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Does Soul Forging Strike you as overly Grim Dark

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  • Does Soul Forging Strike you as overly Grim Dark

    I know this is a painfully obvious question but I think it needs addressing.

    Does the thought of Soul Forging strike you as overly grim dark

    how to, if you otherwise like Wraiths themes, remove or de emphasize it.

    I know its an essential part of the game but I think the question deserves airing.



  • #2
    Not really, the dead being forged into things is kinda a constant in underworld mythology.

    Comment


    • #3
      IIRC, Soulforging was something that was emphasized in Second Edition. From Wraith: The Oblivion, Second Edition, p. 46:
      “The iron, steel and other metals of the Underworld are usually made of an alloy composed of ‘death-metal’ or ‘death-ore’ and spiritual matter. Furthermore, Stygian steel melds the stuff of Oblivion into the iron, making it bite deeply into the Corpus of the wraiths it wounds.

      Unlike Corpus, Stygian metal is not easily molded. It must be worked in a specifically designed forge and tempered in soulfire. Nhudri was the first wraith to discover how it is worked, alloyed and forged.”


      The description lacks two things: oxford commas and any mention of “Soulforging” specifically, although the “spiritual matter” part may be what inspired Second Edition to heat things up [/pun].

      Another interesting bit is First Edition didn’t have separate Backgrounds for Artifacts and Relics; the two weren’t really delineated and were covered by the same background.

      If you’re looking for fluff-inspiration for removing or decreasing the soulforging aspect of WtO, pick up First Edition. You can get in off DTRPG or find an old physical copy on Amazon. Or, if you want to homebrew something, feel free to bounce ideas around.


      This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
      (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
      ").

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, I do recall that when White Wolf Magazine published that fusion of the World of Darkness and Kult, the Vampire, Werewolf, and Mage settings became much more bleak but Wraith remained about as hopeless as it already had been.

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        • #5
          From a developer perspective: there needs to be an ultimate "lose condition." The players already start off dead; what more is there? Plus, it helps explain where all the raw materials come from - sure, Artifacts and Relics could handwave most of it away, but where do Deathmasks and Oboli come from?

          Cheers!


          If you don't use an Oxford comma, I feel bad for you, son,
          'Cuz I got ninety-nine problems, but clarity ain't one.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by nothing View Post
            From a developer perspective: there needs to be an ultimate "lose condition." The players already start off dead; what more is there?
            At the risk of sounding unnecessarily snarky, I think Oblivion qualifies for that. Between Harrowings, the Tempest, Maelstroms, Shadows, and spectres, I think there’s enough horrible things in the Underworld that keep the core themes of the game intact if a Storyteller wants to remove the soulforging economy.

            Relics would remain unchanged, but maybe large Relics could be scrapped and salvaged for parts. In WtO canon, I think the Titanic is a spectre flagship (Blood Dimmed Tides?), but what if Artificer salvagers got to it first and used it for scrap? Artifacts could have different properties depending on where the scrap came from. The more I think about it, the more I’m intrigued. Think “Tim Burton does Fallout.”


            This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
            (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
            ").

            Comment


            • #7
              Nazfool Perhaps I shouldn't have used "ultimate." I meant more in line with a "final lose condition" for screwing with the Hierarchy. Oblivion and Spectrehood are things characters would actively try to avoid, and without soulforging, there's no real punishment for disobeying the government - you're already dead, what more can the Deathlords do to you? There's no death sentence, so... Imprisonment? Like the real world, too costly and a waste of resources. Press you into frontline service in the Legions? That risks desertion, or worse, sending another soldier into the ranks of Oblivion. But soulforging? It's horrific because it's mundane, and (they think) it's necessary. Your epic personal story doesn't end with a climatic battle against waves of Spectres, but as a bunch of bricks, or you're turned juicy and thrown into the Bay of Weeping Souls. So again, from a development perspective, something was needed to give fighting the Hierarchy a sense of danger - they're not very scary when all they can do is wag a finger and tell you to "Stop that."

              As for Soulforging specifically being "grimdark" and all that - I don't feel that it's inherently so, because it's presented more as a tragic aspect. But out of all the settings, Wraith probably lends itself easiest to the "edgy" and "grimdark" motif, if one would like to play it that way. Finally, Soulforging is really only emphasized as much as the Storyteller wants it to be - it exists in my games, but it's never really front and center, and while the characters don't talk about it, they're all aware it's hanging over their heads.

              Cheers!


