Okay, so I always wonder to myself, "Just how do Solars 'break' destiny?"
I mean, alright, fine, they've got high essence. High essence beings are harder to manipulate with Sidereal astrology than low essence beings. Gotcha. Okay, but how? What is it that lets them break the rules?
I'm taking a dump last night at like four a.m., and I figure it out.
It works like this; astrology does not affect people. It affects the world around people. Picture it the way Stephen Hawking describes gravity; as a large black horizontal sheet. You put something on the sheet, the sheet bends under its weight, and other things roll into it.
Well, I figure fate is sort of like that, except instead of the being's weight causing the fabric to bend, the Pattern Spiders weave it bent. So, you know, they sort of act like gravity. The Astrology won't make the plants grow healthy (-1 TN to rolls related to farming), but rather, the entire world's physics sort of bend in favor it - all the little gods just bend a little bit in that direction.
Here's the catch; we know that Coolness is a Force in Exalted. That's what happens when you stunt; you're exerting the force of coolness to overcome normal local physics. Sheer Coolness tears the local gravity-physics-little-god fabric apart. This is innate to all Exalted. The bigger the Exalted, the bigger his stunts, the more tearing he does. So, the force of Coolness directly overcomes the inclinations of local forces - sidereal astrology, fate, destiny.
And this lines up with the fact that Solars can - not neccasarily will, but can - overcome their destinies. If they act all normal and non-special (no big stunts almost being equivalent to no big charm use being equivalent to your Essence staying more or less the same; all of these things tend to go hand-in-hand) then destiny catches up with them.
This is even mechanical. If you don't act special, the thing fucking you (+1TN to everything) fucks you hard. (+1TN to a dice pool of ...say... 5 hurts.) If you act super-special (Charm use, stunting, etc.) then that same +1TN won't stop you from being so spectacular (a dice pool of 13 will still net legendary successes, even at +1tn).
If you act special, (stunts, charming, raising essence) you overcome the local inclination of destiny. You gain the ability to tear up fate; and that's how being an Exalt fucks up the Sidereals.
The Sidereals can only make the world lean in a direction; it's up to the Exalts being affected to act special (or not), and determine how much gravity actually affects them.
Of course, this is all sort of obvious in retrospect. Sometimes, it just clicks though. Last night, it clicked.
Commentary / Debate
I thought it was everytime an exalt uses essence they cause the spiders to add in their effects. Using charms and essence is changing fate. So while you have one destiny as an exalted you can still write your own and it comes down to who is stronger and trickier in the end over which fate wins.
I think this is most intresting and a lot like my own theory on the entire affair. Sidereals manipulate fate using the patern spiders. It's very diffinitive, as expressed in their set amount of charms, and generally discouraged from twisting fate and reality to much due to their close association with the pattern spiders. Dragon Blooded manipulate the elemental essence with their charms, bending fate this way, and thus their ripples are smaller. Lunars manipulate their own essence best, so the effect on fate can be devestating when they take on the guises of others and change plans. Luckly they are mostly hiding in the corners of the world, so dont cause to much bother. The Solars however manipulate essence - the world around them with sheer will - they uses their skills and rip the fabric of reality around them to do what they want. If they are doing what the sidereals want this doesn't disrupt the grand scheme of things to much. But as The Bull of the North proves when a Solar does what he wants the world trembles and changes under his will. - JackT
Very interesting, and quite possibly true. My take on the subject is somewhat broader in its scope, in that each individual affects the weave of fate around them to some extant, but only true heros have destinies powerful enough for this to have a mechanical effect, and Exaltation only enhance this with a tidal wave of power. Anywho, nice work. Jamez