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  • Sure Why Not DBs

    Brief closing thoughts on the Well Bred Merit from an earlier thread. Having re-evaluated my thoughts I think I was wrong about what squicked me out about the merit.
    Having a lineage of heroes that is in some way predictable is fine. What bugs me is that the merit actually determines that as fact. It’s not just a social rumor or supposition by the Realm—it is a defined better odds.
    There being lineages is fine and a grand scale “this house has produced more Exalted then this one” is okay, but once it comes down to the individual being more likely, it feels incredibly uncomfortable. The fact that it _isnt_ just socially useful in the Realm but anywhere adds to that. I don’t feel comfortable with a character option being “factually my kids are more likely to exalt” even if the main benefit is social.


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  • #2
    Why does that bother you?

    Some traits (IRL) are genetic. Some powers are inherited.

    The child of a god is more likely to be god-blooded than a child of a mortal.

    You have every right not to like this as a game element, I just don't understand why a character's children being factually more likely to Exalt as Dragon-Blooded makes you uncomfortable.


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

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    • #3
      One thing I'll say is that doesn't really need to have anything to do with eugenics as the ideology has actually played out, particularly for having no element of forcibly sterilising anybody.

      It's really more like property inheritance, than anything. The policies of House Nellens having more in common with the Habsburgs accumulating half of Europe than anybody with an idea of promoting hereditary intelligence.

      I think it helps to have matters of the unExalted still having high quality Dragon's Blood that makes them desirable parents, and the inclusion of Terrestrial Exalted with physical disabilities. That and the elimination of any idea that there were ancient Dragon Blooded who could not produce mortal children.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
        Why does that bother you?

        Some traits (IRL) are genetic. Some powers are inherited.

        The child of a god is more likely to be god-blooded than a child of a mortal.

        You have every right not to like this as a game element, I just don't understand why a character's children being factually more likely to Exalt as Dragon-Blooded makes you uncomfortable.

        So Dragonblooded being a hero of legacy etc isn't what bugs me. Families of Heroes, bending in Avatar, etc. Inherited Super Powers doesn't bug me. Dragonblooded parents being much more likely to have a dragonblooded kid than 2 mortals who's last DB was several generations ago doesn't bug me(I said something opposite earlier, and misattributed the discomfort).

        It is the Well Bred merit making your Dragonblooded Character even more likely to have dragonblooded children is what is uncomfortable. It is specifically the Well Bred and Thin Blooded Merits having something besides social implications (Not mechanically no--there isn't a roll to determine if your kid exalts--but in a still out of character knowledge sense, from the side bar) is the discomfort.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Epee102 View Post


          So Dragonblooded being a hero of legacy etc isn't what bugs me. Families of Heroes, bending in Avatar, etc. Inherited Super Powers doesn't bug me. Dragonblooded parents being much more likely to have a dragonblooded kid than 2 mortals who's last DB was several generations ago doesn't bug me(I said something opposite earlier, and misattributed the discomfort).

          It is the Well Bred merit making your Dragonblooded Character even more likely to have dragonblooded children is what is uncomfortable. It is specifically the Well Bred and Thin Blooded Merits having something besides social implications (Not mechanically no--there isn't a roll to determine if your kid exalts--but in a still out of character knowledge sense, from the side bar) is the discomfort.
          Why is an issue?

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          • #6
            So is it that some dragonblooded parents are more likely to have exalted children, or even more specifically just the merit existing that you can give your character a better or worse chance?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
              Why is an issue?

              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
              So is it that some dragonblooded parents are more likely to have exalted children, or even more specifically just the merit existing that you can give your character a better or worse chance?

              The latter seems to be what rubs me the wrong way, yes. I think it's fine for a player to gain a benefit from the social expectations of a pedigree--it being a confirmed genuine thing bugs me more.
              Edited version of the Merit:

              The character has an exceptionally refined pedigree, and history is a predictor of the future. Her children are expected to Exalt as Dragon-Blooded, more so than her peers. This is a prized commodity within the Realm and throughout Creation. Whenever she makes a bargain roll in which her bloodline is a factor, such as negotiating a Dynastic marriage contract or bartering with the noble families of Nechara, she adds an automatic success. Conversely, she gains +1 Resolve against bargains in that context. Neither of these count as a bonus from Charms.

