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  • How often do you use signature characters in your games?

    Just mildly curious. One of my characters is a Brujah Anarch skeptic about Carthage and is one good terms with Beckett and Hesha Ruhudze (Sorry about the spelling) and I have in the back of my mind of creating a Lasombra character who is a childe of Eliser De Polinco who is doing what Talley is doing in Chicago. Other then that we don't use many of the other canon npc's though I'm sure we will have an encounter with Theo Bell and trying to figure out why the former Archon isn't on the Red List.

  • Gurkhal
    replied
    I never use signature characters because I've got far to many ideas for my own NPC characters in the game that I don't need/want to use others' NPCs very much.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post
    This is from M20, pg.489. So: "In Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition, spirit-based Rage damage is aggravated. Because mages don’t regenerate aggravated damage, however, this option may be too fatal for a Mage chronicle" and my reply as a ST would likely be: "And?? As if I care lol, they live in the same fucking world it makes no sense that to some it works in a way and to others it doesn't. I don't give a damn if it's "too fatal", what matters to me is if it makes sense, lol...
    While I completely agree that consistency is a HUGE problem in the WoD, this is a very bad example.

    An ST definitely has to care about how a rule affects their chronicle, and being honest about giving advice on how the rules can impact the game is a good thing. This book isn't just for seasoned STs with seasoned players, and while you may feel that tweaking rules from one game to another breaks consistency, others do it in a regular basis to better express the particulars of each chronicle. It isn't an example of lack of consistency, either, as it explicitly says how things are in each game if you want to keep them equal, it just gives you more power to do your own thing.

    There's also the problem that your impression... is actually the design. While crossovers exist the game lines were mostly created as their own thing. They're not eight aspects of the same setting, they're eight settings around the same idea, whose similarity is intended, but secondary.

    Is that a problem? Not inherently, but in the way WoD did it yes, definitely, and the worst part is that it doesn't excuse lack of consistency and compatibility in the rules. or the lack of information lack how the Vampires interact with the Umbra, instead of this nothing-ever-said state that gives the impression they know shit about the Umbra, don't ever enter there, but nothing intrinsically forbids it except the lack of information on what to do, so they totally can go there and then whatever.

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  • Herr Meister
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

    Part of that is a legacy of Vampire being the first game before these other games and their concepts became part of the world. Every game after it had to not only address concepts that applied to them, but how the games before them could affect them. Vampire didn't so of course their early sourcebooks didn't address it.

    Part of it is simply wanting to develop their own game and not be hijacked into other areas where the themes of Vampire would be muddled. This is understandable. But concepts like astral projection and dealing with spirits have always been part of vampire lore and stories or the Gothic. So it's kind of silly to not address it.

    I think if Andrew Greenberg, or perhaps even Jennifer Hartshorn, had continued as Developers that we would have seen something like that eventually. After all, Greenberg had a huge hand in Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand which dealt with an amazing amount of Umbral stuff. Of course, the fan base reacted very negatively to that book. There were just so many gonzo concepts in it, it overwhelmed a lot of fans. And it didn't help that many people were anticipating a book about the Black Hand were expecting something on the Sabbat's Black Hand, not an entirely different organization never hinted at before which was secretly behind it. (Even I didn't like it at first, but grew to appreciate it as an example of what an ST could do to create Jyhad level mysteries that were to be secrets that could be revealed in their chronicles if the PCs worked very hard.) That may have created a reaction in White Wolf that "we don't want to go there ever again, let's keep things restricted to street level".

    I would understand it this problem was present just in the first editions, but it's unjustifiable that it's present in a later date. I've always heard this story that "fans didn't like Dirty Secrets od the Black Hand", while I've heard some people complain about some things in the book, like Andeleon's story and the whole concept of Vicissitude being an "allien parasite", most people I know like the book exactly because it has so many uses for a ST, so many different ideas and many interesting ones. A ST is free to use whatever he wants from the books and discard the rest. Also, V20 version of the book is marvelous, one of my favourite WoD books ever.

    That may have created a reaction in White Wolf that "we don't want to go there ever again, let's keep things restricted to street level
    But then, not only did they go in a completely different direction, as revised is in many ways much more "powerlevel" than Second Edition, also, I have many friends who were very disappointed with the lack of consistency in the WoD. Friends who always felt the WoD should feel more connected and have more consistency. The lack of consistency is the main complaint I hear from people dissatisfied with the WoD since I started playing (STing, as I rarely play) long time ago.

