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  • #16
    I have a hard time considering the Neverborn, or even Grandmother for that matter, to be a part of Oblivion. If they were, they wouldn't exist as separate things. They want Oblivion, sure, but they want other things as well. Indeed there's a good argument that all of their pain and Angst arises because they can't have Oblivion. Also Orpheus has a different set of themes than Wraith, so even if Grandmother is the actual embodiment of Oblivion she gives us only limited insight.


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    • #17
      Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
      I have a hard time considering the Neverborn, or even Grandmother for that matter, to be a part of Oblivion. If they were, they wouldn't exist as separate things. They want Oblivion, sure, but they want other things as well. Indeed there's a good argument that all of their pain and Angst arises because they can't have Oblivion. Also Orpheus has a different set of themes than Wraith, so even if Grandmother is the actual embodiment of Oblivion she gives us only limited insight.
      There's Oblivion the Force, however, and Oblivion the Army. The two are both called Oblivion but one is passive and the other is an Angst-fuelled legion of hate. However, both can be understood as Oblivion in the wider sense. Hence, it really depends how you're using the term. You're right; the Neverborn probably have so much Angst because they want to be nothing again. But then, at the same time, they also don't, or they'd throw themselves into the Void. Orpheus explores that contradiction more (yes, I know it's not canon, but the theme is there in Wraith too).

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      • #18
        Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

        There's Oblivion the Force, however, and Oblivion the Army. The two are both called Oblivion but one is passive and the other is an Angst-fuelled legion of hate. However, both can be understood as Oblivion in the wider sense. Hence, it really depends how you're using the term. You're right; the Neverborn probably have so much Angst because they want to be nothing again. But then, at the same time, they also don't, or they'd throw themselves into the Void. Orpheus explores that contradiction more (yes, I know it's not canon, but the theme is there in Wraith too).
        Ultimately that's just spectral propaganda though. They can call themselves whatever they want, but they don't represent Oblivion, they don't hear from Oblivion, and in one of those delightful ironies that make Wraith what it is, they continue to struggle against its inevitable gravity.

        But there's something else that makes me doubt their associations with Oblivion: Harrowings. Harrowings, corrupted though they may be now, are remnants of a system for helping Wraiths move on. Though Spectres may delight in the chance to torment, they are still forced participants. In fact, of the two elements that are metaphysically forced on Spectres- Harrowings and the Hive Mind- neither one seems to have anything to do with Oblivion itself.


        Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

          Ultimately that's just spectral propaganda though. They can call themselves whatever they want, but they don't represent Oblivion, they don't hear from Oblivion, and in one of those delightful ironies that make Wraith what it is, they continue to struggle against its inevitable gravity.

          But there's something else that makes me doubt their associations with Oblivion: Harrowings. Harrowings, corrupted though they may be now, are remnants of a system for helping Wraiths move on. Though Spectres may delight in the chance to torment, they are still forced participants. In fact, of the two elements that are metaphysically forced on Spectres- Harrowings and the Hive Mind- neither one seems to have anything to do with Oblivion itself.
          Transcendence is just a nicer way to meet Oblivion, IMO. Sometimes it's the route to reincarnation, but usually it just means a less painful way of becoming nothing again. Harrowings would, if that were the case, still serve Oblivion. Moreover, if you fail a Harrowing, you come closer to Oblivion but via the painful route--so win-win for Oblivion.

          As for the Hive-Mind? I've always read it as a connection to Oblivion itself. The self erodes by becoming part of the ocean of voices. That ocean is the funnelling portal leading to Oblivion. It's all a part of losing the unique ties that make you exist.

          Likewise, the Maelstroms are active and seem to spew out all kinds of matter, but they're still a part of Oblivion. Their task is to be the eroding wind, as the Hive-Mind is the drowning water, that carries you off to Oblivion. Oblivion is omnipresent. It is both a black hole and its gravitational pull. Spectres are the gravitons that effect that pull. The Well of the Void is just its event horizon.
          Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 01-08-2017, 07:36 PM.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

            Transcendence is just a nicer way to meet Oblivion, IMO. Sometimes it's the route to reincarnation, but usually it just means a less painful way of becoming nothing again. Harrowings would, if that were the case, still serve Oblivion. Moreover, if you fail a Harrowing, you come closer to Oblivion but via the painful route--so win-win for Oblivion.

