Posts by: Stephen Lea Sheppard

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[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
Mizu005 wrote:
Apparently I could have saved myself some time double checking to confirm that Raksi's joints are a mutation and not a Tell for all the attention people payed emotion-4.gif


But, seriously, her wrists are not a Tell. Stop trying to figure out how they managed to shoehorn it in as a Tell, because they didn't!





I addressed that. I called the author who decided to make her 1e Tell into a Wyld mutation in 2e too clever by half and dismissed the decision as unworthy.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
Fanservice wrote:
Stephenls wrote:

Now, obviously, we are not doing this. But, yes, I think a big part of the appeal of cannibalism-only Lunars is it puts constraints on the characters you can play that you may not be entirely comfortable with.


Conversely I think this is a big part of why they don't appeal to me. I don't really want to play a Cannibal every time I play a Lunar. It's a story which might be good once or twice and doesn't go away even if you have alternate methods but having to go through it for every single Lunar I make? Tedious.

Well, you could always play a Lunar who refrains from stealing faces, yeah. It's a thing! And almost anything you can accomplish by stealing faces you can accomplish through supernaturally-apt disguises, trickery and misdirection, charisma, and manipulation. Almost.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
Krzyzewski Man wrote:
I absolutely agree with the idea that you should have powers that require a moral sacrifice. Lunar disguise is a strange place to be putting this, esp. since Changing Moon can effectively do this just for living. Lunars have Charms that allow them necromantic potency. The horror of crossing the line between life and death, I think, can be an interesting wage of power.


You can't disguise yourself as a dog and infiltrate through the kennels? You can't escape pursues by taking the form of a sparrow? You can't watch a conversation as a spider on the wall, or just use your amazing charisma to seduce a servant-boy and have him smuggle you in?

Fuck, put on some makeup. Wear an outfit that lets you cover your face. You can use dice-adders to apply your disguise, you know.

...or you could take someone's face. It'd be easy to do!

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
Here's why I like limiting taking human forms to cannibalism: it makes stealing faces A Thing.

Like, as a Lunar, you can pretty much take any form you want. Fly as a bird? Sure. Swim like a fish? Yup. Eyes of the raptor, strength of the mammoth, speed of the cheetah. Infiltrate anywhere as a mouse. Transform into a terrifying beastmen amalgam of yourself and your spirit shape and then on top of that temporarily grow wings for flight or gills for water-breathing? Absolutely. Fuck, learn to become "Yourself, except of another gender?" Okay.

You can systemize it so that all those things are impressive mechanically. Obviously neither 1e nor 2e did, but you could.

Take someone's face, though... Well. That's easy, too. And it's so useful!

But it's a big step. It's a major decision, for a young Lunar, whether to do... that... or whether to put it off. Some Lunar elders maybe don't talk about it much. Others, maybe, laugh and call you naive if you insist it's as big a deal as it seems. And, ironically, it places a weird barrier in Lunar competence, because taking other human forms is not a thing that's terribly useful if you don't care to interact with society so much... but if you take that step, all of a sudden you've separated yourself from human society in order to be able to move more effectively within it. You can be the perfect social predator but in order to do it you need to become a social predator. It makes a solid and irrefutable statement about the way Luna expects her Chosen to relate to the world.

Also, what does it do to the experience of meeting a Lunar as an NPC, forming an opinion about him based on how he acts and how he reacts to you, and then later, meeting someone else and realizing the new person you just met is the same Lunar, wearing a different face?

All that goes away if you can just tell yourself "Enh, he probably has the sex knack."

Keep in mind I also like Shun The Smiling Lady for Sidereals—specifically I like having it at the base of the Socialize cascade where players need to buy it to progress, and then it sits their on their character sheet saying "You spent XP on me, are you just going to let me go to waste?"

...

Now, obviously, we are not doing this. But, yes, I think a big part of the appeal of cannibalism-only Lunars is it puts constraints on the characters you can play that you may not be entirely comfortable with.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
Hmm. Maybe we do need to cut the baby-eating. Not because it's in bad taste, but because people get hung up on it. I think that was always meant to be, like, a casual example of the sort of shit she gets up to, and not the defining example.

</half-facetious>

Anyway. I don't know if I buy into Raksi being secrently a philanthropic hero whose heroic and world-bettering actions should be tested against her cannibalism. That's not generally how these things work.

She's an awful person and a man-eating shapechanging monster from the depths of oh-my-god, and she acts as an irreplaceable storehouse of amazing magical knowledge and also a stabilizing regional power. Her death would both represent an incredible loss of knowledge and also kick off a huge regional struggle for the resources she guarded, resulting in much death and tragedy for the surrounding peoples.

Leaving aside the fact that she's not going to die quietly and that she's had since the COntagion to weave sorcerous defenses into Mahalanka -- God knows what fell powers will be freed upon her death -- the choice of whether to leave her alone or confront her for her crimes is the choice between continuing the broken legacy of the First Age or turning your face from it and trying to make something worthwhile from scratch, which sounds great until you consider all pain that entails, not just for you but for people who have no input on your decisions but who will nevertheless suffer for them no matter what you choose.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
Isator Levi wrote:
* Seriously, there's no "a"?


I think my birth certificate does actually say Stephan Lea Sheppard on it, but my parents, after giving me the most difficult-to-spell-and-pronounce set of three names they could reasonably find, then proceeded to sign me up for every school program, bank account, medical insurance form, and every other bit of government and corporate paperwork they could find under the name "Stephen Lea Sheppard."

