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  • Dementation?

    I find myself looking at this discipline like it's an ugly duckling.
    Yeah, some powers are cool, but I'd rather take Dominate, and I think most Malkavians would be better off taking Dominate too. This is further influenced by the suggestion that Dominate Malks are darker and more subdued in their madness than their more overtly ill Dementation Malk bretheren. Thus I largely ignore "The great prank" and at least 80% of my Malks are the Dominate kind.

    I like some of the stuff from Dementation, but what to actually do with it? I'm at an impasse, especially considering it's categorization. Many discipline powers will throw it in as a "mental discipline" (as opposed to an emotional, sensory or mystical discipline) With Malkavians stating the use of the discipline breaks down barriers rather than adding anything new to the mind. That said, Passion and Haunting are very much Emotional powers, and Augery (or whatever 3 was) is obviously a sensory effect. By Fiat these powers are mental, but it seems these powers are anything else.

    3 can possibly made into an alternative/combination Auspex power, the other powers suit... Presence more than Dominate. Perhaps Dementation malks would better be a Auspex,Obfuscate,Presence bloodline? My other thought would be that Dementation works better as a Thaumaturgy path, and in a Vacuum I really think that's the best idea, especially as Malkavians are a clan of geniuses (disregarding the playerbase) who could take well to magic. Unfortunately for this prospect, The Tremere exist, and I think it'd step on their toes too hard to give Malkavians thaumaturgy en masse (of any kind, not neccessarily Hermetic). Perhaps this can be allieved by keeping Dementation rare, or instilling the belief that one needs to be mad to practice it (which is a rule I'm happy to use with Thaumaturgy but not so keen to use when it comes to disciplines) Having Dementation a Thaumaturgy path could also give the Malkavians keys into other areas: Most of the old Infernal paths are actually really fitting for a clan of deranged lunatics that drive themselves and others into madness: Path of the Unspoken, Path of the Defiler, Pleasure, Pain, Phobos (fear), Evil revelations... These paths would need to be balanced a little as they're a little too strong (intended to be NPC only) but thematically they fit the Malkavians like a glove.


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  • #2
    I agree that Dementation has a lot of problems. Mechanically, Dementation 2 does nothing, and Dementation 5 does something between "nothing" and "the character is permanently unusable'. My revised Dementation goes like this:

    1. Passion. Unchanged. Works perfectly fine.
    2. Dreamwalker. Malkavian can manipulate a sleeping person's dreams to influence their waking mind or get information. See "V20 - Lore of the Bloodlines p.60" power "Dreamstalker" for mechanics.
    3. Eyes of Chaos. The main reason to learn Dementation. Use DAV20 rules.
    4. Voice of Fire. Works just fine.
    5. Implant Opinion. Use Implant Opinion dominate power from V20 - Lore of the Clans. Thematically fitting for Dementation, not stronger than many other level 5 powers.

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    • #3
      Well, in my own table i broke down dementation into "alternates powers" an individual can unlock through an "enlightned madness" background/loresheet/merit/you-get-the-idea, along with possible access to the Cobweb.

      I do a lot of that as a way to rid myself of the "snowflake disciplines everywhere syndrome" while keeping certain powers in the game in slightly different, connection/lore heavier ways specific to my own chronicles.
      Last edited by Baaldam; 11-29-2021, 10:47 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
        Well, in my own table i broke down dementation into "alternates powers" an individual can unlock through an "enlightned madness" background/loresheet/merit/you-get-the-idea, along with possible access to the Cobweb.
        I dislike hard locks like -only X clan can have this-. The Cobweb's a nice idea... if you use it sparingly (I largely chalk it up to Malks having more active methuselahs and the clan are happier than most to be knowing chess pieces) but making a power a cobweb exclusive is a bit much


        Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
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        • #5
          I don't like it. It's fine to want to give Sabbat Malkavians an extra power that makes them more creepy, but I think it's heavily flawed and not worth being an entire Discipline. And I never liked how some of the anti-tribu clans had different in-clan Disciplines.

          All Malkavians have Dominate as the in-clan Discipline in my chronicles. However, some Sabbat Malkavians do have a Dementation like power due to forbidden lore/secrets. But since those are NPC only, I don't worry about whether it is an actual Discipline, some form of Dark Thaumaturgy or Infernalist Investment, or something else.

          The first Dark Ages game making Dementation the default of the Malkavians (perhaps because they wanted all Disciplines to be in the game, so by default they had to give it to the entire clan since the setting was pre-Cam/Sabbat) created unnecessary continuity problems. It was a mistake. While I never liked Dementation, at least it made sense as something strange the Sabbat Malks developed. Making it the original Discipline for the clan complicated things.

