The Underlying Question...



  • Well… This thread went to a real weird place.

    Everyone take a step back.

    Please remember - none of us have played this game - … you don’t know what it’s going to turn out to be.

    This reminds me of characters. You have an idea of what it’s gonna be like, but then you play a couple times and it’s kinda weirdly taken a life of its’ own, and is slightly different from what you imagined.

    Personally I’m liking the idea of this game and the unknown coteries we’re going to be put in (because of complimenting builds, or whatever the reason is that we’re being put together). I get the concern that it’s gonna all be dark, but let’s all remember; we’re human beings. We get scared of the unknown. Give the game and the ST’s the chance to show us what they’ve been so excited about.

    As for the ST’s: Thanks for all the effort you’ve put into this. It’s appreciated, and we know you’re doing a great job. Also please remember that players are afraid of unknown territory (lol) - I played VTM for 20+ years and now it’s all gone topsy turvy, but I’m excited to try and see what all this new stuff is about.

    The idea of playing a grittier and more about the personal horror game is incredibly interesting to me. I just don’t want my character to die in the first five minutes of starting. LOL



  • @duh

    Yes, most of this. 🙂


  • Lead Storytellers Administrators

    I think this comes down to the kind of game you want to play or not. The last game was supposed to be a lot like this one, so when I say mature, I mean it grew up. They tightened a lot of things up, and no I do not think ‘grittier’ necessarily means mature. But keep in mind even Shakespeare had King Lear. Othello. Numerous characters who had an underlying lack of humanity, characters that struggled to ever be happy. Even with Shylock put firmly back in his place (lets leave aside the problematic nature of some of this), Antonio’s underlying unhappiness of unrequited love sat around the edges of a supposed happy ending. Not everyone grew and many times there was supposed to be a morality to it, which is rooted in the times of playhouses and the religious situation then.

    VTM isn’t a ‘nice’ game. You’re a thief, a murderer, and a liar. That is how your experience almost always begins. Now can you ‘win’? Well I never think anyone ‘wins’ in RP, but let’s run with it. I think yes, you can, because it comes down to achievement. It comes down to a set of goals, aiming at them, and having fun with how you develop. If the yardstick is how humane and nice I can be, then it really isn’t the game for it. But if it is… I want to protect these people so they have a better life and I have people I can feed off, use to fight for me, and who can keep me safe in the day. Kind of win/win… except not entirely because you are still totally using them. Vampires tell themselves many pretty little lies to sleep better in the day.

    This puts me in mind of a time when one of our characters wanted a Herd who came to them as mental patients and he fed off. Then expected to still be able to shoot after high humanity and was upset when it was taken down and hard to bring back up. Vampires aren’t nice at all, they have to do many shitty things to survive. That has always been the case, and just being easier to ignore doesn’t make it a better system.

    But ultimately we are still all talking about something we haven’t tried out yet. We need to get to grips and feel it out, but many of us have played long enough to have a decent gut feeling. For me, it has been overwhelmingly a positive one. I’m excited to play in this game, and excited to do so at the same level as everyone else.



  • I feel like some of the posters are trying to express a concept that is difficult to communicate. Vampire has always been a dark and gritty game, but solace could be taken in the small victories. @Jess put it well I believe when she said “…it is difficult to appreciate darkness without a little light.” Victory in Vampire the Masquerade has always been fleeting, and mistakes have always been punished, but the way V5 is written, “victory” or success is not just fleeting-- it is pyrrhic.

    Allow me to use the example of humanity, for now ignoring the changes to the Farmer Predator style. We are asked to create 1-3 convictions and an equal number of touchstones; however, the more we have of these, the more quickly we can lose humanity. Beyond this, the very act of trying to be human with our touchstones (such as letting them grow up, have a life, be a person, change their mind) is punished with a stain (or stains) while acting like a monster to “maintain” humanity is outright encouraged. How did it become that acting like a human should actually causes you to be less human?

    I do not blame the STs, and I think White Wolf has come up with a very interesting setting. The focus seems to have changed from trying find a balance between humanity and beast, or even maintaining humanity, to fighting with every ounce to not degrade.

    This feeling of V20, to me at least, was one of going against the odds. The feeling of V5, again to me at least, is one of destitution. There are incredible opportunities however, if you can manage them. As the Storytellers said, there are many fewer restricting factors about this setting, and Branton is rife with opportunity! With everyone working against you and no support system of your own, like a sect and barely a semblance of a clan, it really is up to you to make it on your own. If you can do that, then more power to you and your character!

