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Explain the Cacophony

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  • Explain the Cacophony

    The Cacophony, as a concept, isn't grokking for me, in part because vampire populations, going by RAW(which I disagree with), are small enough to persist on reasonable word of mouth. Also, there seem better ways to go about it than the ludicrous conspiracy measures implied in the text. So... how does the Cacophony even work?

  • #2
    Originally posted by kalad2 View Post
    The Cacophony, as a concept, isn't grokking for me, in part because vampire populations, going by RAW(which I disagree with), are small enough to persist on reasonable word of mouth. Also, there seem better ways to go about it than the ludicrous conspiracy measures implied in the text. So... how does the Cacophony even work?
    Where exactly does the RAW say anything about the size of vampire populations?


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

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    • #3
      Specifically, it says Tokyo has an extremely high number of vampires at a whopping 300, which implies ludicrously low population density for a given density of humanity.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kalad2 View Post
        The Cacophony, as a concept, isn't grokking for me, in part because vampire populations, going by RAW(which I disagree with), are small enough to persist on reasonable word of mouth.
        If you're referring to the population numbers from the first book, certainly, you can throw those away. They were always meant to be adjusted to fit something you felt appropriate, anyways. You should probably use the same ruling for Tokyo's population claims. Population numbers should always be what you want for your story.

        Also, there seem better ways to go about it than the ludicrous conspiracy measures implied in the text. So... how does the Cacophony even work?
        Graffiti and tags, 'random' posts on message boards, signs held up by panhandlers with Entombed Commands, faint symbols painted in blood on stop signs only the hungry senses of a vampire would notice. Sometimes it's not so low tech, a series of streets 'adopted' by public organizations that form a path to a meeting place, actual billboards or bench signs. If you want to get nostalgic, calls to a late night radio talk show. As for why, sometimes it's a double Masquerade. You have to leave messages in public where Kindred can see them, but the kine won't connect the dots. Furthermore it's not always about messages to the all the Kindred, so the messages need to be designed in a way so that only certain 'in the know' vampires will really get what they mean. If the Prince decides to crack down on certain things, like gatherings of members of clans or covenants they don't like, they need some way to communicate and organize without risking final death or whatever punishment the Prince may decide.

        There's more than a few examples across the books. Offhand, I believe Damnation City shows different kinds from different clans and covenants, the Daeva clan book has some and one of the Night Horrors books. Also in the Gangrel clan book, Alice stumbles upon it in her quest.
        Last edited by nofather; 05-04-2016, 12:11 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nofather View Post
          Graffiti and tags, 'random' posts on message boards, signs held up by panhandlers with Entombed Commands, faint symbols painted in blood on stop signs only the hungry senses of a vampire would notice. Sometimes it's not so low tech, a series of streets 'adopted' by public organizations that form a path to a meeting place, actual billboards or bench signs. If you want to get nostalgic, calls to a late night radio talk show. As for why, sometimes it's a double Masquerade. You have to leave messages in public where Kindred can see them, but the kine won't connect the dots. Furthermore it's not always about messages to the all the Kindred, so the messages need to be designed in a way so that only certain 'in the know' vampires will really get what they mean. If the Prince decides to crack down on certain things, like gatherings of members of clans or covenants they don't like, they need some way to communicate and organize without risking final death or whatever punishment the Prince may decide.
          alright, so, why do you need so many public messages? a handful of simple, publicly inaccessible sites should work fine, combined with word of mouth. If you're moving to a new City, you should talk to someone in your Covenant who will point you to a Covenant member in the new city and they'll point out where to go. If you're a new vamp, obviously your sire should be doing this. There's plenty of ways to do both Masqueraded communication and 'double Masquerade'd communication without being excessively labyrinthine.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kalad2 View Post
            alright, so, why do you need so many public messages? a handful of simple, publicly inaccessible sites should work fine, combined with word of mouth. If you're moving to a new City, you should talk to someone in your Covenant who will point you to a Covenant member in the new city and they'll point out where to go. If you're a new vamp, obviously your sire should be doing this. There's plenty of ways to do both Masqueraded communication and 'double Masquerade'd communication without being excessively labyrinthine.
            Because vampires are immortal and paranoid and if you start rumors about them by word of mouth you're likely to get killed for insulting them. Or silenced so that no one can hear what you want to say.

            If you want to know what's up in the city, you talk to someone who knows the cacophony or walk the city and find out yourself. Having all the secrets of the All Night's Society spelled out in one location is going to make everyone vulnerable since there's nothing that's completely publicly inaccessible while also accessible to vampires. Plus if you were in a domain with heavy handed censorship, those places would be a good place to wait for disruptive influences to kill before they could become disruptive.

            It's labyrinthine because vampire 'life' is dangerous. And when the purges come, you might not survive to change your routine. It's safer to do it in a disorganized fashion.

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            • #7
              I think nofather has it right. Vampires lie; to mortals, to their ghouls, and to each other. With so many webs of deception all getting tangled up with one another, even a small truth becomes a liability. Hopefully, you can trust your sire and your covenant to have your back in a tight spot, but you absolutely cannot fully trust anything they tell you, unless you know they've got a damn good reason not to lie. Vampires who want to share genuine information need to do everything they can to cover their tracks, especially considering the array of powers vampires can bring to bear in ferreting out enemies.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kalad2 View Post
                alright, so, why do you need so many public messages? a handful of simple, publicly inaccessible sites should work fine, combined with word of mouth.
                Why do humans use social networks, independent news outlets etc.? A handful of big media and news portals should work fine, combined with word of mouth...

