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Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



unseenlibrarian posted:

I remember when Awakening first came out there were a metric shitton of Ascension fans complaining because it was turning all magic into Hermetics! When it actually got around to addressing something like OMage paradigms, the presentation was something along the lines of "All these groups have a bit of lost knowledge because of the big magical diaspora back in the day, so they probably have something to teach us!"

As opposed to the M20 approach, where there's a lot of different magicians with different belief systems but they're all fooling themselves and it's really just chaos magic you guys.

Wait, which one was supposed to be the more respectful and diverse approach again?

The one without :derp: ATLANTIS :derp:

oMage grogs never got out of that.

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LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Josef bugman posted:

See maybe I am the grognard, but through looking at a lot of this stuff, why on earth did people want/ fall so in love with OWoD? I mean I am only in my 20's so missed a lot of the 90's by being way too young, but when was this stuff good?

The RPG market was a lot different in the 90's, with fewer games and many of the design "developments" we take for granted now being revolutionary ideas that were in their infancy back then. It also had massive thematic appeal; it was the franchise that took every little thing that white middle-class young adults were into and said "you know that thing that makes you a bit of an outsider? It makes you super-cool and powerful!" Goth? Environmentalism? Wicca? Hating the Man? It makes you a total badass in the WoD. Tonewise it was also a pretty radical departure from D&D-style roleplaying; all about ~characters~ and ~story~ instead of combat and rules (but there is an entire combat supplement based on our licensed Street Fighter RPG!)

Bieeardo posted:

I'm beginning to think that Brucato's problem is less that he has goofy ideas, but that he presents them as incontrovertible fact with nothing to show how he gets from point A to ~, even while he's busily bloviating elsewhere. I know people who identify as gender-fluid or non-binary, outside of Tumblr even, but I don't know anyone who uses spivaks or any of the rest of the menagerie of nth gender pronouns, outside of fictional contexts like MUCKs and old Star Trek novels. A statement like 'gender is dynamic' is the beginning of a contentious argument or essay, not a misplaced mic drop, and it's an essay that's far too big for an isolated sidebar.

Rote repetition of phrases like "gender is a fluid thing" or whatever with no further explanation is something I've come to associate with people who don't really understand what they're talking about in the first place (often tumblr and other Internet social justice types). It's a mindset where they authoritatively quote soundbytes from obscure essays and treasies without having the academic experience to know that you then need to actually refer to the essay and an explanation of what the soundbyte means. So when Brucato tosses out "gender is dynamic, not static" and then goes on to talk about socially progressive circles that shows he has a very insular experience with socially progressive circles, I associate him with the same kind of cargo cult academia circlejerking. (If you handed me an actual essay titled "Gender is Dynamic: Personal Fluidness in Gender Identities and From the End of WWII to Today" I'd probably want to read that because it might be interesting.)

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Traveller posted:

The one without :derp: ATLANTIS :derp:

oMage grogs never got out of that.

As someone who got into the NWoD first, I always found this quite bizarre. I read a bit of Mage: the Ascension here and there, but found it hard to get into. Especially regards to the fact that the Technocracy sounded like the good guys because the consensus reality they shaped was on the whole good for the majority of non-mages, and that going back to the way things were would turn the world into a highly morphic hellscape without modern medicine, monstrous beasts roaming about, and all that jazz.

A secret society of supernatural dudes claiming origins from a higher world didn't seem that bad for me, especially when the werewolves have their own creation mythology of primordial nature spirits and wolf-gods.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011
I MIGHT BE A DECENT PERSON BUT I'M ALSO DEEPLY, DEEPLY STUPID AND SHOULD NOT BE REPLIED TO

Libertad! posted:

As someone who got into the NWoD first, I always found this quite bizarre. I read a bit of Mage: the Ascension here and there, but found it hard to get into. Especially regards to the fact that the Technocracy sounded like the good guys because the consensus reality they shaped was on the whole good for the majority of non-mages, and that going back to the way things were would turn the world into a highly morphic hellscape without modern medicine, monstrous beasts roaming about, and all that jazz.

A secret society of supernatural dudes claiming origins from a higher world didn't seem that bad for me, especially when the werewolves have their own creation mythology of primordial nature spirits and wolf-gods.

I think its just "new thing bad" at this point, because there doesn't seem to be any reason to prefer Omage other than pure obstinacy at this point.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Josef bugman posted:

See maybe I am the grognard, but through looking at a lot of this stuff, why on earth did people want/ fall so in love with OWoD? I mean I am only in my 20's so missed a lot of the 90's by being way too young, but when was this stuff good?
Perhaps OWOD is in fact something only 90s kids will get. :(

I think Mage was an unusually thin reed being thinned even further by Brucato, so in a way you're seeing the worst outside of things like their specifically edge-lord shrink-wrapped material.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Josef bugman posted:

See maybe I am the grognard, but through looking at a lot of this stuff, why on earth did people want/ fall so in love with OWoD? I mean I am only in my 20's so missed a lot of the 90's by being way too young, but when was this stuff good?

