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  • [Dev Blog] The Lunar Exalted

    Let's see if this works... New official blog post on Lunars.


    Scion 2E: What We Know - A wiki compiling info on second edition Scion.

  • #2
    Thoughts I posted elsewhere:

    I think it looks good. I particularly like the reference to the idea that the Lunars are effectively balanced between their duel natures, rather than having to commit to one over the other (or being threatened with one overwhelming), I find the framing of how the Pact has stymied the power of the Realm to be credible (effectively complementing some new ideas introduced in What Fire Has Wrought, such as ambitions to conquer the West), and I like the way in which it introduces a variety of new name personas (including the idea of one group in which a Shogunate-era Lunar explicitly outranks a First Age elder).

    Probably more detail later.


    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
    Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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    • #3
      A great read! I just introduced my first Lunar NPC in my chronicle an these updates really help characterize her.


      May you live in interesting times...

      Storyteller of Sun Forged Oath

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      • #4
        Oh, I neglected to quote myself mentioning the concept of schools.

        I like that as a way of reconciling the presence of older, more established Lunars with the idea that there's not exactly a guiding authority for Lunars, a process of systemizing their differences in strategy and philosophy (and some of the ensuing conflict over the same), and particularly the impetus it provides for Lunars to have regular meetings with one another, either one-to-one or in special gatherings. One of those actually plays off of an idea I've always had about a certain Lunar character, one who is actually fairly estranged from the Pact as a whole, but might still occasionally journey out to meet with her mentor again.


        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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        • #5
          A lot of this is what I expected, from Vance and Minton's previous statements, but I'm still pleased to see it. It looks pretty decent:

          Several points:

          1) The Lunars seem much more pro-active, due to a few small shifts. They changed their own Castes, rather than losing them. The Realm used to be even more powerful, but has been held at bay and even pushed back by the Lunars. The First-Age Lunars are no longer described as the Solar's lieutenants, but rather "fighting alongside" the Solars. And of course there's a specific situation of "Lunar victories". This actually all ends up with a Time of Tumult whose basic situation is pretty similar as in 2nd ed, but there's a very definite presentation and background change to it.

          2) I find it interesting that the Lunars specifically target the heirs to the Shogunate, rather than Dragonblood in general (obviously most Dragonblood societies do claim descent from the Shogunate, but not all). That helps build the idea of the Elders' vendetta as, well, a vendetta.

          3) Though short and, perhaps obvious, I liked the bit about building support amongst anti-Realm dissidents. I can well imagine inner-threshold rebels having secret meetings with a Lunar; they may hate and distrust the Anathema, but they're willing to make a deal with the devil to drive out the Realm. It also helps give a very guerilla vibe for the Lunar war effort, as opposed to the Beastman horde idea that previous editions tended to focus on. Which, considering Lunars' shapeshifting powerset, is what a lot of Lunars would gravitate towards (its certainly how I've generally seen Lunar PCs act).

          4) The factions of 2nd ed were in some cases a bit nonsensical; the Sun King Seneschals wanted to serve people who vanished in the mists of pre-history, the Winding Path wanted to do something the whole Silver Pact had agreed to anyway, the Wardens of Gaia wanted to protect nature in a pre-modern setting where it wasn't really under threat (except maybe from Deathlords). And then of course, you had the problem of size; the Crossroads Society did make sense in terms of sorcerers sharing knowledge, but it was hard to see how 100 Lunars across the entire world could really be said to belong to the same organisation.
          So charismatic or skilled elders surrounded by younger Lunars and allies in a local-ish area makes a lot more sense. There were a few examples; the Thousand Fangs were a pack loyal to Raksi who subjugated lands to her south-east, for example. But there wasn't much.
          But they've gone a bit further here and made it less leaders and followers, and more teachers and students. Which I think is even better; a)from a verisimilitude perspective, since it's pretty difficult to control Lunars, and b)from a gameplay perspective.

