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Zenith Vision of the UCS : Before the UCS turned his face back to the Solar Exalted?

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  • Zenith Vision of the UCS : Before the UCS turned his face back to the Solar Exalted?

    Looking for some ideas/inspiration.

    Currently my table is generating characters for a game set about 5 or 10 years before the Empress Vanished and the Jade Prision was busted open.

    However one thing struck me as I was making my Zenith character.

    Would the UCS actually give a vision even to Zenith's while he had technically turned his face away from them?

    If so, what type of vision would he give?

  • #2
    During that time, it may fit that they had a vision of him, but he doesn't say anything personal. If anything that inverts the nature of the vision as its no longer about the character being super-special, its about the character witnessing a glory greater than themselves.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by TryingToBeSlim View Post
      If so, what type of vision would he give?
      Slightly more weary and cautious.


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      • #4
        Honestly, the more I think about it, I'm inclined to just say that said visions stopped happening for the time the Unconquered Sun turned his back on Creation. He forsook his Exalted, including the Zeniths. The visions starting again is a big deal accordingly.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
          Honestly, the more I think about it, I'm inclined to just say that said visions stopped happening for the time the Unconquered Sun turned his back on Creation. He forsook his Exalted, including the Zeniths. The visions starting again is a big deal accordingly.
          I'm inclined to agree with you. The Sun had turned his back on Creation - even though he continued Choosing certain mortals as Solars, they weren't nearly as intimately related to him as the ones in the game proper have the potential to be, I would say.


          All that I write but don't cite is simply my perspective, colored by my experiences and beliefs. I extrapolate a lot, too, so don't take it too seriously. :P

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          • #6
            I agree with the assessment of the others here. I'd do it as an overwhelming sense of wrongness. something tainted, made melancholic in the moment of victory.

            You feel this astounding rush of power, a moment when your soul is raised high and you feel it rush above to become one with the King of Heaven and.... it doesn't. Indeed, it is miraculous, for He cannot be stopped for He is an unstoppable force, and even He cannot stop himself once placed into motion as He did with his Exaltations, but there is a disquiet in your heart; an emptiness, that you can't recognize, like returning to your father after a long journey only to find he doesn't recognize you and closes the door.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by *End View Post

              I'm inclined to agree with you. The Sun had turned his back on Creation - even though he continued Choosing certain mortals as Solars, they weren't nearly as intimately related to him as the ones in the game proper have the potential to be, I would say.
              "He continued choosing" is also ambiguous at this point. I think Morke talked about in terms of his will continuing because even he couldn't gainsay himself but he stopped taking an active part.


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              • #8
                Personally I think the visitations from the Sun (and, also, Luna) are not a good thing for the game. They evolved out of a particular end-of-chapter fiction that depicted the 1e Zenith speaking with the Sun.

                But in practice, the visitations are horrible. Primarily because they SHUT DOWN rather than enable story and character - they tell you the '2e style' truth behind the Cosmic Reality and RP be damned. I think, instead, Zenith out to have an exceptionally powerful religious experience... the same kind that people throughout history have had. Do you meet God, or do you suffer Ego Death? Is God a Woman? Do you see a snake eat an egg which hatches and has the world inside of it? Any number of intense, meaningful psychedelic experiences could motivate a Zenith character in a thousand interesting ways.

                In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of Zenith potentially is them being wrong! Uniformly, to me, the least interesting solution is the one that 3e canon has stuck with since that end-of-chapter fiction - the sun shows up and says Hi. Further, he's not even supposed to say anything that particularly interesting! The OP has had the problem like 3 of my Zenith players have had once I explained the vision thing to them.

                It feels meta, it doesn't do anything productive, it shuts down character concepts and it's a relic of the 'Stat Up the Sun' approach that made late 2e pretty unbearable. I highly suggest dropping it entirely and creating a powerful religious experience for your character that's appropriate to the cultural background they emerge from.... and, reinforces aspects of the character that already exist rather than having the One True God drop by for a useless conversation which accomplishes nothing.

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                • #9
                  I would not want to deny a player their moment of glory based on a couple sentences of setting fluff. It's pretty uncool to tell a PC their Zenith matters less than those who Exalt ten years later.

                  Maybe the scene is of a weary Sol. He's had more than a thousand years of these same few Chosen reincarnating again and again. He feels it, even if he doesn't want to. He knows they die. The flame of his wrath has cooled into melancholy.

                  So, rather than give some inspiring speech, or an answering machine, he gets the positively Byronic Ignis Divine, and can actually talk to him. Maybe the Zenith begs forgiveness, maybe he's just a friend to a god. Maybe he calls out Sol on being a wuss and demands he take responsibility.

                  Sol turned his face back to Creation for a reason; maybe that reason is the courage and wit of this Zenith.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Piff View Post

                    It feels meta, it doesn't do anything productive, it shuts down character concepts and it's a relic of the 'Stat Up the Sun' approach that made late 2e pretty unbearable. I highly suggest dropping it entirely and creating a powerful religious experience for your character that's appropriate to the cultural background they emerge from.... and, reinforces aspects of the character that already exist rather than having the One True God drop by for a useless conversation which accomplishes nothing.

                    For my Zenith, it was a cultured vision of UCS (Namely, seeing and interpeting UCS in the cultural context of being Tarzan) and I think that might be the in. I also prefer it to be UCS because I like the Zenith to have a bit of meta knowledge (We're Solars, powered by the Sun. Now, I imagine 'what the Sun wants' and 'the nature of the Sun' are sources of much controversy and cultural shaping).