    I have my concerns about V5, but I am also interested to see the Chronicle that the STs have put together. You all do an excellent job, and my concerns with V5 do not extend to your storytelling abilities. Like has been said before, this is a 3-month trial run. We may be entirely wrong and pleasantly surprised about the V5 setting, and I am willing to give it a chance. I think players are staying around despite their concerns because they are willing to give it a chance as well.

    Additional Note: Touching on Gaining Humanity
    From the V5 book p.241 “Vampires can only increase humanity by selflessly involving themselves in human life and human concerns. Increasing humanity should be a major story arc, involving (at least) the gaining of a new touchstone and the deliberate turning away from Kindred society.” and it continues on “…Storytellers might not allow experience points to purchase Humanity at all.”

    -If- regaining humanity is allowed, then it requires gaining touchstones, which would once again indicate a benefit for starting the game with only one touchstone. Again, players are punished for making more human (or even just involved) characters at creation.



  • I don’t think anyone is saying they won’t give it a chance. I don’t think anyone has suggested that the community leaders haven’t worked really hard to get everything ready, including hyping the player base, for what’s to come.

    I do think this was intended to be an open discussion or at least a request for clarification. Nik has more or less addressed that. As launch day gets closer, people may be examining their uncertainties and trying to address them so they know where they stand when this thing kicks off. That’s where I’m at anyway. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to give V5 a good college try.

    More than anything I want to play with all of you – STs included. If I have reservations going forward, my desire to write with this community, and my belief that there is a support network in place for when I’m feeling doubtful, overwhelms that by a huge margin.



  • @aarkon said in The Underlying Question...: For a few examples, going above and beyond the book you guys have eliminated humanity 8 from Farmer to fit your current ‘darker’ version of the same presented in the book as well Coteries you are doing, which sounds interesting and at least we could look to our coterie for support and at place safe from the shit slinging.

    LOL don’t get me wrong here, but for me, it takes LESS humanity to drink/feed/kill a freaking animal. Honestly. Most people nowadays seem to have more empathy for animals than for humans, anyway. That’s just me, though.



  • @duh Good point! Had not considered that previously.



  • @jess said in The Underlying Question...:

    @duh Good point! Had not considered that previously.

    The idea of putting my cat down soon consistently brings me to tears. He’s got cancer, and I know it’s gonna have to happen soon. I think only sociopaths could kill animals so easily.


  • Lead Storytellers Administrators

    @Isaac The touchstones are just the tool you use to maintain your convictions. If they die and unable to transfer the conviction to a new touchstone, you lose that conviction. However you can never have less than 1 conviction which means less than 1 touchstone. We are discussing whether or not it will be roll until you get one hooked or we will just say it happens and you will have one. And there is a benefit to having more than 1 conviction. If you need to do a humanity check for breaking a chronicle tenet, but you got your stain from or while upholding your conviction, it reduces your difficulty to maintain your humanity. So if you have 1 conviction, it’s less of a chance of being able to say that you were upholding it as opposed to having three. They are your armor to your humanity.


  • Lead Storytellers Administrators

    Humanity being a bit un-tethered from your convictions broadens out the ability to live in a way that is morally appropriate for your character. The problems with humanity 8 are mechanical, in terms of walking in the day and so forth. That isn’t an aspect we wanted to bring in, which we think is fine and works well with the fact convictions now play a much greater role of personal prominence over the more generic humanity, which effects everyone.


  • Lead Storytellers Administrators

    @Duh
    you’re right, one of the hallmarks of being a sociopath (I think it is sociopath, may be psychopath) is the killing of animals. Even if you subsist purely on rodents like rats, you have to kill A LOT- at least 12 rats, 3-4 cats) to slake only 1 hunger. It makes no sense to for it to be humanity 8 and be allowed to daywalk and have sex and whatever else it says. So yes, we decreased it to better fit our game.



  • @malevolence said in The Underlying Question...:

    @Duh
    you’re right, one of the hallmarks of being a sociopath (I think it is sociopath, may be psychopath) is the killing of animals. Even if you subsist purely on rodents like rats, you have to kill A LOT- at least 12 rats, 3-4 cats) to slake only 1 hunger. It makes no sense to for it to be humanity 8 and be allowed to daywalk and have sex and whatever else it says. So yes, we decreased it to better fit our game.

