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Was the Bronze Faction right?

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  • #16
    For one thing, it's bad for the game as a whole if the question is ever answered conclusively.

    We have the example of a Solar who created a garden of mutilated mortals whose tortured screams were made into music. We also have the example of the rulers of Whitewall, who showed no signs of madness at all, and whose Dragon-blooded followers loyally defended them during the Usurpation.

    We know it was bad enough that the Sidereals grew worried, but not so bad that they didn't need to prophesy and discuss it a lot before reaching a conclusion, and they still didn't convince everyone.

    We know it was bad enough that they managed to convince most of the Dragon-blooded to join them, but it wasn't so bad that they could convince the Lunars too, and even now that they are no longer under the influence of their Solar mates, and haven't been for hundreds of years, the Lunars still believe the Sidereals and Dragon-blooded were in the wrong.

    We know it was bad enough that the Unconquered Sun turned his face from his Chosen, but now he has turned his face back to Creation.

    Because the important thing is that regardless of wether or not the Bronze Faction was justified, the Usurpation is in the past. Creation is a different place now than it was at either the beginning or the end of the First Age. There are new threats to the world, the dynamic between the Chosen of the Gods is different, and every one of the Exalted is a unique individual with their own thoughts and beliefs and feelings. The only way to know whether the Solars will fall to madness and corruption again is to gather up a couple of friends and play the game.


    • #17
      A lot of people forget that the vision of Gold wasn't about letting the Solars go on doing what they were doing, it was about helping them be better people. Like, actually standing beside their friends and guiding them in the way that they're supposed to do. The Vision of Bronze is putting up a sign telling refugees they're not welcome because they might be terrorists, the Vision of Gold is The New Colossus.

      Not to mention that the First Age, apart from relatively small cases of abject horror, was a literal golden age of enlightenment, plenty, and security. The people weren't JUST brainwashed into thinking the First Age was so great, it was also run by Solar bureaucrats and supported by Solar inventors and defended by Solar warriors. It was pretty good.


      • #18
        At least in 2E, a large part of the Usurpation was due to how the Great Curse affect Sidereals. So from my point of view, the slaughter of the Solars was not so much about what Solars had become, but what the GC let the Sids believe. More of a "there are two Solars that are bat shit crazy, but a century there was only one. If this continues, in a couple of millenniums, they all will be bat shit crazy." Then taking a few dozen selfish and power-hungry Solars as proof they all were heading in that direction.

        Not a clue how EX3 will handle it, as I'm not interested in digging through my PDF for it, as I'm just reading EX3 to mine for ideas to use in 2.x.


        • #19
          Also gold and silver factions exist today and they don't just fight over the usurpation. Bronze faction Sids organize the burning of an entire villiage to the ground to spare the kingdom a plague, gold faction Sids jump in and cure the plague. Stuff like that. Giving the choice between heartless pragmatist or fucking hero, I'll probably go the latter.


          • #20
            The Vision of Bronze was not about seeking the best future, but avoiding the worst.

            Right or wrong, it worked. Creation still turns. Mad tyrants don't rule. Time, space and fate weren't destroyed.

            The Vision of Gold was the hope a gangrenous limb could be saved. The Vision of Bronze was amputation to save the patient's life.

            Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.


            • #21
              Originally posted by Aya Tari
              While the Usurpation probably ended the lives of five billion human beings, with the ancient Solar Exalted basically saying an f*** you to Creation and taking out entire nations with them when they were killed, the ancient Solar Exalted were evil monsters that made tyrants like the Scarlet Empress seems like an amateur by comparison. What is even worse, the Solar Exalted were capable of using social Charms that made the vast majority of Creation beg to be used in their insane games and corrupted excesses. After all, they committed genocide on a scale beyond comprehension after the Primordial War, enslaved the Mountain Folk, and marginalized the Dragon Kings just because they were slightly paranoid about their capabilities.
              If you're going to imagine the Old Realm in such extreme terms, then sure, you've provided your own straightforward answer. Personally, even though I like the idea that the Great Curse had made the Solars into terrible rulers who were such a danger to warrent consideration of overthrowing, I would exercise a lot more restraint. That being said-
              Originally posted by Aya Tari
              how could you be sure that your opinions were your own and not the result of Solar Charms?
              In Third Edition? Because Charms don't work like that.

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


              • #22
                (Also, I'm pretty sure that the Sidereal prophecy is no longer being broken down into a simple dichotomy between overthrowing and supporting the Solars, and that the Gold Faction is now going to be based around disillusionment with the results of their ancient decision rather than being hung up on a vision that the majority didn't follow)

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


                • #23
                  In my opinion, the bronze faction was right at the point of the usurpation, but the gold faction is right is the present-day setting. The solars got a reboot. Now's the chance to keep them on the right path and rebuild a utopia that won't go to shit.


                  • #24
                    Bronze Faction tried hard, but they really needed to find a way to eliminate Solars for all time. And then retcon it so they never existed. Then the setting would be good.


