Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Let's Read the Aspect Books

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Let's Read the Aspect Books

    I'm going through the Aspect books again because I remember them being pretty good and am setting up a DB game, and they're good enough that I thought I'd make a thread about it! Nothing else to say let's go.


    Aspect Book Air

    Intro Fiction

    Awesome story, it's been one of my favourites in Exalted and re-reading it is just as good. An old weathered man is so weary of the sorry state of the world around him he retreats to a monestary to get drunk for the rest of his days. Then a mortal woman, sharp as a tack, who's been doing more than her fair share of work still awake and trying to keep things together comes for his help. I like how Arada is characterized as well, he's gruff and simple, but not dumb. In fact if he's roused to it he brings exactly the kind of social savvy that I'd expect from a Tepet or Cathak, analyzing the situation and mapping out a strategy for victory, like a battle.

    I like the salt god extortion as well, especially how it builds up to a bigger plan of land seizure. Arada recognizes really quickly what's happening and has had just about enough of it after a few sentences. I also really like how Autumn torments him so much, emboldened both by her anger and her husband's descriptions of an honourable general. It leaves me hopeful that general Arada can bring back his old glory and fight the good fight to stop that madness.

    Introduction

    Here we get a good description for the themes of Air, learning, thought, idealism. Whether that means carving out their own place in the Realm and engineering its demise, or grabbing the society and pulling it out of the nosedive. It also has a nice big sidebar about the worship of Mela, and how that's evolved, giving Dragonblooded the right to worship her, which they do often, but not hold proper services. Interestingly, they also mention that she may come to people in visions, in the form of a white owl or a windswept grassy plain. Something about that really speaks of the Dragons being less mundane actors and more grand godlike beings that interact with the world in vague mysterious ways.

    Childhood and Self

    The introduction prepares us for a series of the brutal but efficient child rearing of the Dynasty, and also for the cases where that ideal falls though.

    Cathak Meladus

    I think he's the guy from Scroll of Exalts who's the sorcerer-technician near Thorns? That's about all I recall.

    His description of his childhood overall is, by his own words, ideal. It definitely seems that way, with his family living in a villa close enough to civilization to enjoy the fruits of it while far enough away to enjoy the countryside as well. His dream of becoming an armourer being beneath him seems a bit odd, but I imagine that's because the sorcerer savants that deal with artifacts are called something else. His exaltation is great though, exalting while asleep, and then while others would be in the throes of some terrible wracking exalted puberty he calmly goes and asks the adults what he should do. I like this kid.

    Ah there we go, artifacters are not armourers. He paints an interesting picture of the Heptagram too, noting it's defenses and designed ruggedness against accidents. I've met a lot of engineers like him, asking what's the good of the theory without practical applications. Not so much of a bigger picture guy, but definitely still do good and impressive work. Considering his worst complaint about the school was not fitting in so well, I'd say he had it pretty good.

    Kasif

    Kasif I recognize, he's a stalwart monk that's zealous and caring.

    I like his description of a childhood in the streets, coming off of Meladus's backstory it's a shock. He's got absolutely nothing, and rather than deftly rattling off battle formations he's just looking for his next pickpocket. Surviving the harsh winters by the kindness of of a woman in the red light district of the city might have given him that little spark that he feels later on to help those less fortunate. That's a small thing among the sea of troubles he had to face though, losing friends, and eventually betrayal.

    Exalting with the rage of betrayal and seeing someone he loved being hurt, a much more common way to exalt I find among players. It will be interesting to see his rise out of the dregs with his exaltation.

    Ledaal Kes

    The expert gateway player and savant.

    His childhoold definitely makes me think of the way Ledaal is presented in third edition. Every part of him is being tested and examined in an attempt to refine him. They didn't really treat him like a person at all, unlike Meladus. His only respite is gateway, which to him at least makes all the rules and pieces clear, and it taught him that to strive for excellence was his path to freedom. It makes sense, if you're living in an oppressive upbringing that's forcing you to excel, then when you force yourself to excel at least you're the on in control. Also a kind of nice story about how he played a game of Gateway with the Empress and her ineffability.

    Unfortunately his young exaltation meant that even while away from his family he kept being prodded and tested. Although his real escape is gateway tournaments where, apparently, many of the same things go on as Cynis parties. I take it to mean that there's lots of under the table dealings, drugs and sex. Through that and the Spiral Academy he did a ton of networking, apparently realizing even that young how important connections are.

    Tepet Elana

    Isn't she the one who in second edition was incompetent and slept her way to the top? I forget what her writeup is like here.

