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Fixing what I dislike about the Gangrel Clan Bane

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  • Fixing what I dislike about the Gangrel Clan Bane

    I recently determined exactly what I like, and don't like, about the different clan banes. I want a clan's bane to reinforce their stereotype when a clan member avoids that bane. I want vampires specifically to NOT have to actually suffer the penalties of their banes, and I want the actions they take in avoiding that bane to define them to a degree.

    Case in point: I like the Daeva flaw because it causes Daeva to be "promiscuous" with their Kiss. They can't maintain a herd at all (either you never drink twice so you don't suffer Dependency, or you drink exactly twice and then can't anymore without constant Humanity 3 breaking points for causing harm to your regnant), so, they become, metaphorically, whores. That's perfect. So, they can totally avoid the curse by fulfilling their stereotype.

    The Mekhet, too. They have a weird, unique bane. It's a quirk they have to avoid triggering, and avoid letting anyone else know about it so they can't use it against you. This makes Mekhet secretive and quirky. Boom, perfect.

    The Daeva, Mekhet, and Nosferatu flaw all work "correctly" in this regard. I have another thread about touchstones and a stop gap solution for Ventrue. So, that leaves Gangrel. The Gangrel flaw is just not to my preference. The Gangrel are supposed to be wild and bestial, but their flaw, the way you avoid it, is by doing exactly the opposite of that, by maintaining humanity, avoiding anger and anger inducing situations, being extremely polite and nice to everyone to avoid provocations, feeding carefully to keep from hunger, etc., etc. It's everything a Gangrel shouldn't be.

    So, how do we fix this? Well, I'm hoping for some help in that regard. Most suggestions I've seen on the forum for a Gangrel fix are to give them a penalty to resist frenzy, rather than their humanity as a cap, usually at the same rate vampires suffer social penalties from having low humanity. This is definitely better than the book's version, but it still doesn't address my specific problems. Can we do better?

    I was thinking I had to do something that penalized not acting bestial, so they chose to act that way to avoid it. Unfortunately, anything on that front I can think of is problematic. I don't want to penalize them for maintaining Humanity--I want high humanity to remain a pure positive. I considered somehow giving them the Tempted condition in situations that didn't necessarily call for a frenzy check (say, when they had to be excessively patient or something, I don't know), but then, I realized the only way to clear that was to frenzy, and frenzy is kind of a loss condition and isn't fun for all players, so, that's no good.

    I considered maybe playing with the three lashing out conditions. I already remove the month time limit on them, though removing that from just the Gangrel could also be in order, but, nothing I came up with on that front was satisfying, either, because, again, you basically clear those conditions by losing, by facing a breaking point, or for Bestial, hurting someone, which is probably going to be a breaking point anyway.

    I don't want to drive them to frenzy, exactly, but I want them to be aggressive, to prefer the outdoors, to stalk prey, act quickly, that kind of stuff. I don't know.

    Maybe something with willpower, where they can only spend it in certain ways or they have to spend it to do certain things (long term planning?).

    Does anyone have any other ideas? I would appreciate it.

    Let me give some quick parameters on the fix, though, so people don't get frustrated. If you don't know me from my other thread on touchstones, I don't like what we'll call, for lack of a better term, story-game mechanics. I remove or seriously downplay in my games touchstones, Mask/Dirge, aspirations, the way beats are handed out, and the door-based social system, so, please don't root the fix in those systems or make it another directly story altering system in and of itself.
    Last edited by The Storyteller; 03-18-2016, 11:32 PM. Reason: clarity

  • #2
    Desired Behavior: 'The Gangrel are supposed to be wild and bestial'

    Repackaged as a positive: 'The Gangrel are supposed to be free and simple/direct.' I.e Wild calls to mind a lack of rules, so free here is freedom from, and Bestial refers to a savage, primitive nature.

    Create Binary for modeling purposes: Freedom from vs Regulated. Simple/direct vs complex/convoluted.

    Theory: Avoiding the binary behavior encourages the desired behavior.

    Seed for Bane: Give Gangrel the tempted condition whenever they are subject to 'micromanagement' or excessive regulation, or when following a course that is more complex than a possible alternative.

    Presumed behavior: Obligation and submission treated with caution; action favored over diplomacy, short term over long term. Failure to maintain freedom and bestiality increases likelihood of frenzy, further reinforcing the stereotype.

    Optional refinement: Tie humanity to sensitivity of micromanagement and complexity. High humanity enables greater tolerance. As such, low humanity Gangrel are more blunt and independent and more prone to frenzy at impediments.

