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Why the Dictum Mortuum?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

    The spectre thing was the other main theory, but of course lots of people were secretly Shadow-Eaten.

    Having her be a dead mage or goddess would be cool too, though. With the metaplot rolled back again, we might even get more complex answers. Such as: what if Grandmother is the Lady of Fate's Shadow/evil twin? What if the Lady of Fate is the spirit of Gaia or Luna or the Scarlet Empress?

    On a related topic, though, who's Nhudri? A fallen angel? A wraith? A redeemed spectre?
    He's obviously the last sane soul of the Neverborn formerly known as Autochthon.

    Wait... wrong forum.


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

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    • #17
      Back to the original question, though. One of the things to remember is that Charon had to grapple with his shadow over the years and it is an open question which of the two was responsible for the Dictum Mortuum. It's not like he would admit that he lost control and fell to Catharsis, admitting to that would shake the entire empire. Better to let bad edicts stand than admit he wasn't in complete control.


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

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      • #18
        I always assumed Charon had his Shadow split off, like the Ferrymen.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Florin View Post
          I always assumed Charon had his Shadow split off, like the Ferrymen.
          Charon never went through the Ritual of Severance because it was developed after he parted ways with the Ferrymen. There was a Castigation experiment that went horribly wrong that split him from his shadow, but I don't think that happened until sometime in the 19th or 20th century.


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

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

            Charon never went through the Ritual of Severance because it was developed after he parted ways with the Ferrymen. There was a Castigation experiment that went horribly wrong that split him from his shadow, but I don't think that happened until sometime in the 19th or 20th century.
            Technically speaking, the Ritual of Severance was developed before Charon parted ways with the Ferrymen, he turned down the offer to undergo it because of his growing policy differences with the Boatmen Society. This creates the fascinating alternate setting scenario of what would have happened if the split between Stygia and the Ferrymen never occurred or was timely mended, and Charon, the Deahtlords, the Guildmasters, and other leaders and worthies of Stygia had the opportunity to undergo the Ritual of Severance and stay free from Shadow corruption.

            IIRC we had an interesting discussion about it started by yours truly sometime ago and the bast conclusion available was it would have made Stygia much less fractious and corrupted prone to internal division but rather more vulnerable to external attacks by a more efficient, united, and active Spectre society led by the Pasiphae of Stygian luminaries. Anyway yes, Charon's shadow was split by a Castigation experiment gone horribly wrong sometime before 1945, more or less the time it would take for the sundered Shadow to roam the Tempest and the Labyrinth, find and merge with Gorool.

            If you ask my opinion, in IC terms the Dictum Mortuum was one of the worst decisions of Charon, so harmful to Stygia in terms of creating frustration, division, and corruption within its ranks for negligible and questionable benefits on both sides of the Shroud that it is indeed rather likely it came from a bout of Catharsis. In OOC terms, of course, it is just part of the setting effort to uphold the Masquerade even in case the Fog fails or slips.

            As it concerns the nature of LoF, Nhudri, and others of that ilk, I'm very much in favor of making them just what they look like, very ancient, talented, experienced, and dedicated wraiths. I'm rather in disagreement of making them special snowflakes with exceptional ties to other supernatural splats or 'divine' beings. I'd not make a literalist interpretation of Judeo-Christian mythology factual truth and LoF/Eve the actual progenitor of mankind at my table at gunpoint, and I find the whole Cain stuff exceedingly disagreeable. OTOH, if one wants to make the LoF the wraith of a Neolithic woman that just happens to be the relative of a very ancient vampire, no problem. I'm also skeptical about excessively multiplying secret Shadow-Eaten in Stygian leadership, especially when their known behavior does not seem to fit typical Spectre behavior. The LoF seems too benevolent, Nhudri too neutral, and both too aloof to be Spectres in drag. We have Yu Huang and Swar's Heavenly Regent as known examples of how successful Spectres in disguise in the top leadership of Underworld societies tend to behave, and their M.O. seems much more destructive and malevolent than the one of LoF, Charon, or Nhudri. On the other hand, Charon's actions may well fit with recurrent bouts of Catharsis, and a couple of Deathlords may indeed fit the secret Shadow-Eaten pattern.
            Last edited by Irioth; 02-19-2018, 08:03 PM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

              He's obviously the last sane soul of the Neverborn formerly known as Autochthon.

