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Has anyone else noticed the change in mood between 1st and 2nd Edition?

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  • #16
    There is absolutely a tonal difference between 1e, particularly early 1e, and 2e. I don’t know if “1e taking itself more seriously” is quite the way I would describe it, but I understand what you’re getting at. The 1e core was much more formal, almost instructional, where the 2e core is highly emotionally charged. I also wouldn’t say it’s a matter of maturity. But there is a big shift in how being a vampire is presented. The 1e core takes a very direct, straightforward look at the tragedy of the curse. The 2e core celebrates the power and immortality, and leaves the tragedy up to inference, which I feel it does much more effectively.

    In early 1e, I felt like I was constantly reading about what a terrible thing it was to be a vampire, but not seeing that reflected in the actual play experience. 2e took the opposite approach, telling me about how great it is that I’ll be young and pretty for ever, and I have super powers on top of that. But then the mechanics are constantly ripping things away from me, making me really feel that loss of humanity.

    Originally posted by ErikModi View Post
    The tone change for me was more of a "fuck it, who cares, we're EVIL."

    Re-skimming the Covenant write-ups recently (my CoD game's on indefinite hold), and the Covenants seem written to be actively inimical to Humanity, despite the fact that vampires are aware Humanity exists, if not as a game mechanic than as something that makes it harder for the Beast to gain control over them. Yet everything seems written from the standpoint of "Hell with Humanity, we don't need it, we're above it!" That sense of personal horror, to me, is lacking when the approach to retaining Humanity seems to be "ah, you're better off without it." Honestly, at this point, I almost think the Paths should make a comeback, one for each Covenant, and be done with it.
    The Covenants absolutely are inciminal to Humanity (the Integrity stat, not humankind), and that’s meant to be a comfort to young vampires struggling to come to grips with the fact that they aren’t human. Maintaining humanity is supposed to be the hard, painful road. The Covenants offer an easy, comfortable alternative. They’re supposed to look like Paths, which is why so many vampires turn to them. The promise of a different morality that allows you to abandon humanity without completely succumbing to the Beast. But there’s no such thing as Paths. It’s a lie the vampires tell themselves because they want the easy road so badly, they convince themselves it’s also the high road.


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    • #17
      1e is dry. 2e is moist. Sometimes 1e is too dry in places, and sometimes 2e is too moist. There is definitely a recognizable midway point in 1e, I would say somewhere around Damnation City and the clanbooks, where the second voice of Vampire started to emerge. The midway point is about where I like to sit, usually.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
        There is absolutely a tonal difference between 1e, particularly early 1e, and 2e. I don’t know if “1e taking itself more seriously” is quite the way I would describe it, but I understand what you’re getting at. The 1e core was much more formal, almost instructional, where the 2e core is highly emotionally charged. I also wouldn’t say it’s a matter of maturity. But there is a big shift in how being a vampire is presented. The 1e core takes a very direct, straightforward look at the tragedy of the curse. The 2e core celebrates the power and immortality, and leaves the tragedy up to inference.
        I honestly would've loved if they still maintained the Vampirism is a Curse theme more closely (actually in 2e one description of a Touchstone mentions that the vampire wouldn't wish the Embrace on their worst enemy let alone their spouse, which is something that left me wondering 'why?') sure you get to be pretty and young forever but have you ever thought about what it's really like to be a vampire? Trapped in a millennia old society of monsters for time that is longer than your natural lifespan (if you're lucky, or not) imagine having a vampire with greater authority over you, she'll come every night to slit your throat open and by the time you'll heal it she'll come back and do it again and again and again. Imagine watching the people you grew to love age and die until no one that was important to you as a mortal is alive. Imagine being under the vinculum of an abusive master, who'd beat down your immortal body near final death each night and you'd still love him for it. Imagine being part of Covenants as alien as the Lancea or the Circle of the Crone, where you'd have to disebowl children to appease forgotten Gods, or terrorize and murder mortals for the crime of being atheist, or gay, or simply following a different religion. Imagine having all your emotions corrupted by the Beast that claws at your chest; love, happiness and even anger become possessiveness, schadenfreude and rage.

        It would take a thousand other paragraphs to describe all the reasons of why it sucks to be a vampire, and why the detriment outweigh the benefits.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post

          It would take a thousand other paragraphs to describe all the reasons of why it sucks to be a vampire, and why the detriment outweigh the benefits.
          Which is why they try so so hard to pretend the benefits outweigh the costs.

          Because otherwise? They are a short talk away from convincing themselves they could use a tan.


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

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
            I honestly would've loved if they still maintained the Vampirism is a Curse theme more closely
            They do, more closely in fact than 1e did. They just do it through inference, implication, subtext, and game mechanics. Instead of telling you how crappy being a vampire is in the text, they show you through the actual gameplay. For this reason, it struck me as very odd that you said you thought the writing in 2e was less nuanced than that in 1e. I feel quite the contrary. 2e makes excellent use of nuance, conveying its message subtly through a passionate voice, as opposed to 1e conveying its message directly through a formal voice.

            Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
            (actually in 2e one description of a Touchstone mentions that the vampire wouldn't wish the Embrace on their worst enemy let alone their spouse, which is something that left me wondering 'why?')
            Pretty much for the reasons you mention. Being a vampire is kind of a shit deal.

            Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
            sure you get to be pretty and young forever but have you ever thought about what it's really like to be a vampire? Trapped in a millennia old society of monsters for time that is longer than your natural lifespan (if you're lucky, or not) imagine having a vampire with greater authority over you, she'll come every night to slit your throat open and by the time you'll heal it she'll come back and do it again and again and again. Imagine watching the people you grew to love age and die until no one that was important to you as a mortal is alive. Imagine being under the vinculum of an abusive master, who'd beat down your immortal body near final death each night and you'd still love him for it. Imagine being part of Covenants as alien as the Lancea or the Circle of the Crone, where you'd have to disebowl children to appease forgotten Gods, or terrorize and murder mortals for the crime of being atheist, or gay, or simply following a different religion. Imagine having all your emotions corrupted by the Beast that claws at your chest; love, happiness and even anger become possessiveness, schadenfreude and rage.

