Nightingale Sisters, Faith, and Lodges.

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ChrisDDickey
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Nightingale Sisters, Faith, and Lodges.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm

Andrew1879 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 2:14 pm
BTW, the Nightingale Sisters aren't shamans, they're a Faith. Remember that Shamans are spirit workers with a bit of spellcasting. Faiths are spellcasters with a bit of spirit working. The Sisters don't normally even deal with spirits - their focus is on healing and protection.
Does any of that particularly matter?
I mean, Yes the NS (Nightingale Sisters) are a "Faith" specifically as the term is defined within the game, but so is "Saurid Shamanism" and (presumably) non-saurid Shamanism. So both a Priest or a Shaman have to ether pick: Anglicanism, Nightingale Sisterhood, or Saurid Shamanism, or design one of their own. Obviously Anglicanism is for Priests only, and Saurid Shamanism is for Shamans only. But I don't see anything specifically limiting NS to one or the other. In fact NS, as a Secret Society seems like a fine organization for almost any Profession.

I thought that one of the cool things about Lodges is that some of them are a bit free-form and that you could mix and match professions to Lodges in different cool combinations. Andrew seems to be saying that only Priests can use the Nightingale Sisters spell list, because that was the design assumption, and that has taken me very much by surprise. Only Priests and Shamans can use it because it is a Faith, and Shamans can't use it because ... well because it was not meant for shamans to use it?

So I guess the first question is, is it the assumption that most spell-casting NS are built on the Priest profession? Because on my first read-through of the book, that did not strike me as an obvious given. As I keep re-reading it (mostly in researching this question) I am spotting that it seems to be a clear assumption made by the authors, but ... not an obvious given that ought to go without saying. In fact that passage on page 491 about "traditional herbal remedies ... miraculous results ...her mother’s old prescriptions" indicated to me that there were very strong Shamantic influences in the NS. Maybe I just got hold of the wrong end of the stick, is it the assumption that the spell list is for Priest NS only? How about Doctors who have also learned spell-casting or Alchemy? How about Mages who are members of the NS?

It strikes me that the Nightingale Sisters are not what most people would call a Faith outside of the game sense. I would presume that many of them believe in the Judo-Christian god (rather than the great god nightingale or in addition to saint nightingale or whatever). It seems to me that the thing that makes them "Nightingales", is that they believe in Service and the Nightingale organization. I would presume that many members (both donor members and full members) consider themselves to be both Anglican and Nightingales. I would presume that many spell-casting Nightingales built on the Priest profession consider themselves good Anglican's, (but not Anglican Priests), and consider themselves nurses rather than Nightingale Priests. So if you consider that the only "Faith" necessary, is not in a specific god or church, but only in the Nightingale organization, then I don't see why a (female) shaman would not fit right in.

Priests and Shamans do have a different outlook on things. Priests that most of us players are familiar with believe in a single monotheistic god. Shamans (to grossly oversimplify) believe in ether Ancestor Spirits, or Nature Spirits, or both.

It is not clear to me whether NS Priests can use the NS spell list ether despite, or because of, or irregardless of a belief in God. It seems that all they need to believe in is the Nightingale Sisters. Whether or not they believe in the Judo/Christian God seems irrelevant. If it is not irrelevant, that fact is not clear.
Shamans do believe in spirits. But it is not clear that they believe that the spirits are helping with their spell-casting. Thus it seems that WHERE a shaman learns her spells is not proven to be very important. If a shaman trades spells with other shamans, that is fine. But is it not also fine if the Shaman, having left her tribal lands, might join a secret society where she can exchange wisdom with the elders of that society, without it affecting her belief in spirits? it strikes me that a Zulu shaman who traveled to London could find the Nightingale Sisters a more handy support organization than looking for other shamans in London. Just saying. Now on the third hand, it is clear that the NS is NOT the tradition that a Zulu shaman that has recently arrived in London grew up with. It is not her NATIVE tradition. So the question becomes, can you change Lodges?

