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Beating a dead horse: The Venture Bane

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  • Beating a dead horse: The Venture Bane

    So I am looking through my notes as I come back to this game and realized I left without discussing my grand solution to the problem of the Venture bane. So, without further ado.

    A Lare's Burden.
    This clan was once greater than itself. There was a time when a Venture would stand watch over a dynasty, an extension of his will as he was an extension of its. However, we fell and now our devotion is personalized, having lost that noble and abstract character. Though many who only know our external face wouldn't believe it, we Venture serve our regents as the Word makes others serve us. Our charges come first; their will our own. Compared to their radiance, all others are but dim embers. Compared to their wants, our own but salt and ash. They are the measurement of victory and we live to please them. Such is the burden of the Lare.

    Effect:
    All Venture are thralls to their touchstones, suffering a level 3 blood bond.
    In addition, the Venture obsession with victory and this clan attachment combine to produce an eagerness in a Venture. Whenever they have an interaction with their touchstone, the Venture attempts to gauge the touchstone's goals and wants. As their humanity dips, this obsession grows.
    At the end of an Touchstone interaction, if the Touchstone has not explicitly directed the Venture towards some end, the Venture rolls their humanity and, on a failure, obtains the Tasked condition.
    The ends of this condition can be incredible mundane and trivial but a low humanity vampire is a poor judge of proportionality and Touchstones that know their thralls well take measures to avoid implicit direction.
    The clan bane does not exhibit itself directly and many Venture rationalize their need to impress as merely part of their own plan. This cover extends to others, giving the Venture lord a capriciousness that in the past lead many to see madness as their bane.
    Yet some understand the Venture, and have made them unwitting pawns by corrupting their touchstones. Yet, The wrath brought on by this tampering, if discovered, stays many from acting.

    Thoughts, and concerns?
    Last edited by Tabanese; 04-03-2019, 09:55 PM.

  • #2
    1. It's too similar to the Daeva bane where they are effectively blood bound to their vessels.
    2. It doesn't gradually scale in intensity as their Humanity decreases.
    3. It can be eliminated by and/or ceases to be a problem by: A. Allowing the touchstone to detach. B. Not wasting experience points purchasing more touchstones. C. Choosing an inanimate object as a touchstone. D. The touchstone dies or is otherwise butchered by ST fiat.

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    • #3
      Yeah, not a fan of this. In addition to the issues tsusasi already pointed out, this bane doesn't fit the Ventrue at all. It's in fact quite the opposite of what the Ventrue is all about. Maybe you did this on purpose, maybe you enjoy the irony of a Lord at the beck and call of his Touchstones, but I think it's just silly. The Ventrue are supposed to be the jaded Machiavellian sociopaths who actually have trouble staying in touch with their Humanity, this homebrew clan bane does not reflect that at all.

      Personally, if you want to spice up the Ventrue clan bane or bring back their 1e bane (but convert it to fit 2e, this is how I'd do it (this idea also neatly sets the stage for their Malkavian/Malkovian bloodline, which is my favorite bloodline for the Ventrue):

      Power corrupts, and among the Ventrue, even the thirst for power can corrode an ambitious Kindred’s moral bearings. Over time, some Ventrue grow paranoid, ever more wary of rivals’ desires (real or imagined) for their own holdings. Others become willing to do whatever it takes to acquire the smallest iota of additional power. Still others turn inward, delude themselves as to their ability and importance, or trouble their minds with other maladies.
      Ventrue Kindred suffer a -1 penalty on all Detachment rolls when encountering a Breaking Point, in addition to any other potential modifiers. When the Ventrue fails a Detachment roll, roll the Ventrue's new Humanity score as a dice pool. Failure means the Ventrue gains the Madness (Persistent) Condition in addition to any other Conditions the Breaking Point might impose.



      If you want to stick to the 2e Aloof Curse as a theme, but spice it up mechanically, I'd do it like this:

      The Ventrue are confident. Why wouldn’t they be? They’re clearly superior. This attitude frequently causes Lords conflict, as they treat all those around them as objects.
      Ventrue Kindred suffer a -1 penalty on all Detachment rolls when encountering a Breaking Point, in addition to any other potential modifiers. When the Ventrue fails a Detachment roll, roll the Ventrue's new Humanity score as a dice pool. Failing this roll means the Breaking Point should be treated as a dramatic failure, and the Ventrue gains the Jaded Condition. The player might choose to make the failure a dramatic failure before this roll is made, and gain a Beat for doing so.



      With both examples, the Ventrue's first Touchstone would be attached to Humanity 6, like all other clans.
      Last edited by Ventrue Life; 04-03-2019, 11:49 PM.

