Posts by: Stephen Lea Sheppard

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[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Drascin wrote:
Omicron wrote:
There is a vast margin between "Good Guy Splat" and "half of your powers require you to be an asshole, and if you're not an asshole you are gimping yourself," though. It doesn't have to be one or the other. Someone made a good post upthread on how requiring one or several Charm purchases to take a human shape without killing and eating someone is buying Charms, and is therefore committing a considerable amount of advancement, of power, of his character concept, to avoid being a cannibal. He's already paying the price, and it is a steep fucking price.


Pretty much. Besides, much as people like to talk about it here, there's no real big interesting moral quandaries to develop in play here. Some characters will be willing to, some will not, and that's more or less the end of the line, because it's not like Heart's Blood shapeshifting offers the kind of incredible power that would actually tempt people who aren't already pretty willing to kill people. It's not some big interesting character conundrum.


Shun the Smiling Lady doesn't provide "incredible power" either. This is not the climax of an anime where the heroes have to stop the villain doing something super-evil in order to become a god.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Tiresias wrote:
Abyssals are the Exalted of Murder. If you don't want to play a murderer, don't play an Abyssal (unless you want to deliberately gimp yourself, which can certainly be interesting to play).


Enh, that's super-narrow. I really prefer the 1e ST Companion's Exalted of Death to the 2e hardcover's Exalted of Murder.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
John and Holden are, of course, much better than me at this, and much more likely to settle on something that applies all the potential strengths of my preferred approach to something that provides, uh, broader appeal.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Okay I'll take a moment to explain why I keep bringing this sort of thing up and, indeed, why I push for it in my discussions with Holden and John about what Lunars should be like.

If you look at Sidereals, their Charm set is actually full of taboo-breaking moral quandries they have to face when using their powers. Just off the top of my head we have Shun the Smiling Lady and that pinnacle familiar Charm that turns one of your mortal friends into a lesser elemental dragon for a few hours at the cost of lobotomizing them, and cannot be used on someone who isn't a friend. Powers like that are necessary for the full Sidereal experience and removing them or making them friendlier (as 2e did with the dragon Charm) is... well... the word I'll use is weaksauce. Indeed, Exalted in general is full of that sort of thing. But Sidereals tend to face quandries like that in a sort of subtle, genteel form where it's easier to remove yourself from the situation and -- Shun the Smiling Lady is accomplished by striking someone from Heaven's record of lovers, and the dragon thing is a prayer-strip Charm. They are both literally atrocities committed via paperwork.

Lunar powers aren't genteel. Lunar powers are primal. So while I think it's compelling to build that sort of quandry into the Lunar power set, I do not think it's appropriate to put them there in such a way that it's easy to distance yourself from them when you use them.

Things like cannibalism and bestiality have important places in the myth-cycles that Lunars draw from. Luna herself is is the Devil of Heaven. Elder Lunars trend towards being shapeshifting monsters from the depths of oh-my-god. To the extent that Solars are mythic heroes, Lunars are the mythic god-monsters that mythic heroes had so often to treat with, and I find the idea of a setting where those two archetypes were bound together against a common foe and thereafter ran a world together pretty interesting, especially since the Time of Tumult creates a venue where they have a unified and cooperative past but now have reason to engage in a more traditional hero/monster relationship, albeit one where the hero is neither guaranteed to survive nor guaranteed to be the party in the right. But you can't have interesting playable mythic god-monsters by taking away all the transgressive elements of god-monster-ism. So, yes, they're cannibals. Yes, they rut with animals, or take the form of a swan and seduce Leda. These are the things they do because it's in-genre for the archetype they embody to do, and Exalted encourages in-genre behavior by providing in-setting reasons for characters to engage in that in-genre behavior.

Now, I get that a lot of people don't want Lunars to be those things. I have seen, over and over, for the last decade, calls for Lunars to be the Good Guy Exalted, the poor persecuted underdogs (that's unintentional; I can't find a better term) to the Solar bullies, or, like, superheroes with shapechanging powers and no transgressive elements at all. Or, most annoyingly, furries, in the sense of being animal-people who are morally superior to people-people, for folks who are deeply misanthropic and believe that humanity sucks and believe themselves better than humanity because they have the soul of a wolf or a cat and not a filthy human or something. You're all familiar with the relevant tumblr communities, I'm sure.

I'm not interested in providing that, or arguing on the behalf of people who want any of those things. I don't want to provide a Lunar archetype that people feel can feel superior by identifying with. I recognize that a lot of people would prefer something from the above paragraph to mythic, primal god-monsters, but I don't really care. Like, I'm not interested in giving those people what they want. At all. I think it's bad for the game's integrity.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
The MG wrote:
Thief-of-Faces wrote:
Yeah, I really do get where your coming from. But I'm not sure how much of it is an actual view of next edition Lunars, StephenLS' thoughts on the matter or just the forum extrapolating and speculating. It's actually pretty confusing, I probably should re-read the thread come to think of it.
Anyway, I'm reserving judgement until I have a more complete picture.
To my knowledge, neither Holden nor Mørke have said anything on the subject of beastmen (except that they're human and therefore potential candidates for Exaltation). Stephenls, meanwhile, seems to be speaking of his personal preferences on the matter.


