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OPP V5 and what I like about it

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  • #76
    I think the problem is that, ultimately, OPP doesn't have the authority to "walk back" anything with V5. They can write books which downplay things, but those things are still there, and still reflected in the rules changes.

    CbN5 might have the Beckoning and SI dialed in just right for your tastes, but that only goes as far as sticking to Chicago. If your characters have a reason to take a trip to Detroit, all of the non-OPP V5 assumptions come back in (or the ST is doing a lot of handwaving or a lot of work to explain how that could not be the case).

    Every city can't be Chicago where the Beckoning and SI didn't hit so badly, or you're just creating a massive continuity snarl.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by AkatsukiLeader13 View Post
      Indeed. The Hecata are now one part Clan, one-part Family, one-part Cult and one-part Sect. In fact the book also features a Hecata chronicle with a pre-made coterie which includes a Toreador and a Thin-blood, the former having actually become a member of the Hecata.

      So yeah, it's completely viable to not just play the non-Hecata members in Hecata coterie (and vice versa) but you can have those not of Hecata Blood join the Hecata. Hell, some Harbingers are using the general ignorance of the other Kindred about their existence and the reorganization of the Giovanni into the Hecata to go back to their old ways of spies or the case of those Cappadocians that have joined the Harbingers, chamberlains and advisors.
      This is what I like about the Hecata. I'd prefer to keep the death clans separate and with their own agendas, however a rising Death Sect that gathers them and who they can play up loyalties and which is finding it's own position in a world where the Camarilla and the Sabbat are in need of renvention sounds like an amazing plan.


      What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        I think the problem is that, ultimately, OPP doesn't have the authority to "walk back" anything with V5. They can write books which downplay things, but those things are still there, and still reflected in the rules changes.

        CbN5 might have the Beckoning and SI dialed in just right for your tastes, but that only goes as far as sticking to Chicago. If your characters have a reason to take a trip to Detroit, all of the non-OPP V5 assumptions come back in (or the ST is doing a lot of handwaving or a lot of work to explain how that could not be the case).

        Every city can't be Chicago where the Beckoning and SI didn't hit so badly, or you're just creating a massive continuity snarl.
        Oddly, I suppose this cuts to our differing views on the usefulness of Chicago by Night is. I think I like it more because I see it as a template for how to treat cities in the setting. Just like the original CBN was what showed the "default" template of Prince, Primogen, Elders, and so on versus Anarchs.

        Here, the benefit of CBN isn't that it is a good place to play Vampire but that it is a way to show how STs can treat the changes to the Camarilla, Anarchs, and Clans in a noninttrusive manner.

        Which is to say:

        1. You don't need the Second Inquisition as an existential threat but: waiting in the wings of the city or trying to spy.
        2. The Anarchs may not be part of the Camarilla anymore but the Camarilla still treats them as under their authority with even less rights.
        3. Brujah and Gangrel individually remain part of it and can receive titles like Sheriff or Archons.
        4. The Assamites joining just means there might be or two now in the city.
        5. The Beckoning may affect one or two Elders but others are immune.

        And so on.

        Obviously, if you're playing in London, OPP can't do anything about that.


        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
          Obviously, if you're playing in London, OPP can't do anything about that.
          But if we have a sample city A and a sample city B, why would it make sense that city A is the baseline and city B the exception? The upcoming Boston book is probably gonna give us a better idea at what V5 expects a city to be like as both Chicago and London were two extremes.


          What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by Asmodai View Post

            But if we have a sample city A and a sample city B, why would it make sense that city A is the baseline and city B the exception? The upcoming Boston book is probably gonna give us a better idea at what V5 expects a city to be like as both Chicago and London were two extremes.
            It's interesting to compare both to the "canon" cities of Saint Louis and New York as well as LA via the Web Video. They seem to have followed OPP's lead in "okay, the world isn't THAT different."

            I wonder how much of that was Jason Carl going, "Guys, dial it the fuck back!"


            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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            • #81
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              5. The Beckoning may affect one or two Elders but others are immune.

              And so on.
              It has to be noted that even these one or two Vampires affected by the Beckoning in V5 can still receive help or somehow deal with this condition or circumstances through making good enough choices, or by working out some precautions and means.

