Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Late reading of Exalted: the Lunars

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Fool of Creation
    replied
    Sorry, that was supposed to be 'thank you', not 'take you'.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by The Fool of Creation View Post
    I want to take you for taking a fresh look at Lunar 1e.
    Well you can't have me, I have too many things to attend to as it is.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Fool of Creation
    replied
    I want to thank you for taking a fresh look at Lunar 1e. Lunar Exalted are one of my favorite type of Exalted (after Terrestrial Exalted), and I have always felt that Lunar 1e was always dismissed without good reason. In particular, when combined with the rules from Exalted Player Companion 1e and Fair Folk 1e, Lunar 1e allowed me to create a number of mortal NPCs who were effective and memorable allies and opponents of my PCs in my 1e games.
    Last edited by The Fool of Creation; 04-13-2019, 03:06 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Anja Silverclaws is the feature of the next chapter’s opening; the art style for the illustration is in that more angular form that I never quite got into, but I find her actual design here to be the most preferable to me in terms of the details, with an assortment of charms (that look as though they’re intended to ward the dead), her mildly stylized but still practically fitted dress, and what I find to be a lean muscular build reminiscent of an acrobat. I also like how she’s looking back on a group of figures with death marks on them with a kind of contemptuous expression; considering her backstory, it was always kind of weird how Second Edition art and writing presented her very sexually and flirtatious. The fiction itself is a bit unconventional as these things go; it’s all in third person with no dialogue, using a more poetic style of a kind of repeating structure that continuously elaborates while always punctuating with the same point. The content is a nice layout of how Anja is going around employing stealth and animal shapes to gather intelligence on the goings on of Thorns, before departing on her own terms. Some highlights include the idea that, even in animal shape, she has to be cautious because the Mask of Winters might have spies even among the city’s vermin, it making the point of how even in a city occupied by the Exalted and a Deathlord, their attention can’t be everywhere at once and there’s plenty that is meaningful to discover among the less powerful (while also proposing that her stealth might still contest the observations of rival powers), and how she gets to be pleased with herself and the reputation she might garner for having been one to brave the dead city and come away with vital intel. It’s a good showing of the character (particularly if the intention here is also that she’s supposed to be a younger Lunar), and between this and Third Edition it reminds me of what is compelling about her that Second Edition… didn’t exactly absent, but obscured under poor framing.

    Seeing as this is the character creation chapter, it’s obviously a fairly standard and utilitarian model. I had intended to roll this along with the Traits chapter, but… eh, I’m running behind, I want to post something. I’ll just comment on any details that stand out.

    The description of Caste summarizes the more elaborate social delineations from the prior chapter as aspects of survival instinct as determined by right of passage, with this version of the Changing Moon depicted as defined by stealth and cunning. It also has a sidebar on the Casteless, and here they’ve got to have the shortest shrift of any addition; there are no Favoured Attributes, so without Caste they have to pay full cost on everything (as well as starting with fewer dots and Charms). I take it in this case the value to playing them was solely in the characterisation, as well as maybe the shifting Caste power (although I suspect that retaining the issue of being severely weighted in favour of the admittedly powerful Changing Moon one, and as we’ll see the three days of No Moon anima are useless if you aren’t a sorcerer).

    This is where the premise of totem animal is introduced (presumably not called spirit shape as you can’t turn into it by default). I like how it goes with some non-standard initial examples, such as the elk for one famed for commanding presence, or weasel for cunning ruthlessness. I like how it makes a point of totems being very personal, and animals can convey a wide range of symbolism, such that two very different Lunars can have the same totem. The Tell is described here in its simplest form; it’s specifically a physical trait (said to often, but not always, be tied to totem), and is stated to frequently be silver or white in colour. It states that full rules for it will be in the Charms chapter, but for now conveys the point that how noticeable it is depends on how many times a character has purchased Deadly Beastman Transformation. It mentions choosing Nature here, but a little bit later on there’s a sidebar explaining how the Paragon Nature should be reconciled with Lunars by means of the Silver Way and the four Renowns.