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      • #4
        Satchel had a good comment and I figured I'd just toss it in here and address it with the feedback. It relates to the strength of the original bane.

        Originally posted by Satchel View Post
        The thing about the Ventrue's relationship with their clan bane is that it's primarily an accelerator pedal toward all the weird shit that elders get up to; to compare it to its relevant neighbors:

        • Losing dice on interactions with Touchstones as part of the larger process of losing dice on interactions with humans incentivizes the Ventrue to anchor their wakeful nights through non-living Touchstones — they're Aloof, not Lonely, and so lack the exemption that the Nosferatu receive enabling them to treat their living Touchstones as things of particular solace. A Lord can more readily justify keeping the threat of torpor away by simple virtue of having less personable Touchstones that don't require them to put in social appearances while they conduct their affairs.
        • By a similar line of thinking, the Ventrue's relation to the uncommon banes is not as intrinsic as it is for the Mekhet, and their strangeness is hidden through distance instead of directed secrecy — the developed curses of an elder Lord are less intense than those of an ancient Shadow, but where the Tenebrous Curse is there to give the Mekhet weaknesses to hide, the Aloof Curse is there to give the Ventrue peculiarities to separate them from their more human peers (and speed their descent besides). The Mekhet are weird because they're more keyed into the mystical flaws in the vampiric condition, but the Ventrue are weird because they find it really easy to stop caring about having a human perspective and retreat to an unlifestyle where they don't take many visitors.

        The common comparison of the Ventrue to spiders is salient here.

        (On a separate note from the matter of relative states, this also means that Ventrue characters have the prospect of avoiding Conditions brought on by detachment as a ready lever — even successfully retaining your Humanity still results in a couple days' worth of Bestial, Competitive, or Wanton complicating things, which makes ways to avoid the roll an attractive option one way or the other.)
        I just want a bit more difference-in-kind. Modifiers to rolls make uncommon things common, not unique.

        Daeva get a unique love-feeding dynamic. Mekhet are fucking weird by design. Gangrel and Nos each have 'common' problems and would be fun to fix but they feel more involved than the Venture and can't be bought off.

        However, I do see the pluses to the aloof curse. It does as you say by forcing you to either act nice, become a psychopath or get weird. And in replying to you, I wonder why I disliked it so much. Maybe it was because I had to choose between a bane or a touchstone. Have touchstone, no bane. Have bane, no touchstone. Or maybe it is just I am prone to faddish reactions.

        But if I admit there is nothing wrong with the curse, will you at least humor my variant? :P
        Last edited by Tabanese; 04-04-2019, 08:44 AM. Reason: Added my reply.

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        • #5
          While I get the point of the Bane, it's fully possible for players to just see it as a 1XP tax to their characters and nothing else, as long as they don't drop down to Humanity 2 (which I don't think most players ever will). The fluff is on point, but mechanically speaking it's much easier to intentionally and even accidentally "buy away" and ignore for the rest of the campaign than any of the other Clan Banes.


          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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          • #6
            Originally posted by tsusasi View Post
            1. It's too similar to the Daeva bane where they are effectively blood bound to their vessels.
            2. It doesn't gradually scale in intensity as their Humanity decreases.
            3. It can be eliminated by and/or ceases to be a problem by: A. Allowing the touchstone to detach. B. Not wasting experience points purchasing more touchstones. C. Choosing an inanimate object as a touchstone. D. The touchstone dies or is otherwise butchered by ST fiat.

            1. Yes. Can't deny that, nor would I want to. The Daeva bane rocks. The difference between them both is important though. The Daeva have two broad choices: Feed narrow or feed wide. The first gives you passionate Daeva dedicated to their lovers, the second promiscuous Daeva that treat you as disposable by design. The bane factors into their nightly routine.

            The Venture (with my bane) have their own dilemma: Subservience or instability. If they are dedicated to their touchstone, they end up fighting for victories for their own sake, because each victory is a gift for their regent. If they avoid their touchstones, all too aware of the grip they have on their psyche, then they wander around aloof and detached.

            So just as the Daeva are stereotypically promiscuous, the Venture seem distant. Both are just common ways of dealing with their bane, be it don't fall in love or don't let them control you.

            2. It does though; interactions with Touchstones always run a humanity weighted chance of sending you on a fool's errand. Or you run away and then it is just detached Venture all over again. Maybe the humanity component isn't strong enough though.

            3.
            A: You are still their thrall. When you are detached, It is just less 'caring/protective friend' and more 'fangirl/fanboy'.

