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  • Generation/Blood Potency as an Advantage

    TL;DR - How would you look at implementing generation/blood potency as a background that can be bought during character creation in V5.

    In previous editions, particularly V20 generation was something you could take during character creation. This meant that player characters could have a generation ranging anywhere from 8th-16th generation using backgrounds and flaws. Amongst veteran players, generation as a background became infamous as the background taken by power-gamers, usually to the maximum 5-dots allowing for an 8th generation character.

    In no small part, the design and lore of the game incentivised this sort of min-maxing. Generation is a very powerful background to have and it can only be raised after character creation via diablerie, a heinous crime in most games. (Whereas other backgrounds can be built up with far fewer complications involved.)
    In V5 generation was somewhat uncoupled directly from direct mechanical power, with the mechanical weight instead being placed on blood potency (which is determined/restricted by generation.)

    However, there is no option for a character to purchase a different generation or blood potency as part of character creation. (The only option by RAW is to take the Blood Leech predator type.) ST's can allow older characters with more XP, lower generation, and higher blood potency but RAW there's no support for a mixed coterie with varying generations and blood potency.

    I've been trying to work out a way to add some of that variety back into the game, whilst also avoiding the issues seen in V20. So far I've had a few different design ideas.

    Humanity for Blood-Potency - At character creation players could lose one dot in humanity to gain one dot of blood potency, sacrificing a maximum of three dots. If this took their blood potency above the standard generational maximum, then they decreased the generation by the minimum amount necessary for the new blood potency.

    Advantage Dots/Flaws for Blood Potency

    As per the core rules, blood potency costs 10x the new rating in XP to increase. For the average player that means it will cost 20xp to increase their character's blood potency. (By course rules that's somewhere in the region of 20 sessions worth of XP.)

    However, looking at the Blood Leech predator-type we run into problems. Normally the rule for a predator type is that it provides up to 3 dots of advantages, and then 1 dot fewer in flaws. (E.g. 3-dots of advantages from a predator-type means 2-dots of flaws.) We can also work out the equivalent XP cost of the advantages provided by a predator-type, 5xp per dot of advantages.

    In addition to standard flaws though, predator-types can come with associated humanity losses instead. Using the Alleycat predator-type we can work out roughly what this loss is 'worth'. Alleycat provides 3-dots of advantages, meaning losing 1-dot of humanity is equivalent to 2-dots of flaws.

    If we then look at Blood Leech, that means to increase Blood-Potency by one, a character is taking the equivalent of 6-points of flaws. 2-dot prey exclusion, 2-dot dark secret/shunned, and the loss of a dot of humanity. Sticking to the maths listed above it means the character should be gaining the equivalent of 35xp's worth of advantages. (Number of flaws provided by a predator-type = number of advantages - 1; the value of an advantage provided by a predator-type is typically 5xp because it's purchasing merits/backgrounds not blood potency.)

    35xp is enough to take a character from 1-dot to 2-dots of Blood-Potency with 15xp to spare. Granted, the maths might not hold as well because Blood Leech only provides an increase in Blood-Potency instead of other backgrounds or merits.

    Advantage Dots for Blood-Potency - A character's 7-dots of starting advantages can be spent on background merits, the equivalent XP cost for which is 5xp. This would mean that a character could in theory exchange 4 of their starting advantage dots to go from 1-dot blood potency to 2-dot blood potency.

    Extra Flaws for Blood-Potency - A character could take extra flaws using a formula similar to the ones for predator types to cover an increase in blood potency, depending on the equivalent xp cost. E.g. going from 1-dot blood potency to 2-dot blood potency costs 20xp, so they could 3-dots of extra flaws. (Blood Potency increase costs 20xp, the equivalent of 4-dots of starting advantage dots; therefore they need 1 fewer dots of flaws.)


