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How much do you think Physical disciplines should add to a vampire?

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  • How much do you think Physical disciplines should add to a vampire?

    Thinking of Potence and especially Celerity (and we might as well discuss Fortitude too) and considering a more simulationist approach to vampire: How much should these disciplines ideally perform? Is 1 dot of celerity a 5% speed boost, a 20% speed boost, a 50% speed boost? What does 5 dots of Celerity offer then? How much height should Potence add to a jump (assuming no special combination disciplines). In a Swim, what's the more useful discipline, I'd assume it's Potence. In a gentle run, I'd imagine celerity would provide more speed, But in a sprint, I'd imagine that Potence would provide more explosive acceleration (though it would be more difficult to control)

    Celerity hurts to think about, because multiple actions and running speed increases are all well and good but really, if you can attack twice in the same timeframe, you should be able to attack once twice as fast, when in reality a mere 20% speed increase would make an MMA fighter invincible. A more moderate celerity however makes -superfast vampires- we're so fond of in fiction hard to do (or at the very least I'd need to think more about how much Potence/Celerity one would need to outrun a lupine in lupus)

    When you consider physical disciplines, do you just compare them to the Attribute or the Attribute + Ability? If a man has 4 stamina, 4 athletics, is 1 dot of Potence comparable to a 25% increase in performance or a 12.5% increase?



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  • #2
    With a simulationist mindset, the lines between the physical disciplines becomes blurred. If an organism gets an increase in strength, it can presumably apply that to locomotion, like you written, but this applies more to movement. A strike delivered with the heightened speed of Celerity should do more damage simply because of the increased kinetic energy transfered, which would require there to be strength into that. Likewise, the delivering body part should take more stress and possibly break from the increased output unless made more resilient.
    Someone who is actually strong is generally very fast as well (without disciplines), these two go hand in hand, and presumably resilient/conditioned on top of that as the body works that way.
    Something moving fast (and one would assume be able to perceive at that speed with it being supernatural) would be nigh impossible to hit for someone not matching that speed, like your instance with MMA-fighters.

    The rules make sense on a mechanical level, but as written very little when simulating it.

    Extra action celerity never rhymed very well, and more and more rules have added complexity in an attempt to solve it. From 1 blood per celerity level in Dark Ages, to the next round in Revised, to being incorporated in multiple actions and limiting the amount of offensive actions in DA20, to finally being removed in V5, something already occurring in VtR from the start.

    It's not perfect, but I do like how V5 remade the disciplines, it feels less like a constant break of physics and more like anger and direction. Potence (and to some extent Celerity) seems more like Outrage, it is sudden bursts of devastating energy. Even Fortitude is more like the beast awakens to protect the vampire, rather than a constant effect. There are som passives in there too, that grants some of that original feeling of the disciplines. But again, maybe not the best simulationst system, it just bypasses much of the discussions about it, because instead of a constant, it is a short outburst.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      Thinking of Potence and especially Celerity (and we might as well discuss Fortitude too) and considering a more simulationist approach to vampire: How much should these disciplines ideally perform? Is 1 dot of celerity a 5% speed boost, a 20% speed boost, a 50% speed boost? What does 5 dots of Celerity offer then? How much height should Potence add to a jump (assuming no special combination disciplines). In a Swim, what's the more useful discipline, I'd assume it's Potence. In a gentle run, I'd imagine celerity would provide more speed, But in a sprint, I'd imagine that Potence would provide more explosive acceleration (though it would be more difficult to control)

      Celerity hurts to think about, because multiple actions and running speed increases are all well and good but really, if you can attack twice in the same timeframe, you should be able to attack once twice as fast, when in reality a mere 20% speed increase would make an MMA fighter invincible. A more moderate celerity however makes -superfast vampires- we're so fond of in fiction hard to do (or at the very least I'd need to think more about how much Potence/Celerity one would need to outrun a lupine in lupus)

      When you consider physical disciplines, do you just compare them to the Attribute or the Attribute + Ability? If a man has 4 stamina, 4 athletics, is 1 dot of Potence comparable to a 25% increase in performance or a 12.5% increase?
      Theres celerity elder powers thst work on that basis

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      • #4
        I run it like this. How sensible it is I have no idea.

        I consider the physical disciplines to ultimately contribute to the attribute, not the ability. Abilities don't determine your capacity for things, like how fast you run, how strong you are, your reaction time, they determine the finess with which you apply it.
        I'm also pretty sure the disciplines bend forces, space and time around them more than they just make you stronger/faster/sturdier.

        Celerity bends time so that you can perform an action multiple times within the time frame it would take you to do it once. So if you can run a metre in a second, you can run three metres in a second. Or run two metres and then do something else you could do within the frame of a second.
        Potence multiplies the force of your movements, and forces the laws of physics to comply.
        Fortitude negates force as it applies to you. Elder powers can probably expand on that, turning it into reflecting or deflecting the force, or even telling other laws of physics to take a hike.

