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  • wyrdhamster
    started a topic Seers & society

    Seers & society

    Wanted to called topic 'Seers & politics', but quickly understood that it would limit it only to Hegemony Ministry. I opened it more, as I wanted to his as much Ministries as I can. So going to topic...

    I do not know if you heard, but in last week we in Poland started mass protests against antidemocratic reforms our ruling party wanted to force, breaking Constitution. I started to partake active citizen life opposing this government and going for the protests myself, calling friends for the same.

    Why I write it in the Mage topic? Well, last week I really felt like real world forms of government and power wanted to get me. Like I'm MtAw Storyteller now been... 12 years? But I really felt it, like... this thing... wanting to grasp me and crash me, by using our mind changed politicians of ruling party.

    Or that our local Catholic Church was not saying anything, omitting Constitution conflict, leaving Poles without any moral support. ( But supporting antiabortion bill few months before. )

    I know that in real life it was decision of many individuals in government and Church - but I could swear that I felt there was some 'intelligence' behind this society oppression. I think that I 'saw' how Awakened, Seers especially, see Exarchs - after all those years of reading about it in RPG books.

    So topic questions - How Seers can sustain oppression in Western world countries? What Seers do to 'feed' Exarchs, on day to day basis? How their methods evolve with society? How to interweave it in the stories?
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 07-25-2017, 02:49 AM.

  • Tessie
    replied
    I think the different views can be reconciled as simply differing views within the organisation, or popular views vs doctrine. Seers should still absolutely be considered the Diamond's worst enemies by SL doctrine and hardliners with that view would certainly exist, but the similarities between the two cults could still lead to individuals finding common ground. In fact, there's a subfaction in the SL book that considers it their duty to bring the Iron Pyramid into the Diamond as a fifth member cult.
    The much lesser focus on Oracles in 2e also erodes the idea that SL and Seers are servants of two warring factions in the Supernal and thus exclusively enemies unless you wish to straight up betray your masters. It's not removed completely, but now it makes a little more sense for individuals to be able to ignore that bit.

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  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
    The 2ed core book gave the impression the Ladder see them as wasted potential.
    I hadn't really given it much thought but you're right, it does suggest a different approach.

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  • KaiserAfini
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael View Post
    I didn't say it was impossible, simply that the level of paranoia in the Pentacle makes it very difficult. Like, unless your players are playing particularly credulous characters, they're not going to fall easily for the tricks of a Seer. In fact, as soon as the word Seer appears, violent paranoia tends to spike.

    Also, I think there's a difference between knowing Seer opponents and rivals, and really having a grasp of their characters.



    Unless I've missed a big change, that's not true. The SL book is pretty blunt that they view all Seers as traitors worthy of at best summary execution.
    Interesting, the Silver Ladder's Order book is one I have yet to read. The 2ed core book gave the impression the Ladder see them as wasted potential.

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  • Michael
    replied
    I didn't say it was impossible, simply that the level of paranoia in the Pentacle makes it very difficult. Like, unless your players are playing particularly credulous characters, they're not going to fall easily for the tricks of a Seer. In fact, as soon as the word Seer appears, violent paranoia tends to spike.

    Also, I think there's a difference between knowing Seer opponents and rivals, and really having a grasp of their characters.

    Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
    The Silver Ladder sees them as wayward, since "the Awakened are one nation", it means true leaders have the duty to show them the path to reach their full potential by defecting to the Pentacle.
    Unless I've missed a big change, that's not true. The SL book is pretty blunt that they view all Seers as traitors worthy of at best summary execution.

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  • KaiserAfini
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael View Post

    I was referring to the complex characters and deep motivations of the Seers; and that the Pentacle aren't the best position to see that complexity.

    It depends, the Free Council probably has major peer pressure to not associate with Seers, "Destroy the followers of the Lie" does not leave much room for negotiation. The Silver Ladder sees them as wayward, since "the Awakened are one nation", it means true leaders have the duty to show them the path to reach their full potential by defecting to the Pentacle. The Guardians know that they cultivate the Lie, but also that not everyone is worthy of Awakening, so they work through double agents, secret bargains and try to eliminate/neutralize the ones who tend to escalate things. The Mysterium has a rivalry in collecting secrets on the field and recovering artifacts from them, but they are the ones that are more easy to seduce by the arcane secrets of the Throne. Some Arrows prefer a brutal approach to taking out the Seers, other prefer breaking their support infrastructure, with the ones focusing on long term gains in the war against the Exarchs having more chances to see the multiple facets of the people behind the Seer term.

