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Isator Levi reads Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought

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  • #76
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    Oooof, I’m taken aback by that use of the word “symbology”; even leaving aside whether it’s a real word or not, it would refer to the study of symbols, not the application of them. That really should be symbolism. As to the substance of their symbolism… the idea that House colours are out of fashion, and thus carry a particular statement, is an interesting dimension to add to House culture.
    It is a real word, it refers to the study or use of symbols.

    Symbolism refers to the meaning of those symbols. They're discussing the symbols themselves and what they look like, symbology is the correct term.

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    • #77
      Oh I know, good point. That's wonderful news! You and me both pal.

      ​God, the acoustics in here are fantastic.
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      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
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      • #78
        To finish off, the Cadet Houses: provincial Dragon Blooded families that didn’t see an advantage in relocating to the Blessed Isle, who were still seen as valuable to tie to the Dynasty with marriage, and occasional fruitful unions between Dynasts and mortal royalty.

        Oh, a historical event relating to the subject of remaining Shogunate gentes. That’s a good call right there. The question of lingering remnants of the Shogunate on the Blessed Isle, now that was a bit of a plot hole, so it’s useful to address it in its own right at the same time as it adds another layer to Cadet Houses.

        They’ve got the privileges of Dynasts individually, but lack the benefits of the large, corporate structure that the Great Houses have through their hundreds of Exalted, vast numbers of mortal scions, and probably things like imperial territories and remits; I imagine that it’s hard to make the kind of money that a Great House has when you aren’t given a monopoly (or close) on a lucrative industry, or a portion of imperial tribute.

        Or at least not directly; it seems that the Empress would subtly send them opportunities to keep them afloat, as part of a whole system of keeping a semi-independent and rival power to counterbalance Great Houses in the Threshold. At times like this, it’s worth me remembering that the Blessed Isle is large, developed and lucrative enough that a large amount of their business could take place exclusively there.

        House Ferem is back, the previously existing cadet. Not much change there, except for having been affected by Bagrash Kol’s empire, and having cousin house’s in neighbouring regions. House Desai lives in proximity to Jiara, having lived under the government of others so that they could focus on art and luxury, and feeling the pressure of expectation that they join the Wyld Hunt. Burano and Ophris of Prasad are technically counter as cadet houses, but having been actual Great Houses that seceded from the Dynasty and established their own dominion, their status and relationship stands as its own, distinct thing. Finally there’s Yueh, far down the Southern coast, with some rather unfortunate ties to Houses such as Tepet and V’neef; also, if I’m reading this correctly, have an interesting position in which their monarchy was overthrown, but they’re still strong participants in the successor government.

        The cadet houses are obviously a bit of a footnote, but they get the point across, and add some diverse personalities to the margins of the Scarlet Dynasty.


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        • #79
          All right, so since there's an interim before we get the next couple of chapters, my final assessment of Chapter Two:

          ​I've often found one of the interesting things given about the Great Houses to be in the Second Edition corebook, that little sidebar describing them and their different objectives and priorities in the Realm's future, that nothing else ever seemed to pick up upon. If a revised write-up of the Scarlet Dynasty had taken the principle of that to heart, that alone would have been enough to satisfy me.

          ​These write-ups do that, but they have so much more. The Houses feel like something much bigger than they ever used to be, expanding from extended aristocratic families to sprawling, corporate tribal bodies, with everything that implies. Unique cultures and lifestyles, traditional territories in which they have left their mark and industries that they have made their own, a deep sense of history. They feel alive and breathing in a way that they never have before, that very few other things in the game ever have. The sheer detail of them, from their spirituality and high ideals, to their pragmatic material concerns, and the manner in which they intersect and clash from one another gives so many possibilities for character and storyline.

