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  • A More Logical World of Darkness

    Some White Wolf authors wrote as if each gameline existed in its own universe, yet other White Wolf authors wrote as if all of the supernatural populations coexisted on a single crowded planet. This lack of consistent centralized supervision resulted in a World of Darkness that was neither entirely separate parallel worlds nor an entirely unified world. The easiest solution is to separate the gamelines, but for those who played on a single crowded planet...

    The classic World of Darkness could not logically exist as it was described. To see this most clearly we simply look at the highest global powers. According to the classic Vampire game, elder vampires rule the world (as wielding entire nations as a personal resource is an Elder Background), but according to the classic Mage game, the Technocracy rules the world (as they supposedly control consensual reality itself). These two facts cannot coexist on a single planet, so what this really means is that THE fundamental power struggle in the classic World of Darkness would actually be vampires versus Technocrats; all of the supernatural beings in the World of Darkness would be affected by and drawn into this one core conflict of the global supernatural super powers.

    The name of the elder vampires' umbrella corporation would be... Pentex. With elder vampires already ruling the world, Pentex would have never come into existence outside of the actions of elder vampires. (If a Sabbat sect ever formed at all as an intermediary step, during the Industrial Age it would have modernized into corporate Pentex by necessity.) The vampiric bloodline primarily responsible for forming Pentex are... the Baali. No other bloodline would have more connection to the Wyrm or more mastery of Fomori production than the Baali. The Antediluvian of the Baali is... Azaneal (a.k.a. Lucien, Lasombra, Shaitan, and Baal). (The Deceiver deceived us!) The Lasombra and Baali both wield the powers of the Abyss, because both bloodlines descend from the same Antediluvian. Peter Culliford, the Executive Director of Pentex, was a mortal Inquisition torturer and executioner who became possessed by an Abyssal “demon” named... Azaneal. In the Mage game some spirits have Mage Spheres, so elder dark thaumaturges could gain Mage Spheres by transforming themselves into Fomori (which would effectively make them Nephandi).

    The primary military arm of the Technocracy consists of the technomantic cyborgs of Iteration-X. With the body of their Technocratic god-machine (Autochthon/Weaver) as their home-base, the martial power which is Iteration-X would be the most powerful Convention in the Technocracy. (Defining Iteration-X as the most powerful Technocratic Convention does not alter the power of the Technocracy, so this portion regarding Iteration-X can be ignored in the larger argument.) Also, it is not likely that the Mechanicians would have ever changed their name to something awkward like “Iteration-X”.

    Vampires comprise the army of the Wyrm, and the Technocracy is the army of the Weaver. The Wyld, being the remaining god of the warring Triat, would also have its own army. The Changing Breeds are the descendants of Lunar Exalteds who long ago were exiled into the Wyld Lands and gained shapechanging powers from the Wyld. (The Changing Breed who maintain the closest affinity to the Wyld are the Nuwisha; modern coyote and wolf populations have interbred such that Nuwisha are effectively Ragabash werewolves.) Changelings are Wyld spirits who reincarnate into mortal bodies. Changeling souls, drawn by Wyld energy, would preferentially reincarnate into Changing Breed bodies (especially Nuwisha and Ragabash) when available, which effectively blends Changelings and Changing Breeds into a single population (“Changeling Breeds”). The Changelings are really the only other supernatural population who have a large-scale organizational structure, so the social structure of the hybrid “Changeling Breeds” would mostly likely be something akin to the Court, Kingdom, and House structures of the Changelings. The dominant Court would be the Unseelie Court or the Shadow Court, by necessity. In the Mage game some spirits have Mage Spheres, so elder theurges could gain Mage Spheres by transforming themselves into Gorgons, which would effectively make them Marauder mages. Without nearly godlike Marauder archmages among them to match Technocratic archmages and vampire elders, the hybrid “Changeling Breeds” would be trampled in the conflict between the Technocracy and the elder vampires.

    The supernatural group occupying the middle ground are the Tradition mages. With Gaia as a source of power, the Earth-mages [a.k.a Verbena, Dreamspeakers, etc.] would be the most powerful and populous of the Tradition mages. In the Mage game some spirits have Mage Spheres, so Gaia could create Earth-mages by transforming a human into a Kami.

