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Isator Levi reads Lunars: Fangs at the Gate

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  • Isator Levi reads Lunars: Fangs at the Gate

    You all know what I'm about.

    Intro and chapter one first.

    Huh, there’s a bit of art in this preview. It’s pretty on the nose to open up with a picture of a person breaking chains while Exalting, as Lunar watches from the shadows.

    Huh, no chapter fictions included? That’s unfortunate. Maybe something to put up as separate previews later?

    So, the introduction… wonder where that George R.R. Martin quote came from. Can’t find more concise than it is.

    I’m gonna guess that the term “goddess” is used just because the alternative would create too much of an impression of being masculine-default. Okay, no more one line readings.

    Everything in that opening is familiar by now, although I do think it’s good to put a reference to raising cities among those feats, and to focus their prospects for the end of the Second Age on finalising their goals against the Realm.

    The names of the chapters are also old news, but the prospect of describing transformations throughout history excites me. Now, anything new in the Lexicon… nnno, all fairly standard and familiar (also clarifying that they’re sticking to calling it the Tell, good good). What about the literary influences…

    Enkidu, Sun Wukong, Odin and Loki, Cu Chulainn, all expected… I feel a mild bit of shame at having never called the transformation by its Irish name before, but on the other hand, fuck the Irish language. What about the modern fiction… hmm, this Tiger’s Daughter sounds interesting, might want to look into that, and I will eventually get around to reading my copy of The White Rose. Good to call on some non-fiction about the actual struggles and assertions of indigenous peoples, and citing Black Panther as an influence will probably alleviate some concerns (alongside the more standard Princess Mononoke). Latter Utena holds a lot of promise to me for some Lunar Charms.

    Right, first little stub of a chapter out of the way, now for the meat.

    Ohhh, I think these first few paragraphs were in one of the previews already… to quickly reiterate, I think it’s good to open up with the point about how the dichotomy within Lunars isn’t something they struggle with, although here I’m wondering if that idea of animal transformation as a tribute to Gaia will still be in there.

    Rrrright, so there’s an idea that the union of the Lunars and Solars as a whole exerted an influence even over those Lunars that didn’t personally get mates, which resolves a few questions for me concerning how they were tied into the transformation to serve the Old Realm and why its fall might have an impact. Good description of the transformation of the castes.

    And good ending on a note of their power defining the boundaries of the Realm’s control. Now, let’s see about this barbarian question.

    Okay, starting on the point of not using “barbarian” to designate any society in a neutral context, and instead focusing on how it’s a judgement passed by the Realm, good call there. I’ve honestly been struggling with using the term in reference to those allied with Lunars, and am thankful to be offered an alternative structure. Yes, great, focus on the point that their innovations point elsewhere, rather than being lacking. This is a good sidebar, concise and informative.

    Ohh, now something I’ve really been looking forwards to; the experience of becoming one of the Lunar Exalted. That there is still a reference to a distinction with Solars is fine, and under the circumstances I don’t begrudge the whole “outcasts and people who have suffered” being merely prominent rather than definitive. What I do like is the explicit lack of a moral component.

    The greater variety of Luna’s personas is good in its own right, and especially for lending another element to characterise the Exaltation and define the Chosen it produces. Suddenly I’m thinking that one could come up with entire character concepts just by thinking of interesting ways for Luna to appear to somebody. The accompanying stories help out with that a lot, give it some nice texture, the idea of seeing oneself reflected in their silver eyes stands out in particular.

    I’m guessing that the initial Caste mark of a new Lunar is just the moon phase of the time, unless we get something different about how the Casteless work.

    Extending the basis of the spirit shape to include things with cultural meaning has a lot of potential to diversify concepts as well; somewhere in the world there’s a society that regards the tyrant lizard as a symbol of something… that would apply to the Changing and No Moon Castes, worry about the specifics later. By this point, the Gaia reference is probably not important any more.

    And their Essence Fever… so it’s not something that creates the rage in its own right, just driving a will to act upon it where it’s there, in combination with a note on how many Lunars have old things to be angry about. I think I’ll want to see more information about them to put it all into the proper context.

    Little description of the Moon-Touched, just get that out of the way. I hope they take every opportunity to make sure something weird associated with Lunars is included, like that shadow with its own mind.

