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  • Three questions about Gaunts

    Hello folks,

    These have been bugging me for a while.

    Question 1: Does resolving only one Fetter turn someone into a Gaunt?
    Question 2: Does resolving all fetters impart some extra benefit or condition?
    Question 3: If a Gaunt has resolved all Fetters, but they are subsequently destroyed, how is the Wraith affected?

    I ask because I have found conflicting interpretations, and some of the language about "maintaining" Fetters seems ambiguous, to me.

    One of the things that nags me is that based on how rare and exceptional Gaunts are when first described in W:tO, it seems too easy for a Wraith to resolve a single Fetter and suddenly have free reign throughout the Underworld, shooting up to a higher social class in the process. Why wouldn't most Wraiths do that? The Silent Legion is known for having members who wish to resolve their Fetters, so wouldn't there be a high number of Quiet Gaunts? That seems odd...

    Basically, I'm trying to reconcile my impression that Gaunts are exceptional with the apparent relative ease of resolving at least one Fetter. Beyond that, I don't understand what becomes of ancient Gaunts... are their Fetters resolved but hidden and protected, or can those Fetters crumble to dust and it doesn't matter anymore?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    What's your source for your premise?

    I would have to do more research than I am willing to at this point, but I was always under the impression that Gaunts were Wraiths that didn't have any Fetters anymore. And that it didn't have anything to do with resolving them. Sure, resolving them was one way to do it, but I never even saw that as the most likely way for the Fetters to go away. They could just go "poof" when they were destroyed (with a Harrowing to boot) or just slowly go away over time if the emotional investment was gone. That was why Gaunts have such a limited time in the Shadowlands before they are "pulled back" deeper into the Dark Umbra. There's nothing anchoring them on the other side of the Shroud anymore. (Which has an easy fix. Just arrange for a Monitor to "hook you up" with a temporary Fetter for the time needed away from Stygia... but that's another matter.)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ajax View Post
      What's your source for your premise?

      I would have to do more research than I am willing to at this point, but I was always under the impression that Gaunts were Wraiths that didn't have any Fetters anymore. And that it didn't have anything to do with resolving them. Sure, resolving them was one way to do it, but I never even saw that as the most likely way for the Fetters to go away. They could just go "poof" when they were destroyed (with a Harrowing to boot) or just slowly go away over time if the emotional investment was gone. That was why Gaunts have such a limited time in the Shadowlands before they are "pulled back" deeper into the Dark Umbra. There's nothing anchoring them on the other side of the Shroud anymore. (Which has an easy fix. Just arrange for a Monitor to "hook you up" with a temporary Fetter for the time needed away from Stygia... but that's another matter.)
      I believe you're confusing gaunts with Domem.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ajax View Post
        What's your source for your premise?
        As the decades pass, a wraith can gradually acquire more status among the dead, and social mobility between "ranks" is reasonably common. On the other hand, the intense cliquishness of some wraiths (particularly the hidebound Gaunts of Stygia) bears a stunning resemblance to the social dynamics of a middle school recess, with wraiths refusing to deal with other wraiths who aren't of the right age, power or Arcanos specialty. It is the Stygian Gaunts in particular who maintain the rigid social distinctions between Domem and Gaunt, Enfant and Lemure, and Thralls and everyone else. (W:tO 42)

        Gaunts - Old and powerful wraiths, Gaunts have managed to maintain their Fetters, allowing them to travel into the Shadowlands. The vast majority of Gaunts have also journeyed deeply into the Tempest, possibly to the Far Shores or even the Labyrinth. Feared and respected for their knowledge and power, Gaunts wield influence in the society of the dead disproportionate to their numbers. (W:tO 43)

        Rumor has it that the eldest Gaunts can instantly travel anywhere in the world without the aid of Fetters, but this as yet is only hearsay. (W:tO 137)

        Eventually wraiths can come to grips with their Fetters, saying farewell to the things and people they loved on their own terms. This is known as Resolving a Fetter, and it weakens the attachment that a wraith has to the Shadowlands. However, it is a healing process as opposed to a violent one (like Fetter destruction), and most wraithly authorities agree that it is a vital step in achieving Transcendence. (W:tO 231)