    I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with you on this ruling.


  • Lead Storytellers Administrators

    @Duh Thanks. I do appreciate that.



  • @duh said in The Underlying Question...:

    @aarkon said in The Underlying Question...: For a few examples, going above and beyond the book you guys have eliminated humanity 8 from Farmer to fit your current ‘darker’ version of the same presented in the book as well Coteries you are doing, which sounds interesting and at least we could look to our coterie for support and at place safe from the shit slinging.

    LOL don’t get me wrong here, but for me, it takes LESS humanity to drink/feed/kill a freaking animal. Honestly. Most people nowadays seem to have more empathy for animals than for humans, anyway. That’s just me, though.

    To be fair I didn’t say I agree’d with the reason why the writers of V5 made this call.
    Just that it is a rule in the book that had been changed. I wasn’t stating my personal viewpoint on the matter of killing animals vs people.



  • @aarkon That’s fair, bud! I was just responding to the ruling, myself, though LOL



  • Wow, this exploded.

    First, I want to say that I was very apprehensive about posting in the first place, precisely because I was worried it would seem as smearing feces on so much hard work (to maintain the scatological focus, tho’ never with John’s eloquence!) by so many people. I know these aren’t random GMs or STs or DMs or what-not, but people closely connected with the formation of the setting itself. And people who have done a helluva lot of work for what amounts to my fun.

    Stef, I deeply apologize for causing you to feel unappreciated and distressed. My respect for you and the team is profound, both in Branton, Sang, and V5 in general and fuck it - in person, I’d imagine, should I get the chance some day!

    I did indeed want to open a general conversation about some of the apprehensions of embarking on a darker version of an already dark game. And the response has been really reassuring and edifying.

    I’m excited about the game. I have a lot of thoughts and plans concerning Hector’s dark heart, his humanity and ways to engage it.

    But yeah, I do like to hold out hope for just a bit of light in the dark. The book’s not so reassuring. My trust in the storytellers is very much so. (to me at least).

    (you may not have noticed, but I tend to make a bunch of parenthetical comments…)

    Anyway, Stef, again I’m sorry for being the vehicle of distress. I can’t imagine better partners and enablers in this story quest, and I’m greatly looking forward to it.

    Michael



  • ::group hugs our sometimes dysfunctional family:: one of the main reasons I stay and even when I have to take breaks due to rl stress, I always come back and what I do enjoy is the people and their characters and the game most importantly. The passion we all have for it. We all play a part in this place sometimes good, sometimes bad lol I love how different we all are and how that translates into the game. I admire not only the sts, but the players at how amazingly((is that even a proper word to put there? Screw it)) great writers some of you are. So yeah. No point really to this, carry on.


  • Lead Storytellers Administrators

    @Scarecrow just a tip… I myself am a humorous guy. I love comedy. You’re talking to the guy that played a character whose major goal was to show male genitalia to polite society. The dude was a walking dick joke. Of course there is going to be some light-hearted stuff. But we need to hammer home the darker stuff and make sure it’s played and paid attention to. The light-hearted stuff comes naturally. It’s the difficult and dark stuff that needs coaching and to ensure it is played.

    I will give an example of a past character. There was an issue that caused great damage to the city. I believe it was a Sabbat attack? I don’t really recall it, but it was this player’s reaction to it after the plot was over that stuck out. They put together a shelter for those displaced from the attack. That’s light-hearted… until you learned he did it so he can have a herd to feed from. That’s classic World of Darkness. But he had a party for a fundraiser and got other players involved in that, paid out boons and such. The party was your typical light-hearted high society affair. Until you realize there was blood dolls there. That’s some pretty dark stuff too, conditioning people and pump them full of drugs and alcohol for the sole purpose of you getting that high or drunk into your system. It’s all about the twist. The thing that takes the light-hearted and twists it to be selfish and dark.



  • @brain - That’s what I meant with, when I said “we’re all human”.



  • I have to say I agree Brian. I finally allowed myself to dive into that way more with Persephone and even more with Stormy and it did open my eyes to some of what the dark part of the game is about, those horrors. I even cried about some of it, lol but I did it because Stormy the blood sucking murderous Vampire would have not blinked an eye. 😉