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MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

WEG produced TORG which was an amazing game, with an incredible setting. For that I forgive them a lot.
Apparently, after some searching TORG was the system upon which Tales From the Crypt and Tank Girl were based upon. I honestly don't remember anything being egregiously bad about Tales From the Crypt but its actually missing the mechanics to run the game as it was based upon the MasterBook system which you had to purchase separately.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007




oMage: Dragons of the East

The book actually begins well enough, by talking not about how Asia is different (for one, Mage had Asian wizards in from the start) but about how it needs more detail since they kind of forgot a lot of Asia existed. It talks about how you need to understand the (mundane) history of the area to get their magical traditions, and that they're more than martial arts or Confucian sages. Okay, that's pretty reasonable, let's see how well we live up to it. The book even goes so far as to say that generalizing about "Asia" is as useless as generalizing about Europe - there's too many individual, very different cultures involved. However, it also talks about how utterly different they are, even though the Akashic Brotherhood is one of the Traditions and the Five MEtal Dragons are part of the Technocracy; both groups are, apparently, of a rather different mindset than the other Traditions/Technocrats.

We learn that in Asia, mages are known variously as Ch'in Ta, Lighting People or Dragons of the East. I have no idea what Ch'in Ta means.

Chapter One is actually about Asian history, not wizards. There's been a very long continuity of it, and the book suggests that the West is culturally colonizing via McDonald's or Baywatch...but also that not all Western things are bad. However, the culture of Asia is deep-rooted, and Asian mages draw on it in a way that is neither Tradition nor Technocrat. Asian mages tend to very aware of their history, though some reject it in favor of modernization, as a note. We also get a sidebar on how 'Far East' is a problematic term, based on a European view of the world. Orient, likewise, is now a somewhat racist term. China would never consider itself 'Eastern' - it is Zhongguo, the Middle Kingdom, the center of the world. (Other Asian nations disagree.) They are a very diverse set. India, in the World of Darkness, is basically where East and West mix the most, though.

quote:

Certainly, supernaturals in the Middle Kingdom present a more unified front than their Western counterparts. The Celestial Bureaucracy is a potent idea that has spread throughout the mundane and spirit worlds. On the other hand, a mutual duty doesn't imply understanding. Even if the will of Heaven dictates that Chinese and Korean mages must work together, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're later going to see eye to eye over tea.

So, let's talk about India. India contains a full sixth of the world's human population, and has received visitors from all over the world over the past 5000 years. We'll begin in 3000 BC, with the rise of the cities Harrapa and Mohenjodaro. Their civilization spread through India and traveled even as far as Persia. The Harrapans had a class system based on occupation, with different houses supported by different gods and cities designed to keep the classes apart. Little is known about their religion, save that almost every house had a statue of the Earth Mother. In 1700 BC, they began to decline, with climate change flooding their settlements or desertifying their farms. Legend has it that in 1500 BC, light-skinned invaders also came in, via the Khyber Pass.

These were the Aryans, who rapidly colonized northwest India. They soon defeated the Dravidian natives, thanks to their horses, and began farming. They split into four castes: brahmans (priest), kshatriyas (warrior), vaishyas (farmer) and shudras (worker). Originally, they were flexible divisions of labor, but the castes became rigid and complex, becoming assigned at birth and dividing into many occupations within each jati, or caste. At first, the ARyans also lacked a written language, but had a great oral tradition which produced the Vedas, epic poems that would be the basis of Hinduism, which the brahmans memorized. The first three Vedas, the Rig, Sama and Yajur, have hymns to the gods and rituals in them, while the Atharva Veda contains magical andm edical knowledge, including charms to harm enemies and explanations of the properties of herbs. Between 1000 and 800 BC, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana joined the Vedic canon. The Aryan tongue, Sanskrit, gained a written form, but it would be centuries before the canon was recorded in written form.

By 600 BC, Hinduism had branched into many sects, with some even questioning the foundations of belief. Jainism came from the teachings of the ascetic guru Mahavira, who preached austerity and nonviolence, with the most dedicated Jains becoming ascetics who forswore all belongings - sometimes even clothes. In the meantime, Siddhartha Gautama proclaimed the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

Around 300 BC, India was mostly united by Chandragupta Maurya, and science flourished under his rule. His grandson, Ashoka, became a Buddhist and forswore conquest. Instead, he merely drove out the Greek-speaking rulers of the northwest, eliminating the last vestige of Alexander the Great's conquests in India. Despite being popular and prosperous, his empire did not outlast him and divided on his death into many smaller kingdoms until around 300 AD, when the Gupta dynasty came to power. The Guptas were Hindu, and under them, Buddhism declined to the point that Buddha was recognized as an avatar of Vishnu.

In 710 AD, the Guptas were weakened by Islamic invasion, and destroyed by 1000. The south remained peaceful, but then orth was full of war. By 1206, Qutb-ud-din had established the "Slave" Dynasty, beginning a massive campaign to convert the Hindus, burning temples to build mosques and slaughtering brahmins and ascetics. Many holy men sought to bridge Hindu and Islamic teachings, including Nanak in 1499, the founder of the Sikhs. He hailed Allah as an expression of Om, the universal vibration of spiritual harmony. Tamerlane massacred the Hindus of Delhi in the 14th century, but by the 16th, the Mughals who were his descendants encouraged religious tolerance. The third Mughal ruler, Akbar, founded Din-e-Elahi, a religion combining Hinduism and Islam. The Mughals accepted Hindu nobility and built them a special hall, Ibadhat Khana, in which to debate religious affairs. The Mughal empire stretched throughout India, then declined. The Shah of Persia took Delhi in 1769, and the best known legacy of the Mughals remains the Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jaham, the fifth Mughal ruler, for his wife's tomb.

Several European nations came to India in this time, such as Portugal, which used its Goa colony as a pirate haven and way of getting at Indian spice. The British East India company, however, was the most prominent European group. Originally, they directly controlled India, forcing farmers to grow indigo, tea and other commercial goods. This and a brutal tax led to massive famines. Constant rebellion, which included a movement to reinstant the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah, forced the British East India company to turn rule over to the Crown in 1858. The British raj couldn't rule without local cooperation, so they fostered a Western-educated elite to help them This elite, educated about both India and the West, taught the common people about colonialism and democracy. The Freedom Movement used both Western and Indian values to question the raj. Mohandas Gandhi was the inheritor of the movement, a lawyer who was imprisoned for efforts to aid the southern Indian community. He returned to India to struggle against Britain, embracing traditional culture and religious tolerance. He invented a new form of nonviolent resistance he called satyagraha, or moral domination.

Gandhi was eventually titled Mahatma for his work. In 1930, he and his followers walked 200 miles in the Salt March to prepare salt for the coastal town of Dandi, using the outlawed traditional methods. British morale and resources were strained, and eventually a breaking point was reached when public support for them vanished after they attacked the peaceful and unarmed. Finally, in 1947, the British withdrew, and India split into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. Today, India is a nuclear power, with their tests quickly followed by Pakistan's in 1998. Ideological and border disputes between the two nations has made for a tense relationship.

Next time: China!

pospysyl
Nov 10, 2012

SO EMBARRASSING

I kind of alluded to this in my last post, but there actually is an underlying logic to the Werewolf splats. Every tribe correlates to a specific wolf population, and every generalized wolf breed has its own tribe. Of course, there's got to be more to a tribe than "from a particular country", hence the weird political stances each tribe adopts. The Black Furies, for instance, are really the wolves from Greece, and the feminism angle is meant to make them more interesting. We'll soon find out that's actually the least interesting thing about them, but spoilers.

I actually prefer the diversity of Apocalypse to the homogenized vaguely Native American flavor of Forsaken. In each of the Tribe- and Breed-books, each splat actually has its own origin myth. The werewolves' myths are usually minor variations of the one in the corebook, but the breeds can get really out there. Even though the tribes tend to stereotype, at least there's an acknowledgement of cultural diversity. More tribes also means more cool powers, so that's fun.

Halloween Jack posted:

I think that's because the source subject matter for Werewolf is a lot weaker than for Mage or Vampire. In Western myth, werewolves are either baby-eating Satan-worshipers (premodern) or people who have a curse (movies) which doesn't make for a culture you can play in. I'm not well-versed in Asian and African lore, but I don't think their myths of werefoxes and wereleopards make them out as very playable character options.

That hits it right on the head, I think. Werewolf has to do a lot more myth and world building, because playing as the Wolfman doesn't lend itself particularly to player agency or acting as a party. I do love the werewolf cosmology, though.

In any case:

Tribebook: Black Furies

“Unity in Alterity”

The introduction fiction begins with Helena waking up, kissing her significant other Dian, getting coffee, and then driving to work at a clinic. Dian does the same thing, but has to pack up a first aid kit and a fetish flashlight. This is subtle juxtaposition, because Helena and Dian have very different jobs. I bet they turn out to have a lot of parallels, though!

As it turns out, Helena is a Black Fury, and she gives her elderly patients at the clinic potent herbal remedies for their illnesses, because gently caress the Weaver, man. She’s supposed to be a nurse, but fortunately for her she hasn’t been caught by her supervisors. Her “Mediterranean coloration” (ick) leads people to believe she’s descended from Indian medicine women. I have a rant prepared about Werewolf’s approach to politics and real life issues, but for now we’ll just say that this entry into the debate on traditional medicine, um, doesn’t really work.