        Where a wraith can go in the Underworld is determined by his Fetters. Without Fetters, he can't enter the Shadowlands for long; with unResolved Fetters he can't achieve Transcendence. Wraiths with no Fetters can appear in the Shadowlands for only Stamina x 2 turns, as there is nothing in the Shadowlands to anchor them against Oblivion's pull. Wraiths who Resolved some of their Fetters can stay in the Shadowlands for Stamina x 2 scenes, but even tl1ey must soon rerum to the Tempest and the places of safety within. Wraiths without Fetters must find a safe haven in the Tempest in which to dwell. Whether they choose Stygia or one of the other islands of safety within that eternal storm is unimportant; what matters is that the Shadowlands are no longer an option. Wraiths with unResolved Fetters can travel to Stygia or within the Tempest, but the further they go from the Shadowlands the more difficult it is for them to resist the tug of their Fetters. When in Stygia itself, the difficulty on all rolls increases by one for wraiths with Fetters; past Stygia in the direction of the Far Shores or in the labyrinth the difficulty increases by + 2.

        There are those rare wraiths who Resolved all of their Fetters, to whom rumor grants the ability to travel anywhere in the Underworld at will. The most powerful Gaunts of Stygia are supposed to be of this type of wraith, as are many elder Heretics. (W:tO 231)
        --------------------

        All this, and more that I cannot find in the other books (but I will search for these references) suggest that Gaunts are exceptional and highly respected, yet resolving a single Fetter makes one a Gaunt? That seems incongruous.

        See the Book of Legions for the references to the Silent legion's interest in helping its members resolve Fetters.






        Last edited by Callishka; 11-22-2017, 03:18 PM.

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        • #5
          This is definitely something that has been stated in multiple different ways. I remember that it was once a matter of resolving all Fetters and that if one was destroyed before you managed to resolve it you could never become a Gaunt. Other sources made it sound like resolving one Fetter turned you into a Gaunt, regardless of the status of your other Fetters. The tone of various books, the apparent number of Gaunts, and their apparent position in the Hierarchy leads me to think it is only one Fetter. That does mean that neither Charon or any of the Deathlords managed to resolve even one Fetter, though.

          Resolving a Fetter is not an easy task; most Wraiths never manage it even once. Even fewer manage in less than a decade. Managing to do so means you can distance yourself from the world of the living (which the Hierarchy respects) yet can still travel to the Shadowlands (which the Hierarchy desires). A young ghost who manages to become a Gaunt may not immediately get the same social standing as a centuries old one, but he's just made himself a valuable asset and shown a rare degree of emotional maturity.

          Bizarrely, the White Wolf Wiki is now saying that Gaunts that lose all their Fetters become Domem, which is nonsense as far as I am concerned. Resolving a Fetter is a powerful moment in any Wraith's story, its effects should not be rescinded.
          Last edited by Ramnesis; 11-22-2017, 09:03 PM.


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

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
            This is definitely something that has been stated in multiple different ways.

            ...

            Bizarrely, the White Wolf Wiki is now saying that Gaunts that lose all their Fetters become Domem, which is nonsense as far as I am concerned. Resolving a Fetter is a powerful moment in any Wraith's story, its effects should not be rescinded.
            Yes, I've noticed that WW Wiki has contradictory information, but I'm not all that surprised considering that the Wraith writers didn't make this clear. For instance...

            "A common goal among members of the Silent Legion is to part ways with their Fetters. The lives of these wraiths ended in despair, and most Fetters are memories that the wraiths would rather not be tied to. The Legion acts as a mass support group for its members, and most Legionnaires willingly help other wraiths find resolution. It is a rare wraith who has been among the Quiet for any length of time without the resolution of at least one Fetter." (BoL 20)
            In other words, the Quiet typically want to resolve their Fetters, and their Legion is encouraged to support them in this endeavor, and they are successful in doing so on a regular basis... yet Gaunts are exceptional and highly respected? If it were so rare to achieve, why would it be rare to encounter a wraith who has dwelt among the Quiet for "any length of time" without resolving at least one?

