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Exigents - What Kills Gods but not Mortals?

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  • Exigents - What Kills Gods but not Mortals?

    I've been digging through old threads (and have seen some awesome Exigent ideas) - but I'm seeking something more like what the 3E book presents us...

    What could kill a god - but not necessarily kill mortals?

    There's that regional Harvest god who realized it was as good as dead anyways (as the Wyld was flooding in) - but what else? If you wanted to depict mortals being empowered there and then, how would a god die - in such a way - that powering-up some mortals seems like a viable last-act against (the cause of death)?

    Have you used Exigents yet in your stories?

    Is there an ETA as to when we might see their book?

    Edit: And to be more precise - what situations could you imagine - in which a God is going to die - but a freshly-made Exigent might survive? What is a God's kryptonite? What would be the "Abin Sur" situation in which a God sees fit to pass on its power somehow to a worthy mortal?
    Last edited by Salagimsim; 04-19-2018, 04:57 PM.


    Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion.
    It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom.
    Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.
    - Their Eyes Were Watching God

  • #2
    Occult Charms.
    (Among other things.)


    Part-time table flipper.

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    • #3
      Lack of worship. Maybe the god pissed off the Immaculate Order, and they haven't been allowed to be worshiped for a century. For some reason, they also cannot get handouts in Yu Shan. So, their only hope is to power an Exigent and rebuild their worshiper base or starve.

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      • #4
        Well, the first thing I'd note is that the logic is not always (in fact, I'd say rarely) going to be "this threat will kill me but not a mortal, guess I might as well die". There are a variety of other reasons for a god to create an Exigent, including gods who will kill themselves in the process. I'd include the following:

        Exalted are inherently more flexible than gods - a field god has a very limited set of powers, which will probably never change unless they're promoted to a new station. Strawmaiden Janest, on the other hand, can figure out new ways to express the field-god-power she's been infused with, and this can basically continue as long as she's got experience to burn and her player and the ST can keep coming up with cool custom charms.

        Exalted are also more capable of growth than gods. Again, that field god is probably stuck at Essence 1 or 2, barring promotion. Whereas a human is just going to keep growing, barring death. That means that a higher-essence Exigent could very well be capable of doing things that outstrip the original god who granted them power.

        Exalted humans can probably go more places than a god as well. Depending on their portfolio, a god might be prevented, either legally or metaphysically, from going more than a certain distance from their sanctuary, and even if they aren't, there are places where their divine power might be severely reduced - a god of life or growth might find itself badly weakened in the Underworld, for example. Exigents seem like they'd be less affected by this.

        Exalted are less constrained by the laws of Heaven. A god, strictly speaking, isn't supposed to interfere with the mortal world, just defend its purview and report on its functioning to the Celestial Bureaucracy. Getting too involved or manipulating humans too much can get you censured, or at least shell out big quantities of ambrosia in bribes. But a mortal, even one infused with divine power, isn't subject to Heaven's laws - the Creation Ruling Mandate means that the Unconquered Sun ceded control of Creation to the Solars and, by extension, humanity in general. So an Exigent could do things that their god couldn't, legally, do.

        Finally, don't discount pure sentiment. Exigents probably generally have extended lifespans, and are more capable of defending themselves than standard mortals. A god who loved a mortal might be willing to give up much of their divine power, even to the point of dying, in order to make sure their favorite human was empowered.

        So, putting all this together, a god can have a lot of reasons to offer the Exigence to a mortal, even if that will destroy the god. They've just got to have something to accomplish that an Exigent would be able to do better than they could, and sufficient desire to accomplish it that they're willing to die to do so.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Florin View Post
          Lack of worship. Maybe the god pissed off the Immaculate Order, and they haven't been allowed to be worshiped for a century. For some reason, they also cannot get handouts in Yu Shan. So, their only hope is to power an Exigent and rebuild their worshiper base or starve.
          That's not really how gods work; after all, the majority of them in the setting won't be worshipped.

          ​This is also the kind of scenario that is definitely going to entail going on the black market to steal the Exigence intended for somebody else; the Unconquered Sun is probably not going to be moved by your pleas for somebody to build up your base of delicious prayer.