    Starting off right away as the child with two mortal brothers, ratcheting up the pressure to exalt. Being told this by the future Elana though she says that the affections of her brothers was bad for her upbringing and made her soft? It's cute though, they helped her with her studies and swordplay as she grew up. The pressure keeps mounting as she recites the deeds of her great ancestors and feels she must live up to them. There's a pretty brutal offhand remark about her tutors being executed for not being able to teach her to sing though.

    Then her brothers die, ouch, and she keeps acting out until the Palace of the Tamed Storm breaks her. Then after years of abuse she breaks her instructor, who seemed at peace with the fact that either he would kill Elana, or she would kill him, and the later was a success. Which she did, of course.

    Tepet Arada

    Well we get Arada's rough and tumble upbringing. In contrast to Kes he spent nights on the town with soldiers doing what soldiers on leave do. Eventually getting to the point where they were a rich kid tough gang. Then his exaltation took him like a madness, leading to a murder and straight to the Palace of the Tamed Storm to get sorted out. I like how you can see him and how he's clever though, learning that if he plays nice that actually he can get away with a lot.

    Also he learns about the force of presence and how strength of personality can be just as powerful as a strong body. He learns that being tough and mean doesn't mean anything, it's about responsibility and earning respect.



    Overall it's a good chapter. It sets up an oppressive childhood for some of the air aspects, but not over the top Warhammer 40k style where less than 10% of Dynasts survive to adulthood or something silly. There are a few things that are always consistent though, if you're a Dynast much is expected of you, you will be given every opportunity to excel, and you will take them whether you like it or not. The phrase "What Fire has Wrought" really makes sense here, whatever you are coming out of the other side, it was forged.


    Next up we see their life of obligations.

  • #2
    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

    Tepet Elana

    Isn't she the one who in second edition was incompetent and slept her way to the top? I forget what her writeup is like here.
    You're thinking of Lisara. Elana was in the opening comic of MoEP: Dragon-Blooded as an example of a dedicated, true to their beliefs Dynast.

    Comment


    • #3
      A Life of Obligation

      Starting things right off by saying that Dynasts do not rest on their laurels or degenerate into decadence and self praise, rather they think of their power as a burden.

      Cathak Meladus

      So he had to convince people to let him go to Thorns, eh? So he's not totally free. Here he becomes disillusioned with the Realm, seeing the ugly side of mismanagement. Then the Mask and the Juggernaut came and smashed through their forces there, driving them back. Interestingly though, he doesn't despair, which I guess is what a Melaist would do. He points out all the places that the Realm is falling apart, and then decides that he's going to fix them, and also noting that he's not the only one who feels that way.


      Kasif

      Starting out with a pretty rough go of it, he's having all connections to his previous life severed by the Immaculate Order. For the first time ever he's got stability in his world. An outcaste, from the Realm, but still almost totally uneducated. He was drilled very hard though, apparently because if he couldn't pass and become a monk he was going to be killed, which is brutal. I'm getting a kind of jedi padawan feeling here, because after passing and becoming a full monk the one sponsoring and guiding him, Preda, still stays with him and instructs him.

      Then after that he's set loose, in a way, slowly. Still being watched, but now trusted to go out in the world and be a monk. He then talks about what a joy it is to be out ministering to people on the Blessed Isle. There's a bit of a hint of the duality of the order here though, keeping peasants happy where they are, and destroying a local inn for it's heretical iconography. We get a hint that even after all this time, he's not over his childhood love though. Especially after his circuit is done and he's kept in the Imperial City for a year, where he grew up.

      Ledaal Kes

      Kes is growing a lot here, seeing how the world works first as a game, and then with more nuance. He's putting his great intelligence to good work though, as an investigator of white collar crime primarily. It's a pretty thankless job considering how unsexy it is compared to chasing down violent criminals, but it makes a big impact. Gateway tournaments again help here. Then comes the All-Seeing Eye, which in this description come across as being actually pretty scary. Undergoing a panic attack and basically making plans for his own death. Even with all his skill, knowledge and power he doesn't even think to run. When the Eye wants you dead, you're going to die, best take it with some dignity. It's a bit different from other characterizations I've seen of the Eye, it gives a good sense of how powerful they are and how powerful their reputation is.

      He also takes religious philosophy into his work, applying it to his accounting and investigations. He too sees many of the ills of the empire, and is striving to fix them. Also the writing is really good, his voice is totally different from, say, Arada's. He also isn't too thrilled about Melaists being too focused on martial prowess. It reminds me of that one Klingon lawyer from Star Trek who scoffed at the idea that his entire race were warriors, and how honour used to be found in the laboratory and courtroom as well as the battlefield.

      He's got an interesting relationship with his wife too. He loves her, and apparently they sometimes use sorcery to have sex in the way that they find most pleasing, but they also find satisfaction outside their marriage.