    Ohh, this is interesting; I was always intrigued by scant references to Luna’s nature allowing for widespread worship under many guises, so I like having a focus and elaboration on that subject, especially as it pertains to Lunar spirituality in the context of their personal relationship with their patron. Ahh, and it blends nicely into the point of being a deity for queer people, and using that to convey the point about that starting transformation. I’m… not entirely happy with the reference to Lunars at large viewing gender as a matter of fashion, and… yeah, there’s no other qualifier to that. Like all of the rest, wish that part wasn’t in it. I don’t know, we’ll see.

    Hmm, I can understand why the chapter for the Lunars would be shorter than the equivalent for Dragon Blooded, lacking big internal categories like the Realm and Lookshy, although I do find it curious to lack a cursory description of the Castes. Maybe that will be something folded into the Silver Pact, with their initiations and tattooing.

    Anyway, it’s a good start. The primary thing is the description of the Exaltation, vivid and providing useful guidance.


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  • #2
    While I'm not going to argue that Luna being described as "they" most of the time is inaccurate considering the nature of that god, it is jarring for me to read and makes me wish the authors had simply switched between him and her.

    I think one of the reasons that irritates me is that something that's always made Exalted special for me was the character of the setting and it's few defined important "people".
    I also liked many of the subversions of expectations. Luna spending his time mostly male because he was in a passionate romantic relationship with Gaia and that's just what those two preferred to be around each other (though I believe it was mentioned not all the time, just most) was one of the things that, to me, are like Obsidian Butterflies, uniquely Exalted.

    Apart from that I'm still in the process of reading but I agree with your assessment entirely so far, which hasn't happened a lot in the past. Usually I diverge on about 30-50% from your opinion.


    3EX Martial Arts basic overview (Weapons, Armor, Attributes & Abilities)

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    • #3
      The references all seem good, except there's more of a focus on Solar Bonds than I'd like. Not because I hate Solars, I just don't want a lot of focus on them on the very first page.*
      (I was surprised Monstress didn't make it in there; the previous Devs used it as an example, and, while I got bored of the comic and stopped reading it, it was rather Lunar-esque.)

      *Though having read up to the end of the Silver Pact chapter now, I don't think Solars are mentioned too much, it's actually fine overall.

      (I know this isn't relevant... but why do so many Irish people hate the Irish language? I've met other Irish people who said the same, and one Irish-speaker who complained about it. Is it the same reason lots of Southern Welsh people hate Welsh - it's a subject you have to learn in school and are supposed to care about to be patriotic but you just consider it a giant hassle?)


      The barbarian thing...; I was always fine with "barbarians" and so forth. To me, it mostly evokes my Celtic ancestors being invaded by Rome, and my Germanic ancestors invading Rome (well, being hired as mercenaries and then turning on the Romans, I guess), so I don't consider it as loaded a term as, say, "tribes" or "chief". (And obviously the Realm is Rome, so the Lunars invading it as it falls apart due to internal issues represent the Saxon, Goth and Vandal "Barbarians". Which kind of makes me want to have a Lunar spreading an Immaculate heresy that denies the divinity of the Dragons...)

      But I did like the point about technology. Not in terms of Lunars per-se, but just because a misunderstanding of how historical societies are "advanced" or not is something that irritates me. That's why I liked the mention of not developing much in the way of metal work.*

      *
      It's a bit of a tangent, but lack of metalwork is something often pointed out about Native American cultures. Which is sort of true, but that's because they couldn't develop bronze because there were very little tin and copper deposits near enough to mix them together, unlike Egypt and the Middle East. And if you don't develop bronze, you're unlikely to develop steel. Adapting to the environment is another good example; we always think of Europeans as having better technology than, say, the Inuit, but even by 1900 Europeans had rubbish technology for travelling in the Arctic compared to Inuit. It's just that big metal ships (which kept getting stuck in the ice) looks like "technology" to us, and the stuff the Inuit were doing didn't look like "technology."


