Explaining 3rd Edition lore to die hard 2nd Edition players

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Blaque
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So something that came to mind is the way the cast of Incarna is a bit expanded in 3e. This is not so much a change save the expansion itself, though note there's varying canon on this. I'm copy-pasting a rant on this I did from RPG.net. This mostly relates to the new Exalted and stuff, but its' to me kind of interesting.

Note that canonicalness of the three in Exigents are a lot less canon than Alchemicals even were in 1e and 2e. In 1e and 2e, Alchemicals were canon per se, just not really unless you linked Autochthonia to Creation. This continues in 3e, with more ways to have Alchemicals just in Creaiton. By contrast, the three Apocryphal Exalts are like..."If youw ant yes, if not, don't assume". Meanwhile, Spoken are a bit of First Age lore that I think Imentieond before, but part of the whole "First Age in 3e isn't FIrst Age in 2e."

The Dark Mother
She is canon actually and not an Incarna, but kind of implied to be important with the Underworld as I said in another post about. We honestly don't know a lot about her other than she apparently is tied to what death like..was before the Divine Revolution and the death of the Neverborn. So she's an ancinet, powerful unique being, who's power is on par with the Incarna and Dragons, but not of them, basically.

Aurora, Lord of Heavenly Delights
God of beauty, and general encouragement-sort. He canonically did exist as the way it'll be presented in Exigents. But his Chosen, the Aurorals-turned-Hearteaters as a result of his death and subsequent corruption of his Chosen, are optionally canon. Originally he was more implied to be part of one of the example Exigents and it just was not worth keeping the layer of plausible deniability going I guess in writing.


Nibiru
Forget his title. But hidden watcher god. He sided with the titans, got locked onto his planet for eternity, and basiclaly made Chosen to a point which undid him so that he could basically "escape" in a way. Him and his Umbral Exalted are entirely optional.

Neptune
Stayed neutral, got banished. The mortal non-humans who were his followers sought the secret of Exalttation and petitioned him to use it. THey either didn't know or withheld that Exaltation has a cost on the god Exalting, and so the result drained him to a point where he exists merely as the Voice of the Trench. The Spoken and the species they Exalted form are extinct canonically. More on this will be, to my understanding, detailed in Crucible of Legends.​​​

Ketu
They're the patron of another kind of optional Exalt, the Dream-Souled. Not a lot is known save it is powerful Wyld entity that only can interact with Creation through people's dreams. Like Nibiru, this one is wholey optional canon. Like the Dark Mother, they're not an Incarna, but a similarly numinously powerful entity.

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Blaque
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Now that we have the first few chapters of Sidereals out, there's a few new things to toss out of note.

First Age Sidereals
Some things here are the same actually. They still mostly lived in Heaven, and oculd operate independently. There were apparently overtly Siderea-ruled kingdoms and empires too for folks who didn't take that up. A big shift is the First Age being longer, meant it wasn't as defined by Chejob being there forever and by now no Sidereal alive save Rakan (and hsi weirdness) saw all of the first Age.

The Great Prophecy and Solar Purge
Big shift here is on all three of the above. There's basically no Great Prophecy in 3e. The Bronze Faction formed from a group of Sidereals who saw where the First Age was going, didn't like hwere it was going based on general trends, and went through the Solar Purge with Dragon-Blooded help. It was also a bit more like what was suggested in the 1e corebook: long, bloody, and ugly. Took about a decade. Some Solars saw it coming and some were just full on tinfoil hat. Some Sidereals and Dragon-Blooded sided with the Solars and Lunars. Some Lunars sided with the Bronze. Everything was genereally a mess and a lot broke in the attempt at rearranging world order.

The big shift is kind of three areas. First: again, it's messy. 2e kind of presented an idea that the Calibration Feast was the bulk of deaths and it was mop-up after that. This presents it as still probably a gbood chunk, but not nearly as clean a decapitation strike.

The second: Removal of the Great Prophecy kind of takes a lot of the "This wa sthe only choice" from the Bronze, but also the "You had the other choice" of the Gold. Whether it was the right move or not then is now a question for historians, not the situation on the ground. Basically making it a human decision isntead of Magically Ordained List I think was the goal here. Youc an take or leave whether this endears or angers you towards the Bronze Faction from that.

Thirdly: It kind of gives more agency to everyone. Golds did try and just lost. Dragon-Blooded picked sides, the daimyos and eventual Shogun just were on the winning one and worked together in forming the conspiracy. Lunars were not automatically siding with Solars...except probably most Lunars did side with Solars since they got as much of the Second Deliberative's regime as the Solars. I dunno, I like it for real politik, I'm sure some folks might not as muc.

