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Playing a Lunar elder

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
    So exalts between 300-800 years old can be quite respectable entities who have seen the rise and fall of dinasties, nations & cultures and with quite a lot of acomplishments under their own belts. 1500 years is a huge time gap, almost "from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the present" large. It's an era mostly gone, twice over or more depending on how you count.

    While it can be kind of understandable for most (not all) Solars to be kind of hang up on the Usurpation & First Age due to being slain and kept mostly in limbo for the whole period, the same can't be said of other exalts, spirits and so on.

    Sometimes i feel a lack of NPCs, antagonists, allies or others, to adress those expanses of history
    I think one thing that could be done with the likes of Raksi, Ma-Ha-Suchi and Ul is that they bring a perspective of "I've seen the rise and fall of several civilisations, and I've compiled some notes for the management".


    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
    Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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    • #17
      Depending on how long you spend on your own, in other forms and in isolation you might be completely disconnected from even the idea of being human at all. You e barely had a human face for the past thousand years. You spent over a century as a dolphin. Humans are interesting, like ant colonies or beehives in some ways. They’re things to be cautiously avoided, their swords sting after all, but otherwise not something to pay much mind to.

      Or maybe you change forms so often that your body is as much a part of your identity as clothes, or a vehicle. There are other younger Lunars stuck in the idea that who they are has anything to do with what their body is shaped like a the moment.

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      • #18
        Didn't Lilith spend a millenia as an owl? I have a headcanon that any given owl has a good chance of being an ata-beast from her lineage, and she 'gave birth' to the wise-owl superstition.


        Sand Creek, or The Inspection of Cracks in the Desert Cecelyne - A Solar buddy travel fanfiction.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          Depending on how long you spend on your own, in other forms and in isolation you might be completely disconnected from even the idea of being human at all. You e barely had a human face for the past thousand years. You spent over a century as a dolphin. Humans are interesting, like ant colonies or beehives in some ways. They’re things to be cautiously avoided, their swords sting after all, but otherwise not something to pay much mind to.

          Or maybe you change forms so often that your body is as much a part of your identity as clothes, or a vehicle. There are other younger Lunars stuck in the idea that who they are has anything to do with what their body is shaped like a the moment.
          With the current write-up, I feel as though a necessary complication to a narrative such as this (barring exceptional circumstances such as Lilith) is the fact that the majority of shapeshifting comes with committed motes. I feel as though that would end up a little bit like how X-Men: First Class portrays Mystique, how spending all of her time exerting her power to pass as typical human weakens her strength and focus.

          I mean, it wasn't exactly a solid narrative in prior Editions either, what with form lock; I know mechanics don't perfectly align with setting, but the idea of shifting so much you don't remember the original form sat a bit awkwardly alongside the idea that their iconic anima would return them to that form. But now it's something where the idea of holding your altered shape feels more deliberate, in addition to tying up a limited resource.

          Many-Faced Moon Transformation at least gets to be Instant, although I still feel as though that one will never alter you drastically enough to not be recognisable as yourself to anybody who is intimately familiar with you and that you're not actively trying to be disguised to.

          There's also stuff with Lunar powers and characteristics having an essential humanity that I like a lot in how they turned out.

          Mind, there are a few parts that I still have some questions about. I need to remind myself of details around Leviathan; I find myself wondering about how one night approach the matter of his relationship with his body if he spends most of his time in orca form but also his human body was a big enough deal to be altered by Exaltation.


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
          Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

            With the current write-up, I feel as though a necessary complication to a narrative such as this (barring exceptional circumstances such as Lilith) is the fact that the majority of shapeshifting comes with committed motes. I feel as though that would end up a little bit like how X-Men: First Class portrays Mystique, how spending all of her time exerting her power to pass as typical human weakens her strength and focus.