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Totentanz View Post
                      I would not want to deny a player their moment of glory based on a couple sentences of setting fluff. It's pretty uncool to tell a PC their Zenith matters less than those who Exalt ten years later.
                      1) it's not "a couple of lines of fluff". The Unconquered Sun having forsaken his Chosen and only now turning his face back to them is a core thematic event that defines the setting.

                      2) The Unconquered Sun not treating a character like they matter =! them not mattering. It being up to them to matter, and the lack of external objective moral authority is also a core thematic point of the setting.
                      Last edited by glamourweaver; 04-16-2017, 12:04 PM.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Epee102 View Post


                        For my Zenith, it was a cultured vision of UCS (Namely, seeing and interpeting UCS in the cultural context of being Tarzan) and I think that might be the in. I also prefer it to be UCS because I like the Zenith to have a bit of meta knowledge (We're Solars, powered by the Sun. Now, I imagine 'what the Sun wants' and 'the nature of the Sun' are sources of much controversy and cultural shaping).
                        That's really cool!

                        But I'd have to say I like to go even further. So many fascinating, powerful religious leaders and characters in history haven't followed a single Sun God.

                        Most of the other Castes are pretty good about letting you supercharge an epic personality and see what happens, but the Zenith get hedged in just a bit. In a game that encourages freedom and personal identity, the Zenith vision is a holdover from previous editions that sticks out (to me) like a sore thumb.

                        When a Dawn exaltation happens, the Exalt is going to define that Exaltation completely. If they are a butcher, then that is what they will become, writ large. If they are a hero, the same. All it does is magnify what was there before, give it power, and then we... the players, and the ST... observe the aftermath.

                        I think it ought to be the same with Zenith. If a powerful religious leader of the Southeast... a great man with a lifetime of dedicated service and deep wisdom... who just happens to belief in a rainbow turtle and has for like sixty years, Exalts? That's the belief he ought to keep. That's the vision he ought to see. His personality should be magnified, enhanced and set loose by the Exaltation - not hedged in by it. He shouldn't have to adjust his turtle deity into a Sun god. Just like the Dawn, he should just be a magnified version of himself, now set loose for the world to deal with... for better or worse. And maybe in a few millenia... EVERYBODY worships the turtle, as the Zenith sits on a throne of prayers and blood.

                        The encounter and dialogue between two Zeniths with this approach is IMO far more interesting than what you get if you follow the canon approach ("Oh, you saw the sun too? AWESOME!").

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post

                          1) it's not "a couple of lines of fluff". The Unconquered Sun having forsaken husband Chosen and only now turning his face back to them is a core thematic event that defines the setting.

                          2) The Unconquered Sun not treating a character like they matter =! them not mattering. It being up to them to matter, and the lack of external objective moral authority is also a core thematic point of the setting.
                          1) And compared to the desires of the players involved; that's a couple lines of setting fluff. Frankly, within the context of Ex3, it doesn't matter if Sol looks at Creation or up his own ass; he's not doing anything.

                          2) You are technically correct, and yet utterly miss my point. The vision from the UCS for the Zenith is part and parcel of their priesthood. A player who chooses a Zenith may really want that experience, and their desires for their game are paramount.

                          "You are incarnation 124 of this Zenith Caste, who will hear nothing from your patron. Like those before you, you will soon die to the Hunt." is not a message I would unilaterally send to a player character. If that's what they want, cool, but I would not assume it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Piff View Post
                            But in practice, the visitations are horrible. Primarily because they SHUT DOWN rather than enable story and character - they tell you the '2e style' truth behind the Cosmic Reality and RP be damned. I think, instead, Zenith out to have an exceptionally powerful religious experience... the same kind that people throughout history have had. Do you meet God, or do you suffer Ego Death? Is God a Woman? Do you see a snake eat an egg which hatches and has the world inside of it? Any number of intense, meaningful psychedelic experiences could motivate a Zenith character in a thousand interesting ways.
                            Honestly, I have to disagree with this one. Players in my group, as well as my self, have used the visitations to some really interesting ends. If your character has a deep faith in something completely different, and then the Unconquered Sun shows up, it can throw everything into delicious Chaos. For example, I'm currently playing an ex(ish) Immaculate monk who's faith in the Elemental Dragons and the Perfected Hierarchy was unshakeable. The Anametha were monsters who stole the power of the gods, but after sacrificing himself for the good of people he had sworn to protect, Helios himself showed up and granted him his blessing. Now the monk's entire spiritual foundation is in tatters. He believes in the Perfected Hierarchy, but he knows for certain that, despite being one of the Anathema, he did not steal his power from Helios. So he has become a wretch of a man trying to help everyone find their place in the world while he completely has to rethink what the world and everything in it means.

                            The Unconquered Sun showing up and going "Hey, you're baller, spread my glory" doesn't mean the person who has been Exalted has any context for what the fuck just happened whatsoever. Exaltation as a Zenith, as written, can be both amazingly life-affirming AND life-damning, depending on how you work it in.


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                            • #15
                              Yes, but I think we're at a point of confusion between should the table accomadate the player (great! In that regard I agree with Totentanz), but that's a different question from "what should be the case in canon". In terms of the canon narrative, there being a change in receiving visions from the Unconquered Sun is more interesting and helps make playing in the forsaken era more distinct.

                              If that's not what the given group is going for, than of course there's no problem accomadating what they feel is more fun and fits their character concepts!


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