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  • #76
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    I brought up Emwazi for a reason. He was a guy known to anti-terrorist taskforces years before he actually did anything as a possible terrorist in the making. They knew who he was, and where he was. He didn't leave an area ~5 square miles for 2 years and they never even found out where he actually slept most of the time. While he was torturing hostages, filming executions and posting that to the Internet, meeting with his cell to plan terrorism, meeting with his superiors in ISIS, and recruiting people online... all from one neighborhood in one city and all the intelligence agencies knew all of that.

    And the only thing that brought him down, was that he wanted to spend time with his wife and kids, and his wife wasn't careful enough about her online messages.

    This was not an example of avoiding media, power, or territory (wealth yes, but that's kinda a moot point for the example). He was part of ISIS's media wing, and a growing player in ISIS because of the effect of being a British Muslim that was radicalized.

    As paradoxical as it sounds when talking about a terrorist, if it wasn't for his desire to be a decent husband and father, he could have kept that up for years until the main military forces actually pushed into Raqqa.

    So, no, vampires that put any effort into this are not forced out of modern life to maintain secrecy. All it takes is, again, adapting to the times. They're not trying to pick fights with the US and the UK governments on the Internet.
    I think you left out the part where he did that in Syria. A country in the middle of a civil war where he was in the good graces of the ruling warlords, where the US is not exactly on good terms with the local government and where video surveillance isn't quite as widespread as in New York or London.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      No, I'm saying the Second Inquisition has some magical resources thanks to the Society of Leopold. The majority of their advantages are technological, though.
      The problem is that you're trying to defend something that's narratively incoherent by shifting the goalposts around.

      The SI is everything and nothing, and you pick and choose what the SI looks like to best counter complaints made about it, rather than trying to defend a single vision of what the SI actually is. All the time not realizing that's basically one of the biggest issues with it. As an entity with concrete history in the WoD in V5, it stops being able to be this superflexible narrative device. It has to be something, and that thing has to make sense.

      1. The Fall of London is coming so the PCs *WILL* be at ground zero for London.
      It's still after London's done for as a vampire domain. The description of the Fall of London is that the characters wake up from Torpor after the London kindred have effectively lost. This means it doesn't address any of my points.

      2. If they could avert the events of the Council of Seven/Tremere's destruction then the changes to the Tremere that are central to their new role wouldn't happen.
      Who said they could avert the destruction of the Pyramid just because they might be able to interfere with the nascent SI? The Vienna Chantry could have imploded on it's own in a dozen ways, and lots and lots of enemies that already existed wanted it taken down.

      There's a bunch of endings to VtM:B... all of them end with LaCroix losing. Letting the PC(s) pick how matters to what else happens.

      Part of what makes V:TM metaplot so great is events happen around the PCs.
      OK, I've been trying to find a neutral-ish way to say this, but I'm struggling. I really don't mean this as an attack or disparagement, but as trying to identify what seems to be a major barrier in these discussions:

      You're coming at this too much like a fiction author, and not enough as someone that would have to run these things for players in a RPG.

      This isn't what makes the metaplot great. It's one of the most divisive things in the VtM and has been for decades.

      It might be good for people that engage more with VtM as fiction (which is not a bad thing), but it's annoying for trying to engage with it as a game setting. Players don't like feeling railroaded; not by the GM, and not by the game.

      [QUOTE=Cifer;n1330723]I think you left out the part where he did that in Syria. A country in the middle of a civil war where he was in the good graces of the ruling warlords, where the US is not exactly on good terms with the local government and where video surveillance isn't quite as widespread as in New York or London.[/QUOTE

      I somewhat presumed people knew that, or would Google it if they didn't realize who I was talking about, or getting it when I mentioned he was living in Raqqa.

      Raqqa, at the time, had a lot of military video (and more) surveillance being directed at it; specifically looking for single individuals. New York and London have a lot of cameras, but they're not magical vampire detecting cameras, and if nobody's looking specifically for you, and knows when to look for you, they're largely pointless to this. They're a giant haystack of data, and trying to find a vampire in them in trying to find a pin that's purposefully disguised as hay.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

        The problem is that you're trying to defend something that's narratively incoherent by shifting the goalposts around.
        No, people keep attacking the concept from multiple angles so I'm explaining why it holds together. I actually have some criticisms of the SI and V5's metaplot as a whole but they're different ones if you want to hear them.

