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Should Chronicles of Darkness broke 'Grand Masquerade' trope in it's history?

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  • Should Chronicles of Darkness broke 'Grand Masquerade' trope in it's history?

    To understand 'Grand Masquerade' trope I mentioned in topic title.

    In recent weeks I run a big discussion on 'logic' of Scion 2E setting and portrayal the Gods involvement with mortals. I point that I wanted to run Scion the way of CoD, without any real changes to history. And again, and again I got responses there that CoD setting should take other ways of history. Like this one:

    Originally posted by Thrythlind View Post
    "Why does history look the same?" is a question that takes apart every urban fantasy that assumes things are more or less the same as our current world. Dresden Files, Marvel, DC, Sanctuary, Chronicles of Darkness, World of Darkness....in none of these settings should the world have countries and cultures recognizable to us. History should have gone off in very different directions but it didn't. The only urban fantasy I can think of that gets away with this is Shadowrun, barely, by having magic absent for all of recorded history up until the awakening.

    The Masquerade and the broad strokes of history remaining are both equally silly. For that matter, having a Masquerade does nothing to fix the problem with history.
    I got simple ideas how CoD - as setting - was in-build in the games it's logical. Few examples, on top of my head:
    • Vampires are not captured on digital media and can use Blood to act physically as humans.
    • Werewolves ( Uratha ) create Lunacy that makes you forget them.
    • Mages ( Awakened ) magic makes you forget it ( or even erase it in the first place ).
    • Beasts powers are only 'dream-like' to target.
    This mechanics and in-setting desire of monsters to stay hidden simply ensure 'Masquerade', yes? In-games factions wars simply not make possible for monsters to win themselves and humanity new states ruled by monsters, yes?
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 12-23-2018, 11:15 PM.

  • xela_nut
    replied
    Honestly, that's pretty clever of Chronicles of Darkness. It's one of the big reasons why people like the setting.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    I'll add a point I make sometimes: non-belief is a vast minority in humans in our real world.

    Even if you try to tease apart religion and "folk" beliefs, most people believe in some sort of paranormal creature outside of their religion's teachings (ghosts are, by far, the most commonly believed in Christian dominated societies despite Christianity not actually having any dogma around ghosts). While such anthropological studies are fraught with difficulties in how to ensure proper questioning and separation of different sorts of beliefs, there's still a pretty consistent finding that somewhere between 60% to 75% of humans in any given population believe in at least one paranormal phenomenon. Again, discounting organized religious beliefs such as a creator deity or angels.

    The vast majority of humans are also members of an organized religion of some stripe, and thus belong to organizations where active belief in unproven phenomena is the norm.

    We would not have the world we have no without belief in a lot of things that are no longer publicly acceptable things to say you believe in. Folk beliefs to full religious zealotry has been shaping real world human history for longer than we recognize "history" as being a thing (yay the concept of "prehistory" humans!).

    People in the real world, by a vast majority, are already believers in the existence of the supernatural/paranormal/whatever you want to call the specific belief. It's a natural part of how we function as a species, because even when you try to take supernatural things out, you still have conspiracy theories, UFOs, and other such thinking to take its place in our heads. Our brains are pattern recognition machines, and once we see a pattern, regardless of if we come to believe it's real or not, or if we can prove its validity or not, our brains have extreme trouble letting those patterns go completely. This as influenced politics and war, architecture and art, philosophy and social norms, and on and on.

    What the CofD asks as a shift in setting to a world very close to our own is that instead of the vast majority of humans believing in the folk stories that we've been telling in one form or another for thousands of years, the vast majority of humans have seen the "reality" behind those stories and retreated to the stories for comfort against the existential dread of the truth.

    In our world, humans want to believe and hope their believes are the ones to be affirmed by discovering the truth. In the Darkness, humans believe because that's safer than knowing the truth.
    This, to a ridiculous degree.

    Leave a comment:


  • EndlessKng
    replied
    One other thing to consider is that Chronicles, unlike WoD, is built as a toolbox - even moreso in 2e. If we assume that ever scrap of lore in the books regarding the "major powers" in the mainstream world and history is true (versus speculative spinoffs and rule variants that don't play nice with the main setting) then yes, it seems daunting to believe. If we instead assume that the variety of options were created to be options - that the various setting fragments in each core book aren't canonical statements of the world at large but rather things you can use as jumping off points, background flavor, or inspiration - then we realize that the game is a toolbox that gives a wealth of options to us to use as we see fit.
    This goes very much to the Doylist/meta side of the question, but I think is at the root of it. We've even seen this being considered in more recent books - VtR 2e made it so that many nations lacked some of the covenants in favor of a different power structure, and more of the new lines have involved "smaller" areas of focus, with Beast being designed around play in a local area.

