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Third Edition Makarios write-up

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  • Third Edition Makarios write-up

    Makarios has always been one of my favourite demons, so now that he's gotten an entry for Third Edition I might as well get a ball rolling on discussing him.

    My feelings are honestly mixed. I do think the Charms are good, with that one in which he's empowered to see through attempts to misrepresent value standing out, but the lack of something related to his crafting feels like an omission. I like how the Merit clarifies the premises around how his sigil actually gets applied and what can happen to it thereafter; it seems to me that the effect is a bit milder, but I can see value in the idea of making bearing the sigil a somewhat more liveable condition for the sake of broadening his customer base.

    Buuutttt… his character write-up is disappointingly workmanlike. It doesn't really have much personality, doesn't convey the surreal wonder that is supposed to be part and parcel with engaging with him. I don't get why it doesn't have the idea that the dreams themselves are what he fashions his wares from, and I feel as though that removes a key aspect of the cycle that drives him. When the idea is that Makarios is driven to acquire dreams to turn into things that he sells in exchange for more dreams, it gives me the impression that the trade itself is the point, and dreams just happen to be the central commodity because he's a demon and that's his uncanny take on the subject. Looking again, it doesn't even specifically have the idea that they don't dream because Makarios takes them, it just... stops. Without that part, it makes it feel as though depriving people of dreams is the point, and the commerce is just a means towards that end.

    And I've got to say, I just straight up hate that artwork of him. I could get over the hairstyle, the clothes, the build even though they're quite unlike the look of him that I'm used to, but it makes him look unambiguously sinister, and I find that to be quite contrary to the point of Makarios. The impression I've always gotten from Makarios is that he's genuinely amiable and an honest trader who just happens to deal in something kind of terrible, and hence he's supposed to have a look of charm and trustworthiness, something that puts people at ease. This guy looks like he's definitely out to screw you over, and even if that's not what the write-up portends and even if he's still socially advantaged in a manner that could translate into being able to get people to look past his appearance, I find it to be a case of art not effectively conveying premise, and I take issue with it. I also definitely think that there are going to be new people for whom this will be their introduction to Makarios where the picture will make a certain stronger impression than a few lines in the short write-up (not least because, again, it's not very flavourful) and will come away with the standard duplicitous demon bargainer archetype.

    I'm in no way objective about this, and I can even recognise that this is grating against elements of the prior depictions that made a stronger impression on me that may be largely irrelevant to others. But it touches on something that I had a distinct investment in, and I wanted to share the feelings thus provoked.

    (Also, why is he under Hundred Devils Night Parade? I thought that was supposed to be for animals and monsters, not characters with motives and personalities.)



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  • #2
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    (Also, why is he under Hundred Devils Night Parade? I thought that was supposed to be for animals and monsters, not characters with motives and personalities.)
    I feel like this is one of those questions which answers themselves.


    Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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    • #3
      I think all the demons are in Hundred Devils


      ....

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      • #4
        It might also be QCs instead of Full Write Ups?


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        • #5
          I wasn't around for 2E so I can't really compare him, but I agree that his whole marking people thing suddenly makes a lot more sense if he's gaining something tangible from it, rather than just doing it out of blue-and-orange morality.

          I do like his artwork. Although the evil grin makes it misleading, I can see that character coming off as a charming trader of wonders when he's not literally grinning at you like a demon.
          Last edited by Epitome; 08-29-2019, 10:12 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
            And I've got to say, I just straight up hate that artwork of him. I could get over the hairstyle, the clothes, the build even though they're quite unlike the look of him that I'm used to, but it makes him look unambiguously sinister, and I find that to be quite contrary to the point of Makarios. The impression I've always gotten from Makarios is that he's genuinely amiable and an honest trader who just happens to deal in something kind of terrible, and hence he's supposed to have a look of charm and trustworthiness, something that puts people at ease. This guy looks like he's definitely out to screw you over, and even if that's not what the write-up portends and even if he's still socially advantaged in a manner that could translate into being able to get people to look past his appearance, I find it to be a case of art not effectively conveying premise, and I take issue with it. I also definitely think that there are going to be new people for whom this will be their introduction to Makarios where the picture will make a certain stronger impression than a few lines in the short write-up (not least because, again, it's not very flavourful) and will come away with the standard duplicitous demon bargainer archetype.
            Oh yes, that Hundred Devils artwork just does not do it for me, he goes from a friendly-looking man in Ex2 to a creepy punk kid with black claw, pointy ears and punk hair.



            There is no way I'm gonna do any business to someone looking like the guy below for sure.




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            • #7
              I don't mind the art, though I agree he seems more an Adversary of the Righteous than a Hundred Devil. My issue with his charm set isn't so much his lack of craft charms, but charms like Waking Dream Affliction and Tarnished Trinket Glint seem to lean more into conning that honest trader.

