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Is Oblivion worthless?

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  • Is Oblivion worthless?

    Am I right in thinking that 20% risk of 1 stain isn't a tradeoff worth doing for any Oblivion power?


    Some quick math. Most starting characters have Humanity 6, and no rouse check re-roll. This means, that one single stain gives them 25% risk of losing Humanity at the end of the session. If they have Humanity 7, the risk increases to 33%, Losing Humanity is very bad, as there's no clear rules for regaining it (some GMs might not even allow it), and the only way to do it by the rules as written costs so much exp that you will never ever afford it in any reasonable campaign. Low Humanity has crippling maluses to social rolls, and is also not necessarily something you want to portray even if you want to play a Lasombra or a necromancer.

    personally, this is seriously putting me off playing Lasombra or Cappadocians/Giovanni, two of my favorite clans, and whenever I am GM, I will always do away with the stains-for-Oblivion rule. I'm considering trying to get the GM for an upcoming V5 dark ages campaign I'm gonna be a player in to do the same.

    It feels to me like the designers who wrote Oblivion haven't even played their own game, and doesn't realize how harsh 1 stain is. I've seen player characters lose Humanity because of one single stain several times.

    What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by Natsymir; 06-13-2022, 06:40 PM.

  • #2
    It's kind of the D&D equivalent of permanently losing a point in one of your stats for casting a spell. Is it really worth what you're going to lose? No. Add to that the fact that you have to spend xp to take the risk? Hard no.

    There's a reason D&D moved away from this model in 3rd Edition, before which things like Resurrection or Haste aged you by a year. It's a bad mechanic.
    Last edited by Hades; 06-13-2022, 08:16 PM.

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    • #3
      here's a reason D&D moved away from this model in 3rd Edition, before which things like Resurrection or Haste aged you by a year. It's a bad mechanic.
      By the way, this reminds me of The Bloodsoaked Saint’s Resurrection. Why on Earth does it state that it costs a permanent road dot. Actually, it's even worse and it's a freaking level 9 power combination
      Last edited by Herr Meister; 06-13-2022, 08:48 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post

        By the way, this reminds me of The Bloodsoaked Saint’s Resurrection. Why on Earth does it state that it costs a permanent road dot. Actually, it's even worse and it's a freaking level 9 power combination

        ...What? What book is that from?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Natsymir View Post
          It feels to me like the designers who wrote Oblivion haven't even played their own game, and doesn't realize how harsh 1 stain is. I've seen player characters lose Humanity because of one single stain several times.

          What are your thoughts?
          I read it as the writers having picked out the clans they want you to play, and the Lasombra and Hecata aren't on the list. They're excluded from the core rulebook for a reason. They're NPC's.

          I don't agree with it, in fact I loathe it, but this is how I'm reading it.
          Last edited by Reasor; 06-13-2022, 09:38 PM.

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          • #6
            V5 rules are not so great and tying Disciplines to permanent loss of character stats, especially when it's something like, "Any time you use your clan's signature discipline, you have a 1 in 5 chance to permanently lose stats on your character at the end of the session" is just terribad. Ignore it. Throw that rule into the trash. Take it out behind the metaphorical shed and shoot it in its big dumb stupid face. Don't feel bad about it.
            Last edited by AnubisXy; 06-13-2022, 09:56 PM.

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            • #7
              It only costs Humanity, not Path Rating, so realistically all older Lasombra and Hecata should be on Paths, most likely Death and the Soul in the latter case. I don't think it's a problem that they made Oblivion cost Humanity, so much as that they have no PC method of adopting a Path of Enlightenment available. They basically made Oblivion a Path only power, then banished players from being on Paths.
              Last edited by CajunKhan; 06-13-2022, 10:45 PM.

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              • #8
                I see what they were doing, but it is stupid. In past editions, Necromancy and Obtenebration were pretty messed up, to a point a character on Humanity should make a degeneration check when using them recklessly.

                Now here's the thing, I am a rules lawyer. So, my first reaction was to see if there was anything that could mitigate this RAW. Turns out, no. Convictions can mitigate stains gained by violating Tenets, but nothing else. A good ST would, and should, allow Convictions to mitigate all stains when you gain them in service of them.


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                • #9
                  If you want to make Oblivion more functional, but you kinda like the whole idea that it's uniquely prone to degrading Humanity, a simple house rule to replace the random Stain on Rouse checks thing:

                  Anytime your actions would cause you to gain a Stain while using or benefiting from Oblivion, increase the number of Stains incurred by 1.

