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Things you do to let people know they're in the world of darkness.

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  • Things you do to let people know they're in the world of darkness.


    -Their first trouble with police will begin with an officer screaming "Don't move!" or something similar and then the police will immediately start shooting.
    -Every use of hieghtened senses will involve a lot of background stench
    -The first person (and most thereafter) they meet who works in customer service is continually contemplating suicide, their voices filled with suffering even if they're wearing fake smiles. The next person they meet in customer support is incredibly condescending as they are convinced that humanity is made up of entitled morons and that they and a few other people are the exceptions.
    - A character on (American) public transport will observe that all the passengers look spiritually dead or wasted.
    -All the worst prison stereotypes will occur during the short timeframe that players are exposed to prison.
    -There are three kinds of priest; One is using his status as a priest to shield or facilitate his severe moral shortcomings, the next is a dangerous firebrand, and the last is so nice that it draws suspicion.
    -Everyone looks down on you for not owning a car, even if you're among the broke. A High quality motorcycle with a foreign brand will similarly arouse contempt
    -Leftwing people are often mentally conservative and are so wrapped up in identity politics that they can't make a good moderate-friendly argument, Vampires continually find good allies among people that turn out to be far right.
    -Sewer systems are cleaner than the streets.
    -Some People are forced to start work by chanting the name of their company.
    -Players can get away with cringy speaches because the masses are too stupid to notice.
    -You flavour scenery with GTA-like parody advertisments and terrible political statements.

    Anyone got any other good things to throw in?


    Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

  • #2
    -All churches are Catholic and Gothic; gargoyles and ominous statues of saints

    -Everything more run down than is reasonable; nothing is at least twenty years out of date, except the soul-less corporate world or high wealth areas (which are universally tacky, with its conspicuous waste of money)

    -Homeless people everywhere; they are grungy, unshaven, in frayed clothing (charity and government programs have failed them, and they are forced into the poorest conditions)

    -Street gangs and organized crime retain power and influence, including the mafia (even when the Real World version was heavily diminished)

    -Local problems are so much more important than national/international ones in the media

    -Wind is a visual and auditory presence; howls, flutters through drapery, rustling or clanking of loose fixtures; always movement out of the corner of the eye, even if "just the wind" (garbage, tree branches, etc)

    -Shadows are deep, omnipresent, and eerie; lots of recessed areas and dark corners; lights flicker or are dimmer than they should be; sickly yellow light

    -Rodents, and the wandering cats that hunt them (and that turn up in the most startling places and hiss at you); rotting food left to be gnawed on by rats, smells terrible

    -Every morning/evening begins with TV/radio/newspaper/social media feed giving out laundry list of new atrocities, tragedies, and scandals; create a set of random tables, and produce a few each day

    -Curiously, plenty of asylums still in operation (all terrible), despite the 80s cuts to mental health funding; apparently, they didn't close, just became barely operational hellholes

    -Machines malfunction at the worst of times; every session, a character should have to roll Technology or Computer or the like to get a car, ATM, cellphone, AC unit, or vending machine to work

    -Less glass and plastic buildings, more brutalism and metal
    Last edited by Bluecho; 06-20-2020, 10:10 AM.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
      -All churches are Catholic and Gothic; gargoyles and ominous statues of saints

      -Less glass and plastic buildings, more brutalism and metal
      The Armchair Architect in me feels attacked.

      The churches are Baroque or Neo Classical and soulless window-panel skyscrapers prevail. Someone is at least trying to be interesting with brutalism

      Please, the setting is bad. Gothic and Brutalist architecture is wonderful (Not money effecient, but wonderful) I want to use Gothic churches when the area is nice, or it was nice.
      As for churches being catholic... I think you meant they're Gothic Cathedrals with catholic tastes (IE excessively ornamented)? Not actually catholic right? The protestants and Eastern Orthodoxy are still around yea? I mean, whilst the Protestant reformation might've worked progressive wonders for Europeans, that stuff has been hell on the USA.


      Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

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      • #4
        Two thirty second long un skippable YouTube ads, if you subscribe you get two fifteen second ads. This post was brought to you by Raid: Shadow legends.


        You've been playing around the magic that is black
        But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back

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        • #5
          The dark nature of the WoD is a little bit vague, that can be an advantage when it comes to drawing players into the world. Customize your WoD based on issues that are important to your players. If there is some social issue important to your players, make that issue especially bad in a way that is troubling to your players.

          For example, if you have a player who is into gay rights, have the characters encounter a lot or homophobia. If you have players who are into 2nd Amendment rights, then emphasize how hard it is for law abiding citizens to get guns. Maybe emphasize architectural styles that players find unpleasant. If players love living in a city but don’t like the country, show how deep and dark the forests are filled with scary rednecks. If players don’t like cities, then show how huge, dirty, crime ridden, and labyrinthine the cities are, full of scary gang members.

