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Mortals in 3e

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  • Nabirius
    started a topic Mortals in 3e

    Mortals in 3e

    I know that this might be a somewhat contentious topic, given the lack of Enlightened mortals in 3e, but given that the exalted seem to be substantially less than 1% of the population, and there are so many threats to mortal life it seems improbable that humans survive given the frankly minimal protection that ~30,000 Dragon-blooded can give them. But even in 2e, enlightened mortals were a rare occurrence. This also bothers me since even animals seem to be able to gain access to the essence and thus a limited number of charms, and they can do it more easily than mortals can. So I wanted to make a list of ways that mortals can gain access to enough supernatural mojo to plausibly punch above their weight class (they don't need to be an even match, just a threat).

    Note: I am focusing on combat power because it has a simple 'win condition' but any type of power is valid.

    Magical Learning
    This category is defined by anything that any mortal character can gain access to, and that they don't require others to help them. This does not need to be literal learning, if there is an artifact or manse that can grant them powers, which they could seek out on their own then it goes here.
    • Martial Enlightenment - This may not be a thing anymore, but in 2e mortals could reach a max of Essence 3 and learn terrestrial martial arts charms. They had a max of 30 personal motes.
    • Sorcerous Enlightenment - This is definitely still a thing and with a decent shaping ritual, and possibly and infernal artifact it may be the most dangerous tool available to mortals. Bind a few demons, have a sorcerous pool ready before the fight and see what you can accomplish.
    Heritage
    This category is for abilities that you either were born with, or you don't have them. Though they might be able to be improved on through effort and training.
    • God-blooded: Most gods, and thus god-blooded aren't that powerful. However, you could have the bastard child of a fairly powerful god, like Ahlat, which could learn their powers and potentially be able to spike above Dragonblooded power for short periods of time, though they probably can't maintain that exertion long. I also wonder if a god-blooded has the potential to achieve apotheosis and become a god under their parent's purview.
    • Demon-blooded: Exactly like god-blooded, but with demons. Their power would clearly depend a lot on the power of their demonic sire - one of the many children born from Neomah might be able to do some body-alteration tricks and some social mojo beyond their ken. Whereas, a hypothetical child of Liger would be either a menace or a boon to all the world.
    • Exalted Parentage: We have heard that the children of exalted may be special in some way, but that it will be different than merely gaining access to their parent's charms. Clearly not a thing for Dragonblooded.
      • Beastmen - the way Beastmen were made in prior editions was... unpleasant, especially in large numbers. This also isn't necessarily 'magic' in that it's unknown what it will entail in this edition, and may not grant any charms whatsoever. However, Beastmen are generally more dangerous than pure mortals.
    • Fae-blooded: Unlike the Inheritance above, at this point, we are starting to scrape the dregs of inherited power. Like the others, they have a non-mortal parent from whom they can inherit supernatural abilities. However the Fae abilities tend toward the weird/illusionary already, and many only really function in the Wyld. I suspect that a Fae-blooded might be instrumental to a moral adventuring party, but mainly because they can protect them from the ravages of the Wyld.
    • Ghostblooded: I don't even really know how this is supposed to work, but apparently a ghost can impregnate someone or be impregnated, in spitting in the face of all laws of life and nature. Ghostblooded inherits their parent's power, which unless they were a ghost of some significance, like a Deathlord or Nephwrack, this would be pretty meager.
    Patronage
    This category is not innate power, it must be sought out after birth and it cannot be gained through effort or merit. It can only be gained through the beneficence of a greater power of some sort, and likely at great cost. I am excluding all exalted, who are no longer relevantly 'mortal' (though currently there is little reason that there can't be an arbitrary number of Liminal and Exigent Exalts).
    • Endowment - there used to be rules in 2e that Gods could 'adopt mortals' and endow them with god-blood and thus charms. I suspect with the introduction of Exigence, this will be dropped.
    • Solar-Mentorship: I vaguely remember a charm that granted a mortal ally the use of a Solar charm, though obviously a basic one.
    • Infernal-forging: though it didn't give access to any charms, 2e had many infernal charms that allowed them to mutate mortals to their needs. Much like regular mutation mechanically, but guided so there are no downsides, so long as you trust the patron.
    • Kalediscopic Border of Creation - there was an attack that would grant the target a temporary +10 successes on all actions for a limited time, followed by an eternity of cursed ineptitude.
    • Investiture of Infernal Glory - though there isn't a template for it this time, this was the biggest bang for your buck in terms of magic power, but with the downside to compensate. For exalted it lets them jump 1 rung on the power scale for martial arts and Sorcery, as well as granting them access to powerful Infernal charms.
      • The effects for mortals and DB are a bit less clear, it clearly grants them access to terrestrial and celestial circles of power respectively. But since they can both get that power naturally through the Root of the Perfected Lotus or Immaculate Mastery and a variety of artifacts, it unclear if this could bootstrap Mortals all the way to Celestial Power and make them a match for young Solars. The presence of an artifact for the Scarlet Empress that allows her to use Adamant Sorcery suggests that it might be possible, but that it would require a second form of investment, such as an artifact which would be unlikely for a mortal.
      • Given that Akuma-hood functions like a mini-infernal exaltation in many ways, and the fact that there is little in the way of Akuma being mass produced beyond what a terrible deal it is and Sidereal crackdowns it really points to how much potential there could be if the Yozi weren't such terrible rulers.
    Desultory
    This is a category of power for all abilities that are gained randomly, or uncontrollably. They may even be largely detrimental.
    • Wyld Mutation - Randomized mutations from exposure to the wyld.
    • Infernal Mutations - Similar to wyld mutations, but they likely differ in what types of changes that can be granted.
    • Serendipity - Just from the antagonist section there appear to be a number of bizarre events or features that can grant people magical abilities from the minor to the Celestial, but that they often irrevocably change the person exposed, possibly to the point where they are no longer the same person.
    Are there any there any sources that I am missing? As a side note, how do people feel about the loss of enlightened mortals?