                  This leaves things largely in the players' hands as they'd have to choose to use Oblivion to do things that generate Stains in the first place, and makes how bad Oblivion is more contextual to the game being run. Chronicle Tenets of the "be a good person," type are going to be harsh... but the Hecata and Lasombra aren't that well suited to such styles in the first place. A Chronicle Tenet set that wouldn't be punishing towards vigilantism and other justification for violence and fright would give you some decent space to find a niche for an Oblivion user that's not a one way ticket to wight-dom. Etc.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Vilenecromancer View Post
                    I see what they were doing, but it is stupid. In past editions, Necromancy and Obtenebration were pretty messed up, to a point a character on Humanity should make a degeneration check when using them recklessly.
                    Ehh, they're just disciplines and not much different from any other, just that they're creepier. I don't think players should have to make Degeneration checks for using those anymore than they should have to make checks for using Thaumaturgy or Chimerstry. I don't even think even Daimoinian or Dark Thaumaturgy required checks to see if you lose Humanity for using them. Should always come down to what you do with a Discipline that determines whether you make checks to lose Humanity (or gain Stains in 5th edition). Losing Humanity because you decided to make a room a little darker or peeked across the Shroud to see if there's a ghost around is not a good rule.

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                    • #11
                      I have played as a Lasombra during two years a weekly chronicle and never received a stain, my character had Oblivion 3. It really depends on how much you rely on the disciplines, how much you roll dices in your storytelling style and the discipline powers. The level 1 powers do not produce stains, as they do not roll hunger, in consequence, only Arms of Ahriman (of my powers) had the risk.

                      I found Oblivion very rewarding and thematic, you feel the risk as the corruption of the abyss lurking you, you have to dossificate the use of the discipline. And, in particular, even being not particularly powerful in terms of damage, I realized that Arms of Ahriman is a very good power, the only combat power from distance (at least at reach of a neonate).

                      The other two powers I had were Oblivion sight and Shadow play, being able to see spirits and still navigate the darkness and being able to use shadows to intimidate and stealth.

                      I really enjoyed Oblivion as a Lasombra, although I suspect that playing an Hecata or an abyss mystic, with all the ceremonies, it would be trickier. But to me, the risk of stains never was a problem and, mathematically, is very low with characters of Humanity 5-6, that would be the "usual" Oblivion practitioner.

                      For example, a character with Humanity 6, after failing the 20% probability to have an stain, should also fail another 25 % probability to degenerate. The accumulated probability of losing humanity is 5%, when using a power. That means that you only lose humanity around 1 of 20 times using Oblivion "hunger" levels.
                      Last edited by Justycar; 06-14-2022, 02:02 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Reasor View Post

                        I read it as the writers having picked out the clans they want you to play, and the Lasombra and Hecata aren't on the list. They're excluded from the core rulebook for a reason. They're NPC's.

                        I don't agree with it, in fact I loathe it, but this is how I'm reading it.
                        Hecata are the single most supported clan in the entire 5th edition. They have more loresheets than most other clans combined.

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                        • #13
                          Absolutely, Lasombra and Hecata are protagonists of 5th edition, the former having an entire chronicle and a by night with them as the main focus, the others having almost a clanbook and ten bloodlines, with a wide arrange of powers and disciplines. This two are more important in lore and systems than Banu Haqim or Ministry, attending to the books content. If there are "forgotten" clans in 5th, this are the Companion ones. But the Lasombra and Hecata are the best and deepest well developed of the 15 clans.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                            I don't even think even Daimoinian or Dark Thaumaturgy required checks to see if you lose Humanity for using them.
                            I unfortunately can. There's an optional rule in V20 to make Daimoinon and Dark Thaum cause a degeneration check whenever they're used by someone on humanity Or Any Path that isn't road of sin.

                            Like most people I know, I ignore it and anyone who tries to enforce it.

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                            • #15
                              If you prefer, you can just pinch the V20DA approach to Necromancy, where there are sequelae for using those powers (V20DA Time of Secrets, p.53). You could adapt something similar for the Abyss Mysticism/Obtenebration powers, making them more Abyssal in nature. Some of the Abyssal monsters in that book would make really cool enemies to encounter if something goes horribly wrong.


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