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 Post subject: Victorian-Era Nightbane
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 5:56 pm
  

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I could have sworn that I saw something similar posted either here or in the Rifter forum, but the forum search engine calls me a liar . . .

I'm thinking that nightbane would work exceptionally well in a Victorian or Gothic horror setting, and that spinning off a Rifter or sourcebook into an alternate history might be good idea. Earth was divided along religious, ethnic and national lines as it is today but without the mitigation of near-instant communication, travel or information - science was on the upswing, bringing us closer to modernity and the horrors it can bring (cyber-magicians, anyone?). The rise of serial killers in England, Chicago and elsewhere. It was though the world was convulsing with the birth pangs of the modern epoch.

Then throw in Dark Day.

I think, handled rightly, this could be a phenomenal setting. The resultant feel, I think, would be slightly closer to BtS on the surface, because without instant communication of the information age much more would remain unknown. The feel might be a bit darker, perhaps a bit more overtly mystic, but I think it could be fun.

Has anyone tried this, and would anyone be interested?


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:35 am
  

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Yeah a Victorian-era Nightbane would make humans (even mages and psychics) largely irrelevant because of the lack of technological equalizers. The Seekers of a century ago, and the era's equivalent of a Spook Squad (which would ideally be made up of English secret agents who've been abroad killing vampires for Queen Victoria) just wouldn't have the mundane firepower to pose a serious threat to Nightbane, Nightlord minions, or pretty much anyone else except in very large groups.

Oh and Adventure was Pulp, not Victorian.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 11:39 am
  

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Your point about the imbalance is well taken. While the Victorian Era did host a boom in military technology (cartridge/breechloading rifles, gatling guns, iron clads and grenades) it's unlikely that they could pose as much resistance. In my mind though, the human element of the modern Nightbane setting is fairly neglible as well. The beachhead in the Nightlands always struck me as out of place and unsustainable in the long term . . .

There are a couple of solutions: the first, and simplest, would be have it set pre Dark Day. This would keep the setting within the cannon timeline. Adventures could be about the slow infiltration of the Nightlords and their attempts to bring about Dark Day - it feels a bit meta-plotty but it could work. It would probably have a much more BtS feel than a full on Nightbane campaign, with the centerpiece not being direct conflict between the powers but a prolonged and heightening cold war.

Second would be to scale back the effects of Dark Day. Keep the dopplegangers, have fewer hounds involved: have Dark Day be less about conquest than about infiltration. A campaign in that setting would be about countering the first intrusions by the Nightlords, hunting down and killing dopplegangers, hounds and the like before they can report back and start the full scale takeover we see in the modern setting. Again, there would be some meta-plot involved but the setting would have a certain sense of urgency and panick the more players began to know.

Last would be something along the lines you propose: give humans the ability to fight back, either through steam-punk technology, advanced and directed anti-supernatural agencies (ala Hellsing, the Iscariot Agency or a very, VERY active Lazlo society) or an increase in magical potency (increased damage per spell or give spells a damage multiplier against Nightland creatures like Nightbane have, lower PPE costs, easier access to new spells, etc. Though this one would cut both ways and could easily affect the players.).

It would also be possible to confine the portals to the Nightlands to very specific regions, as you suggest. That could well feed into Victorian age geopolitical/racial paranoia. Make The Heart of Darkness darker, if you get my meaning.

I'm not sure which is the best solution though.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:41 pm
  

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what sort of forms would victorian nightbane use?
what sort of unique table would be applicable?


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:20 pm
  

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abe wrote:
what sort of forms would victorian nightbane use?
what sort of unique table would be applicable?


Most of the animal, stigmata and beauty forms would probably remain intact. Technological elements could be futuristic or have a decidedly steam-punk feel to them. I would actually probably tweak the ration to increase the risk of some type of stigmata or deformation - Victorian psychology left much trapped behind closed doors, both in real life and in the mind, and I'd be willing to bet that repression would manifest in some frightening ways in the Morphus.

