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Storytelling the Alien Intelligence of High Rank Spirits

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  • Storytelling the Alien Intelligence of High Rank Spirits

    I am running a Chronicle based off a police procedural, but with spirits. The characters are cops struggling with their new found nature. Other than the way being a werewolf interferes with your life, I would also like to really play up the alien nature of the hisil and spirits.

    How have you done this? Have you seen this done well? Where do you draw inspiration for these scenes from?

    Not every spirit is going to be, like... a threat.

    I've read the Book of Spirits, Predators, W:tf 1st and 2nd.


    Currently Running: The Shield Bearers - W:TF 2nd
    Currently Planning: The Dead End Kids - CoD
    Untilted Tenra Bansho Zero game
    Currently Playing: The Unusual Suspects - D:td, I am playing The Naturalist

  • #2
    My player doesn't go in the hisil often unless she needs to, but I find how alien it is depends on the nature of the hisil. Open wilderness? Unless it's a magath there it is usually pretty much the same. Now inner city? I use silent hill as an inspiration.


    WoD-Dark Eras!! (Backed for Viking Age Werewolf)

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    • #3
      Spirits want more things in the world around them that reflect their conceptual natures and generally have a hard time understanding that what is "good" for them is not necessarily good for other beings. People beloved by a spirit of death or fire or poverty generally have a pretty miserable time unless they can redirect its attentions, and even spirits of conceivably beneficial things can cause problems due to lack of moderation. High-Rank spirits are more likely to grasp the notion of delayed gratification.

      Spirits of compatible resonance cluster together easily; high-Rank spirits in particular tend to use their entourages as extensions of themselves to better regulate the tenor of their Essence intake through tithes and Shadow-engineering.

      Spirits may not be human or readily human-comprehensible, but their interests are generally the interests of the phenomena that resonate with them; even the Dihim are ultimately the sum of their parts, however many and complex those may be.


      Resident Lore-Hound
      Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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      • #4
        One should keep in mind that while spirits want to promote what they are, sometimes it needs an alternative. For instance, Chris Allen's Pain Angel is the premier spirit of a hospital, and a spirit of healing. But in order to be healed, one must first be harmed. As has been mentioned, Silent Hill is a good example, as it often has aspects that reflect the setting and memories made by the setting, but they typically aren't played very smart or powerful. I think video games and video game art tend to have good imagery, providing you don't lean too cartoonish.


        This is a mainliner, from the Suffering. They were representations of lethal injections, of drug addiction and aggressive drug pushing. You don't have to go humanoid, either.


        Not every spirit is going to be a threat, but every spirit is a potential threat. Back when the game was more about being 'spirit police,' the police analogy was accurate in more than one way. Spirits know what werewolves are capable of, and know what they do. A werewolf going into the hisil is like a cop going into a bad neighborhood. You won't be instantly mobbed unless it's a very bad place, but you're not going to get help without some work and bribery. Everyone's going to treat you with suspicion and mistrust, and they know if you're talking with them it's because you want something, and they'll be eager to take advantage of that. And you will never truly fit in. Even when or if you manage to dominate a portion of the hisil, it would sort of be like Training Day, with everyone acting loyal but perfectly willing to betray you when the tides change.
        Last edited by nofather; 10-04-2016, 09:19 PM.

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        • #5
          Consider, if you would, that spirits (specially potent ones) can influence others - particularly their lessers. Not with arguments, but with outright use of their influences. With managing the shadow landscape in a fashion that their choice of essence bounties are largely imprinted in most other, tangentially related phenomena.

          Let's start with a simple example: Wrath aligned spirits spreading their influence over the landscape could have clear effects, for instance, over weather patterns. Imagine if such a phenomenon wasn't how Hurricane Katrina was brought to bear.

          The Shadow is a place of symbolism. Symbols shape language, and vice-versa. Broaden up how influences work: A spirit with influences in Cold could, for instance, cut a potential Uratha's Kuruth - by cooling her temper.

          The case of following each case of subtle shadow machinations in order to draw pictures about what caused this or that phenomenon could drive an infinite amount of chapters.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by salientmind View Post
            I am running a Chronicle based off a police procedural, but with spirits. The characters are cops struggling with their new found nature. Other than the way being a werewolf interferes with your life, I would also like to really play up the alien nature of the hisil and spirits.

            How have you done this? Have you seen this done well? Where do you draw inspiration for these scenes from?

