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  • #31
    Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
    I agree with others that this is very cool, gets my brain humming...and I'm also confused about the home base of the Shadow Fang Vanguard. Granted, from that description, I'm assuming they're hanging out up near Halta, which doesn't really seem like the front lines of the War on the Realm or any other "vanguard" type region, but "the Forests of the North East" could be as far in as Medo, technically.

    Vance, if you're reading this, it might be worth clarifying that a bit.
    It's actually the "deep Northeastern forests". So my impression is beyond even Halta (those forests go deep. Very deep). I had the same reaction as you.

    But I wonder if that's just their safe base where the Realm can't reach them, and they go on long crusades, travelling far on the wing, settling down in a Threshold, spending a few months screwing things up, then go home to their distant base before the Realm's army arrives.


    My characters:
    Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
    Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Wise Old Guru View Post
      For the record, long-distance warfare gets a lot easier to pull off when you can bind a Second Circle demon and send it to go mess with your enemy once a month.
      Depends on the demon (that's still 3400 miles for Octavian to trudge, and he'll probably get lost), but to some extent that's true. Certainly small strike teams of supernatural warriors seems more viable than sending armies of tribesmen who'll probably die of disease or in random fights with civilised folk before they get there.


      My characters:
      Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
      Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Ascension View Post

        What surprises me is that it's explicitly identified as "Old Realm for 'guide' or 'teacher,'" which wouldn't seem to make it an inherently Lunar title. Unless there's an implicit "of Lunars" in the word that would be understood to native Old Realm speakers, I would expect Sidereals and Gods, and possibly other groups as well, to also use the title shahan-ya.
        Possibly. But ancient terms do often change their meaning because they're only used by specific groups.
        For example:
        Gay (cheerful)
        Basilica (a Roman public building for meetings)
        African (a member of a particular Libyan tribe)
        Ferret (a thief)

        So an ancient term can be maintained by one group while forgotten by others. A young Sidereal might read an ancient Old Realm text from 5000 years ago and be confused by talk of a mortal Shahan-Ya teaching her students the tribe's rain dance, but be told by his divine teacher that while it's only used by Lunar teachers today, it originally was a more general word.

        I guess this could even be the start of a gradual retcon, phasing out the real-world title "sifu" in favor of an Exalted-specific term, analogous to the use of "daiklave"? But I expect not.
        I suspect the reason the Devs used it instead of Sifu is because Sidereals use Sifu, essentially. I don't expect Sifu to vanish, I just expect it to only be used for Sidereals and other martial-arts specific teaching roles.

        (Incidentally, Sifu is not only for kung-fu teachers in China, you also use it for skilled tradespeople. I mostly used it to refer to taxi-drivers.)
        Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-09-2018, 05:06 AM.


        My characters:
        Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
        Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Wise Old Guru View Post
          For the record, long-distance warfare gets a lot easier to pull off when you can bind a Second Circle demon and send it to go mess with your enemy once a month.
          that is so evil i love it


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          • #35
            Originally posted by Wise Old Guru View Post
            For the record, long-distance warfare gets a lot easier to pull off when you can bind a Second Circle demon and send it to go mess with your enemy once a month.
            I actually wonder if this is one of those points where the Silver Pact might frown upon you if you do this too much.
            While summoning a second circle demon every now and then to assist with a major plan is probably fine, just summoning them randomly to attack Realm holdings seems like it would both antagonize the Realm (and Sidereals, who now have even more reasons to hate you because the Second Circles are also messing with Fate), as well as distance yourself from certain elements of the pact.
            I'm not saying every Lunar would oppose such a thing, but I think many would consider unleashing the enemies of Creation with little to no restraint on your enemies careless?

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post

              No. 2e had that terrible Nameless Lair writeup, and that past edition can keep it, buried under the other inexplicable Wyld anomalies hiding atrocity centers.
              Honestly, not what I was thinking. I was thinking he was more in the lines of someone who is vicious and not a good thing for humanity at large, but very good at making you agree with him. More Lucifer than a generic demon king-he is selfish and insane, but he's a very compelling variety-admirable in how totally he was able to adapt to the new world, even if his victory would be really bad in the long term for everyone.


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              • #37
                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                armies of tribesmen who'll probably die of disease or in random fights with civilised folk before they get there.
                The susceptibility of large armies to disease tends to be a result of their poor diet and living conditions in combination with a large number of people being pressed into close proximity. A smaller, more mobile and flexible force that might be used to foraging strikes me as no more likely to catch serious disease than anybody else, and probably less likely than a lot of the setting's urban dwellers.

