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  • Lesser Elemental Dragons

    While not my favorite Elementals, I find these guys interesting. Elementals in general are sort of the "second class citizen" of the spirit world, and yet these are about the only guys powerful and sophisticated enough that even Gods must respect them. It would be fascinating to see how different ED deal with this; some employ only other Elementals, treating them well, while others lord it over them, probably while currying the favor of "elite" Gods; while others may employ only minor Gods, and treat them like crap.

    We know how Lesser ED can become Greater ones, but I don't think the books ever say how a LED comes about. Can a massive dragon line disturbance give rise to an ED from scratch? Or is ever LED previously another type of Elemental that somehow raised its Essence until it became what it is, at Ess 7? Interestingly, the LED created by Sidereal Charms start at Ess 4, and are clearly the weakest of their kind, at least until they can raise their understanding of their new spiritual state somehow. It would be cool to follow the story of one of those and how he made his way in the world and gained acceptance of his new kind (or didn't)!

    I'm sure the books don't say, but roughly how many LED do you imagine exist? And what percentage of them are employed by Heaven to act as Censors, or work for some Bureau or other?

    The ones that don't have jobs are intriguing, too. I imagine many of them hide their light under a bushel, traveling shapeshifted as some form of harmless human, interacting with people, and pursuing their hobbies. Only occasionally are they moved to drop their guise or reveal their powers, and many local legends grow from these events...

    Of course, Exalted will often be at the center of these legends. If a ST gets tired of fellow Exalted NPCs as teachers, and esp wants a mythic tone, he could do much worse than having PCs seek out or stumble across an ED, either living in plain sight as part of a human community or in its "natural" form, out in the wilderness somewhere. They make for great mentors and sifus, being able to practice and teach up to the Celestial level of sorcery and martial arts, as well as being storehouses of forgotten lore and able to forge great weapons.

    This all makes them pretty damn powerful, as well. Frankly, they are probably the most powerful being walking creation in mass numbers, outside of the Exalted themselves. I'd say they're pretty much direct matches for Second Circle Demons, all things being even (which they rarely are, of course!). This is why I think there probably aren't that many of them, relatively speaking. And they're hardly invincible, esp not with various forms of Spirit Slaying charms around! Avenging one's fallen (or enslaved) LED master/friend could be a cool plot hook...

    What are some cool visuals for Dragons you've thought of? I have this image in my head of an eastern dragon made of various precious woods, all polished to a high glossy shine...

  • #2
    So here's something I thought of making a post about yesterday, but my keyboard is shot.

    Lesser elemental dragons weren't actually elementals until 2e, as far as I can gather.

    In the 1e corebook, their nature is kind of vague (as in not talked about at all) and Fakhuru was the sample god, had Materialize and wasn't stated at all as to being an elemental. The part of the "Antagonists" chapter on elementals said that they can become draconic with more Essence, but never says they become dragons. Nothing is said on this with the Exalted Storyteller's Companion either.

    The next book to talk about elementals in depth was Games of Divinity. The Five Elemental Dragons are implied as to being gods (the last of the great ones or something) and are often referred to with the groupings of "...sun, moon, stars, and the turning of the seasons." The section on elementals makes it pretty clear that the original elementals were different beings from the Five Elemental Dragons. It also never says that the new sorts of elementals become elemental dragons. Instead, it calls lesser elemental dragons the children of the Five Elemental Dragons. And while the dragons are listed as Godlike Elemental Beings, it never in the write-ups for the elemental dragons (Swan Dragon and scuh) actually calls them elementals. Confusing things still, the dragons have costs to Materialize, indicating they're some other sort of spirit.

    Exalted: the Sidereals doesn't do much to clarify this. It calls the lesser elemental dragons divinities (gods). Again, they have Materialize.

    Some dragons first introduced in 1e confuse this further though. There's the Frog Queen, First Wood Spider (Savant & Sorcerer), and the Wind Masters being more or less like souped-up versions of existing elementals. The relationship between dragons and elementals like them is made even less clear.