Mors Rattus posted:

Old Werewolf is at its best when it is being Psychotic Captain Planet With Claws, and really becomes something terrible when it deviates from that. It's really, really hilarious when it's being Captain Planet Terrorism, though.

This is absolutely correct. I believe Ethan Skemp referred to this as "a metal album cover come to life" and when that aesthetic collides with real life issues, it can become amazingly insane.

Helena encounters a family that is obviously the victim of domestic abuse. The kids are malnourished, they have bruises, cuts and cigarette burns everywhere, and they look terrified and miserable.

quote:

I ask the necessary question. “Is their father here? Or at home?”

She shakes her head, still looking at the floor. “Haven’t seen him for months. He left us.” It is the answer I was afraid to hear. I know it is a blindness on my part, but these situations are so much easier to deal with when there is a man to blame.


As it turns out, Helena delivered the mother’s second child, so she’s bound to her by womb blood. Obviously. Helena takes the mother aside for a private talk.

Cut to Dian Axebearer (deed names, you know). She’s dealing with a trio of rookie werewolves. There’s Daniel, a homid who was drinking while guarding the caern, Raychel, an ugly metis who snuck into town, attracting attention, Sharpbite, a “feral” who’s apparently an rear end in a top hat. After some awful banter (“you can also call me ‘bitch’”), they set out to hunt a Wyrm monster. Sharpbite’s cocky, Raychel’s scared, Daniel doesn’t give a poo poo, and Dian’s got a greataxe.

Back with Helena, it turns out that the mother is possessed (or at least influenced) by a Wyrm spirit! Because of course she is. Helena can’t hulk out and kill the evil spirit (darn!) so they’re going to have to do some INTENSE METAL THERAPY. The mother explains why she loves her kids (her daughter chases grasshoppers ), and the demon’s resisting and there’s a werewolf cognitive behavioral therapist and oh man this is awesome.

Dian’s fight isn’t going so well, as a Bane is kicking Sharpbite’s tail (no pun intended). Sharpbite fox frenzies and runs away. It’s an emotion spirit of some kind, and it’s draining the werewolves will to live! It sends out a wave of helplessness, but Dian counters with RAGE and kerblammo! The Bane goes down.


HR Giger's initial ad pitch for the National Egg Authority was not well received.

The pair goes home, eat partially cooked steak (because they're wooooolves), and go to bed. They both got in a fight, see? See? It’s deep.

Thoughts: this story is pretty bad. Not in the sense that there’s anything really wrong with it, but it’s just so generic. It’s about fighting, like all Werewolf fiction, but that’s as far as it goes. There’s nothing about this that screams “Black Fury” over “Uktena” or “Children of Gaia”. It doesn’t make the Furies’ mysticism unique. In fact, it takes steps to make it homogenized and boring. Heavy metal therapy was pretty cool, as was the fight scene, but it’s got to have more than that to succeed. Negative points for the awful title, too.

The casual reader might ask, “Yo pospysyl! You’ve been saying that the Black Furies can actually be pretty cool and insane, but so far everything’s been really boring and uninspiring! What gives?” And you’d be right. All I'll ask

For now, we’ll end on the credits page, where we find out who’s responsible for this book. Ellen and James Kiley have already been brought up (it would have been hilarious if the feminist splatbook hadn’t been written by at least one woman, but alas), but it’s worth noting that Matt McFarland, known for his work on Changeling: the Lost, Mage: the Awakening supplements, and various “blue books” for the nWoD is a contributing author. As we’ll see, the work on the mystic trappings he introduces to Changeling and Mage have their origins here. See, the book focuses on two primary flavor sources for the Black Furies: Hermetic mysticism and feminism. I obviously don’t have any concrete information on this, but I’d be willing to bet that McFarland worked on the Hermetic end, while the Kileys worked on the feminist and political end. I’ll leave it to you to guess which one is better.

Next time: Words are tools of the Namer and baby talk is the one true language. (See, I told you things were going to pick up!)

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

The ensmuggenest.

pospysyl posted:

I actually prefer the diversity of Apocalypse to the homogenized vaguely Native American flavor of Forsaken. In each of the Tribe- and Breed-books, each splat actually has its own origin myth. The werewolves' myths are usually minor variations of the one in the corebook, but the breeds can get really out there. Even though the tribes tend to stereotype, at least there's an acknowledgement of cultural diversity. More tribes also means more cool powers, so that's fun.

If you read the Lodge books for Forsaken, they do a lot to diversify them. Each Lodge has its own variations on their mythology, and some of it it is far more divergent from the core mythology than Apocalypse's tribes generally get (particularly in Lodges: The Splintered).


I'm amused over the absolute disconnect between the cover of NEKKED TATTOO WOMENS WITH KATANAS and what actually awaits for us inside in terms of game material.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at Apr 12, 2013 around 19:10

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

MadScientistWorking posted:

Apparently, after some searching TORG was the system upon which Tales From the Crypt and Tank Girl were based upon. I honestly don't remember anything being egregiously bad about Tales From the Crypt but its actually missing the mechanics to run the game as it was based upon the MasterBook system which you had to purchase separately.
All the "World of" books were like that. I don't think Tank Girl or Species were available as boxed sets with the Masterbook included, but Tales from the Crypt definitely was. My box is long gone, sadly, as is one of the awesome blood-spatter d10s that came with it.

NihilVerumNisiMors
Aug 16, 2012


Werewolves, herbal remedies... Please tell me someone came up with Children of Gaia or other garou pulling strings when it comes to homeopathy in order to fight Big Pharma/The Wyrm. Or a werewolf chiropractor who uses techniques that actually work because wolf magic. It's juuuust stupid enough for something White Wolf would write.

Bieeardo
Aug 21, 2000

Someone bold, someone blue, someone borrowed, someone new...


Halloween Jack posted:

All the "World of" books were like that. I don't think Tank Girl or Species were available as boxed sets with the Masterbook included, but Tales from the Crypt definitely was. My box is long gone, sadly, as is one of the awesome blood-spatter d10s that came with it.

I've got a Tank Girl boxed set sandwiched between Downtown Militarized Zone and The Awful Green Things from Outer Space. Came with the Masterbook book and the deck of cards.

pospysyl posted:

Back with Helena, it turns out that the mother is possessed (or at least influenced) by a Wyrm spirit!

This. This is something that's always annoyed the unholy gently caress out of me about White Wolf. This... hate-on the writers and the lore have for human achievements and the human condition. This woman isn't abusing her children because they're an inescapable reminder of their deadbeat father, and it's the only form of control she's found in this tragedy that's her life, she's possessed. Every important person in history has belonged to some splat or another. Technology is evil, and really distributed by a ridiculous Illuminati of wizards. Psychiatry is horrible, because crazy people are glamourous enough to see changelings, and it kills changelings!

Right now I'm cringing at the thought of whatever shambling horror of Steinem-misquoting 'feminism' might be lurking around the corner.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.



Character creation, Part 2: Psychics, Sorcerers, Augmentations, and Skills

Eldritch Skies makes the smart move by making special powers and cybernetics Qualities that you purchase with your starting points--you can’t spend a few points on wealth and buy a bunch of cyberware with money, and you don’t get a pool of “spell points” or suchlike that effectively gives you an arsenal of powers for the cost of one or two.

Psychic Sensitivity (3): You have to buy this in order to be psychic. It comes with two automatic abilities: you can roll Perception + Psychic Art to sense someone’s true emotions, and you can telepathically talk to other psychics within 100 meters. It requires no roll (you’re just talking), but if you don’t share a common language, communication is in images and impressions, and no good for discussing complex and abstract topics. You can also make a Willpower + Psychic Art roll to communicate simple concepts (like “Run!” or “Help!”) to non-psychics. Pretty much all aliens are at least a little psychic, but there are rolls and stiffed penalties involved in attempting to communicate usefully with them. All psychics have minimum Hyperspatial Exposure of 1.

Clairvoyance (4): You see visions of other people and places, and sometimes possible futures. You can try to have a vision deliberately by making a roll and touching a person or object related to what you’re investigating, but many are unintentional result of intense emotional events--clairvoyants regularly have visions of crimes and disturbing incidents. You roll to determine the clarity of the vision, but most are short flashes of insight, and it comes with a built-in Spidey Sense to protect you from imminent danger. You can see this as a Danger Sense that comes with a very useful investigation power, or an expensive Danger Sense with an invitation for the Director to use you as a plot device and gently caress you over; your call.

Emotional Influence (4): With touch or eye contact, you can provoke any kind of emotion in your target. It’s not mind control; they react as they normally would. It normally works for 15 minutes, but if the emotion is out of place (I’m so mad about these cupcakes) it fades quickly.

Insight (4): With a Perception+Psychic Art roll, you can learn intimate truths about a person--not thoughts or memories, but things like psychological Qualities and Drawbacks, desires, hopes and fears, and if they’re insane, possessed, or secretly an alien.

Mind Probe (4): This is the one that actually allows you to read thoughts--depending on how well you roll, you can read surface thoughts, extract information, analyze personality, or read memories. You need touch or close eye contact, however, so it’s not like you can just casually foil the Director’s plots by reading everyone you meet.

