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End of the Age: What are Your Theories?

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  • End of the Age: What are Your Theories?

    At some point, the Age of Sorrows (the Era of Exalted) ends, and things . . . change. We go from a world where the champions of the gods walk Creation, to a World of Darkness, where tainted power is the name of the game. But how the Age actually ended . . . that's always been left ambiguous. We get a couple of hints in the various Exalted books, and a few more in the legends of the (old) World of Darkness games. However, we never get a definite answer.

    So what's your theory?

  • #2
    Sidereals did it.

    STing Bronze Age Exalted


    • #3
      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
      Sidereals did it.

      Close. It was actually the Ebon Dragon disguised as the Sidereals. All of them.


      • #4
        Don't be ridiculous. It was Mirror Flag disguised as the Ebon Dragon disguised as all the Sidereals.

        STing Bronze Age Exalted


        • #5
          I much prefer that when Creation ends, all just dissolves back into endless possibilities for the cycle to repeat when next a Primordial comes into being. And the Exaltations will be waiting for them.

          Not the biggest fan of, "and then it's earth, but worse, lol."

          Also, like, tainted power is the name of the game in Exalted, so...?

          "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


          • #6
            To be fair, I'm pretty sure there's a huge deal of time between the end of the Second Age and the World of Darkness as we know it, even were such a thing to come about, which I would like to think is... just not where we're going with Exalted anymore.

            That said, while I'd LIKE to imagine that the Third Age would be better than "the Age of Sorrows but slightly shittier", I have trouble with that largely because either the greatness of the First Age is recaptured in some way, the world ends violently, or the world goes through another "lessening", presumably by snuffing out the spark of Exaltation and cutting Creation off from the Wyld somehow.

            I'm just not sure I see another option. And I frankly don't trust the Sidereals to see a fourth option either.

            Or to make different choices than they did last time.


            • #7
              My opinion has always been that the Age of Sorrows ends with the Sundering, because that's theme-appropriate for both the Age of Sorrows and the World of Darkness.

              There is no separation between the spiritual world and the physical world in Creation as it currently stands; it's all one holistic thing. Essence and spirits and gods and demons flow freely through the world as one numinous whole. There are cracks and errors in the grand design (the Underworld is the biggest representation of that) but for the most part Creation is CREATION, the single greatest creative endeavor of the grand titans who forged a universe out of raw chaos.

              And then something cataclysmic happened, and it broke.

              It didn't get destroyed; it may not really be possible to entirely destroy it. It just... shattered. The various spirits and gods were exiled from the physical universe by a giant metaphysical barrier, just like ghosts are in Creation but worse, because spirits are supposed to interact with the world and now they can't; they have to exist in Shard and Shade Realms now, and touch the world only distantly and remotely. Even those that make their way through the Gauntlet have a lot of trouble. Yu-Shan probably broke apart at the same time in the same way. The flows of Essence became dim and occluded, still gathering in demesnes but not suffusing everything the way they're meant to. Ironically, the Underworld was least affected; Stygia will probably be there forever until time itself is eaten by the Neverborn.

              Even the Exaltations shattered, so great was the Sundering; it broke what couldn't be broken. The Exaltations continued to exist, but in a lesser or changed form. (That's a constant theme in both the narrative of the World of Darkness of Exalted; things very rarely ever get destroyed. They almost always continue to exist, they're just made lesser.)

              As for what the Sundering actually was, I like to think of it as "every cataclysmic plot to destroy or conquer Creation goes off at the same time; every insane, last-ditch, are-you-fucking-kidding-me crazyface plot to save Creation equally is enacted at the same time. Creation can't handle so many grand competing lives and deaths and destinies and endings and everything, and in the process of trying it fucks itself up really badly."

              "SEX NOVA is the kind of person who, after being chosen as the divine champion of the god of heroes, decided to call himself SEX NOVA."


              • #8
                I've always thought that the connections between Creation and the World of Darkness were pretty weak, even from a strictly thematic standpoint. In my headcanon, there is no set of factors that leads directly from one to the other.

