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So the PCs start out as slaves...

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  • #16
    Well, that's why I'm asking you guys. I figured the reaction to the idea of presenting Exalted characters as powerless would automatically be "whaaaa-ha-haaat???"

    So far I'm recieving a lot of good feedback. Real helpful stuff. Thanks.

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    • #17
      Ah, another one of Arrakiz's "I'm not happy unless I break all the rules of the game and have mortals make Solars their bitches" schemes. How I've missed those.
      (Just kidding :P)

      First, I'm just looking for some clarification. You say that it is in fact some entity or spirit that enslaves the Circle, right? Then how exactly does that show the power of mortals? Mortals didn't really seem to have anything to do with actually enslaving the Solars. It just seems like they took advantage of a situation that someone else set up for them. Unless I'm really misreading you here.

      But this idea of yours is similar to one that I myself ran not too long ago. The only difference is that I went the other way.

      In this game that I ran, I had the players START OUT as slaves. They began as slaves on the Blessed Isle and eventually received their Exaltations and managed to escape to the Threshold. I worked with each player individually, mapping out how they came to be enslaved, who their master/mistress was, what their duties were, how well/poorly they were treated, and how they felt about the Realm based on their experiences as slaves.

      I went with this approach for a number of reasons.
      1) I wanted to put my players in a situation in which they hadn't been before. I'd never played with slavery before, and it seemed like a good way to introduce my players to the brutality and callousness of the Second Age.
      2) Obviously, conflict with the Realm was going to be a thing in this game, and I wanted my players to think about how their characters were going to approach this conflict. Giving them a personal, up-close showing of the Realm's brutality and cruelty was a good way to let them shape how their characters felt about the Realm. A couple of them were treated badly. One was treated VERY badly. A couple others, however, were treated well and had kind masters. I wanted to have a circle full of people with different experiences and opinions about the Realm and how it should be dealt with.
      3) Finally, as you say, I wanted to give my players a taste of powerlessness and fear. When I was telling them how their characters had found their way to the Realm's slave markets, I practically read them the slavery Chapter from Manacle and Coin like a bed time story, to REALLY let them absorb everything their characters would've gone through from the moment of their capture until the moment they entered their master's home after being purchased. I didn't pull my punches. I let them really grasp just how awful the whole situation was and just how helpless they truly were, so that when they finally Exalted, it really freaking meant something.

      Just thought I'd share.


      "We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
      Captain Malcolm Reynolds

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      • #18
        Originally posted by unnatural1 View Post
        Ah, another one of Arrakiz's "I'm not happy unless I break all the rules of the game and have mortals make Solars their bitches" schemes. How I've missed those.
        (Just kidding :P)

        First, I'm just looking for some clarification. You say that it is in fact some entity or spirit that enslaves the Circle, right? Then how exactly does that show the power of mortals? Mortals didn't really seem to have anything to do with actually enslaving the Solars. It just seems like they took advantage of a situation that someone else set up for them. Unless I'm really misreading you here.
        Well I've said that I don't want to prove the point about the power of mortals and I really don't. Not this time. It's not the case of mortals punking Solars around, it's simply the case of mortals being oportunistic and taking adventage of the state the characters find themselves in.

        Now I suppose the question is: why not make it a pre-exaltation story? And the answer is simple:

        Subvertion.

        I highly dislike the idea of showing the Exaltation as this singular moment in their timeline that just wipes away all of their problems (even though in most cases that's what it basically amounts to). I think it's cheap and boring. No, they will fight their weakness and they will defeat it, becoming stronger and stronger with each obstacle, but also losing a tiny bit of humanity with every experience they can never have again. But the Exaltation itself will not magically wipe it away for them, oh no. If they do it, they do it themselves.

        What I have a chance to do here, is to tell a story about how pain is as much a human thing as love or desire and throwing it away means you're that much less human. I am not throwing that chance away.
        Last edited by Arrakiz; 11-05-2013, 07:01 PM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Arrakiz View Post
          Well, that's why I'm asking you guys. I figured the reaction to the idea of presenting Exalted characters as powerless would automatically be "whaaaa-ha-haaat???"

