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[Bloodline power set, homebrew] Telens

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  • [Bloodline power set, homebrew] Telens

    Telens – VtR 2e Version

    Notes: Credit where due: original WoD Discipline by Jeremy Burkett (castagir@iastate.edu, November 1995). Modified and expanded by Khanwulf (unpublished, 2002), with further translation to VtR 2e.

    Telens is a freedom of movement power set, represented in VtR 2e as a merit and linked Devotions. The goal here is to capture some of the nifty, no-way-that's-natural kind of movements that have been demonstrated by vampires in literature and film. As such the merit offers persistent effects and enables purchase of the Devotions assuming other prerequisites are reached. Use of either in front of mortals could easily be considered a breach of the Masquerade. Note in particular that increasing effective skill levels above 5 has implications on how use appears to mortals. The overall flavor and net effect is somewhat Wuxia-ish.

    Translating Telens (the “fourth physical Discipline” as one Storyteller I know calls it) into VtR constitutes a bit of a problem: it was originally created to address VtM shortfalls in supernatural movement powers; many of which were erased by VtR—let alone by VtR 2e. One of the tenants of CofD is “don’t duplicate”, so this is going to be a mostly total re-write around the premise of “vampire movement” versus “vampire speed” (Celerity). It will be tuned in particular to mesh with the idea of an unnamed bloodline whose other Discipline powers are all physical (Vigor, Resilience and Celerity). It is, however, otherwise structured like a physical discipline, so XP costs are higher overall--in line with out-of-clan costs--if the Devotions are purchased.

    Merit: Telens * - ***** (supernatural)
    Duration: Permanent (for persistent effects) or per Devotions (for active effects)
    Like other physical Disciplines, Telens has two kinds of effects: persistent and active. Persistent effects are always on, and have no cost. Active effects are per Devotion details.

    Persistent: Gain a bonus equal to the vampire’s dots in Telens to any Athletics skill roll. This can raise her Athletics above the normal limits imposed by her Blood Potency.

    [Note: since this increases the skill roll—not the skill—it does not passively increase Defense. This is intentional to avoid duplication both within the power set and with Celerity.]

    Slipping the Bonds of Earth (Vigor **, Resilience *, Telens): [3 XP] For a brief moment, the vampire distracts the Earth from her actions, becoming unbounded. You may jump with the Rote quality, and add dots in Telens to Vigor when determining distance. Further, as a Persistent effect you suffer only 1 Bashing damage per 3 yard (meters) from a fall regardless of terminal velocity, to a maximum of (10 – Telens) damage, and always land on your hands and feet—catlike; you may use Parkour to mitigate damage from a terminal velocity fall. Slipping the Bonds of Earth is Reflexive and costs one Vitae per jump action.

    [This Devotion is mechanically similar to the Strix power Hollow Bones, only it gives less of a flat bonus to the jump in favor of the Rote quality in conjunction with Telens’ Athletics skill roll bonus. Net effect is the same: a graceful sailing of impossible distances and landing with apparent ease, unharmed.]

    Ten-Feathers Step (Resilience *, Celerity **, Telens): [3 XP] Whenever active, the vampire only barely touches the ground and thus leaves no footprints and makes no noise by his footsteps. While offering no benefit to sight-based stealth, Ten-Feathers Step provides the 9-again quality to Composure + Athletics rolls to avoid detection by hearing or tracking by sight. Perhaps even more beneficial is the ability for the vampire to walk on surfaces that "shouldn't" hold his weight such as the tips of grass, a thatched roof or rice-paper flooring. Ten-Feathers Step is Reflexive and costs one Vitae per scene.

    Grand Motion (Vigor *, Celerity *, Resilience *, Telens): [3 XP] “Down” is an entirely arbitrary direction for the vampire while this Devotion is active: she and her possessions may freely move between floors, walls and ceilings, standing normally on any solid surface that will hold her weight. When changing orientation your character may move 10 feet + five feet per dot of Athletics and Telens as an instant action. Grand Motion is Reflexive and costs one blood point per scene.

    [This Devotion is intended to open up the possibility for clever player action within three dimensions, and as such is rules and roll-light. If you want an example, watch the Van Helsing movie (2004). This is distinct from Protean’s clinging abilities in that Telens requires no effort to continue the effect. Note that to fully take advantage of strange surfaces Grand Motion should be combined with the other Devotions to avoid putting a foot through a plasterboard wall or tiled ceiling! Or, to land well on a new surface some distance away after designating it as “down”.]

    Flawless Avoidance (Vigor *, Celerity **, Telens): [3 XP] While not actually flawless, the vampire harnesses the power of her will to move and avoid harm. When performing a full defense action add as a Persistent effect 2x Telens dots as bonus dice, after subtracting Defense for multiple opponents. Flawless Avoidance may be used to dodge ranged attacks the vampire can perceive, even if her normal Defense against such attacks is zero.

    The vampire may choose as part of her dodge to focus on repositioning: Reflexively expend a point of Vitae to use up to Telens dots in dodge successes to:
    • Reduce the number of opponents who can attack her next round without maneuvering (moving) by 1 per success.
    • Reduce the Initiative of a single opponent next round by 1 per success.
    • Reduce the Defense of a single opponent next round by 1 per success.
    Dodge successes expended in this fashion are not available to reduce opponent attacks on the round used.

