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The Lie and The Vigil

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  • The Lie and The Vigil

    Disclaimer: I've only recently started taking an interest in Mage, since we started getting teasers about The Fallen World Chronicle. Sorry if what seems like a revelation to me is already old hat to longtime Mage fans.

    Anyway, I've been thinking about Hunters lately and what exactly their relationship is with The Lie. There was some discussion in the weekly blog thread about it, and whether or not Hunters should count a sleepwalkers. There is definitely a lot of grey area, and that seems very much appropriate to the themes of Hunter, which asks at what point a well-intentioned human becomes the very monster they hunt. But here's where my own musings on the subject have lead me to.

    Setting aside the conspiracies like the Lucifuge that really toe the line between mortal and monster, at their core a Hunter is just a mortal who has had an encounter with the supernatural, and rather than rationalizing or dismissing it like other Sleepers would, they actually learn from the encounter. Mechanically, this takes the form of Practical Experience, and it demonstrates that Hunters must be seeing past the lie on some level, and on the surface, sure, it does look an awful lot like sleepwalking. But maybe there's something else going on - something far more sinister. To paraphrase Morpheus, many of these people are not yet ready to be Awakened. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on The Lie, that they will fight to protect it. And maybe that's what Hunters really are - people who have been faced with something so overtly supernatural that they can't simply ignore it, but instead of seeing beyond The Lie, they take up arms to protect it from the things they believe should not be.

    So here's where I get a little speculative. What if, when a Hunter first has that eye-opening experience, The Lie is no longer able to maintain the illusion of a sublunary world, so in order to keep them in control, it begins to affect them in a different way. The blissfully ignorant dream of such a sleeper turns into a nightmare. Rather than distorting the memory of a supernatural encounter into something mundane and explainable, it distorts it into something even more horrifying; it pushes the Hunter to fear the supernatural rather than simply ignore it. One feature of this explanation that makes it particularly appealing to me is that it creates an in universe explanation for why monsters use different rules in Hunter than they do their respective game lines. It's not simply that the Hunters don't fully understand what they're encountering - though that is part of it - it's also that their memory of their encounters with those monsters is actually being altered by The Lie. If you want to go even deeper with it, maybe Practical Experience is a direct result of this distortion. The Lie is actively aiding the Hunters in fighting against the supernatural; empowering the few who manage to see beyond it in their fight to keep the rest of the Sleepers believing themselves to be disempowered.

    So yeah, that's what's been on my mind, and I'd be interested to hear others' takes on it. Is this an interesting new idea, or something that's already been thoroughly explored? What implications might this take on The Vigil as a product of The Lie have on Mage and/or Hunter games? Any ideas on how to expand or improve on the concept?


    Onyx Path Forum Moderator

    My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

    Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

  • #2
    My one qualm with the notion of hunters as pawns of the Lie is that it runs counter to the “lights in the darkness” theme. I do think that it’s the sort of theory that a mage who has ended up on the receiving end of a witch hunt might concoct; and it does hold together fairly well. Perhaps a more positive spin on it might be to find and play up any positive aspects of the Lie that might exist. There aren’t many, especially once you take Supernal magic out of the picture (the Lie doesn’t cause other supernatural phenomena to unravel or to suffer anything like Paradox Risk); in fact, I can’t think of any off the top of my head.


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    • #3
      Yeah, I agree it kills the hopeful aspect of Hunter. I probably would not employ this interpretation in a Hunter game unless I wanted to tell a downer "you were the bad guy all along" story... And not a lot of people actually want to play that kind of game. But it works well if you want to use Hunters as antagonists in a Mage game, I think. The theory is definitely from the perspective of a Mage, going along with the idea that Mages like to try to fit everything within their worldview. It could well be that this is how a Mage would understand the tendency of Hunters who should by all rights be Sleepers somehow learning from each encounter.
      Last edited by Charlaquin; 08-03-2014, 09:25 PM.


      Onyx Path Forum Moderator

      My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

      Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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      • #4
        The “official” answer for this appears to be “if you want hunters in your Mage game, use Banishers”. But yeah; if I was running a “don’t underestimate Sleepers” storyline, something along these lines would make sense.


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        • #5
          I'm probably not going to use the Lie except as a background element to indicate that most people have odd explanations for actions of high level witches.
          For simplicity, I'll use Witchfinders instead of Mage for my Hunter game, but I may change my mind after I've read the Sleeper section of FWC.


          Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
          Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

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          • #6
            Personally, I’d be more inclined to use the sorcerers in Mortal Remains.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
              My one qualm with the notion of hunters as pawns of the Lie is that it runs counter to the “lights in the darkness” theme. I do think that it’s the sort of theory that a mage who has ended up on the receiving end of a witch hunt might concoct; and it does hold together fairly well..
              Kinda agrees with my notion a bit. Mine is tends to be that Hunters start emerging if one starts being a dick/gets too reckless. The idea that the Lie is actively recruiting sleepers to hunt Mages is great as an in-game excuse that Mages tell themselves to help go to the sleep at night.

              But the truth is a bit more simpler. They are mostly after you because you fucked up and most likely killed someone they hold dear. Keywords being "Fucked up" and "Killed".

              It keeps human agency for Hunters and leans very well to the hubris of Mage.

              Mage: "Oh those Sleepers are pawns of the Lie. Of Course they're after us! They can't help themselves!"

              Hunter: "You fucked up your spell which went out of control and lead to a school bus crashing, killing my son and his other 15 classmates."



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              • #8
                Maybe the act of seeing the supernatural and refusing the Lie is possible if you have the sheer stubborn Will to do so? I mean, Hunters are the only ones who can risk Willpower for a reason. Hunters haven't woken up, they've become sleepwalkers from sheer force of Will. I like the idea of Practical experience being the way Hunters cope and learn from what was already right in front of them, but now they can actually see it..

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                • #9
                  Do you also remove Lunacy when your hunters are up against werewolves?
                  Last edited by Dave Brookshaw; 08-04-2014, 05:07 AM. Reason: EDIT - Lunacy, even!


                  Dave Brookshaw, Mage and Deviant Developer, writer of many things

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                  • #10
                    Most of the time, yes. I'm a huge advocate for the players being special cases. That's not to say I don't play with my descriptions, and mess with the perception of the scene. There is always an effect, but I hate feeling like I'm taking away a player's ability to act.

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                    • #11
                      Conversely, a good case could be made that the whole point of Hunter: the Vigil is precisely that they’re not special cases.


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                      • #12
                        Yeah. Remembering what happened clearly when you witnessed magic is called being a Sleepwalker. If you want your Hunter characters to have that, give them the Merit.


                        Dave Brookshaw, Mage and Deviant Developer, writer of many things

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Shock View Post

                          Kinda agrees with my notion a bit. Mine is tends to be that Hunters start emerging if one starts being a dick/gets too reckless. The idea that the Lie is actively recruiting sleepers to hunt Mages is great as an in-game excuse that Mages tell themselves to help go to the sleep at night.

                          But the truth is a bit more simpler. They are mostly after you because you fucked up and most likely killed someone they hold dear. Keywords being "Fucked up" and "Killed".

                          That's already in the game though, you don't need to give Hunters any super special lie beating powers for that.

                          Hunter: "You fucked me up, so I used the Beats I got from that Breaking Point to buy the Sleepwalker merit. Now I'm gonna fuck you up.

                          You could make a houserule that any time a Sleeper suffers a breaking point from supernal magic they reduce the price of the Sleepwalker merit by one Beat, down to a minimum of one, on top of the beats they get from the breaking point anyway. That way you still have sleepers that never begin to sleepwalk, and doing magic in front of sleepers significantly increases the risk of Sleepwalker Hunters.
                          Last edited by Joker; 08-04-2014, 06:53 AM.


                          My custom legacy (2e)- The Disciples of Rathma - Life/Death focused Moros/Thyrsus Legacy, comments appreciated

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                          • #14
                            Dave, I wasn't advocating against the merit, I was simply responding the the theory crafting going on. A way of looking at hunters positively, as opposed to unknowing pawns of the Lie.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nyx View Post
                              Dave, I wasn't advocating against the merit, I was simply responding the the theory crafting going on. A way of looking at hunters positively, as opposed to unknowing pawns of the Lie.
                              Hunters aren't magical, not explicitly. They aren't all-knowing and they don't know what's good and what's bad. Having them be these special people who know when somethings wrong isn't the type of hunter the books have been writing about. Which is fine. You can change the way your hunters work but the default is hunters go in blind and they generally have no clue what's good or bad unless they get lucky. In most cases, that probably still wouldn't change their outlook on non-human beings.

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