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Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.






Grimey Drawer

I think I like VII. The idea of having some threat even vampires don't understand is a good one.

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Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



unseenlibrarian posted:

The best part of Six Guns and Sorcery is that it's an alternate 19th century with a balkanized US and NO CONFEDERACY.

The US Balkanized because the Native American tribes in Falkenstien all banded together to resist US Expansionism. With the populace unwilling to go int ANOTHER war after the Civil War, westward expansion kinda stopped at the Mississippi, and so the nation (peacefully) split up and the United States couldn't really effectively govern the west coast or southwest anymore with another nation cutting the continent in two.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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One of the great secrets of Vampire is that vampires, by and large, know approximately nothing about anything that isn't a vampire.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


But aren't we all, in our own way, vampires?

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

poo poo, a lot of the time they don't know anything about other vampires, either. Look at Belial's Brood - what most Kindred know about them is just the tip of that iceberg.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




PantsOptional posted:

poo poo, a lot of the time they don't know anything about other vampires, either. Look at Belial's Brood - what most Kindred know about them is just the tip of that iceberg.

Speaking of which, where are they in 2nd Edition?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Not, so far. They might get a brief mention? They were kind of tossed to the wayside at some point halfway through 1e.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry


Castle Falkenstein is loving brilliant from the game fiction to the mechanics. The art is amazing, it's well organized and it's a game that needs more people playing it. I GMed it bunch twenty or so years ago and still have very fond memories of the campaigns.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Count Chocula posted:

But aren't we all, in our own way, vampires?

No.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

It's not sad, it's pretty awesome. Castle Falkenstein North America has: The United States, The Free State of Orleans, The Twenty Nations Confederation, The Republic of Texas, The Bear Flag Empire of California, The Dominion of Canada, Mexico, and Cymru Newdd. Six Guns and Sorcery is a great supplement.
That 128-page book does weird supernatural steampunk alternate Americana so much better than an entire pallet of Deadlands books. One of my favorite RPG supplements of all time.

Cinnamon Bear
Aug 29, 2016

by FactsAreUseless


FMguru posted:

That 128-page book does weird supernatural steampunk alternate Americana so much better than an entire pallet of Deadlands books. One of my favorite RPG supplements of all time.

This is a really loving low bar to set.

But it also seems rad and I want to check it out now. I'm a sucker for alt. history America, especially one that doesn't have the confederacy.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

I kind of like the setting for the Sixth Gun, if only because it treats the confederacy as straight up villainous.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal


I'm personally more of a Promethean.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012






Almost ironic how the lances are more like Iscariot than Alucard in philosophy, I suppose.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Hostile V posted:

As much as it would be interesting to go from the world's ugliest, slowest man with the compassion of a saint to a beautiful Terminator with the emotional depth of a ham sandwich over the course of a playthrough, I think it can't hurt for them to remove some of the dumb fiddliness like that.
No, no, you misudnerstand me.

I'm disappointed they'd have even needed to be talked down from doing it in the first place, and the fact that they did makes me less hopeful for the game overall, even though they have since changed their mind about it.

Mors Rattus posted:

Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition
Owls Strix Strix Strix Strix Strix
Did I miss something, or have what the Owls/Strix are not been explained yet?

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

They don't appear to be in any of Mors's posts, so possibly something coming up? I hope?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Zereth posted:

No, no, you misudnerstand me.

I'm disappointed they'd have even needed to be talked down from doing it in the first place, and the fact that they did makes me less hopeful for the game overall, even though they have since changed their mind about it.
....ohhhh. Ohhhhh. Well. That's a fair point I didn't quite consider and agree with you in that regards then.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Hostile V posted:

....ohhhh. Ohhhhh. Well. That's a fair point I didn't quite consider and agree with you in that regards then.
It's not really a great sign for their ability to avoid less obviously bad design decisions, that might be harder to talk them out of, or notice you need to in the first place.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Man, you could basically run an X-Files campaign about vampires trying to figure out VII.

