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About to get onto and Instinct path of englightenment--looking for tips

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  • About to get onto and Instinct path of englightenment--looking for tips

    So a little background: I play in a Dark Ages: Vampire game that's been going for a few years now IRL (six or seven years at least). We started in the mid- to late-1050's and it's now 1450-something. We play in "team" (two or three players to a "team", in various parts of Europe, the ST keeps track of it all)--it's lots of fun.

    My character started with Humanity 7 (I think), and has slowly been whittled down to Humanity 3--at this point, he's made the determination that humanity is just not a viable strategy for an inherently predatory creature, etc. etc. I anticipate that in the next story I will be given the opportunity to get onto the path I've chosen--it's an Instinct path. The issue is that my character, while not super heavily reliant on cities, is in cities a fair bit anyway. Clearly there are plenty of vampires who rely on cities, urban environs, etc., and go onto Instinct paths (at least some of the Road of Sin; the sub-path of Beast dubbed "Road of the Grey Hunter", so on.)

    What I'm looking for here are tips and strategies for not losing my sh*t at the drop of a hat and eating the 15th century equivalent of a Starbucks barista because he got my order wrong. It seems like unless I have an Instinct of 5 (and lord only knows how long THAT will take to get to), I'm going to fly off the handle any time someone is cross with me. Mind you, in addition to "protips" or whatever, I'm also looking for whatever plausible interpretations/head cannon you all might have regarding the textual descriptions (from whatever sources) of how Instinct and frenzy work.

    Thanks to all who respond in advance!


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  • #2
    In V20 a vampire on Instincts always frenzies (although if their Instincts is higher than the difficulty they can choose to not frenzy), at any time during the frenzy the vampire may "ride the wave" and take a conscious action, they roll Instincts vs the difficulty of avoiding frenzy and if they succeed they can take the action. In addition a vampire with either Self-control or Instincts may spend a Willpower point to take an action of their choosing.

    Big parts of how you play out your Instincts are your Nature and the Road(Path) you are on. The Beast is part your Nature stripped of the Demeanor you show to the world your uncovered wants, and part the hungers and drives of the curse of Caine (hence hunger, frenzy, rotschreck); in this way you could almost view the Beast as a person's Id with extra drives. Instincts represent not controlling the Beast with a leash so much as understanding what it wants, and giving that to it in a way the vampire wants. Instincts means you have thrown aside the belief you are a human, instead you are a predator and you will act like one. When vampires with Instinct frenzy, they want to get rid of the problem (the trigger for the frenzy) the simplest way as a predatory creature would normally attacking and destroying the irritant. Now this is where Road(Path), riding the wave, and spending willpower come in as your vampire tries to guide the Beast to the solution the vampire wants. Note however that a hunger frenzy is all about feeding, and so a vampire during a hunger frenzy will generally find the first available vessel and drain it dry before moving on to the next, until the scene ends or they fill their blood pool.
    • Take the Path of the Grey Hunter, for example, it espouses that vampires are predators of civilization using agreements and such to its advantage. It still maintains that the vampire be willing to kill to protect itself and not sacrifice for a stranger, but it also says that they cannot shun gatherings and celebrations or refuse hospitality to an invited/announced guest. These vampires are more like pack hunters, those they have chosen are protected and allied with, others are monitored to see if they are a threat. They actively enjoy the pleasures of civilization while hunting among it, after all they are thinking predators. When a threat arises that's one of the times a Grey Hunter is likely to frenzy, they must protect themselves and their territory, so a hypothetical example: someone attacks the Grey Hunter or one of the other guests during a party and the Hunter frenzies. The Hunter would then immediately attack the perpetrator and try to kill them, possibly continuing to beat on the body after death to make a point that 'no one violates the sanctity of my domain' possibly using their Instincts roll or Willpower spending to say as such to other guests, when the frenzy ends, assuming the party hasn't the vampire will return to it. The vampire apologies for disturbing the other guests, while making it clear the actions taken by the perpetrator were unacceptable and the vampire will not be apologetic for dealing with them.
    • Road of Sin while similar espouses that the vampire always follow their desires and fulfill them to the fullest. Such a vampire is a hedonist, wildly gorging their passions, while refusing to be chained or controlled by anyone. That does not mean they wont follow orders, rather they will only follow the orders they find agreeable and will only 'lash out' against those who would have them act against their best interest or pleasures. Each Path has a different interpretation of the desires of the vampire and so are difficult to offer complete generalities, but basically assume the vampire does what they want, indulging their desires until thwarted, and then removing the obstacle. Taking the party example above, the vampire probably wouldnt frenzy when the guest was attacked (unless the guest was providing some pleasure like singing, dancing, etc) and the vampire would probably beat down the perpetrator as badly, however once the perpetrator went down the vampire would immediately seek to slake its desires most likely by feeding until its blood pool is full. The vampire might try to 'ride the wave' or spend Willpower to avoid harming anyone who gave them pleasure or are their friends, instead choosing strangers as the targets.
    Thankfully your barista reference is an example of something that might not provoke frenzy since it falls below 'being harassed' and 'malicious taunts', both of which are difficulty 4 (so some higher Instincts vampires could ignore them outright anyway) making it easy to 'ride the wave'. Remember a vampire with Instincts is a predator, and many predators are perfectly calm until something riles them up; so it goes with these vampires, they can be erudite and cultured one moment and switch to rampaging vengeance when provoked. To these vampires there is no shame in the frenzy, it is a natural effect of being a vampire, like a mortal's hunger or need to sleep, its just something the vampire sometimes has to do.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cynic01 View Post
      Thankfully your barista reference is an example of something that might not provoke frenzy since it falls below 'being harassed' and 'malicious taunts', both of which are difficulty 4 (so some higher Instincts vampires could ignore them outright anyway) making it easy to 'ride the wave'.
      That's basically my conundrum: having an Instinct of 5 is, I have to imagine, extraordinary--there's nothing higher after all! That means that the majority (if we're using a bell curve) of (say) Grey Hunters, aren't going to be able to shrug off a slight--how do they manage to preserve the Masquerade in that instance? I mean, random barbs are a part of courtly life after all--it seems like Grey Hunters would be nigh unplayable.

