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  • Similar things less succinctly and well than Levi:

    I'm not sure our ideas about love have changed that much. Or at least, I hope, as a culture, our capacity to deal with the human experience of heartbreak and take it seriously and sympathetically and to understand how even great people can be profoundly affected by it, has not been reduced and coarsened that much. (My read of pop culture has not been that people are suddenly blase about heartbreak, and unsympathetic to people who remain attached after their relationships break down, but I could be deeply wrong.)

    On a...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    I find Exalted: The Sidereals isn't too bad at telling you in general terms, who they are and what they do, why they matter to human history, and the active, choice based actions they take to hold human cultures together. It does not over-emphasize, to my mind, that they just maintain the fabric of reality in a holding pattern or do random tasks they don't understand for ends they don't know.

    The problems we might have as a fan community in talking about this are probably due to;

    a) We never had Caste books for the Sidereals, so actually fleshing out with individual cases...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    Not to be a response to the argument in this post in full (which way too much being argued than I have time to get into and also I don't really want to distract from the broader and more interesting arguments currently dominating this thread!), but generally just on this point, I would qualify all of the above that by about mid-1e it was established that there are a number of constraints on why the Sidereals might chose to rule in secret, when they would feel that there is no alternative but to take on much of the role in running the world:

    1) The breaking of the Mask: Depicted in...
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  • I mean, I get that talking about "incel" is trendy at the moment and its tempting to randomly wedge whatever is trendy into our discussions (no big deal), but really, there's a whole range of modern day scenarios where people can become generally opposed to the government functions in extreme ways because they wreck their private life in what seems to be a cavalier and unnecessary fashion.

    Like, if you responded to "I hate the government because they deported / imprisoned / racially segregated me from / killed my wife, for no good reason", then the response is...
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  • What they will do is *definitely* the most interesting and important question about Getimians, and is where I'm still not too clear.

    (Their actual powers as described tend to strike me as like Sidereals, only more disruptive and severing, and less integrative and building, and organised along different themes than those of the Five Maidens. That's reasonably cool but the hook is a bit more in the integration for me much more than this giving rise to immediately striking images and ideas.).

    I tend to think that the experience of playing a Getimian will be some balance...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    Isator Levi, I hadn't really thought that deeply into the actual circumstances of how the Empress would rise to power under that scenario; it does feel right for her to both be an unusual and talented outsider and her rise precipitated by a crisis point (for which it may be a good idea to marshal in the Lunar Exalted, as if nothing else, this builds the Wyld Hunt and the Realm's struggle against the Lunar Exalted into the narrative and institutions of the Realm in a fundamental way, as well as represent a point for divergence in the fundamental way the Lunars approach the Dragonblooded).
    ...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    I suppose you can argue it in those terms.

    It's not so much in any sense the terms the original developer had at all in mind, though - http://exalted.xi.co.nz/wiki/Thus_Sp...i/DBsVsSolars:

    "Then Dragon-Blooded daimyo fought Dragon-Blooded daimyo for centuries, squandering their legacy of power, until the Great Contagion (guess that astrology wasn't infallible after all, huh?) killed 90% of the population, opened the gate to the armies of the Fair Folk, and wiped away the decaying remains of the First Age almost completely."

    But then...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    I do wonder if, in a world where we had to rewrite Exalted's base setting assumptions, I wouldn't do away with the RDG in favour of the Empress as more of a directly Shi Huang Di esque figure, putting together the strongest state among feuding Dragonblooded through radical reforms, harnessing the power of faith in the new Immaculate Philosophy as her state ideology and securing the backing of the Bronze Faction, then unifying the warring states. And make all this still very morally questionable as a long term path for the world and at the time.

    Maybe even do away with the Balorian...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to On What Fire Has Wrought
    My useless contribution: In setting, I'd tend to see a Lunar who claimed to slay 30 Dragonblooded in a battle, to demonstrate how lightly he thought of them, as equivalent roughly to.... an Immaculate who turned up and claimed to regard Lunars lightly as he claimed he had killed a circle of 5 them in a single battle, and these five, and Lunars in general, were too merely pathetic to be named.

    It's at the limits of what can happen in battle (because outcomes are not foreordained and such things could happen), but on the whole it's hard to buy that most characters in the setting with...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    Fitter Happier, I don't think you're wrong, though as we're on the whys I think you may be underestimating the Realm as empire of faith and ideology and as defence.

