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[#][F] Eric Minton - 2/23/2017
Oh, and also the Ys from John Brunner's The Traveller in Black.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 2/23/2017
Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
On a total tangent triggered in my mind on Levi's post: On the aesthetics and feel of the "great powers", I find Prasad brings to mind India. Volivat I find harder to place.

While Ys brings to mind, well... Ys, the island of legend.. so I guess so at least in part evokes Jack Vance's Lyonesse, and that whole fusion of decadent, doomed Sword and Sorcery sensibilities with Arthurian, Celtic and the European High Middle Ages, somehow sitting along with the more psychadelic feel of the Dreaming Sea. This, is a reference I'm almost certain the authors do not intend to be descriptive- because of the general dynamics of the Southeast in particular, and Creation in general - but, there's that name (which just feels like it surely has to somehow be a reference to the Ys of myth?).
The developers came up with the name "Ysyr," and I am not privy to their thought processes in the matter. But I added the term "Ys" for the corebook writeup, and I definitely had both the mythical Ys and Jack Vance's Lyonesse in mind when I did so. This shouldn't be taken to indicate the presence of medieval Western European cultural markers, though the decadent, doomed Sword & Sorcery sensibilities should be there in spades.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 2/22/2017
Originally posted by Totentanz View Post
Nice work on that. This raises a couple questions:
1. What are Volivat's borders like? If I wanted to make things especially tense, I'd say Ydanna is their client state. I searched the core book and the leak and found nothing on it.
I can't go into any detail about Y'danna, but based on its original writeup from the developers, it is not a political player in the Dreaming Sea.

Originally posted by Totentanz View Post
2. Just how many competing minor kingdoms and city-states are between the two of them. I could easily see expanding their borders towards each other, but it might be more fun to throw an extra large Hundred Kingdoms-style region in there.
There are definitely a great number of minor principalities, city-states, peoples and tribes along the shores of the Dreaming Sea. How many are independent of the extant imperial powers, I can't say. But as the region was intended to allow for the addition of lesser powers with imperial ambition, it is best to assume that the borders of the great powers are fragmented and that at any given time there are populations under no one's direct military or political control. This may be due to negotiated neutrality; treaty-based devassalization; ongoing or successful rebellion; or de facto independence due to the withdrawal of overstretched occupying forces.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 2/22/2017
Originally posted by Jetstream View Post

I was mostly referring to it being a map error, but hell, I probably need more Sidereal plots.
I don't know if "map error" is strictly accurate. I put together a now-lost rough sketch of the Threshold and passed it on to the developers, who then conveyed information to the cartographer. I can no longer recall whether I accidentally placed Kamthahar on that sketch in an unintended location, or if the devs decided that they specifically wanted it moved, or if the cartographer simply decided it looked better there.

Likewise, I'd also intended for the Haslanti cities to be closer together; ditto for Rubylak and Chanta. In those cases, too, I may well be as responsible for their spread-out placement as anyone.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 2/22/2017
Originally posted by Jetstream View Post

*takes notes*

Kamthahar... in... wrong... place...

...

Don't mind me, this is much more useful than my original thread's premise. I'mma just keep an eye on this 'cuz it's super helpful
... It would never have occurred to me to invoke Neighborhood Relocation Scheme in this context.

I feel confident that this will not be the canon explanation for Kamthahar's location. But if it works for you in your game, please let me know how your players react when they find out.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/22/2017
I think criticizing the opening fiction for its failure to adhere to the rules of a conventional narrative is pretty fruitless, because it is crystal clear that thing is not even trying to be a conventional narrative.

Trying to figure out what its actual creative goals are and then critiquing it for the ways it fails to live up to them (and, as it didn't work for you, it clearly did not succeed at those goals at least as far as you're concerned) is liable to produce more interesting results.

(And, hey, I love that thing. I'm the one who proofread it. I squealed with glee when I first read it, but one of the reasons I was so happy was "Oh my God I can't believe we're actually going to use this, that's awesome!" so it's not like I didn't know people were going to find it weird as hell.)