                If you're moving to a new City, you should talk to someone in your Covenant who will point you to a Covenant member in the new city and they'll point out where to go
                1. There's no guarantee anyone in your city knows anyone in city X.
                2. There's a million potential reasons for you to not trust any info your covenant members give you.
                3. It's not always wise to announce your travel plans, not even within your own Covenant.

                If you're a new vamp, obviously your sire should be doing this.
                Unless, I don't know, maybe you don't want to rely on the guidance of the guy who turned your life upside down, either on a whim or to further some kind of plan of his?

                There's plenty of ways to do both Masqueraded communication and 'double Masquerade'd communication without being excessively labyrinthine.
                Since Cacophony is secret, it gives an edge to those who know where to look.
                Since the messages have no particular recipient, you can more or less trust them - they can contain general misinformation, but they're extremely unlikely to contain something custom-tailored to misinform you specifically.
                Since any message can go through an unspecified number of discrete channels, it's decently shielded against outside meddling.

                "Labyrinthine" is just another word Kindred have for "kinda safe".

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                • #9
                  Keep in mind there is also a pseudo-mystical aspect to the Cacophony. It's implied that the Circle's mastery of it allowed them to develop/rediscover the use of Cruac. It's implied that the Cacophony is a factor in what makes the bite of the Traditions real (and further that bite is implied to be the foundation of Carthian Law).

                  In the main book, beyond the idea that it was the Invictus who started the Cacophony, I don't see a lot of detail on its origins.

                  Our table has branched out on the concept a little, as one of the PCs has aspirations to explore it. So far I've defined it originating from the Beast, actually. A non-verbal communication broadcast and received by one's predatory aspects. There's a (-2) penalty to hunting rolls when you are poaching. I like to believe Kindred can sense that penalty, in the feeling that they are in someone else's territory. I try to describe such poaching hunts as oppressive, shaky, like a first time shoplifter, or a wolf with tail tucked down throughout.

                  This marking of territory also effected the Kine themselves in subtle ways - a subconscious part of the prey could sense it and would react. Maybe the herd would wear certain colors associated with the Kindred. Maybe they would start to use certain dialects. Art might skew towards certain emotions or other aspects. Guilds (or later Corporations) might have names and logos influenced.

                  Perceptive Kindred then started parsing out details from the Herd about the Master. Clans, affiliations, abilities, disciplines - talented perceptors could keen these things just by looking at the human culture in someone's territory.

                  Eventually (sounds like the it was the Invictus) people were able to begin deliberately sending messages, instead of just allowing their beast to infuse them willy-nilly. They probably started small - things like "Claimed," "Danger," "Safety," "Protected." Very rudimentary, but the foundation was set.

                  Tonight, people have elevated this foundation to High Art. From pissing on trees, as it were, to pissing on the latest fashion show by that Mekhet upstart with some talent, but a lot of favor from the Sheriff. And regardless of your feelings on the Cacophony - you're going to be a part of it. Think about it like your Internet presence. Unless you are cutting yourself off from society completely, you're leaving information out there. Shopping habits, social media, porn choices, LinkedIn, etc. Just by doing things, you are putting out information that a dedicated Googler can find and use.

                  The people who buy the Cacophony Savvy merit are the same as the people who deliberately work messaging into their online presence. Or, more aggressively, hackers who can get your info even when it isn't public.

                  But, because we assume ithe origins of the Cacophony were an autonomic thing - that explains why it doesn't go away. Maybe it would go away if people completely ignored it and had their beast fully in check, but its usefulness at this point is too high to just abandon for the former, and few have the perfect mastery of their beast for the latter.



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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nofather View Post

                    There's more than a few examples across the books. Offhand, I believe Damnation City shows different kinds from different clans and covenants, the Daeva clan book has some and one of the Night Horrors books. Also in the Gangrel clan book, Alice stumbles upon it in her quest.
                    Damnation City uses the Cant system while blood and Smoke uses cacophony. I'm interested in merging the two. There should be one that any lick could pick up (cacophony) but also something only certain clans or covenants can read (cant). What popped in night horrors nofather? I missed that one.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kalad2 View Post
                      The Cacophony, as a concept, isn't grokking for me, in part because vampire populations, going by RAW(which I disagree with), are small enough to persist on reasonable word of mouth. Also, there seem better ways to go about it than the ludicrous conspiracy measures implied in the text. So... how does the Cacophony even work?
                      So, ignore the population numbers that really aren't forced on you in the first place.

                      Anyways, the Cacophony manifests in different ways, depending on the city. Some cities adapt newspaper articles, some adapt blogs, some use gang tags. Not all cities use all of them, so just pick one method that makes sense for your city to pass information along.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chattnos View Post
                        Damnation City uses the Cant system while blood and Smoke uses cacophony. I'm interested in merging the two. There should be one that any lick could pick up (cacophony) but also something only certain clans or covenants can read (cant). What popped in night horrors nofather? I missed that one.
                        Night Horrors: Immortal Sinners gets into how the Cacophony has spread online, around p10. It includes mentions of viichan, the anonymous vampire image boards.

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                        • #13
                          A short article here about Cacophony to help world building and player explanation.



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                          • #14
                            I don’t think the Cacophony is just one thing, from the name we can infer it has multiple elements and Cacophony Savvy requires City Status 1 preventing you from being able to use it if you’re new to the city. I think it’s knowing enough about how the city works to make and how to acquire information by provoking a response given the merit’s drawback and the order it grants abilities in.

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                            • #15
                              Can someone summarize in one paragraph what the Cacophony is? Anything that’s the basis for Invictus Oaths and Carthian Law sounds pretty cool.


                              “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.

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