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Advice on gauging the Strengths and Weaknesses between Splats.

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  • Advice on gauging the Strengths and Weaknesses between Splats.

    Hello, basically what it says on the tin. Now I'm guessing this has been probably asked a couple times in regards to how splats compare to eachother for cross-overs and power-tiers and all that. Now what I'm asking is a bit different. While I am asking a bit on the comparisons between splats, what I'm more interested in is finding the niches that each splat excells at and what areas they do poorly on.

    I'm asking this in knowing that each splat is self-centered and thus don't balance well for each other, so I'm trying to figure out what each one is good at independently. Now while I say that I do know that many splats have overlap in abilties for them to fufil a whole mix of concepts so there's gonna be some generalization. But in terms of just mechanics what is the overall specialization for the splat in just messing and hacking into the core systems?

    Why I'm doing this is because I'm trying to world build an original city/country setting to set my games and I plan to have established bases for all the gameline splats to be noted down. So even if I run an independent game there could be some interactions between the lines. So i have just been reading up on all the 2e gamelines to write it up. So far I've read everything other than Beast for main 2e stuff and while 2e for Changlings, Sin-Eaters, Hunters, and Mummies aren't out yet I have read there 1e books years ago so I'm familiar. So I have a rough idea on where mostly everyone is good at like Vampires good with social, Werewolves Close-combat, Mage in being a Mage but overall I'm new to Storytelling and while I have read them I haven't actually experienced many of the splats in a game. So basically I'm just curious on hearing others thoughts on it from what they think and what they have played. Plus with Contagion coming out a crossover game is something that I would probably expierence sooner or later. Sorry if this came at a bother but I'm generally just curious.


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  • #2
    I don't have the energy to go through all splats, but I can start with giving some pointers about the first splat: Vampires

    Vampires are considered to be the social splat, but that's mostly because their stories are often geared towards political games rather than any innate abilities of the vampire template (that all vampires share, I mean) other than the blood bond. They do have access to three Disciplines that can help with politics (Majesty makes people like you more, Dominate mind controls people, Auspex can dig up their secrets) but each of them are tied to one of the five Clans, meaning two of the Clans doesn't have direct access to these Disciplines. All in all it's still really easy for vampires to become good at the political game (all vampires can still learn those three Disciplines but at a higher XP cost and having to drink another vampire's Vitae) but it's not something you can expect from all vampires.

    One thing about vampires that I think is overlooked is how physically overpowered they can be. All vampires can learn the three physical Disciplines Celerity, Resilience and Vigor, which permanently increases their Defense, Stamina and Strength, respectively (including the derived stats Speed and Health), and each Clan gets an XP discount on at least one of those three. On top of the permanent boons they can also be activated for additional benefits that can turn combat completely around. Especially Resilience (that can ignore incoming damage even if the source has armor penetration) and Vigor (that increases damage on a successful hit) are god-stats in combat. But even if the vampire doesn't take any of these Disciplines, they all still share the ability to spend Vitae to get a bonus to a physical Attribute (but not derived stats) at the rate of +2 per Vitae spent, as well as reflexively healing 2 bashing or 1 lethal damage per Vitae spent. On top of this all vampires can enter Frenzy and gain their Blood Potency as a bonus on all rolls and resistances using the physical Attributes. This means vampires scale like crazy compared to all other splats. In comparison, new werewolves (the combat splat) start out with their shape shifting bonuses and access to several combat enhancing Gifts that gives them a clear edge over new vampires, but despite all the bonuses and tricks an elder werewolf has access to, an elder vampire can compensate by sheer number of dice. (As an example, though extreme and not representative of most games, I'm playing in a several year long VtR campaign and at this point combat dice pools below 50 dice aren't even trying.)


    Bloodline: The Stygians
    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
    Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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    • #3
      Okay, thanks. Yeah thinking about it vampires does seems to be good spread of different abilties they can get good no matter how they focus. They have good regen, easy enough refuel in combat, naturally resistant, and has very good combat abilities. While at the same time many of them have access to the mental disciplines to also play the game socially plus blood bonds and ghouls also gives them an advantage on that area naturally. Now would you say a vampires weakness would be it's slow start in terms of power? That is it's gonna take vampires a lot of time to get that good compared to others in-game time? Of course Vamps can buy Blood Potency but even then it's expected for their to be timeskips in a game. Though maybe not since they redid exp to be cheaper for 2e.

      Also how good is Predatory aura for blunt social manipulation when that is taken into account? I have only played vamp as 1e so I find how aura works now to be interesting. How does that help them?


