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Cyberdog/Mage-to-Android; How far is too far?

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  • #16
    I totally, 100% picture Dies Ultimae planning their actions using WH40k minis and maps.

    Not my cup of tea. I wouldn't stop a player from going down this unholy road, but definitely not my thing. My games tend also to be heavy on city investigation and normal-ish interactions, so I think the Emperor won't be pleased.


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    • #17
      In Rage Across Australia there was a Glass Walker (lupus breed!) character called Teeth-of-Titanium who had metal sheathing, pistons, wires, and electronics showing in crinos, hispo, and lupus form (but not the others!). Backstory was the character was a Red Talon kidnapped by Iteration X and experimented on in Autochthonia that turned him into a cyborg. Presumably the umral nature of the cybernetics was tied to his wolf form, and that's why it doesn't appear in his more human forms since Garou are part flesh and part ephemera. When he escaped and came back, the Red Talons tried to kill him so he defected to the Glass Walkers and entered their tribe.

      Very gonzo, but that was normal for the game in 1994.

      Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
      From the wiki as I don't have the book:

      It looks like even amongst Glasswalkers this sort of cybernetics is seen as too much. As an NPC they would be interesting but as a PC you would have a very hard time fitting in with any sort of group that likes to play to the lore.
      The Glass Walker Tribebook published a year later in 1995 makes no mention of any Cyber Dogs camp. It's first appearance is in the Revised era Tribebook: Glass Walkers published in 2002. It tells the story of how the Cyber Dogs pack was created in 1996 by Gabriel van Linden. In 1998 they appeared for the first time with advanced cybernetics. Their cybernetics were a result of their exploration of the Cyberrealm Near Realm and thus not actually consists of "real" technology (just like Teeth of Titanium's cybernetics). At that point, more Glass Walkers joined them and the camp was established. Their purpose was to fuse nature and machine, and they believed this was to be the future of Gaia. So it wasn't just about the bionic implants, but their entire philosophy. Then they were exposed during the December Promethean Days festival in 1999 as having experimented on lupus Garou and were wiped out early 2000. At least 20 were killed. Any survivors were forced into hiding as wanted criminals. While not identified with the Wyrm, there was concern that if the Cyber Dogs had taken over the tribe, the tribe would have "fallen" to the Weaver.

      I believe this last part is just as important as the ethical concerns over experimentation on lupus.

      The issues with the bionic implants weren't just that the lupus experimented on had died. It's that others had gone insane from their implants. It's not entirely clear whether implants simply drive their hosts insane - that's a common sci-fi trope like the "cyber psychosis" in the Cyberpunk game. Since this technology is not real, but from the dystopian Cyberrealm, it's a distinct possibility. But this is conjecture on my part based on what is written in the tribebook.

      There is also language that ancillary members of the camp not involved in the experiments or original pack were regrouping into a "new" Cyber Dogs camp inspired by the non-objectionable elements of the original pack's philosophy (their leader was Paul Matzenkopf). This involved trying to REMOVE their original bionic implants so that they won't possibly be driven insane as well. At that time of the tribebook, this "new" camp was not accepted by the Glass Walkers. They were still outlaws hiding out. It was hoped by these outlaws though, that they'd be able to rejoin the Glass Walkers. They were now split from the truly criminal survivors still lead by Gabriel van Linden. In the W20 corebook, the camp was listed since W20 was meant to be a metaplot agnostic setting and seems to be this new version of the camp lead by Paul.

      Strangely, the book mentions that Teeth-of-Titanium was one of Gabriel van Linden's earlier experiments. This contradicts the canon of Rage Across Australia. But it's entirely possible given the "Earth-One" and "Earth-Two" schism between earlier 1e/2e setting and the Revised setting, that they just retconned the Mage crossover elements out of the game and substituted them with the Cyber Dogs camp. Sorry, Barry Allen has always been the Flash! Never heard of this Jay Garrick guy. Anyway, the end result is that Paul is now working to remove Teeth-of-Titanium's bionic implants so the poor dog doesn't go nuts.

      So this entire camp and its story was essentially introduced as a side element that no PC could ever do anything about. It only exists as "here is something that happened inbetween the Tribebooks and its plot is already over." Very strange. The entire thing happened entirely off screen.

