Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Hopepunk and the Chronicles of Darkness

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Originally posted by PMárk View Post

    Well, I'm normaly not frequenting the CofD boards, but this thread caught my interest.

    I'd agree with you. To be honest, "hopepunk" feels redundant to me. It's like saying "dark horror", or something like that. Magical fantasy. Futuristic sci-fi.

    The "punk" aspect of games labeled as *punk (cyberpunk, gothic-punk, even steampunk, to some extent, if I'm digging into it a bit) is already a signifier of defiant resistance, of standing up against insurmountable odds, for a belief in a better tomorrow that worth the fight, for being yourself in the face of oppressive conformism.

    Of course, that's if you consider "punk" more than just a label for having an edgy and quirky aesthetic, accentuating a particularly distinguishable visual style.

    Also, to be blunt, I never really got the way some people play games, like the various CWoD/CofD titles, or Shadowrun, with the presume of "everything sucks, it's nothing but grimdark, everyone is shit to the exreme, there's no winning, even a little bit and there's no hope at all". I just don't get the appeal of that Übergrimdark playstyle. Yes these games are dark, with opressive settings and unbelievably strong antagonistic powers. Still, without hope, what's the point? Just wallowing in the shittyness of it?

    On the same tone, that's also why I never got the appeal of 40k, as a setting (aside from just not liking the aesthetics terribly much)...
    Controversial tangential opinion: 40k isn't at its best when it is grimdark with an extra side of grimdark. It's at it's best when when the characters recognize how grim dark it is, say "fuck it" and find a way to win anyhow. It may be bittersweet, it may be a losing battle, but they fight anyhow because hope and humanity endure. The Soul Drinkers, Gaunt's Ghost, Horus Heresy... those series are dark, but the somehow still shines through. Chronicles is the same way. It sucks, because the real world sucks, humanity may be barreling toward its doom... but we fight for a better tomorrow none the less.


    Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn; Scion - Mysteries of the World

    CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon | Deviant (TBA) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf (WIP)

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Second Chances View Post

      Controversial tangential opinion: 40k isn't at its best when it is grimdark with an extra side of grimdark. It's at it's best when when the characters recognize how grim dark it is, say "fuck it" and find a way to win anyhow. It may be bittersweet, it may be a losing battle, but they fight anyhow because hope and humanity endure. The Soul Drinkers, Gaunt's Ghost, Horus Heresy... those series are dark, but the somehow still shines through. Chronicles is the same way. It sucks, because the real world sucks, humanity may be barreling toward its doom... but we fight for a better tomorrow none the less.
      Eh. I could get the "small wins" aspect, but when I look at the setting, from a wider perspective, it feels like one without hope. Even humanity survives with accentuating its worst aspects and, essentially, becoming one of the monsters. I just don't see hope in that setting. But I admit, I might be wrong, since because of that initial impression, I never felt like reading the novels and the fluff in-depth.

      Hell, I'd argue even Ravenloft has more hope in it than 40k...

      Shadowrun definitely has lots of hopefull aspects. WoD and CofD too, in my eyes, including all the games, even Masquerade, though they might be more subtlein certain games than in others. Okay, with the possible exception of Wraith (and I never really felt much inclination to play that either...).


      If nothing worked, then let's think!

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Second Chances View Post
        It sucks, because the real world sucks
        This is it. The darkness of Chronicles isn't that progress is wrong or that some divinity cursed someone and now everyone pays for it. It's because of more human failings and the flaws of the natural world.

        That said, Leliel was clearly talking about how they run their games and not how they're presented in the setting, and wanting to play up a 'punk' style isn't exactly a rare phenomenon, it's something many games and other media have done for decades. And coming to Chronicles where darkness is evil, especially from games where it's a cosmic force (D&D, for example) isn't exactly unique to him, as we can see throughout this thread and forum. From there, in a world where evil is a core, influential concept that has its hands in everything, building a character around the idea of hope (a rare element in said world of evil) and attempting to rail and rally against the very fabric of the universe is about as punk as things get.
        Last edited by nofather; 12-31-2018, 01:40 AM.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by nofather View Post

          This is it. The darkness of Chronicles isn't that progress is wrong or that some divinity cursed someone and now everyone pays for it. It's because of more human failings and the flaws of the natural world.

          That said, Leliel was clearly talking about how they run their games and not how they're presented in the setting, and wanting to play up a 'punk' style isn't exactly a rare phenomenon, it's something many games and other media have done for decades. And coming to Chronicles where darkness is evil, especially from games where it's a cosmic force (D&D, for example) isn't exactly unique to him, as we can see throughout this thread and forum. From there, in a world where evil is a core, influential concept that has its hands in everything, building a character around the idea of hope (a rare element in said world of evil) and attempting to rail and rally against the very fabric of the universe is about as punk as things get.
          Pretty much. Hopepunk literally came into being a year ago, so it's currently a sentiment more than a genre. One that overlaps, quite by accident, with what punk is supposed to be.

