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Exalted Charmset Theses in One Word & Sentence

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  • #31
    Honesty! I appreciate the frankness and even temper of your tone. This is heartening.

    Let me see if I cannot state my case more convincingly once I get home.


    Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

    My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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    • #32
      One may be a stretch, but "summarise the themes of a type of exalted in as few words as possible" sounds like a fun thought exercise.

      Like, can we do it in three? Five?

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      • #33
        Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
        Then why is your thread title "Exalted Charmset Theses in one Word & Sentence"?
        As I admitted in this very thread, I made a mistake when choosing the wording of the title and the original post.

        I can edit the original post, but not the title. Not without asking the moderators to do it for me, and they are busy sorts.


        Why are your solar "aesthetics "excellence"
        Originally posted by Core, Page 254
        No matter how they work at it, Solars can’t use their Charms to grow fanged mouths on their palms with which to drink the life-force of their enemies.
        A Solar might shout loudly enough to shatter bones or wreath her fists in glorious Solar flame, but she cannot develop Charms to grant her raw command of the elements, a warped and demonic body, or other such strange powers; such feats require sorcery or the Evocations of puissant artifacts.
        Solar Charms do not represent the manipulation of Fate, like Sidereal Charms do.

        They do not represent the elemental manipulation of worldly or bodily substances, either.

        Solar Charms are obviously not physical machines, with steam-driven pistons and electrical wires.

        Solar Charms represent superhuman excellence. Excellence to a ridiculous extreme. Might sufficient to lift mountains with brute strength. Skill sufficient to heal others of deadly injuries with just a touch.


        How do Sidereals have a "Fate" Aesthetic?
        Would it be less confusing to say that all Sidereal Charms represent some kind of manipulation of Fate?

        Their Forgotten Earth Charm isn't about manipulating the elements of earth or air. It's about manipulating their Fate regarding the law of gravity.


        The problem is that your 'aesthetics' aren't actually all that descriptive.
        The single-word summaries aren't meant to be descriptive. They're meant to be comparative. "This one thing is fundamentally not like these other things."

        For "descriptive", I've got the Single Sentence summaries. What is your opinion about those?


        ... seriously?... smh
        Come now. It's not ridiculous if it's pointing out something ridiculous.

        Solar Charms cannot represent the ability to grow fanged mouths on their palms. Solar Charms cannot represent anything that the Charms of the other Exalted represent, even when they achieve similar ends. The methods taken to achieve those ends are different.

        What interests me is the difference in methods. The difference between one who lifts a mountain because he is Saitama the One Punch Man, and one who lifts the mountain because she's Toph Bei Fong, the World's Greatest Earthbender.


        Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

        My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
          When you say "adaptations", are you picturing Lunar Charms as new spiritual organs like souls or Second Edition Infernal Charms, or as new physical organs and traits, like Apostate Alchemical Charms without the grodiness?
          When I say "adaptations", I just mean "things that make them better apex predators". An evolutionary arms-race, but played out over the course of a single Lunar's growth arc instead of hundreds/thousands/millions of years of natural selection. I was trying to hold myself to your one sentence, while communicating (to my mind) closer to what I read in your quote from RV. That said, I don't think my predator/adaptation outline is any less of an aesthetic than "Elements" are for DBs. Being able to run faster, hit harder, grow claws or fangs; those all make the Lunar a better predator in obvious ways. "the deceptive wiles of the fox-tailed trickster" speaks of a social predator. But I think the best example of what I'm talking about is the shaman's keen eye that can see the invisible. Nocturnal hunters having night vision, invisible-things-hunters need invisible-things-vision; simple. A Lunar shaman might take that Charm because being able to see spirits makes them easier to communicate with, but Lunars have that charm because you can't catch what you can't see. That's the skeleton the Charms and Charmset hang from.

          My contention (building on yours) is that if you can sum (average? reduce?) each Exalt type's Charms down to one word, you should be able to see echoes of that theme in basically every Charm they have. In those instances where you can't it should be for some REALLY conspicuous and obvious reason (e.g., Sorcery, Dynasty Charms, etc). Inspired by Vance, I think "Predator" is a better fit given those criteria than "Power". With the latter you have to go out of your way to explain subtle social charms, perceptions charms, even many transformation powers. With the former you need fewer special exemptions, and it fits with Luna's whole deal too.

