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  • MyWifeIsScary
    started a topic Dementation?

    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.

  • Bluecho
    replied
    Malkavians definitely walk a tightrope in Kindred society.

    They need (or have determined to) act more deranged than they actually are, for the purposes of seeming less like a threat (and to get away with saying what no other Kindred would dare).

    But they also need to appear put-together enough to 1) not come off as so weak they can be taken advantage of or eliminated entirely, 2) not come off as a liability to the Camarilla, and 3) not piss other Kindred off to the point they kill them.

    Part of what makes Fishmalks abhorred at gaming groups is that those players fail to understand this fine line between interestingly mad and obnoxious. The kind of behavior that would, in-universe, lead to Elders just dusting a Malkavian are, funnily enough, the kind of thing other players wouldn't enjoy spending all their time with at the table.

    Functional Malkavians in Kindred society make themselves both non-threatening and useful, which in return grants them broad tolerance in social contexts. A Malkavian that is too advantageous to be rid of can get away with a lot of things. Even if the only "service" they provide is being entertaining in a clownish way. Within reason, obviously. Even a medieval court jester knows when to jape and when to fade from attention.

    (If Dementation's ability to divine information was more reliable, it would greatly contribute to their usefulness. Granted, reliable prognostication kind of undermines the idea of a seer. But it would be helpful, from a gameplay perspective at least. In practice, half of Clan Malkavian's reputation as Oracles are likely a mixture of educated guesses and off-screen detective work - which their other Disciplines make them highly capable of - that the Malk can then pass off as legitimate predictions. Which is a very Malkavian thing to do.)

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
    There's some social expectations that elders will laugh Malkavian antics off, at least to some extent. That said, it probably isn't uncommon for Malkavians who foolishly take that generosity too far end up paying the price, and I would expect Fishmalks to be the most likely to end up pissing someone off too much.
    This person could even be another Malk, but that's the gist of it.

    Again Voerman in Bloodlines is a good example to work with. As a Malkavian she gets a pass on "being two people" despite that being an open secret. She can fully enjoy being a member to two sects and get away with two sets of Domain, Herd and stuff. This would be too far for any other clan, but for her is par of the course. As much as her actual derangement limits how much she can capitalize on it, it is still of considerable benefit to be able to navigate a sect without anyone demanding she go live apart from from her "sister".

    Yet you don't really expect any of the two personalities to just show up in Elysium throwing random tantrums or acting stupid, quite the contrary. She's expected to be consistent in her own madness and each personality faces the usual expectations of the respective sect. She must be a useful member, even more if she wants to keep her positions.If she suddenly started to change personalities in the fly in sect meetings and pretend this is nothing, she would quickly fall from grace and maybe face harsher consequences.

    She's crazy, not idiot. Grouch eventually grew crazy enough to act like an idiot, and he payed the price.

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  • AnubisXy
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Personally, I don't think Fishmalks get a pass on behavior.

    If you act up in Elysium, you get staked and tossed out. Hopefully some friends will rescue you before sunrise.
    I've always seen Malkavians as the sort of "jesters" of Vampire society. They can say or do things in Elysuim that would get a member of another clan kicked out or staked. And a Prince who takes the (perhaps too insightful) ravings of a Malkavian too seriously is going to be viewed as a bit boorish. There's some social expectations that elders will laugh Malkavian antics off, at least to some extent. That said, it probably isn't uncommon for Malkavians who foolishly take that generosity too far end up paying the price, and I would expect Fishmalks to be the most likely to end up pissing someone off too much.

    On Dementation vs Dominate, I think the concept of Dementation is kind of cool, but honestly the powers kind of suck in general.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post
    Presence has been brought up a couple of times, and I think it is a poor fit for replacing Dominate, as the latter strikes at the core of someone's mind far for intensely than Presence.

    Sure, Presence can inspire emotions to the border of irrationality, but Dominate will make them do things irrational to them.

    Plus, Presence doesn't really fit the Malkavian as they are. This discipline means that these Clans desire to be the center of attention, to rally crowds of Kine and lesser Kindred to their service, etc..
    Agreed. While the effect of manipulating emotions and the idea of "spread" as most Presence powers affect an area, in the end the focus on making the vampire themselves the center of attention and working on raw emotion makes for a poor substitute for Dominate as the Malkavian in-clan. Although some Malks could very well pick it out-clan anyway for those effects, if it fits their particular style.

