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Why is the revised and pre revised path of biothaumathurgy so different?

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  • Why is the revised and pre revised path of biothaumathurgy so different?

    I was going through the wiki and just looking at all the different blood sorcery paths for like the 20th time because I was pretty bored, and was reading about the path of biothaumathurgy. The pre revised version gave you the ability to really manipulate the physiology of different creatures, while the revised version beyond the second dot was necromancy plain and simple, with a few tweaks here and there.

    Pre revised bio thaumathurgy can be found in dirty secrets of the black hand

    While revised thaumathurgy can be found in Blood magic secrets of thaumaturgy, as stated by the wiki

    I read the black hand one but I don't remember reading the second one.

    *Edit - I remember now that I read a bit of the second one.

    Link for wiki> https://whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/Thaumaturgy_(VTM)
    * Copy and paste it into a new tab, since it seems some weird technical shenanigans are occurring.

    Why was there such a change? Wouldn't the revised version of this path have been better if it was a sperate path and named path of reanimation? It could have been a very interesting necromancy path.
    Last edited by Hello; 03-06-2022, 01:17 AM.

  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by Elphilm View Post
    Moreover, the Biothaumaturgic Experimentation detailed in Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand is not available to Tremere, since it's a True Black Hand exclusive path, and Tremere are not welcome in the sect.
    One thing that has bothered me about some games is this general idea that every Path of Thaumaturgy is known, or potentially known, by any vampire who happens to have Thaumaturgy/Blood Sorcery as a Discipline. This was an error compounded in Revised by them putting the various Paths together in one supplement and often including language how one group's secrets somehow became that of another group (typically Tremere).

    In the chronicles I ST, I try very hard to keep certain Paths exclusive. A few Paths happen to be "popularly" known in the sense that they are very old Paths that pre-date the Sects. They tend to be those that mimic iconic powers that vampires seem to have anyway in movies, books, etc. despite them being "magic". Those would include Lure of Flames, Movement of Mind, and Weather Control. However, most other Paths are exclusive to the Tremere, or exclusive to Tremere anti-tribu, or Tzimisce Kolduns, the Sabbat in general, the True Black Hand, Setites, etc. And even within those organizations, not all Paths exclusive to them are open to all members of that group. Some Paths may not only belong to just the Tremere, but perhaps only the Tremere of this particular chantry where it was invented, or political allies of this Pontifex, etc. You need to engage in politics and negotiate with NPCs in the setting to learn them.

    That's not to everyone's tastes, but I find it helpful to both tamp down on over-exuberant players as well as an ST tool to encourage roleplay and exploration of the setting.

    Originally posted by Elphilm View Post
    In addition, Biothaumaturgic Experimentation was written by the same writer who put Vicissitude in the game in the first place, Steven C. Brown. It seems obvious to me that Brown included the path in the book as a replacement for Vicissitude, since the Black Hand in general is completely against Vicissitude in all its forms. Biothaumaturgic Experimentation is meant to be a similar set of powers but without the Souleater taint of Vicissitude.
    I always took Biothaumaturgy to be the Dr Frankenstein path. And while some aspects between it and Vicissitude are similar (you can transform other creatures by it), I think their inspirations are actually separate. And I think the two descriptions (DSoTBH and BM:SoT) are just two different takes on it. The first concentrates on changing existing life into some sort of monster, while the second "animates" a construction of body parts much like the Universal movie (though not the book). The end goal is the same - you create some version of the Frankenstein Monster. I don't think there's much differences between the two in concept even if the execution is slightly different.

    Why the change? Maybe someone didn't like the implied tortured aspect of experimenting on living creatures. Or didn't like the first description's inclusion of other supernatural creatures of the other game lines. Or just wanted it to feel more like the Universal movie. Or they somehow felt it was better the changes were made to the dead instead of the living for some philosophical reason. Revised made all sorts of changes to mechanics or setting elements (some were improvements, others depended on taste, and some were petty or damaging).

    The Path is neither Vicissitude (meant to emulate Necroscope style vampires) or Necromancy (dealing with spirits of the underworld and the mysteries of death - few people would call Dr Frankenstein a necromancer).

