraying the cause you have devoted so much to?

                          6:] The Survivor's Campaign

                          A possible way to increase all of this is the campaign where the player characters begin as Sabbat and proceed to have their home city hit hard by the Second Inquisition. They are thus scattered and find the strongholds of their brethren falling like dominoes. They can keep looking for new refuges but may have to deal with the fact they are actually the last Sabbat. Perhaps even meeting other "true" Sabbat who have lost their minds or succumbed to the Beast, infernalism, or whatever.

                          7:] Thoughtcrime

                          The Vinculum is fading and the player characters have peered behind the curtain to the brainwashing techniques the Sabbat used upon them in their formative years. The changes in the Sabbat and persecution of once-valued Paths of Enlightenment as well as changing to their time-honored teachings (all to benefit the Sword of Caine's war machine) results in the player characters having to question everything. This is a campaign where the player characters are required to re-examine their unlives knowing that they had served a cause that did not value them. The loss of faith is a harsh one and you must either find a new faith or struggle with the uncertainties of freedom.
                          Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-06-2021, 06:46 AM.


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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post



                            I have a somewhat tinfoil hat esque theory actually that the issue is a bit more complicated than that.

                            My theory is the Sabbat losing its territory is due to the fact that its a domino effect of the more international nature of Vampire: The Masquerade fandom than used to be the case in 2004. Paradox Interactive contracted the good people behind CHAPTERS and the first thing the development team asked? "Hi, we're some people based in Montreal and can we remove the Sabbat? We'd like to tell a Camarilla story here because we played V:TM as teenagers and always did Camarilla." Mexico City? It turned out there was a substantial V:TM fandom there. What did they play? Camarilla. Rio? It turns out they have a massive V:TM community as well and don't like playing Sabbat.

                            What real life cities do you say are going to have a bunch of murderous rapacious vampires that indiscriminately murder the innocent and turn it into a crime-ridden hellhole?

                            Mind you, speaking as a Sabbat player, I feel like city based games of Sabbat are not necessary for the Sabbat to possess cities themselves. There's nothing preventing the Sabbat from living in Chicago or Mexico City or New York and carrying on their own parallel society independent from the Camarilla until they can take the territory over or expel the Camarilla. Before the Sabbat were effectively divorced from interacting with the Anarchs and Camarilla but putting them inside the cities makes a much more dynamic set of possibilities.

                            We can finally acknowledge that the undead can theoretically indefinitely avoid one another.
                            Seriously, if that us the reason it's beyond retarded. Hey I am an Anarch player and I want to have Free States in Chicago, hey Paradox could you remove that fascistic Camarilla out of my city?

                            I hope that it's just your interpratation of what has happened because that explanation is just mind-numbingly stupid if it really is true.

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by AkatsukiLeader13 View Post
                              As a result, I can see the rather lackluster appeal in having Sabbat cities around anymore. Frankly I think the Sabbat works best as one part cult, one part insurgency, one part Kindred boogeyman, lurking in the shadows of the Kindred world.
                              The problem with this is that it keeps imagining the best way to use Sabbat for Camarilla chronicles. While CajunKhan and a lot of others want tools to have fulfilling Sabbat games.

                              Canonical Sabbat cities are a problem. But declaring that the Sabbat have no or few cities isn't the solution. You're still barring Sabbat players from a lot of play styles for Camarilla convenience.

                              Instead, official sect cities shouldn't largely be a thing at all. Only the ones who are absolutely necessary for metaplot, if that. Why does any city must be declared as pertaining to a given sect by the writers instead of by the ST that will use them?

                              Rio de Janeiro being Sabbat controlled is bad for the huge number of Rio players that want to do Camarilla games in their city. It is perfectly fine to me, daughter of a Carioca family, but who prefer to make Camarilla games in Brasília and either have the players fighting to save our old capital from the Sabbat or to just play Sabbat games there.

                              Why should one of those player bases have the benefit of Canon and the other not? What about making versions without making one of them canon at all costs?

                              Even for my Camarilla games, what benefit is to have the authors decide every city's dominant sect? If I want to run a chronicle where the players have few Camarilla strongholds against a winning Sabbat, I just can't with the official lore. And this isn't a bad call for a Camarilla game, it definitely should be supported by the lore.

                              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                              V5 Sabbat Storytelling Ideas

                              1:] Increasing the role of the Sabbat infiltrator

                              2:] Convictions vs. Paths as a storytelling element

                              3:] The Last Sabbat City

                              4:] Rebuilding the Sword of Caine

                              5: What Price Loyalty?

                              6:] The Survivor's Campaign

                              7:] Thoughtcrime
                              I think those ideas may make for an interesting gameplay, but have some considerations.

                              1 - The Infiltrator Chronicle needs some considerations for brainwash, loyalty and Tenets. Living among the enemy is a very delicate situation for people with strong beliefs, especially if those beliefs are maintained by "force".

                              In such a game, it would be interesting to have rules that change their inner struggle from Humanity vs Beast to Loyalty vs Free Thought. The characters aren't necessarily attracted to the beliefs of the Camarilla, but they are being bombarded with alternative opinions they are barred from in the NuSabbat.

                              Now, if their bosses now what they're doing, those characters will have countermeasures against this in their environment. Infiltrators from cults and extremist organizations have an extremely different environment in their houses to keep them as much time as possible in the organization's mindset. And even then, a number slowly drop from their old allegiance.

                              Such a chronicle could even have those NuSabbat infiltrators becoming slowly into an OldSabbat renaissance.

                              2 - I don't think loyal Path followers would stay in the NuSabbat while they watch their beliefs being destroyed from the inside.

                              Outside from that, I think Paths don't necessarily should be represented as Convictions, but sometimes as alternative Chronicle Tenets.

                              4 - The bad thing about metaplot is that players and STs get too used to let the official setting do the big things and refrain from big changes in the status quo being carried by the chronicle itself, especially without the "blessing" of "official higher ups".

                              Screw that! If Vykos let things get this far and is still in the NuSabbat, kill them as sacrifice! And Lucita isn't in the NuSabbat, this is ridiculous, she wasn't in the OldSabbat to begin with.

                              5 - Same thing can be said of the NuCam and I would gladly have a game where OldSabbat and OldCam join forces to destroy those two abominations to everything that is good and holy in the world. Then they form a new sect to fight the Ancients in a way that actually makes sense.

                              Because, you know, trying to poke them with a stick is stupid. Revering them instead of planning an actual defense and response is also stupid. Ignoring them now that they're proven to exist is incredibly stupid.

                              Originally posted by sathriel View Post
                              I hope that it's just your interpratation of what has happened because that explanation is just mind-numbingly stupid if it really is true.
                              Unfortunately it's not stupid. The definition of the Sabbat cities have been a sore point for a huge fanbase for a long time. It is a complex and very delicate matter for them.

                              It isn't just about giving the players the faction they want, it goes deeper.


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                              • #75
                                Honestly, "The Sabbat during peacetime" is really just a Camarilla game with more clans and better rationalized Coteries and the Ventrue-Tremere powercouple is gone. There's no need to delete the Sabbat because your game isn't Cam enough. Nevermind turning a city Anarch.


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