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The truth behind Geist


Nethermancer par excellence
Behind the Lines: The Gist of Geist (#42) - White Wolf Production - White Wolf Community

Kelley got really excited when I mentioned the topic of today's blog at yesterday's scheduling meeting. I mean, okay, she's Kelley, she's pretty excitable, she loves it when we talk about neat stuff because she loves the stuff we put out, we knew this. But you know, it's kind of heady stuff when you think about it. Because we're all pretty excited about Geist: The Sin-Eaters. The authors are biting their lips such that they bleed whenever the topic is raised on the grand internet. They'd talk if I let them, the ingrates. I've had to be riding the NDA train pretty fiercely of late, and it is an unholy thing of blackened iron and churning devil-wheels, with saw teeth on its cow-catcher. And it runs on crushed hopes.

But the day of release is drawing near, and we owe you something. We could put it on the front page, and we probably will, but I'd like everyone to remember that this blog exists. So I called dibs on the first great reveals. It's my game, dammit!

Okay, so fair warning: if you hate the spoilers, hit "back" now. Don't glance down, you'll see something you can't unsee.

Seriously. Last warning.

Okay, so the guy who doesn't like spoilers has left. Everyone else with me? Nice.

I've been saying for a long time that Geist is not the new Wraith: if it were, we'd call it Wraith. If it deals with things called geists, as it does, then clearly they have got to be so different from wraiths that you can't use the word "wraith" in good conscience to describe them. And they are.

See, geists are the ghosts of other supernatural entities.

(Is that guy who hates spoilers still here? Are you happy now? Yes, you ruined it for yourself. I warned you.)

This was a big hook when we were talking about things in the conceptualization phase. We've talked a lot about how the World of Darkness, current incarnation, was designed to be more friendly for crossover from Day One. But so far we hadn't really made the most of that. There was nothing you could point to as proof. Sure, you could call out World of Darkness: Chicago as lots of crossover waiting to happen, and you could nod sagely whenever someone was talking about how obviously the game lines are designed to parallel the Supernal cosmology posited by Mage: The Awakening. (Right here and now, as I sit in front of my computer today, I tell you that maybe there is some truth to that.) But we didn't really have anything that we could point to and say "Look, that's crossover. That proves the philosophy." It was kind of embarrassing, actually. There was even a brief moment when someone (I'm gonna blame Joe here, because why not?) suggested that we repurpose the old name "Abomination," and create a true hybrid monster. Not just werewolves and vampires, but all of them. An Abomination could be a mashup of anything. We actually kicked that bit around a bit, but ultimately it was decided that the name had too much bad karma from the old world, and honestly nobody wanted to be the one to deal with Matt McFarland insisting that they be a new brand of Promethean stitched together out of various supernatural parts.

But along the way, a certain brilliant idea hit yours truly. If we couldn't really fuse them together in life by adding templates, why not go after them when they were dead? We could use the basis of ghost mechanics to create geists, entities with all the powers and knowledge they possessed in life. The table was agog. The kicker was, not just could any game serve as a background for a character (or even an excuse to carry on with an old player character who had gone to the Great Goth Nightclub In the Sky), but if we worked the mechanics right, they could use any rule from any book. Since geists could have been anybody in life, it was all fair game. Want a geist from the Lodge of Fenris? Done. Want a geist with near-Archmastery of Space? Sure, if you've got the experience points. Want a geist that's been to Arcadia and back? There you go. The first true double-template characters.

We knew we were on to something then. Of course, that did raise a few questions about geist society: if they had all the knowledge of their various component previous incarnations, what would that mean? And you know, the answer was itself really inspiring. Picture an ethereal Illuminati, if you will: all the secrecy and manipulation of a proper conspiracy game, carried out by the phantoms of the various monsters and witches that haunt the World of Darkness. Now, of course we didn't want to give the geists everything — but you know, as long as we were breaking rules left and right like "5 x 5 character options" or "you start as a mortal," why not "the game must be balanced with the other lines?" In-character, it makes sense that the geists are better educated, and have access to all the powers — so you know, why not just go for the verisimilitude?

It's a gutsy design risk — maybe. The thing is, I honestly think we've done the right thing. Because playing geists is going to be great. And even if you're really fond of your Vampire or Changeling or Hunter character, your Obrimos or your Bone Shadow or your Frankenstein — this game can be your future. If a geist takes you out, and they're gonna be hard to beat — well, if you can't beat them?

Join them.

That's what Geist: The Sin-Eaters is going to be. Oh yeah, that and it's also gonna be awesome. You haven't lived until you've seen a game where the splats are all the other game lines in the world. And if you think the "Stereotypes" section is catty in your current favorite game, just wait until you see what they think of each other in your future favorite game...


Nethermancer par excellence
AW: The truth behind Geist

Und hier die erklärung von Ethan Skemp
EthanSkemp replied on Wed, Apr 1 2009 11:50 PM

Suck my balls, Ethan.