            B: That touchstones are kinda scary to the Venture is part of the point. More masters means more security but also, more masters. But you can still buy them. It does inspire the question of whether the touchstone has Venture locked in a literal blood bond or a blood bond look-a-like. The first could be a silver lining to the curse but I was thinking the second when I wrote this.

            C: Takes the pressure off. So more aloof Venture. Woo. However, you still look for clues as to their will. While visiting her grave, the Venture decides she wouldn't have tolerated that mall development so close to the church. And boom, Tasked again.

            D: No different to normal Touchstone death, though.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ventrue Life View Post
              Yeah, not a fan of this. In addition to the issues tsusasi already pointed out, this bane doesn't fit the Ventrue at all. It's in fact quite the opposite of what the Ventrue is all about. Maybe you did this on purpose, maybe you enjoy the irony of a Lord at the beck and call of his Touchstones, but I think it's just silly. The Ventrue are supposed to be the jaded Machiavellian sociopaths who actually have trouble staying in touch with their Humanity, this homebrew clan bane does not reflect that at all.
              And my bane doesn't change that. My Venture still want to win. They still don't give a shit about your cat. And yeah, that deal is going through whether you lose your home or not. In fact, now completing that deal takes on a menacingly driven character because behind the scenes, the puppetmaster is having their strings pulled.

              I tried to write a bane that encourage more driven behaviour, based on the Venture's winning streak. However, it is difficult because the Venture are pure propaganda. Listen to them and they have no weakness. They even have a bloodline built on this. So what are you going to do? Give them a flaw that says 'When you have a goal, you are better at getting it.' Much bane, many sorrow. However, what if the goal wasn't your own. What if what compelled you to win was used against you? What if you were in constant competition mode in a way that doesn't overshadow the actual condition? And weren't the Venture historically advisors?

              The Venture are still Lords, still psychopathically driven, still someone you can't say no to. They just have a habit of assuming that their touchstones want what they can give them, not them themselves. And you don't have to lose the exchange with your touchstone. What if a Lord works to control their charge and make suggestions. Now playing into the bane might have some positives. Sure, it might break the touchstone but they'll have control again. Maybe detachment is that moment when you realise that you know what is good for them.

              Comment


              • #8
                It's Ventrue, not Venture.


                My Bloodline conversions
                My House rules

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tabanese View Post

                  And my bane doesn't change that. My Venture still want to win. They still don't give a shit about your cat. And yeah, that deal is going through whether you lose your home or not. In fact, now completing that deal takes on a menacingly driven character because behind the scenes, the puppetmaster is having their strings pulled.

                  I tried to write a bane that encourage more driven behaviour, based on the Venture's winning streak. However, it is difficult because the Venture are pure propaganda. Listen to them and they have no weakness. They even have a bloodline built on this. So what are you going to do? Give them a flaw that says 'When you have a goal, you are better at getting it.' Much bane, many sorrow. However, what if the goal wasn't your own. What if what compelled you to win was used against you? What if you were in constant competition mode in a way that doesn't overshadow the actual condition? And weren't the Venture historically advisors?

                  The Venture are still Lords, still psychopathically driven, still someone you can't say no to. They just have a habit of assuming that their touchstones want what they can give them, not them themselves. And you don't have to lose the exchange with your touchstone. What if a Lord works to control their charge and make suggestions. Now playing into the bane might have some positives. Sure, it might break the touchstone but they'll have control again. Maybe detachment is that moment when you realise that you know what is good for them.
                  Yes except that normally, the Ventrue are Machiavellian despots with delusions of grandeur, who always aim to sit in the big boss chair, serving no one but themselves. Ventrue don't do middle management. Ventrue hate middle management positions. They either rise to the top of the organization in question, or they die trying. Or they don't bother at all, only casually acquainting themselves with the organization in question (for example an Invictus Ventrue joining the Laity of the Lancea et Sanctum) or avoiding the organization entirely. Of course individual Ventrue may vary, but generally speaking.

                  Yet your bane turns the Ventrue in exactly that: a middle manager for their human Touchstones.

                  I personally think that's just a little bit too silly, and way too similar to the Daeva clan bane, with the exception that the Daeva bane actually makes sense to me, it ties into their theme rather nicely, and it encourages certain behavior in the Daeva player that matches the Daeva's lore.

                  From a lore perspective: why would a Ventrue ever feel compelled to be their Touchstone's servant? Why do you think effectively making Ventrue servants to the Touchstones is at all appropriate for this clan? I mean it certainly is ironic, and if you are going for that sweet irony of being the dominators in unlife, yet being the servant of a mere human, then that's perfectly fine, but I don't like it and I don't think it fits the Ventrue as presented in the official canon.

