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Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Hunter's one of my favorite WoD games that gets dismissed out of hand by people who wanted more Hunters Hunted when the story Reckoning tells is certainly different but valid and interesting on its own.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Dawgstar posted:

Hunter's one of my favorite WoD games that gets dismissed out of hand by people who wanted more Hunters Hunted when the story Reckoning tells is certainly different but valid and interesting on its own.

I think the general tone of Hunter and what it's sometimes trying to do is particularly interesting, too. It's a shame about literally everything about the rules, but Storyteller is honestly also intriguing to me because of its complete inability to be actually rules light or narrative combined with its active hostility to any idea of balance or design.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!





Human Variants

This entry details the twelve major ethnic groups of Nyambe-tanda. The text acknowledges that Nyambe has many more minor ethnicities (such as the near-vanished Boha-Boha) but that the twelve here are most likely to produce adventurers. Like most D&D settings humans are numerous and short-lived. In comparison to demihumans, humans have a preponderance of cultures, languages, and worldviews. Demihumans are quick to point to this diversity as a sign of strife in the manifestation of competing kingdoms, whereas the demihuman races are more monolithic among their respective peoples. There’s some implied humanocentrism and racism in said demihumans often find human lands inhospitable. Many humans reject these characterizations, couching intolerance as competition and strife as a constant desire to succeed and improve upon themselves.

What’s interesting is that each entry (both human groups and demihumans) conveys a good amount of information about various cultural aspects in a short amount of dialogue. We have sections on common religious practices, forms of government, relations with other groups, traditional lands, food, rituals, artwork, favored orisha, names, and languages all in the span of 1-2 pages, including the accompanying artwork. I won’t go over each such entry (that would amount to copy-pasting) but I will highlight what I find the most interesting aspects among the peoples. Due to the relative rarity of writing materials all races are illiterate by default and must spend 2 skill points to gain the ability to read and write any language they are able to speak.


Azzazza: The Azzazza people are native to the United Kingdoms of Taumau-Boha and were once conquered and enslaved by the Water People long ago. Most Azzazza live sedentary lives as farmers, their nation’s rich soil allowing them to grow a wide variety of crops. The preponderance of papyrus in nearby swamps generates a higher literacy rate than normal, and their society is notable for having rituals for all sorts of daily tasks to avert bad luck and invite good ones. There are rituals for activities as mundane as waking up in the morning, before having meals, or even when leaving their hometowns. They are an overall agreeable people, their only enemies of note the Shombe nomads who they’re trying to teach the “superiority” of farming over cattle-herding.


Hutali: The Hutali people have no nation per se, being semi-nomadic people living among the Giko Taaba mountain range and ruled over by the utuchekulu (detailed later). Their society encourages non-confrontational means of avoiding conflict, with many forms of laws taking the form compromises, and they go out of their way to avoid offending others. The only exception in regards to this is their practice of both male and female circumcision for coming of age ceremonies. Most other humans regard the latter to be cruel, but the Hutali steadfastly refuse to give this up.

They are nominally under the dominion of the Empire of Nibomay but do not recognize its authority; their traditional lands are close to inhospitable volcanoes, which makes enforcement more trouble than it’s worth. Their personal possessions are made to be easily carried, with goats a popular animal for raising. Hutali carry the skulls of the dearly departed to keep their ancestors close when communities travel, with said skulls housed in round wooden boxes. Those unable to produce children are regarded as having led worthless lives, and their bodies are instead tossed into volcanoes.


Marak’ka: The Marak’ka are another nomadic group, primarily living in the Gudu Ji Pingu Desert. They are the opposite of reserved, being encouraged to express their emotions in song, dance, and artwork, with percussive instruments being the most popular. Divine spellcasting bards known as ngnoma serve as community elders, and what few personal belongings they have are decorated with paint and beadwork once they gain enough sentimental value over time. The Marak’ka have a non-interference policy with other cultures, not going out of their way to make friends or enemies. The exceptions are the Xon’mo of Basharka who they regard as kin, and resent the Empire of Nibomay who claims dominion over the Gudu Ji Pingu Desert.


Mbanta: The Mbanta are the only human ethnicity without a homeland or nation to call their own. They used to live on an island in the southern sea, but a massive earthquake in the Middle Ages rent it asunder and forced the survivors onto the mainland. They are often stereotyped as being highly skilled with magic and strange powers, an impression they do not go out of their way to discourage. They are evenly spread out over Nyambe-tanda, deferring to the dominant laws but retaining their own cultural elements. They incorporate magical spells to enhance their cooking which places Mbanta chefs in high demand among royalty. The Mbanta are known for using complex astrological calendars they claimed to have learned from an aquatic undersea race, and they are remarkably secretive about their religious practices. What few things outsides known is that they greet the rising sun as the physical manifestation of the Overpower, kneeling before it and crying “Nyambe shall return to us someday!”

Regarding their magical reputation, the book notes that if psionics are in use that most Mbanta will be the Psion class. Which is interesting, in that none of the other races or ethnicities have a similar statement. Not to mention most of their population will be a bonafide PC class; 3rd Edition D&D has most NPCs 1st-level Commoners by population demographics. Although brought up briefly in the following chapter, the few mentions of psionics in this book are obviously artificially tacked on: there’s no mention of how it would fall into Nyambe’s cosmology, whether it is a form of magic or something entirely foreign.


NaBula: The NaBula are native to northeastern Nyambe-tanda, concentrated in the Caliphate of Boroko. Their culture has been heavily influenced by the Near Easterners, ranging from their dress and their undefined religion to even being the only Nyamban people to employ horses in warfare. Ritualized wrestling known as Nuba is a popular sport, and many practitioners are no pushovers when it comes to actual combat. Some have even visited the nearby Kaya Vua Samaki to compete and learn from Far Eastern martial artists.


Nghoi: Natives of the bIda Rainforest, the Nghoi are best known for being allies of the wakyambi as well as being short, usually 4 feet or less. They are fans of body modification, from ritual scarring and body painting to filing their front teeth as a sign of valor among their warriors. They are highly decentralized, recognizing no higher authority than the elders of individual families, and their propensity for storytelling produces a high number of bards. A popular kind of story is known as a dilemma tale, where the narrator creates a situation and asks the listeners to come up with their own endings.

Game-stat wise Nghoi are humans, but most have the Small Stature as their racial bonus feat to grant them Small size.


Shombe: The Shombe are cattler-herders who live among the tUbi Grassland to the west of Taumau-Boha, and are known for counting the best warriors of Nyambe-tanda among their number. They relish this perception, preferring to use spears and melee weapons over ranged combat which they regard as cowardly. They have fought the entare (centauresque lion-like humanoids) for generations over cattle and territory, and their rite-of-passage into adulthood involves the hunting, slaying, skinning of a monster of the Beast or Magical Beast type. In 3.0 terms the Beast type meant either a dinosaur or fantastical animal-like creature that does not exist in real life, which means that Shombe teenagers are extra hardcore. Cattle is vital to their society, used for meat and milk for sustenance and their skin and bones fashioned into household items. Shombe live in temporary enclosures known as kraal, whose natural fence is made of thorn bushes for an effective defense.


Tembu: The Tembu hail from the Empire of Mabwe, whose central position on the continent means that they are one of the most widespread people barring the Mbanta nomads. The wealth of their nation provides a high standard of living for the populace, and even common-born citizens sport jewelry. Their domesticated elephants are one of the most feared sights of their enemies, with howdah-bound archers raining sharp death on those their war beasts’ tusks cannot reach. Most honor the celestial orisha, the average home containing a family shrine bearing a magical statue known as a nkisi n’kondi (nail figure). When one wishes to swear an oath or seal a contract, the guest hammers a nail into the statue. Mabwe’s nobility is known for peculiar practices such as women with layers of gold necklaces which elongate their necks, or the raising wild animals not normally eaten such as fried baby crocodiles and monkey brains.


Tisambe: The Tisambe are one of the oldest continual ethnic groups of Nyambe-tanda. They are strongly connected to the Empire of Nibomay, and are the only society which is matriarchal in nature. Women hold the reigns of business and government as well as serving in the army. Their elite Amazon units fight with signature greatbows and razor swords, the latter banned from ownership by commoners. The Tisambe’s proud history bestows in them a sense of arrogant patriotism, and they tend to look down on other cultures. Their weddings are religious in nature, sometimes planned years in advance with celebrations lasting up to a week.


Tuslan: The Tuslan are a minority group within the Empire of Nibomay, organized into seven major clans sharing a common ancestor. Due to strong cultural taboos against iron they hunt and fight with wooden and stone weapons, and are renowned for producing expert hunters and scouts. While marriage ceremonies exist, there is little taboo in divorce or for one to desire finding a new partner, even as frequently as every year. They honor all orisha connected to the natural world equally, and offer up a prayer to the spirits of any animals they kill. For this very reason they almost never hunt animals for sport.


Xon’mo: The Xon-mo are related to the Marak’ka people, primarily living in the kingdom of Bashar’ka on the continent’s far west. Their society is ruled over by a theocracy of fire worshipers who provide protection and land to the common folk reinforced by oaths of fealty. This is not a one-way street, for Xon’mo rulers who grow lax in their duties find armed revolt a distinct possibility. Xon’mo are known for employing alchemist’s fire in warfare, and their merchants sell exquisite textiles all over Nyambe. They are also the only culture which enforces monogamy. This is said to be the result of an ancient pact with fire elementals to avoid plural marriages, and in exchange the elementals bred with mortals.* Xon’mo born with bright red hair are said to have the “fire blood,” a sign of great honor.

The Fire Blood feat in a later chapter will reveal that said elementals were actually efreeti.


Zamara: The Zamara get a bad rap among other Nyambans. Their people were the backbone of the Zombi cults and later empire of the same name, and produce more mchawi wizards among their number than any others. But in spite of, or perhaps because of this, the Zamara hate arcane magic more than any other culture. Even the sorcerous sei are not immune to witch-hunts. Zamara are native to the Kaya Vua Samaki region, and their close proximity to Far Eastern traders makes various “eastern” weapons and equipment more common among their number than elsewhere in Nyambe.

As much as they’re associated with black magic, the Zamara have an order of warriors known as Magic Eaters. The “heart test” is a lethal trial by witch a suspected mchawi’s heart is ripped out. If their heart turns black after a few seconds of exposure to air then this confirms their guilt. If the heart is normal, it is returned to the body and a cleric with knowledge of resurrection magic is called for to return them to life if one is available in the region. This is not a mere “floats in water” superstition; mchawi hearts really do turn black as a result of unholy pacts subtly altering their bodies.