One thing might be to include tables with more nationalistic flair: or build them off of myths or cultures in vogue at the time - India would be of particular interest for say a London based nightbane, and an American born Nightbane would be grappling with the Wild West/Native American motif. Writing these would be . . . tricky, tying to draw the line between an "authentic" facsimilie and at the same time avoid simplistic stereotypes and the racial bias/social darwinism that was present in the era.

Wish I had a larger stock of Rifters - my understanding is that is where the bulk of the morphus tables can be found.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:44 pm
  

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Just wanted to add to the general approval for this idea. I do believe that the power balance is something that needs attention, but I don't think it's an insurmountable problem. There are three ways to go about it, IMHO:

1 - As others have suggested, make the campaign pre-Dark Day. Depending on your preferences, you could either make the focus of the campaign the prevention of an imminent DD invasion, or assume that DD isn't possible for 100 more years anyway and just have the Nightlands locked (mostly) behind the Mirrorwall.

2 - Make the campaign post-Dark Day and run it as extremely grim indeed. Again, as others have pointed out, the Nightlords should be able to run roughshod over Victorian-era humans, and rather than the modern setting's flavor of a world 90% conquered and 10% resistance, you have a world 99.9% conquered and .1% soiling themselves as the walls close in.

3 - Really go nuts with the alternate history. Set the campaign post-Dark Day, but instead of the Nightlords being ancient evil sorcerers who have lived for millennia and abandoned all pretenses of humanity, have the Nightlords cast as gentlemen-wizards who only recently (100 years ago or so) made a deal with the Dark and inherited the Nightlands. Now they are conquering Europe, but in a "sporting" way. This would require a ton of work on the GM's part fitting everything together, but if you limit the Nightlords in a way that compliments the technological limitations on the humans, you're closer to a balanced game.

Personally I run a modern campaign that is still pre-Dark Day, because I prefer that mood/flavor, but I can see the right gaming group having a lot of fun with the other possibilities.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:07 pm
  

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Historically, there were quite a few interesting occult orders and societies that were kicking around the Victorian Era; I think they'd make a good background for the human factions that have any chance at all of doing something against the invasion.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:41 pm
  

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Quote:
Last would be something along the lines you propose: give humans the ability to fight back, either through steam-punk technology,


Quote:
Technological elements could be futuristic or have a decidedly steam-punk feel to them.


Okay, folks. Not trying to take y'all too far off course, but I have a question that's been burning for quite some time. What is Steam Punk and how would Steam Punk technology be different than the standard technology of its time (industrial revolution, right)?

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:56 pm
  

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Steam punk might be better classified as a genre of fiction rather than a tech level - like cyberpunk its about a certain style and flair that infects the entire setting.

You know the inventions described by HG Wells? The Time Machine, airships, the Nautilis? Steam Punk. A automata Sherlock Holmes at Scotland Yard? Steam punk. Aether Ships sailing between the planetary colonies of her Imperial Majesty and the British Empire? Steam Punk.

Basically, take the Victorian Era and start adding bits of high technology, high concept devices and conceits using (then) contemporary ideas: robots running off of coal burners or quartz crystals, mechanical competitors (Turing machines?), or at the further extremes, steam-tech style cybernetics, crude iron and steel devices full of whirring cogs and whining gears. For a fantastic setting with a steampunk flair, the Thief Series for the PC incorporates quite a few steampunk elements.

Just imagine if H. G. Wells had figured out a way to make today back then using nothing but the materials they had.


Last edited by Cirlot on Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:46 am
  

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Mmmmmm...I may have to push my WWII Nightbane campaign back to the Victorian Era...steam punk makes my @$$&()^# perculate (don't ask, it's something silly one of my sergeants used to say).