        The SI is everything and nothing, and you pick and choose what the SI looks like to best counter complaints made about it, rather than trying to defend a single vision of what the SI actually is. All the time not realizing that's basically one of the biggest issues with it. As an entity with concrete history in the WoD in V5, it stops being able to be this superflexible narrative device. It has to be something, and that thing has to make sense.
        The Second Inquisition is an alliance of intelligence agencies and a renewed Society of Leopold plus anyone they've recruited. They are a group that has resources that dwarf the Camarilla, Anarchs, and Sabbat and will destroy all vampires in the world eventually unless someone figures out a way to defeat them. What is incoherent about this?

        It's still after London's done for as a vampire domain. The description of the Fall of London is that the characters wake up from Torpor after the London kindred have effectively lost. This means it doesn't address any of my points.
        We don't know what it's going to be and you also do missions for Mithras to hit SI targets. There's not much of an adventure if you have lost, so your player characters would do best just to leave.

        You're coming at this too much like a fiction author, and not enough as someone that would have to run these things for players in a RPG.
        Well I am a fiction author and the WOD was a big influence on my writing (I write vampire and werewolf fiction among others). However, I also run three different games right now.

        This isn't what makes the metaplot great. It's one of the most divisive things in the VtM and has been for decades.
        That's your opinion. The reason I picked up V20 is because of Beckett's Jyhad Diary.

        It might be good for people that engage more with VtM as fiction (which is not a bad thing), but it's annoying for trying to engage with it as a game setting. Players don't like feeling railroaded; not by the GM, and not by the game.
        I feel like V:TM is a game where you are constantly dealing with forces beyond your control. Vampires as Neonates are always the underdogs who are fighting against Elders, Methusalehs, and even the schemes of the Antediluvians. I feel like V5 has actually increased their ability to make changes on the world around them as well as their personal freedom. But I understand how some changes in the game's setting can irritate you the player. I think the difference is a matter of taste rather than an objective issue, though.


        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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        • #79
          My criticism of the Second Inquistion

          I love V5 but I feel like it made a number of errors in its presentation that with a bit more organization could have made things better. I do think OPP has a better grasp of presentation of a game setting and providing information to Storytellers so that gamers can jump into the world. Basically, I don't think the Hunter the Reckoning-esque deluge of in-universe fiction like in the original book, the Camarilla, and Anarch is as good as simply starting the book off with a "The History of Kindred, particularly from 2004 to 2020." Basically, we could have used a bit more text-book in terms of how to present things.

          For me, the Second Inquisition was a bit ill-defined and that limited its use as well as questioned just what it could do and how it could do it. There's a benefit to saying, potentially, "We don't know how many people are involved in it, that's up to the Storytellers" but it is something that would have helped justify a lot of the sudden and mysterious victories that they were able to achieve over longstanding characters/groups/organizations. I'm not saying they should have had the SECOND INQUISITION guidebook as one of the first ones out but a lot of the information in the Camarilla book should have been in the main book.

          Questions like:

          * How many people belong to the organization?
          * How do they keep the Masquerade among its members?
          * How much is their level of resources?
          * How do they protect themselves from Kindred influence?
          * How much do they know?
          * Do they know about other supernaturals?

          And so on.

          I don't have a problem with them taking down Vienna but I feel like some more explanations for their sudden and inexplicbale victory would help. The SI are an amazing concept and bring the attention back to mortals but should have also some explanation.

          Great concept, needs a better execution.


          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

          Comment


          • #80
            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            I somewhat presumed people knew that, or would Google it if they didn't realize who I was talking about, or getting it when I mentioned he was living in Raqqa.