              Basically removing that, in fact, your character has better odds of having Exalted Children. That's the part that feels off and uncomfortable.
              Last edited by Epee102; 01-21-2021, 05:51 PM.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Epee102 View Post

                Basically removing that, in fact, your character has better odds of having Exalted Children. That's the part that feels off and uncomfortable.
                That doesn't tell me why it's an issue or uncomfortable. The point of the merit is that it gives a better perspective on what's the difference between the realm and lookshy in terms of dragon blooded numbers.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
                  Basically removing that, in fact, your character has better odds of having Exalted Children. That's the part that feels off and uncomfortable.
                  Can you expand on this? Like why it’s okay for some people to have better odds of having exalted children, but not good if the PCs do?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                    That doesn't tell me why it's an issue or uncomfortable. The point of the merit is that it gives a better perspective on what's the difference between the realm and lookshy in terms of dragon blooded numbers.
                    ...I don't see how it does that, can you elaborate? The Merit does not require being a part of the Realm or Lookshy, nor is it free for either character types at character Creation? And applies to all people in creation who care about it.
                    "Why is it an issue" Mechanically it's not. In the earlier thread I commented on being dissappointed, not that it broke setting assumptions or was a bad wrong thing.
                    "Why it is uncomfortable for me"...having a merit that concretely says "your kids are more likely to exalt than other DBs" feels weird, in that it focuses on children and gives a player concrete knowledge that feels like it shouldn't exist. It's extraneous information with no mechanical benefit (the exaltation of kids is ST fiat) that's just uncomfortably reminding you "hey, people really care that you have kids and value you for your lineage in a concrete biological way".


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                      Can you expand on this? Like why it’s okay for some people to have better odds of having exalted children, but not good if the PCs do?

                      Kinda touched on above, but to elaborate:
                      It's weird to spend merit points to have my kids more likely to exalt, because it's wierd to spend merit points on things for my kids. And I kinda feel like players shouldn't have control over the odds of Exaltation at all, except the Caul pilgrimage.
                      I tihnk an example would be if beastmen merits called attention to your kids will also get your cat eyes or your thautmurgy. That'd be...weird and extraneous. Like yes, it is factually true that a character with cat eyes is more likely to have kids with cat eyes. Mentioning it is weird.
                      Mentioning it in a merit who's main benefit is the social bargaining power the social pedigree brings--unless folks are doing blood tests--is a bit weirder to me.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
                        Kinda touched on above, but to elaborate:
                        It's weird to spend merit points to have my kids more likely to exalt, because it's wierd to spend merit points on things for my kids. And I kinda feel like players shouldn't have control over the odds of Exaltation at all, except the Caul pilgrimage.
                        I tihnk an example would be if beastmen merits called attention to your kids will also get your cat eyes or your thautmurgy. That'd be...weird and extraneous. Like yes, it is factually true that a character with cat eyes is more likely to have kids with cat eyes. Mentioning it is weird.
                        Mentioning it in a merit who's main benefit is the social bargaining power the social pedigree brings--unless folks are doing blood tests--is a bit weirder to me.
                        Well it might not be so much that people are doing blood tests, but there's an entire ministry of the imperial government dedicated to tracking people's blood strength. If you can prove all 32 of your great grand dai-parents were exalted that's pretty good. You have strong blood, the dragon fire runs really hot in it, and that does translate to your kids.

                        It also may actually affect a game. I'm not sure if it was mentioned in What Fire Has Wrought, since it didn't have an ST section, but in 2e's Manual of Exalted Power: Dragonblooded had a suggestion for a generational game. Where you play one character for a time, then skip time forward and play their kids, then again and play THEIR kids, etc.

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                        • #13
                          I will point out the well-bred merit only applies in situation. negotiations, where your bloodline would matter. So not like you're gonna be gaining advantages to battle strategy because you come from a long line of DBs.

                          Now while it isn't exactly spelled out, I would assume that the merit means not only do you have this, but that you possess or a way exists whereby people can verify this lineage. Not just that people look at you and go "Yup that one's got exalt birthin loins." Note there is a sidebar right after thin blood mentioning that it is still a rather imprecise science, lineages with excellent breeding still have a 20% chance for their kids to be mortal, maybe half for averages, not counting weird stuff where a wild swing happens and none of some great bloodline's 8 children exalt with a bunch of exalts coming from some really happy mortal dynast couple. And ultimately its an at the table call if it comes up.

