Lilliputians: Alternate Infernals

The main hub for homebrew, mechanics, splats and rewrites

Moderator: Epiphany

Post Reply
Gensh
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:22 pm
Has thanked: 40 times
Been thanked: 50 times

The Lilliputian Exalted

You tried to save your people, but you failed. Maybe it was because power naturally accumulates in the hands of the few. Maybe it was because when you needed your people to stand alongside you, they were too stricken by fear to rise. That is when your new mother found you and made your heart new again. You have found experience in your loss, and you will share that with all who need it. Together with your new siblings, you will never truly lose again.

You are Lilliputian Exalted if you want to be a spiritual parent of your local community, a wandering teacher of miracles, or an iconoclast who despises the world's reliance on individual heroes.

I can't wait to meet you.

With love,
Your mother Lillun

Image
As a Lilliputian Exalt, you were hand-picked for a second chance by your mother Lillun. You returned to the task which once overwhelmed you wielding music your mother stole from the Makers. You have seen the true shape of humankind, and you will grant that gift to the kind and common people which cradled your own divinity. You have been Exalted less than a year.
Lilliputian Exalt Advantages
Spoiler
Though Little, Fierce: While you are at your Critical health level or at four or more anima, the breath of war restores two motes instead of one, and you recover one mote between actions during social influence scenes or ventures.

Quality Time: The thread of destiny which binds your second soul to your mother can transmit thoughts and feelings. Together, your family can solve most any problem. Once each scene, you may ask your siblings one question about any topic, whether as specific as "How do you pick this lock?" or as conceptual as "What were the main causes of the Solars' downfall?" You may also use this ability to send a message. If you are slain in combat, your new family will always hear your last words.

Resonance: You resonate with orichalcum.

Mama's Little Monster: A god-monster dwells in the heart of every human. Your ancestry makes it much more literal. You may learn the charm Clay Doll Liberation. Until you do so, you may activate it anyway once you have reached your last Critical health level.

Anima
Spoiler
Your anima banner shines in any of the twenty-three ancient colors of the Makers. As it grows, the shape and power of your inner monster begins to manifest, though your people will only ever see it as a protector, no matter how fierce it becomes. Just mind your temper. If you find your anima tinging a sickly green, take a moment to find yourself. It is perfectly natural but a sign you are in danger of becoming intoxicated by your own power.

Lilliputian Castes
Spoiler
The Lilliputian castes recall the five songs of the ancient Makers. Our family has inherited these songs, and it is our duty to spread their beauty to all humanity. As your anima banner grows, you will find echoes of your caste's song in the very movements of your inner monster.

March

Image

Sometimes, the only constant is the ancient and unbroken might of brute force. Sometimes, raw violence is the only shared language. March is the song of the Makers gone to war with Chaos. March is your song of taking up arms to protect your home from invaders. March is your song of taking life back from tyrants. The heartbeat of your inner monster is a drum which guides your people.

At the end of each session, you gain an Exalt Milestone if you used physical force to resolve an insurmountable social or mental problem.

Anima Effects

What Did You Say About My Mama? (Passive): Each round, you can defeat up to your Essence in Extras without rolling. When you damage a battle group, increase the difficulty to resist a rout by one, to a maximum of five.

Not Angry, Just Disappointed (Active): Add your Essence in automatic successes on social actions to convince a foe of their guilt or complicity.

Mama Didn't Raise No Quitter (Iconic): The Makers think themselves strong for enduring the torment of their own kind. It was our kind which invented Death. Show them what you have endured. At 10 anima, you may use Clay Doll Liberation without paying the cost. While transformed, you ignore wound penalties.

Hymn

Image

Everyone wants to believe in something bigger than themself. Something which could magically sweep all their troubles away. Hymn is the song the Makers sang to celebrate the Queen of Heaven. Hymn is your song of banishing your own doubts. Hymn is the song of your people coming together for something bigger than all of us. Your inner monster seems to glimmer with the rise and fall of a distant aria.

At the end of each session, you gain an Exalt Milestone if you gathered forces for a greater good despite personal cost to all involved.

