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[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/6/2014
Originally posted by Morangias View Post
It's a Delzahn thing where one can formally identify as the opposite sex to escape the rigid societal roles. It's also the only way for the Delzahn to officially live in a homosexual relation, because it's apparently not cool for two dudes to be together unless everyone agrees to call one of them a gal.
Enh. Depends on what you mean by relationship. Two Delzhan guys who have sex regularly aren't stigmatized; two Delzhan wanting to start a household together is scandalous and unacceptable, because households are for one man and one woman. But if one of those men or one of those women is dereth, that's A-Okay. You do occasionally get situations where two people who we would characterize as just gay want to start a household and one of them "takes the gray" and assumes a woman's role in society in order to do it, even if neither party is what we would call trans.

Delzhan culture doesn't use quite the same straight-gay-bi/cis-trans scheme for characterizing gender and sexual orientation/expression that Western culture does. You end up with dereth we would consider gay and dereth we would consider trans and dereth we would consider "Born a dude, has no problems considers himself a dude, likes the ladies, but absolutely hates hunting and dueling and loves personal finance and being the primary caregiver for kids" (Or, alternately, "Born a woman, has no problems considering herself a woman, likes men, but hates personal finance and loves hunting and horse-riding") and to the Delzhan they're all pretty much just dereth.

Originally posted by Morangias View Post
It was all devised by a homosexual Lunar who was raped by his female Solar mate in the First Age and now hates women.
Not anymore it isn't. That was a terrible idea thought up for a 2e book, was not the original intent, and will not be retained.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/6/2014
There is that, yeah. Beasts of Resplendent Liquid are a really neat setting element but they will always be most loudly engaged with on a "lol pee, lol drugs" level.

[#][F] The Demented One - 3/6/2014
I got put on to it by Minton. It's good stuff!

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/6/2014
Originally posted by SuddenThunder View Post

Oh. My. God.

Clearly I am the densest person on the face of the planet because I hand not made that connection.

Right. I'm off to trade this trinket for a feather ...
You have excellent taste.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/6/2014
This is probably going to sound weird and a few people may even find it off-putting, but I tend to see the Exalted setting as existing on four layers, with different bits of literature inspiration contributing to different layers, one atop the other. This is just how I process things. Note that any given piece of literary fiction probably contributes to more than one layer, and in practice they're not as segregated as this post might suggest.

Layer 1, The Absolute Rock-Bottom Foundaton of Verisimilitude is history, anthropology, politics, and economics. This is so basic that I actually fuckin' forgot it existed and built up a three-layer model and had to slot this in at the end. You can get some of this from stuff like Three Kingdoms and Outlaws of the Marsh, specifically the bits about life in Imperial China (to the same extent the bits about life in ancient Greece in The Iliad and the Odyssey), and also a lot of the basic mercenary slice-of-life material from The Black Company fits here and, I guess, the political machinations in Game of Thrones (if you must), but generally for this your best bet is to read Seeing Like A State, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, 1491, and a lot of National Geographic and history and military theory textbooks -- all this informs the basic human experience in Creation that other RPGs tend to gloss over.

Layer 2, Weird Fantasy Fiction here we go here we go here we go. The weird fantasy surrealism of Tales of the Flat Earth, the dying earth post-apocalyptic landscapes and cities built around crashed spaceships of The Book of the New Sun, the actual dying earths of Jack Vance's Dying Earth and Clarke Ashton Smith's Zothique, The Gods of Pegana, any given shot of weird post-apocalyptic fantasy landscapes in Vampire Hunter D or Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, to some extent the first chapter of Journey to the West with Monkey exploring Heaven (although for tone that's layer 4), and a lot of the setting of Bridge of Birds (though, again, for tone that's layer 4). The setting of The Compleat Traveller in Black. The Bible also goes here, weirdly enough. Robert Howard's Hyborean Earth. Lovecraft. This is the setting, but it is not the Exalted, who stride across it like titans. The game is about the Exalted, and the Exalted themselves make the setting be about them through the weight of their influence, but it exists apart from them and these are the things you should check out if you want to understand what it looks like by default, whether due to their legacies or just intrinsically, because magic is a thing in Creation and it looks like this more than it looks like D&D (I would say "or Sanderson," but I haven't read any of his stuff; I've just gotten the impression that his detailed magical systems and politics tend to be, yeah, sanitized, and magic and politics in Creation really really aren't).

