Talk:Umbra (World of Darkness)

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The Overhaul of 11-30-04[edit]

When I added some stuff to make the entry less Werewolf: The Apocalypse exclusive, I was frustrated with how cluttered the result was. I later came to the conclusion that using the nested hierarchies would work much better, but would require considerably more detail. Follow this line of thinking to its (il)logical end, and you reach the following conclusion: because the Umbra is described in bits and pieces throughout the World of Darkness, but is nowhere described in a single unifying document, this seems an excellent medium to provide the entire picture, which in turn gives anyone wishing to use the Umbra in their game a sense of the basics on any particular topic. The next step: sections on Inhabittants and References, so readers can actually track down the rules for these overviews to the appropriate sourcebook.

Good work Belarius, I like structured articles. But I'd like to ask how you'd like to expand the article's hierarchy? If there is 1. Cosmology will there be some other 2.? If not, it would be better to raise this first 1. Cosmology paragraph to header and demote the hierarchy by one step.
Also I wonder if it would be desirable to clearly denote fictional character of WoD topics by developing some kind of template like Template:Fiction or Template:Fictional universe material? I'm not sure how exactly it should be named and what to put there (apart from that template content should be enclosed in
tags). What do you think?
I'll walk through the article and wikify it further -- Forseti 08:45, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I've added a references section (The Umbra is one of those nightmare topics to a sourcebook guru, being spread piecemeal across dozens of books, settings, even perceptual models) to help people track down the bits and pieces described. It's almost certainly got glaring errors, but I can only work with the information I have. An interesting question: are realms in the Exceptions that have been described in detail (such as the Digital Web) best served by additional notes or by their own articles?

Whoa, after adding the content, I begin to consider the possibility of dividing this article into several smaller and more focused. There would be one Umbra (World of Darkness) with just basic coverage and detailed info in Near Umbra, Horizon (World of Darkness), Deep Umbra, Astral Umbra, Living Umbra, Deadlands (World of Darkness), Umbrood or something like this. I opt for set based on closeness not videre however as there is not a great difference between Astral Gauntlet and Living Gauntlet and Astral Deep and Living Deep.
Then we can provide each Zone, Realm etc. its own section If there is necessity, we could do a redirect from Doissetep to Horizon (World of Darkness)#Realms. If the sections on realms would get big enough (improbable for now as there is more important work elsewhere) we could just reverse redirect.
But for now I'll just fill in the blanks and we'll see how to divide it later. Also I'll wikify it in second pass.

I agree, its getting out of hand. Especially when you consider how small-scale some of the sections are. I propose the following hierarchy (cross-referenced, of course):

  • Umbra: Gives thumbnail sketch of what it's all about, how it's subjective, etc.
    • Videre: Gives an overview of the 'aspects' the Umbra has
    • Gauntlet: Describe the relation of the Gauntlet to the Periphery, the Avatar storm, and the various forms the Gauntlet takes
    • Penumbra: Describe the Penumbrae (such as the Shadowlands, the werewolf Penumbra, the technocratic Horizon (though we should see if there's a less confusing way to discuss that specifc topic), and so forth).
    • The Near Umbra: Describes in a thumbnail way the four largely non-overlapping aspects of this 'depth' of the Umbra.
      • The Astral Umbra: Describes in greater detail this details and realms of this particular Umbra, as well as its relations to other locales. Major realms might need a specific article, but only a handful are universal enough to merit this.
      • The Spiritual Umbra: As above
      • The Tempest: As above (and thus could be greatly expanded, as it is the most under-informed of the sections right now)
      • The Near Universe: As above
    • The Horizon: Describe this barrier, its properties, and give thumnails of the Horizon Realms it contains. Realms of appropriate detail can grow their own articles, of curse.
    • The Deep Umbra: Describe the far reaches and its contents. Videre doesn't matter much here, and seperate categories to cover it aren't really necessary. There's an organizational challenge to be met in dealing with the confusion arising from the celestial bodies. In addition the Shard Realms at each planet, they all project a Shade Realm onto the Horizon, but many also have their own Penumbrae as possible their own Near Umbrae. There is a lack of solid detail on this topic, but some speculative gap-filling might work if it doesn't overreach its source material.
    • The Zones: Give thumbnails of the zones and their peculiar attributes. Specific zones (such as the Digital Web) could certainly stand alone as articles, and others clearly cannot, so further hierarchy is a case-by-case thing. On an organizational note, not all of the things listed here are 'Zones' strictly speaking. The Pattern Web, for example, is a more of a pervasive phenomenon than even the Null Zone. Which brings me to...
    • The Shenti: I'm increasingly convinced these need their own section. They work by their own rules and are very difficult to fit into an existing hierarchy. This way the details that are known about them (Malfeas being especially well documented, for example) can be addressed. We can stick the Pattern web in here, where it probably belongs. Whether this entails a Shenti cover article and three detailed follow-ups or simply a single overview page remains unclear. Given the imbalance of detail (there's next to nothing to say about Flux apart from Charybdis), a mix is probably best.

