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Rethinking Marriage in the Realm

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  • #91
    I'd say that for the Age of Sorrows, and particularly going by this Edition's presentation of a lot of magical things, whether a particular Dragon Blood secures resources that allow them to live much more than 300 years isn't so much a matter of whether they can be bothered as it is if they have the right combination of factors that allows them to assemble those resources, of varying levels of reliability and efficacy. That it's a hard task to get all of that together, and the result might not even get you very much.

    ​There's probably a certain element of not being bothered, but that might be more in the vein of not seeing much prospect of success and thus not seeing it as an attractive prospect for your twilight years, rather than being distinctly uninterested in not dying.

    Originally posted by Juhn
    a "typical" Dragonblood (if there is any such thing)
    There are several thousand of them; they can't all be the Scarlet Empress.

    ​Sure, each Exalt's life is probably different in terms of the details, but the broad pattern is probably very similar for the majority of them.


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    • #92
      Hmm... Ren9077, based only on your presentation and comments on it, I think I'd agree with the idea that as you've presented it, it probably doesn't work terribly well for Houses compared to real world patriarchal marriages from IRL equivalents (or whatever the Lookshyish equivalent is). In the sense that, probably, it doesn't happen as much or as easily, investment by fathers (or grooms, I guess) and their extended families is pretty low compared to what they'd spend on personal projects, and marriage doesn't really knit the Realm's aristocratic class or Houses together very effectively, and it's mostly like that because of the Scarlet Empress, and she is largely personally unconcerned by either marriage or resources and less than interested in competing power bases.

      But, well, the Realm isn't really supposed to be a model anyway. It's not an aspirational society. Their way of doing things is not supposed to lack redeemable elements but not anything we're rooting for. It's a decadent society, and for features of that like its matriarchy, the expectation is this way of culture will probably come crashing down in a mess for something actually more sustainable in the setting's future without dictatorial fiat.

      A problem would be if whether this is inconsistent with how the Realm is supposed to have worked, and how it is being presented. If the Realm is being presented as having a lot of marriage and that it is an effective binding force, there's a problem.

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      • #93
        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
        I'd say that for the Age of Sorrows, and particularly going by this Edition's presentation of a lot of magical things, whether a particular Dragon Blood secures resources that allow them to live much more than 300 years isn't so much a matter of whether they can be bothered as it is if they have the right combination of factors that allows them to assemble those resources, of varying levels of reliability and efficacy. That it's a hard task to get all of that together, and the result might not even get you very much.

        ​There's probably a certain element of not being bothered, but that might be more in the vein of not seeing much prospect of success and thus not seeing it as an attractive prospect for your twilight years, rather than being distinctly uninterested in not dying.
        Fair enough, I suppose. My question was more whether Dragonblooded start dying of old age at 250-300, or whether that was the average which has been significantly dragged down by a hell of a lot of Dragonblooded die young and violently. Even if Dragonblooded die of old age at, say, 500, like it was in the 2e Dragonblooded book, Mnemon and the Scarlet Empress would still be exceptions, as Mnemon is 400 and nowhere near even middle age yet, and the same is true of the Scarlet Empress despite having hit 500 and being over halfway to hitting that number again.

        There are several thousand of them; they can't all be the Scarlet Empress.

        ​Sure, each Exalt's life is probably different in terms of the details, but the broad pattern is probably very similar for the majority of them.
        That bit was mostly a joke about "Typical Exalt" being a bit of an oxymoron in itself.

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        • #94
          250-300 was, in 2e, when they died of old age, naturally (though house leaders often used anagathic potions to live longer). The average lifespan was younger, because of all the ones who die in battle (or assassination).
          I think that's still the case in 3e.

          Mnemon and the Scarlet Empress used sorcery and anagathics to live longer. They don't have natural (even for DBs) lifespans.


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          • #95
            Ragara is about 500 but he is also exceptional. Generally, the heads of households or major organiztations (Ragara Baghwei is also about 400) can get old, but notably no one is actually as old as Her Redness in this, and there's a lot of folks who seem to have their own marraige norms about. (Baghwei is single as I gather, House founders are also unmarried from my gathering).


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            • #96
              Ragara's also senile and decrepit. He's like a mortal who lives to 110; it's possible, it happens, but they're not exactly in peak physical condition.

              But anyway, anagathics could (in 2e) extend your lifespan by 25% or even 50% for the really pricey stuff (which only the top DBs can really afford).


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              • #97
                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                250-300 was, in 2e, when they died of old age, naturally (though house leaders often used anagathic potions to live longer). The average lifespan was younger, because of all the ones who die in battle (or assassination).
                I think that's still the case in 3e.
                The only average the book gives in 2e is 300, and mentions that the average is lowered by the fact that only half of Dynastic Dragonblooded even live long enough to retire. It also mentions that living to 500 is entirely doable without having to resort to things like sorcery.

                Mnemon and the Scarlet Empress used sorcery and anagathics to live longer. They don't have natural (even for DBs) lifespans.
                Yup. From what I can tell, a Dragonblooded of Mnemon's age who wasn't a sorcerer would be easily 60 or 70 (in human terms), while she's physically eighteen years old, and unless her sorcery is going to age her unnaturally if she stops using it, likely still has at least another couple hundred years before she hits that point. The Scarlet Empress is physically a twentysomething and is 750. Neither of them are natural, but are good examples of why the 500 number for dying of old age in 2e specifies that that's without accounting for things like sorcery.

