No announcement yet.

V5 can anyone learn Dementation

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Nothing really, because what we do with them matters more than just that we play them.

    A quick thought experiment game to illustrate my point:

    You win a huge sum of money that, even after taxes and fees and whatever, still leaves you ridiculously rich. What do you do with it?

    There's two key parts to this. The first is that it's open ended "what do you do?" because the goal is to elicit answers from people that are self-reflective. You're also probably going to figure out who's at least thought about how money works at the ultra-rich levels where you essentially get paid for being rich (aka people that are going to talk about starting non-profits to combat a social ill vs. those that would just give away the money) pretty fast, and there's a bunch of branching questions one could ask depending on how deep you wanted to go.

    The second part is that the actual amount of money isn't really specified. While there are some obvious real world benchmarks for specific activities one could want to do (buy Twitter for example), the exact figure isn't really important. What people assume that value is, is almost as telling as what they would do with it.

    Beyond that, to get back to V5 and it's Discipline structure, is that the thought exercise of what you do with power breaks down if you don't feel powerful. Whether you want to play Batman, or you want to play a tormented souls cursed to damnation as their great power comes with greater consequences, you still need a power level that matches the stakes.


    • #17
      I often asked myself what would I do if I ever won like 50 million dollars and outside of safe investments, buying a new car and home and maybe travel somewhat. I'm not sure what I would do with the rest of my free time. I'm not a big spender in general.

      What in the name of Set and Malkav is going on.


      • #18
        OK, the point wasn't really to get into the full thought experiment here.

        I don't want to dig too much into that, but to jump off to powers and all: But lets use money as a stand in for Disciplines and talk about trying to gain control of humans via indirect methods. So you want to buy some politicians by being such a huge campaign donor they're going to want to keep you happy. US President and US Senators are off the table. You don't have the money to give them enough to make them a servant to your interests. You might be able to be one of many voices pushing around a Senator from a smaller state. US Representative or state-wide officials? Maybe, again, this is going to be area dependent, but that also means the more powerful and the more their influence matters, the less you can actually do to secure your power over them. California, Florida, New York, or Texas? Yeah, having 50 million sill means you're not a major donor even at that level. Remember, they want someone that can give them lots and lots of money every year, not a one time big payout.

        So now we're getting into county or more local politicians. Keep in mind that Eric Adams, the current mayor of NYC, raised $8.6 million for one race. He'd certainly want to keep someone that can donate a few hundred thousand every few years happy, but your support isn't making/breaking his political future.

        I can keep going, but I think I'm painting a decent picture. $50 million sounds like a lot of money, because it is a lot of money... if you just want to live a quiet comfortable personal life. But if you want to be someone with power? It's a lot less than it sounds like. Vampires obviously have tools besides money, but if you nerf their Disciplines they can't be the corrupting parasites twisting human society towards their needs effectively. If vampires are going to struggle to "own" the mayor of a city of ~250K people, the idea of being seriously powerful players in cities with populations in the millions is kinda laughable.


        • #19
          The V5 Disciplines seem to be designed, on one level, to weaken Disciplines. But on another level, it seems the designers also wanted to do away with unique Disciplines, so now everything is an amalgam of a standard, more readily accessible Discipline.

          However, one of the complaints about the old unique Disciplines was that too many people wanted to take them, diluting the themes of the game and making the standard powers seem less appealing in comparison.

          By including everything as an amalgam, you remove the second problem (sort of), in that the standard Disciplines now contain all the cool stuff too. But you exacerbate the first problem in the process.

          Previously, I wouldn't have thought about taking Obeah unless I was playing a Salubri. And it was easy enough for an ST to say "no Obeah if you're a Harbinger of Skulls". But now, if you have Auspex and Fortitude, Obeah is suddenly on the table for you, so an even broader range of players are going to consider taking it than even before. That can lead to some quite jarring characters, thematically.

