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How much history do Creation's people know?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
    Personally, I'd argue that saying one Exalt type should be in charge is a bit silly: clearly there's going to be suitable and unsuitable rulers amongst all Exalt types.
    The Sids and DBs have had how many thousands of years to show their chops at the job?

    They're not any good at it, clearly.

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    • #62
      Are they bad at it? Are the troubles of the world reflective of their failure to lead or of more complicated and varied circumstances than one could actually account for? Were things better in the First Age in the sense of solving these problems?

      3rd Edition doesn't seem directly interested in answering that question, which is valuable in my view, but it's also worth noting that even when 2e was interested in the First Age and describing it in detail, it seemed as if many of these kinds of problems still existed even with the fancy infrastructure made by the Solar Deliberative to handle things.

      I think in-character the notion that any kind of Exalted within the limitation of people knowledgeable enough to have the discussion, the question of whether the Sids or DBs are bad leaders could be an interesting one, but not with any kind of objective answer in mind.

      Such a conversation could be telling when it comes to what a character prioritizes and the limitations of the character's imagination. If ever there was a scene for uncovering intimacies...


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      • #63
        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        The only group with any legitimacy beyond "we seized power so now we're in charge" are the Primordials, who actually created Creation…
        …and even they seized it from the Wyld!


        He/him

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        • #64
          Indeed! The Unshaped would certainly see it that way (to the extent you can make meaningful statements about the Unshaped).

          Originally posted by Marcob
          The Sids and DBs have had how many thousands of years to show their chops at the job?

          They're not any good at it, clearly.
          About 1.5 thousand years.

          But yes, as a group, they're not doing a great job (though I think there are certainly individuals who are good at it, but the overall system isn't great). So, just like the Solars really.


          STing Bronze Age Exalted

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Lundgren View Post
            Lets just agree to disagree.
            So, for clarity's sake, are you disagreeing with my notion that gods are not perfect-unchanging-reliable-unbiased-sources-of-Real-True-Knowledge? Because that seems a weird choice of hill to die on.


            He/him

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            • #66
              I think it's possible to say they're not 100% perfect historical sources, while still saying they might well be able to tell you a fair bit about the First Age.

              Though I imagine the Celestial Gods would be far more useful for that than Terrestrial Gods, and most people in the setting have no access to Celestial Gods.


              STing Bronze Age Exalted

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              • #67
                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                So, for clarity's sake, are you disagreeing with my notion that gods are not perfect-unchanging-reliable-unbiased-sources-of-Real-True-Knowledge? Because that seems a weird choice of hill to die on.
                Nope. On discussion methods.

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                • #68
                  I think a good question for a god talking about the First Age is: Qui bono? Who benefits? What do they get out of explaining things to you, and to what end? Not every god is a manipulative shitbag, but they're immortals stuck in a magical, larger than life bureaucracy. The only thing they got time for is schemes! So the vast majority of them are manipulative. Then there are those who might not want to share details because it wouldn't be terribly hard to figure out who shared them among the Celestial Bureaucracy, and then you also have to account for the fact that they might have an imperfect memory or maybe even don't care enough about said event to remember it right in the first place.

                  A really valuable inspiration to consider here is Vampire: The Requiem in its 2nd Edition. There is not a normal "Fog of Ages" to keep Kindred history secret from anyone, and yet, it's still very mysterious. Why?

                  Because elders lie. They tell the version of events that serves them better, that they like better. They forget things, too. They are sometimes misinformed as well, and even information they have second-hand can be fabricated. Elders lie because people lie. They forget, because people forget. They misremember (sometimes willfully!) because that's a thing that people do. They may be vampires, inhuman vampires even, but they're still people, and still fallible the way people are.

                  Gods are not human, but they are people, and they likely face the same sorts of issues and situations. Maybe you omit the key detail that when you sided with the Circle's previous Incarnations right after the Usurpation, you were doing so because you'd already lost your position due to corruption charges from a Censor, but that's a huge detail with ramifications for the rest of the story, so you have the knock-on effect of having to account for that. At one point, it almost becomes more trouble than it's worth to lay it all out. When two gods who were there tell two different versions of what happened, like people do, what's an Exalt to do?

                  Judge's Ear Technique, you say?

                  Neither of them are lying.

                  History is hard.

                  The key takeaway here is that average people probably only know local history within living memory, and legends which might theoretically resemble actual history, because historiography is not a thing.

                  Gods might know more, but are subject to very strong immortal biases, and often need incentive to be truthful (and on top of that, there's the limitation that truthful is not always accurate)

                  Even educated people have to contend with the fact that unified access to resources that have been verified as accurate is not going to be common outside of certain influential places.

