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Old, Old World [Upper Paleolithic Dark Era Brainstorming]

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  • #16
    [Reference material suggestion: Julian May's Saga of the Pliocene Exile.]

    One of the first things that would help consideration of the period is the discarding of Atlantis. Atlantis is in the future. While from the future's perspective Atlantis always was, the present sees things differently, because in Continuum Prime the Exarchs have not yet mucked things up. The world is not, therefore, eternally Fallen, AND it does not, therefore correspond to a configuration that reflects an ordered step back into the past.

    This means you have free reign to imagine the time before Atlantis as anything you like. With only a few caveats, namely that things of long before reflect forward even past Workings of Imperium-level spells that disguise them as something else. Also, reality within the other realms (Arcadia a prime example) do not necessarily change from a Working--not at first.

    Did humans emerge at some point? Maybe, maybe not. Is that a Lie intended to limit our curiosity of the past and crush hope for a future?

    What about dinosaurs and other creatures? Something left huge bones around, that seem to be related to lizards--or birds. Did the pre-world have lizards? What about pre-civilizations of serpent-men ala Mythos and such influences?

    What about the moon? Theia hypothesis has it arriving in a (world destroying) collision that then spins off ... Luna. Obviously in a normal-state universe that has to happen quite a bit before everything shows up, because surviving the earth as a roiling ball of molten everything is kinda hard. In the CofD? Well it would play hob with the spirit world for a while, and then things settle down because the spirit world is more important, right? And Arcadia would be untouched.

    So anyway, A+ for focus on core themes: predation, fear of the unknown (and horror), and things that could spawn the primeval taboos of the human race.

    Everything else may be up in the air.

    --Khanwulf

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    • #17
      Well, if we're believing some sort of interpretation of the Pain Prophet's Testament, at the very least there was a highly advanced pre-human civilization in the recent past if not the present that coexisted with either humans or a close ancestor. I'm inclined to believe that instead of Death being created as their curse, it was already a fact of life before their reign that they learned how to defy for themselves and their servants. Seems more reasonable. Similar idea on the other "curses" being more like revoked blessings.

      Whether this era should take place during their reign (but perhaps in a different part of the world) or shortly after their fall is up for debate.


      A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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      • #18
        Yeah. I'm getting the sense that paleontological accuracy is going to have to be a minor concern for this era. I think it's pretty clear from canon that science doesn't have the full picture on that era yet.

        Also, over what period would this Dark Era take place? If I remember correctly and am understanding the time period we're working with correctly, this period covers thousands of years, maybe even more time than "civilization" as a whole.

        Edit: do we know of any major geological, astronomical, or meteorological events that happened during this period that could tighten the focus here?


        A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
          Yeah. I'm getting the sense that paleontological accuracy is going to have to be a minor concern for this era. I think it's pretty clear from canon that science doesn't have the full picture on that era yet.

          Also, over what period would this Dark Era take place? If I remember correctly and am understanding the time period we're working with correctly, this period covers thousands of years, maybe even more time than "civilization" as a whole.

          Edit: do we know of any major geological, astronomical, or meteorological events that happened during this period that could tighten the focus here?
          Good questions. 200,000 years before present when humans first appeared would focus geologically on roughly from Ethiopia to Tanzania... but I believe that is middle Paleozoic, not upper. Upper Paleozoic I believe would be 50000 BP to 10000 BP (or about 7000 BCE).


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          • #20
            Originally posted by Wormwood View Post
            If by about equal you mean quite likely both stronger and smarter, I agree.

            This open up many interesting ways to have this play out...
            “Smarter” is debatable. A common hypothesis is their extra brain mass was sensory, not cognitive. Homo sapien sapiens might have been better at abstract thought.
            Last edited by glamourweaver; 05-07-2018, 03:31 PM.


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            • #21
              Originally posted by Wormwood View Post
              If by about equal you mean quite likely both stronger and smarter, I agree.
              Stronger unquestionably. Smarter? Hard to tell. They had bigger brains (both absolutely and relative to body size), but their technology advanced as a much slower pace.

