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  • #91
    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    This I like.

    The PCs need to have agency. They need to be able to make decisions and those decisions have to matter. A failing ancilla doesn't provide the same obstacle to a Circle than a dedicated elder queen and her army of supporters. If anything it's a hook the PCs can use.
    Well, I guess I should have said that actually the failing ancillae was an Essence 3 Changing Moon King who asked the PCs to help him stop his kingdom falling apart and was just killed by a family of slightly mutated Dragonblood, leaving them to either save the kingdom or let it fall. When I say True Voice is the only local elder, I mean as in within 1500-2000 miles.
    But same thing anyway.

    I have no problem with this. So long as you're buying Influence/Allies/Backing/Retainer/Mentor to represent it.

    You don't "just get it" because you're a Dynast.
    Well... you kind of do. You get 5 free points of Backing, Command, Contacts, Followers, Influence, Language, Resources and/or Retainers. And I also find that, in practice, Dynasts tend to have a lot more points of those backgrounds than Solars do, who are more likely to have stuff like Mighty Thews or Danger Sense or something like that. And Lunars tend to have mutations.

    I mean... I suppose you could spend it all on languages and not other stuff. But that would be a fairly deliberate decision to avoid having Backing or Influence or whatever.

    But I'd rather be the Solar conquering his own Iron Age kingdom. As you say, that's easier.
    Sure. Clearly your dynastic games on the Blessed Isle have been pretty dull, if it's not for you, it's not for you.
    (I personally found that generally Dragonblood games in Satrapies were more fun than stuff on the Blessed Isle too, because you're away from the elders and have more power even if in a smaller area, but there was some fun stuff we did on the Blessed Isle. Like when we discovered that Cynis Belar Lugosi was hiding Fire-aspected batpeople in his mansion, or when Sesus Negezzer exploded at his own wedding to a PC but we discovered he'd been kidnapped by the robot council of Denandsor and replaced with a replicant anyway. Or, more seriously, when we and our allies like V'neef and Tepet Ejava, fought a second civil war to rest control of the Imperial Court away from House Pelleps.)

    But "having more social contacts, influence and support from a powerful family" is something that Dragonblood are better overall at than Solars (even when in the Threshold), which is the OP's question.

    (Not to say every single Dragonblood is better at it than every single Solar; Storm McLightning the angry barbarian Air Aspect is probably worse at it than Admiral Sand the merchant prince. But then, Lady Socialite the Eclipse caste courtier is much worse at Craft than Mnemon Volund the famous smith and builder. But I'd still say Solars are best at Crafting.)


    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


    • #92
      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
      Sounds like cool plot to me. By the time you've beaten this Raksha crusade, your players are probably up for something different. So invading the Scavenger Lands which is now a demon-infested hellhole could be cool and different.
      I like it as an option, but what I don’t like is one of the PCs saying that part of her backstory was that there’s an ancient legend of a tomb that her character has been obsessed with since she was a little girl and she really wants to go explore it, but the Storyteller says that if they go doing that then the First and Forsaken Lion will fly Final Maelstrom into Creation and start culling cities so really they can’t.

      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
      Because the Empress is gone, the Caul is all but fallen, the Wyld Hunt is stretched to breaking point, the Realm legions are recalled for civil war, the Sword of Creation is dormant and the Realm is disintegrating.
      Those features are in place to give Lunars a chance at maybe striking now, instead of hoping for a slow victory a thousand years from now, assuming that wasn’t just a pipe dream as the empire grows and grows and the chances for Lunar victory fade. Of course a lot of Lunars think they should just sit back and watch the Realm tear itself apart, and are desperately trying to hold back the young ones who risk presenting a threat that will reforge the Realm into an even stronger foe than before.

      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
      Does it?
      Yes. The Usurpation was a terrible choice because even though the Dragonblooded outnumbered the Solars god-knows-how-many to one thy couldn’t just ask politely if they would stop mutating mortals into human instruments that you play by torturing them, and then if they said no just kill them all anyway. Then in the second age in spite of outnumbering the Lunars 50 to 1, there remain several Lunar dominions. If DBs are just as powerful, perceptive, resilient ect. as Lunars are, how could that possibly stand? Moreover, why on earth would you ever play a Lunar or a Solar in that setting, where each imperial legion has 50 exalts standard to your ~5 and one legion isn’t even close to the full night of the Realm.

      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
      And yet, wars still happen even though royal families exist.
      Yeah, but the history books aren’t exactly packed with every war that didn’t happen because it was stopped before it began.
      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
      I have no problem with this. So long as you're buying Influence/Allies/Backing/Retainer/Mentor to represent it.