I think the best explanation is that they had charm DESPITE all their flaws. Take oVampire, for instance, the system is functional, but deeply unbalanced, and about half of the writing is eye-rolling vampire angst or pretentious trash, but the remaining half never quite takes itself seriously, and is just oozing interesting plot points to latch on to, plus has enough unreliable narrators that you're basically encouraged to pick and choose as a GM who you want to believe, and who you don't want to believe. Which clan has it right about the origins of the Vampire curse? Whichever clan you think has the coolest backstory for the game you're running! It was never exactly good for being the Angst-And-Politics simulator White Wolf seemed to feel it should be, but it was great for being, essentially, light-sensitive superheroes who threw trucks at werewolves.

oMage, similarly, was apparently intended as a Philosophy Debate Simulator, but, in the hands of most people I know, ended up mostly being an excuse to stir up a big pot of pulp fiction and conspiracy theories and then resolving the resulting mess with enough fireballs to glass half the Sahara.

And frankly I never knew anyone who actually ran any of the other oWoD games. :v:

But also it scored a lot of points at the time just for being different. It had less tables to look up than D&D(remember it was 1e and 2e AD&D back then), and aside from all the people who saw the unintended fun in the White Wolf games, there were a lot of people who were desperately hungry for the "secret universe behind our own where you, too, can have awesome powers and get revenge on the jocks!"-fantasy they peddled.

Precambrian
Apr 30, 2008



LatwPIAT posted:

See, all magic is actually chaos magick. :jerkbag: It's not even true. Historical magical practices (and consequently all fictional magic based on it) have often involved what we'd today call a scientific approach that has nothing to do with the magicians' will. Alchemists, for example, broadly believed that their experiments were repeatable and based on natural laws, with the self not entering much into the equation at all (in fact, this approach is what led the modern science of chemistry to develop from alchemy). Likewise, John Dee believed that summoning angels by chanting in Enochian was just as much of a universal science as his work in mathematics was. The idea that magic is somehow not just another form of natural law (i.e. a science) is a post-Enlightenment idea, and, to quote Wikipedia: "Modern Western magicians generally state magic's primary purpose to be personal spiritual growth". This book is written from an intensely Modern Western viewpoint, and it steamrolls everything else.

It'd be interesting to approach M20 from a Latour perspective, a We Have Never Been Mages.

PurpleXVI posted:

But also it scored a lot of points at the time just for being different. It had less tables to look up than D&D(remember it was 1e and 2e AD&D back then), and aside from all the people who saw the unintended fun in the White Wolf games, there were a lot of people who were desperately hungry for the "secret universe behind our own where you, too, can have awesome powers and get revenge on the jocks!"-fantasy they peddled.

I can't be understressed that Mage and the oWoD completely flipped the tables on tabletop gaming at pretty much the perfect time to do it. They also did an exceptional job targeting specific niches with and within their products. You can break the different types of Vampires down by which high school clique they're supposed to appeal to, and fringe Internet communities, such as your Neopagans, your Goths, your proto-Otherkin, were starting to come together in force just in time to read Werewolf and Changeling. It was different and personal at just the right time.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Vampire was sexy, transgressive, and both in a period of time when porn was still something most kids got from brief moments of unscrambled TV and occasional bits of lucky discovery in the woods. Where D&D kept telling you to kill the evil critters en masse, and not try to play evil, the WoD flipped that on its head and couched everything in the easily accessible terms of thinly veiled high school drama. They may not have intended it at first, but they were certainly happy to milk it for all it was worth.

And... yes, thank you, LatwPIAT. There's a reason why a lot of my own old essays had comments like 'expand on this' jotted in the margins. Every time I 'hear' Brucato's editorial voice, I imagine him pontificating in the corner of some New Age shoppe that sells mystically aligned stones that were dynamited out of a hillside, and keeps paperback copies of the Necronomicon 'safely' on a shelf behind the counter. The TVTripes shout-out almost sells it by itself.

Cultural attitudes toward gender identity/expression and sexuality were my elective of choice when I studied anthropology an age ago. If I still had JSTOR access, I'd be hunting down papers in that vein today. Tumblr doesn't cut it. Tumblr is just 4chan with a different angle, and both of them really remind me of the great grimdark shift of nerd culture in the Nineties: adolescent rebellion, and lining up to be a unique and special snowflake just like everyone else in the clique they're struggling to align themselves with. There are people I respect, who identify as fluid or non-binary (I don't understand it, but just call me Jack Burton), but I don't think any of them are Tumblrinas. They're not strident enough.

