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  • Exalted meeting alien invasion

    Ok. Here’s my 2 cents on the Exalted Host meeting with any advanced space-faring culture.

    Here’s a few setting conceits, to keep things normal:

    Elementals and gods are unknown, until the planet containing the exalted host appear
    Demons and sorcery exist
    Dragonblooded exist. So do solars, lunars, and sidereals. No alchemicals…. Cause that’s a whole another can of worms
    Normal FTL travel. This setting has psionics.

    Part 1:
    Let’s pretend this is a standard alien invasion. You’re an alien from beyond the stars. The company you work for, a massive, multistellar company that can pay up entire governments, has found a new inhabited system. Not only with a breathable atmosphere and a new sentient species, but psionics! The holy grail. Not only nearly impossible to induce artificially, but it seems that the species there has psionics as a native power! Not just in 0.0001%. At least 0.05%. At least a thousand times more common. This is a proverbial goldmine, and the company wants in. Not only that, but there’re several gas giants and a rich asteroid field. You don’t usually mine them, cause of government taxes… but if you get the permission of the current inhabitants, you get them tax free, under the guise of ‘giving them jobs’.

    So let’s go over to this place, take them over, sell some over for a side, and then start getting those mines up and running. You have electronics, artificial intelligence, guns, shields, orbital support, antigravity tanks, drones, missiles, body armour, the whole shebang. Against men who haven’t discovered gunpowder, steam, or any other technologies making them worth talking to. This will be a breeze.

    You start the invasion smooth and easy. Get to the nearest population center, knock down a few buildings, and then you aim your guns at the king and tell him like it is. He refuses. You start shooting. He kills a whole bunch of you, before he gets his chest caved in with a power mace. You get pissed, cause Fred was your bro for years, and gun down his family for good measure. Then it starts with standard measure to make sure that the locals don’t cause trouble. Checkpoints, curfew, and shakedowns. You take some for the techies, see what makes them so prone to psionics. The locals protest, and you have to whack some heads. But its all good, cause, like, what, are bronze age natives going to beat back a space-faring army? What are they going to do? Shoot a drone with arrows?

    Turns out, yes they did. Somehow, those puny arrows the locals are shooting out can pierce through your armour. The armour has a weak spot, where the visor meets the lower gorget, and a well placed shot can punch through, but that only applies for railguns, and not bolts of wood. But something is happening, because its working. The bodies are starting to pile up. The techies are scratching their heads, saying that its as if the arrows had suddenly turned extra strong and hard upon hitting the armour, punching through it and the flesh beneath, and then suddenly reverting to normal. You don’t go out alone anymore. Now you go out in groups. And then you start getting hit by explosives and shit. You walk past the place, and suddenly, you’re sent flying. You deploy bomb sniffers, those little things that can detect the chemicals… only that it doesn’t really work, and you get a bunch of your men buried under several tons of rubble. How did it work? The techies said that the bricks and mortar were damaged in just the right way that the vibrations produced by our power armoured bodies would send it collapsing onto us.

    Supply depots and equipment get torched or looted. You catch the first few ones, ones that some how walk through walls or diffract the light around them to turn invisible. Infrared cameras and motion detectors were good for this. Then they got better. Now you’ve got to post guards everywhere, and that’s usually just a loss, cause you lose the guards too. Now you lost nearly half your armour, including a grav tank. How does one steal a grav tank?

    You try to counterattack. You pay money for information. No one takes it up. Or they take it up, and gets their throat slit, or they give you false info. You torture a few, knock them about for abit. They babble about ‘chosen of the gods’, some primitive superstition. Like hell. These are psionics, and these guys have just put them on a pedestal, cause they didn’t understand them. You bust into places where you suspect they’re gathering for meetings, storing food, or making weapons, but you either go to the wrong places, get lured into ambushes, or just miss them by minutes.

    Then your computers start getting hijacked. Your radios malfunction and are somehow coopted, leading to friendly fire. You lose intel, files, and knowledge, forcing you to restart or continuously reconfirm orders, wasting precious time and resources. One time, the entire system came crashing down, forcing you to go without lights or heat for a week. That was bad. The body count continues to climb, soldiers being lured into ambushes, stabbed to death in dark alleys, or killed by coordinated suicide bombings.

    Then the armies show up. You got no idea where they came from, because it should have been impossible to hide an army of that size doing the sort of professional training. You’ve looked out of the window, and know that these are medieval peasants. Where the devil did they get the time to train with these new weapons? To practice drills and tactics? And yes, new weapons.

    They have laser guns. And you don’t know how. Because those certainly weren’t yours. Laser guns require completely transparent crystals, metal parts machined down to the millimeter, microchips made in clean rooms and a power cell with traces of several different types of rare earth metals. You can’t make them in a forge with a blacksmith hammer and anvil. Or maybe you can, because that army is certainly shooting at you. You fight back, but you’re nearly overrun. You heard Sesh, a veteran soldier from the Long Wars, comment that the commander of these forces must be incredible, a natural born war leader, because that was one of the best led armies he had ever seen.

