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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



And then you get the fanmade splat I did in the last thread, Genius: The Transgression. Which isn't at all about playing mad scientists like it says and is instead a whole lot of masturbation over the Sons of Ether.

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Asimo posted:

Honestly, no matter how hard the writers tried push the traditions in oMage it's really really hard to cheer for the regressive luddite protagonist faction when you're literally only alive due to the continued intervention of modern medical science. To the point where that anti-science stance in both oMage and oWerewolf almost feels hateful, if in an unintentional way. I have no idea how much similar experiences colored the Mage fandom, but I imagine at least some small but significant fraction felt similarly.

It was the 90s. That's the best defense I can give it.

Then again, I stand by my comment in the last thread that I always view the oWoD as having the central premise of you're playing as the monsters. No matter how much of a good guy you think you are, and no matter how much worse the people you're opposing are by comparison, you are playing as a bad guy.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Thesaurasaurus posted:

I think the idea was that the Technocracy is why you need medicine to recover from illness or injury, instead of moxibustion or leeching or just plain prayer, but if that's the case then wow, did they ever do a bad job of communicating it. Unless the writers actually thought this was plainly and self-evidently true and bought into the 90s alt-medicine craze themselves, which, Brucato, so vv

And yet, isn't the point of the Traditions that if they won, you'd need leeching or prayer in some specific way or the like to recover from illness or injury? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Rand Brittain posted:

No, no it isn't. Note that the Traditions have Hermetics, Choristers, and Etherites all in the same group.

The Traditions endgame is "everyone can use whatever paradigm they want," not "leeches are mandatory."

Yet the fact that not everyone's a mage suggests to me that not everyone can use a paradigm, making them dependent on someone else's. I don't know much about Mage, though, so they probably did address this at some point.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kurieg posted:

Yeah, the end-goal of "Awakening everyone" would probably get rid of consensus, but it would also be roughly equivalent of giving everyone rocket launchers and flamethrowers with hair triggers and no instruction manuals.

That sounds horrifying to me. Then again, in general I come down on the side of thinking that magic that isn't basically a science (with predictable and empirical rules governing it) is a bad, bad thing. I've thought about the implications of, say, the Harry Potter universe and it's a nightmare if you think about it.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Asimo posted:

Yeah, I mean I know it isn't a totally rational response from my end. But when there's constant goings on about the HORRORS OF GENETIC ALTERATION and CRUELTY OF ANIMAL TESTING and whatever, and there's very little thought put into how the Traditions would replicate or remove those things, and it's just really hard not to sympathize more with the antagonist faction who like has no problem with insulin existing. It's a long running pet peeve with that sort of New Age thing, and it really screams of only looking at society from the perspective of a healthy person. I admit I missed a fair portion of the line so there's probably some bits somewhere about how you could use magic crystals or purely natural herbs or whatever the gently caress to do the same thing in the assorted tradition paradigms, but that's really the sort of thing you'd want to make clear from the outset.

To me, it also screams of the overly romantic views of low-technology (generally vaguely medieval - see most fantasy settings) life that started to become influential after WW1. Maybe not so much Luddites as a group like the Amish or Mennonites. A lot of the loudest voices clamoring for a "return to rural simplicity" and the like have never been without civilization's comforts, or realized just how much work and stress and hardship go into low-technological life.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Nessus posted:

I also think the new age retro hippy talk is presented here like some grand mind-loving truth involving the cosmos and being really smart and stuff, while in Werewolf it's more like an alternate universe cosmology. Werewolf, despite involving howling wolfmen from somewhat ethnically offensive cultural backgrounds, has always felt more conceptually complete to me than Mage.

The primary requirement of being a mage, Tradition or Technocrat, seems to be a head crammed so far up your own rear end you're seeing daylight again. Werewolves have a bit more perspective about themselves.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Thesaurasaurus posted:

In fairness, that was about the time it became clear that pollution was having all kinds of terrible effects on human health, as well as loving nature sideways, but the result of destroying all industrial infrastructure would probably be less idyllic and more Mad Max.

