Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Eshmaki and the Enlightened

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Eshmaki and the Enlightened

    So. That one about the Anakim is going over a treat. So. How about the Eshmaki?
    The Eshmaki, Nightmares of Darkness
    You remember the first words of reassurance you ever had, right? It always has something to do with the nightlight, right? It always had something to do with the darkness beyond the edge of that light, right? Those immortal words-you aren’t really afraid of the dark, you’re afraid of the unknown, you’re afraid of what might be in the dark. We all worry something’s in the place beyond sight, I guess.

    Well, that’s only partly true. We don’t need there to be nothing in the darkness because there are cuddly bears out to hug us in it. No, our first fear is that there are things out in the dark that will hurt us, bear traps and bears, both quick to snap their jaws on us-but further than that, we’re so deeply scared we couldn’t handle either one, that we couldn’t slip away from those jaws, that we couldn’t break those jaws.

    What’s more than that, though, is as soon as we recognize that some of those bears who are cuddly and huggable, we begin to recognize that we kind of suck at recognizing the difference between those two. It’s hard to see things in the dark, to know the difference between huggable and devouring, between a dish and a trap. It compounds the problem further, because we sense something in the dark and we don’t know whether to be friendly or to be frightful, and that just increases the fright.

    And it continues to get worse. We begin to recognize the darkness in people’s hearts, in the darkness of their homes, their streets, their hours-there is darkness all around, and we just can’t fucking see things for how they are and we don’t know what to do about it.

    We need there to be nothing in the dark because we can’t trust ourselves to know what is what until it’s too late, or that we’ll know the correct way to deal with it when it comes. We can’t handle the overpopulated darkness as it is.

    And that’s all right.

    It’s okay to be afraid of there being something in the dark we can’t properly get and don’t know how to deal with, because there probably is. The thing about the darkness being Schrodinger’s box is that each option is as likely, and the more you deal with things in the dark, the more chance of something being there increases. Instead of denying that there’s anything in the darkness, it’s better to just admit to yourself that everything is in the darkness, and accept that you’ll have to deal with it. It’s terrifying, but at least you’re dealing with the full spectrum. If you end up being wrong, you’re wrong. And if you’re right?

    Well, if you’re right, it’s time for the next spectrum of truth-you just can’t always know whether something/one means well or ill. Like things in the dark, it’s not a fixed subject either-someone can mean all the best for you and still end up stabbing you in the back, by accident or by intent, or someone can wish to do you harm and still end up helping you out. They can see you about as well as you can see them. You pay attention, learn as much as you can in the dim and the dark as you can, and learn what signs mean what, and learn how much is too much and how much is too little, and which deserves what. Truth is, you just kind of have to deal with things as they come, and be ready to flow with how things go. All you can do is greet each thing in kind.

    So you learn how to be kind and proper to those who are kind and proper with you, and you learn how to be swift and merciless with those who would be such to you. You learn how to switch between your silk glove and iron gauntlet depending on what is called for, and to do it on the fly. You learn how to treat every shape as friend and enemy on the first go, and how to cement interactions into relationships. You learn to introduce yourself before they introduce themselves to you, because being the first thing you meet in the dark always gives you the upper hand-you get to reveal what of yourself you want them to handle before they get to decide how the game should play. You discover that you can be anything you want to be-need to be-to handle things, and that people learn to handle you with respect and care because of that possibility. And they learn to keep that care about them for almost anyone and anything they meet, because it might always be you in the dark, and being cruel to you can be a bad idea. You can’t begrudge them for learning how to stay safe, of course, how to handle anything that comes their way, in case it’s not you, and those who are courteous of you can always learn from you on how to stay safe with others, and how to see as many signs as possible in as little possible.

