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White Wolf: Geist - Dead Like Persona Fandango [now available for Sin Eating]

cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm RegentBears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
edited February 2010 in Critical Failures
Yes, WW's newest game of life after death or something in-between is out now.
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Available for quite cheap at Amazon if you're interested($22.49)

http://www.amazon.com/Geist-Sin-Eaters-Ethan-Skemp/dp/158846377X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251237183&sr=8-1


New White Wolf Tarot deck, inspired by Mage:



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Do want.

And this is the book that compliments it nicely:

It has supplement.


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Really, really want. I glanced through it,and it looks awesome. Rules on not only reading the Tarot, but how to apply the readings to a Mage Chronicle.
Each key, each trump, is a step along the path of the mage. From the dangerous ignorance of the Fool to the completion of the World, each card holds a secret. Seek Justice, pursue Strength, trick the Devil, and defy Death - the cards will show you the way.

A Chronicle Book for Mage: The Awakening
Storytelling the journey through the Tarot as a Mage chronicle
22 different cabals, legacies, Artifacts, and other ready-made story materials, each one tied to one of the Major Arcana
Advice on cartomancy, story seeds for every Tarot card, and more


That deck goes for a pretty penny though. $34.99. D: Might be cheaper on Amazon, hopefully. It'd be a nice way to kill two birds with one stone(the book is only ~$18).




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White Wolf must love them some Fae cash, because the supplements keep on coming.



Geist: The Sin Eaters, the newest NWoD game, should be arriving shortly.

Geist.jpg

http://atomicarray.com/aa027_geist_quickstart.pdf Free quickstart PDF!

The basis of Geist is about characters who suffered near-death experiences, and returned with a newfound affinity for the 'other side', and are now called Sin Eaters.

In WW's own words, Geist is not a morbid game, but a celebratory one.

Making the most of the time you have left, and using it to help the departed move along to the other side.


Sin Eaters can detect the presence of lingering dead and their ghosts better than most, and have the ability to help them accept what they've lost and move on.


The full sourcebook should be along soon.

Until then, someone should start a game.






So apparently the newest incarnation of Vampire, Requiem, has gone 80s.

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I'm not sure what to make of it either.

Stay tuned for info, I guess.

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It seems like there's quite a few people who aren't familiar with the numerous games the White Wolf banner encompasses, so I figured we could use a thread that pertains to all of them for both discussion and educational purposes.

I'm only intimately familiar with one of their serieses, but I will try to touch on all of them(mostly via Wiki). If any game seems under represented, contribute away, and I'll update the OP accordingly.

Also, most of this is based on World of Darkness, but discussion on any White Wolf game/series is welcome, despite that I probably don't know it exists.

This turned out exceedingly long, so most details will be spoilered for length.

What is White Wolf?
White Wolf, Inc. is an American gaming company, most famous for the Vampire: The Masquerade roleplaying game. The company began in 1991 as a merger between Lion Rampant and White Wolf Magazine, and was led by Mark Rein·Hagen of Lion rampant and Steve and Stewart Wieck from the magazine. Taking their name from the fiction of Michael Moorcock, they have become one of the world's most successful role-playing game companies.

White Wolf publishes a line of several different but overlapping games set in the "World of Darkness", which generally resembles our world with added supernatural elements, and whose tone is generally described as "modern gothic." In the World of Darkness, vampires, werewolves, mummies, mages, changelings, wraiths, and other creatures of the night exist and fight with and alongside each other while remaining hidden from normal humans. The company also publishes the high fantasy Exalted RPG, and d20 system material under their Sword & Sorcery imprint, including such titles as the Dungeons & Dragons gothic horror campaign setting Ravenloft, and Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed series.

To complement the World of Darkness game lines, there is a LARP system dubbed Mind's Eye Theatre. Many grassroots gaming groups have sprung up to play games based on this system.

White Wolf has also released several series of novels based on the Old World of Darkness. All game books and novels set in the Old World of Darkness are currently and indefinitely out of print.

White Wolf has a mixed record in the collectible card game market with Arcadia, Rage, and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle (formerly 'Jyhad'). V:TES, perhaps the most successful of the bunch, was originally published by Wizards of the Coast in 1994 but was abandoned just two years later after a revamped base set and name change (V:TES) and three expansions. White Wolf acquired the rights to the game in 2000, despite no new material having been produced for the game in over 4 years. Since then, VTES has released several expansions, and is the only official source for material for the Old World of Darkness.


World of Darkness?
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The heart of White Wolf games occur in modern times, in what's referred to as the World of Darkness. No matter how bright and peaceful things seem, there's creatures and schemes far darker operating in the shadows.
The Old World of Darkness
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The World of Darkness resembles the contemporary world, but darker, more devious, more conspiratorial. Humanity is losing hope as it is secretly preyed upon and controlled by supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves and wraiths. One facet that sets the World of Darkness apart from most other horror fiction is that these creatures are not solitary predators to be hunted down and destroyed, but they are numerous and intelligent; enough so to form secret societies, develop various factions and allegiances, and use humans as pawns in power struggles and murderous games often lasting centuries or millennia.

However, the rising power and strength of human civilization has started to restrict their power, and an atmosphere of gloom resides over many of the games as once-almighty supernatural beings, the dark Princes and Lords of previous eras, in their turn face the bleak and unbearable prospect of a future spent struggling and shrinking under the ever-more powerful gaze and control of a world-wide technocratic cabal, which intends to stamp out mysticism - and their supernatural rivals in the same course - by making reason and science paramount. In the meantime, normal humanity, tool or prey of all factions, is oppressed and hounded in this hidden, all-encompassing conflict, barely capable of fighting and for the majority not even aware of their enemies.

Interlocking conspiracies, some mirroring those existing in our own world, some unique, can be found throughout the setting. Cabals of powerful mages, coteries of cunning vampires, and other, stranger powers vie within their own cultures and with each other for control of the world. The dichotomy between rich and poor, influential and weak, powerful and powerless, is much more pronounced than in our world. Decadence is common and corruption is everywhere. This dark reflection is seen everywhere: gargoyles and gothic construction influence architecture, while the leather look and punk atmosphere crowd the streets. Everything is as gloomy in the WoD as the most pessimistic tabloid headlines present it.

The Transition
In late 2003, White Wolf announced it would stop publishing new books for the line, bringing the published history of the setting to an end with a series called The Time of Judgment. This event is described from different supernatural perspectives in four Sourcebooks: Gehenna (for Vampire: the Masquerade); Apocalypse (for Werewolf: the Apocalypse); Ascension (for Mage: the Ascension); and Time of Judgment (covering of White Wolf's less-established product lines: Demon: The Fallen, Changeling: The Dreaming, Kindred of the East, Mummy: Resurrection and Hunter: The Reckoning ).

The publishers stated that in doing so, they followed up on a promise that has existed in the World of Darkness since the first edition of Vampire, with the concept of Gehenna, and in Werewolf, with the Apocalypse, as well as some elements of some of the published material that pertain to 'end of the world' themes in other games. Fiction novels from each of the three major gaming lines concluded the official storyline.

The New World of Darkness
On August 21, 2004, White Wolf launched a new World of Darkness line, sometimes referred to as nWoD or new World of Darkness. While the rebooted setting is superficially very similar, the overall theme is one of "dark mystery", with an emphasis on the unknown and the personal.

Many details of the setting, especially in regards to its history, are left vague or otherwise have multiple explanations. This may be a response to criticism of the old games: so much material had been published that Storytellers found it difficult to surprise their players, who knew every supposed "mystery" of the setting. Additionally, "end of the world" themes were noticeably absent from the new World of Darkness games, leading many to conclude that White Wolf does not intend to end the new WoD in the same manner as it did the old.

Instead of reprinting a full ruleset with each major title, tweaked and modified for each game, the new setting uses one core system for all games, a streamlined and redesigned version of the Storyteller System renamed the "Storytelling System". A core rule book, simply titled The World of Darkness, has full rules for human characters and ghosts; though it has no specific setting material, it establishes a tone and mood for games featuring human protagonists. This is another contrast to the old games, where so many different types of supernatural creature had been defined that normal humans often seemed unimportant. (Players often joked that "mortals" were a minority in the setting, far rarer than vampires or werewolves.)

Along with major changes to the story, much of the revision to WoD lies in the variations on gameplay.


Mechanics
The new WoD rules are much more streamlined than the previous system. The difficulty on all rolls is now set at 8, unlike the previous game where the Storyteller adjusted the number needed based on the difficulty of the roll. Now rather the Storyteller can add or remove dice from the player’s dice pool to reflect variable difficulties. The Failure rules have changed and the idea of Dramatic Success has been added, in that a "10" indicates a re-roll and the "10" still counts. If another "10" is rolled, this step is repeated until anything but a "10" is rolled. Dramatic Successes are indicated by having five or more successes on the action, and can be regulated by the Storyteller. Dramatic Failures are now only possible on "chance" die rolls; when a dice pool is reduced by penalties to zero or less, a single chance die is rolled. If a 10 is rolled, it is a success (and as before, rerolled), if the result is less than 10 but not 1, then it is a simple failure. On a chance die, if the roll is a 1, then it is a Dramatic Failure, which is usually worse than a normal failure of the action, and is regulated by the Storyteller (although examples of Dramatic Failures in certain situations are occasionally given).

The game also features a much simplified combat system. In the old system each attack made during a combat scene could easily involve 4 separate rolls and in many cases required more due to supernatural abilities possessed by the characters. Combat scenes involving large numbers of combatants could take a very long time to resolve. The new system requires only one roll which is adjusted by the defensive abilities of the person being attacked and represents both the success and failure of the attack and the damage inflicted because of it, (indicated by number of successes).

The nature and demeanor rules which represented the personality of the characters and were common in the old games have also been removed. In the new system characters have a virtue and a vice trait which not only represents the personality of the characters, depending on how well a role player the person playing that trait is, but also represents actions that the character can take in order to regain willpower points that have been spent during the course of play. The virtues and vices are the same as deadly sins and heavenly virtues. (Charity, Faith, Justice, etc, for Virtues, and Envy, Wrath, Lust, etc, for Vices). Storytellers and Players are encouraged to invent new ones as seen fit.

The morality stat represents the moral outlook of the character and the notion that as a character takes more and more morally questionable actions she or he will eventually stop feeling bad about it. A character with a high morality would be more moral and saintly while a person with a low morality would be able to take more questionable actions. As a person’s morality falls they run the increasing risk of becoming mentally unstable.

For example, a vampire kills a mortal cultist who has been trying to kill him. Since she attacked him, it's not murder, it's manslaughter, which is represented as "4" on morality. The vampire's current morality stat is "6". He fails his rolls, and now must make a second roll to resist gaining a derangement. (Trait that affects characters' rolls & actions).

There is some version of morality in each of the game lines which represent internal struggles of the characters.

There are also specific action bonuses which can be attached to the Skills. These give modifiers to whatever the person is doing. There is also a "no dice chance" rule, where the person attempts to do something he wouldn't normally be able to do, they have to roll a "10" to succeed.


What follows is a primer on the most known WW games.
Open to much editing, if someone feels I left out a particular game, or it needs more detail.
Mage

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The Ascension
[Old World of Darkness]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mage_The_Ascension


While I know little to nothing of Mage, it seems to be among the deepest of White Wolf's games, and it also has quite a devout following.

Background
The basic premise of Mage: The Ascension is that everyone has the capacity, at some level, to shape reality. This capacity, personified as a mysterious alter-ego called the Avatar, is dormant in most people, who are known as sleepers, whereas Mages (and/or their Avatars) are said to be Awakened. Because they're awakened, Mages can consciously effect changes to reality via willpower, beliefs, and specific magical techniques.

The beliefs and techniques of Mages vary enormously, and the ability to alter reality can only exist in the context of a coherent system of belief and technique, called a paradigm. A paradigm organizes a Mage's understanding of reality, how the universe works, and what things mean. It also provides the Mage with an understanding of how to change reality, through specific magical techniques. For example, an alchemical paradigm might describe the act of wood burning as the wood "releasing its essence of elemental Fire," while modern science would describe fire as "combustion resulting from a complex chemical reaction." Paradigms tend to be idiosyncratic to the individual Mage, but the vast majority belong to broad categories of paradigm, e.g., Shamanism, Medieval Sorcery, religious miracle working, and superscience.

In the Mage setting, everyday reality is governed by commonsense rules derived from the collective beliefs of sleepers. This is called the consensus. Most Mages' paradigms differ substantially from the consensus. When a mage performs an act of magic that does not seriously violate this commonsense version of reality, in game terms this is called coincidental magic. Magic that deviates wildly from consensus is called vulgar magic. When it is performed ineptly, or is vulgar, and especially if it is vulgar and witnessed by sleepers, magic can cause Paradox, a phenomenon in which reality tries to resolve contradictions between the consensus and the Mage's efforts. Paradox is difficult to predict and almost always bad for the mage. The most common consequences of paradox include physical damage directly to the Mage's body, and paradox flaws, magic-like effects which can for example turn the mage's hair green, make him mute, make him incapable of leaving a certain location, and so on. In more extreme cases paradox can cause Quiet (forms of madness that afflicts mages and may leak into reality), Paradox Spirits (nebulous, often powerful beings which purposively set about resolving the contradiction, usually by directly punishing the mage), or even the removal of the Mage to a paradox realm, a pocket dimension from which it may be difficult to escape.

In Mage, there is an underlying framework to reality called the Tapestry. The Tapestry is naturally divided into various sections, including the physical realm and various levels of the spirit world, or Umbra. At the most basic level, the Tapestry is composed of something called Quintessence, the essence of magic and what is real, in game terms. Quintessence can have distinctive characteristics, called resonance, which are broken down into three categories: dynamic, static, and entropic.

In order to understand the metaphysics of the Mage setting, it is important to remember that many of the terms used to describe magic and Mages e.g., Avatar, Quintessence, the Umbra, and Paradox, Resonance, as well as the game mechanics a player uses to describe the areas of magic in which his character is proficient-- the Spheres, look, mean, and are understood very differently depending on the paradigm of the Mage in question, even though they are often, in the texts of the game, described from particular paradigmatic points-of-view. In-character, only a Mage's Paradigm can explain what each of these things is, what it means, and why it's the way it is.


Factions
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The metaplot of the game involves a four-way struggle between the technological and authoritarian Technocracy, the insane Marauders, the cosmically evil Nephandi and the nine mystical Traditions (that tread the middle path), to which the player characters are assumed to belong. (This struggle has in every edition of the game been characterized both as primarily a covert, violent war directly between factions, and primarily as an effort to sway the imaginations and beliefs of sleepers.)