      EDIT: Thank you so much, btw. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your post!


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      • #4
        Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
        That's basically my conundrum: having an Instinct of 5 is, I have to imagine, extraordinary--there's nothing higher after all! That means that the majority (if we're using a bell curve) of (say) Grey Hunters, aren't going to be able to shrug off a slight--how do they manage to preserve the Masquerade in that instance? I mean, random barbs are a part of courtly life after all--it seems like Grey Hunters would be nigh unplayable.

        EDIT: Thank you so much, btw. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your post!
        Camarilla is largely on Humanity, and vampires on paths of enlightenment, especially ones with Instinct, are very rare. Sabbat is Sabbat and they run around with burning chainsaws.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
          Mind you, in addition to "protips" or whatever, I'm also looking for whatever plausible interpretations/head cannon you all might have regarding the textual descriptions (from whatever sources) of how Instinct and frenzy work.
          you should probably check Chaining the Beast (2003), it has most everything you need to know. Sins of the blood has some good tips as well.

          how do they manage to preserve the Masquerade in that instance?
          First. preserving the masquerade is very relative measure. There is no such thing as perfect secrecy, it's all a matter of degree. Now, most Instinct vampires are walking masquerade breaches, they have a bunch of people who either find them inhuman or know they're vampires. You take your bets and deal with the consequences however you see fit (disciplines, murder and all that...).

          Second. Beasts are Beasts, they're either aggressive or overly frightened. whether on Road of Beast or Road of Sin, you have bestial instincts that urge you to kill or urge you to hide. Secrecy and Masquerade are as natural for a vampire than hunting and feeding.

          Sabbat are a good example of that. While a lot of them go into street rampages. The least daring of them just stick to the shadows or lock themselves in their heavens. Most extreme scenarios include a Frenzy dispute, then when one gets hurt they just scare off and run away to hide in the next room or climb the wall etc...

          What I'm looking for here are tips and strategies for not losing my sh*t at the drop of a hat and eating the 15th century equivalent of a Starbucks barista because he got my order wrong.
          That's not how you're supposed to think. You try to control the beast, use it or guide it. you don't try to avoid it (that's the job of self-control).