          Essentially, if you're running a Lunars' game, I think having the PCs share an NPC kung-fu sifu or sorcerous mentor who they can go and hang out with in his isolated mountaintop grove (or, say, her overgrown ancient library deep in the jungle where she can teach them Celestial spells from the Book of Three Circles) works much better than having an NPC faction-boss who orders them around. PCs tend not to react well to that, Lunar PCs especially.

          5)TBH, I don't really like the Shadow Fang Vanguard. I don't like their name, they don't really inspire me with anything interesting to do, and it seems a bit odd they're so far from the Realm (though perhaps their base is merely far from the Realm for defence, and they launch far-reaching guerilla tactics). But I think it's a good example of the kind of faction you'd get; arguments not about whether the Lunars should focus on defending nature or serving their non-existent Solar Mates, but rather how best to fight the Realm. The other examples of inter-Lunar factional arguments all make sense to me too; I can definitely imagine a group of Lunar PCs squabbling over whether its okay to use Shadowlands or ally with the Fair Folk against the Realm.
          Incidentally, I'm interested to see that Raksi and Ma-Ha-Suchi went to war over the Pact's future direction. I wonder whether we'll get more details on that. And also, considering the distance, how that worked. Subversion of local tribes? Lunar vs Lunar combat? You can send Lunars that distance far easier than armies.
          Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-08-2018, 06:32 PM.


          "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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          • #6
            I’m loving it! It would be fun to play a game where the Circle wants to make a new Lunar prominent Delibrative! Lunar being the most Numerous Celestials, with some Solars who joined. They kill all the current generation of Sidereals and so the next generation come in as advisors. The Dragonblooded are scuttled but new Clans arise redeemed and ready to serve Creation. The Solara who aren’t allied are all of a sudden switching places with Lunars, becoming insurgentsbut also guarding the rim from Fairfolk, Abyssals and the Infernal.


            It is a time for great deeds!

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            • #7
              Also I thought original talk was to have it they always had three Castes? Not displeased but just curious that they still kept the 5 caste origins.


              It is a time for great deeds!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post

                Essentially, if you're running a Lunars' game, I think having the PCs share an NPC kung-fu sifu or sorcerous mentor who they can go and hang out with in his isolated mountaintop grove (or, say, her overgrown ancient library deep in the jungle where she can teach them Celestial spells from the Book of Three Circles) works much better than having an NPC faction-boss who orders them around. PCs tend not to react well to that, Lunar PCs especially.
                Or indeed, for your shanan-ha (I'll familiarise myself with the exact term eventually) to turn up on your door for a chat, a check-in, a moment of respite. Given what the Silver Pact is up to, I imagine that for the teachers of schools of activity to be cloistered is the exception more often than the rule.

                Incidentally, a conversation a while ago came up about the question of whether or not Dominions would make for good expansion material in the way that underdeveloped Terrestrial groups did for Heirs of the Shogunate. I maintain that they do not, but think that schools, present and past, sound like a very strong thing to put into that slot.

                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz
                5)TBH, I don't like the Shadow Fang Vanguard's name, and it seems a bit odd they're so far from the Realm (though perhaps their base is merely far from the Realm for defence, and they launch far-reaching guerilla tactics). But I think it's a good example of the kind of faction you'd get; arguments not about whether the Lunars should focus on defending nature or serving their non-existent Solar Mates, but rather how best to fight the Realm.
                In their case, I think it's going much further than how they're fighting the Realm; it's about how Lunars relate to one another! The motivation to have that kind of authority over others (or to be under it) strikes me as being on a whole other level, especially if their own freedom is a common sticking point for Lunar Exalted.

                I can imagine that there are Lunars that are in agreement with any kinds of methods employed, but are deeply offended by the idea of a bunch of Lunars being within such a hierarchical system, from whichever direction.

