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  • Splats power ladder?

    OK, let's do this controversial thread again.
    After reading the Contagion Chronicles' core, I try to figure out the power-level of various factions in term of crossover. Right now it mostly like:

    1st tier - Demons (if GM is out of play) and Mages
    2nd tier - Beasts and Mummies
    2.5 tier - Prometheans (they are very specific)
    3rd tier - Vampires, Werewolves, Changelings (altough their powerset is kinda dissapointing), Geists, probably Deviants and some supernatural Hunters conspiracies
    4-non-supernatural Hunters.

    Did I got this right?
    Last edited by Lashet; 01-13-2021, 06:49 AM.

  • #2
    This does not really take into account how the various splats scale. At character creation alone I could definitely see how supernatural hunters can square up against some of the other splats, but they're quickly left in the dust (which is one reason HtV has books with scaled down versions of the other splats). Vampires start out notably weak (comparatively speaking) but grow faster than any other splat except mages. Mages similarly also start out quite weak (though with a wide arsenal) before they start getting the real good Arcana dots. And deviants are absolutely ridiculous because they can range from simply human+ up to raw power that'd rival demons and mid-level mages straight out of character creation, since their character creation process has its own power scale and is ridiculously modular (and thus extremely easy to min-max). Halfway up the Threat Scale they could come out of character creation as literally immortal and possessing one of the most damaging attacks in the entire franchise.
    Last edited by Tessie; 01-13-2021, 07:13 AM.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
      This does not really take into account how the various splats scale. At character creation alone I could definitely see how supernatural hunters can square up against some of the other splats, but they're quickly left in the dust (which is one reason HtV has books with scaled down versions of the other splats). Vampires start out notably weak (comparatively speaking) but grow faster than any other splat except mages. Mages similarly also start out quite weak (though with a wide arsenal) before they start getting the real good Arcana dots. And deviants are absolutely ridiculous because they can range from simply human+ up to raw power that'd rival demons and mid-level mages straight out of character creation, since their character creation process has its own power scale and is ridiculously modular (and thus extremely easy to min-max). Halfway up the Threat Scale they could come out of character creation as literally immortal and possessing one of the most damaging attacks in the entire franchise.
      And werewolves? It seems they kinda "they start like Warriors finish like Sorcerers" since their physical stats remind dissapiintly weak (a few direct trait-boost abilities) yet they can do some staff with Fetishes, Rites and non-physical gifts.

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      • #4
        I think that it mostly depends by how you define power-level.
        Do you mean:
        -strenght in combat?
        or
        -ability to solve a wide variety of problems (combat included)?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Neos01 View Post
          I think that it mostly depends by how you define power-level.
          Do you mean:
          -strenght in combat?
          or
          -ability to solve a wide variety of problems (combat included)?
          I think... second. BUT! Combat is also a problem which you need to resolve.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lashet View Post

            I think... second. BUT! Combat is also a problem which you need to resolve.
            Then i suggest to create categories:

            Combat
            Investigation/information gathering
            Social
            Mobility
            Equipment creation/gathering
            Etc...

            And put every splat in tiers associated to each category.
            After that, you can have a better idea of which splat is excellent in more areas
            You can also give a placement score for each category and sum the totals.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Lashet View Post

              And werewolves? It seems they kinda "they start like Warriors finish like Sorcerers" since their physical stats remind dissapiintly weak (a few direct trait-boost abilities) yet they can do some staff with Fetishes, Rites and non-physical gifts.
              It's funny. Because different splats are supposed to focus on different things, they tend to trivialise other stuff because it's less important to the intended focus of the game. Vampires, the social splat, are absolute physical powerhouses (if allowed to grow a little), while mages, the mental splat, have by far the largest and most supportive (if not necessarily healthy) social structures (and the Arcana are noteably deadly, which can trivialise much combat).
              Werewolves, the physical splat, is a bit of an outlier because they're actually not that focused on the physical which is probably why they don't grow all that much physically. Instead they gain more magical stuff and a lot of time is supposed to focus on tracking/hunting rather than combat, both of which could be considered mental disciplines. And within the context of a WtF game they do trivialise combat with Death Rage due to massive regen and fade-to-black.


