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[Exalted] Sell/Unsell on Exalted 3e

wheloc

He's trying real hard to be one of the good guys.
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Wait, you have the DB book already? Has it been shipped? If so, I need to contact OP to see where my copy is...
Ok, no, just checked KS and not shipping until August <phew>.
So I guess you were referring to your digital bookshelf? I have plenty of games collecting dust on there too (including Exalted 3e)... :(
Sorry, you're of course right: I have a lot of dusty (physical) Exalted books, but only one of them is 3e ;)
(but yes, also metaphorically dusty digital books).
 

LordofArcana

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Being a "trickster" was always 1/3 of the Lunar Castes (and being a "witch" was always another 1/3), but that doesn't mean I felt I was a mythic trickster when I played a 1st edition Changing Moon Caste.
I've said it before, I feel like Changing Moons are the shamans and No Moons the tricksters.

Shamans need to be able to defuse conflicts between groups that barely understand each other, that takes amazing social skills. Meanwhile tricksters are generally way too clever for their own good, which generally means that they are rather clever in the first place.

What's the most significant story about the No Moons? A creation myth about why Lunars have tattoos. How many creation myths are about shamans?
 

JetstreamGW

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Sorry, you're of course right: I have a lot of dusty (physical) Exalted books, but only one of them is 3e ;)
(but yes, also metaphorically dusty digital books).
Shouldn’t be too long in any case. The books are at Studio2, and the screens are en route. Per the meeting notes.

Edit: and I just got charged for my Dragon Blood addons.
 
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Isator Levie

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When I read some discussions about 3E Lunars, I get the impression that people want some theoretical, idealized version of them that feels like their 1E/2E incarnation but is actually good. Which, to be blunt, was never going to happen.
Honestly, I think the Third Edition Lunars are kind of close to those anyway. As I said at the time, if somebody still wanted to go for Thousand Streams River stuff, they have powers that can actually be good at that now.

I've said it before, I feel like Changing Moons are the shamans and No Moons the tricksters.

Shamans need to be able to defuse conflicts between groups that barely understand each other, that takes amazing social skills. Meanwhile tricksters are generally way too clever for their own good, which generally means that they are rather clever in the first place.
No Moons are more like shamans because Intelligence is where most of the intercession with spirit, healing people, and teaching through storytelling stuff is. I'm not really sure what you mean by defusing conflict between groups with poor understanding, unless you're talking about the spirit world, which... is kind of disregarding the magic that handles that directly.

It's a bit limiting to call Changing Moons tricksters because trickster themed stuff is dotted around the physical and mental Attributes as well. On the other hand, they've got the Appearance and Manipulation Charms.

Is being clever a more significant criteria for being a trickster than being good at actually tricking people?

LordsofArcana said:
What's the most significant story about the No Moons? A creation myth about why Lunars have tattoos. How many creation myths are about shamans?
How many creation myths are about tattoos?

How many myths about the discovery of some kind of essential knowledge are not about the local wise person?
 

LordofArcana

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No Moons are more like shamans because Intelligence is where most of the intercession with spirit, healing people, and teaching through storytelling stuff is. I'm not really sure what you mean by defusing conflict between groups with poor understanding, unless you're talking about the spirit world, which... is kind of disregarding the magic that handles that directly.
Yep, spirit stuff. Magic can handle that directly, but it isn't very good at it. Even for Solars the castes most likely to be able to solve a dispute between a god and the local community are the social ones. Sorcerers can force the matter but that's generally one of the worst outcomes, with the exception of the Dawn murdering whatever is causing the problem.

Speaking of medicine and teaching, those are traditionally trickster aptitudes. "Healing" isn't, but for a shaman that will generally involve getting some people/spirits in line and trying to reach some sort of harmony.

Is being clever a more significant criteria for being a trickster than being good at actually tricking people?
Yes, actually. Odin is a trickster not because he tricks people (though he does that occasionally) but rather because of his great knowledge. He's a clever bastard. Coyote is always coming up with plots, but plenty of those don't actually require tricking anyone. When he does try to trick people, he often fails.

Tricksters are about tricks, but a "trick" needn't be deceptive, its just a particular set of actions that does something desirable for reasons that aren't immediately clear.

How many myths about the discovery of some kind of essential knowledge are not about the local wise person?
Plenty of them. How about Prometheus? Monkey? Odin? Maui?
 