            Meanwhile, here's a famous Quiet wraith who is clearly a Gaunt, but needs to protect his Fetters, which would support the idea that Gaunts can become Domem. ...Unless Xenophon simply has at least one Resolved fetter, and at least one unResolved fetter...? The quote follows:

            "Xenophon is one of the oldest known wraiths who is able to enter the Shadowlands, and many would pay handsomely for information on his Fetters" (BoL 26)
            And here is the core book saying that Resolving a fetter takes "a story". Clearly, the writers wanted players to be able to accomplish resolution within the span of a chronicle, which I doubt they expect to last decades of in-game time:

            "Resolving fetters -- A necessary step in Transcending is letting go of the ties that bind the wraith to the world of the living. This is not the same as having them severed. Letting go means that the wraith must willingly set straight his unfinished business with the world by Resolving all his Fetters. Because the Resolution of each Fetter represents a story, this step alone takes quite a while to accomplish." (W:tO 239)
            Can anyone make heads or tails of this? My best practical interpretation of this mess is that resolving one Fetter shows you have initiative, but it doesn't result in Gaunthood. To be a Gaunt, you have to have resolved all your Fetters. Resolving them means you are no longer bound to them, and they can be destroyed without affecting you (because you've already let them go and are close to Transcending.) This would also mean that Xenophon, if people are itching to find out about his Fetters, has a Fetter left to destroy.

            But then W:tO, as quoted in an early reply of mine here on this thread, states:

            "Old and powerful wraiths, Gaunts have managed to maintain their Fetters."
            So... what does "maintain" mean here? It seems really odd to me that someone could RESOLVE their fetters, yet still need to protect them.

            What do you think?
            Last edited by Callishka; 11-22-2017, 10:06 PM.

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            • #7
              It's very clear that Wraith changed quite a bit since its inception. Compare the spectral hierarchies presented in Dark Reflections and Doomslayers to see similar drift. I think that early in the line Gaunt was just the term for an old Wraith and that group had largely shifted into Gaunts and Domems by 2nd edition. However, not all the writers were on the same page and so some of the old definitions perpetuated into later Wraith supplements. I also suspect that some of the early chapters of 2nd Edition stole heavily from the 1st edition book, which unfortunately led to a number of contradictions.

              I would note that even if Xenophon is a Gaunt in the single resolved Fetter sense, he'd still want to protect his other Fetters since they are a conduit to him and can also be used to throw him into a harrowing at an inopportune moment.
              Last edited by Ramnesis; 11-22-2017, 11:44 PM.


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

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Callishka View Post

                I believe you're confusing gaunts with Domem.
                Yup. I am. And I realized why. Gaunts as respected members of wraith/Stygian society(e.g. the default) makes NO sense. Why would they be respected or look down on other wraiths when what they're doing is clearly a WASTE of time and effort? There is (officially) NO SUCH THING as Transcendence. If they think differently and act thusly in public, they are a Heretic sympathizer at best and, probably, considered an outright Heretic and possibly considered compromised by Oblivion (since they are obsessing on the sorts of things that lead to falling to their Shadow).

                I always saw the Silent Legion's assistance in resolving Fetters to be their dirty little secret. Like the Grim Legion looking the other way on Dictum violations when revenge on a Legionnaire's murderer is in play.

                Domems get some respect because they are, in general, old and powerful. I doubt a wraith dead 10 years that lost all her Fetters would really get any status from it. They would almost certainly be regarded as wantonly negligent or very unlucky. And would have missed the chance to build up their power and position before being poofed out of the Shadowlands.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ajax View Post

