The Gaming Den Forum Index The Gaming Den
Welcome to the Gaming Den.
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Google
 Search WWW   Search tgdmb.com 
Anatomy of Failed Design: Vampire
Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 17, 18, 19  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Gaming Den Forum Index -> In My Humble Opinion...
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27023

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:36 pm    Post subject: Anatomy of Failed Design: Vampire Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Anatomy of Failed Design
Vampire: the Masquerade

Lokey wrote:
I wonder if there's a more general Vampire: the * topic to go over this stuff in. RAW (as wonky as they are), as long as you're not saddled with disciplines (which of course means power gaming the crap out of character creation) that suck and you can reliably get a few blood points per day, you're good to slowly build whatever power structure you want. The problem is the horrid setting/npcs: they're there to keep you from doing anything interesting.

Guess I'd like Frank to unpack his vampires that can't feed themselves comment, because that's the main problems of the system in a nutshell.


Yeah, that seems like a thing we could do. Vampire: the Masquerade is a thing we talk about a fair bit. Because it has a really good pitch and has gotten so many of us laid. But also because it is a flaming trainwreck which almost invariably fails to deliver on its promises even on seemingly trivial shit. It fails to motivate players to do the things they are supposed to do (when was the last time you saw anyone even consider transforming themselves back into a human?), it fails to hold up at all when considered in any depth. But let's do this piece by piece, because there are a lot of pieces.

The Mechanics

OK, the Mechanics of White Wolf games are awful. They just kept being awful through the company's entire publishing history. We went in a little bit into how fucking bad they were in the NWOD Anatomy of Failed Design, but it really needs to be said many many times: Vampire had a shitty system. That doesn't mean there weren't clever bits here and there, and we'll get to those. But the core system was an incomplete and incompetent last minute conversion of a d10 roll-over system into a dicepool system. It didn't work at all, and White Wolf authors have mostly taken to just spouting random shit under the idea that the audience was just going to ignore the rules anyway. Which of course they would, because the rules were so shit. When nWoD came around, they actually tried to make a half decent system and they failed. The later authors eventually gave up pretending to care what those rules were and went back to their safety blanket: spouting random shit under the assumption that the audience was going to ignore it all anyway.

Vampire had shit mechanics that the audience was encouraged to not use. And the writers of the expansion material had no idea what the mechanics even were because they fucking ignored them all. So the result is that not only are the mechanics incomprehensible bullshit, but they aren't even the same incomprehensible bullshit book to book or even chapter to chapter.

Vampire badly needed someone to write a decent set of core mechanics and then force all subsequent authors to use them or explicitly update them if they were going to do that. Like nWoD, if hypothetically nWoD had had a mechanical system that wasn't completely asstastic. As is, there's really no point in talking about what the RAW even is, because the rules aren't written coherently enough for that to be a thing. Everything that is written is written to the heavily mindcaulked headcanon of whatever author is writing at the moment, and there is no consistent framework to be found anywhere. So throughout this rant, I'm gonna stay away from the nitty gritty details of what the dice mechanics imply, because no one actually plays them as written and it just doesn't matter. We are instead critiquing the design of the game's concepts.

The Care and Feeding of Vampires

Vampire: the Masquerade posits vampires who have to drink a tenth of a human's blood every night just to stay alive. And then drink even more to use a lot of their powers, heal, or have sex. A tenth of a human's blood is about a pint of blood. Now, Vampire: the Masquerade never really thought through what that means, and is stupid and contradictory about how much you can drink from an individual. But in the real world, a healthy modern human is able to give a pint of blood about once every 56 days. This means that every vampire who isn't leaving a giant pile of corpses in their wake needs to have a herd of 56 people times their burn rate. Most vampires have more than 10 blood traits, and could plausibly be spending them all every night, which implies a herd need of several hundred per vampire. If you do want to leave a trail of corpses in your wake, the trail of corpses is huge. Each dead human only gives you ten pints, so that's 35 dead humans a year times your burn rate. A vampire who uses their powers or heals injuries or any of that shit is looking at killing hundreds of people a year.

Now let's consider what this means for secrecy. First of all, famous serial killers generally kill less than twenty people. Jeffrey Dahmer famously murdered seventeen people in his 13 year reign of terror. If you are killing people for food in this game, you will need to kill that many in less than six months. One vampire, anywhere in the world, who is regularly feeding by draining human victims dry is a murder spree of international notoriety that strains the Masquerade to the breaking point. Vampire: the Masquerade implies that a significant fraction of vampires do this – indeed that they have no other choice. But consider what this means even for keeping the secret among vampires who don't kill their prey. They are sinking their fangs into hundreds of people, six or seven times a year for each person. Vampires get orgasmic bites and can heal up the puncture wounds from their fangs, but this is obviously way too big a circle to possibly keep a secret if there isn't any magic preventing them from blabbing. JFK couldn't get his dick wet in Marilyn Monroe without that eventually becoming public knowledge. Two people can only keep a secret if one of them is dead and we're talking about hundreds of people for every vampire.

