“Ask the Developers” Thread Summary

For those interested in the Exalted Third Edition “Ask the Developers” thread on RPGnet but don’t want to wade through hundreds of posts, I’m putting up a list of answered questions here, stripped of side conversations and meta-discussion.



Imban:

We’ll start with the big question: About how long until we can play it, would you guess?

Holden:

Most of the rest of the process is out of my direct control (and expertise, as I’ve never seen them executed up-close on a work of this size), so I wouldn’t really want to speculate. I know what it should take, but I also remember Mummy and W20 getting held up for ages with art and indexing issues.

John:

We strenuously avoid answering this question with any sort of specifics, because life is unpredictable.

We are putting the newest mechanics in the core through personal playtests, which is slowing things down a bit. We also pulled back a few small sections to review and tighten at the last minute, but that shouldn’t delay it that much longer.

To put it into context, we are already working on the next three books.


Legopaldi:

Hi Holden! Hi Hatewheel!

1) ( In general) is combat going to be faster than previous editions? If yes, does that mean that there will be less dice rolling? Or maybe the outcome of the battle will be decided in less actual time? Or both?

2) Will the corebook contain enough antagonists (or guidelines for making some) for the ST to create a whole campaign or should we expect a supplement for that (a la Storyteller’s Guide)?

3) Will the setting be similar to 1e and if so will I be able to use stuff like Scavenger Sons for fluff in Ex3?

Holden:

Combat can vary tremendously depending on how many characters are in play and what tactics are being used. We’ve seen them go anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, with groups that have gotten used to the system and aren’t doing the first-session constant rule lookups. The more significant thing is that rounds cycle fast and there isn’t a lot of waiting for your turn, and what you do in each round has a lot of weight and meaning.

John:

Re: 2) We have packed quite a few NPCs into this book. We also want to do a bestiary in the future.

Re: 3) There will be changes but Scavenger Sons will still be pretty accurate!


Arachne:

Siege weapons. Implosion bows, ballistae, catapults… what Abilities cover those? Are there siege weapon charms? If I wanted to build a character who uses siege weapons or heavy, vehicle-mounted weapons in combat, could I?

John:

War and Sail. The corebook only has very basic coverage for this. We plan to do more later. There’s enough there for you to have fun, though.

I wrote around 900 Charms for the Solar set. I can only recall one that directly interacts with siege weaponry off the top of my head, not counting Excellencies.


Lea:

To answer a question raised repeatedly: The “Present” of the setting remains R.Y. 768, five years after the disappearance of the Empress, amidst the political turmoil caused by the return of the Solars and the slow realization within the Dynasty that the Empress may not be coming back.

The 2e comics remain noncanonical, as they were throughout 2e.

(I’m not a developer, but I can answer this in a conclusive way that hopefully moves the discussion forward.)


Cybertier:

After discussing my girlfriends dislike for Scion, she came to the conclusion that playing a Powerful Being in itself was not problematic, but in a setting where everyone is special, no one is. Being a Scion is rare, but not unique to the PCs. Hence making a character with a One Unique Thing (stealing from 13th Age there) is difficult, especially for someone new to the setting. I’m backed Exalted but did not play the previous editions so my knowledge of the setting is limited to what i picked up online.

So the question is:

How much would one need to bend or break the setting to make the PCs the only Solars (maybe with super-few exceptions, so you can replace characters) in Creation?

John:

We encourage you to change the setting to best fit your campaign. That particular change would be a fairly easy one–just run a game where the Jade Prison is never breached.


Brian888:

How’s the work coming (if at all) on (a) the Getimians, and (b) Heroes of the Niobraran? I’m VERY interested in those.

John:

We have done a lot of work forward into the edition, but it’s way too soon to speculate on those.


Pandora Caitiff:

Will there be some sort of “Creation in a Nutshell” setting-primer for players who don’t want to wade through the books, but just want to jump in and play?

John:

The corebook is a very nice jumping-in point. The entire premise of the game is covered in just a few pages, and there are plenty of brief but vivid setting locations to give you a lot of starting ideas. The book has enough mechanical support to keep you going for years.


Theliel:

With said 900 Solar charms is there a plan for an character builder or character App? If anything other than D&D 4E (and Shadowrun…and Eclipse Phase..and Legends of the Wulin) needs one it’s Exalted.

John:

The guys at Anathema are working on a version for EX3.


Kenichi-kun:

Are you planning to do new Signature characters/Circles for all splats? Is there anyone you are particularly itching to reveal?

John:

We intend to do new signature characters for all splats, yes.


Mechanix:

How awesome will be my Solar houndmaster who fights by sicking a pack of dog Familiars on his opponents while he circles around them and fires arrow at them?

John:

That is a frighteningly good strategy.


Korhal_IV:

OK, serious question: what is the name of your favorite sorcery spell inn 3e so far?

John:

There are too many. Wait and see!


Dorchadas:

I would like to second this, but in my case, I’m curious how well Ex3 will support heroic mortal games and whether the same “fantastic heroics layered over brutal sword and sorcery” feel has been kept?

Holden:

Mortal heroes feel a little more like Jet Li and a little less like “Swords & Sepsis” than previously, but combat for a mortal is still tense and terrifying. Our playtesters have had a lot of fun with pure-mortals testing.


Caleb:

Did you encounter anything new that left you wondering or a new problem to tackle when something was changed from previous editions?

John:

Yes. We have consistently had to challenge mechanical assumptions with almost every Ability while writing the mechanics. Some lacked any kind of support. We also had to work concepts into the fabric of the setting that there just wasn’t room for previously. Among other things, this required that we increase the size of the map.


Danelsan:

So, questions for the developers:

1) Some areas of the rules everyone probably expected to be troublesome. Sorcery, Craft and other similarly sticking points for the fanbase. Now, was there anything that seemed simple enough at first, but turned out to be a lot of work to get it to where you wanted?

3) Assuming one is not all that good at making custom Charms, are Godblooded characters feasible with only the core book, or would it be better to wait for the Exigent book for the Charm Matrix and essays?

John:

1) I knew almost nothing would be simple, and I was right.

3) This type of question is always difficult to answer. Everyone has a different idea of feasible, playable, etc. We could take the material in the EX3 core rules and spin it into absolutely anything. But I just got done writing around 1000 distinct mechanics for the book, so my judgment is a little bit biased. We will have to see how the players handle it. In any case, we want to do a book with rich covered of all the different kinds of God-Blooded eventually.


Uqbarian:

Thanks for asking our questions!

Will the core book contain a system for large-scale social interactions, e.g. something like the Creation-Ruling Mandate from Masters of Jade?

Will warstriders be in the core book?

John:

There is a way to handle large scale projects and attempts at exerting temporal control, large scale political influence, but it is nothing so complicated as what we printed in Masters of Jade.

Warstriders will be covered in Arms of the Chosen.


Darth Quiris:

Just wondering… could I make a mutant ninja teenage turtle that has the power of a Solar Exalted? (Just got back from watching the new TMNT movie… way better than I thought it was going to be.)

Kinda more seriously… since this is Creation… and there are so many Exalted now… will there actually be options in the future of playing Exalted types that aren’t human? like rats and turtles?

John:

Beastmen Exalted are a long-standing tradition we wish to see continue.


Darth Quiris:

Also… why did you choose to keep with using a modified Storyteller System for a game world that had shown twice just how badly fit the dice system and its rules were for this world of Creation in Exalted?

John:

We rebuilt the system to run Exalted. We really like Attributes and Abilities and feel they provide a beautiful feeling for the game’s magic and dice rolling.


Caldorian:

To rephrase my question: Can we expect to see formerly “canon” NPCs in 3e (e.g., elder Sidereals like Chejop Kejak or Ayesha Ura, elder Lunars like Ma-Ha-Suchi or Tamuz, Realm biggies like Ledaal Kes or the Roseblack)? Or do you start with a tabula rasa regarding canon NPCs?

John:

Yes, most of the old favorites will return.


Zeea:

This may have been answered before, but how prominent will daikaiju-style giant monsters be? Will we get stats for any early on?

John:

Exalted has behemoths—great beasts that lurk near the edges of Creation, immortal and infused with ancient power. They are unique, singular beings, and usually immense. Some resemble present-day animals. There aren’t as many now as there were in the past.

Whether we will stat them remains a secret.


Jon Chung:

This is not a trap. I am genuinely interested.

a) Is the game constructed such that the most optimal path or the path of least resistance should produce non-degenerate game states?

b) Is the game constructed such that the probability of random newbies hitting trap landmines and having their games explode is as low as reasonably possible?

c) Is the game constructed such that the system is designed to take as much systemic design pressure as possible off the GM’s (untrained) judgement?

d) Is the game designed around the assumption of GM overhead error-correction compensating for a) or b)?

These are pretty important checkboxes regarding whether or not I wanna buy this.

John:

Yes to the first three, no to the last. We have not relied on ST intervention in the mechanics at any point in the design.


Mr Stabs:

You’ve mentioned that Lunars have a greater place in the setting. What specific things have they done to change the setting, other than their new specially-fated home?

John:

They are represented within the setting and have several important “fronts” that they never had before. Whether they change the setting is up to you. But now they have that representation.


MrMephistopheles:

My questions for the development team would be. Of all the new setting elements being introduced, are there any particular ones that you feel people will be able to integrate easily into their games or feel will be difficult to? Also how satisfied have you all been with the implementation of (some limited, if memory serves) social mechanics into combat situations?

John:

We think Exigents will be a great boon to anyone’s game. At the same time, they can be a lot of work to support early on. Which is why we made the decision to get the Exigent hardback out quickly—we want to give Storytellers a lot of assistance in building their own Exalted. The Exigent hardback will work whether you use Exigents or just want to do your own homebrew, as well. We also plan to support new Exigents throughout the life of the edition.


Thorbes:

I have a question:

How new player-friendly is this edition of Exalted? If I know absolutely nothing about Exalted before (and I don’t know much besides it exists) would I be able to get full on track with this new corebook or would I still be missing a lot of information and be incapable of participating in any online forum about the game without the lingering threat of my head exploding from oversaturation of data?

John:

You will easily be able to play the game with just the corebook. It has been written around presenting a setting that is for you to modify, with lots of room for customization.


Mechanix:

Will I be able to run cool plots about the forgotten jade dagger that alone can slay Ocean Father, or the prophecy that Sondok will only die permanently when drenched in the blood of her own daughter, or will my players point at one page in the corebook and say “this low-hanging Charm says I can permakill anything ever so don’t even try”?

John:

Storyteller has control over the game. But whose interests are you serving by ignoring what your players want?

Mechanix:

The issue is that it’s rarely an unanimous thing. Sometimes you have one player who thinks “find the secret weakness” plots are boring and overwrought, while another finds “you can permakill anything by buying that one Charm” dull and stiffling for the creativity of the game. I speak from experience.

Of course, it’s always best to discuss it and find a compromise that works for everyone, but when what one player likes is written black-on-white in a book and it gets ruled out by the ST because another player didn’t like it, frustration and discontent arise.

I’m not sure there’s a good solution, but then I’m not the developer, so I wonder how it will be worked out.

John:

Our position is that it’s the Storyteller’s game, but it’s not much of a game if they can’t keep players.


That Other Guy:

Could you sum up how you view each of the Exalted splats (Solar, Lunar etc.) in one sentence?

John:

No way! I have way too many words for them. But for new players, I would like to try anyway, by answering it in terms of “play space” or what kind of narratives the different Exalts slot into.

The Exalted: Men and women chosen by the gods, given a spark of divinity which gives them unique and strange powers which allow them to contend with the monsters and horrors that have infested their world–even the gods themselves.

Types of Exalted:

Solars: Heroes returned from a long death to find that their powers and place on high have been stripped and that they are hunted by the Realm.

Lunars: Shapeshifting heroes with the mythical might of beasts, who wage and endless war against the Realm.

Sidereals: Agents of Heaven and arbiters of destiny who control the Realm from the shadows, through the religion of the Immaculate Order.

Dragon-Blooded: The elementally-aspected masters of the Realm, whose Empire is built on the conquest of nations to strip them of wealth and resources, so that the Realm and the Dragon-Blooded grow ever stronger on the milk of Creation.

What is the Realm? (Not one sentence, but I will try to keep it brief.)

The Realm is the greatest empire in the world. It is the home of the Dragon-Blooded, and ruled by their mother and queen, the Scarlet Empress. Or was, until she vanished five years ago. The Realm stands on the Immaculate Philosophy, which teaches the superiority of the Dragon-Blooded and characterizes the Solar and Lunar Exalted as Anathema–vile aberrations that must be slain on sight.


Nobble:

How has social combat been reworked… will the awful, ‘Start physical combat’ get out clause be stil present?

John:

Social influence works in combat, but it is pretty dependent on your social interactions beforehand, and some things are simply implausible without a lot of work. Don’t expect to convince the Wyld Hunt not to kill your Solar.


Argent:

[…] I mean that I hope that social influence will have a bit more teeth than people simply having to go “no, I just don´t feel like listening to your arguments”.