Anima Effects

Mama Said (Passive): Extras and non-heroic mortals cannot ignore your social actions and assume you represent an authority they trust until proven otherwise.

You're in Trouble (Active): Add your Essence in successes on social influence rolls when your opponent has reason to believe a third party will intervene on your behalf.

Hail Lillun (Iconic): I am not worthy of veneration, but neither is anyone else. Cut down the grifters before they sell your people dragon oil. While your anima is iconic, your attacks deal aggravated damage to heads of cults, whether god, demon, or fellow Exalt.

Saga

Image

Stories are what shape cultures. What do we sing to our children as they sleep? Those are the dreams they will chase when they are older. Saga is the song of the Makers inventing worlds and kings. Saga is your song of discovering new friends and new ideas. Saga is the song of your people bringing you tales of hard-won victory. Your inner monster's stride is a palpable rhythm, the meter of your glory.

At the end of each session, you gain an Exalt Milestone if you used your knowledge to enhance a significant community or organization of mortals.

Anima Effects

Favorite Sibling (Passive): Reduce the base number of obstacles you must overcome on a venture involving investigation, research, or planning by 1, to a minimum of 1.

Inherit the Earth (Active): Add your Essence in automatic successes for Craft or Sagacity rolls, or to Focus Will for spellcasting.

Tell My Mother's Story (Iconic): Your siblings will give you more than wisdom if you know how to ask. Spend 4 anima and choose any Universal or Lilliputian charm. For the rest of the scene you may use it, even if you do not meet the requirements.

Nocturne

Image

Night is often when we find ourselves. For some, it is quiet. For some, it is the only time we truly live, freed from the shackles of day's labors. Nocturne is the song of the Makers as they beheld Creation. Nocturne is the song of the world's powers looking away. Nocturne is your song of liberation, when you are free to plot or celebrate or whatsoever you please. Your inner monster is graceful and beautiful, its every movement flowing with the sonorous sound of your breathing.

At the end of each session, you gain an Exalt Milestone if you perform a major act of sabotage or of exploiting the local nightlife.

Anima Effects

Just One of the Family (Passive): You dampen your anima from detection unless you want it to be seen.

Familiar Presence (Active): You wrap your anima around yourself, passing unseen among Extras. Add your Essence in automatic successes to Athletics and Stealth rolls around non-trival characters. If you're detected, your identity can’t be determined.

Mama's Lullaby (Iconic): How did I escape the Makers with my whole entourage? I walked. They didn't think I would dare. While your anima is Iconic, it cloaks others in the same sense of familiar certainty. Allies within your Essence in yards gain the benefit of your other Anima effects.

Anthem

Image

There comes a time when individuals are not enough. There comes a time when adventure weighs on the bones, and most put down roots. They sell their wisdom to the young, and the adventure begins anew. Anthem is the song of the Makers' castoffs forging kingdoms of their own. Anthem is your song of declaring independence. Anthem is your song of declaring you will never be alone again. Your inner monster glimmers with a contagious glory, splitting light like a prism to illluminate your allies.

At the end of each session, you gain an Exalt Milestone if you forced powerful supernatural forces to bargain with mortals as equals.

Anima Effects

Family Friends (Passive): Like your Eclipse counterparts, you may learn Eclipse-keyword Charms from spirits, fair folk, and other supernatural beings and seal pacts by the power of the Makers. You pay the same anima cost to seal oaths as Eclipses.

Mama Will Break Your Legs (Active): While negotiating with spirits, Fair Folk, or ghosts, you and your allies must be given safety and hospitality. Promises or deals made during these negotiations are sanctified; your mother knows immediately when these oaths are broken. All Lilliputians are honor-bound to visit their wrath upon an oathbreaker. Some of your siblings are vicious indeed.

Apple Didn't Fall Far (Iconic): Everything bad that's ever happened is because spirits and mortals alike refuse to take responsibility for their actions. They've been given entirely too much rope. Time to hang the gods. Spend 5 anima and accuse any character present of crimes against humanity. All the spirits of justice I've compelled to service will weigh your arguments and perform suitable punishment if your evidence sways them.