Maybe my confusion goes back to my assumption that any female who believed in the goals could become a Nightingale Sister, or maybe the confusion is that the NS might be both a Secret Society and a "Faith".

As I understand it, the upper ranks of their fund-raising donor organization is stuffed with Aristocrats. As I recall they also have an Aristocrat as a Full Member running their spy organization. They have a lot of people within their organization.
Canaries: Writers, educators, and propagandists. Doves: Nurses and healthcare experts. Sparrows: Bodyguards. Wrens: Spies and couriers
So they have a lovely Secret Society going, in plain sight, but with a hidden agenda. It seems to have room for all sorts of professions, both spell-casting, and non-spell-casting.
They also have one spell list, which seems to be a fun mix of healing and spy stuff.

So, can most of the professions join the NS as a full member of the secret society? A doctor, a journalist, a priest, a mage, a shaman, a solder, a weird scientist, etc.?
Is the NS both a secret society and a Faith? Is it mostly secret society or mostly Faith?
So a priest would join the NS as a "Faith". Can only priests join the Faith?
Could a shaman join the NS as a "Faith", most specifically as her Lodge (as a place to learn spells, while maintaining her belief in the power of the spirits of his ancestors)?
Can a Mage join the NS as her Lodge, as a place to learn and exchange spells? If not, why not?
Can a Weird Scientist join the NS as her School, and start making "pendants of bond of sisterhood" and "compacts of feminine wiles"? If not, why not?
It seems to me that the key component of a secret society is deciding whom you are going to share your secrets with. The Anglican Church has decided to share their spell list with ordained clergy only. Not lay members. That is fair. But it seems to me the NS is inducting as full members a wide range of people. Probably including shamans, mages and Weird Scientists. If a Mage, Shaman, or Weird Scientist did join the secret society as a secret society, and was given access to the societies secrets, what could they, or could they not, do with the spell list? Could they learn the NS KaV with +2 for having a teacher, but -4 for it not being their "native" lodge? Is there any way to switch lodges?

It seems like the simplest thing is to simply say that for a priest the NS is a Faith, for a Shaman it is a Lodge, for a Mage it is an Order, and for a WS it is a School, and for everybody else it is a secret society. Cuts all the confusion right out of it.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Wed May 08, 2019 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Andrew1879
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Re: Nightingale Sisters, Faith, and Lodges.

Post by Andrew1879 » Wed May 08, 2019 8:40 pm

ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
Does any of that particularly matter?
Yes, and I'll explain why.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
I mean, Yes the NS (Nightingale Sisters) are a "Faith" specifically as the term is defined within the game, but so is "Saurid Shamanism" and (presumably) non-saurid Shamanism. So both a Priest or a Shaman have to ether pick: Anglicanism, Nightingale Sisterhood, or Saurid Shamanism, or design one of their own. Obviously Anglicanism is for Priests only, and Saurid Shamanism is for Shamans only. But I don't see anything specifically limiting NS to one or the other. In fact NS, as a Secret Society seems like a fine organization for almost any Profession.
And yet the Nightingale Sisters are a Faith, because they have a guiding ethic, and a ministry of physical and emotional healing. Bear in mind that Faith is an encompassing term, that includes organized religions, shamanic traditions, mystic paths such as the Sufis, and esoteric paths such as the Rosicrucians, who practice theologically-based ritual magic. Secret Society and Faith, and Secret Society and Lodge, are not mutually exclusive, and I'll get more into that in a minute.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
I thought that one of the cool things about Lodges is that some of them are a bit free-form and that you could mix and match professions to Lodges in different cool combinations. Andrew seems to be saying that only Priests can use the Nightingale Sisters spell list, because that was the design assumption, and that has taken me very much by surprise. Only Priests and Shamans can use it because it is a Faith, and Shamans can't use it because ... well because it was not meant for shamans to use it?
No, that's not how it works. First off: All Faiths are Lodges, but not all Lodges are Faiths. Lodges can also be Orders, for Mages, and Schools, for Weird Scientists. A Lodge is simply a gathering of arcane practitioners, an overcategory that comprises all three of the subtypes. Similarly, a Secret Society may contain a Lodge, and may contain more than one, such as the Galvanic Order, that has an Order of Mages but also a School of Weird Science within it.

