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Libra

Gangrel = Meatheads

Are Gangrel Really Just Dumb Brutes?  

92 members have voted

  1. 1. Are the Gangrel Clan really just dumb brutes, or is there something playable about them?

    • Yes, they are just dumb brutes
      2
    • Qualified yes, their Weakness hinders them but they make up for it in other ways
      19
    • Dunno, I've never played a Gangrel
      1
    • Dunno, I've never seen a Gangrel played
      3
    • Dunno, I've neither ST'd nor played one
      2
    • No, Gangrel aren't brutes. Despite their Clan weakness they're really rather savvy
      55
    • No, the Gangrel are noble and not dumb at all, so there
      10
  2. 2. Would you play a Gangrel in your next game?

    • Yes, I've always played Gangrel
      4
    • Yes, because I've had a go at everything else
      8
    • Yes, of course
      53
    • Maybe. What's in it for me?
      16
    • I might, if I was bored
      5
    • Nah, been there once and I didn't like it
      2
    • No, and I doubt I ever will
      3
    • No, not a chance
      1


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Curator

As the poll above says, do you think that Gangrel are just dumb brutes, saddled with their Clan weakness, or is there far more to them than just animalistic meatheads?

Well, look at the weakness for one thing. The weakness affects dice pools involving Intelligence and Wits. That includes Theban Sorcery dice pools, but does not include dice pools involving reaction to surprise or the Resolve Attribute. Dice pools affected by the weakness do not have the 10 Again benefit, and 1s subtract from successes rolled.

But again, these don't affect reactions to surprise, nor to rolls involving Resolve (e.g. the Resolve + Occult roll for a Dragon's Chrysalis).

So, are the Gangrel simple meathead brutes, slaves to their animalistic Beasts, or is there more to them, something more Social, warmer, even more "cuddly" than the icy Daeva?

And if you were given the change to play a Gangrel, would you play one? If so, why? If not, why not?

Votes above. Explanations below, please.

Edited by Libra

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I don't see them as being meatheads. Hell sometimes I think their weakness describes my ADHD perfectly. They aren't dumber, they just can't concentrate.

To be fair, my first vampire ever (masq. first edition) was a gangrel with celerity, fortitude and protean 3 (needed haven of soil since he was a wandering nomad) had a sawed off shot gun and road a motor bike. In my defense I was 13 at the time.

Since then I've played a zoologist gangrel, a hound, a ordo dracul mystic/guru who was an elder and a politically savvy lancea sanctum primogen chair.

I do kinda have a beef with them getting the short end of the theban stick since nossies don't get it for cruac. It doesn't apply in my game. The highly ritualized nature and auto expenditure of a willpower point ensure the necessary concentration.

I've begun debating whether or not to do away with clan stereotypes by not letting my players choose clans anymore. Make a mortal. I decide who embraces you. Its not like one chooses to be born, say, caucasian, so why choose your clan? Did you make a super cool spy that would've augmented greatly by being a mekhet? Learn to adapt. Gangrel can spy almost as well via animalism and protean 4's small form is useful for that as well, so learn to do it that way instead if you get the luck of having a gangrel drain you.

edit: I also don't think gangrel can afford to be meatheads. With everyone else having a pyschic discipline that affords them huge social advantages, all the gangrel get is one power they can mind slap someone with, and thats level 5 animalism and it causes QUITE the scene. To compensate I can see many gangrel, if nothing else, boosting their resolve and composure in order to be able to compete, both mundanely and mystically. I also happen to think that a fair number of nossies would end up leaning this way as well.

(if it seems like I'm talking about disciplines inordinantly much, well, I view them as central to the clan design and any discussion thereof, even if in game they don't need to be used often, let alone at all.)

Edited by krazlica

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Curator
I've begun debating whether or not to do away with clan stereotypes by not letting my players choose clans anymore. Make a mortal. I decide who embraces you. Its not like one chooses to be born, say, caucasian, so why choose your clan? Did you make a super cool spy that would've augmented greatly by being a mekhet? Learn to adapt. Gangrel can spy almost as well via animalism and protean 4's small form is useful for that as well.

