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Show me a Heroic Abyssal

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  • Show me a Heroic Abyssal

    Hello everyone,

    After reading the new excerpt of essence and checking all the exalts, I'm in need of guidance. I can see the heroic and villainous angle of every type of exalt except one: the Abyssals. Unless I'm missing something from their description, they are basically agents of death and enemies of life. Now, I have to admit that my knowledge of Abyssals comes from this excerpt and what I've seen in the wiki, so I may be missing something. That's why I wanted to ask you all if you could show me how you would make a heroic Abyssal, what are their redeeming qualities?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Firanai; 06-03-2021, 05:43 PM.

  • #2
    Well, the "classic" heroic Abyssal, which XS only mentions in passing, is a tormented renegade from the Deathlords' cause, his Exaltation a terrible burden, his goal redemption.

    Late in its run, though, 2e presented some divergences from that dualistic morality of loyalist/renegade, which 3e will hopefully enable. Some examples from that time:

    The Speaker for the Dead
    He lives in a cave high on the mountain, overlooking the shadowland. One day every week he meditates in the graveyard, watching the living venerate the dead. Those whose offerings are meager he investigates. If he finds them misers, he makes them into the paupers their offerings suggest them to be. If they are too poor to properly venerate their ancestors, he helps increase their fortunes in the world as best he can.
    When Immaculate monks came to ward shut the shadowland with prayers and salt and road-shrines to greedy gods, he scattered them with his fists. When he found a child wandering lost on the north road, he led her home. When an agent of the Deathlords arrived, preaching the doctrine of Oblivion, he sent that man to experience his black apotheosis firsthand.
    He walks among the dead by night, settling disputes among households top-heavy with elders. He distills the wisdom of the ancestors into words that ring true to those too young or alive to heed those who came before. He punishes those ghosts that grow fat on worship without guiding or assisting the living.
    He wears a mask of beautiful ivory and robes of the finest silk. No one has ever seen his face. Maggots writhe in his footprints. He speaks for the dead. Pity those who will not listen.

    The Wrath of Heaven
    The Lunar cast auguries for her mate and found the stars silent. But she didn’t give up. She finally found him on the road leading away from Chiaroscuro, riding a black horse, devoid of purpose, another ghost blowing across the desert.
    Now their love gives them both meaning. She is Chosen of the Argent Madonna, the clever eyes and fingers of Heaven. He is her blade. Descending into the Underworld, they destroyed a column of the Legion Sanguinary. Returning to the living world, they laid siege to a blasphemous ziggurat amidst silver sands. When the Wyld Hunt sent its assassins, he stood strong and protected her. When her mentor told her this was not as her mate should be, she laughed.
    They go up and down the length of the desert, the black rider and the little bat flying ahead of him. Their legend spreads. The wicked fear their coming. The just doubt they are real. The dead search for them both. Ten thousand terrible things lurk among the sands of two worlds. None of them are safe.

    The Pale Evangelist
    To all suffering, he says, there is an answer.
    All who’ve seen the pale evangelist remember him. His lips are red as blood. His skin is alabaster. He wears carnations in his hair. He is finer and more beautiful than the world through which he moves. He awes the dead and disquiets the living.
    The evangelist walks the lands of the living to spread the good news of the grave. There is a joy in him as he describes the beauty of the Underworld, the passion of the dead, the magnificence of eternity. A paper shirt burned in honor of the dead, he says, will become a fine silk tunic, a tiny wooden sword a mighty blade. The dead do not starve. They do not freeze. So long as the living honor them, they want for nothing.
    Ancestor cults spring up in his wake. He assists suicides, smiling as he guides those with the courage to heed his words into a new existence, free of the indignities of flesh. The pale evangelist believes it is better to be dead than to be alive, and many find his testimony convincing.
    Of course, preaching anything inconvenient to the powers of the world has its dangers. The Wyld Hunt seeks his whereabouts. Gods confront him, incensed by his accusations of venal extortion. At these times he summons up the corpses of the departed to fight on his behalf; it amuses him to make the detritus of life serve the cause of death.

    The Blade of Vengeance
    The dead have grievances. She settles them.
    She frequently targets the Guild, leading some to believe she took the Last Breath in chains. Her blades strike down tyrannical ghosts, reunites murderers with their victims, permanently still the tongues of necromancers.
    She shrouds herself in dark winding-cloth and carries a short daiklave on each hip. Rumor has it she is beautiful beneath her shrouds, but no one can claim to have seen anything but her red eyes. She rarely speaks, and then only to set terms and demand payment. Her prices vary: five thousand obols to slay a wicked king; a relic dagger to burn down a Guildsman’s manor; a gold brooch to slay a father who drowned his five daughters.
    She will not act as the agent of those with power enough to take their own revenge. Those who attempt to deceive her regret it—briefly. She believes Creation unjust and the Underworld a house of suffering. Whenever she helps a ghost pass on to Lethe, its business fulfilled, she feels the rage burning in her own heart cool ever so slightly. Perhaps that fire will never go out. It matters little. The Underworld is vast.
    Most of these, you can even do as a servant of the Deathlords. You just have to accept that your boss is a dolorous and black-hearted tyrant of the dead.
    But that's awesome, so, yeah.
    Last edited by The MG; 06-03-2021, 05:15 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow, thank you so much. These examples are awesome! They give so much more context a nuance to the Abyssals. Now I have examples to show my players.