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      • #4
        As far as Vampires go, while they have "easy" access to their fuel, they can also blow through it quickly, it decreases over time, and they need it to exist. As far as their powers go, they don't have too many that affect the wider material world without going into Blood Sorcery or exotic Devotions (or maybe Bloodline Disciplines). They have very little inherent ability with any Ephemeral group as well.


        Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
        Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
          As far as Vampires go, while they have "easy" access to their fuel, they can also blow through it quickly, it decreases over time, and they need it to exist. As far as their powers go, they don't have too many that affect the wider material world without going into Blood Sorcery or exotic Devotions (or maybe Bloodline Disciplines). They have very little inherent ability with any Ephemeral group as well.
          Ah true. The vampire equivalent for ephemeral are the strix and they don't follow their rules in the first place. Also just realized the easy refuel only applies for when blood potency is enough for humans, elder vampires wouldn't be able to refuel that quickly unless they are fighting supernatural and have that merit to feed off them, so they would be more inclined to save.
          Last edited by Iceblade44; 05-14-2018, 09:18 AM.


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          • #6
            I'd say that the rigidity of their powers are their greatest weakness. A Discipline does one thing and it does it really good, but it only does that thing. Each dot does have an additional effect (except for the physical Disciplines) but it's almost always a slight variation of the initial effect, and sometimes it only increases the effectiveness of previous dots. Then there's the physical Disciplines that literally only increases their various effects by one (if they can be increased numerically).
            Devotions do exist to alleviate that a bit, but they're still based on the Disciplines and are themselves generally even more limited in use.
            That said, the powers that even starting vampires gain (on top of already downgrading damage and being able to heal bashing and lethal with their fuel stat) can be extremely potent. For example, Dominate starts off with the mind control. Further dots increases complexity of orders, allows for embedding orders with activation triggers, and ends with the ability to possess someone.

            The lack of powers against ephemeral entities were also mentioned as a drawback, but that's highly situational. Vampires aren't expected to deal with ephemerals more than regular humans. I think VtR is the only 2e core book that didn't even include rules for ephemeral entities. Besides, the only template that can gain access to every type of Twilight would be mages, and that's only if the ST allows them to access the angelic/GM type of Twilight.


            Bloodline: The Stygians
            Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
            Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Tessie View Post
              The lack of powers against ephemeral entities were also mentioned as a drawback, but that's highly situational. Vampires aren't expected to deal with ephemerals more than regular humans. I think VtR is the only 2e core book that didn't even include rules for ephemeral entities. Besides, the only template that can gain access to every type of Twilight would be mages, and that's only if the ST allows them to access the angelic/GM type of Twilight.
              Situational as it may be, Vampires lack any faculty with it. Since we are comparing all splats beside each other, inability to access any bandwidth of Twilight is a downside (Mages can access most; Werewolves can access Spirit, and Ghost/Death with the right Facet; Changelings... depends on Kith and Contract, probably; etc.).


              Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
              Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Iceblade44 View Post
                Also how good is Predatory aura for blunt social manipulation when that is taken into account? I have only played vamp as 1e so I find how aura works now to be interesting. How does that help them?
                A thing that bears note about Predatory Aura in comparison to Hunter's Aspect is that, while Werewolf's aura power has a flexible three-component dicepool by default, Vampire's lasts longer, has more options per character on paper, is based around a consistent stat with a higher ceiling, offers core Merits to specialize its use, and directly ties the easiest bonus to the roll to your ability to enforce your claim on your territory in cases where it's threatened.

                Those last two points, in turn, are significant because the Conditions Predatory Aura can apply have more of an impact on the Kindred that brought them forth than the Conditions of the Hunter's Aspect have on the Uratha that brought them forth — vampires don't naturally recover Willpower, so the lowered exceptional success threshold and scenelong bonus makes it easier for them to gain the Inspired Condition and recover their Willpower, which plays heavily into their ability to resist frenzy or engage in aura clashes with other vampires.

                Broadly speaking, the Predatory Aura as applied to mortals is an extension of the vampire's impact on their surroundings; lashing out at the kine is free and does for your psyche what feeding does for your safety margin, but it works best if you specialize and stick to your stomping grounds. The Ventrue are culturally primed to take the most advantage of this due to their thematic inclination toward the Competitive Beast and its impact on the Kindred Willpower economy, but any given vampire is generally encouraged to gear their use of the aura toward the option that suits their approach best; if you want characters to come to you or become more open to whatever you have to offer, the Wanton Condition makes that easier for you specifically to do, while the Bestial Condition's effect on combat and frenzy makes it fairly useful for vampires with territories that aren't as crowded or concerned with social graces.

