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Random Spirit and Yu Shan questions, please help my understanding if you can :)

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  • Random Spirit and Yu Shan questions, please help my understanding if you can :)

    I'm sorry I can't keep all this in separate threads, but most of these questions are related as they're part of a plot I'm currently working on. There are some things I'm still not 100% clear on how they work in the world of Creation and I'd love some input from folks:

    Do all spirits/gods have 'anima banners' like Exalts or is it something else? If my exalts are interacting with a powerful spirit being directly, let's say mentally through a spiritual connection, would the "spiritual connection" be linked essence? Like the exalt's anima banner interfacing with the spirit's/god's so that they can "go into" its mind? In this particular case I have a method already created by the being because it does this voluntarily in some cases (something you can ingest to be drawn into its mental landscape basically) but I was wondering how an exalt might FORCE that connection.

    How might exalts come into information they have NO way of knowing and NO nearby leads on (aka no tombs, ruins, or anything else nearby to give them the history they don't have)? My best bet here is Yu Shan - I'm thinking they may have to contact someone in heaven to see if the historical information they're looking for (which has no evidence in the modern world to find) can be viewed/accessed from Heaven's records or the loom of fate. If this is the case, then I want to ask, CAN they do that at essence 2/3 range and how would it work? I don't know that they have specific charms for it but could a sorcerous working work or could they just do a straight up ritual to get the attention of Yu Shan spirits/gods? If that's the case HOW would that work? My understanding is that local gods rule their local area and confer with Heaven through Dragon messengers, and Dragons are the messenger spirits of heaven. If this is so then would they need to do a ritual to impress and bring the local gods into the fold and then convince them to petition a dragon for an audience, THEN ask the dragon for the information in heaven they want?

    How would Sidereals fit into what I described above? Specifically, do sidereals have all the information they need to intervene if Exalts start directly petitioning heavenly gods for favors? And if so how likely are they to be hostile to it? I assume even the Bronze faction is aware of solar activity even if they don't always move against it directly. I assume that GOLD faction sidereals look out for solars, and would be most likely to answer that kind of call, right?

    Is there any way around a Sidereal's arcane fate? In other words, can sidereals pick and choose who forgets them when they see them? Or is it always automatically true no matter what they do? I know they can choose a fake identity, like a real person they inhabit as a "costume" and "play" as them indefinitely, but do they ever just show up as themselves and "disable" their "fate cloaking" that makes people forget them? If so, how easy is that for them to do? DO they need to make a personal connection to the exalts they deal with (some kind of ritual or essence exchange) to make that work? Or is it just a switch they flip on their end?

    What kinds of things can cause a spirit or god to evolve? I have my ideas about what I want to do for my plot, but I'm curious how close to the baseline they are. My theory is that in the same way humans were an unexpected biproduct of the forces of creation (aka they survived even though they were more fragile than the dragon kings) and over time even became capable of wielding the mighty exaltation, and kind of perfect for it, isn't it conceivable that on a long enough timeline, a spirit-being created by an exalt (a hybrid new thing) could, over centuries or millenia or even just a few decades, begin incorporating new things/ideas into it? Or are all spirits/gods incapable of "growth" in that sense (like a fundamental mutation or change to what they are) and would it require an impetus?


    Thank you so much to anyone who read this the whole way through. I know it's a lot to ask, but I'm hoping different people tackling different subjects may give me a well rounded picture. Please be patience with my ignorance on heaven related exalted lore

  • #2
    Anima banners are an exalt exclusive thing. Basically spirits like gods, ghosts, and elementals all just draw on a purely internal essence pool. Unlike an Exalt which has the personal and periphreal pools. The lack of the external pool means other things don't have an anima banner.

    Okay, so you're gonna need to explain the circumstances a bit more since I'm not sure if you're asking how a character could learn information as in come to know something or in the "I rolled 25 successes I know about this." As far as charm based information gathering would go if there is really absolutely nothing the character could draw on to let them know the information then regardless of the roll they wouldn't know because as stated they have no way of knowing that.(If there's zero chance for them to know a thing I'd just tell them not to roll because they wouldn't know that.) You do have some leeway in that maybe you could have them remember something from a prior incarnation.

