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  • If Heaven can't control destinies and reincarnations then like guys

    What is Heaven even for

    #rakanthuliowasright


    Neall Raemonn Price
    Beleaguered Scion Developer

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    • Originally posted by Neall View Post
      If Heaven can't control destinies and reincarnations then like guys

      What is Heaven even for

      #rakanthuliowasright
      Sidereal hit squads in position, commence Operation: Neall's Fired.


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      • Originally posted by Gigaton-Falcon-Emu View Post
        If we accept them as stronger than they were though, the question becomes quite clear again, why did they not act sooner? If power is anywhere near par then a Solar would struggle to rule without consent from her subjects, the ones able to affect change at any rate and the status quo presented beforehand would be impossible to reach. Tyranny is only effective when the populace is unable to or believes that it is unable to fight back. This is far from an irreconcilable problem but it is a problem.

        In short, with power comes responsibility.

        The conclusion is that we are left with one of two options. Either the Solars were considerably more powerful and solely to blame for the darkest aspects of the age that came before or that the host overall was corrupt or at the very least complacent in the pitfalls of the era. Narrowing the gap heavily supports the latter.
        I suspect that to a degree all Exalted *were* complicit - while not much stated it's hard to see how else Eclipse Caste social genius and Zenith Caste inspiration could operate to maintain Solar primacy over the First Age without making others complicit and invested to a degree.

        That said, I also suspect this could not have been maintained through sheer skill and mastery of essence alone (personal power). The reputation of the Solars as the leaders of the Primordial War, the top decision makers during humanity's greatest era of growth and prosperity, the preeminent negotiators with all the powers of the Fair Folk host and the pre-human races, the military geniuses who'd lead to victory with the least loss of life and the representatives of the greatest of gods... that all mattered to securing their status and rule for as long as it endured.

        The Solars of the First Age were not just some strongmen with a bunch of loyal guerrillas and generals at their back who took over and presided over misrule and stagnation, held in place by fear. They had a legacy of being truly great, and particularly in a way that made them more singularly central to the system than a real life autocrat can be (or other powerful political figure, for those who object to the equation of Solar rule to autocracy).

        Like Neall intimated (more pithily and colourfully), it took a long time for that goodwill and loyalty to burn through, bit by bit.

        (On a tangent, also perhaps relates to questions of what we assume moral norms were in the First Age, to the extent there were such universal things. I mean, in response to Piff's thread to catalogue First Age atrocities, I've did just quickly go back over the "Dreams of the First Age" sections of the Caste books. While they all depict glory, even outside the entries which clearly relate to the time of decadence and decline not always a moral utopia, e.g. mentions slaves, etc.)

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        • Originally posted by Gigaton-Falcon-Emu View Post
          In what way are the DBs lacking that would justify the grave investment needed for crafting the Celestials?
          You know, I'm willing to bet that no matter how small the gap is in the relatively unsophisticated task of killing people is, Dragon Blooded still won't quite be capable of things such as Wyld-Shaping Technique.

          ​That's not to say that the powers of a Solar warrior are irrelevant or not among the most impressive things that they can do, but to challenge the premise that this one thing means that there are no significant differences in kind between them.

          ​Mind, it all still begs the question of analysing the Primordial War in terms of utilitarian pragmatic decisions of strategic and logistics, rather than the god of virtue and pursuit of perfection deciding to elevate champions to do battle against his enemies.

          Originally posted by Gigaton-Falcon-Emu
          were eventually able to kill their cruel overlords after using the TzarBomba of Creation to even the odds.
          ​Are you talking about the Realm Defence Grid?

          Because that has never been written by anybody to have had any part in the Usurpation.

          Originally posted by Gigaton-Falcon-Emu
          If we accept them as stronger than they were though, the question becomes quite clear again, why did they not act sooner?
          It's never enough to actually accomplish something, is it? The next level of complaint always has to be "you should have done it quicker".

          Originally posted by Gigaton-Falcon-Emu
          If power is anywhere near par then a Solar would struggle to rule without consent from her subjects, the ones able to affect change at any rate and the status quo presented beforehand would be impossible to reach. Tyranny is only effective when the populace is unable to or believes that it is unable to fight back. This is far from an irreconcilable problem but it is a problem.