          ​As for Salagimsim's question, the Underworld can also do the trick. Possibly in the hands of a god that is repulsed by the deathly Essence in principle; they see the omens indicating that a shadowland is about to sprout, for reasons other than lots of people nearby dying. The disruption of the local Essence is liable to mess the god up anyway, and they hate the idea of such an intrusion, so they're willing to offer themselves on the Sun's alter to bring forth an Exalt that can oppose it.


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
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          • #6
            The Exigence itself is a portion of power the god can tap into to bestow, but not use for itself. When Ten Sheaves empowered Janest, she came out of the deal with more power than Ten Sheaves himself had.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Salagimsim View Post
              Edit: And to be more precise - what situations could you imagine - in which a God is going to die - but a freshly-made Exigent might survive? What is a God's kryptonite? What would be the "Abin Sur" situation in which a God sees fit to pass on its power somehow to a worthy mortal?
              As Lea indicated, Exigents are Exalted and thus often more powerful than many gods, including their own patrons. So there are many foes in the setting that a god, especially a lesser one, would fall against, but an Exalt would put up a fight.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                Exigents are Exalted and thus often more powerful than many gods, including their own patrons.
                ​They can be more powerful because they're made with the added help of the Unconquered Sun. I think a strong argument can be made that none of the Celestial Exalted are more powerful than their patrons, and the Terrestrial Exalted definitely aren't.

                ​That being said, I imagine that it can be better to think of scenarios, not where there's some kind of oncoming threat that the god will fall to anyway but the humans might survive, but what might effectively motivate a small god to make that appeal to the Sun and be willing to take on the risk, or the certainty, that their existence will end. After all, even in the scenario of Ten Sheaves where he notes that he's kind of marked for death either way, willingness to do that rather designates him as a heroic character in his own right, uncommonly so compared to most gods. If nothing else, it indicates that he cares about something bigger than himself, enough to invest in something that can carry a hope for the future.

                ​Heh, in that regard, I wonder if a god being motivated by disgust for the Underworld might be a bit too cynical on my part.


                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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                • #9
                  I'm loving all the responses btw!

                  Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                  As Lea indicated, Exigents are Exalted and thus often more powerful than many gods, including their own patrons. So there are many foes in the setting that a god, especially a lesser one, would fall against, but an Exalt would put up a fight.
                  I understand and like this - but I guess what I'm trying to articulate is "how does one depict this" in an intuitive sense?


                  If a flood of water overwhelmed a room - snuffing out a Fire Elemental, but merely leaving the mortals soaked - people would get that. No one would require in-depth mechanics or lore to foresee how this otherwise "fearsome and magical creature" (the Fire Elemental) has a weakness that wouldn't harm mortals (water).


                  My problem with Nurlissa/Masks, Willow-Specter/Plentimon and similar examples is that it's too casual. And thus raises questions - if Plentimon is willing to gamble Exaltation away (and Sol approves), then players might wonder why don't all gods mass-produce Exigents?

                  The Black Warden, Chosen of Seals, certainly fits within "easily explained" - if some ancient horror escapes (perhaps because of the adventurers), then Exigence is blessing/cursing them into retrieving what they unleashed. It wouldn't kill the god - but people could intuitive grasp at "this guardian can't/won't leave the prison".


                  My point is, is people are playing mortals - then I want to answer questions from their perspective. No telling new players (who might be learning what Abilities are) "actually, if you really get into the lore behind it all, 3,000 years in the distant past the Unconquered Sun offered a deal to the gods that....yadda yadda yadda". (that's an answer for Savants, not village heroes)
                  • This is why I like fatal exigence - it answers such questions before they're asked.
                    • "Why aren't their thousands of us?" > Because thousands of gods don't want to die.
                    • "Can I ask my patron god questions?" > Nope, they died.
                    • "Why were we even made?" > Might be related to whatever killed them. No clue tho.
                  • My issue with fatal exigence then being, how do the Exigents survive god-killer scenarios?
                    • ChairKicker suggested "Occult Charms" to kill a god - and my first thought was an Abyssal - wouldn't an Abyssal kill newly empowered mortals too? If not an Abyssal, who would have the power and interest in murdering gods (while simultaneously not being able to murder 1-3 newly made Exigents).
                    • glamourweaver mentions foes that could kill a God but not an Exalt. Like? For example, if a weak spirit was swarmed by hungry ghosts - why doesn't the god just Hurry Home, etc? Because I could see players using sunlight, fire and the like against the dead - but for some reason, it feels like gods have an easy escape most of the time. Catching them vulnerable - in a way that mortals aren't - is the trick.