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              • #8
                As the conventional wisdom goes, it pays to think about the "power ladder" more by the way their power is part of the themes and atmosphere of the game. Design wisdom would probably group the main gamelines like this:

                Top Tier: Mages, Mummies, Demons
                Middle Tier: Vampire, Werewolf, Promethean, Sin-Eaters, Beasts
                Bottom Tier: Changelings, Hunters, Deviants

                Now the bottom tier has more of a defined ladderness to itself-Hunters at the bottom, Deviants next up, and Changelings debateably belonging there at all-and there's been an implication that, regardless of whether it's Mummies or Mages at the top, demons are the third place winner-but honestly this sort of thought train is by and large useless, even in a crossover context, because again, games are built to the enjoyment of the players, so a character splat will get time to shine regardless of their placement on any kind of ladder.

                As for the old stand by of "Oh, this splat is the Mental Splat, this one is the Resistance splat, etc.", in so far as that idea was ever in play in first edition(THe closest I've heard of that being true was CHuck Wnedig flirting with it for Hunter when he said "If Hunter is the power splat, here's how-"), it was notably tossed out the window for Second. Shadows of that notion do still remain, but you will get nowhere fast trying to actually apply it.


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                • #9
                  One of my favorite things about this, after running Changeling 2, is how much Changeling's Inception-style abilities aren't just INCREDIBLY powerful, but also entirely innate -- every single Changeling can do it (to varying degrees of success, obviously). Now, this power VERY much depends on the ST as far as raw power goes (not to mention how it interacts with other splats, i.e. an ST might not-unreasonably decide that invading a Beast's dreams risks the Horror confronting you directly), but as an explicitly long-form power, it sort of gives Mage style "preparation is a force-multiplier".

                  Dream-weaving isn't going to do anything if a Changeling gets jumped in an alleyway, but it can do an ENORMOUS amount of damage, both physically and socially, when wielded from afar. And given how adept Changelings are at hiding, running away, and escaping, that honestly makes them an absolute terror when it comes to guerrilla tactics. Not only can you use it to wildly sabotage people via the higher-end Dream conditions, you can turn random people into assassins with it as well (you know, Clarity and morality aside), so even being immune or resistant to that powerset won't necessarily protect you from it.

                  Now, granted, the Mind Arcanum duplicates all of these effects and better, (and instantly, sometimes!), 1) that costs XP, and 2) it being direct can make it harder to affect things than Dream-weaving can, depending on your target's defenses.

                  I'm not pitching Changeling as top-tier or anything, just think it's incredibly interesting that such a wildly powerful and, almost more importantly, VERSATILE powerset is innate for an entire splat.

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                  • #10
                    The first thing to probably ask: is combat truly inevitable? A mage can probably sidestep the problem and they have a natural tendency towards information gathering. Demons can simply fly under the radar of the foe (not that they lack the raw might for the fight). Vampires can probably convince and manipulate the attacker, they can always send others to soften up the target if they can't.

                    Changelings can trick and negotiate the issue away. Mummies will have no problems initially, but as their power wanes between Descents, they will probably rely on their cult. Werewolves are some of the best equipped in case the battle happens unexpectedly for both sides, since they are very resilient and have a lesser chance of self-destructing by using their full might.

                    That all varies a lot depending on how the characters are built. A silver tongued werewolf can be a better manipulator than a combat vampire, for example. While splats have tendencies that facilitate certain approaches or integrate them more easily into problem solving, it all depends on their personal strengths, experience and resources.


                    In the end, it's all a matter of context. Power is relative.




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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Enokh View Post
                      One of my favorite things about this, after running Changeling 2, is how much Changeling's Inception-style abilities aren't just INCREDIBLY powerful, but also entirely innate -- every single Changeling can do it (to varying degrees of success, obviously). Now, this power VERY much depends on the ST as far as raw power goes (not to mention how it interacts with other splats, i.e. an ST might not-unreasonably decide that invading a Beast's dreams risks the Horror confronting you directly), but as an explicitly long-form power, it sort of gives Mage style "preparation is a force-multiplier".