Simian_Prime posted:

Also a note about the fire thing; vampires only have to check for frenzy against fire if it directly threatens them. So a torch hanging from a wall, or a candle held casually, isn't going to inspire fear. If that same torch were thrust aggressively towards the vampire's face, then a check would be necessary (and even then the target difficulty would be pretty low).

I am the Hunter with the lighter and the can of hairspray.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Doresh posted:

I am the Hunter with the lighter and the can of hairspray.

Fun fact: Task Force Valkyrie has a flamethrower custom-made for vampire duty. It shoots a green flame and makes vamps freak the everloving gently caress out. They also have a directed microwave gun that boils the blood inside a vampire to gruesome effect.

KOGAHAZAN!!
Apr 29, 2013

a miserable failure as a person

an incredible success as a magical murder spider



Zereth posted:

It's not really a great sign for their ability to avoid less obviously bad design decisions, that might be harder to talk them out of, or notice you need to in the first place.

I was going to say that CD Projekt have good form building game systems from first principles, but thinking about it the Witcher games could be pretty marmite, and they had to iterate pretty heavily on them to get to where they are now.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

FMguru posted:

That 128-page book does weird supernatural steampunk alternate Americana so much better than an entire pallet of Deadlands books. One of my favorite RPG supplements of all time.

Comme Il Faut (Player's Companion), The Memoirs of Auberon of Faerie (Guide to the Seelie and Unseelie), and The Book of Sigils (Multiple new kinds of magic) are pretty awesome too.

Here's a pair of maps for CF...

EUROPA




AMERICA

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Zereth posted:

No, no, you misudnerstand me.

I'm disappointed they'd have even needed to be talked down from doing it in the first place, and the fact that they did makes me less hopeful for the game overall, even though they have since changed their mind about it.

Did I miss something, or have what the Owls/Strix are not been explained yet?

They have not been explained yet.

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



Cythereal posted:

Fun fact: Task Force Valkyrie has a flamethrower custom-made for vampire duty. It shoots a green flame and makes vamps freak the everloving gently caress out. They also have a directed microwave gun that boils the blood inside a vampire to gruesome effect.

Hunter sounds sick as gently caress
Some do an FnF

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Hunter will always be one of the best WoD lines because in the oWoD, doomed as it was (and huge mess that it was), every single thing they were hunting deserved it.

In the nWoD, the fact that some of it really doesn't lends a lot of extra texture to the Hunters themselves, and the existence of human resistance movements also gives monsters a real goddamn reason to play at the polite fiction that no-one knows they exist. When the US government may very well send a SEAL team armed with enhanced anti-monster equipment to murder you if you draw too much heat, you have a reason not to draw too much heat. Hunter gives humans some agency within the setting while providing a great avenue to play as someone who knows enough to get into trouble but still has a ton to discover about what's going on out there.

Like, every other line is enhanced by Hunter existing and Hunter is enhanced by the other lines being better.

Draxion
Jun 9, 2013






Rigged Death Trap posted:

Hunter sounds sick as gently caress
Some do an FnF

You're in luck, Mors is an endless engine of game writeups.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

Covenants rise and fall with time. They've done so since the destruction of the Camarilla and its synthesis into the Invictus and Lancea et Sanctum. Very few last for longer than a few centuries, in fact, besides those two. The horrors they left behind may still lurk somewhere, however, or perhaps they still exist in rumor, hidden, without evidence.

The Legion of the Dead was originally part of the Camarilla's military wing, a group called the Grim Battalion. When the Camarilla dissolved, they chose not to join the Invictus or Lance. Rather, they served as a band of mercenary vampires, assassins andm urderers for hire. By the 800s, their creed was simple: profit or die. It was risky, and they ended up betraying or turning on too many people, taking too many bribes. Any trust they had was gone. One by one, they were killed, and by the 1100s, not one survived. Even now, though, their relics can occasionally be found - miraculously preserved ancient swords that bear a legendary curse, haunted suits of armor, hoards of cursed gold. It's said that the souls of the victims and the greed of the Legion infected all they owned.

