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Does Exalted 3E have a Jianghu?

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  • Does Exalted 3E have a Jianghu?

    I know that in the scroll of Monk in Exalted 2E it talks about the martial arts world and how it is different in respect to the normal political world. This concept is obviously inspired by the Jin Yong interpretation of the word Jianghu 江湖 when he helped establish the Wuxia genre in the 1950s.

    If Exalted does have a Jianghu江湖, who are the principle members, is it the Solars and Lunars? Do the Dragon blooded and Sidereals represent the corrupt government in this interpretation(which would be rather ironic since these two types of Exalted have the most martial arts associations)?

    To be clear, I am fishing for ideas on how to incorporate the concept of Jianghu江湖 in Exalted 3E in a martial arts and philosophy heavy game principally in the Wuxia genre.


    How can I know if what I claim I know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I might not know? How can I know if what I claim I don't know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I do know?
    -Zhuangzi

  • #2
    Wu-Jian was described as city ruled by different Martial Arts organizations, some were gangs, some monastic brotherhoods, who fought each other for turf and all the other reasons groups of ass kickers fight each other for.

    Does that count?

    EDIT: Relevant Excerpt

    "There is little the satrap can do to police the slums. Magistrates only dare visit the most open
    areas such as the waterfront, and even then they travel in groups. In the rest of the city, the law is
    what the strong and the clever will. Here everything is for sale and anything can be taken.

    Pickpockets and cutpurses roam the seething marketplaces where almost any goods imaginable
    can be found; gangsters draw knives on sharpers in gambling halls; the owners of brothels and
    drug dens roll drunken sailors for pocket change. Abandoned structures host all manner of
    squatters, from beggars and pilgrims to outcaste sorcerers, demon worshippers, spies from the
    Undersea, cannibal mutants, soul-hungry Fair Folk, or even the Anathema.

    The only real organizing forces are the Thirteen Schools, underground martial arts societies
    whose initiates swear mighty oaths to obey their teachers and elders. Some use their school’s
    techniques to protect the downtrodden against thugs and thieves. Others form especially
    dangerous criminal gangs, commanding their territories through violence and intimidation. When
    bands from opposing schools meet, citizens scatter. A master’s feet and fists can crack bricks and
    shatter wood; Wu-Jian’s slums are shabbily built at best, and a large fracas can send entire
    tenements tumbling down."
    Last edited by TGUEIROS; 05-07-2018, 11:47 PM.

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    • #3
      Why do you think the region of Creation specifically designed to be most free for wandering heroes is the one geographically defined by “Rivers”?


      Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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      • #4
        In 3e, the vast majority of martial artists in Creation are mortal humans. Some dojos might have Dragon Blooded members, have a patron god that grants a blessing to the master, be secretly run by Sidereals, or what have you, but most martial artists are mortals and most martial arts societies are entirely mortal.

        Now, that said, if you want to go full on Wuxia, then having the Realm DB Satrap order the ancient master of a dojo to surrender the Seven Sacred Scrolls/Weapons that they hold in sacred trust, the master refuses, a fight ensues involving several powerful Dragon Blooded (at least one of whom is an Immaculate Monk), the master dies, and the best student(s) Exalts as a Solar and manages to escape with at least one of the sacred macguffins. Other PCs could be any kind of wandering Exalted martial artists. And they band together to reclaim their nation from the evil Realm.

        It is important to remember that, in order to replicate Wuxia moves and tropes, you'll need more than just Martial Arts charms. Native Athletics charms are going to be very important, to the point that you might consider giving all the PCs Graceful Crane Stance for free, even if they aren't Solar Exalted, just because balancing on branches that can't hold a human's weight is such a common thing in Wuxia.

        Immaculate Monks have an interesting position in the Realm. They are the indoctrination arm of an oppressive imperial government, but they're also a mechanism to keep the worst excesses of said government from harming the people they're supposed to protect. So, you could have Monks on either, or both, sides of a conflict. Same goes for Magistrates, Dragon Blooded, and Sidereals.


        ....

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        • #5
          First up, the Canon(ish) answer
          In 2E the land of rivers and lakes is, amusingly, centered more around the South. In Scroll of Heroes it actually talks about the trade routes across the south being the home of a vibrant and competitive martial arts culture residing in tea-houses and the like. It very much is in keeping with the jianghu well known and loved in Wuxia. It's not a huge mention, but it's a bit more than what's in Scroll of the Monk. In that, the primary actors are clearly mortals (They are the most populous group, and it's in the Mortals book). Depending on your game, it's pretty easy to leave it in 3E until a dev explicitly says otherwise, and even then you still can if you want to because it's your game.

          Now for the more thematic one.
          The Realm pretty handily stands in for the corrupt government. It's already set up as a strange interpretation of imperial China, it's already corrupt, and it spans the world. I wouldn't really call its martial arts associations ironic, either, since in wuxia cinema the people who stamp out jianghu are almost always supremely skilled imperially trained martial artists themselves. (Look at Brotherhood of Blades, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, most of the Flying Guillotine movies, etc). The Dragonblooded are also quite likely the primary players in it, given the extremely martial focus on pretty much all of the Dragonblooded cultures. The Seven Storms, the mountain bandit outcastes in WFHW are perfect for either the protagonists or villains for a wuxia film, depending on who the PCs are and what story you're trying to tell.

