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Who exactly knows about the supernatural in the WoD

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Mr. Sluagh View Post
    See, the reason for my take is this: What percentage of the population IRL actually doesn't believe in the supernatural? I'm talking, doesn't believe in miracles, no good luck charms, has never "seen a ghost" and wouldn’t believe you if you said you had, doesn't think aliens have visited Earth, the works? How many people are total skeptics?

    I feel like I'm from a pretty secular crowd and I think I'm one of about two people I currently know who fall into that category.

    I find it implausible that folks in the World of Darkness are aggressively skeptical compared to folks IRL. It makes more sense if you remember that science is just another magical paradigm.
    That only holds if we're on the Mage forum, and since we're in the common forum, I'm inclined to say that no way in hell is that true across other games.

    The Technocracy's enforcement of that paradigm is so tenuous that even the Technocracy hosts agents of every major world religion (that much is canon). There are more mages outside the Technocracy than in it, and I bet unawakened beliefs mostly reflect that. If there's a discrepancy, it can't be that much bigger than what can be accounted for by public school and television.

    The Technocracy mostly has money and power. They can spread misinformation, they can set the party line that's permissible in polite company, but there were no winners in the Ascension War.

    After the Week of Nightmares, the Technocracy gave up on the idea that strengthening the Gauntlet, the Shroud and Banality and eradicating other paradigms was going to solve everything. Either vampires are somehow outside the purview of concensus, or they had too strong a foothold to be wished away before they kill everyone.
    Vampire wasn't designed with anything involving a subjective reality in mind. Neither was Werewolf, and Wraith has an awful lot of the underworld being beyond the imagining of humanity, while Changeling presented beings of dreams that became real and resisted attempts to reshape them; they'd have to, or else the sidhe wouldn't still be holding onto their feudal monarchist ways after being freed by the moon landing. The Gauntlet isn't about belief or lack thereof, either; the Weaver's under-spirits, pattern-spiders, put it up and maintain it, and I doubt that the Technocracy, even if you plop it down into your game, knows or cares about "banality" beyond the definition of the word in the dictionary or its use in literature and ethical commentaries about the banality of evil. There's not much of a guarantee that the Technocracy would even have "magic" in a game, and it certainly wouldn't have a Special K. More likely, you'd just present them with stuff from out of the cool toys section of the Book of the Weaver using Devices only (fetishes aren't for humans!), or, if you did use the Mage sources for cool toys, you'd replace Paradox with an accumulation of wear and tear, the need for maintenance, and the risk of breakdown, kind of like how a lot of First Age magic from Exalted was presented in The Outcaste or Wonders of the Lost Age, only without the vaguely Kirby-ish aesthetic.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post

      That only holds if we're on the Mage forum, and since we're in the common forum, I'm inclined to say that no way in hell is that true across other games.
      How does my argument apply more to Mage than to the others? Why don't you think it's fair to say that a world with any given WoD critter would have fewer hardcore skeptics than one without? I went on to argue that what I'd said was consistent with consensus reality. I didn't say every game used consensus reality.

      You can insist on the "many WoDs" model if that suits you, but I don't find that appropriate for a general WoD thread. If we can only speculate about things that hold for all WoD games, there isn't much to talk about at all. I think crossover speculation is especially appropriate when discussing the crossover metaplot point of the century, the Week of Nightmares, as I was.

      Even if we're supposed to err toward the commonalities in this sort of discussion for some reason, consensus reality is a theme reflected in one form or another in every WoD game except Vampire and Hunter. They all feature some significant and pervasive fact of life that's directly influenced by human thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

      The Werewolf version of the Technocracy would strengthen the Gauntlet, the Wraith version the Shroud, the Changeling version Banality, and the Demon version would destroy Faith. None of these things are exactly consensus reality, but they're all similar enough to substituted for it in a Mage cameo, or assumed to be a case of "blind people describing an elephant" in a full crossover.