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  • SetiteFriend
    replied
    Presence has been brought up a couple of times, and I think it is a poor fit for replacing Dominate, as the latter strikes at the core of someone's mind far for intensely than Presence.

    Sure, Presence can inspire emotions to the border of irrationality, but Dominate will make them do things irrational to them.

    Plus, Presence doesn't really fit the Malkavian as they are. This discipline means that these Clans desire to be the center of attention, to rally crowds of Kine and lesser Kindred to their service, etc..

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  • InspectorG
    replied
    I don't think Dementation aged well.

    Malkavians have Dominate not to control others per se, but to turn people against themselves.

    Presence could also replace Dementation, imo. It can be very disruptive.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Personally, I don't think Fishmalks get a pass on behavior.

    If you act up in Elysium, you get staked and tossed out. Hopefully some friends will rescue you before sunrise.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    they go right back to the script as if they didn't just hear the more insane thing in their lives.
    You meant "inane", didn't you?

    One thing is that sheer randomness isn't actually insanity in the end, especially when your actual actions are pretty normal, and the PC's actions in Bloodlines are at least as normal as with any other clan. It may be fun to play, but the PC in the end is just being a buffoon, not an actual madman.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    Somewhere, it was stated that the Malkavians who are hopelessly mad are killed by the clan, often before being presented.


    (also from experience players who gravitate towards fishmalks aren't funny people)
    Typically, players who Fishmalk are motivated by the same impulse that makes many Chaotic Neutral PCs infamous in D&D: the need to be disruptive.

    They're so in love with the idea of having the freedom to act out and indulge every impulse, because "that's how the character would act", they end up behaving in ways that are neither particularly funny nor enjoyable for the GM or other players. You can only "lol random" your way through a game for so long, before it just becomes annoying. Not to mention causes problems for everyone else.

    Actual comedy, it turns out, requires real effort and intentionality.


    "but I liked the guy in Bloodlines" only works because bloodlines was "serious business" in the same way as Boris Johnson's christmas "business meeting" was serious, and the fact that you do little-to-no actual politicking and instead depopulate chinatown
    To expand on the subject of Bloodlines, the player can get away with Fishmalk behavior because 1) it's a single player game, and 2) the game's plot and progression does not meaningfully change if the PC is a gibberish-spouting loon.

    In the case of the former, since it's single player, the only beneficiary of Fishmalk behavior is the player doing it. They aren't ruining anyone else's fun. And the game - scripted as it is with a Malkavian in mind - is endlessly willing to indulge them in a way few human Storytellers would. As stated previously, the experience of having an active Fishmalk in the game is far different when it's a group game. Where the social contract is at play, and the player's behavior has an impact on everyone else.

    In the case of the latter, while Bloodlines goes some way to differentiating the Malkavian run from other runs, it doesn't really change the story. You still talk to all the same NPCs, get sent on all the same quests, and make your way through the game world through roughly the same path. You can solve problems in different ways and have different dialogue, but in the broad strokes the game doesn't look that different from that of other clans. (Hell, the Nosferatu playthrough has more meaningful differences, due to the PC's appearance).

    This becomes relevant to the Fishmalk because, if the game were being more realistic, the Malkavian PC wouldn't have been able to get very far talking to people, via the dialogue options presented to us. NPCs wouldn't want to talk to us. They occasionally get confused or frustrated by the Malk PC, but when their extra "Malk-Run Dialogue" is finished, they go right back to the script as if they didn't just hear the more insane thing in their lives. Because there was only so much development time and resources, and the game needed to be shipped. (Hell, the game barely shipped at all, because the developers were going bankrupt. That the Malk playthrough was as intricate and developed as it was is nothing short of a miracle).

    If you tried that overly flowery crap in a group game, it wouldn't go down nearly as well. Something that fans of Bloodlines and the Fishmalk specifically tend to overlook.
    Last edited by Bluecho; 02-04-2022, 02:18 AM.

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  • MyWifeIsScary
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post


    Something to that effect, although I would say that they should be "killed" with proper conversation or never being allowed in the table. By the time the fishmalk did enough to be killed the damage to the game is already done. If you want to let them in the first place, then just accept you'll do a comedy game and run with it, there's nothing wrong with it and you'll enjoy it more.
    Somewhere, it was stated that the Malkavians who are hopelessly mad are killed by the clan, often before being presented.


