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  • Homebrew Clan Weaknesses (Improvements?)

    I am generally not a fan of playing around with the Clan Disciplines and weaknesses as presented in the Revised edition and afterwards; the clan concepts are balanced and fit with the lore and function of each bloodline. I do have a problem specifically with the Cappadocian, Tremere, Salubri, and Gangrel weaknesses, and rather than an overhaul, I think just a slight touch makes them fully consistent. One of my key motivations is the idea that clan weaknesses are tough, tenacious curses that cannot be easily subverted or modified within a bloodline. I haven't seen these particular homebrew ideas mentioned anywhere, and would love feedback.

    Cappadocian - same as Giovanni weakness:
    The Cappadocian weakness of deathly pallor just seems like a less debilitating version of the Nosferatu weakness and thus isn't balanced; but it's still very conceptually good. I like to have the excruciating bite be the original weakness of the Clan of Death, and part of what they are. They have a much greater motivation for and likelihood of killing each time they feed because of this flaw, and they have generally the highest bodycount on a regular basis of any clan. As for the Cappadocian pallor, I like it as a permanent side effect of learning the Mortis path, Corpse in the Monster, which makes them take on aspects of actual corpses. This is similar to how Abyss Mysticism tends to permanently mark its practicioners. Giovanni no longer exhibit the Cappadocian appearance because they deliberately abandoned this Mortis path; while it is powerful, the Giovanni have a more modern and less mystical outlook, and would be severely inconvenienced in their dealings with mortals otherwise.

    Tremere - no weakness!
    There have been many attempts to introduce some sort of weakness for the Tremere, including greater susceptibility to blood bonds, and pointing out that they start out partially blood bonded. The whole point of going through immense efforts in the creation of the Tremere - the assistance of Kupala, the expertise of Saulot - was to create and then take over a Clan with no curse-borne weakness. A less sophisticated, solely Mage-involved effort created the Nagaraja, which aggravated the painful kiss flaw of the Clan of Death into actual flesh-eating, and was therefore a failure. I have the Tremere flat-out have no clan weakness, which sets them apart from all the other clans and leads to the atmosphere of jealousy and suspicion that surrounds them. If there is an obvious flaw, it's that they have Thaumaturgy as a clan discipline. While it is awesome of course, Thaumaturgy is unlike the other disciplines in that it cannot be developed and improved instinctively and independently, until the practicioner has centuries of experience. Thus, Tremere have to be obedient and servile to develop this power; any independent Tremere effectively has only two in-clan disciplines rather than three, and is therefore at a severe disadvantage.

    Salubri - Attacker takes damage:
    The Salubri weakness as it stands is just a specific version of the Ventrue clan curse of feeding restrictions. It makes Healers healers, and Warriors warriors, but this is no different than the Ventrue, and is not lore-motivated. I like to have the Salubri take a level of lethal damage, soakable, every time they directly inflict damage on another, up close or from a distance. There is also a lot of pain, regardless of whether this lethal damage was soaked. Thus, an incautious Salubri flailing around could literally beat itself into torpor. First of all, this would be why the Salubri have Fortitude as a clan discipline, as vital for their survival. Second, this is why they cultivate Obeah/Valeren, as debuffs that allow the Salubri to even the playing field, giving the opportunity to escape or to finish the fight quickly. Third, this would account for why Healers are perceived to have the weakness of feeding only on willing vessels: they are obviously reticent to smack around or otherwise physically dominate their Herd. This also accounts for why Warriors have the self-sacrificing, tragic knight concept, and why Humanity/Heaven is preferred for Healers and Chivalry/Kings for Warriors. Salubri are also socially restricted to spiritual development and generally excluded from power by this flaw. This weakness could be interpreted as a curse on Saulot as a big blow to his enormous ambitions, forcing him to take very roundabout, sorcerous and lore-based paths to power.

    Gangrel - Retooling of animal features:
    The Gangrel weakness is obviously excellent, but in Revised and before it was extremely debilitating (permanent animal flaw after EVERY frenzy), and too weak in later editions (temporary animal flaw after every frenzy). I like to first of all have a temporary animal flaw after every frenzy, which fades in 10-(path rating) days. However, every time a Gangrel drops from a given Humanity rating for the first time, the next frenzy will be especially severe and will lead to a permanent animal flaw. If the Gangrel starts out at a low Humanity rating, then it eventually acquires all the cumulative flaws as if it had dropped to that Humanity, starting from 10. Thus, any Gangrel will have at most 10 permanent animal flaws. At higher Humanity, the flaws could be merely cosmetic and concealable, while at low Humanity, much worse flaws like a propensity to drop on all fours or a distorted growling voice can appear.