                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz
                Incidentally, I'm interested to see that Raksi and Ma-Ha-Suchi went to war over the Pact's future direction. I wonder whether we'll get more details on that. And also, considering the distance, how that worked. Subversion of local tribes? Lunar vs Lunar combat? You can send Lunars that distance far easier than armies.
                I think it depends on how the armies are organized. Centrally controlled, heavily regimented blocks have difficulty, but widely distributed war bands who are communicating with one another and have common objectives, but are otherwise largely independent, engaging in a lot of things like lightning raids and surprise attacks?

                That kind of thing can be very effective in that kind of terrain, especially if your purpose is not to seize territory but to kill enemies.


                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
                  Originally posted by Eldagusto
                  Also I thought original talk was to have it they always had three Castes? Not displeased but just curious that they still kept the 5 caste origins.
                  I don't think they said that, just that the Lunars changed themselves to adapt to new situations.

                  Although what the devs (I don't remember if it was the old or new devs) said was that the Lunars were one thing in the Primordial War, that they changed themselves in the First Age to fit the new world, and they changed themselves again afterwards.

                  This gives more detail for the second change than the first: did they always have 5 castes? Did they create those 5 castes like they did the later 3? It says in the first age they became "guardians, guides, world-walkers, judges and mystics": 5 things that do not really look a lot like the savage monsters described in the Divine Revolution section.
                  But it's not very exact, and probably isn't supposed to be, as this is rather a "lost in the mists of time" thing.
                  Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-08-2018, 06:44 PM.


                  "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                    Or indeed, for your shanan-ha (I'll familiarise myself with the exact term eventually)
                    Shahan-ya. I was trying to work out why they used a new term, rather than something more resonant. I couldn't find where it's from. Shahan, of course, means "King (of)" in Persian. (Shahanshah is King of Kings.)

                    to turn up on your door for a chat, a check-in, a moment of respite. Given what the Silver Pact is up to, I imagine that for the teachers of schools of activity to be cloistered is the exception more often than the rule.
                    Could be. Lunars are extremely mobile, after all (and persecution encourages that). Of course, even Lunars aren't all nomadic, but many may have multiple homes/dens/places of power over a large territory.

                    But I was just thinking that, when running a game, it might be practical to have the PCs' mentor have a base where they can visit her for advice/teaching and probabaly find her there.


                    Incidentally, a conversation a while ago came up about the question of whether or not Dominions would make for good expansion material in the way that underdeveloped Terrestrial groups did for Heirs of the Shogunate. I maintain that they do not, but think that schools, present and past, sound like a very strong thing to put into that slot.
                    Hmmm... tbh, I think examples of both would be good. (I mean, obviously the main Lunar book will have examples. But more is good.)
                    Including some which are connected (to show how they can be), but generally probably mostly as separate things, in a way that Dragonblood societies and the countries they rule are not so separate.

                    Though, I believe Heirs to the Shogunate will include some mechanics bound to those locations/societies; heirloom weapons, Gunzota armour, sorcerous initiations, etc.

                    I'm quite happy to see more domains written up, but, tbh, I don't think they're as significant or need any mechanical support. I'm not sure if their lower significance to Lunars is why you think they'd be a bad inclusion? But I can see that "we'll include rules for playing a character from the Dominion of Halta/Chiaroscoro/the Haslanti League" doesn't really work well as a Kickstarter goal.
                    (A, because they don't need any rules, and B, because the Dominions are different enough in character from TSR projects that I suspect the societies that were formerly Lunar projects may not necessarily still be. And it's harder to get people excited about Stretch Goals relating to entirely new stuff which people don't know if they'll be interested in. If they say "with $X000 pledged we'll detail the exciting desert Dominion of Yuros-Ti", that doesn't encourage previous fans the way people who love Lookshy will be excited by a pledge about Lookshy).

