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Do you use memories of previous Exaltations in your chronicles? How?

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  • Do you use memories of previous Exaltations in your chronicles? How?

    I tried using it a bit in my old game to give backstory to why an NPC was an enemy (a Sidereal) but it didn't work that well. No one was really invested in such a non-organic villain.

    In my previous 3rd ed game, I used it to write a little bit of fiction just to fill out the world (and because I enjoyed writing short fiction). So I've mostly been doing kept doing that for 3rd ed Lunars; the PCs have dreams sometimes at night, of the interactions between different PCs' previous incarnations. Sometimes I send them all the same thing, sometimes they get slightly different ones.

    This is mostly just to fill out the world, and do a little foreshadowing for later in the game. I write about two pages per three sessions I guess. Just short sections, a few paragraphs, to show a dream/memory of a scene. It's not really about making the previous incarnations a big thing (none are named, and it's not like it's the same ones again and again; they do have 6500 years of previous incarnations after all).


    One thing I found in my previous game (a high-xp Solar-Lunar game) is that, essentially, some people were quite interested in their previous incarnations, but most weren't. That might just be my group; perhaps other groups are a bit different. So generally stuff related to their previous incarnations doesn't grab them that much (a couple were, as I said). So I'm wondering whether other STs have used previous incarnations a lot, what you found worked and didn't work, what you do currently, etc.
    Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 08-21-2019, 05:06 PM.


    My characters:
    Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
    Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng
    Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

  • #2
    I tried 'story time' in a non-Exalted campaign once, and it fizzled. The idea was to give the campaign some color and eventually to work a few of the old legends in, but it became chat time for the players, so I stopped.


    Like my Avatar? Courtesy of Jen! : Anybody want their characters to be experimented on ? post 98
    An Exalt is never unarmed.

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    • #3
      I wrote flashbacks for players from their past lives in the first Exalted game I ever ran for my local group, and my playergroup took that as the default mode for the gameline. Now they all include them in every game they run. It's pretty awesome.


      I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
      I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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      • #4
        I've used them as a storyline in a DB game before specifically as an attempt to fill out the world and expand on its backstory. Most players enjoyed it but one didn't. And as a player, I often find myself relatively uninterested in exploring that sort of past; often my characters have enough problems without needing to add another one to it.

        I think it depends heavily on your players on how you want to do it; I don't think it's a bad thing all the time but it does require some buy in. In one game I'm in one of the players cares a lot about his prior incarnation to the point of it being a main antagonist in the game as a Deathlord, while a different player killed his PC specifically because he wanted to play as their Reincarnation and explore that aspect, while I'm not particularly interested in it.

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        • #5
          My Lore Supernal had an RP thing where whenever he would enter bonfire anima he would become possessed by his very first Incarnation, who would take over his body while he lost consciousness. This lead to interesting dynamics as the first Incarnation knew things the current one did not and vice versa, and neither could talk directly to the other.

          Also the first Incarnation was much more wise and mature, which enraged my character to no end because he was (and still is) convinced that he is the greatest mind to ever live. This was reflected in mechanics too - only the first Incarnation could use certain Lore Charms, because the current Incarnation lacked the humility necessary to master them.

          After much drama and a little bit of growing up, the Lore Supernal "made peace" with his first Incarnation and accepted it into himself, ascending to Essence 3 and unlocking his full potential.

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          • #6
            Before each session I usually try to write out a couple of pages as a short story that people can read before we play. These stories will flesh out the world in some way. For example, they might show what's going on with important NPC's in the setting, or show how parts of the setting where the PCs are not currently located are changing. I will also sometimes write these as flashback memories for a couple of characters if they are going somewhere or doing something for which having a past connection to a place or an individual is important.

            Additionally, I will also sometimes have a descriptive moment for PC's when they encounter the ruins of a First Age building or device. The player might momentarily have a flash where they remember the crumbling structure in all of its glory or see the older structure briefly superimposed over the ruins. This can help to highlight the sense of "loss" and the idea that the world has fallen from where it used to be.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Flare View Post
              In one game I'm in one of the players cares a lot about his prior incarnation to the point of it being a main antagonist in the game as a Deathlord,
              I made this the centrepiece of part of my plot in 2nd ed. The party decided to go fight Walker in Darkness (not something I pushed them towards, they just decided by themselves), and so I decided that I'chan, the Twilight, would be the reincarnation of Ozandus Pal - ie Walker in Darkness. They'd go to the Invisible Fortress, find the Forgotten Blade, and discover Walker in Darkness's past, which they could then use to defeat him.
              Then another PC accidentally killed I'chan in a fight against some Sidereals while they were limit breaking, and the plot kind of fell apart.

              while a different player killed his PC specifically because he wanted to play as their Reincarnation and explore that aspect, while I'm not particularly interested in it.
              I'm not sure I'd kill off a PC to do so, but I actually like this; I played 2 (or 3? I forget) Zeniths in a row that were reincarnations, in some ways very similar characters and in others very different.