    Let’s see… after everything describing the Changing Moons, tying them specifically to the social Attributes feels tenuous. Interesting to note how they don’t need Caste Attributes to be primary (although I’m not sure if there would be a compelling reason to not do so… maybe if starting Charms were intended for them). Huh, that’s different; in addition to Survival, back then Lunars got four Favoured Abilities. I can kind of see the intent in shifting the emphasis more to Attributes, but this doesn’t seem like a bad idea for having varied them (and maybe helped out with dice pools). It describes how members of the Silver Pact (which here actually does seem intended as synonymous with Lunar society) ought to start out with at least Survival 2 and one combat Ability dot (it’s said to not be strictly necessary, but lacking those is looked down upon, with a very silly note on lacking them being a thing liable to result in murder to allow the Essence to be reborn).
    Huh, so Finding the Spirit’s Shape is not something strictly inherent to Lunars, but all characters who aren’t Casteless are allowed to have it free on top of their starting eight Charms. I wonder if I’ve always heard wrong by it.

    They were unnecessarily complicated, and had issues with weighting investment in the Virtues, but I do kind of miss the old mote pool calculations, and how they could possibly convey character by what they weighted (in this case, Willpower). And… I’m guessing that Renown will scale differently from most traits, because it states that you get to start with twenty, and there are only four things to put them in, they couldn’t possibly cap at five.

    Aaaaand of the questions to fill out Spark of Life, I like how Luna is placed front and centre, to emphasize the formative significance of encountering her. Nothing else to say about these rules; any particular mechanical significance of them has no importance to me right now.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
    As regards Ma-Ha-Suchi’s description, I think one of the 1e Core chapter fictions has Dace meeting him, so the line about his meetings with solars having “not gone well” is likely a reference to that.
    Considering how Lilith's chapter fiction refers directly to Swan, but her write-up is more open ended about her mate's reincarnation, I think the intention was to be in a similar boat; the fiction is representative of a scenario that was intended to be common to Ma-Ha-Suchi*, and used a signature character as the stand in for that, but the important thing about the Lunar's write-up wasn't that he'd met with any particular Solars. It's just that he's in a position that is both visible and draws petitioners, and has an outlook that was willing to directly meet with Solars, but there's a presumption that his extreme agenda was incompatible with any of them. Having been a Solar (or the Solar) that Ma-Ha-Suchi met could easily be part of a player character's backstory.

    If my read on the intent was correct, I think it was an interesting way to use the Solar sigs; as representatives for significant events that might take place in the lore, but that don't actually belong to them. I think Second Edition's approach weakened that a bit.

    * Although he's still referred to there as being jaded by the politics of the Exalted and preferring his seclusion (while presiding over a raiding culture). In retrospect, I'd say one can easily reconcile that with a character shift by thinking that he was not entirely forthcoming.

    Leave a comment:


  • BrilliantRain
    replied
    As regards Ma-Ha-Suchi’s description, I think one of the 1e Core chapter fictions has Dace meeting him, so the line about his meetings with solars having “not gone well” is likely a reference to that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Greyman
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    That’s all the way down to their Caste Marks being different… as far as I know, I can’t actually seem to find anything in Second Edition Lunars explicitly describing
    Caste Marks (I had always assumed a crescent),
    Huh. There are images on each caste splash page, which also appear on a banner for about every second page. However, yes, nothing appears to be set down in actual text.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    So, the subject of Lunar Castes, which has already had some bits and pieces of details dotted all over; that’s a bit haphazard as an introduction for a concept, but that’s not exactly peculiar to this as Exalted books go (by which I mean, I’m critical, it’s just not on this book alone). It starts off with an explanation for the transition in Castes, which is attributed to a change of circumstances; in the First Age, Caste was set by undertaking a journey to the Wyld (with the actions taken on the way defining them), but actually relocating to be in close proximity to it by default robbed that of some of its significance, so they needed to find a more direct method for fixing them. It’s not quite the total agency over the transition that they had in Third, but it’s a lot closer than exposure to the Wyld destroying their Castes and needing to rebuild them. It’s presented as another thing that Lunars contextualise as an affirmation of their revised ethos; that being able to adapt to the loss of those circumstances is taken to demonstrate that they have no intrinsic value, which I think is another interesting element of self-perpetuating rationalizations. It’s still said that for Lunars, Caste is generally seen as less significant as a personal signifier; they’re all expected to be competent fighters, the Changing Moon is very diverse by default, and while No Moons are still reserved some of the role and reverence they once had, the Silver Pact is appropriating more and more of that. This is presented as something that reinforces Lunar versatility.

