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Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Halloween Jack posted:

the Ascended don't believe in anything, period!
excuse me, they definitely have beliefs. Here, let me explain them:

More money and power for us, gently caress you.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Zereth posted:

excuse me, they definitely have beliefs. Here, let me explain them:

More money and power for us, gently caress you.

Like any other incredibly rich rear end in a top hat, they also have an extremely long list of justifications, made up by the people they pay to massage their egos and consciences.

Few philosophers or writers will ever go hungry working on 'Hey here's why the rich should sleep easy at night and why they're just better people when you get down to it'.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Fangs at the Gate: Elder Lunar Highlander

A small note, first: several of the Lunar elders have Essence 6 Charms. Well, an Essence 6 Charm, generally. These are explicitly not more powerful than Essence 5 Charms, but rather meant to show the unique and idiosyncratic signature abilities of these elders. They are legend-defining but not actually more powerful than what PCs can get access to normally.

Hata Mor is not an elder. He is a young Lunar who, as a child, was taken as a Guild slave alongside the rest of his village. He was taken from his parents and sold by the Guild factor Rodikhar of Nathir to the prince Blossoming Vine as an arena fighter. The prince was willing to pay anything to have his gladiators be healthy and strong, but was not concerned with their actual personhood, seeing them as less than his dogs. When a queen with a taste for bloodsport came to visit, Hata Mor was thrown into a deathmatch that left him dying on the sand. He managed, barely, to crawl out of the arena, and he tried to bind his wounds – and in doing so, Luna came to him.

That night, he escaped slavery, though he rejected the Silver Pact emissaries that came for him.He knew very little of the Realm and didn’t care much about it when he had far more pressing targets at hand. He also needed no mentor, for after a life as a slave, he wanted not even a benevolent master. His vendetta is simply against Blossoming Vine, the prince who believes him dead, and Rodikhar, the Guild factor that sold him. Hata Mor knows they deserve none of the respect he has for his fellow gladiators, and rather than give them swift deaths, he plans to humble them and tear their lives apart before their eyes, destroying all they have built. He moves among the elite of the kingdom, spreading unrest and stoking the ambitions of Vine’s rivals as well as undermining Rodikhar’s business by using his own trade group, the Hidden Stonefish Company. Only when both fall into utter despair will he allow them to die.

Hata Mor is Casteless, Essence 2, and his spirit shape is a stonefish. His Tell is a mottled facial birthmark. He’s not particularly tough, but he’s fairly strong, can read people well and is pretty good at social influence and punching people. He also has a claw strider familiar named Reave and has a wide array of human shapes from across Vine’s kingdom, plus a number of city animal shapes and a few Eastern predators, most notably a bear, wolf and panther. He has a Defining Principle of “I am my own master,” a Defining Tie of hatred to Prince Blossoming Vine, a Defining Tie of hatred to Guild factor Rodikhar, a Major Principle of “I value safety and certainty,” a Major Tie of compassion to fellow slaves, a Major Tie of gratitude to Luna, a Minor Tie of companionship to Reave, a Minor Tie of enmity to the Guild and a Minor Tie of pride to the Hidden Stonefish Company.

Lilith can barely recall her youth – it’s all dreamlike to her, sharp but fleeting imagery of the fields of Erya-Duat, a fertile land in the Southern deserts, of the hunt against the vulture-strix when she Exalted by strangling the beast as it tore into her with its claws, of racing across the night sky with her Lunar mentor. More than anything else, she remembers her first sight of the Solar Andamani of the Scarlet Field, resplendent in red and gold, of the warmth that filled her with his smile and of how her mere appearance melted his icy demeanor. In that moment, she remembered the passions of many past lives. Their love burned hot and fast, and for a time it consumed them entirely. They stayed in the hidden gardens of Ilyamun, danced in the ballrooms of Malachite’s Dawn, spoke together to the Deliberative, even rode to war in the same chariot to fight the House of Shards.

In time, however, their love grew cool, and their troubles more frequent. They quarreled, they had their lies and betrayals – and yet, to the end, their bond never broke. When Andamani was slain in the Usurpation, it shattered Lilith. She fled the first Wyld Hunts and joined the nascent Silver Pact to get revenge. She stayed with them for some time, advising them on matters of war and society, but she could not remain. Too much reminded her of fallen Andamani, of the relationship that had been part of all facets of her life for a thousand years. She tried to lose herself in the battles with the Shogunate, but no matter how many she killed or how many rebellions she sparked, her wounds remained as raw as the day he died, and every dealing with people was salt in them. It was easier for her to retreat into herself, to become just an owl, with its innocent needs, rather than to be a human. Over time, her battles against the Shogunate and her works with other Lunars or even spirits grew further and further between. She spent more and more time as a beast – and eventually, she stopped changing back.

Five years ago, however, Andamani was reborn, along with all the other imprisoned Solars. Lilith sensed his return on the wind, her heart tied to him by their bond. She now pursues rumors of the Solars among both mortals and spirits, hoping to find her eternal love again...even if she’s not sure how she’ll react to him. However, she also pursues meaning among the other Lunars, as well. She knows a few surviving First Age and early Shogunate-era Lunars still, and while she is not yet ready to recommit herself to the Silver Pact and its duties, she’d happily renew those old friendships and her old vendetta against the killers of Andamani. In human form, Lilith is a lean, dark-skinned woman who wears ancient moonsilver mail, concealing her silver hair under an owl’s-head helm. Still, she rarely takes on her own form, preferring animal shapes, especially the owl. She is typically quiet and unspeaking, not because she is shy but because she only ever speaks when she has something important to say. The more time she spends around humans, though, the less exaggerated this trait tends to become.

Lilith is Casteless, Essence 6 and has a white spotted owl spirit shape. Her Tell is white feathers in her hair. She is very tough, strong and good at tracking and sneaking. She’s a poor commander but an excellent strategist and socialite, for all that she’s not used the skills in ages, and she is very deadly with her moonsilver powerbow, Queen of Winds, or her moonsilver direlance, Nyx. Her moonsilver armor is named Silver Strix, and she is a master of White Reaper Style. She has whatever animal shapes you feel like giving her and a ton of human shapes from ages past, but has only a very few human shapes from modern societies, taken only in the last five years. She has a Defining Principle of “Life’s only constants are loss and grief,” a Defining Tie of ambivalence to Andamani, a Defining Tie of wistful nostalgia to the First Age, a Major Principle of “Isolation in the wilderness eases my pain,” a Major Tie of loyalty to fellow Lunars, a Major Tie of loathing towards the Shogunate and its successor states, a Minor Principle of “I wish I could turn my back on the past,” a Minor Tie of curiosity to the Solar Exalted, and a Minor Tie of reverence to Luna.

