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What do you wish you knew about making Disciplines?

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  • What do you wish you knew about making Disciplines?

    When we were working on 2e, I developed pretty strong ideas about how to design Disciplines. I'd intended to publish a guide to creating them, like we had for Changeling, but I never had the chance to write it.

    Well, now I'm doin' Vampire again, and I'm writing a guide to Discipline design. I'm going to cover basic principles, as well as the development history of a few that stood out to me. I might also include some of the playtest versions and the ones I use in my games.

    But I'll bet y'all have questions I haven't thought of. What can I answer?


    Cavaliers of Mars Creator

  • #2
    I liked the post you made a while back comparing how different the 2e design between Disciplines and like, Contracts is, and that was pretty informative, but hearing more about the process is always fun.

    Where it comes to the linear progression of Disciplines as reflective of vampires becoming more monstrous and inhuman as they develop their nature, were there ever any thoughts on how to tie buying Discipline dots into Humanity breaking points or similar mechanics? Cruac and Theban Sorcery have something like that in their relationship to Humanity, but they're more external.

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    • #3
      Why do Disciplines cost what they do? Nightmare 3 costs two vitae, but Nightmare 4 costs one. Meanwhile, Majesty 2 is free. Are the costs about guiding usage?

      Similarly, what determines whether something is an instant or reflexive action? Contested vs resisted?

      Also, what are the in-world mechanics, generally? Dominate 4 requires that the victim come into contact with your blood (anointing or drinking), but Nightmare 4 will follow the victim. Is the victim of Nightmare 2 having a fear directly manipulated, or is the Predatory Aura altering the world in such a way that /from that angle it is obvious the case that one of your fears is much worse than you ever realized/.

      How wide can we make the effects and when do we cross into devotion territory?
      Example: Going off the madness/mental illness theme, I've toyed with allowing Nightmare 2 to magnify *any* negative mental state to debilitating intensity, so long as the resultant condition follows the Freightened schema. Cause catatonia, force hysterical false confessions, make someone start puking etc.

      Do the guidelines for Devotion creation from Danse still hold?

      Are Disciplines always unnatural/horrible/coersive? If so, should there be Humanity consequences beyond the breaking point about concent?

      Have you got suggestions on what sorts of themes to mine for Discipline effects?

      How does one enact (in-game) a mystery coil?

      I'm sure I will have more questions later...

      EDIT: what was guiding the design for Obtenebration as.... Deverits?
      Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 06-10-2019, 01:40 PM.

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      • #4
        Should Bloodlines have disciplines of their own?

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        • #5
          This one might be a little weird, but that seems to be maybe what you want, so:

          Why are Disciplines structured the way they are? Why do you have to know how to discern secrets before you can use telepathy or astral projection? Why are there discreet abilities instead of Disciplines being like smaller-scale Arcana or Blood Sorcery Themes? It would be useful to have answers from both from a design perspective as well as (especially, for my particular interests) an IC/fluff/thematic perspective.

          I've always found knowing why things work a certain way helps a lot, so this would be useful to know.

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          • #6
            How much conceptual space should a single Discipline cover? Auspex is pretty much "gain more information", while Nightmare covers different facets of fear and also madness à la old Dementation.

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            • #7
              How acceptable is overlap in themes and practical applications between Disciplines, especially bloodline-unique Disciplines?

              I tried to wrap my head around converting Dementation (the Masquerade Discipline) to Vampire the Requiem as a Discipline for a Malkavian bloodline, but with every iteration I came up with I felt like I was treading too much on Nightmare's ground.

              Ultimately I decided to make Dementation a group of Devotions instead, similar to how the Khaibit's bloodline gift was handled in the 2e write up.

              Then later, I tried to convert Licencieux, the Duchagne's bloodline Discipline, to VtR 2e, and again I ran into the problem that conceptually and practically there was simply too much overlap with Nightmare and Majesty.

              How do you designers handle these problems in official material, Rose Bailey ?

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              • #8
                Fluff and in character lore about learning disciplines and how Vampires experimented with them over the years, kind of like the Dr. Netchurch stuff from Masquerade.

                And stuff on how far you can push disciplines to extreme weird specialized angles as well as how narrow a vampire that specializes on a specific aspect can go.

