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The Damnation of Species [Random Vampire Thoughts]

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  • The Damnation of Species [Random Vampire Thoughts]

    Some time ago, in a discussion about whatever relation there may exist between the really-they-are-dead-take-my-word-for-it Julii and the Ventrue, Yossarian said something which I just can't stop thinking about, which is his view of Dominate as a Discipline, quoted below:

    Dominate is an interesting Discipline. I've always felt like there's a bit of a hex on it, like it attaches itself to clans and then rings them out for all they're worth. Maybe that's confusing correlation and causation, but other "Dominate clans" have staked a claim in the All Night Society, and all seem to have suffered nasty ends. We know about the Dead Julii, obviously, and the Kindred of Central America remember a bloodline of tyrants who met their destruction at the hands of their slaves. European vampires tend to assume these tyrants were Lords doing Lord things, but they also assume that about the Julii.

    The Ventrue, of course, were active in other parts of the New World. Just ask the Tsihstekeri in Montreal. They say they're Ventrue. They say the Lords ruled the nights of Turtle Island long before the colonial period.

    They're right, of course. They are Ventrue.

    What they were, though? Never mind that. Vampires never tell the truth
    That kinda grasped my attention- which I have constantly thought about how the Blood grows and evolves through the years, adapts and changes, born from death and dies in the sun, how clans after clans fight each other in a cycle of ruin which leads to further evolution and decay, growth and ruin, until the Blood turns empty and null like water, I must admit I haven't much thought about Disciplines as entities. For me, Disciplines were always the faces of the Beast- the Clan Disciplines being the way that the Beast hunts, kills and devours. The Gangrel Beast is an ever changing predator, which binds itself to it territory and the world around it. The Nosferatu Beast is an unseen threat which creeps in the night and shatters your mind, terrifying you until you wish to die. The Mekhet Beast is a cunning predator that tries to learn as much about its prey, reading their minds and thoughts and memories and secrets until they are nothing more than an husk. The Daeva Beast is a passionate being which lures its prey towards it, binding them to it and itself to them. And the Ventrue Beast- this is the predator that demands others to sacrifice themselves to it, which apex predator which breaks the will of its prey and makes them its plaything.

    But what if that's not the whole picture?

    I mean, I don't say that a vampire is the sum of their disciplines- the nature of the Beast is strongly described by more than *just* which favored Discipline they have. Two clans can have the same Disciplines and favored attributes and still, technically, be different clans, because they have a different Bane. But what if the Disciplines are not as integral part of the Beast? What if, and it is a big "what if", Disciplines are, well, alive? That they are parasitic entities which cling themselves to clanless vampires in order to turn them into clans? That when a vampire spends Vitae to power their Disciplines, what they are actually doing is feeding those gods which sleep in the Blood, paying the price required the gain their blessings?

    Madness, I know. Doesn't make much sense, indeed. Sounds like a ripoff from the Asakku of Masquerade, perhaps...

    Terrifying? Definitely.

    So let's explore that thought a bit and see where it leads us, shall we?

    Currently, in Requiem, we have seven unique Disciplines- one of which is, unfortunately, not described as is left for fans to build on their own (I kinda hope that we may see its full writeup in Spilled Blood, and if not then that maybe the writer will publish their version in the STV). Those Disciplines are Auspex, Protean, Nightmare, Majesty, Dominate, Praestantia and Bereschligost. The idea about those Disciplines is that unlike the "common" Disciplines, are the "property" of the Clan- they define the Clan, and give them an edge unavailable to others. While it is easy to think that each of those Disciplines is governed by only one clan, the truth is, of course, much more complicated- Auspex is now the property of the Mekhet, but it was once also the unique Discipline of the Grettir, before they were absorbed by their southern cousins. The Xotoli of Mexico went extinct, but the Nosferatu hold the same powers of Nightmares and fear. Protean belongs to both the Gangrel and the Pijavicia. And Dominate- oh, Dominate, the great magic of the mind which was held by the kings of the night until they lost their heads again and again and again, from the Julii to the Ventrue, with maybe the Ceceya (which I tend to believe to be the old "tyrant clan of Mexico"). Only Majesty, Praestania and Bereschligost are not shared among Clans, but that is before Spilled Blood, and we still have a number of clans left undefined- like the Utukku of Ur, the breath drinking Lilitu or the lost clan of Cahokia which were bound to their burial mounds, or the Mexican variation of the priestly Xoxocti which are the Daeva, the watchful Costi or the isolated Pisti. Yeah, I'm aware that those are probably not the actual names of those clans during the pre-colonial times, but we work with what we have.

    And that without including the Wicked Dead.