Lilith’s unique Charm is Waking Dreamer Fugue. When she uses Silver Mask Submersion while in an animal shape, she remains able to shapeshift into other forms, but retains the Intimacies of the form she used the Charm in. If she enters a human shape, she can simulate human behavior, but will be extremely weird and likely get treated as if she’s mad or possessed, because she’s still got the mind and Intimacies of an animal. Also, the cost of Silver Mask Submersion is reduced when she’s in her spirit shape. So basically, Lilith is really good at being an owl.

Next time: Ma-Ha-Suchi, Raksi

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Well, that's a pretty far cry from telling Adam to go gently caress himself.

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

About loving time they tossed out all the stuff with Desus.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


It just seems kind of weird to me to have a character named Lillith who is defined by being totally tied to a romantic relationship with a Solar Bond or whatever.

It's like, the perfect name for someone who looked at the Solar Bond thing and said 'this is horseshit, I'm out' instead. It's like naming a guy Enkidu and then making him a genteel patron of the fine arts who loves urban living. Isn't even that it's necessarily a bad character (though she doesn't sound great), more...that's just not the name I'd use for that concept.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Night10194 posted:

It just seems kind of weird to me to have a character named Lillith who is defined by being totally tied to a romantic relationship with a Solar Bond or whatever.

It's like, the perfect name for someone who looked at the Solar Bond thing and said 'this is horseshit, I'm out' instead. It's like naming a guy Enkidu and then making him a genteel patron of the fine arts who loves urban living. Isn't even that it's necessarily a bad character (though she doesn't sound great), more...that's just not the name I'd use for that concept.

This one's a legacy issue. Lilith has always been one of the signature Lunar characters, and has always been defined by being the one who hosed off into the woods to be an owl after her Solar boyfriend died, then came back to find out what was going on but had complicated feelings.

2nd edition had huge issues surrounding her because in 2nd edition her boyfriend was Badly Written Odysseus Desus, comma, the Most Abusive Man Alive.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Alive or dead, really. It's not often you see a character written as 'personally abusive on a world-historical scale' and I'm very glad we're unlikely to ever see 2e Desus again in print.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011
I MIGHT BE A DECENT PERSON BUT I'M ALSO DEEPLY, DEEPLY STUPID AND SHOULD NOT BE REPLIED TO

Joe Slowboat posted:

Alive or dead, really. It's not often you see a character written as 'personally abusive on a world-historical scale' and I'm very glad we're unlikely to ever see 2e Desus again in print.

Unless you are going to stab them in the face repeatedly I can't understand why they would exist.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Fangs at the Gate: GOAT WAR

Ma-Ha-Suchi is known to the Realm, Lookshy and much of the Eastern Threshold as a warlord and monster whose beastfolk reavers pillage and raid without care. To the Chante-Sa bands around the Nameless Lair, he is a divinely appointed ally and leader, a champion that they love. To the Silver Pact, he is ambiguous, with some seeing him as having been withdrawn too long to have any use against the Realm while others find his beliefs questionable or infeasibly idealistic, and others think his power and vision will shake the world and lead to greatness. He is a master manipulator and excellent infiltrator as well as a culture hero, and while he may now favor intimidation as his main tactic, that’s purely his own choice rather than because he is unable to use other methods. He is terrifying in battle as well, giving orders without pause even as he enters into killing battle-rage. Most often, Ma-Ha-Suchi is seen wearing his hybrid form, which he finds most comfortable after the past few centuries. He rarely has reason to wear a fully human shape, save when he wishes to travel among the Chante-Sa unnoticed.

Ma-Ha-Suchi is a Changing Moon, Essence 6, and his spirit shape is a chimera of goat and wolf. His Tell is a voice that rings like silver bells. He is one of the toughest fighters around, extremely hard to put down, and very good at both military leadership and social stuff. His horns are his deadliest weapon, and he favors using them over any kind of artifact, though he wears moonsilver lamellar named God-Bone Raiment. He is rarely without a decently sized group of wolf-folk elite guards, and may also be accompanied by one of his Lunar students. He has many animal forms, most of them from the East, and a large number of human forms, but most of them predate contemporary societies, save for the few he has traded from the Chante-Sa or taken from captives of nearby nations or the Realm. Ma-Ha-Suchi has a Defining Principle of “I doubt whether this struggle has been worth it,” a Defining Principle of “I will raise up a new Lunar Realm where I’m admired and respected by all,” a Defining Tie of hatred to the Usurpers, a Major Tie of paternal protection to the Chante-Sa, a Major Tie of unreliable partnership to the Silver Pact, a Major Tie of bitter loathing to Raksi and her followers, a Minor Tie of respect to Luna, a Minor Tie of loyalty to the Three Mothers, and a Minor Tie of possessiveness to the Nameless Lair.

Ma-Ha-Suchi’s unique Charm is Blood Moon Warlord Prowess. Once per day, when he wins Join Battle or enters combat after successfully enacting a Demoralized stratagem, he can use Thousand Throat Howl for free, and any affected enemy battle groups must check for rout, while allied battle groups get a Might bonus against any affected characters. Thousand Throat Howl is a really expensive Charisma Charm that lets you basically attempt to terrify everyone nearby and force them to flee your presence. So he’s focused heavily on being big and scary.

Raksi has learned from the Usurpation. She knows that life is full of traitors and betrayals, that only strength and fear can be trusted to survive. This is the central belief she has built herself around, and she has become much stronger and far more feared than she ever was as a First Age philosopher. While her peers may mourn the fallen state of Creation, Raksi adores it and what it has taught her. Her skill as a sorcerer is legend, and anyone passing through Mahalanka or the Thousand Fangs Army Total Control Zone in general may well witness some of the most powerful sorcerous workings made since the Usurpation, depending on what Raksi’s whims have set her to lately. Besides her millennia of study and skill, she wields the Book of Three Circles, which holds the writings of history’s best sorcerers and has mighty arcane powers. Besides sorcery, Raksi is also known for her knowledge in many fields, such as demonology, artifice, economics, geomancy, math, philosophy, political theory and plenty of obscure metaphysical fields. Few can equal her scholarship, and most of the ones that could match her in conversing about these topics are her enemies, which she feels a bit bad about. It means she has fewer interesting conversations, after all. Raksi assumes human shapes as though changing clothing, rarely staying in any one shape long. She never reveals her true form, but every follower, guest or servant is expected to recognize her no matter what shape she’s in. If they don’t spot her Tell, her bearing and haughtiness are generally enough to tell them.

