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Astrology and Free Will

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  • Astrology and Free Will

    So I just read that "there's a whole millennia-long debate about astrology in judaism and one of the positions is 'astrology is true for everyone except jews because god gives jews more free will'" on this tweet and I just thought, "what a cool concept for Exalted!"

    How about it? Maybe a solar discovers that one one of their earlier incarnations helped create a crafted race in this mold, one that would be less connected to the loom of fate.

    Maybe this race was once very successful, maybe in the lost western continent, but it has been persecuted across the centuries by fate itself, on the order of sidereals.

    Maybe it was the success of this race and the possibility of unwinding fate itself that tipped the scales in favor of the Usurpation!

    Now, imagine this race is essentially extinct... But when the Getiminian appear, they're essentially an Exalted version of this old enemy! Would be a really cool Getiminian-Solar campaign, seeking the truth behind the old fateless ones in ruins across Creation, braving old archives and memories, exploring the eastern wyld to find the remains of the lost continent, and finally finding out if there are any survivors, hidden from fate, and whether they could become allies...

  • #2
    Hmm. Not exactly a fan of "the Sidereals were mustache-twirling wicked people persecuting the poor widdle fate-obscured people". Also a little backwards in how in 3e there is no Outside of Fate, not even Getimians [developer quote: "They're as outside fate as you can get, but it would be lame to say "Yeah, all your powers just don't work against your rival", so the concept of "Sidereal stuff doesn't work vs Outside Fate" is gone"].

    A lost people whose home was obscured from the loom's view, and wiped out by an accidental disaster that was thought to hurt no one, would be a way to handle it without turning Sidereals into Mustache-Twirling Designated Evil Guys -- the island was recorded as uninhabited, so there was no fuss over letting the volcano erupt as normal (and wipe out their home and civilization).

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    • #3
      I like that. Yeah, Sidereals shouldn't just be an evil faction, even if the propaganda might make'em so... So maybe we're talking about a crafted people as outside fate as a mortal people could get i.e. more than average but not so much as Exalted, Sidereals and even Getiminians... Which presented problems for proper Sidereal calibration so whoops, sorry, we didn't mean it but you're dead.

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      • #4
        I'm pretty sure folks have free will in Exalted.

        Like, if I offer you a bowl of soup and a bowl of yeddim dung, I can accurately predict which one you are going to eat for dinner, but that doesn't take away your free will.

        If destiny overrode free will, you wouldn't need terrestrial gods overseeing their domains, or entire beuroes of fate with their Sidereal agents making sure things go according to plan. Things would just go according to plan. If fate worked as a mind control override, then the fallen state of the second age is basically inexcusable.

        That said, I love the concept. An independent people, shielded from the eyes of heaven. A hidden island, a lost Solar domain. A people scattered in a diaspora, either ignorant of their origins or fighting a shadow-war against the agents of fate, allied to the Exalted of a Fate-That-Never-Was. A journey of discovery in the far reaches of the world, plumbing for the deepest depths of lost knowledge from a bygone age.

        This is good stuff.


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

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        • #5
          I’m pretty sure the Caul hits about half these notes.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Meianno Yuurei View Post
            [developer quote: "They're as outside fate as you can get, but it would be lame to say "Yeah, all your powers just don't work against your rival", so the concept of "Sidereal stuff doesn't work vs Outside Fate" is gone"].
            It bears reminding that in First and Second Edition, remarkably few Sidereal Charms actually failed to function on beings Outside Fate.

            The powers to see something's future didn't even fall under that category.


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

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

              It bears reminding that in First and Second Edition, remarkably few Sidereal Charms actually failed to function on beings Outside Fate.

              The powers to see something's future didn't even fall under that category.
              It was something that only applied to a number social charms because of how the social charms worked and only applied them to people in creation. I don't think it was a big enough of an issue to remove.

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              • #8
                Yeah, in prior editions fate isn't predestination: it's a groove people tend to fall into if they aren't actively opposing it. Exalts, by the nature of being Exalted, find destiny an easier thing to deny but even a normal person can decide to go a different way. Heck, if they couldn't, Sidereals would have a much easier job.

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                • #9
                  Re: the free will question, I'd be inclined to take a Molinist approach and say that each hun soul has (or, in a certain sense, is) a "what-I-would-do-in-such-and-such-a-situation" function. If, given the opportunity, Tepet Liai would abuse his subordinates, unless he is in the fervor of religious renewal, which he would experience when he hits rock bottom, then that's a constraint the Loom operates under, same as "if a piece of paper gets thrown into a fire, it burns."

                  Of course, the operators of the Loom aren't omnipotent or omniscient or omnibenevolent, merely very powerful and pretty smart and mostly well-meaning, so you don't get the Best Of All Worlds, just one at an acceptable threshold of not totally going haywire, until chaotic factors outside the system, or further analysis, or whatever means adjustments are needed.

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                  • #10
                    Fate means a particular thing in Exalted that isn't quite what a lot of fantasy settings put it as. It's basically causality. The classical example philoosphers like to use is throwing a brick through a window. If a brick hits a window pane going at some speed, the window will break, the brick will continue moving a bit, and hit the ground. We explain that vai physics. Creation explains it via Fate. Fate is the "When soemthing is caused, what is the effect?" Where free will live sin this is actually kind of weird. As even on Earth there's debates on this still. Like, to put my cards out, I don't think free will is real as we usually want to conceive of it. But I act like I have it since in the end, it's kind of not really something I'm interested in changing my behavior to assume as most folks go on fine assuming it's there.