              I'd also quite like to play the reincarnation of my Night caste who died about 10 sessions ago, but I don't really have any good concepts for a Night that I want to play.
              Actually, that Night was the reincarnation of a Night my friend played in 2nd ed (I asked him for permission), who got killed in the second-to-last fight of the campaign (by 3 Abyssals in a room deep beneath the Imperial Manse). That guy himself was a reincarnation of a previous Night that guy had played.

              I generally like people to play their own reincarnations; if the character seems to be roleplayed similarly to the previous character, well, that's why.
              In reality however, it's generally not practical; if you're up to Essence 3, it might seem odd for some girl to get exalted a week ago (a week after the previous character died) to have as much experience as everyone else. And more to the point, it's generally not the case that if a Zenith dies, the next character to turn up is a Zenith.

              Recently, for example, a Changing Moon in my Lunars game died. The player then brought in a Full Moon. I'd have liked to say he was the new incarnation, but honestly, it wouldn't fit his backstory (or Caste) to have been exalted three days ago.

              And of course, it means you can keep using the same First-Age remnant plot if you're doing something like that (for example, if the PCs found an ancient temple dedicated to their old Circle, you don't have to retcon who was in that circle).

              And this isn't something any of my playgroup have expressed interest in, I think it's just me.

              Still, the next time one dies and is replaced (probably months later in-game, at least) I can hopefully say it's the new incarnation of the Changing Moon who died. None of my players care much about this, but I find it satisfying, and if it doesn't get in the way of their concept they're generally fine with me declaring this kind of thing.

              This is a slight tangent from the main question of the thread, but I think it's an interesting one. I'd be interested to hear what other people do with this, if anyone else likes to play or see played the reincarnations of previous PCs.




              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
              Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                Before each session I usually try to write out a couple of pages as a short story that people can read before we play. These stories will flesh out the world in some way. For example, they might show what's going on with important NPC's in the setting, or show how parts of the setting where the PCs are not currently located are changing. I will also sometimes write these as flashback memories for a couple of characters if they are going somewhere or doing something for which having a past connection to a place or an individual is important.
                This is somewhat similar to me, though tbh I do it even if there is no important connection.

                I've sent the PCs like, 3 or 4 pages of First Age memories now (not in one go, over six sessions), but after a while that might get dry. Fleshing out the world seems like a good idea. I don't really like doing things like "what's going on with important NPCs" because the PCs shouldn't know (I did do it for some NPCs after the end of my 2nd ed game, but it was the end so that didn't matter). But I think maybe just really ordinary people who are tangentially affected by the PCs will flesh out the world well, remind them of the local cultures, mores, details they should have noticed but didn't, etc.


                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
                Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Most of the previous-incarnation-memories scenes I’ve done have either been momentary flashes when they encounter some other Celestial Exalt, a city that was around in the First Age, or an artifact that was personal to a previous incarnation of theirs; or it’s been part of a dream sequence.

                  Dreams played a big part in my seafaring game, as one of the prominent NPCs was the goddess of Exalted dreams, who ran a parlor in Chiaroscuro where one could pay to have hand-tailored dreams made by her underlings.

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                  • #10
                    I think in the past five years I've only used it once, and it was when my players were investigating a ghost ship. Like a ship that had sunk and was full of ghosts, and the battle only went so far as the eclipse flaring his anima banner, at which point all the maligned spirits in the place took a knee and obeyed their returned captain. I didn't ask permission from the player, but he enjoyed it and I think it worked well. Overall though I find most of my players have thoughts along the lines of "That was literally ages past, and we don't want to repeat the mistakes of the first age anyway so who cares?"

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                    • #11
                      Have used considerably as a tool of world-building and way too add plots hooks - truth be told even more as a player than ST, might be said.
                      Usually pays off in the insertion of major NPCs, be they allies, mentors or antagonists (sometimes two or more combined) plotlines and such.

                      In fact most of the time i leave it vague and only start to mess with my own PC's past lives after 2-3 sessions of the game, as my way introduce stuff that interests but i feel may be somewhat missing at that stage or twisting certain types of narratives.