            As for the Hive-Mind? I've always read it as a connection to Oblivion itself. The self erodes by becoming part of the ocean of voices. That ocean is the funnelling portal leading to Oblivion. It's all a part of losing the unique ties that make you exist.

            Likewise, the Maelstroms are active and seem to spew out all kinds of matter, but they're still a part of Oblivion. Their task is to be the eroding wind, as the Hive-Mind is the drowning water, that carries you off to Oblivion. Oblivion is omnipresent. It is both a black hole and its gravitational pull. Spectres are the gravitons that effect that pull. The Well of the Void is just its event horizon.
            We are getting into very different interpretations of the Underworld now, so let me get this out of the way. Your view is right. It is a perfectly reasonable picture of what is going on, and most of our differences seem to be a matter of perspective. Indeed, I'm not sure there is any concrete way of looking at the relationship between Oblivion and those near it.

            But I do find it more interesting to view Spectres as the forces of Angst that gather near the horribleness of Oblivion because of the promise of respite. They claim to serve its interests but they don't because it doesn't have any interests (or they do because everything eventually serves its interests). I think it raises more interesting questions about character and identity if the degeneration of Angst is in the human condition and not just the gravity of some external force. I also think it fits better with Oblivion as a passive corrupter, rather than the active one we already have in other cWoD games.

            Speaking of Transcendence, here's my view on that.

            Wraiths aren't the complete soul, they are the part that can't let go of the world and the part that wants to forget it. The soul is moving on one way or the other, the question is just if the Wraith can let go and take his experiences with it or be torn free so it can go without him. So in one sense both Transcendence and Oblivion lead to the same place, yet the difference between the two of them is very important.

            The Shadow says: "I would rather end than face Eternity as I am now."
            The Psyche says: "I would rather face Eternity as I am now than change into something else."
            The Eidolon says: "This train is departing as soon as you stop blocking the door. Are you in or out?"


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            • #21
              Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

              We are getting into very different interpretations of the Underworld now, so let me get this out of the way. Your view is right. It is a perfectly reasonable picture of what is going on, and most of our differences seem to be a matter of perspective. Indeed, I'm not sure there is any concrete way of looking at the relationship between Oblivion and those near it.

              But I do find it more interesting to view Spectres as the forces of Angst that gather near the horribleness of Oblivion because of the promise of respite. They claim to serve its interests but they don't because it doesn't have any interests (or they do because everything eventually serves its interests). I think it raises more interesting questions about character and identity if the degeneration of Angst is in the human condition and not just the gravity of some external force. I also think it fits better with Oblivion as a passive corrupter, rather than the active one we already have in other cWoD games.

              Speaking of Transcendence, here's my view on that.

              Wraiths aren't the complete soul, they are the part that can't let go of the world and the part that wants to forget it. The soul is moving on one way or the other, the question is just if the Wraith can let go and take his experiences with it or be torn free so it can go without him. So in one sense both Transcendence and Oblivion lead to the same place, yet the difference between the two of them is very important.

              The Shadow says: "I would rather end than face Eternity as I am now."
              The Psyche says: "I would rather face Eternity as I am now than change into something else."
              The Eidolon says: "This train is departing as soon as you stop blocking the door. Are you in or out?"
              Except that there is no reason to think that Wraith should have a different viewpoint on corruption. It's part of the World of Darkness and pretty much every line shows the pull of Oblivion, the degeneration of the World, the encroaching Darkness. Vampires are all damned from the get go. The Wyrm is eating Reality alive. The very way in which the Entropy Sphere is characterized demonstrates that it's all about things falling apar (even when it isn't, but that's Mage for you). Changelings are withering under the Disbelief of a jaded Cosmos. And so on.

              Why should the ultimate corrupter be just ultimate but not corrupt? Why should Oblivion be just "POP!" followed by sweet, sweet nonexistence? That goes against the ultimate grain of fundamentals of every line.