      Tepet Elana

      Okay this is bugging me, she CAN'T be the incompetent Tepet I'm thinking of...and no she's not, that's Lisara. Okay, Elana is the one from the DB chapter comic in the MoEP.

      She's had a rough life in the Vermillion legion though. She repeats how much she values mortal lives though, having a soft spot for him due to her brothers. Her early life seems to be defined by that moment when she defied orders and lead her dragon of soldiers in a rear guard action defending the wounded who could not retreat with the rest of the legion. Then after being sicked by that she returns home and we have a bit of a mistake with her family marrying her off, because that's not how the Dynasty works.

      Thankfully she doesn't focus much on that because she's been named a magistrate. Interestingly the Empress liked that she disobeyed orders and did what she thought was right, showing courage and valor, or so she said. Likely also a bit of a troublemaker for the legions, although she'd quit by then. She enjoys the freedom of being a magistate however. She then goes on to talk about hunting anathema and how she likes the simplicity of it. No negotiation, no grey area, just exhilarating combat.

      A nice stop on her religious life as well, and about how she questions the faith, but not really heretically? If that makes any sense. It sounds like something that she might actually bring up in a religious debate with somebody who isn't Peleps Deled and have a good discussion. Oh and now she's got the hots for one of her archons, classic. Sadly being mortal she's trapped, because she knows no matter what her best case is to watch him wither away as he ages.

      Tepet Arada

      Confirming what I've been thinking about his characterization, he can turn on the charm and socialite thing when he wants to, he just doesn't want to. Poor Arada, being dragged into politics again when he hates it so much. In fact that's how he came into possession of his heirloom blade, the blade of Tepet himself apparently. Jesus, and then he just took some years off to go live up north and trade furs? Damn, that's a Power move.

      Then came the famous campaign against Jochim, who definitely had tiger warriors. Then the surprising final battle, Arada himself took a small force of elite soldiers, infiltrated Jochim's last fortress, killed him and burned it to the ground. A sharp contrast to the last campaign he waged, which was mismanaged and lazy to the point that it drove Arada into solitude again. He's kind of given up hope, but he does hope that the Dragons still watch over the Realm, because they really need it right now.



      Great chapter, you really get a feel for the characters growing into their power and place in the world. A good path to how they've found their footing. It does a good job at showing the way a myriad of characters might integrate themselves into the Empire. Next we're going to learn about the world they rule from those positions.

      Comment


      • #4
        The World We Rule

        We first get a paragraph about how Air savants are planners of entire cultures and possibly closest of all aspects to governors.


        Cathak Meladus

        Meladus is PISSED that the Realm has descended into infighting and selfishness. There's a bit of a creepy note in that he believes the Realm is the way to bring enlightenment and civilization to the world, probably through conquest. He's trying to work out a way to fix the Realm, but he's finding it really hard because house Cathak itself is caught up in all of this, so he can't even rely on his family to help him. He knows others feel the same, but speaking openly is dangerous. Not that he'd be killed or anything, just that he knows the best way to win is to make sure that the people tearing the Realm up don't even known he's fighting them.

        He's also concerned about the anathema, and thinks more should be done to stop them.

        Kasif

        He's also mad about the Realm, but he's more angry about the poverty that he sees, and especially the disparity of wealthy and poor. People living comfortable lives in gilded halls, commanding armies while others suffer terribly. Along those same lines he laments that the Exalted forget that mortals are an equally important part of the perfected hierarchy, and would be wise to treat dynastic children as mortals, just as a reminder. Kasif might help you start an occupy Wallstreet movement it looks like. Just don't bring iconography because he will annihilate it.

        He also thinks that the Order is being insulated from their failure to help the peasants. Ah, well now I was more right than I thought with occupy Wallstreet, he's thinking about staging a demonstration in the Imperial City. He has a darker side too though. The heresy of the Antitheses, basically the IO's four horsemen of the apocalypse, is something that really gets under his skin and I'm pretty sure he would react violently to it, considering he helped bring the executioners to a village to execute them for idolatry.

        Coming back around to his light side, he's not a fan of the way young mortal Dynasts are treated. There's too much pressure put on them, and at the same time given so much that they never learn to appreciate. Again he's thinking about another demonstration to show displeasure about the Realm's infighting.

        Ledaal Kes

        In theme here, Kes is mad at the Empire for allowing a patriot like Nezzegar to be punished and forcing him to work in the shadows when he's one of the people actually working to keep it together. Kes is pretty open in his thoughts about the Sidereals as well, working with them and house Iselsi. As a bonus he's working with the Imperial Treasury to keep some kind of non-partisan features of the imperial government together. In a unique position as a treasury official and All-Seeing-Eye agent he's got a seriously wide view of the Empire, taking in the really big pictures.