And... gently caress that whole sidebar. I use 'ze' as a literary device sometimes, specifically because it feels alien and othering. Making it sound as if it's accepted practice is deeply hosed up.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Fossilized Rappy posted:

Stop up Excretion (put someone's feces in a bottle and hide it in a tree, and they'll suffer constipation until they die from bowel backup in a week if they don't receive surgery or have their poop jar destroyed)

:gonk: Well that's horrible.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


unseenlibrarian posted:

Given that most of the random charts in Public Enemy's random scenario generation stuff only has one "GM fiat only" option, it feels like rolling GM's choice kind of pushes you to pick that one even if you'd otherwise be more interested in another result.

On the upside, "Primary schooler" is a GM fiat only choice for most of the NPCs, so I can feel free to never pick it to avoid a random scenario where you've got to beat up an 8 year old.

A weird part about these ROC (Roll or Choice) tables is that they yet again codify stuff GMs usually just wing, anyways. The "Boss pops up so we can have a Climax Phase anyways" Deus Ex Machina was even mentioned as something the GM can just do if he doesn't want the players to completely fail the Middle Phase.

And a lot of Event tables actually have two GM fiat choices. Mind you, one is always "GM's Choice", while the other one is something like "For some reason, the Rival decided to go on vacation" or... "Everyone's wearing a maid outfit", in case you want to John Wick the campaign into Maid RPG. And why wouldn't you? Fighting over Master's affection is always easier if you can both cool and heat drinks with your bare hands. Or summon cutlery out of thin air.

And speaking of beating up 8-year-olds...

Double Cross - Public Enemy


Example Scenarios

Like the Advanced Corebook, Public Enemy features two new example adventures:

The Girl and the Bloody Sword

Coming soon: The Inside Out manga.

Kaori "Silent Sheep" Yagumo (Morpheus/Neumann) is a former UGN Agent who has defected to False Hearts. She's one of those who felt the UGN did no longer care about peaceful co-existance between humans and Overeds and left the place when Caudwell returned. Unfortunately for her, she didn't feel like FH was any better, and in fact their struggle with the UGN might just be the reason there can be no peace. So she decided to break into a secret FH lab to steal Tyrfing, a Renegade Crystal in the form of a sword that she hopes would make her powerful enough to destroy both organizations.
What she didn't expect was for Tyrfing to try to fuse with her. The process failed, destroying the lab killing Soari... sorta. In her stead, an underaged copy of her by the name of Blood Rain is now running around City N, slaughtering both UGN and FH Agents with Tyrfing.

Basically, this is a Scenario designed for a mixed group of UGN and FH characters, who are eventually ordered by their higher-ups to cooperate in stopping this little mass murderer.
But the situation is a bit more complex than this. You see, Blood Rain isn't the only underaged copy created in the failed fusion process. The other one is simply called Saori and is completely harmless as she has inherited Silent Sheep's desire for peace.
Like so often with these Heroines, Saori first runs into PC1. And by "runs into" I mean "She's just lying on the ground till she noticed PC1 isn't affected by her Warding Field, then she just takes his food because she's hungry, all while talking in the third person because she's a bit weird". It's almost like a "strange alien girlfriend" harem anime, except without fanservice.

Saori eventually spills the beans that there are in fact a lot more underaged copies running around City N, with only Saori and Blood Rain having full sentience and being able to absorb the others in order to bring Tyrfing back to full strength, which would spell doom to both the UGN and FH.
Saori herself is pretty useless in a fight however, so she begs the PCs to stop Blood Rain in her stead, ensuring them that Silent Sheep would've never truly wanted such a bloodbath. This leads to an interesting gimmick where Blood Rain's final Encroachment Rate (and therefore strength) depends on how many of the lesser copies - called Tyrfing Orta - she managed to absorb, aka how many the PCs didn't off themselves.

Having their first real contact with Blood Rain also has her drop a little plot twist that the PCs might've figured out earlier:
Saori having inherited Silent Sheep's dream of a peaceful world for everyone is bullshit. Blood Rain is the real inheritor of Silent Sheep's true feelings. Saori is just making stuff up to feel better. Depending on how the players react to this, Saori will just give up and let herself be nommed by Blood Rain.

Right before the final showdown, Blood Rain starts killing everyone she comes across on the street, forcing the PCs to find her ASAP before she becomes even crazier. Though it notes they have to make checks, the book doesn't actually say which checks. I guess like in a normal Investigation?

Depending on how powerful Blood Rain was at the end, Saori may or may not survive her destruction and life on as the weird little girl she is. Now it's just up to the players to figure out what to do with Tyrfing. So don't worry about them using it for themselves, as the whole ordeal has damaged it too much to be anything other than a test subject.

The Test-Play Report makes its appearance again, and it tells us that the various UGN and FH PCs managed to get into fights with each other.

Dead Man's Cruise

The age-old dilemma of "Is it okay for an ancient being to drink booze if she looks like a little girl?"

