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(V5) Do we really miss high-level Disciplines?

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  • Lysander
    replied
    As I posted before in this thread that you can come up with cool amalgam perks that mimic high level elder disciplines and in many ways I prefer it to the old system that we had on closer reflection. Since I play a 10th generation Brujah and a 11th generation Malkavian respectively. Such high level powers don't come into focus all that often and the most potent elder we encountered was of the 8th and 9th generations.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    The odds asymptotically approach 60% as dice-pool size increases towards infinity.

    Or, in simpler terms, the bigger your dice pool, the double-10s crit thing moves it closer to 60% from 50% as crits get more and more likely.

    For me the math above misses out on a lot by ignoring things like Hunger and Bane Severity that come with high Blood Potency. That BP 8 Elder is going to be sitting around at Hunger 3 unless they've recently murdered a few people, and is going to messy crit a ton in roll-heavy situations between having at least Hunger 3 and that massive dice-pool. It also means they run into hitting Hunger 5 a lot faster if they're going full power to take out a group of neonates. A Bane Severity of 5 is not something to scoff at. A cheap LED flashlight would knock 5 dice off of a Ministry Elder's dice-pools at that level.

    The issue at hand wasn't that V5 elders can be given huge stat blocks that will let them steam roll on-one-on fights against starting level characters. It's that without some of the old Elder level powers, there's a few really basic tactics that the can't really defend themselves against that will even out those odds when fighting against a group of younger vampires.

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  • adambeyoncelowe
    replied
    Originally posted by Manfr View Post
    Ok, so thread necromancy has inspired me to crunch some very basic numbers and see how a V5 elder would fare against various kind of characters.
    Let’s take 4 basic characters (BP 0, 1, 2, and 3), and 4 elder SPCs (BP 5, 6, 7, 8).

    I will place the highest attribute at 4 for basic characters, and at 5 for SPCs.

    The highest discipline will be 1 for BP 0, 3 for BP 1 and 2, 4 for BP 3, and 5 for BP 5+.

    I will consider that each opposing side will use Blood Surge (+1 for BP 0, +2 for BP 1-2, +3 for BP 3, +4 for BP 5-6, +5 for BP 7-8), and then add BP dice bonuses to disciplines (none for BP 0-1, +1 for BP 2-3, +2 for BP 5, +3 for BP 6-7, +4 for BP 8).

    Characters dice pool at their best for disciplines (average of successes: 60% of dice pool ):

    BP 0: 8 (5)
    BP 1: 9 (5)
    BP 2: 10 (6)
    BP 3: 12 (7)
    BP 5: 16 (10)
    BP 6: 17 (10)
    BP 7: 18 (11)
    BP 8: 19 (11)

    So, if I’ve counted well, optimised characters can get a very good pool and huge number of successes already at starting levels: however, the gulf between them and a powerful elder it’s not just a handful of dice, but on average it can be as large as a whole “optimised” dice pool, even when we take into consideration a low-tier elder and a Ancilla starting character. As it should be.

    This gulf becomes higher and more dangerous if we move to Fighting rolls, for instance: here, dice pools become higher and higher, thanks to Specializations, Weapons etc., and the gulf between characters who have high fighting disciplines and those who are weaker in terms of power becomes even greater. An optimized combat Elder could probably send into Torpor a single character in a couple of rounds.

    Of course, the situation is different when we take into consideration a whole Coterie, but at that point an Elder should also bring in his resources, like Ghouls buffed with draughts etc. If I were an Elder pressed into combat, I would exhaust the enemies with minions to make them reach high Hunger, and then exploit my huge advantage in terms of Hunger re-rolls and my probably higher Willpower tracker.

    Then, these are very rough comparisons, with all the relevant dice pools buffed to the maximum: it’s not a guarantee that PCs will face Elders with their best Attributes and Powers.

    We should also consider the narrative meaning of successes: rolling over 5 successes means achieving epic feats, and a fearsome Elder could just choose, instead of chomping single PCs bare-handed, to use its huge Strenght roll to make the building collapse on its enemies, or throw a car, or something as big and heavy, over them.

    Of course, Elders can also activate more powers and use more Blood Surges, than regular characters. Also, the bigger gets the dice pool, the bigger chance you have of rolling exploding 10s and Messy Criticals, so your chances of getting even better rolls are higher: Messy Criticals also have as a normal result “to succeed in your action by putting the Masquerade in danger” which fits the narrative of Elders doing amazing things that enslave whole crowds or creating horrible collateral damage as they deploy their unoholy powers on the surroundings.