Raksi is a No Moon, Essence 7, with a chimpanzee spirit shape. Her Tell is that her wrists bend backwards. She’s moderately tough, particularly for a nerd, and is excellent at scholarship, crafting and strategy, but a very poor administrator and commander. She’s not a terrible fighter but doesn’t use any real artifacts, even armor – she relies more on her sorcery and servants to protect her. She is almost always attended by at least one Second Circle Demon and a small squad of blood apes or other First Circle Demon combatants that hang out dematerialized until needed. She also usually has a guard of elite apefolk warriors. Raksi has a wide variety of shapes, both of Eastern animals and hundreds of human shapes. Her two control spells are Death of Obsidian Butterflies and Demon of the First Circle. She is also able to tap into the Book of Three Circles to get a bonus when casting spells that exploit facts introduced in the same scene or to counter any spell – she counts as knowing all spells for the purpose of counterspelling, and if she counters a spell she can trap it in the Book, then use an entire turn to cast it herself once, even if it’s a Solar Circle spell.

Raksi has a Defining Principle of “I must be feared,” a Defining Principle of “Only being the most powerful can keep me safe,” a Defining Tie of unrepentant delight to herself, a Major Principle of “There won’t be any clean or pretty victories in our vendetta,” a Major Tie of hatred to the Usurpers, a Major Tie of respect to those who are not afraid of her, a Major Tie of ownership to her dominion, a Major Tie of disdain to Ma-Ha-Suchi and his followers, a Minor Principle of “I don’t care for the petty details of governance,” a Minor Tie of pride to the Thousand Fangs Army, a Minor Tie of wonder to Luna and a Minor Tie of ownership to the Book of Three Circles.

Raksi’s unique Charm is Witch-Queen’s Midnight Crown. Whenever she successfully makes a Shape Sorcery roll, she gets a very large Soak and Hardness bonus until her next turn and gains Initiative. She loses the soak and Hardness if she attacks or makes a move action, however, and the Charm is not compatible with armor. It also fails while she’s Crashed. Basically, Raksi doesn’t wear armor because she has this instead. She is an artillery piece who you face down while she’s supported by her apefolk armies, her demon servants and her powerful magic, and your job is to force her to not be able to stand there and cackle at you while casting.

Shadow-Rending Razor was not born to be an assassin. In the dying days of the Shogunate, she was an Immaculate monk that traveled the land to help people, no matter what their problems were. She did her best to help fight the Contagion, but eventually resigned herself to having to only comfort the dying, even as she herself became infected. Luna came to her in a flash of religious epiphany, and she was inspired by her visions during Exaltation to gather survivors into a utopian society dedicated to compassion, community and independence. The Silver Pact reached out to her to help fight the Shogunate, but she refused, as she loved her community more than she valued the vendetta. Instead, she earned her current name by fighting the Fair Folk and the undead risen in the wake of the Contagion. Her commune lasted several decades, despite the apocalypses…until the newly formed Realm came, with their legions and Wyld Hunt, to tear the place down.

Razor’s people fought beside her, and while she survived, they did not. Enraged, Razor joined the Pact, her fury driving her to bloodthirsty quests against the Realm and its Northern satrapies. When she took a near-mortal wound facing a member of House Jerah, she took shelter in the Shattersea Bastion, an old First Age ruin now occupied by scavengers and pirates. Preaching to them, she made a new cult to Luna in her aspect as a hunt-goddess. Today, Razor is a cult leader and assassin, preaching Luna’s love for the outcast and renegade and training both her cultists and Lunar students in infiltration, murder, theology and medicine – both her own doctrine and Immaculate doctrine, to better understand their foes. Minor moon gods and spirits sometimes visit for offerings or festivals, but the cult remains relatively small, kept stable in numbers mostly by shipwrecks or occasional outcast refugees.

Razor’s goal and theology are identical: The Realm and any other usurper state whose legitimacy is based on the false doctrine of the Immaculates must be torn down to pave the way for Luna’s cult to control the world. Her assassins destabilize the Realm’s control by murdering those in key political, cultural or economic positions of power in the satrapies or, occasionally, the Blessed Isle. Her true shape is a tall, muscular woman with light brown skin and a shaved head. She wears monastic robes, and were it not for the fact that they are dark black and she has moonsilver tattoos, she’d be easily mistaken for an Immaculate monk. While she is stoic, she misses the peace and simplicity of her mortal life, and her hobby is beekeeping, which helps her get away from the worries of being a shahan-ya and assassin-slash-cult leader. Sometimes she heads out to travel the land, hiding in temple ruins she once worked in or wandering the satrapies in the guise of a healer.

Shadow-Rending Razor is a Full Moon, Essence 5, and her spirit shape is a greater noctule bat. Her Tell is fangs. She’s pretty tough and exceptionally sneaky and good at survival, while she’s middlingly good at most other things. She is an exceptional unarmed combatant, but not a martial artist. She is often accompanied by mortal assassins and can take on a great number of Northern and Eastern animal forms, including a great cat, a hellboar, an ox-dragon, a river dragon and a tyrant lizard. She also enjoys being a number of smaller, less tactical animals. She has relatively few human shapes, mostly satrapial or Realm officials. Her chief artifact is a moonsilver chain shirt named Five Hundred Verses. She has a Defining Principle of “I long to see Creation at peace,” a Defining Tie of zeal to Luna, a Major Principle of “Some crimes are too severe to forgive,” a Major Tie of scorn towards followers of the Immaculate Texts, a Major Tie of familial love towards her cult, a Major Tie of hatred to the Realm, a Major Tie of camaraderie to the Silver Pact and a Minor Tie of friendship to Ma-Ha-Suchi.

Next time: Swift Wayward Whisper and Vanamaithri Mirror-Soul

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Josef bugman posted:

Unless you are going to stab them in the face repeatedly I can't understand why they would exist.

Exalted 2e is one of those things where I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone remembered it fondly. Since even people who like it a lot have a thousand caveats of 'Well, once you get past all the extremely weird sex poo poo and sexual menace/assault and bad writing and unplayable rules...'

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


Liked Weirdflame, does it live up to its fluff of being able to destroy your enemies by twisting their followers into a mob of deformed madmen or is it not worth the effort?

edit: as someone who got into Exalted at the dawn of 1st ed. I too am deeply confused by people who grew fond of the game when they joined in 2nd edition so you're not alone in that.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Night10194 posted:

Exalted 2e is one of those things where I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone remembered it fondly. Since even people who like it a lot have a thousand caveats of 'Well, once you get past all the extremely weird sex poo poo and sexual menace/assault and bad writing and unplayable rules...'

