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  • #16
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    Even those breeds that cannot step sideways are still able to enter the umbra. Bastet can't step sideways normally. But they can do so automatically if they established a Den Realm. And they can learn a gift which enables them to do so. So they're not incapable of entering the umbra. They're just different from the way Garou do it. And that's supposed to tie back into reasons why werecats are different from werewolves. How well you think that's accomplished is part of individual taste.

    I think most of this is just the developers wanting each Changing Breed to be different, not just Garou under a different name.
    What you're missing is that most Bastet and half the Mokole can't access the Umbra at all until Rank 3 or 4. 3 is the minimum rank to have a Den-Realm, and 4 is the minimum rank for the Bastet Gift Walking Between Worlds. Den-Realms are extremely rare so there are not remotely enough to go around, and they require a Background too. So for almost the entire game, Bastet have no access whatsoever. And that basically means they can't do their jobs properly. It's almost as bad for the Mokole, but half their Auspices get Rank 2 Umbral access, and the Gumagan get it at First Change. Rokea have it even worse: most of them never get Umbral access, ever.

    But for Bastet, it cripples them to the point of near-uselessness for Gaia, and almost completely eliminates a huge part of the game.


    Here's how each Changing-Breed accesses the Umbra:
    Garou: automatically after First Change
    Ajaba: automatically after First Change
    Ananasi: automatically after First Change, in crawlerling form
    Apis: automatically after First Change
    Swara Bastet: no access until Rank 2
    All other Bastet: no access until Rank 4, unless they get a Den-Realm: this requires Rank 3 minimum. Only Simba have communal Caerns where they can enter the Umbra
    Camazotz: automatically after First Change (requires darkness until they get a Rank 2 Gift)
    Corax: automatically after First Change
    Grondr: automatically after First Change
    Gurahl: no access except with a Rank 1 Rite in near-bear form, or at an Umbral Glade (but they can get a Glade at character creation)
    Kitsune: automatically after First Change
    Gumagan Mokole: automatically after First Change
    All other Mokole: Astral access requires a Rank 2 auspice Gift; access to the Near Umbra requires a Rank 2 auspice Gift, or a Rank 3 common Gift, and a body of water (1 auspice gets the Astral Gift, 3 auspices get the Near Umbral Gift)
    Nagah: all Rank 1 Nagah have an Ananta, their version of a Den-Realm. By swallowing it, they can step sideways anywhere. A Rank 4 Gift lets them step sideways anywhere.
    Nuwisha: automatically after First Change
    Ratkin: automatically after First Change, if only other Ratkin and spirits are watching; they can step sideways in any Umbral bolthole, or anywhere with a Rank 1 Rite
    Kagesame Rokea: automatically after First Change
    Darkwater Rokea and Betweeners: not access until they learn the Rank 2 Gift
    Same-Bito Rokea: no access without a Rank 4 Gift
    All other Rokea: no access, ever, except at Grotto (with Rank 2 Rite)

    So in summary, to step sideways outside a Caern/Grotto/Den-Realm/Glade:
    Rank 0: Garou, Ajaba, Ananasi, Apis, Camazotz, Corax, Grondr, Kitsune, Gumagan Mokole, Nuwisha, Ratkin, Kagesame Rokea
    Rank 1: Gurahl, Nagah
    Rank 2: Swara Bastet, 3 Mokole auspices, Darkwater and Betweener Rokea
    Rank 3: the other 4 Mokole auspices
    Rank 4: all other Bastet, Same-Bito Rokea
    Never!: all other Rokea

    Notice that the vast majority of Changing-Breeds get to enter the Umbra at First Change, and almost all the rest do so by Rank 2. Half of Mokole have to wait until Rank 3. The majority of Bastet have no Umbral access at all until Rank 4, and most Rokea are completely SOL. The thing is that Mokole and Rokea don't need Umbral access to do their duties for Gaia. But Bastet do. Rokea and Mokole were created before the Gauntlet existed, so it's a bit understandable they don't have easy access. Gaia made the Bastet much later, but decided to make them crippled for no reason whatsoever.
    Last edited by Erinys; 02-26-2021, 02:49 PM.


    She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
    My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
    Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Erinys View Post
      But for Bastet, it cripples them to the point of near-uselessness for Gaia, and almost completely eliminates a huge part of the game.
      It changes the game, but I don't think it either cripples the Bastet or ruins the game.

      If Gaia intended the Bastet to be her Eyes in the Realm and find out what is going on there, then keeping them in the Realm helps accomplish that. They won't waste time on extraneous umbral exploration. Leave that to the Corax and Nuwisha and others. It's OK for different Breeds to be designed to do different things and have different tools to do so.