    When we look on those stranger variations of the Blood, we see some exotic beings- the Cihuateteo, for example, have affinity towards Majesty, Obfuscate and their own form of dark magic. The Formosae has Majesty, Resilience and Continence. The ghuls, while lacking any special affinity of their own, are at least somewhat tuned towards Vigor, Majesty and Celerity- just like the Daeva. The Jiang Shi originally had Celerity, Resilience and Vigor, but that was replaced with Celerity, Animalism and Obfuscate in 2e- which just enhance how Celerity defines that Clan. The Penanggalen lacks a defining 3 favored Disciplines, even though they do present their own unique power of Mengilai. On the other hand, the Penanggalen lacks that most with the Kindred, and Chris Allen did hinted his thoughts about the "Flying Head Tribe" which is somewhat connected to vampires, but not really. The Empusa and the Lamia also lack a well defined Discipline spread, but we could reverse engineer a bit to see that the Empusa access Auspex, Majesty, Nightmare and Resilience, while the Lamia have Celerity, Dominate, Protean and Vigor- most of which are unique.

    So while many people favor the concept that clans are a product of certain circumstances instead of a direct lineage (that is, that there is not true "origin" for most clans- only a set of variables that if happen, cause a vampire with a certain set of power to rise from their grave), I prefer a different explanation for vampirism- that is, that the Blood evolves. While some clans are well known to rise spontaneously from their graves- the Nosferatu, for example- others seem to be well tied to their point of origin. Similar clans with similar traits eventually assimilate into one another- or that one devours the other. It's complicated. Each clan is a unique creation, birthed by death and blood...

    But what if some things tie them together?

    I mean, we have clearly seen that only clans with the same unique Disciplines could assimilate into one another- some Julii became Ventrue, but others, from the Licini became Nosferatu, due to their strange mixture of blood. The Tsihstekeri were not Ventrue, but they are now. The Clans of Mexico became ones with the Clans of Europe after the colonial period. The Grettir were devoured by the Mekhet, and even the modern Mekhet have replaced the older, stranger Hollows. The Blood Changes, the world changes- but some things stay the same, and while the common Disciplines express the Beast, they don't define it. That's the role of the unique Discipline- and while there may be no actual connection among two clans in terms of what spawned them, when they were spawned or where, and that each clan may have risen independently in terms of lineage continuity, the Blood knows, and the Blood remembers. Two clans with the same unique Disciplines do have more in common than they think, as they both express the same, root Beast. The same primordial, sleeping god. The same unique Discipline. The specific even which has brought those specific vampires into existence may decide things like favored attribute, the bane and the common Disciplines- all of which are important, no doubt about it- but the origin of all those clans come from a single point, like crimson streams rising from a fountain, a wound in the flesh of Earth. And that point, that wound, is the unique Discipline.

    Hey, if mages can treat their Arcana as living entities, why can't vampires do the same? And also, why should only mages, mummies and demons have fun with non linear timelines? Let vampires join! Let clans and bloodlines be connected beyond time and space, all related and descendant from one another without any based causality. It could give a nice explanation for the Fog of Ages of 1e. Do you need to a destroy a city to do it? No problem- vampires have already sacrificed five of those in an orgy of blood. I think it qualifies.

    Anyway, back to the subject- clans, how they are related?

    The most "basic unite of vampirism" is, in essence, the Bloodline. Each bloodline comes from a very specific and well defined event, in which vampires from a certain clan got powers beyond their own. Not all vampires have Bloodline, however, and bloodlines have a very strange place in the Blood- but usually, when a vampire comes from a certain Bloodlines, you know from which clan that vampire came. Bloodlines are are the easiest to "steal" from other clans, like how the Norvegi were absorbed into Mekhet, or the Licini and Macellarius were assimilated by the Ventrue. Heck, some bloodlines may be spawned into clans by their own right- the Ventrue may be a rogue Gangrel bloodline, for example. In a way, bloodlines are not only the thinnest streams of the fountain, they are also places where streams merge together, and may perhaps grow into becoming fountains by their own right if the conditions fit. All of that just contributes to the strange, non causal way that vampiric origins interacts with each other.

    Above bloodlines we have clans- which are defined as a set of vampires with the same, basic three discipline spread, same favored attributes and same bane. While some clans may track their origin into a singular point, it feels like the most have a number of origins, which are all the same origin- the Nosferatu definitely seems to be that way, and the Gangrel are also a strong possibility for a clan with multiple origins, while the Mekhet, Daeva and Ventrue (not to mention the Julii and their like) are much more singular, though even they probably have been born a number of times. Again, it doesn't matter where and when a specific strain of the same clan was created, for they are all the beginning of the clan. It also has a physical justification- if you have two particles which are identical and indistinguishable, they are physically the same particle. The same is true for vampires- if you have two clans with the same basic properties, they are the same clan. That's a physical truth, which burns strongly in the Blood.