The late middle ages, meanwhile, were a great time to be dead. Plagues swept Europe and North Africa, and people rarely traveled. Stories spread of strange monsters hunting travelers. The truth is that these monsters did exist - a loose group of vampires that came to be known as the Gallows Post. They did indeed hunt lone travelers...and for a price, they would arrange safe travle for other vampires and maintain secret spots away from civilization in which vampires could sleep out the day. They ensured the lines of communication that made covenants possible. As the world became more open and travel became easier for mortals, the wilderness that vampires elied on for travel came to be harder to find. The Gallows Post peaked in the 16th century, and slowly dwindled away as they lost their wild routes until the final known member died in 1892. However, if you knew the signs and ancient symbols, there are stlll secret places in the wilds where the Gallows Post let the dead sleep out the sun on their travels. But then, no one knows what else is in those places.

Most vampires, certainly those with any humanity left, try to avoid Embracing children these days, but that wasn't always the case. From the 12th century to the 18th century, there was a group that claimed sole dominion over Embracing children: the Children's Crusade. Indeed, many Lance and Invictus domains dictated that any Embraced child must be given to the Crusade. Child vampires are monstrous, terrifying creatures - denied the right to grow up, they often lack the emotional maturity to deal with the terrible nature of their condition. The Crusade took care of their own and took a strange, mad joy in hunting down those child-vampires that fell to madness. However, ater some time it became clear to the Invictus and the Lancea et Sanctum that the Crusade were corrupt in ways that adult vampires could not truly comprehend. They hid the crimes of the mad children in their ranks, made deals with owls. Hunts were called, and terrible acts were committed to put an end to the Children's Crusade. Now, they are gone, save for a few memories of older vampires, clouded by the fog of time and torpor, a handful of old letters and one book that was published in small numbers in the 1800s. However, it is believed that a few vampires escaped the destruction of the Crusade, hidden away in lonely places, trapped in torpor. Should they awaken...well, they could try once more to take up their traditions and begin a new Children's Crusade.

The Tenth Chour is not known ot have existed. It is heard of only in rumor and legend, though perhaps this is because the Lancea et Sanctum so viciously deny such stories and destroy what lore they find. The Plague Nun of London, Elisabeta, sometimes speaks of a group of vampires who believed that, as their condition was God's curse, they must take vengeance on the divine. Between the 17th and 20th centures, she said, the Tenth Choir developed a system of blood magic that let them consort with angels and devils. They drank angel blood and tried to murder God. The Beast of Uttoxeter, Ephraim Tench, claimed that he once saw a vam,pire Embrace an angel, or perhaps become a blood-drinking angel. He could not quite recall. This could have been metaphor and broken memories. The Tenth Choir may not have ever existed. Certainly, no one has heard any rumor of their activities after the London Blitz.

Next time: How2Vampire

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Child Vampires are an invitation for no matter how well you write it.

EDIT: what are Owls in the context of V:tR?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Evil owl-shaped spirits that drink blood and possess corpses. They'll get a chapter later.

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


Mors Rattus posted:

Evil owl-shaped spirits that drink blood and possess corpses. They'll get a chapter later.

That drink *Breath*.

Kindred, in Requiem, are the vampires as per modern horror fiction - they're intelligent, they have pretensions of humanity, they're not (by and large) ravening reanimated corpses.

The Strix are all the vampire legends the Kindred aren't, and they hate the Kindred.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


FMguru posted:

That 128-page book does weird supernatural steampunk alternate Americana so much better than an entire pallet of Deadlands books. One of my favorite RPG supplements of all time.
Yeah, Castle Falkenstein is pretty rad in general. I was thinking of going into it, but one of the region books (the Ottoman Empire, specifically) was for the GURPS Third Edition conversion of Falkenstein and I wanted to lay off GURPS stuff for a little bit to avoid looking like I'm that sort of obsessive system weirdo that I am.

Instead, I've been doing research for my next set of reviews, which are going to be on Conspiracy X 2.0 for Unisystem. I kind of want to get at least half of it written before I start making posts in here, though, as several recent bouts of depression have reminded me how fragile my writing schedule can be.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


How much of the material from Blood & Smoke is in VtR 2e?

More precisely, if I wanted to run a strix-based VtR 2e game, I know I'd need the Chronicles rulebook and VtR 2e... would I also need B&S? Would it be helpful?