      If you are playing Bastet as part of a multi-breed chronicle, it does create problems. But that is likely a very tiny number of games. If it just a Bastet game, the ST simply run things along so the PCs can accomplish things as best they can just like in other games where PCs don't normally access another dimension. It's only a problem if you want it to be.

      And if an ST really wanted to open things up, there's all sorts of ways she can do so and remain within the rules. We know there were once Den Realms the size of hundreds of miles squared, and not all of those are gone. And that Bastet with Realms can take people with them back and forth. So create an NPC to be a mentor or ally or superior who does that with the PC when needed and the portion of their Den Realm that just happens to include the area they need to explore. Or utilize Jamaks and have the player do things in the Umbra through their spirit ally. If want certain things explored or done in the Umbra, their Jamak can do it for them. It's not a true solution to the issue, but there are ways to work around it if needed.

      Of course, this is all a matter of taste. If you want your Bastet game to be just like a Garou game, then it's a problem. Change the rules if that is the case - make that rank 4 gift a lower level, or make it innate. But it's just a different way to explore the setting if you keep the rules as they are. I've never run or played in a Bastet game, but if I did, I think I could quickly adjust.

      Now that does not mean all the various differences between the breeds are well though out. Some of them are probably there just to be different, and may not actually make sense when actually played or thought through. And in some cases, it may not even be an issue. We're told in some books (I can't remember if this is in Rokea or Blood Dimmed Tide) that some of the deep sea basically does not have a Gauntlet - the Realm and Penumbra are one. So a Rokea's individual ability to step sideways might not even be a real issue. That may or may not have made sense when all books are considered. If not, it's just bad editing. Unfortunately, that happens a lot in WoD material. It just means more work for us to cobble together a setting that works. But there's a difference between something working, and whether it works to your own taste.

      Not having played through any chronicles as a Gurahl, Mokole, or any other Changing Breed, I don't know if in practice I'd change my mind and agree with you. But in theory, I think I could run or play in such games within the established restrictions. But for those who can't, make whatever changes you need.
      Last edited by Black Fox; 02-26-2021, 06:13 PM. Reason: Added stuff about Jamaks

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      • #18
        I'm not suggesting to make Bastet the same as Garou! Each Changing-Breed works very differently from the Garou. However, all of them can use the Umbra, except Bastet and Rokea. Does that make a Corax or Ananasi or Ratkin game identical to a Garou game? Of course not! They're all drastically different, even with equal Umbral access. Your objection is a straw man.

        I am complaining about game imbalance and bad worldbuilding that makes no sense.

        Bastet and Rokea utterly suck in a way no other shapeshifter even comes close to, and there is nowhere even the slightest explanation for why Bastet suck so hard. Gaia made Bastet to be her Eyes. They need to be able to understand what is happening in the world, and what they see/hear/smell. They must be able to prioritize secrets, determine what must be acted on, what must be shared, and what must be covered up. They must understand how to act on what they know and who to share it with. But they have no comprehension whatsoever of the Umbra or the Triat, so they're incapable of understanding what they see in the material world, or judging what it means or what to do with it. Their judgment and understanding is barely better than a mortal human, because they have no Umbral knowledge or understanding whatsoever. Case in point: as written in canon, Bastet are utterly clueless that the Weaver is in any way whatsoever a problem. They're completely unaware of the Weaver's effect on anything at all, anywhere, because they know nothing whatsoever about the Umbra. Every other Changing-Breed has figured this out, except the Rokea (because there are no cities under the sea). All that detailed spirit lore the Garou have acquired? The Bastet have zero. Absolutely none whatsoever. The "Eyes of Gaia" are dangerously ignorant. All the other Changing-Breeds know far, far more than the Bastet - in other words, they have the capacity and knowledge to do their job. The average Mage knows more about the Umbra and spirits than Bastet do.

        Bastet are also badly unbalanced in several other ways: they suffer Accidental Shapeshifting and the Yava. Many of their Gifts are underpowered, although CB20 fixed some of them. They have major restrictions on Backgrounds, with no access at all to Ancestors (except Swara) or Mentor (except Bagheera). They can't enter the Umbra. They are solitary (except Simba). How do they learn Gifts and Rites if they can't talk to Ancestors, Mentors, spirits, or even each other? There is no canonical way for Bastet to learn Gifts or Rites except to "just happen" to run into each other, totally at random, which almost never happens because they are nearly extinct. "Just happening" to run into each other is the only way to even invite each other to a Taghairm, which only lasts a night so it isn't long enough to teach Gifts.