              Originally posted by Second Chances View Post
              Which is interesting, because scientific and anthropological evidence seems to suggest that about the only advantage Sapiens had over Neanderthals was their ability to organize and work in large groups.
              Sapiens travelled over longer distances, which also meant interactions with more groups. I believe there is a hypothesis that Sapiens could eat a wider variety of foods than Neanderthals, which is an enormous advantage.

              Another option would be to go completely against type and give Sapiens a supernatural advantage over other hominids. Perhaps we were the first species to be capable of drawing on supernatural abilities - or the first with souls, giving us greater protection from possession or magical moulding (it also fits in with us being better at cooperation).

              Originally posted by LostLight View Post
              Vampire- for now, I think about strix-animated corpses who actually retain their original minds. I imagine them as fangless, breath drinking monstrosities which are formed when the strix get "trapped" in a body when their possession went wrong.
              Since this is a period where is more than one hominid species, the question arises of which ones the vampires can feed on. "All" is certainly one possibility, but it's also feasible that hominids outside the corpse's original species could produce far less vitae, like animals. That would add an evolutionary crucible over vampires adapting to feed on Sapiens, or more than species.

              That's what happen when you fuck up with time- shit gets weird really first.
              Was that a typo or deliberate? Because's it's apt either way.

              Instead, I suggest a concept of a "wild fire", as the Divine Fire is yet to be "stolen by Prometheus". I think about masses of elements/amalgams of corpses/anything in the middle which was animated by the Divine Fire through Firestorms, which are much more common in this Era. Think about them as much more terrifying Extemporae. Having a flux based, pandoran like creatures could also be nice, I think.
              I like that. Since electricity would largely be off the table, perhaps they have a relationship with fire similar to later Prometheans' with electricity - either healing them or giving them energy. Perhaps they or their forebears were the first to conjure fire for the good of a tribe, alliowing them to live on the outskirts like a more supernatural shaman.

              Still, it might be a good era to have the first deliberate Lineage, perhaps an attempt to bring back a revered elder, resulting in something mixing Ulgan, Osirian, and Tammuz characteristics, with a link to chthonians instead of spirits.

              Changeling- in those days, Arcadia was far from tamed, ruled by those who are now known as the Huntsmen. My idea is having a Changeling version for those who are kidnapped/recruited/join the Huntsmen, some sort of heralds of the Wild Hunt and its horned divinities. I'm not even sure if there is already an Hedge during that Era, or if Arcadia just "leaks" into reality in a much more fluid manner.
              Did the Huntsmen hunt before the Gentry remade them? Or might they have little to do with humanity unless the latter finds a way to draw on their power somehow? Maybe there could be some kind of minor template a bit like a slightly heftier fae-touched, but without the power of a true changeling.

              Instead, I think about the birth of the first infernals as humans who recognize their own vices and get possessed by them (something like demons in a human skin).
              Perhaps Astral goetia inspired by such sins that these humans then take into themselves. The whole deal of the Inferno suggests a more organised society.

              Also, we could have humans who devote themselves into killing other human races, either homo sapiens or some weird proto human race who hunts other humans and had its DNA mixed into the homo sapiens, creating something similar to "playable slasher"- or, at least, the basic principle upon which slasherhood would be built.
              That makes sense.

              Something like a proto-Union could exist - protect our tribe. And as the first Hisil spirits come into being, so can the first who make deals with them - an ancient precursor to Les Mysteres.

              Geist- Chthonian Bound. We all want them, after all- and the Ocean is yet to recess, making the stillborn monstrosities much closer to the surface and allowing it to destroy any ghost who falls into it, which are still a new phenomena in the era.
              This could be another result of the attempt to revive an elder that I suggested for Promethean. There shouldn't be any conventional Bound though - they need times of great death, and there aren't enough people alive for that. Or maybe there are: death can't get much greater than extinction, and this is a time of extinction for whole hominid species. Maybe the first geists are Heidelbergensis, and can merge with Sapiens in an awkward kludge.

