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  • #46
    I get how Bhagwei's thing could upset someone in a way it wasn't intended to.
    It's the single biggest problem with the Aspect Books, spending so much time with these characters means that sometimes the way those little anecdotes are employed is pretty thoughtless.


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    • #47
      Originally posted by Lioness View Post
      I get how Bhagwei's thing could upset someone in a way it wasn't intended to.
      It's the single biggest problem with the Aspect Books, spending so much time with these characters means that sometimes the way those little anecdotes are employed is pretty thoughtless.
      If that was the problem, I figure I'd have that reaction to bits in the other Aspect books, right? Like, I've read all five aspect, all five caste, none get to me quite like Bhagwei. There's little bits of writing I'd roll my eyes at, but nothing close to the anger, and honestly even eye rolls were rare outside Wood. I think 'Elana's assistant has a crush on her, because of course he does' but that hardly angered me. I just found it lazy writing. Other characters did morally repugnant things - Mnemon murders innocents at least twice, and while one of those I found stupid, it didn't elicit this kinda hate.

      *shrug* Maybe it's RW bias on my part - abuse of authority and power like that is something I find quite upsetting. But I feel weird that I'm the only one in the fandom that I've ever encountered who has this visceral a reaction to the guy. It might not be en par with some of the grotesque stuff that happened later, but it's thoroughly abhorrent. It even low key slut shames the victim - taking care to note Bhagwei selected her because of her boasting about her performance in the bedroom.

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      • #48
        Bhagwei is my favourite Dynast.

        Heroic ambition. Abuse of power. Family politics not quite walked away from. Hits all my good notes.

        The Dynasts aren't good people.

        And tropes become tropes because they usually follow a logical consequence. I don't think it's lazy writing to call on them.

        I can see the point Croakamancer (whom I believe takes their handle from a someone who abuses her power to rape and torture a prisoner of war in her care) is making. Bhagwei is a squicky rapist who no doubt sets off triggers. But he's an elemental super-solider/fantasy kingdom prince/headmaster of a magic school: I don't think the presentation of his character/background requires any additional suspension of disbelief.

        I, personally, find him evocative and entertaining. Other people are going to find him stupid and insensitive. I respect your opinion, but I respectfully disagree. (There's an older thread discussing Bhagwei if there's interest in debate: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...goddamned-game )


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

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        • #49
          Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
          can see the point Croakamancer (whom I believe takes their handle from a someone who abuses her power to rape and torture a prisoner of war in her care)
          ... John, you don't come across like you're interested in debate or like you respect my opinion when you start taking shots like that.

          For the record, I use this tag because, in isolation, I find it a funny alternate name for necromancy. I'm not a fan of Wanda, or the comic as a whole for that matter. That's just a term I like that stuck with me.

          Your points, as far as I can tell, don't remotely track with any of my complaints. But eh. Let's adjourn to that other thread. You've already necromancied it, I feel like cutting loose 100%

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Croakamancer View Post
            If that was the problem, I figure I'd have that reaction to bits in the other Aspect books, right?
            Not really. I know people who've reacted to different parts of these books. The Mnemon stuff almost derailed a game I was running because of how it'd gotten to one of my players.


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            • #51
              Originally posted by Lioness View Post
              Not really. I know people who've reacted to different parts of these books. The Mnemon stuff almost derailed a game I was running because of how it'd gotten to one of my players.
              Huh. Fair enough. I guess it's all in what strikes a chord with you.

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              • #52
                So my home internet has been down for a while, I've read most of Fire, so I'll just skim it again as I write.



                Aspect Book: Fire

                Intro Fiction

                So we start off with who we will come to know as Nellends Malakai, who's arriving to the Neck aboard the Dancing Ration. A ship that was supposed to be carrying three Dragonblooded and with much fanfare. Instead what happened is they were attacked by an Abyssal pirate at sea, who slew two of them and then was killed by Malakai, the youngest and now only exalted survivor. Interesting that Malakai recognizes the island's badge of office and is willing to bet a talent of jade that it's somehow enchanted. We often don't see a lot of magical stuff that can be used by non-exalts.

                I'm also surprised that in spite of the local leader being incredibly humble before the Dynast that Malakai is willing to admit failure on behalf of the Realm in keeping the waters safe from Abyssals. Although he quickly twists and turns it as to threaten to take his wives and children hostage on the Blessed Isle now that the supposed threat is gone. Diplomatically, quite adeptly, the chief just offers to pay the tribute owed now instead of later.

                Then more bad news, an irresponsible and probably overzealous Immaculate Monk was through a few months ago and ordered them to put a stop to their religious practice appeasing the god of Hungry Waters, and then left without dealing with the angry god. Also maybe the first appearance of the Thousand Hungry Wings which is in the new Devil's Parade. Malakai saves the city from it in a bittersweet moment where he's basically fixing a bunch off problems that the Dynasty was supposed to have fixed already, except often too late.

                Depending on the nature of the sacrifices demanded by the God of Hungry Waters it might be a bungled blessing or a curse that monk came around.


