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Do Not Forget Those Who Will Not Forget You-Ghost People are Monsters, Who Knew.

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  • Do Not Forget Those Who Will Not Forget You-Ghost People are Monsters, Who Knew.

    *sigh*

    *puts on Doomed by Bring Me The Horizon, Dual-Ego by Sa Dingding, and Land of the Twilight by Emily Bindiger and Yuki Kaijura and pours a glass of whiskey*

    Okay kids, let's do this.

    Trigger Warnings: This post includes flippant references to genocidal Anti-Semitic-ism, Confederate America's violent resurgence, bloody-handed truth seeking, abuse, violent homophobia and racism, including implementation of the n-word, in order to illustrate the point. To avoid that section, skip over when we talk about the Burdens explictly by name, particularly to the cadence of "may not be content until"-"might also not rest until" in Zoinks Scoobs. That section also includes violence through thrown objects, violence against visual senses, and generally silencing of voice towards the end of that section.

    -
    Originally posted by Alan Moore on the Advertising of Lost Girls
    "If we’d have come out and said, 'well, this is a work of art,' they would have probably all said, 'no it's not, it's pornography.' So because we're saying, 'this is pornography,' they're saying, 'no it's not, it's art,' and people don't realise quite what they've said."



    That'll make sense down the line, but let's start properly.

    If you had told me way back in 2007 when I joined into the fandom of Chronicles that one of the most contentious and repetitious arguments I would ever have would center around how the Chronicles of Darkness is a game about monsters, I would have laughed at you and then stopped and asked "Wait, Chronicles?" But time and again, I have always had to come back to the table really get into that fact, and deal with a thousand absurd misconceptions and then deliberate non-readings about that point, a thoroughly frustrating issue to have the longer I've had to do it.

    Now, in fairness, the conversation usually centers around the fact that mages, half-flesh half-ever-burning-metaphysical-truth-symbols reality-disruptions that are incentivized to think of humans as resources even when they are nominally on their side, and hunters, damaged people who decided to damage themselves even further in a pursuit to police a whole group of people with extremely-diverse-but-always-harmful methods, were either or human or human enough to warrant some of the dog-headed tilt with the assertion and thus the subsequent clarification-and also heading off unrelated side tangents now, I am also sick to death of those conversations, so A) Don't bog this thread down with "But Mages and Hunters aren't monsters" arguments, this is for Sin-Eaters, the Bound, and ghosts in general, B) If you want to have that conversation, start a thread in those respective threads, and C) No, I will not participate in any of those threads, you can find my responses and arguments in those areas easily enough and I'm not going to waste my time repeating myself.

    But anyways, the point is that mages and hunters were always an annoying-but-reasonable place to ask those questions and get into the larger picture of it all-but occasionally the conversation would get weird in their assertions-the most notable of which was this notion that Changelings weren't monsters and were, in fact, one of the few bright spots in the Chronicles world that were just sort of generally heroic, which, heh, no they're not. Other arguments would pop up here and there, but I gotta tell you, the one that gets me is a recent viewpoint cropping up that Sin-eaters are somehow just a damn ray of sunshine in a world of darkness.

    Now, in fairness, I should have seen this coming. With the book's own themes of Empathy, Self vs Service, Hope and Joy, and Looking Back to Look Forward, as well as the general Social Justice Necromancy take on the lot (Which, for the record, I approve of, as it solves a lot of 1E's various problems and is also just generally a good and positive and fun take), it was inevitable that a lot of people were going to start sliding down the same damn slope that has plagued a number of the other gamelines in understanding the depth and nuance of the characters, the world, and the very positivity that makes Geist distinct, nevermind the fact that there are certain pieces of language that people just cannot appreciate nuance on-I'm sorry, it's happened too much for me to not mention. And that's a shame, because games getting cheapened because focus too much on it's optimism is a weird position to be in, and addressing it feels like kicking puppies even though it's more like banging out the dents in the piping.

    Still, someone's got to kick the pipes back in place, even if they whimper piteously as you do so. Sin-eater's gotta sin. I guess that makes it time for Arcane to explain the obvious again, as is my talent and cross to bear. Let's talk about how Sin-Eaters are Monsters, and quite often still kind of bad people at the least.

