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  • Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
    On the subject of magath, I'm also a bit confused. Is magath a whole new state of being for a spirit, or is it simply an umbrella term for those spirits that have consumed too many contradicting concepts to operate "correctly"? Like what makes a spirit so contradictory to the point other spirits want nothing to do with them, and what leads them to be powerful like Granny Stiches despite that setback?
    Just noticed I'd missed this question, so to summarize my reading of the material:

    A magath is a spirit that no longer has a place among the choirs of the spirit world. That can be nonsense hybrids of disparate elements, yes, but it's also spirits that you can easily describe a representative phenomenon for that nevertheless is not (or has ceased to be) part of the natural order, like Granny Stitches' exploratory fear or Irinam the Colossus's embodiment of Manifest Destiny or the Relict Men's representation of an extinct species.

    The operative distinction is that magath are bound to concepts that do not provide them with peers to serve as a social safety net (such as it is); The spirit of a species that has faded from all relevance needs to hitch its wagon to a close-enough relative or else forfeit its place in the choirs of nature spirits and take its chances with a diversified diet. Magath are often accordingly desperate to feed their hunger, hence the archetypal specimen that devours its way into a sort of omnivorous nightmare mishmash, but the Greater Jaggling of rivers/trains/work who manages to keep their disparate plates spinning and strongarm or manipulate their way into influence in spite of their pariah status is as much a magath as the swarm of snowflakes and bees that's confined to the eaves of a particular house up north for six months of the year.

    By analogy to a game that came out later in Chronicles history, magath are to spirits as exiles are to angels — if you're a spirit with roots in more than one thing and other spirits will have nothing to do with you if they can help it, you're a magath, regardless of how you got there.


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    • Originally posted by Satchel View Post
      Just noticed I'd missed this question, so to summarize my reading of the material:

      A magath is a spirit that no longer has a place among the choirs of the spirit world. That can be nonsense hybrids of disparate elements, yes, but it's also spirits that you can easily describe a representative phenomenon for that nevertheless is not (or has ceased to be) part of the natural order, like Granny Stitches' exploratory fear or Irinam the Colossus's embodiment of Manifest Destiny or the Relict Men's representation of an extinct species.

      The operative distinction is that magath are bound to concepts that do not provide them with peers to serve as a social safety net (such as it is); The spirit of a species that has faded from all relevance needs to hitch its wagon to a close-enough relative or else forfeit its place in the choirs of nature spirits and take its chances with a diversified diet. Magath are often accordingly desperate to feed their hunger, hence the archetypal specimen that devours its way into a sort of omnivorous nightmare mishmash, but the Greater Jaggling of rivers/trains/work who manages to keep their disparate plates spinning and strongarm or manipulate their way into influence in spite of their pariah status is as much a magath as the swarm of snowflakes and bees that's confined to the eaves of a particular house up north for six months of the year.

      By analogy to a game that came out later in Chronicles history, magath are to spirits as exiles are to angels — if you're a spirit with roots in more than one thing and other spirits will have nothing to do with you if they can help it, you're a magath, regardless of how you got there.
      Thank you for the explanation. I am still a little confused regarding what makes a spirit magath when at one point they weren't despite having the same concepts.

      As an example, I mean Granny Stiches. Unless I'm misunderstanding, hasn't she always kept those same concepts, until one day she just couldn't reconcile them and suddenly became a contradiction? Or am I reading it wrong and where at one point she was the concept of Exploration Into the Unknown, the fear she gained from the people ended up getting into her resonance?

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      • Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
        Thank you for the explanation. I am still a little confused regarding what makes a spirit magath when at one point they weren't despite having the same concepts.

        As an example, I mean Granny Stiches. Unless I'm misunderstanding, hasn't she always kept those same concepts, until one day she just couldn't reconcile them and suddenly became a contradiction? Or am I reading it wrong and where at one point she was the concept of Exploration Into the Unknown, the fear she gained from the people ended up getting into her resonance?
        She's sufficiently old that all we have to go off of are stories, but yes, the latter appears to be the more likely reading.