          ​More than ever before, they feel as though they have achievements in the past, and a place in the setting's future, which really firms up the significance and credibility of the Dragon Blooded. And those aspects are guided so much by how they want concrete things, that provide context and direction to their actions, and that arise logically from the backgrounds they've been given. Not meaning it as a criticism, but in the past, I would have generally viewed the Houses as slight variations on a general desire for maintaining their luxurious lifestyles; any notion of them valuing power over money stymied by the question of what they would even use power for. This Edition gives multiple answers to that question, and it makes the motivation of their characters, and the bodies as a whole, much richer.

          ​Sprinkle all of that with many of the Houses being faced with complex situations, numerous priorities and objectives and limited resources, without easy answers to trouble their characters with, and meaningfully guide their politics.

          Aaaaand effectively redeeming the weaker, less interesting Houses of yesteryear.

          ​All with only about five pages each, no particular area of focus ever needing to outstay its welcome with unnecessary detail.

          ​It's an excellent job. That this is only a quarter of a way through the book... heh, it's more than I deserve.


          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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          • #80
            I, too, have enjoyed the first preview. I really got a much better sense of the Great Houses and how to utilise them in the 2e book.

            However, one thing that struck me is, what about the Roseblack? She was mentioned in the Tepet section (though not as a Scion of Note?), and while the bit about her made her out as a competent general, it didn’t mention her shot at the Scarlet Throne. In 2e, it was essentially her or Mnemon that the race came down to. Is she no longer a serious competitor?
            Last edited by Weimann; 04-01-2018, 10:43 AM.


            Dex Davican wrote: I can say without exaggeration or dishonesty that I am the most creative man ever to have lived

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            • #81
              I was kind of glad for that, tbh. If the Roseblack's supposed to be the outside bet, coming in when no one expects her, a charismatic young officer... they really went on about her too much in 2e.
              Also, she kind of fits a role that can easily be one of PCs, whereas Mnemon does not.
              As the assumed competitors for PCs, I think the more institutional characters like the Empress's own daughters make more sense.
              Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 04-01-2018, 10:41 AM.


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              • #82
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                ​Does it? I mean, that money is mostly imaginary anyway, and debt is the kind of thing that can make you money even beyond the debtor periodically repaying it.

                It's an expression, capturing the real idea that if you hold a sufficient amount of debt then your creditors cannot risk you defaulting lest you bring ruin upon them as well.


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                • #83
                  Originally posted by wastevens View Post


                  It's an expression, capturing the real idea that if you hold a sufficient amount of debt then your creditors cannot risk you defaulting lest you bring ruin upon them as well.
                  ​I think my point addresses some of the manners in which that risk can be mitigated, whether it be trading with the debt as a financial instrument or collateral, or futures based on basically getting people to gamble on whether or not the debt will be repaid, not to mention forms of insurance that can compensate you in the event of a debtor folding.

                  Also the possibility of still being able to sell a defaulted debt on to somebody else, to at least recoup some of your losses.

                  ​Not to mention how things like interest rates can be calibrated in such a manner that, after a long enough amount of time (which can be shorter than one might think), the debtor defaulting doesn't really matter, because they've already paid back the actual value of their loan several times over, even if they haven't yet failed to repay their debt.

                  ​That being said, I wouldn't think it's unlikely that House Ragara doesn't frequently engage in deals where they'll ultimately need to eat a loss; what business doesn't? I would suspect that they've got enough going on all over to prevent any reasonably small number of losses from being a disaster, that even if the House as a whole ends a year with the accounts in the red that they'll have enough assets and plans for the future, and that it helps that a lot of it is technically taking a back seat to their occult research anyway.


                  I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                  Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by wastevens View Post


                    It's an expression, capturing the real idea that if you hold a sufficient amount of debt then your creditors cannot risk you defaulting lest you bring ruin upon them as well.
                    The problem with this quote is how it applies in practice. The reason for it in the real world is because banks typically ride the line between solvency/not being solvent as a matter of course. However i am not sure how true that was in the historical context. That is, how accurate was that statement in less risk-accepting systems? For example even in relatively modern times, when several Latin American countries defaulted in their debt to the IMF etc, they did not bring about the financial ruin of their creditor nations/institutions.

