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The setting-level powers of the Solars?

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  • The setting-level powers of the Solars?

    Something that has been discussed in the various threads for Exalted: Essence has been that the power difference between the various kinds of Exalted is being flattened. This has led to debate about how important on the setting level the return of the Solars can be, if they are so much closer to the Dragon-Blooded in power. Allowing for the fact that PCs and NPCs don't need to be built the same way, and that how many Fire Aspects can a Dawn Caste beat in a swordfight is probably the least significant indicator of setting power, what, in your opinion, are the setting level powers of the Solar Exalted?

    The core lists the following as the strengths of the Solars:

    Mastery of Evocations: frankly, this seems to be a relic of an older iteration, when Evocations were in the same 3 circles as Sorcery. And for all that it is delightfully old-school DnD (when fighters were the only ones who could use magic swords), it's still weird to tell a player that their equipment is more special than they are.

    Mastery of Sorcery: Solar Circle Sorcery is still a huge advantage.

    Mastery of Martial Arts: This is also still a major advantage, especially as more martial arts continue to be published.

    Finally, one I saw when comparing the Solar and DB Charms for War; Dragon-Blooded have no equivalent to Tiger-Warrior Training Technique. A Dawn or Zenith can turn a loose collection of peasants and villagers gathered through use of Solar Presence/Performance into the equal of a Realm legion in a week. Given a month more, they can shape them into a well-drilled army of elite warriors.

  • #2
    Originally posted by GhanjRho View Post
    Mastery of Evocations: frankly, this seems to be a relic of an older iteration, when Evocations were in the same 3 circles as Sorcery. And for all that it is delightfully old-school DnD (when fighters were the only ones who could use magic swords), it's still weird to tell a player that their equipment is more special than they are.
    .
    I will point out the evocation thing now operates more off the resonance and dissonance an individual has with the materials the artifact is made from. IE Solars are the masters because they can bond and pull out the full potential of any artifact they wield. Dragonblood are considered the next most adept because while they're only resonant with Jade they're neutral with everything not soul steel, consequently they get more power out of most artifacts than the splats that aren't Solars. Frankly I'd phrase it less as "the artifact is more special than you are" and more "Yeah its kind of picky and you don't match its tastes."

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    • #3
      I would say the setting-level powers of the Solars are the following (in no particular order):
      • Day-one mastery: In their Supernal Ability, the Solars have basically no delay in being the strongest they can be. A newly-Exalted Solar could be the strongest general, religious leader, scholar, assassin, bureaucrat, etc. in the setting, with pretty much all the magic (barring some effects that get stronger with Essence, but aren't repurchases/upgrades). The other powers in the setting have no time to wait for a Solar to develop their full inherent skill and gifts in their Supernal Ability, the only lead time they have is the time it takes the Solar to convert that skill into a following.
      • Incredible crafting: Solars who focus on it are the best crafters, capable of producing wonders almost trivially that every other Exalted type finds almost beyond their grasp. While the Solars can't yet produce First Age Artifice stuff easily, given a few decades to work, they could very well start having that capacity. And this includes things like NA manses, as well.
      • Superlative organization: This includes what you mentioned about Tider-Warrior Training Technique, but it's more than that - other Solar Abilities can include amazing "turn ordinary people into highly-trained specialists" as well. Sea-Devil Training Technique in Sail is evidence of that. I would think that Bureaucracy would be able to teach people to be incredible scribes, Medicine can produce super nurses, and so on. And Lore, of course, is capable of teaching just about anything. And besides all that, Solar Bureaucracy is capable of some pretty extreme feats of project organization, converting stuff that would take years or centuries into mere days or weeks.
      • Solar Sorcery: as you noted, it's huge. Spells, of course, particularly Demon of the Third Circle and the hypothetical elemental dragon binding spell, but even more than that, workings. Solars are the only ones who can pull off Solar Ambition 3 workings, and can do Ambition 1 and 2 workings at that circle much easier than anyone else. And they'll find lesser Circle workings almost trivial. Every working changes the world, but Solar Ambition 3 workings are capable of changing the whole world, all at once.

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      • #4
        I’m in the PCs != NPCs camp. I’m fine with generic DBs being dramatically less powerful than Solars, so that returning Solars are a settting shaking threat even while being wildly out numbered, BUT pc Dragon-Blooded (and big name NPCs) can be phenomenally elite among their own kind and hold their own with Solars.


