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Shrecknet
Jan 2, 2005

Nosferatu Enthusiast
@shrecknet



well if anyone was gonna make this thread it was gonna be me! :drac:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC-OjR62D40

quote:

"Psychos? They look like psychos to you? Psychos do not explode when sunlight hits them, I don't care how crazy they are!"

In 1991 Mark Rein•Hagen (yes the hyphen is stylized that way, yes it is stupid), the son of a Lutheran minister in suburban Atlanta, unleashed Vampire: the Masquerade on the world - a rip-roaring, blood-soaked and sensual gothic superhero RPG based on not just playing a vampire, but playing a vampire to the hilt.

His one great conceit was to take the Vampire monomyth and break it down into its component elements, and let each aspect have center stage as the defining characteristic of the many Vampire clans comprising the secret society of Vampires.



For instance, you want Nosferatu-style disgusting monsters like Count Orlok? Namesake clan. Anne Rice-style romantic tragedies? Toreador. Shapeshifting, feral Draculas? Gangrel. And so on for each of the clans...



The many, many clans (once the game was a hit and they realized they needed to sell more splatbooks to remain solvent as a company)

The big thing that made V:tM a giant hit among gamers (and later the world - see the opening credits for the weekly TV drama the game got) was the deep and absolutely compelling lore. The oft-repeated joke over in TradGames is that White Wolf was a company that made bathroom readers with an RPG stapled to them.

GreyjoyBastard posted:

Agents are GO! posted:

I've said for a while that the position of V:tM lore is that young-earth creationist fundamentalist christianity is right.

Staluigi posted:

now there's some spicy political revelation i am entirely down for dissecting

on the one hand, this seems like exactly the sort of thing i should encourage to be taken to a dedicated thread

on the other hand, it should perhaps be exposed to the largest audience possible

here is my compromise: make the effort thread and i will pin it

To wit, regarding the lore: in the world of Vampire, all vampires are descended from Cain (from the Bible), who was the first vampire. This means that the bible is literally correct and accurate, which means Vampires are (as stated) definitionally young-earth creationists, as noted. However, there's also the Setites, who reject this lore and insist they are descended from the Egytian god Set.

This is just one of many contradictions in the lore that is partly intentional to create inter- and intra-group drama and conflict, and partly accidental because we are dealing with a few goth kids from Atlanta playing with worlds and histories they were not equipped at the time to explore (do not read about the Ravnos, they are a big :yikes: through and through)

I'm not sure whether this thread is best served by meta-dissecting the various clans' stances and overarcing actions in how they would react or move on current events or to talk about the horribly mangled understanding of history and religion, and how that's reflected in the writing.

If you haven't read it, TG Goon Halloween Jack's FATAL & Friends writeup of the system and its history is pretty exceptional snarking on the subject of the game from a game-design and cultural viewpoint.

Shrecknet fucked around with this message at 14:37 on Jul 28, 2021

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Shrecknet
Jan 2, 2005

Nosferatu Enthusiast
@shrecknet



Longform writing about clans and lore and stuff goes here later

I'll kick off with a "think this through" situation. The Ventrue clan are the "Underlords of the Boardroom," the high-power vampires most mimicked in the Blade movies. Slick suits, capitalists to the bone and arrogant to the point of self-parody. They style themselves the "Clan of Kings" and assume that ruling over not just humanity but the assortment of Kindred society as their literal birthright.
If something happens to shift the balance of power in the mortal world, global supply lines seizing or governments being toppled, it would be clan malpractice for the Ventrue not to at least claim responsibility, if only to present that they are far more powerful than they are. Stability and continuance of power is the thing Ventrue (profess to) want more than anything else. So what do the texts say about World War II, a hugely destabilizing event that led to the firebombing of vast swaths of Europe - a place many Vampires lived at the time! - and the development of unthinkable weapons?
Well, the Ventrue weren't paying attention that decade. That's it, that's the explanation in the White Wolf books for the Holocaust and the rest of World War II: Vampires exist on such a long, unthinkably boring timeline that the spasms that burn themselves out in less time than Michael Dorn has been playing Worf on Star Trek just don't come up.
Which means the Ventrue are both utterly clued in to every shifting grain in the desert vis-a-vis business and government, and also so disconnected that it's possible for clan leadership to literally be asleep at the wheel for a decade.

From Halloween Jack's writeup:

quote:

The Dystopia of Vampire is very much of the zeitgeist of the 1990s. It rages against what would come to be called the “end of history” after an essay (later a book) by Francis Fukuyama. It was the idea that the current political status quo was the ultimate form of government, and the future would just be a process of perfecting and managing it. You can criticize capitalism, consumerism, and the many injustices of the world all you want, but there are no better alternatives. (The second edition of Vampire was published just months after the Soviet Union finally dissolved.)