                      For example, while a number of my character have had Lunar lovers, half the time they were not their "mates", resulting in romantic triangles or polygons of varied levels of tidiness/messiness among other things. One particular game involved me & another PC as the (both female) reincarnations of Amyana, Arkadi and a very, very besieged Leviathan.

                      A more serious one was the decision to make a previous incarnation of my 3e Twilight, while quite long lived & badass in its own way (ruler of an empire shaped in the Wyld, with a number of lieutenants/pupils/viziers under him), wholly a product of the Age of Sorrows, as a way to break out of a "everything high level/badass happened in the First Age, maybe Shogunate" 2e influenced tendency i saw in my group. While quite dead indeed and producing no Deathlord (in fact his death is related to backing off at the last moment from turning into a super-abyssal, so to speak), his heirs/generals/sucessors and his empire with an empty throne have been quite the mine of plots for the game.


                      Overall involving the players in the process is a major part - try fo get some bits from them on the subject beforehand. Not exactly previous incarnations per se, but past eras, strange places, objects & beings, some peculiar combo, riff or twist on the current PC's capacities. The point with them is to see what catches their interest or not - and how can it relate to the current incarnations of the characters and play. Vignettes are nice, but interactivity is of the essence for them to roleplay with.
                      Last edited by Baaldam; 09-01-2019, 12:00 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                        Dreams played a big part in my seafaring game, as one of the prominent NPCs was the goddess of Exalted dreams, who ran a parlor in Chiaroscuro where one could pay to have hand-tailored dreams made by her underlings.
                        Presumably these were dreams of all kinds then; previous incarnations, prophecies, symbolic metaphors, bizzare mash-ups of what the PCs had been thinking of, etc.


                        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
                        Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                          For example, while a number of my character have had Lunar lovers, half the time they were not their "mates", resulting in romantic triangles or polygons of varied levels of tidiness/messiness among other things.
                          One of our Lunars married one of the Solars... who's not her destined mate, but he just assumed she was, and she's been paranoid that at some point his real Mate would turn up and try and steal him.
                          No-one realises that actually her (adopted) father, the other Lunar, is actually her mate. He doesn't even realise, because he's been told the Bond is a romantic thing, and clearly his daughter and son-in-law are Bonded, he just loves the Night Caste like a son because, well, it's his son-in-law.


                          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
                          Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                            Presumably these were dreams of all kinds then; previous incarnations, prophecies, symbolic metaphors, bizzare mash-ups of what the PCs had been thinking of, etc.
                            The goddess would have her dream flies gather information while they were out doing their regular duties. Any time they encountered an Exalt, the little gods would shadow them for a bit, learn the kind of stuff they were interested in, and assemble a profile about the Exalt in question. Following that, she would have her dream flies appear to said Exalt and offer up tailored dreams, often related to something they were aspiring towards. In exchange, they were asked to foster worship for her and build occasional shrines.

                            Since Seamstress was interested in an amulet that housed the torpid soul of a Deathlord, the goddess sent her dream flies out to find it, and when they did, they made episodic dreams for her in which she experienced the life of the man who held it at the time.

                            ​Since Barbus wanted the Crown of Thunders for his tribe, the goddess had her dream flies cobble together a vision of the Usurpation in which he (as Marela) threw the crown into the sea to stop the traitorous Dragon-Blooded from taking it off her corpse. (And no, he wasn't the reincarnation of Marela, but she didn't tell him that.)

                            ​Since Gasp of the Drowning murdered the dream flies sent to gather information about him, she stopped sending them his way.

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                            • #15
                              For our current Chronicle, The Storm This Way Comes, I've been turning the usual Exalted tropes around and upside down as much as I can.



                              Instead of past lives, we're exploring future lives. So far, my players have figured out that they encountered something like a "save point" and that for whatever reason, they got bounced back 7 years to do things over.

                              Each of the Celestials has a parallel present + future. The time effect wasn't perfect everywhere, so they're finding evidence left behind. Not everyone was in the same Circle the first time through. Everyone had a different path.... some happier and some tragic. Some found their true loves, and some became bitter, mercenary, and alone. And some didn't survive the whole span.

                              I'm borrowing an idea from B5, and using a question as a fundamental feature of the story: If you could do things over again, what would you do differently?

                              We also do have some effects of past lives, but I'm trying to minimize them. Basically just enough for Lunar or Solar mates to show up, or to be a backstory to detail up.




                              Check out Momentum Exalted!

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