                          So this would be a situation wherein you're negotiating your blood is in play. Maybe you're negotiating your marriage into a family for some asset and you're presenting your great odds of producing exalted children as why House Mnemon should consider letting you marry that scion of the house that you really hit it off with during a Wyld Hunt despite the fact that your character is from some random bloody satrapy in the sticks as far as the Dynasts are concerned.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Epee102 View Post

                            ...I don't see how it does that, can you elaborate? The Merit does not require being a part of the Realm or Lookshy, nor is it free for either character types at character Creation? And applies to all people in creation who care about it.
                            "Why is it an issue" Mechanically it's not. In the earlier thread I commented on being dissappointed, not that it broke setting assumptions or was a bad wrong thing.
                            "Why it is uncomfortable for me"...having a merit that concretely says "your kids are more likely to exalt than other DBs" feels weird, in that it focuses on children and gives a player concrete knowledge that feels like it shouldn't exist. It's extraneous information with no mechanical benefit (the exaltation of kids is ST fiat) that's just uncomfortably reminding you "hey, people really care that you have kids and value you for your lineage in a concrete biological way".
                            It's reminding you that the Realm values this trait to an absurd degree for a reason. The merit is saying it does have real applications. That outside the realm and parsad, dragon blooded have less exalted children and the reason. Merits like this one don't inform the character of anything. This is an out of world statement to indicate to a player or an ST that if the character they make lives in the realm they can expect more dragon blooded children. However, if they're outside of it, it'll be rare even with another dragon-blooded as their partner.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Epee102 View Post

                              Basically removing that, in fact, your character has better odds of having Exalted Children.
                              But it leads back into the question of how this was ever an expectation and why characters believe it if it never bears out. It makes them look exceptionally unobservant about a thing that is of key interest to them and that they're surrounded by.

                              Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
                              "Why it is uncomfortable for me"...having a merit that concretely says "your kids are more likely to exalt than other DBs" feels weird, in that it focuses on children and gives a player concrete knowledge that feels like it shouldn't exist. It's extraneous information with no mechanical benefit (the exaltation of kids is ST fiat) that's just uncomfortably reminding you "hey, people really care that you have kids and value you for your lineage in a concrete biological way".
                              I mean, the Realm is meant to be full of uncomfortable things on that count. It's why Dynasts can't select who they marry. It's why gay Dynasts have a few pressures against living comfortably. It's why men who have extramarital children get a hard time for it.

                              What is uncomfortable there functions as a source of drama and tension that is part of the game's commentary on power.

                              And it levies a cost for acting in-character against that source of discomfort. Being Well Bred gives you social power, it can give you greater political power from the Exalted children you'll have authority over, it perpetuates the Great House, but it comes with a restriction on autonomy. You can decide autonomy matters more to you, but you give something up for it.

                              It removes some of the teeth from that narrative to say you're not really giving anything up at all.

                              (The other side is that Exalted does not shy away from letting you be morally compromised to exert power. You can learn sorcery from Mara.)

                              Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
                              I tihnk an example would be if beastmen merits called attention to your kids will also get your cat eyes or your thautmurgy. That'd be...weird and extraneous.
                              On the one hand, that is a lot less significant to the narrative of beastfolk than it is to the magic aristocrats. If the Dragon Blooded are going to be magic aristocrats, it's going to cover all the bases.

                              On the other, there is a sidebar talking about how impregnation while a Lunar is in their hybrid form will probably result in the child inheriting mutations, because Lunars actually do cover some parts of animal-human crossbreed narratives, even if it's way less prominent there.

                              Lunars instead give prominence to narratives such as murdering people in order to assume their appearance.

                              EDIT: It's a matter of how Exalted as a game is about taking these elements from fantasy and myth and history and giving some examination to their implications. It doesn't quite make moral judgement, but it doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable stuff. It sympathises with character motivations to do so, but doesn't rationalise them.

                              Dragon Blooded are given motive to perform this stuff with substance, and the issues with it are apparent in text. The player is empowered to engage with those motives and challenges they present, one way or another. It is... less elaborate to present the setup but give it no reality, or not invite players to take part in the dialogue about it.

                              The Well Bred Merit is not an endorsement of the Realm.
                              Last edited by Isator Levi; 01-21-2021, 10:34 PM.


                              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
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