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How many disciplines should there be?

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  • #16
    I think the question itself is problematic by being framed without consideration to how Disciplines work in the first place. Which brings us the problem of each one answering more with preferred edition or house-rule instead of putting the list they use.

    My preferred take is Requiem 2nd editions' list. A limited number of powers with broad applications and versatile mechanics. I particularly love their work with Auspex and Protean. And on top of that Devotions, a simple rule to add new powers without building an entire new Discipline from scratch.

    But a list of Disciplines I make based on those rules simply won't work in a game using any edition's VtM rules for Disciplines. The ideal list pretty much depends on the base rule of how those things will work in the end.

    Without a rule similar to Devotions it is really hard to justify trimming down the number of Disciplines, because sooner or later you'll want a character with a power that doesn't quite fits with what you already have. Of course, you can take the simplest route of banning them from your game altogether and stick to it, but I don't find it a positive framework to start from as Storyteller. And yes, they are gimmicky powers. This isn't a problem at all, gimmicks are useful plot devices, for major, minor and personal plots.

    Combo Disciplines, now Amalgams, have existed to cover that for some time now. But they present problems that still keeps them from working properly. The first is the heft requisite for a power that isn't always that powerful and you may want to give it to an inexperienced character, PC or NPC. Devotions only have to require a single Discipline.

    Going with V1-20 take on Disciplines, with very strictly defined chain of powers and Combos being few and little known, it is unavoidable to have a bazillion gimmicky Disciplines. If that's the route, then I'm staying with Elphilm on that one. It is not Discipline bloat, you still have only 10 that you need to use with any regularity. Everything else is color for particular characters and are readily available on the books, why bother reinventing the wheel? The setting works just fine as is (in this regard).

    V5 changes little on the problem. You still have the same number of powers (give or take few) and they still take their specific slots in your character sheet. They are just organized differently. This new organization makes sense? Yes, it does. Barely, but it does. And it does solve problems when entire Disciplines existed only because of a couple key powers, but it also keep the particular powers just as unnecessarily specific as always, if not more.

    Yet, the damn slots are a problem that makes little sense. Forcing a character to forever forfeit all other options when choosing a power for a given slot is a strange design decision I still don't understand. On top of that, Amalgams are more visible, which is a plus, but they take out slots, which is a huge down. So I'd it's a solid draw between the two options, pre and post V5.

    On the end of the day, the 10 original Disciplines are a pretty solid basis, you don't strictly need anything else, we just need a mechanic to deal with variations and novelties, as they need a place. VtM lacks that. And putting Necromancy into Oblivion is plain bad, seriously.


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    • #17
      Part of the issue with the v5's 10 (outside of oblivion being both mechanically and lore wise a hot garbage fire.) Is it's self defeating in its approach, you can see a sort of subtle evolution already occurring where former disciplines are being hammered into them. Slowly Re creating the complexity and bloat which previous editions are accused of having, this becomes becomes especially absurd as loresheet effectively become a supplementary range of psuado mystic powers which are disciplines while pretending not to be (eg harbingers of Ashurs mask system.)
      The ultimate issue is if v5 produces more written books more powers will emerge so the question becomes redundant as each of the 10/ loresheets are expected to carry multiple powers formally represented by disciplines to the point of absurdity....as has already been achieved with Oblivion which is at best two disciplines which don't mesh if I'm being nice and more accurately 2 disciplines and several necromantic/mortis paths. I suspect this is how they will all turn out as v5 grinds on.

      But back to the question:no idea, as many as needed.
      Last edited by Ragged Robin; 11-26-2021, 06:23 PM.

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      • #18
        As many as needed. If thats 10, 20 or 50 then so be it.

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        • #19
          I wish they'd have about 13 Disciplines and the ability to buy unlimited numbers of Combo Disciplines and Powers at every level.


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          • #20
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
            I wish they'd have about 13 Disciplines and the ability to buy unlimited numbers of Combo Disciplines and Powers at every level.
            So... the VtR approach?

            I'm being a bit facetious here, but VtR has 13 core Disciplines, and unlimited Devotions (either for combo Discipline powers, or alternate powers), and in 2e has moved away from lots of custom Disciplines for Bloodlines (even if left the option open). The Blasphemies and Sacrements VtR supplement lets you expand Cruac/Theban Sorcery to cover other forms of blood sorcery and actually has rule for making your own rituals (whether purely OOC, or as an IC thing to make those Disciplines more flexible).

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

              So... the VtR approach?