  • glamourweaver
    replied
    Originally posted by The Hug Ninja View Post
    As the person who first brought up Exalted Healing as a life extender, I consider it less simulationist than introducing a different merit for longevity because that's requiring a distinct mechanical effect to show people live longer.
    You do make a good point that there’s no reason to mechanicize Longevity since it doesn’t impact character mechanics. A power that can grant Longevity, SURE - that has game event impact as a character tool. But the fact that a character you’re playing can live for 200 more years if not killed isn’t really going to give them any mechanical advantage in the course of a campaign, so there’s no reason to make it a purchased merit rather than Storyteller/player fiat.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by TaintedBalance View Post
    Aging is primarily caused by transcription errors during the healing process.
    This is an irresponsible statement; the biological foundation of aging remains a matter of speculation.

    It's also not even particularly accurate as a description of the prevailing theories of the biomolecular basis of aging, which are either the accumulation of oxidation of the nucleotides causing gradual breakdown, and an ongoing process of methylation, which is actually necessary to prevent transcription errors.

    I think methylation might be the big one, and it seems to be a kind of evolutionary quid pro quo; it's necessary for complex organisms to have the kind of life cycles that allow them to have extremely sophisticated biological systems, but it's not something that can really be stop doing what it does, and eventually accumulates to such a degree that transcription kind of stops functioning altogether. Or at least enough that the reduced cellular activity causes some other higher level cascade failure, or renders one more highly vulnerable to complications based on diet or environment.

    And you wouldn't really want to stop the biochemical process of DNA methylation, because it plays a very big part in preventing you from getting cancer.

    Perhaps programmed cell death also plays a certain part of it, that being another thing important in preventing cancer; it's better to scuttle a cell in its prime and replace it rather than keep it around long enough to increase the probability of its nucleic acid accumulating errors until it starts replicating when it's not supposed to.

    As far as I understand, these things are only vaguely related to the process of repair for gross tissue damage, at least sufficiently that a premise of healing very quickly and efficiently would not be inextricably tied to a capacity to live meaningfully longer.

    But that's all concerning a not altogether accurate subject of real life. Setting that aside, while I don't personally doubt that basic biology functions in about the same way in the setting, I wouldn't ascribe things related to the mythic or the superhuman to it. When it comes to something like increased lifespan, I'm inclined to think it's a matter of being infused with a vitalising juju, and biology kind of has to improvise to keep up. For Exalted, the enhanced healing is just part of the package, not the mechanism by which they are bestowed their improved life.

