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  • "Too diverse of sources of inspiration?"

    I've often been puzzled, about the internal strife I keep seeing in the Exalted fandom.

    Just a few examples.

    Even mere reference to an Infernal exaltation being turned Solar again as "redemption" sets some people off

    "Magitech" Seems to be on a lot of people's shitlist of "ways settings evolved in ways I don't like.

    This, baffles me to the core... I can kind of get the thing on Internals, their Charms are cool, though I don't think being hostile to politely asked questions is needed.

    But why would ANYONE dislike magitech it seriously baffles me

    My best guess is these are people who were drawn more to the "Greek hero" elements, and magitech is seen as intrusive on that theme.

    I'm shamelessly a fan of the anime elements.

    But think the disparate elements which built the franchise, are parts of the ongoing schism?



  • #2
    Magitech was all tech and no magic, for one thing.


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    • #3
      As you say, magitech intrudes on the more Mythic aspects of Exalted. I don't mind magitech in moderation, but 2E went so far as to produce what were basically laser cannons in a setting where you can't get so much as a matchlock firearm. If I wanted a Science Fantasy game, I'd go and play Numenera*.

      *I don't mean to say Numenera is bad. It's quite good, but it's a very different flavor from Exalted.


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      • #4
        Essence pulse cannons and implosion bows both existed in 1st edition


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        • #5
          Not that I don't like me some animes, but Magitech in Exalted also had the misfortune to be irrevocably tainted through 2E's constantly conflating it with Singularity-fetishism and First Age as Literally Bubblegum Crisis. Plus, it's a little typecast at this point: who here doesn't read 'Magitech' and immediately think of skyships, magical computers, and crystal iPods? Let's have some actual originality from the setting's demigods of innovation.

          "Redemption" raised some peoples' hackles because with Abyssals, it spelled out that the only Right Ways to Play a splat were to 1) be Necro-Hitler or b) stop playing that splat. With Infernals it just didn't make sense because they actually weren't straitjacketed into being terrible people in the first place. In both cases it was jarring because Exalted is, to a lesser or greater extent, built on a conscious rejection of absolute, universal morality and it would be preferable to give the Underworld and Hell depth and nuance instead of making them different paintjobs on MORDOR.

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          • #6
            Really? What book were they first published in?

            To elaborate on my earlier point, a lot of the magitech that currently exists has a very different aesthetic from what you'd expect from a Mythic/Wuxia game, starting with the basic problem of calling it "magitech" and making it into its own subclass of artifact. That simple step separates out magitech from the mystical elements of the setting and helps to foster the idea that much of the "magic" in Creation is some kind of applied physics instead of some kind of miracle.

            It's not spelled out anywhere in particular, but Exalted is dependent on miracles as part of its core premise. Exaltation is a miracle, and the powers of the Exalted tend to be miraculous in nature. But when miracles turn into a product of magical science, they cease being miraculous.


            On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Prince of the Night View Post
              Essence pulse cannons and implosion bows both existed in 1st edition
              It's a matter of presentation more than presence. Through most of First Edition, Artifact weaponry like that were oftne presented as fairly rare, and irreplaceable. Even Lookshy, which had a lot of it in 1e, was presented with a feel that their supply would one day run out, and that they had to jury-rig a lot to just keep Skywolf fully armed, to the point it was more a show piece than it was a real weapon. You also had a vibe where "Magitech" was an aesthetic of potential Artifacts. Things didn't necessitate spinny mechanical bits unless you were dealing with Autochthonian things.

              2e shifted this with how magitech was presented in Wonders of the Lost Age, primarily. The 2e line was not that an Artifact was a powerful solid state Artifact and that there were multiple moving parts ones, but that mulitple moving parts Artifacts were more advanced than things like daiklaves or simple armor. Magitech became less a design aesthetic but a qualitative statement of the Artifact's complexity and expected power. This resulted in a shift with how Artifacts were presented, their means of manufacturing extrapolated to them being more common (with places like Paragon and the Relam having Artifacc indsutries in effect). It also meant co-opting of some Artifacts into magitech, as a note. Wings of the Raptor, Chariots of the Heavens, the Sword of Creation, and the Brass Leviathan suddenly became defined as magitech, rather than just magical, and this impacted their aesthetics and presentation some.

              This is a distinct shift over the course of the line. And it did change the character of some elements, such as the presentation fo the First Age, Lookshy, Paragon, and the Realm. It also resulted in a dillusion of aesthetics the game tried to bill itself on initially and much of 1e that got lost in attempts to get more sci-fi into the setting. It's a bit why the term itself is being discarded. Artifacts with moving parts and spinny bits isn't inherently bad. Making it a whole separate of qualitatively "more advanced" Artifact is somewhat consdiered so, however.