Mages divide themselves according to their cultures, beliefs and even historical accidents or arbitrary alliances. The primary groups include:
Council of Nine Mystic Traditions
Akashic Brotherhood
Celestial Chorus
Cult of Ecstacy
Dreamspeakers
Euthanatos
Order of Hermes
Sons of Ether
Verbena
Virtual Adepts

The Technocratic Union
Technocracy
Iteration X
Progenitors
The New World Order
The Syndicate
The Void Engineers

Others
Crafts
Marauders
Nephandi


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History

Early times
In the game, Mages have always existed, though there are legends of the Pure Ones who were shards of the original, divine One. Early mages cultivated their magical beliefs alone or in small groups, generally conforming to and influencing the belief systems of their societies. Obscure myths suggest that the precursors of the modern organizations of mages originally gathered in ancient Egypt. This period of historical uncertainty also saw the rise of the Nephandi in the Near East. This set the stage for what the game's history calls the Mythic Ages.

Until the late Middle Ages, mages' fortunes waxed and waned along with their native societies. Eventually, though, mages belonging to the Order of Hermes and the Messianic Voices attained great influence over European society. However, absorbed by their pursuit of occult power and esoteric knowledge, they often neglected and even abused humanity. Frequently, they were at odds with mainstream religions, envied by noble authorities and cursed by common folk.


The Order of Reason
Seeing their chance, mages who believed in proto-scientific theories banded together under the banner of the Order of Reason, declaring their aim was to create a safe world with Man as its ruler. They won the support of Sleepers by developing the useful arts of manufacturing, economy, wayfaring and medicine. They also championed many of the values that we now associate with the Renaissance. Masses of Sleepers embraced the gifts of early Technology and the Science that accompanied them. As the masses' beliefs shifted, the Consensus changed and wizards began to lose their position as their power and influence waned.

This was intentional. The Order of Reason perceived a safe world as one devoid of heretical beliefs, ungodly practices and supernatural creatures preying upon humanity. As the defenders of the common folk, they intended to replace the dominant magical groups with a society of philosopher-scientists as shepherds, protecting and guiding humanity. In response, non-scientific mages banded together to form the Council of Nine Traditions where mages of all the major magical paths gathered. They fought on battlefields and in universities trying to undermine as many discoveries as they could, but to no avail - technology made the march of Science unstoppable. The Traditions' power bases were crippled, their believers mainly converted, their beliefs ridiculed all around the world. Their final counteroffensives against the Order of Reason were foiled by internal dissent and treachery in their midst.


Rise of the Technocracy
However, from the turn of 17th century on, the goals of the Order of Reason began to change. As their scientific paradigm unfolded, they decided that the mystical beliefs of the common people were not only backward, but dangerous, and that they should be replaced by cold, measurable and predictable laws of nature and respect for human genius. They replaced long-held theologies, pantheons, and mystical traditions with ideas like rational thought and the scientific method. As more and more sleepers began to use the Order's discoveries in their everyday lives, Reason and rationality came to govern their beliefs, and the old ways came to be regarded as misguided superstition. However, The Order of Reason became less and less focused on improving the daily lives of sleepers and more concerned with eliminating any resistance to their chokehold on the minds of humanity. Ever since a reorganization performed under Queen Victoria in the late 1800s, they call themselves The Technocracy.


Contemporary setting
The Order of Reason renamed itself the Technocracy and espoused an authoritarian rule over Sleepers' beliefs, while suppressing the Council of Nine's attempts to reintroduce magic. The Traditions replenished their numbers (which had been diminished by the withdrawal of two Traditions, the secretive Ahl-i-Batin, and the Solificati, alchemists plagued by scandal) with former Technocrats from the Sons of Ether and Virtual Adepts factions, vying for the beliefs of sleepers and with the Technocracy, and perpetually wary of the Nephandi (mages who consciously embrace evil and service to a demonic or alien master) and the Marauders (mages who resist Paradox with a magical form of madness). While the Technocracy's propaganda campaigns were effective in turning the Consensus against mystic and heterodox science, the Traditions maintained various resources, including magical nodes, hidden schools and fortresses called Chantries, and various realms outside of the Consensus in the Umbra.

Finally, from 1997-2000, a series of metaplot events destroyed the Council of Nine's Umbral steadings, killing many of their most powerful members. This also cut the Technocracy off from their leadership. Both sides called a truce in their struggle to assess their new situation, especially since these events implied that Armageddon was soon at hand. Chief among these signs was creation of a barrier between the physical world and spirit world (the Umbra). This barrier was called the Avatar Storm because it affected the spiritual being of the Mage (the Avatar). This Avatar Storm was the result of a battle in India on the so-called "Week of Nightmares."

These changes were introduced in supplements for the second edition of the game and became core material in the third edition.


Later plot and finale
Aside from common changes introduced by the World of Darkness metaplot, mages dealt with renewed conflict when the hidden Rogue Council and the Technocracy's Panopticon encouraged the Traditions and Technocracy to struggle once again. The Rogue Council only made itself known through coded missives, while Panopticon was apparently created by the leaders of the Technocracy to counter it.

This struggle eventually led to the point on the timeline occupied by the book called Ascension. While the entire metaplot has always been meant to be altered as each play group sees fit, Ascension provided multiple possible endings, with none of them being definitive (though one was meant to resolve the metaplot). Thus, there is no definitive canonical ending. Since the game is meant to be adapted to a group's tastes, the importance of this and the preceding storyline is largely a matter of personal preference.

(Continued in next post)

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cj iwakura on
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Posts

  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    MageTheAwakeningCover.jpg
    The Awakening
    (New World of Darkness)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mage:_The_Awakening

    Background
    As with the other games in the ‘new’ World of Darkness (nWoD), the history presented in the game provides for some ambiguity. However, the ‘origin story’ of magic and mages is less ambiguous (or at least more widely accepted) than that of the nWoD vampires or werewolves.

    In the mythic past, a mysterious island existed with a single towering mountain encircled by dragons which lived upon its summit, and its image called to sleeping humanity. Over time, the dragons left, and the mountain continued to call. Some humans answered the call and sought out the island to see what it promised them. The humans who moved there discovered the first secrets of magic, and through magic they created a mighty city-state that is now called Atlantis, though its true name has been lost to time.

    But mages were filled with hubris over what they could achieve, and created a Celestial Ladder to reach the heavens and attain greater mastery over the world. Once the ladder was finished and mages began to climb it, there was conflict over how best to lead the world. Over the course of the battle, the ladder shattered. This separated the Earth into the Fallen World and the Supernal Realm, with the chasm of the Abyss in between. The Fallen World is the world of the everyday, and mages have come to understand that it is a lie.

    The Supernal Realm is the truth of reality and the origin of magic; it is ruled by the Exarchs, powerful mages who had successfully climbed the ladder and took control of the Supernal Realm. The Exarchs wish to snuff out the memory of Atlantis and knowledge of magic so they will remain the supreme masters of reality. The Exarchs are more like god-like forces than human beings now, and they act on the mortal world through servants.

    Resistance against the Exarchs is possible because of the Oracles, a small number (probably five) of Atlantean mages who also climbed the ladder. They each created (or maybe are) one of the Watchtowers, which are both locations in the Supernatural Realm and paths of magic. The Oracles use their Watchowers to call to humanity in the Fallen World, since Watchtowers are one of the few things in the Supernal Realms "visible" from across the Abyss. Each mage visits a Watchtower during their Awakening, and their magical abilities are forever affected by that journey.

    Fragments of the organizations, artifacts and writings of Atlantis survive to the present day, and mages hope to use this knowledge to further their various causes, though as a whole they hope to gain a stronger connection to the Supernal and oppose the Exarchs' rule.


    Characters / Paths

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    Mages ‘awaken’ to the ways of magic. The setting states that it is unclear whether this is mostly accidental or as a result of a person's nature or understanding. The process of awakening can be slow or fast, but there are two major ways in which the event may manifest: the Mystery Play and the Astral Journey. In both sorts of ‘awakenings’, the mage-to-be goes on a journey that culminates with them arriving at or in their respective Tower and inscribing their name upon it.

    The Mystery Play is a waking dream, where the magical symbolism of their awakening is overlaid on top of the ‘real’ world. Other people, places and real world events mesh together until the Mage arrives at a skyscraper, a phone booth, a grove or some other place that represents their Tower and somehow write their name in both the physical and real setting, such as a hotel ledger or a statue's plaque.

    Astral Journeys, which occur when the potential mage dreams, are common to those who deny or resist the ‘awakening’. Astral Journeys feature strange settings, objects and people, in a full sensory experience.


    Paths

    There are five Paths of Magic that have a sympathetic connection to one of the Five Watchtowers, each with a particular style and focusing on certain Arcana.

    Acanthus

    (Fate, Time)
    Enchanters on the Path of Thistle work with luck, intuition and destiny.

    Connected to the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn in the Realm of Arcadia.


    Mastigos

    (Mind, Space)
    Warlocks on the Path of Scourging work with perception and inner demons.

    Connected to the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet in the Realm of Pandemonium.


    Moros

    (Death, Matter)
    Necromancers on the Path of Doom work with death, mortality and material things.

    Connected to the Watchtower of the Lead Coin in the Realm of Stygia.


    Obrimos

    (Prime, Forces)
    Theurgists on the Path of the Mighty work with the divine energies infusing the world.

    Connected to the Watchtower of the Golden Key in the Realm of the Aether.


    Thyrsus
    (Life, Spirit)
    Shaman on the Path of Ecstasy work with all aspects of the natural world.

    Connected to the Watchtower of the Stone Book in the Realm of the Primal Wild.



    Orders

    After awakening, a mage typically joins one of the five Orders, although some choose to remain free of political connections, or remain outside of mage society due to ignorance, and are called apostates.

    The Five Orders are united in their opposition to the Exarchs. Four of the Orders claim a heritage going back to Atlantis.

    The Adamantine Arrow: spiritual warriors and masters of conflict, who claim a heritage going back to Atlantis' defenders. Currently, the Order of the Arrow could perhaps be described as something akin to a knightly sect, though bushido and other warrior codes find a place in The Arrow. These mages conduct intensive physical and mental training, honing the minds and bodies of order members into deadly weapons which magical society may then wield against its enemies (such as vampires, werewolves, Seers, and so on).

    Guardians of the Veil: spies and conspirators who claim their descent from the intelligence officers and enforcers of Atlantis' laws. Currently, they bear a resemblance to a combination of many occult conspiracies, such as the Thule and others. Many obscure their activities and identities even from other mages, and act as a check on humanity's dangerous curiosity for "that which man was not meant to know". To this end they falsify and obfuscate information through an elaborate honeycomb of lies and mis-directions known as "the Labyrinth".

    The Mysterium: dedicated to pursuit of magical lore and the acquisition, cataloguing, and study of mystical and occult knowledge and artifacts. They continue the ancient heritage of the scholarly and intellectual of Atlantean society. Their internal structure often resembles the academic structures of the part of the world in which they reside. The Mysterium gathers, catalogues and maintains items of all types of magical and historical significance. These are stored in museum-libraries known as "Athenaea", which vary in size from private collections to massive storehouses that must be physically hidden by magical means.

    The Silver Ladder: dedicated to ruling and reshaping the world, the viziers and senators of Atlantis remain in force. Politicians and authoritarians, the Silver Ladder believes in creating a perfect hierarchy (with themselves at the top of course) which will seize control of reality, subjugating it to the will of mankind. Many would say (justifiably) that the Ladder is only interested in power, but this dream is not without its altruistic appeal. As a member of the Ladder might point out, control over reality could bring an end to human suffering in all its forms.

    The Free Council: modernists who wish to create new forms of magic, a union of mages who have discovered ways of using magic that do not adhere to the Atlantean methods. According to Council members, mankind is subconsciously aware of metaphysical truths, and thus all of human society carries the potention for mystical wisdom. The 'Libertines' as they are also called, possess a strong belief in democratic process and anti-authoritarianism.

    Legacies
    Legacies are an optional third grouping, literally portrayed as refinements of one's soul that are passed on from master to student. These grant additional innate benefits called Attainments, and may also grant affinity towards a third Arcana. Furthermore, because they are based on shaping one's own soul rather than drawing down Supernal rules, Attainments do not risk Paradox. Legacies can be created, or learned based off of both Path and/or Order. Published Legacies include:
    Bokor (Moros) - Voodoo necromancers
    Clavicularus (Mastigos or Silver Ladder) - Demon summoners
    Dream-Speakers (Thyrsus or Free Council) - Shaman
    Orphans of Proteus (Thyrsus) - Shape-shifters
    Perfected Adepts (Obrimos or Adamantine Arrows) - Warrior monks
    Skald (Acanthus) - Bards, storytellers
    Sphinx (Mastigos or Mysterium) - Geniuses
    Subtle Ones (Mastigos or Guardians of the Veil) - Spies, assassins
    Tamer of the Cave (Mastigos)
    Tamer of Fire (Obrimos)
    Tamer of Rivers (Thyrsus)
    Tamer of Stone (Moros)
    Tamer of Winds (Acanthus)
    Thrice-Great (Obrimos or Silver Ladder) - High ritual magicians
    Uncrowned Kings (Moros or Free Council) - Alchemists
    Walker in Mists (Acanthus or Mysterium) - Druids


    Magic
    Magic is simply the ability of a mage (or "willworker") to impose her will onto reality. Mages are able to do this because of their sympathetic connection to the Watchtowers in the Supernal Realm, because their names are inscribed upon it, and because they realize the Fallen World is a lie.

    A mage's power, or level of awakening and understanding the depths of the Supernal, is called Gnosis.

    Arcana represent the understanding a mage has over particular facets of reality, and govern her ability to affect those aspects.


    The 10 Arcana
    Death: The Arcanum of decay and death, capable of removing souls and affecting or creating undead.
    Fate: The Arcanum of luck and destiny, capable of defining the random and forcing the hand of Fate.
    Forces: The Arcanum of energy and kinetics, capable of creating flames and stopping bullets.
    Life: The Arcanum of creatures and plants, capable of healing wounds and creating impossible hybrid beasts.
    Matter: The Arcanum of inanimate objects and inert elements, capable of transmuting materials and enhancing mundane objects.
    Mind: The Arcanum of thoughts and dreams, capable of reading thoughts and controlling thoughts and emotions.
    Prime: The Arcanum of pure magical force and structure, capable of enchanting items and manipulating pure Mana.
    Space: The Arcanum of distance and separation, capable of creating overlapping dimensions and allowing teleportation.
    Spirit: The Arcanum of Spirits and their Realm, capable of summoning spirits and forging links through the Gauntlet.
    Time: The Arcanum of the passage of time and aging, capable of manipulating the flow of time and jumping over periods of time.


