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There are many Discipline powers scattered around different books that require knowledge of several Disciplines to master them -- they are called Combination Disciplines. Usually they give very interesting effects. Some are based around Disciplines that are all available for clan cost to some clan or bloodline (such as Glare of Lies requiring Auspex 2 and Valeren 1), some are not (Body Armory requires Protean 3, Vicissitude 3).

Whereveer I see them it is mentioned that they aren't common, and one typically needs a teacher to learn them.

But how did those "teachers" first aquire them? Who were those "teachers"? Can a character attempt to recreate such a power?

I sincerely ask to give no guesses and only base your answers on official books/comments by world developers. Edition to base answer on doesn't matter, but don't forget to name the one you used.

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My answer is heavily rooted in Vampire the Masquerade Third edition. Pleasebe aware that there's very little written about how any vampire develops a combination discipline.


But how did those "teachers" first aquire them? / Who were those "teachers"?

The majority of the combination disciplines fill specific situations or can give more flair to a character. So they were most likely developed with a specific goal in mind.

Who developed them: other vampires (although fluff such as the clan novels don't mention this).

The closest I can come to a clear "teacher" is somebody like Paulo Sardenzo (Giovanni clanbook). He has a combination discipline based on Path of Blood and Protean which gives him the beneft of absorbing blood from the ground even if he's in torpor. The ground must be soaked in blood (think below a mass grave or the bloody theater of World War I).

Plowing through various books, I do note a breakdown along the following lines:

  • Clan: Hand of the Master Artisan and Soul Painting seem to reside heavily with the Toreadors, while Sculpt the Flowing Wound is clearly part of the Tzimisce.
  • Sect: Call upon the Blood and King of the Hill are firmly rooted in the Anarch sect, while the Camarilla Elders can have Elemental Stoicism or Unassailable Parry.
  • Agent: Elder archons have developped powers such as Sanguinary Expulsion or *Anticipatory Visage". Their friendly brethren of the Tempalrs have access to stuff such as Random Patterns (from the hand of several Malkavian Templars) or Instantaneous Transformation. Some powers have spread wide enough so that both groups have access to them (Mind's Eye is one such example).

So, if you want to find a teacher, you'll first have to find someone who has the power you want (which can be quite tricky).


Can a character attempt to recreate such a power?

Yes, but expect to take quite some time (as in years). In the end you need to have done the following things:

  1. Have mastered two (or more) disciplines to a certain level
  2. Have a narrow problem that could be handled by combining those disciplines
  3. Have a "Eureka" moment to see that you had the solution all along
  4. Start experimenting with combining the two disciplines
  5. Endure
  6. Profit!

Quite the lengthy process...

Off course, there are no hard and fast rules with regards to time required to learn a discipline in Vampire. Our group was: annoy the ST weekly with what you were training for. Sooner or later he said yes. Your group may have a different system.


Sources:

  • Giovanni Clanbook
  • Toreador Clanbook
  • Guide to the Anarchs
  • Guide to the Camarilla
  • Archon and Templars
  • Player's Guide to the High Clans
  • Player's Guide to the Low Clans
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I'm answering this from a more meta point of view so bear with me.

Can a character attempt to recreate such a power?

There's a couple of items in the Storytelling Advice inset in the V20 rules on p360:

Do:

  • Involve the Players Whenever Possible. Incorporate their ideas and backgrounds into your city and chronicle.

  • Prioritize Story over Rules. Your tale shouldn’t get held back by the rules.

So in a game where you have players that are interested in (re)creating new Disciplines a storyteller should allow it provided it is handled suitably well. The precise details depend on the circumstances but probably entail some sort of quest or lengthy research. Finding a teacher may be such a quest but independent development is not ruled out.

But how did those "teachers" first acquire them?

Once we allow that vampires can develop new ways to express their Disciplines we can extrapolate that other campaigns may have also done this, furthermore we can envision that the game writers and designers, when creating new Disciplines, have thought long and hard about how those Disciplines came about and tested them in their own campaigns (we hope).

Who were those "teachers"?

Another quote from the V20 rules applies here:

Don’t:

  • Tell Them Everything: Much of the challenge in a game is in the mystery, the parts of the story that you hold back for the players and their characters to discover on their own.

The fact that the originators or teachers of these new Disciplines are not explicitly described allows the Storyteller to decide upon the availability of a teacher within the campaign. The search for a teacher can make for an interesting tale in and of itself or it can be handled relatively quickly. Watch the recent Marvel Dr Strange movie for an example of a quest to learn new powers.

The other issue is that, despite the large amount of background in each World of Darkness book there is simply not enough space to fill in every detail of the world, so even where a writer has a full story of how, when, where, and who developed a new Discipline there may not be enough space to include it. This is a good thing as it allows the Storyteller to build their own campaign world.

To Summarise:

Where the originator or teachers of a Discipline are not explicitly mentioned in the source books it is up to the Storyteller to determine the availability of a teacher and how learning a new Discipline should be handled in game. This enables the Storyteller to work with the players for the maximum enjoyment of the game by everyone.

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