Good point. There is a Clanless variation available if you look up the Requiem Chronicler's Guide some time that does address those issues.

But Gangrel are depicted as the rangy, wild vampires who are closer to their Beasts. They vie with Nosferatu for the honour of being the First Clan, because historically vampires tended to be regarded as non-sentient up until Polidori, so maybe Gangrel could represent the archetypal ur-vampire from which the other Clans sprang.

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ARG! thats two threads now where you've beaten my edits!

And while they may in fact be closer to their beasts, that does not equal dumber, just less able to concentrate. I'm as smart as your next nerd but I'm much more apt to being distracted and wandering off into the woods because its fun to run through the woods for no reason other than to run through the woods. To me thats what the gangrel have, except bigger because its supernatural influence.

edit: I'm also guessing it means things like needing to use the edit function on a forum constantly! Thoughts flit away, aren't articulated quite right, and 3 minutes later addendums are needed!

Edited by krazlica

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Curator
With everyone else having a pyschic discipline that affords them huge social advantages, all the gangrel get is one power they can mind slap someone with, and thats level 5 animalism and it causes QUITE the scene. To compensate I can see many gangrel, if nothing else, boosting their resolve and composure in order to be able to compete, both mundanely and mystically. I also happen to think that a fair number of nossies would end up leaning this way as well.

Firstly, that power can be amazingly useful to a Prince. Imagine if his rival's about to try and Ride the Wave and frenzy on the Prince, and the Gangrel's right there beside the Prince, shutting his Beast down before it can flare up? Or a Gangrel "assassin" lurking in a polite, gneteel Elysium, using this ability to send his hapless Kindred into frenzy in the middle of something and destroying the target's reputation?

Secondly, Resolve and Composure means a lot of Willpower points, making your characters poised, stubborn and very wilful. Kind of like player characters ... ;)

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Just dumb brutes? No.

They can be dumb brutes, but so can every other Kindred. The Clan weakness comes from having a more intimate connection to their Beast than other Kindred. They start to think like animals, which doesn't mean they become idiots. An animal is probably incapable of understanding quantum physics and would rather go eat something rather than try, but a large part of humans also has the same urges.

If you don't understand it, and you don't need it, then why bother?

Gangrels become more practical in their approach. Instead of thinking up complicated plans of how to, they just go there and do the thing to the best of their ability. If they'll fail, they'll know how not to do something. If they succeed, all the better. Being dumb means you don't learn from mistakes and are slow to process information. Gangrels on the other hand are primal, they think with their emotions rather than logic. Which doesn't mean they lack any logic, otherwise they would just fail any Intelligence and Wits roll outright as their weakness.

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Firstly, that power can be amazingly useful to a Prince. Imagine if his rival's about to try and Ride the Wave and frenzy on the Prince, and the Gangrel's right there beside the Prince, shutting his Beast down before it can flare up? Or a Gangrel "assassin" lurking in a polite, gneteel Elysium, using this ability to send his hapless Kindred into frenzy in the middle of something and destroying the target's reputation?

Secondly, Resolve and Composure means a lot of Willpower points, making your characters poised, stubborn and very wilful. Kind of like player characters ... ;)

Boosting attributes costs the same xp for everyone. I myself, if making a social gangrel, would also add manipulation and presence to my list, but making sure I had 3 in both resolve and composure would be a priority, unless I was making a guy who wasn't supposed to be strong willed, of course.

And yes animalism 5 is a hugely useful power. Its a level 5 pyschic power, it should be. But its no more useful than, say, sovereignty. Which also gives you awe, summon, etc. on the way. Its not that its not useful, its that the other 4 clans have a mental/emotional discipline that can be directly used on other kindred at level one. Not necessarially offensively, but they have much more wiggle room than the gangrel when it comes to mind powers. Protean one, Animalism 5 does not stack up well against some guy with Nightmare 5 in the mental tickle-fight arena, and those two powers are all the gangrel get for direct mind to mind affect. Which is fine, it suits their concept perfectly.