        Becoming magath isn't necessarily a thing that happens in a singular event — hence, again, Relict Men and other spirits who become hybrids through their failure to cleanly adapt to their environment — but spirits are the sum of their parts, and there's a tipping point where they go from being a member of the umia with some questionable feeding habits to being a thing to be shunned.

        Umbrella term aside, magath are singular creatures, and most of them aren't powerful enough to have that distinction through rising to the peak of a spirit court and organizing the world around their conceptual makeup. Most of them have warped themselves beyond recognition in the grand dance of wind and rain and cats and dogs and downtown traffic and road rage and vehicular homicide. They exist as a consequence of the spirit world being made of discrete spirits who stick around until they're destroyed instead of Venn diagrams of Essence and resonance that exist as abstract hypotheticals.


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        • Question: Can Werewolves touch spirits in twilight without using any special gifts? Like I presume they can see spirits in twilight because they are half-spirit, but I wasn't sure about touching them.

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          • Originally posted by Caedus View Post
            Question: Can Werewolves touch spirits in twilight without using any special gifts? Like I presume they can see spirits in twilight because they are half-spirit, but I wasn't sure about touching them.
            Ostensibly the sense of touch is included in spirit senses' ability to perceive spirits in the state of Twilight, and spirits count the unarmed attacks of werewolves of sufficiently high honorary Rank as a bane, but otherwise you need rites, fetishes, or other means of forcing a spirit out of the state of Twilight or interacting with spiritual Twilight.


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            • Originally posted by Caedus View Post
              Question: Can Werewolves touch spirits in twilight without using any special gifts? Like I presume they can see spirits in twilight because they are half-spirit, but I wasn't sure about touching them.

              Not usually. The ability to touch and strike ephemeral entities is the advantage imparted by the Bone Shadow version of the Siskur-Dah. Other than that there are Rites which can enable Werewolves to interact with Spirits in Twilight, or force Spirits to manifest

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              • What would even be happening in an Ocean Hisil? Does it just police itself?

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                • Originally posted by Dante[RU
                  ;n1473239]What would even be happening in an Ocean Hisil? Does it just police itself?
                  Given that there are very few humans in the ocean it's just not much of an issue. There aren't many opportunities for spirits to cross the gauntlet in the ocean, and even if they could, they can't do very much once they're here.

                  Having said that, you can use the ocean as a great source of horror of the unknown in a Werewolf game. Uratha might be the ultimate predators on land, but they are truly out of their element in the water. The ocean can easily spew forth never before seen shartha or even weirder creatures, which Uratha have no context for, and even worse, imagine what would happen if an Idigam ended up in coastal waters.

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                  • Originally posted by Dante[RU
                    ;n1473239]What would even be happening in an Ocean Hisil? Does it just police itself?
                    Subnautica?


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                    • Originally posted by Aurumae View Post

                      Given that there are very few humans in the ocean it's just not much of an issue. There aren't many opportunities for spirits to cross the gauntlet in the ocean, and even if they could, they can't do very much once they're here.

                      Having said that, you can use the ocean as a great source of horror of the unknown in a Werewolf game. Uratha might be the ultimate predators on land, but they are truly out of their element in the water. The ocean can easily spew forth never before seen shartha or even weirder creatures, which Uratha have no context for, and even worse, imagine what would happen if an Idigam ended up in coastal waters.
                      Yeah, but I don't mean that in the context of spirits affecting humans. I mean the spirits themselves, whatever can live down there, no one really can control what they're doing? I guess a big scary pit of just "unknown" stuff breeding and going nuts somewhere in the depths, unknown to various normal spirits swimming closer to the surface is a good enough estimate.