It’s a status quo predicted in works like They Live and Watchmen, and treated more literally in films such as The Matrix and Children of Men. And the 90s gave us a lot of art in which transgression and antisocial violence attained a sort-of folk-heroic status--for example, any movie with Quentin Tarantino or Gregg Araki’s name attached to it. Those artists moved on to other things, and so did Vampire in its later iterations.

Quite a tangent, I know, but my point is that Vampire’s setting is an expressionistic one. The unstated theme is a society decaying while, paradoxically, being locked in a kind of stasis. It’s not incoherent for depicting a society so decrepit that the United States ought to have collapsed into a Third World hellhole already--that it does not do so is the point.

Shrecknet fucked around with this message at 14:40 on Jul 28, 2021

Shooting Blanks
Jun 6, 2007

Real bullets mess up how cool this thing looks.

-Blade





I'm not up on my Bible timelines but where does Cain fall when considering Methuselah, Noah, etc? Are they also vampires that happened to die, did they go into hiding, or are they just absent from the lore?

Basically, how deep did they attempt to go with this, how closely did they stick to other parts of the Biblical myths (with vampires stapled on) or is it a thin veneer because they couldn't come up with anything better?

Shrecknet
Jan 2, 2005

Nosferatu Enthusiast
@shrecknet



Shooting Blanks posted:

I'm not up on my Bible timelines but where does Cain fall when considering Methuselah, Noah, etc? Are they also vampires that happened to die, did they go into hiding, or are they just absent from the lore?
Cain slew Abel and was cast out to the East. Cursed as the first murderer, he became a vampire with the help of Lilith, here cast as a witch and temptress granting him power. The general vibe is that Cain slaying Abel is one of the first things to ever happen, assuming Genesis chronologically precedes the rest of the OT, and so Cain was rampaging across the world even back then. There's a bunch of bullshit about how he created generations of younger vampires, each weaker and more genetically distinct than himself, until the 6th generation or so when the Clans as we'd recognize them in modern times would be established.

Shooting Blanks posted:

Basically, how deep did they attempt to go with this, how closely did they stick to other parts of the Biblical myths (with vampires stapled on) or is it a thin veneer because they couldn't come up with anything better?
so for funsies, there's an in-universe recounting of the exact history of how this all works, called The Book of Nod. This book's knowledge is absolutely forbidden kill-on-sight anyone who professes to have it and there are whole sects who espouse its contents (such as they've telephone-gamed their way into posessing) as Noddists. It's all very dumb, but the core conceit is that the events of the OT are 100% real and literal, happened in that order, and that the bible's authors just didn't mention Vampires as the alpha predators preying on man.

But then, as I said, there are Setites who can trace their lineage to Ancient Egypt, predating Biblical times by millenia, as well as Ravnos and other Indo-China vampires, to say nothing of the Kindred of the East who also have a culture predating Abrahamic faiths. It's all very reverse-engineered from "we wrote the core book as nominally-Christian Americans and then realized other cultures exist" while having the very convenient excuse of "every culture has its own creation myths, vampires are no different"

Shrecknet fucked around with this message at 14:55 on Jul 28, 2021

Doctor Jeep
Dec 30, 2008



or maybe the simplest explanation is that in VtM the bible is generally but not literally correct - so yes, god exists, cain and abel existed, but that doesn't mean the earth is 6000 years old

CommieGIR
Aug 22, 2006

Watch for the blue flash.
--------------------------------
SA is made possible through your AV purchases, thank you!


Pillbug

Doctor Jeep posted:

or maybe the simplest explanation is that in VtM the bible is generally but not literally correct - so yes, god exists, cain and abel existed, but that doesn't mean the earth is 6000 years old

Does VtM accept the Evangelical method of dating the earth via the Bible? That was basically made up on the fly by adding all the begats in the book of Genesis.

fool of sound
Oct 10, 2012
Ask me about using my mod powers to support the sexual enslavement of women by the Taliban

CommieGIR posted:

Does VtM accept the Evangelical method of dating the earth via the Bible? That was basically made up on the fly by adding all the begats in the book of Genesis.

Demon the Fallen (which is the same world) is pretty explicitly young-earth creationist, but I don't think it lands on the 6kish year number, since it makes references to neolithic humans, which only barely fall into that.

Archonex
May 2, 2012

MY OPINION IS SEERS OF THE THRONE PROPAGANDA IGNORE MY GNOSIS-IMPAIRED RAMBLINGS

Oh hey, a thread that goes into the OWoD's crazy religious leanings. This is a neat topic.

quote:

I've said for a while that the position of V:tM lore is that young-earth creationist fundamentalist christianity is right.
I've long said that God is basically written in later material as the penultimate villain of the OWoD. Something the later writers seemed to be aware of and nudging towards as much as they could get away with in the US. So the whole thing ending up as a send up of extremist right wing Christians from Rein-Hagen's original vision* as later writers came in and went "Holy loving poo poo. :stare:" at some of the more culturally hosed up things that made it to print is potentially on point and extremely hilarious if true.

