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

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CTPhipps
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Kashi wrote: Sun Feb 27, 2022 7:13 am As someone who is a complete sap and loves the idea of a bonded pair of lovers reincarnating through lifetimes (or even best friends or whatever), I am glad Desus got chucked to the curb. I hate arbitrary changes just to change stuff, but he was terrible, and he and Lillith's horrible relationship cast a cynical tarnish on the entire Solar-Lunar bond as a concept. Not everyone digs the bond, and that's fine. It should just never come up in your game if you don't like it, but I love it and I am glad it got a face lift.

Interesting. I mean, I never assumed that Desus and Lilith was a NORMAL Solar-Lunar relationship. I thought the books implied it was the absolute worst of all 100 Solar-Lunar pair bonds. Nor was that it would be one way to the Solars. You could easily make a Lunar abusing a Solar as their powers are pretty comparable. I figured the Solar-Lunar relationships were divided between those that were perfect, friendly, prone to a mixture of emotions, and complete disasters.

I only assumed Desus was a particular case of these problems due to the fact that he extensively used Solar Social Charms and so was mind-fucking everyone around him into thinking he was awesome when he was actually a personal psychopath. Again, I draw comparisons to the Purple man.

The big difference being that Desus was also doing fantastic monster slaying and portraying himself as awesome. He seemed especially relevant today with all the revelations about how his achievements and heroism were distracting from the fact he was personally a monster.

The Arnie Hammer of Solar Exalted basically.

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CTPhipps wrote: Sun Feb 27, 2022 1:05 pm
Interesting. I mean, I never assumed that Desus and Lilith was a NORMAL Solar-Lunar relationship. I thought the books implied it was the absolute worst of all 100 Solar-Lunar pair bonds. Nor was that it would be one way to the Solars.

Well, part of the problem is that Swan was the iconic Eclipse. So, everything about him kinda gets brought up more in the flavor as an example. I think their original relationship (and this is my interpretation of 1E) was supposed to show the disparity between the two; how can this ancient demigoddess have any kind of relationship with this twenty-something man child even though she deeply loved his previous incarnation and is attracted and fascinated by him? Which is fine. Interesting story (and it's kind of what 3E went back to). THEN, it got peppered with the darker aspects of their relationship as 1E and really 2E went on with 2E in particular leaning heavily into that. So, I do not think that was the intention, BUT Swan's prominence lead to one of the first things the average player might think of was the negative aspects of the pair bond.

At my table, I am the only player who really leaned into the idea of the Solar-Lunar bond, chiefly my account namesake Kashi. My storyteller and I crafted up his Lunar companion and it is really fun to me to portray he and his Lunar's relationship. We decided to make them about the same age, each neophyte Exalts and we really leaned into the idea that they shore up each other's weaknesses. Kashi is impetuous and passionate, while his Lunar is more grounded, much smarter and levelheaded. Just fun stuff like that; and while they intensely love each other, they do fight and quarrel on occasion (mostly because he does dumbass stuff). We tried to make them feel like real people, which I think is what Exalted does best; it tries to make you craft a real fleshed out person as a character.
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CTPhipps
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Kashi wrote: Sun Feb 27, 2022 1:32 pmWell, part of the problem is that Swan was the iconic Eclipse. So, everything about him kinda gets brought up more in the flavor as an example. I think their original relationship (and this is my interpretation of 1E) was supposed to show the disparity between the two; how can this ancient demigoddess have any kind of relationship with this twenty-something man child even though she deeply loved his previous incarnation and is attracted and fascinated by him? Which is fine. Interesting story (and it's kind of what 3E went back to). THEN, it got peppered with the darker aspects of their relationship as 1E and really 2E went on with 2E in particular leaning heavily into that. So, I do not think that was the intention, BUT Swan's prominence lead to one of the first things the average player might think of was the negative aspects of the pair bond.

At my table, I am the only player who really leaned into the idea of the Solar-Lunar bond, chiefly my account namesake Kashi. My storyteller and I crafted up his Lunar companion and it is really fun to me to portray he and his Lunar's relationship. We decided to make them about the same age, each neophyte Exalts and we really leaned into the idea that they shore up each other's weaknesses. Kashi is impetuous and passionate, while his Lunar is more grounded, much smarter and levelheaded. Just fun stuff like that; and while they intensely love each other, they do fight and quarrel on occasion (mostly because he does dumbass stuff). We tried to make them feel like real people, which I think is what Exalted does best; it tries to make you craft a real fleshed out person as a character.

