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  • Grumpy RPG Reviews
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I unironically state that I think this is the absolute best idea they could have had for the Second Inquisition and increases their utility in Vampire: The Masquerade by about 300%. (snip rest of post).
    I agree with this posting. VtM is a game of sneaking about, intrigue, murder, and being horrible to other people. It is not, first and foremost, a combat game. That said, you can run your games however you choose. But having the coterie sitting around, sipping blood from tea cups and being catty only for the SI to kick in the door and try to throw down with them - it felt off for a lot of reasons.

    Having the SI being sneak, cruel, and manipulative betters fits the way VtM should work.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    (most people manage to be good just fine, but don't face severe pressure to not be).
    I disagree philosophically that most people are good - in my experience most people are bad. But that aside, in the World of Darkness the situation is more dire. It is an uglier, meaner place than our world. There is more pressure on everyone to be evil just to survive, to say nothing of succeeding. And it all becomes a feedback loop, with everyone and everything gradually making everything and everyone crueler and harder.

    Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post
    There aren't good guys though?
    There are no good guys in the World of Darkness as a general thing and no good guys in Vampire the Masquerade more specifically. No one can rely on others or institutions to be anything other than venal and self-serving to a fault. If the PCs are looking for a force of good in the world, then they will have to shoulder that responsibility themselves.


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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

    I bet when the SI is watching the security footage later, they ad in Yakety Sax while the Vodzd are chasing the Camarilla around.
    It's basically a Sabbat "stupid evil" tactic transplanted to the SI.

    Either that or something like the Umbrella Corporation.

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  • Grumpy RPG Reviews
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Some more points:No. 8 is just fucking silly for establishing the SI is EVIL.
    I bet when the SI is watching the security footage later, they ad in Yakety Sax while the Vodzd are chasing the Camarilla around.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    I have some thoughts on the moral status of the Second Inquisition as presented in the books. You can take them or leave them.

    1. This is nothing new: The Second Inquisition is made up of pre-existing V:TM groups, which is another "fix" that was done earlier in the line and makes it more grounded. None of them have ever been portrayed as particularly nice groups. The SAD in Project: Twilight had two of its regional directors being an agent for the NWO and Technocracy respectively.

    2. I'm not sure why anyone would think the SI would be "good" guys: They're the antagonists in a game about being a vampire after all.

    3. It's pretty "realistic" as much as such a term means: I don't find it unbelievable that a bunch of government agents given unlimited authority, unlimited resources, and a "holy" mission will engage in abuse of power. There's a lot of War on Terror references that is satire arguably 10 years too late but aside from releasing Tzimisce monsters like the Sabbat and the lie about the CIA selling drugs to fund Latin American insurgency (the CIA's ALLIES sold drugs), nothing in the book isn't real.

    4. It's arguably a better presented version of the Technocracy and Pentex: Werewolf and Mage's politics are all over the place but this manages to have a much more coherent vision about a somewhat similar idea. You have the genocidal government and corporate conspiracy out to wipe out supernaturals. Everyone's motivations makes sense.

    5. They're not cartoons: Compared to the 1st Edition Technocracy and Sabbat, the SI is signifcantly better. It's just that the SI as a whole is a bucnh of dirtbags. However, again, all the stuff they're doing is stuff RL groups have done.

    6. Grimdark is not necessarily a perjorative: Grimdark started as a perjorative but was co-opted by those who use it as a metaphor for fantasy noir. Basically, in grimdark as a genre, it's a sign the world is awful and won't get better so the good you do (or try to do) must be done on an individual level.

    http://unitedfederationofcharles.blo...-grimdark.html

    The World of Darkness is suspicious of power structures and is a dark and corrupt world where you can't make the planet better but can do individual good.

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  • SetiteFriend
    replied
    Originally posted by Newb95 View Post
    Its not about the Sabbat not being "bad guys" they very much were but they were also A LOT more complex than the vanilla death cult "kill all humans" bullshit they turned into now, the dark ages Sabbat in particular was, in my opinion, one of the best portrayal of a faction in masquerade, they reduced all of that to a caricature, this is purposefuly dumbing down the complexity of masquerade metaplot to appeal to a wider audience.
    They are not simple "kill all humans" though? Reading the Sabbat book it's very clear that the fights is against the Antediluvians and whoever stands in their way, plus believing in their absolute superiority over humans and that they should rule over them.

    The camarilla and the anarchs were always awful and pretty much two sides of the same coin so I don't think thats where the problem is, in my opinion the main issue is that they are trying too much to finger someone as the "villain" of the setting, this is pointless in a game about bloodsucking monsters, the factions are all out to fuck you the second its advantageous for them and thats alright, it gives that hopeless feeling that masquerade was always known for, I don't need one faction to tell me that another faction eat kittens while they themselves eat puppies, the "bad guy" is whoever is getting in my way this night, thats all I need to know.
    The Sabbat were always monstrous villains though, a degree more than the other sects? They are just more determined on their purpose now, instead of cruelty for shock value.