As one of the biggest examples of what I mean: I remember that the most extreme and over the top Gehenna source book scenario had Caine crawling out of the rubble of global civilization after an apocalypse that (if you read between the lines) straight up exterminates the biosphere needed to support human life, likely rendering the planet uninhabitable in the long run**.

So, Caine sees the nightmarish devastation from Cronenberg-esque horrors that humans had been turned into due to Tzimisce loving around (more on that later), the literal hordes of batshit insane hive minded Malkavian victims (Which are humans, now, and can infect anyone that they get some blood into.) that literally obliterate the concept of reality around them like the Wyld from Exalted is on a lark through Creation, the nuclear devastation from the Camarilla ripping the mask off and going full bastard in a "Germany will burn before I fall" Hitler-esque sort of way, and Lasombra's Antediluvian literally plunging the world into absolute darkness for a full on month and promptly screams to the heavens:

"Why won't you let me die?!"

God is described as answering back with what is explicitly uproarious mocking laughter at the slaughter of an entire planet and the few Cainite survivors starting the entire nightmare over if humanity somehow manages to claw it's way back from this extinction level series of events.



*Mark Rein-Hagen allegedly has some...Opinions of the bigoted and neo-nazi sort, according to many people i've seen posting about him in the past. No idea if this is true, so maybe someone can elaborate on it. But it would go a long way to explain the shift of tone on such subjects like God in later material as new people came in and freaked out at some of his more racist antics. Also, it explains stuff like that Gypsies book. Which all by itself could probably get a page or two of content as people try to dissect just what the authors of it were saying about certain groups of people. :stare:

** In the most gonzo scenario the Lasombra antediluvian straight up turns off the ability for sunlight to hit the Earth's surface for a full month at one point. Suffice to say that any human that isn't in a sealed bunker with heating is dead, and anything above a single celled lifeform deep in an underwater ravine probably joined them.



Edit: Another interesting thing I remember is that the old White Wolf OWoD loved dipping into the crazy conspiracy theories that kooks came up with for material. Not sure how that'd play with people nowadays though, given how dangerous conspiracy theorists have become to society at large, though. Just an example of something from the same Gehenna scenario though:

Tzimisce literally turns every human and vampire in the world into a Cronenberg-esque monstrosity straight out of John Carpenter's "The Thing" by hijacking a spell performed by the founder of Clan Tremere. This was a spell that was only doable because the Mormon Church had created a full genetic database of everyone human on earth that could be used as a focus for a thaumaturge or mage to basically alter humanity at will. Obviously this goes off the rails in a big way because it's VtM and vampires are neither as smart nor as hot poo poo as they wish they were.

Literally, the whole thing with the Mormon Church was using some of the crazier conspiracy theories about the Mormon Church trying to forcibly baptize people into their religion as a vehicle to advance the plot by having Tzimisce gently caress up the planet. All to railroad the protagonists into basically having to commit a blood sacrifice (of themselves, no less for that extra heretical take) to God in the hopes that he'd have his ego flattered enough to smite Tzimisce and maybe turn humanity back into humans.

TL;DR: The first version of the OWoD went some places, is what i'm trying to say with this.

Archonex fucked around with this message at 16:43 on Jul 28, 2021

eviltastic
Feb 8, 2004



Fan of Britches

Reconciling old world of darkness lore is a doomed enterprise, but since Demon: The Fallen was intentionally written as a tie-in (and its cosmology is a lot closer to V:TM canon than the other major settings) I think it's pretty relevant here.

fool of sound posted:

Demon the Fallen (which is the same world) is pretty explicitly young-earth creationist, but I don't think it lands on the 6kish year number, since it makes references to neolithic humans, which only barely fall into that.
Ehhh... I think that's giving short shrift to the cosmology. The creation story given in that one is that before the fall, reality itself was much more multifaceted, with the universe working under a much more flexible ontological framework. Humans could simultaneously be the product of millions of years of evolution on a planet formed billions of years after the big bang, and the product of the biblical seven days creation story taken literally, without contradiction. When God got pissed about the fall, he broke up reality itself and now things can only exist in one way at a time, but things used to be different. The first night after the gift of knowledge lasted both one night and a thousand years.

It always struck me as a neat bit of slight of hand to mitigate the problem of building from a particular part of one faith's creation myth.

CommieGIR posted:

Does VtM accept the Evangelical method of dating the earth via the Bible? That was basically made up on the fly by adding all the begats in the book of Genesis.