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:28 pm
  

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As an aside, Steam-Punk may or may not include magical elements: occultism was big in Victorian society, seances, mystics and the like were large draws, as were secret societies: if magic is real, then it would make i's way into society. It could be that the occultists stumbled onto something real and clustered in secret societies to protect themselves and the forces they had unleashed, or it could be more widespread with organized institutions and guilds. A good example of the later would be either Howl's Moving Castle or Jonathan Strange (though they are both a bit "light" in tone for steam-punk).

Also, orientilism was huge in the Victorian era. Eastern elements (or ancient, for that matter) were immensely popular and still felt decidedly "other." Stories of Shangri-la or the deepest darkest expanses of the subcontinent were common.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:22 am
  

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Or more to the point, seeing as there were Nightbane and such present all through history (albeit Dark Day boomed the numbers) you might just ignore "Dark Day" entirely and have the monsters be rarer. The Nightlords would be limited to various scattered cults of worshippers trying to bring them forth under various names. Allowing the PCs to thrwart the coming of "Dark Day" in the 19th century (perhaps more
than once).

While it would be a great feat some powerful cults might manage to bring a minion or three accross The Mirrorwall to help them.

One thing to remember is that things would be less powerful all around, not just in terms of firepower (guns) but also many of the Nightbane features wouldn't apply, or would be differant. Roughly half the features under Biomechanical for example (arguably the strongest catagory) probably just wouldn't apply as few people would have stuff like that in their subconscious.

That said, I would point out that in the 1890s the high end of most "Western" guns existed. Including double action revolvers in
calibers like .45 and .357. There would be a differance in firepower, but not as much of a one as you might think.

Plus if you allow the equivilent of Spook Squad to have access to some innovations a few decades ahead of their time (say using 1920s tech in the 1890s) you'd even have things like the Tommy gun... and well, in Palladium one .45 SMG is as good as another.

Indeed, while gun control is somewhat tight in Britan, if the game is set in America or anywhere else in the world there might be a few more issues than elsewhere. For example in the USA this is not exactly the era of gun conrol, almost everyone is able to wander around with a big iron on their hip. What this means is that player might find themselves under much heavier attack than usual, especially if they reveal themselves.

See if some Nightbane wanders down an Alleyway in a modern city your typical civilian is likely to flee harmlessly and not be believed. If the same guy gets spotted in some 1890s Fronteir town town on the vestiges of the shrinking Fronteir he's likely to have everyone in town grab their gun (including some rather big rifles like the thirty-thirty) and form a posse to hunt him down. People were a bit more supertitious then and perhaps willing to believe in something odd, especially seeing as tracking wasn't as uncommon a skill as it is now. :)

Worse yet, on a second or third appearance a Nightbane or other critter might find themselves ambushed on Mainstreet by the entire town armed with rifles firing from roofs and windows. The kind of "neighborhood response" you just don't see today. 50-60 people all firing rifles doing 7 or 8d6 apiece is going to ruin days, even in Nightbane. :)

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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:57 pm
  

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just a couple of form ideas for victorian nightbane
lanturn eyes-your eyes have been replaced by road lanturns allowing you tripple nightvision distances when they are lit
corsit(stigmata)-you have +2 to charisma(pb)to men if you are a woman-5 to pb(weird looking)to all if you are a man your waist it 2d2 inches across(yes this does make you wear a distincly uncomfertable device around your waist) you also have 1/2 the normal physical dexterity.
tell me what you think of these offerings.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:47 pm
  

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 Post subject: Re:
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:26 pm
  

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Rallan wrote:
Yeah a Victorian-era Nightbane would make humans (even mages and psychics) largely irrelevant because of the lack of technological equalizers. The Seekers of a century ago, and the era's equivalent of a Spook Squad (which would ideally be made up of English secret agents who've been abroad killing vampires for Queen Victoria) just wouldn't have the mundane firepower to pose a serious threat to Nightbane, Nightlord minions, or pretty much anyone else except in very large groups.

Oh and Adventure was Pulp, not Victorian.


