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  • #31
    I think Sidereal being linked to Yu-Shan, having offices and houses and such is an important part of the Sidereal experience. It's also really cool. So I don't want to see it removed from the game, just toned back a little bit.

    Maybe make it clear that many Sidereal, especially younger ones, will often go years between trips to Yu-Shan. They'll get a mission, complete it, write up a report, magically send it in and then wait around for awhile before getting a new mission. They can also offer suggestions for modifying the future, and rarely need to attend meetings in person. Sidereal are trouble shooters and "on call" 24/7, but it's not like they're overwhelmed with work. Generally speaking, they only get called in to solve important issues, giving players plenty of opportunity for down time or going on adventures or whatnot.

    At the same time, make it so that getting to Yu-Shan is pretty hard. Instead of having 100 gates to Yu-Shan, maybe only have 20. Or 10. Returning to Yu-Shan is a rarity and something of a treat for most Sidereal. They have houses there and such, but at the same time once they go to Creation it's often not easy to come back, even for more powerful elders. So typically Sidereal Exalted spend most of their time in Creation. Going to Yu-Shan is absolutely something that can happen in game, but it's more of an exception. Like, for every 10 years a Sidereal spends in Creation, they might spend around 6 to 8 months in Yu-Shan itself.

    I understand that one of the desires, when the Sidereal book was being written back in First Edition, was to take the Sidereal experience in a certain direction. They wanted Sidereal, as "Agents of the Gods" to feel very different from what you typically see from Agents of the Gods in other roleplaying games. For a mortal in Exalted, going to Yu-Shan was a once in a lifetime experience. For Sidereal, it was just another Tuesday commute. Which is different and can be interesting, at least for the Sidereal player. And having Sidereal spending a lot of time in Heaven, up to their ears in paperwork really did set them apart from classes or groups other other RPGs with a similar "heavenly agent" niche.

    Ultimately though, I think this ended up hurting Sidereals and the entire Exalted setting. Heaven should evoke a sense of awe and impressiveness, and the Sidereal Exalted gave it more of a feeling of, "Meh," not just for themselves but for everyone else. Further the Sidereal were tied so closely with Yu-Shan that it introduced a lot of other issues many of which have been brought up in this thread.

    I think in 3rd edition, the Sidereal book should be written with the idea in mind that many Sidereal Exalted and especially player characters, will spend virtually all of their time in Creation, just like other Exalted do. This will force the authors to spend more time talking about Sidereal activity in Creation, which is important for every Exalted game, and less word count on what Sidereals do in Yu-Shan which is essentially completely irrelevant outside of a Sidereal game.

    When you're running a circle of Solars or Lunars or anyone else, it helps to know what a Sidereal might do in in Creation. What that same Sidereal might be doing in Yu-Shan however? Honestly, who gives a fuck.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
      I think Sidereal being linked to Yu-Shan, having offices and houses and such is an important part of the Sidereal experience. It's also really cool. So I don't want to see it removed from the game, just toned back a little bit.

      Maybe make it clear that many Sidereal, especially younger ones, will often go years between trips to Yu-Shan. They'll get a mission, complete it, write up a report, magically send it in and then wait around for awhile before getting a new mission. They can also offer suggestions for modifying the future, and rarely need to attend meetings in person. Sidereal are trouble shooters and "on call" 24/7, but it's not like they're overwhelmed with work. Generally speaking, they only get called in to solve important issues, giving players plenty of opportunity for down time or going on adventures or whatnot.

      *snip*
      There's a major obstacle to this approach to Sidereals - and it's the role they played in orchestrating the usurpation.

      First, think about how the approached it. There were factions within the Sidereal ranks, they disagreed on the best approach forward, they took a vote or used some other collective process to make a decision, and then they all stuck to it. Some of the 2e Sidereal fluff even shows a circle of Sidereals gently mocking one of them for being a gold faction member while they all go about the task of (moving a village? from memory).