Demihuman Races

What separates a “demihuman” from other non-human beings is their ability to peacefully coexist with humans. Technically this means that races other than those listed here can qualify, but the six below are the most common in Nyambe.

Perhaps one of the setting’s most controversial aspects, the new races are technically subraces of existing Player’s Handbook options and are presumed to share (distant) lineage with their more Tolkien fantasy counterparts. The unthlatu are perhaps the only “new” race here, and some of the criticism I recall is that Nyambe did not have more “original” African-flavored playable folkloric beings.


Agogwe Halflings: These short, isolated people mostly live in the bIda Rainforest, maintaining good relations with the wakyambi and Nghoi. They look like short humans with long claws capable of burrowing through the earth, and live in nomadic family units inhabiting dug-out underground shelters.

Stat-wise they are much like Halflings, save they have natural weapon claws that deal 1d4 damage, a burrow speed of 10 feet in soft earth, and can cast Speak With Animals once per day in regards to burrowing animals only.


Kitunusi Gnomes: The Kitunusi have a magical bond to shadow and darkness, and their society discourages any displays of emotion in public. Outsiders find their quiet nature disturbing, and their ancestral homes were deep underground much like the utuchekulu. Every kitunusi has a personal kente-cloth tabard which act as a symbol of rank and honor. As such they will go to great ends to recover a stolen or lost one, even those not personally belonging to them. Most kitunusi live in their own nation of Mademba, ruled over by a labyrinthine bureaucracy intentionally designed to be opaque to most people. They’re also the only culture on Nyambe which does not produce any form of artwork besides their notable kente cloth, and their only form of cuisine is a thick gruel made of grains they simply call “food.”

Statwise they are similar to Gnomes, but can cast the Darkness spell once per day, have darkvision out to 60 feet, possess Spell Resistance against divination spells which increases with level, and others attempting to use Sense Motive on them suffer a -4 penalty.

Link instead of image due to bare breasts
Ngoloko Half-Orcs: Technically speaking the ngoloko are not half-orcs so much as a race of their own with kosan heritage. Whereas the kosans were slaughtered almost to the last number by their slaves, the ngoloko were half-orc children born to human female concubines and therefore ruled innocent of any wrongdoing. Instead of death they were met with exile, forming their own communities. The ngoloko are self-conscious of their legacy and tend to wear heavy, concealing clothes when among others. In spite of attempts at reconciliation, separatists which formed their own militarized communities on the Isle of Shadow led to new rashes of xenophobia. Ngoloko society is the only major culture with democratic forms of government, where chieftains are chosen via public elections of seven year terms and forbidden to run for office again afterwards.

Stat-wise they are half-orcs. No real changes from the PHB standard besides having Mchawi as their favored class and -2 to Wisdom rather than Intelligence.


Unthlatu Dragons: When disguised dragons mated with slaves of the Kosa Empire, the sorcerous sei came into being. A group of human sorcerers exiled to the Great Mangrove Marsh inbred with themselves and some reptilian swamp-creatures to the point that their more draconic features grew apparent. They are introverted and are pretty much Futurama’s Neutral Planet: they have neutral relations with other cultures and are solidly True Neutral in alignment. They bear some resemblance to humans, save that they have scales covering their skin matching the color of true dragons, and possess no body hair of any sort.

Statwise they have +2 Strength, -2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom, a slow 20 foot base speed, 60 feet of darkvision, +1 natural armor and 1d4 natural claw and bite attacks, immunity to sleep and paralysis, and suffer -2 penalty on all skill checks due to poor education and little parental supervision. But their most notable feature is their Dragon Heritage, where they select a single true dragon type from which they derive their ancestry. It determines the specifics of their Breath Weapon and Energy Resistant racial feats if and when they’re taken.


Utuchekulu Dwarves: Utuchekulu once lived underground, but they and the kitunusi were driven to the surface from a volcanic eruption. They are primarily split into two regions; the ones in Nyambe’s Kuba Taaba eastern mountains are allied with the Empire of Mabwe, while those in the western Giko Taaba mountains distantly rule over the Hutali humans. They are dour and gruff like other dwarves, and dye their teeth blood-red with berries. One such tooth is capable of growing long enough to be a veritable weapon. The utuchekulu are ruled over by absolute dictators who are regularly overthrown by coups every couple of decades which leads to a rather unstable system of government. They are not automatically evil, but practice some immoral traditions such as honoring fiendish orisha (out of respect if not agreement) and non-consensual ritual cannibalism where they feast upon the flesh of fallen warriors in the belief that this will keep their ghosts from returning to enact vengeance.

Stat-wise they are dwarves but gain a 1d6 natural bite attack. They do not begin play speaking Kordo, the “common tongue” of Nyambe, and must purchase it as a bonus language which can be awkward for some PC parties.


Wakyambi Elves: Our final entry, the wakyambi were once the favored slaves of the Kosans. When they too rose up, they sought to shed the stigma of traitors by expressing even more hatred than usual against ngoloko and other creatures with orcish ties. But otherwise they are benevolent and nurturing, sometimes to an annoying extent in patronizing others of failures. Wakyambi appear as humans with pointed ears and fleshy tails, and their black hair gradually turns white as they approach adulthood. They have a knack for climbing in trees and make their homes among the treetops of the bIda Rainforest. One of their religious traditions involves anonymous gift-giving, where they may covertly slip some of their own cattle into a human farmer’s herd or leave a pouch of coins where a beggar may find it.

Stati-wise they are much like elves, save they do not gain immunity to sleep spells and instead have a Climb speed of 20 feet (along with a +8 bonus on Climb checks). Like utuchekulu they must learn Kordo as a bonus language.

Alternate Races

Our final very short entry talks about other non-human races in the core rules and their place (or lack thereof) in Nyambe. For one, the standard 6 non-human PHB races would be foreign immigrants if they do show up at all, while bugbears, kobolds, orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins similarly restricted. Planetouched, on the other hand, are people possessed by spirits while still in the womb and born with supernatural powers. There is no distinction between aasimars and tieflings or even half-celestials and half-fiends, all collectively referred to as n’kaa.

Additionally, this was touched upon back in Chapter One but I wanted to detail it here on account that the human ethnicities and demihumans were listed alongside them in the introduction. The Savage Races of Nyambe are self-centered and evil humanoids who are impossible for others to peacefully coexist with in any reasonable fashion. The below list is by far not exhaustive, but evil humanoids not listed here tend to be far smaller in number and thus more secretive. The most well-known savage races include:

Entare: centaur-like lion people of the tUbi grassland who live in an honorable and organized Klingon-like fashion.

Getiet: deformed and stupid kosan descendants who operate as bandits across the continent.

Ingogo: smaller, weaker, and more primate-like kosan descendants who are the most hated of all the savage races for their propensity at throwing their own highly-diseased feces at people.

Kosans: this ancient race of ur-orcs possessed great arcane power and once ruled over all of Nyambe-tanda and lands beyond. They are (canonically) extinct in the present setting.

MbUi: Gnolls, need i say more?

Silwane-Manzi: shark-like amphibious cousins of sahuagin who live in sunken ruins off Nyambe’s northern coast.

Yuan-Ti: Far Eastern immigrants setting up shop in the western bIda Rainforest, searching for the remains of an ancestral civilization.

Thoughts So Far: I do like the in-depth look at the various ethnic groups and demihuman races. The six new demihumans felt distinct enough mechanicswise but a bit too close to their PHB counterparts; the unthlatu is the only real novel edition. Due to being 3.0 races they are underpowered by more modern Pathfinder standards.

Join us next time as we cover the Core Classes of Chapter Four!

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 06:59 on Jul 2, 2019

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Chapter 4: History



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 4: History


See that up there? It’s Chapter 4. We finally ended Chapter 3, probably the longest chapter in history of man (nearly 190 pages). In comparison to that, the near 30 pages of history will be a breeze…

Mostly because I say so. I read ahead and this chapter is bullshit. Nevertheless, let’s not get ahead of ourselves (even if that would be typical for the book).

Crown
An intro fluff section shows the end of one of Surge tanks that Spitalians were driving from Quabis to Cairo. It’s overwhelmed by the living jungle and our Preservist character has to hack down a friend who is infected by the plants and starts giving demands telepathically. Eventually, the tank is surrounded by zero-circle (unachievable by PCs) Anubites Anubians who demand that the Preservist hand over his cargo: a tiny flask of Primer, probably brought into the jungle to cause Discordance and gently caress everything up.

SPORE RAIN

Spitalians [sic] Archives

This is a timeline/history of things related to Spitalians. I’ll summarize what I can.

We learn that most of the Primer meteorites hit northern hemisphere, some chunks landed in the south, and a huge one, named Colossus, hit the Atlantic, but that one didn’t become active till years later. America was basically spared, since the Yellowstone exploded and made the land somehow unappealing to Primer, mutating only a few wanderers (often fatally). It offers no explanation as to why the Americans don’t really show up in the next 500 years.

First human-derived paranormal phenomenon occurs in 2201, and Psychonauts (albeit in early stages) start appearing, beginning with Pollen.


Proctologists hate it when your dad comes in for a checkup

Colossus becomes active after a quake in 2235, and it’s the explanation for strange animals that wash up in Portugal.

2267: Paris turns into a swamp, the spore fields, and the bugs make people abandon it.

2270: The Biokinetics, the Dushani, and those weird Spanish seers are formed. Apparently, the types of Psychonauts are called “Raptures:”

quote:

All Raptures are tied to large Mother Spore Fields, the Earth Chakras that spread their traits to the surrounding fields in the decades to come.

Gibberish!

Spitalians’ turbo hate for Primer also originates in 2300, when vents in Souffrance start emitting methane in what probably is a terraforming effort. Pheromancers and Psychokinetics emerge during the next 6 years.

Discordance happens in 2470, btw, as there “seem to be communication problems between Europe’s Mother Spore Fields and their Psychovore equivalent in Africa.”

quote:

So far, the doctors assumed that the Chakras’ communication served to coordinate and to exchange viable DNA sequences. Now a dissonance blankets the communication; the fields seem to jam each other or to communicate false information.