                Instead, here are some other possible ages:

                Age of Heroes: At the climax of the Age of Sorrows, all of the old power structures are broken down. The Realm collapses into scores of squabbling city-states, the Bureau of Destiny is torn apart by internal schisms and the plots of Rakan Thulio, the Deathlords lose much of their holdings in conflicts with each other and their own Abyssal Exalted, and so forth until most of the greater competing powers of Creation are no more. At first, this brings chaos - thousands of petty tyrants rise and fall in the centuries to follow. However, it also leads to new growth. Without the old imperial powers squeezing them, many parts of Creation flourish in ways they had not for millenia, and there is tremendous (if unstable) growth in magic, knowledge, and other learning. This is an age defined not by great power blocs, but by lone champions - mighty adventurers staking their claims in a world without order and bringing prosperity to their stakeholds, each with their own law.

                Age of Dreams: With nothing holding it back anymore, the Wyld floods into Creation. But this is not the end of the world - only a change in state. In the Wild Creation, anyone - god or mortal - whose will is strong can create their own destiny, or even redefine the laws of the world in a tight space around them. Countless people seek to become the masters of their own stories - many succeed, and some even create pockets of unusual stability in a world that has become malleable and fluid. This is an age of dynamic existence where seemingly anything is possible, and if it seems to some like the world is constantly on the edge of collapse, well - what is a collapse, except an opportunity to build something new?

                Age of Demons: Despite their surrender oaths and a thousand other factors working against them, the Yozis escape their prison. With the Exalted divided, they are able to retake the world and set about giving it the shape they believed it should have all along. So begins a new Primordia - an age of Endless Creation, where countless forms of new life flourish and the edges of the world push ever further into the infinite Wyld. It's an amazing time to be alive, unless you're a human or anything that is dependent on golden sunlight.

                Age of Death: The Deathlords are triumphant - at last, their collective efforts to wipe all life from the face of Creation have borne fruit. Yet, something is wrong - the Neverborn are still restless, and covering all of the earth in graves has not silenced them. It is the darkest of times, when few can remember that land-that-is-not-shadowed ever was, the few creatures who yet live struggle for every second of their continued existence, and the spirits of the dead fight tooth and nail for any scrap of color or light. This is an age of despair, which may end only when the very land itself is no more.

                And my preferred personal endgame:

                Age of Exaltation: The Champions of the Gods fight. They fight each other, spirits, gods, monsters, the Wyld, the dead, demonkind, and when there is no one left for them to fight they fight with themselves. But, in time, the fighting dies down as the Exalted collectively begin to understand their unique position in the world. They are Exalted - blessed with the power and might of the Divine, but able learn, grow, change, and adapt as humans do. They need no masters but themselves and, though they are strong individually, collectively they are indomitable. The old enmities break down, either through love, principle, or realpolitik, and in time the Exalted come together again to rule the world as one. Where before there was division, there is unity; where before there was conflict, there is peace; where before there was strife, there is order. But all is not as it was in the beginning - now, after two ages of petty power struggles and internecine conflict, the Chosen possess wisdom that perhaps they lacked before. There is no Glory without Sorrow to give it contrast, and no Power without the presence of the Powerless. Having learned these truths through long and bitter experience, the Chosen who rule now are more self-aware, temperate, and kind. The struggle to build a better world remains, but there is a hope now that previous ages lacked - that the Exalted, no longer the slaves of their passions, may truly become the heroes they imagine themselves to be.

                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.

                Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz


                • #9
                  I like to flip which setting goes first, personally. Exalted is the far future continuation of World of Darkness. If I wanted to run a Primordial War game, I'd use one of the space based Shards in Shards of the Exalted Dream. What She Who Lives In Her Name destroyed was the concepts of Physics, a Round Planet, other Worlds, etc. Lintha and Dragon Kings were Aliens.

                  I know that goes against what little Canon we have about the Primordial War, but I think it would be fun to play a game set in our Solar System fighting the Primordials.

                  I write things.


                  • #10
                    The deathlords opt for a new strategy. Rather than a Great Contagion for those of flesh, they go for those of ephemera. They release one that annihilates the various gods. This shatters the world and the end of all life occurs. What they did not count on was the ever-eager eyes of the Fae marching in and reclaiming their world.
                    Those who have been safely tucked away (The Yozis and those in Yu-Shan) survived. With nothing around to punish them for breaking their oaths, they strike free and bring about a new Creation, but this time far lesser and far more horrific than thought previously. They set not a pantheon but a Triat to rule over all of it. One of the Solars survived and inherits the mantle of the Unconquered Sun. He is worshiped and called Yahweh by his followers, amongst other names.