                    I'd be fine with "we'll add another 10 pages of Dominion examples". And they don't even need that much detail: half a page on each would be more than enough. It's a fine thing to put in the book... but probably doesn't work well as a Stretch goal.

                    Saying this... expanding plot hooks isn't always a good thing.


                    Whereas I guess a Shahan-Ya and his/her students are a bit more viable in terms of added mechanics (sorcerous initiations, an iconic martial art, etc). And you could include people like, say, Raksi, I guess.
                    Though it still probably doesn't work quite as well as Lookshy.



                    I think it depends on how the armies are organized. Centrally controlled, heavily regimented blocks have difficulty, but widely distributed war bands who are communicating with one another and have common objectives, but are otherwise largely independent, engaging in a lot of things like lightning raids and surprise attacks?

                    That kind of thing can be very effective in that kind of terrain, especially if your purpose is not to seize territory but to kill enemies.
                    It's not so much the terrain, as that Mahalanka is over 3400 miles from the Nameless Lair (as the crow flies). That's why I suggested subversion of local tribes; I can't really see it as viable for a bunch of warbands to travel thousands of miles, either through the jungle or (about half the way) along the river going past a whole bunch of hostile places like Grayfalls, for lightning raids and surprise attacks on the enemy's core territories.
                    But I could see it as viable to send your Lunar students thousands of miles (they can probably travel much faster, after all, what with the flying) to bribe and cajole local tribes to rebel and fight your rival's forces. Or perhaps encourage/help neighbouring nations to invade.

                    It could even be a whole proxy war of course, but I think it doesn't have to be quite that. More like Germany encouraging far-off Japan to attack its enemy the USSR, that kind of thing.
                    Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-08-2018, 07:26 PM.


                    "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      It's not so much the terrain, as that Mahalanka is over 3400 miles from the Nameless Lair (as the crow flies). That's why I suggested subversion of local tribes; I can't really see it as viable for a bunch of warbands to travel thousands of miles, either through the jungle or (about half the way) along the river going past a whole bunch of hostile places like Grayfalls, for lightning raids and surprise attacks on the enemy's core territories.
                      I'll be honest, I wasn't quite certain of how far apart they were. I can still see ways for it to work: if one is the aggressor more than the other, they send their forces to set up base right outside of the other's borders, and have them project attacks from there; they might issue it as a kind of formal challenge in which they designate a section of jungle in between both of them in which to go all Hunger Games until they agree to call it off or there's a definite winner.

                      I would expect warriors to pack up and commit to such a distant endeavour when there's a grinning Lunar at their back.


                      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
                        Didn't MHS eschew contact with everyone, including the Pact, in order to do his own thing? It seems odd that he's clashing over its policy unless that policy is "step to the side and stay out of my way".

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                        • #13
                          While I know Exalted doesn't have anything to do with oWoD anymore (if ever) but is anyone else getting Werewolf vibes from the Shadow Fang Vanguard? Shape-shifters from a north eastern part of the world who are all about dominance and have beef with a group with silver in the name. Feels very much like the Silver Fangs vs the Shadow Lords and if so I approve.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nightshrike View Post
                            While I know Exalted doesn't have anything to do with oWoD anymore (if ever) but is anyone else getting Werewolf vibes from the Shadow Fang Vanguard? Shape-shifters from a north eastern part of the world who are all about dominance and have beef with a group with silver in the name. Feels very much like the Silver Fangs vs the Shadow Lords and if so I approve.
                            Shadow Lords never broke off quite like that. One of the allowances afforded to a long war that's actually going in your favor without having to change your program.

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                            • #15
                              I like this quite a bit, but what interests me the most is the potential conflicts over the future of the Lunar Exalted and Creation as a whole. I think that could be an great basis of a game focusing on Silver Pact politics in place (or alongside) of fighting the legacy of the Usurpation; deciding what the Lunar Exalted should become once their long vendetta is settled.


                              Raksi plays Peek-a-boo for keeps. ~ nalak42

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