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1e Luna - How the Changing Goddess Changed

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  • #91
    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
    People scoff at me, but I am saying that the Dragon Kings didn't understand human reincarnation because I am pretty sure that is what the official texts said.
    ​Actually I think you are correct. I took a quick look for the Ruins of Rathess, but could not find it.
    In any discussion of Luna and 1st edition it is important that everyone remember Exalted was originally supposed to be the precursor to the World of Darkness. This explains a lot of the Gaia Luna love fest.

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    • #92
      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
      People scoff at me, but I am saying that the Dragon Kings didn't understand human reincarnation because I am pretty sure that is what the official texts said.
      Hmm, I can't find any citation of this pouring over Rathess. But I think I can effectively counter the point that the Dragon Kings executed human beings out of 'naive ignorance'.

      The Dragon Kings viewed the first have century of each new life as a time for growth, for reflection and (most importantly) for relearning both civilized wisdom and their code of honor. They also believed that anyone who committed serious crimes had forgotten or never learned these essential lessons. To help remedy those deficiencies, criminals were made into involuntary sacrifices to the unconquered sun. The Dragon Kings saw hastening an offender's death and rebirth as a way to force him to relearn these essential lessons and so to overcome his past mistakes. Although these sacrifices were deemed inferior to the willing offerings of weary or aged Dragon Kings, the Unconquered Sun accepted all hearts given to him.
      When the Dragon Kings ruled humanity, they also sacrificed human criminals to teh sun. Once the Primordials were overthrown and the gods freed humanity, this practice ceased. On rare occasions, the Solar Exalted agreed that humans who committed serious crimes against the Dragon Kings should die in this way to atone for their offenses against heaven. However, the Solars only allowed the worst human criminals to be sacrificed in this manner.
      ... so the Dragon Kings didn't have a perfect continuity of memory, it's important to note. They had to 'relearn' past lives. So for a good portion of a Dragon King's life, they aren't that far away from a human being (who also, we must remember, reincarnates in a karmic cycle). The point being that a Dragon King killing you for not learning the lessons of your past life isn't a misunderstanding of the nature of human death at all. You didn't learn your lesson last time, even if you don't particularly remember it, which... by the way... is the exact same standard heaven actually is using as well. It may seem particularly cruel or harsh, but it's not a flawed spiritual / judicial theory.

      Also notable in the text is the sun did NOT just accept 'criminal hearts' - that was PURELY the work of the people worshiping him to make the process more ethically palatable. The text is explicit - the sun accepts ALL hearts. And not only criminals are sacrificed, also the 'infirm' and the 'aged'. Getting into some dubious moral territory there, certainly. And that's even before we get into the write-up for Shining Flower, the Mistress of Hearts...

      Shining Flower was once one of the Unconquered Suns most important assistants. Today, she has diminished in power but is still a formidable foe. Known by many in the First Age as the Bloody Goddess, she was the deity directly involved with the Dragon Kings sacrifices of hearts to the Unconquered Sun. Although she will accept hearts that are simply given to her, Shining Flower prefers to possess the priest who is actually performing the sacrifice, so that she can be the one who actually cuts out the heart. All proper Dragon Kin sacrificial rituals begin with the priest being possessed by Shining Flower. Although no one knows if this is true, she claims that the Unconquered Sun prefers hearts cut by her own hand...
      ...Shining Flower does not care who is sacrificed, so long as the priest observes the proper rituals. She will accept or even take part in any sacrifices, although the ones where the victim is willing are the best. However, ill-done sacrifices where the victim suffers or escapes where the heart is damaged and must be hacked out in pieces enrage her...
      So apparently, the 1e Sun really just doesn't care if the heart is a criminal or not. Could care less. In fact, the Sun is still ACCEPTING sacrifices done by Nexus shank-thieves who stab people in the chest while stealing from them. Shocking, right?

      Today, Shining Flower is occasionally worshiped outside of Rathess, but elsewhere, few remember her role in heart sacrifices, and most know her only as the Mistress of Knives. In the East, both knife fighters and assassins sometimes honor her. The only way to truly earn her favor is to either cut out a living heart or to kill someone in her name using a single knife thrust to the heart.
      ... so here is confirmation he is STILL accepting sacrifices of this nature (though presumably Flower is now stacking them in a pile alongside his seat at the Games of Divinity) in the modern day, and he's not particularly choosy either. Of course Shining Flower operates semi-independently, but it's reasonable to assume her direct divine superior who has worked with her for thousands of years is pretty much on the same page.

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      • #93
        Originally posted by Piff View Post
        So apparently, the 1e Sun really just doesn't care if the heart is a criminal or not. Could care less.
        That means he would care. (At least a little.)

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        • #94
          I will always approve of this link even though I am very frequently accused of word crimes myself!

