Fixing The Lunars

Lunars have a bunch of little interlinked problems that add up to them being weak and pointless. It would seem that the obvious solution to them being ineffective and ineffectual is to make them effective—it would seem that the answer to "why haven't they done anything?" is to say "oh, no, they've done lots of stuff!"—it would seem that the answer to "Lunars seem weak and incompetent" is to say "no, see, they're very strong and very smart"—that the answer to "they live in the Solars' shadow" is to say "no, they outshine the Solars."

This has been bad. Bad bad bad. Because it's bullshit and people know it.

Okay, let's say that Lunars are canny and powerful—just slightly less so than the Solars themselves. Let's say their power is broad and limitless and all-encompassing, nearly as much as that of the Solars. Let's say they have magic to tackle anything and everything, if a bit less efficiently than the Solars.

So, after 1500 years of them outnumbering the Sids 3-to-1, why is Creation still a world defined by the machinations of the Maidens' Chosen? Why haven't these 300 almost-Solars grabbed Creation by the balls?

Well, you can say, Lunars made Chiaroscuro (which is a sop and everyone knows it). Well, they made Halta—Halta is huge! (Halta's hugeness is a cartographic embarrassment.) They made the Haslanti League!—well, no, one Lunar nudged the Haslanti League into existence, which is about the right level of impact for someone like Gerd. And the Haslanti League is a huge deal. Why don't we have 299 more of those? Why aren't Lunar machinations squeezing the Realm right off the map?

The more you grow the Lunars' collective dick, the more you have to ask why these 300 near-Solars have made less of a splash than the return of 150 actual Solars.

Now, obviously, the diametric opposite—make the Lunars shitty and ineffectual—is an awful answer. But what's been done so far is a rebuttal to that thesis, and it's quite clearly the wrong rebuttal because it doesn't fit the setting.

There are a couple of options from here, which have already been explored, and they're also bad.

- Have Lunars claim credit for a bunch of things previously attributed to other Exalt types. This is bullshit of the highest caliber and just makes Lunars look like a bunch of whining pussies.

I don't know if you're familiar with professional wrestling, but for such a lowbrow thing it has a very, very highly evolved lingo for describing story-building techniques within a complex milieu, which has proven very useful to me over the years. One of the pro wrestling concepts is that of 'building heat' i.e. generating interest in and support of a character with the audience. There are a number of ways of going about this. The most common, and by far the worst, is to steal heat from someone else. For example, you bring a relatively new guy out and have him beat the snot out of one of your established stars. If you are very lucky this builds heat for the new guy without hurting the old star too badly. More often it's seem as the cheap manipulation it is, and it just makes everyone involved look bad.

Good heat-building methods usually take longer and involve an established property 'giving the rub' to the guy the company is trying to 'push'—rather than just having the undercard guy go clown an established name, you have him start hanging around with the bigger guys, maybe tag-teaming with them, put them in some three-way matches where they're not carrying all the weight. By association with bigger names, some star power rubs off, and the transition isn't jarring. When they finally beat one of the bigger names, it seems like they've arrived where they ought to be.

In other words, you've elevated one of your properties without losing anything. This is better than building up one of your properties at the expense of another.

Lunars have primarily been given cheap heat throughout 2e—they blame the Solars for holding them down, they claim they invented sorcery, they claim Solars stole this, stole that, held them back. They're secretly responsible for Chiaroscuro. Etc. This tarnishes the Solars and makes the Lunars look like crap, because no, we don't actually buy that they're as big as they're trying to act.

- Rewrite the entire setting to be more Lunar-centric. This one's obviously not an option and really, it shouldn't be. Exalted has a great setting right now and it shouldn't be turned upside-down for the glorification of one supplementary splat.

So, you can't build the Lunars up effectively by having them steal other people's accomplishments, and you can't redo the setting to have 300 Haslanti Leagues.

The answer is, you play to the strengths built into the Lunars rather than trying to run from them, and you match those to the setting as it exists. The Lunars have spent a long time in development hell running away from the good things about them and trying to claim the things that worked for other people rather than figuring out how to apply the things that work for them.

Very soon now, we'll be bringing the Lunars home, and finally permitting them to be themselves. Their triumphs and defeats will be their own. Ten years ago, the Realm was the undisputed big dog of Creation—but now it's falling apart and the Lunars' main motherfuckers are back. Everything is in flux. Who'll be on top tomorrow?

Our job is to give you a solid platform to start telling that story from. And I can't wait to deliver it.

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