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Exigents - What Kills Gods but not Mortals?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Lioness View Post
    -Compass: Yu-Shan-
    Yeah, but it feels kinda weird to name a group when it's so secret that its own members are unaware of it… let alone have the book refer to it as an "order."

    Don't get me wrong, the name is pretty badass, but, like, who's calling it that?

    Originally posted by ParanoiaCombo View Post
    Nevermind
    Yeah, Plentimon being willing to gamble something that took a significant investment to acquire seems intended to say more about Plentimon than it is about Exaltation.
    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 04-20-2018, 08:36 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by ParanoiaCombo View Post

      Nevermind
      ​Heyheyheyhey; there's no need for that. Salagimsim is new here, and they continuously ask questions with sincere inquisitiveness. We ought to answer such questions in kind, in a spirit of encouragement and positivity.


      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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      • #18
        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

        ​Heyheyheyhey; there's no need for that. Salagimsim is new here, and they continuously ask questions with sincere inquisitiveness. We ought to answer such questions in kind, in a spirit of encouragement and positivity.
        Look I know you're trying to be nice here but this is not the first time a Salagimsim thread has end-arounded into "Mass production of Exalts". I am legitimately disappointed an interesting topic is being presented as just another byway to pointless simulationism.

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        • #19
          Jen You misread two things. I am not trying to drown player characters, lol.

          Originally posted by Jen View Post
          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.
          I never suggested drowning an "Exigent of fire". The danger isn't aimed at the players. The danger is aimed at the god.

          What I was depicting is "some kind of fire-spirit" being endangered by water - and therefore it needs champions. It doesn't matter if you play Exalted, Harry Potter or X-Men - people who have never read any of these books could still see a 20-second action scene and intuitively accept that water endangers "magical fire spirits" in a way that it won't endanger mortals (including Exigents).

          This is something more often seen for other supernaturals in other games. For example, Vampires "burn in sunlight" and "suffer from fire-frenzy" - therefore they create mortal champions (ghouls) who can protect them during the day (or kill other Vampires by assaulting their shelters at noon). No one needs to read a chapter of "Vampire the Requiem" in order to understand why a Vampire bribes a mortal with power if it means escaping the sun.

          Originally posted by Jen View Post
          And where does this mass-producted Exigents thing comes from? Why do some people like to mass-producing exaltations so much???
          I specifically wrote "players might wonder why don't all gods mass-produce Exigents?"

          People naturally ask about repercussions to a setting.

          Look at Resurrection in D&D - the writer from Eberron hates it. Why? Because any Cleric with this spell would be enormously influential. Rich nobles and crime lords would pay insurance to the church to ensure maximum lifespans. A class system of long-lived, better-educated, death-defying nobles - and their one-life-only serfs - would arise. Whatever nation had the largest diamond trove would be incredibly influential and wealthy (and even if rival nations invade - the ones with the stockpile can literally resurrect their soldiers over and over). One spell creates a world-changing ripple-effect

          In Exalted, the Dragon-Blooded's breeding led to legitimate questions about eugenics and mass-breeding projects. God-Blooded were cool - but their mechanics meant it was optimal to breed Gods with Dragon-Blooded (higher parental essence pools) and maybe make them Beastmen with Breed True (and use Lunar charms to curate the least bothersome mutations). In 1st Edition, I believe Twilights wanting to mass-produce Alchemicals was a thing (I vaguely remember the idea of giving all Celestial Exalts who died a "retirement" as an Alchemical, until we cover Creation in sentient magical-material cities).

          So to be clear...

          I - Salagimsim - do not want to mass-produce Exigents.

          But when I introduce Exigents - I plan to answer "why don't they exist en masse" - in an in-character fashion that does not rely on out-of-character knowledge. If a brand-new-player sees a god die to empower them, it answers itself - and if Plentimon shows up months later with his own Exigents, it'll be easier to depict how costly this is (as opposed to "lulz, roll some dice, get some magic".

          Isator Levi I agree with you - and I, the Exalted-fan and lore-lover, would totally get a kick from using Plentimon (and his Exigents).