                What are they doing getting into fights with what I presume you meant as settled or urbanized people? Is it for supplies?

                Originally posted by wern212 View Post
                I actually wonder if this is one of those points where the Silver Pact might frown upon you if you do this too much.
                While summoning a second circle demon every now and then to assist with a major plan is probably fine, just summoning them randomly to attack Realm holdings seems like it would both antagonize the Realm (and Sidereals, who now have even more reasons to hate you because the Second Circles are also messing with Fate), as well as distance yourself from certain elements of the pact.
                I'm not saying every Lunar would oppose such a thing, but I think many would consider unleashing the enemies of Creation with little to no restraint on your enemies careless?
                That's not really how any of the Exalted view demons as a general thing, and especially not when they're summoned and bound by sorcery.



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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Leliel View Post

                  Honestly, not what I was thinking. I was thinking he was more in the lines of someone who is vicious and not a good thing for humanity at large, but very good at making you agree with him. More Lucifer than a generic demon king-he is selfish and insane, but he's a very compelling variety-admirable in how totally he was able to adapt to the new world, even if his victory would be really bad in the long term for everyone.
                  I know I wasn't with Exalted for as long as many others before the Third Edition core came out, but it was still long enough for the overall presentation of Ma-Ha-Suchi to make an impression. I mean, the guy had a very distinct look, he had his ethos, people talked about him a lot, it would have been hard not to have a very firm image of him rooted in.

                  So I don't get why so few people seem to have had the same response to his being significantly rewritten in the Third Edition core as I did. Responses such as... remembering it at all; giving the impression of ever having read it in the first place; perhaps even preferring it because it's an interesting contrast to the other Lunars and general take on somebody who's been at this game for ages.

                  Ma-Ha-Suchi's ultimate victory is really bad to the extent that it makes trade and communication between the Threshold and the Southeast more difficult.


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                  • #39
                    I know for the purposes of my own game Ma-Ha-Suchi is currently trying to figure out why his Nameless Lair has moved from over by Greyfalls. So the fact that Raksi might be on his list of potential suspects along with the Sidereals amuses me.


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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                      The susceptibility of large armies to disease tends to be a result of their poor diet and living conditions in combination with a large number of people being pressed into close proximity. A smaller, more mobile and flexible force that might be used to foraging strikes me as no more likely to catch serious disease than anybody else, and probably less likely than a lot of the setting's urban dwellers.
                      Fair points.
                      However, we're talking about the distance from Britain to Tajikistan or Lebanon (but Tajikistan's a better example; Lebanon isn't too hard to get to because of the sea. That doesn't apply here). Travelling to a different part of the world with different diseases (and jungles have particularly bad diseases; though I guess we are talking about native jungle dwellers. Though I'm not sure how well Congolese travellers to Indian jungles in the Middle Ages would do. Obviously Europeans were devastated by disease, but perhaps other jungle-dwellers do better). Though to be fair, it's probably disease+random fights+starvation+accidents+bandits+desertion that's the issue, rather than just disease.
                      Still, you do raise a good point.

                      What are they doing getting into fights with what I presume you meant as settled or urbanized people? Is it for supplies?
                      That's one reason.

                      There are multiple routes you could take to get from Mahalanka to the Nameless Lair (or rather, environs; obviously the war doesn't necessarily mean besieging each other's capitals).
                      You could trek about 4000 miles through the forest/jungle (it shouldn't be too hard to avoid Rathess). And your various bands of hunter-gatherers can probably hunt on the go, though that'll slow them slightly. Just don't get lost!
                      But even without hunting, trekking through forest/jungle is slow even when it's not 4000 miles. I have to admit, I've not trekked a whole day through forest, and certainly not jungle, but I suspect trekking 4000 miles through forest and jungle would take well over a year, possibly more.

                      And of course, you're going to be walking through the territory of many other independent tribes, strange forest gods, wood spiders, weird jungle monsters, etc.


                      A much quicker way would be to trek about 650 miles to that big lake, then get some kind of boat and sail along the great river past Vaneha and Nathir. Then go south at the big fork, and travel down to the jungle. Then march to the Nameless Lair (or rather, environs).
                      The total distance is about 4200 miles (more than the distance from Britain to Canada), but a lot of it is going downriver.

