Merits that give more

Discuss rules and clarifications for Chronicles of Darkness (aka 2nd Edition/2E) publications.

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Mephi
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Re: Merits that give more

Post by Mephi » Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:07 am

I think that the very basis of this argument is flawed in the first place. "People will take these merits because they're too powerful!!!!"

2e does not work like 1e. Skills are only one part of a complex equation to make things work, and there are a lot of powerful abilities out there that make skills seem less than useful.

When all is said and done, lets wait and see if it becomes a problem instead of borrowing trouble. If its not broken, don't fix it.
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Post by Wolfpact » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:52 am

Ten points to Mephindor

Honestly, my druthers, Restricted slots and such would be tossed onto the trash heap and burned. "Beause someone might (blank)!" is a tired excuse.
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Post by Ephsy » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:57 am

Mephi wrote:I think that the very basis of this argument is flawed in the first place. "People will take these merits because they're too powerful!!!!"
I already explicitly stated contrary to this, the main concern I have about the irrestricted acquisition of those merits stand from an effort to build a more cohesive and inclusive setting. I've posted examples on how to achieve this. Detractors merely misrepresent the issue with non-applicable fallacies.

And with as much wit and charm as I've come to expect from Donald Trump's twitter feed.

I'll tell you what's been broken: every mortal game without any incentive for people to come together for plots, and without legitimate reason to exclude supernatural PCs explicitly would be addressed by tying them up into cults. Already addressed above. The requirements aren't even stringent.

Concerning PT? It already works as is. Not broken.
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Post by Mephi » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:09 am

Ephsy wrote:I already explicitly stated contrary to this, the main concern I have about the irrestricted acquisition of those merits stand from an effort to build a more cohesive and inclusive setting. I've posted examples on how to achieve this. Detractors merely misrepresent the issue with non-applicable fallacies.
No, detractors are dismissive because there's no solid footing. Pushing so-called setting concerns is nothing more than an attempt to force your vision of the game on others. Cults are supposed to be highly common to the point every supernatural has one in the CofD. Herd, pack, mage cults, and changeling pledge-bound all form groups of mortal followers that can easily gain benefits via the Mystery Cult merit. And these are all personal by nature - sharing is even against the theme in some games. The Professional Training merit can be used to reflect variations within a single occupation - as a police officer, I can personally qualify for the professions Cop, Detective, Scientist, Doctor or Soldier, depending on what direction my continuing training goes in. And that's in real life, not a game.

And the problem with these merits still comes down to being "too good." Your entire argument relyies on the assumption that people will want to buy them when, even when people invest in the Mystery Cult merit, it can have absolutely zero impact on play or character direction. Status is a better merit to work off of in this case.

And it doesn't address how you're going to be inclusive when people will reject the proposed cults because they don't care for the benefits provided. That is a real concern based on previous games, and has led to entire seasons failing.
And with as much wit and charm as I've come to expect from Donald Trump's twitter feed.
And insults. Demeaning others does not make your complaints valid. Don't throw stones when you live in glass houses.
I'll tell you what's been broken: every mortal game without any incentive for people to come together for plots, and without legitimate reason to exclude supernatural PCs explicitly would be addressed by tying them up into cults.
Yare yare. Do you have any idea how many times that's been tried before and failed miserably? And the difficulty we seen at getting players together in themed cabals / krewes on their own? And do you know that the chosen mortal setting has several Hunter-like compacts designed in the setting, where as trying to force people into a new grouping based on magical beliefs is actually -against- the themes of the proposed setting? Sure, the Storymasters will change it, so it might work in the future, but based on the original proposal? It won't work well at all, and forcing changes just for this is putting the cart before the horse.

The problem with mortal games is deeply rooted in the very nature of the game in the first place, and merely slapping a bandage called "cults" over it won't solve the issue in the slightest*. Nor is bringing up mortals in this conversation meaningful in the slightest because Vampire, Mage and Changeling all have mechanics that rely on the existance of Mystery Cults that they can engage in. You simply cannot remove Mystery Cults from those games without creating new and unnecessary house rules.