      You don't "just get it" because you're a Dynast.
      Sure you do. Anyone who’s a firm believer in the Immaculate faith has an intimacy you can automatically exploit as a DB, and all it takes is “I’m a DB, trust me.” Where’s that merit? How many dots does it cost? Can I use XP to make half the world think I’m an enlightened being? Not every advantage is on the character sheet.

      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
      But I'd rather be the Solar conquering his own Iron Age kingdom. As you say, that's easier.
      What do you actually like and/or want out of DBs then?

      Comment


      • #93
        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
        That happens a surprising amount.
        Well, it's at least not intuitive, especially in a cultural context that is increasingly focused on promoting narrative of idealised individualism and where a number of factors are creating a larger number of alienated and isolated individuals. But when one has an even rudimentary study of history, it's apparent how often people are dependent on circumstance and opportunity.
        That and, well, you don't need to be an inestimable super genius to be accomplished, you just need to be properly motivated and be in the correct spot.


        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post

        And the pure-bred mirror image of her mother, the Empress, and head of her own Dynastic household.
        Did you not pick up on how I was drawing a comparison between her and Mnemon?

        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        Mrs. Morret who runs a pie shop in the Imperial City is perfectly likable but she's not a contender for the throne
        Okay, so this is a tremendously disingenuous line of argument when your complaint is otherwise focused entirely on comparing different kinds of Exalted in terms of people who might be played, so if it's a ploy I'm not falling for it and if it's just coming up with whatever line will serve as a rhetorical "gotcha" maybe try and keep some consistency in your position.

        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        It's interesting because it's plausible. The Karstark's winning and putting Hot Pie on the throne is not plausible. It's plausible because the most powerful faction who has the largest kingdom, the most supernatural allies and the best claim eventually wins, despite setbacks.
        Ah yes, the Starks were always at the very top of their game throughout the entire length of the Game of Thrones storyline, a continuous upwards arc. There was certainly never a point in the narrative where all of the Stark children were alternately dead, driven deep into hiding or held hostage by some other power player while their lands and titles were stripped from them and redistributed among enemies. No moment when they're reduced to the point of being regarded as complete non-entities in the competition for the throne that they needed to bounce back from with ingenuity, audacity, good opportunities provided by events that had nothing to do with them and getting by with a little help from their friends.

        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        It's House Mnemon winning after a long hard campaign.


        But House Mnemon's struggles include one of their major satrapies being the site of a Solar Exalted rebellion and difficulties with finding allies due to the unpopularity of their matriarch! I don't know, person, your scenario sounds far too implausible when I frame it solely in terms of its most negative connotations.


        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        I like my NPC Exalted to be the protagonists of their own stories.
        If this is a shorthand for things that drive motivations that are contrary or complementary to those of the PCs and continuously generate new scenarios or complications for the narrative, then again, not incompatible.

        If it's a claim that you're running secret side stories in your head that are going simultaneously off-screen to those of they player group, then if I believed it I would call it a wasted effort.

        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        Is Luke Skywalker a Jedi because he's the protagonist or is he the protagonist because he's a Jedi.
        Luke Skywalker is the protagonist because a pair of droids crash landed a few miles from his doorstep, and one of them was carrying a photo of a girl that he thought was really pretty.

        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        If I'm limited to interesting stories that make sense then I embrace that limitation.
        No, your limit is evidently in what you regard as interesting and making sense.

        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        Can a random farm boy destroy an evil empire's super weapon?
        Can a mystic Jedi knight, born of the messiah of prophecy, trained by the experienced hero of the last war, provided with the best starfighter in the galaxy and supported by an armada of rebels with their own motivations blow up that same weapon after a team of heroes sacrifice their lives to tell him its only weakness synchs with the training drills he's been running since childhood?
        Oh, that prequel retcon bullshit.

        With Darth Vader, tell me, do you think that people spent the three years before Empire was released complaining among themselves that Luke clearly could not have actually accomplished what he did because he wasn't born sufficiently special? Do you think Star Wars does not function as a story in its own right?

        Half of what you're describing points in the direction of how "random farm boy" can be a category that covers more bases than a crude analysis might think, in terms of one's life experiences and social background.

        King David is a random farm boy who slays a giant specifically because of skills that he cultivated as a result of being a farmer that would not have been possessed by Hebrew aristocrats.

