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  • End Times yes or no?

    So I'm looking back, both through my own collection and the wiki, on all the super cool WoD games, reminiscing about the past and generally enjoying myself.
    One of the most important elements of these now old books is the sense of impending doom, Gehenna is coming, Hunters are worrying about the Reckoning, the Technocracy freaking out that they may be losing control, etc.
    I have V20 and M20, and both kind of don't have the same feel. Not that it's a BAD thing, because obviously the whole 90s conspiracy plus Armageddon kind of thing was very specific to that time frame, and the new stuff is fantastic.
    However, I'm wondering if people running the games ignore these elements or just move the time frame up or what? When I was playing a ton of WoD in the 90s it was always a background element. The vampire games I have run in the 2000s and 2010s have mostly ignored that, but for other games like Hunter or Demon I don't know how ignoring it would be possible.

  • #2
    Most of the WoD games I've been in have ignored the end times element while keeping in "The world is a horrible/decaying place." In a sense the "end times" have come and gone. The world has gone to shit. Now you just do what you need to survive.

    Even in Werewolf larp I played in, arguably one of the games that really needs the upcoming Apocalypse, didn't focus on the end times. We just defended our city from the Wyrm and tried to keep the Weaver in check.

    My current Werewolf quest only lightly touches on the end times. If I do run the Apocalypse, it will be when the characters are much older and have a high enough rank to lead the battle of the end times.


    I write things.

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    • #3
      To be fair, a lot of that was built on the Millennial fear, which is fairly common. Lots of people thought the world was going to end in 1000 AD as well. Once the millennia came and went and the world didn't end, the urgency of the End Times would be a lot less. So it makes sense that the newer games wouldn't be playing that quite as hard.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
        To be fair, a lot of that was built on the Millennial fear, which is fairly common. Lots of people thought the world was going to end in 1000 AD as well. Once the millennia came and went and the world didn't end, the urgency of the End Times would be a lot less. So it makes sense that the newer games wouldn't be playing that quite as hard.
        Agree with that. I was born in 1988, but started with WoD years after 2000, as a teenager. I just never liked the "10 minutes before armageddon" thing, even in WtA and that's why I supported and am still supporting the idea of a cyclical Gehenna. I'm firmly believing that the WoD works just fine without the world's end, while keeping the existing themes with a slight alteration.

        My other problem with the End Times that it already killed WoD once. You just wouldn't be able to stretch it indefinitely without turning into your own parody, like Buffy and Supernatural.

        I love WoD has a story, I just don't think that a story with a definitive and close ending is the best for a long-term rpg setting.


        If nothing worked, then let's think!

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        • #5
          I think in my case, it really depends on my mood, and the game. I actually really enjoyed a lot of the Week of Nightmares stuff as ways to stir up the game lines. (For example, in general, I preferred second edition Mage, but the Revised setting could be a lot of fun too when I was in the right mood for it.)

          I also really enjoyed a lot of the end game scenario books like Gehenna and Ascension. I'm not sure I'd ever want to play any of the scenarios straight out, but I've often thought they'd make a really interesting jumping off point for new stories. I've always been intrigued by the idea of playing survivors of one of those hell-on-Earth, Nephandi or Earthbound win scenarios. It might be the Dark Sun/Fallout player in me, but I think that could be a lot of fun.

          I don't think Hunter and Demon necessarily require the End Times idea to exist though. The Time of Nightmares made for a good catalyst for the Demons breaking free, but a storyteller could easily modify that event (maybe play up the spirit nuke end, and eliminate the Antediluvian fight?) or set up some other event that could shake up the Abyss. Hunter, similarly, could be a new phenomenon with a specific cause, or an older lesser known phenomenon that got more active in modern nights due to the advent in technology or some other issue.

          It occurs to me that I'd heard Wraith 20 might have a blurb dealing with Orpheus. It would be interesting to see how that's dealt with, given that Orpheus seems to require the same kind of Underworld apocalypse that Demon did. If there are explanations or suggestions on reconciling the two games, then maybe some of those could be used to provide an Abyss-event as well?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kalinara View Post
            I think in my case, it really depends on my mood, and the game. I actually really enjoyed a lot of the Week of Nightmares stuff as ways to stir up the game lines. (For example, in general, I preferred second edition Mage, but the Revised setting could be a lot of fun too when I was in the right mood for it.)

            I also really enjoyed a lot of the end game scenario books like Gehenna and Ascension. I'm not sure I'd ever want to play any of the scenarios straight out, but I've often thought they'd make a really interesting jumping off point for new stories. I've always been intrigued by the idea of playing survivors of one of those hell-on-Earth, Nephandi or Earthbound win scenarios. It might be the Dark Sun/Fallout player in me, but I think that could be a lot of fun.