      Finally, the "many WoDs" model is far from universal, either among fans or writers. You want to ignore every part of canon where werewolves and Mages can be caught discussing their own cosmologies outside of their gamelines? You want to create a theme park version of the Technocracy that's more consistent with Werewolf than Werewolf ever was? Fine. I just don't see how that's less of a fanfic than assuming that if werewolves and mages show up in the same game, that means they're both wrong about a few things.
      Last edited by Mr. Sluagh; 02-17-2017, 09:32 PM.

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      • #18
        Mages can and do exist in WtA games, but their cosmology cannot be correct in a WtA game. Paradox can and does exist in WtA because Fera can summon Paradox spirits and send them against Mages. There is one and only one cWoD.

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        • #19
          My take is similar to the one found in the CofD.

          Individual Mortals know that something exists. They don't know the specifics, but most have had a brush with the supernatural, one way or the other. They may have rationalized it, suppressed the thought, or actively shut their mouth out of fear of being killed, institutionalized or jailed. Mostly, they don't look for it, because that way lies ruin. Many people in our world think ghosts exist. In the WoD they could find actual proof, but don't. They still think ghosts exist, they just don't go investigate.

          In a larger scale, members of most organizations know that monsters exist. As a whole they have a bigger picture than some random dude on the street, but it's not enough. Yeah, so, werewolves exist. What can the FBI do about it? Also, the larger the organization, the higher is the risk that someone has already infiltrated it. The documents on "vampires"? Gone, or worse, slightly changed. They already know about your species, so the important thing is to not let them know about you personally.


          Italian nuisance. English is my second language, so be patient!

          My homebrew:
          [VtR 2e] Light From a Dead Star: Rome
          [WtF 2e] The Past Is Another Country: Rome

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          • #20
            The problem with organizations realizing the truth is that major supernatural creatures have hundreds of ways to change memories, delete electronic records, and remove physical records. Sorcerers might offer some protection for organizations, but the majority of them will likely be dabblers. Practitioners make better money as independents than as middle managers or GS-13 bureaucrats.

            For example, an FBI agent who files reports on werewolves will likely find that the digital report concerns suspected serial killers and the physical report was lost. If they keep going on about werewolves, they will find themselves in a padded room. The same probably goes for any agent that encounters the supernatural.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
              Mages can and do exist in WtA games, but their cosmology cannot be correct in a WtA game. Paradox can and does exist in WtA because Fera can summon Paradox spirits and send them against Mages. There is one and only one cWoD.
              Werewolf acknowledges consensus reality inasmuch as the human collective unconsciousness influences spirits and Gauntlet strength. I've never understood the contention that consensus reality is strictly a Mage thing, when it's actually a pretty common theme throughout the WoD. Mage just gives consensus reality the spotlight, sort of like how Werewolf gives the Umbra the spotlight.

              In a Mage/Werewolf crossover, it's necessary to concede that either Consensus isn't as important as mages think or the Triat isn't as important as werewolves think, or both, but those things always seemed obvious to me even when taking Werewolf and Mage on their own.

              And the only necessary explanation for why there's seldom a hint of Consensus or the Triat in Vampire is that vampires are sad, boring people who only care about food.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Mr. Sluagh View Post

                Werewolf acknowledges consensus reality inasmuch as the human collective unconsciousness influences spirits and Gauntlet strength.
                New things can make new spirits, but humans aren't the only ones to do this. Also, Gauntlet is still about the Weaver's ability to control things; in science labs where exciting discoveries happen and old misconceptions are being disproven, the Gauntlet is likely to be much lower than 9.

                I've never understood the contention that consensus reality is strictly a Mage thing, when it's actually a pretty common theme throughout the WoD. Mage just gives consensus reality the spotlight, sort of like how Werewolf gives the Umbra the spotlight.
                There are a lot of monsters in Book of the Wyrm. They don't require any kind of supernatural force to exist; they just do, and they terrorize the world in spite of rampant disbelief in their reality.