    Refine bane: Triggers are grouped into three: Faceless rules, proscription of methods, and delaying action to optimize. Faceless rules are laws, traditions, and rules that are not directly enforced. The Prince barking an order doesn't tempt; a ghoul informing them that Havens need to be above ground does. Proscription of method occurs when one is told how to accomplish a goal AND forced to comply. Example: Being told to talk to the Sheriff before starting to track the Perp. Forbidden from using excessive force. Delaying action to optimize occurs when it is possible to achieve a goal or satisfy a desire but action is delayed to accomplish some secondary objective. Examples: Talking with the union over contract particulars instead of breaking the strike by force.

    Conclusion: Gangrel are Tempted whenever they must deal with Faceless rules and regulation, when they are made to do something according to specific instruction, or when they must delay the completing of goals or satisfaction of desire.

    Thoughts?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by The Storyteller View Post
      Thoughts?
      Maybe play with how Willpower can be spent for extra effort? If the action that is being spent on isn't within the Gangrel wheelhouse (something the character might do while frenzied) - rather than a (+3/+2) bonus, they receive (+1) and gain the Tempted (-1) condition (stacks).

      I know you don't use beats in the base way, but I'd also include that Gangrel never receive a beat for resolving the Tempted condition (if there is a way other characters can get beats for conditions. If not, ignore.)

      In theory this should:
      • Show that Gangrel can only reach their full potential when they are working with the beast rather than on things the beast doesn't care about.
      • Encourage Gangrel to frequent places where they can frenzy more often. This is either the wilderness, where frenzies of nature won't be a risk to the Masquerade, or in Kindred controlled places - i.e. among other undead predators.
      I thought about playing around with the Bestial aspect. Like, Gangrel could trade their current stack of Tempted Conditions in exchange for the Bestial Condition (number of nights = Tempted penalty), but the (-2) Defense in Bestial makes me stop. I don't think Gangrel should be easier to hit/kill because they are acting on predatory impulses.

      Depending on how you feel about Pack/Dominance themes, you could also play with Teamwork. Gangrel can only benefit from Teamwork when in a Pack situation, or from someone they have successfully lashed out against (i.e. have lower-d dominated).

      Can mess with resisting Frenzy if you are using the new rules for that. Most characters fight against frenzy via resisting the beast obviously, gaining one turn of 'freedom' (hiss, growl, smash a chair) per WP until they stop spending, then get a (+1) per WP spent and a roll at that time. Could say for Gangrel they don't get Freedom for a turn, but still act as if frenzied even while they are spending WP. Or just that they can't spend WP to resist Frenzy at all.
      Last edited by Holy; 03-19-2016, 10:10 AM. Reason: Wrong person quoted

      Comment


      • #4
        The idea here is great, but the implementation is exactly what I struggled with. The flaw is so, well, vague. Now, I'm not opposed to judgment calls, but this would be a little excessive. Even trying to explain to someone what a "faceless" rule is, is complicated (mind you, I understand what you mean, but it's not a simple concept) and some rules might appear unenforceble even if they're not. Your set up is exactly what I am looking for, though. They should act directly and unfettered. It's just that the behaviors you identified to "punish" are too vague and disparate to make for an elegant flaw. It feels like just throwing a bunch of stuff together, and it is exactly what I had trouble with, too.

        Maybe we can reach a satisfactory bane by refining it down to a single concept instead of many? Perhaps, following the preview of the Beast Changeling Kith's lead, Gangrel rail against "Confinement," which applies not just in the physical sense. I feel like that concept might be less specific than your threefold list, but, at the same time, somehow less vague and easier to understand.

        So, penciled in, lets say, "Once per scene, Gangrel suffer from the Tempted condition when they feel Confined. This is not purely physical and applies equally to actual restraints, seemingly pointless rules, and stifling social obligations. The proscription against violence at Elysium, and other such rules do not normally trigger this feeling of Confinement."

        However, I'd still rather avoid periodic Frenzy as the only way out of their predicament. I wonder if there's another way to generate this same goal? Do I need to directly fix the Tempted condition so that there's another way to resolve it? Do I need to give them a different condition? Bestial perhaps? Or require that they Lash Out against those confining them or it costs them something? Hmm...
        Last edited by The Storyteller; 03-19-2016, 10:14 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Noting that I don't know Vampire at all and was basically browsing the forum out of curiosity: have you considered writing a Condition specifically for this bane? That way you might be able to get a double-whammy - they have to act bestial or reject fetters and constraints to avoid it, and you can write a condition that further encourages that behaviour and is lost when they really play it up.

