Posts by: Stephen Lea Sheppard

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[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 12/8/2016
Originally posted by Prometheus878 View Post

Naturally, degenerate survivors of these untold eons lurk in the forgotten places of the world. Whatever resemblance they bear to humans or near-humans is misleading, and they howl with ancient fury for the blood of their usurpers' inheritors, the modern humans and exalted.

Bloated, warped patriarchs of reptilian, amphibian things crouch on stone thrones, cataract-clouded eyes creaking open to pronounce blood feuds against our heroes; vengeance ages overdue for the fall of empires that were old when the world knew not green grass or blue sky.

Expect mountains with a high chance of madness.

(But consider also: Clarke Ashton Smith, who even Lovecraft thought was better than Lovecraft at similar subject matter.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 12/7/2016
I generally go with "Uncounted aeons," and in the context of the now-no-longer-relevant Dreams of the First Age timeline (which I wrote), that easily translates into "Millions of years at least, probably." It depends on how long you think an aeon should be, and how many of them you need to have before it's poetically useful to start describing that amount as "uncounted."

Significantly more time passed before the Divine Rebellion than has passed since, though. The history of humanity's time in Creation is a punctuation mark at the end of a very, very long story, now almost entirely lost -- in part because of the actions of the Exalted during that war. Their actions would seem less momentous if they, with their overthrow of the enemies of the gods, hadn't put an end to a span of history of so great as to stagger anyone who contemplates it.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 11/18/2016
Here's an interactive Creation map. Click somewhere, then click somewhere else; it'll give you distance and travel time. It doesn't include Azure Chariot, but it's got Cirrus Skiff and Agata flight.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 10/5/2016
Originally posted by Erinys View Post
I always thought Faraway was just another word for Zen-Mu.
Maybe in 2e? In 3e they're probably distinct.

Honestly, probably not even in 2e. Back then, Zen Mu was the place the Primordials tried to make a home in, and then left, and later made Creation, so when Gaia was said to be exploring the Faraway, people went "Hey, I bet that far-away place she's exploring is that far-away-from-Creation place the Primordials left before they made Creation!" but the link was never explicit. IIRC.

Originally posted by Erinys View Post
There's also the Sea of Mind, which I have no idea what it is. The Forest Witches have access to it. It's like a copy of Creation that is more perfect somehow, inhabited by dead people who aren't ghosts?
It's a Weird Occult Thing/Place/Phenomenon. Creation has a bunch of those. Much as in the pulp fantasy novels that serve as Exalted's source material, they're not all there to serve the purpose of instructing the audience in the nature of the setting's metaphysics.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/29/2016
Yeah, that's exactly what happened. Jenna wrote the myth of the Saigoth Gates into Games of Divinity because she thought it'd be cool for the setting to have a myth that's just a myth. Then later another writer went "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if the Saigoth Gates turned out to be real?" Which, just, uuuuuugggggghhh. Picture me bent over groaning in existential despair, like Peridot after she called Yellow Diamond a clod.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/14/2016
You can make a pretty solid argument for Howard's original Conan being flat-out clinically depressed.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/13/2016
Originally posted by webkilla View Post
looks fair enough

he should have a positive intimacy for wenches and ale
Not so much the original Robert E. Howard Conan, which Sword Emperor is talking about. You're talking about the exagerrated, Flanderized pop-culture Conan.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/12/2016
Originally posted by Eric Minton View Post
That reference was cut from the final draft.
Still referenced at the end of the first paragraph of the Snakefolk Merchant description on page 499, however.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/9/2016
Mm. I'm always unsure of how specific I should be; it's not that hard to figure out who worked on what book. Lydia didn't write the Charms chapter, and, like, the Charms chapter that we got was something I'm pretty happy with, so I'm not even condemning that, really -- some drafts need development. But I'm hesitant to describe these things as occurring in a vacuum -- changes to the setting like the Flame Ducks getting a more specific background are often just the result of "A specific author, assigned to write this subject, happened to have this idea at the time they were writing the subject, and so that's what was written about it," with little meaning beyond that.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/8/2016
Originally posted by Blaque View Post
Compairng Flame Duck entires, I didn't even know they introduced the whole thing where they were going around like fire elemental Uratha or soemthing with soem dragon they follow around. Their original write-up just had them often hanging out in volcanos and lava lakes, were generally hot and pretty bossy, and they actually didn't have a bird form. So I guess there's a whole backhistory/guilt thing to them I forgot about since I think I just skimmed the 2e entry.