          That's basically my conundrum: having an Instinct of 5 is, I have to imagine, extraordinary--there's nothing higher after all!
          Yes, and no. While it's not everywhere that you'll meet someone with Instinct 5, having high instincts doesn't fix the problem. Quite the opposite actually.
          Having high instincts means you have control over the beast. On the other hand, you become feral and primal (sometimes worse than the beast).
          You can keep a pretty face (as much as you can...with snarling and all that), wear a necktie and act "civilized", but you're not civilized by any stretch of the word.

          It means you're turbulent, aggressive, overactive, always on edge and people will be disturbed by it (for better or worse). If self-control allows some moments of serenity and rest, Instinct do all the opposite. You're always thinking about something, talking about something, fucking something, doing something, observing something or analyzing something. If you have nothing to do, you go out and start hunting, or go sit in the corner and start Frenzying.
          Last edited by Pleiades; 06-10-2016, 04:31 PM.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            That's basically my conundrum: having an Instinct of 5 is, I have to imagine, extraordinary--there's nothing higher after all! That means that the majority (if we're using a bell curve) of (say) Grey Hunters, aren't going to be able to shrug off a slight--how do they manage to preserve the Masquerade in that instance? I mean, random barbs are a part of courtly life after all--it seems like Grey Hunters would be nigh unplayable.
            EDIT: Thank you so much, btw. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your post!
            Random barbs are not exactly enough necessarily, since most random barbs are not going to be 'malicious taunts', I could even see a Grey Hunter responding in kind with witty retorts; you could view it as playing with its food or asserting dominance in its territory. The only time you risk frenzy is when something really hits a nerve (or someone has been doing it all evening, and in that case perhaps some subtle hinting could let them know they are being gauche and pushing their luck. If they do and the vampire pounds them into a fine paste, well everyone learned a valuable lesso,n dont mess with that vampire. Its a tough thing, since we arent really equipped to think in such inhuman terms. Each Path is unique in how it views their inhumanity, some like the Road of Heaven or Path of Honorable Accord seem almost human, others like Beast, Bones, and Metamorphsis are very much inhuman to the extreme. Some other media I can think of off the top of my head that portray vampires in a way as if they had the thought processes of someone on a Road(Path)
            • Hellsing (Manga/Anime/OVA): Alucard is clearly a vampire not on the Road of Humanity, his willingness to kill, torture, and maim, combined with an obsessive desire for a challenge show a very old vampire who is reaching that point of boredom and is looking for something to interest him. Alucard might represent how a Tzimisce, especially on the Road of Metamorphosis might act, when trying to 'fit in' generally they seem civil enough, but there is a sense of menace and danger which puts human at unease. Seras Victoria's rampages are very much a good example of a vampire Frenzy, especially how she reacts in the aftermath for a vampire on Humanity (what Seras very much would be). Millenium could easily be an analogy for the Sabbat or vampires on Roads. The Major would likely be equivalent to a stereotypical Lasombra or Ventrue antitribu, comes across as someone on the Road of Kings or Path of Power and and the Inner Voice. The Doc is akin to a Tzimisce or Malkavian antitribu (especially considering his strange nervous tick of chewing his finger), likely would be a follower of a Road like the Road of Bones, Metamorphosis, or Caine. Zorin Blitz has the mentality of a Brujah antitribu or Malkavian Antitribu and her mental assault is very much a good visual for Dementation she would likely function, most likely on the Road of the Beast. The Captain is obviously supposed to be a werewolf, but could easily be interpreted as a Tzimisce or Gangrel and the transformation is either Zulo form or some Protean powers, considering his quiet obedience I see him on Road of Kings or Path of Honorable Accord. Rip Van Winkle seems a Malkavian antitribu considering the way she acts and her wild mood swings, the way she treats the vampires on the ship almost seems like how someone on the Path of Blood might look at most vampires, as unworthy of the unlife they have. Shrodinger could be Gangrel (the 'ears' being very much like their weakness) or perhaps Ravnos antitribu (the whole 'everywhere and nowhere' feels very much like something a wandering Ravnos would say), its harder to place him as he seems to lack the maliciousness of his companions, perhaps Path of Honorable Accord, or maybe even Humanity.
            • Thirty Days of Night (Comics/Movie): Most of these vampires definitely come off as Road of Beast or maybe a Gluttonous Road of Sin, they seek a way to enjoy a long feast. They are also a good analogy for what more inhumane vampires might do when they rule an area (less death but that same humans are food attitude).
            • The Strain (Book/TV Series/Comics): The vampires themselves are very much visually like Nosferatu, Fleshcrafted Tzimisce, or truly corpse like Cappadocians (Samedi and Harbingers of Skulls. The Master strikes me as someone on the Road of Metamorphosis or Path of Caine, perhaps Path of Power and the Inner Voice or Road of Sin (Path of Screams). Gabriel Bolivar is an example of what happens when someone switches from Humanity to a Path. Thomas Eichorst seems like Road of Kings, especially his interactions with the Master. Eldritch Palmer is a great example what a ghoul of in inhuman vampire might end up like. Quinlan seems like someone on the Path of Honorable Accord as he is less 'inhuman' (yes I know he's supposed to be like a Dhampir, but I'm arguing if he were a vampire for the purposes of Road), but clearly has divested himself of Humanity.
            • Dracula (Bela Lugosi, Frank Langella. Gary Oldman): All three of their portrayals seem to fit in line with someone on the Road of Kings. Oldman's version might be a good example of someone on the Path of the Grey Hunter, great at mingling in humanity but violently vengeful when thwarted.
            • Blade (Movies): Blade I, Deacon Frost seems Path of Power and the Inner Voice. Blade II, Jared Nomak acts very much like a vampire on the Road of the Beast (also prone to frenzy and 'riding the wave'); Eli Damaskinos is the classic elder vampire, seeming to walk the Road of Kings perhaps Path of Power and the Inner Voice; Nyssa Damaskinos seems very Road of Kings or Path of Honorable Accord; Dieter Reinhardt seems Path of Power and the Inner Voice, Road of the Beast, or Road of Sin. Blade III, Danica Talos is Path of Power and the Inner Voice, Road of Sin. Jarko Grimwood feels like a shovelhead now on Road of the Beast. Dracula(Drake) is Road of Kings or Path of Honorable Accord, especially with how he reacts to Talos and what he does for Blade in the end.