Psychic Link (1): You have a psychic bond with another character. You can roll to communicate with them telepathically from any distance. Non-psychics can have this power with a psychic partner.

Psychic Visions (1): You have dreams and visions of the future, which are ambiguous and reflect your current concerns. (Wait, is this actually a psychic power?) This is explicitly an invitation for the Director to drop hints and clues, and you don’t need to be psychic to buy this power.

Psychometry (4): You can get information about places and objects by touching them. Ultimately it’s up to the Director, but you make a Perception+Psychic Art roll and there’s a chart of suggestions as to what you learn, ranging from strong emotions associated with the target recently to elaborate visions of events that happened up to ten thousand years ago.

Undetectability (4): You can cloud men’s minds like the Shadow, and add your Willpower to Acrobatics or Crime rolls to be stealthy. It’s not flat-out invisibility--it doesn’t work on cameras or recording devices, and you can’t running around naked and screaming and wearing a duck on your head and still remain hidden.

That’s it for psychic powers. I kinda wanted more.

Sorcery (4-20): You’re an initiate in the principles of hyperspatial sorcery. Unlike Psychic Sensitivity, this doesn’t give you any automatic benefits, and Sorcery really doesn’t do anything by itself. Sorcery costs 4 points per level because to use it you need spells, which are rated 1-5 and require a corresponding Sorcery level.

Spells (1-3): See above. Spells of level 1-2 cost 1 point, levels 3-4 cost 2 points, and level 5 spells cost 3 points.

Hyperspatial Device (1-8): You have a device that mimics the effects of a spell, up to a level 4 spell. The device has a minimum size and weight, to, from something like a bracelet or pen for a level 1 spell to a heavy briefcase for a level 4 spell.

All the spells are detailed in Chapter 4, so it looks like I’m letting that alone for now. Considering the point cost, I presume “reality-warping magic” is a much more versatile portfolio than psychic powers.

Augmentations are, setting wise, the least important development of alien technology--curing diabetes and cancer is a lot more useful than some weird implanted organ that gives you an adrenaline rush. There are legal, illegal, and don’t-even-think-about-it enhancements. For starters, you can purchase the Fast Reaction Time, Hard to Kill, Natural Toughness, Resistance, or Eidetic Memory Qualities as augmentations.

Biofilter (2): You’re automatically immune to airborne toxins and pathogens, and you get a +2 to resist ones that are injected, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.

Enhanced Time Sense (2): You need Perception 5 and Fast Reaction Time to even purchase this, but it doubles the benefits of the latter Quality. It also lets you roll to perceive things that normally move too fast to detect, like speeding bullets, individual frames or film, or high-frequency noise.

Improved Senses (1-6): There are a lot of interesting options here, ranging up from the cheap and simple low-light vision (1). Infrared (2) effectively lets you see in complete darkness. Sonar gives you a “perfect picture of [your] immediate environment” at 3 points, but there’s no rules for what that means--the 6-point version gives you 360-degree vision. Electrical sense (3) is awesome because it gives a +3 to Science, Engineering, or Crime rolls dealing with electronics. Especially worth mention is Enhanced Sense--it costs 3 points on its own, and requires you to already have Perception 5 and Acute Senses for the same sense, and doubles the benefits of Acute Senses. Let’s see, you can spend 4-5 points on being an Astronaut, a Genius, or an Occult Investigator, or you can be really good at smelling things.

Oxygen Reserve (1): Hold your breath for 30 minutes. David Blaine joke.

Pressure Tolerance (2): +1 Constitution, and you can comfortably move between the equivalent of 9.5km high or 40m underwater without getting sick.

Rapid Healing (1): You heal 3 times as quickly as normal.

Temperature Tolerance (1): You can tolerate anywhere from 0 to 140 degrees without giving a gently caress.

Restricted enhancements are illegal to provide, but not illegal to possess--although you can face discrimination or stiff penalties for using them in the commission of a crime. Having one requires you to take a 1-point Obligation (to whatever organization provided it) or a 1-point Dark Secret.

Amphibious (2): You can breathe water, survive at any depth with no problems, and swim as fast as you can run. (Why is this illegal?)

Boost Gland (3): Now we’re talking. You have a gland which can give you a temporary (10 round) boost of +2 to Strength and Dexterity. You can only use it every 2 hours.

Commando Upgrade (6): This has nothing to do with underwear. You get +1 to all your Physical Attributes, a level of Hard to Kill, and Regeneration.

Electrical Attack: You have electric eel-like tissue in your arms and legs, and by touching someone you can deliver bashing damage or the same stunning effect as a taser. Normal armor doesn’t protect against it.

Enhanced Attributes (1-3): You can raise any Attribute by +1. It costs more if this increases it above 6.

Natural Armor (1-3): Comes in two types, visible and invisible. Invisible isn’t noticeable, and provides 1 point of armor per level. Visible armor gives 2 points of armor per level, but also 1 level of negative Attractiveness as you have leathery skin, scales, or some kind of carapace.

Natural Weaponry (1-3): 1 point gets you sharp teeth and catlike claws; 2 points gets you big-rear end fangs and long claws. Another point makes the claws retractable, but there’s no hiding huge tiger teeth.

Regeneration (2): You heal 12 times faster than normal, getting back your Con in Life Points every 2 hours.

Wall Walking (3): You can climb anything that can support your weight automatically, and move at the pace of a quick walk. As a side-effect, badly-dressed Europeans with cybernetic limbs may shake their fists at you.

Hyperspatial augmentations are seriously bad news. The mi-go themselves don’t understand all the side-effects that implants which manipulate hyperspatial energy can have on human bodies. The only people who have these augmentations are a very, very select few among OPS agents, intelligence agents, US or China special forces, and the most serious criminals in the most serious poo poo.

Attack Field (8 or 12): You have a force field which extends to a maximum of 60 cm from your body, with three settings: “Destroy living tissue,” “wreck electronics,” or “destroy all matter.” The cost determines whether it does 20 or 30 points of Bashing damage.

Defense Field (12): You can create a solid force field--either a wall, up to 10 meters away and up to 4 meters on a side, or a dome centered on yourself, with up to a 3-meter radius. It has 10 points of armor and can take 50 points of damage before it collapses. If it collapses, it only needs 1 minute to regenerate.

Hyperspatial Flight (8): You can fly at 5 times your running speed. The organ produces a glowing shimmer that looks like a four-meter wingspan--stuff passing through it doesn’t matter most of the time, but you can’t fly in tight spaces. Despite the “wings” the implant allows you to hover, move in all directions; etc. as if by telekinesis.

Hyperspatial Manipulators (3-15): You can make one or two “bubbles” of hyperspatial energy to manipulate objects telekinetically. Each level costs 3 points and provides 1 point of effective Strength. And yes, you can punch people in the face with your mind.

Skills

Being a cinematic game, Eldritch Skies has very broad, versatile skills--not so much as, say, Savage Worlds, but pretty close, and I like it a lot. If you want to play an espionage agent, you don’t need to buy Stealth, Security, and Streetwise skills, you just need points in Crime.

Unlike Attributes, Skills don’t have a limit, but they do provide vague guidelines. Level 2-3 represents general competency, while 4-5 is “extreme competence.” Anything above that is “true mastery,” for example, a master martial artist would have a Brawling skill of 7-10. Consider how many martial arts “masters” don’t ever actually fight, that’s the worst possible example. It would be more useful to know what skill level you need to be considered, say, a published professor, a pro athlete, or a military pilot.

Acrobatics: This is the all-purpose Athletics skill, and you use it with Dexterity or with Strength at the Director’s discretion on the kind of task. It can also be used for stealthy movement, dodging attacks, and low-gravity movement.

Archaic Weapons: Kind of a silly name, but it does cover all low-tech weapons from knives, swords, and spears to crossbows, throwing knives, atlatls and hungamungas. Mainly uses Dexterity, and it can be also be used to dodge attacks.

Art: You’re instructed to decide which arts your character is good at, and that you should buy extra skills if you want to be a singing, dancing, painting, sculpting puppeteer, but there’s no set limit. Use Intelligence for creating art, Willpower for performance, Constitution for Singing, and Perception for critique. Receiving dreams from Cthulhu is not mentioned.

Brawling: Beating people to death with your bare hands. Like Archaic Weapons, you can use it as a dodge skill. It uses Dexterity, but you can use Intelligence for feints or Perception to analyze someone’s fighting style.

Computers: They make it easy for you: if it’s software, use Computers, if hardware, use Engineering. This covers all common electronics from mobiles to complex sensors. It does cover hardware insofar as knowing what you need to use a device and troubleshooting, but not electronics repair or, say, defusing a bomb. You use Intelligence for programming, finding information, and hacking, and Perception to diagnose problems.

Crime: This really is a very versatile “rogue” skill; it covers everything from picking pockets and locks to cracking safes, disarming security systems, and knowing the criminal underworld. The only exceptions are computer hacking (computers) and conning people (Influence). You use Dexterity for the physical stuff, and Intelligence for identifying criminals and suchlike.

Doctor: Healing injuries and diseases, and installing augmentations. A MD will have a skill of 4 or higher; a surgeon who can do top-shelf augmentations would be 6 or higher. Intelligence is used for treating injuries; Perception is for diagnosis.

