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  • LostLight
    started a topic Ghosts are People- thoughts and criticism

    Ghosts are People- thoughts and criticism

    First, I just want to say it outright- I love Geist's 2e new presentation. I love the way it treats the Bound condition, the Sin Eater society, the Underworld and its dark gods and yes, the presentation that ghosts are people. It is an important theme to emphasis, especially since fans has started to describe everything which lacks a soul as being ok to abuse, torment, and use for your own benefit. After all, that's how many mages see it, and Mage was the biggest book before Geist which gave a deep look at what being a "ghost" means. Of course, mages are driven by hubris, and as such saying "that thing has no soul and is nothing but a mere echo of a real person, so we can use it in any way we want" is exactly the moral excuse I expect them to use (nothing against mages in general or hinting that most mages do abuse the dead, but with all the focus that the Awakened have around souls and their tendency to hubris, I can perfectly understand why would they think like that). In sort, treating ghosts as people- no matter of they have or lack soul, or if they are mere echoes and not the real person which generated them- is something that Geist had to do in order to give any meaningful reason for the game to exist. Ghosts are people, and as such they should be helped and guided instead of being left to rot on or fade away.

    Or are they?

    That's the thing- ghosts are people, but not all people are nice people. As we all know, humans can be mean, vicious, ruthless and even plain old evil. People do bad things- some are more evil than the others. That's why we have an whole Krewe Archetype which is focused around punishing the living on the behalf of the dead. Ghosts, on the other hand, are people- and that's not just the Reapers, who worship the Chthonic Gods in exchange for power. Even regular ghosts could- and should- be bad people. Some of them have been bad when they were alive, being robbers or murderers or even slashers. They may have abused people for their own selfish needs, and may have even enjoyed the act. While some may find the pain of death as a "wake up call" (a bit too late, but still possible), as the dead usually mimic the patterns of their life, we should assume that many of those ghosts would be as bad as they were alive, Reaper or not. More than that, some of those ghosts would descend into the Underworld and drink from its Rivers, becoming Geists with the power to bring the dead back to life. They may seem nice at first, but when a Bound who is encourage to kill those who he deems as sinners discovers that the reason for that behavior comes from the fact that their Geist was in fact a serial killer- how would you expect them to react? Can you really blame them to move from Synergy to Tyranny in order to put their hidden monster under control, or out of the will to punish their "benefactor"? More than that, when you discover the ghosts of such a bad person- not even a murderer, but just someone who did some horrible things in life- how can you truly allow them to move on? And of course, just as some ghosts of bad people may have decided to search for redemption in death, sometimes regular ghosts turn evil. Can you really forgive a ghost which has developed a strange satisfaction from tormenting and murdering the living, or which has started to eat other ghosts for power? If ghosts are people of their own right, shouldn't they be judged by their own deeds instead of simply getting a "pass" for being dead?

    Now, perhaps it was talked about in the preview and I missed it, but I feel that the subject was at large ignored. Ghosts being people does not always mean that all of them deserve our mercy. Sure, they exist in a constant torment and suffer against and again, but some of them are bad people. I expect that at least some Sin Eaters would feel terribly uncomfortable at helping ghosts which are on the darker side of the "alignment spectrum". More than that, the fact that any Sin Eater who turns Tyrant being described as a "bad person" without considering that perhaps their Geist is actually a dangerous monster which has to be kept under control, is something which kinda makes me to squint me eyes. It feels like Geist took the whole "ghosts are people, and as such should be helped" to its very edge, forgetting that not all people are good people. That sometimes, ghosts deserve a punishment just as the living do. That being dead doesn't give you a free pass for crimes you did in life, or ones to started practicing after death. It feels like it tries to avoid those questions, which is a bit of a shame. If your Geist is a bastard, going Tyrant seems like a very logical choice- which is one of the reasons that not giving Tyranny rules kinda bugs me. When the ghost you deal with takes a delight at making the living to suffer, perhaps it does deserve its fate and being devoured by the Underworld, or thrown into the Ocean of Fragments.

    Ghosts are people- and people suffer consequences for their actions.

    So, what do you think about the subject? In fact, I think that such a world view may even work for a new, non Sin Eater Krewe Archetype. How would you deal with that "moral dilemma" in your games?

