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Old 10-13-2017, 08:35 PM   #71
whswhs
 
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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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).
The Nephandi seem kind of incoherent. On one hand their association is with the Primordial, which appears to be the original energy of creation. But on the other, they're associated with entropy, in the sense of breaking things down and destroying them. But entropy is the sphere of the Euthanatoi, who seem to be bitterly opposed to the Nephandi. But there also seems to be a connection of the Nephandi with the Wyrm, and yet the Wyrm does not seem to fit Primordial at all—that seems to go better with the Wyld.

And don't things from beyond fit better with Spirit than with Entropy? As I understand it, Beyond is the Deep Umbra.
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:41 AM   #72
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

Incoherent is a fair descriptor of Nephandi as portrayed in Mage, and yes, Spirit is at least as useful a Sphere for them. The Nephandi's version of Primordial is pre-rational, even pre-human,Cthulhu's great old ones, and that sort of nonsense. I suspect that whatever would seem accessible yet evil was tossed at the wall to see what stuck, since an extensive but consistent treatment of the inhuman or horrific perversion of each Paradigm wouldn't have been that useful, really, to most GMs or players. Part of the problem is that their Masters were supposedly all thrown off world around 1918-20, either to Horizon Realms or the Deep Beyond; reality no longer tolerates something THAT hostile within it. So Disciples and Adept level Nephandi use Spirit simply to give reports and receive orders/suggestions from their more powerful elder siblings.

I like me Horizon Realms full of ancient, horrifically amoral masters as much as the next person, but honestly I see no need to make a faction out of them or give them a unifying thread. They're part of Bill Bridges' Rainbow Coalition of Evil and I'm not. Any powerful mage whose personal belief and morality system is WAY outside the current consensus could be labeled Nephandi and I'd be satisfied.
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Old 10-16-2017, 07:55 AM   #73
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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I like me Horizon Realms full of ancient, horrifically amoral masters as much as the next person, but honestly I see no need to make a faction out of them or give them a unifying thread. They're part of Bill Bridges' Rainbow Coalition of Evil and I'm not. Any powerful mage whose personal belief and morality system is WAY outside the current consensus could be labeled Nephandi and I'd be satisfied.
Well, yes and no. I'm not sure how that description makes Nephandi different from Marauders. Thoughts?
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Old 10-16-2017, 07:46 PM   #74
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

You have a point; Marauders are an idea I don't like at all. Another variant set of mechanics ("Paradox never actually hurts us, we just take a time-out in another dimension when it gets too high to interact with this one!") I can do without, and I don't need a tie-in to Werewolf's Wyld nor another example of "mental illness is a superpower, tee-hee!".

If I had to deal with Marauders, as written, I suppose I would try to hang it on two points: Marauders tend to be tied to discarded human paradigms, not inhuman paradigms. The fantasy Middle Ages that never were, Greek mythology, Ming China...those are some of the standouts from the Butcher Street Irregulars. And thus, marauders are fundamentally defensive while Nephandi are offensive - the Wyld is dying, in Bridges' cosmology, and the Marauders are desperately trying to preserve what bits of it they can. The Nephandi have a plan (actually, they have a hundred) and are trying to install a new, much less human reality; they may or may not be sane, in a technical sense. The Wyld protects the Marauders and the Marauders protect the Wyld but it would unfair to accuse them of a plan. Which is part of why they make poor recurring characters.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:54 PM   #75
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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You have a point; Marauders are an idea I don't like at all. Another variant set of mechanics ("Paradox never actually hurts us, we just take a time-out in another dimension when it gets too high to interact with this one!") I can do without, and I don't need a tie-in to Werewolf's Wyld nor another example of "mental illness is a superpower, tee-hee!".

If I had to deal with Marauders, as written, I suppose I would try to hang it on two points: Marauders tend to be tied to discarded human paradigms, not inhuman paradigms. The fantasy Middle Ages that never were, Greek mythology, Ming China...those are some of the standouts from the Butcher Street Irregulars. And thus, marauders are fundamentally defensive while Nephandi are offensive - the Wyld is dying, in Bridges' cosmology, and the Marauders are desperately trying to preserve what bits of it they can. The Nephandi have a plan (actually, they have a hundred) and are trying to install a new, much less human reality; they may or may not be sane, in a technical sense. The Wyld protects the Marauders and the Marauders protect the Wyld but it would unfair to accuse them of a plan. Which is part of why they make poor recurring characters.
That's an interesting difference of viewpoint. I'm fine with Marauders, though I wouldn't allow one as a PC. I'm really not happy with Nephandi.

What is it about Marauders? Well, they seem to fill in a logical place in the range of positions on subjectivism. You have the Technocracy, who overtly believe in objective reality, but whose deeper secret is that what they call "objective" is actually a consensus of the subjective beliefs of the Masses. You have the Traditions, who believe that reality is subjective, but who recognize that other people, including the Masses, also exist and have their own subjective viewpoints, and as a result that different subjective visions can oppose each other in a will to power style. And then you have the Marauders, who are pure subjectivists and solipsists, and who deal with the disbelief of the Masses or the opposition of other mages by refusing to go along with it for even a moment. Sometimes they can impose their own beliefs on others, sometimes they get disappeared into a personal solipsistic realm, in the style of Bester's "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed."

On the other hand, I don't see how the Nephandi represent any particular position on subjective reality. They seem to embody some sort of objective evil—but I don't see how this fits into the conflicts of the other factions.

Or, if you look at it in terms of political allegory, the Technocracy can be read as state socialists, the Traditions as feudalists, and the Marauders as Stirnerite individualist anarchists, all of which are understandable political philosophies. But the Nephandi? "Oh, we are the political faction that advocates evil for evil's sake." Really, that's the sort of thing I expect from comic book supervillains and pulp mad scientists; it's not something I think any real world political movement supports—not even the really unspeakable ones like the Khmer Rouge or the National Socialists or the Legalists.
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:04 PM   #76
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

Agree that the Nephandi don't map to anything in a political allegory. They also don't really have a distinctive yet coherent paradigm of their own. They are usually presented as dark mirrors of an established paradigm - the Chorister who changed sides to become a Devil-worshipper, the Ecstatic who decided that other people's consent was an unacceptable roadblock on the path to their personal enlightenment, the New World Order member who has given up trying to enlighten the masses and instead just wants to feed them insipid distractions and try to keep them from wrecking anything too important. I suppose the Nephandi are used to demonstrate that neither Traditionalist nor Technocrat really has the moral high ground; they each have their serious flaws, each have members that are horrible by any reasonable standard. So I tend to see the core narrative as T versus T, with the Nephandi always used to go "isn't it really more complicated than that?" and keep people from being completely, fully satisfied with one answer. A narrative in which the Marauders serve no purpose.

I suppose the biggest logical problems the Marauders represent to me is: given that their sort of solipsism is possible, why haven't the Traditions developed and used a slightly less extreme version? One that only counts members of a small community (or family, or Tradition) as having a vote? Horizon realms, sure, ok, but those depend on infrastructure that exists inside the Consensus. The Traditions are unhappy with their current limits and balance of powers....why haven't they worked out a way to go half-Marauder, or temporary Marauder? To use the Continuum's reaction to Marauders constructively to bounce back and forth between consensus and solitude as the moment requires? One can imagine overlapping spectrums of belief and ideology for Traditionalists and Technocrats....and then there's the Marauders over there, you either are one or you aren't.
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