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  • Character morality versus player expectation

    A discussion sidetrack from this thread: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...-picture/page5

    The reason I brought this to the general area is that the issue of characters being monsters or not vs what players want, is a very central theme in WoD. That and the thread this came from heavily discussed it.

    First of all, the concept of darkness in World of Darkness is not very universally agreed on and it naturally affects how the characters are seen. To some, the darkness is all encompassing and the player characters are usually monsters in some way. Another viewn is that the darkness is an overwhelming foe that needs to be pushed back. And so on.

    For me, the darkness isn't as much gore as it is small excuses people make or beliefs they end up with. Or the constant reminder that they are stuck.

    I admit one faction I have never gotten my head around is Sabbat. Their embracing of their monstrous nature is neat, but how they act and how much books press on that their bonds are false and they are simply used, puts me off.

    This leads to the other point I wanna discuss here, morality of a player character. To me, and I fully admit it is not a very common perspective, if I cannot look at my character and see both the honestly good and honestly bad in them I don't play them for long. By 'honestly' I mean that even if I took away tribe/clan/bloodbonds/etc., they would still have these traits because they are their core personality. I cannot just play someone who I cannot sympathize with at least a bit.

    But that does not mean their darkness does not matter, far from it. Most of my garou honestly do not consider humans much, they will aid them, but they frankly see only creatures that are blind to reality. A human death is not a bad thing, unless it breaks the Veil. It can even be useful in some situations. This is often in contrast to how they see feral animals, usually with a lot of respect.

    Then there is the whole mentality of 'yeah it sucks, but we must continue if we want to live' about Garou Nation. At times excusing outright abuse or kidnapping because it was 'just'. Hell, I remember a metis cub I played being extremely dismissive of a homesick cub, because at least no one was chaining them.

    Just to get this ball rolling.



  • #2
    But Garou are a mixture of Human, Wolf, and Spirit, so Human deaths should be avoided unless they are necessary to about a greater evil (killing hunters who are going after deer is excessive and hypocritical while killing hunter going after endangered species is permissible and encouraged). In addition, 88% of Garou are Homid, so they were raised in human societies that placed some value on Human life, and the transformation to the Garou does not wipe that slate clean.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
      But Garou are a mixture of Human, Wolf, and Spirit, so Human deaths should be avoided unless they are necessary to about a greater evil (killing hunters who are going after deer is excessive and hypocritical while killing hunter going after endangered species is permissible and encouraged). In addition, 88% of Garou are Homid, so they were raised in human societies that placed some value on Human life, and the transformation to the Garou does not wipe that slate clean.
      Well I mostly play metis and lupus, so that might explain it. But on a grander scale, yeah, it is a very damn awful perspective to have. That is the point, by not seeing humans as truly that special my characters are being arseholes. They might not outwardly say it (minus one), but the speciecism is there. This does not mean all garou share this perspective, of course. Just some of my pcs who are raised in the society.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
        But that does not mean their darkness does not matter, far from it. Most of my garou honestly do not consider humans much, they will aid them, but they frankly see only creatures that are blind to reality. A human death is not a bad thing, unless it breaks the Veil. It can even be useful in some situations. This is often in contrast to how they see feral animals, usually with a lot of respect.
        This has actually typically been my character's outlooks on humans actually. It doesn't necessarily matter if they were homid born or not. It doesn't take long to realize that an individual human life or 2 isn't terribly important in the grand scheme of things.

        I suppose for reference (because playing them helped shape my outlooks for characters in general), the characters I've played in long-ish (multi-year) running games were:
        Fianna Homid Ragabash, from Rank 2-4
        Silent Strider Metis Galliard, Rank 1-3
        Shadowlord Homid Philodox (Children of Crow camp), Rank 1-2
        Rokea Brightwater Squamus Rank 1-3
        Ratkin Metis Plague Lord Rank 1-3
        Rokea Dimwater Homid Rank 1-3


        Per the level of darkness in the world....for me, it really depends on the individual game. I've highlighted entirely different themes in different games. I do tend to enjoy having some level of real hope for positive change though. "You struggle until you die horribly" isn't an appealing arc for a game for me.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          But Garou are a mixture of Human, Wolf, and Spirit, so Human deaths should be avoided unless they are necessary to about a greater evil (killing hunters who are going after deer is excessive and hypocritical while killing hunter going after endangered species is permissible and encouraged). In addition, 88% of Garou are Homid, so they were raised in human societies that placed some value on Human life, and the transformation to the Garou does not wipe that slate clean.
          None of that explains the multiple genocides Garou have committed in the past and the new impergium they keep discussing every now and again. Garou are not americans discussing whether it's okay to kill people. Garou are nazis discussing whether they should start the Fourth Reich right now or wait a few more months.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
            None of that explains the multiple genocides Garou have committed in the past and the new impergium they keep discussing every now and again. Garou are not americans discussing whether it's okay to kill people. Garou are nazis discussing whether they should start the Fourth Reich right now or wait a few more months.
            Just to avoid this thread turning into another argument of this; Modern garou are not like their ancestors, they do in fact mostly try to avoid another genocide. The only tribe who truly is calling for another Impegrium is a tribe that lacks any human-born members and avoids human concepts on purpose. The rest are mostly just full of hot air.

            As for the genocides, they happened before humans even truly had proper culture. When a lot of humans would gladly do the same for a rivial tribe. The last one was very tied with the Spanish taking over South America. Modern garou are carrying the burden of these things, not glorifying them. And those who are are often portrayed as fools.

            @idpersona
            Yeah, I don't like the game being lost by default.
            Last edited by Ana Mizuki; 02-24-2017, 01:02 PM.


