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Old 09-09-2017, 07:06 AM   #51
johndallman
 
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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And the Nephandi kind of come across to me as comic book villains. I don't really see them as the adversaries I want to make a campaign interesting.
I haven't played a lot of oWoD, but the only time we met a Nephandi, he had some subtlety. He was setting the Traditions and the Technocracy up against each other to damage reality, and it was a while before we figured that out.
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:27 AM   #52
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That is the intended way to use it. It's all POV, not setting truth.
I don't think that helps. It seems to be a setting truth that there ARE Nephandi, whatever their actual motives and methods are. And I'm considering not having Nephandi at all, rather than having them as a differently interpreted group.

This is influenced by there not being an interpretation suggested for Nephandi culture other than the "Nephandi are evil for the sake of evil" one. I can see hints at an interpretation of the Technocracy as having the right goals, even if their methods are flawed; and it seems as if a lot of other people have seen them, too, given the later publication of supplements that treat the Technocracy somewhat sympathetically. But I'm not seeing how you would interpret the Nephandi as originally good people who went too far.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:02 AM   #53
whswhs
 
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I haven't played a lot of oWoD, but the only time we met a Nephandi, he had some subtlety. He was setting the Traditions and the Technocracy up against each other to damage reality, and it was a while before we figured that out.
I wasn't thinking so much of subtlety as of underlying motivation. Comic books often have villains who do evil by a conscious choice to do evil for the sake of doing evil. But I don't see that as a way that actual people in the real world define their motives. And I don't find it interesting as characterization for narrative purposes; it tends to produce melodrama rather than drama.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:45 AM   #54
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

Bearing in mind I'm not particularly a WoD fan and may have missed some core bit of setting which invalidates this, I see the faction split as:

Traditions: "but you can't take our freedom"; there's room for magic in the world .

Technocracy: one reality, one belief system.

Marauders: we carry our own reality with us, and if you can't cope with it, fish umbrella biscuitbarrel.

Which suggests to me that one might have:

Nephandi: this whole semi-malleable reality with paradox system is broken, we need to tear it down and build a new universe that runs right. Yes, there will be suffering and death of everyone in it now (including us), but the post-collapse paradise will be entirely without suffering for everyone who ever exists in it.
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:23 AM   #55
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Nephandi: this whole semi-malleable reality with paradox system is broken, we need to tear it down and build a new universe that runs right. Yes, there will be suffering and death of everyone in it now (including us), but the post-collapse paradise will be entirely without suffering for everyone who ever exists in it.
That's a possible alternative interpretation, but I think the version in the standard rules is more "tear it down and have nothing in its place."

I should note, by the way, that I'm not a WoD fan as such, but more a Mage fan; I see Mage as enabling the kind of freeform improvisation that's a big appeal of the supers genre for me. Ironically, White Wolf seems to have worked steadily from edition to edition to tone down that aspect of Mage, and make it more WoDy.
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:23 AM   #56
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That's a possible alternative interpretation, but I think the version in the standard rules is more "tear it down and have nothing in its place."
That may be an artifact of the POV aspect of fluff, however; everyone sees that as the Nephandi endgame, because they can't see how, once you've torn down reality itself, anything could be built in its place. They think the Nephandi just want to destroy everything for the sake of destruction. (And the Nephandi, for reasons of their own, aren't sharing. Maybe they fear that if too many people stuck their hands in, it might ruin the paradise they hope to create?)
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:16 AM   #57
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I don't think that helps. It seems to be a setting truth that there ARE Nephandi, whatever their actual motives and methods are. And I'm considering not having Nephandi at all, rather than having them as a differently interpreted group.

This is influenced by there not being an interpretation suggested for Nephandi culture other than the "Nephandi are evil for the sake of evil" one. I can see hints at an interpretation of the Technocracy as having the right goals, even if their methods are flawed; and it seems as if a lot of other people have seen them, too, given the later publication of supplements that treat the Technocracy somewhat sympathetically. But I'm not seeing how you would interpret the Nephandi as originally good people who went too far.
Think of it thusly -
The Nephandi are portrayed as evil by all the other groups because they oppose all the other groups, not because they are in fact evil.

The Technocracy is portrayed as vile, evil monstrosities in service to the Wyrm in Werewolf. And yet, in several Mage supplements, as heroes. And in others, as deranged but relatively harmless.

Likewise, the Malkavians are portrayed alternately as: deviously cunning, making a great deception with their fašade of madness; Harmless loons to be ignored; dangerous delusional walking landmines to be avoided at all costs; and puppets to be controlled by their delusions, useful only as pawns, but wonderfully deniable ones.

So, if you want sympathetic Nephandi, a compelling story arche can be made by players discovering the nephandi are not in fact evil... and fit right in with everything canonical despite actually contradicting it.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:29 AM   #58
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So, if you want sympathetic Nephandi, a compelling story arche can be made by players discovering the nephandi are not in fact evil... and fit right in with everything canonical despite actually contradicting it.
I don't think "sympathetic" is really the issue I'm concerned with.

In the original books, the Technocracy were adversaries. But they also have an agenda that calls for specific things. They have a culture, and interests, and a history. And if I want to flesh them out, I can, because those are resources I can work with. In fact, later WW writers did work with those resources, though perhaps not in quite the way I would have.

I'm not seeing that the Nephandi have those things. Where the Technocracy have "we want to strength static reality and build an organization on it that empowers the Masses, and in pursuing that we have to do evil things X and Y," what I'm seeing of the Nephandi is just "we want to do evil things P and Q and R because they're EVIL." I'm not seeing an agenda that motivates doing evil as a means to an end. And I suppose I could try to make up one, but I don't see that the published material gives any resources for doing this, in the way that it gave resources for saying, "Maybe the Technocracy have a point, you know?"

It would be one thing if I had an entirely different theme in mind, and I had decided that the Mage rules gave me exactly the game mechanics I needed to explore that theme and create a suitable world. But what I'm actually wanting is to explore the Mage world (and specifically the Mage world; I'm not interested in the Vampire or Werewolf world, or even the Changeling world). I'm perfectly willing to look at the published material and say, "Well, okay, this would make more sense if I changed X." But I want to start from the published material. And I'm just not seeing anything in the published Nephandi material that I can use as a starting point. It's really a case of "There's no there there" for me.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:27 AM   #59
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I'm not seeing that the Nephandi have those things.
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?
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:32 PM   #60
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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.
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