                Introduction

                Here's some off the stuff that I like, the philosophy of fire. Passion and drive, but also a cultural call to harness that passion in a direction and have discipline. It's cool that in the Realm Fire is actually the element of self control, specifically because fire wants to burn out so easily. It's also nice to see different examples in the fiction section like Achilles and Thor as fire aspects, who'd normally not be considered DBs at all because of their powers.

                Also some good Storytelling advice in general asking about the tone of the game and what the characters are going to be like before it starts.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                  I can see the point Croakamancer (whom I believe takes their handle from a someone who abuses her power to rape and torture a prisoner of war in her care) is making.
                  Upon reflection this really doesn't sit right with me as a member of the forum's moderation team even if you did apologise for it.


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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                    So my home internet has been down for a while, I've read most of Fire, so I'll just skim it again as I write.



                    Aspect Book: Fire

                    Intro Fiction

                    Instead what happened is they were attacked by an Abyssal pirate at sea, who slew two of them and then was killed by Malakai, the youngest and now only exalted survivor.


                    Introduction
                    Three Dragon-Blooded managing to kill an Abyssal is a great success. Even if two Dragon-Blooded die in combat. A perfectly possible result in 3E.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post


                      Introduction

                      Here's some off the stuff that I like, the philosophy of fire. Passion and drive, but also a cultural call to harness that passion in a direction and have discipline. It's cool that in the Realm Fire is actually the element of self control, specifically because fire wants to burn out so easily. It's also nice to see different examples in the fiction section like Achilles and Thor as fire aspects, who'd normally not be considered DBs at all because of their powers.

                      Also some good Storytelling advice in general asking about the tone of the game and what the characters are going to be like before it starts.
                      That's also curiously close to the Daoist xing of Fire corresponding to propriety, at least when speaking about it in a yang sense.

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                      • #56
                        I seem to recall liking Malakai, although I'm sure I'm forgetting some of his flaws. At least it seemed like he genuinely felt bad for the terrible position that the chief had been left in by that idiot monk, and he put himself in the line of fire to deal with the problem.

                        That doesn't exactly make him a nice guy, but at least he's trying to be responsible?

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Dagurasu View Post
                          Three Dragon-Blooded managing to kill an Abyssal is a great success. Even if two Dragon-Blooded die in combat. A perfectly possible result in 3E.
                          It's certainly a pretty anticlimactic end to a celestial exalt, which doesn't happen much. A failed pirate attack against a Realm ship that wasn't like a specific trap to kill them or anything. They also weren't even the main focus of what the satrapy's problem was. It's kind of weird because in other editions the presence of even a single Abyssal would bend the whole narrative around them to be the main villain and put to shame the petty concerns of the island god. Instead they're just kind of another danger lurking out there.

                          Originally posted by Jefepato View Post
                          That doesn't exactly make him a nice guy, but at least he's trying to be responsible?
                          Yeah, and I don't know if NPCs really should be perfectly clean moral heroes anyway. For one there's always going to be a lot of games where they're antagonists, so you don't really want to be like "Well now sadly you gotta kill Dynast Superman. Just don't try to think about poor sweet Ma and Pa Kent mourning the loss of their perfect son." It also leaves some room for the players to be that if they want. Or just open the door to saying "Hey, this is the brutal world you live in, you can actually play the game of thrones and not feel too bad about not always being the best guy."

                          Either way I think I like the PoV characters from Fire a lot more than Earth.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            It's certainly a pretty anticlimactic end to a celestial exalt, which doesn't happen much. A failed pirate attack against a Realm ship that wasn't like a specific trap to kill them or anything. They also weren't even the main focus of what the satrapy's problem was. It's kind of weird because in other editions the presence of even a single Abyssal would bend the whole narrative around them to be the main villain and put to shame the petty concerns of the island god.
                            Well, Second Edition anyway. Third Edition has yet to mandate to me what my characters should and shouldn't consider threatening.

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                            • #59
                              Childhood and Self

                              Peleps Danic Damanchina

                              Interesting to see a fire aspected bureaucrat! It looks like they're setting her up to be maybe a bit of a criminal like Jasir but she seems less icky. Only a bit though, she's still growing up taking advantage of people. She also treats a lot of stuff like a game, which might contribute to her zero-sum outlook on life. Any time somebody else wins you must have lost. She also shows the insane pressure the children are under though, this really has the feeling of being wrought in fire. If she hadn't exalted she would have killed herself for her failure.

                              There's also a description of the absolute perfection you feel just as you exalt, and some people going crazy trying to recreate it again. Her experience at the Spiral Academy is kind of cold and full of hard work, but she has a kind of sentimentality about it over the bonds she formed. Also a focus on training the actual ability of the students absent charms. I would think it because charms are based on mundane ability but they don't really imply that here. Also good reference to how many people in espionage and the FBI are actually accountants hunting down/commuting white collar crime.