Isator Levie

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Magic can handle that directly, but it isn't very good at it.
I don't agree with that overall and especially not as Lunar Charms go.

Certainly, to the extent that No Moons are shamans, they're not of a generic variety, they're Divine Apex Predator brand. Look at the fiction of Shining Pearl dealing with that god.

LordofArcana said:
Sorcerers can force the matter
Solar Occult is more than sorcery.

LordofArcana said:
Speaking of medicine and teaching, those are traditionally trickster aptitudes. "Healing" isn't, but for a shaman that will generally involve getting some people/spirits in line and trying to reach some sort of harmony.
Including in actual living societies?

LordofArcana said:
Yes, actually. Odin is a trickster not because he tricks people (though he does that occasionally) but rather because of his great knowledge. He's a clever bastard. Coyote is always coming up with plots, but plenty of those don't actually require tricking anyone. When he does try to trick people, he often fails.

Tricksters are about tricks, but a "trick" needn't be deceptive, its just a particular set of actions that does something desirable for reasons that aren't immediately clear.
I find this to be a lot of pedantry unconcerned with what people are actually looking for when asking about Lunar tricksters. A response of "um, actually" rather than pointing them at the sophisticated powers Lunars now have to confuse, deceive, disseminate and misdirect.

LordofArcana said:
Plenty of them. How about Prometheus? Monkey? Odin? Maui?
I suppose that's technically correct, although it directs me back to the initial point in which your criteria for excluding No Moons from the category reads as them having created things.

Mind, I want to repeat the point that trickster elements are found throughout the Lunar Exalted. All Castes are some degree of trickster because they have Charms that do tricky things. Look at what No Moons can do with Wits, for instance.

No Moons are also shamans/witches because they'll do things popularly associated with those labels, and Changing Moons go harder for what people might want or expect of the term trickster because of the things that are done with social Attribute Charms. Not to mention the general personalities ascribed to each Caste, and the intentions behind characters choosing them.
 

Blaque

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The shaman v. trickster role thing I think was built in part with the depictions of the Castes in previous editions and not tuning their Charmsets to the ideas of the Attributes the Castes had much. I think the argument is arbitrary enough either Caste could have had either role. The thing is just that 3e stuck to it because there's momentum from previous stuff, we do tend to think of tricksters with a social element (manipulative gits they are) and shamans as wise (hene No Moon there). And it then just built the Charms to support those in a way that wasn't before. I think it works out fine myself.

I'll note that to me the big thing with 3e Lunars is less them trying to make up for 1e and 2e and just kind of went back to first principles on some things. A big problem with Lunars in 1e was that simply put, they weren't conceived as PCs origianlly and were actually linked to the Fair Folk (I think originally they were the nobility). Them being made into a playable option was something that came quite late in the game, and there wasn't a lot of time to integrate them into the timeline. And so they felt tacked-on in 1e, and 2e only got them to fit by co-optiong the existing stuff since it was allergic to adding new locations.

The back to basics bits to me were really as follows:
- Recast where the reforging of the Castes came from entirely wtih terms of agency, reasons, and what was before. The mechancial conceit of "Three Castes is easy" is still there, but the origin is still itneresting in a way. Plus shiny tattoos are neat.
- Integrate them with the setting by just having them being impactful on the tiem along. A big thing here was in 1e and 2e, there was this assumption that enough Celestials pointed at the Dragon-Blooded host, the DBs should just lose. I think 3e just presents a case where thousands of DBs did succeed at an Usurpation and could keep the pressure. This is I think a bit where making DBs more notable also gave Lunars more to work with. If the Realm is not something that just falls over with a Circle of Celestials and instead is a juggernught, the Lunar fight is much more something youc an put them in.
- I think casting the Lunar grievances as more a personal wronging, rather than this "You killed our Solar buddies!" is a subtle but important bit. The last fifteen centuries most Lunars could probably give two fucks about the Solars. They were gone, the issue was that for the Lunars they were next in line. That the vendetta is as much political as anything else to me is something oddly missing in previous editions that I think was really well done this time and breathed a lot of light into things. Divine Apex Predators who have become insurgents trying to break the world's dominant hegemony is just a good place to spring-board from.
- I think a big thing wtih both DBs and Lunars this edition have shown is that while Solars in the corebook and have a big effect on the setting, they are being played-up I notice very much of a wild card. Everyone else has a lot of their own thing to be cool for, their own momentum from history, and own conflicts as socieites, that I think is better shown in 3e with how much the books work to make them cool by themselves, not how they're cool despite not being Solars or in spite of Solars. Or really any splat. That each one is about "build your own heat" is a good move.

