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About Mailanka

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    Half Dark
  1. White Wolf, Book Burners???

    I suspect there's a kernel of truth there. As has been said, companies do take books back (usually damaged ones), and when a product isn't going to sell, they have to destroy their stocks of it. Steve Jackson (of Steve Jackson Games) called in one of the hardest things a publisher can be called upon to do. I believe it. But you're implying WW was doing it to deliberately drive up prices or to force you to buy newer products. I highly, highly doubt that. If you want to buy a book, and they got a book to sell you, I highly doubt they would ever lift their nose and refuse your money. My experience is that RPG companies adore their products. They pour blood and tears into them. The fact that you want to buy them makes them happy, not angry. I've hung out on the WW forums alot, and I have a so-so opinion about them. I've seen worse (it used to be much worse), but some of the forums are quite nice (like the Exalted forum, though I don't go there as much as I used to, more because it's gotten boring than antagonistic). Conrad can be a dick, but he reminds me of a cop. Cops are used to dealing with dicks and are quick to put on the "bulldog face" to deal with them. If Conrad things you're a bad guy, he'll tear into you. That's his job. He's not particularly apologetic about it afterwards, anymore than a bouncer is apologetic after he throws you out on your ass. So while I can see why people would be upset with him, I think he's doing fine. But as to the "elitist" comments, I think the fact that people immediately started self-examination suggests that this forum is, in fact, filled with rather considerate people. People who stop the question whether their comments might be taken as arrogant. Or apologizing for them afterwards. I've actually found these forums to be very polite and constructive, though admitadely, my experience with them is slim. Just thought I'd share.
  2. The old flaws

    Frankly, I like the concept of Feats. I don't think they're very well utilized in many cases, but I like the idea of them nonetheless. I enjoy being able to customize and differentiate my fighter (or whatever) from other fighters, and the ability to explore different tactics. D20, in my opinion, does many things that make their game less enjoyable to me. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater: they do have many good, solid concepts. Anyway *cough* back on topic.
  3. The old flaws

    And that's precisely why I like the new system so much better than the old. Many systems use an "up-front" reward system for flaws. oWoD is an example, but so is GURPS or MURPG and others. The idea is that if you take a weakness, you immediately recieve points for it, but never again. If a player "forgets" his flaws later on, his isn't penalized (unless you get mad and hammer him with stuff). In fact, it generally falls upon the ST to support the Flaw (though some very mature and thoughtful players will help you out). I like the delayed rewards of Nobilis, 7th Sea and the nWoD much better. Granted, players will troll for that precious experience point, but that's precisely why I like it. If a player forgets their flaw and don't bring it up, they don't get an XP for it. You don't need to remember it: the burden is upon them, and you as an ST can focus on other things. The other real advantage of the system is that anything can be taken as a flaw. Someone brought up a "joining of senses," (and it's very long name that I can't spell). Such a thing could be taken as a flaw in the new system. It would very seldom give you an XP point: how often will it inconvenience you? It's concievable it might, but you'll probably only get that Xp once a story, if that. Ahh, but what about "Parapalegic." That'll give you an XP just about every session. Because it sucks. Both have equal "weight" at Char Gen, but they balance out in a very real way because the lesser/non-existant problem seldom gives a benefit, where a real problem constantly gives a bonus. And for those Munchkins who troll for XP... well, they can only get it when it incoveniences them, so they're pressing you to inconvenience them. Do it. That's a huge step up from those players who'd take weaknesses to a bunch of crap you were never gonna remember, reap all the points from it, and start with a big advantage. Now they plead to be screwed and get rewarded for it. Sounds great to me.
  4. Why the games?

