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  • #46
    Originally posted by Thoth View Post
    The tricky part about the church in WoD is that it both solves one of the great dilemmas about faith and fractures the setting with its implications.
    The biggest issue with any religious group is that it is next to impossible to prove the validity of the scriptures. But in WoD all you have to do is wheel out some one with a True Faith rating and produce a miracle more or less on command. This will then have a domino affect by reaffirming other peoples faith which in turn means that more and more people will end up with a True Faith score. Thus you could have one hell of a recruitment drive just by having miracle workers getting the masses on the path of righteousness.
    On the other hand there is the WoD basic principle that everything is darker/meaner/worse off variant of our own world. So in the movie

    Spotlight
    it is suggested that like 50% of catholic priests are sexually active when under a vow of celibacy, and regrettably 10% are abusing children. Just taking those numbers as a baseline from our own world, then we apply the WoD rule about being worse than our own world, the numbers and results get pretty disgusting. If you want a PR nightmare that could cause religious schisms, imagine what would happen if a True Faith user got outed for chasing children? Either it would cause mass backlash due to people rejecting the idea of true faith being tied to the church and probably believing it to be an example of mutation like X-Men power or it would form a new gospel where child abuse is considered part of the sacrament.
    Now as much as this is an interesting concept to play around with, there is a potentially more setting breaking scenario that can result from following this to its logical conclusion. Humans have an annoying habit of over simplifying things down to basic ideas, i.e. something is good or evil. But where things get interesting is that there is often a logic jump that can occur to create odd conclusions. So if a bunch of priests are publicly shown to be wielding miracles, then god must exist. Thus you have a massive surge in religious fervor, but if god exists then so must the devil, and if the devil exists so must all the other supernatural nonsense that gets associated with evil.
    So in a weird way you can make a case for the church being a proponent of actually trying to give the world proof of magic, vampires, miracles, etc. just to shore up their own power structure and congregations. If the church was fine with charging cash donations in exchange for removing sin in the form of the

    Indulgences
    then can you imagine what would happen if they could use the verifiable threat of vampirism to ensure donations and congregation numbers? White Wolf could probably get an entire set of rules books out of just working out how the church functions depending on its internal corruption and push for showing the public proof of the divine or the at least the vampiric.
    In short the instant human greed and short sightedness gets put into the mix, yeah it is going to be incredibly messy and break the setting on a fundamental level.
    A lot of this becomes more stable in the WoD as-written by the presence of Mage: The Ascension. There, the existence of True Faith not only makes True Faith itself more common, but makes a Consensus more amenable to miracles.

    Hence why the Technocracy exists.

    They quash belief in the supernatural, through any means necessary. Even underhanded means. Sure, many priests ARE kiddy fiddlers, but in the WoD, it could be that many folks with True Faith have been falsely accused of same, as a ploy by Technocrats to undermine public confidence in religious leaders and institutions. Combine this with the vampires who have a personal vested interest in destroying sources of True Faith, and is it any wonder that those who possess such a gift keep quiet about it?

    (Let's not even get into the Order of Reason having had an entire faction - the Cabal of Pure Thought - devoted to maintaining the sect's interests within the Church. While they were decimated and indoctrinated later on, as part of the Technocracy's secularizing, in a sense they did their job.)


    As an aside, that bit about belief in God also promoting a belief in the devil has interesting possibilities. Looking over at that other major TTRPG - Dungeons & Dragons - we typically see a world where both the divine and demonic (both actual demons and devils, and everything in between) have their supporters. Sure, the devil and/or demon worshipers tend to remain hidden, but to a certain extent there's a reason they still have followers. Namely that, in a Manichean world where both Celestials and Fiends exist, it can be easy for common folk (especially those already predisposed towards temptation or wickedness) to see Evil as equally valid to Good, at least in the sense that it gives the person what they want and provides for their afterlife. If a person is already damned for their wickedness, they might as well get in good with Asmodeus or Baphomet, in the hopes of securing a cushier damnation. That selling one's soul to Archfiends tends to be a shortcut to temporal and supernatural power is just icing on the cake.

    (Sure, most of them are probably overly optimistic about their future, but foolishness never stopped anyone from doing anything, especially when short-term gains are on the line. Everyone assumes they'll be the ones that please "the boss" enough to avoid becoming a Lemure - assuming they even know what fate has in store for a damned soul in D&D. As such, people make deals, the Archdukes of Hell meet their soul quotas, and the Blood War gets new soldiers. Such has it been, so shall it be.)

