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

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  • Just a quick question. Is it possible to make workable elder level powers in the game at all? Some of them seemed somewhat showy and could really risk the masquerade by some of the descriptions.


    What in the name of Set is going on here?

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    • Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
      Its pretty clear v5 has been a mess behind closed doors. I mean we're 4 years in and we have no path rules, can't really play sabbat, the game struggles replicating anything beyond early neonate and most of the discipline options are gone, it took about 2 years to get all the clans out. Compares the Revised which had most stuff out within a year its just plain embarrassing.

      Nah, V5's doing fine. Your 'mess' is their 'working as intended,' especially with Paths and Sabbat not being playable. It's like you have ignored everything that the devs and WoD employees have said about the game, its themes, their goals with it and all of that. This, on top of comparing a company whose sole moneymaker was the tabletop RPG, versus PDX whose moneymaker is not a supplement treadmill.

      Originally posted by Lysander View Post
      Just a quick question. Is it possible to make workable elder level powers in the game at all? Some of them seemed somewhat showy and could really risk the masquerade by some of the descriptions.
      There are plenty of showy and flashy powers. And many Elder powers have been integrated into level 4 and 5 powers like Mass Manipulation. The scale is just different overall.
      Last edited by thebiglarpnerd; 08-30-2022, 08:19 PM.

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      • Originally posted by Lysander View Post
        Just a quick question. Is it possible to make workable elder level powers in the game at all? Some of them seemed somewhat showy and could really risk the masquerade by some of the descriptions.
        I think so, but it is fiddly. The Blood Potency rules, for example, give bonuses to Disciplines and make Blood Surge more effective to replace things like traits over 5 dots, but the result is a bit more bookkeeping and checking of tables.

        The elders won't be anywhere near on the same scale as before, but they'll still have some advantages. Bear in mind that they will also have a lot of drawbacks, too.


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        • If we're talking just V5, I think you can do two things to help regain the "Elder Discipline" space:

          1) While a lot of people just dump the cap on powers per Discipline completely, you can alter it to help gives Elders more oomph by having access to more powers (esp. some of the synergistic ones). If you want to uncap the powers, you could just do that for the standard powers, while the number of Amalgams a character can learn is capped on Blood Potency in some fashion. This would help cover a lot of the 6 and 7 dot Elder Disciplines that are more "unique and quirky power this Elder developed," than powers that are in a radically different tier of power.

          2) As has been brought up before, working in a standard way to increase the power/scope of Discipline powers rather than entirely new powers is another way to help here. You can have it naturally favor Elders by linking it to trade offs to things like Blood Potency bonuses. For example, if you can trade bonus dice for more damage when using Potence, and sacrifice free rouses for additional targets, you get a lot of Elder Potence that makes someone like Mithras so scary: the ability to TPK a bunch of neonates if pushed to expend his reserves. This would take more work to keep it simple in use, but should be a functional design mode to approach the problem from.

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          • Originally posted by thebiglarpnerd View Post


            Nah, V5's doing fine. Your 'mess' is their 'working as intended,' especially with Paths and Sabbat not being playable. It's like you have ignored everything that the devs and WoD employees have said about the game, its themes, their goals with it and all of that. This, on top of comparing a company whose sole moneymaker was the tabletop RPG, versus PDX whose moneymaker is not a supplement treadmill.


            That really damns it with faint praise. "Hey our bad ideas and lack of substantive releases are features not bugs."
            Last edited by Ragged Robin; 08-31-2022, 03:43 AM.

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            • Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
              If we're talking just V5, I think you can do two things to help regain the "Elder Discipline" space:

              1) While a lot of people just dump the cap on powers per Discipline completely, you can alter it to help gives Elders more oomph by having access to more powers (esp. some of the synergistic ones). If you want to uncap the powers, you could just do that for the standard powers, while the number of Amalgams a character can learn is capped on Blood Potency in some fashion. This would help cover a lot of the 6 and 7 dot Elder Disciplines that are more "unique and quirky power this Elder developed," than powers that are in a radically different tier of power.