              Wait... wrong forum.
              Now that would be cool. But I like Easter eggs, so . . .

              As for the Ritual of Severance, I suspect Charon would rather keep an eye on his Shadow than let it run amok.

              One thing I always wondered (and this is going into crossover territory again, so if you find these disagreeable, please skip this post): could the fact that Orpheus had post-6GM Shadows be separate from their Psyches be a kind of mass Ritual of Reverence? For example, Ends of Empire had it that when Persephone tried to cross the Shroud, it threw thousands of wraiths into bodies as shamblers. Could something similar have happened to tear Psyche and Shadow apart? Really, the Ritual of Severance seems more useful to Oblivion than to Stygia, because it allows a Shadow to run around unchecked without having to wait for Catharsis or spectrehood.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

                Now that would be cool. But I like Easter eggs, so . . .
                Autochthon's already off in the Deep Umbra filled with ItXers though, so that particular tie in is covered!


                Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                  What is the Hierarchy's motivation here? The Camarilla enforces the Masquerade because of the threat humanity poses to Kindred if they were aware of them, but they wouldn't seem to pose remotely the same degree of threat to Wraiths.
                  Wouldn't they? What would happen if everybody learnt about fetters & psychics/mediums/exorcists, and/or develop True Faith in order to ban the spirits out of the world? Even without spiritual powers/magic/fait, Skinland & Shadowland interfer with each others. So if you learnt the location of fetters/citadels/necropolis, couldn't you really damage them?

                  And, as a metaphysical question, as everybody (except the Giovanni) seems so scared about putting an end to the Shroud, what would happen if - to the contrary - Stygia was completely disconnected from the Shadowlands, where no wraiths could go (in absence of their fetters & expelled by psychics) ?

                  Just some questions here, no answers...
                  Last edited by Tazmaniacs; 03-14-2018, 10:15 PM.

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                  • #24
                    Not to mention, restricting Wraith's actions on the Skinlands side of thing prevents a bunch of people from screwing with other Wraith's fetters and focuses for Passions. It's like the church's repression of sexual relations outside of the ones ascribed by them in the middle ages. It's a control thing.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
                      One thing I always wondered (and this is going into crossover territory again, so if you find these disagreeable, please skip this post): could the fact that Orpheus had post-6GM Shadows be separate from their Psyches be a kind of mass Ritual of Reverence? For example, Ends of Empire had it that when Persephone tried to cross the Shroud, it threw thousands of wraiths into bodies as shamblers. Could something similar have happened to tear Psyche and Shadow apart? Really, the Ritual of Severance seems more useful to Oblivion than to Stygia, because it allows a Shadow to run around unchecked without having to wait for Catharsis or spectrehood.


                      I think you are right to look at the Shroud (now Stormwall) as the reason for the severance. Ghosts trapped in the Skinlands rather than Shadowlands is the single biggest metaphysical change of the setting. It is entirely possible that without having to cross the Shroud together the two are never bound as one. Or perhaps the winds of the Stormwall tear the two apart and fling them back when they try to cross.

                      There are two alternatives I can think of though. The first is that the metaphysical inertia of the Dark Kingdom of Iron was a big part of why Wraiths appeared the way they did. We already have examples of other regions having a very different soul structures. Possibly when Stygia was wiped off the map and all of those who remembered it were scoured away there was nothing pushing ghosts in that direction anymore.

                      It is also possible that it is Grandmother's doing. How the rest of the Labyrinth feels about severance is complicated, but she clearly wants her brood to live for her, not self annihilate. Possibly she is unwilling to wait for the Psyche to fall to get a servant or possibly she finds the idea of being in communion with a resisting element distasteful. The only problem with using her as the reason is it doesn't seem like she has that much power on the living side early on.