              My biggest issue? How do you visit him. Or have him visit you. A mean a sorceror could summon him and just send him round someones house, but that hardly seems thematic. He could use Gates of the Dreaming Market, but that requires him to know were the sleeping individual is - which again would presumably require a sorceror to tell him. He could use Sigil-Seeking to make a sense-roll to locate the nearest sigil bearer, but he's in the dreamrealm and the dreamer is in creation - I'm not sure you're entitled to makes sense rolls across metaphysical planes.

              I'll be the first to admit I'm possibly just being dumb here.

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              • #8
                I assume the point is that when you want to trade with Makarios, you catch a mortal, mark them and then sell him the location.

                As to why he's in Hundred Devils, I assume it's because he's a Devil. There are intelligent behemoths, elements, ghosts and demons in there.

                Of course, there's a Raksha and I think a ghost in Adversaries, so...
                Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 08-29-2019, 11:19 AM.


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                • #9
                  More broadly; I don't really have any strong feelings about Makarios. He never caught my interest in 2nd ed, so I'm not hugely bothered if he is different in 3rd. But I can see Isator's point about dreams and surreal wonder. The charms and buying and finding sigils just seems to be missing something to make it click together. (The individual charms seem fine)

                  One thing I will say is I'm glad they're doing more 2nd ed demons in the bestiary; I like the various monsters, but honestly haven't found them very useful. What I've found useful are spirits, behemoths, animals that Lunars can turn into, and Exalted NPCs (for example, I used the stats of the Ragara Satrap as a DB the PCs fought recently). But the spirits aren't powerful enough to be a challenge to PCs, they're more for them (or their enemies) to summon.

                  The second-circle demons in the Core are fine, but I'm kind of bored with them. The PCs have hung out with Mara loads, fought Octavian, seen Alveua around a lot, etc. And Makarios is quite different.

                  So more is good. I hope to see Hundred Devils do even more; perhaps some new or at least less-used (ie from CoCD: Malfeas) ones.
                  But what I'm really keen on seeing is the Third-Circle Eric wrote!
                  Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 08-29-2019, 12:06 PM.


                  I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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                  • #10
                    I like how he’s completely Eclipse-keyworded except for the worse Irresistible Salesman Spirit. And we’re about to reach Essence 3 in the game that I’m playing an Eclipse merchant...

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                    • #11
                      I think he may have more Eclipse keywords than any other spirit.


                      I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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                      • #12
                        I think I asked before about what kinds of characters go under which labels and got an answer that would seem to put Second Circle Demons under Adversaries. But I suppose it's a relatively minor point.

                        With a few hours to cool down, I do regret some of my harsher weird choices, although I don't feel any differently about the art work.

                        I don't know; I feel as though something about this write-up just doesn't pop. I do still think the Charms are good, but I feel as though something like that needs a strong sense of character. I wouldn't even blame it on the format, since Adeimantus didn't have this issue. Maybe it's just down to one that fell a bit below the mark.

                        I mean, it's not terrible or anything, I just feel it doesn't quite convey what made the character feel so distinct and interesting.

                        But I also think I might not be giving the whole thing fair shakes, just because I first saw it on Facebook, and having that picture attached to the name made an unfortunate first impression.

                        Sure, all the information and artwork I like about the character still exists, and isn't really incompatible with these stats. But part of my feeling is that we have an opportunity to introduce new people to what is varied and interesting about these demons (the corebook ones are great, but they're more overtly antagonistic across the board), and it feels like that's been missed here.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                          Sure, all the information and artwork I like about the character still exists, and isn't really incompatible with these stats. But part of my feeling is that we have an opportunity to introduce new people to what is varied and interesting about these demons (the corebook ones are great, but they're more overtly antagonistic across the board), and it feels like that's been missed here.
                          To play Devil's Antagonist for a moment:

                          That seems intentional. Demons have not been portrayed in a sympathetic light this edition. From the personalities showcased in the Corebook, to summoning, to dev commentary about slavery -- demons and their Yozi mistresses are no longer recognised as the former masters of the world but are instead "monsters", "baleful spirits", and "dread fiends".

                          The transformation of a kindly craftsman and merchant into a grinning demon looks to me to be a deliberate design choice.

                          Of course, this is just my inference. But if any character was going to be used to show that demons are otherworldly but essentially people then it'd be Makarios.

                          3E has done away with a lot of moral complexity and challenging issues. It's still a rich setting, and (I guess) you don't want to be too edgy or inaccessible. And if you're going to vilipend The Realm, you can't exactly lionize demons. If you're going to make mortals matter and have Creation as the setting, you don't want the PCs rushing to dream worlds to cavort with demons.


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                          • #14
                            Possibly it’s a word count issue? Because the bits describing him and how he operates seem kinda short, especially as compared to many of the other entries. Maybe cutting or condensing one of his charms would allow for going more in depth into why he does things?