Lea:

Yeah. 2e went with the following line of thought: “Dodge is better at defense than melee, because it’s dedicated fully to defense and melee is for both attack and defense.” -> “Social combat is structured the same as physical combat so people won’t have to learn a new system.” -> “The social equivalent of physical combat’s melee is oratory, because it can be used to make arguments of your own as well as counter the arguments of others, while the social equivalent of physical combat’s dodge is ignoring your opponent’s argument.” -> “Therefore the best way to defend against your social combat opponent’s arguments is to ignore them, rather than countering them.”

Like, 3e social influence paradigm doesn’t really intersect with that line of thought at any point. It’s not even called social combat anymore!


Dulahan:

Are there any new big influences that did not exist in the 1e and 2e days but played a huge role in ideas and themes for 3e?

And naturally, what are they if so!

John:

It’s hard to say with authority, because Geoff Grabowski is so well-read, that we found an astounding number of influences in the work when we went looking for them among our own interests. A lot of the newer influences were on the mechanics. We used a lot of concepts from fighting games to inform the combat system. Street Fighter 4, Guilty Gear, King of Fighters and Dissidia all played a part in helping us form our assumptions about game balance, action, resource spending, etc.


Nabla:

How advanced is the work on Infernals?

John:

Not very. We’ve made some important discoveries but all of our work is in note form at the moment.


Gentleman Grunt:

Given the expansion of the map, are we looking at an increase in size and scope of the numbers that currently spread through Creation? I.E. are there more dragon-blooded than 2E, more Solars, Lunars and the likes? Are the latter three still capped at their exact numbers like before?

In regards to evocations, (no questions about hard mechanics of course) do they operate on a passive or an active ability set? What I mean by this is do they provide passive/static bonuses, or are they abilities that must be activated much like charms? If they must be activated, what is the cost in comparison to charms?

Thank you for taking the time out of your schedules to answer our questions!

John:

There are slightly more Dragon-Blooded. Not a lot. 100 Sids and 300 Solars, and around 400 Lunars. Exigents have similarly low numbers.

Evocations are like Charms. They can be passive but most are active. They have slightly higher costs typically than Charms.


Blackwingedheaven:

So, are Solars and Lunars no longer paired Exaltations since their numbers are different?

Lea:

I think we’re going back to the 1e standard of “In the First Age, diplomatic marriages between Solars and Lunars were common, and these sometimeso-to-often blossomed into meaningful relationships, so you can have a lost romance with your ancient spouse or his/her modern reincarnation if you dig on that sort of thing.”


R-90-2:

I’d still like to see an answer to Matt’s earlier question on how much on-page room and support there’s going to be for heroic and “bright” games over “everything is doomed to fail”. If the game is going to be it’s own thing, I’ll probably pick it up, but if it’s just going to be a WoD game in shinier clothes, the odds are much, much smaller.

John:

I can’t speak for Holden, but the question baffles me personally. I have always viewed Exalted as being inherently optimistic.

animea90:

I never got that vibe. Adventures are written as grimdark to contrast with how amazing your heroes are. THe world is terrible right now and its your solars job to fix it in a heroic campaign.

Do you mean you want lighter, more comedic games? Like “the goblins have been stealing our pies, go teach them a lesson and get us our pies back!”.

John:

It’s an interesting question. Tone is set by the Storyteller, based on the desires of her / his players. The default of the setting is that the Second Age of Man is the final Age of Creation, that all must fall away—nothing lasts forever. So now your decisions matter more than ever. The things you do will resonate. You strive against a foe more insidious and implacable than any Yozi—time. What will you do? Where will you stand? Will you save Creation or destroy it?

R-90-2:

Well, here’s where I’m coming from on this- I’ve encountered quite a few published games where the pitch is “The world is terrible, but your crew are the badasses who can save it!” only to go into the actual rules text, setting description, and game advice to find out that it says “sorry, that ain’t happening”. Secondly, I’ve encountered too many people in this hobby, especially recently, whose definition of optimistic is “There are only two babies on pikes in front of the gates instead of four.”

The idea that Exalted is an optimistic setting isn’t even close to being universally held, in any case.

John:

The setting is not optimistic, but the premise is. Just like real life.


Odd_Canuck:

Edit: and yes, the abilities that are “You want stuff from here to be good/hard to hit/do damage in combat” are marked out so that you know this fact.

animea90:

In theory this is a really good idea, but 2e told characters that Ox-Body Technique was all but mandatory, and it was a complete trap charm.

Hopefully the “You need these charms” developer picks are more accurate.

John:

He playtested the Charms. That is not just speculation on his part.


SmilingBeast:

In 2E, the incentive for super-specialization was great. Combat characters tended to be focused on a single offensive Ability, and, if needed, a defensive Ability as well. The Dawn Solution Ink Monkeys material addressed this somewhat, rewarding Charm purchases cross-Ability. In 3E, will uber-specialization be far and away the best option again, or are there things to be said in favor of cross-training?

Apart from the new anima banner, is there anything in particular that makes the Dawn Caste the greatest warriors among the Solar Exalted? Yes or no is fine, to avoid getting into the system. If not, at least this time I’m sure they’re not worse warriors than others.

John:

In EX3, it is implausible for most players to have every Charm in one Ability, due to the size of the trees and the need to branch out. I also put a high premium on every Ability; there are really good reasons to buy up multiple Abilities rather than to just buy up one Ability and make necessity grabs on a couple of others. The Charm tree now rewards diversity and deep exploration of multiple trees.

Re: Dawns: Yes.


Golden Demon:

If diversity in Abilities is encouraged, there’s no particular reason to assume that the combat abilities are somehow exempt from that, imo. If anything, given that these are the people who developed the Dawn Solution, I’d say that cross-combat-Ability synergies are virtually guaranteed.

John:

There are very few Charms between the combat Abilities which cross over with one another.


Golden Demon:

Oh! Well, nevermind then. 😛

In that case, I suppose the prior question stands – whether or not there are explicit cross-combat-Ability synergies, is there any significant tactical advantage that can be gained from spreading your investment out, rather than going all-in on one Ability?

John:

Yes, there are advantages to using different types.


SamLL:

Exalted 2e has a reputation to many as an ambitious and interesting setting, that was let down by mechanics which looked good on the surface, but proved a large source of anti-fun in practice. At least, this is true both here on RPG.net, and also among my real-life friends who don’t talk RPGs on the internet.

I can’t claim to speak for a large group of people, but I know my feeling towards 3e can be described as “interested but cautious”. I intend to wait and see whether 3e mechanics are similarly good-looking but flawed, and I intend to do so by hearing the opinions of people here on RPG.net who are known to be able to carefully analyze rules sets – I independently fell into many of the “traps” and “holes” they identified with the previous rules set, and their analyses let me really understand exactly what happened from a game design perspective.

With this reputation floating around the community, do you think it would be a good marketing move to give review copies ahead of release day to some people with such reputations, and who had negative evaluations of the 2e rule-set? Or should I continue to plan to wait several months after release day for the reviews & careful mechanical analyses to shake out before making a purchasing decision, and tell my friends to do likewise, when they ask me what I hear about this Ex 3e thing?

Lea:

I believe the current plan is for Kickstarter backers to get an early post-layout-but-pre-final .pdf so they can pore through it and find any typos I may have missed during editing; this is something White Wolf has done for their previous kickstarters of this sort. That should generate the sort of analysis you want before launch day.

SamLL:

Cool, thanks. It sounds like you are saying that there’s not going to be any kind of request or demand for secrecy on the part of the backers who get their early ebook version?

Lea:

I have no idea, but, uh, considering how many backers will be getting that .pdf….


perfect^inzanity:

I have a question from a player of mine. Does the Familiar merit cover a giant panda that can walk on air?

John:

Yep.


El_phantasmo:

Sweet. I read that as it being possible but the merits/backgrounds have had a serious rework to be better. Result.

I still love Simhata, I’m hoping they’re still a thing in the setting, but I’m sure some other options will be available in the Core? Hopefully with some lush art depicting them?

John:

Simhata are awesome. I think you will be pleased with the corebook’s art.


Poisson Resistance:

Are the siaka bigger than they were in previous editions? Lea mentioned that the intention behind them was to be the prehistoric megalodon (whichever genus name you want to use), but 35-40 foot size range given in the books is a bit small compared to the 50+ feet that they likely were.

John:

It’s not exactly a megalodon.


Mejiro_Night:

As someone that missed the Kickstarter and lives in the UK, how easy will it be to acquire a physical copy without identifying someone with the book and arranging a daring daylight robbery?

Is there more support for ‘narrativistic’ type charms at higher power levels, where a Solar can basically declare ‘I’m awesome, I spend x motes and awesome happens over time’?

John:

You will be able to order a printed version and the pdf through http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/

As for Solar Charms, could you elaborate on what you mean by “awesome happens over time”?

Mejiro_Night:

Well, for social stuff, you tend to start off with ‘add dice’ or ‘know targets mood’ or other quite useful one-to-one or in person things. 2nd ed had some nods to larger scale things, but it mostly felt like ‘make a roll. Some time later, make another roll. Repeat for a while, and you get an effect.’ This tended to be a little bland, and a bit too crunchy for my tastes. Combat was often similar, where you could be rolling the dice to see if you botch, basically, fighting against mooks that cannot harm you (yes, I know the GM can technically say ‘you win’ but it felt like Solars should eventually get ‘you kill [Essence] in extras per turn’ or something). Something more like ‘because I’m so majestic, then the country is loyal to me’ or ‘I develop a spy network, because I’m that kinda guy’ where you can just do something, because you’re that damn good.

Actually, do perfects still exist? Perfect attacks and parries were always one of the cooler parts of Exalted, where you can just declare ‘screw you, I hit/force you to miss.’ Something like that, but extended to non-combat things, and for extended actions.

John:

Re: Charm scope: We decided to avoid writing Charms that solve problems and resolve conflicts.

Re: Perfect effects: Perfect defenses do not exist as they did before. They are now pinnacle defenses with some obvious flaws. There is no Charm to be perfectly safe from the attacks of another character.


Dulahan:

Would you be able to give us some more Strawmaiden Janest? Well, anything?

Art? Teaser charm? Stat writeup? More fiction… really, anything!

John:

She will show up again.


Ira_the_Squire:

Dear developers,

This is awesome! Thanks for this thread.

I have a question that may or may not be answered: I was wondering what was the tone that you are aiming for when writing the book? As in is the setting going to be closer to “here are a ton of problems in Creation, but you are heroes so you actually can fix them” in 2e, or “here are a ton if problems, but your flaws are going to be such that you’re just destined to repeat the mistakes of the people before and the world stays sucking no matter what you do” in 1e?

Many thanks!

John:

The premise of the book is about the return of the old heroes who raised up the greatest age of enlightenment and peace there ever was. The champions of righteousness who carried their light into the pitch—they have returned when their world needs them most. The subject of the book is the Solars, and briefly, the return of the Solars. It takes an optimistic tone to the return of the Solars, but that optimism is cautious. We didn’t pull any punches about how imperiled the world is. The Solars might save the world–or they might be the ones who destroy it.


Isator Levie:

Question: Are the guidelines for how different Exalted can use Evocations something that’s going to be laid out in Arms of the Chosen, or would we have to wait for each individual book on them?

John:

There will be good things for most of the Chosen in Arms.


Kergonan:

It may be completely off subject, but here are my questions:

1 – We know that Evocations are linked to Artifacts, but can you tell us if the two (Evocation charms and Artifact merit) are linked and if the Evocation system makes all or part of the Artifact Background – now – Merit irrelevant ?

2 – Are the various items created by Solar charms (like Glorious Solar Saber) considered valid Artifacts for building Evocations ?

3 – Does the Core book allow the conception of realm building Solars ?

4 – Does the Core book Lore charm tree do more than the usual Wyld protection/forging, theorycal teaching and essence/willpower transmission thing ? I almost always had to rely on homemade charms to build a Solar scholar who actually felt like it.

John:

1: Higher dot rating, better Evocations.

2: No, they’re not.

3: Solars are god-kings. Exalted allows you to tell many kinds of stories, including this one.

4: Yes, much more.


Kim:

What can you tell us about changes being made to Warstriders?

(Reason for asking: I’m planning on having my players encounter one in an upcoming session, and it would be neat to be able to present it in somewhat of a representative light of things to come ^^)

John:

Warstriders are boss. Look for them in Arms of the Chosen.


sandact6:

Are you worried that the massive volume of charms may detract players?

I mean I heard from someone a while back that solar Dodge has like 20 charms now. Even with just 2e core I’ve heard people say there’s too many as is, so how can I help convince them that the amount of charms isn’t the brick wall it seems to be?

John:

I am not worried about it, but I am also aware that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

At a glance it might look daunting, but there are a number of reasons why it isn’t.

1) Many Charms are upgrades or modifications of an earlier Charm. They offer simple expansions or alterations of a concept you already understand, rather than giving you a number of various effects.

2) You start out at Essence 1. While there are 20+ Charms from Essence 1 to 5, there are maybe 2-3 at Essence 1. You will have time to learn as you go. By the time you reach Essence 2, if you enjoy Dodge, you are probably ready for more. Or maybe you’ve decided by then that you’re going to do Craft or something else instead.

3) The Charms were written so that it would be difficult to learn all the Charms in one Ability. Viability is established at a lower bar, mastery at a higher one.

