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  • #31
    Disciplines are as much a statement of who the clan is, how they hunt and what they do as they are a set of skills cultivated. You know what clans with Dominate have in common? They're organized, without exception. There are some well organized vampires without Dominate (The Assamites really, on the surface level seem structured and hierarchical, but they have their reasons why they eschew Dominate, and honestly I think a deeper look will reveal they're quite a mess) but on the whole Clans with Dominate>clans without dominate when it comes to organization. The Malkavians have always been described as in tune with one another, they'll know where to gather and have secret meetings and they suspect they're being controlled or influenced by some kind of web that links them together... they're a Dominate clan. It's ingrained in their culture. Giving them Dementation because they're mad is like giving Ventrue a money discipline because they're rich; it'd be funny, but you're cutting away the nuance when you're replacing something that's vital to their character.


    Also
    Dementation is not a good hunting tool.
    Dominate is.
    More hunting tools>stronger clan that has an easier time expanding.

    And Malkavians have GREAT use for Dominate 4 and 5.


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    • #32
      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      on the whole Clans with Dominate>clans without dominate when it comes to organization. The Malkavians have always been described as in tune with one another, they'll know where to gather and have secret meetings and they suspect they're being controlled or influenced by some kind of web that links them together... they're a Dominate clan. It's ingrained in their culture.
      Clanbook: Malkavian, Revised:
      "We are a sprawling, fractured, decayed family".
      "We are fragmented, scattered, slivers of a broken mirror that cast bitter reflections".
      "We are not a faction. We are not a political unit. We are the Family Malkavian. And never... never have we stood as one with any group or individual, living or dead, since his death. Never. Remember that. Your own cousins will strike you down and feast on your vitae should it prove necessary, necessary as they see it. The ties that bind us are inescapable; they do not compel our loyalty nor our fraternal obedience, merely our... intimacy."
      "Perhaps they reasoned that if even isolated, fractured monsters such as ourselves were convinced of the situation's gravity, then there was no other recourse."
      "The only thing that unites the members of this teetering, decrepit family — apart from their demented blood — is the fact that they remain stoically, resolvedly, if ever so barely functional."

      Does this seem like the equivalent of what is meant by 'organization' as portrayed by Clans Ventrue, Lasombra, Tremere, or Giovanni?

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
        There seems to be a general failure here to appreciate what an in-clan Discipline means, and how a Discipline gets to be in-clan, and what the in-clan Discipline implies for the clan's organization and mindset.
        Your tendency to explain the disagreement as being due to everyone else's inability to be as intelligent as you, repeatedly, is starting to really annoy me. I'm no saint in this regard, but you're constantly doing so and this simply isn't cool.

        And another thing that isn't cool:

        Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
        that doesn't mean you should attack the logical consistencies that were built into VtM that set it apart from something like D&D with arbitrary spells and classes and whatever.
        Is attacking others logic by making a spurious comparison that's also an attack on other games to use them as straw men for play styles you can't just dislike, you feel the need to deride.

        Stop being a well spoken jerk and start interacting with fellow posters with due respect, please.

        Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
        Malkavians benefit immensely from Dominate, yes, as everybody does.
        Being in-clan means being far more accessible, especially considering that in many games learning an out-of-clan requires tutoring under conditions that most vampires won't be exactly eager to experience with a Dominate user.

        So it is readily accessible to Neonates, any Dominate Malkavian can develop it without tutoring, faster, reliably and not depending on discipline trading even being a thing where they live.

        You're excessively focused on the value of unique Disciplines. They're not superior tools just for being unique, just as "common" ones aren't that easy to access just for not being unique.

        Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
        What about Dominate 4, turning people into meat puppets without using the blood bond? What about Dominate 5, Possession. or beyond? What are the implications of having these powers?
        Conditioning another mind to a state of semi-catatonic delusion like the people at Grout's house in Bloodlines or literally being the "hidden mind inside your mind"?

        Every level of Dominate can have a madness twist to it without major effort, more easily than any other Discipline, with the added benefit of going in specific effects instead of clinging to an indistinct notion of "insanity" with no anchor in real disorders. The blood talks to you and robs you of deciding your actions, your senses and memory play tricks, or is it the people around you trying to make you doubt yourself? The master of Dominate access your mind with a mere touch and soon they can twist and distort everything that makes you yourself inside your mind.