Now, magical compulsions to not go blabbing exist. You could make ghouls, or use the Dominate power. Now, Ghouls don't help in the slightest. They need to drink one of your blood points every month, and they are still regular humans so you can only take one pint of their blood every 8 weeks. So keeping each ghoul maintained is only a small strain on your herd size, it's still a net negative so that's just a failure to launch. The Dominate power is more interesting. With three dots of it, you can rewrite peoples' memories for short periods of time. So you can drink blood from people and make them think something else happened – no knowledge, no blabbing. The Masquerade is secure, for people who have three dots of Dominate. You can also feed off animals (well, some vampires can). You make animals freak the fuck out unless you have the Animalism power. So broadly speaking, anyone who has access to Animalism or Dominate could plausibly keep the Masquerade even while drinking blood every night. Presence would allow you to get people to agree to be drunk from, which is enough to keep the Masquerade going for a few nights – but obviously and laughably insufficient to keep things going year after year without your shenanigans becoming public knowledge.

Of the 13 basic clans, four and a half of them have Dominate (Malkavians either get Dominate or Dementation, and if they get the latter they have no means to feed); four of them have Animalism; three of them have Presence only, and the Assamites (and Dementor Malkavians) can go die in a fire. Later on they produced a bunch more bloodlines like City Gangrel and Samedi who, like the Assamites, have no means in their clan powers to feed in secret.

But remember, having a magic power available to your clan is not the same thing as having a magic power available to you. Each clan has three disciplines and each starting vampire gets three dots to distribute between those disciplines. The only power which convincingly allows vampires to drink human blood without having everyone in the whole damn world know that they are doing it requires all three dots to be placed in Dominate. And that's only an option for four and a half of the clans. Even laying aside the clans and bloodlines that have no access to feeding abilities, even most vampires in the clans which provide access to those powers won't actually have them. What you have is a situation where a super majority of vampires won't be able to successfully cover up their own feeding for years if ever.

Just for starters, the amount of blood you get out of people is ridiculous. Vampires should be taking considerably less than a pint of blood. Also, in the real world, the loss of 10% of your blood is a non-issue while the loss of 40% of your blood is life threatening. Draining someone to death could be the taking of 10 blood traits, but they'd still have ten more blood traits to drain. That wouldn't solve the serial killer issues, but it would be less completely fucking ridiculous. But it would certainly help a lot if you could get two traits from one human or feed off them once a month without getting them really sick. For one thing, it would mean that you could could stay even on drinking from and feeding your ghouls.

But the real bottom line is that vampires who don't have the ability to feed themselves in secret can't exist if they are supposed to feed themselves and be secret. Means of feeding night to night really do need to come free with your Cheerios. It's OK, good even, if different kinds of vampires have different means of securing their breakfast, but they all need to have one. It's not negotiable.

Demographics

White Wolf never really put any thought into how many vampires there really were or how many vampires were in any of their factions. And there are a lot of factions. And each of those factions have a lot of ranks.

When actual numbers get spouted off, they are invariably laughable. Like how in Exalted there is a “Silver Faction” of Sidereals who are defined as being a minority of a 10% of a group of 100 (meaning: four or less people in the “faction”). But for Vampire in particular they couldn't be anything but laughable one way or the other. Vampires are apex predators, so their numbers have to be very small (remember that the world contains only 2,500 Bengal Tigers). But the game has multiple sects, thirteen official clans, dozens of bloodlines, conspiracies, inner circles, Multiple generations, and so on and so forth.



To consider how this works, imagine for the moment that there is a character who is an elite 8th Generation Ravnos Sabbat member in the Black Hand. We will for the moment pretend that the True Hand and all its accompanying levels of secrecy aren't a real thing. Now first of all, this character is represented on a Venn diagram as the intersection of four different circles (8th Generation, Sabbat, Ravnos, and Black Hand). And all four of those descriptors are supposed to represent a tiny minority of the comparative whole while still being larger than other things. The 8th generation is smaller than the 9th generation which is smaller than the 10th, which is smaller than the 11th, which is smaller than the 12th, which is smaller than the 13th;but still larger than the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th generations. The Sabbat is smaller than the Camarilla and the Independents, but still larger than the Anarch Movement or the Inconnu. The Ravnos clan is smaller than any of the seven main clans, but larger than any of the numerous minor lines like the Baali and Osirians. The Black Hand is a tiny faction inside the Sabbat, but it is still more numerous and powerful than the traitor Infernalists that they hunt. Within the Sabbat, the Ravnos are an under-represented clan, where considerably more Sabbat members subscribe to major Sabbat clans like Tzimisce and Lasombra, but the Sabbat Ravnos are still more of a thing than obscure crap like the Blood Brothers and Serpents of the Light.

Our 8th generation Sabbat Black Hand Ravnos is thus a minority of a minority of a minority of a minority, and in each case we are asked to believe that he is a minority by a degree of more than 10:1. And despite this fact, we are still given to understand that there are others several orders of magnitude more obscure than that. For there to be even one 5th generation Old Clan Tzimisce Inconnu, how many millions of 13th generation Camarilla Brujah must there be to accommodate that many “more common than” statements?