            It would take a thousand other paragraphs to describe all the reasons of why it sucks to be a vampire, and why the detriment outweigh the benefits.
            You're preaching to the choir. It's definitely awful. But the vampires don't want to dwell on that. They're stuck with the curse, so they might as well make the most of their eternity with it. And that's the perspective the text of the 2e core is written from, rather than the omniscient 3rd person narrator's perspective the 1e core is written from.
            Last edited by Charlaquin; 03-19-2018, 06:37 PM.


            Onyx Path Forum Moderator

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
              It would take a thousand other paragraphs to describe all the reasons of why it sucks to be a vampire, and why the detriment outweigh the benefits.
              And it would be such a chore to actually read compared to the more subtle book we have now.


              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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              • #22
                I feel like one of the criticisms 1e always got was that it spent too long on how much being a vampire is a tragedy. A lot of people felt that the tone of that was the expected tone of the game, and so criticized V:tR as being the game where you play whiny vampires always complaining about how much it sucks that they have to drink blood, what a monster I am.

                But the game, well played, didn't turn out like that, and I honestly don't think that was the designer's intention. Being a vampire was supposed to be a tragedy, but the tragedy was in that the vampire couldn't see how tragic it truly was, except in moment like the one above, talking about how he wouldn't gift his worst enemy with kindredhood, where the hypocrisy comes off. And I do think the tonal change in 2e, the more celebratory "we're damned, let's BE damned" feel to it, better models this.

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                • #23
                  I feel like part of the different "tone" you're noticing is that through touchstones and the rejiggering of Humanity, 2e comes at the curse of Vampirism though a much more character centric lens.

                  In 1e it was the trope of the inevitable damnation of the fall - guarding yourself nightly against the inner horror because tonight might be the night where finally the beast wins and you slouch toward becoming the monster you've always known you would become. It's about cloaking oneself in the business and busyness of immortal life to stave off having to face the fundamental truth of the beast and what it's done to you.

                  You said 2e feels like it's in your face, and it is because the beast is constantly in your face. The beast goes out of its way to remind you that you're just a cage for it, and you are desperate to cling to any semblance of normalcy that will keep you connected to the reality of what you once were so that you might hold that damned snarling thing at bay for another night. It's about cloaking yourself in the trappings of life in a vain and desperate attempt to feel alive. But you're not. The emotions gradually begin to taste like ash in your mouth and you begin to fall much faster toward the monstrous nature that's been clawing at your inside. It feels crass and dangerous, and less gothically stoic than 1e - but it's about hurling yourself into every moment because if you stop - you die. The same was true of 1e, but the humanity scale there was meant to make it feel like you were detached from it more.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by dirtypoolfilms View Post
                    It's about cloaking yourself in the trappings of life in a vain and desperate attempt to feel alive. But you're not. The emotions gradually begin to taste like ash in your mouth and you begin to fall much faster toward the monstrous nature that's been clawing at your inside. It feels crass and dangerous, and less gothically stoic than 1e - but it's about hurling yourself into every moment because if you stop - you die.
                    "Live, because if you're not living, you're dead. Live, because that's what humans do, and you're not human, you're the Beast."

                    But the Beast wants to live too.


                    (It feels like a bit of Geist has been laced into it)

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Stupid Loserman View Post
                      1e is dry. 2e is moist. Sometimes 1e is too dry in places, and sometimes 2e is too moist. There is definitely a recognizable midway point in 1e, I would say somewhere around Damnation City and the clanbooks, where the second voice of Vampire started to emerge. The midway point is about where I like to sit, usually.
                      Also, for some reason, and it might just be me, I always hear 1e being narrated by a masculine voice in my head, and 2e narrated by a more feminine voice, I wonder if I'm the only one.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post

                        Also, for some reason, and it might just be me, I always hear 1e being narrated by a masculine voice in my head, and 2e narrated by a more feminine voice, I wonder if I'm the only one.

                        I hear 1e narrated in my head by the dude who narrated all the codex entries in Mass Effect (a sci-fi video-game series).
                        2e I hear narrated by Brad Pitt's character Louis from Interview With The Vampire.

                        1e's style of narration never appealed to me and reading through the core book felt like a chore. But reading the 2e core book was a great joy. It really managed to spark my imagination a lot more than the 1e core book.

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                        • #27
                          Honestly 2nd edition took a bit of getting used to. The Conditions and beats stuff felt a little too gamey at first but our ST has handled it pretty well so far so I'm not that bothered by it.

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                          • #28
                            I really dislike the social maneuvering rules - either roleplay it out or make a single social roll. I do like down and dirty combat though (again, let's do a single roll). Conditions and Beats don't bother me so much, though I am not sure how I feel about derangements just being a simple condition that can be resolved.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by mikerand View Post
                              though I am not sure how I feel about derangements just being a simple condition that can be resolved.
                              Most Persistent Conditions (i.e. the Conditions that mostly replaces Derangements) doesn't have a Resolve condition.


                              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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                              • #30
                                Also the single social roll is the default for most social interactions, they really should have put the rules for doing that FIRST in the book, not have it after the extensive social maneuvering rules. Social maneuvering is really for long-term goals and social engineering, things like convincing an elder to support you in politics, not things like talking your way past a guard. It's a fairly poorly-written chapter, but the actual rules in it are solid, they're just not given enough context. I had to have someone explain this to me before I got it.

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