            I don't think Hunter and Demon necessarily require the End Times idea to exist though. The Time of Nightmares made for a good catalyst for the Demons breaking free, but a storyteller could easily modify that event (maybe play up the spirit nuke end, and eliminate the Antediluvian fight?) or set up some other event that could shake up the Abyss. Hunter, similarly, could be a new phenomenon with a specific cause, or an older lesser known phenomenon that got more active in modern nights due to the advent in technology or some other issue.

            It occurs to me that I'd heard Wraith 20 might have a blurb dealing with Orpheus. It would be interesting to see how that's dealt with, given that Orpheus seems to require the same kind of Underworld apocalypse that Demon did. If there are explanations or suggestions on reconciling the two games, then maybe some of those could be used to provide an Abyss-event as well?
            Hunter, Mummy and Demon all require the Sixth Great Maelstrom that shattered the Underworld. Anubis of MtR had actually been playing a long game with things in the Underworld, getting the Ferrymen to tell Stygia about Enoch and the True Black Hand, getting them to wage a war that resulted in the Smiling Lord dropping a relic-nuke on the city and everything going to hell...

            But it also woke up Osiris who took one look at things in the WoD and created the third incarnation of Mummy to try and save the world.

            The 6GM also had the affect of hurling a bunch of wraiths into the Skinlands and thickening the Shroud into the Stormwall, prevent them from returning to the Shadowlands and the rest of the Underworld. This, combined with everything else, led what may be the last two angels on Earth to arrange for mortals to start becoming Imbued again. The implication being that the Ten Thousand Immortals, the precursors of the Kuei-jin, and the modern day Imbued are the same thing or very similar.

            Finally the 6GM also fractured the Abyss, the prison of the Fallen, allowing scores of them to escape.

            Orpheus is the only Rev Era line that doesn't need the 6GM to exist. While the game's metaplot is heavily tied to it, the backstory of Orpheus establishes it as existing well before it.

            And yes, Orpheus will be in Wr20. In fact one of the early stretch goals actually expanded the Orpheus section.


            Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

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            • #7
              I agree with you that all three lines, as presented, rely on the Sixth Great Maelstrom. But that's something that an individual Storyteller could conceivably change.

              The key is to look at what the Sixth Great Maelstrom actually is, what it's causes are, and what it does in terms of each game line.

              One option is to get rid of the Sixth Great Maelstrom entirely. There was no spirit nuke, no Xerxes Jones, no rise of Ravnos, and the Underworld is fine. That means the Storyteller will need to think of some other event that could have the desired events: waking up Osiris, fracturing the Abyss, or motivating the angels to start creating the imbued. They don't all have to be the same event or take place at the same time period though.

              Another option is to modify the Sixth Great Maelstrom to only incorporate some of the non-End Game events, or incorporate them differently. We'd probably want to get rid of Ravnos rising. But Xerxes Jones might still conduct his experiment. Depending on the players/storytellers' fondness for the Tal'Mahe'Ra, the Spirit Nuke may not have been dropped on Enoch. Or maybe it did, but it didn't have the same effect. You could keep the effects you want and ignore the rest.

              Or keep the Sixth Great Maelstrom in full, but have the effects be temporary and not tied to the End Times. The shroud smoothed itself back out again afterward. The Ravnos Antediluvian's death did not kill off most of the Ravnos. And so on and so forth.

              A Storyteller could use Mage 20's suggestions for dealing with the Avatar Storm for inspiration. And maybe Wraith 20's Orpheus take might give more suggestions as well.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kalinara View Post

                A Storyteller could use Mage 20's suggestions for dealing with the Avatar Storm for inspiration. And maybe Wraith 20's Orpheus take might give more suggestions as well.
                I thought that too. Great, even mayor changes in the setting and shake-ups could be okay, but those shouldn't need to necessiate the end of the world, IMO.

                I particularly like the ideas there, as well as the part in the NWO book, where they say "Well, everyone waited the World to end and, well, it just didn't. Now, that is how the things are now: xy".

                How I'd want see the gamelines:

                VtM: cyclical Gehenna is a thing, the antes will rise, time-to-time and that will be disastrous indeed and a very big thing, even for the other supernaturals, but inevitably the World will go on.

                MtA: noop, neither side won, the Ascension War is an ongoing thing, with potentially no real "end" at all.

                WtA: yes, the Garou and Fera are fighting an uphill battle now and it's desperate, but it's not ultimately doomed, not as long as there is life on Earth. Just as with MtA, neither side could really win the war, it's an eternal back-and-forth, and now, the Wyrm has the upper hand.

