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Hopepunk and the Chronicles of Darkness

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  • Leliel
    started a topic Hopepunk and the Chronicles of Darkness

    Hopepunk and the Chronicles of Darkness

    I just learned a new neologism today; hopepunk, grimdark's Mirror Universe philosophy. In summary, hopepunk is essentially "metal existentialism"; saying "the world is a fucked up place that wants us to be assholes, which means that it's our job to tell it to piss off by not being assholes; being good and being innocent are two different things, and it's the people who want you to believe in nothing and just be a cog in a self-killing machine that tell you otherwise, because they want you to be miserable jerks like themselves and feel better about trying to kill the world."

    Reading it, I realize this exactly how I play Changeling, Werewolf, and Hunter; that kind of defiant optimism, where you stare down Cthulhu and realize you are fighting for the right for someone else to renew the seals down the line, and that's fine. You get your happy ending, and while it may not last without effort, the fact that it's present at all is good. It doesn't matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full, it matters that there is water in the glass and it is leaking out, and often needs to be refilled.

    I feel that's an excellent mood for a horror setting where you can and do have happy endings, so how about your takes on it?

  • Leliel
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael View Post

    That seems to be assuming a lot there. I mean, whatever the author's beliefs, the original article has a pretty atheistic slant to it (or maybe something closer to a very hard existential religiosity).

    Also, I'm not sure why you think horror is the active absence of hope, that doesn't seem right.

    Also also, soul and spirit are synonyms (kinda). It's not clear what distinction you're trying to make.
    What he said. Hope, to me, is essential to horror; if there is no hope, even a slight and transient one, why are you even bothering trying to be safe?

    It's why Outlast 2 didn't get a lot of critical acclaim. Without even hope of understanding what's going on, "because it's scary" just doesn't work.

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  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by Extant Reality View Post
    Both Hope and the need to categorize things were put there by the Maker for a Reason. They are essential to our nature as created beings. Horror is the active absence of the Hope we of mankind should have in our souls and spirits. Everything you feel is there for a reason. So I would ask what is your Reason for feeling Horror, eh? Human beings are more than flesh and bone, soul and mind. We are spirit.
    That seems to be assuming a lot there. I mean, whatever the author's beliefs, the original article has a pretty atheistic slant to it (or maybe something closer to a very hard existential religiosity).

    Also, I'm not sure why you think horror is the active absence of hope, that doesn't seem right.

    Also also, soul and spirit are synonyms (kinda). It's not clear what distinction you're trying to make.

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  • Extant Reality
    replied
    Both Hope and the need to categorize things were put there by the Maker for a Reason. They are essential to our nature as created beings. Horror is the active absence of the Hope we of mankind should have in our souls and spirits. Everything you feel is there for a reason. So I would ask what is your Reason for feeling Horror, eh? Human beings are more than flesh and bone, soul and mind. We are spirit.

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  • PMárk
    replied
    Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
    We actually have agreed a fair amount, it just hasn't been a topic of conversation.
    Ah, okay then, I'm glad to hear that!

    My impression was that we tended to be of differing oppinion on several arguments over the pst few years (which is okay), but it's entirely possible that the parts where we agree just didn't came up in direct conversation and we both just clicked a like and such.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by PMárk View Post

    I rarely agree with ArcaneArts , but in this case I might, to an extent. I think, if you take away the cynicism (aka, in my eyes, the criticism and mocking of "high ideals", even your own and also the recognition of the hard realities of the world) and go full throttle on ideology/idealism and "movement building", it ceases to be punk and becomes something else.
    We actually have agreed a fair amount, it just hasn't been a topic of conversation.