        Kes has also got his mind on mortals, not surprising considering he works in the treasury which is full of patricians. He recognizes well that mortals are the foundation of the empire, and how incredibly stupid it is to forget that. He also mentions something about the new aristocracy of the Underworld, meaning the Abyssal exalted. He doesn't find them to be a concern compared to the infighting of the Realm, but he's not foolish. He knows they're dangerous, he just knows that if they don't unite they won't have to be dangerous to destroy them.

        Tepet Elana

        I won't retread anything except to say she's unhappy with House infighting. She's also unhappy with the infighting within her own house too though. Its own little civil war among different bloodlines. She's got allies who think as she does, but they're young and at the moment lack respect *cough* PCs *cough*. Elana also really likes mortals, almost to the point of revering them. Just as long as they don't do something silly like try to end imperial rule of their satrapy.

        Really nicely though her mortal archon is a major part of her life, and a pillar that holds her up when she's weak. I think PCs could stand to have a few mortals like that around, although it's a bit easier with DBs because they're usually not charging alone into utterly impossible odds. Not frequently anyway. Speaking of her opinions on Solars are a lot more in line with what I was thinking the standard Dynast idea would be. They're terrible, frightening, and coming to tear down the Realm, and the only way to stop them is to cut them off early.

        In her opinion the legions have also fallen, as much as the great houses. The pampered political appointees in the officer corps are dragging down their might.

        Tepet Arada

        Arada is done with the Realm as a whole, all the ideas of it that are crumbling around, he's just sick of it. I think he just plans on living out the rest of his days trying to do the right thing in the moment and forget all that other stuff. Especially since he openly admits here that the Tepet legions were driven up to fight the Bull to die because they were the strongest house at the time.

        I like Arada. When he's talking about respect he recognizes the difference between forcing mortals to jump through ridiculous hoops just to talk to you, and mortals who's respect you've earned properly. While he'd agree with Kasif on that front, he'd disagree a lot about Anathema. He's seen anathema scared of their own power, and of him, ones who didn't even want to be anathema.


        Overall another good one. We're learning about everyone's position, there's a lot of hooks for adventures in there. The last thing Kes needs right now is for Kasif to start some shit demanding that the empire needs to divert funds to help the poor, when he's barely keeping the imperial funds from being completely emptied into the purses of the great houses.



        I think I'm done for tonight, Voices Not Our Own will have to wait.

        Comment


        • #5
          Eagerly awaiting your thoughts on AB: Earth.

          Comment


          • #6
            Voices not Our Own is really meaty, because now we get to see what everyone else thinks about our POV characters. There's so many people here that I might not be able to touch on everyone. That's okay though, you should read it yourself if you're interested.

            Mortals

            First we start off with mortals, who make up the vast majority of the Realm and many important interactions with Dynasts. Primarily those interactions are dominated by the Immaculate Faith. Their whole culture is steeped in it, after all.


            Starting off with Opal Mountain, a friend to Meladus and an armourer. The paragraph talks about cobbling together a suit of ancient dragon armor for Meladus to return to full function. Dragon Armor is actually something mentioned in the Dragonblooded illumination in the corebook. I'm not sure how it's going to translate into 3e, if it ever even gets stats. Third edition has moved a bit away from the magitech side of Exalted, but the power armor was also a pretty cool addition to the game. Just as long as it isn't just like regular armor except way better I think it would do fine.

            Then we get to Pug, the innkeeper for the inn that Kasif singlehandedly wrecked. We find out that his life is pretty well broken, and tells us that everyone who went to worship the local god at the shrine was executed for heresy. Kasif is uncompromising when it comes to willful heresy. If you know the faith, and know what you're doing is against the faith, and aren't being forced into it, there's no excuse. That alone would make him really hard to work with for a lot of players, whatever else he is he's a zealot.

            The next mortal also comments on that zeal, which makes a lot of sense. The order took him out of poverty, gave his life structure and meaning, and taught him to strive for something, and now he's taking that grit and determination from the streets and backing it with faith and exalted might.

            Moving on to Beren now, Tepet Elana's special archon friend. It's interesting to see a mortal working so closely with an exalt, sharing the dangers and confiding in eachother. I guess magistrates enjoy less separation from mortals than other Dynasts, along with those in the military. Or maybe there's just less separation than I imagined anyway.

            Autumn Bloom talking about Arada is one of my favourites here. She doesn't just stand up to him as a gag, like "Womp womp, she's not kowtowing like your average peasant." She actually respects Arada a damn bit more than other Dyansts she knows of. In fact she's very empathetic towards him, is trying to help guide him to do the right thing.