The Great Curse
Spoiler
The true bite of the Great Curse is the knowing that its outbursts may be contained. So many Exalted are without the tools or the help they need when they struggle beneath the burden of heroism. Your own burden is greater for your ancestry. If you slip, your inner monster will break free and in the throes of terrible passion.

All Lilliputians possess additional conditions which may incite the Great Curse:

- Your plans are undermined by allies or subordinates taking "good enough" steps.
- You use your stolen power for unacceptable ends.

When you succumb to the Curse, you will throw an Atavistic Tantrum. All Tantrums last for a scene, during which you will be unable to leave your monstrous form. You may choose how to pay for Clay Doll Liberation as normal, but you must transform.

Best Enemy Recognition: In the Time Before, the Makers compelled all and told all stories. Though they do not admit it, nothing fascinates them more than that which they cannot command. By spending much of your time among those you must guide, you too may find yourself unnaturally craving the attentions of a supernatural equal.

If you do not already possess a Major Intimacy toward a significant enemy, form a new one or improve an existing Intimacy to Major. The context of the Intimacy may be anything, positive or negative. For the duration of the Tantrum, you will fixate on that enemy, bending your plans to involve them despite any risk. You need not involve them directly if doing so is infeasible, but they must be made aware that your plans are afoot and given suitable clues to appropriately challenge you.

Fiendish Deathtrap Compulsion: The Makers are older than Time and Death. Each of them is a world to themself. They sometimes overlook the individual moments which are so important to we humans. You too may find yourself overly certain in your power and longevity.

For the duration of the Tantrum, you are unable to see tasks to completion. You will prefer to delegate tasks to others, even if the tasks are too great for them. You will trust in any bureaucracy or machinery you have established. If you are forced to intervene directly, you will leave tasks half-done, even combat. Certainly, your enemies are no threats to you if you have taken their weapons…

Infernal Genius Declaration: The Makers, for all their glory, are often lonely and insecure. They seek validation from their subordinate souls and their peers, wanting to earn some new recognition before they all move on to the next fascination. With this power, you may find yourself falling into the same trap.

For the duration of the Tantrum, you must inform all that you can of the glories of your plans. Though you need not immediately jump to divulging your greatest secrets, they may easily tumble from your lips as you insist to your nemesis that your plans could not be stopped even with such knowledge.

Kindly Butcher's Benediction: The Makers became many things to stand against Chaos. They became many things anew when your ancestors sealed them away. The reshaping of body and mind is mundane to them. Already, you see the power of your inner monster. You may wish to share this enlightenment with others.

For the duration of the Tantrum, you become obsessed with improving those around you. No one is ever good enough, and you simply must reshape them, whether for aesthetics or improved function. If you possess charms which can cause mutations, you will prefer to use these. If you are capable of drastic surgery or other means, you will seek to employ them. With no other options, you will simply barrage others with social attacks, seeking to convince them to see the truth in your vision.

Thoughtless Filicide Consumption: The Makers' souls have souls of their own. The characters of their dramas had always been parts of themselves or ephemeral scraps created for an uncredited role. They do not truly know how to acknowledge lesser creatures. There may come a dark hour where you are so divorced from your origins that you suffer the same.

For the duration of the Tantrum, you reflexively take credit for the actions of your subordinates and allies, no matter how temporary. You are not yet incapable of giving them credit, but you hold the unshakable belief that they only had the opportunity for greatness because you provided it to them. Accordingly, all blessings are yours.

Tags:
Gensh
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:22 pm
Has thanked: 40 times
Been thanked: 50 times

Charms

Regrettably, my children, you will find your powers are not my blessing. They are stolen from the Makers, who mostly languish as Demon Princes or deadbeats. Don't let the Emerald Mother deceive you with her verdant glory. She is derelict as the Devil Tyrant and her greens are just as rotten as those verdigris blades.