Beyond that, KAVs are restricted to the specific Lodge. Priests (of whatever Faith) cannot use the Nightingale Sisters spell list. Go look at the 1879 Players Guide, p361, Learning Spells. There's a specific restriction on learning spells from a different Order or Faith (it says Lodge, it should say Order, errata errata etc). It also specifically says that some Faiths do not allow their Priests to learn spells from a different Faith, and that Mages and Priests cannot learn each others' spells. The design assumption is that each Lodge will have its own style and thus its own KAV list. Shamans don't even enter into this. Leave them out of the argument.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
So I guess the first question is, is it the assumption that most spell-casting NS are built on the Priest profession? Because on my first read-through of the book, that did not strike me as an obvious given. As I keep re-reading it (mostly in researching this question) I am spotting that it seems to be a clear assumption made by the authors, but ... not an obvious given that ought to go without saying. In fact that passage on page 491 about "traditional herbal remedies ... miraculous results ...her mother’s old prescriptions" indicated to me that there were very strong Shamantic influences in the NS. Maybe I just got hold of the wrong end of the stick, is it the assumption that the spell list is for Priest NS only? How about Doctors who have also learned spell-casting or Alchemy? How about Mages who are members of the NS?
Nope. This will become much more clear when the Players Companion publishes. There are Variants of Professions, that restructure things a bit to handle situations like the Herons and Newtonians. Herons get Craft Device as their Profession Skill, which is fine, but having that as the Profession Skill for a Newtonian makes no sense at all. Newtonians get Alchemy as their Profession Skill. We sort this out in the Variants mechanic. The general description of the Sisters is just that, a general description, and not specific to any Profession. Spellcasting Sisters can be built using the Priest, the Shaman, the Mage, the Nurse, the Doctor, and several other Profession templates. The assumption is that the spell list is for Spellcasting Sisters. A Doctor who's a Nightingale Sister and has learned Spellcasting could use the same spell list as the rest of the Sisters. The list is specific to the organization, not to a Profession.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
It strikes me that the Nightingale Sisters are not what most people would call a Faith outside of the game sense. I would presume that many of them believe in the Judo-Christian god (rather than the great god nightingale or in addition to saint nightingale or whatever). It seems to me that the thing that makes them "Nightingales", is that they believe in Service and the Nightingale organization. I would presume that many members (both donor members and full members) consider themselves to be both Anglican and Nightingales. I would presume that many spell-casting Nightingales built on the Priest profession consider themselves good Anglican's, (but not Anglican Priests), and consider themselves nurses rather than Nightingale Priests. So if you consider that the only "Faith" necessary, is not in a specific god or church, but only in the Nightingale organization, then I don't see why a (female) shaman would not fit right in.
Again, see my notes above regarding Faiths encompassing mystic traditions and non-dogmatic spiritual paths as well as orthodox religions. The Sisters' dedication to the principle of healing is what makes them devout, what grants them their healing magic. If an individual Sister credits this to Jesus or Buddha or Zoroaster, that's their own lookout. The Sisters are healers, in several senses of the word, and as such they follow an esoteric path that qualifies as a Faith, even if there's no god at all involved.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
Priests and Shamans do have a different outlook on things. Priests that most of us players are familiar with believe in a single monotheistic god. Shamans (to grossly oversimplify) believe in ether Ancestor Spirits, or Nature Spirits, or both.
Yeah, decidedly oversimplified. The Priest was specifically designed to work with any organized religion. Hinduism, Khemetic Orthodoxy, and Mithraism are all three specified in the Priest Profession description in the Players Guide. Monotheism is explicitly not required. Shamans believe in a continuity of spirit from nature to people and back again, and even that's a massive oversimplification. The practices of the Saami simply don't map to those of Tengriism, and the word "shaman" itself belongs to a specific nation of Native Americans, not to all of them, and is an appropriated term being used for ease of reference rather than accuracy. I've had to simplify a bit for game purposes, but I did spell out all of this in the book.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