Driving: Covers all ground vehicles. Dexterity is used for driving maneuvers. Intelligence+Driving handles general maintenance, but for actual repair you need Engineering.

Engineering: You can build, modify, and repair pretty much anything with this skill; it covers not only mechanics and electronics, but all trade skills, like plumbing and woodworking. You’re told specifically that you can use it to make traps. Perception is for noticing problems, Intelligence for doing repairs or construction, and Dexterity for the really, well, dexterity-intensive stuff.

Guns: Guns, guns, guns, all kinds of firearms and high-tech range weapons. Uses Dexterity.

Influence: The social skill. Intelligence for deception, and Willpower for intimidation. Strangely, good-faith negotiation isn’t thought about.

Knowledge: It encompasses all social sciences and humanities that aren’t art or hard science. You can also use it for local or regional knowledge and lore that wouldn’t be covered by another skill. It’s used with Intelligence with almost everything.

Languages: This is a little different, in that each point represents fluency in 1 language. You roll it with Intelligence for linguistics and deciphering languages.

Notice: It does what it says, and covers not only stuff like “someone is following me” but also things like spotting an obscure reference in a text. Of course it’s almost always used with Perception, but Intelligence is used to remember information that wasn’t important until now.

Occultism: Everything you ever didn’t want to know about aliens, hyperspace, hyperspatial entities, and sorcery, whether it was written by a college professor last month or a raving lunatic last millennium. You need this to cast spells. Intelligence is used to research or recognize an entity; Perception is for identifying creatures on the spur of the moment.

Piloting: Covers anything that sails or flies (including spacecraft). Dexterity for maneuvers, Intelligence for using sensors.

Psychic Art: This is used for psychic powers, but it doesn’t include an academic knowledge component like Occultism. Perception is used to scan emotions, and Willpower to manipulate them.

Science: All of the hard sciences--physics, biology, chemistry, and their branches. I’m loving tired of saying you use Intelligence to invent or analyze poo poo and Perception to recognize poo poo, so no more of that poo poo.

Sports: Covers all sports that don’t properly use another skill (like Acrobatics for gymnastics and Brawling for martial arts). You can use Sports in combat to do very specific things like using a bat as a weapon or tackling an enemy.

Wilderness: This is the survival skill, and also covers dealing with animals.

Wild Card: This your invitation to invent a skill for anything you don’t believe is properly covered by the preceding.

Drama Points

Drama Points represent being able to beat the odds through extraordinary effort, luck, or fate when the chips are down. When you use one, you get a huge bonus to your roll. That’s all we’re told in this chapter, but it’s important because the only edge Civilians have over other character types is getting 20 Drama Points instead of 10.

Character Archetypes

Do these really need to be covered? Only insofar as they illustrate the setting, and because the designers actually got some art for this stuff. It’s not great, but it’s something.



Independent Sorcerer: A genius-level intellect who got into occult lore, and spent her college years learning the advanced mathematics and computer skills (that’s right) to become an actual sorcerer. She’s investigated cults, and one such incident led to her current phobia. Eventually she got the attention of OPS and became a consultant for their difficult cases.

This character is a Genius with a high level of Sorcery and few spells, but has 9 points of Drawbacks, mainly psychological--she’s obsessive, a pathologically deep sleeper, has a severe phobia of large bodies of water, and has a couple other mild psychological problems. Curiously, she has the Minority (lesbian) flaw, which I didn’t think would be A Thing in a setting where doctors have to tell strict fundamentalists that their great-grandpa hosed a frog-mutant.



OPS Strike Team Commando: This guy went through ROTC and did his tour of duty before he had to get genetic therapy to prevent eventual transformation into a Deep One. Since prejudice limited his advancement in the Air Force, he joined OPS, who trained him for space duty, including advanced combat operations and disaster relief.

So this guy is a badass. Deep One Hybrid, Commando Upgrade augmentation, Astronaut training, Soldier, and high combat skills coupled with very high physical Attributes--and to get all this, he doesn’t need any more Drawbacks than come with his Qualities.



OPS Psychic Spy: A psychic with good people skills and a knack for languages, the spy was recruited by OPS at a young age. She believes in the importance of her work--stopping trafficking in illegal alien technology and weapons of mass destruction.

The psychic has the Emotional Influence, Insight, and Undetectability powers, as well as the Spy Quality and a couple of minor augmentations. Besides her psychic powers, her strengths are in her mundane skills.



Half-Breed Ghoul Cop: This guy isn’t a fancy OPS agent, and he either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about his ghoul heritage, he’s just a hardworking cop protecting the people on his beat. He’s started noticing strange people on the street, and strange creatures underneath it, and the reading he’s started doing on occult lore disturbs him.

The cop is a Civilian, and thus not on the level of the Commando, but he’s a pretty well rounded character with decent combat skills as well as a smattering of medical and technical skills.



Civilian Psychic: This character is a good picture of how psychic awakening goes for most people in the setting: She took a test, discovered her talent, and it led to a stable career--in her case, as an art historian who could use her Psychometric powers to authenticate works. Most notably, she has a three-month span of time she doesn’t remember, from when she was authenticating texts for a wealthy collector.

This character is an Occult Investigator, and indeed is more about more-or-less haplessly investigating strange goings-on (and her own past) than using their psychic powers as methodically as the psychic spy. I could easily see this character paired with the ghoul cop in a campaign that’s action-packed but not necessarily action-movie level.



Astronaut: A straightforward character in terms of background: Wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up; did it. She has several minor augmentations for space operations, but most importantly, this is a techie character, with Engineering, Science, and Pilot at the forefront.

Next time, on Eldritch Skies: Chapter 3, Rules and Equipment.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007


oMage: Dragons of the East

China, of course, is extremely influential on everywhere nearby. Its civilization is at least 5000 years old, dating back to a time when myth and written history tend to mingle. The Xia Dynasty, said to begin in 2100 BC, was thought a myth until archaeologists of the 60s and 70s found evidence of Bronze Age cities right where Chinese history said they were. From 1766 to 1112 BC, the Shang Dynasty left the first evidence of written language - divination tools in the form of tortoise shells and flat cattle bones. They believed in a form of Celestial Bureaucracy ruled by a Shang-ti, or Lord-on-High, who ruled over nature deities like the sun and moon. Their king was called the Son of Heaven, the intermediary between god and man. Ancient records say that the last Shang ruler was a despot overthrown by the Chou tribe, who established a capital at Huo, near Chang'an, and spread Shang culture through much of China. The Chou were quasi-feudal lords who ruled a decentralized collection of city-states. They introduced the idea of the Mandate of Heaven, which asserted that they could only overthrow the Shang because they were supported by the will of Heaven, and they ruled by divine right. However, in 771 BC, barbarians allied to rebel lords sacked their capital. It was moved to Luoyang and the kingdom fell into decline.

This next period, called the Spring and Autumn period, was technically part of Chou rule, but there was little authority. However, despite that, it was a flourishing of culture, with the rise of Confucius, Lao Tzu and Sun Tzu. Competing warlords sponsored poets, philosophers and swordmasters to prove themselves the greatest of rulers. Five-element theory and the concepts of Yin and Yang come from this period, too. By 475 BC, Chinese culture was both ruthless and sophisticated. Thus, the stage was set for Qin Shihuang. He was the first to unify China in 221 BC, ruling as a brutal Legalist who treated his subjects as enemies to be pacified. He burned many books, destroying all knowledge that could weaken his authority - especially Confucian works, which implied that the common people could seize the Mandate of Heaven. However, Qin's military ambition and cruel taxes fueled much public works, including the Great Wall. He became obsessed with immortality, and the architects of his tomb were buried with him, along with the terracotta soldiers.

After four years of civil war following his death, the Han Dynasty took over, reviving Confucianism and adopting it. Civil exams allowed any educated man to receive an imperial appointment. Paper and porcelain were invented, and the Silk Road was established. By the collapse of the Han in 220 AD, the structure of Chinese civilization had been set for the next 1700 years. The Han became synonymous with Chinese culture, and even today, non-Han ethnicities are often marginalized. After the Han fell, China fragmented into the rival states of Wei, Shu and Wu. This period is remembered as one of heroism and romance. Gunpowder was invented, but largely used for fireworks, and astronomy and medicine were huge.

The Jin (265-420 AD) and the Wu (581-617) briefly united China, both rivalling the Qin in their ruthlessness. Buddhism became popular, adapting to Chinese culture, and Bodhidharma founded Zen Buddhism in the reign of Emperor Wu Ti, who exempted monasteries from tax and military service. In 618, the Tang Dynasty took over. They were a high point for Chinese culture, and in this period block printing was invented. The Tang sought an ideal man, who mixed martial, academic and poetic skill. They perfected the civil exams, replacing hereditary nobles with scholar-officials. Their successors, the Song, oversaw a growing middle class of wealthy merchants and craftsmen. Neo-Confucianism began to grow increasingly rigid in this time, focusing on duty. In 1279, the Song fell to the Mongols led by Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai.

Kublai's dynasty, the Yuan, retained Confucian exams but introduced freedom of religion, allowing shamanism, Islam and Nestorian Christianity to mix with traditional Chinese beliefs. Marco Polo visited the court of Kublai Khan, and other Western visitors brought new music and crops, returning home with new medical knowledge, printing techniques and playing cards. The capital was moved to Beijing. After the death of Kublai, peasant revolts and internal squabbling ended the Yuan Dynasty, and the Han Chinese reasserted themselves as rulers with the Ming in 1368.