      What I do like is the explicit lack of a moral component.
      I always like to see this!
      (And, while I don't want to make a Lunar thread about Solars, I did find it interesting how the Unconquered Sun's way of picking was presented)

      The accompanying stories help out with that a lot, give it some nice texture, the idea of seeing oneself reflected in their silver eyes stands out in particular.
      I liked the fact one character had physical health problems, and another was an old woman. Those are both types of people who rarely get to be protagonists.

      Extending the basis of the spirit shape to include things with cultural meaning has a lot of potential to diversify concepts as well;
      Indeed, and I think it's particularly important for No Moons, and somewhat for Changing Moons; a mighty berzerker might be bear-like, an eagle-eyed archer eagle-like, but what animal is a dark occultist like? Yet, if I say "witch", you immediately associate that with frogs, black cats, newts, etc. My friend plays a fox-totem seductress modelled on the Huli Jing; obviously foxes are no more seductive than any other animal that needs to mate, but that's their mythological associated in Chinese culture. I play a snake-totem doctor (currently Casteless, but No Moon seems likely when I get tattooed); again, it's not that snakes do medicine, but they're definitely associated with it.

      Little description of the Moon-Touched, just get that out of the way. I hope they take every opportunity to make sure something weird associated with Lunars is included, like that shadow with its own mind.
      When I first saw that, I thought "uh, half-Exalts again, I don't want that", but then I found they'd basically done it exactly how I wanted.

      Ohh, this is interesting; I was always intrigued by scant references to Luna’s nature allowing for widespread worship under many guises, so I like having a focus and elaboration on that subject, especially as it pertains to Lunar spirituality in the context of their personal relationship with their patron.
      Yeah, all the examples are interesting and evocative. "The Lord of Mirrors" both doesn't sound at all like Luna, and yet also makes perfect sense.

      I’m… not entirely happy with the reference to Lunars at large viewing gender as a matter of fashion,
      I can understand the point that, having spent hundreds of years able to switch gender at the drop of a hat, many Lunars no longer consider it important or self-defining. Fashion probably isn't the right word though. (I mean, I can't imagine Lunars deciding that "Male" is in this season. On a lighter note, these are Lunars. They're far too iconoclastic to follow fashion!)
      Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 02-12-2019, 06:22 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

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      • #4
        Utena falls flat for me when it comes to Lunar sources, but mentioning why is going into spoilers. So, spoiler tag on for the Black Rose Duelists Arc and on into the end of the series!

        I've been rifling through the cliffs-notes spoilers and various video and conventional essay commentaries about details that Developer Vance alluded to, and there are some definite things that come up that seem way more Abyssal than Lunar, with Fair Folk as another possibility.

        1 - she kind of died long before the series events started.
        2 - her true self is in a coffin.
        3 - she has to choose between being a good witch or a bad witch, rather than embodying both
        4 - the end of the series has her telling her brother to get bent while she leaves a symbol of her imprisonment behind and goes off to find Utena.
        5 - Her brother is also known as End of the World, which is a serviceable title for a Deathlord or a deathknight that took over.

        This central plot feels a lot like an Abyssal redemption arc. Alternately, as noted, the fact that the world seems to abhor anyone stepping out of fairy tale roles would give it a very Fair Folk feel. In either case, I find it difficult to find distinguishing Lunar substance beyond transgression, which is arguably something that Sidereals also do, particularly when it gets them into hot water with a faceless authority for doing it, like everyone is playing out a Resplendent Destiny, and then suffering Paradox in the process of trying to go their own way. The Lunar touches seem quarternary and pallid, at best.

        On the subject of Anthy's transformation into Chida Mamiya in the Black Rose Duelist Arc... she basically just puts on different clothes and shortens her hair. She doesn't look anything like the dead boy she's "impersonating", which makes for one hell of a Tell, like even beyond the 1e difficulty 1 or 0 cases where anyone who's suspicious of you ends up seeing that you have a wolf's head or something.This seems to be a case of stepping into a role rather than a face, as facilitated by someone who can steal and rearrange memories.

        Another feature of the Black Rose Duelists is the deal with the vast numbers of dead boys in coffins, and doling out their rings to various characters in order to get them to fight Utena more effectively. Fair Folk could also figure into this via handing out the graces of defeated raksha as a method of empowerment, particular since every duelist has a ring, and the Ring is the grace that Fair Folk use to shape the world, or revolutionize it, if you will.

