Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Valatar posted:

Shadowrun did a better job of it They basically left it at 'hosed up poo poo makes the astral plane hosed up in that area and dangerous spirits are more likely to hang out there'. They did specifically mention concentration camps when giving examples of more warped areas, but never went around naming real life mass murderers and trying to tie them into the game setting.

I love Shadowrun to death, but I feel like I can't just let this pass. I did a bit of backstory research for a polish shadowrunner I was writing, and....

Shadowrun 4e: WAR! posted:

Deep within the bowels of Auschwitz II during WWII, Dr. Eduard Wirths conducted and supervised thousands of odd experiments on the human body. He tested mustard gas on innocents. He mutilated twins. He held people in tanks of ice water for hours or until dead. He exposed prisoners to malaria. He forced them to drink seawater. One particular implement from his experiments, a rusted old scalpel, was left in the labs. Over many years, it was energized by the various ghosts passing by it, feeding on their death energies. At this point, it’s taken on a life of its own[...]

And they give stats for it, like it's a magic weapon.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Alien Rope Burn posted:

In general I think I've gotten to the point where Nazis are so overexposed in genre fiction I barely want to see them at all. I'm pretty exhausted on the idea of Nazi exceptionalism - that is, that Nazi Germany was so advanced that they were on the verge of discovering X and it's great that ordinary folks defeated Hitler before they invented time travel or the atomic bomb or clone cyborg Thor or whatever. I'm just tired of them being mythologized and given a lot more credit than they actually deserve.

I admit it, I used something like this in my Task Force Valkyrie game. One adventure the group had was dealing with a major crisis of spirits: a place where extraordinary suffering and death took place to the point that it poked holes into the spirit realms and the dead have been crying out for justice or at least recognition. That place? Nanking, and the PCs worked with China's TFV equivalent, since modern Japan is so adverse to owning up to its imperial legacy. I noted in that adventure that similar events are almost unheard of in Germany, since most spirits there are pretty happy with how modern Germany regards WW2 and owns up to it.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

In general I think I've gotten to the point where Nazis are so overexposed in genre fiction I barely want to see them at all. I'm pretty exhausted on the idea of Nazi exceptionalism - that is, that Nazi Germany was so advanced that they were on the verge of discovering X and it's great that ordinary folks defeated Hitler before they invented time travel or the atomic bomb or clone cyborg Thor or whatever. I'm just tired of them being mythologized and given a lot more credit than they actually deserve.

It's always great to run into what the German Army's military minds of the WW2 really thought of the weapons that a lot of folks consider to be superior to the arms of the Allied forces. Stuff like Panzer general Heinz Guderian bitching about the questionable effectiveness and waste of resources going into the Maus tank and then praising the Russian T-38, going so far as saying it was the best tank produced during WW2. Or Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland asking for a British Spitfire when asked by Goering if he could have any plane. It's funny because even now there's been some reconsideration regarding the Sturmgewehr 44, the first "assault rifle", that perhaps the gun wasn't as revolutionary as it was first claim, since you had personal automatic weapons chambered in rifle calibers like the Cei-Rigotti and the Fedorov Avtomat existing 20 years before it and that it's contemporary counterpart, the M1 and later M2 carbines, probably saw much more acceptance and action than it ever did.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007



There was exactly one side in WW2 who discovered a terrifying weapon which changed the world forever, and it sure as hell wasn't the nazis.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Young Freud posted:

It's always great to run into what the German Army's military minds of the WW2 really thought of the weapons that a lot of folks consider to be superior to the arms of the Allied forces. Stuff like Panzer general Heinz Guderian bitching about the questionable effectiveness and waste of resources going into the Maus tank and then praising the Russian T-38, going so far as saying it was the best tank produced during WW2. Or Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland asking for a British Spitfire when asked by Goering if he could have any plane. It's funny because even now there's been some reconsideration regarding the Sturmgewehr 44, the first "assault rifle", that perhaps the gun wasn't as revolutionary as it was first claim, since you had personal automatic weapons chambered in rifle calibers like the Cei-Rigotti and the Fedorov Avtomat existing 20 years before it and that it's contemporary counterpart, the M1 and later M2 carbines, probably saw much more acceptance and action than it ever did.

Go read the military history thread in ask/tell. The goons there will readily agree that the Germans had some really good equipment, but it's almost never the stuff you hear much about. The StuG III, for example.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Crasical posted:

I love Shadowrun to death, but I feel like I can't just let this pass. I did a bit of backstory research for a polish shadowrunner I was writing, and....


And they give stats for it, like it's a magic weapon.

Ah yes War!, the only book that my SR4 GM did not actually allow to use for his campaign. It's apparently a massive crapshoot of horribly implemented ideas and overpowered equipment.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


unseenlibrarian posted:

Just to go back a page though to the last DX post, I still want a FH Mercs/Guild game that's basically "Black Lagoon with superpowers." (I just want to play in it, not run it, which is always a problem.)

Sounds like a rad idea. There's even plenty of support for this kind of game:

Double Cross - Public Enemy


False Hearts Unveiled

The first known mention of False Hearts comes from the Asian woman that informed the archeology team of Ryan Philander about the location of the Renegade ruins. Seeing how important the following Renegade Liberation was to the evolution of the Renegade Beings, it's pretty safe to assume this Asian woman was Kyoka "The Planner" Tsuzuki, or one of her flunkies.

Nobody really knows just when exactly False Hearts was founded, but it is known that it didn't really have the same cell structure it has today before the Renegade Liberation (most likely because Overeds were pretty rare before).
Instead, False Heart consisted of a loose gathering of Clans, groups of both Overeds and non-Overeds who have been around for centuries. Their ancient knowledge and secret techniques (which makes their non-Overed members bad enough dudes to fight Overeds) makes them FH's elite combat units, though they are technically still separate from FH, and their members serve their Clan first and FH second. Still, Clans make more and more use of FH's global intel and training facility network.

The oldest known Clan is the Japanese Kasuga Clan, whose members served The Planner since its founding in the late 8th century. Unfortunately, they were just as surprised about The Planner abandoning False Hearts and creating the Xenos organization as everyone else, and she left them not a single note or anything. She just left, leaving the clan in a state of confusion and existential crisis. Some members just continue to work for FH, others have joined Xenos to continue their servitude, and a few are actually fighting Xenos, hoping that Senpai will notice them again if they wreck her new club. I don't think this is a particularly good plan, but I digress.

