BerserkSeraph/AbilityLunars

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Revised Lunar Exalted

With thanks to: FourWillowsWeeping, for always giving me better ideas than he knows he does (reflexive defense), DeathBySurfeit for his formatting, DariusSolluman for paving the way, Szilard for helping me beat my own path, and apologies to the guys who wrote Lunars for what I'm about to say about their work.

Reasoning

I recall opening Exalted: The Lunars with a good deal of expectations from the book - I had enjoyed the portrayal of Lunars to that point, of skilled and cunning warriors from the fringes of society, pairing the Kungfu drama of Exalted with trickster legends. What I got was...vikings. Fjord, fjord, fjord. And while I suppose a lot of Exalted IS about mixing genres - having Jet Li and a robot fighting a dinosaur - the barbarian aspects of the Lunars are...less than enthralling. It's like being the bumbling strong man in a martial arts epic - they guy who invariably gets beaten by the plucky hero when his brutish brawling method fails in the face of an opponent with actual skill. Or playing Werewolf, without the spiritual aspect - all the 'OMG 9 FOOT TALL WEREWOLF WITH 12 STRENGTHOOORZZ AND A KLAAIIIIVE' and none of the cunning, the tact - just being good at surviving combat costs the Lunar so much Experience he might as well give up on whatever the hell else he was thinking on doing with his supposed 'mastery of disguise'.

A wise man once said, though he may not recall it...

"BRBAR1NZ SUXX0RZ.

That is all."

So my thought here is to change the canon take on the Lunars, to preserve more remnants of their role and society from before the Usurpation - a somewhat lose social web of Lunars who tend to interact on a level less formalized than the Sidereal Bureaus and the Realm, which offers generalized 'starting' support but then withdraws - where a Sidereal's Sifu might happily teach his student for a decade, the Lunar's mentor will give him a season to learn all he can, then take off - this both restricts the social backings of the Lunars while giving them a bit more flexibility in their actions. Similarly, it creates a society in which those who are unwilling to adapt quickly or expand their horizons will inexorably be overtaken by those that do. Your mentor might help you subjugate that barbarian tribe, but two years from now he's going to help a new Exalt subjugate the tribe on the other side of the hill...if you haven't made something more impressive of your tribe by then, there's no sort of 'etiquette' that keeps your new 'cousin' from sweeping down on your horde with his own - the ancient Lunars have better things to do than settle territorial disputes for the young bloods.

On the other hand, the society also isn't quite as cut-throat as the Realm - if your tribe is conquered, you lose those benefits but probably not your life. You're cowed, like an omega is cowed, but not slain - you can still contribute to the society, and maybe you'll learn something from the experience. In this way, the Lunars assure that their 'young' grow in power and maturity - those that learn from their mistakes and show ambition will be able to leverage their starting stake into something greater, while those that remain indolent will get a scolding from their peers, which hopefully will incite them to try harder next time.

These Lunars will retain five castes, not just because it helps with my second idea but also to preserve internal numerology- I'm assuming that the Lunar control of their own form is an innate, rather than added, function of their Exaltation - just as Luna's form is dictated by her whims and her whims alone, so too the forms of her children. Tattooing becomes a social mark, instead of an anchor that perverts the Shard it mars - the Lunars are immune to the influence of the Wyld with the first brush of Luna's grace against their newly-Exalted forms. Thus they retain their original society, which will hopefully lead to more differentiation between Lunars than 'Warrior', 'sorceror', and 'other'.

However, and this is the greater heresy in my mind, I'll be divorcing the Lunars from their Attribute-based Charm sets. This is for a handful of reasons, the first and foremost of which is aesthetic. The Charm sets of the other Exalts flow so well, have such neat effects, that they affirm the ability they are tied to - they have more definition. Having high Manipulation is hardly affirmed by being able to turn an arm into a tentacle, and the sloppy Charm trees actively hinder Lunars that want to 'specialize' as the game suggests they do - any Lunar that wants to master, say, Unarmed Combat has to take Charms from all three attribute sets, with the resultant Lunar exp costs. And for what? To offset DBT. Which in and of itself renders many of those Unarmed Combat charms pretty pointless...

Instead, the Lunars will be ability-based. I'm also plotting to remove DBT.

I'll give you a moment.

Instead, seeded amongst the Abilities will be 'Transformation Charms', those charms that explicitly modify the Lunar's body in the long term. A Lunar will be able to build 'Shapechanger Combos' to take advantage of these explicitly-comboable Charms, creating for his or herself a 'battle configuration' that they can enter in mere moments, or even a set of them - a high-experience lunar may have a handful or more of these 'configurations', which he switches through as combat progresses - a Lunar's opponent may never know when he'll sprout wings, or gain the strength of a yeddim, or become terrifying in appearance, the character even capable of building various 'identities' for the configurations - and thusly playing out the role of an ultimate trickster.

With enough configurations sufficiently varied in appearance, the Lunar's godlike 'beast forms' might rule over five different villages at once, using five different names and five different images - in one place a squidlike deity of secrets, in another a lion-maned warrior with the strength of a bear, in a third a horrific scorpion-monster, and so on... the Lunar's configurations offer him 'toolbox' fixes to adaptive scenarios, mere moments sufficing to switch from, say, 'Bloodthirsty Shark-man' to, as circumstances require, 'Fleet-footed Stag'. True masters of their forms, the Lunars' Tell will become commeasurate to these Charms - the more battle configurations Uka the Boar masters, the more wondrous his fantastic tusks become. Shapechangers that wish to avoid displaying the Tell can simply avoid configurations, sacrificing the speed of change to have greater utility and more subtlety - such Lunars would have few Shapechanger Combos, but would be able to spend that time and experience on more Charms. While Anja Silverclaws cannot assume the One-Hundred and Eight Sublime God Bodies of the great Ma-Ha-Suchi, she need only wear gloves to disguise her Tell, and her stealthy abilities are second to none.

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Hmmm... looking over how you broke this up, I'm unsure why Survival gets regeneration. It seems to fit much better in Endurance. I'd see Survival Charms as focused upon adapting to fit harsh environments... and probably dealing with the Wyld. -szilard

I'm torn between Medicine and Survival for them. Endurance is all about long-term, and regeneration is all about not waiting. Medicine would benefit the Full Moons greatly (perhaps too greatly) whereas Survival would make, as you note, not as much sense. Ideally I could drop a meditative-slumber-fast-healing into Survival and some regen into Medicine. Endurance already has Ox-Body, so it's not like it's hurting
Regarding endurance... one way to have endurace is to self-repair as you wear away. That said, I suppose there is no reason why you can't split regen between abilities (and there are probably good reasons to do so). -szilard
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