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Libra

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Libra last won the day on November 14

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About Libra

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  1. Sales targets for 5e

    Dr Ether has posted a review of the titles so far, in a separate post. This is at my personal request, since he had done such a good job of selling me the positives of v5, warts and all, over a private off-site chat lately. So if there is any shade to be cast, cast it to me, not to Kris.
  2. Dr Ether's 2 Cents on V5

    Thanks, @kris_40000. Good review. As Kris said, I requested this piece, since he and DDR have spent a lot of their time going through v5, testing the game engine, and they know its strengths and its flaws better than anyone.
  3. https://justinachilli.com/2018/11/12/the-gothic-pedigree-of-vampire/ Over the past several months, I had been exchanging social media drive-bys with John Garrad, who has been doing some academic work on the representation of the gothic in games. He shared some slides of his work in progress on Twitter, which I thought was interesting, so we talked a little further, and he agreed to let me share some of the contents of that conversation. See Jon Garrad's other Tweets Twitter Ads info and privacy Gothic-Punk: do you see it as an evolution of a wider, long-term Gothic tradition, or a product of the 1990s cultural circumstances, or as a collection of what the developers over time have deemed relevant to the project, or… something else that I haven’t thought of? Part of Vampire’s longevity, in either Masquerade or Requiem formats, is that the gothic trappings it affects are tied to an emotion rather than an era. Vampire wouldn’t have survived long if it was quintessentially 80s or 90s. (You can see a parallel evolution here in technology, in that V20, released in 2011, doesn’t bother to account for the prevalence of smartphones or of wide-scale surveillance, either of which would pose massive Masquerade threats. We just handwaved them away.) While the early material deliberately attached itself to a specific subculture, social scene, and music expression, it slowly pulled itself away from those over the progression of developers, with the intent of opening itself up to a greater breadth of players. Even through that extrication of itself from a defined “scene,” it kept the literary component of the gothic movement throughout because, again, those transcend decade. I don’t know if it’s still out there, but I recall one of my style guides that hammered on the point “gothic, not goth.” The big one on this front: how do you feel VtM goes about making its Gothic credentials concrete and real to players? I’m particularly interested in mechanics here — which aspects of the game create a Gothic ‘feel’ when people are sat down playing. The big three for me: Game Structure: The game was built in literary “units of play,” as opposed to the traditional RPG structures derived from wargames. We still had turns, just because they were atomic, but Vampire intended to wean storytellers away from tactical encounters and frame things more dramatically (whether literary or stage) in terms of things like scenes, chapters, and overall chronicles. The overarching story container was not a “campaign,” with its military-conquest connotations, but a chronicle, a record, a retelling of events that happened. And in so doing, it relied very heavily on unreliable narrators, so you were never sure you were getting a clinical accounting of events as much as you were getting a definitely biased perspective of events, unless you were there, and even if you were, you’re not unbiased yourself. Cultural Touchpoints: Vampire heavily invoked western, Abrahamic traditions, akin to the gothic movement’s reliance on religious and feudal motifs to carry its themes of superstition and relative primitivism. It leaned on straight-up gothic notions of madness and romance (themselves not very progressive…) and gave systems for them in terms of things like Humanity, Derangements (sometimes incurable…), and maintaining distance in relationships. The classic image of vampire lovers feeding from each other is actually a peril in Vampire because it can create a blood bond, which has all of the outward appearances of love, but strips away the (religious alert!) Free Will of the lover to exercise choice when it comes to the beloved. All of this is great stuff and immediately transgressible for players who have felt marginalized, in whatever context or extent, by traditional societal expectations, and provides mechanics by which one can express that transgression. In more than one case, Vampire had intended to “open things up,” but when it showed rather than told, those showings became the default rather than a single expression. For example, the Caine myth was intended originally to be a myth, but it quickly became the predominant myth (IMO because it was so relatable, and because it gave a religious structure that players could rebel against and be rewarded for so doing. Instead of degenerate priests and corrupt churches, Vampire makes the religious institution part of the origin story and encourages players to break from their obedient relationship to it.) The Prince and Primogen structure in Gary and Chicago were originally intended to be a political situation, but over time they became the political default. (Again, IMO, I think this is at least partially because it provides an example that storytellers can depart from as they will, as opposed to having to define their home chronicle whole cloth — which Requiem demanded.) Supernatural Prevalance: This is obvious, but Vampire: The Masquerade wouldn’t have taken off if it was simply GOTH: THE VENDETTA. Giving players access to abilities beyond mortal ken isn’t just a game design call to action, it puts the tools of gothic literature into their hands. They’re the ones able to drop the helmet on Manfred’s son, they’re the ones able to call forth the children of the night, they’re the ones able to shroud men’s minds. And the framing isn’t “with great power comes great responsibility,” it’s “you are the monster,” and it expects some concomitant moral failure and abuse of those otherworldly powers in pursuit of selfish goals (which can themselves be regretted or indulged, back to the system above). Without powers, Vampire could have been Mad Men, with bitchy people doing awful but mundane things to one another. Instead, it’s a passion play on a deliberately lurid stage with an infinite special effects budget that flirts with the forbidden when engaged. Did you strive for a different kind of Gothic with Revised? (I’ve been fascinated by the ST Vault submission guidelines, which really make plain the differences between the editions that I’ve always felt were there but never really articulated — and I wondered if any of the Revised development fed into the game’s genre positioning.) I don’t know if it was a deliberate striving for a specific kind of gothic so much as it was an evolution. It became its own thing, with definite gothic influence, and true to itself. For my own part, I think this is a maturing and finding one’s own voice over the course of developing and writing the amount of books I did. I remember one of my earliest writing projects for school, which might as well have been a Lovecraft manuscript with a hasty find-and-replace, absolutely a pastiche, and early in Vampire, I was similarly attempting to copy influences. Over time, I thought it definitely took on its own voice, its own life. You can easily pick up a Vampire book and identify its gothic parentage, but on a more substantial reading and use, especially for the Revised and V20 material, you find that Vampire is consistent largely with Vampire, while still acknowledging and even revering the movement that helped it get there. And finally: V5 aligns the Gothic-Punk with prior editions. I wondered if you had any insight about why that point was made, and if V5 is consciously trying to distance itself from something in the tradition? On this one, I don’t feel qualified to render an opinion. By conscious choice, I haven’t been a part of V5, primarily because, as they’ve wanted to create a new envisioning of the game, I didn’t want to encumber that with assumptions that I carry, having developed and written for it for two decades. It’s others’ exercise to determine whether V5’s vision is an evolution for Vampire or simply another perspective on it, and whether that’s for better or worse, but none of my input is there. A different creative vision requires a different expression. none of my input is there. A different creative vision requires a different expression. That explains a lot.
  4. Nightworld (2017)