          My guess is that the major difference is that overturning the system is not the end goal; it's usurping it and proving "not giving a shit" was always "burying head in the sand and pretending you were enlightened because of it." It says that "lol nothing matters" is a tool of oppression, not moral purity. It also says the temptation to give up and put on the airs of rebellion to make yourself feel about being one of the problems will always be there. To care is to rebel against a system that wants you to not care, to not believe, to dwell on your own misery and take it out on other victims rather than disrupt the careful pyramid of power.

          In other words, its natural enemy isn't 40K; it's that episode of South Park that lauds the ability to not vote.

          EDIT: Weirdly, I think the shift between the original God of War games and the PS4 series (cross fingers) is a good example of going from straight grimdark to something hopepunk-adjacent at least (Grimbright?). Kratos has reflected on just how little his vengeful rampage actually solved or led to inner peace, and so he's reformed into the more tame, introspective sort we see in the soft reboot, isolated but healed and ultimately made more successful simply because he's chosen to embrace storge and trying to overcome his lack of paternal instincts over being a heartless warrior. He ends up in a place to end the tyranny of the Aesir simply because he chooses to care and to treat others with relative decency, and that's made him an enemy of Odin. It helps we have actual likable characters now as well (the Huldra Brothers and the Witch in the Woods).
          Last edited by Leliel; 12-31-2018, 04:13 PM.


          Comment


          • #20
            you said grimbright, I'm pretty sure that is actually the term some use for universes like that (the only "grimbright" series I know is Sandman)

            Comment


            • #21
              I thought this was a phrase, but Google says it's not: dancing against the darkness.

              Hopepunk is a new thing in that it's a recent reaction to a slightly less recent trend of grimdarkness. But by itself... hopepunk isn't really a thing; it's actually the default. Here, watch this recent thing about Tolkien:



              To unpack that, here are a couple of points:

              1) A lot of the commenters complain that the video doesn't mention Catholicism, but if you read between the lines, this video is a crash course on Christianity. Biblical history descends in a similar manner through the Old Testament from Eden to Abraham to Moses to the Judges to the Kings and to the Exiles--interspersed with luminous prophets standing for the right way of doing things, most notably Job and Daniel--, with a eucatastrophic response in the New Testament with Jesus basically fixing everything by establishing a new Jerusalem, cleansing original sin, and ushering in a new age. (Yes, this is an oversimplification.)

              2) My favorite book on Tolkien is The Road to Middle-Earth, which discusses Tolkien's usage of Norse mythology around Ragnarok to exemplify what moral courage means: the capacity to face your death willingly and choose to fight anyways, because it's the right thing to do. I've mentioned this directly in connection to WtF before. There's an excellent Robert Louis Stevenson fable on the same subject.

              I point out Tolkien because, well, obviously convenient that this video dropped last weekend, but more importantly because he's well-established as the father of a lot of modern stuff and thus a massive influence on this hobby and its context, and to the degree that he wasn't, his influences were.

              The Eagles are a meme, yeah, but their actual narrative purpose was that expecting their arrival isn't a valid negotiating position, because that's not actually a card in your hand. You expect to lose, but you will lose with dignity and by costing the darkness as much as you can and keeping the lamp lit as long as is possible. Or, y'know, take 2017 Power Rangers' final stand in the Zords.

              ---

              Two more things:

              Grimdarkness is essentially what you get when your privilege is so high that you see no adequate darkness in the real world and feel like making your own would be so cool. In a way, you could call it a victory lap where your kids can expect running water and not know how to dig for a well, so they're like, "Man, going into a desert without water would be SO COOL. If you survived it, you'd be BADASS!" There are... worse fates than to leave such a legacy.

              Darkness, all-encompassing or encroaching, is a great narrative device for setting up conflict, but as the video points out, it might also be kinda... regressive. The opposite isn't hopepunk, but meliorism: MLK's arc of history. It's much, much more challenging to convert that into a story, though entirely possible (I think Golden Age sci-fi put in a lot of work here, but I've got no examples off the top of my head). In the simplest terms, just because the darkness is receding doesn't mean it's doing so uniformly, and the nuance of that has a lot of story space.


              I call the Integrity-analogue the "subjective stat".
              An explanation how to use Social Manuevering.
              Guanxi Explanations: 1, 2, 3.

              Comment


              • #22
                At the end, it's somewhat fascinating to me, how people nowadays have the burning desire to categorize everything, putting labels on every categories' subcategories' subcategory and try to define things with incremental and often not clear boundaries as separate. Sometimes I feel we're starting to have more definitions than actual things to define.