Basically, supernatural demographics can have two problems. Either there aren't enough people for your secret conspiracies to be more than just the anime club at your high school, or there are so many supernaturals under every rock that it strains credibility that society functions at all. Vampire: the Masquerade has so many nested groupings that it manages to achieve both problems. Each conspiracy doesn't have enough manpower to be more than the ravings of a couple amigos who meet for game night of Tuesdays, but there are so many of these things ranked in numbers that by the time you scroll up to the big picture you have more than half of America in on the vampire conspiracy all pretending to all the other ghouls that they don't know.

Special snowflakism takes the demographics problems that Vampires necessarily have and turns them up to 11. Vampires already have to be pretty rare, or the secret part doesn't really work. So you can't really have more than a level or two of rarity inside that. Vampire: the Masquerade has eleven. Seriously, eleven layers of increasing rarity and specialness. It's completely ridiculous. Every demographic you introduce that's “rare” actually increases the minimum total population by a lot. Remember that if one group is a minority, the total (minority + majority) must be more than twice their numbers.

Now it should be said that nWoD started with a decent idea about nipping this particular kind of proliferation. Since anyone could found a bloodline of their own and we didn't have to trace back ten generations to one of the 13 founders or any of that shit, each of special groups could just be eight dudes terrorizing a town in Wales or some damn thing. That's a defensible design decision. Of course, such groups are politically meaningless by definition. It's not a demographic or an interest group, it's just those eight dudes terrorizing a town in Wales. And nWoD is on record as having ballzed it all up by making book after book of shovelware filled with descriptions of bloodlines. It wasn't that such a thing necessarily implied millions of vampires far in excess of what the Masquerade could possibly contain – it's just that the setting lost focus and became shitty and incomprehensible. Which is of course the other problem with content bloat of this kind.

Creatures of Darkness

Vampires in Vampire have a big problem with sunlight and fire. That's defensible from a folklore standpoint, but it's obviously problematic. Very notably, Dracula wasn't unable to handle sunlight, he was just weaker during the day. If he had been literally unable to take a blast of sunlight to the face, he wouldn't have gotten anywhere with his evil schemes. In a modern setting, this works at all, but only just. A lot of shit only happens when the sun is up, and while you can do things with electric lights, it's very limited indeed. But if you scale things back to any kind of past at all, things don't work at all. You can't interact with people as anything but a whispered voice from under the bed if there isn't any light, and before 1880, literally all of the light was generated by fire or the sun. All of it. So you can't have any vampire counts or vampires in posh clothes having their portraits taken or any of that shit.

Remember, Toreador are supposed to hang out with artists doing art wanky salon shit. Ventrue are supposed to have evil business meetings. Vampires need to hang out where people are doing people things. They can do it at night (or at least, mostly at night), but people have to fucking be around. And if vampires have to spend all their time hermetically sealed from all light sources, they can't do that. Because humans do all their interactions except fucking in the light. Even when they do things at night they still bring light with them. To add insult to retardedness, the vampires in Masquerade don't even have any special ability to navigate in darkness. So they are not only incapable of hanging out with historical figures, their history is one of stumbling around in the dark like a radio comedy.

What this means is that the limitations on vampires are way too big, and it ends up requiring a whole lot of mind caulk to keep the setting moving at all. Sunlight actually setting vampires on fire is a cool device, but it doesn't work. If you're going to have a cooperative storytelling setting with the vampires as anything other than cave dwelling beasts, they need to be able to stand fire and sunlight. They can find it distasteful or even uncomfortable, but they have to be able to be in its fucking presence.

An Unliving Heart

Why do vampires bleed if you cut them?

That seems like a weird question, because all living creatures bleed when you cut them. But that's just it – living creatures bleed. They bleed because their blood is pressurized by their hearts. We call arteries arteries because the ancients thought they were filled with air. When a creature dies and their heart stops pumping, the arteries empty and the blood starts collecting in the veins of whatever part of the body is hanging down.

What this means is that if you go with the metaphor of the heart not beating, then vampires wouldn't bleed from their necks. If there is any blood in them, you'd get it out by cutting their feet and leaving them to drain. Or by stringing them up by their feet and cutting the throat. Either way, it would be a slow process, because when the heart isn't beating it's all unpressurized and you're basically just waiting for the whole body to drip dry. Like if you had a really wet carpet and you couldn't unroll it.

This would all be fine if the general rule was that drinking from a vampire was pretty much impossible because their hearts don't work. But Vampire: the Masquerade doesn't want that. It wants vampires doing all kinds of kinky blood drinking games, which requires the blood to be pressurized. And that, in turn, means that they need to not have that WoD bullshit about having a dead heart and stagnant veins.

Similarly, Vampire: the Masquerade can't get its shit together on whether vampires should count as living creatures for poison and disease. If vampires don't rot and are room temperature they shouldn't be able to carry or spread most diseases. Real disease causing organisms usually live in live humans, which are 37 degrees, they don't generally live that long outside the human body, which is what a sterile room temperature vampire basically would be. Similarly, if you fill a corpse's belly or veins with formaldehyde or arsenic, nothing happens to it.