I think at least some of the third generation of vampires (antediluvians, because they predate the biblical flood), and thus Cain himself are canonically older than six thousand years, which would rule that out.

eviltastic fucked around with this message at 16:14 on Jul 28, 2021

CommieGIR
Aug 22, 2006

Watch for the blue flash.
--------------------------------
SA is made possible through your AV purchases, thank you!


Pillbug

eviltastic posted:

I think at least some of the third generation of vampires (antediluvians, because they predate the biblical flood), and thus Cain himself are canonically older than six thousand years, which would rule that out.

That's what I figured, from my vague recollection of VtM, mostly through my spouse.

Archonex
May 2, 2012

MY OPINION IS SEERS OF THE THRONE PROPAGANDA IGNORE MY GNOSIS-IMPAIRED RAMBLINGS

CommieGIR posted:

That's what I figured, from my vague recollection of VtM, mostly through my spouse.

I think when one of the heavy duty lore nerds tried to calculate Caine's age, he was well older than a creationist would ever accept. So yeah. Dude wouldn't exist in their eyes.

On the other hand, I think it's Demon that said that before the fall multiple timelines could occur at once. So who knows? Dude could have come out of a time paradox from a timeline where the Wyrm was the dominant god of the era before it got tortured by the Weaver, for all we know. :shrug:

Archonex fucked around with this message at 16:44 on Jul 28, 2021

Vulin
Jun 15, 2012


Archonex posted:

Also, it explains stuff like that Gypsies book. :stare:
Okay, I'll bite. What sort of crazy stuff did they write in that Gypsies book?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




For one, Roma have special connections to certain types of supernatural creatures, namely Gangrel and Ravnos vampires, and there are minor magickal powers that they can have.

Cobalt-60
Oct 11, 2016

Over time, random factors add up. What is chaos in the moment becomes systemic over time and space. As data accumulates, a pattern emerges.



All of the WoD settings exist in a sort of superposition, where the nature of reality depends on which sourcebooks you're using, and how seriously your Dungeon Master STORYTELLER takes the fluff text.

Assuming you care about the lore, and weren't just playing on the off chance you'd get to meet hot goth chicks. (Or furries, if it's Werewolf.)

Archonex
May 2, 2012

MY OPINION IS SEERS OF THE THRONE PROPAGANDA IGNORE MY GNOSIS-IMPAIRED RAMBLINGS

Halloween Jack posted:

For one, Roma have special connections to certain types of supernatural creatures, namely Gangrel and Ravnos vampires, and there are minor magickal powers that they can have.

Also, the pre-revamp Ravnos were related to the Roma and were suggested to have similar personality traits. Basically saying as a result that the Romani people are a magical, perfidious, and fundamentally untrustworthy people who prefer to move around a lot and will con you in a heartbeat like some sort of hammer horror movie satire.

Basically, really racist poo poo that probably forced certain folks to take a backseat in writing materials, given that reception to the book caused a far less bigoted take on the Ravnos to come about and the Gypsy book in particular to be retconned from existence before anyone ever even had time to consider the mistake of using the thing.


Edit: You know that weird schtick of some backwards villagers in horror works, that maybe travel around in wagons and cast curses on people that displease them? That's the Gypsies book.

The OWoD Wiki posted:

One of the most infamous and ill-advised White Wolf supplements, this book has earned a great degree of ire for reinforcing harmful stereotypes and assigning supernatural and magical qualities to a real-world minority.

Or to put it another way, imagine if someone put out a book called "The Old World of Darkness: Native Americans" where every person of native american descent was depicted as a really racist "Me smoke-um peace pipe." type magical shaman who danced around the fire at night to ward off evil spirits while getting liquored up on firewater. Only the writer/s tried to portray this as a good thing that is normal and isn't at all loving horrifying in the level of bigotry it shows off. That's basically how the Gypsies book was, only for a different minority.

Suffice to say that they quickly backtracked on the book so hard that it's basically an old shame now on par with that hardcore porn VTM novel (Eternal Hearts, or something like that?) that some random author was hired to write, where all the vampires inexplicably really like to engage in some really messed up loving. Like, really messed up.

Archonex fucked around with this message at 17:12 on Jul 28, 2021

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...



Vulin posted:

Okay, I'll bite. What sort of crazy stuff did they write in that Gypsies book?

Gypsies are the greatest thing ever, and they are so cool and amazing, and they have magic powers and basically if you aren't one, you suck.

Their magic powers come from their bloodlines, which date back to some time in history where a lady and a vampire got together to try and recreate the biblical tree of knowledge. This split off into the Ravnos (vampire gypsies) and the Silent Striders (werewolf gypsies), while the real gypsies are totally blood pure and wonderful and don't you wish you were one of them?