  • Cleverest of Things
    replied
    I will echo the idea that this is likely the reason why Sineaters aren't a uniform culture, and is instead still divided. I think the Krewes, even with the internet and the discovery of potential "archetypes" of Krewe, can't agree. I can see the Furies finding "dunking" an adequate solution to living or dead people that simply won't be redeemable, but still arguing over what that means (does the ghost/Geist refuse help, or is it okay to do if it it's just not to your morals or even if it's just too much work), even as some furious Krewes do evangelical work to the very ghosts they Send Down. I see some Pilgrim Krewes picking and choosing who to save from the Below, and others dead set on even rescuing the Dead Gods themselves. I can see some Undertakers trying to reform a heinous criminal, while others agree with dunking him with the Furies.

    Ask one of the Kindly if they believe you can save Hitler's ghost, he is likely to say yes, but even he might say no (unless Hitler is living in South America as a Kindly himself with a LOOOOOOT of work to do).

    As a Vengeful is a serial rapist can be saved, t heyre likely to say no, but might say yes.

    That is the beauty and complexity of sin Eater society. It's so human. So yes, I believe ghosts are people. This is less a question of what Sineaters believe they should do with bad or dangerous ghosts, and more a question of how does one person treat another, good or bad, or whatever they view each other as. While Living Privelage is a thing, the dead function by similar rules. The dead judge each other one by one. Their societies create trends to follow or struggle against, and every person justifies themselves and what they do. Even the Cthonic gods and the Underworld, probably.

    Except the bottom, deep beneath the Ocean, where She Whose Teeth Are As Mountains awaits, aloof, hungry, patient. Oblivion is inhuman, and not only that, it is beyond human understanding. Ammut has qualities some try to describe in human ways, but t heyre just anthropomorphization. The Iremites even attempted to deal with her as a human to a human, though. Humans can forgive, and accept. They can judge and reject. They can mix and match. And even accept that they could be wrong.

    I'm sure many sin eaters have to swallow their own guilt, regret, second guessing, every once in a while. Killed the wrong person, saved the wrong person. It's a lot of indigestion to become a Sineater. It's why not everybody (ghosts and geists included with the Bound) does it.

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  • xiongrey
    replied
    Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
    Hm. The geist may not be able to control things on a metaphysical level, but the host could become psychologically broken down to the point where they no longer have the will to resist the geist's impulses. Could a geist accomplish that, or would it take outside circumstances?
    That's difficult to say. 2nd Bound seem somewhat psychologically bolstered due to their status as Dead. (they get the "Tolerance for Biology" merit for free but that doesn't mean they don't feel fear. Just that not much "squicks" them out). But I do see that as a possibility, that a Bound may just do what the Geist wishes, though a lot of the benefit for a Geist to enter a Bargain is that the new Ghost has a lot more humanity and memories left where Geists are marked by how much they've forgotten about their own identities. So the Bound usually need to take an active role in helping their Geist.

    idk, it's difficult to say.

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  • SunlessNick
    replied
    Originally posted by xiongrey View Post
    So the conclusion I've drawn is 1) the Bargain doesn't allow for that anymore and 2) most geists would rather leave and find alternatives than to stay and make do with a super dysfunctional relationship.
    Hm. The geist may not be able to control things on a metaphysical level, but the host could become psychologically broken down to the point where they no longer have the will to resist the geist's impulses. Could a geist accomplish that, or would it take outside circumstances?

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  • xiongrey
    replied
    Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
    The same supplement could do both - the Deceived one did. Both Sineaters and Tyrants present a not-too-common twist on the possession theme - one where both the possessor and host are better off developing an amenable relationship with each other, and one where it's the host that subjugates the possessor. I'd be interested to material for playing both (but I'm glad the core book will focus on Sineaters alone).
    You've got me curious now if there is a rare Geist-dominant Tyrant variation.

    In 1st Edition, the consequence of your Synergy running too low is the Geist gaining more and more control over the body (essentially switching who's in the pilot seat an who rides shotgun). So far, 2nd edition has done a complete 180 on that. Decreases in Synergy just has the Geist trying to wriggle free of the Bargain and eventually them going their separate ways and there is no implicit way for the Geist to, in any way, control the other-half-of-the-Bound (closest is when they break free and get to act on their own for a while while they throw a temper tantrum). So the conclusion I've drawn is 1) the Bargain doesn't allow for that anymore and 2) most geists would rather leave and find alternatives than to stay and make do with a super dysfunctional relationship.