                  If anything, I think the average Ventrue would do quite the opposite with their Touchstones; they'd either ignore and neglect them, or they'd boss around their Touchstones, like they boss around everyone else, making decisions for them, telling them what's good for them, and being an overbearing helicopter parent to them.
                  Last edited by Ventrue Life; 04-04-2019, 10:30 AM.

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                  • #10
                    So, the Lare story is about falling. They (supposedly) started off as a functional part of the family and then betrayed their purpose.

                    Now, I do like the idea an Old Clan Ventrue. Maybe simplify their bane to just, "After interacting with a Touchstone, if not explicitly given a task, roll Humanity. On a failure, gain the Tasked Condition with some inferred desire of the Touchstone's as an objective." Maybe this works with the Aeneid story being a coded reference to Daeva origins.

                    But I would leave the bloodbonding out. By including a stage 3 vinculum, you make the bane far more GM-driven, which I'm not a fan of. If you only include the Tasked portion, you can get a character like a workaholic dad who never sees his kids but spoils them materially (think "I didn't want this toy," "Of course you did, you love that stuff. I'll get you more,"). It's important to keep in mind that detachment isn't the same thing as the Touchstone going away entirely. I like it as an "Old Clan Ventrue" bane because it contrasts well with the current clan's bane.


                    All that said, the devs' goal seems to be that the Ventrue are the clan that loses Humanity fastest. The direction they go is the Ventrue as vampire capitalists (maybe workaholics is more accurate). But we can also interpret the RAW bane as a Ventrue becoming more superficial, or pissing their Touchstone off -- "greatness breeds resentment". Again, detachment isn't the same thing as Touchstone loss; you can have interactions with your detached Touchstone. I'm not such a fan of the ban's implementation, but I do like the concept.

                    Personally, I'm kind of a fan of gaining the Obsessed condition on Dramatic Failure or contested rolls.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Griautis View Post
                      It's Ventrue, not Venture.

                      You’re dead right it is.

                      Originally posted by Ventrue Life View Post
                      why would a Ventrue ever feel compelled to be their Touchstone's servant?

                      The Beast compels it. Whatever they once were lingers in the blood. Why would the Mekhet feel compelled to be weird?

                      Originally posted by Ventrue Life View Post
                      Why do you think effectively making Ventrue servants to the Touchstones is at all appropriate for this clan?

                      The Ventrue are the guardians of the house; their concern is dynastic, not selfish. It is there in their history. They don’t just become the best. Ventrue have a thing for building empires and kingdoms. They are not individual artisans so much as they are conquers and leaders. People and institutions become theirs. They don’t just take though, they choose. They pick winners as much as make them. The Ventrue see a winning prospect and the attach themselves to it, clearing the way for their ascendency. The Ventrue are nationalistic; glory for their people.
                      So why obey their Touchstones?

                      Touchstones ground vampires. They break the hold of the Beast. It is apt for the mind-controlling, domineering Ventrue that what grounds them is a will alien to their own that the Beast seems to respect. It is more than ironic, it is suitable.
                      That’s thematic justification; history is a lore justification; the justification for the individual Beast is that while the Touchstone belongs to the Man, the Beast wants it too. So it incorporates it into its world. It steals the Touchstone: transforms the Man’s familiar attachment into yet another aspect of the Beast’s glory.

                      And the thing about the bane is that there are lots of strategies to deal with it. Avoidance makes traditional Ventrue. Perhaps their bane so disgusts them that they most common Ventrue is the one with which we are familiar. Another is corruption. If the Touchstone is conditioned to want what the Beast wants, perfect. Lastly, there is surrender. The Beast is inexhaustible and their Touchstone should want for naught anyway. Why wouldn’t it simply give it to them?

                      The Beasts of the other clans are base. They hunt, feed, and sleep. The Ventrue Beast rises above that cycle and chases greater conquests. It does this by stealing another’s will and making it its own.
                      What else can a vampire do, parasites that they are?

                      In my opinion, that is pretty cool. But...

                      Originally posted by Ventrue Life View Post
                      I don't like it

                      ...it isn’t for everyone. I am pushing back because it helps me think and explore this. To confirm it though, I respect your taste and perspective. I’m not calling you wrong. Furthermore...

                      Originally posted by Ventrue Life View Post
                      I don't think it fits the Ventrue as presented in the official canon.

                      ...this stings because it is hard to rebuke. You are right; this is a departure from the norm and while I want to integrate it, I can see the paragraphs in the clan description that don’t gel. I do think it can fit though, with some nudging.

                      Originally posted by Ventrue Life View Post
                      being an overbearing helicopter parent to them.

