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  • Humanity Is Overrated

    A continuation thread from this discussion, in which we point out that humanity as a species may not be as great as it portrays itself to be.


    Long story short, we're talking about why human ingenuity and willpower overcoming powerful enemies is nothing but trite propaganda in the Chronicles of Darkness!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
    Long story short, we're talking about why human ingenuity and willpower overcoming powerful enemies is nothing but trite propaganda in the Chronicles of Darkness!
    Well, the reason is the Exarchs.

    And they're not limited to humanity. Most supernaturals think about local problems, and that's only if they can lift their head up from personal problems. In Dave Brookshaw's mage games, the world was on the verge of ending at least two times and mages outside of the consilium involved didn't even believe it, let alone offer help. When an idigam stomped across the Rockies, no one banded together to defeat it until Max Roman forced some of them to.

    The idea that the monsters will overcome all powerful enemies, or are some organized threat, is just as much trite propaganda. There's a reason there are clans and orders that have died out and why every game line has antagonists coming from the same template as the players. If storytellers are going to ignore these problems and tout monsters as some collective threat, then storytellers can also ignore the more cynical and problematic parts of humanity that keep tropes tropes.
    Last edited by nofather; 06-24-2017, 05:18 PM.

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    • #3
      Perhaps I should have clarified. In the previous discussion topic, we brought up the fact that humanity believes itself to be the dominant species because of their intellectual capacity and their technological progress. But how we almost never stop to consider what would happen if one or more supernatural entities possessed the same level of intelligence, had access to our technology, and possessed a host of abilities that humanity deemed scientifically impossible.

      In other words, the various playable splats across the CoD who blend in with human society and learn to use its resources as their own. At that point, it becomes less about humanity's ability to adapt to their enemy and more about a war of attrition. Humanity's strength lies in its overwhelming numbers; they can defeat their enemies by outlasting them in battle. And most of the books I've read seem to agree on this subject. They all confirm that humans don't pose much of a threat in small numbers, it's what happens when you've got a mob of them chasing after you that they become a problem.


      So if the only thing standing between the monsters and global domination is that their enemy breeds faster than they can kill them, then one has to question whether humans are really as awesome as they hyped themselves up to be.
      Last edited by Nyrufa; 06-24-2017, 06:12 PM.

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      • #4
        I've always felt that... Humanity has a massive advantage over a lot of monsters, in that a lot of monsters NEED humanity for their survival. Vampires need blood. Werewolves need families. Mages come from humanity (if Mages don't count as "human" for this conversation). Even Beasts need to feast.

        But humanity... Humanity only needs to be lucky once, time and time again. It doesn't matter if a werewolf can kill a hundred people, just one in the right place, at the right time, can end it.

        And so if there is a grand conflict... Ultimately, it is a war of attrition. A war of biding ones time until the moment comes to strike.

        The monsters are handicapped if they hope to preserve themselves, because ultimately, the monsters need humanity. But humanity doesn't necessarily need the monsters.

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        • #5
          Except for the fact that several of the species don't really require one or both parents to be of that species in order for new ones to arise. I know it was explicitly pointed out that Beasts don't. Garou last I heard do require someone in a person's bloodline to have been one, but since a werewolf can also start off as a wolf I guess you'd need to kill ever single member in both extremes.

          Also the argument that humanity only needs to be lucky once I think gives the wrong impression. This isn't Penguin only needing to get lucky with one bullet to end Batman. That kind of makes it sound like a human getting lucky can end the vampire threat forever, as opposed to needing to being lucky and ending a vampire, or a werewolf, a demon, etc.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
            So if the only thing standing between the monsters and global domination is that their enemy breeds faster than they can kill them, then one has to question whether humans are really as awesome as they hyped themselves up to be.
            Except, as I pointed out, global domination would be hindered by the supernaturals just as much as by the humans. They are not nearly as organized as you seem to think, while even in real life we have vast governments and organizations that are dedicated to dealing with threats. Just about every nation on the planet has an army, and none of the supernaturals do. It's well enough if a vampire can get a bomber and a nuclear weapon, entire nations of humanity make those, they have the infrastructure to do so, and have been for decades for their defense.

            I really wouldn't say humans have hyped themselves up to be awesome, either. If they consider themselves the dominant species it's because they are. Mages, vampires, Beasts, Changelings, they aren't species of their own. Just like there are athletes and soldiers and scientists and cult leaders among humans who are individually better in certain focuses, they don't say that athletes, soldiers, scientists and cult leaders are the 'dominant species.' All these tropes that humanity would all gather together to defeat a great threat or that some super genius with the solution would be able to rise to the top and fix everything? That's what your argument relies on the monsters having. When in truth, at least as posed by the setting, they're just as disorganized, just as self serving, just as frequently incorrect and just as able to fail.

            Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
            Except for the fact that several of the species don't really require one or both parents to be of that species in order for new ones to arise. I know it was explicitly pointed out that Beasts don't. Garou last I heard do require someone in a person's bloodline to have been one, but since a werewolf can also start off as a wolf I guess you'd need to kill ever single member in both extremes.
            Garou isn't a Chronicles term. Uratha, werewolf. And they can't start as a wolf and don't need someone in a person's bloodline to have been one. You may be thinking old World of Darkness, though you did mention Beasts.

            All that said, as a war of attrition, if you killed off all of humanity then vampires would have no food, the astral would likely rot, the gentry would have no dreams or stories, prometheans would have nothing to strive to be, demons would have no place to hide, beasts would have no one to teach. And they would turn on each other. Because any monster could look at another supernatural and say it's 'close enough.'

            Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
            Also the argument that humanity only needs to be lucky once I think gives the wrong impression. This isn't Penguin only needing to get lucky with one bullet to end Batman. That kind of makes it sound like a human getting lucky can end the vampire threat forever, as opposed to needing to being lucky and ending a vampire, or a werewolf, a demon, etc.
            Well, they could. Each splat has things dedicated to ending it. Demons have the God Machine, Changelings the True Fae and huntsmen, Werewolves the Pure or idigam, Vampires the strix, Mages banishers, and a variety of other extraneous beings who just need a leg up to simply end an entire gameline.

            If for some reason everything did get amped up and let loose, humanity and the gamelines would lose, at the 'hands' of the beings that are to them what the gamelines are to humans.
            Last edited by nofather; 06-24-2017, 09:53 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
              Except for the fact that several of the species don't really require one or both parents to be of that species in order for new ones to arise. I know it was explicitly pointed out that Beasts don't. Garou last I heard do require someone in a person's bloodline to have been one, but since a werewolf can also start off as a wolf I guess you'd need to kill ever single member in both extremes.

              Also the argument that humanity only needs to be lucky once I think gives the wrong impression. This isn't Penguin only needing to get lucky with one bullet to end Batman. That kind of makes it sound like a human getting lucky can end the vampire threat forever, as opposed to needing to being lucky and ending a vampire, or a werewolf, a demon, etc.


              I thought that Werewolves were like Beasts in that anybody could randomly become one. Wolf Blooded families just have a higher chance of doing so than human bloodlines. I have only a bare bones basic information on 2nd edition Werewolf, though, so if that was changed at some point, I'm not aware of it.


              But even if Werewolves do need families, there's nothing stopping them from breeding with each other (at least in 2nd edition). So they don't need humans around for that to happen.


              -------------------------------------------------


              As for vampires not having access to an army, I believe that may be a woeful misconception. Vampires have been orchestrating a shadow government for thousands of years. They have not one, but two clans who are specifically dedicated to manipulating / dominating the population. Adding to that is their ability to offer power and immortality to anybody who drinks just a few drops of their blood each month and you've got a species that could very easily seize control of military assets.


              Prometheans.... are exactly the point we're arguing against, so I don't know how to respond to that.


              -----------------------------------------------

              Also, I'm not saying that monsters should wipe out the human population. That would be like humans wiping out their own food supply. I'm saying that humanity is not the superior species and its claims to being so are ludicrous.

              Paradim, you said that a single werewolf might be able to kill a hundred humans, but one lucky human positioned in the right spot can take them down. Here's the thing, if a human needs to rely on luck, then it's not superiority. It's a blind fluke.

              Also, Werewolves travel in packs, so if a single werewolf can kill a hundred humans, then 5 werewolves increases the dangers exponentially. Sure that 'lucky' human might be able to bring down one werewolf, possibly 2 of them, but once the pack finds out they're under attack, they need to haul ass before the wolves use their canine senses to hunt them down.


              ----------------------------------------------


              As for humans being the dominant species because they are able to claim it, that is not a valid argument. That's just human arrogance talking; the species who commits all manner of atrocities and then condemns other life forms for behaving in a similar fashion. Anybody can claim to be the dominant species, but you're going to have to prove it if you want people to take you seriously. And humans relying on overwhelming numbers and blind luck is not proving anything.


              Without their vaunted technology, humans are extremely vulnerable.

              You take technology away from the monsters, however, and they're still powerful enough to end you in the blink of an eye.


              Humans NEED technology to defend themselves. Monsters don't need technology, they just realize the benefits of having it around.

              So who's really the dominant species? The one who can take down prey with their bare hands, or the ones who can't survive without artificial assistance?

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              • #8
                How are we measuring humans' "superiority" or lack thereof though? If it's in ability to kill other splats or in kewl powerz, then yeah, they're overrated. Humanity's strength in the CofD setting is in their... I don't know if "purity" is quite the right word, but they're among the few things in CofD that have souls, and most non-human souls are messed up in one way or another.


