On the topic of vice and vice pruveyors. My understanding of the reason they exist is to further the fiction by providing complications on obtaining the vice.
However I ended up with two players that wanted specific “out of the book” vice purveyors, tied to their character concepts.
One of them deals with self-harm & isolation (I translated it to stupor).
He asked for the group’s physiker, a PC to be his vice purveyor. I agreed to this.
The other wants to perform rituals to his ancestors (I translated it to faith)
I had no NPC to suggest for his vice purveyor. His is a complicated case since I had to change how the tycherosi work in my interpretation of Duskvol in order to “yes and” him.
My gripes with these are that they do not provide links to the world’s fiction, and limmit the oportunities to have downtime engagement with the world. They both just stay in the group’s lair, hidden and kinda safe. Overinduldging feels boring in both cases.
I am trying to transition them progressively (the isolationist is starting to interact with the world and getting bonds to his crew), but the other one is always just doing rituals to honor his ancestors, which seem to be a bad choice of vice purveyors.
I would love to see an expansion on how to put these two vices into jeopardy.
I thought that when the doctor PC is with level 3 harm, or angered with the isolationist PC that would make for an interesting situation, but it did not happen yet.
Am I understanding correctly the role of vice purveyors?
I loved in the actualplays I saw, the way endudging a vice worked, but I feel that the players are not onboarding on this part. The more I write this the more I feel I have failed to make them make the game a collaborative experience.
Yeah, that does kinda sounds like the players are being a “weasel”, trying to ge tout of the complications that the game puts in front of them. What i generally always point out when i let people make up their own vice purveyor, is that bad shit can and will happen to them - so they really need to create a character/vice that is part of the world, not just sitting in the dark of their own hidden lair doing weird stuff (which is exactly why we have vice purveyors as a mechanic, i reckon). I will talk about the potential risks with the players, and make sure they know: there’s no getting out of overindulging.
Honestly, I think you need to step back a bit here. Vice and overindulgence are within the purview of the players. If they don’t want to engage with downtime in a deep way, that’s totally fine. It’s called “Downtime” for a reason, because it’s not the focus of the game. The rules explicitly tell players to engage with that part of the game as much or as little as they’d like.
That’s not to say they can avoid consequences entirely, the Overindulgence rules still apply, obviously. But if they don’t want to get into deep complex scenes around those topics, that’s their prerogative.
Now, it clearly seems that you are interested in these sorts of scenes, which is totally cool and you can keep providing hooks for them. Have people notice the one PC’s scars, or have ghosts get drawn to the rituals. One problem with doing vice at home is that the trouble you attract meets you at home - where the other PCs are. Have the complications of these PCs’ vice spill into the other characters’ actions.
If you really want the PCs to engage with this stuff, talk to them as people. Tell them this is a part of the game you’re really interested in exploring and that you’d appreciate it if they engaged with it just a little bit more.
But ultimately, if they don’t want to do that, you can’t force them. They’re not cheating or weaseling, they’re just playing the game the way they want to play it.
A very easy way in BitD to complicate the life of a guy who does ancestors ritual for Vice… is to make the ancestors themselves unhappy about the way he does the rituals.
After all in this game the ghost of your grandfather can very easily come to see you in the night and tell you that you’ve a bit stingy in your sacrifices. Or that they fabulously disapprove of the way you earn a living and of how you bring a bad name to the family.
And when you do ancestors rituals, you’re not connected to ONE vice purveyor : you’re connected to an INFINITY of potential vice purveyors, and ot all of them are caring grandmas.
Overindulgence? What about if you “brag about your exploits”… to your ancestors in the ghost field? What about losing yourself in your vice? You so much want to meet and present your due respects to this famous great-uncle of yours. The one who did not manifest himself since the end of the serial killings of Year 879. A famous scoundrel indeed!
I have also found that my players wrestle a bit with vice and purveyors. My only real guidance to them is that they need to think about what that means fictionally for overindulgence and entanglements, as those are interesting complications that can drive a lot of fun story and gameplay. As long as you can pick out what it means when they overindulge, for example, you’re probably fine.
I don’t think a vice of self harm really works. Unless the physiker is giving them drugs to induce the feelings of isolation. It’s supposed to be setup so that you are reliant on someone else to provide access to the vice. One of the risks of overindulgence is the purveyor will cut you off.