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A collection of notes about and ideas for the new setting.


Why did the Maidens leave?

They're insane, having finally lost it completely.

They're avoiding some danger to heaven.

They've switched allegiances to the Dead.

They've switched allegiances to the Demons.

They're pretending to switch allergiances so as to work against the Dead/Demons.

They're deep undercover, having developed uber-RDs, and are now posing as Deathlords, Demons, Gods, etc.

This is just something they do every few thousand years to reset.

They're used up, and it's time for new Maidens.

An un-noticed trap in the Loom finally went off, and it ate them.

The Pattern Spiders rebelled.

The Unconquered Sun evicted or killed them.

They're testing their underlings' loyalty.

They're fighting among themselves (literally or figuratively), and they took themselves out of reality to avoid giving it splash damage (literally or figuratively).

Where are they now?

They're just missing (on a mission, hanging out Elsewhere, etc).

They're completely destroyed.

It's arguable that the Maidens have to be functionally insane to do their jobs. For example, they can't possibly be in one place at a time. They can't care about anything else in the way that they care about their Attribute. So they may not have the same pieces that a sane human consciousness does. For example, Maidens may not be stateful. That said, maybe they're broken up.

They're completely destroyed except for one bit, which is with the PCs.

The PCs have their personality, but no memory or power.

The PCs have baby rebooted tiny Maidens, who cannot do much useful to begin with.

The PCs have inanimate totems of the Maidens, which are useless.

The inanimate totems can be activated to provide some level of utility.

The inanimate totems can be inspired to become living, mildly entertaining animal companions.

The voices of the Maidens echo in the character's heads, principally played by other PCs. For example, Thomas might be playing Nameless Crow and The Voice Of Mercury.

tmack: That's my favorite idea so far (although I would prefer not to get stuck voicing Mercury).
bts: I picked Mercury to demonstrate that you're playing the voice of someone else's Patron. You're certainly not playing a Journeys, so...
tmack: Right, I noticed that, but still, ewww, Journeys. If we wind up going ahead with this plot, I think Nameless Crow might broach the subject of whether the Maiden of Journeys is, strictly speaking, necessary to the long-term strategy of the organization...
AT: Ooh, the Shadowguide mechanic. I always loved it, though I'll admit I was never a great Shadowguide. In order for this to be interesting, I think the Maiden voices need to have some well-defined traits and goals, and they need to be at least somewhat at odds with the characters.

How is the world broken by this change?

Astrology is harder.

Sidereals have to spin fate directly. Or at least *can* spin fate directly.

The Maidens no longer curtail the Spiders' hate. Paradox is more of a problem.

New Stars cannot be made.

Creation is crumbling, one mile of radius per day. In thirty thousand days, Creation will cease to be.

Heaven is separating, one gate closing per week. In sixty weeks, Creation will cease to be.

See the Discworld novel "Reaper Man."

Life gets weird. Instead of things falling down, they fall up. Then they turn into fifty pumpkins.

More fate/reality breakages, starting small but then growing. Beings from outside creation use the opportunity to slip in.

All the normal suckage of the age of sorrows is happening (Solars, Empress disappearing, etc), but it's because the fate-planning system is fvcked.

New (i.e., reincarnated) Sidereals can't be made.

The Unconquered Sun decides he needs to take a more hands-on, proactive managerial approach to Heaven in the Maidens' absence.

How are the PCs involved?

For some reason, the other Sidereals aren't really helping much. It's the PCs solving this. Why?

Are the other Sidereals too busy holding ground, so only the PCs solve the problems? E.g. if the Spiders rebel, the other 95 Siderials are busy weaving the loom by hand (or forcing the spiders to).

Perhaps the Maidens appeared to make grand speeches explaining that they're going away for a while and everything's planned... whether that's really them or not is in question, but 95 of the 100 buy it.

Perhaps the other Siderials are corrupted or mislead in some way and can't be trusted.

Perhaps the PCs have the unique maguffins, embedded in their shards.

Perhaps the PCs are just one of many teams dealing with small problems, and are lucky to find the real problem.

What does it take to put them back together?

What does it take to put them back together?

People to replace them.

To find certain of their old bits.

To find all their old bits, but some are broken or lost by the time you get there, so you'll need replacements. Three or five bits/Maiden seems right.

