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  • Discipline Cults!

    This is the result of much discussion and thought inspired by the two recent threads on "What if everyone had a Unique Discipline" and "What if there were No Unique Disciplines?". Basically, I've decided that unique Disciplines as part of Clans are dumb. Instead, I'm going with a kinda Requiem-inspired idea. I've never actually played Requiem and only read it years ago, so bear with me. I said 'inspired', after all.

    The idea is that no one has any unique Discipline as an in-Clan. The only way to learn unique Disciplines is to join a cult or follow a Road/Path associated with that Discipline, meeting their requirements and also suffering a special Curse that's part of each unique Discipline. This basically does away with the idea that it's nigh-impossible for anyone but thin-bloods to create new Disciplines. It's possible to start your own cult with your own Discipline, just really hard. I think this opens up a lot of new plots, and having the unique Disciplines be the result of questing and dedication also makes them feel more valuable. It helps divorce the non-Camarilla Clans from their Discipline-inspired stereotypes, too.

    Enjoy this Google Document that describes all the Cults and the systems involved. I'm more than happy to get suggestions or comments on the cults, since most of them are pretty basic ideas.


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  • #2
    Ooh, interesting idea. I particularly like the idea of each Discipline you want to learn having a Curse attached to it. I don't know about associating it with Cults, but that'd really depend on how you want to do it: I like the idea of setting it up so you can learn these without being a member of a Cult (though of course having a teacher helps a bundle), and the Curse is just kind of attached to the power as a consequence.


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    • #3
      Since no one would have these in-Clan, it'd be extraordinarily hard to learn them without joining the associated Cult. Generally vampires don't just spontaneously manifest out-of-Clan Disciplines. What would motivate a member of the Discipline's group to teach an outsider? I mentioned that it can happen, but it's incredibly rare and often anyone that knows a cult's Discipline but isn't part of the cult is hunted relentlessly. Plus, there are some that it just doesn't make sense to learn without joining the cult, like the Infernal Disciplines.

      That said, after learning the Discipline, there's nothing that says your character has to be entirely or even mostly dedicated to the ideals of the cult. You could join the Daughters of Cacophony, learn Melpominee, and then just go about your unlife. There's not much obligation involved. Same for the Samedi and Thanatosis. The Baron just gets his kicks from turning vampires into rotten zombies, he doesn't much care what they do later. The Baali might be considerably less understanding about someone joining their cult, learning Daimoinon and then just forgetting about the entire religion behind their powers.


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      • #4
        I love it! Though you were a bit mean with those poor Trujah... not that they can even care.

        But I liked the Trujah Fan Discipline that was like Mental-Celerity, that could be cool for a cult of detached scholars combined with the Trujah Clan weakness.


        I'm So Meta Even This Acronym

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        • #5
          Fantastic work there Telgar, there are some seriously awesome ideas contained within this document (which I have saved a link to) which I'll have to institute in future games. I'll probably even manage to sneak some of these elements into the various associated clans. Plus, given that I have a player/character who wants to learn Viceratika in my Sabbat game I'll definetly have to create the Stone Men as some kind of pack/cult dedicated to emulating the gargoyles and urban survival.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Thorbes View Post
            I love it! Though you were a bit mean with those poor Trujah... not that they can even care.

            But I liked the Trujah Fan Discipline that was like Mental-Celerity, that could be cool for a cult of detached scholars combined with the Trujah Clan weakness.
            I always thought that the True Brujah should have had Celerity, Dominate, and Potence. Where as Presence is the Discipline of fierce emotions, represented by modern Brujah, Dominate is the cold enforcement of your will over that of another.

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            • #7
              DanielPLanman did something similar months ago on the WW forums: http://forums.white-wolf.com/default...26&find=unread

              -Protean is considered a standard Discipline
              -Signature Disciplines all have a Weakness associated with them
              -All Clans get thee standard Disciplines
              -Axing Temporis

              Surprised you didn't like his changes at that time, Telgar: http://forums.white-wolf.com/default...23#post1687823

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              • #8
                Erm.. I don't really see how Dan's stuff is similar. He was working on a complete redesign of the game. In addition to giving Clans new Discipline spreads (not just 3 per Clan, btw) he also implemented a bunch of other weird rules, redesigned a bunch of Clans and merged several together. He added Clan Advantages and redid the Weaknesses. There's a lot of stuff in that thread and, as I said, I don't like most of it.

                This idea is considerably less involved and comes from a different direction.