    Dragons that are straight-up big elementals don't happen until Exalted: the Auchthonians, where the sample crystal elemental is a lesser elemental dragon of crystal and has Dematerialize. This isn't utilized again until the 2e corebook, which reigns elemental dragons into being high Essence elementals, probably in light of the decision to overlly make the 5ED Gaia's souls.

    With the Five Elemental Dragons no longer overtly being this, as well as a bit of a discharging of 2e's decisions on setting metaphysics, I kind of wonder what that means for how lesser and greater elemental dragons might be like.

    And stuff.


    And stuff.
    My DeviantArt Page // My tumblr // Exalted 3e Houserules

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    • #3
      Hm, interesting notes, thanks, Blaque!

      2E did a lot to classify things that were vague before, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. YMMV on which is which, of course. For my part, I like what it did and hope that they remain Elementals more or less as 2E defined them, which works pretty well for them and the setting as a whole.

      Any thoughts on the other points I brought up?

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      • #4
        Personally I prefer the interpretation of the 5ED being Gaia's souls. it means that the dragon blooded actually did get a portion of her power like they are supposed to have instead of it being delegated to five lesser entities who should have had no trouble crafting standard exaltations and thus rendering the entire defining feature of dragon blooded pointless.

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        • #5
          I'm pretty much on board with everything you said about LED. I think they should play a fairly active role within the Terrestrial Hierarchy. And I also applaud having them travel around creation shapeshifted into mortal form of some kind (sometimes human, sometimes animal or plant life etc) in order to get a sense of whats happening in the world or in some cases, to socialize with beings of a more philosophical nature than the elementals they usually deal with. An LED would make an excellent patron for an Exalted Circle.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Elfive View Post
            it means that the dragon blooded actually did get a portion of her power like they are supposed to have
            They're supposed to what now?

            Originally posted by Elfive
            instead of it being delegated to five lesser entities who should have had no trouble crafting standard exaltations and thus rendering the entire defining feature of dragon blooded pointless.
            Soooo what, the Dragon Blooded being a kind of inferior knock off of proper Exalted is bad when they come from the Elemental Dragons, but all right when they come from Gaia?

            One still begs the question of what a "standard Exaltation" is and why anybody should be worried about being it.

            The Terrestrial Exalted are what they are because they could be nothing else. Same as the Alchemical Exalted; the Maker being a Primordial doesn't entitle them to greater or different power, and there's not some Solar-sized Exalted he's keeping in reserve against the time where he's not so cowardly as to fear relying on them.


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

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            • #7
              [Books of Sorcery Vol. IV, pg. 73]
              "With Gaia’s tutelage, and the aid of the Elemental Dragons, the Incarnae learned the secrets of creating life unlike themselves. With this secret in their grasp, they began work on a race of five great beings <elementals> who would regulate the natural processes of Creation’s elements."

              [Books of Sorcery Vol. IV, pg. 94, 125]
              Doldrum evolves into Serefu and Heketa evolves into Frog Queen. The evolutionary line is unique to each elemental, I hope so.

              [Books of Sorcery Vol. IV, pg. 79-80]
              They have Limit Break of months.

              [John Morke]
              Elementals are simpler than gods, and in some instances more powerful. They don't expand their purview to become more complex and thereby gain more complex magic, but they don't rely on portfolios, either.



              I think the changes of 1st ed. to 2nd ed. will be established in the 3rd ed. Gradually they gain feature to be player characters - unlike the gods. Would play with them. In the same manner opened to play with Raksha. So I thought of a way to use slavery: elementals could have levels pact as ghosts have Passion. Thus recover willpower.

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              • #8
                Roles I've used LED's in include:

                The movers and shakers in terrestrial courts both benign and corrupt. Ive had them as allies for my players and occasionally minor antogonists never an outright opponenet. I had one story where my players got caught in the middle of a cenutries old conflict between two memebers of a spirit court who were both L.E.Ds

                I have had a Wood spider who harnessed a personal cult from several settlements evolve into a LED during the course of one of my story lines. He was an interesting character part informant, part manipulator. He was pretty cruel to his cult, manipulating them at his own whim for pleasure in their conflict but my players didnt have much of an issue with this. He kind of faded out of the story but I would definintely like to reinitroduce him into other stories, maybe where he is attempting to attain a heavenly position or dominance of a loval spirit court.

