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(V5) Do we really miss high-level Disciplines?

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  • (V5) Do we really miss high-level Disciplines?

    I suppose this is going to get controversial quickly, but I was checking out old 6-9 Disciplines. I was thinking how to adapt them, perhaps through use of a Loresheet , then I just noticed...

    Many of the old 6-9 powers are either

    A) Very specific applications of the low level powers

    Take for instance two Level-6 Potence powers:

    Master of the Forge: The Kindred creates exceptional metalwork tools and weapons.

    Relentless Pursuit: The Kindred makes extraordinary leaps through the air.


    Or

    B) Broad applications of the low level powers.

    Take for instance a Dominate 6 power

    Command Obedience: You no longer require eye contact for Dominate, relying on skin contact or your voice

    V5 has ditched high level Disciplines, bringing them at level 4-5: generally speaking, Elder powers have been retconned through the specific math of the new edition (Blood Potency rerolls, bonus dice, Blood Surge, exploding criticals etc).

    The basic ideas behind the cool powers are now unlocked and available to PCs, but the "mythic" effects are now a function of high Attributes and Blood Potency.

    And I think it works.

    I had proof of this when Storytelling an Ancillae V5 campaign: one of the characters had high Auspex (level 4), and Blood Potency 3. Between his dice pool, bonus dice, power surge, Willpower rerolls and exploding 10s, on his lucky rolls he often got more than 6 successes.

    So, looking back at what old powers were... it may be unsurprising given I'm a resident V5 supporter... But I think we don't really them, to get a good high power game. I'm not saying this particular arrangement works for anyone, of course, but I think it gives a good, elegant framework for creating high level foes and also characters, reducing the power creep.

    So, what do you think ... do we really miss high-level powers?
    Last edited by Manfr; 08-09-2022, 10:28 AM.

  • #2
    You are overestimating the importance that elder disciplines had for the old fanbase, some were really cool but others like the ones of fortitude were a complete joke, my problem with V5 is not specifically due to the lack of elder dedicated powers (I'm sure they will release a book about elders eventually that will have plenty of powers specifically for them), my problem is with the fact that V5 disciplines are, for the most part, a fucking joke, they are highly situational at best and a worthless gimmick at worse, add the stupid power limit whose only purpose is to cut your options even more and you will see why so many are bummed about V5, I can handle the bad metaplot (and boy is it bad) but not the disciplines being done dirty like this and let's not get into blood sorcery, the less is said about it the better.
    Last edited by Newb95; 08-09-2022, 10:48 AM.

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    • #3
      My view comes from someone coming into V5, currently playing Requiem 2e, and someone who remember vaguely the older edition of masquerade, as i used to be pretty young back then and we mostly played VtM as LARP.

      I personally don’t miss the 6+ level powers. It always felt like something unattainable for a player to me, a bit like all those 9th level spells in D&D that are theoretically achievable, but no one really gets to use except once in a blue moon.

      In VTM specifically i think disciplines of 6th level and higher suffer from the fact that they got added after the discipline has been added to the game after the original 1-5 level powers of each discipline. Which means they either had to design the higher-level disciplines to be vastly superior, or to cover some niche the original power couldn’t technically do. Or worse, like in the case of relentless pursuit, which allows the user to do something a storyteller might have already allowed a character to do with high potence but now becomes restricted because it's a high-level power.

      However, while i don’t personally miss them, i think they did serve a purpose in Masquarade. Given that elders are supposed to be much more powerful than neonates and fledgeling having some restricted power helps to enforce that aspect of the lore mechanicaly. Which is harder to do without true limitations. Sure V5 has generation and blood potency to help, but i’m not sure it does quite enough in that regard. It generally won’t give more than a few dice, unless you go to very high Blood Potency.

      In my current Requiem Campaign, which has been going on for a little more than a year, the Ventrue neonate character just got access to Dominate 5 a few games ago, which is higher than a few elder Ventrue have access to in my campaign. I’m not too bothered by it, since the character is still pretty low BP, and Elders have other means of showing they are the bigger fish in the pond, but it’s still something to keep in mind if you care for that particular aspect of the setting.

      If someone were to care about restricting higher-level powers in v5, or requiem, to elders, the way i would do it would be to restrict discipline level to 2+Blood potency. That way a vampire would need to reach blood potency 3 to have access to the fifth dot in any discipline. I would make an exception for Thin Blood alchemy, however.
      Last edited by Algarik; 08-09-2022, 01:31 PM.

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      • #4
        Honestly, what I miss are the 1-5 powers and the weird powers. V5 does its best to make disciplines soulless and lack the flair of the old one. So many years ago what drew me to Vampire were the disciplines, I only learned later they were not the point of the game, but they are still a sweet spot and a drawing light even for new people discovering Vampire. Not so much in V5.


