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Alternative Contagion Origins [Brainstorming]

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  • Alternative Contagion Origins [Brainstorming]

    So one of the things which kinda surprised me about the Contagion Chronicles was how clear and direct it was about the nature of the Contagion and where it comes from. I mean, I'm used that in the CofD the exact of nature of things, be it the origin of vampires or the mission of the God Machine, is usually left as somewhat a mystery. The Contagion, however, was explicitly stated to be the sickness of the God Machine- and while why and how the Machine develops such sickness was left open, it still feels too me like it would have been better to not be spelled out due to it sometimes feels like the Factions automatically revolve around the Machine, making it greater than the private cosmologies of each of the splats in the game, and that now matter which splat I want to develop a Contagion for I need to think about how the God Machine gets involved into it, narrowing some "story potential". Again, it is only my own view- but it did bothered me, so I thought to myself whether the "Sick Machine" explanation is true or not in my games, what other explanations would other splats think about when first stumbling upon the Contagion, and I've decided to share those ideas in here. If someone else has their own ideas, feel free to share them in the thread.

    As for the ideas themselves-

    - "You heard about the Pain Prophet, right? Of course you heard. Sure, most of what he said were mumbling of a madman, but some parts make sense- even too much sense. Ancient beings from bygone age laying their curses upon the world, bringing death, silence, fear and strife into the world? Yeah, that's no plague. Those are our sins, and the curses we gained as payment for them"

    -"We all know that the Embrace can go wrong. I mean, you can do everything right, spill the blood and invoke the will and all of that, and still sometimes things just mess up. The vitae just turn inert, and instead of another Kindred, you get a revenant. But we are not the only ones to carry vitae- people has it, animals has it, even cities has it. It is the very force of life- and sometimes, as it goes corrupted, the very foundations of the world collapse upon themselves"

    -"Think about magath for a second. What is it? It's a spirit, which by devouring the wrong concepts got its Essence diluted to the point it no longer knows what it is. That's how the Contagion works, only in a small scale. We are used to think about Hisil as a mirror of the Flesh, but we also know that the opposite is true. After all, concepts evolve through time- what used to mean peace now means war, what used to be love becomes hate. The Shadow can't keep up, all the ecology goes to hell, and Hisil itself becomes a magath, and with the spirit getting sick, what chances are there for the Flesh?"

    -"This world is a Lie, one told by the Exarchs to keep it asleep. Sure, nothing new- but think about it. This world is a lie- but it is not a perfect lie. That's the reason we can still Awaken to the truth, after all. In fact, it may not even be a good lie. Just look at all of those monsters and spirits and dead things which lurk in the darkness. A good lie requires a certain amount of consistency, but even the gods can get their tongues tangled when they lie too much. The world gets twisted, the laws of physics get broken- but not because the world is sick. It is because the world is Awakening"

    -"What is the Wyrd? Is it a story, where we take the role of heroes and villains? Is it a dream, driving by love and hate and fear and lust? No, it's physics. You can't get something out of nothing. Payment must be given, and pacts must be sealed. The law of equivalent exchange and all of that shit. However, that is only valid for closed systems. What happens when there is a leak? The Wyrd can no longer bind everything. Things form out of nothing. The Wyrd reach out and twists even further. Fate because ill, and the Contagion falls upon us"

    -"It is always the darkest before the Dawn. That's what we tell ourselves, right? All of our lives are one, long, fucking night, without stars or anything to guide us in the darkness. But things change- the world changes. The world is fucked up right now, but it too wish to change. The Divine Fire starts concentrating, but it's too hot. Wastelands spread, the fabric of the world itself collapses- but it is ok. Soon, the night will end- and a New Dawn will shine upon us"

    -"They say that the Vigil is a virus. One person stumbles upon something in the darkness, they tell their friends, they hunt the thing, someone finds the remains, they tell their friends, etc, etc. But turning slasher is also a virus- the Code gets corrupted, murder because casual and then needed. People become monsters, monsters become people. There is nothing supernatural about the Contagion, nothing strange or mysterious. It is just us, just humans, just people who lose their minds to their own obsession, and corrupt the world around them".