          So far I'm recieving a lot of good feedback. Real helpful stuff. Thanks.
          To be fair, I totally agree that Exalts can be powerless in certain situations.
          I just don't think it's easy to create a situation that can render a circle (much less a perfect solar circle) powerless, since their skills and strenght cover a wide enough net to make them hard to stop that easily. Once they are separated and confronted by their own personnal weaknesses, yeah, sure. But five of them at the same time? Heh...


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          • #20
            Originally posted by Arrakiz View Post
            Well I've said that I don't want to prove the point about the power of mortals and I really don't. Not this time. It's not the case of mortals punking Solars around, it's simply the case of mortals being oportunistic and taking adventage of the state the characters find themselves in.

            Now I suppose the question is: why not make it a pre-exaltation story? And the answer is simple:

            Subvertion.

            I highly dislike the idea of showing the Exaltation as this singular moment in their timeline that just wipes away all of their problems (even though in most cases that's what it basically amounts to). I think it's cheap and boring. No, they will fight their weakness and they will defeat it, becoming stronger and stronger with each obstacle, but also losing a tiny bit of humanity with every experience they can never have again. But the Exaltation itself will not magically wipe it away for them, oh no. If they do it, they do it themselves.

            What I have a chance to do here, is to tell a story about how pain is as much a human thing as love or desire and throwing it away means you're that much less human. I am not throwing that chance away.
            Well first of all, I really don't agree that Exaltation just wipes away your problems.

            In the game I just mentioned, at least two of the characters carried around serious psychological scars from their time as slaves. One of them (the Night Caste) was a Haltan boy who was kidnapped during his Coming of Age Ceremony (meaning he was twelve years old.) He was brought to the Realm and bought by a member of House Tepet, who pretty much kept the kid as a whipping boy for his entire House. True, the Haltans weren't the exclusive reason why the Tepet Legions were destroyed, but they helped the Bull ruin their House, and if Tepet couldn't have revenge on the Bull, they'd settle for this one innocent boy from a people who helped him. The kid went through two years of the most casual cruelty you can possibly imagine. A beating was getting off light. He was also sexually exploited a number of times. Not to mention whatever other cruelties and humiliations came to the minds of the Dragonbloods of the House.

            Then his Exaltation hits and he gets a chance to lash out at his tormentors. From that point on, this otherwise sweet kid becomes a cold-blooded killer any time the circle encountered either any Realm presence in the game. He even wanted to kill a kindly mortal Immaculate monk who actually HELPED him and his circle. The plan for that story was to have this kid keep on descending further into darkness, to the point of being tempted with abandoning being a Solar altogether. He was going to grow increasingly frustrated when the nicer members of his circle kept reining him in and not letting him enact his vengeance fantasies to the point where he was vulnerable to the whispers of the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears. The idea was that his circle would keep holding him back, while the Lover kept promising to let him do practically whatever he wanted. This would have culminated in the kid having to choose between staying with his circlemates and willingly allowing the Lover to turn him into an Abyssal. The choice wasn't set in stone. The challenge was on the players of the rest of the circle to try to persuade the kid to see that their way was better and that they really cared about him.

            So, see? Exaltation doesn't necessarily just wipe away one's problems. Indeed, it can actually create whole new ones. This kid was powerless. He got power. Then he let that his psychic scars shape how he came to view those powers and how they should be used. He doesn't need to feel powerless AFTER he got power to remember what it was like to be powerless. His memories of his abuse pre-Exaltation are more than enough for him to remember how much slaves suffer. He also became an avowed enemy to anyone involved in the slave trade. His memories of being powerless would follow him whether he lived one more year or his full three thousand year lifespan.

            I also disagree with you that Exalts must, by default, become less human as they grow stronger. It can be a struggle to continue to see the world from the same perspective, sure. But the way you're talking here makes it sound like it's an inevitability. Get power? Become a monster. That's just not how it HAS to work. It only works like that if you choose for it to do so.


