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  • Daraexus
    started a topic Suicide shadows during catharsis...

    Suicide shadows during catharsis...

    I have an interesting question from one of my players playing a shadow.

    What does stop a shadow during catharsis from just commiting suicide? Looking for a tall building, jumping from the last floor until the wraith's corpus gets to 0 and then let him fall into a Harrowing, effectively weakening his psique?

    It seems like a dirty way to play the Shadow, but I wanted to hear opinions regarding... why this is not the right approach to play a Shadow.

  • Ramnesis
    replied
    Originally posted by Karlgust View Post

    Probably. In theory, there was no real Evil... Just perhaps, accidental evil. Oblivion would simply undo those things (spirits) that no longer could remain in the Tellurian (like a software, that after each cicle of the computer can incurr small flaws in its base language, after too many cicles the program will become a completely corrupted file, and it must be deleted.) The Wyrm was the balance; probably, it was the "anti vírus" of Tellurian, the "program" that would send the flawed programs to the trash (the Oblivion).

    We could think on it as the movie Matrix. Oblivion would be the source. Flawed or outdated programs suposedly, must return to the source by their own accord, in order to be Undone. The Wyrm would be those agent programs that seek those rogue flawed programs that refused to return to the source. Flawed programs, like Merovinge for example, or those serving him, are dangerous to the entire Matrix.

    Agent Smith would be the corrupted Wyrm. He goes insane, and try to destroy both the humans of Zion, and to destroy the entire Matrix... In order to be free from that prison.

    But the source is passive. It's just the undoing
    Since the Source was the Source for just the Matrix, if you carry the analogy out that means that falling to Oblivion could take you apart, but if it doesn't you could end up in a different world. That would explain what the Neverborn are, not children of Oblivion but creatures from its far shores.

    An alternative idea, though, is that Oblivion is the Wyrm's Shadow. It represents the side that wants to annihilate all things instead of keep the balance. Before the Wyrm fell Oblivion was positioned so that it would contribute to the purpose of the Underworld (in much the way that Spectres have to aid in Harrowings). Now that the Wyrm is thrashing about its Angst is growing and with it Oblivion swells.

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  • Karlgust
    replied
    Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

    That depends. Assuming they are paired, has the Wyrm always been linked to Oblivion? Or did that pairing happen when the Wyrm went corrupt?
    Probably. In theory, there was no real Evil... Just perhaps, accidental evil. Oblivion would simply undo those things (spirits) that no longer could remain in the Tellurian (like a software, that after each cicle of the computer can incurr small flaws in its base language, after too many cicles the program will become a completely corrupted file, and it must be deleted.) The Wyrm was the balance; probably, it was the "anti vírus" of Tellurian, the "program" that would send the flawed programs to the trash (the Oblivion).

    We could think on it as the movie Matrix. Oblivion would be the source. Flawed or outdated programs suposedly, must return to the source by their own accord, in order to be Undone. The Wyrm would be those agent programs that seek those rogue flawed programs that refused to return to the source. Flawed programs, like Merovinge for example, or those serving him, are dangerous to the entire Matrix.

    Agent Smith would be the corrupted Wyrm. He goes insane, and try to destroy both the humans of Zion, and to destroy the entire Matrix... In order to be free from that prison.

    But the source is passive. It's just the undoing

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  • Ramnesis
    replied
    Originally posted by Karlgust View Post

    So, by this view, Oblivion REALLY is the sinkhole that swallows all evil. And evil, actually, is caused by the Wyrm, the true great force of corruption. And Oblivion would be a balance for the Wyrm, the ONLY thing that suck all that evil away. But, as the corruption of Wyrm gains more power, the Low Umbra gets worse, which is why the Oblivion grows. So, it is indeed possible that Oblivion really is a positive force, that's not an absurd idea
    That depends. Assuming they are paired, has the Wyrm always been linked to Oblivion? Or did that pairing happen when the Wyrm went corrupt?

