• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

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

RifleAvenger

New member
Adding onto Mage as metaphor for privilege, it's also metaphor for systemic injustice as a whole. The Lie turns the entire universe, the very laws of physics, into a rigged system. While Mages bear a higher weight of responsibility owing to their great power and positions of privilege, the system's lore mentions many times that Sleepers have largely driven their own history since the Fall, for good or ill. The system makes everyone complicit.

As for Werewolf, beyond everything else that's been mentioned about tribalism, The Pure represent a particularly odious manifestation of it in several forms. They're a group not held together by mutual benefit, but mutual hatred of a minority group (the Forsaken). I also find them to be pretty powerful as analogs to certain strains of reactionary ideologies: religious fundamentalism and self-debasing beliefs (Firetouched), anti-intellectualism and a desire to regress to "the good old days" (Predator Kings), and racism/exceptionalism plus manipulating other members of the movement rather than truly believing in their cause (Ivory Claws; most think Pangaea isn't coming back and just want to rule the world as it is). That said, the Pure can also read as satire of certain unpleasant trends from Apocalypse werewolves.
 

Nicholas Carter

Registered User
Validated User
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.
I think this has to do with the slant of the game: the pure are all the failure states of seizing power (for god and country and the superior species).
In much the same way that in AW the Chopper and the Hardholder are people in power, but the game is set up to punish them for using that power.
 

SunlessNick

Mildly Darkened One
Validated User
I also find them to be pretty powerful as analogs to certain strains of reactionary ideologies: religious fundamentalism and self-debasing beliefs (Firetouched), anti-intellectualism and a desire to regress to "the good old days" (Predator Kings), and racism/exceptionalism plus manipulating other members of the movement rather than truly believing in their cause (Ivory Claws; most think Pangaea isn't coming back and just want to rule the world as it is).
I've occasionally said I thought the Pure should be split into three different groups - respectively, on the order you list, one that's too spirit, one that's too wolf, and one that's too human.
 

Adeps

Registered User
Validated User
All of the World Of Darkness and Chronicles Of Darkness games are basically about coming of age/puberty. Like X-Men but for Goth-Nerds instead of Geek-Nerds.

In Vampire, your body is going through weird changes and you are starting to develop, physically and/or mentally, while realising that the world is run by a bunch of old, evil fools who still expect you to toe the line and stay in your place, but you are starting to wonder if the world wouldn't be better if your generation overthrew them and took over running the world, doing it the right way. And there are all these bad elements trying to convince you that you should do just that, but for the sake of mindless violence and raucous partying.
Teenager - the rpg.

In Werewolf, your body is going through weird changes and you are starting to develop, physically and mentally, while realising that you are not a part of the "normal" crowd that the rest of Humanity belongs to. You are different and they just can't handle that whenever it gets revealed. Luckily, there are small communities of people like you out there who take you in and show you how use the power of your "true" self. Of course, even among this community, there are different types of other.
LGBT Teenager - the RPG

In Mage, you have begun to take an interest in the real world, and you think you know what the world is really like. The people all around you are just sleep-walking through life, because they don't really get it. This understanding sets you against the people who run the world: the governments and the corporations, trying to stop these sleeper from waking up to the truth and rejecting their comforting lies. You have found some other people who saw through them, and you think they've got a lot of things wrong, but at least they're awake to the lies!
Rebellious Teenager - the RPG

etc.

There are some slight exceptions/differences but that is the gist.
 

hsienfan

Registered User
Validated User
As for Werewolf, beyond everything else that's been mentioned about tribalism, The Pure represent a particularly odious manifestation of it in several forms. They're a group not held together by mutual benefit, but mutual hatred of a minority group (the Forsaken). I also find them to be pretty powerful as analogs to certain strains of reactionary ideologies: religious fundamentalism and self-debasing beliefs (Firetouched), anti-intellectualism and a desire to regress to "the good old days" (Predator Kings), and racism/exceptionalism plus manipulating other members of the movement rather than truly believing in their cause (Ivory Claws; most think Pangaea isn't coming back and just want to rule the world as it is).
I remember Ethan Skemp originally getting flack for deciding not to portray the Pure (and later, the Seers of the Throne) as more sympathetic villains. The tune from a lot of people at the time was to the effect of, "I just don't find it believable that this (huge hate group/global conspiracy of power-hungry fascists) exists and is completely fine with what they're doing."