This is an all-FH Scenario, and the first so far to not take place in City N. PC1 (or someone else I guess) is also required to have the Super Soldier T-Lois, as that one's pretty important to the plot.

The MacGuffin of this Scenario is the Dead Man's Coronet, an EX Renegade in the form of a crown. In the 18th century, it turned the pirate Captain Jean-Jacques (Morpheus/Orcus/Balor) into a Renegade Being that just keeps coming back to life no matter how often he's been killed. PC2 has in fact killed him at least once before.

The Coronet is currently planned to be showcased on the Eternal Queen a cruise ship in Tokyo Bay. Professor Caudwell is very interested in the Coronet and sends the PCs with false invitations on the ship - except for PC1 who already got one from The Planner because their acquaintances she's very interested in his "gift of death" (hint hint).

The situation on board is a bit awkward with The Planner and her bodyguard Minerva around - especially since PC4 (the recommended slot for the FH Merc pregen) is a rival of Minerva and she keeps on talking about how she "plans to be the one who kills him". There's even a cliffhanger ending scene where both meet again on the battlefield and start rushing towards each other. You just know they're going to kiss eventually.

Anyhow, the party is crashed when Jean-Jacques - also on board - decides to ditch his Xenos membership and grab the Coronet. Now he's immortal to the point of instantly respawning on the spot (the Undying Delusions E-Lois), and he decides to celebrate his reunion with the Coronet by using his Encroaching Impulse E-Lois to turn all the unnamed NPCs on the ship into rampaging Gjaums. Escape is not an option, as he has used the Enemy-exclusive Balor Power <<Space-Time Rip>> to trap the whole ship inside a pocket dimension.


He's also turned himself into a skeleton pirate, because that's friggin' metal.

The PCs now have to fight their way through the ship, making sure that The Planner is okay and searching for any clues as to how it was possible for Jean-Jacques to have stayed dead long for the Coronet to be taken away from him in the first place. Turns out the secret is "Hit his weak point for (not actually) massive damage", aka hit the jewel on the Coronet. Though in the past, the jewel has always regenerated itself, which is the main reason why Jean-Jacques is still around. Though one of the PCs does have a "gift of death"...

The Test-Play Report of this most metal of all Scenarios so far informs of that one group had PC1 be adopted by The Planner in the past, which must be pretty darn weird with her current body.

False Hearts Scenario Guide

The book ends with a few guidelines for making Scenarios about FH characters. Generally, FH characters tend to be a bit more selfish and, well, bad-guyish. Protecting the world is not nearly as important tot hem than fulfilling their desires.
The guide also mentions possible enemies for mixed groups, ranging from Bombs (enemies who will destroy both the UGN and FH if they get their way, like Blood Rain), someone from Xenos, or just someone both sides want to see gone. Especially the latter may or may not be followed by a bit of PVP between the UGN and FH PCs.

Next Time: Infinity Code - A new Syndrome! New Powers! Skill Challenges!

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Ascension had loads of good stuff in it; it just mostly got left out here.

Maybe try doing a review of Euthanatos or Akashic Brotherhood revised?

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



unseenlibrarian posted:

I remember when Awakening first came out there were a metric shitton of Ascension fans complaining because it was turning all magic into Hermetics! When it actually got around to addressing something like OMage paradigms, the presentation was something along the lines of "All these groups have a bit of lost knowledge because of the big magical diaspora back in the day, so they probably have something to teach us!"

As opposed to the M20 approach, where there's a lot of different magicians with different belief systems but they're all fooling themselves and it's really just chaos magic you guys.

Wait, which one was supposed to be the more respectful and diverse approach again?

To be fair, M20 is not actually representative of the line in general. It's overall representative of a very Brucato-esque version of Mage, the early 2E version where the purple paradigm was king and everything was all about ~chaos magick~ and oh-so-wacky foci. Late 2E and Revised were generally much better at setting a tone for the game.

You also might have noticed from LatwPIAT's review that when M20 gets away from the Brucatoisms and the 1E silliness, like the Technocracy chapter, it gets significantly better.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

It's also worth checking out the four revised Technocracy books that came out in the past few years (so, any of them except Iteration X), which are a pretty good look at a Technocracy that's both deeply idealistic and deeply evil.

(Specifically, it's a Technocracy where all the Old Masters who knew that enlightened science is magic and suppressed that information are dead via metaplot, so all the people left in the organization are the ones who legitimately believe in Technocratic ideology. So the Progenitors really want to hunt down Traditions healers because they're peddling junk science that only works because of "deviant psionic powers" and that offends them as men of medicine, and the Syndicate... okay, the Syndicate is just full of evil fucks.)

