I'm imagining the players crossing the Meridian and the GM immediately pausing the game to write up your characters in like, Legends of the Wulin.
|# ? Jun 26, 2013 03:32|
|# ? Sep 27, 2023 00:17|
Ars Magica 5th Edition: Art and Academe
The known habitable region is bounded to the north by the arctic zone, to the south by the torrid zone and to the east and west by tidal currents. Though it is called temperate, it is not evenly temperate, with those regions nearest the arctic zone cold and moist and those nearest the torrid zone hot and dry. Only the middle is evenly temperate. It is divided into Europe, Asia and Africa, with Asia beginning in the east and stretching north to the arctic and south to the torrid zone. It ends in the west at the River Don and the River Nile. Africa is the southern portion of the rest, and Europe the northern. They are seperated by the Mediterranean Sea. The very center of the known habitable region is Jerusalem, naturally, where Asia, Europe and Africa meet. The Great Ocean the seperates north and south hemispheres is the source of all moisture, lying in the center of the torrid zone and surrounding the earth along the equator. The heat of the equator makes it impossible to reach, but philosophy has proven it must exist. At each meridian, it splits into two currents, one northern and the other southern. In the known habitable region, this means that one tidal current, the Indian Sea, heads north to the east of Asia, and the other, the Atlantic Sea, heads north west of Africa and Europe. When they meet, the collision sucks the seas back, creating the ebb and flow of the tides. As they circle the land, they create the North, Mediterranean, Black, Arabian and Caspian Seas.
Now, meteorology! This is the study of the spheres of air and fire. Weather is the product of moist and hot particles moving. Rain, which is water, is a product of moisture of air, which is why it is a phenomenon of air, not water. Likewise, lightning and aerial fires are a product of the heat of air, and are thus airy and not fiery in nature. Wind is caused by precipitate motion of air, which has many causes. It might be reflux of the tidal currents, which is why the coast is windier, or air trapped in the earth struggling to escape, which creates mighty winds in the fissures. If the air is unable to escape, it will find yielding soil and break through, causing earthquakes. Air chilled by earth or water changes to a watery substance, called a cloud. When the rays of the sun touch a cloud, they separate it, as is the nature of heat, and divided from the air, the watery particles fall as rain according to their natural propensities. As they fall, they hit the air, causing stormy winds, the most violent of winds. Occasionally, rain is caused by wind lifting moisture from rivers, marshes or lakes, and rain of this kind often contains fish or frogs. In the summer, the heat carries the moisture raised by winds to the upper sky, where it meets a cold, dry wind that freezes it into a stony substance, hail. In winter, it is not carried so far and is chilled by the cold atmosphere instead, becoming snow.
Air rising from the earth sometimes brings a bit of earth with it, which dries under the heat of the sun to form a stony substance inside clouds. When the clouds reach the highest part of the sky, they collide, creating thunder, which results in heat, igniting the air into a fiery substance, coruscation - that is, flashes of fire between clouds. Since fire naturally separates, this splits the clouds and ignites the stones within, which then violently descend to earth as lightning. Meteors have the same origin, but come from more moderate collisions. As a result, the stones have less force and are consumed before striking the ground. Comets are from elsewhere. Meteors descend from the upper atmosphere, but comets are an earthy exhalation from a hot place, like a volcano, which heads up to the upper atmosphere, igniting due to the heat of their travel. The light of a comet, unlike that of a meteor, stretches out behind them like long hair.
Aerial fire can also be made by wind in the high atmosphere rushing over still moisture in the low atmosphere. Such fire drifts down to rest on high places. These fires have no stones within, so they do not strike or wound. They differ in size, shape and color, and may occupy half the northern sky, in which case they are called the aurora borealis, or may appear as balls or barrels that drift near the ground, called pithia. After the rain, a rainbow often appears. Some say this is composed of substance - a bright cloud reflecting the colors of the elements infusing it, with red for fire, purple for air, blue for water and green for earth. Others maintain that rainbows have no substance, but is simply an image of the sun cast onto clouds. No one, however, doubts that the rainbow's final cause is the promise made by God to Noah in the Book of Genesis.
Now, let's talk about life. A minimum definition of life is the ability to take nourishment and to increase and decrease under your own power rather than as a result of outside mechanical action. All things have attractive, digestive and expulsive capabilities, but living things can direct those forces rather than passively experiencing them. The least and lowest of living things are plants, which have the basic power of the natural faculty and act as efficient causes of their own kind. Above them are those that also possess the sensitive faculty, the ability to perceive the world around them. The least of these are those that lack powers of desire and mobility, the immobile shellfish, which are halfway between plant and animal. Most beings have the power of movement and so are classed as animals. Above them, the third degree, are rational beings such as humans and spirits. Natural animals lack rationality and knowledge, but have a natural wisdom born of instinct. They may build dwellings, care for young, find food, flee danger and defend themselves from harm. They know to seek certain herbs for their ills, and by their estimation know what will help or harm them, yet cannot be said to have true intellect and reason.
God created plants before the sun, in order that it should not seem that the sun is the originator of plants. Pagans worship the sun in error, believing it the origin of plants. Plants exist for the sake of humans - many are food for humans or animals which are in turn food for humans. Some are medicines, others fiber for cloth, and wood can be used to build or as instrument of craft and war. Plants are of two kinds: green herbs and fruit-bearing trees. The herbs are food for animals and humans, and the whole plant is consumed, while trees yield food, like fruit or leaves, which replenishes each year. There are also thorns, thistles and poisonous herbs, which give no benefit to man. They have one of three causes for their origin: first, they may not have existed before the sin of man, but were made after. Second, they preceded the first crime but were not harmful since they were unable hurt humans who were free of sin. Third, they acquired their noxious nature and rough shapes after man's expulsion from Eden. Whatever the origin truly is, their purpose is to convince man of error and punish man for sin.
Those things that live in the waters, even if they can live on land, are counted as pisces, fish. Swimming is a form of creeping, and fish pull themselves through the water with their fins, just as reptiles pull themselves across the land. Some fish are called amphibians if they may live on land as well, and this includes crocodiles, seals, beavers and otters. Fish have less of the apprehensive power of the soul than land animals, and so have less life and ability to respond to their environment. The living things of the air are aves, birds, which occupy the sphere of air but not the sphere of fire. The flight of every bird may reach the earth, but only the noble birds such as eagles can reach the firmament, and even they cannot fly in the sphere of fire. There are many kinds of bird, differing by kind and custom. Some shun man, like the rock dove, while some love man, like the swallow. Some are bold, like the hawk, some timid, like the quail. Some flock, like the starling, others are solitary, like the eagle. Some sing, like the swan, while others squawk, like the duck. All are called birds because they do not follow roads (a-viae, you see?) but go as they will.
The animals of the earth are of three kinds. First are the pecora, the cattle, mild beasts made for the use of man, including all animals made by God as beasts of burden or food, either milk or meat. Second are the repta, the creeping things, which move by dragging their bellies on the earth. Last are the ferae, or beasts, those animals with untamed wildness. Some divide from the ferae the quadrupeds, who lack the cruelty of predators but remain untamable, such as hares or stags. Some animals are harmful to man, but, like poisonous plants, only become so after the first sin. Whether they were made following the Fall from Grace or pre-existed but were not dangerous is a matter of debate. Their purpose is not: they exist to instill fear and punish vice in order to test and perfect virtue.
All of these animals multiply by propagation, but some animals multiply by simple generation. These arise from the elements, plants or rottenness, and are known as vermes, worms, from whence the word vermin. Mice are the largest vermin, born of damp earth, while scorpions come from dry earth and other land-worms include centipedes, earthworms and ants. Spiders are the worms of air, which is why they produce threads and never cease weaving. Eels and frogs are born of slime and mud, as are leeches. Leaf-worms include the caterpillar, locust and beetle, born of rotting plants and consuming vegetation. Flesh-worms are the least pleasant, living inside people and other living creatures. Enigramus is a head-worm, lumbicus is in the stomach and lice and fleas live on the skin, while bees and flies emerge from rotting flesh.
Now, let's talk the mind. The mind is nourished via the sensitive faculty, and is the link between body and soul. The functions of the sensitive faculty, the inner wits, are the five components of mind. The common sense gathers the input of the sense organs, the imagination stores them, the memory archives experiences and thoughts, which the cognition uses to make decisions and the estimation deals with instinctive response to external stimuli. These five wits are possessed by all things with the sensitive faculty, not just humans. However, the animal mind has greatly diminished cognition and an overabundance of estimation. The primary difference between human and animal minds is the possession of a soul, unique to humans, angels and demons. The soul provides ratio, reason, and intellectus, intellect. Reason is exercised when you proceed step-by-step to prove a non-self-evident truth, and is the highest function of cognition working in conjunction with the soul. Reason relies on input from all inner wits to reach a conclusion that no individual part could reach alone. The intellect is the power of understanding, revealing self-evident truth. Angels are blessed with intelligentia, perfect understanding, in that the things they sense are fully comprehended, with no need for reason to reveal them. Intellect is clouded intelligentia, providing frequent yet momentary glimpses of true understanding - that is, inspiration and the dawning of comprehension. The intellect is also the organ of morality and conscience, for the soul knows good and bad without need of logic.
The common sense, or vis compositiva, receives all forms and images perceived by the external senses, combining them into a common mental picture. These can be compared to those stored in memory or held in imagination. It also judges the operation of the senses, so that when we see, we know what we see. Anesthesia seperates out the common sense, providing sentience without full consciousness. The imagination, vis imaginativa, retains what is seen and experienced after the sense-impressions fade, serving as the link between memory and cognition. It preserves what the common sense assembles. This is distinct from memory in that it stores only images, with no concepts, ideas or emotions connected to them. What is commonly called thinking is the recall of images from the imagination, though planning for the future is covered the cognition. The cognition is that part of the mind where decisions are made. It is the receptacle of the soul's judgment, which then coordinates the other parts of the mind and body to enact the soul's will. It is known as the vis phantastica, and it reaches decisions based on mental images drawn from the other wits, separating and uniting the information they contain. The imagination can only hold in mind what was directly sensed, but cognition may use perceptions from the imagination and combine them with other things never experienced, such as flying dogs. This involves invention, future planning, design and poetic imagery. Dreams may come from the cognition into the sleeping mind, but may also be drawn from memory to replay events, or direct from the soul.
The estimation, or vis aestimativa, covers instinct. It detects the practical and biological significance of things, enabling the cow to find her calf or seek shelter from the elements. Such decisions are not made by reason, and friendship or hatred are not pereceived by the senses. Estimation is the instinct to act in a manner based on judgment rather than cognition, so it is distinct from cognition, which is concerned with sensory images and open to synthesis and analysis. Estimation operates on derivatives of current sense-perceptions, recognizing danger, food, friendship and so on, none of which is directly sensed, and motivating the locomotive powers appropriately. It is the estimation which causes the emotional states of gaudium, laetitia, ira, tristitia and timor as a response to instinctual reaction. Memory, the vis memorativa, is a treasury of information found by estimation, much as the imagination is for the common sense. The memory preserves ideas, not images, but it is twofold. The sensuous memory retains, reproduces and recognizes representations of past experience, placing those experiences in time, while the rational memory is the power of recollection, reminescence and active recall, and belongs solely to humans, not animals.
Next time: Mentem magic and moral philosophy.
|# ? Jun 26, 2013 13:43|
Ars Magica 5th Edition: Art and Academe
Mentem magic operates directly on the five wits. Most magi do not understand natural philosophy very much and hardly care about the details, but some Mentem experts supplement their magic with knowledge, devising inventive manipulations. Hermetic magic cannot, however, affect reason and intellect, as they are functions of the soul. It may, however, improve overall intelligence by enhancing the wits, making reason easier, or cause a mind to be so consumed by one wit such that reason does not get to act. Creo Mentem can be used to create hallucinations in the common sense, and may create thoughts in the imagination or emotions in the estimation. Memory editing can also be used to edit the cognition, causing dreams in sleepers or giving them plans for the future, though it cannot force them to follow those plans. Intellego Mentem can read the estimation or sensory input to the common sense, as well as interrogating the imagination or cognition, including dreams. Muto Mentem may affect the imagination as easily as the memory, allowing you to refocus someone's attention unnaturally or causing inappropriate reaction to stimuli via the estimation or common sense. Rewriting the common sense utterly, while difficult, allows you to change how senses are interpreted and experienced. Perdo Mentem is notable in that unlike the memory, destroyed aspects of the other senses naturally restore themselves. It can, however, destroy the ability to interpret the common sense directly. And Rego Mentem is fairly obvious.