Nowadays, it looks downright prescient. Odd how that's come about.
 

Dutch_Wolf

Registered User
Validated User
I think this has to do with the slant of the game: the pure are all the failure states of seizing power (for god and country and the superior species).
In much the same way that in AW the Chopper and the Hardholder are people in power, but the game is set up to punish them for using that power.
Still don't think that werewolf in its default form of play is a narrative about power. Sure it is quite possible to make it so as I often have mused to myself that the easiest themes to port to other games are the themes about obsession and hubris from Mage (since to a certain extend all ChroD games deal with power and what you are going to do with it but it isn't the main theme of most). As such I don't think the failure of the pure is in how they handle the power but that they try to seize it in the first place, because that power doesn't really belong to them. A much closer narative to that of Werewolf in its default form of play is as A Adeps points out that of the LGBTQ teen that has just discovered that LGBTQ people exists and that dealing with the feelings they are dealing with will quite likely throw them out of the community they grow up with. Becauee in the end all Werewolves even the pure are dispossessed and only the Forsaken realize that the only place they will ever belong will be a place of their own making.
 

Ysidro

Registered User
Validated User
Oh man, the OP made me think of Mage as I hadn't before. I haven't read the whole thread, so forgive me if someone else had the same idea.

A Mage knows the Truth is of the world. Not the whole truth but enough that the scales have fallen from their eyes and they seek out more truth. They try to tell people, but no one believes them. The masses fall back asleep. But a Mage Knows.

A Mage is a conspiracy theorist!

Except they really do know some of the truth. But not all of it. Enough lies temptingly out of grasp to cause a Mage to seek more truth. More of the secrets and mysteries of the world.
 

LordofArcana

Registered User
Validated User
A Mage is a conspiracy theorist!
Its not like they are people trying to wake up all the Sheeple to the reality of what the Man is up to. And they are definitely all very stable people who have absolutely not just had a mental breakdown because their lives just fell apart.
 

DarkMum

Godamn Catwoman
Validated User
Its not like they are people trying to wake up all the Sheeple to the reality of what the Man is up to. And they are definitely all very stable people who have absolutely not just had a mental breakdown because their lives just fell apart.
"You have magic powers. If you use them in any way other than the way precisely laid out by us, your arcane peers, we will destroy you for the good of humanity and reality. Of course we know what is best for humanity..."

It's not paranoia if they are out to get you.
It's probably Paranoia (West End Games) With Mages Not Mutants if magic hit squads will turn up to take you in for using your powers, even if you don't quite know what the hell you just did was magic.

Forget 'Wake Up Sheeple!', it's more surviving the politics of an organization you never asked to join, with complicated rules and constantly being screwed over for using any of your nifty magic powers. Frankly, there's nothing more depressing than 'You will support the dominant paradigms of human society or die/go mad/turn evil!' as a core concept.
 

Ysidro

Registered User
Validated User
Forget 'Wake Up Sheeple!', it's more surviving the politics of an organization you never asked to join, with complicated rules and constantly being screwed over for using any of your nifty magic powers. Frankly, there's nothing more depressing than 'You will support the dominant paradigms of human society or die/go mad/turn evil!' as a core concept.
No wonder people join The Seers. They're the Capital C conspiracy that the other guys are insisting you must fight. But why fight the Illuminati when they're perfectly willing to have you join up? Just sign on the dotted line.....
 
Top Bottom