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What does the Lasombra's technology roll represent them doing, anyway?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    The flickering is a recent development or it is assumed to have always been there? What to do with the original flaw? I think this is relevant at least for the matter of it being a really traditional flaw, and I think it still should work in such a way as to justify that for most of history they got associated with a lack of reflection instead of a distorted one.
    Perhaps for the historic bane, one could play up the part about being recognised. That is to say that in the past, a lot of kine knew about it. They probably didn't know that it meant that the person was Lasombra or even a vampire. But rather than assuming that it was in their head or a weird illusion, there was a good chance that they would suspect that the Lasombra was something inhuman and threatening, like a demon or monster.

    It seems noteworthy that in Thousand Years of Night, Hollow Mekhet have a similar weakness, but their technological disability isn't the part that's subject to the scaling rule. I'd be eager to keep V5 Lasombra's look normal on camera, but shift the mechanical focus somewhere else. Perhaps part of this would mean that they are mostly intelligible over the phone, just as they're recognisable in video footage, but they sound wrong.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Crytash2 View Post
      I dislike the flaw a lot, as it is just plain uninteresting and hinders good play. Personally - thinking about it on the fly - i would replace it with a flaw that would slowly make their shadows sentient, trying to kill the magister over the long run. It would play into the darwinistic culture, the clan discipline and great RP. (shoutout to wraith)
      People would scream that it was ripping off Requiem’s Hollow Mekhet.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
        I particularly like those two and think they would work nice together. But I would change the technology aspect a little. Instead of botch, it could be a distinct roll with their Bane Severity. Add some limitation on activation, maybe a roll a scene, or maybe it needs a trigger, and have it affecting also reflections and whatnot. So it isn't tied only to technology and neither to failure, but still means they have to be more cautious about risk factors.

        ​What do you think, SetiteFriend? Mizu?
        I like them, personally. Its annoying but not excessive.
        Last edited by Mizu; 08-31-2022, 02:18 AM.


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        • #49
          Does anyone actually enjoy roleplaying this weakness? I know I enjoy several of the clan weaknesses. The Gangrel flaw is a blast to roleplay. I love coming up with fun animal features. I sometimes end up waiting weeks because I came up with a feature that would be fun to RP and no opportunity to frenzy presents itself. The Nosferatu weakness is fun to RP, allowing me to play up the gross-out factor, or RP someone Phantom of the Opera hidden. People love RPing the Malk bane a lttle TOO much.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
            Both are interesting ideas on their own that I think can be worked with, but I actually think the concept of the current one is good, it is the focus on the technology side that's lame.
            Agreed.
            If they seem to flicker out of reality, and maybe something is flickering in, then the mechanics should cover this more directly and in a way that makes the images themselves be a main problem. Having a hard time with smartphones may be a niche flaw only some have. I'm trying to brainstorm some ideas, although I don't have much time now. A roll to control the reflection/recordings? The distorted image is an independent entity with BS as dice pool? Can it reveal secrets, or create lies? How distorted it is? Where does it seems to come from? Does it causes fear effects on its own? Maybe it can actively attract attention to itself instead of just be there? Temporarily affect things the image interacts with, or other images?

            Whenever I say "images" you can read anything that gets distorted by their Bane, voice echoes, recordings, electrical fields, whatever. I just think that if simple usage of technology would be affected, it should be rare enough that the character can still use them reliably, so they don't simply give up trying. Most of the time the Bane shouldn't interfere meaningfully with operating smartphones or recording your own videos.

            The flickering is a recent development or it is assumed to have always been there? What to do with the original flaw? I think this is relevant at least for the matter of it being a really traditional flaw, and I think it still should work in such a way as to justify that for most of history they got associated with a lack of reflection instead of a distorted one.
            I love these ideas.
            Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
            Im not particulary bothered about the ethereal gimmick they've pick up in 5 i preffered it when they were ever so slightly elderich but in a more understated way than the Tzmisce
            But notheless

            -their shadow tends to move on its own accord if they're distracted or distressed.