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by Blaque View Post
                  House founders are also unmarried from my gathering.
                  Well, this makes sense, going back to the premise of the OP. The interests of elders are the dominant motivation for Realm marriages. They're trying to interlink their interests with those of other elders 20+ years in advance. Contracts are worth the paper they're printed on; a marriage creates people, potentially Exalted people, who (regardless of which family name they get) who have a vested interest in the wellbeing of both of their families. The whole thing is a long game of creating a web of influence for the elders that, taken together, happens to also bind the Houses into a cohesive Empire. There are social and financial carrots and sticks they can use to make the arrangement appealing to their younger family members despite the arrangement itself sometimes being kind of a raw deal for the participants. But, since they don't have elders themselves, the House founders (and to some extent the living heads-of-Houses) only have to participate in the whole process if they want to.

                  Not to harp on the Rokugan thing again, but it's a useful counterexample of a system that's supposed to do the opposite. In that setting the Clans want to intermarry the nobility without linking the Clans interests going forward more than they absolutely have to. So, one participant officially cuts ties with their old family.
                  Last edited by Blackwell; 12-29-2017, 06:21 PM.

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                  • #99
                    Originally posted by Blaque View Post
                    (Baghwei is single as I gather, House founders are also unmarried from my gathering).
                    I don't think they are. I mean, quite a few are dead, but V'neef is married. Cathak Cainan is too, though he's not a House Founder. Tepet was the consort of the Empress (which implies marriage, but I note they specifically never call him her husband).
                    It seems likely most of the house founders did get married. Possibly multiple times (considering how old Ragara and Mnemon are, for example, I wouldn't be surprised if they'd had several spouses).

                    This might be something we'll see in 3rd ed actually, since they're going to talk about the founders more this time. (I mean, the Tepet spoiler had far more about him than has ever been mentioned before).


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                    • Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      Ragara's also senile and decrepit. He's like a mortal who lives to 110; it's possible, it happens, but they're not exactly in peak physical condition.

                      But anyway, anagathics could (in 2e) extend your lifespan by 25% or even 50% for the really pricey stuff (which only the top DBs can really afford).
                      Care to point a source? Decrepit does sound familiar but not really that certain about the senility part.

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                      • My goodness, what happened in THIS thread?

                        I will say this: medieval marriages are business transactions. Why would my daughter want to marry your son? Why would your son want to marry my daughter? Who cares? I get your loyalty if we end up at war with someone else.

                        A Song of Ice and Fire shows us how medieval marriages work and why they're put together. And yes, it also shows the downsides of arranged marriages. Which is the whole friggin' point.

                        I think the OP is assuming that any form of marriage is a perfect system, but the truth is that humans tend to make a mess of things.

                        Also: to answer the question of why a man would want a Realm marriage... well, just for one thing, a man from House Nellens can be proud of the fact that he's a mortal who got to bang a Dragon-Blood.

                        Realm marriage is one-sided in the favor of women because the person who made those laws is a woman. Not just that, but a woman who specifically wanted infighting between the Houses. If the men realize that their wives are big piles of crap, well... the Empress can probably expect the guy to murder his wife and set off a chain reaction of revenge and warring that keeps everybody at each other's throats.

                        I'm also kind of confused because the OP never really provided any real counterpoints to the new arguments given, instead just repeating the exact same points over and over again.

                        I apologize if my ramblings are disjointed and winding, but that's kind of how I think.

                        (The idea of a setting essentially pretending that humans grow on trees because of their unwillingness to discuss romance is hilarious to me, though)

                        (And for the record, OP, I'm a creationist but I don't deny that humans are animals. We're alive, we have lots of cells and we're not plants.)


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                        • Juhn, I think you're conflating a couple of things. The statement on lifespan is in the core, and said that they live to around 300 barring things like sorcery.

                          A statement of averages being messed up by how varied the numbers are was in the Manual, and it referred to how the figures on Dynast retirement were thrown off by how many make early fortunes and retire young.


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                          • It's possible I'm conflating things, but all of my sources are from the Manual, and from the section on retirement.

                            Although, upon doublechecking, while it does say that the average is 300, and that only half of all dragonblooded even make it to retirement age (which would skew said average), and it does specifically denote that the 500-years number is specifically without resorting to things like sorcery, the wording may be less "this is normal and expected" and more "this isn't unheard-of", and then specifically denotes that you can extend past that by using sorcery (ostensibly the Empress and Mnemon would be examples of this).

                            I'd quote the relevant sections, but I'm not 100% on the rules for that here.

                            I certainly took that to mean "the 300 figure is a mathematical average, skewed lower by the fact that you have a lot of Dragonblooded dying much, much younger than that to counterbalance the ones who live to 500 (or even longer, using sorcery)" rather than "an average (in the sense of "typical") Dragonblooded who dies of old age will do so at around 300 years old", back in 2e.

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                            • Originally posted by Baaldam View Post

                              Care to point a source? Decrepit does sound familiar but not really that certain about the senility part.
                              Actually, looking for it now, I can't find it, so maybe I'm wrong.


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                              • Ragara being senile is consistently dotted around the line; don't sweat it.

                                Mind, I don't think it matters very much beyond being a detail of this particular person being very old. The way that it came up, I'm a bit concerned that it was making a kind of "you can live a long time, but it exacts a terrible price" kind of thing.


                                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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