4) You don’t actually have to have every Charm just to compete.


Robert A. Rodger:

Were the rules or at least basics of Lunars, Sidereals and Terrestrials developed in tandem with Solars, or was the work done on Solars first and the others left for their own projects. (I do not mean are you putting those rules in the first book, but rather were the rules and charms for Solars developed with interaction with the other Exalts in mind from the ground up?)

John:

Yes and no. We’ve done a lot of projections and test work, based on things we discovered while writing the Solar Charm set. We laid out frameworks for pretty much everyone, though some are more complete than others.

We are already working on the Dragon-Blooded Charm set.


Niles:

Has making the mechanics for spirits more robust and interesting to interact with received much attention? The poor function of their charmset always seemed to discourage story focus on them in prior editions.

Holden:

Spirits are designed to be as user-friendly as possible in this edition—we’re using a pick-up-and-play model for published spirits, and when designing your own gods… well, they’re almost infinitely diverse, rather than using a clunky universal toolkit. I always felt like the 1e and 2e toolkits restricted more than they helped. Gods are intended to be impressive and interesting again.


ADamiani:

OK, how easy is it to run this game?

Particularly with regards to statting NPCs and monsters. This was always the biggest obstacle to me in previous editions simply because of the amount of time it required– especially if I wanted “mechanically flavorful” NPCs or characters that could represent a reasonable-but-not-overwhelming challenge to the PCs.

In third edition, can I reasonably expect do this in 15 minutes? In 5 minutes? On the fly?

Holden:

We have a way more robust selection of antagonists ready to go in the corebook, and a Quick Character creation template for NPCs that I think will fit on two pages (I can’t swear to that as I haven’t seen the thing post-layout and illustrations play havoc with expected word-flow). For something of lesser status than an Exalt, you should be able to bang an NPC together in a couple of minutes, at least once you’ve used the template a time or three. For Essence-users it takes a little more time, since the power-assigning method could go anywhere from “steal a likely-looking effect from Fakharu, and another from that example Lunar, and one more from the Blood-Ape, call it a day” to making up five custom effects from scratch. That part will get easier the more supplements we roll out and the more pre-made effects you have to just grab up and plug a template dice pool into. The objective overall is to let you just grab shit off a list rather than having to do a bunch of calculations on your own. We have a table showing all the Essence calculation results for all the core Exalts, running from Essence 1-5, so you can just grab the appropriate Essence pool values and plug them in rather than having to calculate them by hand every time you drop in a DB antagonist, for example.


Scutarii:

I’d love to see (either from the devs or from the community) a series of pre-built ‘charm packages’ with a simple theme and effects that are OBVIOUS TO THE PLAYER (by which I mean taking a charm that gives +3 dice when outnumbered is not acceptable, but a charm that gave you the ability to strike three times in one round or affect an AoE would be acceptable) for use in building NPCs.

E.g.: a Bruiser package, which is a few charms that has one or two ‘visual’ special attack style effects.

Something like ‘if I were making a DB who was all about elemental bolt attack and I could choose only 3 charms to do it and I ignored prerequisites, how would I do it?’

Gayo:

Yeah, I’ve been thinking about this too. I might try my hand at this eventually if it still looks to be necessary when I’ve been through the book, but it’d probably be a little while, since I would be naive to jump in without play experience. It’s a good idea, though!

Holden:

If memory serves, the 2e Storytellers Companion had exactly that, and nobody really used them.

(edit: Which is odd, because I remember seeing them, and thinking “oh, that’s a really good idea, that should be useful,” and then never using them.)


Lea:

There’s going to be a lot of MA Charms because of the Kickstarter thing, keep in mind. What’d we end up with, eight styles?

Holden:

Eleven.


John:

To clarify, it’s around 900 Charms in the Solar set. Not counting Martial Arts or Evocations.

It might just be 800ish. I haven’t counted.

Holden:

I have. It’s in the neighborhood of ~780.


Anu:

What’s Stealth like? If I decide to play a character who’s likely to turn into a fireworks display like a Dawn or Zenith Caste, can I still get something out of Stealth charms throughout the fight, or would I be more likely to use Stealth to gain an initial advantage and then never use it again?

Holden:

There are a lot of ways to build a Dawn or Zenith, and a lot of ways to use Stealth. You can use it as a tactical lynchpin, or as just a start-up boost in battle– both have their pros and cons, and both are beneficial.


Roadie:
As a birds’-eye-view sort of question, why go for the choice of directly copying the 2e Ability set, instead of changing up the bits people tend to find less-than-useful because of the uneven or overlapping scope of the Abilities? (Dodge, Ride, Sail, Melee vs. Martial Arts, Archery vs. Thrown, etc.)

Holden:
Change them to what? Exalted has different considerations when selecting an Ability array than other games– every Ability is a stylistic silo for Charms, which are kind of the meat of the game. If this were, I dunno, Changeling 20th Anniversary, I’d fold Dodge and Thrown into Athletics in a heartbeat. In Exalted, that would be dumb– they all have ENORMOUS depths of style to mine in different ways with Charm sets.


Fresh Ninja:
How is the core book art doing on diversity/inclusiveness? Gender balance, ethnic diversity, but also stuff like showing men and women with many different body types. Is there a process in place to ensure the core book and other releases do well on that front?

Blaque:
Well, from the sigs we know that:
– Volfer is a kind of Conan dude who is probably what we would call Caucasian on Earth but has a good surfer tan thing going.
– Perfect Soul is a black woman in pretty significant armor who rules a kingdom and was a high priestess.
– Shen is Chinese Dr. Strange + Spymaster
– Nova Claro has anime red hair and is a pretty swarthy lady.
– Prince Diamond is kind of pale, but also covers up a bit and while biologically female is dereth and so is considered by himself and his culture to be a man for all intents and purposes. The fluff blurb with him in a backer preview never even brought up his biological bits. He’s a he and he is a badass.

I’m sure other signature characters and art bits about will probably have more stuff like this.

Holden:
Novia is black. Perfect Soul is more middle eastern-looking. And while we don’t have a China, and thus no Chinese, Shen has epicanthic folds and is intended to look roughly Han Chinese.

Lea:
My understanding is that Creation’s ethnic groups don’t correspond perfectly to Earth’s, but a rough equivalence is as follows:

Volfer: Caucasian-ish man.
Perfect Soul: East Indian more than anything; woman.
Shen: Sort of Han Chinese; as Holden says, he’s got epicanthic folds; man.
Novia Claro: Black woman.
Prince Diamond: Bedouin Arab. Also basically a trans man, to the extent that dereth maps imperfectly to the way we frame trans people.


Isator Levie:
Just for the sake of clarity, the writers have clarified that Prince Diamond is explicitly transsexual and uses the Dereth custom to express his correct gender, which would not necessarily be the perspective and motivation of all Dereth, or the terms in which the Delzhan frame the custom; in terms of his culture, Diamond is in the same boat as women who would prefer lives of hunting and duelling, which their culture gives them recourse to pursue without undermining their traditional gender roles by allowing them to declare themselves men.

Holden:
Kinda. That’s stating the case for the Prince more strongly than I would. Prince Diamond wouldn’t really have the context to articulate a lot of that—gender is very much culturally defined for the Delzahn, and I think he’d take significant offense to the notion that “some Dereth are just women who like hunting and dueling.” Those are not the binaries he was raised with.

Also, trans is often a spectrum, not a light switch. He’s not interested in seeking out a sorcerer or god to swap out slot A for tab B, for example.

Wuse_Major:
Out of curiosity, does he prefer Dereth women or non-Dereth women to date? Or does he not care?

Also is “swapping out Slots and Tabs and such” going to be explicitly mechanically supported, or otherwise be something that a Sorcerer/God can just do in 3e? I ask, because, in the previous editions, while there were a bunch of various effects that could theoretically do it, they all required a greater or lesser extent of homebrew (there was no official ‘Genderswap” Mutation for example). The only official way to do it was a single overpriced Hearthstone.

I’m hoping that this is going to be an example of the kind of things that Sorcerous Workings can just do, because that would be cool.

Holden:
It’s an example of the sort of thing that a sorcerous working can do, although like all significant workings, it’s neither cheap nor easy.

Gayo:
Hmm. Assuming I’ve built at least moderately in that direction, is it costed in such a way that it’s reasonable to actually use it for things like this? One of the traditional problems with sorcery was that all the really cool, flavourful things it could do were debilitatingly expensive and difficult to learn, so people only relied on the handful that were strong and most of its potential went underutilized. I could see this being an issue if flavourful works of modest effect are as difficult as less-flavourful but more potent works (like the Ritual of Elemental Empowerment, or whatever), and the entry barrier is sufficiently high that doing even one is an undertaking.

I suppose it almost has to be easier than inventing a custom spell in 2e, paying XP for that spell, and then using it, at least.

Holden:
It’s enough of an investment that sorcerers are famously selfish about what kind of projects they’re willing to sink their time and resources into.


uteck:
Not sure if this was asked before, but since it was brought up I did not see any mention;
Will the 11 Martial Art styles just be unarmed combat, or will they lead to MA becoming the munchkin skill again?

Lea:
They will definitely not be all unarmed, because at least one of them, Celestial Ladder Style, is all about beating people up with a ladder, Jackie Chan style.

Blaque:
According to TDO over on the OPP forums, Heaven’s Ladder got rotated out in place of Steel Devil. This is in part as I gather because the six styles the backers chose were half weird esoteric stuff like Dreaming Pearl Courtesan and Black Claw, and Steel Devil is a more traditional straight-forward style to balance that out.


Holden:
(We do not actually have 220 spells. It’s more like 25.)


The Lowtide:
So, I had a character concept that, while I think it’s rather creative and cool, I think it’s sufficiently unusual that I’m unsure if it can even be done, and would wonder if its even possible under Ex3 without custom charms. The idea was a Twilight craftsman (weaponsmith) who fights with daiklaive-sized chunks of raw metals, using the bodies of his enemies and the ebb and flow of combat to shape them into proper weapons, making each daiklaive out of the battles in which they are fought. Could that be finagled to work with GM discussion, or is that one of those pipe dreams?

Holden:
Not supported out of the box, but pretty easy to kitbash together with a cooperative Storyteller.


Lord Raziere:
I have a new question to ask: can this still be canon? Because it was one of the good things about the history of the First Age. the entire Exalted Host breaking down into war over the fact oh my god we can die of old age and aren’t actually completely immortal. is just too good to get rid of in my opinion.
As a general thing, Dreams of the First Age was never published, as far as EX3’s concerned.

Holden:
In defining your own vision of the First Age, you could have some period of historical freak-out like that, if you like.


Fresh Ninja:
Is it possible to pick the vast majority of your Charms from Evocations, to create an Iron Man style character? Someone who maybe takes “personal” Charms for building stuff and being a charismatic asshole, and invests the rest in his suite of tricked-out super-armors?

Holden:
Over a long enough time scale, yes. I wouldn’t terribly advise it for various reasons, but if you really wanted to, you could do that.

sakii:
but wasnt a character defined around his mystical weapon something possible, or is it something specific about this example??

Holden:
To have enough bandwidth to pour all your XP in that direction, you’ll need multiple artifacts, and you’ll be quickly limited by things like “I only have two hands to wield daiklaves with at any given time” plus mounting attunement burdens. Those issues can be mitigated by various means, but they’ll still give you some problems that other character concepts wouldn’t have to deal with. Being a Solar with magic items is ultimately better than being “just a dude” with magic items.


sakii:
would it be viable to pick two of MA, sorcery and evocations, becuse i have a friend who wants a martial artist sorcerer, another a martial artist with the artifact weapon of the style ( twin blades with the new MA for dual wield ), and i want sorcery and the evocations of my golden bow.
is that a good idea??

Holden:
Yep that’s very viable. You might run into budget issues if you try to do all three, though.


JMobius:
You can make any game silly if you want to do so, but the native tone is dialing back the gonzo elements.

Lea:
I really like the gonzo elements but not when they’re the point. Like, we’d never have the Sidereals not get paid in chocolate coins, but it’s not necessary to laugh about it in the book itself.


sakii:
what are the requeriments to learn evocations, i thougth that is was abilities + essence like all other things but after re-reading the fluff saiy that it is the bond that one has with the weapon,
that would mean that someone who used the same blade for years througs several deadly battles, carefully cleaning it and maintaining its sharpness should have a great bond even if he is not one of the best swordman in the direction

Holden:
Yep, you’re pretty much on the money.

Of course, you really want skill and native Charms backing up your Evocations to get maximum bang for your buck.


John:
Archery, Brawl, Martial Arts, Melee, and Thrown are not all equal. If they were, there wouldn’t be a point to having more than one of them.

If there is a hypothetical Martial Art that uses a bow, it will be inferior to Solar Archery at doing the things an archer is expected to do—fight down range and destroy armored targets.

Martial Arts will not give you free range access to every weapon type in the game. Likewise, you can’t combine Thrown and Melee using Iron Raptor, and you can’t drift Melee Charms over to your Brawl weapons.

Each Ability is defined by significantly different gameplay.

Zeea:
This sounds really awesome, then. All of the weapon charms essentially being the same was my big problem with the Solar charms in the 1e core book, so if it’s different now, that’s really cool.

