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When would each group have gotten to the Americas?

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  • When would each group have gotten to the Americas?

    Getting back into subjects related to the Chronicles of Darkness, I've been thinking a lot about the subject of the American continents, notable as they are for the long history of being isolated by two oceans in comparison to Afro-Eurasia and its ancient networks of travel and trade.

    In particular, I'm thinking over the matter of how different types of being would have different means of accessing it, based on their respective origins and how they propagate. I want to lay out some of my thinking on the topic, and have other people check it, either with their own speculation or what other parts of the line state outright.

    Mages are the CoD subject I know best, and I see two angles to cover the subject there. On the one hand, Awakening is a thing that occurs more or less spontaneously and people all over are susceptible to it, so it's a given that there would be mages there as long as there have been people. The Diamond Orders, on the other hand, are something with discrete historical origins in a continental crossroads, after which they spend time radiating outwards to promote themselves. The Orders would plausibly have been possessed of a means of reaching the Americas ahead of European contact, by way of finding fellows in the Astral and then using Space magic, but I would expect such travel would be intermittent enough that Order caucuses established in those lands would be relatively small and isolated until colonisation does the work of both providing a means of travel the Awakened can use more readily and doing a lot of damage to the indigenous societies in which unaligned mages existed.

    I have to assume that for vampires, they can only be carried over with European settlement, as to the best of my knowledge all Clans originate in places other than the Americas. I'd also expect getting an initial foothold to be fairly slow-going, between the insecurity of the travel method, the limited rate at which they can Embrace new members, and how long it takes settler societies to assume a form they can effectively survive within.

    Werewolves I'm not sure about. I know that Dark Eras focuses its depiction of them prior to the Sundering on a portion of the prehistoric Balkans, but I'm not sure if that's meant to imply concentration or if there would have been packs of them all over the Border Marches. I haven't read closely enough to know if the nature of the Border Marches would be such that it's easy to travel over what corresponds to long distances in the Material Realm. After the Sundering, are there supposed to be werewolves who were deposited on those continents? Or is there an idea that the Shadow contains means of making that journey earlier than the Norse or Columbus (although I suppose there's something to the idea that some could have been with the Norse and then stayed behind in the new land). Is anything ever said about the subject?

    I figure Changelings are the easiest, by virtue of how the True Fae can probably be expected to snatch people up from all over and the Hedge is one that explicitly does cross long geographic boundaries in ways accessible to a regular walker. I could imagine similar or different Court systems developing mutually and with awareness of one another for a reasonably long time. I think something similar might go with Sin-Eaters, with travel facilitated by the Underworld.

    I expect that it's a totally moot point with Prometheans when they hardly have any social structure at all in any event. Whether any lone wanderers existed in the Americas before Europeans is something I imagine comes down to the potential for the occasional demiurge to appear there, unless maybe some diligent Created crossed the oceans under their own power and made a couple more.

    Anything beyond that and my understanding gets fuzzy. I know just enough about Mummy to suppose that they wouldn't have had means or motive of winding up in the Americas prior to the Age of Discovery. Beasts... probably? A similar thing with mages where they pop up all over and have contact between far-flung cells via dream travel? Absolutely no idea for Demons.


    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
    Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

  • #2
    Well, there is a lost Promethean Lineage which crossed all the way from Mesoamerica to North Africa during the time of Hawara, so it makes sense that they managed to do so others would manage to go the other way around. The Created are known to be very resilient and stubborn, after all.

    As for the Arisen, between the power of Utterances, their Timeless nature and the zero care they have for time paradoxes, it is very likely that if the Judges and Fate want a mummy to reach the Americas, they would reach the Americas. Plus, Irem seem to have reached all the way to Antarctica in its peak, it is not out of the question that they may have also reached the Americas, even if they didn't had much of a hold over there.


