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  • The themes of Adamant

    glamourweaver and I are having an interesting discussion about the magical potential of adamant.

    Traditionally, adamant has been renowned even among the magical materials for its durability, and also for its ability to keenly cut with an edge. It's also been used as the material for the dome of Creation's sky, and also the floor of Yu-Shan? I don't quite remember the details, but I get the sense that adamant works to divide Yu-Shan from the rest of the world, and especially from the worlds beyond Creation. Likewise, adamant is associated with the Autochthonian Element of Crystal, which is cut off and set apart from the Pole of Metal, and therefore from the rest of Autochthon as well.

    glamourweaver interprets adamant as a "stable unchanging constant." I'd sooner attach that idea to soulsteel, which reflects the forever-trapped-and-tormented condition of a forged soul and also the never-ending death and memories of the Neverborn, from whose corpses the Labyrinthian ore was mined.

    But I do see how adamant represents "sharply-dividing lines and strong, exclusive definitions", which is what adamant seems to be doing in Yu-Shan and Autochthonia -- and this is also reflective of adamant's ability to cut and endure.

    An association with definition and incision also relates to a theme of "truth"; adamant is the most physically transparent of the magical materials, which has allowed it to function as glass panes and magnifying lenses. Adamant strongly lends itself to "revealing".

    Paradoxically, that same transparency also enables "disappearing". Adamant encourages others to see through it, take it for granted, and ignore it. It is simply, as glamourweaver says, such a "stable, unchanging constant" that there's no need to pay any attention to it.


    Feel free to express your additional or conflicting ideas about what adamant is good for, but in the meantime, I'll end by endorsing glamourweaver's idea of who resonates with adamant most and least strongly:


    Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
    Adamant:

    Solars - Resonant (as always)
    Lunars - Dissonant (their only one)
    Sidereals/Getimians: Normal (their only material neither Resonant nor Dissonant)
    Dragon-Blooded: Normal
    Abyssals: Normal
    Liminals: Dissonant


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  • #2
    This may not have much to do with the Adamant of Exalted (I sort of... tuned out a little from caring about Autochthonia, where it seems to have become an important magical metal), but the term "Adamant Will" or using "Adamant" to describe determination suggests that there might possibly be a fruitful line of thinking about it as will-metal, a metal that is particularly resonant to willpower and integrity and expressing inner principles and ties. ("Will" might or might not link up to transparency->truth->honesty or cutting->dividing->clear ideas).

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    • #3
      "Stable unchanging constant" seems to me a different set of connotations than "trapped in torment", so I don't find it to be overlapping with soulsteel that much. If anything it seems to be impinging on white jade.
      I like "truth", and I might suggest "indestructibility" either as a theme or a literal fact (all artifacts are indestructible, I know, but maybe adamant is moreso?)


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      • #4
        Soulsteel is too strongly associated with entropic effects to represent the stable and unchanging in my opinion. I agree the most overlap is with White Jade, but with the bredth of Jade's elemental associations, that's kind of unavoidable (in fact I think one writer for Exalted: the Alchemicals suggested that Adamant's associations were pretty much Jade without the elemental/Gaian aspects, which is why it represents Autochthonia in the Municipal Charm that breaches the Seal of Eight Divinities, while the Jade represents Creation).


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        • #5
          Adamant was always presented as "magical Diamond," so I always imagined stability, hardness and purity as its primary definitions. That said, I don't see why you couldn't have Adamant represent stability and separation though. When you cut a line in the sand with an Adamant sword, the line will stay there for a very long time.

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          • #6
            Personally... I see Soulsteel as something that never should have been... much like the ghosts and the underworld that makes it possible. The Underworld didn't exist before the Neverborn were killed... and souls normally wouldn't linger, they would pass back into the cycle of reincarnation. The Underworld is unnatural... an inversion of Creation... much like Ghosts are an inversion of the living. Likewise Soulsteel is just as unnatural... there are no actual veins of it that can be mined... it has to be forged deliberately by others.