        I can't discount that this probably left material out, but the streaming for it is clamped down because Amazon acquired it for Prime Video. My peripheral experience of being around fans of it for a couple decades or so is that it's also a series for which one can endlessly argue about what any given thing actually means, which is how Lunars have existed for a while but which is a rather draining endeavor to keep up.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Edward Eldritch View Post
          Usually I diverge on about 30-50% from your opinion.
          Yeah, I think we're gonna disagree on a bit more. Not here, this isn't the thread for it, but a little later, when I'm done with chapter 2, I may have some words.

          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
          (I know this isn't relevant... but why do so many Irish people hate the Irish language? I've met other Irish people who said the same, and one Irish-speaker who complained about it. Is it the same reason lots of Southern Welsh people hate Welsh - it's a subject you have to learn in school and are supposed to care about to be patriotic but you just consider it a giant hassle?)
          It's a mandatory school subject and required for a number of job types (almost everything government related), and it's not taught well.

          I want to say that it's not helped by being very different from English, but they don't have this problem on the continent, do they? It's just a bad curriculum.

          Only we get to talk shit about it, though. The English get to feel guilty.

          When I first saw that, I thought "uh, half-Exalts again, I don't want that", but then I found they'd basically done it exactly how I wanted.
          But we've known about them since the core!

          I can understand the point that, having spent hundreds of years able to switch gender at the drop of a hat, many Lunars no longer consider it important or self-defining.
          My perspective is not one informed by having discussed the subject directly with any trans or genderfluid or non-binary people, but the impression I gather from the way they describe their experiences is that gender identity being this incidental thing is a perspective informed by having never experienced anything dissonant over it.

          It makes me think a lot about the time I heard Youtuber Rantasmo point out the fallacy of presuming that children being exposed to gay media has an adverse effect on them, by making a note about the inverse; that gay kids being brought up with overwhelmingly heteronormative media doesn't make them straight.

          Even if a logical (and purely speculative) argument can be made that with a very long time, Lunars could condition themselves into an alternative gender identity, I... don't think it should be? Maybe I'm just hung up on it, but it feels indelibly trivialising, if not disrespectful, of the experience of those trans people (not all of them) who struggle with their body not being correct.


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
          Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
            Even if a logical (and purely speculative) argument can be made that with a very long time, Lunars could condition themselves into an alternative gender identity, I... don't think it should be? Maybe I'm just hung up on it, but it feels indelibly trivialising, if not disrespectful, of the experience of those trans people (not all of them) who struggle with their body not being correct.
            It might be one of those things that makes sense in universe, but is too charged of a subject now to be easily discussed. I can even see an old enough Lunar losing touch with the feeling that they're even human. If you've spent less than 5% of the past 1,500 years looking like a human you might not feel like one anymore. At that point you're just a wolf who's super intelligent and can become a human.

            If you take that further and say that you've spent less than 5% of the past 1,500 years as any one thing in particular, you might feel no identity connecting you with how you look on the outside. The idea that you identify as a man is as ridiculous as the idea that you identify as a piece of clothing or even a facial expression. When you're angry, you look angry, when you're happy, you smile, when you feel like wearing a red tunic you do, when you feel like enjoying a swim you do it as a fish, when you feel like being male then you are.

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            • #7
              Now, the Silver Pact. Excited to get a look at this.

              Hmm, I wondered if their anima might be more mist than fire, but can’t be clearer than that. What I like here are the vignettes of Lunars working in various kinds of groups and power dynamics, among themselves and their surroundings. I think it’s helpful to introduce the Silver Pact as a middle way between complex organisations and going it alone. I also think it’s interesting to show their perspective on the Realm having a certain bias contrasted with what we saw in the last book.

              Now, I don’t believe we got details on any named new characters, just the names that I wanted to know more about, so let’s see what they’ve got.

              Yes, start off with a bit of history, a bit of background for why the Silver Pact is the way it is, coloured with some namedrops for ancient wonders. Oh, wait, they’re all like that? Good, make the process more iterative. It’s actually a pretty good way to cover these questions, rather than just stating it outright.

