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Am I doing Contagion wrong?

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  • Am I doing Contagion wrong?

    I run game of Contagion Chronicle in Byzantium in year 800 AD. We run it as Werewolf game from what it started, with adding other gamelines as NPCs in Sworn and False. Byzantium is birth place of Black Death ( that is canonical Contagion starting Jemeriad Sworn ), but it's 50 years after any outbreak of this sickness. So I made my own 'modern' Contagion for this setting - Iconoclasm, Contagion of Being ( sum up below ) - that erase you from reality. Add now we are in the Constantinopole game, PCs are werewolves that fight with Iconoclasm that is slowly eating out their pack - but something is surely missing.

    From my STs point, game is... not fun. It seems as we are running game by the four years momentum. I got striking contrast by running They Came From Beyond the Grave one-shot, where players were super engaging and obviously fun. True, more than half of the Byzantine team is different from the Beyond the Grave group - but you can see the differences in interest clearly. I don't know what doesn't work a bit here. Maybe the players in Werewolf aren't members of the Sworn groups yet, and therefore don't use the powers against Contagion? They stick to their own pack, acknowledge there are Sworn and False groups in setting - but, mainly, they are doing their own thing?

    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
    My solution to the second point of my alternative...

    Byzantium – Contagion of Being

    It’s started with cross. In 726 A.D. Emperor Leo III the Isaurian ordered to remove the painting of Christ from his Palace entering gate – and to place simple cross in it’s place. It was start of Iconoclasm movement in Byzantine Empire, wanting to abolish worship of icons and figures in Eastern Church. It was strongly opposed by the Iconludes, people wanting to support worship of icons. Both factions fervently fought inside of Empire for the next almost hundred and twenty years.

    But it event also unleashed what mortals were not aware of. They could not be. The second Contagion ravaging the Empire made them unaware. Unneeded. Irrelevant. Erased from reality.

    Symptoms

    It starts with your secondary traces of being. People start to miss you in conversation. You lose reflection, then your shadow. Then people omit you in life. And, finally, you simply cease to exist.

    Contagion started with Ephemeral Beings ( spirits, ghosts, goetia, angels, etc. ), worshiped as sacred items and anchored to those images. Spirits and ghosts started to lose Manifestations, then their Essence – and finally their Corpus, being erased from reality. And finally whole glory of Empire is forgotten and lost.

    Stages of Contagion are describing firstly effects on Ephemeral Beings, then after ‘/’ for the humans and physical monsters. Beasts of Dark Mother, Bound Sin-Eaters and Uratha werewolves are in worst situation because of this Plague – they response as they were both Ephemeral and physical beings, at once. On Stage 2 they lose Essence/Plasm/Satiety and their shadow. And on Stage 3 they lose Corpus ( Health in reality ) and lose contact with outside world.


    Contagion Carrier (Persistent)
    1. Contagion-Touched – Social penalty -1 to express oneself / Social penalty -1 as people subconsciously omit Touched in conversation.
    2. Infected (1) – Loss of 1 Manifestation per day. When loss of last one – treated here as Twilight Form - next stage. / Loss of reflection in water, mirrors and similar.
    3. Infected (2) – Loss of 1 extra Essence per day. Cannot use Numina and Influences as ephemeral entity lacks the bodily cohesion to interact with other beings in Twilight. ( From lack of Twilight Form. ) A ghost who suffers this fate drifts through Twilight unable to be seen or touched even by other Twilight ghosts, alone and helpless to affect the world in any way, even only the world of ghosts. Spirit is locked in Twilight and cannot move to Shadow Realm on it’s own. When loss of last one Essence point – next stage. If being has physical representation and at least 3 other material beings worship the representation – Essence lost is stopped for 24 hours. / Loss of shadow on any light source.
    4. Infected (3) – Loss of 1 Corpus point per day. Uratha are checking entering Basu-Im each night because of Essence hunger. Begotten has 0 Satiety. When loss of last Corpus box – final stage. / People do not notice you unless you make physical contact ( transmitting Contagion then ).
    5. Disappearance – Final outcome, you cease to exist.
    Cure

    The Contagion based on being erased from reality is very difficult to fight. Even those afflicted by it are in impediment in communicating about symptoms with those trying to save them from non-existence. However large body on lore and history from over thousand years of this war with outbreak made it possible.

