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Midnight Circus? How bad can it be?

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  • #16
    This thread inspired me to dig my copy out of storage, and it is about what I remember. It is very much a product of that era of the WoD (about 94 to 97 or so) and its design philosophy. The Wyrm is front and center as the root of if not all then most evil; almost everyone is a full bore supernatural being from the Big 5; Any magic user is a Mage (and every "bad" one is a barabbi of a specific Tradition, with the Celestial Chorus being a popular choice); Human characters tend to be an afterthought; Everything is statted out so there isn't much mystery.
    That said, there are a number of interesting concepts, characters, and other ideas in it. It's just that they are all kind of buried under each other and get lost in the mosh pit, unable to really stand out or reach their full potential. A haunted Ferris wheel, for example, is a really great idea. It would make a great hook for a chronicle, suitable especially for Mediums (or the forthcoming Ghostchasers), the Arcanum, Changeling, Vampire, Mummy (original or Resurrection), and others. But just from a personal perspective, I don't think Zimbra is the best creature to be running it, mainly as there is absolutely nothing in his backstory to tie him to carnivals, Ferris wheels, or the like. A Spectre who ran a wheel or other ride back in the 20s or 30s for a carnival or boardwalk, or a person some how tied to George Ferris (even Ferris himself) would've been more fitting.
    Belle Starr and Tamika Tanaka are both interesting characters, but don't need to be vampires. (Though I applaud the fact that Tanaka is something atypical of the usual Malkavian of the period.) Starr is an interesting pick for a historical person to include, though it would have been better if the description of her was closer to the real person. Likewise , there's no real reason for Lee Carmody or The Bishop to be Mages. The former could just as easily have psychic powers (or Gifts) and the latter Internal investments or Gifts. (Carmody's write up also has one of the worst misuses of the word "Orwellian" I can recall seeing.)
    I kind of like Korba's Progressive Klown Show, and wish I could have found a way to incorporate it into Rage Across Russia.
    And I'd rather the trained dog act have been Ghouled, Bane possessed or Ghost ridden dogs (or even fey black dogs) than werewolves.


    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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    • #17
      The idea that anyone who buys snacks from the circus is corrupted by the Wyrm just made me facepalm. Where's the mystery and horror of being tempted by wishes that are granted in sinister ways? Of being drawn to join the carnival by wistful nostalgia for lost youth and the romance of life on the road?

      Nope, you ate radioactive cotton candy, you're EVIL now.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post
        The idea that anyone who buys snacks from the circus is corrupted by the Wyrm just made me facepalm. Where's the mystery and horror of being tempted by wishes that are granted in sinister ways? Of being drawn to join the carnival by wistful nostalgia for lost youth and the romance of life on the road?

        Nope, you ate radioactive cotton candy, you're EVIL now.
        Yeah, like I said, it was very much a product of its era of WWGS development.😕
        IIRC, this was really early in Ethan Skemp's run as developer, and he would soon move away from that kind of thing. I kind of wonder what the book would've looked like had it come out two years later, and had Richard Dansky as (co)developer (as he was such a titanic Bradbury fan).


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post
          The idea that anyone who buys snacks from the circus is corrupted by the Wyrm just made me facepalm. Where's the mystery and horror of being tempted by wishes that are granted in sinister ways? Of being drawn to join the carnival by wistful nostalgia for lost youth and the romance of life on the road?

          Nope, you ate radioactive cotton candy, you're EVIL now.

          LIke you used the wrong deodorant, Or ate the Mc'rib equivalent...Monkey Wrencher's guide to Pentex had crazy shit like that all over the place. That the wyrm corrupts you just by its presence that its not a choice and so many innocents are just pulled in.. is part of the horror.

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          • #20
            I think in terms of the wyrm taint it worked like radiation poisoning. That is to say it had a cumulative effect. Eating a single ball of evil cotton candy will not turn you into an angry tentacle monster. But with a life time exposure to the taint through food, appliances, candy, medicine, etc., well, you're fucked.

            I mean, 3.6 wyrmtaint... not great, not terrible.

            Anyway, yes, the over all midnight circus is vastly over the top. But I may drop bits and pieces out, keeping what suits me.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
              I think in terms of the wyrm taint it worked like radiation poisoning. That is to say it had a cumulative effect. Eating a single ball of evil cotton candy will not turn you into an angry tentacle monster. But with a life time exposure to the taint through food, appliances, candy, medicine, etc., well, you're fucked.

              I mean, 3.6 wyrmtaint... not great, not terrible.

              Anyway, yes, the over all midnight circus is vastly over the top. But I may drop bits and pieces out, keeping what suits me.

              Right I mean I'm just pointing out "evil Cotton Candy" was not the invention of this beer that slowly made you become a wife beater was had already been established at this point. The wyrm isn't a tempter its a poison.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post
                The idea that anyone who buys snacks from the circus is corrupted by the Wyrm just made me facepalm. Where's the mystery and horror of being tempted by wishes that are granted in sinister ways? Of being drawn to join the carnival by wistful nostalgia for lost youth and the romance of life on the road?

                Nope, you ate radioactive cotton candy, you're EVIL now.
                More like in first Batman: the deodorant is safe. But it you use lipstick and frozen pizza at the same time you are in danger. And nobody knows which combinations mean danger. And remember, products created by Wyrm are safe... mostly. They slightly corrupt their users... just to overload Garou Wyrm Sense.

