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[#][F] John Mørke - 1/8/2014
Pawns are obviously Lunars. They shapeshift and become total badasses.

[#][F] John Mørke - 1/8/2014
An Aspect connotes very little beyond an idea of what you will be like. Aspects imply things about demeanor, appearance, and (often latent) skills. They also demonstrate the nature of your power, such that it is essentially different from that of another Aspect. It has almost nothing to do with your expected role. A Fire Aspect is not guaranteed to be a fighter. He might be a socialite. Aspect says so little about the differences in Dragon-Blooded that you can expect similar roles from all of them. They are inherently soldiers, inherently group-arrayed, and inherently familial.

Castes say a lot more. Castes are fixed. You do not fall out of Castes. It is not expected that a Dawn will be something other than a fighter. Castes align with the person you were before Exaltation. Characters can deviate from Castes, but it is very rare that they simply cease to operate within their definitions. Meanwhile, Dragon-Blooded are not deliberately Chosen for their skills and talents. They are an outgrowth of their parents' (and their parents') Aspects, and so they inherit blood traits, and those are expressed when they come into their own Aspects. Denying an Aspect is not essentially possible because Aspects intermingle in the blood, just as traits of the parents mingle to create children. Dragon-Blooded have flex. Solars do not. They are not inheriting anything so much as they are exemplifying who they always were to begin with. Castes are an extremely strong predictor for roles and social placement as only persons who would fit those roles are Chosen in the first place.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/7/2014
Nothing is finalized until we move to layout. "Finished" is nice, but if playtesting reveals a major flaw in the engine, the flaw gets patched, and if that means a Charm tree has to be re-written, the Charm tree gets re-written. This is great if you like solid systems and terrible if you hate potential delays, so.

(I would say "Nothing is finalized until we move to editing," but I'm the editor and if by off chance I find a system hole and tell Holden and John about it and it turns out to be a genuine system hole and not me imagining things, they will exclaim "Sonovabitch!" and then fix it, even if that means having to re-write half the Charms afuckinggain.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/6/2014
A "book of boring things people probably need to know but don't find sexy to ponder" (as they do weapons and armor) is a terrible idea. "Let's put all the stuff people don't want to pay money to read in one place so they can more easily avoid it, and then write the rest of the line on the assumption that everyone has read it"? Gah.

Best to just keep showing, rather than telling; if people on forums want explanations we can provide those explanations on forums.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/6/2014
Autochthonian Odo is a great idea.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/6/2014
Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
Lea, I'm curious. Do you know if they're going to discuss the general limits of technology in Creation in the Core book? I mean, there's a line there somewhere with the things we think of as science technology on one side and the stuff that Creation uses magic science, thaumaturgy, and artificing for on the other, but I've never been quite sure where it is and I would appreciate some guidance on that subject.
I can't imagine how something as fiddly and pedagogical as that could be appropriate to the core book. Show, don't tell.

Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
So, if they're not going to talk about it in the Core, could you discuss it now?
No, because I'm in bed typing into an iPad. Also, I've never rigorously worked out Creation's tech levels; I go by feel and what seems interesting at the time. And if I ever did rigorously work out Creation's tech levels, Holden would throw my work out the moment he thought something that doesn't fit my schema would be a cool and right-feeling bit of tech to include. Possibly while laughing at me.

Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
Or maybe someone could put it on the list of things to go over in a later book?
Nah.

Originally posted by Blaque View Post
The only canonical part of Exalted: the Autochthonians were the descriptions of Autochthonia itself. The three campaign chapters and any revelations within them were never canonical.
Correct.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/6/2014
Originally posted by AdamantineRapier View Post
You mean a literal live wire? Because the five Magical Material Manses are connected to the Amphora of Souls in Autochthon, so if you connect your soul gem to the Manse, it would then be connected to Autochthon, right? And Creation does have soulgems (as detailed in Masters of Jade), even if they're mostly being produced and used by the Guild.
The five Magical Material manses are non-canon.

[#][F] John Mørke - 1/6/2014
Aspects are not and have never been the same as Castes.

So the thought that Lunars might have Aspects is a fairly progressive one, because it would change them.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/6/2014
You use demiurge to make an alchemical by connecting your soul to Autochthon's soul over a live wire. The Haslan don't have 'em. Lookshy certainly doesn't have 'em.