          I'm just trying to pre-empt the possible misfires from having new players, playing heroic mortals, completely not being Exalted because they're blind to the setting (and comparisons to Hindu and Egyptian spirituality for mythological precedence - although cool for me - being kind of "out there" for neonates). Imagine:
          • "Why are we even gambling? My character would rather go drink."
          • "Plentimon - who? Wait, I worship a bull god - let's leave before he gets angry"
          • "Wait, gods don't have anything better to do? This god literally just gambles? This feels like a Mary Sue or Deus Ex, just some OP NPC and..."
          • "Wait, if I gamble with a god - do I lose my soul? I rather not gamble."
            • "Wait, if I win against a god - can I get anything? Like a wish? I WANT ALL THE JADE!"
          • "Wait, I'm Exalted now? Does this mean I'm a Dragon person or Anna Sema?"
          • "Wait, he can just give power out? So why us? Why not his priests?"
          • "Wait, I have a henchman who handles my money - can he get gambling powers instead?"
            • "I want to explore ruins, not gamble - I rather save myself for a god of ruins then."
          • "Wait, if he's right there, can we ask him a thousand questions first?"
          Absolutely none of these hijinks occur in the more traditional "NPC is dying - and passes on (power) to player - when suddenly a monster breaks into the room" scenario. Like suddenly finding a flaming sword or a magic ring - and then danger erupts - characters are more focused on surviving than on delaying the moment.

          Saipjas Thank you for pointing this variant out! I overlooked it.

          "Relationship to deity" is definitely more intuitive - and if a player likes a deity enough to have their mortal claim fealty to one - then it's a natural extension to do Exigence via relationship (romantic, familiar heritage, favored follower, etc). There are certainly a few questions, as per the Plentimon example, but much fewer - and answering them has something of the "joining the mystery cult" feel.

          Lioness Ugh, this is a fantastic idea. Thank you for pointing that excerpt out.

          I know Soul Thieves (pg 70, Roll of Divinity 4) have a similar origin (nature spirits corrupted by the shadowland) - and gods like Han-Tha are naturally prone to tainted loyalties (and his nature changed somewhat during the Primordial War, eating the dead from both sides). But it's dope to see some gods aren't so obvious.

          ...heh. I can just imagine if the mortals-turned-Exigents then strive to empower their weakened patron - unknowingly empowering their own antagonist.

          TheCountAlucard Maybe the Neverborn or Yozis? Less of an "internally used name", more of a reference the bigger-bads can use (so if/when the heroes hear mention of it in nightmares & prophecy, they can begin to conceive of their existence). Things often need names to be thought of.


          Originally posted by ParanoiaCombo View Post
          Look I know you're trying to be nice here but this is not the first time a Salagimsim thread has end-arounded into "Mass production of Exalts". I am legitimately disappointed an interesting topic is being presented as just another byway to pointless simulationism.
          You are legitimately disappointed because you misread (and then decided to double-down on your misread interpretation).

          I am not trying to mass produce Exalts. I don't want to.

          I'm trying to pre-empt the mere thought of it in the smoothest method possible.

          Ergo, "the god dies as it empowers the 1-3 players" automatically ensures players grok that "nope - this isn't common; probably not pleasant; no mass production - only happened because of special circumstances - no time to debate either"

          Thus the original question - "what kills gods but not mortals" - trying to mull scenarios that are self-explanatory (whereas Plentimon just raises a dozen questions to new players).

          Wishing you all the best ❤ looking forward if you wish to join
          Last edited by Salagimsim; 04-20-2018, 12:21 PM. Reason: typos - not my first tongue


          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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          • #20
            Couple things:

            1) Gods destroying themselves in the creation of Exigents is not normative. Most gods create Exigents and come out a bit weaker, and go "Yeah, not doing that again."

            2) Gods don't want to permanently weaken themselves, so Exigents really only happen when a god needs a champion right now or when a god has put a lot of thought into the matter and decided the long-term benefits of having a champion outweigh the costs.

            3) Divine psychology is influenced to greater or lesser degree by divine nature and portfolio, varying from god to god. Plentimon is the sort of god of gambling who's going to bring gambling into stuff even when it's maybe not a good idea for him personally, because he likes to gamble for gambling's sake. This is not reflective of all gods.

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            • #21
              I was thinking about how an Abin Sur kind of narrative, in which a hero dies and, in their last moment, seeks out a worthy successor to bestow the mantle upon, might be more fitting as a form that the rare Exigent that can actually persist through multiple lives might work. But then I considered the possibility that one form that the process of using the Exigence could take might be the divine flame being bestowed on a god that acts as a more proactive, heroic guardian or punisher of evil type, that will take the form of Exaltation and find the successor in that manner in the event that the god encounters a foe (particularly one that represents a threat to Creation's inhabitants) that is able to slay or mortally wound them.

