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How much darker is the World of Darkness from the Real World?

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  • How much darker is the World of Darkness from the Real World?

    I think it's interesting to speculate how different the WOD is from RL:

    Reposted from the Vienna thread:

    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    But... well... that's the thing. You're saying that the WoD everyone should be living in an even more violent version of the USA, rather than a more violent version of how those countries actually are. You can't ramp up violent crime in Austria to double US levels of violent crime and not have a radically changed Austrian culture.
    You're correct if we're being realistic but I guess my point is that this is a horror game and urban fantasy. There's going to be a staggeringly larger number of people who go missing every year, people who are enslaved to parasitic gods, and random murders because there's something like a 1,000,000 extra people in the world that are possessed of incredible powers and are complete assholes. Quite a few who are committed to violent terrorist idealogies (Nephandi, Baali, Pentex, Werewolves, Sabbat).

    That's going to be at least several thousand more murders in virtually every country in the planet. At least 3 or 4 million people die prematurely extra every year probably.

    That's also low balling it.

    Vienna and a single terrorist attack just strikes me as nothing compared to the sheer volume of casual violence and horror that the premise of the game requires as going on all the time.

    You just have to suspend your disbelief that everything is basically the same, like in a superhero series or comic book world.


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

  • #2
    That's my biggest problem with the setting. It's trying to burn the candle at both ends. If "everything is basically the same" then, well, the Masquerade is going to break into a million pieces due to the insanely large number of supernaturals and crimes committed by them. That goes for vampires, ghosts, werewolves, mages, and a whole host of other bizarre entities. If the world in World of Darkness is supposed to be far worse and more miserable, with strange forces compelling people to be so oblivious to the presence of the supernatural, with rape, torture, death and misery all around far worse than in our own world, then it's NOT the same and the games we run should reflect that harsher reality — retooling real world locations and cultures to reflect this darker and edgier existence. Using real world events or the standard "vanilla" cultures will NOT make sense and, for me both as a player and an ST, breaks my immersion.

    Being bluntly honest here and I think most people can agree with this notion: Breaking the Immersion is far worse than breaking the Masquerade. If your players aren't buying it, you've failed as an ST. If your game is making you feel disconnected because you can't immerse yourself into the world due to this gap in logic, then your chronicle will have a large hurdle to overcome that could be resolved by choosing one approach or the other.

    I say, pick either to have a large Masquerade in a world far worse than our own and divorce it completely from real world equivalents or keep it closer to our reality and make it so there are fewer supernatural beings to begin with, thus making secrecy more viable.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      You're correct if we're being realistic but I guess my point is that this is a horror game and urban fantasy.
      The problem is the conceit of the urban fantasy genre that the WoD definitely defines as part of itself: that the WoD is superficially the same as our own. You have to look to find the differences. The supernatural (good and bad) are hidden enough that most people in-universe miss it, and if we were magically transported from from our world to the WoD, we wouldn't notice for a bit because it would be similar enough it isn't until the hidden darkness of the world starts to come into view (assuming our minds could handle it).

      There's going to be a staggeringly larger number of people who go missing every year, people who are enslaved to parasitic gods, and random murders because there's something like a 1,000,000 extra people in the world that are possessed of incredible powers and are complete assholes. Quite a few who are committed to violent terrorist idealogies (Nephandi, Baali, Pentex, Werewolves, Sabbat).
      I don't see why there needs to be a large increase in missing persons cases. There's around 85K missing persons cases active in the USA alone at any moment. The relative rarity of supernaturals creatures, and the reasons for them to outright disappear people being fairly few, means that's plenty of missing people for supernaturals to hide their activities among. If there are, say, 5K vampires in the USA at any given moment... how many people are you expecting them to need to go away to worry about increasing missing persons cases to account for it?

      It's also worth noting most supernaturals aren't terrorists. The Nephandi, Baali, Pentex, and so on aren't generally using their already small numbers for terrorism over more damaging things like corruption and undermining social institutions with non-violent methods. Hell, one of the Pentex books pointed out that they couldn't actually make Endron Oil more evil than existing fossil fuel companies... the only difference between Pentex and real world oil companies is why they do it, not what they do.

      The Garou as terrorists is a questionable label, but they're certainly religious zealots/radicals. Even so, most still have to abide by their own secrecy laws, and performing acts that would be seen as terrorism to the general population doesn't really do them any good. The more terrorist inclined members of the Traditions have the same issue.

