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I bought Vampire The Masquerade V5 book so I can play this new version with my players. However, even after a dozen reads, I still don't understand how thin-bloods, and their alchemy, work.

To clarify, first, as I read it, thin bloods start with no points in disciplines and no points in thin blood alchemy (if they don't take some merit that make them have some). That looks weird to me. (At least for thin-blood alchemy, because how can they learn it if they have no points in it?) Second, it looks like thin-blood formulas are only temporary, but I don't understand when the powers given by the formula go away. Third, it look like there are different ways to brew those formulas, and that makes them have different effects, but I don't really understand what those effects are.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It might help if you clarify exactly which part you are confused about. An exert from the rules or a page reference would make it easier for answerers to help you. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Jun 24 '19 at 7:49
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  1. It's true: thin-bloods don't start with any points in any disciplines. You build a thin-blood character using the Merits and Flaws on p. 182-184, taking one, two, or three Duskborn flaws to balance the same number of Duskborn merits. You only get Thin-blood Alchemy if you buy the Merit to have it, and some Duskborn just won't. Same thing with permanent discipline dots.

  2. If you have Thin-blood Alchemy, you have a number of recipes for effects. If those recipes are for unique effects, like Far Reach or Envelop, the duration will be listed at the end. If you've got recipes to simulate other powers, they last as long as those powers say they last; after that, you'll need a new brew.

  3. Each of the three ways to brew corresponds to one of the Attribute categories and reflects a different style. Athanor Corporis is Physical, and it means drinking lots of different things and using yourself as a blender to mix them. It takes three turns to change powers, but you don't need anything but yourself. Calcinatio is Social, and it means turning humans you know into walking potions; each is set for one power, and you get it when you feed from them. Fixatio is Mental, and it's the one with all the bizarre ingredients and mad science props. Those brews, you prepare in advance; there's a limit on how many you can carry and store, but it's easy to have many and switch between them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ so you mean that a thin-blood that don't get the thin-blood alchemy merit on creation can never get it (like by spending experience points?) \$\endgroup\$ – Rorp Jun 24 '19 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rorp That is correct. You only get Thin-blood Alchemy if you have the merit that permits you to have it. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Jun 24 '19 at 11:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just think about something, did a thin-blood can learn discipline by the help of an other vampire, just like ghouls for exemple? \$\endgroup\$ – Rorp Jun 24 '19 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rorp This might be worth asking as a separate question. There are ways for thin-bloods to access discipline powers through the blood they drink, and committing diablerie will make a thin-blood into a normal 13th gen vampire. But thin bloods cannot learn dots of disciplines without the merit that says they can. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Jun 24 '19 at 16:58
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To add to Jadasc's answer:

Thin Bloods also get normal Disciplines, but on a very temporary basis. That means even a Thin Blood without the Alchemy merit will sometimes be able to use a Discipline.

Page 113 of the Core Rules says

Additionally, whenever a thin blood feeds they gain 1 dot in one Discipline associated with the Resonance of the blood consumed, together with one level 1 power in that discipline. If the resonance is intense or stronger, they gain and additional dot together with a second power.

For example if a Thin Blood feeds on someone with Phlegmatic blood resonance, they have the choice of taking a temporary level 1 power from Auspex or Dominate.

This lasts "until Hunger reaches 5 or the next feeding".

I've got all the level 1 disciplines and their associated resonances printed out on cards, so my Thin Blood PCs can just grab the one they currently have, and swap it for another when they feed again.

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