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A Timeline of the Eras in Arms of the Chosen

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  • A Timeline of the Eras in Arms of the Chosen

    So, after getting Arms of the Chosen, I've been seeing the various eras that artifacts are associated with, and I must say, I love the concept! They really give a sense of the long history of Creation, more than just the sort of four-part "Primordial War - First Age - Shogunate - Scarlet Empire" breakdown that 2e had. I particularly like the hints and suggestions about how they fit in together. Again, it gives a real sense that there's a history here, not just some vague ideas. Because I like them so much, I started trying to work out how they actually fit together, and what they show about the "new" history of Creation. This is what I've got so far.

    One note: I know the devs don't want to pin things down too firmly, since that makes it harder for STs to insert new, cool things into the backstory. So, in that spirit, I'm not going to speculate on the duration of any of these times, except when it's really obvious (The Ten-Year Winter, for instance). My best guess is that these eras happened in this order, but not necessarily immediately after one another - there should still be room to put other eras in the gaps.

    So, without further ado, here are the eras I was able to identify, and my speculation about what they involved.

    The Time Before
    I'm pretty sure this is the time before the creation of the Exalted and the war against the titans. The only artifact to reference it is Gorgon (pp. 83-85), which says it was created by "an ancient race", "ages ago", and suggests that the monster's jailers and whoever forged it into a daiklaive are all long-forgotten. I figure this is enough to peg the time period as a long time ago.

    The First Age

    War of the Gods
    This is the war of the Exalted and the gods against the titans/Primordials. There's a bunch of references in Arms to this. Also referred to as the Divine Revolution.

    Gossamer Dawn Era
    I believe this is the period immediately after the War of the Gods. Solar Exalted and several other types were active during this period, with no indication that Solars were being hunted that I could see. Also, Arms calls this the "dawn of the First Age" (Carnelian Phoenix, p. 119).

    Wondrous Dawn Era
    Like the Gossamer Dawn Era, I think this was just after the War of the Gods (in fact, due to the names being so similar, I kind of wonder if one might be a misname for the other). Arms mentions a Solar hero, Mirshaan, who fought in the War of the Gods, but "found little satisfaction in the peace that followed".

    Eight Directions Era
    Arms identifies this as "early in the First Age" (p. 22). The Exalted were apparently doing the "Eight Directions Embassy" at this time (p. 94), involving talking to a bunch of Fair Folk, demons, underworld creatures, and other supernatural creatures, and doing so diplomatically. I think this might be the time where the oaths were sworn that gave the Eclipse caste their diplomatic immunity.

    Sunstrife Wars
    This occured before "the Interregnum" (p. 118), and in "the early days of the Exalted's reign" (p. 160). It seems to be a time when the Solars were fighting each other over the rule of Creation. I'm tentatively putting it here, before the Niobraran War and the Shadow Deliberative, because I'm assuming that those required a united Exalted host to rebel against and rule over, respectively.

    Niobraran War
    This was in the "early days of their reign" for the Exalted Host (p. 152), and when discussing Horizon Endeavor, one of the most notable First Age warships, its suggested that it would be "preposterous" for it to have been built for this (p. 131). The references, in Arms and elsewhere, explain that this was a time period when an alliance of undersea races, lead by a type of Exalted called the "Spoken", rose up and challenged the land-based Exalted Host.

    Rotting Lotus Rebellion
    This is sometime in the First Age, when an empire of necromancer-kings and/or ghost princes warred against the Exalted host (p. 86). I'm assuming it happened after the Sunstrife Wars because it probably required a united thing to rebel against, like the Niobraran War, but beyond that, I don't know where it should go.

    Reign of the Shadow Deliberative
    This is only referenced in the writeup for Distaff (p. 25), and it really gives no clues about the time period. I'm putting it in the First Age purely based on its name, since "the Deliberative" is the name of the Solar government during at least part of the First Age, and putting it before the "Second Deliberative" because there's no references I could find elsewhere to a first Deliberative, so I'm guessing the "Shadow Deliberative" was it.

    Falling Stars Interregnum
    We know this happened after the fall of "the Deliberative" (p. 78), and that it occurred between "two mighty Deliberatives" (p. 6). There was at least one traitor during this time, who unleased Karvara on the world.

    Second Deliberative Era
    This is supposed to have occurred "before the First Age reached its height" (p. 48), and presumably happened after the Falling Stars Interregnum. It definitely occurred before "the turning of the age" (p. 37), which I assume is the turning from First to Second Ages.

