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Court Bargains and Conspiracies and Krewes

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  • Court Bargains and Conspiracies and Krewes

    Since Conspiracies and Krewes are statted entities, I had a question about whether they could at a high esotery/standing serve as a possible target for a court bargain? I thought this was especially relevant to think about in regards to Krewes as Esotery is a supernatural potency trait not just how powerful the organization is and how much metaphysical grounding they have. So Esotery 8+ Krewes could possibly be metaphysically potent enough to fit the bill based on the description in Oak, Ash, and Thorn. What do you guys think?

  • #2
    You would need to be able to communicate with the krewe or conspiracy itself rather than its constituents. Esotery is not a Supernatural Potency trait any more than Standing or Dominance are, it's literally just a measure of how much influence the group has accumulated; you might as well try and Bargain with the Sicilian Mafia.

    I'd say you could try forging a Bargain with a greater Kerberos of a Deep Dominion such a krewe has suborned as the closest analogue, but suborning a Dominion for-lack-of-a-better-word kills its Kerberos and a greater Kerberos is guaranteed to win the Taking Control rolls such a process would entail; the next-closest example is Bargaining with the Judge a mummy's cult serves, which is explicitly provided as a point of difference in the sidebar in OA&T.

    If circumstances somehow allow you to access a communicative godlike being with ties to a krewe, conspiracy, or cult, it's a different matter, but just because a krewe has a "character" sheet with a number on it that can go above 5 doesn't mean it's accessible in the way that the sidebar is concerned with.

    In the sense where changelings might Bargain with it like Summer or the Wind or Shady Deals, things are a little fuzzier, but as a concrete entity conspiracies tend to be too temporal to offer metaphysical backing; in Mage terms, it's the difference between seeking the patronage of the Panopticon Ministry and seeking the patronage of the Eye.


    Resident Lore-Hound
    Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
      You would need to be able to communicate with the krewe or conspiracy itself rather than its constituents. Esotery is not a Supernatural Potency trait any more than Standing or Dominance are, it's literally just a measure of how much influence the group has accumulated; you might as well try and Bargain with the Sicilian Mafia.

      I'd say you could try forging a Bargain with a greater Kerberos of a Deep Dominion such a krewe has suborned as the closest analogue, but suborning a Dominion for-lack-of-a-better-word kills its Kerberos and a greater Kerberos is guaranteed to win the Taking Control rolls such a process would entail; the next-closest example is Bargaining with the Judge a mummy's cult serves, which is explicitly provided as a point of difference in the sidebar in OA&T.

      If circumstances somehow allow you to access a communicative godlike being with ties to a krewe, conspiracy, or cult, it's a different matter, but just because a krewe has a "character" sheet with a number on it that can go above 5 doesn't mean it's accessible in the way that the sidebar is concerned with.

      In the sense where changelings might Bargain with it like Summer or the Wind or Shady Deals, things are a little fuzzier, but as a concrete entity conspiracies tend to be too temporal to offer metaphysical backing; in Mage terms, it's the difference between seeking the patronage of the Panopticon Ministry and seeking the patronage of the Eye.

      Except Esotery literally reflects the metaphysical grounding that the Krewe has in the Underworld.

      "Esotery represents the symbolic strength and faith of the assembled krewe. When a krewe first forms it is a tenuous thing, more a collection of impermanent and material alliances than a matter of spirituality. As Esotery increases, the Krewe’s beliefs and practices find purchase in the structures of the Underworld, gaining power from the symbolic resonances much as a geist does when it drinks of the Rivers"

      "Esotery, which represents how well the krewe’s religious tenets convey mystical understanding of the Underworld and the cycle of life and death,"

      And lastly, outside of regular old conspiracies Krewes are literally forged together using a mystical ceremony to be formed. They aren't just mundane organizations with a cult bent, they are created through a mystic ceremony and accrue mystical symbolic strength from their faith and the Underworld.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Caedus View Post
        Except Esotery literally reflects the metaphysical grounding that the Krewe has in the Underworld.
        Yes. Because the Chronicles of Darkness is a setting in which groups of people are a thing that has magical power and Geist in particular leverages the general magical nature of the world in a way that binds institutional knowledge into a semiformalized mythology.