Arcane Fate and the Jade Prison
Jade Prison is no longer a box stuck to Lytek's cabinet while he was bieng mugged (that was a 2e invention). Kind of goes wiht the "Usurpation took longer" thing. It being something they eventually had to get rid of or it would pop was interesting. Put a limit and explians why they didn't just wiat unitl they had all the Solars. It also being built on a bunch of weird shit like the Sun's tear was a nice touch.

Hiding it in the Mask, that working, and then it turns out underestimating he Mask or their own creationw as interesting. Arcane Fate being self-inflicted and a kind of problem for post-Purge stuff is neat to me. And the subsequent hsitory of working through the Dragon-Blooded Shogunate and its successors as a result for the Bronze is a nice evolution of plans. The Solar Purge as a whole hit its goals, just in ways that were mess, had uneexpected downstream consequences, and generally a bit of rough execution. So kind of how i generally read most successful revoltuions. I kind of like the roughness of it in a way.

A bit of a change I noticed is Acquaintances are no longer at hing. This is kind of redundant since Resplendent Destinies are a lot simpler and your Allies, Retainers, and other stuff can remember you so long as they don't forget you but being story-important/less annoying as the goal.

Cosmology Stuff
A bit of a change is some clarification of what fate, destiny, and the Loom are for. In 1e fate was raw causality, what happens at tha tmoment. Meanwhile, destiny was more kind of its long-term plan/trajectory. Notably all this was planned to an extent on the Loom of Fate, which turned the Wyld's future possiblities into present actuality. Things out of Fate were beings not determined by or accountable for the Loom's plans. Sidereals manipulated fate and destiny, but seemed to get blind-sided by beings out of the Loom.

In 2e this is kind of continued. Fate is kind of like Aristotlian material nature in a way. A block clay fired in a kilm will become a brick. Destiny is like, the different kinds of causes in Aristotle's sense. It's the teleological and instrumental long term causes of a thing. So a particular brick's long term fate is that it is destined to be thrown through a window or used to build a manse. Again, all planned on the Looom and woven by Spiders. And hten there was later in 2e samsara, which is the kind of collective total ultimate trajectory of everything, allowed for some of the "Can hit things not in the Loom" powers for Sidereals and the Maidens. Basically something above just fate and destiny.

In 3e now, these are different. Fate is raw causlaity. It is somewhat what ti was in 1e and 2e. So if you put a block of clay in a kilm, it becoming a brick is the fated outcome of how fire, clay, water, and such interact. It is the raw, basic rules built inot how Creation was made. Destiny is in 3e Heaven's plan. It's what Heaven wants to have happen by the process of fate. The Loom of Fate is not what makes this happen: it shows the possibilities of all things fated, given the situation, possible. Think of it like a giant weather forecasting system that can predict everything from rebellions, kingdoms rising and falling, or earthquakes. There's a range of possiblities that can be reached multiple ways that Heaven chooses from. And when chosen destinies are fulfilled, it helps reinforce Creation against the Wyld. Pattern spiders can tweak the small things to keep to the plan. If things are going off plan, gods are expected to check on it or report to higher ups to fix things. And if things go utterly off the rails, like the rebellion you scheduled to fail resulitng in a Solar Exalt instead overthrowing the kingdom and establishing an entirely different dynasty, well, it's up to Sidereals to fix that kind of problem.

Notably in 3e, enemies of Fate, while not of the plans the Loom predicts, arne't like, metaphysically out of it. They just happen to be giant god-damned extra variables that have to be dealt with as they come up. Things don't need a Loom to exist, but the Loom and destiny hep keep relaity stronger. It reinforces Creation, not creates it. And Sidereal magic apparently just...goes beyond that. It's telling fate "Do this" on a scale that gods normally can't mess with.

Bureau of Destiny
It mostly is familiar save the changes to Fate above and who that impacts things. Sidereals are notably a lot higher positon seeming in it than I think before, treated as kind of Top Agents in the Bureau. THere is still notable decorum, it's clearer what destiny is they are supposed to mess with, and I think notable that the Maidens are even more distant as 3e presents the Incarna as very solidy and happily retired.