It might be due to where I came into Exalted that effected my interpretation of it. The story I was introduced to the Desus/Lilith relationship was one I forget the book it was in (I am a bad fan). However, Swan was struggling with the idea he might be Desus and Lilith was debating whether or not he was. However, the implications were that if he was then Lilith would absolutely kill him. That he absolutely would be blamed for the "Sins of the Precarnation" even though he was someone who was a kind and decent person now and that was a source of angst for Swan as well.

There was also the implications that Lilith could end up as an enemy of the Silver Prince once she found out he was her real enemy.

As for Lunar/Solar pairings, my wife and I play one so we don't haven an issue there. Hers is based on Red Sonja and mine on Raistlin so fun pairing!
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CTPhipps wrote: Sun Feb 27, 2022 2:40 pm
As for Lunar/Solar pairings, my wife and I play one so we don't haven an issue there. Hers is based on Red Sonja and mine on Raistlin so fun pairing!

Ah, the joys of playing with a wife. My table is all dudes, so really have to pretend. But we're pretty good at it.
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Alright let's remember to keep discussion focused on the topics at hand, not the individuals in the discussion. For good or ill, Exalted has, at times, made it's own bed with how it treats adult things. It's fine to discuss those and talk about situations and what's in the books, but being civil helps keep the forum running smoothly.

I'll reopen this topic once people have a chance to cool off.
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Got in to find this thread had got a handful of reports on it. We want to keep moderation hands off here and not restrict topics or opinions but a few quick reminders.

Please no personal attacks or comments. We're just giving a few warnings right now and are PM'ing anyone concerned but may be less patient in future.

And again, try and keep things on this topic off the controversial stuff. We're not going to specify exactly what that is because, again, we don't want to police what's being talked about too much, but use some common sense. Try and keep things to what you think is being done particularly well in a certain edition etc. if you can

I'm culling a few of the posts that needed it, if you have any issues about this fire me a PM
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So I know this thread briefly touched on Dreams of The First age already but I'm eyeballing running a First Age game for my group and what is and isn't canon now and what snippits I've heard are and aren't official is a bit of a mush in my head.

Anyone want to take a shot at explaining how they think 3e handles the Primordials, the war and the first age compared to 2e? I made this forum and I'm going to leverage it shamelessly to do my homework for me
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andrix wrote: Wed Mar 02, 2022 11:42 am So I know this thread briefly touched on Dreams of The First age already but I'm eyeballing running a First Age game for my group and what is and isn't canon now and what snippits I've heard are and aren't official is a bit of a mush in my head.

Anyone want to take a shot at explaining how they think 3e handles the Primordials, the war and the first age compared to 2e? I made this forum and I'm going to leverage it shamelessly to do my homework for me
Well I'm caught up on the main book now so I know a good deal more about 3rd Edition now, plus with how everyone has been informing me of how things have changed.

Primordials

1. The Primordials aren't Buffy Season Fimale villains: I really like the change that the Primordials aren't scheming to get out of Hell and the Underworld now to bring about the end of everything. The idea of, "they're going to get out RIGHT NOW" is something that I feel like rather dramatically undercut the Exalted stories of fighting slavers, fighting the Realm, and punching the Guild in the face. I really like the whole, "The Yozis just really love fucking with Creation because why not?" version. Also, the idea the Neverborn are dead and sleeping to the point they're probably not even aware of what the Abyssals are doing in their name.

You still CAN have the Yozis and Neverborn try to return to the world. However, that's more something specific for your campaign.

2. I wish they'd continue calling them Primordials: I know Dungeons and Dragons uses the name but I really like the name Primordials and kind of am annoyed that they don't use it nearly as much in the text to describe the conflicts of the war.

3. I overall like how utterly inhuman and inscrutable they are: There seems to be a lot more focus on the "layers" between the Primordials and the (un)average human being. So much so that the Infernal Exalted are specifically called out as being super-duper extra-special just for their ability to be able to communicate with them. I really enjoyed this because in my games, I emphasized the idea that demons are fragments of the Primordials so you've always been talking to offshoots because the "core" is not like talking to Sauron. It's like talking to a galaxy.

Even Exalted are needing to have it dumbed down a lot.

4. It increases the role of cultists, demons, and Death Lords: If the Yozis and Primordials aren't actively trying to mastermind their escape, it makes the deranged Thulsa Doom and Princess Magnificent types and their own schemes more important in the long run. Plus, it makes demons more important to their OWN evil schemes as while She Who Lives in Her Name is never getting out, maybe one of her inner circle might.

5. It actually differentiates their characterization: The Yozis and Neverborn universally being guys trying to break into this reality is somewhat overdone in Call of Cthulhu and other fiction. So them being content ro just sit in their prisons dreaming or brooding actually makes them more interesting. I also think it makes the Solars and Unconquered Sun look less like chumps if they've made it so escape is never-ever gonna happen.

