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What is life like for a MORTAL raised in Yu-Shan? As a Sidereal Agent?

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  • What is life like for a MORTAL raised in Yu-Shan? As a Sidereal Agent?

    Imagine a dragonblood taken at birth and raised in Yu-Shan to be an operative directly for an individual (unconventional) Sidereal or the Bureau of Fate as a whole. The purpose is to make a loyal dragonblood agent who can do and knows about things a DB used as an unwitting tool doesn't. What would this individual's life be like? What kind of training would they receive? How would you guess the Sidereals would treat or handle them? Loyal pet? Professional and distant - like a low level employee? Or would some dote on him? Care about him?

    Before you say "there are better ways to do that" - I appreciate that. This is something my player wanted, and I liked the idea a lot, so I'm definitely doing it. I need help making it believable as is and some ideas what I should probably know about the Bureau or Yu-Shan (I'm vaguely familiar but I never read the 2e Sidereal or Heaven books).

    I appreciate any help you folks can give me!
    Last edited by Loving the Gorgon; 09-14-2020, 04:11 AM.

  • #2
    This is totally a thing! It's covered in Heirs (sorry, I feel like that's pretty much all I talk about on here) in a section called Heaven's Dragons. Basically, some DB survivors of the Divine Revolution who entered Heaven never left and have carved out impressive estates for themselves amidst Yu-Shan's forsaken areas/slums. They're often engaged as fixers or troubleshooters by Gods and Sidereals, able to do 'off the books' stuff (black market trade/spy missions in Creation, that kind of thing) that others can't touch. I've spoilered a couple of paras that might be helpful from the rest of the entry if of use:



    Dragon-Blooded are largely exempt from the bureaucratic regulations governing both gods and Sidereals, and use this freedom to fill gaps in the Celestial Bureaucracy left by years of internal rivalry, corruption, and divine disinterest. Their Exalted might levels the playing field when competing against minor gods and functionary spirits for positions as retainers, spies, professional confidants, bodyguards, and advisors. This novelty also makes them popular as entertainers and artisans — even if a novice Dragon-Blood’s technique falls short of that of an ancient god of art, she brings a unique life experience and perspective that tantalizes divine audiences. Some pursue other skilled trades: personal accountants, bankers, artificers, assassins, and the like.

    ON ASSIGNMENT

    Most gods who reside Yu-Shan have little desire to abandon its sublime luxuries to walk Creation on errands. Even among those willing to do so, not all can easily afford a sabbatical from their position in the Celestial Bureaucracy, and some business is better conducted with the benefit of plausible deniability. Thus, Heaven’s Dragons often find themselves retained to carry out the work of the gods in Creation. Travel to Creation is usually business-related, assigned to the Dragon-Blooded by her employer or family, though leaving Heaven out of personal curiosity or punitive banishment isn’t unheard of.


    Last edited by Moss Reynholm; 09-17-2020, 10:42 AM.

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    • #3
      I think your player’s character would be doted on by her Sidereal handler. Sort of like a loving but occasionally overly smothering parental figure. However, other Sidereals in the Bureau of Fate are likely to be more distant toward the PC and occasionally manipulate her for their own ends.


      The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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      • #4
        Dang, nice info ya'll! Thank you! Welcoming any other perspectives! I'm really glad to hear this is not just doable but very lore-friendly for my player

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        • #5
          I think this is a very cool idea

          I'd expect the outward attitude of a sidereal to be partly dependent on their caste: a stereotypical chosen of venus would be doting bordering on smothering, a stereotypical chosen of battles a harsh but fair 'commanding officer' and a stereotypical chosen of secrets would give Gendo Ikari a run for his money in the bad father department.

