Building a Haven (PART 4)

Hello again!

It has been some time since my last post, and for that I apologize.  Now that I have hurdled the holidays, I am ready to delve back into the haven-city of Serenity and all of its beautiful challenges. In fact, I actually ran a preliminary campaign with my gaming group in this setting.  I’ll share more details of the game as it unfolds, but I also don’t want to bias these brainstorming sessions with my own game.  I would rather prefer the ideas of this forum to influence my game.  That being said, here are a few overarching concepts that I implemented that I wouldn’t mind getting a little feedback on:

  • House Faith is the largest of the families, accounting for roughly 50% of the total population.  They have two lesser Houses that swear fealty to them: House Fontaine and House LaFourche.  House Faith appears to be favored by Stryker… they are most often chosen when Rebirth Ceremonies are called.
  • House Hope is the second largest house, accounting for roughly 30% of the total population. They also have two lesser Houses: House Benoit and House La Fleur.  (This is the House that my gamers chose to play)
  • House Charity is the smallest house, accounting for the last 20% of the total population. They have one “lesser” House–Toussiant.  However, the Toussiant House is about as large as Charity, which has created a certain degree of tension (the two Houses seem poised for civil war).

Okay… so my New Years Resolution was to stay consistent with this blog (not really… but hey… whatever!) and so to keep this process streamlined and efficient, I am going to reduce the number of questions to 1 for each post. That way, the topic of conversation remains streamlined and nothing falls through the cracks. In future posts, I’ll want to talk more about the specific dynamics of each major House and how they differ from each other.  However… there was something of immense interest to me that was brought up in our gaming session that I want to talk about here. We didn’t reach this moment just yet, but it just seems too ripe of interest to not include this as part of Serenity’s back story…………………….


How does the city of Serenity celebrate Mardi Gras?
I mean… you just gotta, right?! How is it similar to the traditional event? How does it differ?  Is this something celebrated by ALL of the houses, minor and major? What are the differences, if any? Is this something Stryker sanctions or condemns?  What is the normal aftermath of this event? (By that I mean… suppose this is a very sexually charged event… it could be that a slew of women are pregnant after Mardi Gras… which means Stryker has a lot of excommunications or sacrifices to perform).

If Serenity celebrates ANYTHING, it has to be Mardi Gras, and I think this could really open the floodgates to paint a vivid picture of Serenity and its Dystopian survivors.


12 responses to “Building a Haven (PART 4)

  1. In my opinion, Mardi Gras does not appeal to worshipers of VooDoo, and vice versa. Therefore, the Voo Doo must go, if Serenity is sincere about Mardi Gras.
    Now, if Serenity has lost its collective memory of what Mardi Gras was all about, and the reasons they used to enjoy the festival, then the two (voo doo and mardi gras) can work, just not in the mind of anyone who remembers…..the past…. which could be Stryker, or not, but in 1000 members, there could be one with a vague memory of the old Mardi Gras.
    Of course, in 40 years, and with such mind boggling devastation of the destruction of the “old” world, I suppose it could be feasible that everyone would have no memory of the truth, as it used to be…..

  2. In this case, I must agree with Nancy. Mardi Gras is a very Christian-related event and has very little to do with voodoo. While Carnivale is a nice event that would work well with most settings that take place specifically in New Orleans, I’m thinking that one of two things has to occur in order to do this: 1) the purpose of the celebration was altered as part of the story of Serenity to fit the voodoo traditions, thus allowing us to use it for whatever we want or 2) the celebration is an external event brought to Serenity every year and is used to socialize with emissaires from some other settlement. Either of these would work. what does everyone else think? Once we have that hammered out…more information will be forthcoming…at least from my end :-)

    • While I would prefer the role of moderator in most cases, I would volunteer a suggestion in this case. What if the High Houses (Faith, Hope, and Charity) practice a more traditional version of Mardi Gras. Perhaps they even force the denizens (lower classes) to partake in the same practices… but on their own… the lower classes that are more attuned to voodoo rites and the like celebrate a more bastardized version of the holiday with a shifted focus and direction. It would almost be like the afterparty variant of Mardi Gras. It might be interesting if there were two very conflicting ways of viewing and respecting the holiday within the same haven… and even within the same “houses.”

      • That sounds like it would work and it sounds factual. I’m sure that would and does happen. Take Christmas for example.

    • I wasn’t sure how friendly Serenity would be to outside groups, but I still like the idea of (2). It could mean a lot of political intrigue. Plus the groups coming in from the outside could add their own flavors for a day to the setting, and the flavors they add could be pretty much anything.

  3. I do think that Mardi Gras could still be celebrated in this setting. Perhaps called something slightly different though like Mardo Grao or something. The reason I think they could still celebrate it and the name being changed is because the world has truly distorted into something else. While the world certainly looks familiar, it is vastly different from the one we know. Also, many Descendants and GTP’s probably wouldn’t know the true meaning of Mardi Gras either. Heck, probably several of the Forerunners don’t either. If you were to go up to random people along the street (especially younger ones) and ask them what the celebration of Mardi Gras was about, most people honestly wouldn’t know (myself included in that lol). Most would probably just say a big party with lots of…….beads…yeah. :)

    However, because Stryker want’s to keep his “subjects” happy, he hijacked the celebration knowing the lack of context familiarity would give him the upper hand in swaying what people believed and changed it to a view that would be more appropriate. As a famous dictator once said, “The bigger the lie, the more they believe.” Now perhaps there are still some houses that do still know the original meaning and secretly still celebrate it. Perhaps this is also what is causing some tension between House Charity and their “smaller” house counterpart.

  4. One of the original purposes of Carnival was as a celebration where Barons or other governors gave food and had celebrations for the poorer people. I recall some history stories about people in Italy celebrating very hard and then if the local governor didn’t give them the feast they would basically become a hungry, angry mob that would raid the ruler’s place for food and fun. (I think that’s part of how the French turned it into their version and it became Fat Tuesday)

    So, that seems like an excellent play into Stryker’s manipulations. This could be the celebration he uses as a means of quelling the masses and showing off how ‘benevolent’ he is.
    Then, maybe in reality, this is yet another way he tests the houses. Perhaps the week before Mardi Gras top hunting groups are sent out from each house. Bringing back the the largest share of the feast is a great honor for the house and perhaps this could even lead to a distortion of the Mardi Gras King and Queen, as the head of the honored house are bestowed with this powerless title.
    Or maybe it’s not powerless? Maybe the honored house is given more births in the coming year, and this is part of how Faith has gained its size? Stryker sees this as a way of ensuring that those surviving are resourceful or cunning enough to provide for their share.

    The after-party idea could be a distortion of Ash Wednesday. After all the feasting and craziness of Mardi Gras the citizens of Serenity often refocus on voodoo the day after as a holy day. They begin the fasting, but directed towards voodoo. As part of this, it could be that poor people that got extra …’rowdy with others’ the night before see priestess or ‘seers’ about whether they got pregnant and partake in rituals to remove the baby (or sanctify it in hopes it will be ‘one of the chosen’ of Stryker).
    If sanctifying, it may be that House Charity has become a house of baccanal, encouraging its members to go extra crazy (closer to the current form of Mardi Gras in New Orleans) to get as many pregnant as possible. The upper members of the house may even secretly encourage all of this and turn the sanctifying into its own small holiday.
    **I didn’t entirely understand the bit about Toussiant House. Is it a minor house of Charity that is poised to take over Charity? If so, the sanctification celebration above could be one of their tensions about how the house should act in the future.

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