    -"Everything rots in this world. I mean, just look around you- everything dies, leaving ghosts behind. The ghosts then descends into the Great Bellow, where they slowly lose their identities and minds while rotting away fading into the structure of the Underworld. the Chthonic Gods are just incarnations of that rot, reaching out to the living with tainted hands, sucking everything they can in order to escape their demise, to escape being eaten away. You ask what is the Contagion- what do you think it is? It is our own ghosts, drawing us down to hell"

    -"Sekhem burns in everything. It grows, it evolves, it finds new ways. Tormented by the Law of Suffering and the will of the Judges, it has to change, to adapt, to become pure enough and worthy of Duat's grace. Irem was built to refine our Sekhem, purify enough to reach out to the stars and reach Aaru's eternal light. But you also heard what happens without the Law- creatures which exists outside of Judgement, beings like the Poisoned One which ruin the very civilization we live in. Sekhem without Suffering goes wild, mutated and ruined. Worse- it becomes Contagious. That's why we need to follow the Laws of the Judges in this world. That is why we need to suffer."

    -"When we Fall, things change. I mean, just think about it- we lose access to our angelic powers, we can no longer feed upon faith and sacrifice. Instead, we turn to channels- we develop our form, unlock our Cipher, learn how to exploit reality for our needs. And we do it? We feed upon aether. And what is aether? The waste heat of the Machine- and what is heat? That's right, entropy. The Machine works non stop in order to maintain the order of the world, and we just fuck with it for our own ends, exploit what we want, ruin lives and steal souls. And all of that when only a small, tiny part of the machinery falls apart. What happens when an all Infrastructure- or worse, a huge chunk of the Machine- Falls? That's right, the Contagion"

    -"Our Mother brought us to the world to teach men fear. They are meant to learn that the world is dangerous, that civilization is weak, that no matter how many candles they light, there will always be the darkness outside. Sometimes, they forget their lessons, and we come to teach them. Sometimes, they twist the lessons, and heroes rise. And sometimes, the learn it too well. They take the lessons and use them for their own benefits, against themselves. against us. The Dark Mother grows angry, as her gifts are being abused. Nightmares go wild, dreams bleed, and the boundary between men and monster is crossed. Fear is an infectious disease- and no one is immune to the Mother's wrath"

    -"You know those conspiracies which make experiments upon us? Yeah, so we are not their only subjects. Sure, doing terrible experiments upon people is all fun and games for them, but that's not enough for those selfish fuckers. No, they want more- they want to reshape the very world in their own image. They make experiments- be them huge ceremonies or new terrforming engineering. And just like those experiments usually get out of control when done upon us, the same happens when they are done upon the world- only much more frequently and in a much more destructive way. That's no Contagion- that's pollution. That's the world protesting against the ruin we brought upon it- and we are all to blame"


    My Homebrew Signature

    "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

    I now blog in here

  • #2
    -"Anime was a mistake."


    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.
    Out of Nation from 5/22 to 5/29

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    • #3
      thank you for making this Lost Light, I'll admit I was disappointed by the straight up "sick God-Machine" answer. I especially like your answer of contagion as hisil magath

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      • #4
        Okay I know everyone and their great grandmas finds the noose anytime someone even subtly implies the Abyss has anything to do with non-mages, but, even if you cut out the Supernal and Mages entirely from a crossover how can you drop the Abyss?

        Especially with the great answer given by Demon!! I think it was the storytellers guide.

        For me I knew what I wanted to do from the start and the teasers and God-Machine stuff and what the Contagion *does* only has made me resolute.

        Im not right, I don't care to be. Anyone who doesn't like this idea just, you know, ignore it! If you don't like mages or the abyss just ignore me, thats fine!