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I've begun debating whether or not to do away with clan stereotypes by not letting my players choose clans anymore. Make a mortal. I decide who embraces you. Its not like one chooses to be born, say, caucasian, so why choose your clan? Did you make a super cool spy that would've augmented greatly by being a mekhet? Learn to adapt. Gangrel can spy almost as well via animalism and protean 4's small form is useful for that as well, so learn to do it that way instead if you get the luck of having a gangrel drain you.

Ive never liked this kind of reasoning.

"Its not like that in real life, so why should it be like that in the game?" completely destroys the point of rpgs for me; to play out and explore cool stories.

If a players has a cool character in mind, its becuse hes envisioning all the cool stories he wants to tell about that character. Forcing something down his throat that changes (and potentially destroys) those stories and the way he wants to tell them is IMO uncool, unfun and extremely not-awesome.

About Gangrel: To my mind, the Gangrel are inhibited by their Beasts. Theyre not stupid, they just have problems pulling away from their instincts and seeing the world untainted by their Beasts.

I wouldnt call them brutes or stupid. They are savage, fearl and instinctual.

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I'm not saying that it'd work for everyone, or that I'd even do it for every game. In about a month I'm running a second site/skin changers game. My players know that I will be choosing which potential power set they have access to and are fine with it. I'd like to run a vampire game the same way. But yes, most of the time, if its a vampire game, sure, choose your clan.

Sometime though, it'd be nice to tell a story where the players have a bit less choice at first. For some suprise.

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I'm not saying that it'd work for everyone, or that I'd even do it for every game. In about a month I'm running a second site/skin changers game. My players know that I will be choosing which potential power set they have access to and are fine with it. I'd like to run a vampire game the same way. But yes, most of the time, if its a vampire game, sure, choose your clan.

Sometime though, it'd be nice to tell a story where the players have a bit less choice at first. For some suprise.

Yeah, I figured. Its just a pet peeve of mine. ^_^

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Curator

Its possible to be a competant, wise, inventive person who gets things right (particularly in a narrow sphere) without being the quickest bloke on the block or being able to do rocket science - or even knowing how to read and write. They are, as others have said, instinctual creatures. Instincts can be as powerful as logic. A Gangrel, to my mind, can lead an assault or manipulate a peer or even in some cases play the stock market as well as most other Vamps. But if you ask them to explain how they did it and how they knew what to do, then they're in trouble. I imagine logically deconstructing the actions their instincts took is in many ways one of the most difficult things for an average Gangrel and in that they are quite stupid. They'd be appalling teachers.

Its like a great many sportsmen. Many of them are not all that bright or well educated. But in their own little field of spatial awareness and timing they're geniuses. They're making extremely quick and highly accurate guesses on how fast objects are travelling in a way your egghead could never do. But they wouldn't be able to give a number to it if you gave them all day. Thats the Gangrel for you.

Although I guess, thinking about it, that analogy will only have confirmed meathead to many of you... :icon6:

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I still say its not about raw intelligence, its distractibility. You can have a wits 5, intelligence 5 gangrel. He's probably just always got blood on the brain. We've all known a smart person like this who is easily distracted by a "base" need even when concentrating. Whether it be food, sex or just the urge to run around, something is always at least at the back of their brain bugging them. The beast in the gangrel just manifests it to the point that its an actual hinderance.

As far as Theban Sorcery and the Gangrel go, who else thinks its rather unfair given that nossies suffer no penalties to Cruac?

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Curator

I think most of the reasoning has already been said, the Gangrel weakness is more related to instinctive urges rather than calculated actions.

As far as Theban Sorcery and the Gangrel go, who else thinks its rather unfair given that nossies suffer no penalties to Cruac?

I don't think so. It is thematic. Theben Sorcery is an almost scientific magical system involving distinct patterns and equations. I really see it rather like alchemy from Full Metal Alchemist, exchanging offerings for effects through force of will. As such, the analytical aspect falls into the weakness. Cruac is more artistic expression and bargaining with the mystic forces involved, who don't care about the Nosferatu's social limitations.