            Not every spirit is going to be, like... a threat.

            I've read the Book of Spirits, Predators, W:tf 1st and 2nd.
            Ironically, I'd say higher-Rank spirits would be somewhat less alien in some ways (better able to understand motivations and ideas other than their own) and more alien in other ways (vast lifespans and power make them less likely to find humans directly relevant.)


            We don't allow mages to cast spells, since this is the most unbalancing rule of all.

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            • #7
              When I am running something with Orange/ Blue Morality, especially when it comes to Spirits and Hisil, I think of the nature and symbolic nature of the things and view those as moral imperatives instead of just trends in behavior.

              Cats, and spirits of Cats, must Slink, Fight, Kill, and Gleefully Torture the Helpless as much as it must Purr, Cuddle, Rub Up Against, and Bond with Members of its Pride.

              Trucks, and spirits of Trucks must Haul, Prowl, Park, and Run Over Things, as much as it must Rev It Engine, Stop on a Dime, Carry Its Humans, and Drive.

              Each type of spirit will have its own Orange/Blue Morality, but the overall Orange/Blue Morality of the Hisil is devour, be devoured, or fade away. The Hisil as a whole is like an etch-a- sketch that fights to not be erased and re-drawn over but is eternally failing.

              What is right and wrong only exists within context of its nature, whereas morality among humanity often concerns fighting part of, or some would say all of, our nature, towards ideals that transcend the individual and their selfish needs to a more mature level of development where consideration of others, history, and experience can take place. Alien beings may also have this type of progress, I mean how is a kitten different from an old Tom cat, but it'd be hard for our human eyes to track it as easily as seeing what other humans have progressed in maturity and morality.
              Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 10-06-2016, 07:32 PM.


              “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ~ Aristophanes
              "Virescit Vulnere Virtus" ~ Stewart Clan Motto

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Pale_Crusader View Post
                When I am running something with Orange/ Blue Morality, especially when it comes to Spirits and Hisil, I think of the nature and symbolic nature of the things and view those as moral imperatives instead of just trends in behavior.

                Cats, and spirits of Cats, must Slink, Fight, Kill, and Gleefully Torture the Helpless as much as it must Purr, Cuddle, Rub Up Against, and Bond with Members of its Pride.

                Trucks, and spirits of Trucks must Haul, Prowl, Park, and Run Over Things, as much as it must Rev It Engine, Stop on a Dime, Carry Its Humans, and Drive.

                Each type of spirit will have its own Orange/Blue Morality, but the overall Orange/Blue Morality of the Hisil is devour, be devoured, or fade away. The Hisil as a whole is like an etch-a- sketch that fights to not be erased and re-drawn over but is eternally failing.

                What is right and wrong only exists within context of its nature, whereas morality among humanity often concerns fighting part of, or some would say all of, our nature, towards ideals that transcend the individual and their selfish needs to a more mature level of development where consideration of others, history, and experience can take place. Alien beings may also have this type of progress, I mean how is a kitten different from an old Tom cat, but it'd be hard for our human eyes to track it as easily as seeing what other humans have progressed in maturity and morality.

                I read a lot, and I never heard of Blue/Orange Morality. You blew my mind. I tend to make my npcs like this:

                Stats
                Description
                Motivations
                Aspirations

                With spirits the motivations have been "gain more essence", but applying blue/orange morality the motivation can easily be more defined. Using a cat as an example, a feral cats motivations might be to "Hunt, Clean, Gather, Mate, Maintain Territory" where a house cat might be "Hunt (toys), Clean, Seek Attention, Sleep"

                They are almost like the toys from toy story.


                Currently Running: The Shield Bearers - W:TF 2nd
                Currently Planning: The Dead End Kids - CoD
                Untilted Tenra Bansho Zero game
                Currently Playing: The Unusual Suspects - D:td, I am playing The Naturalist

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by salientmind View Post
                  They are almost like the toys from toy story.
                  Now that sounds like a plot hook.


                  Genius: the Transgression 2E is a thing that's being worked on.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by malonkey1 View Post

                    Now that sounds like a plot hook.
                    I'm currently running a game in set in Weequahic neighborhood of Newark, NJ called the Shield Bearers.

                    Haha yeah. I have three spirits that reside in a glade. The glade is the home of a community activist and foster mother named Sister Mary Beth. A sort of grandmotherly figure in the baptist community in Newark NJ. Her home is in a very violent neighborhood, but she has provided solace for many people. Although she is too old to foster anymore, she still provides aid to many in the community. I asked this question because I'm trying to figure out how the spirits who reside in her home react to her aging.