    So it gets into the individual Caste descriptions, and I’m surprised to find that the tone and style of these is quite different to what I’m familiar with and was expecting. With the point of how Full Moons don’t exactly have a lock on fighting, they’re seemingly distinguished by being the ones who have the greatest yearning for and sense of fulfilment in combat, which tends to come with them having received some of the harshest training and show it in the most battle-scarred bodies; there’s a note that I like on how they have a tendency to be avid trophy collectors, which gathers a reputation for particularly fearsome displays but tends to actually more commonly be used as an opportunity for artistic creativity, a contrast that I find very evocative. For what I guess is the sake of offsetting some expectations, it also puts forward the idea that Full Moons are among the most generous and compassionate of Lunars, as their great strength often makes them more considerate of the limits and travails of others, and have a desire to protect them (even if they can be a bit condescending about it).

    The Changing Moon Caste has to be the one most liable to differences across Editions (and the biggest surprise to me), because here it leans really hard into the idea that they’re defined by being the inheritors of the three lost Castes, which is presented as being the basis for them being the most diverse and adaptable of the Castes; placed alongside the notion that they’re explicitly the most numerous, they become rendered as the ones who are supposed to have had the biggest impact on how outsiders perceive the Lunars (as well as being put forward as the Lunars who most perceive outsiders). That’s all the way down to their Caste Marks being different… as far as I know, I can’t actually seem to find anything in Second Edition Lunars explicitly describing Caste Marks (I had always assumed a crescent), whereas here they’re explicitly said to include the full range of moon phases between full and new, with no particular significance attached to which one winds up with. Being a step short of a dedicated social Caste (which might make a measure of sense with what I vaguely recall some Charisma and Manipulation Charms in this Edition were like), their diversity is said to lend itself to being the ones most likely to infiltrate and assess the Threshold, as well as sussing out new Lunars; their greater affinity for shapeshifting is said to be something that can leave a few superficial bestial traits, but they’re supposed to take a measure of pride in that, both as a mark of their skill and affirmation that it’s not enough to undermine their identity. It’s a very unusual take on a Caste, and while I ultimately like Third Edition’s consolidation of the social aspect more, I think this does more credit to them as successors to lost Castes than being presented as a stopgap measure did.

    The No Moons are the ones who have been most consistently referred to on their own prior to this point, so it’s not hard to figure out their particular role; the keepers of Lunar society, lore and tradition, their storytellers and instructors, as well as the ones with the deepest insights into their exiled environments. For these reasons, No Moons are said to take the longest to train, as they need to be taught a lot of the ancient knowledge of their mentors (with a note that they’ll specifically be taught to read to enable this, which… is a little note that I actually like in reference to their common backgrounds). Their knowledge base is apparently so comprehensive that it’s expected that they’ll repeatedly return to their mentors to fill it out, rather than stick around continuously for the years it would take, and they’re attributed a number of good looking sorcerous and crafting feats (including a reference to warstriders); this comes with them being described as the most tenuous Caste, as every death reduces their knowledge base, and they’re said to be dwindling over time. For these reasons, Lunar society as a whole is described as being extremely protective of No Moons, both excluding them from the more dangerous traditions (which is contrasted with how No Moons, as the keepers of those traditions, are liable to insist upon them).

    Last is a section on the Lost Castes, which both describes why they were lost (given in more mystical terms than Second Edition; rather than being said to be because their new circumstances lacked adequate conditions for testing each of those Caste roles, it comes down to each of those waxing and waning phases to be too protean for the No Moons to have effectively locked down), and a description of the Waxing, Waning and Half Moon Castes. I think the descriptions are all right, and I do like how they fill out a bit of Lunar backstory, but I question the amount of word count given to something that is no longer part of the game setting.

    The Castes are not what I was expecting; they look to me like a rougher cut, very different from one another, with only the No Moons feeling like they have a traditional role (and here something rooted more in their current society than a general affinity for cerebral arts). I must admit, I find a certain charm to their lack of polish. Of all the things I’ve read so far, these are the ones where I can most feel like them being somebody’s first impression of Lunars would have some issues with being compelled by them or their apparent lack of consistency, and yet in retrospect and as a first effort I am endeared to them. My one question is, with no apparent incident of Castes breaking, why do survivors from the First Age not have the lost Castes? (I skipped ahead a little to check, and Lilith is directly stated to have been former Waning and currently Changing Moon)