And stuff.
That was Lydia Laurensen doing RoGDI who invented the new background for flame ducks. In her original draft, the dragon was still alive and was going to be the new Lesser Elemental Dragon of Fire introduced in the book, but I was all like "No you cannot take this cool general class of elementals and tie them into this new NPC you just made up; that's restrictive and bad. Rewrite this, please." And then she invented the Underground Fire instead, and... kept the dragon in the Flame Duck backstory but made it dead instead of still alive.

This was not, in retrospect, the best way to flesh them out, but deadlines exist and that wasn't the only problem in the book that needed fixing, so.

(The original draft of the Charms chapter had a completely new paradigm for the boundaries of divine power, that had things like a god of swords being able to summon infinite swords, be immune to swords, make others immune to swords, and redefine the concept of swords, with similar breadth of power applied to e.g. war-gods. Just imagine what that would have done. Explaining all the levels on which this is a bad idea to the writer, and helping him fix it, took up a lot of my mental clock-cycles as a developer.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/7/2016
I assume it means an ifrit that's mighty even by the standards of ifrits. For example, an ifrit that has mastered sorcery, which ifrits aren't usually into.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/6/2016
Originally posted by Daerian View Post
Interesting. For me them being pretty much servitude race that can move beyond their "born to servitude" (and become sometimes something far greater than terrestial gods they serve) by time and self-perfection makes them much more interesting than pretty standard vague origin.
I think for that to work consistently, Exalted would have to be a game about playing elementals. As it is, it's going to be a hit for a few, and a miss for many.

Honestly, I was mostly interested in altering elementals so they'd be more appealing to writers, because you need a writer to be enthused about a subject to get cool material on that subject, and 1e and 2e were largely absent cool elemental material -- with the exception of the Court of the Orderly Flame, which does absolutely nothing with the idea that elementals are a created servitor race who can or have moved beyond the limitations inherent in that.

As much material for an RPG is dictated by the developer, just as much is pitched by writers. And throughout 1e and 2e, when writers got assigned to do something like "5,000 words of new spirits," they'd write 5,000 words of new gods, because gods are seen as the more flexible and more appealing spirit type, so authors who have ideas for spirits tend to write them as gods and not elementals.

(It's similar to how, even though the setting is supposed to be filled to the brim with satrapies, most writers will come up with independent city-states and never write satrapies unless you force them.)

I don't like having a setting where one-third of all spirits, an entire spirit subtype, is seen as dull, uninspiring, and not worth fleshing out.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/6/2016
Removing the impression of servility to the gods is one of the reasons I pitched changing their origin from the direct creation of the gods to something more ancient and occulted. I suppose it is possible they're still the gods' creation, albeit at an earlier time—their new corebook description does leave that up in the air—but if so that's no longer meant to be an trait that gets highlighted in their descriptions.

I always felt the fanbase's interest in them was diminished by their portrayal as basically just the help.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 8/27/2016
Also, Exalted generally doesn't go in for instant free-form magic systems, so there isn't an Exalt type that can do the sort of blatant arbitrary reality-alteration under discussion here.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 8/26/2016
Originally posted by Elfive View Post
Alchemicals are probably contenders for most versatile, as long as they have prep time.
Not stylistically. In terms of having superpowers that appear to function according to a quantitatively different nature and set of rules from the next Alchemical, they're arguably even more limited than Solars.