Well, if you place this before dark day occuring, while the nightlords are still sealed and can only manage to get occasional minons through in ones and twos, then it suddenly becomes a bit more viable. While it's true individual nightbane would severely outclass others, they would be on the whole much rarer, prone to not working togeather and mistrusting each-other, and the same with minions. thus while the technology of the day is not as much of an equalizer, numbers would count for more, and on the whole individuals would be far better trained when sent out for this.

Also, this would be right around the time the very first Club Freak was founded, and that might even be the starting point of the campaign. At the time Club Freak was named after the founders own personal freakish morphus, and was open to all immortals and not simply nightbane. but given the levels of mistrust, this could provide the genisis for an adventure. Both in trying to gain the trust of members, as well as other immortals (And vampire hunter types) wanting to shut it down before they actually organize.

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 Post subject: Re:
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:18 pm
  

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Therumancer wrote:


Worse yet, on a second or third appearance a Nightbane or other critter might find themselves ambushed on Mainstreet by the entire town armed with rifles firing from roofs and windows. The kind of "neighborhood response" you just don't see today. 50-60 people all firing rifles doing 7 or 8d6 apiece is going to ruin days, even in Nightbane. :)

>>>----Therumancer--->



And it did happen. Note the Dalton gang's raid of Coffeyville, KS: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/daltons.htm

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:11 pm
  

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:34 pm
  

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I do believe that while the world was shifting towards a firm belief in science on the whole, there was still a wide-spread belief in the occult and mysticism. True, most of it was being debunked through science as mere trickery and hokum... at least in real life. However, as the setting presents magic and psionics as "real", I would venture to say that the few wizards and psychics present in a Victorian setting would present a much more viable opposition than any other at the time... thus making them the biggest threat to a possible Nightlord invasion of this period.

As has been stated above, while military technology of the time is not as far off from what we have, it was less refined and some technologies we have has yet to be invented (planes, automobiles, computers, ect.). This means the only real defense this time period would have against the occult would be those few who deal with the occult... wizards, psychics and a few of the less malevolent supernaturals (and even the more malevolent ones would have a vested interest in keeping the Nightlords in the Nightlands).

Nightbane themselves would be a little rarer than in the modern setting... unless there was some event that could produce an upswing in the population (maybe not quite on the level of Dark Day... but even a smaller increase could be significant). Should a Dark Day event happen at this point in time... well, it is possible that the majority of people would abandon the still nascent disciplines of science for the mysticism that seems to be growing in the modern setting (and still widely believed in the Victorian-era). This could lead to a new renaissance of magic while the industrial revolution slowly grinds to a halt (or takes a different turn... maybe towards technowizardry?).

Overall, while the overall nature of the setting would remain more or less similar, the effect of technology based factions would be significantly reduced. More emphasis will be placed on magic, psionics and the supernatural as science and technology have a large gap to cross to be comparable. That said... nothing spurs invention and innovation like necessity... possibly advancing technology much more quickly than in the real world (though whether that is a good thing or not is open for debate).

So many ways this could go... and all of them worth investigating.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:34 am
  

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This is an awesome backdrop for a great game.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:24 pm
  

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Any new thoughts on the subject?

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:23 pm
  

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 Post subject: Re:
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:16 pm
  

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Rallan wrote:
Yeah a Victorian-era Nightbane would make humans (even mages and psychics) largely irrelevant because of the lack of technological equalizers. The Seekers of a century ago, and the era's equivalent of a Spook Squad (which would ideally be made up of English secret agents who've been abroad killing vampires for Queen Victoria) just wouldn't have the mundane firepower to pose a serious threat to Nightbane, Nightlord minions, or pretty much anyone else except in very large groups.

Maybe not an optimized Nightbane but I think if we randomly rolled up one right now, I could roll up a pair of farmers from Palladium Fantasy who would have decent odds of pitchforking it to death. Wouldn't need to be very large at all.

This largely depends on what you take as your free Talent, of course. There's a big degree of separation between those who have Shadow Blast or Shadow Shield vs more RP stuff like See Truth, for example, in terms of being able to fight.


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