              ​But I'm not sure if the Exigence can be reserved or retained like that. The power passing from Exalt to Exalt seems like a safer bet.


              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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              • #22
                I think the fact that gods are significantly weakened by empowering an Exigent, even if not totally destroyed, is quite sufficient answer for why they don't produce large numbers of them, in-setting.

                Also note that different Exigent Exaltations have different rules about whether and how they are "passed down". A god like Plentimon might very well have empowered an Exigence or two that returns to him on the death of its current holder, and be available for him to wager out again. So when he's betting against mortals for empowerment, it doesn't necessarily mean he's stripping his soul down every time he makes that gamble. Of course, if the stakes were sufficiently high, Plentimon might very well create a new Exigence using his power, instead of just re-using. But the stakes would have to be high. I don't see Plentimon as the sort of god who will take every bet - he's a god of games of chance, not "any bet ever", and games usually have some rules or guidelines about reasonable stakes.

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                • #23
                  For my personal needs, I think this thread has helped. My chief aim is pre-planning possible Exigence for Heroic Mortals (with players who are utterly new to Exalted - they need to learn about Movement rates and Virtues long before charms, itself long before I expect them to read 300+ pages of lore.

                  Thus I'm really big on trying to frame things in-character (for their village heroes to understand what is happening) as opposed to out-of-character (I can't rely on them to know what an Exigent is, let alone how gods work, divine politics, Yu Shan, etc). Simple and intuitive works best.

                  Unless more is added, here's my final compilation/ramble. I even got an idea for using Plentimon (without making it seem like I forced the dice result).



                  The God is Immobile - Mortals lack this weakness:
                  • PRISON-GOD:
                    • Motivations:
                      • The deity is bound to a prison - and cannot risk leaving (to chase one escapee) or else the others might break free.
                      • Or maybe the deity is the prison itself (and merely hungers for a supply of fresh inmates, so it can grow).
                      • Or maybe the prison itself was shattered - the god, having failed, is dying - and so exigence becomes a form of honorable "seppuku" by divine fire, creating champions to rectify their failure.
                        • Exigence "as a curse" - If the mortals are responsible for inadvertently disturbing the prison, such blessings might be a warning (recapture the inmate - or you'll take their place). Might be more believable if opening the prison was legitimately impressive (so they have great skill - but the god rather pretend otherwise, threatening rather than praising).
                        • Power-based motivator - Much as heartsblood motivates Lunars into hunting monsters (rewarding them with new forms) - these Exigents might have a Twilight-lite (3E) ability to bind errant demons as Familiars. Even more important if the prison/warden powers don't work on non-inmates (ie, if the Exigent can hunt spirits but lacks proper charms vs mortals - then the bound spirit could earn "good behavior" by protecting the Exigent or something).
                  • RUINED-CITY-GOD:
                    • Motivations:
                      • The deity is bound to a city, long forgotten - and wants new inhabitants.
                      • Or maybe the ruin itself is under attack. A behemoth threatens to finally shatter it's long-neglected walls and spires (which might subsequently crush the god to rubble too). A demon spreads corruption (and risks twisting the god as well). A shadowland grows (and the god is loathe to become a shelter/home for some Deathlord's army). Facing certain doom, the god creates heroes
                        • Power-based motivator - In 2E, Cecelyne's "Transcendent Desert Creature" could expand to "areas of spiritual desolation" (with all the buffs active therein). Likewise, a city-based Exigent might have powers active within a radius from cities - or powers reactive to Backgrounds - the effect being "the bigger the city" or "the more people therein", the more power reliable your powers are. Instead of wandering nomads, the powers thus nudge Exigents into defending cities (or better yet, restoring one).