The Ming (or Brilliant) Dynasty was founded by a Buddhist monk and peasant general, and it kept the Confucian bureaucracy. At first, the Ming sponsored naval exploration, sailing as far as Africa, but in 1433, they stopped it completely. The Ming grew insular and agrarian, giving up control of the Indian Ocean and just collecting tribute from nearby nations such as Annam (modern Vietnam) rather than expanding. The Ming believed themselves the most advanced society possible, with nothing to gain from conquering inferiors. Finally, weakened by war with the Mongols and corruption, it was invaded by the Manchu Qing in 1644. The Qing met heavy resistance, especially as the Manchu hairstyles, dress and language set them apart from the Han Chinese. They exacerbated this by forbidding Han/Manchu intermarriage and instituting a dual bureaucracy with the Manchu on top.

The Manchu continued their conquests, capturing all the territory of modern China as well as establishing the protectorate of Tibet. By the 19th century, 300 million people lived in China. Farmland was scarce, and banditry rife. The Triads, White Lotus Society and local warlords fought Qing authority, and so China was not well prepared for the West to arrive. At first, China tried to negotiate with Portugal, Britain and France as it would any tributary power...so the British brought in opium against Imperial decree. When the Chinese burned it, Britain invaded in the Opium War of 1839. The Treat of Nankin in 1842 ceded Hong King to British control (and, by 1898, outright ownership) and gave up humiliating concessions. The Taiping and Boxer Rebellions of 1851 and 1900 further weakened China, and its nickname in Europe was 'the Weak Man of Asia'.

Sidebar: The Triads claim to have been refugees from the Shaolin Temple who organized resistance to the Qing. Yes, from the start, they ran protection rackets, but they also supported their communities and, sometimes, still do. They also support martial arts schools. As such, we are told, people tend to view them ambivalently. Triad initiations are a mix of Confucian and Buddhist rites involving a traditional collar-less costume and a blue lantern, as well as oaths of secrecy and vows to overthrow foreign domination, then blessings from a Buddhist priest. The new member is called a sidai, or younger brother, and familial titles such as sihing (elder brother) or sifu (father) are common. The exceptions are the snakeheads and dragonheads, who lead local and international initiatives, and the red poles, the enforcers. Some Triads tattoo themselves on the neck and shoulder, but it's not as ornate or common as among Yakuza. Triads today are famous for drug and arms trafficking and influence in the Hong Kong film industry. Many Triads still train in martial arts, usually more from tradition than actual pragmatic use, though you occasionally get headlines about Triad hits involving swords.

Anyway, Sun Yat-sen led the final rebellion against the Qing. By 1911, most provinces had seceded from the empire, and by 1912, the Chinese Republic was founded under Yuan Shikai, and the last Emperor, Puyi, abdicated. Yuan revised the constitution, making himself a dictator and assassinating those who opposed his party, the Kuomintang. He was formally elected via intimidation and eventually declared himself president-for-life in the hopes of becoming emperor. When he died in 1916, even his closest allies had deserted him. Japan ruled inner Mongolia and Manchuria, and China was divided between Sun Yat-sen's southern Kuomintang nationalists and northern warlords. After Sun's death in 1925, the Kuomintang's communist ties split the party into right and left wing factions. The communists supported armed rebellion against both the warlords and nationalists, and in 1934, Mao Zedong led 100 thousand people over 7500 miles in the Long March to flee the Kuomintang, cementing him as a leader.

In 1931, hostilities between the communists and nationalists ceased to fight the Japanese invasion. The Red Army became popular because, unlike the Kuomintang, they paid for everything they took. When the alliance broke down in 1938, the communists had the upper hand. By 1949, their popular support allowed them to expel the Kuomintang from the mainland and send them to Taiwan, while they founded the People's Republic of China. Mao's Great LEap Forward, an attempt to collectivize industry and strengthen the economy, failed disastrously and destroyed Mao's reputation. In 1965, he began the Cultural Revolution to regain power, teaching the Red Guard to revere his thoughts and depose his foes. After his death in 1976, dissidents like Deng Xiaoping became new leaders, grudgingly promoting a free market, in preparation for the return of Hong Kong in 1997 and Macau in 2000. However, that doesn't mean freedom. When a million people gathered in Tiananmen Square in 1989, the government killed hundreds or even thousands of them when the Red Army stormed the Forbidden City. In the 21st century, China is poised to be the next world superpower, despite its poor human rights record, but it is notorious for disregarding copyright laws and fostering digital piracy. China's population is on the rise, but so is unemployment, and resources are dwindling. Away from the big cities, few benefit from the new capitalism.



On to Tibet! Tradition holds it is the land of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. In the form of an ape, the Lord of Compassion mated with a rock demon, who was an emanation of the goddess Tara, bringing forth the people of Tibet. LEgend has it the first king was Indian, Rupati. Twelve Bon priests enthroned Rupati and named him Nyatari Tsenpo. The first kings, it is said, had a cord that connected them to Heaven, but later kings severed it via waging war. Bon, the indigenous religion of Tibet, was a shamanistic faith that emphasized guidance of the souls of the dead. It traces its mythic origins to Shambhala, a divine kingdom in the mountains, and several early kings sought it. One, Gesar of Ling, is said to have found it. To the Chinese, Tibet was Jian or Xizang, a nation of goatherds and warriors who occasionally threatened China. Xizang's influence spread as far as the Silk Road during the Han Dynasty, and only long, bitter wars in the Tang period won the trade route back.

In 174 AD, Buddhism became the state religion of Tibet. EArly conflict between Bon and Buddhism was verbal, not physical and over time the two faiths mixed, with teachers like Padmasambvaha and Milarepa teaching the principles of Vajrayana Buddhism. It emphasized Tibetan gods and magic, merging it with what was said to be secret Buddhist teachings. These evolved into the four schools of Buddhist thought called Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug (to which the Dalai Lama belongs). When the Mongols came to China, the Buddhist priests became very powerful, and Kublai Khan considered Tibet to be the temple of his empire. He gave control to the lamas, promoting Tibetan Buddhism. By 1578, the Gelug sect dominated the nation, and a nearby Mongol ruler named the head of the sect the Dalai Lama, or the Ocean of Wisdom. He was considered an emanation of Avalokitesvara himself, becoming the temporal and spiritual leader of Tibet.

In the 15th century, the fifth Dalai Lama founded the Tibetan theocracy, ruling in concert with the Karmapa and Panchen lamas. The nobles formed an advisory assembly, the Keshag, with both secular and religious officials at each post. The Dalai Lama's most unusual advisor was Nechung. Nechung, the guardian deity of Tibet, was said to manifest in via a kuten, or medium. Nechung has a monastery and is considered the manifestation of a buddha, as opposed to worldly spirits of Bon belief. The Ming were happy to accept Tibetan tribute, but the Qing conquered it outright, giving modern China an excuse to invade in the 20th century. Revolts against the Qing and the decline of the empire returned control to the Dalai Lama, who became isolationist. The capital, Lhasa, was forbidden to foreigners.

From 1911 to 1951, Tibet had little contact with anywhere else. After the Communist revolution, however, China sent officials to decry the theocratic, feudal rule, and in 1950 the Red Army invaded and crushed Tibet's primitive, 5000-man army. Religious statues were melted down and monasteries destroyed. Monks were imprisoned, tortured and killed. The 14th Dalai Lama fled the country in 1959 along a route chosen by Nechung, establishing a government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India. Since them, Buddhism has been strictly controlled in Tibet by China. When the Panchen Lama was recognized by the Dalai Lama, the child was put under house arrest and a state-approved replacement chosen. The Karmapa Lama, the only Lama who may recognize a new Dalai Lama (which is a big deal, since he's an old, old man) fled Tibet for Dharmasala in January, 2000. Relations between China and the Tibetan government-in-exile have improved, but the fundamental claim of the Dalai Lama's supporters, that Tibet is not Chinese, is still rejected by Beijing.

Next time: Southeast Asia.

El Estrago Bonito
Dec 17, 2010

Scout Finch Bitch


Tech isn't evil in oWoD it's just the natural opposing force to change. The technocracy might be evil in some ways but in the end they are just extremists and the Order of Hermes that they fought so hard to destroy was probably more evil and bad for humanity in general than they are. It's just by the time we reach the final nights in Mage they have become so singularly obsessed with making everything predictable and sterile that they are generally unlikable assholes. But the again all mages are assholes, they are normal humans who have the ability to pretty much gently caress around and do whatever they want and the technocracy was probably correct when they decided they all needed to be killed or pacified.

The thing OWoD really needed to focus more on was their idea of "lost history". The whole setting is basically set up so that everything important or noteworthy has some supernatural force behind it. What the setting then implies heavily in many books is that this is mainly because the supernatural forces are repressing the actual history of human accomplishment. They sort of started to get into this with the introduction of Hunters Hunted and the Arcanum but then they went a totally different direction with that poo poo and hunters turned into just another different kind of supernatural (or more precisely, they turned into Exalts from Exalted but that's a whole other can of worms, the history of Age of Sorrows could fill an entire post in this thread) instead of being truly special and important humans that had managed to see beyond all the bullshit and to attempt to claim some sort of destiny for themselves. Hunters Hunted even contains the idea for the Chronicle of Vengeance which is one of the coolest campaign ideas ever (you play an order of vampire hunters throughout the ages advancing to the next "generation" every time you complete a major storyline) but is relegated to a simple sidebar and gets less backround dedicated to it than the fact that vampires control the FBI and CDC (a forgone conclusion that didn't need any book space devoted to it).