      The Sabbat are probably the most on point here, but they're not terrorists as an ideological point, but terrorists specifically to screw with the Camarilla (at least in pre-V5). They do terrorist style attacks specifically to tax the Camarilla's ability to cover it up and use that weakening to attack. They're not trying to shape human society.

      At least 3 or 4 million people die prematurely extra every year probably.
      Over 90 million people die a year globally. "Premature" is a bit of a hard qualifier to deal with. The vast majority of people die from disease... and when disease is premature or not isn't exactly easy to decide on. Why would millions more be dying a year? Is it in general just worse conditions, or for specific reasons?

      Vienna and a single terrorist attack just strikes me as nothing compared to the sheer volume of casual violence and horror that the premise of the game requires as going on all the time.
      Because the impact of violence on society has nothing to do with the volume of violence in the world.

      As I said in the other thread, the impact of assassinating one guy was WWI, while the Soviet purges lead to... nothing on the global scale. When an individual act of violence impacts things on a large scale is a completely different consideration than how frequent low scale violence is.

      You just have to suspend your disbelief that everything is basically the same, like in a superhero series or comic book world.
      And as I said before, it's bad writing to just say, "I don't have to write a better setting, you just have to suspend more disbelief."

      Yes, there is a point where either you can suspend disbelief or you find something else to entertain yourself with. But it can't just be used constantly to excuse bad setting building, or no criticism is valid because every complaint is just not suspending disbelief enough.

      To be a bit hyperbolic:

      A setting can't tell me that supernaturals exist, but need to hide themselves, but then also say that any time a vampire drains someone's blood in public openly, they become invincible for a year and a day, and during that time any creature from bacteria to eldritch horror, that even considers taking an action that would physically or emotionally upset the vampire in question instantly dies unless they've also done something obviously supernatural in public.

      It doesn't work. Expecting me to suspend disbelief for that is dumb. It's possible to make it tempting to be supernaturally powerful in public but still have the need to be hidden. But take it too far and it just doesn't work.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by The Dreamweaver View Post
        That's my biggest problem with the setting. It's trying to burn the candle at both ends. If "everything is basically the same" then, well, the Masquerade is going to break into a million pieces due to the insanely large number of supernaturals and crimes committed by them. That goes for vampires, ghosts, werewolves, mages, and a whole host of other bizarre entities. If the world in World of Darkness is supposed to be far worse and more miserable, with strange forces compelling people to be so oblivious to the presence of the supernatural, with rape, torture, death and misery all around far worse than in our own world, then it's NOT the same and the games we run should reflect that harsher reality — retooling real world locations and cultures to reflect this darker and edgier existence. Using real world events or the standard "vanilla" cultures will NOT make sense and, for me both as a player and an ST, breaks my immersion.

        Being bluntly honest here and I think most people can agree with this notion: Breaking the Immersion is far worse than breaking the Masquerade. If your players aren't buying it, you've failed as an ST. If your game is making you feel disconnected because you can't immerse yourself into the world due to this gap in logic, then your chronicle will have a large hurdle to overcome that could be resolved by choosing one approach or the other.

        I say, pick either to have a large Masquerade in a world far worse than our own and divorce it completely from real world equivalents or keep it closer to our reality and make it so there are fewer supernatural beings to begin with, thus making secrecy more viable.
        Eh, speaking as an author, I feel like that realism should always take a backseat for entertainment and artistic factors. It's like complaining that Superman can't carry a plane without breaking it in half due to the laws of physics or talking about how the Incredible Hulk (whose central thesis is that he is a misunderstood monster) should have killed thousands of innocent people so it's entirely right to be afraid of him. It comes up on occasion in my superhero RPG games where players debate in and out of universe how much the Fantastic RacismTM premise of the X-men makes sense.

        If they really do have powers that are dangerous and uncontrollable then is it really a good stand-in for prejudice as well as persecution? It runs straight into the kind of game you want to run as you point out that it breaks your immersion. If you are going to run a "Abberant" completely completely changed world from the World of Darkness then that's NOT the setting as it is. Because the idea is that it is fundamentally like the Marvel Universe or Marvel Cinematic Universe in that it is "Our World + Vampires = Wackiness." The more you move from the setting of "real world" the harder it is to take anything gritty and seriously.