                    The motivation of getting essence seems to drive short term decision making. It is like the stock market. They would expect year over year games. But what about a long term investment strategy? What about wanting a home? About comfort?


                    Currently Running: The Shield Bearers - W:TF 2nd
                    Currently Planning: The Dead End Kids - CoD
                    Untilted Tenra Bansho Zero game
                    Currently Playing: The Unusual Suspects - D:td, I am playing The Naturalist

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by salientmind View Post

                      I'm currently running a game in set in Weequahic neighborhood of Newark, NJ called the Shield Bearers.

                      Haha yeah. I have three spirits that reside in a glade. The glade is the home of a community activist and foster mother named Sister Mary Beth. A sort of grandmotherly figure in the baptist community in Newark NJ. Her home is in a very violent neighborhood, but she has provided solace for many people. Although she is too old to foster anymore, she still provides aid to many in the community. I asked this question because I'm trying to figure out how the spirits who reside in her home react to her aging.

                      The motivation of getting essence seems to drive short term decision making. It is like the stock market. They would expect year over year games. But what about a long term investment strategy? What about wanting a home? About comfort?
                      That sounds like the thinking of older, more powerful spirits. It seems like weaker spirits tend to be kind of animalistic and short-sighted, while powerful spirits, being generally older and smarter, can play the long game.

                      Weak spirits might try to keep the old woman alive at any cost (even terrifying, misguided body modification), or maybe use something like Aggressive Meme to manipulate the community into taking up he cause, while an older one would probably find a suitable replacement, and manipulate the two into meeting and becoming close, possibly Possessing and Urging people to push the would-be replacement into the position the spirit needs.


                      Genius: the Transgression 2E is a thing that's being worked on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by malonkey1 View Post
                        While an older one would probably find a suitable replacement, and manipulate the two into meeting and becoming close, possibly Possessing and Urging people to push the would-be replacement into the position the spirit needs.
                        This reminds me of the Bus-God that learned to manipulate the bureaucracies/politics that governed a cities mass transit. I think it is important to keep the thinking within what is an appropriate metaphor for the subject.

                        As I mentioned previously spirits are things of their nature, a bus spirit was likely able to grow and comprehend different people taking positions because that's how its passengers and even drivers work. For a spirit that seeks to replace people or components that should be part of the metaphor the spirit represents. Wolves kill their alphas when they get weak. For the most relevant advice you should tell us about the nature of the Spirits we've been dealing with, and what kind of court they have set up.

                        Possibly a spirit of Loving Foster Care would understand that people move on innately, and would seek new safe homes for the one leaving (Sister Mary Beth) after possibly guiding her to adopt and raise up a replacement daughter who'd continue the practice of providing loving foster care. Depending how fearful it is of the local werewolf pack is how bold it would be with its nudging (possibly to Claiming if time grew too short, and there was no expected backlash from werewolves)

                        I expect it has at least a moderate understanding that werewolves patrol the area seeking those that are too bold across the border, so it may bribe lesser spirits of abandonment (Can't have Loving Foster Care without those little tasty things to feed on, as they could easily be consider its "natural prey"). Weak spirits of abandonment make great scouts for those with a deep and wide hole in their heart, and what better way to "recover" (the abandonment spirits don't care even a little about that, they just want to delay being eaten) than to love and care for others? Thus finding a girl suitable to raise is easy and mostly "hands off". This could be considered a healthy part of the spirit ecosystem if it was completely without spirit intervention.

                        I picture the Hisil where this spirit of Loving Foster Care, to be much larger than because it'd be heavily based on the perceptions of many different children and the world seems larger for them, possible a oubliette like closets which has space as deep as abused children's fears, crawling with many fear and nightmare spirits, which themselves are terrified of Loving Foster Care (Because they too are Its natural prey). I see loyal spirits of stuffed animals prowl while the electric essence flows to the nightlight spirit looking to fight and devour fear spirits. This is a place that feeds off of the hurt and fear the children bring with them and while humans might view them as positive that doesn't mean the ecosystem/battles are sweet or gentle, in fact it is savage, and the "positive"spirits are massacring the weaker fear motes or gafflings.

                        Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 10-10-2016, 06:24 PM.