                Like Ancients experimenting with what are their actual limits, as well as ground level cooperation to experiment on how clever vampires can get if they crowdsource discipline development and shared secrets.


                It is a time for great deeds!

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                • #9
                  What are the discipline requirements for devotions? especially physical disciplines which don't have specific effects to latch onto.


                  My Bloodline conversions
                  My House rules

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                  • #10
                    Devotion linking Disciplines and BP, are they feasible and how are they supposed to work? I remember in 1ed they were a thing.
                    In example: a discipline between VIGOR and BP 6+, would allow to consider effective Vigor level, up to BP level instead of 5? When BP should/could go in a devotion?

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                    • #11
                      How do you go from concept to rules? I’m in the process of converting the Sangiovanni to 2e and I know what I want each level to do but there are a few things that I’m worried about.


                      Necromancy
                      Dot o
                      Detect dead things (ghosts, vampires, corpses etc) within range of your Kindred Senses. Dots in this discipline add to your Blood Potency for the purpose of determining the range of your Kindred Senses and also add to any dice pools to examine corpses. No further information is given at this level but the Kindred ability to identify other Kindred still applies.
                      Use can hear heartbeat range as range for all powers in this discipline unless otherwise stated.
                      Dot oo
                      Can animate courses. Cost is Vitae equal to the sum of Size + Power + Finesse + Resistance. Maximum Size, Power, Finesse or Resistance is dots in Necromancy + Blood Potency, the ST may forbid stats deemed silly such as a Power 4 mouse. A Zombie requires an upkeep of one Vitae at an interval in nights equal to the number of dots required to “max out” the Zombie with a Maxed out Zombie requiring upkeep every night after the first, a Zombie that doesn’t get its upkeep loses one dot from its highest of Power, Finesse or Resistance chosen by the ST in the event of a tie.
                      At this level you can tell different types of physical dead and undead apart including possessed living bodies if the possessing entity is dead within your Kindred Senses.
                      Dot ooo
                      Can heal dead things with Vitae as though healing themselves or spend one Vitae to inflict one lethal damage instead.
                      At this level you can tell apart any non physical undead or spirits such as ghosts and astral projecting vampires.
                      Dot oooo
                      Can enter the underworld at appropriate places. Waiting for Sin Eaters before setting price but probably free for self.
                      At this level you can identify such gateways and analysis their nature such as the key needed to open them.
                      Dot ooooo
                      Can summon ghosts from and banish to the underworld.
                      At this point you can identify individuals within range of your Kindred Senses.
                      This discipline can not distinguish between Kindred and Strix.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Marcus View Post
                        Devotion linking Disciplines and BP, are they feasible and how are they supposed to work? I remember in 1ed they were a thing.
                        In example: a discipline between VIGOR and BP 6+, would allow to consider effective Vigor level, up to BP level instead of 5? When BP should/could go in a devotion?

                        I think that now the elder devotions are not about BP requirements, but about vitae costs, which are just not practical for weaker Kindred to pay.


                        My Bloodline conversions
                        My House rules

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                          Contested vs resisted?
                          This is part of the underlying system and not unique to Disciplines. Every roll that affect someone else negatively is contested by default. Resisted rolls are exceptions and are only used if the roll has an effect based on number of successes rolled.

                          I'm wondering why some Disciplines that aren't contested/resisted have dice pools while others can always be activated. Why does Beast's Hackles and Twilight Projection require rolls and why don't any of the Protean dots require rolls?

                          Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                          EDIT: what was guiding the design for Obtenebration as.... Deverits?
                          I'm pretty sure it's because the individual powers don't follow a progressive structure like a Discipline would. Compare to Cachexy in DEC where each dot thematically or practically build off of previous dots.

                          I'm wondering, why are they priced the way they are? Why not have them as a bloodline Discipline where each dot can be bought out of order?


                          Bloodline: The Stygians
                          Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
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                          • #14
                            Is there a conceptual reason why all Disciplines follow the same format, and would it be reasonable for some special Disciplines to break free of it?

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                            • #15
                              No questions, just popping in to thumbs up this endeavor.

                              Designing the 2e Disciplines was a blast!


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