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[V5 - Official Ruling Request] - Selecting Powers - Can discipline levels essentially be skipped if leveling several levels in one go?

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  • [V5 - Official Ruling Request] - Selecting Powers - Can discipline levels essentially be skipped if leveling several levels in one go?

    Hello everyone.

    I'm curious if it's possible to get a definitive ruling on a matter, which I personally find to pretty clear and well defined in the core rulebook. Though it seems there are some who believe that it can be correctly understood differently, because the rules lack an example defining that specific "issue", where I on the other hand think such an example is completely unnecessary because the rules are worded in such a way that it isn't needed.

    It's basically with regards to selecting powers, as I understand it, whenever a dot is gained a power is selected for the level or one from one of levels below it.
    Some believe it can be understood this way, that whenever several discipline levels is acquired in one go, they can be spent on higher levels than where they were acquired
    ..mechanically speaking, that one can leave a discipline level blank and keep the level point(s) for higher levels, though it has to be spent immediately after leveling.

    To give an example of this:
    One levels Obfuscate from level 2 to 5 in one go, gaining 3 dots to spend freely;
    gaining a dot a level 3, level 4 and level 5, below is how it was decided to place the dots.

    Obfuscate:
    Level 1: Cloak of Shadows
    Level 2: Unseen Passage
    Level 3: Mask of a Thousand Faces
    Level 4: Empty
    Level 5: Cloak of the Gathering
    Level 5: Imposter's Disuise

    I don't believe this is correct, it's either outright wrong or the very least a house-rule if anything.

    The way I understand the rules, whenever one is leveling up something, it's done sequentially, even if one is doing it one go for practical reasons, it would still be handled sequentially.

    An official ruling for this would be great or one such already exists, please do share the link to the official ruling on it.
    Also feel free to share your thoughts on the matter.

    Thank you,

    // Inc.
    Last edited by Incarnate; 01-22-2022, 09:20 PM.

  • #2
    "Every time a character gains a dot in a Discipline they choose one power from among the listed, either from their new Discipline level or below." Page 244

    You can't leave a slot empty, when you purchase the new level, you immediately pick a power. Likewise you buy each level individually, even if you are purchasing at the same moment.

    The intention is very much that you don't have higher level powers in lower slots.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post
      "Every time a character gains a dot in a Discipline they choose one power from among the listed, either from their new Discipline level or below." Page 244

      You can't leave a slot empty, when you purchase the new level, you immediately pick a power. Likewise you buy each level individually, even if you are purchasing at the same moment.

      The intention is very much that you don't have higher level powers in lower slots.
      Exactly, that's also what I'm saying, but that's what I need an official ruling on, because apparently some think because there isn't actual example in core rulebook that deals with when you level up a discipline several levels in one go, then you can do as I described in the OP. I think the rules are quite clear on this matter, which also why I think there isn't an actual example with regards to this, because quite frankly it's unnecessary with how it's worded. I've tried explaining that when you level something up, it's done sequentially, even if one is leveling that something up several levels in one go for practical reasons, it's still handled sequentially.

      // Inc.
      Last edited by Incarnate; 01-22-2022, 10:41 PM.

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      • #4
        You are quite right. You can only buy a power from a lower or equal level, not a higher level.

        Furthermore, you buy the dots sequentially, even if you're spending loads of XP at once. So you buy the third dot first, and pick the relevant power, before buying the fourth dot--even if there are only seconds between each purchase.

        You quoted the relevant text on p.244:

        "either from their new Discipline level or below"

        That's as clear as it gets. Disciplines aren't like Loresheets where you can buy whichever levels you want, skipping what's in between.

        But let's say this person does want to skip right to the fifth dot by spending a big chunk of XP at once and let's humour them by saying you can spend your 84XP in this way.

        The rule still says you only get a single power at your new level *or* lower, so if you went from two dots to five, you would only get one power and miss out on the other two. Because you get a choice of one power at your new level or lower, not both.

        If the intent was that you buy multiple dots simultaneously, it would say that you can buy a power for *each* new level or below, or for the new level and *each level below*. But it doesn't say that.

        So the logical outcome, if they were right, is that they'd pay for three dots but only get one power. That's clearly not the intent of the rules, and so that reinforces the idea that you have to buy each dot consecutively not concurrently.


