Month: December 2014

“Ask the Developers” Thread Summary, Post #4

It’s been a long time, readers, but I’m still alive. Between several bad colds (running concurrently rather than consecutively), oddly-scheduled temp work, and trying to knock together my last assignment for Arms of the Chosen, I’ve been somewhat distracted. Nonetheless, I set aside the evening to collate another collection of posts from the developers Q&A thread. You can find the summary below!

Links to previous threads:
Q&A Summary #1
Q&A Summary #2
Q&A Summary #3


Fenrir666:
How much does mind-control as a thing still exist in the setting? As I understand, the social system has been fixed to feel less brainwashy, but will options for true mind-altering magics exist? Particularly, will it be possible for, in a game I run, to have some bad guys like the Earth Kingdom in Avatar? “The Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai” type stuff. Additionally, will the system support the recreation of something like the Golden Years Tarnished Black tree? My favorite PC by far was brainwashed and abused from a young age and conditioned to be an amoral assassin, with his story arch revolving around his friends opening his eyes and helping to break the Charms on him. Will that be a possibility in 3E?

Holden:
Very little, in the Solar Charm set, but Hypnotic Tongue Technique is still there. Outside of Solar Charms, there’s Peacock Shadow Eyes.


Wuse_Major:
Is it possible to create a viable Exalted Sorcerer who only learns Sorcery or is it better to pick up some Charms too? Historically, the drawbacks of Sorcery (mote expensive, takes longer to perform, inflexible) tended to make it advisable to pick up Charms to supplement your Sorcery and I’m curious if that’s still the case.

Also, in previous editions, one of the big points of Sorcery was that it was powerful and flashy where charms often weren’t, which made it a bad choice for precise and subtle effects. For example, the spell to unlock a door blows the hinges off every door in the structure. Is that still the case?

Lea:
Exalted sorcerers who completely forsake the sort of magics that come naturally and instinctively to them in favor of concentrating entirely on sorcery have never been really well-supported; that hasn’t changed in 3e.

Holden:
“If you insist on playing a D&D “magic user” with no weapon skill beyond gesticulating wildly, you’re going to have a problem, because your kung fu is weak and this is a kung fu movie.” –Geoff Grabowski

Wuse_Major:
I remember the quote and I’m not disputing it, but is makes me wonder about the Non-Exalted Sorcerers. I mean, they don’t get access to charms at all, so do they automatically have problems once an Exalt shows up? Can they still be viable opponents for the Exalted?

John:
Sorcery has had some pretty major changes. Wait and see!

Holden:
Anything that isn’t an Exalt has problems once an Exalt shows up. That said, when you’re heading into a sorcerer’s lair, you can never quite be sure what you’re going to come up against. (This is part of why they tend to have lairs.)

Solarious:
Do less powerful sorcerers have anything to offer to more powerful sorcerers?

Holden:
Yep. The more stuff a sorcerer has at his disposal to work with, the better off he is when undertaking a project.

Adama:
What kind of things might a low end sorcerous prodject do?

Holden:
I think my favorite example was the guy who enchanted his blood so that whenever it’s spilled upon the ground, it turns into giant scorpions that attack whoever shed it.

Adama:
He better be careful when he shaves. 🙂 But yeah this is awesome stuff.

Holden:
Consider all the angles before using sorcery to twist the very fabric of your being into a cautionary tale for future generations of sorcerers, folks.

Proteus:
How do Banishment spells work? Is it still the case that a Second Circle demon is an interesting challenge for a Solar party, up until the instant the sorcerer purchases Adamant Circle banishment and can instantly auto-punk a 2nd Circle?

John:
Sorcery has been heavily reworked. Wait and see. 🙂

Odd_Canuck:
Actually that would be a question for the devs… Since a little bit of the beans have been spilled about sorcerous projects… Is it possible as a sorcerous project to create an animal, be it wyld warped or just strange or with some specific unusual property (such as goats that when milked give off spider silk) that are capable of reproducing, or is a sorcerous project always going to be limited to things that will be unique forever?