    It's funny also because like 90% of the people I know who play RPG and specifically and mostly vampire/werewolf/mage HATE games "restricted to street level". The only people I know who like this kind of story are new players (who are not familiar with the setting), people who play LARRP and perhaps a storyteller or two (although just one came to mind right now). Because most players I know have a complete distaste for games where you play "anemic13th generation vampires whose entire (un)life is spent in Elysiums gossiping around and talking about things like how ugly was the dress the Tremere's promogen was using last friday night's party, but then are sent on mission to discover who is behind the disappearance of the prince's taylor, because the prince desperately needs a new dress to wear on Halloween". When I started the game, many winters ago, I knew some sadistic ST in the day who forced the players to play 13 generation kindreds and I remember one friend of mine who once played one of these games and he said that if he was embraced into a low generation vampire in real life he would commit suicide, as being above 9th generation is worse than being a human in almost every way hahaha. One of the very few good things V5 made was making it somehow possible for vampires of high generation to become a bit less pathetic with time, gaining blood potency, etc.

    Anyway, I think I'm digressing. Back to topic, regardless of preferences with game styles, etc. I believe the setting needs to have consistency, this is a basic thing, if night folks are in the same world, they need to have the same rules applied to them.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post
    And yes, Vampires have tons of powers that deal with spirits and other worlds, it's just that, as I said, it seems a great deal of the people who write vampire books seem to think that vampires dwell in another setting...
    Part of that is a legacy of Vampire being the first game before these other games and their concepts became part of the world. Every game after it had to not only address concepts that applied to them, but how the games before them could affect them. Vampire didn't so of course their early sourcebooks didn't address it.

    Part of it is simply wanting to develop their own game and not be hijacked into other areas where the themes of Vampire would be muddled. This is understandable. But concepts like astral projection and dealing with spirits have always been part of vampire lore and stories or the Gothic. So it's kind of silly to not address it.

    I think if Andrew Greenberg, or perhaps even Jennifer Hartshorn, had continued as Developers that we would have seen something like that eventually. After all, Greenberg had a huge hand in Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand which dealt with an amazing amount of Umbral stuff. Of course, the fan base reacted very negatively to that book. There were just so many gonzo concepts in it, it overwhelmed a lot of fans. And it didn't help that many people were anticipating a book about the Black Hand were expecting something on the Sabbat's Black Hand, not an entirely different organization never hinted at before which was secretly behind it. (Even I didn't like it at first, but grew to appreciate it as an example of what an ST could do to create Jyhad level mysteries that were to be secrets that could be revealed in their chronicles if the PCs worked very hard.) That may have created a reaction in White Wolf that "we don't want to go there ever again, let's keep things restricted to street level".

    Leave a comment:


  • Herr Meister
    replied
    "(Note: In Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition, spirit-based Rage damage is aggravated. Because mages don’t regenerate aggravated damage, however, this option may be too fatal for a Mage chronicle. If the Storyteller decides to let the Avatar Background soak aggravated damage, then the usual Werewolf rule may be used instead. Using the agg-damage option, however, can send the average mage straight to the cemetery.) "

    This is from M20, pg.489. So: "In Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition, spirit-based Rage damage is aggravated. Because mages don’t regenerate aggravated damage, however, this option may be too fatal for a Mage chronicle" and my reply as a ST would likely be: "And?? As if I care lol, they live in the same fucking world it makes no sense that to some it works in a way and to others it doesn't. I don't give a damn if it's "too fatal", what matters to me is if it makes sense, lol...

    This is just to illustrate my point that it seems the thing the writers could care less about is consistency, it's as if each splat lived in a different setting, it's almost as if one is playing D&D 3.5 and the other is playins AD&D (it's actually worse), but both are in the same world rofl...That's why storytelling crossovers (something I've been doing on a regular basis for the last 11 years, since I formed my last group) is such a pain in the ass. Is it too much to ask for a little consistency?

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  • Herr Meister
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

    That's an entire thread of its own. I kept waiting for there to be information on the Umbra relevant for vampires to be found in the Storyteller's Handbook or some other sourcebook, and was perpetually disappointed.