            I mean, it wasn't exactly a solid narrative in prior Editions either, what with form lock; I know mechanics don't perfectly align with setting, but the idea of shifting so much you don't remember the original form sat a bit awkwardly alongside the idea that their iconic anima would return them to that form. But now it's something where the idea of holding your altered shape feels more deliberate, in addition to tying up a limited resource.

            Many-Faced Moon Transformation at least gets to be Instant, although I still feel as though that one will never alter you drastically enough to not be recognisable as yourself to anybody who is intimately familiar with you and that you're not actively trying to be disguised to.

            There's also stuff with Lunar powers and characteristics having an essential humanity that I like a lot in how they turned out.

            Mind, there are a few parts that I still have some questions about. I need to remind myself of details around Leviathan; I find myself wondering about how one night approach the matter of his relationship with his body if he spends most of his time in orca form but also his human body was a big enough deal to be altered by Exaltation.
            Shapechanging costs 4m. Baseline mote recovery is 5m/hr. A Lunar with no extra motes coming in can afford to shapechange every hour for the rest of forever.
            A Lunar with manses or the hearthstone Charm can afford to shapechange at least twice an hour, forever.
            R&R adds 5m/hr. A Lunar at rest gets another shapechange per hour.
            And a 4m commit is pretty much nothing. If you lose a fight by 4m, you probably also lost because of dice.

            It doesn't really weaken them so much as it hinders their ability to be inconspicuous. But if they don't care, or if they want everyone to know, then it's close to zero overhead.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post

              Shapechanging costs 4m. Baseline mote recovery is 5m/hr. A Lunar with no extra motes coming in can afford to shapechange every hour for the rest of forever.
              A Lunar with manses or the hearthstone Charm can afford to shapechange at least twice an hour, forever.
              R&R adds 5m/hr. A Lunar at rest gets another shapechange per hour.
              And a 4m commit is pretty much nothing. If you lose a fight by 4m, you probably also lost because of dice.
              That doesn't really matter to any of the points of characterisation that I was talking about.

              It doesn't really weaken them
              What I said was that it was a little bit like somebody in a different story who would be weakened to make a point about shapeshifting as something that you're constantly paying attention to.

              I expect different people will have different standards of how much an indefinite commitment of four motes matters, but the thing I'm driving at here is a sense that a narrative of forgetting what you were originally is a bit inorganic when at any time the choice or pressure to release that commitment has the dolphin you were being for the last century snap right back to your core human form. In combination with a sense that mote commitment should feel like something to any character that is doing it; not anything distressing (attunement to an Artifact or manse might even be comforting), but not unnoticed.

              I should note that I'm interpreting these elements in the interests of advocating for the value of portraying Lunars as people who really have to go out of their way to become detached from their own identities. Not necessarily deliberate, but at least motivated, not something that is just going to emerge all on its own from the fact that you can change shape.

              I imagine that's contrary to the people who approach Lunar shapeshifting in terms of "this is a form of self-mastery so complete that you truly do turn into so and so animal" but... the whole face stealing aspect always kind of made that not the case, and that part is being leaned to heavily in this Edition. If the dolphin is not your spirit shape, I propose that it's very difficult to get fully lost in it because the surrounding narrative is that you're a divinely endowed human hero who subordinated that bodily form to serve your purposes.

              If it is your spirit shape? Then it's functioning very much in tune with your human identity, right at the level where you're supposed to be dancing back and forth with ease. Not to mention the potential for it to very much remind you of the qualities that got you that totem in the first place; it might be hard to forget your qualities as a leader of soldiers if spending all your time as a wolf at the head of a pack.


              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
              Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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              • #22
                I've had some reflections on Leviathan related to the status of his particular form of being an ancient Lunar.