Now then. Moral Philosophy. This focuses on man's ethical, political and economic condition. Discussion of moral philosophy is just beginning, and will not, historically, reach much importance for another century or two. Little on economics has been written, and John of Salisbury's Policraticus is one of the few standout texts on politics. John describes the difference between a prince, who rules via love and the law of the Church as a political father and the tyrant, who does not. (John was a priest, yes. Most of his book is justifying why religious law trumps secular law.) Moral philosophy is discussed in both the liberal arts and theology. The largest debate is between faculties, especially in the University of Paris. The arts propose that man can find happiness in and of himself via good action and sound judgment, while theology declares that man's happiness on earth is but a pale shadow of the happiness of the afterlife, and man can find true happiness only in God. While scholars may express views on proper role of kings, no prince or lord has any obligation to listen to them. And when proper pricing and monetary responsibility are discussed, which is rare to start, it stays in the university and does not penetrate to the guilds or craftsmen.
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics has had less impact than the other New Aristotle, primarily because only the introduction has been translated. Aristotle claims that man can be happy, and that this happiness does not depend on any outside force, such as God, but on their own actions and decisions. This practical ethics is later modified by his ideas of theoretical ethics, in which he admits that there is a distinction between theory and practice. This later volume of theoretical ethics is unknown in 1220, making most philosophers believe the practical ethics carries more weight than initially intended. Before the New Aristotle, Peter Abelard wrote extensively on sin, good and evil, and these topics fell in the range of moral philosophy. Before him, they were extensively discussed, but not philosophically. Rather, they were commented on by moralizers, theologians or metaphysicians, who either recommended specific behaviors without examining further, took morality from scripture or were primarily interested in concept, not practice. Abelard made an attempt to explain what moral concepts are and their relation to choice and deliberation, making a distinction between the act and the willingness to sin. He claims that while both are evil, the intent to sin is moreso, for it causes the act, which is inevitable when the intent is accepted. Abelard's theories were declared heretical and burned, more for his polemic egotism than the ideas within. They are, however, the canonical definition of sin according to Ars Magica.
In general, scholars propose a link between goodness as a quality and goodness as an action, with the quality of evil being a privation - that is, a lack of goodness. Evil does not itself exist, they say, but is the absence of good. This is a repetition of the Neoplatonic belief that the universal Good can only create good, not evil. All agree that it is man's duty to cultivate goodness, and many writers give exact actions to do so. For example, one Jewish philosopher described how you should eat, sleep, work, exercise, poo poo and have sex, claiming all should be done in moderation, (This was common among Greek philosophers, too.)
It is evident that good men sometimes do bad things, and that, more rarely, bad men do good things. Every soul is made by God, who has given man aid in determining what is good or bad. Further, each man has been given free will, to determine the correct path for themselves. The active agent in choosing between good and evil is the conscience, of which there are two aspects: synderesis, that God-given spark which cannot be mistaken between good and evil and which is not subject to free will, and conscientia, which is subject to free choice and can be mistaken. Conscience is not very active as an agent - it is mostly a reactive response, not an experience or choice. You feel the pangs of conscientia antecedens when the choice to do evil is made, as a warning. The stronger conscientia consequens is felt after doing evil, and serves to realign bad behavior. An intelligent person who turns bad will to bad action should remember the experience of conscientia consequens as uncomfortable and judge future actions based on that discomfort. God's gift of free will, however, is strong and many have grown accustomed to suppressing conscientia and ignoring synderesis.
Now, on to Medicine! Medicine is concerned with the working of the body and what disrupts it, as well as how that can be cured. Key to understanding it are the faculties: the natural faculty, which is the nutritive force of the body and made of the four humors, whose balance is the complexion. The sensitive faculty, the vehicle for the mind and senses. And the vital facutly, that which is life itself.
The natural faculty, also called the vegetative faculty, is present in every living part of the body. It is distributed by the veins, mixed in with blood and the other humors. The principle organ of the natural faculty is the liver, in which it arises from food passed by the stomach and intestines. The purpose of the natural faculty is twofold: first, it is nutritive, concerned with welfare and preservation of the person. Second, it is reproductive, focusing on the propagation of the race. The natural faculty is assisted by the forces inherent to it. When it reaches the tissues, the appetitive force causes the nutritive humors in the veins to be absorbed by the organs according to need. The retentive force causes the material that is drawn in to hold position during the time in which the digestive force is engaged in transforming natural faculty of the humors into other substance. The expulsive force exists to rid the body of waste from digestion.
The natural faculty is formed from chyle, the porridge-like pulp that results from digestion of food. The chyle comes from the stomach to the liver by the appetitive force, changing it to the natural faculty. Some of this is distributed to other organs by the veins, transformed further into the four humors and into cambion and sperma. Cambion can form anywhere in the body and is further transformed to flesh and fat, as well as fluids such as milk. Cambion cannot be used to make other tissues, such as bones, veins, arteries or nerves, but can repair them if damaged. Sperma is found only in the generative organs, and fulfills the reproductive function of the natural faculty, It is the root tissue of all organs, but it can only form those organs when male and female sperma come together to form an embryo, similar to the making of cheese. The male sperma is equivalent to the clotting agent of milk, and the female sperma is equivalent to the coagulum of milk. The womb has seven compartments, and if the male sperma clots the female sperma in the right-hand compartments, a male child is born. The cooler left-hand compartments produce female children. The single central compartment is rarely clotted, but when it is, it produces hermaphrodites. Multiple births are caused by multiple compartments clotting.
During pregnancy, the embryo is nourished via menstrual blood, which is filled with the natural faculty. One portion of this blood is changed into sperma and used to make bone, nerves and organs. Another portion of blood becomes cambion, forming flesh and fat. A third portion is expelled as waste matter with the birth. Sperma continues to be produced by the infant, allowing it to grow and make new bones and so on until it reaches puberty, at which point new sperma is made exclusively in the generative organs and subsequent growth is only by production of flesh and fat via cambion.
Next time: The Humors and Concoctions
|# ? Jun 26, 2013 17:14|
Identity and Identification
Obviously a big problem in Eclipse Phase is determining if someone is who they say they are. Physical descriptions and even personality and behavioral traits are totally useless. I mean, sure you might recognize a friends body-language, unless they've had special training to mask it, if they are in a human morph. But what if they're an octopus? Or a robot dragonfly? Or a giant cyborg coconut crab? Yeah, when you can't even tell species at a glance, a drivers license isn't very useful.
The main way people are ID'd is a brainscan. The subject, if biomorph, is put into a skullcap/goggle/headphone system that feeds them sensory information while recording their brains unique responses. If the responses match up with your records, you're who you say you are. A portable brainscan, standard equipment for most Police or security personnel, takes about 5 minutes, but is prone to error. If the subject has had recent psychosurgery, sustained brain damage, is intoxicated, or is in a heightened emotional state. In this case standard procedure is to detain the individual for a full brainscan, which can take up to an hour to confirm an identity.
Synthmorphs and Pods have a much easier time of it, as a brainscan on a cyberbrain or infomorph is essentially running a suite of diagnostic programs, and a full scan takes only a few minutes. Most security checks though rely on other means, primarily because most non-biomorphs are hesitant to allow anyone direct access to their ego.
This can also be used to detect whether someone is an AGI or Uplift, and even what species of Uplift. This is because non-humans obviously have very different mental patterns. This means that Uplifts and AGIs in Mercurial unfriendly habitats must take special caution to avoid any undue scrutiny.
Other forms of ID include:
Standing for “Self-Aware Personality/Intelligence/Ego Novel Tag”, SAPIENT is an attempt at a singular all inclusive ID system, to do away with the bureaucratic and political issues of every hab, government, and hypercorp having their own ID methods and standards. SAPIENT is mostly found inside Consortium space, but as of now is totally voluntary, meaning few habitats exclusively use SAPIENT as an ID standard.
While this is incredibly efficient and useful, it has its fair share of detractors. Mainly most of the solar system. SAPIENT is seen as an obvious method for the Consortium to expand its influence, and to further force humanity to conform to their standards. This makes it very unpopular outside of the Consortium. Most independent habs also oppose it on the basis that they'd rather not have all their personal information under the control of a single organization.
But why commit ID theft? The main reason is the same as today, to gain access to their accounts to steal, spy, and blackmail. They are also used as “disposable” personas for spies and criminals to go incognito, and even to generate “fronts” for illegal businesses. The weirdest thing is that they are also used for political warfare, astroturfing campaigns and wrecking candidates rep.
The main way of protecting ones ID is with active monitoring, where a third party watches the Mesh for any signs of possible identity theft. While some people use their muses, simple AIs, or even hire freelance infomorph monitors, most people sign up with a personality security hypercorp. These act similar to the fraud alerts you get from your bank, carefully watching for any funny business with your identity for a fee.
Obviously forking throws a big wrench into this entire scheme. Most habs just sidestep this issue, making the fork either a non-entity similar to a weak AI legally or giving them full human rights after a long enough time. This time period varies between habs, and can be anywhere from 4 hours to an entire week. Beta and Delta forks (imperfect copies of an ego) are almost universally considered non-human, except for a handful of the more fringe habitats.
Next Time: Issues, Ethics, and Culture
|# ? Jun 27, 2013 05:26|
Ars Magica 5th Edition: Art and Academe
A humor is a bodily fluid containing natural faculty, and is the source of one of the four forces. There are four humors: the hot and moist blood, the hot and dry choler, the cold and moist phlegm and the cold and dry melancholy. Healthy humor has the capacity of being transformed into bodily substance, either by itself or in combination with something else. The residue of such a transformation is a superfluity, an unhealthy or bad humor, which is expelled to maintain healthy. The fluid of the veins is primarily blood, but also (in a healthy state) has various amounts of the other three humors, as well as superfluities being carried to the various organs of excretion. In a sick person, the veins also carry morbid or putrid humors, caused by too much or too little digestion.
Blood, the sanguineous humor, is formed by the liver. It is hot and moist, corresponding to air, and is naturally red, odorless and salty. Its primary function is nutritive, and it is the raw product from which nourishment is derived by the tissues via the natural faculty. It strengthens the digestive force. Choler, AKA yellow or red bile or the bilious humor, is formed in the gallbladder. It is hot and dry, corresponding to fire, is light in texture and smells pungent, and tastes sour or acrid. It provides the appetitive force to the natural faculty and nourishes those organs that are by nature hot. It thins the blood in the veins so that the blood may pass through the finest tubes. Melancholy, called black bile or the atrabilious humor, forms in the spleen. It is cold and dry, corresponding to earth, and in its healthy state it is a bitter, dark sediment. It gives the body strength, stamina and density, and nourishes hard and dry organs like bones. It also imbues the body with the retentive force. Phlegm, the serous humor, is formed in the pituitary gland and is cold and moist, corresponding to water. Healthy phlegm is white or colorless and naturally sweet. It nourishes the cold organs and tissues, and moistens the joints, tissues and organs needed for movement. It is the source of the expulsive force.
The substance of the body is made of tissues, some derived from sperma and some from cambion. These are grouped into organs, which carry out the functions of the faculties. Each organ has its own temperament. The skin, for example, is in perfect balance, while muscles are somewhat hotter but only slightly moister, and bone is very cold and dry. The most important organs are those that help produce the concoctions. A concoction is a process by which non-natural substances are converted into faculties. The first concoction is the conversion of food into chyle in the stomach, and its waste is feces, carried out by the intestine. The second concoction is the conversion of chyle into natural faculty in the liver, which is then converted into the humors by the appropriate organs. The waste of this is urine, excreted by the kidneys. The third concoction is the conversion of air, drawn in by the lungs, into vital faculty by combination with natural faculty in the heart, then distributed via the arteries. The waste of this is exhaled air. This third concoction also combines sensory input with natural faculty to form sensitive faculty in the brain, whose waste products are tears, mucus and earwax. Sensitive faculty is distributed via the nerves. The fourth concoction is the conversion of the humors into cambion and sperma in the organs, mostly blood. Its waste product is excreted by the skin as hair, swear and nails. Thus, the principle organs are stomach, liver, heart and brain. The secondary organs are those that either bring a substance to the principle organ (mouth, lungs, sense organs), are the destination of a concocted substance (spleen, gallbladder, pituitary, generative organs) or are receptacles of waste (kidneys, intestines, skin). There are also the auxiliary organs which distribute the faculties (veins, arteries and nerves).