                Onyx Path Forum Moderator

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                  So who's really the dominant species? The one who can take down prey with their bare hands, or the ones who can't survive without artificial assistance?
                  I think people are coming in here with different definitions of "dominant." You could argue Mages are "dominant" because they have the most raw power, and a Mage specialized for something could blow almost anything else out of the water in that arena. Vampires could be argued to be "dominant" because of how deeply-entrenched they are in world governments, you could say Werewolves are "dominant" as apex predators. You could say Mummies are dominant simply on raw power. And you could say humans are dominant because of their overwhelming numerical superiority and the fact that their existence isn't anathema to reality and they don't break down in contact with relatively mundane substances.

                  Not to mention, Vampires, Magi, Mummies, Beasts, and Changelings are arguably not different species from humans.


                  Genius: the Transgression 2E is a thing that's being worked on.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                    How are we measuring humans' "superiority" or lack thereof though? If it's in ability to kill other splats or in kewl powerz, then yeah, they're overrated. Humanity's strength in the CofD setting is in their... I don't know if "purity" is quite the right word, but they're among the few things in CofD that have souls, and most non-human souls are messed up in one way or another.


                    The comparison is a fight between humans and monsters who are possessed of similar level intelligence and have access to the same technological development as each other. The monsters are just as smart as humans, just as advanced as humans, but their supernatural powers make them many times more capable than humans. So, in short, humanity is overrated, and their superiority is a work of popular fiction.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                      The comparison is a fight between humans and monsters who are possessed of similar level intelligence and have access to the same technological development as each other. The monsters are just as smart as humans, just as advanced as humans, but their supernatural powers make them many times more capable than humans. So, in short, humanity is overrated, and their superiority is a work of popular fiction.
                      If that's your metric, then yeah. Go figure monsters would be better at doing murder than humans. That's not, however, the metric by which CofD ranks humans as superior.

                      As a wise muppet once said, "wars not make one great."


                      Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                      My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post

                        If that's your metric, then yeah. Go figure monsters would be better at doing murder than humans. That's not, however, the metric by which CofD ranks humans as superior.

                        As a wise muppet once said, "wars not make one great."


                        If it's the one I'm thinking of, that muppet and the rest of his collection of samurai space wizards couldn't recognize a monster poised to topple their entire society when it was standing 3 feet in front of their faces.

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                        • #13
                          Nyrufa I don't play Werewolf, so I'll admit I'm not sure on how the Garou thing shows up and the last I'd heard from from a freind there was the implication that it was just passed down. Wasn't sure myself, so if I'm wrong there my mistake. It probably doesn't help that I'm unsure how much of my information on Werewolf is CoD or WoD and that probably gets things screwed up a bit.

                          As for the rest of the thread I think it probably would have been served better by pointing out that the inciting line was that we had someone arguing humans were the literal top of the food chain and how the only group that weren't inferior to humans were mages and that's barely since mages still had to deal with paradox. Then it just went on from there.

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                          • #14
                            And yet said monster couldn't see the huge disadvantage of manipulating one of those samurai space wizards into his own personal monster via lies and subterfuge, and then had maaaasively bad judgment over that human's capacity to connect with humanity (specifically the son said monster lied about) and got his ass thrown down a space-shoot and exploded at the literal cusp of victory...all because he was a prideful sob who underestimated humanity.


                            My point: Any monster who dismisses humans as not dangerous are doomed to the same fate as the Emperor. Never that humans are superior, but that they are the dominant species in both our world and the WoD for a reason.
                            Last edited by Dusksage; 06-25-2017, 12:07 AM. Reason: Polish.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                              I thought that Werewolves were like Beasts in that anybody could randomly become one.
                              There's this persistent fandom myth that needs to go away right quick if anyone's to have a clear understanding of how the default settings work: For the vast and overwhelming majority of ex-mortal monsters, there is nothing random about how they became what they are to those who take the time to look. Even if it involved a dice roll. (Especially if it involved a dice roll. Coincidence is a sucker's bet.)

                              And go figure, the two splats that stand to understand this the best — mages and Beasts — are the ones that retain the most of their outward humanity; vampires and changelings and Prometheans have a secondary view of the matter by virtue of how they're made, and werewolves exist alongside what remains perhaps the most porous and meddlesome otherworld in the Chronicles of Darkness setting over more than a decade of published material. (Mummies and demons each get different halves of the whole reason and a whole lot of distractions to keep that understanding from being their top priority, and Deviants explicitly become what they are because plain human meddling in the supernatural with no guiding force is as close as the games get to random while still being a game about people turned into monsters by conspiracies.)

                              In short, a monster is made for a purpose and born from circumstances that, while sometimes arbitrary in theory, justify and foreshadow the creation of Frederica The Sin-Eater. Like attracts like, the gods make instruments of people who catch their fancy, and the whims of fate are built upon patterns and confluences and aesthetics. "Anyone" tends to mean "Whoever happens to be appropriate and unclaimed" over "Whoever comes up on an unbiased dice roll."


                              Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                              Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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