          And yeah, maybe a given Lunar doesn't think of himself as a predator. Just because that's the outline that provides the options doesn't mean you can't take them and do your own thing. A Night Caste can be a detective like Huyla or a serial killer like Havesh. There's a big ol' throughline in Exalted that the nature of your power doesn't decide what you do with it.
          Last edited by Blackwell; 09-28-2017, 11:56 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
            I don't think my predator/adaptation outline is any less of an aesthetic than "Elements" are for DBs.
            In this context, "aesthetic" refers to the "how". The method.


            Being able to run faster, hit harder, grow claws or fangs; those all make the Lunar a better predator in obvious ways.
            But it doesn't explain how he does these things. Those are end goals.

            To frame your ideas according to the pattern I laid out, it could be something like this:

            One Word: Shapeshifting

            One Sentence: Lunar Charms represent how the Lunar has learned to shapeshift to make himself a deadlier predator, with faster legs, stronger muscles, longer claws, or sharper fangs.


            Both Saitama from One Punch Man and Toph Bei-Fong from Avatar: The Last Airbender can each lift a mountain on their own, but what really interests me right now is how they do so in completely different fashions. One is just that strong. The other levitates rocks.

            What disappoints me is that Lunars are also "just that strong". That's not really any different.


            What's worse, the Lunars CAN'T be "just that strong". Do you honestly think that Lunar lifting Strength Charms will be written to equal the power of Solar Athletics lifting Charms? The Lunar Exalted can grow into giants with all of the strength of giants; to have Solar-level lifting strength on top of that would be ridiculous.

            So whereas everyone else avoids competing with the Solar Exalted by doing something fundamentally different from the start, the Lunar Exalted run the same race and then fall behind.

            It's happened twice already, and I'm sick of it.


            Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

            My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
              So whereas everyone else avoids competing with the Solar Exalted by doing something fundamentally different from the start, the Lunar Exalted run the same race and then fall behind.
              Not... really?

              Solar Charms are a bunch of specialized tools all made for one purpose. Lunar Charms should be robust and multifaceted abilities which allow you to adapt your approach to the challenges you face. While aesthetically similar (although their progression takes them to very different places), in actual play, Lunars should do the exact opposite of "running the same race".


              Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
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              • #37
                Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                Both Saitama from One Punch Man and Toph Bei-Fong from Avatar: The Last Airbender can each lift a mountain on their own, but what really interests me right now is how they do so in completely different fashions. One is just that strong. The other levitates rocks.
                I mostly want to step aside and let you guys continue having this discussion, if it feels productive and fun for you (I don't a lot, or anything much, to say that's in tune withe premise of the topic)

                Before doing that, I would note that these kind of discussions tend towards distance the material in the books through these layers of analogy.

                Like, Essence, the trait, in Exalted is "your character's natural connection to the mystical energies whic permeate the world of Exalted".

                When we discuss a Solar Charm where the Solar lifts an impossible weight, does he call the energies of world within himself, to build his strength, or call on the Sun's presence which suffuses the world outside himself to yield to his Solar will, allowing him to lift the impossible? Solars not less than other Exalted work by changing the flows of essence outside them, and no less than them are they nourished by feeding and calling upon flows of essence outside them. No less than other Exalted can they take inspiration from the great practitioners of spiritual martial arts in our fiction who work through and manipulate flows of energies outside themselves.

                (I think one of the things the late-2e to early-3e devs recognised is that they wanted to step back from answering these kind of deep metaphysical methodological questions, and hence this is part of the reason we get the famous Morke description of how Charms are not things but abstractions for the real essence based processes the characters are blending with skill).

                Anyway, intermission out.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post

                  Not... really?

                  Solar Charms are a bunch of specialized tools all made for one purpose. Lunar Charms should be robust and multifaceted abilities which allow you to adapt your approach to the challenges you face. While aesthetically similar (although their progression takes them to very different places), in actual play, Lunars should do the exact opposite of "running the same race".
                  You say that, but in practice, very few Lunar Charms are actually "adaptable". Most the attack-oriented Strength and Dexterity one.

                  Robert has confirmed that Lunar weightlifting Charms and the like are going to be balanced against their shapeshifting.

                  I have asked him if those Lunar lifting Charms might compensate for poorer output (compared to Solar Charms) with cheaper costs or greater ease of use.

                  I do want the Solar to have equal or better odds of winning such a contest, but I would rather it be a costly victory.
                  Last edited by Sunder the Gold; 09-29-2017, 08:57 AM.


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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post

                    Robert has confirmed that Lunar weightlifting Charms and the like are going to be balanced against their shapeshifting.

                    I have asked him if those Lunar lifting Charms might compensate for poorer output (compared to Solar Charms) with cheaper costs or greater ease of use.

