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On Disciplines (or lack thereof)

Fecha de la publicación: 12/03/2024

What are disciplines? In essence, disciplines are blood-powered “superpowers” a vampire can have in the World of Darkness. Some of these disciplines are more common to many vampires of a particular clan, even the younger ones, while others require centuries of experience to learn by a few vampires outside that clan.

Here, you can search our stock of VTES cards, filtered by Discipline

In VTES game terms, icons on crypt cards determine which powers that particular vampire has access to. Also, these icons come in two flavors: basic, with the icon inside a square, and superior, with the same icon inside a diamond shape. Many library cards of several types require you having a vampire in play who will be the one trying to playing the card (of course, under your influence). If the vampire has the basic version of the Discipline, he is able to play the basic version of that card, and if he has the superior version, he can choose playing either the regular or the superior. In most cases, the superior is a better version of the basic effect, but in other cases, it is a completely different effect.

There are also action cards that require you to fulfill more than one requirement, or even have different requirements depending on the effect you want to play.

Now, to the meat of the article… Under the most recent version of the RPG (let’s remember that VTES is an adaptation of the world first presented as a role-playing game), there have been several changes and the owners of the IP have required that new cards designed follow that new design philosophy.

While before there were dozens of different disciplines, some more generic, while others were closely associated with a particular clan or bloodline, now we have a short list of 11 basic disciplines. In the RPG those other, let’s call them” leftover”, disciplines are now amalgams, specializations and/or combinations of the basic ones, which vampire characters can gain access to as they evolve and grow game to game. In VTES terms, they sort of disappear.

How do they disappear? Of course your old cards (or new printings of them) still remain intact. However no new cards will be designed with those disciplines anymore. To make it simpler to understand, let me put an example. For a long time, Vicissitude was the signature discipline of the Tzimisce clan. Most Tzimisce crypt cards printed up to before Fifth Edition, had access to that discipline. However from now on, there won’t be new crypt cards with Vicissitude, so if you have a Vicissitude-based deck, you won’t be able to make it better with new vampires. Likewise, there won’t be new Library cards requiring Vicissitude, so you won’t be able to add new flesh sculpting effects for your old vampires to play.

Does that mean the concept of the clan changes? Not at all. In the RPG Vicissitude still exists, only it is now (sort of) Protean with a pinch of Animalism. But how is this dealt with in VTES terms? Well, for one more Protean and Animalism will appear more often in Tzimisce crypt cards, and the effects that previously were Vicissitude will be expressed through library cards in other ways, like cards requiring both Protean and Animalism, or Protean and Tzimisce.


On the pro side, there is a more streamlined and efficient approach to design, with less moving pieces and less exclusions. Up to now, printing a Vicissitude card meant it would be only used by a predominantly Tzimisce crypt deck. The more different disciplines supported, the more fragmented the support for a given clan or concept. Now, most those library card effects will be open to a wider range of crypt cards, while design will still be able to limit who has and who hasn’t access to particularly clan-flavored effects.

On the con side, it means that now several clans (particularly on the crypt deck) have significantly reduced options when building a deck, only those printed more recently. They start from scratch. May be this will less noticeable on the Library side for, while the new Tzimisce from this example lose access to the existing pool of Vicissitude cards, they stand to gain a wider pool of cards of Protean and Animalism. However, until the card pool grows, this probably will mean that a Tzimisce deck will look much like a Grangrel deck with added Dominate), and this will be the case for a time, until the overall card pool under this new design mandate grows to make it feel different enough.

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