                Having been reflecting yesterday on the life of Stalin (I thing I feel more informed about now than ever having read straight through his Wikipedia page), the Chinese Cultural Revolution and that Deep Space Nine episode where a well-intentioned but misguided Starfleet admiral tries to take over Earth, it's interesting to me the format that Leviathan's shift towards military dictatorship is taking. He's not placing loyalists in key administrative positions or stationing troops along important communication lines or ousting the traditional establishment. By the account given, he doesn't need to, doesn't want to, possibly even doesn't think to. It appears that he's been such a figure of tremendous religious awe the entire time that Luthe has been there that the point at which he wants to say "right, here are the dramatic reforms that we're implementing in preparation for war with the Realm", the majority of people involved just go along with it enthusiastically. I don't think there's a malice inherent to the fact that he's completely stepping past the official channels, but that his own personal alienation from society means that he doesn't fully consider them, while also being intertwined with qualities that let him manage anyway. Charms are probably helping, but I'd say they're still making a meal out of already present ingredients.

                I don't think these are all an intrinsic part of being a Lunar of that age; for one thing, the fact that he's so alienated is because he's spent most of the last millennium as a hunting orca, although I do think the motive and capacity to live like that for so long arises partially from some characteristics that I see as being common to ancients that I want to describe later (some of it probably reflects what he's always been like). I do think the manner in which he's exerting power in Luthe does also display a certain entitlement.

                I don't think Blood-Dimmed Deep getting on the council was a deliberate power move, but I am imagining the Leviathan might have been less overt of the wasn't a supporter on the council to prevent them from ever challenging him, or trying to restrain somebody following one of his commands. I imagine such a confrontation being very awkward; that Leviathan would be sympathetic to their desire to be part of the channels by which he institutes war readiness, but he also sees it as an inconvenience and inefficiency to what needs to be a well-oiled machine and why can't they see that and go along with it and he desperately wishes he or his daughter could find the words do that they would. He's becoming a dictator but I can imagine that he sincerely doesn't want to utterly, overtly become one, and the point at which there's an impasse that can be resolved only by overtly overriding their authority might paralyse him with indecision or cause something in him to break if he carries it through.

                Or who knows, the desire to not be a tyrant might mean that a council that stands up to him gets the win, and becomes involved in the process for this military build-up.

                I think, say, Ma-Ha-Suchi could never have done this in all the time he's lived in the Tangle. Being an ancient and powerful Lunar alone would not have sufficed for him to turn up and just start making elaborate demands of the Chante-sa, and the story of his residence there has been the story of him actively creating the official channels by which he might exercise authority over them. Which means that in his case, being very old and familiar means they've had a long time to get very used to those channels and expect them to be used if he wants something out of them. If I thought Ma-Ha-Suchi ever wanted to be more autocratic, I'd say he would be the one that would need to do things like carefully place people that would support him in the right spots and then immediately institute a coup; something within his capabilities although not without its perils, since I could see outrage and rebellion if anybody catches on too early. Could they win? They've probably got a lot of warriors and I think the power of the Three Mothers is no slouch (in combination with any other spirits they bring on board), and while slaying Ma-Ha-Suchi himself is unlikely (perhaps not completely impossible) I can also see a win condition in the form of wiping out all of his beastfolk, the destruction of the apparatus of his power causing him to concede that he's totally screwed up and the only way to retain his position would involve ruining the thing he was trying to take control over in the first place, so he might as well depart peaceably.

                Still, being very old means that Ma-Ha-Suchi has had a long time to become used to the official channels as well. I think that's a circumstance in which he doesn't feel a pressing need to mess around with this system he's built up and invested a lot in and just feels as the default now, without even considering the disastrous possibilities for an alternative.