        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        Not at all. And if your Kinship wants to save people from burning buildings, beat on rogue little gods and save villages from Blood Apes then go be king of the moment.

        The average firefighter rescuing someone is a plausible story. The average firefighter putting out the entire blaze when none of the other firefighters on the scene could is not.
        You are amazingly missing the point of my example. I'm not talking about firefighting, I'm talking about how the person who matters is the person who is there in the moment, not the best possible person who might do something.

        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        Literally a lifetime of study and Charms.
        What are you basing this perspective on the character of V'neef Bihar on?

        She's a character from the Second Edition version of the House, she can't be older than about thirty.

        Originally posted by JohnDoe244
        Is it plausible, is it interesting, does it give the PCs agency?
        Oh, so now we care about curating the events of the narrative with things that give the PCs agency? I thought the only thing that mattered was that this other Solar had his own story going on in the background that naturally led in the direction of him doing everything that your characters are trying to do first and better.

        My point was that all of your crowing about how the Solar Exalted are preferable for compiling a bunch of Great Man Theory narratives are something that crumble just as easily if you bring to them all of the baggage you're bringing to Dragon Blooded stories.


        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post


        Why does this matter? My Lunar PCs are the most important Exalts in their area of the world.
        Ah yes, the Lunar Exalted. Let's talk about the manner in which Fangs at the Gate very meticulously lays down the premise of Silver Pact schools as structures in which the more established and experienced Exalted remain at home to run shit, consolidate their power base and serve as instructors and mentors for the younger generation, while the adherents, many of whom look a lot like standard PCs, are the ones ranging out to enact tasks and develop their own power and process. How a Lunar PC can be significant alongside Ma-Ha-Suchi should be blindingly obvious when looking at how Anja Silverclaws, somebody Exalted for only about four years, is significant alongside Anja Silverclaws.

        Like the Scarlet Dynasty, even the Lunar Exalted benefit from the fact that the gulf between their power and those of the Essence 1s or 2s is not so insurmountable that the elders can be presumed to steamroll over all opposition in a manner that suggests that they're better off constantly being on the forefront of everything rather than holding themselves in reserve. Mind, even if elders were a lot more powerful, they still can't be everywhere at once, and the places that they aren't in any given moment can turn out to be significant in ways that they did not anticipate.

        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz
        For example, to paraphrase, John mentioned "why isn't V'neef the one rising to power? Or Sesus Negezzer?"
        Well in our game V'neef was one PCs mum, Ejava married that guy, and another PC married Sesus Negezzer. So in a sense they were rising to power, and in a sense the PCs were, because they were working together. That's how nobles work.
        And it ended with one PC being Prime Minister, one being Ambassador to Autocthon, one being head of the All-Seeing Eye, one being Supreme Admiral, etc, while NPCs were also involved in other positions (V'neef was Head of the Inquisition, for example).

        So I see no issue with the PCs rising to power if they ally and scheme cleverly, align themselves with the right allies against the wrong allies, direct people where they want, etc.
        It's not an easy game to win. It's way harder than "Solars seize control of an iron-age kingdom by beating everyone up" which is a pretty easy game.
        But that's what Dynastic games are about.
        This conversation has made me think a lot about figures whose rise to power often began with them functioning as assistants to much more powerful people who can then facilitate their own rise while also providing opportunities that they need to proactively seize upon.

        Take Alexander Hamilton, for instance. Bastard orphan son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean, by providence impoverished in squalor. How did he grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

        Well, first off was the fact that the tragedies of his obscure life managed to become unexpectedly beneficial to him; being left without any caretaker created the pressure to start working early on, giving him experience in administrative and financial matters. His home being struck by a hurricane created the impetus for him to demonstrate his skills as a compelling essayist, which was then the driving force behind a community programme to fund his movement to the colonies and getting a decent education. Take away any of those factors, and he may well have not lived past twenty.

        Then the Revolutionary War starts, and on top of demonstrating some verve and vigour in the initial clashes he has the good fortune to be in a city where his fighting is close enough to George Washington for the man to take notice which, possibly in combination with the intriguing matter of young Hamilton refusing service with several other generals, gets him a position as the personal aide to the revolution's highest commander. A position in which he's able to demonstrate his value, develop his capabilities, form contacts and a reputation.

        After the war he gets into practice of law, investing and deeply rooting him in early practical issues of how the newly independent cities are being run (since a lot of his early cases were based on issues of property values and compensations), and he happens to be somebody who believes in things like the states being collectively governed under a strong, financially powerful and authoritative federal government at a time when many others lack faith in the idea or find it contrary to their interests. His impassioned arguments in favour of the idea improves his prominence, makes him new allies, does a good deal to improve the actual standing of the new government, and encourages his old war contacts to invite him into the cabinet.