              And good, a nice little reference to the history being necessarily distorted by the few who lived through it. As I thought from the description of the Solar Bond, the ultimate history of the Silver Pact goes far older and deeper. I particularly like that contrast to Lands of Creation and its line of “latter day Realm Lunars don’t really know what they’re good for”; I don’t blame that line too much as a patch job, but it still was a very poor scene. I think it should be useful for some people to solidify the idea that the initial Lunar response to the Usurpation was more conflicted, before Dragon Blooded and Sidereal fears and ambitions clarified it. Indeed, after What Fire Has Wrought did such a good job of illustrating their achievements, I think it’s a good opportunity to make a point about how a lot of history has also been shaped by mistakes.

              The material on shahan-yas looks a bit expanded here, with the addition of the point of how teacher-student relationships can develop and the point about how schools can be focal points for consistency or collaboration, but not comprehensively.

              Ah, this is how they’re doing Lunar heroes from different ages, they get separate sidebars. Probably helps each stand out, rather than risking one overwhelming the other. The idea of a Lunar assuming a position that it would be hard to maintain the ruse of is pretty fun. And sure, another preservationist artificer to satisfy people anxious that the Pact would be written as solely destructive (even if one who grated a bit against… not even outright opposition, just lack of popularity or coordination).

              Oh, Raksi and Ma-Ha-Suchi have been relocated as Second Age heroes, that’s interesting (and, if Raksi still has a sorcerous bent, kind of… reduces some of the pressures on what she’s supposed to have accomplished in the time). I like the idea of elders disagreeing with one another pushing a lot of younger Lunars away to form their own agendas, and I think that as the foundation for the Silver Pact of the Realm Era is a bit more interesting than my past ideas.

              And good, Silver Pact infighting both adds a bit more flavour to the history of Creation as a whole and adds a stronger incentive for some Lunars to be more dedicated to keeping communication and harmony, lest infighting render them more ineffective and vulnerable against their mutual enemies.

              A bit of jargon is welcome for cases where a lack of good terminology would feel a bit stale.

              I think I said it before, how Lunars of all groups are ones that need to deal with the matter of variety in ages and having some really old (and theoretically powerful) members, without the kind of continuity that Sidereals can rely upon, so it’s definitely the right call to devote some wordcount to exploring that. Tying it into an element of what holds the Pact together is a nice touch.

              Ah, they come in big categories, let’s see…

              Off the bat I can see another significant difference from some of my own notions or speculations, the outright statement that most living Lunars have appeared since the rise of the Realm. I have my own attachments to an inverse idea, but the line about how younger ones having a more direct and immediate motivation does a lot to sell me on the broader value of this approach (including perhaps making the Pact as a whole feel more approachable. It may also help walk the fine line between making the Pact feel credibly active, while still having not yet overwhelmed the opposition, and gives credit to the enemies as well.

              Unless… was my old idea that a lot of Lunars died at the end of the Shogunate, and most of their immediate successors have survived through the Realm Era? I’m not sure of my own prior positions now, I want to go back and look over them at some point.

              Oooh, that idea that having gone through that particularly traumatic era has made them all rather… distinctive is intriguing, particularly the part of it having forged apocalyptic mystics.

              I’ll come back to the sidebar when I’m done with the generations.

              Let’s see, more Shogunate Lunars… yes, I think there’s a lot to like in the idea that they’re ones shaped by an era of continuous conflict even before they became marked as Anathema. I’ve suddenly got an image of the irony of any Lunars that were trained to fight for the Dragon Blooded applying those skills against them and their descendants, and it puts me in mind of things like Afghan mujahedeen fighters.

              Oh, wait, never mind, Ma-Ha-Suchi is meant to be of the First Age. All right then, adjusting attitudes back to the previous perspective. Otherwise, yeah, the alienating weirdness of First Age elders is about what I expected. The reference to barely approachable archaic practices in particular puts me in mind of a notion of Raksi I once had, where she insistently uses a very outmoded dialect of Old Realm and a lot of other Lunars find it difficult to even basically speak to her.

