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Story Ideas: Return of the Border Marches

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  • Story Ideas: Return of the Border Marches

    If you're in my game Hunting Grounds: The Cascades on RPOL, stay out! This contains possible plot ideas for that game and you will spoil them even as I brainstorm them into being.

    So one thing that the Neolithic chronicle stuff will inspire in me is a potential return of the Border Marches. It'd be the focus of a chronicle (or several), and probably tied to some epic scale event. First I'd want to start small, plant the seeds of this possibility. Prophets envisioning a cataclysmic rebirth, increased Shartha activity, maybe the coming of an idigam. Then again, maybe the Maeljin, a growing Wound, the bones of Father Wolf. The question is where to place said bones? The First Wound could be anywhere, I think, and my setting takes place in the Washington Cascades, so it's not lacking in ancient history. Then again, I suppose it doesn't have to be something quite so near-apocalyptic. Perhaps just one of Father Wolf's bones scattered into the spirit wilds, and a Wound forms around it as it is unearthed. Or maybe it has nothing to do with that—the Rat and Spider Hosts both thrive in this setting, and their war is about to reach fever pitch. Maybe one or both have something to do with shattering the Gauntlet and reawakening the Border Marches.

    Or finally, it could be a Pangaean, slumbering since prehistory, awoken by conflict, inadvertent human action, or even cultists. With its emergence are loosed forces beyond mortal ken. It becomes an antagonist in the form of a god, a force of nature, and if it can't be stopped, well ... or maybe even if it was destroyed, the Border Marches would be back. Was that whole realm compressed, and now it springs back fully-formed, with its inhabitants intact? Does it need to regrow, regenerate, repopulate? And are the werewolves now beholden to Father Wolf's great hunt, stalking the Marches as well as the realms on either side?

    What would you do with the Border Marches in the modern day? How would you set up the return? What would it mean for your chronicle and your characters?


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  • #2
    I've never thought much about it. The resurrection of Pangaea always seemed impossible to me, the closest option being ripping down the Gauntlet and drowning the world in the Hisil and just calling it 'New Pangaea.' I figured starting a post would sort of spur me to think about it so just getting preliminary thoughts down here.

    Apparently Father Wolf and other powerful Pangaeans were sort of pillars of the natural world. Opposite the Hisil's reflections. I'm unsure if Father Wolf's death was exactly the sole cause of things, or perhaps just the betrayal of the act, or some meddling of Luna's. Were the Plague King and the Spinner-Hag also pillars? Could their deaths possibly have weakened Pangaea? Were they Pangaeans at all? And what happened to Pangaea anyways? Did it fall? There are legends that the Architect of Violence's lair is built on Father Wolf's bones, in the First Wound. Does Pangaea still exist, just somewhere else? That would probably make it easier to 'bring back,' than if it was eradicated from the universe altogether. When it comes to cosmic stuff like this I try not to take a humanocentric approach. The Border Marches didn't exist just because of humans, so they didn't exist just on Earth, and it seems unlikely the death of Father Wolf would doom all the Border Marches across the entire universe, so I'd probably stick with it still there, just inaccessible around Earth. Maybe Father Wolf's death howl just blocked everything off, like some legends stated.

    Offhand, without deciding one way or another, I guess some good steps would be to find out about and contact the other major powers from Pangaea somehow. Once they were prepared and willing, you would need to find a replacement for Father Wolf. Whether this means a werewolf of great power or the ascension of a firstborn spirit or tackling something like the God Machine and diverting it to the job would depend. I'd also have a sacrifice be necessary, and something big.

    As for what it would mean, it would end the world as we know it. The players would probably have to deal with a lot more chaos as powers from three worlds tried to take advantage. As Storyteller I'd probably have to put a lot more work in to fill out the Border Marches near their territory.

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    • #3
      Do not put Wolf's Bones - he is all right. Sorta. As the Souless Wolf...

      One of the reasons in mine headcanon that you cannot return Border Marches is because Father Wolf is dead. Or rather "undead, filled with Malejin's energies". To resurrect him, you need to exorcises Souless Wolf, bring back original Urfarah "soul" ( or something similar ) and resurrect primordial god of Border Marches. Marches then return to reality as quickly as returned Wolf would be.

      Theoretically - it is possible - just very, very, very unlikely as you must basically make Bale Hounds loose their "Firstborn" Totem and cure it with impossible magic.

      But, hey, Chronicles of Darkness are based on stuff of legend, yes?


      My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
      LGBT+ through Ages
      LGBT+ in CoD games

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      • #4
        I'm pretty sure the return of the Border Marches would mess with Predator Kings...The loss is the reason why Dire Wolf supports them against the Forsaken.
        Bing it back, and it becomes...less interested in what the half-breeds are up to, provided they don't screw everything up again.


        Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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        • #5
          So, interesting thought: if the Border Marches are brought back, what happens to the Pure? Removing them as a source of conflict would be a waste. But let's discuss how it would change them. I don't think it necessarily removes their general motivation. After all, Urfarah is still dead, and this vision of the ancient hunter's paradise is still ruined by humanity. The Pure have to face facts right then: they don't have the numbers and the power to dominate the world of humans. Thus they could still hate the Forsaken, perhaps even more for this tainted vision of the paradise in which they once hunted.