It includes a parable that (supposedly) gypsies tell each others, about how when Jesus was being nailed to the cross, some little gypsy kid stole the nails they were going to nail him up with, and Jesus said "Hey, thanks kid, but give the nails back. Also, you and your descendants are exempted from the commandment about not stealing" which explains why it's totally cool that gypsies are thieves and stealing is okay when they do it.

The author, Teeuwynn Woodruff, was the kind of person who went by only her first name on the credits page, and in addition to working on most of the games you've heard of from the 90s, used to blog a lot about reality TV shows.

There's very little mention of the racism, exclusion, and horrible material conditions faced by the real life Roma. Closest analogy I can think of would be an unintentionally racist person trying to write about Wakanda

Edit: Here's a bit from the opening, in which they explain in no uncertain terms that they do not get it, and aren't going to get it



Toph Bei Fong fucked around with this message at 17:15 on Jul 28, 2021

AtomikKrab
Jul 17, 2010

Keep on GOP rolling rolling rolling rolling.


I liked reading the oWoD books, and then telling myself "I shall never play this ridiculous thing"

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


I did the F&F on the Wraith Holocaust book. AMA.

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...



Christ, this is worse than I remember





Toph Bei Fong fucked around with this message at 17:24 on Jul 28, 2021

CommieGIR
Aug 22, 2006

Watch for the blue flash.
--------------------------------
SA is made possible through your AV purchases, thank you!


Pillbug

Seems like VtM suffers from the same sort of racial issues that a lot of late 80s early 90s role play games did.

Arivia
Mar 17, 2011



MonsieurChoc posted:

I did the F&F on the Wraith Holocaust book. AMA.

Notably for people unfamiliar with this whole mess, the Wraith Holocaust book is the exact opposite of Gypsies in that it went to great lengths to be historically accurate and respectful of the victims and survivors involved to the point where there's a forward by a rabbi explaining how weird it was to essentially be a sensitivity reader for it.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




CommieGIR posted:

Seems like VtM suffers from the same sort of racial issues that a lot of late 80s early 90s role play games did.
White Wolf is peculiar in that you can generally count on them to be anti-establishment and critical of modernity, Christianity, and Western civilization generally, but their depiction of minorities and the Global South is extremely stereotyped. There are a lot of noble savage archetypes, most of them some kind of wise mystic. At the same time, it's often taken for granted that places largely populated by brown people--whether that's Africa or South America or inner-city Chicago--are violent lawless hellholes.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Arivia posted:

Notably for people unfamiliar with this whole mess, the Wraith Holocaust book is the exact opposite of Gypsies in that it went to great lengths to be historically accurate and respectful of the victims and survivors involved to the point where there's a forward by a rabbi explaining how weird it was to essentially be a sensitivity reader for it.

Yeah, it's a very good book no one will ever use.

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...



One story I remember is that during the development of some Changeling: the Dreaming (a game about fairies hiding in the real world, and who need people to be whimsical and childlike to survive) supplement, one of the co-authors brought in all their old toys from when they were a kid for everyone to play with. And no one had as good a time as they remembered pushing toy cars around and pretending to dress up dolls or whatever. The author cited this as evidence that the modern world was corrupt and fallen, and banality had taken away their ability to dream.

Which, uh... If you're in your 30s and still playing with children's toys the same way you did when you were a young child...

eviltastic
Feb 8, 2004



Fan of Britches

Well, you can’t really expect children to paint their action figures before fighting pretend battles like the adults do.

Sodomy Hussein
Oct 9, 2005



Shrecknet posted:

well if anyone was gonna make this thread it was gonna be me! :drac:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC-OjR62D40

In 1991 Mark Rein•Hagen (yes the hyphen is stylized that way, yes it is stupid), the son of a Lutheran minister in suburban Atlanta, unleashed Vampire: the Masquerade on the world - a rip-roaring, blood-soaked and sensual gothic superhero RPG based on not just playing a vampire, but playing a vampire to the hilt.

His one great conceit was to take the Vampire monomyth and break it down into its component elements, and let each aspect have center stage as the defining characteristic of the many Vampire clans comprising the secret society of Vampires.



For instance, you want Nosferatu-style disgusting monsters like Count Orlok? Namesake clan. Anne Rice-style romantic tragedies? Toreador. Shapeshifting, feral Draculas? Gangrel. And so on for each of the clans...



The many, many clans (once the game was a hit and they realized they needed to sell more splatbooks to remain solvent as a company)

The big thing that made V:tM a giant hit among gamers (and later the world - see the opening credits for the weekly TV drama the game got) was the deep and absolutely compelling lore. The oft-repeated joke over in TradGames is that White Wolf was a company that made bathroom readers with an RPG stapled to them.

To wit, regarding the lore: in the world of Vampire, all vampires are descended from Cain (from the Bible), who was the first vampire. This means that the bible is literally correct and accurate, which means Vampires are (as stated) definitionally young-earth creationists, as noted. However, there's also the Setites, who reject this lore and insist they are descended from the Egytian god Set.