            Dragonblooded

            Here, must like with Kasif, we also see a chink in Meladus's armor. He was a brave, dedicated, and very morally guided soul, but his sister sees his naive nature being his downfall. A moral compass can tell you where to go, but can't guide you around all the pitfalls along the way. She just hopes failure doesn't break him. Considering she dies shortly after this and he keeps going it looks like it hasn't. The text doesn't seem to judge one way or the other either. Is Meladus a fool for striving to save the Empire from disaster? Or is his sister a fool for giving up and wanting to leave. Who knows?

            We also get another hint of the warrior culture taking over a bit too much when one of his instructors at the Heptagram laments all this study and focus of a brilliant mind and only seeing the application in war.

            We also get something from the monk who's training Kasif. It turns out he's not happy about the tradition to kill prospective monks if they fail their test so early. Noting that he himself almost failed, and Kasif is really trying very hard, with the least ideal upbringing imaginable. The Immaculate Order really needs somebody to step in here, stand up and make the process maybe just a bit more lenient.

            Bal Keraz gives us another jolt of just how scary the All Seeing Eye can be. As the head of the Imperial Treasury you'd think the Eye wouldn't cause that much uneasiness, but it does. Kes is actually shaping up to be pretty cool. He's kind of like a superhero accountant, except according to his wife he's working himself to death. Hopefully her determination to get her husband back can help him to figure out some kind of balance where the treasury doesn't fall apart.

            Later on we get a one-two punch of the duties of at Dynast, with Tepet Elana being fussed over by her relatives and prospective husband. Both of whom are conspiring to tear away the shield of her magistracy and force her to marry somebody. It gives me a mind to include that in a game as something that could be sprung as a sudden game-changer. Out of nowhere family members practically dragging you to a ceremony to be wed.

            I like the Roseblack's description of Arada as well. Seeing his more personal and vulnerable side, not just the invincible general who could lead men into the maw of Hell and back again. At the same time shes chastising him secretly for giving up. She should meet Autumn and see how she's leading Arada back into the fight.

            Spirits

            The salt god that was part of that conspiracy at the beginning is here too. Even the least gods are sensing the change of the Time of Tumult and looking to take a piece for themselves. Specifically by tearing down the stability of the Empire and forcing their strength on their domains. It's a little thing that shows how under the noses of the powerful waging war, the influence it has when they turn against themselves. All the things that were being pressed down by their might are now rising up.



            Next is a chapter with records from the Low First Age of the Shogunate. There are many entries here too, so I might skip a few. I'll pick out the important ones that I think should be commented on. After that the charms section is almost useless now, but some of the enchanted items might be worth a look like the aformentioned Dragon Armor.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
              A Life of Obligation

              and we have a bit of a mistake with her family marrying her off, because that's not how the Dynasty works.
              That it is not. Older editions were more 'oh the Realm is totally matriarchal' but then portray it as a pretty standard patriarchal society with more opportunity for women than history had. But it is what it is, most of these books have some cruft that doesn't fit in 3e quite right anymore but a lot of cool stuff as well.

              The Outcaste airship pirate in Water is one of my favorite stories, since for a while I had struggled hard with getting a good handle DB outcaste stories that aren't just 'like a Solar but can't kill as big of things quickly', but hers feels very DB in its way. That and the nice selection of stuff consolidated in WFHW which I'm sure is a lot less new than my brain tells me it, but aside from the Forest Witches and Lookshy I'm not sure I recognize any of them.

              I'm glad you're doing this though because hell yes hype the Aspect books. They're so good.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'll probably have a lot to say on Mnemon when we get there. Nice work so far.


                Onyx Path Forum Moderator
                Please spare a thought for updating the Exalted wiki.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Alpharius View Post

                  That it is not. Older editions were more 'oh the Realm is totally matriarchal' but then portray it as a pretty standard patriarchal society with more opportunity for women than history had. But it is what it is, most of these books have some cruft that doesn't fit in 3e quite right anymore but a lot of cool stuff as well.
                  I don't believe The Dragon-Blooded uses the word "Martiachal" ever. The Heads of Households are presented in gender neutral terms. Several insitutions are referred to as meritocracies. There's clear sex discrimination against women who bear children out of wedlock.

                  It's matrilinial. Children belong to their mother's house and social class. It's ruled by an Empress.

                  But it's not, and not presented as, matriarchal.

                  A Tepet being married off to house Peleps to secure an alliance is completely in-genre. And that's how it works: the children will be Tepets, but the husbands didn't join the wife's house until 3E (The Dragon-Blooded has a neat sidebar on this on page 114). Do note that Elena is not expected to work for Kerel's house because of gender -- it's because of the political balance between the houses. And I imagine Votival is Kerel's mother.
                  Last edited by JohnDoe244; 12-26-2019, 03:14 PM.