    So, all in all: Elders and “by-the-book” Methuselas are certainly far more approachable as enemies in V5 than before. But despite not having 6+ Powers anymore, I would say they are still very fearsome even capped at level 5. It woul
    d surely be better if we had a bit more guidance on these dynamics, and how to purposefully manage and narrate them at the table.
    So, I'm terrible at maths, but where does the 60% come from? Chances of success should be ~50% in V5 (6-10 on a d10).

    The doubling of 10s only occurs with pairs, so that only adds a few percent when you're rolling 2+ dice, but it's not usually that much.

    Anyway, 5+ successes is epic in V20, but with Difficulties being what they are in V5, it's not that big of a deal. Difficulty 3 is supposed to be average-ish, but a lot of powers are Difficulty 4. Some are even higher.

    Really, though, if a BP 8 elder is still rolling 19 dice, then the dice caps aren't really capping as much as they could. Ideally, you'd cap the dice pool at 10 or something. Extra dice could be halved and taken as automatic successes.

    Hypothetically, if one wanted to play up the power of elders, it might make more sense to use something like StoryPath's Scale. I could see elder Disciplines doing that. So maybe instead of 6+ dots, you have a system where elder mastery simply means you don't have to bother with lesser beings at all.

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  • Manfr
    replied
    Ok, so thread necromancy has inspired me to crunch some very basic numbers and see how a V5 elder would fare against various kind of characters.
    Let’s take 4 basic characters (BP 0, 1, 2, and 3), and 4 elder SPCs (BP 5, 6, 7, 8).

    I will place the highest attribute at 4 for basic characters, and at 5 for SPCs.

    The highest discipline will be 1 for BP 0, 3 for BP 1 and 2, 4 for BP 3, and 5 for BP 5+.

    I will consider that each opposing side will use Blood Surge (+1 for BP 0, +2 for BP 1-2, +3 for BP 3, +4 for BP 5-6, +5 for BP 7-8), and then add BP dice bonuses to disciplines (none for BP 0-1, +1 for BP 2-3, +2 for BP 5, +3 for BP 6-7, +4 for BP 8).

    Characters dice pool at their best for disciplines (average of successes: 60% of dice pool ):

    BP 0: 8 (5)
    BP 1: 9 (5)
    BP 2: 10 (6)
    BP 3: 12 (7)
    BP 5: 16 (10)
    BP 6: 17 (10)
    BP 7: 18 (11)
    BP 8: 19 (11)

    So, if I’ve counted well, optimised characters can get a very good pool and huge number of successes already at starting levels: however, the gulf between them and a powerful elder it’s not just a handful of dice, but on average it can be as large as a whole “optimised” dice pool, even when we take into consideration a low-tier elder and a Ancilla starting character. As it should be.

    This gulf becomes higher and more dangerous if we move to Fighting rolls, for instance: here, dice pools become higher and higher, thanks to Specializations, Weapons etc., and the gulf between characters who have high fighting disciplines and those who are weaker in terms of power becomes even greater. An optimized combat Elder could probably send into Torpor a single character in a couple of rounds.

    Of course, the situation is different when we take into consideration a whole Coterie, but at that point an Elder should also bring in his resources, like Ghouls buffed with draughts etc. If I were an Elder pressed into combat, I would exhaust the enemies with minions to make them reach high Hunger, and then exploit my huge advantage in terms of Hunger re-rolls and my probably higher Willpower tracker.

    Then, these are very rough comparisons, with all the relevant dice pools buffed to the maximum: it’s not a guarantee that PCs will face Elders with their best Attributes and Powers.

    We should also consider the narrative meaning of successes: rolling over 5 successes means achieving epic feats, and a fearsome Elder could just choose, instead of chomping single PCs bare-handed, to use its huge Strenght roll to make the building collapse on its enemies, or throw a car, or something as big and heavy, over them.

    Of course, Elders can also activate more powers and use more Blood Surges, than regular characters. Also, the bigger gets the dice pool, the bigger chance you have of rolling exploding 10s and Messy Criticals, so your chances of getting even better rolls are higher: Messy Criticals also have as a normal result “to succeed in your action by putting the Masquerade in danger” which fits the narrative of Elders doing amazing things that enslave whole crowds or creating horrible collateral damage as they deploy their unoholy powers on the surroundings.


    So, all in all: Elders and “by-the-book” Methuselas are certainly far more approachable as enemies in V5 than before. But despite not having 6+ Powers anymore, I would say they are still very fearsome even capped at level 5. It woul
    d surely be better if we had a bit more guidance on these dynamics, and how to purposefully manage and narrate them at the table.
    Last edited by Manfr; 12-14-2022, 07:49 AM.

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  • adambeyoncelowe
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    If we're talking just V5, I think you can do two things to help regain the "Elder Discipline" space:

    1) While a lot of people just dump the cap on powers per Discipline completely, you can alter it to help gives Elders more oomph by having access to more powers (esp. some of the synergistic ones). If you want to uncap the powers, you could just do that for the standard powers, while the number of Amalgams a character can learn is capped on Blood Potency in some fashion. This would help cover a lot of the 6 and 7 dot Elder Disciplines that are more "unique and quirky power this Elder developed," than powers that are in a radically different tier of power.

