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  • #31
    Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
    I tend to deviate from the standard rules by allowing animal Wraiths, similar to the ones found in the African Shadowlands, to exist within all Shadowlands. For example, outside of the Shadowlands cities in the USA, Animal Wraiths of bears, cougars, and wolves hunt down American Wraiths because they are not protected by the ancient treaties signed by the Native American Wraiths. It makes Wraith players much more paranoid about walking from one mortal town to another.
    Because the wraiths raiding out of the Dark Kingdom of Flint specifically mentioned in the setting aren't dangerous enough?

    Overall, this really does cause a cluster of problems that might or might not need to deal with. Those don't sound like the ghosts of animals at all. They sound like spirits. Up to and including (probably especially) these "contracts" You're definitely crossing over two things White Wolf likes to sharply demarcate. There are consequences to the setting if you do this. Particularly if werewolves are an issue you might want to bring in.

    Moreover, why aren't there contracts with the between Western civilization and their animal ghosts? Lots of animals are really important in many of those cultures. Where are the pet dogs? Cats? (Though cats probably do their own thing after death) The scary and or important animals of those cultures? (Bears, wolves, lions, aurochs, swans, stags, etc.)

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
      I cannot really take credit for it, animal ghost stories are as common as human ghost stories, and I was really disappointed when I did not see Animal Wraiths anywhere except for the African Shadowlands. Animal Wraiths are not created from the memories of individual animals but, instead, are created from the memories of multiple animals. Of course, modern factory farming methods mean that there are a lot of traumatized animals to make Animal Wraiths, though I think that extremely traumatized animals would probably be too unstable to contribute to Animal Wraiths (though they may feed the creation of Animal Shadows).

      I have toyed with the idea of allowing Animal Wraith PCs, but I have never gone ahead and done it. I wonder, has anyone allowed Animal Wraith PCs? If so, would you be willing to share your experiences?
      Sounds more like Animal Specters. If you are creating wraiths from emotional trauma, then modern slaughterhouses, chicken farms, etc, wouldn't be something for a PC. They'd be something for a nightmare. An amalgam Mortwright that's a huge masses of feathers with chicken heads and claws with those dead velociraptor eyes. And if collective trauma is what brings them across then most animal ghosts are going to be really really bad things. Chain them down with soulsteel and hack chunks off to forge.

      And why don't masses of humans who all die experiencing emotional trauma all come across as amalgamated entities?

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      • #33
        You are projecting modern norms onto our ancestors. Western European culture has not traditionally valued animals when compared to Native American culture, so Animal Wraiths would be more antagonistic to Western Europeans than Native Americans. In the case of dogs and cats, Western Europeans (with exception of the upper class) really did not value dogs and cats beyond their utility until last century. While the average situation of pets have improved, and horses have transitioned from work animals to pets over the last fifty years, the average situation of farm animals have declined over the last fifty years, so there really is no reason for Animal Wraiths (with the exception of well-treated pets) to really like Human Wraiths.

        Humans have developed Psyches before they die, which is why they do not normally create amalgamated entities after death. Weak-willed humans become Drone and strong-willed humans become Wraiths or Specters. I imagine that animals do not have developed Psyches before they die, with the possible exception of Animal Kinfolk, so they have to amalgamate to form anything in the Dark Umbra, whether they form Animal Wraiths or Animal Specters.

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        • #34
          By the way, it's already implied in the setting that plasmics might be the remnants of less sentient creatures and/or half-dissolved human memories. Sea of Shadows speculated on the matter, and it makes sense (animals create flimsier psychic residues, so they can't coalesce into full wraiths, but they do shape plasmics in much the same way fleeting emotions create chimerae in Changeling).

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
            You are projecting modern norms onto our ancestors. Western European culture has not traditionally valued animals when compared to Native American culture, so Animal Wraiths would be more antagonistic to Western Europeans than Native Americans. In the case of dogs and cats, Western Europeans (with exception of the upper class) really did not value dogs and cats beyond their utility until last century. While the average situation of pets have improved, and horses have transitioned from work animals to pets over the last fifty years, the average situation of farm animals have declined over the last fifty years, so there really is no reason for Animal Wraiths (with the exception of well-treated pets) to really like Human Wraiths.