The vital faculty provides life to the body. Without it, the organs would cease function, unable to grow or repair or feel sensation or even move. The beating of the heart draws fresh air via the lungs and natural faculty via the veins, concocting from these the vital faculty, which is then distributed via the arteries, which is why the arteries pulse with life-giving power. In the young, the vital faculty is especially strong, but the body is capable of making only so much, and it is burned brightly in youth, steadly in adulthood and feebly in old age. Excessive heat caused by exercise causes the vital faculty to disperse, as do some poisons, resulting in exhaustion. Starved of vital faculty, the body gasps for air and raises pulse to spread it better. Unless there is an ongoing problem, strength will return with rest, food and good air. The old, with less vital faculty, tire more easily.
The sensitive faculty, or animal faculty, arises in the brain as a concoction of natural faculty and sense input. It is distributed via the nerves, giving volition to sense and move, though the actual power to do so is in the vital faculty. Thus, it is sometimes known as the vehicle of the soul. The sensitive faculty has ten senses, or wits, five outward (touch, vision, smell, hearing, taste) and five inner (cognition, common sense, estimation, memory and imagination). The outward wits gather sensory species to nourish the sensitive faculty and perceive the world, while the inner wits enable the soul to act on the outer wits, forming the mind in their combination. It is not the job of physicians to understand the mind, for it plays only a small role in health.
The proportion of the humors in blending constitutes the complexio, or complexion. Every being has a different one, determined by horoscope on the day of conception and day of birth, as well as age, sex, geographic region and even time of year. The complexion can be determined by interview and inspection, and determining the complexion is the first job of any physician, for sickness is caused by an imbalance of humors most often. The four basic complexions are sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic, each with its own physical and mental characteristics. However, usually a person is a mix of two or even three complexions, though one, the principal complexion, will dominate. It is rare to find someone in whom hot or cold features twice, so it is rare for someone to be bother choleric and sanguine, or melancholic and phlegmatic.
Complexion is far more influential on personality than morphology. Each complexion has positive and negative traits, and few people are purely of one complexion's traits, which is why not all people with the same complexion act identically. The extreme sanguine is like a child, friendly and playful yet petulant and easily led. The extreme choleric is a surly adolescent, brave and independent yet proud and uncaring. The extreme melancholic is a loyal and nurturing adult, yet often arrogant and believing they know best. The extreme phlegmatic is like an old man, wise and calm yet weary and fearful. Further, the behaviors are each linked to a season, and so people will vary also by what season it is, with sanguine behavior strongest in spring and so on.
Next time: Ill Health
|# ? Jun 27, 2013 14:44|
Ars Magica 5th Edition: Art and Academe
We know what causes good health, eucrasia. Deviations from it, called dyscrasia, are caused either by the non-naturals or contra-naturals. Non-naturals are those things that can affect the complexion from outside and which can cause temporary humoral changes, thus preventing or inducing disease. The contra-naturals, unlike the non-naturals, have no useful purpose in the body and only cause harm. The dyscrasia caused by these things is divided into three categories. Injuries are first, called solutio continuitatis, or breaks in continuity. They are treated by chirurgeons and almost always have external causes. Malformations are second, called mala compositio, and are the result of improper growth or deficiencies in form and structure. Last are complexional imbalances, called mala complexio, which come from either internal or external causes and can be treated by doctors.
The non-naturals are those things external to the body which are essential for correct living - air, sleep, that sort of thing. Air is the most important, of course, for it is the substance from which the vital spirit is created. Air is mostly cold and moist, but can become hot and moist in sunlight. Air which is gross, thick or cloudy and rarely moved by wind is putrid, depressing the vital faculty and dulling the mind and body. Pure and clean air, such as found on mountaintops or at sea, quickens the body and wits. The seasons and geographical climate also affect the humoral balance.
Next are food and drink, the ultimate source of the natural faculty. Good diet is essential to avoiding disease. Some foods, like bread, checken, mutton and calf are generally wholesome, neither too hard nor soft nor too heavy nor light, and avoid causing excess excrement. Other foods promote a specific humor via their heat, coldness, dryness or moisture. It is essential to eat the right foods in the right quantity, for too much food makes the body dull and weary by excess of humors, which stop up the passages of the faculties. A person should principally eat food which counteracts their dominant humor, and avoid excess of food that promotes it. As your complexion changes with age, the diet also must change. A youth must avoid hot and dry foods to avoid becoming excessively choleric, while an adult can handle dryness, if not heat, as they become more melancholic. Likewise, the changing of the season should cause you to gradually alter your diet to account for it.
Exercise and rest are also important. Exercise causes heat, setting the blood and choler into motion. It thus gives helathy appetite and digestion. Too much exercise is bad because the heat also dries the body, causing fatigue and excessive digestion. Rest strengthens the body by stirring up phlegm and melancholy, encouring excretion. Excessive idleness, however, moistens the body and chills it, dulling the mind and senses and discouraging digestion. Exercise can be labor or recreational, but recreational exercise should be done with a physician's guidance to ensure it is most appropriate to the complexion. It is important to exercise all parts of the body, including vision (by inspection of small things), hearing (by listening to quiet things) and voice (by singing or shouting).
Sleep and waking are the next non-natural. Sleep is caused when the natural faculty goes to the brain and is condensed by its coldness into a humor that blocks the nerves and thus temporarily ends movements and sensory stimulation. The humor is digested by the brain during sleep, and once it is gone, you wake. Thus, after excessive food there is much natural faculty, causing drowsiness. Melancholic people tend to retain the brain humor, so they sleep more. Sleep in general causes heat and moisture, aiding digestion and counteracting the cooling and drying effects of exercise. However, too much sleep can cause excessive moisture and insufficient sleep can cause dryness, which is not recommended for melancholic or choleric people.
The retention of waste by the body in the form of feces, urine, sweat, menstrual blood or semen will lead to disease. If the expulsive force is too weak or the retentive force too strong, the waste matter can be reabsorbed by the body and cause the disease by causing too much humor, upsetting the humoral balance.
Strong emotions may also have impact on health. Excessive emotional states counteract the natural temperament and can exacerbate disease. There are five emotional states that can be caused by sources external to the body, such as the min, soul, exercise or food. The first is gaudium, joy or bliss. Gaudium is beneficial to all complexions and is a perfect balance of all humors. Laetitia, delight or love, inflames blood and promotes moisture. Tristitia, sorrow or gloom, causes melancholy and dryness. Ira, anger or hatred, causes heat and choler. Timor, fear, worry or jealousy, causes phlegm and coldness. A healthy amount of sex in the confines of marriage leads to gaudium and proper evacuation of waste. However, excess sex causes laetitia, inducing dryness due to excessive excretion.
The five outer wits, the senses (touch, taste, smell, hearing and vision) are gathered via the sensory organs and concocted via the sensitive faculty. However, even the experiences of the sense organs can move or strengthen humors, and so a physician will sometimes prescribe appropriate sounds or sights, or instruct avoidance of them. For example, a person recovering from a wound should not stir the blood and should thus avoid moistening sensory species, like bright colors.
The contra-naturals, on the other hand, are wholly harmful. They include all things that do direct damage to flesh (such as sharp edges or heavy things), poison, fire, acid, vermin which spontaneously generate from putrid humors or dead flesh, certain celestial influence that causes putrefaction and so on. Mars promotes choleric disease, Venus disrupts phlegm, Saturn pollutes melancholy and Jupiter pollutes blood. The remaining planets affect faculties directly - the moon causes changes to natural faculty, the sun to vital faculty and Mercury to the sensitive faculty. Also, all supernatrural powers are considered to potentially be contra-natural, for their power to inflict injury, malformation or disease. (Malformation is, of course, a disorder of structure in which an organ has changed its form in overall shape or in part, such as cavities, ducts or surfaces. Malformation includes congenital problems like dwarfism or extra fingers as well as things like varicose veins or warts.)
Diseases include the ague, which is a phlegmatic disease caused by bad air, especially around sewage and tanneries. Anal fistula, a melancholic disease caused by excessive retention of melancholy on the fundament, typically due to sitting on horseback in armor for long periods. Apoplexy is a sanguine disease caused by malicious faeries, and is also known as elfshot. The bloody flux is a phlegmatic disease caused by excess of phlegm due to cold, wet living conditions, common in towns and on army campaigns. Chaudepysse is a choleric disease contracted by men who have sex with women during their periods. (It is treated by directly injecting the urethra with parsley, oil of roses and violets and the breast milk of a woman nursing a male child.) Childbed fever is a sanguine disease caused by the act of a demon which takes advantage of the imbalance of humors that occurs when a woman gives birth, especially if it was a difficult birth. Coryza, the common cold, is a phlegmatic disease caused by excessive phlegm in the head due to cold and wet environments, typically found in late autumn and winter. The falling evil, also called epilepsy, morbus caducus or morbus lunaticus, is a phlegmatic disease caused by demonic possession, and cured by inducing a fever that will dry up the the excess moisture in the sensitive faculty. Trepanation also sometimes helps, but is dangerous. The demons usually strike following a blow to the head. Febris semitertiana is a choleric disease caused by water corrupted due to the influence of Saturn and Mars, common in summer. It is very dangerous.
Gangrene is a sanguine disease caused by evil spirits which putrefy the blood in improperly cleaned wounds. Garotillo is a choleric disease caused by excessive exercise drying the body and inflaming the choler. It is also called morbus suffocans for its later stage, which spreads to the windpipe and causes death by suffocation. Leprosy is a melancholic disease caused by an excess of black bile, inflicted as punishment by God for unclean living. It is thus unavoidable - if you catch it, God willed it. If not, well, He didn't. Hermetic Leprosy is a melancholic disease that resembles true leprosy, but is caused by magic spells. It manifests in the form of everyone's fears of true leprosy. Phimosis is a choleric disease caused by excess lust. It can be suffered by both sexes but primarily affects men, though it is usually very minor. Phthisis is a phlegmatic disease which polluts the vital faculty with phlegm. It is caused first by foul air from marshwater, then spread by putrid breath between people. It is also called consumption, and is treated by change of climate. Pneumonia is a phlegmatic disease caused by polluted air and treated by bleeding to reduce excess vluid and the application of drying compresses.
Quinsy is a phlegmatic disease caused by swallowing worms in food, which then live in the tonsils and make them swell. Removal or surgery on the tonsils is the best treatment. Rabis is a choleric diseases caused by the bite of a mad dog, which inflames the choler and dries the body. Saint Anthony's Fire is a sanguine disease caused by possession of the intestines by a minor demon, which must be exorcised. Scofula is a melancholic diseases caused by cold and dry wind in cities of Northern Europe, especially away from the sea. It causes excess melancholy to congest into horrible lumps, and is also called struma or morbus regius, for the touch of the Kings of England or France cures it. Stones are choleric or phlegmatic disease, caused by inappropriate diet. It makes either bile form a stone in the gallbladder or plegm form stones in the kidney and bladder. Suffusio is a melancholic diseases caused by excessive absorption of harmful visual species - that is, seeing too many bad things. It makes melancholy form between the lens and pupil, obstructing vision, and is treated by insertion of a thin needle to drain the humor. It cannot kill, but can cause glaucosis and permanently blind. A consumptive tumor or carcinoma is caused by insufficient excretion of waste, and is named for crabs because it has a hard mass with pointed projections. It is the most dangerous tumor, for it corrupts and spreads invasively and is very hard to treat.
Finally, variola (smallpox) is a choleric disease caused by breathing polluted air in hot and dry conditions, causing putrid choler to build up in the skin. It is treated by eating red food and hanging red drapes, to draw out the putrid choler from the skin. Worms are a sanguine disease caused when worms spontaneously generate in congealed blood. In a healthy person, they disperse, but can overwhelm the unhealthy, especially children.