              2) As has been brought up before, working in a standard way to increase the power/scope of Discipline powers rather than entirely new powers is another way to help here. You can have it naturally favor Elders by linking it to trade offs to things like Blood Potency bonuses. For example, if you can trade bonus dice for more damage when using Potence, and sacrifice free rouses for additional targets, you get a lot of Elder Potence that makes someone like Mithras so scary: the ability to TPK a bunch of neonates if pushed to expend his reserves. This would take more work to keep it simple in use, but should be a functional design mode to approach the problem from.
              Compared to just giving methuelahs, say, physical dice pools in the late teens/early 20's, backgrounds at 5+, and one or two supernatural trump cards, I'd say v5 ancients are really doomed to the short end of the stick. Besides that, remembering 18 powers is worse for the ST than remembering he has 18 dice.


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              • Big dice-pools in the V5 system, unless you're changing even more, are a complete screwjob to Elders.

                First, the higher the Blood Potency the much harder it is to keep Hunger low. A 4th Gen that keeps their BP to 8 is still going to be running around at Hunger 2 unless they murder people a lot. That means without murdering you way into no Humanity (and no house rules for ways to avoid that) ~1/5 rolls will have a Hunger die showing a 10. If you're tossing 15+ dice around, you're going to exhaust your WP extremely fast avoiding Messy Crits, or eating a lot of Messy Crits (as you're in the territory of rolling too many 10s to avoid them with WP). Messy Crits are the worse thing to have happen in combat all things considered, but that just protects your big nasty Elders from getting ganked via a pack of idiot neonates. Any bit of tactics that take advantage of how close you are to the Beast flipping out can easily take control of the fight away from the super-stats Elder.

                Second, the whole point of spending existing assets to use a more standardized "increase power/scope" system is so that you don't have to memorize even more powers for high level characters. The setup I suggested means Elders would have the standard powers for their Disciplines you need to know anyway, maybe a few of the Amalgams that represent Clan signature power, and then 0-3 unique powers that are actually new. The idea of using a more general, "spending existing resources to boost your Disciplines," lets you increase the number of people you can use Presence on, or Dominate people with increasingly less direct methods, without having to have a power for each one. The base system isn't set up for this, but it's certainly less work that completely starting from scratch.

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                • Maybe just going with cool amalgam powers that potent elders and ancients came up and you need a certain amount of blood potency to make it work effectively is the best route in this case. Just my two cents on the matter on Elder level powers.


                  What in the name of Set is going on here?

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                  • You still need to at least uncap Amalgams from the five power limit for that to work.

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                    • The power limit is stupid and should be removed altogether anyway.

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                      • Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post

                        That really damns it with faint praise. "Hey our bad ideas and lack of substantive releases are features not bugs."

                        Nah, that's just you and your V5 dislike because they didn't write it Exactly As You Wanted It. They're writing it the way they want, and need to, in order for it to do what PDX wants it to do. It's that simple.

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                        • Originally posted by thebiglarpnerd View Post


                          Nah, that's just you and your V5 dislike because they didn't write it Exactly As You Wanted It. They're writing it the way they want, and need to, in order for it to do what PDX wants it to do. It's that simple.
                          I actually have pretty complex views on v5, it has a lot of charms despite its flaws. They can write it how they wish but its not immune to criticism and its certainly not perfect and having far less fluff and crunch is a valid criticism.
                          Last edited by Ragged Robin; 09-23-2022, 03:08 AM.

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                          • Additional counterpoint: When they first announced their plans for the WoD after buying it, they said that if VtM didn't have a show on a major streaming platform by 2021, they were screwing it up. It's 2022.

                            Ignoring the specifics here (Martin's obvious puffery is one of the many reasons he was removed from things and White Wolf was reintegrated into Paradox's standard structure), there is an important point here. Paradox wants V5 to be the basis of a multimedia franchise that spans video games, TV shows, and who knows what else. V5 has not show to be inspiring any specific boon in fiction writing compared to previous editions, the video games so far haven't been doing well, the TV show continues to exist solely as a vague plan, and there's no other type of media that's been announced to be seeing a major standalone project.

                            Paradox's goals for the WoD are not secrets (or at least they have overtly stated a few of them). Claiming objective evidence in on the side of the game advancing what Paradox wants out of the game seems a very questionable claim that requires a lot more backup than snidely implying people that don't love the game can't appreciate how good it is doing because they're haters.

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                            • Outside making new amalgams/powers, and given that I prefer to uncap powers to everyone, I think Heavy Arms' idea on trade-offs is the best option within V5. We can have general rules, maybe tied to a loresheet, and/or specific advancements within each power, similar to how Psionics work in D&D 3.5.