          I've mentioned elsewhere that long ago I cobbled together Mortis and Obtenenbration to create something I felt took the best parts of both Disciplines in order to not have unique Disciplines to any clan, and get rid of the more silly parts. So I attempted to do the same with Chimestry and Dementation, since both depict altered states of reality, but the end result wasn't as satisfying to me.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
            I dislike hard locks like -only X clan can have this-. The Cobweb's a nice idea... if you use it sparingly (I largely chalk it up to Malks having more active methuselahs and the clan are happier than most to be knowing chess pieces) but making a power a cobweb exclusive is a bit much

            Ah, no, it's quite the contrary in fact. The idea is that purchasing Enlightened Madness gives you access to the Cobweb AND the capacity to develop Dementation powers, actual clan notwithstanding, as long as the person has derangements to go along with the theme.
            Last edited by Baaldam; 01-28-2022, 08:35 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
              I don't like it. It's fine to want to give Sabbat Malkavians an extra power that makes them more creepy, but I think it's heavily flawed and not worth being an entire Discipline. And I never liked how some of the anti-tribu clans had different in-clan Disciplines.
              I agree with Dementation being kind of wonky as a whole discipline on its own, truth be told it's the whole point of this thread no?

              On the subject of antitribu clans having different in-clan Disciplines i was actually pretty ok with that and always treated it as a symptom of several weird things going on amidst the Sabbat kindred under the umbrellas of the Vaulderie and ritae. Some of it related to literal polution & twisting of the blood, some from being descended of kindred who were adopted members of their supposed clans and so on, no one was quite sure of the reasons and it sparked interest as much as revulsion depending on individual kindred. But not universal, some kindred had the original sets, some had "antitribu packages", only enhance the uncertainty and confusion.

              That said in my games individual kindred or whole respected broods claiming to be from a clan while being from another (like cadaverous Infitiores defining themselves as Nosferatu or Salubri passing themselves as Malkavian, Toreador - and in one particular case, even Tremere), sometimes without knowing their assertions are false, so kind of goes with the territory.


              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
              The first Dark Ages game making Dementation the default of the Malkavians (perhaps because they wanted all Disciplines to be in the game, so by default they had to give it to the entire clan since the setting was pre-Cam/Sabbat) created unnecessary continuity problems. It was a mistake. While I never liked Dementation, at least it made sense as something strange the Sabbat Malks developed. Making it the original Discipline for the clan complicated things.
              So many terrible, terrible setting retcons started on the precedent of this one terrible idea.

              That said, simply treating DA:V as a parallel continuity that has some things in common spares so much headaches - and allows for some funny winks and shenanigans too - like in one chronicle where i made it so DA was some sort of twisted spirit realm sparked within the Cobweb by a mix of shared neurosis, nostalgia & trauma of a number of insane elders & methuselahs, not all of them of the blood of Malkav, leading to PCs doing astral trips into "the Dark Ages" & back, interesting complications springing from interacting with "the locals" and one or two piggibacking on them to intrude into the physical world, among other wildly entertaining things.


              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
              I've mentioned elsewhere that long ago I cobbled together Mortis and Obtenenbration to create something I felt took the best parts of both Disciplines in order to not have unique Disciplines to any clan, and get rid of the more silly parts. So I attempted to do the same with Chimestry and Dementation, since both depict altered states of reality, but the end result wasn't as satisfying to me.
              Chimerstry deal with delirium and halucination to at least some degree i'd say it makes perfect sense. Mortis + Obtenebration, i'm less sure about (but then that's partly because i've always been very lazy in coming up with a satisfying way to deal with the multiple iterations of Mortis, Necromancy and connected powers).

              But overall my method is to break down the signature disciplines, making some powers into devotions (discipline combos) or rituals (that can be purchsed like the Sabbat or Garou merit) associated with one of the "core" disciplines.
              Last edited by Baaldam; 01-27-2022, 10:28 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                That said simply treating DA:V as a parallel continuity that has some things in common spares so much headaches - and allows for some funny winks and shenanigans too - like in one chronicle where i made it so DA was some sort of twisted spirit realm sparked within the Cobweb by a mix of shared neurosis, nostalgia & trauma of a number of insane elders & methuselahs, not all of them of the blood of Malkav, leading to PCs doing astral trips into "the Dark Ages" & back, interesting complications springing from interacting with "the locals" and one or two piggibacking on them to intrude into the physical world, among other wildly entertaining things
                Omigod, that's hilarious. I'll remember this just in case I can do something with it later. Kudos.

                I actually think the original V: DA line was fairly strong, but there were some core mistakes included in it. One thing that would have improved the game is if they had an explicit section that detailed clearly for STs the major differences between Princes, interpretations of the Traditions, the act of siring, and how domains were ruled between the Modern Nights and Dark Ages. It would have gone a long way to show why the Dark Ages lead to the Anarch Revolt and how the Camarilla changed things. In practice, most Dark Ages game didn't seem too different from modern games which I think is a big error.

                I was less impressed with DA:V. While I admire it made a real attempt to do something different from the Modern Nights, I don't think they made the right choices.