With the Kasuga Clan in disarray, the most powerful clan (and only other notable) is probably The Black Order. They are infamous for their super sneaky assassins who are also experts in squad tactics, which I think means they found a way to invert the Inverse Ninja Law. They are also so secretive that not even the other FH guys know what's going on with this Clan.
Black Order's leader is Vikarala the Dark One, which not a single person, but a title passed on from one leader to the next (though past Dark Ones might've used othe rnames than Vikarala, but who knows with these guys).

Clan leaders are known as Liaison Lords or just Lords, and together they form False Heart's 12-man executive committee, a structure the UGN later copied for their Axis committee.
There are two major differences between these committees: Axis consists of 6 normal humans and 6 Overeds, whereas Liaison Lords are all Overeds. And whereas Axis is the highest echelon in the UGN, the Lords play second fiddle to Central Dogma.
Who is Central Dogma? Where is he? How does he look like? What gender does he actually have? Is he a single Overed, or just a title? The only ones who could answer these questions are the Liaison Lords or a select few agents working as Central Dogma's messengers. Everyone else has not a single clue about his/her true identity. And if you go by the Advanced Ruleboook, the UGN apparently doesn't even know Central Dogma is a single person and just assumes its FH's main cell.

Below these 13 leaders of False Hearts are the Master Agents, agents whose supreme proficiency in a specific ability or skill has granted them the honor of adding "Master" to their codename. This is in fact the only restriction to code- or nicknames in all of DX, so you can be sure that poo poo is about to hit the fan if anyone with "Master" anywhere in his codename makes an entrance.
As the best of the best False Hearts as to offer, Master Agents take in leading roles in all of FH's activities (intel, research, training,...), act as experts for specific Syndromes or are elite agents tasked with special missions.
A special role among the Master Agents is the Master Wraith, whose top secret missions are always crucial to Renegade research and evolution. There used to be only one Master Wraith at any given time, but recent events have made this a bit more crowded (more on that later).

Spreading from the center of False Hearts' organizational structure is a big spiderweb of Cells. Cells are for the most part very independent from each other, and it is even possible for two Cells to operate in the same city without knowing of each other's existance.
Despite all this relative freedom, there is a certain ranking among the Cells, and a Cell Leader has to follow orders from a higher-ranking Cell. Orders from Lords and especially Central Dogma himself overrule everything, but other than that the actual hierarchy between Cells is a bit muddy and convuluted, especially since Liaison Lords like to make up their own structure for the Master Cells and Leader Cells (the exact name depending on the Lord's rank, though the book doesn't really get into detail here; I'd just go with Leader Cells as that's the only one that gets mentioned multiple times) they control.

As Cells often consist of Overeds with similar goals and tastes, they often specialize into specific roles. These are very similar to UGN departments and are referred to as Combat Cells (killing stuff), Intelligence Cells (hacking stuff) and R&D Cells (science stuff).
And just like the UGN has their Strikehounds and R-Lab, False Hearts has special elite Cells that operate on a global scale: The Combat Cell Moon Dogs, the Intelligence Cell Ratfink, and the R&D Cell Two-Time. And just like with the Strikehounds, Moond Dogs was actually the name of the standard cannon fooder FH goons in the corebook. PCs are just that good.

When Cells have to work together, Executive Cells come into play to coordinate everything. These Cells are the rarest of them all, and often times just temporary in nature.
Another special "Cell" are Personal Cells, which are just FH members who work alone.

The People of False Hearts

FH training is very similar to the UGN (except if you're a FH Child, in which case you're more of guinea pig that might eventuall become an agent as an added bonus), with the main difference being that FH sees the Renegade not as a dangerous thing that eats away at your humanity, but a (more or less) natural part of yourself that helps you in fulfilling your desires and wishes. They also put less of a focus on safety regulations, though they do teach their agents to not keep their powers hidden in public.

While the UGN has no tolerance for Gjaums, FH is essentially a meritocracy: as long as you're sane enough to be a functional member of FH society, nobody cares if you're actually a psychotic monster in human guise. In fact a lot of high-ranking agents and even a few Liaison Lords are actually Gjaums.
Mind you, even FH PCs become NPCs when turning into a Gjaum (as that removes a PC's main source of internal conflict), though I guess it could be kinda fun to have the occasional Scenario involving the players' former PCs making a comeback to go wild now that they don't have to care about Encroachment Rate anymore.

Like UGN Agents and, well, terrorists, FH Agents still have a Cover and live a normal life outside of their FH activities. Relationships between the members of a FH Cell can range from "big happy (terrorist) family" to "no contact outside of Cell activities, and codenames only".

And just to show what kind of shenanigans FH Cells pull off, here are some global events I skipped from the Advanced Corebook:

The New Haven Conflict

Probably the first major incident caused by False Hearts as it happend 20 years ago (and most likely just after the Renegade Liberation). New Haven is a fictional island in the southern Pacific Ocean that has been ravaged by an ethnical conflic, when False Hearts invited itself into the party. With a big dose of weapons, supplies, and people turning into Overeds or Gjaums, the conflict suddenly escalated like crazy for one last year, taking a heavy toll on both sides and creating weird stories about tentacle monster, panther dudes and flying soldiers. And all just to have a field study on battlefield applications for the Renegade virus.

The Krodova Civil War

Your typical fictional Eastern European country (probably a neighbor of Latveria), the Krodova Principality has been plagued by a devastating civil war that has been going on for years, with no end in side. Actual FH Agents are relatively rare in this country, but the organization provides both sides with weapons and Overed creation, as a sort of long-term version of the New Haven Conflict. It's basically Overed Ukraine.

The Baranian President's Assassination

Another fictional coutnry, the Baranian Republic in the Middle East has had a long history of conflicts with its neighboring countries, but things were looking pretty optimistic thanks to the new president. But just when he had a meeting with an ambassador from his neighbors, he was shot by what must've been a teleporting bullet to make it look like the ambassador killed him.

Suffice to say, False Hearts are dicks.

Next Time: Professor Caudwell - or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Renegade.

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature! Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We! Join Us at Paradise Lost!




Man, Mage. That game did, for a long time, rank as my 1. game, for setting and play possibilities. My infaturation has faded by now, but i still have a bit of love for it, and probably always will, despite the many, many reasons to regard the game as straight-up horrible. Then again, i got into the game with revised edition, which is apperently when it was cleaning up it's act, so what do i know.

Two comments on the traditions, however.
First, the dreamspeakers. I'm not sure if it was always the case, but in revised edition, the name was explicitly knowledged as being racist, and it was brought up that the tradition by and large didn't have anything in common with one another, except eing called "dremspeakers" by the europeans and asians. Not sure if that was a retcon, however.