    In summary, it all depends on how the mage in question approaches their Order's teachings. Most Ladders will have a tendency to get to know them, same goes for the Guardians, rebellious Libertines will have a tendency to understand their Seer rivals. Mystagogues have a chance of developing a competing rivalry with them, getting to know them better through it, but also being at risk of defecting. Lastly, Arrows have a split, with more moderate and long term oriented one having more chance to learn more about individual Seers.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 11-17-2020, 09:16 PM.

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  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
    How is the pentacle not? One of the factions passively has hubris as ok as long as it works. Another justifies immorality as long as it justifies the end and carefully "decides" who gets to awaken, another hoards knowledge from it's own fellows believing only they are worthy, and many others
    I was referring to the complex characters and deep motivations of the Seers; and that the Pentacle aren't the best position to see that complexity.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael View Post
    Come to think of it, this is probably why the Seers are a player faction now.

    Complex characters and deep motivations are all well and good, but the Pentacle aren't generally the best position to see that from.
    How is the pentacle not? One of the factions passively has hubris as ok as long as it works. Another justifies immorality as long as it justifies the end and carefully "decides" who gets to awaken, another hoards knowledge from it's own fellows believing only they are worthy, and many others

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  • Michael
    replied
    Come to think of it, this is probably why the Seers are a player faction now.

    Complex characters and deep motivations are all well and good, but the Pentacle aren't generally the best position to see that from.

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  • KaiserAfini
    replied
    Originally posted by Laraqua View Post
    These are amazing and terrifying examples because you can imagine it happening in the real world.

    Yeah, its why I find the Seers to be such interesting antagonists. Like Pentex, despite the supernatural influence, there is a lot of mundane selfishness mixed in. They see how horrible the system is, but now they know they have the power and connections to not only rise above it, but to profit handsomely from it.

    But life is not that simple, some people become Seers out of cowering before the mind bending horror of the Exarchs, others are simply blackmailed into serving the Throne by more unscrupulous Seers, some are idealistic and try to find a higher meaning in their work. All of them will be eventually confronted with the truth: the Exarchs see them as disposable drones, premium ones compared to Sleepers, but pawns nonetheless. Rewards are limited to how much the Seer delivers and everyone is vying for that spotlight (by competing, manipulating and even conciliating). How they each deal with this maddening power structure defines them, but they will never be altruistic (at least not without defecting), ultimately everything will be made worse, become lessened as they they are used as stepping stones for the Seer to chase their Obsessions.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 11-12-2020, 12:25 PM.

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  • Laraqua
    replied
    These are amazing and terrifying examples because you can imagine it happening in the real world.

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  • Michael
    replied
    I think that's a decent summary.

    Originally posted by Axelgear View Post
    Seers who infiltrate Ivy League universities
    This got me thinking though. I suspect in many cases they wouldn't actually have to infiltrate people into organisations. People awaken all the time and they generally have previous lives that are valuable.

    If for example, a small-time politician awakened, you wouldn't nessecarily pull them away to make them work in some other part of the Iron Pyramid. As their boss you'd want them to stay where they are and develop their influence, and you'd generally give them the resources to do that.

    The reason I bring this up is that Wyrd was asking about how the Seers adapt to society, and I'd guess that's how.

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  • Axelgear
    replied
    On the topic of what Seers actually do, something to remember is that the life of a Seer is usually very different from the life of a Pentacle Mage or Nameless. The Iron Pyramid is not a small deal; it is an all-consuming facet of the secret world.

    Your average Mage is an obsessive, who might vary on the scale of self-interested to altruistic and who probably has some other religious missions, but most Mages have what might be called reasonably local interests. While, yes, some mystagogues go globetrotting, I'd say even then their interests tend to be local; focused on whatever Mystery they're presently staring at to the exclusion of what goes on around it. For most Mages, their world starts and ends with their Caucus.

    For Seers, it's different. For Seers - at least in the Great Ministries - there is someone at the top with a truly cosmic scale view of everything. That booming voice is shouting incessantly in the ear of a singular individual to "MAKE LIFE SUCK MORE", as well as whispering "make life suck more" in the ears of many others. There is a boss above you and inferiors below you (even brand new Seers have Sleepers under their heel), running from your local street corner up beyond even the global scale to a truly universal bent.

    This means that Seers aren't just sitting around in their Pylon's sanctum one day until someone gets the bright idea to march down to the local newspaper to start a rumour that an up-and-coming youth leader is a pedophile; they're operating off of a grander plan, which is added to by a thousand-thousand smaller, selfish plots.