It's the same as any other mediocre RPG: "my friends and I had fun and there were some dice and books nearby, so now we just assume these are related"

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Ithle01 posted:

Liked Weirdflame, does it live up to its fluff of being able to destroy your enemies by twisting their followers into a mob of deformed madmen or is it not worth the effort?

edit: as someone who got into Exalted at the dawn of 1st ed. I too am deeply confused by people who grew fond of the game when they joined in 2nd edition so you're not alone in that.

It’s a good weapon, and its gambits are generally easier than killing a major foe or even a notably tough mortal. It also lets you get around the health costs and range of the native transformation charms, both the beneficial one and the nasty one. Your main catch is that really potent foes may have cursebreak or anti-shaping stuff if Exalted but that just means they’ll be back for revenge.

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


Mors Rattus posted:

It’s a good weapon, and its gambits are generally easier than killing a major foe or even a notably tough mortal. It also lets you get around the health costs and range of the native transformation charms, both the beneficial one and the nasty one. Your main catch is that really potent foes may have cursebreak or anti-shaping stuff if Exalted but that just means they’ll be back for revenge.

If it works then cool, too often these gimmick weapons involve a huge xp investment and are harder to use than just the default 'dead enemy'. That one moonsilver chakram from Arms of the Chosen was a steaming poo poo pile mechanically, but had cool fluff. Granted, it was a thrown weapon, but if anything that makes the issues worse not better.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Ithle01 posted:

If it works then cool, too often these gimmick weapons involve a huge xp investment and are harder to use than just the default 'dead enemy'. That one moonsilver chakram from Arms of the Chosen was a steaming poo poo pile mechanically, but had cool fluff. Granted, it was a thrown weapon, but if anything that makes the issues worse not better.

The gambit is diff 5 for Weirdflame's Wyld-Flame Crucible ones, and the limb-twister one gives a -3 to any use of the limb. The face-melter is just straight up 'welp your identity's loving gone' and the humanity-immolator forces Hideous on someone, which is a pretty great benefit against social folks. They last a day by default but the later E3 charms that upgrade it can make it last a week or so for non-mortals. Insidious Lunar Transformation lasts at least a day, same difficulty, nut normally costs your health levels. Twisting Ash Brand is where things get nutty - it lets you use an aim action to reduce the difficulty of the gambits for both Wyld-Flame and Insidious Lunar to 3, and it's only E2. Wyld Nightmare Inferno is E4 and combines an actually quite nasty environmental hazard with making your transformations easier.

e: oh and if you're resonant, you can use Wyld-Flame with a Decisive attack instead, you just have to deal damage equal to the gambit difficulty; you can then choose to reduce your damage to inflict the transformation instead.

weso12
Nov 19, 2014

Lurker, Sims 3 LPer, Bored College Student


Races of Consequence: The Dwelf
Before we begin with the entry proper, I would like to do an art critic, every Hybrid has a picture of it in the book and I’ll like to show you the picture and give my thoughts on it.

This picture is actually pretty decent it accurately shows the traits of an Elf and a Dwarf in a picture, which not all of the art succeeds to do. It looks a LITTLE ugly, and a little heavy on the dwarven side (namely it looks a little shorter than i think it would but with no reference point that’s hard to say), but I figured the ugliness is supposed to be their to show that the traits kind of clash.

This entry (like all the other races), starts with a story, this story about Dwelf going to a Dwarven stew place and noticing that she being fed worse (insects in her food) then others normally are. She assumes in purposeful because of how prideful this guy is of his stew shop and stuff. She isn’t happy but thinks to herself that other dwarves won’t even give her the time of day possibly to the point of abuse (referring to scars). It’s an okay story but it repeats the same point the main section states which is that: Both dwarves and elves freaking hate Dwelf. I find it interesting the book doesn’t even go why these exists at all (It gives a reasons, sometimes even a forced tortured one, for virtually every other race in this), even ruling out the possibility of rape (Yeah this book discusses rape as a possibility for some the hybrids in this book mostly the ones based on Half-Orcs)

Personality
This section can be summed up “Dwelf are solidarity people”.

Physical Description
It basically describes the picture, dwarven structure with delicate features. Ihe interesting part is that it describes that male Dwelves as having beards that are “soft and sparse, like a human woman’s arm hair”, which is a weird comparison I never thought I’d see (It also references the fact men shave it or use tonics to thicken it). Apparently the females don’t have beards, but do have mutton chops which they say shave.

Relations
Again this section is just “Dwelfs are solidarity people”

Alignment
Weirdly for the child of two good aligned races they are described as having “goodness eludes dwelfs”. I guess all the abuse that’s assumed to be sucking the goodness out of them. But otherwise it mainly says “Some are chaotic by rejecting society” and “Some are lawful by making their own rules”.

Religion
I’m gonna give book a pass here in that the book doesn’t go “Dwelf worship no gods”. It mainly refers to some concept of “purifying rituals” that some churches may do in order to remove the other races blood (symbolically not actually, unless you take the prestige class later in this book, or just use polymorph any object which the fast better solution), and that some Dwelves preffer neutral dieties who don’t give a gently caress about their heritiage

Languages
It says that Dwelfs speak both Elven and Dwarven but mix them together, but how would a Dwelf raised in Elf lands know Dwarven (except academically), or vise versa? I guess they wanted some excuses for Dwelves to learn both languages because making it a choice would be weird

Lands
It basically says “Dwelf rarely stay in their homelands”, which they either go into wilderness or large cities to hide (Though I imagine humans wouldn’t give that much of a gently caress other than being mildly humorous i guess)

Names
Okay this part legit bugs me: It says that both races will give a Dwelf an insulting name. But what rear end in a top hat parent is gonna give their own drat child a name that’s deliberately insulting. If that was just a nickname thing I think I could understand, but what parent is gonna name their child “Round, Hairy Beast”

Adventurers
For some reason I can’t figure out they decided Rogue would be a good fit here for a Dwelf ideal class, personally I’d find ranger be more thematically fitting but the concept of a Ranger Dwelf isn’t even addressed.

Racial Traits
So I’m gonna adbridge this poo poo because the racial traits in this book are LONG and filled with minor poo poo that’s like half the bonuses that don’t matter. I’ll point out the poo poo that’s interesting in the book.