    Just watched the movie Nightworld for the first time. You and I would probably be thinking "Avernian Gate" from the first few frames of the film. It is hard to not see the film through the lens of Geist, darkly.
  5. Even before it gets to Chechnya, there's a section on how a vampire seduced a woman just so he can go and feed on her kids. There are other elements in the book that render it into one glossy tyre fire. The Anarch book is another train wreck of a book. There is also this tweet thread review of the book. Enjoy. The tyre fire rages on.
  6. The Camarilla book for V5 has crossed a line of bad taste. From Joseph D Carriker, on Facebook:- https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156065148713379&set=a.136931398378&type=3&theater (Please note this is public, so it can be shared. Interact with it accordingly, folks.) So, filing this under "Second Verse Same As The First": the excerpt below is from the upcoming Camarilla book for Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition. In it, it describes a vampire-dominated Chechnya. Even setting aside the gross implications of that design decision - and there are plenty of them - it also turns the internment of queer people into literal death camps into what amounts to a distraction. This text literally refers to the "controversy" (which is such a weighted word in this context, quite frankly, carrying with it connotations of mountains being made of mole-hills) over queer internment and murder as "clever media manipulation." This text literally turns the ending of queer lives into a throw-away feint that hides vampires. Which is a monstrous reframing of that real-world thing STILL GOING ON. This is egregiously vile. It's not okay. Our lives are constantly being *ended* for straight peoples' prejudices in real life, but also in fiction and media for straight peoples' fucking entertainment, and all of this is just "second verse same as the first." This isn't avant garde. This is 100% the typical, tired, cliched treatment that queer people constantly receive in overculture's media about us. This is yet more Tragedy Porn, and not only is it distasteful in the extreme, but it's wildly unacceptable. I've already spoken about this with Martin Ericsson, and quite honestly I find his framing of the issue to be callous, while hiding behind performative allyship. But I will let him show up and speak to that: he has asked that I not publish his response, pending approval from his bosses, and I'm find by that, for now. But *something* needs to be said, and in the larger framework, something needs to be *done* about the attitudes in the current iteration of White Wolf that makes this kind of seething horseshit not just acceptable, but desirable. This is not a good fucking look, White Wolf. Not in the least. The page in question:- The petition:- https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/remove-chechnya-chapter-from-the-camarilla And already, the book has received a negative review on the DTRPG page:- "I'd recommend avoiding this title. It has an odious section depicting the real life persecution of gay people in Chechnya as a smokescreen for vampire shenanigans. To say it's in poor taste is to put it lightly." Way to go, WW, making a title that makes James Grim Desborough's Postmortem Studios titles look progressive.
  7. This is why I never put all of my heart and soul into a single game company, or its products, but rather spread the love around to embrace a whole bunch of fandoms. Don't play the blame game. It's unbecoming. All the traditionally nerd-dominated markets - all of them, from tabletop to TV, to books, to comics, to console gaming, to collectible card gaming - all of these industries are facing changes, and you can't go around pointing fingers of blame at social justice warriors for this - and let's give them their full name, to remind people that they have a mission to bring a sense of social justice to a hitherto-unpoliced and lawless toxic environment. There are legions of young people out there, girls, boys, all sorts, who want to join in the games, too. They don't want to be told by the Old Guard to go into the kitchen and make them sandwiches. They have reflexes just as good as the old timers, plus their money's just as good. And the gaming communities are having to run and jump to come up with new kinds of games, new gaming engines, and new environments, to bring them and their fresh money into the fold. Face it. The environment is changing. The Old Guard are losing their power. The people are speaking, and the providers are now starting to listen. Pretty soon, there'll be no corner of the gaming world for old attitudes about who should be in charge. And that has got to be a good thing, because the Old Guard won't be around forever, and sooner or later they'll be gone, and what's left will be all these newcomers, finding their way and then moving on to let the next generation take over, just like the Old Guard did.
  8. I think everything that needs to be said here has now been said. Locking down this thread.
  9. Hello and Guten Tag