    Above clans we could have what can be called as "siblings"- clans which are very, very similar to one another, but differ by bit, such as having a different bane or attributes. After all, here we assume that Disciplines are the ones which create the vampire, and as such having a different bane and/or attributes are *just* a way to distinguish between the clans. That is, "siblings" are clans which are identical, yet distinguishable. While that may not seem like a lot, but it is enough. In that category we have the Mekhet and the Hollows, the Gangrel and the Pijavicia and the Daeva and the Ghuls. While the Mexican variations of the clans- or other unexplained lost clans, in fact- may also be "siblings" instead of more different clans we currently don't know it and have no way to prove it, so let's leave them outside of it in the meanwhile. What is important that "siblings" have, basically, the same Beast- it is just that they express it a bit different. Like having a cat with black fur versus one with white fur- neither of them is a dog. Sure, some of the curses are... quit exotic, but in the end, it does not matter for the Beast- it still hunts in the same way and with the same tools. The same Beast, but a bit different. Such "siblings" may have been created by different circumstances- and have, quit possibly, also been spawned a number of times- but there is enough change in their creation to allow you to distinguish between those vampires and those vampires. Not much, but still something.

    A greater level of difference would be "cousin clans"- that is, clans which share the same defining, unique Discipline. Those would be, for example, the Julii and the Ventrue. While we don't have the exact Discipline spread for them, the Grettir and the Mekhet, as well as the Ceceya and the Ventrue (if the Ceceya are the "tyrant clan"), are good candidates for "cousins". In the terms used beforehand, those will be clans which are no longer identical- and as such, require different circumstances to be created. They are very different from each other- but they still come from the same source. All of their Beasts have a common ancestor, yet they are, indeed, different species, each with its own hunt strategy, tactics and tools. You could still find traces of common ancestry, and their Blood still remembers the original entity which brought them into existence, which is why "cousins" can assimilate one another, even if not as easily as "siblings". The Beasts are similar enough to be "interbreed" with one another- which could be what we call diablerie- while still retaining their core features.

    And finally, at the highest ranking of separation, we have clans which sprout from different fountains- that is, clans which has no common unique Discipline. Those vampires are truly alien to one another, as the very power which brought them to unlike, the very dormant entity which sleeps in their Blood, is different. And, ironically, that level of separation between vampires is what we call "Kindred"- vampires which have no common Beast, no common Blood, practically nothing in common but the fact they are all dead bodies which keeps on walking and drink blood to exist. That's it- the eternal reminder that vampires do, in the end, have different origins.

    And what is beyond it? Well, again, bloodlines. Some bloodlines, after all, allow clans to meld together, share the gifts of their Blood and unite under a single entity. Bloodlines are weird, mutative things, from which clans sprouts and into which clans die, the liminal place where one clan ends and another begins. Bloodlines are the proof that after all of it, after all of the levels of separations and detachment, we are all still Kindred to one another.

    So, to sum it up, it seems that the process goes like this- we have the fountain (the unique Discipline) which is separates into different streams (cousin clans), which break into smaller streams (sibling clans) which goes into very, very thin streams (bloodlines) which are connected into the bigger streams (clans of other fountains). Or, in a more appropriate language, we have an heart, from which arteries spread, which turn into capillaries, which either return the blood to the heart through veins or, strangely, connect to the system of another heart. Creepy, sure, but since when vampires are not creepy?

    In that case, all which is left is identifying the number of hearts.

    I mean, sure, we have seven "hearts" described above, but who said those are all the hearts in existence? I mean, before half Damned, we only knew about six such hearts, and that is only from 1e. Looking on the Wicked Dead, there seems to be two new possible unique Disciplines- Continence and Mengilai. Sure, the Cihuateteo have their own "ritual magic" discipline, but I strongly feel like in 2e, they should instead just have Majesty or Auspex and another common Discipline to complete the set. The Formosae also have two seemingly unique Disciplines, which would mean that either Continence is not unique, or that in 2e, under the proposed paradigm in this post which is far from canon, they should replace Majesty with another Discipline. Now, the thing is that conceptually speaking, Continence shares a lot of conceptual with Bereschligost, in terms of containing/surviving without Vitae. That leads me to thing that in 2e, the two Disciplines should be the same. Mengilai, which is sound manipulation, may be unique enough to stand on its own, yet Penanggalens are outright stated to not be Kindred- which is why vampires can't learn that Discipline. But that was 1e. Maybe in a 2e presentation, and enough evolution of the Blood, they could join the family. Heck, maybe the Penanggalens are Aswangs which start to evolve to become more and more like Kindred, as the Blood assimilate them into itself. Something to ponder about.