Well, when they weren't just signing me up as "Lea Sheppard."

Don't get me started on my name.

EDIT: Nope, just checked. It's Stephen on the birth certificate, too. So that's one less point of confusion, I guess. Why did I think that? I'm sure I've seen my name spelled Stephan on some exceedingly official and important piece of paperwork or other that'll inevitably come back to bite me in the ass later....

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
Dayen wrote:
Stephenls wrote:
You think maybe Exalted: The Lunars gave Lunars a Charm that would let them assume human forms, and did not give them a Charm that would let them take new forms without eating the target, and then put in an important elder who's a cannibal, all by accident?

Hanlon's razor.


Or they really are meant to be cannibals.

I mean, it fits. 1e Exalted was all about that. Remember Geoff's big rant about demon-summoning being powerful so that when you decide that there's great power to be had in bargaining with the infernal but that power is not for you, it's a genuine and meaningful sacrifice of capability and not just some shit you say to sound nice?

In 1e, if you were a Lunar and wanted to be able to take other human forms and weren't a changing moon with access to the changing moon anima, your options were 1) cannibalism, or 2) there is no option two. And so you had Lunars who didn't take other human forms, and Lunars who found it distasteful but too useful to entirely pass up, and on the extreme end you had Lunars who reveled in it, like Raksi.

Y'all are lucky I'm not in charge, I seriously would remove all non-cannibalism ways of acquiring alternate human forms in 3e.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
You think maybe Exalted: The Lunars gave Lunars a Charm that would let them assume human forms, and did not give them a Charm that would let them take new forms without eating the target, and then put in an important elder who's a cannibal, all by accident?

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/12/2013
Fanservice wrote:
Stephenls wrote:
You know, the baby-eating is in many ways not nearly so disturbing as her habit of regularly eating her lovers so she can take their forms with her next set of lovers.


When the baby eating is the least disturbing part of the character it may be time to admit they're cartoonishly evil.


Distaste for Internet vore fetishists aside, female monsters with eroticized cannibalistic eating habits are basically as old as myth, and certainly applicable to the general myth pool Lunars draw from.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/12/2013
I'm reasonably certain her backwards hands are expressed as a mutation in 2e because someone went "Hurf durf never mind that rakshasa have backwards-bending hands as their Tell and the rakshasa are one of the reasons why Lunars in Exalted have Tells at all, Tells in Creation have to be animal features, and therefore her backwards-bending hands must be a mutation and her Tell must be something else!" This person probably thought he was being very clever!

However, what he was actually being was too clever by half. It's dumb. I'm throwing "Raksi's backwards-bending hands are a mutation and not her Tell" in with "Raksi is a two-dimensional cardboard cutout eternal twelve year old obsessed with Solar Circle Sorcery" as being stupid 2e things about Raksi that we should ignore.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/12/2013
You know, the baby-eating is in many ways not nearly so disturbing as her habit of regularly eating her lovers so she can take their forms with her next set of lovers.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/12/2013
I think it could be useful to remember, just for a moment, what Raksi is and why there's an NPC named Raksi in the books.

Raksi is a shapeshifting cannibal whose Tell is that her hands are backwards. Remind you of anything? She's is The Rakshasa, the Hindu shapeshifting cannibal trickster-demon who can assume any form, but who can always be recognized because its hands are backwards, which is why it compulsively hides them behind its back when interacting with people. You may recognize them from D&D, where they all have tiger-heads, but in actual Hindu mythology they're not tied to that form at all.

Note that Raksi was named Raksi, and very clearly fulfilled the archetype of The Rakshasa, about two years before the Fair Folk got renamed the raksha.

This places certain boundary conditions on what anyone can or should want to do with Raksi. For example, she needs to stay a cannibal. She also needs to keep her backwards-hands Tell, which is tricky inasmuch as the Tell is supposed to be an animal feature, but really the problem there is the idea that the Tell needs to be an animal feature, since Raksi's Tell is drawn directly from the mythology surrounding her archetype.

So the question is not so much "Should Raksi remain a cannibal in 3e?" The answer to that one is "What are you, dense? What would be the point of even keeping her at all if we got rid of the cannibalism?" The question is "How can we keep Raksi herself, i.e. in fullfillment of her own archetype, while making her a deep, interesting, and useful enough character to not be a fucking waste of wordcount?"

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/12/2013
Anaximander wrote:
So..... Raksi. Still lounging about eating babies? Or is there no change to the iconic Lunars like her and Ma-Ha-Suchi?


Still lounging about eating babies, but for slightly better reasons.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/12/2013
Fanservice wrote:
And don't forget it wasn't just Twilight Caste who can build shit. Other Castes can all Favour craft if they like throwing their XP down a big hole.


Keep in mind that Tony was scavenging batteries for selenium and using old POS desktop computers for microprocessors. He had a power grid. The people outside his cave had crates and crates and crates of high tech munitions to turn into scrap and pass to him. Hell, the Mark 1 had to go through a full boot sequence before it could be used.

Now drop him into the Middle Ages.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/8/2013
1) Meerkat Steals the Spotlight Prana is an old joke about a Charm the Lunars have that let them make any discussion on the forum be about them. Appropriate, in response to a poster who persists in seeing everything in terms of Lunars and trying to make a Sidereal thread into a discussion about Lunars!

2) Who said open war between Sidereals and Lunars?