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What does the Shadow look like?

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  • What does the Shadow look like?

    I can't find anything in the books about what the Hisil looks like, in general. Is the sky a different color than in the physical world? Is it darker? Always night? Or is it an exact mirror of our world, except that everything is sort of alive and a lot of specific objects and places are... altered... in some way depending on how they've been influenced from our side? The illustrations in the books aren't very helpful on this point.

  • #2
    It looks like the real world, except where it doesn't.
    Many places have tinges to them of resonance and memory. The extremes will be more extreme, dark alleys darker because they are fitting to the idea of dark alleys. Some places will get surreal.
    Mostly the sky will be the same as the real world, again, except where it isn't.
    It affects other senses, too. There's places you can hear mountains growing, and sounds unheard in the real world. A house near an airport might always shudder with the sounds of airplanes passing overhead, even where there are none, a apartment building near a busy street might always sound like rush hour traffic is going on outside.

    It's not entirely impossible to wander in and not notice anything is different, at least until you run into some spirits.

    The reason it doesn't get too into specifics is because everyone's going to focus on different areas, so they didn't want to limit you. You could make it so the sky is always yellow and it's always night, you just don't have to. The Book of Spirits is supposed to be a good resource for this.
    Last edited by nofather; 06-24-2014, 02:52 PM.

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    • #3
      My general guideline when depicting the shadow is that the shadow is truer. The Resonance (think emotional or conceptual imprint) is like a filter overlaying how everything looks.
      A clean, well kept house that was previously the site of a grisly murder would reflect this nature in the Shadow. I also add in elements of the spirit ecology. Like a coral reef, any place with significant resonance probably has a collection of spirits, ranging in size from barely visible motes to larger, stronger and smarter spirits drawn to feed from that resonance.


      Curios, Relics, and Tomes - A collection of Relics (Cursed and Otherwise)
      The Horror Lab - A collection of Beasts, Monsters and less definable things.
      Strange Places - A collection of Dark, Mysterious, and Wondrous Locations
      Twilight Menagerie - A collection of Ephemeral Entities

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      • #4
        I looked recently for this kind of info for my first Werewolf game and the best info I got from sub chapter in Werewolf: the Frosaken corebook in Apendix One: The Shadow Realm. Section is called A WALK THROUGH THE SHADOW - it describe typical journey in to Spirit. Main points of description:
        • Daytime - it's the correct time of the Material World. Well, most of time. There could be slight delays, or some "Deep Shadow" domains could intervene ( Places That Shouldn't Be ). My players Totem is ancient Bear Spirit from Stars, and so in vecint of his lair, there is always night, as he is star in there.
        • Weather - it's mostly like there were storm brewing. There could be peaceful places ( Glades ) or grave silent ones ( Burrows ), but most of the time "there is something in air". Sun or Moon are almost totally covered by clouds, and if Lunes or Helions intervene, they don't show full phase, only little glimpse from the covarage.
        • Inanimate things - objects or plants look most the same as they are in Material Realm, only a bit darker and in background ( they are "shadows"- Rank 0 - spirits ). There is a bit predatory feel to them - ocks are more sharp on edges, trees are moving branches on the wind like they would whisper to each other. Think about Fangor Forest from Lord of the Rings - you cn feel that even if things don't move, they have some life.


        My stuff for Scion 2E, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
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        • #5
          You know how sometimes you'll be outside just before a rainstorm and there will be dark clouds overhead, but maybe sunlight coming in sideways from a few miles away where the sky is clear, and the particular quality of that weird side-cast light causes everything to look sortof sharper-than-usual but also maybe a bit oversaturated? And it's really gorgeous, but none of it looks quite real anymore?

          That's sortof how I imagine the Hisil (and the umbra before it) looking most of the time.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Gabby View Post
            You know how sometimes you'll be outside just before a rainstorm and there will be dark clouds overhead, but maybe sunlight coming in sideways from a few miles away where the sky is clear, and the particular quality of that weird side-cast light causes everything to look sortof sharper-than-usual but also maybe a bit oversaturated? And it's really gorgeous, but none of it looks quite real anymore?

            That's sortof how I imagine the Hisil (and the umbra before it) looking most of the time.
            I've commonly described the Shadow this way myself, with the addition of finding ways to communicate breathing for each thing.


            Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
            The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
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            • #7
              "The untamed world" seems a key descriptive phrase to remember, as well.


              Resident Sanguinary Analyst
              Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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              • #8
                None of this is canon, but here's one of my standards for "how the Shadow World looks".

                What does the Shadow look like?

                You’ll have to go on a bit of a trip with me to get a picture of what I see when I imagine the Shadow Realm.

                Have you ever done a drawing with markers on a pad of paper and pressed so hard or run over the same space on the paper so many times that it bleeds thru to the pages underneath? If not, go try it, because the rest of this won’t make much sense.