    The Material Universe which contains Earth is touched by three Zones, each of which leads to its corresponding Shenti (“celestial body”): the Dreaming which leads to Arcadia (a moon which orbits Radiance/Wyld), the [Digital] Web which leads to Autocthonia (the machine-body of the Weaver), and the Shadowlands which lead to Malfeas (the planetoid which inexplicably hovers over the Abyss/Wyrm).

    I'm sure that I'm not the only Storyteller to have made corrections to the illogic that permeated the classic World of Darkness. I decided to take my corrections to their ultimate conclusions.
    Last edited by Thanateros; 05-09-2014, 02:06 AM. Reason: Expanded Azaneal's aliases

  • #2
    1) Ravnos versus Technocracy. Technocracy won(barely, but they won). Just saying.

    2) What, we can't have eight or nine mindbreakingly large powers waging a shadow war with each other over entire spectrums of reality for control over everything? Since when?

    3) You want to argue logic in a world defined by a conflict between conscious and unconscious subjective world-shaping understanding? A world that began as multi- layered, co-existent mess where in everything kind of was at the exact same time? You want to make a gothic-punk cosmic horror setting from the 90s logical?

    Sir, I've read your thing, and I don't know oWoD well enough to critique it wholly, but it does seem to me like you are beginning from a bad conceit built from faulty reasoning, both from an in-universe standpoint and from a narrative conceit standpoint, and tumble down the hill from there.

    I can, of course, be entirely wrong, and I invite others who know the setting better to explore the idea-but man do I think the odds are against you.

    PS: Being facetious, besides, we all know everything is mages. It's fucking mages.

    I kid of course, but, well.

    Another PS: I mean, hell, this world has, like, eight distinct ends? And they all happen at once? And that's played with a straight face? Logic kind of gets face raped with that alone.

    (Gehenna, Apocalypse, Ascension or whatever it is, Doomsday, Long Winter, Twilight of the Gods, Armageddon, Going Westward-am I missing any?)
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 03-21-2014, 04:50 AM.


    Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
    Feminine pronouns, please.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
      ...it does seem to me like you are beginning from a bad conceit built from faulty reasoning
      What is this "bad conceit", and why is it bad?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
        1) Ravnos versus Technocracy. Technocracy won(barely, but they won). Just saying.
        Not really. Staying on the side lines while Kuei-Jin do the heavy lifting and then bomb everything, isn't winning a fight, it's not fighting at all...


        But, I agree in general.

        Also the first post doesn't incorporate exceptions to general statements.

        Do the Vampire Elders rule over nations and have the ability to wreck whole economies ? Sure.
        Are they beyond making bad decisions, having bad luck, having problems to find proper retainers? They aren't.

        Neither is the Technocracy really...

        As far as Pentex goes, there is a vampire there, sure, but those fellows are for the most part humans backed by evil gods, possibly from beyond creation. While one could call Vampire elders "gods", for all their power compared to a human, these beings can imbue humans with matching powers - while themselves unable to affect the world directly.

        For a vampire elder, a decade isn't that long. So imagine his surprise, if he compares 2004's google ($23 Billion market capitalisation) to today's google ($397 Billion market capitalisation). So, could a company, even a big player, rise over night, without the vampire elders making sure they control it completely? Sure, it could.