As for the euthanatos, well.... The blurb in both revised edition core and M20 does them no favors. They're just hidu death mages. But i remember their tradition book as being... really good, actually. It explains the paradigm rather well, both in term of "this is how you do magic" and "This is how you think about the magic you do and what you think of yourself as doing." It describes the euthanatic paradigm as being about following dhama in a way that allows you unity with aspects of gods. I'm butchering it here, but it felt cohesive and i remember looking up some of the hindu terms it used and going "huh, that's close than i'd expected"

Lastly, i don't think it's a problem that there's some overlap in terms of foci among the traditions. That multiple indian traditions use yoga seems suitable and sensible, as long as you get a distinct feeling of how and why they do it and what the differences are. having everyone use everything like M20 seems to suggest, however, is stuupid.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Asimo posted:

There was exactly one side in WW2 who discovered a terrifying weapon which changed the world forever, and it sure as hell wasn't the nazis.

Yeah, I read a book on whether or not Nazi Germany could have discovered the bomb first, and the answer is "well, maybe if they hadn't had a habit of alienating scientists of a certain faith for a decade and the Nazi leadership wasn't impatient and short-sighted". German science was remarkable in spite of the Nazis, not because of them. Even the ties between occultism and the Nazi party are a lot more tenuous than most people realize.

That's not to say you can never play around with Nazism, it's a convenient shorthand for "unambiguous evil", but it's too often used lazily, relying on modern mythology more than anything else.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cythereal posted:

Go read the military history thread in ask/tell. The goons there will readily agree that the Germans had some really good equipment, but it's almost never the stuff you hear much about. The StuG III, for example.

Stug Lyfe, yo.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Describing the Euthanatos as "the bad guy Tradition" or just as "death mages" does them a serious disservice, yes.

I mean, they are awful people, but it's for much more complicated reasons than that!

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Kurieg posted:

Holy poo poo. I wonder who was responsible for that

The author of the Wu-Keng chapter is Derek Pearcy. Brucato was the developer for The Book of Crafts, and wrote the Bata'a chapter (with Jim Comer).

Valatar posted:

I'm pretty sure I already know the answer, because White Wolf, but are they actually transgender people and not men cross-dressing as a disguise to go around murdering babies? I don't even know why I'm trying to hold out some glimmer of hope here; all of White Wolf's asian stuff has just been horrible from day one and it's completely par for the course for them to pick the post disappointing possible option.

Well, it's a book written in the 90's - do you think it can even tell crossdressers and transwomen apart? To actually answer your question, the book refers to the Wu-Keng as male, and treats them as deceptive crossdressers, but at the same time talks about how they all genuinely think they're women, despite still having penises. In short, transwomen written by someone who doesn't know what transwomen are, and therefore thinks they're crossdressers. Which is, in its ignorance, extremely offensive.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Ratpick posted:

I've never played or read any version of Mage. Is it bad that my main take-away from that latest post was "Man, it would be so cool to play a Void Engineer"?

No, that just means you read Mage right.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

In general I think I've gotten to the point where Nazis are so overexposed in genre fiction I barely want to see them at all. I'm pretty exhausted on the idea of Nazi exceptionalism - that is, that Nazi Germany was so advanced that they were on the verge of discovering X and it's great that ordinary folks defeated Hitler before they invented time travel or the atomic bomb or clone cyborg Thor or whatever. I'm just tired of them being mythologized and given a lot more credit than they actually deserve.

Man, I once watched this documentary about Nazi UFOs, full of technobabble, "eye-witnesses" (aka "UFO nutjobs who want to be especially snowflakey by claiming their strange visitors spoke German") and artwork which I could swear was borrowed from some pulpy WW2 RPG supplement. I really hope I never get to see such a "documentary" ever again.

(Then again, it gave me an idea for Nazi penguins.)

Cythereal posted:

Go read the military history thread in ask/tell. The goons there will readily agree that the Germans had some really good equipment, but it's almost never the stuff you hear much about. The StuG III, for example.

Why talk about the boring and practical stuff if you can instead talk about hyper-advanced antigrav engines for the above UFOs (which is bullshit) and tanks so big the can mount battleship cannons (which is actually not bullshit, but instead a hilarious failure of a tank concept).

PurpleXVI posted:

No, that just means you read Mage right.

Seriously, why isn't the game about those guys?

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:17 on Jan 9, 2016

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?



Chapter 5: Ascension Warriors: Part IV: The Disparate Alliance

First, a sidebar on why some Crafts are suddenly not part of the Traditions. See, the Ngoma and Solificati totally joined the Order of Hermes, it just wasn't all of them that joined, only a small minority. The larger Crafts are still around, so have fun telling House Ngoma apart from the Ngoma and the Akashayana Wu-Lung apart from the regular Wu-Lung. All the Crafts that joined the Traditions are still aligned with their Craft, so if hostilities break out, every single member of House Ngoma will turn out to be spies, assassins, saboteurs, and fifth-columnists for the Disparate Alliance. On the other hand, the Traditions and Disparate Alliance could join forces, giving the Traditions more inclusion on top of all their inclusiveness, and they'll be powerful enough to maybe defeat the Technocracy. What I'm saying is, the Disparate Alliance which are a complete invention of this book that nobody's ever heard of before, are super-important.

M20 posted:

In actuality, many of the best-known groups on the fringes of the Ascension War are not only alive and well but have been quietly banding together into their own configuration: a sarcastically named Disparate Alliance whose ironic moniker mocks the Council’s vision of itself as Magekind’s Great White Savior. Although several Crafts – the uncanny Hem-Ka Sobk and the demon-bound Wu-Keng among them – have apparently been obliterated

Oh no Brucato, you're not getting away that easily. When you acknowledge the existence of the Wu-Keng and say the only reason they're not around is the metaplot, you're not undoing a single thing about how massively transphobic the Wu-Keng are. You have to actually own up to past mistakes. (This also makes me want to check out the Hem-Ka Sobk...

The Book of Crafts posted:

To the unlearned observer, the Hem-Ka Sobk is a Craft of emotionless assassins, disguising their destructive natures beneath the cassocks of worship for a crocodile deity whom they blame for their actions.

The Book of Crafts posted:

These cannibal-mages serve as the teeth of the crocodile god - literally. [...] All Hem-Ka practice the rite of scaring and self-mutilation, but it serves a greater purpose than than simple religious piety. Called Nuta Akha-t, the scars act as foci through whick Sobk grants the Hem-Ka their spells.

The Book of Crafts posted:

(as Sleepers, they were murderers, rapists, blasphemers and thieves)

The Book of Crafts posted:

They are also required to sharpen their teeth and engage in ritualized cannibalism upon a successful kill.