          And if lots of vampires suddenly have Obeah, that's a lot of mystical healer/"soulstealer" vampires, which changes the setting significantly (e.g., why are the Salubri so hated and reviled as "soulstealers" when Bob the Keeper also has Obeah, and so does your old contact Phil across town?).

          In hindsight, one of the great things about the original Disciplines (for me) was the fixed progression. My first RPG was VTM, so when I first played D&D, I encountered so many choices I felt overwhelmed. Now, as a GM running multiple games across different systems, I can clearly see that I am not unique in this -- decision paralysis is an ongoing problem for newbies in any system.
          FIxed progression of powers made chargen much faster, avoided trap builds and reduced decision paralysis. It made it much easier to ignore shiny distractions, because you knew you couldn't get Obtenebration 4 without first having Obtenebration 1-3. You also didn't need to plan your progression ahead of time, because the second power always followed the first.

          As is, in V5, if you're a Hecata who picks the wrong Oblivion powers at chargen, or even later on, you might block yourself from taking thematically appropriate powers later on. New players are particularly susceptible to such trap builds, because older players are likely to be more aware that mixing Obtenebration and Necromancy powers is probably not going to be ideal (simply because of their own preconceived ideas of the game).

          The game almost needs clear power trees, like Exalted (but much simpler, obviously), so you can see which powers lead on to which other powers more readily. But then things basically start looking like Discipline paths (e.g., as with Valeren, Quietus, and the blood magic Disciplines), which then makes me wonder if that wasn't just a better idea in the first place? Paths do the hard work for the players, and you can also house rule (or have optional rules) to break the rails and add in some flexibility afterwards.

          So instead of Vicissitude and Protean as two Disciplines (or Protean as a mashup of itself, Vicissitude and Serpentis), you could have one Discipline called Protean with separate secondary paths called Vicissitude and Serpentis within that. You don't need to plan which powers you take now to get the powers you want later, because you know that going down one path is all you need to do. And like Valeren and Quietus in previous editions, some of those paths may share the odd power where needed, so you don't need to make up five unique powers just to fill up the path.

          For more flexibility, you can have an optional rule that allows players to "cross the streams" on an ad hoc basis, dipping into a path for one or two powers, with ST approval. That way, you can pick up that nifty Serpentis power that's really appropriate to your Gangrel character concept, but there are guide rails built in as standard so that Disciplines are much more easily navigable for those who want simplicity. As a side benefit, if STs don't want certain powers in the game, they can just say "primary paths only please" or "no Vicissitude" without checking every single power in every single book.
          Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 04-13-2023, 05:37 AM.

          Writer, publisher, performer
          Mostly he/his, sometimes she/her IRL


          • #20
            The reduction of disciplines is one of the great changes of 5th edition, in my opinion.

            But it does have some flaws, like inability to increase the amounts of powers, and power-bloat adding more choices, in top of making it harder for newer players to pick and choose among them.
            I do not mind that the “wrong” clan could pick up what was previously a clan-discipline, but I would also like to see a lot more of them, and where available more evenly spread. For instance the old demenetation featured disciplines bordering to Auspex, dominate and obfuscate, so if one wanted, powers could be added in all of them, not only Dominate.

            Another strength of the system is its modular structure.
            Hard choices every level? Let the characters have all they qualify for. Or two, or three. Or each level giving that amount of points to “buy” powers with, so at 5 in a discipline, you would have 15 levels worth of powers. With the exception of the scaling level 1 passive powers, this would mostly just give options, and feel less static.
            Houserules are hardly anything new, I just like how each component of the game can easily be changed without having a large impact on the rest.


            • #21
              The idea of reducing the number of Disciplines is good, but the execution is lacking because in the end, 15 powers is 15 powers. Spread out over three Disciplines or combined into one Discipline it's the same amount of stuff to deal with in terms of character widgets and capabilities.

              The only way V5 really made there be a difference between one Discipline with 15 powers, vs. three Disciplines with five powers each, is by the very unfun cap on how many powers you can get per Discipline.