This is just one of many contradictions in the lore that is partly intentional to create inter- and intra-group drama and conflict, and partly accidental because we are dealing with a few goth kids from Atlanta playing with worlds and histories they were not equipped at the time to explore (do not read about the Ravnos, they are a big :yikes: through and through)

I'm not sure whether this thread is best served by meta-dissecting the various clans' stances and overarcing actions in how they would react or move on current events or to talk about the horribly mangled understanding of history and religion, and how that's reflected in the writing.

If you haven't read it, TG Goon Halloween Jack's FATAL & Friends writeup of the system and its history is pretty exceptional snarking on the subject of the game from a game-design and cultural viewpoint.

I always read the many, many clans with their many, many mythologies as "no one side has the right of it, make your own choices," which is really the central thing about Vampire. Even the first Gehenna sourcebook I know of is a series of theories about what the apocalypse will be, not the set-in-stone course of events. I recall that in most versions, Cain does not even show up.

It's also worth noting that no matter what character you create, there are at least two factions and probably many more who have a blood feud with you from the start. It's non-stop political bloodsport, largely based on lineages, and you can't even win by not playing. "Your lineage is your identity, and other characters will use it to pigeonhole you especially if you walk away from it" is also a central part of Vampire when I still had any bathroom readers, which is also something common to roleplaying games at the time. (I was more involved in the V:MQ Big Green Book era).

That last part is what there's been a growing backlash against in the roleplaying community for a while now.

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...



eviltastic posted:

Well, you can’t really expect children to paint their action figures before fighting pretend battles like the adults do.

Exactly. The irony of working for a company that publishes guidelines for playing make believe with your friends, while claiming no one can pretend or dream anymore was evidently lost on that author.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Toph Bei Fong posted:

One story I remember is that during the development of some Changeling: the Dreaming (a game about fairies hiding in the real world, and who need people to be whimsical and childlike to survive) supplement, one of the co-authors brought in all their old toys from when they were a kid for everyone to play with. And no one had as good a time as they remembered pushing toy cars around and pretending to dress up dolls or whatever. The author cited this as evidence that the modern world was corrupt and fallen, and banality had taken away their ability to dream.

Which, uh... If you're in your 30s and still playing with children's toys the same way you did when you were a young child...

Changeling: the Dreaming has deeply hosed up politics. It's hard to unpack the whole thing, but the way your characters are considered old and fading at like 21, the whole Commoner vs Noble thing, it's weird idea of what is Banal and what is not, how it's bad guys are psychologists, the way the Unseelie switch from unfairly treated minority to pure evil between books, etc.

For a gameline with LOTS of ups and lows, Changeling kinda stands on it's own among the Old World of Darkness.

Jaxyon
Mar 6, 2016
boring as hell and also can be low-key racist

I believe that canonically when a vampire bites you, you orgasm.

So there's that direct sexualization of violence.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




MonsieurChoc posted:

Changeling: the Dreaming has deeply hosed up politics. It's hard to unpack the whole thing, but the way your characters are considered old and fading at like 21, the whole Commoner vs Noble thing, it's weird idea of what is Banal and what is not, how it's bad guys are psychologists, the way the Unseelie switch from unfairly treated minority to pure evil between books, etc.

For a gameline with LOTS of ups and lows, Changeling kinda stands on it's own among the Old World of Darkness.
White Wolf's occasional New Agey missteps into "Science bad!" reached their peak in Changeling, for sure.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Jaxyon posted:

I believe that canonically when a vampire bites you, you orgasm.

So there's that direct sexualization of violence.

Except the Giovanni, their Clan Weakness was that their bite hurts.

Dick Burglar
Mar 6, 2006
Check out my hot takes because I'm a straight white male

Archonex posted:

I've long said that God is basically written in later material as the penultimate villain of the OWoD.

Penultimate means "second-to-ultimate," so who's the ultimate villain? Who's a greater villain than god? Sure doesn't sound like it's Cain.

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies



Dick Burglar posted:

Penultimate means "second-to-ultimate," so who's the ultimate villain? Who's a greater villain than god? Sure doesn't sound like it's Cain.

Satyros Phil Brucato

Archonex
May 2, 2012

MY OPINION IS SEERS OF THE THRONE PROPAGANDA IGNORE MY GNOSIS-IMPAIRED RAMBLINGS

Dick Burglar posted:

Penultimate means "second-to-ultimate," so who's the ultimate villain? Who's a greater villain than god? Sure doesn't sound like it's Cain.