        Dexterity and Strength, Potence and celerity:
        I scale it like this:
        • Half your lift/running speed and add it to your base
        •• Double your lift/running speed
        ••• x3
        •••• x4
        ••••• x5
        etc, etc all the way to x10

        Dexterity is reflexes and coordination, I'd make movement speed dependent on Strength. Dexterity comes into it when you need your reaction times, dodge, make a sharp turn or slow down, etc. You also probably need Perception to notice things before you can react to them... or maybe Wits. Uhhh...

        Celerity and potence can both make you go faster (running, swiming, whatever). You can run the length of a street three times and collapse it into the span of a minute with Celerity, or you can run three times your speed with Potence. But if you used them to jump onto a ledge, Celerity can only fast forward the movement, it can't accelerate you to make the jump go further. You'd need Potence for that. On the other hand, Celerity can give you the time to respond to things, while Potency can't do anything to stop you crashing full force into a sudden car if you didn't see it in time.

        •••• Strength, •••• Athletics, • Potence
        Strength determines an average max capacity of; Can lift 180 kg. Jump; 2m high, 4m long. Running speed: 23mph.
        One dot of potence adds a 50% increase
        Athletics makes sure you know proper form, distribute weight properly, don't smack into a wall, fall over your own feet or twist an ankle but it doesn't make you any stronger or faster. It just makes you more likely to succeed.

        The vampire can lift up to 270 kg. Jump up to 3m high, 6m long. Can run up to 34.5 mph.


        Stamina and Fortitude
        Stamina doesn't actually matter much to vampires except for soaking, I think. It's the point where reality doesn't apply and you just go into "they're magic walking sort-of-corpses" territory. They don't get tired, they can't get winded or strained. You might hit them with a sledge hammer until they're lying on the floor as a mostly pulpy mess, but unless the brain or heart is damaged enough to kill or torpor them, they're probably just in pain and extremely pissed off.

        I like my undead annoyingly resilient, so Fortitude automatically soaks all damage and stamina automatically soaks bashing. Lethal damage can only be inflicted by direct damage to the heart and brain, which you can roll stamina to soak. Sunlight, fire and some very rare supernatural sources do aggravated.

        I'm not sure how to scale shock absorbtion outside of combat though. How much can the human body absorb on average, anyway? But when it comes to reflecting force the scale should be between something like "anybody punching you shatters their fist" to "if a bullet train hits you full speed, the train loses," but for the actual mathematics I don't know where to start. Maybe •• of stamina is an average base amount that can absorb 60-80 kg of force without getting knocked over, and Fortitude multiplies it as the chart given for the other two disciplines?
        Last edited by Rhywbeth; 06-08-2022, 10:16 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Trassel View Post

          It's not perfect, but I do like how V5 remade the disciplines, it feels less like a constant break of physics and more like anger and direction. .
          Eh, I hate them. The hyper-specific nature of each power is absurd. Jump higher but not be able to kick harder? Belongs in werewolf. Blink? Again, this is werewolf gifts, not vampire discipline, and 5 narrowly focused abilities is more of a headache than 1 broadly applicable power. I love the simplicity of concept and execution V20 Physicals: Less to remember, intuitive powers... The execution may be flawed, but the idea is perfect.


          To me, no physical discipline should really just be +Strength/Dexterity/Stamina. They're magic. Celerity is wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff/Fast forward. Potence/Fortitude makes everything easier on you rather than makes you any stronger. But I still think you can get a lot of simulation enjoyment from hard magic systems.


          Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
          There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
            Eh, I hate them. The hyper-specific nature of each power is absurd. Jump higher but not be able to kick harder? Belongs in werewolf. Blink? Again, this is werewolf gifts, not vampire discipline, and 5 narrowly focused abilities is more of a headache than 1 broadly applicable power. I love the simplicity of concept and execution V20 Physicals: Less to remember, intuitive powers... The execution may be flawed, but the idea is perfect.


            To me, no physical discipline should really just be +Strength/Dexterity/Stamina. They're magic. Celerity is wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff/Fast forward. Potence/Fortitude makes everything easier on you rather than makes you any stronger. But I still think you can get a lot of simulation enjoyment from hard magic systems.

            I agree, disciplines in V5 frankly feel like they are not worth the xp investment, they should have taken a clue from requiem and give disciplines passive bonuses coupled with powers, potency for example should automatically add dices to strength rolls and attacks.

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            • #7
              I think, in a sense, that the physical disciplines need to be more integrated with each other. Stronger muscles are usually faster muscles and often denser muscles as well.

