Posted by: markfender | August 27, 2013

V:tR – Character Creation

Let’s make another in a ceaseless string of vampires.

requiem2Character creation is slightly different in the new World of Darkness. You use the regular book to make your character and then you apply a template from whatever game you’re using to make them into a monster of the night. So, by the time you’re to this book, there’s not that much more to it. You’re picking a Clan, a Covenant, buying some Disciplines, determining Blood Potency, and then adjusting the numbers.

Picking a Clan is fairly straightforward. These give you an attribute bonus and determine your starting Disciplines. They also have a weakness. They’re a bit later in the chapter. If you have Status in the Covenant you pick, you can benefit from their particular bonuses. That’s a problem since the Invictus and Carthian bonuses suck. All the others have access to a new Discipline (Theban Sorcery for Lancae Sanctum, Cruac for Circle of the Crone, and Coils of the Dragon for Ordo Dracul), but the Invictus and Carthians get a price break on certain Merits: Allies, Contacts, Haven, Herd, Mentor, Resources, or Retainer, depending on the Covenant picked. Except that you don’t get this price break in character creation. That’s a problem because I, as a GM, have never charged points for those particular Merits during a game. I just decrease/increase them based on what happens in the game. After all, it’s a little weird to perform some fancy business dealings in the game but not have access to the Resources until you spend the experience points on it. And, since this is a White Wolf game, they don’t want you to have an experience points, so there’s a lot better things to spend your XP on than these social Merits. I hope the upcoming Blood and Smoke book (which is essentially Requiem second edition) will correct this flaw. In the meantime, just give them the price break in character creation and apologize to your players.

Blood Potency is the strength of your blood. In the old game,this would be one Generation higher than your Sire, but that’s not true in the new one. A Sire with Blood Potency of 6 will have childer with Blood Potency of 1. Kind of kills that lineage concept. As your Blood Potency increases, you can spend more blood per turn and increase your attributes, skills, and Disciplines higher. By Blood Potency of 6, these can range as high as 6 and can go higher with a higher Blood Potency. Except that Disciplines don’t go that high. They only go up to 5 and, as far as I know, other books don’t expand this range.

There’s new Merits here as well, complementing the list in the main book. There’s only three: Haven, Herd, and Status. Haven is how cool your crash pad is, Herd is how many people you have easy access to feed on, and Status is how much pull you have in Kindred society. Pretty self-explanatory.

Next are the Clans. There’s only five this time. The Daeva are the old Toreador clan. They’re your sexy vampires, despite the fact that the picture isn’t all that sexy. Their weakness has changed from the old Toreador one as well. Instead of being mesmerized by beauty, they have a harder time ignoring their Vice. Humorously, of the bloodlines listed for the Clan, the Toreador are one.

Gangrel are next and they are also pretty much the same as their old counterparts. They no longer turn into animals when they rage, however. Now, they’re are penalized when making Intelligence and Wits rolls. One of their Bloodlines are the Bruja.

Mekhet are new – sorta. They’re shadowy vampires interested in knowledge and being the power behind the throne. So, pretty much the Lasombra without the shadow powers. They take more damage from sunlight due to their shadowy nature. One of the Bloodlines mentioned for them are the Sangiovanni, described as Venetian necromancers. So that’s still there.

Nosferatu changed slightly. Instead of being ugly, they’re now disturbing. In most cases, that amounts to being ugly, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. They could just be that creepy guy who makes everyone avoid his company. Presence and Manipulation rolls are penalized for them as they never stop being disturbing. One of their Bloodlines are the Noctuku, who feed on other Kindred. So that’s not too far from the old Clan setup.

Lastly, we have the Ventrue. They’re the ruling vampires, just like in the old game. They are no longer restricted in feeding. Instead, they tend to develop more derangement than other Clans, I guess because of all the inbreeding. Which makes it appropriate that one of their Bloodlines are the Malkovians.

