Dark Ages Vampire -- Terra Mariana

  • As hinted at in another thread, I and a small crew of developers are working on a Dark Ages Vampire game. The focus will be on politics on a grand scale, even though there will be a lot of space for stories and individual tales of adventure. On the former, I took inspiration from Birthright; on the former, the Witcher series. So, not Lords and Ladies: more like Monsters and Madmen.

    The game will be set in Terra Mariana, aka Livonia, ca. 1250. We have a basic history up. I've finished off some system tweaks, as I intend to work Social and Mental Combat systems from the Danse Macabre and the Chronicles of Darkness into the mix, which will be sort of important for the political side of things. While history up to the date of the game is important, everything after that will probably be sort of fudge-y. We're going to try to put the emphasis on gameplay and fun rather than absolute accuracy, though.

    Right now, I'm working on the bloodlines. Here are the proposed lines for the Daeva and the Gangrel. I'll toss more up later:


    Gerasenes: Whereas the Sanctified believe themselves created to test humanity, the Gerasenes believe themselves to be possessed by demons accomplish the same task. Their belief is considered heretical, and is kept amongst themselves. Celerity, Majesty, Nightmare, Vigor. (Custom.)

    Maenads: The remnants of a Grecian bloodline traversed north after Rome’s conquest of the Achaean League, along the Black Sea and into the heart of Sarmatia. There, their passionate traditions passed to the Rom, and to other pagan cultures, where they manipulate the emotions of others through music, dance, and sex. Celerity, Dominate, Majesty, Vigor. (Custom.)

    Salubri: Humanists to a fault, the altruistic Salubri find themselves drawn to wherever the Crusades may take them, where they can tend to the needy, the sick, and the infirm, as much as trying to relieve the suffering of the victims’ family. Auspex, Celerity, Majesty, Vigor. (V20, p. 408.)


    Anda: Savages from the East that have mastered combat from horseback, the Anda make for vicious adversaries on the medieval battlefield. The fact that they keep strong ties with the Golden Horde make them feared and loathed in equal measure. Animalism, Dominate, Protean, Resilience. (V20, p. 416; BL:Hidden, p. 96 (Oberlochs).)

    Goji: Ancient Savages that have lurked in the hinterlands since time in memoriam, they rule the remote parts of the North, watching from mountains or parapets. The few that dare to wander near humanity have made a pact with the Second Estate to serve as their sentinels. Animalism, Protean, Resilience, Vigor. (V20, p. 401 (Gargoyles).)

    Mystikoi: Scholars of God who seek to reconcile the Beast with the Divine, these Savages still remain in the Lancea et Sanctum, although their relationship is fraying with the Great Schism and the decline of the Byzantine Empire. Animalism, Auspex, Protean, Resilience. (AB, p. 130.)

    If you want to help out, or have some ideas, feel free to PM. We're still in development, and will be for a while. There's no timetable on when we'll be up and running, but I personally hope to have something ready by the end of the year.

  • @ganymede said in Dark Ages Vampire -- Terra Mariana:

    I personally hope to have something ready by the end of the year.

    /me looks at the calendar

  • @tempest

    I'm being conservative here. In the team's discussions, we will likely need an ambitious coder on board. Sure, we could take stuff from other games -- we have a codebase to work with already -- but I'd rather say "we're looking at the end of the year" rather than "we're looking at the end of spring," even though I know the team's working diligently and actively.

    We plan to roll out with a complete, or close-to-complete product, with a well-dressed wiki and game. I plan to ask some others to help along the way because I know where their skill lies.

    And we want to make sure that folks come on board early to play test, poke at the theme, and all of that.

    In short, we're serious about this project, we're working hard on it, and we don't plan on half-assing it (according to our rather lofty standards).

  • Creator

    This looks interesting. This makes me wanna make a human who will become ghoul to a sanctified Daeva or a salubri.

    Then become a Daeva.. The ideas of a not European woman in the 1250s such ideas!

  • Making a complete game before release is SO 2002.

  • Admin

    @tinuviel Some games can be incomplete and still mostly fun even if they perpetually remain works-in-progress (which is in fact many MU*).

    For some though the most time consuming part is the point of their existence, and without those at least in a functional state, they might as well not be opened.

  • Can Social Combat be compulsory? Because that would be amazing.

  • @jennkryst

    Corollary to that, if compulsory how is staff going to handle enforcing the results of social combat?

  • @jennkryst said in Dark Ages Vampire -- Terra Mariana:

    Can Social Combat be compulsory? Because that would be amazing.

    Like any system, parties that can agree on an outcome can agree on an outcome. That's the lawyer in me talking.

    Suppose you decide to engage in it; the other person has to engage as well. At the start of extended combat, the parties declare an outcome that they would like to have happen. That's what you're "fighting" for. There are two forms of extended social combat: (1) scene-length (Danse Macabre's social combat); and (2) protracted (CoD's social maneuvering).

    In either case, if the defender elects not to accept the outcome, the aggressor gains Beats (equal to his remaining Nerve or the Doors he took down); if the defender surrenders prior to the outcome, then the defender gets Beats (equal to her remaining Nerve or Doors).

    The system isn't perfect, but it provides the option to opt out and a reward to the aggressor when this occurs. Be advised, that this is mundane social combat; the use of disciplines to coerce others is another issue entirely.


    See above, with the added comment that staff is going to presume the parties involved will police the outcome themselves to an extent. Where there is conflict, I do not mind dealing with it personally.