Spoilers Below
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...


Bieeardo posted:

This. This is something that's always annoyed the unholy gently caress out of me about White Wolf. This... hate-on the writers and the lore have for human achievements and the human condition. This woman isn't abusing her children because they're an inescapable reminder of their deadbeat father, and it's the only form of control she's found in this tragedy that's her life, she's possessed.

Right now I'm cringing at the thought of whatever shambling horror of Steinem-misquoting 'feminism' might be lurking around the corner.

quote:

She shakes her head, still looking at the floor. “Haven’t seen him for months. He left us.” It is the answer I was afraid to hear. I know it is a blindness on my part, but these situations are so much easier to deal with when there is a man to blame.

http://www.harkavagrant.com/?id=341

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Secret Art: Toxic Crotch Whirlwind!

quote:

EDIT: Holy poo poo, I just realized the broken down summary is Don't Rest Your Head with some extra normals thrown in.

Has Don't Rest Your Head been done for this thread? It's a neat little book. I think I even have a copy somewhere, so I could throw something together for it.

pospysyl
Nov 10, 2012

SO EMBARRASSING

Bieeardo posted:

This. This is something that's always annoyed the unholy gently caress out of me about White Wolf. This... hate-on the writers and the lore have for human achievements and the human condition. This woman isn't abusing her children because they're an inescapable reminder of their deadbeat father, and it's the only form of control she's found in this tragedy that's her life, she's possessed. Every important person in history has belonged to some splat or another. Technology is evil, and really distributed by a ridiculous Illuminati of wizards. Psychiatry is horrible, because crazy people are glamourous enough to see changelings, and it kills changelings!

Right now I'm cringing at the thought of whatever shambling horror of Steinem-misquoting 'feminism' might be lurking around the corner.

Exactly. Elsewhere the Werewolf developers recommend that you balance out the Wyrm-slaying adventures with down to earth sessions where you deal with real life issues, grounding your characters as human or whatever. The Wyrm isn't supposed to be responsible for all human evil. This melding of real life human awfulness and high fantasy craziness is just awkward. Werewolf exorcisms are rad and the imagery was totally metal, but you don't see the kids after the exorcism's done, so you have no idea whether the exorcism even did anything. I understand that the writers are locked into this "we fight the Wyrm both spiritually and physically!" parallelism, but having it just be a regular lady doing terrible things would be so much more compelling. You could even have the Wyrm feeding on her or something if you really want to inject monsters into it. As it stands, the story is just so boring and so fantastical that it doesn't stand out.

I kind of regret not talking about that in the update, but don't worry, there'll be plenty of opportunities to complain ahead!


Hark! A Vagrant's going to be making a lot of appearances here, I can tell.

Bieeardo
Aug 21, 2000

Someone bold, someone blue, someone borrowed, someone new...


Even claiming that technology is the natural opposing force to change is pretty ridiculous-- they call it the Industrial Revolution for a reason.

The problem is-- yeah. White Wolf writers are utterly poo poo with subtext. References to important person as a particular splat should have led into the implication that all of them were acting as conspiratorial groups, but the result is almost always more 'This guy is a foozle! Isn't that cool?!' They even parody it with everyone laying claim to Rasputin, and one Changeling book takes it even further by laying claim to living, real-world people.

Edit: I think my blood sugar's low.

Edit: And that Hark! A Vagrant comic is awesome.

And while I love urban fantasy and related genres, I just get ludicrously frustrated when that aspect of my elfgames takes a big dump on the human part of the equation.

Bieeardo fucked around with this message at Apr 12, 2013 around 22:42

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!

Bieeardo posted:

This. This is something that's always annoyed the unholy gently caress out of me about White Wolf. This... hate-on the writers and the lore have for human achievements and the human condition.

It's a theme that reoccurs quite a bit pretty much everywhere with varying degrees of decent execution. I mean the entire theme behind the plot of Assassins Creed is that there is no such thing as real human achievement and such because it was all because either the templars or the assassins that caused it or was because someone had found one of the Pieces of Eden artifacts. And I'm sure it makes an appearance in a lot of other fiction and campaign systems.

It's a theme I'm not to keen on to be honest. Especially when the execution in many cases tends to be heavy handed as hell, especially in the case with the AC games as well as what I've seen what WW has done on the whole thing.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.


Honestly this (along with the not-so-subtle racism and pure loving idiocy "Why the hell ancient people use Mercury? it's only use in high-tech durr") is why I detest the Ancient Astronaut pseudoscience.


Lot of White Wolf's problem is... like Scion or the Black Furies here, a fantastic concept hampered by really shoddy writing and their brand of (insert culture/ethnicity)sploitation for the sole purpose of giving an air of 'exoticism'.

EDIT: and the immature way they handle sex and sexuality.

El Estrago Bonito
Dec 17, 2010

Scout Finch Bitch


Bieeardo posted:

Even claiming that technology is the natural opposing force to change is pretty ridiculous-- they call it the Industrial Revolution for a reason.

Change was a bad way to phrase it. Its the opposing force to randomness and improbable outcomes. Tradition mages are all about breaking the rules of reality by forcing them to act in abberant or different ways, the technos are all about creating rules of reality that allow people to control and alter it without magic. Hence technology and science places control over primal forces into the hands of lay people and makes reality obey one set of defined rules that anyone can learn and use as they see fit.

The Technocracy was a terribly written bad guy faction. They couldn't have any kind of grey morality because if you did that they would be instantly the good guys and totally reasonable people.

I find it remarkable that White Wolf ever managed to handle the subject of the Holocaust and Genocides with tact and skill.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007


Yeah, the Shoah is a really remarkable book, not least for being an oWoD book on the Holocaust which...isn't terrible.

pospysyl
Nov 10, 2012

SO EMBARRASSING

Speaking of sex and sexuality...

Tribebook: Black Furies

Chapter 1: Avenging Claws Part 1

First thing we get in this chapter is an apology for how bad it is. Always a good sign. See, Black Furies don’t actually write things down normally. Why?

quote:

Back to the subject of writing. Pure thought is wordless. It comes out of the Wyld. Ask an infant sometime, or a wolf. Oh wait! You can’t: the Namer long ago forced our communication into language and words, and as he did that, he forced our minds into a shape that only thought in language and words.

Got that? All language is the result of spiritual corruption, at least according to Black Fury theology. Spoken language is one thing, but written language is even worse. Spoken language, committed to memory, is tied to the ephemera of memory, while written words are trapped in stasis. Spoken language can die with the speaker, but written language might be kept by enemies, or worse, the Namer. This is a good preview of the Black Furies’ religiosity, if a tad ridiculous.

If you’re familiar with the Werewolf setting, “the Namer” might be unfamiliar to you. As it turns out, the Namer is the Black Furies’ name for the Weaver, because Weavers actually do useful things while the Namer only calcifies reality. It’s basically Banality to werewolves. Weaving is also important to the Black Fury milieu, since the Fates (a triple goddess, which will be very important) are themselves weavers. It’s a cool deviation, and it could provide a good vocal tic to your character.

To avoid the corruption of this written knowledge, the author has “agreed to sprinkle this text with half-truths, omissions, and outright lies,” responding to the protests of the elders. Remember, the history you learned in school is a damned Namer lie, so forget all that and listen to these admitted lies.

The Earliest Days quickly recaps the standard Werewolf origin myth. “Gaia created the Wyld, Weaver, and Wyrm, the Weaver and Wyrm went crazy and hurt Gaia, Gaia created Incarna and the Changing Breeds.” Luna was one of the Incarna (the Black Furies sometimes call her Artemis), and she took the werewolves under her wing. The Black Furies believe that werewolves are actually older than humanity or wolves, although how this reconciles with the First Change is anyone’s guess. There’s an alternate story that posits that werewolves came after humanity and wolves. After male werewolves started killing everything, the blood formed female werewolves, who swore to fix everything.

quote:

”We are Gaia’s answer. From the soil of Her Earth She formed us, from ground stained red by the blood of the murdered. She created us female, every one; She made us bearers of life so that we might never take life thoughtlessly. She gave us fur as black as night, so that the wicked might fear our righteous wrath. She gave unto us a charge: to hunt the kinslayers and other profaners of nature, and so protect our Mother. We are the daughters of Gaia, born of Her body and blood. We are vengeance. We are the Black Furies.”

I am totally starting a band, calling it The Black Furies, and reciting that before every concert.

Eventually, the first Black Fury pack showed up. The oldest Gorgon, Euryale or New Moon, thought that males were the weaker sex. The second Helena the Theurge, knew that men would eventually rebel against female rule and cause the downfall of womanhood. Stheno, the Philodox, was the wisest, and Medusa the Artisan sung and Raged a lot Isthmene, the youngest and most beautiful of the Gorgons, had a silver labrys and totally beat up anyone who messed with her. They gathered more lady werewolves, who settled in Greece and at first worshipped Luna directly, until she had to help everyone out.