    Let's start by setting some ground rules, some pole stars to follow

    Skeletons Posed In The Bedrock-Laying Out The Groundwork

    One of the consequences of the new layout decisions for the Second Edition books is that the core Chronicles of Darkness book is no longer an essential read on the way to running your game in Sin-Eaters, Promethean, Descent, or what have you. As a seeming extra consequence of this, the Chronicles of Darkness corebook doesn't discuss it's universal themes and moods as openly as it did in the first edition, and so twice over people tend to miss some of the essential groundwork. Nevertheless, the Chronicles setting is still heavily predicated on those universal themes and moods factoring into how any one gameline interacts with reality on the whole, and glues together the disparate elements of Beast and Werewolf and Mummy all together.

    What I'm saying here is this-that the core conceits, themes, and moods of Chronicles applies to every game, and that as such none of them are free from those conceptions. That's our first bit of communal space, the shared ground I want people to start at because the text itself supports that position.

    In this way, it's important that all games are, in their own way, a delivery on the ideas, language, and elements of stylish horror, dark mystery, humanism, and, most pertinent to our conversation, monstrosity. At it's fundamental core, the key sales pitch of the Chronicles world is simply "Our World, But With Monsters in the Shadows." Defining what a monster is and is not, and using those various definitions as a way of looking at and interpreting the human condition while also delivery on the thrills, chills, and spiraling conspiracy to the delight and contemplation of the gaming community. This is the second bit of communal space, that the Chronicles games are about monsters, that monsters are central to the rest of the discussion that emerges through gameplay and surrounding dialogue.

    Now at this point, I have to stop and basically say I know what this song and dance usually entails, so I'm going to head off the usual arguments about this with establishing two things about the classification of monster. My position on this is that I stand by it as being the attitude that the franchise approaches the term, but yes, this is emergent from my own definitions, even as those definitions are supplied by being a fan of this franchise during my most formative years.

    1) Monster does not mean Evil-not exactly anyways. This is the most common misconception and absolute sticking point for most people who object to the term, and I'll be honest, if you cannot escape the idea that Monsters Mean Evil, No one here can help you. Now there's a sliding scale on this-as the monstrous condition is less and less imposed, the more and more a Evil-Inclined Mindset is needed to support the thematic facilitation of the discussion, which is why in my estimation the most Evil Monstrous Entities in the Chronicles gamelines are, respectively, hunters, mages, and beasts. Nevertheless, Monsters are more often defined by the alterations away from the human condition that we all experience, and in particular are twisted in such a way that being is of a pestilent actor against humanity is neccesary, and that predacity, the act of preying upon people (Important distinction there), is a thoroughly strong temptation is not an absolute necessity to the continued existence of the being in question.

    So basically, no, being a Monster Does Not Mean You Now Are A Terrible Person, but it does mean that you are often Some Kind Of Strife for Humans, and Preying on Others has Hard To Ignore Benefits for You.

    2) Monster does not mean Not a Person, nor Not Part of a People, Even Human Ones. It's a subtle undercurrent not as often ranted about, but a lot of people feel like Being a Monster is to Deny an entity their Personhood and Place in a Community. Chronicles frequently denies this notion, even as it explores the way monstrous conditions alienates people from the lives and communities they were in before had, and even may adopt after the fact. This is part of the reason why hunters are monsters-they often act out against monsters in some way that, at a minimum, denies them essential elements of their current lives in favor of promoting humanity as the ideal way to be, if they bother with that at all and don't instead just take their heads off or deny them privacy or whatever, denying them their own personhood because of their monstrosity. Nevertheless, the point is that monsters are people, just different kinds of people, and that while they be Some Kind of Strife For Humanity, that does not Exclude Them from communities they can meaningfully interact with and even improve upon. Things exist within an ecology for a reason.

    One of the other big things for monsters is that Being the Monster is often a source of Internal Horror for them, that being what they are now is a scary place for them that they will have to reconcile with the fear of*. There is always a question of "What have I become?" or "Who Am I Now?" when it comes to monsters, that someone who is at least being honest with their humanity lost will look in the mirror and worry about who that stranger on the other side is.

    On a more idle and speculative side of things, I definitely take the side of basically more things being Monsters than Not-really, I leave it at Mortal Investigators without Supernatural Merits as being the only things that aren't Monsters unless their actions and mindsets push them over into being Monsters of that sort. I admit that's some ice to stand on, but on the other hand, I'm a Beast fan.

    The other big thing to mention, not directly related to monsters but to setting metaphysics and such is that Magic and True Intentions and Large Organizations are always Murky Subjects to some degree, that while individuals can inevitably be Pure and Clear and Whatever the Hell You Want Out of people, the fundamental nature of the entire damn world is mysterious, and that as such large scale entities that may appear one way may in fact actually be another way, and that unambiguous and clear readings just don't happen past a certain scale. The fact that things are mysterious is the core feature of the world's horror and darkness, rather than simple malevolence.