        And for your information, the notion that people with mental disorders are chaotic or random is ridiculous. We tend to be extremely organized or obsess with organization, either as a direct effect of that specific disorder, as a coping mechanism, or an adaptation to be able to live with them. The fact that this organization is frequently at odds with normie expectation creates the impression of randomness, but it isn't the case. And yes, there are symptoms related to "disorganized thinking", but they're specific and exist within specific contexts that do not harm the notion of the person seeking organization and control to deal with it.


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        • #34
          I am only quoting source material, or paraphrasing source material. The picture I've depicted of Clan Malkavian, or Nosferatu etc. is only what has been written in the roleplaying books and novels. And the setting has been worked-on with the intent of ensuring consistency and logic, and simultaneously, to be good for creating interesting characters and superior writing. This is why many arguments center around what the Path of Alchemy or something can or can't do; because the setting as per Revised had been refined to the degree that this was the point where different interpretations could arise.

          Now, if one wants to go and suggest that the Nosferatu and Malkavians are some of the strongest clans, or that the Malkavians are one of the most organized and therefore should get Dominate, or some such assertion, then it is critical to note that these are essentially homebrew interpretations. They have very little to do with the setting as written; they can be good or bad changes on their own merits, but they have to be presented as being personal interpretations or innovations.

          Clan Malkavian could be rewritten, consistently and effectively, to be a Dominate clan with great power and strong organization. This will not, however, be the clan of eccentric individuals as presented in the source material so far. For example, you could make something like the Blood Brothers but intelligent, making the Malkavians a Borg-like hive-mind where individuals are bonkers but unpredictably move in lockstep with crushing effect. Making such a change, however, is going to have knock-on effects throughout the setting. New characters would be written based on this concept, and the clan stereotypes with respect to the Malkavians would have to be redefined. The Ventrue or Tremere would react very differently to a strong Malkavian clan with Dominate, as compared to the current hodgepodge of Dementation Malks, and vice versa. The history of Clan Malkavian would also be different and have to be rewritten.

          It may be the case that the game you want to play doesn't have this sort of depth as its main focus, and you don't want to do the tough work of reimagining the Malkavian source material. Maybe you want to disregard all this and just run Dominate Malkavians and keep the setting as is. I mean, you could run Celerity Malkavians with some other justification. It's your game, and you don't need to commit to the bit.

          In this case, however, it is obnoxious to then go and say that a clan or Discipline is badly written or formulated, etc. etc. Some very talented writers and game designers worked very hard to make the clans work just right, and interact with the highest consistency. Look at the high quality of the writing that I just quoted offhand from Clanbook: Malkavian, Revised. Even if one can't write its equivalent, one should at least point to something comparable or better in making value judgments.

          There's a big difference between saying that you don't like something, and saying that it sucks.

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          • #35
            "We are a sprawling, fractured, decayed family".
            "We are fragmented, scattered, slivers of a broken mirror that cast bitter reflections".
            "We are not a faction. We are not a political unit. We are the Family Malkavian. And never... never have we stood as one with any group or individual, living or dead, since his death. Never. Remember that. Your own cousins will strike you down and feast on your vitae should it prove necessary, necessary as they see it. The ties that bind us are inescapable; they do not compel our loyalty nor our fraternal obedience, merely our... intimacy."
            "Perhaps they reasoned that if even isolated, fractured monsters such as ourselves were convinced of the situation's gravity, then there was no other recourse."
            "The only thing that unites the members of this teetering, decrepit family — apart from their demented blood — is the fact that they remain stoically, resolvedly, if ever so barely functional."
            This is poetic prose delivered by a lunatic*, are you really going to take it at face value?


            (*The speaker being a Vampire is really the bigger issue than the speaker being a Malk specifically. Vampires bullshit all the time. The Toreador are just as bad despite supposedly retaining their sanity)
            Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 01-30-2022, 02:47 AM.


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            • #36
              This thread is awesome. I don’t know if my gaming group will ever get back to VtM, but this thread makes me want to play a Dominate Malkavian so bad…

              Anyway, carry on. Interested to see more of this discussion.