    Any dodges attempted using Flawless Avoidance must incorporate a gross physical movement (a step back, leap, extraordinary contortion or bending, etc.), which to outside observers may appear as a blur of after-images and certainly will appear as impossible timing or movement.

    Flight (Resilience *, Celerity **, Telens): [3 XP] With an action and the expenditure one Vitae, the vampire gains the ability to ignore the bonds of gravity for a scene. He may move at up to Speed + Telens in three dimensions. When coupled with Celerity, this can be quite spectacular; regardless, it is certainly unnatural and tends to attract attention. Athletics should govern any difficult maneuvers the vampire wishes to make while in the air, but he otherwise has perfect maneuverability. If desired, he may resume walking and take to the air again in the same scene without further Vitae cost.

    -----

    "Khanwulf," you ask, "why have you done this thing, that looks unneeded in VtR's excellent physical disciplines?"

    And I say, "Glad you asked, gentle commentator: because I need to do a conversion of said powerset to port certain characters I need from VtM to VtR. It's kinda important."

    It's also important to do something right. So, if the excellent people here want to help me tear this apart and put it together better I'll gladly accept the criticism and advice. It needs to cover the bases included here, with the possible exception of Flawless Avoidance.

    Thoughts?

    --Khanwulf
    Last edited by Khanwulf; 09-15-2017, 04:26 PM. Reason: Modifying Discipline reqs.

  • #2
    None of the great worthies here wish to comment? Haberdasher? @Bueller?

    --Khanwulf

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    • #3
      Khanwulf My bad, Khanwulf. My time has been mostly consumed with classes.

      This looks very fun and exciting. Your conversion manages to avoid stepping on the toes of the other physical disciplines. It's less a speed discipline than a mobility discipline. I'm imagining a particularly impudent Daeva or Mekhet learning Ten-Feather Step just so that they can literally walk on water.


      Haberdasher's Requiem Conversions and Homebrew

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      • #4
        This looks like a pretty neat series of devotions. There's no toe stepping, and I can think of quite a few things that could be used with Telens to enhance the scene.

        I think I might want to introduce these devotions to my game, to help my players think outside the box when it comes to challenges.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Haberdasher View Post
          Khanwulf My bad, Khanwulf. My time has been mostly consumed with classes.

          This looks very fun and exciting. Your conversion manages to avoid stepping on the toes of the other physical disciplines. It's less a speed discipline than a mobility discipline. I'm imagining a particularly impudent Daeva or Mekhet learning Ten-Feather Step just so that they can literally walk on water.

          I like more the old "luring silly pursuers to land mines and poor maintained floors in high places".

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          • #6
            Many thanks folks, I greatly appreciate the comments that this is on the right track. And yes, Haberdasher, running on water is within the realm of imagination for a reasonably lenient Storyteller--I just didn't want to make fluids explicit in the description!

            ​You're right as well, Ever Professional, the hope is that instead of being a club to solve problem with (as other Disciplines rightfully are, often), Telens moves the vampire into a new configuration that makes resolution easier on her or her terms. Creativity is encouraged.

            Tiny story time: back in 2003 playing VtM there was a character with Telens who was literally driven mad (thanks Malk) and thought himself to be Batman. This overlapped with the climactic confrontation with the coterie's antagonist and there ensued a scene in which "Batman" flung himself around the room with his "bat-grapple". It was effective, if a further negative check in the Dementation box IMO.

            Back to VtR. The Flawless Avoidance devotion is one I'm most concerned with, since there is certainly an element of "speed" to it, but I wanted the set to include something for defense without shouldering Celerity aside. It then is oriented toward active defense, managing multiple opponents, and repositioning within the sphere of (especially melee) combat range.

            There isn't a bloodline writeup to suggest except for perhaps a few hooks: either a primordial, very physical line, or perhaps something eastern, arising from Shaolin or Wuxia traditions--or modern interpretations and depictions of such.

            --Khanwulf

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            • #7
              Why is resilience a prerequisite for these powers? There is only one power that gives any endurance enhancement effect and incidentally doesn't require resilience.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tsusasi View Post
                Why is resilience a prerequisite for these powers? There is only one power that gives any endurance enhancement effect and incidentally doesn't require resilience.

                Feel free to swap around the physical discipline requirements--or suggest swaps. The intent was to 1) reach an XP cost of 3 per Devotion, effectively making whole package cost the same as a Discipline if you include Merit dots, and 2) keep to a reliance on physical disciplines while dealing with VtR 2e's conventions for new power sets. If your table likes new Disciplines straight, drop all prereqs and use the powers as a dot progression 1-5.

                I think you're referring to Slipping the Bonds of Earth, in particular. That one could drop Celerity in favor of Resilience easily. In fact, consider it done... improves the spread. Thanks!

                Other Resilience usage is generally reflecting the "endurance" aspect of the Discipline, and not the main, damage-mitigation facet. (I'm aware undead flesh should have no issues with endurance, yet apparently in CofD it does. Oh well.)

                --Khanwulf

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