The basic degree to which a vampire in Vampire: the Masquerade is basically a person or basically inanimate is in no way consistent book to book or even page to page. It's all poetry, with the vampire being as life like or corpselike as each author requires for whatever rant they are making at the time. Which makes it incredibly hard to tell a cooperative story. Obviously, I'm of the opinion that vampires should get their dicks wet and drink wine and bleed copiously when stabbed. Because stories about sumptuous vampires are way more fun to whack off to than stories about frigid vampires. They can and should cry tears of blood and such, but being actually corpselike in almost any specific is simply not fun to talk about. You can get plenty mopey and wear stockings on your arms and whatever else you want and still get an erection.

Physical Disciplines

Being “super strong” is a kinda weird power. We get that there are characters who are super strong and there are characters that are super strong. Dracula had the strength of twenty men, which is pretty impressive, but the Hekatonkheires picked up fucking mountains and beat Cronus with them, and that's a different scale of strength altogether. Unsurprisingly, we get our most easily accessible depictions of super strength from our current media: TV shows, movies, and comic books. And our media being what it is, that means that to talk about super strength in a way that is at all intelligible, we have to talk about super heroes. Now White Wolf got a fucking dick rash whenever they talked about super heroes, so it probably won't surprise you that they never did that. So rather than answering the question of how much Potence you needed to be TV Hulk and how much Potence you needed to be Movie Hulk they just... didn't do that. I really have no idea how super strong you're supposed to be with any level of Potence, and because of that I have no way to tell you if it's any good as a problem solving tool. The rules for how much damage you did when you hit people with a tire iron were as defined as anything in the system, but that wasn't terribly impressive. But as we've mentioned earlier, the mechanics were a tire fire, so I can't tell if that is because the strength is supposed to be kinda crap or if the mechanics are just failing to perform to expectations.

The presentation of it being used was wildly schizophrenic. Sometimes they'd talk about ripping cars to pieces with your bare hands or hurling them around like a jobber. And sometimes, they'd freak the fuck out about how you were a “Vampions” player if you even contemplated such actions.


I could get behind that level of super strength, but clearly some of the authors could not.

Now, regardless of how strong the super strength made you, it's a fairly difficult to sell all the punching, lifting, jumping, and throwing in the world as being much the equal of, say, mind control. You'd have to be really very strong to compete at the level of even the most trivial mentalists in the game. But to ramp up the obnoxiousness, Potence didn't do one of the things that super strength does in every piece of source material you've ever seen or heard about: it didn't make you supertough. There are characters who are invulnerable without being super strong of course, but there is not now and never has been a character with super strength who wasn't also tougher than normal. However, in Vampire: the Masquerade, super toughness was 100% mediated by Fortitude, which wasn't normally even available to the same vampires. Even with maxxed out super strength, you would still go down when some completely normal person hit you in the face with a shovel.


Super strength or no, your vampire lacks the superior resilience of a muppet.

But perhaps the biggest sin of Potence was that Ghouls had it, and the vampires who made ghouls honestly might not. If you were a vampire, and you gave your blood to a human to drink, that human got Potence. You didn't need to have Potence or come from a clan that gave Potence. So if you were a Settite, and all your vampire powers were about clouding the minds of men, and your whole vampire shtick was that you were physically basically just a guy, your ghouls still got potence. And if they stayed ghouls for a long time, they could get a bunch of Potence. And if you subsequently embraced them as a Setite, they still had Potence. Even though Setites do not in fact have Potence. And this would be a totally important way to get around clan restrictions on Potence, if hypothetically Potence wasn't shit. But of course it was, and no one gave a rat's ass about finding a workaround for the clan restrictions on Potence.

Fortitude had a big problem as well. All it did was make you take less damage (the nWoD version manages to do even less, which is insanity). But you only take damage when you interact with White Wolf die rolling mechanics. And that is something you do not want to do. Fortitude mathematically didn't really work, and like with Potence I have no idea if that's intentional or not. But it's just really problematic as a power. You take less damage from stuff, that's it. Invulnerability is a pretty sweet super hero power, but it's hard to think about it in terms of levels. Do you honestly care whether Hulk or The Thing are more invulnerable? It matters in comic book fights, but not in any kind of street level engagement. If you can bounce bullets off your manly chest, it's not really important what the upper limits are most of the time. I have difficulty articulating what five (let alone ten) sequential dots of progressive invulnerability would mean in words, so it's no surprise that White Wolf never bothered even trying, and the mechanical increments were all crap.

And finally, there's Celerity. Celerity bogs the game down horribly and people who have Celerity completely dominate combat over people who don't (and nonetheless try to compete in the area of hitting other people with weapons rather than using “save or lose” mind magic). This caused a lot of people to believe that Celerity was “over powered.” But the reality was that combat was simply bad, and the only thing you could do to meaningfully impact the flow of combat was to take more actions. So having a posse of dudes or Celerity was really the only way to do noticeably better than any random dude with a shotgun in the arena of combat. It was so much worse in nWoD, but even in Vampire it was just demonstrably true that (in part because Potence and Fortitude were so bullshit) hitting three times was so drastically better than hitting once that anyone without a crew or Celerity could fuck right off. And combats bogged down so hard when you brought extra dudes that people mostly just didn't let you do it even though having a modest gang was very cheap. Which basically left combat as the Celerity show. But again and still: not because Celerity produced effects that were overpowered (by the book, Celerity 5 was less impressive than 3 background points worth of allies), but simply because everything else you'd do in the narrow arena of people hitting each other in an actual arena was so terribly, terribly bad.

