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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?

  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post
    (One thing that neither nWoD edition talks about, but should, is the important role of permissions and opportunities. Tons of powers and situations have obvious effects that don't need to touch numbers, and our efforts to fit everything into modifiers make the system less transparent without adding meaningful choices or consequences.)
    Can you expand a bit on what you mean? Are you talking about like... "I turn on Awe and proposition the engaged NPC."?

    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
    how to be competent at it.
    The book has a template for discipline progression, as well as some guidance on setting costs and dice pools, and suggestions on "where" to look for ideas for new Disciplines. It won't give you ten years of dev experience, but like, it's honestly a really good guide if you don't color too far outside the lines.
    Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 07-01-2019, 08:13 PM.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    how to be competent at it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Marcus
    replied
    Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post

    I go through the history of Animalism in the book, and I discuss Animalism 3. The short version is that I think that the implementation of specific distances because that's-just-how-RPGs-work-cupcake was a mistake.

    I personally have no idea how many rats per city block or country mile there are, and it's pointless to try and count a horde of rats anyway. It's slightly more possible to count cats and dogs, but still... why would I, when the answer will just be some version of "a bunch?"

    So how do you do that in combat? Personally, I'd do it as opportunity control. A dude swarmed by rats just logically can't do certain things, and most people (even most vampires) are likely to be terrified by it.

    (One thing that neither nWoD edition talks about, but should, is the important role of permissions and opportunities. Tons of powers and situations have obvious effects that don't need to touch numbers, and our efforts to fit everything into modifiers make the system less transparent without adding meaningful choices or consequences.)

    If one needs to apply it to the dice, I'd recommend counting a person tackled by a swarm of animals as being grappled. The vampire using Animalism can both take an instant action and participate in the grapple, using their Animalism in place of Brawling.

    While I agree with you that such swarm would be scaring the most part of both humans and vampires, it also seems to me that this could be a bit too weak in a combat to be a third power. I mean, I'm fine not having fixed distances or numbers of animal, but having swarms of rats, flocks of crows, plus few dogs/cats all biting at you attempting to devour the blood you just throw to your victim (or after having commanded them to attac) just allowing you to grapple someone using animalism rating as pool seems a bit underpowered especially since it's not hard to have brawl higer than 3. Would not be the Swarm rule from Demon a fair choise? I also have considered to adopt something like, building up the pool of damage of the swarm, a dice/damage per turn till to reach the cap represented by the successes obtained with the activation roll.

    Do you think this can fit with the power?

    By the way thank you for your answer

    Leave a comment:


  • Rose Bailey
    replied
    Originally posted by Marcus View Post
    I have some issue dealing with Animalism 3. I mean, summoning all the Animals in a X hundreds yards area, especially in cities, most probably it allows to recall hundreds between rats and birds that for me it pretty much can fit with Swarm rules from Demon core book. Making this is a very great power, powerful and very dramatic. You can't just limit to swarm though, because then there are also Dogs and Cats answering the call. So here my concerns:

    1. How can I modelize such "biblic" summoning in a combat?
    2. How long does take for the animals to arrive? I guess the firsts would arrive pretty much in the next one two turns, having every hole in the street, throwing up tons of rats; hundreds of dark birds exploding from the trees around, condensind in shape-changing cloud above the spilled blood to fall down as a deadly rain. But it seems to me pretty much arbitrary.

    Seems to me this power has been left a bit too generic. Any suggestion?
    I go through the history of Animalism in the book, and I discuss Animalism 3. The short version is that I think that the implementation of specific distances because that's-just-how-RPGs-work-cupcake was a mistake.

    I personally have no idea how many rats per city block or country mile there are, and it's pointless to try and count a horde of rats anyway. It's slightly more possible to count cats and dogs, but still... why would I, when the answer will just be some version of "a bunch?"

    So how do you do that in combat? Personally, I'd do it as opportunity control. A dude swarmed by rats just logically can't do certain things, and most people (even most vampires) are likely to be terrified by it.

    (One thing that neither nWoD edition talks about, but should, is the important role of permissions and opportunities. Tons of powers and situations have obvious effects that don't need to touch numbers, and our efforts to fit everything into modifiers make the system less transparent without adding meaningful choices or consequences.)

    If one needs to apply it to the dice, I'd recommend counting a person tackled by a swarm of animals as being grappled. The vampire using Animalism can both take an instant action and participate in the grapple, using their Animalism in place of Brawling.

    Leave a comment:


  • Marcus
    replied
    I have some issue dealing with Animalism 3. I mean, summoning all the Animals in a X hundreds yards area, especially in cities, most probably it allows to recall hundreds between rats and birds that for me it pretty much can fit with Swarm rules from Demon core book. Making this is a very great power, powerful and very dramatic. You can't just limit to swarm though, because then there are also Dogs and Cats answering the call. So here my concerns:

    1. How can I modelize such "biblic" summoning in a combat?
    2. How long does take for the animals to arrive? I guess the firsts would arrive pretty much in the next one two turns, having every hole in the street, throwing up tons of rats; hundreds of dark birds exploding from the trees around, condensind in shape-changing cloud above the spilled blood to fall down as a deadly rain. But it seems to me pretty much arbitrary.