                    • #11
                      I've always seen it much as Mercushio does. I'm not clear what could cause the Sundering or shatter the Exaltations, but something did, and cut Creation off from the Wyld so thoroughly that it starts starving. Yu-Shan and the Loom of Fate shattered into bits, scattering the spirit courts over the new spirit world. With the influence of the Wyld so weakened, other shinmaic forces -- the Wyrm and Weaver, to simplify and anthropomorphize them -- become much more noticeable, on Earth and in the new spirit world. The Incarnae and Gaia struggle to rebuild something from the wreckage, but it's a only pale, pitiful shadow of Creation and Heaven. The remnants of what used to be Exalted and Dragon Kings go to war against the Fair Folk and Underworld and demons, but never again unite, and soon each group go to war against themselves.

                      That said, I greatly prefer the World of Darkness to be only a possibility, not an inevitability. My personal preferences are the same as Semicasual's. Even if I have no faith in even un-Cursed humans to learn from mistakes or not want to destroy the world, it's a game. I read and play fantasy to take a break from watching real world civilization being destroyed in excruciating detail.

                      There is another possible age Semicasual didn't mention: that the forces of the Lunars, Solars, and/or Getimians succeed in tearing down the rule of the Sidereals and Terrestrials, and take over Creation for themselves. Whether this leads to tyranny, prosperity and justice, or infighting, or weakens the defenders of Creation so much that the enemies from outside it have an opening to conquer or destroy the world, I don't know.
                      Last edited by Erinys; 05-18-2015, 12:09 PM.

                      She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
                      My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
                      Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.


                      • #12
                        I don't draw any correlations between Exalted and the World of Darkness, because they're not the same universe. It was brought up several times during Exalted 2E only to have a Dev say they weren't linked. I've seen no mention of a correlation in 3E either. Anyone who takes a deeper look then, Lunars are obviously werewolves and Abyssals are obviously vampires lolz, could see that the worlds are incompatible. Especially with some of the 3E introductions were getting.


                        • #13
                          This conversation is mainly due to the inference that Exalted was supposed to be the precursor (albeit several steps removed) to the Classic World of Darkness. They downplayed it in 2nd Edition, even though the references are still there. I am sure that you will see subtle hints here and there wherein there are possible tie-ins but nowhere near as many.


                          • #14
                            The connection was explicit in 1E, though the settings weren't cosmologically fitted to each other, and then it was downplayed in 2E. The devs have said they have no plans to either make it explicit or to remove the references in 3E. Some Exalted fans still like the idea of a connection.

                            No matter what version of the classic World of Darkness cosmology you prefer, some of the setting assumptions of Exalted won't fit, so either you have to change the Exalted cosmology, or invent a WoD cosmology that fits with Exalted, or change both to something in-between. For example, Creation apparently has to actually be Gaia's world-body if you use Werewolf cosmology, in which the Earth is assumed to be Gaia herself. Then again the shapeshifters could all just be hilariously misinformed. Most of them (outside the Beast Courts) assume the (modern) world is ending and Gaia's dying, while the Beast Courts believe the world's "merely" going to be super-shitty for a few ages and then start getting better. Some of the Beast Courts shapeshifters even believe Gaia died of fatigue long ago and was replaced by a different Gaia. It's also common for shapeshifters to assume Gaia created the Wyld which is utterly incompatible with Exalted cosmology.
                            Last edited by Erinys; 05-18-2015, 01:27 PM.

                            She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
                            My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
                            Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.


                            • #15
                              I can't speak for 1e, but so far as the second and third editions go, the "Creation turns into the World of Darkness" is definitely not a given. Nods, obvious sources of inspiration, and the like have long been present and that's going to continue. People who like the idea of Creation turning into the World of Darkness can happily run with them as though that's the case. For everyone else, they're fun little Easter eggs or things that can serve as amusing/interesting parallels across the lines.

                              Regardless of how anyone sees or likes to think of these things, though, I think it's fair to say that making a nod to WoD should be a secondary concern. These things should be first and foremost serviceable and appropriate on their own merits to Exalted as a game, not dependent on such a connection.

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