        What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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        • #5
          Well.....yes. they're really cool and more tools are always better than less tools. Plus a lot of v5 powers are hyper contextual, misbalanced or frankly, shit.

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          • #6
            Yes (Altrough counting the og Sabbat and Hunters among the things I miss on 5e, this has become a rather small point)

            Miss them not because the system was stellar or irreplaceable (it was a mess), but because they filled some holes on the toolkit that V5 lvl5's + increacing the number of dice doesn't cover, afaik.

            *Having powers beyond the reach of "normal" PC was covered by Algarik , and I agree.

            *Having a "tier" between Antediluvianic "I fuck the rules" and PC.

            Things like Michael enthralling his whole city, or Elders causing natural catastrophes, even blocking the sun for a time ... these *feel* godlike, but as part of their mechanics weren't really "undefeatable". Also, interacting or seeing powers like these gives credence to the idea that even bigger powers could be a global threat. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you can't do that with just bonuses and a lvl 5

            A possible solution could be taking inspiration on Demon's take on Earthbounds, and allowing *really* high BP to increase the scope (AoE, duration, etc) of some powers to the desired level. Altrough one would need to investigate how each power works for propper balancing

            With that + the very important houserule of allowing high BP to have more than 5 powers per Discipline (which would allow to use more liberaly lvl 5 amalgams and such) + maybe adding some houserules for Generation, I think one could have a more propper "Elder System".

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            • #7
              I don't miss them. But in our game we are playing Anarchs that are barely 200 years old and we are either 10th or 11th generation kindred and the Baron is of the 9th generation. That said we are coming up with cool amalgam powers and I did get help in creating one that was inspired by a high level Dominate power from Guide To The Camarilla in one earlier posts on this boards.

              Thanks folks for the help and I've been revising my rough draft on what I'm calling now Blood Scrying.


              What in the name of Set is going on here?

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              • #8
                While largely echoing other people:

                The issue isn't that people loved the old 6+ powers all that much. It's that they like V5's Discipline systems (including the complexities of Generation + Blood Potency + tracking limited use bonuses) less.

                VtR got ride of 6+ powers too, but that's hardly something that comes up a lot in comparisons because it shunted the good parts of 6+ powers into the Devotion system (aka Combo Disciplines aka Amalgams) so a power could be rare/unique because it requires 5/5 in two Disciplines nobody has as -in-Clan together in the first place, requiring mastering one of your Clan Disciplines, and mastering a Discipline you might have to go through a bunch of hoops to learn, and then you have to actually have the idea to learn the Devotion and all of that... so of course it makes sense that such powers are generally only in the hands of the more potent vampires in the setting... they're the only ones that have had the time, energy, and opportunity to get around to it.

                To, again, be a bit repetitive, V5's problem isn't keeping Disciplines to 1-5 levels. It's removing options completely from the game. Without house rules or some optional system that comes up in some future elder oriented supplement, V5 vampires simply cannot do things VtM vampires have canonically done in the settings history.

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                • #9
                  6+ disciplines, like much of vampire, have been very good in concept but not great in execution. Individually written powers might be dogshit, completely broken, or not really in line with what the discipline was supposed to do. However, 6+ Abilities, Attributes and powers are essential to the core of vampire and the metaphysics of the wider WoD. It's all about inequality and In vampire, Generational conflict is king. In early editions, low generation was in almost every way objectively better than higher generation. 10th was slightly better than 11th. 9th was leagues better than 10th, 8th was better than 9th, and for every level below 8th you could increase abilities permanently beyond the ordinary mundane limit of 1-5.The only downside of Generation is that everyone else desired it and the way to get it was murder: Diablerie in the first two editions wasn't a drug metaphor or some irredeemable Worse-than-Murder- evil, it was just a way of murder that got you generation and was considered a most heinous crime by most elders who feared getting sucked to death.

                  From a Metaphyiscal point of view, the system draws from ideas like Gnosticism or Hermeticism and gives us a 1-5 rating for "Mundane" and 6-10 rating for divine. Vampires, Mages and other fellows have the ambition to be one with God, The Universe, Nature, whatever. Everyone can look upwards at unlimited potential. Without that, what's the point. If an elder just stops at 5's then where is the ambition, where is the strife and the struggle?

                  How can anyone fear elders, never mind antes, when the ceiling is so easily achievable in V5? Why has unfathomable power been reduced to "a few extra dice with discipline activation" and a faster heal speed? The WoD is about big top down differences and hierarchies. I think that's an idea that probably began vampire: What if your boss being a life draining parasite was very literal? Disciplines, gifts and spheres just exist to exacerbate inequality. The gameline is about inequality, it's the central theme. Getting rid of 6+ and reducing the inequality is a great way to show that you don't understand the thought process behind the IP
                  Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 08-15-2022, 05:50 AM.


