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Can you make the whole World of Darkness work together as one coherent universe?

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  • Can you make the whole World of Darkness work together as one coherent universe?

    Without a bunch of logical and thematic inconsistencies.


    “The Bonnie Prince is a clever, slippery snake with enough charm to convince good men (and women) that he’s God’s Chosen One. If we don’t stop him from raising this rebellion, we’re all going to be staring down into the abyss at Culloden Moor.”

  • #2
    Short answer: no.

    Long answer: no, unless you're very generous with what counts as less than "a bunch."

    For a pre-V5 game, the biggest problem on the logical side is the piecemeal fashion the history of the setting was written in. That is the general idea of "how things are now," is actually not that hard to square, but when you add in the official stories of, "how things got here," you can toss that out the window. The thematic side sorta depends on what you think a coherent universe needs out of each game line's thematic core. The biggest disconnect is the spectrum of how much hope there is in the themes of each line when you try to mesh them together. Vampires can worry about the themes of losing themselves to the Beast side by side changelings worrying about Banality gripping their fae souls, but vampires can only really aim to do as little damage as possible, while changelings can fight the coming Winter and rekindle human inspiration.

    V5 onwards adds a lot of unknowns obviously, but a clear wrinkle on the thematic end. The games that were either radically redone or added anew in the Revised era generally had major themes around the sudden changes brought on by the Revised metaplot. The Imbued hunters were suddenly let loose on the world. If they've been around for twenty years, a lot of their big themes around being a new phenomenon in the WoD go away. If you move the Reckoning up to 2020, then something immense has to happen to kick them off, which is going to mess with the themes of the other games (probably), or at least mess with things on the logical end.

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    • #3
      Thanks 😊. I appreciate the opinion.


      “The Bonnie Prince is a clever, slippery snake with enough charm to convince good men (and women) that he’s God’s Chosen One. If we don’t stop him from raising this rebellion, we’re all going to be staring down into the abyss at Culloden Moor.”

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Penelope View Post
        Without a bunch of logical and thematic inconsistencies.
        Short answer yes.

        More in depth answer is its complicated and can be difficult. It works best though with a coherent player character group, so like a Werewolfpack or Vampire Coterie, and you can have the whole World of Darkness setting in the background but your lens of storytelling is from the PC groups perspective. You can somewhat expand the PC group past one splat but you have to be careful. Like you shouldn't do a Fenrir/Bonegnawer/Fianna pack with a Nosferatu member, it doesn't mix well just like you couldn't really do a Ventrue, Gangrel, Tremere Coterie with a Child of Gaia tagging along. In those instances their respective societies would crap bricks if their situation is revealed. But if say they were Pariahs like a Ronin joining a group of Caitiffs it works much better.

        Wraiths being pretty much humans but dead and therefore apart of the supernatural world they could work well with most any groups, but they could have issues being incorporeal and alone on their side of the Shroud. But Mages, Changelings, and Mummies have relatively unrestrictive societies and they could get away with forming relations. And key connections like being Kinfolk or Kinain help, or just simply being neighbors growing up.

        See the background of virtually all the games revolve around mystery and uncertainty. Vampires don't have an explaination, the talk of God Cursing Caine has been mythologized by them they don't know what exactly happened, and several Noddists dispute whether Caine was Cursed by God himself, or the Angels who cursed him were cursing him with their own respective authority, and some even suspect Adam may actually have been responsible for the Curse banishing Caine to Nod, like some prehistoric Chorister.

        But the point is Vampire doesn't have proof of how the Universe works and they mostly concentrate on the temporal world. And Werewolf is a setting that pretty much just says their are three Universal Forces, There are also miscellaneous spirits and Gods, and Gaia could be above them all or below the Triat, it is all a mystery. They have a guess how vampires started, but they don't take it literally necessarily because they know it is just one story in the Silver Record and its super vague so maybe its an allegory. But their setting allows for mysteries beyond just you come from one of the Triat.

        Mage however is dominated by the idea that Humanities belief shapes the Universe. But this conflicts with the rest of the setting. Thing is not all mages believe or understand how belief interacts with causality and the whole of the Tapestry. But if you interpret Mage aligned with the Werewolf setting you can come to the conclusion that Humanity can shape the Tapestry but the Tapestry existed before humanity and it exists beyond humanity. So they are a major force for defining the Tellurian but they aren't the only force, Animals and Plants and stars have a sort of historical inertia and aren't completely under the sway of humanity.

        Changeling kind of believes everything supernatural came from the Fae, though maybe Ghosts and Mages represent more Humanity's personal magic. But they also understand that they can be wrong about history and their own history is held together by tales and myth. It really seems the Kiths weren't a thing in the Far Past and the Tuatha Fomorian divide may also be a mythologization of the more primordial Fae of Four Seasons approach.