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        • #5
          Agreeing with Kelly's points, Going off the Day-one Mastery, I would just point out how powerful some of the Solar Caste Powers are, Dawns instant reset and the Night's stealth seems like the outliers to me, of just how powerful they are and how it just reinforces the role of their archetypes.

          If I were to say what I saw as being the thing that Solars brought to the Times of Tulmult, it would be impact. Not the fact that Solars are the most powerful, but just how easy it is for them to acquire power. Solars are given more power then any other splat very early on, and that ease of power very much influences how they use it, how they can so easily change the world around them with it. They are flying rockets, bright, fast, powerful but very often with a short fly time.


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          • #6
            It also looks like Supernal won't be a thing in Exalted Essence, so the day-one mastery might not come into it so much?


            I've also come to think that Solars might not need to really be that special for their return to be a major upset. If they're just about as powerful as Lunars, but in different ways, that radically changes the balance of a lot of deep Threshold states, where Lunars might be beast-god-kings and now hey, there's twice as many of them, and the new ones are all golden humanity-perfected.

            Also some of these new Solars are coming back with some major players backing them. The Deathlords wield ancient powers totally unknown and beyond the imagination of most people, and the fallen Yozi screaming in their prison of Hell back the Abyssal and Infernal exalted. Maybe the Deathlords didn't have enough power to make a major move before, but give them a dozen Abyssals to work with and...yeah that could change things.

            The other half of the Solars though, they're unbound by anything, which also kind of makes them dangerous in their own way. Rather than the Lunars with their schools, the Sidereals with Heaven, or the Dragonblooded with their various massive empires, the Solars don't have anyone with authority to reign them in. They can just go smashing around the setting upturning things and nobody's ready for that, not yet anyway.

            That same page that talks about their advantages also says "Play one of the Solar Exalted if you want to be a reborn hero of destiny, be a master of sorcery, martial arts, or Evocations. To forge nations, armies, religions, wonders and even worlds. To face enemies on all sides and struggle against an ancient curse, and to be the mightiest among the chosen."

            So it looks to me there like they're builders as much as anything, building armies, nations, religions, and with Wyld Shaping their own little realms of existence.

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            • #7
              Wyld-Shaping alone is reason enough for Solars to be vital to Creation. Even if DBs were flawless rulers of Creation, at the end of the day all they can do is make it last as long as they can before the Wyld fully reclaims it. Only with Solars around can Creation be taken back from the Wyld.

              Besides that, some others in no particular order :
              • Many Caste Powers can do things no one else can. A Dawn who can terrify what which has no emotion may be the only one who can win a war against an inhuman foe. A Zenith's power to compel all Spirits is superior to anything the Realm can do to keep gods in check. A Twilight who can find places of power as an afterthought multiplies how quickly the glories of the First Age can be reclaimed. An Eclipse with their diplomatic immunity may be the only one capable of brokering deals with some of the enemies of Creation.
              • Ghost-Eating Technique is the only way to defeat some of Creation's more dangerous spirits permanently.
              • A freshly exalted Lore Supernal can immediately wipe out a major region of the world with God King Shrike. Being a nuclear power on 2 legs is definitely setting altering.
              • Divine Mantle lets a Solar replace a god, which depending on the god can be setting altering.

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              • #8
                As long as Solars can comprehensively insert themselves into just about any scenario, from a sword fight to a crime scene to a gala to a marketplace to Heaven and Hell and the Wyld, and pull things off that cause a major upset, they'll have power in the setting not easily matched by others.

                Dragon Blooded can go many places, but not quite everywhere and they have to watch their step more. Lunars watch their step less, but have more places they don't comfortable go.


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                • #9
                  Yeah, I think if I had to sum up what solars do better than anyone else, it's their ability to change the world. Dragon blooded and lunars work with creation, drawing on the power of it's elements or its creatures. They can bend it to their will, but generally it's still what was already there, just doing what they tell it to.

                  Lunars have tattoos that let them ignore the warping effects of wyld and live there easily, and charms to harness that mutagenic nature. Solars can just tell the wyld to sit down and shut up.