                Etc, etc.

                So basically, working with the same themes, but leaving out the 15 minutes before the Apocalypse vibe.


                If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PMárk View Post

                  WtA: yes, the Garou and Fera are fighting an uphill battle now and it's desperate, but it's not ultimately doomed, not as long as there is life on Earth. Just as with MtA, neither side could really win the war, it's an eternal back-and-forth, and now, the Wyrm has the upper hand.
                  Ugh, no thanks. I like my Werewolf the Apocalypse to actually have an Apocalypse. WtA isn't about endless war, it is about a fundamental imbalance in heaven that threatens to overwhelm creation. The Wyrm (or the Weaver, in a not-so surprising upset) may easily win, forever; the earth won't recover if Her soul and children are killed.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Laughing Stranger View Post

                    Ugh, no thanks. I like my Werewolf the Apocalypse to actually have an Apocalypse. WtA isn't about endless war, it is about a fundamental imbalance in heaven that threatens to overwhelm creation. The Wyrm (or the Weaver, in a not-so surprising upset) may easily win, forever; the earth won't recover if Her soul and children are killed.
                    That's fine, I get why people could like the Last Battle/End times thing. It's a strong and dramatic narrative. I just don't really like it, because I feel it's needlessly constricting. Also, as I said, if you built the entire narrative on "the END is nigh'", you better really bring the promised apocalypse, or risk turning the whole thing into a mockery of itself and I'd like to play these games for a long time and with a constantly updating and evolving setting.

                    Also I didn't say that the stakes shouldn't be very high, that they can't truly lose at all, just that ultimate winning is not really a thing, but ultimate defeat is also not an inevitable outcome in my mind. For me, the goal is not beating the Wyrm (and that isn't really possible anyway), but maintaining a balance between the members of the Triad. At least that's how I see WtA.

                    Maybe I'm looking at WtA too much through the lens of MtA, I'm willint to admit that. I like the themes of nature, corruption (both physical and spiritual), desperate fighting against overwhelming forces and so, but I don't like the utter nihilism of "we're already f*cked and the best thing we could do is go out fighting". I don't get much inspiration from that as a gamer and I don't want the inevitable end of the game because of that.
                    Last edited by PMárk; 04-26-2017, 08:24 PM.


                    If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                    • #11
                      I only put in End Time stuff if the players have messed up so much that they caused the end of the world. Other than that, I don't like to actually play it out but do enjoy it as a looming threat. I think VtMB set the stage for the universe perfectly, the end is always just around the corner and we're constantly doing whatever it takes to prevent it while maintaining the facade that everything is just fine.

                      For VtM I really like to hammer home that the End Times are beginning with it never actually happening, but constantly showing signs that it is.
                      For WtA I prefer the idea that they actually missed the opportunity to have a final battle, and now they have to come to terms with them having lost while slowly dying out.
                      For MtAs, I'm the opposite of Werewolf and the Avatar Storm changed everything, the lost Ascension War has just been wiped clear and now it's anyone's game, though the Technocracy is clearly in the lead.

                      Each game line does have a theme to it, Vampire is about what you'll do to survive, Werewolf is about having failed in duty and suffering the consequences of your choices, and Mage is a game about hope in an unforgiving world.

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                      • #12
                        It's worth noting that Hunters Hunted II briefly discusses the Imbued and refers to a storm in the Underworld. Also, Lore of the Clans implies that the being that was killed in Time of Thin Blood was a Methuselah named Ravana, not the actual Antediluvian.


                        Our society is held together by the thinnest of threads: that exquisitely refined sense of tribal order.
                        Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

                        I am a huge fan of both the Trinity Universe and the classic World of Darkness.

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                        • #13
                          Mage 20's default assumption seems to be that the Avatar Storm happened, but it's mostly resolved (with a thicker Gauntlet here and there). So that would imply that at least some of the triggering events still happened.

                          Does the new Black Hand book mention the spirit nuke at all?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kalinara View Post
                            Mage 20's default assumption seems to be that the Avatar Storm happened, but it's mostly resolved (with a thicker Gauntlet here and there). So that would imply that at least some of the triggering events still happened.

                            Does the new Black Hand book mention the spirit nuke at all?
                            No, the Introduction Chapter specifically lays out that the destruction of Enoch in the Underworld didn't happen.


                            Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I did not see any reference to the spirit nuke in the Black Hand book.


                              Our society is held together by the thinnest of threads: that exquisitely refined sense of tribal order.
                              Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

                              I am a huge fan of both the Trinity Universe and the classic World of Darkness.

                              Comment

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