Reviews and Ramblings
MIDDENARDE - PART 7 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 6 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 5 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 4 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
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GM Startup Guide by PurpleXVI - 06/10/09
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DORF FORT ELLPEE by CAPSLOCKGUY - 10/19/08
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In Dark Alleys
Still living secret lives
FATAL & Friends Repost: In Dark Alleys, Part 3
03:47pm EST - 1/01/2016
The summary: You believe in PROPER FOREIGN OCCULTISM and can hence use your WILLPOWER to MANIPULATE THE SPIRITS.
The long version: Much more retarded than that!
The Chosen posted:
Almost every Animist is a first or second generation immigrant from a culture that believes in spirits, magic and magical practitioners. Most have a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who is an Animist. As children, most were respectful of their elders and their people’s ways. Most were smart with an especially good memory. A significant percentage survived a near-fatal injury or illness with the help of an Animist. A significant percentage have suffered from what western doctors would call a mental illness.
Stupid western doctors and their "science!" Thinking they know things!
The Initiation posted:
Animists grew up in communities where the people around them believed there were spirits everywhere. Some spirits live in objects, some float in the air, some live inside people’s bodies and keep them healthy. The people believed in these spirits as strongly as anything they could see and touch. If someone’s car broke down, it was assumed the spirit of the car was angry. If someone had headaches, it was assumed that a ‘misfortune,’ a spirit dedicated to causing trouble, was attacking the person. If a person was depressed, it was assumed that one of his or her guardian spirits had wandered off.
So they grew up in communities where education was a thing that happened to other people and their friends and family died regularly of easily treated ailments because they insisted it be cured by rituals instead of medicine! Except, this is IDA, so they were actually right
and our foolish western views are wrong.
Basically you were chosen by an elder Animist as an apprentice and slowly learned how to do this crazy shit. The trick is that all the rituals are just bullshit to appease people and make what you do look more flamboyant, while in fact your power is acquired from doing immensely stupid things that almost kill you. Like starving yourself half to death or taking dangerous drugs.
Why this doesn't mean every meth-head or person who's overdosed and survived doesn't have a posse of spirit buddies, I can't tell you. Presumably their WESTERN OPINIONS prevent them from being good at these things. You think I'm kidding right? Just turn the page.
WHITE PEOPLE CAN'T WIZARD
Literally: Trying to understand how things work makes them not work, if only you were like the enlightened foreigners who just accept rituals and weirdness instead of trying to use their heads...
I'm trying to figure out if this is more offensive to people from foreign countries who actually DO try to think about things, or to every person with a working brain in general.
A "typical evening" for animists includes finding lost guardian spirits, curing diseases, helping violent gangs and cursing white people! No, not kidding about those last two. Apparently this is common enough that it's listed under the general Animist behavior. There's also a "DARK SIDE" listed where some animists are, gasp, immoral and will use their skills to stop members of their community opposed to arranged marriages or trying to get a college education!
What You Know posted:
The fact that your people were subjugated by imperialists, despite your people having powerful Animists, suggests that the imperialist conquerors had their own spiritual power (whether they knew it or not).
So I guess white people CAN wizard, just not consciously???? Or did the British Empire have an advance guard of stealthy Androgyne sorcerers working for them without them knowing it? Fucked if I know! This isn't elaborated on AT ALL.
Bonus insulting scientists section!
Aboriginal people pass down knowledge about nature, but it is only the information they find useful for their actual survival. If you want pointless facts about how insects mate or diseases that effect trees, ask an entomologist or a botanist, not an aboriginal person.
Hah! Knowing about biology and insects is USELESS if it isn't about what you should eat or avoid! This is all from a sidebar about aboriginal people being in tune with nature is a "myth," mind you.
Aboriginal don’t pretend that they fully understand how nature works, and so when they do something to the natural world and something bad happens, they try to never do that thing again. If someone drops a food dish on the floor and the next day there’s a terrible storm, they decide never to let food dishes touch the ground again. Thus they avoid a lot of the western world’s mistakes, but they also fill their lives with pointless prohibitions.
They're also like adorable retarded children who'll make up absurd magical laws at the drop of a
plate! I mean seriously, what the fuck? While I know that these things CAN happen, I'm pretty sure that, as pattern-recognizing creatures in general, humans usually understand that just two things happening next to each other doesn't always connect them, unless the former is always
preceded by the latter. Just... Christ.
If you're an Animist you're also forced to have a "cannot into modern society"-disadvantage that means you can't have any jobs other than "prostitute" or "boring factory worker" unless you pony up the points for the special skill "Act American." You literally cannot understand spirits if you understand going to college.