    Beyond Mengilai, we could steal the concept of Oblivion from V5- we have a lot of Disciplines which deal with death and the dead, such as Carrefour, Cattiveria or Essentiaphagia. While we could break each of them into other Disciplines and Devotion, I do strongly think that there is a conceptual place to add an Oblivion style Discipline to Requiem. Speaking on bloodline Disciplines, the fact is that Cachexy is in 2e its own Discipline- which may mean that there is a clan based around it as a unique Discipline. Or maybe there was such a clan, and the Mekhet devoured it, leaving the Morbus as the only reminder. May explain why one can't find the exact origin of the bloodline- it was never a Mekhet bloodline, and the Shadows stole it from the original clan and then destroyed it. Some other former "bloodline Disciplines" could be used in a certain way- Abjurism, while being strongly Auspex in feeling, may have its own niche as "anti magic" kind of thing. Bhumisparsa enhances Armor like a physical Discipline, which makes it feel like it should be a unique thing. Similarly, Constance could do the same for Resolve. Serendipity may be styled as Auspex and Majesty devotions, but the ability to bend luck and fate makes sense as its own thing. As such, that would give us around 6 more "hearts", and and overall of 14 (unless I miscounted. I'm tired and it is late in here). Well, maybe blood manipulation could also be its own thing, even if it feels very Protean- and it also feels like something which goes along with Masquerade's Assamites. If we are already stealing things from Masquerade, maybe something like Obeah (that is, an healing/purity Discipline) could be a cool addition- could work with the proposed Abjurism, as well as many other healing Disciplines from Requiem.

    So we have defined the hierarchy of separation, and considered the number unique Discipline. Is there anything else that we have missed?

    As, yeah.

    The Jiangshi.

    Through this post, we considered that each clan has a single unique Discipline. We ruled out exceptions due to them being 1e and Wicked Dead, and claimed that as true vampires in 2e, which meant to be playable, they should only have a single defining Discipline. And then, we have the Jinagshi- which have the opposite problem. It is not that they have two Unique Disicplines- they have none. They are purely "commoner" vampires, with no special, defining Discipline, Worse, this is their canon 2e presentation- so we don't have any way to claim that a change in editions would have changed it. So what do we do with it?

    We return back to the original quote which triggered this whole thing.

    If we were to consider Disciplines as parasitic, unliving beings which host themselves in corpses of the dead, we have to ask ourselves a question- what came first- the Discipline entity or the vampire? That is, did the Discipline god beast created the vampires in its image, or did the vampires first awakened from their graves, having access only to common Disciplines, and only then the Discipline attached itself to them? In that case, maybe the Jiangshi are yet to go through their finale evolution- currently, they still lack any unique Discipline to attach itself into their souls. Maybe one day it will happen, and the Jinagshi would become true cousins to one of the other clans. Or maybe they would develop their own unique Discipline, bringing a new dead gods to the graveyard where the Blood flows. Perhaps one of the common Disciplines- such as Celerity- starts to gain sentience of its own, either developing into a variant which is unique, or becoming unique by itself? what consequences would it mean for those vampires which once had access to that Discipline, but no longer? What if all Disciplines has started as common, and has slowly "ascended" to become unique through the very well, crafted use of establishing clans around them? What if the power which will rise from Celerity already exists, and just waits to find a clan to cling its roots into?

    So in short- I must admit that I do like the thought about Disciplines as "sentient" thing. The question about whether or not a vampire clan (that is, a player option) should have access to two unique Disciplines is something which we should think about, as even if it does not break any power balance, it would mean that there is no longer any difference between common and unique Disciplines. If unique Disciplines are special, we should define how many of those actually exist (we may get a few new ones in Spilled Blood, as it details Wicked Dead and Lost Clans), as well as decide about whether "commoner clans" are a stable state, or perhaps an intermediate stage which ends with the creation of a new unique Discipline- for example, Protean may have been "born" from Animalism, while many of the mental Disciplines came from Obfuscate. Heck, maybe Praestantia was once a common Discipline, until it "ascended" into a unique form. In the end, what exactly makes a Discipline into "unique", other than making sure a clan could only have of its kin as favored, and have a number of clans spawned from it?

    And in the end, what we really need to ask ourselves is this- if Disciplines, or at least the unique ones, are sentient things, what in the name of Dis are they? Are they a collective memory of vampirism, transcending space and time? Are they dead deities which sleep in the blood of their clans? Are they the collective of Beasts which haunts the hearts of the dead? Or are they alien beings, creeping from beyond time to find grasp in the souls of mortals? After all, we know that the Mekhet have preceded humanity- perhaps Auspex, as well as its kin, were forsaken here, crushing from the skies with no way to return home, and have instead found solace in the corpses of the dead?...

    And stuff like that. That's the end of my rambling. Hope it somehow makes sense :P


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    "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

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  • #2
    I'm always happy to see my random thoughts inspire things like this!

    So, without provoking the NDA ninjas, there's a lost clan in Spilled Blood that ties into that stuff I was talking about re: the Ventrue and what becomes of Dominate clans. It's not really spelled out, but it's there as a plot hook to pick up on. There's also the [REDACTED], who tie into what you're talking about more generally, at least in terms of vampires who lack a unique Discipline but otherwise resemble Kindred.

    When the book comes out, I'll be happy to talk more about this.