    It appears that the final description of Lunar society is in those of their kind who lie a bit outside of it. First up is a more dedicated description for those who remain in urban environments. Or rather, are successfully extracted from them (there’s a line stating that Luna chooses the disenfranchised as readily as barbarians, further demonstrating the fallacy in their common reasoning) and then opt to return to them (said to often be because urban Lunars think they were chosen for a reason related to their upbringing), which is described as often coming with a desire to bring the tenets of the Silver Way back to their home lands. It’s said to often be the province of Changing Moons, both because they’re better at keeping a low profile and the others are distinctly less suited to it (Full Moon desire for battle is hard to remain discrete with, No Moons are most effective when in proximity to their people), although that standard is not comprehensive. Some other Lunar “customs” are also suggested to be adjusted to the different context; instead of raiding, stealthy theft is the method for acquiring wealth and resources, and one’s “tribe” is liable to be a disenfranchised underclass that can survive without drawing attention. It ends on a note of how a major Lunar uprising might make a lot of some Lunars well placed behind enemy lines. It’s not the focus of the book to be sure, but I think it’s a decent reminder that the focus is not the full story.

    There’s a sidebar referencing how, while tribes of beastmen often originate with a Lunar patron, one way or another that patron might be lost, but the tribe can continue to thrive as its own entity; example societies are given for Eastern hawkmen (non-flying, flamboyant and with a code of honour derived from the Silver Way), Northern elkmen (often with strong spiritual ties), Southern hyena-people (the different moniker probably owed to them being matriarchal), and Western sharkmen (cannibalistic, divided into smaller groups, and often mistaken for Western Fair Folk servitors). After that, it’s a more full description of this first iteration of the chimerae. In detail, they’re actually a bit closer to the Second Edition version than I was expecting; lacking stable consciousness and personality and with continuously shifting bodies (perhaps not quite the amalgamations that they would become later on). They’re conveyed as objects of fear and pity for Lunars, while the strongest of them are said to be risks that not many want to deal with. The connection to totem changing is laid out clearly to me; in its own right, that’s said to have nothing to do with chimerae directly, it’s just that the taboo against them is so strong that the mixed animal features are regarded as reminiscent to the point of courting the state, leading many to shun those why try it. Honestly, this moves chimera back closer to the disinterest I have for the Second Edition version; I can at least credit it with not being described as something inherent to Lunar power and overall less prominent (and the accompanying picture of a humanoid with mixed features is more engaging than the fishy messes in the Manual), but it’s not really the best thing to tie a few Lunars up in.

    Last in this part is the Lunar perspective on the Wyld. For a start, there’s a clear statement on Lunars not being inherently tied to the Wyld, the association is a result of circumstances. They’re also said to be not especially endeared to it, they just have to deal with it as it comes. On the one hand, it can hold a few benefits to Lunars: they’re well suited to surviving in it, and it can make an effective temporary escape route from enemies such as from the Realm, who might be lured in to be consumed by it, if they don’t simply retreat at the first sign (conversely, enemy raksha might be drawn out of its safety into Lunar territories). It can be a source of renown for those who chase Fair Folk into the heart of their domains (or otherwise had some pressing reason to enter) and return intact, as well as a means of gathering uncanny insights (I like some of the mystical language given for that process). On the other hand, the Wyld is recognised as a growing threat, especially as Fair Folk become more emboldened to expand it over Creation. In what almost feels as though it was written as a specific refutation for directly associating Lunars with it, it’s stated that Lunar opposition to such measures doesn’t arise from a particular moral or spiritual obligation, but as a pragmatic response to a danger to their homes, livelihoods and communities.
    Last before some profiles on their legendary personages is a breakdown of common Lunar attitudes to some of the other powers at work in the world, that they’re becoming most liable to encounter in the Time of Tumult (it’s specifically said that such commonalities arise from Lunars discussing experiences with one another).