            As for
            You're always thinking about something, talking about something, fucking something, doing something, observing something or analyzing something. If you have nothing to do, you go out and start hunting, or go sit in the corner and start Frenzying.
            while not incorrect, a vampire should not find themselves in the situation of nothing to do, every vampire should have something akin to a 'hobby' it could be something as like a Cappadocian or Tremere doing magical experiments or a Tzimisce constantly playing around and sculpting the flesh of his servants, or even as simple as going hunting when not hungry. It also helps explain why vampires will enter Torpor willingly regardless of Road(Path), by sleeping away a century or more they know when they awaken the world will have changed and they get to enjoy returning and learning the position of the pieces on the chessboard as it were. In the same way this boredom explains why vampires would gather together in Elysiums, as only other vampires can truly understand (even vampires on other Roads still have better insight than mortals) and provide them with the chance to match wits with an equal. At the end of the night each Road is a way to avoid plunging into Wassail and becoming a Wight, that state where you are a mindless slave to your Beast (very much Hunt, Eat, Kill, Sleep, Repeat).

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            • #7
              In my games I have homebrewed it that Instinct works thus:

              You get (Instinct+3) as what makes you Frenzy/choose when to Frenzy. This way at Instinct one you can choose to settle most general Frenzy triggers (4 or fewer) while at Instinct 5 you are in great control of the Beast (8 or fewer).

              In these games I also make Calm Heart grant +2 to the difficulties able to be resisted instead of granted 2 extra dice to resist Frenzy.