              Basically, the realistic approach, presuming the power is 100% physical (and not something more like psychic power projected through the body… i.e. something like “tactile telekinesis” for Potence) would require the ranks of the physical disciplines to be fairly close to each other… ex. tobraise Celerity to 2 you first need Potence and Fortitude at 1, to Raise Potence to 3 you first need Celerity and Fortitude at 2, etc.

              I also think in terms of multiple actions and Celerity DAV20 is probably the best of the extant options (not saying there couldn’t be a better version, just best of the official versions). Extra actions normally reduce your pool by 1 die and add 1 to difficulty. Default Celerity adds 1 to your Dex pools (countering that part of the multi-action penalty) and spending blood counters the increase in difficulty. In other words it makes multiple actions easier instead of being the only way to get them.

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              • #8
                The problem is how do you define 'realism?' Not everyone has the same threshold for suspension of disbelief nor do they have the same level of knowledge (or investment) in science whatever they say (if you don't know its supposed to be a problem, do you care?) I mean I'm alot more picky about my science and logic than alot of fans but I know some hard scifi people who take it even harder (I handwave thermodynamics, they don't.)

                So it really comes down to how far you're willing to go down that rabbit hole in defining 'realism' and getting people to agree with your definition without imposing their own science/logic standards on it. Some people only care about science in specific ways and don't want to get caught up in developing an end-to-end model for vampire physiology (IE 'I don't care about thermodynamics' lol)

                Like I'm not opposed to the idea of this thread, but past experience has taught me unless there's some agreed frame of reference (and how far you're willing to push science before you handwave and toss it out) threads like this aren't likely to go anywhere.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                  Eh, I hate them. The hyper-specific nature of each power is absurd. Jump higher but not be able to kick harder? Belongs in werewolf. Blink? Again, this is werewolf gifts, not vampire discipline, and 5 narrowly focused abilities is more of a headache than 1 broadly applicable power. I love the simplicity of concept and execution V20 Physicals: Less to remember, intuitive powers... The execution may be flawed, but the idea is perfect.


                  To me, no physical discipline should really just be +Strength/Dexterity/Stamina. They're magic. Celerity is wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff/Fast forward. Potence/Fortitude makes everything easier on you rather than makes you any stronger. But I still think you can get a lot of simulation enjoyment from hard magic systems.
                  Each to their own. Being able to jump without kicking harder is less strange to me than being able to punch twice as fast without exercising more power, being able to be untouchable, or not having your blocks inflicting serious damage/setting someone off-balance by the force delivered.
                  I like the comparison to werewolf gifts, having disciplines behave as “gifts” of the blood, or personality, or eating habits is more immersive to me than an arbitrary order.
                  Not even always there, but called on when the beast needs an outburst.

                  If more simukationst is desired from v20/revised, my advice would be to rework it. Make celerity entirely a movement/balance power (controlled). Potence entirely power/speed (anger) and fortitude resilience (passive)?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                    I think, in a sense, that the physical disciplines need to be more integrated with each other. Stronger muscles are usually faster muscles and often denser muscles as well.

                    Basically, the realistic approach, presuming the power is 100% physical (and not something more like psychic power projected through the body… i.e. something like “tactile telekinesis” for Potence) would require the ranks of the physical disciplines to be fairly close to each other… ex. tobraise Celerity to 2 you first need Potence and Fortitude at 1, to Raise Potence to 3 you first need Celerity and Fortitude at 2, etc.

                    I also think in terms of multiple actions and Celerity DAV20 is probably the best of the extant options (not saying there couldn’t be a better version, just best of the official versions). Extra actions normally reduce your pool by 1 die and add 1 to difficulty. Default Celerity adds 1 to your Dex pools (countering that part of the multi-action penalty) and spending blood counters the increase in difficulty. In other words it makes multiple actions easier instead of being the only way to get them.

                    That is how requiem did it, physical disciplines had passive and active effects that followed this logic, vigor (requiem's potency) passively added each dot to your strength and resistances and also allowed you to jump higher without needing to spend blood.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Trassel View Post
                      If more simukationst is desired from v20/revised, my advice would be to rework it. Make celerity entirely a movement/balance power (controlled). Potence entirely power/speed (anger) and fortitude resilience (passive)?
                      My main complaint there is that Celerity means “Swift/Quick” not balance. If you want to rework it into balance then it needs a new name because our poor English language is abused enough as it is.

                      That said; I have no problems with the V20 physical disciplines as they are… I just think of them as entirely non-physical in origin. Strength with no relation to body mass (or the physics of lifting objects) is commonly attributed to supernatural sources (ex. demonic possession, divine gifts [Samson] or parentage [Hercules]).