The big things that are sublte that I notice is that they downplay the Division of Serenity being the Debauchery Divsion (still there but not to a point calling the entire building a brothel, folks get work done, incluidng the leader.) And for the Division of Secrets, Nasri doesn't seem to have at will the ablity to know any secret they feel like. Bascially more just general "Make these charactes to use" stuff for the lot.

Celestial Bureaucracy and Gods
Honeslty this is mostly the same as a whole save a few areas. The Maidens are pretty absent. Most the gods work where they were and are basically the same as they were presented save a few specific indivduals. We see more of the Incarna's kids around. There's a clearer take on what a court is (kind of divine cliques). Lytek and Taru-Han fit a lot better in the "gods oversee and troubleshoot their purviews and aren't necessarily like, the purivew". Souls reincanrate without Taru-Han. Lytek isn't necessary for Exaltation to function but he has the baller-ass library of every Exalt ever.  It's different enough that a 1e or 2e person, though will miss some things or need to keep in mind differences if it comes up, like how the God of Health isn't one of the Syndics in White Wall or who the Green Lady is (this is one of those changes every edition bits).

The biggest changes mostly are that the Bureaus of Humanity and Seasons don't assume Solars were supposed to be in charge of them. Seaosns is pretty much a whole new thing due to how elementals work and in the "Solars don't rule Heaven" thing. It's now a result of a big resturcturing of the Bureau over a labor dispute instead, and the current boss is not some Solar-sympatheitc person waiting ot hand over things to an Eclipse, but a recent appointee delaing with internal politics.

The Factions
Something different in 3e is the Factions are no longer Solar-defined, but more Status Quo v. Change. The Bronze got their world and maintain to keep it stable. The Gold come in and out of vogue depending on how much the Bronze's course is seeming to be the right one. It's on the rise again due to the current global situation,b ut what a Gold is today isn't what it was in the Usurpation Era. This reflects on gods, who kind of get tied into things based on what they get out of it by aligning to politicla cliques. ANd there's enough interest in funcitonality that they don't turn into full on violence, but fun of new generations and upheaval on the rhizon there.

The Gold is notable too for no clear leader. And in general it feels less like Solar v. DB support and again, "Existing institutions or something different". Solars and Lunars can be that, but don't need to be.

The Cults of the Illuminated
This is one worth pointing out since it's origins are different. It's a cult htat existed pre-Contagion and Ayesha Ura kind of fostered since. It has a lot more of this Christianity vibe still, but in the sense of early pre-Constantine Christinaity, where it's hundreds of sects, and so on. Ayesha Ura had it as a pet project, now us using it as a "Hey this is handy" thing. And notably it isn't pretending it can control Solars through indoctrination like in 1e, but instead is a bit more on the "Hey maybe we can guide Solars to not be awful." And also notably, that the Solar support isn't a Gold thing, it's an Ayesha thing, that she is using to promote her agenda in the Faction.

Heaven Generally
This is one that 2e mostly filled-in for 1e, and 3e kind of just discards. The topology is different, Gates are not this defined list of 61. There's a quicksilver sea, not just canals. The sky appears to shift based on who take sthe lead  in the Games but still goes thorugh a form of day-night cycle. There's large swaths of human populations including Heaven's Dragons. It's kind of the areas I'd say that the 1e and 2e takes are most overrwritten in 3e. It's very much different detail from them.

Something especially notable to me is that there's not a special Celestila Exalted legal tier. Bascially you work for the Celestial Bureacracy, are a spirit....or you aren't a legal entity. This includes Solars and Lunars. The Creaiton Ruling Mandate is Exalts get Creation, gods get Yu-SHan. Sidereals gain their political authority as agents of Yu-Shan able to operate on Earth due to this. This legal status thing is pretty notable to me at least.

Astrology
Astrology not being a single system does impact a bit how Sidereals interact with things. Prophecy is a power that spiders and stuff help, but doesn't have a"make spiders mad" bar. It can even generate weird alien spirit gremlins. The Anima Auspicious Prospects powers give Sidereals interesitng isngiht on things as they come along. And a lot of weirder Repslendcy stuff is native Charms, expanding the weird Sidereal trick thing. Not really al ot save the vibes are different when it's not one system trying to do this all.

Great Cruse
Big one here is the Sidereal Great Curse is still hubris, but runs on a bit different vibes. Instead of "Everyone's an idiot as they gather" and instead is something that comes and goes in more flucuation, and is a lot more about success breeds confidence. I dunno, it's just more diverse-seeming htan in 1e and 2e there. Not worrying about it plus Pattenr Spider bites is pretty good in my view.