            ​Even the Soulsteel found within Autochthonia isn't natural... but rather the by product of souls that Autochthon consumed that gets mixed with the waste that his inefficient processes produce and then forged into something almost indistinguishable from the Soulsteel that the Deathlords use. That it has found use by Autochthon and the Deathlords (amongst others) doesn't diminish its unnatural properties.

            ​Even the two Exalted types that are able to make use of Soulsteel are equally unnatural as this Magical Material... inversions of something else. Abyssals are inversions of the Solars they resemble (not sure if they will still be corrupted Solars or not... though it seems likely). Liminals are attempts to do the impossible... bring the dead back to life (at least from what I have been able to infer)... and are even more unnatural than Abyssals (who are frozen at the moment of their deaths... not quite dead, but also no longer quite alive either). Liminals were dead... and then brought back... a process that makes them as unnatural as the Soulsteel they can use.

            ​The Underworld should never have existed... but it does. Ghosts should never have lingered... but they do. Abyssals and Liminals should not have been possible... but they are. Soulsteel should never have been... but it is. These things are unnatural... but they still are.

            ​This is how I separate the unchanging stability of Adamant with the unnatural strength of Soulsteel. One was always meant to be... the other never was.
            Last edited by Shadowstripe; 04-20-2017, 06:54 AM.


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            • #7
              The Underworld may or may not have existed before the dread enemies of the gods were killed, but who in Heaven or Creation could tell you for certain?

              Just because you have no way to visit a place doesn't mean that place definitely doesn't exist; for all we know, the Underworld may just have been inaccessible.

              (Also, it's "Liminal," not "Luminal.")
              Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 04-20-2017, 01:57 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                The Underworld may or may not have existed before the dread enemies of the gods were killed, but who in Heaven or Creation could tell you for certain?

                Just because you have no way to visit a place doesn't mean that place definitely doesn't exist; for all we know, the Underworld may just have been inaccessible.
                ​By that reasoning, then the realm of demons likely existed before the enemies of the Gods were imprisoned. Just because there was no means to get there doesn't mean it didn't exist before those that would become demons were trapped within it.

                ​By this reasoning, Creation always existed within the chaos of the Wyld... just because it couldn't be reached by anyone before it was created doesn't mean it didn't exist.

                ​While it may be technically impossible to prove that the Underworld didn't exist before people could reach it... there is no denying that it is unnatural. The Gods were created to maintain everything natural about Creation... from the smallest grain of sand to the path of the Sun, Moon and Stars take across the sky. Yet no god, greater or lesser, has any influence on the Underworld. There are no gods in charge of maintaining the boundaries of the Shadowlands. Not even the Loom of Fate holds any influence over what happens in that realm. As far as Heaven is concerned... the Underworld doesn't exist... yet clearly it does.

                The Underworld shouldn't be... yet it is. The enemies of the Gods should not have died... yet they were slain. Just because something shouldn't be, doesn't mean it can't be. And just because it can be, doesn't mean that it is natural for it to be. The Underworld... Ghosts... Abyssals... Liminals... Soulsteel... none of them should be... but all are... and that existence despite the fact that they shouldn't exist makes them all unnatural to Creation.


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                I reject your reality and substitute my own!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post
                  ​By that reasoning, then the realm of demons likely existed before the enemies of the Gods were imprisoned. Just because there was no means to get there doesn't mean it didn't exist before those that would become demons were trapped within it.

                  ​By this reasoning, Creation always existed within the chaos of the Wyld... just because it couldn't be reached by anyone before it was created doesn't mean it didn't exist.
                  I see nothing wrong with these conclusions.

                  Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post
                  ​While it may be technically impossible to prove that the Underworld didn't exist before people could reach it... there is no denying that it is unnatural. The Gods were created to maintain everything natural about Creation... from the smallest grain of sand to the path of the Sun, Moon and Stars take across the sky. Yet no god, greater or lesser, has any influence on the Underworld. There are no gods in charge of maintaining the boundaries of the Shadowlands. Not even the Loom of Fate holds any influence over what happens in that realm. As far as Heaven is concerned... the Underworld doesn't exist... yet clearly it does.