            -if you botch any roll involving tech some spooky creepypasta style stuff happens. This allows you to use conventional tech but means you have to be very careful when doing anything fancy.

            -maybe lasombra just feel wrong to good people and some sort of penalty applies.

            I keep going back to Gary Oldmans dracula where even when he's being friendly or even sincerly nice he just feels off.

            Edit-one Mrs Robin came up with, lasombra frenzy is run by an abysmal entity. So the the keeper briefly becomes a gate to beyond.
            All of these are solid, and my favourite homebrew versions of the flaw have some combination of the things you and Monteparnas mention.

            This is the one I use:

            "Clan Curse (Shrouded Soul): You never cast a reflection. Cameras and similar technology (whether live or recorded) capture you only as a blur or distortion. This protects you from discovery by most mortal surveillance, but is a tell-tale sign to hunters. Furthermore, you gain an obsession related to maintaining and checking your appearance — feeling your face for signs of change, asking others to reassure you and even having portraits made. Take the Obsession Flaw without gaining gaining any Freebie Points for it."

            This one is from Blood and Bourbon:

            "Clan Bane (The Hollow Curse): Lasombra have no reflections. Characters unaware of the keeper’s true nature make a reflexive Perception roll each scene contested by (Lasombra’s Humanity) dice to notice their missing reflection. To hunters, it’s a dead giveaway as to what the vampire is. Ordinary mortals subconsciously choose to ignore this oddity but are unnerved by it, causing the Lasombra to suffer their Humanity dots as a cap on all Social dice pools against them (except for Intimidation). This penalty lasts for the remainder of the scene. Lasombra also may not choose to appear normally in cameras, photographs, films, and other forms of media. Their Lost Visage is always in effect.
            Beat: The Lasombra fails a roll or is inconvenienced by their bane."
            Source: https://blood-and-bourbon.obsidianpo...se-rules#Clans

            Note that The Lost Visage is a Requiem thing -- where all vampires instinctively avoid cameras and the like, so their images come out distorted unless they choose to have themselves appear normally. So you'd need to tweak this one a little.

            This one is from the 13 Licks Masquiem conversion by Yossarian:

            "Clan Bane (The Hollow Curse): Lasombra have no true reflection. Instead of benefitting from the Lost Visage, a Shadow’s likeness appears as a monstrous shadow in reflections and media; sometimes, it doesn’t appear at all. This shadow is strangely hostile to its host, acting out of accord with her actions: Once a chapter, the Storyteller gains a dice pool equal to (10 – Humanity) for the reflection to affect the world around it, attacking or hindering the vampire, particularly when in the presence of mortals."
            Source: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...-13-licks-the-
            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
            I particularly like those two and think they would work nice together. But I would change the technology aspect a little. Instead of botch, it could be a distinct roll with their Bane Severity. Add some limitation on activation, maybe a roll a scene, or maybe it needs a trigger, and have it affecting also reflections and whatnot. So it isn't tied only to technology and neither to failure, but still means they have to be more cautious about risk factors.

            ​What do you think, SetiteFriend? Mizu?
            This could work as a Bane Severity roll every chapter, as per the 13 Licks conversion.
            Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 08-31-2022, 03:34 AM.


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            • #51
              Originally posted by Mizu View Post


              It is a weakness, it isn't supposed to push you towards greatness. Its supposed to be a pain in your cold dead ass that makes your unlife harder then it needs to be. Now, you could argue that its unfairly severe compared to what other clans have to put up with. But 'this flaw does nothing to make me awesome' isn't much of an argument.
              Except literally every other clan has a weakness that encourages them to join together and overcome it. Ventrue are greatly encouraged by their weakness to amass backgrounds like crazy and help eachother get rich. Ventrue simply wouldn't have half that drive and wouldn't be able to co-operate were it not for that weakness. Gangrel are gradually pushed to become independent survivalists. Nosferatu are pushed towards spies and the perfect predators. Malkavians only communicate with one another because of the shared weakness, they don't really have much in common otherwise, and the toreador wouldn't have a clan identity and culture obsession if they didn't have something to bind such super-generalists together. Even for Assamites, something very minor like the darkening serves to seperate Us from Them and encourages the creation of a their own sects with interdependent castes.