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              • #37
                I think Dominate is a crazy powerful discipline, But I think Malkavian's should have Auspex, Potence, and Presence for a spread. I don't see the insane as particularly organized in general, and Presence can spread madness and irrationality better than Dominate as a theme for me, as it is more chaos than order. Plus, all clans should have a physical discipline in the lineup, strength born of madness sort of thing, but that's just me.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                  I am only quoting source material, or paraphrasing source material.
                  Purple prose from a specific in-character presentation, not meant to be a reliable narrator.

                  And it doesn't demonstrate that the Malkavian don't have the control obsession to back up being a Dominate user, it demonstrates that the Malkavian, from the point of view expressed by this character, does not have clan unity or institutional structure as clan.

                  Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                  And the setting has been worked-on with the intent of ensuring consistency and logic, and simultaneously, to be good for creating interesting characters and superior writing.
                  The setting was worked on by many writers with many distinct visions over the years, at different times, contexts, goals. It is excellent, but not always well done, there are many subpar texts and it definitely isn't anything near consistent.

                  You may do a better argument at those if you want specifically to say that its Revised edition, the one that made modern Malkavians have Dementation, be all that. Even that isn't true, but is easier to defend than the idea that a setting, where Dementation only exists to make Sabbat Malkavians scarier and it became common because the DA writers were given free reign with powers in their "corner" of the world, is consistent.

                  And if you insist in saying that this setting is so consistent and carefully thought for superior writing, then you have to admit that this superior writing includes Malkavians being served with Dominate until the very end of the 20th century and Dominate Malkavians still being a relatively common thing to this day.

                  Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                  Clan Malkavian could be rewritten, consistently and effectively, to be a Dominate clan with great power and strong organization. This will not, however, be the clan of eccentric individuals as presented in the source material so far.
                  This is a spurious comparison, another straw man where you equate the position of others to the most extreme opposition possible from your view.

                  We don't disagree (that much) with you on how the Malkavian is. We disagree on what it entails for the archetype of Dominate. You're the one defending that Dominate must entail a kind of organization where the entire clan acts as a whole institution. The Malkavian is characterized by loosing control to others, by obsessing with control of others and/or self, and with the idea of something above the individuals guiding them to some extent. All of those are Malkavian themes, and they all serve just as well as Dominate themes.

                  If you disagree, that is fine, but equating other interpretations time and again to going against the setting isn't an actual argument for your point.

                  Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                  In this case, however, it is obnoxious to then go and say that a clan or Discipline is badly written or formulated, etc. etc.
                  It is obnoxious to have a bad opinion on the perfect work of the writers. No one else is capable of comprehending how mechanics and setting interact and form an opinion based on experience and knowledge of the game? The criticism is unwarranted and unpleasant because to you the only way of not liking this Discipline is to want to homebrew the entire clan as something else entirely?

                  Well, I think Dementation is a bad idea and was a bad idea from day one. It is a gimmicky bag of BS powers based on prejudice and that does little to nothing in the sense of adding the themes it is supposed to add to the Malkavian. It offends me as a player, as a game designer, as an ST, as a professional and as a person with mental disability. If you think this opinion is obnoxious, suit yourself, I think the discipline of Dementation is itself obnoxio

                  Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                  There's a big difference between saying that you don't like something, and saying that it sucks.
                  Yet, what you did again about Dominate Malkavians?


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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                    Purple prose from a specific in-character presentation, not meant to be a reliable narrator.
                    "The only thing that unites the members of this teetering, decrepit family — apart from their demented blood — is the fact that they remain stoically, resolvedly, if ever so barely functional."

                    This is not purple prose from an unreliable narrator. This is the quote preceding the example characters at the beginning of the chapter; it's not a character's voice, it's the voice of the author of Clanbook: Malkavian, Revised. This is/was/has always been the official stance on the Malkavians.

                    I do not understand why people sometimes feel the need to argue about things that they haven't read, or are unfamiliar with. On a thread discussing revisions to the Malkavians, one would expect that those who have strong feelings on the subject have at least read their clanbooks.

                    Rather than quoting posts, it's better to quote books.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                      This is not purple prose from an unreliable narrator. This is the quote preceding the example characters at the beginning of the chapter; it's not a character's voice, it's the voice of the author of Clanbook: Malkavian, Revised. This is/was/has always been the official stance on the Malkavians.

                      I do not understand why people sometimes feel the need to argue about things that they haven't read, or are unfamiliar with. On a thread discussing revisions to the Malkavians, one would expect that those who have strong feelings on the subject have at least read their clanbooks.