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          • #95
            Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
            People scoff at me, but I am saying that the Dragon Kings didn't understand human reincarnation because I am pretty sure that is what the official texts said.
            I assumed you were correct and have generally been running Dragon Kings like that for the last 12 years or so. But, I just glanced through Ruins of Rathess, and the Player's Guide from 1st edition, and then Scroll of the Fallen Races from 2nd edition. I saw about how they would sacrifice humans, but it never said whether the Dragon Kings believed humans reincarnated like they did or not. Maybe it was mentioned somewhere else?

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            • #96
              I still have difficulty seeing what the Dragon Kings were misunderstanding. Humans DO reincarnate like they do! Very little distinction exists, from an ethical standpoint, between a juvenile Dragon King with an undeveloped recollection of past lives and a typical human being. The fact that human beings don't get a more comprehensive understanding of past life activities when they grow old is more an academic curiosity than anything, sort of not even relevant really.

              If one subscribes to the notion that the Dragon Kings absolved themselves of moral guilty by suggesting that Uncle Frank would be back in a generation, which I find pretty dubious initially just right off the bat, then certainly the same reasoning would absolve them of guilt when executing human captives. After all, Uncle Frank isn't really going to remember much about who he used to be anyway. For quite some time he's more or less going to be a new Dragon King personality, and even when he does evolve enough to remember Uncle Frank's lifetime he'll remain a distinct 'person' in many senses. The 'continuous identity' aspect of Dragon King reincarnation is often exaggerated. It's not really as consistent as many have the impression it is, when you read the text.

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              • #97
                I understand that 1E material is considered more salient for Ex3 than 2E material, but I fail to see how Luna is improved by making her a consort first, and a power second. I also fail to see how giving Gaia more limelight helps the setting enable my stories.

                If we are looking at this from an historical perspective, I would say those lines were written in the first book published for a completely new game line, and they seem to be never referenced again. It was pretty normal for WW to stealth-retcon in such a fashion, and this appears to be another case. GoD talks mostly about the Incarnae as a group, and doesn't put an asterisk next to Luna. That feels more appropriate.

                As for her relationship with her Chosen, that has varied so significantly I'm not sure it's useful for it to be characterized at all. Kejaha Lef was controversial back in the day, and strangely enough the visitations with regards to her Chosen have been the source of some strange arguments, most of which sound like siblings arguing about who Mom loves more.

                Honestly though, most this strikes me as trying too hard to deduce from limited information. The first Exalted book didn't say much about Luna because they didn't know much about her, and because she wasn't the focus of the story. On that note, she still isn't the focus of the story. Her Chosen are. Regardless of Luna's nature and power, for 99% of Exalted games her job is to stay in the Jade Pleasure Dome with her buddies and sniff celestial coke off Sol's tight bum.

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by Totentanz View Post
                  I understand that 1E material is considered more salient for Ex3 than 2E material, but I fail to see how Luna is improved by making her a consort first, and a power second. I also fail to see how giving Gaia more limelight helps the setting enable my stories.
                  Obviously Luna has a long history in the line so people are going to prefer one version over the other, I wouldn't begrudge you that.

                  To explain my own reasoning without taking away from your opinion, I feel that the original 1e core pantheon had a distinct 'Flat Earthiness' to it that made it fairly unique and flavorful amongst the somewhat crowded arena of RPG pantheons. As time has gone on, I feel that Flat Earth feel has diminished considerably, until by the time of Glories the whole pantheon felt more Marvel than Tanith Lee.

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                  • #99
                    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                    People scoff at me, but I am saying that the Dragon Kings didn't understand human reincarnation because I am pretty sure that is what the official texts said.
                    Eh, I do admire seeing positives as to condemnation

                    But there are no "the good guys" better guys, improvable guys, tolerable guys.

                    But no one who is "good" and thus everything they do is good.
                    This includes even pre-totally deginerate Solar Exalted. Antiquity or old testament is often the feel and evocation with Exalted. And its key there is a whole lot of bad or weird or damaging even with "the good guys"

                    This extends to the DKs AND the UCS. At the least i prefer a more balanced Zeus/Odin as to Superman or Jesus Christ Superhero. Each of the gods are prone to cruelty, indolence and inhumanity. They can feed off of and get extra power from belief and devotion. The more soul and life and intense the sacrifice the more personal profit.
                    That's the baseline. And nothing of this is meant to directly give their devotees power over them.

                    The only leverage are, well, the Exalted (and the occasional priest pulling John Constantine-style tactics so people can feel clever) and that's a relationship where you have an elite group who has more and more incommon with the gods who grant them power and rulership, a local aristocracy, as to direct champions of the people.

                    However not all is bad or has to be. Every religion is a covenant. Some set up racketeering style stuff. Some are more Tenno and the Daimyo. But its a relationship that can evolve. You can get to a Magna Carta or a Constitution.

                    But its a progress to be made. and step one is acknowledging Exalts are okay with slavery. Dragon Kings are brutal and treated humanity as property until a portion of their chattle and client race was uplifted by their chief god (who has worn many styles and hats but is about glory and excellence and the liberator of the gods themselves) and joined him in a rebellion that, beteedubs, cost them their civilization. Which the exalted were happy to usurp their spot.