            "We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
            Captain Malcolm Reynolds

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            • #21
              Huh. Well, if you're actually not worried about the misery of players and/or role playing uncomfortable situations, then you could totally go for it. Heck, it could probably even promote the feeling of awesomeness they'll get from *not* being powerless later on.
              But you need to remember that credibility is an important aspect of immersion, and that immersion is part of the thing roleplaying is about. And, as the people above have already said, a situation in which a circle of Solars could actually be captured- let alone rendered powerless- is a bit of a dilemma. Sure, the setting has some of these things in it, but you have to make sure you're not setting off any landmines beneath your own feet, as a Storyteller.
              That said, the idea sounds neat and doable. I'd say go for it.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by unnatural1 View Post
                In the game I just mentioned, at least two of the characters carried around serious psychological scars from their time as slaves.
                This is the other reason I'm MAJORLY leery of this. Depending on how things play out, your PCs may never trust another character again. Betrayal, enslavement, et cetera., are powerful, but oftentimes they can be too powerful.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                  This is the other reason I'm MAJORLY leery of this. Depending on how things play out, your PCs may never trust another character again. Betrayal, enslavement, et cetera., are powerful, but oftentimes they can be too powerful.
                  Indeed.

                  It's important to know your players.

                  I should clarify that I didn't come up with all the stuff that happened to the characters. I sat down with each one individually, told him/her how he/she ended up being captured, and let them kinda map out how their time as slaves went.

                  I almost said "No" to the player of the aforementioned Night Caste character, because I thought that was just too dark. The only reason I okayed it was because I checked with my players and made sure they were okay. I also took a liking to the story path the player presented. The whole "torn between the darkness and the light" aspect.

                  It was only because the story opened some intriguing story possibilities that I went along with it. That and the fact that my players are long-time friends and knew they could trust me.


                  "We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
                  Captain Malcolm Reynolds

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                  • #24
                    Hey, psychological scars are great! I'll be sure to take care of those to. Don't worry, they'll have plenty of scars from times before their respetive Exaltation and the begining of the game.

                    But that's just the thing- there is this assumption, that any flaws an Exalt can have will always be purely psychological and emotional, because the Exaltation always skyrockets them far above mortals physically. They can never get sick, they rarely get tired, they will never grow old etc.

                    And despite that even technically not being true, because some Exalts will retain their weak physicality for at least some period after Exaltation, that does render most Exalted far beyond the scope of what normal people experience in their lives.

                    Do you remember the "Overpowered Infernal" threads? What it basically amounted to at a certain point was "you have to go at him psychologically". And yes, at some point you do have to go at somebody like this psychologically, simply because that person is no longer suscectible to the "physically painful" part of human condition.

                    But, first of all, it's not even true that all Exalts become phsycially stronger, but psychologically they are the same human beings. Forgetting that your physicality shapes your perspective, there are some who will become stronger emotionally after the Exaltation. Hell, there are some who you can no longer target psychologically. Let's take an Eclipse social animal- through her powers and Essence, she's basically rendered immune to criticism. Everyone will always agree with her. Always. Everybody will always love her if she wants it. Things like prejudice against her, alienation, even common dislike of her, no longer affect her. And yes, in most cases, that creates jerks.

                    And these things pile up and up on top of each other with every new dot of Essence. No, Exalts don't have to become inhuman. But at some point in time, most of them will. The only way to not become less human is to not become stronger. I mean, We don't even need the Curse, just an assesment that Solars are indeed the most powerful beings in Creation, at some point they will grow out of empathy for anyone.
                    Last edited by Arrakiz; 11-06-2013, 03:46 AM.

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                    • #25
                      Ignore me please?
                      Last edited by BogMod; 09-14-2018, 05:39 PM. Reason: Bad necromancer.


                      https://www.youtube.com/BogMod I play a lot of videogames.

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                      • #26
                        Holy necro Batman! If Arrakiz hasn't resolved the issue after nearly 5 years, I salute the stamina of his/her players.


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                        • #27
                          My fault entirely, someone linked a thing and I responded without thinking.


                          https://www.youtube.com/BogMod I play a lot of videogames.

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                          • #28
                            We'll be celebrating Necro November before long!


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