    Have you seen Batman Begins yet? Go see it. Why do I bring it up? Well, I noticed something with Batman Begins that I noticed with Spider-man 2 -- namely that both are excellent dramas, and would probably be noteworthy even without the superheroics. I don't know about you, but I enjoy stories that explore inner turmoil, past pain, and current indecision. Do you remember the scene were Peter Parker tells his Aunt that he was there when Uncle Ben died, that it was essentially his fault that Uncle Ben died? And how she just stood up and walked out? The tension, the pain, the drama. I loved it. I could feel his pain. Or how about Bruce Wayne's guilt over his father's death, his mentor's claim that it was his father's fault, and Bruce Wayne's slowly firming will to protect Gotham just as his father had. That's great stuff. So why do we need superheroics? Why do we need to "save the day" and dress up in tights too? Fantasy is potent and powerful because it invokes symbolism and simplifies things. Raesh Al'Ghul represents cynical, vicious pragmatism ("real politik" and that sort of thing), the hard truth that crime can only truly be eradicated with blood and fire. Batman rejects that sentiment, representing our inner hope that salvation isn't impossible, that we may yet find a way to redeem our personal worlds. The Scarecrow represents fear and the impossibility of battling it without self-mastery. Batman must conted with fear, and the Scarecrow, on several occassions before he can finally push through and battle the real enemy (Raesh). These concepts are common in any drama, but a superhero movie personifies it. In real life, you can't physically wrestle with your inner demons, so it's nice to watch a costumed bad-ass punch a personification of your inner demons in the face! I imagine part of the appeal of WoD follows the same model. Why do we like Vampires? They represent something about us. A vampire is a rapacious creature. He sees a beautiful young woman (or she sees a beautiful young man, or whatever), and he reaches out and plucks her. He violates her, owns her, controls her, and makes her his own. What a heady thing. Who wouldn't want that? Well... anyone who was compassionate: and therein lies the struggle we face every day between selfish, primal needs and selfless ideals and compassion. To pluck the innocence of another, to harm another, is wrong. Yet we still wish to do it. Can we ever find redemption? Does this discussion make you a little uncomfortable? That's the other benefit of these sorts of games. A vampire is "other." It's outside and beyond us. It allows us to tackle these concepts and principles without actually acknolwedging them within us. It allows us to project our thoughts to a safe place and to tackle them without wracking ourselves with guilt. Alot of elemens that you'll find in V:tR, W:tF and M:tA are common in any game. Politics, combat, dungeoun crawls, action scenes and romantic encounters are common in any RPG, just as they are in WoD. What seperates WoD from, say, Exalted or 7th Sea is that it allows us to tackle other elements, other concepts, than those games. Personally, I think we're too old, too jaded for general battles and kissy-kissy scenes to interest us all on their own. At the same time, more ephemeral concepts are too abstract to be interesting. Most of the interesting RPGs meld the two things together in a nice package... ideally so nice you don't even realize what you're doing. Anyway, this is the sort of process I try to go through when I write. People are complex and interesting, often without realizing it. They want some depth layered into their games, and that's what WoD has. I think that's why we play it.
  5. Acolytes? half-mage?

    W:tF, p 123, Insight Gift: Scent of Taint. "Specifically, the user can detect powers in his vicinity that defy the natural order of the physical and spirit worlds, so that vampires, ghoulst, mages, acolytes and beings bestowed or imbued with unnatural capabilities are evident." This seems to me to be strong evidence that acolytes are not merely humans who tag along behind a Mage. Any human, in theory, can do that. An Acolyte is somehow special enough to trigger Scent of Taint, clearly marking him as supernatural in some manner. So I personally lean towards the "half-awake" static-magic-user myself, simply because the idea of static and dynamic magic essentially being two sides of the same coin strikes me as so wonderously elegant.
  6. Adapting to Horror