    You find that just as many things in the dark are inclined to be friends as they are enemies, many facing the same insecurities and questions as you do. They often need someone to be there with them, because someone watching your back at least means you know one of the things in the dark. It makes you both feel safe. Even those who are your enemies can be guided around to being your friends if you can switch their point of...well, not view, but their limited perception. Honestly, it becomes easier that there are things in the dark, as you go on-you don’t always know what it is, but at least you’re never alone, and you’ve got the skills to play it both ways.

    You eventually learn that it doesn’t matter what’s in the dark, because you’re capable enough to handle anything that comes your way, with a warm hug in your right and bloody claws in your left. Sure, you can be scared about not knowing what’s there and how to handle it-but you’re quick and adaptable enough to be anything you need to be in the dark, and for whatever it’s worth, you at least know you are never, truly alone-anything could be in the dark with you, right now.

    The Forsworn of Darkness, The Bright

    But you remember your first assurance, right? The truest one out there? If you’re worried something is out in the dark, why not, I dunno. Turn on a light and see what’s there? Instead of all that hullabaloo about learning to trust yourself and your ability to handle whatever, why not just flip the switch, see what’s actually there, and deal with it as it is?

    It’s a lack of imagination and self-confidence that sit at the heart of the Bright. Some of us certainly learn to sleep in light, and may even prefer it, but most of us eventually learn to go to sleep in the dark, confident that nothing was going to hurt us. The Bright? No so much. It could be anything? No, it has to be something, and a something has it’s limits, it’s definitions, it’s lengths and widths and heights and weaknesses. For the Bright, it’s less about what they can do, be, and become, and more about what other things can’t do, can’t be, can’t change into. It can’t be over there and then suddenly over here, because in the light it has to traverse space, it just can’t be anywhere since it’s really one and the same with the dark. Everything can be defined, placed, categorized.It can simply be known.

    The Eshmaki, of course, tend to arrive at the same place through their long experience of just running into things in the dark, often meeting similar things over and over again, but where those encounters encourage quicking thinking, adaptation, and both viciousness and kindness in the Eshmaki, the Heroes of Light never learn to get in touch with those internal strengths. Instead, it becomes about dealing with everyone else’s facts, and in particular finding out their weaknesses that can be used against them. Not only does this keep them from really exploring their own intuition and strengths, it also sets every interaction with others as hostile, because the first priority for them is at least learning where the soft spots in their skin are. No one is trusted without an exact knowledge of how to put them down, or a clear understanding of how they can’t hurt them to begin with. That’s the other problem with the Bright-they dislike how things can change and adapt, how they can grow. They need things to be as they are, to know exactly what they’re like, so they can handle it. They need to see things clearly, and therefore limit what a thing could be in favor of what it is. If something plays against the script, it deeply throws them off their game, and they will hammer away at a thing to get it to play right in their books, or to spread it out, cross-section it, and create a new category to fit them in.

    At the heart of it all though, the problem of the Bright is that they mistake isolation for safety. It’s one thing to be withdrawn and keep to yourself because you feel secure that way, but the Enlightened, in their hearts, tend to just accept that anything that comes to you in the dark has ill-intent, and everything and everyone approaches in a measure of shadow at some point. You can’t be hurt if you just trust that everyone is out to harm you, and you can’t be hurt if you never let anyone sneak up on you like that. Rather than accept that anyone could be just as much a friend as an enemy and trust themselves to handle it, the Bright shine their lights, exact judgment, and make them play to their standards-either behave as their idea of a friend, or be an enemy. Because of this dichotomy, the Bright almost never get to crash into their fears, because anyone who wants to be their friend on their own terms gets labelled an enemy and shoved away, and those who play at being their friend until the last moment walk away with the Bright’s ideas being confirmed. It takes a long time of loneliness before the Enlightened may come into conflict with the fact that their own insecurities are the cause of it, and maybe, just maybe, they need to take something in the dark on their own terms rather than defining it by theirs.


    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.

  • #2
    Is there any particular feedback you're looking for with these?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Paradim View Post
      Is there any particular feedback you're looking for with these?
      Mostly, does it vibe with people's takes on Beast. It's checking to see if I'm on the right track.