    Sids have a fair amount of knowledge, but one of their primary traits (I think through all editions) is that they have nowhere near the manpower to actually operate at a level where the individual's to do list can't double as a well structured hill. Second the Sids are not all knowing, they are better informed than the majority of exalts in Creation, at least in pertaining to things dealing with Yu-Shan and Fate, but it isn't at the level where a Solar petitioning the Golden City for knowledge of an underground spring so the city the Solar wishes to build can survive would immediately be pinged by the Sids. They aren't even necessarily aware of the actions of a Solar much more most people in Creation's actions, outside that the Sids may be paying more attention to the actions of a Solar if the individual or Circle is causing problems.

    Arcane Fate is an unintended backlash of breaking Mask, or at least it was in 2e I'm pretty sure it still is though not 100% sure. Regardless, it isn't something the Sids do its just a thing that is on them. The fake identities they put on are pretty much the only way a Sid bypasses the part where non-essence users start forgetting they exist shortly after they stop dealing with the Sid.

    As far as spirit improvement, refining essence and promotion are probably the big ones. I mean decently willing to bet Ahlat''s more bovine aspects are more recent than when he was in charge of walrus mating habits. Other things are trickier and more in up in the air this time around I think.

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    • #3
      Exalts' ways of gathering information are mostly like humans, but better. "Ask someone who knows the answer" is a fair method of gathering information, and there are lots of people in Yu-Shan who know things. I don't think that Exalts have any special ability to ask people in Yu-Shan questions.
      I think that in most versions of Exalted gods can hear well-executed prayers to them, and Exalts are good at prayer in the same way they're good at everything else. They'd still need some way to communicate the answer to a question back to you, but some gods might have inherent abilities to do that - the Field Guardian in the 3e corebook can send people dreams teaching them how to farm

      Sidereal who work for Heaven are likely to have an easier time asking people in Yu-Shan questions, and knowing the sorts of information known in Yu-Shan, then people who don't work for Heaven or live in Yu-Shan. I don't think they'd inherently know if an Exalt was petitioning a god for favors, but if a god is doing things it probably will eventually be noticed by Sidereals. Figuring out it's because a Solar asked them to seems harder.

      There are some kinds of entities not affected by Arcane Fate - In Essence it's Heavenly Officials, the Sidereal's Circle, and people with Intimacies towards them.

      My impression is that in previous editions it was something like Heavenly Officials are immune, and people with intimacies are resistant and take longer to forget, but if they get reminded more often then they forget they can remember indefinitely. And that being an Exalt also extended the Mean Time to Forget (maybe more like having power or a strong will did this, so probably powerful spirits were also resistant?)

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      • #4
        So then a few additional questions-

        How does essence refinement technically work as presented in the book? Or is it left nebulous and vague and probably works the way it sounds (essence cultivates and "refines" into "better essence" inside the god/spirit over time)?

        If gods and spirits all have ONLY internal pools, how do they know the things happening in their domain? Like is it all down to lesser, functionary gods and spirits (like air spirits) behaving as spies? Because that's basically how an exalt would do it 9 times out of 10. I always assumed really powerful gods/spirits had a "field" of essence around them in which they could detect and know things (like if someone's praying to them and I assumed that's' how that worked). If this isn't how it works can you explain to me how gods or spirits are so in tune with the world around them?

        From how far away can a god know it's being prayed to? Anywhere in creation? Is there anything in any book that solidifies this?

        How thorough are the records in the loom of fate? Can you rewind it like a movie and literally watch something from history replay as it actually happened, or is it more like you have to find notes someone from heaven took during that loom experience and it can't be directly accessed now?

        Thank you all for fielding these questions and I hope the followups aren't too much. I think this is the last of what I need to know so I'd greatly appreciate some responses to these!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Loving the Gorgon View Post

          How does essence refinement technically work as presented in the book? Or is it left nebulous and vague and probably works the way it sounds (essence cultivates and "refines" into "better essence" inside the god/spirit over time)?
          The power of gods is largely a function of their rank in the Celestial Order. It's possible for gods to grow a bit stronger by virtue of promotion, and even a bit from being widely worshipped, but not by too much. Ultimately, if you're the god of a certain field or a minor species of animal, you don't have much latitude to rise in station.

          It can be possible for the Sidereal Exalted or most powerful gods to promote somebody far above their initial standing if circumstances warrant it, with the additional power that comes with it, but such an event is highly exceptional.