                      Dream-weaving isn't going to do anything if a Changeling gets jumped in an alleyway, but it can do an ENORMOUS amount of damage, both physically and socially, when wielded from afar. And given how adept Changelings are at hiding, running away, and escaping, that honestly makes them an absolute terror when it comes to guerrilla tactics. Not only can you use it to wildly sabotage people via the higher-end Dream conditions, you can turn random people into assassins with it as well (you know, Clarity and morality aside), so even being immune or resistant to that powerset won't necessarily protect you from it.

                      Now, granted, the Mind Arcanum duplicates all of these effects and better, (and instantly, sometimes!), 1) that costs XP, and 2) it being direct can make it harder to affect things than Dream-weaving can, depending on your target's defenses.

                      I'm not pitching Changeling as top-tier or anything, just think it's incredibly interesting that such a wildly powerful and, almost more importantly, VERSATILE powerset is innate for an entire splat.
                      I agree.
                      As far as i know mages can cast mind spell to protect their bastions, and the beasts equivalent of the bastion is their lair (with a lurking horror defending it), but other splats are completely vulnerable AND unaware of oneiromancy effects (only more resistant as the power stats adds to Fortification)

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                      • #12
                        While every changeling can technically invade the dreams of a dreamer, it does require finding the Bastion of the target first. (Unless you have a specific Contract, in which case you still need to find the target's sleeping body.) And once a Bastion is found, you still need to be able to enter it, and anyone with Supernatural Tolerance have naturally stronger Fortification ratings. And once inside you need to actually do what you set out to do, and failing that could mean you don't get to try again that night as the target might wake up as a result of your failed attempt. In the worst case you could get the Soul Shocked Condition or get flung to some realm you've never encountered before and don't know how to navigate.

                        So while every changeling has access to this sort of thing, there's certainly no guarantee that they can wield it effectively or even reach the target's dreams in the first place.


                        Also, breaking into the "Bastion" of a Beast is a bad idea for two reasons. It's already mentioned that you have to navigate the Chambers of their Lair and potentially have to fight the Horror who seeks to protect it, but you also can't use Oneiromancy in a Lair because it's not actually a dream so whatever you wanted to do with Oneiromancy is actually impossible unless you could replicate the effects through other means.


                        Bloodline: The Stygians
                        Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
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                        • #13
                          The splats scale in power very differently, so I think this question only makes sense if you ask which splat is the strongest (in combat) with X experience points. This immediately creates a problem for Mummy since they start with 10 exp (based on the 2nd edition previews) by default, so should you count that or not?

                          For my money, Werewolves are the most powerful combat splat at 0 exp but rapidly fall back to mid-tier. This is mostly due to their insane regeneration in Gauru form making attacks that do bashing or lethal effectively meaningless (since they also have at least 10 health levels you need to get through before wrap-around occurs). The form benefits are quite nice too, especially the fact that your opponents only get wits or dex to defence in Gauru, meaning your damage output will usually be quite good. While there are quite a few ways other splats can deal agg at character creation, it's very hard to do a lot of agg at character creation, and combat-focused werewolves can very easily grab up to 4 points of damage reduction at character creation (from the Fortified Form merit and the Berserker's Might gift).

                          Conversely, Mages are one of the weakest splats to begin with, but rapidly become one of the strongest once they get to Gnosis 3+. However it's always worth bearing in mind that Mages are just humans as a baseline and don't get any special immunities or ways to heal damage. So even if a Mage can hurl fire, they can still get their throat ripped out by a Vampire with Celerity before they've had a chance to cast their spells.

                          Deviants and Sin-Eaters are interesting to place. Neither of them are top tier splats, but it can be really, really hard for the other splats to ever truly kill them (Sin-Eaters are this way by default, and Deviants with Rapid Healing 5 are, by my reading of it, actually impossible to permanently kill).

                          I place Sin-Eaters in the bottom tier. Their powers are simply not as strong as those of other splats, and are often very expensive in terms of plasm, and there simply aren't very many Haunts for them to learn, which limits their options as they gain exp.

