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[nwod/cofd] What are Mage and Werewolf "about" as metaphor?

Isator Levie

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I was thinking more in terms of angry hunters and nasty murder spirits deciding that they like the cut of your jib.
The one is more of an incentive to not be sloppy and obvious about it, and the latter requires you to have your intermediaries with the Shadow make sure that your attitudes are well understood, and otherwise employ your powers to show them the door.
 

Dutch_Wolf

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Already some good answer here (and to the OP this is an excellent question to ask!) since I am a bit more familiar with werewolf my answer will be about that game.

For me Werewolf the Forsaken is a came about not belonging, you are not human but neither are you spirit, you don't belong in the shadow but neither do you fully belong in the material world. On top of that since your spirit half is a spirit of the hunt you view everything trough the concept of the hunt, shopping for groceries becomes a hunt, job hunting becomes more literal, even the simplest of things become a hunt. from a normal human view this can be view as a bit neuro-divergent but for a werewolf this is normal. And the only other people who understand this are other werewolves and maybe some of wolf blooded in your pack, so your pack becomes the place you belong and you try to make your territory a place that reflects the pack so it also can become a place you belong but this is hard work and the spirits, humans not of the pack and other werewolves are constantly pushing and pulling, making it harder to find your balance, your place and the feeling of belonging. And those are just the threats from without there are also threats from within since like any family the pack doesn't necessarily always get along and there is always worse...

Spoiler: Show

There was once a place were the werewolves belonged, the actual name is lost to time but the werewolves know now it is as Pangea, the Hunters Paradise, The border marches, the place where Father Wolf hunted; but even then as the humans turned their back on hunting and became farmers, it was deteriorating slowly but steadily and the choice became do we kill Father Wolf and end this era or let him live extending the era for a little bit. Eventually they decided to kill him and with it they destroyed the only place they belonged.


As somewhat of a neurodivergent person myself (Asperger/autism) this really spoke to me since I always find it hard to belong in a certain place and this idea of a pack of a close nit family of your choice become compelling.

Note this is probably not the only thing you can read into Werewolf but it is what I did.
 

macd21

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For me Forsaken focused a lot on being a predator, of having a lot of rage inside you that could be set off at any time.
 

James_Nostack

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Dutch_Wolf, that's a very interesting take, and it helps me make sense of the "tribalism" description others were using. The "0 Morality" condition in Werewolf isn't so much about being a bad person as being a bad tribe member.

(Hilariously, "killing a human or wolf needlessly" is about as serious a sin as "mating with another werewolf" in the game's value system. "Look, I admit I totally killed that guy for no reason. But it's not like I had sex with a member of my own species!")
 

Isator Levie

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Dutch_Wolf, that's a very interesting take, and it helps me make sense of the "tribalism" description others were using. The "0 Morality" condition in Werewolf isn't so much about being a bad person as being a bad tribe member.

(Hilariously, "killing a human or wolf needlessly" is about as serious a sin as "mating with another werewolf" in the game's value system. "Look, I admit I totally killed that guy for no reason. But it's not like I had sex with a member of my own species!")
That's First Edition, though. Like I said, in Second Edition, they changed it from a scale of 10 to 0 to representing opposite extremes of your werewolf nature being out of balance. Killing humans needlessly and enthusiastically can push you to one extreme, but spending too much time trying to socialise them, and I think a refusal to kill them under circumstances where Uratha culture would regard it as proper and necessary, those can push you to another. I think some stuff to do with tribal and pack oaths was folded into this, but the end result is something in which there isn't really a condition where a character has degenerated to become unplayable, and rejection from werewolf society at large was uncoupled from something systemic.

I think it also relaxed attitudes about werewolves having sex with one another.
 

Dutch_Wolf

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Isator Levie Isator Levie is right second edition changed a lot in that regard (including the one about sex) although I think not in a way that diminishes my point since to keep balanced werewolves sometimes have to do very human stuff while on other days they have to do very inhuman stuff. For the werewolf this makes perfect sense but from an outside perspective it means that you could know the werewolf as a perfect human being that suddenly does something weird even scary; this would be even more alienating then the old system where the incentive was to always be a little weird. This also (at least for me) ties into my point about neuro-diversity since at least for me I have learned to behave mostly as any other person would in most situations but occasionally I do something that is a bit weird from an outside perspective which from my inside perspective makes full sense, without understanding this can become rather inconvenient and even drive people away.
 

Nicholas Carter

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I don't know much about New Mage, but here's one take on the other three.
N. Werewolf: you are in power. Your power is not legitimate, you are not chosen by the people you are in power over, or really of them. You've taken up this power because the people in your view are incapable of managing themselves. How will you justify the position you've taken, and how will you handle claims against that power?
O. Werewolf: Your history, of your family, your nation, of your people, is one of unmitigated failure: bridges burned, allies lost, enemies made. If someone doesn't do something soon, there won't be a place for your people anymore. If you succeed in creating a new way you'll know: the traditions of your people will be gone forever.
O. Mage: Nothing matters. Nothing is true. Because you felt like it is the only true motivation. But what now? You can reject the truth of Nihilism, and try to force the illusion of objective truth on others (Technocracy), you can plunge head first into your own navel discussing what "is" is (maurauders) or you can let the lack of cosmic truth justify your slide into sadism (nephandi). Or maybe... Maybe you could make your truth something a little bit nicer.
 

ViciousMink

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That's a rather fascinating look at mages in Awakening, actually. I'd never considered it before, that it's a game about privilege. I'll have to look through the game again with an eye towards that.
 

manwhat

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That's a rather fascinating look at mages in Awakening, actually. I'd never considered it before, that it's a game about privilege. I'll have to look through the game again with an eye towards that.
An interesting consequence is that those who do not have privilege but are aware of it (Sleepwalkers) are easier for mages to abuse, because they won't eventually dissipate magic cast upon them.
 

Dutch_Wolf

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I don't know much about New Mage, but here's one take on the other three.
N. Werewolf: you are in power. Your power is not legitimate, you are not chosen by the people you are in power over, or really of them. You've taken up this power because the people in your view are incapable of managing themselves. How will you justify the position you've taken, and how will you handle claims against that power?
[...]
Don't agree with this in ChroD Werewolf. Yes you have your pack and your gifts but in the end a powerful spirit can wipe you out and hunting a corporation that wants to pave over the local park (disrupting the locus of your territory) would need to be done with care and insight not with raw power; as an Forsaken you don't necessarily place yourself over others at least not in that way (I think that is more of a vampire thing to be honest). On top of this taking over the role of Father Wolf is a rather thankless job with the spirits mostly disliking you and the humans never knowing what you did for them, in a way what you describe here would probably more like the tought process of a Pure or maybe even a Bale Hound.

Having said that you are spot on for Classid WOD Werewolf and I agree that that is an important theme/metaphor of the game, sadly not enough experience with mage.
 
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