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2-dot power Arms of Ahriman is the signature power of the Lasombra, allowing them to create shadow tentacles that attack their foes - except in V5 this power seems weaker than a punch.

The way I understand the power is as follows:

  1. Vampire makes a Rouse Check (possibly gaining a Stain from 1-10 rule).
  2. Vampire spends a whole round summoning shadowy tentacles. These have 3 health levels, can be hurt by bright light and attack using vampire's Wits+Oblivion - but if there's more than one tentacle this pool needs to be split using normal rules. The tentacles gain half Potence as bonus damage.
  3. On each subsequent round vampire can attack a foe to grapple, deal superficial damage etc. at distance, provided the arms can reach. The vampire can do nothing else or the power dissipates.

So the dice pool scales with Attribute+Discipline and gets half Potence as extra damage, requires a full round to activate, threatens Stains and prevents doing anything else. For comparison, throwing a punch scales with Attribute+Skill, gets full Potence as extra damage, can be split the same way, doesn't threaten Stains, can't be interrupted etc. Using a gun damages at range just like these tentacles, except it's a flat +1-3 damage rather than depending on Potence.

This seems underwhelming for what is a 2-dot Amalgam with Potence 2. Signature Gangrel ability, Feral Claws, deals unhalved superficial damage at the same 2-dot place, with no downsides. This power is perhaps comparable to Dominate 2: Mesmerize, but even than doesn't threaten Stains and has the extra power of triggering Compulsions.

I find it quite confusing as to why this power is so underwhelming. Am I reading it wrong? Am I missing something? I can't believe this is what my favourite clan's signature ability can do.

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I think it's a mistake to compare Arms of Ahriman solely to other means of dealing damage; rather, it's instructive to think of it as telekinesis that hurts people. Here are the benefits of AoA, as detailed on page 294 of Chicago by Night 5e:

  1. You can attack people in your line of sight. This means you can reach people behind cover and at a distance without endangering others or yourself.
  2. The arms are persistent, remaining for the scene and able to shift targets as needed.
  3. The arms can manipulate objects for you. Not something to be discounted in a world without Movement of the Mind.
  4. Because it works off Wits, it allows non-physical characters to engage profitably in physical combat. What's more, it ties up Physical opposition effectively because the grapple escape is based on Resolve + Composure.

That's not bad for a Level 2 power. It's also worth noting that the Fifth Edition of Vampire: the Masquerade cracks down hard on abilities that give the ability to act more than once a turn. (Compare this version of Celerity to others.) There's been a diminution across the board, but I don't believe this power compares badly with others of its ilk.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer! I think I understand where you're coming from. Regarding specific points, however, it's difficult for me to agree, as attacking behind cover and persistence does not seem to balance out a whole turn wasted in a "three turns and out" combat. I also doubt there are many non-physical characters that already have Potence 2 for the amalgam. I guess my problem with the power is that in previous editions shadow tentacles were primarily combat-oriented while these seem to be more of a utility power. \$\endgroup\$ – eimyr Jun 30 at 15:55

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