In 2492, Spitalians take Danzig, their ice fortress. They also start making the telescoping Destruction Fortress (seriously) project to breach the spore belt to the East (into Russia, Asia and such). The project is only lost in 2544, which is ugh, still probably longer than most human projects last without interference by a hostile alien intelligence.


Say what you will about Spitalians, but at least they made the trains run on time.

At the same time, Africans begin communicating in Psychovore Esperanto, which seems late, considering the importance placed on its unifying influence in the earlier chapters.

In 2562, Dr. Vasco returns as the only survivor from an expedition to Pandora Crater. He claims that Primer actually started life on Earth. He runs away and turns into reoccurring anime villain, possibly powered by primer. He was briefly mentioned at the end of the Spitalian chapter!

In late 2580s, Hot Spots appear near Danzig. They’re the ones that turn Spore Fields into Fractal Forests. Hot Spots have never been mentioned before. Also, a Hot Spot has to physically intersect with a Spore Field to produce a Forest, making them less common than you would have believed.

2594: Spitalians are invited to Quabis.

2595: Game day!

A NEW WORLD ORDER

The Stream

This bit talks about how Chroniclers came to be and it’s just tiresome bullshit about the Stream not!Internet and more crap around the “2 to the power of 16” thing.

Timeline
So, you think this going to be the history of Chroniclers, just like Spitalian archives, before going into separate histories of all the other cults later on?

NOPE.

This is the setting history. The first part wasn’t a history of Spitalians, but of Primer – so basically, poo poo you don’t care about, because, aside from Vasco and maybe the Fortresses, who gives a poo poo how the Primer developed historically?

I’ll be heavily summarizing this one because there’s a lot of pre-Eschaton and immediate aftermath info that doesn’t matter (like Kazakhstan joining China).

So, Pre-Eschaton:

UN collapses (due to talks by US president Trunk, which is a funny thing for an ostensibly 2015 book to say) and reforms into neat, continent-friendly blocks. Mammoths are cloned (now you know why they’re around). AIDS is cured (rioting is expected in Africa for… reasons). Jehammed and Getrell start doing their thing. HIV-E arrives to Africa on an American ship. Panic spreads, a massive migration starts from the Sub-Saharan Africa to Northern Africa, presumably so that we could have an explanation why all Africans are black in 2595. Said migration is first met by (Arab) tanks, then by European warships that sink the refugees (realistic).

quote:

Much development aid seems to have gone towards purchasing weapons as four out of five refugees are said to carry Kalashnikovs. What started as a blockade escalates into a war without goals: the Africa Conflict.

This poo poo is so stupid.


As always, the art is perfect, the writing - less so. I'm omitting a few pieces here and there.

Recombination Group uses their newly discovered nanites to safely cryofreeze people for later curing of HIVE - that’s what Project Tannhauser is.
Overwhelmingly Large Telescope in Chile spots the Primer meteorites. All space agencies quietly panic and draft plans for the Paladin network of protective satellites. The Maasai turn out to be immune to HIVE because of reasons:

quote:

Ionized air? Condensed cosmic rays? Aliens? Jesus? It is the stuff that Europe’s New Agers’ dreams are made of; one result is an Africanication of the esoteric scene.

People rush the place and some even kill the locals to drink their blood. Fun fact: the caldera of an extinct volcano where the Maasai were mentioned to live after the British relocation? Maasai were booted from there in 2009.

2071: 2 to the power of 16 infects the Stream, RG’s Guardians scrape the popsicles out of the cryopods to make place for Sleepers, the Swiss start reinhabiting the Alpine Fortress.

2073: The Paladin Network fails to stop a single meteorite, as it was sabotaged by 2^16. Everyone panics and leaves the cities. The Swiss seal themselves in the mountains. People turn to faith. RG launches 12 mysterious orbiters from Kazakhstan. DIS-PEN-SERS:

quote:

An RG insider reports in a streamcast that the storage facilities are internally called dispensers and are supposed to open in 100 years

The Thor project exists to shoot ground-based lasers at rocks. It fails to do anything at all, leaving us to question the necessity to include it in the book. World ends on March 13th.

There’s also near a page-worth of side section about how the meteorite impact smashed central Africa – nobody cared when they described it the first time, nobody cares now.

Next time: history after the end of the world

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


Africans may have rioted over aids because people would withold the cure.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Cassa posted:

Africans may have rioted over aids because people would withold the cure.

I'll just quote the book:

quote:

AIDS is theoretically conquered. A new WHO plan aims at freeing the world from this plague within the next 20 years. The first distribution centers in Nigeria and India receive serums and vaccines. Millions of people start the road to recovery. The feared humanitarian disaster does not happen; the mass migrations are expected and watched by UAO troops. General Heshimu, a Tanzanian Bantu, is the man of the hour. With his contingency plan, he bolsters
confidence and earns the respect of foreign leaders.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


Fair.

Multiple sequential timelines is really weird. Is there no better way to format this.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Cassa posted:

Fair.

Multiple sequential timelines is really weird. Is there no better way to format this.

It's a very beautiful book, but the way information is laid is dog poo poo. History and Forward could have been merged with Cultures and Cults without any loss, really. Having dates early on would have helped a lot, even if the timeline is as stupid as they always are.

Also, near drat everything in the book is first mentioned and then explained pages and pages later, which is frustrating.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Night10194 posted:

I think the general tone of Hunter and what it's sometimes trying to do is particularly interesting, too. It's a shame about literally everything about the rules, but Storyteller is honestly also intriguing to me because of its complete inability to be actually rules light or narrative combined with its active hostility to any idea of balance or design.
I think my biggest problem with Hunter is simply that the power level in the oWoD just invalidates mortal monster-hunters. It's hard to justify a human who can go toe-to-toe with a Garou but is somehow not a Supernatural* themselves.

I recall forum posters pointing out that you're not supposed to overthrow the Camarilla or destroy Pentex or whatever, you're in a desperate struggle to take out one mid-level vampire, et cetera et cetera. But the art belies that (Hunter was notorious for depicting Hunters pulling off stuff that the PCs will probably never manage), and so does the overarching metaplot of the WoD, where there are demigods hidden all over the place and they're all about to kick off Armageddon.


*How come neither White Wolf nor the fandom ever came up with a better word for this?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Halloween Jack posted:

I think my biggest problem with Hunter is simply that the power level in the oWoD just invalidates mortal monster-hunters. It's hard to justify a human who can go toe-to-toe with a Garou but is somehow not a Supernatural* themselves.

I recall forum posters pointing out that you're not supposed to overthrow the Camarilla or destroy Pentex or whatever, you're in a desperate struggle to take out one mid-level vampire, et cetera et cetera. But the art belies that (Hunter was notorious for depicting Hunters pulling off stuff that the PCs will probably never manage), and so does the overarching metaplot of the WoD, where there are demigods hidden all over the place and they're all about to kick off Armageddon.


*How come neither White Wolf nor the fandom ever came up with a better word for this?
Well they have the greatest power source of all, surpassing even the curse of Caine, an awakened avatar, or the blessing of Gaia: Midwestern rage!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Hunter: The Reckoning

With his own belt buckle!

So, I'm not very fond of WW In Character Fiction. But then I'm not very fond of WW writing. Even then, I'll say the actual long fiction interlude that opens the book does a pretty good job of setting the tone of what a Hunter game is meant to look like. First you get a long, paranoid screed on the Hunter.Net website (because of course the Hunters have their own message board, accessed by going through a bunch of right wing libertarian paranoia sites; 90s). It begins with the tagline of the game, the words that Forums Poster Witness1 heard when the Messengers first Imbued him and we're gonna be going to proper noun town. See, crazy voices start yelling at you in an obvious homage (or rip-off) of They Live and then you see horrible monsters and now you gotta take a brick to dracula's face. He's quick to go through how no-one actually knows who the Messengers are or what they want Hunters to do. Hunters seem to have minor magical powers, though they're pretty pathetic next to what their enemies can do (again, until higher levels and a lack of thought about game balance kicks in, but even then they're wedded to an extremely squishy mortal human), but they have no idea where they get them from. Not many of them even trust the Messengers, which is honestly pretty reasonable of them and something I do like about the game's concept.

See, one of the things that comes across in the original on-line screed? The Hunters have no loving clue what they are, how infested the world is, how long the world's been infested, or what the monsters overall want. The monsters seem interested in dominating humankind and herding it for food (Hunters mostly seem to encounter vampires and undead early on) but beyond that, who knows? It's actually really refreshing to see a look at all the convoluted and stupid mythmaking of the World of Darkness from the perspective of characters who still find it mysterious and don't know what's going on. Vampires and 'rots' (I'm not sure zombie-wight things factor heavily in any other WoD line, they seem to have been put all over for something 'easy' for Hunters to run into first) seem to be goddamn everywhere, you see ghosts, and sometimes you see something even worse like a Mage or a Werewolf. But you don't know what they are. You don't know about their struggles and silly power games. And they don't know you, either. They're pretty used to being able to mostly ignore the normal world and do their thing. That element of surprise is supposed to be your biggest edge. Hunters, according to the on-line stuff and all the fluff in Reckoning, are extremely new. Less than a year old in 1999. There are no 'elder super Hunters'. A guy or gal who has survived a few months of hunting is a grizzled veteran with tremendous powers compared to most. Nobody involved in any of this Hunting stuff has any goddamn idea where it leads; it's actually a mystery, and that leaves room for real horror.

The on-line stuff goes into how the monsters run everything. They control the cops. They have human slaves they've blessed with dark power. They run the government. They run international finance. And you know, this is oWoD so all of this is completely true; in Hunter one of the most dangerous things you're up against is the insane omnipresence of massive supernatural conspiracies in the oWoD's silly mythology. Heck, it'll even be a plot point later that pretty much as soon as they made their silly little web forum it got infiltrated and Hunters started dying. Inherit The Earth is a pretty drat tall order when you're up against people who aren't just superhuman, but they run pretty much all human affairs from the shadows and they've been doing it for ages. Which gets to one of the issues of Hunter, which is that Hunter is a game that puts your PCs up against the authors' darlings of the WoD and the supreme amount of fluffing they've gotten about how monsters rule the world and are impossibly powerful actually surpasses Chaos in Warhammer Fantasy.