    Let me know what you think!

  • #2
    I like Capadocians looking like Vampira. I don't care if it's balanced with the Nos weakness. There should just be a clan of vampires who look like Vampira, balance be damned.

    I'm not liking the Gangrel weakness. In my opinion, Gangrel should be tempted to ride the wave, and punished for not doing so by the beast. So how about this? Gangrel must ride the wave when provoked into frenzy. If they attempt to resist frenzy, they gain three temporary animal features. This presents the Gangrel with a dilemma: do I let the beast loose and risk the consequences, or do I fight the beast and definitely face the beast's wrath upon my body and mind?

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    • #3
      Sultanabdal

      Sounds like you really enjoy playing Tremere

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      • #4
        Tremere - Noone likes the Tremere, they are tolerated in the Camarilla due to their monopoly of Thaumaturgy. They are not trusted. Every Tremere has a +1 difficulty on any social interaction with other clans when it comes to trusting them, and positive social effects. +2 for diff for Nosferatu, Gangrel and Assamite, +3 diff for Salubri and Tzimisce.
        This is very similar to the "Clan flaw" of the camarilla Caitiffs

        Tzimisce - Can't enter home uninvited. Trying to enter a home without an invitation requires a Willpower roll at diff 8. Each success allows the character to stay in the home for one turn, after which time the character rolls again. 3+ successes allows the character to stay in the home for the rest of the scene.
        If there was an invitation that is later rescinded, a willpower roll is needed.





        English is not my native language, so i apologize for errors in grammar or spelling.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
          I like Capadocians looking like Vampira. I don't care if it's balanced with the Nos weakness. There should just be a clan of vampires who look like Vampira, balance be damned.
          What I find strange is that when many of the original Vampire artists who did B&W artwork (like Bradstreet or Myers) did color versions of their vampires, they appear so deathly white. It's like all of them are Cappadocians! I imagined many vampires to be paler than normal, but not the blood drained completely away white pallor that show in the V20 corebook and elsewhere. So it's obviously a popular look for some people. Having that be the theme of one clan isn't a bad idea.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

            What I find strange is that when many of the original Vampire artists who did B&W artwork (like Bradstreet or Myers) did color versions of their vampires, they appear so deathly white. It's like all of them are Cappadocians! I imagined many vampires to be paler than normal, but not the blood drained completely away white pallor that show in the V20 corebook and elsewhere. So it's obviously a popular look for some people. Having that be the theme of one clan isn't a bad idea.
            I agree, and I have no problem having that sort of feature be ubiquitous among the old Cappadocians. I just think it fits better as an additional feature, rather than the clan curse itself. Like how Lasombra can have black blood or animate shadows, but that not being the actual clan curse.

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            • #7
              I like how the Gangrel Bane works in V5, you gain a number of animal features (at least 2, depending on Bane Severity) that reduce an attribute that persists for one more night after the frenzy. If you Ride the Wave, you only gain one of your choosing.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post
                I like how the Gangrel Bane works in V5, you gain a number of animal features (at least 2, depending on Bane Severity) that reduce an attribute that persists for one more night after the frenzy. If you Ride the Wave, you only gain one of your choosing.
                It's great if you're a Gangrel player, but I feel it's not debilitating at all. That means the clan curse would be active only if you frenzy, which is actually rarely (even the Road of the Beast doesn't rampage on a daily basis), and then only persists for a few days. You could have essentially no curse at all; having a snout for a day or two (concealable by Obfuscate!!) is hardly a weakness compared to the nasty consequences of the frenzy itself.
                Also, I am not actually a Tremere player in considering them without an actual clan weakness. Tremere have enough problems in RP to more than make up for the absence of such.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                  It's great if you're a Gangrel player, but I feel it's not debilitating at all. That means the clan curse would be active only if you frenzy, which is actually rarely (even the Road of the Beast doesn't rampage on a daily basis), and then only persists for a few days. You could have essentially no curse at all; having a snout for a day or two (concealable by Obfuscate!!) is hardly a weakness compared to the nasty consequences of the frenzy itself.
                  Also, I am not actually a Tremere player in considering them without an actual clan weakness. Tremere have enough problems in RP to more than make up for the absence of such.
                  Should it be debilitating? For example, the Banu Haqim curse, in both V20 and V5, can be easily avoided, the Ventrue one highly depends on the restriction, the pre-V5 Lasombra one is very far from debilitating. They should really not be a crippling weakness, but give an incentive for them to act in a certain way imo.

                  As for the Tremere, leaving the weakness to RP expectations is really bad. It will either get ignored, or force you to give the spotlight to the Tremere player. The pyramid was blown up for a reason in V5.