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              • #82
                Let the Streets Run Red and Trials of Ash and Bone

                I'm going to admit some bias here because I was a huge campaigner for a redoing of Forged in Steel and donated money during the Kickstarter so I could update the NPC write-ups of Allicia and Evelyn Stephens. I also created Arthur Caldwell, who is named after a good friend of mine and fellow gamer who was seriously injured in RL at the time.
                So I'm very biased.

                However, I'd like to say that I think these two books are probably the best adventure modules that have ever been made with the possible exception of Masks of Nyarlathotep. Okay, I'll be honest, MON blows them out of the water but I still love these. They correctly solve the riddle of how to do an adventure module without railroading and these "open world campaign setting" write-ups of the adventures are very good substitutes for By Night books.

                Adventure modules are kind of a broken base among tabletop RPG players because they're either COMPLETELY USELESS or extremely variable in quality. People love being able to run a shared module experience where possible but very often you have the fact they can be either easily broken or impossible to incorporate in your campaign. OPP cheated and basically used the "adventure hooks" to create a bunch of micro-By Night books for Gary, Indianpolis, Milwaukee, and Atlantic City. There's probably some other ones I'm forgetting (and I'm not counting the "Children of the Corn" small town) but the game gives you free reign to do what you want in each location while describing some possible encounters with the people involved.

                I feel this is the perfect way to handle V:TM roleplaying where you can fuck, marry, or kill virtually any NPC unlike Dungeons and Dragons' earlier modules where things were more of the kill variety. This has become a more common sort of roleplaying style in recent years but actually first appeared (for me at least) with Escape from Innsmouth where the adventure was primarily just the players wandering around the titular town.

                I played a campaign of Let the Streets Run Red from adventure to adventure and had a lot of good time with it, the results lasting about a year. The wide variety of adventures involved ranging from a crazed hunter trying to blackmail Kindred to a complicated plot to take over Gary were all great.

                I love these adventures and think they really overshadowed Fall of London (and Fall of London wasn't BAD). It also inspired me to write THE MURDER OF MODIUS that Grumpy RPG Reviews helped me create and follows the Final Death of the Pauper Prince.


                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  Oddly, I suppose this cuts to our differing views on the usefulness of Chicago by Night is. I think I like it more because I see it as a template for how to treat cities in the setting. Just like the original CBN was what showed the "default" template of Prince, Primogen, Elders, and so on versus Anarchs.
                  The problem here is that CbN wasn't supposed to create the template. Early VtM put out a bunch of different cities that varied much more in how things were set up and none of them were originally supposed to be more "default" than the others.

                  It was the fans that decided CbN was the template for the game they wanted out of VtM, and mid-2e and later VtM writers gave fans what they wanted. The "Chicago model" for cities became how more and more Camailla (and even Anarch and some Sabbat cities) were written; cities only varied in later books as a point of contrast, and older books were revisited in the light of them being not according to the CbN setup (even if they were put out at basically the same time).

                  CofD's own take on CbN was a decent book, but isn't that well regarded because it tried to hard to lean into the idea that Chicago had become "the default WoD city" and tried to dictate a baseline that isn't what most CofD fans wanted when you compare it to later CofD setting material (esp. CofD 2e). Instead of "see what the fans want, and go with that," like what happened in the mid-90s, CofD CbN and even OPP's CbN5, are leaning into an assumed ideal that nobody at time of publishing is really the right way forward for the larger game line.

                  When I see people new to VtM with V5 talking about this in other spaces, they didn't come in with the assumption that CbN is the "default." They might like it better than London/etc. but to them it's not the "normal" city, it's just one city that caters to one way of playing the game.

                  Obviously, if you're playing in London, OPP can't do anything about that.
                  But you continue to push back on the obvious point that there isn't an isolation here.

                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  I wonder how much of that was Jason Carl going, "Guys, dial it the fuck back!"
                  Probably quite a good deal. Jason has to actually use the game, a lot, in a public facing manner. He knows what people working on other non-TTRPG material are going to have to deal with.

