Wrapping my head around the cosms

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Aenno
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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby Aenno » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:47 pm

Brandon_C wrote:
Aenno wrote:
mistervimes wrote:Right smack in the middle of that Pan-Pacifica/Orrorsh mixed zone.

Hmmm... why PP?


The sunken city of R'lyeh is in the South Pacific. This was the area where a merchant ship rammed Cthulhu.

I know, but he wrote more then just "Call of Chtulhu". "The Shadow over Innsmouth" happens in New England, but I don't feel it as Living Land story.
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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby Brandon_C » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:52 pm

Arguably, the Dreamlands is it own cosm ...

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Aenno
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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby Aenno » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:59 pm

Brandon_C wrote:Arguably, the Dreamlands is it own cosm ...

Quite possibly, and I'd even say - couple of them; in Torg sense, I'd say, Carter found a way to travel through Multiverse. He even Transformed to be able to act in some realms, if I recall right.
I argue fiercely, but I never believed disagreement should be capital offence.

I'm editing my posts often. English isn't my native language, and I'm doing a lot of mistakes; that, with thoughtful rereading, I often found and want to edit.

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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby fougerec » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:35 pm

I've found that really emphasizing one or two aspects of each cosm for my players as they encounter them makes it easier. They're new to Torg Eternity (and Torg overall) so if I can hit the points they do know they at least have some grounding. So the Cyberpapacy is like Shadowrun, but with a monotheistic church rather than corporations. Pan-Pacifica is the corporation part of Shadowrun mixed with John Woo like crime films and zombies. Asyle is a higher fantasy Game of Thrones meets D&D setting. Nile Empire is Doc Savage and the Rocketeer against Egyptian religious fascists.

Basically I go really big picture and broad strokes and then can work nuances in during play. Currently they're in the Living Land which big picture is primitive, dinosaur ridden savagery but now that they're adventuring there I can work in stuff on different clans and the spirituality that they'd only get "in the field" as it were.

Tharkhold I had the hardest time with but I'm totally going to borrow Gargoyle's The Running Man/Hunger Games idea and toss in some Hellraiser and Mad Max. That should present a suitable 'big picture' for them to grasp.

Sword of Spirit
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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby Sword of Spirit » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:17 pm

Matthew Surridge wrote:I will say, though, that I've had a lot of the same hesitations with Orrorsh that you've had. And I've felt the same since back when the original Orrorsh sourcebook came out. At first glance an entire world of horrors is a bit unsubtle. My eventual rationalisation was that a certain chunk of the Victorian population was living in denial (the people who'd be shocked by the discovery of the supernatural) while a lot of others were … well, there were a disproportionate number of highly weird people. So the Victorian authorities maintain there's nothing wrong with the Empire, these things some call 'retreats' are just advances in a different direction, the natives appreciate the benefits of Victorian culture and the occasional massacres are just the work of malcontents and radicals, and so on; but many people have a knowledge of the world that goes beyond the official line, and that aligns with membership in the Orrorshan equivalents of things like The Society For Psychical Research and The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and so forth. So that sort of allows for M.R. James–style subtle horror, and also more straight-ahead monster-hunting.*


So you inspired me to read the old Orrorsh cosm book, and here's what I've found (I was going differentiate what the book says and my suppositions based on it, but that's too much work. I believe what I'm saying is all more or less in agreement with the book.)

1) The Gaunt Man derives power from fear. He wants to maximize the number of people who are alive and afraid. Therefore, he aims to carefully control how many people actually get killed. The goal is to keep people living in fear so he can draw power from them--not to kill his fear batteries.
2) Everybody knows they have been invaded by a horror realm. (I'm assuming the initial invasion did involve a lot of carnage and mayhem to make sure everyone knew what was out there to be afraid of.)
3) The Orrorsh cycle is stable, and society goes on more or less as normal. People raise kids, plan for the future, even enjoy parties and going to opera (a Victorian opera experience is a specific example in the book).
4) The number of horrors is actually relatively small. Killing a few monsters really can make a dent in the Gaunt Man's plans (that's almost a quote).
5) The Gaunt Man knows that if horrors were too common (a "siege state" I'll call it), people would become numb to them, rather than afraid.
6) Most adventures will only involve one (or a few) carefully crafted horrors, rather than a stream of monsters.
7) Assuming growing up in a stable Orrorsh, not the initial mayhem of the invasion, most people probably never see a monster. (Those who see monsters tend to end up dead.) But they know they are out there, and occasionally people get killed or driven insane by monsters (off screen of course--the evidence is found, but the monsters are only found by those who hunt them). This creates an atmosphere of subtle fear and denial. People travel from village to village without expecting to get slaughtered by a creature of the night. People hunt in the jungle. People walk on the streets at night (when they have to). The omnipresent fear is an undercurrent they can deny and ignore most of the time. In fact, life seems so normal (well, normal Victorian), that the fear would disappear entirely without the occasional dark things (or the results of their activities) surfacing. The Gaunt Man's lieutenants are supposed to carefully monitor this situation and keep the activity optimal for continued fear production. There must be some hope for there to be the true terror he wants by contrast.
8) In summary, initial invasion reveals monsters and kills a lot of people, then life settles down into a state of "normalcy" with a constant, unavoidable undercurrent of fear, punctuated by reminders that the fear is justified.