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    Current Project(s): Tales from the Fronts - A Guide to the Gehenna War

  • #2
    Humanity for Blood-Potency - At character creation players could lose one dot in humanity to gain one dot of blood potency, sacrificing a maximum of three dots. If this took their blood potency above the standard generational maximum, then they decreased the generation by the minimum amount necessary for the new blood potency.
    Is this limited to just once? Even if it is, it's way too powerful. Starting with Humanity 5 or 6 is absolutely worth it for an extra dot of Blood Potency, hell, even 4 is absolutely worth if it. It'd be hard to not pick it.


    Advantage Dots/Flaws for Blood Potency

    As per the core rules, blood potency costs 10x the new rating in XP to increase. For the average player that means it will cost 20xp to increase their character's blood potency. (By course rules that's somewhere in the region of 20 sessions worth of XP.)
    A bit less, as you are supposed to give bonus 1 xp at the end of each story, but it changes little.

    However, looking at the Blood Leech predator-type we run into problems. Normally the rule for a predator type is that it provides up to 3 dots of advantages, and then 1 dot fewer in flaws. (E.g. 3-dots of advantages from a predator-type means 2-dots of flaws.) We can also work out the equivalent XP cost of the advantages provided by a predator-type, 5xp per dot of advantages.

    In addition to standard flaws though, predator-types can come with associated humanity losses instead. Using the Alleycat predator-type we can work out roughly what this loss is 'worth'. Alleycat provides 3-dots of advantages, meaning losing 1-dot of humanity is equivalent to 2-dots of flaws.

    If we then look at Blood Leech, that means to increase Blood-Potency by one, a character is taking the equivalent of 6-points of flaws. 2-dot prey exclusion, 2-dot dark secret/shunned, and the loss of a dot of humanity. Sticking to the maths listed above it means the character should be gaining the equivalent of 35xp's worth of advantages. (Number of flaws provided by a predator-type = number of advantages - 1; the value of an advantage provided by a predator-type is typically 5xp because it's purchasing merits/backgrounds not blood potency.)
    Where does this 5XP cost comes from? Advantages are priced at 3 XP per dot.

    35xp is enough to take a character from 1-dot to 2-dots of Blood-Potency with 15xp to spare. Granted, the maths might not hold as well because Blood Leech only provides an increase in Blood-Potency instead of other backgrounds or merits.
    If you price each advantage dot at 3, the 7 dots Blood Leech gives grant an equivalent 21 XP, so for a neonate it fits the equivalent cost..

    Advantage Dots for Blood-Potency - A character's 7-dots of starting advantages can be spent on background merits, the equivalent XP cost for which is 5xp. This would mean that a character could in theory exchange 4 of their starting advantage dots to go from 1-dot blood potency to 2-dot blood potency.
    The equivalent cost is 3, so it'd be about 7 dots. At which point you'd have a character who has basically nothing besides BP.

    Extra Flaws for Blood-Potency - A character could take extra flaws using a formula similar to the ones for predator types to cover an increase in blood potency, depending on the equivalent xp cost. E.g. going from 1-dot blood potency to 2-dot blood potency costs 20xp, so they could 3-dots of extra flaws. (Blood Potency increase costs 20xp, the equivalent of 4-dots of starting advantage dots; therefore they need 1 fewer dots of flaws.)

    Aside from the weird costs, extra flaws for bonuses isn't a thing in V5 for a reason, with few exceptions which I don't think are relevant atm. Flaws are supposed to be relevant to characters and the story. Averaging out predator types, neonate characters already start the game with 3-4 flaws. Adding 3 (or more accurately, 6) means the ST has to work even harder so that the flaws are relevant and not just free points a character got.

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    • #3
      I would ditch the maths and approach it from the perspective of making a better game for your table. So if having more flexibility in terms of Generation is important to you, then make rules that allow for that without making it a mandatory choice.

      That leads us to the issue of what you want players to be able to raise -- Blood Potency or Generation. Your assumption seems to be that Generation is the more powerful of the two, and that's sort of right, but it also overlooks one important factor: Generation may make you more powerful further down the line (and a very long way off if you use the RAW XP rules) but Blood Potency makes you more powerful right now. There's also something to be said for PCs feeling like they're growing together.