Layer 3, The Exalted is to some extent fantasy, action movie, wuxia, and shounen anime protagonists and to some extent the larger than life figures in The Black Company, Tales from the Flat Earth, Three Kingdoms, and Outlaws of the Marsh. Holden once told me that the main thing that drew him to Exalted is that a) it has the best fantasy setting in RPGs, but then b) on top of that it gives you completely broken overpowered h4x shounen anime protagonists to rampage around in it. For personality and drive and motivation the Exalted tend to be like Conan; the heroes of Three Kingdoms, Outlaws of the Marsh, The Iliad, or The Odyssey; Master Li or Number Ten Ox; Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad or Ezio Auditore; Genghis Khan, or Julie d'Aubigny; or for that matter Batman, but for power level they do tend toward the Lieutenants and Captains from Bleach. This keeps hanging people up! When we say things like "Conan is a great example of an Exalted protagonist" people hear "Solars in 3e won't be any tougher than Conan," which is not what we mean.

Layer 4, Whimsey. Okay, look. Creation is not a sentimental setting. People die of sepsis. Love doesn't conquer all, though rulers do occasionally put nations to the sword over a romantic infatuation. Genocide and ethnic cleansing happen, and atrocities accompany the sacking of cities. Creationites find themselves living in sitcoms about as often as people do in real life, and I think the "real" (whatever that means, in this context) experience of life in a Realm secondary school is not so much Ouran High School Host Club as it is "Life in a 19th century English boarding school" with accompanying power politics (and, er, sodomy). And yet, it is totally necessary that Realm boarding schools allow people to play Dragon-Blooded Ouran High-School Host Club, or Solar Utena, or whatever. Exalted: The Boy Bands is a supported mode of play. So here's where the wry humor of Bridge of Birds or the beginning of Journey to the West come in. This is why we have Beasts of Resplendent Liquid. Holden accused me of disliking these elements of the setting the other day, which is not accurate -- I prefer to see them as a light seasoning atop the rest, rather than really baked-in, but they're a full layer of the setting's tone rather than an afterthought, and every bit as worthy of attention as the other layers.

I think there are a lot of people in the fanbase who assume the layer 4 is as foundational as the layer 1 or 2 material, or who only engage with layers 1 and 3, or who don't see a separation between layer 2 and 3, or who basically swap out layer 1 and 2 for bog-standard fantasy cliches. Those people are consistently confused by things like The Book of the New Sun being a primary source, or us disliking the DoTFA portrayal of First Age Ma-Ha-Suchi.

Tales from the Flat Earth is absolutely the best source for layer 2 inspiration, and one of the best sources for layer 3 inspiration in that it tends to have high-powered history-shaping characters with the drive and vitality of pulp protagonists but who, unlike Conan, don't need a shot of Bleach to reach the appropriate power level.

[#][F] The Demented One - 3/5/2014
Either ability minimums changed or he's an awesome Ronin!
Ability minimums are the first thing I ignore when I write up a boss-style character. Don't take White Rose Prince's stats as anything indicative of what the actual book may say on the matter!

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/5/2014
Maybe it's a Team Fortress 2 crossover?

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/5/2014
I keep reading the bottom left as Sandwich-[something]-Frenzy. Orichalcum Chef MA confirmed for 3e, you heard it here first, etc..

[#][F] The Demented One - 3/5/2014
Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
"Risk speaking publicly about it?"
When you play the game of arguing about Exalted setting minutiae, you win or you die.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/5/2014
"Risk speaking publicly about it?"

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/5/2014
I don't think adding VPM-style shinma would add anything to the setting not already accomplished with spirits. Going to the bother of giving the existing Exalted shinma a new name just to add a fifth or sixth spirit type (depending on whether you find the Fair Folk spirit-y or not) would be the height of pointless; also Exalted generally takes inspirations from other sources but avoids direct ports, so as much as VPM is one of my favorite animes, putting the VPM-style shinma in the game is never something I‘d root for. I am going to say uou're barking up the wrong tree here, Hand-of-Omega.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/5/2014
Damnit Rand I couldn't afford all four of those. Fuck. Those were some ill-advised purchases. But I just can't turn down the possibility of carrying around the Flat Earth in my pocket forever! These, the Book of the New Sun, and the Black Company are Exalted!

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/5/2014
(Azrharn is basically Ligier.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/5/2014
Originally posted by JayTee View Post
So I recently ordered Night's Master. If I want to get the most out of it for my Exalted games, what should I be looking for?
The baroque feel and the way everything is completely fucking strange. The way Azrharn is a complete asshole but not presented as evil as such. The way people of incredible occult might raise up or tear down empires and best gods and demons pretty much because they feel slighted or they want to sleep with someone, or they feel slighted by someone they wanted to sleep with.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/5/2014
I'm pretty sure that dude who comes down from the sky and falls in love with a woman in the ground is literally a cloud person. Like, the elemental race of cloud people, that's just those dudes.