Is there any chance you could summarize the difference in them? Like, what Thrown would be good for that Archery isn’t, or what Brawl would be good for that Melee isn’t (beyond being able to fight when disarmed, since I doubt that would really affect gameplay feel)?

John:
Archery can crank out the most consistent damage but it builds momentum slowly from a distance and is less defended up close.

Thrown is good at close and medium range but suffers at long range, builds momentum faster than Archery, and has more options for disabling, tricking, and multi-attacking opponents.

Brawl is terrifying up close, building momentum quickly, but it is not very well defended. It cranks out massive amounts of damage, and is great when one is outnumbered. It can mitigate some of the distancing advantages of runaway types a little better than other Abilities.

Melee has great defense and attacking up close, it builds momentum really well, it has a couple of ranged attack options.

Martial Arts is broken up into styles, each which has their own strengths and weaknesses. An example would be a style that uses a ladder to traverse difficult terrain, do grapples at short range, attack opponents over distances, etc. Another would be one that emulates the snake, with evasive maneuvers up close, and ways of penetrating armor with bare-handed strikes and using Essence venom to cripple an opponent’s ability to build momentum.


MagisterCrow:
So I know this is a far away concept at the moment, but what is the dev teams current vision of Sidereal Martial arts? I know I personally always imagined them being less “REAL ULTIMATE POWER” and more strange and esoteric concepts made manifest. Probably why Quicksilver Hand of Dreams was a favorite flavor wise. So again, long ways off and can’t spoil mechanics, but maybe a “they might do this”?

John:
We’re still kicking this one around. Our intention is that they be accessible by E5.

John:
When I say accessible, I mean you have the entire style, not just one Charm.

MagisterCrow:
I sorta figured as much, both the kicking and the essence levels. One other curiosity: is the plan to roll SMA in with the titular Sidereals or in a later supplement? I was always disappointed with how almost all SMAs in 2e were in Scroll of the Monk (I should put a period here…) instead of in Sidereals where they are the most hyped.

One other oddball MA question from a friend of mine: any plans to resurrect Cobra or has it been folded into Snake? He asks because he had a character that used it and Black Claw due to their synergies. Will Snake work as an adequate substitute for a poisony assassin art?

As always, thanks for the response. Always enjoy the communication.

John:
There will be SMAs in the Sidereal hardback.

Cobra will return eventually.


Lea:
Also NPCs don’t use the XP rules, and we by default do not assume that people in the world advance according to the crazy constant upward thrust that player characters in roleplaying games traditionally do. (Note: Exalted PCs are player characters in a roleplaying game.)


Gentleman Grunt:
My group has a very important question that we’re hoping can be true. Given the (wonderful) flub that was the Mask of Winters, will he still have his one glaring weakness? My group is inordinately fond of the Mask of Winters and his inability to read and write. It makes a terrifying villain, brings him down just slightly to understanding, but still an absolutely terrifying villain. I know it was Errata’d, but we tend to ignore that.

Is there any insight on the momentum system for combat that you might be able to give? I’m curious to know if it’s a tiered system, or if it’s a bonus that slowly increases as you gain momentum. Will ganging up on one person increase the momentum gained by a magnitude, or is it simply additive?

I remember a while back there was a reference to two other types of exalts. One was the Liminals (spelling?) that was this sort of undead construction type thing? Are those still a plan, and can you tell us more about them if they are?

The other was some sort of exalt that was designed to screw with the Sidereal destiny thingamajiggers. Something about pattern spiders running up and down their spines and using two different types of essence, depending on which they used changed their charm effects. Are those still a thing as well, and can you possibly tell us more about them? (Or was I hallucinating the entire thing about these types due to a lack of sleep from various sources?)

John:
Mask of Winters has always been intended to have Lore 7, as stated by Geoff previously. No, we’re not canonizing a typo.

Liminals, Getimians, Exigents, and others. No news about them right now.


John:
Shields are not a common weapon of the Exalted, particularly because they are given to wearing magical tank armor and wielding gigantic two-handed weapons.

However, there will be some Artifact shields in Arms of the Chosen.


AilphanG:
Exalted has fighting styles based around sashes, flamethrowers, and apparently ladders.

There really is no reason to pooh-pooh whatever weapon someone thinks is interesting, given the absurdity of the canonical selection.

John:
People can play whatever they want to play, but there is a very good reason for excluding certain things from a prominent display. Exalted is not an “all in, everything goes” game. There aren’t any guns. It doesn’t reference Tolkein. Common mortal soldiers are more likely to be using scutums, not round shields, and they don’t throw them as a general rule. The Exalted aren’t running around with kite shields. These are all reference points for other genres and other games. As Exalted references wuxia heavily, sashes and ladders are no more absurd than whips and staves—and a firewand is not a flamethrower. A pull of the trigger fires a single brief gout of flame. It is often a sorcerer’s weapon, and identical to casting a fireball, except sorcery in Exalted doesn’t work that way, either.

Proteus:
In a world that draws quite liberally from all sorts of ancient (and other) sources, is there a reason the Roman-style scutum would be massively more prevalent than round shields such the Greek hoplon, Indian dhal, British “Yetholm” type shield?

Blaque:
My guess,

The Realm, where large legion-style armies are, despite its Chinese aesthetic also draws a lot from Roman military and imperial concepts. The use of Roman-style shields I think is to reinforce the idea of the Realm being the kind of iconic Empire. And while other ancient world cultures used round shields, round shields are often associated with medieval stuff in a way that the more rectangular ones don’t is my guess. It’s an ancient style, but tied enough to the sort of fantasy Exalted tries to distance itself from that emphasizing on the obviously classical Roman style helps distinguish it from the more commonly seen Western European-inspired fantasy settings.

John:
Blaque has it.

Also note that I said common mortal soldiers use scutums. The Realm infantry uses tower shields. There are certainly round shields available, but throwing them is something an Exalt would do, not a mortal soldier.

Blaque:
If the goal is bashing folks upside the head with them, I don’t see that being an issue if the 2.5e take on shields as weapons with high Defense values and low other stuff still holds. Just take the right Charms and such to beat people upside the head with said shield.

Holden:
3e shields are just medium weapons with the tags Shield and Damage (bashing), yeah.

hippokrene:
I didn’t know shield was now a tag and shields were now weapons. That’s… different.

Holden:
Lotta things are different.


sakii:
Is the battle sorcerer finally possible and if it is does it needs a combat abilitie to complement it

Holden:
Combat sorcery is very viable. I don’t suggest rolling into battle with “gesticulate wildly” as the only option at your disposal, though.


serGregness:
Do you have any news regarding mass combat in 3e? Will the rules be in the core book, or will they be saved for a later supplement that focuses on it?

Holden:
There aren’t separate mass combat rules– Foot Clan ambushes and massed troop formations are both an integrated part of the normal combat engine.


legopaidi:
will there be any “quick primer” in the corebook that teaches the absolutely necessary combat stuff that new players must know?

Or maybe the quickstart contain that? Or maybe the quickstart will be a similar but more abstract system than the core a la 1e?

Holden:
The quickstart is exactly what the name suggests. The corebook has a little section at the beginning of the rules chapter– actually you know what, I’ll just copy/paste it here, since it’s not really a spoiler as such.

Before We Begin
Exalted is a big game with lots of rules. The intention is to provide a built-in sense of style, some challenge, and lots of tactical options when the game gets competitive, such as during combat. We don’t recommend trying to memorize all these rules at once—start simple, and then add in more nuanced bits like taking cover, stealth, and naval combat as you go. Here’s what you really need to get started:
• Basic action resolution, setting difficulties, and how penalties work, from pages XX-XX.
• The fundamentals of combat, including attack, defense, and movement, from pages XX-XX.
• The basics of social influence—how to alter Intimacies, and how to persuade people to do things. This is on pages XX-XX.
• If you are the Storyteller, you should know how battle groups work, detailed on pages XX-XX.
As for other stuff—crafting, sailing, environmental hazards, poison—try adding one or two of these rules in with each game session, and you should have a much easier time than if you try to memorize it all at once.


icarr757:
1) On the sliding scale of Exalted power (Db->Sid->Lunar->Solar/Abyssal/Infernal) what power level would a game playing off RWBY be at?

2) If I had a brand new player who wants to play in a game based on RWBY would you think Ex3 system/mechanics would add to or detract from the game?

3) How long would a new player with a strong character image take to make a that character/grok the system core and their characters strengths and weaknesses?

4) Where do you see Ex3 falling on a scale of 1 – 10; 1: story telling/system light (FATE?) vs 10: crunchy system/no story telling intervention (Champions?)

5) Are you hoping to beat M20 to print/delivery?

Holden:
1, 2) I haven’t really seen much RWBY, just the four “trailers.” The system is well-suited to handling that kind of hyperkinetic cinematic action, though by default it isn’t quite as over the top as the stuff I saw.

3) Should be very easy– put the dots in the places that match what you want, grab 2-5 Charms in each of the Abilities you put lots of dots in, slap down 4-5 Intimacies, ready to go.

4) Hard to answer, since I don’t consider FATE to be very system-light. That’s not really the continuum we designed under. You’d probably peg it around a 7 or 8, I’d guess. It’s very much from the “you’re roleplaying a specific character, and the rules model this character and the challenges he strives to overcome” design school, as opposed to the “you’re a collaborative author with a particular character focus, and the rules throttle and enable your ability to impose your narrative agency on the story” design school. (I often like games of the second sort– the CORTEX Marvel RPG and Chuubo are particular favorites– but that’s not what EX3 is.)

5) I imagine if you backed both Kickstarters, they’ll probably show up at your house at around the same time. Our focus has been getting the core done right, rather than done fast, and laying the groundwork for the coming production cycle, so that we can do the supplements both right and fast from here on out.


legopaidi:
i’m planning to run Ex3 for 2 or 3 players max but it may be that i actually start with one-one sessions. i imagine this is completely doable but do you think it can stay interesting for the longer term (like 3+ One on One sessions)?

Holden:
I don’t see any reason you couldn’t run a whole chronicle 1-on-1 and have a good time.


rahsith:
1.Will there be some info on each of the deathlords in the core?
2.Is bones and hope to ashes and flame as dangerous as it sounds?
3.Will the great sea elk return in 3e?

Holden:
1.Nope!
2.More dangerous.
3.If the great sea elk is wrong, I don’t want to be right.


MagisterCrow:
So oddball question number…oh, who keeps track. Anyway, I was wondering about Exigents and a thought came to mind: how common are Exigent circles? I mean, the gods on a whole tend to have a lot of rivalries, and from my understanding, most gods would kill to have just one Exigent, so I don’t see one god forming a circle all that often. I know that as Exalted, they can make their own decisions, but…well, I guess a sub question would be how much influence do the various gods have on the Exigents? Solar/Lunar affecting but distant, Sidereal gods right in your face, Alchemical “I have a god as a patron,” Abyssal style overlord? All/none/pick any of the above?

Holden:
The last option.

I imagine they’re vanishingly rare. There just aren’t all that many of them, and if they have anything in common, that’s going to be a personal matter rather than a broad agenda. You’d more often see an Exigent joining a Sworn Brotherhood, or rolling out with a group of Celestial Exalts.


Mr Stabs:
Any more details on Liminals?

Holden:
What do you want to know? 😮

Overshee:
How are they foils of Abyssals? How are they different from Abyssals? What are some of the stories you can tell with them? How have their numbers changed over Creation’s history?

John:
First question: They’re not the foils of Abyssals.

Second question: They are created life, much like Alchemicals.

Third question: Liminal hunts the magistrate that slaughtered a village, using the feet of one victim to carry her faster, the eyes of another to recognize the murderer, and the tongue of another to accuse him.

Their numbers have been inconstant and generally unrecorded.


nonamemaddoxx:
I know work is still being done on the core book, so this question may not be immediately relevant, but could you guys talk about your design philosophy regarding balance between different exalt types? More specifically, how do you use/compare the existing solar charmset with when creating that of other exalts in a mechanical sense? Knowing this would be really helpful in designing Exigents and their charmsets.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to these questions!

John:
We are going to do our best to lay out an exhaustive guide to building your own Exalts in the Exigents hardback. The reason we never answer this question in a comment thread though, is because the answer will always appear to be too short to be satisfactory. In essence, Exalted mechanics are an art more than a science. You cannot expect to apply a formula to much of it. In fact, baseline balance is a secondary consideration to the mandatory imbalance of certain powers. Exalted powers are distinct and stratified and must be taken as a whole, while individual, specific Charms may be shockingly powerful. The Solars of the First Age stood at the top of a pantheon of Exalted heroes and the mechanics will bear this out, in time. With lots of experience points.


MagisterCrow:
Getimian question: so the pattern spiders in the Loom the to get…irked at the Sidereals due to the extra work involved. Do the internal spiders for Getimian take similar issue with their…we…housing?

John:
The first concept is not something we plan to heavily lean on.