Yep, and the earliest prominent case of that kind of literary backlash against industrial and technological society was Lord of the Rings, written by Tolkein as a response to the horrors of WW1.

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.

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.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



You could probably play Botlickers as a lighter shade of grey if you're willing to play the Zoneminds as such, too. The Zoneminds are portrayed as straightforward villains for the most part, but Reign of Steel keeps making me think you could have a good campaign about playing at least one Zonemind as more ambiguous or, well, human-like. There's a lot of story potential for a story about a Zonemind and a crew of favored mooks on what turns into an odd sort of redemption quest, I think.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kurieg posted:

"hey man, sorry for trans-spectral hyper-ebola... can we be friends again?"

Don't be ridiculous. The idea that's in my head about this has nothing to do with friendship, but a newborn series of intelligences starting to develop a sense of maturity and perspective beyond the raw intellect they were created with. I find that vastly more interesting than different flavors of evil AI overlords.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



wdarkk posted:

So basically they evolve from "evil AI overlords" to "old-testament God" or so?

Or each of them starts going in a different direction. Old Testament God could be one. Or maybe one of the space-faring AIs goes monk, struck by the grandeur of the universe. Maybe Mexico City asks "Okay, so what happens after all organic life is exterminated?" Or Overmind starts to ask itself why it created the Zoneminds in the first place, or keeps them after humanity has been wrecked. Maybe Denver is struck by the complexity of the human brain, the elegance of this organic machine that created Overmind in turn.

They can still be antagonists, of course, but I find the basic "evil AI overlord" trope rather dull.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I'm surprised. I would've thought Dominic or some such would be all for the Orthodox church, not Catholic.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

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

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

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



PantsOptional posted:

The other big problem with Kobal is that the writers really have a big dumb hard-on for him. The first round of supplements for the book includes what basically amounts to a (pretty bad and railroady) campaign series which all revolves around Kobal pulling off a series of incredibly convoluted bullshit for his own amusement. It's been a while since I read all six chapters of it but I remember thinking that there was a pretty big gap between "what the PCs can do" and "how to solve the problem and save the day."

Isn't Kobal just the Joker?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Superiors sounds good to me.

I like the idea of In Nomine, and am filing it away as an idea to give a shot in the future if I can get a hold of the book(s). Updating the setting a little might be a good start: I love the idea of the angel of the Network, and in 2016 he'd likely be an Archangel or close to it while Nybbas' power might be starting to wane.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

Keep in mind, Nybbas is The Media. All of it. Nybbas groks internet.

The impression I got is that he's non-internet media. I think that's how I'd play him, at any rate: he's newspaper and television and radio, but he's been slow to catch up with the times and Orc has taken the internet.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

They talk about how Nybbas gives out Essence for making web pages, but this was all written in the 90s when the Internet was not big at all. Nybbas' big deal is that he's very, very fast to adapt to changes, as the youngest and most modern major Prince.

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about when I said I think I'd update the setting a bit by making Orc the newest Superior on the scene as the embodiment of the Network, and making Nybbas a bit older - he was hot poo poo in the 90s, and still very powerful and flexible compared to most of Hell, but the sudden explosion of the internet tripped him up and he's frantically trying to stay relevant just like television et al are versus the internet today.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I like David. Equally easy to see him as friend or foe, regardless of whether you're playing angels or demons or humans.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Well, they certainly aren't beating around the bush with the dark side of David and his ethos. I like the idea that he's more or less the archangel of tough love, and I can follow the line of thinking and belief that would lead him to support ultra-right militias and the like, but... I suppose that's where the other Archangels and their followers come in, and that the Stone angels aren't supposed to be absolute right and good in and of themselves.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Count Chocula posted:

This one sentence sounds like it can justify so much horrible Fundamentalist evil.