    Okay, I think that's everything I need to layout? We all on the same page, we all agree on this? Don't answer, I already know some people are arguing with this, and I personally do not give a fuck at this point of the discussion. What follows is what matters. So, where do we start?

    Well. I've got an idea.

    How about the fact that every Sin-Eater is a fucking ghost?

    Zoinks Scoob, We're Surrounded!-The Most Classic of Monsters

    *sips whiskey*

    *sips whiskey*

    *sips-*

    I don't buy dead people are intrinsically monsters
    This conversation, this conversation I'm having here, by the way?

    I actually think this conversation is really dumb.

    I feel like I need to explain this, but I really think I'm wasting my time by explaining something ridiculously and stupidly simple. I'm kind of flabbergasted I feel like I need to lay this out. This is the hardest "Of Course X is a Monster" post I've ever had to get into, because Jesus Christ bouncing up and down on the Purple Man's meat pole what world would I ever need to explain ghosts as monsters in.

    But here we are. So let's do this.

    *drains whiskey, pours another glass*

    SO, Every Sin-Eater and Every Bound Beyond them is essentially a ghost who Won the Cosmic Lottery in that they got the Bargain to continue on in their own body from a Geist willing to Bargain rather than simply posses/claim the living or simply not having that option. The effects, or non-effects as far as this essay is concerned, of having any body, nevermind your own body is very much it's own subject, but for now, I want to strip away the exceptional circumstances of the Bound and start with the core of their being and the questions that come with it.

    Every Sin-eater is a ghost.

    Sooooo what is a ghost, and why is it a monster?

    *sighs because larger social, historical, and mythological context should already answer these questions*

    *sips whiskey*

    The question of what a ghost is is very important, because in our quest to see and treat the dead people as people, it ignores the fact that they are not human and that they in fact have a fundamental monstrous nature that we must reconcile if we are to properly treat and portray them as people. So, let's answer that.

    A ghost is, basically, a imperfect actor created by the death of the entity in question to enact the last will and testament as felt by the dying. It's like a G-M angel if the entire thing were faulty as hell and had no fall mechanic, but still had a Mission, even if that Mission is kind of vague and ill-defined and really more felt than articulated.

    In short, a Ghost is a You who has All The Reason to deal with all the things You Want Dealt With at the moment You Can No Longer Deal With Them. A Ghost is Literally Your Last Wishes.

    This can get lost in how Rank 2, the most engaging of the populous dead to engage with, are presented as basically "Like the person who died, but dealing with the Dead State Of Affairs", but every Ghost is in effect chasing after and trying to deal with their own Burden in a Meeseeks-ian attempt to end their own life by finding satisfaction with the state of affairs regarding their existence and therefore letting go of the continuing affairs and issues of the living world and the state of the Underworld. Rank 1 ghosts basically can't do anything but the core essential task that expresses an attempt to resolve the last will and testament of the dying, and Rank 3 and above Geists remember little else of their original life but the essentials of that Burden that keeps them present. (Reapers, obviously, are motivated by the will of the Cthonic Gods in any circumstance they are Rank 3 or above since they are subject to the power of the Deathmask bestowed on them.)

    It can't be stressed enough that while a Ghost at equilibrium of Rank 2 might retain a grand sense of self that is very human like, they're fundamental core is to resolve the Burden that keeps them remaining rather than simply moving on-and that those Burdens are amoral in nature.

    An Abiding may not be content until they see all the homeless children in Chicago in loving arms, but an Abiding might also not rest until they see all the Jews in Germany writhing in the gas.

    A Bereaved may not be content until they find their daughter safe and loved by the freehold around her, but a Bereaved might also not rest until they see the Confederacy of America rise again, or they might murder and mutilate scores in the search of their beloved.

    A Hungry may not be content until they've heard Chopin's lost masterpiece, but a Hungry might also not rest until they hear Becky sob from the new scar rent on her skin.

    A Kindly may not be content until they've apologized for all the times they should have just paid attention to their child's gender confusion, but a Kindly might also not rest until the atone for letting their son ever kiss some fucking-ass nigger, mistake of a lifetime that that is**.

    And the Vengeful?

    You have imaginations. Use them.