        I may be biased here because I do write True Blood-esque novels and superhero novels both but I think that some things just need to be filed under genre conventions. I don't want to play a vampire game where there's not regular murders by vampires and I don't want to play Bloodrayne's "Vampire Apocalypse where everything is different." I like the fact Spider-Man can make Star Wars references.

        This may be a case of just how you enjoy your games, though.

        It's our world + enough apathy, lifes, cover-ups, and more to make sure people don't notice or care that it's a shittier place for the presence of the supernaturals.


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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          The problem is the conceit of the urban fantasy genre that the WoD definitely defines as part of itself: that the WoD is superficially the same as our own. You have to look to find the differences. The supernatural (good and bad) are hidden enough that most people in-universe miss it, and if we were magically transported from from our world to the WoD, we wouldn't notice for a bit because it would be similar enough it isn't until the hidden darkness of the world starts to come into view (assuming our minds could handle it).
          This is just me but for me the Gothic Punk world of the World of Darkness is meant to be stylized adaptation of the setting in that it is the world of horror movies. Friday the 13th, Hammer Horror, Classic Dracula, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Forever Night, Underworld, Resident Evil, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are all things that can and do take place in the setting. At any given moment in the setting there's a cabin in the woods were a bunch of teenagers are getting massacred by zombies or something like American Psycho happening.

          It's not that the world is necessarily more violent or more horrifying it's that the reaction to horror is fundamentally different. Terrible, nightmarish, and horrible things happen in this world and it's all just swept under the rug to continue the veneer of "normal life." Its kind of a mirror to the Call of Cthulhu universe in that the supernatural is the layer of the onion underneath reality but whereas the COC universe is alien, impersonal, and eldrich--the World of Darkness layer is personal, sinful, and sensuous.

          I don't see why there needs to be a large increase in missing persons cases. There's around 85K missing persons cases active in the USA alone at any moment. The relative rarity of supernaturals creatures, and the reasons for them to outright disappear people being fairly few, means that's plenty of missing people for supernaturals to hide their activities among. If there are, say, 5K vampires in the USA at any given moment... how many people are you expecting them to need to go away to worry about increasing missing persons cases to account for it?
          It's a question of doing how your accounting really because are you assuming that those 85K people in your world are disappearing instead of their real life causes or in addition to their real life causes. Basically, is the idea that for every real life missing person, someone's substituted or is it our world plus however many people die. Another issue may well be if you assume this is a World of Darkness versus a line of Darkness. For me, I prefer to play in a world where all of the lines co-exist as unsually as they may do rather than whether its simply "vampires with the occassional Lupine and mage."

          It's also worth noting most supernaturals aren't terrorists. The Nephandi, Baali, Pentex, and so on aren't generally using their already small numbers for terrorism over more damaging things like corruption and undermining social institutions with non-violent methods. Hell, one of the Pentex books pointed out that they couldn't actually make Endron Oil more evil than existing fossil fuel companies... the only difference between Pentex and real world oil companies is why they do it, not what they do.

          The Garou as terrorists is a questionable label, but they're certainly religious zealots/radicals. Even so, most still have to abide by their own secrecy laws, and performing acts that would be seen as terrorism to the general population doesn't really do them any good. The more terrorist inclined members of the Traditions have the same issue.

          The Sabbat are probably the most on point here, but they're not terrorists as an ideological point, but terrorists specifically to screw with the Camarilla (at least in pre-V5). They do terrorist style attacks specifically to tax the Camarilla's ability to cover it up and use that weakening to attack. They're not trying to shape human society.
          I think it depends on how you feel the Garou deal with Sabbat. For me, I was under the impression they regularly are attacking places, burning them down, and assassinating targets.
          Over 90 million people die a year globally. "Premature" is a bit of a hard qualifier to deal with. The vast majority of people die from disease... and when disease is premature or not isn't exactly easy to decide on. Why would millions more be dying a year? Is it in general just worse conditions, or for specific reasons?
          I guess going with the idea that I think the typical vampire does kill someone and there's numerous wars going on between the various factions. For me, the issue is that I think the WOD is kind of like the Matrix in "secret wars" with heavy casualties are things that happen.