            Raqqa, at the time, had a lot of military video (and more) surveillance being directed at it; specifically looking for single individuals. New York and London have a lot of cameras, but they're not magical vampire detecting cameras, and if nobody's looking specifically for you, and knows when to look for you, they're largely pointless to this. They're a giant haystack of data, and trying to find a vampire in them in trying to find a pin that's purposefully disguised as hay.
            Yeah, and the answer to that one is always the same: Use a magnet. The pin may be disguised as hay, but it doesn't behave like hay. It can't. Search for people who never make phone calls during daytime. Search for people with no grocery bills. Search for people who have given power of attorney to someone even though there's no obvious reason for them to do so. Search for people who never incur medical bills.
            All of those produce plenty of false positives. Many of those can be faked. But add several of them together and properly weigh them and you may find someone. And one almost certainly leads to more - vampiric opsec as written is crap. Identify a single Camarilla vampire who regularly goes to Elysium and you get the entire who is who of vampiric high society on a silver platter, because vampiric society behaves like a feudal court rather than a terrorist cell.

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            • #81
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              No, people keep attacking the concept from multiple angles so I'm explaining why it holds together. I actually have some criticisms of the SI and V5's metaplot as a whole but they're different ones if you want to hear them.
              This doesn't really feel like you're listening to what people are complaining about then.

              The Second Inquisition is an alliance of intelligence agencies and a renewed Society of Leopold plus anyone they've recruited. They are a group that has resources that dwarf the Camarilla, Anarchs, and Sabbat and will destroy all vampires in the world eventually unless someone figures out a way to defeat them. What is incoherent about this?
              If this is what the SI is (which I don't agree is what the books say they are)? That there are any vampires left to have a game where you play vampires. It's incoherent with the idea that there are vampires to play Vampire with, instead of turning the setting into Night's Black Agents. The SI this powerful on its own is one where the whole premise of playing VtM becomes incoherent because the SI basically should have made playable vampires extinct already.

              We don't know what it's going to be...
              I'm paraphrasing directly from Modiphius's website blurb on the book... so I'll quote now:

              "The Fall of London V5 Chronicle (Summer 2019) – London is burning. As the Second Inquisition put the city's Kindred to the torch, your characters wake from torpor. The sensible thing would be to flee now, but before you can leave the capital, you have one last job to do... This campaign is perfect to bring your Vampire players up to speed on the plot developments in Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition or as as a gateway for new players."

              Could things change? Sure. But that's what the book's being sold as. London's already done for, you have a mission to complete before you flee, sure, to have something enjoyable to play, but you're on some fetch quest with London burning in the background, not actually part of London's fall.

              Well I am a fiction author and the WOD was a big influence on my writing (I write vampire and werewolf fiction among others). However, I also run three different games right now.
              And when we have these back and forth bits, it constantly feels like your author side comes out and your ST side poofs.

              That's your opinion.
              And most of what you're saying is your opinion.

              The divisiveness of the metaplot within the community however is not an opinion, it's a factual thing that happened.

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              I don't have a problem with them taking down Vienna but I feel like some more explanations for their sudden and inexplicbale victory would help. The SI are an amazing concept and bring the attention back to mortals but should have also some explanation.

              Great concept, needs a better execution.
              You realize that... beyond how well people assess the concept because of the execution... this is basically what people are complaining about?

              Comment


              • #82
                FYI - Just wrote up how I would have presented the Second Inquisition.

                http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...41#post1330841


                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                  Yeah, and the answer to that one is always the same: Use a magnet.
                  Not all pins are made of ferrous metal.

                  Search for people who never make phone calls during daytime. Search for people with no grocery bills. Search for people who have given power of attorney to someone even though there's no obvious reason for them to do so. Search for people who never incur medical bills.
                  Besides the massive false positive issue you brought up, who, exactly, is doing these searches? This is a multiple agency effort, and wouldn't be entirely illegal without multiple judges agreeing that vampires are real, and don't have rights.

                  Hell, the idea that you can just "search" for grocery and medical bills is ridiculous. What databases are you expecting to have access to, so you know these things? This is certainly information that can be queried, but you can't just search a database to see who spends their money how. If you have a target, you can take a warrant to their credit card company/bank/etc. and get their records to see.