                          Deviants I place in the mid tier. They have a few wrinkles compared to other splats - they can start with anywhere from 2 - 15 dots of variations which means its hard to say anything definitive about how strong they are at character creation. Their power attribute only goes up to 5, meaning they can never increase skills or attributes above 5, which obviously limits their potential (though they have other ways to get attributes to 6+). Their powers have to be tied to Scars, meaning that any advantage they gain comes with a drawback of equal magnitude, and as a baseline they are just humans with no special abilities to resist damage or death (they don't even have an equivalent to Vitae/Essence/Mana etc. and spend willpower whenever a resource is required).

                          What makes Deviants mid-tier is the absolutely enormous range of powers (variations) available to them. You could build just about any comic book superhero using these options - for example Rapid Healing 5 plus Lash 2 (Cutting Brawl Lash; Deadly, Piercing, Quick) gives you Wolverine. Monstrous Transformation 5 tied to the Alternate Persona Scar gives you the Hulk. Many variations have very powerful effects at the higher tiers and Deviants face no restrictions in terms of buying new variations.

                          Mummies are another splat that are very hard to perma-kill. Their power level is much less dependent on how many exp they have, and much more on how recently they have awoken. A recently awoken Mummy with Sekhem 10 can trade blows with other top-tier splats, but they drop down pretty quickly and spend most of their time at Sekhem 5 or less. For this reason, and due to their vulnerability to fire (which most splats can access very easily) I put them in the top end of the mid tier.

                          Demons are also hard to place. A demon in cover is just a human with a few tricks - and is therefore really easy to kill. At the same time, a demon in cover is just that - it's very unlikely that another splat would know to target them. Demons who go loud might just be the most powerful splat - mostly because they immediately get 100 ether and access to every exploit to spend it on. A character's chances against a Demon who's gone loud are going to be down to the Storyteller since it will depend a lot on what kind of forces the God-Machine sends to take them out and how quickly they get there.

                          Changelings are bottom tier. The main reason for this is that changelings are one of the few splats that don't have any built-in ways to heal damage or cheat death. A Changeling with full bashing damage will quickly fall unconscious, and one with full lethal will soon bleed out, Glamour can do nothing to prevent this. There are only a few Contracts that can heal or downgrade damage a Changeling has taken, and all of them are instant actions which limits their utility in combat.

                          Prometheans are in the high mid tier. They are very tough and hard to kill, can come back from death at least once, and even have a set of abilities that are specifically designed to identify and weaken other splats (Spiritus). The reason I don't consider them top tier is that they lack any truly outrageous powers, and take agg from fire - which many splats have easy access to. Having said that, a Promethean with easy access to a source of electricity is a different proposition altogether.

                          Vampires are another interesting case. They have a number of weaknesses that are very easy for the other splats to exploit - sunlight, daysleep, fire, frenzy, and being staked. At the lower levels they tend to be a low mid-tier splat. However as their blood potency increases, Kindred can become one of the more powerful splats. The reason for this is that Physical intensity scales with Blood Potency in a way that nothing else does. A Blood Potency 10 kindred is capable of incredible bursts - spending up to15 vitae in one turn to add 30 dice to an attack, and if their Vitae tank is full they could potentially do this on five consecutive turns. This means anything that tries to go hand to hand with an elder Vampire is going to get obliterated. Furthermore, the vitae costs for most Disciplines is quite low - the majority of Disciplines cost only a single Vitae, even ones like Vigor, Resilience, and Celerity that scale with the number of dots invested in them. I put low exp Vampires in the bottom mid tier, but very high exp Vampires at the low end of the top tier.

                          Beasts are solidly mid-tier. They have interesting powers that scale well with exp - Dragonfire in particular is going to cause agg to a lot of other splats and is a pretty easy way to allow the Beast to impose their Lair traits on the scene. The Lair traits of a Beast with high Lair rating are almost more dangerous than their Atavisms as it lets them wear down their opponents without risking harm to themselves. As an example, Corrosive plus Sealed Exits would mean that the beast just has to wait for their opponents to die. Throw in Darkness and the Shadowed Soul Atavism and their enemies won't be able to find them either. The Advanced and Epic versions of Merits that Beasts have access to also give them a few nice options. Their main drawback is that they don't have any way to heal damage while outside their lair. The lair adds an additional complication as they are much stronger while inside it, but it seems unlikely that their opponents would willingly follow them into it. Lastly, it seems like a Beast can escape from dangerous situations in the physical world by simply disappearing and taking control of their horror (p. 97 first paragraph). A Beast in their Lair would probably mover to top tier because of all the ways they can stack the environment against their foes while remaining completely immune themselves.