    I recently played a gem of a game called the Suffering (it reminded me of Max Payne, in that I had underestimated it as a simple game, and it is, but it's surprisingly cool.) The hero, Torque, is bad ass. He looks very strong, never says a word, never blinks at the monsters, moves soo smoothly, and is amazingly deadly with a firearm. Even better, if he gets too angry, he can flip out into this massive monster and slaughter everything around him. Clearly, an epic, kewl character. At the same time, he was sent to prison because he murdered his family (so they claim. He blacked out in rage and remembered nothing... which is exactly what happens when he flips out and becomes a monster). He constantly sees visions of this haunted islands past, hears the voice of his dead wife in his head as well as the voice of the monster telling him to kill. The island, it seems, wants him. He's a monster, like the rest of the island, a natural-born killer. Further, throughout the game, you meet NPCs who interact with you in various ways. They usually need to travel with you, and you can help save them. Your wife's voice wants you to help them, the monster inside wants you to kill them. You may do either, and in fact, there are three endings to the game: Good (if you save people), Bad (if you don't) and insane (if you flip out too much). This seems to have the mix I'm looking for. First, keep the scenery and the situation scary. Darkened prisons, insane asylums, creepy monsters with swords for limbs, etc, are scary. Surround them with scary, and we've got a good start. Next, play up the adverserial side. Try to kill them, hurt them, throw them into bad situations. But at the same time, if they win, let them feel good. A blood-spattered character who walks out of a room filled with monster corpses is bad ass. Let him feel like he achieved something, though let him worry that he's losing himself with each fight. Contrast this with NPCs, who are weak and need your help. If I can't kill you, I can damn well kill them. You might not be afraid that your slavering werewolf will die at the hands of those zombies, but you'll be terrified that your kin will. Or worse, that you'll kill her. As has been pointed out, show them that they're a monster. Make them wonder if they are to be trusted with others. You spend much of the Suffering wondering if Torque killed his family or not. One can envision him flipping out into monster form and tearing them apart. It happens all too easily with the NPCs if you're not careful. Can you really be trusted? Horror is about more than fear, it seems. It's about guilt, worry, paranoia and betrayal. Can you really trust anyone? What's that scuttling around the corner? Do you have the guts to open that basement door (that was the moment that bothered me the most, creeping down into the basement of an insane asylum with no idea what would happen next). This has been a really useful thread! I hope it keeps up!
  7. Adapting to Horror

    That's some excellent advice there. Indeed, I need not attempt to slaughter my players to keep them off-balance. What I need is to create an air of uncertainty. *whew* If I wasn't so sleepy, I'm sure I could make even more sense out of this concept, but I'll just have to sleep on it and come back to it in the modnring
  8. Adapting to Horror