          If there is some issue that really troubles a player, or you know that they are role playing to escape from the real life issues that upset them, then you might want to be careful with this. But know your players and use that knowledge to customize the world for them.

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          • #6
            Honestly I think a lot of what Sergeant Brother said above on post #5 is really great advice. Anyway though, some setting things:

            •Fear Sells. Cable and print media both butter their bread with fearmongering, even more so then real life. It's a rare day they can't find something terrible to smear the front pages with.

            •Eco-terrorism: it seems to be far more prolific. The news constantly has new stories about spiked trees, sabotaged lumber yards, and grizzly murders of 'Honest All-American Lumberjacks and Workers'

            •Every major city is likely to have a prominent serial killer or cult leader at least once a decade. The sort of crazes that surrounded killers like the Zodiac and the Axeman are more common and continue to this day.

            •Work; everyone has to worker harder to get just as little they would irl. Everyone needs to put in a few more hours, work at home, have shorter vacation, etcetera.

            •Subcultures; subcultures are more populated and active. Stories about the Klan and Militias are more common as are Neonazi rallies, Punk Shows, Nightclub Scenes, Goth clubs, etc. One has to struggle to be 'mainstream' and tribalism is the order of the day, for better or worse.

            •Strange things; strange things happen. Police cars escort covered u-hauls at 2:30 am. The temperature drops at midnight. The house settled ominously. Auspicious events occur at the edge of the scene and it's all always around the corner from you day-to-day life.

            •Superstition; the divide is even sharper then in real life. There are three firm camps of Skeptics, Believers, and Apathetics. Regardless, people have their things. Kids don't step on cracks, your boss prays before going to meetings, your boyfriend defiantly spills salt and crosses black cats, your grandmother never went to sleep without hanging certain flowers above her bedroom window. That old lady lived a long life...

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            • #7
              A lot of horror movies could be docu-dramas.
              Wages are about 10% less than the real world, while prices are about 10% higher. The murder rate is higher. People are more violent.
              Mimes talk.
              Most public parks in the real world are private property, or something similar, requiring special permission to access. This includes city parks.

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              • #8
                its always overcast, roads are trashy, people are short tempered and liable to open fire on you if they are pushed to far, you never know what "regular" looking person is someone's pet or even may end up being some kind of supernatural, roads are covered in trash, storm drains smell like raw sewage, roaches and rats almost everywhere, plants rarely look healthy

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                  A lot of horror movies could be docu-dramas.
                  Wages are about 10% less than the real world, while prices are about 10% higher. The murder rate is higher. People are more violent.
                  Mimes talk.
                  Most public parks in the real world are private property, or something similar, requiring special permission to access. This includes city parks.
                  yup, your basic horror movies are news casts and news paper headlines if the pcs should watch them. npcs will also talk about them

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                  • #10
                    Marilyn Manson and Spooky Kids playing out of the Muzak system in the elevators 😊


                    “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

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                    • #11
                      Megan: if you ever check out this forum, that last post is for you


                      “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'll repeat what I've said on other threads about the WoD in general. It's not all suck and not everything is worse. Instead in my chronicles, there is just a tendency to go towards extremes. When poverty, gloom, and misery is present, they tend to show things in a worse state. But where there's beauty, faith, and kindness, it's even more inspiring, redeeming, and beautiful. The contrasts are more apparent. And sometimes there are strong elements of beauty in hope lying among that trash and misery. It's a dark world, but there are still heroes who win and defeat that Darkness. Just because there are many things that are worse, doesn't mean it is universally so.

                        What is present are more things you'd expect from Gothic tropes, and certain things needed to support a much higher incidence of supernatural activity. But they are additional elements included in the setting, not replacements for what we'd expect in a fictional world based on the real one.

                        So there is a higher crime rate, more instances of multiple homicides, lots of people who disappear. But civil society and charities are stronger as a result, there are more untouched areas of wilderness and natural beauty, and there are people whose knowledge of the supernatural has been tempered and they've fought back. They're are more abandoned or discontinued underground tunnels for sewers or mass transit that aren't being used. More cool looking skyscrapers and high buildings that can allow supernaturals to leap off of. More imposing mansions or estates in the city and rural areas.

                        Lots of things people have mentioned in this thread don't seem particularly horrorific to me. They aren't things that create dread or terror which is what the World of Darkness should be about. Instead, they're just things that suck and are annoying. To me, those don't add anything to the setting is in any way satisfying.

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                        • #13
                          charaties exist to help you look good and dodge tax. I don't know why you'd want all this 'nice' stuff in your setting. Why would there be more nice untouched nature places when enviromental regulations are torn and ignored by cost cutters who may or may not be despoiling on purpose to please a cthonic entity? Darkness isnt there to contrast with light. Darkness is the absence of light.