    The Sworn

    Sworn see Iconoclasm Contagion as possible end of their living – or at least history. They strife to not forget about their comrades and their own secrets.

    700-900s

    In first years of Contagion, newly founded Sworn in Byzantine Empire did not even noticed it. It fell between the cracks, as the whole alliance was looking for the signs of next Plague of Justinian outbreak in that time. Unfortunately, disease has settled within Eastern Roman Empire. From then, it was mostly crisis management and hoping to cure the patients. However, each of Sworn groups tried, from time to time, some revolutionary way for stopping the disease. After few decades they observed that because the Contagion was sourced from Iconoclasm and destruction of the visage – the way to stop it was to created many visages of the patient and then to mark the worship of image on it. To say that those practiced seemed to look heretical, even to eyes of Iconludes, was to put it mildly. And then Sworn still looked for other ways stopping this outbreak.

    Jeremiad
    Connected most with the Easter Church itself, the Penitents are in the center of Iconclams. Lancea Sanctum is doubling down on separation of worship in Empire, leading to their members distance themselves from the center of infections. Seeing how this Contagion is striving from destruction of icons, Sanctified in Jeremiad are hoarding holy images and statues, persevering them, so the new sources of disease would not spread more. They also most ardently worship them, to undo existing infections.

    Hunters in Darkness and Fire-Touched inside Church’s holy places are defending icons before destruction with their own claws. They know that once Contagion will set in area, they are first to get the worst of it. It also lead to unusual alliance – Hosts also do not want to be in area of this Plague. As both physical and ephemeral like Meninna and Izidakh – they know they are most venerable to the gruesome effects of it. Hosts separated from their species simply decomposes and die.

    Begotten in Church are trying to preach – by word and Nightmares they send – that you must see and confront what you are afraid off. And by this, images helps us prepare to life we lead. Often, it ends with unofficial, private visages of mythological horrors that haunts particular painter or sculptor – but it sustain particular beast from Contagion if she became infected.

    Athanatoi (Cryptocracy)
    Athanatoi, as predecessors of Cryptocracy we know now, try to fight with problem systematically. It’s their secret support in in the elites of society that lead to support Iconludes in stopping the destruction of icons. Whenever they can, Immortals try to hijack commands that leads to more damages and possible spread of Contagion. It’s Athanatoi influence on the Emperor’s Court that maybe ended Iconclams madness.

    Omphalos (Rosetta Society)
    The Omphalos understand Contagion as massage from God ( or gods ) that we do not understand. What could be massage that punish for destruction of icons? Of course, it’s that we should hoard all knowledge and rebuild Great Library of Alexandria. It’s maybe not universal answer in Sworn’s members, but it surely have most support.



    My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
    LGBT+ through Ages
    LGBT+ in CoD games

  • #2
    THe first thing that stands out to me is the sort of failed comparison between the Contagion Chronicle and Beyond the Grave by terms of teams-if over half the team that played in Grave isn't there for Contagion, then a comparison between the two strikes me as more of an apples and oranges situation. So as that goes, I'm going to say you shouldn't worry about that.

    The second thing that stands out to me is that it doesn't look like your players are getting into the buy-in for Contagion, based on the fact that they are a) all werewolves, b) apparently aiming at different factions split between Sworn and False, and c) most aren't even in factions right now. It sounds like their expectations are more for a Forsaken game that has Contagion elements, which would then be why they aren't grokking sessions where the focus is somewhere else. This sort of setup is fine for a Forsaken game where Contagion's setting is a weird edge thing that adds quirks to some characters but not really something players are supposed to worried about, but if the Contagion game is supposed to be front and center, then this is off.

