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[Exalted] the Realm is here!

Blackwingedheaven

Crystal Human
Validated User
Yeah but that wouldn't affect telescopes.
Well, it would, but just at the amplification distance for the telescope times the draw distance of the human eye. And that doesn't even account for atmospheric distortion, pollutants, and obstacles. With a high enough vantage point and an arbitrarily good telescope, you could theoretically see for hundreds of miles on a clear day in Creation, but the practical limit would be based on things like air temperature and humidity, pollen counts, and the smoke and soot from habitations.
 

Blaque

Evil Neko
Validated User
Do note, the horizon is basically going to be where you think it'll be on Earth. This isn't just to human ability to see that far, but the horizon just kind of does that mathematically on a plane to my understanding.

Spiffy article on the topic here, though keep in mind that it also discusses issues of gravity and an infinitely flat plane, which we don't need to worry about since 1) Light and gravity don't need to wokr like on Earth and 2) Creation isn't big enough for this to be significant.

People with telescopes in Creation probably can see a while, barring issues of the fact that air is probably not transparent and the horizon might be obscurred wht literally anything else in the way after a point if you are on the ground.
 

Stephen Lea Sheppard

Be seeing you
Staff member
Moderator
RPGnet Member
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Yeah, all the various “realistic” factors that disprove the assertion that, “realistically” you ought to be able to see infinitely far in Crestion can be sort of fuzzed together and, helpfully, they end up averaging out to “It works pretty much like it does on Earth, barring weird edge cases that we don’t want to go into the detail of codifying.”

Convenient, that.
 

Blaque

Evil Neko
Validated User
Yeah, all the various “realistic” factors that disprove the assertion that, “realistically” you ought to be able to see infinitely far in Crestion can be sort of fuzzed together and, helpfully, they end up averaging out to “It works pretty much like it does on Earth, barring weird edge cases that we don’t want to go into the detail of codifying.”

Convenient, that.
Yeah. "What about the horizon?" is one of those weird things where folks I htink just over-think what's going on, and come to conclusions that are based on good intuition but kind of miss a few parts you need to dig deeper on.
 

Evil Midnight Lurker

What Lurks at Midnight
Validated User
The only edge case I'm interested in is the one where faraway things should "fade into view in the azure distance" rather than "rear up over the horizon," and I'm not saying this because of desire for scientific consistency or any attempt at powergaming line of sight, but because it is entertainingly weird, and in a world where the East gradually turns into a forest of impossibly vast trees with no apparent forest floor or canopy, this seems a strange place to decide to enforce mundanity. 🤨
 

Patkin

ougikawa
Validated User
While I know the discussion isn't quite there yet on the subject of basic geography and tourism, I am very nervous to see if anything was done with Nishimo this edition, because its position as this crime-infested city on the brink of societal death, was always a little integral to a particular Dragon-Blooded OC I had.
 

see

Registered User
Validated User
While I know the discussion isn't quite there yet on the subject of basic geography and tourism, I am very nervous to see if anything was done with Nishimo this edition, because its position as this crime-infested city on the brink of societal death, was always a little integral to a particular Dragon-Blooded OC I had.
A search of the PDF for "Nishimo" doesn't turn up anything. Arjuf and Tuchara get sections in the Arjuf Dominion, but not Nishimo.
 

Patkin

ougikawa
Validated User
That... may honestly be the best thing I could've hoped for, means I can do whatever I want with it now. Arjuf Dominion's Gotham, here I come.
 

Isator Levie

Registered User
Validated User
So, the subject of pets and similar animals is just given a sidebar this time around. It’s adding a few touches of the exotic and fantastical throughout, such as the idea of snakes as common for pets and disposal of vermin. Giant wolf spiders as guard animals has been a notion that I had, although I would often have pictured them being exclusive to Dynasts, while I’m curious about the use of llamas in that capacity; swans are self-explanatory of course. :) The kinds of exotic pets that actually are kept by the Dragon Blooded make me think about the likely extreme additions to their houses that would be needed to accommodate them, the hippopotamus in particular.

Not much to say about the cuisine, the foodstuffs at each level seem fairly standard. I’ve always liked how Dynasts have a fondness for things like curries, and I find the range of meats to effectively convey their significant disparity in wealth (that alone seems like something that would compel many patricians to get invited to feasts), and the inclusion of distilled spirits adds a touch of the anachronistic as a further illustration of those privileges. No, the bigger thing is not what the people eat, but how; the contrast between how people even up to the patricians eat communally to reinforce the closeness of their families with the greater reservation of Dynasts. The idea that a lot of these people eat alone in their private rooms, it conveys a certain loneliness to me that I find compelling, at the same time as being another instance of them appearing to drop some of the ostentations of real life aristocracies. The premise of Dynastic parents using dining with their children as the process for inspecting them sounds like it could make for some very tense scenes, and I’m interested in the idea that among the things they gather to dine for are honouring servants. Finally there’s the matter of commercial food industries, which I think both benefits clarifying on some of the differences of modern day businesses (particularly the idea that inns for travellers are places where you eat what’s made available, rather than having a custom choice) and that urban life often relies on the local equivalent of fast food.

