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[Dark Eras] Harmony in historical times

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  • [Dark Eras] Harmony in historical times

    So I want to discuss the elephant in the room for the historical games - much more violent world.

    In my Viking game, our Uratha pack imprisoned local Khazar warlord, just killed circa 12 his warriors, bodyguard and priest, and burn his Great Hall, all in one scene. By the Vikings sagas canon, it's standard in those tales. Stories from that times are full of the actions like this.

    In Antiquity and Early Middle Ages times ( and earlier ), mass killings and battles are on the day to day basis.

    And then we have 2E Harmony rules where 'Killing a human or wolf' is lesser Breaking Point toward Spirit. When killing one in Antiquity or Early Middle Ages is like... well, maybe not a walk, but a thing that can - and probably you will - do each month. Just to survive.

    How to judge characters in that context? If whole pack killed circa 15 people, then is this major Breaking Point toward Spirit, with a penalty to roll -2 or -3? Or should I lower expectations in this settings, as it's just so common - so it's 'just' minor Breaking Point, like 'killing a human' is in modern times?

    Assuming just the killing in this times is much more everyday than in our modern society?


    My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
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  • #2
    You have a strange estimation of how people operate.

    Simply put, you're wrong.


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    • #3
      It depends how much fighting you want. Like, I think you've massively overemphasised the violence of the era, but if that's the kind of game you want, that's not really a problem. So bear in that in mind for the next bit:

      Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
      By the Vikings sagas canon, it's standard in those tales. Stories from that times are full of the actions like this.
      I'd keep in mind that they are stories. You write stories about interesting things. No one wants to hear about how some guy didn't do very much. I mean, you could say the same about modern fiction (quite a bit of non-fiction too actually).

      In Antiquity and Early Middle Ages times ( and earlier ), mass killings and battles are on the day to day basis.
      I doubt that. It is a lot more common in aggregate, but bear in mind that every battle has a very high chance of going wrong. My understanding is that that's more or less why the Vikings were so into raiding, it's about carrying off enough loot to set yourself up with the minimum amount of effort and danger. Going from battle to battle to battle is just a good way to end up dead.

      When killing one in Antiquity or Early Middle Ages is like... well, maybe not a walk, but a thing that can - and probably you will - do each month. Just to survive.
      The question is, who are they fighting? Like, if your group isn't actively antagonising others, why would anyone attack them? They're an armed viking band, they're a bad target.

      Assuming just the killing in this times is much more everyday than in our modern society?
      At root this again depends on how you want to run the game. Like, I suspect we don't really know how people in this era dealt with killing and violence. Maybe they dealt with the same issues that modern people do, or maybe their culture insulated them somewhat, or maybe somewhere in between. But it's really up to you how you want to calibrate the game.


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      • #4
        In agreement with Michael, I think you’re mistakenly concluding that the interesting things captured in sagas and stories are what happened constantly. Battles weren’t constant. For the average person, killings weren’t constant.

        Just thinking about the simple logistics reinforces this. It took a long time to get to battles. Most people walked. Walking takes time to get anywhere. And when you got to the place of battle (assuming lack of ambush), you prepared for battle. Then you fought. If you survived, you then spent time resting and recuperating and preparing to travel to the next place. Which could take days, weeks, or months. During which time you weren’t battling or killing.

        Or for Vikings, you got in your ship and you spent a few days getting to your target area. Then you got ready for raiding. You raided and moved on. You rested, ready to raid again. You raided as much as you could logistically carry or afford to lose, then you spent time heading home.

        In summary, the majority of ancient people’s time was spent doing anything but battling and killing.


        Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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        • #5
          Okay, assuming that battles and large conflicts were sparse - but they did happen.

          How Harmony should relate to mass killings? Larger penalty to roll, giving -2 or -3 maybe?

          If Uratha also broke Oaths tenet 'Herd Must Not Know' with shapeshifing before their enemies, it's also worsening Harmony roll ( or is it negligible )? Question is if characters broke 'Herd Must Not Know' if they killed anyone seeing their inhuman forms?


          My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
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          • #6
            Another thing to consider is how traumatic battles were. A gun lets you kill at a distance. You don't have to see your target too closely with a sniper rifle, don't need to touch them with a shotgun. In melee, even with a spear, you are still one lapse of judgement away from death. Crossing rivers as arrows hail upon you, fighting in a pool of blood and corpses from both sides, hoping your armor and weapons hold up. Seeing your companions fall as you endure. The uncertainty of what lies beyond, when news, orders, supplies and reinforcements are weeks, sometimes months away from arriving, if at all.

            Then there are the lack of antibiotics and proper medical knowledge, your pack will be fine, but their mundane companions will not be spared such agonies.

            So yes, battles should probably leave the equivalent of emotional scars. They can sack a village without killing, its actually more efficient since they can rebuild for next time or you can impose a tithe to save you both the trouble.

            Werewolves are both humans and spirits. That kind of brutal nonchalance towards killing sounds very spirit like. So to me it makes sense that, even if they are warriors, they also need to draw some lines to stay centered between both natures.

            As for The Herd Must Not Know , if they eliminated all witnesses, it should be fine. Hopefully, so long as they didn't leave behind a ghost that could compromise the Veil. And if they make sure to dispose of any incriminating claw/bite marks. Its all a matter of efficiently tying up loose ends.
            Last edited by KaiserAfini; 04-28-2019, 11:58 PM.


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            • #7
              Always trust your gut when it comes to being fair to the setting and time period.

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