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Do you think VTM should delve deeper into the spiritual aspect of Blood Magic?

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  • Do you think VTM should delve deeper into the spiritual aspect of Blood Magic?

    IMO it would be interesting to see Blood Magic be used as a way to gain a spiritual understanding of vampirism, and in a way, help the practitioner understand their role within the natural order. Now I know that some Blood Magic Traditions seem to have that concept in mind, such as Assamite Sorcery. However, it falls short of what I am envisioning. I believe that Blood Magic has the potential to be something similar to Foundations from DA: Mage. If you don't know what that is, I would recommend you read this short wiki page, (https://whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/Foundation).

    I was thinking about how for each Path/Ritual you know, you gain a passive ability, maybe a bonus for your dice pool or actual powers. Perhaps a Necromancer with Sepulchre path gains the ability to read the minds of wraiths, or a bonus when dealing with wraiths. The power should be something that represents the vampire's understanding of their specific Blood Tradition, at the same time, it should affect the practitioner's personality. For example, a Koldun will eventually understand that the land they stand on isn't their land, it has been around far longer than they have, it will continue to exist long after the Koldun in question is dead, and the Koldun is at peace with that. The Koldun knows they won't live forever, and instead of taking it out on the land and its inhabitants, they simply move on with their day. I don't know how it would mechanically work as I have not gotten the chance to play the game yet, I was only able to read its numerous books. School keeps me pretty busy, even during the summer, so you may have a better idea of what to do than me.

    I bring this up because I like Blood Magic, and I feel that reading a book that delves deeper into topics such as this could be interesting.

    So, what do you think?



  • #2
    I somewhat agree with your point that Blood Magic deserves some special treatment / options. Perhaps a benefit in the vein of lowering cost of Knowledges usually used while researching or teaching a particular Blood Magic? Or the capability to easily teach Knowledges, Skills, and Talents related in some way to a given Blood Magic to other Vampires (or other supernatural persons, like Mages or Revenants or Ghouls).

    On the other hand, the case could be made that all Disciplines should to at least some considerable extent get the various benefits and options that you have outlined. Aren't they called what they are, after all? Also it could be said that some Disciplines are rather limited in scope, so expanded ideas and options would be welcome and nice.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post

      On the other hand, the case could be made that all Disciplines should to at least some considerable extent get the various benefits and options that you have outlined. Aren't they called what they are, after all? Also it could be said that some Disciplines are rather limited in scope, so expanded ideas and options would be welcome and nice.
      That would be pretty nice. It would really spice up the metaplot if a Venture with Dominate 5 gained the passive ability to perhaps reflect dominate suggestions thrown at them, at a certain number of success of course, or perhaps lowering the difficulty to use Dominate powers.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Hello View Post
        IMO it would be interesting to see Blood Magic be used as a way to gain a spiritual understanding of vampirism, and in a way, help the practitioner understand their role within the natural order.
        that would imply that vampires are apart of the natural order rather then being abominations to it.

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        • #5
          The main issue is that Thaumaturgy a.k.a. Blood Magic was originally a Hermetic art derivative, which means it has more in common with formulas and a "scientific" approach than spiritual attributes. From there every new type of blood magic was given different flavors, but critically they were retconned into existence as existing prior to Tremere Thaumaturgy/Blood Magic or the Tremere as a vampire clan.

          This makes progressively less sense as time goes on because all the stuff that the Tremere are "hated and mistrusted" for, are largely part and parcel for the other clans with some form of blood magic, but they don't seem to get the hate or the stigma of being blood magic users.

          The Tzimisce were using Kuldonic Sorcery to create Vozhd before the Tremere were vampires, so the idea of the Tremere being somehow abhorrent for creating the Gargoyles or becoming vampires themselves seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. Like wise the other clans with a form of Blood Magic, the Assamites and the Followers of Set are not considered generally friendly.

          Even the Cappadocians using Necromancy predate the Tremere existing and arguably Necromancy is just a different flavor of Blood Magic, in that Auspex and Dominate are both Disciplines, but do different things.

          I bring all of this up because large swaths of the Lore for V:tM is tied to both to Blood Magic, and to the clans that use it, not to mention the clans that were affected by those aforementioned blood magic using clans. So when trying to add or change the core spiritual depth of something like Blood Magic, you end up causing a ripple through all the attached systems and lore.

          Every attempt to add "depth" seems to just increase accretion rather than fixing the inherent problems.

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          • #6
            Maybe you've already read them, but there are a few books out there, depending on edition, which delve more into the specific beliefs and practices of various Blood Magic traditions.

            Revised had Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy and Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion. V20 had Rites of the Blood. There may be books out there from earlier editions, but I haven't encountered them. Some scattered details for things like Koldunic Sorcery can be found in other books, including the DA line.

