mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Oubliette: Oh the Humanity!

I really like the World of Darkness "Humanity" system. Well, with a fundamental tweak-- I hate the term "Morality," & I think it is insulting to have that. Switching it to Humanity just works so much better. Admittedly, part of that is my own baggage-- I think an ethical framework is vastly superior to a moral one-- but part of it is that making "Morality" into Humanity brings a psychological factor to bear. That is-- "humanity" is a social construct, but that doesn't make it any less real. Humanity is the part of a person that plugs into other people, the part of the ape that runs the human wetware. I'm not worried about sin or spiritual taint or anything like that-- I like Humanity as a variant of the "Sanity" mechanic. Whether or not it actually simulates trauma, shock, & mental disorder is rather beside the point. It evokes the narrative thread of madness & disassociation, & that is mete with its purpose. No rule system can ever actually model the thing itself-- combat, skills, the whole ball of yarn, it is all abstract. The Humanity mechanic provides an explanation for the soldier in Vietnam collecting ears, or the Lovecraftian scholar going mad from Things Man Was Not Meant to Know or the vampire slowly becoming a sociopathic predator. For this same reason, I don't care about things like "Harmony," which allow you to sidestep Humanity. It just fails to be an evocative mechanic, if you do it like that, & becomes fundamentally vestigial. The big & very basic problem I have with Humanity is that it...doesn't really matter? I feel like there should be useful applications of the Humanity attribute. Werewolf: the Forsaken has their magical "Rituals" use the "Harmony" pool, which is clever, but not quite there, because hey, evil wizards, right? My first instinct is to say that maybe things like Backgrounds work through Humanity? As I was talking about the other day, I'm all about powers that are actually balanced & useful. It seems to me that tying the social angle in is a good way to do that. I'm not sure how, I just like the idea that while some psychopath is out there navigating the world through Manipulation & Empathy, real people are using their basic Humanity. I don't know, it isn't a complete thought, just a bit of a start. An idea, a kernel, a speck of dust around which a raindrop is forming. Oh & as a random aside-- I was looking at the Rule-of-Three questions & answers on the Wizards' page, & was like "Heroes of the Feywild? New card based miniatures game? What are you even talking about?" It is like checking up on an ex's Facebook page. What is even going on over there in your life, DnD?
Tags: attributes, house rules, merits, oubliette, rpgs, superbrothers, wod

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