          The theme of Sidereals is that they are spies and manipulators, so regardless of the outward appearance of the relationship, inwardly they are going to be torn between two things: the human tendency to love and protect those close to them, and their duty to protect creation and destiny even if it means sacrificing everyone and everything around them. I'd expect the big reveal of this story to be either "Mom didn't love me even though she said she did" or "Mom really did love me even though she said she didn't"

          The two big questions for me would be 1) how much of the DB's upbringing and life was a lie (could be a lot of it, the DB might not know they live in Heaven or what a Sidereal even is) or they could be openly told that they are an agent of Destiny - but either way the whole setup will be designed to maximise loyalty.

          The second question is: how many other similar agents does the Sidereal have, currently and in the past?



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          • #6
            There's probably a big difference in the outlook of a mortal raised by a sidereal and one who's merely an unexalted scion of Yu Shan's native dragon blooded population.

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            • #7
              Probably quite a different outlook on Creation.

              Most people in Creation? They're poor. They live in dirt huts, they eat rice with vegetables, and maybe some meat if they're lucky. And they probably die at 50.

              In Yu-shan? The streets are paved with jade. The gods themselves march by your side. Even the poorest god easily has riches that will match a mortal prince or a king. In Yu-shan, the food is Resources 4/5 on Creation, is supernaturally tasty, and makes you heal faster. The daily samples and foods you take in Yu-Shan is the kind of shit that can match the Manchu-Han Imperial Feast. Everyday. The finest silks, the most wonderful perfume, the softest shoes.... all of those are things that anyone with the slightest means in Yu-Shan can obtain. And there is far, far more. Celestial Wine, Divine lovers.... all those things are available, so long as you get the power.

              Now, if they're raised by a Sidereal in Yu-shan? Unless the Sidereal is some kind of weird ass ascetic, they're going to have all this.

              They might despise being sent out on missions, the same way I'll despise being sent out into the countryside with no working internet and having to poo in a hole in a ground.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                Probably quite a different outlook on Creation.

                Most people in Creation? They're poor. They live in dirt huts, they eat rice with vegetables, and maybe some meat if they're lucky. And they probably die at 50.

                In Yu-shan? The streets are paved with jade. The gods themselves march by your side. Even the poorest god easily has riches that will match a mortal prince or a king. In Yu-shan, the food is Resources 4/5 on Creation, is supernaturally tasty, and makes you heal faster. The daily samples and foods you take in Yu-Shan is the kind of shit that can match the Manchu-Han Imperial Feast. Everyday. The finest silks, the most wonderful perfume, the softest shoes.... all of those are things that anyone with the slightest means in Yu-Shan can obtain. And there is far, far more. Celestial Wine, Divine lovers.... all those things are available, so long as you get the power.

                Now, if they're raised by a Sidereal in Yu-shan? Unless the Sidereal is some kind of weird ass ascetic, they're going to have all this.

                They might despise being sent out on missions, the same way I'll despise being sent out into the countryside with no working internet and having to poo in a hole in a ground.
                That’s true. Yu-Shan is Heaven.


                The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Penelope View Post

                  That’s true. Yu-Shan is Heaven.
                  And not to mention the casual excellence on display.

                  Like, every god in Yu-shan has at least 3 dice in equipment bonuses, at least an excellency in something, and, if nothing else, has godliness and divine power to back up their strength in one or two things. Not to mention the greatest archive of information and knowledge in Creation. And that's not telling what happens if the Sidereal minder is a chosen of secrets.

                  The dude going to a scholar convention and listening to people talk about science or the first age would be like a 21st century physicist going to the past and listening to people talk about ether and vitalism.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                    Like, every god in Yu-shan has at least 3 dice in equipment bonuses...
                    Exceptional equipment in 3e only gives one bonus die, and not to combat rolls.

                    Originally posted by Accelerator
                    The dude going to a scholar convention and listening to people talk about science or the first age would be like a 21st century physicist going to the past and listening to people talk about ether and vitalism.
                    Man, imagine the vistas of knowledge that'd be opened by being able to question the ancients about the things they wrote down and why. Most of the documents we do have references material that's been lost forever. It'd be a singular learning experience.