    Antagonists
    Seers of the Throne: The Seers are Awakened who have sworn service to the Exarchs. They claim to follow the will of the Exarchs, and seek to remove magic from the world and strengthen the Lie. Seers believe that an Exarch is a man-made-god, and serve them in the hopes that once they succeed in destroying those that oppose them they will be rewarded by their distant masters. They also believe that, given their power, the Exarchs will inevitably triumph and reality will ultimately come into accordance with their desires. The inevitability of the Exarchs' victory is a major part of the Seers philosophy: the success of the Exarchs' agenda will permanently 'fix' reality, and once that happens, the only viable path to enlightenment will be to accept the sovereignty of the Exarchs' hierarchy. They are not traditionally evil in the sense of fantasy or horror antagonists, but they can be likened to Nazis or members of the KKK in that their philosophy is so at odds with that of mainstream society (in this case the mystical Atlantean Orders) that conflict is nearly inevitable.

    The Banishers: Banishers are warped Mages who dedicate themselves to destroying other Mages. Generally speaking, their Awakening was traumatic, undesired, and misunderstood, and they do not accept their mystical powers. They exist outside of normal mage society, and are often obsessed with hunting and killing other mages, usually driven by a desire for repentance or a belief that doing so will cause their life to be returned to normal.

    The Acamoth: They reside beyond the threshold of existence, in the Abyssal gulf between the Supernatural Realm and the Fallen World. Because of their nature, they are incapable of contacting or having any power in either the Supernal or Fallen World, and as such they require agents to grant them potency. Few knowingly or willingly serve them, and rather service their agendas by proxy, but those who do understand and submit are amongst the most feared and despised of beings.

    The Scelesti: Mortal mages who serve/worship the Abyss are known as 'Scelestus', or simply "The Wicked". They serve the "Divine Purity" of the Abyss and seek the end of all things. They are hunted as heretics and abominations by all other Mages and are arguably the closest entity in the game to being 'pure evil'.

    Tremere: – Liches who consume the souls of others in exchange for immortality and power. They were created when a group of Vampires and wizards (already called the Tremere) attempted to remove the curse of Vampirism by consuming the blood of the Awakened as part of magical rituals. The Vampires were destroyed and the mortal mages had their souls destroyed. Trapped in a state between life and death, these spiritual vampires must consume the souls of others to survive, and pass on a terrible dark "gift" to those they consider to be truly worthy of the secrets of eternal "life". The original Tremere appeared, in a very different form, in the old World of Darkness vampire game as one of the thirteen clans.

    Witch Hunters: Mortals who seek out and destroy mages for ideological reasons.


    Background and Setting Variations
    Almost all of the original Mage: The Ascension background has been replaced. The core concept behind magic in Ascension was that belief was reality; magic was a constant battle between the awakened soul and the crush of the multitudes of normals. In Awakening, mages are tapping into the Supernatural realm using the Truth and underlying or alternate reality.

    Other aspects, such as the central conflict between the Traditions and the Technocracy, have been replaced by an alternate conflict between the Atlantean orders and the Exarchs who rule reality from the Supernal realm. Awakening’s origin story tells of a similar conflict for the ultimate control over reality through the race to build and ascend the Celestial Ladder. However, unlike Ascension where the war for control over reality was ongoing in the contemporary game time, a group of mages achieved that control and severed the world from magic in the distant past. Instead of centering on a battle over paradigms, Awakening shifts the conflict to returning magic back to its natural state, unified with the world of men.

    Due to the differences in the setting themes and core concepts, critics question whether it is appropriate to call Awakening a successor to Ascension or a completely different game.


    (Next post: Vampire/Hunter)

    cj iwakura on
    wVEsyIc.png
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Vampire

    200px-Vampmasq.jpg
    The Masquerade
    (Old World of Darkness)

    A series near and dear to me, as it was the first WW game I'd ever gotten into.

    There was a chronicle that met up at USF in Tampa, I became interested in the game's lore, and from there, I was pretty much hooked.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_The_Masquerade


    Background
    The game uses the cursed and immortal Vampiric condition as a backdrop to explore themes of morality, depravity, the human condition (or appreciation of the human condition in its absence), salvation, and personal horror. The gloomy version of the real world that the Vampires inhabit forms an already bleak canvas against which the stories and struggles of characters are painted. The themes that the game seeks to address include retaining the character's sense of self, humanity, and sanity, as well as simply keeping from being crushed by the grim opposition of mortal and supernatural antagonists and, more poignantly, surviving the politics, treachery and often violent ambitions of their own kind.

    "Kindred" is the term many vampires in this game use to refer to themselves. Some vampires, namely those of the Sabbat, refer to themselves as "Cainites", as the curse that transforms them into vampires originated with Caine (the spelling is different from the Biblical Cain, though it is intended to be the same character). The term "kine" (an archaic term for cattle) is the opposite of this, and refers to humans.

    In general, vampiric societies consist of two levels: sects and clans. Characters within the Vampire setting are members of one of the clans or minor Bloodlines offered, and usually belong to factions associated with these or that reflect a general ideological stance the characters happen to share. For example, a Brujah may belong to the Camarilla, the Sabbat, or the Anarchs, but very few Tremere would be found among the Sabbat and even more rarely among the Anarchs.

    Some clans and most of the minor bloodlines declare themselves independent from any sects. A vampire who rejects all associations with any sect and clan is known as Autarkis. In addition, the Laibon, known as Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom by Western Kindred, are not so much a sect as a cultural group bound together loosely by a powerful spiritual bond to the land and the people of Africa. The Kindred of the East, while sharing some superficial similarity to the western Kindred, are actually an entirely different variety of supernatural being.


    Masquerade Vampires come in several flavors.

    camarilla.jpg


    Factions

    Each Vampire belongs to a distinct clan or bloodline. These groupings share distinct characteristics, powers and curses.

    Camarilla
    The Camarilla was founded during the 15th century (the first meeting cited was in 1450) in response to the Inquisition and the Anarch Revolt. Largely, it was formed by the desperation of the vampire elders of its seven main clans as a means to marshal their powers into a united front and beat back the Anarchs. This it managed to do after forty years of fighting, and the Anarch Revolt was officially ended at the Convention of Thorns in 1493. Nevertheless, some Anarchs refused to give up peacefully, and created the sect known as the Sabbat, with which the Camarilla is still at war.

    In the modern setting of Vampire: The Masquerade, the organization is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The Camarilla is composed of seven main Clans, though the Camarilla considers that all vampires are, subject to their laws and rules, regardless of whether they want to be or not. The core group of seven clans dropped to six when the Gangrel officially became independent in 1999. Other bloodlines often affiliated include the Daughters of Cacophony, the Lasombra antitribu, and the Samedi.

    Recently, a second, smaller Anarch Revolt has started. This new Anarch faction has taken power on much of the West Coast of the United States.

    The third edition of the game has a different clan composition and puts more emphasis on political diversity within the Camarilla, and gives hints as to the eventual dissolution of the Camarilla, which is not yet considered archaic and exists even to the declared end of the Vampire: The Masquerade line of products by White Wolf. The third edition is not fundamentally different from the other editions, but does include more that was once published extraneously to the earlier rulebooks in associated game products.


    Philosophy
    Camarilla policy is that vampires should try to fit in with and hide from the rest of humanity, as to easily feed on them. For this reason, they created a web of lies and misinformation, called the Masquerade, to make the public believe that supernatural beings like vampires could not possibly exist.

    The Camarilla also believes that the only way the vampire species can survive in these modern nights is if it unites - any breach of the Masquerade by any vampire risks exposing the entire race. Both viewpoints are fundamentally opposed by the Sabbat.

    The Camarilla also enforces the Eldest as ruling class over the younger vampires. When in the Dark Ages one Elder claimed land as his and all other vampires had to obey his ruling if traveling his lands. In modern nights the Camarilla still holds to this tradition. The ruling Elder of a so called domain, usually a human metropolitan and surrounding areas, is called the Prince. His rule is essentially that of an autocrat-all power, executive, legislative, and judicial, rests with the Prince. The six fundamental rules of the Camarilla grant the Prince the right to destroy other vampires, grant or deny the right to hospitality and allow him to decide whether or not a vampire is allowed to create offspring. Besides the Prince usually the oldest Member of each of the Clans holds a fair amount of power and the title Primogen. The Council of the Primogen usually advices the Prince, but since in modern nights many vampires live in one domain, sometimes a primogen or even more, hold a power similar or even surpassing the power of the Prince.


    Sabbat
    All Sabbat adhere to a code of conduct called "The Code of Milan", which preaches loyalty to sect and packmates, and to one's own freedom within the sect, as long as one's own good is never placed above the good of the Sabbat itself.

    In addition to a very firm "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality, the sect considers vampires to be a higher form of life than humanity, and is based upon the principles of Loyalty and Freedom. Loyalty to the sect and to one's comrades is one of the important aspects of the sect, and the Sabbat vampires maintain this loyalty through a ritual called Vaulderie, where strong emotional bonds are created between members of the Sabbat.

    Freedom is preached in accordance to the Sabbat belief that every vampire is free to create their own destiny without being hindered by the reputations of their elders, and that no Sabbat has to lay down their life for cowards who cannot take care of their own matters. Of course, it does not always work like this in practice.


    Organization
    The Sabbat, as a whole, is not a very structured sect. Though they lack the structure that can be found in the Camarilla, the Sabbat does not regard generation as a guideline for promotion. Instead, simply the most capable of vampires fill the positions they are most suitable for.

    Despite its open structure at the bottom, the Sabbat maintains several Ranks, listed from "high" to "low" in the sect organization. The highest rank being Regent, although the sect considers this a stewardship until Caine, the Father of all Vampires assumes leadership.

    Regent, true leader of all Sabbat

    Prisci, attendants/liaisons to/of the regent

    Cardinal, War/spiritual leader for a continent

    Arch-Bishop, war/spiritual leader for a given region

    Bishop, war/spiritual leader for a single city

    Templar, the bodyguards to Bishops and Arch-Bishops

    Ductus, war leader for a single pack

    Priest, spiritual leader for a single pack

    Abbot, keeper of the packs haven


    Packs
    Perhaps the most unique part of the Sabbat structure is the formation of so-called Packs of vampires, a state in general the opposite of standard vampire behaviours. The formation of these Packs happens on a voluntary basis. The Vaulderie ritual ensures loyalty to the Pack, reinforcing their loyalty to each other and the Sabbat.

    Sabbat packs are divided into two types, founded and nomadic. Founded packs usually stick to one place and do not move around much, instead making one location their base of operations. Nomadic packs, as their name implies, travel from area to area, helping to keep the Sabbat as a whole unified and vital.

    Every Pack has a Ductus (a vampire of higher status and experience who functions as leader) and most have a Priest. Priests lead or oversee the rituals of a Pack. There are some universal rituals within the Sabbat, but Packs usually develop their own, with a wide variety of uses.



    Clans
    Assamites
    Mostly an Independent clan, antitribu in the Sabbat, Schismatics in the Camarilla. Highly variable clan, containing castes of Warriors, Viziers, and Sorcerers. They are no longer the stereotyped "Middle Eastern Assassins".

    Brujah
    Mostly Camarilla, antitribu in the Sabbat; most Brujah are descendants of Troile, who supposedly diablerized Ilyes; the remaining vampires of the so-called True Brujah clan are practically extinct. The Brujah are warriors and brutes, idealists and iconoclasts.

    Followers of Set | Setites
    Mostly an Independent clan. Exist as Serpents of the Light in the Sabbat; this is the proper term for a Followers of Set antitribu. The two factions do not get along because of ideological differences. Known for being corruptors, sometimes in their secret endeavor to awaken Set.

    Gangrel
    Mostly an Independent clan since they abandoned the Camarilla en masse. They are known as a feral clan that hunts in the wild. Antitribu in the Sabbat.

    Giovanni
    Independent, necromancers. They mainly consist of members of the same family. Other families have been added over their time. They have close ties to organized crime as well. Most don't want to try and find out any more.

    Lasombra
    Mostly Sabbat, rulers of the sect. Their power over shadows is unnerving to most as well as the fact that, unlike other vampires, they don't cast a reflection. Some Lasombra do cast a reflection but it is of a decomposing corpse or a skeleton depending on how long the Lasombra has been a vampire. A few antitribu in the Camarilla.

    Malkavian
    Mostly Camarilla. Known for their insanity and most other vampires don't talk with them unless they must. Aside from their insanity, Malkavians are privy to immense insight into things that would otherwise be unknown. These insights sometimes surface in whispers emanating from (but not spoken by) other Kindred. Antitribu in the Sabbat. (Evidence exists to suggest, though, that the antitribu are in fact the Camarilla Malkavians, while the true clan joined the Sabbat.)

    Nosferatu
    Mostly Camarilla, antitribu in the Sabbat. Gatherers of knowledge and information. If a vampire wants information, they go to the Nosferatu — if they can find them. When a human becomes a Nosferatu, they undergo a horrid transformation and appear hideous in the end. They usually live in the sewers and elaborate secret tunnels.

    Ravnos
    Mostly an Independent clan of thieves and tricksters, they are known as the Gypsy clan. Antitribu in the Sabbat.

    Less than a handful of this clan remain, due to the 'Week of Nightmares', during which their Antediluvian(founder) awoke, and drove the majority of Ravnos Kindred to insanity and self-destruction.

    Toreador
    Mostly Camarilla. Toreadors are more in touch with Kine than any other vampire clan. They are artists and lovers of beauty. Most don't have the ability to lead like the Ventrue or Tremere but are content to drink in the finer things of life that most Kindred don't care for. antitribu in the Sabbat.

    Tremere
    A tightly hierarchical clan in the Camarilla, very few Sabbat members, but the real antitribu-bloodline was completely destroyed by a ritual. Their hatred for the Tzimisce knows no bounds. Their hatred for the Tzimisce is born from the Tzimisce's hatred for Tremere. The human mage Tremere, used the Tzimisce Antediluvian in a blood ritual to make himself into a vampire. The Thaumaturgy discipline was born from this combination of Vampire power and human magic. Tremere attained the rank of Antediluvian when he diablerized Saulot, progenitor of clan Salubri. Their rituals and blood magic makes them most feared.

    Tzimisce
    Sabbat, Tzimisce outside the sect are extremely rare. Their hatred for the Tremere knows no bounds. Their ability to shape the flesh and bone of others makes them most feared. Only a Nosferatu could not be disgusted with their appearance and practice of using their power over flesh and bone on themselves. If this ability is used on Nosferatu their body will eventually revert back to its previous state. Members of the so-called Old Clan Tzimisce claim independence from the Sabbat.

    Ventrue
    Mostly Camarilla, they are known to be nobility, natural leaders, and business-oriented individuals who are in charge of many aspects of power and society. They are the founders and generally leaders of the Camarilla. Antitribu in the Sabbat.

    There are also the Bloodlines clans, such as the Salubri, Daughters of Cacophony, and the Samedi, but their rosters, much like that of the Ravnos, are exceedingly small.