        And hey presto, you've got yourself a guy running the national treasury, generally one of the most powerful ministers in an executive.

        Or maybe one Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a man born as a nameless peasant who happened to join the army of rising star Oda Nobunaga. As far as I can tell, he would have been picked as one of Nobunaga's personal servants just out of a crowd because the daimyo needed somebody to carry his sandels, possibly standing out a bit by virtue of distinguished service in battle. A position from which he got to demonstrate dutiful service and some management skills in front of his high liege lord, from which he would have been assigned to other positions such as kitchen management and castle repair and getting to volunteer for risky infiltration missions (things helped by Nobunaga being rather idiosyncratic and valuing merit over lineage in his retainers, as well as generally bucking tradition).

        A few successes in that, and he winds up as a very highly ranked general and advisor, in which he gets to further show off with military successes. All of this leaves him in a prime position to step into the top spot when Nobunaga is unexpectedly betrayed and murdered by another retainer, finding himself with the strongest force and most unified territory in Japan, and with the momentum to carry that through into almost completing the conquest of the archipelago. Goes from being a backwater nobody to Imperial Regent (only not being shogun by virtue of his low birth).

        Are these people, who found themselves in high positions and wielding influence that shaped the course of history despite low beginnings and being surrounded by more powerful and established men who undeniably possessed talents of their own, are these people not plausible or interesting enough? Can one not imagine ways to follow their example when beginning with the comparative advantages that come from being Terrestrial Exalted of the Scarlet Dynasty?

        Hmm, all of this is really making me pine for She-Ra. When my sister returns, I must impress upon her resuming and accelerating our progress with it.


        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)

        Comment


        • #94
          Originally posted by Isator Levi
          This conversation has made me think a lot about figures whose rise to power often began with them functioning as assistants to much more powerful people who can then facilitate their own rise while also providing opportunities that they need to proactively seize upon.
          You also mentioned David earlier; his story begins with him getting the job of playing music for an Iron-Age tribal king who suffers from depression, he turns out to be good at fighting because he'd practiced fighting wild animals, he does one impressive feat that helps the mountainfolk against the lowlanders, and so is given a job in the military where he can further show off his skills. He becomes one of the Crown Prince's friends, and marries (for a time) one of the King's daughters.
          When the King and his only son die in battle (as Iron-Age tribal kings do), he's one of the only remaining candidates to become the new King (despite having worked for the other side as a mercenary for a period).

          It may be somewhat a-historical, but it's the genre Exalted is based on, so that's fine. There are many other historical examples.

          For example, Basil Makedon I. Basil was a Bulgarian refugee who came to Constantinople and became a champion wrestler. He impressed the decadent Byzantine Emperor with his wrestling skill. He became one of the Emperor's friends, and distinguished himself at court (possibly also the King had an affair with his wife and Basil allowed it). Eventually the Emperor (who was pretty ineffectual) made Basil junior co-Emperor.
          But eventually he got fed up with Basil, who was more popular and a better administrator. So he announced he was making someone else co-Emperor.
          At the party, Basil and his friends turned up, murdered the Emperor, murdered the co-Emperor... and established the Makedon dynasty.

          There's also an absolute ton of examples in the late Roman Empire, people who became friends with the Emperor, and used this position to rise to power themselves.
          Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 09-10-2019, 11:21 AM.


          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


          • #95
            You mean someone like Stalin? Get close to the boss, become a secretary, fuck over the true heir, and then take over the nation...

            Comment


            • #96
              Yeah, exactly.

              But it doesn't even have to include fucking over the heir or whatever. Hideyoshi didn't betray Oda Nobunaga. David went to great lengths not to hurt King Saul or Prince Jonathon.
              Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 09-10-2019, 11:53 AM.


              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


              • #97
                Assuming it is just a typo re: Bihar, V'Neef Bijar is from 1e. She's in Aspect Book Fire. Only Fire aspect from V'Neef's children.

                Comment


                • #98
                  Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                  Yeah, exactly.

                  But it doesn't even have to include fucking over the heir or whatever. Hideyoshi didn't betray Oda Nobunaga. David went to great lengths not to hurt King Saul or Prince Jonathon.
                  I’m not sure if it’s not more fun and interesting to just be close anyway. If you’re an emperor, or trying to be a good one anyway, a lot of your job involves listening to other people’s problems, resolving disputes, delegating people and relaxing. If you’re the master If the hunt or the emperor’s chief troubleshooter your job is to travel all over the world, wielding almost the authority of the Emperor while actually going on adventures.

