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Departure from Canon

20 Dec 2012, 08:53

I'm starting to realize I really enjoy it when people sneak in variations on the core canon for Exalted. I mean, we've had lots of wack things happen that aren't spelled out (the Broken-Winged Crane was our first Devil-Tiger, Pluto was his daughter and she birthed the Maidens, the Abyssals killed off all the deathlords, etc), but what I actually mean is places where something unseen in canon was the case all along or happened long in the past.

The first time I saw it was when Skeptic Tank made the Locust War happen during the Shogunate; by the time our characters showed up, Gem had been built on top of the remains of Excellent Icon of Governance/New Yugash. Perfect Unblinking Eye (Soulsteel) went on to found Paragon, and the only other Alchemical, the Jade Caste Upright Tenet of Worth, took off to the West to help people where he could.

Bystanderman is really great for these. In the first game he ran for me, my Night Caste fell into the dimension Nowhere, where things that could have happened but never did end up. It had some cool connection to Five Days Darkness and the Ebon Dragon.

In the next game, he referenced the second moon in the sky (Autochthon maybe?) and my Sidereal mentor spoke of "The Faction" in Heaven. My Solar met a handful of deathknights and Infernals but not a single Solar, and all Immaculate philosophy spoke of anathema as silver moon monsters. The story in the end was that every single Solar but one died in the Usurpation and was caught by the Jade Prison. When the deathlords and Yozi broke the prison, they got every shard, so my Twilight was actually the last Solar.

I was just wondering if you guys had any stories of vast departures from the original canon?
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Daerim
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Re: Departure from Canon

20 Dec 2012, 14:25

I usually play it pretty straight with the canon because I'm very satisfied with most of it.

One bit that I loathe, though, is the Deathlords being super ExaltGhosts. In my games they're "normal" ghosts that have been powered up with thousands of years of experience and access to all three circles of Necromancy, as well as their surviving First Age knowledge and vast wealth. In the event that one of them is destroyed (and obviously the number of beings in the Underworld that can threaten them has been dropping since they showed up) the Neverborn just spit them right back out and tell them to get back to work. Add just enough Neverborn Essence to make them immune to easy cop-out solutions to ghosts and I think they're far more interesting antagonists and their relationship to the Abyssals is more nuanced and subtle. Plus, that way they make better chewtoys for the Neverborn who I view as a bit petty in their torment of the Deathlords for their [Exaltations'] involvement in the Primordial War.

I also think that it fits the Solar/Abyssal/Infernal power relationship better. The Solars have Sol Invictus, the Abyssals have the Neverborn and the Infernals have the Yozi. The demons make things a little iffy, but neither the Infernals nor the Solars have an intermediary group between them and their patron(s). The Deathlords just kind of got in the way and kind of provided the Neverborn with a sort of demon hierarchy that I felt smudged the lines between Yozi/Primordial and Neverborn too much.
 
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Re: Departure from Canon

20 Dec 2012, 15:44

The Deathlords were in my opinion nothing more than overpaid middlemen/women and they went and fucked that up by botching the Great Contagion. That in mind is where I started liking the 14th Deathlord concept from the 1e Abyssals book (naming myself yours truly). I figured since thirteen was just way too much and bickered like little children, all you needed was one. If for any reason I ever ran an Exalted game - the 14th would show up and start eating (sometimes literally) the other Deathlords and assume unmitigated power in the Underworld.

/rant

*ahem* Deathlords were meant to be proxies for the Neverborn since they couldnt physically affect the Underworld or Creation and the Void is widening of so slowly...by the time it devours everything you'd essentially have what scientists would call the "Heat-Death of the Universe".

/notreallyarant2

The Usurpation should never have happened at all, ever just because of the way the high level Solar social charms worked. Period. I'd like to see an alternate setting where the Solars were "rehabilitated" and the Great Curse dealt with accordingly.
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Daerim
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Re: Departure from Canon

20 Dec 2012, 20:09

Oh, and I factionalize the Silver Pact a great deal to account for what they've been doing with their time; basically fighting each other over Solar vs Anti-Solar (and within that argument the pro-, anti- and neutral towards the Sidereal argument), Current Civilization vs Different Civilization vs No Civilization, Creation vs Wyld focus, territorialism (including competition for new Lunars), social vs physical vs mental debate and more petty concerns.

And then I make up a bunch of little stories of individual Lunars doing suitably epic things. Some stock examples: A Lunar Mouth of Peace, god impersonator in the Bureau of Destiny, a nearly successful invasion of the Blessed Isle (usually from the south- or northeast) as a culmination to an Anethema Kingdom, lots of fear/respect within the Wyld Hunt and a story or two of Star (yes, I keep them) and Moon Anathema going at each other.

Which reminds me, I try to play up the fear of Anathema. I don't think the books really do this justice, but I can't really see the setting working with the kind blend of ignorance and contempt that I read about. Solars are damn scary and your average Lunar is going to be experienced, creative and tenacious on top of being one of the few things that can threaten the Dragon-Blooded across generations. The Star Anathema are mysterious and poorly understood, but they're out there, doing things. And with the development of Abyssals and Infernals, I can very easily see a kind of doomsday prophecy reaction to the Anethema starting to show their true colors.