    Gehenna

    (The End of the Masquerade)


    Before transitioning to Requiem, the world of Masquerade did, in fact, end.
    Gehenna is the time when the Antediluvians (the grandchildren of Caine, the first vampire) will rise to consume the blood of all the younger vampires and construct a city in which they will rule for one thousand years. The prophecy of Gehenna is most thoroughly detailed in the Book of Nod, the story of Caine's banishment and cursing by God. There are also portents found in the Book of Nod, claiming the coming of the "Dark Father" and the "Dark Mother". Who these are is uncertain, but it is believed these two figures could be the mythical Caine and Lilith, respectively. Gehenna is said to be preceded by the Time of Thin Blood, in which successive generations of vampires past the thirteenth lose the potency of their blood, become incapable of siring childer or exercising their vampiric powers, and even develop a tolerance to sunlight.

    Four possible Gehenna scenarios were depicted in the final Vampire: The Masquerade sourcebook, which was titled Gehenna, as part of the Time of Judgment that ended the original World of Darkness. The four scenarios are "Wormwood" (God destroys all vampires save for a few, who are given a chance at redemption), "Fair is Foul" (Lilith takes her vengeance on Caine and his descendants), "Nightshade" (the Masquerade is broken and the Camarilla divided as the Antediluvians awaken), and "The Crucible of God" (the Antediluvians rise up, ruling over or destroying most of the human race).


    Masquerade is still favored among some players, who continue V:TM chronicles even though they're no longer sanctioned by White Wolf.

    Requiem
    (New World of Darkness)
    Vampreq_c.jpg

    I know even less about Requiem than I do about Mage, so this will be comparatively brief.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_The_Requiem

    The changes

    In many ways, Vampire: The Requiem is very much like its predecessor, The Masquerade, but there are a number of important changes.

    As far as physiological differences go, the first and most obvious divergence between the games is that the concept of "vampire generation" has been eliminated. A vampire's power is unrelated to that of the vampire who spawned him; instead, he starts off at the lowest level and steadily grows more powerful with age (though he can rise faster by committing diablerie).

    Vampires now also have a variety of "plot devices" to help them uphold the Masquerade, including a blurred image on video cameras, as well as the previous games' device where a vampire may lick wounds he has inflicted to heal them.

    Disciplines have also broadly changed, with a number of subtle alterations in power to make them less helpful in combat, and more helpful in other ways; in addition to this, a number of original clans (some now bloodlines) have changed in theme, and received a change in Disciplines to reflect this (an example might be the Nosferatu, who have gone from being revolting outcasts to actual monsters, with the entirely new Nightmare Discipline to help them maintain this image).

    The more obvious and far more far-reaching differences are cultural ones, and this is where old Masquerade gamers will encounter the most fundamental differences.

    The first and most noticeable change is in the clans. They have dropped in number from 13 to 5, each broadly representing a classic vampiric archetype from literature. This lack of choice in clan has been instituted to force players to think of ways to make their character unique, rather than rely on playing "the last member of a dying race"; a problem which some felt had become endemic among certain players.

    The second significant change is the pronounced drop in the importance of a vampire's clan. In Masquerade, your clan informed most aspects of your social interactions with other clan members. In Requiem, the clan one is "born" into is less important than the political faction ("Covenant") one chooses to belong to. (This varies from game to game; sometimes neither has any bearing on the game) This has caused an overwhelming change to the way the politics of the game work; in Masquerade, almost all politics were inter-clan.

    The most important change between games, however, is the shift in emphasis on the sect (now called "Covenant") that a vampire belongs to. In Vampire: The Masquerade, a vampire belonged to either the Camarilla (or their argumentative offshoot, the Anarchs), the Sabbat (and their secret, super-violent arm, The Black Hand), the Inconnu, or was isolated and alone. In the story, maybe 50 vampires were Inconnu, and they were all exceptionally ancient and powerful (and rarely, if ever mentioned in supplements after 1st edition; "Lair of the Hidden" being a notable exception). As a result, most vampires were a member of either the Camarilla or the Sabbat. Given that each sect existed in a state of near-perpetual political, ideological, and physical conflict with the other, this made it nigh-on impossible for any real political gaming between the two.

    Requiem does away with this perpetual war, to create a world more in keeping with the themes of ennui and politics (and also to yet again scale down the violent action scenes that war made possible). The Covenants are the replacement for sects, and no Covenant is actually at war with any other. Broad comparisons between previous sects and Covenants may be drawn between the Carthians and Anarchs, the Invictus and the Camarilla. In many ways, the Circle of the Crone, Lancea Sanctum, Ordo Dracul, and Belial's Brood represent different faces of the Sabbat: the Ordo Dracul being the Sabbat drive to escape the vampiric state, the Circle of the Crone & the Lancea Sanctum are what have replaced much of the Sabbat's more openly pagan-styled or blasphemous ceremonies and philosophies, and Belial's Brood is essentially how the openly violent and monstrous Sabbat was conceived back in 1st edition Vampire: The Masquerade, before third edition made it more philosophical. VII (Seven) is clearly the replacement for The Black Hand, now with significantly less story baggage to it.

    Furthermore, while members of each Covenant exist on every populated continent and most nations of the new setting, none of them possess the centralized hierarchy of either the Camarilla or the Sabbat from the old setting. Between this change, and the fact that all vampires succumb to long periods of Torpor which damage their memories, human development in the new World of Darkness has not been a result of behind-the-scenes manipulation by vampires (or any other playable supernatural type, for that matter).

    A final, and very significant change to the game is the removal of the creation myth involving Caine and the Antediluvians. This story is no longer the only origin story; vampires are uncertain of their origin. In fact, the story of the Antediluvians has yet to be mentioned specifically in any Vampire: the Requiem supplement, although Caine is mentioned in the Circle of the Crone as one of many possibilities. Though vampires still conspire against each other, they are no longer puppets of ancient all-fathers, nor do they have a doomsday prophecy looming over them.

    In relation to the origin of vampires in the Requiem, White Wolf has this time chosen to leave their beginnings a mystery up to the individual Storyteller to answer--if they choose to answer it at all. Due to Torpor, even the oldest Kindred have no clear memory of their past and are forced to guess at their races' beginnings. None of the Covenants even claim to know the origin of vampires, though the Lancea Sanctum and Ordo Dracul do claim that their founders were both uniquely cursed by God directly, instead of being Embraced.

    This is partially tied into the addition of the Lancea Sanctum; in original Vampire: The Masquerade, Abrahamic 'Genesis' was assumed to be the "default" truth behind the World of Darkness. The introduction of Kindred of the East and the Laibon in later books caused huge problems for authors to retcon; making the "Caine" origin "true" essentially created huge problems for writers and storytellers who wished to play with a different belief system than Christianity. Thus, the Christian faith has now been utterly externalized, and is represented by its own notably Western Covenant.


    vampire_stone_small.jpg

    Clans / Factions

    Similar to the previous game, Kindred are brought into one of five clans as part of their transformation into vampires:

    -Daeva
    -Gangrel
    -Mekhet
    -Nosferatu
    -Ventrue

    Each clan covers a broad range of vampiric archetypes. The Daeva, for instance, are both seductive and predatorial, evoking the image of vampires who glide through society as debonair hunters, much like Lestat in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. The Gangrel encompass the theme of the lone, savage and brutal hunters. The Mekhet are conspiratorial occultists, vampires who hide in the shadows gathering lore and knowledge while manipulating others from afar. Nosferatu vampires are the alienated or disfigured monsters of legend (such as Count Orlok of their movie namesake), while the Ventrue represent vampires possessed of an aristocratic, "lords of the night" sensibility, like Bram Stoker's Dracula.

    Within these clans are many sub-clans, known as bloodlines.


    Many of the old major clans not represented in Requiem supposedly still live on as bloodlines of the main five.


    So yeah, I'm obviously not too fond of Requiem, specifically its condensing of Masquerade's enormous atmosphere and backstory, but some people enjoy it, so to each their own.


    Hunter

    Huntreck_c.jpg

    The Reckoning
    (Old World of Darkness)


    Where there's evil and beasts of unnatural terror lurking in the darkness, there's always those who rise up against it.

    In the WoD, these are the Hunters. Generally mortal, but that doesn't mean they aren't prepared for a fight.
    Hunters wage a desperate, clandestine war against the inhuman, ageless forces that manipulate mankind. They see their task as taking back the night from bloodsuckers, ravaging beasts, vengeful spirits and manipulative sorcerers. The Imbued must face mankind's worst fears made real in the most deadly game of the Hunt in order to fulfill the task they have set before them to "Inherit the Earth".

    The Hunter: The Reckoning storyline, along with those of Demon: the Fallen, Changeling: The Dreaming, Kindred of the East and Mummy: The Resurrection, was ended in the World of Darkness: Time of Judgment supplement as White Wolf stopped its whole World of Darkness line. As a minor product line, it received comparatively little attention in the whole Time of Judgment setting, which left many of the series' fans unsatisfied.

    Virtues and Creeds
    The ways of hunters differ radically according to the personality and the type of imbued. They develop a strong tendency of how to deal with monsters and how to protect humanity. This leads to three main virtues a hunter may follow in an active, an assessing and a passive way.


    Mercy
    Those hunters that tend to show compassion towards creatures of the dark, and attempt to persuade the dark supernatural forces to turn to light, follow one of the Mercy Creeds. The Mercy Creeds are:

    Martyrs: Those who sacrifice their all for their cause.
    Redeemers: Those who wish to bring the monsters back into the light.
    Innocents: Those who refuse to prejudge the supernatural.


    Zeal
    Those hunters that are unforgiving and dogmatic in their belief that humanity is meant to "Inherit the Earth", and that the dark supernatural forces are arrayed against this manifest destiny of mankind, tend to be one of the Zeal Creeds. The tendency of these hunters to be warriors/soldiers among a group of Hunters gives these Creeds the stereotype as brute "zombie-killers." These Hunters do the dirty work out of a passion few humans may understand.

    Avengers: Those who seek revenge for the harm done by creatures of the dark.
    Judges: Those who mete out punishment based on how monstrous the creatures have acted.
    Defenders: Those who safeguard and protect the innocent from the darkness.


    Vision
    Understanding and information gathering are the primary gifts of these Creeds. Originally charged to lead the Imbued in their war against the unnatural powers of the world, the Visionary Creeds consist of one viable Creed and two "Lost Creeds." In theory, these "Lost Creeds" consist of people who were granted too much insight for the mortal mind to handle and have ended up either deranged or overly violent due to this Calling. However, there is some implication throughout the different source books that these "Lost Creeds", specifically Waywards, ended up precisely how the Messengers wanted them.

    Visionaries: Those who seek to understand the greater meaning behind the imbuing and the existence of the supernatural.

    Waywards: Lost Creed. Imbued who have become overly violent towards the dark. Many Waywards suffer from some sort of mental derangement. They should have been the strategists and tacticians of the Imbued; however, Waywards cannot turn the benefits of second-sight off, and are subject to supernatural visons at any time. This tends to cause extreme mental trauma. Though some Waywards can handle this mental strain, the constant reminder of the supernatural can, and sometimes does, turn some Waywards into psychotic killers. Because of either psychosis or Calling-inflicted violent rage, Waywards often see only the need to destroy the enemy, and are known to cause large amounts of collateral damage in the completion of this task.

    Hermits: Lost Creed. Imbued who receive psychic static near other Hunters and supernaturals. They should have been the intelligence gatherers for the Imbued, receiving information directly from the Messengers. The unfortunate side effect of Hermit's powers result in debilitating social anxiety around any form of the supernatural.


    The Hunter-Net
    Hunters communicate via a forum network called "Hunter-net" which is located at the fictional website www.hunter-net.org. Though the site is relatively secure at least one instance of a supernatural being infiltrating Hunter-net has been recorded. It was maintained by an Imbued called Witness1, and other Imbued who maintain and add data to it included Bookworm55, Doctor119, and the infamous God45. When taking a screen name on Hunter-net one takes a word to describe oneself and then a number signifying what order they joined in - by this Doctor119 is a Hunter who has decided to describe himself as a doctor and is the 119th person to sign in.

    Throughout the path of what is now known as the "Old World of Darkness," (as opposed to the New World of Darkness, the current incarnation of which, called Hunter: The Vigil, is due out in August, 2008) the original Hunter-Net was dismantled and broken. Witness1, the proprietor of the site, deleted a number of accounts on the original H-Net, but claimed that someone or something else had hacked his account. A new Hunter-Net was built, but it hardly had the following of the original.

    Many subsets of the site sprung up around hunter-net by specific hunter creeds. One of the most notable is the Firelight mailing list located on the first page of the Creedbook Avenger


    To my knowledge, Hunter was the most recently revised game for the New World of Darkness, which brings us to...

    Hunter-Cover.jpg
    The Vigil
    (New World of Darkness)

    The biggest update to New Hunter, far as I can tell, are the vast amount of variety and organizations they originate from now.

    Hunters operate socially, in collectives and groups of various sizes. The smallest organizational unit in which hunters operate is the cell. Cells operate independently of one another, frequently without even being aware of the existence of other cells in the region. Individual cells make up for their lack of firepower with flexibility and local knowledge.

    Characters affiliations are categorize into 3 tiers:

    First-tier Characters (individuals who for various reasons do not affiliate with any organization other than their Cell)

    Second-tier Characters (individuals who belong to Compacts, small and loosely connected organizations)

    Third-tier Characters (individuals who belong to Conspiracies, large global groups that command greater power and resources)

    Cells occasionally discover one another and band together for strength and mutual support. When multiple cells get together in a region, the organization often acquires an independent identity, a group structure known as a compact.

    Frequently, a compact forms out of a sense of cultural identity or shared purpose: The Long Night, for instance, comprises mostly fundamentalist Christians, whereas the compact known as Null Mysteriis draws its membership from the ranks of scientists and medical personnel who have been exposed to supernatural phenomena, and seek to strip it of all the superstitious hocus pocus surrounding it to find rational explanations for the irrational wherever possible.

    Compacts can extend their reach to encompass large geographical regions, and even become global in scope through the medium of the internet if the compacts are particularly net savvy. Compacts sacrifice some of their flexibility for backup from other cells within the compact.


    Compacts
    The Long Night – Christian hunters trying to prevent end of the world.

    Null Mysteriis – A group that seeks to disprove or demystify the paranormal.

    Network Zero – A group trying to expose the supernatural world to the public via the use of media sites such as YouTube.

    The Union – Consists of regular folks mostly trying to protect their neighborhood from oppression of any kind (humans or monsters).

    The Ashwood Abbey – Thrill seekers who want to experience everything involving the supernatural from the most benign to the most psychotic (torture, mutilation, and worse).

    The Loyalists of Thule – Guilt-driven knowledge seekers who use what they learn to help the world after their assitance in creating the Nazi Party.