                  Yup. I am. And I realized why. Gaunts as respected members of wraith/Stygian society(e.g. the default) makes NO sense. Why would they be respected or look down on other wraiths when what they're doing is clearly a WASTE of time and effort? There is (officially) NO SUCH THING as Transcendence. If they think differently and act thusly in public, they are a Heretic sympathizer at best and, probably, considered an outright Heretic and possibly considered compromised by Oblivion (since they are obsessing on the sorts of things that lead to falling to their Shadow).
                  That's an interesting take, but I don't share your view on the gaunts. I don't think they are explicitly seeking Transcendence, but rather are ghosts who have naturally learned to step away from their Fetters. Because this is extremely difficult to do while still remaining in the Underworld, that makes Gaunts a special kind of Wraith who have learned to have freedom of transportation in the Underworld without actually leaving it. The quality that makes gaunt respected, as I understand it, is not that they are close to Transcendence, but that they are free to move about the underworld with fewer limitations than everyone else. Some of the most important wraiths in stygia need to use intermediaries to check on things in the shadowlands. Some of the anacreon in the shadowlands need intermediaries to work with full effectiveness in the Underworld. A gaunt can go from the far Shores to New York City with relative ease. Perhaps those gaunts believe in Transcendence, perhaps they don't; either way, they show a rare kind of Independence and emotional stability that sets them apart from all the other wraiths.

                  To me, that makes a lot of sense. It's also important to remember that stygia did not specifically Outlaw Transcendence, but rather it outlawed publicly drawing other wraiths into your beliefs of transcendence. This fact is actually pretty uncertain because the wraiths writers have been a little inconsistent on this point, but when you read the actual proclamation of reason, it does not Outlaw Transcendence. The passage in the core book which contains the proclamation of reason even goes on to explain that Transcendence itself is not necessarily a myth, and that Wraith are allowed to seek Transcendence on their own as long as they don't draw anyone else in to their foolish Quest.

                  So I could see how some older wraiths carried on a private Quest to be more comfortable with their deaths, which led to resolving Fetters, which led to their extraordinary freedom of movement, but somewhere along the way they decided to stay in the Underworld. That actually isn't much different from ferrymen, who could have transcended but elected to stay behind and help everyone else. I guess the difference between the fairy men and the gaunts is that the gaunts are fully behind maintaining the status quo of the hierarchy or of their own personal domains, whereas the ferrymen are trying to get people to where they want to go, including away from the underworld.

                  Edit: I wrote this entry using voice input, so there are a lot of weird capitalization and a couple strange spellings of things. Apologies!
                  Last edited by Callishka; 11-25-2017, 02:47 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Seems like it's trying to have it both ways. They aren't seeking Transcendence, but they are following a deeply spiritual path that leads them towards a higher state. That's like being more spiritual than religious. Which works fine in a mileu where belief in a higher state of being is elective and not, say, actually criminal. If it walks like a Heretic and talks like a Heretic and acts like a Heretic in a totalitarian state, it better be VERY powerful and influential and discrete enough to not BE a Heretic. And the allowed eccentricities of such a being will not occasion respect. They will be wink-wink-nudge-nudge kind of things. And might very well end up being their downfall when an opponent seizes on such an obvious flaw. I guess it could be worse. They COULD be caught palling around with Mnemoi or something.... Saying that they are becoming Ferryman like (or Ferryman-lite) doesn't really make what they're doing legally/socially more acceptable, it's just the same or possibly worse. Lining Gaunts up to be like everyone the leadership of Stygia is demonizing is not really making the situation of Gaunts any better.

                    If there is some defined and really useful difference (and not just to PCs having adventures, but in the context of how wraithly society functions) between the capabilities of Gaunts that Domems and the hoi polloi of Fetter-ridden wraiths in the Shadowlands, then and only then, could I see them as being perceived in some kind of positive light. And it would have to be a decisive one, like the ability to operate more effectively in both places allowing them to do things that the other wraiths can't, or can't do very easily. And even then there would probably be some cachet to the status. After all, it's trying to do something that isn't considered de jure (in its most literal sense) but would be allowed even though everyone knows that a Gaunt has done something.... naughty?... to get that status.

                    It's one of the cases where the game setting contradicts itself internally and doesn't explain itself, leaving us to count angels on pinheads. IF the social situation in the Dark Kingdom of Iron is as depicted then this bit over here doesn't make a lot of sense without some explanation.