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  • Vilenecromancer
    replied
    Originally posted by Elphilm View Post
    I don't think the justifications in this thread for the difference between pre-Revised Biothaumaturgic Experimentation and Revised Biothaumaturgy make any sense. The explosion in redundant Thaumaturgy paths only happened during Revised Edition. Before Revised, there were less than a dozen Thaumaturgy paths in existence, full stop. The Revised writers were not in any way interested in game balance or the removal of redundancy from Thaumaturgy paths, otherwise they would not have put more than fifty new paths into the game.

    Moreover, the Biothaumaturgic Experimentation detailed in Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand is not available to Tremere, since it's a True Black Hand exclusive path, and Tremere are not welcome in the sect. In addition, Biothaumaturgic Experimentation was written by the same writer who put Vicissitude in the game in the first place, Steven C. Brown. It seems obvious to me that Brown included the path in the book as a replacement for Vicissitude, since the Black Hand in general is completely against Vicissitude in all its forms. Biothaumaturgic Experimentation is meant to be a similar set of powers but without the Souleater taint of Vicissitude.
    I'll admit to being wrong about the large amount of redundant pre-revised paths, especially since my knowledge of VTM is mostly from V20 to V5. That said, the path itself pre-revised is a slightly altered Vicissitude which is why is 100% was never reintroduced into V20. That said, if the developers didn't care game balance, then the next best reason is just a difference in design philosophy. Most TTRPG editions occur when a significant change is needed, or desired, so the developers likely decided to change the path from some internal reason. A much less satisfying answer, but much more likely considering this information I failed to consider.
    Last edited by Vilenecromancer; 03-06-2022, 03:14 PM. Reason: spelling and grammar correction.

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  • Elphilm
    replied
    I don't think the justifications in this thread for the difference between pre-Revised Biothaumaturgic Experimentation and Revised Biothaumaturgy make any sense. The explosion in redundant Thaumaturgy paths only happened during Revised Edition. Before Revised, there were less than a dozen Thaumaturgy paths in existence, full stop. The Revised writers were not in any way interested in game balance or the removal of redundancy from Thaumaturgy paths, otherwise they would not have put more than fifty new paths into the game.

    Moreover, the Biothaumaturgic Experimentation detailed in Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand is not available to Tremere, since it's a True Black Hand exclusive path, and Tremere are not welcome in the sect. In addition, Biothaumaturgic Experimentation was written by the same writer who put Vicissitude in the game in the first place, Steven C. Brown. It seems obvious to me that Brown included the path in the book as a replacement for Vicissitude, since the Black Hand in general is completely against Vicissitude in all its forms. Biothaumaturgic Experimentation is meant to be a similar set of powers but without the Souleater taint of Vicissitude.

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  • Hello
    replied
    That makes sense.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vilenecromancer
    replied
    Originally posted by Hello View Post
    I don't think vicissitude is that similar to biothaumathurgy, while vicissitude gave you the ability to shape flesh, it didn't give you the ability to change the way the body works like biothaumathurgy does.
    While it does not alter a creature genetically outside of potential elder abilities, it does allow a vampire to affect how one's body works by literally shaping into whatever the shape desires. In a lot of ways, there is no difference between shaping a body into a war machine or engineering a body into a war machine. The difference is flavor, that's it.

    That's why thaumaturgy saw massive removals in v20, too much redundancy in power sets. The team likely couldn't see a way to recreate biothaumaturgy in v20 that would remove the redundancy, so it never saw a rerelease. They did try to change it in revised, but that too stepped on toes.

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  • Hello
    replied
    I don't think vicissitude is that similar to biothaumathurgy, while vicissitude gave you the ability to shape flesh, it didn't give you the ability to change the way the body works like biothaumathurgy does.

    Leave a comment:


  • Reasor
    replied
    This was always my essential problem with Thaumaturgy: a character who has it as a clan discipline could effectively learn every discipline in the world for the XP cost of an in-clan discipline.

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  • Vilenecromancer
    replied
    The same reason v20 and v5 removed a massive amount of content, game balance. Pre-revised, biothaumaturgy seems to have a similar design to the power of vicissitude, the ability to shape flesh and bone. In fact you'll likely notice a lot of paths mimic the abilities found in various other disciplines. This made thaumaturgy extremely unbalanced compared to other disciplines, as Tremere where effectively vampires so versatile it becomes questioned how they don't destroy their enemies easily.

    V20 removed a majority of the more redundant paths and disciplines from the game, and v5 removed/moved around even more. Now whether this is good or bad will differ player to player.

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