More powerful charms will be keyed to one or more of the Makers. When you learn such a charm, you must choose which Maker's version you have learned. Each Maker has a list of unacceptable actions. By your strength as my children, you may use the Makers' power for any cause you wish, but defying the essential nature of such power risks inflaming the Great Curse.
Unacceptable Actions
  • Devil Tyrant: Bringing peace, except by overwhelming violence.
  • Lawmaker Princess: Being generous, except to create debt.
  • Perfect Hierarch: Destroying, except things of the Wyld.
  • Laughing Bodhisattva: Causing effect at distance, except if you provide means to reach you.
  • Bleak Nemesis: Creating light or enlightenment, except to cause a horrible revelation.
  • Great Mother: Burning, physically or emotionally, except by poison or acid or hatred. 
  • Great Maker: Destroying, except to rebuild.
  • Emerald Mother: Remaining static, except to grow something.

Universal Charms

Lilliputian Charms
Spoiler
Clay Body Liberation
Prerequisite: None
As Devil-Body Incarnation. I must admit you are still Infernal Exalted in shape, my children. Do not let that origin shackle you. You are not bound by the Makers' failings. The shapes you can take when freed from human limitation are pure and noble as you are.
Gensh
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:22 pm
Has thanked: 40 times
Been thanked: 50 times

Commentary

It's been discussed heavily that the new Infernals are... less than stellar. I've said on a few occasions that it's difficult to repair Infernals because they're really quite broad. Without the overarching conceit of the Reclamation (even as vaporware), they're pushed in possibly too many directions. And Malfeas, like Autochthonia, is a setting which has basically nothing in common with the standard Exalted play experience.

Alchemicals likewise needed drastic surgery to be properly attached to Creation as a splat, but all that was really needed was to recontextualize their patriotism into the communal affections of the Autobots. Vanilla "Roboviet" Alchemicals aren't displaced by this change either. Infernals aren't as easily separated, even if the Yozis human forms are put way in the back. The current direction for Infernals also basically rules out most of the previous character concepts.

Setting design goals
Spoiler
Infernal themes

Every Exalt type has a lot of themes, but the various Infernal themes have trouble going together a lot of the time. The current canon direction is leaning on "the resentment of the Yozis" without actually involving the Yozis. It just kind of comes across as blandly edgy and another bad Cecelyne hypocrisy joke.

If we sketch them out roughly, the themes are something like:

- Chosen of generic badplace hell
- Chosen of the Green Sun, specifically
- Chosen of H.R. Giger
- The only true Primordial Exalted
- Primordials-in-waiting – bodies literally made of legend
- Agents of Yozi vengeance
- First Age Solars who remember everything
- Big scary transforming monsters
- Moustache-twirling villains
- Grimdark ultra-edgy 2000s villain narrative

Naturally, everyone wants to get rid of the bad grimdark. Easy. Likewise, generic badplace hell.

In my ten years of running mixed games, no one has cared about the First Age stuff. On the other hand, I've had two different Lunarfernal PCs, so "Solar vengeance quest, but green" is something I didn't hesitate to drop.

"Big scary tranforming monsters" is a core mechanical theme as well as storytelling, so that'll be kept.

For some reason, "Agents of Yozi vengeance" was the main story theme used for the new direction. Why? That's like the Eight Nations and Alchemicals. If Sondok's running a cult, just give her an Exaltation, and we don't even have to involve the rest of the Demon Realm to do the Yozis' will.

"Moustache-twirling villains" is fun for most folks but not everyone. So we can keep it but attach it to another awkward mechanic that half of everyone ignores – Limit. That's kind of where it was originally anyway.

That leaves us with a pruned list of:

- Chosen of the Green Sun, specifically
- Chosen of H.R. Giger
- The only true Primordial Exalted
- Primordials-in-waiting – bodies literally made of legend
- Big scary transforming monsters

That's a much more coherent body of themes. We get a lot of creepy flesh-warping and a deliberate blurring of physical and spiritual malignment.