              Debating between ghouls and hunters PbP

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              • #8
                Another problem with Instinct is that it is so horrifically inhuman. IIRC, anyone who has Instinct or Conviction (as in dots on the sheet) is instantly detected as inhuman by those who are receptive to such things. So Animals, Small Children, High Humanity (9+) individuals, that kind of thing. However it's possible that that rule has been outdated, as the DAV20 version mentions that all Paths help with hiding who you are, so those with a Road rating of 7+ find it easier to hide their inhuman nature and pass as human, regardless of their morality system.

                Check with your ST what you having Instinct means. If it means all devout humans instantly recognising you as a monster, maybe find an alternative which is safer. If the Path of Chivalry variant of Road of Kings were an option within the story, that would be a great option as you keep Conscience and Self-Control. The downside is that breaking an oath is a level 1 sin and breaking a promise is a level 3 sin, so being a conniving bastard is made a little bit harder. There are other Paths and Road Variants which use Conscience and Self-Control. IMO they will always be superior, both in character creation (you don't lose that free starting dot) and in conversion (no need to spend EXP to get the new Conviction/Instinct rating up).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                  Another problem with Instinct is that it is so horrifically inhuman. IIRC, anyone who has Instinct or Conviction (as in dots on the sheet) is instantly detected as inhuman by those who are receptive to such things. So Animals, Small Children, High Humanity (9+) individuals, that kind of thing. However it's possible that that rule has been outdated, as the DAV20 version mentions that all Paths help with hiding who you are, so those with a Road rating of 7+ find it easier to hide their inhuman nature and pass as human, regardless of their morality system.

                  Check with your ST what you having Instinct means. If it means all devout humans instantly recognising you as a monster, maybe find an alternative which is safer. If the Path of Chivalry variant of Road of Kings were an option within the story, that would be a great option as you keep Conscience and Self-Control. The downside is that breaking an oath is a level 1 sin and breaking a promise is a level 3 sin, so being a conniving bastard is made a little bit harder. There are other Paths and Road Variants which use Conscience and Self-Control. IMO they will always be superior, both in character creation (you don't lose that free starting dot) and in conversion (no need to spend EXP to get the new Conviction/Instinct rating up).
                  When it comes to Roads/Paths a lot depends on the story and you should always consult with the ST before taking one. In regards to devout humans noticing what you are/something is wrong with you, depending on the Road/Path you are on the answer is simple you kill that person. Most of the Roads/Paths (Humanity and Heaven generally being the exceptions) its actually a sin to not kill when survival is on the line so if a human could tell you were a vampire (or something close enough to get people to break out torches and pitchforks) that would be a breach of the traditions which would lead to the Prince sanctioning your destruction, so that human must die.