                          Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                            I'll repeat what I've said on other threads about the WoD in general. It's not all suck and not everything is worse. Instead in my chronicles, there is just a tendency to go towards extremes. When poverty, gloom, and misery is present, they tend to show things in a worse state. But where there's beauty, faith, and kindness, it's even more inspiring, redeeming, and beautiful. The contrasts are more apparent. And sometimes there are strong elements of beauty in hope lying among that trash and misery. It's a dark world, but there are still heroes who win and defeat that Darkness. Just because there are many things that are worse, doesn't mean it is universally so.

                            What is present are more things you'd expect from Gothic tropes, and certain things needed to support a much higher incidence of supernatural activity. But they are additional elements included in the setting, not replacements for what we'd expect in a fictional world based on the real one.

                            So there is a higher crime rate, more instances of multiple homicides, lots of people who disappear. But civil society and charities are stronger as a result, there are more untouched areas of wilderness and natural beauty, and there are people whose knowledge of the supernatural has been tempered and they've fought back. They're are more abandoned or discontinued underground tunnels for sewers or mass transit that aren't being used. More cool looking skyscrapers and high buildings that can allow supernaturals to leap off of. More imposing mansions or estates in the city and rural areas.

                            Lots of things people have mentioned in this thread don't seem particularly horrorific to me. They aren't things that create dread or terror which is what the World of Darkness should be about. Instead, they're just things that suck and are annoying. To me, those don't add anything to the setting is in any way satisfying.
                            Completely agree. Without light there are no shadows.

                            “the night is dark and full of terrors...”

                            Game of Thrones

                            “...but it’s always darkest just before the dawn.”

                            V.C. Andrews, My Sweet Audrina (a great book for Changeling, either Dreaming or Lost)


                            “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                              charaties exist to help you look good and dodge tax. I don't know why you'd want all this 'nice' stuff in your setting. Why would there be more nice untouched nature places when enviromental regulations are torn and ignored by cost cutters who may or may not be despoiling on purpose to please a cthonic entity? Darkness isnt there to contrast with light. Darkness is the absence of light.
                              It's certainly true that there are some untrustworthy charities and there are people who only care about virtue signalling or manipulate their taxes. But there are many, many charities that do excellent work and help people. Tax deduction for charity isn't that much, and most people contribute far more than any benefits they'll receive.

                              I also don't understand the insistence that the World of Darkness must have environmental regulations as they existed prior to 1960. It makes no sense. It's not needed. You can run a plot with PENTEX while not pretending things are as they were in 1926. In my chronicles, the Garou and Fae have succeeded in defending their domain somewhat and there is more beautiful, pristine wilderness. This doesn't mean the Garou and Fae don't have their own problems in regards to humanity. But let's not pretend Lake Erie still catches on fire, or that the smog in LA is like it was in the early 1970s. If that is actually important to you, you can set your games in Communist China or parts of the Third World where that still happens. Or acknowledge that it is the exception when PENTEX risks illegal dumping of toxic waste for whatever reason it has.

                              The Gothic Horror genre is filled with romance and beauty. It's filled with mystery and excitement. All the great works of horror literature in it, including the direct inspiration for these games, have these elements. So my setting does as well. And in most of these works the evil is defeated. Maybe not without a great price to be paid, but it is.

                              Since my PCs obviously are playing monsters, I rarely send NPC hunters out for them. I think that would be a dick move by me as the ST. But they're present in the setting. Mortal hunters often kill off the stupider Anarchs and Sabbat packs, and survivors often escape and alert the people so that local Revenant or Fomori Families get wiped out too. For the most part, that may only be kept in my head as ST as it does not directly relate to the activities of the PCs, but I know those elements are out there. And occasional reminders that they do reach the PCs from time to time to keep them on their toes.

                              That evil is much more present does not mean evil is always triumphant.

                              Horror does not mean nihilism. There is nihilistic horror of course. That can be fun too. I read Thomas Ligotti as well. I use it a lot when I run Call of Cthulhu games. But my World of Darkness isn't like that because that isn't the Gothic Horror genre. There are elements I will occasionally take from them and use it in game, but I don't pretend that is routine. (And of course, in Call of Cthulhu scenarios, we don't have ridiculous claims that ordinary aspects of the world have to be worse simply in order to accommodate that Nyarlathotep or Shoggoths exists in it.)

                              I'll repeat that many of the things mentioned here don't actually contribute to any sense of horror, dread or terror. So why have it? Simply because you think the World of Darkness must absolutely suck? What benefit actually exists for your setting to have streets that are worse than the sewer system? I can't think of any. Some of these things are fine by themselves when used in moderation, but I reject the idea that they should be standard for the setting.

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