    But the book does state that Tyrants change the nature of the Bargain to change the Synergy Track to a Tyranny Track. So, what if that allows for Tyranny to flow both ways? What if, not often mind you, the Geist wins the seat during the Bound's attempts to subjugate their Geist?


    Honestly though? I still feel like they'd rather exit the Bargain and Claim or Possess if that's what they wanted (though having free access to open and close Avernian Gates might make it worth it for them. Also if they don't have either of those previous Manifestations and only have the Bargain.)

    /shrug, tons of edge cases, but it is fun to think about.

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  • SunlessNick
    replied
    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
    We'd need the supplement for Tyrant NPCs first.
    The same supplement could do both - the Deceived one did. Both Sineaters and Tyrants present a not-too-common twist on the possession theme - one where both the possessor and host are better off developing an amenable relationship with each other, and one where it's the host that subjugates the possessor. I'd be interested to material for playing both (but I'm glad the core book will focus on Sineaters alone).

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
    Tyranny is for fucking sell outs.
    Take that as a second for Tyrant NPC's first.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
    Putting it this way makes me wonder if there's a Deceived-style supplement coming for Tyrant PC's.
    We'd need the supplement for Tyrant NPCs first.

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  • SunlessNick
    replied
    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
    Ghosts of the living, typically formed from life-altering trauma.

    The fact that Sin-Eaters no longer have their souls prompted "the nascent ghost of the dead/dying Bound" as a possible answer to "who or what makes the Bargain with the geist?" and the Oracle specifically leverages your metaphysical deadness to play necromantic telephone, but more definitely than that, no.
    Cheers.

    Originally posted by xiongrey View Post
    But I guess it's vague enough that multiple Bound can have different opinions on this. (Personally, I'm pretty sure the Bound a two ghosts wrapped up in one of the Ghost's body.)
    It's a pretty powerful motivator to answer "Yes" to Are ghosts people.

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  • xiongrey
    replied
    Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
    By the way, didn't one of the developers say the Bound were ghosts as well?
    Like satchel says.

    Even still, it feels like you are your ghost. But I guess it's vague enough that multiple Bound can have different opinions on this. (Personally, I'm pretty sure the Bound a two ghosts wrapped up in one of the Ghost's body.)

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  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
    What are doppelgangers in second ed?
    Ghosts of the living, typically formed from life-altering trauma.

    By the way, didn't one of the developers say the Bound were ghosts as well?
    The fact that Sin-Eaters no longer have their souls prompted "the nascent ghost of the dead/dying Bound" as a possible answer to "who or what makes the Bargain with the geist?" and the Oracle specifically leverages your metaphysical deadness to play necromantic telephone, but more definitely than that, no.

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  • SunlessNick
    replied
    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
    And yes, Geist makes the assumption that switching to Tyranny is a Bad Thing. But it also makes the assumption that one's Geist isn't totally repugnant to the person to whom it is bound — that while they have differences of opinion, there's enough common ground there to build on to establish a cooperative relationship. We're challenging the latter assumption here; and with it comes the possibility that the former isn't always a cut-and-dry always-right vs. always-wrong contrast, either.
    Putting it this way makes me wonder if there's a Deceived-style supplement coming for Tyrant PC's.

    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
    Anyways, surprised this topic didn’t go into talking about doppelgangers. For another day, I suppose.
    What are doppelgangers in second ed?

    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
    I'd contest that Ghosts are people. But they questionably aren't human. Depending on Rank, Ghost are more than the remnant of an echo - they can feel, and they obviously can change (see: Reapers, Geists, and Ghosts adapting to changed circumstances).
    I come down in the camp of them being people, but not the same person as their living counterpart. Which does lead to the question of how much culpability they should bear for the actions in "their" lives - especially if those actions aren't particularly related to the core of what formed the ghost. If the human was a professional assassin, but their last thought was for the safety of their child, and that's what compels the ghost now, do you help the ghost resolve their fears for their child, or punish them for crimes that were imposed on them more than they committed? (Of course, can you be sure the ghost will never fall into that pattern?)