      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


      • #4
        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
        Mostly, does it vibe with people's takes on Beast. It's checking to see if I'm on the right track.
        I put myself as "Intrigued, wishing to know more, liking a lot of aspects of these, but concerned as to what it means for the older interpretation." Lemme explain....

        So, I'm liking how this intimately ties Heroes to Beasts. I'm liking how it introduces "variants" of Heroes, as that makes them more interesting antagonists. Tying them to specific expressions of Beasts also makes the particular interactions with their opposing matches more... personal? I like better defining the Families as being tired towards emotions and conceptualization of fears. I think I've always extrapolated that, but sometimes it's better to be more explicit.... I really like the idea of focusing on a general strength of Beasts and a weakness of Heroes is Empathy.

        A concern I have is what this means for Heroes in their relationship to Beasts. A part of the horror of Heroes for Beasts, in my view, is the antagonistic drive Heroes have for them. While I'm okay with Beasts feeling sympathetic to Heroes, I don't think I want them understanding Heroes enough to feel empathetic towards them. Maybe this is an area where I should alter my expectations. Or maybe I need it made more clear to me how you can have empathy towards an individual and still find them horrifying...

        Because at it's core, Beast: The Primordial is still a horror focused game, and by making something more understandable, you reduce it's capability to be used for horror (in my view at least). And I'm having difficulty seeing how to square that circle....

        Comment


        • #5
          I always thought that CoD was a personal horror game, that is, the fear comes from the moments when you discover something that completely destroys your sense of self and your place in the world, it's more fear of what you may become than fear of external threats.

          The horror of Heroes still is Anathema, they have the power to change a Beast's identity, that's how Heroes fit the personal horror genre.

          I believe with this ArcaneArts is merely making Heroes less controversial, Anathema is another subject entirely that I'm eager to see how show she deals with it.
          Last edited by DreadQueen; 06-13-2021, 06:55 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            The key to horror, I've always felt, is fear of the unknown. That's not just external, but also internal. Fear of what you're becoming, for example, as you don't know what you're turning into. How your actions are affecting you. Part of this is using others as mirrors. Part of what makes people fear the "alien", is a lack of understanding of thought processes, of knowing how something thinks, reacts, and behaves. When you don't know the reasons behind the behaviors, they can seem bizarre, wrong, or frightening. This can be from a lack of empathy towards the "thing" being talked of, and lead to "monstrous" behaviors in kind.

            ...Hrm, it'd be interesting if there was something about Heroes that made Beasts more apt to adopt the issues Heroes have... This might fit well with the idea of Anathema, such as a Victorious causing an Anakim to be overconfident and foolhardy... Or make an Eshmaki behave more like a stalker...

            Comment


            • #7
              I suppose the big thing is where you think the horror comes from. For me, while mystery is a huge part of the Chronicles world on the whole, I don't think horror is lost when you understand a thing. Going real world for an example here, the mechanisms of capitalism and ultranationalism are actually easy enough to understand, but it doesn't make the manifold forms of violence perpetrated in their pursuit any less horrifying. Similarly, Heroes being understandable doesn't take away their horror. It brings it in theme with the themes about family and complicated takes on reality, but Beasts and Heroes are still gonna go after each other in terrifyingly violent ways for very dark and disturbing reasons.

              For me, the center of Beast's horror-not the whole of it, but the center that all things cross through and come back to-is fatalism, and a very naturalistic one at that (in contrast to fatalism as it might be expressed in Mage or Changeling). From the moment Beasts become through their Devouring, they are the sort of person who who gets killed by the Heroes-and if not them, society (societies, actually) will still follow up. From the moment you accept yourself as a monster, you are the sort of person who has a very shaky relationship with being someone the community can have. Everything about who you are and the sort of people you attract and the things you are just gonna do because you are you is inevitably gonna bring people to your door, ready to put you down. That why a lot of the game is about reconciling the innate problem of being who you are by finding, arguing over, and defending a way in which you, as a monster, still belong and are a vital part of the community-because otherwise, Heroes have the point.