              In the same way Transcendence is representative of the elusive "way out". Just like Golconda. Or Ascension. It MAY not even exist. But it MIGHT. And if it does.... then there is a tiny flickering candle flame against the endless encroaching darkness. Which TBH, makes the darkness that much worse. And, if it's all a lie that everyone is telling to gain a sense of false comfort... .well, that makes it all that much worse. (Though, even with the "resistance" ideologies out there, those eutrophic states are all in play in each game as per their rules and the choice to NOT have them be a part is ultimately and weirdly one that the ST has to positively and proactively make..)

              And, while I do like your Shadow/Psyche/Eidolon passion play, I don't see that Transcendence necessarily or even realistically SHOULD equal Oblivion, just by the back door. Sure it's beautifully nihilistic but, ultimately, even that gets tired. If there's no way out at all and all hope is false hope then there is literally no point to do doing anything. You're just going to lose. Even raging against the dying of the light is pointless and absurd. That can work for games that come at it from another direction than a set of games that are supposed to be about passionate intensity. Most players and gamers shy away from it being that dark. Ultimately, there's a reason why that works better for games like Call of Cthulhu, where the discovery of the uncaring universe is written into the game as a degeneration that ultimately resets the play experience for almost every player's character. Figuring out the suckitude of it all drives the character hopelessly insane. Rinse and repeat. Second verse, same as the first. But, hey, you know what's going to happen going in, right?.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Ajax View Post

                Except that there is no reason to think that Wraith should have a different viewpoint on corruption. It's part of the World of Darkness and pretty much every line shows the pull of Oblivion, the degeneration of the World, the encroaching Darkness. Vampires are all damned from the get go. The Wyrm is eating Reality alive. The very way in which the Entropy Sphere is characterized demonstrates that it's all about things falling apar (even when it isn't, but that's Mage for you). Changelings are withering under the Disbelief of a jaded Cosmos. And so on.

                Why should the ultimate corrupter be just ultimate but not corrupt? Why should Oblivion be just "POP!" followed by sweet, sweet nonexistence? That goes against the ultimate grain of fundamentals of every line.
                Does it corrupt though? I see the corruption of the Spectres as a largely self-inflicted thing; the product of their own self hatred. Oblivion eats away and lessens and lets its victims fill themselves in with what they will. It just so happens that those who want to be eaten away have a lot of Angst to fill the void with.

                I don't see the lines as all that similar either. Werewolf is a game about dealing with personifications so it fits for corruption to be an eldritch abomination. Mage is about human potential, so Entropy becomes another part of the process not a dread inevitability. Not every game needs a Corrupter, even when corruption and degradation are a major theme. Wraith is a personal game about what we do to ourselves, so placing responsibility for that on something else goes against the grain for me.

                And, while I do like your Shadow/Psyche/Eidolon passion play, I don't see that Transcendence necessarily or even realistically SHOULD equal Oblivion, just by the back door. Sure it's beautifully nihilistic but, ultimately, even that gets tired. If there's no way out at all and all hope is false hope then there is literally no point to do doing anything. You're just going to lose. Even raging against the dying of the light is pointless and absurd. That can work for games that come at it from another direction than a set of games that are supposed to be about passionate intensity. Most players and gamers shy away from it being that dark. Ultimately, there's a reason why that works better for games like Call of Cthulhu, where the discovery of the uncaring universe is written into the game as a degeneration that ultimately resets the play experience for almost every player's character. Figuring out the suckitude of it all drives the character hopelessly insane. Rinse and repeat. Second verse, same as the first. But, hey, you know what's going to happen going in, right?.
                I actually think of it the other way around. Transcendence is the inevitability, Oblivion is merely an optional step in the process. At the very worst the only thing that will be annihilated is the fragments of the person that would rather die than let go. Terrifying for the fragments, although possibly not as terrifying as the prospect that they are only the fragments.