    War of Lost Years
    This occurred at "the height of the First Age's splendor" (p. 147), even during which monsters from various realms outside Creation still troubled the world, including the Scorpion Empire.

    Dreams of the First Age
    This was "the High First Age" (p. 103) and "the apex of the First Age's majesty" (p. 163), and both references there are to Solars doing stuff pretty openly, so I think it's solidly pre-Usurpation.
    A thousand years after this period, Wu-Jian exists, in a form apparently close to the modern day (p. 67).

    Broken Blade Concordat
    This is before the Usurpation, since a Solar had an artifact made for them during this time and then the Usurpation happened after that (p. 35). I have no idea when in the timeframe it is, though.

    Five Devils War
    Another time period that happens before the Usurpation (p. 71), but beyond that, I can't pin it down.

    Era of Limitless Light
    I believe this is late in the First Age, since a Solar had had time to become "timeworn" (p. 53), but still have some adventures before the Calibration Feast that marked the Usurpation. Arms refers to it as a time when "magics beyond mortal ken reshaped Creation" (p. 6), possibly putting things like the Salinean Working here.

    The Second Age
    (Yes, I know there's disagreement and contradictory sources about whether the Second Age starts after the Usurpation or the Great Contagion/Balorian Crusade. I'm putting the division here for organizational purposes.)

    Shadows of the Usurpation
    This occurs after the Usurpation, presumably fairly immediately. The only reference, however, is ambiguous, to a Sidereal who decided the Usurpation was a failure on all the Exalted's part, and melted down a slain Solar's artifact to forge his own (p. 69).

    Five-Dragon Crusade
    This was the "early days of the Shogunate" (p. 107), during which there was apparently a number of Immaculate heresies around and fighting one another.

    Steel Petal Dominion
    This occurred during the Shogunate (p. 157). We know warring bloodlines of Dragonblooded were clashing during this time. Given the era is named after her, I think we can assume Daimyo Ghasara Steel-Petal probably took over a significant fraction of the others, if not all of them, during this time.

    Fallen Towers Dynasty
    Not a lot to fix this era down. All we know about it is that a) Lunars existed, and b) the borders of the Wyld have advanced since then (p. 110). Based pretty much on the name, I'm pegging it as sometime during the Shogunate.

    Reign of the Facet Princess
    A Lunar active during this time was later buried by her "fellow Silver Pact elders", suggesting that it happened long ago enough that the Silver Pact had formed and had elders after it (p. 30). I'd tentatively assign it to the Shogunate, but beyond that I can't say.

    Truce of Ivy
    This was "in the later years of the Shogunate" (p. 57). Beyond that, I don't know much about it.

    Last Days of the Shogunate
    Besides the very suggestive name, I don't know what this era entails.

    Reign of the Scarlet Empress
    The name's pretty obvious. The last ~700 years or so, post Contagion/Balorian Crusade, the time of the Realm.

    Time of Tumult
    Based on previous editions, this is the current era, post Scarlet Empress-disappearance.

    Unknown
    (I can't pin down these eras with any precision, so I'm putting them in a separate section.)

    Clepsys Divergence
    I have no idea when this happens, beyond the fact that Sidereals existed during it (p. 98) and that it's before the modern day.

    Luminous Ascencion Era
    Nothing really exists to pin this time period down, beyond the fact that Lunars existed, and Fair Folk were making incursions into Creation (p. 39).

    The Ten-Year Winter
    Again, nothing really to firmly fix this time period, beyond the fact that Lunars existed, behemoths were doing stuff, and that it occurred at least "centuries" before the present (p. 46).

    Autumn's End Incursion
    All we really know about this time, again, is that Lunars and Fair Folk are both active during it (p. 60).
    Last edited by Kelly Pedersen; 11-21-2017, 08:51 PM. Reason: Changed "Speakers" to "Spoken" in the Niobraran War section, to avoid spreading misinformation!

  • #2
    I actually tried to do something similar to this. I don't think the Shadow Deliberative was the name of the first deliberative. It sounds more like a secret conspiracy faction that ultimately led to the first deliberative's fall and the whole Falling Stars Interregnum thing.

    I also put the Broken Blade Concordat as the point where that period ended and the solars made peace to form the second deliberative, but that was totally a guess.

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    • #3
      I don't know why everyone keeps reading that they're called the Speakers.

      They're called the Spoken.

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      • #4
        Personally i’d swap the Sunstrife Wars and the Eight-Directions Era. My interpretation is the Sunstrife Wars ended with the rise of the First Deliberative. The Eight Directions Era was the Deliberative reaching out to explore and integrate all the far flung Exalted into their assembly, establish cohesive diplomatic and trade treaties beyond Creation, etc etc.
        Last edited by glamourweaver; 11-22-2017, 12:34 AM.