Next time: Doctors
|# ? Jun 27, 2013 14:54|
Ars Magica 5th Edition: Art and Academe
Medicine has always been an academic art, and it can often be hard to tell where natural philosophy ends and medicine begins. Without understanding the elements, medical theory is difficult to comprehend and use. It has always been the domain of the educated, and especially of the clergy. While non-clergy are now being educated at the various new universities of medicine, fully two thirds of all physicians in Christendom are in holy orders. However, most are not full and regular clergy, and of full clergy, only the Dominican Friars encourage medical study. There is an informal hierarchy of physicians. At the top is the medicus, who has received academic training formally. At the bottom is the empiricus, a derogatory name for those whose knowledge of medicine is acquired solely by experience and trial. Slightly above the empiricus is the apothecary, who does not practice medicine but does produce medicines for others.
The Medicus studies medicine, which is commonly taught at the universities of southern Europe, having barely penetrated Germany or other parts of central Europe. This is largely due to the southern access to Arabic medical texts. Most teaching is direct master-to-pupil instruction, even at universities, however. The most prestigious medici are those who are graduates of a university's faculty of medicine, the only type of physician that may claim the title 'doctor'. A doctor can hold a degree in something other than medicine, so typically doctors of medicine are known as physici, to distinguish them from educated chirurgeons. The highest accolade is the title Magister in medicina. The more general term 'medicus' may be claimed by any who practice medicine, surgery or both, but have no formal claim to other titles. Most physicians are just medici. Typically, they trained at university but did not specialize in medicine.
The Chirurgeon holds less status than medicine, as Galen did not consider it an academic field. Chirurgy has developed slowly due to various regulations forbidding human dissection, and has long been viewed merely as an instrument of medicine, similar to diet and medication, and the least of the instruments, at that, to be used only in extremes for those who would otherwise die. Within the last century, chirurgy has achieved some respectability due to the hard work of several academics, and a literate surgeon is now held in the same esteem as a medicus, with several universities teaching chirurgy. Despite this, it remains craft, not scholarship. It is systemized, but there is no substitute for experience. Theory is not needed to patch wounds or set bones, though knowledge of medicine can help chirurgical procedures. Medici also benefit from the chirurgeon's skills, as blood-letting and cautery are vital tools for good health, yet are chirurgical rather than medicinal. There is a growing profession of barber-surgeons who assist medici in therapeutic surgery, and chirurgeons are often attached to armies. (Indeed, some authorities require this in exchange for a chirurgical license.)
The ecclesiastical response to the rise of medical universities was to forbid monks from participating in such matters via a decree of the Council of Tours in 1163. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 forbade clergy from cautery or surgical incision, and as a result surgeons, barber-surgeons and barbers are usually from the laity. Regular clergy may not consult lay physicians, and a Papal decree of 1219 expanded this to forbid secular clergy from leaving their pastoral duties to study medicine or law. The Church suspected that medici put physical health before spiritual wellbeing, and fees before either. The Fourth Lateran Council requires physicians to insist on their patients taking confession before other treatment and strictly forbade any treatment "by sinful means," such as prescriptions to eat meat on a fast day or to engage in extramarital sex. Canon lawyers and theologians made the charging of fees for medical procedure allowed, enabling the medicus to cover expenses, but also imposed an obligation to provide good advice and to treat the poor freely.
The emphasis on humoral balance in medicine and the reliance on medicinals to do this have created a widespread demand for drugs and potions beyond what the regular garden can provide. This has led to the rise of the apothecary, especially since physicians are reluctant to engage in commercial transactions for fear of weakening their professional status. However, cynics say that the alliance of doctor and apothecary existed solely to hoodwink people into buying overpriced, adulterated and useless medication. More worrying for physicians is the protection of their profession and many areas, especially in southern Europe, have enacted laws under pressure from doctors to prevent apothecaries from prescribing medicine on their own. The craft is a lucrative one - the court of Henry III of England spends over 1700 pounds a year on exotic ingredients for the court apothecary, most of which are imported from overseas. Still, pharmacy does not strictly require expensive ingredients - a skilled apothecary may harvest herbs from the local countryside. It's just more work, if cheaper.
The empiricus is one who specializes in one surgical (or, more rarely, medical) procedure. It is a derogatory term, and empirici usually call themselves surgeons or medici. They are generally traveling craftsmen, so as to reach a wide enough market for their skills and also to avoid the occasional problem of dissatisfied patients demanding refund. (Or their surviving relatives.) Typical specialties for an empiricus might be cataracts, hernias, the removal of bladder stones and so on. Only those who specialize in midwifery, which is almost exclusively women, tend not to travel. Midwives occasionally get their thumbs surgically removed to assist in their work, but most see this as an extreme measure. To supplement income, an empiricus often doubles as a peddler, selling cheap goods or 'theriac' - that is, miracle cures. Some sell real theriacs, a form of experimental philosophy, but usually it's just grass and pondwater. Barber-surgeons are generally gainfully employed empirici specializing in bloodletting, who assist medici, especially in monasteries, where surgery is forbidden to be used by the monks.
The herbwife or herbman (though most are women) is the poor man's answer to the apothecary. They maintain gardens and hunt for herbs, and in most peasant communities they are highly respected. Many are also the local midwife, and maintain the general health of the village. Occasionally, they are suspected of poisoning or witchcraft, but clients still rely on their wares for help. They often are able to cure disease or make theriacs, yet have no clear understanding of anatomy or true natural philosophy - they have found a method that works but have developed false theories.
True medicine is primarily oriented to establishing a healthy regime in clients, and in curing those who become sick. It requires foreknowledge of the human body and a philosophical understanding of the non-naturals, which must be regulated for optimal health. The success of cure is ultimately in God's hands, but knowledge and skill help it along. In fighting illness, the physician has three weapons: diet, medication and surgery. Routine illness may be treated by anyone with a little medical knowledge, but more serious illness requires a physician of great skill, able to bring all three weapons to bear. Diet and other aspects of environment are medical tools, as is knowledge of medicine, but surgery requires the craft of a chirurgeon. Medicine also often requires an apotheacry to prepare. Correct diagnosis of disease is essential - you need to know what to do, as well as how to do it. Magic, as a note, can cure or causes diseas with Creo or Perdo Corpus. Further, Rego Corpus may cause the symptoms of disease without any actual disease. A physician may also be employed to produce a regimen of diet and living that reduces the likelihood of disease or aging problems! Very nice. Sadly, the benefits of such a regimen are lost if a patient spends over a month in a different environment, neglects the regimen for a month, changes their regular exercise for a month, has disrupted sleep patterns for a month, suffers a disease, spends more than a day under the effects of a Corpus spell or enters Wizard's Twilight.
Chirurgy, the poor brother of medicine, covers surgery, bandaging, setting plasters and more. It often involves cutting, and surgery is used for all kinds of maladies. So are bloodletting, cautery and cupping. Bloodletting is the most general tool, and the lancet is the symbol of the chirurgeon. Failure to expel bad humors or excessive buildup of the good humors is a problem, after all. Technical knowledge is required to know where and how much to cut, as well as what time of day and moon phase are best. Most prefer the knife, but those trained in Arabic methods at Salerno often prefer leeches. The benefit of the knife is that the blood may then be inspected for disease. Cautery involves the application of strong heat to the skin, to prevent the spread of lesions, invigorate cold tissue, break up imprisoned humors and stop blood flow. Cautery irons are usually gold or silver and heated in fire, with various shapes for different purposes. For hot diseases, caustic substances like lye are used instead, and for dry diseases, cupping is common - that is, the application of metal cups heated in boiling water.
Surgery - that is, incision, excision, surgical cautery and medication of swellings and blemishes - is part of the chirurgeon's routine. Major internal surgery is done only or life-threatening or intensely painful problems, like urinary obstruction, gallstones, carious teeth or cataracts. Only rarely does a surgeon operate on physical damage to major organs or use trepannation, due to the risks involved, though trepanning is done for things like hallucinations, delirium and other ailments of the sensitive faculty to temporarily drain excess faculty. Amputation is rarely used a disease cure, but rather an emergency measure to prevent wounds from worsening. Not all diseases are helped by surgery, but some are. To do it, you need drugs, alcohol or strong men to render the patient immobile for the surgery, and with luck the damage done will be less severe that what would happen without the surgery.
Let's see, skipping over the rules on making drugs and poisons...ah, I think I'll save the next bit for its own post.
Next time: Experimental Philosophy
|# ? Jun 27, 2013 18:37|
So...what exactly do you roll for childbirth?
|# ? Jun 27, 2013 18:55|
So...what exactly do you roll for childbirth?
Midwifery is done via the Chirurgy skill, and going to labor is treated as suffering a wound, save that recovery rolls are made every two hours. The wound isn't an actual wound - that's just the mechanics used. Once the mother is fully healed, the child is born. Every time the mother's condition worsens, the child loses fatigue, and if it ever runs out, it dies. If the mother dies before the child is born, the child also dies unless the midwife or surgeon present performs a C-section, which would be handled by surgery rolls of the Chirurgy skill. If surgery is used to deliver a child prior to the mother's death, which would be highly unusual, she suffers an actual wound. Both mother and child, after childbirth, are considered fatigued down to the Dazed level if that matters for literally anything at all, which it probably shouldn't.
E: Note that this may actually come up in game if a player is playing a local midwife or folk witch and needs to go deliver a baby.
|# ? Jun 27, 2013 18:58|
Ars Magica 5th Edition: Art and Academe
For Aristotelians especially, philosophy is a matter of pure reason, and common knowledge holds that truth cannot be determined by sense data and individual experience. Trust exists prior to that, after all, so knowledge should be objective and come from an unchanging source, such as reason and theory, rather than the subjective and changeable phenomena. Those who indulge in experiments are often not considered true philosophers at all and looked down on, especially in fields like medicine. Experimental philosophers are the scientists of Europe, conducting experiments for practical reasons as well as advancing knowledge. They argue that by experimentation and direct manipulation of the world, they may gain knowledge, and that to ignore experimentation, even if it is subjective, is a crime against truth. Experimental philosophy is fundamentally no different than craftwork, and its products are no more magical than a normal smith's or a medicus'. Education and knowledge are needed, to be sure, but the result is not supernatural. Thus, the results of experimental philosophy are unaffected by auras or magic resistance and cause no Warping. Vis is useless to it, and spells cannot enhance empiricae, though they may duplicate them. Still, experimental philosophy and magic are not mutually exclusive, and through history, right up to the theory of Bonisagus, wizards have used philosophical aspects in their magic, such as sympathy or hidden virtues to account for the powers of materials in enchantment. Ceremonial casting of spells combines astrological correspondences and material components that are not themselves magical, yet improve the magic. Arcane Connections and Sympathetic Connections work solely by natural philosophical principles.
All empiricae work on a set of natural principles. Primitive people considered them magic, yet the cultured philosopher understands that they are merely the principles which God ordained the world should act upon. First is the principle of Prime Quality. All things have a prime quality derived from the matter that they are made from and their essential form. This imbues them with relative amounts of hot, cold, dry and moist, depending on their mixture of elements. Prime qualities are those things that can be told readily by the senses, such as hardness, flexibility or color.
Second is contagion, by which secondary qualities are acquired. The clothing of a person may take on the qualities of the wearer, for example, and the strongest such connections are between those pieces of a larger object that are now separate objects. The term is pars pro toto, part for the whole, and a thing which acquires properties by contagion may be used to affect the thing which has those properties as prime qualities. Magi know the product of this as Arcane Connections, though not all contagious relationships are Arcane Connections. A wife is a woman with secondary quality of her husband and vice versa, but most Hermetic magi cannot exploit such weak contagious relationships as Arcane Connections.
Third is Affinity. Substances may gain third qualities, such that rather than gaining qualities through contact, the secondary qualities of a person are transferred to an object. Thus, the crown of a king becomes connected to the king by contagion, and then acquires regality inherent to the king through affinity and may be used to demand respect. Many shape and material bonuses for enchantment are derived from the principle of affinity - a sword can be used to harm people, so it empowers magic that harms. One facet of affinity is antipathy - affinity that repels as well as attracts. A drum of wolfskin, for example, will be good at frightening sheep, for the drum takes on the qualities of the wolfskin by affinity, and wolfskin has the sheepscaring qualities of wolves by contagion.