    Which makes me ask: How did you pitch it?

    Iconoclasm as a Contagion strikes me as a slightly flimsier version of one of the Geryo type 2B strain of the Kyoto Contagion, i.e. Erased-which might be what you're going for, mind you, but it must be noted in case that's part of the problem.

    I don't really know, though? Because the biggest problem I'm having with answering the question is I don't know what you've done in the game so far. The real question is "What have you done, and how are you doing it?" Once that's laid out on the board, we might be able to get more constructive.

    The final question I have is brought up due to recurring 'frain, but must be asked: were your players excited to play a Contagion game and wanted to get into it, or are y'all playing Contagion because you wanted to?

    Because if it's the latter, this might also be why you're player group is effectively trying to tug you over into playing a Forsaken game with their current implied setup-and you have been prone to forcing the current Shiny Square into your player's Desired Circle, so I gotta check.


    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
    Feminine pronouns, please.

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    • #3
      So I return to the idea of Iconoclasm and Werewolf, returning to my game. Watching werewolf media, I think that my players need clear Prey to hunt the Contagion – werewolves stories are about hunting, in the end – and hunting the Iconclasm Contagion itself would be to nebulous as enemy. I think about Prey that would reflecting the spread of the Iconclasm in Constantinopole – leading to at least stop of the large stop of spreading in city, or as the ‘disease sample’ to devise the Cure. Maybe some sick and mutated Spirit Lord as Prey? What do you think?
      Last edited by wyrdhamster; 08-30-2020, 05:50 AM.


      My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
      LGBT+ through Ages
      LGBT+ in CoD games

      Comment


      • #4

        I think that ArcaneArts has already asked some very important questions that contextualize this situation for your group, and that it's very hard to give generalized advice for the concept divorced from the context of your specific group. If you want advice here, you should really answer these questions.

        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
        The second thing that stands out to me is that it doesn't look like your players are getting into the buy-in for Contagion, based on the fact that they are a) all werewolves, b) apparently aiming at different factions split between Sworn and False, and c) most aren't even in factions right now. It sounds like their expectations are more for a Forsaken game that has Contagion elements, which would then be why they aren't grokking sessions where the focus is somewhere else. This sort of setup is fine for a Forsaken game where Contagion's setting is a weird edge thing that adds quirks to some characters but not really something players are supposed to worried about, but if the Contagion game is supposed to be front and center, then this is off.

        Which makes me ask: How did you pitch it?
        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
        I don't really know, though? Because the biggest problem I'm having with answering the question is I don't know what you've done in the game so far. The real question is "What have you done, and how are you doing it?" Once that's laid out on the board, we might be able to get more constructive.
        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
        The final question I have is brought up due to recurring 'frain, but must be asked: were your players excited to play a Contagion game and wanted to get into it, or are y'all playing Contagion because you wanted to?

        Because if it's the latter, this might also be why you're player group is effectively trying to tug you over into playing a Forsaken game with their current implied setup-and you have been prone to forcing the current Shiny Square into your player's Desired Circle, so I gotta check.

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        • #5
          Okay, I have no idea if you're still pursuing this particular Chronicle or not, nor does this question directly relate to the question of "Am I doing Contagion wrong?", and yet a rereading of Contagion today led to a question I am curious about as it relates to your game:

          Why is there no mention of the events of Exile, Prophecy, and Wrath in your pitch for a post-Jeremiad formation game? Like, I'm all for introducing Iconoclasm as a new emergent strain to deal with-making your own Contagion is part of the fun of the chronicle type, after all-but I have to reasonably assume that part of the reason the pitch was appealing to players was because they read about the events that led to the formation of the Jeremiad in Exile, Prophecy, and Wrath, thought that was cool, and wanted to do something with it, so correspondingly having the fallout of that Contagion strain would logically be a way of doing that.

          Again, I don't think that directly has any bearing on any problems you might have been having, but it strikes me as odd all the same.


          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
          Feminine pronouns, please.

          Comment

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