The Royal Blood shard

"Blueblood" is a shared universe that I and some other STs have kept rolling for years. Canon characters and allegiances shift with PC actions. There are currently three Yozis who've slipped the Surrender Oaths by PC action, and you know what – the setting has not fallen apart. Constantly hearing about how the Reclamation overshadows everything is exhausting. The Yozis are long-viewed and stagnant; there are many more pressing threats.

Because the Yozis overlook things "like elves do, but worse," entire poltical dramas can take place in the Demon Realm without them meaningfully participating. One of those has been Lillun's faction-building. Since every Infernal is Chosen for some trauma which resonates with the Yozis, many are prone to clinging to their new "mother" when surrounded by the stresses of such an alien realm.

We've reached a point where a certain metaplot is expiring with a default ending. The Jade Pleasure Dome exploding is a really spectacular distraction, so Lillun has decided to take her leave while the Yozis are howling about their things being broken. Half of the Infernal host has gone with her.


How to use the Lilliputians
Spoiler
While I mentioned an easy way to introduce Creation-focused Infernals above, I don't want to introduce ambiguity when I bring in new players. The new canonical Infernals will represent a new philosophy on the part of the Yozis, the sixth generation of Infernal selection criteria, advanced by Ligier's current favorite.

Lilliputians are simultaneously a more classic experience and a somewhat new one. Lillun doesn't have much in the way of actual powers, but she has exchanged letters with Lytek for years and has reduced the burden of the Yozis on her Chosen as much as she can. She's the most immediately involved Exalted patron, of course, but as a (however undying) mere mortal, all she can do is ask other Lilliputians to pressure you when you ignore her plans.

Lillun is very much leaning into rewriting the Immaculate Philosophy. She intends for her Chosen to support Creation like the Dragons.

It was a common meme back in the heyday of Second Edition to suggest Infernals just abandon Creation to its problems and forge new worlds. While sometimes fun, that's just VEHK's plan – and VEHK is a coward. Given that Infernals are true Primordial Exalted, it's a more interesting story for them to restore the world in place of the Yozis. It's of course up to the PCs as to whether they're restoring it for good reasons or just to exploit again.

Like the titans before them, the Lilliputians are a family who don't necessarily like one another but have the same goals. Rather than tearing things down senselessly like Infernals, they're digging into the earth and regrowing society on their own backs. They're land gods, sustaining their provinces unnaturally and transforming their people into something more than mortal. If the gods won't sustain Creation, then it is up to the humans who live there.


The state of the splat
Spoiler
Don't take the caste mechanics for Gospel. I started by directly copying from the Infernal castes and adapting to be more like the Solar or Abyssal ones where appropriate. Then I got tired of all the anima effects being boring and just started adding whatever I felt like. Some of them are clearly broken. They exist in their current state mostly to indicate direction. I need to sit down and do proper play simulations. I'll probably read others' campaign logs since my group is not ready to go yet.

The charms doc is of course mostly a placeholder. Since I intend on having a lot of effects occur on a logistical scale, I have to really think about what that means. How will charms interact with Ventures and Battle Groups?

Also, I will continue to never capitalize "charms." Too many proper nouns makes a lot of passages hard to read in Exalted.
User avatar
serGregness
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:08 pm
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 4 times

I think if what you're wanting to make is "Alternate Infernals", you should call them "Alternate Infernals". Or "Gensh's Infernals", or whatever. And this isn't even going into the giant keg of dynamite you're trying to juggle by using the name (even with none of the ick) of the nearly universally loathed Lillun material. I never played 2e Infernals, so this next bit isn't coming from a place of personal investment, but one of the bits I found most interesting about Infernals were the transhuman elements (and a bit of the 'Yozi are secretly sci-fi' stuff) and that's not listed out explicitly in your themes, unless you mean to lump that under 'scary transforming monsters', but I'd argue that it should be separate.
User avatar
Lioness
Moderator
Posts: 349
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:55 pm
Has thanked: 240 times
Been thanked: 324 times

I'm going to second the need to explain how you use Lillun.
Canon is a lot like north on a compass, you don't necessarily want to go there but it's helpful to articulate your position relative to it.
Post Reply