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    • #3
      Werewolves came when humans did, across the ice bridge. It mentions this in first edition.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
        I have to assume that for vampires, they can only be carried over with European settlement, as to the best of my knowledge all Clans originate in places other than the Americas. I'd also expect getting an initial foothold to be fairly slow-going, between the insecurity of the travel method, the limited rate at which they can Embrace new members, and how long it takes settler societies to assume a form they can effectively survive within.
        If you're looking at clans instead of covenants, vampirism arises with or without a concrete line of descent; being "Kindred" is a convergent phenomenon, and being part of the same clan doesn't necessarily imply a shared lineage, to say nothing of how the Strix in particular complicate matters.


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        • #5
          The clan books have a few mentions of the clans existing in the Americas well before Europeans arrived.

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          • #6
            Demons can happen anywhere there are angels and the God-Machine has been everywhere always (time travel, yo).

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            • #7
              Good, good. It's all a rich tapestry.

              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
              If you're looking at clans instead of covenants, vampirism arises with or without a concrete line of descent; being "Kindred" is a convergent phenomenon, and being part of the same clan doesn't necessarily imply a shared lineage, to say nothing of how the Strix in particular complicate matters.
              Ah, my understanding had been that it was a thing that you got, like. Daeva originating in... some discrete part of the world... I want to say somewhere near Anatolia? And then over time they cross over with the rest. So what you're saying here is that vampires somewhere between very similar and indistinguishable from Daeva from elsewhere could independently emerge from whatever nebulous forces produce vampires, and they all get together as they encounter one another?

              What would it have been about the Covenants, then?


              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
              Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                Ah, my understanding had been that it was a thing that you got, like. Daeva originating in... some discrete part of the world... I want to say somewhere near Anatolia? And then over time they cross over with the rest. So what you're saying here is that vampires somewhere between very similar and indistinguishable from Daeva from elsewhere could independently emerge from whatever nebulous forces produce vampires, and they all get together as they encounter one another?
                Put it this way: there is a Mekhet bloodline introduced in 1e that claims to be descended from a Clan Grettir up in the north, round about the Scandinavian region. You may recall from their name, symbolism, and particular weird variant the Hollow that the Mekhet as they're understood are broadly an Egyptian strain of undeath. To all evidence, the Grettir were functionally (though not culturally) interchangeable with the Mekhet — they had the same Favored Attributes, Clan Disciplines, and Clan Bane. Clans are as much archetypes of vampirism as they are collections of related Kindred.

                Put it this way: It is a substantial point of discussion in 1e (less so in 2e) about whether the Ventrue killed off and replaced the Julii (who also have Dominate as a Clan Discipline), were a deviant offshoot of the Gangrel, or some other strangeness — I haven't yet given the book a deep read, but I recall mention that Shadows of Mexico talks about a completely different Dominate-using clan that disappeared before the modern Ventrue arrived with the colonizing forces, whereas the other four main clans could recognize their opposite numbers in the native vampire populations after contact was made.

                Put it this way: Despite early 1e's intimations of stasis, the basic nature of active vampires is to variously adapt themselves to suit their hunting niche and warp their hunting grounds to suit their nature. Vampires take in and bleed out the nature of the things and places they feed on and inhabit; it all runs together, and vampires in Vampire mostly run on the same systems (diegetically, at least) because they're all made from humans and feeding primarily on human blood and existing in proximity to humans (hence also why elders tend to be that much more alien). The Jiang Shi of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill domain are, unlike the variant encountered in Night Horrors: Wicked Dead, a clan of their own (and, to tie it back to the first point, claim relation to Norse revenants as well as their namesake Asian monsters), and their integration with the rest of the All Night Society has seen the edges of some of their particular foibles smoothed over in newer specimens compared to their elders.

                Put it this way: Potent Strix can create vampires of any clan (randomly determining one if they haven't drawn Vitae from an existing vampire, transmitting the particular Curse of the last one they fed on otherwise), and the Roman Nosferatu's historical claims that the first of them arose from inauspicious burials are neither complete hogwash nor a unique phenomenon; there's a character in the Blood and Smoke Fiction Anthology who, if I didn't misread the tale, became a vampire because of a cursed mirror that they bought. Spontaneous vampirism is far from confined to the stuff of legend.