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I don't think so. It is thematic. Theben Sorcery is an almost scientific magical system involving distinct patterns and equations. I really see it rather like alchemy from Full Metal Alchemist, exchanging offerings for effects through force of will. As such, the analytical aspect falls into the weakness. Cruac is more artistic expression and bargaining with the mystic forces involved, who don't care about the Nosferatu's social limitations.

That doesnt sound like how I imagine Theban Sorcery at all. Sounds more like the Coils of the Dragon, to be honest.

Dont get me wrong, its a cool way to look at it. Its just not my cup of boiled, dried leaves.

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Cruac, if anything, is all about sacrificing part of yourself to empower yourself. Theban sorcery seems to be more about petitioning higher aid. As I said before the expinditure of a willpower would, in my opinion, seem to indicate a certain necessary amount of concentration that should negate the penalty. That and because the gangrel already have enough stereotypes to battle, the last thing they need is "oh, and they're shitty at the mystic/academic side of the lancea sanctum's theology, so yeah, best to use them as paladins and don't waste your xp on theban sorcery." Its divine, its magic, it should side step the clan flaw the same as it does for the nossies.

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Curator
As I said before the expinditure of a willpower would, in my opinion, seem to indicate a certain necessary amount of concentration that should negate the penalty.

But the expenditure of Willpower IS the necessary concentration. It is the cost and representation of concentration. As has been discussed above, the Gangrel flaw is very much representative of the Beast constantly wanting to have things done its way rather than thinking out a solution. As I said before, Theban Sorcery is more scientific, more precise and its rituals involve knowing what offering is to be given and how it is to be given in order to achieve the desired result. So while the Gangrel is there, trying to properly enunciate the necessary prayer and handle the prescribed offering in the manner dictated by the ritual, the Beast is leering over his shoulder urging him to forget this silly magic and just get in there with tooth or claw to get dirty.

The Gangrel flaw is internal, effecting only the individual, while the Nosferatu flaw is external, effecting those that they interact with. Cruac is making a sacrifice of blood and literally casting magics. It isn't powered by an external source but by the mystic power flowing in the Vampire's veins. It doesn't care about other people, so the Nosferatu flaw isn't involved as there is no social interaction involved.

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I guess in the end I can see it both ways, but frankly, if only for the sake of game balance, they shouldn't be penalized. Especially since they get the shaft on the roll for Chrysalis as well.

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Curator
I guess in the end I can see it both ways, but frankly, if only for the sake of game balance, they shouldn't be penalized. Especially since they get the shaft on the roll for Chrysalis as well.

How does it imbalance the game?

For clarity, I'm not challenging you just because we disagree. I really do like to understand how different opinions are supported. It helps me come up with new ideas or revise how I see things myself.

For me, I don't see a real imbalance. Consider how hosed the Nosferatu are in the bigger picture. An Acolyte Nossie has Cruac weighing down on their potential max Humanity, which means that their lower Humanity will add further difficulty to their social interactions... compounded by their Weakness. I also don't find Cruac to be as useful as Theban Sorcery as nearly all of its rituals are divinatory where Theban has a broader range of applications.

And, yes, I understand that the examples in print aren't the limits of possibility, but given the examples we see are a cross-section of the design intent they can enlighten us as to why an exception may exist in this case.

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Curator
I guess in the end I can see it both ways, but frankly, if only for the sake of game balance, they shouldn't be penalized. Especially since they get the shaft on the roll for Chrysalis as well.

How's that? It's Occult + Resolve. Resolve isn't affected by the Gangrel Weakness at all. They're as adept at learning the Coils as any of the other Clans. Point of fact, it's rumoured that Dracula himself may have been a Gangrel, and (assuming he is as real as Longinus) he is supposed to have invented the Coils and founded the Covenant ...

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My mistake on the Chyrsalis bit, I thought it was intelligence, not resolve.

I dunno, if anything it just feels as if mystically inclined gangrel are more likely to steer towards the circle than the spear, and maybe thats okay for your games and most people, but in my game I dislike that they're less able to call down holy miracles than the other clans.

