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How much do you adhere to the books?

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  • Resplendent Fire
    replied
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
    If you mean about using it to survive the Week of Nightmares, space constraints, most likely. That has been the usual answer for most of those things over the years.

    Just grabbing Gangrel at random to compare, it has 32 more pages than Ravnos.

    Edit: Anyway, not wanting to drag this thread into being strictly about Ravnos Animalism but it is an intriguing question and I think "the antediluvian overrode it" isn't that interesting an answer.
    Last edited by Resplendent Fire; 11-23-2021, 03:12 AM.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Originally posted by Resplendent Fire View Post

    I would love to ask the author why she didn't write anything about animalism in the clanbook. Seems like a really big gaping hole.
    If you mean about using it to survive the Week of Nightmares, space constraints, most likely. That has been the usual answer for most of those things over the years.

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  • Resplendent Fire
    replied
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

    Time of Thin Blood just says they have a +2 difficulty to resist frenzy during the battle, and for the three nights after its destruction, they have to make a Frenzy check (with fairly ludicrous difficulty) when waking each night and when encountering others of their clan. It never says anything one way or the other about using or not using Animalism 5 to dump that frenzy on someone else (such as a hapless mortal retainer you've got chained up). Or elders using Animalism 7's Conquer the Beast to enter or leave frenzy at will. (The entire thing is likely an Animalism 10 "plot device" effect, but it never specifies.)

    Honestly, if I'd been running a game with Ravnos in it back then when the book came out, I wouldn't have used it without discussing it with my players - especially those playing a Ravnos - first, and I would've preferred to fudge things to insure their survival, and going forward have them as the likely new leader of that area's surviving Ravnos if the player wanted that.

    I still wish they'd waited until after the revised Ravnos clanbook came out to do Week of Nightmares, as I would've much preferred a book that looked at the clan before that event, including what had happened to the various Dark Ages Jati and how they'd evolved into the modern nights (including the Phaedymites and Alexandrians who might've joined the Camarilla, and the groups like the Sybarites and Bashirites among the Sabbat), as well as any new ones which might've sprung up over the past millennium.
    I would love to ask the author why she didn't write anything about animalism in the clanbook. Seems like a really big gaping hole.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    I mean, I doubt Animalism will do anything to your antediluvian's order to kill each other.
    Time of Thin Blood just says they have a +2 difficulty to resist frenzy during the battle, and for the three nights after its destruction, they have to make a Frenzy check (with fairly ludicrous difficulty) when waking each night and when encountering others of their clan. It never says anything one way or the other about using or not using Animalism 5 to dump that frenzy on someone else (such as a hapless mortal retainer you've got chained up). Or elders using Animalism 7's Conquer the Beast to enter or leave frenzy at will. (The entire thing is likely an Animalism 10 "plot device" effect, but it never specifies.)

    Honestly, if I'd been running a game with Ravnos in it back then when the book came out, I wouldn't have used it without discussing it with my players - especially those playing a Ravnos - first, and I would've preferred to fudge things to insure their survival, and going forward have them as the likely new leader of that area's surviving Ravnos if the player wanted that.

    I still wish they'd waited until after the revised Ravnos clanbook came out to do Week of Nightmares, as I would've much preferred a book that looked at the clan before that event, including what had happened to the various Dark Ages Jati and how they'd evolved into the modern nights (including the Phaedymites and Alexandrians who might've joined the Camarilla, and the groups like the Sybarites and Bashirites among the Sabbat), as well as any new ones which might've sprung up over the past millennium.

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  • InspectorG
    replied
    Barely adhere.

    Meta Plot is just a spring board for ideas. Signature characters seem corny to me.

    City by Night supplies more meat but we always change the characters so one one can metagame the story.

    Damnation City is a great template regardless edition.

    Clan books, imo, tend to be a convoluted mess that supply the flavor of the clan and depict it's main M.O.