          Could even go with "lose this condition when you frenzy or [other desirable I'm A Barely-Constrained Beast type action" so that option's there.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd go with having the player decide on one or more trigger that when encountered would give the gangrel character a condition akin to frenzy but with more control (i suck on the mechanical side of things so the goal is act savage but it shouldnt be limited to mindlessly attacking .
            The example triggers here could be the usual like violence, pain, hunger. but could be more personnalized like ; the moon, lies, rats, whistles, bells, etc.
            The point here is to emphasize savage reaction but still allow for a certain measure of customization.
            Not sure if avoiding the circumstances of the bane would emphasize the gangrel archetype tho.


            Completed campaign: Scion 2nd Edition. Les L├ęgendes Currently playing: Being a dad for a 3 year old daughter and a 2 years old son and now a beautiful new baby.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by The Storyteller View Post
              Case in point: I like the Daeva flaw because it causes Daeva to be "promiscuous" with their Kiss. They can't maintain a herd at all (either you never drink twice so you don't suffer Dependency, or you drink exactly twice and then can't anymore without constant Humanity 3 breaking points for causing harm to your regnant), so, they become, metaphorically, whores. That's perfect. So, they can totally avoid the curse by fulfilling their stereotype.
              I've always assumed they can still drink from their Herd, just not so deeply it "injures" (3 health boxes) them. Have I been wrong about this? I know each BP taken does that much superficial Health boxes damage, but it's a bit silly they become obsessed with them yet can't feed at all, isn't it?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Holy View Post
                Maybe play with how Willpower can be spent for extra effort? If the action that is being spent on isn't within the Gangrel wheelhouse (something the character might do while frenzied) - rather than a (+3/+2) bonus, they receive (+1) and gain the Tempted (-1) condition (stacks).[

                In theory this should:
                • Show that Gangrel can only reach their full potential when they are working with the beast rather than on things the beast doesn't care about.
                • Encourage Gangrel to frequent places where they can frenzy more often. This is either the wilderness, where frenzies of nature won't be a risk to the Masquerade, or in Kindred controlled places - i.e. among other undead predators.
                I thought about playing around with the Bestial aspect. Like, Gangrel could trade their current stack of Tempted Conditions in exchange for the Bestial Condition (number of nights = Tempted penalty), but the (-2) Defense in Bestial makes me stop. I don't think Gangrel should be easier to hit/kill because they are acting on predatory impulses.
                Yeah, this is kind of what has stymied me as well. Bestial isn't quite right, and frenzying is perhaps too harsh to encourage.

                Originally posted by Holy View Post
                Depending on how you feel about Pack/Dominance themes, you could also play with Teamwork. Gangrel can only benefit from Teamwork when in a Pack situation, or from someone they have successfully lashed out against (i.e. have lower-d dominated).
                I'd be ok with that, but, there's kind of already a Pack Alpha merit with similar themes, and I honestly don't think teamwork comes up enough to justify a bane entirely devoted to it.

                Originally posted by Holy View Post
                Can mess with resisting Frenzy if you are using the new rules for that. Most characters fight against frenzy via resisting the beast obviously, gaining one turn of 'freedom' (hiss, growl, smash a chair) per WP until they stop spending, then get a (+1) per WP spent and a roll at that time. Could say for Gangrel they don't get Freedom for a turn, but still act as if frenzied even while they are spending WP. Or just that they can't spend WP to resist Frenzy at all.
                I am using 2nd edition in pretty much every way except for Anchors, beats, and doors, so, yeah, I'm using that (which is very similar to 1e anyway, if I recall), but, like I said, I don't want to force frenzy on Gangrel all the time, that's the issue, I want them to be wild and unfettered, but not constantly out of control.

                Originally posted by MorkaisChosen View Post
                Noting that I don't know Vampire at all and was basically browsing the forum out of curiosity: have you considered writing a Condition specifically for this bane? That way you might be able to get a double-whammy - they have to act bestial or reject fetters and constraints to avoid it, and you can write a condition that further encourages that behaviour and is lost when they really play it up.

                Could even go with "lose this condition when you frenzy or [other desirable I'm A Barely-Constrained Beast type action" so that option's there.
                Yes, I think that's a good idea, but, well, I'm having trouble doing that. I'm hoping for some good ideas on how to write such a condition, on how to properly word the restrictions/penalties/whatever to make it happen without falling into the "they frenzy a lot" trap.