* The issue with mortal games has been addressed elsewhere in greater detail, and this is not the place for that discussion. If you want to solve these issues, you need a deeper understanding of the problems at play, the differences in translating it to a chat, defining themes and goals for the game, and more. Mere social organizations are not enough, and has been proven such time and again.
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Post by Ephsy » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:27 pm

Mephi wrote:Pushing so-called setting concerns is nothing more than an attempt to force your vision of the game on others.
I'm not pushing anything. If you feel threatened by how I present my ideas I suggest you seek professional help.
Mephi wrote:Cults are supposed to be highly common to the point every supernatural has one in the CofD.
My idea doesn't detracts from this postulation. Unless what you actually aim is having 1 person cults with all 5 dots and no actual infrastructure in the setting supporting it. Which is what I am against.
Mephi wrote:And these are all personal by nature - sharing is even against the theme in some games.
A cult is an organization, a plural construct with subjective relative value different to every member. You just want to reap the benefits of the merit without actually building anything of the sort.
Mephi wrote: The Professional Training merit can be used to reflect variations within a single occupation - as a police officer, I can personally qualify for the professions Cop, Detective, Scientist, Doctor or Soldier, depending on what direction my continuing training goes in. And that's in real life, not a game.
Correct. But given the way modern civilization pushes specialization down our throats? The profession will be that: One of such specializations. If you want to play a polymath, having the dots to prove you are one isn't an invalid concern.
Mephi wrote:And the problem with these merits still comes down to being "too good."
For the third time, and the second only in this page: That's not my concern. My concern is in setting down a model. Restrictions breed creativity.
Mephi wrote:Your entire argument relyies on the assumption that people will want to buy them when, even when people invest in the Mystery Cult merit, it can have absolutely zero impact on play or character direction. Status is a better merit to work off of in this case.
No, my argument lies in having people play what their dots represent outside of their insipid bluebook entries. A cult being an organization, and a profession being a career, not merely a hyper cost-efficient merit.
Mephi wrote:And it doesn't address how you're going to be inclusive when people will reject the proposed cults because they don't care for the benefits provided.
If they reject it? Then it gets scrapped! Erased guideline from the wiki. Wouldn't be the first, nor the last time such a thing happens.
Mephi wrote:That is a real concern based on previous games, and has led to entire seasons failing.
Is it? Then I have to wonder who we should cater to as a site: anti-social players who'd be more at home playing house with their special snowflake PCs of Utter-Pwnage, without actual ties to other player characters (I can't for the life of me remember a single one of your characters involved into any sort of PC-created structure, but I'm not notorious for keeping track of individual players, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt - despite your stance clearly evidencing my suspicions); or people invested in the setting, creating content and stories for others besides themselves.
Mephi wrote:And insults. Demeaning others does not make your complaints valid.
I merely indirectly accused you of being intellectually deceitful - transparently so, in an effort of having a deeper conversation - it paid off.
Mephi wrote: Do you have any idea how many times that's been tried before and failed miserably?
Not in the fashion I've proposed it.
Mephi wrote:And the difficulty we seen at getting players together in themed cabals / krewes on their own? And do you know that the chosen mortal setting has several Hunter-like compacts designed in the setting, where as trying to force people into a new grouping based on magical beliefs is actually -against- the themes of the proposed setting? Sure, the Storymasters will change it, so it might work in the future, but based on the original proposal? It won't work well at all, and forcing changes just for this is putting the cart before the horse.
In the first place: I'm not forcing anything, as stated above.
In the second place: That you find it personally difficult to acquire peers with whom to play isn't of my concern (I can imagine from where this difficulty steams from, obviously).

That all being said? my idea should work, because, given how customizable cults are, it will not rely on specifically ST provided cults that may or may not appeal to every player or none - the players should gather around, discuss the cult they would be creating, and then present it for approval. Not merely at launch, but at any point during the chronicle. That's why I call their groupings cells, or cliques.
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Post by JillA » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:58 pm

Please remember to not make personal attacks.
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Post by Mephi » Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:36 am

Ephsy, the state of how I play, nor not play, is irrelevant to this discussion. It doesn't matter if I have plans for a Cult or cotorie or super-friends crossover Neighborhood. What matters is making the game as fun and enjoyable as possible for as many people as possible.