So that makes sense, and works. The problem I'm seeing with Torg Eternity (so far, we don't have a cosm book yet of course) is that the Beta Primer seems to imply that the initial mayhem has kept on for the entire first year. It presents a "siege mentality", which, unless I'm totally missing something, just doesn't seem to work. It doesn't work from an in-character perspective, and it doesn't work from a meta-perspective of creating a realm that can tell actual horror stories. The Primer even says, "Outside of hardpoints, communities are usually tightly knit villages that have erected protective walls and spiritual defenses."

I hope the designers won't take this criticism as personal (they've done a great job on Torg Eternity IMO) but, no, No, NO, NO! That doesn't work. Orrosh isn't supposed to be a constant siege of survivors huddled behind walls manned with machine guns shooting down creatures of the night. That is a completely different and incompatible genre to Gothic/Victorian, or even slasher horror. That's something you can see in Tharkold, or the right places in Asyle, or even in the Living Land with a pack of raptors or something. I can imagine isolated incidents where that happens with swarms of gospog, but as far as the general point of having a "horror" genre it just doesn't work.

With the cosm book still a ways off, I sincerely hope the designers will reconsider those few paragraphs in the Beta Primer, and return to a functional, horror Orrorsh that allows the telling of horror stories, rather than a constant siege by alien invaders as it seems to be currently presented as.

*Breathe*

Okay, just felt that I really needed to get that out there.

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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby Staffan » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:08 pm

Sword of Spirit wrote:So that makes sense, and works. The problem I'm seeing with Torg Eternity (so far, we don't have a cosm book yet of course) is that the Beta Primer seems to imply that the initial mayhem has kept on for the entire first year. It presents a "siege mentality", which, unless I'm totally missing something, just doesn't seem to work. It doesn't work from an in-character perspective, and it doesn't work from a meta-perspective of creating a realm that can tell actual horror stories. The Primer even says, "Outside of hardpoints, communities are usually tightly knit villages that have erected protective walls and spiritual defenses."

I hope the designers won't take this criticism as personal (they've done a great job on Torg Eternity IMO) but, no, No, NO, NO! That doesn't work. Orrosh isn't supposed to be a constant siege of survivors huddled behind walls manned with machine guns shooting down creatures of the night. That is a completely different and incompatible genre to Gothic/Victorian, or even slasher horror. That's something you can see in Tharkold, or the right places in Asyle, or even in the Living Land with a pack of raptors or something. I can imagine isolated incidents where that happens with swarms of gospog, but as far as the general point of having a "horror" genre it just doesn't work.

I wonder if this is related to the changes in the Gaunt Man's plans between editions. In OTORG, the Gaunt Man was acting from a position of strength (well, other than being trapped in a maelstrom) and was taking a slow-but-steady approach. Let the Law of Fear do its work because that's what gives the most benefit in the long run. But in TORG:E he seems more... desperate, or at least rushed. The primer did point out that by the end of year one, Orrorsh had not expanded at all, but it did convert all the stelae zones to Pure, draining possibility energy at a faster rate at the cost of long-term sustainability. I could easily see the Gaunt Man doing the same with the Law of Fear - scare the hell out of people in order to drain more energy quicker, at the cost of numbing them to fear in a relatively short while.

Assuming this is what's going on, I'm not sure this is a good idea from the point of view of us, the players. It would be putting the needs of the metaplot (the Gaunt Man's plans) ahead of those of the actual game (having a functional horror cosm).

