And we're back for the third installation of this mini-series. Thanks for joining me again. Last week, we talked about what playing as (or against) the Brujah, Gangrel, Nosferatu and Tremere would be like. This week, we'll finish up with the other three, starting with, as promised...
... the F'ing Malks...
Recall last week what we said about the unpredictability of Thaumaturgy, that opponents of the Tremere won't know which powers the Tremere will have at her disposal, nor what she has prepared for the fight in question. This (and the other elements discussed before) would reinforce the Tremere's reputation for being dangerous, unpredictable opponents, which I'm sure the Tremere don't mind at all.
That said, where Thaum is going to surprise other players, Dementation might end up surprising the Malkavian who uses it. Lower-level Dementation powers might make Kindred Frenzy more easily, or offer de-buffs and crowd-control, similar to its more straight-laced cousin, Dominate. At higher levels, though, the sky's the limit to what this could do to an unfortunate player... Making a player see a fleeting image some distance away, running one way or another, can have powerful tactical value, even if you can't control where she sees it. Inverting, or otherwise disrupting a player's WASD-controls for a few seconds, timed correctly, would create the experience of disorientation, and have a role separate from Dominate's paralysis tricks. Subtle effects like slowly dimming the volume of the game to a mute, garbling the player's typing, or inserting random words ("Kill!" "Blood!" "Demsdale!") could offer an unnerving precursor to what's about to come...
At higher levels, consider phantom horrors that might cause real harm (or burn Willpower) if ignored. Consider scrambling another player's perceptions for a minute or so, so each player in range looks like another randomly-selected player, friend or foe, or, simply, making everyone the player sees look like either a blank-faced caricature, or possibly an image the Malkavian player selected before-hand. Consider melee fighters who suddenly find their every attack targets another randomly-selected character nearby. Consider completely altering another player's view of the game, superimposing a hallucinatory worldview upon her. (And it wouldn't be too hard to code-for, either, just causing it to "spray-paint" an image or texture on all the surfaces the player can see, and/or superimposing something awful and randomly-selected over the combatants.)
Now add Auspex and Obfuscate to the mix. Imagine you're marching about in the Barrens, when one of your teammates starts acting weird. Starts talking about seeing things the rest of you can't. Or starts walking in the wrong direction, without warning. Or, ya' know, suddenly Frenzies. And then you're the next one who's world melts, and by the time the Malk pops out of Obfuscate, her friends are already moving in to clean up what's left of your team. Of course, on the other hand, having a Malkavian in your team adds a lot more unpredictability to your plans, making it harder to build a strategy, which might give them a reputation for being the ones you call on when absolutely everything else won't work. Which is, you know, just how they're seen in the existing canon.
Lords and Artists at War
The Disciplines for the Ventrue and Toreador have already been discussed above, so here I'll just cover how they would recombine to carry over the feel of these Clans.
Assume Auspex lets players see others from far away. Where the Nosferatu have their Guerilla tactics, the Toreador would be masters of Blitzkrieg. Auspex plus Celerity equals seeing your opponents from far away, preparing a perfect strike with Insight, darting swiftly in to deliver it, then darting away again. It means striking an opponent, then maneuvering back to study him again, before landing another vicious blow. Presence might also make it harder (or more costly) to hit you, but it might also allow you to "encourage" your opponents to focus on chasing you, while your friends do their thing. Coupled with Celerity, that can lead to quite the steeple-chase, even letting the Toreador double back around, perhaps, and attack from the rear.
Presence and Auspex (maybe) will likely offer buffs for the team, strengthening allies while you carefully (artfully?) plan and prepare your next strike from afar. And if the baddies get too close, there's always Dread Gaze...
There's a saying I heard at a LARP once: "Never trust a Ventrue in a modestly-priced suit. It means he's expecting a firefight, and knows his body can take punishment that'll rip a nicer suit to pieces." Given what we've supposed for Dominate, Presence and Fortitude, combat-seasoned Ventrue are, unsurprisingly, well-built to act as field marshals, leading from the front lines. Dominate will be their most likely targeted weapon, weakening targets' will to fight, and turning friend against friend. Ventrue Elders cripple with a glare and leave foes on their knees, ready to be drained of blood. The Ventrue would likely make full use of Presence buff effects on the front lines, inspiring their comrades to fight harder, and filling foes with fear. Finally, while Presence draws attacks the Toreador dodge with grace and ease, the Ventrue simply take the hits and shrug off the harm, seeming to ignore them while commanding the battlefield.
