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Author Topic: Initiation  (Read 3243 times)

Posts: 1619

« on: February 15, 2006, 04:54:07 AM »

It just struck me that Nine Worlds seems to be missing something... Initiation....

I mean, people arent' BORN Archons, right?  It seems to me that since PC's don't start play with pride or valor, that means that they haven't been Archons long... and so it seems natural to me, for the first event in a new PC's play ought to be when he becomes an archon... kind of like how it works in Dogs in the Vineyard, or old-school V:tM where the "Embrace" is part of the character creation process.

Is the lack of initiation deliberate?

Or is it a good idea that got overlooked?

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 2591

« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2006, 05:23:17 AM »

This is a good question. Reading the game, you get this definite WW wibe out of the character concepts. But reading actual play and Matt's commentary you'll see that play actually starts in medias res - stuff is already happening, characters are out in the nine worlds, and most of the time they've already made their mark, gained a past and so on.

Being that the whole idea of Archons is just a crutch used to empower old roleplayers, it's pretty natural that it gets ignored as a practical matter in most play.

(Why is the concept of Archonity a crutch? Well, the game doesn't follow up on it thematically, with kewl powerz or otherwise. It's just a word tagged on player characters. I think it's a necessary word, because it allows old roleplayers to assume that their characters are special, though. Without it players would probably feel much less inclined to narrate their characters as special and important. But now, they're Archons! They can do stuff! The fact that every named character in the game can do the stuff, too, and that there apparently isn't anything that'd define Archons vs. other supernatural or even natural phenomenons is besides the point. It's an empty splat, which is an interesting concept itself.)

So yeah, I'd say that lack of initiation is deliberate. Having it would force the designer to follow up on the Archon-thing somehow. Now it's just a comfortable shoutout to old-time rpg hobbyists. And if a player should be interested in exploring the superhumanity aspect, it's easy to create your own initiation. For those who aren't interested in that (myself included) an initiation scene would be morbid waste of time before getting on into the good stuff.

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Matt Snyder
Posts: 1380

« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2006, 06:37:04 AM »

Eero's identified most of the issue.

When I began designing the game, ALL characters were going to be from Earth and illumined into Archon status. I decided it's a terrible idea, because it wasted so many fun character types and situations available in other parts of the setting. I also decided against it for the reason Eero guesses -- it's a title to latch on to for players. The target audience of this game all along was players of games like Mage who were looking for stronger storytelling license.

The only thing that distinguishes an Archon is that in place of Power they have Arete and Hubris. It's meant to illustrate that we players should be paying strict attention to those characters, because their choices matter in a way that other characters' actions do not. We want to look at their Arete and Hubris, or see the consequences of their action.

Because that's the most important element of the game, watching them "become" Archons loses a bit of its appeal. Now, it can be workable in the game, and I've seen a few people have that character concept ("I'm from Earth, and I don't even KNOW I'm an Archon yet!"). But, the fact is, in play they already have Arete and Hubris.

No player should begin with a character who has Power, and then later "earns" Arete and Hubris. Doing so misses the entire thrust of the game.

(Interestingly enough, the Aristeia rules could allow players to have their Archons create NEW Archons. And, then assume that new Archon as their character. That could be one workable way to do some "illuminating.")

Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Posts: 5574

« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2006, 01:24:06 PM »

This may be off point but its something I've wondered.

Philosophically / Metaphysically can we assume that all characters in the universe have Hubris/Arete but since they will never (by definition) DO anything with it we just edit them down to Power only for simplicity.

OR is there some actual metaphysical difference that only THESE characters even HAVE Hubris/Arete and the rest are completely devoid of it.

With regards to your Illumining idea then:  would an Archon who illumined someone actually be confering Hubris/Arete on them for the first time (which they never had and never could get on their own).  Or would the Archon merely be letting them in on the secret (literally illuminating them) to something they've always had but never really paid any attention to before.

I've tended to consider Power to be identical to Hubris/Arete philosophically only its devoid of "cosmic intent".  An Archon exerts their Power conciously aware of the big metaphysical game...conciously supporting or rebelling against the cosmic order and thus their Power is colored in relationship to that choice (i.e. so much of their Power is in support, and so much is is against).  Thus their use of Power has cosmic intent (Hubris or Arete).  Others are either unaware of, or indifferent to the big cosmic game and so their use of Power is undifferentiated.  Its literally just bland power niether helping nor harming the gods/titans.  Thus an NPC with Power may be aiding the gods physically...but because they have only power metaphysically they are without impact.  They are literally the faceless multitude with no ripple in the Cosmic Order beyond their physical effort.

Is that pretty close or just my own projections...?

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