                In a Mage/Werewolf crossover, it's necessary to concede that either Consensus isn't as important as mages think or the Triat isn't as important as werewolves think, or both, but those things always seemed obvious to me even when taking Werewolf and Mage on their own.

                And the only necessary explanation for why there's seldom a hint of Consensus or the Triat in Vampire is that vampires are sad, boring people who only care about food.
                The Werewolf Revised ST Handbook, page 199, flat-out says that Werewolf doesn't operate on a consensus reality, but an animistic one.


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                • #23
                  I do wonder if there was some antipathy between the Werewolf writers and the Mage writers. Strangely enough, I do not see the same level of antipathy between Werewolf and Vampire, Changelings, Wraith, etc. Everything except Mage can exist as is within Werewolf, even if the mythologies conflict, while Mage seems to be designed to conflict on a basic cosmological level with Werewolf.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post

                    New things can make new spirits, but humans aren't the only ones to do this. Also, Gauntlet is still about the Weaver's ability to control things; in science labs where exciting discoveries happen and old misconceptions are being disproven, the Gauntlet is likely to be much lower than 9.
                    Yes, that's the Werewolf way of rationalizing things that Mage would file under Consensus. It's still fair to say that Werewolf has themes of (lower-cased) consensus reality, Wereeolf just rationalizes those themes in terms of human thoughts and feelings influencing spirits, rather than saying the buck stops at Consensus like Mage does.

                    What it looks like to me is that both werewolves and mages are prone to convincing themselves that their strongest suits are most important, when really it's a little from column A and a little from column B.

                    The Werewolf Revised ST Handbook, page 199, flat-out says that Werewolf doesn't operate on a consensus reality, but an animistic one.
                    Yes, I'm aware that canon sometimes makes weird OOC proclamations like that about things that seem less certain in other parts of canon. I guess my issue with how canon is written is that it often tells me these things without explaining in-setting why it's rational for my character to believe them, when he hasn't read the Storyteller's Handbook.
                    Last edited by Mr. Sluagh; 02-19-2017, 08:10 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Because your character has read none of the books and does not understand the game mechanics of cWoD?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Mr. Sluagh View Post

                        Yes, that's the Werewolf way of rationalizing things that Mage would file under Consensus. It's still fair to say that Werewolf has themes of (lower-cased) consensus reality, Wereeolf just rationalizes those themes in terms of human thoughts and feelings influencing spirits, rather than saying the buck stops at Consensus like Mage does.
                        Only certain spirits. Old spirits don't care and can't be shaped by them. They are, in fact, the ones shaping reality to their terms, as the moon could be destroyed, but Luna, as a Celestine, could bring it back. Only if the spirit dies does the thing necessarily end for good. This is one of the ways in which Werewolf assumes that the opposite of Mage is true; if there is anything like a "consensus", spirits shape it, not humans.

                        What it looks like to me is that both werewolves and mages are prone to convincing themselves that their strongest suits are most important, when really it's a little from column A and a little from column B.
                        "Everyone is wrong!" is never really something that comes up in Werewolf very much. Actually, I don't really think it does in most games.

                        Yes, I'm aware that canon sometimes makes weird OOC proclamations like that about things that seem less certain in other parts of canon. I guess my issue with how canon is written is that it often tells me these things without explaining in-setting why it's rational for my character to believe them, when he hasn't read the Storyteller's Handbook.
                        It's not a weird proclamation. It's necessary to play the game straight and not get bogged down by constant crossover metaphysics questions.

                        Originally posted by Aya Tari
                        I do wonder if there was some antipathy between the Werewolf writers and the Mage writers. Strangely enough, I do not see the same level of antipathy between Werewolf and Vampire, Changelings, Wraith, etc. Everything except Mage can exist as is within Werewolf, even if the mythologies conflict, while Mage seems to be designed to conflict on a basic cosmological level with Werewolf.