        Every Changing-Breed also has something unique to them that they're really good at (except the Ajaba and Garou who do the same thing). Except the Bastet, who have nothing special to contribute, nothing unique to play with. Too little thought was put into the Bastet design. They were written in 1997, the second Changing-Breed (after Nuwisha, who operate almost exactly like Ragabash). Their inability to enter the Umbra was made in 1st Edition. Unlike other bad 1E design decisions, the serious design flaws with the Bastet have never been fixed.

        There are plenty of ways to make Fera play and feel and behave differently from Garou, without making the play experience an exercise in continuously reminding you how much your character is an ignorant suck-face and will never accomplish anything for Gaia. There are many canon ways each Changing-Breed is different from Garou that have no effect on game balance, enjoyability, or effectiveness at their canon job.

        If there is some unique advantage Bastet get that compensates for the lack of Umbral access, in both game balance and in doing their jobs, I'm not aware of it. But I'd love to see if anyone knows of any.
        Last edited by Erinys; 02-26-2021, 10:00 PM.


        She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
        My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
        Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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        • #19
          I don't see the issues you see, and some concerns you have seem flat out wrong to me. Some of your arguments seem to be based on your interpretation of the setting rather than what is actually written. You signature says you are extremely literal minded, so maybe your mind is filling in problems that I don't see.

          Originally posted by Erinys View Post
          But they have no comprehension whatsoever of the Umbra or the Triat, so they're incapable of understanding what they see in the material world, or judging what it means or what to do with it. Their judgment and understanding is barely better than a mortal human, because they have no Umbral knowledge or understanding whatsoever.
          They actually have a great deal of lore about the Umbra and the Triat. Their legends of the Triat are just different from that of the Garou.

          And Bastet have lots of ways to talk with spirits and learn about the Umbra. They can have Jamak who can tell them almost anything they should know. First level Gift Spirit's Sight allows them to peek. Second level Gift Calls Spirit gives them spirit speech. Second level gift Touch the Mind is the same as Mental Speech, allowing them to ask any bastet they know within the gift's range for information and advice. There are multiple Gifts that given them advantages if they have a Den Realm. Their level one Metis Gift Sense Primal Nature allows them to detect any of the triatic spirits' influences nearby, plus a general version of Sense Wyrm at level one. Level four Feline Gift Ghosts at Play allows everyone nearby see what spirits are in the Umbra. And the individual tribes have other Gifts that deal with the Umbra, spirits, etc.

          That gives them LOTS of information about the Umbra.

          It's just that low ranked Bastet won't have much experience with the Umbra, but high ranked Bastet will likely spend a lot of time there. So there's a generational gap. Instead of it being broad general knowledge like the Garou, most of their knowledge of the Umbra will be held by their most experienced members.

          Originally posted by Erinys View Post
          All that detailed spirit lore the Garou have acquired? The Bastet have zero. Absolutely none whatsoever.
          Not true. The Bastet have a lot of spirit lore. They have a lot of Gifts - some of which are quite low ranked - that deal with the Umbra. They have Jamak. They have just as many legends as the Garou. It's just that this knowledge is concentrated among higher ranked Bastet, and that lower ranked Bastet won't have direct experience. And while not having personal experience of the Penumbra at low ranks, that all Bastet can potentially learn to speak with spirits puts them ahead of most Garou outside Theurges and Uktena.

          Overall I would say the Garou would have superior knowledge about the Umbra. But I don't know how much of an advantage that gives them in most circumstances. High ranked Bastet likely have a lot more umbral knowledge than most Garou except for Theurges and highly specialized Packs. Lower ranked Bastet are at a slight disadvantage than equally ranked Garou packs, but can compensate a lot of it by having a Jamak and few low ranked Gifts. A mid ranked Bastet in their own Den Realm probably has the edge over most Garou packs, but are less outside their Den Realm.

          So where you see complete disaster for the Bastet, I think they're doing alright.

          Originally posted by Erinys View Post
          Bastet are also badly unbalanced in several other ways: they suffer Accidental Shapeshifting and the Yava.
          Yes, they have additional flaws, but so what? How many times in the game do STs make PCs roll for Willpower rolls? You have to botch, and then need to fail a roll again. And you can stop it by spending Willpower. This is not something that is going to happen a lot.

          Yava is mostly flavor text. Most shouldn't even know such a thing exists, and it can't be revealed inadvertently. It's like if I buried a coin under dirt somewhere, never told anyone, and never wrote it down. What are the odds anyone will find it? This is only going to be used if the ST has a special story in mind, or if he's a complete dick in which the real issue is your ST is a dick and you are better off not playing with that ST.