              We could also have "proto Bound" by using revenants, and having ghosts who invade their own corpses (or the corpses of others).
              Maybe the Underworld's gravity isn't as strong, and more ghosts remain on Earth in Twilight.

              For the Second Children I think about updating my Grigori, which are the first experiments of the God Machine at creating agents in order to infiltrate the human society from other animals, in order to get a better understanding of what a "soul" actually is.
              I've wondered about the Hisil spirits being the Second Children - raised from beasts, retaining their wildness and making poor servants, and remaining in the corners of the world to be mistaken for demons. Not all spirits are made from beasts, but they all kind of act in an animalistic fashion. And they're ephemeral like angels.

              Beast- as it was mentioned in this thread, I think about using the Insatiable as a base for this Primitive Template. the way I see it, the Insatiable are currently incarnated physically in the world as actual hostile environments, which devour those who fall into them... unless they manage to survive. Those people carry parts of those hungry horrors inside of them, laying the foundation for the modern Begotten.
              You might have two templates here - one where a human has a minor Horror inside them, and one where have a minor Lair inside them - but Beasts with both remain in the future.

              Deviant- as the game is yet to be out, there isn't much to be said, but I think that random mutants in the human line could fulfill the niche.
              Deviants are apparently distinguished by "having their souls cracked open." Maybe souls have grown more robust over time, and were more breakable back then.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post

                “Smarter” is debatable. A common hypothesis is their extra brain mass was sensory, not cognitive. Homo sapien sapient might have been better at abstract thought.
                Good Point! Also fits with the "Homo Sapiens was better at cooperation" concept.
                I've also heard that one of the things that drove the Neanderthaler to extinction was a lack of food - having more muscle mass (some scientists claim their women had 10% more musclemass than modern men, other's claim it was about as much as Arnold Schwarzenegger during his prime - that would be considerably more than the 7% men have over women according to some sources, but less than the ~40% difference claimed by others. The numbers are nowhere near coherent, but at least they all agree on the fact that Neanderthal women were stronger than Sapiens men, and the neanderthal men-women strength difference was similar to Sapiens) meant they had to acquire a lot more food - one bad month hit them far worse, and losing one member of the tribe hit them worse than the Sapiens due to not being as numerous. Needing more food also meant they couldn't as easily reproduce/keep their offspring alive as Sapiens, who could 'Zergrush' them into the ground - over a span of generations, of course, so less a rush and more a siege, I suppose.
                Coupled with various other factors (cooperative Sapiens hunters are more successful, increasing their own numbers while reducing resources for the Neanderthaler; less advanced tools; possible outbreaks of illnesses due to possible ritual cannibalism; general suckiness of the ice age), they simply couldn't compete any longer.


                Each of those Neanderthaler stereotype/images makes for an intriguing plot hook, though. Also, keep in mind that the Neanderthaler did not entirely disappear - Europeans still carry some of their DNA.
                Anyone familiar with Far Cry Primal? Those two tribe wars could make for nice starting points.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                  This is not the case. The advantage idigam have over regular spirits in the Essence department is that they don't naturally lose Essence over time outside of the circumstances where Essence bleed applies. They don't naturally regain Essence just by being in the Shadow.
                  My bad- I got things mixed a little bit. Thanks for the correction. Still, I think that not losing Essence in the Shadow is "close enough" for being considered as more "native to the Shadow" than spirits are.


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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post

                    One of the first things that would help consideration of the period is the discarding of Atlantis. Atlantis is in the future. While from the future's perspective Atlantis always was, the present sees things differently, because in Continuum Prime the Exarchs have not yet mucked things up. The world is not, therefore, eternally Fallen, AND it does not, therefore correspond to a configuration that reflects an ordered step back into the past.
                    But.. but I LOVE the time manipulation/editing shtick :P The way I see it, Atlantis never truly existed, no matter how far you come back in time, the world is still Fallen, because it always was, and always will be. There is no world before Atlantis, because it never existed in the first place. Considering that I aim to portray this more as a Dark Era and less as a Shard, I believe we should take whatever we do know about those times and treat them as "true", so yeah, there were dinosaurs, the moon was formed and humans did evolved. Oh, there would definitely be crossing to Times Which Never Happened (as detailed in Sundered World), and such crossing would be much more stable, to the point you could actually travel to those alternative worlds, and worse, those alternative worlds could travel to yours.