          In short, with power comes responsibility.

          The conclusion is that we are left with one of two options. Either the Solars were considerably more powerful and solely to blame for the darkest aspects of the age that came before or that the host overall was corrupt or at the very least complacent in the pitfalls of the era. Narrowing the gap heavily supports the latter.
          Your dichotomy lacks nuance, alternately imagining the maintenance of rule as a constant exercise in force or that being part of an increasingly flawed society is a simplistic matter.

          ​Among the many possible reasons delaying the Usurpation, I have an image of a Dragon Blooded general looking out over Meru in flames and crackling with eldritch lightning, and thinking "boy golly gee, I've sure been chomping at the bit to make this a reality".


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
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          • Originally posted by Piff View Post

            Yes, hence the qualifier I opened with - 'It's 'DoTFA' true, which is not a super firm canonical basis but it was indeed printed.'

            But thanks for restating that?
            If you yourself didn't have faith in the material in question, why bother bringing it up? Also, it's more of a completely decanonized basis nowadays.

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            • Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
              I think, also, DotFA kind of contradicted everything about the afterlife previously said.

              What I mean is, the books were always clear that reincarnation is just random, there's no karma. And then DotFA suddenly said that there's a whole bunch of stuff governing reincarnation, it's just rather bizarre (like red-headed women who die while middle-aged get a nice reincarnation, because a Solar got it passed for her mum).

              Seems much better to go back to the old no-karma. More appropriate for the genre.
              Point of order, that's not accurate. Sidereals 1e had an Astrological effect where the Sidereal could ensure someone who had just died would reincarnate as a Dragonblooded- which *implies* a huge amount about Heaven and reincarnation, and is especially... interesting? Authorative? Since the Astrology section was written by Grabowski, IIRC.


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              • "Deliberate fate fuckery can ensure something happens that would normally just be left to chance"?

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                • Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                  I think, also, DotFA kind of contradicted everything about the afterlife previously said.

                  What I mean is, the books were always clear that reincarnation is just random, there's no karma. And then DotFA suddenly said that there's a whole bunch of stuff governing reincarnation, it's just rather bizarre (like red-headed women who die while middle-aged get a nice reincarnation, because a Solar got it passed for her mum).

                  Seems much better to go back to the old no-karma. More appropriate for the genre.
                  The old material is very clear there's some kind of karmic system that judges souls after death and assigns them 'higher' or 'lower' station in their next life. It shows up in the 1E Abyssals hardback when discussing the broken wheel of reincarnation (Exalted: The Abyssals, page 26). It shows up again in 1E Sidereals multiple times, both in the fluff and their power sets. The Rising Butterfly Prayer lets Sidereal priests of the Corpse commend the Division of Abstract Matters on heroic souls for incarnation as a Terrestrial Exalt in the next life (Exalted: The Sidereals, page 232). The Shogun of Abstract Matters is Taru-Han, the Lady of Souls (Exalted: The Sidereals, page 41), overseer of the soul collectors that herd the souls of the newly deceased to her heavenly tower and shepherd them back to Creation after their appropriate destination is determined.

                  I believe the only time we're given any information on what kinds of behavior earn you a better incarnation in the next life are the practices and beliefs of the Immaculate Order and that one piece from Dreams of the First Age. And it's a fair bet that the Immaculate texts are lying about some of what they teach on spiritual enlightenment because we're told that the original teachings were adjusted to turn the religion into a tool of mass social control with the refinement of the Central Tenet in RY0. Insofar that Dreams of the First Age contradicted anything, it ended up injecting some truth into the most obvious lie in the Immaculate religion; I never liked that and I mostly ignore DotFA anyhow.

                  The idea of no-karma in reincarnation, that the matter is a random lottery, is just an assumption that a large section of the fanbase has. It's not old material.
                  Last edited by Shinjo; 10-09-2017, 10:10 AM.