Going at it alone
So far, we've talked about what it'll feel like to work as a team. For the last section this week, let's discuss what would happen (assuming the above mimics the reality of the game at all) when players decide to hit the Theme Park by themselves. Brujah and Gangrel would probably stride through War Zones with the least caution in their stride. As discussed, their Disciplines most directly translate to combat prowess, so they're pretty much ready to rumble whenever called-upon. Now imagine the terror of happening upon a pack of Gangrel or a gang of Brujah, either spoiling for a fight. Nosferatu would likely lurk in the shadows, either making a bee-line to their targeted objective (when they have one), or just wander about looking for easy prey. Perhaps Animalism would allow them to summon a flock of crows to act as an early warning of other Kindred's approach (not as graceful as Auspex, but better than being caught completely unawares).
Similar to the Nosferatu, Malkavians would likely make a lot of use of Obfuscate in the Themepark, for the same purposes above. However, Auspex would likely give them a better sense for enemies, prey and/or what they're looking for (if anything, again) than Animalism. When direct conflict did happen, a Malkavian might choose to confuse or distract her opponents, allowing her to vanish again to either plan a more advantageous attack, or wander off, leaving her foe to wonder whether she's still lurking some place nearby, waiting to strike.
Tremere are hated, and a Tremere would likely only wander into the Theme Park alone when she had no other choice. Yes, her Auspex would give her advanced warning of foes, letting her avoid them when she can, or prepare for the battle when she must. The challenge being here that if out-numbered or out-classed, when the odds shift against you, it would really suck to be a Tremere on the losing side of a fight. When your hat runs out of rabbits and your best Dominate power is still in cool-down, there's not much to defend you from baring the brunt of other Kindred's hatred of your Clan. A group of Tremere might move through the Theme Park if they had to, but again, likely only as a last option, and only after they'd made extensive preparations before-hand, that really might as well include bringing along a Brjuah or Gangrel Dominated into watching their back anyway.
Toreador and Ventrue would probably have less to worry about by themselves, but for different reasons. Auspex would show a lone Toreador where the bad guys are, and might show her how best to strike them. Celerity would let her strike at them, and dance back before they can land blows while Presence blunts the attacks that do connect. Unfortunately, without the Brujah's Potence, Celerity might lack sufficient damage outlay to make combat a predictably efficient option. My suppositions here assume their Discipline set works best with others around to help. Similar with the Ventrue. Fortitude and Presence would dampen others' ability to harm the lone Blue Blood, slumming it for whatever reason, but Dominate focuses on one target at a time, and clearing a group of foes would be a slog at best. As such, these two Clans would be much more likely to ask for help from others, or be asked, in turn. That, or simply leave the rough-housing to Those Other Kindred, and then go back to their Elysia.
Thanks again for reading, all! Cheers,
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286 days ago
I absolutely love your ideas for the Malkavians. I really hope that when you type in a message in the world the system screws with and makes it sound crazy....Maybe it could work on a thesaurus type thing. Where you type in one word and it will pick another (Meaning the same thing.) but that would make it sound weird or completely convoluted. (You would need a dictionary to understand them. Lol! Keep it near your desk!!!) While Malks are hard to understand, they should be able to be understood to a certain level. Their conversations should be hard to follow, but not impossible (if your willing to work though it.) . Also, Maybe Malks should be able to understand each other better than other clans would. I don't know though. All speculation. Love your Ideas! I'll definitely be playing as a Malk though!
310 days ago
Great series, JL! Your premise seems to assume that we will mostly stick to our class disciplines. I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out if/when we're able to learn out-of-clan Discplines as well. Or combining Disciplines to create interesting/new/unique effects.
309 days ago
CLAN Disciplines ^