                  As for being 'superior' (I know you said in your opinion and I respect that, this should not be taken as an attack on you) that depends on many factors.
                  • From a raw mathematical standpoint: a Conscience and Self-Control path is only better during creation in a V20 game, in DAV20 vampires start with a free dot in all their virtues regardless of whether they are the inhuman virtues. During play it is mathematically superior because you do not have to waste resources to regain rating.
                  • The story the ST is going for: the best example being a game about Sabbat vampires fighting the Camarilla because in such a game a vampire on Humanity (especially if they maintain it) is always looked at strangely by their companions possibly with concerns over their loyalty (since only the enemy cares about fitting in with the cattle) the things the Sabbat will generally be doing will have such a vampire making degeneration rolls fairly often.
                  • Your character and their goals: A soldier or thief is going to have an easier time on a Road other than Humanity since the common tasks of their profession no longer run counter to what keeps them from the jaws of the Beast. Similarly someone wishing to delve into vampire/supernatural abilities and lore may find it easier to follow a path, for example a Tremere seeking to research Thamaturgy and possibly develop a new Thaumaturgy Path such a task requires lots of blood and possibly test subjects and acquiring those things could lead to degeneration rolls if trying to maintain Humanity.
                  • Development over the course of the story (especially during a DAV20 game): A character who finds themselves at low humanity (4 or less) due to their actions and subsequent failed degeneration rolls are exactly why the Roads were developed by vampires. Such a character if they stay on Humanity is likely to fall to the beast and have to be destroyed. There is great roleplaying opportunity in having a Mentor of a Road come and teach such a vampire a different way to stave off the Beast (likely saving the vampire's unlife). Mechanically in DAV20 the student gains a discount on experience buying the next dot in Road based on the difference in their Road ratings (up to half cost). For example a vampire knight (Road of Kings 6) has been training his squire (Road of Kings 3) what it means to serve loyally, normally the squire would have to pay 6xp (current rating [3] x 2) because of the tutelage he gets a discount of 3 (Mentor's rating [6] - Student's rating [3]) meaning the squire only needs to pay 3 xp for their 4th dot on the Road of Kings. <note this can also be used on the Road of Humanity, just mentioning a mechanic that can help a transitioning vampire>
                  No matter how you look at it there are advantages and disadvantages to each Road/Path. Humanity has the easiest time fitting and hiding among humans, but the hardest time dealing with the needs of being a vampire; whereas a vampire on a Road/Path has a harder time fitting in among humans but can fully enjoy the benefits of their undead state. The reason the Camarilla chose Humanity as the 'default' ethical code is twofold; first its what vampires start on so you dont have as much work to do in terms of getting the neonate up to speed and away from the Beast, second and more importantly the Camarilla was in many ways a response to the fires of the Inquisition and hiding among humanity became the most important thing to the Camarilla as being open about vampires would simply bring about another burning times which the vampires may not survive. Some elders in the Camarilla probably either maintain their Road from the Dark Ages or switched when they reached a point where their Humanity had degraded to the danger point, such an elder is likely to have chosen a path (or was taught) that follows Self-Control since they still need to maintain the Masquerade. Such Paths are not taught to the young because they aren't mature enough to handle the ethics of a Path while maintaining the Masquerade, more than likely the Camarilla has had an eye on such elders and moved in with agents to teach them 'sanctioned' Paths so as not to risk losing their resources and knowledge to the Sabbat (or they are too connected to risk simply killing them when a breach of the Masquerade can be laid at their feet). The Camarilla wants to maintain the appearance of 'Humanity only' for propaganda purposes; after all if it was widely known that elders of the Camarilla followed the same Paths as the Sabbat it would make it much harder to keep the hardline 'Sabbat are rampaging inhuman bad vampires' going; such elders end up being the "dirty secret" of the Camarilla.

                  In my opinion I always viewed the Road of Kings (Conviction [or Conscience for Path of Chivalry] and Self-Control), Path of Honorable Accord (Conscience and Self-Control), Road of Bones(the DAV20 one not the Path of Bones in V20) (Conviction and Self-Control) as the 'best' Roads/Paths, they all espouse Self-Control meaning you resist rather than ride Frenzy, making it easier around mortals, and they all have ethics that don't require wanton killling, but understand killing for very good reasons (survival for example) and you generally aren't punished for indulging in vampiric behavior. That's not to say they don't have drawbacks, Kings and Honorable Accord have clauses about following orders which could get you into trouble, and Bones is more 'inhuman' than the others so blending in will be more difficult at times. These Roads/Paths also struck me as the ones that are easiest to follow and still fit in with Humanity/Heaven characters as most of the ethics wont run directly counter to theirs, there might be friction at times but less open antagonism than say a Road of Heaven and Road of Sin follower (not saying you cant have that in a game, just some combinations are smoother and require less care to avoid serious issues; such divergent character morality can lead to great roleplaying opportunities but must be handled with maturity).

                  No matter what your Road/Path (Humanity or otherwise) is an essential part of your character; it is their bulwark against Wassail and Wightdom; from a player's standpoint its what keeps your character from becoming an NPC. Other that your Nature and Demeanor, your Road/Path will have the largest impact on how you play your character and how they react and deal with the world around them as it represents the values and lessons they apply to every situation.

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                  • #10
                    Cynic01 All of that is very true, but I can't really see any situation in which Road of Kings (Core) is superior to Road of Kings (Chivarly/Equitum). The only extra rule for the Chivalry Variant is to maintain your honour by protecting those who are defenseless (this would apply if another PC were about to murder a human, but not in the heat of battle as no one is defenseless).