                    The good old days, weren't. Doesn't mean they didn't have some good that was destroyed in an apocalypse and gave rise to horrific abuse.

                    The cycle happens, there is bad in each age. And the closest thing to an Eden like begining was *maybe* the unshaped before the Primordials decided the universe needs something extra.

                    I think that is essential for Exalted gets at about heroism and humanity. Its a never ending battle for truth and justice. A living and ever advancing struggle on the tides of history that you have to surf.

                    This is why I like the Luna's 2e origins. But can accept UCS's 2e characterization was... overcorrective to the fanbase/story

                    But at the least make a god worthy of worship and honor. Or else you have to wonder, why would someone worship them. Hades not only gave explaination for what happened when you died but also kept rest to monsters and held and gave our wealth and freed Earth from the titans.
                    If the UCS is nothing but a postmordenist "ha gotcha your savior is dissolute ass" this doesn't make sense. At least make him oscillate. Like Zeus stealing brides but granting them hero children and kingdoms. Slaying his parents but also freeing the enslaved.

                    Make sure he has a human and vainglorious element. Even cruel streak. Hell make certain he's about all we think of about the sun and brightness and so on but make it so his favorites aren't humanity. That alone is interesting.

                    To put this on the Changing Lady part of the 1E thing is that, coming off both the 90s AND WoD there wasn't as much a need to define Luna. There was as much definition and understanding as, say, Santa Claus, or Batman. They just had to tell the limitations or exceptions to help you mold along that understood archetype/icon. In this one she's the seducer and lover of Gaia who's become more and more due to her inheritance and love from her. Not being a mere Celestine was also meant to keep her undefined nature and a partial respect to the likely more respected.. uhm 'worship' the WW fanbase would have.

                    I really don't see anything THAT incompatible 1e and 2e. Has anyone else?

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                    • Originally posted by Darmani View Post
                      At the least i prefer a more balanced Zeus/Odin as to Superman or Jesus Christ Superhero.
                      You say that like Superman doesn't have a storied tradition of being kind of a dick.

                      Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 05-28-2017, 08:12 PM.

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                      • Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                        You say that like Superman doesn't have a storied tradition of being kind of a dick.
                        A dick with omniscent morality license. Or an overall paternal I am the patriarch that I am right
                        in short the stories within themselves would not necessarily take the things that we would genuinely think we're wrong or messed up and actually hold him to them

                        This is even if the authors or the readers were starting to become aware of the negative implications. It wasn't in the modern day people realize how f***** up it was that Clark was gaslighting all of his close friends and his would-be love interest

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                        • Originally posted by Piff View Post

                          Obviously Luna has a long history in the line so people are going to prefer one version over the other, I wouldn't begrudge you that.

                          To explain my own reasoning without taking away from your opinion, I feel that the original 1e core pantheon had a distinct 'Flat Earthiness' to it that made it fairly unique and flavorful amongst the somewhat crowded arena of RPG pantheons. As time has gone on, I feel that Flat Earth feel has diminished considerably, until by the time of Glories the whole pantheon felt more Marvel than Tanith Lee.
                          A reply on the internet that isn't simple argument? What witchery is this!?

                          Well, a consort granted power and becoming more than intended is certainly Tanith Lee territory, and her work is a major inspiration for Exalted. However, I think over time people have come to in some ways identify the Exalted with their patrons, maybe more than originally intended. In this case, one of the few things Lunars and Lunar fans "got" was their special connection to their patron, and that deepens the identification.

                          If Lunars are in any way like Luna, and Luna is a consort, then people will start defining Lunars as that first, and we all know how well that went down last time. I'm all about injecting that Flat Earth vibe back into the game, but I think this is maybe not the place to do it.

                          As for the Incarnae being Marvel heroes, I can sympathize with that, even if I don't 100% agree with it. I think the Ex3 solution for that problem is to background the actors themselves. We just don't hear much about the Incarnae now, in the same way we don't hear about much about the Neverborn of the Yozis. Exalted's world will be Flat Earth, but the stories are closer to the Wars of Vis.

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                          • Originally posted by Totentanz View Post
                            If Lunars are in any way like Luna, and Luna is a consort, then people will start defining Lunars as that first, and we all know how well that went down last time. I'm all about injecting that Flat Earth vibe back into the game, but I think this is maybe not the place to do it.
                            This gets back to an earlier point I made, the distinction between IS and WAS. Theodora IS an empress. Anybody who doesn't immediately understand that when dealing with her is in for a rude surprise. Beyond that, she IS one of the strongest and most capable rulers the world has ever seen, and she IS the primary advisor of a counterpart that absolutely needs that wisdom to be in the position he is. Whatever she WAS isn't the focus of the story, it just makes what she IS... what she BECAME... even more admirable and significant.

                            Being born without a silver spoon makes a leader more respectable, not less, particularly if they excel beyond the standards of the rich and 'fated for glory'.

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