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  • Mizu
    replied
    Originally posted by TaintedBalance View Post


    They might not intend to, but they do have a lot of hooks for it being simulationist. I also, philosophically, don't think you can really divorce simulationism from a crunchy RPG - they just have too much ideological overlap. Many of the games systems such as crafting, leadership projects, disease and poison, etc., are explicitly simulationist. The combat system is trying to capture (aka, simulate) a very specific feel of dramatic combat.

    Furthermore, as humans, we assume everything that isn't explicitly otherwise stated, to generally work how it does in the real world, because we don't really have a choice. This is one of the great double-sided things about writing - people's brains will fill in blanks. And we do this based off our prior experience, so assuming that unless stated otherwise that things generally follow "real world" physics and the like is not only the default, its the only rational direction to take otherwise every session will break down into figuring out the logistics of how the world operates and what that implies for any actions you'd take. You can't have your cake and eat it to - if you're relying on your audience being able to fill in the blanks, you have to assume that unless stated otherwise, we're operating on real world logic.

    All Exalted have preternaturally long life spans. No mechanism for this is explicitly given. All Exalted get Exalted Healing for free. Exalted Healing says "The character heals quickly and perfectly, with no risk of lingering complications.". Aging is primarily caused by transcription errors during the healing process. Drawing the conclusion that Exalted Healing is the source of this, and then extrapolating that benefit to anyone getting the merit follows. More specifically it is sufficient, if not necessary.
    On the other hand, if exalted healing was all there was too it there wouldn't be such a huge difference in lifespan between the various chosen. Even just taking into account the 'classic' splats from the Primordial war Dragon Blodded get around 300 years, Lunars and Solars get about 3000 years, and Sidereals get 5000. Thats a pretty huge difference given they all have the thing you are supposing is the source of their longevity.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    We get a setting chapter filled with all kinds of cool and interesting mortals in 3E, and it turns out that the revival of this thread was predicated on arguing the minutiae of a Merit to contrive an explanation for living indefinitely?

    That's a bummer.

    Leave a comment:


  • Elfive
    replied
    Something something life force.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Hug Ninja
    replied
    As the person who first brought up Exalted Healing as a life extender, I consider it less simulationist than introducing a different merit for longevity because that's requiring a distinct mechanical effect to show people live longer.

    Leave a comment:


  • Blaque
    replied
    Exalted 3e is explicitly non-simulationsit if it matters any in this. There's a reason actually why the Golden Rule et al. are the first rules in the Systems chapter, rather than storied away somewhere. They make it clear that the rules don't necessairly reflect the world's workings, and that when things look like they make the setting spiral into things that don't make sense, then the rules are just wrong.

    The Exalted Healing Merit probably means you aren't likely to die of pneumonia, infection, or major bodily trauma. But you'll probably not live that much longer than expected long life for humans. Or atleast, not much longer than fantasy settings often let long-lived humans who are halthy live. This can be chalked-up to that while Creation is like Earth until stated otherwise, the thematics exist for someone who's pretty resilient to damage but ends up dying of old age anyhow. Because aging probably doesn't occur for the same reasons, it just happens superficially enough that it works the same for most cases save edge things that narrative kicks in.

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  • TheCountAlucard
    replied
    To be fair, the Exalted Healing Merit could exist at different levels of potency that is below the granularity of the Merit - hence why a Dragon-Blooded only lives for hundreds of years, while Lunars, Solars, and Sidereals can live for thousands. As such, a mortal with the Merit might well still only live somewhat longer than the regular span, especially given the way that even the Exalted tend to have the effects of old age advance rapidly on them in their twilit years.

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  • TaintedBalance
    replied
    Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
    Look. Its an rpg. Its not meant to be simulationist.

    Well, at least I don't think it is.

    They might not intend to, but they do have a lot of hooks for it being simulationist. I also, philosophically, don't think you can really divorce simulationism from a crunchy RPG - they just have too much ideological overlap. Many of the games systems such as crafting, leadership projects, disease and poison, etc., are explicitly simulationist. The combat system is trying to capture (aka, simulate) a very specific feel of dramatic combat.

