Wednesday, February 25, 2009

on which I rant about prestigious sire and phantom status. hint: it's not real status

Work has been kicking my ass these past two weeks

Yes, I am aware of the Cam Yahoogroup. Yes I am aware that more often than not, people seem to be playing the Candyland I can do whatever I want with with status because my mommy said I was special and could do no wrong version of Vampire.

Two things to remember, and I've said it before and I'll say them again:

1) From the Status Packet (and this is the part of the Status packet that really needs to be updated):
Merits & Flaws: The Merits: Prestigious Sire and Reputation act as “phantom” Status Traits. They do not count toward the maximum 6 Personal Status Traits (see OWBN By-Law Section 8: Status Regulation), nor may they be bid or spent in a challenge. The Kindred with either of these Merits is simply perceived as having one higher Status than she actually does, and will gain a bit more respect in social situations. *Modifiers do not get logged with the Harpy, nor are they considered to be Personal Status Traits.* No Harpy can strip these Merits, but they can be lost through game play should a Kindred fail to keep up her Reputation, or should her Sire fall into disgrace or obscurity (storyteller discretion).

Read the bit between the asterisks. Read it a few times until you've memorized it.

What does that mean? "nor are they considered to be Personal Status Traits" means "they are not status traits." Means they're not counted. Means you can't bid them. Means in a challenge, you don't include them. Means that saying you have 8 status because you're counting your reputation of "I can kill a lot of things and I'm a fucking sociopath" and "Prestigious Sire: this asshole that no one likes but is totally scared of his 2000 point typhonic beast powerz" means one thing: cheater. I've posted that to Cam Yahoo Group, I've cc'd it to the STs and Council. You agree, go forth. You disagree, you explain it to me and get your CM to prop that they get treated as extra unremovable status (because don't kid yourself, they are harder to get rid of than the stink of a catpiss gamer in your car) that let a PC go above the status cap.

2) Prestigious Sire – Note: just as it is possible to become Prestigious and well known, it is possible for childer to eclipse their Prestigious Sires, or for the Sire to fall into disfavor, thus removing the Merit.

In the event that the Childe character becomes famous in his own right and earns the Reputation Merit, the character’s Storyteller or the Camarilla Coordinator may remove the Prestigious Sire Merit, as it may no longer be appropriate for the character to lean on their Sire’s prestige. This is especially true if the Sire in question is deceased or no longer holding a prestigious position.

On the Prestigious Sire, sure, it's nice to think your OOC friend's PC is the main man and want to ride those coat tails. You've seen him or her in action and you've heard all the "no really, there I was war stories", and you begin to think maybe they are that awesome.

That's great and all, but do you really need to waste points on a merit? Does your PC really need the achievement "Prestigious Sire"? The benefit to the PC prestigious sire is that you get a player that you can point at and say "that's my sire, be nice to me, or she finds out." That doesn't need a merit, that's roleplay. The point of the merit is when it's an NPC that no one knows because it only exists to you and your STs and lives in that piece of fanfic you called a background.

Here's a story, and this is how prestigious sire should work, before he became an archon, Jack had a couple of vendettas he was carrying out while he was seneschal of San Francisco. Some guys cut him open and staked him, the why is another, maybe I'll tell it later. Anyway, one of the stakers he wrecked politically. I mean, just destroyed socially to the point the PC was bloodhunted in domains he'd never even been too, and did it mostly through other people.

So, it came time to get revenge on Staker number two, and Jack went to Sue Green, childe of Griffyne Lake, Jack's Prince and major ally, for assistance. Jack said "Sue, I need to kill this guy, I need your help."

Sue said "no Jack, don't do it. He's a fool, but he's useful and the clan in the Valley need him."

Now, Jack would normally have ignored that and gone off on his own, but because Sue was Griffyne's kid, he didn't. He turned around and let it go, because he respected Griffyne, and therefore that translated to the Childe. That's how this merit should work, not some phantom unloaned status from another PC. Want them to loan you status? Do it IC, get a harpy to record it, and go get it stripped from both you and your sire. But phantom status? You only need that if I'm about to slaughter you and your sire is an NPC. Then I can talk to your STs, have my STs talk to your STs and get council involved.

The goal of the game is to play a shitty vampire. Not stack social merits to replicate FAP.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Guest Post - Larry, CM of St. Augustine, FL

Alan here - This was posted else where and while not Camarilla specific, it does speak to the differences between LARP and table-top and why what may work in one format doesn't work in another. I'll have a new post later this week.

I think I've come to the realization that one of the big stumbling blocks a lot of players/CMs/STs have is determining the difference between playing a table-top game and playing in a multi-chronicle LARP.