        It could be the Universe exists. Animals came to be. Humanity learned to think. Fae came around, inspired humanity, stories of Gods and Demons arose around them. Spirits existed before the Gauntlet and they existed before humanity but Humanities Interaction with the Alien Fae seemed to have spawned a lot of how the spirit world formed. And Mages have some sort of spark that makes them push the boundaries of Humanities belief and worked to shape the world and be shaped by it.

        Hunters exist in a pure mystery. Deep dive and they may be the Agents of Angels, and those Angels may be separated by God, or they may be in touch with God, and God may have an aspect as the August Personage of Jade or he may be absent and was sundered into the Triat.

        Demon is both the most accommodating and the most narrow. They outright have a history with God and the Creation of the Universe that is pretty narrow, basically saying the Abrahamic faiths had an inkling of true history but they got a lot of the specifics wrong. But Demon also acknowledges that Creation exists on multiple planes of reality, like Adam and Eve were people, but were also tribes of early homo sapiens, and they were songs, and they were stories all on different planes of existence. Furthermore the books expand and reveal the Fallen weren't privy to all the Planes of existence, hence why they are ignorant of animism, and Devils also know that before being banished to the Abyss the Fallen host gave some of their memories to Lucifer, and they don't know what those memories were. And the Last House understood the secret that God hid the fate of Mortals souls from the Fallen, hence why they created the underworld out of fear of the Unknown.

        The big issue is Demon, unlike virtually all the other splats, made a decision to outright ignore the Umbra in their setting, so they only concentrate on the Material World and the Underworld. Other gamelines usually acknowledge aspects of the Tellurian that are a mystery to them, like Vampires can kind of conceive of the Umbra as a spirit world and the Underworld as a separate dimension, and Werewolves plumb the depths of the Universe but the Dreaming is kind of a mystery to them but they know it exists and can be explored. Demon just states Werewolves go into the Underworld when they step sideways to simplify the rules.



        So basically TLDR you can have a coherent holistic World of Darkness if your PC groups is coherent and of one splat. That helps act as a lens to interpret the whole of Reality through. But if you have a mixed PC group things get trickier and trickier to juggle and some just snip and edit some parts of the setting to be more coherent, like Demon ignoring the Umbra, and Mage ignoring the Triat but Acknowledging the three fold aspect of Destruction/Stasis/Dynamism.

        Oh and technically if you do a Middle Kingdom game the whole setting there is unified and built to have all the Supernatural splats fit in each others paradigm.


        It is a time for great deeds!

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        • #5
          My answer: Kinda Sorta. But you need to put a lot of work in and answer a bunch of setting questions for yourself.

          I ran a multisplat game, 6 players, each a different splat. Anansi, Western Wan Kuei, (Who i call Revenants), 2 Cainite Vampires, an Imbued Hunter and a Demon.

          I read thru the entire back catalogue of owod, filled about 2 notebooks with ideas and answers and then ran the campaign for 4 years. It went pretty well. But it's not Classic WoD. It's my iteration of the setting seen thru the lens of what i decided to keep and what i decided to jettison.

          I dont think the Revised or 20th settings could be amalgamated into a Unified WoD. The books were never written to agree with any of the other lines. But maybe WoD 5th could be made to work. I look forward to seeing if it's possible.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Penelope View Post
            Without a bunch of logical and thematic inconsistencies.
            WoD doesn't work together as a coherent universe. But you *can* make it work (with fiat and headcanon).

            It's entirely doable to spin things in a way that make sense, as long as you're willing to favor some aspects of the Lore over others, and set for a general tone. It's easy enough to smother inconsistencies if you're willing to call "unreliable narration" everything and anyone that contradicts your PoV. Obviously, the elements you call false or uncertain are going to be the certainities and core elements of other people.

            WoD it's contradictory. There's no way arround this: If you want a unified setting, you will need to choose what aspects of the WoD you're going to emphasize and what aspects are going to get the short stick.

            But you can totally believe in a coherent WoD. Just be nice with the other Paradigms out there, and aknowledge that it's *your* take on WoD

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            • #7
              Thank you guys 😊

              Eldagusto is the Underworld the same as the Lower/Dark Umbra?


              “The Bonnie Prince is a clever, slippery snake with enough charm to convince good men (and women) that he’s God’s Chosen One. If we don’t stop him from raising this rebellion, we’re all going to be staring down into the abyss at Culloden Moor.”

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                Thank you guys 😊

                Eldagusto is the Underworld the same as the Lower/Dark Umbra?
                Yeah when I say Underworld I just mean all the ghosts stuff.


                It is a time for great deeds!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Those who know me can probably guess my answer and the writing that is to come.