                  The Underworld shouldn't be... yet it is. The enemies of the Gods should not have died... yet they were slain. Just because something shouldn't be, doesn't mean it can't be. And just because it can be, doesn't mean that it is natural for it to be. The Underworld... Ghosts... Abyssals... Liminals... Soulsteel... none of them should be... but all are... and that existence despite the fact that they shouldn't exist makes them all unnatural to Creation.
                  I'm curious about exactly what value judgements you attach to being unnatural as opposed to natural. If the Primordials formed Creation from the Wyld, is that not too unnatural?

                  These are distinctions of distant cosmogony and they don't seem very meaningful to me.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post
                    ​By that reasoning, then the realm of demons likely existed before the enemies of the Gods were imprisoned.
                    In more than one sense, it did. Cecelyne was a desert, Qaf was a mountain, Szoreny was a forest… many of the Yozis were places before the Demon City was the Demon City; the triumphant gods just crammed them all together. Likewise, when they cast the Yozis out beyond the world, they didn't throw them nowhere - wherever it was just wasn't called the Demon City yet.

                    This is akin to arguing that Alcatraz didn't exist before they built a prison there.

                    Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post
                    ​Just because there was no means to get there doesn't mean it didn't exist before those that would become demons were trapped within it.
                    Pretty much, yeah, taking care to include the Yozis themselves in that category.

                    Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post
                    ​By this reasoning, Creation always existed within the chaos of the Wyld... just because it couldn't be reached by anyone before it was created doesn't mean it didn't exist.
                    If all it required for Creation to exist was for the Primordials to make it, why did they travel from Zen-Mu?

                    Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post
                    ​​While it may be technically impossible to prove that the Underworld didn't exist before people could reach it... there is no denying that it is unnatural.
                    So? Hemlock is natural, but I don't see folks singing its praises. Nature is at best a force that doesn't care about intersecting with notions of human morality; arguing that something shouldn't exist because it doesn't have a place in nature approaches all sorts of uncomfortable territory.

                    Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post
                    ​The Gods were created to maintain everything natural about Creation
                    Maybe reconsider your choice of words?

                    Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post
                    ​Yet no god, greater or lesser, has any influence on the Underworld.
                    And yet the Syndics of Whitewall have managed to shrink Marama's Fall over the course of centuries.

                    Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post
                    ​There are no gods in charge of maintaining the boundaries of the Shadowlands.
                    See above; even if they're not put in a position over it bureaucratically, a number of gods are inclined to make the Underworld their business.

                    But to address the OP, I'm inclined to draw Evocations for adamant artifacts from the well of thought and perception.
                    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 04-20-2017, 08:43 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Shadowstripe View Post

                      ​By that reasoning, then the realm of demons likely existed before the enemies of the Gods were imprisoned. Just because there was no means to get there doesn't mean it didn't exist before those that would become demons were trapped within it.

                      ​By this reasoning, Creation always existed within the chaos of the Wyld... just because it couldn't be reached by anyone before it was created doesn't mean it didn't exist.
                      From a certain point of view? Yes, quite. Remember that Oramus himself, the Dragon Beyond the World existed before the boundaries of the world did, and sat in nonexistence waiting for the coming of Cytherea, much in the same fashion the Shadow of the Dragon Yet to Be needed to await the rising of the Unconquered Sun to cast the Ebon Dragon.

                      By that same reasoning, Creation and the Underworld could well both have awaited their genesis. For instance we still don't know if Creation was the Shining Answer, so it's quite possible that it called to the titans long before it actually existed.