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

Beleth, Princess of Nightmares, was one of the first angels made, serving as the angel of Fear and the lover of Blandine. Now, she is a Djinn that despises humanity after siding with Lucifer against her lover's wishes. She thinks the other Princes are too soft on humans, particularly those that just kill them. She spies for Lucifer, and most Princes avoid the Marches as a result. She has no friends, no allies, and few who will even work with her. She and her demons have worked more than any others to promote fear and mistrust, doing so to mask the insecurities that they will never admit to.

Did someone at NCsoft play a lot of In Nomine? Swap "angel/demon" for "plant person" and you've got a fairly significant villain from Guild Wars 2 down to the lesbian relationship that turned sour when one of the pair succumbed to the lure of nightmares.

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


unseenlibrarian posted:

I remember when Awakening first came out there were a metric shitton of Ascension fans complaining because it was turning all magic into Hermetics! When it actually got around to addressing something like OMage paradigms, the presentation was something along the lines of "All these groups have a bit of lost knowledge because of the big magical diaspora back in the day, so they probably have something to teach us!"

As opposed to the M20 approach, where there's a lot of different magicians with different belief systems but they're all fooling themselves and it's really just chaos magic you guys.

Wait, which one was supposed to be the more respectful and diverse approach again?

But the whole presentation of nMage is Hermetic- all the Atlantis stuff. The attraction of oMage IS the Chaos Magick stuff and the idea that you can create a Mage who does magic out of almost anything- so one player is playing Feng Shui, somebody else is playing Unknown Armies, there's a D&D Cleric and a Wizard and a Hoodoo Blues Voudoun and the rules let them all interact on something like an even playing field. Plus the freeform magic system is amazing, and allows for tons of creativity.

There is a bunch of oh so edgy 90s stuff like The Invisibles baked into it, but so what? It's still fun to play a game where 8 people can weaponize philosophy on the metaphysical plane. Add in some 60s Discordism too. Play it as semi-freeform, where everybody has their own agendas and the ST adjudicates, and it's great. My character went on a Seeking and it really was like a good old-school adventure game.

Different strokes and all that, and I get why people wouldn't like oMage, but it's still a great game that has an appeal that nMage doesn't.
I also never heard the 'the Technocracy are the good guys' until I joined SA, though the Guide to the Technocracy does make a case for them.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Count Chocula posted:

Different strokes and all that, and I get why people wouldn't like oMage, but it's still a great game that has an appeal that nMage doesn't.
I also never heard the 'the Technocracy are the good guys' until I joined SA, though the Guide to the Technocracy does make a case for them.

It actually, I think, depends on how you get into oMage. If you got into it from 1st or 2nd edition, it's pretty rare. But if you, like me, get into it from Revised, Revised makes a fairly solid case of the Technocracy being cruel and callous and yet necessary. And you should probably get to work filing those rough edges off, but there's just so much to lose and so little time that maybe you, too, are tempted to cut corners.

When you get into it from the other end, that perspective becomes a lot harder to take.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Precambrian posted:

I can't be understressed that Mage and the oWoD completely flipped the tables on tabletop gaming at pretty much the perfect time to do it. They also did an exceptional job targeting specific niches with and within their products. You can break the different types of Vampires down by which high school clique they're supposed to appeal to, and fringe Internet communities, such as your Neopagans, your Goths, your proto-Otherkin, were starting to come together in force just in time to read Werewolf and Changeling. It was different and personal at just the right time.
Yeah, one of the OWODs big plusses was that it targeted an audience outside of the traditional SCA/SF fandom/computer club set and drew them into gaming, unlike pretty much every other RPG which just counted on picking up the crumbs from AD&D's table. Turns out there were a whole bunch of goth-ish teens and college students who really wanted to play-act in the world of Anne Rice novels, and WW was the first company to try and cater to this audience.

And, as you note, a lot of OWOD was particularly of its time and place (early 1990s "alt" culture), which I always thought came through most clearly in the choice of traditions for Mage. Badass Zen monks! Drum-thumping neo-shamans! L33t hacker d00dz! Party-all-night ravers! Serial killers for karmic justice! Spooky goth chicks! Scary wiccans! Crazy retro techies! Aleister Crowley wannabes! Christians who are all spiritual and poo poo and are the polar opposites of TV evangelists! It's near-perfect time capsule of what the early 1990s considered coo, which is probably why 20 years later it's somewhat baffling to people who weren't around then.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

You can have the exact same party in NMage, but using the stuff from Magical Traditions means that the guy playing the Hoodoo Cunning folk actually gets a mechanical benefit for doing so instead of it being a mostly meaningless layer that you're meant to eventually discard, and his buddy the Taoist sorcerer can do things with Wards that no one else has ever figured out without training in the same tradition.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Count Chocula posted:

I also never heard the 'the Technocracy are the good guys' until I joined SA, though the Guide to the Technocracy does make a case for them.

The thing is, the Guide to the Technocracy also mentions how the Technocracy employs mandatory obedience brainwashing because without it people keep defecting.