And yeah, some things off the bat. There's plenty of other overt changes, but I think these are some things to add here. And at least in context of edition stuff, is doing a good chunk towards shoring up 3e's status (to me) as a soft reboot at least <_<
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You left out two important bits about Heaven: The part where Dragon Blooded weren't even considered real exalted and that all the gods in heaven consider them lower then human beggars has gone to die in a fire. Then also, the part where most of the gods hate the Sidereal and will only work with them if you twist their arm and make them is gone. Sidereal are now respected members of the heavenly community, if your sidereal has a bad reputation in heaven its because your character actually did things that would earn them that bad reputation.
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Mizu wrote: Wed Dec 07, 2022 2:38 am You left out two important bits about Heaven: The part where Dragon Blooded weren't even considered real exalted and that all the gods in heaven consider them lower then human beggars has gone to die in a fire. Then also, the part where most of the gods hate the Sidereal and will only work with them if you twist their arm and make them is gone. Sidereal are now respected members of the heavenly community, if your sidereal has a bad reputation in heaven its because your character actually did things that would earn them that bad reputation.
not wrong. I mostly was thinking in context of even 1e where DBs were basically barely-mortal and Celestials got a bunch of special perks jsut being Celestila. It to me stood-out as much I guess how basically not Sidereals are not given perks in Heaven, which made me forget htat.

But yeah, you right. Those are big one sthere. And the gods in general are usually more ambivlant on the rightenss or wrongness of the Solar Purge but more "Did it affect me?" and "Do I get something otu of siding with a Faction?"
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If I had to give as short a summary as I could: The game is no longer about the rightful solar god kings coming back to fix all the stuff silly lesser beings broke while they were on vacation in the Jade Prison. The game no longer contains a huge bias towards solars, they were first among equals back in the 1st age but only by the skin of their teeth. Instead of the divinely rightful most effective state of the world being one where solars are the boss it is one where all the exalts of the exalted host come together with their unique and awesome magics to make a greater whole. The solars are still bringing some great things to the table (in particular they are still by far the best crafters of all if you want to get some magical super infrastructure going) but the biggest thing about their return is that they are a powerful wild card who have popped back into the setting right when things were already unstable thanks to stuff like the Scarlet Empress vanishing so they have made damn sure that the status quote is going to change. The only question is how its going to do so and if it will be good for Creation or not.

Dragon blooded may be the weakest of the chosen but they are still chosen, princes of the earth who have the power needed to actually be a threat to other exalts and make sense as the splat that currently rules most of the world. Any jokes about them not being real exalts are dead and gone, the world and heavens respect them as their station deserves. Questions about 'how the hell did they even win the Usurpation when a single elder solar specced for paranoia combat could kill the entire dragon blooded host without a scratch' are no longer asked because now them winning is actually possible.

Lunars are no longer leashed pets of the solars, they are now actually seriously the Enkidu to their Gilgamesh and the solar lunar bond is the result of a first age war where the Lunar host fought the solars to a draw and lead to the war being ended with magical political marriage type deals that bound them together (most of them, the lunars now outnumber the solars 400 to 300 so some lunars don't even have to deal with being bonded). After the Usurpation they didn't run off into the wyld with their tail between their legs and squat there until the wyld melted their exaltations. They rearranged their castes themselves to something they thought would be better for taking it to the usurpers and have been waging a bloody war against the Shogunate/Realm ever since. One that has seen them slowly but surely bleed the usurpers out of vital resources and manpower with the mighty dragon blooded host and Sidereal together never able to manage to get rid of them like they did the sunshine brigade.

And its late and I am starting to lose steam before I get into Sidereals and such, so to end it. In this setting where all exalts (and non-exalts, for that matter) are written as competent people who matter instead of just kids making a mess solars need to clean up the setting's verisimilitude has sky rocketed far beyond what it was in previous editions. People in setting do things based on their agenda in a competent manner that interacts with other characters doing the same and leads to a believable setting full of stuff that makes sense instead of it being warped around the 'solars are rightful rulers of the world, it was bad to get rid of them so now the world is fisher king levels of cursed, now they are back to fix all the problems we thought up and then haphazardly connected to our message of everyone else sucking and not being able to do things without the solars' narrative 2nd edition had.