                    This also is notable in that Creation doesn't have like, a fixed future either. It has a levle of chaos, not in the Wyld sense, but the probabalistic sense. If I have two objects in a frictionless space which are perfeclty spherical, and have no electrical charge, I can predict their movement compared to one-another fine. Moment I add a third body? No longer possible. The world is full of determinsitic (ie, subject to the base physical rules of causality) that are nonetheless not-predictable. Because we can't calculate to infinite digits, our weather forecasts after a point are no better than just looking up in an almanac. We ca't predict stock markets, meme trends, or even asteroid orbits beyond a certain point with assuredy. And nothing in Creation to me says they're any different. There is just more concious control on the facotrs. Some of this could be the abiltiy of sapient creatures to make choices. It might also be that while wind runs on its own and is subject ot rainforest butterflies as Earth, those winds also have magic bears who push things around as they think is appropriate.

                    Sidereal magic kind of operates in this basically. It pushes the probability strings. If you know what the butterfly in the rainforest does...you can short-circuit th eocnnection or redirect things to not get the hurricane. Getimian magic and things out of Fate basically in 3e's context in this things that intorduce outside factors. Earth is going to run fine and with a pretty internally consistent system...until a meteorite hits somewhere or a volcano goes off to disrupt it. You can have a ten year harvest destroyed by a bad volcano eruption. That harvest gets really weird when you have folks showing up from literlaly out of space an time imposing things on it that weren't ehre in the first palce, or chanigng what it was supposed to be in the long term.


                    And stuff.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aliasi View Post
                      Yeah, in prior editions fate isn't predestination: it's a groove people tend to fall into if they aren't actively opposing it. Exalts, by the nature of being Exalted, find destiny an easier thing to deny but even a normal person can decide to go a different way. Heck, if they couldn't, Sidereals would have a much easier job.
                      It's not but sidereals and the bureau do actively plan the more important and broad parts of destiny. they do make destinies to enforce certain situations and if they don't happen because they were put into the loom, they cause snarls.

                      For the original poster, Fate has different meanings dependent on what kind of a situation you're talking about. Most of fate is just "if you open the door to your house, the inside is your home." In places where the loom has snarled it turns into "If you open the door you might end up in your house or you could end up inside malfaes." However, a few parts of fate also deal with destiny. The bureau plans events that have to happen to keep the loom safe. For example, if a group of people staying in their astral homeland will keep the loom stable and the realm is trying to get rid of them to pave the way for more farmland, then the realm has to be stopped. Agents of the bureau, usually sidereals, will make sure the realm loses this battle, regardless of personal feelings as a result. These are pretty rare though. Some destiny is planned by gods, usually for personal benefit as the gods outside of specific situations are only supposed to report on their purview rather than openly manipulate it. Most of what's planned for creation is done by sidereals in conventions. They actively plan the future, but do so in broad strokes. But these aren't the types of destinies that apply to every single individual. Most people make their own luck, while a few successfully bribe gods for it. Destiny also isn't a sure thing. It's just something that shifts the odds towards it happening. Though when it doesn't happen, the loom gets damaged as a result.

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                      • #12
                        Everything Blaque said is true, but if I may put my spin on it.

                        In a "Doylist" sense, first and foremost, Fate in Exalted is what it needs to be to make the Sidereals who they are. And part of that *is* those archetypal fantasy tropes. It is the cruel judgment on the gods that echoes doom against blameless mortals from soothsayers' mouths; it is the prophecy discovered by The Great Wizard that will save mankind. And it is these things because the Sidereals channel the archetypal figure of the prophecy maker in myth and fantasy fiction.

                        But it's also something else that is more on an unusual trope in fantasy, and that is heavily inspired by The Traveller In Black. This is a great little fantasy novella that has an unusual hero, a kind of wizard like figure who can change reality by will and word, but who does so in the service of bringing what must be into reality. By doing so, he tames the world's chaos and lack of causality and "law", making the world a place for human flourishing.

                        I think Geoff Grabowski thought this was a fairly unusual trope (although themes of "law" and "chaos" are by no means unusual to writers of the 60s-70s pulp revival, and the RPGs they influenced) and would be a great way to make the Sidereals sympathetic to a playerbase who'd probably be inclined to be unsympathetic to the ideas of a heavenly plan for reality... especially one as excuted through a grand bureaucracy and given Exalted's general heroic thrust.

                        (And of course there are these naturally complementary Chinese/Confucian tropes mixed in with this, ideas about how harmony between the affairs of mankind and the will of Heaven preserves the state of the world and flourishing human society, and disharmony and imbalance between these forces will manifest in bad omens and natural disasters.)

                        Thus the Sidereals!

                        This is of course some difficulty for playing with the trope that "freeing people from Fate and Destiny" is in some way good; under Exalted's cosmology this is decidedly a mixed thing, because Fate and Destiny (and "the weave of events...") are the forces that hold the fabric of the real apart the false and make humans able to build and sustain meaning and wellbeing in the world.

                        (Further to this, I'm not sure this really captures any great themes about our real world, or is a set of ideas that seemed interesting to play with!).

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