                    I do want the Solar to have equal or better odds of winning such a contest, but I would rather it be a costly victory.
                    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold
                    What's worse, the Lunars CAN'T be "just that strong". Do you honestly think that Lunar lifting Strength Charms will be written to equal the power of Solar Athletics lifting Charms? The Lunar Exalted can grow into giants with all of the strength of giants; to have Solar-level lifting strength on top of that would be ridiculous.
                    I'll get back to your other posts but I wanted to comment on this first.

                    I think one of the big issues with why Lunars fell flat in past editions is because the writers and the devs focused so hard on making the lunars into the Solar's best buddies who could never quite keep up with them.

                    To me I actually think that in a pure weightlifting competition, the lunar should have the edge. Pure strength to break down a castle wall should be the realm of siege engines, behemoths, Colossal Rampaging Beast Familiars and Lunars.

                    I think the problem with the discussion of Solar vs Lunar weightlifting is that Strength + Athletics looks the same from both sides of that equation. Take instead a swimming competition. Strength + Athletics still (I think anyway, I don't think there's defined rules for it). But the Solar approaches the competition from the angle of human swimming ability -> peak of human ability -> superhuman perfection -> Unconquered Sun level perfection. On the other side of that, Lunars (from what I've seen of the devs and based loosely on past editions) go from strong human doing swimming -> strongest and quickest human ever swimming -> fastest swimming animal -> magical enhancement of fastest swimming animal. Dragon Bloods might go something like Human ability -> Magically enhanced human ability -> Using your bond with the water itself to boost performance -> literally one with the water that speeds you forward

                    Depending on the competition particulars, either the solar or the lunar can win that but the key part is the difference in approach. Of course we don't know what the lunar charm set is going to look like yet so most of this is pure speculation.

                    As for whether they can get solar level strength boosters on top of shapeshifting, of course not. But that doesn't actually limit all of the possibilities. Consider that shapeshifting is gonna be part of their charmset this time around rather than a knack system. You could model it a few different ways. For instance you could have extra dots of strength from shapeshifting count as dice added by charms. Or they could do that they're not charm dice and then simply specify that you use your natural attributes for charm limits. Either way it's a boost without completely overwhelming the system. I'm interested to see which route they take.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                      In this context, "aesthetic" refers to the "how". The method.
                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                      As I admitted in this very thread, I made a mistake when choosing the wording of the title and the original post.

                      I can edit the original post, but not the title. Not without asking the moderators to do it for me, and they are busy sorts.

                      Solar Charms do not represent the manipulation of Fate, like Sidereal Charms do.

                      They do not represent the elemental manipulation of worldly or bodily substances, either.

                      Solar Charms are obviously not physical machines, with steam-driven pistons and electrical wires.

                      Solar Charms represent superhuman excellence. Excellence to a ridiculous extreme. Might sufficient to lift mountains with brute strength. Skill sufficient to heal others of deadly injuries with just a touch.

                      Would it be less confusing to say that all Sidereal Charms represent some kind of manipulation of Fate?

                      Their Forgotten Earth Charm isn't about manipulating the elements of earth or air. It's about manipulating their Fate regarding the law of gravity.
                      I feel like we use different meanings for the word aesthetic which may be a big part of that contention between us. For instance I would say that solars have a 'human' aesthetic because as much as their charms change and empower them they'll never have a charm that gives them fangs or a tail. They always appear human. Similarly, the infernals have a demonic aesthetic because of how demonic essence and charms change their appearance, Alchemicals have a mechanical/cybernetic aesthetic etc.

                      But if you're talking the how they do the things they do then I guess I wouldn't call that their themes either... perhaps the 'root of their power'? Regardless that's all semantics and I think I know what you mean now.

                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                      The single-word summaries aren't meant to be descriptive. They're meant to be comparative. "This one thing is fundamentally not like these other things."

                      For "descriptive", I've got the Single Sentence summaries. What is your opinion about those?
                      The problem with the single word descriptions is that they're describing only one facet of the 'aesthetic' or root of each exalt type. To me this is problematic since most exalts derive power from multiple different things. For instance, Sidereal charms are based around their ability to manipulate fate, but they are also predicated on their roles as advisers and teachers. They're based around the Sidereal's ability to master martial arts (even if an individual Sidereal chooses not to). They're based on lateral thinking and working around problems rather than direct approaches. They bend the rules to get around them. And that's not all that they are either, these are just things I pulled out of hat on short notice.