                              Nellens Malakai

                              The sorcerer from the intro fiction! Apparently his parents were very open about sex and I guess free spirited. Also just like Damanchina Malakai was a bit of a prodigy from early on, and resents the people who can't keep up. He also brings up the idea of the Realm killing children who don't seem promising so that they don't add weakness into the Dragonblooded host.I can see it being a thing that has happened before 100%, but not a matter of policy. Especially for making one mistake in their second year of primary school, that's bordering on grimderp.

                              Humiliation in front of classmates that you have mutual resentment for? That's more than plausible though. He also becomes completely determined to become a sorcerer, in spite of being from house Nellens, and thus having more obstacles put in his way on that road. There's also a pretty cool description of the Heptagram and how magical it is. The waters around it are filled with bound elementals and the grounds surrounding the huge buildings are prowling with demons.

                              We also get some of his philosophy about risk and knowledge, one that we know will take him far away from the center of the Empire. Also apparently martial arts training and weapons training are staples at the Heptagram, which makes more sense in a game where Dynast chargen has bonus ability dots and trait minimums. True to university they don't actually do much interesting stuff until later years.


                              Cynis Denovah Avaku


                              So right off the bat he grew up an impoverished noble and will grow to be fairly devout. Although he still attended one of the best primary schools because his parents put more money than they could afford into his education. We also know that it paid off because his children attend the best schools in the Realm and he has ambitions to make his family line large and powerful, renewing the old glory it once had. His exaltation though catapults him way ahead, and I like that they're focusing a lot more on the instant social power that it comes with rather than the magic.

                              Apparently it's not enough to guarantee admission to the House of Bells though, which is a bit weird? Aren't there like, only 4 real secondary schools in the Realm, they all seem pretty hard to get into except for the Cloister of Wisdom. At least he's worried that all his really hard work and all the money put into it won't be enough. Then he seeks spiritual guidance to sooth his fears, but all he gets for it is a monk beating his head around and telling him, probably rightly, that if you've made every effort to succeed you shouldn't dwell on worrying about failing, even if you do you just need to find a way to push forward.


                              Sesus Rafara

                              Rafara starts off with a pretty cheery childhood. Not uncommonly for Dynasts being a lot more attached to and affectionate with her nannies than parents. She's also not attending school but instead taking home tutors. For a Dynast that cost shouldn't mean too much, but it's going to isolate her, making her perfect to be an impartial spy or assassin later in life. Another prodigy among her peers as well.

                              I do remember her exaltation story as it is super brutal. her mother, resentful of her and her nannies, takes them on a cruise to feed them all to the sharks. Rafara sadly exalting too late to save either of them, only herself. It is the day she vows to kill her mother though, and I suspect her lifelong revenge motivation will be a key part of her story.

                              She doesn't attend secondary school either, still being constructed by Sesus to be a weapon to wield against other families. As a spy primarily though, rather than an assassin, so she's expert at information gathering. An interesting take on her education too, to keep her as an outsider they hire tutors from all over Creation. I wonder if that means the satrapies or outside the Realm as well?


                              Cathak Cainen

                              Sweet, Cathak Cainen is one of the PoVs. He always seemed to be a relatively straightforward honourable sort. Apparently House Cathak isn't kidding around with that either, getting their children to perform tasks that other houses have servants for. They clean their own laundry like a peasant. We also get a little hint of Cainen having more of a heart than some of the other characters, taking on responsibilities for his big sister so she can get some rest.

                              There's some more good writing voice here too, like cheekily referring to his older brothers lies as "Naijanese". His older brother is also a bastard and a sadist, who puts the hurt on Cainen on day and prompting his exaltation. After his exaltation he pays his brother back for every bad thing and totally messes up his face. Normally that might be healed by magic in the Realm, but his dad suspects Naijan of being the result of his wife having an affair, and recognizes his cruelty so it's stone cold denial, even to the point of telling the healers at school to let him heal on his own.

                              Oddly enough even though his brother was really mean to him, Cainen feels a lot off guilt for hurting him so badly, forcing him to go through weeks of pain, and maybe costing him a marriage. That guilt drives him to learn at the Cloister instead of one of the fancy expensive schools. I like his philosophy about the structure of the order too. It's good, it gives purpose and allows for harmonious action, but it can also be bad, when people become blinded by their traditions and cease to think.

                              Also teaching "perseverance, integrity, self-esteem and courtesy" is apparently part of the curriculum, which actually might be more valuable than some of the other institutions focus on academics.





                              I think I'm definitely liking Fire a lot. The characters are pretty unique and diverse, and with mostly appropriate levels of really intense and high pressure upbringings without taking it too far. Really looking forward to how they grow and evolve.

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                              • #60
                                How Cathak Cainan's father handled infidelity is super questionable in the context of the Realm, particularly the aside where he mentioned his mother almost died because of it.

                                It seems to be a fault of the author as Cainan's reflections on the matter don't seem to acknowledge that this is unusual behaviour that would've only further embarassed the House if it had ran its course.


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