              If you don't use an Oxford comma, I feel bad for you, son,
              'Cuz I got ninety-nine problems, but clarity ain't one.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Nazfool View Post

                At the risk of sounding unnecessarily snarky, I think Oblivion qualifies for that. Between Harrowings, the Tempest, Maelstroms, Shadows, and spectres, I think there’s enough horrible things in the Underworld that keep the core themes of the game intact if a Storyteller wants to remove the soulforging economy.

                Relics would remain unchanged, but maybe large Relics could be scrapped and salvaged for parts. In WtO canon, I think the Titanic is a spectre flagship (Blood Dimmed Tides?), but what if Artificer salvagers got to it first and used it for scrap? Artifacts could have different properties depending on where the scrap came from. The more I think about it, the more I’m intrigued. Think “Tim Burton does Fallout.”
                That's pretty much exactly what the necropoli have looked like every time I have run Wraith. A lot salvaged materials re-purposed. Especially to get wraiths up and out of the way of the Quick. The Rule of Ouch makes walking down a crowded street potentially very dangerous. Going anyplace where there are crowds is problematic. BUT those are also places where lots of emotions get thrown around as well. So, for example, there has been an entire set of ramshackle ghost bleachers built above the cheap seats for wraith fans. The HQ of the Emerald Legion in one city was built out onto an abandoned railroad bridge across a river (with a sort of crow's nest way up high to watch for Maelstroms on the horizon).

                We also don't have a wraith's appearance include clothing. Because, really, does anyone really think their clothes are a part of their body? So everyone comes out of their caul, they're naked as the day they were born the first time. Frequently, there's the clothes you were buried or burned in nearby. The whole tearful wardrobe selection process is enough to invest the clothes with enough Pathos to give them enough a presence in the Shadowland. It's about the only grave offerings we still have. In fact, the clothes you were buried in are the only thing you can offer to the wraith Relic economy from the get go. So Enfants are often partially or completely naked. Clothes are a sign of status. There is definitely a lot of trade in Relic clothing. Or Moliation. Or wearing Moliated wraiths. (Which BTW is just, if not more, creepy and grimdark as soulforging people)

                But I don't have any problems with the soul forges. Turning souls into iron, white jade, clay, flint, gold, bone, whatever is fine by me. Having moaning "stuff" is appropriately creepy and keeps the mood where it should be. Otherwise Wraith could get a little Casper-y. Soulforging puts something into the game that is just as creepy to wraiths as wraith should be creepy to the living. It keeps the needle pegged over where it should be. Plus, it's a well thought out way to deal with the consequences of the way the Wraith universe is set up. Of course you need some way to arrest most of the wraiths, particularly the Drones, from feeding the maw of Oblivion. Turning them into special purpose materials is a very efficient and awful way to do so.

                Comment


                • #9
                  nothing: I’m thinking this where we part ways for this conversation. You have some good points but this an "agree to disagree" arena for us.

                  Ajax: I don’t have a problem with soulforging; I’m just shooting out ideas on how to “remove or deemphasize” soulforging for the OP’s games.

                  Prince of the Night: You’ve heard several good points and, hopefully, everyone has given you some ideas on how to move forward. Feel free to throw around more ideas as you start developing your Underworld.


                  This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
                  (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
                  ").

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Soulforging poses interesting moral and ethical questions that can be applied to everything, from PC conduct to the very foundation of Stygia itself. That alone is enough reason to leave it in.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nazfool View Post
                      nothing: I’m thinking this where we part ways for this conversation. You have some good points but this an "agree to disagree" arena for us.

                      Ajax: I don’t have a problem with soulforging; I’m just shooting out ideas on how to “remove or deemphasize” soulforging for the OP’s games.

                      Prince of the Night: You’ve heard several good points and, hopefully, everyone has given you some ideas on how to move forward. Feel free to throw around more ideas as you start developing your Underworld.
                      Salient point. The OP wants to take soulforging out and is asking for how to keep the rest of Wraith stay roughly the same. Am I right? Because that is very different from just dealing with whether it's a good thing or not.

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                      • #12
                        How to take it out completely? Poof. No more soulforging. It's all relics and Stygian steel.

                        If you merely want to de-emphasise it, how about this: what if plasmics can be forged too? And if relics are also made from plasm, maybe they can be reshaped as well. Suddenly, actual soulforging becomes much, much rarer.

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                        • #13
                          You can make it so most soulforging is of drones, and the only actual wraiths that get forged are egregious criminals.

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                          • #14
                            That's more or less how it is anyway, barring all the 'accidental' soulforging of people with inconvenient truths. Plasmics can also be forged already as well.

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                            • #15
                              What's a plasmic?

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