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Curator

If there is any problem with the Gangrel weakness at all, it's that it applies to the Wits Attribute in dice pools. You'd imagine Wits would be the purview of instinctual reactions, and so therefore would be exempt - or easily ignored or circumvented.

At least rolls relating to perception, reaction to surprise or dice pools with the Resolve Attribute aren't affected. If you look at pages 44 and 45 of the World of Darkness core book, you'll find that a Gangrel can quite happily apply Wits + Skill in a dice pool as a Perception roll, including Wits + Occult (spot the hidden magic item), Wits + Empathy (read someone's poker tell) and Wits + Investigation (follow the trail of blood to the killer's door) (using the "Skills - Based Perception" sidebar rules on page 45), and a general Wits + Composure at all other times, without being affected by the Gangrel Weakness.

Oh, and I just checked in the World of Darkness coire book. Fast Talk is Manipulation + Persuasion, plus whatever equipment bonuses apply. So no problem there for the savvy Gangrel.

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I don't see Gangrel as animalistic or brutish. I see them as distracted. All Kindred have the voice in the back of their head telling them to kill and feed, and with the Gangrel that voice just gets louder whenever they try to think. One of my ST character, Alder Louis Goerenn, Judex and Notary, was a Gangrel. He was a very smart man, but even now and again I'd just make him ask to repeat what the players had just said, because it hadn't sunk it for him, or emphasise how long his decisions took when he was planning things. He acted like a man with a constant headache, only instead of a headache, it was an internal psychopath that wouldn't shut up.

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I dig the Gangrel. Some of my players scoff at them and their apparent lack of intelligence but I always try to find ways of making them unexpectedly resourceful. Sure, Daeva can embarrass you, Ventrue can make you bankrupt, Mekhet can blackmail you (or slip a knife in your ribs), and the Nossies know all of your secrets. But when you step out on the street at night - you're Gangrel meat. Gangrel don't seem the type to forgive and forget. Hell hath no fury like a pissed off Gangrel.

I'd love to play one.

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Donor

I'd like to speak out *against* the whole "Choose your own clan" thing, unless your character are A-OK with it. and I mean *A-OK* with it, and perfectly willing to accept whatever you throw their way. I've seen a game fall apart because the ST chose the most ill suited splat for everyone, even going so far as to make the guy who wanted to play werewolf(me) a mage, the guy who wanted to play a mage a Vampire, and the guy who wanted to play a vampire into a werewolf. We were fine with having him choose our splats within the obersplat, but he just screwed with us, then killed us all off when unspeakable horrors from beyond the stars came and killed us because none of us had any idea what was going on.

(cough)

</tangent>

I can speak out for the whole ADHD thing. I consider myself a very intelligent person, and I also have alot of energy and find myself driven... however, my focus can change from day to day, or minute to minute. Thousands of half thought-out ideas jumble around in my head, lost to the whim and whimsy of my hindbrain.

Edited by Krieg

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I dig the Gangrel. Some of my players scoff at them and their apparent lack of intelligence but I always try to find ways of making them unexpectedly resourceful. Sure, Daeva can embarrass you, Ventrue can make you bankrupt, Mekhet can blackmail you (or slip a knife in your ribs), and the Nossies know all of your secrets. But when you step out on the street at night - you're Gangrel meat. Gangrel don't seem the type to forgive and forget. Hell hath no fury like a pissed off Gangrel.

I'd love to play one.

It's funny when you think about it:

-the Daeva can only embarrass you if you care...

-The ventrue can only make you bankrupt if you have or need money...

-The Mekhet can only blackmail you if you have secrets...

-The Nosferatu (who don't deal in secrets anymore: that's the Mekhet schtick) can only know your fear if they get over theirs of you...

It seems like the stereotype of the gangrel is the most likely to fit into that category of being entirely aloof of the comments in the danse macabre, financially disinterested, having few secrets of note, and ultimately being the only clan capable of ripping the others to shreds... It's the perfect anti-clan...

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