                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                Chimerstry deal with delirium and halucination to at least some degree I'd say it makes perfect sense.
                Yeah, I think it was thematically sound. I just wasn't very pleased with the end result. It needed a lot more work.

                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                Mortis + Obtenebration, i'm less sure about (but then that's partly because i've always been very lazy in coming up with a satisfying way to deal with the multiple iterations of Mortis, Necromancy and connected powers).
                The common theme I used was a link to the Abyss, the pit of non-existence, damnation, and primordial darkness. It is the basis of how vampires are able to overcome death. I use Obtenebration levels 1, 2, and 5 plus Mortis 3 and 4 (slightly modified). It worked for me. Other people will have different mileage.
                Last edited by Black Fox; 11-30-2021, 02:44 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                  Yeah, I think it was thematically sound. I just wasn't very pleased with the end result. It needed a lot more work.
                  I think Chimerstry works perfectly fine as is if you want to give it to Malks, no need to actually fuse it with Dementation (too distinct mechanically).

                  The idea of using Dementation as a Tahumaturgical Path seems interesting, but I prefer the Merit/Loresheet approach. Or even a background.

                  Just had the idea, a Dementation Background could give access to the Web and a side effect of intruding into the vampire's regular Disciplines. That way, the actual Dementation powers could instead be powers of other Disciplines modified by the presence of Dementation.

                  Other vampires wouldn't know the difference, justifying the "legend" of there being a Discipline of Dementation, and there could be a Flaw that makes the intrusion even more uncontrollable, explaining out the Sabbat Malks.


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                  • #10
                    I see Dementation as struggling to squeeze too many clan archetypes into one discipline. It's the Zany Prankster, I Can Kill You With My Mind, and Cassandra the Seer, rolled into one. If you were to break it down and ship its powers out to other disciplines as amalgams, V5 style, it'd be divided between Dominate, Auspex, and maybe Presence.

                    Maybe that's not the worst thing you could do with it.
                    Last edited by Reasor; 12-02-2021, 10:02 PM.

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                    • #11
                      If you exclude thaumaturgy, the overwhelming majority of Dementation powers look like they should be Presence powers, only a few of them require you to say something (They do not, however need eye contact). One counterargument is that Dementation is very cheap like Dominate while Presence has historically been one of the most blood intensive skills in the common vampire's arsenal, only beaten out by celerity (I realize V5 ignores this choice but... well... Dementation just isn't in V5)


                      I find for Dementation I really only want Passion. It's just such a good power and probably broken when used in conjunction with other things. The Haunting is simply the weakest second level power in vampire. 3 is theoretically strong but mostly just a headache for player and the ST and you'd be better of getting good with Auspex. 4 and 5 require you to buy 2 and 3 first and aren't that desirable.


                      Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
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                      • #12
                        Why don't you like Haunting? It has the potential of intimidation. Just came up and chatted with a prey and within a year she will see "something". Maybe it's vampires that are chasing her or a lover who is cheating on her, and so on. So you can scare the right victim and she decides to kill herself.
                        Last edited by Alphari; 12-03-2021, 04:23 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Alphari View Post
                          Why don't you like Haunting? It has the potential of intimidation. Just came up and chatted with a prey and within a year she will see "something". Maybe it's vampires that are chasing her or a lover who is cheating on her, and so on. So you can scare the right victim and she decides to kill herself.
                          While I do like the idea of Haunting, you can't be serious as a second level Discipline power. You have no control over the hallucinations beyond choice of the affected sense, you have no guarantee that they'll even cause some drawback, they don't affect the victim during day or accompanied by others.

                          Basically all the power over directing the effects is either on the ST's hands or the victim themselves. Interesting as an NPC power since the storyteller will make the decisions anyway and it won't strip Player Agency, and it is fun for players to try and use whatever comes their way, but as a 2nd dot power?

                          Since we're talking Malks, same level Dominate is Mesmerize. Easier to use (Dif is Current Willpower instead of Att + Virtue), and even with one success you have plenty of control over the nature of the command you'll implant and may use it to make the victim doubt their own sanity the same way, without a time constraint.

                          Also, of course, you can use it for a lot of other things than to annoy people.


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                          • #14
                            I tended to prefer use malkavian time backed up by the clans disciplines being useful for info gathering over dement for clan insight. Interestingly a gm I used play with gave malkvanians antitribu Fortitude instead of obfuscate to roleplay 'berserker psycho killer' better.

                            I always found it underpowered so was okay with people having it

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
                              I always found it underpowered so was okay with people having it
                              It is underpowered, no doubts about that. In fact, I imagine that maybe Dementation wasn't meant just to be gimmicky or anything, but outright to nerf the Malkavian discipline spread.

                              As a combination, Auspex + Obfuscate + Dominate are the most powerful In Clans around. They have huge synergy without overlap, are all extremely versatile and useful Disciplines, and the only thing that keeps the clan in check, mainly due to how they are perceived, is the clan weakness.

                              But picture a vampire of any other clan with those In-Clans and tell me what you think of it.


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