      For a unit of 100 individuals to be this tightly knit, this dedicated to common principles and ideals, they have to be in close and regular association. The indoctrination into being a sidereal has to be pretty much flawless to ensure that the 'new recruit' is on the same page as the majority - and the best place to do this is somewhere removed from the tumult of creation and in amongst the forces that shape the world, namely, Yu-Shan. Unless Sidereal exaltations carry with them an immediate brainwashing element, a new Sidereal on the loose in creation could potentially do a lot of damage, which the Sidereals simply wouldn't allow.

      The other element of the setting that favours a heaven-dwelling approach to Sidereals is the Wyld Hunt and the anti-exalted culture fostered in the Empire by the sidereals themselves. A sidereal who dwells in Yu-Shan, only to emerge periodically to make corrections to the course of events, is a relatively safe individual. A creation-wondering master-of-fate with incredible kung-fu powers is eventually going to be seen by the wrong person at the wrong time and, while arcane fate and their resplendent destines may offer a lot of protection, they're not entirely fool proof. The Wyld Hunt is a loaded gun of Sidereal creation. I doubt they would ever risk finding themselves in front of it.


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      • #33
        Originally posted by CapitanTypo View Post
        There's a major obstacle to this approach to Sidereals - and it's the role they played in orchestrating the usurpation.
        I imagine that First Age Sidereals had a very different experience - in particular, much less field work.

        Remember that in the Age of Sorrows, a big part of the reason Sidereals are so important is because of the Creation-Ruling Mandate (in fact, it's probably more important to them than any other splat, odd as it may seem.) The Mandate essentially forbids the gods of Yu-Shan from interfering directly in the affairs of Creation - there's doubtless lots of loopholes and ways around it, but basically it's a ton of headaches and paperwork to send a god to handle something important. The Sidereal Exalted aren't restricted by it, so they can be sent on missions that the gods of the Bureau of Destiny cannot.

        In the First Age this didn't matter so much, because you had lots of Solars and Lunars running around for those things (plus more direct, open communication with DBs.) If there was a major problem and it didn't require fate-skills in particular, the Sidereals would often just relay it to one of the Exalted of Creation and let them handle it, playing mission control at best. Additionally, in an era where Heaven's relationship with the rulers of Creation was tighter and more important, Sidereals probably fufilled a role of "liaison between Heaven and Earth" much more frequently than they do today. It's still part of their roles, but nowadays that role has been downplayed, while fieldwork has become much more important due to the inability to rely on other Celestial Exalts (the Realm sometimes fills the gaps - that's the Bronze Faction's plan, anyway - but it simply can't handle the load the Celestial Exalted did in the First Age, certainly not since the disappearance of the Empress.)

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        • #34
          Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
          I think in 3rd edition, the Sidereal book should be written with the idea in mind that many Sidereal Exalted and especially player characters, will spend virtually all of their time in Creation, just like other Exalted do.
          So, basically, stay the course from the last two Sidereal books?

          This will force the authors to spend more time talking about Sidereal activity in Creation, which is important for every Exalted game, and less word count on what Sidereals do in Yu-Shan which is essentially completely irrelevant outside of a Sidereal game.
          Again, this is not a real complaint. If I'm running a game in the West, every single word written on Lookshy and Nexus is irrelevant to me. If I'm running a game in the North, every mention of the Lap or Gem is wasted word count. I don't really understand why people are so militant about Yu-Shan in particular when the "outside a Sidereal game it's irrelevant" complaint applies to every direction in the game that isn't the one you set your campaign in.

          And, honestly, given that for practical purposes every other book in the line is by default about Creation, I have absolutely no problem with Sidereals talking about Yu-Shan, or Abyssals talking about the Underworld, or Infernals talking about Malfeas. It seems like an entire range of mountains made out of a single molehill, honestly.


          Have you ever read a Coik post before, man? lol
          -Holden

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Coik View Post
            Again, this is not a real complaint. If I'm running a game in the West, every single word written on Lookshy and Nexus is irrelevant to me. If I'm running a game in the North, every mention of the Lap or Gem is wasted word count. I don't really understand why people are so militant about Yu-Shan in particular when the "outside a Sidereal game it's irrelevant" complaint applies to every direction in the game that isn't the one you set your campaign in.