    (Also, since you name dropped it, my next ST Vault project has a 2E version of Constance, written by our very own falco1029. We also have 2E Gustus, Scourge, Perfidy, and Mimetismo, all as Disciplines.)



    Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

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    • #3
      I put together a necromancy discipline that both summons ghosts and makes zombies but it doesn’t have everything priced up because I wanted to wait until sin eaters was out before finalising it.


      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.


      Don’t know if this fits with what you were talking about.
      Also if anyone can see a way to improve it let me know.
      Last edited by Live Bait; 12-27-2019, 06:27 AM.

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      • #4
        LostLight wow. This is really good! Is Wicked Dead still worth getting if you’ve only read 2e?


        The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Yossarian View Post
          I'm always happy to see my random thoughts inspire things like this!
          well, you may say that your thoughts are infectious. Be careful not to start a contagion in here

          So, without provoking the NDA ninjas, there's a lost clan in Spilled Blood that ties into that stuff I was talking about re: the Ventrue and what becomes of Dominate clans. It's not really spelled out, but it's there as a plot hook to pick up on. There's also the [REDACTED], who tie into what you're talking about more generally, at least in terms of vampires who lack a unique Discipline but otherwise resemble Kindred.

          When the book comes out, I'll be happy to talk more about this.
          Argh, could you just take my money already and give me that book? I need it like a ghoul needs their vitae :P

          (Also, since you name dropped it, my next ST Vault project has a 2E version of Constance, written by our very own falco1029. We also have 2E Gustus, Scourge, Perfidy, and Mimetismo, all as Disciplines.)
          Sounds cool! As I said, Constance makes a lot of sense as its own Discipline and Mimetismo is a version of sound-manipulating Discipline like Mengilai so it will also be very helpful for me. I was very unsure whether or not to define Perfidy and Scourge as Disciplines, or whether they should be a collection of Devotions in 2e, so I would be interesting to see how you will work them out. Gustus is quit a surprise, actually- I feels very much like something which should be a collection of Devotions, perhaps of Continence and/or Bereschligost. Sure, we currently have no official 2e version for either of those Disciplines, but still kinda surprising. While it is a STV material and not an official version, if you could share your rational for why you have decided those Disciplines to remain Disciplines in 2e presentation, it would be very interesting to me (I understand if you prefer to release the product first, of course).


          Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

          "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Penelope View Post
            LostLight wow. This is really good! Is Wicked Dead still worth getting if you’ve only read 2e?
            Well, Wicked Dead is a late 1e product, so it does contain a lot of the concepts which later made their way into 2e. While some things are obsolete (like their version of the strix, Jiangshi and dhampirs, as well as the variation of ghost-claimed or larvals, which meant to fill the same niche as revenants in 2e), it still has a lot of cool stuff in it, like the Formosae or the Aswang, as well as all kinds of nasty parasites and strange monstrosities. The fact that many of the concepts in there made their way to 2e only shows that it could be very helpful for 2e, even if some mechanics needs to be updated.


            Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

            "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

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            • #7
              Thanks. I think I’m just gonna wait for Spilled Blood to come out.


              The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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              • #8
                So some more musing about Disciplines and such-

                Currently, as was mentioned earlier, we have 5 common Disciplines and 8 unique Disciplines in 2e: Vigor, Resilience, Celerity, Animalism and Obfuscate, Majesty, Dominate, Auspex, Nightmare, Protean, Bereschligost, Praestantia and Cachexy. That gives us a total of 10 possible "commoner" clans (up to a cousins level, as siblings have an endless amount of variations), as well as 10 clans per unique Discipline- which is 80 more clans, giving us up to 90 possible clans- which is a lot, and that is if we follow the rule of only one unique Discipline per clan, or else we would easily have more than three digit possible combinations of clans. That only further enhance the feeling that we should focus around the Disciplines as the "heart of the Beast", for that should be the common thread which connected many disparate clans together.

                Now, that's only the number according to the official 2e Disciplines- the question which remains which other possible Disciplines, common or not, may exist in the setting.

                There are two main places to look for in search for such possibilities- bloodline Disciplines and attributes/skills. The reason for the former is obvious, as it is much easier to convert the hard work that someone did before us than making something new. The later is because many of the Disciplines could be seen as supernatural extensions of mundane properties: I'm not only talking about the physical Disciplines, which are directly tied to certain properties of the vampire body. What is Majesty if not magical Presence? Dominate is Manipulation enhanced with blood magic, and Auspex is the supernatural version of Wits. Even Animalism could be styled as enhanced Animal Ken, Obfuscate as Stealth, Bereschligost as Survival and Nightmare as Intimidation. Even Cachexy may be connected to Medicine. Only Protean does not seem to correlate strongly to a certain skill, unless you shape it into Size, but I think that having a body is enough property to design a Discipline around, so it makes sense.