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

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

            Eh, speaking as an author, I feel like that realism should always take a backseat for entertainment and artistic factors. It's like complaining that Superman can't carry a plane without breaking it in half due to the laws of physics
            That's not even remotely the same thing and I'm frankly tired of people using that argument. We accept that physics work differently for the sake of superpowers, but humans shouldn't behave in irrational ways or act oblivious to things happening right in front of them. When I criticize something in, say, The X-Files, it's Scully seemingly having nonstop selective amnesia and persistent denial syndrome, not the fact that supernatural things are happening despite what science says.

            or talking about how the Incredible Hulk (whose central thesis is that he is a misunderstood monster) should have killed thousands of innocent people so it's entirely right to be afraid of him. It comes up on occasion in my superhero RPG games where players debate in and out of universe how much the Fantastic RacismTM premise of the X-men makes sense.
            "If these stories do it, it must mean you're okay with it happening in V:tM." No, I dislike it there too and I dislike it here all the same. It's also worth noting that some stories do tackle these shortcomings and, more times than not, these are problems that have arisen thanks to comic book continuities continuing on way past their prime and not having a proper ending. Since plots get recycled, we eventually have this weirdness in X-Men being persecuted while other supers are fine... unless in this story it's actually all supers have it bad and need to register, causing a civil war and long crossover plot that had a good idea but shit itself halfway through. "One More Day", HA.

            If they really do have powers that are dangerous and uncontrollable then is it really a good stand-in for prejudice as well as persecution?
            This is a criticism that many of us X-Men fans actually bring up. The X-Men work as an allegory somewhat, but it's often played too on the nose that when you try to compare it, it's like comparing apples to Kit-Kat bars. Both are edible and sweet, and that's about the only similarities they have.

            It runs straight into the kind of game you want to run as you point out that it breaks your immersion. If you are going to run a "Abberant" completely completely changed world from the World of Darkness then that's NOT the setting as it is. Because the idea is that it is fundamentally like the Marvel Universe or Marvel Cinematic Universe in that it is "Our World + Vampires = Wackiness." The more you move from the setting of "real world" the harder it is to take anything gritty and seriously.
            What? I don't follow this logic in the slightest. Last I checked, we have tons of sci-fi and fantasy that's heavily removed from real life and it's gritty and serious. Unless I'm misunderstanding something you're saying, I don't see your point here at all.

            I may be biased here because I do write True Blood-esque novels and superhero novels both but I think that some things just need to be filed under genre conventions. I don't want to play a vampire game where there's not regular murders by vampires and I don't want to play Bloodrayne's "Vampire Apocalypse where everything is different." I like the fact Spider-Man can make Star Wars references.
            I like Spider-Man making Star Wars references too. That has nothing to do with it. If Spider-Man existed in a worse version of Marvel (the Ultimate universe, har-har-har) and still had his more upbeat attitude with snarky sarcastic wit, he'd still make them because Star Wars still existed as a film franchise. The world just got bad at some point between then and the not-too-distant-present. It didn't cause things to spontaneously crumble and cease to exist. I also object to the notion that because the world at large is apathetic, the main characters be they heroic, neutral, or villainous all behave that way as well.

            I also think you're exaggerating how far removed things have to be. All I'm asking is that if things are to be treated as being so drastically bad, so much worse, the world and story should reflect it somehow, not just go, "Well, it's only that bad over there, but in our little neighborhood, we still have kids Trick 'r Treat and we act like nothing's wrong and there's nothing wrong with that at all." No... No. A million times no. There's something deeply disturbed in that mere idea. This alone I would take as a clue that there's something otherworldly going on on my street, like a demonic force or powerful vampire influencing the townsfolk to be so disjointed from reality. The world has heaps of more murder going on! People would behave differently just from that alone. Not "worlds apart" differently, but the world wouldn't just be a note-for-note copy/paste either.

            to make sure people don't care that it's a shittier place
            People would, though. Not like Care Bears where they ask their neighbors to hold hands, but the mere act of becoming apathetic is a different behavior. It's a thing I've struggled with myself. It's not something you just casually say the whole world is suffering from and then contradict with, "Oh, by the way, it's still basically all the same world for the purposes of suspension of disbelief." My suspension has already broken or I'll take it as a hint that something's up, which maybe can get twisted into a fun chronicle, but is more likely to have just flown in the face of whatever you actually had planned.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              This is just me but for me the Gothic Punk world of the World of Darkness is meant to be stylized adaptation of the setting in that it is the world of horror movies.
              But this isn't the games as they present themselves. Plenty movies might be inspirations for the WoD, but the WoD is not a sandbox for fanfiction-with-the-serial-numbers-filed-off of existing material. It doesn't matter how much VtM draws from Anne Rice, it's not her vampires, it's VtM vampires with their own rules and setting and so on. Some things you can pull from her work, some you can adapt, and some just doesn't fit.

