This Turning Creation Into Hell Business

from "Do Infernals HAVE to be Evil?" on the White Wolf forums

I notice a recurring statement presented as though it were self-evident, that to transform creation into hell is inherently evil. That this is an absolute, and from that assessment of morality, then Infernals must be evil. What is so very fascinating about this perspective is that you sound like a Yozi. My perspective is right, it is right in all circumstances and it is so right in fact that nobody anywhere can have a different opinion.

You point to the suffering of demons in hell, in the state of its society and the agonies of its world and say "That's evil and anything that would spread that must be evil." Why? Because you say so? Because your value set defines this? Because it is inconceivable to you that a world like that could be good? Remember that the Yozi are equally certain that they are right, that their opinion is the only one that matters. They tolerate siblings because they have to, because none of them are so powerful that they can truly ignore each other.

As I wrote the Charms, as you advance in them, it changes you. You become more like your patron, because the dirty secret of Yozis is that they are made of Charms. They don't just have magic. All those effects together make them what they are. Just as importantly, even the scary stuff absolutely does not have to make the world a more terrible place, because the difference between a warlock and a Yozi is that a warlock can contain more than the perspective of the magic that is changing him. In fact, he automatically does, because that power is grafted onto a human being. Because a Green Sun Prince is more than a single perspective, he is already more adept than a Yozi at responding to the world and using that power as he sees fit, because he can be flexible. When brute force is the best solution, the Ebon Dragon still can't take it. It's not that he thinks his way is better. He can't see another way. He's blind to it. When guile is better, Malfeas can't bring himself to do it. It isn't his way.

If you are a Green Sun Prince, then you are in many ways better than a Yozi. You are weaker, for now, but the more you grow, the more you really don't need your patron any more. You want your Yozi to be super-geniuses and they are, but they are supergeniuses who are as sure of their paradigms as you seem to be about your moral absolutes. Exalted as a setting posits the idea that there is no force defining absolutes except those with the power and will to do so. There is no detect evil, because not everyone is going to subscribe to your notion of good and evil. You do. And I get that. Personally, my own ethics agree with you and the 8 year Solar series I ran dealt heavily with the protagonists doing their best to shove that paradigm down the throats of the entire universe.

The saga of being a green sun prince is expressly NOT about being evil. The people who accept the bargain are sometimes bad people and sometimes not bad people. But what has been placed in them is — like with all Exalted — the power to decide what they want and impose that on the world. Yozi are paper titans. They are nigh-omnipotent idiot savants so that they can simultaneously outsmart you and be outsmarted by you. This is how the Exalted beat them before and the Green Sun Princes can do it again. In fact, the power they have makes them more likely to do it than anyone else because it encourages them to be a little more like their ostensible masters in their certainty that they are what matters, not these broken limited concept monsters. Fuck them. Let them rot.

The default assumption about where Green Sun Princes go narratively is that the Yozis get kicked in the balls. Again. And these things they made go on to be more than they could be and better. They are far, far more likely to rebel than to follow through with the plan, because the plan isn't in their best interest and it never was. What is in their best interest is to take that power and go be awesome with it. Change the universe. Maybe build a new one. Or two. Maybe a better and more just one. Maybe one where its denizens don't get the same chances to rebel because the perspective of a Prince isn't nearly so limited as to fail to see how to plan around it and recognize other perspectives. Warlocks are absolutely not damned unless they want to be. They can be killed, hurt, have their dreams crushed, but they are never beyond aspiring to more as long as they live and getting a shot at it so long as one breath remains.

I also note that you haven't addressed the issue of "My champion went rogue; what the hell do I do about that?" You point to sending demons after that person or other princes, and you say how rare and precious the resources are. So why send them after someone who has some of your concepts in him and is spreading them by using your charms when you could allocate the same resources to destroying a threat that is doing nothing except undermining you. If the Yozi have the power to go after their waywards, then they have the power to strike at enemies they hate even more, which misses the point of why they dared to engage in the whole Reclamation in the first place and try out this risky plan that is, in fact, blowing up in their faces from day one.

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