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Is blood magic an XP sink, or is it overpowered?

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  • #16
    Honestly the big advantage of Requiem Blood Sorcery is that each style (including Coils of the Dragon) has its own specialties. While I believe that's true for Koldunism, Settite Sorcery, and Assamite Sorcery, it's not really true for pre-V5 Thaumaturge who's theme is fantasy wizard magic.

    Paths aren't also inherently bad, and for things like Lure of flames having sorcerers learn the weakest version first and then progress to stronger flames makes complete sense. However not all paths are so straightforward, even if they have thematic consistency.


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    • #17
      Part of the issue is that every now and then the writers seem to pick one section of powers to stuff all the new things into, thus the xp cost to "master" the section gets exponentially higher with every passing book release. In VtM it was all the Thaumaturgy and Necromancy paths, in Exalted 2nd edition it was how there were dozens of Martial Arts styles, or in WtA there was just page upon page of charms.

      In Exalted 2nd edition you could make a fully functional solar combat build from character generation, have build room to spare for personalization and more or less finish an end game build around 75+ xp afterwards. Conversely if you built a solar crafter from character generation with no personalization it would take you close to 250+ xp to make them functional, let alone mastery grade that has all the things.

      I have often wondered if anyone during the next edition design process tries to reverse engineer a character build, as in if you can't build a fully functional meta build within X amount of xp, then the system needs rebalancing. Assuming 5 xp per game, that means 50 xp is 10 games worth of progression, imagine being 10 games deep into play and still not being able to shoot a gun or swing a sword all that well despite having a combat character.

      This is why Blood Magic often gets an xp sink designation, in ten games most builds are competent at their roles and are beginning to diversify, while the magic users are almost hitting their stride at being able to do stuff in their main roll.

      I would also be remiss if I didn't point out that most magic mechanics are less straight forward in power curve than other abilities. Using V20 mechanics a vampire with Protean, Fortitude, Celerity, and Potence has a specific damage range potential and type of damage as well. This means there is little to debate or be surprised by other than rolling really well or very poorly.

      On the other hand a Thaumaturge with the Path of Conjuration can create a fire bomb to incinerate his enemies, a laptop to hack their bank accounts, a wooden stake if none is at hand, or create a 55 gallon drum of Chlorine Triflouride (sets fire to and burns things like bricks, cement, concrete, asbestos). So the variety of uses alone means stuff comes out of left field all the time and if the player has IRL knowledge of certain things, then the ST will be spending a lot of time googling just to figure out what their player just did to the game.

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      • #18
        I'd argue that's partially an issue with just feeling like you need to add new powers in general. Which is likely also how Masquerade began with nine Disciplines (plus Thaumaturge) in the corebook that represented standard vampire powers, to every new Clan and Bloodline getting a unique Discipline by the Player's Guide.

        Thaumaturgic Paths had it worse than Disciplines because they weren't given the necessity of having to come with a new Clan or Bloodline. Combined with an even greater variety of power and versatility levels compared to Disciplines and Thaumaturge ranged from fine to overpowered to an XP sink depending on how much a player invested in it and what Paths they took


        Blue is sarcasm.

        If I suggestion I make contradicts in-setting metaphysics please ignore me, I probably brought in scientific ideas.

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        • #19
          The Exalted example is probably not a great one because what's necessary for a crafter to be "functional" is the thing of flame wars because the goal of any crafting system is a lot less defined than combat in terms of "success" means beyond having good odds of rolling well. Crafting also just does way more in Exalted. I can make a maxed out by mortal standards blacksmith in V20 and still have lots of points left compared to trying to max out combat stuff. But Crafts doesn't really do you that much in V20, as the few ways to up your crafting to magical levels aren't worth the price, the impact of crafting is completely up to your ST, and there's no way to craft magic (the limited ability for vampires to make magical items doesn't require they make the things themselves; which also applies to pretty much any WoD supernatural).

          ------

          Ultimately, Thaumatury, and to an extent even V5's Blood Sorcery, are a completely different system from the rest of the powers that you kind of get locked into. You can't "dip" into Thaumaturgy, or it's a horrible XP sink. But if you completely commit to Thaumaturgy you get a good bang for your buck, to the point where everything else becomes something of an XP sink (making it seem OP).

          If you had to pick between either being a Discipline vampire, or a blood magic vampire, it would probably be less of an issue. It's that both are expected to share the same place in PC traits that causes issues that can result in both XP sink and OPness at the same time.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            The Exalted example is probably not a great one because what's necessary for a crafter to be "functional" is the thing of flame wars because the goal of any crafting system is a lot less defined than combat in terms of "success" means beyond having good odds of rolling well. Crafting also just does way more in Exalted. I can make a maxed out by mortal standards blacksmith in V20 and still have lots of points left compared to trying to max out combat stuff. But Crafts doesn't really do you that much in V20, as the few ways to up your crafting to magical levels aren't worth the price, the impact of crafting is completely up to your ST, and there's no way to craft magic (the limited ability for vampires to make magical items doesn't require they make the things themselves; which also applies to pretty much any WoD supernatural).
            Yes and no. I find that Crafting like my example of Path of Conjuration really boils down to the IRL knowledge of the player/ST and a dash of creativity.

            I agree the cainites have never really been designed to be crafters, though the one Potence alt power that allowed any weapon made with it was permanently Agg damage was rather fun. The Kuei-jin actually had a much easier time producing artifacts and talismans, though the system was more or less lifted from WtA.

            The closest to power creep with vampires and crafting you can get is really the custom weapons or custom ammo that technically can be produced. But rather than putting a ton of xp into crafting skills you can just get a few dots in Background Contacts and Resources, and just have the stuff custom built and shipped to you.

            Technically if you built your crafter in certain ways, you could gains lots of boons from other vampires, but nothing in a direct mechanical sort of way. You can be a skilled tailor/seamstress who can integrate body armor or neck guards into modern fashions or you could have the skills to restore antiquities which means most elders will be hitting you up for giving their beloved collections some much needed TLC.

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            • #21
              [quote]
              Ultimately, Thaumatury, and to an extent even V5's Blood Sorcery, are a completely different system from the rest of the powers that you kind of get locked into. You can't "dip" into Thaumaturgy, or it's a horrible XP sink. But if you completely commit to Thaumaturgy you get a good bang for your buck, to the point where everything else becomes something of an XP sink (making it seem OP).
              /QUOTE]
              Path magic is a horrible XP sink, but there's a lot going for a 2-3 dot investment and getting a lot of rituals rather than paths. The 2-3 dot range has some fantastic rituals like..

              1: Domino of life, wake with evening freshness, various rituals to store extra blood.
              2: Buerocratic condemnation, Donning the mask of shadows (way too strong), Machine blitz
              3: Clinging of the insect, Incorporeal passage, Wards if relevant to your game.

              There are obviously rituals that make 4 and 5 great investments (ward against kindred and the one where you make a contract stand out particularly well)
              But yeah, it takes a lot of time to learn these (I realize you get a free ritual every time you level up your thaumaturgy, but really, leveling up should be the result of learning a path+ritual above your level AND transforming yourself towards being capable of higher level thaumaturgy IE it should take a long time. Most common paths at level 1 or 2 are garbage, with a few notable exceptions, so really your getting these levels for rituals. Most discipline powers are stronger and more applicable than thaumaturgy of their level.
              Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 04-16-2022, 01:13 AM.


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