)

The Crafts that make up the Disparates were all adept at hiding, which meant that as the Technocracy and Sleeper witch-hunters hunted the Traditions and other mages, the Crafts prospered in secrecy. In the 1990's, the Internet and growth of social media meant they could get into contact with each other (the book makes it out as if this was impossible before the Internet, as if the postal system and telephone didn't exist before Tim-Berners Lee) and decided that they'd form their own Council of Nine Mystic Traditions, with blackjack (the Sisters of Hippolyta vehemently objected to the hookers). The groundwork for the Disparate Alliance was laid by the Ahl-i-Batin, the Ngoma, the Bata'a, Hollow Ones, and the Children of Knowledge. By joining together this way, the Alliance saved several Crafts from destruction by the Technocracy.

M20 posted:

Even so, the Alliance has a lot to offer… especially because several of its members know a secret:

They understand just how corrupt the Technocracy truly is. More importantly, they believe they know why.

See, the Disparate Alliance know that the Technocracy has been corrupted by the Nephandi. And they all really hate the Nephandi, because unlike everyone else, the Disparate Alliance really hate the evil, nihilistic, world-destroying mass-murders. This is why they've decided to all group together, in their common hatred of the Nephandi. From what I've been able to tell, this is a very Brucato way of viewing things; the ultimate conflict in MTAs is against the Nephandi, so his baby Disparate Alliance are focused on fighting exactly that fight against the Nephandi-corrupted Technocracy, whereas the Traditions and Technocracy are distracted by the Ascension War, and are quite possibly just Nephandi pawns.

At least, the Disparate Alliance isn't well-organized or powerful - they have lots of internal strife, because trying to get a bunch of men-only Knights Templar, pacifistic women-only pagans, racist Chinese aristocrats, and Arab and Persian Crafts that have warred for centuries, is not easy.

There are a number of Crafts that aren't in the Disparate Alliance, but are listed as "potential recruits". Some of these seem more interesting than what we got:
  • Balamob, Aztec jaguar-priests
  • Thunder Society, Native American mystics
  • Uzoma, Yoruba spirit-mages
  • Navalon, rogue Technocrats who think the Technocratic Union is corrupt
  • Nohmen, Japanese psychics who use technological spirits
  • Red Thorn Dedicants, Lilith-worshippers who apparently make the Verbena and CoX look tame, making me wonder why anyone would ever want to be around them
  • Itz'at, secretive Mayan time-mages
  • Go Kamisori Gama, hypertech ninjas

Instead we got the...

Ahl-i-Batin


Pictured: A 20-something in trendy clothing... though frankly, cool-looking Arab young adults is something RPG art needs more of.

The Ahl-i-Batin used to be members of the Traditions, holding the Seat of Correspondence, but the Technocracy's rise forced them into hiding. They're a Craft of mostly Arab mages skilled in subtleties, who believe in a oneness of the world that mirrors a lot of the central ideas of the Correspondence Sphere. Because they're very subtle and hidden and secretive, they're very good at fighting the Nephandi, which sets them up as gazing into the abyss. They like to hand around Mount Qaf in the centre of the metaphysical universe. Personally, I think these guys are pretty cool, and while the Disparate Alliance makes me roll my eyes at times, I like that the Ahl-i-Batin get more screentime. They're special in that they can never learn Entropy - which makes me wonder what happens if you know Entropy and try to join the Ahl-i-Batin; it doesn't seem explained anywhere.

Spheres: Correspondence, Mind
Banned Sphere: Entropy
Foci: Crazy wisdom, alchemy, and High Ritual Magick maintain their traditional places in Batini Arts, with yoga, gutter magick, reality hacking, and even chaos magick appearing in the practices of certain devotees.

Yoga - the Tenth Sphere

Bata'a


Pictured: A 20-something partially wearing trendy clothing - also our first disabled iconic character.

The Bata'a are a syncretic magickal practice created by the fusion of African spiritual practices, Catholicism, and Native American religion from the Mississippi and Louisiana region. It's Voudoun and Candomblé and randomly tossed-in French words. The Bata'a believe that magick comes from respectful trade with the spirits in the spirit-world. In short, they're Voudoun mages. Personally I've never quite understood the fascination some people, especially White Wolf's authors, had with Voudoun, but each to their own.

Spheres: Spirit, Life
Foci: Bata'a mages enter a trance to perform a ritual to call upon a spirit to perform a service. They can also make a gris-gris to cast spells quickly. And: "Voudoun, faith, medicine-work, craftwork, High Ritual, and crazy wisdom form the core practices within the Bata’a. Some members also favor gutter magick, shamanism, weird science, dominion, maleficia, and various martial arts."

Truly, what can't you cast with yoga and martial arts?

Children of Knowledge


Pictured: a 20-something raver

The Children of Knowledge are the Solificati. They were once part of the Nine Mystic Traditions, but were kicked out after their leader betrayed the Traditions to the Order of Reason. They are alchemists who believe that all the secrets of the universe can be described through alchemy. Today, they believe that chemistry can be used to cause mass Ascension, possibly by getting everyone to expand their consciousness by dropping a lot of LSD. I like the Children of Knowledge as a concept - ancient alchemists experimenting with modern compounds and neurochemistry - but conceptually they overlap with the Children of Ecstasy; I wonder if it's efficient use of space to have two sets of druggie mages in a book that's already 600 pages long.

Spheres: Matter, Forces, Prime, Entropy
Foci: You'd think that drugs would be here, but they're actually not listed. Instead it's all about willing hard enough to make the vibrations of the universe be in tune with what you want. And also "alchemy, craftwork, crazy wisdom, the Art of Desire, chaos magick, and occasional hypertech"

Hollow Ones


Pictured: a 20-something in trendy-alt clothing

Goth mages. The Hollow Ones used to be a Tradition entirely of goth mages whose entire paradigm was "goth". Various authors tried to rectify how a Tradition based entirely on pandering to goths and Vampire fans (but I repeat myself) was actually supposed to work, but in my opinion they never managed to really pin down a proper paradigm for the Hollow Ones. At best they were the ultimate expression of MTAs-is-chaos-magick-the-game, being explicitly able to cast without a paradgim. The Hollow Ones are perhaps the ultimate expression of a Tradition/Craft being style over substance; they have a visual appearance and demeanour that'll appeal to a 90's subculture, but no actual concept as mages in a game about magic. But that's previous Hollow Ones! Let's see what M20 says about them!

M20 posted:

Art, at its best, distills passions into symbols other people can understand. Real art – not the hollow confections of pop culture but the deeper levels, where truth comes out – is a form of magick.


They're... magickal artists?