    I tend to home brew all clans as not knowing their founders and operating more as a survival strategies rather than a clan/family per se.

    Sect guides are ok but lend themselves to a certain style of play.

    Over the years I prefer V20 mechanics with general updated-stripped down metaplot of V5, with a twist of Requiem. If that even makes sense.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I don't think that works for Wights either.
    Me neither, although it being a Wight is a guess, not a written fact. An educated guess, for sure, but a guess nonetheless.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    He meant Ravnos the Ante itself.
    I don't think that works for Wights either.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I mean, I doubt Animalism will do anything to your antediluvian's order to kill each other.
    He meant Ravnos the Ante itself.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    I used to not like Vampire: The Requiem. Not because it was bad, but because it replaced Vampire: The Masquerade. But now, I can appreciate something it and the rest of NWoD were trying to do: focus the books on being toolkits for telling your own stories. They were game aids, first and foremost. Any plot or world-building elements were only "canon", if at all, within the context of the specific book they appeared in. Arguably not even then. Because it wasn't about creating THE World of Darkness, but about helping you create YOUR OWN World of Darkness.

    This is also why I liked V20, as it had much that same approach. While it presented options for how the setting was arranged, it was left to the Storyteller to put it together. Not unlike D&D adventure modules, that were, true to the name, modular.

    On some level I don't think the White Wolf designers of old quite "got" that idea. Or at least they had a different set of priorities. Those being to tell THEIR stories. It comes off, whether in off-screen metaplot updates or rail-roading "adventures", that Old White Wolf would have rather been writing novels than game supplements. Obviously, I can't speak to their motivations because I don't know them or their internal lives. But when many supplements are formatted AS prose stories - novellas or in one case the script for a stage play - it's an easy impression to get.

    So if the metaplot events seem to come and go without possibility for player input, that's why. The possibility that you might want to play out the Week of Nightmares as something to be survived, or a shadow war against Baba Yaga that might call for the falling of the Curtain, either did not seem to occur to the designers, or wasn't a priority. Which is why we get instances of the books just ordering STs/Players to play out the non-optional death of most Ravnos, or the non-optional death of most Tremere Antitribu, or the non-optional death of any Nosferatu PCs that happened to be participating in the death of Baba Yaga (for no reason than because they happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time).

    That the old metaplot had both storytelling and "ulterior" motives behind decisions didn't help it feel natural or interactive. The metaplot writers had specific, Doylist goals in mind when they wrote the metaplot. Someone in charge didn't like the Ravnos, so they were axed, for instance. It didn't matter if players at home had beloved Ravnos PCs or NPCs. It didn't matter if Storytellers had grand narratives planned or playing out in their games that centrally involved the Ravnos. It didn't even matter that writers at White Wolf had gone to the trouble of revamping the Ravnos into a potentially interesting Clan centered in India. The Clan, by and large, had to go, with all that India stuff being put in the back of the book detailing the Week of Nightmares, just to show how interesting Clan Ravnos were before they were killed off.

    "Hey guys, the Ravnos are really interesting, we swear. Now watch as we murder them all!"

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
    The really weird bit about Week of Nightmares is that older Ravnos should have been the most likely to survive it. The clan's disciplines include Animalism, meaning that everyone who had 5+ in it could avoid frenzy by dumping it on someone else. Plus the clan's "special sauce" power made it really easy to fake your own destruction.
    I mean, I doubt Animalism will do anything to your antediluvian's order to kill each other.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    The really weird bit about Week of Nightmares is that older Ravnos should have been the most likely to survive it. The clan's disciplines include Animalism, meaning that everyone who had 5+ in it could avoid frenzy by dumping it on someone else. Plus the clan's "special sauce" power made it really easy to fake your own destruction.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    but it is the job of the Storyteller (i.e. me) to make them make sense.
    Although I understand, it isn't fair to anyone involved to put the responsibility solely in the hands of the Storyteller. And above that, it is disingenuous to put it in such a way as to completely avoid the metaplot being judged.

