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  • Troubling setting change...

    Moved from another thread:

    Am I the only one who thinks it's really Not Cool that the Orpheus chapter says the NSA knows about ghosts?

    For me, that treads on one of the fundamental facets of the WoD setting paradigm: Mortals Do Not Know.

    Although there is a precedent for small, not-taken-seriously fringe factions being "in the know", such as FBI SAD, my concern is that if a major government agency in its entirety is "in the know", then their action, policy, and security decisions are, of necessity, informed by that knowledge.

    I just really think that kind of setting shift doesn't belong in an "anniversary edition".

  • #2
    Historically, I've agreed with your stance on this topic. Lately, though, I've loosened up about keeping knowledge out of the hands of normies. For one, the Fog still exists, meaning that most people who learn about the truth immediately gaslight themselves, justifying everything they heard and saw as a dream, a jumbled memory, a bout of illness, momentary insanity, confusion, a hoax, etc. Even if some division within the NSA knows about ghosts, the knowledge can't spread far without it being ignored, dismissed, and otherwise rejected as bullshit tabloid fake news.

    This line also downplays how many people really know: "Certain (smaller, quieter) elements held suspicions of a ghost world that lay adjacent to our own."

    It's important to remember that mediums and necromancers have been fully canon in Wraith, and they all know some version of the truth. Not to mention the Benandanti and their brethren--all individuals and organizations that know about ghosts. Seen in that light, the fact that a portion of the NSA is backing ghost research doesn't seem that extreme to me.

    On the other hand, I wish that the writers had specified that some splinter group within the NSA was pursuing ghost tech, not the "NSA" itself. In my game, if I use the NSA at all, I'll create a division much like VASCUU from the 1st Edition of nWoD... I think they were actually in the book called Slashers. That was the group of FBI-like agents, many with psychic powers, who hunted Slashers. They reminded me a lot of the Millennium Group from that TV show Millennium, which incidentally was a spin-off of the X-Files--which itself has a division within the FBI that learns about the supernatural.

    I see your concern, and I think removing that aspect from your games is reasonable, but it just doesn't bother me that much.

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    • #3
      Sounds like a change WWP might have asked for. They are making vampires known and hunted by forces inside governments. I wouldn't be surprised if they did the same with Wraith.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Abattoirista View Post
        Moved from another thread:

        Am I the only one who thinks it's really Not Cool that the Orpheus chapter says the NSA knows about ghosts?

        For me, that treads on one of the fundamental facets of the WoD setting paradigm: Mortals Do Not Know.

        Although there is a precedent for small, not-taken-seriously fringe factions being "in the know", such as FBI SAD, my concern is that if a major government agency in its entirety is "in the know", then their action, policy, and security decisions are, of necessity, informed by that knowledge.

        I just really think that kind of setting shift doesn't belong in an "anniversary edition".
        Actually that was already established in the Orpheus game line. The NSA worked with the Orpheus Group on Project Flatliner and cleaned up the mess when things went pear-shaped. Orpheus history as presented in Wr20 is largely the existing history of Orpheus but with a few tweaks due to the fact that the 6GM didn't happen in Wr20 by default and the world has moved forward from the early 2000's


        Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Abattoirista View Post
          For me, that treads on one of the fundamental facets of the WoD setting paradigm: Mortals Do Not Know.
          No, but it was in Orpheus the gameline.

          This is actually the very subtle danger that Orpheus presents: they are using science to pierce the Shroud, not magic. They can reproduce their results. Give them more time, and they will burn the entire setting down. The afterlife is real. Ghosts are real. It will hit every society in the world, every person, and it will shake Stygia down to the foundations.

          White Wolf AB didn’t insist on this change, by the way. This has been present since Shadow Games.


          Neall Raemonn Price
          Beleaguered Scion Developer

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Neall View Post
            This is actually the very subtle danger that Orpheus presents: they are using science to pierce the Shroud, not magic. They can reproduce their results.
            This gave me an idea... Orpheus and the Haunters Guild seem to have a mutual goal!

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            • #7
              Let's examine context:

              The NSA employs an estimated 40,000 people on the high-end. I doubt that every receptionist and IT guy knows ghosts are real, but let's say they do. But then there's the general population, and since we're talking about the NSA, I assume we mean America. Roughly 30% of Americans already believe in ghosts - in a population of almost 326.5 million.

              Even if we take out the 40 thousand that have intimate knowledge of ghosts, that's still over a million people ready to put 'ghost' in the top three of their lists for strange and unexplained phenomena. It's not that they don't know ghosts exist - they just don't know anything more than that. They don't know about Stygia, or the Labyrinth, Mortwrights and barghests. They have no clue about the society, culture, means, drives, or economics of the Dead.

              Cheers!


              If you don't use an Oxford comma, I feel bad for you, son,
              'Cuz I got ninety-nine problems, but clarity ain't one.

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              • #8
                "You say this like the NSA is actually a mundane mortal run organization, as opposed to the Technocratic Union's strongest hook in the US federal government." - I'm sure someone in setting...


                Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Abattoirista View Post
                  Moved from another thread:

                  Am I the only one who thinks it's really Not Cool that the Orpheus chapter says the NSA knows about ghosts?

                  For me, that treads on one of the fundamental facets of the WoD setting paradigm: Mortals Do Not Know.

                  Although there is a precedent for small, not-taken-seriously fringe factions being "in the know", such as FBI SAD, my concern is that if a major government agency in its entirety is "in the know", then their action, policy, and security decisions are, of necessity, informed by that knowledge.

                  I just really think that kind of setting shift doesn't belong in an "anniversary edition".

                  Not counting what other people said about the NSA stuff already being in Orpheus, Project Twilight had the NSA full on as a front for the Technocracy. The NSA has always been treated as a Normie organization on the same Level Pentex is a normie corporation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Florin View Post
                    Sounds like a change WWP might have asked for.
                    I'd like people to dial back on the accusations that just because a setting element is not to your personal liking that White Wolf must have done it. Thank you.


                    Ian A. A. Watson
                    Onyx Path Community Manager

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Abattoirista View Post

                      For me, that treads on one of the fundamental facets of the WoD setting paradigm: Mortals Do Not Know.
                      Small children, mediums, organizations such as the Arcanum and the Benandanti historically have been aware of wraiths in previous editions, so I don't consider this a remarkable departure. Wraiths are often quite invested in their relationships with the Quick so I think this makes sense.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by IanWatson View Post

                        I'd like people to dial back on the accusations that just because a setting element is not to your personal liking that White Wolf must have done it. Thank you.

                        I didn't mean for that to sound like an accusation. It was mostly unfounded speculation, since I saw a parallel between that and setting info teased for V5.

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                        • #13
                          When people say "the NSA knows...," whether that be which politician is sleeping with which rock star or if a former president exists on the other side of the shroud, it usually only means there is a small group of people within the organization who know. Leaks exist, sure, but they have to be plausible leaks to spread through the organization and beyond.


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

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                          • #14
                            References to the NSA having knowledge of ghosts go back at least to V:tM Revised in 1998, so this isn't really a setting change (or if it is it is two decades old).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by IanWatson View Post

                              I'd like people to dial back on the accusations that just because a setting element is not to your personal liking that White Wolf must have done it. Thank you.

                              Looks like new sig material to me. *thumbs up


                              PENTEX SUCKS.

                              I'm a gamer. I'm conservative. We exist.

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