    But this really isn't the thread to discuss this, should be it own thread.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    I actually think it works for the SI, the problem is the rest of the setting.

    Grimdark doesn't work well as a default for V:tM. Moral ambiguity is one thing and is interesting, but everyone being actually an asshole in their own way isn't ambiguity. Ambiguity is when characters face circumstances that genuinely press them to make tough choices, the reason to do bad stuff is sensible and truly evil people are as rare as people that accomplish to be completely selfish under severe pressure (most people manage to be good just fine, but don't face severe pressure to not be). When you're "ambiguous" because all your characters secretly have evil second intentions or like to monologue about how they're actually going to kill their daughter and half the universe for the greater good and feel sad about it, this isn't ambiguity at all.

    ​Now, taking what CTPhipps said and assuming the SI in a context with other groups and entities, and do not represent all the hunters in the world, or even in governments, then most of this description works, and it is finitely an improvement on the original depiction. It does need some adjustments, and the criticism is on the nose, but this is a group where the criticism was meant to be on the nose all along.

    What really bothers here isn't the SI being like that, but the SI being the 4th or 5th group like that in a game that explored... 3 or 4 groups before. But that's not on them, it is on the other groups. The Camarilla is already an extremely on the nose criticism on the right wing, something they were not meant to be before. All vampires are universally unredeemable assholes, young or old, weak or powerful, it seems every character that isn't evil is a hapless victim, and you only have anyone doing something good when it is a complete asshole fighting an even worse asshole that eats babies for giggles.

    That's a tough background for this version of the SI to work properly as they end up looking just the same.

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  • Newb95
    replied
    Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post

    I think its more severe than that, I think.theyve written themselves into a corner with how relentlessly awful the anarchs and carmarilla are both morally and practically that they're having to write their antagonists as so profoundly vile to provide some sense of meaningful conflict.

    I do conceed the clumsy charactures of right wingers is getting a little trite. I'd half expect the head of the inquisition to be Donald Trump if he'd won in 2020. I mean I'm a hard line left winger and I find it all a little on the nose.

    The camarilla and the anarchs were always awful and pretty much two sides of the same coin so I don't think thats where the problem is, in my opinion the main issue is that they are trying too much to finger someone as the "villain" of the setting, this is pointless in a game about bloodsucking monsters, the factions are all out to fuck you the second its advantageous for them and thats alright, it gives that hopeless feeling that masquerade was always known for, I don't need one faction to tell me that another faction eat kittens while they themselves eat puppies, the "bad guy" is whoever is getting in my way this night, thats all I need to know.

    Regarding the right winger stuff I couldn't care less about it since I don't do politics but putting that stuff everywhere is getting boring, you don't like the right we get it no need to fall into ridiculousness like this.

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  • Newb95
    replied
    Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post
    The Sarcophagus calls elder vampires, and all Ventrue, with a Beckoning of it own. Very interesting.

    Also, the SI didn't kill off Mayumi, she was not the Prince in Camarilla and isn't even mentioned in this book.



    There aren't good guys though? You have neutral-evil and you have evil-evil. And sometimes there are just "evil" people in the real world, making every group somehow morally ambiguous is fantastical. Plus, they are being as ruthless as their enemies, even non Sabbat vampires do horrible shit too.

    Also, when were Sabbat not the bad guys?

    Its not about the Sabbat not being "bad guys" they very much were but they were also A LOT more complex than the vanilla death cult "kill all humans" bullshit they turned into now, the dark ages Sabbat in particular was, in my opinion, one of the best portrayal of a faction in masquerade, they reduced all of that to a caricature, this is purposefuly dumbing down the complexity of masquerade metaplot to appeal to a wider audience.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ragged Robin
    replied
    Originally posted by Newb95 View Post
    This is one of the reasons I don't like the way the metaplot of V5 is going, this "good guys vs bad guys" stuff is boring,.
    I think its more severe than that, I think.theyve written themselves into a corner with how relentlessly awful the anarchs and carmarilla are both morally and practically that they're having to write their antagonists as so profoundly vile to provide some sense of meaningful conflict.

    I do conceed the clumsy charactures of right wingers is getting a little trite. I'd half expect the head of the inquisition to be Donald Trump if he'd won in 2020. I mean I'm a hard line left winger and I find it all a little on the nose.

    Leave a comment:


  • SetiteFriend
    replied
    The Sarcophagus calls elder vampires, and all Ventrue, with a Beckoning of it own. Very interesting.

    Also, the SI didn't kill off Mayumi, she was not the Prince in Camarilla and isn't even mentioned in this book.

    Originally posted by Newb95 View Post
    This is one of the reasons I don't like the way the metaplot of V5 is going, this "good guys vs bad guys" stuff is boring, making the SI shady is basically a necessity given the line of work they are in but painting them as the 4th reich who are out to kill as many people as possible just to take a jab at "right wingers" (in a ttrpg of all places) is not only absurd but also does a disservice at one of the best things about WoD as a whole which is the moral ambiguity and the fact that there is no such thing as black and white, they already pulled this with the sabbat and the results weren't stellar to say the least.
    There aren't good guys though? You have neutral-evil and you have evil-evil. And sometimes there are just "evil" people in the real world, making every group somehow morally ambiguous is fantastical. Plus, they are being as ruthless as their enemies, even non Sabbat vampires do horrible shit too.