Prehistory opens up with this:

quote:

The simple truth of human existence is that Man has never understood Woman. Consider the very earliest days of human awareness, say, a year after Gaia created both. Man has a straightforward life. He wakes up, he hunts, he kills, he brings home part of the kill to his woman, they eat, the sun goes down the go to bed, they gently caress – because, while Man and Woman might not know why sex is fun, it is fun – and then they sleep.

Woman’s life is much more complex, right from the beginning; she obeys mysterious forces and urges and often behaves in ways Man does not understand. With the phase of the moon she bleeds, and the blood brings changes in personality – Man calls it irrationality.

Nice there. The chapter continues its junior anthropology by describing childbirth and I’m not even going into that. Man apparently believes that Woman is some magic babymaker with strange dark powers.

How humans and animals understand that sex is related to childbirth has been a perpetual anthropological curiosity, but Tribebook: Black Furies has the answer! Werewolves told us. Of course, the Black Furies wouldn’t have let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, because that would spoil the feminine mystique. Upon learning about sex, Man invented patriarchy and surprise sex! In response, Black Furies started the Impergium, the era where werewolves would stomp around controlling human population.


We interrupt your anthropology lesson with a werewolf biting off a Centurion's head

Sidebar: there’s a spirit of Patriarchy, because of course there is. This Patriarch isn’t necessarily the Judeo-Christian god, ALTHOUGH HE COULD BE.

The Impergium eventually ended (although the Bacchanite camp refused to stop killing men). By this point, humanity had invented cities (other books imply that this is the major move that convinced the werewolves that Impergium wasn’t worth it, and I think W20 has made that even more explicit). Even then, though, humans apparently worshiped the Earth Goddess. The chapter continues with some comparative mythology. Yaaaay. Comparative mythology has lost a lot of academic credibility since its heyday, so this is very much an artifact of its time. Apparently worship of fertility goddesses is linked to cave digging, which I don’t think is true, but I’m no expert.

Thoughts: I remember it being bad, but I don’t remember it being quite this awful. We do get some flavorful tidbits, with Wyld caves and an extreme paranoia and aversion towards the Namer, but it gets lost among all the…ugh. It gets better, I promise! Just hold on.

Next time: Clytemnestra, and the first appearance of the Order of our Merciful Mother. Those of you versed in Werewolf lore, get pumped and please, no spoilers.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Green Intern posted:

Has Don't Rest Your Head been done for this thread? It's a neat little book. I think I even have a copy somewhere, so I could throw something together for it.

I was going to post a hack in the homebrew thread that aped Kult and used the rules. I emailed Fred Hicks to see if it was alright if I could do that and he said he would prefer that the rules engine for DRYH not be posted. Modifications to it are cool, but posting how it works is a no go.

Does White Wolf cover any of the horrid practices that the Buddhist theocracy in Tibet practiced (and to some extent, still do) or is all "BUDDHISM AM GOOD!" new age crap?

Tasoth fucked around with this message at Apr 12, 2013 around 23:51

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

Just smile and nod until it's time to leave.


Yeah, the problem is that all writers want to be the guy who writes the awesome metal stories about hunting the banes that are making the world a worse place to live and punching them in the face. No one wants to write a story about a house that's infested with banes because the father is actually a jerk and treats his kids like poo poo and the banes are hanging around just eating it all up. Because in addition to being not as action packed, they're hard to write. But you can go "BANG ZOOM I PUNCH THE BANE AND NOW THEY'RE A HAPPY FAMILY AGAIN I'M GOING HOME TO MY LESBIAN LOVER TO MAKE OUT!" and wash your hands of the whole thing.

As an Aside: I was reading up on the Seventh Generation, because I remembered them being a good example of a non-overt 'punch the bane and we're through' enemy, and it sort of is but they throw this one out there

quote:

The Seventh Generation began this work in prehistory, when men and women lived as equals and Gaia was revered by all. The agents of the Wyrm can claim credit for toppling the ideal of sexual equality and installing the male as the dominant sex. Men and Women suffer equally under the cruel heel of this unbalanced directive, but have been subtly conditioned to accept it as the natural order.
God dammit White Wolf, I was trying to defend you



Thank you for this.

Edit:

pospysyl posted:

Werewolves told us. Of course, the Black Furies wouldn’t have let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, because that would spoil the feminine mystique. Upon learning about sex, Man invented patriarchy and surprise sex! In response, Black Furies started the Impergium, the era where werewolves would stomp around controlling human population.

Ahahahaha what? "Hey Clotho, Bob the Bone Gnawer over there told one of the humans that sex makes babies." "loving hell, Get the labrys, we need to kill people till they forget."

Kurieg fucked around with this message at Apr 12, 2013 around 23:53

Bieeardo
Aug 21, 2000

Someone bold, someone blue, someone borrowed, someone new...


Okay, I can understand that association with technology (and the Technocracy) and the Weaver. That works for me. The rest of it still really, really bothers the heck out of me. It's lazy conspiracy writing in the service of making a modern Earth setting where your group can still rise from striplings to kings and king makers... only nobody knows, because that would necessitate sweeping changes to the setting's backdrop.

And occasionally they did break out of the rut of mawkish Romanticism, and there's a glimmer of something clever, or a theme that they should have printed somewhere in bold letters, both in the books and the setting bibles because it would have been so much cooler... aaaand then some other horribly researched book comes out and gets its Orientalism on.

I really do like the NWoD settings and rules, but I still have a soft spot for the old stuff and it never stops getting to me just how awful the books could get.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

Just smile and nod until it's time to leave.


Tasoth posted:

Does White Wolf cover any of the horrid practices that the Buddhist theocracy in Tibet practiced (and to some extent, still do) or is all "BUDDHISM AM GOOD!" new age crap?

I just read through the appropriate sections in TB:Stargazer and World of Rage.

No, they don't, TB:SG blames all of Tibets problems on China and the Weaver, and if we just get rid of them(particularly the weaver) everything will be hunky dory. WoR isn't much better.
As far as TB:SG is concerned, Buddhism is absolutely the most amazing thing ever and they have their own version of Buddhism that's even more amazing.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at Apr 13, 2013 around 00:11

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Tasoth posted:

I was going to post a hack in the homebrew thread that aped Kult and used the rules. I emailed Fred Hicks to see if it was alright if I could do that and he said he would prefer that the rules engine for DRYH not be posted. Modifications to it are cool, but posting how it works is a no go.

Does White Wolf cover any of the horrid practices that the Buddhist theocracy in Tibet practiced (and to some extent, still do) or is all "BUDDHISM AM GOOD!" new age crap?
The only times I can think of White Wolf criticizing Dharmic religions (is that the right term?) in the oWoD was some of the creepier poo poo the Euthanatos got up to. I've heard bad things about the Akashic Brotherhood book, and I should reread the Euthanatos book which is pretty good.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!

pospysyl posted:

Eventually, the first Black Fury pack showed up. The oldest Gorgon, Euryale or New Moon, thought that males were the weaker sex. The second Helena the Theurge, knew that men would eventually rebel against female rule and cause the downfall of womanhood. Stheno, the Philodox, was the wisest, and Medusa the Artisan sung and Raged a lot Isthmene, the youngest and most beautiful of the Gorgons, had a silver labrys and totally beat up anyone who messed with her. They gathered more lady werewolves, who settled in Greece and at first worshipped Luna directly, until she had to help everyone out.

But... But... But Euryale was the middle child of the Gorgons and Stheno was the oldest one and Medusa was the youngest of the three Gorgon sisters.
White Wooooooooolf

Also... gorgons of all things.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

The ensmuggenest.

Kurieg posted:

As an Aside: I was reading up on the Seventh Generation, because I remembered them being a good example of a non-overt 'punch the bane and we're through' enemy, and it sort of is

It says something about Werewolf that you could call a millennia-old conspiracy that exists to promote surprise sex, child abuse, and human sacrifice "non-overt". The 7th Generation is easily one of the worst parts of Werewolf. It takes issues like child molestation and turns it into the product of mustache-twirling cultists punching babies to charge up their occult coppertops.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Secret Art: Toxic Crotch Whirlwind!

Tasoth posted:

I was going to post a hack in the homebrew thread that aped Kult and used the rules. I emailed Fred Hicks to see if it was alright if I could do that and he said he would prefer that the rules engine for DRYH not be posted. Modifications to it are cool, but posting how it works is a no go.

Fair enough.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007


Tasoth posted:

Does White Wolf cover any of the horrid practices that the Buddhist theocracy in Tibet practiced (and to some extent, still do) or is all "BUDDHISM AM GOOD!" new age crap?

Dragons of the East never brings them up, either, it just talks about Buddhism as a whole.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

Just smile and nod until it's time to leave.


Alien Rope Burn posted:

It says something about Werewolf that you could call a millennia-old conspiracy that exists to promote surprise sex, child abuse, and human sacrifice "non-overt". The 7th Generation is easily one of the worst parts of Werewolf. It takes issues like child molestation and turns it into the product of mustache-twirling cultists punching babies to charge up their occult coppertops.

Yeah I was wrong and misinformed, which is why I included the quote.
As it was originally described to me, "self-perpetuating cult of child abusers who don't directly serve the wyrm but feed him by their depredations" which compared to 90% of the poo poo that Pentex does was low-key.