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                • #23
                  That's a point of view, sure. But it's just as easy, and borne out directly in the game source material, that the corruption is not incidental to the atrophy. The corruption is an aspect of the atrophy, and, in fact an integral part of it. That's a part of succumbing to Oblivion. Anger, hate, the Dark Side, loosing individual identity, they aren't a groupthink coping mechanism, they're evidence that the fight is being lost. Otherwise, other methodologies would inevitably arise and we would see the "cuddly teddy bear going beddy-bye and slipping away to soothing lullaby" Specters. We don't. We see one flavor. That's because that's the only flavor there is. Dust and the slippery mass of decaying matter just don't taste good. Neither

                  The difference in the aims and methodology of the Wyrm, Oblivion and Nephandi (when taken as a whole) are negligible. All are the ultimate "big bads" of their game lines and they are all, essentially the same thing skinned appropriately. It's not about what the game is about, it's about what the game is against . The different stats are fighting their face of EVIL appropriate to the basic themes of the game in question. It's where those games pivot away from Vampire which is almost entirely about personal horror or collectivized horror to having an actual externalized struggle with a coherent structure of badness. (Not that there isn't a lot of personal horror in Wraith, a smidge in Werewolf and the possibility of it in Mage, it's just not what they are structured to be about.) (I guess the Baali and the Black Hand are sorta kinds attempts to poke at a similar idea. But they really don't cut it as they aren't fundamental to the underlying structure of Vampire, they're just a bunch of bad vampires acting particularly naughty.)

                  Which isn't seeing it the other way at all. You're saying Transcendence is non-existence. So is Oblivion. If they end result is the same, the equivalence stands. That's another opinion. The answer we're given is that that is ONE possibility, but the only "truth" about Transcendence is that what it is is unknown. The idea that Transcendence just leads to Oblivion by a gentler path seems just as likely to be propaganda by those who have reasons to avoid it. Which is, in fact the Stygian party line. But, in your interpretation Eidolons are not really anything different than Shadows whispering at you from a different corner. Shadows are counseling you go out by graphic self-mutilation/take as many down with you as you- style suicide and Eidolons suggesting you just take the bottle of happy Transcendence pills and slip away.

                  Which is certainly a type of Wraith game. A really, really bleak type of Wraith game that will appeal to a select group of people who want to explore that kind of aggravated nihilism. It's not, strictly speaking, Wraith as written. Sorta "Face Death.... And Turn Away in Utter Despair At the Bleakness and Pointlessness of Everything".

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Ajax View Post
                    That's a point of view, sure. But it's just as easy, and borne out directly in the game source material, that the corruption is not incidental to the atrophy. The corruption is an aspect of the atrophy, and, in fact an integral part of it. That's a part of succumbing to Oblivion. Anger, hate, the Dark Side, loosing individual identity, they aren't a groupthink coping mechanism, they're evidence that the fight is being lost. Otherwise, other methodologies would inevitably arise and we would see the "cuddly teddy bear going beddy-bye and slipping away to soothing lullaby" Specters. We don't. We see one flavor. That's because that's the only flavor there is. Dust and the slippery mass of decaying matter just don't taste good. Neither
                    Yes, but is that corruption coming from Oblivion? Or is it that the level of pain and despair Angst represents is the only thing actually attracted to Oblivion?

                    And in fact, we do see "Go quietly into that good night" Spectres. Or rather we don't, but only because they plummet straight into the Maw of the Void. It's not that the Shadow Eaten universally want to spread misery and drag others into Oblivion, it's that only the ones that do have the drive to stick around. A particularly awful form of confirmation bias.

                    The difference in the aims and methodology of the Wyrm, Oblivion and Nephandi (when taken as a whole) are negligible. All are the ultimate "big bads" of their game lines and they are all, essentially the same thing skinned appropriately. It's not about what the game is about, it's about what the game is against . The different stats are fighting their face of EVIL appropriate to the basic themes of the game in question. It's where those games pivot away from Vampire which is almost entirely about personal horror or collectivized horror to having an actual externalized struggle with a coherent structure of badness. (Not that there isn't a lot of personal horror in Wraith, a smidge in Werewolf and the possibility of it in Mage, it's just not what they are structured to be about.) (I guess the Baali and the Black Hand are sorta kinds attempts to poke at a similar idea. But they really don't cut it as they aren't fundamental to the underlying structure of Vampire, they're just a bunch of bad vampires acting particularly naughty.)
                    Maybe this is one of the areas we differ in, but I see Wraith as being far more about personal horror than any kind of great struggle against evil. Don't get me wrong, Oblivion is horrifying and the Labyrinth is a better realized nightmare than any Caul or Black Spiral I can imagine, but they don't have to be any kind of imminent existential threat to the world to serve their purpose. The true horror of Oblivion is that no matter how unimaginably terrifying a prospect it is: part of your character wants it. There's no need for tainted chemicals, or spiritual possession, or even special dark rituals to corrupt you because you are already infected. Linger on in the Underworld long enough and you will eventually dive into that Void, and if you are really lucky, you won't become a monster on the way down.