            And, honestly, given that for practical purposes every other book in the line is by default about Creation, I have absolutely no problem with Sidereals talking about Yu-Shan, or Abyssals talking about the Underworld, or Infernals talking about Malfeas. It seems like an entire range of mountains made out of a single molehill, honestly.
            One of the things that Holden and Morke said on numerous occasions is that 2nd edition started to focus too much on not-Creation, the Underworld, Malfeas, Yu-Shan, etc, at the expense of Creation. Part of 3rd edition's basic design paradigm was to make Creation matter more by spending a bit less time talking about how much more awesome not-Creation is. I know some people were unhappy about that, but it seemed to be something that Holden and Morke felt strongly about. We don't know what Vance or Minton's thoughts are on the subject yet, but I would imagine that they share similar thoughts.

            Both First and Second Edition Sidereals spent a ton of time talking about Yu-Shan, the various Bureaus, the snazzy benefits Sidereal benefited from, and not nearly enough word count was spent on the Conventions, or on general daily life of Sidereal in Creation thanks to their blurred Fate, or any of the other issues that Sidereal in Creation would need to deal with. I mean, at least 2nd edition did spend some time on the Conventions and in that respect it was a step up from First Edition. These should have really gotten the bulk of the focus though, because these are where most Sidereal should be interacting and in contact with one another - not Yu-Shan itself.

            Now I don't think information about Yu-Shan is bad, but the goal of the Sidereal book should be to ensure that the playerbase's perception of the Sidereal Exalted is that Yu-Shan is just a neat little sidenote to Sidereals, not a core part of their splat. Unfortunately between 2nd and 1st edition, whether that is actually true or not is debatable, the perception among a lot of fans is that the Sidereal experience is absolutely intertwined with Yu-Shan. So the 3rd edition books needs to, at the very least, approach Sidereal in a way that changes that perception among players and makes them feel like they interact with Creation and the rest of the setting more than the previous books did.

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            • #36
              I wonder if the change in leadership will affect this approach in any way


              Visit me at Tales of Grey - my RPG Game-Master's blog.

              "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won" - I gave you all, Mumford & Sons

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              • #37
                Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

                Both First and Second Edition Sidereals spent a ton of time talking about Yu-Shan, the various Bureaus, the snazzy benefits Sidereal benefited from, and not nearly enough word count was spent on the Conventions, or on general daily life of Sidereal in Creation thanks to their blurred Fate, or any of the other issues that Sidereal in Creation would need to deal with. I mean, at least 2nd edition did spend some time on the Conventions and in that respect it was a step up from First Edition. These should have really gotten the bulk of the focus though, because these are where most Sidereal should be interacting and in contact with one another - not Yu-Shan itself.
                I actually rather agree with this.

                The Conventions should matter A LOT. So should the Faction banners. They should get a fair amount of wordcount, more than they've gotten in the past.

                Now I don't think information about Yu-Shan is bad, but the goal of the Sidereal book should be to ensure that the playerbase's perception of the Sidereal Exalted is that Yu-Shan is just a neat little sidenote to Sidereals, not a core part of their splat.
                Uh, no. No, it shouldn't be. Yu-Shan is a core part of the splat. It should be a core part of the splat.

                Unfortunately between 2nd and 1st edition, whether that is actually true or not is debatable, the perception among a lot of fans is that the Sidereal experience is absolutely intertwined with Yu-Shan.
                It is absolutely intertwined with Yu-Shan! Unless you're a Ronin who has never been there Yu-Shan is where you get your orders from, it is where you were trained, it is probably the one place that's absolutely safe for you. You probably don't spend a lot of time there unless you're playing a game that's focused on doing that, but the Sidereals are tied to Yu-Shan and they should be tied to Yu-Shan.

                So the 3rd edition books needs to, at the very least, approach Sidereal in a way that changes that perception among players and makes them feel like they interact with Creation and the rest of the setting more than the previous books did.
                I agree with this.


                "SEX NOVA is the kind of person who, after being chosen as the divine champion of the god of heroes, decided to call himself SEX NOVA."

