A slow infestation or a all-out invasion?
(Notes on the Godwar and my perspective on it)
What is the Godwar exactly?
Like a lot of things in WEG’s stuff, the Godwar is fairly vague. Like any fantasy world, this one had a great cataclysm that no one wants to go back to. For Bloodshadows, that is the Godwar. But what is it, and why does it happen? What are the opposing sides goals and why is it not an all-out war on Marl?
Those are some questions I’ve had as I read theBloodshadowsrulebooks (MB and d6). It is not an invasion like the Dark Minions inDark Conspiracy.It is a cyclical war that happens in different places, at different times and with different weapons.
But it is an invasion of sorts, maybe. Before it all started, one would assume everyone was simply neutral to all things Chaos and Order. As the Godwar began to simmer, the sides began to form. The ways of the Chaotic and Orderly “infect” the population as the waves of the Godwar engulf Marl.
But why not an all-out war? Why does it have to be secret and underground? That’s how the Godwar gets started. Between Godwars, the powers that would feed it have settled to neutrality and will have to be revitalized with spells, chants and sacrifices.
So the Godwar is not “in your face” on a daily basis. Very few are aware of the Godwar. In fact, as a Bloodshadows GM, I would not even let the players know about the Godwar and deny its existence regularly. Let them figure it out.
Separating the Godwar from everything else Marl…
Marl is a fantasy world with its technology advanced to the level that is similar to Earth 1930s-1940s. Otherwise, it is more or less a fantasy world with a horror bent to it. The Big Rich are the nobles. The cops are the city watchmen and knights. The criminals are…well… criminals.
But what about the rest of Marl. The rulebook says that there are breed and creatures regularly living among the humans of Marl. Are they forces of Chaos or Order? Or just as neutral victim of the Godwar as humans? It is hard to separate these denizens in my mind from the Godwar. It’s easy to leap to the conclusion that every creature is a part of the Godwar and its plots.
However, reading into the rulebooks, you can conclude that these creatures, no matter how rare, are just as much a citizen in the cities of Marl as humans. Vampires have blood-lines to pick up their sustenance. I am sure there are werewolf-catchers with in the police that control the were-beasts in the city. There are not a lot of them, and in fact there are sections in the populations that have not seen a breed or an undead. The nature of of the rule system allows of anything and everything so most people are seeing something new every day.
The book also mentioned that some creatures Chaotic or Orderly inclinations are asleep and can be awakened. This is probably one of the central goals of the cults – awaken the lost armies of each side. This alone can be a seed into an adventure.
Adventure Hook: An Investigation into multiple murders, possible serial killer of a certain non-Human species. Turns out it is a sacrificing blood cult trying to awaken a certain chaotic breed that resides sleeping with in a certain number of the breed they are murdering.
Also, like some breed hide among the humans by looking like humans, there also can be Godwarriors who hide among breed because they look like other neutral breed.
Blood Cults are the initial armies of the Godwar. They are infesting the streets of with their sacrifices and rituals; their secret societies and money laundering fronts. Cults can be of any nature – human, breed, undead or demon-kind. In a lot of ways, these cults act a lot like the cults inCall of Cthulhu, except their members can be a little more interesting.
Chaos vs. Order – where does Good and Evil fit
As most D&D players know, Chaos and Order are not synonymous to Good and Evil. So where does good and evil work intoBloodshadows?
I think the approach to good and evil inBloodshadows is like any other RPG that does not rely on such alignments – you are what you are. Both Chaos and Order can have either leanings and this can be an interesting play on the PCs’ perceptions of Chaos and Order.
Adventure Hook: The players are caught between two factions and not sure who to trust. It turns out the Chaotic side has the best intentions (in this instance) while the Order side is going about things in a sinister manner.
This distinction of Order and Chaos allows the GM to blur the lines between good and evil, which is perfect in the shadowy realms ofBloodshadows.
Modern influences into the Godwar
The Modern age of Marl has its influence over the Godwar. Modern life is Order with in Chaos. Humans have finally settled down and stopped the tribal wars that scarred its history, and simply work on a day to day basis to raise their families and ensure the success of their future generations. Now, corporations (led by the Big Rich), secret societies (covers for cults), crime syndicates take advantage of the confusion to make a profit on the vices of those caught in the middle and everyday folks are (in most cases) unwittingly being drawn in to the a smoldering embers of a conflict they know so very little about.
But where there is conflict, there is opportunity.
Corporations exploit conflict and in doing, exacerbate the situation. Secret Societies pursue their own agendas with in the “fog” of conflict, which conceals their secret actions and provides alibis and scapegoats. Meanwhile, those that are aware of the coming conflict give birth to cults, manipulate their congregations under the guise of whatever salvation they promise to perform acts and rituals for the glory of chaos or order. Crime syndicates, aware of the Godwar or not, use the growing violence to cover their tracks, make a profit from the needs of those that are willing to break the law to perform their chaotically or orderly missions, and overall enjoy the conflagrations as they watch the money role in.
The Law-makers and the law-enforcers try to pass and enforce laws to keep everything in the shadows and keep the peace (which in the end plays into the hands one Order), while the criminals and blood cults fight for chaos. Order is more profitable, in the long run and many of the Big Rich see that. However, a little chaos in the less fortunate portions of town is also profitable as long as it doesn’t grow into city wide chaos. That’s where the Big Rich don’t get the big picture and are blinded by their own greed. The ven-signs blocks the view of the coming Godwar and it IS coming whether they want it or not.