                      My bane is perfect for this though; helicopter parents have either beaten down children or wilful brats that never get told no. The Ventrue has the same dynamic with their Touchstones. Plus, there is degree in the bane. The Ventrue is not compelled to serve; just distracted when he doesn’t. It doesn’t sit easy with the Beast that their Touchstone is in want and they can’t provide. But if the Touchstone says ‘Slay the Prince’, the Ventrue tells them to shut up and get back in the car. It irks him, because not killing the Prince is admission he can’t but the Man keeps the Beast safe too.

                      Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                      But I would leave the bloodbonding out.

                      Yeah, I’m seeing that myself. It was to give the Touchstone some oomph in the relationship but maybe I’ll just let it go. Maybe give the Touchstone a social bonus linked to blood potency, so the stronger the Beast, the less the Man resists.

                      Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                      If you only include the Tasked portion, you can get a character like a workaholic dad who never sees his kids but spoils them materially.

                      Aye. I do like the idea of some Ventrue getting weird about their Touchstones but I think workaholic is the best baseline for this Bane.

                      Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                      that the Ventrue are the clan that loses Humanity fastest.

                      Love the fluff of the Ventrue slowly ‘forgetting’ other people have wills of their own because of Dominate and becoming aloof but yeah, if it is in service of this end, I’ll pass. Ventrue are no worse than all the others. They should lose humanity in their own way.

                      Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                      Personally, I'm kind of a fan of gaining the Obsessed condition on Dramatic Failure or contested rolls.

                      I’ve run through a few variants on the Ventrue bane. I present this one as I thought it added a difference in kind and as a bane that explores Touchstones, felt it was interesting.

                      I like your idea. Another I had was making a Ventrue roll humanity when they spent Willpower. On a fail, they gain the competitive condition. I figured if the Man roused the Beast, then the Beast getting carried away in pursuit of victory was neat and tied to their concept pretty well. However, I wasn’t sure of it because I wasn’t sure of general willpower depletion.
                      Last edited by Tabanese; 04-04-2019, 05:34 PM. Reason: Formatting

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                      • #12
                        Tabanese You know what? I respect your artistic vision, and I'm sorry if my earlier posts made it seem like I didn't. While I don't entirely agree with it nor do I like it, I do want to say that it's clear to me that you put a lot of thought into this. Mechanically I think the bane is sound, although I do second DubiousRuffian 's input and I think if you follow his advice, the bane will be even better mechanically. It's just that thematically I don't like it, but that's just a matter of taste and a differing opinion on what clan Ventrue ought to be, I think, and without developer input, your vision is as valid as mine.

                        I would suggest to write some extra lore around this bane as well if you really want to sell it. Maybe present this bane in the same way the Hollow Mekhet bane was presented in Thousand Years of Night. Maybe, instead of replacing the current Ventrue bane, this bane of yours can coexist, with yours being a bit of an anomaly, a leftover from a particular brand of Ventrue from France who did things differently from the mainstream Ventrue, and their different bane reflected that. I think if you present it that way, you might even sell me on it.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks. I know it still needs work and as you said, might make for a good bloodline as oppose to whole replacement. ^_^

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                          • #14
                            Another I had was making a Ventrue roll humanity when they spent Willpower. On a fail, they gain the competitive condition. I figured if the Man roused the Beast, then the Beast getting carried away in pursuit of victory was neat and tied to their concept pretty well. However, I wasn’t sure of it because I wasn’t sure of general willpower depletion.
                            I like this a lot actually, but I feel like it would be a bitch in-game, because we're generally expected to be spending willpower fairly regularly. You'd end up with Ventrue PCs regularly rolling twice as much as as every other character.

                            I wonder if something like "Humanity caps dicepools to soft persuasion," is any good? I kind of favor the idea that everyone is like ...the boss is crazy right? and it slants Ventrue behavior towards using Dominate and just generally being an asshole.

                            Alternatives being "Soft persuasion suffers from a 7 - Humanity penalty," or "Add 7 - Humanity Doors when applying soft persuasion."

                            "A Lord does not request. He orders."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                              You'd end up with Ventrue PCs regularly rolling twice as much as as every other character.
                              Aye, the paperwork is what turned me off.

                              Capping social rolls by humanity is:
                              1. Something humanity already does.
                              2. A Nossy thing.
                              3. Somewhat anti-'Ventrue as Social Powerhouse'. I say kinda because you are still a powerhouse, you just lack a light touch. It certainly keeps Daeva and Ventrue looking different. However, the loss of the 'silk-tongue devil' concept hurts.

                              As I write replies, I alternate between liking this and hating it, so let me sleep on it. :P

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