Thursday, 7 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 7: Paths Of Enlightenment

I have issues here.

Having said that Humanity is a core part of the Vampire rules and settings, I’m not a big fan of Paths of Enlightenment.

Different moral drives are certainly possible, and vampires who don’t care about humans are certainly playable, but including them in Vampire games in particular often feels like copping out. If a player wants to avoid certain Humanity-based issues, I’m prepared to discuss that, as long as nobody else minds, but the Paths can be a bit too simplistic for my tastes.

Pity me, I’m almost a human being...
Voltaire, Almost Human 

The Paths came in the Players Guide To The Sabbat, which took the previously NPC-only sect and made them playable, sort of. A default Humanity 0 was replaced with Paths, different Hierarchies of Sin for non-Humanity philosophies, some of them difficult to play and plenty of them difficult to play in a group with no inter-party conflict, and quite a few boiling down to The Path Of What I Was Going To Do Anyway.

The Revised edition made Paths far from universal in the Sabbat and rare elsewhere, and shunted some into supplements, encouraging making them rare, strict and alienating.

The Dark Ages games had Humanity as one of several Roads, most of which could kinda-sorta get along in a vampire court - something of a precursor to the Covenants in Requiem, where a follower of Heaven and a follower of the Beast might work together, if uneasily. Heaven and Chivalry were within spitting distance of Humanity, which made separating them seem a bit forced.

Requiem has no Paths. Individual vampires might avoid certain Humanity rolls while following their particular philosophies - the Lancea et Sanctum can do this, optionally, sometimes, and that’s about it.

Blood And Smoke’s take on Humanity appeals to me more in general as a philosophy allowing for jaded old vampires who can still be shaken by events, and I’d consider adopting it for Dark Ages games in future.

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