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How complicated should Infernals be?

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  • How complicated should Infernals be?

    So, I'm all for the idea of moving to Ability Charms for Green Sun Princes, and everything that might mean for them being more mechanically and thematically solid. But I do have certain concerns when the subject of yet another Yozi that their powers can be based off of comes up.

    ​It's mostly a case of the worry that they could go off in too many directions at once, or become overburdened, particularly in contrast to their counterparts. The cohesion of Solars is fairly self-evident, but I find the comparison to Abyssals to be particularly of note.

    ​I don't have the same concern with Abyssals because the figures that would serve as inspiration for their powers, the Deathlords, are not too far off from what the deathknights themselves are. They may be a different order of being, but aesthetically they're still human shaped things engaging in various kinds of human activities (if bad ones) with deathly powers that can generally be expected to extend from their human imagery. That and there aren't too many of them, and there's a clear aesthetic and thematic thoroughline between all of them. I presume that in the end, you could present Abyssals to somebody who knew nothing about the Deathlords, and they would hold together and make sense; the First and Forsaken Lion and Lover Clad in Raiment of Tears might help one write respective Resistance and Presence Charms, but I don't think they're necessary in order to read them, or make sense of both of those things coming from the same group.

    ​As inspirations for the powers of Exalted, the Yozis are stranger and more varied, and that raises a few concerns for me. One is that it could be harder to come up with Charms inspired by certain Yozis that would not lean too much into them; that whether you call it an Athletics Charm or not, if you reference Isidoros too heavily in it, it still ultimately comes across as an Isidoros Charm by another name. I would fear if that might create a lack of cohesion between any such Charms and anything else in Athletics. A kind of worry that somebody couldn't really make sense of the Charms if they didn't know the Yozis.

    ​Conversely, I would have a worry that if the Yozis don't get referenced heavily, you would wind up with something that seems like a random grab bag.

    ​As another contrast to Abyssals, it's like... when I saw the published Solar Presence Charms and how they mirrored the provisional Abyssal ones, it put the Abyssals in proper perspective for me. It gave me a sense that, as an inversion of Solars, there's a clear, core sense of what an Abyssal is, and for them Deathlord inspiration becomes a matter of dressing that up and giving it direction, rather than building Abyssals entirely out of Deathlord associations.

    ​With Infernals, I would wonder if there's a sense of an essential Hellish Solar where any given Yozi might be considered a matchup to something that a Solar might do and provides a similar thing to what the Deathlords do with Abyssals, or is the intention and permission of Yozi inspirations that Infernal Abilities go off in all kinds of wild directions?

    ​I hope that I don't come across as arguing for Green Solars. I'm just trying to establish a sense of how far Yozis as inspirations for their powers goes, and communicate some worries that creates about their cohesion.


    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
    Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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  • #2
    I favor/prefer broken, incoherent, grab bag effects in the Infernal Charmset. By the time of the Infernals in an edition's run, it needs shaken up, and a little madness does the trick. Reflecting broken, jarred beings in this meta way is, for me, a feature, not a bug. Also I'm a sucker for transhumanism, which may color my opinion.

    I get your point about having to read the Yozis to understand the Charms, but I have faith that the writers can loop it the other way around - by reading the Infernals Charmset, you come to know the Yozis. To grognards like you and me, not having read every word about the Yozis feels like an incomplete picture - but to someone who has only read rocking Isidoros Athletics Charms, he's the heavy metal bull who's the model for your hell powers, and that should make him cool enough.


    The Lunar Castebooks fan project

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    • #3
      Okay, third tries the charm.
      I think there are, as you suggest, 2 ways to approch this problem.
      1: What connects the 15 yozi asethetically?
      2: what is the centeral theme of the Infernals, seperate from the Yozi, as inversion of Solars is seperate from deathlords?