    I understand that relatively few vampires have access to abilities that allow access to the Umbra, and therefore you risk splitting up the group and having other players wait while one PC does something. But at the same time, there should be some kind of guidance to be able to run some short scene and then get back to the group.

    Any vampire can develop Astral Projection. Certain Paths of Necromancy give you access to the Underworld. There are several Thaumaturgical Paths that deal with spirits. Vampires can access this portion of the game. If done wrong, it can quickly take you away from the themes of vampire. So there needs to be some considerate thought on its portrayal so it's appropriate for the game. Instead, the game provided almost no direction, forcing players to access to the other books, and we're then told they shouldn't do that. A nice 10-20 page section in some book - let's call it the Storyteller's Secrets to Vampire - would probably have been enough.

    Yes, as I said in another thread, it seems vampires (un)live in a completely different setting from Mages and Werewolves. Even the rules for spirits are different, e.g. in Vampire it's stated Spirits use Rage for causing damage and soaking damage, while in Mage and Werewolf, Spirits use Willpower to soak (besides dexterity rolls). This is almost comical...

    And yes, Vampires have tons of powers that deal with spirits and other worlds, it's just that, as I said, it seems a great deal of the people who write vampire books seem to think that vampires dwell in another setting...

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  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

    That's an entire thread of its own. I kept waiting for there to be information on the Umbra relevant for vampires to be found in the Storyteller's Handbook or some other sourcebook, and was perpetually disappointed.
    Oh indeed, that is an issue that goes very far back in time indeed.

    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    I understand that relatively few vampires have access to abilities that allow access to the Umbra, and therefore you risk splitting up the group and having other players wait while one PC does something. But at the same time, there should be some kind of guidance to be able to run some short scene and then get back to the group.

    Any vampire can develop Astral Projection. Certain Paths of Necromancy give you access to the Underworld. There are several Thaumaturgical Paths that deal with spirits. Vampires can access this portion of the game. If done wrong, it can quickly take you away from the themes of vampire. So there needs to be some considerate thought on its portrayal so it's appropriate for the game. Instead, the game provided almost no direction, forcing players to access to the other books, and we're then told they shouldn't do that. A nice 10-20 page section in some book - let's call it the Storyteller's Secrets to Vampire - would probably have been enough.
    Yes, truth be told while i like Thaumaturgy and Necromancy, i'm not exactly a fan of how they became the swiss army racks to hang on anything supernatural one wanted but couldn't fit in a 1-5 dots sig discipline (with the proprietary clan/bloodline).

    Masquerade has always had a terrible, terrible relation with design space and some near pathologic need to put any such things in inches bordering on "ST character only". Participating in the "Why are Elder Powers so... awful?" thread is a near-constant exercise of self-control not to rant my lungs out and then some over the headaches resulting of players and STs trying to navigate the abundance of unnecessary straightjackets.

    Have done some tweaks and hacks to how i use things in the table through the years and sometimes those things crisscross considerably with all kinds of lore/canon deviations i've introduced in a number of chronicles. Having some ways for kindred to interact with places "outside the world" be they dreamscapes, astral planes, realms of the dead or whatever was one part of it at times.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 05-20-2022, 09:31 PM.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
    Combine those two things with my longstanding agravation at WW's insistence into making the Umbra this big NoNo place for kindred while being reasonably acessible for shapeshifters or mages and making my own stuff from there was unavoidable.
    That's an entire thread of its own. I kept waiting for there to be information on the Umbra relevant for vampires to be found in the Storyteller's Handbook or some other sourcebook, and was perpetually disappointed.

    I understand that relatively few vampires have access to abilities that allow access to the Umbra, and therefore you risk splitting up the group and having other players wait while one PC does something. But at the same time, there should be some kind of guidance to be able to run some short scene and then get back to the group.

    Any vampire can develop Astral Projection. Certain Paths of Necromancy give you access to the Underworld. There are several Thaumaturgical Paths that deal with spirits. Vampires can access this portion of the game. If done wrong, it can quickly take you away from the themes of vampire. So there needs to be some considerate thought on its portrayal so it's appropriate for the game. Instead, the game provided almost no direction, forcing players to access to the other books, and we're then told they shouldn't do that. A nice 10-20 page section in some book - let's call it the Storyteller's Secrets to Vampire - would probably have been enough.