That's where Avaku's cognitive dissonance should be coming from; that a confused child could be one of these unstoppable monsters.
 
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Re: Departure from Canon

22 Dec 2012, 10:22

Deaths Pale Mistress wrote:
The Deathlords were in my opinion nothing more than overpaid middlemen/women and they went and fucked that up by botching the Great Contagion. That in mind is where I started liking the 14th Deathlord concept from the 1e Abyssals book (naming myself yours truly). I figured since thirteen was just way too much and bickered like little children, all you needed was one. If for any reason I ever ran an Exalted game - the 14th would show up and start eating (sometimes literally) the other Deathlords and assume unmitigated power in the Underworld.

/rant

*ahem* Deathlords were meant to be proxies for the Neverborn since they couldnt physically affect the Underworld or Creation and the Void is widening of so slowly...by the time it devours everything you'd essentially have what scientists would call the "Heat-Death of the Universe".

/notreallyarant2

The Usurpation should never have happened at all, ever just because of the way the high level Solar social charms worked. Period. I'd like to see an alternate setting where the Solars were "rehabilitated" and the Great Curse dealt with accordingly.


I don't think the social mechanics magic effects that we got are the best groundwork to base the setting on. They tend to make everything rather short and uninteresting.
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Re: Departure from Canon

22 Dec 2012, 10:57

Deaths Pale Mistress wrote:
The Usurpation should never have happened at all, ever just because of the way the high level Solar social charms worked. Period.


I don't really see this as being the case, seeing as the Solar charms would be running into equally powerful (in some cases, more powerful) Sidereal social charms and defenses. The weakness of the Sidereal magic is the massive amount of preparation time and/or the high cost required, neither of which are that much of an issue when you're working on a slow-developing conspiracy and only need to worry about activating the defenses against the occasional Solar investigation.

Anyway, on with subject at hand!

Out of the four campaigns I've run or am currently running, none of them have deviated that much from canon, mostly because I don't see the need to. I find the Exalted setting to detailed enough that I haven't gotten bored with it yet, and I haven't had any big ideas for changing the setting.

I do change the occasional thing to make my games more interesting. For example, in the game that has an Infernal PC the Reclamation is a lot more subdued and disorganized than the canon Reclamation, just so the PCs don't have to worry about it infringing on their game. It pops up from time to time, but for the most part it sits in the background.

In another game I ran, I decided that one of the Solar PC's prior incarnations (the Twilight, natch) had invented the Jade Prison as one of his mad scientist schemes. It was part of a complicated plot that tied into the whole nature of the Great Curse, which wasn't a creation of the dead Primordials, but rather a result of the tension between the perfection of the Exaltations and the imperfections of Creation.
You can dare to do anything and succeed in anything, provided you never forget that two and two do not make four; in clumsy hands, they often make three or even less; but they can make five or six. - Louis-Herbert Lyautey
 
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Re: Departure from Canon

24 Dec 2012, 12:03

Henry wrote:
In another game I ran, I decided that one of the Solar PC's prior incarnations (the Twilight, natch) had invented the Jade Prison as one of his mad scientist schemes. It was part of a complicated plot that tied into the whole nature of the Great Curse, which wasn't a creation of the dead Primordials, but rather a result of the tension between the perfection of the Exaltations and the imperfections of Creation.

We had sort of a Jade Prison Jr. pop up- our ubiquitous villain Bone-Feather had captured his hated Solar mate's Sidereal advisor and tortured them until they told him something interesting, which ended up being about the Jade Prison. He didn't duplicate it, but in a short period of time he had managed to make what we called the Jade Lantern, which would hold a single shard (and light up, a power Path always viewed as the evil icing on the cake).
"Well, we can't piss off the Unconquered Sun a second time. If he turns his back on us again he'll be facing us this time."

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Re: Departure from Canon

28 Dec 2012, 19:13

The Jade Prison is a good source of fun. I'm a sucker for any sort of mystery about the nature and meaning of exaltation - what the Jade Prison was, whether there are more kinds of Exalt out there, past life memories, the metaphysical implications of exalting, all of that stuff. It's the most magical, romantic thing in the setting, even more so than the Wyld and the Primordials.
You can dare to do anything and succeed in anything, provided you never forget that two and two do not make four; in clumsy hands, they often make three or even less; but they can make five or six. - Louis-Herbert Lyautey
 
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Re: Departure from Canon

30 Dec 2012, 07:42

True

Plus I honestly can't imagine the deathlords/Bronce faction ignoring a potential stratagem as useful as perhaps rebuilding or making a new jade prison...

Heck, the deathlords already have their solar-conversion devices - so expanding that to possibly work with DBs, lunars or sids... maybe even GSPs

If you play with the Irreverent Vulgate being a deathlord made from a lunar ghost then having her secretly work on making abyssal lunars could be a fun 'oh snap'

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