                            Alternately, maybe “using dreams as construction material” is a Raksha thing that they don’t want to explicitly give him?


                            ....

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                              To play Devil's Antagonist for a moment:

                              That seems intentional. Demons have not been portrayed in a sympathetic light this edition. From the personalities showcased in the Corebook, to summoning, to dev commentary about slavery -- demons and their Yozi mistresses are no longer recognised as the former masters of the world but are instead "monsters", "baleful spirits", and "dread fiends".

                              The transformation of a kindly craftsman and merchant into a grinning demon looks to me to be a deliberate design choice.

                              Of course, this is just my inference. But if any character was going to be used to show that demons are otherworldly but essentially people then it'd be Makarios.

                              3E has done away with a lot of moral complexity and challenging issues. It's still a rich setting, and (I guess) you don't want to be too edgy or inaccessible. And if you're going to vilipend The Realm, you can't exactly lionize demons. If you're going to make mortals matter and have Creation as the setting, you don't want the PCs rushing to dream worlds to cavort with demons.
                              (First, I get that you're playing Devil's Advocate here.)
                              That seems intentional. Demons have not been portrayed in a sympathetic light this edition.
                              I'm not sure there's any big difference. They said they wanted to get away from "the Ebon Dragon is eeeeevil" and "Malfeas hates everything and everyone, smash, smash, smash!"
                              The demons shown in the Core (and since) seem, well, about the same as before actually. (Honestly I really wish they'd done all new demons; but they didn't, it's all stuff we've seen before except the Fulope, and the personalities of the demons seem just the same as they were in 2nd ed).

                              Sure, they're not shown in a sympathetic light (nor, IMO, should they necessarily be), but they're also not shown as DnD-esque demons, which that art looks a little like. (I didn't recognise Makarios at first, tbh, he looks so different. I don't hate it. I don't love it.)

                              The transformation of a kindly craftsman and merchant into a grinning demon looks to me to be a deliberate design choice.
                              I never got the impression he was kindly. Just that he looked kindly, which seemed to me to be, well, part of his manipulation of mortals.

                              3E has done away with a lot of moral complexity and challenging issues.
                              Has it? It seems to me the main change is that the focus is less on giant clashes of the Good Incarnae and Evil Demon-Lords and more on nations, which are much more morally complex than this apparently-morally-perfect Unconquered Sun (I disliked his portrayal so much I just killed him off in my game).

                              Well, that and less magitech, but I don't see that as really being very morally complex.

                              I'll admit, Hatewheel was rather keen on "Solars are the good guys, Dragonblood the bad", but he hasn't been running Ex3 for literally years, he and Holden only wrote one book of the 4+2 segmented bestiaries that have been done, and the 2nd ed Core looked like Solars were the good guys anyway (there were some nice digs, but they were subtle, not overt) so that the 3rd ed book didn't seem like any kind of departure. It mostly came out in his dev comments rather than the book. And he wrote the amazing heroic perfect Ignis Divine for 2nd ed anyway, IIRC.

                              And if you're going to vilipend The Realm, you can't exactly lionize demons.
                              I assume you mean vilify.

                              But you don't exactly need to lionise them to not say "all demons are evil, they love evil and wear big black cloaks and have horns".

                              Saying this, I don't actually get the impression from this release that Makarios is any more villainous than he ever was.

                              Anyway, I may be reading too much into what you're saying here.

                              But Isator said the demons in the Core are more antagonistic, not that they're more evil than Makarios.

                              And I can see the point that Octavian, whether he's more "evil" than Makarios, is someone you're going to either enslave or punch. You're not really going to be going to dinner to discuss business dealings with him. So I can see the point about wanting more... well, not "nice" demons, but ones the players can work with.

                              But saying this, I have to disagree with Isator too; I don't think Sigereth or Alveua are really that antagonistic, tbh. Sigereth plays games (scrupulously fairly) and lets you bet stuff. Alveua makes stuff, loves insects, and turns willing souls into items. But if you run into her in a teahouse, you're not immediately going to start a kung-fu fight with her, the way you would with Octavian.

                              Mara... is a bit more complex. She may feed on your soul. She may set you up in a doomed relationship. I suppose that's antagonistic, though not the way Octavian is.

                              Actually, in our game Mara has made friends with one of our PCs and converted to the Cult of the Illuminated. Now she's essentially the Cult's main sorcerer (there is a sorcerer PC, but they don't get on with the Cult).





                              On a different topic, has anyone else noticed that of the 5 published Second Circles, 3 are from the Ebon Dragon? And the Third-Circle they said they've written (but it's waiting to be published) is also of the Ebon Dragon.
                              Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 08-29-2019, 03:08 PM.


                              I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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