Anyway, after all that, you get a brief 'this is what the game's about' that talks about how groups used to Storyteller games will have to get used to pretending their characters don't know every single rank of Camarilla society and all the bloodlines and what an Antitribu or whatever is. And that this game is a perfect entry point into the setting, because 'Maybe you hated all the other Storyteller settings; if so, this is your chance to put a shotgun in their face and pull the trigger'. Hey, I'm sold! There's also a bit on the proper nouns: There aren't that many, I promise. Imbuing is a Hunter's awakening. Hunters are Imbued people who deal with monsters and generally die trying. The Messengers are ??? and basically up to your GM. Edges are your little magic powers, which range from hilarious (Turn a spoon into a righteous weapon of power!) to silly (eat a monster's soul with a kiss!) to awesome (point at a monster. EVERYONE can see them like you do! Alternately, orbital jesus laser). Hunters also have a little code of runes that only they see, which they can leave as hints for one another. Monsters don't see Hunter runes. Hunters can communicate in a common written language that no-one else on earth seems to even perceive. Legit, that's a pretty cool power to have for a group that is steeped in tropes of revolutionary violence.

Then we get 30+ pages of fiction from the point of view of an abortion doctor turned occultist who is trying to catalogue and understand the things he's hunting, as he gets involved with other Imbued, discovers the Hunter Net, watches the Hunter Net already catch fire and explode to a combination of Internet Drama and possibly being infiltrated by draculas, and loses most of his team to a combination of them freaking out that he's an abortion doctor and some of the others dying in combat. It does feature a warrior-Hunter using the 'turn anything into a weapon against monsters' to cut a dracula in half with his own belt buckle during a car chase, though, so that redeems some of it immediately. It's also got the old White Wolf Edge in making the protagonist clearly racist and all; Dr. van Wyk refers to 'Negroes' in his Hunter.Net posts and considers the black member of their team a big, stupid, but loyal and useful warrior type. Though Jared the black bartender is also, of course, written as a big, tough, stupid and useful warrior type, with past drug convictions and a legal record who gets pinched by the cops and then murdered by monsters. Look, it's White Wolf. There's always going to be some racism. Still, the general tone of the big in-character section is actually pretty close to what the game is going for: You're meant to feel outgunned, paranoid, and constantly trying to reach out to weird strangers and form ad-hoc alliances because you all know you saw the same things even though you come from many walks of life.

I also like the touch where once it gets around that the doctor can see ghosts, ghosts start coming to him with placards asking him to help them find their rest. They don't even want to hurt him. They just want him to, like, solve their murder or something. See, one of the other big things in Hunter is the idea that a lot of the supernatural is just weird as hell. For every murderous wight that keeps hunting down college kids because they died in a hit-and-run by frat boys, you run into a sad ghost that just needs their pocket watch back. For every sinister dracula, there's an angsty dracula who doesn't really want to hurt people and might even help you against the evil ones. You can potentially talk to wizards, or even wolfies. Not like most Hunters would object to putting a bullet in weird Wyrm poo poo, after all; there's a lot of designated splat enemies that a prioritizing Hunter is going to want to go after first. Given how hard all this stuff is to kill, being able to deduce what is and isn't a problem that you have to fight is really important even from a tactical or strategic point of view rather than a moral one.

Then you get into even more in-character fiction; the first 60+ pages of this book are all in-character fiction and almost all of the fluff is, too. The issue with it is that you don't really get the 'multiple perspectives' effect you got in something like the Old World Bestiary. Also that a lot of the narrators are annoying. Also that, say, the entire Bestiary is written by a 'I want to be friends with the monsters and help everyone' type and that obviously colors his impressions of the creatures, and you never get a competing perspective or other viewpoints on them. This is White Wolf Unreliable Narrator So We Don't Have To Worry About Consistency in full swing. The next bit of in-character Hunter Primer stuff is all about what you'd expect: Police will never help you, trust only your fists. Mob will never help you, trust only your fists. Media will never help you, trust only your fists. And so on. Also a big screed about how religion is the greatest threat to human progress and a tool of the monsters because they fear real spirituality so they use churches to stifle it and make religion into a product MAAAAAN. It's all dripping with the usual 'Well EVERYTHING is bad and that's the truth' sort of cheap, 'above it all' apolitical cynicism; you'll get bits about how all ideologies were just as bad and all governments and creeds are infiltrated by monsters and everyone is evil or lazy sheeple.

Which, of course, leads to the issue: What the hell do you do? They've set up the enemy as completely invulnerable, in control of the entire planet, and superhumanly strong even among the weakest of them. You need to tweak things a little to make Hunting actually have a point besides 'mostly we just die'. This is going to be backed up mechanically later by a traditional WW lack of understanding of the words 'action economy'. I'll give you a sampler: A standard vamp can easily gain extra turns equal to their Dex. They have Dex 5. Basically, from what I understand of Vampire, because of simplifying them down, every vamp you encounter likely has the 'don't die' power, Celerity (extra turns), and Potence (car-throwing strength). That's the poo poo Hunters are up against, on simply a personal 'kill it' level. That's not even accounting for the wealth, power, and total political control most of their enemies are depicted having. I'm all for being confused and outmatched, but this is going to be some Call of Cthulhu level poo poo when your first serious confrontation of a campaign is like Fenlik from Horror on the Orient Express.

So you're a weird new thing that nobody's encountered before with powers no-one understands and...well, sorry, your powers aren't that much next to the guy walking through bullets and going into slow-mo matrix dives as he sighs, draws his katana from his trenchcoat, and teleports behind you. We'll get into that in more detail later.

First, let's get to the Hunter Creeds!

Next Time: Why do you Hunt?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Halloween Jack posted:

I think my biggest problem with Hunter is simply that the power level in the oWoD just invalidates mortal monster-hunters. It's hard to justify a human who can go toe-to-toe with a Garou but is somehow not a Supernatural* themselves.

I recall forum posters pointing out that you're not supposed to overthrow the Camarilla or destroy Pentex or whatever, you're in a desperate struggle to take out one mid-level vampire, et cetera et cetera. But the art belies that (Hunter was notorious for depicting Hunters pulling off stuff that the PCs will probably never manage), and so does the overarching metaplot of the WoD, where there are demigods hidden all over the place and they're all about to kick off Armageddon.


*How come neither White Wolf nor the fandom ever came up with a better word for this?

This is kind of the nail on the head, right as I begin the review: Hunter needed to actually risk being a RECKONING for the supernatural for its themes to work. There were ways to get there with what exists in the game and in the wider WoD, but what Hunter really needed was to be the ENOUGH IS ENOUGH splat. Yeah, you start small, smashing a low level vamp that's been lording over a neighborhood or taking out some weird poo poo people were afraid of, but you needed to work your way up from there.

You needed to be the seed of revolution that the monsters that own the world didn't see coming and that could potentially stop the end of all things. It's another reason I say something like Spire would actually be perfect for what Hunter: The Reckoning is trying to do. Especially the way Spire starts with Low advances being street level edges and ends with stuff like 'The Firebrand disappears into the spirit of the movement and rises again out of the masses' or 'The Knight completes their quest and spiritual transformation from good-hearted mobster to actual holy hero'. If you're in the milieu of oWoD where everyone is super, having the Hunters be something that becomes a bigger deal if they can survive and represent a movement against the things they're fighting would just be fitting them to the setting.

As it is, it's more 'rise up against tyranny! Then die.' stuff despite having the seed of a really cathartic and interesting idea for a horror setting in there. Also I don't think Hunter ever really contextualizes its violence or struggle as revolutionary on its own. That's simply how it always read to me.

E: Hunter: The Reckoning also desperately needed something that Hunter: The Vigil has: That there are a lot of people out there who don't have your powers or whatever but who also aren't too happy about the goddamn draculas, mixed in with the collaborators and willing to help you out with the occasional bundle of cash, a gun left in a dead drop, or a local cop looking the other way. You needed to be able to eventually involve the community and begin movements against these things. Reckoning is very, very firmly set in 'that is impossible' territory and hates the very concept.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:42 on Jul 2, 2019

Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


Night10194 posted:

I also like the touch where once it gets around that the doctor can see ghosts, ghosts start coming to him with placards asking him to help them find their rest.
Didn't watch and going from culture osmosis, but this was the plot the 'The sixth sense', right?

quote:

Also that, say, the entire Bestiary is written by a 'I want to be friends with the monsters and help everyone' type and that obviously colors his impressions of the creatures, and you never get a competing perspective or other viewpoints on them.
...Wait, so - are we Van Helsing, or the ignorant and hateful mob from Frankenstein?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Gun Jam posted:

...Wait, so - are we Van Helsing, or the ignorant and hateful mob from Frankenstein?

Hunter doesn't know either. Though I think the entire WoD is best summed up by a scene from the intro fiction where an undead monster that the protagonist has been tracking due to how it enjoys randomly killing people and committing serial murders has him on the floor, strangling him, screaming 'WHY DO YOU TORMENT ME!?' at him. You know, this superhuman monster that has a man on the floor, at its mercy, and is ripping him apart, and whose existence seems to consist of randomly deciding it feels like killing people on a given night trying to recast itself as the victim even as that's happening.

And in Hunter, it gets taken out by an empowered steel pipe to the back of its head from another Hunter while the man it was beating up laughs at the absurdity of what it's asking him.

And ALSO because this is still WW, some of the other Hunters decry this as brutal and overly murderous.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



It's a sad statement on White Wolf that even in a game based around the fact that all the established supernatural types are basically evil and you're empowered by divine forces to wipe them out, they still have to pull the loving "perhaps it is YOU who are the true monster!" card.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Evil Mastermind posted:

It's a sad statement on White Wolf that even in a game based around the fact that all the established supernatural types are basically evil and you're empowered by divine forces to wipe them out, they still have to pull the loving "perhaps it is YOU who are the true monster!" card.

I could absolutely buy that stuff if it was about 'Hey, maybe we don't have to defeat all of them, maybe we can convince some of them to give us a hand against the worst of them'. Trying to keep open to making temporary (or even permanent) alliances with creatures that you could potentially co-exist with is probably necessary to actually winning.

Plus, you know, you help some wolves find some pentex poo poo and maybe you're walking two problems over one another and don't have to fight either.

But no, you'll see the narrator unironically ask if it's really so wrong for a superior being like a vampire to eat a human in the vampire bestiary entry. If it's at all different from eating cow.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Honestly one of Hunter's stronger points was the fluff being mostly written from the POV of the mostly clueless Imbued themselves (and obviously such a thing was used to great effect in Shadowrun) because on the internet you would absolutely get people asking if it's right to pull a vampire's fangs because what if ecosystem.

Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


Night10194 posted:

But no, you'll see the narrator unironically ask if it's really so wrong for a superior being like a vampire to eat a human in the vampire bestiary entry. If it's at all different from eating cow.

A very vegeterian line of thought; but just like they need to eat, I like to not be eaten - do they really expect me to meekly turn my cheek so they'll have better access to my neck, rather then trying to shoot them first?
Also, "superior being". *eye twitch*

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


By superior being they mean 'can throw a car and outrun a bullet and is very powerful'.

One of the refreshing things about Warhams vamps in their book? The book actually acknowledges that you don't really need any justification beyond 'these guys eat people, I am people, I do not want to be eaten' to resist them.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




And let's not even start with the wolves outlook on humanity as herds to be thinned and breeding stock :gonk:

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

"There's a reason we're paving the Earth, you furry fucks."

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Night10194 posted:

I mean you'd need to write a bunch of stuff yourself to bring Spire out of its setting (since it's very heavily bound to it) but the base concept of its rules is exactly what Hunter: The Reckoning needs.

Spire has an SRD and guide to hacking it.

https://rowanrookanddecard.com/product/the-resistance-toolbox/

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Hunter: The Reckoning

The Hunter's Creed

So, before we have any description of how you gain points of Virtues or what Virtues are, we're going to be introduced to the character classes/splats of Hunter. Creeds are what a Hunter firmly believes about how and why they hunt. These channel their edges and determine what they can do. Also note: No Hunter can, RAW, actually gain their capstone power in a Creed. You have to have GM fiat to ever learn any of the level 5 powers. The book also admonishes you a lot for deciding you want to fulfill a gameplay role or play with a specific powerset by telling you you must choose your Creed by character concept only, and that you should finish your whole character before you decide on this central element of their personality and interaction with the game. It does this while giving you the fluff and rules for Creeds well before anything else.

They also tell you the Creeds are not an in-universe thing; Hunters have not actually been around long enough to divide themselves into splats the same way Vampires and others have. Then it goes on to give you the standard stupid 'stereotypes' each Creed has about all the others and to treat them as in-universe clubs because WW is WW and that's just how poo poo's gonna go down. The Virtues themselves are Zeal (Rise up and strike them down!), Mercy (Maybe the vampire has a right to eat us and it is we who are the monsters), and Vision (Ideas Guys). Something to remember about Hunter when you look at how confused it can be is that it has a lot of authors working on it. Lotta cooks in this kitchen. I recognize all the 'yours is to make a doomed heroic stand' from Geoffrey Grabowski since he was writing the same thing for Feng Shui at this time, and then you've got Stolze in here too so I'm gonna believe some of the better bits of Hunter come from him, and then a whole grab-bag of other WW contributors. That might explain a lot about how the tone shifts constantly.

Anyway, to get to the Creeds, we start with the first Zeal Creed, the Defender. Defenders are about trying to protect ordinary people and places from horrible monsters. Most will pick out a territory, or people they especially care about, or a concept they feel needs to be protected in a lovely world full of draculas. Defenders tend to be people who can't stand idly by when awful poo poo goes down. People whose zeal manifests in their desire to step in when someone bigger is picking on someone smaller. They're more cautious than some of the other Zeal guys because they're much more focused on protection than attacking, which can be its own problem when the enemy is everywhere and you need bold action to drag them into the sun and see them burn. They can sometimes end up withdrawing into 'their turf' and losing sight of the larger struggle. As long as the things they care about are safe, the rest of the world can go to hell.

Naturally, despite having just been told there hasn't been time for Creeds to become in-setting groups, we also get 'Apocrypha' about what debates go on within that Creed and what groups have formed within it. Because WW. They just can't contextualize writing without splats all having catty high-school opinions about one another and cliques within cliques. Defenders are apparently contextualized by being sinister big tent revivalists and 'anti-traditionalist' conspiracy theorists for some reason. Most Defenders have their first encounter with something trying to kill someone else. A chance to step in. You also get a guide as to how you should build your stats to be X splat since it would 'make sense for your character' because the book really wants to tell you how to play your PC, after telling you how important it is to make your PC however you feel you need to to get their concept across. It wants Defenders to favor Perception, Empathy, and Willpower. No mention of, you know, stats necessary to combat like Dexterity or Stamina. You'd think maybe the tough character would want some Stamina.

Innocents are the Creed for...okay, Innocents don't actually know what their dealio is. They just thought the name sounded cool and they were kinda low on Mercy Creed ideas after the obvious Redeemer. 'Innocent might as well mean idiot to other Hunters', the book says, because you see, Innocents approach the hunt with no preconceived notions and don't assume monsters are bad. Innocents are sort of meant to be idealists who ask if it's really necessary to waste a creature, but again, the Redeemer's got that handled, Innocents. The Innocent asks the other Hunters if it's okay to steal things, or punch a cop, or offers to carry the group's gun so they can decide not to shoot when the rest of the team needs cover. Innocents are kind of stupid.

I mean, it's fine to some degree. Asking yourself if what you're doing is right, trying to maintain some degree of moral self-examination? Those are fine and good traits for a character. But the Innocent then starts going 'oh what if the poor monster is in pain, that might justify all those people it slaughtered' or 'hey if we fight them we might be just as bad as them' and you can see the root of it: The Innocent is the person waffling about if it's ever okay to punch a nazi rather than being a moral beacon. It'd be fine to have them as the ones saying 'Look, we put the bomb here it's going to kill a couple dozen people, is this vamp worth that?' but that's really not how they get depicted.

Also, all their other material just makes them sound like idiots. There's a difference between an optimist and a fool. "Hey, we have invisible magic angel friends, we'll be FINE! The magic angels will help us stop hurting anyone!" is, uh...that's not gonna work. The game also suggests that Innocents are good for playing a child PC, and that's not really something I'd like in a grim game about fighting terrible monsters. I generally try to minimize violence against children in the games I run and write for personal reasons and because that usually doesn't go anywhere good anyway. Most Innocents need Empathy and Charisma, and they tend to face a monster that looks worse than it is for their first time.

Judges are the Zeal Creed for discerning monster-killers. They want to make sure they get the best possible target, and attack it to the best possible effect. They believe violence should be precise, targeting, and considered. They're the closest to the traditional Van Helsing type; figure out what it's weak to, figure out how it works, figure out why you need to kill this one, and then use those things to put it down. Judges literally have 'they are hard men and women who make hard decisions' in their writeup, but I still kind of like them because they're the closest to how you probably want to play the game if you actually want to get anywhere against most of your enemies. They're also depicted as passing judgement on other Hunters, because there's like...3, 4 different Creeds that get depicted as being really into denouncing other Hunters as no better than monsters and in need of a bullet (or in the case of Innocents, more hugs). Hunter gets real concerned with that a little more often than it should.

Judges can fall to two things: Indecision, and megalomania. Some of them get wracked with 'what if I'm making the wrong judgments' and others go 'BOW BEFORE YOUR NEO-POPE, WE SHALL CLEANSE THE WORLD OF BOTH VAMPIRES AND PROTESTANTS!', and both of those go bad places. Judges' 'Apocrypha' is weird...it's just a little bit about how many of them are Apocalyptics and many of them found their faith by becoming a Judge, finally realizing they believe in God and a divine mission to deal with monsters. They are written as needing Wits and Perception, but 'can waver on Willpower'. Their usual first encounter is with multiple monsters, usually in a situation where only one of them actually needs the Judge to do something; the first test is figuring out who to shoot and how to shoot them in the middle of some other splat's streetfight, which seems like a tall order for a rookie PC who might be by themselves in their 'prelude'.

Next Time: There already was a Jesus

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Night10194 posted:

This is kind of the nail on the head, right as I begin the review: Hunter needed to actually risk being a RECKONING for the supernatural for its themes to work. There were ways to get there with what exists in the game and in the wider WoD, but what Hunter really needed was to be the ENOUGH IS ENOUGH splat. Yeah, you start small, smashing a low level vamp that's been lording over a neighborhood or taking out some weird poo poo people were afraid of, but you needed to work your way up from there.

Hunter the Reckoning, confused about its premise?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUOLkivDeI4

Nahhh. Also, the idea of explaining vampire attacks as gang violence... "Oh, man, another gang exsanguination?" "Just the way it's always been, Butch."

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 20:04 on Jul 2, 2019

megane
Jun 20, 2008





I feel like a lot of WW stuff follows the same sort of pattern. They come up with a passable and straightforward idea, but then I guess they struggle to fill out however many pages of copy about it, since they kinda conveyed the whole idea in two sentences. "Defenders are protectors, who choose a place or group of people and keep them safe. Sometimes this makes them too cautious when aggression is called for."

So in comes the questionable filler stuff -- the stereotype lists, the in-character pontificating, the whiny equivocations about whether drowning babies is really bad, the "twists" and unnecessary examples that weaken and confuse the concept. If they'd just know when to shut up about things it'd be so much more palatable.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

megane posted:

I feel like a lot of WW stuff follows the same sort of pattern. They come up with a passable and straightforward idea, but then I guess they struggle to fill out however many pages of copy about it, since they kinda conveyed the whole idea in two sentences. "Defenders are protectors, who choose a place or group of people and keep them safe. Sometimes this makes them too cautious when aggression is called for."

So in comes the questionable filler stuff -- the stereotype lists, the in-character pontificating, the whiny equivocations about whether drowning babies is really bad, the "twists" and unnecessary examples that weaken and confuse the concept. If they'd just know when to shut up about things it'd be so much more palatable.
Like with so many bad things about 1990s RPGs, the publishing model (supplement treadmill) is to blame.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Hunter the Reckoning, confused about its premise?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUOLkivDeI4

Nahhh. Also, the idea of explaining vampire attacks as gang violence... "Oh, man, another gang extermination?" "Just the way it's always been, Butch."

If Judges could kick rear end half as well as Father Cortez the Judge does in the ridiculous (but fun) vidjagame version, the WoD would be sorted in a week.

E: I don't put it all on the supplement treadmill. There's, uh, a lot of realllly bad stuff coming up in the next couple Creeds' in-character writeups/fluff that I'll go into in more detail because yikes and also because it follows the same patterns as the Neo Nazi Brujah.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Hunter: The Reckoning

God, where do I start

So, Innocents were kind of dumb, Judges and Defenders sounded like reasonable concepts, etc. Surely the other Creeds will be mostly fine.