(Another possible valid avenue of critique would be at the developers and editor, for choosing to run an opening fiction that provokes reactions like "Oh my God I can't believe we're actually going to use this, that's awesome!" instead of "Yes, that's a pretty solid intro to the setting and game; I'm sure people new to the book will come out of it knowing everything they need to know to start playing!" Which is, let's face it, what the 1e intro fiction was, and it was one of the best intro fics ever in an RPG.)

[#][F] Eric Minton - 2/22/2017
I'm pleased to hear that folks are finding these posts to be useful. It's unfortunate that so much of the corebook's Threshold writeups got cut, but on the plus side, this offers a lot of slack to whoever gets assigned to flesh out the material in some future supplement.

While writing up Kamthahar, I'd intended for it to be well to the north, somewhere around the Dreaming Sea's northwest terminus and the accompanying cluster of giant lakes (or, perhaps, small seas). I suspect that the preponderance of the empire's populace and wealth is to be found in that area, with Kamthahar itself an outlier and the steppes in between proving to be lightly populated. Kamthahar itself may not be the empire's original capital. But all that remains up in the air until a relevant supplement is outlined and written.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 2/22/2017
Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
So like, does Prasad actually stretch all the way to the Dreaming Sea? If it does, it would be larger than the entire Scavenger Lands and around 2/3rds as large as the Realm is. In fact, it would be staggeringly large compared to virtually all of the other named states in Exalted. Granted if it were that big it would make sense it could be in some kind of conflict with Ysyr, but from the write up and the map I definitely never got the feeling that Prasad was intended to be that massive.

The capital of Prasad is about as far from the Dreaming Sea as Gem is from the Inland Sea. If Prasad is supposed to be that massive, an empire second only in size to the Realm, then it seems like a shame that that didn't come through in it's writeup at all.
The original writeup for Champoor indicated that it was a Prasadi client state. While it's possible that the devs cut this for setting reasons, I am under the impression that it was merely cut for space.

Note that "2/3 as large as the Realm" presumes that the Realm's area is limited to the Blessed Isle, which is not the case. In any event, establishing two points on the map is insufficient to determine land area; Kamthahar could be at the center of a vast sprawl of Prasadi territory extending out in all directions, or it could at the western edge of Prasadi territory, with much of that territory existing in a narrow band along the banks of a river connecting it to the Dreaming Sea. The truth is doubtless somewhere in between.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 2/22/2017
Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
Prasad/Ysyr really reminds me of Paragon and Gem back in 1st edition and 2nd edition. In fact, the distance between Ysyr and Parasad's capital are about the same as the distance between Gem and Paragon. Back during 2nd edition it was generally agreed that Gem and Paragon were too far apart to realistically engage in a trade war with one another, let alone an actual military conflict. Admittedly the harsh desert environment was an important factor, but just the sheer distance alone between the nations played a big role in making people wonder how these two states would end up at odds with one another.

While it is absolutely possible to imagine Paragon (or Prasad) gathering up an army to march on Gem/Ysyr (or vice versa) such an event should probably be presented as a monumental and exceptional undertaking, even in the Exalted setting, comparable to Alexander's march across the world (there's a reason we're still talking about his accomplishment 1700 years later). It feel's a little odd to have it just tossed out there as a matter of course, similar to how the Gem/Paragon conflict felt odd for being tossed out there.
Prasad and Ysyr are imperial powers. Though they are of course far smaller and weaker than the Realm itself, they are, to my understanding, significantly richer, more populous, and more militarily powerful than any published Threshold state under Realm dominion. In matters of scale and realpolitik, they are more akin to the Realm than they are to city-states like Gem and Paragon.

This goes against how the Threshold has long been depicted, but that's a large part of the narrative role of the Dreaming Sea — to provide an arena for imperial play at sufficient remove from the Blessed Isle that it takes place outside the shadow of the Realm, while still fitting into Creation proper.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 2/22/2017
Originally posted by Totentanz View Post

