Why Creation Must Be Doomed

Again, it’s much easier to remove than it is to add. Having a game where the PCs can recreate the High First Age or set up an Indefinite Everybody Lives Happliy Forever After We Mean It is much easier to achieve than a sense of encroaching doom and fading glory that must, inevitably, crumble to dust.

There are dozens of gamelines and settings where True Ultimate Victory is possible for PCs to achieve. Exalted works because it creates that balance between heroic agency and tragic fate. The reason Creation is doomed is not because Oblivion or the Wyld or the Primordials are actually threats to it. The reason Creation is doomed is the same reason why we in the modern world haven’t done anything about global warming.

It’s the tragedy of humanity and everything humanity is, both at their best and at their worst. Creation is doomed because everyone is playing Betray in the iterated prisoner’s dilemma. Everybody is busy fighting and killing and blaming and gathering power and looking out for their own comfort and well being and screw them I got mine.

This is why a lot of people in this thread object to making easily ‘solving’ the problem a achievable end. Because the problem isn’t that you need to go punch Oblivion in the face or kick the Shinma around until reality is reordered into utopia. If the game says “well, all you have to do is X to solve the tragedy of the commons,” that severely disdains the actual tragedy of the commons. It diminishes what we find interesting about the game. We don’t want a setting where you punch the right bad guys, make the right dramatic speech to the uplifting orchestral music and end with a dance number (well, okay, ending with a dance number is fine).

We want a game where fixing things is hard, not just “You must roll 50 successes” hard but actual hard as in “you must trust this man you have every reason not to trust and in fact every reason to want dead but if you don’t trust him and compromise with him then both of you will die together and by trust I mean actually trust because in the end your glorious solar mindrape is something he can laugh off whenever he wants”.

I want something between Sailor Moon and Warhammer 40k, a setting and gameline where everyone is not inherently savable but still for human reasons and that yeah, someday it will all be dust but for now in this corner of Creation and for this day you can cancel the apocalypse.