Temples seem a lot more reserved than in prior Editions (where there was talk of large cities being home to thousands of them), and I personally need to remind myself that they wouldn’t be distributed in the manner of something like Christian churches servicing parishes of a few hundred or thousand people for weekly congregations. It gives me the impression of the temples as more distant, impressive structures, held apart from regular life. The description of how the wealthy might fund higher quality shrines in the occasional village is a nice way of giving them a sense of presence in areas where they’re unlikely to be personally present ever.

It’s a good idea to make a point of how the existence of the actual supernatural informs spirituality and folk beliefs, for people who can’t quite be sure what to attribute to the powers of spirit or Exalt. I like the idea that folk heresies for the Immaculate Philosophy can be focused on distinctive landscape features and memorable unlikely events, and the basis for their numerology sounds clever; I especially like the way that it works in associating the number four with death and discord. I also think that it makes good use out of the traditional idea that ghosts have had little actual presence on the Isle to actually create more elaborate details, rather than write it off in a straightforward manner, especially the way that this is tied in to some of the greater historical presence of Great House founders. It seems like a slightly missed opportunity to not have a reference to ideas about the Lunars here, but introducing awareness of the Mountain Folk by way of changeling myths makes up for it a bit. I’m also finding this to make a good contribution to a sense of some cultural diversity across the Isle, by attributing particular folk beliefs to specific zones.

Ah yes, the developers had said about the Immaculate perspective on mortal thaumaturgy and sorcery, how it’s frowned upon but acceptable if properly trained and employed well (especially in the service of authorities). I’m not sure what it is, but I like something in the wording used to describe that process, although it gets a lot juicier with the ideas of how more malevolent powers are perceived, utilised and punished. I particularly like how that includes those who don’t have intrinsic powers, but have made bargains with ghosts and gods to harm their enemies. Same goes with the idea of charlatans and how they’re particularly liable to claim congress with the ghosts of treacherous fallen Houses to give credibility to their offers. And I’m glad that it devotes some attention to the existence of folk magics employed by the populace at large without direct invocation of supernatural power, since it makes the people more real with acknowledgement of culture separate from such things. This is the kind of thing that made me glad for the shift away from Second Editon thaumaturgy.

The representation of the Black-Helms makes them look very distinct and outstanding in a way that I can imagine makes law enforcement a very visible presence on the Blessed Isle. Heh, I was actually wondering if such dress might impose a particular burdensome expense on the state, so it’s nice that the question is actually addressed in their description, with how such a thing is reserved for the prefectures that can afford it, and otherwise you just get the headgear, belt and buckle and sword, and anything else needs to be purchased individually. It’s interesting to me that it operates as a police force sufficient to actually investigate crimes, possibly even in a preventative manner, although something in the description of them collecting rumours leaves me thinking that in a lot of cases the investigations aren’t precisely rigorous. It gives me an impression that the investigative quality of the Guardians is slightly more focused on presenting the image of the Empress’ justice rooting out criminals, rather than being too concerned with the accuracy of it.

That description of how rural Guardians are appointed in pairs gives me a picture of a lot of misfit duos in the backwater. Also like the way it sets up Guardians as possible forces for magistrates to requisition at need. That the Imperial Force is not only appointed by the Greater Chamber of the Deliberative, but is now described as answerable only to them, gives me an impression that for all of the prestige of being appointed to them they might ultimately wind up as more of a token force (barring Dynast crimes that are harmful to the interests of the state and Empress in particular); this is reinforced a bit by describing Dynasts as generally only lightly touched by the law. The image that I’m getting is that the Imperial Force isn’t exactly there to enforce the law on Dynasts as it is to collate reports passed along by witnessing Guardians, and then deployed to detain such Dynasts in the event that Empress or Deliberative has some political gain from actually prosecuting. Otherwise, it doesn’t quite seem to be open season, but I suspect that Dynasts who never give the authorities reason to dislike them and keep an appropriate level of discretion can get away with a fair amount. Still, that idea that even when a Dynast does something extreme enough to oblige the Black-Helms to step in they’re required to be supremely deferential amuses me a bit.

Ohh dear, my initial read on the title of one of those sidebars was that “Shun” was actually the name of a lawyer that we were being given an anecdote about. So, the Realm does not permit the inclusion of trained legal professionals in judicial proceedings? Not even for civil matters? That’s very curious; even Medieval Europe had lawyers. For criminal law, this would be another thing that would make me think that the concern of the Realm is the appearance of speedily detaining and convicting a plausible subject of the crime rather than being overly concerned with actually getting the correct person (with due process perhaps being close to a foreign concept). Not quite sure what to make of excluding advocates from civil proceedings; it would seem to stack the deck heavily against the citizenry on either side of any given case, and place enormous power in the hands of the judges. The sidebar on exile looks mostly tailored for creating interesting backstories to Dynasts abroad from the Blessed Isle, and the particularly fun scenario of their children born after the fact being transported back to participate in Dynastic life.

