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Do you ever felt bad for something you read about World of Darkness?

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  • Do you ever felt bad for something you read about World of Darkness?

    I know perfectly well that is a game and I'm always detached enough to enjoy a good story... well, except once, just once.
    When I read the story of Ella Young aka the Genius slasher "Cinderella" I couldn't avoid feeling a pang of compassion for her character - although I knew it was fictional.

    You know the fairytale: beautiful girl is abused by her stepfamily, endures years of hardship, and then is rescued by a handsome prince. For Ella Young, the first part of the story seemed destined to never end. When her father died, Ella’s step- mother kept her a virtual prisoner under the pretext of home-schooling her, controlling Ella’s inheritance and allowing her own daughter and sons to inflict innumerable horrors on the girl. Only Ella’s intellect saved her: the family had to supply her with books so she could pass the state tests, and in their disdain they didn’t notice that at age nine she was asking for college-level textbooks. Soon after, she decided she’d stop waiting for Prince Charming and take matters into her own hands. Using her knowledge of chemistry and some simple household cleaning supplies, Ella surreptitiously poisoned each of her tormenters in turn, killing one, hospitalizing another, weakening the rest until she was able to take control of the household finances. She refined her understanding of poisons and toxins, using her former torturers as guinea pigs, prolonging their misery until she turned twenty-one. At that point Cinderella, as she’d taken to calling herself, gained full access to her inheritance money. She drained the family bank accounts and burned down the house — after making sure the residents were fully conscious and completely paralyzed. Cinderella spent the next several years deepening her understanding of the fine art of poisoning. At some point her obsession with toxic substances became a fascination with the psychological impact that poisoning had on the unfortunate victims. She earned dual PhDs in psychology and toxicology, offending both professors and fellow students with her arrogance and seemingly infallible intellect. She conducted secret experiments to satisfy her morbid curiosity, introducing various toxins to office buildings, trailer parks and school cafeterias, and observing the psychological fallout of inexplicable pain and suffering. She once spent an entire year recording the behavior of a single college student, inflicting symptoms, and then easing them, repeating the process to see how quickly the relapsing-remitting cycle would push her victim towards suicide

    I don't know exactly what touched a cord inside me. Probably the combination of horrific abuse and horrific crimes.

    The actions of "Cinderella" are horrible, mabye the worst imaginable. To inflict slow, lingering pains untill the psyche of her victims breaks. It's a subtle, cold, prolonged form of cruelty that I found expecially heinous.
    But - although freudian excuse is no excuse - I couldn't bring myself to feel contempt or anger toward Ella. The idea of a person who has been broken in such a complete, irreparable way and takes revenge in such an extreme, prolonged way gave me the impression of someone who's so absorbed by her endless cicle of revenge that there's nothing left in her. And yet it's obvious that such a person should be stopped ASAP, even killed if no other option is avaiable.

    Don't know why it hit me so hard, I read my share of tragic backgrounds.

    Did you ever felt in a similar way?

  • nofather
    replied
    "You'll have to ask Paradox," has been a huge buzzkill.

    Most of the stuff in books likely has to be in fiction to get me feeling sad about them, like the parents talking with the doctor when there's azlu in their daughters brain.

    Acrozatarims good at it, like with his Ivory Claw lodge. http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...pure-a-weeping
    Last edited by nofather; 09-18-2021, 06:07 PM.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    I don't disagree that it is fair, I question why someone should. I mean, I personally do feel some contempt for this particular character, I was not personally as emotionally carried away. But I don't think anyone [should do so. It is still (in-character) a human being that deserves adequate attention, treatment, a chance to be a part of society and recognized as a victim, a person, not a monster.
    I mean, it's not an either/or matter-a lot of stories in Chronicles feature people who have both clearly need a lot of help but also do really heinous acts that can call for a variety of judgments, and sometimes even decisive actions. That's kind of the point of Chronicles on the whole. You can both feel contempt and empathy, and often people will feel both, and I by and large think it's there to get people feeling both. It gets people questioning and experimenting with their lines or where empathy and judgment should fall and act, and understanding that there's no one answer-and more importantly, there's more answers than just kill the monster or forgive the transgressor.

    I think the question of detachment versus attachment is also sort of muddled in that it's sort of a case of both-not just that every story should be read by deeply investing into it and then read with a step back and a clinical eye added to it, but also in realizing that some stories do essentially personally affect us more than others....and there's a reason for that. When we read a story and find ourselves reading it clinically, it warrants asking what and why we're not connecting with. When we find that something personally causes a feeling, particularly uncomfortable and horrified feelings, then we need to go ahead and have a look at what it is, whether we connect to a victim or to the monster or just an event, and try to really get what's affecting us.

    In a game of personal horror, it's not surprising that the big take away from a lot of it's stories is our own relationship to them, and what our feelings or non-feelings and reactions say about us.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    Well, I think it's fair to feel contempt for her.
    I don't disagree that it is fair, I question why someone should. I mean, I personally do feel some contempt for this particular character, I was not personally as emotionally carried away. But I don't think anyone [should do so. It is still (in-character) a human being that deserves adequate attention, treatment, a chance to be a part of society and recognized as a victim, a person, not a monster.

    About any "plea to insanity", that would be more complicated. More data would be necessary to determine if she have or not the lack of agency necessary to be considered innocent due insanity. People that really make the cut are frequently far different from what popular opinion thinks.

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  • Solomon Draak
    replied
    Likewise, I think detachment actually diminishes the experience rather than enhancing it.
    I think that too, but that's the point. I don't find comfortable to forget it is a game, a story.

    About Cinderella, I don't think her is a pure intellectual curiosity. I think she's a destroyed person. She may rationally understand that society consider her actions wrong but I doubt she still possess the free will necessary to make a choice.

    The point is, there are many self-made monster who reached that point due their choice. But she, she was destroyed as a child, much before being able to self-determinate.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Well, I think it's fair to feel contempt for her. Her actions didn't happen on their own. She's a serial killer, and an especially brutal and sadistic one. She's not legally insane (that is, she knows what she's doing, and that it's wrong by the morals of society), and places her motivations for all of her actions post emancipation in her own hands to cope with. She doesn't want to stop what she's doing.

    Even so, there's a purity to her intellectual curiosity that's both compelling and horrifying.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Likewise, I think detachment actually diminishes the experience rather than enhancing it.

    Even because this helps us to make sense of many things in life. Like the many, many people in prisons all around the world that are just like that: a lot of suffering, a lot of problems, a lot of circumstances that made the path of crime unavoidable for that broken person, and a system that isn't helping in repairing them.

    Why do you think you even should feel contempt or anger toward HER, instead of toward what she did?

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    I feel this way all the time when a character (esp. an antagonist) has a strongly written complex background. But I guess I might be coming at this differently because I have a huge difference in approach. I don't want to have to detach to enjoy a good story. What makes a story good is the quality of emotional experience I have staying attached to the characters.

    The whole point of the WoD and CofD are playing characters that would traditionally be the "bad guys" doing horrible things, which for me requires an open empathy for characters that do things I find repugnant. So even when getting to the NPC material characters, if I'm getting a backstory, I want one that's engaging and interesting.

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