              The horror applies to Heroes as well though-the reason they will always be drawn into a spiral of blood and nightmare and their lives just slipping out of control isn't some curse, it's not the actions of others, it's not that Beasts keep intruding into their lives-it's that they're the sort of who can't accept a fundamental part of themselves and will basically be driven to cover up for that failure of recognition. They're not actually afraid, they'll show you they're not-could a person who was afraid of hopelessness kill This Giant or That Giant or Another Giant and Another Giant and Another Giant and another and another and another? Heroes can argue all they want about how and why Beasts need to die-and those points might even be right, but it's not the truth-the truth is that they fight against Beasts because there's something fundamentally wrong with them, and Beasts basically embody that very flaw, the antithesis to what they decided to do.

              And it goes back around and sucks all over again for Beasts because, however much you deserve it (which is it's own gaming that that needs to be addressed and worked on), at the end of the day, as much as the world sings about you dying violently because you are the sort of person who should die violently....it's still not even about you. You died because someone else has a hole in their heart that they can't handle.

              Beast's horror, to me, is that it has characters who really do have consequences for being the sort of people they are, that their acceptance of who they are is also damnation of themselves. Your fate is sealed the moment you admit yourself to yourself....unless you can really work against it (because I do believe in hope).

              Beast's horror is how the thing that is standing in the way of your dreams is that the person having them is you. It's about how you can try and prove that's not true, maybe even succeed....but you are still who you are, and this is one of those rare cases where that has consequences.

              That's my read, anyways. I think the familiarity of Heroes only helps to drive that home.
              Last edited by ArcaneArts; 06-13-2021, 07:31 PM.


              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


              • #8
                Good bit of food for thought there. Thank you for sharing that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  And now I’m imagining some sort of an Incarnate Hero, who knows exactly what she’s doing and is now drawing power from it…


                  MtAw Homebrew:
                  Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
                  New 2E Legacies, expanded

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                    And now I’m imagining some sort of an Incarnate Hero, who knows exactly what she’s doing and is now drawing power from it…
                    Oh yeah. If Heroes are children of the Dark Mother, that means there ARE Inheritances for them. I imagine the comparative best of these is a Hero coming to terms and accepting their Horror-but nothing says they can't spin it the other way.

                    Sometimes you don't let the dog catch the car when the act is a metaphor for everything you ever.


                    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


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                      I suppose the big thing is where you think the horror comes from. For me, while mystery is a huge part of the Chronicles world on the whole, I don't think horror is lost when you understand a thing. Going real world for an example here, the mechanisms of capitalism and ultranationalism are actually easy enough to understand, but it doesn't make the manifold forms of violence perpetrated in their pursuit any less horrifying. Similarly, Heroes being understandable doesn't take away their horror. It brings it in theme with the themes about family and complicated takes on reality, but Beasts and Heroes are still gonna go after each other in terrifyingly violent ways for very dark and disturbing reasons.

                      For me, the center of Beast's horror-not the whole of it, but the center that all things cross through and come back to-is fatalism, and a very naturalistic one at that (in contrast to fatalism as it might be expressed in Mage or Changeling). From the moment Beasts become through their Devouring, they are the sort of person who who gets killed by the Heroes-and if not them, society (societies, actually) will still follow up. From the moment you accept yourself as a monster, you are the sort of person who has a very shaky relationship with being someone the community can have. Everything about who you are and the sort of people you attract and the things you are just gonna do because you are you is inevitably gonna bring people to your door, ready to put you down. That why a lot of the game is about reconciling the innate problem of being who you are by finding, arguing over, and defending a way in which you, as a monster, still belong and are a vital part of the community-because otherwise, Heroes have the point.