    Also, when were Sabbat not the bad guys?

    Leave a comment:


  • Newb95
    replied
    This is one of the reasons I don't like the way the metaplot of V5 is going, this "good guys vs bad guys" stuff is boring, making the SI shady is basically a necessity given the line of work they are in but painting them as the 4th reich who are out to kill as many people as possible just to take a jab at "right wingers" (in a ttrpg of all places) is not only absurd but also does a disservice at one of the best things about WoD as a whole which is the moral ambiguity and the fact that there is no such thing as black and white, they already pulled this with the sabbat and the results weren't stellar to say the least.
    Last edited by Newb95; 03-18-2022, 08:38 AM.

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  • Reasor
    replied
    In addition to the storytelling benefits of the SI instigating feuds between Kindred as a new tactic, it also helps to sell them as a vital entity capable of learning from the presumably high casualty rates it must have suffered early on. I like the idea.

    Originally posted by CTPhipps;n1476633t
    9. The SI has the Enochian Sarcophogus that Beckett and company found (page 84)
    Surprised to see the sarcophagus come back this soon. I wonder if it's meant to imply that the SI is a canon tool of the Sarcophagus' inhabitant. Storytellers are free to use it that way, of course.

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  • Ragged Robin
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    This is very much a book that doesn't attempt to argue the ends justify the means.

    It absolutely establishes the Second Inquisition are scum who murder, torture, kidnap, and any good they do is incidental to the abuses they heap on mortals as well as vampires who don't want to be what they are. Every page drips in disdain and disgust.

    They're not cartoons but if I had to say, "Isn't the Technocracy right for wanting to wipe the supernatural out?" questionm this book goes, "Their goals don't matter because WHAT THEY'RE DOING is unconscionable."

    So, no, it's a group other hunters tend to think of as scummy.
    Sounds disinteresting, they already did that with the Sabbat anyway and I didn't care for that. I'll pass.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
    Sounds like the SI is basically the original Inquisition combined with the worst of dictatorship intelligence agencies.

    It's interesting that they are heavily relying on provoking fights between vampires rather than killing vampires directly. It seems to be an effort to walk back something the earlier stuff was establishing: a world where the masquerade was so suffocating that it's hard to imagine vampires doing anything except being farmers because anything else was near instant death. Vampire has never been D&D, but it did have elements of the traditional dungeon crawling adventures once upon a time. This edition completely purged those elements. Now it seems to be bringing them back a little, even if it's because the SI is understaffed and therefore must provoke vampires into raiding each other's homes.
    Oddly, I feel it's a great idea for kind of the opposite of your suggestion that it focuses more on combat (though there's plenty of that here).

    I unironically state that I think this is the absolute best idea they could have had for the Second Inquisition and increases their utility in Vampire: The Masquerade by about 300%. V:TM is primarily a SOCIAL game about INTRIGUE and the Inquisition's previous portrayals in canon heavily emphasized two things:

    1. The Inquisition kicking down your door with SWAT (which is stupid)

    2. The Inquisition destroying all the vampires in a city (which only Fall of London did well)

    It made the Inquisition an indestructible boogeyman that didn't fit with the lore of any sort of Masquerade still in place. I'm going to state that this book actually does what few other "main" 5E books did and actually fixes something. I LIKE 5E but it is always with caveats unless its OPP.

    This book is now better than all of the other official products because it actually makes the SI useful.

    The new version?

    1. It isn't overpowered enough to defeat vampires on their own so they have to be smarter.
    2. It's new method means you can and will use them in intrigue based games.
    3. They're not stupid enemies you can just break the necks of.
    4. It's a much more interesting cat and mouse scenario.
    5. It actually makes a lot more sense in-universe
    .
    When Dave your beloved childe is murdered by someone, do you assume the Second Inquisition or your enemy, Vlad? Every vampire is a paranoid asshole so they're likely to kill Vlad's ghoul or bankrupt his business. Maybe they finally settle down and believe it was Clemenza all along. So they team up against Clemenza. I mean, sure, hundreds of humans will get caught up in the Jyhad but the SI doesn't care.

    And, of course, only the PCs suspect the truth...

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  • CajunKhan
    replied
    Sounds like the SI is basically the original Inquisition combined with the worst of dictatorship intelligence agencies.

    It's interesting that they are heavily relying on provoking fights between vampires rather than killing vampires directly. It seems to be an effort to walk back something the earlier stuff was establishing: a world where the masquerade was so suffocating that it's hard to imagine vampires doing anything except being farmers because anything else was near instant death. Vampire has never been D&D, but it did have elements of the traditional dungeon crawling adventures once upon a time. This edition completely purged those elements. Now it seems to be bringing them back a little, even if it's because the SI is understaffed and therefore must provoke vampires into raiding each other's homes.

    Leave a comment:

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