              Is the WoD a place where something like American Psycho happens? Yes.

              What it isn't, is a place where every serial killer movie plot is going on at once, constantly. It's a place where the idea that there's only ~20 serial killers active in the US at any moment is believable if maybe a few higher.

              It's not that the world is necessarily more violent or more horrifying it's that the reaction to horror is fundamentally different. Terrible, nightmarish, and horrible things happen in this world and it's all just swept under the rug to continue the veneer of "normal life." Its kind of a mirror to the Call of Cthulhu universe in that the supernatural is the layer of the onion underneath reality but whereas the COC universe is alien, impersonal, and eldrich--the World of Darkness layer is personal, sinful, and sensuous.
              This is... kinda of literally the CofD's pitch as one of the things that separate it from the WoD. The CofD is a setting where humanity has a learned apathy around the supernatural because ignoring it subconsciously is ultimately safer. The CofD defines itself as a place where humans do react differently. When making mortals, you're supposed to consider at least one event where they encountered the supernatural and rationalized or forgot the specifics about it.

              That's not how the WoD is presented. It says humans don't react fundamentally differently from reality, and that's why the masquerade/etc. are all so important. Because humans aren't going to just sweep things under the rug, they're going to freak out. Werewolf and Changeling are the only WoD lines with some sort of "and mortals don't realize" mechanics, and they're overt supernatural effects.

              It's a question of doing how your accounting really because are you assuming that those 85K people in your world are disappearing instead of their real life causes or in addition to their real life causes.
              This is kinda dodging the point. The point is there isn't a need to massively inflate real world numbers when those numbers are more than large enough to absorb the effect of supernaturals as presented. They're rare enough that maybe things go up a little, but not enough you'd notice without the ability to crunch the numbers in both worlds and compare them.

              For me, I prefer to play in a world where all of the lines co-exist as unsually as they may do rather than whether its simply "vampires with the occassional Lupine and mage."
              I don't think it really changes much. The wider WoD also means things like having multiple parts of the Umbra for action to be happening in. Garou, mages, changelings, wraiths, and so on all have entire other Realms of existence for crazy shit to happen in away from normal eyes.

              I think it depends on how you feel the Garou deal with Sabbat. For me, I was under the impression they regularly are attacking places, burning them down, and assassinating targets.
              I'm.... not really sure where you're going with this as phrased.

              I guess going with the idea that I think the typical vampire does kill someone and there's numerous wars going on between the various factions. For me, the issue is that I think the WOD is kind of like the Matrix in "secret wars" with heavy casualties are things that happen.
              And most of the wars betweens supernaturals are actually good and secret such they don't enter the general consciousness accept the most extreme cases. "Heavy casualties" is also a matter of how rare supernaturals are. A battle that kills 50 Garou is a massive loss for them, and a blip on the radar of humanity if the bodies are ever even seen by normal folks.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think a major issue with the WoD vs. IRL discussions on how dark & gritty things should be is that many people haven't got the faintest clue how dark and gritty our world actually is.

                Nazi Germany was inspired by American policies at the time for forced sterilization of mental patients in an attempt at population mental health hygiene to prevent inheritable mental health issues. The excessive use of lobotomies on people with minor mental health problems was likewise a big thing here in America. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment also ran during this same time period. All of this is around the WWII era, which is largely considered one of the USAs better moments in history.

                So to make the world darker, really all you have to do is just look at our own history books and things get plenty dark. The real question is how much of the darkness is perceived by the general population? Because you could make the WoD setting some where between pitch black and vantablack and if the general population doesn't register it, it doesn't really matter much.

                Alternatively we can try to make things darker by making the general level of social blight a bit worse rather than making everything a government conspiracy. We know for a fact that there are many examples of major cities in the world which have considerable homeless populations, many of which have become multi-generational at this point. Meaning that whole undocumented generations are being raised in the same storm drains and sewer systems. New York and Paris are good examples of this, but how do you make that darker? Other than having them become incest prone cannibals, that is pretty much it. Sure you could play around with the rules a bit and make something like a nosferatu revenant bloodline which all sport mutations but given the living conditions, its not like they could pass for healthy humans to begin with.