                  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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                  • #10
                    Yes? Especially compared to V5s implantation aka none at all. Not to mention the overall poor way they do disciplines.

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                    • #11
                      I always hated 6+ disciplines. To me it just turned elders into DC or Marvel silly comics. I dont need elders with the powers of Superman to have good interesting games. Also, I always HATED antidiluvians and their divine "I win, you lose" status, which to me simply makes the setting absurdly silly.

                      Im more than happy to simply give a few extra dices instead of those ridiculous powers.

                      To those saying that this would take away the threat that elders are, I disagree. Even if other traits were to be capped at 5 - as is for for all other splats. Elders can still have dozens of different disciplines, and accumulate tons of backgrounds. I would much rather have an ante having tons of puppets, contacts, allies, blood bounded minions and so on coupled with some 20 lvl 5 disciplines than having antes surviving nuclear blasts in their heads.

                      This would also make those threats a lot more enjoyable; they would still be extremely dangerous by their own, but the reason why they are so feared is because they are the most machiavelian cunning bad asses out there, not because they are Thanos or Darkside with cosmic powers.

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                      • #12
                        Echoing what Heavy Arms and all people here said, the greatest problem is simply that V5 discipline limitations doesn't make any sense. And we don't need to go deeper to understand that, just the simple fact that Heavy Arms wrote here, vampires in "V5 can't do what they have canonically done in the history of the setting", it's as simple as that. If they wanted to go full requiem, then they should create another world, because it makes no sense to say that the world started to work completely differently out of nowhere or worse, to pretend nothing happened.

                        It's not about liking 6+ disciplines or not, because it's a fact they have been there canonically and were used many times, so it makes no sense to pretend it didn't happen. The question is about consistency.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kakost View Post
                          I always hated 6+ disciplines. To me it just turned elders into DC or Marvel silly comics. I dont need elders with the powers of Superman to have good interesting games. Also, I always HATED antidiluvians and their divine "I win, you lose" status, which to me simply makes the setting absurdly silly.
                          I agree. This is how it felt to me as well. Protean 10 turns the user into a sun avatar… However, the function of Antediluvians in the setting is much closer to that of elder gods from Call of Cuthlhu that actual threat you’re supposed to face. My only gripe with them is that they are way too present, especially since the week of nightmare. I’d rather if they stayed this looming threat no one is actually sure exist or not.

                          Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post
                          It's not about liking 6+ disciplines or not, because it's a fact they have been there canonically and were used many times, so it makes no sense to pretend it didn't happen. The question is about consistency.
                          Canon in WoD seems to have always been written with an unreliable narrator point of view, which means Canon can be easily altered without destroying the whole setting. Powers that were possible with 6+ discipline, could also have been gross exageration of elder kindred power. Antediluvian could be legends, or morph into something beyond the capability of modern kindred.

                          Although, i agree that powers in v5 are a bit lackluster at times, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t get rid of 6+ discipline powers. While i like Almalgam, i think Requiem devotions are more interesting and well made.

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                          • #14
                            Level 6+ powers aren't relevant to the table 99% of the time. You're not going to have the generation letalone the XP for them. They are an academical thought exercise, not a practical set of tools. The Disciplines however are practical sets of tools, and the 1-5 ratings are reachable and reasonable to see in a campaign. V5 has much poorer set of practical tools than any edition before it did, and that's why most people complain about the Disciplines in V5.

                            6+ stuff is irrelevant, people would have preferred to see "Mysterious disciplines over 5 may or may not exist" and not lock out the option if someone wants to port it back. They could have said that, printed nothing and there would have been less complaints, because it wouldn't be relevant to the average game.

                            The key issue is in V5 disciplines being a sad knockoff and less inspiring than the originals. The only ones with any depth or clever application are Oblivion and Blood Sorcery, and that's just sad.


                            What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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                            • #15
                              Even Oblivion and Blood Sorcery illustrate the "remove options that existed in the setting" issue, and unlike 6+ Disciplines do so in a fashion that would actually impact game play.

                              You can no longer make an Abyssal mystic that mastered Obtenebration, and then sought out learning Necromancy to explore the Underworld and its potential connections to the Abyss... because if all of your Oblivion powers are the Obtenebration set, you can't learn the Necromancy powers. You can't play a Banu Hakim sorcorer that studies some specific path and also learns the Clan's unique Quietus powers.

                              Not only are those things that relate to canon NPCs and the metaplot, but also things I've seen people do with their PCs.

                              Though I have no idea what to consider clever about either Oblivion or Blood Sorcery.

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