Oh, and lastly, all that thousand dooms shit where Creation was being simultaneously menaced by a ton of literal world ending threats stuff has gone in the garbage. Deathlords can't solo Creation, the Silver Prince doesn't have a first age doom fleet, the yozi cannot escape their prison to start a go at round two of the divine war, etc. You are free to now do adventures focused around things like ruling a single nation instead of being forced to go and do Creation spanning adventures so that the single nation you wanted to base an interesting story around doesn't get obliterated 10 ways to Sunday. But if you want to do something creation spanning like trying to bring back together the exalted host as a unified force for the good of the world instead of being Conan ruling one kingdom? Go for it, you are free to if you want to. You just aren't forced to if you don't want to.
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The lack of the 1000 dooms remains a huge plus to me. Part of the appeal to me with the concept of earlier timelines to play in is that lack of dooms.
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BogMod wrote: Sun Jan 15, 2023 8:06 am The lack of the 1000 dooms remains a huge plus to me. Part of the appeal to me with the concept of earlier timelines to play in is that lack of dooms.

It is nice to not have to worry about the world ending while you are playing kingdom manager because you are content just running a single kingdom instead of trying to conquer the whole world and fighting off all the jerks trying to destroy it.
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Exactly! Creation is great! It is where most of my characters keep their stuff.
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I kind of like the concept of the 1000 Dooms, but not as they were presented in the "These are all definitely going to happen and they're all immanent" sense.

If it was more like "Here are some optional sample world-shaking threats to use as a potential capstone to a campaign, a climactic last hurrah for the saga of the current roster of PCs, pick whichever one you like best and ignore the others" I think that would be pretty neat.

And from what I can tell, that's what stuff like Return of the Scarlet Empress was ostensibly supposed to be, but so many books built it up as the "definitely happening" type that it became a problem.
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Wandering_Redoubt wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 12:12 pm I kind of like the concept of the 1000 Dooms, but not as they were presented in the &quot;These are all definitely going to happen and they're all immanent&quot; sense.

If it was more like &quot;Here are some optional sample world-shaking threats to use as a potential capstone to a campaign, a climactic last hurrah for the saga of the current roster of PCs, pick whichever one you like best and ignore the others&quot; I think that would be pretty neat.

And from what I can tell, that's what stuff like Return of the Scarlet Empress was ostensibly supposed to be, but so many books built it up as the &quot;definitely happening&quot; type that it became a problem.

This is exactly how I have always taken these ideas. If you're in the Hundred Kingdoms managing a kingdom or doing the Romance of the Three Kingdom stuff in the Realm during their Civil War, the Silver Prince's death fleet is not your problem as it is not pertinent to the game and if, for some reason, your ST looks at you one day and goes "Well, everyone died today because the death fleet you had nothing to do with in the West opened a massive chasm to the Void, the game's over," you have a shit ST.
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To me it became a problem when it kind of undermined other stuff or so pressing that it sort of characterized the "on the ground' elements as kind of less trivial or speed bumps.

There were three obvious examples of this to me at least. The first is honestly Gem and the meme of its eminant destruction kind of took over what was Gem about. It became less a story hook and location to play in in itself and more a thing where it was a disaster movie setting. I think the stuff on it in 3e so far with it being more like Mali and a small empire, and generally like...a place to play instead of blow-up is good there.

The other big one is atually the Skullstone Doomfleet. Becuase in gneeral, people liked Skullstone as it was presented in the book. And so the Deoomfleet and the face-smashy Silver Prince kind of ate a lot of mindshare I think. It kind of undermined what was actually interesting and useful about the setting for a lot of folks. To me it's kind of like how some Marvel movies hae a good overall story and stuff that gets completely destroyed by the Third Act Fight that was planned before the script was even written.

The third is most shown in Return of the Scarlet Empress where the entire Realm civil war gets boiled-dwon to a few pages as a prelude ot the "real" story about the world being overrun by demons. WHich well, yeah. Not relaly the best htere.

I guess a bonus to me is sitll always the contrast between "Crusaders of the Machine God" in the original Time of Tumult, which was honestly not very doomy, and "The Locust War" in Exalted: the Autochthonians, which was to the previous chapter like I dunno, the first Michael Baye Transformers movie is to those.It was loud, stupid, and explosions, while still to an extent kinda-sorta-looking like the original. It wasn't quite Transformers 2 onward, but still not the same thing. I note it as a bonus as htis is crimes of stupid contianed within 1e, and nis not 2e's fault.
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Speaking of the dooms I am really curious how they are going to handle Abyssals in this edition. So far I think the core books we have gotten have all been solidly above what 2e gave us in ideas, themes and mechanical executions. Which makes me really hopeful for Abyssals.
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