    Leave a comment:


  • SpoonR
    replied
    For comparison, I’d look at Fire Force. That author makes coherent worlds that strain my disbelief. (salaryman exploded on the morning train? just a normal day at the office) but it works-ish.

    CofD has insular groups, secrets are power, and a spread of powerful old things that don’t like changes to the status quo? It can work.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    I'll add a point I make sometimes: non-belief is a vast minority in humans in our real world.

    Even if you try to tease apart religion and "folk" beliefs, most people believe in some sort of paranormal creature outside of their religion's teachings (ghosts are, by far, the most commonly believed in Christian dominated societies despite Christianity not actually having any dogma around ghosts). While such anthropological studies are fraught with difficulties in how to ensure proper questioning and separation of different sorts of beliefs, there's still a pretty consistent finding that somewhere between 60% to 75% of humans in any given population believe in at least one paranormal phenomenon. Again, discounting organized religious beliefs such as a creator deity or angels.

    The vast majority of humans are also members of an organized religion of some stripe, and thus belong to organizations where active belief in unproven phenomena is the norm.

    We would not have the world we have no without belief in a lot of things that are no longer publicly acceptable things to say you believe in. Folk beliefs to full religious zealotry has been shaping real world human history for longer than we recognize "history" as being a thing (yay the concept of "prehistory" humans!).

    People in the real world, by a vast majority, are already believers in the existence of the supernatural/paranormal/whatever you want to call the specific belief. It's a natural part of how we function as a species, because even when you try to take supernatural things out, you still have conspiracy theories, UFOs, and other such thinking to take its place in our heads. Our brains are pattern recognition machines, and once we see a pattern, regardless of if we come to believe it's real or not, or if we can prove its validity or not, our brains have extreme trouble letting those patterns go completely. This as influenced politics and war, architecture and art, philosophy and social norms, and on and on.

    What the CofD asks as a shift in setting to a world very close to our own is that instead of the vast majority of humans believing in the folk stories that we've been telling in one form or another for thousands of years, the vast majority of humans have seen the "reality" behind those stories and retreated to the stories for comfort against the existential dread of the truth.

    In our world, humans want to believe and hope their believes are the ones to be affirmed by discovering the truth. In the Darkness, humans believe because that's safer than knowing the truth.

    Leave a comment:


  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post

    I don't know if I am not expressing myself clearly enough or you are arguing in bad faith. I will assume the former.



    IF our world has supernatural events, then those are so few that the VOLUME of them has not reached critical publishing mass, because we viralise content for the pettiest reasons, just 1 proven supernatural event would change science as we know it, military conflict potential, religious attendance, etc.


    BUT if the World of Darkness is to be consistent (number of each splat members, factions aims, historical participation, etc) that universe can not look like "ours but darker"; simply putL the number of supernatural creatures and their intervention in human history would have made history take a different path, I posted a potential alternative (rules based) to history being the same in general lines, but even my proposal fails vs the current level of evidence recording/publish alternatives: large numbers of people in the world have a high quality recording device with internet connection in their pockets. So IF THE WORLD OF DARKNESS IS LIKE OUR PLUS SUPERNATURAL CREATURES, those average citizens and the many fringe occultist / supernatural hunters would have found something and published in short instant.





    There could be reasons and explanations that fit, but one of my points is that as given the Chronicles of Darkness universe is not self consistent, either we modify the world for our games (lowering the number of creatures and their capabilities, making the masquerade an inbuild characteristic of the universe, etc). I will not call a game "realistic" this is after all includes magic capabilities, but rather that it lacks "verisimilitude".
    There you go again, there is simply no conceivable way you can claim the presence of the supernatural SHOULD change history when I can also claim history SHOULDNT of happened as it has now in real life.

    You also ignore all the supernatural powers of obfuscation and LITERAL GODS that manipulate reality. It is willful ignorance on your part to act as if the supernatural is an obvious thing in the world of darkness that holds no sway over memory and even reality

    Vintervalpen it was rhetorical. And even then just proves my point. There are people today who think the holocaust is fake despite mountains of evidence. It makes it not a surprise at all one wouldn't believe in powers that have no evidence to them

    Leave a comment:


  • lbeaumanior
    replied
    Originally posted by Vintervalpen View Post


    Me.

    I will say that.

    Definitely.
    Seconded.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vintervalpen
    replied
    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post

    And who's to say those things don't exist in our world, yet we don't believe them anyway?

    Me.

    I will say that.

    Definitely.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    1) If it was known that this was thread necromancy, why was a new thread re-addressing the issue not made?

    2) This argument must be made with the understanding that there is an inherent absurdity in assuming anything about fictional species interacting with real peoples and societies, and therefore level of disbelief and it's contrasting level of buy-in must be regarded.