    Point is that the Burdens of any Ghost aren't neccesarily, shall we say, golden. To make matters worse, it falls on the ghost to think of these issues as being fulfilled or not. You can't just do a thing and then expect it to be resolved (Not that that's not it's own kind of horrific) because a ghost has enough autonomy and fluidity of attribution to be dissatisfied with a particular goal achievement and instead latch onto something else, to basically say "Well, I've done this, but I still feel unsatisfied with how life turned out, so it must therefore be X that I must deal with," never mind in which a particularly sentient and sapient ghost might lie and distract themselves from the truth beyond basic misapprehension of self.

    And it doesn't even have to be bad, mind you! The simple fact of the matter is that a ghost knows it is here to find closure, and so in as much as it is able will seek every avenue it is able to use to do just that. Ghosts are obsessive by nature to a fault because their entire existence is predicated on finding a resolution to a hanging thread of another life. So, even the most banal of reasons to remain can escalate out of control as ghosts work really hard to fulfill them. Remember, any goal you have on the eve of your life is the whole of a ghost's existence. Since Ghost Existence is kind of categorically the worst out of all the codified Ephemeral Entities, they have all the reason to go to the extreme of their capacities to Resolve That Shit. All of that leads to an obsessive attitude to get at the core of the problem in Any Way That Works, which often entails Ignoring how that Inconveniences if not Outright Harms those around them.

    Making this even worse is the fact that ghosts inherently have a limited spectrum of interacting with the world that mattered to their Dying Counterparts (ie, the Quick World). Manifestations are limited, Numina are limited, Influences are limited-a Ghost, who more so than any other Ephemeral Entity to make themselves known to mortal humans, finds their language is truncated to bleeding walls and wailing static that hides messages in reverse. Ghosts are very limited by the tools available to them, and at the same time can only hope for the best answer to them (alone) to be made available by those very limited tools.

    But when all you've got is a bleeding wall, trauma becomes your hammer.

    Ghosts are monsters in that way anyone desperate to make themselves known is monstrous-they take the limits they have to the extreme, and are often willing to sacrifice your comfort in the name of their own fulfillment-if for no other reason than that this is how the world is structured for them to succeed. You Make Contact with What You've Got. You Beg and Plead with Every Thrown Vase, every Erased Stair Step, every Silenced Sob.

    So.

    What happens when you cheat?

    Cause I Ain't Got Nobody-The Flesh Is No Excuse

    As strongly implied(though not as deeply dived into as I expected), the major thing that hamstrings Ghosts into devolving into monstrous behavior that becomes Defining Enough They Become Monsters is the fact that the opportunities for interacting with the world as they care about is very limited, that interacting the world is a strenuous experience based on the limitation of the people who are in those positions. So, any Ghost who makes the Bargain and thus becomes the Bound is Free from That Problem, right?

    No, you Doughnut***.

    The interaction problem is gone, but the Impulse, the Drive, The Need to Reconcile As Your Flawed Mind Understands It-that remains. And with that, interaction problems can be exacerbated and compounded if not completely blown out of proportion.

    But let me reinforce again, before all of that, that Some Things Don't Change. You are, even with your Own Body and a Small Death God as a Partner with you, A Entity Here To Resolve The Last Remorse of Some Other Fucking Person Who You Just Happen To Be Copied From.

    If you don't think that doesn't cause some measure of angst, boy howdy wow I can't even. It does not help that you can, otherwise, feel the same you did as your living counterpart did, to the point of only minor differentiation existing. But make no doubt of it-as you are confronted by people who think of Ghosts as resources or food or whatever, and as you are confronted more and more with the fact that You Are A Ghost, there's a lot of existential dread in figuring out who you are and what you matter in the grand scheme of things, as well as the dread that you are or could be just food in the ongoing chain of things, an entity hanging on by a thread above an existence of invisibility and silence.

    Not helping the matter is Ectophagia, which you can not only take part in but in fact have reason to do so for. Plasm is kind of a rare resource, and in the instances it's not immediately rare there are Real Risks to Yourself, and it becomes real that this Second Life is All You'Ve Got. Plasm becomes the line of holding onto what you've got and losing it all to the howling maw below you, as well as Doing What You Need To if you want to just Pass On. Given Oblivion or Denial To Actualization, eating another person is easy to justify in the same way others might eat you-after all, they're merely a ghost. What's that to you, the Bound, the Bargainer With Death Gods, the Ones who Tame and Redeem the Lost and Forgotten?

    Deal with the question as you will. Prove your worth above mere food as you will. Show what your morals are worth when you're starving and the Reapers are howling in the wind behind you as you will.

    In the Mean time, your dead ass still has a problem in the form of Your Burden.