What this all meant was that physical disciplines were dead space in clan power lists. A “combat” character only wanted or needed Celerity because everything else was a waste of space. And of the basic clans, the ones sold to us as “combat” clans didn't mesh up all that well with which ones had Celerity. We were presented various fighter style archetypes for Gangrel and Nosferatu, but that was a joke. The only halfway decent combat clan in the basic book was Toreador. Flavor fail.


Not worthwhile as a warrior. I'm totally positive this was not intentional.


Best combatant in the game. I'm totally positive this was not intentional either.

Basically the physical disciplines didn't do anything right. They should have given distinct powers, but also they shouldn't have belonged to any of the clans at all. You should have gotten a Potence power, a Celerity power, and a Fortitude power just for showing up as a vampire. And you should have been able to buy more of them regardless of what clan you were a member of. So the Ghoul shtick of just getting physical powers and starting with only one of them would be a thing that would actually make sense for all the clans. Also, it would leave the door open for all the clans to get disciplines that actually did things.




This essay is going on a bit long, so I'm gonna post it in sections.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Wiseman
Duke


Joined: 09 Mar 2012
Posts: 1131
Location: lost... HELP!

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So what would make a good vampire game? I ask because I really like vampires, but everything I've heard makes games about vampires seem to suck. What would make one work? What fluff, mechanics and so forth would make one that was acceptable.
_________________
Check out my RP site!

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lokey
Journeyman


Joined: 13 Oct 2015
Posts: 111

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

There's never one right answer to that.

Generally the same that makes any game decent enough to have fun with out of box: a good idea of what a starting pc will be able to do and how they can affect the world. Being able to not starve to death in a few days is probably a good start.

Rules should be easy to pick up but capable of resolving as many things and as free from oversights as possible. Care has to be taken between player abilities that deal in totally different arenas i.e. magic vs mundane.

But probably should keep this thread about VtM, and the amount of this isn't the way to do things object lessons it has to offer.

-----

They address the number of vamps in some ways: lots of the big bads are on ice at least in the main rules (of course you still have to burn blood chilling in your coffin)...granted there's still lots to say about how the backstory (vamps running everything) just isn't supported by the rule structure.

As we saw in the other thread, there's lots of different stuff in the rules about feeding and what happens when you feed: i.e. whether your fangs always do lethal damage or not (the kind that takes forever to heal and lands you in a hospital), or if it's acceptable to just use a syringe.


Last edited by Lokey on Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
DrPraetor
Knight-Baron


Joined: 02 Apr 2009
Posts: 814

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I would make it a hack of After Sundown.

For starters, you can dispense with all the other supernaturals (or just declare them to be antagonists that you might use later), and you can:

  • Ramp up the penalty for activity during the day, to somewhere between After Sundown and V:tM. Only plays at night is a problem in a cooperative game unless everyone has it. The degree to which vampires are night dependent in V:tM is still a problem historically, but even if five minutes of full exposure to sunlight kills you, if you can still be in the living room during the day as long as you don't stand in front of the window, that works out.

  • You could use most of the teams, powers, etc. from After Sundown more or less unaltered - just everybody is vampires (or the oracles and Marduk Project are supernatural non-vampire adversaries, if that's something you want). You'd want to introduce more flavors of vampire to further subset Frank's 3 types, but this wouldn't take very long.
    You might declare some of the demons to be vampires and give them a feeding schedule instead. The various carnivorous plants could also be vampires - that's a folkloric classic, actually.

  • You'd need some more vampire-specific house rules about how fresh blood has to be and what happens if you try to go to the dentist.

  • Some of the powers from After Sundown might want to be vampire-generic abilities: not-dying from being staked through the heart (or other designated organ injuries) if you're into that, you might want to bring blood-bonds or Torpor back as a thing, and so forth.
    _________________
    Chaosium rules are made of unicorn pubic hair and cancer. --AncientH
    When you talk, all I can hear is "DunningKruger" over and over again like you were a god damn Pokemon. --Frank
  • Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Prak
    Serious Badass


    Joined: 07 Mar 2008
    Posts: 16095

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    On the subject of blood in the vampire body, I tend to prefer to think of the transformation into vampire rearranging the organs in the torso to basically wire up the stomach to the heart to act as reservoir and pump, while everything else becomes meaningless. Admittedly, this doesn't do anything for the weird blood play games.
    _________________
    Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
    The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


    Winnah wrote:
    No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


    FrankTrollman wrote:
    In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

    You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    hyzmarca
    Prince


    Joined: 14 Mar 2011
    Posts: 3412

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:44 am    Post subject: Re: Anatomy of Failed Design: Vampire Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    FrankTrollman wrote:


    Best combatant in the game. I'm totally positive this was not intentional either.


    They named the clan Bullfighter. I think that it was intentional. They were just supposed to be the fast and flamboyant fighters. It just turns out that fast is awesome.

    Really, if have a clan of clan vampires called Clan Bullfighter you'd expect them to kill bulls.


