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  • Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?

    First off, I want to say that I usually hate these kind of posts. Like arguments where the technocracy are the good guys etc. However. I have been running Exalted 3e for about 8 months now with no experience in earlier editions except a few supplements I picked up to assist my game. As my players are currently pursuing a way to prevent the loom of fate from tracking them, its brought up a lot of existential questions about the usurpation. From my perspective, it seems as if the sidereals and dbs were probably right to put down the solars. The great curse seems like an incredible threat to creation. Sure things havn't been perfect since that time, but having a bunch of insane solars and lunars be better? My players think the great curse is a lie because they are clearly the good guys. I want to present my story from that perspective since my characters are solars, but I am having a hard time making sense of it in my own head. How is the return of solars a good thing? Is it the only way to stop a variety of other threats to creation the dragon blooded can't handle? What am I missing?

  • #2
    Assuming that you mean the Realm, no. It's an oppressive empire out to plunder wealth from the rest of the world so that it can continue to have sick-ass parties in palatial estates. Lunars and Solars, meanwhile, often come from backgrounds at the other end of the wealth and privilege spectrum. Hence, the Lunars and Solars would be punching upward. Dynasts that want to keep the status quo to enjoy sick parties, slaves, and manorial households are part of the problem; Dynasts who want to abolish slavery, enact political reform, and curtail cruelty, though, might be on to something, even if they are likely to be painfully out of touch most of the time. Also, the latter are a minority who might only get most of what they want by allying with other powers... like, say, Lunars and Solars.

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    • #3
      It depends on your perspective. IMHO, Exalted has generally come down on the side of "It was a justifiable decision, inasmuch as uprising, bloody revolution, and causing the end of an Age could be justified. But whether it was 'right'...we'll never tell. We don't know."

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      • #4
        It is my estimation that any Exalt type is permitted to be "the good guys" of a given narrative or story. The Solars will be the heroes in a Solar story and the mad tyrannical returning god-kings in a DB story.
        The Solars and Lunars have great power to change the world and oppose forces that would cause harm to those less empowered.
        The Sidereals work tirelessly to keep Creation moving towards what they may hope is a better future, capable of weaving fates to improve lives.
        The Dragon-Blooded can fight to defend those below them as well even if they lack the personal might to go toe-to-toe with some of the things other Exalted fight.
        Even Abyssals can try to improve the lives and well-being of both the living and the dead, acting as a peaceful mediator to ensure prosperity of both underworld and the living.

        And at the same time, no Exalt type is universally The Good Guys:
        Solars have a severe propensity towards being egomaniacs who will flip all the tables and upend every system to get what they want.
        Lunars have been raging and tearing at the edges of the world, waging a scorched earth campaign against every outpost and bastion of the Realm.
        The Sidereals often make the hard choice of triage and acceptable losses; Romeo and Juliet committing suicide is an acceptable cost to end the unending turmoil between Montague and Capulet.
        And Abyssals can be rampaging monsters spreading misery and decay to force people to pay obeisance to the dead.

        The Dragon-Blooded of the Realm, admittedly, have a much harder time being called undeniably 'good', not because of any Inherent Cosmological Principle of Evil, but because as scions of the Realm they are beneficiaries and executors of a brutal tribute-taking engine aiming to extract resources from the threshold to grant luxury and opulence to the center.

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        • #5
          as Meianno said, it's entirely, 100% possible for you to say the Usurpation is good and that the Realm, specifically, is bad.

          No one is made evil by their Exaltation (as far as we know anyway), people are people, and power may corrupt or may not.

          There's a lot of ways to resolve such a feeling, but one thing I am curious about; do the PCs not think the Great Curse, or do the Players? the Players should know the great curse exists since they track limit. But the Solars are certainly justified in feeling like they were betrayed and nothing is wrong with them, even as they begin limit breaking.

          if you're interested in asking this question, I think it depends on how you want to do it; maybe the DBs were right, but that doesn't mean the Realm is right to imperialize the world. Maybe the Solars find out the Great Curse IS real, and they have to realize that they were justified, and they have to deal with the Curse and what that means.

          Maybe the Solars don't think about it this way, and killing the Solars was wrong; they're justified in thinking this, and maybe they're right, or maybe they're wrong, depending on how you want to make the story.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post
            Assuming that you mean the Realm, no. It's an oppressive empire out to plunder wealth from the rest of the world so that it can continue to have sick-ass parties in palatial estates.
            Wellll….