My wife forbids such an action. I apologize, and I hope your balls can endure in their unsucked state.

Odd about the time stamp. That probably happened because the actual post was written last night, and saved, but only published this morning just before I called in sick. Believe me, I definitely hit "publish" on the 1st.

As for "Where is the joke?", well it's pretty much us parodying ourselves. In a way, this is sort of me pretending to be a fairly short-sighted version of myself. There are a series of jokes, albeit subtle if you don't know us very well. Here's a few:

1) The selection of the term "Abomination" as seriously under consideration. In the previous incarnation of the WoD, those were such critically unpopular entities that the very word seemed to make people shudder.

2) "I'm gonna blame Joe here, because why not?" I don't like actually blaming co-workers for anything in public. It's not classy. This is kind of a tip-off that I'm not being very serious.

3) "...nobody wanted to be the one to deal with Matt McFarland..." Also a gentle teasing of Matt, who thankfully took it in the spirit intended.

4) "...a certain brilliant idea hit yours truly." I don't like to actually boast about how awesome I am; I don't think it's the done thing, and I'm not actually all that awesome anyhow. This is a subtle one, but because I tend to be lightly self-deprecating, I don't tend to use phrases like this unless I don't actually think the idea was all that brilliant.

5) The idea that geists could have any power in the books, no matter what, is, yeah, pretty much a joke at its heart. There's not really any reason to give a new splat access to everything they could ever want. Things like "near arch-mastery of Space" are jokes within that joke. I almost typed "Archmastery" instead, but that would have been a little too obvious. This is kind of a parody of designers to try to make new character types "cool" by giving them lots of stuff so people will want to play them, even at the expense of other types' signature stuff.

6) "ethereal Illuminati": Same notion being teased, only this time socially: not only do they have all the powers any other group has, they know everything the other guys know and then some! Definitely moving into a "whoa, blind favoritism on the part of developers is scary" nod here.

7) Going for the verisimilitude — I've talked in this column a lot about how you need to balance things to come up with a good and playable game. Ignoring things like general crossover balance in the name of "that's what they should have, just to make sense" is a bad decision. You never favor one consideration above all others. As I typed that bit, I certainly felt I was being a bad developer, or would anyway if I had meant it.

8) The bit where I recommend that if you like your existing character, you'd like him better as a geist? Man, that would be an arrogant stance to take if I meant it. Just pure developer hubris, all "I don't care what you think you like about your character, plebe, you'll like him a lot better as my personal favorite übersplat."

9) Shout-out to catty Stereotypes! Those are actually kind of embarrassing, at least the ones where each stereotype is pretty much a differently worded version of "These guys suck, and are wrong, and we're more awesome." For me to treat this like it's a good thing, definitely not to be taken seriously.

10) "Your new future favorite game." Man, I'm full-bore into crummy arrogant developer mode there. For the record, I actually don't want anything more than people to give Geist a try and see if they like it. If it does become a new favorite, that's awesome, but I actually think we have a bunch of other games that all also deserve to be somebody's favorite.

There are probably more jokes in there specific to the day (as opposed to jokes you might see on every episode of this column). Sorry that my stab at self-parody has filled you with such bile. I hope that it drains away and that tomorrow things will seem a bit sweeter.

Dok Dicer II

AW: The truth behind Geist

und ich dachte schon "pretty unspielbar"....

Ich hasse Aprilscherze. Und ich habe immer noch das Gefühl dass GEIST leider ziemlich lahm wird.
Ich hoffe ich irre mich.


Nethermancer par excellence
AW: The truth behind Geist

Mir hat bisher jede der Spielreihen gefallen (mit Ausnahme von Promethean - was ich nicht schlecht finde, ich kann mich da nur nicht mit identifizieren)

Dok Dicer II

AW: The truth behind Geist

Ja das mir bisher jede Reihe gefallen hat (sogar Changeling, auch wenn das ne Weile gedauert hat) ist auch das was mir ein wenig Mut gibt. :D
AW: The truth behind Geist

Ich glaube, der Audiocast ist zu mindestens 50% ein Aprilscherz. ;) Sozusagen eine Geist Parodie, aber im Gegensatz zu dem illustren Text oben vielleicht eine "ernst" gemeinte Parodie.

Was "lahm" angeht: Ich denke, Geist geht in eine Sparte mit Werewolf und Promethean, also eine noch vagere Auslegung von Mythen zu Gunsten der Spielbarkeit, sei das jetzt gut oder schlecht. Momentan reißt mich das Spiel auch nicht wirklich mit, aber das hat Hunter auch nicht geschafft, und zwar bis zu dem Tag, als ich das Core in den Händen hatte. ;D (Quickstart fand ich auch noch lahm) Ich bin also gespannt und warte ab. Zumindestens die Beschreibung der Unterwelt könnte für meine ganz normalen Mortal-Geisterspiele nicht uninteressant werden.