                  But Gods in Exalted don't die so easy. What would prevent a God from using Hurry Home?
                  • Maybe the Sanctum itself was unsafe? Ghosts or Demons are "spirits" - they could endanger it.
                    • Then the god might Materialize to flee a swarm.
                      • But then those same hostiles might materialize. Not much better?
                        • Unless the god knew the environment and thought it could lure them into traps, etc.
                          • Plus mechanically, after Materializing, they're all drained of a lot of motes. Easier for new Exigents to fight.



                  Kelly Pedersen suggested limitations to a God's abilities (and I inherently grok this - I'm just trying to think of a situation). Maybe a God of Healing? Nirop Soen, god of some healing fungi, can't fight back against the extinction of it's species - so it empowers some mortals (who can be much more aggressive at murdering whatever it is that's killing the fungi). So they have some healing charms (to keep them alive) but their murderous-capacity is entirely mortal. Hmm. I can work with this idea.

                  Isator Levi oooo Shadowlands sprouting - that would certainly be on tier with the Wyld spreading into Creation - and much better chances of human survival than my "have a behemoth crush the city they're in" idea, lol.

                  Isator Levi Actually, the "disgust for the underworld" idea isn't bad. I remember some decay/death/scavenger gods having unhealthy leanings in 2nd Ed, when it came to death. Suitable trapped/tainted somehow - and aware their corruption won't reverse itself - "ascending to heaven via divine fire" might be a better death than some broken half-life in the Underworld.


                  Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion.
                  It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom.
                  Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.
                  - Their Eyes Were Watching God

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                  • #10
                    TLDR:
                    I type out my thought-process, as each step then suggests possibilities.

                    Right now though, it all sums up with:
                    1. Depict an Inescapable Location
                      If the god can't escape it's environment/corruption (like a growing shadowland - or a prison it guards)...
                      ...then it's more obvious why mortals/Exigents will be chosen by the dying or imprisoned god.
                      • Note: If a prison/warden, god cannot be left too weak to guard it's other inmates!
                        • Sub-Note: But if the prison is utterly destroyed & the god lacks purpose - this becomes a death-exigence.
                    2. Depict Irrelevant Powers
                      If a god (of "healing mushrooms") can't fight back against it's own predator...
                      ...then it's more obvious why mortals/Exigents are chosen as guardians of a sort
                      (and in a Wolverine-like-way, enjoy healing-powers - but have to fight with mundane weapons
                      .
                    3. Depict Inescapable Odds
                      If a god can't escape it's pursuers (other spirits) - materialize & traps might be a last resort.
                      ...if mortals witness this, magic vs magic, they might understand why the god didn't magically vanish elsewhere.
                      ...and wasting enough essence during combat, by the time the mortals arrive, the monsters are already tired/weak.
                      • Maybe a ruin/map where Scavengers can witness commotion several floors above (or below).
                    And of course, the quick-and-brutal "Abyssal shoves a magical spear through the god's chest". Dying god empowers the heroes.

                    I was imagining gods of ruined cities and the like - but Masters of Jade mentions gods traveling with caravans - maybe that's the context (murder the caravan), the scene (mass bloodshed), the god (defending the caravan), the Exigence (Abyssal kills god, god burns-out Exalting some survivors) --- and ideally, the Abyssal has spent enough motes by then that some fresh-Exalts have a chance with lucky rolls....


                    Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion.
                    It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom.
                    Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.
                    - Their Eyes Were Watching God

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Salagimsim View Post
                      My problem with Nurlissa/Masks, Willow-Specter/Plentimon and similar examples is that it's too casual. And thus raises questions - if Plentimon is willing to gamble Exaltation away (and Sol approves), then players might wonder why don't all gods mass-produce Exigents?
                      ​You do raise an interesting question. For the idea of Plentimon specifically, while my first impulse would be that he would offer the stakes of Exaltation to somebody that he's already Chosen in the first place, and to succeed at such is a kind of audition, I'm also suddenly thinking that it wouldn't be out of character for him to accept the challenge of just about anybody, and allow chance, skill and intuition to decide whether or not they are worthy of that power, or at least entitled to it. To Plentimon, these are not casual things; he places significant stock on the importance of games of chance, and the stakes that one is willing to put up for them, his world turning on the flip of a coin or roll of the dice, and I could seem him thinking that it's no finer measure of whether somebody is fitting as his Exalt.