The GttT is pro-Technocracy but it's also barely-veiled satire, which people on the internet have been intentionally ignoring them for ten million arguments.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Rand Brittain posted:

The thing is, the Guide to the Technocracy also mentions how the Technocracy employs mandatory obedience brainwashing because without it people keep defecting.

The GttT is pro-Technocracy but it's also barely-veiled satire, which people on the internet have been intentionally ignoring them for ten million arguments.

First, the quote is "With all that they are subjected to, it's a wonder more agents don't go rogue," not "the only reason most agents don't go rogue is because of Conditioning."

Second, if you look at the standards for 'mandatory obedience brainwashing,' the vast majority of the Technocracy are going to be at 3-5, which means, at 3, that they implicitly trust their supervising authorities and find people they say are suspicious suspicious, and at 5, they have a killswitch which makes them cease violent action. Given that at 5, you're probably some sort of killer cyborg, this isn't actually as sinister as a lot of the pro-Traditions posters claim it is. Even at 7, which is much higher than most people are going to end up at, your Conditioning amounts to "if your commanding officer tells you to trust these people, you will trust them."

The book's also very vague on whether this is a thing-it keeps emphasizing that the very existence of the Procedure is optional, so it's not really "intentionally" ignoring them so much as it is taking an explicitly written option.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Josef bugman posted:

See maybe I am the grognard, but through looking at a lot of this stuff, why on earth did people want/ fall so in love with OWoD? I mean I am only in my 20's so missed a lot of the 90's by being way too young, but when was this stuff good?

Honestly you have to remember the sort of game environment they were popular in. Most of the big games at the time were basically products of '60s or '70s nerd pop culture like D&D, Call of Cthulhu, and Traveller or toolbox games of the '80s like GURPS or Champions. There, frankly, had been very little attempt to capitalize on modern trends, and sexuality in RPGs was mostly really regressive stuff like women on altars or wearing chainmail bikinis. Though there were some RPGs based on then-current properties now and then, about the first RPG to try and capitalize on being stylish was Cyberpunk, which created a lot of imitators and kind of paved the way for the games White Wolf would make. Ultimately, Vampire and their ilk had a modern feel to them at the time when very few RPGs did at the time, and at the least paid lip service to things like sexuality and fashion. They also had a much more casual writing style and the "storytelling" system may not seem very narrative-based, talking about literary themes and moods wasn't something a lot of RPGs even bothered discussing.

At the time, they felt like of the few RPGs that hadn't been devised by your dad or grandpa.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

"Our operatives aren't brainwashed that much" is not a compelling argument against GttT being satire.

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



Rand Brittain posted:

The thing is, the Guide to the Technocracy also mentions how the Technocracy employs mandatory obedience brainwashing because without it people keep defecting.

The GttT is pro-Technocracy but it's also barely-veiled satire, which people on the internet have been intentionally ignoring them for ten million arguments.

I think the problem with the presentation of the Technocracy is that, by presenting them as well-intentioned but fundamentally-misguided, and worst of all, competent, the writing unwittingly buys into the narrative of the Technocracy's real-life inspirations. It's an especially well-established and insidious narrative, of Hard Men Making Hard Choices, and to be sure it makes for good drama because otherwise where's your moral conflict, but a more realistic portrayal would instead make CIA-analogues out to be a bunch of freewheeling lunatics with an unlimited budget, zero accountability, and no capacity to distinguish between reality and an episode of 24.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Rand Brittain posted:

"Our operatives aren't brainwashed that much" is not a compelling argument against GttT being satire.

When you're classifying "if your immediate superior in the hierarchy says someone is suspicious you treat them as suspicious" as 'brainwashing' literally 99.99% of employees are going to count as having had mandatory loyalty brainwashing.

Thesaurasaurus posted:

I think the problem with the presentation of the Technocracy is that, by presenting them as well-intentioned but fundamentally-misguided, and worst of all, competent, the writing unwittingly buys into the narrative of the Technocracy's real-life inspirations. It's an especially well-established and insidious narrative, of Hard Men Making Hard Choices, and to be sure it makes for good drama because otherwise where's your moral conflict, but a more realistic portrayal would instead make CIA-analogues out to be a bunch of freewheeling lunatics with an unlimited budget, zero accountability, and no capacity to distinguish between reality and an episode of 24.