Dok Dicer II

AW: The truth behind Geist

Hunter hat mich gleich angemacht. Eine Kodifizierung der Mortalskampagne die ich schon immer spielen wollte.

Werewolf finde ich auch interessant weil Rudel, Emotionen, Revier... alles Themen die man (also ich) sonst nicht spielt.
Promethean genauso.

Aber ein Spiel bei dem es ums Beschwören und handeln mit Emo-Spectres geht.... lame.
Ich hoffe da kommt noch der entscheidende Kniff.

Dok Dicer II

AW: The truth behind Geist

Für die die es noch nicht gelesen haben:
Dies hier stammt aus dem aktuellen Epithaph (dem Nachfolgeorgan des Quarterly):

You promised.
I lied. It sounds almost gleeful.
I peel back the caul on my face and sit up. My shirt is riddled with bullet holes and caked with
dried blood. Mine. I pull it, and it rips the hair from my chest as it comes free. I don’t know how
long I’ve been here. My body is whole, but not unblemished. A hole in my shoulder, one in my
legs, and violent bruises on my torso…but I can move. No bullets. Where did they go? Did they
vanish, pulled into the Underworld to await some violent shade that dragged his gun down with
him? Did my body absorb them? Did my other half take them away?
I did not, it replies.
I stumble to my feet. I’m in a crypt. Makes sense; I was in a cemetery when she shot me. I don’t
remember much — I remember she was dark-skinned, maybe Latino or Arabic. She wore something
around her neck that gleamed, not just in the moonlight, but with emotion. Love, I think.
Regret. She was a Sin-Eater, I’m sure of that much, but she didn’t seem familiar…
Yes, she did.
All right, then. Who was she?
I don’t know her. I know the one that rides her. I know the Unrequited Lover.
I wonder how he knows her, but I don’t wonder too long. If I ruminate on the question, I’ll
know the answer, and just at the moment, I don’t care. I’m more interested in the poor bastard
dying at the other end of the cemetery. My caul — my ticket back to this world — is melting
away in my hand like gelatin under a faucet. I saw the last thing he saw: headlights. And then
pain. And then nothing. No so very different from me, from what I saw years ago, except I
lived. He did not. His name was Allen Michael Brexton, and he had a wife and three children.
He thought of them as he died.
You said you wouldn’t bring me back.
I lied, it says again. I needed you back. I need you to find her again.
Her, it insists. The Unrequited Lover. Find her, and help her reach her end. And then you can die,
if you wish.
Her end? I’m not sure what it means. The geist inside me remains a mystery in many ways. I
only know its name, one single word… “Regret.”
Oh. You…knew her.
I did, it says. And now you must. If she is to have any peace.
Why should I care if she does? But I already know the answer.
Because until she does, you won’t, it says.
I peel off my shirt and go looking for Mr. Brexton’s body. If it’s still there, I’ll be taking his wallet.
There might be money, yes, but more important, there might be Love.
And I’ll need that.

Klingt irgendwie immer noch langweilig und käsig nach meinem Dafürhalten.


AW: The truth behind Geist

Klingt irgendwie immer noch langweilig und käsig nach meinem Dafürhalten.

SILENCE, mortal! Abwarten und darauf hoffen, dass Onkel Malcom Lust hat, das zu leiten...
AW: The truth behind Geist

Wenn der Emopart am Charakter liegt, find ichs sehr cool. :rolleyes:
Weiß jemand, ob das Epitaph Cover zu Geist gehört?

Dok Dicer II

AW: The truth behind Geist

Ich bin stark im Glauben.... Er wird nicht wanken bis diese Abomination das Licht der Welt erblickt hat. Aber ich erwarte tatsächlich... wenig. Freu mich aber um alles was ich nicht selber leiten muss lieber Hotlypse. ^^

Dok Dicer II

AW: The truth behind Geist

amazon.com schrieb:
A rulebook for playing the Sin-Eaters, mortals who have passed through the gates of Death and returned, bonded with the unusual shades known as geists. An expanded look at death and the Underworld in the World of Darkness, from simple ghosts to strange threats such as the Kerberoi. Provides new player types and antagonists for crossover chronicles as well as chronicles focusing on Sin-Eaters.
Das sagt Amazon dazu. Ich werd immer skeptischer.


The 1%
AW: The truth behind Geist

Eher im Gegenteil
Hört sich nach Hades und griechischer Mythologie an. Toll!

Dok Dicer II

AW: The truth behind Geist

Ach wenn ich das will spiel ich Scion.
Ich will neue Konzepte.
Keine Toten die wiederkommen und einen kleinen sprechenden Haken auf ihrer Schulter den sie Frank nennen dürfen mitbringen. Ich glaub das fällt wieder in die Promethean-Richtung. Ganz nett als Gedankenspiel aber nicht interessant zu spielen.
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