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  • #31
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Interesting, Justin Achilli said that the simplification of the Paths was deliberate as the Elders are doing this to create as much mindless cannon fodder as possible while they bunker down through Gehenna.
    If the sole intent is to make canon-fodder why bother with paths at all? Paths take time to teach and instill even in their new simplified forms. Why not just rely on low humanity Sabbat like in revised?

    As Monteparnas said, this seems like an instance where the designers had an intent, then looked at how to retroactively justify that in the setting. Rather than looking at how things may change from the perspective of characters in the setting, then adjusting elements of the world to suit the new circumstances.


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    • #32
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      I think there's also a large issue where fans often ascribed nuance to the Sabbat where it wasn't as nuanced as they thought.
      Maybe, but I disagree on the conclusions.

      Did the Sabbat had all the nuance Sabbat fans ascribe to it? This is meaningless, as long as it had the potential for such nuance. The fiction of the setting completes itself in the game, so as long as the description lends itself to such interpretations, what's the problem?

      And this very conversation is full of proofs that the Sabbat did had more nuance than it has in V5. This has nothing to do with the fans seeing it where there's none. The Paths were more complex and some quite elaborate. V5s Sabbat is factually, objectively simpler, less nuanced and less versatile as written.

      You don't have to like a more nuanced view on the Sabbat or use it. You may be completely right that the Sabbat wasn't meant for more and you may find that it works better as V5 is taking it, at least for you. None of this matters here.

      The OP questions why the Elders did the Paths as they're in V5, and the actual answer is that it had little to no Watsonian perspective into it, for whatever that's worth. No serious thought was given to how the Sabbat developed the Paths in this direction or anything, the final form was decided Out of Character and for Paradox's purposes with the sect the in-character reasons don't matter as they're not meant to be examined from that close.

      Originally posted by Karos View Post
      As Monteparnas said, this seems like an instance where the designers had an intent, then looked at how to retroactively justify that in the setting. Rather than looking at how things may change from the perspective of characters in the setting, then adjusting elements of the world to suit the new circumstances.
      To be more precise, I think to some degree they didn't bothered with retroactive justification in the case of the Paths. Doing things from end to start is standard fare for design and story development, but here what happens is that we're examining the Sabbat more than the designers (or their bosses) bothered to when doing this.


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      • #33
        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

        I think there's also a large issue where fans often ascribed nuance to the Sabbat where it wasn't as nuanced as they thought. The Sabbat were always a nihilist fascist death cult that employed mass brainwashing, religious indoctrination, conscription, and mass atrocities to turn its troopers into shock troopers. The "brainwashed mass of murderous terrorists" is 1st Edition Sabbat with UNDER A BLOOD RED MOON and the Clan Novels as well as Revised.

        The fact the Sabbat are 80% a bunch of cannon fodder used and discarded by their Elders or insane is something that has been its canonical portrayal for the vast majority of its existence. Fans like the idea there's something deeper and more meaningful there and for some Elders that is absolutely true.

        However, the important thing is to remember that for the majority of Sabbat, they are just tools and expendable ones like child soldiers.

        While I don't have the strongest feelings in the world about the Sabbat, there's a loooot of excluded middle in this take.

        Also always worth noting when people say "1st edition", first edition vampire barely existed for any length of time compared to the gameline as a whole, and was comparatively scant in details on anything. It's an odd thing to cite when talking about "the vast majority of its existence." It's also notable you seem to have left out in your wanting to point to whole editions, an entire edition that lasted for.. five yearsish and change?* Which is a pretty solid chunk of Vampire's game life. And even Revised would go back and forth on how it portrayed.. really anything (the Sabbat of Cairo by Night, just off the top of my head for instance as far as you could get from your own take, and even Children of the Night in revised bothered to throw in several Sabbat npcs that were more than you're talking about, for all that they also did "and here are some edgelord psycho monsters"). I'm a big ol fan of VtM, but to say this was a gameline that has ever cleaved that close to a sense of consistency, even within a single book, is to have a conception of it that almost never really was. I mean Revised blew up the Anarchs, then gave them their own hardcover.

        The Sabbat's portrayal ranged enough back and forth that it had room for Vasantasena and Dominique Touraine as much as it did Sascha Vykos and Sangris de Soto.