        Writer, publisher, performer
        Mostly he/his, sometimes she/her IRL https://adam-lowe.com

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        • #5
          Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
          You are quite right. You can only buy a power from a lower or equal level, not a higher level.

          Furthermore, you buy the dots sequentially, even if you're spending loads of XP at once. So you buy the third dot first, and pick the relevant power, before buying the fourth dot--even if there are only seconds between each purchase.

          You quoted the relevant text on p.244:

          "either from their new Discipline level or below"

          That's as clear as it gets. Disciplines aren't like Loresheets where you can buy whichever levels you want, skipping what's in between.

          But let's say this person does want to skip right to the fifth dot by spending a big chunk of XP at once and let's humour them by saying you can spend your 84XP in this way.

          The rule still says you only get a single power at your new level *or* lower, so if you went from two dots to five, you would only get one power and miss out on the other two. Because you get a choice of one power at your new level or lower, not both.

          If the intent was that you buy multiple dots simultaneously, it would say that you can buy a power for *each* new level or below, or for the new level and *each level below*. But it doesn't say that.

          So the logical outcome, if they were right, is that they'd pay for three dots but only get one power. That's clearly not the intent of the rules, and so that reinforces the idea that you have to buy each dot consecutively not concurrently.
          I completely agree, but for some reason, they think they rules are open to interpretation and are basically using the argument that it isn't stated either that you can't do it that way. Basically with what they're saying, they can essentially spend the dots on whatever level they want, as long as the levels were bought at the same time.

          Personally, I find it's rules interpretation shenanigans, if you can apply "the book doesn't state it either that you can't do it" then you can basically change the rules as you see fit, through interpreting it in ways that support what you want to be able to.

          What would help here, is if there is a rule on how leveling works, a description about how leveling up is done sequentially - is there such a rule in the game?
          Last edited by Incarnate; 01-23-2022, 10:11 AM.

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          • #6
            Did V5 drop the -you probably shouldn't get more than a single dot of something per story- ruling?

            Disciplines especially. They're something you get over years of accumulation.


            Oh yeah, the Diablerie rules...
            You should probably be getting the same powers the victim had whilst taking into accounts the limits of each level (IE if you eat someone with Potence 5 you're not going to put his 5th level power as your 4th dot)


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Incarnate View Post
              What would help here, is if there is a rule on how leveling works, a description about how leveling up is done sequentially - is there such a rule in the game?
              This would probably be the closest: "You cannot skip ahead and buy four dots of Composure (••••) for 20 points if you currently only have two dots of Composure (••). You need to first buy the third dot of Composure (•••) for 15 experience points, then buy four dots of Composure (••••) for 20." Page 151

              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
              Did V5 drop the -you probably shouldn't get more than a single dot of something per story- ruling?

              Disciplines especially. They're something you get over years of accumulation.
              Yes, as the rate you gain XP already limits it, unless one has been saving XP or you have been giving out more XP than standard.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post

                This would probably be the closest: "You cannot skip ahead and buy four dots of Composure (••••) for 20 points if you currently only have two dots of Composure (••). You need to first buy the third dot of Composure (•••) for 15 experience points, then buy four dots of Composure (••••) for 20." Page 151

                Yes, as the rate you gain XP already limits it, unless one has been saving XP or you have been giving out more XP than standard.
                Thank you, that actually states you cannot skip ahead with regards to leveling traits, and that you have to level them sequentially.
                Still, an official ruling could still be useful, as I'm sure the above may not be enough for some.

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                • #9
                  If you’re the storyteller then you can just say no. Your interpretation of the rules is the only one that matters in the end. A good ST considers a player’s ideas, but in the end all xp expenditures must be approved by the ST and if it were me I would (probably) never allow a player to level the same power or ability by more than one dot at a time which would make the whole argument moot.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by breggie View Post
                    If you’re the storyteller then you can just say no. Your interpretation of the rules is the only one that matters in the end. A good ST considers a player’s ideas, but in the end all xp expenditures must be approved by the ST and if it were me I would (probably) never allow a player to level the same power or ability by more than one dot at a time which would make the whole argument moot.
                    I'm unfortunately not the ST in this case, it's the ST who's been told by one of his players from another group, that the rules can be interpreted this way - which I just was told.
                    To me this I quite obvious what this player is pushing some rule interpretation shenanigans.
                    I've even pointed to pg. 151 and 244 in the core rulebook which specifically state how it's supposed to be handled - the ST believes that rules can be interpreted it differently, I don't know how, because the rules as I read them are quite clear and definitive on the matter.