                That may give us a certain direction towards which bloodline Discipline should be considered Discipline and which should be *just* a collection of devotions. For that reason, we could easily define Constance and Bhumisparsa as their own Disciplines- as each of them is revolved around a certain trait, be it Resolve or Armor. But that's it for the easy ones- beyond that, we are going to need to see all kinds of trends in the design, and decide whether or not a certain ability should be "special" enough to be its own Discipline.

                Now, while there are a few blood shaping Disciplines (such as Bloodworking and Sakti Pata), the truth is that if blood shaping should have been a Discipline, the Pijavicia would have had it. As they have Protean, it makes sense that such capabilities would be folded into Protean as well. When we look on things such as Abjurism, Eupraxia, Spiritus Sancti or even Zagovny, there is a trend for "non ritual sorcerous Discipline". It may even work with the Cihuateteo, who also favor their own brand of blood magic, and is well tied to the Occult skill. So while, of course, many of those "sorcery" Disciplines could be broken into Devotions, there may be a place for a Discipline meant to help the vampire to interact with otherworldly beings and powers.

                Speaking on otherworldly, we have our fair share of bloodlines which dead with death and the dead. Carrefour, Cattiveria, Essentiaphagia, Getsomei and Memento Mori all present powers which work on corpses, ghosts and whatever between them. That only enhance my feeling that a Requiem version of Oblivion could indeed have place in Requiem. Like Protean, I don't really see a strong correlation between powers over death and any skill or attribute. Perhaps the pre-modern Religion skill could be fitting?

                Many bloodlines also have a number of Disciplines related to control emotions- Kamen, Shihai and Tezcatl all touch the subject, and as such, may serve as a supernatural version of Composure. After all, Disciplines which represent a certain attribute don't need to directly tie to it, only have themes related to it, and emotional control is what Composure should represent after all. Perfidy may also be connected to composure, even though it seems to be more about destroying it in other than enhancing yours.

                Another concept is healing Discipline, such as Crochan and Enbrocatim- or Requiem's version for Obeah. While Resilience is connected towards Stamina, and as such Health, Speed is also related to Strength and Dexterity, so it having a separate "Health" Discipline does make sense. Sound manipulation also has two featuring Disciplines in the form of Mengilai and Mimetism. Due to the conceptual meaning of "sound", I could see them as representing Expression as a skill. Sure, the analogy is not perfect, but as it was not the intention of the designers it feels like "good enough" kind of fit.

                Territory manipulation is also a recurring theme- Tenure, Nuburu and Domus all represent different ways to control one's territory. While I personally tend towards making them into Devotions of Dominate and Protean, the fact that we have a number of such representations seems to hint towards a common Discipline. On the other hand, we do have blood sorceries such as Lithopedia and Gilded Cage which represent the control of a vampire over their territory, which covers that theme, and as I consider Ritual Disciplines to be their own thing (perhaps more about it in a future post in this thread), I tend to fold them all under those magics instead of having an whole territory based Discipline. On the other hand, perhaps Gilded Cage and Lithopedia are practically Devotions which combine Theban Sorcery or Cruac with the said territory Discipline... Something to think about.

                Fate and time manipulation has also been somewhat explored in Requiem. Praetantia touch that subject a bit, but Serendipity and Sunnikuse have a better representation of that concept. While we could fold all three into Praestantia, with Serendipity being its Majesty Devotions (similar to what falco and Yossarian did) and Sunnikuse being, perhaps, it Dominate or Auspex Devotions (or maybe the potential Occult Discipline Devotions), it may be it own thing. On the other hand, I may be a bit impartial, as the Zelani and Bohagande are among my favorite bloodlines (I especially liked the idea that the Zelani's founder may want to try and replace the Daeva clan with her own creation, even though, again, having Praetantia does not mean the hook can't be used.. argh, decisions decisions).

                Finally, we have a few Disciplines which may not have a recurring theme, but feel unique enough to stand as their own thing. Yossirian has mentioned that they and falco are working on Scourge, which could be said to represent Weaponry as a skill, perhaps, or even just the concept of damage. Insomnium has a unique concept of dream manipulation, even if I'm not sure it can't be broken into Auspex and Nightmare Devotions.. I mean, dream manipulation feels like something vampires should have, and as such I tend to treat it as its own thing, but again, not sure. The more I think about it, the more I believe Continence should remain separated from Bereschligost, as while they both involve vitae, they do it in two very different ways, which are unique enough IMO. Breath Drinking was mentioned a number of times as a Discipline, and the Lilitu are described as having access to that Discipline as well as their own "sorcery" Discipline. Finally, if we may steal it from that half forgotten book of Masquerade, Kineticism could be an interesting Discipline- maybe it could be connected to that territory Discipline, where the vampire can control the movement of objects around them. May be interesting thing to explore, IMO.

                Now, that's the first part of the job. Let's go to the more difficult one.

                Traits.