Indeed!

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Oh! Consider also the advisory speech from The Godfather, Part II that was appropriated as Patriarch's speech in Mass Effect 2: "No, he's got a family. If you kill him, you'll make enemies of them. Kill the family first. He'll get mad and come at you stupid. Then kill him."

Being an awful monster people are likely to challenge on moral grounds is a way for Raksi to encourage her enemies to get mad and come at her stupid.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Daredevil wrote:
Daredevil wrote:
Daredevil wrote:
But I still have just one question on her first write up:



How does she benefit from an outside invasion like this?

This is much more dangerous then having (theoretically) starting PC's, or jaded NPCs at her table, under her authority.

If she kills the invaders, what did she get out of her "play?"

If she losses, what did she get out of her "play?"

The quoted passage states it's something she's encouraging for a reason. What is that reason? What is the goal?


Bump.


To StephenLS;

I enjoyed the two essays you wrote, and the discussions they provoked. I think the second one was the first mention of a Lunar "Anaconda Plan" against the Real & the Sidereals, an idea great enough that it will be canon now.

I enjoy hearing your thoughts on Lunars & other topics, which is the reason I've posted the above followup question to your first essay.

If you don't wish to answer the question for whatever reason, I understand, but if you could answer it or, just note you will not be answering it, I would appreciate either reply greatly.

Thank you for your time & assistance;
~DD


Oh, fine.

It's not that she enjoys being attacked -- nobody enjoys being attacked, it's a pain -- so much that if the baby-eating is the thing she's doing that's got your attention, then she's misdirected you from the rest of what she's doing. It's loud and obvious and gets her recognized as "the baby-eating Lunar" so that the rest of what she's up to doesn't get talked up so much -- there's less chance of people actively working against her other agendas if they don't know what those agendas are because people don't tend to talk about them in favor of the baby-eating.

(If you're a 1,200 year old lunar sorceress-queen it's easier to deal with personal challenges than more subtle attacks against your infrastructure.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Black Paper Moon wrote:
Stephenls wrote:
The norm isn't cavorting with animals; it's assuming your spirit shape and cavorting with people.

Thanks for the clarification. No comment on whether it'll be a big or small thing, in terms of presentation?

Not at this time.

(Really y'all are overestimating my involvement in these matters. John and Holden no doubt have their own plans.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
The Chills and One Last Joke wrote:
Why thank you Stephen, that is much less squicky.

Also more convenient in terms of having another parent handy to raise the kids.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Black Paper Moon wrote:
Stephenls wrote:
What do you think my position here will be?

The logic of your previous post says 'yes', but I thought I'd ask anyway. Given that, how much emphasis is going to be placed on beastmen when Lunars are presented?

While I find bestiality disgusting and would prefer not to see it in Exalted (for the same reason I would rather not see pictures of mutilated children), I don't have an issue if this is a thing that a few Lunars do, that most don't. Especially if the Lunars who do that are also presented as being feral and half-mad, like Ma-Ha-Suchi. I would be less happy if many (most) Lunars are going to be presented as sexually cavorting with animals. Because, you know, being the cannibalistic and animal-screwing Exalted is a little...

The norm isn't cavorting with animals; it's assuming your spirit shape and cavorting with people.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Black Paper Moon 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.

So, um, what's going to happen with beastmen? Are Lunars in general still going to be depicted as doing bestiality, on top of cannibalism?


What do you think my position here will be?

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Tiresias wrote:
Yeah, it'll help a lot if the Lunars in charge of the Lunar dominions are actually likeable.


Yes, competently benevolent rulers would make for a much more friendly and pleasant setting.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/14/2013
Tiresias wrote:
Yeah, it'll help a lot if the Lunars in charge of the Lunar dominions are actually likeable.


Yes, competently benevolent rulers would make for a much more friendly and pleasant setting.

(Meanwhile I am currently reading Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
ChrisARose wrote:
Only because the over done physicality of the Lunar Host has focused upon the Bloody Huntress and the Silver-Horned Watcher way the hell too much.

Here other aspects: Two-Faced Bride, the Walker at the Crossroads and the White Navigator
Those are the ones I proscribe to and the ones that are left out for being too civilized for the Barbarian Aesthetic showed down the splats throat.


We're not actually big fans of those five aspects. You'll note Glories: Luna doesn't talk them up much.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/13/2013
ChrisARose wrote:
Iozz-Sothoth wrote:
danelsan wrote:
ChrisARose wrote:
The Sun? He's always been a warrior - the Moon has always been a magician/sorcerer.

Artemis is a hunter, not a magician. Also, Japanese Pantheon.


Also, the Sun and the Moon spend a lot of time being chased by hungry hungry wolves in Norse myth. Not much time for either to be a magician or warrior there.



O my god Artemis: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"
A god of the Earth, a fricking Gaia God.





Hmm.