                Put it this way: Vampirism is a wound. Vampirism eats curses for a midnight snack. Vampirism is Lower Depths-adjacent. Vampirism takes many forms and can come from anywhere, but the Blood all runs together and the Beast wants to feed and occupy as high a spot on the pecking order as it can comfortably maintain. Forms of vampirism that exist far from Humanity tend to be more thoroughly riddled with weird banes and strange powers, but familiarity breeds some degree of comfort along with the expected contempt — to a certain extent identifying vampiric archetypes by clan names is of a kind with the Awakened tendency toward classifying the frightening and unfamiliar, albeit with a more personal tilt to it.

                Make no mistake, the vast majority of vampires one of the Kindred will encounter in their city are part of a direct line of descent, but the whole inborn structure of the Blood is a lot fuzzier around the edges than a more constructed family tree would have you believe. Clans form the communicable baseline for bloodlines, bloodlines giving rise to clans is floated as a possibility more than once, and "Lost Clans" are an entire field of inquiry for a reason. "Blood" forms the basis for most of the mystical connections a vampire has, and sometimes that blood is metaphorical, because the essence of what the vampire has made themself into resonates with something in another vampire, a feeding subject, or something stranger still — colonies (the groups Gangrel call "packs") form when you have a bunch of different vampires live together and their Beasts get tangled up in each other, forming a kind of gestalt bond that can get really disturbing.

                Vampiric existence deals with a long slide down the slope of alienation from your former state as a living human, and while the covenants serve to make that descent take longer through culture, the pretense that the clans are more than a set of pipes the blood drains down does a little to ease the sting on a personal level — after all, shared experience is the life of many long relationships, even if the details don't quite line up.

                What would it have been about the Covenants, then?
                The covenants are coherent organizations with historical accretion to them, for all that local variation tilts them in a hundred different ways from the global basis; there's no Spear and Chapel before the death of Christ, the Invictus doesn't claim to inherit the legacy of the Camarilla until after the fall of Rome, the Circle of the Crone doesn't formally soft-unify as a loose alliance of blood-magic-practicing "pagan" vampire faiths until a few centuries ago, the Carthians get their start somewhere around the time of the French Revolution, and so on.
                Last edited by Satchel; 03-14-2021, 10:43 PM. Reason: Formatting.


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                • #9
                  1. Ahh, delightful.

                  2. Nono, I meant what are the particular vectors of transmission for the Covenants into the Americas.

                  On a related note, would it be safe to assume the Uratha Tribes are something that can emerge all over where werewolves are without their founders needing to directly promote them by virtue of something like the Firstborn sending out wolf spirit messengers to get the word out once the initial pact is struck?
                  Last edited by Isator Levi; 03-15-2021, 04:35 AM.


                  I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                  Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                  • #10
                    As a piece of the puzzle: the Australian setting in Forsaken 2nd describes a situation where Uratha were present long before European contact, but were Tribeless and instead consolidated within a multi-Totem Lodge. When the first Tribes landed in Australia, the natives were quick to catch up and forge their own relationships with the Firstborn.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                      On a related note, would it be safe to assume the Uratha Tribes are something that can emerge all over where werewolves are without their founders needing to directly promote them by virtue of something like the Firstborn sending out wolf spirit messengers to get the word out once the initial pact is struck?
                      Or the Firstborn just travelling to the Americas themselves.

                      When it comes to the splats, mummies are the only ones who can't spontaneously created wherever there are humans. But they can still show up in the Americas much earlier than either Columbus or the vikings since they're on missions from the Judges that might direct them there, and they could either get there through supernatural means or just having their cults construct ships and go on voyages that simply aren't known to historians.

