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Abilities limit in V20

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  • Abilities limit in V20

    As a new player of the V20 i've read the book but i don't understand : as it is said a vampire of the 3th generation can raise it's attributes to 10 permanently, like his Disciplines power. But it cannot affect the abilities, right? I mean firearms at five is a world unique talent, and if a character with more than 5 in Dex use it he is a real beast with a gun but in my head you just cannot go beyond 5 in firearms. A better body to use a gun, ok, but not the abilitie, you just cannot expect a gun to shoot a perfect shot on it's own

    So hypothetically a 3th generation vampire could have 10 in dex + 10 in firearms + 10 in celerity = 30 dices + the damage roll of the weapon..... even werewolf don't have any way to increase their ability beyond 5, get bonus dices thank to gifts yes but never the ability itself. That seems truly overpowered, even for a really low generation vampire

  • #2
    Antediluvians are basically plot devices… they don’t actually need stats and I think establishing their traits at 10 is a mistake in the same way that trying to give Godzilla a Strength score in the V20 scale is futile.

    That said, the theory behind the allowing abilities as well as attributes to go above five for the low generation vampires is that 5 is the best you can get in one human lifetime; but vampires are immortal and do not grow decrepit with age and so can achieve truly superhuman levels of skill.

    Which, yes, in theory, means a 4th Gen with 9 Dex, 9 Firearms and 9 Celerity could roll 36 dice. However… any Methuselah old enough to have the XP/Maturation points needed to max Dex and Celerity is probably so old that firearms are new fangled curiosities at best and if they are masters of combat are probably focused on brawl or melee.

    The number of those is vanishingly few though as the number of 4th Gens is already small and those both old enough to have attributes, abilities and disciplines that high and not presently in torpor is smaller still.

    Most of the powerful active elder vampires are 6-7th Gen so max traits of 6-7 or a maxed out pool as above of 18-21 dice. By contrast most vampires are going to be Gen 8+ and the same maxed pool for them would be 15 dice.

    In practice 8-12 dice for a combat-focused vampire (PC or NPC) of 8+ Gen is what I tend to see.

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    • #3
      I think you're overestimating what another few dice really means in the system. Being able to take abilities over 5 doesn't break the system any more (and actually less) than attributes over 5.

      Vampires are not the only ones that can do this; even werewolves do have ways to boost their abilities over 5 (not as reliably maybe, but much more readily available to them considering that costs of Gifts and spiritual items compared to the XP for an ability at 6+).

      If you want a mechanic to watch out for? Look out for difficulty manipulation. A mage that can lower their difficulty to hit by -3, and increase the difficulty to hit them by +3, overcomes a pretty large difference in dice.

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      • #4
        Yes, as Chris24601 and Heavy Arms said this isn't neither that powerful or a reasonable character.

        Different splats have different ways to achieve higher dicepools or get more effect from those dice. For Vampire it's getting more dice with XP in the most slow and direct way.

        Generation is a cap in this regard, not a boost. Thousands of years ago, when the 3rd Generation got Embraced, they had 7/5/3 on Attributes, 13/9/5 on Abilities, and 3 Discipline dots. And the Attributes were probably caped at 5 because it was just what they had as humans, and the Abilities caped at 3 as that's the rule.

        And low generation is a pretty rare thing. You can't have a PC lower than 8th at character creation and you actually don't need anything lower for NPCs either on most chronicles to have powerful elders and whatnot. 7th Gen is the lowest available for PCs in Dark Ages and very few powerful NPCs are lower than 6th, as at this point you're usually talking Methuselah, and they are walking plot devices.

        So: top PCs in Dark Ages get to 6, most top elders cap at 7 and you still have the XP expenditure to get there. Mithras, as a 4th Gen Methuselah, cap at 9, but Mithras isn't VtM's equivalent to a Rank 6 Garou. He's more the VtM's equivalent to a Maeljin Incarna.


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        • #5
          That still seams to powerrfull for me, i can't imagine a fight against a being like this
          As you said most vampire of today are 6th or 7th generation for the lowest yes but the mathusalem of 4th generation are probably really good in brawl, melee or any ability that can be used with a discipline power.
          According from the book their antagonists are werewolf, and as the vampire see them they are their monsters, their beasts under the bed and even the firsts vampires were afraid of them. But if those vampire were at more than 30 max dices in their pool while werewolf are in crinos form at max dex + brawl/melee = 9..... even with gifts the difference is truly big to face, especially with a vampire with celerity which could have 10 bonus actions per round
          Plus when the end will be there Cain will return and all the 3th generation vampires, how could they be possibly defeated for mages, werewolves and others with that kind of power without even using discipline

          I'm not thinking in rules but in lore and story here, i know firsts vampires are godly powerfull but not at that unbeatable level compared to others supernatural being of the world of darkness. Our GM is creating a long story in wich our characters will live and face the famous end of time, and face the antediluvian's anger, so if they are at this level of power the story will end quickly x)
          Last edited by Cain Loup-Noir; 11-13-2021, 04:12 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Cain Loup-Noir View Post
            That still seams to powerrfull for me, i can't imagine a fight against a being like this
            You shouldn't.