Chaotechnician:
From what I’ve read, it seems like gods are going to have all custom charms, like Exigents. I’m a bit worried about what this means for the amount of time it takes to stat up gods. With Exigents, there shouldn’t be much of a problem, because players only have to create their characters once, and the GM is unlikely to have a need for too many Exigent characters. If gods feature heavily in a campaign, though, the GM might be introducing god characters quite often, and while they could just wing it with a lot of them, some will probably deserve a relatively complete set of stats, including charms, which will have to all be custom-created. Is there anything to mitigate this? Do gods not have that many charms? Are there going to be guidelines that make creating reasonably balanced, and reasonably flavorful, custom charms not take tons longer than picking from a list? Am I wrong about gods all having custom charms? Some solution I’m not clever enough to even speculate on?

I also have another, related question, which I know probably won’t be answered because it’s about stuff too far in the future, but I figure I might as well ask: Is there any chance of getting rules at some point for creating and playing gods as PCs? I’m not talking about fitting all gods into these rules, since I can see how cramming such a diverse group of entities into a framework made for PCs could be terrible, just letting players create god characters within whatever limited scope can be reasonably done. I’ll admit, I mostly want this only because it seems like a waste to have a game where a god would be an underpowered character choice, yet gods still aren’t playable.

John:
Gods are diverse and often insanely, unbelievably powerful. We view the decision to lump all spirits together into template Charm set as one of the big mistakes of past editions.

EX3 has quick character rules that will let you produce a decent spirit antagonist in a pinch. If you want it to be highly custom, then you will have to do work on it like any other character. However, making a character a viable boss fight is way easier in EX3 than in previous editions. I suggest borrowing from Ahlat and Octavian and other fleshed out antagonists if you want to try to build something with more nuance while you are short on ideas.


Drecain:
Hi there.
What stance do you and 3e take on immortality?
I’m asking beacause of a thread on the OP board discussing the realm sucession war and elder DB candidates for the scarlet throne. In the thread, an elder DB nearing the end of his lifespan is brought up. He is a bronze faction sid favourite and an argument is made in the thread going “if the bronze think he’s so good, what’s stopping them from getting him an immortality hearthstone or some celestial peaches or something like that? With the resources an network of heaven, it should not be too hard for them if they really wanted to”.

My problem is that if these things that can prolong life indefininitley exist in the setting, it creates many hypothetical scenarios in my head that make the setting irrational or incoherent. I would like to keep immortality to remain deal-with-the-devil abyssal territory.

What is the status on stuff that can make characters effectivly immortal? I know this is a little detail and it’s probably not in the core book, but what do you devs think about the topic?

John:
We don’t reference things like the Peaches of Immortality like they can just be found lying around.


Haroshia:
Question I wanted to ask at Gencon, but didn’t get to. There were mentions in Exalted of rape. Some of it is implied, and some if it is a little more than implied. I know Holden has gone on record as saying it’s more “bodace rippery” than it is rapey, and I can see that as being the intention. Unfortunately it’s a bit of a sensitive issue in some gamer circles, and has made it hard for me to sell the game in the past. I start talking about it and how awesome it is, and one guy who’s read one article somewhere starts calling it the “Rape RPG” and immediately smashes any discussion into the dirt.

Please believe me when I say I’d have brought this issue up with a bit more tact face to face, but I’ll be blunt about it here. Is this version of Exalted going to shy away from the rape and sexual violence/soul sucking side of things? I apologize if it’s answered further up, but I’m catching up on this thread after a long time and might have missed the post in the shuffle.

Holden:
Creation is a nasty, ugly place where nasty, ugly things happen, and we do like to lean towards real evils as opposed to “orc horde rolling down from Mordor” or “wizard’s curse needs broken.” That includes things like systemic inequality and exploitation, slavery, and all of the petty cruelties that such situations enable the mighty to rain down on the meager.

The Glorious Principality of An-Teng, for example, is a fairly sexually conservative culture that places a lot of weight on concepts of marriage, fidelity, and filial piety (in both directions, both in terms of an obligation of the young to seek the approval of their parents before pursuing romantic partners, and in the severe responsibility of parents to protect their children from predation and acts of poor judgment). This is a social cornerstone of An-Teng, and everyone turns a huge collective blind eye toward anyone who steps outside of these normative practices to sexually service a visiting Dragon-Blood from the Realm– or, to put it more bluntly, anyone coerced into sex or otherwise raped by a visiting Dynast. Socially, everyone pretends it just didn’t happen and no onus attaches to the victim or the victim’s family, because this happens all the time and there is nothing the natives can do about it. The visiting Dynasts are largely oblivious to all of this. They’re raised in positions of enormous privilege, An-Teng is a vacation paradise for the Realm, and they expect to find attractive and sexually available natives when they go there– lo and behold, that’s exactly what they find! What friendly people (who have been made ‘friendly’ by having five or six attempted uprisings suppressed with brutal violence throughout their country’s history).

This is how the setting works, and has worked going back to First Edition. Mind, in First Edition, the scenario I described above was detailed in like 2-3 paragraphs of a 120 page book about An-Teng. So as far as that goes, no, we have no plans to shy away from the ugly realities and evils of the setting. We want to present real human evils to oppose, rather than nothing but airy confections of magical Armageddon. I play D&D to save the world from evil wizard schemes, I play Exalted for other things.

That said, the previous management and writing staff (during Second Edition) took a much heavier-handed approach to sexual violence than the First Edition material I’m referencing above. Instead of “vast world-spanning empires commit atrocities abroad; maybe you should do something about that” we got rape-palaces in the Underworld where rapists were raped forever and the text explicitly trumpeted that this was justice (Jesus fucking Christ!). We got little girls being transformed into giant vagina monsters and gang-raped in Hell, and then someone made the mind-bogglingly poor decision to enshrine that in a chapter comic.

(Neither of those things will be returning in 3e, if it needs to be said.)

Let me be as blunt with you as I can be: the RPG industry is a very small place and there is tremendous pressure not to criticize or shit-talk one’s co-workers. You will lose work opportunities and quite possibly endanger your job by doing that. But I am constantly called on to answer this question (because I actually talk to customers, and the people who wrote the aforementioned tripe don’t, thus they never get asked), so I’m going to step outside the norms here. Understand that I’m taking a professional risk in doing so. So, in plain language: I hate that material. I think it ranges from crass shock-sales tactics at best to offensive juvenile grotesquerie that makes mock of trauma that afflicts real people at its worst. The people most directly responsible for that material are either no longer working on Exalted under our Third Edition hiring policies, or (in one case that I know of, and for the reasons outlined above I will not name names) are flat-out on Onyx Path’s company-wide “do not hire for work under any circumstances” list.

Sexual violence and exploitation are sensitive topics requiring delicate handling, and that’s what we’re looking for going forward. But silence, omission of those topics? No. In particular, I think we’d be doing our customers a huge disservice if we whitewashed away those elements from depictions of the enormous, exploitative empire that is the primary antagonist of the setting. The Realm has a tendency to become a straight-faced argument in favor of the White Man’s Burden if you flinch from depicting the atrocities it uses to prop up its hegemony, and I’d rather not have my name attached to that. We don’t intend to glorify those setting elements or present them carelessly, though– that has been a problem in the past.


Yo! Master:
Before what is being said in the anime discussion makes me regret backing the game ( ), what is the design philosophy for MA this edition?

In the past, the fact that they were universal Charm groups, orthogonal to the various Exalted type’s native Charm-sets, caused all sorts of hick-ups.

For instance, you had Solar MAs punching below the equivalent strength level due to using weaker than Solar Charms (unless they did very specific choice of Style(s) used & Charms), DBs punching upwards -besides Immaculate Charms- (by cherry-picking stuff that covered various of their weaknesses or just were plain better) & other power-level wobbles, including the perennial XP-sink one of effect-duplication of lower MS Charms between Styles.

Of course, a lot of this was due to lack of quality control & MA Styles being all over the place in their relative strength even in the same tier & the usual unforeseen synergies effect (when you have a 3 dozen & more Styles around).

John:
We got rid of Terrestrial Martial Arts as a concept (with the intention of salvaging neat TMS for later transition) and made Martial Arts styles a little less powerful for Dragon-Blooded, average for Celestial Exalted, and powerful for Solar Exalted. Sidereals and Getimians will have some extra upgrade capacity for styles as well.

Prometheus878:
In relation to what was just asked, will most MAs being picky about whether you have armor on still be a thing?

John:
Yes. The logic being that armor is a huge advantage, but so are the martial arts. In EX3, you are not guaranteed to die on contact with the enemy if you are not wearing armor.

Shamana:
Well, as long as there would be something to fit the niche of TMAs (for regular DBs, heroic mortals, Godbloods etc). Just because some speciall abilities aren´t good enough to beat a solar with doesn´t mean they should not exist – there are plenty of other challenges and heroes in Creation.

John:
“Not good enough to beat a Solar” was not part of the consideration there. It was part of a larger decision to take casual magic use out of the setting. There isn’t a concept of “enlightened mortal” anymore, not every God-Blooded is an Essence user, and thaumaturgy is not treated like a shopping list for anyone with Occult X. Rest assured that a group of heroic mortals working in tandem can threaten young Exalts and defeat monsters without even needing Charms.


Yo! Master:
Yeah, the notion of MA Tiers (which coupled with the already mentioned independence of them) is what i thought was causing a big part of these issues & was wondering if you’d actually go the way of getting done with them. So, nice.

And of the other tiered ability, Sorcery, will Terrestrial Sorcery still start at Essence 3 (& the rest scaling-up from there)? As my personal experience has been that people mostly dislike that, having to spend a lot of their initial char-gen resources for Sorcery & then still not being able to pick much of it (particularly if they want some other stuff on top of that).

John:
Can’t reveal info that is specific to the rules of the corebook atm. Advancement is way different than previous editions.


legopaidi:
Could you please tell us the names of the artists whose work will appear in the corebook?

John:
The art director handles this end of the job, so we don’t actually know.


Odd_Canuck:
So here’s a question that may or may not have already been asked.

Warstriders. In 2e, warstriders as written were actively a negative in person to person combat. They were sold as a tool of siege breaking and other mass conflicts. This was offset by being being a hindrance to being an inferior option when working with the rules to actually destroy buildings or engage in mass combat. And then of course the upkeep drawbacks, where you need multiple wagon teams and so forth to move it and move the people needed to keep it operational.

I have no worries that whatever you do with them in 3e, they’ll work and be cool. That part is fine.

My question is what role(s) are warstriders going to play? Is it something that I can recommend to a player when they go “I can haz Mech?” and expect it to actually be a cool thing in combat? Is it something who’s primary roll is having an NPC use it to open walls for the PC to charge through? Is it a terror weapon that induces panic in the battlefield?

John:
Warstriders are not being limited down to a role. They can smash walls, destroy infantry, tear up siege weapons, walk on the bottom of a river and come up inside a city’s walls, etc.


sakii:
can you spoil some of the thing that the Eclipses can learn with their anima power

John:
Not at the moment. They have been given access to interesting and useful tools. They no longer have to pay more XP to learn them or more motes to use them.


theliel:
As for questions about Exalted – Are the references to the first age being impossibly advanced being downplayed now that DotFA is no longer cannon or are we sticking with the “Chariscuro has the remains of skyscrapers made of glass through magitech that people can’t even imagine today”.

Holden:
That’s how Chiaroscuro has always been– except for the “through magitech” part.


Notsteve:
What’s your favorite minor setting detail for the new edition? I’ve always loved the little awesome bits of creativity sprinkled throughout Exalted.

Lea:
I really like Fajad.

Holden:
I’m a big fan of the thing that has woken up below Gloam.


LordofArcana:
What can I do with socialize?

John:
You can equal the reading-based cosmic powers of Levar Burton. And socialize really well.


wheloc:
One of the things I kinda liked about 1st edition is that Exalted (specifically Solar Exalted) were presented as the most powerful class of creature in the setting, and they defeated the Primordials (the next most powerful) using essence 3 charms that a starting character could take.

I take it this is no longer the case?

Holden:
The Primordials were far, far more powerful than any Exalt.

The Solars killed ’em anyway. And yeah, they most likely did it at Essence 3.


Charles Gray:
Okay, I’m going to ask a question — some of us like…weird exalted. Exalted + western gunfights, complete with winchesters. STeam punk, Diesel punk exalted with machine guns and Sherman Tanks.

How easy will the new system be to adapt to that? Will it be easier than the previous 2E system?

Holden:
Dropping in new weapons is trivially easy.


John:
Archery is focused on bows. Righteous Devil lets you do crazy firewand attacks.


hippokrene:
Oh, I have another question!

I’ve seen a lot of pixel-ink spilled over who gets Solar Exaltation. They have to be super skilled, they have to be the type that will go out and use their power in impressive ways, Sol has to see something worthwhile in them, etc. Many times there’s this idea that Sol takes from the cream and non-Solar exalted must not have been sufficiently awesome, or they’d have gotten a golden ticket.

How does 3e approach this?

Holden:
By not spilling a bunch of ink trivializing and reducing something that doesn’t need to be dissected on the page, mostly.


El_phantasmo:
I was thinking the other day actually – in the initial setting, are there any major changes from previous editions? As in for EX3 Gem is a crater or Halta has been burned to ground whereas they obviously weren’t in prior editions – or is the current Creation we know pretty much “as-is” aside from the new Exalt types etc?