In a table-top game, I can play an 8th generation Tremere that had something go horribly wrong from his embrace and actually becomes a Salubri-AT that's unbondable (Salout happened to be flexing his Tremere muscle the moment of the PCs embrace), and from his underhanded ways, my PC picks up Obtenebration, Daimionion, Vicissitude and learns Tremere thaumaturgy because he's able to hide who he really is. With the help of his coterie (my fellow table-top players), he becomes an Archon to the Tremere and slowly works his way up the Pyramid in such a way as to assassinate someone of The Seven and with Saulot's help, infiltrates the highest echelon of the Tremere. It's an awesome story and I'll bet it would be a blast to try and play it.

That story is may work in a table-top setting, but should never exist in a multi-chronicle LARP.

In a LARP that is contained within a larger organization such as OWbN, all of it's members need to realize they need to subvert some of the "cool plot ideas" for stories that mesh better with the World of Darkness genre that all the games share. Our LARP happens to exist within the World of Darkness, that means there's always something (a lot of somethings, actually) that is much smarter and scarier out there pulling your strings. Being a member of a multi-chronicle LARP also means a player should try to give at least some recognition to maintaining some level of genre regularity. Each player and ST is not only responsible for, but a caregiver to making sure the game setting stays WoD. If we were playing a Champions LARP or a D&D LARP, sure! The PCs can be the 'biggest and baddest and most unique snowflakes that imagination can create.' In WoD, that doesn't happen. There also has to be some regulation of the 'zany' or else games or PCs get so out of whack that the game becomes unrecognizable. Sadly, there's lots of folks who don't seem to understand this concept. The rule of thumb should not be "we will do whatever the players want, because they're having fun!." Following this prescription means we're basically deciding to totally throw away the WoD. It's a concept I'm afraid many have forgotten, but the game is also fun when it's actually set in the WoD and players are given boundaries to play within.

I love the setting of the World of Darkness, it's got all sorts of interesting intrigue, there's a bunch of cool background stories, and I think White Wolf created a fabulous universe (and sure, it's not necessarily consistent on all things, but the basic flavor is mostly consistent). There's plenty of exciting and fun stories to participate in or tell, it just takes a little more restraint than a table-top game.

Larry of StAug

Too often it seems folks clamor for their 'rights', and not enough about their responsibility. When you're in an international org such as ours, which covers 96+ games, over five countries, you have to make concessions to the whole. Too often it seems a the responsibility to the organization is shuffled way down on the list of priorities of its members, and that's just backwards and sad--and won't work for our org.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"But the world has changed in 10 years..."

Monopoly has been the same game for years. There are variants to the rules and the game, like cash goes on Free Parking, rolling three consecutive doubles lands you in jail, Star Trek Edition, but it's still the same game.

The conceit of oWoD Vampire is that the Camarilla has been around for 600 odd years, and that does not mean it has to change in 10 years because a bunch of gamers are bored and feel they need to have to have typhonic beast, feral claws, skin of the adder, arms of the abyss and necro to be able to go to the corner store and get a pack of smokes.

The argument could also be made that what was fun when you were 17, such as thinking that playing an undead level 30 Paladin with a lich dragon mount was cool, might not be as fun at 27, or 35.

I agree that there is run to go forward in the Sect, and we already have. There's a Gangrel Justicar again, the Assamites have become the Children of Haqim and joined the Camarilla, but it also seems that White Wolf provided an alternative for the more "PVP" minded: militant and heavily regimented armies; secret societies that like to kill Demons; jump onto alternate moralities to justify becoming a monster; and just casually murdering of whole swathes of vampires wearing the wrong jersey. It's called the Sabbat.

The Camarilla game is a social and subtle one that is occasionally marred by moments of violence, that is not celebrated, but endured.

If you change monster of the week plots to ones that explore the nature of the Kindred and it's Beast, plots where the PCs choice to retain their humanity is the reward, then you start playing the Camarilla game. Because there is PVP in the Camarilla game, and it requires smart players, which you get with smart challenges.

If just keep offering crack to crack whores to make them spend their XP welfare checks then that's what your going to get. Offer a compelling fun game in with moral dilemmas are solved by being better and not by killing it with your vorpal sword of slaying, then maybe more players may start enjoying themselves rather than watching the few high point sheets hijack games that no one is willing to deal with because those players are friends with the ST.

Monday, February 2, 2009

This is a question that came up on the ST list

And by came up, I mean I posted it there.

Camarilla - All Kindred should be on Humanity to better protect the
Masquerade and avoid causing another inquistition.

Pafth of Honorable Accord - Know your sect's beliefs and keep them holy.

Explain how you can get to Hon Acc 5 in the Camarilla.

You are not allowed to use Dark Ages Material. That was 800 years ago.

Begin. Show your work. The bibliography will be part of your grade.