                I also had this whole thought on Leviathan being incidentally rich (also for the sake of an explanation on where his military funding coming from). The thinking was that somewhere along the line he'll have continuously done the kinds of things that logically make a lot of money, whether that be bringing back a colossal squid to be portioned out as food or capturing some grand treasure, not to mention valuable gifts he's probably given by the populace and elites and authorities as a matter of course. He has no personal interest in profiting from it, his actual lifestyle has been pretty austere, but putting them around has been beneficial to Luthe's economy. If say he's always appointed other people to actually handle his finances, the ones who convert his treasures into debens and then invests those debens in various stable portfolios like real estate and banking and financing trade, and then those profits are alternately kept in reserve and used to fund charitable endeavours. I've got a picture now where, at the point that he wanted to start getting involved and preparing for war, Leviathan swam up to his accountants and asked for the first time in centuries what the value of his assets actually was, and when they came back several days later with a figure he needed to ask if that was a lot (his employees found his demeanor very mild but satisfied on being confirmed that it was).

                Ma-Ha-Suchi's wealth of course consists primarily of the tribute he's provided by caravans wishing safe passage to the Southeast. Gold and jewels are all well and good, but the main thing they come with is succulent fruits, tasty condiments and hundreds of head of sheep and/or cattle; the bush meat is all well and good, but nothing quite beats some tender lamb or well marbled beef, and the Chante-sa appreciate those rare treats as well (plus the accompanying woolen cloth).


                I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                • #23
                  Are we forgetting that Lunars survived on the fringes of normal existence? with the Wyld lapping at their heels they have a Tell so they cant just go walking in the middle of the Realm also the either got moonsilver tatoos or the Wyld warped their mind and body long time ago Solars have Integrity-Protecting Prana and Chaos Repelling Patern Charms the repel the effects of the Wyld

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Cypheriel View Post
                    Are we forgetting that Lunars survived on the fringes of normal existence? with the Wyld lapping at their heels they have a Tell so they cant just go walking in the middle of the Realm also the either got moonsilver tatoos or the Wyld warped their mind and body long time ago Solars have Integrity-Protecting Prana and Chaos Repelling Patern Charms the repel the effects of the Wyld

                    I don't think people in this thread are forgetting most of that. I think what's happening is that most people in the thread are talking about things from a 3rd Edition perspective, where a great deal of what you're talking about isn't the case. Lunars were pushed further from the center of Creation, yes, but since at least the fall of the Shogunate, there's been probably thousands of miles of territory between the place where firm Dragon-Blooded control ended, and the edge of the full-blown Wyld started, in which Lunars had at least some freedom of action. Also, 3rd Edition Lunars don't have any of the "warped in the Wyld" business. They deliberately changed their castes to something that worked better for the new situation after the Usurpation, and the moonsilver tattoos were the method they developed at that time to stabilize those castes. Casteless Lunars no longer risk going mad or becoming monsters, they simply don't get some of the benefits of one of the fixed castes (but they get bonuses of their own, mostly related to being more flexible). "Chimeras" are now no longer mutants or monsters, they're simply Lunars who have the charm that gives them a spirit shape that's a mixture of multiple animals (Ma-Ha-Suchi, for example, is a respected Lunar elder, a noted member of the Silver Pact, and he's a chimera - his spirit shape combines both wolf and goat).

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                    • #25
                      Pretty sure that, myself personally, I'd be weary (possibly beyond cure) and numb from the grief and burden of such a life. I would definitely pull a Leviathan and just go off somewhere to get away from it all for however long it took me to sit down and process 15 centuries of life in some semblance of a healthy manner so that I could function again after one day realizing I just could not do this anymore.


                      Exalted Whose Name is Carved in Leaves of Jade

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Mizu View Post
                        I could function again after one day realizing I just could not do this anymore.
                        That's a fairly un-Lunarish thought, imo. They are all about enduring in the face of torment and trauma. Leviathan and Lilith might have changed into animals in an attempt to hide from their pain, but they didn't fuck off innawoods for a millenium.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Marcob View Post

                          That's a fairly un-Lunarish thought, imo. They are all about enduring in the face of torment and trauma. Leviathan and Lilith might have changed into animals in an attempt to hide from their pain, but they didn't fuck off innawoods for a millenium.
                          Lilith literally did exactly that and Leviathan was a bit better but was still isolating himself from the rest of the world to camp outside a single extremely isolated and insular city at the bottom of the sea acting as a guardian god who did very very little to manage the goings on in the city until he finally pulled himself back together roughly a century before Her Redness vanished and the solars returned. There is nothing in the lunar exaltation that is stopping a lunar from pulling an 'Achilles in his tent' stunt for reasons that include being overwhelmed by the many emotional wounds they have taken in their long long long lives.


