Exalted 3e Playtest: The Zhaojun Chronicle

As a writer for Exalted Third Edition, I get to playtest the rules and setting before anybody else. I can’t share major system or setting details with readers; these things need to stay under wraps, either until the developers choose to spoil them or until the book is released. But I can talk a bit about my upcoming Exalted chronicle, which I’m running in 3e’s setting with the playtest rules.

The game will begin in Zhaojun, a satrapy at the far southwestern fringe of Realm influence. A complex web of political relationships—involving characters ranging from satraps, princes, spirits, and Guild factors to merchants, bandit chieftains, philosophers and charlatans—should give social characters lots of fodder. Meanwhile, the more combat-oriented characters have any number of potential adversaries to deal with, whether it’s urban clashes with soldiers, assassins, and thugs, or hinterland adventures against pirates, beastmen, or whatever bizarre monsters lurk in the wild places of the Age of Sorrows.

Character creation has given us a perfect circle of Solars:

Coravan Calan (Dawn): A career military officer from a patrician family in the northern Blessed Isle. Calan dutifully reported corruption among the officer corps to his superiors, only to find himself reassigned to the farthest edge of the empire for his pains. He has yet to Exalt. Calan’s player has an inclination toward highly moral characters.
Hakim Abbas (Zenith): Formerly the shaman of the Emerald Company, a well-respected Southern mercenary outfit headquartered in Gem, he has parted ways with them after his Exaltation. His only companion on the road to Zhaojun is Baladur, his talking lion. Abbas’s player is the most mechanically-minded in the group.
Harmonious Sanguine Blade (Twilight): Born to a Tengese mercantile family decimated by plague, he dedicated himself to the apothecary and chirurgical arts. After his Exaltation, he fell in with the Cult of the Illuminated, which encouraged him to further his medical studies in Zhaojun. Blade’s player is more interested in scheming than mechanics.
Zhou Yujen Merak (Night): Born into Zhaojun’s aristocracy, he lost everything when his elders were executed for treason and his family stripped of wealth and property. Now he’s a smuggler and a rebel, who aims to see Zhaojun’s royal house overthrown and the Realm ousted. Merak’s player enjoys complex, dramatic social situations.
Zhou Suria Lautan (Eclipse): A career officer in the Zhaojun navy, born of minor landed gentry. Though he deems himself loyal, his cousin Merak is whispering in his ear of how their people would be better off under a new regime. The two have commandeered a vessel to aid the incipient rebellion. This is my first game with Lautan’s player.

We’ll have our first full session next week. Until then, enjoy this photo of our game resources and playtest material!

Exalted 3e map and playtest packets

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