  • You had me at Salubri.

  • @saulot said in Dark Ages Vampire -- Terra Mariana:

    You had me at Salubri.

    skew drew them up, and did a great job with them.

  • @ganymede said in Dark Ages Vampire -- Terra Mariana:

    @jennkryst said in Dark Ages Vampire -- Terra Mariana:

    In either case, if the defender elects not to accept the outcome, the aggressor gains Beats (equal to his remaining Nerve or the Doors he took down); if the defender surrenders prior to the outcome, then the defender gets Beats (equal to her remaining Nerve or Doors).

    Can players similarly elect not to accept the outcome of mundane physical combat?

    Edit because spelling is hard.

  • Pitcrew

    @jennkryst No, but the exact context of what the possible outcomes are in physical combat is much more limited (a person can only be knocked out or killed). Additionally you get into issues that it is much more obvious ICly when a person is beaten in physical combat. Lastly, there is just an issue with loss of character agency. Again, yes, there is a certain degree of loss of character agency when you lose a fight but it is just such a different issue.

    At the end of the day the results of social combat are far more corrosive to most character concepts than the results of social combat. As an example, I make Joe. Joe is a police officer. His dad was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty and Joe is pretty dedicated to the idea of being a police officer. Joe runs across Sarah who is in the middle of robbing a jewelry store.

    If Sarah wants to shoot Joe that hasn't invalidated my concept of Joe because there's always the implicit aspect that any character be overwhelmed by force. If Sarah has some nasty supernatural ability that compels Joe to let her go the concept of Joe hasn't really been violated because again, his letting her go isn't a voluntary action.

    On the other hand Joe letting Sarah go because she asked nicely and batted her eyes quite definitely is a violation of Joe's concept. Sure, Sarah's dumped a ton of points onto Presence, Persuasion, Striking Looks, Striking Voice, Seductive Grace, Hypnotic Grace, and Grace Jones but all of these are tools to make someone voluntarily do something and Joe's concept is such that such that he's just not going to voluntarily let Sarah go.

    And I suppose that's what it comes down to. At the end of the day social combat often boils down to an 'involuntary voluntary action'. The player has no control over what the character does but the character's actions can't honestly be classified as involuntary. In the case of losing a combat or being mind whammied the end result is an 'involuntary involuntary action', and that is far more acceptable.

  • @the-sands The problem here is /we/ as people are convinced to do stuff we wouldn't want to do /all the time/. We get manipulated, it doesn't change who we are, doesn't change our concept. The idea that nobody can be manipulated is just obtuse.

  • Pitcrew

    People totally get manipulated plenty IRL but it's silly whenever people want to just pull out the "But physical combat" argument as reasoning for why social combat should function exactly the same as if they're exactly the same thing with the exact same implications. Which they aren't and they don't.

  • Pitcrew

    @lithium it isn't that no one can be manipulated. It's that there are very real limits to manipulation, which social combat systems tend to ignore. If Sarah wants to ask Joe if she can cut in line, hey, that's perfectly fine. Frankly I would rather role play the situation rather than roll play it but that's just me.

    Additionally, social situations are way more complex than combat. Yes, people can be manipulated, but not in the same way. In a social situation the action that will manipulate person A in the proper direction can actually manipulate person B in the exact opposite direction, making them more resistant than they were. In a fight anyone who gets punched enough goes down. No one becomes more resistant to being knocked out because they've been punched (except maybe The Hulk). It's a matter of biology.

  • @the-sands So... I just have to make Sally's concept 'Unbeatable swordswoman who can never be killed,' thus making losing physical combat or death a violation of my concept! Easy peasy.

    This is probably getting to the point where a new social combat thread can be started, which I'll get around to. But if you MUST HAVE AGENCY ALL THE TIME, there can be merits that buff your social defenses. Take all of them, and accept that you no longer have the points to be One Punch Man in physical combat as a result.

  • If you are trying to manipulate someone into sending your charity a few dollars a month, sure, you can try doing that in the timescale of a combat scene.

    Typically, however, the timescale is entirely off. Some of these examples would not be a scene, they would require multiple scenes of getting to know someone, figuring out what makes them tick, how to make them like you, how to pressure them. You don't just talk your way into a social combat win, you actually get close to someone, you bribe and blackmail, etc.

    Combat isn't super realistic, but people can suspend their disbelief and abstract it out to its outcome and still have buy-in from the players. Social and mental stuff just does not work the same. It's not just a matter of agency, it's also a matter of suspension of disbelief and player buy-in.

  • Pitcrew

    @jennkryst said in Dark Ages Vampire -- Terra Mariana:

    @the-sands So... I just have to make Sally's concept 'Unbeatable swordswoman who can never be killed,' thus making losing physical combat or death a violation of my concept! Easy peasy.

    Yeah you're not going to be able to have any sort of reasonable discussion about the nature of social systems when you just say things like this.

  • Pitcrew

    I think the biggest problem is that both divergent camps on social combat are wrong, the it should be like physical combat, doesn't take into account that there are certain principles people and character won't cross, the agency side of things doesn't take into account these principles tend to be quite a small number of things.
    I think @surreality had the best suggestion in the other thread of giving each character three core tenets they would not break or something to that effect.
    Of course I also think the rolling should be done and then the poses so that poses could then be crafted to reach the results the dice suggested. Because we can all point to examples of times when people have posed things that would honestly cause the exact opposite reaction from the one they wanted in a social scene.

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