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I wish we had more old-man exalts

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    I think you're treating a lot of my points as stated far more absolutely than I meant. Again, I said "overly," as in get too bogged down in what could have been if things.
    I think getting too bogged down is a bit of an extreme response to "I want the character to say this line once".

    Originally posted by Heavy Arms
    My issue with some of the concepts in the OP
    The concepts in the original post are "there aren't enough old people", "here are some possible backgrounds for the old people" and "here's a quote I like".

    Originally posted by Heavy Arms
    one that's also fun to play in the game being discussed. There's lots of compelling narratives possible in Creation that aren't well suited to the game play (esp. the default assumption of playing in a group).
    What about this would be unfun or unsuited for gameplay?


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

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Erinys View Post
      Of course this discussion applies equally to old women. Don't forget them!
      Quite! We've reference three older Solars, all of them men (two or three of them white but who's counting). Where are the old ladies? Heck, where are the non-Solars? I ask because I think the two are related.

      Dace, Yurgen, and maybe Sand(?) went to the Angry Dad school of action-heroism, where Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis are emeritus professors. A school that's about 50 years behind the rest of the world in terms of gender equality. And to hazard a guess, I think it comes down to something @Heavy_Arms said above; Yurgen isn't a fuddy-duddy who is living a quiet, domestic retirement unworthy of Exaltation; he's arm wrestling bears and shit. But for old female characters, domesticity is more the assumed default and anything else may feel like more of a reach?

      That same action-heroism school is *also* much more likely to pump out Solar-types. Nothing inherently says that Exaltations can't happen later, but the Angry Dad school is much more about Pulp Hero Excellence than it is about other kinds, given that it's roots are in power fantasies.

      To be clear, I'm NOT saying this is how it should be, just that I' (unfortunately) not surprised that it is.
      Last edited by Blackwell; 09-06-2021, 09:48 PM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
        I think you identify a cool character type Accelerator, but I'm not sure you've shown us that there aren't enough of them. It seems like there's a good amount of them!

        (As an aside I don't think there's any limitation to manga at indicating character age, or even any slight disadvantage.)
        Sorry about that one.

        I thought that Dace was just some guy that shaved his head, and was roughly 30 or so. Didn't know he was supposed to be old.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
          I think getting too bogged down is a bit of an extreme response to "I want the character to say this line once".
          It was a reaction to more than just the quote. Though the quote itself has a lot of context in it from the source.

          The concepts in the original post are "there aren't enough old people", "here are some possible backgrounds for the old people" and "here's a quote I like".
          That's fairly reductive and I'm not really sure what you're trying to get at.

          What about this would be unfun or unsuited for gameplay?
          As a basic example: a character that's trying to defend the life they have, but now with more power to do so, is unlikely to engage with Creation spanning adventures that the rest of the group might want to engage with because... Exalted. Characters that are focused on maintaining a status quo in a game where the PCs are meant to fight the status quo can be a struggle to fit into the game.

          Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
          I thought that Dace was just some guy that shaved his head, and was roughly 30 or so. Didn't know he was supposed to be old.
          I think he shaves his head anyway. The facial hair makes his grooming habits look purposeful rather than due to age.

          Though Scroll of Exalts says he was "late middle age" when he Exalted. Which is vague, but presumably means he's supposed to be around 60. When the moment of is Exaltation is described, it focuses a lot of his body mending a lifetime of toil as a mercenary, but also includes signs of aging like his eye-sight improving.

          A lot of his art seems to ignore the idea that he's supposed to be a "grizzled veteran" of countless battles, which might not put him to "old" but the lack of grizzled hurts attempts to make him look the age he's supposed to be. I think if is art design did something like have a few scars - nothing huge or prominent, just enough to drive home the idea that he's been through some physical hurt - it wouldn't necessarily make him old, but it would help make him look a bit older compared to many of the other commonly drawn Exalted.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Blackwell View Post

            Quite! We've reference three older Solars, all of them men (two or three of them white but who's counting). Where are the old ladies? Heck, where are the non-Solars? I ask because I think the two are related.

            Dace, Yurgen, and maybe Sand(?) went to the Angry Dad school of action-heroism, where Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis are emeritus professors. A school that's about 50 years behind the rest of the world in terms of gender equality. And to hazard a guess, I think it comes down to something @Heavy_Arms said above; Yurgen isn't a fuddy-duddy who is living a quiet, domestic retirement unworthy of Exaltation; he's arm wrestling bears and shit. But for old female characters, domesticity is more the assumed default and anything else may feel like more of a reach?

            That same action-heroism school is *also* much more likely to pump out Solar-types. Nothing inherently says that Exaltations can't happen later, but the Angry Dad school is much more about Pulp Hero Excellence than it is about other kinds, given that it's roots are in power fantasies.