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    That's a bit complex.

                    Rise to rule I think is a great campaign. You can have great fun forging your empire, climbing over the bloody corpses of your defeated enemies, using your social intrigue skills to gather allies to make you Empress, Queen, Supreme Priestess, etc.
                    Actually being the ruler of the Scarlet Empire (which only one PC can do) I think is not a great game, generally, for various reasons. Whereas being, say, powerful courtiers or agents in the court of the Empress is fine.
                    At the point that you become the new Emperor/Empress, you either do one more arc of stabilising your rule by leading armies or whatever, or you finish. You've won, well done. Now live your life of luxury and power. Otherwise the game is going to get a bit dull as you're stuck in the Imperial Manse trying to constantly keep things running; you probably won't feel like you've achieved a ton after each story of trying to keep 10000 Dragonblood happy, because just maintaining the greatest empire in the world for one more story is a hell of a lot of work that is actually a big achievement, but may not feel like much.


                    Being (Solar, DB, whatever) ruler of a small kingdom in the Threshold is a better game, because the kingdom probably involves much more exciting activity (as opposed to administration and hob-nobbing) to rule/protect/etc. In my e1 Lunar game, the King's just died, the PCs could if they want try and put one of their own on the throne (I don't think they will, but maybe they'll want to). But at that point they rule a small barbarian kingdom, even after they try and put down rebels and build support amongst the nobility, there's still the expansionist Empire of the Bear to the south, Jotunn to the north, the Witches of Xor and their hobgoblin slavers to the west, etc. Lots to do.

                    But there is the issue of course that, unless you have a council system or something, only one PC can do this (this is also the case with being the Realm's new Empress, but as I said you should stop at that point anyway. Our Empress was a PC who retired once she took over, and we carried on the game but with her as an NPC).
                    Sure, the others can be their supporters, but not everyone wants to do that. (In the Dynastic game, we all ended up as senior ministers, but at least we were somewhat equal there.)

                    You can have multiple PCs being rulers of different kingdoms, of course.
                    But I will say that the PCs being rulers of three+ small kingdoms in the Threshold is not a good game. Once my Solar/Lunar essence 5 players rose to power (one built her magical mountain kingdom, another was a warlord who seized control of his state after the previous ruler ascended to Heaven, a third had found a kingdom with a revolutionary movement that worshipped Lunar and helped them gain power as their new King), I ended the game, partly because I thought it wouldn't work well as a game after that.

                    But the players wanted to continue, so another ST took over. And I think generally he's done a good job with what he's had. But frankly, having one PC rule one country, another rule another country, and another two run a third (much smaller) country does not work well unless the PCs are all best buds, sworn brothers, or something like that.

                    Actually it's recently improved, but that's because of essentially moving away from that model. We started with a Warlord controlling a jungle realm, a a sorceress-queen ruling a magical mountain kingdom, and two PCs controlling an island that's the centre of the Cult of the Illuminated resurgence. Two of the countries went to war pretty soon (the first story arc was the other PCs holding a peace conference between those two PCs... it failed), the high priest of one burnt down the trading town of another for allowing slavery and then he got arrested by that country's ruling PC, etc. At one point our party of 6 PCs was split into 4 groups, and splitting the party into two groups is annoying enough.

                    Now we have the Cult of the Illuminated led by an NPC (a PC's Solar Mate) but advised by a council of (3) PCs and (2) NPCs, the Warlord having lost complete control of his realm (he still has influence, but the regional nobility reined him in) but being strongly allied with the Cult and essentially becoming their top general, and... a sorceress-queen ruling a magical mountain kingdom by herself.
                    Before, the PCs didn't really work together at all.
                    Now, 4* of them work together well, 1 doesn't.
                    (No prizes for guessing which one doesn't.)

                    *I'm not counting myself because my character died, and so I made a new PC and played her for a few sessions, but she's boring and complex mechanically so I'm going to change her when there's a good opportunity. All of my PCs have always worked well with other PCs anyway (except when trying to murder or kidnap them of course), as they've not had kingdoms to rule.