                      Of course, this river is the heart's blood of the Scavenger Lands. A lot of societies are going to be based along that river. And, while the river is very large, it's not going to be easy for various boats full of barbarians to get all the way down there without skirmishing. There's 2 reasons: one, to acquire supplies they're going to be at best poaching, and at worst raiding, from the locals. And second, a lot of civilisations along the river are going to get very antsy when they see a ship full of armed beastmen sailing past... and then, a few days later, another one, and then another one.

                      That's not to say this is utterly impossible. I think a Lunar could organise it (not that we've seen their charms yet). It's just very difficult.

                      It seems very awkward to prosecute a war across 4000 miles of jungle/forest via mortal soldiers. That's why I'd think flying demons, monsters, raids by packs of young Lunars, paying local tribes to rebel, and proxy war support for traditional enemies (say, whatever society is near Ma-Ha-Suchi's jungle and so has to put up with his raids, and would accept the help of a strange monstrous strategist from far to the north-east), and so on, are more practical solutions.
                      Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-09-2018, 12:12 PM.


                      My characters:
                      Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                      Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                        I know for the purposes of my own game Ma-Ha-Suchi is currently trying to figure out why his Nameless Lair has moved from over by Greyfalls. So the fact that Raksi might be on his list of potential suspects along with the Sidereals amuses me.
                        To be fair, it was in a few different places in previous editions. But yeah, it was east of Greyfalls in mine too.
                        Definitely Sidereals.

                        (Actually, in my game, Infernals blew up the Loom of Fate, and Autocthon had to make a new one. That was my explanation for any geographic changes, like say the whole new area of lakes and rivers that appeared directly north of where the PCs were, while Varang shifted from north of them to east of them.)
                        Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-09-2018, 12:15 PM.


                        My characters:
                        Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                        Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                          It seems very awkward to prosecute a war across 4000 miles of jungle/forest via mortal soldiers. That's why I'd think flying demons, monsters, raids by packs of young Lunars, paying local tribes to rebel, and proxy war support for traditional enemies (say, whatever society is near Ma-Ha-Suchi's jungle and so has to put up with his raids, and would accept the help of a strange monstrous strategist from far to the north-east), and so on, are more practical solutions.
                          Personally, I'd sooner the description of them "going to war" be a somewhat hyperbolic description of an extended personal dispute involving arguments and not infrequent one-on-one fights then imagine it in half of those terms. Something about it just rubs me the wrong way... making it all about sending other Lunars to fight on your behalf feels contrary to the general spirit of what the excerpt is presenting, making it about managing to distantly manipulate very far away groups of people makes it feel too cold and impersonal, and using a lot of demons and stuff makes it feel both insufficiently Lunar and a bit too detached from the setting's locales.

                          I know that Second Edition, at least, presented Ma-Ha-Suchi as being able to use at least necromancy, but in an Edition in which being a sorcerer or necromancer is less of a casual thing, I feel as though such an element should be dropped from his character when his basic thesis is not of being a sorcerer, which kind of discounts him slinging magic from thousands of miles away.

                          I don't really know what the excerpt means by it (not least because I'm not certain where they'll be going with Ma-Ha-Suchi), but I'd happily accept a lot of fudging for the sake of preserving scenarios that depict character than have something reeking of impersonal pragmatism in which Ma-Ha, at least, feels kind of interchangeable.

                          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz
                          a lot of civilisations along the river are going to get very antsy when they see a ship full of armed beastmen sailing past... and then, a few days later, another one, and then another one


                          So, one, I'm imagining a scenario that only ever needs maybe a couple hundred fighters at a time, so I can't see it needing too many boats.

                          Two, heh, thinking about the point of how large groups of armed people are travelling the Scavenger Lands all the time got me thinking about the idea that a fairly efficient way to transmit troops like that is probably to contract them as muscle for Guild caravans for the journey to and from their destination.

                          Although I imagine that even without such a detail, large armed groups marching across the province into the forests because they've been contracted for mercenary work is something that happens all the time. I've got an image in which a lot of the Hundred Kingdoms won't hassle such groups unless they start it as a matter of general policy, because they don't want to risk antagonising Nexus or Lookshy, which they're probably quite dependent on.


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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                            To be fair, it was in a few different places in previous editions.
                            I remember previous debates on the subject with ideas of it moving around like Castle Duckula or that Nameless Lairs were a franchise he'd set up (that was formerly known as Salon Provocative).