            To be clear, I'm NOT saying this is how it should be, just that I' (unfortunately) not surprised that it is.
            I'm not sure how valid this is.

            Karal Fire Orchid had a decades long military career as a decorated officer before she Exalted.

            White haired Arianna spent "years" at the Rylea library (and Exalted reading a book after fighting sexism all her life).

            Live Free or Die Hard was released six years after Exalted. Taken came out seven years after Exalted.

            And Admiral Sand (whom I would say is typed Arabic) Exalted shaking his cane at young whippersnappers who didn't respect their elders, not wrestling a polar bear like Yurgen (who is pretty typed Inuit, and does not, actually, Exalt wrestling a bear or doing anything vaguely "action dad").
            Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-08-2021, 05:50 PM.


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

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            • #21
              Fire Orchid is probably the strongest counter point in there, as she has decades as a mortal military officer; putting her very close to Dace in things. She even started to retire before her new village got attacked and she Exalted during her fight to stop it. Though her particular story cuts both ways to Blackwell's point due to the relatively unique position of being the daughter of a Dragonblooded general, and thus (while her own merit is still important) had access to a military career very few mortal woman in Creation could think of trying to achieve.

              Ariana's white hair is deceptive on that, since the information on her would put her in her late 20s at most (those years started when she was still a teenager).

              While Fire Orchid's swapping of traditional reader expectations are gender roles is good to have, it would also be nice to see a character more like Olenna Tyrell from ASoIaF/GoT. Perhaps a bit redundant with Admiral Sand, it would still be nice to see a non-Realm older woman that knows how to get shit done in the dance of politics and kingdoms.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                As a basic example: a character that's trying to defend the life they have, but now with more power to do so, is unlikely to engage with Creation spanning adventures that the rest of the group might want to engage with because... Exalted.
                Sure, as any number of character concepts can be incompatible. In a real play situation, that kind of thing needs to be resolved from the outset with conversation and compromise to get everybody on the same wavelength.

                If I took your premise that Creation-spanning adventure is a given, there are still ways to reconcile the introductory concept of the character archetype with it. As an example, a beginning story for the chronicle could have the character have the perspective that they ought to stay put, and then have events suggest that there are bigger things going on in the world that could threaten their home and it's worth going out and dealing with them so that it ripples down to keep things stable where their heart lives.

                That's not defending the status quo when the status quo of the setting apparent to we readers (even if not to characters at all times) is that your perception of stability is flawed and transitory and disaster is impending whether you would have it or not. Changing the world, if that's a thing that matters, can still take a form that results in your particular corner of it remaining as it was when you left it.

                Still, there are also possibilities where the place that the elderly person lived that they want to continue to safeguard is in Nexus, or Chiaroscuro, or Great Forks, Sunken Luthe, Mahalanka, Wu Jian, so on and so forth. The metropolitan parts of the setting present complex and layered micro settings in which entire Chronicles can be set, and that can have significance to a character whether they regard their home as the city as a whole or just down to the level of a neighbourhood, a housing block. Our signature circle of Solars don't span the world, they're concentrated in Jiara, to which one of them is almost inextricably tied.

                Then there's a way to present a game in which the small village that the elderly Exalt remains attached to starts out as a fishing village, and then all of the things that emerge from there being Solars there allow a chronicle to see its transformation into Edo. Merchants and opportunists and people with religious aspirations and exiled soldiers and actual gods can all gather there looking for guidance and shelter, settle down, build, connect to neighbours and make something wondrous.

                Although even that's not strictly necessary. Small towns can have disproportionate significance; I'm reading about the major artists communities that sprung up as a result of the Indian Anarchy, and thinking of a story in which the settlement remains small but it's filled with an endearing cast of colourful personalities and can be a focal point for a grand narrative based on the logic that the conflict (and potential allies) will come to them if they won't go to it.


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

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                • #23
                  OK, this is getting to the point of strawmaning. If you have no interest in engaging with what I actually said about this, why are you bothering? I'm not going to refute things on behalf of the Heavy Arms in your head the keeps making ridiculous absolute statements for you to rail against.

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                  • #24
                    Accelerator, no problem. (Just pointing out that from my perspective if age isn't well-indicated always in Exalted art, I think that's generally on the artist, not the style).

                    Also for ref: CB: Dawn - "Dace is a tall, powerfully built man who appears to be in his late 40s. His head is shaved and he wears a short graying goatee".

                    He was only noted as captain of his mercenary company for 15 years. He's basically like a guy who arrived at something like his status in his 30s and stayed there. Old for a soldier but not so much "an old guy" in the terms of our culture. More "Real old soldier who could actually still be fighting" and less "Genghis Cohen".

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                      I'm not sure how valid this is.

                      Karal Fire Orchid had a decades long military career as a decorated officer before she Exalted.