    My point being that, in a hypothetical timeline of the World of Darkness where True Faith were more proven and the Church had more influence, we might also see a greater number of Infernalists. If folks believe the devil is real, they're more likely to seek to bargain with him.
    Last edited by Bluecho; 01-13-2020, 04:18 AM.


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    • #47
      Given the World of Darkness's pulp roots, here's an idea: the Americas have far more extant (though not necessarily widely known) ruins and sites dating from pre-Columbian times.

      Remember, prior to the arrival of the Europeans and their death-plagues, the "New World" is thought have had a population not dissimilar to that of the "Old World". With that came thriving cities and cultures, such as those of the Mississippian cities of Cahokia and Etowah, and the Mogollon Casas Grandes and Gila Cliffs. The Maya, Inca, Aztec, and Olmec civilizations, of course, need no introduction. We even have smaller and older sites, like the "Mummy Cave" in Park County, Wyoming, a 9000 year old site that contained cultural artifacts and an intact mummy.

      The World of Darkness could have - or at least HAD - more surviving sites of pre-contact native construction/occupation, whether burial mounds, cities, or even tunnels and caves. Some or even many sites could have been - and may still be - occupied by one supernatural group or another.

      Some of them might have been destroyed - or just made inaccessible - by various forces, throughout the centuries. Old Garou cairns or fortresses destroyed by Wyrmish action or early Pentex activity. Native or immigrant Vampires making havens in such places, either becoming attacks and/or sealed within buried locations or else using their own Disciplines and/or blood magic to hide them from mortals. Even racist mortals - including some Technocrats - who went out of their way to destroy heritage sites they found, in an desire to erase native history and promote a narrative of the aboriginal peoples of the Americas being savages, until Europeans came to "civilize" them. (That such sites might have been the secret Sancta of native Mages made them all the more tempting targets for Technocrats).

      Still, even moreso than in our world, America in the World of Darkness might be teeming with ruins, tucked away in the wilderness, or even nearby to (or under) modern cities. Ancient tunnels incorporated into Nosferatu warrens. Daily battles over state and federal funding to preserve native heritage sites, with numerous forces (Technocracy, Pentex, Black Spiral Dancers, angry Vampires, etc.) trying to kill such programs and let the sites be paved over (or claimed, if the site has supernatural value). Sabbat packs taking shelter in cliffside cities or caves, staked out in the early years of European colonization, where the oldest Ritae were synthesized from European and Native blood magic rituals. And, of course, the always ubiquitous location where some hoary Methuselah lays torbid, waiting to awaken or be Diablerized.


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      • #48
        It occurs to me that any setting where True Faith threatens to spread like wildfire would see a vampiric counter-inquisition working to stamp it out and cover it up.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Reasor View Post
          It occurs to me that any setting where True Faith threatens to spread like wildfire would see a vampiric counter-inquisition working to stamp it out and cover it up.
          The Lasombra may be a major reason for why the Catholic Church became an empire in the WOD.


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

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
            Given the World of Darkness's pulp roots, here's an idea: the Americas have far more extant (though not necessarily widely known) ruins and sites dating from pre-Columbian times.

            Remember, prior to the arrival of the Europeans and their death-plagues, the "New World" is thought have had a population not dissimilar to that of the "Old World". With that came thriving cities and cultures, such as those of the Mississippian cities of Cahokia and Etowah, and the Mogollon Casas Grandes and Gila Cliffs. The Maya, Inca, Aztec, and Olmec civilizations, of course, need no introduction. We even have smaller and older sites, like the "Mummy Cave" in Park County, Wyoming, a 9000 year old site that contained cultural artifacts and an intact mummy.
            And now I am thinking about a spin off game where a group of 4th gen vampires who were patrons of the Beringian tribes exit torpor in the modern age. Well it's not like we needed the west coast to be intact anyways.... Though after a certain point doesn't this just become a variant of a Deadlands game?

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            • #51
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

              The Lasombra may be a major reason for why the Catholic Church became an empire in the WOD.
              In my current TC game, the Lasombra and Torries were chiefly responsible for the Inquisition. They taught mortals in the Church how to hunt vampires, using them as pawns in the Shadow Reconquista, and the Torries merrily played ball during the Albigensian Crusade. They were confident in their ability to control the Church and corrupt mortals away from True Faith, but enough slipped through the cracks to wrestle control of the Inquisition away.