    First (and by far the lengthiest) is the matter of the Solars. This opens by laying out the premises behind why their relationships are liable to be very complicated, more so even then how things were in the First Age; how Lunars have changed drastically from their demeanour and position in the Old Realm, while Solars are in a position of redefining themselves and having to figure out a new place in the world from a fresh start, with First Age Lunars finding the reincarnations of former spouses quite unfamiliar and younger ones needing to make judgements based on old legends, creating a confusing mess. No Moons are of course said to have the responsibility of warning Lunars at large about what to expect of Solars, even though most of them only have second-hand knowledge themselves, with a general sentiment that Solars are incredibly strong former allies who probably don’t have the proper outlook and thus cannot be fully trusted. While many younger Lunars are supposed to take that advice at face value and, on encountering a Solar, watch from a position of safety and stealth, some are said to be so enticed by the stories that they can’t help but want to challenge Exalts who are on a similar level to them; not just in direct contests, but setting up things like moral challenges or provoking a Solar until their Limit breaks to see what makes them tick. The much older Lunars who are still from after the First Age characteristically find the prospects inherent to Solars very threatening to their own possessions, at best thinking that they might constitute a means of weakening the Realm before hordes sweep in to finish it off. And the surviving First Agers are said to have such personal and idiosyncratic experiences with Solars (largely focused on the memories of their own mates) that their agendas are difficult to predict, not helped by such things being intimate enough to not discuss with others (with a final ominous note that fresh Solars who cross the paths of such surviving mates had best hope the prior incarnation was remembered well). I think this is all some good advice (possibly a bit stronger than even Fangs at the Gate gave on the subject, within its own milieu), balancing the significance both of the relationship between Solars and Lunars and what the great power of the former means for the established patterns and future experiences of the latter; I especially like the ideas for younger Lunars testing Solars.

    After that there are the Dragon Blooded, who are understandably often seen as the enemy; when you’re not somebody who experienced the Usurpation first hand, odds are you came from a society straining under the weight of their excise. It’s noted that not all Lunars will have an utterly unnuanced view of Dragon Blooded as evil, but still generally regard them as champions of (and dependent on) the civilized societies that so many view with contempt (again going heavier with the rhetoric, but in a context I find reasonable), as well as having direct or indirect responsibility for the murder of many Lunars and dear people within their sphere. From older Lunars, the best that a Terrestrial is said to be able to expect is being strong enough to be regarded as a worthy foe. Filling out this viewpoint a bit is a statement that younger Lunars are ones who might be expected to find things to like or love about particularly Dragon Bloods, which is stated to be viewed by society at large as technically not contrary to the Silver Way, but something of which they’ll disapprove. This section does seem to conflate Dragon Blooded with Dynasts, but that does seem a bit par for the course this early in the line.

    The matter of Sidereals… seems as though it’s still in a transitional phase for how the line intended to handle them, if not still at the point of “the Sidereals operate in secrecy and hiding around Creation”. The key thing is that Lunars at large are supposed to be not strictly aware of the Sidereal role in the Usurpation; just suspicious of the fact that Sidereals were apparently not being killed in the initial purge, and have not been observed to have fled into the same exile as Lunars. In the time since, encounters have been infrequent enough that Lunar society recognises that they still exist, but can’t form solid facts about them. Much of this section actually covers the Sidereal perspective; how they viewed Lunars as an unstable and unpredictable factor in their planning even in the First Age, and so many Lunars styling themselves as enemies of the Realm means that there are few incentives to approach them. It ends on a note of how knowledge of Sidereals is transmitted around Lunar society; if younger ones hear about them at all, it’s generally as hazy figures in very old stories of the prior Age. The last line has a point that I’m not sure if it should have been more prominent, or is meant to be an obscure enough plot hook that it’s getting all the word it needs; that some youngsters are entrusted with knowledge from some Lunars actually aware of the Great Prophecy, and even having had a hand in the Usurpation. It’s at least not a point that is inconsistent with tidbits here and there about ancient Lunar dissatisfaction with the Old Realm.

    The sole point given about Abyssals is how Lunar encounters with them found them indescribably off, before one recognised in a Deathknight the sense of a reincarnated First Age mate, after which word spread among their society that Abyssals seemed to be some kind of perverted return of Solars. The idea attached to this is that many see it as a solemn duty to slay Abyssals in hopes of freeing the souls to be incarnated as proper Solars, but with concerns that this is a layer of conflict that would strain existing plans. Last of all are the Fair Folk, depicted as having initially been able to find accord when the Lunars first settled at the edge of the Wyld, but quickly became bitter enemies when Lunars establishing themselves among mortals out there created competition for human resources. That, and Lunars recognising and setting themselves against the gradual dissolution of reality, set at the forefront of that danger. Lunars are described as often having little rancour for the Fair Folk, in whom they see beings reminiscent of Luna, but their goals are irreconcilable.