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  • Karlgust
    replied
    Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

    Oh, while I have the chance, here is that sidebar:



    Probably because Oblivion swallowed it.
    So, by this view, Oblivion REALLY is the sinkhole that swallows all evil. And evil, actually, is caused by the Wyrm, the true great force of corruption. And Oblivion would be a balance for the Wyrm, the ONLY thing that suck all that evil away. But, as the corruption of Wyrm gains more power, the Low Umbra gets worse, which is why the Oblivion grows. So, it is indeed possible that Oblivion really is a positive force, that's not an absurd idea

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  • Ramnesis
    replied
    Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
    Grandmaw (and I'm glad there is another person that enjoys referring to her in that way) probably doesn't lurk at the bottom but at the edge. She's probably just a Neverborn (Orpheus refers to her as the only one actually deserving of the title, although I can't remember if that section is stating a possible reality or a fact). If she is Oblivion, or a major denizen of Oblivion itself, then she changes the nature of Oblivion to something very different. Her themes revolve around life and living (albeit in horrible ways) so she doesn't match Wraith's Oblivion at all.

    Re: Demon, I thought the punishment for the Angels was that they had to live where they could hear the suffering of humanity but do nothing about it. If you want to hear the suffering of humanity, there aren't many places better than the deepest Labyrinth.
    Oh, while I have the chance, here is that sidebar:

    Originally posted by "Wraith 2nd, pg 284
    Oblivion and the Wyrm

    Occult scholars in the know often confuse the Wyrm and Oblivion. Admittedly, each is a tremendous force, and in some ways a personification of destruction, but that is the only similarity. The Wyrm is active destruction and corruption, seeking to tear down all that exists. It is not content to wait for things to fall apart; it wishes to drag all down to ruin by the force of its actions.

    Oblivion, on the other hand, is patient, passive destruction. When things grow old and falter, as they all inevitably must, then and only then does Oblivion claim them. Even Spectres, in a very real sense, give themselves to Oblivion as opposed to being claimed by it.

    At the end of all things, when the Wyrm has destroyed all else, it will seek to destroy the only thing that remains: itself. By doing so it will gift itself to Oblivion.

    Some theorists postulate that they Wyrm and Oblivion are bound together in a tight balance, a sort of yin-yang of destruction, and that as the Wyrm grew in power Oblivion was forced to grow to match it and maintain their eternal equilibrium. However, there is little (if any) evidence to support this hypothesis, and hard proof is likely to be hard to come by.
    Probably because Oblivion swallowed it.

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  • Ramnesis
    replied
    Grandmaw (and I'm glad there is another person that enjoys referring to her in that way) probably doesn't lurk at the bottom but at the edge. She's probably just a Neverborn (Orpheus refers to her as the only one actually deserving of the title, although I can't remember if that section is stating a possible reality or a fact). If she is Oblivion, or a major denizen of Oblivion itself, then she changes the nature of Oblivion to something very different. Her themes revolve around life and living (albeit in horrible ways) so she doesn't match Wraith's Oblivion at all.

    Re: Demon, I thought the punishment for the Angels was that they had to live where they could hear the suffering of humanity but do nothing about it. If you want to hear the suffering of humanity, there aren't many places better than the deepest Labyrinth.
    Last edited by Ramnesis; 01-29-2017, 08:05 PM.

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  • Ajax
    replied
    Originally posted by Karlgust View Post
    The Tempest were a calm sea. The labirinth weren't as horrific. There weren't so many specters. Charon was supposed to help the wraiths reach transcendence; the ferrymen still uphold to that purpose, Stygia were built for that in theory. Its like the Low Umbra were actually BUILT to be a place where the restless dead would have the chance to reach the higher level of existence. And, those so filled with Angst that can't reach transcendence no matter what, are dragged to Oblivion. Now, most specters stay in the labirinth. Can you imagine what the world would be if ALL those specters were still around - and worse than that, if they stayed in the skinlands, tormenting both wraiths and the living?

    Lets also not forget: there aren't only specters in the Tempest and the Labirinth. There are also the Far Shores. Stygia is there, for example. So, its not just nightmares and terrors.