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                  • #10
                    Yes, even when it comes to Solars whose thing is personal scale combat, even where Solars can't "Come at me bro" an army of the Exalts whose very *thing* is being any army of Exalts, and even where Solars eschew command *of any type* for personal scale combat, there's a lot of importance that can't be underestimated in being to pack more personal combat power than anyone else (and particularly anyone else of their age and experience) into a package that is "small" and "agile" and "contained".

                    A "package" which can evade, can move quickly and secretly, which isn't constrained by having to avoid massive "area effects", which can bring that power to bear in a small scale dueling environment, which is united and coordinated by a single will and set of driving passions, which can inspire others on 1:1 human scale.

                    Similar things apply directly for social skills and exploration.

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                    • #11
                      One thing the corebook fails to distinguish when it comes to pointing out Solar masteries is their mastery of social effects, lovingly called social-fu in past editions. Also called social dickery by others. For good reason. Not even the Fair Folk can hold a candle to a Solar's ability to mold a mind to their liking, but strangely it is not mind control. It is such sublime social skill that the Solars can pick out the words, thoughts, and concepts necessary to shift a person's psyche as they like, then express it all with such a perfect arrangement of words. All without directly using magic on that person.

                      For the most part. Solars do have a few mind control charms here and there, but they've gone down in number from 2E.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                        Yeah, I think if I had to sum up what solars do better than anyone else, it's their ability to change the world. Dragon blooded and lunars work with creation, drawing on the power of it's elements or its creatures.
                        I feel as though us having a good and comprehensive Lunar Charm set means that general discussion can stop summarizing them as being powerful because of emulation of animals or something.

                        Even Protean Charms have strength based in layering the animal atop what the Lunar could already do, not the other way around.

                        Especially as it pertains to a discussion such as this, where making it the dividing line between Solars and Lunars doesn’t quite accurately describe either.

                        Originally posted by Elfive
                        They can bend it to their will, but generally it's still what was already there, just doing what they tell it to.

                        Lunars have tattoos that let them ignore the warping effects of wyld and live there easily, and charms to harness that mutagenic nature. Solars can just tell the wyld to sit down and shut up.
                        That makes the Wyld basically the one thing that Solars interact with in those terms.

                        How does it function as a description of their Larceny Charms?

                        Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                        Yes, even when it comes to Solars whose thing is personal scale combat, even where Solars can't "Come at me bro" an army of the Exalts whose very *thing* is being any army of Exalts, and even where Solars eschew command *of any type* for personal scale combat, there's a lot of importance that can't be underestimated in being to pack more personal combat power than anyone else (and particularly anyone else of their age and experience) into a package that is "small" and "agile" and "contained".

                        A "package" which can evade, can move quickly and secretly, which isn't constrained by having to avoid massive "area effects", which can bring that power to bear in a small scale dueling environment, which is united and coordinated by a single will and set of driving passions, which can inspire others on 1:1 human scale.

                        Similar things apply directly for social skills and exploration.
                        Also, given how this setting includes big personalities such as Ahlat, it can be useful to be a figure that can reprimand their misconduct personally and directly. Something that I would not characterise as “my capacity to overcome you with violence denotes my moral supremacy” so much as “my moral position requires me to employ violence to punish or humiliate you for how you have acted”.

                        Mind, I recently came across a video analysing Asura’s Wrath that included an argument that there’s something compelling and meaningful in how the titular quality drives and permits him to cut directly through all convolution, pretence and hypocrisy to strike directly at the heart of injustices.

                        Originally posted by Marcob View Post
                        One thing the corebook fails to distinguish when it comes to pointing out Solar masteries is their mastery of social effects, lovingly called social-fu in past editions. Also called social dickery by others. For good reason. Not even the Fair Folk can hold a candle to a Solar's ability to mold a mind to their liking, but strangely it is not mind control. It is such sublime social skill that the Solars can pick out the words, thoughts, and concepts necessary to shift a person's psyche as they like, then express it all with such a perfect arrangement of words. All without directly using magic on that person.

                        For the most part. Solars do have a few mind control charms here and there, but they've gone down in number from 2E.
                        Surely that would be covered under the “Mastery of Creation” header?


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

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                          Surely that would be covered under the “Mastery of Creation” header?
                          I suppose it would, I tend to forget about that fourth mastery. Even OP failed to mention it.

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