                Funnily enough, it's quite the same with my other interest, Historical European Martial Arts. Modern people want to distinguish every school and style and sword type, where things just were a lot more fluid back then.


                Edit: I also think there's a bit of circulatory thing going on about the whole hope-depression-rebellion cycle.


                If nothing worked, then let's think!

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by PMárk View Post
                  ... how people nowadays have the burning desire to categorize everything,...
                  Um... this is new how? This is literally a prehistoric human behavior.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                    Um... this is new how? This is literally a prehistoric human behavior.
                    Well, I'm not an expert of anthropology, but it seems more like a post-enlightment behavior. I mean, yes, naming and thus defining things to an extent is a base human coping mechanism. But the desire for putting everything in neat, labeled and categorized boxes, with a clear taxonomy is a more recent paradigm. By recent I mean 200-300 years old.

                    Take my example above, regarding HEMA. People today sweat blood to put together organized typologies of swords, pommel and crossguard styles, to divide sword "categories" (like arming sword, sidesword, rapier) along clear lines. Thing is, it's mostly artificial and the labels are mostly ahistoric, since these things were fluid and more like a scale, than strict categories. Also, most swords in the past were called "sword" and that's it. Yet, modern people try and debate endlessly about these issues.

                    I see this as something similar. I get what this hopepunk stands for (and as I've said, I've always seen these games like that, as I don't really like going full Übergrimdark), but I feel its redundant with existing categories and not distinguishable enough as a style, or feel, from them, to warrant this new misnomer.


                    If nothing worked, then let's think!

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Go look into Aristotle's writings on biology and get back to me about how old the human drive to categorize things is (or really the ancient Greek philosophers in general, but Aristotle's empirical classifications of animals are extremely directly on point).

                      Comment


                      • #26


                        The Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment contained many throwbacks to classical philosophy. Ontology was only one of many ways Europeans built off of/emulated the Ancient Greeks (alongside the related concept of the scientific method). That's not to say that the Ancient Greeks were first with it either.

                        Your counter example of the Medieval period is actually right between the two periods where definitions, classifications and taxonomy had their primes.


                        Bloodline: The Stygians
                        Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                        Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Tessie View Post


                          The Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment contained many throwbacks to classical philosophy. Ontology was only one of many ways Europeans built off of/emulated the Ancient Greeks (alongside the related concept of the scientific method). That's not to say that the Ancient Greeks were first with it either.

                          Your counter example of the Medieval period is actually right between the two periods where definitions, classifications and taxonomy had their primes.
                          Hmm, good point. I might change my oppinion and say that it's not a new thing, but a thing that wasn't universal. It's not universal even today. I think it's a scale, how much an individual wants to do this. Thinking about it, it's a theme that came up several times in my IRL discussion about many things, or even on forums, regarding things like rpg game design, for example.

                          Regardless, this is an interesting phenomenon, it gave me some thinking material, thank you!

                          Hopepunk still feels redundant, though.


                          If nothing worked, then let's think!

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            It is possible to create a chronicle where everything is goes wrong and in the end nothing has changed. You can deliver a good payoff via catharsis, but its not a style that resonates with me.

                            If the characters cannot trust anyone and everything is trapped, you force them to only build layers of paranoia and engage in chronic backstabbing to even function. This might come as a detriment of exploring them beyond their abilities and duties, which feels like a terrible waste. Its all a matter of degree, politicking and trickery make for some great intrigue, but it shouldn't be the only type of interaction possible.

                            I prefer stories where positive change is attainable, but you need to earn it. Why is that change needed ? How do you make it happen ? What are challenges and sacrifices the characters will face ? Don't spare them the consequences or difficulty, but don't seal away the path to victory either. Use these as avenues for character growth.

                            Personally, if I invested emotionally in a character, just to learn the quest was hopelessly doomed from the start, then I feel cheated. Its why the ending of Transistor fell horribly flat for me. All that journey for nothing, what did they even need the player for ?

                            Its why I wrote a MtAw Legacy based on Wisdom and Stoicism. Holding on to hope, enduring, never giving up and trying to be better despite how many times you stumble on the path, even when facing whatever grim challenge the setting throws at you. Those are some of my favorite types of characters. They may be flawed or may hit a bittersweet ending by lack of forethought, but the journey will have felt worth it.

                            So yeah, I would say hope existing in a setting is key to my enjoyment.


                            New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


                            The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Christ in a gimp suit at a pedobear rave, hopepunk?

                              I'm not saying punk is innately hopeful, but what do you think all the thrashing against the system is for? The redundancy is irksome.
                              Last edited by ArcaneArts; 05-09-2019, 10:31 PM.


                              Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                              The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                              Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Is no one Talking about Princess: the Hopeful?

                                It literally has Hope in its name.

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X