                  I say yes and my reason for this is summed up in perhaps my favorite string of four words in all metacosmic discussion within WoD: Multi-Resonance Layered Reality.

                  This is a phrase coined by Demon the Fallen and one which serves the purpose of uniting the seemingly disparate gamelines into a rather cohesive picture that is paradoxically made all the more firm by its snags of contradiction. The idea is that, similar to the concept of Consensual Reality from Mage, reality in the World of Darkness is not any one concrete thing but instead a vast cosmos of potential which is realized in an infinite number of ways. This has to do both with the nature of The One, the dualistic conflict of Everything and Nothing, and the nature of humanity. I can go into more detail on my ideas on that if people like, but for now I'll move on to what Multi-Resonance Layered Reality was and is, particularly at its height to create an example.

                  The Modern World of Darkness is a fallen world. The golden age is over, virtue is dying, the only hope for the world may be cleansing fire. That's the standard WoD as we know it in all its Gothic-Punk glory and it exists by having the potential of reality compressed by its now fallen state.

                  To paraphrase metaphors from Demon the Fallen: Multi-Resonance Layered Reality is how it is simultaneously true that G-d created the world in seven days, creation arose from the cosmic sea of chaos, and that after the Big Bang it took ~13 billion years of cosmic development for our world to form as we know it. Each of these things, while contradictory, are the literal truth. This is because the world is unfettered energy and potential perceived via different wavelengths or resonances. So on certain resonance layers angels can dance on the heads of pins while on other resonance layers matter is slammed together in the quantum forge to create everything.

                  In the beginning these things existed simultaneously and with infinite potential and while the fall caused reality to compress and slowly narrow into what we know it as today, the potential still remains, built into the cosmological fabric of time and space.

                  Creation as defined by its being the balance point of Existence between Everything and Nothing has been evolving and adapting while trying to maintain its fragile homeostasis. The potential cataclysm of the Time of Judgement is the scales tipping, probably towards Nothing but potentially towards Everything. Either would be catastrophic to our understanding of life.

                  So we live our lives and we struggle to make ourselves known and matter. To be a single point shining to prove its existence in the face of an uncaring world and by the twinkling of that light stretching the moment of Creation a little further for those to come after us.

                  Everything and Nothing connected by the Multi-Resonance Layered Reality of Creation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
                    Oh and technically if you do a Middle Kingdom game the whole setting there is unified and built to have all the Supernatural splats fit in each others paradigm.
                    Middle Kingdom stuff is a big crossover,

                    Hunter too

                    I think it's a good idea, now I plan to write a sourcebook of HtR, which sets in the post-Judgement Day era, I refer to the two lines for more ideas

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                    • #11
                      Maybe I'm dumb, or it comes from a setting I don't play, or I'm thinking of it as something else, but what is the Middle Kingdom?

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                      • #12
                        China — or, more generally, the Kindred of the East and the Year of the Lotus stuff.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                          China — or, more generally, the Kindred of the East and the Year of the Lotus stuff.
                          No, Middle Kingdom refers to all Far East in supernatural view, which is a vague concept

                          In reality it only refers to China
                          Last edited by Rock113; 05-08-2020, 10:06 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                            Without a bunch of logical and thematic inconsistencies.
                            Yes, though it may not make sense to the characters in-universe it is possible to do via combining Mage’s “consensus creates reality” and Demon’s “multiple layers of reality” concept.

                            The real trick is understanding that, at a metaphysical level, different splats are interacting with each other on different layers of reality.

                            - Mages interact on a layer where Creation, Stasis, Dynamism and Entropy are metaphysical concepts and Adam/Eve/Caine are allogories of early human civilizations and their struggles. Vampires are thaumivores and werewolves are embodied spirits in this layer.

                            - Werewolves interact on a layer where those are actual spiritual entities (Gaia, Weaver, Wyld and Wyrm respectively) and Caine was a mortal who was possessed by a powerful Bane (one probably associated with cannibalism). Mages are mortals who, knowingly or not, interact with all manner of spirits that warp reality and Vampires are wyrm-tainted infectious fomori in this layer.

                            - Vampires are in a layer where all those cosmic forces were created by an omnipotent Creator and Caine was a real person cursed by Him. Mages aren’t any one thing (they’re people with true faith, hedge magic, psychic powers, advanced tech) and Lupines are some unknown entity (perhaps also cursed by God).

                            - All three exist in a layer (“the game” to be particularly meta about the layers of reality) where magick, gifts and disciplines all function and the individual metaphysics are probably irrelevant to the situation at hand.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                              Without a bunch of logical and thematic inconsistencies.

                              No because a fully realized Universe is filled with thematic and logical inconsistancies. The Real world is messy. Its filled with contradictions in physics, people arguing about history and so on.. a world that includes everything that exists PLUS adds stuff should be confusing and inconsistant.

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