    Sometimes, a compact becomes something else: a truly global organization, with access to Endowments - powerful devices or other powers whose use blurs the line between the hunters and their prey. Conspiracies sacrifice flexibility for access to serious backup and firepower, including their Endowments. Some conspiracies date back thousands of years; others are relatively modern.



    Conspiracies
    Task Force: VALKYRIE ("The Men in Black") – Founded after the "real" death of Abraham Lincoln, their aim is to protect the public and keep them from knowing things they do not want to know.

    The Lucifuge – Children of Satan, who use their infernal powers to hunt monsters.

    The Cheiron Group – Group of international corporations who experiment on monsters in order to find cures for modern diseases such as cancer and HIV.

    Aegis Kai Doru (Greek for "Shield & Spear") – Empowered by ancient relics and bound by a vow to destroy both werewolves and mages for reasons that are lost to time.

    Ascending Ones – Ancient Egyptian cult turned Islamic hunters, they are well known for their use of drugs to help aid their monster hunting.

    Malleus Maleficarum – Secret enforcers of the Catholic Church, based on the heretical book from the Inquisition and specialize in vampire hunting.


    (Next and final reply: Werewolf/Changeling)

    cj iwakura on
    wVEsyIc.png
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    This next series isn't one I'm very familiar with, so I'll try to keep this comparatively brief.
    (this is also my last reply, honest)
    Werewolf


    200px-Werewolf_-_The_Apocalypse_cover.jpg
    The Apocalypse
    (Old World of Darkness)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werewolf:_The_Apocalypse

    The Garou
    The Garou are beings of both physical strength and spiritual depth. Created by (and in most cases fighting on the side of) a force known as Gaia, Garou are shapeshifters capable of changing their physical form at will to appear as humans (a form they call homid), wolves (lupus), or several intermediary mixed forms. There are: glabro; physically strong and brutish humans, crinos; the traditional wolf-man, and hispo; wolves of unnatural size and strength. Unlike werewolves in most traditional folklore, Garou in Werewolf: The Apocalypse are neither mindless predators nor lunatics. Instead, they are depicted as defenders of Mother Earth and its Umbra (or spirit world).

    The Creation
    In the beginning there were the three members of the Triat: the Wyld, the Weaver, and the Wyrm. They were balanced with one another in the beginning. Creation began with the Wyld. The Wyld is chaos and the vast endless of possibility, constantly swirling with change, shifting forms endlessly. From the Wyld's heedless creation came growth. Gaia sprang from the Wyld.
    The Weaver, the embodiment of order, selected portions of creation from the Wyld and gave them structure; kept them from dissolving back into chaos at the moment of their birth. In doing so, the Weaver began to create the fabric of the universe - the Pattern Web.
    The Wyrm was once the restorer of balance. Residing between the Pattern Web and the chaos of the Wyld, it ensuring that neither the order of the Weaver nor the chaos of the Wyld prevailed throughout reality, removing all that was not harmonious.
    According to Garou myth, this was the true cosmological cycle of chaos, creation, and destruction. It lasted an eternity, but was ultimately shattered when the Weaver gained consciousness. The Garou disagree on exactly how this happened.
    Regardless, the Weaver subsequently tried to spin the entire Wyld into full, patterned existence. The futility of such an impossible task drove the Weaver insane. In its desperation, the Weaver ensnared the Wyrm within the Pattern Web in its pursuit of the Wyld, in turn, driving the Wyrm insane as well.
    Now the balance of pattern and chaos has been replaced by stagnation and decay, as the Weaver madly weaves its patterns unchecked or balanced, while the Wyrm, trapped within the Pattern Web, works to devour Gaia and destroy all of creation from the inside out.

    Society
    Garou are not solitary creatures. They live in packs like wolves do and organize themselves into septs (groups of packs). In former times septs used to be communities of one tribe only, but in modern times septs often house garou from more than one tribe. This also lead to multi-tribal packs. Some septs live around a holy site, called Caern, a place with magical properties. Besides the community the a garou lives in, the tribe he belongs to, has a more or less strict social infrastructure, depending on the tribe in question.



    Much like The Masquerade, the world of the Apocalypse did eventually end. I'm not familiar with the details(nor is Wiki), but there was supposed to be a book on it, that I've never seen, which explained just how the conflict ended(probably not for the better).


    WtFCover.jpg

    The Forsaken
    (New World of Darkness)



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werewolf:_The_Forsaken

    Backstory / Background
    Long ago the world was a paradise known as Pangaea, where the spirit and material worlds mingled freely. Balance was kept by Father Wolf, a spirit of great power who patrolled the borders between the worlds, called the Border Marches. Luna, spirit of the moon, was impressed by his strength and wisdom and, in her human form, took him as her lover. From their union nine children were born: part spirit and part flesh, part man and part wolf. These first werewolves, along with their father, became the First Pack, and they patrolled the Border Marches with their father helping him to keep dangerous spirits from terrorizing the material plane and physical creatures from wandering into parts of the spirit world they did not belong.

    As the years went by, some of Father Wolf's children saw that he had become weak, and that both worlds were suffering due to his failure in his duties. So they rose against him and killed him, intending to take his place. The death of Father Wolf devastated the Border Marches and divorced the material world from the spiritual, largely making it impossible for any being to cross. Luna, stricken with grief, cursed all Uratha, though those who participated in Father Wolf's death later swore an oath to her to carry on Father Wolf's tasks, regaining some of her favor - but costing them the enmity of the spirit world. These Uratha became known as the Forsaken.

    This is the only origin presented in Werewolf: the Forsaken, and it is the most widely held belief of most Uratha. The exact truth is not known mostly because the ancient, powerful spirits that "know" aren't speaking (e.g., there are no stories of Luna granting any audience with an Uratha). Due to the spirits' silence and the rampant Uratha speculation, many other stories exist (all with the common element of a paradise destroyed by the ancestors of the Forsaken). White Wolf has released a supplement, Blasphemies, that contains possible alternate origin stories, werewolf factions that hold them, and tips on writing one's own origin mythos.

    Packs
    Players portray Uratha, werewolves whose duty is to protect the world from creatures of the spirit realms. Any human with Uratha heritage may undergo the First Change at some time in their life, becoming a werewolf, though what triggers the change is unknown. Each character has an auspice or role, and most join a tribe, or become a tribeless Ghost Wolf. Unlike traditional fictional werewolves, Uratha may change at any time into various forms between man and wolf, though they do find this easier when the phase of the moon matches their auspice.

    Uratha are fierce territorial predators who feel the compulsion to hunt. Many have trouble containing their aggression, hindering their ability to live normal human lives. Like wolves, the Uratha form packs in order to hunt more efficiently and better guard their territory.

    Uratha are also spiritual creatures, able to channel spirit energy, which they call Essence, to make use of supernatural powers called gifts to aid them in their hunts. They also possess an instinctive (if rudimentary) understanding of the First Tongue, the language spoken by their ancestors and spirits (possibly also the original language of all humans). Many Uratha learn to speak the First Tongue fluently.



    The next I'll go into detail on is probably the lightest series in World of Darkness lore.

    And even then, it's still hardly what you'd call happy.

    Changeling

    Chandrea_c.jpg


    I'm not very familiar with this series, but it's the one I most want to learn more about.


    The Dreaming
    (Old World of Darkness)



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changeling:_The_Dreaming

    Overview
    The fae are creatures of dreams, drawing magical power and their very existence from "glamour", the dreams of mankind. Glamour created and maintains a separate realm of imagination known as the Dreaming, from which the fae originally came to the mortal world. During the Iron Age and the subsequent rise of rational thought and science, glamour became less common in the real world, and the opposing force of banality could injure or kill the fae. In response, the fae nobility (the sidhe) withdrew to Arcadia, their home deep in the Dreaming, and the commoner fae developed "the Changeling way", and became changelings. Eventually banality became so strong that the Dreaming was sundered from reality. This time period is known as the Shattering and it is associated with the time of the Black Plague. It was at this time that the changeling ritual was created allowing fae souls to inhabit human bodies. For many years commoner changelings lived amongst mortals and made their way as best they could in a world where glamour was fading, this was the Interregnum. Then came the Resurgence, man landed on the moon and belief and dreams broke open the doors to Arcadia. Some Sidhe were able to return by inhabiting existing human bodies. With the return of the Sidhe and their desire to once again rule all changelings the Accordance War broke out. Commoners and Nobles fought for control of the freeholds and glamour until a peace accord was reached by the new High King David.

    Traditionally, a changeling is a fairy child substituted for a human baby, but Changeling: The Dreaming uses a very different interpretation. In the game, a changeling is a fae soul born into a human body. Early in the human's life, usually before puberty, she undergoes the "Chrysalis", a magical awakening of the fae soul which previously lay dormant. Once through the Chrysalis, the Changeling exists simultaneously in both the real world and in the "chimerical" reality of the fae, where creative ideas and imagination have substance. (The metaphysical aspects of this are the complex concepts present in the game.) The human soul becomes joined with the fae soul.

    As well as the usual roleplaying traits representing their skills and abilities, Changeling characters are further defined by their ties to the Dreaming. Each Changeling has Seelie and Unseelie aspects of their being, one of which dominates a given Changeling. The courts do not easily map onto human ideas of good and evil, but instead represent a host of philosophies - light and shadow, law and freedom, duty and passion. In days past rule would be divided between the courts, the Seelie court ruling in the Summer months from Beltaine to Samhain, and the Unseelie court in Winter from Samhain to Beltaine, but now an uneasy truce exists and each court rules its own regions. Each Changeling has two legacies, one for each court, which represent how the dual nature of her fae soul is expressed.

    Each Changeling is also a member of a "kith". Somewhat like different species of fairy, a Changeling's kith indicates the kind of dreams which birthed her soul in the Dreaming. The kiths are based on fairy archetypes from various sources, and while the most common kiths are drawn largely from Irish mythology, many others also exist. The descriptions below touch on only a few of the types of stories or traditional fairies which correlate to each Kith.

    Each Changeling also falls into a certain seeming which is related to their age. The seemings include Childlings , which are the youngest group between the ages of three and thirteen, Wilders, which are between the ages of thirteen and twenty five, and Grumps, which include any older changelings though they rarely make it very long before becoming undone. As Changelings age and pass through the various seemings they lose some of their Glamour which is the stuff changeling magic is made of. They also gain Banality, a force created by mortal disbelief.


    Closing
    While Changeling developed (and maintains) quite a devoted following, its themes and subject were often perceived as too complex or too childish, and White Wolf discontinued the game more than a year before the end of the World of Darkness line.

    Time of Judgment, published in early 2004, included a chapter on the end of the world from a Changeling perspective, and was the last official published material for the game.

    200px-ChangelingTheLostCover.jpg


    The Lost
    (New World of Darkness)

    From what I've seen, The Lost seems to make the storyline less complex and a bit more accessible for the casual player, which seems like a good thing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changeling:_The_Lost

    The game is primarily inspired by tales of changelings from European folklore, but includes elements of similar stories from around the world. While superficially similar to the original World of Darkness game Changeling: The Dreaming, Changeling: The Lost approaches the legends from a more traditional perspective and eschews the past life angle that characterized its predecessor.

    The "Changelings" of the title are ordinary human beings who were kidnapped by the Fae and taken as slaves to their world (alternately known as Arcadia or Faerie). The player characters are changelings who have managed to escape their otherworldly captors and struggle through the barrier (known as the Hedge or the Thorns) that separates Faerie from Earth. The game focuses on the experiences of these changelings as they re-discover the world of their birth, try to cope with the changes they have undergone, and seek to evade recapture.


    Characters
    Changeling characters are unique individuals, each one shaped differently by his or her personal experiences in the world of the Fae. As a result Changeling: The Lost features a more nuanced and detailed character-creation system than the other World of Darkness games. Each Changeling may possess a Seeming, a Kith, a Court and Entitlements which are used to distinguish and describe the nature of the character according to the changes that her time with the Fae have wrought upon her. All things fae, including changelings, are also protected by the Mask, an illusion that makes them appear as mundane versions of themselves. Only fae beings can see through the Mask, though they can ensorcell humans and thereby grant them the temporary ability to see through the Mask.


    Seeming
    Changelings are those faerie-stolen humans who have managed to escape their unearthly masters, break through the barrier between worlds, and return to the world of their birth. The world of the Others is a strange and uncanny place however, and the simple act of living there changes human beings in ways they could never imagine. These changes are what make up the fae mien, or Seeming, of the Lost. They are reflections of who each changeling is and what they have been through; ultimately, they are what separates the Lost from other human beings, and even from one another. They are still the same person they were when the Fae took them, and yet they are not; they are still human, and yet they are Fae; they are all changelings, and yet they are as different from each other as they are from humans and Others. Their bodies and souls reflect these realities and, as such, Seemings provide benefits to Changelings, but also impose penalties.


    The changes which transform a normal human into a Changeling can come as a result of the duties the Lost performed for their Fae masters, or as a result of the environments they were exposed to; most often, they come from the Fae who stole them. Still other changes can come from the escape itself, as the Changelings fight their way through the Thorns back into the world of mortal men and women. Whatever the circumstances, in the end, no-one escapes unscathed.


    Seemings
    Beasts
    Beasts believe that they have taken the most difficult road back through the Hedge, for they have had to claw back their minds as well as their souls. For a Beast to return, he has to turn his back on the lush sensory life of the animal, and think, if only long enough to burrow, chew and wriggle through the thorny barrier and back to the human realm. No matter what animal he holds an affinity with, a Beast lives in a state of paradox, a conscious, moral person infused with the unconscious, amoral power of the animal kingdom. A Beast's behavior and the place she creates for herself in the world depends a great deal on the kind of animal she reflects. Some stand apart from human society. Some throw themselves into the human world, revealing the wildness and the world of sensation at the heart of human interaction. Some express their connection to the world of sensation in their own, uniquely primal ways. Of all the changelings, the
    Beasts are the most difficult to categorize. They're as varied in form and behavior as the animals whose essence they share. All of them, however, exist as interstitial figures, living on a threshold between human and animal, civilization and wilderness.

    Darklings
    Changelings know that their deeds have consequences, but few feel those consequences so keenly as the changelings who are called Darklings. Many were stolen away as the consequence of attracting the attention of the Fae. Their obsessive clinging to the solace of the night is the consequence of having been imbued with shadows. Their love of quiet is the consequence of having lived in a world where all was whispering, all was rustling and snapping twigs and creeping fear.

    The Darklings believe that they found it hardest to escape from the lands of the Fae, because their way back was hidden from them. Of all the changelings, they were lost in an alien landscape, with no reference point to return to, with all paths shrouded in shadow. To escape, they had to be the ones who could survive in the shadows, to thrive there with creeping things and dark things and dead things that move. Having come back, they are the changelings who wait in the shadows.