      I can think of only a few reasons why this was even included in the book. One is that this was some writer's pet idea in a chronicle they were in, and he wanted to include it in the book and make it canon. Another is that the entire point was to explain Teeth-of-Titanium now that crossover elements were being eliminated. A third is that this was done in a way to REMOVE the idea of cybernetic Garou in the game as Revised in general purged a lot of the more gonzo elements introduced earlier. My gut instinct tells me that they wanted to remove such a gonzo sci-fi element in Werewolf, and this camp and its backstory was created as a way to plausibly do so while keeping to canon.

      The WoD lines are notorious for continuity changes and revisions between editions. But that's how it was in Revised. So unless there are other sourcebooks providing additional information, I don't agree with monteparnas's summary of the camp. The Cyber Dogs did not exist for untold years. They lasted for only two (at least the original version, not the watered down "new" camp purged of all controversial elements). They were not left alone. The camp was very small (more than 20 members but probably less than 30) but attracted a lot of attention. They were very controversial. They had a lot of people interested in their findings, and it was possible if they continued the Cyber Dogs would dominate the tribe. This provoked a reaction to stop them by other Garou who were concerned the Cyber Dogs were misrepresenting Gaia. Afterwards, the original camp did not exist as part of the Glass Walkers. They were criminals to be hunted down. However, some of the outlaws attempted to reconstitute the camp in a way that the Glass Walkers would accept, purged of the most objectionable issues. They were not just about unethical experiments. It was about the possibility of bionic implants driving Garou insane, and that the fusion of nature and machine promoted by Gabriel van Linden would cause the tribe to fall to the Weaver. The camp as described in W20, I think, assumes that Paul Matzenkopf was successful in rehabilitating the camp.

      That's my interpretation of the lore, but different people will have other ideas.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
        That's my interpretation of the lore, but different people will have other ideas.
        Very good and with lots of sourced information, which I'm impressed with. I didn't remembered their entire story. But I have a few things to say.

        1- Untold years was an exaggeration, but it was there for a time. 4 years the camp, 2 with the cybernetics exposed;
        2- As you said yourself, the problem was their entire philosophy, not just the cybernetics;
        3- Also the problem was insanity, which may have been a problem of their specific source, not of any and all cybernetic implant;
        4- Jay Garrick fought the original Star Sapphire way before Hal Jordan, and she was far more dangerous than Ferris will ever be.

        In the end you didn't argued against my main points, despite correcting the lack of details on my description.

        The thing is that the CyberDogs aren't important here as a camp, they're important here as demonstration of a possibility. For two years they were around exhibiting a host of cybernetic implants and this wasn't enough to ban them from the tribe. Period.

        How much attention or suspicion they got is irrelevant, they lived until something else was brought up. Their demise was due to some consequence of their particular implants, instead of Purity as a Principle. And all that existed as lore and was never retconed to not be lore, so it stand that cybernetics by themselves raised eyebrows, but didn't got anyone killed or banned from the Glass Walkers just 'cause.

        Now, would a new guy trying to buff up with cybernetics be accepted? I'm not saying it would for sure and thinking it wouldn't is a perfectly valid interpretation of the lore. This guy could very well be exiled and hunted as an abomination. But the possibility of it being accepted is an equally valid interpretation, given that the lore does have a precedent.
        Last edited by monteparnas; 09-07-2021, 06:08 PM. Reason: typo


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        • #19
          Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
          That's my interpretation of the lore, but different people will have other ideas.
          Thanks for that. One problem I have with this forum is that a lot of people are deeply embedded in lore and tend to treat every single thing in it as 'word of god', whereas I prefer a much more high level, pick and choose, view of things as I cam into the game with the 20th anniversary editions, having been deeply irritated with White Wolf games back in the 90s due to their 'never mind the quality, feel the width' approach to publishing. Not everything in the books is of equal value.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
            One problem I have with this forum is that a lot of people are deeply embedded in lore and tend to treat every single thing in it as 'word of god'
            That is, indeed, irritating. Especially how a lot of people pick and choose what they like and treat as "moar canon" than what they don't.

            But the problem here is precisely that instead of rolling with the OP's interpretation, you decided to bulldoze it arguing that it is against the lore.

            And playing the even more awful card of the True Scotsman in post #12.


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            • #21
              Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
              you decided to bulldoze it arguing that it is against the lore.
              .
              I think the only person using a bulldozer around here is pretty obvious

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              • #22
                Wetware fetishes are even older than the Glass Walker book, dating back to the first edition player's guide.

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