    To me, the "overflowed sinkhole" theory makes even more sense now that Im thinking about it. So, what is it that turned the Sea of Souls into the Tempest? The Maelstrons... Caused by great suffering in the world of the living. Its exactly like Oblivion got an overflow of Angst, receiving more than what it can process. The process seems to be - pain in the world of the living - degradation in the world of the dead.

    If Oblivion and Angst were simply evil... Than NO specter would just jump inside that beautiful Void of freedom. They would all desperatly cling to existence to spread as much Angst as possible.

    You say that Angst would simply be inanition, but I dont quite agree. The specters that really are beyond anything, just take the leap. But many specters stilll cling to exist... Their dark passions are still reasons to keep going. The way you said that angst would be (total anihilation) is not really "pain", but just nihilism. You will find that most nihilistis are not evil, just suicidal. People who are evil because they have a grudge against the world, find new reasons to exist in their evil ways. Thats what specters do. They claim to be servants of Oblivion but they ACTIVELY fight against it. They even lie to themselves to give reasons for themselves.
    Agreed for the most part, Karl.

    And, if we're allowing other game lines to matter in the discussion .... well, Demon has the Abyss at the bottom of that bottomless well. Which supports the argument of Oblivion = EVIL. (And/or the Grandmaw lurking at the bottom from Orpheus, not that those two are mutually exclusive, since there is both an infinite amount of room and no room at all in infinite nothingness).

    And backing into an earlier part of your post, with Demon in the picture, that is what is described at the purpose of the Underworld as created by Charon-the-angel and, as the arrow of Time goes forward, the Shadowlands fall further and further from their initial purpose, eroded by an inherently corrupt universe.

    From the beginning (as in, when the game Vampire came out, not the moment of Creation internal to the game), humanity is not entirely, or even mostly, the source of evil (Angst) that distinguishes our world from the World of Darkness. It's chunks of the supernatural races or their problems that afflict humans. Human evil didn't create the Wyrm. The Wyrm cultivates human evil. Part of why the world sucks more than here is that humanity is largely being farmed as a food source by immortal emotionally unstable parasites. Even Wraiths lingering around and interacting with the Skinlands instead of focusing on Transcendence is almost certainly a net step towards Darkness. Hell, the often maligned "Eastern" perspective has the whole world, including humans being ground down by the Cycle on its inevitable course to the Time of the Demon Emperor. Sure, humans CAN suck, but they sure suck MORE because of what's happening to them not because of them.

    And all those things sum up to a general entropic vector of "evilness" that manifests in a pure way. In terms of Wraith, the ultimate expression of that is Oblivion. It's not just "nothing", it's "dragging the whole world down to nothing in a very unpleasant way". That doesn't mean it isn't also nothing, but that's just one way it manifests. Angst can be thrashing around and making everything more miserable, but it can also be despair, e.g. looking for Oblivion and jumping in.

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  • Karlgust
    replied
    The Tempest were a calm sea. The labirinth weren't as horrific. There weren't so many specters. Charon was supposed to help the wraiths reach transcendence; the ferrymen still uphold to that purpose, Stygia were built for that in theory. Its like the Low Umbra were actually BUILT to be a place where the restless dead would have the chance to reach the higher level of existence. And, those so filled with Angst that can't reach transcendence no matter what, are dragged to Oblivion. Now, most specters stay in the labirinth. Can you imagine what the world would be if ALL those specters were still around - and worse than that, if they stayed in the skinlands, tormenting both wraiths and the living?

    Lets also not forget: there aren't only specters in the Tempest and the Labirinth. There are also the Far Shores. Stygia is there, for example. So, its not just nightmares and terrors.

    To me, the "overflowed sinkhole" theory makes even more sense now that Im thinking about it. So, what is it that turned the Sea of Souls into the Tempest? The Maelstrons... Caused by great suffering in the world of the living. Its exactly like Oblivion got an overflow of Angst, receiving more than what it can process. The process seems to be - pain in the world of the living - degradation in the world of the dead.

    If Oblivion and Angst were simply evil... Than NO specter would just jump inside that beautiful Void of freedom. They would all desperatly cling to existence to spread as much Angst as possible.