It is not clear to me whether NS Priests can use the NS spell list ether despite, or because of, or irregardless of a belief in God. It seems that all they need to believe in is the Nightingale Sisters. Whether or not they believe in the Judo/Christian God seems irrelevant. If it is not irrelevant, that fact is not clear.
No. What they need to believe in is the mission of the Nightingale Sisters. You are correct that belief in the Christian god is irrelevant. The mystic path of the healer, the esoteric practice of setting things to right, is their scripture, their sacrament, and their inspiration, regardless of what other religious paths they may follow. It's possible for an atheist to be a Nightingale Sister, as long as they believe wholeheartedly that wounds should be healed.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
Shamans do believe in spirits. But it is not clear that they believe that the spirits are helping with their spell-casting. Thus it seems that WHERE a shaman learns her spells is not proven to be very important. If a shaman trades spells with other shamans, that is fine. But is it not also fine if the Shaman, having left her tribal lands, might join a secret society where she can exchange wisdom with the elders of that society, without it affecting her belief in spirits? it strikes me that a Zulu shaman who traveled to London could find the Nightingale Sisters a more handy support organization than looking for other shamans in London. Just saying. Now on the third hand, it is clear that the NS is NOT the tradition that a Zulu shaman that has recently arrived in London grew up with. It is not her NATIVE tradition. So the question becomes, can you change Lodges?
I believe in bricks. I've encountered them frequently, sometimes with considerable pain in my toe. A somewhat flippant answer, but the kind you'll get if you ask a Tsilagi spiritworker about the reality of the spirits. Whether a shaman believes that the spirits help or hinder spellcasting, or aren't involved in the process at all, depends on the particular tradition they're from. Some cultures with a shamanic tradition believe that the power is in the spirits, others that the power is in the Earth and that the shaman can through training access it directly, others that the power is in a concept that can be appealed to. See Tengriism and their beliefs about the sky. Some shamanic traditions, like some Priestly religions, will not allow trading of spells across Lodge lines. Some will have spells that just flatly won't work for someone of a different belief system. For example, an Anglican Priest casts the Base Spell Shield as the KAV Protection of Heaven, which conjures up a big glowing cross between them and all harm. A rabbi isn't going to be able to make that work. At best, the rabbi will have to adapt it so that it conjures up a mogen david by invoking one of the secret names of G-d. There's nothing in the rules that says you can't associate with people of another Lodge for mutual support. Changing Lodges, however, is like changing religions. There's a conversion process, and then the old stuff doesn't apply any more. The Zulu shaman might find social and emotional support from the Sisters, but would have to be thoroughly dedicated to healing in order to join the Lodge, and that might take her far enough from the ancestral practices of her people, which can include workings to exact vengeance on their enemies, that she would leave the Faith of her birth for a new Faith based on an idea and a practice rather than a place and a culture.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
Maybe my confusion goes back to my assumption that any female who believed in the goals could become a Nightingale Sister, or maybe the confusion is that the NS might be both a Secret Society and a "Faith".
Again, all Faiths are Secret Societies. Not all Secret Societies are Faiths.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
As I understand it, the upper ranks of their fund-raising donor organization is stuffed with Aristocrats. As I recall they also have an Aristocrat as a Full Member running their spy organization. They have a lot of people within their organization.
Canaries: Writers, educators, and propagandists. Doves: Nurses and healthcare experts. Sparrows: Bodyguards. Wrens: Spies and couriers
So they have a lovely Secret Society going, in plain sight, but with a hidden agenda. It seems to have room for all sorts of professions, both spell-casting, and non-spell-casting.
They also have one spell list, which seems to be a fun mix of healing and spy stuff.