    The Company quits, citing the equipment destruction, loss of weapons and war machines, dead and injured personnel, as well as being forced to compensate mercenaries has made this place temporarily unprofitable, and moves out.

    You leave, cause you’re not staying in this wretched place any longer. As your ships leave the commander, in a fit of rage, fires off several RKKvs at the planet. You scour majority of the atmosphere, throw the planet into nuclear winter, and the scanners tell you that only 50 thousand natives are left alive. You cheer, exhausted, morale shot because no matter what you tell yourself, you got beat by natives that swing sharp pieces of iron.
    And then something gold shoots out from the atmosphere, parting the dust clouds in a massive sonicboom. It hits one of your ships, and punches through to the main reactor. The deadly cloud of radiation bursts out, killing everyone on board. You just run. You don’t want to stay in this place anymore.

    Part 2:
    Twenty years pass. You get offered to go back to that system. You accept, partly for the pay. Partly for revenge. You lost a lot of good friends there. You ask if there’s any intel. There’s none. Some weird interference is preventing drones from getting in. You nod, and decide that this time, things will go right. Hopefully.

    The company got a windfall, and now that they’ve seen what the native can do, they’re taking no chances. An entire fleet of ships, with standing orders to not give them any chances to fight back. Anyone who fights, dies. Anyone who shoots, dies. Anyone who moves too fast, dies. Anyone who looks funny, dies. You’re just going to grab the whole lot, send them to another contractor, and then wash your hands of them. You get money, you finish the job, and you won’t have to have die. Good, right? Last you saw them, there were 50,000 of them, and their entire ecosystem was wiped out, and they were in the midst of nuclear winter. The anthropologists say that they grow to maturity at roughly 20 years old, so it should be a troupe of maimed survivors, along with a horde of malnourished and sickly children. Easy prey.

    Then you enter the system and start screaming. The reason drones never reported back wasn’t because of some strange electromagnetic phenomenon that killed their electronics. It was because they were being intercepted, and shot down before they could call for help. Ships. Entire fleets of ships. Tens of thousands of them, with weaponry that you recognized was comparable to your own.

    Worse of all, they knew you were coming. They were waiting for you, in perfect formation. They blow through your shields in less than a few moments, smash half the fleet, and teleport aboard although that is impossible. They kill the entire ship in less than a few minutes, and capture you. The last thing you remember is telling them everything they wanted to know. Then they kill you.

    A good thing, because you don’t have to watch them take over the rest of the galaxy.

    Note: All this is quite possible.
    Charms include Craftsmen need no tools, All seeing general of the sun, Excellencies, Travel without distance, accuracy without distance, and a full on combo for snipers.

  • #2
    One arrow doesn't incapacitate a ship, let alone a spaceship; it's gonna take a hell of a lot more than a simple Solar sniper build. Even a veritable hail of arrows only deals a single Hull level.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think that most of the scenario that you present makes sense and it sounds like a neat idea of how such a conflict might escalate, but I have one slight contrary point.

      I could see a scenario in which a Solar being introduced to something that they wouldn't have necessarily conceived of before might lead them to apply Craftsman Needs No Tools to manufacturing new things, but it becomes a question of how advanced a crafting project one imagines those energy weapons to be, because the Charm still can't go beyond major projects.

      Even if one ruled that major projects (it's a bit tricky, because the setting as a whole doesn't really possess much in the way of highly complex machinery assembled from a number of moving parts, so the system can get away with just lumping a bunch of solid-state manufactured products together) were valid for such weapons, the Charm still requires the correct materials, and even if they're present in Creation, the Solar would be limited by the quantity available at any given time, and the need to create a stream for acquiring the materials.

      And even then, let's consider the rate at which the Charm can be used. Craftsman Needs No Tools uses 6 motes at a time. Let's assume an Essence 3 Solar in possession of a greater demesne. They've got a total mote pool of 108, meaning that they can use the Charm eighteen times before their mote pool is completely emptied out. After that, they'll get back nine motes every hour, taking twelve hours to fully refill their pool. It doesn't really make a difference whether you use the motes as soon as you get them or wait to refill completely, you're still only making eighteen every twelve hours. For the sake of simplicity, assume that means you're making thirty six a day.

      So, assuming a Solar crafter who never uses their motes on anything but the task of churning out these laser rifles, and constantly has the materials for creating them available, equipping an army that is only the size of a Realm legion (assuming the presence of all auxiliaries, so let's say an even 9000 troops) is going to take... about nine months.

      It does not seem practical to me that they would be able to match an opposing army with much greater numbers and manufacturing capacity on those terms. It seems like your best bet would be to go for highly efficient guerrilla fighting, and make proper use of captured enemy assets.