I didn't go into it as much with them, but every Creed starts with things written in character from a follower of that Creed. The Martyr...well, the Martyr writeup has problems. A lot of them. The Martyr starts out by talking about how many of them do the whole 'get hurt so others don't' spiel because they get off on the drama of it. Also goes into how they shouldn't do this if they literally get off on it, while talking about how most of them take up this Creed because they feel guilty about perceived sins like being queer. Yeah.

You know when I was writing up Feng Shui and I said it was surprisingly good about this kind of stuff for the period it was being published in? This is the kind of poo poo I was contrasting it against. Like, I get it, it's partly 'oh, you're gay in a society that hates that, so you take up being Hunter Jesus to cleanse the sin', but the way it's put in there with Martyrs 'getting off on the drama' and exhortations not to get sexual with your masochism (and placed with a bunch of other sexually charged guilt) really comes off badly.

Anyway, Martyrs are about what you expect: They get hurt or suffer damage to activate their powers, which is kind of a bad idea when you consider how squishy humans already are compared to their enemies. They are the element of Mercy that would rather suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune themselves than let others suffer. They tend to give everything they have to the Hunt, sacrificing their savings, possessions, and bodies to make certain their comrades can carry on. We also get a rather tasteless bit about how many of them crave suicide, or do this wholly because they like how others admire their selflessness. Sometimes they get so into self-sacrifice that they forget that they should probably make sure they get something in return rather than just dying for the cause, and it keeps coming back to the idea that they 'get off' on it because WW. They're defined by Stamina and Empathy. The ones who just like the praise for being self-sacrificing won't have the Empathy, the book assures you. They usually encounter something really dangerous and get the poo poo kicked out of them for their first encounter. No explanation on how they survive that. Martyrs kind of suck. You're generally going to see a theme of Vision and Mercy having much less coherent ideas than Zeal.

Redeemers see the world in terms of triage, and legit that's a good way to put them and the direction I'd go with their Creed. Their Creed is the only really coherent Mercy Creed, until we get to their powers. I'm not going to spoil their powers here, because holy poo poo they have the most WHAT THE CHRIST power in the game considering their concept. Yes, even moreso than the idiot powered orbital laser I've hinted at that is the Innocent capstone. Redeemers look at monsters and want to ask if there's anything that can be fixed in them. They say 'hey, some of these guys got grabbed off the street and bitten by vampires' or 'some of these ghosts just want me to bury their bones' and that's fairly reasonable. Especially in the context of triage and figuring out how to prioritize. I'd honestly say they're one of the only ones where the little in-character bit does them some good. And you know, if you could turn a monster or subvert your enemies, that certainly wouldn't hurt the cause.

Their apocrypha is all about how they tend to get 'god complexes' about being saviors. Also, since they can perform miracles of healing eventually, some of them stop bothering to hunt and just go around healing the wounded and crippled for money, which sounds like a pretty sane professional decision. In general the weakness of Redeemers is framed as 'abandoning the Hunt'. You'd expect it to be something like 'Sometimes you stick your neck out to try to help someone and they chop your head off', considering, but no. It's all about becoming a cult leader or faith healer, apparently. Their first encounters tend to involve badly injured humans and things that need help, which is funny, because it's impossible to actually start play with their healing abilities. Despite their healing abilities being treated as the central pillar of their character in their writeup. For some reason they're consistently treated as the medic splat instead of the faceman like you'd expect. They need high Dex and some other mental ability. For a weird reason they don't mention the Redeemer needing, say, Charisma or Empathy.

The game really wants you to know Avengers are sort of the bad jock splat. They're the guys and gals who take Zeal too far. The scary ones. The fighty ones. If they wanted you not to like them they shouldn't have made their first power 'I CAN PUT A SPOON THROUGH A WEREWOLF' (There's art! I can't find a jpeg to post of it, but gently caress yeah! Grandpa slamming a spoon right through a werewolf's chest to save his elderly wife rules!). These are the Hunters who want to burn down the supernatural and tear it apart. They don't really care if the vampire has a tragic backstory; he eats people, he gets the justice foot right to the face, imbued with holy firepower. They're cast as the renegade loose cannons who are too hot to handle.

Oh yeah, and their writeup says a lot of them come from white supremacist militias as a PC concept (and other anti-government militias). So yeah! Right there, that's some of the 'ole Neo Nazi Brujah mojo right there. The good 'ole 90s edgelord jackassery. gently caress you, White Wolf. There's a lot on how so many Avengers are super racists, white supremacists, black supremacists, 'asian supremacists' as if 'asian' was itself a single nationality or group or whatever. Also they sometimes get a little extreme and bring down too much heat by blowing up a penthouse or something.

They are, of course, the 'Hunter most likely to fall to the enemy's level' by being too angry about fighting monsters. They're either big tough stupid jocks, or weak and cowardly but covered in guns and militia memorabilia, according to their stat suggestions. Also the ones that turn into cult leaders or come from crazy racist backgrounds are portrayed as highly effective killers who present a moral dilemma to the team; dare they work with Neo-nazis!?

gently caress you, White Wolf. I know I already said it, but gently caress you again.

The Visionary has no idea what to do with itself besides being a more wafflely Judge. I could leave it at that, really. They 'imagine a world beyond the Hunt' and sit around being the ideas guy for their team. Like Innocents, they 'have few preconceived notions'. Vision in general is pretty irrelevant compared to how Mercy and Zeal get at the central conflict/argument among Hunters. I get the intention; there's a lot of weird poo poo involved in the creation of Hunters and someone who asks 'why the hell are we doing this and who gave us these abilities' is a logical character type. But you already have the Mercy guys questioning that. That's the more charitable interpretation of what Innocents do, question the necessity of the Hunt's actions and why it plays out like it does. They could have pretty easily been rolled into another Creed or just had it be a thing most Hunters think about. They are the only Creed for Vision, too; it has 2 others, but they're secret and forbidden and saved for splatbooks in case the line sells.

Their weakness is that they're conspiracy theorists and tend to get really attached to their conspiracies, losing the ability to actually do anything of use for the team because they're more interested in proving why their ridiculous theories are right rather than examining the Hunt. The other weakness is a fair number of them come to the conclusion that the response to the Hunt is not to do it. To just back off. That humans are being used as pawns by one supernatural to attack others. Giving up generally doesn't help a team much. Especially when they never seem to have any evidence for their 'theories' besides 'I sat around and thought about it a lot and wrote a manifesto'.

They have no set first encounter because they're very deep, you see. Some have high Intelligence, others aren't very smart but have the high Manipulation to play smart. They often know Science or Occult knowledge, or sometimes they know both. They are very contradictory and brilliant people you're expected to see as cool and thoughtful instead of sorta useless conspiracy theorists hanging on to a team of more grounded monster hunters and trying to a-priori their way to whatever bullshit they're spouting this week.

Since we're doing this entirely by character concept as White Wolf intended, tell me a character concept and maybe a Creed before I actually tell you anything about character creation and they're what I'll make as an example, without any regards for game mechanics or even what skills or stats are in the game.

Next Time: Making a Hunter

KirbyKhan
Mar 20, 2009

I post posts about posts

Soiled Meat

My character concept is an Innocent or Redeemer who marries into a vampire or ghoul family unbeknownst to him. His first encounter is on his wedding day as a rival vampire clan decided to spike the blood bowl with crazy blood that caused the bridal party to decend upon the groomsmen.

The central conceit is that dude still loves his wife, but he is a bit peeved that everything he knew and loved had to die and they haven't said sorry.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Night10194 posted:

Since we're doing this entirely by character concept as White Wolf intended, tell me a character concept and maybe a Creed before I actually tell you anything about character creation and they're what I'll make as an example, without any regards for game mechanics or even what skills or stats are in the game.

Next Time: Making a Hunter
Charles Barkley, either in actuality or as portrayed in canon video game "Shut up and Jam Gaiden."

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




megane posted:

I feel like a lot of WW stuff follows the same sort of pattern. They come up with a passable and straightforward idea, but then I guess they struggle to fill out however many pages of copy about it, since they kinda conveyed the whole idea in two sentences. "Defenders are protectors, who choose a place or group of people and keep them safe. Sometimes this makes them too cautious when aggression is called for."

So in comes the questionable filler stuff -- the stereotype lists, the in-character pontificating, the whiny equivocations about whether drowning babies is really bad, the "twists" and unnecessary examples that weaken and confuse the concept. If they'd just know when to shut up about things it'd be so much more palatable.
Have I got a chocolate bar for you!






Vampire: The Masquerade (2nd Edition)

Preface
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Setting
Interlude: A History of Face Grabbing
Chapter 3: Storytelling
Chapter 4: Rules
Chapter 5: Character
Chapter 6: Traits


quote:

What? Y'all thought y'all wasn't gonna see me?
I'm the Osiris of this poo poo
Wu-Tang is here forever, motherfuckers

--Friedrich Nietzsche, Exquisite Corpse

Chapter Seven, Part 1: Clans

All the details of the players’ stuff is crammed into one massive chapter that includes Clans, Disciplines, basic Attributes and Abilities, Backgrounds, how Blood is spent, and a few other things.

I’ll start with the clans, of which there are seven. We’re told that these are not the only Kindred clans in existence, but the ones that make up the Camarilla. Each clan gets a writeup which includes sections on their typical background and character concept, how they’re organized, what kind of havens they favour, what they typically look like, and their stereotypical views on the other clans. It also lists their clan Disciplines and a unique supernatural Weakness for each clan.

This formed a pattern that would be repeated in almost every single game White Wolf has ever published, where instead of races and classes, PCs were divided into type based on genealogy or political faction. Sometimes this was shoehorned into games where it didn’t make much sense, namely Hunter: the Reckoning and Mummy: the Resurrection, both published in the waning days of the original World of Darkness. (As Jef of System Mastery pointed out, the Stereotypes sections had a particular tendency to be lists of pompous, snarky insults directed at every other PC faction. Despite Kindred being bitchy and treacherous as a rule, there’s a fair bit of “Yeah, they’re cool” in original Vampire.)

These clans/tribes/guilds/etc. came to be known as “splats” and are still widely imitated in the tabletop business today. The term arose because White Wolf published sourcebooks called Clanbooks, Tribebooks, etc. and the Usenet community collectively referred to them as *books. Some computer nerds pronounce the * as “splat,” hence splatbooks, hence splats.