                Imagine if an artist was to draw a picture of a factory with the cityscape behind it every day with marker. Every day, he draws the same picture from memory, but he’s not allowed to look at yesterday’s picture for reference. It has to be from memory every single time. The places that are important to him will get the most detail and greatest attention. Places that are less important will be drawn with ever decreasing attention. Because the places that are important will be drawn more heavily, they will bleed thru to the next page, making it easier to remember them. Places less important will fade over time until forgotten all together. New things may be added to the picture, even over a place that was once occupied by a forgotten object. Now imagine that not just one artist got to draw that factory and cityscape, but everybody who works at that place on that day got to draw it, but they are all on the same piece of paper and with the same markers. Places like the factory that employs half the town would be drawn so heavily that it goes thru several days’ worth of paper, except for the individual variations. The window washer who works there will know every broken window, but the foreman won’t. Other places that are important to only a few people will not fade as quickly, but the old factory that only a derelict hides out in will not be all that noticeable compared to the thousands of lines of the factory.

                Still with me? From here, we imagine that the images drawn are done by more Expressionist and/or Impressionist artists, i.e. it is a little more subjective than Realism and they’re trying to convey the feelings people have about it. While most of the objects retain their primary shapes, the drill press is not just a drill press….it’s got chains around the bottom because the one guy gets stuck working on it for a month. It’s also got a drill 3 times too big because of the 50 guys who are missing fingers because they go too close. The cars in the parking lot shuffle around slightly like herd animals, but generally stay in one spot. The mini-vans and SUVs look more like covered wagons designed by Chrysler, metal and plastic, but clearly built for hauling stuff and people over long distances. The executives fancy cars move more like sleek gazelles, except for the president’s Mustang which is, of course, a horse with a large penis (no, really, he’s not compensating for anything!). The factory itself looks both beneficial and ominous. The lights inside look more like hellfires, the smoke stacks produce a dark green smoke, but there are also dollar signs coming out of it pointing in the direction of many of the houses.

                The last element to be added is that all the markers used are mixed with charcoal and ash. They’re dark and rough (charcoal) or washed out and gritty (ash). The factory isn’t a good, healthy work environment, so it looks worse than a lot of other places. Lots of injuries and deaths, but people work there because they are short on options. The city behind it is a little brighter because those are the places people go to escape the work: home, bars, clubs, shopping, etc. Those places that have become less distinct are shrouded in a haze or over-shadowed by the other places that stand out.

                Above it all shines Mother Luna, there is no direct sunlight here. It is dusk or full night, depending on how bright Luna shines that day. The shadows are long and things hide in them.


                - If you must be ridiculous, I must ridicule you.
                - Those that can give up essential liberties in exchange for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin

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                • #9
                  The key word, I think, is oversaturation. To keep your audience in awe of the shadow, there are microcosms and macrocosms, whole ecologies of things that exist but are never paid attention to. Every detail gets the spotlight and every footnote has a whole novel devoted to its rote, vaguely animal existence. As long as you get across that no matter how hard the visitor looks there is always something going on they cannot afford to pay attention to, because it is so much bigger than they are.

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                  • #10
                    Here's another reposting of something I had for dealing with the Shadow Realm....less how it looks and more how it feels.

                    1) Don't worry about the actual terrain as much as the impressionist terrain. Does the mountain area look rocky and dangerous in the material realm? Then it probably is. Does it look like it might be filled with tranquil lakes and easy trails in the material realm? Then it probably is. The Shadow is a reflection of the impressions and feelings of the area. If no one is sure what's up there, then it might look more foreboding with dark areas due to the extreme tree cover, which also makes it a little claustrophobic.

                    2) I usually treat the interactions with the spirits in the Shadow like an amusement park horror house, but instead of people in masks wandering around, they let loose a bunch of wild animals. The characters will wander thru stretches of general shadowy areas, then suddenly something will jump out at them, and it'll either disappear just as suddenly or go straight for the characters. The weaker (prey) spirits will jump thru and scamper back off into the darkness. The stronger (predator) spirits will see potential prey in the characters and go after them. A quick, ferocious, and bloody battle takes place and then the whole place gets quiet again. Too quiet. Like everybody's watching now.

                    3) Not every spirit is awake. The majority of the spirits are just filling in the exact space that their material counterpart has. The tree spirits are there for the trees. The rock spirits are there as rocks. The wild sheep and rams spirits are just grazing on the grass spirits and the grass isn't trying to move away from them. Most of them are barely beyond motes. The dangerous ones are the ones who have started to stray from their material anchors. These are the ones who've been snacking on other spirits that may or may not be an acceptable part of it's diet. The owl spirit who's been dining on mice and rabbits is fine. The owl spirit feeding on darkness and flight spirits is just getting more specialized, but still not far off from where it started. The owl spirit who's been scooping up wolf spirits and tree spirits.......that thing ain't right!!

                    4) While spirits are generally hostile to the Uratha, not all of them will outright attack them. Some of them are small enough and weak enough to know they don't stand a chance. So they run and they hide and they WATCH! Oh my goodness, the number of eyes staring out from the darkness in the Shadow is enough to make even the most level-headed turn paranoid. And what are they watching for? An opportunity. Maybe the characters know a way out to the material realm. Maybe something bigger will come along and rough them up enough to make them easy picking. Maybe something will just tear them apart and the others can take the scraps. While not every spirit will attack, they are still willing to become a predator (or scavenger) if the prey is weak enough.


                    - If you must be ridiculous, I must ridicule you.
                    - Those that can give up essential liberties in exchange for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin

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