                I'm a professor! Why is no one listening to me?!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Telgar View Post
                  Since no one would have these in-Clan, it'd be extraordinarily hard to learn them without joining the associated Cult. Generally vampires don't just spontaneously manifest out-of-Clan Disciplines. What would motivate a member of the Discipline's group to teach an outsider? I mentioned that it can happen, but it's incredibly rare and often anyone that knows a cult's Discipline but isn't part of the cult is hunted relentlessly. Plus, there are some that it just doesn't make sense to learn without joining the cult, like the Infernal Disciplines.
                  Like I said, it depends on what kind of game you were running, but I was thinking the vamp in question would have to hunt down references to the rumoured Discipline, try to work it out, then spend nights trying to force their Blood to work in that way. Hell of a lot of hard work, but being able to manifest one of these "hidden" Disciplines gives them a hella advantage. In that case, the Cult would be an unncessary complication. There might be Cults that spring up or something, but I wouldn't view them as necessary.

                  But that's just my take on things. Yours does work, I just like turning it over in my head.


                  My Commandments for GMs My Commandments for Players

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                  • #10
                    I like the idea of adding cults to Disciplines. Have you considered perusing the Gehenna Cults in the Elysium book? Not sure if they would fit, but it might be a good template to start with for fleshing your cults out further.

                    Also, never noticed those discipline Derangements in GttHC and GttLC, thanks for pointing those out!
                    Last edited by Hyggelig; 11-23-2013, 06:27 PM. Reason: Added extra content

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                    • #11
                      If you just wanted to borrow the idea of the Disciplines having inherent curses and ignore the cult aspect entirely, you could, yes. I think it takes something away from unique Disciplines when anyone can just figure them out on their own in a few nights. With years of work as part of a massive story arc, sure, you can invent your own Disciplines and thus basically "learn" any one that you want by making a copy of it. Just as a regular way of learning Disciplines in play, though? Naw, I prefer them having to find a teacher and be accepted by meeting the criteria set by that teacher. In this case, the teacher would tend to demand the student undergo the same training and initiation that the teacher did. That's how cults form.

                      EDIT: I haven't read Elysium, but thanks for suggesting it. I actually don't have to do much work on the cults since most of them already exist as Roads, Paths or Bloodlines. They're just being turned from those things into cults. The Roads and Paths actually function exactly as they did before, since you're expected to be on that Road or Path to learn that Discipline. The Baali, Strigmaga and Malefactors are just different types of Infernalists, so that works too. There's just a very few groups that have to be expanded, like the Stone Men or maybe the War Packs that use Sanguinis need some explanation.
                      Last edited by Telgar; 11-23-2013, 06:58 PM.


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                      • #12
                        What's the justification for not having the sorcery disciplines as unique in this list? Pretty much all of them have to be taught, and getting trained in thaumaturgy explicitly involves forcing vitae to do "unnatural" things.

                        Loving the cults angle, though. It ties into some ideas I had a few years back about making certain clans into cults (thinking particularly Setites, Baali and Tremere originally), rather than needing specific bloodlines for their archetypes.


                        A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
                        Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

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                        • #13
                          Because I would consider these "Minor Disciplines" that have certain limits and baggage that comes with them, like an extra curse and capping out at level 5 and never being in-Clan to anyone. The different types of blood magic already have, as you said, a lot of culture and story built into them by default. I think they work pretty well as-is, without being made into Minor Disciplines like Valeren or Thanatosis.


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                          • #14
                            I'm still not completely convinced - it sounds like you're attempting to nerf certain disciplines for arbitrary reasons, while others that would qualify as unique that you don't want categorised as such get let off the hook. I might be getting the wrong end of the stick here, so apologies if that's a misreading. I just don't see that having culture and story built into them as a reason not to make them minor disciplines. Vicissitude has that in spades, for example.


                            A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
                            Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

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                            • #15
                              If you want to see it that way, you can. I think the signature Disciplines (aside from Protean) are generally poorly written, very light on rules, horribly balanced and often the single entire reason a Bloodline or Clan even exists. Even using this system of Minor Disciplines, I'd still have to make drastic alterations to them before I even allowed them in a game. A good deal of my reason for removing them is because it opens up the Clans and lets them focus on something besides their "signature" Discipline. Vicissitude entirely consumed the Tzimisce, for example.

                              Protean gets a pass because it's well-written, totally thematic and very well balanced. It was designed as a player-character tool, all the way back to First Edition. It's always been meant for players and never had that "NPC-only" vibe that the Sabbat and Bloodline Disciplines have in spades.

                              Blood Magic gets a pass because 1) as a general conception, it isn't unique even if specific forms of blood magic are unique to certain Clans and 2) it already functions differently. It isn't a regular Discipline at all. It's blood magic. It isn't Major or Minor, it's a third category entirely.


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