                Ive never done the unstable LED seeking to elevate himslef to a GED but could see how this story could be cool.

                I have used LEDs in their capacity as Celestial Censor in a Sidereal game I ran. It was a LED of Earth replete with gemstone bling and was really comic relief. He didnt really like the circle but my players loved to wind him up whilst aiding his investigations and he was a fun character in anotherwise quite Noir story.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                  The Terrestrial Exalted are what they are because they could be nothing else.
                  Yes, and the reason they could be nothing else was that primordial essence was used in their creation, which is stated to be too powerful to be encapsulated in the same manner that the gods' was. You'll notice that alchemicals and terrestrials share a common theme of being slightly less powerful and not having a set number being in existence. And that this is achieved in a manner appropriate to their patron. And if the Elemental Dragons are independent entities on the same level as the incarna then why would they need to bother messing with the formula? Being a primordial doesn't entitle one to different power, it neccesitates it.

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                  • #10
                    Thing is the 5ED aren't Incarnae. Going by what the devs have said, they are the children of Gaia, unique unto themselves.

                    As such, they're not going to Exalt as the Incarnae do. They're going to do it in a way that resonates with their nature, a way that speaks of heritage and the elements.

                    I mean, that justification was off the top of my head. The 5EDs' method of Exaltation doesn't have to have anything to do with Gaia's nature, 'cause it's about, you know, the 5EDs.

                    And the devs don't have to abide by previous depictions of how Dragon-Blooded Exaltation came about; arguing _based_ on those previous depictions, when those depictions can be overwritten, means you're arguing based on something that isn't likely to apply anymore.


                    Scion 2E: What We Know - A wiki compiling info on second edition Scion.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Elfive
                      Yes, and the reason they could be nothing else was that primordial essence was used in their creation, which is stated to be too powerful to be encapsulated in the same manner that the gods' was. You'll notice that alchemicals and terrestrials share a common theme of being slightly less powerful and not having a set number being in existence. And that this is achieved in a manner appropriate to their patron. And if the Elemental Dragons are independent entities on the same level as the incarna then why would they need to bother messing with the formula? Being a primordial doesn't entitle one to different power, it neccesitates it.
                      The Dragon Blooded were served so much better when they weren't surrounded by a bizarre sense of unease at their difference from Celestial Exalted that drove people to create stupid elaborate explanations for it. It's an assumption that should be changed all on its own; hopefully, new Exalted will help to serve the transition.


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

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                      • #12
                        I think that's a completely reasonable question given that their prototype (Jade Caste Alchemicals) don't differ from the others in any significant way. There had to be some reason for the drastic change and the 5ED being "unique" doesn't really cut it because all the incarna are unique. The Maidens just randomly popped up out of nowhere.

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                        • #13
                          True enough. Why, I remember when I reread the First Edition core and Exalted: the Dragon Blooded, and took note of that little mention of the Jade Caste Alchemicals being the prototypes of the Terrestrial Exalted and thought to myself "but wait, that Caste isn't as different from the others as the Terrestrials are from the Celestials", and I turned to Holden to ask him why this should be. Then he removed his laser mask to reveal Ron Perlman, at which point the Major came in to say how silly everything had become, and I woke up.


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

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                          • #14
                            I like coming up with this stuff anyway. Gaia's soul hierarchy is left so vague there's plenty of room to speculate and I just find the notion of the 5ED being her souls just seems neater than coming up with this other explanation involving unique existences and children and all that. It doesn't really add anything to the narrative, IMHO. Aren't a primordial's souls sometimes referred to in a familial sense anyway?

                            One of my pet theories is that elementals are a weird sort of first circle deva.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                              Aren't a primordial's souls sometimes referred to in a familial sense anyway?
                              Not really - not enough for your forced compartmentalization to really work here.


                              He/him

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