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How secret are SMA?

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  • How secret are SMA?

    I'm pretty sure there's no canon answer to this, so...In YOUR Creation, how close to the chest do the Sids hold their "secret styles"?

    1) No secret at all: Everyone who knows of their existence knows they have superior martial arts that only they can master, and they are not shy about announcing which style they are using to punch you into a duck. The Gods of Yu-Shan regularly gossip about who knows which style.

    2) Somewhat: They don't brag or explain themselves, but they'll throw up the Style Sutras when needed, and it's clear that they're doing something most have never heard of. Some Gods and Exalted who are close to Viziers as allies or enemies know some of the styles' names.

    3) Very Secret: Almost literally no one outside of the Fivescore Fellowship or the Incarnae even suspects that the Seers have surpassed the Perfected Lotus, or that such is even possible. As for those few who do witness such charms in action...well, ducks tell no tales...

    Partly, I'm asking because of the Battle Maiden's Dance, a martial arts tournament held in Yu-Shan exclusively for Sidereals. What kind of show would the attending Gods see? Do you think the Sids would whip out their greatest techniques or would they deliberately hold back?

  • #2

    People who know of the Sidereals also know that they're masters of martial arts techniques known to no others. The exact details are shrouded in mystery, rumor, and Saturn's special sauce made with 11 herbs and spices that is totally not Thousand Island dressing.

    Come and rock me Amadeus.


    • #3
      Somewhere between 1 and 2, I think.

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      • #4
        Mostly a 1.75, sometimes a 1.5


        • #5
          I figure it goes two ways.

          If you're a thoroughly learned individual in the ways of the Exalted, you could probably guess (if you've thought about it) that there's another tier of martial arts. It's how the world works. There's three bands of sorcery. If you know a lot about deathknights, there's three bands of necromancy. There's three immortal and irreplaceable recording mechanisms (The Loom of Fate, the Calendar of Setesh and the Vale of Hours). Things that don't go in fives instead go in threes. You might figure it's something only Solars can access (and if you don't know about Sidereals, your conclusions are entirely reasonable).

          Now, on the practical side of things, when a Sidereal touches your forehead and curses you to see your lovers turn against you...

          Is that Astrology (a Descending Destiny)? Is it a Charm (Shun the Smiling Lady)? Is it a Martial Art (I dunno, Citrine Poxes)?

          Does it matter? Sidereals do weird shit all the time. What matters is that you gotta go get uncursed before the fancy ball with all the eligible bachelorettes from kingdoms around is held!


          • #6
            Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
            I'm pretty sure there's no canon answer to this, so...In YOUR Creation, how close to the chest do the Sids hold their "secret styles"?
            In my Creation, it's kinda across the board.

            Most of Creation, after all, has no idea that the Sidereals are actually a thing, you see. Of those that are aware of Sidereals, most of them know that they are masters of many esoteric arts, both martial and mystical, and that to have one as an enemy is a terrible thing. Which is about as far as they know.

            Those more familiar with Sidereals; Celestial Gods, Third Circle Deva, certain Second Circles, Elder Lunars, Ancient Dead, guys like that, know that Sidereal Martial Arts are a thing. Sids don't exactly hide the knowledge of their existence or what they're capable of, but nor do they make it readily available. Adding to it, most Sidereals(although there are always outliers or braggarts) prefer to keep the knowledge of which Styles they know to themselves and close friends and allies. It always helps to have a trump card and it is typically to their benefit that their enemies have no idea how precisely they're attacking them.


            • #7
              2. At my table, secrets are for players to find out. The initial blush of mystery will be portrayed for the sole purpose of the reveal after sufficient effort. You can find out if you try.

              I tell myself that this is justified in-setting by characters such as Nara-O and Anys Sys, by systems such as Past Lives and by Unnatural Mental Influence. Some characters are very capable of finding out secrets, even well kept ones. Others are less discrete than maybe they should be in the pursuit of power. Creation is very old and full of very persuasive people - against the consequences of failing to protect the world, secrets are nothing.

              But you can forget that second paragraph and just read the first one, because play should trump setting. This is a case where I don't see the two conflicting, however, just that knowing anything specific including existence about Sidereals in the Second Age is hard for most. But not for your average Celestial PC group, where hard is what happens before breakfast and they go on to punch impossible in the face and take its name for their own before the sun sets.

              Sidereal Jumpstart (3e fanwork Charmset)
              Cascades (the above in flowchart form)


              • #8
                Originally posted by Guancyto View Post
                *snip* ...Vale of Hours.... *snip*
                Im sorry, but what is the Vale of Hours? I don't remember ever hearing about it before and it sounds suitably cool.


                • #9
                  Close to number two. The Sids keep their cards close, and spreads misinformations to muddy the water. But there are those who have puzzled together a fairly correct view (and those who are completely off base).

                  Hm... Now I want to create a Sidereal organization that has the abbrevation NSA so I can use the "No Such Agency" name joke. But I can't think of a suitable name; ******* Sidereal Agency.


                  • #10
                    I think there's an important distinction to be made between "secret" and "unknown"/"obscure." In 3e I don't think UCS's existence is secret but it has confirmed to be obscure: he's not really directly worshiped, nobody but scholars know about or discuss him, etc - as a result of his ignoring the world for millennia. That's quite different from "he's actively hiding."

                    And it wholly depends on who you're referring to. Celestial gods have a good reason to know via scuttlebutt; DBs might not know anything until they're put under a Sideeal's command to hunt Anathema. And as was said they might not even know the nature of the power, just that it IS some kind of supernatural/beyond-mortal effect.

                    "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


                    • #11
                      SMA are discussed in elementary school for children as part of cultural studies that they might understand the Great and Wise Guardians of Fate, and Viziers of our Holy Rulers, the Chosen of the Sun.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Arteliex View Post
                        Im sorry, but what is the Vale of Hours? I don't remember ever hearing about it before and it sounds suitably cool.
                        It was shipped in by the U.S.S. Make Shit Up. She's a good ship.

                        Edit: Sorry, I forget my turns of phrase aren't exactly as clever as I think they are sometimes.
                        I made it up! It's a hypothetical 3CD of Sacheverell that serves the same purpose as the Loom, only in Malfeas. It doesn't exist, but demonologists insist it must.
                        There is, after all, no sunset or sunrise, and the hour is announced twice a day by demons screaming. Why, then, do the most prescient of demons receive visions twice a day of their own demise? What is a "day," anyway?

                        Why, if reality is dictated by the whim of the Yozis, are the physics still relatively consistent even between different Yozis' domains?

                        Someone keeps track, right?
                        Last edited by Guancyto; 04-08-2015, 01:24 PM.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Arteliex View Post

                          Im sorry, but what is the Vale of Hours? I don't remember ever hearing about it before and it sounds suitably cool.
                          A quick google search of ("vale of hours" exalted) turns up this thread and that's it. Either a typo, head canon, or a total fabrication. Then again, with no exalted wiki, Google doesn't have many sites to look at for specialized terms like that.

                          Don't feel bad. People tell the developers they get Exalted wrong all the time. -hippokrene


                          • #14
                            Uncommon enough for "THIS ISN'T EVEN MY TRUE FORM!" to sound rather ominous.
                            Common enough for someone present in the scene to be sufficiently in the know to say something like "you think that's called for? I think you're just showing off!" "oh! you're in trouble now!" or "shit! game over man! game over!"

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


                            • #15
                              Average of 1.75, for me and my games. If you're in the know enough to know what a Sidereal is, you may also know they can do some pretty trippy things with their martial arts.