              EDIT: As a player, my TC group's crowning achievement was kinda...single-handedly destroying the French Revolution. There's a scene in that story where the PC's get a good look at most of the Revolution's key players, Cainite and mortal. Apparently, White Wolf's writers did that scene not remembering how Summoning works, and God forbid elder vampires have access to the fourth level of one of the most common disciplines in the game. We may or may not have summoned a whole bunch of Jacobins, and handed them to the coterie's Setite to do Dismemberment of Osiris.

              Not a whole lot you can do in a story about the French Revolution when Maximilien Robespierre's cock is fish food.
              Last edited by Theodrim; 01-23-2020, 11:21 PM.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Theodrim View Post
                EDIT: As a player, my TC group's crowning achievement was kinda...single-handedly destroying the French Revolution. There's a scene in that story where the PC's get a good look at most of the Revolution's key players, Cainite and mortal. Apparently, White Wolf's writers did that scene not remembering how Summoning works, and God forbid elder vampires have access to the fourth level of one of the most common disciplines in the game. We may or may not have summoned a whole bunch of Jacobins, and handed them to the coterie's Setite to do Dismemberment of Osiris.

                Not a whole lot you can do in a story about the French Revolution when Maximilien Robespierre's cock is fish food.
                While funny and would probably change details, it's my understanding that the French Revolution was the culmination of years of systemic abuses by the French aristocracy. Discontent was at an all time high.

                So even if the heads of the revolution were to disappear suddenly, I'm skeptical this would actually prevent it from happening. Any of the multitude of pissed off French peasants could and probably would have stepped up to take their place. Might even add fuel to the fire, if the Jacobins that disappeared were well known. Make them into martyrs that the common folk rally behind. Even if not, though, long-standing and widespread discontent doesn't just go away if you remove a few individuals.

                There's a reason the "Great Man Theory" of history is debated and questioned in intellectual circles, and contrasted with the People's History.


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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                  While funny and would probably change details, it's my understanding that the French Revolution was the culmination of years of systemic abuses by the French aristocracy. Discontent was at an all time high.

                  So even if the heads of the revolution were to disappear suddenly, I'm skeptical this would actually prevent it from happening. Any of the multitude of pissed off French peasants could and probably would have stepped up to take their place. Might even add fuel to the fire, if the Jacobins that disappeared were well known. Make them into martyrs that the common folk rally behind. Even if not, though, long-standing and widespread discontent doesn't just go away if you remove a few individuals.

                  There's a reason the "Great Man Theory" of history is debated and questioned in intellectual circles, and contrasted with the People's History.
                  To derail the conversation a bit, the French Revolution is fascinating because it's actually a series of micro-revolutions against the previously successful Revolution. So killing Robspierre would have probably prevented one of the Revolutions because the other Revolution had already succeeded. Derailing the entire thing is a lot harder but there was a lot of in-fighting that ultimately got resolved by Napoleon's military coup, yet even he declared himself the Protector of the Revolution.

                  Or to reframe, "If you killed Stalin then the Russian Revolution already happened and there'd be replacement Soviet dictators or conflicts among them but it probably would be very different."

                  This showed up in my superhero universe, THE SUPERVILLAINY SAGA, where historically the Superman-equivalent stopped Hitler early on. This resulted in them having to deal with a fascist dictator called the Supreme Phantom instead who is the universe's Hitler equivalent who conquered much of Europe using superscience instead.


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

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                    So even if the heads of the revolution were to disappear suddenly, I'm skeptical this would actually prevent it from happening. Any of the multitude of pissed off French peasants could and probably would have stepped up to take their place. Might even add fuel to the fire, if the Jacobins that disappeared were well known. Make them into martyrs that the common folk rally behind. Even if not, though, long-standing and widespread discontent doesn't just go away if you remove a few individuals.
                    The thing is you gotta remember how Dismemberment of Osiris works. The lector-priest ritualistically sacrifices the victim, and the movement/group they were a part of suffers calamitous failure. And he was doing that to literally every major revolutionary we could get our hands on.

                    We didn't prevent the Revolution, we destroyed it. The National Assembly ended up such a catastrophic clusterfuck their attempts at economic reform backfired horribly, and their attempt to create a constitution completely failed. Popular will turned against the Assembly, and the sentiment was exploited by French moderates and royalists; Louis XVI's own proffered attempts at reform took hold, and because the royal family never attempted to flee Paris, he regained the trust of the people and managed to create a constitutional monarchy. Or something like that, this was fifteen years ago; key points were the revolutionaries pooched it so hard the end result was a constitutional monarchy and restoration of Louis XVI to power.