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                  • #84
                    A massive part of the Second Inquisition is (or might be, if it ever came to court) illegal. And in the WoD, I would expect the oversight of these agencies to tend towards even more rubberstamping than in our world.
                    I mean... the SI routinely engages in extrajudicial killings of people who are, at least on paper, citizens of their own countries. Crossing a few lines when it comes to accessing surveillance feeds and hacking credit card companies for data is really the least of their legal worries.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                      A massive part of the Second Inquisition is (or might be, if it ever came to court) illegal. And in the WoD, I would expect the oversight of these agencies to tend towards even more rubberstamping than in our world.
                      I mean... the SI routinely engages in extrajudicial killings of people who are, at least on paper, citizens of their own countries. Crossing a few lines when it comes to accessing surveillance feeds and hacking credit card companies for data is really the least of their legal worries.
                      Well in a large number of cases, these people don't even exist.

                      "You killed Don Antonio."

                      "Who? Don Antonio de Fionreza died in 1832."


                      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                        A massive part of the Second Inquisition is (or might be, if it ever came to court) illegal. And in the WoD, I would expect the oversight of these agencies to tend towards even more rubberstamping than in our world.
                        Doing things completely off the books makes all of this data trawling you're talking about even harder to get away with, because now you're pitting different agencies against each other as the FBI is now trying to stop NSA assets because the NSA can't say that those are official assets because they don't have a legal justification for what they're doing; and are thus indistinguishable from bad actor (for a relative use of the word bad).

                        The US invented the quite dubious (and rubber stamp happy) FISA court to get around such issues by ensuring secrecy for such activities. The NSA can just say, "hey FBI, ignore this account you're tracking, it's a FISA protected op," but they have to explain the logic to a FISA judge first. We don't know a lot of about what the FISA courts really care about, but "will this hold up to review once the operation is over," seems to be one of the few things they actually care about - and for a reason that can't be gotten rid of "because WoD" - because FISA judges don't want to lose their jobs by allowing warrants and orders that are facially ridiculous.

                        Crossing a few lines when it comes to accessing surveillance feeds and hacking credit card companies for data is really the least of their legal worries.
                        Crossing a lot of lines, and again, it's not like there's some single database to hack into and boom, all this information is available to you.

                        It's one thing if you have a target in mind, it's an entirely different thing if you're searching for targets. You can't just hack one credit card company, you have to hack all of them if you want to gain the data set of what credit card holders are spending on what.

                        It's a ridiculous amount of work, that will provide an at least 99% false positive return to deal with, and that's basically if vampires haven't figured out how to actually disguise themselves from such things (which isn't hard if they're already doing things like falsifying mortal identities to maintain their material holdings).

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                          You realize that... beyond how well people assess the concept because of the execution... this is basically what people are complaining about?
                          My argument, such as it is, is that the Second Inquisition is a great idea and one of the best things to come out of vampire in decades. I am not blind to the fact that it was presented poorly, though.

                          I am curious what your interpretation of what the SI is versus my, "Existential threat to Kindred society" is, though.


                          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                          • #88
                            My interpretation, for what it's worth, is that the SI is an incoherent mess of a narrative device who's potential has been thoroughly undermined by inconsistent application, poor presentation, and lack of editorial oversight to keep it from altering too much between different authors.

                            I can't interpret it as something simple like that, because I don't feel a single consistent point to the SI has been communicated to me by the books.

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                            • #89
                              Well, it's hard to debate, "This just sucks."

                              So I guess I'll just stop trying


                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                                Well, it's hard to debate, "This just sucks."

                                So I guess I'll just stop trying

                                That is not at all what he posted and you know it.

                                The presentation of SI has varied widely among the books we currently have on hand all the way from the umbrella organisation running as a shadow world government with magical abilities both the Technocracy and Traditions wish they had that your post embraces to a ragtag barely held together coalition working outside the law who got really, really lucky and pulled off shit that no one else could through some sort of perfect storm of fiat.

                                Maybe the SI book will be able to pull some kind of coherent whole out of that but I don't really see how without a bunch of retcons and getting people to dismiss a bunch of stuff in the first three books as ' unreliable testimony.'

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