    By the way, didn't one of the developers say the Bound were ghosts as well?




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  • xiongrey
    replied
    I haven't been able to post here through the weekend but I am LOVING the discussion! It's because very clear how different Krewes can so easily have different viewpoints and methodologies.

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  • Leliel
    replied
    Originally posted by HunterInTheNight View Post
    From what I've gathered about the topic, Ghosts aren't people. They've lost most of what makes them human, but going with that logic, some of the other splats aren't human either. So, if we dial it back a bit, and look at it from the perspective that vampires and mages are human, than yes, ghost are human, but more along the lines of Promethean. Both the Created and Ghosts were once people, but they are no longer whoever they once were. Prometheans are a completely new person when they wake, and ghosts are only a fraction of an echo of the person that spawned them.

    Say Ross died before telling Rachel that he loved her. So a ghost pops up who needs to impart that message to move on. It's no longer Ross, its the part of Ross that loved Rachel. The love for fossils isn't there, the morals, the feelings of friendship are gone. The feelings of when Rachel broke his heart isn't there. So, is Ghost Ross a person? maybe, but he sure as hell ain't Ross anymore.

    Except that's not a Promethean at all. A Created is a new tenant of an old body, and in fact one of their milestones is them understanding that their life is something unique, not a reboot of someone who has passed on.

    Ghost have every claim to being who they once were. In fact, a ghost is nothing but who he once was; he's a memory of a person given a mind and the ability to channel Essence. Most importantly, though, if you talk to a ghost, he either talks back or is ignoring you for whatever reason; they can learn and change, so long as they don't suffer Rank 1 Amnesia Problems, and even Rank 1s try through the holes in their memory. So, Ross is defined by his love for Rachel. If his ghost is like that, it stands to reason the living Ross was a lot like that, otherwise his emotions wouldn't have allowed him to come back. More importantly, the idea that he has nothing but his love for Rachel is, to put it bluntly, outright contradictory of the text; he focuses on it because that's his Anchor, but if you talk to him about the Jets game (and aren't wasting valuable time for a window of communication), he'll light up and happily start asking what happened last match, because his turf doesn't have a TV he can easily tun on and channel surf. He just isn't obsessed enough to the point where that particular thing is an Anchor, because his hobbies don't absorb all of his life.

    Also, this view of things completely ignores the Absent, who can and do buy and sell aspects of those same obsessions they supposedly are nothing but, and retain fully coherent identities unless they overload-and even then that only lasts until the Memories are recycled, and the symptoms are simply them getting confused and remembering long-term goals that aren't their own.
    Last edited by Leliel; 08-06-2018, 11:42 AM.

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  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
    A thing that bears addressing:
    Things you know about your geist from the get-go:
    1. The broad umbrella category of how they died.
    2. The first step of a longform set of clues to an investigation that summarizes what's kept them scrabbling for purchase in the world.

    Things you do not know about your geist from the get-go:
    1. Who they were.
    2. Every awful thing they ever did.

    Things your geist cannot do:
    1. Clearly communicate complex ideas outside the context of intimidation.
    2. Act to harm you or directly compel your action.
    3. Act independently outside of specific circumstances, some of which involve you being dead or under threat of permanent death.

    This isn't Inferno, you're not host to a Larva that's urging you toward carrying on their legacy of sin and depravity. Geists have more direct routes to acting out their worst impulses than finding a conveniently driven stiff to hand the reins off to if their aim is simply "keep on a-murderin'."
    Yet another reason why I expect Redemption will be a huge theme for Geist. I mean, the catchphrase is Second Chances, isn’t it?

    Maybe the reason why I’m taking all this so easily is because of background. Sin-Eaters themselves are often said to have no readily apparent analogue to Horror tropes, but “bond with a ghost-spirit-gos to become a medium between worlds” is pretty much how Shamanism works where I live. And the top priority of Shamans in my country? Calming the restless and anguished dead, resolving their anger and sorrow, and sending them moving onwards to the afterlife. And the country in question being culturally Confucian (like how a bunch of Western European countries can said to be culturally Christian), my ancestors have been dealing with the Problem of Evil without need to introduce the concept of personalized Punishment and Subjugation, so there’s that too. Not to mention all the Due To The Dead we have going around here.

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