You seem to have a dismissive stance towards people that are using a lone-wolf playstyle. To the point that you stated that they should go play other games. That is a stance that is harmful to the chat in the long run. We need to be inclusive here, not exclusive, and you are appearing to engage in a very exlusionary stance. Lone wolf types still contribute to the chat, and remain valid character concepts to enjoy on the chat. And that doesn't include people who prefer to invest in large organizations over small, or have a troupe but want their Herd/Sleepwalkers/etc to be personal, or have become gun-shy of player groups that evaporate overnight. There are multiple play styles that won't work well with your proposal.

I know several people who plan on making characters that don't rely on the presence of other PCs simply because these players have been burned multiple times in the past, or been betrayed, or the like. Having the amount of trust and availability to make something as simple as a ghoul PC is extremely difficult.

Adopting your measure will be more exclusive than inclusive. In the end, that's all that needs to be said. Its bad for the chat.
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Post by Ephsy » Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:19 pm

Mephi wrote: You seem to have a dismissive stance towards people that are using a lone-wolf playstyle. To the point that you stated that they should go play other games. That is a stance that is harmful to the chat in the long run. We need to be inclusive here, not exclusive, and you are appearing to engage in a very exlusionary stance. Lone wolf types still contribute to the chat, and remain valid character concepts to enjoy on the chat. And that doesn't include people who prefer to invest in large organizations over small, or have a troupe but want their Herd/Sleepwalkers/etc to be personal, or have become gun-shy of player groups that evaporate overnight. There are multiple play styles that won't work well with your proposal.

I know several people who plan on making characters that don't rely on the presence of other PCs simply because these players have been burned multiple times in the past, or been betrayed, or the like. Having the amount of trust and availability to make something as simple as a ghoul PC is extremely difficult.

Adopting your measure will be more exclusive than inclusive. In the end, that's all that needs to be said. Its bad for the chat.
A game or a brand that wants to do everything will fail miserably. You can't cater to everyone and expect the subject to succeed, you can't please both God and the Devil at the same time. The games have an undeniable social component - they're built on that premise because table top is a group game.

If you can't overcome what happened in a make-believe game, then it's not for you. If you have trust issues, by all means, work on them.

PCs that have no actual ties with other player characters, who must rely almost exclusively on ST provided plots, who can't generate their own, who simply farm XP and show up in moderated scenes out of nowhere, that really shouldn't be our focus. Who may very well make content to justify their XP purchases, but which never sees the light of day because it'll only ever be seen by STs. Where does the setting disregard end? Bullshit 5 questions, bullshit touchstones... Those will basically be murderhobos waiting to happen.

Oh, hey, my look, the vampire neighboring my turf is turning his haven into a Wound. And I can't do crap all about it. How lovely.
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Post by Mephi » Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:55 pm

This is neither a brand, nor a business. Its a pretendy-time game of fun. If a rule doesn't encourage fun for a wide range of players, then you get rid of the rule, not the players. Your suggestion falls under the lack of fun.

There's nothing else to add. I'm out.
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Post by Ephsy » Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:13 pm

Mephi wrote:This is neither a brand, nor a business.
You promote the two the same way.
Mephi wrote:If a rule doesn't encourage fun for a wide range of players, then you get rid of the rule, not the players. Your suggestion falls under the lack of fun.
Under which metric? Yours encourages PCs to be drains to STs - No incentives to look to make stories of their own, because you have to actually go about and talk to people in order to create them - exacerbated by internet anonymity issues. Mine promotes a playerbase that interacts, is creative, and shares the setting, creating more fun all around.
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Post by Wolfpact » Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:22 pm

The rules are established. It is you, Ephsy, who doesn't like them as written.

I do,loosely, get where you're coming from. Unfortunately, some people jsut do not want their stories to be screwable-with. Especially out-of-splat

You can;t cater to everyone, as you said. In this case, the consensus seems to be 'we're not catering to you' and 'no, you can;t go force yourself onto other peoples' plots just because up think you ought be able to'. That vampire has no idea what a wound is 9.99999/10, and if they do and it's deliberate.. in either case no, you are the only one wanting a werewolf attack on their haven.