They're just gone; you'll have to have new ones made?

tmack: An idea off the top of my head:

We can't. The campaign isn't about restoring the Maidens; it's about figuring out how to keep the world running now that they're gone. Factions include gods who want to restore the status quo ante, gods who want to use this opportunity for a promotion, gods who want to use this opportunity to indulge in a bit of corruption now that their meddling bosses are gone, demons who think that this is a great opportunity to take over the world, and so forth. The Sidereals themselves may divide themselves by caste (especially if the Maidens are at least nominally still around), faction, or goals they have for how to continue. In addition, the Maidens themselves may have an opinion on the matter if they're still around, even if they're in no shape to continue their duties; they may want refuse to accept their demotion, arrange for underlings to carry out their former duties but still boss around or advise their replacements, serve as the kingmakers to choose whoever winds up replacing them, or follow their own super-sekkrit plan to gain power.

What's the timing of the game?

Question 1: When does the Maidens crisis take place in the canonical history of creation?

Have the Solars come back yet? Deathlords? Abyssals? Has the Empress disappeared? How much are each of those likely to get involved?

A Fate-centric worldview leads me to think the Maidens disappear first, and everything else is the result of poorly-planned Fate. That only makes sense if the game spans years, though, which leads to:

Question 2: How much game-time does the crisis span?

The kind of crisis we're setting up could very easily lead to a sense of urgency which leads to no downtime. That keeps up excitement levels, but likely leads to lack of ability for characters to advance (lacking training) and a lack of an ability to demonstrate the long-term effects of broken Fate on Creation.

The timeframe could be stretched if the crisis isn't one of imminent doom, but of gradual degradation. Fate violations get more and more frequent, and the Siderials get more and more busy fixing them. Along the way, teams are sent to investigate (or accidentally find) the clues which lead to parts of the final solution. That would mean more of a missions+downtime approach.

Related question: how long does it take? How much do the characters advance over the game?

Not at all.

4ish XP/run.

5ish XP/in-game-year: one year, one century.

Other planning notes

Notes from the end of February

External Shards in the form of Spiders.

Just pre-game, the Spiders manifest and start talking.

Two major plot sources: Fate Violations in Creation with evidence that Heavenly records and planning were way off, and Heavenly politics itself as the factions squabble over the vanished Maidens.

AT: One point we discussed was the idea that only the 5 PCs are not blind to the fate violations. Everyone else thinks they're normal, based on an effect similar to an RD (except this one works on the other Siderials).
Caste People Spiders
Serenity Bring back and re-establish the Solar Deliberative Misrule the Bureau to justify the return of the Yozi
Battles   Drown the world in War? Invite in all the enemies of Creation?
Endings Trim the Corruption of Creation, largely by killing things. Overpressurize the Underworld, re-incarnating the Neverborn.
Journeys Add Poles? Construct Hoardings? Add a third axis to the flat Creation? Manipulate the Poles to change the border with the Fair Folk.
Secrets Abolish Essence use not under the control of Heaven. Break the Games of Divinity, stand down the Exalted and revoke their Mandate, and establish the direct rule of the Gods.

Notice that each of the Spiders is severely blind to the threat of one major doom for Creation.

AT: I'm not sure that's true. Journeys isn't actually inherently bad for creation in any way, and might need adjustment based on that. Secrets isn't clearly bad for Creation, just bad for the Exalted (and maybe secretly bad for Creation if the Great Curse gets re-directed to the Gods).
tmack: The flaw in the Journeys spider's plan is that Creation's size is what keeps the Fair Folk from sweeping through it and instantly taking it over; they're distributed along the 30,000-mile circumference of the Wyld. If Creation is compactified, it wouldn't have any boundary for the Fair Folk to amass on, but it would then be small enough that very bad things would happen if the Wyld ever returned. I agree with you about the Secrets spider's plan not necessarily being ruinous for Creation (although Nameless Crow would vehemently disagree). On the other hand, screwing over all the Exalted definitely seems like a horrible idea (and, frankly, this game is about the Exalted). For that matter, depending on how far it's taken, the idea of drowning the world in endless war doesn't have to involve the Sidereals at all.

BTS: I need to start writing up Factions of Heaven and Fate violations.

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