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Handling the Bull of the North

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  • Handling the Bull of the North

    So, the Bull of the North has problems. He (and his Circle) are snowflake even by Exalted standards, and camp out on firmly PC territory. So, inspired by some rants, here's my more PC-friendly interpretation of the Bull, his Circle, and his overall situation.

    The Tepet Campaign.
    To those who know what to look for, the Tepet legions were sent to die. While there is no hard proof, anyone with an ear for Dynastic politics or an eye for military affairs can see that the army that blundered into Futile Blood is not the army that clawed its way out drenched in the blood of its foes. Similarly, the Sesus that proved so incompetent in support were not the Sesus who so swiftly took command of once-Tepet satrapies.
    To those not in House Tepet, the campaign was a qualified success. While the Bull himself escaped without serious harm, the same could not be said of his forces. Two of his Circle were killed, with two others maimed. His army took heavy casualties, including the loss of many arcane war machines and spirit allies. The Bull's losses have forced a once-growing empire into stasis, and even contraction, with most of his power now concentrated on the River of Tears.

    The Circle
    Fear Eater. Eclipse Caste, deceased. During the Bull's rise, he was vital in securing treaties with both mortal and spirit, giving the warlord supernatural aid and secure flanks. His death at the hands of Tepet Arada has deprived the Bull of the North of the silver tongue needed to keep the remnants of his army from being wasted away in endless petty border conflicts.

    Raneth of Diamond Hearth. Eclipse Caste, deceased. A talented engineer, he created many siege engines and other, stranger war machines that played a crucial role in a dozen different victories. Off the battlefield, he devised many improvements to the infrastructure of the conquered territories. His crowning achievement was to be the repair of the Saltspires, which would both bring in silver from the sale of salt and secure a rich breadbasket for the Bull's empire.

    Nalla Bloodaxe. Dawn Caste. The Bull's personal champion, Nalla was always in the vanguard, striking straight at the enemy's commander. At Futile Blood, he lived up to his reputation, taking the life of Tepet Usala. Unfortunately, the sight of the Tepet matriarch bleeding out into the snow would be the last thing he ever saw, as a lightning blast from one of her bodyguards would rob him of his sight. Now, he struggles to adapt to a life without sight, spending his days training to regain his skill, and his nights drinking away his depression.

    Crimson Antler. Night Caste. The only one of the Icewalker Circle not to fight at Futile Blood, she was leading a cavalry patrol to the east, watching for an attack from the rear. Upon returning to learn of the mutual slaughter, she has become quietly furious with the Bull for his continuing treatment of her as a child. She has thrown herself into the work of ferreting out threats to the Bull's rule over the Saltspire League, with the goal of being recognized for her maturity, or leaving for the South.

    Samea. Zenith Caste. The first Solar to join the Bull's ranks, back when he was known only as Yurgen Kaneda, Samea is an accomplished Sorcerer of the Celestial Circle. Her prestigious position among the icewalkers was key in solidifying his early conquests, and she remains his most trusted advisor. After losing an arm at Futile Blood, she has become somewhat more withdrawn, and some days her rage against the Realm threatens to carry her away with it. Still, she is invested in the task of preparing the empire for a generation spent on the defensive, waiting for the children of today to become the warriors of tomorrow.

    Yurgen Kaneda, the Bull of the North. Dawn Caste. Likely the oldest Solar alive today, both in time since birth and time since Exaltation. With his Circle by his side, he conquered along both coasts of the White Sea, leading his Icewalkers to victory with supernatural skill. But those years of conquest have come to end, with the Battle of Futile Blood taking the cream of his warriors, and killing or breaking his Circle, for all that he broke the Tepet in return. He spends his days at Plenilune, training Tiger Warriors and aging a month for every day with truths he cannot tell. He cannot tell Crimson Antler that he does not regret ordering her away from the fight, that every day the Sun shines on her too-young face is worth all the resentment she may have for him. He cannot tell Nalla that he is right, and an engineer or diplomat would be useful than he is at the moment. He cannot tell Samea that thousands of their tribesmen were killed for political jockeying in the Realm. He cannot tell himself that the Icewalkers are any better off than they were before he Exalted.
    Last edited by GhanjRho; 12-31-2020, 05:57 PM.