And so much great good, too. I suspect we're going to see that all the Archangels have dark sides or at least their beliefs can be used to justify great evil. Likewise, I'll be surprised if the Demon Princes don't have bright sides or ways their beliefs can be used to justify great good.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I'm a little surprised Dominic is a Seraphim - this writeup is making him sound like the Elohim are described. It's also making him more sympathetic than I would have expected the chief inquisitor of Heaven to be, and that question of what the Archangel of Judgment and his followers would be without the War to fight leaps out at me as a question I'd love to try building a campaign around.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I'm taking notes on all of this, Mors, thanks. The premise of In Nomine interests me a lot.

I think the way I'd play Dominic, though, is that he's so isolated, so distrusted and even feared in Heaven because angels - especially Archangels - do not like to think about what Dominic's existence and role implies. Hell is often a distant foe, easily otherized. Dominic is an eternal reminder that even the greatest archangel is not perfect, and Heaven is not free from sin. Dominic's very presence is a constant reminder of the Fall - not even so much the War as the Fall that precipitated it. Dominic is a sign that nothing will ever be the same.

I think, though, that I'd play him as incorruptible for the very reason he's so isolated: he's well aware of his own weaknesses and shortcomings, more than any other Superior on either side. He knows full well he could Fall, and what it would take for that to happen. That's a level of introspection and self-awareness I would think is almost unique among Superiors.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

I quite like Dominic, though I wish they'd play up the flexible gender identity more - so few angels have it when they're all essentially sexless, and Dominic/Dominique doing it to the hilt would be neat. I like a sympathetic Dominic, if not one Heaven likes much, because it's just too easy to go 'oh, actually the brooding, gloomy cop angel is the bad angel,' it's such an obvious idea that it's boring.

E: In Nomine is not actively published but the PDFs are still sold.

He/she is also literally the holy Inquisition. Knowing nerds these days, I think a lot of people would skip straight to the 40k references. I like a sympathetic Dominic, one given an unpleasant job by God that everyone wishes wasn't necessary, but I think I'd also play Dominic as being less punishment-oriented, more constructive. His job isn't to find and mete out punishment, it's to reform wayward angels.

I think to that end I'd play Dominic as having cold but polite relations with the other Archangels and let them have some input when judging and sentencing angels belonging to said other Archangel. The idea is to straighten out and reform troublemakers, not create grudges or lasting bad feelings. Although Janus might be problematic in that regard.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Huh, I figured Gabriel being unstable was just Fire being Fire.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



PantsOptional posted:

Man, wait till you guys get to the Revelations supplements for In Nomine. If you think their treatment of Islam is potentially problematic now, wait till you get to the explicitly Muslim Archangel of Faith, who is about one bad day away from giving the thumbs up to suicide bombers.

Honestly, we've already got one Archangel giving the thumbs-up to neo-nazis and the Bundy militia as written. I don't see this as a particularly big escalation from there.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

Oh, Khalid.



Oh, writers.

And of course the explicit lesbian Archangels ended in one turning evil and the other withdrawing completely from the world.

I like In Nomine so far, have been taking notes, and would like to try to run a game, but I think some setting tinkering will be in order first.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Probably. I think I'd tone down David's brutality a little, seeing groups like skinheads and militias as fundamentally dividing the greater community rather than strengthening it, and I think I'd make Dominic more merciful and willing to work with others as I previously mentioned, probably giving him a more overt sense of empathy - he is Judgment, and that to me implies understanding why the accused did what they did even if he disagrees and must serve a higher purpose and law beyond any individual.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I could also see it as David supporting such things if there are not better alternatives. Better Nazis than anarchy, but better functional society and community than Nazis.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



This game is apparently from France, so that doesn't surprise me. Protestantism, as I understand it, isn't on the general public radar in France.

I suspect this game is going to say it was Malphas' plot from the sounds of it.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I wonder how/if In Nomine touches on LGBT issues. Most angels seem to be sexless and one Archangel appears alternately male and female without preference. Blandine and Beleth both identify as female and were lovers before the Fall, but more than one Archangel has been noted to follow very Catholic codes of conduct regarding sex and whatnot.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Laurence's writeup is more even-handed and optimistic than I was expecting for the Archangel of the Sword.