                      Similar cases could be made for “bullet-time” speed and soaking hits like you’re a concrete bunker with no apparent physical relation. And because they are supernatural and not physics-based they don’t need to be interrelated. The strength, swiftness and resilience has nothing to do with physical improvement to the undead muscles.

                      In other words, a vampire could be a 5’ tall 100 lb. young woman and yet have the supernatural strength, speed and toughness to utterly thrash a half-dozen 6’ 3” 235 lb. muscle-bound men without significant effort… because there’s no physical source for the power, just the supernatural one.

                      And while, if they are “powers” you could make them into groups of 5 separate things as V5 did… my personal preference remains with the elegant simplicity of just having higher scores and blood serving to augment them further (as mentioned I prefer DAV20’s multiple action rules where blood expenditure just removes some of the penalties instead of outright adding more actions).

                      I feel that every system should have a few options for people who just desire a mechanically uncomplicated character… being able to go 15 dots deep into Disciplines and needing barely three lines to explain your powers (mainly what happens when you spend blood) is exactly what you want available for that.

                      If anything, I’d like other disciplines that could do the same for the mental and social attributes. Lord knows I think something like Potence but for social tasks would make a much better basis for Presence (since it’s about the only core discipline that needs blood just to function at its most basic level). Something similar for sharper/faster mental abilities would be appreciated for symmetry and because in many non-VTM sources heightened attributes relative to humans is the entire package of vampiric abilities.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                        That said; I have no problems with the V20 physical disciplines as they are… I just think of them as entirely non-physical in origin. Strength with no relation to body mass (or the physics of lifting objects) is commonly attributed to supernatural sources (ex. demonic possession, divine gifts [Samson] or parentage [Hercules]).

                        Similar cases could be made for “bullet-time” speed and soaking hits like you’re a concrete bunker with no apparent physical relation. And because they are supernatural and not physics-based they don’t need to be interrelated. The strength, swiftness and resilience has nothing to do with physical improvement to the undead muscles.

                        In other words, a vampire could be a 5’ tall 100 lb. young woman and yet have the supernatural strength, speed and toughness to utterly thrash a half-dozen 6’ 3” 235 lb. muscle-bound men without significant effort… because there’s no physical source for the power, just the supernatural one.
                        I think in the end Chris24601 has the right of it: It's much less of a headache to think of the physical disciplines as purely supernatural effects. You could spend decades trying to come up with some kind of Standard Model of vampirism that conforms to our current understanding of the physical universe, and still come nowhere near a satisfactory result. I prefer to think of Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence as magic based on the concepts of superspeed, super-toughness, and superstrength that the prehistoric vampire (or vampires) who originally developed the disciplines had. You could make the argument that the disciplines should reflect a Stone Age or Bronze Age individual's understanding of such ideas, rather than bringing fairly modern concepts (from a vampiric point of view) like muscle mass, muscle density, and kinetic energy into the picture.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                          Lord knows I think something like Potence but for social tasks would make a much better basis for Presence (since it’s about the only core discipline that needs blood just to function at its most basic level).
                          Isn't this a somewhat recent change? I believe it was only V20 that added the requirement of blood expenditure for basic Presence powers like Awe and Entrancement. From 1st Edition to Revised, you did not need to spend any blood to use the basic abilities of the discipline.

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                          • #14
                            When it comes to physical Disciplines, ideally my rule of thumb would be that one dot should effectively compensate for being otherwise weak in the relevant/comparable abilities/skills, so it should function something like an additional two dots in mortal terms. With two dots in a physical discipline you should be approaching or just exceeding the normal human limit with an average base ability. Three and you're firmly in superhuman territory. Four and you tower over mortals in the given capacity. Five and you're a straight-up monster, and it's up to the storyteller to decide what you CAN'T do with it, rather than what you can. Such as leap a sufficiently tall skyscraper, topple more than one or two buildings at a time or surpass the speed of sound.

                            In Requiem it always bothered me that the Potence (Vigor?) description stated that vampires of sufficient mastery might be responsible for the legends about vampiric flight, when the math didn't bear that out at all. To my mind, four Discipline dots is the maximum a Kindred should ever need for practical rolls, and five dots is where your ability becomes a plot device instead of a character strength.

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                            • #15
                              I thought Fortitude, potence and celerity were an obvious weak spot in v5's proposed aghenda to simply mechanics and increase accesability. 1-5 level of enhancement are infinatly easier to balance than 5 standard unique powers. It's a real shame because Fortitude and celerity have needed rebalancing for 20 years and this should have been a slam dunk.
                              Thinking on it I'd have been tempted to try and do the same with some of the other disciplines if I wished to simplify. Maybe presence as social buff discipline?
                              Last edited by Ragged Robin; 06-09-2022, 01:22 PM.

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