Fourth is Similarity, express as similia similibus, 'like to like'. An effect resembles its cause. A plant or gem that is red probably has an effect on the blood. A plant that is hot to taste is likely to affect choler. Plants that are moist grow near water, and those that look like eyes will help eyesight. Apothecaries call this the doctrine of signatures, for God has made the properties of these things manifest to the senses. These are the obvious qualities rather than the prime ones or hidden virtue, and many bonuses to enchantment also derive from this principle. Affinity and similarity are sometimes combined in a single principle, sympathy, but are clearly quite different. However, Sympathetic Connections do draw on both principles, so perhaps the theory has some merit.
Fifth are Hidden Virtues, virtutes occultes. These are qualities that cannot be explained by the substance of an object. They are granted by virtue of astral influences. Herbs ruled by Venus are good for the kidneys and reproductive organs, which are also ruled by Venus, but such virtues are not obvious to man. All sapphires resonate with wisdom due to Jupiter's influence, and rubies are literally Martial. This is related to the principle of astrology, but is not reliant on the position of stars at the time of creation - these qualities are fixed by God's determination of an object's resonance, and do not vary as the stars can.
Last is the principle of Astrology. All qualities of a thing are in some way influenced by the celestial figure - the position of the stars and planets at the time of its creation. The natal horoscope of a person can reveal their complexion and temperament, though their free will keeps them from being controlled by the stars. The natal horoscope of an animal will predict its destiny, as can the inception horoscope of a task or project, again barring intervention by human free will. This principle state sthat an herb planted while Mars is ascendant will be hotter than a similar herb planted under different stars. This principle is used in ceremonial casting and in the ordering of labwork. A magus' schedule must take into account the rising and falling of the stars.
One of the tricks discovered by experimental philosophy is the ligature, a small charm made from a sack containing parchment, stones or herbs, worn around the neck. All ligatures also contain an arcane or sympathetic connection to their intended target. These employ natural principles to provide a bonus to a single specific action. For example, a medical ligature might use a bloodstone to assist in healing a specific wound, while a philosophical ligature might use basil to exert superiority over a snake. Ligatures are one-use, so they can't be used for longterm activities. Anyone who knows one of the philosophical arts (the liberal arts, philosophy or medicine) may produce a ligature, and it requires no special knowledge apart from that. However, they are tied to a specific ability - no medical ligatures without knowledge of medicine. It takes a few hours to make a ligature, during which you perform the appropriate astrological calculations, locate appropriate objects with correct occult properties and inscribe the correct prayers on parchment. You will need an apothecary's help or to purchase appropriate ingredients, which can be difficult. When making a ligature, you must also have a clear goal in mind, including a specific range of time in which the act will happen and who will use the ligature. Many ligatures are made for immediate use, but they can be made for up to a year in advance. However, they operate only within a designated six-hour window of a single designated day, to do only a specific, designated task. If you make one to help the ceremonial casting of an Intellego Animal spell this morning, it will not help with any other type of spell, nor at any other time, and the bonus provided can only be used once. Only one ligature may be used at a time.
The more powerful expression of experimental philosophy is created by use of formulae. A formula is a recipe which describes the creation of one of three products: astrological inceptions (via the Artes Liberales), alchemical reagents (via philosophy) and pharmaceutical theriacs (via medicine). Creating a product is a two-stage process. First, you must research and learn the formula for it, either by study or invention, and then you spend one or more seasons in a philosopher's lab producing it. Formulas are similar to spells or enchantments, but are not magical in any way whatsoever - that similarity is one of mechanical convenience. The Gift is not needed to make formulae, and supernatural effects cannot assist in their creation but can replicate them.
Next time: Formulae
|# ? Jun 27, 2013 19:35|
Exams and the job search have made this long overdue, but behold!
Chapter 1, Part 2
Well that certainly was a long time. Where was I?
Of course, the Wyrm made efforts to forbid birth control and encourage rape, which caused mass poverty and despair.
gently caress. Let’s not waste any time, then. One of the best tribebooks is coming up shortly, and if we’re going to get there, we need full steam.
The werewolves, and especially the Children of Gaia, tried to lead humanity down a path of peace, while the Wyrm targeted bitter individuals and encouraged them to dominate their fellow man and generally make everyone miserable. Despite the best efforts of the Children and the Black Furies, peaceful cities were conquered by warlike states and the Defiler Wyrm claimed more and more souls. Where the Children of Gaia fomented freedom, the Defiler turned those ideals against the love of Gaia and transformed it into hedonism and awfulness. Worse, the Defiler encouraged a love of symbols over love of spirits! For an animistic society, the Children of Gaia are oddly concerned about idolatry.
The Wyrm found eager allies in vampires, who are assholes. The Children of Gaia found allies in lady vampires, because they apparently like women more than male vampires like men. They also joined forces with the elves and faeries, but they’re confusing assholes, so that doesn’t work out too well. Mages helped out too, but, again, they’re elitist assholes.
Towards the end of the Impergium, Gaia revealed to the werewolves that there was an entire continent that was unspoiled by the Wyrm. The Pure Tribes went over to the Americas and many Children snuck along with them, disguised as Croatan, Wendigo or Uktena. Most stayed behind to help develop the ancient world and save the humans from themselves. Now, we know that the settlers of the Americas crossed over the ice bridge formed during the Ice Age, before any cities were known to exist, so this doesn’t really make sense. However, this is more of a legendary history than anything, so we can let that go.
Speaking of legends, let’s go gently caress some up! Apparently Siduri Sabitu of the Epic of Gilgamesh was actual a Child of Gaia. When she poured the cup of reality revealed to Gilgamesh, it really told him about vampires.
At this point, the Children of Gaia regarded the human race as children. (Nowadays we’re adolescents. I can’t imagine why anyone would consider the Children of Gaia to be condescending.) As children, we needed parental rules, i.e. the rules of Gaia. The Children of Gaia did so through human rulers, particularly Hammurabi. Hammurabi’s laws ushered in an age of peace for Babylon, despite allowing slaves, legalizing violent vengeance, and encouraging public stoning of those who violated the sanctity of another’s fields. Fortunately, though, a wily Children of Gaia Ragabash was able to secure some property rights for slaves! Truly, the Children of Gaia are wise and compassionate.
In Egypt, the Silent Striders encouraged belief in the Gaian Egyptian pantheon. It was truly a time of peace and justice in ancient Egypt. It was the vampires who encouraged all the excesses of the Egyptian pharohs. But, Nefertiti, kin to the Children of Gaia, and her ally Ahmenhotep exiled the vampires when Gaia granted the pharoh super light powers. Ahmenhotep then changed the state religion to worship of Adem, a god of light. Monotheism is apparently of Gaia, so this was great. Him and Nefertiti did all kinds of great works, excluding ending slavery, but what can you do? Then the vampires took over again and planted King Tut in the throne.
Notice the shadows here. These aren't vampires. A giant jackal/wolf is crushing innocent people. A tribe of peace indeed.
In Crete, the werewolves fought a big battle with some Wyrm monster. Crete was the stronghold of the Apis, the minotaurs or werebulls. They all died in the fight. Most subsequent books state that the Apis were driven extinct during the War of Rage by the werewolves, but internal consistency has never been the strong suit of the oWoD.
Everybody loved Gaia in Greece. Worship of Pan-Dionysus, “the virgin-born king who is sacrificed, gives of his flesh to his followers and is resurrected” () was popular. Dionysus was half-man, half-beast. Look, like Alien Ant Farm, I have no problem with getting myths wrong. But clearly the book here is trying to impress us with its historicity and getting things so blatantly wrong just ruins that. Pan was the half man, half beast, not Dionysus. The most animalistic Dionysus ever got was partying with satyrs and creating dolphins.
Even more mythic inconsistency. Minotaurs wear boxers, not briefs.
Greek democracy was also a ploy by the Children of Gaia to bring the city states closer to the Wyld. Unfortunately, only males had rights in these early democracies. Still, the werewolves still taught the women how to wield power. One werewolf, either a Black Fury or a Child of Gaia, was named Lysistrata. Also werewolves invented the Olympics, because they wanted to prove that “democracies do not war with democracies.” Let’s just move on.
The Gaian pantheon of India encouraged a religion of all sex, all the time. The Children of Gaia taught the Indians the Tantric mysteries to further their love of sex. There’s no escape, is there?
Buddha…existed. The tribebook just thought you should know.
The Children of Gaia journeyed into the far corners of Asia, where we suffered great losses at the hands of the terrifying eastern vampires, who are infinitely more powerful than their western counterparts, and far more knowledgable.
Oh, early nineties White Wolf, I can’t stay mad at you. In Asia, the Children of Gaia chilled with the Stargazers and the dragons. They invented Confucianism, but Lao Tzu’s koans were totally mind-blowing!
I assume this is an eastern vampire, since only one of those can handle the power of this image.
The Hebrew originally worshipped a female and male god, but the Wyrm perverted their religion into a patriarchal one encouraging violence and death. Where once inheritance and rulership passed down from the women, “like all early societies” (forget it, it’s Gaiatown), the Semities were ruled by brutal king. Eventually, though, Jesus came along to try and fix everything. Eventually, his church was corrupted by the Wyrm, who created the Council of Nicea to enforce one solitary set of Gospels. Religious wars started. Eventually the Children of Gaia installed Julian as emperor (somehow), but he was ineffectual, and so the Roman Empire fell. At least this book doesn’t claim that Jesus was a werewolf.
In Arabia, wolf and moon gods and their worshippers ruled over the lands. When thing got out of hand, the Children of Gaia sent their kin Zoroaster to sort them out. Unfortunately, the Wyrm corrupted all these religions. Its servants collected all these ideologies, desexualized them and turned them into the Koran. (Um.) Children of Gaia kinfolk mobilized sufi ideology to counteract this, but to no avail. Making the modern Middle East peaceful is a challenge, because
An ancient vampire called Malkav slumbers there somewhere, a vampire consumed by madness. His lunatic dreams infect the people, and drive them to madness and war. Some of our Ragabash say this vampire is a source of enlightenment, but few agree.
In Northern Europe, the other Garou tribes took care of stuff, but the Roman Empire brought war to the land. (Because it’s not like the Visigoths were particularly warlike, right?) Fortunately, as the Catholic church turned apocalyptic, people lost the will to plan out wars of conquest. Sure, why not? Still, the Church justified the widespread enslavement of millions. To counteract this, the Children of Gaia created the Reformation! Again, sure, why not?
The Wyrm then moved onto the New World. The Pure Tribes had grown pacifistic in the intervening centuries and so were not prepared for the incursion. Eater of Souls cursed the Indians with plague, and we’ve got to break down why this is offensive. It’s true that the coming of European people brought smallpox and other diseases that wiped out ninety percent of the Native American population, and that this was largely unnoticed by the Europeans. But, a lot of this was intentional biological genocide, and to attribute that to a fictional nonhuman entity is horrendous.
When the Croatan sacrificed themselves to seal Eater of Souls away, a Child of Gaia died with them. Of course the Children of Gaia would be so petty as to make sure everyone remembered their sacrifice too. The other Pure Tribes regarded the European tribes with suspicion (hm, I wonder why? It’s not like they tried killing all the Indians, oh wait) but the Children of Gaia patiently waited for them to get over having ninety percent of their people’s population wiped out. The Pure Tribes now respect the Children of Gaia over everyone else. loving great.
The Puritans the Children of Gaia had created had been corrupted by the Wyrm and now terrorized the New World. In response, the Children of Gaia refocused their efforts to reforming all of human society. To that end, they created the Age of Enlightenment and Deism, somehow. They also invented the Iriquois Confederacy and American democracy. Compare and contrast to the Bone Gnawer treatment of the same subject.
Jacques Necker, Child of Gaia kin, was the French Minister of Finance. It was he who planned the French Revolution. He had the government borrow money to join the American Revolution, but all the spoils went to the Americas. The vampires of France were distraught, and their hold over France weakened. Necker, though, deplored the violence of the revolution.
