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Does anyone else dislike the Tzimisce?

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  • #91
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    I don't think Dominate is a good fit for the clan (it may be for some of them, but they can buy as Out-of-Clan), but I wouldn't make any sorcery In-Clan for anyone, specially in V20, but even in V5. I think that being given explicit access to it if they want to learn is perfect already for all the "sorcerous" clans and bloodlines;

    Personally I have nothing against Vicissitude, but taken out of the picture the best replacement is certainly Protean, not Dominate.
    Well, while I on one side, certainly don't have a problem with the Old Clan Tzimisce having Koldunism as a clan discipline, specially since both the Assamite and the Tremere have it as clan discipline and not giving it to the Old Clan would only mean it costs more xp, what is in turn almost completely irrelevant to the setting and only relevant to a PC wanting to learn it. On the other side, I think Protean is one of the best disciplines in the game and certainly a very interesting and fitting one to give to the clan.

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    • #92
      Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
      I've never been a fan of the Old Clan's spread, or even of them as a separate bloodline for that matter.

      And I don't think Dominate a good fit for isolated lords that work more through the notion of ownership and/or tradition than by virtue of their social skills, and frequently don't even command personally. While not a social skill itself, Dominate is about personal presence and imposing will, and about giving orders directly.

      The Tzimisce are distant, isolated lords focused on personal development, and their relationship with their servants is more like an extension of their relationship to the land itself, from all perspectives. They rule because they rule the land, because that's their place and identity, you obey because you belong to that land, that's your place and identity, intertwined in many ways with one another, and you never need to meet or like each other to know and follow your roles, and breaking this ancient pact isn't so much impossible, but just fraught with danger.

      Of course, some of them are more direct in their lordship and do benefit of Dominate both personally and thematically. But then OoC is good enough an option, Dominate isn't a particularly hard Discipline to learn and may even be specially easy among them, but still OoC.

      True I do have one Tzimisce npc who is going to have strong knowledge of the Presence discipline that is perculating in my mind right now.


      What in the name of Set is going on here?

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      • #93
        Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
        .
        But my point is less the reality of the Antes and more their legends. The reality can be quite different, and to me it actually works better with a lot more of mundanity to it. [Lasombra] died of starvation from exploring the Abyss, leaving a desperate but powerful Ghoul, and Gratiano don't want to reveal that the clan feared the Wizard of Oz for centuries. [Tzimisce] is stuck with a mediocre Path rating because he's too egotistical to Transcend. Arikel/Ishtar dropped the Jyhad completely and helps artists unionize through the internet, a real challenge and better use for her skills. Absimilliard lives in a cave near to a port and drinks on drug users exclusively and frequently, for no sustenance, just the kicks.

        For whatever the truth about them is worth, these are Antes you can put in front of your PCs with their full power and knowledge without fear of the chronicle getting out of hand. They can provide help or antagonize, can't be even approached in sheer power, even by Methuselahs, yet they won't just "win" by showing up.
        I always head-cannoned that the ventrue antedeluvian had just abandoned the jyhad early on and wants nothing to do with their clan as a whole. Whenever I run a gehenna scenario I just have them as an easter egg at a coffee shop somewhere during the chronicle, if the PCs interact with them they get a dominate augmented middle finger and wake up from a daze 2 minutes later standing in the same spot with no onw around.

        This has slowly snowballed into a theory about ante's "Dying" essentially being code for them retiring from the Jyhad, except Cappadocius. Cappadocius just messed up Bad and is stuck somewhere between dead/undead/alive because They, their loyal childer, and the Giovanni all somehow managed to fail at their conflicting goals at the same time.

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        • #94
          I think my issue with modern Tzimisce is not what their character concepts are. There's nothing wrong, I think, with having sadistic torturers or callous researchers or lords of fiefdoms or splatterpunk cannon fodder. That's all fine, as far as it goes.

          It's that there's so rarely anything outside of that. That their concepts are very narrow.

          The problem that the Souleaters presented wasn't really the Souleaters themselves. It was that it established the Tzimisce as being subtly "wrong". In a way that the Clan didn't shake even when Souleaters as a concept were quietly dropped. Whether it's spiritual parasites, the malign influence of Kupala, or the machinations of [Tzimisce], the whole Clan is pigeon-holed into being monstrous. That they can never have defensible motivations. That even if they try to be positive, it must be twisted somehow. You can't have the horror just from the fact they're a blood-drinking necro-parasite, they also need to be maladjusted or taking their actions to unhealthy places.