                    Actually, I may have a point. I think the game would work better if modern Solars were something new, a grand working the Sun has been planning for centuries, a replacement for the mad godkings of the past...


                    Setting aside meta concerns, in-setting the Sidereals and their Dragonblooded allies chose their own personal freedom. Casting down kings, even benevolent monarchs, is morally justifiable. There may be less bread and circuses, and the world is in more danger, but their alternative was an eternity of servitude. No matter how gilded the chains, I cannot condemn that choice.


                    • #25
                      Aaaare you saying that the rule of the Solars by that point had developed to a point of eternal servitude, or that that's just a... universal quality of monarchy?

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


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                        Aaaare you saying that the rule of the Solars by that point had developed to a point of eternal servitude, or that that's just a... universal quality of monarchy?
                        The former, I suppose.

                        Let's unpick that: in the Old Realm, the Sidereals (and, even more so/less disputably, the Dragonblooded) were servants to the Solars, not peers. Sans the Usurpation, the rule of the Solars was not predictably going to end (and, indeed, anathagenic research was sufficiently advanced that it was likely the current Solars would last forever). Thus, eternity of servitude.

                        To use real world analogies, the Tsar may not have been as much of a monster as Stalin proved to be, but that doesn't mean overthrowing him was immoral.

                        And it's rather dubious that reincarnating him and putting him back in charge of Russia would be in any way a good idea.


                        • #27
                          They were faced with three choices (unless that has changed in 3rd Ed)...

                          1) Do nothing and watch Creation fall into darkness (something both sides agreed should not be allowed).

                          2) Help the Solars and see Creation reach new heights of greatness, but with little chance of success.

                          3) Kill the Solars and prop the Dragon-Blooded in their place and see Creation diminished but continue with a greater chance of success.

                          Now, while it is clear that they eventually decided on the 3rd option because it had a greater chance of success, the fact that they didn't even try the second is a telling choice of their own arrogance and corruption. Yes, it probably wouldn't have worked, but there is no reason they couldn't try it while laying the groundwork for the other option... and see if they could figure out why the Solars were going mad with their power (is the Great Curse still relatively unknown in 3rd Ed?).

                          It is basically that choice between having a better world or a less interesting one... trying to fix the underlying problem with little chance of success... or tearing out the worst of the infection and hoping that what survives heals. Not an easy choice... and neither can be said to be right or wrong (except in hindsight perhaps)... but the choice was made and now Creation is dealing with the consequences.

                          There are three types of people in the world... those who can count and those who can't.
                          I reject your reality and substitute my own!


                          • #28
                            It's very important to remember that we have barely any information about the first age in Ex3. Ex1 and Ex2 claims explicitely don't apply unless an Ex3 source repeats them.

                            That alone makes some of the OP's claims unverifiable, but even in Ex2, it was mentioned the Solars "enslaved" the Mountain Folk out of fear - they knew they'd win a war, but they also knew such a war would be devastating. At some point, a dev said that the Undersea/Niobraran League would reinforce that image - there already was a war with other non-human sentients in creation, and it was devastating, and the Exalted Host was very much not interested in repeating that. So they did some damage now to prevent total devastation later - which is pretty much what the Ursupation was about, too.

                            Here some of the things we know about the "new" First Age:
                            Originally posted by Ex3 Entry Fiction
                            “If there is something in the world that you do not like,” he’d told her, “then you may rest assured that it was handled better then. If you grow frustrated with the tiresome bureaucracy of Heaven, or angered by the lax and wayward gods; if you wake up one day to find that monkey-spirits have made off with your favored quill and ink-stone, or that children no longer respect their elders; that farmland is failing, that barbarians use the libraries of old to wipe their bums—well, there was an age when it was not so. When we had great rulers. When we had righteous rulers, who’d held the mandate of the Unconquered Sun. Only, it was a burdensome thing to have such power, such perfection; the knowledge of it consumed them, the limitlessness of their own strength devoured them, and they sank into corruption or went mad.”
                            Originally posted by The Age of the Exalted
                            The Solars had labored for millennia under a great curse lain upon them by the vanquished enemies of the gods. In time the Solars grew wicked, deceitful and mad; their magnanimity turned to spite, their justice to tyranny. They began to turn against their subjects and each other, and the world was soon threatened by the very sorceries and machinations the Solars had used to protect it. As civil war loomed, the other Exalted saw no choice but to remove their masters. The Dragon-Blooded rose up against the Solars and slew them as they feasted the turning of the year.
                            It's also technically not certain whether it was still the Solars who are responsible for TUS turning his gaze away, or whether it was a group effort between all Exalted. ("It is known in Heaven that some great blasphemy by the Exalted of the First Age made him wroth, and so he turned his face from the world.")

                            Even Black Wind, the First Age Soulsteel Artefact, which could serve beautifully as an "look at THE HORROR!", only says that it was "Forged in the early days of the First Age to bring death and terror to traitors and outlaws"... the horror of which depends mostly on how they defined traitors and outlaws. Which, going by the description ("Shih Azen hunted mortal conspirators, traitorous gods, prehuman cannibal-cults, and Exalted murderers alike, and those who carried Black Wind after him continued this tradition of deadly justice until the night of the Usurpation.") wasn't that bad.