    Sure, you can confess your true love to that cute neet down the hall-but if she says no? Or she says yes, but then it doesn't work out but you're sure it's her fault somehow, or that you just need a second shot somehow?

    The thing about a Burden is that obstacles can't be merely reconciled with. You have to actualize the experience and otherwise let go of it all. You need to feel it's resolved.

    Think of a time a friend wrong you, or you didn't get with someone you pined for, or when the politics of a scenario wildly dove away from your ambitions, or any such thing. Think of a time when things didn't work out.

    Now imagine you had the power to do something about it.

    How readily did you let go because you couldn't do something? How much less readily would you let go if you could do something?

    The fact of the matter is that the Bound are no less subject to haunting the living than ghosts, partly because they have greater capacity to haunt them. They can be known, so why not stalk and haunt and prey on the living in search of that Resolution they Are Seeking For? You can do anything to find that Closure you're seeking for, so why not? Don't you deserve some god damn peace after all of this torture, this ache that persisted beyond death?

    The Bound universally think so, to some degree. They do so because they are ghosts. They do so because they are monstrous beings. They will have to wrestle with themselves in how monstrous they allow themselves to be in pursuit of such.

    But at the end of the day, simply living is not satisfactory for them-they must Resolve the Burden. If simply living were enough, then life as the dead is satisfactory enough, and if such is true, then life in any existence is enough, and thus there is no reason to not explore the wide world Beyond the Underworld, Twilight, and Mere Quickness itself.

    To compound matters even more, that denial of cause can lead to building Burdens on top of one another. a vengeful might deal with their perceived core issue only to realize so many more wronged them, and pursue a trail of vengeance that makes the Renegades blush. An Abiding is no longer satisfied with being a local legend-the state, no, the country, no, the continent, no, the world must know who they are. The Kindly absolves one sin, but what about this other transgression, and that one-no, it won't do, not until they have scrubbed it all from their soul, and all the world around them does not so transgress ever again. So on and so forth, you get the idea.

    The Bound are not free from their Burdens, and in chasing those Burdens and mutilating and warping their understanding of those Burdens, they will continue to bedevil and haunt the living in pursuit of a reconciliation all their own, and without wisdom and security, even the least of the Bound will do this to a fruitless end-inevitably, they will do it to and for someone, that they will linger for someone who does not want nor need them present.

    So, that's as individuals.

    But what happens when a Sin-Eater's Burden extends beyond merely their own self-reconciliation?

    Heaven's Asphalt for Hell's Highway-Social Justice Necromancy Isn't Enough

    So, enough about the Bound in general-what about Sin-Eaters? You know, those Bound who regard the dead as their own people and treat them fairly and are keen to give them voice.

    To which I ask-what about them?

    First off, just to get it out of the way, that a Sin-eater dedicates themselves to a Krewe that is concerned with the wider state of affairs does not somehow absolve them of their Burden or the depths they are driven to resolve that-in fact, that is the Self in the Self vs Service that people like to point out (a point that Beast is keen to laugh at and point out it has the same conflict, and people have such issue with Beast's Hunger vs Kinship despite it being the same there). A Sin-Eater will do one thing for themselves and another for their Krewe, and neither of the twain shall account for the other on their own (outside of particular circumstances).

    But let's get into the Krewe's themselves, because this became something I wrote in a book about-Good Intentions do not a Good People Make, and Good Outcomes sometimes Seem To Demand Bad Roads.

    True First Things First, Krewes are interested in the dead first.

    Sorry folks, it's true. Every single Krewe archetype that you play as a protagonist**** places you, the reader as you are now*****, as less of a priority then a bunch of people who don't actually live in the world right now.

    But no, seriously, that predilection to deal with the dead over the living is a problem for Sin-eaters because, as fair and honest and good as it is, it does wrap up Sin-Eaters in the mindset and affairs of the dead, where in Creating Presence is important above all else on pretty much Every Front, which means the Bound's inherent nature to Stalk and Haunt the Living is only exacerbated as they seek closure by proxy through the issues of others, and keeps them locked in processing the world as the dead would rather than how the living understand think of things, which is something integral to Sin-eaters maintaining their own balance.

    The Living can be factored into a Krewe's Doctrines, and often are, but often only really does so in regards to their prospect of either avoiding being the ghostly dead or....well, having to be the ghostly dead if they can't avoid that, and less so in regards to the honesty of the circumstances they have to deal with and accommodate as the living. While it's easy to say that krewe's actions are in their best interests and have the benefit of a wider view of reality than the living can often deal with, none of that accounts for the ways that the dead will violate the agency, individuality, and well-being of the living in the pursuit of such a comprehension. Acknowledging that comprehension also doesn't change the fact that the dead, Ghost, Bound, and Sin-Eater alike, will go ahead anyways because of their own background drives and interests anyways.