    This is art and design work for the public and is sold for a price. Regardless of my personal ability to put it to use, the quality of the product pretty much is a concern, and its ability to fulfill its purpose on its own must be measured.

    VtM is a game setting. It isn't a novel, show, movie or comic, regardless of having all of those, it is a game setting. Everything officially made for it is as a game setting first. So the metaplot must work for the primary purpose of improving its use as a game setting. So it must make my work as ST easier, not harder.

    I can spend my own effort into adapting anything from anything into my game, but if I have to because the game is badly written, increasing my workload instead of reducing it, the book, simply put, didn't made its job. Or made it poorly.

    So no, it isn't my job to make the damn metaplot make sense. I already have the job of implementing it in my games, adapting it to their specifics, coming up with my own stories inside it. Facilitating this process is the author's job, not mine.

    We have a long history of poorly written metaplot for VtM. I can implement it since actually any random idea is the seed for a good one, and working under constraints have its merits, but it doesn't change the poor quality of a lot of those writings.

    Pretending the problem doesn't exist because you can fix it is like giving five stars to a KFC that delivers the food mangled and badly cooked because you can finish cooking it yourself, and arguing on top that making dinner is your job.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    I generally take a broad strokes view of canon. I think there's quite a few things in the metaplot that don't make perfect sense or even at all but it is the job of the Storyteller (i.e. me) to make them make sense. That's because metaplot is a "shared language" among gamers and you have the books they've read that means they all know what world this is taking place in, what events have happened in the past, and so on.

    But yes, often times I have to write elaborate backstories and in-universe stuff to make it make sense.

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  • MarkK
    replied
    I would say the metaplot is good stuff when it opens up options, the Assamite Schism of revised for instance gave a full depth and playstyle to a clan that was previously not much more than a really unfortunate, narrow stereotype, or in BJD when it brought back exploring the Ravnos' heritage in India from revised and presented a plot option that made them more of a presence in the sects. Developments that open up range and depth for how a game setting can be interacted with are a good and interesting choice. Even something like the Camarilla conquest of New York from revised, while yes, it took a city from the Sabbat, it was a city that previously didn't have much development or focus as a vampire setting (which was always sort of odd for a city as big as New York. "Yeah, it's a sabbat city" as kind of an afterthought was a bit meh) where the metaplot developments lead to a citybook that was really good for "here is a wide field of options your players can be directly plunged into as the Camarilla of New York is now developed and cohered", which was helpful for GMs that didn't want to have to do something like gin up a whole city from scratch.

    The metaplot is by contrast a bad thing when it destroys options, like, say, the exploding of the V5 Sabbat, the exploding of the Ravnos clan in revised, anything that looks at depth and goes "nope, back to the most basic and stringent reading possible", what have you.

    So I would say it varies. Sometimes metaplot is a great way to clean up previously poorly implemented game ideas, or ways to deepen a game's play experience from what it otherwise is at a given moment. And sometimes.... the opposite of that.

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  • Chris24601
    replied
    Metaplot is about as useful as trying to run a campaign with two GMs who aren’t actually on the page.

    GM1 (Home table): I’ve spent an entire campaign building up a conflict involving Ravnos elders trying supplant the Camarilla in the city.

    GM2 (Metaplot): I just had the Ravnos Antediluvian wake up, go on a rampage, get nuked by science wizards and in a final act of spite induce all Ravnos across the globe to commit murder-suicide. All the Ravnos in your city except the two neonates are now dead and only a hundred or so are left in the world. We also included in our end notes that you should drop whatever your story is doing and implement this immediately (seriously, see p125 of Time of Thin Blood).

    GM1: **** you! I’m never co-GMing with you again.

    Metaplot is interesting to read, but I’ve never seen it be anything but useless at best, actively harmful to ongoing campaigns if expected to implement it at worst.

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