                Perhaps it is a meta thing where the world is in such a state of decay, but no one notices because they are too focused on which celebrity made a social media faux pas to notice the condition of society and their fellow human beings. Though it would be fair that we are playing this game about a World of Darkness to escape the banal world we actually inhabit.

                Personally I have always preferred to focus on the Players rather than the setting. The darkness isn't coming from the fact that the world is a worse place to live, but instead the darkness comes from the fact that the Players can be the source of that evil. Always giving the player just enough rope to hang themselves with on a moral level, but still succeeding on a character level. In short the PCs at the beginning of a storyline are Tom Kirkman from Designated Survivor, by the mid point of the chronicle they should be Frank Underwood from House of Cards, by the end of the chronicle the PCs should make most dictators and drug bosses feel uncomfortable to be in the same room with them, yet the PCs still see themselves as the "good guys". It's at that time that you start showing them how far off the reservation they have gone, and at that moment of realization, the full weight of the meaning "World of Darkness" hits the players.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dreamweaver
                  That's not even remotely the same thing and I'm frankly tired of people using that argument. We accept that physics work differently for the sake of superpowers, but humans shouldn't behave in irrational ways or act oblivious to things happening right in front of them. When I criticize something in, say, The X-Files, it's Scully seemingly having nonstop selective amnesia and persistent denial syndrome, not the fact that supernatural things are happening despite what science says.
                  For me, the idea is that human beings when faced with the supernatural of the World of Darkness and its terrible horrors retreat into a bubble of rationalization. We see it in real life all the time where people don't react to the suffering of the world unless its directly in front of them. For me, the World of Darkness is a darker and edgier place than RL (though not always) and its populace has a grimdark-esque "Well, that's just how life is" attitude. Like the New York attitude of "Not my problem" during the height of the 1970s.

                  I feel that is very human as it has and does happen to the rest of the world constantly.

                  "If these stories do it, it must mean you're okay with it happening in V:tM." No, I dislike it there too and I dislike it here all the same. It's also worth noting that some stories do tackle these shortcomings and, more times than not, these are problems that have arisen thanks to comic book continuities continuing on way past their prime and not having a proper ending. Since plots get recycled, we eventually have this weirdness in X-Men being persecuted while other supers are fine... unless in this story it's actually all supers have it bad and need to register, causing a civil war and long crossover plot that had a good idea but shit itself halfway through. "One More Day", HA.
                  I'm using the example of comic books because that's an idea of consistent worldbuilding. That is this is a darker fun-house mirror reflection of our reality. It's a little darker, a little nastier, and a little harder around the edges. It's still recognizably our world but it's a place where there's Gargoyles on the skyscrapers and the horror is just a bit more in your face. It's the Westeros to the actual Middle Ages.

                  What? I don't follow this logic in the slightest. Last I checked, we have tons of sci-fi and fantasy that's heavily removed from real life and it's gritty and serious. Unless I'm misunderstanding something you're saying, I don't see your point here at all.
                  Frankly, I think Daredevil would be significantly less awesome if it was in Metropolis instead of New York City. In real life, Hell's Kitchen was gentrified and destroyed. In Daredevil, it's identical to the way it was in the 1970s and I see that as similar to the World of Darkness. Not that poor people losing their homes is better but it's a grittier darker world that's still recognizably our world.
                  It's why I'd prefer to play in the 1930s Pulp Age than Eberron.

                  I like Spider-Man making Star Wars references too. That has nothing to do with it. If Spider-Man existed in a worse version of Marvel (the Ultimate universe, har-har-har) and still had his more upbeat attitude with snarky sarcastic wit, he'd still make them because Star Wars still existed as a film franchise. The world just got bad at some point between then and the not-too-distant-present. It didn't cause things to spontaneously crumble and cease to exist. I also object to the notion that because the world at large is apathetic, the main characters be they heroic, neutral, or villainous all behave that way as well.
                  So how bad is the World of Darkness in your chronicle and how does that impact your games?


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I made this list somewhere like 2004 and I distributed it to my players. This is reconstructed from memory. Ironically, a number of my predictions for the world became real as time passed.

                    It's just how I would probably run it.

                    The World of Darkness vs. The World of Dusk (Our World)

                    * There is roughly one billion extra people on the planet.

                    * There's usually one to three extra wars going on at any given time.

                    * There are roughly 1,000,000 million supernaturals worldwide, not including Numina and allies.