      Comment


      • #4
        There's "going around killing everybody" enemy of life and there's "be all gothy and melodramatic and composing elaborate poetry about the fragility of fallen foes" enemy of life.


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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Firanai View Post
          Hello everyone,

          After reading the new excerpt of essence and checking all the exalts, I'm in need of guidance. I can see the heroic and villainous angle of every type of exalt except one: the Abyssals. Unless I'm missing something from their description, they are basically agents of death and enemies of life. Now, I have to admit that my knowledge of Abyssals comes from this excerpt and what I've seen in the wiki, so I may be missing something. That's why I wanted to ask you all if you could show me how you would make a heroic Abyssal, what are their redeeming qualities?

          Thanks
          Midnight Therapist.

          I'm serious. Their Active Anima makes them perfect grief counselors, since they can inspire inner peace or acceptance just as easily as terror or despair.


          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
            There's "going around killing everybody" enemy of life and there's "be all gothy and melodramatic and composing elaborate poetry about the fragility of fallen foes" enemy of life.
            Honestly, I don't know which one I despise most XD

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Leliel View Post

              Midnight Therapist.

              I'm serious. Their Active Anima makes them perfect grief counselors, since they can inspire inner peace or acceptance just as easily as terror or despair.

              Hum...an interesting concept. I suppose their relationship with death and abilities makes them uniquely qualified to offer people a new perspective. They bring inner peace to the living by helping them understand death and life.

              Thanks

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Firanai View Post

                Honestly, I don't know which one I despise most XD
                I think something that Abyssals and Infernals are primed to explore is how not everything people will sincerely cheer for is good or healthy.

                Like, if impoverishing people for not making sufficient grave offerings, assisting suicides, and acting as an assassination service for vengeful ghosts are appropriately heroic, I think you and I and the books are basically on the same page.


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

                Comment


                • #9
                  you want to see a heroic abyssal? ok


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                    I think something that Abyssals and Infernals are primed to explore is how not everything people will sincerely cheer for is good or healthy.

                    Like, if impoverishing people for not making sufficient grave offerings, assisting suicides, and acting as an assassination service for vengeful ghosts are appropriately heroic, I think you and I and the books are basically on the same page.
                    Yeah, I can see how Abyssals and Infernals would develop a very twisted sense of morality that nevertheless makes perfect sense for them, as you say it could be an interesting concept to explore.
                    I admit that the very concept of heroic can be very ambiguous, what is heroic for someone is villainous to others, I should have been more specific. The issue I had is that I didn't see any redeeming quality in them, at least till you all gave me examples.
                    I wasn't so much interested in seeing a "heroic" abyssal in the classic sense as seeing how you would play a "moral" abyssal (regardless of how twisted that moral is) that wants more than the destruction of life and veneration of death, or approaches these principles with more nuance.
                    In any case, you gave me great ideas. Thanks again.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by vampire hunter D View Post
                      you want to see a heroic abyssal? ok


                      +1 for Hellsing reference.

                      Now seriously, I don't know if I would call him "heroic", but I can see him as the perfect example of an antihero Abyssal monster that hunts other monsters.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm not sure I honestly see him {the above picture of Alucard from the VanHelsing anime} as an Abyssal- other then him being a vampire - he was is more a Infernal [or maybe a Coruptued Lunar] to be.

                        but I could be a hypocrite as I was going to suggest that Netflix Castlevaina has a few people who could be Heroic Abyssals - Issac for one ... for reason that are spoilery
                        Last edited by ardenty; 06-04-2021, 08:46 AM.


                        .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                          I think something that Abyssals and Infernals are primed to explore is how not everything people will sincerely cheer for is good or healthy.

                          Like, if impoverishing people for not making sufficient grave offerings, assisting suicides, and acting as an assassination service for vengeful ghosts are appropriately heroic, I think you and I and the books are basically on the same page.


                          #1: As described it was heroic, he made sure the ghosts gave their descendants aid so anyone that was shorting them out of greed was actively ripping off their own family despite services rendered. He didn't punish the poor who couldn't afford it, just the greedy who ripped off their own flesh and blood.

                          #2: Nah, that guy is a creeper who needs to go kill himself first if suicide is so damn great.

                          #3 Depends on the grievance, taking a job from the ghost of a guild factor who wants you to kill those uppity slaves that revolted and put his head on a pike is a bit different from taking a job from a slave who wants his master killed for beating them to death in a fit of pique.
                          Last edited by Mizu; 06-04-2021, 04:28 PM.


                          Exalted Whose Name is Carved in Leaves of Jade

                          Senator of the Greater Chamber

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                          • #14
                            Would Guts from the Manga "Berserk" count as a Heroic Abyssal?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hachiman View Post
                              Would Guts from the Manga "Berserk" count as a Heroic Abyssal?

                              Probably depends on what part of the story Guts you are talking about, he was a pretty big prick for awhile there.


                              Exalted Whose Name is Carved in Leaves of Jade

                              Senator of the Greater Chamber

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