                Originally posted by Maitrecorbo View Post
                I'd go with having the player decide on one or more trigger that when encountered would give the gangrel character a condition akin to frenzy but with more control (i suck on the mechanical side of things so the goal is act savage but it shouldnt be limited to mindlessly attacking .
                The example triggers here could be the usual like violence, pain, hunger. but could be more personnalized like ; the moon, lies, rats, whistles, bells, etc.
                The point here is to emphasize savage reaction but still allow for a certain measure of customization.
                Not sure if avoiding the circumstances of the bane would emphasize the gangrel archetype tho.
                I get the idea, and it is interesting to play with the idea of giving the player a choice as to what form their wildness takes, but I think, given my goal of getting them to act wild to avoid the penalty, it doesn't quite work. Being forced into this state would certainly be the penalty, so, the standard Gangrel wouldn't be "howling at the moon" (just as an example of the moon causing this state), they'd be constantly looking down away from the moon, or staying indoors, waiting to go outside only when cloudy. If they psuedo frenzy around violence, you'd have Gandhi Gangrel refusing to get involved in conflicts that might lead to violence and trigger them.

                It certainly is tricky. Part of the problem, I'm sure, is that I don't really like the feel of the Gangrel (though I have several players who love the savage/bestial aspects they are designed to play up), so, to me, acting wild and stuff already feels like a penalty. I'm trying, though.
                Last edited by The Storyteller; 03-20-2016, 12:23 AM. Reason: typo

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Blitzburger View Post
                  I've always assumed they can still drink from their Herd, just not so deeply it "injures" (3 health boxes) them. Have I been wrong about this? I know each BP taken does that much superficial Health boxes damage, but it's a bit silly they become obsessed with them yet can't feed at all, isn't it?
                  Don't look at me, I think it's silly that any Daeva would drink twice on purpose. But, people on the forum assured me that happens in their games, so, I'm guessing they somehow don't consider health levels of damage to be "harm?" Like, since the Kiss is nice, maybe they justify it as ok despite the literal harm being caused?

                  Or Daeva just detach quickly? I don't know how people do it. My table just has Daeva that feed promiscuously and avoid the dependency thing.
                  Last edited by The Storyteller; 03-20-2016, 12:28 AM. Reason: typo

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Then how about having the curse activate when the gangrel character does an extended roll. (the curse could still be risk of frenzy or simply negative modifiers)
                    That would mean that gangrel have a tendency to focus on action that have an immediate fulfillment iwhereas extended roll show a more advanced thought process more distanced from primal instinct. Thus we place an emphasis on a direct, crude and savage stereotype for the gangrel character.
                    its not perfect but it could be closer to what you want ... i hope.


                    Completed campaign: Scion 2nd Edition. Les L├ęgendes Currently playing: Being a dad for a 3 year old daughter and a 2 years old son and now a beautiful new baby.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Maitrecorbo View Post
                      Then how about having the curse activate when the gangrel character does an extended roll. (the curse could still be risk of frenzy or simply negative modifiers)
                      That would mean that gangrel have a tendency to focus on action that have an immediate fulfillment iwhereas extended roll show a more advanced thought process more distanced from primal instinct. Thus we place an emphasis on a direct, crude and savage stereotype for the gangrel character.
                      its not perfect but it could be closer to what you want ... i hope.
                      Yeah, that is definitely closer. I like the idea, I really do, but I think I need to look through at what extended rolls are in the game. The one that immediately jumps out at me is running. I don't think they should be penalized for chases. Or climbing. I'm not even totally sure I want them to be penalized to, say, fix up their motorcycle, since that might be their outlet for running wild. It's certainly good thinking, though.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Nice thread and interesting points all around. And how about about giving a cumulative penalty each time a Gangrel succesfully avoids a Frenzy? This way, you could emphasize the need the Gangrel has to give into the Beast, and making the character to choose very carefully which battles against the inner monster needs to fight and which ones needs to let go.


                        Userhat Aegpts Vlrs. Coren "Ojos de Fuego". Mithrael. Menehet.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Phersus View Post
                          Nice thread and interesting points all around. And how about about giving a cumulative penalty each time a Gangrel succesfully avoids a Frenzy? This way, you could emphasize the need the Gangrel has to give into the Beast, and making the character to choose very carefully which battles against the inner monster needs to fight and which ones needs to let go.
                          And give them ability to reset the penalty to 0 with Willpower expenditure. "Do I Willpower it immediately, or can I take it for little longer?" Obviously, this works better in games where Willpower management is real.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WHW View Post
                            And give them ability to reset the penalty to 0 with Willpower expenditure. "Do I Willpower it immediately, or can I take it for little longer?" Obviously, this works better in games where Willpower management is real.
                            Nice touch! It would allow also to go for a harsher Beast if needed, negating one penalty point for one willpower.


                            Userhat Aegpts Vlrs. Coren "Ojos de Fuego". Mithrael. Menehet.

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                            • #15
                              The Daeva curse write up mentions them either tending towards promiscuity or cultivating "massive harems and herds" which indicates that feeding from a mortal you're pseudo-bonded to isn't an issue. That aside the bond requires a failed humanity roll to establish, so you could potentially feed from the same mortal all you like and never get Dependent.

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