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Man, I can't stand Kasif. Compared to 3e's take on the IO, what he did to those villagers was excessive and cruel.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Records from the Before


                      We start out with a little paragraph about how the Dragonblooded of the Realm view the Shogunate to be a shining golden era of grand culture, now lost.


                      Religious Tracts

                      The Hesiesh Youth Fiery Murder Society. I mean, that says it all right there pretty much. A religious order obsessed with martyring themselves and killing anathema.


                      Shogun Assassinated!

                      The start of what I think will be a theme with these records, the Shogunate's greatest problems came from their infighting. The current Shogun was seen as soft, wanting to keep an open dialogue with rebels and barbarians, and for that he was assassinated. Of course the not-very-subtle subtext is that this was also a power grab by the crown prince. Tearing parts of the Shogunate up if it means he's in power now.

                      A Purloined Letter

                      A Sidereal letter to Chejop Kejak that indeed keeps with the themes of factional infighting, and how had it is to plan for. If they thought the Shogunate was a nightmare to wrangle the Second Age must seem impossible. Especially since there's a hint of lamentation that this fallen world lacks the horrors of the High First Age, but it also means they actually have to work to keep it going.

                      Northern Dragon Fund Collapses

                      Here we see the Shogunate's response to a failing but critical business, government custodianship. There's just a hint of something shadier going on under the surface though, maybe it's nothing. The firm is supposedly going to be returned to the family who ruined it in the first place after the government gets it back on its feet, to me that's a bit suspect. Immediately after we get a warning that this is not to leak out into the general population, as faith in the Shogunate financial systems is a pillar of the economy that can not stand to be eroded.

                      I wonder if a similar story could be run with the Imperial Treasury?

                      Fair Folk Attack the South

                      The first headline about horrors from beyond the Shogunate, and it's a spit take inducing one million hobgoblin assault. Except it's actually just more internal struggles, really. The water starved lower classes aided the Fey in their invasion and the Shogunate is enacting the simple response of deploying soldiers and enforcing military sweeps of civilian areas. At this point they don't really have a choice, the rabble are summoning faerie monsters into the world but you'd think paying some more attention to the low class mortal population would have been able to stop this prematurely.

                      The Hand off Mela Smites the Land

                      Well this is an epic, if embellished, account of one of the greatest conflicts during the Usurpation. A battle of around eight high essence Solars/Lunars, their titanic skyship, and a few hundred terrestrials with over a dozen warstriders, Thousand Forged Dragons. It all ends with a fantasy version of a nuclear explosion, complete with radioactive fallout sickening dragonblooded and slaying mortals. The interesting thing here is that it talks about a point in the Usurpation that wasn't just an assassination attempt, this was a massive pitched battle. It also talks about Lunars fighting alongside Solars in their last stand.

                      Of Eyem, Eternally Preserved Lord and Savant of the Dragonblooded-Shogunate

                      Wow, this is an interesting one. A kind of sci-fi concept of the thinking machine IAM attempting to take over the Shogunate, and eventually the Realm, and being defeated each time. I'm kind of curious though, here even the learned savant says that IAM was created not by the Anathema, but by the Dragonblooded. I didn't think that was true? Or was it changed in 2e? Either way, it's cool that they reference many more thinking machines stored in the Heptagram, and talk of how to safely interact with them.

                      From the Journals of Marsan Lan

                      And this is an exploration of more fucked up Creation science gone crazy, it's also really cool. Basically, from what I gather, they're making the matrix, except 100% of the computing power is coming from mortal minds. Of course, since this is Creation and not Earth, they're not making a digital world, but a massive shared dream to run simulations and try to advance medicine. The art goes well along with this, a genius pushed too far in some darkened lab trying to produce something grand and terrible in secret.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                        Records from the Before


                        We start out with a little paragraph about how the Dragonblooded of the Realm view the Shogunate to be a shining golden era of grand culture, now lost.


                        Religious Tracts

                        The Hesiesh Youth Fiery Murder Society. I mean, that says it all right there pretty much. A religious order obsessed with martyring themselves and killing anathema.


                        Shogun Assassinated!

                        The start of what I think will be a theme with these records, the Shogunate's greatest problems came from their infighting. The current Shogun was seen as soft, wanting to keep an open dialogue with rebels and barbarians, and for that he was assassinated. Of course the not-very-subtle subtext is that this was also a power grab by the crown prince. Tearing parts of the Shogunate up if it means he's in power now.