                    And Domems can walk around in the Shadowlands all they want. They can last there long enough to have a Monitor create a temporary Fetter and, Voila! now they aren't gacked into the Tempest. And they are Domems. I'm sure they can arrange to have a Monitor to hand when needed if they can't do it themselves. (I have actually used this one in game from time to time.... Here comes the Big Boss....)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ajax View Post
                      Seems like it's trying to have it both ways. They aren't seeking Transcendence, but they are following a deeply spiritual path that leads them towards a higher state. That's like being more spiritual than religious. Which works fine in a mileu where belief in a higher state of being is elective and not, say, actually criminal. If it walks like a Heretic and talks like a Heretic and acts like a Heretic in a totalitarian state, it better be VERY powerful and influential and discrete enough to not BE a Heretic. And the allowed eccentricities of such a being will not occasion respect. They will be wink-wink-nudge-nudge kind of things. And might very well end up being their downfall when an opponent seizes on such an obvious flaw. I guess it could be worse. They COULD be caught palling around with Mnemoi or something.... Saying that they are becoming Ferryman like (or Ferryman-lite) doesn't really make what they're doing legally/socially more acceptable, it's just the same or possibly worse. Lining Gaunts up to be like everyone the leadership of Stygia is demonizing is not really making the situation of Gaunts any better.

                      If there is some defined and really useful difference (and not just to PCs having adventures, but in the context of how wraithly society functions) between the capabilities of Gaunts that Domems and the hoi polloi of Fetter-ridden wraiths in the Shadowlands, then and only then, could I see them as being perceived in some kind of positive light. And it would have to be a decisive one, like the ability to operate more effectively in both places allowing them to do things that the other wraiths can't, or can't do very easily. And even then there would probably be some cachet to the status. After all, it's trying to do something that isn't considered de jure (in its most literal sense) but would be allowed even though everyone knows that a Gaunt has done something.... naughty?... to get that status.

                      It's one of the cases where the game setting contradicts itself internally and doesn't explain itself, leaving us to count angels on pinheads. IF the social situation in the Dark Kingdom of Iron is as depicted then this bit over here doesn't make a lot of sense without some explanation.

                      And Domems can walk around in the Shadowlands all they want. They can last there long enough to have a Monitor create a temporary Fetter and, Voila! now they aren't gacked into the Tempest. And they are Domems. I'm sure they can arrange to have a Monitor to hand when needed if they can't do it themselves. (I have actually used this one in game from time to time.... Here comes the Big Boss....)
                      I have addressed your points. First, resolving Fetters is not criminal. (Interacting with mortals is, but if you can hide that activity and resolve your fetters, you're fine.) Second, seeking Transcendence yourself, without dragging in others, is not technically criminal (though the writers are inconsistent about this.) The Proclamation of Reason does not criminalize Transcendence itself--merely persuading others to do so. And, yes, Gaunts will be the oldest of wraiths, typically, so they can get away with their own personal quests to Resolve fetters, especially if they learn in some moldy Stygian tomes how to do so.

                      Resolving fetters does not have to lead to Transcendence. Example: An older, powerful Wraith with Passions tying him to Stygian society (IE, to the Tempest, and not the Shadowlands) learns through trial and error, or by studying obscure lore, that coming to terms with your fetters means you are no longer chained by them and will gain freedom. This wraith resolves his fetters, which suddenly grants him the ability to 1. travel far from the Shadowlands without suffering distractions/weaknesses; 2. enter and remain in the Shadowlands at will like the Ferrymen and 3. appear at any of his fetters at will... and perhaps to appear anywhere he wants in the underworld. Seems pretty tempting, to me. Notice that there is nothing about Transcendence in this example. It's a perfectly plausible path for a Gaunt to take.

                      One more thing, you say you would need some "defined and really useful difference" between Gaunts, Domem, and fettered wraiths. Isn't freedom of movement that difference? All of the underworld is subject to the gravity of Oblivion, which is why the Fettered wraiths need their Fetters, and why the Domem need to cling to Stygia for safe harbor. Gaunts need no chains and can reside in the Shadowlands for as long as they want. I don't understand how that isn't a defined and useful difference.

                      If you accept that Argos--the power that lets wraiths fly around through chaotic reality--is useful, and if you accept that the freedom enjoyed by Ferrymen is useful, than why isn't freedom from fetters useful?