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                      • Originally posted by Dante[RU
                        ;n1473268]

                        Yeah, but I don't mean that in the context of spirits affecting humans. I mean the spirits themselves, whatever can live down there, no one really can control what they're doing? I guess a big scary pit of just "unknown" stuff breeding and going nuts somewhere in the depths, unknown to various normal spirits swimming closer to the surface is a good enough estimate.
                        Back in 2020, Chris Allen wrote up a bit about the ocean in Forsaken, including a delectable Gift of the Sea. Some of the more interesting bits include that sometimes spirit magic will suddenly fail while out on the water, and that drowning is a conscious act that sea-spirits perform, so if you're sneaky and/or a good bargainer, you can get pretty far down in the Shadow-ocean without any specialized equipment.

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                        • Originally posted by Dante[RU
                          ;n1473239]What would even be happening in an Ocean Hisil? Does it just police itself?
                          Mostly, yes.

                          And if you stop to think about it, land spirits mostly do the same, There simply aren't enough Uratha to police spirits in every place spirits are very active. And the Shadow has its own ecology, which means that despite the complex and unbalanced dynamics of its day to day life, it tends to be more or less self-correcting in the long run (although not necessarily in the longest run).

                          There's also the question of why would only Father Wolf's get be capable of acting as spirit police. There are many ways in which a spirit may come to act in such a capacity, as Father Wolf once did, be it to keep a desired status quo or just follow their own nature. You may have shark, dolphin and squid spirits acting in a similar fashion, for example, indeed you could have different dept in the sea having their own "policing forces".

                          One interesting thing to account for is that the oceans have a far lower diversity in species than land, with far greater populations for those species, i.e. it has more biomass as a whole, but with far more uniformity in comparison. The effects of this on the Hisil may result in less need for policing to begin with, and/or different strategies for doing so.

                          Finally, there's the question of just how much all this "policing" stuff is actually relevant away from human populations. Humans increase the diversity of the Hisil with all the things we produce, not because we generate more emotional spirits (animals do that well enough), but because we build things that may have their own spirits. Also, accept it or not, werewolves come from a human understanding about things and have human worries about the state of the world around them, even when those worries are not direct toward humans. Do the animals, plants and stones of the physical world really care about all that "policing"?

                          If you decide your setting has intelligent life unknown to mankind secretly living in the oceans, they may create the context for a similar phenomenon to the Uratha happening there. If not, then it needs less of this sort of interference in a general sense.


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                          • The ecology of the ocean hisil is likely getting up-ended by the constant stream of pollution and trash poured into it, being used disrespectfully as entertainment and shipping routes, not to mention global warming melting glaciers and causing the oceans to rise.

                            It's just not something that has as much of an obvious way to be dealt with by werewolves. But given the sea level is literally rising you can see the result of this conflict in the gurihal.

                            For whatever reason, Chronicles has avoided doing much with the sea. I understand there was at least one focused book about the supernatural aspects of the oceans in old World of Darkness, but most of the new stuff is pretty landlocked. So you are free to represent these conflicts however you wish (or don't). But you do have hints of things like through the lamprey host, the brineborn, the Kraken, and the Deep. None of these things are striving for a 'balance' however and all seem pretty gung-ho about drowning the world or at least making it more hospitable for them to the detriment of humanity.
                            Last edited by nofather; 01-26-2022, 11:47 AM.

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                            • Originally posted by Dante[RU
                              ;n1473239]What would even be happening in an Ocean Hisil? Does it just police itself?
                              The simplest explanation is a combination of the following:

                              1. There's basically nothing on the books to suggest that there isn't some bonkers nonsense happening in the Shadow far out to sea.

                              2. There is an ample supply of water and fish to feed the relevant spirits, and elementals have been repeatedly characterized as old, inertial, and dismissive of biological life, with spirits tied to bodies of water having especially powerful varieties of hunger; the ocean's Shadow could well be just as prone to frantic fugitives as the land's, but since most of the spirits there are drawing from the symbolic portfolios of things that can't leave the water, the ecosystems mostly keep to themselves whether they want to or not, barring the intrusion of humanity or freak disaster or both.