              And stuff.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                Really? What boo8k were they first published in?

                To elaborate on my earlier point, a lot of the magitech that currently exists has a very different aesthetic from what you'd expect from a Mythic/Wuxia game, starting with the basic problem of calling it "magitech" and making it into its own subclass of artifact. That simple step separates out magitech from the mystical elements of the setting and helps to foster the idea that much of the "magic" in Creation is some kind of applied physics instead of some kind of miracle.

                It's not spelled out anywhere in particular, but Exalted is dependent on miracles as part of its core premise. Exaltation is a miracle, and the powers of the Exalted tend to be miraculous in nature. But when miracles turn into a product of magical science, they cease being miraculous.

                the outcaste book


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Prince of the Night View Post
                  Even mere reference to an Infernal exaltation being turned Solar again as "redemption" sets some people off
                  Redemption was ham-handedly made one of the only Proper Stories to tell with Abyssals, and the connotation is that you are somehow broken for needing Redemption, or evil if you're not interested in it, etc. It maybe should be a possibility with Abyssals but it kept being referenced as THE possibility and I think people got irritated with that. Like the Abyssals book should not sell itself by referring how much better it would be to turn back into a Solar. That's bullshit.

                  Originally posted by Prince of the Night View Post
                  "Magitech" Seems to be on a lot of people's shitlist of "ways settings evolved in ways I don't like.
                  The portrayal of the First Age as running on basically advanced tech that mirrored a lot of the modern world, versus advanced and strange magic, left a bad taste in a lot of mouths.

                  Originally posted by Prince of the Night View Post
                  Essence pulse cannons and implosion bows both existed in 1st edition
                  Specific items are not really the issue. The issue is scope and presence. When the fans think Lookshy's contribution to the Confederation of Rivers is more likely to be their Artifact stockpile than the Dragon-Blooded, there is a huge portrayal problem.
                  Last edited by Zelbinnean; 12-10-2014, 06:36 PM.


                  "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

                  "Happiness is very brittle and short-lived in the Exalted community, because ressentiment is our cultural touchstone." --Gayo

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                  • #10
                    @OP:

                    OK so first of all, I should note: I think there are a lot of grounds for dispute when it comes to these subjects, but you're right that we tend to be more hostile than we should be. As a whole the Exalted community is pretty bad about that. But that doesn't preclude arguing about stuff, because a lot of these arguments are worth having. So to that end, I will endeavour not to be hostile about it.

                    Exalted has very diverse influences, but it isn't just a huge pile of everything, and it'd be really easy to make a game that had the same stuff from Grabowski's original "influence chart" and was an incoherent hash. One of the key virtues of Exalted is effective, compelling syncretism, and that is really hard to do, hence the tendency of the line to lapse away from it periodically. It takes real care and insight to graft all these elements together and have them feel like pieces of an organic whole, and a lot of the friction comes from cases where that care was not applied. Fusing influences is a surgical process that requires both voluminous knowledge of what has been written previously and a deep understanding of the game's intentions and thematics. It's hard to do and easy to do poorly. Over the course of the line, then, it's drifted, due to natural dispersion, diminished oversight, and alternative design visions.

                    Magitech, in the sense of "technology with a magical aesthetic" or "magic with a technological aesthetic", is as old as the game line. However, it was presented in a way that emphasized its intended role in the game: as occult mysteries emblematic of the ancient lost civilization among whose ruins the heroes of the modern age live. It's sort of like how, in Final Fantasy, it's a sword-and-sorcery D&D pastiche and then you go to a forgotten space station taken over by modern evils and fight robots, but it fits into the overall aesthetic of a sword-and-sorcery game, rather than turning it into science fiction in a fantasy setting.

                    The early material tends to refer to "magitech" obliquely. Often things are only loosely implied to be technological in nature. The goal of this is to foster the mindset of the Second Age: the majority of this stuff is gone, and the remainder are "sufficiently advanced" prodigies that an Exalted scholar could spend a dozen mortal lifetimes studying. These things are the bleached bones of the lost golden age, mysterious and tragic and frightening and lucrative. In other words, the early game worked hard to ensure that "magitech" didn't cause you to import assumptions that ran contrary to the setting and intended playstyle, and part of that entailed not using the word "magitech" (which is a nonsensical portmanteau in the context of Exalted anyway). We the audience have a very specific outlook on technology and science which would cause dissonance if it were imported into the setting, so the game tries to ensure that doesn't happen, at least not by accident.