These are all things I think 1e and 2e missed. 1e didn't really have a place for Lunars, presented the Caste situation as a way Lunars were somehow "broken and needed fixing" (this was something note all Exalts had to some extent ), kind of didn't feel like it wanted to present the Realm as strong enough to sustain Celestial pressure, and often wrote splats as kind of "Being cool because they beat other splat in thsi way" of a mindset, a constant "They're cool but not Solars", and also having a lot of their important stuff couched in the Solar Exalted's disappearance and reemerging in the Time of Tumult.

I think this all adds up to a pretty damned compelling take on Lunars, that while being informed by the previous stuff, also was written in a way that doesn't directly refute it. It just writes what it is upfront, and assumes the reader is able to see the changes themselves. I quite like that myself.
 

Isator Levie

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A big problem with Lunars in 1e was that simply put, they weren't conceived as PCs origianlly and were actually linked to the Fair Folk (I think originally they were the nobility). Them being made into a playable option was something that came quite late in the game, and there wasn't a lot of time to integrate them into the timeline.
This is a popularly repeated point that I find to be at odds with the development history reported in the Making of Exalted book. In that, Lunars were always intended as an inclusion due to the general outline of World of Darkness callbacks and Grabowski's own interests, and the association with Fair Folk was based on trying to figure out how the latest originally fit; reportedly, an early idea for justifying Fair Folk was saying that they were degenerated Lunars, and were still going to be contrasted against normal Lunars.
 

LordofArcana

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I find this to be a lot of pedantry unconcerned with what people are actually looking for when asking about Lunar tricksters. A response of "um, actually" rather than pointing them at the sophisticated powers Lunars now have to confuse, deceive, disseminate and misdirect.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about what makes someone a trickster. "A skilled liar" certainly seems like a fitting definition, albeit a boring one, yet it is also not one that actually fits most of the definitive characters. The only trickster I know of who is actually any good at lying to people is Loki.

But then I start looking at what the other tricksters I've read about and I start seeing some very interesting characters. Coyote seems like an archetypal PC, with his oh-so-clever plans that he somehow has never actually thought through. Hermes is a great example of an intersection between engineer, criminal, and merchant. Tell me that isn't gamable! He's basically a less cursed Constantine. Or how about Odin's "I'll have all the magic"? Prometheus is the kind of guy that goes up against the social order because he cares so much about the people he sees suffering despite knowing just how much his life is going to suck because of that.

What do all these figures have in common? They radically changed the world around them through their deeds. What was one of the most common complaints about 1e and 2e Lunars in the setting? They didn't accomplish anything.

So when you are talking about "what people are actually looking for when asking about Lunar tricksters" keep in mind that this is what I'm looking for. I want my too clever by half people that have radically altered the world around them by accident in ways they never would have imagined.

3e Lunars have charms for a lot of this stuff and I'm very happy with them. But even now Lunars still haven't actually done much. Rather they just stop Sidereals from doing so. All the big permanent changes to the setting? Those were done by Sidereals, Dragon-Blooded, and Solars.

(For some reason I don't have access to the Lunar manuscript, despite being a backer that will eventually get the book so I can't look up Shining Pearl's fiction)
 

narm00

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3e Lunars have charms for a lot of this stuff and I'm very happy with them. But even now Lunars still haven't actually done much. Rather they just stop Sidereals from doing so. All the big permanent changes to the setting? Those were done by Sidereals, Dragon-Blooded, and Solars.
The problem is that inserting Lunars into those events would be 'cheap heat', borrowing the heat of those events to build their own. What Fangs does is show Lunar influence on individual societies and cultures: rulers, respected allies of the people, raising up a culture that's grown beyond them, mythic figures, warlords, guardians, cult leaders, etc.

And Silver Pact emphasis is on opposing the Dragon-Blooded successors to the Shogunate - they have a grudge against the Bronze Faction as well, but by sheer numbers, extent, and visibility, it's far more likely it's the heirs of the Shogunate the Pact clashes with.
 
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