                          Exalted Whose Name is Carved in Leaves of Jade

                          Senator of the Greater Chamber

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                          • #28
                            One thing I appreciate about 3e's presentation of the Exalted in general is that it's willing to say that they can fail as heroes, and in fact, this isn't super uncommon. Solars can be Harvesh the Vanisher or Filial Wisdom, Lunars can be Lilith or Leviathan, Dragon-Blooded can be Cathak or Berit, and I expect that as we get more types of Exalted, we'll get more examples of Exalts who haven't reached their full potential, fallen from what they were, or just squandered their gifts. 2e kind of jumped through a lot of hoops to suggest that even the worst examples of Exalted behavior were "still heroic", sometimes contorting the definition of heroism a great deal in the process, and sometimes heavily distorting the characters to make them fit. I think it created an atmosphere where PCs not achieving their goals just came off as "you suck compared to all the NPC examples" - if nobody is ever allowed to fail, or their failures aren't acknowledged as failures, it means that when the PCs inevitably do fail, it comes off as being the big exception to the rule, and not in a good way.

                            Whereas 3e's portrayal of many of the Exalted being capable of failure and acting un-heroically has several benefits. First, it presents things in the opposite way: now, PCs who fail can say "Ok, but I'm not going to quit, not like that guy!". Second, having Exalted fail and have bad moments also allows the game to present them as recovering from failure, so now the examples can also guide people in telling those narratives themselves. Finally, by presenting some Exalted who have failed and not picked themself up, but still have potential, it gives obvious narrative hooks: the PCs can go find Lilith or Tepet Arada or someone, shake them up, and get them to actually return to their heroic past.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
                              One thing I appreciate about 3e's presentation of the Exalted in general is that it's willing to say that they can fail as heroes, and in fact, this isn't super uncommon. Solars can be Harvesh the Vanisher or Filial Wisdom, Lunars can be Lilith or Leviathan, Dragon-Blooded can be Cathak or Berit, and I expect that as we get more types of Exalted, we'll get more examples of Exalts who haven't reached their full potential, fallen from what they were, or just squandered their gifts. 2e kind of jumped through a lot of hoops to suggest that even the worst examples of Exalted behavior were "still heroic", sometimes contorting the definition of heroism a great deal in the process, and sometimes heavily distorting the characters to make them fit. I think it created an atmosphere where PCs not achieving their goals just came off as "you suck compared to all the NPC examples" - if nobody is ever allowed to fail, or their failures aren't acknowledged as failures, it means that when the PCs inevitably do fail, it comes off as being the big exception to the rule, and not in a good way.

                              Whereas 3e's portrayal of many of the Exalted being capable of failure and acting un-heroically has several benefits. First, it presents things in the opposite way: now, PCs who fail can say "Ok, but I'm not going to quit, not like that guy!". Second, having Exalted fail and have bad moments also allows the game to present them as recovering from failure, so now the examples can also guide people in telling those narratives themselves. Finally, by presenting some Exalted who have failed and not picked themself up, but still have potential, it gives obvious narrative hooks: the PCs can go find Lilith or Tepet Arada or someone, shake them up, and get them to actually return to their heroic past.
                              An Exalt hasn't failed unless they are dead or Akuma.

                              They've only experienced a temporary setback. :P

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Marcob View Post

                                An Exalt hasn't failed unless they are dead or Akuma.

                                They've only experienced a temporary setback. :P
                                Does this attitude actually reflect the manner in which you portray characters?


                                I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                                Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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