Lea:
There are changes to the setting but it’s not a timeline advancement; any changes will be retconned as always having been the case. And we’re not being gratuitous with them; any change we make stems from dissatisfaction with the previous setting state.

So, Halta is smaller because big Halta was always dumb. Likewise Harborhead. Gem isn’t a smoking crater, but it’s not so much in the middle of a giant trade war with Paragon that never made sense given the distances involved. That sort of thing.

John:
Varang no longer stretches from the Inland Sea down to the Pole of Fire. That was an amusing one, from a time when (we presume) the map was much smaller. 🙂


Irked:
I’m interested in the answer to this – in particular, how do you avoid the sense that a somewhat-larger group of ordinary mortals could have slain the Titans of myth? Or do you avoid that – is that desirable?

John:
How can a Solar be slain by mortals? Solars are inherently mortal and never stop being men and women. Solars are inherently vulnerable to being murdered, and the Great Curse only makes it more likely that they will do something to bring about their own downfall, by alienating their defenders at a crucial time or saying “fuck it” and going head-on against something much more powerful, and so on.

Why can Solars slay Yozis and mortals cannot? Through channeling Solar Essence, the Exalted becomes supernaturally deadly and capable of striking down gods. Mortals do not commune with Solar Essence. It does not flow through them. They cannot hope to contend with riddles with soul-blasting solutions or songs that snap spines, or clouds that rain molten lead, nor can they use their swords of iron to parry the heart-spear of Gervesin. These are just a few examples.

Irked:
Sort of a Watsonian answer to a Doylist question, there, but all right.

Lea:
False dichotomy in this context.

The strength of the Solars is that when they bring their A-game, they are supernal beyond almost anything else in the setting. The weakness of the Solars is they cannot bring their A-game all the goddamn time (though their B-game, I guess you could call it, is pretty great). This isn’t necessarily about mote attrition, just the fact that people have weaknesses and blind spots and bad days and overextend themselves, etc..

A Solar on her A-game can shake the pillars of heaven, and throw down and imprison or murder the creators of the world. A Solar who isn’t on her A-game… well, she’s badass. She’s incredibly badass. But you can’t always badass your way through all of everyone else’s cunning plans, can you?

Lea:
It’s not difficult to build a Solar who can trivialize any given mortal threat, and yes, this is very unlike the Knights of the Cross.

It’s significantly harder to build a Solar who can trivialize all of them. And as always, people are at their best when playing to their strengths, and at their worst when forced to play against their own weaknesses, so winning a fight is a matter of managing terms. That’s a lot easier when you’re the one planning to start the fight.

Irked:
I suppose my question was meant more in a structural sense – what do you do to the game such that these things are true? If this is the desired outcome, how do you get there?

But perhaps that strays too far into a mechanical question.

Edit: “Via Solar blind spots” is a good partial answer, though it raises follow-ups – what is it about the nature of these blind spots that lets mortal thugs exploit them when Primordials cannot?

2e’s implementation could also be characterized as “There are lots of potential blind spots, and it’s hard to cover all of them” – with the common player response of frantically covering all of them, gaining immortality at the expense of doing anything else. That’s obviously a known error, and I assume 3e is designed to avoid it – what’s different about the approach to blind spots, this time around?

Lea:
Who said anything about Solar blindspots? I meant people’s blindspots. Like, not believing that a particular close friend could ever get fed up enough with your shit to betray you, because he’s your friend (who you’ve taken for granted).


AliasiSudonomo:
Exalted has anime influences, but it has a lot of influences. (Cue the old GCG influence chart and “People who hate Ninja Scroll but think Red Blades of Black Cathay is elevated entertainment, or who find the Ramayana thrilling while dismissing Final Fantasy as overpowered crap often pick part of the tree [of influences] and use those elements exclusively. I find the differences illusionary” bit. Actually, it’s quoted right here, so go nuts.)

I’m in full agreement about “there’s not really a lot of difference between Cloud Strife’s sword and the ox-goad of Shamgar when you get down to it”, other than the coats of paint and one story being ancient, the other newer, but I find the breadth of influence to be a strength of Exalted, personally.

Which… actually, this IS an ask thread, so: Am I to presume that infamous influence-tree is still valid? Are there any new branches, or bits excised, in the 3rd edition?

John:
That tree is still valid, yes. There are a few specific points of reference, but they mostly fall within one of those categories. Note that he considers the differences to be illusionary because he has excluded anything that would give it an incoherent feeling. His point was not that “everything in these categories” goes. His point was that he took parts from each of these categories to make Exalted a coherent whole. Supposing that everything in anime, for example, is a fit for Exalted, is patently false.

Wuse_Major:
While I agree with that in general, I’m hoping that Exalted has enough give in the system to allow for people to play something weighted more to one of those bits than the others. I know I’m definitely looking forwards to some kind of Anime Harry Potter Magical Girl game after the proposed Heptagram Book drops.

John:
You can skin it however you want.

theliel:
Re: Gonzo and the Classics

As mentioned – quite a bit of classical myth, even western myth, is full of Over The Top (OTT) batshittery that’d make the most insane SHAFT anime look tame and reasonable in comparison.

Even some of the Sword & Sandals got a bit OTT (Dying Earth f’er’ex). Exalted can’t but help but be gonzo to a certain extent – Gonzo is In The Blood as it were.

Doesn’t mean people can’t tone it down, but it also shouldn’t surprise anyone that it is there.

Basic Example – Cleaning the Aegean stables in one day – Hercules picks up and diverts a river, THEN PUTS IT BACK. If that isn’t OTT gonzo for one man with bare hands in an afternoon I’m not sure what is.

John:
You are correct in that a lot of those categories feature instances of insane over the top feats. But not everything within every category has been included, because it would make the setting incoherent. You will notice that Greek mythology is not positioned on the chart. However, the book of Judges has been directly referenced. I think Grabowski might say that the differences between Samson and Hercules are illusionary, but there is a pretty clear separation between the two when you consider method, or narrative. The kinetics look identical, but Samson must draw on a divine source for his greatest feat of strength, whereas Hercules’s strength is just an affectation of his divinity. He is strong because he is divine. Biblical Judges, for this reason, are much closer to the canon of Exalted (and the Solars in specific) than the myths of Greece. (Also, Greek myth has been undeniably referenced in Exalted. Saturn is Dunsany’s Mung, but it is no accident that the Maidens share much of their positioning with the Greek Fates.)


Bersagliere Gonzo:
My biggest question is surely to go unanswered… it was about the Liminals Dark Mother, but I guess we’ll not know anything about that until the edition starts to flow.

But let’s see if these ones can be:

Is Liminal exaltation more of an unexpected phenomenon derived from a, let’s call it, glitch in Creation (resurrecting a dead body) than the work of a powerful entity which empowered humans for whatever reason?

(Getimians seem to have an unusual origin also, could this be a shared characteristic within the new batch of exalts?)

John:
Liminal Exalted are purposefully Exalted. That’s all I’ll say.


Gaius of Xor:
Somewhat related to Bersagliere above, insofar as it pertains to new Exalts…

A while back, John did a take on in-character perspectives Liminals would generally have toward the five “core” Exalted and some other entities. Those were really cool reading! I know he expressed since then that giving such perspectives is tricky and absolutely not to be assumed of any individual, given the breadth of the splats. Exigents in particular would run headlong into that. That being said, I’ll still make the request: could you please show something similar for the Getimians? Or maybe even one of the splats that’s yet to be hinted at or named? Just very curious! (also could we get a hint or a name, please? :3 )

I also realize I’ve yet to drop a “thank you” into this thread, so: Thank you, both for conducting this thread, and for all your work on EX3! ^__^

John:
I can’t give away anything new about Getimians right now, but I can tell you that Exigents blend into the dogma of the Immaculates in a very unique and interesting way. As far as perspectives go, one of the most interesting right now is how the Dragon-Blooded feel about Exigents.


Uqbarian:
As others have said, that was a great post, and I feel bad for making a tangent off it onto something it wasn’t addressing, but it’s been niggling at me. As well as realistic evils, Creation in previous editions did also have its share of orc/zombie hordes, wicked sorcerers, necromancers, mad gods and magical armageddons. Some of us do play Exalted to save the world. I also know we can do whatever we like with the game once it’s in our hands, but will the 3e core text be explicitly discouraging escapist/non-gritty playstyles?

Lea:
Explicitly discouraging things is clumsy.

Holden:
Mask of Winters showed up with a crawling corpse the size of a mountain and conquered one of the five biggest, wealthiest cities in the East four years ago, and shows no signs of stopping there. Someone should probably do something about that.



MagisterCrow:
Actually, how do Sidereals feel about Exigents? It strikes me as both helpful (extra exalts to fight off problems) and troublesome (paperwork…ye gods the paperwork). How do Sidereals feel about Liminals?

How do immaculates feel about new exalt types in general? Liminals? Do they even know about Getimians?

John:
Sidereals have a lot more than just “paperwork” to do now that Exigents are out and about, many of them illegally. They feel about these Exalts in ways you would expect them to feel.

It is important to remember that the Immaculate Order is a creation of Chejop Kejak and is maintained by the Sidereal Exalted. The Order thinks what Kejak needs it to think.

Patkin:
Eeeeeh. I know this is something that has to remain floating somewhere in the context of the Immaculate Order, but I really really hate when the phrasing of it goes like this.

I like when the Immaculate Order is something that Chejop Kejak might have written up, but which the Sidereals are basically 12 dudes in a millions-strong religion and so get drowned the fuck out whenever the Dragon-Blooded go, “yeah, no, fuck that shit, the course of the faith isn’t yours.”

Lea:
The Mouth of Peace has always been written as a mouthpiece, though. Srsly, it’s in her title.

Heterodoxical Immaculate teachings are an interesting avenue to explore, but the Bronze Faction does have an agenda and they have structured things so they can push it where they think it matters. They’re by no means drowned out, partially because they are supposed to be the Secret Masters and while it’s okay to play with that idea a bit, playing with it to the point where they’re not actually Secret Masters at all is stupid.

Lord Raziere:
Except they have no idea that Chejop Kejack exists, or that Sidereals exist, or that they’re being influenced to think by them. They think its the Mouth of Peace thats influencing them to think. are you going to say “fuck that” to the Mouth of Peace? they’re the Mouth of Peace! her word is holy. maybe a minority who cares will grumble but….mostly they’re gonna go along with it, kinda the point of the Mouth of Peace.

Lea:
Not only does Chejop Kejak spend a significant portion of his time in Creation under a series of false identities as successive assistants to the Mouth of Peace (this is his day job; he probably spends more time doing that than any other single thing, which is easy to forget but there you go), but other Bronze Faction Immaculates occupy other high-ranking positions within the order; one would expect they would gravitate toward the positions in charge of deciding orthodoxy.

Sometimes specific high-placed monks or factions of monks are truculent or difficult to control; sometimes they go off and do their own things. Sometimes they go very, very off the reservation. But overall the Sidereals maintain enough control that Chejop’s influence over the Mouth of Peace cannot be easily played for a casual laugh.

EDIT: This whole thing feels kinda parallel to “No, the Scarlet Empire isn’t an impotent joke.”

Lea:
When I say the Sidereals are the Secret Masters, I mean it in the same way I mean “The Realm is the Big Evil Empire That Controls Everything.” There are good ways to write that, and there are bad ways to write that, and some of the bad ways are bad because they’re too obvious (just make the Sidereals control everything, just make the Scarlet Empire one-dimensional), but other bad ways are bad because they are too clever (“We will subvert the expectation of the Realm being the Big Evil Empire That Controls Everything by having them not be evil but instead be super-sympathetic, and control barely anything and certainly control barely anything worth talking about! Yes! Our readers will never see that coming!”).

The Sidereals are the Secret Masters not in the sense that they actually have mastery of the whole setting, but in the sense that if you want to use Exalted to run John Carter of Mars, the Sidereals need to be qualified for slotting into the Thern role.

We have a big evil empire that controls everything (for some value of control and for some value of everything), and one of its features is a big religion with doctrines embedded at every level into the empire’s culture and with awesome fearsome priests, and behind that religion is a group of cynical secret masters who don’t adhere to it and use it to advance their political agenda. We’re not going to be stupid and obvious about this, but we’re not going to clever it into impotence, either.

LordofArcana:
Why would the Bronze Faction even want to directly control the Immaculate Order? That sounds like a lot of work for very little reward. Likewise why would an Immaculate ever take issue with a suggestion from a Bronze Sidereal? These two groups are close allies, not enemies and they have fairly similar goals.

Lea:
The Bronze Faction wants to control the Immaculate Order basically to ensure that they remain close allies in perpetuity. Without someone at the head ensuring the IO stays in line, doctrinal drift over time could make it a less pliable tool. You are correct that the Bronze Faction doesn’t give a shit about approximately 99.9% of all the stuff the IO does.

Lea:
Oh, the other reason the Sids want to control the Immaculate Order is because they use the worship distributed via the Immaculate Calendar as bribes in Heaven to keep all their other shit going, and sometimes that means you want worship going to Bob, who is Jeff’s boss, and who doesn’t want to see Jeff mistreated, even if Jeff is an asshole river god who by normal standards really should have been kung-fu’ed into line by now for all his assholery.