                      Rather than quoting posts, it's better to quote books.
                      Yes, Clan Book Malkavian pp 69, I'm aware of that. A piece of fluff to embellish the opening of the sample characters. Really important stuff.

                      Now, same book, pp 12:

                      It has taken nights - nights upon nights - for me to sift through the visions, the scrawls, the shrieking. Years. Decades. More. Thousands of nights to fashion our story into a rigid form. You have one night to listen. You must listen.
                      This is the opening of the book itself, one of the very first statements by the narrator in authorial voice.

                      Writing the books themselves from an in-character perspective by an unreliable narrator is the standard for WoD since always and the clanbooks are specially like that (along with tribe books, breed books, tradition books and so on), Malkavian being no exception. It is like if the person who didn't read the book were you.

                      I'll be here when you decide to stop forging Ad Hominem against me and start to actually address arguments with arguments.


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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                        start to actually address arguments with arguments.
                        As opposed to quotes from the source material? Clan Malkavian can be what you say it is, in your game, but Clan Malkavian as written is not what you say it is, it is what is written.

                        If you have a personal issue with Dementation, you can talk about your personal dislikes and leave it at that. Nobody forces you to play Dementation Malkavians. But you are making false statement after false statement about the source material, creating a false impression for those who perhaps haven't gotten around to reading the books. These quotes pertain to Clan Malkavian being fractious, divided, and disorganized. They are that way, every step of the way, in every book and in every character portrayal. If high-quality writing, as opposed to dry exposition, is invalidated as fluff, then there's many more quotes that can be pulled from the Dark Ages or Victorian Age books, to the same effect.

                        Now, are there quotes from the books that justify the Malkavians being as organized on a regular basis as the Ventrue, Tremere, Giovanni, or Lasombra, i.e. the Dominate clans? The Tremere are stated to be the most organized clan, the Ventrue are stated to be the second-most organized, the Lasombra rule the Sabbat as inhuman tyrants organized around the Amici Noctis and Courts of Blood, and the Giovanni prune their own clan ruthlessly enough that Uncle Augie and the Anziani explicitly rule from Venice, with not a single example of a Giovanni outside the clan's purview as antitribu. Do the Malkavians display this level of organization on a nightly basis, and are they thereby justified in being a Dominate clan? Quotes?

                        Are there quotes that justify the Malkavians being more organized than other clans that do not have Dominate in-clan? The Toreador? Brujah? Tzimisce? Followers of Set? Assamites? Notice that all clans have distant Methuselahs directing their descendants and manipulating their blood etc. etc., literally in the case of the Assamites. Yet they do not have Dominate in-clan. Are the Malkavians more organized and structured than these clans? Quotes?

                        The source material is the source material. Arguments made for the sake of argument are made of air.

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                        • #42
                          It's interesting that you state your vision is supported by the Source Material and yet everybody here who has also read the Source Material doesn't seem to agree with you.
                          IDK about you but if all the clan somehow ends up in the same library for a surprise meeting that's not Fate, that's organization. (I can't remember what book and I'm too lazy to hunt for evidence on something so trivial but this was definetly something that was written down in one of the Source Material).
                          Dominate is for clans that are organized
                          Obfuscate is for clans who hide how organized they are.
                          Auspex is for sharing secrets and instructions.


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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                            As opposed to quotes from the source material?
                            No, as opposed to Ad Hominem and Straw Men. The quotes are fine.


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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                              It's interesting that you state your vision is supported by the Source Material and yet everybody here who has also read the Source Material doesn't seem to agree with you.
                              IDK about you but if all the clan somehow ends up in the same library for a surprise meeting that's not Fate, that's organization. (I can't remember what book and I'm too lazy to hunt for evidence on something so trivial but this was definetly something that was written down in one of the Source Material).
                              Dominate is for clans that are organized
                              Obfuscate is for clans who hide how organized they are.
                              Auspex is for sharing secrets and instructions.
                              I haven't really said anything in this discussion even though I am finding it really interesting and enlightening, but I thought I'd chime in here.

                              The impression I am getting from Sultanabdal's posts is that their experience with VtM is much like my own - strictly Revised/V20 with perhaps a smattering of Revised Dark Ages. I myself have nearly zero knowledge of 1st and 2nd edition, and Sultanabdal's arguments make me think that their experience therefore is similar to mine.

