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Old 09-13-2017, 06:00 PM   #61
sir_pudding
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The Nephandi aren't part of an good versus evil conflict, they are part of the same trinity that runs through the whole WoD. Technomancers belong to the Weaver, the Marauders to the Wild, and the Nephandi to the Wyrm. It's order/creation/entropy. The Traditions (including Euthanatos) are the synthetic faction (which most of the default PC factions in the WoD are). If the Nephandi seem mad, it is because they are, the Wyrm is sick and the cosmos is out of balance.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:20 PM   #62
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The Nephandi aren't part of an good versus evil conflict, they are part of the same trinity that runs through the whole WoD. Technomancers belong to the Weaver, the Marauders to the Wild, and the Nephandi to the Wyrm. It's order/creation/entropy. The Traditions (including Euthanatos) are the synthetic faction (which most of the default PC factions in the WoD are). If the Nephandi seem mad, it is because they are, the Wyrm is sick and the cosmos is out of balance.
(a) I've always ignored that stuff because it doesn't make any sense to me. It certainly doesn't seem to be integrated into Mage: The Ascension in any meaningful way. Maybe if I'd come in via Werewolf: The Apocalypse it would be different, but really, though I've read that game more than once, I've never gotten an intuitive grasp of it, and I don't think I could ever run it.

(b) The Euthanatos are specifically defined as the Tradition whose Sphere is Entropy. If the Wyrm is Entropy than doesn't that make the Euthanatos devotees of the Wyrm, and no different from the Nephandi?

(c) Or, conversely, if Entropy is a necessary part of the whole, then shouldn't the Nephandi be capable of being portrayed as doing something basically good, but taken too far? I mean, the Technocracy give us natural science and engineering and medicine and economic growth and a bunch of other really good things. The Marauders at least embody radical individualism and refusal to submit. What do the Nephandi give us?

(d) If the Nephandi aren't part of any good vs. evil conflict, then why are they such a perfect fit to our cultural models of evil? The statement "The Fallen Ones are not merely evil -- they are corruption incarnate" (Mage 2nd p. 54) seems pretty clear. If what you say is accurate then WW seems to have been sending mixed messages.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:33 PM   #63
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(a) Well that is what the Nephandi are doing there. If you want to ignore it, you can, but there's little reason to remain perplexed.

(b) The Sons of Ether and the Virtual Adepts use technology, but aren't part of the Technocracy. Entropy, as Euthanatos employs it isn't the uncontrolled corruption that has taken the Nephandi.

(c) If the Wyrm was sane, then its followers might have a clear message but it isn't. Is illness evil? They have decay, and destruction to offer, but as I said, that may be necessary. The WoD is doomed, and they are the maggots chewing on the wounds, hastening the inevitable.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:39 PM   #64
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(c) If the Wyrm was sane, then its followers might have a clear message but it isn't. Is illness evil? They have decay, and destruction to offer, but as I said, that may be necessary. The WoD is doomed, and they are the maggots chewing on the wounds, hastening the inevitable.
I think this probably sums up why I've been having trouble with it.

It seems to me that it might be said that I want to run a Mage campaign, but I actually don't want to run a World of Darkness campaign. In fact, the oWoD doesn't tempt me much as an imaginative construct. I love Mage; I find Wraith appealing and would really like to run it someday; I've played Changeling and had fun, but wouldn't run it; I'm not tempted by Werewolf; I really, really don't think I could stand to play Vampire, let alone run it. A world that's designed as a framework for all five has elements that I'd rather avoid.

What I like about Mage is, first, that it's a conceptual exploration of the idea that reality is subjective; second, that in many ways it's really a superhero game without the capes; third, that it has a brilliant system for improvisational magic, one of the best I've ever used (the one in Buffy the Vampire Slayer rivals it). And I have fond memories of Hong Kong Shadows, a campaign set in Hong Kong right after the Chinese took it back, with three Wu Lung, a Wu-keng, an Akashic Brother, and a Virtual Adept who kept running into each other. None of those things that I like seems to be helped by the gnostic idea of a world of illusion and imprisonment, nor by the metaphysics of Weaver/Wyrm/Wild; and my campaign didn't make any use of them, but built on ideas more specific to Mage—in fact, on mid-range ideas that grew more out of history than out of cosmology and metaphysics.

Now, I'm not criticizing anyone who wants to do the other thing. I'm just using M:tA in a way that strikes my fancy.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:53 PM   #65
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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.
If you don't want to use them, then they're just a mixture of well cast illusions and rumor.

Yes, the books ARE that relativist in the setting.

The only thing concrete about the nephandi is that they are opposed to just about everyone. But they aren't needed for that. Paradox demons work just fine in the same role. As do Toreador, Nosferatu, and Ventrue vampires (or their nWoD renames), or Black Spiral Dancer Werewolves.