                    But you can see that the ST has got the game to be more functional by essentially moving us away from the "everyone is ruler of their own country" model and back to the "you're advisors for the NPC ruler" model. King Elf-Wise, supernal bureaucracy Twilight NPC, can do the boring work of maintaining our island theocracy's food supplies and organisation, while PCs can go and do exciting stuff.
                    Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 09-10-2019, 01:34 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.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                      You are amazingly missing the point of my example. I'm not talking about firefighting, I'm talking about how the person who matters is the person who is there in the moment, not the best possible person who might do something.
                      I get that.

                      What I'm saying is that there are limits.

                      A Dragon-Blooded in the right place at the right time can do amazing and improbable things. But they can't do anything and everything.

                      A Dragon-Blooded is not going to click her fingers and fix all injustice in Creation. You can tell that story if you want, but it's not plausible.

                      I don't contest that a firefighter can save someone from a burning building. I don't contest that a Dragon-Blooded could take down a Blood Ape. I'm sure you're not going to make the case that a Dragon-Blooded can (plausibly) march into Malfeas and kill the Yozi.

                      I think you're missing my point. A Dragon-Blooded is not going to be better at dancing than the Brass Dancer. She's not going to be better at weaving dresses out of dreams than a Raksha. She's not going to be better at shaping the Wyld than a Solar. Even if they are in the right place at the right time.

                      You don't have to be the best Dragon-Blooded swordsman in the world to kill a Blood Ape. Your Dex 3 Melee 3 character can do that. But they're not going to kill Octavian. Maybe the best Dragon-Blooded swordsman in the world isn't fighting Octavian but you are -- that might be an interesting story but there's no way you're going to win.

                      You don't have to be the best statesman in the world to run laps around a Charisma 2 Socialize 2 mortal. But if you're going to square off against The Slug you need to up your game.

                      You might beat a god-blooded at Gateway with Intelligence 2 War 3. But it's implausible that you're going to beat Ledal Kes.

                      That a Intellience 5 War 5 Gateway speciality Dragon-Blooded exists somewhere isn't the reason why you can't beat Ledal Kes. Other people being better than you isn't the reason you can't succeed. The reason you can't succeed is because you're going up directly against these people who are better than you.

                      Yes, it's implausible that your Perception 2 Investigation 1 character has solved the mystery of where the Scarlet Empress is when the Realm's brightest minds haven't figured it out. But hey, it could happen. You could luck into it. Be in the right place at the right time and win a vital clue. But can you hang a story on the wildly improbable happening for the entire Kinship? If not, can the story turn on one super-special PC and her hangers-on?

                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                      Oh, so now we care about curating the events of the narrative with things that give the PCs agency? I thought the only thing that mattered was that this other Solar had his own story going on in the background that naturally led in the direction of him doing everything that your characters are trying to do first and better.
                      I laid out my position and my reasoning quite clearly here. Now of course your strawman is infinitely less nuanced than my actual beliefs.

                      But if you're interested in this line of thinking, that happened in one of my games. We'd found the Eye of Autochothon and teamed up with the Perfect to build our own Realm, when some scraggy band of nobodies teamed up with our Day Caste recurring villain to break into the Imperial Manse. We'd ignored the Sword of Creation for ~20 years and someone else (slightly older and stronger) beat us to it. It was interesting because we were plotting to take it over but we weren't overly invested in it, it made our decisions about how to use our N/A artifact meaningful. It showed that the other Solars weren't necessarily our friend (when I took over STing that, the Bull became our new primary adversary, and in the end the PCs chose to release Malfeas in order to take him down -- good times).

                      So, yeah, it applies to Solars too. But generally speaking all the Solars start on a level(-ish) playing field. Whilst you build an empire in the South, another Solar builds to the North. Whilst you hunt the Eye, another Solar rebuilds I AM. You might not be the first Solar to rediscover Solar Sorcery -- in fact, unless you make it your primary goal and work day and night Arianna will certainly beat you to it.

                      Someone might beat you to the Imperial Manse. If it tells a good story they will beat you there. (And come on, you think I'm going to turn over a N/A manse to the PCs without a fight?)

                      But if you ever want your players to talk to you again, it's got to be plausible, interesting and not rob them of agency.

                      Now the reason this is such a pronounced issue for Deebs is that you don't all start on a level playing field. There are actors in play who have massive (not insurmountable, but massive none-the-less) advantages over you. And you're not competing against 299, but over nine thousand. Unless you ignore or handwave this, that's a lot of competition.

                      Now you can pretend that your Kinship is the only Kinship in the Realm that's thought to go a Wyld Hunt then be nice to people. But I don't see it.