            Forget about the werewolf thing, it is true mostly for Neonates and Ancillae. Elders fear werewolves only in the sense that they're paranoid and won't take chances with packs, but they pretty much toy with loners.

            As I said, Mithras' equivalent would be a Maeljin Incarna, and you shouldn't imagine a fight against those things either.


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            • #7
              But they face Maeljin. We have the wyrm book, it is really dangerous and almost impossible but not impraticable

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              • #8
                However does it affect virtues? The book say that only the willpower and humanity are not concerned by the generation skill limit but virtues are more concepts than mental capacity

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cain Loup-Noir View Post
                  However does it affect virtues? The book say that only the willpower and humanity are not concerned by the generation skill limit but virtues are more concepts than mental capacity
                  Well considering mental attributes can go up to ten. That said, all the sheets I know of cap Virtues at 5.

                  All that said, to add this discussion raising any attribute, ability, discipline, or background can go up to 10 based on generation limits. The reason why seems to be the power of the blood, allowing a vampire to master a set of abilities to a supernatural degree. For example, having firearms of 10 would show of an insane level of accuracy and knowledge when using firearm weapons. An Occult of the same level would likely be of knowledge that even master occultists have long forgotten.

                  Ultimately it's just to give more powerful vampires more dice, but has some precedent based of popular vampire media and fiction. Namely in vampires mastering things to a supernatural level.


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                  • #10
                    Limiting skills and stats to 5 is I think the only thing I took from 5th edition as good enough to port into a Vampire game. When you played the first Dark Ages game and it just said legendary for the description of things that got to six you can picture it, but a 9 after reading the description for 5? If you like things to go over 5, I suggest you just file it all under magic, or a magical effect. There is no rational description for what is possible with a 9 int and 9 medicine for example. It's like the Star Trek movie about the whale, "Doctor gave me a pill, and I have a new liver!"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cain Loup-Noir View Post
                      But they face Maeljin. We have the wyrm book, it is really dangerous and almost impossible but not impraticable
                      There are no statistics for them, as they're Incarnae and we don't have stats for Incarnae. The Book of the Wyrm doesn't have any stats for the Maeljin, only the very limited ways in which you can kill them.

                      Easy things, like to kill Aliara you have to be under her Mental Taint, only then locate her, resist her charms, fool her that you're still charmed, swear allegiance to her for real, steal a weapon from her during this, and deliver the killing blow with this weapon. Note, you have to be interesting enough for her to also desire you and you only have one shot at killing her as after that you're completely under her sway for eternity since you just swore your allegiance.

                      I don't see how a guy with 18-27 dice for his most powerful attacks, but still following all the rules and rolling with normal difficulties, is more unbeatable than that for a pack.

                      And I think I actually undersold it. Mithras isn't exactly equivalent to a Maeljin but more to the combination of a Maeljin with its boss Urge.

                      One of the themes of Vampire is that old Kindred are in many ways entities more than characters and the most dangerous being in existence. Although it isn't necessarily true for a "Unified World of Darkness", they are still among the top tier entities of the setting. The Antediluvian 3rd Generation isn't just a bunch of really powerful vampires, or even gods, they're the masters behind the End of the World for the setting.

                      What other lines model through other rules for the greatest powers in the world, VtM model through low generation. 4th and 3rd vampires are Incarna in their own right, Archmages, Bygones. They so happen to follow rules that are the same for other characters in the surface. Facing off a Methuselah of the 4th generation would sometimes be on par with facing off a Tribal Totem.

                      ​Yet, none of this is completely true. As Heavy Arms said difficulties make a huge difference, and Vampire is also the line with less access to dif reduction by far. It simply isn't a thing for the splat. So a 27-dice Met with Dex 9, Brawl 9 and Celerity 9 (which by no means is a typical 4th gen or Methuselah) will still roll at, lets say, dif 6 and have an average of 10/11 successes in a single action, while a Werewolf with the right combination of Gift, Totem and Fetish may roll 19 dice at dif 4 and have an average of 13 successes for the same action, and that's not even the top of what a Rank 3 Garou can do.

