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  • Notable Changes in Wraith 20th

    I'm only a small way into the book so far, but there are two things that have caught my eye so far:

    The Tempest referenced in the time before the First Maelstrom surprised me. What existed before the 3rd Great Maelstrom has been the topic of more than one thread on this forum so this change answers a question or two and raises a few more.

    I was not expecting Wr20 to change the formulation of Stygian Steel. That change is... well it keeps getting bigger the more I think about it. It changes how much of the substance Spectres are likely to have (the ones that fly the Tempest winds are not the most organizationally gifted, shall we say). It removes one of the major ethical components of the substance (although teams of thralls mining oblivion touched stone from the veinous stair aren't exactly a moral good). It even implies there are other substances waiting to be discovered. Big change there.



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

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
    The Tempest referenced in the time before the First Maelstrom surprised me. What existed before the 3rd Great Maelstrom has been the topic of more than one thread on this forum so this change answers a question or two and raises a few more.
    I didn't notice that change, but you're right. We have the following quote about the pre-Sundering Underworld:

    "In that long and shadowed time, the lands of the dead remained ill-defined at best. The souls in the lands of the dead
    wandered through a hazy landscape composed of misremembered dreams and hopes, of foggy, dim memories and terrifying fears. Many sought some way to return to the world of the living or to move on and find peace and contentment in some recognizable afterlife" (27).

    And this is the closest thing to the abyssal "Darkness" mentioned in the old books. Then, suddenly, Charon is ordering people to cut pathways through the Tempest to the Sunless Sea? Where did the Tempest come from? My best guess is that the hazy landscape of memories is the Tempest, but in a calmer, less dangerous state. The writers are perhaps not clear about the evolution of the Tempest, from something that confuses and vexes, to something that is enormously aggressive and all pervasive.

    A similar issue existed with the Hierarchy book, which talked about the Shroud "descending" as a result of the 3GM, even though the Shroud descended centuries earlier, with the Sundering.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Callishka View Post

      I didn't notice that change, but you're right. We have the following quote about the pre-Sundering Underworld:

      "In that long and shadowed time, the lands of the dead remained ill-defined at best. The souls in the lands of the dead
      wandered through a hazy landscape composed of misremembered dreams and hopes, of foggy, dim memories and terrifying fears. Many sought some way to return to the world of the living or to move on and find peace and contentment in some recognizable afterlife" (27).

      And this is the closest thing to the abyssal "Darkness" mentioned in the old books. Then, suddenly, Charon is ordering people to cut pathways through the Tempest to the Sunless Sea? Where did the Tempest come from? My best guess is that the hazy landscape of memories is the Tempest, but in a calmer, less dangerous state. The writers are perhaps not clear about the evolution of the Tempest, from something that confuses and vexes, to something that is enormously aggressive and all pervasive.

      A similar issue existed with the Hierarchy book, which talked about the Shroud "descending" as a result of the 3GM, even though the Shroud descended centuries earlier, with the Sundering.

      There's a lot of odd metaphysics with Wraith. If you dig a hole in the Shadowlands,where does it go? Is it impossible since it's not really there, but the memory of soil or do you end up making a nihl? What about swimming? Is the Sunless Sea just a pat of the Tempest or its main component unless disturbed by the storms?

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      • #4
        My impression is that the Sunless Sea is a broad expanse of the Underworld rendered somewhat stable (a kind of large Byway) due to the historic and widespread belief that sailing across it (or swimming...) will lead to the Far Shores. By dint of being suspended in the Outer Space-like dimensions of the Underworld, which itself is filled with the Tempest, it is surrounded on all sides, "above" and "below", by the Tempest.

        As for the Shadowlands hole, it may depend on the intentions of the digger, since emotions and psychology = physics and geography. Old Wraith discussed how the Skinlands are influenced by the Shadowlands, and visa versa. Digging a large, persistent hole in the Shadowlands would end up causing weaknesses, depressions, or accidents in the Skinlands, if I were running. If the digger were really dedicated, or the hole large and persistent enough, a sinkhole could open in the Skinlands.

        And yeah, digging holes sounds like a great way to tear a hole in reality...

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        • #5
          How would it even be possible to dig a hole in the Shadowlands unless you’re using Arcanoi across the Shroud (presumably Outrage, though Embodying or using Puppetry to control a digger works too) to dig one in the Skinlands? You can’t move objects that are Skinland reflections otherwise - that would presumably include the ground.
          Last edited by glamourweaver; 02-14-2018, 09:35 AM.


          Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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          • #6
            Good point. The ground hasn't been destroyed, and if we start allowing "ground" to be "buried", my head will spin...

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            • #7
              I'm now imagining a cleanup team after a maelstrom (small m) hits a Necropolis, as they dig away ad the flotsam and detritus left behind until their soulsteel shovels slam into the impenatrable garden soil beneath.

              Interesting change to Drones. As I recall Drones were simply those who crossed over with so little connection or drive (passions, fetters, and willpower) that they couldn't really hold onto themselves. Someone either became one or they didn't, there was no ticking clock. I'm guessing this change is part of an effort to establish Drones as a horrifying thing the PCs can become rather than a cheap, ethical source of soulsteel. Whatever the case, it creates a new potential storyline where a Wraith races not just against other Reapers but against the clock to remove the Caul from her freshly dead family member.