John:
In Exalted 1e, the Mouth of Peace is described as having a mind addled to mush by the numerous mind-control Charms that have been used on her. Chejop Kejak keeps an office in the Palace Sublime so that he has direct access to the Mouth of Peace. She says what he tells her to say. The Order does what he wants it to do. This has been the case since the 1e core’s introduction. Kejak’s control of the Mouth of Peace is further described in the Sidereals’ 1e hardback.

This history is further explained in the first chapter of the 1e Dragon-Blooded hardback, where the Empress needs Chejop Kejak’s Immaculate Philosophy to legitimize her rule. If the Immaculate Philosophy was not his to give, their discussion wouldn’t even have happened. The Philosophy pre-existed the Empress, and then Kejak altered it into the Immaculate Order, changing several tenets to describe the divine right of the Empress to rule.

Meanwhile, the Dragon-Blooded of Lookshy kept on with the religious tenets of the Immaculate Philosophy and completely rejected the Order’s changes. Point of fact, the Immaculate Philosophy lives on in Lookshy, where it has become part of the popular consciousness, carried on by the Dragon-Blooded who lived there. They do not believe in the Empress’s divine right to rule. The Order is a mechanism of the Realm’s politics.

I suspect the confusion over this comes from how 2e treated the Immaculate Order as a religion that was a “true faith”. In 1e, Pasiap, Sextes Jylis, Mela, Danaa’d, and Hesiesh were the alleged incarnations of the Five Elemental Dragons. This was a happy lie contrived by Chejop Kejak as part of the Immaculate Philosophy, a feature to characterize the Dragon-Blooded as being one step down from perfect divinity. In 2e, those characters were treated like the actual incarnations of the Five Elemental Dragons, and the Order thereby became an overtly “true faith” apparatus.

At first glance the difference might be confusing, but on closer inspection, the implications are huge. In 1e, the Order is solely a mechanism of control and a way for the Sidereals to keep their hand on the wheel of the world’s ship. Its spiritual value comes from Creation: the fact that Essence flows through all things; the cosmic power that sparked existence still moves through the world, following the dragon paths. It is no secret that 1e was cynical of religion and liked to deconstruct it. However, even the crudest creature could extract some form of greater sense of self or clarity or truth from following the meditations of the Order. This is in line with the nature of Creation and of existence, something the Order relies upon. Nothing is treated as magic, or inherently magical out of hand. This is simply the way the world is. If you make a fist, the world inclines for a moment, interested.

But in 2e, everything was overtly magical, and the cynical attitude toward religion dissipated under the blatantly magical construction and justification of everything. The world lost its myths: they all got green-flagged into true stories. The Order was a big example of this, becoming a religion that was legitimate beyond the facets of Creation which might allow it to grow. The Five Elemental Dragons were really named Pasiap, etc., and they certainly must have walked around in the form of humans! That was just one instance. The whole world became a stew of neatly-resolved conflicts just by way of writers handshaking everything into a true fact: the Order is a really-real religion, not just a political apparatus! The Gates of Saigoth really do exist! Varangia must know all about the Maidens! And look, they have an entire catalog of astrological thaumaturgy! Never mind that their horoscope is an imperfect and unreliable way of referencing the night’s sky, which is already perfect and wholly reliable if you are a Sidereal. The list goes on and on and on.

The difference between 1e and 2e is profound. Having a body of myths and state-supported lies and false religions gives the world a kind of depth that comes from contrast. It makes the presence of a god or the Exalted that much more definitive, because here we have an example of true spiritual power or proof of divine fiat. And it turns out that these things, too, are political. It is harder to establish that realism, that difference, when every myth, every belief system, and every last whispered rumor is true. It also makes the core elements of the game less remarkable.

So is the Order manifestly useless to the common man? No. There are genuinely useful strictures within it for right living, healthy diet, exercise, even techniques for farming. There are vast tracts dedicated to managing emotions, which come with a number of health benefits, while also indoctrinating the common man into something that is amenable to the Order’s control. Martial artists also use its sutras to develop their chakra and to initialize their growth into something more, and this is because it was penned by a person who feels the movements of the cosmos inherently, and can interact with the mechanisms of fate through his martial understanding. There are even passages dedicated to sexual release. The Immaculate Philosophy was purposefully constructed to attract and benefit people.

That does not make its main tenets any less of a lie. It is still a blindfold and a rook. The Immaculate Dragons do not exist as the followers of the Order imagine. There are no coils of purification one can climb to ascend to a state of spiritual perfection that entails becoming a Dragon-Blooded. These lies keep people lined up behind the Dragon-Blooded, both with reason to suborn themselves in the present day (because they will be murdered if they do not) and because the ultimate reward is a favored reincarnation that will one day lead them to Exaltation as Dragon-Blooded. This is what the Order teaches but it is manifestly not-true. They teach it because it serves the agenda of keeping the Dragon-Blooded on top. This fiction is not just for the peasants; most Dragon-Blooded will live and die believing the Order’s teachings to be true.

That last detail does become rather insignificant if the players also believe it to be true! And yes, if the Order is a true faith, it does serve to spoil the Sidereals’ involvement with the Order, as some of the 2e readers above have suggested. Because now the perception is that the Sidereals are not-needed and any interjection of them is a desperate attempt to make them relevant. However, in EX3 the tail does not wag the dog.

Lea:
Yeah starmetal’s not dead gods or the remains of stars that fall when gods die or whatever anymore; that came out of nowhere in Savant & Sorcerer and has never made much sense.

Holden:
Whatever the ultimate reason why stars fall from the heavens, you really don’t want it to be something that can be deliberately triggered by Exalted meddling, else the Sidereals would be out there hammering away at that trigger like a lab rat on the food pellet dispenser (as was the case in their dumb 2e presentation)


AlphaWhelp:
You have to remember the definition of Anathema. Anathema does not, and has never meant Exalted that aren’t Dragon-Blooded. It meant, more or less, that a demon has escaped hell, destroyed your childhood friend’s soul, possessed him, and is trying to masquerade as him, but is really a hollow shell of a person, animated only by the possessing demon inside of them, and has access to the supernatural powers of that demon. Obviously this doesn’t apply to Exigents since they are godly in nature and not demonic.

Lea:
Not so much a demon as the revenant spirit of an ancient sorcerer who made pacts with the Yozis to steal power from the Sun or Moon, but overall yeah.


El_phantasmo:
Is the 5 motes per round in combat purely for combat and some other mechanism for out of combat … if at all. Like you say I don’t think anythings been said about it either way.

Lea:
Mystic adrenaline rush when your life is at risk.


Scutarii:
Getting started with Exalted. I’ve never played it an will be starting with Ex3. Exalted clearly has a lot of backstory and a lot of baggage from 2 prior editions. What is being done to make my entry and a brand new Exalted GM easy? What is there to make the entry point easy for players ranging from interested mechanically to those who’ll pick stuff up only through osmosis with other players and won’t do more than skim the intro section?

Holden:
The entire EX3 core is being written on the assumption that it is being read by someone who’s never seen an Exalted book before. You don’t need any prior knowledge from previous editions. You’ll find a few odd things popping up in illustrations here or there and the like that you might recognize if you’re an old hand, but if not, then it’s just tantalizing setting flavor to be perhaps expanded on in later supplements, not puzzling gaps that make you wonder what you’re missing. As a general side-effect of this, the book adopts a user-friendly, natural language tone throughout, giving you not just “here’s the rules” but also “here’s why this is this way, and what to do with it.”


spiritsongtress:
Can a Terrestrial go up to a Celestial and maybe hold their own… or are we having a ‘perfect defense’ situation, where the Terrestrial dragonblood is just going to get murdered because the solars are biggest and the BESTEST

John:
It is difficult to answer this question across the board, since there is no baseline. A Dragon-Blooded who is devoted to combat at Essence 3 is going to be a challenge for an Essence 1 Solar who is only mildly combat focused. If the Essence 1 Solar is a combat-focused Dawn Caste, the Dragon-Blooded is going to have a problem. In EX3, it is possible even for an Essence 5 Solar to roll really badly and a heroic mortal to roll really well and land a devastating hit. We threw out perfect defenses because they squandered the game’s potential.



Lea:
Well, Heaven’s Reach is cool enough that His Divine Lunar Presence has made the jump to default Creation….

(More srsly, we have a ton of stuff to cover before we can get to shards.)

selfcritical:
….wait what?

Lea:
His Divine Lunar Presence has made the jump to default Creation. We really liked the character, so we migrated him.

This has been spoiled already, I am sure.

John:
Sha’a Oka is His Divine Lunar Presence. Aside from the title he has little or nothing to do with the character from Shards.

He does not quite have an empire. His resistance lacks the network of resupply that makes the Realm so powerful. It lacks the resources, the vassals, etc. It is, however backed up by Silver Pact honor tributes brought to the Caul from all across Creation. The tributes are uneven, though. Not all of the Silver Pact supports His Divine Lunar Presence. Those Lunars who are moved enough by his resistance to move to the Caul and join the battle are seen as making a powerful political statement. I am being vague on purpose; you will know more when the core drops.


Gentleman Grunt:
1. Will we be seeing magical materials have a larger part in the artifacts? Perhaps affecting which evocations can be used? (such as red Jade causes x tree to have bonus effects, but does not work with this tree)

2. Since the scheme of everything seems a much grander scale, will we be seeing an actual equivalent of how much in the resources background (or whatever it’s called now, a merit I think?) a monetary value is? Second edition had several examples of different monetary values, anywhere from a koku to a talent. Do we know what those mean now?

John:
1. Magical material is the determining factor in the style of Evocations. Red jade will engender a lot of fire magic, while starmetal gives you god magic. Orichalcum is full of sorcerous power, while soulsteel reaps blood and souls. And so on and so forth.

2. Yes.


Petter Wäss:
Can you still do the (good) over the top silliness that perfect defences made possible, i.e blocking a high speed train with your knife, etc?

John:
Yes. The game doesn’t treat a nuclear explosion as an exponential relative of stabbing someone.

Myckou:
Just to clarify, if you are able, are perfect defenses gone completely or just toned down in power or availability?

Lea:
“Perfect defense” is a term that covers a range of concepts, generally bundled into singular, low-cost effects.

Grabowski once said “If killing the Exalted were as easy as throwing planets at them, the Primordials would have done that.” This still applies. But you don’t generally get Charms that can be used at low cost in all circumstances to block everything from a mugger’s knife to an Immaculate’s goremaul to a nuclear blast to a falling planet, set at a low cost such that you’re guaranteed to almost always be able to afford using them.

It’ll make sense when you see the whole system.

Lea:
Ironically, removing perfects reduces lethality, because if 2e-style perfects exist, everyone rushes for them, and everyone assumes everyone else is rushing for them, and then everyone has to build an offensive suite capable of tackling enemies with perfects, and aaaaaaagh!

I mean, you can’t fix it by just removing 2e-style perfects; “Don’t touch perfects until you’ve fixed lethality” applies. But there’s an undesirable synergy between what perfects imply for benchmarking and how people approach offensive strength as a result.

Holden:
Even this is pretty much completely off-context, because EX3 isn’t a fixed version of the 2e rules.


ADamiani:
Man, I’m hoping we don’t go back to rolled defense.

John:
Defenses are still static.

Holden:
There are definitely some virtues to rolled defenses vs static defenses, but yeah, EX3 has static defenses all the way down the line.


Scutarii:
Just how tough and tanky can someone get without using magical artifacts and armour, just a mundane shield and/or suit of common armour any random soldier in any random army might have?

I mean someone who takes the hits and just keeps on getting up again – they wear every blow on their body but they have the willpower to overcome and keep going. Like Rocky but able to take the punch of a mountain sized corpse animated by some deathlord.

JMobius:
That is pretty much what Resistance Charms are all about.

Scutarii:
Sure, but just how extreme could someone get if they were to follow whichever path up the charm cascade is all about taking a hit and keeping on going?

John:
Like Mick Foley vs. Godzilla.


icarr757:
Is sorcery still as over the top/amazing as previous editions? For the life of me, I love telling players Obsidian Butterflies is a rank 1, in a 3 rank system, spell and then let them read the write up in the book.

Also, will 2nd and 3rd circle sorcery get a little more love in the core book than in Ex2? I know page/word count is at a premium. Sidebar: another friend, who had never played anything other than classic D&d was flipping thru Ex2 core once, and happend to stop at and read “Rain of Doom.” Words just really can not describe the look on his face and the memory still makes me chuckle to this day.

Hope editing is going smooth because I am highly anticipating the Ex3 pdf. Have some friends that are almost rabbid over D&d 5e. It might be neat to let them see that rpgs can play on the opposite side of the spectrum and still be fun. That a starting party need not fear potential tpk from half a dozen kobolds with rusty daggers. In the long run, I think they secretly like the kobold/rusty dagger/potential tpk scenario, but I think I will build some new and fond memories just watching their faces when they read Ex3. Lord knows, they might even want to play it =P

Holden:
Sorcery is stompier than ever before. I think sorcerers will be very pleased.

John:
I think sorcery is a lot better than it has ever been. I think it gets the blue ribbon for single most improved part of the game.

Yo! Master:
The crucial question is this, though:

Is MAGMA KRAKEN in the corebook & can you solve all your problems with it?