Then there's a five-page sidebar about native religions which doesn't seem to be offensive or wrong, just wordy, wordy, wordy. It'd take someone more knowledgeable than me to point out if IDA is somehow wrong about these various things. I guess their stereotypes about the peoples might be insulting but, again, I don't know how true they are, and stuff like "Hmong people don't like physical contact or making eye contact," might actually be right, it doesn't seem straight-up insane or insulting enough for me to call it either way.
Cambodian girls who go against cultural norms are often labelled "slut" or "prostitute." This is especially likely to happen when a girl has premarital sex or complains about her domestic situation (even if she is being abused).
Why yes, thank you, this is so completely different from other cultures that it needed to be pointed out. And it also makes all Cambodians sound like rampant misogynists!
Men, on the other hand, are not looked down upon for having premarital or extramarital sex. Since men are free to have affairs, married women have been known to attack their husband’s mistresses. In Cambodia there has been a rash of attacks by women who poured acid on the faces of husbands’ mistresses to permanently disfigure them.
It also feels like he's trying to make Cambodian relationships in general sound like a crazed, free-for-all brawl where acid and knives are thrown around with reckless abandon, women are abused and men are evil people who abuse their cultural privileges to sleep around every chance they get.
I take back what I said earlier, some of this stuff IS kind of offensive. But I still can't dredge out any more hidden gems, so let's move on! To...
Surprise: This one is actually NOT about tropical flesh-eaters.
Also their art? Kind of awesome!
Essentially what's going on here is that you've got some largely-Christian(with some Jews and Muslims involved) sub-sect that goes by Ye Olde Gnostic Shenanigans. The God of the physical world is evil, reject the physical! And as an extension of this they declare that "the taboos of the physical world are meaningless," eating human flesh is just the ultimate "fuck you" to Evil God and his taboos.
Unlike the former two groups, these guys are relatively intellectual and spend a lot of their time studying religious texts and trying to get a greater understanding of what they're actually about, debating theology with their fellow Cannibals, etc.
On powers, their low-degree stuff is basically being able to phantom-replicate the limbs and pieces they remove, emulating them to a point that they might as well not be missing anything at all. Though the downside is that they can't really run a marathon in public if they have no legs, as they have to keep their Supernatural Bullshit on the down-low.
Cannibals break taboos to break themselves of an emotional connection to the physical world. Usually they break taboos by themselves or with fellow Cannibals. Some Cannibals, however, break taboos with people against their will. Some do so in the belief that it is not immoral to kill, rape, molest or mutilate people’s physical bodies because those bodies either don’t matter or are inherently unholy. Others believe that they are helping people by forcing them to break taboos.
But even with this, most Cannibals are on personal quests for enlightenment and don't really involve the rest of the world unless it wants to be involved somehow. Kind of looking forward to seeing what their potential powers are, later on, as both "Ecstatic Rage" and "Nihilistic Rage" are among them. But that's it, really, the entry for Cannibals(and for Faustians as well) is literally only half the length of the Animists or Androgynes, if even that. Probably more like a third of the latter's length.
Speaking of Faustians, they're actually kind of awesome.
And, incompetent art aside? They do look kind of awesome, too.
This one is easily summarized and doesn't have any bad writing or horrific ideas. Essentially you were a person with REALLY bad willpower, you gave in easily to drugs or some such, or got yourself into the utmost depths of shit thanks to debt or something similar. Maybe got involved with crime. Then at some point where you were utterly desperate for aid, you somehow sent out an unconscious, psychic plea for help, and something answered.
A thing called a "Dance" takes up residence in your skull and gives you the mental fortitude not to fuck your life up again, and in fact to start taking it back. In return, it gives you urges to do certain things. Largely they just consist of guarding some old, abandoned location(often urban) and finding some odd, old objects to take there. Occasionally it gives you an artistic talent, and some of what you create must be brought there as well.
It rarely communicates verbally, and only does so incredibly curtly when it does, instead preferring to just give you an incredible URGE to go get those hobos out of that old church down the street... and leaving the means entirely up to you. The Dance is amoral as FUCK and doesn't care if you skin them alive or just pay them to go get drunk somewhere else. On the other hand, disobeying your Dance can get you in trouble. At low levels of disobedience, or if you just shirk your duties for a while, it can strip away the mental fortitude it granted you, leaving you to fuck up your life again. At high level of disobedience or if you directly try to counteract its goals(destroying whatever location it wants guarded, for instance), it may "try to get you killed," considering that it can give you "urges," I'd assume it mostly does this by trying to make you walk into traffic or do dangerous drugs, that sort of thing.
Still, as strange alien entities go, these don't seem too bad to be allied with. Not concerned with human people's survival, but not fixated on getting them killed either.
I rather hope these get fleshed out more later in the book, somehow. But even if they don't, this is already enough to base an entire setting or game off on its own.
And that's about it for Faustians. Told you they were succinct! Tune in next time for...
Heroes! Lost! And the Outcast! The latter of which get some pretty rad art...