                      As to your points about Domem: "Wraiths with no Fetters can appear in the Shadowlands for
                      only Stamina x 2 turns." (W:tO 231) I wouldn't call that "all they want". How exactly do they end up precisely where a Monitor they know and trust will be for enough seconds to complete the entire transaction? Imagine you're a Domem stuck in Stygia. How do you get yourself to a position where a Monitor will hook you up to a Fetter within seconds, before you're ripped back into the Tempest?

                      I'm not saying it's impossible, but you seem very cavalier about how easy it is, which makes your stance on Gaunts more credible, but only if we buy how easy it is to un-Domemize oneself.




                      Last edited by Callishka; 11-25-2017, 06:22 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Ajax, I should say that I'm enjoying these discussions--they're helping me get back into Wraith and figure out what my interpretation of the setting is

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                        • #13
                          Here's a fun diversion. Think of the hoops the hierarchy has to jump through to determine that someone is actually a Gaunt, and not just some old wraith who still has a few Fetters.

                          Because sure, someone who has actually managed to step away from one of their Fetters is more valuable; possibly even more trustworthy. But if you don't know a Wraith's fetters (and you likely don't) and you don't have a skilled, trustworthy Monitor or Martyr Knight to really check (and you likely don't), how do you know they actually have?

                          And that's assuming that abilities like Sense Strand can actually find resolved Fetters.

                          For the record, my interpretation of Wraith is that resolving Fetters is a known, useful thing. It is rumored to be linked to Transcendence, but that's just a rumor. And since few Wraiths know of someone who's Transcended and many know someone who has (allegedly) resolved a Fetter, it's not a particularly strong rumor. In the end Gaunts are too useful to persecute and no one wants to admit they know too many rumors about Transcendence.


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

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Callishka View Post

                            I have addressed your points. First, resolving Fetters is not criminal. (Interacting with mortals is, but if you can hide that activity and resolve your fetters, you're fine.) Second, seeking Transcendence yourself, without dragging in others, is not technically criminal (though the writers are inconsistent about this.) The Proclamation of Reason does not criminalize Transcendence itself--merely persuading others to do so. And, yes, Gaunts will be the oldest of wraiths, typically, so they can get away with their own personal quests to Resolve fetters, especially if they learn in some moldy Stygian tomes how to do so.

                            Resolving fetters does not have to lead to Transcendence. Example: An older, powerful Wraith with Passions tying him to Stygian society (IE, to the Tempest, and not the Shadowlands) learns through trial and error, or by studying obscure lore, that coming to terms with your fetters means you are no longer chained by them and will gain freedom. This wraith resolves his fetters, which suddenly grants him the ability to 1. travel far from the Shadowlands without suffering distractions/weaknesses; 2. enter and remain in the Shadowlands at will like the Ferrymen and 3. appear at any of his fetters at will... and perhaps to appear anywhere he wants in the underworld. Seems pretty tempting, to me. Notice that there is nothing about Transcendence in this example. It's a perfectly plausible path for a Gaunt to take.

                            One more thing, you say you would need some "defined and really useful difference" between Gaunts, Domem, and fettered wraiths. Isn't freedom of movement that difference? All of the underworld is subject to the gravity of Oblivion, which is why the Fettered wraiths need their Fetters, and why the Domem need to cling to Stygia for safe harbor. Gaunts need no chains and can reside in the Shadowlands for as long as they want. I don't understand how that isn't a defined and useful difference.

                            If you accept that Argos--the power that lets wraiths fly around through chaotic reality--is useful, and if you accept that the freedom enjoyed by Ferrymen is useful, than why isn't freedom from fetters useful?

                            As to your points about Domem: "Wraiths with no Fetters can appear in the Shadowlands for
                            only Stamina x 2 turns." (W:tO 231) I wouldn't call that "all they want". How exactly do they end up precisely where a Monitor they know and trust will be for enough seconds to complete the entire transaction? Imagine you're a Domem stuck in Stygia. How do you get yourself to a position where a Monitor will hook you up to a Fetter within seconds, before you're ripped back into the Tempest?