    Last edited by hyzmarca on Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:23 am; edited 3 times in total
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Grek
    Prince


    Joined: 11 Jan 2009
    Posts: 2606

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Someone explain to me what stops a vampire from just eating a non-cooperative animal.
    _________________
    Quote:
    But more importantly if you elevate jerkishness into a principle, if you try to undermine the rules that keep niceness, community, and civilization going, the defenses against social cancer – then your movement will fracture, it will be hugely embarrassing, the atmosphere will become toxic, unpopular people will be thrown to the mob, everyone but the thickest-skinned will bow out, and the people you need to convince will view you with a mixture of terror and loathing.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    name_here
    Prince


    Joined: 07 Mar 2008
    Posts: 3341

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Makes noise, attracts attention.
    _________________
    DSMatticus wrote:
    It's not just that everything you say is stupid, but that they are Gordian knots of stupid that leave me completely bewildered as to where to even begin. After hearing you speak Alexander the Great would stab you and triumphantly declare the puzzle solved.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Silent Wayfarer
    Knight-Baron


    Joined: 21 Jun 2009
    Posts: 897

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Prak wrote:
    On the subject of blood in the vampire body, I tend to prefer to think of the transformation into vampire rearranging the organs in the torso to basically wire up the stomach to the heart to act as reservoir and pump, while everything else becomes meaningless. Admittedly, this doesn't do anything for the weird blood play games.


    I always thought that the Vitae in the vampire was the person in question, and the body itself was just a human suit.
    _________________
    If your religion is worth killing for, please start with yourself.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message AIM Address MSN Messenger
    Ancient History
    Invincible Overlord


    Joined: 18 Aug 2010
    Posts: 11274

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Ironically, oWoD and nWoD tried to push a couple of alternative feeding strategies for necromancers - involving, variously, the blood of the dead, bone marrow from the dead, flesh from the dead, and a wraith's corpus - usually with some drawback - and in nWoD even had powers for drinking breath and whatnot, which were borrowed largely from Kindred of the East. And we're probably all familiar with stuff like Masai blood-milk in Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom and Setite beer-brewing (ritual that turned 1 point of vitae into 3 - but only for ghouls). Hell, they even had a system of artificial vitae-production in Dark Ages Vampire - granted, it required interaction with DA Mage and drove the vampire insane after a while.

    But this is the sort of dumpster-diving bullshit you want to avoid, especially since every different writer of Vampire had different ideas regarding what was "appropriate" for the setting - so most of these occupied some sort of grey area, with more questions raised than answered.
    _________________
    The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    DrPraetor
    Knight-Baron


    Joined: 02 Apr 2009
    Posts: 814

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Grek wrote:
    Someone explain to me what stops a vampire from just eating a non-cooperative animal.


    Okay, Grek - go out, hunt down a wolf, and drink it's blood. I'll wait.

    If Brujah (for example) had especially *impressive* physical powers, that would be one thing - but given a Brujah is basically a guy except that you can burn blood for physical traits (not a great way to start off this calculation...) you kinda need charm animal for this to work.

    In modern nights, weak blooded vampires *obviously* just feed off of domestic cattle. This is simultaneously a setting failure (since vampires are supposed to go around drinking people blood, that's the whole point), and a history failure since fresh, low-gen vampires don't have enough disciplines to kill a deer without modern weapons *and* I think they can't survive on animal blood anyway (I forget which generation that kicks in - 10th?)
    _________________
    Chaosium rules are made of unicorn pubic hair and cancer. --AncientH
    When you talk, all I can hear is "DunningKruger" over and over again like you were a god damn Pokemon. --Frank
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Lokey
    Journeyman


    Joined: 13 Oct 2015
    Posts: 111

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    The rules on feeding are different everywhere, often in the same book, sometimes in the same chapter.

    A medium sized dog is as bad as a wolf in the main book (a pack of dogs death of course, but so is a pack of pretty much anything). You'll win, but you won't get enough blood out of it to be worth the damage it does. It probably goes first, it does 3 or 4 dice of damage. I don't even want to look at housecats.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Prak
    Serious Badass


    Joined: 07 Mar 2008
    Posts: 16095

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Gangrel with two dots of Animalism can walk around feeding on animals with little difficulty- Beckoning to call something, Feral Whispers to command it to sit there and not resist. With a third dot they get to actually make mortals complacent and unresisting.
    _________________
    Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
    The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


    Winnah wrote:
    No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


    FrankTrollman wrote:
    In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

    You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Grek
    Prince


    Joined: 11 Jan 2009
    Posts: 2606

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    DrPraetor wrote:
    Okay, Grek - go out, hunt down a wolf, and drink it's blood. I'll wait.
    Stop being a disingenuous asshole. You're clearly aware that domestic animals exist and can be purchased. That's just as true historically as it is now. If I was suddenly overcome with the urge to drink the blood of man and beast, I could just drop ~1000$ for 20 live hogs and feed off of those for the next two months while I work out a more permanent blood supply. Which probably involves one or more ghouls tending to farm animals as a staple supplemented by the occasional splash of ghoul blood.