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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Weimann View Post
                      Is she no longer a serious competitor?
                      Honestly? I feel as though she has a lot less need to be, and makes more sense as somebody focused on the more sophisticated milieu of the current House Tepet.

                      ​I have a sense that Ejava as she was back then was a contender primarily as a kind of expy for Julius Caesar, which was all well and good at the time, but the setting and the Scarlet Dynasty has kind of moved beyond that.


                      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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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Weimann View Post
                        I, too, have enjoyed the first preview. I really got a much better sense of the Great Houses and how to utilise them in the 2e book.

                        However, one thing that struck me is, what about the Roseblack? She was mentioned in the Tepet section (though not as a Scion of Note?), and while the bit about her made her out as a competent general, it didn’t mention her shot at the Scarlet Throne. In 2e, it was essentially her or Mnemon that the race came down to. Is she no longer a serious competitor?
                        Well, Mnemon's ambitions in that direction only get one line in her entry.

                        ​Also, I beleive it was mentioned, back when House Tepet was previewed, that T.Ejava doesn't get a Scion's entry because she has a character write up elsewhere.

                        ​I'd expect the whole "race for the thrown" who's who, to be detailed more in The Realm than in the Dragon-blooded.
                        Last edited by Greyman; 04-01-2018, 05:02 PM.

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                        • #87
                          Tepet Ejava makes a great deal of sense as a candidate for the throne in a situation where there's been open war for a couple of years, and the economy has been fucked, and a lot of the clever plans and lofty ambitions of the houses going into the war have just shattered against the reality of the situation, and a few matriarchs have fallen to assassination, and hey, look, here's this competent, charismatic general who's endured and prospered and proven herself valuable in a bunch of situations and whose apparent personal integrity has impressed a lot of folks who want, more than anything, for the war to end, and she's starting to look like the one who can do that.

                          She makes very little sense as a candidate before the war's started.

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Greyman View Post
                            Well, Mnemon's ambitions in that direction only get one line.

                            ​Also, I beleive it was mentioned, back when House Tepet was previewed, that T.Ejava doesn't get a Scion's entry because she has a character write up elsewhere.
                            True. It's just that the House articles had been pretty good at pointing out and making a very practical reference sheet over both old and new pretenders to the throne, and I was really expecting, y'know, the second most likely candidate in 2e to have it at least mentioned. I'm fine with her character changing between editions, as I agree with The Wizard of Oz that she's sort of filling a PC role, but it just sort of confused me. Like, was I missing something?


                            Dex Davican wrote: I can say without exaggeration or dishonesty that I am the most creative man ever to have lived

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                            • #89
                              Originally posted by Weimann View Post
                              Like, was I missing something?
                              It sounds like it? Look at Lea's post before yours.

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Eric Minton View Post
                                ... somewhere down the line — and probably not far down the line, since Peleps Bob is going to need money to pay his troops and maintain his ships now that there's a war on — Peleps Bob needs another loan and goes to a non-Ragara lender, only to find that the terms are harsher than even the most cutthroat Ragara loan. This is because defaults aren't unilateral. "If you won't pay Ragara back," lenders think, "how can I be sure you'll pay me back?"
                                On the other hand, "I'm not paying Ragara, oh Guildsman, because their House legions are fighting my House's legions" is something any businessman with the sense to stay out of the warlord game can understand.

                                So the Scylla of the civil war is that Ragara gets involved in the fighting, sees a whole bunch of Houses array against it in part because arraying against it gives them a good excuse to repudiate their debts, and the House winds up (in the worst case) destroyed. The Charybdis is that Ragara stays out of the fighting, the victorious side owes House Ragara a lot of money while resenting them for sitting out of the bleeding, and (in the worst case) the firmly-established new Empress liquidates the debts of her supporters by liquidating House Ragara.

                                And, of course, whatever Ragara is doing with the occult would seem to be the insurance policy in case their navigation falters and their course slips too close to either side in the passage through the Realm civil war.

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