                              Simple numerical increases to traits aren't only a lazy design in any RPG, but also a failed one (and yes, in this I do include CoD, despite otherwise finding its system far superior to WoD in any edition). By their own characteristics as random generators within a limited scope, they work as intended only within certain parameters. Outside those, the mathematics of the system simply do not generate desirable effects for gameplay.

                              For WoD, more dice give diminishing returns while costing more XP. Thanks to rules that make some numbers specially problematic, you really cap their significance around 9 or 10, above that while they technically give some benefit, they effectively add more noise than any meaningful improvement on your chances. And that comes beyond being unwieldy and less meaningful when comparing characters (the difference between a stat 3 and a 4 is far more relevant than between 7 and 9).


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                              • Originally posted by thebiglarpnerd View Post


                                Nah, that's just you and your V5 dislike because they didn't write it Exactly As You Wanted It. They're writing it the way they want, and need to, in order for it to do what PDX wants it to do. It's that simple.
                                There's a little too much irony in this statement. you're criticizing us for wanting things "Exactly As We Want", when that for the most part means broad appeal, and you're defending WW for going with a hyper specific thing that's "Exactly as They wanted it". "Vampires live among us and they struggle for power at the expense of the people around them" is apparently too ethereal a concept for today's kids so we needed to make them inept and far too involved in partisan issues because that's what politics is and it's relatable.

                                V5 does not have broad appeal. It's very good if you've got something very specific in mind, but it's done so at the expense of broad appeal. Can I wallow in my own missery in V5? Yes. Can I fight The Man in V5? Yes. Can I find a greater purpose beyond lamenting my lost humanity... ehm... no. Can I explore what it means to be human or adjust myself according to how my character might realistically cope according to his/her new state? Not if you want to be a player character. V5 is great if you want to simulate a more idealistic person becoming a vampire and their first few years but it doesn't really work so well when you want someone with any degree of hardening.


                                Imagine you became a vampire, had 2 dots in all common disciplines and you had to suck blood to keep the Beast at bay and had to lie/cheat/steal for it every night. How long do you think it would take for you to stop thinking of messy crits as a horrifying loss of control and more of a fucking nuisance. Wait let's bring it down to a more ordinary example: you live your early life disgusted by poop. Then one day you've made kid and you've got to clean up their shit all the time and touch it with your bare hands with some regularity. How long do you think it takes to get used to that? It's instantaneous. You clean it up, you move on. Parenting isn't for everyone but it isn't horrifying, it's inconvenient, and highly recommended; though I wouldn't say so if you had to clean up the shit for their entire life. Messy crits aren't horror. Messy crits are a nuisance. Messy crits are an idea of "personal horror" born from someone who doesn't have kids, and who doesn't imagine them growing up.
                                Now Frenzies before V5, that's actually scary. Imagine you, an adult, are liable to shit yourself and maybe kill someone if you don't carefully control your situation. You are responsible for your own lack of control: It's not a matter of when, it's IF. That's actually scary. Shitting yourself as a reponsible adult is distressing, and you don't need to have shat yourself to have empathy for those that have and maybe some dread towards what happens when you're aging and can't control yourself anymore. Shitting yourself as a baby is par for the course; clean it up, move on, don't worry about it. I can't emphasize enough how banal messy crits are, how ultra-specific they are to someone's idea of personal horror. Like there was a concept that was distressing to 90/100 people and it was supplanted in favour of something that'd bother 100 but maybe horrify only 5/100.

                                (I'm aware frenzies still exist in V5, but messy crits are going to desensitize you to them)

                                More on the main topic: Higher level disciplines are just something we had that were broadly understandable. There's always someone richer, always someone stronger, always someone better looking or more influentual. We all get that feeling even if we don't want to. It's a truth. Capping things at 5th level... you can be the best. What's interesting about being the best? What's relatable about being the best? One of the things that really drives vampire is ambition, and that there's always someone better than you, and you too can kill a few people to get there. Being the best is not relatable. Coveting the best is. Fearing that you'll grow old and the young will replace you is relatable.

                                Purely on high concepts
                                V5
                                Sacrificed
                                Broad
                                Appeal

                                VTM
                                Had
                                Broad
                                Appeal
                                Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 09-01-2022, 06:32 AM.


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