                    Still, the exact details about whether Atlantis would be built in this timeline or won't is entirely irrelevant, important only in the nuances. The important thing is that instead of playing those who are Awakened by the Watchtowers, you play those who "Awaken" to the Bound, and have your soul mutilated and transformed by them in order to invoke their powers. The details about how did the Old Gods actually came to the Fallen are not something the people of the Era really care about, when you have a monsters in the bushes who try to suck your soul out :P


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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
                      Well, if we're believing some sort of interpretation of the Pain Prophet's Testament, at the very least there was a highly advanced pre-human civilization in the recent past if not the present that coexisted with either humans or a close ancestor. I'm inclined to believe that instead of Death being created as their curse, it was already a fact of life before their reign that they learned how to defy for themselves and their servants. Seems more reasonable. Similar idea on the other "curses" being more like revoked blessings.

                      Whether this era should take place during their reign (but perhaps in a different part of the world) or shortly after their fall is up for debate.
                      I have referred to them in the form of the Utnapishtim. Again, exact details to be decided, but in my mind, they are there.


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Second Chances View Post
                        Good questions. 200,000 years before present when humans first appeared would focus geologically on roughly from Ethiopia to Tanzania... but I believe that is middle Paleozoic, not upper. Upper Paleozoic I believe would be 50000 BP to 10000 BP (or about 7000 BCE).
                        As history is not my strongest point, I thought to play it around the start of decline of the Neanderthals, whenever it may be. If someone has a better idea, I'm open for suggestions!


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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post

                          Another option would be to go completely against type and give Sapiens a supernatural advantage over other hominids. Perhaps we were the first species to be capable of drawing on supernatural abilities - or the first with souls, giving us greater protection from possession or magical moulding (it also fits in with us being better at cooperation).
                          yeah, I would go with souls for now, unless someone has some good argument to do otherwise.

                          Since this is a period where is more than one hominid species, the question arises of which ones the vampires can feed on. "All" is certainly one possibility, but it's also feasible that hominids outside the corpse's original species could produce far less vitae, like animals. That would add an evolutionary crucible over vampires adapting to feed on Sapiens, or more than species.
                          If homo sapiens are the only ones with souls, I think they would prey mostly on those as they should generate more/better Vitae (as feeding on humans against feeding on animals).

                          Was that a typo or deliberate? Because's it's apt either way.
                          I will not answer that, in that case :P

                          I like that. Since electricity would largely be off the table, perhaps they have a relationship with fire similar to later Prometheans' with electricity - either healing them or giving them energy. Perhaps they or their forebears were the first to conjure fire for the good of a tribe, alliowing them to live on the outskirts like a more supernatural shaman.
                          sounds like a good idea

                          Still, it might be a good era to have the first deliberate Lineage, perhaps an attempt to bring back a revered elder, resulting in something mixing Ulgan, Osirian, and Tammuz characteristics, with a link to chthonians instead of spirits.
                          Perhaps, but again, I would first like to investigate better the concept of the "primitive templates" before thinking about the standard ones

                          Did the Huntsmen hunt before the Gentry remade them? Or might they have little to do with humanity unless the latter finds a way to draw on their power somehow? Maybe there could be some kind of minor template a bit like a slightly heftier fae-touched, but without the power of a true changeling.
                          I don't know, it would feel wrong if hunting weren't always a part of their core theme. I lean less toward minor templates, and more toward something which is more primal in nature and feeling

                          Perhaps Astral goetia inspired by such sins that these humans then take into themselves. The whole deal of the Inferno suggests a more organised society.
                          I'm actually not even sure how the Astral would be during that Era! :P Especially if souls are a new "evolutionary advantage", which would make it kinda desolated. What I think for inferno is something in the scale of Whisperers, which are much more "merged" into their hosts, without the existence of a greater hell and hierarchy. All they have is a demon whispering in their ears, which grows stronger as they start to define right from wrong- and choose to do wrong. Like the biblical serpent granting knowledge, so people could actually sin.


