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  • CajunKhan
    started a topic So, Forsaken Paths

    So, Forsaken Paths

    Okay, so there's always been an element of propaganda to the design of the various paths. It's a major sin to be disloyal to your allies for Feral Hearters. Honorable Accordists place great importance on holding to oaths, obeying your leaders, and participating in your society's rituals. That's a very specific version of honorable that isn't remotely humane, and would be indifferent to anything done to humans.

    The reason these paths are designed in such a propagandistic way is because the various elders of the Sabbat wanted to keep the Sabbat together.

    So why, oh why, would the V5 Sabbat elders design their version of the paths in a way that doesn't attempt to keep the Sabbat loyal to the sect?

    In the case of Honorable Accord, the ethics should be something like, "never break your word, never disobey your superiors, always be loyal to the Sabbat"
    The various path designers would have to be insane to design the Path in a way that would tend to make Path followers increasingly disgusted with the Sabbat, which the Forsaken Path ethics tend to do.

    In the case of Feral Heart, here renamed Path of the Beast, the old sin of "failing to protect your allies", should become something like, "protect your allies as a wolf protects his pack, and a bee protects her hive"

    That's just common sense propaganda design, and the Paths are essentially propaganda so intense that their tenets can replace the humanistic tenets people were raised with.

    These Paths are now designed in a manner that would never have developed by actual elders with a lick of sense. This isn't simply a translation from the old sin system to the new tenet system. It's (Doylist)redesign that was clearly intended to fail, and as an explanation for a failure. With the result that the (Watsonian)path designers now look like idiots whose efforts should have failed centuries ago.
    Last edited by CajunKhan; 04-27-2022, 07:43 PM.

  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

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  • MarkK
    replied
    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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  • MarkK
    replied
    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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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • MarkK
    replied
    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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  • monteparnas
    replied
    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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  • Karos
    replied
    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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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    I don't think this is edition war. It is a fact of this area of the lore.

    The discussion on Paths and what makes them organically fly or be shot down in the setting is interesting. But the answer to the OP question itself is too straightforward: this is what the new design for the Sabbat needs. It has no basis in strategic thought, it is solely based on the fact that the Sabbat now is considered purely as an antagonist and irredeemably evil by default, without need or desire for deeper social or psychological exploration.

    Paradox has no desire to explore the Sabbat deeper than that and the current Paths accomplish this effect, the elders of the Sabbat just followed the edicts of the Publisher.
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Karos View Post
    (Hope this can be taken as intended, not looking to edition-war, but to outline how I believe the designers have altered the Sabbat in V5.)
    I don't think this is edition war. It is a fact of this area of the lore.

    The discussion on Paths and what makes them organically fly or be shot down in the setting is interesting. But the answer to the OP question itself is too straightforward: this is what the new design for the Sabbat needs. It has no basis in strategic thought, it is solely based on the fact that the Sabbat now is considered purely as an antagonist and irredeemably evil by default, without need or desire for deeper social or psychological exploration.

    Paradox has no desire to explore the Sabbat deeper than that and the current Paths accomplish this effect, the elders of the Sabbat just followed the edicts of the Publisher.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Karos
    replied
    Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
    Okay, so there's always been an element of propaganda to the design of the various paths. It's a major sin to be disloyal to your allies for Feral Hearters. Honorable Accordists place great importance on holding to oaths, obeying your leaders, and participating in your society's rituals. That's a very specific version of honorable that isn't remotely humane, and would be indifferent to anything done to humans.

    The reason these paths are designed in such a propagandistic way is because the various elders of the Sabbat wanted to keep the Sabbat together.

    So why, oh why, would the V5 Sabbat elders design their version of the paths in a way that doesn't attempt to keep the Sabbat loyal to the sect?
    If I were to guess why these paths are now forsaken, it has very little to do with the evolution of the Sabbat and what their elders think, and more to do with how the designers wanted to portray the Sabbat. Look at the other paths included in the V5 portrayal of the Sabbat, they've all been recast in their most violent, aggressive, and simplified forms. (E.g. all the scholarship, respecting other worthy Cainites has been stripped from the Path of Caine; Path of Cathari has none of the older religious overtones to it and is now nothing but a path of hedonism, etc.)

    This same change doesn't really work for Honourable Accord, of all the Paths it's arguably the most 'humane' of any path. Outside of the Sabbat one could practice Honourable Accord and remain relatively humane. As such it's almost impossible to reduce Honourable Accord to a path followed by violent half-mindless monsters. A creature with restraint, a code, loyalty, isn't a violent half-mindless monster, it's a rational thinking creature.

    The Path of the Feral Heart, by contrast, doesn't play nice with V5's conception of humanity. You could easily reduce it to a path of violent and mindless monsters, but that would be a betrayal of the path itself, which tempers the beast's impulses with notions of pack loyalty. However, in V5's portrayal of the Sabbat that would make an adherent of the Feral Heart little different to many other Sabbat (especially those on V5's Path of Caine).

    (Hope this can be taken as intended, not looking to edition-war, but to outline how I believe the designers have altered the Sabbat in V5.)

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