                  The God's powers are irrelevant - Mortals bring other skills:
                  • REGIONAL-FIRE-GOD:​
                    • Motivations:
                      • A god of regional fires has a problem - a 1st Age dam, long neglected, threatening to turn fire-prone grasslands into swamp. Trying to burn the dam won't work - and there are likely water gods who would love to see the dam shatter and their domain spread.
                      • Plus other supernaturals pose a risk (Fair Folk who would love to see the landscape altered beyond recognition for miles; a Deathlord who would spread disease in a swamp (as well as resurrecting the drowned dead as zombies); etc. A legitimate sense of duty could motivate such a fire-god, especially if their current duties coincide (maybe the current god uses brush-fires to purge disease and kill the sick - so a mass-drowning and mosquitoes would be a nightmare).
                        • In this scenario, the Exigents true powers aren't fire-based at all. Being able to swim (to dive and locate the problem), craft skills (to fix the dam), social skills (maybe they know of a regional tribe who needs & would relocate for such a body of water - who could then placate the water-gods with worship).
                  • HEALING-FUNGI-GOD:
                    • Motivations:
                      • ​A god of some niche fungi grown in a forgotten city has a problem - the species it oversees is close to extinction. Maybe some monsters is eating them all (and what good are healing charms if a demon just keeps gnawing on you as you regenerate)?
                        • In this scenario, the Exigents true powers aren't healing-based at all. A group of barbarians could be "blessed" because the spirit needs their skills of fire and ultraviolence. The new Exigents are basically Wolverine, Sabretooth, X-23, Wildchild, Romulus, Thorn, etc.


                  The God faces god-specific doom - Mortals can side-step that:
                  • GOD vs Occult Charms
                    • This is probably another Exalt - but for the sake of player-character survival, perhaps a hyper-specialized Exalt.
                  • GOD vs other Spirits
                    • With spirits being able to access Sanctums - it seems reasonable that a demon or ghost (or a group of either) could threaten a neglected god (whose Hurry Home charm wouldn't really provide safety). In this situation, the god might even Materialize - a god inhabiting some ruin might figure it's pursuers can't Materialize (and if they do, they'll be weaker for it) - and then it tries to bait them through the ruin (into some traps - or into the path of other predators).
                  In both of these scenarios, it's more of "right place, right time" as Heroic Mortals trip across an altercation - they might see the god desperately flailing against it's attackers - and when certain doom finally arrives, the god lashes out by empowering the witnesses. VS Occult leans toward "being close" (the players and the assailant ending up in the same room - violence erupts) while VS Spirits lends itself toward "being distant" (the players can see a god or "mortal" fighting a demon or "monster" - make it obvious that both are low on power (due to Materialize) and accumulating injuries - so when the heroes arrive, they're less baffled as to how they survived against a supernatural).


                  The God has a mysterious ailment - Mortals are more loyal:

                  As per Lioness, a god might suffer from moments of "missing time" - better to hire (Exigent) some loyal servitors and play mentor as they investigate - than to entrust other gods with your unexpected weakness. The whole deal becomes self-explanatory (especially if the god misleads the Exigents into believing the death of the deity would strip them of power or kill them).

                  Another variant is for the God to know something bad is happening - and Exigence has the dual-benefit of (a) weakening themselves, so their corrupt-form is less powerful and (b) creating the champions who will stop or cure them.


                  The God has emotions & whims - Mortals inherit the power:

                  As per Saipjas, gods have emotions - and the Exigence might be passed on to his lovers or close friends. It's a hereditary role. This is actually a common trope. Lots of settings have the:
                  • "the old religious-leader died - you haven chosen as the God's new favored servant"
                  • "the king is dead - you are the lost heir"
                  • "the famed warrior has been slain - and his killer, you inherit his sword"
                  • "you stole a famed thief-god's cowl - this theft makes you worthy of wearing it"
                  It becomes less about knowing the pantheons of gods and their nuances - and more about introducing local legends that players inherit if/when they live up to that.

                  As per Isator Levi, a hereditary Exigence might even be bequeathed by the previous mantle-holder of the power.
                  • The movie, Demon Knight comes to mind.
                    • The protagonists are a long-lived, long-line of heroes who carry an artifact with the Blood of Christ. I think the flask has 7 stars - and the wielder acquires 7 star-marks on their hand. Over time, the markings disappear (and with 1 star left, they know it's almost time for them to die and pass on the power).
                    • Demons constantly chase them to acquire it - but the blood has power, like sealing doors or harming demons. The blood can run out - but each wielder adds their own blood to the flask (when they die), therefore sustaining it's potency and power.
                      • In Exalted terms, the Exigent is precisely this type of hereditary hero - perhaps created to bind a very specific type of demon (who otherwise has an easier time sneaking into Creation).
                  Tangent: Plentimon and other gods who Exalt due to their nature/behavior fall into this category. If included in a pantheon of local gods the players should know, it'll feel less arbitrary. Still raises questions!