    You say that Angst would simply be inanition, but I dont quite agree. The specters that really are beyond anything, just take the leap. But many specters stilll cling to exist... Their dark passions are still reasons to keep going. The way you said that angst would be (total anihilation) is not really "pain", but just nihilism. You will find that most nihilistis are not evil, just suicidal. People who are evil because they have a grudge against the world, find new reasons to exist in their evil ways. Thats what specters do. They claim to be servants of Oblivion but they ACTIVELY fight against it. They even lie to themselves to give reasons for themselves.

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  • Ramnesis
    replied
    Yes, even a name is too much, which is part of the problem. But perhaps that false name is why Wraiths and Spectres keep ascribing motivations to it even if it has none.

    As for the relationship between Oblivion and the Wyrm, that same sidebar says one day the Wyrm too will be swallowed by Oblivion. in a WtA sense that could easily be the Wyrm consuming itself.

    Oblivion could also be that which is fully consumed by the Wyrm, a thing so empty that it cannot be filled and anything thrown in is emptied instead. That runs against the notion that angels could survive in Oblivion, but the game lines aren't always consistent.

    If Oblivion is part of the Wyrm though, that raises an issue. The Wyrm was explicitly not always evil. Its evil and corruption are its thrashings as it tries to feed itself from the Weaver. So Oblivion too might once have had an important purpose.

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  • Ajax
    replied
    Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
    That's fair. And that spectrum of connection between Oblivion and Angst does work well. Certainly it explains the slow degradation of the Underworld better than an impassive Oblivion unconcerned with Angst. There is a definite indication that Harrowings used to be more productive, but they've been corrupted over the years. You can explain that with the rise in Angst alone, but since Harrowings are almost metaphysically built into the Underworld, Oblivion would seem a more likely culprit. Stygian Steel is also said to be forged in Oblivion when it seems more likely that it is Angst ridden, but that may just be dread poetry.

    On the other hand, the way Maelstroms are always connected to suffering in the Skinlands indicates the flow often comes from that direction and that Angst is frequently generated from sudden shock and pain rather than slow degeneration. Certainly we could say that there is Oblivion in every malign action, but that seems a convoluted explanation.

    There's plenty of ways of looking at this, and no one is going to perfectly cover everything.

    If I had to say why I was so attached to the disconnect between Angst and Oblivion, I think I would point to three things:

    First there is the sidebar in 2nd Ed that compares Oblivion to the Wyrm. It may be when I go back and look it will say something completely different, but in my memory it described Oblivion as a passive entity content to wait because everything would eventually fall into it.

    Then there is the metaphysical way that Oblivion really shouldn't be anything at all, not a force, not an entity, not even an identity. Just a nothingness. Giving it intent or ability or even a moral stance makes it something lesser (greater?) that it should be. It becomes a thing falsely claiming to be the real Oblivion.

    Finally, you may have heard me describe the Underworld as a metaphor for how memories fade, with Oblivion being the final forgetting. In that map the Labyrinth is the place for memories that are buried, deliberately or otherwise. It's my favorite way of looking at the Underworld, and it carries with it the twin implications that the Labyrinth is not just a place for pain and suffering, and that the pain and suffering that are there were deliberately pushed there to be forgotten.

    That's my rationale anyways. Hardly ironclad, but I find it compelling.
    For one, that can't be Oblivion, because we're talking about it, which means we're conceiving it and what you're describing is outside of conception. :-)

    From a WtA sense, Oblivion could just be the aspect of the Wyrm that does exactly that and still be an aspect of the Wyrm. It's not like the Wyrm doesn't have a lot of other aspects doing various things. Oblivion could just be the "Wyrm couchant". Maybe some clever thing about "the Black Egg" or something.