The Technocracy vs the Traditional Traditions is the biggest theme in the game, but there are others in the core - including academic vs experiential traditions (pitting the hermetics and technocrats against several other traditions), Magi vs other supernaturals, and Mages reshaping the unawakened without them noticing... Gods and Devils in human frames...

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If what you say is accurate then WW seems to have been sending mixed messages.
Yup.

WWG used to revel in that.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:07 PM   #66
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The Technocracy vs the Traditional Traditions is the biggest theme in the game, but there are others in the core - including academic vs experiential traditions (pitting the hermetics and technocrats against several other traditions), Magi vs other supernaturals, and Mages reshaping the unawakened without them noticing... Gods and Devils in human frames...
Yes, well, all that material is there. I think what makes T vs. T look to me like THE theme is that it's the focus of the big upfront conflict. (The Marauders and the Crafts appear in this as alternate and less organized ways of opposing the Technocracy, and it makes sense that they should be there, since the Traditions didn't start out as a unified organization. But there is sort of a "dream of a thousand cats" problem.)
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Old 09-18-2017, 10:39 PM   #67
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And here's the progress report: Five of my six players showed up for the character creation session; the sixth e-mailed to say he had to work and ask to build a character later. They started out voting for a Traditions campaign rather than a Technocracy one. Then they built, respectively, an old school English witch (not one of those new agey Gardnerians) who was a classic Verbena; a teenage Romani boy who was a Euthanatos; a black Barbadian who was a Dreamspeaker; a Diné shaman who was another Dreamspeaker; and a second teenage boy, apparently an English runaway, who was an orphan with a primarily specialization in Entropy (and a geas forbidding him to sleep under a roof, lest his magic turn against him). I'm doing a quick review, but so far I'm seeing only minor tweaks to be made.

It kind of makes sense to me to have a Romani Euthanatos. As I understand it, the Rom speak an Indic language and are more or less long lost South Asians; and South Asia seems to be the primary source of the Euthanatos, though other areas such as Greece and Ireland also figured into their origin.

There's got to be a really interesting story for how those five came together, with four of them under one roof as a newly emerged Chantry.
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Old 09-19-2017, 03:24 AM   #68
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As I understand it, the Rom speak an Indic language and are more or less long lost South Asians
That's correct to my understanding, although their language has developed a lot of dialects, usually taking on aspects of the usual language of whichever area they live in. It had no commonly-used written forms until the twentieth century, and the orthography is still not standardised.
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Old 09-27-2017, 06:03 PM   #69
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And now we have the final PC: A Chinese Taoist who uses the name "Pu" (meaning an uncarved block of wood) and who adheres to the Akashic Brotherhood. This really is a mixed crowd!
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Old 10-13-2017, 08:41 PM   #70
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On Euthanatoi, Nephandi and Entropy in the WoD - obviously you'll take or leave it as it suits the story you want to run -

The Euthanatoi are proponents of cosmic Law, and order. They perceive Law as more fundamental to the universe than gods - when gods break the Law, they must and shall be punished or even destroyed for it. They have never been the dominant ethos of a civilization, but obviously they are more tolerated among some than others - with Indic civilization leading the pack, followed by chthonic Greek (many Hades and Persephone cultists among the Euthanatoi), ancient Celt, and Mayan. There are some Orthodox Christian Euthanatoi, the Golden Chalice, but they're small, secretive and weird to the point of near-heresy by Euthanatoi standards (the Golden Chalice are not fully committed to the idea of individual responsibility and punishment, and the concept of shared or collective guilt would make most Euthanatoi practices quickly devolve into horrific nonsense). They are a fundamentally synthetic Tradition, with Law devotees from many cultures crammed together and declared a single Tradition by the Council of Nine.

Nephandi are something different. You've surely noticed that Mage's construction of reality is profoundly anthropocentric, with human will and perception being the final arbiter of reality. The Nephandi reject that, and think Things From Beyond are entitled to a vote as to what's real and what isn't also. There's a lot of variety (and inconsistent portrayals) of them, but that tends to be the root - you could make a deep green Verbena Nephandus, for example, but the unifying feature seems to be a rejection of anthropocentrism (to a much greater extent than even the Celestial Chorus). They have a variant praxis for the sphere of Entropy (which I personally reject as unnecessary slop; I prefer the differences to be purely philosophical) that reverses the mind and matter positions for Entropy 3 and Entropy 5; Nephandi learn how to break down thought and reason in others relatively quickly, but have a surprisingly difficult time affecting insensate matter (unlike the Euthanatoi or the Technocratic masters of Entropy, the Syndicate).
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