Tuesday, June 20, 2017

You Are What You Eat

This is a supplementary post to my overview of the Pre-Alpha Rules for the 5th Edition of Vampire: The Masquerade.

One element of the game that's been talked about by various sources ia a rule generally referred to as "You are what you eat."  It seems like different mortal provide different minor bonuses to the vampire that feeds on them. Someone outgoing and gregarious might give you a use of Presence without needing to Rouse the Hunger, while a young and innocent mortal might give you a free use of "Blush of Life."

Now, I have no idea if this is a good idea or not, which is one of the reasons I'm about to run a play test for these rules. The problem is--this rule isn't described in the rule packet. I had heard about it, and it's a recurring mechanic in the adventure that comes with the rules. In fact, I was going through that adventure, The Last Night, when I realized I wasn't quite sure how this mechanic is supposed to work.

Here's the questions I have for it:

  1. Do the players know what bonuses they'll get BEFORE they feed? Do they know that Mortal A let's them heal one level for free, while Mortal B let's them activate Celerity for free?
  2. If they don't find out before, do they find out after? Like, does the vampire know after feeding from Mortal B that they a free use of Celerity?  Or, do they only find out when they attempt to use that discipline?
  3. How long does the bonus last? All night? Till they feed again? 
  4. Can you "stack" bonuses? Can I have a free Celerity and a free Blush of Life waiting to be used? What about multiple uses of the same bonus--like, 2 free Celerity uses?
  5. Do I have to kill the mortal to gain the bonus, or just drink from them? How much do I need to take to get the bonus? Can the entire coterie sip from the mortal and so gain the bonus?
  6. Does this rule allow one to access a Discipline you don't normally have. If I don't have Celerity, but I feed form a mortal who gives me that bonus, do I get to use it as a one time thing, or is it a waste? 
So, yeah, there's a lot I don't understand right now. I actually asked about it in one of my vampire groups. Fortunately, a few of the members had played in the Berlin Play Test, but even they had contradictory answers.  For one of them, the Storyteller kept it hidden until called upon. For another, it was out in the open. Which sounds like one of two things are going on with this. Either White Wolf hasn't yet formalized this rules in a form they're happy with, even for a pre-Alpha release, or they forgot to write the rules down and share them with the play-testers. Which is fine...this is a very, very rough draft version of the game.

But, for now, I think I'll play with these in the open, at least once the player feeds. In a real game, I think I would rather keep it hidden till called on, but for a play test I want this to be a public thing.

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