    First, to be clear, I'm not asking for help changing the rules. I'm one of those creepy purists who quirks a brow at making too many changes to a system, particularly if that system works and WoD does. For example, my observations about the combat system aren't complaints. I'm impressed with it. I'm just trying to find a way to wrap my head around it and to adapt to the changes. (Edit: Not in the sense of "Gee, I don't know how the system works," but what it's best suited for and how to get the most out of it. I can see the brilliance of the design (it's there), but I'm really rusty on horror, and I'm trying to see how to get the most out of the game) I like to try to find what the system is meant for, and run that. But at the same time, I have learned that I'll only run the game well if I enjoy it. I can "perform," but it won't last long. One of the most exciting combat scenes I can remember came from a GURPS adventure I ran in which a PC hitman was trying to killa PC 7-11 clerk in a tense gun-battle with a car between them. It stands out in bright contrast to my awesome Exalted fight scenes because it had none of the same ingredients, yet was fun. Nothing cool or awesome happened: no flipping out, no slow-mo scenes, no stunting. It was brutal and fast, with each player trying to eek out as many bonuses as he could as I ruthlessly applied penalties, describing the near misses, the sweat on their brow, the taste of blood in their mouth and the certain knowledge that a single bad roll could spell instant doom. And the one who survived (7-11 clerk, lucky bastard) was absolutely thrilled and amazed and wildly excited. Everyone enjoyed the hell out of it. I must imagine classic D&D players had a similar thrill when they conquered a particularly difficult dungeoun and survived. Likewise, I expect the new Warhammer Fantasy RPG turns on a similar axis. This is what I mean by an "adverserial" approach. The players feared that game because they feared me. They knew I wouldn't hesitate to kill their characters if they made a mistake, so opening the creepy door caused them to hesitate, or hearing the odd sounds bothered them. It's a similar feeling in horror computer games, where a sudden strange sound sends you whirling, only to realize its yiour IRL washing machine kicking on, or your neighbor starting up an engine in his garage *cough* Anyway, half of the reason I created this thread is to explore some of the elements of horror I might have missed. I'm hoping to absorb some of this timeless Shadownessence horror wisdom to improve my game. But, as you guys have already begun to help me with, I want to have some of my epic-game love in these. Part of the problem I see is that I cannot threaten character death all the time if I want the game to become epic... and, anyway, character death is hardly an issue for Werewolves or Vampires, unless you whip out the really deadly crap (and you shouldn't do that often, in my opinion, or it loses its scare-factor: "Oh, they have silver? So? What else is new?") For one thing, I intend to use the "Extra" rules in the book, simply to speed up fights. The werewolf vs Dog fight took far too long. It'll make it a little more cinematic, but I don't think it'll hurt anything. And your advice is helpful. Keep it up. I agree, Morality (and Vice and long-term consequences) are all fine aspects of the system/setting. The trick is to bring home that the Vamps and Weres are as much monsters as everyone else. You're not afraid of dying because you're doing all the killing, and that's baaad. That sort of thing... I'll admit, that's one thing I haven't quite mastered yet.
  9. Adapting to Horror