    Elementals
    While other changelings reflect creatures who, at least on some level, represent human dreams (beauties, horrors, tricksters, animals), the Elemental psyche is influenced by the desires of objects and forces. The Elementals believe that their journey back through the Hedge was harder for them than it was for any of the changelings because they had less reason to escape. Their humanity had been more damaged by what they had endured in the Fae realm

    Fairest
    The world the Fairest were part of — or as much of it as they remember — was beautiful, a world of sweet pain and exquisite cruelty, a bittersweet paradise. Surrounded by beauty as they were, thralls to creatures a thousand times lovelier than anything on Earth, they had to focus all their thoughts on remembering what it was to be plain, to walk among the ordinary.

    The Fairest return from the Fae realm as striking, enchanting beings, but with that enchantment they bring back an inhuman cruelty -- a cruelty sometimes magnified by the arrogance that comes from knowing that they were pure enough of heart and strong enough of will to escape the thrall of ecstasy.

    The Fairest often believe that they should be far more influential and powerful in their Courts than they actually are, mistaking social prowess and ruthlessness for the qualities of leadership. Some manage, by sheer force of personality and charm alone, to rise to the top, but there are more Fairest in positions of authority than there are Fairest who know what they're doing. They push themselves into everything they do, and sometimes their overwhelming charisma is enough to carry an enterprise on its own. Of all the changelings, the Fairest are the least suited to solitude. Though proud and cruel, they are social beings, and when they rise above their shortcomings and let others in, the cruelty that made them can be redeemed.

    Ogres
    Most folklore traditions have stories of trolls, hags, giants and flesh-eaters, and the changeling Ogres more often than not reflect those. Their tragedy is often that as they try to escape the violence that made them, they perpetrate it. Whatever place an Ogre finds in the world, she’ll find that the only way to rise above the brutality that made her what she is to accept it and use it. Of course, there’s a fine line between accepting something and embracing it, a line too many Ogres cross.

    The Ogres who make it back through the Hedge have to be, more than any other changeling, exceptional people. Not that the Fae are necessarily picky in who they choose to abuse and brutalize: rather, the Ogres are those who managed to survive without being eaten, crippled, or beaten to death and to avoid becoming so much like the monsters that took them that they wouldn’t want to leave. They don’t have to be particularly smart or cunning, but they are the kind of people who know their own mind. Most Ogres have an in-born streak of stubbornness that makes them faithful (if sometimes annoying) companions and terrible enemies.

    Wizened
    The Wizened may well be the most unfortunate of changelings, for the Wizened could be anyone at all. Many were taken for no reason and through no fault of their own, simply finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unluckier still are those who came to the Others' attention because they encountered one who appeared to be in trouble – like the man who found a little person under a rock and set him free, only to be hounded to death for his presumption that the Fae might need his help. Despite their seeming haplessness, it takes someone as cunning and ingenious as the Fae themselves to escape from the Little People, and so Wizened changelings who return are most often those people who were already nimble of hand and quick of wit. The Wizened bring back disjointed memories of random cruelties, of being the butt of tricks and experiments that seemed hilarious to the Fae, even if they couldn't appeal to any human sense of humor. Many dimly recall trying to escape over and over again, each time being outwitted by their spiteful captors, perhaps at times being allowed to think they had escaped before the fact that they were still in Faerie all along was revealed.


    Promethean: The Created
    PrometheanCoverLarge.jpg
    [New World of Darkness]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promethean:_The_Created
    The game is inspired by the classic tales of Frankenstein's monster, the Golem and other such simulacra. The characters are individuals created by first dismembering and reassembling human corpses to form a human body, then animating the body with Pyros, the Divine Fire. The resulting creation is known as a Promethean. Animated by the Divine Fire, but lacking a soul, Prometheans seek the greatest prize they know: humanity. Prometheans have no direct equivalent in the original World of Darkness (though Frankenstein's monster, as well as the ability to create and play as such, were associated with the Sons of Ether), but elements of the game, on the surface, recall elements of such games as Wraith: The Oblivion and Mummy: The Resurrection.


    Not all White Wolf games take place in the World of Darkness, as the following examples show.

    Scion
    ScionHeroCover.jpg


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scion_%28role-playing_game%29
    EvilBadman wrote: »
    Scion is a trilogy of role-playing games published by White Wolf, Inc. The first and core rule book, Scion: Hero. was released on 13 April, 2007. The second volume, Scion: Demigod, was released on 12 September, 2007, and the third, Scion: God, is scheduled for release on 7 November, 2007.

    SETTING
    Set in the modern day, Scion: Hero puts players into the role of mortal descendants of gods embroiled in a divine war. Characters can be associated with any of the six pantheons provided in the game:

    * Pesedjet - The gods of Ancient Egypt, including Anubis, Atum-Re, Bastet, Geb, Horus, Isis, Kebauet, Osiris, Ptah, Set (or Seth), Sobek, and Thoth.
    * Dodekatheon - The gods of Greek mythology, including Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Dionysus, Hades, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Poseidon, and Zeus.
    * Aesir - The gods of Norse mythology, including Baldur, Freya, Freyr, Frigg, Heimdall, Hel, Loki, Odin, Sif, Thor, Tyr, and Vidar.
    * Atzlánti - The gods of the Aztec civilization, including Huitzilopochtli, Miclántecuhtli (sic), Quetzalcoátl, Tezcatlipoca, Tlaloc, Tlazoltéotl, and Xipe Totec.
    * Amatsukami - The Shinto gods of Japan, including Amaterasu, Hachiman, Izanagi, Izanami, Raiden, Susano-o, and Tsuki-Yomi.
    * Loa - The god-spirits of the Vodou religion, including Agwe, Baron Samedi, Damballa, Erzulie, Kalfu, Legba, Ogoun, and Shango.

    There are also instructions for creating custom pantheons, and hints at others already extant in the game's universe (there is brief mention of a "Celestial Bureaucracy," referring to the Chinese pantheon).

    After years of enslavement, the Titans have broken free of their prisons and are waging war in the Overworld. The Gods return to fight the war, entrusting the care of Earth in the hands of their mortal children. Most often, the purpose of a Scion is to hunt down Titanspawn and stop them from resurrecting the Titan they serve, or to stop them from forwarding its agenda. Scions are as complex, moral, and stalwart as any mortal is however, and sometimes they are turned to the service of the Titans themselves.

    The game has drawn much comparison with the book American Gods, written by Neil Gaiman.

    Each volume expands the scope of the game. Characters go from being enhanced humans in Scion: Hero to full-fledged gods in Scion: God. The scale also grows, from adventures in the physical world in Scion: Hero, to adventures in the Underworld and various Terra Incognitae in Scion: Demigod, to adventures in the Overworld with its Titanrealms and Godrealms in Scion: God.

    System
    Scion uses a rules system similar to the Storyteller system made popular by the World of Darkness, but is not part of the World of Darkness. The rules are a new version of the system presented in Exalted: Second Edition but set in a modern world, that also includes elements from the Trinity Universe series of games, most notably Aberrant.

    One change to the system that has caused some debate is the lack of Backgrounds in Scion. Characters are allowed to have whatever contacts, history, and wealth that makes sense for the character without the need of any rules to oversee them. The core mechanics of the game will also increase in scale with each additional book in the series, eventually promoting the hero characters to demigod- and godhood.

    The two primary abilities available to hero characters are Epic Attributes and Purviews. Epic Attributes increase the characters nine basic abilities to super-human levels (Hercules' strength or Helen's beauty, for example). Purviews (covering animals, chaos, darkness, death, earth, fertility, fire, guardians, health, justice, the moon, psychopomp--travel, the sky, the sun, war, water, pantheon-specific purviews, magic, mystery and prophecy) are the divine powers granted to the children of the Gods, activated through special relics given to the Scions by their divine parents. Scions also round out their abilities by attracting Followers, being befriended by legendary Creatures, or being aided by often mystical Guides.


    Exalted

    220px-Exalted_Second_Edition_Core_Book.jpg

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exalted
    Wikipedia wrote:
    Exalted has mechanical and thematic similarities to White Wolf's previous game series, the old World of Darkness, but exists in its own product line, called the Age of Sorrows.

    Perhaps to maintain a sense of continuity, the First Edition published material initially suggested the Age of Sorrows as the pre-history of the old World of Darkness -- however, this has not been officially confirmed outside of early promotional materials. It should be noted that White Wolf has continually inserted names and themes familiar to players of their previous World of Darkness line into the material, adding fuel to the fire of the speculation that it is a pre-history. However, the Developer has commented that the connections are tenuous, for players to grasp or let go – with the end of the old World of Darkness and the creation of the new World of Darkness, these similarities have become even weaker. Moreover, Exalted Second Edition seems to imply that its story is the prehistory of our own world.

    Background
    The name of the game is Exalted. In the world known as Creation, mortal life is short and miserable, with little hope for a better future. However, there are those who are chosen by a higher being (such as the Unconquered Sun, Luna, the Neverborn, Autochthon, the Five Maidens, or the Five Elemental Dragons) and given the Second Breath; they are Exalted, people endowed with supernatural powers able to sway nations.

    Originally, the Exalted were created by the gods in order to overthrow the Primordials and to rule Creation. However, as the Primordials were killed or imprisoned, thus becoming (respectively) the Neverborn or Yozis, they laid a curse upon the Exalted (the Solar Exalted in particular). The Solar rulers of the First Age grew decadent and corrupt in their great power. Under the guidance of the Sideral Exalted (the Five Maidens' exalts) the Terrestrial Exalted of the Elemental Dragons revolted against their Solar masters.

    The Usurpation followed, a time where the Solar Exalted were hunted to extinction by the Terrestrials, with their Lunar Exalted consorts driven to obscurity on the fringes of Creation. Since each Solar "shard" moves on to a new host when the demi-god it is Exalting dies, the Sidereals had to capture each Solar shard and imprison it within a great structure known as Jade Prison; this ensured that it could not return to exalt a new Solar. To that end, they were mostly successful; the few random shards that they missed were simply located through Astrological magics, and new Solars throughout the ages were quickly hunted down and killed. For hundreds of years, the Sidereals faded from public knowledge and promoted the divine right of the Terrestrial Exalted to rule over Creation from behind the scenes, while casting any other Exalt as a demon; they branded them Anathema to Creation.

    After the rule of the Solars was broken, the Terrestrials organized themselves into the Shogunate. During this time, they ruled over the peoples of Creation in imitation of their former Solar masters; however, it was not destined to last. A virulent plague known as the Great Contagion was the beginning of the end of the Terrestrial Shogunate, wiping out ninety percent of humanity, and hot on the heels of the Great Contagion were the Fair Folk, inhabitants of chaos (known as the Wyld), who desired nothing more than the destruction of the order that is Creation in favor of the chaotic energies of the Wyld. Between the Great Contagion and the Balorian Crusade of the Fair Folk, nearly all of humanity was destroyed. Humanity's savior came in the form of a small group of Terrestrial Exalted who broke into the Imperial Manse of the Solar Exalted and activated the reality-generating engines and weapons of the First Age. Only one of the Terrestrials survived, rising to power as the savior of humanity and establishing a dynastic empire, taking the role of the Scarlet Empress. The Empress became the most powerful force in Creation and her empire became the center of culture and stability in the world. During her reign, the hunt against the Solars continued and although the world fell into decadence and disrepair, life continued on and the world recovered.

    However, the Age of Sorrows is here, and five years ago the Scarlet Empress vanished to whereabouts unknown. Around that time, something in the Jade Prison went wrong, and the Solar Shards are back in the world, finding mortals worthy and Exalting them; it is a new age, and the returned Solars are slowly making their way through a world that has been without them for hundreds of years.

    Additional thorough details, care of ArcanisTheImpotent



    This has been in no way a total recap of all the stuff WW's done. To name a few, there's also been Wraith, Demon, Mummy, et cetera, so touching on those would only add to this thread's already ridiculous length, so if any of those games want to be discussed here, that's cool too. If someone thinks it deserves a mention, that's fine also.


    So if anyone takes this as inspiration to get a chronicle or game or anything going, more power to you; there's a ridiculous amount of source material out there if you're so inclined.

    Just make sure you let us know the when and where. ;-)

    cj iwakura on
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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I don't know if Changeling was a light game. Wasn't it like, trying to stave off the realization of just how miserable the world is, because accepting reality would kill you?

    That's not a very light theme.

    But I know nothing of changeling.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Well, when you compare it to the likes of Vampire and Werewolf... I'm not too familiar with it, either, but the setting just struck me as lighter somehow.

    Maybe it's the artwork.

    cj iwakura on
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  • terminal stupidityterminal stupidity Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I never got into oChangling, but nChangling is pretty fucked up.

    All player characters (well, assuming all players play changelings) were kidnapped and spirited away to Arcadia, often replaced with a simulacrum, so they're not even missed.

    They're then kept as pets, used as slaves, tortured, experimented on, whatever. Human playthings. Eventually they gain part of their captors' essence from exposure to Faerie and from eating fey food and drink.

    Characters (thankfully) don't have all their memories, but they do have a few scraps of insight into what happened on the other side of the Hedge.

    Fairest are described as having existed as, essentially, toys in a realm of, "exquisite torture."

    Darklings lived in a realm of pitch black nightmares and invisible slithering things.

    Ogres had to fight (or hide) to keep from being beaten into stew meat or just eaten alive.

    Then they escape and make it back to the real world while never being able to live a normal human life again, half mad, sometimes hunted by their captors, forced to live in a world where they find beautiful tragedy in events as mundane as a child being denied candy at the supermarket.

    Fucked up.

    terminal stupidity on
  • ShamusShamus Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Wow, really informative post!

    You're missing one game, tho', from the nWoD : Promethean: The Created

    Shamus on
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I've never even heard of that. O_o

    cj iwakura on
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  • ShamusShamus Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    I've never even heard of that. O_o

    Reading the Wiki, it's actually really damn interesting.

    Also:
    Wikipedia wrote:
    In addition to the main three games, there will be an additional game each year. Like Orpheus for the old World of Darkness, each of these "fourth games" will have a limited series of only five books, including the core rulebook.[1] The first such game is Promethean: The Created for August, 2006, based largely on Frankenstein and similar stories of giving the unliving life through alchemy. The second game is Changeling: The Lost, and was released in August, 2007. It is a game based around characters that were taken and enslaved by Fairies similar to those of European folk tales, who managed to escape to find they were no longer human themselves, and must find a new place in life.

    Shamus on
  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Promethean is fantastic. Until CtL came along it was my favorite of the nWoD. Definitely a unique, intense little game.

    Professor Phobos on
  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Mechanically, White Wolf games are very, very tight. Unfortunately every group I've run into that's played them has been supremely sketch. I suppose if you found the right group it would be great, but a lot of the people that play are beyond creepy.