For the same reason you don't name all your PCs "Lucy", the ST doesn't call your PC's waiter at the Teahouse "Waiter Number 12,461," and the core book doesn't refer to the Scarlet Empress as Too Much Hairspray Lady.
OP didn't suggest everything had a mundane kind of name, thus 'dissonance'.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 2/21/2017
Originally posted by Piff View Post
Real empires who were that distant from each other didn't really have those kind of relationships until the modern era. Silk Road trade and mysterious legends are totally fine, but direct military conflict and power struggles? Very difficult to suspend disbelief given difficulty in both communication, and transportation. The logistics alone...
As you note, real empires that distant from each other in the real world had lots of inhospitable terrain between them. Offhand, I can't think of two ancient empires connected by a sufficiently long stretch of populous, mostly linear coastline to draw a viable comparison. Meanwhile, Alexander the Great led his troops almost 4,000 miles from Macedonia to northern India — a far more difficult transit, performed without the peculiar benefits accessible to Creation's heroes and warlords. More applicably, Rome and Persia warred intermittently for close to seven centuries, with capitals close to 2,000 miles apart as the crow flies, or close to 3,000 miles apart in terms of actual travel distance.

(Speaking of Alexander, the Indo-Greek Kingdom is good cultural inspiration for Prasad's divergence from the Realm.)

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 2/21/2017
Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
What threw me off, I think, was the mention of this as a characer who can be expected to engage in straightforward heroics - what I love about Perfect Soul is how that doesn't quite apply to her.
Straightforward heroic narrative - slightly different, but similar in some ways.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 2/21/2017
(Also, psst, Kyman infers something far more egregious than 'what Jenna is conveying through use of style' when he mistakes a repeated use of symbolism for attempting to ape Whedon's dialogue so Ghosthead is continuing the trend in a much more acceptable way that...well doesn't have all that much to do with Death of the Author in terms of literary critique? )

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 2/21/2017
Originally posted by kongurous View Post
The question, then, is do you want those choices to be in the first thing people will read in your book? This isn't polarizing based on the content of the story, but on the construction of it fundamentally, which is not an area in which I would want my first impression to be debatable.

Originally posted by HighPriest View Post
Yikes. Reading this for the first time makes me appreciate my long-standing policy of not reading fiction chapter breaks in RPG books.
These responses rather bely this intent:

Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post

That's why I was so adamant in my first post that this wasn't anything personal towards Jenna, and by extension I want to make it clear that I didn't want this to seem personal to anybody who enjoyed it. I just wanted to discuss it, openly, and compare different opinions.
Your posts insist your judgement on structure, grammar, atmosphere, and intent are correct. I am actually deeply uncomfortable with the thread so I will simply note the following:

: the intent of the magic pig is to be both magic and a pig. That is, a sign of the small magics that infest Creation, and a nice source of protein for dubiously made pork buns.

: you can dislike and get lost in a sentence all you want but it does not make it a badly crafted one, but Ghosthead has that covered.

: the Boar of Standing Water is probably less obvious to those who have not hung around farms but I imagine it is a combination of both the myth of filthy mud and the way that pigs are actually clean animals. The reappearance of porcine symbols can be read a multitude of ways but I take it to be a stylistic choice based on how Wu-Jian is structured as a culture and as a city (pork is a good protein in crowded environments when compared with beef, or even birds).

: Sabriye's references to food are not a poor attempt at Whedon (blech) but a constant reminder that this poverty laden guttersnipe has been ripped from her home by glory and then left to suffer it alone. These are the first people she has met like her. She doesn't want to kill them she wants to be friends, to have company. And she will try to do that, because that is the kind of person she is.

: this is about character not just history, even so Wu Jian is her home and she does not want to leave. This is the story of her realising this. Musing on herself as a Solar, and as a resident of Wu Jian.

: the intent is to show that Ex3 isn't just Big Damn Heroes. The narratives of the game are not the straigtforward tales of glory. Sure, Perfect Soul would have made a nice simple story but she isn't messy the way this story is. Any rpg can do simple heroics, so why start with the mundane?

The story, is not undeniably unstructured, or badly written, regardless of how sure one person's criticisms may be. As I said though, horribly uncomfortable (even though I didn't write any of those intro fics, I know most of the people who did) but wanted to note that the criticisms are not nearly as cut and dried as it seems.

(Also pls forgive typos amd weird words - on my phone since my laptop bricked and is in the shop)

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 2/21/2017
My OP hellcat buffed with everything Supernal Survival could throw at it was called 'Prickles'.

I don't mind dissonant naming obviously. Why make it a big deal?