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                  • I don't know what Exalted: the Abyssals said about anything, but there are two points for Exatled: the Sidereals.

                    ​One is that, while Sidereals had a power to give a soul a... slightly higher chance of being reincarnated as a Terrestrial Exalt, not only would that be something entirely divorced from any moral considerations, not only is it something that they probably couldn't do very often even if they cared just because of how many people die (probably several times the number of Sidereals there are every hour), but it's only even something that works if you perform the ritual at their damn funeral. It's basically irrelevant as a consideration for how reincarnation functions in the setting as a whole, rather than the relationships of any given Sidereal.

                    ​As for Taru-Han, just like with dying, she merely oversees the process, and is explicitly stated to have no actual authority over the destination of souls. That and how, as it's written, this seems to be a duty primarily concerned with the dichotomy between reincarnation and becoming a ghost, rather than anything else; the only influence that she can exert is when she keeps a soul for her private collection, in which case it is not reincarnating at all.


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                    • Exalted: The Abyssals, page 26, The Broken Wheel: "Life moves in a grand cycle from life to death to life. Each life is a soul's chance to rise in the greatest cycle of all - reincarnation - from dumb beast, to human to, perhaps, Dragon-Blood and final union with the great Dragons themselves. The rise and fall of these cycles is the path of the natural world..."

                      That Taru-Han lacks authority to determine the destination of a reincarnated soul does not mean that no one does. It likely means there's someone or something else in Heaven handling that particular responsibility. My guess is she has a subordinate, in a similar manner to how Lytek and Parad are depicted splitting responsibility managing the when and who of DB Exaltation.

                      I completely disagree on your commentary of the Rising Butterfly prayer as well. I am unsure how you see it as divorced from moral considerations, nor how the exceptional nature of the prayer negates the existence of a heavenly bureaucracy for said prayer to go to. Sidereals can influence the consideration process for Terrestrial Exaltation, ergo there is a process.

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                      • Originally posted by Shinjo View Post
                        Exalted: The Abyssals, page 26, The Broken Wheel: "Life moves in a grand cycle from life to death to life. Each life is a soul's chance to rise in the greatest cycle of all - reincarnation - from dumb beast, to human to, perhaps, Dragon-Blood and final union with the great Dragons themselves. The rise and fall of these cycles is the path of the natural world..."
                        That's literally the Immaculate Order's line. You can tell because it speaks about union with "the great Dragons themselves" which human souls just flat out don't do.

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                        • Originally posted by Shinjo View Post
                          Exalted: The Abyssals, page 26, The Broken Wheel: "Life moves in a grand cycle from life to death to life. Each life is a soul's chance to rise in the greatest cycle of all - reincarnation - from dumb beast, to human to, perhaps, Dragon-Blood and final union with the great Dragons themselves. The rise and fall of these cycles is the path of the natural world..."
                          ​I'd be interested to know the context of that line, because on its own it sounds a lot more like a freelancer who wasn't familiar with much of the setting writing Immaculate dogma as though it was 100% accurate.

                          ​The line about union with the Dragons being an especially big red flag.

                          Originally posted by Shinjo
                          That Taru-Han lacks authority to determine the destination of a reincarnated soul does not mean that no one does. It likely means there's someone or something else in Heaven handling that particular responsibility. My guess is she has a subordinate, in a similar manner to how Lytek and Parad are depicted splitting responsibility managing the when and who of DB Exaltation.
                          You know, in the absence of specific information, you're free to place that in the blank space for your own tastes. I'm just pointing out that your assertion that the prior books wrote something unambiguous about the subject is at fault.

                          ​I mean, personally, I assume that there is a process that designates reincarnation in the bureaucracy, but it mostly just consists of assignments based on quotas and references to some procedural chart that gets rubber stamped by a middle manager.

                          Originally posted by Shinjo
                          I am unsure how you see it as divorced from moral considerations
                          Because it doesn't say that the Sidereals can only do it for people of any given characteristics; a Sidereal says a prayer over the funeral of any individual, and their soul gets a special consideration for whether or not it winds up in a child born from the Dragon Blooded.