              Literally every Clan weakness has a sociological function that provides direction and pushes neonates to develop in a certain route. I'd half wager the Antes installed these weaknesses onto their descendents on purpose (ergo, maybe the real Nosferatu's actually still beautiful, it'd be a lot better than his current shlock of a story)

              Sure, weaknesses are inconvenient for the individual, but for society they're a massive advantage.
              But this new Lasombra weakness... it's just a nuisance. What are the Lasombra driven to do, encourage ludites? Isn't that anti-competitive?


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              • #52
                Its probably also worth noting the current lasombra clan flaw doesn't really mesh with historical depictions of lasombra. Lasombra were historical dread lords of the night not spooky ethereal clan.

                One of my main irritations of v5 is lasombra is that they don't really even feel like lasombra. More a sort of psuado mekhet with shadow as theme then rather than darkness as motiff. The current v5 flaw feeds into.my annoyance on this here.

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                • #53
                  I don't agree at all that their current Bane doesn't work to describe a pseudo-sociological analysis of their culture.

                  But I do with just that the current bane is lame to RP. That's it. It isn't too strong or too annoying or anything, it's just silly and boring, it doesn't fit the experience.


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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                    I particularly like those two and think they would work nice together. But I would change the technology aspect a little. Instead of botch, it could be a distinct roll with their Bane Severity. Add some limitation on activation, maybe a roll a scene, or maybe it needs a trigger, and have it affecting also reflections and whatnot. So it isn't tied only to technology and neither to failure, but still means they have to be more cautious about risk factors.

                    ​What do you think, SetiteFriend? Mizu?

                    I like it, with some mechanical work it could be good. I'd be wary of excessive rolls though, so a trigger definitely. Maybe on a Messy Criti or Bestial, your reflections straight up turns into an abyssal monster and you get the other tech issues too.

                    It might make the bane too tame though.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post
                      It might make the bane too tame though.
                      I think the possibility of it triggering with reflections and other things that would offset the lessened severity of its current form.

                      One of the problems with the current Bane is that in the end it is too easy to ignore: don't use tech. This really isn't all that hard when you put your mind to it anyway, and hardly matters on most games unless the ST goes out of their way to make it matters. A character that has to roll to use a phone (just an example, but the phone is the easiest one) will either simply stop trying, have a fallback option that's reliable, or have an optimized dice pool to make it reliable. If using tech isn't reliable enough, default to not using it. How frequently does it really sting? I have a PC in my current Changeling game with exactly this kind of Flaw and the few times it really caused some problem was just because the Character has another relevant flaw: 1 Int and the player make sure to roleplay that.

                      So all in all that would be something the character has less agency to simply ignore through lifestyle. But yeah, I totally agree that this need some care to not end up in too many unnecessary rolls.


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                      • #56
                        More than the Darkness, which really adds just a little bit of flavour, for me what characterizes Lasombra is that they're agressive, authoritative, and think themselves clever. That Potence + Dominate combination encapsulates what I think of Lasombra. They might be puppet masters, or they might rip and tear. Their chief attributes were strength and manipulation, and their number one ability was intimidation. All three of the Lasombra's disciplines use terror and intimidation.

                        A man without a shadow is intimidating. A woman without a reflection is intimidating
                        A man cursed so that he can't get his phone to work... that's a joke right? Don't get me wrong I like some funny in my WoD but this seems to be vindictive and in poor taste.


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                        • #57
                          I’m gonna play Devil’s Advocate here and go against the grain. I personally quite like Lasombra’s V5 clan weakness. I think it’s flavourful and has some cool implications.

                          While the bane certainly could have been a bit clearer, it didn’t find it particularly confusing either. The entry right after the bane gives a few of the example on how the bane manifests itself. It seems quite clear to me what ''direct interaction'' entails.