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                  • #10
                    Let's leave out how I hate V5, and tackle this on its own merits, as per Revised or V20.

                    The Lasombra one is highly debilitating. First of all, it means that Lasombra can never pose as a non-Lasombra, even momentarily, except when dealing with rank neonates who don't know their clan weakness. Even the Nosferatu can conceal their defects if they have high enough Obfuscate. Secondly, it's the sort of weakness that you're apt to forget right up until the moment it betrays you as a vampire. The world is full of reflective surfaces; a subway ride is a Masquerade breach waiting to happen, and you can forget about riding a cab without using Dominate to cover it up. You have no issues right up until mortals get on your trail. Thirdly, and this is what separates them from the Ventrue, it forces them to work by proxy and resort to manipulation or physical domination to influence society. This is not such a problem in the modern day when you can run things with phone calls, but in the past, it meant that a Ventrue could walk right into court and talk to the King, and you couldn't do that. Ultimately, the clan weakness leads to the inhumanity of the Lasombra.

                    The Ventrue one is perhaps the weakness that affects survival the most. Whatever the restriction is, it ought to be a restricted enough type of vessel that you're unlikely to just run into on the street when you take a stroll. Ventrue have to pull together a Herd for survival, and if they're forced away from this Herd, they typically starve. That's why the Ventrue are such a solid political block, why they have in-clan Disciplines that don't burn blood, and why they're so ruthless in clinging to power. A blood-hunted Gangrel or Brujah or such can just go lie low in the countryside for a while; a Ventrue in the same position faces death or indefinite torpor.

                    As you see from the above, it's actually all about the RP restrictions. Also note that the clan curses have a lot to do with what the clan agenda is, and what people are embraced to do. A reclusive scholar who sits in the haven reading books would be essentially unaffected by the Lasombra weakness; but that's not what Lasombra are embraced for. A nice guy embraced to be Gangrel might stay at Humanity 7 or 8 and not frenzy; but Gangrel are embraced typically as muscle and they're expected to rake people with their claws. Clan curses aren't arbitrary, they're ironic punishments.

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                    • #11
                      [[REDACTED DOUBLE POST]]
                      Last edited by SetiteFriend; 01-20-2022, 12:48 AM. Reason: curse you forum bugs111

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                        Let's leave out how I hate V5, and tackle this on its own merits, as per Revised or V20.
                        I guess you are not a true member of this forum unless you say you hate V5 every once in a while.

                        The Lasombra one is highly debilitating. First of all, it means that Lasombra can never pose as a non-Lasombra, even momentarily, except when dealing with rank neonates who don't know their clan weakness. Even the Nosferatu can conceal their defects if they have high enough Obfuscate. Secondly, it's the sort of weakness that you're apt to forget right up until the moment it betrays you as a vampire. The world is full of reflective surfaces; a subway ride is a Masquerade breach waiting to happen, and you can forget about riding a cab without using Dominate to cover it up. You have no issues right up until mortals get on your trail. Thirdly, and this is what separates them from the Ventrue, it forces them to work by proxy and resort to manipulation or physical domination to influence society. This is not such a problem in the modern day when you can run things with phone calls, but in the past, it meant that a Ventrue could walk right into court and talk to the King, and you couldn't do that. Ultimately, the clan weakness leads to the inhumanity of the Lasombra.
                        Not like posing as a another Clan is a terribly frequent or needed activity. Plus a video recording or a picture of a Nosferatu will end the illusion almost as easily, not to mention that Auspex is a common discipline. As for the rest, people generally don't check other's reflections in public transport to see if they are there, dominating a cab-driver should be trivial and these are avoided by getting a couple levels in Obfuscate, for the first one, or simply being rich, for both.

                        Also, not like mirrors were particularly common in the middle ages? If anything it is more of a problem now that they are common place. Not to mention that the biggest hurdle to advising a king is that you are only available at night. Not debilitating at all.

                        The Ventrue one is perhaps the weakness that affects survival the most. Whatever the restriction is, it ought to be a restricted enough type of vessel that you're unlikely to just run into on the street when you take a stroll. Ventrue have to pull together a Herd for survival, and if they're forced away from this Herd, they typically starve. That's why the Ventrue are such a solid political block, why they have in-clan Disciplines that don't burn blood, and why they're so ruthless in clinging to power. A blood-hunted Gangrel or Brujah or such can just go lie low in the countryside for a while; a Ventrue in the same position faces death or indefinite torpor.
                        If you want to make the Ventrue restriction harder go for it, but RAW it can be "very broad". A restriction on "young men", "scared people", or "drug users" are all valid restriction and won't be any hard to meet, either by finding one, or making them one. Plus you can change it with some effort. Not debilitating at all.