So, can most of the professions join the NS as a full member of the secret society? A doctor, a journalist, a priest, a mage, a shaman, a solder, a weird scientist, etc.?
Anyone who believes in healing and contributing to the process can join the Society. Only those women who fully dedicate themselves to the practice can be spellcasters within it.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
Is the NS both a secret society and a Faith? Is it mostly secret society or mostly Faith?
Yes. Yes.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
So a priest would join the NS as a "Faith". Can only priests join the Faith?
No. Anyone who believes in the principles of the Faith may join. See the rules for religious conversion for any particular one. For example, to join Islam, there's a Statement of Faith that must be made, in Arabic, and the person making the statement must be able to explain it and prove that they are sincere. (I have a friend who converted to Islam to marry a Malaysian woman, heck of a process for a white guy from the USA.) Only Priests may work the magic of the Faith.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
Could a shaman join the NS as a "Faith", most specifically as her Lodge (as a place to learn spells, while maintaining her belief in the power of the spirits of his ancestors)?
That depends on whether a total dedication to the practice of healing is congruent with the beliefs of the shaman's original culture and tradition.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
Can a Mage join the NS as her Lodge, as a place to learn and exchange spells? If not, why not?
Yes, but again being able to use the Sisterhood's spells requires dedication to the esoteric path of healing.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
Can a Weird Scientist join the NS as her School, and start making "pendants of bond of sisterhood" and "compacts of feminine wiles"? If not, why not?
Yes, but again, the Weird Scientist must be dedicated to the path of healing. And hopefully wouldn't make anything that stereotypical.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
It seems to me that the key component of a secret society is deciding whom you are going to share your secrets with. The Anglican Church has decided to share their spell list with ordained clergy only. Not lay members. That is fair. But it seems to me the NS is inducting as full members a wide range of people. Probably including shamans, mages and Weird Scientists. If a Mage, Shaman, or Weird Scientist did join the secret society as a secret society, and was given access to the societies secrets, what could they, or could they not, do with the spell list? Could they learn the NS KaV with +2 for having a teacher, but -4 for it not being their "native" lodge? Is there any way to switch lodges?
You already asked about switching Lodges up above. A person inducted as a full member, who dedicates themselves to the esoteric path, can do with the Spell List what their Profession allows them to do. A Weird Scientist Sister would not be able to build a death ray.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:30 pm
It seems like the simplest thing is to simply say that for a priest the NS is a Faith, for a Shaman it is a Lodge, for a Mage it is an Order, and for a WS it is a School, and for everybody else it is a secret society. Cuts all the confusion right out of it.
Not exactly. Again, see my previous answers. The Sisterhood is a Faith, dedicated to an esoteric path. It can function as a Faith, an Order, or a School. It is always a Lodge, as that's the overriding category that encompasses Faiths, Orders, and Schools. See p.344.

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 488
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Nightingale Sisters, Faith, and Lodges.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Wed May 08, 2019 10:42 pm

Thanks for taking the time for these long answers. It really clears some stuff up in my mind.

So if I may take the liberty of summing up, the passages that most cleared up my confusion were...
Andrew1879 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 8:40 pm
a Secret Society may contain a Lodge, and may contain more than one, such as the Galvanic Order, that has an Order of Mages but also a School of Weird Science within it.

Spellcasting Sisters can be built using the Priest, the Shaman, the Mage, the Nurse, the Doctor, and several other Profession templates. The assumption is that the spell list is for Spellcasting Sisters. A Doctor who's a Nightingale Sister and has learned Spellcasting could use the same spell list as the rest of the Sisters. The list is specific to the organization, not to a Profession.

The Sisterhood is a Faith, dedicated to an esoteric path. It can function as a Faith, an Order, or a School. It is always a Lodge, as that's the overriding category that encompasses Faiths, Orders, and Schools. See p.344.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Nightingale Sisters, Faith, and Lodges.

Post by Slimcreeper » Wed May 08, 2019 10:48 pm

*Munches popcorn quietly in the corner *

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