          Then we must consider what happens to the rest of the world. How would it be noticeable from the mortal world? That's the big one. Spirits would find easier ways to cross over, I think, through the strange land that occupies the space between worlds. However, humans are no longer going to be accustomed to and accepting of spirits and monsters as part of the life experience, like they were in the Neolithic. Yet I think the return of this border realm can't go unnoticed, like the Hisil largely does across the Gauntlet. Apocalyptic-level upheaval, mass disappearances, extinctions, sudden plagues and the like? Or would it be subtle enough to be couched within terms of environmental change?


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          • #6
            I think it would be very chaotic.

            Providing Pangaea hadn't evolved the way the world did, and when it was returned was stuck in a 'Predator's Paradise' mindset, you'd quickly have big, bad monsters moving to and fro. Humanity would likely deal with them pretty easily at first, but the failed attempts would just give smarter and stronger things time to learn. Providing, of course, you didn't have a surrogate Father Wolf, to curb such predations. In, I think, Skinchangers it mentions that there's a powerful spirit that rules over an entire city or nation in 'the middle Kingdom' which I figure meant the Border Marches. So things wouldn't just be attacking the world of humanity but those that would would be hard to deal with. And it wouldn't just be obvious threats like monsters coming out of nowhere, but plagues and supernaturally-enhanced viruses, sapient weather patterns and living hives of anger and so forth.

            From the human side, you'd have some problems too. Suddenly there's a whole load of legally unclaimed real estate, and pathways that, similar to the Hedge, could make patrolled borders useless. Governments would overreact swiftly and rashly. I truly believe there would be a lot of people trying to move there for a new start, without living under the thumb of religion or governance or whatever authority. Werewolves and beshilu wouldn't be the only ones thinking it was their promised paradise.

            A thing with the Pure, they might not have the numbers and power to dominate the world of humans now, but if they were the ones to bring back the Border Marches they might have made some powerful allies when doing so. And the Uratha aren't the only Pangaeans. I'm not exactly sure how it would work but if there were other natives it might be possible to shore up their numbers with some pillaging. And of course they would try to claim Pangaea reborn for themselves.

            It would probably be really hard for the Forsaken. They were born in the physical world, have devoted their lives to it or the Hisil. They aren't prepared, at all, for an entire new world to enter the equation, especially one that might be considered theirs by birthright. Cleave to the human? Are you banned from Pangaea? The herd must not know? How could you hide something so huge and accessible? And does the presence of the Border Marches mean that the Gauntlet is no longer something you can just Reach across? Does everyone have to take the long way, so to speak?

            On the bright side, they might be able to better their relationship with Helios by taking up Father Wolf's old duties.
            Last edited by nofather; 12-14-2015, 05:45 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nofather View Post
              In, I think, Skinchangers it mentions that there's a powerful spirit that rules over an entire city or nation in 'the middle Kingdom' which I figure meant the Border Marches.
              That's the section on the mythology behind the brood of South American vengeance spirits that supposedly used to follow the Jaguar God who was one of many spirit lords Urfarah permitted to toe the line.


              Resident Lore-Hound
              Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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              • #8
                If somehow the Gauntlet got completely screwed off, with the current state of affairs? I'd display why murdering Urfarah was a good idea. Nothing preventing spirits from crossing over and taking hosts? Spirit Lords literally crossing over and taking control of entire cities? Shit going apeshit. And the Pure playing lapdog to all of their totems still.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ephsy View Post
                  If somehow the Gauntlet got completely screwed off, with the current state of affairs? I'd display why murdering Urfarah was a good idea. Nothing preventing spirits from crossing over and taking hosts? Spirit Lords literally crossing over and taking control of entire cities? Shit going apeshit. And the Pure playing lapdog to all of their totems still.
                  See, I always imagined that before the sundering the only way to cross from one side to the other was to go through the border marches, which were effectively large and permanently active verges, or something close to it. Otherwise I don't see how Father Wolf would have been able to maintain any sort of control over who went where. The myth presented in the 2ed corebook definitely agrees with you that the pre-sundering cosmology with a weakened or no Urfarah would be a disaster in the manner you described.

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                  • #10
                    It seems to have been its own world, even if it was more of a 'barrier' world. The Neolithic dark era should give some answers but I think it was always more than something comparable to verges. Possibly similar to the Hedge in Changeling, which acts as a barrier between our world and the Arcadia of the True Fae.

                    Except it was also vital to our world, which the Hedge may not be. It was the home of the pillars of our world, as opposed to the reflections you see in the Hisil.

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                    • #11
                      The entire shadow trembles for a moment as the spirit howl of farther wolf's eldest child reverberates through the air to reach all of his tribe. dire wolf demands that his tribe swear unto him a new oath and uphold a new ban
                      "Lay claim to pangea reborn, whatever the cost"

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