                    Which isn't seeing it the other way at all. You're saying Transcendence is non-existence. So is Oblivion. If they end result is the same, the equivalence stands. That's another opinion. The answer we're given is that that is ONE possibility, but the only "truth" about Transcendence is that what it is is unknown. The idea that Transcendence just leads to Oblivion by a gentler path seems just as likely to be propaganda by those who have reasons to avoid it. Which is, in fact the Stygian party line. But, in your interpretation Eidolons are not really anything different than Shadows whispering at you from a different corner. Shadows are counseling you go out by graphic self-mutilation/take as many down with you as you- style suicide and Eidolons suggesting you just take the bottle of happy Transcendence pills and slip away.
                    No, I'm saying Transcendence is moving on. To the next life or the next stage of existence or whatever else comes after. My view (and it is explicitly head canon) is that most of the person's soul is already pulling towards Transcendence, but a few scraps are gripping the world too tightly. Those scraps are what we call Wraiths and Shadows. The soul is going to transcend, it's just waiting to see if the scraps will come with it or if they will be eaten away.





                    Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

                      Yes, but is that corruption coming from Oblivion? Or is it that the level of pain and despair Angst represents is the only thing actually attracted to Oblivion?

                      And in fact, we do see "Go quietly into that good night" Spectres. Or rather we don't, but only because they plummet straight into the Maw of the Void. It's not that the Shadow Eaten universally want to spread misery and drag others into Oblivion, it's that only the ones that do have the drive to stick around. A particularly awful form of confirmation bias.



                      Maybe this is one of the areas we differ in, but I see Wraith as being far more about personal horror than any kind of great struggle against evil. Don't get me wrong, Oblivion is horrifying and the Labyrinth is a better realized nightmare than any Caul or Black Spiral I can imagine, but they don't have to be any kind of imminent existential threat to the world to serve their purpose. The true horror of Oblivion is that no matter how unimaginably terrifying a prospect it is: part of your character wants it. There's no need for tainted chemicals, or spiritual possession, or even special dark rituals to corrupt you because you are already infected. Linger on in the Underworld long enough and you will eventually dive into that Void, and if you are really lucky, you won't become a monster on the way down.



                      No, I'm saying Transcendence is moving on. To the next life or the next stage of existence or whatever else comes after. My view (and it is explicitly head canon) is that most of the person's soul is already pulling towards Transcendence, but a few scraps are gripping the world too tightly. Those scraps are what we call Wraiths and Shadows. The soul is going to transcend, it's just waiting to see if the scraps will come with it or if they will be eaten away.


                      Sure it's coming from Oblivion. Just like the hivemind is an erosion of individuality, the anger and hate of Specters is characteristic way that Oblivion erodes away positive emotions. Effectively, specters are "Dark Creatures of the Id" with all the superego and ego getting sliced, worn, abraded, rotted away. Are they non-angry specters? Probably, but that's not what the various castes seem to show.

                      I'd say the "slip away quietly" Specters are just as Angst-y, just not in your face about it. And, since said slipping isn't really a given and there's a Psyche pulling back on that, they are getting thwarted. Quietly suicidal wraiths can get pretty angry in such cases, showing that road leads, once again to hate/fear/the Dark Side. It's not an easy road to be completely "yin" in one's nihilistic impulses. Self-negation typically takes some motivated action to bring about.