If there was anything the Founding Fathers stood for, it was tolerance for everyone (excluding non-white, non-male, non-property owners). One of the biggest things the Children of Gaia accomplished was helping to settle a peace between the USA and Canada. Even bigger is that they “freed women from the shackles of servitude,” even though Britain did it way before and that sentence is completely meaningless.
The rest of the chapter is just a summary of American history as told by the most naďve person in the country, and it’s boring and dumb and I’m tired of this stupid, stupid chapter. Suffice it to say that, without exaggeration, the Children of Gaia are responsible for every major positive political victory in the United States.
I hate this book.
Next time: Chapter 2 – The Quest for Peace
pospysyl fucked around with this message at 14:03 on Jun 29, 2013
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 06:00|
Well of course they didn't claim Jesus was a werewolf, that would just be silly.
Besides, He's already a Lasombra, duh.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 10:09|
"33 A.D. - The Malkavians claim that their greatest practical joke happens during this year, when they perform a bit of graverobbing in Jerusalem." - Vampire: the Dark Ages
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 10:17|
That's not an Arabian cow, it's an Etruscan wolf - the kids are Romulus and Remus. I suppose the Roman Empire was so evil it ate its own children?
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 10:53|
Well of course they didn't claim Jesus was a werewolf, that would just be silly.
I always thought he was a mage with Matter, Death and probably Life thrown in as well. The more you know
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 11:19|
The She-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 13:23|
That's not an Arabian cow, it's an Etruscan wolf - the kids are Romulus and Remus. I suppose the Roman Empire was so evil it ate its own children?
Whoops! My bad. Editing this right away. In my defense, it was in the middle of the Middle East section, nowhere near a section on Rome.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 14:01|
Actually, this raises a good point, and the main problem I have with the CoG:
The Children of Gaia, as presented, are delusional.
They're a faction of shallow pacifists in a race specifically bred for an army, they think they're behind everything good, including the things they couldn't possibly be involved in, and now, the origins of Rome.
Yes, I can understand how Rome would be corrupted by the Wyrm in its dying days, given how entropy, social disintegration, and selfishness caught up with it, but as it is? Its origins have infinitely more to do with the Weaver than the Wyrm. The initial founding of the Roman Republic began as a way to strengthen social order after its last, tyrannical king was kicked out, and as it evolved into an empire, it found itself needing more and more central control to manage the whole thing, which gave rise to Julius Cesar and his dynasty.
More importantly, Rome didn't just conquer, it assimilated. Over time, its conquered territories would be molded and transformed into copies of Roman culture. They would speak Latin, they would worship Jupiter, they would use Roman numerals....
That's how the Weaver works, law and order growing exponentially until it becomes an unstoppable titan, unknowingly setting up its own downfall much of the time, because eventually people stop working together. Indeed, that's how Rome is likely to have fallen-too many non-assimilated soldiers, loyal only to Rome in that it paid them, and their bosses were Roman.
Make Rome the result of the City Warders' manipulations, the she-wolf who raised Remus and Romulus being a Weaver priestess. There's a way more interesting idea right there, and a source of tension between the Glass Walkers and the CoG; the GW think it was a great idea, if lacking finesse, while the CoG...see above.
As it is, we're supposed to take the line of self-righteous bull at face value, like the CoG are furry elves.
And this, kids, is why people despise the CoG. Two bad tastes that go into food poisoning territory together.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 14:02|
So the Children of Gaia invented Confucianism and maybe Christianity, but Islam was created by the spiritual embodiment of evil. Do I have that right?
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 15:08|
Wow, the 1st edition CoG tribebook makes Revised look absolutely subtle at points.
But, at least there aren't any Gay Lupus.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 15:59|
So the Children of Gaia invented Confucianism and maybe Christianity, but Islam was created by the spiritual embodiment of evil. Do I have that right?
Yep! Well, to be fair, they didn't invent Christianity, just Protestantism.
They also managed to write a page about Islam without mentioning Mohammed once.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 19:32|
Everybody in the oWoD has that particular delusion. They all think that they're responsible for everything good and are just generally the most important thing to happen to the world since sliced bread. The one thing that really stands out about the Children of Gaia is that they're even more smarmy about it that the rest.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 19:51|
Tomb of Horrors Part 3: The Adventure Begins
Sorry about the delay, folks! My apartment got really really hot and so I had to evacuate to my parents' house for a few days so my ferrets wouldn't die. A weird problem to have. I'll probably be on a once a week schedule. Sorry, busy.
Anyways, today we're going to start on the adventure. I'm going to lay out basically what's happening and briefly skim the encounters and what not, because this is a FATAL & Friends post so we don't care about the normal stuff. We care about insane, unfair encounters.
In the Beginning
The event that kicks off the adventure is known as the Dark Intrusion. Acererak's long-laid plans in the Negative Energy Plane are approaching fruition, and a side effect of this is that the area around his TOMB OF HORRORS in Greyhawk is becoming supercharged with negative elemental energy. The practical result of this is drat near everything rising from the dead. The necromancers of Skull City have noted this and are exacerbating things, though they're not privy to Acererak's plans (he's not so big on living servants; of which more later).
The PCs start in the typical tavern (though there's really a lot of ways to hook them in) in a city built on river trade. One foggy night, a gentleman leaves the bar and is immediately torn to pieces by angry wights in the mist. This serves as an intro combat encounter, incidentally also serving as a very quick way to weed out parties who aren't ready for the Tomb since it consists of ten Wights. Investigation of their corpses reveals tattoos that point to "Payvin's Pearl," which some investigations reveal is a river barge the unlucky owner of which was deserted by his crew the prior week. The wights provide pretty strong evidence of where that crew ended up, and hopefully the PCs seek out Captain Payvin, who's been drowning his sorrows. Poor Payvin relates a story of finding his ship deserted one misty night and being threatened theatrically by a pair of red eyes in the mist.
Here the adventure does one of my favorite things, which is to provide a great deal of background for the GM on what actually just happened. The PCs will likely never figure this out, but it helps to know where monsters came from, why they struck when and where they did, and what they're off doing while the PCs are blundering around. RttToH does this a lot, and it really helps build a sense of active enemies with agency not just waiting around to be pulled like mobs. Turns out the zombies were just crew dumped into the river after their blood was harvested by three evil vampires sent from Skull City for blood-harvesting purposes.
Anyways, the threat included a mention of "The Devourer" and this should set the PCs off. There's a few sages in the area, and the GM is encouraged to provide one of Acererak's trademark rhymes if they use legend lore.
"The city that waits was the city of Moil. Where dreams truly died, but bodies yet toil. In slumber unrelenting, they lie yet in wait. Biding their time to seal your fate.
Discovery of the void and my fortress within, demands exploration through peril again. Find amid towers degenerate the single key, and resolve the dilemma of problems three.
Beard the brine dragon in its frozen hallow, remove the key, avoid its starved swallow. Beneath webs of glowing emerald, hangs a riddle box rife to be solved.
The darkweaver endures the cold in her lair, grasp your fate with consumate care. The lifeless dream that marks the crime, is the vestage that guards the sand of time.
Each resolution removes one obstacle, for those who peruse this written oracle. The phantom released flies you in fashion, to my inevitable fortress of conclusion."
Acererak loves to give abstruse hints about the insane traps he's got set up, mostly 1) so that he can feel superior when people die anyways and 2) because he's an rear end in a top hat.
So. Assuming they go to a sage, they get some very generic background that Acererak is a Bad Enough Dude and that another wizard, named Desatysso, was also interested in pursuing information on him-- along with directions to Desatysso's home. Hopefully the PCs realize that they're in something really deep and could use the help. His home is in a mountain range called the Glorioles () and, as an amusing aside, the random encounter table for the trip ranges from a pack of ranging wild dogs (35 xp each)to a scouting party of mountain giants (7000 xp each).
Mission to Giantville
Anyways, after fighting past a couple of boulder-tossing hill giants that assail them as they try to climb a rocky slope, the PCs find Desatysso's ruined stronghold, which is now occupied by a pack of giants. This is the first and least fatal "dungeon" of the adventure, appropriately enough. In fact, it's possible for charismatic and quick-thinking PCs to talk their way past most of the encounters. It's full of hill and mountain giants who love to throw stones, so if you do want to fight you're in for a rough one. There's a magical fountain that's kinda broken and now infects you with a horrible disease that takes ten points off STR, CON and DEX while you poop it out of your system. There's also a magical trap with this charming description:
"anyone who passes through the corridor has a 90% chance to step on the large concealed rocky pressure plate that covers a 5-foot-by-4-foot section of the floor. If the plate is trod upon, the rocky walls of the cavern magically constrict in the space of a heartbeat, almost like the mineral analog of an organic sphincter muscle, pulping anything in the passage and causing 2d10+20 points of damage."
There's a fire elemental in the fireplace, swinging blade traps, fairly standard dungeon accouterments. As you can see, I'm kinda rushing through this one because it's not particularly interesting. There are a couple of notable encounters, though. "From the level of Desatysso’s Stronghold, the passage begins a very steep ascent, spiraling up and up a total of 1,000 feet before opening out onto the ledge at area 10, a giddy height above the valley floor. The tunnel remains 10 feet wide and 15 feet high throughout its steep length, and giant-sized creatures may only pass through it single file." Once PCs enter it, a giantess at the top releases a giant spherical boulder almost the exact dimensions of the tunnel to roll down and crush them! The DM is supposed to count down from 10 to add "dramatic tension." You can't outrun it without magical speed, but there's a 5 foot space between it and the ceiling. Amusingly, the GM is told that if any character 5 feet tall or above attempts to magically leap over the boulder, they bonk their head on the ceiling and fall back to the floor stunned in front of it. This is the first of many instructions to be a particular dick to the PCs. Anyone who can't figure out how to get safe takes 12d10 points of damage with no save.
Once you make it up, more giant-fightin' takes place. Notably, one of them prefers to pick up PCs, requiring a normal attack roll (ignoring their armor bonus). PC gets a Bend Bars/Lift Gates roll, then over the edge they go, for 20d6 points of falling damage (and effective removal from the fight). One of the giants is a shaman with some spells and magic items and a retinue of trolls. Here the PCs are strongly encouraged to negotiate, though the book notes it won't be easy with the belligerent, confident and stupid giants. There's also a helpless infant giant, though in a rare show of self control on the part of the writers it does not give XP if you kill it.
However they manage it, if the PCs get past the giants they get what they really want: access to Desatysso's notes in his desk. (It is of course trapped). Opening it reveals a battered piece of a document, noting that Desatysso felt he was ready for his expedition to confront the Devourer and that he wanted to contract the serves of Falon T'Selvin in Kalstrand. And this clue, aside from the treasure, is all there is.
Off to Kalstrand
Aside from an ominous but ultimately dead-end encounter involving a burial mount (the inhabitants of which have become more frisky due to the Dark Intrusion), the PCs make it to Kalstrand easily. They find easily enough that Falon can be found at the end of Elmwood Lane, but upon visiting this address, they find it's a cemetery . Falon's tombstone is easy to find, and finding it also finds his old friend, come to pay his respects: GRUNTHER!
haha what a
holy poo poo
Grunther, despite losing his arm in the dumbest way possible (you will find out later), is a pretty cool dude. He'll come with the PCs if they let him and make it clear that they mean to attack the Devourer, even though he doesn't really know who that is beyond "the grinning skull." He's been to the TOMB OF HORRORS before so if a DM is feeling merciful, having him in the party might help them avoid some of the more unfair gently caress-you traps. He'll also take them to the other survivor of the doomed expedition: Sather, the priestess.
The PCs pass through an abandoned town (everyone was kidnapped by the aforementioned vampires and taken to Skull City) and arrive in Pitchfield, Sather's hometown, where a "plague" is in progress. In actual fact the vampires have been killing people in the night, but nobody knows that. If the PCs stick around there'll be more wights to fight, but the priority is finding the priestess. A lot smarter than Grunther, she remembers the TOMB OF HORRORS pretty well, but she flat out refuses to accompany them and in fact can be sent into seizures just from being pressed to hard on it (an event which will make Grunther abandon the PCs). She wouldn't be much good, anyways, since her experience in the TOMB OF HORRORS destroyed her faith and cost her her powers. She has Desatysso's journal, which in addition to obliquely referencing many of the traps in the TOMB OF HORRORS, also provides some background on who Acererak is and what he wants. The important bits of info are twofold; first, a map to the TOMB OF HORRORS; and second, a reference to the Amulet of the Void, a magical item which can guide the user to the "true Tomb." What she doesn't know is that the Amulet broke in the struggle; half of it was left in the lair of the demilich by Desatysso, who no longer needed it, and the other half was left at the entrance by Sather, where it was stolen by the necromancers.