AnEdgelord
Dec 12, 2016



potatocubed posted:

How much of the material from Blood & Smoke is in VtR 2e?

More precisely, if I wanted to run a strix-based VtR 2e game, I know I'd need the Chronicles rulebook and VtR 2e... would I also need B&S? Would it be helpful?

They are the exact same book with different titles so if you have one you have the other. I'm also pretty sure you no longer need the chronicles core book since all the game rules necessary to run VtR are in the 2e book, but someone else will need to confirm that.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

I'm reasonably certain Blood and Smoke has all the rules you need to play in and of itself - same is true of the VtR 2e book as they are indeed the same book with a different cover. You have pretty much all of the Chronicles of Darkness rules there, you're just missing out the investigation system and the antagonist-statting rules blocks.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

The next chapter spends a lot of time on the subjective experience of being a vampire. I'll try to get through it quickly. The hunger for blood is more urgent than normal hunger, and without it, you slip quickly into torpor, which is a long, long nap. The vampire's bite produces the Kiss, which feels incredibly good for both parties, and vampires can lick the wound of their bite closed, in much the same way they can seal their own wounds. Mortals that experience the Kiss have hazy memories of what has happened, and leaves its victims vulnerable and weak-willed in a sort of diluted version of the Curse of vampirism. Vampires burn in sunlight, so they need shelter from it.

Vampires need to keep in contact with the mortals that keep them grounded, in an attempt to slow their alienation and keep grasp on humanity. That's most of why they keep relationships with mortals, at least on the need-based level. However, as they feed on the mortals around them, they begin to influence and be influenced by it. It has no mechanical effect, but feeding on alcoholics will tend to give you a buzz, and feeding exclusively in New York may make memories of, say, medieval France fade away somewhat. The area in which you feed begins to reflect you, as well - a Gangrel's neighborhood becomes more primal and physical in its alteractions, while a Nosferatu's hangout seems more sinister and grotesque.

The Masquerade comes up a lot with vampires - and it's not some global conspiracy. The Masquerade is your personal attempt to protect yourself, the lies you tell that keep people from asking questions, the tricks you play to get blood without being noticed. All those lies add up. That's your Masquerade. It's not about keeping the government from finding out about vampires - it's about keeping the guy next door from finding out about you.

Ghouls, meanwhile, are your half-damned servants. Your blood can make mortals weak-willed - and if you put in the work, it can make them morep owerful. They are mortals fed on vampire blood, addicted to it in exchange for some of your powers and weaknesses. They make a great way to keep in touch with the mortal world. The best Masquerades rely on understanding the living well enough to bullshit the rest, and ghouls can help. They even get some respect from vampires - they're not family, per se, but they are someone a vampire was willing to put time and effort into. Of course, they're also vulnerable, and that can make them weak spots for their masters.

Vampire society, to go back to the Masquerade a moment, has three rules - the Traditions. Some say they came from the Camarilla. Some even say they're written into the Blood itself. The Lancea et Sanctum hold to that one, and some even claim that Longinue himself dictated them. Others hold that the Traditions are only universal because they're common sense - nothing supernatural, no consequences to breaking them, just cultural rules.

The First Tradition is Masquerade: Do not reveal your true nature to those not of the Blood. Doing so forfeits you of claim to the Blood. No one is really sure what constitutes breaking the Masquerade. It varies from domain to domain, and there's plenty of wiggle room in which to survive and destroy your rivals. This is no global conspiracy - it's about keeping the locals from figuring things out. It's always a purely local issue. People can believe what they want, even in vampires. They just can't know you're a vampire. It keeps people from shaking up the world and making all your schemes and your existence fall out. Keeping the mob off your back personally. Minor sidebar - you can't detect most vampires with a camera or mirror. Vampires are not blurs in them. The Beast just knows where to stand - they don't show up because they're behind someone, their face is never towards the camera, the pictures gets over or underexposed. It's not supernatural except, perhaps, to a manic statistics professor trawling vampire sightings in their spare time. And it's a defense mechanism. The predator hides in the crowd, makes themselves harder to notice, make it easier to sneak up on people. So no, getting caught in a photo won't break the Masquerade for 99% of vampires.