        But this *screams* Abyssal influence to me start to finish. The Contagion is the result of the God-Machine *mining* the Abyss for raw potentiality, It's obsession with running and quantum-entangling timelines requires the impossible and the discarded of reality, what better oil resovoir of pure possibility than the impossible Abyss?

        And again I find the Abyss so menacing and fascinating that, having a way to include it in other games and make it relevant delights me. They do it for the lower depths so why not the Abyss?

        Id always put a players motivations and cosmogical needs first but... *Its the Abyyysss* cmoooon CMOOOOON! Its practically GIFTWRAPPED for delivering Contagion to the world! I mean consider the *Crossways*, if thats not Contagion what is?

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        • #5
          I like the idea that the Contagion is the result of a proliferation of Pyros, just because I like the juxtaposition of the GM's drive for control/stability with the Principle apparently reveling in constant change. Even without involving the GM, there's enough similarity between Contagion and Wasteland/Disquiet/Firestorms to imagine that they're connected.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mad_Maudlin View Post
            I like the idea that the Contagion is the result of a proliferation of Pyros, just because I like the juxtaposition of the GM's drive for control/stability with the Principle apparently reveling in constant change. Even without involving the GM, there's enough similarity between Contagion and Wasteland/Disquiet/Firestorms to imagine that they're connected.
            How does Azoth behave again? It's been awhile since I read Promethean but, isn't fire kind of more of a cleansing force, even if the alchemical change of pyros storms can get kinda... body-horrory? Would Azoth be a better fit, for the theme of sickness I mean. I haven't read it in awhile but I'd have thought pyros would be more symmbolic of cleansing and the breaking down and reconfigurement of parts instead of... the decay of Contagion.

            Now, if the Contagion were to continue to mutate and introduce new changes for the sake of it if an oubreak were to go uncontained and left to its own devices for a while? Then yeah, if we were to use mutation as a stronger theme than sickness or unraveling.

            My questions aside, I was blown aback by this idea and I think I even gasped, cuz its such a good idea!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Scarlet Witch View Post
              Would Azoth be a better fit, for the theme of sickness I mean. I haven't read it in awhile but I'd have thought pyros would be more symmbolic of cleansing and the breaking down and reconfigurement of parts instead of... the decay of Contagion.
              It might have been different in 1e, but for 2e Pyros is both, Elpis and Flux are two sides to the same phenomena. Azoth is just a highly concentrated version of Pyros, hence why it allows the New Dam, but also generates Flux.


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              • #8
                well, pyros requires creatures such as prometheans to keep it under control and lead to change that actually matters. on it's own its just constant change that's bound to end in flux
                Last edited by Primordial newcomer; 04-28-2019, 11:41 AM.

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                • #9
                  So I've re-read the concepts I wrote, and it occurred to me that we could map those view into the Factions we are already presented with in the book. I mean, the mortal, Mummy and Beast views all fall under the Jeremiad, the Mage, Promethean and Demon belong to the Ship, Hunter works as part of the Cryptocracy, and the Changeling as the Zero Hour. Not sure about Vampire, Werewolf, Geist and Deviant- I mean, they all revolve around "the Contagion as a plague", which fits the Crucible, even though it works better for Werewolf and Deviant than the other two. For Geist it is more of something inevitable, which works better for the Army. Vampire's view could be interesting to explore as a new Faction- the Contagion as chaos, perhaps? Sometimes, the world just fail. It is not perfect, it can't be predicted and can't be controlled. The Faction could be developed into a False (that is, embracing the chaos) or into a Sworn (each Contagion is unique, and each should be treated differently, depending on the situation).


                  My Homebrew Signature

                  "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

                  I now blog in here

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                  • #10
                    I would say Deviants as supporters of the Crypto view, mainly that the Contagion is a result of humanity messing with the world, though less in terms of chaos as is the norm


                    .

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                    • #11
                      Mage

                      The Time Before is gone. Changed. Edited. Gone. Reality itself is so radically changed beyond recognition.
                      What if this Contagion is reality's immune system?
                      Fragments of Time Before violently attacking the reality, trying to infest reality, trying to be real once again.

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