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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                              From what I read their organization sounded anything but cohesive.
                              Mmm, perhaps 'cohesive' was the wrong word, but having internal factional disagreements doesn't actually help, because it suggests to me that Lunar society is established enough, and that people are invested enough in it, for there to BE factions.

                              Like, the Lunar Exalted are four hundred individuals scattered across the length and breadth of the entire world. They don't have any central location to call home as the Sidereals do, they aren't the dynastic noble class of large nations like the Realm, they are a bunch of random heroes seperated by an average of like, the distance between Hellenic Greece and Gaul, or the Visigoth tribes and frikkin' Jin Dynasty China.

                              The passage is often quite sensible and loaded with potential, but the moment any Lunar material talks about 'recruitment' I start rolling my eyes, because I am frankly skeptical of the idea that Lunars are able to encounter each other by anything more reliable than random happenstance, and that's certainly good enough to justify a player circle getting together, but a world-spanning organisation? This is Exalted! Travelling so much as the length of the Confederation of Rivers is a major undertaking!

                              Yes, granted, Lunars are proooobably the most mobile Exalt, but even accounting for turning into birds, we're still talking about on average days or weeks of travel to meet up with a bunch of people who are foreigners in every sense but anima colour, during which a Lunar must abandon abandoning whatever heroic irons they have in the fire back home, the place they actually care about. There are possibilities in sorcerous communication, but a) I don't actually like the idea that most Lunars are walking around carrying some manner of magical walkie-talkie, and b) that suggests the Silver Pact is less an organisation than a worldwide mailing list, which doesn't really fit with what's going on. All of this is setting aside the question of how do you go about finding a freshly Exalted Lunar, something the game has never been clear on.

                              Simple geography poses a massive obstacle to any shared sense of Lunar community, and the ideological differences are also non-trivial; if 'mutual pacts against a common enemy' are enough to get a bunch of Celestial Exalted from wildly differing nationalities, ethnicities, professions, social classes, cultural traditions and philosophical outlooks to set aside their many, many, many differences (at least some of which are going to trend closer to bitter opposition than divergent but not actually exclusive opinions) and work together, then the 'Silver Pact' should by all rights be a Rainbow Pact of Lunars, Outcaste Dragonblooded, Terrestrial (and some Celestial) Gods, Elementals, sane-ish Ghosts, assorted halfbreeds, perhaps the occasional Ronin Sidereal, and, more recently, returning Solars and renegade Abyssals.

                              If it's that potent as a unifying banner, it's absurd for it to be a purely Lunar thing - it'll be the rallying cry of every anti-Realm group that wants wider support in their opposition to the jackbooted empire with its heel pressing on the throat of the world. On the other hand, if 'mutual pacts against a common enemy' are not enough to unite all peoples from all places, then it won't unite a meaningful number of the Lunar Exalted, either.

                              Ultimately, I tend to think that the idea of a 'Silver Pact' is fundamentally incoherent, and damaging to the game's desire to stress the difficulty of long-distance travel in the ancient world; the Guild has a similar issue where it's trying to be a world-spanning mercantile conspiracy in a setting where the most advanced nation around is administrated by the cutting-edge technology of semaphore.

                              Personally, I think Lunars work much better if they just abandon the idea that there's any kind of worldwide Lunar community. Scattered across the face of Creation and beyond are the Lunar Exalted, enmeshed in the troubles and trevails of an Age of Sorrows. Each mighty, each champion of their respective people's, but each singular, an iconoclast, an argent island adrift in a fallen world.

                              Sometimes they encounter each other in the course of their adventures, as they encounter Exigents and halfbloods and other heroes of the Age, and perhaps the shared flavour of their power spurs a spark of recognition that means a few more of these meetings result in friendship , and so bands of Lunars are relatively common, insofar as any phenomenon among the rarified ranks of the Exalted can be called 'common'. Sometimes a particularly old and mighty Lunar sweeps through the area, one who hails from the ancient days of the Shogunate, perhaps even the Age of Dreams itself, a ramshackle court of heroic flotsam caught up in their wake, inspired by their legend. Perhaps a few young Lunars follow them to learn at their knee - or perhaps they don't.