    2) As has been brought up before, working in a standard way to increase the power/scope of Discipline powers rather than entirely new powers is another way to help here. You can have it naturally favor Elders by linking it to trade offs to things like Blood Potency bonuses. For example, if you can trade bonus dice for more damage when using Potence, and sacrifice free rouses for additional targets, you get a lot of Elder Potence that makes someone like Mithras so scary: the ability to TPK a bunch of neonates if pushed to expend his reserves. This would take more work to keep it simple in use, but should be a functional design mode to approach the problem from.
    I like these suggestions. They're a good way to handle it.

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  • Kakost
    replied
    So, to end it up, I always hated the lvl 6-10 disciplines, but I guess the reason for this is more due to implementation than to concept. For example, I like the idea of Archmages that can do stuff with the Spheres that are beyond the "mere" Masters. But the book "Masters of the Art" was absolutely atrocious. Thus, I have the lvl 6 of any Sphere to be Archmastery and encompass everything that goes beyond and above the "regular" limits of the Spheres. Much more clean.

    For Vampire, I never really liked the idea of the "vampire Gods" all too much. I prefer to have them as pure myth - and even better, I prefer to have SEVERAL conflicting myths about those. Anything from 5th gen bellow to me is best served as coffin stories to scary young vampires in their day dreaming.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by thebiglarpnerd View Post


    Nah, that's just you and your V5 dislike because they didn't write it Exactly As You Wanted It. They're writing it the way they want, and need to, in order for it to do what PDX wants it to do. It's that simple.
    Don't make these kind of statements. Take a warning.

    Leave a comment:


  • Taggie
    replied
    Originally posted by thebiglarpnerd View Post


    1)Nah, V5's doing fine. Your 'mess' is their 'working as intended,' especially with Paths and Sabbat not being playable. It's like you have ignored everything that the devs and WoD employees have said about the game, its themes, their goals with it and all of that. This, on top of comparing a company whose sole moneymaker was the tabletop RPG, versus PDX whose moneymaker is not a supplement treadmill.



    2)There are plenty of showy and flashy powers. And many Elder powers have been integrated into level 4 and 5 powers like Mass Manipulation. The scale is just different overall.
    1) you can play a mockery of the civil rights movement, were you have to recreate domestic abuse on your Touchstones...that is all you can play. That's it, no other stories allowed, at all, everything else is bad wrong fun and the devs WILL mock you for wanting it.

    2) no, no their aren't, Elders just aren't scary anymore, Methusalehs are a joke 'blood gods?' they are 2 rounds tops for a decent coeterie, Like it's really not the same WoD as previous editions, but then it's their own IP to do with as they will,
    Last edited by Taggie; 09-01-2022, 09:06 AM.

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  • MyWifeIsScary
    replied
    Originally posted by thebiglarpnerd View Post


    Nah, that's just you and your V5 dislike because they didn't write it Exactly As You Wanted It. They're writing it the way they want, and need to, in order for it to do what PDX wants it to do. It's that simple.
    There's a little too much irony in this statement. you're criticizing us for wanting things "Exactly As We Want", when that for the most part means broad appeal, and you're defending WW for going with a hyper specific thing that's "Exactly as They wanted it". "Vampires live among us and they struggle for power at the expense of the people around them" is apparently too ethereal a concept for today's kids so we needed to make them inept and far too involved in partisan issues because that's what politics is and it's relatable.

    V5 does not have broad appeal. It's very good if you've got something very specific in mind, but it's done so at the expense of broad appeal. Can I wallow in my own missery in V5? Yes. Can I fight The Man in V5? Yes. Can I find a greater purpose beyond lamenting my lost humanity... ehm... no. Can I explore what it means to be human or adjust myself according to how my character might realistically cope according to his/her new state? Not if you want to be a player character. V5 is great if you want to simulate a more idealistic person becoming a vampire and their first few years but it doesn't really work so well when you want someone with any degree of hardening.


