BogMod/WhyDoSolarsNotChangeLooks

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Dragon-Bloods shows signs of their element. Abyssals grow inhumanly attractive or ugly. Lunars have a feature that never changes. Sidereals have stars in their eyes.

Why do Solars not change? Thoughts, people?

Comments

Solars don't change looks because the central tenet of Solars is that they're exceptional at what they are -- they don't have any abstract concepts behind them beyond excellence. As all the other Exalt types become older and stronger, they grow closer and closer to their source of power (their element, their totem, their Maiden, Oblivion, or Autochthon...) in their nature, and so their appearance changes. While the Solars certainly grow closer to the Sun as they age, they also become more vibrantly themselves, resplendent in their personal excellence, and so they don't take on the aspects of anything other than themselves as they began. The power of the Sun is represented by their caste marks and anima banner, not in their raw physical countenance.

(This would be my "in-game" explanation, anyway. The other explanation that immediately occurs -- the whole "appearance tied to source of power/changes to match power as power increases" mechanic was far from firmly in place when the core book was written, only being developed in the bigsplats, and thus the Solars not having it isn't an intentional design choice so much as a product of development of the game mythos. If Solars suddenly start developing golden skin and glowing resplendence in the second edition of the game, well, that'd explain it.) -- AntiVehicleRocket (who also made a few spelling fixes; apologies)

The odd thing is that solars are so good at being what they are they are probably the most removed from being human. All those skills and traits that make one excellent they take beyond anything anyone else could hope to achieve. They comprehend things more then others through their mastery of lore, their sorcery sets them above all others, their charms are the most powerful of all. They do a years work in a day. These things fantasticly set them apart from the normal human frame, and they do not change. Just keeping the debate going. -BogMod
Solars are more human than anything; humans that have pure solar power backing them, sure, but at core they're people like anyone else. If you're going to go by real-world limitations on what a human can do, then yes, they're impossibly god-like. But in Exalted, they're simply better at being human than anyone else. I imagine there are Solars who grow golden and alien, because at core, they see themselves as different from everyone else (the sorcerors, especially, which doesn't bode well for the Twilights), but the majority of Solars are the great legendary human heroes, who fight against the alien and unknowable. There's a large difference between being human and being mortal, in my eyes. LeumasWhite, who thinks that was a great deal more rambling than intended
Part of what makes a human is their limitations. Age, disease, infirmity etc. A solar *looks* human but their skills and powers clearly aren't. If you can qualify being able to get blasted by the Godspear and have a mild bruise as just being something really human then I can agree with you. How can they not see themselves different from others? The most inhuman to be sure are the lunars who actually do something people can't, shapeshift. But with thaumaturgy humans can mildly manipulate the elements and fate. By your standards solars should be just as human as sidereals. Yet sidereals do change with exaltation. -BogMod
Well, Sidereals don't genuinely change after their Exaltation, at least not physically. They're born with stars in their eyes as I've read it, not going all starstruck when their strands of Fate get pulled. Of course, the Charms of the Sidereals might do some of their humanity in, but they basically look just as they always have from birth. - Patkin
I think BogMod's point stands, though - Sidereals don't change on the event of Exaltation, sure, but they do display physical differences from ordinary humans. - David.
If I recall correctly, Sidereals develop their starry eyes and characteristic iris colors as a gradual process after Exaltation, not at birth. Still, it's not a shocking physical difference, and it doesn't really change as the Sidereal ages. (Also, presumably some Sidereals are born with the "appropriate" eye color, especially Chosen of Serenity and Secrets.) -- AntiVehicleRocket
Not entirely sure if I see what you're saying, Bog, but... I'll try to clarify what I said above. Your everyday Essence 1 mortal is the weakest human possible. The Solars are basically more human; the same, but better, as they have higher Essence. The Lunars aren't; their humanity gets tainted by their bestial Exaltations. The Sidereals aren't; they get warped by their ties to fate and the broken Mask. The Dragon-Bloods aren't; due to their elemental affinities, and the Abyssals are goths, who barely qualify as human under normal standards (controversial statement!) The only thing a Solar has tainting his nature is solar power, which simply enhances what he is without changing him (though as I said, some Solars do become weird and golden). Weakness doesn't make you human, at least in the Exalted setting. IMO, anyway. - LeumasWhite
I disagree. The whole point of being an Exalt is that you have transcended humanity and are not lame. Being an Exalt is about being better by definition. They are a superior order of being. Humans are lame by definition. They get within a mile of something cool and they die. Exalts are rawk by definition. Once you hit 5+ in any Attribute or Ability, you've moved beyond the limits of humanity. An Intelligence 5 character could maybe have some faint idea of what it would be like to be Intelligence 6, in the same way that the fat ugly kid in your gym class could imagine what it would be like to be able to bench 350 and have women literally throw themselves at you. Solars, who are clearly stated to be the most purely awesome of the Exalts, are therefore by extension the most inhuman of the Exalts. Just think about it like this: You are an elder Solar. You can snap your fingers and your vast empire will literally double in size virtually overnight. Literally overnight if you use a Combo. You can build the Great Pyramid by yourself. You can probably beat the deity of gambling at poker. You owned God and his sixty bajillion brothers and sisters and locked them up in their own mutilated bodies before you reached the height of your power. Are you going to look me in the eye and say that somebody who can do all of that is human by any definition? But the Solars do get shiny, I will give you that. The old ones are glowing all the time, probably. Metaphorically and possibly literally. - Han'ya
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