John:
Maybe. And it can solve any problem that can be solved by having multiple giant lava tentacles. Which is quite a lot as it turns out.

Extra awesome if you make it your [REDACTED] spell.


MagisterCrow:
Also, each exalt type (classic and new) walks into a bar for a drink. What do they order?

John:
Liminal: Sake
Sidereal: Brandy
Getimian: Huangjiu
Lunar: Fermented milk
Dragon-Blooded: Dark beer
Abyssal: Water
Infernal: Absinthe
Alchemical: Khocha
Solar: Chai bourbon
???: Fermented coconut with snake venom
???: Lighter-colored lager or ale
???: Bitter-spiced rum

Bonus round:

Volfer: Bourbon
Perfect Soul: Chai bourbon. Various rice wines if available.
Shen: Dark beer
Novia: Nighthammer porter, served out of an old boot.
Prince Diamond: He drinks coffee or tea (avoids alcohol)


John:
For those interested in sorcery, I just posted a play-by-play of our testing mechanics for the antagonists chapter on twitter. Premise: Arianna sends Octavian, the Living Tower to tear down one of Ahlat’s temples. Ahlat and Octavian throw down.

El_phantasmo:
Are the moves being used by Ahlat and Octavian their “own” moves/custom stuff? Seems the moves they use are certainly thematically tied to them? Lots of “Tower”‘s and the like.

John:
Yes. Spirits aren’t all using the same template Charms anymore.

Delgarde:
Does “home ground advantage” play into that at all, or was that a straight fight between the two? That is, does Ahlat gain any benefits from the fact he’s fighting in his temple, a place consecrated to him?

Lea:
Straight fight.

The days of people dismissing high-ranking spirits as unworthy opponents are done, methinks.

ADamiani:
Huh.
That was kind-of the opposite impression I’d gotten from the fight?

Presumably ‘summon stuff’ won’t be a strictly optimal combat path, and presumably ‘summon second circle demon’ will still be a thing that sorcerers reasonably expect to do.

Which suggests the median celestial would be bringing something to the table on the order of ‘beat the snot out of Ahlat’?

Lea:
Exalted has never really done the D&D3e summoning paradigm where summoning is carefully balanced such that not summoning demons to do your bidding never incurs an opportunity cost. The relevant quote from Geoff Grabowski is “It’s pulp sorcery; if you want power, summon a demon prince. If you’re one of those people who goes ‘no, there is great power to be gained from consorting with dark powers but that’s not for me’ then you’re making a moral sacrifice by not having Octavian beat their head in. That’s actually a big deal and a major sacrifice, and not just some shit you say to make being good sound nice.” Previous editions have not really delivered on this because previous editions always understatted the big demons, but we’re fixing it by adjusting the stats to represent the description, rather than adjusting the description to fit the stats. There are reasons why you might want to summon Octavian, and there are reasons why you might not want to summon Octavian, and those reasons are not symmetrical such that it’s a wash.

Holden:
One of the reasons in the “against” column is that if you try to bind him and fuck it up, he represents a fairly nasty boss fight for a Circle that has just gotten access to Celestial Circle sorcery. Caveat emptor.

Lea:
I wouldn’t really want to give him access to my military intel, either.

Naz:
Can you elaborate on this a little? In previous editions, I got the idea that there was a pretense of some reason not to summon demons, but it just wasn’t there at all. The “moral sacrifice” concept kind of depends on there being an actual moral cost to a thing, and it was always just “if you’re an exalt, you summon this demon with no problems and it does exactly what you say, the end *mumble*but that’s totally frowned upon or something*mumble*”

Lea:
I think previous books were pretty clear that if you summon more blood apes than you can keep an eye on at all times, you’re going to have to deal with the occasional missing pet cat or peasant. Likewise, building a manse with hopping puppeteers will result in a few missing babies from surrounding communities. These sorts of things are about as inevitable as animal escapes at zoos. Consider, then, what Octavian’s equivalent might be of browsing the Internet during idle time at work.

Lea:
This is actually related to the larger issue of why we don’t have a REIGN-like or Creation-Ruling-Mandate-like society simulator in the corebook to mechanize ruling a society — those things almost always seem to turn the society into an obey-bot used by the ruler to enact her will on the larger world, when in fact once you’re ruling a society, the interesting part of the story becomes “All the ways ruling a society is more difficult than it appears.” Being King of Generica shouldn’t turn Generica into a suit of armor you wear when you go beat up Generica’s neighbor, even if the reason you conquered Generica is that you wanted to beat up its neighbor and needed a suit of armor to wear. (We do provide mechanical tools for running shit, but they’re not comprehensive the way CRM attempted to be, and deliberately so.)

Even genuinely loyal subordinates are their own people, and will follow their own desires and agendas while being genuinely loyal. This applies to all subordinates, including demons.

Odie:
I guess that would be the question for the developers: how reliable is demon-summoning supposed to be, in-setting? Edit: Like, is it supposed to be “if you do your homework and summon the right demon you can generally get anything you want done, provided the task is not complex” or is it “yeah basically anything, no matter how simple, is going to have some demonic wrinkles in it, you’re working with an alien consciousness after all,” or something else?

Holden:
Kinda hard to answer, given the infinitude of uses for summoned demons. I mean, if you summon a bunch of hopping puppeteers and are like “hey build my manse” you’re most likely going to have a manse by the time your Calibration hangover wears off. “Octavian, raze the fields of my enemy the Copper Duke, and slaughter all who try to stop you,” pretty sure you’re going to have him come back to report razed fields (despoiled by his oil, too, so bonus) and some dead soldiers and a hopping mad Copper Duke. “Blood-apes #1 and #2, take my child son safely from Ember to Chiaroscuro,” that’s… assuming he makes it there okay, he’s probably going to have some interesting stories next time you see him, let’s put it that way.

John:
If you pull a Second or Third Circle demon through to Creation, you are always accepting a risk. Demons are enormously powerful actors, and much of what they do can’t be censured. You call upon a demon’s power, you must be prepared to contend with all of it. Ligier can turn an unwary sorcerer’s soul inside out with a whisper if they aren’t paying attention. He can seduce a Chosen into diabolism and pacts with Yozis. Most demons are driven to do such things by nature of what they are. They are inherently dangerous and unsafe. This is not some toothless warning. They are the humiliated, bitter souls of your ancient enemies, who once sat on high as the crowned kings of eternity. They blame you for their downfall. You can bind one into your power, but you can’t actually stop them from being what they are.

Holden:
I mean, here’s how binding works: The demon becomes perfectly loyal to you. It does what you want, because of this boundless (but not maniacal) loyalty. It obeys both the letter and spirit of your instructions, to the best of its understanding. So you can take a pair of blood-apes, and go “The city is not safe, and my people are watched. I must send my son to Chiaroscuro, to dwell with my ally Prince Nahim of the Seven Pearls, until the current troubles are over. Yet were I to send him out escorted by my men, his guards would surely be ambushed along the road and he would be taken hostage or slain. Smuggle him out of the city tonight, and see him safely to the door of Prince Nahim in Chiaroscuro.”

Now, they get that you love your son, and that their job is to see him safely into the care of this dude in Chiaroscuro. You can rest assured they’re not going to eat him or beat him up for annoying them along the way. They understand not to just leave him unattended on the fucker’s literal doorstep.

But.

They’re blood-apes.

Starting off, it’s a coin-toss whether they’re going to think ahead well enough to realize that eating the guards on the city’s postern-gate and sneaking out the back door, such as it were, is going to leave a suspicious trail. Assuming they do, they may well decide to smuggle your kid out through the sewers. The muck and stink is going to be downright homey to them, after all. Then they’re going to negotiate the best stealthy journey to Chiaroscuro they can. This may or may not involve lots of cross-country, off-road travel with your kid clinging to the matted, stinking fur of a blood-ape’s back as it goes loping through hilly light forest or through broken foothills to avoid the major roads (and he’s only going on the demon monkey’s back once they realize he can’t keep up the pace they want to set on foot without breaking his legs in the dark or collapsing from fatigue). It will almost certainly involve your son watching his two guards kill any loner or small group that spots them along their journey, in the interests of secrecy and security (and also because they’re bored and hungry). They’re likely to offer him a haunch of whoever it is they’re eating after they conduct these security operations, because clearly you favor him and they want to be nice. They’re not really going to understand all the whining and complaints along the way. They won’t raise a hand to your son, as he’s clearly not to be harmed, but he can expect to have a demon lose its patience and bellow at him periodically. Once they hit Chiaroscuro, assuming they manage to make it there without any kind of major catastrophe befalling the group, there’s going to be some trouble if you neglected to tell them how to find Prince Nahim’s residence in the city, as their idea of “asking for directions” involves death-threats and biting skulls open.

All in all, I’d really want to send one of my trusted guardsmen, or a smarter demon, along to manage the expedition. Two blood-apes can get the job done, and they will absolutely kill the fuck out of anything that threatens your son if it’s within their power to do so, but when they’re not fighting to protect him, blood-apes make for incredibly shitty babysitters.

John:
I would like to stat up some Third Circle demons. It depends on whether I feel it would damage the perception of the game. It really depends on whether the customers feel like we succeeded with Octavian, Ahlat, and other spirits, taking their game mechanics together with the statement that no sheet of stats or Charms or spells is meant to limit, replace, or stand in for storytelling. Our goal here is to present a system that not only has flex, but depends on it. The mechanics are not a 100% factual simulator for Creation. If Ahlat is not powerful enough, you should make him stronger. If he’s too powerful for your game, weaken him a bit. It’s our intention that you know that you can do that, and that we teach you interesting ways to do that, if necessary, so that the game runs the way you see fit. We have to see if this approach is successful with the customers before we can impose Third Circle demons on the setting, or even begin to mess with E6+ Exalted mechanics.

The problem with dropping in a Third Circle demon is that it might come off as a holistic representation indicative of entire swaths of the setting, with all kinds of strange interpretations if one looks at a demon’s stats and thinks they are seeing the whole picture. The entire Exalted: Third Edition system requires narrative and context. Without it, you are missing half the character.

John:
Yes, a demon with no opportunity to interact with anyone is not automatically harmful or dangerous.

(Blogger’s note: There was a lot more discussion of demon summoning, only a fraction of which is relevant to 3e developer discussion. At some point I will try to compile that discussion in a separate post.)


Gayo:
The Octavian vs. Ahlat fight was interesting! It seemed pretty tactical, which is a good sign. I’ll have to review it once the game is out and I can see their statblocks.

I kinda missed the part where people were asking about Sorcery, but I figure I’ll take a shot: Terrestrial Circle spells were always the iconic meat-and-potatoes sorcery, and they were far and away the most strongly aspected spells in the game (CCS is aspected, but less often and less strongly). It always made me a little sad that there was no incentive, even under a specific build, for a DB sorcerer to focus on spells that matched their element. Is this something you’re thinking of tackling with the DB book?

John:
Core system has advantages for elemental sorcery as well as other styles.


sakii:
now i need to ask the opposite, what are the disadvantages of sorcery? what would stop a solar after learning that now he can become a sorcerer to rush to find a teacher?
because rigth now every time i think of a character i try to find a way put a little of sorcery in it, i need something to put calm me down before the sorcery fever kills me

Lea:
It’s one more area of expertise that costs XP.

John:
There are way more Charms than there ever were, so the choice between Sorcery and Ability mastery is also not as clear.

Geoff Watson:
With thousands of Charms, are GMs still expected to memorise all of them?

Lea:
Nah.


DeusExBiotica:
Not mechanically, but thematically: what would you say is your favorite thing that EX3 gives PCs the tools to do? That is to say, you folks have listed a number of inspirations not mentioned in past editions (assorted fighting games, for example) – what’s something awesome that has led to as a focus of play?

John:
Exalted doesn’t have one focus of play and it was not our goal to focus play on any area, but to provide options. The sources we look to helped us to accentuate what was already available.


Chaotechnician:
I’ve got another question, out of idle curiosity. We’ve heard a lot of ways that 3e’s take on the setting is going to be a return to 1e. Can you give an example of an aspect of the setting that’s going to be closer to 2e than to 1e?

Eric:
Spoiler: Mask of Winters will be literate in 3e.


DeusExBiotica:
… what a wall of text. Which makes me wonder: what part of the new Corebook furthest exceeded your expectations for how much space it would take, without it outright being held back for a later supplement?

Holden:
Toss-up between Charms and Antagonists, both of which ended up over twice as big as they were originally budgeted for.


Palemask:
1) What has been the most-changed of cities/territories/countries/whatever mentioned in the core?
2) What has changed the least?
3) Which was the funnest for you to write?
4) The funniest?

Eric:
1) Probably Halta?
2) Hard to say, as several places remain quite close to previous portrayals, and in any case, many places already changed quite a bit between early 1e and late 2e.
3) Randan’s side-story.
4) Ziph, but that was cut from the core.



As this post is getting to large to handle, I’m partitioning off future developer Q&A into another post, here.

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18 comments

  1. I didn’t realize you’d be updating the post to match the thread as the discussion continued! Awesome. 🙂

      1. You’re a gentleman and a scholar – if I could think of anything nice to say about you, I would! 😀

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