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[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 6/23/2014
Throughout most of Creation, spirit courts don't really "offer" membership as such, in the same sense that city-states don't "offer" citizenship to people born within their borders. If you're a spirit situated within the range of influence of Honcho Spirit, you're in Honcho Spirit's spirit court, and you abide by her rules and pay your taxes (or, more properly, direct whichever followers you can garner to direct some of their prayer upstream) or she sends her legbreakers to hang out at the entrance to your sanctum. Maybe you'd like to be ritually defeated and forged into someone's whistle for a century or so? No? Right, play the game then. And this generates the usual sort of courtly hierarchy as you'd expect -- a honcho (or allegiance of multiple honchos), some suck-ups, some legbreakers, labor, peons.

Some wiggle room with that, I mean, that's a particularly cynical view of things. Sometimes you'll end up with areas where some spirits are part of the Court of Day and others are part of the Court of Night because that's the way it's been for centuries, or sometimes there'll be a local court still in close contact with Heaven who adhere to some set of rules, and then another court under the control of the spirit equivalent of a regional warlord who is not in contact with Heaven and there are a lot of e.g. refugee gods who claim allegance with Renegade Spirit Honcho and who Legit Spirit Honcho can't really claim dominion over because reasons. Often you'll have elemental courts in parallel to divine spirit courts just because the gods can't be arsed to try to enforce membership to every damn elemental in the area -- or because there's an elemental court of sufficient historic power and prestige in the area and they've got a deal with the spirit court that elementals are theirs.

The Court of the Orderly Flame seems to be a sort of vocational allegiance with sufficient tradition and political power behind it that spirits can effectively pledge to it and seceed from their membership to other regional courts as long as they do its business -- so, thinking about it, you can probably add "Spirits who pledge to the Court of the Orderly Flame as an alternative to dealing with their regional honcho's bullshit" to the list of spirits who join, alongside "Spirits who want to make the world a better place" and "Spirits who want to uphold the prestige of the fire elementals."

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 6/23/2014
The Court, to my understanding, is largely motivated by an ideological desire to live in a Creation that is not so incredibly shitty, as motivated by the strong principles of Ulito Swan, who is Swan Dragon's daughter. I think they also want prestige for fire elementals in general -- there is some gain in it being generally known that fire elementals are so awesome that they have a measurable positive effect on the world, which is consistent with e.g. the stated motivations of flame ducks, ifrit, and garda birds to uphold virtue.

A lot of fire elementals in general (or, at least, those with minds) seem to be weirdly disciplined, principled, and virtuous by spirit standards, though this isn't universal -- remember that back during the First Age, the fire courts, lead by the gard birds, were prestigious bastions of even-minded civility and diplomacy among the terrestrial spirit courts. One presumes some of the members of the Court of Orderly Flame look back at those times and genuinely miss how not-shitty things were, while others look back and remember how being a fire elemental used to mean something, damnit, and how people and spirits used to listen to what they had to say, and they got free drinks and and kudos and invites to the best parties. Orderly Flame membership is an attempt to restore the world to its former glory.

(This isn't universal among fire elementals -- Wong Bongerok remains prime candidate for the deserves-punching-in-the-dick award, and I wouldn't trust fire butterflies with any public office.)

[#][F] Eric Minton - 6/23/2014
Originally posted by Mizu View Post
totally fake religion
“All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

"They're not the same at all!"

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"

MY POINT EXACTLY.”

― Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

[#][F] Eric Minton - 6/23/2014
As with Norse and Roman religion, in Creation one generally deals with gods on the basis of bargains and covenants. Sure, you want to avoid pissing off the gods, so you'll propitiate them to avoid random divine nastiness, but when you want something in particular, you make or pledge a sacrifice to the god in exchange for its aid. Even benevolent gods are not presumed to be beneficent, any more than rich and powerful mortals are; one can beg them for charity, but it's unwise to do so with any expectation of actual aid unless you have something to offer in compensation.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 6/23/2014
Originally posted by DShomshak View Post
I seem to recall a beverage made from fermented bread: People chew the bread, spit it in a pot, and wait for it to ferment. I *think* this is the old Russian drink kvass, but wouldn't swear to it. (My dictionary says kvass is a "thin, sour beer made by pouring warm water over barley," fermented.)
Several fermented beverages are made from chewed vegetable matter, such as cauim, chicha, and masata. Ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian beer was made from bread. But I don't recall references to beer made from chewed bread.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 6/22/2014
Maybe not so much sustained economic ruin as sustained economic suppression.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 6/22/2014
I should also note here that the Realm imperial policy probably wouldn't work so well without a near-monopoly on elemental superheroes to keep it running, and now that I think about it, the Lost Egg policy seems to be a lot less about "More DBs for the Realm, yay!" and more about "Keep the satrapies from having their own DBs." You can get away with a lot more if you can deploy people who live bullshit action movie hero lives to solve your problems for you.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 6/22/2014
Note that the current state of anti-imperial rebellion is strongly influenced by things like "AK-47s are cheap and last forever" and "Imperial states can no longer afford the PR costs of just wantonly and systematically exterminating the civilian populations of rebellious provinces until the people get the idea that supporting the rebels is a losing proposition" and "There is a well-developed global black market that's always hungry for drugs and human traffic."

Wait, no, Creation has that last bit.

The first two, though!

[#][F] The Demented One - 6/22/2014
Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
Not sure what the IO teaches about the relationship of the Dragons and the Incarnae. It's probably as vague as possible on the subject, and young monks who press the issue are scheduled for more "training" with Deled. But note that the Sids who built the Order's beliefs hijacked the Five Elemental Dragon's names for their Immaculate Dragon fictions; despite this, the ED do actually get all the prayers aimed at the ID, so they aren't complaining.
I believe that the Immaculates see the Incarnae as subordinate to the Dragons, but that's just something gleaned from author commentary (I think Jenna, but maybe Grabowski?).

[#][F] The Demented One - 6/22/2014
The true sorrow of the Age of Sorrows is the lack of beer with hops.

[#][F] The Demented One - 6/22/2014
Originally posted by Sanctaphrax View Post

Any ideas on how to handle Alchemical cities? They seem a bit like lands and a bit like creatures and a bit like planeswalkers. Maybe they'd work as double-faced cards?
Lux, the Illuminated Capital
Legendary Artifact Creature Land - Human Construct
As Lux, the Illuminated Capital enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you pay 4.
T: Add {R} to your mana pool and put a +1/+1 counter on Lux.
2R, T: Lux fights target creature.
6/6

[#][F] Eric Minton - 6/22/2014
Originally posted by danelsan View Post
Is this a recommendation for players to get drunk on exotic beverages?
Not at my table! Drunk players get silly, and I prefer to run Exalted with more depth than that. (My D&D players drink at the table, but that's more of a beer & pretzels game, so it's OK.)

[#][F] Eric Minton - 6/22/2014
A lot of people seem interested in the foodstuffs of Creation, so for my latest blog post I muse on one small corner of that field of interest:

Exalted: Alcoholic Beverages of Creation

[#][F] Eric Minton - 6/22/2014
A lot of people seem interested in the foodstuffs of Creation, so for my latest blog post I muse on one small corner of that field of interest:

Exalted: Alcoholic Beverages of Creation

[#][F] Eric Minton - 6/21/2014
Here's a fun, if rather old and outdated quote:

"About a third of the current provinces are related by blood to the Dynasty. The rest belong to lesser nobles. While the Dynasty is obsessed with its own superiority, treating its vassals more like worshipers, those lords who are tied to the Dynasty through marriage are treated less like second-class citizens than those who have only their oaths of submission to tie them to the Realm." (Exalted 1e core, p. 36)

(Read "provinces" as "satrapies.")