    In the end, all I can say is that I just can't see the "naturalness" of this disconnect of Angst (and all that entails) and Oblivion, when there is a clear spectrum with Angst near one end and the hole in the universe sitting smack dab at the other. It's borne out throughout the game in pretty much every way. The "events cause Maelstroms" circumstance doesn't seem like an inversion that proves your point so much as it seems that it supports the alternative. It doesn't absent Oblivion from the spectrum and make is something "Other" to start with and, effectively, the whole system seems to be a homeostatic negative feedback loop, which doesn't mean the "flow" is constant and even, sometimes it comes in fits and starts and, from time to time, in spewing gouts, just like sometimes something can happen to any old Wraith to do something crappy and make his Shadow do a happy dance while he's getting a ton of Angst for it. Oblivion isn't "causing" the Maelstrom any more than it's causing the Maelstrom in anything other than a very proximal way. Sort of "Oblivion is the ultimate expression of that in the Universe which also brings about such things as the events that cause Maelstroms".

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  • Ramnesis
    replied
    That's fair. And that spectrum of connection between Oblivion and Angst does work well. Certainly it explains the slow degradation of the Underworld better than an impassive Oblivion unconcerned with Angst. There is a definite indication that Harrowings used to be more productive, but they've been corrupted over the years. You can explain that with the rise in Angst alone, but since Harrowings are almost metaphysically built into the Underworld, Oblivion would seem a more likely culprit. Stygian Steel is also said to be forged in Oblivion when it seems more likely that it is Angst ridden, but that may just be dread poetry.

    On the other hand, the way Maelstroms are always connected to suffering in the Skinlands indicates the flow often comes from that direction and that Angst is frequently generated from sudden shock and pain rather than slow degeneration. Certainly we could say that there is Oblivion in every malign action, but that seems a convoluted explanation.

    There's plenty of ways of looking at this, and no one is going to perfectly cover everything.

    If I had to say why I was so attached to the disconnect between Angst and Oblivion, I think I would point to three things:

    First there is the sidebar in 2nd Ed that compares Oblivion to the Wyrm. It may be when I go back and look it will say something completely different, but in my memory it described Oblivion as a passive entity content to wait because everything would eventually fall into it.

    Then there is the metaphysical way that Oblivion really shouldn't be anything at all, not a force, not an entity, not even an identity. Just a nothingness. Giving it intent or ability or even a moral stance makes it something lesser (greater?) that it should be. It becomes a thing falsely claiming to be the real Oblivion.

    Finally, you may have heard me describe the Underworld as a metaphor for how memories fade, with Oblivion being the final forgetting. In that map the Labyrinth is the place for memories that are buried, deliberately or otherwise. It's my favorite way of looking at the Underworld, and it carries with it the twin implications that the Labyrinth is not just a place for pain and suffering, and that the pain and suffering that are there were deliberately pushed there to be forgotten.

    That's my rationale anyways. Hardly ironclad, but I find it compelling.

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  • Ajax
    replied
    I do think that, fundamentally, Oblivion and Angst are part of a continuum and not completely separate things.. I think there is ample evidence of that throughout the game in implicit and explicit ways and very little to no evidence to the contrary. At the very least, Occam's Razor would argue against it.

    I'm not really saying that Angst necessarily is radiating out of the heat of the Labyrinth, I'm saying the effects of the existence of that yawning Abyss of nothingness are a degradation of the vital (in the sense of 'lively') emotional energies called "Pathos" into a degenerate form, Angst", that is vectored in just one direction, back to Oblivion. I don't think there is evidence of Angst as "radiating", it seems like someone, somewhere, would have detected that if it were the case. Like "suffering" in Buddhism, the effect/state/part of the underlying fabric/fundamental force (a.k.a "evil" or the "Darkness" that permeates the "Word of") of Oblivion is in all things, always, everywhere with a nexus/node/allegorical or even literal center being that aforementioned "well of nothingness at the center of the Labyrinth".

    This is just a philosophical discussion meant merely to test and hone various concepts extant in Wraith. I'm just playing with the ideas, smashing them up against yours and seeing what falls out. I definitely haven't thought about this stuff this much before. Though I spin out some ideas of how Wraith could change based on some of the ideas, I don't really see changing the actual game per se (unless the variant sounds like fun, which the "Ennui" replacement of "Angst" might be... though, TBH, I have some Wraith-dissenters in my group and don't see us shifting over to a Wraith game, even when (if?) Wr20 finally makes it out).