  • #2
    That Wall of Text discourages reading. Please add some whitespace to break it up.
    Last edited by Greyman; 12-31-2020, 02:55 AM.

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    • #3
      1e and 2e Yurgen was clearly a juggernaut and one of the big players when it came to immediate impact on the setting, but I really didn't get the impression that was the case in this edition. The way i read it, his victory on the Tepets seems more of a Pyrrhic and lucky one that came at a huge cost to his circle and armies.
      Last edited by Plastic Doll; 12-31-2020, 10:09 AM.

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      • #4
        I like this but it’s also super long

        I like the relationship between Yurgen and Crimson Antler

        I also agree that the battle was a Pyrrhic victory and that the power of the Bull has been blunted if not broken

        It’s nice once in a while to hang out with people who know what the word Pyrrhic means 😊


        “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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        • #5
          In canon, how many of his circle are dead and maimed?

          I remember Fear Eater copping it and Samea losing an arm.


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

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
            In canon, how many of his circle are dead and maimed?

            I remember Fear Eater copping it and Samea losing an arm.
            Canonically, Fear Eater and one other dead, Samea maimed.

            Greyman, i will when I get back behind my computer.
            Last edited by GhanjRho; 12-31-2020, 11:22 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GhanjRho View Post
              Canonically, Fear Eater and one other dead, Samea maimed.
              Ref: The Realm, page 70, and various mentions of House Tepet scions in What Fire Has Wrought, including the fiction on page 134.
              Originally posted by GhanjRho View Post
              Greyman, i will when I get back behind my computer.
              Much better.

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              • #8
                My problem with that circle is that it's always been presented as The Bull's Circle or simply "The Bull of the North" like there's one guy who just soloed the Tepet Legions. Most people can remember Samea but after that it becomes very forgettable in a way that seems wrong for Celestial Exalts, like the fact Ex3 felt able to kill off Fear Eater a character whose existed in the lore since 1st edition is a strong indicator of how much of a non-character he was.

                So my personal solution for the Bull's circle is that his losses were predominantly among the Icewalker Solars who were more ideologically inclined to fall in line with him and in his haste to replace them he's going to end up with a circle that's much more like herding a bunch of cats to lead.


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

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                  My problem with that circle is that it's always been presented as The Bull's Circle or simply "The Bull of the North" like there's one guy who just soloed the Tepet Legions. Most people can remember Samea but after that it becomes very forgettable in a way that seems wrong for Celestial Exalts, like the fact Ex3 felt able to kill off Fear Eater a character whose existed in the lore since 1st edition is a strong indicator of how much of a non-character he was.

                  So my personal solution for the Bull's circle is that his losses were predominantly among the Icewalker Solars who were more ideologically inclined to fall in line with him and in his haste to replace them he's going to end up with a circle that's much more like herding a bunch of cats to lead.
                  Idk that but that sounds like a very good point.


                  “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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                  • #10
                    Herding cats? More like catfighting. He has conquered subjects for new Solars to come from now and that’s almost never a fun time.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
                      Herding cats? More like catfighting. He has conquered subjects for new Solars to come from now and that’s almost never a fun time.
                      My preference would be that any new Solars come from further afield having heard stories of someone like themselves fighting the Realm and his ability to live up to their expectations. It feels a more natural continuation of the story than fate throwing more and more Solar Exaltations his way.


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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                        My preference would be that any new Solars come from further afield having heard stories of someone like themselves fighting the Realm and his ability to live up to their expectations. It feels a more natural continuation of the story than fate throwing more and more Solar Exaltations his way.
                        I'm relatively sure that the Solars coming from all the regions Bull has conquered would be significantly more likely to oppose him than join him.



                        The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.

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                        • #13
                          Which is why I'd prefer them to come from further afield.


                          Onyx Path Forum Moderator
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