          This is largely a problem with all Vampires, of course, but it's especially apparent with Tzimisce. And especially especially when Vicissitude is involved.

          Tzimisce using their flesh-shaping powers to turn themselves or others into freaks, or to use their powers to hurt people, is not, as stated previously, the problem. The problem is that's all Tzimisce are allowed to be. And if they're not that, they're in thrall to the "Noble Monster" archetype. Which, again, not a bad idea, but limiting if that's ALL they can be.

          The fact that Vicissitude is only used for horror is kind of problematic. The ability to change yourself can only be used for evil or, begrudgingly, for base utility? Seems like the game and our fandom have missed a trick here.

          Ideas off the top of my head for using Vicissitude:

          1) The Tzimisce is trans or genderfluid. Their ability to change themselves is a liberating power, allowing them to be whatever they want to be. It's about self-actualization, in a manner that is very rooted in the human experience. And they can further grant this gift for others, whether living or undead. Imagine a Tzimisce whose ghouls or Herd are trans people, marginalized or living on the street, that they grant miraculous transformations to when their own home situation would never allow them to transition. Is this a good idea? Probably not. But it's something a Tzimisce could do, if they were looking to humanity (and Humanity) rather than cutting themselves off from it.

          2) A Tzimisce who, every time they accidentally kill someone from overfeeding, feels compelled to take on that person's identity for a time. They believe or even just feel like they're obligated to put their victim to rest, to exorcise their possessing spirit through emulating their life. Sleeping in their bed. Eating their favorite foods (assume the Tzimisce has the Eat Food merit). Watching their favorite movies, and reading their favorite books. Publishing their unfinished manuscript. Making peace with their loved ones. Making sure their pets have a home. Getting revenge on their enemies. And when the Tzimisce believes they've sufficiently placated the memory of this person whose life they stole, they give them a funeral and discard their face.

          3) A penitent Tzimisce who marks their body with a physical symbol of their transgressions. They craft them on when they commit the sin, and only remove it when they've properly atoned. Their body is often a quilt of scars, knotwork, and the faces of anguished victims. They're on a personal crusade, trying to do enough good to level out the harm they've done.

          4) They commit daring crimes or scandalous acts, while wearing the faces of corrupt businessmen or politicians. Just in the hopes of causing problems for them. It doesn't matter if nothing comes of it. Even legitimate crimes go unpunished. It's that their names have been dragged through the mud, as they ought to be. Keeping the spotlight on folks who would rather be forgotten by the public. (This is also not limited to mortals, either. They could attract all kinds of negative attention to powerful Kindred, whether via the public or for vampire hunters.)

          5) A Tzimisce that scares people away from places haunted or stalked by monsters far worse than them. Assumes the appearance of the most disturbing horror movie monsters, and finds people sneaking around where they're not supposed to go. Giving them a good scare, so they avoid the place like the plague. OR you have a Tzimisce that tries to revitalize the local economy by taking the form of a cryptid, and make scattered appearances (never close enough to really be seen). Animals can be controlled for this purpose as well, since people will readily mistake a barn owl for a Moth Man all on their own. If the Tzimisce can get TV programs devoted to gormless TV crews looking for monsters that (mostly) don't exist, that puts the city back on the map.


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          • #95
            2) A Tzimisce who, every time they accidentally kill someone from overfeeding, feels compelled to take on that person's identity for a time. They believe or even just feel like they're obligated to put their victim to rest, to exorcise their possessing spirit through emulating their life. Sleeping in their bed. Eating their favorite foods (assume the Tzimisce has the Eat Food merit). Watching their favorite movies, and reading their favorite books. Publishing their unfinished manuscript. Making peace with their loved ones. Making sure their pets have a home. Getting revenge on their enemies. And when the Tzimisce believes they've sufficiently placated the memory of this person whose life they stole, they give them a funeral and discard their face.
            This is a very interesting take on the Tzimisce. I agree that, even more than the other cainites, the Tzimisce are viewed as irredeemable monsters and it kind of limit their options as characters, even more so when we're talking about PC characters, although it can be argued that the same often apply to many clans. One thing I might add is that there are many Tzimisce PCs who like to have a" perfect form" (i.e. have max appearance), instead of looking monstrous.
            Last edited by Herr Meister; 05-20-2022, 02:56 PM.