I still can't tell what the Hollow Ones are supposed to be, and as should be apparent from now, reading their Foci won't be of any help. It probably says something like "Gutter magick, chaos magick, yoga, martial arts, and goth clothing."

Sphere: None (in early MTAs, the Hollow Ones were akin to the Caitiff of Masquerade and Ronin of Apocalypse; they could buy any power at a discount, while the Clans/Tribes/Traditions could by specific powers at an even greater discount.)
Foci: "Chaos and gutter magick are near-universal among the Hollow Ones." Also broken toys, occult things, and symbols that scare the normies

Kopa Loei


Pictured: I can't tell his age, but those sure are tattoos!

The Kopa Loei are Hawaiian and Polynesian mages I'd never even heard of until I read about them in M20. They used to be in control of Hawaii and Polynesia, but then the Order of Reason turned up and pretended to be Lono, the Polynesian god (actually a Polynesian god, if Wikipedia is to be believed), which none of the Kopa Loei saw through, and took over Hawaii and Polynesia. It's a twist on story that James Cook was believed by the Hawaiians to be Lono (but Cook was killed because the Hawaiians were very angry when they found out he wasn't...) so I'd be tempted to let this one pass, but I find it hard to believe that the Kopa Loei, mages who could travel around the world if they willed it, could not see through such a simple OoR deception as "pretending to be a god". These days the Kopa Loei are angry about the colonization of the Pacific and hide away, tending to the world and preparing for battle against the Nephandi.

Spheres: The Kopa Loei have no specific focus, so any are possible
Foci: Ho'oanna, which flows through anything

Ngoma


Ngoma... or rejected Follower of Set art?

The Ngoma are the descendants of ancient African magickal arts. After colonialism raged across Africa, they have merged modern magickal arts with their traditional heritage, making them a Craft of skilled urban mages. The book notes they are "professors, doctors,
scientists, astrologers [...] astrophysicists, politicians, architects, financiers, and philanthropists".

There's not much to go on about the Ngoma, but I like the concept; all too often Africa is portrayed as rural and traditional to the exclusion of everything else, and anything supernatural that has to do with Africa ends up being cannibals and witch-doctors playing into 19th Century colonial stereotypes. The Ngoma, meanwhile, get to be modern Africans who both embrace modernism and maintain their heritage (as opposed to being successful mages only because they'd adopted Western ways.) MTAs and White Wolf has a long history of insensitive portrays of everywhere not urban USA, and as a white person from Norway I'm not exactly in a position to offer much knowledgeable commentary, but this at least seems more respectful than the usual portrayals.

Spheres: Life, Mind, Prime, Spirit
Foci: "Ngoma employ High Ritual Magick with a deep component of faith and modern applications of alchemy, hypertech, medicine-work, craftwork, reality hacking, and hypereconomics and its associated Art of Desire." They're also very hermetical, in that they believe that knowledge is the root of magickal power.

Orphans


Pictured: a 20-something with tattoos wearing rags

Orphans are self-taught mages who don't belong to any Craft or Tradition, rather than a Tradition in itself. They're a sensible addition to MTAs, but for some reason M20 decides that they should be listed under the Disparate Alliance, as if the Disparates are the only ones who have Orphans among their ranks.

Sphere: None, like the Hollow Ones
Foci: Depends on the Orphan, though there's a suggested list: "Religious creeds, transhumanist philosophy, occult dabbling, and ethnic practices provide the most common focuses for orphan magick" And apparently gutter magick is really common in the technological world.

Sisters of Hippolyta
Oh boy...


Pictured: a 20-something wearing regular clothing

Female-exclusive feminist pagans who trace their lineage back to the Amazons. Thankfully there isn't written much about the Sisters in this book. Their central beliefs are strongly tied to feminist activism, and they're pacifists except in self-defence, and a bit secretive. This absence of detail is considerably better than their original writeup in The Book of Crafts, where they were groups of secluded feminists who practised women-only magic through intuition instead of metaphysics, had beliefs about how being women gave them a superior understanding of life, and were sworn pacifists even in self-defence. Their list of magic spells included improved social bonding, gardening, knowing when someone are ill, easing childbirth, healing through massages, saving women from rape/assault by turning them into trees, a suicide-pact that lets a group of Sisters escape a group of conquerors by killing themselves - which raises some uncomfortable undertones of stigmatizing rape. (One of the core issues with the Sisters in The Book of Crafts was actually how exclusive they were; female-only, never interacts with the rest of the setting, and avowed pacifists in a game about punching The Man in the face.) When they're explicitly feminists, and the only Craft to represent feminist, the narrow, utopian hippie-feminism that celebrates women as more special than men and are female-exclusive colours feminism-as-a-movement in a rather questionable light. Despite what I think Deena McKinney might have intended, it doesn't actually exalt feminism. Feminism is important to me, and I was disappointed to learn that the feminist Craft was a bunch of kinda sexist crap.

For the record, the same author, Deena McKinney wrote the Sisters of Hippolyta in The Book of Crafts and M20. Given the minor changes - turning awoved pacifism into self-defence, I have a small hope that future M20 supplements will have McKinney writing a more nuanced portrayal of feminism.

Sphere: Life, Mind
Foci: "Though all Sisters, Awakened or not, study the magickal Arts, they view magick as an intuitive connection rather than a metaphysical discipline." NEVER MIND "the Hippolytan practices look like witchcraft, shamanism, High Ritual, craft work, and martial arts"

The Taftani


Pictured: a 20-something with tattoos in trendy clothing - though as with the Ahl-i-Batin iconic character, I think RPG art needs more things like this. Though a Muslim friend I showed this too notes that the tattoo is very unorthodox.

The Taftani are the legacy of Persian mages who once created a wonderous civilization of giant spires and flying carpets. They're reckless mages who enjoy the good things in life, and often have problems with Paradox. Today they're organized out of Dubai. The book doesn't say much about them, which is sad because I want to know more about these Middle Eastern mages - even what their central magical belief is isn't really explained, except something about the Ultimate Truth.

Spheres: Forces, Matter, Prime, Spirit
Foci: Willpower. "alchemy, craftwork, High Ritual Magick, crazy wisdom, the Art of Desire, a touch of hypertech, and dominion over men and spirits alike"

Templar Knights


Pictured: another person who looks to be over 40 years old!

The Knights Templar. They used to be part of the Cabal of Pure Thought and the early Order of Reason, but they discovered the corruption of the Nephandi. When they spoke up, they were cast out and persecuted by the mortal Church and Order of Reason alike. Today, they've joined the Disparate Alliance so they can fight against Satan and his Nepandic spawn in the Technocracy and world at large. They're militants religious fanatics who care for the poor and sick and fight the enemies of the Lord whenever they can find them. They used to be all-male, and don't get along well with the pagan all-female Sisters. Recently they've opened up their ranks to women in non-front-line roles. Also they're the Knights Templar and there's entire cottage industries and blockbuster films devoted to telling their secret history, so I'm not going to say anything more. It's not like M20 gives any more information than I've written here anyway.