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

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Tazmaniacs View Post

                        Wouldn't they? What would happen if everybody learnt about fetters & psychics/mediums/exorcists, and/or develop True Faith in order to ban the spirits out of the world? Even without spiritual powers/magic/fait, Skinland & Shadowland interfer with each others. So if you learnt the location of fetters/citadels/necropolis, couldn't you really damage them?

                        And, as a metaphysical question, as everybody (except the Giovanni) seems so scared about putting an end to the Shroud, what would happen if - to the contrary - Stygia was completely disconnected from the Shadowlands, where no wraiths could go (in absence of their fetters & expelled by psychics) ?

                        Just some questions here, no answers...
                        This comment here sort of dances around the biggest reason the Hierarchy would have for enforcing the Dictum Mortuum:

                        You all remember that Necromancy is a thing that exists in the World of Darkness, right?

                        Whether it's vampires, mages, or common mortal sorcerers, those dwelling in the Skinlands have means of striking at the Restless, just as Wraiths possess means of interfering with the Quick. These Shroud-hopping shenanigans aren't a one-way street; it cuts both ways.

                        Sure, knowledge of Necromancy is uncommon NOW, in the current state of the World of Darkness. But you can bet your bottom dollar, if wraiths had no qualms about screwing with the living, more of the living would study Necromancy so they could screw the dead back. There'd be more exorcisms, more summonings, more bindings into servitude. Groups like the Giovanni are bad enough for those in the Shadowlands, and they're just one Clan (and only part of the Clan really pursues Necromancy seriously). Imagine if there were dozens of Giovanni, in every city. If there was one in every county, with an office right next to the municipal health inspector or setting up shop in the business district? What if the Quick, at large, began seeing the Restless as an epidemic? A public health hazard that needed to be curbed?

                        Better question: has this sort of thing happened before in history?

                        Members of the Hierarchy, in some cases, might be old enough to remember when Necromancers and Exorcists were everywhere. Not lonely scholars, privately enslaving weak ghosts for personal purposes, but active forces that plagued the dead. To these old souls, the Dictum Mortuum may seem like not just a sensible precaution, but the only defense the Restless have against an army of Quick who would just as soon bind or destroy them all. The less the living know or care about the dead, the better.


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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                          This comment here sort of dances around the biggest reason the Hierarchy would have for enforcing the Dictum Mortuum:

                          You all remember that Necromancy is a thing that exists in the World of Darkness, right?

                          Whether it's vampires, mages, or common mortal sorcerers, those dwelling in the Skinlands have means of striking at the Restless, just as Wraiths possess means of interfering with the Quick. These Shroud-hopping shenanigans aren't a one-way street; it cuts both ways.

                          Sure, knowledge of Necromancy is uncommon NOW, in the current state of the World of Darkness. But you can bet your bottom dollar, if wraiths had no qualms about screwing with the living, more of the living would study Necromancy so they could screw the dead back. There'd be more exorcisms, more summonings, more bindings into servitude. Groups like the Giovanni are bad enough for those in the Shadowlands, and they're just one Clan (and only part of the Clan really pursues Necromancy seriously). Imagine if there were dozens of Giovanni, in every city. If there was one in every county, with an office right next to the municipal health inspector or setting up shop in the business district? What if the Quick, at large, began seeing the Restless as an epidemic? A public health hazard that needed to be curbed?

                          Better question: has this sort of thing happened before in history?

                          Members of the Hierarchy, in some cases, might be old enough to remember when Necromancers and Exorcists were everywhere. Not lonely scholars, privately enslaving weak ghosts for personal purposes, but active forces that plagued the dead. To these old souls, the Dictum Mortuum may seem like not just a sensible precaution, but the only defense the Restless have against an army of Quick who would just as soon bind or destroy them all. The less the living know or care about the dead, the better.
                          Excellent point.

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                          • #28
                            IIRC, the idea was that the more Wraith's cross the Shroud, the weaker it becomes, and if it falls, then Oblivion can start spreading out into the living world and consume everything. Such is the way I remember Richard Dansky explaining it to me once, at least.

                            (Causing the Shroud to collapse has been tried at least twice, being thwarted both times through the use of atomic weapons.)


                            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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