              I mean, if she’s in this generation… forget what I said about being around too long with her sorcery. {blush}

              Okay, sidebar on Contagion survivors (I probably could have just read this after the third generation)… that Lunar who retained an unmolested mortal lifetime in her native culture is a neat concept. Suddenly I’m picturing her as a shahan-ya for other Lunars who want to try and hold out on that. And the idea of a Lunar dedicated to contesting the Guild is neat (if liable to cause a bit of controversy).

              And then a little sidebar stating that the very most ancient Lunars have not survived the Usurpation, which I’d say gets about as many words as it warrants.

              Oy, it’s late and I’m not even halfway through this chapter… call it a day here. I’ve got a whole week to digest the remainder, and am starting to recall the challenge of setting chapters. I kept thinking that this would be less than the Dynasty or growing up in the Realm stuff, but… clearly underestimated it.
              Last edited by Isator Levi; 02-12-2019, 09:07 PM.


              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
              Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                Oh, Raksi and Ma-Ha-Suchi have been relocated as Second Age heroes, that’s interesting (and, if Raksi still has a sorcerous bent, kind of… reduces some of the pressures on what she’s supposed to have accomplished in the time). I like the idea of elders disagreeing with one another pushing a lot of younger Lunars away to form their own agendas, and I think that as the foundation for the Silver Pact of the Realm Era is a bit more interesting than my past ideas.
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                Oh, wait, never mind, Ma-Ha-Suchi is meant to be of the First Age. All right then, adjusting attitudes back to the previous perspective. Otherwise, yeah, the alienating weirdness of First Age elders is about what I expected. The reference to barely approachable archaic practices in particular puts me in mind of a notion of Raksi I once had, where she insistently uses a very outmoded dialect of Old Realm and a lot of other Lunars find it difficult to even basically speak to her.

                I mean, if she’s in this generation… forget what I said about being around too long with her sorcery. {blush}
                I'll need to revise the initial sidebar appearance of Raksi and Ma-Ha-Suchi for clarity. The intent is that while they Exalted in the First Age, they weren't yet famous luminaries and heroes when the Usurpation took place, so they were overshadowed by other First Age Lunars in the early days of the Silver Pact. But with the loss of more well-known Lunar champions, Raksi and Ma-Ha-Suchi had an opportunity to step up to leadership roles in the Pact.


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                • #9
                  In Raki's write up it mentioned she really wasn't anyone prominent in the first age so I think that when they called them 'second age heroes' it was supposed to mean they only became prominent among lunars in the second age? Or it was just a typo and it was supposed to say first age heroes that first time they were mentioned.

                  Edit: ninja'd, but at least I guessed right
                  Last edited by Mizu; 02-12-2019, 09:33 PM.


                  Exalted Whose Name is Carved in Leaves of Jade

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                    Rrrright, so there’s an idea that the union of the Lunars and Solars as a whole exerted an influence even over those Lunars that didn’t personally get mates, which resolves a few questions for me concerning how they were tied into the transformation to serve the Old Realm and why its fall might have an impact. Good description of the transformation of the castes.
                    So everyone is poly now, got it.

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                    • #11
                      Okay, just so we're clear, it's the same rules as last time: please do not inform me of a thing that has taken place in a later part of the book than I have read. If I haven't written about it here, I haven't read it yet. If I have a question that a later part answers, I will get to it. If I have a question indicating that I've overlooked something, by all means, refer me back to that. Otherwise, just let such things rest until I reach them in due time.

                      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                      It might be one of those things that makes sense in universe, but is too charged of a subject now to be easily discussed. I can even see an old enough Lunar losing touch with the feeling that they're even human. If you've spent less than 5% of the past 1,500 years looking like a human you might not feel like one anymore. At that point you're just a wolf who's super intelligent and can become a human.
                      We've never really gotten a Lunar that worked like that, though. The impression I tend to get is that, no matter the range or frequency of the shapeshifting, the core identity of the Exalt remains uninfringed upon. There's at least one Charm that kind of affects that, but even it is a bit limited, and probably doesn't influence every transformation. First Age elders are presented as alienated because the world passes them by, not because their personalities are extremely unstable from too much shapeshifting.