                        As you see from the above, it's actually all about the RP restrictions. Also note that the clan curses have a lot to do with what the clan agenda is, and what people are embraced to do. A reclusive scholar who sits in the haven reading books would be essentially unaffected by the Lasombra weakness; but that's not what Lasombra are embraced for. A nice guy embraced to be Gangrel might stay at Humanity 7 or 8 and not frenzy; but Gangrel are embraced typically as muscle and they're expected to rake people with their claws. Clan curses aren't arbitrary, they're ironic punishments.
                        Isn't being reclusive what the Lasombra are made for? "...it forces them to work by proxy and resort to manipulation..." is not that far from reclusive scholar. As for the Gangrel, now you have a curse that pushes them to be extra moral, sure it is not what they are embraced for but it is what it pushes them to. So one clan with an almost trivial curse, and another one that pushes them to be the opposite of what they are embraced for is "RP restrictions".

                        This doesn't address that the Tremere weakness being "requires extra ST attention" isn't good design, or how it is in anyway not arbitrary compared to "slowly become an inhuman monster" or "be embraced and become one." Or the Assamite flaw, which is again trivial unless you really need to feed on other vampires, in case of the Tremere Curse one.

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                        • #13
                          I have some opinions on this.

                          Weakness primarily serve to bring clans together as a family. It's in the best interest of the Ventrue to look after eachother because they're so dependent on resources but also they're rarely competing for the same herd so there;s less conflicts of interests. It's in the best interest. Even though the Brujah hate eachother they need to unionize so others don't target them for their frequent frenzies. Malkavians have a lot of sympathy for one another and madness binds together one of the most disparate clans.. and so on and so forth.
                          The clan curses aren't just curses. They're there for a purpose, so no vampire is going to be utterly screwed by their curse. The Beast wants to ride an efficient predator, not a wreck. That goes especially for the Gangrel.

                          The Capadocian weakness is pretty OK, Nosferatu and Samedi get innate Ugly because they've got innate obfuscate, Capadocians don't so they need to invest more. That's... yeah, that's kinda weak. However, I'd like to emphasize that Capadocians have a harder time un-corpsifying themselves. A Nosferatu can become a beautiful, captivating seducer if they're willing to spend the blood. A Nosferatu Cassanova is possible. A Cap Cassanova isn't. A Capadocian will always be cold and clammy regardless of how good they are at obfuscate. I just rule that they can't use the blush of life, no matter what. (I just thought maybe they shouldn't be able to get errections without spells, but then I remembered the Giovanni started as Capadocians and... well... such degeneracy shouldn't have such barriers)


                          I dislike permanent Gangrel Flaws. On the other hand i think Temproary Gangrel flaws don't last long enough. Gangrel flaws should last for weeks, months, years, decades; more debilitating mutations should last a shorter amount of time. Gangrel that forsake acting human are going to have nastier and longer lasting mutations, but they're also going to have a lot of beneficial mutations.

                          Healer Salubri are a joke and I don't care for them. Warriors are great and I love them and they should be 100% of the clan and 10% of the Sabbat. Healers should remain a myth.

                          Of course the Tremere don't have a flaw. Who do you think they are?
                          What I will say is that the current -easier to blood bond- flaw really does excel at bringing the clan together. It would be really stupid if someone made it so that they couldn't blood bond... oh, wait...
                          Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 01-20-2022, 03:16 AM.


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                          • #14
                            SetiteFriend The Ventrue flaw isn't going to be 'young men' or 'scared people'; that's a storyteller that's letting you get away with murder. That's like having a Nosferatu that's not deformed in any way, but colored dark green or something (technically Appearance 0, right?). Examples in the Vampire writings for the Ventrue restrictions are 'rape victims', 'enemies that you've taken captive in battle', 'priests', 'pagans', 'highly intelligent men (Int 4 or 5)', or 'young girls who are in love'. If your feeding restriction is something you can find easily, the ST is supposed to say you're cheating, come up with something better.

                            Maybe if you want, you can play a weak-blooded Ventrue, 13th gen or something or more, that has the clan curse but in a watered-down sort of way. That's the only way what you suggested is going to happen.

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                            • #15
                              SetiteFriend "people generally don't check other's reflections in public transport to see if they are there" - speak for yourself ...
                              Eventually, you're going to run across somebody capable and perceptive; you have centuries ahead of you and it only takes a few missteps like this. Sabbat Lasombra think the way you do, and they revel in terror and the breaking of the Masquerade. Guess what, they get hunted the most.

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