        I mean they were horrific, splatterpunk inhuman nightmare monsters, hey sure, but there were any number of sustained efforts to offer that there was all the same layers to them to explore within that being the case. Anything else is again more what people want to say Vampire is or was, than what Vampire is or was.

        Those fans who felt there was nuance to the Sabbat have a big ol whack of material they can point at. It's really more that Vampire has enough material that at this point, a number of cases you want to try to make, you can make, and there will be at least something to back you up.

        The problem with wanting to say "in fact they were almost always this one note thing and everyone who thought otherwise was reading VtM incorrectly", as far as "wasn't as nuanced as they thought", almost feels like making this into, ironically, an issue of morality and a desire for simplicity. The Sabbat can still be horrifying blood monster things, but still have a depth about them that can be interesting to explore the concepts and thematics of. And this is demonstrated by that at any number of points of what at the time was canon, they in fact were. There's a difference between people having liked the Sabbat as interesting, and what feels like your reaction to believing that what they mean is that the Sabbat were ever "good". I doubt anyone thinks the Sabbat were ever anything but monsters. That doesn't mean there weren't fascinating ways to go about exploring that notion.

        That there were VtM books that agree with what you need VtM to be doesn't mean there weren't ones that don't. Presenting it as "it wasn't nuanced as they thought" is not far from saying "the material they are taking this take from doesn't count."

        *2e, I'm talking about 2e.
        Last edited by MarkK; 05-02-2022, 10:42 PM.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Karos View Post

          If the sole intent is to make canon-fodder why bother with paths at all? Paths take time to teach and instill even in their new simplified forms. Why not just rely on low humanity Sabbat like in revised?
          Oddly, this is going back to the 2nd Edition Sabbat where the Paths were taught not out of some deep philosophical need but to get the cannon fodder off humanity and blow up more stuff.

          One thing that I feel is missing, nuance wise, is there's a difference between being on a Path and being HIGH on a Path.

          I feel like people assume that you're either on Humanity or a 7-8 on a Path when I feel most Sabbat could easily be 2-4 on a Path during their short lives.

          Revised was what established Paths being long and difficult processes when normally, like Roads, switching was meant to be relatively easy. At least with brainwashing.


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          • #35
            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
            Maybe, but I disagree on the conclusions.

            Did the Sabbat had all the nuance Sabbat fans ascribe to it? This is meaningless, as long as it had the potential for such nuance. The fiction of the setting completes itself in the game, so as long as the description lends itself to such interpretations, what's the problem?

            And this very conversation is full of proofs that the Sabbat did had more nuance than it has in V5. This has nothing to do with the fans seeing it where there's none. The Paths were more complex and some quite elaborate. V5s Sabbat is factually, objectively simpler, less nuanced and less versatile as written.

            You don't have to like a more nuanced view on the Sabbat or use it. You may be completely right that the Sabbat wasn't meant for more and you may find that it works better as V5 is taking it, at least for you. None of this matters here.

            The OP questions why the Elders did the Paths as they're in V5, and the actual answer is that it had little to no Watsonian perspective into it, for whatever that's worth. No serious thought was given to how the Sabbat developed the Paths in this direction or anything, the final form was decided Out of Character and for Paradox's purposes with the sect the in-character reasons don't matter as they're not meant to be examined from that close.
            At the risk of undermining my own point by pointing to a VERY different franchise, I'm actually reminded of the Disney takeover of Star Wars. One of the interesting things about the Star Wars Expanded Universe was the fact that for about a decade, they had been softening the portrayal of the Empire due to the writings of Timothy Zahn. "Honorable" Imperials like Grand Admiral Thrawn and Kir Kanos as well as showing the failures of the New Republic. We even had the Empire survive into the next century under the leadership of the Fel Dynasty.

            Disney looked at this and went, "Oh hell no. The Empire is based on fascists. There ain't nothing nuanced about these guys."

            The thing about the Empire being there was nothing UNBELIEVABLE about them and their evil. Exploitationist, fascist, colonialist slaving empires have existed throughout history. Trying to soften the storyline perhaps actually undermines what the metaphor is about. It's a fictional organization and no more real than the Decepitcons or Cobra but they were undermining their own story trying to find depth.

