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2E—Devil-Tigers and the Surrender Oaths

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  • #16
    It's worth noting, on top of all that, that part of the reason infernals were made in the first place was because they were explicitly not demons. They aren't bound by the oaths even at their most subservient to the yozis. Becoming a whole new thing on top of that, especially knowing it defies everything they stand for, will only drive them further away from such chains.


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    • #17
      This topic brings up an interesting question; if a Yozi suffers Fetich death but doesn't become a Neverborn, are they even subject to the surrender oaths from that point forward? They become a new individual who didn't sign up to it.

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      • #18
        Presumably Fetich death would not free a Yozi from the surrender oaths because 1) it seems like a pretty obvious loophole and 2) if it would free the Yozi, it stands to reason they probably would have found someone willing to Fetich death them over the last several thousand years and there would be several free Primordials running around, or at least there would be records of Yozi freeing themselves in such a manner.

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        • #19
          I'm inclined to say that fetich death probably won't free a Yozi because they're bound by something more fundamental than what it changes, but that this isn't known as a definitive thing in character by anybody, least of all the Yozis themselves.

          I'd be inclined to that because I believe that it's more compelling for the Yozis concerned with freedom to be constantly tantalised by the prospect that destroying their fetich souls would release them, but supremely unwilling to experiment. That fetich death is an existentially disturbing prospect, and the visible examples bear out that it is a terribly painful, humiliating, degrading one, only barely preferable to genuine death. Until such time as you could prove it would work, the consequences of failure are unacceptable. It may very well be that even if you could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would work, the price would be too steep, some even contemplating that the being that would be released would not truly be them in a meaningful sense. So long as there's even the most distant prospect of escape by other means, fundamentally mutilating themselves remains a consideration of the very last resort (perhaps even to the extent that it lies behind "remain imprisoned forever").

          Besides, they still have their pride. The Ebon Dragon insists that the work of the gods cannot ultimately bind him, his ego will probably not entertain the notion that he cannot eventually devise a means of escape in its own right, rather than relying on the vulgar technicality of changing out of the imprisoned identity; to do so would imply that he was ever actually imprisoned at all.

          And as far as "the gods and Exalted would not devise a prison that had that means of escape in it", well... who surrendered to whom? This isn't the typical fantasy narrative in which the great evil was sealed away after the most desperate struggle where they just barely managed to overcome and then had to inherit a broken world, a setting in which the prison must be maintained at all costs because they won't be able to defeat it a second time. The Primordials gave up! They were either losing, or lacked the will to continue to fight in the face of what it could cost them. If one pops out again? Deal with it in the manner that they surrendered to avoid. Do that if all of them ever actually managed to escape.

          (This isn't a 100% sound reasoning, but neither is anything that anybody else in this setting does. It's reasonable enough.)
          Last edited by Isator Levi; 03-12-2021, 10:07 PM.


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          • #20
            I think there was something written that says that part of the surrender oaths prevented the Yozi from trying to harm eachother, I believe it was presumed to be a preventative measure against either side deciding to see if Demon Tyrant's remains or whatever Neverborn Malfeas would be still was bound to the oaths or the Yozi were bound to be contained inside the corpse of their king.

            With regards to the logic train that as 2e Yozi were their charms and Infernals using said charms qualified them as CoD under the Yozi restrictions, I do think I should mention a slight complication. The Devil Tiger path requires a number of Heresy charms, not counting charms the Devil Tiger makes for themselves as part of their final Apotheosis, and Heresy charms were listed as such because they couldn't be learned by the Yozi due to mixing things from more than one Yozi.

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            • #21
              A safe presumption with the Oaths is that if you can think of a way to break it, so could they.
              And if they could, and didn't, it's because they in fact couldn't.

              Narrative presumptions give you that advantage


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              • #22
                Fetich death being a means of freeing the Yozis from their surrender oaths is an explicit plot point in my campaign. But the Yozis didn't do it themselves - fetich death is a permanent death of self, not something they would ever see as an acceptable means of securing their freedom. Unfortunately they failed to specify this to the Green Sun Princes they charged with getting them free. Over time these GSPs grew and became Devil Tigers, concealing their true power until they were ready to strike. Then they did what they were made to do. They killed their master's souls, over and over, carving away at their fundamental nature, until what reformed in their place did not have the oaths as part of its nature. And when they were done, and the Old Ones were twisted, gibbering wrecks, but free, as had been promised, the Devil Tigers took their place at the head of the unleashed hordes of hell, ready to reclaim Creation and reforge it in their image.

                Now, I'm not saying fetich death is a canonical way to free the Yozis, it's just something that worked for my campaign. But I think you can certainly tell some stories with it.