    I've been running Exalted too long. Over-the-top action, epic events and extended character development are all things I typically interject into my games. An ST's role, after all, is to help his players, not hurt them. When I throw extras at a PC, it's to give him a chance to look cool, not to genuinely threaten him. I told a friend that WoD would be different. That it would be horror, not action, and he quirked his eyebrow. "Wasn't the stuff you ran before (before Exalted) horror?" I've contemplated that, and it's true, I ran alot of WoD. But was it horror? I've run two small sessions of WoD with the new rules, and I've slammed hard into certain aspects of the game. These are not flaws, rather, they are rules meant for a style of play I am not used to, and I'm slowly going through a head-hurting paradigm shift. First is combat. I was skeptical of the combat system when it first came out for similar reasons that others are skeptical of it. A little old granny with a shotgun is pretty much garunteed of inflicting at least 1, possibly more, HLs of damage. You don't get the dodge, parry, thrust action of so many other games. Rather, it becomes an endurance match to see who can survive the bloodshed longer. Upon long reflection, though, I realized this was intentional. Yes, yes, it's simpler and easier to do it this way, of course, but I think there's an additional design consideration. Unknown Armies points out that any attempt to attack someone with a weapon while bare-handed will result in some damage (They suggest you where a white suit and gloves and try to take an uncapped black marker from a child, and then note the black marks you get. Consider if that had been a knife or another sharp instrument). Likewise, in horror, people don't dodge and parry and engage in a beautifully coreagraphed dance of death. No, they bleed. When the man with the knife and mask comes after the sorority girl, she gets cut. When she attacks him with the poker, bones crunch, bruises form, and he bleeds. The real question is who can deal the damage out faster, not who is defter at defending themselves. Whew. Second, and this was a real eye-opener, I think the game is meant to be somewhat adverserial in nature, which stunned me. I'm not really used to that style of play. For example, in many systems, the dice are quite fudgeable. In Exalted, you can roll your dice and I can require X number of successes. How much is X? Well... 1-2 if its easy, 4-5 if its hard... how many did you roll? If I think it's hard and you rolled high, I'll let you succeed. If you rolled low, I won't. I don't need exact numbers. But the nWoD doesn't work like that. I have to decide how hard or easy it is first, apply the penalties and bonuses now, and then you roll. If anything comes up as an 8+, you did it. Period. I can't fudge or hem and haw. It's done. The first time I realized this, it made my gut turn. The second revelation of the adverserial nature of the game (and I'll explain what I mean by that in a minute here) was when I recently ran werewolf. I attacked the players with some hounds, and one of the PCs got beat by some horribly unlucky dice rolls. I felt really bad, but there was nothing I could really do. I tried to mitigate it alot and in the end, the whole scene felt kinda flat and weak. It wasn't scary, it wasn't creepy, it didn't engage the players, and I couldn't figure out what I had done wrong. Why wasn't it appropriately and viscerally exciting like, say, the Ring or Silent Hill? I ran one game called Raven's Grimoire (we just called it that afterword because it involved a black bird and a book of mind-cracking magic) for GURPS as a protest against a player who claimed I always tried to kill the players. For once, I actually did try to kill the players. I've never had a body count like that... though it was mostly the players trying to kill each other. And what's really interesting was the intensity of the scenes, the tension in the room, and the delight the surviving players had. The fact that they could say "I survived that game" was like a badge of honor. I've heard of similar things with Call of Cthulu campaigns. Likewise, I once ran a game out of WoD: Ghost Stories (specifically the Terrible Tale of John Magnus which, despite RPG.net's negative review, I still think is a really good story), and it too had that intense tension... and once again, I had no intention of letting the players live (hey, I wasn't opposed to the idea if they were really clever, but I wasn't gonna fudge anything to let them live despite bad choices). So, again, I find my instinct to keep PCs alive tripping me up. I'm not there to keep the players alive or to help their characters look cool. This isn't Underworld (unless I want it to be, and I'm not sure I do, but we'll get to that). Rather, it occurs to me that my job is to make life as hard and as intense as I can. Players shouldn't be thinking of ways to look cool... they should be trying to live and stay sane/moral in a failing world. When that hound started to rip apart that werewolf, I shouldn't have backed off and fudged it away, I should have stepped in, tightened my hand, let my eyes glitter and really make him struggle to live. If he died (hard as a werewolf) or lost, so be it. If he won... he would feel victory was well-earned. This is why it's important to have (relatively) unfudgeable dice rolls: it takes some of the control out of the ST hands, making things a little more random, and giving the players a little more sense of control... vital in a game where you have less trust of the ST. But at the same time (and this is the real reason I make this post), you work best with what you know. I want to run WoD here pretty soon, and these little revelations are helpful and useful, but I think I need more. I think I need to better grasp certain elements of the WoD (Like the temptation of Vices and their interaction with the decay of Morality/Humanity/Harmony), but more importantly, I want to know how to meld this with my soap-operatic, epic, over-the-top game style. I know that sort of thing will happen in my games because... well, it's what I do. It's inevitable. Players will fall in love, they will save the city, and things will look sweet as hell. I'm a hollywood ST, what can I say? But I don't want to lose those elements of horror. So... do the fine minds of Shadownessence have any suggestions?
  10. Idle Thoughts

    Changing the terms doesn't change the rules. The magical powers are still organized along lines that fit a Hermetic Paradigm, rather than a Dreamspeaker's paradigm. The way the spheres progress is logical... to a hermetic. Even the How's and Why's of the way magic works is hermetic. This is why I liked Dark Ages so much better. Suddenly, not only did your terminology change, but the fundemental aspects of your magic shifted. A "dreamspeaker" in DA: Mage worked his magic in a fundementally different way than a Hermetic. In Ascension, you were just a hermetic pretending to be a shaman rather than a lightning-pitching wizard.
  11. Idle Thoughts

    The old game was Hermetic too. You don't think the Celestial Chorus decided to call the price of hubristic magic "Paradox," did you? Or the Dream Speakers decided the areas of magic should be named Spheres? Or that the Virtual Adepts decided to name the overall capability of magic "Arete?" They're not that fond of Greek. And what was that Mage dueling system? That just screamed Hermetic. Ascension was about Hermeticism... it just pretended to be about other things. The real difference between this game and Ascension is that this one doesn't hold your hand and tell you how to make a non-Hermetic Mage. But just as you can design perfectly fine Asian vampires or African werewolves with a minimum muss and fuss, I'm positive you can make some intriguing twists to Awakening as well.
  12. Idle Thoughts