                    The advantage is that if you are transitioning from Humanity, you get to Preserve whatever Conscience Rating you have, whereas with the core Road you have to shed your Conscience. On top of that, following the "conscience vampires are obvious monsters" interpretation, those on Equitum will find Camarilla membership (if your DA game spans into the birth of the Camarilla) and Masquerading 100x easier. Unfortunately the Chivalry variant wasn't in DAV20, but I'm hopeful that an updated version of it will become available if they ever do V20 versions of the Road Books.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                      Cynic01 All of that is very true, but I can't really see any situation in which Road of Kings (Core) is superior to Road of Kings (Chivarly/Equitum). The only extra rule for the Chivalry Variant is to maintain your honour by protecting those who are defenseless (this would apply if another PC were about to murder a human, but not in the heat of battle as no one is defenseless).

                      The advantage is that if you are transitioning from Humanity, you get to Preserve whatever Conscience Rating you have, whereas with the core Road you have to shed your Conscience. On top of that, following the "conscience vampires are obvious monsters" interpretation, those on Equitum will find Camarilla membership (if your DA game spans into the birth of the Camarilla) and Masquerading 100x easier. Unfortunately the Chivalry variant wasn't in DAV20, but I'm hopeful that an updated version of it will become available if they ever do V20 versions of the Road Books.
                      Looking at the hierarchy of sins between main Road of Kings(RK) and Path of Chivalry(PC)
                      • Score 10 Basically the same
                      • Score 9 (RK)Treating a peer with disrespect (PC)Dishonorable acts (ambush, deceit, etc.)
                      • Score 8 (RK)Treating an inferior as an equal (PC)Treating another with disrespect.
                      • Score 7 (RK) Breaking your word to a peer (PC) Behaving in an unjust manner.
                      • Score 6 Same
                      • Score 5 (RK) Showing weakness in from of your inferiors (PC) Failing to come to the aid of those in need.
                      • Score 4 (RK)Failing to answer a challenge to your honor (PC) Treating a superior with disrespect
                      • Score 3 (RK)Treating a superior with disrespect (PC) Failing to answer a challenge to your honor.
                      • Score 2 (RK) Breaking your word to your superiors (PC) Breaking your word
                      • Score 1 Same
                      While similar they are not quite the same in some important ways. The biggest discrepancies are at levels 9, 7, and 5. At level 9 the main Road vampire may have to be polite to even his bitter rival, the Path of Chivalry vampire instead has of options dealing with others removed (unless they want to make degeneration checks) not being able to ambush makes fighting more powerful enemies much more dangerous, deceit is very broad everything from lying to others, possibly all uses of Obfuscate, and even certain actions to maintain the Masquerade. At level 7 the main Road vampire may get roped into keeping promises to rivals (still bad, dont get me wrong), the Path of Chivalry vampire however must maintain a just manner, things like bribes, theft, and other illegal acts are off the table. Level 5 is probably the toughest one (since 5 is roughly the low end of what could be considered a vampire stable on their Road). The main Road vampire at level 5 must make sure they plan ahead so as they have the advantage when dealing with others and avoiding failure (that said failing can carry a greater penalty if it makes them appear weak). The Path of Chivalry vampire at level 5 cannot ignore those who need help and that can be a huge weakness; the Duke's men harassing a farmer roughing him up since he can't pay the taxes character has to get involved possibly earning the Duke's ire for interfering with his men performing their duties, a vampire elder they are dealing with treats their servants and ghouls horribly heaping abuse on them again the vampire must intercede and they may end up getting caught in a catch-22 style situation if they get involved they are disrespecting the elder (a superior) and sin against level 4 they dont get involved they sin against level 5. These differences are not merely a minor rule, but rather a fundamental difference of interpretation which is why one is Conviction and the other is Conscience.