      Incidentally, the numbers I'm citing above are also a good refutation of the idea that the Charm could allow you to practically equip an army with even spears using just a Solar. Especially not one at character creation, who is only going to have a mote pool of 46, good for making seven weapons at a time.

      … Huh, actually no, assuming a character is recovering nine motes an hour, emptying your mote pool to use Craftsman Needs No Tools constantly produces only slightly fewer at Essence 1 than it does 3.


      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)

      Comment


      • #4
        Well...

        If that's all, then I'm pretty happy. I mean, this is pretty much proof of concept. Exalted survive the initial attack, adapt, then turn the invaders advantage against them.

        Comment


        • #5
          Eh, I'm going to be a downer here*; you can pull in whatever out of setting element you want and then have the Exalted beat it up "because Exalted supremacy" and carefully tailoring things on the assumption that they can adapt and their opponents can't, if you want, but I don't really particularly see the point of it?

          Person A:"We have artificial intelligence and de-personalised leadership institutions that are fundamentally free of the biases of human cognition and personalised kingship!"
          Person B: "Oh yes, but the Exalted win or make golden paint job versions of those things which are better anyway because Exalted".

          I mean, that's a thing you can do.

          (The only bad side I could see about it was when people started to come up with ridiculously overblown mental pictures of the Exalted who were too strong to fit in the main gameline's genre, just so that they could win out over out of genre threats. The sort of "Oh, the Solars are totally stronger than Superman" thing where people mentally reconceptualized the splats to be stronger than actually they were in the base game, just so that they could say that Exalted was the game where you played the strongest characters in ttrpg gaming. And then you get mismatch because the Solars aren't actually like that.)

          But I hardly see what the point of it all is, and it certainly doesn't to me seem to say anything particularly deep or interesting.

          *Basically cos this thread spun off the Culture thread and I've said much the same thing here. Versions of "Exalted vs the Culture" where the Exalted just improve on what the Culture doesn't and the Culture is less strong than it is and also can't adapt to the "physics" of Creation seem just like a pointless gerrymandering to the favored product to me.

          Comment


          • #6
            Eh, its not really meant to be insightful*

            Just a thought experiment. And a potential story idea.

            *I wasn't trying.

            Comment


            • #7
              You'd probably have a more solid idea of what makes for a good Exalted story if you'd be willing to actually play the game, instead of theorycraft all the time. Give it a shot, you might even have fun.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                You'd probably have a more solid idea of what makes for a good Exalted story if you'd be willing to actually play the game, instead of theorycraft all the time. Give it a shot, you might even have fun.
                More like.... I'm tired.

                Like, tired all the time. Its tough enough in university. I probably won't have any energy left for exalted.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                  Well...

                  If that's all, then I'm pretty happy. I mean, this is pretty much proof of concept. Exalted survive the initial attack, adapt, then turn the invaders advantage against them.
                  Yeah, the core of the idea is absolutely that. It's reminiscent of stuff the game's original developer used to say in response to questions about the Exalted as they are fighting a modern army.

                  That's before even getting into stuff they could do with infiltration, counterintelligence and propaganda.


                  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)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                    Yeah, the core of the idea is absolutely that. It's reminiscent of stuff the game's original developer used to say in response to questions about the Exalted as they are fighting a modern army.

                    That's before even getting into stuff they could do with infiltration, counterintelligence and propaganda.
                    Yeah. Which reminds me.

                    Do you still have that 'stuff the game's oringinal developer used to say in response to questions about the Exalted as they are fighting a modern army'?

                    And I don't mean the war god's spear thing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                      More like.... I'm tired.

                      Like, tired all the time. Its tough enough in university. I probably won't have any energy left for exalted.
                      Playing has to be easier than all the theoretical writing you produce.


                      3e Scavenger Lands map
                      3e Combat tracker card
                      2e Nexus map

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                        Eh, its not really meant to be insightful*

                        Just a thought experiment. And a potential story idea.

                        *I wasn't trying.

                        Hey, on reflection, my response earlier probably a bit harsher than strictly necessary - if that sort of space-opera-meets-cyberpunk off-brand Weyland-Yutani military SpaceCorp vs the Exalted and promptly going down scenario is a fun imagination experiment for you, then run with it.

                        I guess basically that hit a button that triggered a flashback to the grim old days where talking about these sort of scenarios would cause forum participants to leap into proclaiming the undeniable axiomatic "primacy" of the Exalted, and how anything other than them (eventually) winning flatly against an out of setting threat would be Betraying The Spirit Of Exalted (and specifically the Solar Exalted), no matter how much weird stretching of Exalted capabilities was necessary to achieve this end. But we're past all that now. (Breathes).

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                        • #13
                          Any examples?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                            Any examples?
                            If someone goes at length to describe why something was stressful or even traumatic for them, asking them for more details seems like it might be poor form.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                              If someone goes at length to describe why something was stressful or even traumatic for them, asking them for more details seems like it might be poor form.
                              Oh. Sorry.

                              .... I thought the trauma part was hyperbole.

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