                      The single sentences are better but they are still trying to distill the core parts of each exalts type too far imo. It's like trying to define an infernal 1st excellency in one sentence. Not only is it impossible without losing the majority of the meaning, but they're literally designed to encompass more ideas than what can fit in one sentence.

                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                      Come now. It's not ridiculous if it's pointing out something ridiculous.

                      Solar Charms cannot represent the ability to grow fanged mouths on their palms. Solar Charms cannot represent anything that the Charms of the other Exalted represent, even when they achieve similar ends. The methods taken to achieve those ends are different.
                      I absolutely agree that each exalt type has a different feel and play style. I agree that no solar will ever grow a mouth in their palm (from their native charmset). My calling you out on that part of your previous post was more because I had never indicated that they could. It was a pure strawman argument and I did not appreciate you calling out something that was clearly absurd and attaching it to my argument.

                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                      What interests me is the difference in methods. The difference between one who lifts a mountain because he is Saitama the One Punch Man, and one who lifts the mountain because she's Toph Bei Fong, the World's Greatest Earthbender.
                      Absolutely! The devil is in the details as they say. I would love to have an edition that finally treats every single exalt type as their own unique thing. I'd love to see lunars have their chance in the spotlight, and I think that this edition bodes well for their chances.

                      If you want to boil my argument down to a single sentence then here goes:

                      If you can boil down any single exalt type to a single word or sentence that encompasses everything important about their themes, aesthetic, or principals then that exalt type was never written correctly in the first place and should be rewritten, fleshed out, or removed from the game entirely.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                        You say that, but in practice, very few Lunar Charms are actually "adaptable". Most the attack-oriented Strength and Dexterity one.
                        Hence my use of "should be".


                        Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                          Hence my use of "should be".
                          Charms should do one specific, limited thing, whether or not it can be applied with multiple attack Abilities.

                          It's how Charms can be memorable.


                          Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
                            I feel like we use different meanings for the word aesthetic which may be a big part of that contention between us.
                            That's why it's important to ask questions when you don't agree with someone. I've found that a lot of disagreements stem from misunderstandings rather than differences of opinion. (And many differences of opinion stem from misunderstandings.)

                            Stepping back and asking questions is what steered my conversation with Robert Vance away from total calamity.


                            But if you're talking the how they do the things they do then I guess I wouldn't call that their themes either... perhaps the 'root of their power'?
                            "Root of their power" would have been a very clear way to phrase things, except that the root of Exalted power is more accurately Exaltation itself.

                            But then, one of the sticking points of this mess has been the difference between the Exalted as a whole and the Charmsets of the Exalted in specific. Charmsets are of the Exalted, but do not represent the whole of the Exalted.


                            For instance, Sidereal charms are based around their ability to manipulate fate, but they are also predicated on their roles as advisers and teachers.
                            But plenty of Sidereal Charms have nothing to do with advising or teaching, whereas no Sidereal Charm exists that doesn't manipulate Fate in some way.

                            Not all aesthetics / themes / sources are equal, and I sought the most inextricable element.


                            The single sentences are better but they are still trying to distill the core parts of each exalts type too far imo.
                            The point isn't to constrain possibilities or lay claim to all possibilities. The point is to find the one inescapable foundation and to compare those foundations against each other.

                            There will probably never be a Liminal Charm that doesn't involve Blood, Breath, Flesh, Marrow, or Soil in some way.


                            If you can boil down any single exalt type to a single word or sentence that encompasses everything important about their themes, aesthetic, or principals then that exalt type was never written correctly in the first place and should be rewritten, fleshed out, or removed from the game entirely.
                            Again, Charmsets, not Exaltations.

                            Even so, I would never claim that Elementalism was the only element of Dragon-Blooded Charms. That word alone doesn't hint at the hereditary nature of Terrestrial Exaltation, or how Dragon-Blooded are the weakest of the Chosen.

                            Likewise, "cybernetics" alone doesn't reveal that the Alchemicals are androids rather than cyborgs, or that they face the possibility of Void Infection.

                            But there will never be an Alchemical Charm that isn't a machine. There will never be a Voidtech Charm that isn't a technorganic abomination.


                            Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                              Charms should do one specific, limited thing, whether or not it can be applied with multiple attack Abilities.

                              It's how Charms can be memorable.

                              Yet I don't think it would be out of theme for a Lunar speed Charm to apply on rushes, disengages and out of combat tests of speed alike, nor do I think anything would break if their "see dematerialized creatures" Charm also gave them a bonus on read intentions and profile character actions against spirits.


                              Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                              Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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                              • #45
                                I agree with the first, but the second I think would be two different charms.


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