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  • 3rd Ed Sidereals

    What do you think Sidereals should look like in 3rd Edition?

    The core book mentions the following: "control over destiny", "be an inscrutable stranger", "master ancient and powerful martial arts", "command the awe of gods".

    Sounds cool but I worry Sidereals are a bit outmatched if confronted with other exalted. Let's see what Sidereals can and can't do:

    -Sidereals are the the least populous exalts (100 exaltations in existence).
    -Sidereals live long (possibly longer than other exalts, even solars) but unlike those other exalts they can't use magic to prolong their life-span (this was introduced in 3rd edition I believe).
    -Sidereals have fixed amount of charms they may use. They can't create new ones unlike other exalts can.
    -Sidereals have access to celestial circle spells.
    -Sidereals have access to astrology effects, theoretically powerful and all-encompassing but actually really difficult to pull off.
    -Sidereals are supposed to be masters of martial arts. In previous editions they were the only ones who could create Sidereal Martial Arts, the most powerful type of Martial Arts, often capable of altering reality itself. Other exalts could theoretically learn them, but the Sidereals were loath to teach them because those were their trump cards often capable to level the field with other more outwardly powerful exalts. In 3rd edition Sidereal Martial Arts do not exist anymore. This seems to be a huge blow against the Sidereals, as it effectively removes their edge and one of the main lures of playing a Sidereal.
    -As for gods Sidereals do not command them, they can do so under the right circumstances (and crafting those circumstances is a big part of what being a Sidereal means) but that brings resentment from the gods who feel disrespected.

    Considering all that, how do you make 3rd ed Sidereals compete with other exalts when you have to choose the type of game you want to play? Most of what Sids can do Lunars and dedicated Solars can now probably do better (and Abyssals as well, obviously). So, what concepts, abilities, powers should Sidereals have in order to differentiate them from other more powerful exalts? What can make them unique, better suited to accomplish some tasks compared to other exalts?

    To me Sidereals have always been like secret agents working to preserve reality from its enemies and I find games centered around them work better that way. Ideally things should go this way: Receive a field mission. Get in place. Keep a low profile and study the situation for opportunities. Execute the plan. Disappear. Write a report whn you are back at the "office" and deal with internal politics while you wait your new assignment.
    I've had a few great Sidereal games in the past both as Bronze faction agents trying to thwart the Deathlords and as Golden faction recruiters saving solars while still having to do their jobs with people ideologically opposed to themselves. I hope 3rd edition Sids will get to keep their unique flavour and their "edges" in their specific field of specialization.

  • #2
    SMA is going to be toned down and will not start at E4 only to go to E6+ in almost all cases was what they said, however, it still exists. They didn't lose it and the devs have said solars can't supernal SMA. Astrology is the biggest change in that it'll be integrated into the charmset rather than a separate system.

    Also, sidereals can use magic to escape their fated deaths. Which is entirely a change in this edition from previous where it had no ability what so ever to escape it. One of the sidereal antagonists is a primordial war survivor.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Haquim View Post
      -Sidereals live long (possibly longer than other exalts, even solars) but unlike those other exalts they can't use magic to prolong their life-span (this was introduced in 3rd edition I believe).
      Oh no; that was right in their First Edition book.

      Originally posted by Haquim
      In 3rd edition Sidereal Martial Arts do not exist anymore.
      You're quoting the core book blurb for them directly. The part with "Their mystical fighting systems, the Sidereal Martial Arts, are the whispered legends and ultimate secret styles of the martial arts world" is right in there. What did you think the part about mastering ancient and powerful martial arts meant?

      Originally posted by Haquim
      So, what concepts, abilities, powers should Sidereals have in order to differentiate them from other more powerful exalts? What can make them unique, better suited to accomplish some tasks compared to other exalts?
      A Brawl Charm in which, upon punching you, you get a choice between taking aggravated damage and having some fortuitous disaster befall you.

      Originally posted by Epimetheus
      sidereals can use magic to escape their fated deaths

      One Sidereal has done that, using methods that are described in terms in which a good faith reading will find them to be rather difficult to replicate (if possible at all) and kind of abhorrent to most Sidereals.


      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Haquim View Post
        -Sidereals are the the least populous exalts (100 exaltations in existence).
        Infernals are rarer, and IIRC so are all the new types of Exalt.

        Originally posted by Haquim View Post
        -Sidereals live long (possibly longer than other exalts, even solars) but unlike those other exalts they can't use magic to prolong their life-span (this was introduced in 3rd edition I believe).
        Nope, existed in 2nd. Dreams of the First Age, Lands of Creation, p.36 -- "Sidereals live from 3,000 to 5,000 years and can’t extend their lives by any artificial means."

        3rd edition's "Life-extending magic which benefits the other Exalted seems curiously ineffective on the Maidens’ Chosen." is rather milder than that.

        Originally posted by Haquim View Post
        -Sidereals have access to astrology effects, theoretically powerful and all-encompassing but actually really difficult to pull off.
        Unless you've actually seen 3rd edition Astrology rules, this seems impossible to assert.

        Originally posted by Haquim View Post
        In 3rd edition Sidereal Martial Arts do not exist anymore.
        Where did you get this completely incorrect idea? The exact phrase "Sidereal Martial Arts", with the capitals and an indication that they're special, occurs three times in the core rulebook alone, including the spread on Sidereals you quote above.

        Originally posted by Haquim View Post
        -As for gods Sidereals do not command them, they can do so under the right circumstances (and crafting those circumstances is a big part of what being a Sidereal means) but that brings resentment from the gods who feel disrespected.
        Never mind there's a nontrivial distinction between "commanding the awe of the gods" and "commanding the gods", given the lack of 3rd edition material on Sidereals, gods, or Yu-Shan, how do you know anything you just said there is true?

        Originally posted by Haquim View Post
        Considering all that
        Considering all that, I think you need to re-evaluate your entire premise.
        Last edited by Verzio; 04-27-2019, 08:23 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Haquim View Post
          To me Sidereals have always been like secret agents working to preserve reality from its enemies and I find games centered around them work better that way. Ideally things should go this way: Receive a field mission. Get in place. Keep a low profile and study the situation for opportunities. Execute the plan. Disappear. Write a report whn you are back at the "office" and deal with internal politics while you wait your new assignment.
          I've had a few great Sidereal games in the past both as Bronze faction agents trying to thwart the Deathlords and as Golden faction recruiters saving solars while still having to do their jobs with people ideologically opposed to themselves. I hope 3rd edition Sids will get to keep their unique flavour and their "edges" in their specific field of specialization.
          they will most likely will, as in they will most likely will fell like secret agents. With the inclusion of the Getimians, we will probably see more of that as these two sides try to vy against each other.


          .

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          • #6
            1) Getimians and Infernals are less than Sidereals, Infernals being literally half of the population of Sidereals
            2) They live 5000 consistently if they don't die from unnatural causes first, which the great majority do.
            3) They can create new Charms, but doing so is a much more extensive and in-Character process than for others. That said, the limits of their Charmset also work in their favor: The devs have confirmed that the Sidereal Charmset will be composed mostly out of very powerful Charms for the amount of prerequisites they have (Such as putting SHUN THE SMILING LADY as an entry-level Charm), but this also means that they're basically getting Iron Whirlwind Technique without getting Excellent Strike or OWTB first. They get the powerful stuff easier but they have difficulties combo'ing stuff due to that limit of their Charmset.
            4) They have access to some of the most powerful and useful sorcery in the setting AND to minor Necromancy, I don't see how this is a weakness or anything bad.
            5) Astrology is not that difficult to pull off, and as far as we've heard it's meant to be more streamlined and VERY potent a tool in 3e. It's their own Shapeshifting or Supernal-like splat power so one would assume something that powerful or broad would be a good base to keep in mind.
            6) Sidereal Martial Arts exist in 3e, but they won't be published until the Sidereals book. Ditto with Necromancy and Abyssals, and so on.
            7) Sidereals are agents of Heaven, and as such have power over Gods and other such spirits, as bosses or colleagues. This is leaving aside the power they can have over spirits through iconic Charms such as Terminal Sanction, but reactions to even that kind of power won't always be "Feel Disrespect", gods are not a hivemind and each individual will react accordingly.

            If you want to see a little peek preview of what a Sidereal could do to "Compete", google "Adversaries of the Righteous Iron Siaka" and click on that webpage's Full Preview link. Should give you an idea. But basically, they do things others can't, on a scale others can't, and their powers are usually much more abstract or conceptual than the other Exalted's powers. They could punch you in the chest and break your heart emotionally, curse a person to live a loveless life, manipulate the fate of mortals to suit their needs or whims, cause someone who wishes to die to pass on painlessly, or stab you with a spear wreathed in the destiny of the blow that ends entire wars.

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            • #7
              Okay, the core premise of the thread...

              I think that just about all of the iconic powers that Sidereals had across the last two Editions could come back, with some necessary adjustments. A lot of things seem good for unique interactions with Intimacies, and I think the current take on shaping powers could give a few of their capabilities some more teeth than being resisted with Willpower expenditures.

              I feel as though there should be a fair amount of dice tricks, but possibly operating along a fairly different axis to the rest if they're concerned with target numbers.

              The cascades are liable to be bigger than they previously were, but I also liked how every line of a sutra was a reference to one of the Charms. I wonder if something of that could be preserved by privileging that line of Charms or something.


              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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              • #8
                From what I heard from Vance, he is absolute intending of keeping the sutra/chrm interaction as it was in the past


                .

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                • #9
                  It's 1 in the morning and I'm on a phone so I'll be brief, but if Sidereals do not get auto-access to Mastery benefits in martial arts, I will actively flip a table. And no, no finicky "you get them but only if you burn a prayer strip or something" nonsense. Sids get Mastery. They should be the ONLY ones to get Mastery actually but I digress--that's a losing battle.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Frostav View Post
                    It's 1 in the morning and I'm on a phone so I'll be brief, but if Sidereals do not get auto-access to Mastery benefits in martial arts, I will actively flip a table. And no, no finicky "you get them but only if you burn a prayer strip or something" nonsense. Sids get Mastery. They should be the ONLY ones to get Mastery actually but I digress--that's a losing battle.
                    I don't disagree with the idea they should get it, but also think the ship has sailed on it representing anything but a fiddly choice because the core book went out of its way to express how Solars have mastery benefits inherently because they just do so damn skilled as an aspect of their existance.

                    If you must flip a table I can provide a nice one full of glassware that dramatically will crash.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Frostav View Post
                      It's 1 in the morning and I'm on a phone so I'll be brief, but if Sidereals do not get auto-access to Mastery benefits in martial arts, I will actively flip a table. And no, no finicky "you get them but only if you burn a prayer strip or something" nonsense. Sids get Mastery.
                      You're going to throw a physical tantrum if they don't errata the Mastery keyword from how it was printed in the core rules three years ago? What an incredibly mature and persuasive approach.

                      Originally posted by Exalted 3rd Edition, p.427
                      • Mastery: This keyword denotes Charms that have a greater effect when used by those Exalted who are masters of mortal Abilities: the Solar and Abyssal Exalted. The Sidereal Exalted, peerless masters of the martial arts, have their own esoteric methods for accessing these effects.

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                      • #12
                        Haquim, I understand a lot of these concerns but I think they're mostly in the realms of "The designers need to consider them, more than insurmountable problems.

                        Sidereals have limited numbers? Then they have to bulk up the degree to which Exigents, gods and Dragonblooded can and will work with them and are capable of opposing other forces (the Lunar Exalted, etc.)

                        Sidereals have limited charms? Then the designers will need to make it so, no matter how many custom Charms a Lunar or Solar gets, they still stay about within the ranges of the power of a Sidereal who has maxed his Charms*.

                        Sidereal martial arts exist in 3e btw as far as I know. I do agree that if the pitch is "Why play a Sidereal? To master ancient and powerful martial arts." then its a weird way of treating that pitch to then treat these MA as instead the "endgame" of Solar Martial Arts, and that the designers should therefore not do that, and I don't think they will. But that's a topic that has created massive contention before (I feel between folks who have more of a "Ultimately everything in the setting exists to serve the purposes of positions Solars as *the* protagonists and to serve Solar games!" fans and those who are more "Every playable splat are the protagonists even if Solars are the most powerful and popular!").

                        On the "mission based" set up of Sidereals, I wouldn't wanna destroy that, but I would also rather like to have Sidereal players pursuing long term goals and making choices about how to change the world in pursuit of a personal vision. This is sort of the point, I feel, of Exalted's setting as a Celestial in many ways - the power and responsibility around changing the world. It diminishes that a bit to have any splat be simply footsoldiers in the service of an unknowable and unaccountable "force" or boss (whether that force be a powerful elder or "Fate").

                        Nice to hear from someone who's had some experience playing great Sidereal games in the past!

                        *On charms and I'll go on more about this:

                        Jenna Moran, when making the Sidereals limited Charms on GCG's say so, was well aware of this, that by not giving Sidereals custom Charms, that was defining and limiting the strength of the other Exalted such that they couldn't, by custom Charms, become stronger relative to Sidereals than they ought to.

                        Rather unfortunately, I think, a joke she made around this where the Solars' ability to make new Charms ("Arrogant Smile of The Unconquered Sun" - http://exalted.xi.co.nz/wiki/Thus_Sp...olarUsurpation) led to them being able to hard counter Sidereals with no real Sidereal options against this, sort of became more seriously taken in substance than it should have been (although really it took until the "row row fight the powah" post-Infernals exaggerated view of Solars as being equal to the Primordials and Celestials barely able to achieve more than Dragonblooded for this to create a lot of disquiet and be treated as that much more than an obvious joke).

                        The reality is that it should be the case that custom Charms, while creating a difference, don't have *that* much weight, and Sidereals are still about as powerful as they should be. That is, probably, their finite set pretty much contains roughly everything they need to do, and no holes that doom them in the long run to be beaten by "flexible" custom Charm building splats, without needing some kind of absurd "rubber chicken" cleverness that few if any Sidereal players can actually aspire to.
                        Last edited by Ghosthead; 04-28-2019, 04:52 AM.

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                        • #13
                          So one contraversial thing I'll say is... I hope they don't try and keep the old charmset.

                          I know many of those charms are really popular, but

                          a)2nd ed's charmset really suffered from being a port from 1st ed
                          b)I don't think the charmset was actually that brilliant at representing Sidereal themes. There were some charms that were appropriate, sure, but there were plenty of others that just seemed like a random grab-bag of sorcerous effects.
                          (The fact that some abilities approached the theme of that ability in a lateral way was fine in itself, but I don't think they always approached the core Sidereal themes very well.)
                          I felt, for example, that the much later addition of Throne Shadow was a way, way, way better core Sidereal combat tree than 1st ed Brawl or 2nd ed Violet Bier of Sorrows. Violet Bier of Sorrows is just... well, a set of really good combat charms. Whereas Throne Shadow is about being the puppet master (if Sidereals need straight-forward combat charms... well they all favour Martial Arts*), which is a much more "Sidereal" approach (and something that, for NPCs, I found Sidereals weren't actually that great at).

                          Now, if the charmset is significantly expanded and they have a whole bunch of new on-theme charms (not just dice tricks), then I don't mind if most of the old ones end up somewhere in there. But I certainly don't think you can rely on the old effects to carry their themes.


                          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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                          • #14
                            About 50:50 with you there Wizard. I'm not 100% committed to the 1e set, although there are some great standouts in their social set that I would like to see return - "Avoiding the Truth Technique", "Shun The Smiling Lady", everything else is a lot more negotiable (many Charms just won't translate, and some may but are a bit more questionable).

                            On the other hand I (probably alone!) hate the meme of Throne Shadow style as representing Sidereals better than VBS with a passion. For me, you play a Martial Artist Sidereal to be a badass ninja warrior descending from Fate to personally slay your enemies on behalf of Heaven's order; you do not play one to "Mwahaha. My pawns will do all my fighting for me, while I cackle from the shadows!". TSS represents a kind of extremity of retreat from personal excellence and skill in favour of a sort of stereotyped manipulator from the shadows that I really, really do not want to see characterize the Sidereal set.

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                            • #15
                              That is, the core of Sidereals to me is as being personally effective because they have the skill of an Exalt and the ability to see and manipulate Fate such that they are moving with and the world is moving with them towards the same goals, and this is particularly pronounced when they literally or metaphorically tap into the core themes of the Maidens (Journeys, Battles, Endings, Secrets, Serenity). They're very much not defined as people who are not so personally effective, but it doesn't matter because they are able to use Fate abilities to get other people to be effective on their behalf.

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