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        • #5
          To further complicate this issue I'll point out that there's nothing stopping the Realm from naming an era one thing and the Lunars or even the Sidereals from naming it another. At least post-usurpation these time periods could denote things that were locally relevant but not creation-spanning.

          For instance: the 10 year winter coincides with the 10 years it took the Snow Hunter to take down Galaech-Ma on creation's edge. Nothing there suggests that the winter extended across all of creation, and if it did you'd think the wyld hunt would try and slay the behemoth as well to break its grip on the world.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
            To further complicate this issue I'll point out that there's nothing stopping the Realm from naming an era one thing and the Lunars or even the Sidereals from naming it another. At least post-usurpation these time periods could denote things that were locally relevant but not creation-spanning.
            Indeed. An artifact forged in Lookshy during the Reign of the Scarlet Empress would have its era given in the Lookshyan calendar, for instance.


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            • #7
              It occurred to me the 10 Year Winter could be regional, but I honestly like the idea of a Creation wide prolonged winter during the Shogunate as fallout from the “Autumn’s End Incursion”, so that’s what i’m Going with.


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              • #8
                The way that I'm putting it (for now, at least):

                ​War of the Gods (for obvious reasons)

                ​Gossamer Dawn: Humanity and the Exalted first stepping into an era of freedom and mastery, new, fresh, and extremely tentative and fragile

                ​Sunstrife Wars: Many Solars respond to fresh new era by fighting amongst themselves. Many grand feats of arms and valour, but little real accomplishment.

                ​Wondrous Dawn: Cooler heads have prevailed over the Sunstrife, and the Exalted spend some time settling, consolidating and debating a course for the future. The Gossamer Dawn might have been the beginning of the Age, but this is regarded as the beginning of the Realm, with hopes high and a firmly envisioned bright future ahead.

                Eight-Directions: After forming alliance in the Wondrous Dawn, one of the first priorities is to discover Creation anew. Much of the consolidated humanity in the East and South had precious little knowledge of the world at large in the prior Age, and much of that was rendered invalid anyway by the War. It's an opportunity for exploration, connecting far-flung communities (some of whom have been out of contact for countless generations, known largely from rumour and mystery of Exalted who emerged from the wilderness to join the greater Host), and make first contact with rival powers within and without the world.

                ​Niobraran War: Direct consequence of the former era, and first real challenge to the Realm. Encroaching upon the West brings them into contact with the Niobraran League, which formed and grew strong in the decades or centuries after the overthrow of the Primordials, sheltered by the great ocean and with the unexpected boon of their own Exalted. Tensions and border skirmishes ultimately erupt into full-blown war for supremacy over Creation; while I think the Spoken are supposed to be in charge, I conceive of some of the Chosen of the Depths as being the force behind the idea of "we can take the whole pie". The Realm is hard pressed, but ultimately victorious, and the organisation necessary to conduct such war forms the foundations of the Deliberative.

                ​Nothing is directly attributed to a First Deliberative Era, but I still picture it as a distinct thing.

                ​Dreams of the First Age: Under the shelter of the Deliberative, the Realm is free and empowered to create many wonders, and its figures engaged in grand melodramas. Having discovered much of the world geographically, this becomes a period dedicated to much investigation into art, poetry, philosophy, metaphysics, mysticism and science. A ripe age, fat with learning, but also inclined to a bit of indulgence.

                ​Then come several of the wars and rebellions, as powers that grew during the Dreams begin to assert themselves against the Realm, several interpersonal feuds grow to major conspiracies that undermine the cohesion of the Realm, and qualities of its power and its vulnerability draw a lot of attention from Outside, with many nations of the Wyld seeking to test themselves against the Exalted Host or lay claim to Creation in whole or in part.

                ​Reign of the Shadow Deliberative: Numerous powers at work in the world combined with the distraction of many of the Exalted as they become more involved in dealing with crisis or pursuing their own ambitions or agendas allows the Deliberative to subtly come under the control of parties other than the original Exalted. The initial membership aren't necessarily malevolent, but the majority gradually shifts to Exalted of somewhat more disturbing origins (including the Infernal, who have been considered taboo since the beginning). Their agendas and obscure qualities ultimately undermine or squander much of the social and material infrastructure of the Realm, and it functionally becomes divided into numerous insulated princedoms.