                          ​Mind, when it comes to Sidereal powers, while I really like the manner in which they're described, it's hard to determine the line dividing those powers from processes that operate independently, whether it's the forest gods who adorn the tree they grow with the Investigation Prayer Strip Charm or the Heptarchy of gods who gather the sorrows of the future into jars that they bury in select places for Sidereals to find.

                          ​I mean, if these are things that operate independently from the Sidereals, it raises the question of why Charms and Resplendent Destinies are required to engage with them.


                          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                          Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                          https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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                          • Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                            ​I'd be interested to know the context of that line, because on its own it sounds a lot more like a freelancer who wasn't familiar with much of the setting writing Immaculate dogma as though it was 100% accurate.

                            ​The line about union with the Dragons being an especially big red flag.
                            It's only a red flag due to the assumption that the Immaculate Philosophy beliefs on reincarnation are 100% lies. If the Immaculates are at all accurate (though obviously not 100%!), as seems far more likely, then maybe spiritually enlightened souls do find some kind of union with the Dragons? I'm honestly not aware of any text in the books that says otherwise.

                            Again, I don't think the Immaculate texts give 100% accurate information. They are implied to lie about what kind of behavior will advance a soul along the wheel of reincarnation, given the motives for the refined Central Tenet being wholly political. That souls advance along the wheel, from beast to human to Exalt, was 1E canon.


                            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                            You know, in the absence of specific information, you're free to place that in the blank space for your own tastes. I'm just pointing out that your assertion that the prior books wrote something unambiguous about the subject is at fault.

                            ​I mean, personally, I assume that there is a process that designates reincarnation in the bureaucracy, but it mostly just consists of assignments based on quotas and references to some procedural chart that gets rubber stamped by a middle manager.
                            That's fair, but the notion that "random chance" is an assumed default state is no less an assertion! The difference is that my assertion that someone or something "considers" the soul has a great deal of contextual evidence while the lottery theory has none I am aware of. I would be genuinely curious to see book and page references backing the random chance theory of reincarnation if someone could provide them.

                            Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                            That's literally the Immaculate Order's line. You can tell because it speaks about union with "the great Dragons themselves" which human souls just flat out don't do.
                            That's not a section discussing the Immaculate Order, that's the section in the Abyssal book discussing exactly how reincarnation works. It's explaining the natural cycle before delving into how ghosts and the Underworld fit in as exceptions to it as part of the "broken" wheel. Are there other Exalted books that discuss the nature of reincarnation in 1E? The only one I can think of is Autochtontians but my recollection is that the procedures described for souls trapped inside the mechanical primordial mostly align with how the metaphysics Creation operates; the main difference is that you have mortal bureaucracies instead of heavenly ones collecting souls, recording the deeds of heroes and making the judgement on which are worthy of Exaltation.
                            Last edited by Shinjo; 10-09-2017, 12:19 PM.

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                            • Originally posted by Shinjo View Post

                              It's only a red flag due to the assumption that the Immaculate Philosophy beliefs on reincarnation are 100% lies. If the Immaculates are at all accurate (though obviously not 100%!), as seems far more likely, then maybe spiritually enlightened souls do find some kind of union with the Dragons? I'm honestly not aware of any text in the books that says otherwise.
                              There never needed to be any text that says otherwise because nothing about how souls work even remotely suggests that could ever happen.

                              Originally posted by Shinjo View Post
                              That's not a section discussing the Immaculate Order, that's the section in the Abyssal book discussing exactly how reincarnation works.
                              Again, that implies that the book can't be taken as accurate because it's blatantly quoting the immaculate scripture in a place where that's entirely inappropriate. When reincarnation was set up dragon blooded didn't exist and humans had nothing to do with the Elemental Dragons. There's absolutely no reason it would work like that at all.

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                              • I agree with Elfive and Isator.

                                I mean, I get what you're saying Shinjo. It's in the book. It just contradicts everything else.

                                Perhaps we should just ask the devs how reincarnation works in 3rd ed? Would that be easier? It's a bit difficult, as I've found before, to talk about the setting if people don't agree what is and isn't canon.


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