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Brainstorming some Roman organizations

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  • Brainstorming some Roman organizations

    While I wait for the Roman Werewolf and Mummy settings in Dark Eras Companion and dearly hope we see some other gamelines visit Rome in Dark Eras 2, I figure it can't hurt to pass the time by working on some material of my own for the era and figured Hunter is the easier place to start. I know a couple other threads have touched on this subject in the past, but at this point they're all at least a year old and I figured a new one makes more sense than a necro of that scale. I just wanted to toss out some ideas in the hopes of encouragement and shared ideas, and possibly see which concepts all of you think are worth pursuing.

    First of all, we know a couple of canonical groups are running around in the time of the Roman Empire: the Aves Minerva are a Conspiracy that uses blood magic learned from the owls of their goddess to fight vampires, the Ascending Ones are likely still the (A)Egyptian Cult of the Phoenix at this time and may well be just now leaving their ancestral lands in pursuit of new poisons, and the Aegis Kai Doru are almost certainly active (though possibly fallen from grace) anywhere Hellenistic culture touched during Alexander's conquests. I have to wonder of the Cheiron Group is active as well (and I believe there's fan material out there that depicts them as a collegium of medical scholars properly tied to Chiron rather than the later trade guild/corporation), though I'm not sure if surgical techniques are at the point where they could properly implant people; perhaps they're still a Compact?

    I also think there's ready room for equivalents to several modern groups in Rome. The Barrett Commission may well exist in some form as an alliance of merchants, patricians, and senators who use their wealth and influence to drive supernatural meddlers out of the Empire's halls of power, possibly by sponsoring lower-class hunters as patrons to do their dirty work. I think there's rife potential for a Night Watch analogue among the slaves and freedmen who look out for themselves while others refuse to, protecting the poor with secret signs and fighting against monsters and monstrous owners alike. The Union has a fun parallel in Rome's vigiles, their firefighter/police watchmen who keep the peace with water buckets and hard cugels and likely see all sorts of horrors while keeping eyes out for criminals and escaped slaves. I think there's room for scholarly hunters akin to the Loyalists of Thule who seek to rebuild the Library of Alexandria as a series of decentralized caches of occult knowledge across the Empire in storehouses that trusted others can have access to. You could very well have an Ashwood Abbey of a different flavor in the cultists of Bacchus, whose god inspires not only orgiastic revels but murderous frenzies and divine revelations; if we want to see an Abbey with a magical Endowment to throw around and even less consequences for their cruelty, this is it.

    If we look to the real faiths of the Empire, there's tons of inspiration for Hunter groups both with and without Endowments they could use. The obvious Christian question of what their miracles would look like well before there's an established church is a novel one, and doubly so if we see what they might look like with only faith and no mojo to back them up. Similarly, I think that Jewish hunters could give us a much-needed glimpse into that religion in the CofD setting, and that the sicarii zealots offer a ready template to map onto, in that they act much like the later hashashiin in how they murder their targets in broad daylight in defense of their kin. Something obviously has to be going on with the Mithraic cultists that pervade the legions, meeting in their underground chambers and conducting bull sacrifices in the name of a foreign mystery deity, but the legions' men also turn to Nodens, whose hunting hounds comfort the wounded and guide them to war.

    Any thoughts on any of this? Any custom groups you've made on your own that were awesome in play or demand a chance? I adore the Roman setting and hope we can see the Vigil expanded to it someday soon.


    Just call me Lex.

    Female pronouns for me, please.

  • #2
    Early Roman Christian compact that is starting to gain some serious ground because it keeps showing mercy to monsters and it somehow works? I know it isn't a very developed idea but it's the first thing that came to mind.

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    • #3
      I've wrote the Custodes Ignis as a potential "Vigil for Rome" group, although I've never actually wrote their historical section. The Watchers of Fortune are an ancient roman version of another, modern group I've wrote- again, while thinking about their historical origin as readers of signs and divine will. The late days of Rome and the fall of the Bar Kokhba Rebellion would also be the finale days of Raziel's historical origin called Benei HaOr, the cult who (in my version of the CofD) wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and hid them, together with an original copy of the Book of Raziel. The Tartaruchi should also exist in the time, even if by another name, as they hunt for corrupted, twisted individuals- and there are enough of those during the Roman Empire.

      Well, that's what I can think about right now. I also have some thoughts and interpretations for both canon groups and Glamourweaver's ideas for the time, but I don't have enough time right now to make a descent post about it :P


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      • #4
        Personally, I'd save the Bacchanalia for an antagonist group. The account in Livy always reminded me of the New Orleans chapter of The Call of Cthulhu. (Come to think of it, I get the impression Lovecraft knew his Classics, I wonder if there's a direct connection there?)

        They could be a proto-Hunt Club.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Michael View Post
          Personally, I'd save the Bacchanalia for an antagonist group. The account in Livy always reminded me of the New Orleans chapter of The Call of Cthulhu. (Come to think of it, I get the impression Lovecraft knew his Classics, I wonder if there's a direct connection there?)

          They could be a proto-Hunt Club.
          I'm one of the folks who already thinks the Abbey should be an antagonist group, but I'm torn between doing the same for Bacchus cultists or giving them a little more moral grey in the form of religious legitimacy and also a fun Endowment.


          Just call me Lex.

          Female pronouns for me, please.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Michael View Post
            Personally, I'd save the Bacchanalia for an antagonist group. The account in Livy always reminded me of the New Orleans chapter of The Call of Cthulhu. (Come to think of it, I get the impression Lovecraft knew his Classics, I wonder if there's a direct connection there?)