                  Then, in terms of being clever: You might get a more accurate picture of what life was like in Lookshy in RY 578 from a trade manifest from the Guild than you might from the historians of the Seventh Legion even though they might have that Lookshy professionalism going on!
                  Last edited by Leetsepeak; 09-22-2016, 10:24 AM.


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                  • #69
                    Leetsepeak: Exactly. Hence my bit about Leviticus, Satan, et cetera., on previous pages.


                    He/him

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Lundgren View Post
                      Nope. On discussion methods.
                      So in other words, you're disagreeing with me because I'm snarky? That's great - it means you're not disagreeing with me because I'm wrong.

                      I mean, you're welcome to not like how I voice my arguments, but I've yet to see any compelling argument that gods should be an easy sword with which to cut through the Veil of Ages Past.
                      Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 09-22-2016, 10:40 AM.


                      He/him

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                      • #71
                        For the vast, vast majority of human history, nobody really knew much more beyond about the world beyond what your great-grandfather knew.

                        Further, this was not thought of as particularly onerous or inconvenient.

                        Historical research is not particularly useful. Our modern society holds history in great esteem, and so it's hard for us to understand this.

                        In the rare case that somebody starts caring about history beyond the realm of what Grandpa can take you, it usually requires patronage and support to be able to do anything about it. That patronage and support usually comes from an interested party who is not concerned with a non-biased or accurate narrative. More often, what is produced will support the ideology and political goals of the person paying for it, which effectively is massively biased or entirely fictional account.

                        It doesn't help that these individuals aren't particularly concerned about historical accuracy, so they'll not hesitate to kill you for disparaging the 'false' information.

                        Also note that 'everybody knows' this history was written with an agenda and while they may not talk about it openly, they eye-roll privately. It's particularly frustrating to future generations because they will never know what was written with a serious nod or a knowing wink.

                        Now, exceptions exist. Sima Quan, Livy... occasionally state historians are imbued with the power and money to assemble a more-or-less accurate historical picture. But even these great historians reveal impressive bias in writings from the era, making relying upon them as sources questionable even from our perspective.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Piff View Post
                          Now, exceptions exist. Sima Quan, Livy... occasionally state historians are imbued with the power and money to assemble a more-or-less accurate historical picture. But even these great historians reveal impressive bias in writings from the era, making relying upon them as sources questionable even from our perspective.
                          Particularly focusing on the mention of Livy, the other thing worth considering is how much a given culture values the literal truth versus a moral truth. Livy doesn't present an accurate history of Rome (We really don't know what an accurate history would look like, beyond a reasonable certainty that the Kings of Rome are a whole hot mess to unravel) but he presents one which the Roman people and his patrons might find compelling. People's feelings about innaccuracy are likely to only exist in the context of personal knowledge, i.e. He misrepresented my father ,but the idea of looking for a capital t Truth in history that is "objective" is a totally modern obsession that doesn't really bear out even now and especially not the further you go back in time.

                          Like, they care about not completely fucking it up with super wrong information, but if Livy says what Caesar or the Brutus that slew Tarquin were thinking at the time, nobody is going like "Yo bro, how did you know he was thinking that for a fact?" Because that part isn't important. Historiography is not a thing anyone cares about.

                          History in these situations is usually a teaching tool rather than a discipline in and of itself. That is, if you're learning about the Shogunate from someone, you're learning for a specific reason. Maybe it's to learn some of their battle tactics, or to gain national pride because your city-state believes itself a continuity of the Shogunate, etcetera. There's always a purpose besides the history when history is being taught.


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                          • #73
                            When it comes to history, there is a difference between the the larger pictures things like "did the Solars and Lunars steal their powers, in opposition of the Incarnea, or did they fight for the Incarnae to overthrow the Primordials" and what did a specific individual do at a specific moment. I have a feeling there is some cross purpose talking in this thread, where those two are conflated.

                            I guess it comes to how gods works. While there are gods that are to young to have been part of the last few thousand years of history, most are old enough to been part of it. If the mind of a god works anything similar to a human, then they won't forget the big picture stuff. But even their own memory of their own opinion on what happened back, and whom did what; well those memories might not exactly match what actually happened. Just as with witness psychology, people will remember a robbery taking place, but details like the color or model of the getaway car can easily be rationalized into another memory.

                            Which is of course on top on their willingness to tell the truth.

                            Then, a gods memory could work entirely different, in case the ST wants something else for their version of the setting.