                ​Broken Blade Concordat: Many of the Exalted have realised what has become of the Deliberative and rebel against it. Shadow Deliberators are either brought down or go into hiding, but the rebels don't resume the Deliberative in their place, having become disillusioned with the idea.

                ​Falling Stars Interregnum: The first period in millennia with no Deliberative. With no collaborative or coordinating body, most of the Exalted look to their own concerns, safeguarding what domains they establish for themselves or moving freely to provide aid and protection to the divided lands of the Realm, or otherwise performing their works therein. Creation is considered diminished, but more peaceful than it has been in some time (with the occasional flare-up of a major crisis, such as Karvara).

                ​Second Deliberative Era: Time in which certain interests in the Exalted Host decide that the time is right to establish a new Deliberative, learning lessons from the past to become greater than the one before. There is much resistance to it, either from Exalted who are still wary after the results of the last one or nations that fear for their independence, but after extended periods of diplomacy, war, interchange of ideas and export of culture, a new, more codified Deliberative is established to govern the Realm, and sets to work addressing numerous issues that are seen as an obstacle to achieving the true potential of humanity.

                ​Era of Limitless Light: The fruit of the prior era's labour. Freed from many constraints or other duties, with great accumulated knowledge and most of the worst enemies having been subdued, the Realm is free to create greater wonders than ever before, creating works of unparalleled beauty, enlightenment, fulfilment and joy. Utilizes institutions of such efficiency that most concerns are recognized and dealt with via great speed. Not a world without wrongs, but largely a world without want. Unfortunately, the particular manner of the efforts this demands of many of the Exalted creates room to allow the Great Curse to fester.


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                • #9
                  My interpretation largely lines up with Isator’s.

                  I’d just throw in that i’d place the Rotting Lotus Rebellion early in the reign of the Second Deliberative, a conflict that let it firmly establish its authority.

                  The Five Devils War i’d put during the Era of Limitless Light as a conflict set off by a Solar Circle trying to enforce virtuous righteousness on Creation used bound demonic might to do it. Both foreshadowing the Usurpation in terms of what they were rebelling against, and at the same time committing the kind of reckless exercise in might themseves that inspires it.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
                    I don't know why everyone keeps reading that they're called the Speakers.

                    They're called the Spoken.
                    ​Whoops, thanks for the correction!

                    Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                    Personally i’d swap the Sunstrife Wars and the Eight-Directions Era. My interpretation is the Sunstrife Wars ended with the rise of the First Deliberative. The Eight Directions Era was the Deliberative teaching out to explore and integrate all the far flung Exalted into their assembly, establish cohensive diplomatic and trade treaties beyond Creation, etc etc.
                    Yeah, I could see that.

                    Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
                    To further complicate this issue I'll point out that there's nothing stopping the Realm from naming an era one thing and the Lunars or even the Sidereals from naming it another. At least post-usurpation these time periods could denote things that were locally relevant but not creation-spanning.
                    Originally posted by Robert Vance View Post
                    Indeed. An artifact forged in Lookshy during the Reign of the Scarlet Empress would have its era given in the Lookshyan calendar, for instance.
                    Good point, and thanks for the confirmation, Robert! To add to that, nothing actually says that the eras are necessarily non-overlapping, so that can mix these timelines up further. Well, just more grist for the ST's mill when it comes to making up weird history, I suppose. :-)


                    Originally posted by armyofwhispers
                    For instance: the 10 year winter coincides with the 10 years it took the Snow Hunter to take down Galaech-Ma on creation's edge. Nothing there suggests that the winter extended across all of creation, and if it did you'd think the wyld hunt would try and slay the behemoth as well to break its grip on the world.
                    True, it might just refer to the Snow Hunter's personal timeline. However, we don't really know that killing Galaech-Ma ended the Winter, either - it might just be cooincidence that the Snow Hunter's Hunt and the Ten-Year Winter were both 10 years. Or, even if it isn't coincidence, precisely, it doesn't have to be precisely a cause-and-effect thing. There's a lot of mythic resonance in a great beast coming into Creation with whatever weakens the barriers, and being slain just as that phenomena is ending. The Wild Hunt might have been busy killing all the other behemoths that wandered in at the same time.

                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                    ​Gossamer Dawn: Humanity and the Exalted first stepping into an era of freedom and mastery, new, fresh, and extremely tentative and fragile

                    ​Sunstrife Wars: Many Solars respond to fresh new era by fighting amongst themselves. Many grand feats of arms and valour, but little real accomplishment.