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  • Ramnesis
    replied
    Originally posted by Ajax View Post

    I'm slipping it in there because if it walks like evil, talks like evil, combs it's hair like evil or just SITS there and appears to do nothing but annihilate things (which, BTW is actually quite actively doing something) but is doing so in just about the evil-est way possible (by manifesting in EVERY way as evil), then it's EVIL. Saying "It's sitting there annihilitating things" has an unstated "JUST" in front of it. And Oblivion isn't JUST doing that. The fact is doing that, the way it is doing that manifests as EVIL. Know it by it's deeds. The deeds of Oblivion is what Specters are. It's what Shadows are. It's what the Tempest is. It's what Angst is. Those are all evil.
    And in another discussion that would be fine, but when we are discussing different ways of looking at Oblivion, it's completely counterproductive. Doubly so when you then go on to insist that it is the source of Angst.

    When the idea we are evaluating is that Oblivion is amoral and not the source of Angst, it is completely pointless and unhelpful to say that Oblivion must be evil because of all the Angst coming out of it. Stop assuming your own premises and look at what is actually on the table.

    Or don't. If the idea that Oblivion and Angst are independent is that unpalatable to you, that's fine. But stop modifying my points then complaining that they don't work with the modifications.

    Edit: Please understand, nothing about any of the ways of looking at Oblivion is supposed to completely rewrite Wraith. There's still a Labyrinth filled with malign and screaming Spectres. Still a yawning nothingness at its center. What we are discussing is the different ways to view Oblivion and its relation to the Spectres. That's all. Some views might require tweaks here or there, but nothing so big as completely rewriting the behavior patterns of the Spectral hoards.
    Last edited by Ramnesis; 01-26-2017, 12:36 PM.

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  • Ajax
    replied
    Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

    You keep insisting on slipping 'evil' into the definition of Oblivion. Also, why would I change Angst?

    Maybe this isn't coming through clearly enough. My view is that Oblivion is neutral and passive and just sits around annihilating things and possibly pulling down the unanchored. It in no way prefers one flavor or another. Angst, on the other hand, is that part of the human soul that seeks annihilation (of itself or others) so it is attracted to the great annihilator. Spectres aren't sitting on the edge because Oblivion demands it, they are sitting on the edge because they like the view.
    I'm slipping it in there because if it walks like evil, talks like evil, combs it's hair like evil or just SITS there and appears to do nothing but annihilate things (which, BTW is actually quite actively doing something) but is doing so in just about the evil-est way possible (by manifesting in EVERY way as evil), then it's EVIL. Saying "It's sitting there annihilitating things" has an unstated "JUST" in front of it. And Oblivion isn't JUST doing that. The fact is doing that, the way it is doing that manifests as EVIL. Know it by it's deeds. The deeds of Oblivion is what Specters are. It's what Shadows are. It's what the Tempest is. It's what Angst is. Those are all evil.

    If Oblivion embraces other things, there should be some manifestation that it is some neutral garbage disposal of creation, but, aside from some philosophizing from inside the universe based on no discernible manifestations other than thought experiments from within or, from our privileged perspective from without, there's not one "good" or even "value neutral" thing Oblivion seems to create as an effect.

    You asked how the game would need to change if you recast Oblivion from being evil. So I threw out some ideas. If you want Oblivion to be this force of "slipping away to non-existence" then it's manifestations are going to be different. If Oblivion's just this gray "ugh" at the end of everything, a sense-numbing heat death of endless boredom then, as you asked me to do, I came up with some ways that sort of underlying priniciple would manifest differently. Angst is value-ladden. It's bad. It's destructive. It's not not evil. It can't really be bent towards good in and of itself. It's not even going to be value neutral of it's own accord. Ennui isn't evil except situationally. It's just what it is. A pile of "Bleh". Which, for all that could still be interesting, if handled well. After all, that makes just as much sense, in many ways. It's just not the same game.

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