                      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                      If you take that further and say that you've spent less than 5% of the past 1,500 years as any one thing in particular, you might feel no identity connecting you with how you look on the outside. The idea that you identify as a man is as ridiculous as the idea that you identify as a piece of clothing or even a facial expression. When you're angry, you look angry, when you're happy, you smile, when you feel like wearing a red tunic you do, when you feel like enjoying a swim you do it as a fish, when you feel like being male then you are.
                      And what of trans people who ended up spending decades, well into or past middle age, before coming out or transitioning, all that time trying to pass as something they're not? Who end up spending the majority of their lives not living their truth?

                      What is accomplished by saying that after a while and with sufficient shapeshifting, gender identity becomes irrelevant to Lunars, with expression becoming purely cosmetic? What does that positively provide that warrants its inclusion?

                      Originally posted by Nabirius View Post

                      So everyone is poly now, got it.
                      Is this intended as a joke?


                      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
                        Hey, Isator, I say this as a well meaning forum acquaintance.

                        Nobody here is attacking inclusivity or gender identity. We are just discussing the magical abilities of basically immortal trans-human once people-like-us.

                        There are going to be differences between the Lunar Exalted and real world issues. Please don’t use that as a purity test to attack other’s views or a reason to get offended.

                        Really, all of us just want to be hype about Lunars.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
                          Really, all of us just want to be hype about Lunars.
                          Seconded and hurrahed. And not at anyone in particular. I'm pretty much forum and PDF mining until I keel over, harvesting ideas for future fun.


                          Check out Momentum Exalted!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                            Is this intended as a joke?
                            Yes. I get that lunar 'mates' aren't necessarily romantic but the lunar mates seemed to be the last vestiges of monogamy in the Exalted universe, given that the Realm has a lot of polyamorous and frequently bisexual relationships. From how you expressed it, it sounded like the solars still had their mates, but also were bonded with all the Lunars to a varying extent which sounds fairly poly to me.

                            Though in retrospect it seems weird that Solars and Lunars would have a pair-bond thing going on, given that the Unconquered Sun and Luna had, at various points, Gaia, Merela, one of the Maidens (I think), and some others that I might have forgotten as a part of their relationship.

                            I don't intend this as a slight against the polyamorous either, in case it came across that way.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                              We've never really gotten a Lunar that worked like that, though. The impression I tend to get is that, no matter the range or frequency of the shapeshifting, the core identity of the Exalt remains uninfringed upon. There's at least one Charm that kind of affects that, but even it is a bit limited, and probably doesn't influence every transformation. First Age elders are presented as alienated because the world passes them by, not because their personalities are extremely unstable from too much shapeshifting.

                              And what of trans people who ended up spending decades, well into or past middle age, before coming out or transitioning, all that time trying to pass as something they're not? Who end up spending the majority of their lives not living their truth?
                              I wouldn't necessarily say that not identifying with any outward shape is unstable, it might even be closer to enlightenment. Their identity transcends their physical form, and the only thing that makes them "them" anymore is their soul. Being forced into a shape they don't want would probably be even more harrowing for them than it is for trans people today, having spent the last millenia with the utter freedom to choose whatever shape or colour. It isn't about learning to feel like the form you're stuck in, it's about coming to the realization that, for you, it no longer matters. Your true self looks like however you want it to at the time.

                              That ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT mean that it's some kind of invalid experience to keep a true form that reflects on the outside how you feel on the inside, it DOES NOT mean that keeping that true form from your first day to your last makes you somehow not enlightened.

                              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                              What is accomplished by saying that after a while and with sufficient shapeshifting, gender identity becomes irrelevant to Lunars, with expression becoming purely cosmetic? What does that positively provide that warrants its inclusion?
                              It doesn't say that though, it just says that it can happen. I think what it adds though is that some ancient Lunars, or possibly even not so ancient Lunars, can have really interesting personas. You might meet them as a PC when they look like a wise old woman literally spinning yarn, then the next time a youthful curly haired sailor hunting whales on the open sea, then the next time as a wolf with the piercing eyes, and the next time as something wholly unseen in the natural world until then. After a while you might ask them "Yeah, but what do you really look like." but that question would be meaningless.


                              Now if you want to open a really spicy can of worms, talk about somebody who starts out white and exalts looking like they're from western Africa. Or somebody who wants to just turn off all the big, hard to solve problems of adulthood and prefers to live in shape of a child whenever they can.

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