    The chapter ends with a sampling of First Age Lunars, who are introduced as some of the most prominent examples that might be found of living witnesses to the lost world. First is Lilith, introduced as a Changing Moon of such skill that she effortlessly infiltrates even the Realm. The start of her write-up is unconcerned with her Solar mate, just stating that at the start of the Lunar exile she almost became a chimera before being given a new Caste (again raising the question of why her old one was no longer valid). She has the iconic story of having lived in solitude for ages as a beast, although it’s given an interesting bit of colour in her having spent a lot longer not being firmly territorial than most older Lunars, presenting her as one of the most widely travelled beings in Creation. It does end on the note of her finally coming out of her withdrawal in pursuit of her husband’s reincarnation, but that’s framed in terms of a relentless curiosity rather than anything traumatic (that it says “the man or woman he has become” reads to me as code for not taking the identification of Swan in fiction as gospel). I think this is a fine way to render her story in this version, and nicely complements her presence in the opening.

    Next is Raksi, and the depiction of her monstrosity is interesting. First of all, it says that Raksi’s mannerisms are basically how she always ruled, just modified a bit to add some Second Age barbarian to First Age sorceress-queen. The City of a Thousand Golden Delights is described as being for herself and others who “enjoy the pleasures of raw meat pulled flesh from the still warm bone”, and is described as teeming with apemen children and barbarian worshippers. She’s still cannibalistic, but there’s no mention of babies; her tastes are for young men and women, and she has her followers go out to take them captive rather than having tributaries offering them up every week (this is also said to be something that means that most other people live far from her borders and she is rarely satisfied). It originates the point on her true appearance being uncertain and having a reputation for never having the same face twice, so I’ve got to grant Second Edition’s artistic depictions (even if her write-up there lacked this character element, as far as I can recall), with rumour holding that she avoids animal form under most circumstances out of ego and a preference for ensnaring victims with superhuman beauty (it has the idea that she’s reputed to go to war as a monstrous ape with brass teeth and talons and moonsilver armour, with the unfamiliar detail of the armour being heavily bejewelled). It ends on the note that she deserves her reputation among humans, but other Lunars don’t view her with loathing (although they do with fear and wariness), because she still respectably upholds the Silver Way to a high degree; it’s explicitly said that her people prosper under her reign, and only outsiders are treated as prey. So she was originally the terrifying monster queen, but she had a lot more ownership of it, was not given half-hearted attempts at a sympathetic backstory, lacked some of the sillier gross elements, and had a society that benefitted under her. I like the Third Edition version more, but I can respect this one as a depiction of a terrifying and formidable luminary of the First Age sitting atop a grandiose dominion.

    Ma-Ha-Suchi is introduced as possibly the greatest enemy of the Realm among Lunars, with the most fervently developed hatred for their civilization. This is presented in terms of a strong religious fervour for Luna, especially in the aspect of the Bloody Huntress. It’s said to have informed his reaction to the loss of his Solar wife (never fully mourning her for having seen them as worlds apart due to her lacking full appreciation for Luna’s glory), and that despite his status as a Changing Moon her personally engages in a number of religious rites and taboos, and oversees the same in his beastman legions as they engage in grand festivals. He’s also presented as a figure of compassion, and even love; attention is drawn to his rank of murr-ya (i.e. somebody who has repeatedly sacrificed personal interests in the name of the Silver Way), cares for his children (although not in a manner with reservations against sending them to war), and is pious in a manner leading him to being a gracious host to other Lunars who are appropriately respectful (although people who anger him are liable to be given as sacrifices to Luna). That he pursues war with civilization so fervently is said to have made him one of the first Lunars to have directly met returning Solars, but the encounters are described as having not gone well and are quickly replacing his fonder old memories with a deep dislike, as he needs to deal with Solars opposed to his crusade. My take from this is that Ma-Ha-Suchi is the iconic barbarian warlord, but is treated with a measure of nuance and dignity (certainly more by far than he got in Second Edition). Also, his armies are said to consist of goatmen, so that’s one more point for his original spirit shape (which I feel as though I’ve heard somebody mention before).