    Even if the Realm stood in a region to gain no profit, even should the entire Threshold not be profitable, my guess is they'd go out and conquer it because the Immaculate Philosophy presents the Perfected Hierarchy, with the Dragon blooded in command, as the appropriate spiritual condition of the world. If there were nothing to extract, they'd grumble and spend the revenues from their isle holdings to no material profit...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    You can certainly make a claim that lots of posts ITT are apologia for the Realm, if you choose to place the line there (they're not exactly late Kipling but I can't say it'd be incorrect). But what you couldn't do is consistently make the claim that they are and Grabowski's famous statement of (paraphrasing) "...but the Realm also provides a basic check against anarchy in the Threshold, etc" is not. I think he was right in his assessment that this was a more useful statement for him to provide than, for example, something along the lines of "Empire is evil, the Realm is an empire,...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    I don't know; I've heard Rome's evolution from republic to de-facto monarchy was long invoked as an argument against the establishment of republican forms at a wider scale than the city state. Influences can loom large. Perhaps this did delay something like republican government on a wider scale. Though set of course against the argument that not much urban republican social evolution had much in the way of prospects across much of Europe anyway!

    As much as I agree (with you and with Alucard, I think? feel free to say if I don't) that the Realm probably isn't much to do with the baseline...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    Isator, hey, you could not start a new thread and perhaps some of us'll dip our toes?

    Though I did want to comment on your point from #45 about how the Realm formed in a response to an impetus that is unparalleled in real world history. I'd agree with it quite a bit, but also challenge that a little, that there may be more RW common ground - there are certainly shades of the unification of China.

    The Realm is put together with a conscious idea of historical cultural unity, the Old Realm, after a period of "Warring States" nominally under unity under the Shogun,...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    So Primordial War. Since we've gone there as is inevitable in these sorts of threads. It was pretty tenable in First Edition, at least for most of the edition, that the Primordial War could be argued to be a Bad Idea or at least unjustified. It was not well defined how much the Primordials of the age were actively malevolent towards life in the world, or how much the kind of chaotic, fecund magic they brought into the world could be mitigated, or how much the rebellion by the Incarna was a power grab, or how much the Primordials were changed into much worse beings by death and suffering. The First...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    That's kind of behind the motivations for what would IRL be somewhat close to the post-Redness Dynasty, the open competition between large numbers of Ottoman claimants - https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistoria...rone_open_and/. Legitimacy derives from leaders who prove themselves in open warfare, and those that don't are more or less wiped out.

    In that case it seems to boil down to propagation of traditions among Turko-Mongolic groups, to a situation of a more rigid settled empire where they probably were not quite suited. That's not...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    Wow, talk about GCG quotes that are a blast from the past; I think the parallelism falls down to some degree - the Empress didn't just create a system that couldn't function without her, she created a system with deep, engineered, internal conflict between any would be successors.

    (Though on a more general note, and really a bit of a tangent, I think his ideas of QSH setting a powerful precedent for China are to some degree open to question. Further some of the ideas of China as unusually lacking in respect for "the individual" and as atypically centralized may have not...
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  • Ghosthead
    replied to Are the Dragon Blooded the good guys?
    It's part of the appeal of Exalted to some that, 17 years after publishing the first book, no one still can really say as to the answer .

    Though, the usual stance by the guys who write the game has probably most often been been that the Solars are probably the better horse to back; at least in the longer term, as the other powers are somewhat inept to ultimately defend Creation, dependent on magical artefacts and the like that get lost and which they can't really recreate. (Which I say as someone who has for most of the time since Exalted came out, preferred to invert this stance...
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  • Yeah, pretty much agree; having just heard of the idea, personally pretty OK with Lunars whose followers aquire empowering beast characteristics through magical rituals.

    Just also throwing it out there that I'm also fairly OK should it be the case that having armies of loyal beast people who are personal to you (that is not recruited from existing beastpeople tribes and groups) to be something that fairly experienced, "middle aged" Lunars acquire somewhat incidentally to what they're mainly doing - it's somewhat cool in a different flavour to maintain that personal connection...
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  • Hmm... Re progenitive Lunars, if you're playing with the kind of time scales for Exalted advancement that Exalted generally holds for NPCs, then Lunars probably mostly can get to thousands strong nations armies of beastmen descendants (at least) simply through 10-15 generations (perhaps 400 years) of no specially huge reproductive rates and no particularly huge reproduction per generation per Lunar, and simply through typical geometric growth and *some* social and economic advantage to being the child of a socially prestigious god-king, with more strengths than weaknesses from your lineage....
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  • Yeah, I think that's a good way to put it. And then once that thing happens, after an particular interest seizes that opportunity, systems can build around it that make it more difficult to disestablish, even for those who care to. Perhaps they end up with, built around an opportunistic structure begun by predecessors, not with magic that provides you with the ability to substitute for labour, but magic that allows you manage coercion much more securely than any mortal, and magic that complements simple, repetitive labour rather than replaces it, and military power that lets you mitigate rebellion,...
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Ghosthead
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