                  There's a reason CbN became the default, there's a reason even things like Bloodlines 1 leaned into that: it's a very easy default to on-board people into compared to most of the others out there.. It's digestible without being shallow. Most of the other VtM setting books have either been extremely shallow (V5 Anarchs) or get really hard to digest (lets go back a bit to things like Milwaukee by Night as an example).

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                  • #84
                    EDIT: Actually, I'm not sure how much that actually contributes to the conversation.
                    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 11-23-2022, 07:15 PM.


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                    • #85
                      The adoption of the Nagaraja can make a certain amount of sense. They had an alliance with the Harbingers and the della Passaglia have been chasing after Nihilistics and trying to stick their nose into the Indian subcontinent for a while now (and getting their heads cut off for it), so they'd probably be happy to get a reason to make the Nagaraja share like the Reunion.

                      Anyway, in regards to what i think they "could have done better." I was just reminded of something I usually prefer to forget about. While I praise the Family Reunion as possibly the best outcome possible of those metaplot threads, and feel the Hecata is a name that fits into the clan's origins, OPP also wrote one of my least favourite bits of VtM which is the dissolution of bloodline identity and the ruination of my favourite blood sorcery.
                      (Is anybody surprised it's the Oblivion discipline? So many people complain about that one, so nobody should be.)

                      To be fair, it's possible that as time went on things would get smoothed out and added onto, bloodlines would have their distinctions and all the paths and paradigms would get write ups in V5 oblivion discipline power/ceremony form. V5's trying to be friendly to newcomers, and an essay on several different clan subcultures/occult practices in a book that needs to cover multiple topics is a bit overwhelming, so not putting it all in at once, ok. Maybe we'd get the details in a "Clanbook Hecata" or fifth edition version of Rites of the Blood or Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy. But OPP's not writing them anymore as far as I know, and "WoD 5th edition" no longer seems to care about continuity, so if that was ever on the table I have no faith in it now. (And of course V5's necromancy is very dependent on how a WtO5 turns out, and looking at the more recent developments of V5, and all of H5 and W5, the very thought of what could be done to Wraith fills me with such horror it makes me feel like I'm having my own fucking harrowing.)

                      It's not irredeemably bad, it's just... feels like it's not finished. Like it's part of a full write up that left so many details out it does a disservice to the clans, its bloodlines, and their magical traditions in the process.

                      Now, onto the ranting.

                      1) The over-the-top stuff.
                      On the one hand its levels of edgelord are genuinely hilarious to me, but that's not really complimentary. It's not that blood sacrifice and a baseline of edginess are out of place. Necromancy is fueled by taboo/edginess, the Rossellini are edgelords, Nihilistics is ugly stuff, the Pisanob paradigm runs on blood sacrifice and Necromancy did feature the sacrifice of black barren cows unto the goth deities of the underworld and such. Could be wrong, but I believe I've heard that voudoun also features animal sacrifice.
                      It's just that V5 is going a little too hard on it. Ex-nihilo used to be a four dot "draw a door with chalk". Now it's a five dot "human sacrifice!" ritual. (My favourite path, what has been done to you!?) It feels less about blood sacrifice and dark themes because it's how a particular occult paradigm works and more about just grossing people out for the sake of it. You say it's gross and dark magic, but there's no insight or explanation as for why.

                      2) Wherefore art thou paradigms??
                      Necromancy, Nihilistics, Mortis, all of it just got torn apart and shoved in a blender. You brought back the Lamia and then just threw out the Paths of the Four Humours and Nightshade Path? Necromancy was pioneered by the Giovanni and is specifically the art of summoning the spirits of the dead, there's the Voudoun paradigm of the Samedi (to whom the Ash path was originally ascribed before being shifted to the Giovanni in V20), the thanatological focus on death and undeath in Mortis, the Vitreous Path's focus on entropy/Oblivion, the Weng and Della Passaglia's employment of Chinese traditions like feng shui and ancestor worship... The cultures, specific practices and world views unique to the bloodlines that created their practices? Wave those goodbye! We're getting vague pop-culture dark magic now, not the occult. Yes, these can be done really clumsily and need thought before putting them in (like the Haitian Vodou faith and traditional Chinese religion mentioned), but getting rid of them altogether feels like such a loss of depth, it adds to the horrible loss of bloodline identity and ughhhhhh...