          Originally posted by Erinys View Post
          They can't enter the Umbra.
          Except if they have the gift to do so or enter through a Den Realm, and you know this. So "they can't enter the Umbra" actually means "Only experienced Bastet can enter the Umbra routinely."

          Originally posted by Erinys View Post
          They are solitary (except Simba).
          So what? That just means they don't get mechanical benefits for working together like pack totems and such. It does not mean individual Bastet don't communicate with one another, or don't cooperate on occasion. Vampires too are supposed to be solitary creatures, but many still form coteries. Solitary is not the same as being a hermit.

          Bastet are "solitary" because the big cats often hunt alone as opposed to hunting in packs. So that is part of their nature. But humans are social animals, and that is also part of their nature. The solitary aspect is emphasized because the book wants to show how Bastet are different from Garou. It doesn't make them hermits, and the Bastet book has many examples of Bastet interacting with each other.

          Just because many Bastet tribes do not have a formal organization does not mean they don't have informal associations with one another. They still have friends, allies, acquaintances, "neighbors" (of whatever proximity), and perhaps even relatives. They just normally give each other a lot of personal space.

          Originally posted by Erinys View Post
          How do they learn Gifts and Rites if they can't talk to Ancestors, Mentors, spirits, or even each other?
          Since you partially answered this question yourself, you know how they learn. They primarily learn their Gifts from each other. They also learn them from their Jamak if they have one. They can also "steal" Gifts by observing one of the other Changing Breeds use them. This can include Gifts that are not even on the various gift lists for Bastet. This includes learning Bastet Gifts by "trial and error." It's also explained in the Bastet book under the Gifts section. They learn Rites from other Bastet.

          You seem to believe that Bastet are incapable or not allowed to talk to each other. That's just not true. I think this may be the core of the problem you have.

          And as previously mentioned, Bastet can learn gifts that allow to communicate with others. The level two gifts Call Spirits and Touch of Mind is going to put them in telepathic communication with spirits and others they know. So they have many ways to talk to spirits and other Bastet besides all the mundane ways people communicate with each other.

          And just like many spirits know the Garou Tongue and can talk with Garou who don't have Spirit Speech, those spirits who are part of the Bastet's brood, should know the Bastet Tongue, Kheuar, and can speak to those they want.

          Originally posted by Erinys View Post
          There is no canonical way for Bastet to learn Gifts or Rites except to "just happen" to run into each other, totally at random, which almost never happens because they are nearly extinct. "Just happening" to run into each other is the only way to even invite each other to a Taghairm, which only lasts a night so it isn't long enough to teach Gifts.
          Nothing in the setting implies Bastet meet one another by "just happening" to randomly run into one and then has to leave after one night. That's your weird interpretation. It's not what is written. Nor do I think other people have the same understanding as you.

          We're told that after a Bastet changes they are "adopted" by a mentor, the kuasha. The kuasha makes sure they are properly trained and teaches them their first Gifts, rites, etc. - whatever you put down on your sheet during character creation. Then their kuasha leaves - and they may or may not see him again. Whatever the ST wants. That kuasha might have introduced them to any number of other Bastet they personally know, or at least given them contact information. It's like a child leaving their parent's house after school graduation and getting a job. It doesn't mean the child is not allowed to call or visit their parents ever again.

          You say Bastet don't have Mentors. But all Bastet have kuasha's when they first change, and that can be represented through the Mentor background. After their apprenticeship is over, the kuasha can remain available to the Bastet - but as an Ally and not a Mentor. So there is still a relationship, but it's more of an equal one.

          Taghairms have to be frequent enough that Bastet are still able to get Renown acknowledged and raised in Rank. Since this is during a full moon, it implies this could be as much as once a month, but it could be less frequency. But obviously this is some kind of ongoing meeting of some regular frequency hosted by the same person. It is natural to assume the kuasha introduces the new Bastet to his first taghairm and meet lots of other Bastet. So all Bastet have the opportunity to a meet a bunch of others, and through them the potential to meet more of their kind.

          And simply because the taghairm itself only lasts a night, it does not mean one Bastet can't help another after the taghairm is over. "Hey, I am hoping to learn a new Gift, can you help a brother out?" one asks. "Sure, I can drop by briefly. But you'll owe me a favor," the other says.

          = = =

          Obviously the Bastet as written don't meet your taste. That's subjective, not objective. I don't see the same problems you do.