(Unless it is the focus of the campaign)

6. They overemphasize the freedom of Infernals: The book is 100% clear that Infernals aren't slaves or the minions of the Yozis and frankly I don't care for that as I think that Exalted getting themselves enslaved to Yozis is a great plot point for creating villains. The Akuma have seemingly been written out and it's just a catch-all term for them and I think it's a shame we no longer have that tragic story of Exalted tricked into geas or infernal contract that ends.

7. It recategorizes the threat level of demons and Yozis: Basically, the difference between a Yozi escaping and a Third Circle Demon escaping is the second can happen while the first can't but the Third Circle demon is still fucking Cthulhu AKA a mile tall sleeping monster that can end the world. Not a Star Spawn (which is closer to 2nd Circle).

First Age

1. De-Emphasizing Absolute Solar Dominion: They seem to be going with the idea that the Solars ruling over creation wasn't quite as "top down" as everyone thought with it much more like the Lunars were co-rulers and everyone having a place in the grand scheme of things. There seems to have been a lot of shitting on the Dragonblooded in past editions with the idea they were even concubines and slaves versus important parts of the First Age themselves.

Versus, "What do you call the person who graduated last in their class at medical school?" "Doctor."

Or in this case, "What do you call the weakest of the Exalted?" "A terrifying being coursing with the power of the gods."
 
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I'd love to see the Solar NPCs updated with the kind of nuance that Mnemon has been updated to.

Maybe reverse the damage done to Lyta when they made her a psychotic tween burning people with a giant magnifying glass.

Funny how Harmonious Jade is an adult Yozi worshiper who is treated as a genuine hero but the person betrayed by her religion with the Immaculates is made into a human sacrificing nutter.

But I imagine I'm the only person who cares about Lyta.
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CTPhipps wrote: Wed Mar 02, 2022 3:15 pm I'd love to see the Solar NPCs updated with the kind of nuance that Mnemon has been updated to.

Maybe reverse the damage done to Lyta when they made her a psychotic tween burning people with a giant magnifying glass.

Funny how Harmonious Jade is an adult Yozi worshiper who is treated as a genuine hero but the person betrayed by her religion with the Immaculates is made into a human sacrificing nutter.

But I imagine I'm the only person who cares about Lyta.
It really depends on what purpose Lyta would serve in her new role. 

Mnemon changed because her old characterisation gave the Realm Civil War an obvious villain and helped whitewash the slightly better intentioned imperialists like Tepet Ejava and Cathak Cainan. 
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Lioness wrote: Wed Mar 02, 2022 5:20 pm It really depends on what purpose Lyta would serve in her new role. 

Mnemon changed because her old characterisation gave the Realm Civil War an obvious villain and helped whitewash the slightly better intentioned imperialists like Tepet Ejava and Cathak Cainan. 

Well, I'm not an RPG developer but I think it'd be interesting to explore the idea of Lyta as a character who could be used either as a hero or a villain with the strong possibility that as a teenage girl (same as with a teenage boy) that her opinions are not entirely set and could be strongly influenced by a sufficiently strong party.

It would allow some interesting RPG opportunities that, yes, the players could outright kill her as a psycho teen but they also might try to redeem her and maybe even gain some insight into the Great Curse.

As she would be a good example of a young Solar being effected by it because she doesn't know better and is being influenced by her Exaltation.
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You hit most the points well @CTPhipps , just wanna comment on a couple of 'em:

CTPhipps wrote: Wed Mar 02, 2022 12:43 pm ...
Primordials
...
2. I wish they'd continue calling them Primordials: I know Dungeons and Dragons uses the name but I really like the name Primordials and kind of am annoyed that they don't use it nearly as much in the text to describe the conflicts of the war.
The prohibition I think is in part due to how much they dominated late 2e I think. They have been using the term titan in Essence and will in Crucible of Legends I would assume, which is fitting too. Generally I have always found that it of all things is the word that was capitalized and emphasized kind of weird for the category when god, demon, fairie, and so on weren't. But personal preference htere.

Something of note is that they did also change the war's name itself too to War of the Gods or Divien Revolution instead of the Primordial War. I kind of prefer this as it puts more emphasis on the main winners and agents rather than the defeated there, even if the latter does fit in the Greek context a bit (Titanomachy, Gigantomachy, etc.)