                      I don't think we differ on that at all. I've run 2, 3, maybe 4 Wraith game and played a bit here and there as well. I've never run or been in a game that was about "OBLIVION". It was about the characters dealing with being dead, how to manage their continued existence, how to deal with their divided soul, how to interact with the world already built around them by previous wraiths. The Tempest, their Spectral foes, Harrowings and their Shadows were the "fingers of Oblivion" in the game, but Stygia, like the Czar, was far away, and even it didn't matter so much. No Labyrinth spelunkers. No dedicated Specter killers marching off to the depths of Hell. Just... dead folks trying to get by in a fairly crappy, insane world. (Imagine living in a world where just "eating" could be used by the powers that be as a death penalty offense if they were feeling particularly snarky...)

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Ajax View Post

                        Sure it's coming from Oblivion. Just like the hivemind is an erosion of individuality, the anger and hate of Specters is characteristic way that Oblivion erodes away positive emotions. Effectively, specters are "Dark Creatures of the Id" with all the superego and ego getting sliced, worn, abraded, rotted away. Are they non-angry specters? Probably, but that's not what the various castes seem to show.

                        I'd say the "slip away quietly" Specters are just as Angst-y, just not in your face about it. And, since said slipping isn't really a given and there's a Psyche pulling back on that, they are getting thwarted. Quietly suicidal wraiths can get pretty angry in such cases, showing that road leads, once again to hate/fear/the Dark Side. It's not an easy road to be completely "yin" in one's nihilistic impulses. Self-negation typically takes some motivated action to bring about.
                        I'm of the opinion that most Shadow Eaten do go straight to Oblivion. Only around 1 in 20 people show up as wraiths, and while many of the other 19 immediately Transcend, it's extremely optimistic to assume all of them do. I also seem to recall that there are references to Shadows that plummet into Oblivion the moment they become Spectres too, but I'd have to check my books. And indeed, they would still be Angst ridden, but it's not just Angst but the Dark Passions that determine what a Spectre wants to do.

                        I do think you are right that a Spectre who is consistently thwarted from ending himself would develop some kind of outwardly destructive Dark Passion, even if he didn't have one in the first place. But if he does, wouldn't that be on him and not Oblivion?

                        That's really my view on this. If a bunch of deranged pyromaniacs started worshiping fire, getting off on their own burns and brainwashing people around to their viewpoint, we wouldn't say fire was the one corrupting. If a bunch of ants caught themselves on the edge of a drain and started trying to pull other people down into the darkness, we wouldn't say the drain was trying to do anything at all. Oblivion is like that, it's arguably just the complete absence of anything. All of the pain and nastiness, that just comes from the things that exist as they are worn away (or are just trying to be); an accretion disk of everything screaming as it loses its grip.

                        I don't think we differ on that at all. I've run 2, 3, maybe 4 Wraith game and played a bit here and there as well. I've never run or been in a game that was about "OBLIVION". It was about the characters dealing with being dead, how to manage their continued existence, how to deal with their divided soul, how to interact with the world already built around them by previous wraiths. The Tempest, their Spectral foes, Harrowings and their Shadows were the "fingers of Oblivion" in the game, but Stygia, like the Czar, was far away, and even it didn't matter so much. No Labyrinth spelunkers. No dedicated Specter killers marching off to the depths of Hell. Just... dead folks trying to get by in a fairly crappy, insane world. (Imagine living in a world where just "eating" could be used by the powers that be as a death penalty offense if they were feeling particularly snarky...)
                        That's a good way of putting it.


                        Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                        • #27
                          To be honest, I think facets of both perspectives can come to the fore in any game, depending on your own playstyles. The Shadow is definitely connected to the Id, but perhaps the Id as empowered by Oblivion. The Eidolon, meanwhile, is possibly the same thing as the Avatar. My guess, then, is that it wants to guide the memories of a dead soul to Oblivion so that the Avatar can be reincarnated free of the ties that are binding it to the Underworld. The psyche is most certainly just one part of the human soul, and the part which comprises memory and passions, rather than the higher, divine part of the soul, which moves from incarnation to incarnation.