                      Vampire rules don't have magic aids for the characters as a normal rule. So unless this elder got its hands on something it shouldn't, dice and Disciplines are everything it has. And again, Disciplines don't offer dif reduction, this is exceedingly rare in Vampire.

                      So yeah, Methuselah are extremely powerful. Extremely. Generally dismissed by other lines because they never actually face one and live to tell the tale, so they only talk about weak vamps. Yet, they're not "just other type of vampire", they make sense once you understand how the game is meant to run.

                      Originally posted by Cain Loup-Noir View Post
                      However does it affect virtues?
                      No, it doesn't.

                      Originally posted by Vamps Like Us View Post
                      Limiting skills and stats to 5 is I think the only thing I took from 5th edition as good enough to port into a Vampire game.
                      First off, I think it is extremely unfair. As badly written as the lore is, V5 have a lot of interesting rules to adapt or directly port.

                      But other than that, capping stats to 5 is only a problem if you don't have thought through on how to deliver the sense of power of a Methuselah.

                      I personally like the VtR rule on Devotions and how to use higher BP/Lower gen as a requisite for more potent effects without need for moar levels.

                      This is not a bad decision if the ST understands how they affect the game and what they want to do with the game. But for a newcomer I don't recommend doing so as this impression may come from a misunderstanding on how things actually play out.


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                      • #12
                        I have, on occasion, seen Backgrounds above 5, without any explanation for how that remotely works. As for Abilities, I don't know, I would like to think a vampire like Critias, who has been kicking around for 2500 years, could, in fact, have more Academics than any mortal scholar. But without a real explanation for what that means in-universe, you just shrug and realize they have a few more dice which isn't a big deal. Case in point, what is the difference between- an 8th Generation Ventrue with Leadership 5 and Natural Leader (+3 dice on Leadership) and a guy with Leadership 8?

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                        • #13
                          Backgrounds at 6+ are explained even if not in V20.

                          As for what 6+ in an Ability "means" to be consistent with the mechanics (it requires supernatural power, not just age, a 2,000 year old 8th Gen can't go as high as a 500 year old 6th Gen):

                          I envision and describe these things as effectively minor supernatural mental and physical training to perception and connection making. Having Academics 6 isn't just knowing more than you would at Academics 5, but being able to see how different fields work together to figure out complete pictures of how culture and civilization evolved over time. You have a grasp of the threads of history that a normal human could never quite achieve allowing the ability to form more complete answers to complex questions, or figure out cultural enigmas faster (aka you have more dice to get more successes with). A human might get to the same answer, but they'd need time to cross reference sources, figure out how to weigh differing accounts, and so on that puts them a step behind.


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                          • #14
                            It is true that a rank 3 werewolf gift can simply totally suppress any vampire hability: no healing, no disciplines and no blood magic. With just the 5 correct gifts a single werewolf could hannihilate even Cain himself if he is smart enough to get a 1 vs 1 battle and to use his power (or call a spirits army by ripping the limit between umbra and physical world)

                            Now that i see it i love that difference, in one hand the vampires which can become powerfull enough to rule over the world and destroy entire city, and on the other hand the werewolves which can suppress their power, call an army, and protect their mind and body against almost everything

                            One is overpowered and the other the most dangerous being in the world. So cool!
                            Last edited by Cain Loup-Noir; 11-14-2021, 03:04 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Abilities over 5 doesn't really seem like a hard concept to get around. Maybe I've read too many Xanxia novels where Immortals are practicing all 24,000 moves of the Exciting-Exotic-Sword style three hundred thousand times each, when in reality sword styles are probably on average have about 16 moves.

                              5 is a human limitation. Most robots, if calibrated properly, could easily exceed the capabilities of humans in terms of skill or knowledge and how to apply it. Imagine if a shooter could make perfect adjustments for wind or recoil or the heat of the barrel on an instinctual level? For knowledge based abilities, the implication isn't that you know of things beyond human knowledge, but that you can use human knowledge with speed and accuracy beyond what humans are capable of? You can finish other people's sentences and take in their documentation like you were the one doing the experiment.

                              The Settites/Ravnos/Tremere are completely right: Reality (at least in the WoD) is an illusion/Prison. Human souls actually know everything and we're just blocked off by bodily limitations and reality's constraints. Those enlightened few who can get 6+ stats are really just taking off the shackles.


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