                As for Midnight Circus: the idea was good the reality not so much. American Horror Story: Freak Show but for a larger scala.


                Warrior of the Rainbow
                Saint among the sinners
                Pure among the dirt
                Loser among winners

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                • #23
                  I have a question about the book, the copy I have seems to have omitted the Arete rating for Cavendish. I would have thought, that being the key defining stat for a mage, this would have been noticed in editing. Does anyone know if there was an errata for it or if it's intentionally absent so he always succeeds his magic[k] casting?
                  Last edited by Project28; 05-29-2020, 09:10 PM.

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                  • #24
                    I love this book, but I love it the way I love an all-you-can eat buffet. I have used bits and pieces, but using everything at once would be overwhelming for any group of players I have ever played with.


                    "No, no, don't look any further, my profile is actually more handsome than me"

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Alqamar Alaswad View Post
                      I love this book, but I love it the way I love an all-you-can eat buffet. I have used bits and pieces, but using everything at once would be overwhelming for any group of players I have ever played with.
                      It's really one of those concepts that would've worked a lot better if presented in a fashion similar to some of the CoD Night Terror books or Secrets of the Supernal Tarot, where it was a bunch of people/encounters/concepts that the PCs might come across at a circus, carnival, or the like, along with the Midnight Circus as an overall concept to wrap it up in.


                      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        I’ve heard good and bad things about it.


                        The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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                        • #27
                          Depends if you like crossovers.


                          The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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                          • #28
                            A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra cites it, mashed up with another infernalist nest, in page 46, check it out.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                              This thread inspired me to dig my copy out of storage, and it is about what I remember. It is very much a product of that era of the WoD (about 94 to 97 or so) and its design philosophy. The Wyrm is front and center as the root of if not all then most evil; almost everyone is a full bore supernatural being from the Big 5; Any magic user is a Mage (and every "bad" one is a barabbi of a specific Tradition, with the Celestial Chorus being a popular choice); Human characters tend to be an afterthought; Everything is statted out so there isn't much mystery.

                              That said, there are a number of interesting concepts, characters, and other ideas in it. It's just that they are all kind of buried under each other and get lost in the mosh pit, unable to really stand out or reach their full potential. A haunted Ferris wheel, for example, is a really great idea. It would make a great hook for a chronicle, suitable especially for Mediums (or the forthcoming Ghostchasers), the Arcanum, Changeling, Vampire, Mummy (original or Resurrection), and others. But just from a personal perspective, I don't think Zimbra is the best creature to be running it, mainly as there is absolutely nothing in his backstory to tie him to carnivals, Ferris wheels, or the like. A Spectre who ran a wheel or other ride back in the 20s or 30s for a carnival or boardwalk, or a person some how tied to George Ferris (even Ferris himself) would've been more fitting.

                              Belle Starr and Tamika Tanaka are both interesting characters, but don't need to be vampires. (Though I applaud the fact that Tanaka is something atypical of the usual Malkavian of the period.) Starr is an interesting pick for a historical person to include, though it would have been better if the description of her was closer to the real person. Likewise , there's no real reason for Lee Carmody or The Bishop to be Mages. The former could just as easily have psychic powers (or Gifts) and the latter Internal investments or Gifts. (Carmody's write up also has one of the worst misuses of the word "Orwellian" I can recall seeing.)

                              I kind of like Korba's Progressive Klown Show, and wish I could have found a way to incorporate it into Rage Across Russia.
                              And I'd rather the trained dog act have been Ghouled, Bane possessed or Ghost ridden dogs (or even fey black dogs) than werewolves.
                              So basically it's ambition exceeding reality. I mean what you say makes all kinds of sense - each WoD setting in and of itself can be pretty complex, even convoluted. Trying to tie two settings into a crossover is complicated enough (and when it's been done in supplements can be very hit or miss) Tying FIVE supplements together is going to be massively more difficult (by 'two setting' connections alone it doubles it - 10 possible combinations. But then trying to connect those connections is even worse.) At best that sort of ambition requires more time and space to develop properly... meaning it's less likely to succeed in a single book, rather than a succession of them. Not impossible, but it would take a phenomenal writer to achieve that.

                              All the same I still feel like there's a YMMV element to that since what you describe isn't intrinsically BAD. Its just poorly developed. And at the very least it can give you some good ideas/inspirations to draw on, which I think is true of ANY supplement - if it can get you to think or inspire you, then it has some value. (I happen to personally, massively dislike Blood Treachery but it also had some really good ideas in it that still got me thinking. Likewise while I'm not a big fan of much of the Chronicles of Darkness, alot of elements from it are REALLY cool and inspire my interest in the classic WoD setting.)

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post

                                So basically it's ambition exceeding reality.
                                Partially. I think the biggest issue is the total lack of any sort of subtlety or nuance. The sort of in your face, over the top aspect of a lot of it fit OK with some of Werewolf's general tone at the time, but it was much less successful for things like Wraith (which requires a certain degree of atmosphere and mood) or Changeling (which works best with a certain sense of whimsy and wonder, even if its sometimes skewed a little dark).

                                Ultimately, a dark carnival or circus in the WoD is the sort of thing that would probably be best served by preserving a great deal of mystery and having entities that don't really fit in any sort of neat and clean box of Clan, fomori, or what have you. At least in my opinion.


                                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                                Comment

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