    (also from experience players who gravitate towards fishmalks aren't funny people)

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post

    Not in general, but if the argument is about what is written in a particular book about a particular clan, then quoting the book is the only way to settle that argument.

    There are VtM rules, there is the 'Golden Rule', and there are forum rules, but there's an even more important rule, which is to not lie, and to not defend liars. At this point in the thread, everybody can see that some posters misrepresented the source material in a provable way, and that when this proof was offered, the moderator came in to punish this behavior. Essentially, the moderator is enforcing an outright, indefensible lie about what was written about a particular clan - not a disagreement about interpretation or playstyle or versions of the game, but counterfactual statements about words and sentences that were set to page and published.

    Drop the pretense that this is a 'forum' with 'rules' and 'discussion'. If you're free to lie about what is written in VtM books on a VtM forum, and if pointing out this lie gets you the 'talk to the hand' treatment, then enjoy your 'forum' where every thread is started by one of three people. No wonder why things ended up that way.
    You are now banned for a week.

    I don't even know what I said that could have been misconstrued about leaving this thread. You even continued what I told you that you were being told to leave before.

    Also, I'm not sure what you think attacking the moderator about "unfairness" will get you.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-02-2022, 12:18 AM.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
    That can be cnosidered a fairly contentious/problematic assertion, in account of the fact we are first presented to Dementation in the Player's Guide to the Sabbat, along with Obtenebration, Vicissitude, Paths of Enlightnement and pretty much everything that might be considered to be geared towards taking the Sabbat away from the "for NPC Only domain".
    A fair point, but talking about the mechanics in PGttS is complex. It has many balance issues and a general focus on making the new content more impacting than necessarily sound.

    One way or another, it was created for the Sabbat and with a very specific play style in mind, in the end making it essentially a Discipline for conjuring scary ST fiat.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    The overwhelming majority of fishmalks live because the ST is too soft to kill them for their stupidity.
    Something to that effect, although I would say that they should be "killed" with proper conversation or never being allowed in the table. By the time the fishmalk did enough to be killed the damage to the game is already done. If you want to let them in the first place, then just accept you'll do a comedy game and run with it, there's nothing wrong with it and you'll enjoy it more.

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  • MyWifeIsScary
    replied
    The overwhelming majority of fishmalks live because the ST is too soft to kill them for their stupidity. "but I liked the guy in Bloodlines" only works because bloodlines was "serious business" in the same way as Boris Johnson's christmas "business meeting" was serious, and the fact that you do little-to-no actual politicking and instead depopulate chinatown. If you're going to be realistic, the overwhelming majority of Malkavians aren't fishmalks, and the overwhelming majority of derangements players pick aren't "you speak in riddles and see in pyrovision".

    (also malks are recomended and usually follow "Mental primary, Social secondary, Physicals are for losers..." starts. From that alone, their cooperation is probably pretty good. Manipulation is a strong stat for them, one that's dependent on a willingness to play along with expectations and customs)

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  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Other two things happened in parallel, though, one being the history of Dementation. It is actually a fairly old Discipline, created as the signature power of the Sabbat Malkavian. Indeed, that's why so much of it happens through ST fiat, because in its inception it was not devised for PCs. You could let them learn, sure, but preferably it was wielded by NPCs anyway, so it works fine for its purpose, that is making Sabbat Malkavians more scary as a direct threat, the idea that fighting those madmen means risking your own sanity.
    That can be considered a fairly contentious/problematic assertion, in account of the fact we are first presented to Dementation in the Player's Guide to the Sabbat, along with Obtenebration, Vicissitude, Paths of Enlightnement and pretty much everything that might be considered to be geared towards taking the Sabbat away from the "for NPC Only domain".


    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Dark Ages came after a time, and one of the staples of the setting from the beginning was to change mechanics and Disciplines around as a way to raise the sensation that things were very different back them. Outside mere lore, DA is basically another setting, with other themes and other mood, so the authors thought Dementation replacing Dominate for Malks would be a nice touch to it. That kinda make the setup for the Prank, but there's no indication that they planned it coming back in modern nights, as many other DA things never did.
    Indeed, so much so that at some point i decided to ignore the conceit of the DA series as "the medieval past of VtM" and treat it as "an astral mindscape and parallel world all its own, spawned from the supernatural madness-fueled collective unconsciousness that is the Cobweb", that is not an exclusively Malkavian thing (though still dominated by them) in my homebrew continuity.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 02-02-2022, 12:33 AM.

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