                      White haired Arianna spent "years" at the Rylea library (and Exalted reading a book after fighting sexism all her life).
                      Minor quibble here: While Fire Orchid is generally shown as an older woman, Arianna's white hair has usually been implied to just be something she was born with as part of her northern heritage (heh. hair-itage.). One image of her ,on the cover of 1e's Book of Three Circles, did also appear to be older, but I would honestly be surprised if she was thirty, and I would call bullshit if she was supposed to be much older than that.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Mockery View Post

                        Minor quibble here: While Fire Orchid is generally shown as an older woman, Arianna's white hair has usually been implied to just be something she was born with as part of her northern heritage (heh. hair-itage.). One image of her ,on the cover of 1e's Book of Three Circles, did also appear to be older, but I would honestly be surprised if she was thirty, and I would call bullshit if she was supposed to be much older than that.
                        The cover is indeed an anomaly; she's supposed to be late 20s to early 30s, according to the Making of Exalted 1e Artbook, with Swan the youngest of the circle at mid-20s.

                        Scroll of Exalts distorts this to make her even younger. I would suggest ignoring it, as it also claims that she was born in the Scavenger Lands and traversed hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to get to Rylea while ignoring all other cities with even larger libraries - her alleged purpose in running away from home - when all other sources have her born in Rylea and never leaving prior to her Second Breath.

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                        • #27
                          One thing I'm thinking about is the matter of not just what a certain difference in perspective brings to a character empowered older, but what it might mean for that outlook to be stretched out.

                          It's possible, sure, to go with the idea that after a person who Exalted at 70 and a person who Exalted at 20 have been around for, say, three hundred years the age difference becomes a bit arbitrary, that you've spent far more time as an Exalt than you have as a mortal and still have so much ahead of you. But my idea on how to portray these kinds of things is that mindset connected to age is more than just what is accumulated over time in the mind, it's about experiencing your life as an arc, the changes in social status, acquired property, relationships, the sheer experience of your body. It makes me think that a person who Exalted at twenty, after 50 years, still comes across as having the attitude of a twenty year old (although also melded to a certain timelessness), not just as a matter of how they're preserved but because of the ways their power disengages them with the prior trajectory of their life.

                          So the other side of that is an Exalted 70-year old who can spend centuries having the attitude of a 70-year old, except where it still has the possibility to accumulate more power or accomplish numerous things.

                          Possibly it can be a bit reminiscent of narratives where an elder who was ready to retire and spend the final years watching how their legacy gets on without them is forced to take charge again and one last time show everybody how it's done. Just scaled up. I'd say that could be an interesting thing to add to a game.

                          As I recall, that actually is the basic model for what was going on with Admiral Sand, more than any Angry Dad energy. At least in First Edition; Scroll of Exalts made some adjustments.


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

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                            (As an aside I don't think there's any limitation to manga at indicating character age, or even any slight disadvantage.)
                            I don't think it's a limitation with the medium but there's tropes associated with manga that you invite if you make emulating it your aesthetic.


                            I’ve moved to Sword of Creation, thank you to everyone who helped made the Exalted community these past few years.

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                            • #29
                              Absolutely agree that you invite tropes by using a particular style of art, without having to articulate it in the text (the art is kind integral to the product achieving its goal, and not just a package right, for sure).

                              But I'm not so sure there is y'know a youthful bias for heroes in the aesthetic cues.

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                              • #30
                                Regardless of Arianna's actual age, her aesthetic is one of a white-haired scholar, and (more pertinent to the point I was making) she Exalted reading a book in a library. That's not "action-heroism school".

                                Regardless of whether Arianna is 30 or 80, your old lady who actually is 80 can also Exalt when reading a good book. Nothing about Exalted says you must be out wrestling a bear on sheet ice to win the Sun's favor.

                                Further, if this is meant as a metacriticism of how Exalted "is sexist, actually", then one of the signature characters Exalting specifically because of her fight against gender inequality is surely a salient point?

                                (Caste Book Dawn's version of) The Bull of the North doesn't Exalt wrestling a bear or being an action hero. He laments that all his friends are dead and his people have no place for him. He walks out into the ice to die, sees spirit and tries to kiss her, and Exalts.

                                I have no problem with people finding the Exalted lore objectionable. Object away. But object to what's there, don't invent stuff to get mad at.

                                Perfect Soul Exalts lamenting the gods. Panther Exalts from realising his life is pointless. Harmonious Jade Exalts when she messes up her day job. Arianna Exalts reading a book. The Bull of the North Exalts from just being too damn old. Admiral Sand Exalts from giving youngsters a "back in my day" speech. Absolutely nothing stops you from making an elder who Exalts. There's no "action-dad" clause that demands you have to have "a certain set of skills", or get thrown through the air by an explosion (so you can quip "I am too old for this"), or crash a police car into a helicopter.

                                You can Exalt as a Solar from reading a book.
                                Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-08-2021, 06:02 PM.


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

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