    Beyond that, any Krewe can take their good principles and extend them way too far. Some Furies will commit a Cabin in the Woods style Ceremony in order to ensure no one ever violates the commandments they are sure will ensure justice is ensured for every person, some Necropolitans will ignore the violations of their leader so long as it seems like every is in with the vibe and unlikely to feel cheated at death, some Undertakers will violate rules that exist for a reason and write their own face in laws only to find their sneers don't hold back the Cthonic Gods one bit. In the pursuit of the ideals, there comes a point in time where the Krewes will, in spite of their desire to be universal goods, will lose people to the cracks, and the obsessive nature of the dead means they are not likely to easily own up to it, and even if they did, a lot of times owning up to the harm doesn't undo it.

    Krewes seek to do right by the dead, and people beyond-but the inherent structure and focus of Krewes, mixed with the inherent nature of their main constituents, inherently means they will hurt or forget people along the way, and that has it's own damages. And the worst part is is that those aren't mistake, but outcomes of the Archetypes, because they are fundamentally flawed in ways that people need to look at and work on constantly but will, due to the way things work, often overlook and allow to rot.

    So. Now What?

    Come As You Are-The World Beyond Merely Being Dead

    "Congratulations Arc, You took one of the most optimistic and joyful splats in the Chronicles world and made them all depressing assholes! Now What?"

    I'm sure some people are asking that, and I respond by taking a bow and also muttering "Well really I just reinforced that they're monsters with limited natures and that can sometimes mean their assholes", BUT SURE, Now What is a great question.

    I referenced, earlier on, a Changeling Essay where I discussed the ways in which Changelings aren't trustworthy and were likely to flip and cause riot and havoc. At the end of the essay though, I basically said "bleakest game my ass" and reinforced that the game was supposed to be one of hope and growth-just not quite the way most people like it to be.

    We're in that portion of the essay.

    In particular, I have one subset of that question I can hear people raising, which is something of the....mundanity of a Sin-eater's monstrosity, them and their Krewes. One I've been chomping to get at.

    "So, what, they obsess? They stalk people? They form societies that have major oversights in regards of how to appreciate people? What the hell?! That's just stuff that normal people do!"

    To which I throw down my chalk****** onto the sill and gesticulate wildly at the board yelling "THAT'S THE POINT."

    Let me put it another way. There are a lot of behaviors that occur in this world that we take for granted, one way or another. Some we accept as just the nature of people in general, or people in a certain society, or whatever. Some we just shoot out of hand as cruel and inhumane, and never bother to understand how people arrive there. We alienate experiences positive and negative outside our own, we divorce it from who we are.

    Or, to put it another way "If we’d have come out and said, 'well, this is humanity,' they would have probably all said, 'no it's not, it's monstrosity.' So because we're saying, 'this is monstrosity,' they're saying, 'no it's not, it's humanity,' and people don't realise quite what they've said."

    Told you'd it come around.

    By changing the contextualization of action and intention, the lens of monsters allows us to better examine the goings-on of ourselves and others and really compare and contrast them with myriad examples, and allows us to find something empathetic and human to latch on to that we can work with to build a better tomorrow, as well as that which is truly monstrous and must truly be challenged, confronted, fought, even killed.

    Early on I implied that Sin-eaters were separate from the very human seeming monstrosity of mages and hunters, but that was a bit of a misdirect, because while there are a lot of fantastical elements in Geist, the core of it is a very human experience, and part of that is that people don't often take the time to judge how or why something is done and what that means for the person doing it or the circumstance it's being done in. Many a ghost, a Bound, a Sin-Eater will do something that is monstrous and terrible because there is a deep and abiding wound in them that needs to be healed, that we must reconcile our fear and dread of death with and go and nurture and comfort with all we've got. Likewise, many a person, dead, living, or in-between will commit to something that is unforgivably harmful, and as much as we might sympathize we must own that and act against in those terms.

    In owning how Sin-Eaters are still monsters, in how their views on the dead and impulses as the dead can contribute to them be monsters, we become better at Empathy, at learning how to judge the balance between Self and Service, to connect to the hurt and heal them and to recognize the harmful and chop them out of the tapestry, to build a world worth Hoping For, a world to take Joy In. We don't do that by just being right, we learn from our mistakes and learning to look at people who we say one way and see them another, Looking Backward to better understand what we see Looking Forward.