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        • #5
          Vampire elders control very little. What they do is influence, which is quite different. No vampire on the planet can just call up the White House, say "Hey, invade Panama for me will ya?" and have it happen. It doesn't work like that. It's like a guy pushing a car. Sure, he has some impact on what direction the car goes, but the weight of the car and the shape of the road are bigger forces. It's still ridiculously impressive compared to most of us - we would be ants trying to the car - but true control is impossible.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Thanateros View Post
            The classic World of Darkness could not logically exist as it was described. To see this most clearly we simply look at the highest global powers. According to the classic Vampire game, elder vampires rule the world (as wielding entire nations as a personal resource is an Elder Background), but according to the classic Mage game, the Technocracy rules the world (as they supposedly control consensual reality itself). These two facts cannot coexist on a single planet, so what this really means is that THE fundamental power struggle in the classic World of Darkness would actually be vampires versus Technocrats; all of the supernatural beings in the World of Darkness would be affected by and drawn into this one core conflict of the global supernatural super powers.
            *snip*
            I'm sure that I'm not the only Storyteller to have made corrections to the illogic that permeated the classic World of Darkness. I decided to take my corrections to their ultimate conclusions.
            First, your opening paragraph:
            ​Elder Vampires control governments, and many corporations. Technocracy controls the peoples belief in how the world works, manipulates the governments, and owns many corporations. There would be times that the Vampire corporations and Technocratic corporations, kind of Shadowrun-style at times even. There would be times that the Technocracy and the Vampires would get into conflicts due to each trying to manipulate the same person for different ends. But on the whole, the two groups have different, but not always necessarily opposing, goals.
            ​It makes me think of how clan-book Assamite discusses their relationship with Ravnos: "We stay out of their way, and they stay out of ours. Occasionally, we'll have to kill one of their younger, stupider kleptomaniacs. Occasionally, they'll have to kill one of our younger, stupider sociopaths. It's an equitable arrangement."
            Neither group has the power to move against the other. Neither group has the inclination to do so, either. But they do, to a certain extent, check each other.

            Second, your attempt at re-structuring the world:
            Whatever. I don't always agree with the cWoD meta, but you are trying to change it drastically, use the Triat, as you fundamentally shift the entire method that the Garou interact with them, keep the Baali as you fundamentally shift the entire structure of Vampires, their clans, and their history, and so-forth.

            ​I am all for complete restructuring of a setting to suit my needs as a DM/GM/ST, but I also know the difference between saying "We're playing in the Forgotten Realms", and saying "We're playing in a custom world based on the Forgotten Realms CS". And that is what you are doing. You are not trying to fix the illogical points of the cWoD, you are taking elements of the cWoD and using them to make something completely your own that has only the most superficial resemblance to what you are deconstructing. Additionally, in doing a complete deconstruct / reconstruct, instead of fixing the portions of the cannon that are inconsistent / inconceivable, you have made a whole new cannon that is just as prone to / full of errors.

            Finally, your ending statements:
            ​Yes, I am sure that other STs have. I, for one, have done both methods. I have run games that correct the portions of the cannon that are counter-intuitive, whether that be: to remove something from the present due to back-story; remove / change the past to suit the present; as the above options, but by adding instead of subtracting; or by many combinations of the above. I have also done as you have, and used the available mechanics from the various systems to make a new setting, either whole-cloth, or just as you did by deconstructing / reconstructing.
            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            On the whole though, I do not like your word choice to say that you "corrected" it, when it does seem as if you simply completely restructured everything.
            Sometimes a house is so badly damaged that you cannot fix it, and you must tear down and re-build. But if you tore down a house and re-built it, that is not the same as fixing what was wrong, that is eliminating them through a different means.


            "Maturity is knowing you were an idiot in the past."
            "If that's true, then Wisdom is knowing you'll be an idiot in the future."
            "And Common Sense is knowing that you should try not to be an idiot NOW."
            -Questionable Content 976

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Thanateros View Post
              The classic World of Darkness could not logically exist as it was described. To see this most clearly we simply look at the highest global powers. According to the classic Vampire game, elder vampires rule the world (as wielding entire nations as a personal resource is an Elder Background), but according to the classic Mage game, the Technocracy rules the world (as they supposedly control consensual reality itself). These two facts cannot coexist on a single planet, so what this really means is that THE fundamental power struggle in the classic World of Darkness would actually be vampires versus Technocrats; all of the supernatural beings in the World of Darkness would be affected by and drawn into this one core conflict of the global supernatural super powers.
              You're making an even more fundamental assumption: you're assuming all the gamelines described take place in the same world. I haven't read the fiction, but based on what I know of the core books of various lines, that's really not a valid assumption. Actually, isn't the assumption that it isn't all the same world? I vaguely remember something about Lupines (werewolves in Masquerade) explicitly being different to Garou.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Allan53 View Post