    Welcome to Shadownessence! Look around the fora. Make yourself at home.
  10. Half-Damned

    Supplemental note: It is interesting. Here's the book on DTRPG: Vampire: the Requiem Second Edition - Half-Damned
  11. So in case you hadn't noticed, Wraith : the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition finally hit the bookshelves of DrivtThruRPG. Get Wraith 20 here It's got a bit of everything - the Skinlands, the Shroud, the Shadowlands, Stygia (a large amount of data on Stygia), the Hierarchy, Renegades, Heretics, Dark Kingdoms, the Tempest, the Shadow, Spectres, and the Risen. There is also something new there; Orpheus. The projectors from Lucien Soulban's famous six-part post-Time of Judgment serial have a new home, as an Appendix of Wr20.
  12. Sales targets for 5e

    Which means that the fans will have to do their bit to push V5 and to remind people that the game exists and people should give it a try. And give examples of why.
  13. If you're looking forward to getting Vampire: the Masquerade V5, don't worry - you won't have long to wait! But first, this. There has been a shitstorm this week, embroiling both Onyx Path and White Wolf, and involving the online right-wingers and trolls (I'm not calling those punks "alt" anything, not when the word "nazi" will do). Here are some interesting links you might like to see. https://www.geeknative.com/61962/white-wolf-just-told-alt-right-fck-off/ http://theonyxpath.com/the-squick-and-the-dead-monday-meeting-notes/ Compelling reasons to wait for V5 to come out of hiding (which, by all accounts, could be as early as July 26th - though they could hold back till GenCon). I also have it on good authority to tune in to Darker Days Radio on July 26th, when their reporting embargo on V5 is lifted, and they can discuss at length what White Wolf promise you, dear readers, in V5. So things are looking very exciting for Vampire: the Masquerade.
  14. Further supplemental information - both Onyx Path and, bless them, White Wolf, have released official statements divorcing themselves from anything resembling nazis and fascist apologists. Here's the post with the links to White Wolf's and Onyx Path's rebuttals to the nazis.
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