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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Imrix View Post

                                The passage is often quite sensible and loaded with potential, but the moment any Lunar material talks about 'recruitment' I start rolling my eyes, because I am frankly skeptical of the idea that Lunars are able to encounter each other by anything more reliable than random happenstance, and that's certainly good enough to justify a player circle getting together, but a world-spanning organisation? This is Exalted! Travelling so much as the length of the Confederation of Rivers is a major undertaking!

                                Yes, granted, Lunars are proooobably the most mobile Exalt, but even accounting for turning into birds, we're still talking about on average days or weeks of travel to meet up with a bunch of people who are foreigners in every sense but anima colour, during which a Lunar must abandon abandoning whatever heroic irons they have in the fire back home, the place they actually care about. There are possibilities in sorcerous communication, but a) I don't actually like the idea that most Lunars are walking around carrying some manner of magical walkie-talkie, and b) that suggests the Silver Pact is less an organisation than a worldwide mailing list, which doesn't really fit with what's going on. All of this is setting aside the question of how do you go about finding a freshly Exalted Lunar, something the game has never been clear on.
                                Let's seeeee….

                                Omniscient Instinct Concentration

                                Cost: —(1wp); Mins: Perception 5, Essence 5
                                Type: Permanent
                                Keywords: None
                                Duration: Permanent
                                Prerequisite Charms: Grandfather Spider Mastery
                                Standing at the center of the changing seasons, the Lunar can scent distant strife on the wind, read portents written on the stars, and discern secret wisdom from her dreams. Whenever an event occurs within (Essence x100) miles that threatens or strongly impacts the object of one of the Lunar’s Defining Ties, or her Tie to her Solar mate, she feels a tingle of prescient instinct. She may spend one Willpower to focus her senses on the distant event, receiving a brief description of it as well as the direction and distance to it. Any Survival rolls she makes to navigate her way towards the event’s location double 7s. While Watchful Spider Stance is active, the Lunar can sense events at any range, as long as she is within the same realm of existence.

                                I suppose there might be some high Essence people in the Silver Pact who are concerned enough about the survival of other Lunars to have a Defining Tie about it. It might also depend a bit on what Watchful Spider Stance does on its own, if it can enhance this Charm to allow a Lunar to sense events from a distance of an entire realm of existence.

                                It may be that elder Lunars possess some rather potent communication Charms, such that even if they can't reach a fresh new Lunar in need in due time by themselves, they can at least get word out to somebody that owes them a favour or is invested in their cause who can.

                                That's not even accounting for the fact that the Silver Pact contains Lunars that have at least Essence 6.

                                As for the rest, why doesn't the Silver Pact sound like a big mailing list? I think that Third Edition has been fairly consistent up until this point that it's largely about an agreement of mutual aid and purpose, facilitated primarily by the accumulation and exchange of favours.

                                Originally posted by Imrix
                                Simple geography poses a massive obstacle to any shared sense of Lunar community, and the ideological differences are also non-trivial; if 'mutual pacts against a common enemy' are enough to get a bunch of Celestial Exalted from wildly differing nationalities, ethnicities, professions, social classes, cultural traditions and philosophical outlooks to set aside their many, many, many differences (at least some of which are going to trend closer to bitter opposition than divergent but not actually exclusive opinions) and work together, then the 'Silver Pact' should by all rights be a Rainbow Pact of Lunars, Outcaste Dragonblooded, Terrestrial (and some Celestial) Gods, Elementals, sane-ish Ghosts, assorted halfbreeds, perhaps the occasional Ronin Sidereal, and, more recently, returning Solars and renegade Abyssals.
                                You've referenced Lunars from a variety of backgrounds, but considering that Lunars are, by definition, iconoclasts and outsiders, there's a question of how much they really belong to those backgrounds. There's a possibility that many Lunars identify more with one another than they did with society that they came from (and that rejected them?).

                                Plus the fact that there's something damaged that is unique within the Lunar Essence, and compels them to a particular animosity against the Realm. Combined with the framework in the background of a Lunar Society from the First Age.

                                All of those other people are still part of the equation, but like the Dominions, they are likely to often be tools.

                                Originally posted by Imrix
                                Ultimately, I tend to think that the idea of a 'Silver Pact' is fundamentally incoherent, and damaging to the game's desire to stress the difficulty of long-distance travel in the ancient world; the Guild has a similar issue where it's trying to be a world-spanning mercantile conspiracy in a setting where the most advanced nation around is administrated by the cutting-edge technology of semaphore.
                                That puts the Realm one up over some of the largest empires in actual human history.


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