The Why Of The Daystar

The first five Daystar posts were about selling the legend of the Unconquered Sun and the Daystar, and telling the tale of Exalted through a lens of support for the big guy's side of the story. That meant showing him in lights which were sometimes unfavorable (the mysterious ledger in the Phyrium) but also painfully human (the sarcophagus in the Den of Reason). Mostly, it was about talking about how genuinely heroic, awesome, and unbeatable he is. Which, if you've forgotten already, includes overcoming all the worst the Holy Tyrant, All Shadow, and Divine Ignition could throw at him. It also included an attempt on his life by Kimbery, and surfing Isidoros into the Faraway like a gigantic guided missile.

Generally, it was about presenting the overwhelming magnitude of his power, such that it held back the forces of chaos for countless millenniums. Such that he steered Isidoros by his tusks and fought with enemy Primordials to keep safe the world. Such that he gave Creation the Solar Exalted to save it from his masters, whom he could not raise his hand against. His was the greatest heart of them all. His was the first human conscience, the one that said "enough is enough." Whatever else his motives were—to take the Games of Divinity, to sit On High, to supplant his masters—his desire to save humanity from suffering drove him along the course he took. For the Guarding Star, saving Creation became more personal. It became "saving the people of Creation." Only, the way he went about it obsoleted himself. I don't think he entirely intended to be displaced by the Solars after giving them the mandate to rule Creation, but after a time there came a point where he saw all the great guns and power he could wield as a relic of earlier times, and a legacy of beings he would rather be forgotten. This was what he wanted, in a way: to be relieved of his duties, and to hand the reigns of perfect power over the most excellent men and women in Creation. But then there came a time, before the horrors and blasphemies began, that they simply stopped needing him. They built their towers high, such that the sun was beneath them. And it seemed as if they only remembered he existed as a matter of rote. These facts were not lost on him.

But now the ancient Solars are gone, the Realm Defense Grid is out of reach, and the wonders of the First Age are gone. So with the Daystar, we have the remnant of an amazing, unbelievable power all out of scope of the rest of Exalted. The very Essence of the Unconquered Sun, moving through Creation's skies, with all the power and wonder and miracle in the world carried within it. To some, that might seem a little intimidating.

For example, someone once wondered why the Daystar should so completely outstrip the Five Metal Shrike in terms of magitechnological advancement. I said:

"Despite all its seeming, the Daystar is only a machine because that's a convenient way to interact with it, and only an airship because that is the metaphor which fits the mythology. It is still the sun. More important than the Daystar is the god it was made to birth. It is a representation of his powers, as roundabout as that seems, given the nature of gods and their dominions. But it is literally true—the sun is an allegory for the Unconquered Sun. Rather than comparing the Shrike to the Daystar, compare the Daystar to your character's Exaltation."

The final part of the Daystar leans heavily on this fact. I spent five posts building it up as this amazing, game-shifting, world-changing weapon. Then I spent the final part describing its weaknesses. How it failed during the Balorian Crusade; why it can't just blast away the problem of shadowlands; why it can't just blow up the world. Rather it centers on the heroes who fly the Daystar, and the things they are able to do for it, with it, but less so because of it. We have a Sidereal training it, and Lunars driving back one of its major predators; we have Sidereals using the Eyrie to unlock the Daystar's full gamut of powers by communing with the Loom of Fate; we have Nysela putting the focus on Solars, Abyssals, and Infernals, and charging them to right the wrongs that they have done in this life or the one before and not caring what cosmic asshole's agenda they are beholden to. We even have an instance where the Unconquered Sun is on the ropes against what many Exalted players consider to be an insect-level threat, and Luna steps in and saves the day. The Daystar, then, is about empowerment of you. Your characters. Your ideas. Your stories. It clearly demonstrates that the very fact of its overwhelming presence doesn't make the existence of a single raksha unimportant.

Most importantly, these postings are not about what the Daystar can do, or what the Unconquered Sun can do. Rather they are about what "you" can do; what your characters can do with the Daystar's powers and weapons. Your options might broaden when you board the Daystar and are confronted with its endless depth of miracles, but the focus is on your character, and what he does with his / her powers, rather than a story about the powers themselves.

For some (many?) of you, the Unconquered Sun largely sits off screen, out of sight, out of mind. Just as the sun may simply be the sun in your games, not a relevant actor. But the absence of the Sun is largely symbolic; just a backdrop to what's important. When this writeup ends, and the ball is back in your court, Exalted is all about "you."

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