                            I'm not saying it's impossible, but you seem very cavalier about how easy it is, which makes your stance on Gaunts more credible, but only if we buy how easy it is to un-Domemize oneself.



                            In other words, you haven't addressed my points. You take a certain stance on things, which you acknowledge, and then state that your POV is the correct one. Which, on the balance of the material, I disagree with. You see things going the other way, which is fine, but it's why this is angels dancing on pinheads. BECAUSE the authors are not just equivocal but contradictory and often within the same source and often in direct proximity to each other. So reconciliation is possible, but it's artifactual. Just like, say, the attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable origins of the Baali if one uses the source material as written.

                            So this becomes an issue of why you think what you think and why I think what I think, which way lies madness if we just entrench. So.... Here goes....

                            The reason I don't buy that Gaunts have much of a perceived cache without some advantage (and even then with some associated smirking) is that's not how societies work. Of course, in defined, minority groups the prevailing feelings might be different or even opposite that of the social controls (implicit and explicit) defined by the group in power, that doesn't change the way society as a whole works. Particularly when one is brushing up next to the areas in which the group in power is willing to use coercion and violence to maintain its authority (by means of adhering to the set of beliefs to which it refers for its legitimacy. That's all based on the fact that that kind of analysis is what I DO in all of the various professions I've had over the course of my life (archaeologist, anthropologist, lawyer). It seems, to me, that it's much more likely that the situation is actually more limited and different than presented by the authors here and there when weighed against, well, the dead weight of the entirety of the functionality of the memes that perpetuate Stygian society that is presented front and center in both a monolithic and nuanced fashion throughout pretty much EVERYTHING (except of course the Wraith fiction....)

                            I can see how points 1 and 2 of becoming a Gaunt are useful enough to matter and would probably lead to Gaunts having some of the status attributed to them, not that accorded to ancient Domems from Stygia (some/many of whom were once Gaunts and lost it when their last Fetter went away... which is the most likely thing to happen to a Gaunt that doesn't fall to Shadow, etc.). I don't remember where you are getting No. 3, but if that is so, then the situation changes drastically, and I see them as being HIGHLY regulated and considered barely contained criminals that are a hair away from being the worst kind of criminals (like the Hounds from the TV show the Gifted. Admittedly, free Gaunts might be considered folk heroes of a sort by the hoi polloi of Shadowlands wraiths if they are behaving appropriately (a la Robin Hood) and that COULD account for some kind of Status (that doesn't really exist since the Background is about position within one of the groups and not overall.... maybe some kind of Fame?)

                            What is the utility of that freedom of movement respective to wraith society as a whole? If normal wraiths CAN go to Sygia, but it's distracting and itchy to be there, then it's not that great an advantage and if the Domems don't need to go to the Shadowlands all that often, and, if they really need to, there is an easy workaround (as Monitors can give ANY wraith a temporary Fetter, the Domem can use Argos to be wherever they want if they don't want to just ride a train or take a boat, etc. They are the movers and shakes of wraith society, If they can't do these things themselves, the do have people who can do them for them. The benefit of being able to give orders and all. So, not cavalier, but more practical. Since Domems know how these things work from decades of experience and centuries of their society dealing with the situation. As a counter-argument, why do you think Domems are unaware of the resources and capabilities of their condition?), then it's not enough of an advantage to outweigh the problems it generates on a social level. And it's not like Argos, which is one of the most useful Arcanoi to wraithly societies existence across many different axes. That ability is more like something in the "Other Skills" section of a resume.

                            So, COULD Gaunts be considered cool? Sure. Your points are solid ones. But there are a lot of issues that hand on those branches and said "coolness" isn't the same as, say, the coolness of being someone with actual social power by being an officer in a Legion or the prophet of a Heretic Cult or a Renegade group's Jesse James or one of the Illuminati-like leaders of a forbidden Guild. This all could depend on the issue of "Status" vs. "status". One of which means something in the rules and the other of which might be a somewhat poor choice of wording
                            Last edited by Ajax; 11-26-2017, 12:03 PM.

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