                Among the attributes, the only one who is painfully missing is an Intelligence Discipline- all others are covered. There are a few Disciplines which cover memory manipulations, and the ability to draw and utilize information, such as memories, could maybe cover that theme. Now, skills are more of an headache, as there is much more from them and their themes somewhat overlap with those of attribute Disciplines. Like, How and Athletics Discipline could be different from Vigor? Investigation and Auspex share way too much with each other. What is the difference in an Archery, Firearms and Weaponry Disciplines other than the tool for the act? Academics could easily be folded into our theoretical Intelligence Discipline. As such, let's try and focus around those skills which are unique enough to stand by themselves, instead of covering them all.

                Computer, for example. The concept of a Discipline meant to work with machineries could be cool, especially for a newly created clan. Crafts makes me think again about blood shaping Discipline, or perhaps fleshcraft- both being a part of Protean.. hey, I think we found which skill is connected to Protean! Politics is a bit weird, as while it is not about being a politician, it feels like something which is already covered by Dominate. Science is a difficult one- perhaps that Kineticism Discipline could work for it? Brawl is practically part of Vigor, or a part of that Weaponry-Archery-Firearms thing which could be tied to Scourge. Drive/Riding is.. interesting. Maybe it could be its own thing. Larceny may also be a cool concept for an "escape artist" kind of Discipline. Empathy could be cool, and we do have a number of Disciplines which involve emotions.. perhaps Perfidy is the Empathy Discipline instead of the Composure Discipline, which gives a dark, vampiric twist on the concept. Streetwise could easily be the Territory Discipline. While I haven't mentioned a Chimerstry equivalent for Requiem as I think that Nightmare somewhat covers it, perhaps it could work as the Subterfuge Discipline, together with the dream manipulation thing which Insomnium does. Warfare may be its own Discipline, but it kinda falls into Majesty's alley so not really. Finally, Enigmas is more or less Auspex- so maybe Investigation could be its own thing? Maybe? And maybe as Computers replaced Enigmas as a skill, maybe the rising Computer Discipline rises to usurp Auspex? Maybe?..

                Anyway, let's sum the list, for both canon and potential Disciplines and their association:

                Resilience- Stamina
                Vigor- Strength
                Celerity- Speed
                Obfuscate- Stealth
                Animalism- Animal Ken
                Majesty- Presence
                Dominate- Manipulation
                Nightmare- Intimidation
                Protean- Crafts
                Auspex- Wits(?)/Enigmas
                Praestantia- Dexterity
                Bereschligost- Survival
                Cachexy- Medicine
                Constance- Resolve
                Bhumisparsa- Armor
                Abjurism- Occult
                Oblivion- Religion(?)
                Kamen- Composure
                Perfidy- Empathy
                Obeah- Health
                Mimetism- Expression
                Territory- Streetwise
                Scourge- Weaponary
                Insomnium- Subterfuge
                Continence- Vitae
                Breath Drinking- ???
                Kineticism- Science
                Meminisse- Intelligence
                ???- Computer
                ???- Drive
                ???- Larceny

                So, that gives us 31 different Disciplines to work with. Now, we could assume that any Discipline which is not among the "common five" is common, but I doubt that with so many Disciplines, all are unique, especially those which feel like they should be common. Continence, for example, feel to me like a common Discipline, and could easily fix the Formosae's spread. Breath Drinking, while weird, is also not presented as clan specific, and would allow the Lilitu to have their own Abjurism (temp name, of course) as their unique Discipline. So, while it is far from a finale list, here is how I will more or less divide the list-

                Common- Animalism, Vigor, Resilience, Obfuscate, Celerity, Territory, Continence, Breath Drinking, [Larceny], [Drive]

                Unique- Majesty, Auspex, Dominate, Protean, Nightmare, Praestantia, Bereschligost, Cachexy, Constance, Bhumisparsa, Abjurism, Oblivion, Perfidy, Obeah, Mimetism, Scourge, Insomnium, Kineticism, Meminisse, [Computers], Kamen

                Again, just a very, very early and rough division. I would just like to note, again, the difference between common and unique Disciplines in this paradigm of vampirism- common Disciplines are natural abilities of vampires as a species, something which is common to all life draining monsters of the night. Unique Disciplines, however, are strange, semi sentient things which hold the dead hearts of their spawn and attach themselves to those clans for their own, strange reasons, like eldritch terrors from bellow the world or dead gods who sleep in their spilled blood.