                    ​Wondrous Dawn: Cooler heads have prevailed over the Sunstrife, and the Exalted spend some time settling, consolidating and debating a course for the future. The Gossamer Dawn might have been the beginning of the Age, but this is regarded as the beginning of the Realm, with hopes high and a firmly envisioned bright future ahead.
                    Yeah, I could see this. "Gossamer" certainly has connotations of fragility and illusion, so later historians could very well have decided to use it for the "false start" before the wars between the Solars really got going.


                    Originally posted by Isator Levi
                    ​Dreams of the First Age: Under the shelter of the Deliberative, the Realm is free and empowered to create many wonders, and its figures engaged in grand melodramas. Having discovered much of the world geographically, this becomes a period dedicated to much investigation into art, poetry, philosophy, metaphysics, mysticism and science. A ripe age, fat with learning, but also inclined to a bit of indulgence.

                    ​Then come several of the wars and rebellions, as powers that grew during the Dreams begin to assert themselves against the Realm, several interpersonal feuds grow to major conspiracies that undermine the cohesion of the Realm, and qualities of its power and its vulnerability draw a lot of attention from Outside, with many nations of the Wyld seeking to test themselves against the Exalted Host or lay claim to Creation in whole or in part.

                    ​[snip]
                    ​Second Deliberative Era: Time in which certain interests in the Exalted Host decide that the time is right to establish a new Deliberative, learning lessons from the past to become greater than the one before. There is much resistance to it, either from Exalted who are still wary after the results of the last one or nations that fear for their independence, but after extended periods of diplomacy, war, interchange of ideas and export of culture, a new, more codified Deliberative is established to govern the Realm, and sets to work addressing numerous issues that are seen as an obstacle to achieving the true potential of humanity.
                    I don't think the text really supports this, though. The Second Deliberative period (in Asphodel's writeup) is clearly referred to as "before the First Age reached its height", while the Dreams of the First Age is referred to multiple times as the "High" First Age and the "apex" of the First Age, which pretty much puts it after the Second Deliberative Era to my mind. Of course, the Second Deliberative as a body doesn't necessarily have to end before the Dreams of the First Age period gets going, merely stop being the most important thing around that eras get named after.


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                    • #11
                      My assumption is that the second deliberative existed up until the usurpation.

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                      • #12
                        My only real comment is the War of the Gods is before first age. The end of the War marked the beginning of the First Age.

                        So pretty minor.

                        I do kinda want to compare some of these eras to events discussed in Dreams of the First Age. So sound pretty similar and may provide more context to the order in Which they hhappen. Though, there is the issue of Dreams being pretty much as far from 3e as you can get.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post

                          I don't think the text really supports this, though.
                          The text supports quite a bit when the first thing we're told about the history is how obscured and distorted by time and legend it has become. Every Artifact's story is true, even if it didn't necessarily happen, and all.

                          ​I don't even intend those summaries to be strictly accurate in all details to what actually happened, nor preclude individual legends that might contradict them a bit. Just a general narrative for the development of the history of the Exalted, coloured a bit by my own notions of the First Age.

                          ​I put periods of grace and prosperity after establishment of Deliberatives because it fits my general picture of what the result of a Deliberative is. I put Dreams earlier because the term has connotations to me of something more distant and obscurely remembered, while Limitless Light goes second because it's described as having the magics beyond mortal ken. I'm not really basing it on some of the words that show up in Artifact write-ups.

                          ​That being said, I can right now construe a basis for reversing that order; where unimaginable magic goes first in the process of remaking Creation (and is the thing that results in rebellious powers), and having accomplished its task is largely disregarded and forgotten in later eras, and Dreams is a reference to heightened prosperity to the point of a sense of immersive unreality, reminiscent a bit of the term ukiyo.

                          ​.... Hmm, I was going to make a point about neither arrangement being strictly wrong because it's all a matter of personal taste and imagination anyway, but I think I prefer the latter now. It doesn't change my point, but I've talked myself into it.

                          ​Come to think of it... part of my thinking was of a mind to make Dreams of the First Age the period in which the visions covered by the Caste Book chapters of the same name take place, and that actually would make more sense as the one that goes before the Usurpation.


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                          • #14
                            "Ironically, the Ten Year Winter only lasted eight years and seven months. All historians agreed to change the name because Ten Year Winter sounded cooler than Eight-And-A-Half Year Winter."
                            Last edited by Kyman201; 11-22-2017, 01:44 PM.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                              It occurred to me the 10 Year Winter could be regional, but I honestly like the idea of a Creation wide prolonged winter during the Shogunate as fallout from the “Autumn’s End Incursion”, so that’s what i’m Going with.
                              At least it gives people the excuse to go "Winter is Coming."

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