                            These are pretty much the worst of things said about First Age Solars - the rest is either stuff about how awesome they were, or about how destructive the Ursupation was, or... Immaculate Propaganda. Which may still contain a grain of truth, so here's what the Immaculate Philosophy says about...
                            Originally posted by ...the Dawn Caste
                            In Immaculate fables, the Dawn Caste were the most cruel and brutal of the Anathema. These monsters served as the gauntleted fist of their fellows’ blasphemous hegemony. When the righteous Dragon-Blooded rose up against this tyranny, the other Anathema abandoned their warrior dupes, leaving them to die.
                            Originally posted by ...the Zenith Caste
                            In Immaculate fables, these monsters enslaved the innocent with unholy power, binding mortals in servitude to their dark gods. They presided over the foul rituals of the Anathema, indulging in slaughter, human sacrifice, and hedonistic debauchery. When the Dragon-Blooded rose up, they shattered this vile cult, and slaughtered its masters to the last man. In its place, they taught mortals of the Immaculate Philosophy, sharing with them righteousness and hope.
                            Originally posted by the Twilight Caste
                            In Immaculate fables, these Anathema were by far the most avaricious and power-hungry of their kind. In their wickedness, they struck bargains with demons and other vile spirits, gaining forbidden knowledge and the secrets of darkest sorcery. No sacrifice was too extreme for these Anathema—they fed entire cities to their patrons, and allowed horrors from beyond to sate carnal hungers on their own flesh. In the end, their ill-gotten power could not save them from the Ten Thousand Dragons, who stood fast against their wicked magic and slew them.
                            Originally posted by ...the Night Caste
                            In Immaculate fables, some among the Anathema were so corrupt that they could not stand the touch of sunlight. These piteous beings served as enforcers, skulking unseen through cities and slavepens to stifle dissent. As dawn broke, they left behind the mutilated bodies of their victims as a warning to all who would challenge the Anathema. Their cowardly tactics were no match for the Dragon-Blooded, who drove them from their lightless lairs and brought them swift death.
                            Originally posted by ...the Eclipse Caste
                            In Immaculate fables, the empire of the Anathema was built on lies, and these monsters were its architects. Their honeyed tongues could convince men to abandon virtue and give themselves willingly to depravity. For centuries, they kept their slaves in a fog of lies, calling blasphemy art and murder justice. When the Dragon-Blooded rose up, they drove these Anathema into the wilderness and hunted them down like the animals they were.
                            This is really obvious propaganda - note the obligatory "they also had weird sex!" in the Twilight entry, and the assumption that Night Castes couldn't go out into the sun (instead of "wouldn't").

                            So, my impression is that the whole "How crazy do Solars become?" and "Was it the right choice to kill them all?" are intentionally left open.
                            Maybe the Ursupation was caused by Sidereal hubris, and they overreacted badly. Maybe it was a callous but necessary choice, and they were right all along. Or maybe it's impossible to know, both in-setting and out of it, because it's a decision made thousands of years ago - and all that's left are the consequences.

                            Pointing fingers isn't productive when you've got a Time of Troubles on your hands.

                            Silencing Whisper, Eclipse; Amethyst, Changing Moon;
                            Daughter of Charcoal and Ash, Dusk, and her Full Moon sister;
                            Broken Crystal, Infernal (Night-, or maybe Twilight-equivalent).


                            • #29
                              Curse this interminable desire to nitpick the sociopolitical context of the February Revolution beyond the brief statement of "it was more complicated than just Nicholas II being a bad ruler" (to the extent that the rather ineffectual man can be said to have been much of a ruler at all). That being said, something more pertinant to the topic is how strange it is to me how often people assume that the only way for the power of a figure or a regime or a nation to ebb is for the overall structure to be destroyed entirely. I imagine that during the entire, five thousand First Age, there were a few Solar rulers who lived a full three thousand years and found the strength of their personal authority (or even their interest in exercising it) wax and wane to significant degrees in response to all kinds of contextual factors such as social movements, political developments, environmental shifts, availability of resources and the ambitions or competence of various peers and subordinates. But then, I prefer to picture a very dynamic First Age.

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


                              • #30
                                I don't think I've read anything about the Bronze faction's history in the Ex3 core.

                                In the second edition Sidereal book, I recall reading the prophecy of bronze and it specifically said that the Solars *would be* eternally bound. That doesn't appear to have been the case because an element outside of fate messed things up.

                                Following a prophecy that turns out to be false doesn't seem like the 'right' thing to do.

                                Alternatively, they removed a group of abusive, destructive tyrants from power. That's something I'm generally inclined to view as a positive. That doesn't mean that the Gold faction was wrong in their reasoning or plans though.

                                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                                Objectively? It doesn't matter.
                                I'm not sure you can make an objective statement as to whether something matters in a wider sense.

                                Come and rock me Amadeus.