                          While trouble using smartphones has been mentioned multiple time, something I haven’t really seen mentioned much is how dangerous the bane is when we take the Second Inquisition into account. The Lasombra has their bane severity as a penalty to avoid detection from electronic detection systems. That is, in my opinion, the real flaw here. Sure, increased difficulty to make a phone call, or deal with the nearby ATM is certainly annoying, but having to worry about their reflections AND camera, which are almost everywhere nowadays, is what should make Lasombra really careful. They are walking masquerade breach and SI magnet waiting to happen. Which makes their decision to join the Camarilla a bit more sense with their stance on technology.
                          As to how the curse might shape the clan social dynamic in V5, well everything that was previously part of their culture still hold true, but they have to worry about electronic surveillance as well. This also fit with what the overall theme of V5, which is being paranoid of governmental surveillance. Which works wonder to make Lasombra very paranoid of the spotlight. Can't appear in public if you risk getting spotted by any electronic device.

                          Honestly, I was never that interested in Lasombra before, I found them cool, but the amount of munchkinism I’ve seen with their clan bane always made me uninterested in them. Now that they have a real flaw to shape their night, it gives me ideas on how Lasombra could push for a protest campaign to battle governmental global surveillance, on how they might take control of buildings to remove reflective surfaces from the cityscape, etc.
                          Last edited by Algarik; 09-01-2022, 05:43 PM.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Algarik View Post
                            They are walking masquerade breach and SI magnet waiting to happen.
                            I actually thought about that and I think other may have, too, but the reason no one talked about that is that it is a really specific theme, very niche as an aspect of the weakness.

                            See, its not that it isn't an interesting effect. It is. But it is also a one-note danger that not every game will focus on. And even just a little introduction of them may derail a whole chronicle if you focus so much on their Penalty to Not be Noticed by the SI, as the penalty and its effects start to drive the story more than anything else. Great for a story about them, terrible in other scenarios. It may also turn the character into a huge snowflake liability that may hinder the group too much or rob too much spotlight. Those are hard effects for even some experienced STs to work around sometimes, for newbies it can become insurmountable quickly.

                            But then, if you don't focus on this aspect, we get back to the start: their messed up images aren't the problem, the mechanical focus on using tech is, and just because it is boring and kinda nonsensical (it makes sense, but in a convoluted and somewhat contrived way). It is not the concept that needs rework, it is the rule.


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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                              I actually thought about that and I think other may have, too, but the reason no one talked about that is that it is a really specific theme, very niche as an aspect of the weakness.
                              While it is a very niche aspect, it’s also the one that will have the most impact on how Lasombras will shape their night in the current era. Most people can go fine without smartphones or phone calls. Lasombras can ask somebody else to do it in their stead and, with the right power, they can even make humans they use as proxies to make their phone calls forget what they even talked about. As of 2022, I think avoiding using direct technology and phone calls, is an annoyance at worse. Sticking out like a sore thumb on all electronic devices, while a side effect of their curse, is one of their major drawbacks. As for the future, it will likely shape where Lasombra will push their agenda. If direct technologies such as touchscreens and voice activated devices are to become more common, it will be in the clan’s interest to push back against their development and propagation.

                              Lets go back on the current issues Lasombra will have to deal with. Nowadays, there are cameras everywhere. I’m not only talking about security cameras, which are gonna be a major problem anytime a Lasombra wanna step into a building with minimum security, but also the fact that most people nowadays have access to a cellphone with on themselves at all times. They might not even be aiming their cameras at Lasombra in particular, but what if the Lasombra is walking nearby when a group of people are just taking a picture and the Lasombra appears in the frame.

                              The masquerade and escaping the gaze of the SI is a central component of V5’s theme. The Sabbat is mostly gone and its surviving members are relegated to vampire terrorism. The Camarilla and the Anarchs are fighting for turf while trying to avoid catching the eyes of hunters. So the SI is a pretty big deal in V5.