        This is different from Esotery being a Supernatural Potency Trait — the closest thing Esotery gives you that can be described as intrinsically magical is Regalia, which Geist's sidebar on using the krewe rules to represent other groups with Standing still provides, and the fact that Standing is keyed off of a mundane organization's scale and influence within its field further indicates that the only distinction krewes have in this regard is that their field involves magic.

        "Esotery represents the symbolic strength and faith of the assembled krewe. When a krewe first forms it is a tenuous thing, more a collection of impermanent and material alliances than a matter of spirituality. As Esotery increases, the Krewe’s beliefs and practices find purchase in the structures of the Underworld, gaining power from the symbolic resonances much as a geist does when it drinks of the Rivers"
        Mhm. The fact that you're not making this proposition for the Orders from Mage despite nearly identical descriptive explanation for their magical potency and the Mysterium literally having a name for the collective entity of their body of knowledge indicates to me that your primary justification is still "high Esotery should work like high Supernatural Potency for the purposes of a sidebar talking about entities like archmasters, Kerberoi, and arch-qashmallim" rather than "krewes are magic and conspiracies aren't necessarily."

        "Esotery, which represents how well the krewe’s religious tenets convey mystical understanding of the Underworld and the cycle of life and death,"
        And when the krewe's religious tenets are the thing you're communicating with as the thing that has the Esotery rating, this will be a valid argument, but there is no communicative element of the krewe's mythology to interact with in Geist or Changeling's systems as-written.

        You could ostensibly contrive one to run into in the Hedge in the same way you can homebrew anything you damn well please, or you could bring Mage and/or Beast into the equation by pulling the relevant Dreamborn out of the Temenos, but in the sense of "is this statted entity powerful enough to hold up its end of a Bargain to stymie a god?" a krewe is not an actor capable of assenting to a Bargain without leaning on the version of the process that isn't concerned with its mechanical stats, not least because becoming powerful enough to meet those criteria is literally the largest-scale endgame of the three Geist presents, the failures of which litter the Underworld and which provide specimens of the Geist-related entity OA&T does say is a valid patron for the Bargain.

        And lastly, outside of regular old conspiracies Krewes are literally forged together using a mystical ceremony to be formed. They aren't just mundane organizations with a cult bent, they are created through a mystic ceremony and accrue mystical symbolic strength from their faith and the Underworld.
        Yep. It's a ceremony anybody with six Experiences can learn and it creates an exceedingly mortal institution made up primarily of Bound, ghosts, and mortals of varying supernatural potency below the threshold for consideration.

        A mummy's cult is the product of literal divine favor/mandate stretching across eternity, justified mechanically by all of the Arisen knowing the bit of sorcery that allows them to assemble a cult from beyond the veil of death, and OA&T still advises you to deal with that patron's demonic boss instead of them or their mystically-invested soul-mirrors.

        A krewe of any potency is definitionally not "a step – or several – above protagonists," nor is it big enough that characters should not expect to meaningfully oppose [it] directly." It's a bunch of ghosts and humans who know magic and tap into a mythology that has magical significance. Much as you wouldn't expect to forge a Bargain with The Blood Talons instead of Destroyer Wolf, having mystical backing that is near the top of its class does not allow a krewe to back up the manifestation of its teachings in the normal course of events.

        A krewe dies when you kill it like anything else does. You can kill them through the petty violence of shaken faith, which the Lost are all too familiar with as the very problem they're trying to remedy by seeking a Bargain. Its exit strategy is to keep grasping for power until it can slam itself into the Ocean or else perish and fade away. Being magic doesn't make it special, not in this setting, and its struggling against that fact, while admirable, means it is no more grounded in the world than the secret societies running around injecting convicts with mutagen or smashing priceless vases to wake a thousand-year-old corpse.

        The sidebar on stats is about Bargaining with discrete characters metaphysically significant enough to stand near-equal to the Fae. A krewe is not a discrete character metaphysically significant enough to stand near-equal to the Fae. A krewe is less than two-hundred people tapping into a slant on worldly magic that usually tops out at cracking open a new Avernian Gate or creating a Memento by shoving a ghost into an Anchor. It is not capable of credible pretense to immortality and the capacity to act on a global level like the seasons.

        It is a fad with a discussion group, wrapped around the same magic everybody else can use, and it doesn't move past that point without fighting Death Itself to remake the Underworld in its image.


        Resident Lore-Hound
        Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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