              Edit: Way, way, way more detail on Stygia than I was ever expecting in the Core. A quite welcome change, but one detail hit me really hard. Stygia has a Northwest. A city on the shores of the Sunless Sea, in the middle of an unnavigable Tempest, has a Northwest.

              Now I am dead certain (pun unintentional, but I'm not removing it) this isn't new to Wr20. I didn't really spend much time with the Hierarchy book but I'd bet there's at least some reference to compass directions there. Still it struck me hard enough that I figured I'd mention it here.
              Last edited by Ramnesis; 02-14-2018, 10:51 AM.


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

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              • #8
                I don't remember compass directions in Hierarchy and I reread it in earlier this month. Is there something about "northwest" in particular that I'm missing, or is it just that there are any directions at all?

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                • #9
                  I think once we have the map, "north" will mean towards the top of the map. I think of it as those are the words we had in life, so we'll apply them, even if incorrectly, in death.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Florin View Post
                    I think once we have the map, "north" will mean towards the top of the map. I think of it as those are the words we had in life, so we'll apply them, even if incorrectly, in death.
                    And that's how I'm interpreting the directions: arbitrary arrows on the Map. That's also why I haven't flagged it in the errata thread. I suspect that the River of Death is, by tradition, assumed to run from the East to the West and everything else is determined from there.

                    Originally posted by Callishka View Post
                    I don't remember compass directions in Hierarchy and I reread it in earlier this month. Is there something about "northwest" in particular that I'm missing, or is it just that there are any directions at all?
                    Any directions at all. When I picture Stygia, I don't envision sun or stars. I never have, probably because of the whole Sunless Sea thing. Likewise I can't think of anything a compass would always point to in the Tempest (other than Stygia itself, which isn't that helpful for making a map of the city). In fact I usually picture the city itself as difficult to navigate. In my head it is a convoluted warren of a city that almost seems to shift and move as you work your way through it (key word almost, it doesn't really) . So it was a strange feeling suddenly seeing something so normal and concrete associated with something that's usually so undefined.




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

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                    • #11
                      Really, they could do with something like Discworld's directions: hubwards (inwards), rimwards (outwards), turnwise (with the spin), widdershins (against the spin). So you could have Stairside (closer to the Veinous Stair), Towerside (closer to the Onyx Tower, which I'm assuming is near the 'front' of Stygia, though I could be misremembering), scytheways (along the outer scythe edge), bladeways (along the inner scythe edge) with the Spine marking the middle? But you'd also need up/down analogues too. Perhaps Skinwards and Voidwards, based on the loose designations of the Skinlands being the outer layer of an onion (thus up) and Oblivion being at the very centre (thus down). Or is Hellbound better for things Labyrinth-ward?

                      A common point of reference would be useful, otherwise you'd always have subjective directions: further than, across from, etc.
                      Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 02-14-2018, 01:19 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I like the idea of it being arbitrarily decided the Styx flows East to West based on the of death proceeding westward with the setting of the sun, and the directions in Stygia being named accordingly.

                        Or as otherwise appropriately based on the Styx - some justification can be thought up as needed. If the Styx needs to flow south to north based on Stygia’s directional geography “they decided based on the Nile” and so on.


                        Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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                        • #13
                          Info on Stygia! That's cool.

                          Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                          How would it even be possible to dig a hole in the Shadowlands unless you’re using Arcanoi across the Shroud (presumably Outrage, though Embodying or using Puppetry to control a digger works too) to dig one in the Skinlands? You can’t move objects that are Skinland reflections otherwise - that would presumably include the ground.
                          I never thought of it that way. I was probably be mixing Exalted's underworld metaphysics with WoD's.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                            I like the idea of it being arbitrarily decided the Styx flows East to West based on the of death proceeding westward with the setting of the sun, and the directions in Stygia being named accordingly.

                            Or as otherwise appropriately based on the Styx - some justification can be thought up as needed. If the Styx needs to flow south to north based on Stygia’s directional geography “they decided based on the Nile” and so on.
                            The Nile thing would work.

                            Which raises another question: what's the main source of light in Stygia? It presumably doesn't have a sun (or does it?), so is it perpetually a midnight city? Or at least twilight, if the Onyx Tower is bright enough.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

                              Which raises another question: what's the main source of light in Stygia? It presumably doesn't have a sun (or does it?), so is it perpetually a midnight city? Or at least twilight, if the Onyx Tower is bright enough.
                              There is no sun, and I've read references to how dark it is in the Underworld, but nothing directly confronting how a civilization functions in pitch darkness. Personally, I imagine a deep gloom, as in some giant cave with only faint phosphorescence for illumination. I imagine the Tempest cloud-waves would crackle and glow ominously with hellish weather. Seems as though darkness is not literal so much as psychological, and that when the world around you manifests a memory, it doesn't matter how much light there is--you experience the memory as if you were there.

                              Come to think of it, the Wraith20 book mentions the city of Stygia (maybe it was the Seat of Dust?) reflecting the morning light. Morning light???



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