    Imagine you became a vampire, had 2 dots in all common disciplines and you had to suck blood to keep the Beast at bay and had to lie/cheat/steal for it every night. How long do you think it would take for you to stop thinking of messy crits as a horrifying loss of control and more of a fucking nuisance. Wait let's bring it down to a more ordinary example: you live your early life disgusted by poop. Then one day you've made kid and you've got to clean up their shit all the time and touch it with your bare hands with some regularity. How long do you think it takes to get used to that? It's instantaneous. You clean it up, you move on. Parenting isn't for everyone but it isn't horrifying, it's inconvenient, and highly recommended; though I wouldn't say so if you had to clean up the shit for their entire life. Messy crits aren't horror. Messy crits are a nuisance. Messy crits are an idea of "personal horror" born from someone who doesn't have kids, and who doesn't imagine them growing up.
    Now Frenzies before V5, that's actually scary. Imagine you, an adult, are liable to shit yourself and maybe kill someone if you don't carefully control your situation. You are responsible for your own lack of control: It's not a matter of when, it's IF. That's actually scary. Shitting yourself as a reponsible adult is distressing, and you don't need to have shat yourself to have empathy for those that have and maybe some dread towards what happens when you're aging and can't control yourself anymore. Shitting yourself as a baby is par for the course; clean it up, move on, don't worry about it. I can't emphasize enough how banal messy crits are, how ultra-specific they are to someone's idea of personal horror. Like there was a concept that was distressing to 90/100 people and it was supplanted in favour of something that'd bother 100 but maybe horrify only 5/100.

    (I'm aware frenzies still exist in V5, but messy crits are going to desensitize you to them)

    More on the main topic: Higher level disciplines are just something we had that were broadly understandable. There's always someone richer, always someone stronger, always someone better looking or more influentual. We all get that feeling even if we don't want to. It's a truth. Capping things at 5th level... you can be the best. What's interesting about being the best? What's relatable about being the best? One of the things that really drives vampire is ambition, and that there's always someone better than you, and you too can kill a few people to get there. Being the best is not relatable. Coveting the best is. Fearing that you'll grow old and the young will replace you is relatable.

    Purely on high concepts
    V5
    Sacrificed
    Broad
    Appeal

    VTM
    Had
    Broad
    Appeal
    Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 09-01-2022, 07:32 AM.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Outside making new amalgams/powers, and given that I prefer to uncap powers to everyone, I think Heavy Arms' idea on trade-offs is the best option within V5. We can have general rules, maybe tied to a loresheet, and/or specific advancements within each power, similar to how Psionics work in D&D 3.5.

    Simple numerical increases to traits aren't only a lazy design in any RPG, but also a failed one (and yes, in this I do include CoD, despite otherwise finding its system far superior to WoD in any edition). By their own characteristics as random generators within a limited scope, they work as intended only within certain parameters. Outside those, the mathematics of the system simply do not generate desirable effects for gameplay.

    For WoD, more dice give diminishing returns while costing more XP. Thanks to rules that make some numbers specially problematic, you really cap their significance around 9 or 10, above that while they technically give some benefit, they effectively add more noise than any meaningful improvement on your chances. And that comes beyond being unwieldy and less meaningful when comparing characters (the difference between a stat 3 and a 4 is far more relevant than between 7 and 9).

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Additional counterpoint: When they first announced their plans for the WoD after buying it, they said that if VtM didn't have a show on a major streaming platform by 2021, they were screwing it up. It's 2022.

    Ignoring the specifics here (Martin's obvious puffery is one of the many reasons he was removed from things and White Wolf was reintegrated into Paradox's standard structure), there is an important point here. Paradox wants V5 to be the basis of a multimedia franchise that spans video games, TV shows, and who knows what else. V5 has not show to be inspiring any specific boon in fiction writing compared to previous editions, the video games so far haven't been doing well, the TV show continues to exist solely as a vague plan, and there's no other type of media that's been announced to be seeing a major standalone project.

    Paradox's goals for the WoD are not secrets (or at least they have overtly stated a few of them). Claiming objective evidence in on the side of the game advancing what Paradox wants out of the game seems a very questionable claim that requires a lot more backup than snidely implying people that don't love the game can't appreciate how good it is doing because they're haters.

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  • Ragged Robin
    replied
    Originally posted by thebiglarpnerd View Post


    Nah, that's just you and your V5 dislike because they didn't write it Exactly As You Wanted It. They're writing it the way they want, and need to, in order for it to do what PDX wants it to do. It's that simple.
    I actually have pretty complex views on v5, it has a lot of charms despite its flaws. They can write it how they wish but its not immune to criticism and its certainly not perfect and having far less fluff and crunch is a valid criticism.
    Last edited by Ragged Robin; 09-23-2022, 04:08 AM.

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  • thebiglarpnerd
    replied
    Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post

    That really damns it with faint praise. "Hey our bad ideas and lack of substantive releases are features not bugs."

    Nah, that's just you and your V5 dislike because they didn't write it Exactly As You Wanted It. They're writing it the way they want, and need to, in order for it to do what PDX wants it to do. It's that simple.

    Leave a comment:


  • Newb95
    replied
    The power limit is stupid and should be removed altogether anyway.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    You still need to at least uncap Amalgams from the five power limit for that to work.

    Leave a comment:

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