+2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma: While this is technically “overpowered” by the DMG the DMG has bullshit advice for balance anyways so it’s fine, it just means you'd be a poo poo Bard or Sorcerer, also it’s worth noting that’s literally what you get when you add the two racial attributes together but it makes enough since to me so w/e. (They are times later in the book where they screw that up)
Base Land Speed 30 feet: This isn’t bad at all and I would have skipped over it if not for a problem with the very next race.
Darkvision and Improved Low-Light Vision: Weirdly while the Dwelf gets Darkvision it’s only out to 30 feet, and gets a better low light vision than regular elves get, not like this matters too much, it basically just means “Screw the GM’s attempt to get light to matter.”
Lesser Stonecunning: They get a worse version of stonecunning that translates “A +1 bonus instead of a +2” and they can’t intuit depth which might have been cut for space and that fact that it’s mostly a flavor trait. This also on every dwarf hybrid in the book so I am only talking about that here
+2 on Hide Checks: This is the ONLY unique racial trait they have (which is fine, they are a hybrid so w/e), but I guess it kind of makes sense
Dwarven Blood and Elven Blood: Basically translate to the Elf and Dwarf subtype which is fine and stuff.
Automatic Languages: Common, Dwarven, and Elven: Why would one raised in only one culture necessarily know both?
Favored Class, Rogue: I mentioned my thoughts of this earlier so w/e.

Overall
My main issue here is the Dwelf flavor is just "they are stigmatized" which makes sense but doesn't lead too much interesting in a two page write up. I'd almost want to see some bullshit like "They are expert Bow makers and get a +2 on Craft (Bow)", but we don't get anything of the sort.

Next time on Races of Consequence, “the Dweoven” the Half-Human, Half-Dwarf.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Regarding Desus, I do think that (purely in theory) his character concept is good for explaining how the Great Curse can turn heroes into monsters without them ceasing to look like heroes - in his case, his immense charisma and cunning made everyone, including himself, incapable of assuming ill of him even when they witness him being a huge rear end in a top hat. But, by specifically writing that around spousal abuse, the concept became intensely awful even as an illustration of the First Age's excesses, and we're all glad he was written out.

In general, the 2e Dreams of the First Age material always struck me as a combination of too clever for its own good (focusing on reproducing modern society and technology) and filling in blanks that didn't need to be filled in (Desus' abusive behavior could have been left simply as 'nobody including his Lunar Mate can recognize or prevent his increasing cruelty' or something, just anything with even a modicum of care for the reader). The setting was and remains good, but in 2e you had to surgically remove the bad.

...as someone who got into Exalted in 2e, it sort of went like this: Learn the broad concepts and they're very appealing >>> look at charms, build characters, don't fully understand the system but have a lot of ideas for games >>> start running into the creepy bullshit in supplements and just sub rosa elements in otherwise good parts, excise them >>> run into the mechanical failings, try to fix them >>> online community generally agrees on what's terrible and how to avoid it >>> be hopeful for 3e.

Then there's the unpleasant epilogue of '3e is better but Holden and Morke are terrible >>> have hope for the new devs' and honestly so far that hope has been well repaid, but... there's certainly a significant amount of liking the ideal version of Exalted that hovers over the actual implementation at every stage. I've had a lot of success using the setting and system, and easily avoiding the pitfalls, but it's definitely more work to make shipshape than, say, Spire.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




A lot of people (me included) also really enjoy crunchy systems. Punching numbers and doing System Mastery just feels good.

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


Joe Slowboat posted:

Regarding Desus, I do think that (purely in theory) his character concept is good for explaining how the Great Curse can turn heroes into monsters without them ceasing to look like heroes - in his case, his immense charisma and cunning made everyone, including himself, incapable of assuming ill of him even when they witness him being a huge rear end in a top hat. But, by specifically writing that around spousal abuse, the concept became intensely awful even as an illustration of the First Age's excesses, and we're all glad he was written out.

In general, the 2e Dreams of the First Age material always struck me as a combination of too clever for its own good (focusing on reproducing modern society and technology) and filling in blanks that didn't need to be filled in (Desus' abusive behavior could have been left simply as 'nobody including his Lunar Mate can recognize or prevent his increasing cruelty' or something, just anything with even a modicum of care for the reader). The setting was and remains good, but in 2e you had to surgically remove the bad.

...as someone who got into Exalted in 2e, it sort of went like this: Learn the broad concepts and they're very appealing >>> look at charms, build characters, don't fully understand the system but have a lot of ideas for games >>> start running into the creepy bullshit in supplements and just sub rosa elements in otherwise good parts, excise them >>> run into the mechanical failings, try to fix them >>> online community generally agrees on what's terrible and how to avoid it >>> be hopeful for 3e.

Then there's the unpleasant epilogue of '3e is better but Holden and Morke are terrible >>> have hope for the new devs' and honestly so far that hope has been well repaid, but... there's certainly a significant amount of liking the ideal version of Exalted that hovers over the actual implementation at every stage. I've had a lot of success using the setting and system, and easily avoiding the pitfalls, but it's definitely more work to make shipshape than, say, Spire.

I'm pretty sure the main objection to Desus has always been that 'celebrity who the public loves turns out to be abusive rear end in a top hat in personal life' hits pretty close to home and is, if anything, too realistic. Personally, I think it's that people try to ascribe his behavior to the Great Curse is the insulting part. Then in 2nd edition every time Desus showed up it was to mention that he was an abusive spouse or just a huge prick in general and a lot of people really don't want to hear about that. There's also a lot of the fan base that doesn't like that a lunar exalt was playing the role of 'battered spouse'. I'm one of those people.

edit: bad place to put this, but I don't want to double post. Mors, thanks for the info on Weird Flame I heard some people cooing about it on other forums and didn't want to drop cash on the book just to hear about it. Still seems fairly weak to me, but whatever, I get why it is the way it is.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Crunch is great when it actually flows well and is interesting to study.

That's, generously, not really the impression I've ever gotten from stories of Exalted 2e. 3e supposedly works fine once you memorize 300 pages of charms, so fine, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone praise 2e's rules design.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





I preferred how 2e organized the setting books. Until Infernals the creep factor seemed similar if not identical.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Ithle01 posted:

I'm pretty sure the main objection to Desus has always been that 'celebrity who the public loves turns out to be abusive rear end in a top hat in personal life' hits pretty close to home and is, if anything, too realistic. Personally, I think it's that people try to ascribe his behavior to the Great Curse is the insulting part. Then in 2nd edition every time Desus showed up it was to mention that he was an abusive spouse or just a huge prick in general and a lot of people really don't want to hear about that. There's also a lot of the fan base that doesn't like that a lunar exalt was playing the role of 'battered spouse'. I'm one of those people.

edit: bad place to put this, but I don't want to double post. Mors, thanks for the info on Weird Flame I heard some people cooing about it on other forums and didn't want to drop cash on the book just to hear about it. Still seems fairly weak to me, but whatever, I get why it is the way it is.

Eh, I personally like the Great Curse to look as little like supernatural effects as possible - it's a genre conceit as much as anything else. Just, as you say, Desus was both too mundane a monster and too viscerally upsetting (and yeah, undermining Lilith as a character, which was part of a general pattern of 2e depicting First Age Lunars as almost uniformly victims of Solars).

