If you haven't read the post on Aggravated Damage, do that before reading this post.
DrainingConsidering we had done away with wraith draining we figured we should just do away with vampire draining as well. We've decided to add spots around site that provide blood called blood fountains. Each player can access a fountain once per nig-- I'm kidding.
Vampires pose a number of specific issues with regards to their source of energy. In one way their source of energy is endless. So long as they have targets to feed from there is no end to the amount of energy they can have. It ends up proving very difficult to totally close the energy loop with vampires. But we can significantly impact it. The problems we ran into with draining were the following:
1) Willing targets
Currently there is no downside to being fed from other than you might be killed in the process. Therefore, one ghoul can essentially keep the entire court fed through the medicine/draining mechanic. This makes having access to a ghoul much like having access to usurer. (In the old days ghouls had spoiled blood, but we all agree, this is dumb). Being continually fed on needs a cost.
2) Combat drain
Currently you can run after a target while trying to initiate draining on them. There is a single power that can stop this (hasty escape). This is basically the most effective way for vampires to kill someone, and it doesn't require the use of any energy. While draining needs to be an effective way to take health it shouldn't be the combat end all be all, especially if the target is trying to get away.
3) Non-combat drain
The current rules make biting not an attack. Meaning that if I get stunned with a power, I'm can basically be dropped to 0 health quickly and efficiently. This isn't a massive problem in and of itself because most mentals can put you in a bad spot anyway, but it plays into the bigger picture.
4) Blood Bond
The current blood oath rules make it so that feeding on another vampire is silly. You automatically stop at the artificial number 4 to avoid being blood oathed. We felt this needed to change. We've changed this but it is another conversation. Let's just say it's based on drinking a number of times over the course of an event rather than an amount at once.
5) Infinite targets
From one perspective, each NPC that comes into game is basically another node for vampires to take energy from. This shouldn't change, but it does mean that it needs to remain risky for vampires to feed, otherwise getting energy becomes too easy.
The current medicine rules make it free and efficient to fill a human back up on health. I can drain someone to 1 then spend a minute and a half healing them and do it again. It is actually the slowest way to regaining large amounts of energy in the game, but any human or shifter is a viable participant
One of the big concerns with vampires and taint is that they spread it. Currently this isn't the case. We'll fix this one good.
The Big PictureUnlike gnosis and pathos, the rules to which are basically tied to skills in their own faction, the rules for vitae bleed over into Abilities like brewing and medicine. They also bleed into cross faction issues (2 for 1 feeding, killing humans, tapping wraiths). Therefore each of these issues need to be dealt with individually. We broke the draining process into three (sort of four really) simple steps to make this clearer.
The one hand for a bite is simply too powerful. Instead we want the bite to be a more substantial action and not done while chasing someone down the road. In order to initiate a draining count, all forms of draining require an initiation of a three count with both hands on the target and both feet planted. We found in our testing that getting someone while in combat was virtually impossible without power use, getting someone that was sitting down was possible, but difficult.
In canon you can tell what kind of blood you're drinking. So we figured we'd just allow the character to know IG. After an initiation count is successful there is a quick back and forth before draining occurs. The attacker will first state "tainted" if they are tainted which will cause the target to become tainted. The attacker will ask some questions OOG such as "What is your Faction?" and "Are you tainted?" (not necessary if the attacker is tainted). This places the responsibility on the attacker to request the information required. It is also the attacker's responsibility to know what the effects of certain draining are (2 for 1, etc) rather than the target's responsibility to tell them. Once information exchange has been completed, you may move to draining.
Draining progresses like normal following all current rules. (We've got some changes for devouring but that is a later conversation). Once draining is complete a few new things happen. First, health draining causes aggravated damage. So immediately following the the draining, the target's maximum health is reduced by one (NOT one per health drained). This damage counts as an attack meaning that it will end all powers that are broken on attack. Secondly, the target enters a confused state and does not recall what happened from from the beginning of the Initiation up to this point. (Unfortunately, Ananasi don't get the second part of this, their draining is supposed to be horrible.)
This means that the perpetrator can escape relatively easily but isn't able to use biting and draining to nibble someone down to 0 maximum health unless the target is being stupid. This also means that powers like merciful sleep can be used to drain a target down to 0 health, but if they have no health remaining, further bites have no effect because no health was drained.
This also means that a ghoul who is fed on becomes weakened and won't provide as much health in future feedings. Sure, they can still be passed around a bit, but eventually you're not going to want to drain your ghoul down from 5 maximum health because you'll only get 5 energy and they're now at 4 maximum health. It provides diminishing returns for feeding on the same target. We figure this will reduce the number of willing targets significantly, though not entirely.
Other ChangesWe wanted there to be some other variety going around with regards to feeding on different types of creatures so we added a little flavor that goes along with drinking on shifters and wraiths. Just little things like Induce Passion: Angry when you feed on a shifter. Gives a little of the flavor that is supposed to go with doing these things.
We also wanted vampires to actually drain each others vitae. So draining health on a vampire takes energy, not health. You know, like canon.
The final big change comes to medicine. We realize that we can't remove medicine as a whole even though it presents a massive unrealistic system into the game. LARPs in general simply require methods of healing. No one will enjoy playing the game stuck at 1 heath for the rest of the event. But we wanted to tone down medicine significantly. We did this by placing a cap on the effectiveness of medicine and making it a 1 minute flat skill.
Level 1: Bring a target below 2 health to 2 health.
Level 2: Bring a target below 4 health to 4 health
Level 3: Bring a target below 6 health to 6 health.
Oddly enough this change makes healing a target at 0 health to 6 health take exactly the same amount of time as it currently does with a level 3 skill. What it changes is it makes medicine not able to heal a person to maximum health (unless they've suffered some significant agg). Meaning that repeated draining will not only cost maximum health, but if a target has a +4 health, it will take supernatural healing (want to buy a potion?) to push them above. This will increase the use of the Regeneration mechanic disclosed last week as well as make friends with Healing Touch even more valuable. It also gives more reward for having more levels of medicine. I think a lot of people are going to want some.
The final piece was hinted at in the Aggravated Damage post. Healing potions will likely be split into two categories. Small healing potions that heal health, and big ones that heal an agg (and maybe probably a bunch of health as well, we're currently rewriting skills to incorporate this). The idea is that healing health isn't very expensive but there is a financial cost associated with it. Meanwhile, healing agg is expensive so it becomes a serious decision point if you want to do it or not.. I'd expect people to start stockpiling healing potions as they are very effective, and when you've been beat up bad, you need to buy them.