    Salvation122 on
  • BrainleechBrainleech 機知に富んだコメントはここにあります Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Mechanically, White Wolf games are very, very tight. Unfortunately every group I've run into that's played them has been supremely sketch. I suppose if you found the right group it would be great, but a lot of the people that play are beyond creepy.

    Indeed they are I will never forget the people I attempted to play Vampire with.
    They were into larping even before I knew of the word for it
    They had props and other items that added to the allure of the game.

    I have been interested in playing at least vampire or maybe mage if I found or had the books again.

    Brainleech on
  • MarshmallowMarshmallow Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    That is a fantastic OP(s?), I've never had any exposure to WoD before this but this all sounds very interesting. I just may have to stop by my local bookstore and take a look at a few of these games.

    Marshmallow on
  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    It's also important to note that the nWoD's "basic game line" is set up to support mortal monster hunters, investigators and things of that nature in addition to offering stuff for the regular games. Many of these books are excellent, some of the very best of the nWoD line.

    I mean, barring the Prince of 100,000 Leaves, there's really nothing that holds a candle to sheer creepyness as The Empty Room in Mysterious Places.

    Professor Phobos on
  • OtakuD00DOtakuD00D Can I hit the exploding rocks? San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Posted this in the Mage thread. Very useful resource for rotes. With a bit of tweaking it can work with nWoD mage too, I -think-. You can still mix the various Arcana for a desired spell, right?

    http://ord.sector808.org/rotedatfr.html

    OtakuD00D on
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  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    OtakuD00D wrote: »
    Posted this in the Mage thread. Very useful resource for rotes. With a bit of tweaking it can work with nWoD mage too, I -think-. You can still mix the various Arcana for a desired spell, right?

    Yes, but the Arcana and what they mean have changed. There are 10 Arcana in nMage and the power scale is a bit different.

    Professor Phobos on
  • XaiberDXaiberD Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Oh, how I <3 WoD, new and old. My first foray into roleplaying was throughthe world of darkness. Some details have been posted in the "You wouldn't believe it but.." thread.

    No one would ever play Mage with me, no matter how much I begged it, though :(.

    XaiberD on
  • OtakuD00DOtakuD00D Can I hit the exploding rocks? San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    OtakuD00D wrote: »
    Posted this in the Mage thread. Very useful resource for rotes. With a bit of tweaking it can work with nWoD mage too, I -think-. You can still mix the various Arcana for a desired spell, right?

    Yes, but the Arcana and what they mean have changed. There are 10 Arcana in nMage and the power scale is a bit different.

    Yeah, I realized that. The biggest one I can think of is Entropy. It's now split into Death and Fate. Correspondence is now known as Space, for the most part.

    OtakuD00D on
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  • EvilBadmanEvilBadman DO NOT TRUST THIS MAN Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Where's Scion love, CJ?

    Why must you overlook such a fun new idea?

    ScionHeroCover.jpg



    Scion is a trilogy of role-playing games published by White Wolf, Inc. The first and core rule book, Scion: Hero. was released on 13 April, 2007. The second volume, Scion: Demigod, was released on 12 September, 2007, and the third, Scion: God, is scheduled for release on 7 November, 2007.

    SETTING

    Set in the modern day, Scion: Hero puts players into the role of mortal descendants of gods embroiled in a divine war. Characters can be associated with any of the six pantheons provided in the game:

    * Pesedjet - The gods of Ancient Egypt, including Anubis, Atum-Re, Bastet, Geb, Horus, Isis, Kebauet, Osiris, Ptah, Set (or Seth), Sobek, and Thoth.
    * Dodekatheon - The gods of Greek mythology, including Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Dionysus, Hades, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Poseidon, and Zeus.
    * Aesir - The gods of Norse mythology, including Baldur, Freya, Freyr, Frigg, Heimdall, Hel, Loki, Odin, Sif, Thor, Tyr, and Vidar.
    * Atzlánti - The gods of the Aztec civilization, including Huitzilopochtli, Miclántecuhtli (sic), Quetzalcoátl, Tezcatlipoca, Tlaloc, Tlazoltéotl, and Xipe Totec.
    * Amatsukami - The Shinto gods of Japan, including Amaterasu, Hachiman, Izanagi, Izanami, Raiden, Susano-o, and Tsuki-Yomi.
    * Loa - The god-spirits of the Vodou religion, including Agwe, Baron Samedi, Damballa, Erzulie, Kalfu, Legba, Ogoun, and Shango.

    There are also instructions for creating custom pantheons, and hints at others already extant in the game's universe (there is brief mention of a "Celestial Bureaucracy," referring to the Chinese pantheon).

    After years of enslavement, the Titans have broken free of their prisons and are waging war in the Overworld. The Gods return to fight the war, entrusting the care of Earth in the hands of their mortal children. Most often, the purpose of a Scion is to hunt down Titanspawn and stop them from resurrecting the Titan they serve, or to stop them from forwarding its agenda. Scions are as complex, moral, and stalwart as any mortal is however, and sometimes they are turned to the service of the Titans themselves.

    The game has drawn much comparison with the book American Gods, written by Neil Gaiman.

    Each volume expands the scope of the game. Characters go from being enhanced humans in Scion: Hero to full-fledged gods in Scion: God. The scale also grows, from adventures in the physical world in Scion: Hero, to adventures in the Underworld and various Terra Incognitae in Scion: Demigod, to adventures in the Overworld with its Titanrealms and Godrealms in Scion: God.

    System

    Scion uses a rules system similar to the Storyteller system made popular by the World of Darkness, but is not part of the World of Darkness. The rules are a new version of the system presented in Exalted: Second Edition but set in a modern world, that also includes elements from the Trinity Universe series of games, most notably Aberrant.

    One change to the system that has caused some debate is the lack of Backgrounds in Scion. Characters are allowed to have whatever contacts, history, and wealth that makes sense for the character without the need of any rules to oversee them. The core mechanics of the game will also increase in scale with each additional book in the series, eventually promoting the hero characters to demigod- and godhood.

    The two primary abilities available to hero characters are Epic Attributes and Purviews. Epic Attributes increase the characters nine basic abilities to super-human levels (Hercules' strength or Helen's beauty, for example). Purviews (covering animals, chaos, darkness, death, earth, fertility, fire, guardians, health, justice, the moon, psychopomp--travel, the sky, the sun, war, water, pantheon-specific purviews, magic, mystery and prophecy) are the divine powers granted to the children of the Gods, activated through special relics given to the Scions by their divine parents. Scions also round out their abilities by attracting Followers, being befriended by legendary Creatures, or being aided by often mystical Guides.

    EvilBadman on
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    I should note that Badman is fucking awesome
    XBL- Evil Badman; Steam- EvilBadman; Twitter - EvilBadman
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Again, never heard of it.

    To the editmobile!

    Good news: done.

    Bad news: Word count is at the limit! Any other games aren't going to have much space for details. :P

    cj iwakura on
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  • ShamusShamus Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Wow, Scion sounds really fucking cool.

    Shamus on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Would I be wrong to bring up Exalted? You mention White Wolf gaming but I'm not sure if you're just limiting it to the WoD stuff

    If not, where mah Exalted at?!

    If so, feel free to beat me up and take my lunch money D:

    Super Namicchi on
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Sky's the limit, long as it's WW. I just happen to be limited to WoD knowledge-wise. :P Unfortunately, the OP's pretty crammed, so I don't think I'd be able to fit more than a link to the wiki and a choice image or two.

    cj iwakura on
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  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Sky's the limit, long as it's WW. I just happen to be limited to WoD knowledge-wise. :P Unfortunately, the OP's pretty crammed, so I don't think I'd be able to fit more than a link to the wiki and a choice image or two.

    If you want I can write up a little somethin-somethin'

    (I love Exalted)

    Super Namicchi on
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Sky's the limit, long as it's WW. I just happen to be limited to WoD knowledge-wise. :P Unfortunately, the OP's pretty crammed, so I don't think I'd be able to fit more than a link to the wiki and a choice image or two.

    If you want I can write up a little somethin-somethin'

    (I love Exalted)

    By all means. I could always chop a few paragraphs away from Garou and Changeling, they won't miss it. :P

    cj iwakura on
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  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Note Scion is not WoD, it is its own thing. Uses the Exalted system, as I recall.

    Professor Phobos on
  • EvilBadmanEvilBadman DO NOT TRUST THIS MAN Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Note Scion is not WoD, it is its own thing. Uses the Exalted system, as I recall.

    Yeah, but still a White Wolf venture and totally deserving mention in thread.

    Also, that description is shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia. :D

    EvilBadman on
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    I should note that Badman is fucking awesome
    XBL- Evil Badman; Steam- EvilBadman; Twitter - EvilBadman
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Exalted

    220px-Exalted_Second_Edition_Core_Book.jpg


    Exalted is a game I'm very fond of for some reason I cannot intimate in any coherent manner; suffice to say that this game is hopped up on cool.

    Exalted is a role-playing game published by White Wolf Publishing. The game is classified as high fantasy, but may be more accurately described as "mythic fantasy," as the original developer specifically avoided drawing on J. R. R. Tolkien for inspiration. A second edition of the core rule book has been published, and new supplements for this edition are being released. First Edition is no longer in development, but was originally designed by Geoffrey C. Grabowski and the original core rulebook was published in July of 2001.


    In March 2006 White Wolf released the Second Edition (cover above), which streamlined the game and brought some setting revisions. It is the version I am familiar with and was introduced to.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exalted
    Wikipedia wrote:
    Exalted has mechanical and thematic similarities to White Wolf's previous game series, the old World of Darkness, but exists in its own product line, called the Age of Sorrows. The game has an excellent sales record, on par with the company's flagship title, Vampire: The Masquerade, the second edition core rulebook achieving a sales ranking at #23,558 on Amazon.com with a 5-star user review rating based on 9 user reviews as of Friday, February 9th, 2007. Perhaps to maintain a sense of continuity, the First Edition published material initially suggested the Age of Sorrows as the pre-history of the old World of Darkness -- however, this has not been officially confirmed outside of early promotional materials. It should be noted that White Wolf has continually inserted names and themes familiar to players of their previous World of Darkness line into the material, adding fuel to the fire of the speculation that it is a pre-history. However, the Developer has commented that the connections are tenuous, for players to grasp or let go – with the end of the old World of Darkness and the creation of the new World of Darkness, these similarities have become even weaker. Moreover, Exalted Second Edition seems to imply that its story is the prehistory of our own world.

    Background
    The name of the game is Exalted. In the world known as Creation, mortal life is short and miserable, with little hope for a better future. However, there are those who are chosen by a higher being (such as the Unconquered Sun, Luna, the Neverborn, Autochthon, the Five Maidens, or the Five Elemental Dragons) and given the Second Breath; they are Exalted, people endowed with supernatural powers able to sway nations.

    Originally, the Exalted were created by the gods in order to overthrow the Primordials and to rule Creation. However, as the Primordials were killed or imprisoned, thus becoming (respectively) the Neverborn or Yozis, they laid a curse upon the Exalted (the Solar Exalted in particular). The Solar rulers of the First Age grew decadent and corrupt in their great power. Under the guidance of the Sideral Exalted (the Five Maidens' exalts) the Terrestrial Exalted of the Elemental Dragons revolted against their Solar masters.

    The Usurpation followed, a time where the Solar Exalted were hunted to extinction by the Terrestrials, with their Lunar Exalted consorts driven to obscurity on the fringes of Creation. Since each Solar "shard" moves on to a new host when the demi-god it is Exalting dies, the Sidereals had to capture each Solar shard and imprison it within a great structure known as Jade Prison; this ensured that it could not return to exalt a new Solar. To that end, they were mostly successful; the few random shards that they missed were simply located through Astrological magics, and new Solars throughout the ages were quickly hunted down and killed. For hundreds of years, the Sidereals faded from public knowledge and promoted the divine right of the Terrestrial Exalted to rule over Creation from behind the scenes, while casting any other Exalt as a demon; they branded them Anathema to Creation.

    After the rule of the Solars was broken, the Terrestrials organized themselves into the Shogunate. During this time, they ruled over the peoples of Creation in imitation of their former Solar masters; however, it was not destined to last. A virulent plague known as the Great Contagion was the beginning of the end of the Terrestrial Shogunate, wiping out ninety percent of humanity, and hot on the heels of the Great Contagion were the Fair Folk, inhabitants of chaos (known as the Wyld), who desired nothing more than the destruction of the order that is Creation in favor of the chaotic energies of the Wyld. Between the Great Contagion and the Balorian Crusade of the Fair Folk, nearly all of humanity was destroyed. Humanity's savior came in the form of a small group of Terrestrial Exalted who broke into the Imperial Manse of the Solar Exalted and activated the reality-generating engines and weapons of the First Age. Only one of the Terrestrials survived, rising to power as the savior of humanity and establishing a dynastic empire, taking the role of the Scarlet Empress. The Empress became the most powerful force in Creation and her empire became the center of culture and stability in the world. During her reign, the hunt against the Solars continued and although the world fell into decadence and disrepair, life continued on and the world recovered.

    However, the Age of Sorrows is here, and five years ago the Scarlet Empress vanished to whereabouts unknown. Around that time, something in the Jade Prison went wrong, and the Solar Shards are back in the world, finding mortals worthy and Exalting them; it is a new age, and the returned Solars are slowly making their way through a world that has been without them for hundreds of years.

    The Exalted
    In Creation, there are about a billion types of supernatural beings that include spirits and gods of all kinds, strange Wyld mutants, demons, undead, Fair Folk... however, the most important (and the purview of the players) are the Exalted themselves.

    There are five types of Exalted within the core. There are two additional types (Alchemical and Infernal) who I will not be talking about as they are not detailed in the core setting.


    The Solar Exalted, Chosen of the Unconquered Sun
    Solar Exalted are the default protagonists of Exalted and the champions of the Unconquered Sun. There are five castes of Solar Exalted -

    Dawn (the warriors and generals)
    Zenith (the priest-kings of the Unconquered Sun)
    Twilight (the scholars and the sorcerers)
    Night (the spies and assassins)
    Eclipse (the ambassadors, diplomats and negotiators)

    In the era that the game is set, the Age of Sorrows, the Solar Exalted are returning to the world for the first time in thousands of years, and their actions can shape the fate of nations. The Solar Exalted are the greatest of the Exalted and they were the God-Kings of the First Age. Their achievements were a beacon to humanity, their power flowing from the sun.

    The Dragon-Blooded Terrestrial Exalted betrayed and murdered the Solars, ending the First Age; however, it was not possible to destroy their essences, so most were captured with the assistance of the Sidereals and were placed in the Jade Prison. but those that were not imprisoned continued to reincarnate again and again through the ages. Each time a Solar re-emerged into the world, they were chased down by the Wyld Hunt and killed. Considered to be Anathema to the rest of the world, the Solars are considered to be monstrous demons and are feared by anyone with the knowledge of who and what they are. The Solars' raw prowess in most skills easily exceeds any, and the mightiest of sorceries are their purview alone. Their two greatest advantages are their large essence pools that give them more raw power to work with and their ability to use the highest of all forms of sorcery, that of the Solar Circle.