    Leave a comment:


  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

    That's a very interesting idea!

    I had never thought that of using a Malkavian's dreams like that. While never a thing explored in Vampire, the other game lines used the concept of dreams and dream worlds a lot more.
    Thanks. The idea was inspired partly by Quentin's "Knights" having a sort of shared fantasy filter of reality (and special powers connected to it), partly by a reference in the original Digital Web book about good ol' Madness Network (aka Cobweb) being one of the hubs/sub-realms glued together into composing it. Combine those two things with my longstanding agravation at WW's insistence into making the Umbra this big NoNo place for kindred while being reasonably acessible for shapeshifters or mages and making my own stuff from there was unavoidable.


    Even went as far as trying to make for Le Fanu and his ilk a sort of pseudo-lovecraftian "old gods" (inspired by the works of his "namesake") to serve or fight over with Dark Selina. Fun times.


    The idea of doing a similar setup with DA:V was both increasing my options (while using materials much more familiar to the average player) and something of a snide remark on the insistence of some people on the Dark Ages setting as the past of Masquerade, when its own ever developing continuity and lore make it about as close as Exalted to being the past of the World of Darkness....
    Last edited by Baaldam; 05-19-2022, 09:09 PM.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
    I once did go for something a little somewhere in the middle by making Quentin and his "knights" into Kuranes and other components of Lovecraft's Dream Cycle.
    What could be considered as a forerunner of sorts for my gonzo "DA:V as a branch of the Cobweb/spirit realm that modern kindred may occasionally access by accident/bad luck or vice-versa" canon hack, i guess.
    That's a very interesting idea!

    I had never thought that of using a Malkavian's dreams like that. While never a thing explored in Vampire, the other game lines used the concept of dreams and dream worlds a lot more. I always wanted to make Chimares (dream domains in the Penumbra) and the various dream Gifts of Garou more prominent in my Werewolf games. I always thought it had a lot of potential, but never really used it. I didn't know how to best exploit it. But I've recently done a lot of recent work on this subject to use it whenever I next run a Werewolf game. This gives me a lot of new ideas.

    Chimares can achieve their own independent existence especially if multiple people dream about the same things. The idea of a shared collective madness by a group of Malkavians creating such a Chimare is a very intriguing one. It touches on a lot of the Malkavian themes. It might even exist independently of them, although the Malkavian dreamers themselves might enter it when they sleep during the day. Or possibly enter it via Astral Projection at night.

    It'd be very interesting to have Garou PCs run into this seemingly powerful shared delusion that manifested as a Chimare. They might have lots of questions. Yet even if they encounter the Malkavian dreamers in such a Chimare, there might not be anything that connects them to vampires. Given the many powers of Malkavian vampires, they might be seen to have incredible psychic powers. It could be a long while before the PCs ever figure it out. In the meantime, they might even try to utilize the psychic abilities of their new "friends" or "acquaintances" to help them.

    This now seems like such an obvious hook to me, I can't believe I never thought of it my own.

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  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

    This was the big weakness of almost all By Night books other than Chicago. The original Chicago By Night had a wealth of NPCs that were deeply embedded in the history of the city. Not only did NPCs do things that were behind the scenes of some events, you essentially got a history of Chicago by looking at the biographies of a lot of NPCs. That made those characters seem relevant to the city. They weren't generic characters who could appear anywhere. Not all NPCs were like that, but it was enough to flavor the city.

    In contrast, very few NPCs in the other books had that sense of history for the city. For a lot of the books, the NPCs were just generic and could have been set anywhere. And a fair number of NPCs to me struck as very much as "I bet this one and these other characters were the original PCs of the writer and his friends in some chronicle they played."
    It's one of those things that endlessly frustrated me with many a By Night, how the lesson they all seemed to learn from CbN was not "tell the city's history through a fantastic lens with its kindred" but "need MOAR web of random NPCs dancing on the strings of the web of methuselahs", with the chronicle's locale a mere afterthought at most.