      1. I feel like there must be based on feeling. By which I mean, when reading homebrew Yozis, I get a feeling occasionally that this or that feels off or like it doesn't belong. I've said elsewhere I have suspcions of what could be a good link (for exaltation) between Yozi and Infernal, but thats not between the Yozi themselves. For that, I might go to some fact that they are singluar and absolute reference points, even among themselves? Like, all their descriptors feel like they need a THE. Which, for a group of 15 odd named individuals, makes sense. But beyond that and to what aesthetic, I'd have to spend a lot of time thinking and looking over Games of Divinity. Maybe something about their basic inhumanity? But that's not a good thing to build on. Hm...Anyway.
      2.THis one I have a few better stabs at. So, one thing that was mentioned in the ask devs that might be intreasting here is the existence of "normal" infernal charms that cover things like Budding PYsche bits into demons or making personal otherworlds. And that gives a tip as to infernal themes/concept/etc of hellish solars. Infernals are self-altering and self defining. Their a version of solars that has left Plato's Gold Philospher king (heh) to become Nietzche's ubermensch. I want a non-Nietzche reference for that, but that seems to align with the infernals and the Yozi to a degree. Hell, it works iwth the idea of each Infernal having their own Shintai, molding their body into a divine vessel/true expression of themeselves.

      ...which even if true is a terribly hard thing to balance, cuz Infernals self definition needs some coherence to it, other wise it's the "make up what you wanna be" tree. So probably,answering one will lead into answering 2? I'm thinking of the preivewed charms, and trying to think of how the "eating memories" adjoran stealth charms are meanignfully reflective of the identiy of Infenrals vs Solars.


      I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tikor View Post
        by reading the Infernals Charmset, you come to know the Yozis.
        ​I don't care about the Yozis; I want to know about the Infernals.

        ​I think that's really at the heart of my concern; there gets to be a point where people expressing excitement about all the possibilities of Charms inspired by even more Yozis becomes all about the giant monsters locked outside of the world forever, and the Exalted become window dressing.

        Originally posted by Epee102
        So, one thing that was mentioned in the ask devs that might be intreasting here is the existence of "normal" infernal charms that cover things like Budding PYsche bits into demons or making personal otherworlds.
        ​Other worlds is still something that I have reservations about, but I have sometimes thought about the image of creating and implanting miniature demons as a way of expressing certain effects.

        ​But where the demon involved is just a means to an end, rather than the point of the exercise; like a Sidereal Charm creating a personal pattern spider to retrieve information for you.

        ​Otherwise, I often find demon creation to be something that has an issue with not exactly having many places to go.

        ​Plus the concern about making something pivotal to characters that necessarily requires a lot of homebrew or improvisation.


        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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        • #5
          Folding the stuff everyone liked from Broken Winged Crane into the core Infernal experience sounds like a good idea, as long as you're careful.

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          • #6
            I suppose it won't hurt to talk about this now.

            John once talked to me about plans for 3e Infernals and at the time envisioned a mechanic that seemed reminiscent of the Bridge keyword but for charms that drew upon the thematics of a specific Yozi so there was an advantage to jumping off of (for example) Melee to follow Malfeas thematically.


            Onyx Path Forums Moderator

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            • #7
              When I try to resolve the question, I keep trying to think of what the core image of Infernals ought to be.

              ​Now for me, that is... well, Maleficent. Or, as something more transmissible to a variety of character concepts, terrible sorcerer kings of old.

              ​When I think about that, I have a clearer idea on how powers inspired by the Yozis can come together as a coherent whole; you don't focus on the Yozis, you mine them for things to represent the capabilities of the dread witch kings. Elloge is a valid source of inspiration, but don't tell me about her, don't even mention her, just tell me about freaky Linguistics Charms that, just off the top of my head, has the arguments of the Green Sun Prince extend from their mouth as tendrils of words that wrap themselves around another and physically bind them.

              I think if that was the subject of emphasis, even Linguistics Charms that manifest through a variety of effects would feel interconnected. It's an impression that I got off of those provisional Stealth Charms.

              Shintais are a whole other thing, and an area where I think the Yozi connection can be more apparent.


              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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              • #8
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                ​Other worlds is still something that I have reservations about, but I have sometimes thought about the image of creating and implanting miniature demons as a way of expressing certain effects.

                ​But where the demon involved is just a means to an end, rather than the point of the exercise; like a Sidereal Charm creating a personal pattern spider to retrieve information for you.

                ​Otherwise, I often find demon creation to be something that has an issue with not exactly having many places to go.

                ​Plus the concern about making something pivotal to characters that necessarily requires a lot of homebrew or improvisation.
                I meant more as examples of non-Yozi(maybe?) character charms. THey say something about imposing or projecting the self outward onto the world in a way that Solars at the moment don't. I kinda think they might integrity charms (Make demons out of intimacies to supress them or to protect them) or the like.
                I do think the image "ancient sorcerer king" might work, but it feels less...clear to me then "knights of death" and "glorious golden sun prince". But it'll probably be clearer with more charms.