                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                      My point was that all of your crowing about how the Solar Exalted are preferable for compiling a bunch of Great Man Theory narratives are something that crumble just as easily if you bring to them all of the baggage you're bringing to Dragon Blooded stories.
                      I bring a lot of baggage to Solar games too. But the fact that Solars are more capable than Deebs and not burdeoned by hierarchy are conciets of the setting, not my love of great men.

                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                      This conversation has made me think a lot about figures whose rise to power often began with them functioning as assistants to much more powerful people who can then facilitate their own rise while also providing opportunities that they need to proactively seize upon.

                      Take Alexander Hamilton, for instance.
                      This, I like.

                      Say Mnemon takes you into her Inner Circle. She does so precisely because you're weak enough for her to crush but strong enough to be useful (and there's room in the Inner Circle for the whole Kinship). But Novia gets lucky and kills her. Now you have to step-up. That's plausible. I've never seen it. I've never played it. But if you know everything Mnemon knew, can summon Second Circle demons and have heroically pacified Jiara, then sure maybe you can roll with the big boys -- it's plausible. And if you marry into V'neef, make friends with The Slug and show Kes a good time then so much the better.

                      I, personally, would still rather stand facing the formless chaos of the Wyld cackling madly as I form my own kingdom from the depth of the legends that reside within my own soul. I, personally, would still rather hunt behemoths with my Kinship at my back and the politics of home a distant, painful memory. I, personally, would rather truck with the mad denizens of hell to unlock eostoric wisdom. But the lieutenant angle makes sense, it's easy to see how Mnemon, Tepet, Ragara or V'neef would put you as seconds (the other houses not so much).


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

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                      • I think any house could give you a senior position in the right circumstances. For example, our Cathak general did very well in several campaigns in the Threshold, as well as forging alliances with influential figures (for example marrying Negezzer and being in a sworn kinship with Ejava's husband). So Cainan made her one of his top lieutenants as part of ensuring Cathak ended up on the winning side.


                        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.

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                        • Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                          You might beat a god-blooded at Gateway with Intelligence 2 War 3. But it's implausible that you're going to beat Ledal Kes.

                          That a Intellience 5 War 5 Gateway speciality Dragon-Blooded exists somewhere isn't the reason why you can't beat Ledal Kes. Other people being better than you isn't the reason you can't succeed. The reason you can't succeed is because you're going up directly against these people who are better than you.

                          Yes, it's implausible that your Perception 2 Investigation 1 character has solved the mystery of where the Scarlet Empress is when the Realm's brightest minds haven't figured it out. But hey, it could happen. You could luck into it. Be in the right place at the right time and win a vital clue. But can you hang a story on the wildly improbable happening for the entire Kinship? If not, can the story turn on one super-special PC and her hangers-on?
                          WHOA! Whoa whoa whoa, hold up, hold UP. Since when are we talking about the bottom of the barrel Dynasts with regards to personal skill? We’re just talking about Dynasts who start the campaign at Essence 2.

                          An Essence 2 DB loremaster can have 5 int, 5 Lore, 5 Occult, three Lore and Occult specialties each, a host of spells and charms with Backing 4 (Heptagram), Influence 4 (Heptagram), Contacts 5 (Sorcerers of Creation), an Aethereal Sphere, and a Wonderpus Globe of Precious Stability.

                          And that’s only one of the five, the other four consist of a monk of the fourth coil with an irresistible personality and uncanny insight into the hearts of others, a Cathak Dragonlord with her entire retinue of retainers and soldiers, a spy who has full time service and backing of the all seeing eye and who’s maxed every stealth, larceny and socialize stat through the roof, and a thousand scales official with contacts absolutely everywhere and an unmatched grasp on the entire imperial bureaucracy, how it works, and how to make it work for him.

                          Then all of them get together and work.

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                          • Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            Yeah, but the history books aren’t exactly packed with every war that didn’t happen because it was stopped before it began.
                            I'm not going to debate every little point with you, so I'm asking out of genuine curiosity: do you think it's plausible that the PCs can avert the civil war but that the NPCs won't? (Note it's "can" not "will", and "won't" not "can't".)

                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            What do you actually like and/or want out of DBs then?
                            I like that the focus is tighter because their powers have less scope. I like that the Realm is imperalist. I like the elemental theme. I like having a bloodline in-so-far-as it adds to my legend. I like having the enmity of the Lunars. I like being the established power in a time of upheaval. I like tragedy. I like running away from responsibility. I like the Immaculate Philosophy. I like kung-fu monks and the... Kuei-jin/Wuxia feel of the Realm and 7th Legion. I like that with time and effort a Terrestrial Sorcerer can perform Workings above their initiation. I like being Royalty, but I like it best when I am the missing prince from the neighbouring nation.