(I mean, if you want to run a game where the Haslanti or even Lookshy does have alchemicals, go wild. This is not a useful assumption for discussing the level of Haslanti tech in vanilla Exalted, though.)

[#][F] The Demented One - 1/5/2014
Analyze Firearms!

[#][F] John Mørke - 1/5/2014
Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
I wonder if that means Lunars should have Aspects instead of Castes?
I would like to see this discussed in its own thread. It sounds extremely promising.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/5/2014
Originally posted by AdamantineRapier View Post
Yeah, but when I say "steampunk", I don't just mean technology, I also mean social structures and wealth inequality.
See, when I hear or read steampunk, I think "Yay Victoriana, let's stick gears on all our shit to make it look more awesome!" I am aware of almost no steampunk that actually does the cyberpunk social inequality examination think; most of the time it's pulpy gonzo high-adventure that (in most of the material) elides the social inequalities of the era to make for more inclusive fiction, or (in a creepy minority of the material) glorifies imperialism and presents the social underclasses as villains. Like, there are steampunk fans who want to play Madam Vastra, but there are no people who want to play in a setting where Madam Vastra is committed to an asylum for daring to want to excel at male pursuits and then taxidermied when she's discovered to be a lizard-woman.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/5/2014
Furry art tends to be highly neotenous in a way inappropriate for beastmen and Lunar war-forms, and well-practiced furry artists tend to be good at their own style first and foremost. It can be very difficult to coerce an artist used to drawing in that style to switch to something closer to, say, Ron Spencer-style beastman hybrids.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/5/2014
Honestly I think the Haslanti are steampunk only to the extent that hot air balloons are steampunk, or crossbows are steampunk compared to longbows. But I am very dull and hate joy.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 1/5/2014
Ma-Ha-Suchi works much better as a goat, though, and that's where your thesis falls apart.

Listen: In 1e, Lunars could fuck themselves up by taking a second totem form; this was seen as the first step towards chimerism. Ma-Ha-Suchi was a wolf/goat totem Lunar; no explanation was given as to which one he'd had first and which one he got second, but goat was the more important one -- his beastmen are described as goatmen, not wolfmen. In 2e, they removed the "two totem" thing, so they had to choose between making him a wolf-totem Lunar with horns and hooves somehow or a goat-totem Lunar with a carnivore's mouth somehow. They went with "Wolf with antlers." I am not sure why. I suspect it has something to do with the wolf being the sexier of the two animals, and wanting to keep one of the signature pieces of the setting's IP as sexy and interesting as possible? Like how they took the Slug out as the signature Wood Aspect and replaced him with Tepet Ejava? Goats are silly, wolves are badass, our signature badass Lunar warlord can be either a goat or a wolf, so let's make him a wolf so he'll be more badass, QED. (Also, fantasy artists are much more likely to know how to draw a badass wolf head than a badass goat head, so that makes art direction take less time because your artists aren't constantly having to learn how to draw a scowly or snarling or otherwise-emoting goat head.)

But he is much, much more interesting as a goat-totem Lunar -- first, because having signature Lunars with totems that aren't obviously badass cool animals is more interesting than going with the obvious choices ("Seriously, he's a goat?" "Yes, and he's going to burn this city down and his children will slaughter its ten thousand inhabitants unless we face him down."), and second because you want as few overlaps between official Lunar totems as possible, and so it's best to give the NPC Lunars weird totems so the players can choose whatever badass, obvious-choice animal they have their heart set on without feeling like they're being redundant.

(Hell, goat even fits Ma-Ha-Suchi's First Age portrayal, as much as I loathe his First Age portrayal -- it would have been much more appropriate to base him on the randy goat archetype than a Meat Loaf song title pun.)

The problem with this idea is that if Lunars use totem archetypes instead of castes, then you have two options for implementation.

1) Instead of using individual animals you use broad animal archetypes. If you're going to do this, trust me, you will end up reinventing the castes, but renamed.

2) You actually limit them to five or ten specific animals, like wolf, shark, snake, bird of prey, velociraptor, and five more obvious archetypal picks. This is going to be hugely limiting -- you don't want a setting with 300 lunars which are just variations on the same ten animals over and over again. It's even worse if you do like the other Exalt-types do and use five.

(Alternately, if you don't want to limit them to five or ten animals, and you want totem to serve as caste while allowing every Lunar to have a unique totem, then what you're actually proposing has nothing to do with making totem serve as caste and is actually just a proposal for Lunars to not have castes at all.)