      That makes me think you should have the rules focus on increasing Generation instead, with players roughly starting out at the same BP. (I would also award BP increases as a milestone reward, rather than via XP, but that's another issue.)

      If you were to make Generation the thing you can buy, I'd have a set range for a Chronicle (so, 13-16, or 10-12, etc) that players can't exceed. I'd base it on the 'power level' you want for the game (e.g., street, city, national, global).

      Players automatically start at the highest Generation within a given bracket and can spend, say, 10xp to decrease their Generation by one more step, up to the lowest Generation imposed by the Chronicle.

      So, try this:

      In the Gutter: 16th to 14th
      In the Streets: 13th to 11th
      In the Parlour: 12th to 10th
      In the Annals: 9th to 8th

      Let's say you want a political 'parlour-level' campaign. All the PCs can start off at 12th Generation for free. If they want to go up to 11th, they spend 10xp. If they want to go up to 10th, they spend 20xp. Those who don't buy up their Generation start off with some nice bonuses that can help them now, whereas the others are paying for greater potential.

      If you get the ranges right, it should mean everyone starts off at the same BP at each power level, too. So all the PCs are Thin Bloods together, or at BP 1 together, or BP 2 together. I think it works the way I've suggested, but I'm away from my books to check the exact starting BP ratings for each Generation. (I know V5 doesn't really distinguish between Thin Bloods in terms of BP or anything, but a lower Generation is at least useful for Dominate. I guess you could charge half price for the Generation decreases between 16th and 14th Generation.)


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      • #4
        Speaking from the opposite direction, I actually removed Generation from the available backgrounds in my V20 games and instead made generations 8-13 a series of trade-offs (7 or less were still unmitigated boons so there’s still the temptation for diablerie). 8th Generation notably had increased difficulty for the Virtue checks, gained only half nourishment from cold blood and no nourishment from animal blood. 13th Generation by contrast not only got full nourishment from the above, but also got the eat food merit for free and suffered less from their clan weakness (either half the penalty, -1 difficulty if it involved a check, take extra damage only after the second turn of exposure, or can gain half nourishment from those outside your chosen feeding type).

        ETA: here’s the order I used;
        13th: eat food, half clan weakness.
        12th: half clan weakness.
        11th: no modifiers.
        10th: half nourishment from animals and cold blood.
        9th: no nourishment from animals, half from cold blood.
        8th: no nourishment from animals, half from cold blood, +1 diff to virtue checks.
        Last edited by Chris24601; 05-05-2022, 11:26 AM.

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        • #5
          In the context of V5, I'd just allow players to choose from a bracket (11th-13th for the standard game), as resisting Dominate by spending a willpower isn't the most useful thing ever, and the Blood Potency maximum will hardly ever come into play, short of jumping ahead 300 years and giving BP.

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          • #6
            I'm mostly with SetiteFriend here, and adambeyoncelowe was precise with the BP/Generation aspect.

            Seriously, for V5 you could easily let Generation be a normal 1-dot Advantage, at least as long as it doesn't change the PCs' starting BP. And if you let the group start at a higher BP, then you pretty much expands your range of possible Generations. It's direct effect is too small to have a steeper cost, no matter how much important it is in lore. That's an old design mistake from old games, never give a mechanical cost based on in-lore rarity, mechanical cost should reflect mechanical benefit.

            Blood Potency you can give with any rule that's equivalent to 20 XP or a little more, with the exception of Humanity. As pointed out, the effect doesn't really by any means reflects the XP cost. In fact, I would say the XP cost for Humanity is preposterous, the very same design mistake I just cited. specially when it comes coupled with so much implied difficulty to even get the right to raise it. Trading Humanity for BP isn't a good choice in any proportion.


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            • #7
              Generation's not really worth getting in V5, and certainly not something you want to spend XP or character points on.
              Healing faster and a small die bonus for some discipline powers isn't worth the extra hunger problems. I'd rather not be in trouble than better at dealing with the increased amount of trouble I have.