          If I created a Bastet character, I'd have to meet certain challenges in a different way than I would than if I had a Garou character. But I could do so. I could learn general Gifts like Spirit Sight and Call Spirit. Put points into Jamak. Perhaps learn "Shadow Craft" paths of sorcery in the Path of Ephemera. Put extra work at networking at Taghairms, or secretly observing Garou to learn their Gifts as part of roleplay. Take advantage of certain Gifts listed in Bastet that the Garou either don't have, or are rather restricted, to learn more about enemies since I can't sneak in and out of the Penumbra at low level.

          I will be spending less time in the Umbra than if I had played Garou. But I can flip it on it's side - I am now spending a lot more effort in the Realm, learning things about that which I might never have learned were I "distracted" by the time I spent in the Umbra. And I compensate by relying more on my Jamak to let me know what is going on.

          It'd be different than how I would play a Garou. But I could still have fun, and still think I had a pretty effective and interesting character.

          I don't see any of this as attacking a straw man. We just seem to have very different interpretations about the breed and the setting after reading the same material. I'll leave it to others to decide if one or both of us are being unreasonable.

          I have not extensively read Rokea so I can't comment on them at this time.

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          • #20
            In Werewolf: the Savage Age, there's an explanation for why Bastet can't enter the Umbra. Short version: they were cursed by the Garou during the War of Rage. See volume 2, Rise of the Garou, pages 50-52, for more information.

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            • #21
              Your strawman is that you accused me of wanting Bastet to be identical to Garou in every single way, which is absolutely untrue. I just want them to be balanced and playable, which they aren't.


              And my response is gigantic. Sorry about that.

              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
              They actually have a great deal of lore about the Umbra and the Triat. Their legends of the Triat are just different from that of the Garou.
              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
              Overall I would say the Garou would have superior knowledge about the Umbra. But I don't know how much of an advantage that gives them in most circumstances. High ranked Bastet likely have a lot more umbral knowledge than most Garou except for Theurges and highly specialized Packs.
              Sadly, the books explictly say the opposite. The Swara know "almost as much" spiritual lore as the Garou. The other tribes specifically lack all the lore and secrets that the Swara know. Their legends of the Triat are defective, as well. They are aware that the Balance Wyrm still exists (something the Garou want to ignore) but they are completely unaware that the Wyrm's madness is caused by the Weaver chaining it, or that the Weaver itself is dangerous to Gaia. IIRC, only the Mokole and Rokea are also unaware of the Wyrm being bound, but the Mokole do seem to know that the Weaver isn't Gaia's friend. The Bastet... don't. They seem to think the Weaver is their friend. They don't even have the insufficient caution of the Glass Walkers. In the Breedbook, it's made clear that most Bastet have only heard vague, unsubstantiated rumors that some people somewhere think the world might be ending. Yes - canonically, they are unaware the Apocalypse is coming. That's an astounding level of ignorance. Everyone else, even the Rokea and Vampires, know the world is ending.

              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
              And Bastet have lots of ways to talk with spirits and learn about the Umbra. They can have Jamak who can tell them almost anything they should know. First level Gift Spirit's Sight allows them to peek. Second level Gift Calls Spirit gives them spirit speech. Second level gift Touch the Mind is the same as Mental Speech, allowing them to ask any bastet they know within the gift's range for information and advice. There are multiple Gifts that given them advantages if they have a Den Realm. Their level one Metis Gift Sense Primal Nature allows them to detect any of the triatic spirits' influences nearby, plus a general version of Sense Wyrm at level one. Level four Feline Gift Ghosts at Play allows everyone nearby see what spirits are in the Umbra. And the individual tribes have other Gifts that deal with the Umbra, spirits, etc.

              That gives them LOTS of information about the Umbra.
              I never read the Jamak as telling the Bastet "anything they should know". My understanding is a Jamak only ever teaches the specific Gifts and other occasional clues listed in their write-up. Only two (King-of-Cats and Mistress of Catkind) explicitly can teach all Bastet Gifts... which strongly implies the others can't, or won't. They are described as "minor Gafflings" so they aren't likely to know many Gifts anyway. I don't see the description of Jamak to suggest that they teach everything they know to their Bastet, or that they're eternal fountains of spirit lore. In fact, as written they only occasionally drop in to check on their Bastet, rarely share more than a hint or two, and can't be summoned. I don't know which of us has the incorrect interpretation, but I think you're assuming a Jamak counts double as both a pack Totem (which is present constantly) and a Mentor (who will teach anything and everything).