The Great Curse works well when it's a genre reminder to get Solars to look like classical heroes interpreted through a more contemporary fantasy lens (like how the setting is high fantasy interpreted through more modern material analysis of its economics). There's a reason plenty of fans have wanted the Great Curse to be made less explicitly magical for multiple editions now, though that has its own problems, so I'm a fence-sitter on how the Curse should be depicted in the fiction - purely mundane power-leads-to-corruption is good, but so is 'that tendency is enforced by magic.'

e: Also the constant reliance on sexual peril and abuse in 2e was all kinds of gross, to be clear, entirely apart from whether Desus' characterization was genre-appropriate or not.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Why is it good for it to be enforced by magic? For me, the most Exalted thing is that it has an age of tyranny ruled by people who can use Delicious Boot Prana Of Peerless Excellence to make you thank them for the taste of their boot smashing your face in...

And then posits it's primarily due to a curse by evil god-things they kicked the poo poo out of that anything went wrong with this.

E: Though I would absolutely buy the Great Curse as what Solars tell you happened.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 21:45 on Jun 19, 2019

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

The more I think about it, the more I conclude that the Great Curse is just not needed in (and is harmful to) the setting. Solars can single handedly defeat entire armies. The mob can never overthrow them by force. Solars can rewrite the minds of others. Nobody will be able to convince them they're wrong. Solars can single-handedly conceive of and build wonders beyond the limits of others. Who could argue restraint against that? Think of the power wielded by even an essence 1 chargen Solar. What person in all of history would you trust with that power, especially knowing the heights it could grow to? And now remember that they live for millenia. What person from two thousand years ago would you want still active in the modern day with the ability to rewrite the beliefs of those who disagree with them, to destroy any army set against them, to create anything their minds can imagine? Now imagine 300ish people with that same power all at once.

"Power Corrupts" is enough. You don't need a Great Curse. Having a Great Curse just gives people an excuse, something to blame. Something for the players to think "if we can just fix this, everything will be good"

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I like the idea of a Great Curse purely as a character building aid - I don't really care about it as a world-historical cause. If Exalted would relax its setting-simulation efforts for a bit, that would be much better than an in-setting curse, I agree! Have the Great Curse just be a myth or implication if the table does want to focus on 'fixing' the world that way, and you have a more flexible setting.

But on a player character level, it's very easy for players to roll into Exalted with no real interest in the kinds of bad decisions that make Exalted play interesting - it's the combination of great heroism and terrible decisions, which (very much in theory) the Great Curse mechanics are trying to encourage, that produces good mythic play. Now, the Dragon-Blooded implementation of the Great Curse is probably the best, because it's entirely OOC 'if you give your DB the genre-appropriate failings we term the Great Curse, you'll get some extra EXP' (though I wish it were explicitly pooled and then shared out, rather than resulting in different EXP totals in the group). But that's what I find valuable in practice, with the groups I've played with, about the Great Curse: It provides a structure for heroic failings that encourages and even rewards incorporating them into characters, and intentionally refuses the option of saying 'but actually my Heracles is without flaw.'

e: To be clear, if a table wants to edit out the Great Curse and have their Solars in particular be flawless heroes of the dawn, they should go for it. But I appreciate how the game makes that the houseruled option, and the default has a different tone.

Joe Slowboat fucked around with this message at 22:02 on Jun 19, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


You don't edit out the Great Curse to be 'flawless heroes of Dawn', you edit out the Great Curse because there's no need for a magical in-setting curse for a genre convention, and in fact, it being there makes the hubris and tyranny significantly less impactful.

You can still have mechanics for 'Your God King checks against their Hubris to see if they kill their tutor with a lyre and end up having to make up for it' without 'also that was because of evil god juice they got on them'.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



IMO Essence Fever is a way better setting conceit. You don't need a magical reason to have hubris, but a magical reason for why your Exalt can't just go hang out and do nothing forever is important.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Night10194 posted:

You don't edit out the Great Curse to be 'flawless heroes of Dawn', you edit out the Great Curse because there's no need for a magical in-setting curse for a genre convention, and in fact, it being there makes the hubris and tyranny significantly less impactful.

You can still have mechanics for 'Your God King checks against their Hubris to see if they kill their tutor with a lyre and end up having to make up for it' without 'also that was because of evil god juice they got on them'.

That's... what I said? I strongly agree. I just think that as long as Exalted's been dedicated to not having out-of-character elements on the character sheet, to the point of insisting a 'mote' was a real thing in-setting for measuring Essence expenditure, I appreciated that there was a genre convention juice included. The Dragon-Blooded book moving towards the Great Curse as a purely conventional character sheet element is good, but for whatever reason Exalted writers have historically been terrible about admitting that some things are in the game for narrative purposes and function on narrative lines. It's one reason I like the new devs.

I suppose my position should be, I'm an apologist for the Great Curse as it has existed, but think that it's a fundamentally flawed attempt to do what an OOC Heroic Flaw would do much better.

e: On the other hand, I think Essence Fever is perfectly fine but precisely in the same way the magical Great Curse has worked in the past - it's a spur to action within the context of a game that oddly refuses to just say 'sitting on your rear not doing story-worthy things is boring and Exalts shouldn't be boring.' It's a magical explanation for a genre necessity.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Part of the issue is that a huge amount of the appeal of Exalted and a huge reason people play it is power fantasy, but I don't think it's ever really grappled with that much in the past. Holden and Morke's 'Look, Game of Thrones is a great inspiration for this game, Creation is SUPER GRITTY' being exhibit A of that kind of thing.

So, if you're playing to have a good time playing Dynasty Warriors as a shiney sun-man, I can understand the urge to drop the other bits. I can certainly see why there'd be a persistent urge to just ignore the bits about 'Your very existence is basically tyrannical on the world'.

E: Also note: Playing for power fantasy is in no way a bad thing! I, too, love imagining I had the power to just punch the world into better shape sometimes and it's a legit thing that helps cope with living in lovely times or dealing with lovely parts of your life. I find the issues often crop up when something doesn't examine that part of itself, or is ashamed of it and tries to layer sexual menace and muck all over it to make it 'mature'.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 22:50 on Jun 19, 2019

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





In my very specific table experience, Exalted works best when the power fantasy elements are knowingly tempered with cultural distance - you're playing a character from a very different society, who is often specifically reacting to the injustices of that society, not the modern world. This focus on culture heroes and the social conditions of Creation, plus the power fantasy, makes for something a little more nuanced and less likely to turn into an actual fight about politics, while still having real capacity for playing with political and social ideas.