    Seems to me this power has been left a bit too generic. Any suggestion?
    Last edited by Marcus; 06-29-2019, 11:29 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rose Bailey
    replied
    Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
    Sounds like fun. I've been considering working the MS/DTGA investigation/discovery rules into my VTR game, but we'll have to see. Also, Boodstained looks awesome.
    They're fun rules! I've learned a few tricks and traps adapting them between genres, but that's probably for another thread.

    Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
    I wonder if there'd be a good way of modelling the habit of just leaving a discipline on. Like, some function of your humanity and how often you use it.... First it defaults to always being on, then it costs to turn it off... Idk that there would be much of an interesting direction to go with it. Maybe a Covenant bloodline curse?
    If Awe and Face in the Crowd get stuck in "on" mode, people just think every party you go to is rockin'.

    Leave a comment:


  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post

    We'll see. Throatrippers is likely a few books down the line for me. I've bumped new Miserable Secrets stuff up in my schedule because holy crap I'm loving Bloodstained.
    Sounds like fun. I've been considering working the MS/DTGA investigation/discovery rules into my VTR game, but we'll have to see. Also, Boodstained looks awesome.



    Originally posted by Draconis View Post
    This isn't quite an "always", since some of the one-dot powers are so easy to use they become second nature over time, so it's less like a big red button and more like a light switch you hit without thinking about it whenever you walk into the room. But they're still active things you're choosing to make happen, not passive buffs or enhancements to other powers.
    I wonder if there'd be a good way of modelling the habit of just leaving a discipline on. Like, some function of your humanity and how often you use it.... First it defaults to always being on, then it costs to turn it off... Idk that there would be much of an interesting direction to go with it. Maybe a Covenant bloodline curse?

    Leave a comment:


  • Draconis
    replied
    To use Rose's terms for it, innate ladder Disciplines (so excluding Resilience, Coils…) are always buttons that you push, while merits never are: to use Claws of the Unholy you push the "Unnatural Aspects" button, to use The Three Heads you push the "Lash Out" button, and so on.

    This isn't quite an "always", since some of the one-dot powers are so easy to use they become second nature over time, so it's less like a big red button and more like a light switch you hit without thinking about it whenever you walk into the room. But they're still active things you're choosing to make happen, not passive buffs or enhancements to other powers.

    Leave a comment:


  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post

    A passive or modifying effect should be a Merit, while a discrete new power should be a [Devotion].

    We didn't entirely adhere to that in the core, and there are some gray areas. But that's the general rule.
    Fixed that for you. And then there are supernatural Merits either as a collection or a tree. These show up in particular in bloodline powersets. How do you draw the balance line around these distinctions?

    Or is that a great concern given comments made in other places about Disciplines and supernatural power for vampires being intentionally "easy" to acquire and use for their Humanity-eroding effects?

    --Khanwulf

    Leave a comment:


  • Rose Bailey
    replied
    Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
    I have a quick question. How come things like Claws of the Unholy and Swarm Form are Merits and not Devotions? There doesn't seem to be anything that makes them different from other Devotions, so I've always been a bit curious as to why they were made into Merits instead.
    A passive or modifying effect shouldbe a Merit, while a discrete new power should be a Devotion.

    We didn't entirely adhere to that in the core, and there are some gray areas. But that's the general rule.
    Last edited by Rose Bailey; 06-25-2019, 09:03 PM.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
    I have a quick question. How come things like Claws of the Unholy and Swarm Form are Merits and not Devotions? There doesn't seem to be anything that makes them different from other Devotions, so I've always been a bit curious as to why they were made into Merits instead.
    Not having read this STV product (it's, frankly, too expensive for its length) and only basing it on 2e core, it seems that Merits are prefered when modifying an already existing Discipline power rather than being a new power altogether. Swarm Form modifies Protean 3 and Claws of the Unholy modifies Protean 4. Neither can be activated as their own powers.
    If this pattern holds true Arcane Sight, a 1e Devotion, would become a Merit if officially updated.

    Leave a comment:


  • Shadowdragon
    replied
    I have a quick question. How come things like Claws of the Unholy and Swarm Form are Merits and not Devotions? There doesn't seem to be anything that makes them different from other Devotions, so I've always been a bit curious as to why they were made into Merits instead.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rose Bailey
    replied
    Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
    I just Google "vampire Quade chart" and got a photo from your Twitter. Looks really interesting. Are you planning to integrate it with Throatrippers?
    We'll see. Throatrippers is likely a few books down the line for me. I've bumped new Miserable Secrets stuff up in my schedule because holy crap I'm loving Bloodstained.

    (The term "Cadfaelvania" may have been thrown around...)

    Leave a comment:


  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post
    I wouldn't go to extremes with branching, but it's a legit use of Devotions. If one wanted to do Exalted-style Charm trees, I think it'd be necessary to simplify each individual power.

    I've been thinking that Mutant City Blues' Quade Diagram would be an interesting way to model supernatural creatures.
    I just Google "vampire Quade chart" and got a photo from your Twitter. Looks really interesting. Are you planning to integrate it with Throatrippers?

    BTW, I've been thinking a lot about the Whispers of the Muse discipline. Maybe it'd would work well as a Majesty 3 devotion?Maybe go simple with spending blood (or willpower) to give a bonus equal to dots in Majesty (or task specific willpower). Or maybe go complicated with a roll resisted by composure/resolve - the victim is able to gain a number of WP dots, pursuing your task, equal to the number of your successes?

    Leave a comment:

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