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                            • #74
                              There's no doubt that being able to ask gods, ghosts and other people about the past events they experienced would be an incredibly valuable source of historical knowledge. Even in our world, accounts from people who lived through certain events can be extremely insightful - grandpa's stories about fighting in WW2 can give you a totally different perspective than what the history books teach.

                              Of course those accounts aren't going to be 100% accurate, and they won't be uncolored by personal biases, but then to a degree no historical account is 100% accurate and free of biases. Honestly the fact that a god or spirit's memories of the past might not be all that accurate doesn't seem like much of an issue in Creation where very few historical accounts can be shown to be accurate and biased free anyway.

                              I've always imagined that Sijan and Great Forks in particular are meccas for historians in Creation - the existence of so many beings with such ancient memories, and importantly who don't tow the Immaculate Order's line, would naturally draw people who were curious about Creation's past.

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                              • #75
                                About the Creation Ruling Mandate, I always read it as a parody of the whole concept of the divine right of kings.

                                You have a literal divine Mandate to rule the world? Good for you. Your god didn't even steal that, he hired your predecessor to steal it by murdering the Creators of the world. Your predecessors claimed they overthrew the Creators for being unjust, but then were accused of injustice and overthrown by other people, who now claim to be the only legitimate rulers. Oh, and your God is too disgusted by you to bother confirming this Mandate. He's not even speaking to you.

                                You have a literal Dragon's mandate to rule the world? Good for you. Please explain how this makes you competent, given that you were unable to stop or foresee the Contagion. Why exactly is the world on the verge of nonexistence if you're so perfect and infallible? Oh, and the ghosts and reincarnations of all these people you genocided accuse you of evil. Is your self-justifying religion even true, or did you just make it all up? Your Dragons aren't backing you up or even proving that they exist.

                                You have the Creators' mandate to reconquer the world for the legitimate rulers of all? Good for you. You've seen how they rule their own world, what part of that do you actually think is good? Have you not noticed that they want to flatten the cities of Creation and annihilate humanity, or do you just not care?


                                Exalted use their divine mandate, real or imaginary, as an excuse to treat mortals like absolute shit, and to insist that they themselves are perfect, infallible, flawless. Of course everything they do is automatically justified and right, and nobody has the right to question them or suggest they have ever made a mistake, or that their God/Dragon/whoever is less than perfect, or that any member of their host has ever become akuma!

                                And then we get detailed descriptions of how they turned Malfeas inside out, enslave or genocide entire human cities or nations, genocide entire intelligent species, perform horrific experiments on human souls, calmly allow nearly the entire world to be destroyed and call it acceptable losses, actually deliberately try to destroy the entire world, wage eternal war against each other, ally with Fae that are trying to destroy the world to get an edge in the eternal war, rape children, eat people to steal their skin, become akuma, torture people, feed human souls to the Fae, soulforge ghosts, overthrow governments, starve peasants to death, breed supersoldiers through rape, build an entire religion dedicated to the concept that mortals exist solely to be slaves, build an entire religion dedicated to soulforging the population into a doom fleet to destroy the world, destroy all historical knowledge to enforce their self-aggrandizing lies, and casually murder anyone who dares question their perfection. The world is literally ending, either because hardly any Exalt really wants to bother defending it, or because they're all incapable. Not counting the ones actively destroying the world.

                                And I'm pretty sure the whole point is that Cecelyne is right. Might Makes Right is the only law the gods or Exalted have ever had. With rare exceptions, they're selfish, cruel people. Respect for other kinds of Exalted, let alone mortals and non-humans, has no part in their worldview.

                                Cecelyne's only likely to be wrong where she claims the Primordials were any better. All this started because gods and humans were made to be slave races.

                                Although the Primordial War and Usurpation both began with a very sympathetic desire to overthrow a brutal government that committed many atrocities, they both replaced it with more of the same, because they never created a new concept of the legitimacy of power. And the Yozis want a counter-revolution, but they have no new idea either.


                                If you look at the behavior of real people who conquer empires or kingdoms, and claim that God gave them the right, or claim that God made their race/class/caste/sex the rulers and everyone else their servants, or rule through authoritarian violence... they don't have magic powers, but their behavior isn't much different.

                                I think the point of the Creation Ruling Mandate is to ask the players if it's really worth anything. I think that it's a sack of crap, and basing government on such a violent concept inevitably creates abuse and atrocity. And that when the rich and powerful claim that they're better just because they're rich and powerful, we should look closely at what they do with that power. And ask questions.
                                Last edited by Erinys; 10-03-2016, 09:50 PM. Reason: spelling


                                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.
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