            Humans have developed Psyches before they die, which is why they do not normally create amalgamated entities after death. Weak-willed humans become Drone and strong-willed humans become Wraiths or Specters. I imagine that animals do not have developed Psyches before they die, with the possible exception of Animal Kinfolk, so they have to amalgamate to form anything in the Dark Umbra, whether they form Animal Wraiths or Animal Specters.
            No, actually, you are projecting your ideas of Native American culture as delivered in a modern format to a modern audience and disregarding the validity of Western European culture and ideals which are also not a part of modern populist conceptions. The validity of the "Native Americans respect/respected animals and Western Europeans don't/didn't" is actually an indictment of the American (not European) conceptualization of the "noble savage". Animals mean different things to different cultures and the players may change, but the basics don't. Except on a very basic level... If you said something like Native American cultures start with a different perception of animals from Europeans due to the fact that domestication followed very different courses.... That's fundamentally true, though, strictly speaking complete or useful.

            To take this down the level that White Wolf operates... Witness the fact that Werewolf has NO problem coming up many many many "totems" for the European tribes that are fundamentally mythologically just as sound as anything for the Pure Lands tribes. (Or, all too often, both groups of totems have pretty much nothing to do with anything relevant... they just sounded cool. Oh...and look, there's that "noble savage" idea rearing it's head again with that whole "Pure" Lands conceptualization.)

            Dansky et al. made a very definitive point about the lack of animal ghosts (except in Africa, which is noted as particularly the exception to the rule). There seems to be something fundamental in what wraiths actually ARE that had them drawing a bright line between whatever it is that human consciousness is and how it persists after death and with that of animals, even though that's become something that is more and more difficult to determine for scientists who study the meaning of "consciousness", "intelligence", "theory of mind", etc.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Ajax View Post

              No, actually, you are projecting your ideas of Native American culture as delivered in a modern format to a modern audience and disregarding the validity of Western European culture and ideals which are also not a part of modern populist conceptions. The validity of the "Native Americans respect/respected animals and Western Europeans don't/didn't" is actually an indictment of the American (not European) conceptualization of the "noble savage". Animals mean different things to different cultures and the players may change, but the basics don't. Except on a very basic level... If you said something like Native American cultures start with a different perception of animals from Europeans due to the fact that domestication followed very different courses.... That's fundamentally true, though, strictly speaking complete or useful.

              To take this down the level that White Wolf operates... Witness the fact that Werewolf has NO problem coming up many many many "totems" for the European tribes that are fundamentally mythologically just as sound as anything for the Pure Lands tribes. (Or, all too often, both groups of totems have pretty much nothing to do with anything relevant... they just sounded cool. Oh...and look, there's that "noble savage" idea rearing it's head again with that whole "Pure" Lands conceptualization.)

              Dansky et al. made a very definitive point about the lack of animal ghosts (except in Africa, which is noted as particularly the exception to the rule). There seems to be something fundamental in what wraiths actually ARE that had them drawing a bright line between whatever it is that human consciousness is and how it persists after death and with that of animals, even though that's become something that is more and more difficult to determine for scientists who study the meaning of "consciousness", "intelligence", "theory of mind", etc.
              And it always occurred to me that the 'animal' wraiths of the Bush of Ghosts were little more than moliated human wraiths. Their presence was intentionally conspicuous, which in the World of Darkness usually means something sinister (in the same way Swar looks like a paradise but is actually a Malfean feasting on the Indian dead).

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              • #37
                Another theory: the animal wraiths of the Bush of Ghosts could be a unique kind of spectre or drone, either in disguise or warped by cultural attitudes/oppression/poor self-image (they were treated as less than human in life, so they became less than human in death, or they had a poor sense of self so are unable to take on human form, etc). They could be sentinels and guards. Or they could be servants of some beastly Malfean.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
                  Another theory: the animal wraiths of the Bush of Ghosts could be a unique kind of spectre or drone, either in disguise or warped by cultural attitudes/oppression/poor self-image (they were treated as less than human in life, so they became less than human in death, or they had a poor sense of self so are unable to take on human form, etc). They could be sentinels and guards. Or they could be servants of some beastly Malfean.
                  Or, to combine this post with your previous one, there is something about the Bush of Ghosts that keeps animal ghosts from degenerating into plasmics... (Though, TBH, many of the plasmics depicted so far give me more of a Burgess Shale/Cthulhu feel than that of a "melted cat")

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