    3) Also, it helps if the argument is being made with full and coherent comprehension of the setting as actually written, which admittedly is a feat, but everyone here is old, so it's shocking how much of a problem this can be for certain individuals.

    My only real contribution is that for me personally, having accepted that everything from vampires to mythological monsters residing the in questionable essence people call a soul is absurd if I apply any amount of thought to it in the first place, don't particularly find it too much of an ask to accept the terms Chronicles says people turn their eyes from it. It has, within itself, a verisimilitude I find consistent enough with itself that it does not disrupt my enjoyment of material reading or gameplay.

    Leave a comment:


  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
    The sheer number of expected spirits claiming,
    Claiming is not common. Possession is not common. The extent of most spiritual mischief in the material world tends to be Urging, which is comparatively subtle. More overt displays of spiritual power are sufficiently shocking that people don't want to talk about them.

    ghost hauntings,
    Most hauntings are going to run on relatively minor and deniable effects and ghosts do not have the benefit of easily powering their manifestations without traumatizing witnesses even if they can get past their own trauma enough to formulate agreements with mediums and the like for the sort of cooperation necessary to manage it. The primary other means of securing Essence is literally stealing memories of their interaction with the living.

    the fact that most supernatural creatures not only have international organizations with enough numbers to have large internal structures, histories, culture, lore and violent rival factions who do the same
    Most supernatural creatures do not have international organizations. Many supernaturals belong to cultures whose core tenets are local expressions of philosophies with global reach, but the vast majority of monsters are not the Sects of Awakened or even the Kindred's Conspiracy of Silence. Beasts and Prometheans are uncommon enough that twenty of them in one place is a lot. Mummies are the core of cults of mortals with the occasional sorcerous and/or immortal higher-up. The Web of Pain is literally just a bunch of wildly different secretive groups of mortals, some of whom have figured out a means of cracking open a human soul and rolling the dice on whether the resulting superhuman survives the year.

    Having history and culture doesn't mean squat. Every group has history and culture, and the one with the largest internal structure is the global organization of wizards (when wizards love coming up with names for shit) who literally make up that structure to misdirect their social inferiors and politically disadvantage their peers. Lore is barely more rarefied than history and culture and its capacity to serve as a source of power means the people who know it aren't likely to share it if they don't have to.

    I work on a company with over 70.000 employees, when one of our mid level guys screwed up, the world at large noticed, and while we are the largest in our sector we are NOT in the top 20 companies in size, revenues or brand recognition.
    Hunter conspiracies have worldwide headcounts in the triple digits. The average large city in which a playable supernatural creature is active enough to have a society will typically have much less than a hundred of that monster active at once, and some monsters are even thinner-spread than that. Most supernatural occurrences are not connected to a widespread phenomenon in any way that doesn't require a Pepe Silvia stringboard and rampant speculation to put together.

    Have you seen a viral video of well, anything? What would happen if you had a HD film of a Werewolf transforming and rampaging?
    Werewolves are at their most obviously supernatural when they are traumatizing witness in the course of being about to kill people. The tribe of werewolves with the strongest incentives to work among humans teach a ritual that destroys all copies of a piece of information and prizes subtle-tricky means of solving problems besides. Again: People don't want to confront this stuff because it's terrifying to them individually, monsters have a vested interest in keeping the herd from sharing their experiences and accepting that they're real and organizing, and organizing against monsters is stymied by the fact that monsters can also organize as well as subvert their organizations if they expand too far beyond the personal sphere.

    It would be published, copied, tweeted and retweeted in minutes, even if you believe is the trailer of a new movie or a fake, people would be amazed at the quality of the digital animation.
    You are giving an astounding amount of credit to the fidelity of video capture likely to be attained by happenstance and simultaneously underselling the extent to which special and practical effects can be used to write off amateur film evidence.

    Network Zero literally exists because a public access host with years of SFX experience went over material he had received with a fine-toothed comb and couldn't come up with any mundane explanation for the shots in the early 1990s. This already happens. People at large don't take it as proof because the kind of people who are prepared to believe in for-real monsters are some combination of misinformed, disinformed, compromised, and/or painfully aware of what happens when they try to sell the uninitiated on their findings even without monsters, government agencies, and corporate stooges trying to gaslight them to serve their own interests.

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    Also, with the concept of multiple timelines in games like Mummy, Mage and Demon (and maybe Changeling and Arcadia's time shenanigans), which includes the God Machine putting all those timelines it doesn't like into a box because apocalypse and Ascension messing up reality every Tuesday, the "main"/"sacred" timeline of the CofD is simply the most stable one and/or the one the games which to focus on. The main history of the setting is simply the thing which the Powers That Be have agreed upon, which have alternatives and which could retroactively be changed without anyone notching it- so basically the gameline presents the line of events which is the closest to ours for the reader to feel familiar with, but from within setting, it could even not be the only one. Just, like, the least bad one.