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            • #7
              Well, I think that the key thing to remember about WtA is that there is no inevitable end game, there is just the inevitability of the corruption of everything if they do not fight the Wyrm and the stasis of everything if they do not fight the Weaver. The Fera are powerful creatures, beginning Fera are generally the most powerful beginning characters in cWoD, and they are capable of accomplishing great things, though more in the vein of 'epic deeds' rather than in the vein of 'good deeds'. That being said, the majority of the Fera understand that most of them will die in the pursuit of great things but, as long as the goal is accomplished, I do not think that they would blink at accepting ninety percent casualty rates as long as their Human Kinfolk and Animal Kinfolk survive (with the exception of the Corax, as their reproduction is expensive).

              Among the Garou, the tendency towards meaningful self-sacrifice is exaggerated even more because they are born to be the warriors of Gaia. The White Howlers sacrificed their entire Tribe in a vain attempt to destroy the Wyrm, and they paid the price by becoming the Black Spiral Dancers. The Croatan sacrificed their entire Tribe in a successful attempt to banish the Eater-of-Souls, and they disappeared from the Earth. The Garou are willing to die to protect Gaia and, as long as they can take out a few hundred foes in the process, they will die happy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                None of that explains the multiple genocides Garou have committed in the past and the new impergium they keep discussing every now and again
                The only "new Impergiums" they talk about is the one they know can't be put into place, or the comparison of how humans treat wolves.

                Garou are nazis discussing whether they should start the Fourth Reich right now or wait a few more months.
                Only the Swords of Heimdall, and if you're running back onto a metaplot timeline following Revised, they're basically dead and probably trying to find a place less obvious than South America to hide (particularly because the Amazon War is winding down and any new Garou arriving in South America are going to get it from both the Garou Nation and the native Fera if they try anything).

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                • #9
                  For Mages, in game they're supposed to start with moralities similar to that of normal people, that change when they enter in contact with the alien moralities and realities of the Traditons and the Technocracy. Mages *know* that the world it's different from what they knew in their past live, and this difference necessarily has to impact in the value of human life and such. Among other things this encourages "blue and orange moralities". I.E: The value of free will probably changes when you can see the world as The Merovingian from Matrix

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
                    I admit one faction I have never gotten my head around is Sabbat. Their embracing of their monstrous nature is neat, but how they act and how much books press on that their bonds are false and they are simply used, puts me off.
                    The thing about the Sabbat is that they sell you on freedom from elder control or human morality and then immediately enslave you into a blood bonded suicide squad. The Sabbat exist as a foil against the Camarilla - the illusion of freedom superimposed over a much deeper slavery.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                      For Mages, in game they're supposed to start with moralities similar to that of normal people, that change when they enter in contact with the alien moralities and realities of the Traditons and the Technocracy. Mages *know* that the world it's different from what they knew in their past live, and this difference necessarily has to impact in the value of human life and such. Among other things this encourages "blue and orange moralities". I.E: The value of free will probably changes when you can see the world as The Merovingian from Matrix
                      Mages are people of Hubris. They are still humans however, so they are NOT automatically alien monsters; they are, however, the pinnacle of the human kind.

                      And they know it.

                      Even the most pious Chorister, or the most wise and humble Akashic, knows that they are above those pitiful sleepers

                      Even the way they describe the mundanes - sleepers - as opposed to the title of "awakened" that they have for themselves shows how Mages/Scientists see themselves as superior to the "masses".

                      In time, those "masses" of people become mere numbers... Sleepers don't know what's good for them, but You do!.

                      Sleepers must worship God;
                      Sleepers must serve the spirits;
                      Sleepers must keep the Wheel;
                      Sleepers must adhere to Science.

                      That's how I like to play Mage, no matter if with the Union or with the Traditions.

                      He can have the best intentions in the world, it may wanna the uttermost good

                      But, by the end of the day, Mages are all fascists at heart. Well, it's hard not being one when you can control reality itself.
                      Last edited by Karlgust; 02-24-2017, 04:01 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Wraiths are like Doctor Jekill and Mister Hyde... All the time. I say that they are even worse than vampires

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                        • #13
                          Changellings maybe are the one rain of light on WoD

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by etherial View Post
                            The thing about the Sabbat is that they sell you on freedom from elder control or human morality and then immediately enslave you into a blood bonded suicide squad. The Sabbat exist as a foil against the Camarilla - the illusion of freedom superimposed over a much deeper slavery.
                            And that is the other part. They act like frat boys on crack (yes, I know not all do) and that alone grates me a bit. But the slavery on top of it basically makes me roll my eyes. I'm not saying they are unplayable, but not for me sadly ^^''


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post

                              And that is the other part. They act like frat boys on crack (yes, I know not all do) and that alone grates me a bit. But the slavery on top of it basically makes me roll my eyes. I'm not saying they are unplayable, but not for me sadly ^^''

                              Don't get me wrong, the Sabbat are a hooooot mess. But I believe that stems more from too many cooks spoiling the borth, or more locally some players seeing the Sabbat as license to enact their darkest absurdist murder fantasies or just use it as a way to add crossover elements to VtM.

                              Because, and correct me if I'm wrong, the Sabbat were originally intended to be a shadowy organization that may or may not exist. There was little to no information about them, what there was often contradicted itself, and ultimately their form or purpose was entirely up to the ST's control. The only single unifying thread was that they were an organization of inhuman vampires. And that was taken many different ways.

                              Then the game world grew smaller, the blank parts of the map were filled up, and the Sabbat needed more concrete organization and purpose within the setting. And the designers said: "Hey, why not make it an organization where all of the possible iterations could potentially be right."

                              And thus the hot mess that is the Sabbat is born, welcoming all possible iterations so long as they drink the blood, oppose the Camarilla, pay lip service to the majority faction's Noddist roots, and actively all agree Infernalism is one step too far.

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