Spheres: Forces, Life, Mind, Prime
Foci: Their magick is an extension of God's will, performed through themselves as willing tools. A very consistent paradigm, really, that adequately explains other magick (it's either God's or the Devil's tools) and allows them to use stuff like hypertech - the technology is just an extension of God's will into the world.

Wu Lung


Pictured: a 20-something in trendy clothing

The Wu Lung are the descendants of ancient China's ruling mages. They stagnated, and were crushed by the Technocracy, western colonialism, WWII, and the Chinese revolution. These days they try to recapture their place as masters of China by gathering gold, which holds magical power to them. They're also racist against the non-Chinese.

Spheres: Spirit, Forces, Matter, Life
Foci: Chinese magical practices, including alchemy, ritual magic, and Dragon Spirit Kung Fu. All their power ultimately comes from Heaven.

End Notes
There are 26 iconic characters for the 25 different groups here. Let's do a feature-count!

Male: 11
Female: 15

White: 12
Non-white: 14
-East-Asian: 3
-Black: 5
-Indian: 1
-Middle-Eastern: 2
-Pacific Islander: 1
-Hard-to-tell: 2

Young: 19
Not Young: 5
Hard to tell: 2

Disabled: 1
Trendy clothing: 11
Tattoos: 7
Blatant fanservice: 1

20-something in trendy clothing: 11
20-something with tattoos: 6
20-something with tattoos in trendy clothing: 5

Traditions
Male/Female: 3:6, 33%
Young/Old: 9:0: 100%
White/non-White: 5:4, 55%

Technocracy
Male/Female: 3:3, 50%
Young/Old: <67%[1]
White/non-white: 4:2, 66%

[1] I can't tell how old a lot of them are. There are at least two old ones though, giving them at most 67% young iconics.

Disparates
Male/Female: 5:6, 45%
Young/Old: 8:3, 73%
White/non-white: 3:8: 27%

As a bonus round, let's have a look at common foci!

Hypertech: 10
Craftwork: 9
Martial Arts: 9
Crazy wisdom: 8
Dominion: 6
Alchemy: 6
Reality hacking: 6
Gutter magic: 5
Chaos Magic: 5
Yoga: 5
Cybernetics: 5
Vodoun: 5
Art of Desire: 5
High Ritual Magic 4
Weird science: 3

Hypertech is the most common, but that's because all five Conventions in the Technocracy practice it. I may have miscounted some.

LatwPIAT fucked around with this message at 18:00 on Jan 11, 2016

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

"Foci: Eh... Whatever. Just take some drugs and wave sticks around, or some poo poo? Maybe use a computer? I don't care."

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


It's amazing how Campbell can give a pretty a complete and to the point look of the Technocracy, while Brucato meanders all over the place and yet can't bring himself to give the guys players are actually supposed to play as more detail than "They're goths. Also something something art is magick."

Doresh fucked around with this message at 21:13 on Jan 9, 2016

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




This is the same man who kept details on foci and paradigms out of an earlier edition out of fear that actual magic might be accidentally cast at the gaming table.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




It's funny how most of the Crafts had joined the Traditions by the time of Revised, making the Disparate Alliance useless and redundant.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






So last time I reviewed a terrible book. Now it's time to review a book with a terrible subject matter.

Know Your Limits posted:

This book includes a lot of disturbing subjects, from body-horror to necrophilia, from child abuse to sexual violence. Bringing these topics up in the context of a game can cause real problems for the people involved. Whether you’re a player or a Storyteller, talk to everyone you’re playing with and ask them one simple question:
Is there any subject you’re not comfortable with the game touching on?
If anyone says yes, listen to them. Don’t ask for an explanation — some people will back down if you insist they justify their discomfort, playing along while the story you’re telling makes them feel like poo poo. Just skip right past that element.
Don’t put it in the game.
Likewise, everyone should know that they can say when something that comes up in the game makes them uncomfortable, and you’ll cut that element out. Again, don’t ask questions. Whatever it is, it’s not worth including.
If that seems a little dire, it is. Does the game deserve such a warning?


In a word, Yes.

Book of the Wyrm 20th Anniversary is not a pleasant book. It is an unblinking gaze into the steaming heart of a corruption that wishes nothing less but the destruction of all that exists. That said it is still a good book, it is well written and tries to treat the material with a respect that the pre-revised Book of the Wyrm didn't really bother with.

Introduction: The Wyrm's Call
As much as the Garou rail against the Wyrm and his Corruption, they aren't really solving much of anything. Killing ten thousand Formori won't clean the air above China, and the blood of a Black Spiral will not make the oceans run clean. But that's what their rage drives them to do, and the Rage in a Garou's heart is a splinter of the Wyrm itself. That violence, that hatred, that drive to the easy solution to difficult problems just so they feel like they're accomplishing something. Each time they indulge that lust for violence. And in the deepest depths of that rage they fall into the Thrall of the Wyrm, a literal connection to the great Corruptor of all.

That's not to say that the Wyrm can't be subtle. Endron is one of the largest subsidiaries of Pentex, and it floods the seas with toxic waste on a daily basis. They also produce the most environmentally friendly electric cars in the world, and each one is just a little bit Wyrm Tainted, not through any travesties in it's process, but just to gently caress with the Garou and distract them from the more important targets. Formori can look monsterous or as human as you or me until it's too late. O'Tolleys does not need to put wyrm poison in it's food, empty calories and horrible business practices do the Wyrm's job better than it could if it actively tried. For every head of the Hydra that vomits balefire, two more destroy the world through mundane means.

Featuring the Wyrm
The Wyrm is the primary driving force in any Apocalypse game, but it isn't really the antagonist. Garou can see what the minions of the Wyrm do, but each of those minions is a being with it's own motivations and prejudices, perhaps working at cross purposes with each other. At the same time the Wyrm is literally a spiritual force of entropy and decay, so any plans it could have would warp within the infinite labyrinth of it's own mind. The Wyrm exists on a cosmic scale, kin only to the Weaver and the Wyld. Not even Gaia is it's equal, being either mother of them all or their greatest creation. Regardless it doesn't really matter. The Wyrm is unknowable, it isn't intelligent on a scale that we can comprehend, so don't try to define it's motivations beyond one thing. "Corrupt Everything". Asking why is meaningless because that implies you could comprehend the answer.