                            I don't like effects which apply to the "Exalted" but exclude Dragon-Blooded. I don't want powers that work on my opponents rolling 1s when my opponents can't roll 1s. I'm not overly keen on being locked into a specific element. And whilst I don't mind the Mastery and Terrestial keywords individually, they add up to a massive difference. I don't like that Solars are better with Jade than Terrestrials. A lot of Charms (Stone Carving Fingers and Hand Shaping Style for example) feel really Charm tax-y (Solars buy one Charm which is better than the two Deeb Charms combined and has lower prereqs in Essence and Ability). I'm not keen on the notion that the Immaculate Faith should be entirely bogus (a massive oversimplification, vague conjecture and tactic propaganda is fine). Not overly keen either on portraying the Realm as a neopotic evil empire which is also a bastion of LGBT+ rights (not saying evil empire's can't be nuanced but it feels forced and tone is all over the place: your gay character has to go along with his arranged marriage but actually he doesn't and there aren't any concequences to marrying for love but that's still a brave and heroic act of defiance because it's exactly what the Empress herself does) -- I think 2E got the balance right between recognising that we LGBT+ people exist but also realising that social pressures in an empire built on family and inheritance exist.

                            I would like more ways to rise above your station: 2E had Celestial Martial Arts, but more artifacts like the Mantel of Brigid that let you overcome your limitations would be nice (the Satchel of Resplendent healing took a massive nerf in that respect in that it previously gave Deebs access to a way around their healing limitations and now doesn't). I'd like more obvious paths to power: now the Empress is gone there's a power void and upheaval that's a given but how do you exploit that? (Realm Legions are being turned into House Legions is a good example of what I like: it gives you a great excuse as to why you Command so many troops but it'd be nice to have a few more obvious opportunities to give players options and provide sources of conflict -- I'm not saying oppertunities a plenty don't exist, I'm saying many are not obvious or not plausible.) I'd like a canon path to victory for Deebs: some way of reforging the Jade Prison or getting Sol to recognize them as being more worthy than his Chosen (not a second Exaltation).

                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                            WHOA! Whoa whoa whoa, hold up, hold UP. Since when are we talking about the bottom of the barrel Dynasts with regards to personal skill? We’re just talking about Dynasts who start the campaign at Essence 2.

                            An Essence 2 DB loremaster can have
                            Firstly it was an illustrative example, not a literal one.

                            But let's explore this:

                            Can you?

                            I've posted three sets of Deeb builds recently -- you've been in the threads. All book-legal characters. The feedback universally has been than just because it's book-legal, doesn't mean it'll make it past the ST. Is your 5/5/1×6 character with two artifacts going to make it into a game? (I think the answer is "yes, why are we debating this?" but clearly I'm in a minority and there's a lot of hate for optimisation.)

                            Lastly, that feeds into my point: characters which are exceptional make good protagonists. A Solar who can do things no Deeb can possibly match is good by default. But playing the best Deeb Swordsman in Creation opens up oppertunities and makes stories plausible that playing a Deeb Swordfighter does not. Playing a Deeb with social stats that rivial V'neef is different to playing a 3/5/3.

                            But even then, look at the dicepools of the QCs in WFHW. You're still up against 11 dice pools which can add 6 dice with the Excellency. In the cross-section of characters the authors decide will be most useful to you. You can match that, but you can't then match the Signature and Essence 4+ Charms thrown on top of that possessed by hundreds, if not thousands, of rivials.

                            The case that the PCs aren't average but exceptional heroes is one that I'm open to. But you're still limited in what you can achieve.

                            Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                            I think any house could give you a senior position in the right circumstances.
                            Certainly. But whether the right circumstances evovle organically or happen by implausible ST-fiat is going to depend very much on what characters you bring to the table and how your game plays out. Whereas the Houses I've listed have various, obvious, established reasons for putting young, hungry Terrestrials in positions of power right from the start of play.
                            Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-10-2019, 06:28 PM.


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

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                            • Double post.
                              Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-10-2019, 05:09 PM.


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

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                              • Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                                You mean someone like Stalin? Get close to the boss, become a secretary, fuck over the true heir, and then take over the nation...
                                Nnnnooo, the General Secretary of the Communist Party uses the title in the same sense as being a US government minister, not a personal secretary.


                                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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