                      ​That wouldn't be without mythological precedent; I know of some areas of Hindu mythology in which rulership is decided and kingdoms are gained and lost in games of chance, and the ancient Egyptian game of senet reportedly placed deep spiritual significance in putting oneself in the hands of fate.

                      ​As for Plentimon's motive for having his own Exalt, and how that relates to him being granted the Exigence, I can see him having a couple of avenues for it. One is a scenario in which, simply being a rather powerful and popular god, widely known and well-liked in the Celestial Order, puts him in good standing such that he's entitled to have gotten the Exigence to make his mark in the world with a single Exalt of his very own. The other is an idea in which he didn't petition in response to a specific, circumstantial threat, but a general observation; an argument that having a champion in the world to exemplify Plentimon's values of risk and daring and high stakes would be to the benefit of the world as a whole, both in being able to introduce a bit of disruption, being a personality that could encourage people to make greater ventures in their own lives, and maybe now and then be somebody who can show up in the right place at the right time to introduce a key advantage or shift some odds a bit, in a manner that yields big returns for the sake of Creation.


                      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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                      • #12
                        In the game I am a player in, our ST has an exigent of a Volcano God who is actually the power behind the Despot of Gem. He created an exigent (one that could be passed down) because his lover and close friend was nearly killed by a Solar near the end of the First Age, and he did not wish to go on without her and could not contain his own rage. One thing to also keep in mind is these gods do have emotions, relations, and in some ways are very similar to the humans who worship them.

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                        • #13
                          Exalted is a rpg, not a simulator, if I want to play an Exigent of fire, only bad GM says that my character instantly dies in session zero since he’s chosen while a flood is happening.

                          And where does this mass-producted Exigents thing comes from? Why do some people like to mass-producing exaltations so much???


                          The no.1 fan of Demetheus. I also draw Exalted things and is looking for commission works ~

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                          • #14
                            I was always inspired by Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! For an Exalt/Exigent patron.

                            Essentially main villain has this impressively dark backstory in that he used to be the team's mentor and father figure until he came into contact with entities that could be compared to the Neverborn, after that he was dying but worse than that he was experiencing moments of missing time as his new self was eager to take over kind of like Autochthon's sickness playing out on a human scale. Thus everything he did in his last moments was dedicated to stopping whatever came next, preparing for whatever came into being after he was gone ultimately erasing the memories of his surrogate children because if they knew who they were fighting they would only feel conflicted.

                            Second Edition even offers a potential story seed for having such a tragic individual as a patron.
                            Originally posted by Compass Yu-Shan page 32
                            But for all their mendacity and corruption, the Architects of the Empty Vault and the Shining Glass Club are as pure as the driven snow compared to Heaven’s most secretive and destructive secret order: the Listeners of Silence. Indeed, the group is so mysterious that most of its members don’t realize that they belong to it. The Listeners are all gods who at some point have been co-opted by the Neverborn. Either a god fell into the hands of a Primordial before the War’s end and was fundamentally altered by its power, or she was captured and secretly transported to the Mouth of Oblivion and forced to hear its obscene whispers. There are only a few members so far, and none of them realize what sort of things they do during those brief but increasingly frequent blackout periods. But more and more, their impact is being felt, across Yu-Shan and Creation both.


                            Assorted homebrew goes here.
                            Please help the Ex3 wiki grow. Even if it's just posting existing homebrew there so there's less chance of losing it.

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                            • #15
                              Hey this seems like a cool thread

                              Originally posted by Salagimsim View Post
                              I'm loving all the responses btw!

                              My problem with Nurlissa/Masks, Willow-Specter/Plentimon and similar examples is that it's too casual. And thus raises questions - if Plentimon is willing to gamble Exaltation away (and Sol approves), then players might wonder why don't all gods mass-produce Exigents?
                              Nevermind


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