Also, all the clan illustrations were done by Joshua Gabriel Timbrook, who did a ton of, dare I say it, iconic work for Vampire and other White Wolf games in the form of stark black-and-white character sketches. I have no idea whatever happened to him.

quote:

It's a dog day afternoon
The Clan go bang, and the bang go boom
How you love it, how you like it, and how you get it
Do that drat thing and quit bullshittin’ with it

Clan of Xymox, “Luke Havergal”



1. Brujah are rebels.
2. Brujah are angry ALL the time.
3. The purpose of the Brujah is to flip out and kill people.


First up, the Brujah! The only thing uniting this clan is that they are all rebels of some kind, never happy with any status quo, and really pissed off about it. Many are political radicals, but their ideologies run the gamut from anarchist to fascist and everything in between, as long as it’s anti-establishment. Others are gangbangers and squatter punks with no firm convictions beyond “gently caress authority.” This includes Kindred authority, and the Brujah support the anarchs as an institution.

Regardless of their convictions, Brujah tend to be loud, aggressive, and dressed in outrageous street fashion. They have a well-deserved reputation for being touchy and vengeful, and other Kindred give them a wide berth. They’re disorganized, but tend to band together against common enemies, and any Brujah can issue a clarion call for solidarity if they’re willing to stake their reputation on it. They’re prone to Embrace on a whim and abandon their progeny to sink or swim, and they often make their homes in squats or even by way of home invasion.

The Brujah put the Punk in Gothic-Punk--it’s like the writers were really, really excited about that time Anthrax performed with Public Enemy, and they mashed up gangsta rap and anarchist with fringe politics to create a vague aesthetic. Even their clan logo is an inverted circle-A. They’re not subtle.

The Brujah have become my favourite clan, and I’m not even sure why. Later supplements and editions would expand on their history as a clan of philosopher-kings whose mistakes doomed them to devolve into a rabble of bitter malcontents, and open up their conceptual space to include nerds trying to weld that rabble into a force for good, or at least something better than the Camarilla’s ossified feudal politics. As a goth nerd who hung out with punks, I suppose that appealed to me.

But there’s also a passage in this book that I’m obliged to call out: Brujah may “dress and assume the attitudes of street hoods, neo-Nazis, or even Deadheads.” So hippie burnouts are more outré than loving Nazis? Why, because Doc Martens are on brand? What the gently caress, White Wolf? I will say that in years of playing Vampire, including a couple LARP events, I never met anyone who leaned into this and played a fash skinhead.

Disciplines: Celerity, Potence, Presence. They’re super-fast, super-strong, and look good while they rip people apart. Brujah are the best straight-up combat monsters.

Weakness: Brujah take +2 Difficulty to resist Frenzy, and can’t spend Willpower to prevent it. They get really mad when this lack of self-control is pointed out.

Stereotypes: The Brujah respect the Gangrel and Nosferatu for being tough survivors, and keep the Malkavians at arm’s length. They loathe the Toreador, Tremere, and Ventrue for reasons which will soon become obvious.



mrhands


The Gangrel are a bloodline of loners and survivors who hardly consider themselves a clan at all, with little in the way of internal politics or recognized leaders. It’s not that they hate cities or other Kindred, they just don’t need them, and they self-select for independence and self-sufficiency. Gangrel choose their childer very carefully, but when they Embrace, they usually leave their progeny on their own for awhile before revealing themselves.

I’m not getting into the Disciplines just yet, but spoilers: Gangrel have a power that lets them meld into the ground. This allows them to make their haven anywhere, and even travel between cities with relative ease. It’s rumoured that they’re even on good enough terms with the Lupines to not have to worry about them.

One weird and cringeworthy aspect of the Gangrel is that they have close ties to the “Gypsies” with legends saying that they are descended from Gangrel himself, and under his protection. I have no idea why the writers were fascinated with Roma stereotypes. It’s one of several strange examples where White Wolf employed 19th-century Gothic literary tropes without considering how they fit into the contemporary world.

Disciplines: Animalism, Fortitude, Protean. The first two are honestly pretty mediocre, but Protean is one of those Disciplines that belongs to a particular clan and can’t be learned by just anybody.

Weakness: Every single time a Gangrel frenzies, they permanently gain some animalistic feature--pointed ears, catlike eyes, a tail, etc. Every five animal features permanently reduces a Social Attribute by 1. This is generally considered one of the shittiest clan weaknesses, and was often house-ruled until later editions changed it to make it less punitive.

Stereotypes: The Gangrel are pretty chill about the other clans. They like the Nosferatu and are ambivalent about the Brujah and Malkavians. They despise the Toreador and the Tremere, and shrug their shoulders at Ventrue politicking.



Yeah, that's right, I said playing a Malkavian in Bloodlines is overrated. Deal with it.


The Malkavians are so crazy, you guys! Like, you never know what they’re gonna do next!! You laugh at them because they’re different, they laugh at you because you’re all the same!!! They’re like Deadpool and the Joker, and they live in a society!!!! EPIC BACON CUPCAKE WIN GOOD SIR!!!!!

Yeah, so the Malkavians’ thing is that they’re all insane. They go back and forth on whether this should be played for pathos with a serious treatment of mental illness, or...that. Besides being mentally ill, their sole unifying trait is that they love “pranks.” The Malkavians give a license to That Player who has to be wacky because “that’s what my character would do.”

I’m sparing you all a lengthy tirade about how this is insensitive, disruptive, and frankly low-effort, because I know when I’m preaching to the choir. Some good ideas and interesting NPCs have come from the Malkavians over the years, but nothing that couldn’t be done without specifically creating Clan Monkeycheese. The term “fishmalk” evolved to describe the stereotypical loony Malkavian, supposedly after an illustration of a Malkavian kissing a dead fish.

The writeup of Malkavians’ typical appearance, haven, etc. is tedious because it’s rife with that “Many of them are X, but some are the opposite of X!” cliche that often afflicts this sort of thing.

Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Obfuscate. They get the stuff that lets them creep around and get into your head.

Weakness: We haven’t discussed this yet, but Vampire makes mental illness something you write down on your character sheet. They’re called Derangements, and every Malkavian has at least one, which can never be healed.

Stereotypes: I’ll spare you. It’s several variations on “Ho ho, if only they saw the horrifying Truth!”



Don’t kinkshame.

Here’s another clan who are defined by their weakness: the Nosferatu are ugly as sin. The Embrace transforms them into monsters with twisted proportions, pustulant skin, bestial features, and disgusting odors. The obvious inspiration is Count Orlok, but Nosferatu come in all shapes and sizes so long as they’re revolting. The art in the supplements explored just how unsettling they can be.

Nosferatu have it rough, and they aren’t even compensated with, say, a great unique Discipline. If you play a Nosferatu, it’s because you really want to play a monster hiding in the shadows. They make their havens in abandoned buildings and sewer systems, and pass unnoticed among the homeless population. They have a reputation for being cranky and lewd, and don’t try to hide what they are.

Under this gruff and gross exterior, Nosferatu are remarkably sane. They know their Embrace is a curse, so they choose people who are lost and hopeless, with the hope that the Embrace can serve as a last chance at redemption where all others have failed. While they usually live alone, they have a very strong mutual support network. Combined with their Disciplines, this makes them the unparalleled information brokers among Kindred. Nosferatu may not have a good side, but you don’t want to be on their bad side.

In my opinion, Nosferatu is one of the best-developed and most interesting clans over Vampire’s lifetime. Their figurative and literal mastery of the underground, the dirt, of everything that falls through the cracks...there’s a lot of opportunity there. And their history and overall concept didn’t get too muddled by metaplot and new character options.

Disciplines: Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence. They can appear out of nowhere and hit you like a truck, then summon a pack of rats to finish off what’s left.

Weakness: Nosferatu have an Appearance of 0 and automatically fail Appearance rolls. They’re obviously inhuman--at best, they could pass for an impoverished burn victim.

Stereotypes: They’re cool with the Brujah and the Gangrel, and distrust the Malkavians, Tremere, and Ventrue. They despise the Toreador and are despised in turn.



Vampire was way ahead on the whole Soundcloud Rap thing.


The Toreador are lovers of beauty. They hold fast to the belief that undeath is not just a curse, but something to be enjoyed--including pleasures that are beyond the reach of human senses. They cultivate exquisite and expensive tastes, and indulge them to a degree that earns them a reputation for degenerate hedonism. That said, the Toreador are artists, and believe in a higher purpose than pleasure. They seem themselves as conservationists, Embracing the world's finest artists to preserve their talent. The Toreador include some of the greatest artists in history...as well as being the "Lestat" option for those of you who are so inclined.

Toreador are refined and cosmopolitan; even those who were starving artists in their mortal lives acquire these tastes after death, while continuing their artistic pursuits. They are the only clan who keep up with mortal fashions in art, clothing, et cetera, even to the point of being avant garde. Toreador are highly social and meet frequently, but these are typically social events. As a faction, they are too self-involved to be an effective coalition.

So...I don’t like the Toreador. To explain why, here’s another bit of White Wolf fandom: the Chupp Test. It was named after Sam Chupp, a White Wolf employee whose job included engaging the fandom and fielding questions like “Why would anyone want to play a Nosferatu?” The Chupp Test says that the worthiness of any PC faction is measured in how much the writing interests you in playing them. This also applies to sourcebooks about them: If you think Malkavians are stupid, does Clanbook: Malkavian change your mind?

I actually like the Toreador as they're presented in the core rulebook, but the way they were written over time made them less interesting. Supplements actually pulled a 180 on Toreador being preservers of beauty and introduced the idea that unlife gives you time to master your technique, but kills your creative spark. (The exception is a raft of templates whose concept was some variation on “outsider artist”: graffitist, martial artist, metal musician, etc.)

One of the most common Stereotypes directed at Toreador is “Do these spoiled brats contribute anything?” The writing on the Toreador doesn’t even offer any retort! Well, besides “Yes, we’re rich and influential because we’re beautiful and charming. gently caress off, peasant.” You’d think they would emphasize how the Toreador exercise “soft power” to protect the Masquerade in ways that can’t be accomplished with money, violence, and skulduggery, but no. Perhaps I’m wrong and rereading the books will force me to eat crow, but it seemed that they liked the idea of Toreador as a clan of bitchy queens.