    Leave a comment:


  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by Vintervalpen View Post
    For me, thinking about this beyond the most surface level always makes me arrive at the same conclusion: no way in hell that humankind would not know about the supernatural stuff that is going on in the world in the 21st century. There's ghouls, wolf-blooded, fae-touched, all sorts of normal supernatural human, there's spirits and ghosts and a whole crapton of things that would get noticed, that would get photographed or filmed on smartphones. The odds of all this going unnoticed in a globalized world? I'd put it at zero.

    The Masquerade of All Things Supernatural is just a suspension of disbelief for me. Secrecy and intrigue is something I enjoy, and thus humans don't know.
    I think the writers said something at one point, about how 1) even in our reality, a good number of humans can be surprisingly irrational, with or without globalization and/or technology, and 2) the CofD reality is even worse, because it’s actually simulating a ‘cinematic’ world of horror and urban legends. The Integrity rules reflect this; it assumes the mortal characters have witnessed Weird Scary Shit at some point in their lives and yet chose to shove the memory away.

    Though I can’t seem to search up anything where anyone definitely said that… so take that with a grain of salt.

    But hey, it does explain a lot of things from the Doylist perspective. (The Watsonian answer would be; the Lie, the God-Machine, Lunacy, the Wyrd, Disquiet, Sybaris, institutional corruption cranked up to eleven by addictive vampiric blood and hunter conspiracies and the big names on the Web of Pain……)
    Last edited by 21C Hermit; 04-09-2022, 06:31 PM. Reason: Oops wrongly placed clarity edit

    Leave a comment:


  • lbeaumanior
    replied
    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post

    To counter your points. Werewolves show up weird on camera. Extremely blurry. What's to stop people from assuming special effects? And who would EVER take you seriously for believing it? And how does that suddenly reveal werewolf society and spirits everywhere?

    And a neonate is literally the same way. You're assuming people would see this as face value and just go "well guess they're everywhere"
    I don't know if I am not expressing myself clearly enough or you are arguing in bad faith. I will assume the former.



    IF our world has supernatural events, then those are so few that the VOLUME of them has not reached critical publishing mass, because we viralise content for the pettiest reasons, just 1 proven supernatural event would change science as we know it, military conflict potential, religious attendance, etc.


    BUT if the World of Darkness is to be consistent (number of each splat members, factions aims, historical participation, etc) that universe can not look like "ours but darker"; simply putL the number of supernatural creatures and their intervention in human history would have made history take a different path, I posted a potential alternative (rules based) to history being the same in general lines, but even my proposal fails vs the current level of evidence recording/publish alternatives: large numbers of people in the world have a high quality recording device with internet connection in their pockets. So IF THE WORLD OF DARKNESS IS LIKE OUR PLUS SUPERNATURAL CREATURES, those average citizens and the many fringe occultist / supernatural hunters would have found something and published in short instant.





    There could be reasons and explanations that fit, but one of my points is that as given the Chronicles of Darkness universe is not self consistent, either we modify the world for our games (lowering the number of creatures and their capabilities, making the masquerade an inbuild characteristic of the universe, etc). I will not call a game "realistic" this is after all includes magic capabilities, but rather that it lacks "verisimilitude".
    Last edited by lbeaumanior; 04-09-2022, 04:40 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post

    They might as well exist BUT the world as described in the Chronicles of Darkness does not make sense. The sheer number of expected spirits claiming, ghost hauntings, the fact that most supernatural creatures not only have international organizations with enough numbers to have large internal structures, histories, culture, lore and violent rival factions who do the same, those things make the setting inconsistent when video cameras and YouTube exist.

    I work on a company with over 70.000 employees, when one of our mid level guys screwed up, the world at large noticed, and while we are the largest in our sector we are NOT in the top 20 companies in size, revenues or brand recognition.

    Have you seen a viral video of well, anything? What would happen if you had a HD film of a Werewolf transforming and rampaging? It would be published, copied, tweeted and retweeted in minutes, even if you believe is the trailer of a new movie or a fake, people would be amazed at the quality of the digital animation.

    There was an adventure for Vampire the Requiem first edition, if memory servers on Chicago, where Belial's brood planned to do just that: be overtly violent in public while using disciplines, it would have broke the Masquerade right then and there. My question is, what is stopping some dumb/idealistic/resented neonate from doing the same but from the privacy of their own home?
    To counter your points. Werewolves show up weird on camera. Extremely blurry. What's to stop people from assuming special effects? And who would EVER take you seriously for believing it? And how does that suddenly reveal werewolf society and spirits everywhere?

    And a neonate is literally the same way. You're assuming people would see this as face value and just go "well guess they're everywhere"

    Leave a comment:

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