            Originally posted by Geoff Grabowski
            The Realm is a giant machine for raping all the jade out of the world and letting 10,000 people live as god-kings in golden palaces at someone else's expense, and it bends social, poilitical, religious and military force to that end. The Realm also guards the world against the armies of the Fair Folk and the Lunar Anathema and provides some sort of rudimentary check against total anarchy in the Threshold. It uses social, political, military and religious force to do that too. Good and evil don't enter into it.

            Certainly, avoid the narrative where the latter means that the former is straightforwardly justified, but it is a bit more nuanced.

            Now more than ever, I think, with things like House Ledaal and how much they're concerned by those Deathlords.


            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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            • #7
              Of course they were, the Immaculate doctrine makes clear that they are the rightful rulers of this world and any gold or silver asshole who might say otherwise is a body snatching demon.

              The real question we should ask is whether Lookshy's refusal to bend knee to the Empress despite not being possessed by demons makes them DOUBLE evil, or merely misguided.

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              • #8
                Pretty much the mixed case. The Usurpation, as presented, was done with more of an eye towards removing the Solars and Lunars before they actively became the largest threat to Creation rather than the DBs and Sids deciding they wanted to rule the world and get all the stuff the Solars and Lunars had. The current situation is generally them attempting to make the world the best place it can be while functioning as its protectors, and rulers while enjoying the perks that come from being the god kings and queens of the world. This also means destroying potential threats to the world like newly reborn Solars, Lunars, pretty much anything deemed anathema, and the supporters of anathema.

                In that regard they are good guys. But that doesn't mean they're the good guys. Afterall any big system is going to have problems with it that aren't noticed and there me be flaws that aren't noticed by the higher ups because they don't have to deal with it. Solars and Lunars are a huge threat to world, they're also a great help in defending it and making it work properly. They don't get a choice in exalting, so as far as any of them are concerned the Realm wants them dead for the crime of being chosen to be a hero.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                  Wellll….

                  [/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/LEFT]

                  Certainly, avoid the narrative where the latter means that the former is straightforwardly justified, but it is a bit more nuanced.

                  Now more than ever, I think, with things like House Ledaal and how much they're concerned by those Deathlords.
                  I mean that's true and all but I think this forum can agree that exploitative colonialism is bad which firmly places the Scarlet Dynasty in the "bad" camp out-of-game.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Frostav View Post
                    I mean that's true and all but I think this forum can agree that exploitative colonialism is bad which firmly places the Scarlet Dynasty in the "bad" camp out-of-game.
                    Those in the Realm who care about that sort of thing prefer the term "necessary evil." Without a strong hand on the tiller, DB families tend to fragment and war against each other. Similarly, the threshold was a thousand warring states before the armies of the Realm put a stop to it. The Realm's armies oppose rogue gods, Fae marauders, armies of hungry dead, and worse. Someone has to pay for all that and, hey, we DID just save your very souls from being eaten by some monster from the Wyld, so....


                    ....

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                    • #11
                      Yes. It's very easy to tsk-tsk about such empires now, but consider how our own ancient history is filled with such empires, and that's without a literally superhuman noble class running it; Representative democracy is a bit of an uphill task to implement in Creation.

                      There was a post by... I think someone who is now a writer, but I misremember who, that went to each splat and said "Clearly, X are the heroes. *List amazing accomplishments*. This is why X are the heroes of Exalted." The point here being that even the Scarlet Realm, which is the closest to a 'villain', is not some cartoonish realm of evil. It was born of a singular remarkable officer and her team on a daring and heroic last-minute scramble through a forbidden ruin to a device that saved the world, and the Dynasty has held the world together since. If you have to be a regular human being in Creation, the Blessed Isle isn't a bad place to be one in, on the whole.

                      This is not incompatible with them being a cruel master and colossus with their boot on the throats of millions. If Rome didn't rise to power, some other nation would have and we'd be talking about the horrible practices of Carthage or something now, but they did rise to power and they did do horrible things. That the Realm might provide necessarily stability while simultaneously being kind of shitty might make some heads explode that are used to simple heroes and villains, but both the real world and Creation are more complex.

                      After all, it's not like Big Red overthrew an enlightened government to raise her despotism; while the First Age is deliberately unpainted now it was certainly one where the 300 people who shined gold had much more sway than your average human being. This was unlikely to be a representative democracy.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Aliasi View Post

                        After all, it's not like Big Red overthrew an enlightened government to raise her despotism; while the First Age is deliberately unpainted now it was certainly one where the 300 people who shined gold had much more sway than your average human being. This was unlikely to be a representative democracy.
                        Minor Correction: Her Reddness overthrew/ended the warring states period of Dragonblooded like the Shogunate.