Into the Swamp
Skull City and the TOMB OF HORRORS are located in the middle of the Vast Swamp, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's full of swamp-appropriate random encounters, and one extremely nonrandom encounter. You see, throughout their trip, they are eventually noticed by the unfortunately named Dim Triad, the personal servants of Mistress Ferranifer, the master of Skull City. These three vampires (Absalom, Blaesing and Harrow) carry with them scrolls of sunward (see my last post) and some of their coffin soil. The vampires notice the PCs and night and send Blaesing down in gaseous form while the other two return to the city. Blaesing preferentially targets priests, or anyone wearing or possessing holy regalia. He has a base 95% chance, minus twice any active guard's Wisdom score, of silently killing any PC in their sleep without alerting anyone. If he silently kills three PCs he will flee in gaseous form. If discovered, he hits automatically, draining two levels and doing damage, then flees in gaseous form. The next night all three vampires do the same. This is by no means the last time a PC can be killed simply by not doing something it would not necessarily occur to them to do.
And with that, the (surviving) PCs arrive in SKULL CITY!
Next time: Skull City, the Black Academy, and maybe some of the TOMB OF HORRORS itself (but probably not).
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 20:56|
Good lord, that door has more leering faces than a space marine's armor.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 21:40|
The important thing to remember about Clan Books in oWoD (All the specific organization books, in fact) is that they lay out what the Clan believed happened in history. They are all resolutely bullshit, because it's thousands of years of built up propaganda and games of telephone. It's way more important to see why they think certain things happened. The Children of Gaia, for instance, are complete morons.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 21:40|
Ahahahahahaha its so evillllllllllllllllllllll.
|# ? Jun 29, 2013 22:07|
You've already covered the Bone Gnawer book.
gently caress. Let’s not waste any time, then. One of the best tribebooks is coming up shortly, and if we’re going to get there, we need full steam.
(But seriously, I think the compare/contrast you have between the Gnawers' take on what they've done ["nawh, wasn't us, we just helped a little"] verses everyone else's take is what cemented them as a personal favorite of mine.)
About the only "good" thing I've ever seen come out of the Children of Gaia books is the delusional lengths people on the chats I frequent will go to point out about how that's all wrong and how CoGgies make the best Ahrouns and yadda fuckin' yadda.
|# ? Jun 30, 2013 01:52|
The Path of Peace
Chapter 2 finally fills us in on the framing device for the book. The audience is a brand new werewolf, and the introductory paragraphs teach us how to be a good wolf. It’s cute. Child of Gaia narrator urges us to exult in the natural world and enjoy the sensations it offers. The world is the Children of Gaia’s inheritance. All werewolves, and indeed all living things, are Children of Gaia, they just don’t know it. But, humans can perceive it in tiny moments. At birth, when they hold a baby, when they show courage, when they perform kindness, and when they make the world a better place, Gaia is there. The Children of Gaia exist to support these and allow all living things to unite in experiencing closeness to Gaia.
Finally, we get a raison d’etre for the Children of Gaia, and it’s a good one. In fact, it retroactively makes the previous chapter more useful. We understand the Children of Gaia’s goal and their methods. Unlike most werewolves, they believe in law as a force for good instead of a tool of the Weaver. They’re granola crunching peacenik liberals, where most werewolves are anarcho-primitivists. They focus on Wyrm creatures that deter from the holy union that all living things should share.
It’s a valid concept, but not one that belongs in this game. Every tribe should be angry about something, and the Children of Gaia just don’t have anything to get them enraged. Sure, the Wyrm might mess the world up, but the Children aren’t angry about it, just sad. They’re smug assholes, and when you sign up to play Werewolf, that’s not going to be compelling PC material. They aren’t werewolves, not as Werewolf: the Apocalypse conceives of them.
If I were to rework them, and I have (more on that later), the Children of Gaia would be angry at the Garou Nation at large. The Children of Gaia have argued for effective strategies and time and time again they’re ignored. The Garou Nation refuses to help the Children of Gaia when they’re in trouble when the Children are willing to sacrifice everything for them. The Garou Nation is worse than ineffective; its blunders have ensured that the Apocalypse can’t be prevented. The textual attitude the Children of Gaia have for the Garou Nation isn’t compelling; this is.
Imminent Strike, a camp presented in this chapter, points to this. They want to cut all ties with the Garou Nation, violently if necessary. It’s a nice political concept if that’s the kind of chronicle you’re participating it, but it’s out of place in the Children of Gaia as written. The Crest of the Unicorn is similar, but they focus on deposing the Silver Fangs.
The One Tree is also an awkward fit, but it doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. Their program is literally “kill Wyrm attackers”, but dispassionately. Considering RAGE is a power stat for the werewolves, that’s going to be difficult.
Servants of the Unicorn are the largest camp, and they’re also focused on inter-tribe politics. They want to unite everyone! Boring, but it’s the default Children of Gaia political perspective, with over half the tribe buying into it.
Chapter 2 marks the point where the art director just gave up and just took anything Richard Kane Ferguson gave him.
The Patient Deed exists in opposition to Imminent Strike. They want to teach the other tribes to be better, as patiently as their name suggests.
The Anointed Ones are flat out unplayable unless everyone in your group signs on to play them, since they refuse to fight. Anything. Even tangible spirits of pure evil. Fighting solves nothing, after all.
The Demeter’s Daughters focus on environmental education for humanity. They think connecting humans back to nature would solve most of the problems of modern society, so outreach is their major goal.
Angels in the Garden fight for the children! Part of the intertribal group Heaven, they rescue children from kidnappers and abusive homes. The Angels in particular focus on reforming education and children’s literature to bring them closer to Gaia, like the Demeter’s Daughters. I actually like these political programs. I don’t know that I’d play a werewolf, but it gives kinfolk something to do and advances the idea that werewolves do tangible good in the World of Darkness.
Aethera Inamorata teaches people how to have good sex. The Wyrm has made sex seem evil and bad, and so the Aethera Inamorata are its greatest foes. They also serve as werewolf matchmakers. Is it any surprise that this is the longest description of all these camps?
Unicorn, the Children of Gaia totem, is a healing spirit, and it is a powerful symbol to humanity even today. That’s great and all, but how can we link it to sex in the creepiest way possible?
As a young girl approaches adolescence, she goes through a “unicorns and rainbows” pahse. This scorned stage is actually a crucial rite of passage in which her emotional body is given divine strength, just as her nascent sexual body is prepared for the ordeal of childbearing.
Anyway, the Children of Gaia keep their homeland open to everyone and the unicorns that live there freely heal and invigorate all visitors. It’s rumored they can even purify Black Spiral Dancers.
Oh, come on, you can see the other horn!
Homid werewolves are important to the Children of Gaia for supporting and providing kin networks that they can rely upon. The Children advocate breeding only with these kin since they know how to best take care of a baby werewolf. Wolves are hard to find and the Children of Gaia don’t bother for the most part. The Children of Gaia accept all exiled Metis, but they are very strict about not producing any themselves. After all, they support love between Garou and the proliferation of Metis would besmirch their reputation. Some Children sages believe that science or magic will one day reverse Metis sterility, making them the best werewolves ever.
A Metis werewolf?
The Children of Gaia encourage improvisation during rites to stave off the Weaver. For them, the key to successful rites is not reproducing old chants or dances, but in listening to the spirits. Moots also change depending on the needs or moods of the day. Their Rite of Passage differs the most from the other tribes. Apparently, other tribes literally murder werewolf cubs during their Rites, but the Children of Gaia are far too enlightened for that. Actually, this book is an example of the Children of Gaia Rite of Passage! They just love each other and promise to love each other forever and ever.
Law is a valuable thing to the Children of Gaia, and the Litany is no exception. But, they have fairly liberal interpretations, which makes the other tribes mad.
Garou Shall Not Mate with Garou: All consensual sex is beautiful! This tenet doesn’t ban inter-werewolf love! Fortunately, the Children of Gaia invented the condom and birth control (), so they can have as much sex as they want! Unfortunately, it’s been established that Garou tend to break condoms and birth control doesn’t really work for them, so sucks to be them, I guess. Also, this law doesn’t excuse mistreating Metis.
Combat the Wyrm Wherever it Dwells and Whenever it Breeds: The Children of Gaia focus more on the second part than most other tribes. They fight the efforts of the Defiler Wyrm more than anything else, which makes the other tribes suspicious.
Respect the Territory of Another:
Other tribes say we violate this law most of all. But remember, Gaia has given us all the living world and all the Umbra. Our protectorate is all of humankind. We need only ask our own permission to go anywhere. In truth, all other tribes need our permission to go anywhere. This is not mere sophistry. This is a potent Legacy from the Mother. But remember: all are Children of Gaia. Those who acknowledge this have open access to all the world.
Accept an Honorable Surrender: I have a hard time imagining the Children of Gaia would ever be called upon to follow this, but they take it seriously.
Submit to Those of Higher Station: This law doesn’t remove your ability to question decisions. You should do so, but respectfully.
The First Share of the Kill for the Greatest in Station: If they really were the Greatest in Station they’d share the kill. Therefore, if they don’t let a Child of Gaia take what he wants, he should destroy the elder. I know I wanted the Children of Gaia to treat the other tribes with more hostility, but I didn’t want them to act like superpowered five year olds.
Ye Shall Not Eat the Flesh of Humans: Just don’t.
Respect for Those Beneath Ye – All Are of Gaia: This is obviously the most important part of the Litany for the Children of Gaia.
The Veil Shall Not be Lifted: This is important, but the Children of Gaia rely on their kinfolk network. They take great pains to expand it, and sometimes lifting the Veil is necessary to do that. They even have a Gift for it! Other tribes don’t like this because it could literally mean the extinction of their species, but they worry too much.
Do Not Suffer Thy People to Tend Thy Sickness: This law was more important during like, the Ice Age, when everyone was going to die. Now, there are options, so the Children of Gaia flat out don’t obey this law.
The Leader May be Challenged at Any Time during Peace: The Children of Gaia do feel they have a responsibility to follow this, but they prefer non-violent challenges of open discourse! Truly these are savage monsters.
The Leader May Not Be Challenged during Wartime: While the Children of Gaia are all for discourse, they do understand that the battlefield is not right time for it. Still, if Child of Gaia really doesn’t want to follow his leader, he can say so and step back as a conscientious objector. If he’s right, great! If he’s wrong, don’t get mad at him, because he thought it was the right thing to do.
In any other RPG book this would be the worst piece of art. Here's it's one of the best.
Ye Shall Take No Action That Causes a Caern to be Violated: No room for interpretation here, just do it.
It is foretold that the Desperate One will singlehandedly avert the Apocalypse, but only by breaking every law of the Litany. Most believe this is a metaphor, but it could be true! This idea later develops into the Perfect Metis, a Metis without deformities and who can have offspring.
The leaders of the Children of Gaia are decided in a Grand Moot where all the Children gather together and shout their ideas at each other. By the time they’re done, it’s clear who the leader is. There are no succession crises and it works every time. I…I can’t even.
Every Children of Gaia sept has two leaders, one male and one female. The female serves as the Voice of the Goddess and is the executive. The male Arm of the Goddess enforces her edicts. A third leader, the Heart of the Goddess, is the judge (this is not a typo, on my part, anyway). This mimics the Triple Goddess, because there are three. It’s also analogous to the three branches of the United States federal government, but much less democratic and effective.
The Children of Gaia break the Veil at their discretion, so they have a huge kin network. They can find Changed cubs quickly, and they can mobilize great political efforts easily. They even have a name: the Gaia Network. The youth have splintered into several subgroups, each with their own cute acronym that I’m not going to bother to list. The book does, though, because the authors have no idea what’s interesting.
My face right now. I hate this book.