                              Of course, if the masquerade part of the game isn’t being enforced much, then that part of the bane likely won’t come up. But then, this is true for other banes as well.
                              • Nosferatu bane won’t come up as well if the masquerade isn’t much of an issue.
                              • Ventrue bane won’t come up if feeding isn’t an issue.
                              • Toreador bane won’t come up if the game is mostly social gathering in fashionable places.
                              • The Tremere bane is… so niche it might as well not exist.
                              • The Ministry trouble with bright light can probably be circumvented by wearing shades and avoiding going out in the sunlight, like… most sane kindred do.
                              • The Banu Haqim bane can be dangerous, but is also pretty niche.
                              Of course, other banes being niches doesn’t mean the Lasombras having trouble at avoiding electronic surveillance isn’t a niche. I just don’t think it’s that much of a problem in itself. If the game doesn’t wanna focus on parts of the game that will make a kindred’s curse relevant, then so be it. It still can lend itself to cool roleplaying opportunities, or can be mostly ignored like most other bane are on a regular basis. I really don’t see the problem with it.

                              As for the mechanic of the bane itself, I think it’s fine. Lasombras have a drawback with technological devices, have trouble evading cameras, which makes stealth missions harder for them. The lack of reflections has no mechanical impact, but it still can be used to trigger some skill checks to avoid detection in some situations. At least now, we do have a mechanic for it.
                              To avoid having the bane becoming a derailment to the campaign, while still having some relevance, I think there’s a few scenario where it might apply.
                              • A Lasombra got spotted on a camera, while humans are clueless about their true nature, other Kindreds might know. It would be a shame if the Nosferatus got hold of the footage.
                              • A Lasombra need to make a phone call to someone as quickly as possible. How do they deal with it?
                                • Do they implicate someone else and risk their secret getting spilled out?
                                • Do they try to fight their bane and make the phone call on their own, taking the risk of their message not reaching their contact at all?
                                • Do they try and use a different means of communication risking their message not reaching their contact in time?
                              • The Lasombra want to have a chat with someone from another faction. How do they avoid detection?
                                • Do they use email or text messages, leaving traces of their communications?
                                • Do they meet with them in person hoping that :
                                  • A. They don’t get caught doing so.
                                  • B. The meeting is not gonna turn into a trap.
                              • There’s a new construction project; a skyscrapper with big reflective windows in the central spot of the Lasombra’s hunting territory. How do they deal with it?
                              Anyway that’s a few ideas. Everyone is obviously free not to like it but I personally find it to be a gold mine of cool dramatic ideas. Much more so than others.
                              Last edited by Algarik; 09-02-2022, 10:51 AM.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                                More than the Darkness, which really adds just a little bit of flavour, for me what characterizes Lasombra is that they're agressive, authoritative, and think themselves clever. That Potence + Dominate combination encapsulates what I think of Lasombra. They might be puppet masters, or they might rip and tear. Their chief attributes were strength and manipulation, and their number one ability was intimidation. All three of the Lasombra's disciplines use terror and intimidation.

                                A man without a shadow is intimidating. A woman without a reflection is intimidating
                                A man cursed so that he can't get his phone to work... that's a joke right? Don't get me wrong I like some funny in my WoD but this seems to be vindictive and in poor taste.

                                Pretty much yeah, I've seen a lot of interpretations of the clan as shadowy manulipulators but that only a facet of them. They were made to rule, they can be a Sabbat warlord, a cardinal richoux style figure or a femme fatale or a thousand other things it doesn't matter how you go about it, what matters is you do.
                                . The truth is at the dark core of the clan is an hunger for power. "Serve none but your ambition, no creed but your will. Desolate as a hurricane, empty of everything but your desire to dominate." How your pc reacts to this core aspect of the clan is always an interesting angle-do you reject it, moderate it, redirect or embrace it?


                                The origional lasombra clan flaw thematically feeds into this by reflecting (lol) how 'off' and desolate they are. An ironic punishments for their often absurd ego and a warning to others. This is the failure of v5's flaw, it doesn't really mean anything because it mistook motiff (darkness) for theme (shadow), it could be seen as a ironic punishment based on their desire for control but it rapidly degenerates into annoyance and inconvenience.
                                Last edited by Ragged Robin; 09-03-2022, 04:32 AM.

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