                          I think the Well of the Void just is, but the forces it exerts are certainly corrupt. Whether it's because of Voormas or, more probably, an imbalance at the point of Creation itself, it doesn't work the way it's supposed to and that's a running theme across the World of Darkness lines.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

                            I'm of the opinion that most Shadow Eaten do go straight to Oblivion. Only around 1 in 20 people show up as wraiths, and while many of the other 19 immediately Transcend, it's extremely optimistic to assume all of them do. I also seem to recall that there are references to Shadows that plummet into Oblivion the moment they become Spectres too, but I'd have to check my books. And indeed, they would still be Angst ridden, but it's not just Angst but the Dark Passions that determine what a Spectre wants to do.

                            I do think you are right that a Spectre who is consistently thwarted from ending himself would develop some kind of outwardly destructive Dark Passion, even if he didn't have one in the first place. But if he does, wouldn't that be on him and not Oblivion?

                            That's really my view on this. If a bunch of deranged pyromaniacs started worshiping fire, getting off on their own burns and brainwashing people around to their viewpoint, we wouldn't say fire was the one corrupting. If a bunch of ants caught themselves on the edge of a drain and started trying to pull other people down into the darkness, we wouldn't say the drain was trying to do anything at all. Oblivion is like that, it's arguably just the complete absence of anything. All of the pain and nastiness, that just comes from the things that exist as they are worn away (or are just trying to be); an accretion disk of everything screaming as it loses its grip.
                            The numbers on how many dead people end up wraiths are all over the place and don't, largely, make any sense. Particularly when attrition isn't really addressed. But, apart from that, the little bit of Wraith20 about Specters definitely says that people go straight to specterhood (they show up floating in the Tempest in something more like a shell than a cocoon). As to the statements about the origins of Mortwrights and Shades.

                            Is it really him though? If the effect of the existence of Oblivion on the World of Darkness (not our world, THAT world) is the reason for the "Darkness" part, then it's intrinsic to the effect that Oblivion has on everything that creates the "downward bend to all things" that results in Specters and in their actions. You're trying to make Oblivion mortality neutral and, in the World of Darkness, it sure doesn't appear that it is. In fact it's the source of negativity, of "evil" of the Darkness. Or at least it's one aspect of that across the various games (also exemplified by the turning of the Wheel of Ages towards "bad times", the Corruption of the Wyrm, the continuing cycle of fratricidal/patricidal sin that riddles the vampires, the coming of Winter and encroaching Banality, the Civil War in Heaven that broke the universe and probably caused the whole boondoggle, the fact it's a Sphere called "Entropy" and not "Change" - indicating that change in the WoD holistically follows a version of Thermodynamic Entropy, etc.) You can't really call the source of evil "value neutral". Oblivion is probably the purest example of what is wrong with the World of Darkness.

                            Absent the existence of this flavor of Oblivion, the struggle between the desire for abnegation and the frustration of same probably wouldn't result in a shift to an outwardly destructive stance. Or it might, but then it would be something that flowed from the dead soul in question. Perhaps such a soul would have snuffed itself out in a sort of self-immolating Transcendence. The implication from Demon would be that the soul, after being taken by a Reaper would have been brought to the Underworlds created by Charon (no, the other one) and nurtured into whatever role they would fulfill next. Before Lucifer broke the world... There is some indication that the Shadowlands used to work that way and have gotten worse and worse and worse over time (see Mage Entropy above).

                            As for your cult of pyros..... Well, it's not the fire's fault, but it sure can still be Oblivion's fault, because, really, they aren't worshiping fire. They are worshiping pain and destruction and just tacking that onto fire. That's the taint of Oblivion. It's the corruption of intent. They could worship fire and cook tasty meals and make pottery and pretty metal things and make campfires and sing songs about how great fire is. It's still not about fire. It's about looking at fire as a source of positives.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Ajax View Post

                              The numbers on how many dead people end up wraiths are all over the place and don't, largely, make any sense. Particularly when attrition isn't really addressed. But, apart from that, the little bit of Wraith20 about Specters definitely says that people go straight to specterhood (they show up floating in the Tempest in something more like a shell than a cocoon). As to the statements about the origins of Mortwrights and Shades.
                              Poor word choice on my part, I was sort of bundling Spectres and Wraiths and together for the 1 in 20. But you have to get to a large percentage of dead people showing up in the Underworld before they aren't completely dwarfed by those who immidiately pass on or disappear.