I wasn't informed about the "millennial old cult who invented surprise sex" part, which is the over-the-top nineties stuff that White Wolf was famous for.

"Good idea that they took too far" seems like a running theme with White Wolf, I'm gonna need a palate cleanser F&F once I'm done with Hengeyokai.

As penance I should have the rest of chapter 3 and chapter 4(it's short) up either tonight or tomorrow.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

You pick up the nugget of URANIUM and...

Oh that was so stupid. Why would you do that?


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

WEG produced TORG which was an amazing game, with an incredible setting. For that I forgive them a lot.

The setting is great (and one of my all-time faves) but the system is crunchy as gently caress and the metaplot was actually worse than Deadland's.

TORG is the epitome of 90's RPG design and I'm really tempted to review the line. I feel like I could do a loving dissertation on everything that was wrong with the way the metaplot was handled and why War's End was one of the worst supplements ever written.

Bieeardo
Aug 21, 2000

Someone bold, someone blue, someone borrowed, someone new...


I only ever found the boxed set and a couple of supplements, so I thought TORG's metaplot, tie-in novels and stuff were supposed to be setup for out of the box campaigns, and thought it was really refreshing. It's really disappointing to hear otherwise.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007



Evil Mastermind posted:

TORG is the epitome of 90's RPG design and I'm really tempted to review the line. I feel like I could do a loving dissertation on everything that was wrong with the way the metaplot was handled and why War's End was one of the worst supplements ever written.
Please do this. TORG is one of those older RPGs I never really got a chance to get into so only really hard about this stuff second hand (and all of that was... yeah, "peak 90's metaplot"), and it'd be fun to hear from someone who actually has experience.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012


Evil Mastermind posted:

The setting is great (and one of my all-time faves) but the system is crunchy as gently caress and the metaplot was actually worse than Deadland's.

TORG is the epitome of 90's RPG design and I'm really tempted to review the line. I feel like I could do a loving dissertation on everything that was wrong with the way the metaplot was handled and why War's End was one of the worst supplements ever written.

The dumbest/saddest part about the TORG metaplot was that they tried to do it 'right', with semi-regular polls and questionnaires with adventures and what stuff people played and how it was resolved. From what I remember, though, they kept the numbers that could 'affect' whether an event was true or not fairly small and the window for responding was fairly short, so if enough groups liked a dumb plot twist, it became canon.

You can probably see how this went badly.


Though for a War's end dissertation there's always this: http://www.sdc.org/~ksjim/wars-end.html

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

You pick up the nugget of URANIUM and...

Oh that was so stupid. Why would you do that?


Bieeardo posted:

I only ever found the boxed set and a couple of supplements, so I thought TORG's metaplot, tie-in novels and stuff were supposed to be setup for out of the box campaigns, and thought it was really refreshing. It's really disappointing to hear otherwise.
There were a lot of problems once the line got underway. To wit:

unseenlibrarian posted:

The dumbest/saddest part about the TORG metaplot was that they tried to do it 'right', with semi-regular polls and questionnaires with adventures and what stuff people played and how it was resolved. From what I remember, though, they kept the numbers that could 'affect' whether an event was true or not fairly small and the window for responding was fairly short, so if enough groups liked a dumb plot twist, it became canon.

You can probably see how this went badly.
There was more to it than that, really.

See, the idea was that TORG was going to be a "living" setting. They'd release adventures with questionaires at the end, which people would fill out with the events of the adventure for their group and the overall outcome. Then, whatever result happened the most became "canon". In addition, they had a magazine called "Infiniverse" that they'd send out once a month with metaplot updates and mini-adventures and such.

There were a few problems with that.

First off, this was in the early 90's so there was no internet. Infiniverse was a paper mag that wasn't archived anywhere, so if you missed issues or came in late, you were S.O.L. until they put out the compilation books.

Second, every adventure they put out was also canon. As in, it was assumed in the metaplot that every group went through every adventure. So if you didn't play adventure X, then you'd miss out on some major metaplot thing.

Third, they were really bad at helping people keep track. They'd reference something like Baruk Kah finding some major artifact or something, but they wouldn't tell you what book this happened in or give you any backstory or summary of what happened. Baruk Kah would just have this artifact out of the blue.

Forth, the game line assumed that everyone was following the metaplot. Pretty much all the later supplements were designed under the assumption that everyone was in line with the metaplot (which they probably weren't, see the above points).

So as the game line wore on, more and of these major world-changing events happened. But if you didn't have all the books and novels and Infiniverse updates you'd have no loving clue what was going on. There are a bunch of major plot revelations in the last act of War's End that I had to look up through about 30 books to figure out where they originated. One of them happened more or less in passing in the Infiniverse magazine in general updates (not even an adventure, just a "here's what so-and-so is up to" paragraph or two), and the other originated in one of the novels, so if you didn't read it you'd have no idea where the gently caress it came from.

Something like this might work nowadays since you could make an official wiki or something, but back then it was a hot, hot mess.

quote:

Though for a War's end dissertation there's always this: http://www.sdc.org/~ksjim/wars-end.html
Wow, I can't even read that without my eyeballs throbbing.


e: And I haven't even touched on Jeff Mills, the worst NPC ever.

e2: EVER

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at Apr 13, 2013 around 03:26

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007



Evil Mastermind posted:

Something like this might work nowadays since you could make an official wiki or something, but back then it was a hot, hot mess.
Yeah, this sounds like the saddest part of it. A game-wide metaplot that ran off player input these days would- ... well, okay still probably be horrible since most gamers don't really know what they want or would make for a good adventure, but it would at least be easy to track (you could have e-mail feedback or web polls or whatever) and have ample documentation, possibly even on an official wiki. It's kind of ironic that the big justified push against metaplot stuff really happened before some of the technology to mitigate the worst of it really came about.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

You pick up the nugget of URANIUM and...

Oh that was so stupid. Why would you do that?


Asimo posted:

Yeah, this sounds like the saddest part of it. A game-wide metaplot that ran off player input these days would- ... well, okay still probably be horrible since most gamers don't really know what they want or would make for a good adventure, but it would at least be easy to track (you could have e-mail feedback or web polls or whatever) and have ample documentation, possibly even on an official wiki. It's kind of ironic that the big justified push against metaplot stuff really happened before some of the technology to mitigate the worst of it really came about.

Well, in TORG's case it wasn't just "what do you guys want to see?", it was "okay, out of everyone mailed in the results of module XYZ, most of you managed to stop the bad guy from getting the McGuffin, so that's canon now."

But again, that wasn't so useful for people who didn't like the modules or whose campaigns didn't mesh up with the metaplot.

Spoilers Below
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...


El Estrago Bonito posted:

The Technocracy was a terribly written bad guy faction. They couldn't have any kind of grey morality because if you did that they would be instantly the good guys and totally reasonable people.

I think that was what made the Guide to the Technocracy so much more compelling than the original mustache-twirling/soul-crushing Convention splatbooks. They did a great job selling you on the idea that the mages really were these awful selfish people who couldn't care less about the people they hurt and the societies that they trod underfoot in their quest for more domination over reality. The image of an ivory tower that's cracking apart from the inside because each of the 5 Conventions seriously believes its the one really in charge and has the other 4 fooled is such a perfect image for a conspiracy that it's stuck with me ever since, as well as all the sidebars about playing a real person who wants to save the world, but happens to have hitched their wagon to a group that's really not doing the best job but is also so deeply intrenched that it can't change course or stop due to sheer bureaucratical momentum, but has also managed to (somewhat) keep all the horrors of the past tamped down and given all that magic to the masses in the form of science that they can learn... Shame all that disappeared in the clusterfuck of 3rd edition.

I'll take magic James Bond who needs to worry that maybe his bosses are as bad as the guys he's fighting over half-baked mystic kung fu guys and 1337 Computer Haxors. It was everything I wanted out of Hunter, without all the baggage that made Hunter not as fun as it could have been. If my copy wasn't halfway across the country, I'd do a write up of it.

quote:

Torg drama

Oy, the metaplot stuff? I didn't get into the game until the early 2000s, and played one of those casual games where only one guy owned all the books and you just kinda went along with the rules as he GM'd. Managed to have a blast, too. Didn't learn until years later that we were playing the game "Wrong".

Spoilers Below fucked around with this message at Apr 13, 2013 around 04:53

El Estrago Bonito
Dec 17, 2010

Scout Finch Bitch


Guide to Technocracy mystifies me because its a great book written by the guy who wrote Changing Breeds. But the design team was headed by Jesse Heinig who is one of the better dudes working at WW during that period. And I guess it also had the dude who wrote Transylvania by Night which is a pretty popular book but I didn't like it all that much.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Is it safe to say that Unknown Armies 'You did it' mantra was partly in response to oWoD devaluing human agency? Though Mages having the power to remake reality through belief is a cool use of human Willpower.

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Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

Entropy in protein form

Count Chocula posted:

Is it safe to say that Unknown Armies 'You did it' mantra was partly in response to oWoD devaluing human agency? Though Mages having the power to remake reality through belief is a cool use of human Willpower.

Potentially, but I think it was just as much a response to the lovecraftian existential horror genre, if not more. It's an occult universe where instead of humankind being manipulated by the unknowable whims of eldritch horrors, every wierd thing that happens has a profoundly human reason.

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