I like this setup of Clans a lot more than the old game. It evokes vampire myths as they actually exist, as opposed to the piecemeal approach the old game had. In the old game, some of the Clans evoked those myths, but others were just one-note concepts like “racist ideas about Romani.” If you still want those racist ideas, you can create a Bloodline that does the same thing.

This chapter also has the Disciplines in it. There’s a lot fewer than the old game, as there’s not 13 Clans to give unique powers to. Also, as previously mentioned, they don’t have levels 6-10, so they take less page space. However, I’m not a fan of how they’re written up. They start with some basic game information (costs, what rolls to make), go into a description, and then have a list of what happens at each of the success levels. Some powers tell you straight out what they do in the opening paragraph, while others are kind of vague about it, but then describe the effects in the success level section. If you’re not paying close attention, it’s easy to skip over the actual effects, read the success levels thing, and then realize that you don’t know what the power actually does. So, close reading is in order here. All the new White Wolf games use this same format so I guess you get used to it, but I still find myself occasionally reading a power and then realizing I somehow don’t know what it does.

Animalism is first and it does the same things the old one did. I’m sorry that isn’t more interesting.

Next is Auspex, which is also very similar to the old one. This probably won’t be that exciting a section to read.

Celerity is next and, yup, it lets you move faster, just like the old one. In the new rules, that means its level adds to your Initiative, subtracts from opponent’s dice rolls, and improves your speed. No more multiple actions. Yay.

Dominate is next and it lets you command people. Just like the old one.

Majesty is new. Except it isn’t. It’s just Presence renamed. That’s because Presence is now an Attribute and that would have just been confusing. It still lets you mesmerize large groups of people though, so there’s that.

Nightmare is completely new. It’s the Nosferatu Clan Discipline and it basically lets them scare people really good. It’s an interesting mix of fear effects and making people so scared that they gain Derangements. So, it’s got a bit of Dementation in it as well.

Obfuscate lets you hide. Just like it always has.

Protean is next and it lets you grow claws and turn into a bat and all that shit. Some of the powers have changed levels. Growing claws is now level 3 (previously 2) and Haven of the Soil is now level 2 (previously called Earth Meld and level 3). Other than that, yep, it’s still scary monster stuff.

Resilience is new but not really. It’s just Fortitude with a new name. It increases your Stamina and adds Health when you activate it, which doesn’t at all get annoying when you have to constantly shift your Health boxes around.

Vigor is Potence with a shiny new name. It adds to your Strength, just like the old one.

Cruac is the Circle of Crone Discipline. It’s a form of blood sorcery so it’s all rituals and stuff. These tend to be blood-related rituals with some old favorites like Deflection of Wooden Doom thrown in.

Theban Sorcery is the Lancae Sanctum Discipline. It revolves mostly around various curses and other “pronouncements.” It’s got a hard-core Old Testament vibe to its powers.

Finally, we have the Coils of the Dragon,which belongs to the Ordo Dracul. These are organized slightly strangely as its a whole bunch of little paths that you improve separately. Each of these is about conquering a particular vampiric weakness. Increased resistance to fire, keeping the Beast in check, or improving the quality of blood storage.

Next are Devotions, which are things I guess elders will be buying when they master every other Discipline. These are new powers based on combining two (or more) powers from multiple Disciplines. Some of these are neat, but they’re hard to keep track of. If you want to know if you’re eligible for them, you’d have to look at every single one to figure out if you meet the prerequisites. Not exactly organized well. Of course, I don’t know how you’d organize this any better, but it still annoys me.

And that’s that chapter. Overall, it’s comes across as slightly boring. The Clans are more generic than the old ones, but they’re more archetypal than the old ones so that’s actually a strength. The Disciplines are pretty much the same ones that were around before. However, they are more clearly explained this time around and *gasp* were designed to interact with any other games that White Wolf puts out in the World of Darkness so various supernatural critters can actually know how their powers work against other supernatural critters. So, you know, actually useful. Overall, I’d rank it above the old game.

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