    Furthermore, as humans, we assume everything that isn't explicitly otherwise stated, to generally work how it does in the real world, because we don't really have a choice. This is one of the great double-sided things about writing - people's brains will fill in blanks. And we do this based off our prior experience, so assuming that unless stated otherwise that things generally follow "real world" physics and the like is not only the default, its the only rational direction to take otherwise every session will break down into figuring out the logistics of how the world operates and what that implies for any actions you'd take. You can't have your cake and eat it to - if you're relying on your audience being able to fill in the blanks, you have to assume that unless stated otherwise, we're operating on real world logic.

    All Exalted have preternaturally long life spans. No mechanism for this is explicitly given. All Exalted get Exalted Healing for free. Exalted Healing says "The character heals quickly and perfectly, with no risk of lingering complications.". Aging is primarily caused by transcription errors during the healing process. Drawing the conclusion that Exalted Healing is the source of this, and then extrapolating that benefit to anyone getting the merit follows. More specifically it is sufficient, if not necessary.

    Leave a comment:


  • Accelerator
    replied
    Originally posted by The Hug Ninja View Post
    Exalted Healing has a lot of implications that aren't really thought out, yes.
    Look. Its an rpg. Its not meant to be simulationist.

    Well, at least I don't think it is.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Hug Ninja
    replied
    Originally posted by Elfive View Post
    Yeah, creation doesn't really run on real world logic like that. Exalted healing will help get you to old age, but it's not gonna extend it very much.
    Exalted Healing has a lot of implications that aren't really thought out, yes.

    Leave a comment:


  • Accelerator
    replied
    Aleph, Earthscorpion? I"m going to apologize in advance. I got a story idea, and it just won't go away.

    He was walking along the road.... when the girl fell from the sky. White hair, like silver. Purple eyes. And beautiful beyond belief. A soft tracery of scars and stitches on her, that made her look all the more beautiful. She was injured, she was lost, and he took her in, knowing the pleading words she mouthed through cracked lips.

    At his home, he realized what she was. A demon concubine of the local dragon-blooded sorcerer. She said that, due to her very nature and her duty, she is chaste and unable to love any but Kinmaya, her creator. Then he heard the announcement. The one to return the girl who had fled, would be rewarded. Beautiful women, land, power, generalship, tutorship in the occult... all these would be available. Just give up the girl.

    What had happened, was that the dragonblooded had been summoning Aiderea, and holding them in jadesteel shackles, and doing you know what. This particular specimen rolled a natural 20, or the one putting on the shackle rolled a botch. Whatever happened, she escaped, killing guards with fingers that transformed into syringes and scalpels. She escaped, flesh enduring arrow shots and threw herself off the cliff, enduring the crashes and bumps along the way, until she struck the boy.

    The boy now knew that she would never love him. The boy knew that all his dreams would come true if he just handed her over. And looking at the tearing, quivering face of the Sky-Sewn bride, he makes a decision that he will probably regret. He says no.

    The next few days are hectic. The sorcerer searches, sending out demons and elementals to comb over. But they have already left. Or hidden. Maybe they rolled well, or the Unconquered Sun was kinder this time. But anyway, they escaped capture.

    The end of the story kinda ends with them beckoning Kinmaya from Hell. With the Aiderea having Occult 7 and intelligence 3, its... kinda hard, but not impossible. 10 dice. Difficulty of 6/ 7. Add in ritual implements for more dice (story fodder! Run from the guards! Hide! Sneak into the occult lab!) And then, at the end, Kinmaya comes out. It ain't pretty. One angry second circle demon specializing in War, Sorcery, and Lore and moving in for the kill, versus a Dragonblooded sorcerer who's dabbled in melee, and only good in occult, lore, and survival.

    Actually, it wasn't a battle. It was a slaughter. After the last of the guards has been killed and the last of the demons banished, Kinmaya turns to the boy, and offers him a reward. Tutorship, and patronage, from the Meteoric Twins, the Messenger Soul of the Heavenly Inferno. All her knowledge of sorcery, all his for the taking. As thanks.

    And that's how the tale of Blazing Star, sorcerer of the night sky, was born.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...bgm4VlW-0I/pub

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  • Accelerator
    replied
    Originally posted by Nabirius View Post
    I don't know if that's a joke, or why you are asking, but sure. Is this a protagonist or an antagonist?
    Protagonist write up I made, explaining his origin and backstory. Just for fun.

    Not used in any game

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  • Nabirius
    replied
    I don't know if that's a joke, or why you are asking, but sure. Is this a protagonist or an antagonist?

    Leave a comment:

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