[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 6/30/2017
Re: Keywords: The foes in Antagonists of the Righteous and Hundred Devils Night Parade serve first and foremost as playable-off-the-page NPCs. Using them to e.g. preview Dragon-Blooded Charms is a lot of fun, but using them to preview the full complexity of new DB Charm keywords is impractical due to both utility and wordcount concerns. Antagonist Charms can be simplified versions of something with more complexity when used by a PC, or even abstracted representations of multiple other Charms being used in concert.

Re: Gay marriage: When Exalted was launched in 2001, and when Dynastic society was conceived for publication in the first Dragon-Blooded hardcover published in April 2002, gay marriage wasn't legal in the US and the idea that it might get legalized in less than, like, thirty years felt like a pipedream. There are solid in-setting reasons why the Dynasty might not treat gay marriage as even a thing, and adherence to that sort of internal verisimilitude was valued highly by the setting designers, I believe to the game's strength many years later.

It is now 2017 and gay marriage has been the law of the land in the USA for years.

The Dynasty is deliberately terrible. It is an engine of murderous exploitation informed by everything from King Leopold's Ghost to the Draka Domination. One of the Aspect Books features the story of a Dragon-Blooded mother who, unhappy with how weak and soft she believes her child to be, literally feeds her child's favorite nannies alive to sharks, ostensibly in the name of toughening her up but also because the mother is a bitter, vindictive old ass.

But that's not the only thing the Dynasty is. The Dynasty is also Exalted's primary "social play" venue -- it's the part of the setting you set your game in if you want to do Game of Thrones or other courtly romance games, or Dynastic highschool hijinx. It's full of awful political backbiting and dark family secrets and also galas and balls and schools and sophisticated high society, based on but not always visibly engaging with terrible economic exploitation of the rest of the world. It is at once a villain for PCs to confront in some games, and a setting for other PCs to thrive within in other games.

Because the Dynasty is in so many ways so terrible, it feels really weird to keep all those terrible factors and then say "Despite their natalism and domineering attitude towards their children and focus on filial piety and borderline-to-obviously-not-borderline abusive childrearing techniques, the Dynasty is surprisingly tolerant and enlightened when it comes to same-sex relationships!" ...but it also feels unconscionable to tell LGBT players "Ahah, even now after you can get gay married in real life, the primary social play venue of our imaginary fantasyland does not support gay marriage for your original characters (do not steal), because of reasons!" The setting exists the way it does because we write it that way. You can't hide behind "But it makes no sense because setting" when you're the reason the setting is the way it is.

So gay marriage in the Dynasty in 3e is no longer just not a thing. All the factors motivating its discouragement are still around -- the Realm's interest in strong inheritence tracking and precise lineage records, its distrust of sorcerers and demons, the unreliability of sorcerous workings -- but they also exist in the context of a world that's been run by god- and element-chosen heroes shaping the world according to their epic passions since the dawn of history. When your best friend in secondary school now wields an ancestral heirloom daiklave that was famously forged during the Shogunate because of its creator's anger that arranged marriage prevented her from being with her chosen wife, and its use in pursuit of that grievance lead to the extinction of three family lines, the death of a regional daimyo, a volcanic eruption, and a tsunami that reshaped the coastline in ways you can still see centuries later when you visit your summer home, grandkids via demon midwife are still not what you want, but they don't look so much like the end of the world.