                        “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ~ Aristophanes
                        "Virescit Vulnere Virtus" ~ Stewart Clan Motto

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pale_Crusader View Post

                          This reminds me of the Bus-God that learned to manipulate the bureaucracies/politics that governed a cities mass transit. I think it is important to keep the thinking within what is an appropriate metaphor for the subject.

                          As I mentioned previously spirits are things of their nature, a bus spirit was likely able to grow and comprehend different people taking positions because that's how its passengers and even drivers work. For a spirit that seeks to replace people or components that should be part of the metaphor the spirit represents. Wolves kill their alphas when they get weak. For the most relevant advice you should tell us about the nature of the Spirits we've been dealing with, and what kind of court they have set up.

                          Possibly a spirit of Loving Foster Care would understand that people move on innately, and would seek new safe homes for the one leaving (Sister Mary Beth) after possibly guiding her to adopt and raise up a replacement daughter who'd continue the practice of providing loving foster care. Depending how fearful it is of the local werewolf pack is how bold it would be with its nudging (possibly to Claiming if time grew too short, and there was no expected backlash from werewolves)

                          I expect it has at least a moderate understanding that werewolves patrol the area seeking those that are too bold across the border, so it may bribe lesser spirits of abandonment (Can't have Loving Foster Care without those little taste things to feed on, as they could easily be consider its "natural prey"). Weak spirits of abandonment make great scouts for those with a deep wide hole in their heart, and what better way to "recover" (the abandonment spirits don't care even a little about that, they just want to delay being eaten) than to love and care for others? Thus finding a girl suitable to raise is easy and mostly "hands off". This could be considered a healthy part of the spirit ecosystem if it was completely without spirit intervention.

                          I picture the Hisil where this spirit of Loving Foster Care, to be much larger than because it'd be heavily based on the perceptions of many different children and the world seems larger for them, possible a oubliette like closets which has space as deep as abused children's fears, crawling with many fear and nightmare spirits, which themselves are terrified of Loving Foster Care (Because they too are Its natural prey). I see loyal spirits of stuffed animals prowl while the electric essence flows to the nightlight spirit looking to fight and devour fear spirits. This is a place that feeds off of the hurt and fear the children bring with them and while humans might view them as positive that doesn't mean the ecosystem/battles are sweet or gentle, in fact it is savage, and the "positive"spirits are massacring the weaker fear motes or gafflings.

                          This already gave me so much to work with. The leader of the Choir as I designed it is the Sister's Peace. Sister Mary Beth believes its work is an intervention of Christ.

                          The Sisters Peace (Rank 3)
                          A spirit of peace and comfort that runs the Choir at the house. It looks like a dove made of wax. It smells of honeysuckle, jasmine and cocoa powder. It speaks with the voice of the sister herself.
                          The sister loves the smell of honeysuckle. The spirit grew from that first initial bliss she experienced smelling the plant in her mother’s garden, and the use of it in homemade poperie in the quarters of the reverend of her childhood church.
                          Motivations:
                          The sister’s peace knows that the end is near. It intends to maintain this place as an oasis against the burdens of the neighborhood of weequahic.
                          Ban: Harming the Sister directly
                          Bane: Failing to protect the sister while it is in her presence



                          Currently Running: The Shield Bearers - W:TF 2nd
                          Currently Planning: The Dead End Kids - CoD
                          Untilted Tenra Bansho Zero game
                          Currently Playing: The Unusual Suspects - D:td, I am playing The Naturalist

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                          • #14




                            I would reword the Ban and Banes so some variation or mix of these:

                            Ban: Harming the human foster mother directly
                            Bane: Being rebuked for cruelty by a foster mother

                            Bane: Allow a human child to be harmed in her presence
                            Bane: Frightening a child

                            Ban: Leave the Foster Home
                            Bane: Violence from beings which are not her natural prey.


                            If this is a new campaign may I recommend one of the player character's come from this foster home?
                            Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 10-10-2016, 07:02 PM.


                            “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ~ Aristophanes
                            "Virescit Vulnere Virtus" ~ Stewart Clan Motto

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It isn't a new campaign, but it is easy enough to establish an NPC now who did so it carries larger stakes later on.


                              Currently Running: The Shield Bearers - W:TF 2nd
                              Currently Planning: The Dead End Kids - CoD
                              Untilted Tenra Bansho Zero game
                              Currently Playing: The Unusual Suspects - D:td, I am playing The Naturalist

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