    Sort of. A Moros is a Necromancer. Period. He does Death Magic. But a Free Councile Moros calculates the radio frequency of the dead where a Mysterium Moros attends Victorian seances (or whatever). At the moment, though, except for the Free Council, I have a hard time seeing how this will work. A covenant has alot of conceptual baggage with it, and I like that. The same applies to a tribe. But from what little we've seen, the Orders look more like jobs. The Silver Ladder are the leaders, the Adamanite Arrows are the warriors, the Guardians of the Veil are the police, and so on. The Free Council does feel different from the rest, but only because it seems to defy them, taking its own path. Personally, I suspect this is because these Orders were jobs. The Adamanite arrows were the guardians of Atlantis, or at least they took it upon themselves to defend mages after the Fall. But I can't imagine that it still works this way. Such a unified Mage society flies in the face of what WW has done so far. I must assume two Adamanite's would fight one another in the right circumstances, and that your primary social order is the Cabal, not the Order. Thus, presumably, the Orders are relic societies that continue to work together, gathering Mages into their fold and teaching them. But this is an assumption, one not yet supported (or disproven) by the spoilers thus far. I'd like to see more about the Orders so I can better understand their place in a Mage's life and how it impacts his magic.
  13. Idle Thoughts

    Sub-Orders would be the simplest and most likely way to go, I'm just not sure I like the idea (in a knee-jerk, uninformed kinda way, so take it with a grain of salt). Werewolves already have it, and I can't see quite as much variety and versatility by doing it with Mages. What I'd really like to see is a way to customize your "magic system," which is what I wanted out of Ascension (and didn't get). So I look to Paths for this. But I don't really understand the Orders themselves. I'm not certain what functions they serve and how they affect the mages. It may very well be that they determine a great deal. After all, while your Path shapes your magic, it seems your Order teaches it to you. The only Rote we've seen was tied to an Order for some reason... so perhaps I can have my magic-customization cake and eat it too. So anyway, I'm open to the whole thing.
  14. Idle Thoughts

