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The Untapped Potential of Heretics and Renegades

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  • The Untapped Potential of Heretics and Renegades

    So, still stewing and putting together that chronicle I mentioned a while ago, and I'm now getting to the part of assembling together factions...including Heretics and Renegades.

    Heretics and Renegades are potentially one of the most customizable aspects of, not just Wraith, but of World of Darkness in general.

    1. Heretics and Renegades have no universal creed. Unlike equivalent factions in the other WoD gamelines (Vampire's Anarchs, Mage's Disparate Crafts, etc) Heretics and Renegades have no universal ideology that they follow. There's nothing like the Anarch Manifesto that binds every Heretic/Renegade together. The only thing that makes them remotely similar is their mutual dislike/hatred of the Hierarchy. Otherwise, they have nothing in common. And the books reiterate multiple times that it's not uncommon at all for individual Heretic/Renegade groups to war with each other. other.

    So, because they have so few restrictions to make them consistent with each other, that leaves things open for them to take any form.

    2. They fill in gaps within the setting. Wraiths are defined by what they DO with their afterlives. That often includes leaning into ideologies and beliefs to try to rationalize and figure out what to do with their wraith-ly lives. That despite the omnipresent Hierarchy/Dark Kingdoms, they're still able to foster their beliefs.

    Especially since a large part of Wraith is coming to grips with the disappointment that the cultural afterlives taught and told stories about across the world aren't present in the Underworld, and what to do about that.

    3. Increases diversity of Wraith…specifically in the Dark Kingdoms. In my conversations with non-Wraith WoD fans, a point that keeps coming up is their dislike of how Wraith treats PoC wraiths…or rather, the lack of it. Svarga seemingly being dominated by Hindu Indian wraiths, with any reference to the other religions of India. Or, more infamously, how the Islands of Flint, aka the home of Native American wraiths…and how by RAW, the island has been destroyed, due to white colonial wraiths tracking down Flint wraiths and re-killing them.

    Heretics and Renegades would allow for side-stepping some of these elements without extensive re-writing of the setting.

    Even in Wr20 core it hints at Renegade and Heretic-like groups: Jade Kingdom references "brushfire rebellions" and how Japan is still resisting against them, Svarga having the Naga and Asura factions, and the current Mexican wraiths lean on more Catholic beliefs then the Aztec ones of Obsidian, which suggest them identifying more with Day of the Dead depictions of the afterlife. And, while not directly called out in the text, I would think that any incoming Native American wraiths of this generation wouldn't take too kindly on being asked to assimilate into a different Euro-American empire. They might not call themselves Heretics or Renegades, but it sounds like they're there.

    Otherwise it makes no sense for these places to not have their own equivalents in these groups.

    (of course this is going off of what's depicted in the Wr20 core and having not read the Dark Kingdoms section in the still-upcoming Book of Oblivion)

    I say untapped potential…because Wr20 itself doesn't tap into this potential. The book does not include any guidelines for making your own Heretic/Renegade groups, nor does it really talk enough about the customizable possibilities they offer. Reading it now, the blurbs

    To me, the biggest flaw of Wr20 is not the perceived nerfing of Arcanoi, or of having no Merits and Flaws in the Wr20 core, or not offering Future Fates-esque options when it comes to the metaplot, …no the biggest flaw is not offering any Build-a-Gang/Cult guidelines.

    I understand that because of Wr20's chaotic development that all devs involved couldn't fully develop or add any brand new ideas, and that they were probably more concerned about just getting the damn thing finished. So honestly, I can't get too mad at them. But viewing it apart from that lens, it is still disappointing that Wr20 didn't tap into and expand upon this aspect of the gameline.

    So...what do you think? Agree/disagree, completely out of line on making this assumption on Wraith?

  • #2
    Agreeish? I mean all the major powers seem to be Explicitly Imperalistic slave states, which I think is supposed to be part of the Horror of it all, but having some counter points that don't lead to 40k style arguments would be good.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Lian View Post
      Agreeish? I mean all the major powers seem to be Explicitly Imperalistic slave states, which I think is supposed to be part of the Horror of it all, but having some counter points that don't lead to 40k style arguments would be good.
      Yeah. Although I think the issue that's been talked about here and elsewhere is that the material...doesn't make it explicitly clear that PCs SHOULD be Renegades, or directly calling it out that the Hierarchy and Dark Kingdoms are oppressive imperialistic regimes. In the case of Wr20, nothing that's quite the equivalent of the "Modern Feudalism" sidebar in C20.

      Which again, the very freeform nature of Heretics/Renegades can leave unprepared players lost on how hey should be doing the groups "correctly".