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            • #96
              I’m tinkering with Late Antiquity VtM at the moment, and based on the Dark Ages Dracul confirming some of the Old Clan narrative that Vicissistude hasn’t always been so proliferate through the Clan (but still wanting it around if only for some Dracones to make monsters out of mythology), what I’m thinking is giving them the Old Clan Discipline spred with both Vicissitude and a form of broader animistic blood sorcery that incorporates Koldunic sorcery being available to purchase at out of Clan cost.


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              • #97
                Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post

                This is a very interesting take on the Tzimisce. I agree that, even more than the other cainites, the Tzimisce are viewed as irredeemable monsters and it kind of limit their options as characters, even more so when we're talking about PC characters, although it can be argued that the same often apply to many clans. One thing I might add is that there are many Tzimisce PCs who like to have a" perfect form" (i.e. have max appearance), instead of looking monstrous.
                It's worth noting that "monstrous/inhuman" and "beautiful" are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Sascha Vykos is statted with more than 5 dots in Appearance but has generally been depicted as quite inhuman looking. My understanding is that plenty of Tzimisce try and appear both monstrous and beautiful, more beautiful than is humanly possible even, through Vicissitude.

                All of them are trying to find a "perfect form," but they have different criteria for what that means. There are as many trying for angelic beauty as hideous monstrosity; what tends to be consistent is the inhumanity.

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by Kharnov View Post

                  It's worth noting that "monstrous/inhuman" and "beautiful" are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Sascha Vykos is statted with more than 5 dots in Appearance but has generally been depicted as quite inhuman looking. My understanding is that plenty of Tzimisce try and appear both monstrous and beautiful, more beautiful than is humanly possible even, through Vicissitude.

                  All of them are trying to find a "perfect form," but they have different criteria for what that means. There are as many trying for angelic beauty as hideous monstrosity; what tends to be consistent is the inhumanity.
                  They are certainly not "mutually exclusive", I just meant that there are many Tzimisce who look very beautiful and not monstrous. Gesu , from Constantinople is a good example that comes to mind. Also, I talk mostly about my personal experience, many players use Vicissitude as "plastic surgery" to make their characters aesthetically perfect.

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                  • #99
                    There's always been a tendency to code certain disciplines as evil, and it's always been strange. Necromancy, Quietus, and Viccissitude top the list. Necromancy has always been coded as evil, and this tendency has gotten worse this edition with the mere use of Oblivion creating a significant risk of stains even if it is used to save puppies and orphans.

                    I've always found it strange, since all vampiric powers are used to aid in the hunting and eating of humans. Auspex tracks humans, checks if there are witnesses nearby, and discovers any weaknesses that might be used to manipulate the prey. Fortitude shrugs off the counter-attacks of the prey as you try to eat them. Potence lets you overpower the prey and beat them into submission so you can eat them. Celerity allows you pounce on the prey before they can escape. Dominate and Presence are both mind-rape performed to control the prey so you can eat them. There are no nice disciplines. They are, every last one of them, weapons to eat people with.

                    Yet Necromancy/Oblivion, Quietus, and Viccissitude are the officially evil disciplines. These are the disciplines that get coded as something inherently worse than what normal vampires use. They seem to represent Death, Poison, and Corruption in the minds of the writers, and this is somehow worse than violating someone's mind with Dominate.

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                    • Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post
                      They are certainly not "mutually exclusive", I just meant that there are many Tzimisce who look very beautiful and not monstrous. Gesu , from Constantinople is a good example that comes to mind.
                      I mean, he doesn't look monstrous until you see Lillian's face embedded in his chest, that's pretty monstrous to me even if he still looks beautiful and human otherwise.

                      But I get what you mean. IIRC Damek Ruthven only used his Vicissitude to increase his size, but otherwise looked as human as any other vampire.

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                      • Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                        There's always been a tendency to code certain disciplines as evil, and it's always been strange.
                        Do not forget Obtenebration, and sometimes even Serpentis, because Snake Protean is EVIL.