            Which is to say that the Sabbat has always been more than just shameless cannon fodder but it has also always been an organization that employs their fellow Kindred under them. Also, there's nothing remotely unbelievable or not true to life about the organization's horrible crimes. Religiously motivated terrorism and conscription/indoctrination for wars are things that make it hard for fiction to keep up with.

            The Sabbat was created as an antagonist faction because, well, they are mostly brainwashed suicide troopers. Remembering this is a short horrible piteous life may be a character check rather than a derrailment. I've done many Sabbat games but I feel like the developers wanted to remind people life in the Sabbat is nasty, brutish, and short with little freedom despite their claims.

            A reminder there is very little glamorous being a grenade for someone else to throw.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-03-2022, 01:52 AM.


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            • #36
              Second edition had places where it presented the Paths as an effort of philosophical need and depth. Certainly Montreal by Night, amidst its whole roiling... whatevers (I am not, ultimately, the biggest fan of that book), took a long while at presenting the Paths as a thing of spiritual depth and exploration.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                At the risk of undermining my own point by pointing to a VERY different franchise, I'm actually reminded of the Disney takeover of Star Wars. One of the interesting things about the Star Wars Expanded Universe was the fact that for about a decade, they had been softening the portrayal of the Empire due to the writings of Timothy Zahn. "Honorable" Imperials like Grand Admiral Thrawn and Kir Kanos as well as showing the failures of the New Republic. We even had the Empire survive into the next century under the leadership of the Fel Dynasty.
                Disney looked at this and went, "Oh hell no. The Empire is based on Nazis. There ain't nothing nuanced about these guys."

                The thing about the Empire being there was nothing UNBELIEVABLE about them and their evil. Exploitationist, fascist, colonialist slaving empires have existed throughout history. Trying to soften the storyline perhaps actually undermines what the metaphor is about.

                Which is to say that the Sabbat has always been more than just shameless cannon fodder but it has also always been an organization that employs their fellow Kindred under them. Also, there's nothing remotely unbelievable or not true to life about the organization's horrible crimes. Religiously motivated terrorism and conscription/indoctrination for wars are things that make it hard for fiction to keep up with.

                The Sabbat was created as an antagonist faction because, well, they are mostly brainwashed suicide troopers. Remembering this is a short horrible piteous life may be a character check rather than a derrailment.

                A reminder there is very little glamorous being a grenade for someone else to throw.


                If you feel you have to imply that people who thought there was some depth to the Sabbat to be unwitting enablers of mainstreaming Nazism in order to tell them what they think is wrong, I think this is the part of the discussion where I bow out.

                This discussion has gone from "I think you're wrong to think the Sabbat ever weren't one note or to think that it was ever worthwhile not to portray them as one note" to "You are enacting a moral offense comparable to finding Nazis sympathetic to disagree with me."
                Last edited by MarkK; 05-02-2022, 11:20 PM.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by MarkK View Post
                  If you feel you have to imply that people who thought there was some depth to the Sabbat to be unwitting enablers of mainstreaming Nazism in order to tell them what they think is wrong, I think this is the part of the discussion where I bow out.

                  This discussion has gone from "I think you're wrong to think the Sabbat ever weren't one note or to think that it was ever worthwhile not to portray them as one note" to "You are enacting a moral offense comparable to finding Nazis sympathetic to disagree with me."
                  The Galactic Empire is not the Sabbat.

                  I talked about two very different "evil" organizations. You are conflating the two.

                  The Galactic Empire is based on the Third Reich, Ancient Rome, and Nixon according to George Lucas.

                  The Sabbat are based on entirely different sources. They are fundamentalist religious terorrists, not racist paramilitary goons.

                  Also, I'm very surprised that you would think on a gaming forum that the enjoyment factor of a fictional roleplaying game conflates to your RL political views. This is a game about playing vampires. A person who enjoys killing and maiming in a roleplaying game is not in any way a person who does in RL.Given I play plenty of Sabbat games, ones where very clearly the bad guys are the PCs, I would be condemning myself. I also play Technocrat games. The fun is in putting on the shoes of the people who are awful, IMHO.

                  But no, I'm not talking about RL politics, I'm saying that Disney recognized the Empire is meant to be the bad guys and thought the softening them detracted from who they are and what they were meant to represent.