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  • PMárk
    replied
    Originally posted by Leliel View Post

    From what I can tell, Hopepunk is a genre that tells you that cynical attitude is actually part of the system; compassion is in itself an act of rebellion against fascism, because it threatens to dissolve artificial enmity and cause people to focus on the actual source of problems. So, more focus on movement building, I'd say - and actively chewing out bits of the punk movement for being self-sabotaging edgelords.
    I rarely agree with ArcaneArts , but in this case I might, to an extent. I think, if you take away the cynicism (aka, in my eyes, the criticism and mocking of "high ideals", even your own and also the recognition of the hard realities of the world) and go full throttle on ideology/idealism and "movement building", it ceases to be punk and becomes something else.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Leliel View Post

    Point there, but I get the sense that a lot of punk media seems to be under the impression that any idealism at all is bad. I'm thinking Shadowrun at its worst, where it's expected that you're essentially fine-tuning the system that drove you to become a criminal mercenary in the first place. Which isn't really punk, but then again, it thinks it is, no matter how funny the episode of Terrible Writing Advice mocking it was.

    From what I can tell, Hopepunk is a genre that tells you that cynical attitude is actually part of the system; compassion is in itself an act of rebellion against fascism, because it threatens to dissolve artificial enmity and cause people to focus on the actual source of problems. So, more focus on movement building, I'd say - and actively chewing out bits of the punk movement for being self-sabotaging edgelords.
    Oh sure, Punk tends to be Ragnarok-ian in nature(done not because you expect to win, but because it's right), but the emphasis on cynicism stems from keeping an eye on the full picture and acknowledging the reality of the situation-it's doesn't hew towards the Idealism end of the spectrum between the two. Trying to reject the cynicism as part of the system is as damaging as embracing it all too much. But Punk does keep an emphasis on community, on keeping yours and getting more people on board, and the idealism in punk is still present-if not in the hope of success, then still in the value of doing it because it's right regardless, which honestly makes it a better train of thought.

    Like anything else, aspects of punk get overblown and caricatured, and those reads are useless for those who identify as such and move around within it-but hopepunk isn't a course correction, it's a family friendly way to sell the subculture, a product of a product that sanded down a deep fury towards a fucked world and the courage to break that shit where it stands. It's very...Disney (and I like me some Disney, mind).

    Punk, of course, needs to evolve and grow, and inevitably will since it's really a subculture born of time. But I'm wary of anything that softens the edge. Punk bleeds, and if a version of that doesn't communicate that, then it's arguably missing the point as badly as thinking all it is blood.

    EDIT: And mind you, that's not say you can't have a "G-Rated" Punk that emphasizes those things, per se-Friendzlandia from Misspent Youth is punk as fuck, and in that you play Stuffed Animals and Pet Animals, but the narrative of group as they try to escape and subvert ConHugeCo is fierce and sharp as fuck, and the narrative still bleeds even if not a drop of the stuff falls in the story itself.

    Friendzlandia is a great example of why Punk doesn't need Hopepunk, what I'm saying, you should buy Misspent Youth.
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 05-10-2019, 01:09 PM.

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  • Michael
    replied
    Re-reading it, I agree with Leliel. I still can't say I like the article, but it's more thought out and coherent that I gave it credit for originally.

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  • Leliel
    replied
    Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
    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.
    Point there, but I get the sense that a lot of punk media seems to be under the impression that any idealism at all is bad. I'm thinking Shadowrun at its worst, where it's expected that you're essentially fine-tuning the system that drove you to become a criminal mercenary in the first place. Which isn't really punk, but then again, it thinks it is, no matter how funny the episode of Terrible Writing Advice mocking it was.

    From what I can tell, Hopepunk is a genre that tells you that cynical attitude is actually part of the system; compassion is in itself an act of rebellion against fascism, because it threatens to dissolve artificial enmity and cause people to focus on the actual source of problems. So, more focus on movement building, I'd say - and actively chewing out bits of the punk movement for being self-sabotaging edgelords.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
    Is no one Talking about Princess: the Hopeful?

    It literally has Hope in its name.
    It is also fanon. Fanon I enjoy! But fanon, which does not reflect on the shared subject matter that sets the themes and moods of the franchise we're working with. It doesn't reflect on the subject at work here.

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  • Konradleijon
    replied
    Is no one Talking about Princess: the Hopeful?

    It literally has Hope in its name.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    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.

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  • KaiserAfini
    replied
    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.

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  • PMárk
    replied
    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.

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