                        But yeah, the authors sometimes lost track that the game was already about monsters and tried to outdo themselves, and the Tzimisce are among the most frequent to be singled out for the job, with Vicissitude being somehow more horrific than other Disciplines because... reasons.

                        A lot of this also have to do with traditions from American/British literature and fiction the authors frequently followed by heart, even if not always it made sense for, again, a game of monsters, much less when other cultural influences started to come in (or at least their aesthetics).

                        Originally posted by Kharnov View Post
                        IIRC Damek Ruthven only used his Vicissitude to increase his size, but otherwise looked as human as any other vampire.
                        His childer Danika doesn't seems to have used it at all on her own appearance, although she may have reverted it after becoming Inconnu.


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                        • he doesn't look monstrous until you see Lillian's face embedded in his chest
                          Many Tzimisce are romantic (Velya is another one that comes to mind hahaha), it's understandable, I don't think it's monstrous at all lol

                          His childer Danika doesn't seems to have used it at all on her own appearance, although she may have reverted it after becoming Inconnu.
                          Also, her child Anastazi used his Vicissitude to look like a paragon of male beauty, not monstrous at all.

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                          • Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                            There's always been a tendency to code certain disciplines as evil, and it's always been strange. Necromancy, Quietus, and Viccissitude top the list. Necromancy has always been coded as evil, and this tendency has gotten worse this edition with the mere use of Oblivion creating a significant risk of stains even if it is used to save puppies and orphans.

                            I've always found it strange, since all vampiric powers are used to aid in the hunting and eating of humans. Auspex tracks humans, checks if there are witnesses nearby, and discovers any weaknesses that might be used to manipulate the prey. Fortitude shrugs off the counter-attacks of the prey as you try to eat them. Potence lets you overpower the prey and beat them into submission so you can eat them. Celerity allows you pounce on the prey before they can escape. Dominate and Presence are both mind-rape performed to control the prey so you can eat them. There are no nice disciplines. They are, every last one of them, weapons to eat people with.

                            Yet Necromancy/Oblivion, Quietus, and Viccissitude are the officially evil disciplines. These are the disciplines that get coded as something inherently worse than what normal vampires use. They seem to represent Death, Poison, and Corruption in the minds of the writers, and this is somehow worse than violating someone's mind with Dominate.
                            Yeah I always thought this was weak writting, not so much for the assumption certain disciplines are 'bad' but because of the fallacy some arnt. I tend to hint that all the disciplines are metaphysical traps it's just some are more overt than others or not at all depending on who you ask.

                            Oblivion following of this mindset in v5 is probably one of the editions biggest gaffes. For both mechanical and thematic reasons.

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                            • The idea that if you code some vampiric powers as extra heinous it somehow exonerates other vampiric powers seems like a fallacy to me. That's like saying that you cannot highlight chlorofluorocarbons as extra damaging to the ozone layer without also talking about all other ozone-depleting substances. If something is called out as particularly destructive, that does not make less destructive but still harmful things okay.

                              I can't think of examples from the books that treat Quietus as an especially wicked set of powers, but I have no problem with Vicissitude and Necromancy as 'extra evil' disciplines. Like I've argued in this thread and elsewhere in the past, original flavor Vicissitude is pretty much just straight up Wyrm/Bane/fomor influence, so the idea that employing it would take a toll on the user physically, mentally, and spiritually is a no-brainer to me. Likewise, the World of Darkness has traditionally treated Necromancy as the power of commanding, binding, and torturing immortal souls. Even the mummy variety of Necromancy in the original supplement put the user at risk of Derangement rolls -- and mummies were far less bad guys than vampires, as a general thing.

                              If the writers want to highlight powers such as these as particularly damaging to one's sanity or morality, that seems to me like a perfectly justifiable rather than a strange choice. I certainly can't agree that it's a sign of "weak" writing at all.
                              Last edited by Elphilm; 05-21-2022, 10:42 AM.

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                              • [QUOTE=Herr Meister;n1481573]

                                Many Tzimisce are romantic (Velya is another one that comes to mind hahaha), it's understandable, I don't think it's monstrous at all lol

                                Velya was a demented character for sure with his write up and I couldn;t get the image of his bride attached to him out of my head and the same with Gesu having the face of Lillian on his chest and driving a further wedge between him and his brother.




                                What in the name of Set is going on here?

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