                  My Sabbat fandom means nothing other than I like vampires who aren't human loving sad sacks.
                  Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-03-2022, 09:18 AM.


                  Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                    Oddly, this is going back to the 2nd Edition Sabbat where the Paths were taught not out of some deep philosophical need but to get the cannon fodder off humanity and blow up more stuff.

                    One thing that I feel is missing, nuance wise, is there's a difference between being on a Path and being HIGH on a Path.

                    I feel like people assume that you're either on Humanity or a 7-8 on a Path when I feel most Sabbat could easily be 2-4 on a Path during their short lives.

                    Revised was what established Paths being long and difficult processes when normally, like Roads, switching was meant to be relatively easy. At least with brainwashing.
                    Even at their inception the Paths were something every Sabbat followed, not just the rabble. And how simplified they were at that point is hardly relevant, they had the potential to be more and this potential as later realized. V5 doesn't exists just in comparison to the first form of things, it comes in the context of a game with 4 whole editions to it. You can't just ignore later developments and they didn't just ignore later developments, they purposefully undid those developments and forbid in lore the Paths they couldn't fit in their vision, not the same thing at all.

                    And the difference between high or low rating isn't lost here, it is irrelevant. What's being discussed are the Paths themselves, not how well adjusted to them the typical Sabbat is, what this even accounts for in this discussion?

                    On the matter of time: shovelheads are meant to be set loose on the world in a matter of hours from their creation. The sheer shock of the Embrace is the only thing that makes this time frame even remotely believable for basic brainwash. It doesn't matter how simple you think changing to a Path should be, it is ridiculous to think they did the change. So the vampires actually adapting to life in the Sabbat are either survivors or careful Embraces, and those easily have some time to spare in adopting a Path.

                    Generally speaking, given how rare Paths are outside the Sabbat, Revised mostly gave it more sense by establishing the change as hard. And again, you can't dismiss editions as you please to hold your opinion on how the game is, only on how you think the game should be. Your assertion was that the fans see nuance where there is none, then you just dismiss the lore that establishes the nuance they like? Revised is as much proof that such nuance was a part of the game before V5, and for a long time on top of that.

                    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                    Disney looked at this and went, "Oh hell no. The Empire is based on fascists. There ain't nothing nuanced about these guys."
                    And that is precisely the point. Simplified because the designers so decided.

                    While a lot of people here isn't happy about this development in the Sabbat, evaluating it isn't the actual point. The answer to the OP remains that the Paths got simplified because Paradox wanted to. They have a vision for the game and this is how the Sabbat will fit this vision. The same way that Disney did to the Empire. It is their right, by the way, in both cases, we like it or not.

                    But there are other problems with what you said, because understanding their rightful decision isn't the same as to agree with this decision, and risking to sound repetitive, CONTEXT MATTERS. Star Wars is a movie franchise, and we're talking mainly movies when talking about them. It is also typical Good vs Evil fare, nothing wrong with this. VtM is an RPG of social commentary through the lenses of monsters. It is another exploration entirely. The people and organizations bot represent do have more nuance IRL and are more than what the metaphor says, so the simplified metaphor isn't necessarily the best take on them.

                    The US army is also a pit of brainwashed murderers treated as expendables by their superiors while set loose on people they're taught not to think as their equals or even humans, have a short and horrible pitiful life and while so many give it a veneer of glamour it actually has none, it's just a meat grinder for Americans and foreigners alike. Yet, would you say they don't deserve and need a more nuanced representation? I think they do. As do the people whose complex contexts and violence suffered led them to become terrorists or supporters of tyranny in other places.


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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                      The US army is also a pit of brainwashed murderers treated as expendables by their superiors while set loose on people they're taught not to think as their equals or even humans, have a short and horrible pitiful life and while so many give it a veneer of glamour it actually has none, it's just a meat grinder for Americans and foreigners alike. Yet, would you say they don't deserve and need a more nuanced representation? I think they do. As do the people whose complex contexts and violence suffered led them to become terrorists or supporters of tyranny in other places.
                      I think the attempt to correlate actual RL violence and politics to the fictional one in the game has gotten out of hand. It is something I certainly contributed to and would give myself an infraction for.

                      This thread will be shut down as a result.



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