                      For organisational matters, it depends on the nature of those organisations and the capabilities of the splats:
                      • As noted werewolf Tribes are tied to supernatural entities that have an active interest in all of werewolf society and could thus spread everywhere regardless of the splat's communication possibilities. That said, they're still dependent on someone (be it the Firstborn personally, a spirit agent, or other werewolves) introducing them to the Tribes so in some places there simply are Tribeless werewolves where the word hasn't spread. I'd imagine Lodges are much more common in those places.
                      • Mummy Guilds were a thing before mummies were even created. They'd spread with their mummy members.
                      • Mage Orders, changeling Courts and vampire Covenants are both founded and spread by their members. Mages and changelings have the best possibilities to cross the oceans before the Age of Exploration (through spells or Astral travels for mages, and just taking a shortcut through the Hedge for changelings), but I think they've mostly spread using mortal means of transportation. Note that there would be and probably still are Orders (though called Nameless), Courts and Covenants originating in the Americas that can just as much spread to the rest of the world rather than just the opposite.
                      • Hunters are humans and Compacts/Conspiracies spread like human organisations.
                      • Prometheans, bound (sin-eaters), beasts, and deviants don't have large organisations.
                      • That leaves only demons, but I have to admit I don't actually know if Agencies are supposed to be organisations or if they're just archetypes of some sort. If the former, then it'd probably be like for mages/changelings with spread and capabilities for spreading, and if the latter it'd be like prometheans/beasts/etc.
                      Last edited by Tessie; 03-15-2021, 05:53 AM.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tessie View Post

                        Or the Firstborn just travelling to the Americas themselves.
                        Hmm, are there any limits to how close they can get to the world just on the other side of the Gauntlet?

                        Still, thinking more on the subject, I expect it's plausible that even in Africa, Asia and Europe, it could be a bit of a simplification to trace the Tribes back to one founding event, as opposed to multiple core groups seeking out the Firstborn and agreeing to live by the ban and characteristic hunt.

                        Originally posted by Tessie
                        [*]Mage Orders, changeling Courts and vampire Covenants are both founded and spread by their members. Mages and changelings have the best possibilities to cross the oceans before the Age of Exploration (through spells or Astral travels for mages, and just taking a shortcut through the Hedge for changelings), but I think they've mostly spread using mortal means of transportation. Note that there would be and probably still are Orders (though called Nameless), Courts and Covenants originating in the Americas that can just as much spread to the rest of the world rather than just the opposite.
                        Yeah, between The Sundered World and To The Strongest (not to mention the origin of the Free Council), I'd read it as mages often having far-flung contact with one another, but proper cultural discourse is best done face to face on common ground and with a decent number of buddies to back you up.

                        Now I'm picturing a time in, say, the second century where a few of the lone Astral travellers and Space mages turn up in the Middle Kingdom with a message of "just a heads up, but a bunch of us are going to be coming along in the next few years to have conversations about common praxis and try to sell you on our fancy innovations, so be ready for that". Although I'm wondering if it takes the Yuan Dynasty for the Diamond to take off in a big way around there.

                        {Incidentally, it's unnecessary to explain Nameless Orders to me. I've been into Mage for a long time, I was into Second Edition previews and simply happened to drift away shortly before the book came out. I'm just reacquainting myself and catching up on the new stuff and stretching out the new intellectual topics.

                        I swear I mean this in good humour.}
                        Last edited by Isator Levi; 03-15-2021, 06:40 AM.


                        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                        Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                          If you're looking at clans instead of covenants, vampirism arises with or without a concrete line of descent; being "Kindred" is a convergent phenomenon, and being part of the same clan doesn't necessarily imply a shared lineage, to say nothing of how the Strix in particular complicate matters.
                          Ya, I remember some of the clans, like mekhet, were unique developments that had their own methods (using post morten embraces) before they blended with the wider kindred community and adapted general practices. So, could happen in other places too.

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                          • #14
                            I personally dislike and reject the whole "convergent evolution" idea regarding vampires, but it's clear that the Clans can show up pretty much anywhere regardless of human communication. But on the other hand they might also not do that, or not necessarily at a noticeable pace. For example, the Julii seemed to have been mostly confined to Rome, while their alleged descendants, the Ventrue, started in Europe and spread from there. In Mesoamerica we already had the other four main Clans present when the Ventrue arrived on European ships.


                            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)

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                            • #15
                              Also, it s curios that no clans similar to the Akhud has emerged since their demise (as far as i know)

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