                You're making an even more fundamental assumption: you're assuming all the gamelines described take place in the same world. I haven't read the fiction, but based on what I know of the core books of various lines, that's really not a valid assumption. Actually, isn't the assumption that it isn't all the same world? I vaguely remember something about Lupines (werewolves in Masquerade) explicitly being different to Garou.
                I think the best explanation of this I ever heard is that cWoD exists in a multiverse and each game line is a bubble in a grouping of bubbles. What exists in one bubble has reflections in others, but they are not necessarily the same thing.

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                • #9
                  It does not need an explanation. The game lines are separate. If you choose to treat them otherwise, the onus is on you to make it "logical".

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by heinrich View Post
                    As far as Pentex goes, there is a vampire there, sure, but those fellows are for the most part humans backed by evil gods, possibly from beyond creation. While one could call Vampire elders "gods", for all their power compared to a human, these beings can imbue humans with matching powers - while themselves unable to affect the world directly.
                    They're explicitly powerful spirits of corruption. The ruined parts of the destroyer that self-servingly perpetuate its original error.

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                    • #11
                      For any crossover game, you have to decide first which one's secrets are actually true, and which one's secrets may be true only if they support the thesis of the primary game. None of them are much more than superficially compatible, as written, and frankly most of the official crossover rules were hasty last-minute additions, the least mechanically sound parts of a set of games notorious for poor system quality. A Mage Game featuring Vampires is a totally different beast than a Vampire Game featuring Mages. And a game featuring both Mages and Vampires as equally important things is going to be neck deep in homebrew. A WoD game featuring all factions and splats, and trying to share narrative primacy between them, will require a near complete rewrite of the setting.

                      And in any case, descriptions of the degree of control exerted by any of the Hidden Master of the WoD were pretty slipshod and hyperbolic. Keep in mind that the WoD was also notoriously bad about giving any tonal distinctions between data meant for setting the mood for players, and data meant to provide tools to storytellers. When you read that (splat X) has secret control of (nation/industry/religion/faction), that's almost always being presented as an attempt to establish an atmosphere of paranoia for PCs. Closer looks at actual Hidden Master NPCs always display much looser, more subtle power structures.
                      Last edited by The Hanged Man; 03-22-2014, 02:48 PM.


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                      • #12
                        the Earth-mages [a.k.a Verbena]
                        Would that not be the Dreamspeakers? Their background actually makes direct reference to Gaia.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Michael View Post
                          Would that not be the Dreamspeakers? Their background actually makes direct reference to Gaia.
                          And even then, they reshape reality, so they aren't really very Gaian at all.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Hanged Man View Post
                            When you read that (splat X) has secret control of (nation/industry/religion/faction), that's almost always being presented as an attempt to establish an atmosphere of paranoia for PCs. Closer looks at actual Hidden Master NPCs always display much looser, more subtle power structures.
                            I assume that any tribe/clan/tradition/kithbook is propaganda. As well as many other books. I do wish, honestly, that the WoD had Player / ST books that were separate. But of course that never stops players from knowing the stuff in the ST books, as happens in other games. Maybe why I dream of running games where the players know nothing about the universe. I may be a control freak.


                            Dante “Owns-All-the-Books” Laughing-Coyote
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Derzhuzad View Post
                              I think the best explanation of this I ever heard is that cWoD exists in a multiverse and each game line is a bubble in a grouping of bubbles. What exists in one bubble has reflections in others, but they are not necessarily the same thing.
                              Due to the lack of cohesiveness among the games, the multiverse that you describe is the other sensible option I proposed [in another thread] for resolving the numerous contradictions. White Wolf really did make the mistake though of cramming all of the games onto the same planet then later clumsily backpedal to erect and maintain separations that strain credibility. White Wolf never described multiple Worlds of Darkness; they only ever described a single World of Darkness, such as in the World of Darkness sourcebook itself. The multiverse option is certainly the easier of the two options for resolving contradictions, as it does not require the restructuring that I did above.

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