I’ve got to say, on the whole law and order in the Realm seems like the kind of thing that a majority of people would want to avoid participating in if they can manage it. One thing I’m curious about is how, for all the mention of the power of Guardians to hand out summary punishments, what the substance of those punishments might be. This would seem like the place to put them, but I’ll reserve full judgement until I see the section detailing the Imperial judges themselves.

Putting criminal activity on the Blessed Isle into perspective is a good move, as well as how it provides ideas for what the operations of such groups might be. I like the way that the loss of the Merchant Fleet’s revenues has made one of the fleets of the so heavily lauded House Peleps to become a lot more amenable to accepting bribes to permit contraband to sneak past them. It’s nice to utilise the point of the Isle still having unexplored and exploited locales here for the sake of adding a form of criminal activity unique to the setting, as well as the sense that it can be a particular way for the lower classes to reap enormous profit if they’re daring or clever enough; it ties into my thoughts of long abandoned Dynast homes, and how these might have been subject to the occasional scavengers rooting around in the hopes of finding something valuable and powerful left behind, while needing to evade the authorities. And it all adds effectively to the point that the modern Realm is beginning to break down as greater taxation pressure and more lax enforcement leave much criminal activity with room to expand.

For the example criminal organisations, I wonder if the association with certain Great Houses is meant to be a more recent development, or inform the lax attitude that Dynasts generally have towards the law; perhaps a layer of separation that can be employed to make it harder for the Empress or Deliberative to have effective pretences against them. Perhaps it simply varies; a group like the Jade Hand mostly operating in its own right but finding itself benefiting from the assistance of some Great Houses who see the value of such a group existing in the overall weave of their elaborate schemes, where something like the Shansin Six essentially operates as a branch of a House’s operations (while probably still making its own decisions on a few of its sidelines). It’s enough to make me think that crime syndicates are more than just groups established and run by the Great Houses, even if the power of those groups pervades enough that it can be hard to avoid not being under some level of their influence. As for the Gallows Dogs, I enjoy the descriptions of some of the people they have on hand to carry out hits on the Exalted, such as an Iselsi scion (natural place for one to end up) and Exigent.

Okay, after all of that heavy subject matter, I’ll be happy to wind it down a bit with what the people do for fun… which, like the clothing, is going to appropriately challenge the level of my vocabulary… oh, it’s a ring toss game. It would appear to me that the preference among most classes is for straightforward games that employ easily acquired or no equipment, while the upper classes go for ones that require items of particular expense and expertise, such as weapons and land vehicles. I’d suppose that this might be a factor in why ball games tend to be transitional (perhaps in addition to not quite having a climate to support any given one in the long term). Really, it’s interesting on the whole to present some games as having passed out of fashion or newly starting to come into it; attributing card games as something being newly taken up by the upper classes lends a mild veneer of, I’d say somewhere around 17th or 18th century European aristocracy. Also good to make a point about various board games being popular among the peasantry (I find the name “hunt-the -Anathema” to be particularly amusing), as a contrast to the inclusion of animal and human blood sports; gladiatorial fights are an unexpected inclusion, but I’d say they help contribute to some of the underlying brutality of the Realm, even if they probably end up more like how the worked in real life than the lurid popular perception of them. And I like the Immaculate Order’s nuanced views on sports gambling (at the same time as their reservation is of the classist “it’s a way for the poors to get more money than they deserve” rather than the consequences it can have for destroying people). Nothing to say on the sidebar for playing cards beyond appreciating them giving a visual guideline that places them in the setting’s context.

All right, laying out clearly that the Blessed Isle makes use of printing and has a literary industry; I’d been wondering if books might be a good that they can produce for export. In the Time of Tumult, can probably provide a means of spreading subversive ideas through the distribution of subversive tracts. I think the plays and storytelling are fairly standard (although its good to have a reminder of them across class lines), but the paragraph on music does a nice job of giving a sense of its form and variety, as well as some of the terminology employed in character and locations in which to find such; the Jade Cockerel genre in particular intrigues me, while I’m wondering if Eight Winds might be regarded as a sort of uncouth form. While Dynasts maintaining privately and lavishly housed collections of artwork and various curiosities (or looted treasures) is something that I both expected and can readily picture, having visited assemblies of such places in some old English manors relatively recently. More unexpected would be the sense that Immaculate assemblies of relics and religious artwork would probably be the closest equivalent to a public museum, although it makes sense and can probably be very attractive and edifying to people in the setting.

Hmm, travel looks like a particularly invested topic, I’ll save that for a bit later.
 

see

Registered User
Validated User
So, the Realm does not permit the inclusion of trained legal professionals in judicial proceedings? Not even for civil matters? That’s very curious; even Medieval Europe had lawyers.
Medieval Europe did. Imperial China, on the other hand, explicitly outlawed private practice of law, considering practitioners (to quote Legal Systems Very Different from Ours, by David Friedman) "troublemakers out to stir up unnecessary conflict". If you wanted legal advice, you were supposed to go to the magistrate. (Imperial China also, officially at least, didn't have a civil/criminal distinction.)

I’ve got to say, on the whole law and order in the Realm seems like the kind of thing that a majority of people would want to avoid participating in if they can manage it.
That's also something it has in common with Imperial Chinese law, at least according to Friedman.
 
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