Theme: A Symbiotic Relationship

quote:

The Wyrm is the spiritual force of corruption in the World of Darkness. It is manifest in every act of petty evil. It is in the company that docks wages because the employees would starve if they quit, and the man who goes out drinking then takes his lovely day out on his wife and kids. It is disgust and self-loathing made manifest. For all that, it doesn’t cause domestic abuse and inhuman business practices. Those are the fault of humanity — “The Devil made me do it” is just as much bullshit now as ever.
The Wyrm feeds on these acts of evil, sometimes it uses Banes or formori to give just a little push, but the actual deed must be done through an act of free will. For all it's power the Wyrm is still a force of entropy, if it were to exert the force directly, the reward it reaps would be smaller than what it spends. So it needs those people who make the world a worse place on its behalf. And fighting them does weaken the Wyrm. But to destroy the Wyrm you would need to destroy the very concept of Corruption from the world; and that's a fight on a scale most people can't comprehend, not to mention most werewolves. Instead the Garou see the Wyrm as a being that causes corruption, because it's easier to sleep at night without accepting the truth that at some point every living thing feeds the Wyrm.

Mood: Heroism and Futility

quote:

Unlike a Lovecraftian god, the Wyrm cares about humanity, the Garou, and everything else. It hates everything. Fully one third of reality will not stop until it has cursed and corrupted the world, dragging every last living thing down to share its Hell. Against such a foe, the Garou hope to win, but it’s a shallow hope. All they’re good at is killing things. Sometimes that’s useful, like excising a tumor before it metastasizes; but usually it does more harm than good. Killing someone’s abusive spouse doesn’t make his life better. Often it makes things worse, as he propagates a cycle of abuse that spreads like a disease. Fear and terror and pain, all these things feed the Wyrm. Faced with this horrible cosmic truth, what’s the point in fighting?

It sure as hell beats the alternative.
The Garou are probably doomed. The Apocalypse is going to happen it's just a matter of when, and it's probably not a battle that they're going to win. But in the meantime they can win the smaller battles. Light candles in the darkness, but all that does is illuminate a part of the true monster they have to face.

So it's a task for the Storyteller to take a step back every now and again. Even if every victory turns out to be Phyrric, if they don't have a solid win or a light hearted adventure every once in a while the players will get ground into the dirt and no one really wants that.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Regarding the Ahl-i-Batin, one of my friends offered the following observation:

quote:

ahl-i-batin supposedly translates to 'the subtle ones' except 'the' and 'subtle' both aren't anywhere in the word. It's also based off of an invalid trilateral root, and batin likely translates to either 'many settlements' or 'incredibly fat'. Making it either 'people of many settlements' (Which could be a cool pan-Islamic unification Tradition) or 'the incredibly fat people'. When, of course, there are pre-existing ahl-al terms that would work fine for the ahl-i-batin. The ahl-al-kitab are 'the people of the book' and works well for how the batin are described, the ahl-al-bait are the people of the prophet's household. The Subtle Ones...might be, like, Al-Makur (The Crafty) or something.

LatwPIAT fucked around with this message at 22:02 on Jan 9, 2016

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Doresh posted:

It's amazing how Campbell can give a pretty a complete and to the point look of the Technocracy, while Brucato meanders all over the place and yet can't bring himself to give the guys players are actually supposed to play as more detail than "They're goths. Also something something art is magick."

The thing is that Brucato doesn't actually think any of those details matter, I find. All paradigms are the same; both sides are equally culpable even if one has vast power and the other is fighting to survive; the only thing that matters is seeking enlightenment somewhere in your own navel. Actually looking into the merits or hard details of any particular group is anathema to his approach.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Also the Taftani are cool because their basic ethos is "magic comes from the expression of Truth and it's our job to tell the Truth to the world so gently caress Paradox I'm summoning a genie in the middle of New York."

They're problematic, though, because, uh, they got explicitly written up as being behind the Taliban, with the implication that this was a good thing (because they fought the incursions of the Technocracy), back before that became a Thing.

That said "vulgar as hell, and prepared to eat the consequences" is an awesomely short-lived niche.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Rand Brittain posted:

Also the Taftani are cool because their basic ethos is "magic comes from the expression of Truth and it's our job to tell the Truth to the world so gently caress Paradox I'm summoning a genie in the middle of New York."

...

That said "vulgar as hell, and prepared to eat the consequences" is an awesomely short-lived niche.

Definitely my preferred way to play Mage if I have to play it.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, I read a book on whether or not Nazi Germany could have discovered the bomb first, and the answer is "well, maybe if they hadn't had a habit of alienating scientists of a certain faith for a decade and the Nazi leadership wasn't impatient and short-sighted". German science was remarkable in spite of the Nazis, not because of them. Even the ties between occultism and the Nazi party are a lot more tenuous than most people realize.

That's not to say you can never play around with Nazism, it's a convenient shorthand for "unambiguous evil", but it's too often used lazily, relying on modern mythology more than anything else.
I heard that ironically enough the guys closest to a bomb other than were... the Japanese. And even then it was more like they were barking up the right tree than that they were likely to build anything in time to stop the Yankee hordes.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


LatwPIAT posted:

  • Go Kamisori Gama, hypertech ninjas

Grey Fox is a MtA character?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Crasical posted:

Grey Fox is a MtA character?

I think it's supposed to mean Five Razor... Toad?

That can't be right.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Rand Brittain posted:

The thing is that Brucato doesn't actually think any of those details matter, I find. All paradigms are the same; both sides are equally culpable even if one has vast power and the other is fighting to survive; the only thing that matters is seeking enlightenment somewhere in your own navel. Actually looking into the merits or hard details of any particular group is anathema to his approach.

And I maintain that that is a valid premise for a game. The players know that's how magic works so they can pick and choose what their character does. My Cathartic/voudoun Mage cast magic with his cross and his guitar, and the tension between the different parts of his paradigm was a big part of his character. ANYTHING can be magic if you believe in it enough, and 'art is magic' is a pretty obvious statement to a ton of people.

That said, yoga and hypertech sounds like a running gag, and it is silly so many of the Traditions and Crafts use them. I don't get why he didn't just get rid of the Traditions, have everyone default to being an Orphan, and then use the Crafts as like Prestige Classss that gave you a small bonus with the limitation that it restricts your foci- so most Christian Mages could dabble in yoga or whatever, but a Knights Templar couldn't (but they might get a discount on True Faith or something).

quote:

Red Thorn Dedicants, Lilith-worshippers who apparently make the Verbena and CoX look tame, making me wonder why anyone would ever want to be around them

They throw the best parties.