The Second Tradition is Progeny: Sire another at the peril of both yourself and your progeny. If you create a childe, the weight is your own to bear. If it were followed in the extreme, of course, there would be no vampires. The Sanctified claim it's not the place of vampires to spread the Curse, of course. They warn of angering the morep owerful elders or offending God. However, this Tradition is rarely absolutely enforced - rather, it is used to limit siring new vampires. Sometimes the prince grants sanction case by case. In other places, especially Crone domains, it's a free-for-all. And some domains...well, some fear the Tradition and will put to death both the new childe and their sire. Some argue that this law barely needs enforcing, however. Predatory populations balance out naturally. The price of the Embrace will control numbers. And there is a price - the Embrace gives up something of yourself to your Beast.

The Third Tradition is Amaranth: You are forbidden from devouring the heartsblood of your Kindred. If you violate this commandment, the Beast calls to your own Blood. Amaranth scares vampires no matter how monstrous they are, and the Third Tradition is the least controversial of any of them. Even the most depraved monster does not take Amaranth lightly, because it is the consumption of another's soul. It's the fastest way to become a stronger and more potent vampire - but the price is all too great. You dangle your own soul before the Beast. You can never become callous to it. Even a torturer or serial killer will suffer the pangs of guilt and remorse. You take more than the victim's power. You take some of their memory - and some of their personality. It bleeds into yours, leaving their voice in your head, forever. And they never, ever want good things for you. Once you commit diablerie, you no longer exist as you were. Something else does - something darker.

Next time: Why vampires like cities.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


SirPhoebos posted:

Child Vampires are an invitation for no matter how well you write it.

EDIT: what are Owls in the context of V:tR?

Claudia from Interview with the Vampire and the ones in Salem's Lot are cool though.

And something about all the Hunter love squicks me out. I get the appeal of playing Ash or Buffy or Sam & Dean Winchester, but the fans who want to gleefully play SWAT Teams or government death squads hunting down 'monsters' rub me the wrong way. At that point you stop being the underdog and start becoming the fist of state power hunting down the Other.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Depends on which splatbook creatures the Hunters are interacting with. I mean, some of them aren't too bad or dangerous, and you can get a lot of mileage out of going into whether or not they should. And Hunter lets you have sliding scales of grey. Some cells might have a live-and-let-live relationship with supernatural creatures. They don't eat people, they don't get turned into paste. Coexistence is possible in Hunter, though the focus is on what happens when it isn't.

On the other hand, we're discussing vampires right now. Vampires are not an oppressed minority. They are parasitic monsters that unarguably prey on humankind and give back almost nothing of value. Sure, it's not always their fault, but they are a real danger in a way that real minorities aren't. It's part of why Beast's attempt to map itself to oppressed minority groups didn't work; they really were as dangerous and terrible as their enemies claimed.

Cinnamon Bear
Aug 29, 2016

by FactsAreUseless


Count Chocula posted:

Claudia from Interview with the Vampire and the ones in Salem's Lot are cool though.

And something about all the Hunter love squicks me out. I get the appeal of playing Ash or Buffy or Sam & Dean Winchester, but the fans who want to gleefully play SWAT Teams or government death squads hunting down 'monsters' rub me the wrong way. At that point you stop being the underdog and start becoming the fist of state power hunting down the Other.

All of those Hunter Conspiracies are insanely corrupt and evil in their own right, at least from my reading of the H:tV book. They're equally useful as antagonists, even if you're playing a member of one. Also one of the things Hunters have to deal with is becoming so divorced from what is "normal" or "acceptable" that it's a short hop, skip, and a jump to sociopathy and serial killer. Well, Slasher, really.

Zomborgon
Feb 19, 2014

I don't even want to see what happens if you gain CHIM outside of a pre-coded system.



Rigged Death Trap posted:

Hunter sounds sick as gently caress
Some do an FnF

I just remembered I found a Hunter: the Reckoning core book lying around, no idea what the difference is from Hunter: the Vigil. Maybe I'll take a look at it.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


VASCU is pretty good as far as conspiracies go.

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