                      The horror applies to Heroes as well though-the reason they will always be drawn into a spiral of blood and nightmare and their lives just slipping out of control isn't some curse, it's not the actions of others, it's not that Beasts keep intruding into their lives-it's that they're the sort of who can't accept a fundamental part of themselves and will basically be driven to cover up for that failure of recognition. They're not actually afraid, they'll show you they're not-could a person who was afraid of hopelessness kill This Giant or That Giant or Another Giant and Another Giant and Another Giant and another and another and another? Heroes can argue all they want about how and why Beasts need to die-and those points might even be right, but it's not the truth-the truth is that they fight against Beasts because there's something fundamentally wrong with them, and Beasts basically embody that very flaw, the antithesis to what they decided to do.

                      And it goes back around and sucks all over again for Beasts because, however much you deserve it (which is it's own gaming that that needs to be addressed and worked on), at the end of the day, as much as the world sings about you dying violently because you are the sort of person who should die violently....it's still not even about you. You died because someone else has a hole in their heart that they can't handle.

                      Beast's horror, to me, is that it has characters who really do have consequences for being the sort of people they are, that their acceptance of who they are is also damnation of themselves. Your fate is sealed the moment you admit yourself to yourself....unless you can really work against it (because I do believe in hope).

                      Beast's horror is how the thing that is standing in the way of your dreams is that the person having them is you. It's about how you can try and prove that's not true, maybe even succeed....but you are still who you are, and this is one of those rare cases where that has consequences.

                      That's my read, anyways. I think the familiarity of Heroes only helps to drive that home.
                      I'm emerging from the shadows to bless and 100% agree with this.


                      Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                      I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just a little joke that I remembered when reading this but I can't remember where I have seen it:

                        A man is upset about his irrational fear that there is a monster under his bed. He decides this needed to change so he starts going to a therapist. After months of therapy, his fear is still there, so he leaves the therapist to find someone who can cure him.

                        He tells a friend about his problem, the friend says "Oh, but this problem is so easy to solve: just cut off the legs of your bed!"

                        The next day the friend encounters the man, he clearly hasn't slept since then. Confused about his terrible state, he asks the man "Why are you like this? haven't you followed my advice?"

                        The man then replies: "I did, and it only made things so much worse. Now that the monster is not under the bed it could be anywhere!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DreadQueen View Post
                          Just a little joke that I remembered when reading this but I can't remember where I have seen it:

                          A man is upset about his irrational fear that there is a monster under his bed. He decides this needed to change so he starts going to a therapist. After months of therapy, his fear is still there, so he leaves the therapist to find someone who can cure him.

                          He tells a friend about his problem, the friend says "Oh, but this problem is so easy to solve: just cut off the legs of your bed!"

                          The next day the friend encounters the man, he clearly hasn't slept since then. Confused about his terrible state, he asks the man "Why are you like this? haven't you followed my advice?"

                          The man then replies: "I did, and it only made things so much worse. Now that the monster is not under the bed it could be anywhere!"
                          Very much accruate.


                          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


                          • #14
                            The Enlightened: [walk into the room]
                            Me: Oh hai, self!

                            Heh, damn. Since this thread is a month and a half old, I guess I need to say something more than just a self-deprecating meme to justify its revival.

                            Hmm. The last paragraph made me wonder about making Skin Deep an Eshmaki Atavism, or creating a new Atavism that just makes you more adaptable somehow when you can't be seen.

                            EDIT: despite reading about it in the Makara/Plain thread, I am not yet confident I understand the difference between the Eshmaki and the Makara in this conception, though I am confident I get the difference between the Plain and the Enlightened. So I will make a glib sentence or two (a nicer word for a model or a lie) to describe my conception of the difference. I'd appreciate it if other people tell me where it could be improved.