    We must own our monsters if we are to find the humans below them, and to know what do with them beyond that.

    That's why, for Geist at least, I find it so important that our Heroes, our flawed Humans are also Monsters-

    -because how else are we Human Monsters and Monstrous Humans to become Heroes?

    something something ted talk, like and subscribe, buy me booze.

    *dangling participles hanging out like a pair of brass donkey balls, son.
    **Okay, I wanna reinforce at this moment, after all of that, that I'm not endorsing this shit, and that I intend for my latter examples to obviously be abhorrent to my American-And-Far-Left-Of-The-Nation's-Politics mindset-merely that those are viable ways the Burdens may be expressed.
    ***I have no prize for anyone who accurately guesses how long I've been waiting to do that, but I encourage you to take up the game all the same.
    ****Obviously I'm not talking about Antagonist Krewe Archetypes or Tyrant Krewes, because if I can make my Point with the Better Guys I don't have to waste my time on them.
    *****Unless you are somehow actually a ghost, in which case, please, I implore you, you have way better targets to haunt than me. There are so many assholes in the world.
    ******That's a lie, I hate chalk and would avoid touching it like the plague.
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 10-27-2019, 04:30 AM.


    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
    Hey,you made me wanna read the corebook with a new perpspective

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    • #3
      *applause*

      This needs to be posted everywhere. Or at least a soundbite which really encapsulates why I dislike a lot of humanocentric horror;

      "MONSTER DOES NOT MEAN BAD PERSON. IT MEANS 'EASILY TEMPTED TO DO BAD THINGS' PERSON. THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEN NOT PEOPLE. THANK YOU."


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      • #4
        Your points are very valid, but cant appreciate the exagerated tone...too bombastic.
        Ther is no need to capitalize words, or make a scene with imaginary whisky glass for make your points.

        This give the impression of mere rants and piss off readers from your very valid content.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Throne View Post
          Your points are very valid, but cant appreciate the exagerated tone...too bombastic.
          Ther is no need to capitalize words, or make a scene with imaginary whisky glass for make your points.

          This give the impression of mere rants and piss off readers from your very valid content.
          I personally thought the dramatic tone makes thing lighter and more fun

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post

            I personally thought the dramatic tone makes thing lighter and more fun
            Another very valid point too! This must be very subjective, of course.

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            • #7
              What can I say, I've got a style.


              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
                This is certainly an excellent exposition of how ghosts are monstrous, and how ghost-like the Bound are, and I'm not about to reject it.

                A small counterpoint, though. Geist 2e contains all this material, but it doesn't exactly emphasize it. Ghosts in the text are typically shown, and coded, as victims (of an all-consuming Underworld, and of necromancers both mundane and Bound), not as dangerous in themselves. Hence the "social justice necromancers" crack. And the Bound are distinctly alien, driven by Burdens and geists, but they're not inherently predatory - not even as much as 2e changelings are. (Never mind what vampires and Beasts - the true predators on humanity - do to people.)

                Measured by the axis of internal vs. external monstrosity, Geist 2e is a long way out on the external end, past where Werewolf, Changeling and Demon are. Vampire and Beast, by contrast, are at the internal end (Beast more than Vampire) and even Mage ends up on the internal side more often than not. (Deviant could swing either way IMO. The default Renegade game is biased to external horror, a Devoted game would probably swing to internal.) So the people talking about Sin-eaters as little rays of sunshine in a grim confusing world do have a point - it's based on tone and emphasis, not all the established facts, but that tone and emphasis are really there in the text.

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                • #9
                  *lured by having Yuki Kaijura at the music choice*

                  I just want to ask- was there really a discussion where people claimed that Sin Eaters are not monsters? I mean, I was aware about it in some of the other gamelines you have mentioned- but really? Sin Eaters? Like- how?..

                  Never mind that. I should not have been surprised by it, and yet here we are. Anyway, yeah, of course they are monsters- and that is the beauty of them. One of my favorite changes from 1e to 2e was the concept of the Bound as being soulless- it brought an whole new twist about the Bound condition, sending them with one foot in the grave while laughing behind their masks. It emphasized that yes, Sin Eaters are dead, and yes, you are ghost, and yes, of course you are a monster if you ever thought otherwise. It brought an whole new level of nihilism to the heart of the Bound, just as well as the rest of the book did an excellent job at darkening the world of Geist, from the ever hungry Underworld and to the everyday tragedy of the dead around you. That darkness, actually, made their light shine even brighter than before- you had a second chance, which may very well be your last one at achieving what that kept you dead and kicking. Make sure you used it correctly.