                      As for maintaining the Masquerade that depending heavily on how you interpret the level of 'inhumanity' Conviction represents, DAV20 implies that there is a difference that can be picked up on, whereas V20 makes it sound like a vampire with Conviction can barely talk to someone without them knowing they are a monster; depending on how the ST deals with that discrepancy as well as how the "cursory scrutiny" mentioned under Conviction in V20 works, will determine how easy maintaining the masquerade is. What a Conviction vampire will be better at is dealing with what happens when something goes wrong and the Masquerade is breach or under threat of breach. The vampire can easily remove troublesome mortals who threaten to expose vampires with little effect on them morally, being monstrous does have advantages, it could also make such vampires very useful especially to the early Camarilla. Which leads to the next point regarding joining the Camarilla during its inception. Early on the Camarilla was not in a advantageous position it enjoys in the modern era. Conflict was constant and many vampires perished on both Camarilla and Anarch sides, the Camarilla was not in a position to turn away willing members in those nights. Even after the Convention of Thorns all willing Anarchs were welcomed back into the Camarilla and even the Assamites who were blatantly diablerizing vampires were allowed to remain independent (and diablerize within their own clan) partly because the Camarilla didn't want the war against them to drag on (and drive the Assamites willingly into the enemy's camp). Even after solidifying their hold, as long as a member maintains the traditions, the Camarilla does not care what they think morally, just follow the rules, again this relies on the interpretation of how easy it is to spot an inhuman vampire and what that means, and by the time they reach that point such a vampire is an elder and likely has access to the Disciplines to make that much easier, doesnt matter what your Conviction is when Obfuscate is functioning and Dominate can make it so the human doesn't remember the vampire was a monster.

                      Don't get me wrong, being on a Road or Path other than Humanity has its difficulties just as following Humanity does. How the vampire deals with those issues and reconciles keeping the traditions with their ethics is simply part of unlife. New players in a modern setting game should probably stick to Humanity (and consider it even in a DAV game) until they get more experienced with mechanics and roleplay. Advanced players can get a lot of enjoyment and great roleplaying opportunities out of playing the civil monster in the Camarilla or the inhuman lord of the night in previous eras.

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                      • #12
                        Is it possible to run a Tremere on a Path espousing the Virtue of Instinct? How do you apply Instinct to study and scholarly pursuits, if at all?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Slick Willy View Post
                          Is it possible to run a Tremere on a Path espousing the Virtue of Instinct?
                          Most paths have scholars (I believe, Feral Heart is the only one that doesn't). And a fair share of said scholars are sorcerers. But in most paths blood-magic is a means, not an end (except in Path of Revelations).

                          Tremere scholars typically follow path of Death and the Soul (self-control) or path of Caine (Instinct). They can also follow Metamorphosis (Instinct) if they have Vicissitude (But Tzimisce discriminate Tremere and Panders).

                          Any other path works, PatIV (Instinct) and Honnorable Accord (Self-Control) have scholars that are more concerned about history.
                          Path of Redemption (self control) have scholars who study theology. Cathari (Instinct) have scholars studying theology and blood-magic (mostly paths related to medicine and anatomy...I didn't know it even existed).

                          How do you apply Instinct to study and scholarly pursuits, if at all?
                          The difference between scholars on Self-control and those on Instinct is their behavior, mannerism and approach.

                          Those on self-control are usually patient, cold, rational and composed. They keep a serene face, while they observe, analyze every detail.
                          Those on Instincts are the total opposite. They are overactive, obsessed, passionate, zealous, arrogant and direct. They are not subtle. They can show some composure like those on self-control, but they are quick to explode.

                          The only exception to this rule is PatIV. Despite being an instinct path, the Unifiers take great efforts into suppressing the urges and act much like those on self-control. In a way, they favor self-control, but they can't deny the beast. That contradiction or, rather, "ambition" is what makes their path quite special, but it turns against them more often than not.
                          Last edited by Pleiades; 09-16-2016, 06:03 AM.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pleiades View Post
                            ...
                            I appreciate the explanation. Our ST wants us to explore Paths of Enlightenment, and my character is one of those awful Tremere nerds, so I'm reviewing my options and assessing viable Paths of morality.
                            Requirements include permitting diablerie (for ST), Thaumaturgy (for character), and "human" feelings of attachment to other persons (for character.)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Slick Willy View Post
                              Requirements include permitting diablerie (for ST), Thaumaturgy (for character), and "human" feelings of attachment to other persons (for character.)
                              that's a weird set of requirements, do you need all three requirements? if so, there is no suited path for your character.

                              EDIT: you could try Honorable Accord.
                              Last edited by Pleiades; 09-16-2016, 12:16 PM.


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