            They could be a proto-Hunt Club.
            I'm one of the folks who already thinks the Abbey should be an antagonist group, but I'm torn between doing the same for Bacchus cultists or giving them a little more moral grey in the form of religious legitimacy and also a fun Endowment.


            Just call me Lex.

            Female pronouns for me, please.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by atamajakki View Post

              I'm one of the folks who already thinks the Abbey should be an antagonist group, but I'm torn between doing the same for Bacchus cultists or giving them a little more moral grey in the form of religious legitimacy and also a fun Endowment.

              Abbey IS modern Bacchus cultists ( without direct belief in god ) so I do not know how those two groups are different.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post


                Abbey IS modern Bacchus cultists ( without direct belief in god ) so I do not know how those two groups are different.
                I think there's a difference between a social club of sociopathic rich assholes who do things for kicks and a genuine cult that draws not only upon revels but on the pursuit of divine insight.


                Just call me Lex.

                Female pronouns for me, please.

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                • #9
                  To me, endgame is the same - people killing people just for kicks. If they are rich or priests, it does not change the heart of group. Looking for 'divinity' in killing others have the same immoral side as 'being bored' - in both ends you kill other people only because of your own selfish reasons. So if you are okay with cultists killing people for Bacchus, you should be okay with Abbey. They are more or less the same f@#$ed.
                  Last edited by wyrdhamster; 12-27-2016, 01:35 AM.


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                  • #10
                    By that logic the MM are the same as the Abbey.

                    There are lots of ways you could use the Bacchanalia and you certainly don't have to take Livy at face value.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michael View Post
                      By that logic the MM are the same as the Abbey.
                      Who said they aren't? Witch Hunters burning witches are still killing people from their personal 'God told me to do it'. Many people think that Abbey are the worst - but forget what rest of Conspiracies really do on their day to day business.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                        To me, endgame is the same - people killing people just for kicks. If they are rich or priests, it does not change the heart of group. Looking for 'divinity' in killing others have the same immoral side as 'being bored' - in both ends you kill other people only because of your own selfish reasons. So if you are okay with cultists killing people for Bacchus, you should be okay with Abbey. They are more or less the same f@#$ed.
                        I'm not sure how or why you're reading my saying "Rome's culture would allow a Compact of hard-partying murderous assholes to do what they do with less secrecy and scorn" as an endorsement of the Abbey's horrific actions, but okay.


                        Just call me Lex.

                        Female pronouns for me, please.

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                        • #13
                          Well, moral dissonance certainly is a thing. Maenads in the modern age will get filed in the same category as the Abbey, while the Abbey in the Roman age will be quickly dumped on to the Maenads to handle.

                          And no, wyrdhamster, I don't think the end justifies the means. Or in this case, I don't think the end forcibly melds the means into one same thing. Fanatic killers and sociopathic killers are both horrible people to have in society, but their inner workings and how they relate to the larger society, including how the larger society should re-integrate or punish them, are going to be vastly different.


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                          • #14
                            Unrelated to all this, but I really want to see what the cult of Cybele/Magna Mater would look like when portrayed in a sympathetic light. I've now seen two unrelated takes on them where they're outright evil pawns of some dark monstrosity, and while I understand that to an extent (a modern audience understandably has a visceral reaction to self-castrating pagans),I'd sooner see what that mindset looks like when handles sympathetically and how people with enough faith to do that might well be heroic.

                            Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                            Well, moral dissonance certainly is a thing. Maenads in the modern age will get filed in the same category as the Abbey, while the Abbey in the Roman age will be quickly dumped on to the Maenads to handle.

                            And no, wyrdhamster, I don't think the end justifies the means. Or in this case, I don't think the end forcibly melds the means into one same thing. Fanatic killers and sociopathic killers are both horrible people to have in society, but their inner workings and how they relate to the larger society, including how the larger society should re-integrate or punish them, are going to be vastly different.
                            I think there's an interesting narrative space to explore in a Hunter organization similar in means and outlook to the Ashwood Abbey that is not a thing of taboo but instead a recognized and somewhat-acceptable facet of the culture they inhabit, and I also think that giving the excess and madness that such a group partakes an end goal of religious motivation and possible divine insight instead of just "because we're too rich to fucking care," and that's all I really feel like saying on the matter.


                            Just call me Lex.

                            Female pronouns for me, please.

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                            • #15
                              Unrelated to all this, but I really want to see what the cult of Cybele/Magna Mater would look like when portrayed in a sympathetic light. I've now seen two unrelated takes on them where they're outright evil pawns of some dark monstrosity, and while I understand that to an extent (a modern audience understandably has a visceral reaction to self-castrating pagans),I'd sooner see what that mindset looks like when handles sympathetically and how people with enough faith to do that might well be heroic.

                              Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                              Well, moral dissonance certainly is a thing. Maenads in the modern age will get filed in the same category as the Abbey, while the Abbey in the Roman age will be quickly dumped on to the Maenads to handle.

                              And no, wyrdhamster, I don't think the end justifies the means. Or in this case, I don't think the end forcibly melds the means into one same thing. Fanatic killers and sociopathic killers are both horrible people to have in society, but their inner workings and how they relate to the larger society, including how the larger society should re-integrate or punish them, are going to be vastly different.
                              I think there's an interesting narrative space to explore in a Hunter organization similar in means and outlook to the Ashwood Abbey that is not a thing of taboo but instead a recognized and somewhat-acceptable facet of the culture they inhabit, and I also think that giving the excess and madness that such a group partakes an end goal of religious motivation and possible divine insight instead of just "because we're too rich to fucking care," and that's all I really feel like saying on the matter.


                              Just call me Lex.

                              Female pronouns for me, please.

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