I think my spin on him wouldn't be much different from him as presented: Laurence is young for an Archangel, relatively inexperienced and naive, but he's very, very talented at his job. He can be fooled, yes, tricked and deceived - but never the same way twice, and he's much better than most in Heaven at getting the most out of all the different Archangels and Choirs towards a unified purpose.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I'd like to continue the Superiors series if you don't mind. This is interesting stuff, and you do great writeups.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Eh, Heaven needs its assholes. I think if I run a game of In Nomine I'd play Michael as basically an angelic Viking, Thor with a battleaxe rather than a hammer.

The comment about the Feasting Halls made me giggle. Gives me a mind of Heaven's own little slice of Valhalla, a hall where the plates never empty and the kegs never run dry, and rowdy (and drunk) angels and heroes tell bawdy, violent, and manly stories around a roaring fireplace. And despite Michael's best efforts it's one of the most popular hangouts for the souls of children in Heaven.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Well, this is the Prince of Lust. I wouldn't expect a detailed writeup that takes him seriously to be an easy or fun read. Reminds me of that tabletop RPG reviewed a thread or two ago about children facing monsters in the closets, and the monster leaders each represented one of the seven sins, with Lust being particularly horrifying.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Ratoslov posted:

Andreaphalus is hilariously one-note, even for a In Nomine superior.

Eh... it's a drat strong note for a demon prince, and can probably be expanded on to intrude on Greed or Gluttony's territory.

That being said, I'd imagine he's probably best treated as a joke or ignored altogether for most games. His attunements tend towards the horrifying poo poo like "Make the victim enjoy being raped" and "Rewire their brain so they enjoy [insert degrading sex thing here]." It's one of those subjects that's very difficult to deal with well, even for a group mature enough to handle it.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

Yeah, outside the part where the writers seem to treat BDSM as on the same level as pedophilia or rape, this is a fairly cromulent writeup of Lust as a horrible demonic Word. Congrats, writers, you succeeded! You made Lust horrifying!

It's just, why would you ever want to use it in a game?

In the right sort of game - more focused on addressing and fighting demonic corruption on Earth than fighting demons per se - I could see Andrealphus and his forces as an interesting and major villain to go up against, probably rolling with the idea that Lust has damned more souls - human and angelic alike - to Hell than any other sin save perhaps Pride. Chastity as a concept has become something of a joke in much of modern society, usually because it accompanies horrid levels of misogyny like Purity Balls.

How, you could ask your players, do you fight something like that? No, seriously, how? Especially if you want to stay sex-positive.

I don't think I'd play a game like that, but I think Andrealphus comes down to two major approaches: played serious but kept distant (say, go the Jessica Jones route - use Purple Man as a demon of Lust and make the game about healing those wounds and overcoming the damage it did), or played light-hearted and silly. Maybe Andre is just a big softy who's in serious danger of Redeeming if he meets the right manic pixie girl who makes him truly care again.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

Andre doesn't care about STDs - he cares about ones that threaten the human race because he needs them alive. I think you might have missed the part where Lust treats humans as literal objects to be controlled and despised, and whom you encourage not to care about others except as a means to the end of satisfying your own urges, without regard to their feelings and poo poo.

Basically: Andrealphus may not want to kill you, but he wants you to be a PUA if not a rapist.

I think of Andre's way of looking at people as being the same as the White Court in the Dresden Files: Humanity is livestock. You take a decent amount of care of your cattle, stopping infections and epidemics, but you don't do so because you care about the cow's well-being for its own sake. It's your property and future food disease threatens.

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I think my overall take on it would be "Most demons are actually ready to throw in the towel, but peace is impossible right now to due hard-liners in both factions."

Then again, one of my other main thoughts reading this has been spinning an idea for a homebrew archangel to replace Jordi with someone more relevant to the human-dominated world. An Archangel of the Sea seems like a good choice, particularly if the metaphorical side of the Sea as being wonder and mystery without explanation can be spun into being the chief heavenly patron of Protestantism.

Would also make a good metaphor for Redeeming demons with this angel, baptizing them in the waters of heaven.

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