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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby Greymarch2000 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:53 pm

I think trying to peg different settings into the specific areas where they appeared, or even using fictional settings whole hog is a mistake personally. I wouldn't really want to see a Lovecraftian setting directly ripped from those stories and thrown into the game (we get that in enough RPGs as it is). Rather I think that if you wanted to focus on themes from the Lovecraftian genre you could actually apply them to pretty much any of the existing cosms/realms. Orrorsh is the obvious example of course, but it would not take much to have an academic from Core Earth go down what starts as "National Treasure" and ends up more "9th Gate". Imagine secret cultists in France that the Cyberpapacy would actually be well justified in eradicating when people found out what they were up to and what they worshiped? Or the darker tales of the ancient Egyptian gods, not the tame corporate versions we hear about today.

In fact, as much of the Lovecraftian genre is about alien entities from beyond our dimension invading the world in a manner beyond the ken of most mortal man... well... maybe we're there already. ;)

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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby TorgHacker » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:11 pm

Sword of Spirit wrote:
So that makes sense, and works. The problem I'm seeing with Torg Eternity (so far, we don't have a cosm book yet of course) is that the Beta Primer seems to imply that the initial mayhem has kept on for the entire first year. It presents a "siege mentality", which, unless I'm totally missing something, just doesn't seem to work. It doesn't work from an in-character perspective, and it doesn't work from a meta-perspective of creating a realm that can tell actual horror stories. The Primer even says, "Outside of hardpoints, communities are usually tightly knit villages that have erected protective walls and spiritual defenses."

I hope the designers won't take this criticism as personal (they've done a great job on Torg Eternity IMO) but, no, No, NO, NO! That doesn't work. Orrosh isn't supposed to be a constant siege of survivors huddled behind walls manned with machine guns shooting down creatures of the night. That is a completely different and incompatible genre to Gothic/Victorian, or even slasher horror. That's something you can see in Tharkold, or the right places in Asyle, or even in the Living Land with a pack of raptors or something. I can imagine isolated incidents where that happens with swarms of gospog, but as far as the general point of having a "horror" genre it just doesn't work.

With the cosm book still a ways off, I sincerely hope the designers will reconsider those few paragraphs in the Beta Primer, and return to a functional, horror Orrorsh that allows the telling of horror stories, rather than a constant siege by alien invaders as it seems to be currently presented as.

*Breathe*

Okay, just felt that I really needed to get that out there.


As I've stated before, while it is tough, wait until the cosm book comes out before getting alarmed. You're drawing waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many conclusions from a small bit of text.
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mistervimes
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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby mistervimes » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:42 am

Aenno wrote:
mistervimes wrote:Right smack in the middle of that Pan-Pacifica/Orrorsh mixed zone.

Hmmm... why PP?


The laws of Intrigue and Tenacity seem to fit when juxtaposed with the Law of Eternal Corruption and the Law of Fear. If you used the Nile Empire (for example) you have heroes that are used to winning. Lovecraftian protagonists are persistent and tenacious, but ultimately doomed. Pan-Pancifica is full of secret cabals and a merging of PP and Orrrorsh would make the law of intrigue a good excuse for ravening hordes of cultists. The Cthulhu mythos is not magic, it's science beyond our understanding. This quote gives us science and a variety of cthuloid monsters that don't fit in with the Victorian skinned monsters of Orrorsh:

Soon after Kanawa forces settled into new bases
across what has come to be called Pan-Pacifica, the
jiangshi virus mutated. New outbreaks spawned
numerous genetic aberrations that are far more
powerful or exhibit strange new abilities. These
aberrations have come to be called “yokai“ by
the Japanese, a word quickly adopted by the rest
of the region and applied to any mutated victim
who doesn’t fit the standard jiangshi profile.


That's a license to create Deep Ones, Nightgaunts, Ghouls, and any number of other beasties.
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Aenno
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Re: Wrapping my head around the cosms

Postby Aenno » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:02 am

Actually, SOME of the mythos is magic. Some not. Still, were it IS tech, it's something about TA 28.
Also, Frankenstein's monster is quite Victorian, I believe. And it fits Orrorsh, doesn't he?
Also, I'm not sure that Lovecraft's cults are about big intrigue. Name "Esoterical Order of Dagon" was placed on plank for it's headquarters, I'm sure in PP they would die from laughter.
I argue fiercely, but I never believed disagreement should be capital offence.

I'm editing my posts often. English isn't my native language, and I'm doing a lot of mistakes; that, with thoughtful rereading, I often found and want to edit.


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