                      All that said, I agree with your assessment; Adamant clearly is derived from diamond as Orichalcum is derived from gold. All the magical materials have a mythic resonance, Orichalcum derives from the Greek Orichalkos, a copper-like mineral used by the Atlanteans, as light as balsa-wood and as hard as steel, Moonsilver is a clear reference to silvered weapons, especially the notion of using them to slay lycanthropes, only here the Lycanthropes are the ones armed with silver. Starmetal rings true to meteoric iron and the notion of "Sky stones" Soulsteel is at once Wootz or Damascus steel and the age old notion of a blacksmith bleeding on their work to make it strong, and Jade has so many connotations in Chinese it's not even funny.

                      So Adamant itself is to modern nerds more familiar as "Adamantine" which is a cognate word basically meaning the same thing, which is basically "Harder than anything else." It even lives in modern English; phrases like "Adamant willpower" or to be "adamant" on a subject isn't a reference to the willpower itself as Ghosthead suggests, but rather a comment about the strength of the will itself; it's impossible to break, unbendable and uncompromising.

                      It's the true reason that the firmament is built of Adamant, not because it's clear or anything of that nature, but because nothing is as strong and as hard. In short, Sunder the Gold, glamourweaver is right on this count; Adamant is unchanging not because of entropy, but because of its mythic resonance as the hardest possible thing, Unchanging and unchangeable, the immovable object, in contrast to the irresistable force.

                      And at the same time, you're also right; transparency and clarity are important themes too; anything that one might consider mythically resonant of a diamond, you could consider about Adamant.


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                      • #12
                        I associate Adamant with law. With division and, weirdly, cities. Mainly because the biggest holders of Adamant(and Diamonds) I can think of are Zeus and Indra. Gods who, while maybe more memetically famous for their sexual exploits, were the cosmic law givers. Zeus enforced Oaths, Hospitality, Kingship, and (at least in the Illiad) Peace between kings, and like his kid Herakles did some monster slaying (Typhon and the Titans). Especially the big Adamant tool being the sickle that cut Cronos. I'm less familiar with Indra, but a cursory read suggests he was involved in some 'taming the hostile world' with Vitra as well.


                        I kinda want Adamant to be the material of the more 'citied' Exalted. Not Liminals, not Lunars, maybe not even Solars? Infernals with a connection to Malfeas (The City and King, after all) and Sidereals being resonant with it would make sense...


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                        • #13
                          Back in previous editions, where different materials had different attunement bonuses for their respective Exalted and just added numbers to damage and soak, Orichalcum and Soulsteel were presented as some of the hardest materials in order to justify a soak bonus when used as armor.

                          Since all of the magical materials (or at least, the artifacts made from them) were supposed to be practically indestructible, the idea of any material being "harder" than another seemed a bit silly. But Evocations now allow us to explore this further.

                          With that in mind, let us explore the Moh's Scale of hardness as regards magical materials, from hardest to softest. Here is a starting proposal:

                          Adamant

                          White Jade

                          Soulsteel

                          Orichalcum

                          Green Jade

                          Starmetal

                          Moonsilver

                          Black Jade

                          Blue Jade

                          Red Jade

                          Gossamer



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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                            Back in previous editions, where different materials had different attunement bonuses for their respective Exalted and just added numbers to damage and soak, Orichalcum and Soulsteel were presented as some of the hardest materials in order to justify a soak bonus when used as armor.

                            Since all of the magical materials (or at least, the artifacts made from them) were supposed to be practically indestructible, the idea of any material being "harder" than another seemed a bit silly. But Evocations now allow us to explore this further.

                            With that in mind, let us explore the Moh's Scale of hardness as regards magical materials, from hardest to softest. Here is a starting proposal:

                            Adamant

                            White Jade

                            Soulsteel

                            Orichalcum

                            Green Jade

                            Starmetal

                            Moonsilver

                            Black Jade

                            Blue Jade

                            Red Jade

                            Gossamer
                            I'll say, you're wanting to go interesting places with this but sure, I'll play along.

                            Mechanically then one could represent this by different artifacts giving different Hardness values, at the same time I'd also argue that all of them are harder than diamond and more flexible than steel, simaltaneously, so i'd call it a moot point.


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                            • #15
                              I was measuring their Evocation potential for providing soak-related effects, not their base stats.


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