          As for incorporating things into 3E, honestly just do it. I've stolen things pretty much whole cloth from wuxia, chanbara, and other similar genres and then transplanted them into Exalted without skipping a beat.


          Exalted Behind a Screen of Jade, Savant of the Immaculate Texts, Seeking Awakened, Cloaked Changeling, Disciple of the Antler Crown, Wraith, Good Sitting Dog, Best Lurking Cat with Bones, Pioneer Pooch, Scion with Shield of Knowledge

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          • #6
            Thank you for all these ideas so far, this was what I had intended to ask for. Hopefully if they ever do a book on cults, then it will also be a book on martial arts culture, since these elements go pretty much hand in hand.


            How can I know if what I claim I know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I might not know? How can I know if what I claim I don't know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I do know?
            -Zhuangzi

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            • #7
              Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
              Why do you think the region of Creation specifically designed to be most free for wandering heroes is the one geographically defined by “Rivers”?
              Yes, but I feel with a fluid interpretation then the concept of Jianghu is really the story of Exalted, the idea of the corrupt centralized government and the various rebellious factions intending to take them down, and I wanted something more specific in martial arts culture, but I do see your point.


              How can I know if what I claim I know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I might not know? How can I know if what I claim I don't know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I do know?
              -Zhuangzi

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              • #8
                The difficulty of doing traditional martial arts plots in 2E was one of my biggest complaints with that edition. Now that the Mundane / Terrestrial / Celestial style distinctions have been eliminated and Martial Arts Charms are canonically all Essence-users' extensions of the same martial arts practiced by mortals, it's much more doable. It's still a little off-genre for supernatural power to be a gift bestowed on the chosen rather than the result of training in little-known techniques, but you can at least get the sense of a true martial arts community much more effectively.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ascension View Post
                  The difficulty of doing traditional martial arts plots in 2E was one of my biggest complaints with that edition. Now that the Mundane / Terrestrial / Celestial style distinctions have been eliminated and Martial Arts Charms are canonically all Essence-users' extensions of the same martial arts practiced by mortals, it's much more doable. It's still a little off-genre for supernatural power to be a gift bestowed on the chosen rather than the result of training in little-known techniques, but you can at least get the sense of a true martial arts community much more effectively.
                  That is one of the many reasons I let mortals enlighten their Essence and use martial arts charms. Then your exalted fill a role closer to a chosen one or true martial arts genius kind of character.

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                  • #10
                    Some pieces map over better than others.

                    Wandering heroes who kung fu the shit out of corrupt government officials and who protect the innocent from bandits? Extremely common.

                    The separation between the secular world and the world of the xia? Much less common because of how prevalent magic is in Creation (even if it's unseen) and how it defines relations of power between rulers and the ruled and makes the traditional secrecy and mystique of the jianghu impossible, but you could create some regions of Creation where there just happens to be few gods or Exalted for whatever reason.


                    [Ex3] Why Gods Need the Exigence - Plot hooks for Exigent characters of various gods.
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                    • #11
                      We have no plans to implement a single Creation-wide martial arts monoculture in 3e. Local martial arts societies and subcultures will appear in print; these are specific to their locales, such as Wu-Jian's Thirteen Schools.


                      Developer for Exalted.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ascension View Post
                        The difficulty of doing traditional martial arts plots in 2E was one of my biggest complaints with that edition. Now that the Mundane / Terrestrial / Celestial style distinctions have been eliminated and Martial Arts Charms are canonically all Essence-users' extensions of the same martial arts practiced by mortals, it's much more doable. It's still a little off-genre for supernatural power to be a gift bestowed on the chosen rather than the result of training in little-known techniques, but you can at least get the sense of a true martial arts community much more effectively.

                        Indeed, although considering that Wuxia, as a genre, has a large number of subgenres (Such as Xianxia), The human sorcerer also improves the dynamic a little more.

                        But looking at Jianghu more specifically, as a hidden world that somehow exists within the political orders of Creation, I just wish the Martial arts styles had more "culture" to back them up then the short descriptions that we have so far. The five elemental dragon styles are very grounded in the setting, but other styles like Single point shining into the void style don't offer any story hooks or legends about how it came about. Was it developed in a sect, or did it come about organically, does it have a religious orientation, or did it have a progenitor. I feel like the Dragonblooded book does a lot better job at supporting the martial arts (and the sorcery shaping rituals, for that matter) culturally then the main core rulebook does.

                        I suppose I am just tired of players selecting to be a martial artist but not taking the time to actually understand what that really means with minimal intimacies and vague nondescript dojos that they happened to attend but have graduated from.


                        How can I know if what I claim I know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I might not know? How can I know if what I claim I don't know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I do know?
                        -Zhuangzi

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ostarion View Post

                          styles like Single point shining into the void style don't offer any story hooks or legends about how it came about. Was it developed in a sect, or did it come about organically, does it have a religious orientation, or did it have a progenitor.
                          Hehehe

                          ​Of all the styles you could have chosen to make your point, you happened upon the one that absolutely does have such a thing?

                          Originally posted by Six-Demon Scabbard Binding
                          It was with this Charm that Eternal Nova, the mythic creator of this style, defeated his own shadow to carve a path out of oblivion, giving this style its name.


                          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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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
                            EDIT: Relevant Excerpt"
                            Where is this excerpt from?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ferozstein View Post

                              Where is this excerpt from?
                              From That Which May Not Be Mentioned.

                              I kid, its from one of the leaks.

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