                    * Cities are much more compact with more overcrowding.

                    * Rural areas are much more wild and freeform with a less interconnectivity between them. You can often drive for hours and see nothing but road.

                    * Gentrification is more segregated with urban sprawl still a part of American cities with gated communities as well as elite skyscraper like apartments like
                    something out of cyberpunk being a common feature in American cities.

                    * Gargoyles remain a popular artistic decor.

                    * Castle-mansions are a architecture style in America and Europe.

                    * There are roughly ten times as many serial killers of a normal bent in the world. This is not including any supernatural influence.

                    * Violent crime is roughly twice as bad in the world.

                    * Roughly twice as many people disappear every year.

                    * Beating suspects into confession is still common.

                    * Torture is still actively used by the government.

                    * Europe's laws against guns and use of violence by the police are much laxer. So are Canada's and Japan's.

                    * Secularization hasn't taken hold in many places across Europe due to the presence of actual fucking monsters among people.

                    * There are far more religious and secular extremist groups in society due to the influence of supernaturals around them.

                    * Environmental decay is about ten to fifteen years more advanced than in our world, which may not sound like much but is pretty damn awful.

                    * A large portion of the news is identical to our world but it is covering up massive amounts of criminal activity that never gets reported.

                    * Enron did not collapse but merged with Exxon (Endron), getting away with all of their crimes.

                    * Rico was passed but then gutted by lawmakers so all the big criminal syndicates in America are as powerful, if not more so, than ever (this is canon
                    according to Hunters Hunted II).

                    * Goth never went out of style and is still going strong.

                    * Violent extremist paganism is a thing (though I was sad to find out that was a thing in RL too)


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

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      But this isn't the games as they present themselves. Plenty movies might be inspirations for the WoD, but the WoD is not a sandbox for fanfiction-with-the-serial-numbers-filed-off of existing material. It doesn't matter how much VtM draws from Anne Rice, it's not her vampires, it's VtM vampires with their own rules and setting and so on. Some things you can pull from her work, some you can adapt, and some just doesn't fit.

                      Is the WoD a place where something like American Psycho happens? Yes.
                      That's what I mean. Not that Lestat and Louie exist but that Toreador exist like them.

                      What it isn't, is a place where every serial killer movie plot is going on at once, constantly. It's a place where the idea that there's only ~20 serial killers active in the US at any moment is believable if maybe a few higher.
                      Sabbat, Formori, Nephandi, and Thallain aren't doing their job very well then. At the very least, the FBI should believe there's a lot more active serial killers to cover up the supernatural mass murder.

                      This is... kinda of literally the CofD's pitch as one of the things that separate it from the WoD. The CofD is a setting where humanity has a learned apathy around the supernatural because ignoring it subconsciously is ultimately safer. The CofD defines itself as a place where humans do react differently. When making mortals, you're supposed to consider at least one event where they encountered the supernatural and rationalized or forgot the specifics about it.
                      Uhm, this is just flat out confusing me. One of the big sales pitches is that Chronicles of Darkness does NOT take place in a "World of Darkness." It takes place in "our" world. That means that it is far less dark and more "normal" than its alternative.

                      That's not how the WoD is presented. It says humans don't react fundamentally differently from reality, and that's why the masquerade/etc. are all so important. Because humans aren't going to just sweep things under the rug, they're going to freak out. Werewolf and Changeling are the only WoD lines with some sort of "and mortals don't realize" mechanics, and they're overt supernatural effects.
                      I'm basically saying that I think of humans in the WOD about 20% suckier.

                      This is kinda dodging the point. The point is there isn't a need to massively inflate real world numbers when those numbers are more than large enough to absorb the effect of supernaturals as presented. They're rare enough that maybe things go up a little, but not enough you'd notice without the ability to crunch the numbers in both worlds and compare them.
                      Fair enough.

                      And most of the wars betweens supernaturals are actually good and secret such they don't enter the general consciousness accept the most extreme cases. "Heavy casualties" is also a matter of how rare supernaturals are. A battle that kills 50 Garou is a massive loss for them, and a blip on the radar of humanity if the bodies are ever even seen by normal folks.
                      I think of the World of Darkness as best represented by Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. Say the game takes place over the course of three weeks.