Would anyone mind if I made a FATAL & FRIENDS Tumblr to post all this cool art? I'll link to the index of write-ups. The trendy 20 somethings there will eat it up.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

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

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I think it's supposed to mean Five Razor... Toad?

That can't be right.

Well, Toads and ninjas have a long association I guess. Though you'd expect a Jiraiya reference if that's what they were going for.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Doresh posted:

It's amazing how Campbell can give a pretty a complete and to the point look of the Technocracy, while Brucato meanders all over the place and yet can't bring himself to give the guys players are actually supposed to play as more detail than "They're goths. Also something something art is magick."
I recall that in 1e Hollow Ones and Orphans were different terms for the same thing. So the Hollow Ones presented in this book not really having a focus or anything makes sense, sort of.

(previously strongly defined traditions/crafts not having one, well...)

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


unseenlibrarian posted:

Well, Toads and ninjas have a long association I guess. Though you'd expect a Jiraiya reference if that's what they were going for.

Yeah, I recalled that, but it's not what you'd expect from cyber-ninja with five razors.

Zereth posted:

I recall that in 1e Hollow Ones and Orphans were different terms for the same thing. So the Hollow Ones presented in this book not really having a focus or anything makes sense, sort of.

Well, they were an organized group of Orphans centered around goth ritual.

...

Did I mention Mage often doesn't make a whole lot of sense?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



quote:

Unlike a Lovecraftian god, the Wyrm cares about humanity, the Garou, and everything else. It hates everything.
Just as an aside, this sentence sums up why I hate Lovecraftian horror. Alien space gods who don't know we're here while stomping on us are a lot less scary to me than alien space gods who are specifically gunning for us.

I had this whole thing I wrote up a while ago about how Jack Kirby's Darkseid and Terry Pratchett's Auditors were better cosmic horror than anything Lovecraft wrote.

That's my story, I'm just going to go over here now and be a total nerd.

Babe Magnet
Jun 1, 2008


Did anyone ever do a write-up for Song of Swords?

man if you like tables, and math, you'd loving love Song of Swords.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Evil Mastermind posted:

Just as an aside, this sentence sums up why I hate Lovecraftian horror. Alien space gods who don't know we're here while stomping on us are a lot less scary to me than alien space gods who are specifically gunning for us.

I had this whole thing I wrote up a while ago about how Jack Kirby's Darkseid and Terry Pratchett's Auditors were better cosmic horror than anything Lovecraft wrote.

That's my story, I'm just going to go over here now and be a total nerd.

It kind of depends. Part of it is that specifically personifying the cosmic entities kind of misses the whole point. When done right, the idea is less even about us being incidentally stepped on by greater beings than it is the entropic notion that we are so insignificant that we are both beneath notice and fundamentally incapable of altering our destiny. Sooner or later something will come along and eat all of time or what have you for reasons we cannot even begin to comprehend, much less alleviate and then we'll all be dead. You couple that with the obsession and eventual madness of the protagonist because otherwise the horror fails due to it actually mirroring reality too much: we could be annihilated by an asteroid impact quite easily, and on a grander scale there are various theories about how the entire universe could literally just wink out of existence in an instant but there's basically no point in worrying about any of it because there's nothing we can do about it and we'd probably be dead before we noticed or suffered.

Plus, when the horror's specifically gunning for the human race it gets really easy to slip into granting importance through that very focus. Probably the best presentation of it I've personally seen was actually a fanfic that included a portion where the earth was glassed and the population enslaved by an alien race because their leader had been personally slighted by earthlings in the past. Didn't hurt that it was witness from the perspective of an earthling ex-pat who watched mostly dispassionately as the galactic machine churned the whole of human civilization up and spit it back out as a cog in a greater machine.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Evil Mastermind posted:

Just as an aside, this sentence sums up why I hate Lovecraftian horror. Alien space gods who don't know we're here while stomping on us are a lot less scary to me than alien space gods who are specifically gunning for us.

I had this whole thing I wrote up a while ago about how Jack Kirby's Darkseid and Terry Pratchett's Auditors were better cosmic horror than anything Lovecraft wrote.

That's my story, I'm just going to go over here now and be a total nerd.
I think this one's down to taste. There's a certain horror in realizing that your very senses and impressions are lying to you, while having a grand and glorious implacable foe is almost ennobling.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Count Chocula posted:

And I maintain that that is a valid premise for a game. The players know that's how magic works so they can pick and choose what their character does. My Cathartic/voudoun Mage cast magic with his cross and his guitar, and the tension between the different parts of his paradigm was a big part of his character. ANYTHING can be magic if you believe in it enough, and 'art is magic' is a pretty obvious statement to a ton of people.

I think the big problem is that the books act like these characters are all supposed to have coherent, solid magical traditions, which is after all what makes the warring factions make any goddamn sense. But then a lot of the time no one seems to care, including some of the authors, because ~the truth~ means none of that actually matters. And then, uh, why did I spend $50+ on these books all about these dumb delusional factions that are dumb and delusional?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



That Old Tree posted:

I think the big problem is that the books act like these characters are all supposed to have coherent, solid magical traditions, which is after all what makes the warring factions make any goddamn sense. But then a lot of the time no one seems to care, including some of the authors, because ~the truth~ means none of that actually matters. And then, uh, why did I spend $50+ on these books all about these dumb delusional factions that are dumb and delusional?

Because supplement treadmill, that's why.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






LornMarkus posted:

Plus, when the horror's specifically gunning for the human race it gets really easy to slip into granting importance through that very focus. Probably the best presentation of it I've personally seen was actually a fanfic that included a portion where the earth was glassed and the population enslaved by an alien race because their leader had been personally slighted by earthlings in the past. Didn't hurt that it was witness from the perspective of an earthling ex-pat who watched mostly dispassionately as the galactic machine churned the whole of human civilization up and spit it back out as a cog in a greater machine.

It's not specifically that humanity is important. It's that humanity is a part of existence, and it's a part of existence that the wyrm can use. Our depravity feeds it, and he can feed our depravity in turn.

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

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

Buglord

Yo, LatwPIAT and Kurieg

I have two content warnings I can put on writeups:


and



Which, if any, do you think applies to your current writeups?

Same question goes out for anyone with prior writeups; if you want me to add one of them for you, just shoot me a PM.

(ARB, you might like to add this as another thing to specify when doing a writeup, i dunno. or we can just go about it via consensus. mostly i just want people to feel safe reading the archives.)

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Changing Breeds probably merits the first one. And I haven't read BOTW20 all the way through yet but It's been fairly good in it's handling of the material so Give it the second one.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply