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  • Other "planes of existence"

    In World of Darkness, Umbra has extremely rich structure: lots of different "worlds" with somewhat intricate relations between them. I always loved this particular aspect of the setting (which was itself inherited from Shadowrun and then repeated in Chronicles of Darkness). Taking into account the history of Exalted as a setting, I presume that something similar should be the case here.

    is it the case though? I jumped in to Exalted only with the current edition and I the core book you don't see much about complex structure of different words. For sure we have:
    - Underworld;
    - Malfeas;
    - Elsewhere (is it stil a placein Third Edition?, core book says it's "metaphorical");
    - Yu-Shan (kind of);
    - Wyld (kind of);
    - Besides that, the description of sorcerous workings kind of implies that more "micro worlds" can be created.

    Clearly, this is not very little, but when compared to sheer abundance of different "parts" of Umbra in Mage: the Ascension, this picture seems kind of underwhelming, especially taking into account how wonderfully over-the-top this setting tends to be. However, I understand that possibly there could be much more described in the material from previous editions.

    So, what other "worlds" are there in the setting of Exalted. In general, should I rather think that "Umbra" carries over to Exalted and there will be a rich structure of worlds with their own strange internal laws that simply happened not to be described in the main book?


  • #2
    Zen Mu. The underworld, while only touched on in the core, has vast kingdoms where time flows strange and things are weird. Malfeas is also getting sold a bit short here, with its forest of mirrors, river of quicksilver holding another city, and regions defined by grammar. You also have demenses where things go strange. Generally, however, exalteds other worlds are concretely other worlds—there’s a part of the underworld that reflects a specific part of creation but it’s not overlapping exactly.


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    • #3
      You forgot Autochthonia and maybe Zen Mu depending on how you count that one, nd there is a lot going on in these places that the Ex3 core does not really do a deep dive in. Or even mention in the case of Autobot. As well as the overall richness of Creation itself which has plenty of strangeness baked in with elemental demesnes and bizarre sorcerous ruins and all.

      You can turn to old 1e and 2e sources on a lot of these places to see some of that nuance and weirdness you were talking about but with the caveat some of it may be heavily being redone this edition by the time we get a good look at them. I know the Underworld at least is supposed to be getting heavily redone I think. I personally am a huge fan of the Compass Autochthonia book and attendant Alchemical lore in theirs and I know people who will die to defend Graceful Wicked Masques.

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      • #4
        High-Essence Infernals in 2.5 who have pursued the Devil Tiger path can carve their own pocket dimensions from their souls.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Lanic View Post
          In World of Darkness, Umbra has extremely rich structure: lots of different "worlds" with somewhat intricate relations between them. I always loved this particular aspect of the setting (which was itself inherited from Shadowrun and then repeated in Chronicles of Darkness). Taking into account the history of Exalted as a setting, I presume that something similar should be the case here.

          is it the case though? I jumped in to Exalted only with the current edition and I the core book you don't see much about complex structure of different words. For sure we have:
          - Underworld;
          - Malfeas;
          - Elsewhere (is it stil a placein Third Edition?, core book says it's "metaphorical");
          - Yu-Shan (kind of);
          - Wyld (kind of);
          - Besides that, the description of sorcerous workings kind of implies that more "micro worlds" can be created.

          Clearly, this is not very little, but when compared to sheer abundance of different "parts" of Umbra in Mage: the Ascension, this picture seems kind of underwhelming, especially taking into account how wonderfully over-the-top this setting tends to be. However, I understand that possibly there could be much more described in the material from previous editions.

          So, what other "worlds" are there in the setting of Exalted. In general, should I rather think that "Umbra" carries over to Exalted and there will be a rich structure of worlds with their own strange internal laws that simply happened not to be described in the main book?
          Other than Zen-Mu (which might not be a real "place" in a sense of the word of another world and is likely never going to be detailed since it's also kind of R'lyeh) and Autochthonia (which is still kind of like Creation in that it's a phyiscal realm with people and spirits in it, just different a lot in what the realm made of), there really sin't. Creation in general has not really been big on having the off-Creation stuff be super numerous. The Underworld in 3e is a lot like Wraith's Temepst in 3e, with the different realms fo the dead and the seas and Labyrnth connecting htem. Malfeas is enormous and made of the bodies of titans. The Wyld is kinda-infinite and has whatever is needed there. Elsehwere is kind of not really a "place" just "Not here". Many spirits also ahve sanctums, but these are more pocket-dimensions extending from Creation, rather than a whole different realm.

          There's nothing, though, like the Umbra in Exalted. This is in part since Exalted is very focused on Creation and human endeavours therein. Having a universe of stuff beyond Creation kind of dilutes what makes Creation itself interesting and the main place to do things for the majority of the setting's residents. Gods live more or less either in Heaven or in the world itself (with sanctums kind of being an extension fo that).

          This isn't necessarily bad, as a note. I think that just because other settings have big complex cosmologies beyond the main world, means that that is a priori what a setting should be. The Umbra doens't add a lot ot Creation since the spirits of the world exist in Creation wiht people. Quantity doesn't equal quality and all that, especailly with realms of existance.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Blaque View Post

            This isn't necessarily bad, as a note. I think that just because other settings have big complex cosmologies beyond the main world, means that that is a priori what a setting should be. The Umbra doens't add a lot ot Creation since the spirits of the world exist in Creation wiht people. Quantity doesn't equal quality and all that, especailly with realms of existance.
            Well, this is mainly a matter of aesthetics. I genuinly love going completely weird. It seemed to me that Exalted has enough intrinsic weirdeness within the setting. However, I can imagine many themes that could stretch that weirdness a bit too far if placed in the Creation itself. Especially when it comes to heavily redefining rules of local metaphysics. It seemed to me that Exalted might have enough place for all kinds of quirky stuff. However, as I understand, Maelfas and Zen Mu are supposed to have a lot of such venues.

            A follow up question: is Elsewhere a place? Corebook of 2nd edition seems to imply that. Moreover, Autochtonia seems to be described as literally being separated from the creation by Elsewhere. 3rd edition core book seems to imply that it's just a metaphor.

            Another question: how should I depict Wyld? I kind of imagined it as pure chaos with no interesting things gonig on "there". Should I for example imagine Fair Folk as literally coming from Wyld, or just, sort of, materializing in Creation. I would vastly prefer the former, but it seemed to me that it is heavily non-canonical.

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            • #7
              Elsewhere was a place in 2e. In 3e it is just a place that is Not Here and not deeply defined. I think at your table it could easily be a place if you want but the books so far have not in 3e been keen to draw a hard rule there

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                Clearly, this is not very little, but when compared to sheer abundance of different "parts" of Umbra in Mage: the Ascension, this picture seems kind of underwhelming, especially taking into account how wonderfully over-the-top this setting tends to be.
                Worth noting that, unlike the old World of Darkness, Creation doesn't need to pass as the real world. It's a fantasy setting, and it has room for a lot of strangeness the WoD would have to consign the Umbra.

                Just for example, there are cities and palaces of cloudstuff high above the earth, and if you can find a way up there you can discuss esoterica with the cloud people; there are spirits and monsters all through the wilderness; there are islands that a really just oceanic behemoths, or giant jellyfish, or whatever you need. Go into the deep woods, and you might fight a nexus of power where the inhabitants are half rose, or a city of snakemen, or an ancient, oracular tree.

                Creation, on its own, can be plenty otherworldly, if that's what you need.

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                • #9
                  Exalted, unlike Mage the Ascension, has no Gauntlet. The Weaver has yet to break the world, dividing spirit from flesh. As such, it’s really only in Creation where spirits can even become immaterial, with most other realms treating spirit stuff as equally material as normal stuff.

                  This does not mean there is a shortage of other realms, however.

                  As you and others have noted, the “main” other realms are Malfeas, the Underworld, Yu-Shan, and the Wyld. As other people have noted, Elsewhere isn’t really a place in any sense of the word. In addition to those, gods can create their own Sanctums, small pocket realms where the god dwells. Sorcerous Workings, Artifacts, and some Exalted charms can create similar spaces.

                  However, it’s also important to note that each of those Realms can be broken up into lots of different areas. The most “normal” of these other realms, Yu-Shan, is “Magitech New York/Tokyo, enlarged to the size of a continent.” Even if you need to maintain a certain degree of consistency over the physics of the place, it is going to be hella spectacular.

                  It seems like the Underworld is going to be fairly different in 3e, but it sounds like it’ll be interesting.

                  Malfeas is hard to get to, but every Yozi is effectively an entire planet/universe unto itself, with variant physical laws as appropriate. Malfeas himself is a multi-dimensional hyper-Dysonsphere type structure orbiting a Green Sun with all the attendant weirdness that implies. Oramus, the Dragon Beyond the World, a Primordial of irrationality who could only be bound by his own wings, is attached to the Beyond which is apparently an even weirder place than the Pure Wyld.

                  Speaking of, the Wyld is where reality breaks down and Physical Laws are enforced by someone’s will. Raksha and other dangerous entities live here. There are places you can go, like Zen-Mu or the castles of various Raksha, but it’s somewhat difficult to know what changes will be made in 3e and whether we’ll get details on, say, the Scorpion Empire or not.

                  You might want to consider looking into the book Games of Divinity from 1e, as that has some cool info about Malfeas.

                  Also, Creation can get pretty weird. Once The Realm drops, you might want to read it’s section on The Caul, because it has a city that bursts into flames every night and another one which only exists in memory.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lanic View Post

                    Well, this is mainly a matter of aesthetics. I genuinly love going completely weird. It seemed to me that Exalted has enough intrinsic weirdeness within the setting. However, I can imagine many themes that could stretch that weirdness a bit too far if placed in the Creation itself. Especially when it comes to heavily redefining rules of local metaphysics. It seemed to me that Exalted might have enough place for all kinds of quirky stuff. However, as I understand, Maelfas and Zen Mu are supposed to have a lot of such venues.

                    A follow up question: is Elsewhere a place? Corebook of 2nd edition seems to imply that. Moreover, Autochtonia seems to be described as literally being separated from the creation by Elsewhere. 3rd edition core book seems to imply that it's just a metaphor.

                    Another question: how should I depict Wyld? I kind of imagined it as pure chaos with no interesting things gonig on "there". Should I for example imagine Fair Folk as literally coming from Wyld, or just, sort of, materializing in Creation. I would vastly prefer the former, but it seemed to me that it is heavily non-canonical.

                    The Wyld gets divided into three sections: Bordermarches, which are the ones nearest to Creation but that have strange occurrences and "bugs" in reality, like a dark abandoned castle whose inhabitants get slowly turned to blood-craving beasts, or a flower field where you can taste the flowers' scent and hear their colors. Then there's Middlemarches, where the boundary between Creation and chaos gets blurry and physics seem to give way to strangeness (say, an ocean of words that still behaves like an ocean, but everything that enters it becomes literate and more ornate as if described by a very purple-prose-y author, and drowning in it is more akin to being maddened by knowledge and unceasing whispers until you dissolve into them). And then there's the Deep Wyld, where things get really crazy and it's the farthest you can go into chaos so expect... CHAOS. You'll have to figure out an example for that one~ There are also Wyld Pockets inside Creation, like little bubbles of chaos in an otherwise clean tapestry, so you can have Fair Folk and other Wyldspawn show up in Creation using those. The FF come from the Wyld, some could spawn in it, some could be birthed, some could come into being through some sort of ritual. Who knows! Go crazy!

                    Also, there's a Raksha Noble in Adversaries of the Righteous called Adeimantus, I heavily recommend checking him out.

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                    • #11
                      Yeah while the Wyld is Chaos, it's not like chaos where you cant reach an understanding, its chaos where concepts and things change frequently or at least that's how I tend to portray the Deep Wyld. A Realm where the boundaries of things and ideas becomes undefined and constantly changing from theme and design to another. A road of skittering gold would suddenly become a great serpent made from smoke which then Coils up to form a tower of crystalized anger. It's a place where you can never trust what you see and is all danger


                      .

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Alpharius View Post
                        Elsewhere was a place in 2e. In 3e it is just a place that is Not Here and not deeply defined. I think at your table it could easily be a place if you want but the books so far have not in 3e been keen to draw a hard rule there
                        I've kind of looked at Elsewhere in 3E being a spatial equivalent of Schrodinger's Cat. It is everywhere and nowhere, a quantum state of unsure being. When an Exalt banishes their artifacts Elsewhere, they are using Essence to not observe the artifact so hard it enters this uncertain state. Like Schrodinger's Cat being both alive and dead because we cannot observe it to tell the truth of the matter, the Daiklaive is both here and not.

                        Also, I remember seeing somewhere the devs say they didn't want Elsewhere to be a "place" this edition, but don't quote me on that

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                        • #13
                          Before we get an official version, I'd look to the way a spirit sanctum is portrayed in the chapter fiction in Fangs at the Gate to create the correct feel without being constrained by the literal dimensions. You shift a bit and pass through the correct door, and you get a version of the physical that is polished and made fantastical. Don't frame it as a box.

                          These things are dotted all over the setting.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Iceblade44 View Post
                            Yeah while the Wyld is Chaos, it's not like chaos where you cant reach an understanding, its chaos where concepts and things change frequently or at least that's how I tend to portray the Deep Wyld. A Realm where the boundaries of things and ideas becomes undefined and constantly changing from theme and design to another. A road of skittering gold would suddenly become a great serpent made from smoke which then Coils up to form a tower of crystalized anger. It's a place where you can never trust what you see and is all danger
                            Random interesting bit noted by the devs is Pure Chaos is probably not about anymore. But that jus tmostly means that there's usually somthing like, actually comprehendable to a human-like sapient being about. Even if it is still chaotic and dangerous and mutating.


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                            • #15
                              Another thing to point out is that due to the nature of the Wyld, it's very possible to have strange, alien vistas being their own sort of world, such as with the Scorpion Empire.

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