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Old 09-13-2017, 02:32 PM   #60
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: my new campaign ideas

Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
I'm not sure quite what you're asking here. If you're saying "the books don't help", well, sure, the books don't help. There have been several suggestions here on ways to make the Nephandi interesting and more-or-less rational actors rather than Generic Bad Guys, and I don't think I understand your explanation of why they aren't what you're looking for.

Perhaps you could post in different phrasing exactly what it is that you're hoping to get out of this bit of the discussion?
You know, it's such a temptation to say, "If I could answer that question, I could figure out how to use the Nephandi." But I'm not really sure that that was true.

I wasn't really seeing the Nephandi as a problem for which I hoped to find a solution. I was just saying that I didn't think I wanted to use them, and trying to suggest why. And I guess I can try to make that clearer:

It seems to me that the central theme of Mage is reflected in the conflict between the Traditions and the Technocracy. That's the issue of static or dynamic versions of reality; or of materialism and idealism; or of whether consciousness is metaphysically passive or metaphysically active. And both the Marauders and the Crafts fit into that theme. The Marauders are the mages who are so committed to consciousness being metaphysically active that they are in constant conflict with static consensus reality and indeed with each other; their ultimate tendency is to vanish into their own private universes. The Crafts are the mages who don't want to be caught up in the Ascension War, who don't trust the Traditions to represent their particular cultures and agendas honestly. And it kind of goes with this that they don't acknowledge the distinction between static and dynamic magic.

But I don't really see the Nephandi, as presented, as based on that particular theme at all. They seem to be presented as embodying a different conflict, good versus evil. And I think that's not a good fit to the rest of Mage.

If you approximate the Nephandi as seeking to bring about decay and failure, that's really not very different from the Euthanatos, whom the other Traditions have trouble with already, but who manage to fit into the Traditions. Or if you see them as wanting to bring the whole cosmos to entropy, to annihilate it, well, that's kind of an insane ambition, and thus a good fit to the Marauders; I could certainly fit a solitary cosmic nihilist into the Marauders.

Really, I think that if you reinterpret the Nephandi as "not evil, but just hearing a different drummer," they aren't distinctive enough to merit being a faction of their own. And if you interpret them as being Evil with a capital Evil, then you're setting up a good versus evil conflict that's orthogonal to the static vs. dynamic conflict that's the theme of Mage.

What I want is to run a campaign that explores the Mage theme and setting. But if there's an element that I can't see as a good fit to those, then I don't have a problem with just bypassing it. And for me, that's the Nephandi. I can't see how they make sense in terms of what the creators of Mage were trying to accomplish. And that's what prevents me from thinking of some other way to define them.
Bill Stoddard

A human being should know how to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Specialization is for insects.
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