                          To summarise:

                          Top tier:
                          • Demons who've gone loud
                          • High exp Mages
                          • Recently awoken Mummies
                          • Beasts in their Lair
                          • Elder Vampires
                          • Werewolves (only at character creation)
                          Mid-tier:
                          • Prometheans
                          • Beasts
                          • Mummies (Sekhem 5 or less)
                          • Werewolves
                          • Deviants
                          • Most Vampires
                          Bottom-tier:
                          • Demons in cover
                          • Sin-Eaters
                          • Changelings
                          • Low exp Mages
                          • Hunters/Mortals

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Aurumae View Post
                            The splats scale in power very differently, so I think this question only makes sense if you ask which splat is the strongest (in combat) with X experience points. This immediately creates a problem for Mummy since they start with 10 exp (based on the 2nd edition previews) by default, so should you count that or not?

                            For my money, Werewolves are the most powerful combat splat at 0 exp but rapidly fall back to mid-tier. This is mostly due to their insane regeneration in Gauru form making attacks that do bashing or lethal effectively meaningless (since they also have at least 10 health levels you need to get through before wrap-around occurs). The form benefits are quite nice too, especially the fact that your opponents only get wits or dex to defence in Gauru, meaning your damage output will usually be quite good. While there are quite a few ways other splats can deal agg at character creation, it's very hard to do a lot of agg at character creation, and combat-focused werewolves can very easily grab up to 4 points of damage reduction at character creation (from the Fortified Form merit and the Berserker's Might gift).

                            Conversely, Mages are one of the weakest splats to begin with, but rapidly become one of the strongest once they get to Gnosis 3+. However it's always worth bearing in mind that Mages are just humans as a baseline and don't get any special immunities or ways to heal damage. So even if a Mage can hurl fire, they can still get their throat ripped out by a Vampire with Celerity before they've had a chance to cast their spells.

                            Deviants and Sin-Eaters are interesting to place. Neither of them are top tier splats, but it can be really, really hard for the other splats to ever truly kill them (Sin-Eaters are this way by default, and Deviants with Rapid Healing 5 are, by my reading of it, actually impossible to permanently kill).

                            I place Sin-Eaters in the bottom tier. Their powers are simply not as strong as those of other splats, and are often very expensive in terms of plasm, and there simply aren't very many Haunts for them to learn, which limits their options as they gain exp.

                            Deviants I place in the mid tier. They have a few wrinkles compared to other splats - they can start with anywhere from 2 - 15 dots of variations which means its hard to say anything definitive about how strong they are at character creation. Their power attribute only goes up to 5, meaning they can never increase skills or attributes above 5, which obviously limits their potential (though they have other ways to get attributes to 6+). Their powers have to be tied to Scars, meaning that any advantage they gain comes with a drawback of equal magnitude, and as a baseline they are just humans with no special abilities to resist damage or death (they don't even have an equivalent to Vitae/Essence/Mana etc. and spend willpower whenever a resource is required).

                            What makes Deviants mid-tier is the absolutely enormous range of powers (variations) available to them. You could build just about any comic book superhero using these options - for example Rapid Healing 5 plus Lash 2 (Cutting Brawl Lash; Deadly, Piercing, Quick) gives you Wolverine. Monstrous Transformation 5 tied to the Alternate Persona Scar gives you the Hulk. Many variations have very powerful effects at the higher tiers and Deviants face no restrictions in terms of buying new variations.

                            Mummies are another splat that are very hard to perma-kill. Their power level is much less dependent on how many exp they have, and much more on how recently they have awoken. A recently awoken Mummy with Sekhem 10 can trade blows with other top-tier splats, but they drop down pretty quickly and spend most of their time at Sekhem 5 or less. For this reason, and due to their vulnerability to fire (which most splats can access very easily) I put them in the top end of the mid tier.