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                • #38
                  The biggest problem I had with the Sidereals book was quite simple: the tone. I know that every splatbook is written from point of view of that splat, but the Sidereals books were so thick with hype I could put one in a press and make hype soup from the drippings. They hit the "true heroes of Creation" harder than the core book, the DB book, and the Lunars book combined. It was nauseating. And the weird and in many cases only marginally usable Charms certainly didn't help anything. Seriously, the Sidereals are clearly convinced that Creation and Yu-Shan will run down the moment they stop winding them.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Murcushio View Post
                    It is absolutely intertwined with Yu-Shan! Unless you're a Ronin who has never been there Yu-Shan is where you get your orders from, it is where you were trained, it is probably the one place that's absolutely safe for you. You probably don't spend a lot of time there unless you're playing a game that's focused on doing that, but the Sidereals are tied to Yu-Shan and they should be tied to Yu-Shan.
                    I don't think I was entirely clear, so I apologize for that. I was talking more about the Sidereal play experience.

                    I think the ideal should be that most player character Sidereal, who are lower Essence (1-4) spend the vast majority of their time in Creation. Once in a great while, they might go to Yu-Shan. When they do, it should be presented as a big deal. Yu-Shan should not simply be "another day at the office," for Sidereal players. Any time you go to Heaven it should be one of the big, important moments in a Sidereal player's story.

                    When the gameline pushes the idea that Yu-Shan, as a location, is central to Sidereal play experience, and large sections of a Sidereal's game should take place in Yu-shan, or even just creates that perception like 1st and 2nd edition, I think it ends up actually hurting the Sidereal play experience and the way the Sidereal slot into the rest of the setting. Sidereal end up feeling less attached to Creation and more attached to a different world, and this tends to make them feel a little "out of sync" with the rest of the gameline which focuses so much more on Creation itself.

                    While Yu-Shan is obviously important to the Sidereal Exalted, ideally the gameline would make it clear that most of the Sidereals don't actually spend very much time in Yu-Shan at all and that, at best, Yu-Shan as a location is merely a small, supporting pillar (though a really awesome and cool one) to the Sidereal's play experience, rather than a central one, since the game would assume you wouldn't be spending that much time in Yu-Shan.
                    Last edited by AnubisXy; 04-17-2017, 09:34 PM.

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                    • #40
                      I don't have a horse in the "How should Sidereals be" race. There is one thing though and that is... I'd like the writing on Sids to not have that edge of... "We're the smarty pants Sids, way better than those dumb jock Solars and those stupidhead animal people!". Sidereals don't really portray the "hard people making hard decisions" trope very well because half the time they come off as petty pricks, not people who are jerks due to the circumstances of their jobs. That's all. Carry on.


                      Incentive is not permission or justification.

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                      • #41
                        I have high hopes that the Yu-Shan debate will be more or less resolved by the stated intent of the line to release splatbooks paired with setting books, though the Realm one seems to have gotten punted down the release schedule to make room for Lunars. In previous editions, the Sidereal splatbook had to spend an enormous amount of wordcount establishing Heaven as a setting in order to keep it important to the Sidereal experience, which was suboptimal in many ways noted by people above. In 3E, I expect that weight will be carried by a dedicated Yu-Shan setting book, leaving the word count of the Sidereal splatbook to focus on things specifically relevant to Sidereals -- the Conventions, the Factions (maybe making things more complex than just Bronze and Gold? One would hope!), the role and function of Sidereals in Creation, more Charms, Astrology that's more useful and less painful than fucking a cactus...

                        ...anyway, hopefully that will help reduce the presentation that Sidereals must stay in Heaven and play office politics, while still allowing their role as "Heaven's CIA" to be a significant part of their identity.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by ysadrel View Post
                          I have high hopes that the Yu-Shan debate will be more or less resolved by the stated intent of the line to release splatbooks paired with setting books, though the Realm one seems to have gotten punted down the release schedule to make room for Lunars.
                          The Realm should be the next book out after Dragon-Blooded.


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                          • #43
                            I think that James Bond in the London MI6 office is a good basis for Sidereals in heaven.