                      * You encounter an apocalypse cult the CDC covers up the aftermath of
                      * You deal with a Serial Killer
                      * The Sabbat has made a snuff film and abbatoir of a local hotel and apartment complex.
                      * You have a Nagaraja kill an amateur film crew
                      * You have to murder some people as well.
                      * There's a vigilante serial killer Gangrel on the loose

                      For me, that's not too abnormal for the life of a Kindred. The bad is always bumping up against the bad.


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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Thoth View Post
                        I think a major issue with the WoD vs. IRL discussions on how dark & gritty things should be is that many people haven't got the faintest clue how dark and gritty our world actually is.

                        Amusingly, I wrote this awhile back.

                        http://unitedfederationofcharles.blo...cyberpunk.html

                        The Sex Pistols said we had No Future and well, here we are.

                        We became a Gothic Punk world.


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

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          snip of big list
                          So many of these things are such radical changes that the state premises of the games don't hold up.


                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          Sabbat, Formori, Nephandi, and Thallain aren't doing their job very well then. At the very least, the FBI should believe there's a lot more active serial killers to cover up the supernatural mass murder.
                          Serial killing and mass murder aren't the same thing.

                          The Sabbat aren't generally serial killers, even if many are part of mass murders. Incidentally many of the places the Sect has been presented as the most active correspond to places with lots of mass murders (including, you know, the US).

                          Fomori are rarely either. Some rather potent ones might get up to being mass murderers, and Gorehounds are movie slashers over true serial killers.

                          The Nephandi (you keep bringing them up... but it feels like you're just name checking the 'evil' factions without actually looking at how they're described as operating) and the Thallain are even less likely to actually bother racking up major body counts.

                          The bad guy factions of the WoD are generally written with more depth to them than just being violent brutes. Most of them are, in fact, far more interested in being subtle and causing harm on a more massive scale by making the world darker in less obvious but more impactful in the long term sorts of ways. A Nephandus is generally not going to be racist... but will have no problem stoking racists, helping racist organizations flourish and find recruits while avoiding legal problems, and similar tactics to just make the world suck that much more.

                          Uhm, this is just flat out confusing me. One of the big sales pitches is that Chronicles of Darkness does NOT take place in a "World of Darkness." It takes place in "our" world. That means that it is far less dark and more "normal" than its alternative.
                          I have no idea where you're getting this assertion from. The CofD was called World of Darkness before the rebranding after all.

                          But to quote CofD 2e core, page 17, "These are the Chronicles of Darkness, tales of a world like ours, but just slightly wrong. A place we recognize, but where our fears take on lives of their own."

                          Note, "like our own," not "our world."

                          The differences in the general concept between them is that the WoD is more stylistically exaggerated, where the CofD is foggy. To paraphrase V20, the WoD is a world with the contrast dialed way up so those with power stand in obvious difference to those without. Meanwhile the CofD is a world with the contrast dialed down low, blurring everything so there's less clear lines and less certainty of who's right or who's wrong; of what real power anyway.

                          Or more simply, the CofD is Gothic, not Gothic-Punk.

                          This doesn't denote the CofD being more "normal."

                          And more importantly, it doesn't address a very key difference between the settings. The WoD assumes the masquerade/etc. are necessary as strong in-universe edicts because humans wouldn't turn a blind eye to the supernatural if they saw it. The CofD assumes secrecy is useful, but flexible because most humans will prefer the safety of ignorance over the dangers of looking too hard at the world.

                          I'm basically saying that I think of humans in the WOD about 20% suckier.
                          I don't think "suckiness" has to do with how a game presents the idea of what happens if the masquerade of urban fantasy falls.

                          I think of the World of Darkness as best represented by Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines.
                          I couldn't disagree more. The game hits some nice points on the atmosphere and style of the WoD, but it's drastically different from how the TT books present things.

                          Freak Legion might not be a great book, but the opening comic? That's the World of Darkness. Not some action packed romp of kicking ass and feeling awesome where things like Humanity and the Masquerade are easily gamed numbers. A small fry getting shat on by the world, and freeing himself from his shitty life feels good for all of a few hours before the consequences drive him into something far worse than he could have imagined.

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                          • #14
                            Eh, to each their own.

                            I admit, I prefer my World of Darkness to be a bit Gotham City meets Cyberpunk except magic replaces the hardware.

                            Every shadow contains some new and horrible secret.


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

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                            • #15
                              I assume the World of Darkness is every bit as awful, scary, corrupt, and evil as how the real world is portrayed on cable news.


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