                        Not the writers, and in fact, the massive numbers of different writers in each line are probably the most direct reason why the presented setting can vary wildly. The fundamental disagreement is in the design statement of either game; one of the WoD roundtables from around 2010 on the old WW podcast talked about how Mage and Werewolf had directly opposing premises (humans are vitally important and shape the cosmos and reality vs. humans are no more important than any other living thing and spirits shape the reality that they experience).

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                        • #27
                          Which probably explains the disagreements between WtA fans and MtAs fans.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Crowley View Post
                            basically, who do you belive might know about what exactly is going on in the WoD?
                            Who knows exactly? In my World of Darkness, pretty much nobody; even if you're talking about those "in the know", their knowledge seldom reaches further than their own experience.

                            After all, most of the people and organizations that have actually managed to accrue sizable amounts of obscure knowledge and arcane lore are fairly insular and paranoid in nature; vampire elders who have glimpsed beyond the Gauntlet, thrown down with a werewolf in some dark forest somewhere, and traded occult baubles with passing will-workers aren't really in the business of sharing the specifics of all the things they've seen and done. Knowledge is power, and the more you have and your rivals don't, the better it is for you.

                            If we're talking about vanilla mortals, though? Tons of 'em know something. Most of them don't really have much in the way of context for what they've seen, though - and that's the ones who even managed to get a half-decent picture in the first place. The last survivor of a gangland massacre says that his six friends all got gunned down by one man - the same guy who shrugged off hails of automatic gunfire like pinpricks and threw Johnny so hard into the wall his skull turned to paste. He doesn't have any way of knowing what that guy was - but he knows there's some crazy shit out there that he can't explain.

                            Somebody walks into a room and suddenly the walls turn to blood, the bed turns into some writhing carnival of mangled flesh, and the ceiling starts dripping bits of intestine. When he goes back later, dragging his friends behind him, and it's not there... well, he doesn't know that was a wraith fiddling around with his arcanoi. But he wasn't high, and as far as he knows he's not crazy... he knows what he saw, but he sure as hell can't explain it, either.

                            But these people don't talk about their experiences - so you wind up with a whole lot of people who know a little bit of something, but most of them aren't talking about it, and generally not to each other. That's what crazy people do.

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                            • #29
                              Well, imagine the reaction on this forum if people started talking about the strange phenomena they witnessed in real life. I know that I do not share a tenth of the weirdness that I witnessed in my youth, and I have admitted to much more than most of the people here. People hate being ridiculed and, on the internet, there are a heck of a lot of trolls who love to pile on the ridicule because they have meaningless and mundane lives. It would probably be the same in cWoD, especially when they have the corruption of the Wyrm feeding on and encouraging the trolls (as well as everything else that can feed on or use the hatred of the mediocre).

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Seviphas View Post
                                Who knows exactly? In my World of Darkness, pretty much nobody; even if you're talking about those "in the know", their knowledge seldom reaches further than their own experience.

                                (...)

                                If we're talking about vanilla mortals, though? Tons of 'em know something. Most of them don't really have much in the way of context for what they've seen, though - and that's the ones who even managed to get a half-decent picture in the first place. The last survivor of a gangland massacre says that his six friends all got gunned down by one man - the same guy who shrugged off hails of automatic gunfire like pinpricks and threw Johnny so hard into the wall his skull turned to paste. He doesn't have any way of knowing what that guy was - but he knows there's some crazy shit out there that he can't explain.
                                Yeah exactly.
                                One thing to note that this allows all the various Nightfolk and each of the faction lots of room for acting while still preserving their secrecy (and that of other Nightfolk). I can easily imagine Technocrats or Kindred facing down a bunch of arrogant non-Imbued hunters who figured out a bit...and laying it out for them that, even if they are left alive, there is no way they will ever be able to inform the public about the supernatural and the Nightfolk in any way.

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