                        A Purloined Letter

                        A Sidereal letter to Chejop Kejak that indeed keeps with the themes of factional infighting, and how had it is to plan for. If they thought the Shogunate was a nightmare to wrangle the Second Age must seem impossible. Especially since there's a hint of lamentation that this fallen world lacks the horrors of the High First Age, but it also means they actually have to work to keep it going.

                        Northern Dragon Fund Collapses

                        Here we see the Shogunate's response to a failing but critical business, government custodianship. There's just a hint of something shadier going on under the surface though, maybe it's nothing. The firm is supposedly going to be returned to the family who ruined it in the first place after the government gets it back on its feet, to me that's a bit suspect. Immediately after we get a warning that this is not to leak out into the general population, as faith in the Shogunate financial systems is a pillar of the economy that can not stand to be eroded.

                        I wonder if a similar story could be run with the Imperial Treasury?

                        Fair Folk Attack the South

                        The first headline about horrors from beyond the Shogunate, and it's a spit take inducing one million hobgoblin assault. Except it's actually just more internal struggles, really. The water starved lower classes aided the Fey in their invasion and the Shogunate is enacting the simple response of deploying soldiers and enforcing military sweeps of civilian areas. At this point they don't really have a choice, the rabble are summoning faerie monsters into the world but you'd think paying some more attention to the low class mortal population would have been able to stop this prematurely.
                        That really changes how the Fair Folk invasion feels. Not badly, either, since it might be able to write the Deathlords out of trying to offer up Creation, which they probably wouldn't have been able to do since they didn't actually exist in it.

                        The Hand off Mela Smites the Land

                        Well this is an epic, if embellished, account of one of the greatest conflicts during the Usurpation. A battle of around eight high essence Solars/Lunars, their titanic skyship, and a few hundred terrestrials with over a dozen warstriders, Thousand Forged Dragons. It all ends with a fantasy version of a nuclear explosion, complete with radioactive fallout sickening dragonblooded and slaying mortals. The interesting thing here is that it talks about a point in the Usurpation that wasn't just an assassination attempt, this was a massive pitched battle. It also talks about Lunars fighting alongside Solars in their last stand.

                        Of Eyem, Eternally Preserved Lord and Savant of the Dragonblooded-Shogunate

                        Wow, this is an interesting one. A kind of sci-fi concept of the thinking machine IAM attempting to take over the Shogunate, and eventually the Realm, and being defeated each time. I'm kind of curious though, here even the learned savant says that IAM was created not by the Anathema, but by the Dragonblooded. I didn't think that was true? Or was it changed in 2e? Either way, it's cool that they reference many more thinking machines stored in the Heptagram, and talk of how to safely interact with them.
                        I think the implication in DotFA was that a mostly blasted-out collection of IAM bits was used as a model for Eyem.

                        From the Journals of Marsan Lan

                        And this is an exploration of more fucked up Creation science gone crazy, it's also really cool. Basically, from what I gather, they're making the matrix, except 100% of the computing power is coming from mortal minds.
                        That actually makes it much closer to the original script of The Matrix, where the network of minds held everyone into a shared, prison-like dream world.


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Miracles of Mela

                          I'll skip the charms chapter, basically there's a few charms that show up first here that become signature DB abilities later on. There are some interesting artifacts though. For one the Fivefold Harmonic Resonator makes an appearance, which basically acts as an adapter, letting you attune to any magical material. Could something like this exist in 3e, letting you become resonant with artifacts that you aren't normally? Maybe, but the cost would have to be pretty high.

                          We also get a Mundane Box, which is a box that's plain to the point of increasing the difficulty of finding objects in the box to +2 and even automattically defeating All-Encompassing Sorcerer Sight.

                          There's also a slew of artifacts with interesting properties, reducing the weight of an object, controlling wind and storms, using wind to substitute for construction labor, and even Icemind itself. Another artificial mind that we have some nice stats for. All of it generates the imagery of a pretty wondrous world. A construction site with 1000 pound blocks of stone being wheeled in, lightened by Windslave Disks, the weather being kept pleasant and breezy by a Sky Mantis Tower and half the work being performed by the wind itself.

                          Military

                          After that though, we get to the military section. I remember Elemental Lenses well from 2e. It's definitely more complex in this book though, but I think it might work as an item that has evocations in 3e?

                          Now we get to the serious meat though, Most Terrifying Armor of the Air Dragon. Armor that increases the strength and resistance of the wearer, with a helmet that allows them to see in the dark and sharpens their senses. It can cloak itself in shadows and even helps avoid detection by divination magic, with gauntlets that channel lightning into a weapon. Finally it can be made to fly, either temporarily in combat, or permanently at 60 miles per hour outside of it. It's a truly epic piece of artiface, and I really hope to see something like this in 3e.