                      It's a lot to put in, the vague collection of stuff just thrown in is probably reasonable considering the allotted space in a book that's not just about the clan, and it's maybe not fair to expect all of this back at once but I still don't like it. We've had vague mentions of the different styles, but nothing that really reflects that outside of fluff.

                      Yes, the Hecata are pooling their resources now, so it's possible to play a member of any bloodline and pick up the other necromantic practices. Giovanni with elements of Mortis, Cappadocian with bits of Nihilistics, etc, no complaints about that. I am very happy to live in a world where I don't have to write an essay to explain why my character knows the Ash Path, Corpse in the Monster and Vitreous Path. New rituals and stuff from blending ideas and practices is also of interest. There's an upside in this, but the bloodlines and paradigms shouldn't just disappear into each other overnight like this.

                      And my absolute least favourite part with zero upside: why are the rituals dependent on what discipline powers you picked?? It's not bad enough that we can only have a limited amount of the damn things, we're even locked out of specific necromantic rituals too??
                      And then there's the notion of Lasombra using necromancy and I develop a violent eye twitch in response. That's not OPP's thing though, just... eeugh. No in principal

                      (I also really don't like the loss of all the weaknesses because the necromancers had the coolest weaknesses ever, and would have picked the cappadocian or samedi weakness if I really had to pick just one, but that's a lesser concern to me.)
                      Last edited by Rhywbeth; 11-25-2022, 06:40 PM.

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                      • #86
                        I think a big part of the reason that all of that was simplified was because it's now intended as the stat block for the antagonists. You're not supposed to work towards playing a Dread Necromancer. You're a neonate with such high humanity, low bane-rating, and low disciplines that you are practically human. The Dread Necromancer is the sire you are going to kill using the subtle advantages inherent in high humanity, low bane-rating, and the understanding of modern technology. You don't need attractive discipline options because you're never going to get enough discipline points for that to matter. The NPC sire doesn't need a lot of discipline options because he's just a monster stat-block, and ultimately just there for you to kill.

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                        • #87
                          Also, you're not really intended to be using Necromancy/Obteneration to begin with, or at least not very often. That's why you gain Stains every time you use one of those Disciplines. So from the writer perspective, spending a bunch of time writing up a Discipline that PCs aren't really intended to be using is not a great place to spend wordcount.

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                          • #88
                            You don't gain a Stain every time you use the power (and there are ways to focus on powers within the Discipline that don't risk it), you have a chance of gaining a Stain, which depending on what else you do that session, probably isn't going to have your risk of Humanity that bad.

                            Of course, since it's a randomized system, there's always the chance the dice hate you and your Humanity sinks after a few uses of the Discipline. There's equally a chance you can use it frequently for a decently long period of play and never feel much of a sting too.

                            None of which is to say that this approach makes the Discipline more fun to use in light of the additional risk of penalties none of the others have, but it's not as bad as it could be.

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                            • #89
                              You're right that you don't gain Stains every time you use it, though there is a risk of doing so every time you use it.

                              It's the only Discipline that gives Stains like that, and taking Stains is something that's generally only going to apply to PCs (it's not really a mechanic that will be overly meaningful to NPCs). It seems like that particular mechanic was added in order to encourage PCs to avoid using those powers and to punish them if they rely on them too heavily. From a meta perspective, you can't really wall off Disciplines as NPC only territory but it certainly feels like they built a bit of a low fence around it.

                              Ultimately they don't really want player characters investing heavily into operating as Necromancers (or "Shadow Wizards").

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                              • #90
                                I've always got the impression it was just a bad idea which made it through development. They thought it sounded cool but didn't consider the practicalities of it.

                                WoD/op has had the whole "power at a price" thing for a while now but often struggles with the cost/reward ration and the dynamic with other powers. Usually resulting in "powers which totally suck." Instead. It could have worked if oblivion was op as hell but like most v5 disciplines you don't get your bang for you buck.
                                Last edited by Ragged Robin; 11-26-2022, 07:12 AM.

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