              I'm being a bit facetious here, but VtR has 13 core Disciplines, and unlimited Devotions (either for combo Discipline powers, or alternate powers), and in 2e has moved away from lots of custom Disciplines for Bloodlines (even if left the option open). The Blasphemies and Sacrements VtR supplement lets you expand Cruac/Theban Sorcery to cover other forms of blood sorcery and actually has rule for making your own rituals (whether purely OOC, or as an IC thing to make those Disciplines more flexible).
              Yep. I think the biggest issues right now for Disciplines are that you have a limit on how many powers you can have and the Limit to Level 5.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                I wish they'd have about 13 Disciplines and the ability to buy unlimited numbers of Combo Disciplines and Powers at every level.
                I actually enjoy the idea of Devotions (combo discipline powers) in Masquerade. I was in the past mostly able to turn the bulk of Dementation into powers built off of Auspex, Dominate, and Obfuscate.

                I've fiddled with the idea of Spiritus (the Ahrimanes' power) as Devotions of Auspex, Animalism, and Protean, but since I almost never use that bloodline, I've never really finished it.


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                • #23
                  Devotions let you have alternate powers for each level, let you have combo powers if you want, and since they may be exceptionally powerful then have requisites like Blood Potency 6+, they cover the Elder/Methuselah powers without the need for technically saying that you have more than 5 dots in the Discipline.

                  Without the limit on powers the only thing the V5 Disciplines would lack in this regard would be XP adjustment for particularly powerful effects, but that's a minor loss. I still ave problems with the powers themselves being more restrict and will probably just take the cue of the change in rules to port Requiem's Disciplines entirely.

                  But yeah. With a decent Devotion-like rule to cover variety, something between 10 to 13 Disciplines is enough. Without it, then just let there be a bazillion, you just need a reference document for the extras and it isn't as hard to deal with as it used to be.


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                  • #24
                    5.

                    And Blood Magic shouldn’t be a thing at all, at least not in the way it’s been presented in any of the editions.

                    Cheers!


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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by nothing View Post
                      5.

                      And Blood Magic shouldn’t be a thing at all, at least not in the way it’s been presented in any of the editions.

                      Cheers!
                      Oh? Explain how this works?


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Damian May View Post
                        As many as needed. If thats 10, 20 or 50 then so be it.
                        This is the correct answer.

                        Not everyone is going to use every Discipline. This is fine. They just need to exist for when a Storyteller or Player wants to use them.


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                        • #27
                          I must admit I'm curious what preventative measures people would propose to prevent the v5 discipline cap becoming redundant as the 10 get flooded with increasing numbers of alternative/combo powers would produce simular issues to a large number of disciplines.
                          Last edited by Ragged Robin; 11-27-2021, 06:02 AM.

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                          • #28
                            I'm in agreement with Elphilim here. 10 original ones, although !'ll let a player snag the occasional odd one for a really good backstory or good play.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by nothing View Post
                              5.

                              And Blood Magic shouldn’t be a thing at all, at least not in the way it’s been presented in any of the editions.

                              Cheers!

                              I am guessing the three physical disciplines are in the 5, just curious what the other two are. Without Obfuscate there is less need for Auspex, are you going classic? Protean and Dominate? Some kind of catch all 2 that combine multiple disciplines? I have often nuked Blood Magic myself, so just wondering where your at. I wouldn't think Animalism makes the cut if there are only 2 slots left after Celerity, Fortitude, Potence.

                              When I thought about a Vampire Diaries world game it's pretty clear newborn vampires start with 3 in Celerity, Dominate, Fortitude, and Potence on the TV show. Protean was used in the books and the pilot episode.

                              I think if you limit the disciplines to 5, either you cut down the number of clans, or you really lean into the Clan flaws being what separates them. If you are going that small I would just give all vampires the same weaknesses, and let sects be the big factor. Not really VTM, but could be a really fun chronicle.

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                              • #30
                                The essential problem I've always had with the blood sorcery disciplines is that selling books with more blood sorcery powers over the course of an expansion is always part of the business model. If I were still actively storytelling, I'd crack down with a house rule that each path is a separate discipline and each ritual is an amalgam power with a second discipline as a requirement. It's all from the power in the blood, so it works by the same rules as the rest of the powers in the blood. Pay the experience costs if you want to be a Halliwell sister instead of a vampire.

                                Then restat the thaumaturge NPC's accordingly. The Tremere contact doesn't know the ritual that's needed, so he reaches out and trades favors with a specialist within the clan who can perform it. Presto, the entire wizard clan just became more interesting and nuanced then they are when every NPC can cast every spell in the game.

                                This unfortunately blows up the number of disciplines in the game, but it could be mitigated by merging the different cultural schools of blood sorcery and cutting the redundancies, as Aleph suggests in the second post in this thread.

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