                  That reminds me that one time, when I walked in the middle of a storm. The rain was hitting me from all sides at the same time, and my umbrella was nothing more than a decoration in that strong wind. I tried to find escape from time to time, but the rain wasn't going to end anytime soon, and the water level in the streets got up to my knees. I remember trying to fight against the storm, trying to keep at least some part of me dry- but eventually, I was soaked to my bones- and with that, I suddenly realized that there was nothing worse that the storm could have done to me. I reached the bottom- and by that, I was free to just walk down the street on my way home, laughing at the people who still watched the rain in terror. Suddenly, I became free.

                  And if that's what surviving a mere storm can do to you- what about literally losing everything? What about having to practically die- only to return? What kind of freedom would that grant you? What kind of norm or law could actually stand in your way to achieve what you truly desire?

                  I can't believe that some people think that Sin Eaters are not monsters. How could they not be?
                  Last edited by LostLight; 10-27-2019, 02:22 PM.


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                  • #10
                    Michael Brazier : Oh yeah, that's absolutely true. Now, mind you, I wholly endorse that take for the core book. I think it create a god distinction from the other gamelines and helps to really direct Geist where before it was perhaps more listless. Now that said, I also think the supplements from here on are going to need to be willing to dive back into that internal horror and tragedy, remind the audience that if you want good guys, you gotta put in the work. No one gets a free ride.

                    Originally posted by Leliel View Post
                    *applause*

                    This needs to be posted everywhere. Or at least a soundbite which really encapsulates why I dislike a lot of humanocentric horror;

                    "MONSTER DOES NOT MEAN BAD PERSON. IT MEANS 'EASILY TEMPTED TO DO BAD THINGS' PERSON. THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEN NOT PEOPLE. THANK YOU."
                    Well now, let's keep in mind that the Chronicles is philosophically driven by humanism-the above points still do not deny the horror of these entities to human people or the horror of being those people, all of which comes back around to relaying the importance of humanity over supernatural sources.

                    If you would actually rather be one of the monsters than human, then the point is missed-which is why Mage is a Very Frustrating Conversation Piece.

                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    I just want to ask- was there really a discussion where people claimed that Sin Eaters are not monsters? I mean, I was aware about it in some of the other gamelines you have mentioned- but really? Sin Eaters? Like- how?..
                    Yeah, it happened. It's actually happened in snippets here and there all over the place. That quote I use to start off the conversation on ghosts(not the Alan Moore one, the other one) is a real quote-there's more to it, but I reached the end of the selected and my brain bluescreened for a bit.
                    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 10-27-2019, 02:29 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


                    • #11
                      EDIT: Double Post, blegh.


                      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


                      • #12
                        Unauthorized Summary: "The splats in CoD are not character classes. They are storylines."

                        This is why I am leery of mixing different CoD game lines. I imagine that it can be done, but IMO each splat has its own narrative drives and it would be hard to reconcile several of them.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                          Well now, let's keep in mind that the Chronicles is philosophically driven by humanism-the above points still do not deny the horror of these entities to human people or the horror of being those people, all of which comes back around to relaying the importance of humanity over supernatural sources.

                          If you would actually rather be one of the monsters than human, then the point is missed-which is why Mage is a Very Frustrating Conversation Piece.
                          Oh, I would rather have supernatural powers in the context of the CofD. The ideal would be to live happily in ignorance, but if I'm caught in the storm I'd rather be flying in the wind rather than tossed around by it. It's simply a practical choice for agency rather than a desire to sip blood for eternity, be prone to Death Rage, or have to constantly calculate risk of Paradox if I want to access my powers.

                          By "humanocentrism" I mean "Humanity Fuck Yeah," which can easily become "Everyone Else Can Get Fucked", which isn't just boring to read, it's also kinda vaguely creepy if you start seeing analogies to actual humans in the Everyone Else. Also because a lot of Gothic Horror is founded on Victorian Horror, which includes stuff like "madness means you're unpresentable evil and creepy!"


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                          • #14
                            @ Keiran: Ish?

                            Unrelated, this thread also needs some Rob Zombie, so have some Living Dead Girl.
                            Last edited by ArcaneArts; 10-27-2019, 03:11 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


                            • #15
                              Oh yeah, Deinos, you asked, here ya go.


                              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.

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