CTPhipps wrote: Wed Mar 02, 2022 12:43 pm ...
6. They overemphasize the freedom of Infernals: The book is 100% clear that Infernals aren't slaves or the minions of the Yozis and frankly I don't care for that as I think that Exalted getting themselves enslaved to Yozis is a great plot point for creating villains. The Akuma have seemingly been written out and it's just a catch-all term for them and I think it's a shame we no longer have that tragic story of Exalted tricked into geas or infernal contract that ends.
I think this is a response to how kind of "Infernal Exaltation is a sucker's bet" in 2e, and not wanting an Exaltation that is just "Bad deal all the way down." See similarly with how Abyssal Exaltation focuses a lot more on the deathknight, Death's Lawgiver, Evil Overlord Villain angle rather than enslaved thrall to Deathlords angle. Infernals in 2e were written as being duped (dying young unless htey break out, going to be disposed off once the Yozis win, abused by the Yozis). The point of a splat being playable is to be enjoyable and it's hard to do that when you are neslaved and miserable to things that just wnat to hurt everything.

And even then as 2e went, it de-emphasized Yozi control with things like Devil-Tigers bieng the assumed default long term play style. Infernals were sold out of the first chapters of their 2e book often as Hell's Rockstars, and I think that 3e kind of just emphasizes the punk being like, more meaningful than an aesthetic basically.

Akuma moslty is a result of the box being too small. There can be folks hwo were duped and lost control. I think the main thing is that there's an emphasis that there's more like...there there. Rather than it being basically Urge-addled slaves and useless mortal dupes. The issue wiht it mechancially in 1e and 2e is it was very much the hammer looking for nails and the more general 3e "Things are usually special unique things' means akuma as in 1e and 2e just kind of are too universalizing.

CTPhipps wrote: Wed Mar 02, 2022 12:43 pm...

Versus, "What do you call the person who graduated last in their class at medical school?" "Doctor."

Or in this case, "What do you call the weakest of the Exalted?" "A terrifying being coursing with the power of the gods."
 

Just wanted to highlight that this is a great analogy on this.
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CTPhipps wrote: Wed Mar 02, 2022 12:43 pm 6. They overemphasize the freedom of Infernals: The book is 100% clear that Infernals aren't slaves or the minions of the Yozis and frankly I don't care for that as I think that Exalted getting themselves enslaved to Yozis is a great plot point for creating villains. The Akuma have seemingly been written out and it's just a catch-all term for them and I think it's a shame we no longer have that tragic story of Exalted tricked into geas or infernal contract that ends. 
The problem with the old Akuma was that their lack of free will and relative scarcity meant that any time they showed up in a chronicle a Yozi was personally showing some degree of interest in what was going on, this only gives you so many options besides an attempt to escape from Malfeas.
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Bastet wrote: Wed Mar 02, 2022 8:23 pm The problem with the old Akuma was that their lack of free will and relative scarcity meant that any time they showed up in a chronicle a Yozi was personally showing some degree of interest in what was going on, this only gives you so many options besides an attempt to escape from Malfeas.

Yeah, that was why I liked the de-emphazing of the Yozis versus the Third and Second Circle demons. As stated, I'd make the Third Circle demons terrifying and nearly omnipotent in their own right. Instead of trying to escape, these guys have their own motivations and plans that may include:

* Building Yozi cults: Because sweet-sweet Essence is something that makes Malfean imprisonment easier.

* Making life difficult for the Incarnae and Exalted: Because why not.

* Plotting against other Yozis.

* Just wrecking chunkes of Creation because bored.
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I think the biggest thing regarding the First Age and it's changes is the Lunars are no longer fighting for the same thing they were in previous editions. Previously, the Silver Pact seemed like it was naturally allied with the Solars as they wanted to restore the First Age. That's still true but now it comes with the caveat they're not wanting to restore the First Age and the Reign of the Solars. They're wanting to restore the First Age and their rule.

I basically call this "Hapsburg logic" where the Hapsburgs are against the French Revolution and made all sorts of shit for the French but that's not because Louis was executed. It was because Marie was and her son. The Lunars aren't happy about what's happened to the Solars (kind of) but they're very pissed about what happened to them.

In a very real way, the Solars are almost incidental to the Lunars and their war against the Deliberative because the Usurption was now against them now. I mean, it always was, but the thing is the Sidereals/Dragonblooded never 100% suceeded against them and they've basically been fighting a 700 year war against them. The Usurpers "won" against the Solars but the Lunars were never overthrown over a good chunk of Creation.

It makes the conflict significantly more personal and also makes the Sidereals look less like social ninja masters since they didn't actually achieve nearly the level of their wartime objectives as it seems. It makes the Silver Pact also a good deal more believable that they intend to make a Silver Deliberative instead (though the Lunars may not have any desire to ape that body).
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