I mean, if you want to go into a really deep lore dive then you could argue that it is in fact Caine in a darkly hilarious "This man is terrifyingly powerful yet also an utter gently caress up at everything he tries to do." sort of way. Since I think it's Demon that suggests that Caine's gently caress ups go far outside the realm of VtM itself, one of the bigger examples being introducing the concept of murder to reality by offing his brother Abel. That lead to like maybe a little over half of Lucifer's allies going AWOL (Some of them were genuinely heroic. Others...not so much.) during the whole war in heaven thing that was meant to uplift humanity and (allegedly) keep the loyalists from screwing with them.

Said AWOL angels ended up setting up their own often hosed up fiefdoms with ideologies that ranged from "humanity should serve us as slaves" to 'Hey, human experimentation is great don't you think?". A rough TL;DR of all of that is that as a result the rebels all promptly got their poo poo kicked in when the revitalized opposition decided to either use this new thing called murder to curb stomp the rebels or simply zerg rush them, slaughter their followers, and put them in chains.

At which point they subjected all of the rebels (save Lucifer) to unending torture so horrific that by the time the playable segment of Demon rolls around even the ones that could have been called good had turned into insane demons without a human host to stabilize them. Meaning the Gehenna-esque apocalyptic Demon scenarios (along with the slow decay of humanity due to not only all sorts of other assholish stuff being able to run rampant, but also the former angels turned demons themselves once they get loose) are at least partially Caine's fault as well. And all this doesn't touch on the stuff about Wycks or the Wyrm. The latter of which I very vaguely recall there being some tiny blurb suggesting Caine could have had a run in with it at some point.

Or as TVtropes summed it up years back posted:

After Caine invented murder, Lucifer essentially lost control of three of his five legions, and many of those renegade Fallen didn't take long at all to more or less spiral into Stupid Evil. The Fallen who kept their poo poo together were pretty much hosed from word go because they had to spend almost as much time and effort fixing their fellows' screw ups and bullshit evil experiments as they did resisting the heavenly host.
...
(Talking about the idea of disproportionate retribution) Almost impressively, as the Fallen weren't to a man the most sympathetic of people by the time they had lost the war against heaven. Still, condemning each and every one of them to never-ending anguish and suffering (to the point that it's likely even the nicer Fallen were Driven to Madness and turned into spiteful horrors) was a pretty petty thing to do.

Note that this is kind of a theme in Caine's life too. Nearly all of his possible backstories have him repeatedly barreling into situations he knows nothing about, assuming being nigh omnipotent is good enough to handle any issues that come up, and then poo poo just going sideways as a result of him not taking a second to think about the consequences of his actions or restrain himself for the greater good. Failing that, they have him just backstabbing and/or enraging every ally he could have had, up to and including one angel that took it upon itself to warn him that in no uncertain terms should he ever turn someone into a vampire because bad things would in fact happen as a result of it.

Basically, there's a good case to make that the penultimate villain in the OWoD is the setting's version of God for being a self aggrandizing (but ultimately kind of lazy) malicious jerk. Whom is trumped only by Caine due to him being the living incarnation of that "Local man ruins everything." meme on account of his constant habit of repeatedly doing the performative equivalent of running into his own fist on an often literally cataclysmic level.



Edit:And to be clear, i'm not joking about Caine being a walking, talking, accidental catastrophe producer to the point where people started producing memes about it.



If the old novels are anything to go by though, he gets over this habit of his and is genuinely regretful over how much vampires (and his mistakes by proxy) have made the world a lovely place to live in. So like with a lot of other stuff in VtM there's some moral complexity there, I guess.

Archonex fucked around with this message at 00:56 on Jul 29, 2021

Staluigi
Jun 22, 2021

thermodynamics cheated

this is loving everything i wanted, there's so much more than i even anticipated

vampires using mormon proxy baptism genealogical recordkeeping to cronenburg monster the entire world? anyone thinking it's a good idea to write roma getting a free stealing poo poo pass from jesus christ to explain their weird pseudocultural pastiche of gypsy thief folk? oh my lord i love it

there's so much ridiculous poo poo these goth kids got up to in their products that i quiver with anticipation of hearing how they handle vodou. because of course they aren't going to leave vodoun alone. i can't wait to find where to read about White Wolf's Basement Nerds giving us their fantastic new take on grand mèt

Shrecknet
Jan 2, 2005

Nosferatu Enthusiast
@shrecknet



So to loop this around to actual politics and keep it from getting banished back to TG, Vampire culture is really weird sometimes.

See, the thing about Vampires, is that they do not live in a democracy. Not even in a "hah hah, you vote but the monsters at the top are always in charge" situation like we do IRL, but actual no-poo poo territorial lordships. You exist at the pleasure of the regional Prince, and while there are a few laws that are inviolate (only one law, really), everything else is at the whim of whoever is strong enough to hold that space, full stop.