                            Demons are also hard to place. A demon in cover is just a human with a few tricks - and is therefore really easy to kill. At the same time, a demon in cover is just that - it's very unlikely that another splat would know to target them. Demons who go loud might just be the most powerful splat - mostly because they immediately get 100 ether and access to every exploit to spend it on. A character's chances against a Demon who's gone loud are going to be down to the Storyteller since it will depend a lot on what kind of forces the God-Machine sends to take them out and how quickly they get there.

                            Changelings are bottom tier. The main reason for this is that changelings are one of the few splats that don't have any built-in ways to heal damage or cheat death. A Changeling with full bashing damage will quickly fall unconscious, and one with full lethal will soon bleed out, Glamour can do nothing to prevent this. There are only a few Contracts that can heal or downgrade damage a Changeling has taken, and all of them are instant actions which limits their utility in combat.

                            Prometheans are in the high mid tier. They are very tough and hard to kill, can come back from death at least once, and even have a set of abilities that are specifically designed to identify and weaken other splats (Spiritus). The reason I don't consider them top tier is that they lack any truly outrageous powers, and take agg from fire - which many splats have easy access to. Having said that, a Promethean with easy access to a source of electricity is a different proposition altogether.

                            Vampires are another interesting case. They have a number of weaknesses that are very easy for the other splats to exploit - sunlight, daysleep, fire, frenzy, and being staked. At the lower levels they tend to be a low mid-tier splat. However as their blood potency increases, Kindred can become one of the more powerful splats. The reason for this is that Physical intensity scales with Blood Potency in a way that nothing else does. A Blood Potency 10 kindred is capable of incredible bursts - spending up to15 vitae in one turn to add 30 dice to an attack, and if their Vitae tank is full they could potentially do this on five consecutive turns. This means anything that tries to go hand to hand with an elder Vampire is going to get obliterated. Furthermore, the vitae costs for most Disciplines is quite low - the majority of Disciplines cost only a single Vitae, even ones like Vigor, Resilience, and Celerity that scale with the number of dots invested in them. I put low exp Vampires in the bottom mid tier, but very high exp Vampires at the low end of the top tier.

                            Beasts are solidly mid-tier. They have interesting powers that scale well with exp - Dragonfire in particular is going to cause agg to a lot of other splats and is a pretty easy way to allow the Beast to impose their Lair traits on the scene. The Lair traits of a Beast with high Lair rating are almost more dangerous than their Atavisms as it lets them wear down their opponents without risking harm to themselves. As an example, Corrosive plus Sealed Exits would mean that the beast just has to wait for their opponents to die. Throw in Darkness and the Shadowed Soul Atavism and their enemies won't be able to find them either. The Advanced and Epic versions of Merits that Beasts have access to also give them a few nice options. Their main drawback is that they don't have any way to heal damage while outside their lair. The lair adds an additional complication as they are much stronger while inside it, but it seems unlikely that their opponents would willingly follow them into it. Lastly, it seems like a Beast can escape from dangerous situations in the physical world by simply disappearing and taking control of their horror (p. 97 first paragraph). A Beast in their Lair would probably mover to top tier because of all the ways they can stack the environment against their foes while remaining completely immune themselves.

                            To summarise:

                            Top tier:
                            • Demons who've gone loud
                            • High exp Mages
                            • Recently awoken Mummies
                            • Beasts in their Lair
                            • Elder Vampires
                            • Werewolves (only at character creation)
                            Mid-tier:
                            • Prometheans
                            • Beasts
                            • Mummies (Sekhem 5 or less)
                            • Werewolves
                            • Deviants
                            • Most Vampires
                            Bottom-tier:
                            • Demons in cover
                            • Sin-Eaters
                            • Changelings
                            • Low exp Mages
                            • Hunters/Mortals
                            Mages can heal innately bashing and lethal with Mana.
                            Also, beasts using soul communion don t disappear from physical world, but controls their horror instead of their bodies

                            Also, a Promethean with a Ferrum Athanor can become quite strong, and if you consider the Transhuman potential innate ability they are only few dices below Vampires
                            Last edited by Neos01; 01-14-2021, 06:58 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Mages have the worst "spend power points to heal" ability of any splat that has one, (but note that's because when they use actual spells they have the best) and can remove Tilts and mental Conditions at will by spending mana. Without magic.


                              Dave Brookshaw

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