                            The Eshmaki say: " The World is mysterious. Remember this and accept it."
                            The Makara say: "The world is more complex than one mind can every comprehend. Remember this and accept it."
                            Last edited by Master Aquatosic; 07-31-2021, 06:53 PM.


                            A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
                              The Enlightened: [walk into the room]
                              Me: Oh hai, self!

                              Heh, damn. Since this thread is a month and a half old, I guess I need to say something more than just a self-deprecating meme to justify its revival.

                              Hmm. The last paragraph made me wonder about making Skin Deep an Eshmaki Atavism, or creating a new Atavism that just makes you more adaptable somehow when you can't be seen.

                              EDIT: despite reading about it in the Makara/Plain thread, I am not yet confident I understand the difference between the Eshmaki and the Makara in this conception, though I am confident I get the difference between the Plain and the Enlightened. So I will make a glib sentence or two (a nicer word for a model or a lie) to describe my conception of the difference. I'd appreciate it if other people tell me where it could be improved.

                              The Eshmaki say: " The World is mysterious. Remember this and accept it."
                              The Makara say: "The world is more complex than one mind can every comprehend. Remember this and accept it."
                              Maybe it's just because I wrote it and have thought about it for years, but for me, it's easy. Let me see if can express.

                              So, a lot of it is right there in the names-the Eshamki are the Fear of the Darkness, the Makara are the Fear of the Depths.

                              With what the Eshmaki embody, you can't see. Like, that's it, that's all she wrote. You can't see. You have one of the most vital tool for surviving in the world. And it's terrifying. Everything magnifies and becomes that much more extreme and large and threatening. A mild prick is a stab, but a bit of fluff is a comfort to cling to-unless it's some kind of poison bristle that you'd know was poison bristle if you could just see it. It's being handicapped, in that way. So, when you lose your main ability to verify what something is, you have two things you have to do-learn to trust in yourself in your ability to react and adapt, learn how to treat the world both kindly and supremely harshly, and pick up every other way you have to make that distinction as quickly and precisely as possible-because when you're blind, and the world has both bears and teddy bears, you don't want you lack of knowledge to get in the way of you doing right.

                              While the Depths can be Dark (and there is much fun to be had in letting an Eshmaki and a Makara work together), the first thing about the water isn't that you can't see-it's that you can't breathe. It's that moving in the water is different from moving on land, and engages all of your muscles in a very different way. You have to unlearn a lot of what you've learnt if you're going to adapt to the Depths-and adapt, you'll have to, because it's an alien world down there, with eldritch monsters, arcane rules, a familiarty to it's way of things that can be as hostile non-natives as their world is to them only oops they forget life on land is scary you. It's an alien world, complete with a rich and dynamic set of rules. That can be overwhelming for a lot of people, and in fact it often is-a lot of people never learn how to swim, and even those who do may take a long time to get out of the floaties, and even those who start will never bother to learn all they need to really get at in the world below. But for those who do, there's a rich, weird, beautiful, and wholly different biodiversity to be found>

                              Or, another way of putting it: The Eshmaki embody the fear of having one of major ways to learn being taken from it, the Makara embody a fear of overload of learning, of being intimidated by the sheer density of learning they'd have to do.

                              For a sex and sexuality example, because I've been thinking about it, some asexual can come across Eshamki fears when they recognize just how damn hung up the world is on sex and, intellectually try as much as they can, they just can't actually connect to that same thing-but that's fine, if they can't see what everyone else does, they can know as much as they can regardless, and learn to react quickly in ways their peers will understand all the same. They don't need to "get" sex, like some of those assholes say when they say they just haven't been with the right partner or what not-they got themselves to be, and it's more than enough to get through this world.. Meanwhile, a questioning youth might feel there's something of themselves in the queer world-but it has so many letters and expectations and does this mean I have to get into camp and drag and I just don't understand this whole deal and so, as that Makara fear begins to flood in, they close that closet door-until that mermaid with the absolutely adorable pixie cut comes knocking.


                              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

                              Working...
                              X