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              • #8
                I dunno, the Hecata I'm playing is BP 3. If she was one generation lower, I would happily take BP 4. Extra dice are a lot more valuable in V5 than they are in previous editions, and I happen to enjoy "hard mode".

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                • #9
                  Until BP 5, it affects hunger very little, unless you feed on animal/bagged blood.

                  BP 4 is the a great spot to be in, substantial bonus, doesn't up your bane severity or give you higher resting hunger.
                  Last edited by SetiteFriend; 05-09-2022, 01:42 PM. Reason: More thoughts

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tiltowait View Post
                    I dunno, the Hecata I'm playing is BP 3. If she was one generation lower, I would happily take BP 4. Extra dice are a lot more valuable in V5 than they are in previous editions, and I happen to enjoy "hard mode".
                    Yes, but would you think more than an Advantage dot towards this Generation would be a fair price when you would still have to buy that extra BP with 20 XP? Look at what you got at character creation and the things you bought with Advantages, not to focus on what would you give up for a better starting Generation, but if this seems like an interesting choice or an easy one you would never make otherwise. Also think about the benefits you got from your Advantages and the time without much of a benefit from Generation until you bought that extra BP.


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                    • #11
                      I would disconnect Age and Generation, and I would probably just use the old Generation Charts.
                      5 dots being Eighth Gen and leave Blood Potency at the Minimum for that Generation.

                      Ignore the Generation/Age section at the end of character creation, or rather just use that for actual Age and have the starting gen be the highest of that grouping.

                      This lets you be a newly created childe of a 7th Gen Vampire.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Erebus1 View Post
                        I would disconnect Age and Generation, and I would probably just use the old Generation Charts.
                        5 dots being Eighth Gen and leave Blood Potency at the Minimum for that Generation.
                        That would be too similar to just keeping the old rule with the old problems, which seems to be exactly what Karos and most or all others here want to avoid. While the immediate effect is reduced, it is still too big for anyone to not take Gen at 5 dots if they don't specifically want to avoid it.

                        On age... I don't think anyone but a beginner would really take the chart to heart, it is just a general guideline, And for a beginner it is good that it is there, it gives an easy starting point to figure things out. They'll grow out of it on their own in no time, but better for having such a ground under their feet initially.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Erebus1 View Post
                          I would disconnect Age and Generation, and I would probably just use the old Generation Charts.
                          5 dots being Eighth Gen and leave Blood Potency at the Minimum for that Generation.

                          Ignore the Generation/Age section at the end of character creation, or rather just use that for actual Age and have the starting gen be the highest of that grouping.

                          This lets you be a newly created childe of a 7th Gen Vampire.
                          On the surface that seems an okay fix, except you'd need to buy your way to 8th-9th generation (4-5 dots worth of starting advantages) before that would make your BP any different to someone who just stuck with the 13th you can start with. As monteparnas points out that brings over most of the issues with the older design intact.

                          I'm increasingly inclined to pick a generation and age bracket is the way forwards, then find some maths the roughly works to let players buy additional BP at character creation.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Karos View Post
                            I'm increasingly inclined to pick a generation and age bracket is the way forwards, then find some maths the roughly works to let players buy additional BP at character creation.
                            One thing you can do is to calculate how much it costs to reach each BP level and then make other benefits or Advantage packets that cost roughly the same to give as option.

                            At the end of the day, BP is worth too much in XP, so anything that uses only the starting points will cost too much. You can also simply handle initial XP with pre-defined options on what to expend them, like BP and Loresheets.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                              Yes, but would you think more than an Advantage dot towards this Generation would be a fair price when you would still have to buy that extra BP with 20 XP? Look at what you got at character creation and the things you bought with Advantages, not to focus on what would you give up for a better starting Generation, but if this seems like an interesting choice or an easy one you would never make otherwise. Also think about the benefits you got from your Advantages and the time without much of a benefit from Generation until you bought that extra BP.
                              For the particular character in question, I would have spent an advantage point on generation, no question.

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