    A good example from the Seers book is that, while a thearch cryptopoly might infiltrate agents into their local FBI branch, a Seer Pylon in Oregon might infiltrate an office and slowly replace it with agents, while requesting aid from DC, where another Pylon is slowly using the situation to get certain members promoted, all so that they can gain serious influence over the FBI, not only locally but nation-wide. In the process, they then use their influence to get the FBI to target their enemies for investigation (many Mages are going to have unclean hands, sure, but it's even worse when it's the cult that Mage relies on; you might get them off, but that's a lot of time sunk for the effort and you expose yourself in the process), to further the plans of the Exarchs, and for personal benefit. Importantly, these last two are usually going to be related. After all, that politician whose kickbacks aren't investigated is going to be happy to hire whomever you pick to staff their office, or as functionaries for various departments.

    Suddenly, the Seers can get kickbacks from property developers to have areas rezoned, and if, say, someone were to do a few key firings in the social assistance department to "be fiscally responsible with the budget", and a few poor families are rendered past-due on their mortgages because the social assistance check was late, well... Foreclosure sales are a great way to pick up cheap property.

    You can repeat this sort of thing over and over:

    Seers using magic to get themselves in control of a bank, gaining personal financial influence in the process (see the above foreclosure sales; a bank choosing to claim an overextended mortgage is a good way to get property cheap), all as a part of a larger gambit so that, when enough banks in a region are under Seer control, causing a massive and sudden regional financial crisis when they foreclose en masse and render thousands of families homeless and jobless. All this as a part of a possible larger scheme to bend regional politics.

    Seers seizing control over local drug gangs and the local police. Very personally lucrative, even with the bribes paid to the local police to get them to look the other way as drugs flood into previously untouched neighbourhoods. When locals become understandably furious, a few useful idiots turn the righteous anger that could become a political crusade towards racism by talking about "thugs" bringing drugs into "our neighbourhood". School budgets are crippled by the need to add security officers who violate the civil liberties of students by checking their bags for drugs and frisking them when they come to class.

    Seers who infiltrate Ivy League universities and establish fraternities with intensely tribal codes; encouraging fraternity brothers (and/or sorority sisters) to place their loyalty to their cult above all else, and richly rewarding those who do. Not only do the Seers themselves personally gain from the experience (the fraternity probably has fairly pricey dues to be a member), they also gain a vast network of connections when these promising individuals all go on to use family connections to become senators, heads of businesses, and the like; connections that obediently grant them access to the halls of power and cut off those who were not lucky enough to be born to such things.

    Seers quietly taking over an agritech firm to push out the people who would give away patents, and quietly skimming money in the process. Once the people who'd object are out, the firm is bought by a larger Seer-run agribusiness venture and becomes another branch of the whole, quietly ensuring monopolies of power in the hands of a few.

    And importantly, through all this, the Seers doing all this are bending it into service to their Obsessions. The Seers running the local government get permission from the city to put up "temperature monitors", which are really a secret camera network to monitor for aberrations in the local leylines and to give them a quick way to co-locate around the city. The Seers running the bank are using threats on calling in loans to bend Sleepwalkers with unusual talents to their service. And so on.

    Think that's as good a summary as I can do for now.

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  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
    The so called 'Kremlin's maneuvers' - i.e. creating very controversial bill, let opposition and West to protest against it, fall it back to 're-work' it and only slightly change pass the ordinance - seems very much what would Hegemony Ministry doing all the time - cynical politics to run with even more tyrany and oppression going more and more with time.
    Start high is basic negotiation tactics. The same works the opposite way too. Plenty of vitals improvements are ultimately cutdown somewhat from what the people behind them might have wanted.

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  • nofather
    replied
    The Omega Sanction! The Death That Is Life!



    I'd say it's an aspect of a lot of them. The Panopticon, if one thinks of it, can kick one in as one realizes they're constantly under surveillance from something, and the only options are to leave life as they know it behind or just succumb. The Prophet insists you're a background character in the life story of others. The Ruin reinforces the knowledge that all things will end, and even memories or marks left upon the world will die.

    There's probably a minor ministry dedicated to focusing on it.

    The problem with a real focus on it is that just as it could lead to breaking down, it could lead to an Awakening. And if you're messing with it in the first place you could come out with a Banisher.

    You're seeing a lot of reflections of the Seers in the world because the Seers are based off of real world problems. It's not an evil demon making pollution. It's the personification of the apathy and disregard some have for human life in comparison to money. The tribal mentality built up in people that makes so many things an 'us versus them' issue alongside a need to stick with the herd. We label the Exarchs the General, the Eye, and so forth because it allows for focus in the game and works better there, but they're based on societal ills that have been around for centuries and will, unfortunately, likely be around for centuries more.
    Last edited by nofather; 07-28-2017, 02:19 AM.

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