              I did forget that Bastet can learn to peek. That allows them to at least have a small inkling of how actions and conditions in the physical world affect the Umbra, and vice a versa, but it still doesn't seem nearly to give them the spiritual understanding that Garou gain so easily. It doesn't clue them in to the existence of the Scar, Atrocity Realm, CyberRealm, or Malfeas. I think they probably know Malfeas exists, but AFAIK they don't know about the others. It's true that Theurges are the main Garou with Sense Wyrm and Spirit Speech. They also tell their packmates anything they need to know, and if they can't describe their insights clearly they can still say "we need to do/not do X" and be listened to. The only advantage Bastet have over Garou in spirit understanding is Sense Primal Nature... but they also have no clue what Weaver taint means, because they're so utterly clueless about the Weaver and everything it represents. And, unlike auspice Gifts, Bastet mule Gifts can't be learned by the homids or felines.

              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
              It's just that low ranked Bastet won't have much experience with the Umbra, but high ranked Bastet will likely spend a lot of time there. So there's a generational gap. Instead of it being broad general knowledge like the Garou, most of their knowledge of the Umbra will be held by their most experienced members.
              For some Changing-Breeds, this might not be such a problem. But unlike Theurges, elders don't share their secret insights with younger Bastet. If they'd been written to hide their secrets only from non-Bastet, this would be a reasonable way to do it. Plus, as I said, the books explicitly contradict this interpretation and state even the non-Swara Bastet elders are clueless.

              Yes, they have additional flaws, but so what? How many times in the game do STs make PCs roll for Willpower rolls? You have to botch, and then need to fail a roll again. And you can stop it by spending Willpower. This is not something that is going to happen a lot.
              Maybe I overestimate how often Willpower is rolled, based on the few games I've played. But the rule says they also suffer accidental shifting on any failed Willpower roll, not just a botch. And having to spend Willpower just to avoid breaking the Veil at random in public is... really, really bad. Willpower isn't cheap stuff. Adobe can't find mention of accidental shifting in CB20, so I hope that means it truly isn't canon anymore.

              Yava is up to the ST. Which feels like having your character's Attributes up to the ST's whim, or a dice roll, instead of chosen at character creation.

              Again, game balance. It isn't that Bastet have a disadvantage. It's that no other Changing-Breed has these problems at all, or anything close to them in severity. All the other shapeshifters are balanced with each other, and each of them has unique advantages, except the Bastet. In addition to the Umbral restrictions that only the Rokea and Bastet have to deal with. There's just no reason at all why Bastet, out of all the land-shapeshifters, must be barred from the Umbra until high ranks. I don't think that Gaia wants them to focus solely on the material world, which is a notoriously crappy source for accurate info, to the extent of denying them any understanding of the spirit world where almost everything important and impactful happens. Or denying them understanding of the relationship between the Umbra and material world.


              Except if they have the gift to do so or enter through a Den Realm, and you know this. So "they can't enter the Umbra" actually means "Only experienced Bastet can enter the Umbra routinely."
              Yes, of course. Now I tried to imply something and messed up . But most Bastet do not have Den-Realms, and most probably never will. The books make it out like there are very few in existence and they can't be created just anywhere. I think you are picturing a Den-Realm as something every single Bastet gets automatically, the way all Nagah get one or two Ananta at character creation. But it's nothing like that. Like caerns and real-life big cat habitat (which is required to make and maintain a Den-Realm), the supply is far below the demand.

              Also, I can't find anything saying whether or not Den-Realm is a gateway into the rest of the Umbra, or an isolated place forever cut off from the Umbra. I want to assume it lets Bastet into the rest of the Umbra, but I don't know


              I may be underestimating how Bastet can contact each other and communicate. Except for Simba, they have no septs, and there's really almost no description of what social contacts they do have. How do they keep in touch (in ways the enemy can't trace)? I draw a blank every time I try to think of any secure form of communication in the WOD, for anyone who can't walz through the Umbra. In the real world we can try to get secure VPNs and stuff for electronic communication... but in the WOD that telecommunication tech is almost all owned by Pentex (via Sunburst), and the rest is apparently compromised or controlled by the Technocrats and various human governments. The Glasswalkers and Nosferatu (both highly social creatures) have pooled their expertise to slowly build special secure networks, but they got there through intensely working together and people outside their tight-knit societies don't get those passwords. The Ceilican have some way of screwing with musical broadcasts (although it isn't explained how they control what music the radios play) but I have no idea what, if anything, other Bastet can use for communication. Snail mail can be intercepted, email and texts and phone calls are literally routed through Pentex systems, Bastet messengers can't travel through the Umbra, the Corax dislike and avoid the Bastet on general principle... seriously, how do they stay in touch? Do they have more Kinfolk per Bastet than Garou, so they can send them on errands to search for other Bastet who might exist nearby? How do they even know the names and locations of other Bastet in the first place? This isn't rhetorical, I really want to know how you (or anyone) see them doing it.