Next time: Chapter 3 – Please don’t bring Sondheim into this.
pospysyl fucked around with this message at 05:03 on Jun 30, 2013
|# ? Jun 30, 2013 04:58|
Ahahahahahaha its so evillllllllllllllllllllll.
In a surprising twist, that gate was already there when they moved in.
(no it wasn't, but I really want to hear more about this place)
|# ? Jun 30, 2013 05:05|
Homid werewolves are important to the Children of Gaia for supporting and providing kin networks that they can rely upon. The Children advocate breeding only with these kin since they know how to best take care of a baby werewolf. Wolves are hard to find and the Children of Gaia don’t bother for the most part.
Waaaait a minute. Wasn't there something, somewhere, about the loss of wolf bloodlines having a serious deleterious effect on Garou genetics?
|# ? Jun 30, 2013 13:57|
Waaaait a minute. Wasn't there something, somewhere, about the loss of wolf bloodlines having a serious deleterious effect on Garou genetics?
Haven't you ever wondered just why the Children of Gaia, Bone Gnawers, and Glass Walkers are all hosed up?
|# ? Jun 30, 2013 14:03|
The Bone Gnawer response to that situation is to try to put whatever wolf kin they come across in to zoos and other animal sanctuaries. Pisses the other tribes off to no end, but they're cared for and the local Gnawers can show up occasionally and sneak in hot dogs and other treats.
Haven't you ever wondered just why the Children of Gaia, Bone Gnawers, and Glass Walkers are all hosed up?
|# ? Jun 30, 2013 16:28|
So how does WW handle the modern phylogenetic classification of dogs as wolves? I am wholly willing to believe that ignore it, but dogs are pretty common and having a werewolf known as Sheds-Water-Like-Ducks the poodle crinos would be fun as poo poo.
|# ? Jun 30, 2013 16:42|
They pretty much say that it doesn't matter. Werewolf is all about spirits and spirituality, the actual genetics aren't really what it's about. Dogs don't have wolf spirits anymore, so they don't count as wolves for breeding. It's why having no wolves in their ancestry makes them kinda bonkers, it screws with their spiritual half-wolf half-person balance.
|# ? Jun 30, 2013 16:58|
I know I found a fan supplement about the "Order of Sirius" (I think) once that was about Weredogs though. Was never able to find it again for some reason.
|# ? Jul 1, 2013 05:13|
I know the one you mean, it was a lodge (read: prestige class) for Forsaken though, not Apocalypse. I remember a lot of "being a dog instead of a wolf is weird and devolved", it made you better at staying near mortal families and communities and less so at hunting.
|# ? Jul 1, 2013 05:18|
Actually, there are two such things:
Cult of the Dog is W:tF, and involves doggishness and a possibly deeply evil/eerie patron in the form of the spirit Sirius.
The Debased are OWoD weredogs created by, if I remember correctly, Glass Walker and Bone Gnawer geneticist-shamans looking for ways to swell their numbers:
Edit: NOT , as these are freely distributable fan supplements.
Double Edit: To keep this on-topic, would anyone be interested in a review of these books, short as they are?
Punting fucked around with this message at 05:54 on Jul 1, 2013
|# ? Jul 1, 2013 05:50|
With very few exceptions, I've found fan supplements to be low-hanging fruit. Well-written ones are definitely worth a glance over though.
|# ? Jul 1, 2013 06:53|
Chapter 2: Characters
...He had a strange feeling as the slow gurgling stream slipped by: his old life lay behind in the mists, dark adenture lay in front.
All right, let's start with our game's iconic Hobbit, Trotter.
Say hello, Trotter! No, don't bother to get up.
So, Hobbits. Everyone knows about Hobbits, right? Little folk who live in a pleasant corner of the world, love the way things are and don't want anything to change, wouldn't dream of doing anything unrespectable, like, say adventuring, for example?
Well, of course, that's not quite right. There are hobbits who hear Bilbo's stories and dream about ancient dragon gold, elven forest cities, and dwarven mountain halls. It's just that no one likes talking about them. At least until they get back with carts full of gold and strange friends willing to lend a helping hand. Then EVERYONE is more than happy to have them back and remind them how they've always been the best of friends.
Now, like last time, each culture has a virtue, and Hobbits are no exception. Hobbits live a simple life, and they take great joy in it. In game terms, this means the Fellowship rating of the party is normally equal to the number of party members, Hobbits count for two. Fellowship is how the party recovers hope, one of the most important resources in adventuring. In addition, Hobbits can reroll their wisdom checks. Individually, these are ok, but getting both of them is pretty good. Wisdom is used to resist the Shadow's corruption, so Hobbits are mechanically the best in the game at resisting corruption. A nice touch.
Hobbits' starting skills are much what you'd expect. They start out as pretty much the best in the game at sneaking, with 3 Stealth and a Stealth as a favored skill. Lots of social skills, with a two in Song and Riddle and a three in courtesy. Also, Hobbits get two traits, and they're all awesome. We'll take Smoking and Storytelling. Being knowledgeable about pipeweed and smoking as actually an awesome way to make introductions and is used as an example on how to start conversations in at least half of the adventures I've read.
The thread appeared to want a melee hobbit. We'll have our hobbit bro start out with a 2 favored ranks short sword. We'll go with the well-rounded attribute spread 4 Body, 5 Heart, 5 Wits. As the stereotypical wanderer hobbit, he'll take Adventurous and Nimble traits.
Now Trotter looks like he's got a bit of a chip on his shoulder. But he's still a Hobbit, and Hobbits are sensible people. None of the Slayer's all consuming vengeance or the Warden's selfless sacrifice. No, Trotter just wants to see the world. He's going to be a Wanderer! He'll know a lot of Folk Lore. The Wanderer's shadow weakness, the one point where he's very vulnerable to the Shadow's influence, is the Wandering-Madness. We'll go over the Corruptions the Shadow can inflict on heroes later, but they're pretty cool.
Now, we picked Valor last time for our Beorning and got a piece of War Gear. This time we'll pick Wisdom as our starting stat and gain a cultural virtue. Since we're planning on mixing it up in melee, we'll go with Small Folk. We're very good at using our size to our advantage, and anytime we fight something that is larger than us (Read: Not Goblins) we get to use our Favored Wits score as our parry score, which we use to avoid getting hit. An extra 3 to that score is pretty big, easily one of the largest single boosts you'll get to your parry score.
Culture: Hobbit of the Shire Standard of Living: Prosperous
Cultural blessing: Hobbit-sense
Calling: Wanderer Shadow weakness: Wandering-madness
Specialties: Smoking, Story-telling, Folk-lore
Distinctive features: Adventurous, Nimble
Body: 4 Heart: 5 Wits: 5
Body (favoured): 6 Heart (favoured): 6 Wits (favoured): 8
-Virtues-: Small Folk
Hope: 17 Starting Hope: 17 Temporary Shadow: 0 Permanent Shadow: 0 Total Shadow: 0
Armour: 0 Headgear: 0
Parry: 5 Shield: 0
Damage: 0 Ranged: 0
Wisdom: 2 Valour: 1
Experience: 0 Total Experience: 0
Fellowship: 0 Advancement: 0 Treasure: 0 Standing: 0
|# ? Jul 1, 2013 08:40|
|# ? Sep 27, 2023 00:17|
Cynical-Pop Meikyuu Kingdom Dungeon Theater
Chapter 2.3: What's In A (Second) Name?
Got your Classes hashed out, now it's time to actually make the character! First step is a name. No real restrictions here, but just in case you get stuck, the book "helpfully" provides a set of tables for you to roll one up! I put "helpfully" in quotes because... well... maybe I'd better just show you.
The first thing you do is roll a single 1D6, the result of which tells you which of the actual tables you'll be rolling on for your name:
2: Name B + Second Name A
3: Exotic Name + Second Name A
4: Name A + Second Name B
5: Name B + Second Name A
6: Fantastic Name + Second Name B
Each of the main tables takes a D66, with each result on the primary Name Tables has two options, male and female, and each table following a general trend. "Name A" and "Name B" both draw on the stereotype of Japanese fantasy naming: foreign words chosen at random because they sound neat. "Exotic Names" are much the same, only weirder. "Fantastic Names" are a grab-bag mix of mythological and literary references. Summarizing doesn't really do them justice, so here they are in full:
Name A 11: Orange / Jasmine 23: Bamboo / Olive 36: Tuba / Organ 12: Lanternflower / Morningglory 24: Cloud / Climate 44: Naan / Cookie 13: Clover / Thornapple 25: Tao / Snow 45: Willow / Cache-cache 14: Daphne / Mushroom 26: Avalanche / Eclair 46: Scone / Couscous 15: Granada / Primrose 33: Vivacita / Metronome 55: Flask / Clip 16: Radish / Marigold 34: Canon / Bassoon 56: Clavadora / Crayon 22: Cypress / Magnolia 35: Oboe / Harmonica 66: Soap / Broom
Name B 11: Age / Wednesday 23: Schwarz / Moegi 36: Zippo / Chocolat 12: Giorno / Noel 24: Slot / Kirie 44: Ninepins / Lucha 13: Dusk / Mańana 25: Joker / Dice 45: Decathlon / Lacrosse 14: Winter / Juno 26: Jigsaw / Domino 46: Kabaddi / Pingpong 15: Hiran / Bianca 33: Backgammon / Marbles 55: Pound / Velvet 16: Walnut / Rouge 34: Cigaro / Cocoa 56: Ruble / Cotton 22: Grey / Scarlet 35: Spichka / Orange-pekoe 66: Schilling / Silk
Exotic Name 11: Moai / Cyrstalskull 23: Gogh / Victoria 36: any star 12: Chupacabra / Mbembe 24: Zombie / Onyankopon 44: any weapon 13: Kungfu / Yinyang 25: Getuppah / Carmen 45: any animal 14: Bushido / Miyako 26: Overkill / Sashimi 46: any jewel 15: Champion / Barbie 33: Butcher / Devi 55: any word + Dragon 16: Upanishad / Sorge 34: Bronson / Madonna 56: roll on any Word Table 22: Deathmarch / Intel 35: Gygax / Eroica 66: your name
So! From the provided die rolls, the first names of the example group, dependent on gender, are as follows:
Fantastic Name 11: Adam / Eve 23: Maharaja / Krishna 36: Xanadu / Yomi 12: Jack / Momo 24: Kageotoko / Kurotokage 44: Albion / Laputa 13: Oz / Alice 25: Orpheus / Venus 45: Xenda / Gormenghast 14: Conan / Leda 26: Solomon / Salome 46: Innsmouth / Ys 15: Arthur / Isis 33: Watarigarasu / Deedlit 55: Fuunuimu / Yapoo 16: Elric / Glorianna 34: Nyarlathotep / Bast 56: Xanth / Narnia 22: Gilgamesh / Amaterasu 35: Annatar / Fortuna 66: Kalevala / Ihatovo
dereku - Tuba / Organ
Everything Counts - Giorno / Noel
Ryuujin - Avalanche / Eclair
Mr. Maltose - Bamboo / Olive
goatface - Canon / Bassoon
All clear? I hope so. Because it's about to get stranger still.
"Second Names"... I honestly have no solid idea what the gently caress these are supposed to represent. Kotobank defines the term basically as "a name one is called aside from their actual name", which makes it synonymous with "nickname" or "alias". So it should be simple, except that all of the "Second Names" provided are actually aphorisms and proverbs, a lot of which could only marginally be considered descriptive. Listing all of these would necessitate explaining their meanings and take way too much space, so I'll just stick to the rolled examples:
dereku - ryoute ni hana no, "flowers in both hands"; doubly blessed; alternately, to have a pretty woman on each arm.
Everything Counts - tora no o o fumu, "stepping on a tiger's tail"; walking fearlessly into danger.
Ryuujin - ishibashi o tataite wataru, "strike the stone bridge as you cross it"; take nothing for granted; one can never be too cautious.
Mr. Maltose - kaze ni yanagi no, "like a willow in the wind"; flexible.
goatface - doragon mo hadashi de nigedasu, "even dragons flee barefoot"; a fearsome reputation.
Sooo... names? I got nothing. You figure it out.
Next time: the rest of character creation! I can't wait!
|# ? Jul 1, 2013 11:55|