                            James Bond spends most of the movie out in the world, doing the job. He's got some support, when he can get in contact, but usually he's stuck to the odd communication and he basically just goes right to the next locale he needs to visit. And when he's out there, he is the coolest guy around. He gets a lot of free reign, he exercises his judgement, M isn't constantly on his back (especially the older Ms).

                            However, he does tend to at some point be in the office in one of the movies. We do see that there are political ramifications to his actions, and some minor support is provided, and he is there to get his mission, gear up etc. It's not a huge deal for him that he is in MI6 HQ, he works there. He has an office, probably (which he likely never uses). But when he's there he is different. He can't do whatever he wants. His boss is right there, and besides this is Britain, the HQ, and there are rules. He acts in a slightly more reserved, deferential manner (especially the older Bonds towards M). He has to stick closer to the regulations. As someone with lots of free reign out of this situation, he chafes under this slightly.

                            This is, to me, how Sidereals should mostly work. You are in Heaven on occasion, you go there for training, to be given missions, to do the odd bit of office work, to take advantage of things that only Yu-Shan can offer. But you spend your missions in Creation because that's what the job entails, really, and the Heaven stuff is there to allow you to do that. Your contacts and stuff are mostly in Creation and you probably prefer being there because it's where you actually get to use your professional judgement and skill without anyone breathing down your neck.

                            Higher ranking (and Essence, but not necessarily the same thing) Sidereals spend more time in Heaven perhaps, because they get missions where the job is in Yu-Shan. These are very sensitive however, so only a trusted Agent will be given the task. This relates to how Bond might be given a task in the UK because he's the most successful 00 Agent, but mostly he wouldn't, and certainly not the other ones.

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                            • #44
                              I'd say Yu-Shan in Exalted: the Sidereals is detailed quite a bit more than is necessary, but I think that may have just been the style at the time, if not in RPGs in general than in White Wolf books. In a few cases, it probably persists.

                              So I don't think that Yu-Shan itself was the problem as much as the impulse to tell us a lot about it.

                              ​I actually like descriptions of the city's features, but still think that things like a lot of elaboration on any given Bureau such as, say, a lot of information about their building, should be foregone.

                              ​I also think that Yu-Shan should feel like a setting for Sidereals (and other characters) to engage in intrigues with its native divinities, and while these don't necessarily need to be roped in to every story involving Sidereals, I think a presentation that would make the prospect inviting to players and Storytellers could go a long way.

                              ​Maybe with the occasional case of a given Sidereal being saddled with some ceremonial or administrative function of Heaven itself being a little plot hook, the occasional complication to what the Sidereal actually cares about or deems a higher priority, that might lead to a bit of social and institutional tension if they neglect it. Alternatively it could be a springboard into making some personal or working relationships that could be harnessed in future.

                              ​Flowery ceremonial functions do seem like they would be fitting to the Sidereal wheelhouse, not necessarily as a function of their capabilities, but as something deemed fitting to their station and an expression of Heavenly culture; a Chosen of Serenity probably doesn't do anything magical when they perform the ceremony dedicating a new palace, but the gods find it to be proper.

                              ​After all, while they have certain trappings of spy fiction, the Sidereal Exalted are also a bit beyond spies; James Bond is important to the audience because he's the focus of the story, but in his own setting he's just a guy doing a job, and has no greater significance to the policy makers than a name on the occasional report, I should think. Sidereals are Chosen of some of the monarchy of the gods, every one of them a priest of Heaven.

                              ​What I'm saying is that I think Yu-Shan should first and foremost serve a function in the stories of the Sidereals in particular. Something that can be part of their distinct characteristics, while stopping a bit short of making them too important.


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                              • #45
                                Solar - I can sort of agree with that, but I would extend it a bit. For me, the Sidereals' MI6 is the Bureau of Divinity, Yu-Shan is more like the UK. Considering their whole bureaucratic structure and the entire mess of the Celestial Bureaucracy which they are involved with, they may have to spend a fair bit of time there. There are specific stories for which Yu-Shan is a great setting, and Sidereals, who interact more with fate and the celestial Gods, are natural protagonists for those stories.

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