            Regarding the idea of contrasting with Foundation in DA Mage, all forms of Blood Magic draw at least in part on a common "Foundation": the power of the Blood. While different traditions will use that power to interact with the mystical forces of the world in different ways, whether through enlightened Will (Thaumaturgy), animistic spirits (Koldunism), or ancient deities (Dur-An-Ki), all of them rely on the power of the Blood as a medium. And to some extent, it even functions as a limit on the power of the Blood Mage, much like a Mage's Foundation, as more powerful Blood (aka lower Generation) can allow the practitioner access to 6+ dots in the Discipline, and higher-level rituals as a result.

            Regarding the idea of giving Blood Magic special abilities on top of what you already get from the Paths, I don't know if that is necessary or good. It might be better to create new Paths covering the abilities that you are interested in providing, and let the practitioner decide if they want that to be their main Path, the one they tend to level up as they advance their skill with the Discipline.


            Thoth I've never really gotten the impression that being Blood Mages was the thing people hate about the Tremere: they hate them because they're assholes. Similarly, the hate for creating the Gargoyles has never been about the principle of the thing, but the details of *who* was being used as ingredients. The Tzimisce are absolutely hypocritical in the sense that they are hating the Tremere for doing almost the exact same things that they do, with the only difference being that it's being done *to* the Tzimisce instead of *by* them, but I find that contradiction somewhat humourous, and in character for the narcissism common among the Tzimisce. Similarly, the Gangrel and Nosferatu hating on the Tremere for using their Clan members for Gargoyle bits is personal, not a principled opposition to the concept: at most, they collectively oppose the fact that members of their Clan were being used in a "systemic" fashion, targeting their Clans as a whole due to the properties of their Vitae, rather than individual instances of one Clan member being targeted for personal reasons like a Tzimisce might if they turned one of their Clan members into a Vozhd (although I imagine the kin of the poor bloodsucker used for that would be similarly vengeful).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The smiling gun-knight View Post

              that would imply that vampires are apart of the natural order rather then being abominations to it.

              I never really liked how VTM pushed the narrative of vampires being monsters, compared to what humans are capable of, vampires aren't that different.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Thoth View Post

                I bring all of this up because large swaths of the Lore for V:tM is tied to both to Blood Magic, and to the clans that use it, not to mention the clans that were affected by those aforementioned blood magic using clans. So when trying to add or change the core spiritual depth of something like Blood Magic, you end up causing a ripple through all the attached systems and lore.

                Every attempt to add "depth" seems to just increase accretion rather than fixing the inherent problems.
                Wouldn't it be worth the risk? I'm sure that a good portion of the fanbase would appreciate the addition/change, since it would show that the writers are willing to bring something new to the game. Plus, I don't really see it as that big of an addition/change, it seems quite tame compared to V5, and many long time VTM fans seem to really enjoy V5.

                Of course, I wasn't really around when VTM was at its height, so I may not have the full picture.


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                • #9
                  I definitely don't think that the game should provide any additional benefits like passive abilities, bonus dice, or additional powers. Their existing mechanical effects are fine.

                  However, it's perfectly fine for an ST to want to turn the use of Blood Magic into additional roleplaying opportunities for the characters if that will be fun for the game group. That's always been an option, albeit usually one that places additional burdens on the STs as VtM usually does not provide much guidance in this direction. That usually means either learning the lore of another game line, or inventing up their own lore based on their own ideas. But if the ST enjoys doing that, or the entire game group collaborates together, then it just becomes another option for the ST to use.

                  Things like necromancers roleplaying with ghosts and learning about the netherworld can be fun. Kolduns realizing the nature of the spirits he is dealing with and how they see him based on roleplayed scenes can be fun. But these are all roleplaying exercises. You don't need any change in mechanics. You just need an ST and players who find that kind of thing fun to do. Many STs and players don't find that interesting and just want to keep things "clean". That too is fine.

                  I don't think the game needs yet another sourcebook on blood magic to cover this. However, I do think a sourcebook that covers the umbral aspects of vampires would be great. Astral Projection has been around since the very first sourcebook, yet it has never been properly addressed. I was constantly hoping to see some kind of section, no matter how short, on using the Astral Plane (however you define it in Vampire terms) to good effect in Players Guides, Storyteller Handbooks, Companions, or anywhere else. But never did. The same sourcebook could cover things from a necromancer's perspective, a thaumathurgist who deals with spirits, or anywhere else where the game intersects. However, it would be more than just a synopsis of how these things exist in other gamelines. It would use that as a basis, but it would be written from the perspective of vampires and how they would interpret such things. As such, certain portions should be "wrong" in that it conflicts with other splat's understandings, but seem plausible. Such a book could also go into how different knowledge traditions or factions interpret the same thing. The Giovanni and Tremere likely have different understandings of the netherworld and its ghosts and spirits. And it would give examples of how a vampire might first interpret what happens, and how that changes as she becomes more experienced with these phenonmenon. Rather than simply repeating what is in other books, its focus would be to provide more tools and options for STs to use it in their vampire games.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hello View Post
                    Wouldn't it be worth the risk? I'm sure that a good portion of the fanbase would appreciate the addition/change, since it would show that the writers are willing to bring something new to the game. Plus, I don't really see it as that big of an addition/change, it seems quite tame compared to V5, and many long time VTM fans seem to really enjoy V5.
                    I see it as more or less the opposite, as in there is little to no up side to it.