                              Is it really him though? If the effect of the existence of Oblivion on the World of Darkness (not our world, THAT world) is the reason for the "Darkness" part, then it's intrinsic to the effect that Oblivion has on everything that creates the "downward bend to all things" that results in Specters and in their actions. You're trying to make Oblivion mortality neutral and, in the World of Darkness, it sure doesn't appear that it is.
                              That's a big 'if.' Morally neutral is not the same thing as benign. Oblivion is corrosive and dangerous and exerts a metaphysical pull on everything in the Underworld. It is definitely A Bad ThingTM. That doesn't mean it has preferences or that it is in any way propagating the Angst and malice that Spectres represent. It could be. It could also be an established part of the system.

                              Suppose for a moment that Oblivion was actually a mechanism for removing self destruction and spite from the world, and that too much had flooded into the Labyrinth at once and jammed the system (we'll ignore the how for now). Suppose there's a mass of Angst caught at the edge of Oblivion that wasn't supposed to stay there. What would be different from what we see in Wraith?

                              That's really my point here. Not that there's a right way of looking at Oblivion, but how little changes if Oblivion is purely indiscriminate and dispassionate and all the Angst and horror is self inflicted.

                              In fact it's the source of negativity, of "evil" of the Darkness. Or at least it's one aspect of that across the various games (also exemplified by the turning of the Wheel of Ages towards "bad times", the Corruption of the Wyrm, the continuing cycle of fratricidal/patricidal sin that riddles the vampires, the coming of Winter and encroaching Banality, the Civil War in Heaven that broke the universe and probably caused the whole boondoggle, the fact it's a Sphere called "Entropy" and not "Change" - indicating that change in the WoD holistically follows a version of Thermodynamic Entropy, etc.) You can't really call the source of evil "value neutral". Oblivion is probably the purest example of what is wrong with the World of Darkness.
                              If there are already so many sources of corruption in the WoD, why does Oblivion even need to be one. Couldn't it just be where that corruption collects?

                              Don't get me wrong. Wraith is definitely a game about deterioration and decay, and the Underworld is spiraling the drain. I do think that the presence of Oblivion means that nothing is permanent. I do think that anything in the Underworld will eventually bring about its own end. But I think that is because everything in the Underworld has a part that wants to end. Oblivion could just be like gravity. It doesn't make the climber let go, it is just the force they can succumb to if they do.

                              As an aside, I contest that the Entropy sphere is a source of corruption, but that's more of a Mage conversation.

                              As for your cult of pyros..... Well, it's not the fire's fault, but it sure can still be Oblivion's fault, because, really, they aren't worshiping fire. They are worshiping pain and destruction and just tacking that onto fire. That's the taint of Oblivion. It's the corruption of intent. They could worship fire and cook tasty meals and make pottery and pretty metal things and make campfires and sing songs about how great fire is. It's still not about fire. It's about looking at fire as a source of positives.
                              It can't be fire's fault because fire doesn't have a mind. If it finds itself in a situation where it is perpetuating terrible evil, that's a matter of happenstance. If Oblivion likewise doesn't have a mind, it is in the same situation.


                              Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
                                It can't be fire's fault because fire doesn't have a mind. If it finds itself in a situation where it is perpetuating terrible evil, that's a matter of happenstance. If Oblivion likewise doesn't have a mind, it is in the same situation.
                                Not sure I believe that in the context of any valuation of "evil" where it exists. Something can just sit there and be "evil". You seem to want "evil" to have be intentional. It the World of Darkness, evil just IS. Oblivion doesn't have to will or intent or mind or anything else as a motivating vector. It just is. It's the corrosion of all things that are and the way those things corrode is qualitative badness. (Which could be countered if there was one thing that the taint of Oblivion actually seems to have made something better...) Oblivion isn't where the decay perpetrated by all the other evils of the WOD collects like a stopped up sewer, it's the purest form of that evil unshackled by any constraints, even those of "being" anything other than what it is.

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