Disciplines: Auspex, Celerity, Presence. It's a pretty good haul, because it includes Celerity.

Weakness: The Toreador are prone to becoming entranced by beautiful things: beautiful people, works of art, neon signs, and if they're not careful, even sunrises. The Storyteller decides when this kicks in, and it takes a Willpower roll to break free. This is one of those "So does the Storyteller have the guts to be a dick to you at random?" weaknesses that I'm not fond of.

Stereotypes: They hate the Nosferatu, consider Brujah and Gangrel beneath them, pity the Malkavians, and regard the Tremere and Ventrue as fellow patrons of high society.



Trust me, fans spent years trying to figure out why they used this picture of Wednesday Addams.


Most clans don’t consider themselves a family. The Gangrel don’t think of themselves as a clan, the Nosferatu regard their bloodline as a curse, and Malkavians often deny that they’re Malkavians at all. But the Tremere aren’t just a family, they’re a conspiracy.

The Tremere began as a mystical sect in medieval Transylvania. They claim that they have no Antediluvian founder, and unlocked the secrets of vampiric immortality through magick. Whatever the truth, their unique Discipline of Thaumaturgy gives them power over vitae itself. They only Embrace ambitious and educated mortals, and groom them for years to be loyal agents of the clan. Tremere are expected to obey their elders without question and always advance the clan’s interests, especially if it means using their own coterie. (What are those interests, by the way? Well, acquiring more power and influence, for sure, but nothing beyond that is explained. Trust your elders and don’t ask questions.)

Tremere don’t do anything to disclaim their image as devious sorcerers, either--they like dressing in formal black outfits accentuated with arcane sigils and talismans. They operate “chantries” in every city where they have a significant presence, a headquarters where Tremere can go for aid and often haven with their fellow clan members. Tremere are the Olive Garden of vampires.

Like I’ve said, I don’t want to get into much detail about the Disciplines yet. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss how Tremere got a reputation for being, well, kind of bullshit.

First of all, Tremere are a PC faction who are openly serving a dual agenda, and really arrogant about it. That’s bound to ruffle some feathers. Second, their clan weakness is kinda bullshit. This is before White Wolf invented Merits and Flaws, but the Tremere weakness is an example of a narrative disadvantage that only comes up if the Storyteller wants to make you the star of the story and give you more opportunities to earn XP.

Last and most important is Thaumaturgy. It’s supposed to be a really scary Discipline that lets you gently caress with other Kindred’s blood, but Thaumaturgy 5 is a lot less scary than Celerity 5. However. Thaumaturgy also has Rituals and Paths--bonus powers you can buy with XP that no other Discipline has. Every sourcebook was another opportunity to publish more Rituals and Paths, and even entirely alternate forms of Thaumaturgy, most of which the Tremere get to buy at Clan Discipline rates. This effectively makes the Tremere a wizard class with access to a literal book full of powers no one else gets. Enough to fill a few books, in fact. Some of them are very ill-considered and poorly-balanced. Very.

Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Thaumaturgy. No straight-up combat monster stuff, but they get all the spooky wizard poo poo.

Weakness: All Tremere are taken before the Tremere Council and forced to drink their blood, so every Tremere is already one step toward being a Blood Bound minion of the clan elders.

Stereotypes: Brujah, Nosferatu, and Malkavians are riff-raff. Gangrel are okay. Toreador and Ventrue are rivals, and inferior rivals at that. (The Tremere are the most guilty of Snarky Bullshit.)



drat, Uncle Fester looking svelte these days


The Ventrue are noble, sophisticated, and above all, powerful. They Embrace those who are wealthy and influential, and they intend to stay that way...forever. The stereotypical Prince is a Ventrue with an investment portfolio and a cold dead hand gripping city politics.

Ventrue are invested norms and institutions, both mortal and Kindred. They claim they founded the Camarilla, and are the most active in preserving it. They have long traditions of hospitality toward one another and noblesse oblige toward the other clans. God drat it, am I the only one here who gives a poo poo about the rules?

Ventrue aren’t just about the crude exercise of wealth and power. It’s important to them that they be well-mannered, cultured, and have impeccable taste. But they don’t keep up with fleeting mortal fashions the way the Toreador do. They tend to be set in their ways, which extends to dressing in exquisitely tasteful clothing from whatever century they died in. Are you going to throw shade at them for it? It’s good to be the king.

Disciplines: Dominate, Fortitude, Presence. Fortitude is lame, but the rest is all about control.

Weakness: Ventrue have rarefied tastes. You have to pick some kind of restriction on who you feed from: only beautiful women, only Swedes, only green-eyed male virgin electricians, and so on. It’s really up to you how hard you want to make your unlife here.

Stereotypes: The Ventrue’s genteel sense of superiority means they don’t hate anyone but the Brujah. Gangrel are fine, Nosferatu not so bad, and they regard Malkavians with the same suspicion as everyone else. The “upper-class” clans are good, but not as good as Ventrue. Naturally.



Doesn’t Ol’ Gil get a lick?

Last, and definitely least, are the Caitiff, the clanless vampires. Some young vampires just don’t have a clan...since clans are bloodlines, I don’t get how that works and they don’t really explain it. I suppose if your sire immediately abandons you, and you never find other members of your clan to school you, its supernatural advantages and disadvantages don’t take. Caitiff are generally assumed to be hopeless outcasts who will fall in with the anarchs, if anyone will have them at all.

Much later, the concept of the Caitiff was more-or-less supplanted when they introduced “Thin-Bloods.” Long story short, it turns out 13th Generation vampires can Embrace, but the results are lovely half-vampires.

The Caitiff were the first example of White Wolf games having a “non-splat splat.” For more information on what I think of this, check out my review of Tradition Book: Hollow Ones.

Disciplines: None. Caitiff can put their starting points in whatever they want, and pay for all Disciplines at a rate in-between clan and non-clan. Over time, this is generally an advantage.

Weakness: Also none. I suppose this is compensated by being treated like poo poo. This is another thing where the text is unclear, so expect your Storyteller to give you grief if you want to be of a lower Generation, or have Status, or take unique Disciplines like Protean or Thaumaturgy. Caitiff are supposed to be the cast-off dregs of Kindred society.

Stereotypes: None. Caitiff don't get a writeup. But attitudes toward the Caitiff range from pity to "exterminate on sight."

Next time on Kindred the Embraced: Attributes and Abilities, and a little thing called...Personality!

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 01:46 on Jul 24, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I should mention Hunter has its own non-splat splat: Bystanders. People who saw the monsters, heard the voice, then didn't do what the voice said and now they have the horrifying vision but no cool powers and can't turn it off.

Everyone hates them.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Personally I really like the idea that Toreadors are fundamentally uncreative, that biting a fantastic new artist young actually freezes their development as an artist. But then I'm coming from Chronicles games where vampires are pretty much guaranteed to be a net negative in the world; player characters who buy into the idea that actually vampires are preserving artistic genius forever would have a really interesting hook there, and the clan would have a deep well of bitterness hidden by the glitz. But also you'd need some way to actually make that hook gameable, which I imagine Masquerade wasn't hugely prepared to do.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Hunter the Reckoning, confused about its premise?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUOLkivDeI4

Nahhh. Also, the idea of explaining vampire attacks as gang violence... "Oh, man, another gang exsanguination?" "Just the way it's always been, Butch."

"At 11:00, we'll talk about the crazy new fad that gangs are taking up and you should know about it."

Any good Camarilla city should have enough of a spin machine to cover this up but I'm sure in a Sabbat city it comes up more than often. Then again, the Sabbat tend to go above and beyond exsanguination.

Wasn't there a made up disease that came up in one of the "Year of x" books that vampires created to claim that they were just suffering from a disorder and not an undead monster?

Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


Night10194 posted:

Since we're doing this entirely by character concept as White Wolf intended, tell me a character concept and maybe a Creed before I actually tell you anything about character creation and they're what I'll make as an example, without any regards for game mechanics or even what skills or stats are in the game.

Next Time: Making a Hunter

Consumed by hatred and desire for revenge, he will find and kill them or die trying.
Basically: Captain Ahab, vampire hunter.
(Still no original ideas, but at least I'm stealing from high-er brow sources)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I think one of my favorite things in this book is its obsession with reminding you you are NOT PLAYING SUPERHEROES while defining your character very strongly by their magic powers that set them above normal people and give them any chance against monsters. Similarly, it mixes exhortations and assurances that you'd never just dive into action when confronted with this stuff with a framing device about how in a sudden moment of supernatural clarity, your character gained magic powers and dove into action and if they didn't they're a lovely Bystander.

White Wolf always seems to get really upset about people playing supers in all the supers games they made.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Funnily enough the Avengers had one of the best splatbooks for the whole Hunter line, although being written by Greg Stolze helps. The trick with a Hunter splatbook is it's told from three POVs on different ends of the Creed's spectrum and for Avengers it was a black radical (her handle is Memphis, to give you a clue), a fundamentalist Christian pro-lifer called Crusader17 who would go on to try and kill the Devil himself (it didn't work, but strong hustle) and a... soldier who thought the Messengers were aliens. The first two are super interesting but the third not so much, although he's a nice change from the other two.

Once out of Stolze's hands they weren't so good.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

"At 11:00, we'll talk about the crazy new fad that gangs are taking up and you should know about it."

Any good Camarilla city should have enough of a spin machine to cover this up but I'm sure in a Sabbat city it comes up more than often. Then again, the Sabbat tend to go above and beyond exsanguination.

Wasn't there a made up disease that came up in one of the "Year of x" books that vampires created to claim that they were just suffering from a disorder and not an undead monster?
Yeah some kind of modified poriphyra which meant they couldn't get exposed to sunlight and that they died* young, but it was also often like very recessive in the family so of course this guy is in fact the great-grand-nephew of ol' Augurst Throop IV.

IthilionTheBrave
Sep 5, 2013


For some reason I'd like to see how a Hunter from Bloodborne would be best characterized in Hunter: The Reckoning. Probably an Avenger for the average Hunter.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


IthilionTheBrave posted:

For some reason I'd like to see how a Hunter from Bloodborne would be best characterized in Hunter: The Reckoning. Probably an Avenger for the average Hunter.

I'm gonna take this one just because sometimes you gotta get in there and get some juice, goddamnit.

Hunters love that juice!

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