              (This is also an issue for Corax, Gurahl, and Ananasi, but they don't rely on each other to learn all their Gifts.)

              Edit: I reread the CB20 entries on tribal organization. Yes, you're right that non-Pumonca keep in touch with tribemates. It just doesn't say how!

              They primarily learn their Gifts from each other.
              But how? You mention the Touch the Mind/Mental Speech, but that has a range of only 10 miles, and requires already knowing the target. I don't know if it also requires knowing the target is present. I don't think there are enough Bastet to live in 10-mile intervals all over the world. This is a good secure communication, though, over short distances.

              But then Touch the Mind has to be learned from a spirit. How do Bastet, or any Fera, learn Gifts from spirits without a caern/wallow/grotto/glen/dragon nest? This isn't explained anywhere that I have read. Does the Rite of Summoning work outside a caern? The Revised corebook says that Garou must summon spirits to a caern of the same level as the Gift they want to learn, or the spirit is pissed and must be placated by a highly Ranked Theurge. And that's a Rank 2 Rite, so what about Rank 1 Gifts? At least the other Fera can step into the Umbra to go on a quest seeking a spirit teacher, which might work. Even Mokole and Rokea get to do that, using their wallow or grotto. But when Garou do that it pisses off the spirits again. "Spirits are always wary of such improper requests." The Bastet can't even contact spirits in their Den-Realms, which spirits can't enter. So what is with all these Rank 1-3 Gifts that have to be learned from spirits? Seriously, how does this work?

              Jamak don't seem to be the solution, as the Breedbook gives each Jamak a short list of Gifts they teach, just like pack Totems. Some don't teach any Gifts. Only two can teach all Bastet Gifts. It's also inconsistent whether a Bastet can gain a Jamak at character creation (with the Rank 1 rite) or has to wait until 2nd Rank (as stated on p. 84).


              You mention Call Spirits, but that's like Spirit Speech. It doesn't summon spirits to teach the Bastet, it only works on a spirit that was already there. Garou have to go on long Umbral quests to find spirits to teach them Gifts, or summon them in a caern - they can't just learn from the first random spirit they bump into.

              Swiping Gifts is great, although they first have to find a shapeshifter to watch, and those are rare if you don't live in a sept or Beast Court. The Bastet don't have special ways to home in on other shapeshifters. And they can't use Swipe to learn somebody else's Rank 2 stepping sideways Gift, so it isn't at all a short cut around their built-in balance problems.



              You say Bastet don't have Mentors. But all Bastet have kuasha's when they first change, and that can be represented through the Mentor background. After their apprenticeship is over, the kuasha can remain available to the Bastet - but as an Ally and not a Mentor. So there is still a relationship, but it's more of an equal one.
              Mentor Background is explicitly forbidden, except for Bagheera. The kuasha leaves before character creation is finished. They don't stick around teaching Gifts for the rest of the character's life, like a sept does. A PC can have a former kuasha as an Ally, like having a Jamak, only by paying for Backgrounds that most other shapeshifters don't need to be able to talk to their own kind. Bastet don't even get extra Background points at character creation to pay for this extra tax.

              That kuasha might have introduced them to any number of other Bastet they personally know, or at least given them contact information. It's like a child leaving their parent's house after school graduation and getting a job. It doesn't mean the child is not allowed to call or visit their parents ever again.
              That is a good point on introductions.

              Taghairms are presumably once a month, but how do Bastet know where they are or what specific night they're happening on*, unless their former kuasha is the one hosting it? How do they get invited? Is this something you see kuasha doing ... get the kit in touch with everyone who would be Ranked enough to host a Taghairm? At the first Taghairm they attend they can meet other local Bastet. I like your idea of them meeting other Bastet while at a Taghairm. Would the rules allow a PC to keep these as contacts and allies, and learn Gifts from them, without first paying extra for those as Backgrounds? Then they have to keep in touch with those cats... somehow. (?) But what if the Bastet moves out of town (as Bagheera, Swara, and Pumonca canonically always do...)? Their Contacts and Allies are no longer useful.

              *Calendars differ on when precisely the night of each full moon occurs.

              Yes, Tagharims explicitly last only one night.
              EDIT: CB20 fixed the stupidity of learning Gifts solely from other Bastet by making it "much easier" than it is for Garou. They only need to spend one night, not an entire month, and hopefully "much easier" means they don't risk life and limb with trial and error. Unfortunately, CB20 doesn't remove the XP tax paid for learning a Gift from a shapeshifter.