As for the rest, References should stay on the main page as a whole and possibly each major sub-page should have those books best related to the topic, or possibly not. the Umbra article itself can't reasonably also discuss Umbrood (who being absurdly diverse deserve their own hierarical article at the very least), but the topic can be touched on though another bullet point on the above list. Finally, I think rather than listing the inhabittants and travellers, it would be helpful to indicate what each subspecies in the WoD thinks of the Umbra. Kindred are clueless (vaguely aware of the Shadowlands at best), but Kindred of the East are quite well informed. And no one apart from mages make it past the Horizon (I think). Players used to a cosmopolitan approach should be able to see how its perceived to keep them from assuming that everyone knows everything. Belarius 22:40, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I generally agree but I'm afraid it's a bit too detailed. For example: is there much to add to Videre section? The Zones and Shenti could be described in Umbra proper with links to respective articles as There is but one sentence of introduction in Zones for example. Is there ANY official info on Near Universe? It's a new concept to me but certainly I haven't read everything. However we could not introduce non-official material as there is Wikipedia:No original research policy. Overall schema is OK, but I think that transition to it should be gradual, on basis of need. -- Forseti 00:26, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I agree that overhauling it again is unnecessary - I meant to provide the hierarchy above as an idea on how gradual growth would occur. For the moment, the most glaringly truncated section is the Tempest. In any case, the Umbra's been growing in the background for something like 15 years now (when was Werewolf first released, anyway?). It seems every time I crack a sourcebook I find more bits that I missed before. I'll get right on some of the structural issues, as well as another area of interest that isn't properly detailed: the antiquated Umbra.

The information on the Near Universe is presented in a handful of products relating to the Technocracy (Mage: the Ascension) and the Sons of Ether (who call it Etherspace among other things). Autocthonia is its the most famous location, and the very idea of Qui La Machina (Technocratic deep-space juggernaut city-ships) makes no sense without it. To my knowledge, everything currently up is official (or at least, is an official variant) in that it's published somewhere (with the possible exception of the Technocratic Videre, which is implied in the description of the "Universe" in the Guide to the Technocracy and the Void Engineer Handbook. Belarius 01:49, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

OK, as WP system complained about page lenght over 32 kB, I've done some fragmentation. Zones, Penumbra and Near Umbra are now in respective articles. Exception: Near Universe - I don't know whether it should be Near Universe (World of Darkness) or Universe (World of Darkness). The latter would better fit into High - Middle - Low Umbra schema but the name is awkward.
There is one issue that upsets me. There is new World of Darkness in place and it unveils to be pretty different. How to accomodate the change if old WoD-specific articles have (World of Darkness) simply in title? We could add old but it would be both awkward and confusing.
At least new WoD doesn't seems that good to replace the old one completely, so our work wouldn't be in vain :)
-- Forseti 16:29, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm inclined to think Near Universe (World of Darkness) is the best bet, because "Universe" is the Technocratic term for the Tellurian or (in other contexts), the Umbra as a while. On the other hand, it really is the weakest of the four unless we can dig up more info on it from Son of Ether sources (as Etherspace seems pretty similar, enough so to warrent inclusion). Short of doing that, does it really require its own article? After all, we're well below the 32Kb mark now.

Also, we should probably set up some redirects or parallel pages for topics like the Tempest (arguably a topic almost entirely covered by the "Low Umbra" article).

We won't know for sure what the "New Umbra" will look like until the new Werewolf comes out. If the inclinations of the Time of Judgment and its lead-up are any indication, I'm guessing we'll see a WoD with less Umbra than ever before. Stupid earth-centric writers... :-). --Belarius 18:33, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Fictional Setting Templates[edit]

On the topic of templates, perhaps something more along the lines of

would work best. This article (and other like it, be they for role-playing as the Umbra is, or for fiction as Known Space is) provides the backdrop for narrative, but seems ill-suited to discussing characters in anything but broad sociological ways. Structurally, though, a potential problem is the different kinds of information available. Some settings (such as the Umbra) are strong on topography, other strong on sociopolitical associations. How do you propose such a template be structured? Belarius 12:33, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I don't see the need for structuring the template. I see its role as the sign of fictionality of the contents and a warning so as not to use the knowledge outside of its setting. Whole WoD is fictional so all the articles pertaining to in-game topics (as opposed to articles on WoD fandom for example) should have this template just below the title. This is similar to the role of other templates being for example a warning about deficiences of content. -- Forseti 15:22, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
And it's done. Syntax is: {{Fictional Setting|[[setting name]]}}. How do you like the wording? Corrections welcomed. -- Forseti 00:26, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm going to rephrase the template to make it grammatically universal, but in principle I think it looks great. Belarius 01:49, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Thanks :) -- Forseti 16:29, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Note: The fictional setting template was deleted as per community consensus at TFD. Please see the log page for more details. The template was subst'd here for historical purposes. -Frazzydee| 01:00, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The Umbra and the Shadowlands.[edit]

From this page: It would seem that the Umbra and the Shadowlands are not the same place:

"How do the Shadowlands and the Tempest relate to the Umbra and the other planes?

The Shadowlands is part of the Dark Umbra, a part of the Umbra more-or-less sealed off from Garou, mages and anyone who isn't dead. The Tempest is also part of the Dark Umbra. The Deep Umbra and the Horizon Realms have essentially nothing to do with the cosmology of Wraith."

I suggest this article be amended to include this information.

Jhumphery 12:18, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

also needs to be added that hell in Demon: The Fallen is the mouth of the abyss, when you get down into it you find all the demons that are still trapped encased in stone —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:26, 1 January 2011 (UTC)