                    Outcastes was the point where the wheels fell off this tactic and the game started drifting in its technological focus, and I think was responsible for the shift in tone later on where people assumed the first step to making a splash in the setting was to marshal a lot of airships, zap-guns, factory complexes and power armor, which wasn't really the function those things were envisioned as having in the game at the outset.
                    Last edited by Gayo; 12-10-2014, 07:15 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Simply, the 'tech' in magitech implies a certain set of industrialization necessities.

                      You could really see this take over in Dreams where one got less of Mythic First Age Developed by and Dependent on Miracles and more, well, Shadowrun with the Tolkein filed off.

                      So, artifacts and wonders in Exalted are meant to be Prodigies. Not like "someone unusually skilled" but as an amazing or unusual thing, especially one out of the ordinary course of nature.

                      Magitech takes the Wonder/Miracle working out of artifice, and turns it mechanical, mass-produced, replaceable with the right amounts of resources + formula + essence + time.


                      This is not to say that Exalted shouldn't have any sort of crafting where communal effort makes a big difference, more like . . .

                      Okay, Ondar-Shabal (sp?) was that city in which every building, every act of effort or bureacracy, each of the municipal psuedo-rituals were a miniature prayer to the Unconquered Sun. As time wore on, the books got filled with thaumaturgy and artifacts and rituals that all worked off this prayer power principle. It went from this amazing idea to a kind of over-played theme that made the whole thing seem overdone. Utilitarian, right?

                      So, Magitech is an interesting idea. Autocthonia is probably a pretty good place for it. A game based off Chrono Trigger/Cross and taking place mostly in Zeal probably has a place in it for Magitech..

                      But for Exalted, well magitech assumes some things about the way that Creation in general and the progression of society (or lack there-of) works which stretch Exalted into an unrecognizable shape, if you're playing the Core setting of Exalted and exploring themes that Exalted was built to explore.


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                      • #12
                        I think with the magitech the issue came with the fact that so much of the magical stuff ended up being explained as a means to explain how a device worked, or just some of the poor choices that came with the magitech being such an absolute part of the setting. I believe one that gets a lot of flack was the reveal of one society as being controlled entirely by a nanobot swarm.

                        With the redeeming the infernals thing I think that also stems from the fact that it was stealing from the abyssals. I mean regardless of what one thinks of the abyssals ,frankly I wish there had been more play for the champions of the dead angle, escaping their bond to the dead, the deathlords, and oblivion was pitched as their story. Combined with the fact that so many charms abyssals had were mirror charms it came off as just not letting the abyssals have anything for their own.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
                          I believe one that gets a lot of flack was the reveal of one society as being controlled entirely by a nanobot swarm.
                          Oh god the Chayan weird-sexual-cycle thing turned from what could have been a magic curse or some kind of Wyld-based symbiosis with the trees into a modern grey good conspiracy story. It was completely terrible.


                          "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

                          "Happiness is very brittle and short-lived in the Exalted community, because ressentiment is our cultural touchstone." --Gayo

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Prince of the Night View Post
                            I've often been puzzled, about the internal strife I keep seeing in the Exalted fandom.

                            Just a few examples.

                            Even mere reference to an Infernal exaltation being turned Solar again as "redemption" sets some people off

                            "Magitech" Seems to be on a lot of people's shitlist of "ways settings evolved in ways I don't like.

                            This, baffles me to the core... I can kind of get the thing on Internals, their Charms are cool, though I don't think being hostile to politely asked questions is needed.

                            But why would ANYONE dislike magitech it seriously baffles me

                            My best guess is these are people who were drawn more to the "Greek hero" elements, and magitech is seen as intrusive on that theme.

                            I'm shamelessly a fan of the anime elements.

                            But think the disparate elements which built the franchise, are parts of the ongoing schism?

                            I thought magitech was cool, but it is generally poorly balanced for a game. Warstriders are probably the best example of this. They seem really cool and at times I have wanted to ride one, but then I looked at what it does and just realize I would be better off without the thing outside of very niche uses.

                            Redemption was problematic because of its name. It goes against one of the core themes in Exalted(Good and Evil aren't objective and you don't neccesarily get rewarded for being good).

                            If it had focused on going on an epic quest to free yourself without the moral implications it would have been better.
                            Last edited by Shiningknight; 12-10-2014, 07:46 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Is it thread crapping to say that I find this thread title to be misleading?


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