The fundamental conflict of the Technocracy that Guide to the Technocracy seems to get at is that it's necessary but not all of its actions are, I think. So the narrative is like "we need to have something like the FBI/CIA/police officers but maybe we can stop shooting black guys for the crime of being black." I don't think there's actually people who unironically defend the Technocracy as 100% justified in literally everything it does instead of just overall a force that does more good than it does ill.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Rand Brittain posted:

"Our operatives aren't brainwashed that much" is not a compelling argument against GttT being satire.
One could argue, perhaps, that the Technocrats have the advantage of a quantified value of brainwashing. I'm going to suspect that there is some substantial consciousness alteration involved in most Traditional awakenings, too. Even an Orphan getting 'adopted' would have to learn certain things... and gain power thereby, of course.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I feel like the Ascended in Feng Shui did the Technocracy's thing better and also did a better job of making it clear they were tremendous motherfuckers.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG


Didn't Revised also have a general "the magical brainwashing and implants aren't working the way they used to, so we're having to be less Disney Evil"? I know it was a minor note in some of Hunter and the later "XX of the East" books, anyway.

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

Bieeardo posted:

I'm beginning to think that Brucato's problem is less that he has goofy ideas, but that he presents them as incontrovertible fact with nothing to show how he gets from point A to ~, even while he's busily bloviating elsewhere. I know people who identify as gender-fluid or non-binary, outside of Tumblr even, but I don't know anyone who uses spivaks or any of the rest of the menagerie of nth gender pronouns, outside of fictional contexts like MUCKs and old Star Trek novels. A statement like 'gender is dynamic' is the beginning of a contentious argument or essay, not a misplaced mic drop, and it's an essay that's far too big for an isolated sidebar.

Bieeardo posted:

Cultural attitudes toward gender identity/expression and sexuality were my elective of choice when I studied anthropology an age ago. If I still had JSTOR access, I'd be hunting down papers in that vein today. Tumblr doesn't cut it. Tumblr is just 4chan with a different angle, and both of them really remind me of the great grimdark shift of nerd culture in the Nineties: adolescent rebellion, and lining up to be a unique and special snowflake just like everyone else in the clique they're struggling to align themselves with. There are people I respect, who identify as fluid or non-binary (I don't understand it, but just call me Jack Burton), but I don't think any of them are Tumblrinas. They're not strident enough.

And... gently caress that whole sidebar. I use 'ze' as a literary device sometimes, specifically because it feels alien and othering. Making it sound as if it's accepted practice is deeply hosed up.

Hi, it's me, the genderqueer person who prefers 've' pronouns. (Singular 'they' is for me the grammatical equivalent of fingernails on chalkboard; I use it to refer to the people who request it, but I really dislike it.)

Since I'm sure I'll be asked:

ve pronouns posted:

  • he, she, ve (all three share the pattern)
  • his, her, vis (his and vis share the pattern)
  • him, her, ver (her and ver share the pattern)
  • himself, herself, verself
It's kind of tricky at first to remember which pattern to follow, but you can work it out because "vim" is already an English word, so exclude it from the pronoun space.

I also think saying "Tumblr is just 4chan with a different angle" is like saying "SA is just like 4chan" because you looked into GBS and called it a day. There are many different partially overlapping tumblrs, unlike 4chan, because you can choose who to follow and interact with.

inklesspen fucked around with this message at 00:05 on Jan 18, 2016

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



Bieeardo posted:

I'm beginning to think that Brucato's problem is less that he has goofy ideas, but that he presents them as incontrovertible fact with nothing to show how he gets from point A to ~, even while he's busily bloviating elsewhere.

...does this make Brucato the Piers Anthony of elfgaming?

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


MJ12 posted:

When you're classifying "if your immediate superior in the hierarchy says someone is suspicious you treat them as suspicious" as 'brainwashing' literally 99.99% of employees are going to count as having had mandatory loyalty brainwashing.


You could classify most employee 'onboarding' and orientation and 'culture' programs as Technocracy style brainwashing, yes! Especially if you haven't been exposed to it before, you're in a 90s Microserfs/No Logo/culturejamming mindset, or you've ever listened to a corporate loyalty presentation.

That's the best/worst thing about Mage - it teases out everybody's biases and leads to fractal levels of arguments. Maybe we should quarantine this to another thread so it doesn't destroy the Tapestry of FATAL & Friends?

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Part of the problem is that a lot of what we love about the modern world is implicitly or even explicitly "tagged" as Technocratic, and the counter from the Traditions to questions like "what about vaccine programs?" is often nothing at all. You barely scratch the surface, and a lot of what the Traditions say is "we want back the days of wizard kings ruling unwashed peasants…but we swear we won't be so callous this time." The most sympathetic aspect of the Traditions is fighting cultural hegemony, but when it's weighed down by linkage to the drastically conservative overarching philosophy it becomes harder to empathize.

That's why the game tends to get worse when you get too far away from urban shamans throwing exploding poker cards at the Terminator and MiBs. It just isn't very good at the other stuff people seem to want it to do.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

That Old Tree posted:

You barely scratch the surface, and a lot of what the Traditions say is "we want back the days of wizard kings ruling unwashed peasants…but we swear we won't be so callous this time."