    Now, you could argue that Farmer: the Porkeating is not thematically appropriate for World of Darkness. I'd even agree. But as soon as the setting says "Yes, you can drink animal blood." you need to explain why the vampires don't do that and instead prey upon the dangerous and talkative humans that people will notice missing and for whom "I killed it and ate it. What did you expect me to do with cattle I buy?" will not satisfy a police investigation.
    _________________
    Quote:
    But more importantly if you elevate jerkishness into a principle, if you try to undermine the rules that keep niceness, community, and civilization going, the defenses against social cancer – then your movement will fracture, it will be hugely embarrassing, the atmosphere will become toxic, unpopular people will be thrown to the mob, everyone but the thickest-skinned will bow out, and the people you need to convince will view you with a mixture of terror and loathing.


    Last edited by Grek on Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:38 am; edited 1 time in total
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Lokey
    Journeyman


    Joined: 13 Oct 2015
    Posts: 111

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Interesting that it's just not possible to discuss the same game, choosing any one rule to follow means you're tossing out contradictory rules that are just all over the place.

    Sure Frank calls out animalism as a way to keep somewhat reliably fed. It does mean dipping a few otherwise not useful skills, hopefully you have the points or you wind up spending blood or will power and since there's not that much vitae in animals it's a losing strategy.

    You definitely need ghouls to handle your farm animals. It's also in the animalism text block that animals hate vamps and will rip your face off. 15 hogs will rip off your face and those of all your friends, you're talking 60 dice of damage there. Better to own or ghoul someone at a slaughterhouse (a few dots in resources and don't play ventrue).

    We certainly didn't play vampire. Feeding was all go to a bar or something and roll your best social skill and add dom or something relevant to get a few vitae points. Animalism is a solo strategy--the problem of splitting the party and so on.

    ETA: you needed a fortitude point to heal ag? Pretty sure there was a reason to dip it because torpor to heal (at ever longer times by generation) was...1st adventure: go out, feed, fight, torpor for a month/year?


    Last edited by Lokey on Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:52 am; edited 1 time in total
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Prak
    Serious Badass


    Joined: 07 Mar 2008
    Posts: 16095

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    You can also just go down to the butcher and buy deli containers full of pig's blood. And when people ask, just tell them your family loves black pudding.
    _________________
    Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
    The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


    Winnah wrote:
    No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


    FrankTrollman wrote:
    In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

    You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    OgreBattle
    King


    Joined: 03 Sep 2011
    Posts: 5046

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Quote:
    and in nWoD even had powers for drinking breath and whatnot, which were borrowed largely from Kindred of the East.


    In Chinese alchemy, one drop of semen is equal to ten drops of blood.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Prak
    Serious Badass


    Joined: 07 Mar 2008
    Posts: 16095

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    I totally want to be a vampire on chinese alchemy rules. Sucking cock to prolong my eternal life sounds amazing.
    _________________
    Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
    The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


    Winnah wrote:
    No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


    FrankTrollman wrote:
    In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

    You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Silent Wayfarer
    Knight-Baron


    Joined: 21 Jun 2009
    Posts: 897

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Prak wrote:
    I totally want to be a vampire on chinese alchemy rules. Sucking cock to prolong my eternal life sounds amazing.


    Well, the basic tenet of Taoist sexual alchemy is to approach orgasm without reaching it, and that it's fine for the female to cum but not the male. Ideally the male makes the female have multiple orgasm and soaks up her Yin-rich juices through his shaft.
    _________________
    If your religion is worth killing for, please start with yourself.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message AIM Address MSN Messenger
    Mechalich
    Knight-Baron


    Joined: 04 Nov 2015
    Posts: 661

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    A big part of the problem with Feeding in VtM is that it is very clear the the various authors couldn't decide if feeding was supposed to be something that was hard and required expenditure of 90+% of a vampire's available time, or if feeding was just sort of a thing you did during downtime and you didn't worry about it unless you spent your entire blood pool in game at some point and really needed a recharge.

    Obviously the answer from a game perspective is the latter solution, because while it is possible to tell an interesting story about vampires struggling to maintain their supply of available blood (ex. Only Lovers Left Alive) it is not actually possible to assemble a gaming group to do so. Additionally the existence of the masquerade and the camarilla and the whole bit generally implies that the vampires do have a bunch of free time.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Koumei
    Serious Badass


    Joined: 07 Mar 2008
    Posts: 12768
    Location: South Ausfailia

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    OgreBattle wrote:
    In Chinese alchemy, one drop of semen is equal to ten drops of blood.


    I don't deal in funny British measurements or know much about male workings, how many cocks would you have to suck to get a tenth of a pint and thus enough for one Blood Trait?
    _________________
    Count Arioch the 28th wrote:
    There is NOTHING better than lesbians. Lesbians make everything better.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    maglag
    Duke


    Joined: 02 Apr 2015
    Posts: 1104

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: Anatomy of Failed Design: Vampire Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    FrankTrollman wrote:

    Now let's consider what this means for secrecy. First of all, famous serial killers generally kill less than twenty people. Jeffrey Dahmer famously murdered seventeen people in his 13 year reign of terror. If you are killing people for food in this game, you will need to kill that many in less than six months. One vampire, anywhere in the world, who is regularly feeding by draining human victims dry is a murder spree of international notoriety that strains the Masquerade to the breaking point.


    I think you're missing a very important point there.

    "Famous serial killers" only includes the serial killers whose victims we found out.

