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Synergy between Stygian and Jade Arcanoi

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Irioth View Post
    Whatever, and who cares. Words fail me to explain how much I loathe making Judeo-Christian/Abrahamic mythology and ideology essentially true as the factual basis or cosmic law of the setting in any game I care to play or fiction I care to read/watch, so please don't tempt me into a going in a extended rant about this. Suffice me to say the whole Cain stuff can happily get lost in a black hole in a faraway galaxy for all I care, and I very much prefer to pick an adaptation of the Requiem approach to frame the origin of vampires.
    I have little to say about this topic that hasn't already been said, but I just want to add: you'd fit well in my games. It's difficult to describe how disappointed I was every time cWoD put the Bible in their games. The LoF was one of those figures I found deeply satisfying if she was enigmatic, but making her "Eve" undercuts so much of what makes the Underworld interesting--it's based on some human expectations, but can't be easily tied to any particular faith.

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    • #17
      Einstein didn't teach himself physics from thin air. He was 'standing on the shoulders of giants', as Sir Isaac Newton put it before him. His work required *lots* of hard graft. Building on past knowledge rather than suddenly being inspired in a moment of divine clarity. Pretending otherwise undermines the extraordinary effort involved. (And note that even your 'self-teaching' is teaching. It's learning from past knowledge, not suddenly knowing everything.)

      The naive idea of inspiration coming from nowhere is a Romantic illusion--even artists work hard to be 'inspired'. That's why Arcanoi are divided into arts and structured around Guilds: they're artisan-like systems of knowledge that require time and effort to master. Guildmembers start off as 'journeymen' to indicate the journeys they're going on to reach mastery.

      Likening this to the racist attitudes behind the 'Chariots of the Gods' is just offensive. For starters, wraiths are fictitious. Secondly, ancient cultures did have learning to pass knowledge from person to person. It's you who's arguing that knowledge should come entirely from the skies as divine inspiration (or rather, from within as some kind of individualistic divinity). But surely even the student who teaches himself reads, asks questions, and uses the work of others? He doesn't learn in a vacuum. Moments of clarity may come, but they're embedded in a process of absorption and synthesis.

      But perhaps we're arguing at cross-purposes. Your image of self-taught learning is, IMO, very different to the book's image of wraiths spontaneously developing powers through emotion. I think self-directed learning is a valid tool and quite different to what Wr20 describes. In most cases, it involves research, study and experimentation, and those things fit with the world as previously presented. It's not the same as getting excited and then suddenly being able to blow things up (what I think of as the Dragonball Z effect, where heroes magically develop the power needed to defeat an enemy by emotion alone). Maybe I'm misreading it, but that's what it looks like to me. Not just a sliding into place of things already learned, but complete mastery of an art from nowhere.

      My main objection to spontaneous knowledge (and I'll emphasise that I mean *without any learning required*) isn't that I don't believe people can figure things out on their own. It's just that learning requires work (even if in downtime); and the setting has made a huge thing until now about the rigorous steps required to join a Guild and how only the Guilds have the best arts. But these new rules, for me, go against what was already a key part of the setting (monopoly on arts by the Guilds). It also creates the logical problems you note--that anyone should be able to manifest any art, and so the DKoJ should have soulforging. I believe that's an unintentional consequence and possibly one that changes the setting quite a bit. That's why I won't be using it often. A sudden breakthrough in, say, Outrage once in a while might be appropriate. Some of the other arts would suggest to me that they need more understanding than just intuition, though.
      Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 02-21-2018, 05:15 AM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
        Einstein didn't teach himself physics from thin air. He was 'standing on the shoulders of giants', as Sir Isaac Newton put it before him. His work required *lots* of hard graft. Building on past knowledge rather than suddenly being inspired in a moment of divine clarity. Pretending otherwise undermines the extraordinary effort involved. (And note that even your 'self-teaching' is teaching. It's learning from past knowledge, not suddenly knowing everything.)

        The naive idea of inspiration coming from nowhere is a Romantic illusion--even artists work hard to be 'inspired'. That's why Arcanoi are divided into arts and structured around Guilds: they're artisan-like systems of knowledge that require time and effort to master. Guildmembers start off as 'journeymen' to indicate the journeys they're going on to reach mastery.

        Likening this to the racist attitudes behind the 'Chariots of the Gods' is just offensive. For starters, wraiths are fictitious. Secondly, ancient cultures did have learning to pass knowledge from person to person. It's you who's arguing that knowledge should come entirely from the skies as divine inspiration (or rather, from within as some kind of individualistic divinity). But surely even the student who teaches himself reads, asks questions, and uses the work of others? He doesn't learn in a vacuum. Moments of clarity may come, but they're embedded in a process of absorption and synthesis.

        But perhaps we're arguing at cross-purposes. Your image of self-taught learning is, IMO, very different to the book's image of wraiths spontaneously developing powers through emotion. I think self-directed learning is a valid tool and quite different to what Wr20 describes. In most cases, it involves research, study and experimentation, and those things fit with the world as previously presented. It's not the same as getting excited and then suddenly being able to blow things up (what I think of as the Dragonball Z effect, where heroes magically develop the power needed to defeat an enemy by emotion alone). Maybe I'm misreading it, but that's what it looks like to me. Not just a sliding into place of things already learned, but complete mastery of an art from nowhere.