                          Something like a proto-Union could exist - protect our tribe. And as the first Hisil spirits come into being, so can the first who make deals with them - an ancient precursor to Les Mysteres.
                          first tier hunters has existed since.. well, since always. I'm not sure about the Les Mysteres, however. That depends on how the Shadow would work, which is right now being under the control of the idigam. For this Era, I want thing to be as weird as possible :P

                          This could be another result of the attempt to revive an elder that I suggested for Promethean. There shouldn't be any conventional Bound though - they need times of great death, and there aren't enough people alive for that. Or maybe there are: death can't get much greater than extinction, and this is a time of extinction for whole hominid species. Maybe the first geists are Heidelbergensis, and can merge with Sapiens in an awkward kludge.
                          We have been confirmed (I believe) that during the Neolithic, the Bound are revived through Bargains with Chthonians- so we are ages before the first geists. I also don't think that the Chthonian work by the same rules as Geists- geists may require a large amount of death to revive a corpse, but Chthonians are practically death incarnated. Again, those titans of death are far greater than the masked ghosts of humanity, and don't play the same game as them, I think.

                          Maybe the Underworld's gravity isn't as strong, and more ghosts remain on Earth in Twilight.
                          maybe- but still, with the Ocean so close, once you fall to the Underworld you are deader than dead (hence why I think there won't be any geists anytime soon)

                          I've wondered about the Hisil spirits being the Second Children - raised from beasts, retaining their wildness and making poor servants, and remaining in the corners of the world to be mistaken for demons. Not all spirits are made from beasts, but they all kind of act in an animalistic fashion. And they're ephemeral like angels.
                          well, I wrote something that I like any I want to use it, so... :P

                          You might have two templates here - one where a human has a minor Horror inside them, and one where have a minor Lair inside them - but Beasts with both remain in the future.
                          I'm not sure about Horrors- those nightmares are far too young at this point of time. The nightmares you have right now are those of the world itself, IMO

                          Deviants are apparently distinguished by "having their souls cracked open." Maybe souls have grown more robust over time, and were more breakable back then.
                          we first need to decide who actually have souls during that Era :P


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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                            I also don't think that the Chthonian work by the same rules as Geists- geists may require a large amount of death to revive a corpse, but Chthonians are practically death incarnated.
                            That's why I said there shouldn't be conventional Bound (ie with geists).

                            I'm not sure about Horrors- those nightmares are far too young at this point of time. The nightmares you have right now are those of the world itself, IMO
                            If these precursor Beasts are people who survived an encounter with an Insatiable and ended up with a broken off piece of it, then that I figured might manifest as a creature or an environment (ie a quasi-Horror or a quasi-Lair) shaped around the fears of that individual as sparked by the Insatiable. Which could also imply that the precursor Beasts have a much less intimate and symbiotic relationship with their inner terror.

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                            • #29
                              I just want to point out that Dalu Form in Werewolf is basically 'Neanderthal version of you' ( that I often use in descriptions for players ). As Uratha are avatars of primal furry, and all of them can assume Dalu and Hishu ( human form ) it leads to interesting questions about how template was created and if not first werewolves come from intriguing mixing of Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthalensis ( and Wolf Spirits ).
                              Last edited by wyrdhamster; 04-23-2018, 10:32 PM.


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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                                I just want to point out that Dalu Form in Werewolf is basically 'Neanderthal version of you' ( that I often use in descriptions for players ). As Uratha are avatars of primal furry, and all of them can assume Dalu and Hishu ( human form ) it leads to interesting questions about how template was created and if not first werewolves come from intriguing mixing of Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthalensis ( and Wolf Spirits ).
                                Hm, it does emphasize that neither Human nor Wolf is the Uratha’s “true” form.


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