    When I walk, I think. It's a bad habit that has me endlessly bumping into poles and people when I'm churning around a particularly crunchy problem. I know, I know, I should pay better attention, but anyway, today's topic was Mage. First, I suddenly found myself wondering what Mage "bloodlines" would be. How would they work? Vampiric Bloodlines are, as a friend of mine snorted, "Prestige Clans." While I disagree with the belittling sentiment, the over-all idea that a Bloodline is a rarified and specialized version of a clan is sound. Likewise, Lodges are "presige Tribes." But Mage? A "prestige Paradigm" makes sense, and many have assumed that this will be the case. But the spoilers thus revealed suggest that such a situation won't happen. You won't take a Dreamspeaker and refine him into a voodoo user because there are no Dreamspeakers and voodoo is a set of sad parlor tricks mortals can do, something probably beneath the power of an enligthened Mage who has, after all, the secrets of Heave in his grasp. In essence, there are no longer paradigm. so there cannot be specialization tied to paradigm. They might model paradigms, but they're not mechanically tied to them. So what will WW tie them to? If they tie them to Orders, it'll be much like Lodges. The Silver Ladder may have an Inner Circle, and the Guardians of the Veil might have MiBs. Knowing nothing about the Orders and what they do for a Mage, my knee-jerk reaction is dislike of the idea. Too much like Lodges and not interesting enough variety. You can have an Inner Circle without making stats for it, just as the Vampiric Covenants have plenty of variety within them. If we tie it to Path, I think things become more interesting and closer to the idea of a "refined paradigm." We can't have a Dream Speaker with Voodoo, but perhaps we can have Shaman who has unlocked the secrets behind the Loa. This might work better... but how do you justify if in the setting? There are five Supernal Realms and Five Watchtowers, one in each. That's where the Paths come from. You can't create new Supernal Realms, and anyway, that would just create new Paths which is something we should avoid as much as creating new Clans or new Auspices. But can their be alternate watchtowers? Can a Warlock gain his power from the Infernal Realm, but from an alternate Watchtower within it? A "branching path," so to speak, that walks the same rough direction and route, but leads the wanderer to alternate locations, realizations and powers? Anyway, after thinking about this, I think I struck on what might be the true bad guys of Mage. The Celestial Mages. Think about it for a second. Some of those bad-guy mages who made themselves Gods way back when are still around. And they still rule their Supernal Realms. The watchtowers were lifted in defiance of them... and this suggests an antagonistic relationship between a Mage and the Supernal Realm he gets his power from. A Mastigos gets his power from Hell... but he is an enemy to the lord of that Hell. Likewise, a Moros gets his power from the Realm of Stygia, but the Stygian lord is not his friend. Using Exalted as an analogy, this is like playing an Abyssal who fights to defend ghosts against the machinations of a Deathlord. Thus each mage may be engrossed in his own personal struggle. A necromancer deals with the good dead to battle off the evil dead. While he helps ghosts, strange, skeletal monsters are hunting him down. If this is the case, this may mean that a Path is more than just a source of power... it's an entire genre that you plop your mage into. A Moros flavored game may be filled with regret, letting go of loved ones, and loss, utterly different from a Mastigos flavored game filled with treachery, tempation and the will to power. Anyway, these are just some random thoughts. Do with them what you will.
  15. What is human?

    Hmmm. But the line isn't so easy for me to see. For example, why are werewolves territorial? Is it a wolfish thing? Or is it human? Both are territorial. What about the spirit world? Humans alone seem to have the capacity to see hidden meaning in things, to see spirits where animals see a tree, or gods where animals hear thunder (as best as we can tell. It's hard to know what an animal is thinking, after all). What about frenzy, for vampires OR werewolves? Have you never lost your temper? Really just flipped out? I have. Stars sparkled in my vision, and time seemed to slow down. My mind shifted into this alien, mechanical thought process, and I just did. When it was done, I could barely remember what I had done. This isn't to say I had a lack of control, but I was definitly in another state of mind, and I hardly expect my experience is unique in the world. So is the Beast of a vampire really so inhuman, or an exaggeration of something that's already there? How about the hunger, the need, to hurt others? EVERYTHING has to kill to live, humans included. But even on a metaphorical level, humans are sadistic. I think it's innate. There is something about the huge eyes of an innocent or the beauty of a precious piece of art that demands simultaneous protection and destruction. This must be exactly what a vampire feels when a perfect vessel is in his arms: does he kill her, or does he love her? He cannot do both yet he desperately needs to. I think it's a mistake to put the supernaturals in one category and the mortals in another. As you point out, they blur together. Rather, like any good piece of fiction, White-wolf has created the supernaturals not as something disctinct from mankind, but as an exaggeration of elements that exist in humanity already. We are little more than clever beasts: werewolves. We are creatures of destruction that prey upon one another to survive: vampires. We are blind, constantly fumbling for the light, aching to uncover the secrets of our existance... and then inevitably holding back those secrets we discover from our fellow men (for a variety of often very good reasons): Mage. In addition to looking for what mortals have that supernaturals do not (and, according to the game, that is only one thing so far: Morality), notice what the supernaturals state about humanity. Wolves do not become men: only men can become wolves. Apes cannot be embraced: only men can return from the dead in this manner. And no matter how high they soar into the sky, birds cannot achieve heavenly Awakening, only humans. Understanding humanity in WoD means understanding the supernatural, for as much as they tell us what humans are not, they tell us even more about what humans truly are.