                Feel free to suggest other possible Disciplines or divisions for the common and unique Disciplines :P


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LostLight View Post

                  well, you may say that your thoughts are infectious. Be careful not to start a contagion in here


                  Argh, could you just take my money already and give me that book? I need it like a ghoul needs their vitae :P


                  Sounds cool! As I said, Constance makes a lot of sense as its own Discipline and Mimetismo is a version of sound-manipulating Discipline like Mengilai so it will also be very helpful for me. I was very unsure whether or not to define Perfidy and Scourge as Disciplines, or whether they should be a collection of Devotions in 2e, so I would be interesting to see how you will work them out. Gustus is quit a surprise, actually- I feels very much like something which should be a collection of Devotions, perhaps of Continence and/or Bereschligost. Sure, we currently have no official 2e version for either of those Disciplines, but still kinda surprising. While it is a STV material and not an official version, if you could share your rational for why you have decided those Disciplines to remain Disciplines in 2e presentation, it would be very interesting to me (I understand if you prefer to release the product first, of course).
                  So as not to derail your thread too much, here's the bullet point answer. And remember, these are just our versions. They might not work for everyone, and an official update would probably look different!
                  • Gustus we threw out the window and started from scratch (we even renamed it, because it was successfully argued that the name "Gustus" is too twee by half). It's a physical Discipline now, based on increasing Size and Vitae capacity. Basically, we turned their old weakness into an advantage, and gave them a new bane. A lot of the old powers we did turn into Devotions, though, combined with Vigor and Resilience (our version of the Macellarius are a bit more Julii-like).
                  • Scourge we also scrapped and started fresh. Again, it's more like a physical Discipline. You gain bonuses for pain, and you can inflict your pain on others. I considered making it a Resilience/Vigor effect, but I found that the physical Discipline "booster" format was a more elegant way to express the idea. I also thought about turning some powers into Theban Sorcery rituals, but honestly, the Blood Scourge Miracle thematically covers pretty much every old Scourge power.
                  • The writer who did Perfidy made a very good case for it being a Discipline. It's just a different enough niche that I was okay with it being its own thing rather than a series of Dominate/Majesty devotions (which was my initial suggestion). It's probably the biggest edge case. At the low levels, it instills paranoia and alters relationships, and at the highest level you can actually steal relationships for a while
                  • There were, however, lots we didn't keep as Disciplines. The Bohagande, Lynx, and Tismanu got Khaibit-style Devotion strings, while the Gorgons and the Vedma got Discipline enhancing Merits. The Sotoha and Libitinarius got their own Coils (the latter also share their power with the Agonistes).
                  Long story short, some of these choices were made for convenience, while others were aesthetic or judgment calls. We're going to include a little dev notes document with the product, which will also go into some of these design choices.



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                  • #10
                    Yossarian thanks for answering! I always like to hear about the reasons behind the designs, so if you include such a section it would be really cool. Also, as far as I understand, your version of Gustus sounds very similar to what Continence does, which makes sense as the Formosae do share a thing or two with the Macellarius. This alone could be very useful to me, if I were to decide and flesh out the Beautiful Ones in 2e. Anyway, excited to see the product when it will be finished!


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Live Bait View Post
                      I put together a necromancy discipline that both summons ghosts and makes zombies but it doesn’t have everything priced up because I wanted to wait until sin eaters was out before finalising it.


                      Necromancy
                      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.

                      I would switch 5 and 4.

                      Being able to raise the dead/ghosts feels like an extension of the earlier necromancy powers, while being able to actually go into the underworld feels like it's a complete metamorphosis away from being a living-physical-thing. And if you do that, I might suggest basing it off of the Strix's shadow portal thing, just to juice it up a bit.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post

                        I would switch 5 and 4.

                        Being able to raise the dead/ghosts feels like an extension of the earlier necromancy powers, while being able to actually go into the underworld feels like it's a complete metamorphosis away from being a living-physical-thing. And if you do that, I might suggest basing it off of the Strix's shadow portal thing, just to juice it up a bit.
                        Interesting, I saw being able to open pre existing gates to the underworld as being less powerful than summoning a ghost from the underworld to you.
                        Thank you.

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                        • #13
                          I mean, maybe add in the ability to create gates? But you are right, being restricted to preexisting gates does make it feel less five-dotty.

                          Like, I'm thinking that if you can expand it to something common (kind of like the strix Dread power), you'd be able to avoid any danger and remove anyone.
                          Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 01-01-2020, 01:05 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Part of the problem is that I haven’t read Sin Eater and I don’t want to add anything that contradicts the ghosts and the underworld game line so I haven’t finalised the discipline yet in case there’s something in Geist that I should use as precedent for how to do this. Allowing the banishing of non ghosts to the underworld creates a one shot weapon that doesn’t seem very CofD to me but I did think about a devotion that would permit it. I might end up adding a few things to the fifth dot to make it easier to deal with ghosts, lots of little add ons isn’t very fifth dot but it might be the best way to do this.
                            Slightly more on topic it may be of interest that this discipline is intended to belong to the Sangiovanni ghoul family and the kindred embraced from them get to keep it in their bloodline rather than the vampire giving it to the ghoul.
                            Last edited by Live Bait; 01-01-2020, 02:51 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Maybe allow them to resist the roll. Number of successes equals number of hours/days the victim is displaced?

                              I haven't read the Geist book, so can't comment there at all.

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