          Originally posted by Loving the Gorgon
          If gods and spirits all have ONLY internal pools, how do they know the things happening in their domain? Like is it all down to lesser, functionary gods and spirits (like air spirits) behaving as spies? Because that's basically how an exalt would do it 9 times out of 10. I always assumed really powerful gods/spirits had a "field" of essence around them in which they could detect and know things (like if someone's praying to them and I assumed that's' how that worked). If this isn't how it works can you explain to me how gods or spirits are so in tune with the world around them?
          Some of it can be Charms (or even Merits) unique to the god that cover an idea of being innately aware of the condition of their domain (a power unlike what the Exalted can typically get), some of it is receiving reports from gods that they have authority over (not necessarily spying, anymore than it's spying for local authorities to submit data to central governments), some of it is the god needing to go around and examine things for themselves.

          Originally posted by Loving the Gorgon
          From how far away can a god know it's being prayed to? Anywhere in creation? Is there anything in any book that solidifies this?
          There's not really any range limit to gods experiencing the effects of worship, although they don't necessarily know in detail the substance of prayers to them. That part isn't really a limit of range, more the nature and capabilities of the god. Gods in Heaven tend to have clerks that can collect prayer in more detailed form, but it gets processed through a convoluted bureaucracy.

          It's also part of characterisation in the setting that gods aren't the most interested in actually answering prayer.

          Originally posted by Loving the Gorgon
          How thorough are the records in the loom of fate? Can you rewind it like a movie and literally watch something from history replay as it actually happened, or is it more like you have to find notes someone from heaven took during that loom experience and it can't be directly accessed now?
          Information about the nature of the Loom is a bit distributed and subject to change (I actually think the presentation in Third Edition will come down to "gods and Sidereals use divinatory Charms to know anything from it at all), but I think for the moment it could be approached in terms of finding a subject's thread gives you a reasonable sense of its present, its most immediate past and most probable (and planned for) future, while anything more resolved from the past is packaged up and placed into storage.

          Heaven keeps the records, but the filing leaves a lot to be desired.


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

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
            (not necessarily spying, anymore than it's spying for local authorities to submit data to central governments)
            That's not spying?! I kid lol.

            Thank you for these answers they were perfectly concise and on point!

            My last question is just about dragons.

            Did I hallucinate reading this or is it true that Dragons are like the "messengers" of heaven who are go betweens from the Celestial hierarchy and the Terrestrial hierarchy?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Loving the Gorgon View Post

              My last question is just about dragons.

              Did I hallucinate reading this or is it true that Dragons are like the "messengers" of heaven who are go betweens from the Celestial hierarchy and the Terrestrial hierarchy?
              Okay, a thing I meant to say before about the growing in power is that those are the rules that apply to gods.

              Elementals, spirits who originate out of the raw substances of Terrestrial Creation, actually can grow in power and Essence level over time from a combination of accumulated experience and refined introspection (and maybe occasionally soaking up particularly powerful sources of energy and getting the odd cult).

              When elementals reach a certain high Essence level, they invariably become dragons. There's a lot of versatility to what shape that can entail, they run the gamut of various cultural ideas of "dragon" and a bit beyond, but at the heights of their power they always become dragons.

              The so called lesser elemental dragons can command a lot of respect in the courts of spirits, and there's a particular privilege for them in the Celestial Order of the position of Censor being reserved for their kind; not all elemental dragons are Censors, but all Censors are elemental dragons.

              The Censor is a high level law enforcement and judicial position, basically tasked with ensuring that all spirits adhere to the laws of Heaven. They can conduct audits into the conduct of gods (and Sidereals) to determine wrongdoing, and have a lot of pull in assigning punishments. Many Censors reside in Yu-Shan, and there's one for each of the Directions in Creation (although there might be three for the Blessed Isle). The Terrestrial Censors report to Heaven, but still reside in the world and carry out their duties among the Terrestrial gods.

              In the Time of Tumult, they have a tendency to be fairly corrupt, willing to accept bribes to look the other way from wrongdoing (or even auditing specifically for the purpose of soliciting these bribes). Fakharu, Censor of the West, might be the nicest of them, and even he's mostly apathetic to his duties as opposed to hanging around with his art, his library, and his human girlfriend who he made immortal; he might be the least likely to actively lean on people, but he'll accept bribes when offered as an excuse to not be distracted by carrying out his duties.

              The most upstanding Censor was Swan Dragon of the South, but he went off to fight the Fair Folk when they invaded during the Great Contagion and did not come away well for it. Basically nobody knows his current status, but his example inspires the Court of Orderly Flame, a union of elementals and some other gods who go around trying to promote justice and upright conduct in his memory.


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

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