When it gets really interesting is with the introduction of the Harpy, though. See, if you're an immortal, ancient and superpowered being, stripping someone of their wealth or privilege doesn't really work, especially if they weren't particularly powerful to begin with. So the only thing you have to really enforce vampires being a society instead of a bunch of slavering blood-drinking monsters is the power of reputation.

So every city has a Harpy, a gossipmonger and collector of information on the activities and accolades of the city's kindred. And she is the only one with the power to name the Prince Gauche or Ignorant, and that name will travel with the Prince to his conclaves with the other regional Princes, or across years and years. It's a frightening amount of power, but it's something we see IRL now with :foxnews: and (sigh) cancel culture - that naming and shaming and applying a title ("Tiller the Baby-Killer") is the only way to truly sully someone once they are of a certain age and power, since you can't really jail or fine someone who is immortal and able to skip town when there's no Marshal's service to bring them back.

A Harpy's tongue-lashing in an Elysium can be enough to send a Kindred into a blind fury, as the Beast that guides their inner monster goes on the attack, and more than one Harpy has done just that, enraging a Kindred on sacred ground and goading them to commit an actual sin worthy of their expulsion from the Domain.

Oh, and Harpys exist outside the power structure of the Prince, so he can't just dismiss her. She's just a permanent gadfly.

Shrecknet fucked around with this message at 01:29 on Jul 29, 2021

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Staluigi posted:

this is loving everything i wanted, there's so much more than i even anticipated

vampires using mormon proxy baptism genealogical recordkeeping to cronenburg monster the entire world? anyone thinking it's a good idea to write roma getting a free stealing poo poo pass from jesus christ to explain their weird pseudocultural pastiche of gypsy thief folk? oh my lord i love it

there's so much ridiculous poo poo these goth kids got up to in their products that i quiver with anticipation of hearing how they handle vodou. because of course they aren't going to leave vodoun alone. i can't wait to find where to read about White Wolf's Basement Nerds giving us their fantastic new take on grand mèt

Oh you better believe there's Vodou! First off, within Vampire itself there's the Samedi, a Bloodline of vampires who all look like decomposing corpses with a special Necrosis-based Discipline. Their Founder, and the closest thing they have to a leader, is only known as The Baron. Then there's the Serpents of the Light, an offset of the Setites who instead follow their own Voudoun religion and also are members of the Sabbat. Then later-on they introduce a bunch of Blood Magic not limited to clans and of course Vodou Blood Magic and Vodou Necromancy are part of the deal.

In Mage: the Ascension there's also some Voudou magic, and in Wraith: the Oblivion there's Les Invisibles which is the afterlife for believers in Voudou and Santeria and other similar faiths. Cause Wraith is at least partly about the dead making up their own afterlives based on their living religions and then the subsequent Dark Kingdoms fighting each other for control over the Soul Supply.

Edit: For those who don't know, the Setites are a clan of evil Egyptian cultist vampires who worship the god Set but are mostly just James Earl Jones from Conan.

Sodomy Hussein
Oct 9, 2005



MonsieurChoc posted:

Oh you better believe there's Vodou! First off, within Vampire itself there's the Samedi, a Bloodline of vampires who all look like decomposing corpses with a special Necrosis-based Discipline. Their Founder, and the closest thing they have to a leader, is only known as The Baron. Then there's the Serpents of the Light, an offset of the Setites who instead follow their own Voudoun religion and also are members of the Sabbat. Then later-on they introduce a bunch of Blood Magic not limited to clans and of course Vodou Blood Magic and Vodou Necromancy are part of the deal.

In Mage: the Ascension there's also some Voudou magic, and in Wraith: the Oblivion there's Les Invisibles which is the afterlife for believers in Voudou and Santeria and other similar faiths. Cause Wraith is at least partly about the dead making up their own afterlives based on their living religions and then the subsequent Dark Kingdoms fighting each other for control over the Soul Supply.

Edit: For those who don't know, the Setites are a clan of evil Egyptian cultist vampires who worship the god Set but are mostly just James Earl Jones from Conan.

Setites are the closest thing the setting has to a faction of moustache-twirling villains, as they have no one's best interests in mind, not even their own.

killer_robot
Aug 26, 2006


Grimey Drawer

Halloween Jack posted:

White Wolf's occasional New Agey missteps into "Science bad!" reached their peak in Changeling, for sure.

Haven't ready Changeling. I did read Fomori... you sure about that?

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Perestroika
Apr 8, 2010



As somebody who is only superficially familiar with the setting, I wonder how it's treating the whole concept of the (second) inquisition and hunters? On the one hand I'd expect it to come down on it fairly harshly, since the setting and writers don't seem to be fans of the religious fanaticism inherent to movements. On the other hand... well, the inquisition kinda does have a point when there really are blood-drinking monsters preying on humanity, doesn't it?

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