                              3. The way the urban Shadow works translates well to the aquatic Shadow: it's not the centers of regions that you need to worry about, it's the borders, which feeds into so much of aquatic Shadow-adjacent creatures being coastal phenomena. Werewolves happen to have a much easier time coming across such phenomena, and the big fish deeper down are sufficiently entrenched that they can enforce their agendas on anyone who can't hop the fence for the beaches.

                              The long and short of it is that, ironically, Jules Verne got it wrong — to live within the heart of the ocean is not to be independent; the sea does belong to tyrants, to such a degree that the abyssal and pelagic spirit courts can be reasonably compared to the Naturae of the Anima Mundi, who basically are the component members of their ecosystems. This is what happens when you live in a place with Big Old Deep Fish and Ancient Things With Influence: Their Whole Environment.


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                              • Originally posted by nofather View Post
                                The ecology of the ocean hisil is likely getting up-ended by the constant stream of pollution and trash poured into it, being used disrespectfully as entertainment and shipping routes, not to mention global warming melting glaciers and causing the oceans to rise.

                                It's just not something that has as much of an obvious way to be dealt with by werewolves. But given the sea level is literally rising you can see the result of this conflict in the gurihal.

                                For whatever reason, Chronicles has avoided doing much with the sea. I understand there was at least one focused book about the supernatural aspects of the oceans in old World of Darkness, but most of the new stuff is pretty landlocked. So you are free to represent these conflicts however you wish (or don't). But you do have hints of things like through the lamprey host, the brineborn, the Kraken, and the Deep. None of these things are striving for a 'balance' however and all seem pretty gung-ho about drowning the world or at least making it more hospitable for them to the detriment of humanity.
                                The problem here is sheer scope.

                                I find it especially ridiculous to think that ocean entities are focused on taking over the land by drowning it. The ocean is already more than 70% of Earth's surface, and most of it isn't that crowded to need even more, this is a land problem, not a water one. Water entities, both real and fictional, also have far more vertical mobility even without leaving their actual favored dept, so the oceans are actually very low in population density compared to land.

                                Pollution and trash are certainly a big thing happening there. If there's a big conflict among modern oceanic spirit courts and whatever pass as Uratha down there, it certainly has recent trash formations and temperature changes among their main reasons. But big large scale changes in the ocean aren't really such a new thing, so from a long scale perspective it isn't a reason to think the ocean needs the Uratha.

                                Also because, again, most of those phenomena are far more drastic above the ocean than on them. Water warming is a big problem, but weather isn't so much. While we face violent storms, droughts, typhoons and the like due to climate change, those phenomena have very little direct impact in oceanic life, and less of an impact the deeper you get. It is quite the opposite: a 1ºC change in oceanic temperature that has medium to low impact on oceanic life (it does have some, and may deeply affect some species depending on where it happens) is more than enough to generate a surge in catastrophic weather above water.

                                Ships and entertainment are meaningless in this regard. Our impact through direct presence is, fortunately, extremely more limited in the ocean than it is in landlocked wild environments. We can cause havoc on coastal areas, but from a oceanic perspective they're less of a thing than they are from a continental perspective. Our biggest ship can barely be noticed passing just a dozen meters below surface, even a submarine is a lonely spec in the middle of a realm where IRL whales and giant squids are already a thing. Are they something the individuals present will noticed? Yes. But hardly will they cause lasting, meaningful changes to the system itself.

                                On the big scheme of things, the oceans simply exist in a scale too larger than ourselves, and too separated from what happens above waters. Even the problems we did caused only took the scale they did because the ocean itself wrestled the mess completely out of our control, like how ocean currents form islands of plastic with an efficiency we can only dream about and can do nothing to stop. That's the great challenge in portraying it in fiction, how utterly indifferent it is to whatever happens outside it and hard for meaningful exploration it is for us. An alien realm where most facts of life as we know don't apply and vastness define almost everything.


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