Obviously, you want to trust your group enough that anyone at the table who starts going unpleasantly relativist OOC about, say, slavery is going to be set straight immediately. But playing ' flawed but impressive culture heroes from fantasy Greece' or 'from fantasy Mali' makes for interesting stories that engage with trying to transform societies (on the Solar end of the story scale) or deal with your own assumptions and coming into conflict with the cultural world that raised you (on the Dragon-Blooded end of the scale).

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.

Or maybe it's just all a bunch of rear end, and there's a good reason to keep your games grounded.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Speleothing posted:

Or maybe it's just all a bunch of rear end, and there's a good reason to keep your games grounded.

Define 'grounded'?

e: To be clear I'm not claiming Exalted makes its players good anthropologists, or is a masterpiece of literature or anything. I just think it has pretty solid thematic constructs for exploring the idea of a culture hero as a character in more modern styles of story, which is cool, and also is great for high-drama martial arts high fantasy. It also has a sufficiently rich setting that it can actually serve as a springboard for the kinds of things I'm interested in, unlike either PBTA-style build-as-you-go settings or classic Generic Fantasy settings like Pathfinder's. Having a pre-existing body of a setting means I can style on that and extend it, rather than having to do groundwork and get the players invested in the setting I'm writing from the ground up; I've done that but it's so much more work for the same payoff as expanding on a decently written setting.

Joe Slowboat fucked around with this message at 04:03 on Jun 20, 2019

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 9- "Oh, and to steal a line from an old television show, 'there are a million stories in the naked city.'"

City of Tolkeen

Only 800+ pages into this event, and we're finally visiting the Tolkeen being sieged. So, though the splendor has emphasized, we're reminded we're at warrr and so we'll have notes how things have changed. Also, we're reminded Tolkeen has become hateful and corrupt, in case you missed that pan being banged for the past five books. There's about 1.3 million people, most of them humans and D-Bees. Wizards are fairly common, with about 1 in 5 people being a practitioner of magic, and 1 in 10 being a "psychic" of undetermined level (presumably master).

We're told it's "like something out of a book of fairy-tales", a common phrase of Siembieda's when describing any magical locale that isn't soaked in blood. Stone elementals and magic have created buildings taller than even the skyscrapers before the rifts, and is thoroughly modernized. Many of the tall buildings have roosts for creatures like dragons and gargoyles. During most of the war, it remains untouched, and only at the end is it truly ravaged. However, refugees are a growing issue throughout the conflict. Much of the city is built on the presumption that the "Triangle Defense System" will hold, and isn't built for a major siege - it has walls, but nothing designed for a Coalition invasion. When Holmes' forces knock it down, there won't be a lot holding the Coalition back.


Welcome back to the magical land of Reusedartia!

The city has a lot of features that merge both technology and magic. The Techno-Wizard Mass Transit System was created by diverting ley line energy into "roads" that can accommodate ley-line powered vehicles. The Techno-Wizard Teleport Stations are a form of local teleportation around major locations in the city. The Techno-Wizard Power Grid converts magical energy into electrical power and lighting. The attack renders all of these downed in some areas or unreliable, with municipal transportation often warping space or teleporting people to unpredictable locates - when they're up, anyway. Bio-Domes are made to house alien environments for D-Bees and supernatural creatures.

Almost needless to say, Tolkeen has all the sorts of goods and services a working adventurer might be interested in. Black market Coalition goods become plentiful as time goes on, but Techno-Wizard items grow in demand and price as Tolkeen claims most of them for the war effort, promising to pay the owners after the war is over. Oddly, though, fortune telling is banned by the King to prevent doomsaying. Uncoincidentally, a lot of psychics leave the city weeks before the new invasion. The loss of local trade partners means a lot of the goods coming in start being from shady manufacturers out West, often brought in the hands of exploitative merchants that jack up the price.

"The Law" is overcome by the refugee crisis, establishing tent cities but crime skyrockets out of desperation at the hands of both refugees and locals. This leaves this open to bonus tragedy since Tolkeen never built bunkers or shelters, since some Coalition bombs just drop on unprotected refugees once the shields are down. Medical facilities and magic healers are entirely overwhelmed, as are firefighters- though the latter are specifically targeted and attacked by Coalition soldiers. Bodies pile up by the tens of thousands and entities, banshees, and ghouls start being attracted by mountains of the dead.

The fact that Tolkeen isn't ready for this is underlined with red ink:

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

They don't believe Tolkeen or Freehold will fall, but they anticipate a measured battle, losses and months of conflict before the CS gives up.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

They never envisioned their cities actually falling under the gun. It was a miscalculation that would spell their end.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Like so many tragedies, had any number of things been done differently, lives would have been saved.

If only the player characters could have changed things! But that was clearly impossible. :ssh:

Next: Tolkeen by the numbers.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Alien Rope Burn posted:

If only the player characters could have changed things! But that was clearly impossible. :ssh:
Clearly that's why we didn't get any information on Tolkeen itself until it's too late.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




"The measures Tolkeen has taken to fight the Coalition has warped them, made them just as bad as their foe," Kevin writes, in the same section that describes Coalition ships dropping bombs on unprotected refugee camps.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Don't forget intentionally targeting medics and first responders to ensure the humanitarian crisis and slaughter is as bad as possible.

Truly, Tolkeen was deeply wrong to fight Our Boys In Black, eh, Kev? That will show them!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Fangs at the Gate: Squirrelfriend

Swift Wayward Whisper is of the Kaiyet, a group of nomads in the Peran Valley. She is a Lunar who is Silver Pact but works with no shahan-ya, instead serving as a courier and spy who will cooperate with any Pact Lunar that needs help. She has been all over Creation in service to the Pact’s war, though she heads home as often as she can – which may be seasons or years between visits. She loves her family, and they accept her new self, both Lunar and a woman, though they grow further from her wider world each day she spends away fighting Immaculates or hunting arcane secrets. Whisper is a very moral Lunar, though her impatience often gets her into trouble. She will step in to intervene in any injustice she sees, from ending wrongful imprisonment to humiliating nobles or monks that seem too arrogant to burning tax records, but this can often have unforeseen consequences. When an angry noble raises taxes to make up for lost revenue or a satrap sends in soldiers to suppress rebels, Whisper stays with the people to defend them and champion them, even if it means she has to call in favors from her elders. Whisper is a tall woman, bigger than her sisters, and less diplomatic. She has angular features and long hair, tending to dress in airy fabric that lets it blow around her face in the breeze. She collects clothing from the lands she visits, to better blend in and also to better embrace her nature as a woman despite her male upbringing.