    The Lunar Exalted, Chosen of Luna
    There are three castes of Lunar Exalted -
    Changing Moon (A caste of mixed roles; a combination of three now-extinct castes; Waxing, Waning, and Half Moons)
    Full Moon (warriors)
    No Moon (sages)

    The Lunar Exalted are the Chosen of Luna and are the most chaotic and savage of the Exalted. In the First Age they were cunning shapeshifters, skilled fighters and capable generals. Very commonly bonded in wedlock with the First Age Solars, those that were not killed along with their Solar mates fled to the edges of Creation. There, straddling the border of Creation and the chaotic Wyld, they were changed over a great many years. Shunning civilization, some of them lead and seeded anthropomorphic barbarian tribes; others went into deep seclusion in their territories; and still others, perhaps haunted by their abandonment of their Solar mates, let their shapechanging animalistic instincts overtake them for centuries until their humanity was a distant memory. Some even lost that memory in the Wyld, becoming terrible monsters beyond thought, the Chimaera.

    Now, with the return of the Solar Exalted, the teetering of the Scarlet Dynasty of the Dragon-Blooded, the encroaching influence of the Wyld and its Fair Folk manifestations, and the new and deadly threat of the Deathlords, the Lunar Exalted may once again return to a Creation that has changed as much as they have. It is important to note that the Lunars follow a tribal hierarchy and protect themselves from the warping effects of the Wyld with various charms and tattoos that further serve to mark them as different from the rest of humanity. In addition to their self-inflicted distinguishing marks, each Lunar has a "Tell" that manifests as an animal-like characteristic that is visible to some degree or another in their human forms, further setting them apart from mortals.

    The Sidereal Exalted, the Chosen of the Five Maidens
    There are five types of Sidereal Exalted -
    Chosen of Journeys (travel throughout Creation and oversee transportation and movement)
    Chosen of Serenity (oversee life, and matters related to joy and pleasure)
    Chosen of Battles (focus on combat, conflict and war, serving as military advisers and elite spies)
    Chosen of Secrets (focus on arcana and lore)
    Chosen of Endings (specialize in death and change, whether mortal, Exalted or societal)

    Celestial Exalted and Chosen of the Five Maidens, the Sidereal are the least numerous of all the Exalted. However, they are a major force in the world of Creation. Sidereals, in addition to their unparalleled mastery of martial arts, excel at foreseeing and manipulating fate and were the viziers and cunning advisers of The First Age.

    They work in the Celestial City of Yu-Shan, the home of the Gods, ensuring that Creation follows the path that they chose to guide it along. Toward the end of the First Age, a most fateful prophecy came to them that seemed to offer two options: either destroy the Solar Exalted or watch Creation burn. In their hubris, under the effects of the Great Curse laid upon them by the Yozi, they blindly followed their predictions without taking the time to verify them and orchestrated the end of the First Age and of the rule of the Solar Exalted, known as the Great Usurpation. It was with their guidance that the Terrestrials were able to completely wipe out the Solar Exalted and effectively direct the Wyld Hunt to the predicted Exaltation of new Solars. Always working behind the scenes, almost all Sidereals work for the Bureau of Fate in Yu-shan (Heaven), but because of the effect of the great curse on them they now slip from the minds of those who meet them, mortal and Exalt alike. Recent events, such as a devastating plague known as the Great Contagion which eluded their predictions, have jarred their faith, while the loss of the Scarlet Empress, their secret ally at the top of the Realm, has marginalized their influence. Now, with the emergence of the terribly powerful Deathlords (inscrutable to their power of prediction), the return of the Solars, and a growing rift within their ranks (taking the form of the Bronze and Gold Factions), the masters of fate are anything but certain of their future.

    The Terrestrial Exalted, Dragon-Blooded, Chosen of the Five Elemental Dragons
    There are five elemental aspects to the Dragon-Blooded -
    Air (also known as the Azure Children of Mela)
    Earth (also known as the Ivory Children of Pasiap)
    Fire (also known as the Scarlet Offspring of Hesiesh)
    Water (also known as the Ebon Offspring of Daana'd)
    Wood (also known as the Verdant Children of Sextes Jylis)

    The Terrestrial Exalted are the Chosen of the Elemental Dragons. They were the elite infantry and servants to the rest of the Exalted in the First Age. Though less powerful than other types of Exalted, they gain their strength from inheritance - rather than being chosen by a god, the Dragon-Blooded have the potential to pass their Exaltation on to their children along with random Exaltation in families with no history of Dragon-Blooded geneaology. These Dragon-Blooded are commonly known as Outcastes or Lost Eggs. The Dragon-Blooded are not limited by a set amount of 'Exalted essences' like Celestial Exalted, although First Age accounts put their numbers at 10,000. Because of this, they are by far the most numerous of the Exalted and were able to usurp the power of the Solar Exalted at the height of their power with the help and guidance of the Sidereal Exalted.

    The majority of the Dragon-Blooded in Creation make up the ruling class of the Realm, the most powerful empire in Creation. The state-sanctioned faith, known as the Immaculate Order, paints the Solar and Lunar Exalted as dangerous Anathema who will bring ruin to the world if allowed to exist. Because of this, the Realm organizes the Wyld Hunt, which actively seeks out new Celestial Exalted and overwhelms them before they can master their new powers. This practice, which had effectively kept the Solars from rising to power again since the end of the First Age, has faltered because of the recent disappearance of the Scarlet Empress. The mad rush by the great Dragon-Blooded houses to fill the resulting power vacuum has destabilized the Scarlet Empire and allowed the Solar Exalted to escape a lazy Wyld Hunt and rise in Creation once more. The greatest advantages of the Dragon-Blooded are the considerable resources granted to them by their noble status and their ability to work cooperatively with each other to create greater effects with their Essence.

    The Abyssal Exalted, the Deathknights
    There are five castes of Abyssal Exalted, mirroring the Solars -

    Dusk (counterparts to the Dawn)
    Midnight (counterparts to the Zenith)
    Daybreak (counterparts to the Twilight)
    Day (counterparts to the Night)
    Moonshadow (counterparts to the Eclipse)


    The twisted souls known as Abyssal Exalted are the loyal servants of the Deathlords, who in turn serve the Neverborn, the dead husks of what were once the ancient Primordials that were slain by the Exalted during the great war. Now, they sow their revenge from beyond the grave through their terrible ghostly Deathlord servants. Although no one in Creation would suspect it, each Deathlord could be one of the corrupted remnants of a fallen First Age Solar and they are easily among the most powerful beings to walk the Underworld. As their masters do, the Deathlords seek not to conquer or corrupt Creation but rather to wipe it and everything else out of existence.

    Their agents in the world of the living are the Abyssal Exalted, also known as Deathknights; these abominations are dark reflections of the Solar Exalted and are their equal in power. Deathknights find themselves bound to their dark fate; holding onto the trappings of life inevitably spells disaster for those who rebel. Only recently have they and their Deathlord masters begun to corrupt Creation with the power of the Underworld and they field vast undead armies, bolstered by ancient knowledge and powerful necromancy. Though they only have a tentative foothold in Creation, they represent its gravest threat. Abyssals cannot draw essence from Creation as other Exalts do and can only replenish their essence in the underworld or with powerful artifacts. The easiest way for an Abyssal to restore their essence, away from their dark realm, is by consuming the living.


    System
    Wikipedia wrote:
    The game uses ten-sided dice and a rules system similar to the Storytelling System to arbitrate the action, and, as with many other RPGs, requires little beyond the rulebooks themselves, dice, pencil, and paper. The ten-sided die storyteller system is one where the storyteller (or game master) is the person setting up a story and creating the adventure. The players create their characters using a pre-assigned number of points and begin to interact with the story that the storyteller presents them with, much like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, although the possible actions are limited only to the imagination of the players and the discretion of the storyteller. When a challenge presents itself to the characters, they roll a number of dice determined by the statistics of their character with a difficulty assigned by the storyteller. If they gain the required number of successes (7 or higher on any given die, 10's usually counting as double), they succeed in their efforts. If they do not gain the required number of successes, they fail. The storyteller describes the nature of the success or failure and the game and story continue on. Since the stories are player-created (by the storyteller, of course), there is no one way to "win" the game, except to achieve the goals set out in each individual story.

    The rules system used in Exalted differs from the standard Storytelling System in several ways. Most notably, the two systems use different attributes and skills. The standard Storytelling system uses the following attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina, Presence, Manipulation, Composure, Intelligence, Wits, and Resolve. The Exalted system, on the other hand, uses the attributes from the old World of Darkness system. These are Strength, Dexterity, Stamina, Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance, Intelligence, Wits and Perception. There are many differences in skills, in line with the difference in setting. For example, while the standard Storytelling system uses the skills, Academics, Firearms, and Politics, the Exalted system uses the skills, Lore, Archery, and Bureaucracy. For these and other reasons, the two systems are not directly compatible without adaptations. White Wolf’s Scion game uses the same attributes, but not the same skills, as Exalted.

    If there's anything you think I should add, tell me!

    Super Namicchi on
  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    One should always mention that Exalted has dinosaurs that pee heroin.

    Professor Phobos on
  • Inglorious CoyoteInglorious Coyote Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    No mention of Wraith or Hunter :(

    And I used to be really in to the old WoD, big Werewolf fan. Even larped a few times, a few friends and I playing a pack living in the city protecting a caern in the park and 'dealing' with the local leeches. And by dealing I mean showing up to their little Elysium party and stating 'Listen up Wyrm-spawn. Water Works park is ours. Any of you little leeches set a single foot inside of it, and we'll rip you to shreds. You start any trouble, send your little minions after us, we'll eat them, then track you down and rip you to shreds. You be cool and let us be, and we'll be cool and not kill every motherfucking last one of you. Capiche?'

    Imagine a couple hard drinking country boys and a couple hard drinking punk rockers crashing a goth party and you get an idea what it was like.:)

    Inglorious Coyote on
  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    No mention of Wraith or Hunter :(

    Or Demon, Orpheus or Mummy, for that matter.

    Professor Phobos on
  • LeumasWhiteLeumasWhite New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    One should always mention that Exalted has dinosaurs that pee heroin.

    One should never mention that. Ever.

    Not ever.

    I have a hard enough time finding people to play. :(

    LeumasWhite on
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  • elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Shamus wrote: »
    Wow, Scion sounds really fucking cool.

    Yeah, it sounds fucking cool, but unfortunately rulebook is little sketchy. It doesn't really give good examples what Scions should do, or how they interact with each other.

    elkatas on
    Hypnotically inclined.
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    No mention of Wraith or Hunter :(

    Or Demon, Orpheus or Mummy, for that matter.

    For what it's worth, I referenced them in passing near the end(except for Orpheus, which i've never heard of), but I think condensing Werewolf and Changeling down gave me room for segments on a few more serieses.

    Hunter is also interesting, and Wraith... well, it's something all right.

    cj iwakura on
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  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    |Man, I wish I could find a group around me to get involved with. Surprisingly, gaming becomes exponentially more difficult once you're out of college.

    The entire new WoD looks wicked cool.

    GoodOmens on
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    IOS Game Center ID: Isotope-X
  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    One should always mention that Exalted has dinosaurs that pee heroin.

    One should never mention that. Ever.

    Not ever.

    I have a hard enough time finding people to play. :(

    Why? It's totally awesome. Exalted has this knack for making completely over-the-top ideas not only make sense, but scream out to be used in games. That's kind of the point of Exalted, actually- this is the game where you start out as a random Badass Dude, and then the Sun decides to teach you how to kick even more ass.

    Professor Phobos on
  • LeumasWhiteLeumasWhite New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    One should always mention that Exalted has dinosaurs that pee heroin.

    One should never mention that. Ever.

    Not ever.

    I have a hard enough time finding people to play. :(

    Why? It's totally awesome. Exalted has this knack for making completely over-the-top ideas not only make sense, but scream out to be used in games. That's kind of the point of Exalted, actually- this is the game where you start out as a random Badass Dude, and then the Sun decides to teach you how to kick even more ass.

    No, that's pretty much it right there. To generalize hugely, two kinds of people play Exalted: the people who play it like the Iliad + Journey to the West + Fading Suns, and the people who play it like Ninja Turtles + Power Rangers + lightsabers. One is about performing heroic feats and dealing with the problems of both this dying age and the last great era, and the other is about fucking up giant robots in your giant robot, after an appropriate training montage to get your bitchin' laser sword and ninja skills. Also maybe you're some kind of beastman or something.

    The second is fine, but it's everywhere. It is basically impossible to find someone who doesn't think riding a beast of resplendent liquid into FaFL's lair while playing power ballads on your dai-guitar is totally awesome, hay guyz let's go do that right now.

    LeumasWhite on
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  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    One should always mention that Exalted has dinosaurs that pee heroin.

    One should never mention that. Ever.

    Not ever.

    I have a hard enough time finding people to play. :(

    Why? It's totally awesome. Exalted has this knack for making completely over-the-top ideas not only make sense, but scream out to be used in games. That's kind of the point of Exalted, actually- this is the game where you start out as a random Badass Dude, and then the Sun decides to teach you how to kick even more ass.

    No, that's pretty much it right there. To generalize hugely, two kinds of people play Exalted: the people who play it like the Iliad + Journey to the West + Fading Suns, and the people who play it like Ninja Turtles + Power Rangers + lightsabers. One is about performing heroic feats and dealing with the problems of both this dying age and the last great era, and the other is about fucking up giant robots in your giant robot, after an appropriate training montage to get your bitchin' laser sword and ninja skills. Also maybe you're some kind of beastman or something.

    The second is fine, but it's everywhere. It is basically impossible to find someone who doesn't think riding a beast of resplendent liquid into FaFL's lair while playing power ballads on your dai-guitar is totally awesome, hay guyz let's go do that right now.

    Dude, you just summarized my biggest gripe with Exalted

    It's always like 'let's adapt SLAYERS and play that on the tabletop lolololo' instead of 'hey let's be like a tragic greek hero or something similar and make some gripping story cake with chocolate frosting made of congealed awesome'

    so, QFT

    Super Namicchi on
  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Well, fine. It don't like Exalted either way, I was just passing on what other people have said they've enjoyed about it.

    Professor Phobos on
  • LeumasWhiteLeumasWhite New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Well, fine. It don't like Exalted either way, I was just passing on what other people have said they've enjoyed about it.

    Other people are clearly wrong.

    It's just a bit annoying, especially since some of the fans are writing for it now. I want GCG and RSB back.

    LeumasWhite on
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