    My impression is that too many of those NPCs, in Dark Colony and many of the later By Night books reflect, in intent/spirit at least, Chicago's Primogen - and the CbN 2nd ed specific cast of NPCs - that was composed of long-lived somewhat globetrottling kindred for whom the game's city might be seen as simply a comfortable stop or new home in a long string of others.


    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    I like the idea of Boston being a center of Malkavian power. That's an interesting seed to start with. But nothing about Quentin King and the Six Knights, or any other character in Dark Colony, really struck me as characters that had to be in Boston (or any other New England city). They could have been set anywhere.

    (I remember someone's WoD webpage, in the early days of the internet, said HP Lovecraft was either the Prince of Providence, or a Tremere in a chantry there. That alone had tons more New England flavor than anything in Dark Colony.)
    I once did go for something a little somewhere in the middle by making Quentin and his "knights" into Kuranes and other components of Lovecraft's Dream Cycle.
    What could be considered as a forerunner of sorts for my gonzo "DA:V as a branch of the Cobweb/spirit realm that modern kindred may occasionally access by accident/bad luck or vice-versa" canon hack, i guess.


    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    With the passage of time, I wonder how much of the "magic" of the original Chicago By Night was simply the fact they stole so many characters from "The Jungle."
    The big magical question all of us 1st/2nd old fart fanboys ask ourselves sometimes, no?
    Last edited by Baaldam; 05-20-2022, 09:42 AM.

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  • Herr Meister
    replied
    I tend to use them often, but most of the time they aren't really in the spotlight, so to speak. My own NPC's roles are almost always more important to the story.
    Also, I feel the need to mention that I always kind of make my own version of the characters presented in the books and just use what's written about them as a basis. There are many really well-developed characters in the books, e.g. Jürgen von Verden, Constancia, Marianna Giovanni, Goratrix, Anatole, Mithras, Becket, Veronique d'Orléans, etc, but also many bad ones like Gustav Breidenstein, Francisca dos Rodrigues, Ferox, Dieter Kotlar, Andeleon, Ur-Shulgi, etc . I must also state that I always change their traits, but that is just because many times it seems the folk that write the stories don't have a clue about giving traits to character, e.g. look at Mithras' official traits, just to give one example hahaha...

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
    I’ll actually go a step further and say not only do I not use established characters, I actively overwrote the canonical vampires in Boston because, frankly, they were lame. There’s just so much history and culture in Boston that got completely ignored in favor of a Malkavian Prince who thinks he’s King Arthur and fights the upstate Sabbat.
    This was the big weakness of almost all By Night books other than Chicago. The original Chicago By Night had a wealth of NPCs that were deeply embedded in the history of the city. Not only did NPCs do things that were behind the scenes of some events, you essentially got a history of Chicago by looking at the biographies of a lot of NPCs. That made those characters seem relevant to the city. They weren't generic characters who could appear anywhere. Not all NPCs were like that, but it was enough to flavor the city.

    In contrast, very few NPCs in the other books had that sense of history for the city. For a lot of the books, the NPCs were just generic and could have been set anywhere. And a fair number of NPCs to me struck as very much as "I bet this one and these other characters were the original PCs of the writer and his friends in some chronicle they played."

    I like the idea of Boston being a center of Malkavian power. That's an interesting seed to start with. But nothing about Quentin King and the Six Knights, or any other character in Dark Colony, really struck me as characters that had to be in Boston (or any other New England city). They could have been set anywhere.

    (I remember someone's WoD webpage, in the early days of the internet, said HP Lovecraft was either the Prince of Providence, or a Tremere in a chantry there. That alone had tons more New England flavor than anything in Dark Colony.)

    And if your NPCs don't reflect the setting, why even do a By Night book there? I knew many early fans who were early buyers of the By Night books. We were all looking to run our own chronicle with one of them as our first Vampire ST was running Chicago for us. But once it was obvious that White Wolf couldn't recapture the magic of the original Chicago By Night, there was no reason to continue to buy them. (And because of the killing of many original NPCs in Under a Blood Red Moon, and introducing many new characters to Chicago, the 2nd edition CbN fell into a lot of the same traps.)

    With the passage of time, I wonder how much of the "magic" of the original Chicago By Night was simply the fact they stole so many characters from "The Jungle."

    Leave a comment:


  • blailton
    replied
    never. But I use the PC templates char exemples in the end of each Clanbook

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