                I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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                • #9
                  Solars can whip up a new god with Occult Charms. Would be strange for Infernals to not be able to do something similar.

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                  • #10
                    Isator, I agree with you, and I'm a bit worried about it too. I do think the devs have mentioned a few things I feel encouraged by, but there is a fundamental issue.

                    With Abyssals, it's quite simple to understand their themes. It's all about undead, ghosts, death, shadows, etc.

                    When I read the Infernal book, I thought they were really cool.
                    But when I played one, it felt very much like I had 3 different entirely-unlinked power sets in one character (green fire powers, running powers, and sand control). And I didn't feel like my character had any great link to the other 4 Infernals in his coven, they just seemed like a really random group of people with random people.

                    Actually, the best Infernal character I saw picked 95% of her charms from Malfeas and Cecylene, and was very much a demonic-cult leader who could punch with green fire. That way the powers seemed to have some kind of thematic link. She didn't have any powers about insane running, or invisible force tentacles.



                    The thing is, that Abyssals are based on pretty straightforward genre-tropes. Vampire knight. Lich. Revenant. Sexy vampire. Vampire wizard. Necromancer.

                    But Infernals aren't, because the writers of Exalted 1st ed explicitly didn't want Judeo-Christian demons as the theme. You don't have Infernals throwing hellfire and growing hooves, red scales and wings, or sacrificing virgins on pentagrams. (They did do a bit of wish-granting with Cecylene, which worked well actually).

                    They've got bits of judeo-Christian demon mythology, bits of various eastern demon mythology, bits of Cthulu mythos, but a lot more of random mad craziness.
                    This makes it much more difficult to build a thematically-linked Infernal charm set, where the Athletics charms and the Presence charms and the Lore charms and the Bureaucracy charms actually all feel like they're from the same thematic core, than it is for Abyssals, Solars, Lunars or even Sidereals.


                    And I do think that, to some extent, the answer is not to lean in to the Yozis too much. Have more "this is what Infernal powers are", with bits that mention the Yozis, rather than "you wield 25 disparate power sets of entirely different god-monster-worlds." Not to write the Yozis out entirely, but make Infernals feel like their own thing, not exigents of the Yozis.

                    I hope that doing Ability charms rather than Yozi charms means that what it is to be an Infernal, rather than just what it is to be a Yozi, can be explored a bit more.
                    Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-10-2017, 12:24 PM.


                    "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                    • #11
                      I've got to say, Infernals were the only Exalt-type whose book I loved, whose rules I loved, who I was really excited to play, and then within a few sessions decided I didn't like after all. (With 2 different characters). I don't know if anyone else found that, but only one player in our group (who as I mentioned, thought his character through carefully and created a character who did work thematically) continued playing Infernals, most people tried them and then went back to DBs, Solars and Lunars.


                      "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                      • #12
                        Maybe instead of a supernal ability infernals could get a supernal Yozi?

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                        • #13
                          I really hope not. That'd just lead back to the problem I had before, which is connected to over-emphasising the Yozis' powers* within the Infernal powerset.

                          *Actually, a charm set based around a single Yozi would work fine in terms of the problem of theme, it's just that there probably isn't enough there for a whole PC charmset. The problem is emphasising 5(+) entirely different Yozis.



                          You know, weirdly, I wouldn't really mind so much if the Infernal actually learned the Yozi's powers from the Yozi. Or learned demonic-themed powers from demons. That'd make it feel more like they'd learnt a disparate group of esoteric and magical techniques for power. But that's probably also impractical from a splat-book perspective.


                          "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                            Maybe instead of a supernal ability infernals could get a supernal Yozi?
                            If each abillity had 1 yozi to it (Malfeas does Resistance, Qaf Integrity, Cecylne does...Survival?), that might work.
                            My big problem with infernals was that, well, it felt hard to do visual thematics that were distinct from the really specific Yozi thematics. Like, if my Cecylne focused character lives in a jungle, sandstrike powers seem weird.
                            And Ceylne gives a good problem with 1 abillity 1 Yozi caveat I mentioned. Cecylene should have survial charms...but probably also, given her nature as judge, Bueracracy charms. Malfeas should be resistance, but also presence. But not all presence, because wow, I can't imagine Cecylene's cult leader idea without presence. And so on.


                            I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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                            • #15
                              Douuuuble poooost.


                              I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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