                    Part of the core issue with Blood Magic is that it is incredibly bloated, with random paths and rituals being used as empty design space rather than having a cohesive vision behind it. As such, adding a "deeper" spiritualism to it just feels like adding a history or philosophy textbook to the front of a D&D spellbook expansion. It takes a specific kind of player to enjoy the crunch heavy magic systems that RPGs get bogged down with, most of those aren't interested in the lore as much as how to leverage the mechanical advantage.

                    I just don't see the cross over section of the venn diagram of people who play V:tM casters, who like/tolerate bloated magic systems, and like heavy lore/fluff, being all that large a portion of the player base.

                    As for V5, I know that edition preferences are a touchy thing on the forums, but from what I have seen, most of its more functional ideas were more or less lifted from other WW game lines. A good example of which is the Coterie type having mechanical interactions, except that was part of Kindred of the East back in ancient history. Don't get me started on the "plot" decisions of V5 though.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hello View Post
                      I never really liked how VTM pushed the narrative of vampires being monsters, compared to what humans are capable of, vampires aren't that different.
                      but humans don't have a ravenous beast that is always looking to weaken their humanity by encouraging them to do cruel acts so it can take over that person's body.
                      Last edited by The smiling gun-knight; 07-30-2022, 05:00 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The smiling gun-knight View Post

                        but humans don't have a ravenous beast that is always looking to weaken their humanity by encouraging them to do cruel acts so it can take over that person's body.

                        I thought the beast was only hungry for blood. Don't vampires who do what you describe either follow some sort of path of enlightenment that demands that, or keep their cruel tendencies when they transition from mortal to vampire?
                        Last edited by Hello; 07-30-2022, 07:10 PM.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hello View Post
                          I thought the beast was only hungry for blood. Don't vampires who do what you describe either follow some sort of path of enlightenment that demands that, or keep their cruel tendencies when they transition from mortal to vampire.
                          The Beast is very survival based, which means it wants to feed, it wants to destroy any threat to its safety, it rages at insults and loss due to the potential of perceived weakness, etc. The Paths are methods for keeping the Beast in check by focusing on codes of behavior and set values.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hello View Post

                            That would be pretty nice. It would really spice up the metaplot if a Venture with Dominate 5 gained the passive ability to perhaps reflect dominate suggestions thrown at them, at a certain number of success of course, or perhaps lowering the difficulty to use Dominate powers.
                            It would be nice and interesting if a Vampiress or a Vampire with Presence 5 could share some at least some Presence powers (for example Awe) with another person (including a Ghoul or a Revenant). This does seem to fit Presence's themes.

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                            • #15
                              Passives? Hmm...

                              Thaumaturgy is special. There's a certain worldview that goes with the Tremere and many other mages: anything can be done, we're all equally divine figures trapped in mortal shells, we just need to unlock our potential. I don't think there should be anything in VTM that's locked to anyone because of bloodline. Some things should be difficult, supremely difficult, like 99.9999% chance of not being able to do it within a thousand years, but nothing should be impossible if someone else can do it. if Kinfolk and abominations can still use Gifts after being embraced, you too can gain Gifts... If Werewolves can become Vampire abominations, then Vampires can become werewolf abominations... but it's gonna be hard. Some things are going to need you to get 3rd gen or something outlandishly crazy. But nothing is truly impossible with knowledge.

                              Generally though, your average thaumaturge isn't going to do much. Levels 1-5 are mundane, earthly, they have rules and precedent. 6th level is where you can break the rules and move beyond the mundane. Most of the common disciplines in VTM are passive or easy to activate. Thaumaturgy is an entirely active Discipline because it's something that requires knowledge, perhaps a little blood, and sheer fucking will to muster every time.

                              I like the idea of rituals to unlock powers. Infernal investments exist, and Diamonion 6 is essentially a power that allows you to do it without the demon (at much higher cost) Abyss Mysticism has plenty of options for a cost and I would like to see such a thing expanded to Thaumaturgy. It's appropriate.

                              I imagine that thaumaturgy is a method for enlightenment. For Vampires, it's a method they can use to turn human again (Though Vampires that master such rituals are obfuscated from those who knew of their vampiric existence) For mortals, it's a method to boost attributes like intelligence that they wouldn't normally be able to improve.




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