                              I think I am gathering that the Revised edition significantly changed the Malks in an attempt to make them both more scary and more silly at the same time, which is unfortunate IMO. I presume it all had to do with making the Sabbat a playable sect - they felt they had to do something unique with the Malkavian Antitribu of the Sabbat. If my observations about the editions and Sultanabdal's stance on the subject are correct, then perhaps this is where the disconnect is coming from? The difference is that I do not like the Revised take on Malkavians very much, and I think Sultanabdal does. Note I admit I could be off here, all anyone can do is make their best observations and that's what I've attempted to do.

                              With regards to Dominate vs. Dementation and what is most appropriate for the clan, I can see both sides. Depending on the character and exactly what sections of what rule books you read, depending on exactly what you take as "rules" and what you take as "fluff", and depending on your personal take on how you want to roleplay "madness", it could go either way.... More than most clans, the Malkavians are each very unique individuals and seemingly have little in common, but at the same time their apparent disability (and the Antedeluvian "madness network") binds them together in ways that are perhaps only rivaled by the Nosferatu.

                              Personally I don't really care if Dominate as a clan discipline makes sense for the Malks on a "spiritual" level or whatever (though I think it makes at least as much sense as Dementation). The simple fact is that Dominate is an excellent tool to spread madness (and simply one's own will), if that is what the user desires, and Dementation is a less precise, less perfect tool for that effect. Dominate is all about asserting one's own will over the victim's will. If the asserting Will does not adhere to the rules of a "sane" mind, then that would indeed be terrifying, far more than a Ventrue or Tremere using the same Dominate powers.

                              In essence, Dementation as written is unnecessary IMO. It is a random smattering of barely related things that exists entirely under the purview of ST fiat. Dementation doesn't do anything except whatever the ST decides it does at that moment, so using Dementation therefore is like giving some of your character's agency over to the ST. Maybe that fits the theme of madness a little bit, depending on the character's personal derangement (maybe the character really is not fully in control of themself), but if that is the case it does not make for a fun PC. I would have preferred that Dementation simply be replaced by Presence, or if a unique discipline really was warranted, that it be a cross of sorts between Dominate and Presence.
                              Last edited by breggie; 01-31-2022, 11:44 AM.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                                It's interesting that you state your vision is supported by the Source Material and yet everybody here who has also read the Source Material doesn't seem to agree with you.
                                IDK about you but if all the clan somehow ends up in the same library for a surprise meeting that's not Fate, that's organization. (I can't remember what book and I'm too lazy to hunt for evidence on something so trivial but this was definetly something that was written down in one of the Source Material).
                                Dominate is for clans that are organized
                                'Everybody here' is like 5 people. And the number who think that Clan Malkavian is highly organized is like 2 people.

                                Victorian Age: Vampire:
                                "Although too fractious as a clan to present a unified face of strength against other Kindred, individual Malkavians have certainly come into their own across the Empire"
                                "Such bold statements, though, give the Malkavians far more credit than they deserve as a clan. The entirety of the bloodline rarely acts in congress, and the heightened prestige the Malkavians enjoy comes as a result of the ideals of the time only when compared with the achievements of the Malkavian in question."
                                "As ever, the Malkavians of the Victorian era remain fractious and motivated by their own unknowable stimuli."
                                "Fortunately (in the opinions of their detractors), the clan remains too splintered to have any universal "Malkavian effect" that has swayed Camarilla policy one way or the other. While common, Malkavian influence remains a localized, isolated phenomenon."

                                Those are not in-character fluff quotes.

                                Now, the Brujah gathered in Carthage, the Gangrel gathered in their Great Gathers, and the Setites gather in the Gehenna scenarios. It is understood that Antediluvians and their eldest childer are capable of arranging these things.

                                What seems to be the real problem is the lack of comprehension of what the word 'organization' means. An army can gather at one point, and a mob can gather at one point. But the army will be highly organized, and the mob will be highly disorganized. The Ventrue could be gathered at one point and they would be highly organized, but the Malkavians gathered at one point are highly disorganized. The Ventrue don't need to gather at one point to do something, because they are highly organized.

                                I mean, you could read the source material as much as you want. Without reading comprehension skills, that's not very relevant.

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