They don't actually say that, though? That's something people often attribute to them but it's not really part of the game's description of them.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


I might have said this before, but the 90s were anti-technology and pro-spiritualism and we're kind of the opposite. To the people this was written to appeal to, destroying modern tech and returning to the natural order would be a good thing.

We like to make fun of power-nerd fantasy, this is a power-hippie fantasy. Doesn't mean we're wrong, but it does mean we can't apperciate in the way people of the past did due to cultural bias and that should be considered.

I'm only referring to the Technocrancy here.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Covok posted:

I might have said this before, but the 90s were anti-technology and pro-spiritualism and we're kind of the opposite. To the people this was written to appeal to, destroying modern tech and returning to the natural order would be a good thing.

We like to make fun of power-nerd fantasy, this is a power-hippie fantasy. Doesn't mean we're wrong, but it does mean we can't apperciate in the way people of the past did due to cultural bias and that should be considered.

I'm only referring to the Technocrancy here.

Yeah, a lot of this derives from the fact that Mage is based on the premise "what if faith healers, homeopaths, New Agers, and people who dress like Neo from The Matrix were right, and the good guys" and in the twenty years since then our cultural tolerance for faith healers and homeopaths has dropped below basement level.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Rand Brittain posted:

They don't actually say that, though? That's something people often attribute to them but it's not really part of the game's description of them.

I don't have the books to cite, anymore, but I'm sure at least a few factions explicitly do, but primarily that this is a (probably unintentional) implicit theme throughout the game line. I love the game and what it can be used for, but when it comes to unexamined assumptions and accidental themes it's still just another White Wolf game from the 90's.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

That Old Tree posted:

I don't have the books to cite, anymore, but I'm sure at least a few factions explicitly do, but primarily that this is a (probably unintentional) implicit theme throughout the game line. I love the game and what it can be used for, but when it comes to unexamined assumptions and accidental themes it's still just another White Wolf game from the 90's.

Honestly, I don't think the books ever really talk about what the Traditions want other than "freedom from being cyborg murdered" because that's such a far-off, nebulous future that there's no point. People just read intentions onto them to match their bias. (And okay, there's probably at least one book that states that the Tradtions are totally planning to turn the entire world into Generic Fantasy Europe, because of course there is.)

Really, this is the one thing that Ascension always completely failed at in every iteration--these arguments are never fun. If you're playing Nobilis, navel-gazing and arguing about what is or isn't Treachery is all part of the fun; doing the same thing with your paradigm in Ascension is a gateway to endless misery.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


Rand Brittain posted:

Yeah, a lot of this derives from the fact that Mage is based on the premise "what if faith healers, homeopaths, New Agers, and people who dress like Neo from The Matrix were right, and the good guys" and in the twenty years since then our cultural tolerance for faith healers and homeopaths has dropped below basement level.

Yeah, it's really worth noting that all this arguing is kind of a moot point. By the cultural perspective of these writers in the 90s, the Technocrancy and their consenus was evil.

Remember, this was made to appeal to people who actually believed the "new age" and feared the possible negative influence of scientific advancement. It was also a time where dangerous science was associated with unethical corporations.


It's like this: if you read a novel from ancient China, you might be confused about why certain traits are being praised and others hated by your own biases.

Point is, I just feel like there is no "right" answer to satisfy anyone in the Technocrancy debate. They don't actually exist, the writers were inconsistent about them, and they were writting from a different culutural schema that opposes our's on key points.

The Technocrancy are meant to be the villians, would be to the target auidence at the time, but wouldn't seem that way to us.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The fact that the arguments it produces aren't any fun to have is what kills Mage for me.

Ars Magica, though? That sounds like my jam. A grumpy wizard academic and their buddies/employees having to navigate their place within and without a wider culture and world is way more fun.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Bieeardo posted:

Vampire was sexy, transgressive, and both in a period of time when porn was still something most kids got from brief moments of unscrambled TV and occasional bits of lucky discovery in the woods. Where D&D kept telling you to kill the evil critters en masse, and not try to play evil, the WoD flipped that on its head and couched everything in the easily accessible terms of thinly veiled high school drama. They may not have intended it at first, but they were certainly happy to milk it for all it was worth.

This, by the way, is where the whole "roleplaying vs. rollplaying" :smug: thing got started. It was originally meant to draw a distinction between the White Wolf games, which were all about character and personality and humanity and Deep Cosmic Questions maaaaan, and D&D and its relatives, where you just rolled dice to kill monsters and take their stuff.

It amuses me that the use of the phrase has mutated so much that now the old-school D&Ders place themselves on the "roleplaying" side.

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Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Night10194 posted:

Ars Magica, though? That sounds like my jam. A grumpy wizard academic and their buddies/employees having to navigate their place within and without a wider culture and world is way more fun.

Ars Magica is pretty rad. My favorite part is how instead of being smug vampires, House Tremere are instead awesome dudes out to conquer the world because everybody else is even less qualified to rule the world than they are.

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