Swift Wayward Whisper is a Changing Moon, Essence 2, with a gray squirrel spirit shape. Her Tell is that her shadow moves on its own. She’s moderately tough for a young Lunar, good at survival and knowing folklore or using social influence, but less so at reading people or sneaking around. She wields a whip and a longbow, neither magical, and has no real artifacts at all. She has a diverse but small number of animal shapes, most notably an Eastern grizzly bear, a snowy owl and a black mamba. She has a small handful of human shapes from societies across Creation. She has a Defining Principle of “I can’t do nothing in the face of injustice,” a Defining Principle of “I want to see new places and meet new people,” a Major Tie of devotion to the Silver Pact, a Major Tie of opposition to the Realm, and a Major Tie of love to her blood kin.

Vanamaithri Mirror-Soul was born in the early Second Age in the East. The village elders predicted that they would lead a life devoted to balance and harmony, and they grew up as a mediator, honored for wisdom and for being neither male nor female. Devoted to living up to their birth prediction, Vanamaithri attempted to be calm and to have compassion for all life, repressing anger and all negative emotion. Exaltation ended this. The Essence fever clashed with their calm manner, demanding them to speak their rage, and so Vanamaithri fled their home, afraid of their new rage and seeking answers in the Silver Pact. Under their shahan-ya, they fought across the Southeast, combating the Realm and becoming a legend, whispered of in fear by Imperial garrisons and Wyld Hunts alike. This violence served the Pact well, but it did not make Vanamaithri feel very good. One night, in a moment of clarity, they found themselves sickened by the scent of blood on their hands.

Vanamaithri followed rumors that led them to Skandhar-Bhal, where they sought Luna’s guidance. After years of meditation, prayer and training with the valley monks, they devoted themselves to peace and forswore the rage and violence that had defined their Exalted life. They became once more a mediator and a teacher, taking on the name Mirror-Soul. Now, Vanamaithri prefers to wear their true human shape most, a thin and androgynous one with brown skin and long, straight hair. They prefer loose robes in natural colors and a minimal amount of silver jewelry. They also often show off their moonsilver tattoos, leaving their back and left arm bare.

Vanamaithri Mirror-Soul is a Full Moon, Essence 4, with a giant tortoise spirit shape. Their Tell is two missing fingers on the left hand. They’re exceptionally tough and strong, a skilled commander and good theologian who is talented at reading people, but only passingly good at social influence or strategy. They’re an excellent unarmed fighter who forgoes artifacts entirely, favoring use of Crane Style martial arts. They are typically accompanied by monks of the Order of the Moon-That-Fell and possibly a god or two from the valley. They have a small library of mountainous animal shapes that they use regularly, plus others from the East and Southeast that rarely see use. They don’t often use other human shapes these days, though they have many from their youth. Varamaithri has a Defining Principle of “Teach and protect all who ask for guidance,” a Defining Principle of “I seek enlightenment in balance and harmony,” a Defining Tie of selfless devotion to Skandhar-Bhal, a Major Principle of “I will not become a monster again,” a Major Tie of reverent gratitude to Luna, a Major Tie of brotherhood to the Silver Pact and a Minor Tie of grief to the Realm.

From here, we now get a bunch more animal writeups! Badger covers all kinds of badger species. They dig, they live in underground warrens solo or in groups of up to 15, and they mostly eat earthworms, insects or the eggs of ground-nesting birds, but will eat fruit, mushrooms, roots, dead bodies and small animals if given the chance. Some even eat venomous snakes. Badgers sometimes live and hunt alongside foxes, coyotes or raccoon dogs symbiotically, and humans hunt them for meat and fur. They’re small, pretty weak, but good at digging, sniffing and hearing. They also are decent grapplers for their size.

Beetles and Cockroaches come in thousands of varieties, if not more. They can be found practically anywhere except the oceans and the farthest North. Some are hated as vermin, while others like rhino beetles are trained by Dynasts to wrestle each other. Many of them, though not all, can fly. They’re Minuscule, so they’re extremely weak except against other Minuscule creatures, against whom they can deal a lot of damage. (But not take it.) They are pretty sneaky, though!

Butterflies and Moths are migratory insects that travel to avoid the cold, sometimes thousands of miles each year. Besides color and migration patterns, the main difference between them is that butterflies are mostly diurnal while moths are mostly nocturnal. They live in many different places, pretty much anywhere flowers can grow. They’re acrobatic and sneaky, but exceptionally weak. However, they can learn a magical ability as a familiar to shed beautiful, sleep-causing scales as a Decisive attack that cannot deal damage but causes a mild poison. Also they’re very good at hiding, even for Minuscule beings.

Crabs can be found throughout the West and in much of the water of other directions. Most walk along the ocean floor, gathering algae and other vegetation, catching fish, cracking open shellfish and fighting with their claws. Some work in family groups against larger threats. Oceanic crabs can reach immense sizes, with some growing more than twelve feet long. Crabs are generally not super tough, though, even the big ones. They’re sneaky, decent grapplers who do pretty good grapple damage, and can range from Minuscle or Tiny to normal human size. The bigger ones have pretty nasty claw damage and are somewhat tougher, but not much.

Elk and Deer (and related cervids, such as caribou) can be found in the woods of the North, East and the Blessed Isle. They run from a quarter to a half ton at full size, and they’re valuable game animals as a result. A few cultures have also domesticated them to carry heavy things. Elk especially tend to travel in herds with a rigid hierarchy based on dominance. Male elk and all caribou have antlers most of the year, using them to fight predators and each other in dominance challenges. They’re pretty tough, fast, and pretty mobile. Their antlers hit hard, especially against slower foes, and their kicks can knock people over after a rush, allowing them to trample people. They can be trained to grab and throw people with their antlers. They’re also pretty good at smelling things and at running away, and can be trained to get a bonus on rushes. Moose use a similar statline but are slower, significantly tougher and deal even more damage. A moose can shrug off some sword blows.

Next time: Frogs, Hippos, Great Stoats, Iron-Skull Devils, Jellyfish and More

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Several questions come up.

One, does the book really assume you don't know what a badger/deer is.

Two, how/why does a system that already has to deal with several gradations of God King power level (and maybe the mortals they lord over) have stats for beetles.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Night10194 posted:

Several questions come up.

One, does the book really assume you don't know what a badger/deer is.

Two, how/why does a system that already has to deal with several gradations of God King power level (and maybe the mortals they lord over) have stats for beetles.

No, it assumes you want stats for them.

Why do you need stats for beetles?

Because your Lunar is going to turn into one and sneak past the guards. It is actually relevant in that the capability to turn into beetles is known, and therefore you may need to get past the Dynast's trained vermin-hunting alarm cat.

e: that said, your Lunar that turns into a beetle keeps their own healthbar, so you almost certainly survive the cat ambush and now the Dynasts guards are showing up and you're a beetle that is somehow tanking everything the cat is throwing at it.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 12:32 on Jun 20, 2019

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