                    Kinda backfired for the group, though. Only reason any of us were remotely interested in going to Paris in the first place was it would have been a primo opportunity to eat Francois Villon, who had been on the menu for a few stories. Actually, thinking about it, that was the entire reason we went balls-deep on the Revolution; they screwed us out of our opportunity to chow down on the little fucker. We ended up inadvertently restoring him to power in France, which kind of made us feel like grade-A morons...but on the other hand none of us were saying "no" to that mountain of boons.
                    Last edited by Theodrim; 01-24-2020, 04:48 AM.

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                    • #55
                      It's not enough to kill Baby Hitler to prevent WWII, you have to kill everyone alive in the first half of the 20th century who could speak German. And Russian. And Spanish. And Hungarian. And Italian. And Japanese. And Canadian. Then, and only then, will you have prevented WWII.

                      Joking aside, history progresses and changes based on large scale forces and rarely comes down to even a handful of people, or events. There are exception, and I think an interesting game could be the PC changing history at the Battle of Hastings, or the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, or preventing the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Or, if they PC really want to play shit-heels, they could have Spain and Germany formally ally.

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                      • #56
                        Eh, it worked for his game clearly. Realism isn't always the best thing to do game-wise. Sometimes entertainment trumps historical accuracy and that means you let the vampires dramatically alter history.

                        I liked how Jason Carl homaged the French Revolution section of the Transylvania Chronicles in LA by Night.



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

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                          ...history progresses and changes based on large scale forces and rarely comes down to even a handful of people, or events...
                          And likewise, history progresses and changes in retrospect according to the whims of those with ulterior political motives. One should always be careful to examine their sources, and those sources' intentions, and contrast against fact. The French Revolution is absolutely no different, and the reality is the Revolution was waged of, by, and for the same parties responsible for it -- nobility displeased with the crown, and the bourgeois. They were those in opposition to the crown's tax reforms (God forbid, a society's oligarchs be expected to pay their fair share of taxes and for wars they wanted), and in support of grain trade liberalization. Said parties seized upon popular resentment and redirected it away from themselves, which would be a common theme in the Revolution culminating in the Reign of Terror.

                          The same shit happened in the American Revolution, yet few seem to take note our greatest revolutionaries just so happened to be those whose land grants were revoked in the Proclamation of 1763, and those whose trades were threatened by British tax reform. So help you if you point out the Boston Tea Party was a protest over a tax cut.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                            Joking aside, history progresses and changes based on large scale forces and rarely comes down to even a handful of people, or events.
                            It's always felt to me like the WoD is a pretty strong (if unintentional) proponent of great man theory, where its history often does come down to just a handful of people. The various Antediluvians, methuselahs, big-name elders, and signature characters all have decisive roles in how historic events play out. You can easily argue that "if Rafael de Corazon didn't make his speech about the Masquerade, Kindred society would have gotten stricter about the Silence of the Blood anyway," but that's not what the setting insinuates. The less-developed WoD game lines, which had fewer NPCs and fleshed-out events, consequently tended to place even greater significance on the actions of a few characters. Wraith: The Oblivion's entire history basically resolves around Charon, or at least Stygia's history. (That's partly why I liked the debunked rumor that "he" was really just a series of wraiths wearing the same mask to provide a symbol and sense of leadership continuity to Stygia's wraiths.)

                            Now in fairness, this is very common in fictional settings, especially fantasy/sci-fi ones where characters have superhuman abilities. It is much easier to write/film a compelling story about a handful of characters whose actions change the world than it is to write about long-term trends and large-scale forces that make individual actions mostly irrelevant.

                            Chronicles of Darkness feels like it hews a lot closer to "social realism" than the WoD in that regard. Just compare Constantinople by Night to Requiem for Rome's "Slouch into Byzantium" section. It's the same city, but none of the Requiem NPCs live anywhere nearly as long or have anywhere nearly as great an impact on their fellows' lives as the Masquerade NPCs do.

                            I also liked Constantinople by Night more than Slouch into Byzantium, which goes to show the "much easier to write a compelling story..." part of the above.


                            Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post

                              It's always felt to me like the WoD is a pretty strong (if unintentional) proponent of great man theory, where its history often does come down to just a handful of people...
                              Necessary disclaimer for the sake of clarity, history and the past are two different things. History is an interpretive discipline, and concerned with the construction and analysis of narrative and metanarrative about the past. Archaeology and anthropology are about the past as such.

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                              • #60
                                Theodrim I don't understand. What's the difference?


                                Stuff I like about gaming: Cosmology, romance, history, setting stuff in general Stuff I don’t like: Rules, arguments about abstract concepts, really long combats

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