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post

        Yeah. Although I think the issue that's been talked about here and elsewhere is that the material...doesn't make it explicitly clear that PCs SHOULD be Renegades, or directly calling it out that the Hierarchy and Dark Kingdoms are oppressive imperialistic regimes. In the case of Wr20, nothing that's quite the equivalent of the "Modern Feudalism" sidebar in C20.

        Which again, the very freeform nature of Heretics/Renegades can leave unprepared players lost on how hey should be doing the groups "correctly".
        Everything is built out of people its hard to be more explicit than that about how exploitive the society is. That Slavery is both still accepted and the currency of the land.. I can see why they might be hesitant to prop up a traditionally exploited group as the exploiters. Thus the power of the Heirarchy.

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        • #5
          Renegades are interesting because they can be anything from traditional social reformers and utopian idealists to nationalist freedom fighters and classically liberal constitutionalists, before you even start touching on things like would be filibusters, outlaw gangs, underground conspiracies, and even factions led by real world historical people.

          Unfortunately, this makes it hard for them to cooperate with each other.


          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)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
            Renegades are interesting because they can be anything from traditional social reformers and utopian idealists to nationalist freedom fighters and classically liberal constitutionalists, before you even start touching on things like would be filibusters, outlaw gangs, underground conspiracies, and even factions led by real world historical people.
            Right?

            It's kind of ridiculous the number of ways a Renegade gang could embody.

            Unfortunately, this makes it hard for them to cooperate with each other.
            Yeah. I think similar to Anarchs, it's mentioned that if every single Renegade united, they could easily overthrow the Hierarchy. But because they have wildly different (and more often then not, completely incompatible) ideologies, that's never going to happen. Even with the Renegade Council concept, the way how it's portrayed seems to suggest that such a thing wouldn't last long if attempted to implement.

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            • #7
              The problem I think is that if you are making a "Standardized" setting you need to function on the big players... I hope BOO has something like sample Necropolises to get a broader world view.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lian View Post
                The problem I think is that if you are making a "Standardized" setting you need to function on the big players... I hope BOO has something like sample Necropolises to get a broader world view.
                BoO does indeed have a section with sample Necropoli.

                I have no idea how many and the breadth of the locations featured, but they're there.

                (and hence why it's my other most anticipated release when it comes to WoD20, apart from the C20 PG)

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                • #9
                  I always figured if I'd written the Renegades book way back when, at least two of the famous ones detailed in the back would've been Voltaire and Harriet Tubman.


                  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)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post

                    BoO does indeed have a section with sample Necropoli.

                    I have no idea how many and the breadth of the locations featured, but they're there.

                    (and hence why it's my other most anticipated release when it comes to WoD20, apart from the C20 PG)
                    what I think works really well for the Chronicles books is there's a bunch of prebuilt settings with a bunch of inbuilt plot hooks to give someone a sense of "this how it works, this is how crazy you can go"



                    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                    I always figured if I'd written the Renegades book way back when, at least two of the famous ones detailed in the back would've been Voltaire and Harriet Tubman.

                    I Know Sparticus was in one fo the books.
                    Last edited by Lian; 04-26-2019, 07:48 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I agree with the OP. Given the fragmentary nature of Stygian society (which I'll limit this post to), let alone the renegades and heretics themselves, it does make sense for a more general touch given to their descriptions. After revisiting 'Renegades', there is a basic breakdown of types, which is useful, particularly for customizing your own Necropolis, but there could have been more provided, such as broader movements based off ideological to ethnic based ones such as the OP mentioned.

                      For instance the Kingdom of Obsidian is set up as more or less a renegade faction, and boy would it be a major one. Aside from wishing to take back their home slice of the Underworld, they'd be in the perfect position, with their island of stability, to support numerous other rebel organizations against Stygia (and the Legions against themselves). Same could be said of the Flint Islands. A similar situation could exist for Heretic groups with connections to the Far Shores (which could also help them paint broader factions and philosophies so STs and players can have a better idea what to branch their own cults from and connecting them to a greater sense of Stygian history). Next could be major organizations and ideologies that focus on ending thralldom, soulforging, easing the Dictum Mortum, more democratic institutions, to greater or lesser autonomy or just around charasmatic individuals, etc.

                      Despite the freedom that renegades and heretics give groups in customization, I think the Hierarchy ended up being more popular because more could be written in terms of internal factions, politics, figures etc. It was a nice spring board to builda setting without having to create everything from scratch.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Onkwe View Post

                        For instance the Kingdom of Obsidian is set up as more or less a renegade faction, and boy would it be a major one.
                        I think the Clay kingdom(s) and les invisibles can serve a very similar role in Australia and the American Gulf Coast, respectively. And if you wanted to have some sort of Dark Kingdom of Ash (as in the tree) in Scandinavia and/or Germany, or something along those lines elsewhere in the world, that'd work too.


                        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)

                        Comment

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