    Leviathan’s story begins with the familiar element of him having been the greatest admiral of the Old Realm, but quickly takes a distinct departure with him having been a Lunar who had no Solar mate (said to be because no love could match what he had for the sea). He still sank his fleet and fled far West after the Usurpation, and is said to have been able to resist the Wyld through sheer strength and will, serving as a rallying point for Western Lunars until No Moons developed the Caste fixing, after which he drove them from his presence to care for themselves, and became entirely solitary. His interests since were that he would hunt the deepest parts of the ocean for enormous sea monsters in his gigantic orca form, with his human shape being unknown after an Age of not assuming it or stepping on land or ship. As a result, he was supposed to be the most alien Lunar, and unconcerned with the cares of the world. Sunken Luthe was still part of his story, being his refuge when he requires moments of respite, safeguarded in his absence by aquatic children. Having never encountered a challenge or fought on land, he foregoes moonsilver Artifacts; the trident Islebreaker is still in there, and even said to be left upon an unused throne, but this has no greater significance than being a resting place until such time as he assumes human form for battle again or passes his legacy on to another. Leviathan is the one elder who gets an accompanying picture, depicting him swimming among Luthe’s domes, with the front of his head covered in very distinctive scarring (or tattoos made to resemble such).

    Last is Tamuz, the consort of an idle Solar queen, whose personal hand in patrolling and safeguarding her domain is said to have developed a characteristic and enduring streak of compassion. This is said to inform his particular outlook on opposing civilization; its adherents can hardly be blamed for succumbing to it when the Exalted did as well, and his intentions are to liberate people from it by seeing to destruction with as little collateral damage as possible. As a result, he has a particularly egalitarian tribe, taking in both barbarians and hardy civilized people, and having even assimilated a clan of Dune People and reformed some of their extremes; he only won’t take in the South’s Jackals in order to preserve his people’s health, but he also won’t persecute them. He’s given a personal cadre of warriors selected for effectively internalising his ethos (this is explicitly stated in terms of ones who don’t view outsiders as nonpersons), and when they engage in raids on strongpoints of the Threshold, they spare innocents (although have no mercy for “the guilty”). The significance that his human bonds hold for him are given as a reason for preferring to retain human form, but in battle he combines his gazelle hound hybrid body with a personally developed fighting style combining his khatars and teeth. While he knows that the returning Solars means that his wife’s reincarnation is out there somewhere, and he’s wary of a reunion for fear of meeting a Lawgiver who wants to resume a reign over the South, that would lead to a confrontation for the sake of his ethos that he’d sooner avoid. Tamuz strikes me as not only a more palatable example of a First Ager, but a model for people who would want their Lunar characters to not express the ideology so severely.

    So I think these make for pretty good sample luminaries. They run the gamut of personalities and degrees of likability, they’re generally formidable and respectable figures, I think they’ve all got a compelling story going on, and think there’s a good cross section between ones with a deeply invested world view informed by witnessing the turning of the Ages, and ones whose lifespan and power makes them very distant and unusual.

    I wonder what impulse there was in Second Edition to take every single one of these characters and convert them into some degree or variation of pathetic loser. I mean Jesus Christ, who thought “Tamuz is a misogynist because his wife mistreated him and he projects that onto all women” was a good idea? What was the point?! What was wrong with the characters as they were here?!


    I think this chapter on the Lunars was pretty good. I find it to give a very thorough and often compelling picture of who and what they are as people, the underpinnings of the society they’ve developed in their environment, and what they might be up to as people. I think it’s reasonably well-rounded, gives more words to variations and exceptions than might have been expected, and has an awareness of the distinction between what they believe (for understandably biased reasons) and what is real that appeals to and surprises me. It remarkably has less of the severe rhetoric than the prior chapter does, and a lot of what it does have fits easily into that context of biased reasoning; I find it to be a much more tonally consistent read.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Mockery View Post
    their claim of being "masterful illusionists" being something that was left in the core by partially by mistake.
    That sounds reasonable to me, but I'm reading with the perspective of somebody who did not come to the First Edition corebook until long after the fact; not until after Shards, at the very least, and also not until after I had read several First Edition books that came after. My perspective on that core from the outset was that it was a little bit messy and had not yet hammered out all of the details, for which I was and am in no way critical. I accommodate it in terms of having seen several ways in which the line developed after, but I can sympathise with frustrations on both sides of the curtain from it being put out as people's introduction to various subjects that didn't quite pan out.

    That being said, description as illusionists does still read to me as a very small part of a whole that, otherwise, I think was effectively built upon in this book. That still constitutes a bias on my part; having known from the beginning how that never really got followed up on, I can't help but lend little weight to it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mockery
    replied
    Speaking as someone who was there at the time:

    Lunars were pitched, among other things, as illusionists and tricksters, things that were not well-borne out of their charmset. When people complained—because of course we did: the Exalted forum culture and fandom was the Exalted forum culture and fandom even back then—the developer claimed that shapeshifting powers and some social charms were really all you needed for that, and that their claim of being "masterful illusionists" being something that was left in the core by partially by mistake. I want to say that there had also been a statement to the effect of that being set aside as playspace for the Fair Folk, but I can't pull up anything concrete on that.

    Regardless, at the time it was interpreted as throwing a bone to the players who were upset that the Fair Folk (whose book also had some serious disconnect between the developer's wants and the writer's inclinations; this, in part, is what spawned the use of the word Raksha as a catch-all name for them) were getting something that they felt the Lunars had been initially promised.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aoi Cobalt
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

    I might have missed it, because I am very cautiously and intermittently looking at people's responses to this thread*, but did anybody answer my question about whether the First Edition core was reprinted with different edits about the Lunars? That wasn't snark, I seriously want to know if that's actually the case.

    Because if it was not, the only way I can understand a statement that the "Lunars as hounds of the Fair Folk" version had been described with any kind of substance in the First Edition core is either a very broad reading of some of what I can actually read in it, or people who haven't read that book in a while mixing up vague recollections with the recurring talking point of different Lunar drafts pre-publication.

    Mind, even that's a bit pedantic on my part, because I don't think the question of Lunars being written like that is very important on its own; what I find to matter most is how it is folded into this narrative about Lunars having been a poorly thought out and ultimately eleventh hour addition to the setting in a manner that resulted in writing that lacked any consideration for their place within it.
    As far as I know, first edition Lunars did not receive a rewrite at all.
    As far as the idea of "Lunars as hounds of the Fair Folk" goes, I did not hear that idea until long afterwards (not being involved with the forums at that time), and only discovered it as part of the writer's comments. As far as I can tell, you are reading the same Lunars book I did back in first edition.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    It did? I apologise, I misremembered (I've read Fair Folk, but don't own a copy). I thought it was only in 2nd ed.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post

    As for 2nd ed (not 1st ed!) letting Lunars take Raksha charms
    Do you mean this as a reasoning that applies to Second Edition but not to First?

    Because Exalted: the Fair Folk does say that Lunars with Graces could learn Fair Folk Charms in the same way that Eclipses and Moonshadows could.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    Yeah, I never saw the madness (my Lunar gave himself complete amnesia by shapeshifting; good times) as turning you into a kind of Raksha. Just that the wyld... makes people insane.

    As for 2nd ed (not 1st ed!) letting Lunars take Raksha charms, I think that stemmed from two things;
    1) The Lunar charmset, while better than 1st ed, was not amazing, and also quite similar in many parts to the Solar charmset. So it was probably a way to give it some more pazazz.
    2) With rules for shaping combat, the writers probably felt Lunars who live on the border of the Wyld or even in it, should have charms for shaping combat. The easiest way to do this was just let them use the Raksha ones.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post

    It doesn't incorporate the Lunars as hunting hounds of the Fair Folk, but it does incorporate the "Wyld madness" aspect, which used to be a case of what the text of the core would suggest was a case of early chimerism being "forgot about being Exalted, is a Fair Folk noble now", which only got the back half knocked off.
    You know, I feel as though somebody who had never heard about the beta versions would take "Wyld madness" for Exalted that have been driven into the Wyld at face value, because the Wyld drives everybody mad.

    It makes the case that, after a few iterations of development, final draft Lunars still had some holdovers from starting ideas, but begs the question of why that's a bad thing. It does not detract from their consistency, nor make the case that their setting place was poorly thought out.

    Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist
    And, again, the Fair Folk book gave Lunars the capacity to learn FF Charms, and never gave any particular justification for it. It also mentioned Lunars considering helping the raksha as an alternative to sitting things out on the borders of Creation. So, while not in the core book, some bits of those ideas found their way into the game with E:tFF, which needs to be considered because the two prior editions were making Lunars and Fair Folk share a lot of setting space.
    I think that's more on the people who wrote the Fair Folk book.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X