                        More to the point, yeah. A point of debate, no doubt, is could the realm be replaced by a better, less boot-on-neck regime. Certainly, the DBs can be as heroic (hell, outcastes? They exist! And not all are on top of massive slave built empires!) and Celestials can be vilianous (I love me some age of Nightmares.)


                        I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Isator Levi
                          Certainly, avoid the narrative where the latter means that the former is straightforwardly justified, but it is a bit more nuanced.

                          Now more than ever, I think, with things like House Ledaal and how much they're concerned by those Deathlords.


                          GCG's quote was made back when fae still had massive numbers, so that's one concern down. As for the anarchy of the threshold... maybe it wouldn't have been in that state if the Realm wasn't constantly sucking wealth out of it, bending its policies to their whims, and supporting whatever strongwoman or strongman went along with them.


                          With regard to House Ledaal, Thorns was their satrapy. They bled it pallid making war on the Scavenger Lands. Their policy made it easy pickings for the Mask of Winters. They helped dig the hole. Their recent concerns about that one Deathlord above politics are admirable, but they have a long way to go before they count as deeply sympathetic.

                          Originally posted by Aliasi View Post
                          Yes. It's very easy to tsk-tsk about such empires now, but consider how our own ancient history is filled with such empires, and that's without a literally superhuman noble class running it; Representative democracy is a bit of an uphill task to implement in Creation.

                          There was a post by... I think someone who is now a writer, but I misremember who, that went to each splat and said "Clearly, X are the heroes. *List amazing accomplishments*. This is why X are the heroes of Exalted." The point here being that even the Scarlet Realm, which is the closest to a 'villain', is not some cartoonish realm of evil. It was born of a singular remarkable officer and her team on a daring and heroic last-minute scramble through a forbidden ruin to a device that saved the world, and the Dynasty has held the world together since. If you have to be a regular human being in Creation, the Blessed Isle isn't a bad place to be one in, on the whole.

                          This is not incompatible with them being a cruel master and colossus with their boot on the throats of millions. If Rome didn't rise to power, some other nation would have and we'd be talking about the horrible practices of Carthage or something now, but they did rise to power and they did do horrible things. That the Realm might provide necessarily stability while simultaneously being kind of shitty might make some heads explode that are used to simple heroes and villains, but both the real world and Creation are more complex.

                          After all, it's not like Big Red overthrew an enlightened government to raise her despotism; while the First Age is deliberately unpainted now it was certainly one where the 300 people who shined gold had much more sway than your average human being. This was unlikely to be a representative democracy.
                          I doubt the certainty of the text that I have placed in bold. We do not inevitably and uncontrollably get worse and worse terrible shit as a natural law.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Meianno Yuurei View Post
                            The Sidereals often make the hard choice of triage and acceptable losses; Romeo and Juliet committing suicide is an acceptable cost to end the unending turmoil between Montague and Capulet.
                            IMHO this is the wrong take on the Flaw of Sidereals. Their problem isn't that have to be cold hearted and make hard choices, it's that they refuse to accept the they could ever be wrong. Their curse is hubris- it doesn't matter what The Realm wants, or what DBs want, or what the Lunars want, all of those people are just Wrong and Sidereals are Right because Destiny Says So and they have a the terrible responsibility of saving us poor fools from our own shortsighted machinations. This is how Sidereals see themselves, the final arbiter on what is the Right Thing To Do.

                            "Its for their own good"
                            "In 100 years, they'll thank me for this"
                            "The civilian death toll is with tolerable levels"

                            "It had to be done"


                            ..."But I've bought a big bat, I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me"

                            Message me for Japanese translations.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post

                              IMHO this is the wrong take on the Flaw of Sidereals. Their problem isn't that have to be cold hearted and make hard choices, it's that they refuse to accept the they could ever be wrong. Their curse is hubris- it doesn't matter what The Realm wants, or what DBs want, or what the Lunars want, all of those people are just Wrong and Sidereals are Right because Destiny Says So and they have a the terrible responsibility of saving us poor fools from our own shortsighted machinations. This is how Sidereals see themselves, the final arbiter on what is the Right Thing To Do.

                              "Its for their own good"
                              "In 100 years, they'll thank me for this"
                              "The civilian death toll is with tolerable levels"

                              "It had to be done"
                              Destiny doesn't say so. People tend to miss or ignore the fact that the fact that while they work for the bureau of destiny, it doesn't mean they obey it. They understand fate and thus decide it's course. They didn't shape the realm because destiny said to. They did it because they knew they could CONTROL destiny the best that way. Their curse of hubris has everything to do with what they believe is right.

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