                  Tangent 2: Maybe I could cook some dice - or create a Gaff deck.
                  • Order 4 x 52 Aces (one of each suit).
                    Remove 4 of each Ace into a 5th stack.
                    Bring 1 normal deck (for shuffling and display purposes).
                  • Then go "I have 4 decks - one for each of you - and I've removed all the Aces".
                    (point to the 16 Ace stack to "prove" you did this)
                    (players have no clue all 4 entire decks are Aces - 1 all hearts, 1 all spades, 1 all clubs, 1 all diamonds)
                  • "I'm shuffling only one Ace per stack if you draw that card...."
                    (grab one of each Ace from the stack of 16.... and put it on to the matching pre-planned deck)
                    • I'll admit to not being sure how to proceed narratively (with a group of new-to-Exalted players going from Heroic Mortals to Exigents). But with a group traveling with a Guild caravan... just as Rathess had a goddess of "heart sacrifice" worshipped as a goddess of knives.... maybe NPCs pray to Plentimon for luck during some calamity.... and rather than help them directly, he'll gamble for the power to help themselves if they win. Instead of "gambling in a casino", I could inject him somewhere more dangerous, nonchalantly eager to roll the dice while everyone else is the one praying for divine intervention.
                    • Ugh. Plentimon grows on me, just for the chance to rig the dice and see my player's flabbergasted faces when each of them draws the Ace. I'll have to practice pretending to look pissed (for Plentimon).
                  Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
                  Also note that different Exigent Exaltations have different rules about whether and how they are "passed down". A god like Plentimon might very well have empowered an Exigence or two that returns to him on the death of its current holder, and be available for him to wager out again. So when he's betting against mortals for empowerment, it doesn't necessarily mean he's stripping his soul down every time he makes that gamble. Of course, if the stakes were sufficiently high, Plentimon might very well create a new Exigence using his power, instead of just re-using. But the stakes would have to be high. I don't see Plentimon as the sort of god who will take every bet - he's a god of games of chance, not "any bet ever", and games usually have some rules or guidelines about reasonable stakes.
                  This is a great point.

                  The concern with "mass production" is if properly driven - or manipulated - a god could just create another Exigent as soon as they heal & restore their Essence score (or whatever the cost is).

                  Plentimon might treat Exigence as "Committed Essence" (so to speak) - there will always be one (and if it dies, he can gamble the same Exigence again). Or maybe release the essence cost (if somehow committed?). This becomes a mechanically consistent reason why gods don't churn out a new Exalt every decade or so.

                  Maybe even a Max Number of Exigents = Permanent Essence? So Plentimon could max-out at 7 champions total (and each time one dies, he regains a gambling chip to wager).

                  Or something.


                  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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                  • #24
                    I like the way you're thinking.


                    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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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Salagimsim View Post
                      The concern with "mass production" is if properly driven - or manipulated - a god could just create another Exigent as soon as they heal & restore their Essence score (or whatever the cost is).
                      This may not be possible, though. I think it's quite possible to say that creating an Exaltation involves a permanent diminishment of the entity fuelling the process, one they can never "recover" from. Based on some of the things Holden and John said about Exaltations, in fact, the reason for this that it's not actually a "reduction" at all - rather, the process of creating an Exaltation partitions off a part of the god's power and essence forever, but they're still a part of that god - if the god happens to grow in power after that, the Exaltations they've created might grow proportionately as well.

                      However you think of the metaphysics, though, I think the strong implication that we've got so far is that a god that empowers an Exaltation simply cannot wait 100 or 1000 years and do it again. Everyone is subject to the Law of Diminishment, and there's no coming back from that.

                      Originally posted by Salagimsim
                      Maybe even a Max Number of Exigents = Permanent Essence?
                      Personally, I find this far too mechanistic an approach. Exaltation is a numinous process, and empowering one should be as well. If the players can say "but according to the book, this god can only support 3 Exaltations, but she's clearly got four!", then something has gone very wrong. I think not even the gods themselves, not even the god actually using the Exigence, should be 100% sure what it will do to them. There needs to be room for stories both of gods who expected to die creating an Exigent and didn't, and those who were sure they'd survive and ended up destroying themselves.

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