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                    • #11
                      I've never been a fan of the 'wisdom of the ancients' trope. If they were that smart and powerful, where were their steam engines and antibiotics?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                        I've never been a fan of the 'wisdom of the ancients' trope.
                        I'm not talking about tropes. I'm talking about history. There's a lot we don't know about the past, about which we can only speculate. Even for ancient junk science, the ability to check the sources they're citing would show us a lot about the world they lived in.

                        ​(Also antibiotics might not be the high-water mark of wisdom, considering how our misuse of it has led to antibiotic resistance being bred into a ridiculous quantity of bacteria.)
                        Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 09-16-2020, 10:12 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                          I'm not talking about tropes. I'm talking about history. There's a lot we don't know about the past, about which we can only speculate. Even for ancient junk science, the ability to check the sources they're citing would show us a lot about the world they lived in.

                          ​(Also antibiotics might not be the high-water mark of wisdom, considering how our misuse of it has led to antibiotic resistance being bred into a ridiculous quantity of bacteria.)
                          Oh god, this again.

                          Well, Antibiotics are the high water mark of wisdom, considering how many lives they've saved. I mean, a single infected cut can be the end of your life in the ancient world. And now? It isn't.

                          Im not looking for the world they live in. I'm looking for shit that can be used to improve human lives.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                            I've never been a fan of the 'wisdom of the ancients' trope. If they were that smart and powerful, where were their steam engines and antibiotics?
                            Antibiotics was literally discovered by accident, by a guy who wasn't even looking for it. Not exactly a super-genius moment in human history.

                            Issac Newton tried to figure out the celestial mechanics of planetary orbits, with noting more than a pen, paper, and ancient telescope. Sadly the math to figure out the forces involved didn't exist. Luckily he was a freaking genius so he invented integral calculus over the course of a few weeks. It takes most people longer than that to learn integral calculus from a teacher who knows it well.

                            Plato in 450BC basically came up with the idea for the film The Matrix, and the possibility that everything we experience is not reflective of the real world. We just don't know the difference because, of course, our senses can not detect the real world. Which is actually 100% true. We perceive things as solid and not as vast empty spaces with atomic nuclei in them because our senses do not give us that information.


                            The reason ancients didn't have workable steam engines, among some other reasons, is because the tools and materials to create steam engines didn't exist. Well, actually primitive steam engines are over 2,000 years old, they had them, they just weren't large and didn't have the power to do useful work. For that you need a lot of steam, and a very large engine, you probably want steel, because copper, especially hot cooper, from a mechanical standpoint sucks in comparison, you want proper insulation, you need an understanding of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics to properly shape things, etc.



                            Here's the thing though. Only some of that applies to things like the philosophy of justice, or happiness, or what it means to be a good person. Let me hit you with some stuff:

                            Aristotle born 384 BC

                            "The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else."

                            "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

                            "Anyone can become angry, that is easy. To become angry with the correct person, in the correct degree, at the right time, and to achieve the right ends, that is not easy, and is not within everyone's power."

                            Laozi born 5th century BC

                            "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, and loving someone deeply gives you courage."

                            "Mastering others is strength, but mastering yourself is real power."

                            Pericles born 495 BC

                            "What you leave behind is not what's engraved in stone monuments, but the changes you've made in the lives of the people you touched."

                            Seneca born 4 BC

                            "Anger is an acid that does more harm to the vessel that holds it than onto anything it is poured."


                            That's good stuff, but honestly it's better read in full. There's lots of that in public domain that you can read free online. They talk about things like how to cope with inevitable death, the purpose and dangers of emotion, how to control that emotion, how to improve mental health. All sorts of things that have barely changed at all in thousands of years, things millions of people are struggling with at this very moment.

                            It's at least worth considering that people who have pondered their whole lives on personal subjects like that, and who are quoted millenia after their deaths might have something interesting to talk about in person.

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                            • #15
                              I'm fine with philosophical and mathematical insights. After all, those are near-universal to the human experience.

                              Technology and science? No.

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