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Touchstone Thoughts and Ideas?

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  • Touchstone Thoughts and Ideas?

    I had a touch of insomnia last night and went back to reading Guide to the Sabbat specifically Paths of Enlightenment. And it got me thinking about Touchstones and Breaking Points. And maybe my sleep deprived brain came up with a few ideas.

    So the paradigm for a touchstone is to be a link to the vampire to their humanity, a way of staving off the Beast, and to remind them of what they used to be? So it just basically has to serve as a connection. And OOG it is a built-in conflict for the character.

    So mortals, objects, and places can be touchstones - usually starting out with mortals for neonate vampires? ​And then elder vampires can have their ghouls, whole families, and possibly other vampires?

    ​What about a whole city or neighborhood? What about a state / territory or nation? ​So what about philosophical concepts, scientific hypotheses, or mathematical equations? Are any of these enough of a "connection"?

    ​How about an anti-touchstone - could The Beast be used? Not suggesting this one for players characters, but maybe Belial's Brood or some strange, new covenant?



  • #2
    So mortals, objects, and places can be touchstones - usually starting out with mortals for neonate vampires? ​And then elder vampires can have their ghouls, whole families, and possibly other vampires?

    Correct. Your touchstone has to be more humane than you. Which means neonates have a more narrow definition of a touchstone than elders. The further you're down the humanity scale and the older you are, the more abstract your perspective on humanity becomes, thus the more abstract your touchstone can be yet still count as a touchstone. Elders can even have other Kindred as touchstones, if that other vampire is younger and closer to her humanity than the elder himself.


    ​What about a whole city or neighborhood? What about a state / territory or nation? ​So what about philosophical concepts, scientific hypotheses, or mathematical equations? Are any of these enough of a "connection"?

    No. This is too abstract. However, there is a merit in the Thousand Years of Night book that covers exactly this: Simulacra Touchstones.
    If you have TYoN, read the chapter on Touchstones on page 94 and onward. Simulacra Touchstones basically boil down to more abstract touchstones like you mentioned here, which in gameplay terms means they still protect your from Humanity loss, but are less effective than real touchstones.
    Last edited by Ventrue Life; 05-15-2018, 12:40 PM.

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    • #3
      Touchstones are supposed to be something that reminds you of your mortal life. Or, failing that, reminds you of mortal life in general. But, if you can't have either of those, approximating something that's close to an element of mortal life physically or philosophically can do in a pinch.

      There's a Secrets of the Covenants Invictus Merit that makes your vampiric city office into a Touchstone for you. Essentially you find meaning in your job/station--pretty much analogous to how many humans find meaning in their job/station.

      So, in some respects anything can be a Touchstone, but the character should be able to answer the question of "how does this remind me of humanity, in general or specific?"

      The main difference in this area between VtR and VtM is that Humanity is no longer a moral view--it's a pragmatic scale reflecting how well you are anchored to rationality, versus sliding off into being a pure predator unrestrained by any factor aside from self-preservation. So in that respect you could take any of the Sabbat morality outlooks and tack them on as a Touchstone, reflecting your vamp's warped view of his relationship with mortals. While a warped, one-sided and fractured relationship, it's still a relationship and helps to stabilize him around that--to some extent.

      --Khanwulf

      PS. We should note that there has been further evolution of the concepts between 1e and 2e as well. In 1e the Humanity scale reflected elements of morality and you could not use ghouls as Touchstones because they were considered too far removed from mainstream humans to count. That restriction seems to have quietly left the building in recent books and now I'm pretty sure you could get away with even using any other supernatural creature that breathes and pretends to be human part of the time. When in doubt, consult your storyteller.
      Last edited by Khanwulf; 05-16-2018, 04:04 PM.

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      • #4
        Another thing to consider is the addition of Faded Touchstones and Simulacra in 1KYoN.

        A simulacrum is a Touchstone that isn’t really a connection to humanity per se, but it serves as a close enough approximation of such a connection that might be the best a particularly jaded elder can do. They counteract the penalty for having no Touchstones, but don’t offer a bonus like true Touchstones do. Most ghoul and vampire Touchstones would fall under this category, and personally I rule that a Touchstone that cant be a mutual participant in an interpersonal relationship with the vampire is a Simulacrum as well - your wedding ring may remind you of your human life, but it can’t model normal human interaction like a person, place, or routine might.

        A Faded Touchstone is the memory of a lost (usually deceased) Touchstone. When something reminds the character of the lost Touchstone, the vampire gets a small temporary benefit (I want to say Willpower, but I don’t remember and am away from book.)


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