                          I can only imagine that to balance it out it would need like a 15 mote attunement cost, be artifact 5, and keep some of the hearthstone and maintenance requirements, and some of the effects may have to be evocations.

                          Also something that I'd forgotten about, the Reaver Dragonfly. An enormous mechanical insect assassin that acts kind of as the fantasy equivalent of a combat drone. That'd be a nice little addition to a Dragonblooded Hunter. Plus you get the image of the imperious lord who doesn't want to messy her hands with hunting some quarry through the slums so she sends her little toy to go do the work while she sits on her horse outisde.

                          Signature Characters

                          Here we see a bunch of characters, both as prospective PCs and NPCs. I'll skip a lot of the stuff that would just be retreading.

                          Meladus

                          He's got an interesting habit of channeling electricity between his hands. Little things like that are, I think, technically not possible without spending motes? Although I'm not sure in a game if I wouldn't allow it anyway as part of a stunt. He's also built in a way that I very rarely see, even though I think it's probably closer to design intentions. He doesn't have a single 5 in any ability, but what he has does look pretty fun

                          Kasif

                          Equipped with some very basic immaculate martial arts he's a fairly solid fighter. I was surprised to see him favour Larceny at first but then I remembered he grew up a pickpocket. His abilities are spread super thin though.


                          Other Notable Air Aspects

                          Nellens Poramo

                          My boy Nellens Poramo! Look at him. He's so handsome. Confidant little half smile, immaculately dressed with his cloak there, bearing the brunt of an older generation mocking his idealism completely unperturbed. He's just great. One just has to overlook the fact that after he heals the Scarlett Dynasty his plan is to reassert full control over the Threshold. Also his writeup mentions something that I think is a great plot point for a lot of games, with the Empress gone perhaps the Deliberative will become the new power in the Realm. Rather than an empire with a monarch they might have some kind of reform into a collaborative government.

                          The only thing with Poramo is, he needs help. He has almost no allies to speak of at the moment. Enter the PCs...


                          Ragara Szaya

                          Kes's wife, here's she's depicted as basically a noble adventurer from DnD. She's a merchant-warrior-explorer ranging far afield in the Threshold diving in to first age tombs and plundering them for artiface and knowledge. In fact she has contacts in the Threshold all over the world, and is equipped with an arsenal of sorcery and artifacts. She'd make a really good benefactor for a young group of PCs that are playing a more DnD style game. Either in her company or being sent out by her to places she no longer has the time to go to.


                          Peleps Cordera

                          Now here's an interesting one. She's one of the Realms greatest poets...at least supposedly. Every work attributed to her is one she's never seen before in her life, and yet somebody with a lot of power is setting her up to be this great artist. I like the panic in the Peleps admiralty who understand right away that this can only be bad news. Nobody is propping up one of their scions to be a heart wrenching powerful writer without either wanting something in return, or making some kind of embarrassing reversal. They're not simultaneously launching an investigation and teaching her to be a great poet.

                          Iselsi Jolin

                          Otherwise known as Death Blossom, the terror of the Realm. Striking out from her secret volcano lair to try and dismantle the Realm one assassination at a time. She's not really a Dynast though, she serves a shard of House Iselsi that just wants to make people lose faith in the system and have it fall apart into chaos. The disappearance of the Empress must be like a godsend to her and her ilk. Somebody should either stop her to save the Realm, or join her to tear it down.

                          Windtamer Cynis Mond

                          Finally, we get to the end. Mond is a great man, a powerful sorcerer, and a visionary for his time. He created entirely new terrestrial charms, patterns for sails, kites, wind artifacts, and geomantic patterns. He doesn't even touch the ground anymore, instead in a state of perpetual fight. A good character to have around as an extremely powerful, if eccentric, old wizard. I get the feeling from him that talking to him for five minutes would seem to yield nothing, but over days of letting those words linger in your head you'd see some kind of deep and high level wisdom in them.





                          AAANNND that's it for Aspect Book: Air! I think a pretty good start. Very good, extremely well written, and nice in the focuses that it takes. I'm really looking forward to that continuing in Earth, up next!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wasn't Nellens Poramo being decieved by Manosque Cyan back in 2e? Sounds like PCs need to save him from a false friend.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HamSandLich View Post
                              Wasn't Nellens Poramo being decieved by Manosque Cyan back in 2e? Sounds like PCs need to save him from a false friend.
                              Possibly, but that's 2e, and I think part of the non-canon Return of the Scarlett Empress anyway. Although I could definitely see using that in a game that had Poramo in it. The PCs come back from some far off adventure to find that Poramo has found another new ally to join the PCs in their cause, except there's just something not right.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X