              = = =

              Obviously the Bastet as written don't meet your taste.
              They're my favorite Changing-Breed. That's why it's so frustrating to look at them and see a badly-written, incoherent, unbalanced, unplayable mess.

              At the very least, they need earlier access to the Umbra (at Rank 2 or 3) and more starting Background points so they can pay for the big pile of extra Allies, Contacts, and Jamak they need just to be able to learn Gifts and Rites, and not be homeless and broke as punishment. In fact, if kuasha always introduce them to other nearby Bastet, they should just get Contacts for free, the way Garou (and many Fera) get their sept for free. They also need ways to actually learn Gifts from spirits, or at least not pay an XP tax to learn from each other.
              Last edited by Erinys; 02-27-2021, 01:52 AM. Reason: CB20 did fix one of the stupidities of Bastet mechanics


              She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
              My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
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              • #22
                Originally posted by baakyocalder View Post
                In Werewolf: the Savage Age, there's an explanation for why Bastet can't enter the Umbra. Short version: they were cursed by the Garou during the War of Rage. See volume 2, Rise of the Garou, pages 50-52, for more information.
                Sure that's already suggested in the Breedbook. But it doesn't explain

                1. Why no other Fera were affected at all.
                2. Why the Bastet should be so drastically unbalanced compared to all other shapeshifters. If it was a novel, sure whatever. But it's a game. It should be balanced. One character choice should not be designed to be deliberately, extremely underpowered to the point of being dysfunctional.
                3. How the heck they learn Gifts.


                She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
                Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Erinys View Post
                  Sure that's already suggested in the Breedbook. But it doesn't explain

                  1. Why no other Fera were affected at all.
                  2. Why the Bastet should be so drastically unbalanced compared to all other shapeshifters. If it was a novel, sure whatever. But it's a game. It should be balanced. One character choice should not be designed to be deliberately, extremely underpowered to the point of being dysfunctional.
                  3. How the heck they learn Gifts.
                  I was not intending to suggest a non-canon although thoughtful and professional work overrides what's in published Werewolf lore. In addition, understanding the concept requires lengthy sections of Werewolf: the Savage Age to understand spread over several of their publications (PDFs but I'd call them books). Using that much would violate the IP and would be a spoiler to central conceits of that setting.

                  I'll summarize:

                  1. The Nahua proto-Garou tribe (becomes Black Furies, Children of Gaia and Glass Walkers, mostly) specifically targeted the various Bastet over other fera because they saw the Bastet as a major threat. This was a major project, taking generations of their spiritual leaders and high expertise.

                  Essentially, connections between the Bastet, including types of Bastet that are extinct in modern times (sabertooth tigers, cave lions), and the spirit world were partially severed. To enter the Umbra infected the Bastet with a curse that reduced their powers.

                  2. That's something about the game design of Werewolf I can't really comment on, as I mostly play Mage. If the Bastet are indeed weaker in typical games per RAW (rules as written) and that was not the designer's intent, then it's a design flaw (bug). If the intent was to make Bastet weaker by design and the mechanics supported that design, then it's a design choice (feature). Without having access to all the designer's notes, it's hard to tell what each designer wanted. Given the nature of White Wolf and Onyx Path's work where they use different freelancers for different works and the lengthy product history, it might be a mix of design flaws and design choices. Maybe a line editor could clear up some of that confusion, but as gamers, unless we are playing by RAW, we are free to make adjustments to make the game more fun for us.

                  3. Spirits are all around, so the big question is how calling them to aid the character works. I'm not familiar enough with Werewolf, which uses something close to a Vancian magic system of leveled spells with defined effects, to argue well enough whether a particular Gift can only work at a particular location. Werewolf seems to have a similar problem to Dungeons and Dragons spells with Gifts--a bunch were created and given levels and then everyone tried to make more based on those originals. The levels are, to a degree, arbitrary and only a really tight control during playtesting would ensure balanced spells. I remember when HackMaster had an ice magic spell that was level 1 and then some people complained it was overpowered and it became a level 3 spell, essentially removing it from play for many characters. I think we'd all find some Gifts in Werewolf are lousy for their level and some are very powerful.


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                  • #24
                    Erinys, I don't see the same problems you do. Some of that is I think you're overlooking some things, some of it is interpretation, and some of it I admit is because I would ignore some of the more stupid mechanics (like Yava just needing to fail, not just botch - as the game has progressed, it's gotten better at acknowledging the early rules had too much chance of fail states). I'm busy most of this weekend, but when I have free time later I'll post about how I would handle those issues in a Bastet game.

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                    • #25
                      Just to let you know I'm not ignoring your posts. I'm crunching numbers about Gifts and such.


                      She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                      My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
                      Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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