                As for the original topic, I do not believe Devil Tigers would be party to the surrender oaths. The oaths don't bind all primordials loyal to Malfeas as a category. The Yozis are bound as individuals, as others have pointed out. The Aftershock War was caused by a primordial which escaped Creation rather than surrendering, and later came back to cause trouble. No one swore an oath on its behalf, or that war would have been much, much easier.

                Infernal exalts, both GSPs and Akuma, are not subject to the surrender oaths despite using Yozi Charms, so simply using Charms which make up part of a Yozi's nature does not bind an entity to the oaths the Yozi made. I do not see a compelling argument why they would start binding an exalt to the oaths once they achieve apotheosis, provided that apotheosis maintained their status as a separate individual. And part of the whole thing about becoming a Devil Tiger is reforging yourself to better reflect your own nature and assert yourself as an individual apart from your creators. So, yeah.


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                Currently running an Exalted 2.5 Abyssals game in a homebrew modern shard because I value neither my time or my sanity, and I'm loving almost every minute of it.

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                • #23
                  Well, "they" wouldn't really be free of the oath. They just died, and a new individual is created. Perhaps that's why they don't do it. Isator Levi makes an excellent point form this perspective.

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                  • #24
                    Yes, as I said, fetich death a permanent death of self. There may be a certain continuity between the two individuals (including memories, it seems), but no one in their right mind is going to agree to having their personality scrambled and poured into a new mould. Which is why in my campaign I presented it as the outcome of a sort of "evil genie literal interpretation wish fulfillment" scenario.


                    "Measure of Hope is right about everything." - Wise Old Guru

                    Currently running an Exalted 2.5 Abyssals game in a homebrew modern shard because I value neither my time or my sanity, and I'm loving almost every minute of it.

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                    • #25
                      Several of the Yozi, noticably Malfeas, suffered fetich death... so... yeah.

                      I'd say a Primordial is more than the sum of their parts. A Yozi suffering fetich death is no more released from their oath than a human who loses their arms is released from their mystical oaths. A Yozi who loses all of their third circle souls (which define their being) is probably released from their oath... but is also probably dead.


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                      • #26
                        My perspective is that a Primordial retains enough of itself on both sides of fetich death to recognisably be the same being, but they still feel the losses on an extremely deep level, enough to avoid it at almost any cost.

                        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                        A Yozi who loses all of their third circle souls (which define their being) is probably released from their oath... but is also probably dead.
                        My own preference is that there's something enduring and indestructible (barring Exalted magic) to a Primordial that survives the loss of all souls, and even if such a thing drives them into a state of extreme quiescence (still far better than the actual death that is being Neverborn), new souls will emerge eventually.

                        It would be rough to go through, but you keep moving.

                        Indeed, such a quality contributes to why they fall so far into the Abyss. There's just so much life to them, if they actually do die it takes an eternity for all of that to fall apart.


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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                          Several of the Yozi, noticably Malfeas, suffered fetich death... so... yeah.

                          I'd say a Primordial is more than the sum of their parts. A Yozi suffering fetich death is no more released from their oath than a human who loses their arms is released from their mystical oaths. A Yozi who loses all of their third circle souls (which define their being) is probably released from their oath... but is also probably dead.
                          I'm pretty sure we don't know when exactly the oaths were taken and who exactly took the oaths. I was under the impression the predecessor to Malfeas suffered fetich death and then took the oaths.

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                          • #28
                            The 2E lore is that the primordials surrendered and then the exalted host killed a few more of their souls to modify them into the yozis and make them more containable. I don't know off the top of my head if any had their fetich killed in this process. I recall reading that Adrien lost her fetich during the war and became Adorjan, but I can't remember when Theion lost his first fetich and became Malfeas, or if any of the other survivors lost their fetich at either point.


                            "Measure of Hope is right about everything." - Wise Old Guru

                            Currently running an Exalted 2.5 Abyssals game in a homebrew modern shard because I value neither my time or my sanity, and I'm loving almost every minute of it.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Measure of Hope View Post
                              The 2E lore is that the primordials surrendered and then the exalted host killed a few more of their souls to modify them into the yozis and make them more containable. I don't know off the top of my head if any had their fetich killed in this process. I recall reading that Adrien lost her fetich during the war and became Adorjan, but I can't remember when Theion lost his first fetich and became Malfeas, or if any of the other survivors lost their fetich at either point.
                              Malfeas had his executed as per the 2e corebook.

                              After the corebook, a few were retroactively given fetich death as well. Namely Cecylene and Sachvarell, the former I think because the author htought making 3/5 of the first described ones fetich-killed would somehow make that significant at that point, and the latter for I think mostly to link it to the White Ram descritpion in the 2e Lunars ST Chapter. Elloge was also noted as such but she was invented whole-cloth and still pretty much still a speech ball, so not sure it was needed there either.


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