That's what it boils down to.
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Post by Mephi » Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:53 am

Interesting fact - we have no rules on how Wounds work in 2e. Pretty much anything associated with the Inferno has been shoved to a far back burner to the point that its entirely plausable that there won't be a single plot involving them anymore. Technically, they still exist, but realistically, 2e is moving entirely away from the idea of vice-bound entities joining to gether into some kind of joint force. We don't even have Conditions or the like relating to Wounds! There's no rules, only the briefest of mentions. There's not even a mention in the antagonist section, let alone how they work! We don't even have Morality-equivalents, nor Vice-equivalents for werewolves, making this an even harder thing to grasp.

Idigam seem to have replaced the need for Bale Hounds and maeljin. They have the crazy essence-tainting abilities. They're the ones who twist werewolves into evil cults and against their spiritual nature. They're the unfathomable outsiders with misunderstood Banes and sanity-breaking presences. And relates to the hunter nature and duty of werewolves better than some idea of "sin." There really isn't a concept of sin in 2e in the first place.
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Post by Cinn » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:52 am

After some thinking, I came to the conclusion that you're only allowed to have one Professional Training merit anyway. There is no disclaiming in the merit description stating you are able to pick multiple professions (compared to 'Retainer', 'Status', etc). As for cults, I suppose it's fine for them to be a background prop to represent those extra merit/skill/specialization dots.

I don't agree that RAW couldn't or shouldn't be questioned. It often makes sense to tweak things (maybe the 'Indomitable' merit should give withstand against Mind spells even though the rules doesn't specify it), but it sort of seems a moot point in this conversation right now.

I guess Ephsy recognized my main concern; while I question the designing process in making merits that in and of themselves give you way more than you pay for, the main issue for me is creating a cohesive and immersive setting. Assuming people find the merit as useful as I think they do, and assuming each character's cult is going to be on the same level as the sample cults in the God-Machine Chronicles appendix, there would be some seriously jarring level of Culting going on. If we go by Mephi's definition of Vampire herds, Mage cults, packs, et cetera, then I see no issue thematically with the merit.

On the other hand, it begs another question, why not simply pick the Herd merit if you want a following to feed from if you're a vampire? What separates a regular herd from a Mystery Cult? To me, they are two distinctive and very different entities. People seem to have very wide ranges of interpretation, which I guess is the way things have always been.
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Post by Wolfpact » Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:24 pm

Ordo actually get a merit to use Cult as Herd.
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Post by Mephi » Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:03 pm

Cinn wrote: I don't agree that RAW couldn't or shouldn't be questioned.
Its not that RAW shouldn't be questioned. However, it is a stated ideal of WanWic 5 to hold as few houserules as possible, at least at start, so we can get a feel of the game. Furthermore, when arguing about making a change to the game, the change should be the one with the burden of proof.

Its one thing to voice a fear. Its another to force a change based on those fears without sound and solid arguments.
It often makes sense to tweak things (maybe the 'Indomitable' merit should give withstand against Mind spells even though the rules doesn't specify it), but it sort of seems a moot point in this conversation right now.
2e Mage is an entirely different can of worms that needs to be looked at separately due to that game's unfortunate design philosphy of being antagonistic towards crossover. But, much like the mortal game issue, this is not the place for it.
On the other hand, it begs another question, why not simply pick the Herd merit if you want a following to feed from if you're a vampire? What separates a regular herd from a Mystery Cult? To me, they are two distinctive and very different entities. People seem to have very wide ranges of interpretation, which I guess is the way things have always been.
The same person (or group of people) can represent more than one merit, and each purchased individually. You can have Mystery Cult, Herd, Allies, etc all representing different things the cult can do.

They are not distinct entities. They are distinct mechanics. If you don't purchase the Herd merit, they don't count as your herd. If you don't purchase MCI, you don't get the benefits of MCI. Same with Retainer and having the cult do chores for you. But they absolutely can be applied to the same group of people. Just as you can have a single person represent serve as a Retainer, Contact, and Mentor all in one, so you can have a single group of people fill multiple roles.

Plus, lets not forget that the books encourage renaming and refluffing merits to suit individual characters - there's even a few paragraphs (under the heading Renaming Merits) that explains just that.
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