                For contrast, the Hunter's Aspect Conditions are singular per character, use a contextually variable dicepool, and cost nothing to impose on anyone, but only last a scene without an exceptional success, are confined to one Condition at a time with a hard lockout on any prospective replacements, have rather more specific applications on the hunt, and don't really feed into Werewolf's resource economy as directly — they fill a similar metaphysical niche, but they serve a very different purpose in a very different game.
                Last edited by Satchel; 05-14-2018, 09:46 AM.


                Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                  I'd say that the rigidity of their powers are their greatest weakness. A Discipline does one thing and it does it really good, but it only does that thing. Each dot does have an additional effect (except for the physical Disciplines) but it's almost always a slight variation of the initial effect, and sometimes it only increases the effectiveness of previous dots. Then there's the physical Disciplines that literally only increases their various effects by one (if they can be increased numerically).
                  Devotions do exist to alleviate that a bit, but they're still based on the Disciplines and are themselves generally even more limited in use.
                  That said, the powers that even starting vampires gain (on top of already downgrading damage and being able to heal bashing and lethal with their fuel stat) can be extremely potent. For example, Dominate starts off with the mind control. Further dots increases complexity of orders, allows for embedding orders with activation triggers, and ends with the ability to possess someone.
                  That makes sense, like you said Disciplines are all singular powers following a theme, and all additional dots are just advancements of that power. So that does limit them in terms of variety compared to Werewolf Facets and Promethean Alembics and limits them in terms of freeform abilties when compared to mages. If you want to get or create a new ability you would have to go Bloodlines. That said even if what they have is restricted I think how the get it isn't when compared to others, promethean mostly but werewolves a little as well.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                    vampires don't naturally recover Willpower
                    I've heard this a lot but can't find anywhere in the book that says so. Care to fill me in?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
                      I've heard this a lot but can't find anywhere in the book that says so. Care to fill me in?
                      For reference, with subsequent discussion.


                      Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                      Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                      • #12
                        Another weakness of vampires is, well, their weaknesses. They are at a disadvantage during the day, since they have to roll against sleepyness to do anything (and can't spend willpower unless they get an exceptional success), and the sun wants them dead. If they are stronger, the sun wants them dead even more. A wooden stake can take them out in one hit, if it is good enough. There are ways to get around or limit all of them, but outside of a white-room fight "it isn't night time" is something that happens once a day. A wolf's weakness to silver only really comes up if the enemies are prepared to fight a wolf, since non-weaponized silver isn't great at taking care of them. You can make a wooden stake in a couple of seconds if a room has appropriate furniture. Likewise, the closest thing a Mage really has to a weakness is Paradox, which is fairly difficult to weaponize against them. A crowd of humans would have to be handy, and doesn't really do much for paradox unless they are rolling a bunch of dice to start with.

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                        • #13
                          Yeah but Paradox tends to not be a big deal until the mages Gnosis gets higher up.
                          The weakness with Mages is their relative fragility and how much they depend on preparation. Making Mage armor a reflexive activation helps but human mages are still kinda squishy. Unless they are Life mages they spend a lot of mana to heal.
                          Also their attack spells tend to not necessarily do more damage then say , a gun. Now they have a bag of tricks they can pull if they have a few rounds to prep them. But they are not the most combat oriented of splats. Just one of the most versatile.

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                          • #14
                            So this thread is basically what splats have over others, both in advantage and disadvantage. Can i ask what the prometheans have over others and what they have not in their favor

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                            • #15
                              Um let's see, from the top of my head from limited expierence, promethean kinda has at the same time a constrictive and yet not power set. on a Refinement you get your pick of powers for free as you go through roles but then lose it when you switch, thus you have to either calcify or create a Refinement Furnace athanor to keep the alembics you get along the way. A good thing about Alembics is that once you've paid the full price you can keep and spam those powers all scene so that's very helpful.

                              Prometheans can take a whopping in a different way to a vampire. While vampires downgrade everything promethean can ignore them as they don't suffer wound penalties and through pyros can negate certain amounts of damage when it hits depending how much you spend. Prometheans can also spend pyros to give a dice to any attribute when compared to vampires 2 for only the physical ones. Plus every Promethean gets a free revive even if you get yourself killed.

                              For disadvantages Wasteland puts a limit on how pyros you can spend without ruining the environment around you and thag becomes more likely as you get Azoth. Disquiet is always troublesome and obvious bad point unless you can weaponize it with disquietism.


                              These are all the notes I have on the top of my head. I think prometheans can survive more then others in just enduring while being able to reliably spam alembics effects once they are charged. Though others probably have different thoughts on it


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