        My main objection to spontaneous knowledge (and I'll emphasise that I mean *without any learning required*) isn't that I don't believe people can figure things out on their own. It's just that learning requires work (even if in downtime); and the setting has made a huge thing until now about the rigorous steps required to join a Guild and how only the Guilds have the best arts. But these new rules, for me, go against what was already a key part of the setting (monopoly on arts by the Guilds). It also creates the logical problems you note--that anyone should be able to manifest any art, and so the DKoJ should have soulforging. I believe that's an unintentional consequence and possibly one that changes the setting quite a bit. That's why I won't be using it often. A sudden breakthrough in, say, Outrage once in a while might be appropriate. Some of the other arts would suggest to me that they need more understanding than just intuition, though.
        This, I suppose, is one of the roots of our dissent. You care to enhance and empower the status of the Guilds in the setting so much that you are willing to marginalize PC opportunities to use self-driven research, study, experimentation, and yes, mystical inspiration too. I embrace the exact opposite viewpoint. I care so much for player-driven character development and PC-controlled self-education that I'm willing to throw WtO Guilds away. I find them a secondary setting element that is somewhat useful as a counterbalance to the power of the Hierarchy but far from essential, so I'm fine with their precarious status and their nature as useful (but far from necessary) source of specialized lore and training. Hence I'm fine with rules providing rewards to Guild ties in the form of easier learning and Xp discounts, but not with making them an absolute prerequisite, and I'd happily throw them in the Sun if the alternative was too little PC self-taught learning.

        I understand your objections to spontaneous Arcanoi manifestations, and you have my blessing to interpret them as a stand-in for offstage PC self-taught research, study and experimentation, although I do not find Arcanoi learning by sudden mystical insight so outrageously implausible as you do, for various reasons (e.g. wraithly nature as passion-driven supernatural beings whose features and abilities are essentially shaped by their own perspectives; Arcanoi arts being the refinement and development of inborn wraithly abilities and in many cases being fairly elementary in their features and scope; analogy with other supernatural beings, such as mages, whose development of their own abilities is often greatly enhanced by the right kind of mystical insight experiences). As for me, I suppose I might use rules for manifestation at face value, or a cheap stand-in for offstage PC mystical self-education, as circumstances or my fancy dictate. However, again, the Guilds can get lost in the black hole at the center of our galaxy for all I care if the price is marginalization of PC self-development. Moreover, as you correctly notice, the kind of gameplay you advocate stands in the way of other setting features I very much wish to have, such as any wraith being potentially able to learn any Arcanoi, regardless of its social ties and and cultural background, and every Arcanos being present (with various degrees of rarity depending on local circumstances) available in any Dark Kingdom.

        Last but not least, I do not sympathize or find much use with the canon version of WtO Guilds alo because I find their respective specializations on single Arcanoi far too narrow and limiting for my tastes. I'd find them more useful and sympathetic if their typical purview involved broad archetypes and their applications in wraith society, rather than single arts. I.e. much like you have mage Orders that deal with martial applications of magic, mystical research, and so on, you could have the "Artists' Guild" that deals with all the applications of Arcanoi arts for entertainment, the "Warriors' Guild" that is involved wtih all combat-worthy Arcanoi arts, the "Artisans' Guild" that focuses on the manufacturing Arcanoi, and so on. These I'd find rather more appealing and useful than the canon version.

        Besides all huge implausibility issues, my other main problem with "Chariots of the Gods" stuff is its being anti-humanist and regressive by essentially denying the ability of ancient humans to progress and innovate on their own terms instead of being dependent on teaching from advanced alien visitors or extinct prehistoric super-civilizations. In comparison, I find the issue of such a viewpoint being relatively more or less negative for the status and achievements of any specific culture or ethnicity essentially superfluous and irrelevant, so I deem the "Ancient Astronauts" stuff pseudoscience crackpot nonsense but not especially racist. Of course, this is told from the perspective of a secular, libertarian, pro-science (trans)humanist who is extremely hostile to PC/SJW ideology. Even more so in the current environment, arguments something is false, irrational, harmful to freedom or progress, or bad in a practical/utilitarian/rational selfishness sense tend to get quite a sympathetic ear in my court, while accusations of racism, sexism, and other identity politics 'isms' usually make the judge and jury strongly hostile to prosecution and instinctively sympathetic to defense. Nowadays, I tend to assume anything the PC crowd hates perhaps isn't so bad, everything the SJW like is probably boring, annoying, oppressive, dangerous to my lifestyle, or harmful to something I care about, and the more they get vocal about something, the more suspicious, hostile, and contrarian I get.
        Last edited by Irioth; 02-21-2018, 09:34 PM.

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        • #19
          See, I agree with much of your Chariots of the Gods stuff (though I'm very much a British socialist democratic type, so coming at it from a slightly different angle). For me, the problem is with assumptions about 'primitive' and 'native' cultures. But it amounts to the same thing.

          As for Guilds, they do occupy a weird place in the canon. They got splatbooks, but were very much secondary to the Legions, which were far more accessible and prevalent. But I have always liked them as secret societies and criminal organisations. It's also always been more interesting to me than Vampire, say, because you can engage with the splats or pretty much ignore them.

          I suppose, in a post-Guild world, though, then mystical manifestation of spontaneous arts would be more appropriate. After the 6GM, with chaos in and across the Shroud, I could see huge fluctuations in Arcanoi as I result.

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          • #20
            Has anyone any good idea on how we could revise the unofficial markings for Jade Arcanoi I posted in #2, to make them more compliant to Wraith20 guildmarks? The new standard seems to pick some kind of physical feature that is somehow closely related to the Arcanos, either as a plausible consequence of its persistent use or a mystical thematic association. I'm not sure all of the old Jade markings would fit.

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