    But in the modern world, millions of people go missing every year. Gone without a trace. And that's only the missing people that are reported to the police. And sometimes we find out many, many years later that some of them were killed, but a lot may've just vanished in thin air.

    If we consider even just 1% of those missing people to be "death by vampire", it would still mean tens of thousands of humans killed every year for their blood, and it just happens the vampires were pretty good at getting rid of any evidence. A perfect murder is the one that is never found out. "Famous serial killers" are just the losers who failed to cover their trails (or in case of Jack the Ripper, never really bothered to hide their victims but still managed to hide their true identity, heck could've been a woman, Jill the reaper for all we know).
    _________________
    FrankTrollman wrote:

    Actually, our blood banking system is set up exactly the way you'd want it to be if you were a secret vampire conspiracy.


    Last edited by maglag on Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:33 am; edited 3 times in total
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Schleiermacher
    Knight-Baron


    Joined: 05 Sep 2012
    Posts: 600

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Mechalich wrote:
    A big part of the problem with Feeding in VtM is that it is very clear the the various authors couldn't decide if feeding was supposed to be something that was hard and required expenditure of 90+% of a vampire's available time, or if feeding was just sort of a thing you did during downtime and you didn't worry about it unless you spent your entire blood pool in game at some point and really needed a recharge.

    Obviously the answer from a game perspective is the latter solution, because while it is possible to tell an interesting story about vampires struggling to maintain their supply of available blood (ex. Only Lovers Left Alive) it is not actually possible to assemble a gaming group to do so. Additionally the existence of the masquerade and the camarilla and the whole bit generally implies that the vampires do have a bunch of free time.


    Actually, I disagree with your conclusion here. The better answer is to allow for both. Feeding is a lot like earning a living, and ease of feeding is a natural cause for class distinctions among vampires much like wealth among living humans. Just like some people have to work three jobs to make ends meet while others sit around all day drinking cocktails and twiddling with their stock portfolios, some vampires have a reliable and easy setup for feeding (large herds, access to the easy-button Disciplines, a subverted blood bank) and others don't. This is a great source of both conflict and patronage (do you agree to become the elder's hatchetmen to get access to his herd, or would you rather kill him and take it for yourselves? Or is it easier to try to get an in with the blood bank conspiracy?), it makes a lot of sense as a driver of the War of Ages (since the vampires who have hot and cold Type O on tap tend to be the older ones, and the ones who struggle tend to be the fledgelings) and it allows you to play both ultra-gritty night-to-night survival games and The Tudors with fangs.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    koz
    Duke


    Joined: 02 Jun 2008
    Posts: 1582
    Location: Oz

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Koumei wrote:
    OgreBattle wrote:
    In Chinese alchemy, one drop of semen is equal to ten drops of blood.


    I don't deal in funny British measurements or know much about male workings, how many cocks would you have to suck to get a tenth of a pint and thus enough for one Blood Trait?


    I believe this is one for our resident medical expert. I don't happen to know off-the-cuff how much volume of ejaculate your typical male produces.
    _________________
    Everything I learned about DnD, I learned from Frank Trollman.

    Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Longes
    Prince


    Joined: 04 Nov 2013
    Posts: 2506

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Schleiermacher wrote:
    Mechalich wrote:
    A big part of the problem with Feeding in VtM is that it is very clear the the various authors couldn't decide if feeding was supposed to be something that was hard and required expenditure of 90+% of a vampire's available time, or if feeding was just sort of a thing you did during downtime and you didn't worry about it unless you spent your entire blood pool in game at some point and really needed a recharge.

    Obviously the answer from a game perspective is the latter solution, because while it is possible to tell an interesting story about vampires struggling to maintain their supply of available blood (ex. Only Lovers Left Alive) it is not actually possible to assemble a gaming group to do so. Additionally the existence of the masquerade and the camarilla and the whole bit generally implies that the vampires do have a bunch of free time.


    Actually, I disagree with your conclusion here. The better answer is to allow for both. Feeding is a lot like earning a living, and ease of feeding is a natural cause for class distinctions among vampires much like wealth among living humans. Just like some people have to work three jobs to make ends meet while others sit around all day drinking cocktails and twiddling with their stock portfolios, some vampires have a reliable and easy setup for feeding (large herds, access to the easy-button Disciplines, a subverted blood bank) and others don't. This is a great source of both conflict and patronage (do you agree to become the elder's hatchetmen to get access to his herd, or would you rather kill him and take it for yourselves? Or is it easier to try to get an in with the blood bank conspiracy?), it makes a lot of sense as a driver of the War of Ages (since the vampires who have hot and cold Type O on tap tend to be the older ones, and the ones who struggle tend to be the fledgelings) and it allows you to play both ultra-gritty night-to-night survival games and The Tudors with fangs.


    So the October Revolution happened because Brujah were sick and tired of Ventrue lording their noble cocks over them and wanted the equality of vampiric blood rights? Works for me. Lenin for Primogen.
    Back to top
    View user's profile Send private message
    Display posts from previous:   
    Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Gaming Den Forum Index -> In My Humble Opinion... All times are GMT
    Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 17, 18, 19  Next
    Page 1 of 19

     
    Jump to:  
    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum




    Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group