                    Apparently, here is how they believe it can be done:
                    So this how my player says he sees it working
                    At level 3 you can decide if you want to get two level 5 powers
                    In order to do you must stay at level 3 then save xp to go from 3-5
                    (in clan discipline that's a total of 45xp)
                    Then pay any the cost of level 4-5
                    (an additional 25xp)
                    So for a total of 70xp in one spending that's how he says it can be done
                    That I just quoted, correct me if I'm wrong, but that is homebrew!
                    First off, it's not possible to get two level 5 powers, no matter how you want to try, you'd be stopped by having level the disciplines sequentially.
                    Also, the rules state that you have to select a power whenever a dot is gained, so you cannot carry over a dot to a higher level.
                    ..and yet we see the above attempt at circumventing the rules.

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                    • #11
                      That is certainly homebrew, and even if the text isn't 100% clear, the intention behind it is.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post
                        That is certainly homebrew, and even if the text isn't 100% clear, the intention behind it is.
                        With regards to intention, this is what the ST is basically saying:
                        How can you know what the intention is? Only the developer knows the intention.
                        With regards to being a 100% clear on on the matter:
                        I personally find the text to be quite definitive and clear on the matter.
                        Where would you say it isn't 100%? With regards to leveling traits (in this case disciplines) and selecting powers.
                        It specifically states, that you select a power whenever a dot is gained, and you gain a dot when you level a trait, so obviously you would have to select a power when you level a discipline.
                        When you level a trait you have to do it sequentially, it even states you cannot skip a level, so how exactly is that not a 100% clear and definitive on the matter? This combined with that above,
                        means it you cannot skip a level, nor can you carry over the selection of a power to a later level, because you have to level the discipline sequentially and you have to select it when the dot is gained.

                        I completely agree, it's 100% homebrew.


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The thing is, people don't usually write rules based around players trying to game the system.

                          That said, the wording on XP costs makes it clear one dot is bought before the next. On p.151, it states that you can't skip dots and must buy one at a time. This is the rules as written.

                          The RAI is pretty clear, too, even if we are only making an educated guess: 'You need to *first* buy the third dot...*then* buy four dots' obviously means this is supposed to be a sequence ('first' this, 'then' this).

                          The example given is of wanting to go from two dots to four, so is directly relevant here. Neither is it an exception for Composure alone, as it's right below the XP table and so applies to all XP expenditure.

                          We may not have Word of God here, but we have to assume good faith, and therefore that the writers know what words mean and what the placement of those words in a particular order means. This is their job.

                          If it weren't a sequence, then the writers could have chosen to say something like, 'If you want to go from two dots to four, you need to buy the third dot and the fourth dot at the same time'. They didn't, though.

                          The text on acquiring Disciplines (p.244) backs this up. It refers to 'Every time a character gains a dot...they choose one power.' Note that it's 'gains a dot' not 'gains dots' and 'chooses one power' not 'chooses powers'.

                          The example given for Fortitude immediately below this is even clearer: the example PC has gained two dots at the same time (at chargen), but she still *chooses the levels separately and sequentially for each dot*. So she can pick any level one power for her first dot, and any level one or two power for her second dot. She can't choose two level two dots, or it would say that.

                          ETA: Also, your ST sounds...'not fun' (which is me being polite).
                          Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 01-24-2022, 01:59 PM.


                          Writer, publisher, performer
                          Mostly he/his, sometimes she/her IRL https://adam-lowe.com

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Incarnate View Post

                            With regards to intention, this is what the ST is basically saying:
                            I must agree that a ST who can't grasp the intention behind a rule sounds "not fun", to say the least. Especially since this just encourages hoarding XP, in order to get the most value out of a discipline.

                            Multiple Level 5 powers should be reserved for incredibly powerful Kindred (the ones you generally aren't playing) like Methuselahs and the like.

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                            • #15
                              Incarnate

                              Just to point out something not directly related to the rules here: Onyx Path don't set the official rules for V5, they do licensed V5 supplements for Paradox/Renegade to increase the material for the line while the main developers focus on core material. If you want a real official ruling, you're going to have to find the V5 development team online (probably through Paradox's forums or Discord, but I haven't kept up on where they're active).

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