Lea:
I don’t see why it’d be impossible for a sorcerous working to create a new species. Difficult, though.


Random Nerd:
There’s been some talk about the fact that most charms (at least for Solars) are mechanical approximations of a general tendency to be able to be really good at various things, rather than necessarily things that a given Exalt would think of as single discrete capabilities. But there’s also been some mention of how the same isn’t quite true of martial arts.

Does the book deal with this tension at all, in terms of how in-setting people would think of the two types of ability?

Holden:
It’s not really a big deal. This Solar rocks out with fists like thunder and skin like armor. That one over there just used the Armor-Penetrating Fang Strike to put an elite soldier in the dirt.


Prometheus878:
Ya’know, the smack-talking stereotype lists for various supernatural types are fun to read, but they’re not appropriate for most being types in Creation, because the actors are all so diverse. However, I may have thought of one that the devs might be willing to pin down characterization for as a setting teaser:

What did the various factions of the Niobraran League, an alliance of powers from a shared environment united against a common foe, think of their enemies, the Exalted Host and their allies and patrons?

John:
Maybe we’ll do a book about that. You never know…


sakii:
question about the future of the sidreals, are they going to get a better ox-body charm, can we expect them to be able to be more resistant??

Holden:
They’re still going to be soft targets comparable to the other Chosen… if you’re relying on Ox-Body alone… heh.

Mechanix:
Will the Ex3 Sidereal design be at all informed by the post-errata 2e design?

It had some… peculiarities compared to the original 1e design. For instance, I have a co-player whose character can walk around in gunfire, and any bullet that doesn’t bounce off his skin will be ejected as his wounds close in seconds. While everybody who shoots at him suddenly feel their love and hate an Intimacies drain from them. All that with native Sidereal Charms. I sort of expect that to go away, which I imagine will make some people sad and others happy. I’m not sure on which side I am.

John:
The slate is being cleaned for Sidereals in EX3.

Inqy:
Is it going to be a full scale reimagining or are there some aspects you reckon you’re going to keep? Is there anything Sidereal related where you’ve alreadydecided “this is definitely staying in 3E”? Is there anything you’ve decided is absolutely, definitely getting chucked out or re-imagined? I’m thinking more thematics and specific tricks rather than pure mechanics here.

John:
To elaborate on my last answer: Everything we did in 2e was heavily informed by 2e and appropriate for 2e and might not be appropriate for Third Edition. A major reason we pushed for EX3 was so we could start over on mechanics for the entire game.

They will draw heavily from First Edition.


Mostlyjoe:
When you cover the key locations in future books are you going to try to emulate Scavenger Sons more casual Gazeteer pacing, or is the narrative bits going to play up more?

Holden:
Scavsons is the basic model, informed by Manacle & Coin’s philosophy of “every section is a Storytelling section.”


Mostlyjoe:
How do you present the challenges of each of the Exalted types now that the 1000 dooms are gone? Will each core book offer up key story hooks for ST’s to use to aid in building adventures?

Holden:
Naturally.

The primary obstacle of the Chosen to realizing their various designs upon Creation tends to be… the Chosen.


Huntress:
What colour do Liminals and Getimians primarily glow when it’s fighting time?

Holden:
Getimian animas are black and white. Dame Crimson’s anima is a deep, lurid red, but this is not true of all Liminals.


Scutarii:
Are all of the Solar Charm cascades about the same size? How many are in the smallest and how many are in the largest?

Basically I want to know if every ability will have dozens of options or if there are some that were much harder to come up with ideas for and as such are shorter.

Holden:
I think the shortest cascade is Integrity and the largest is maybe Brawl or Socialize or something. They’re all fairly hefty. Nothing looks like the 5-Charm wonder that Stealth used to be.


Mr Stabs:
I believed it was mentioned somewhere that you were making the Realm more open to Solars and Lunar activity. Will it be possible to have a Solar campaign set on the Blessed Isle that does not rely on the players being heavily stealth or war based? Can my solars, like, corner the Isle’s fancy cheese market or something similar?

Holden:
If you just roll around the Blessed Isle like you own the place, as one of the Anathema, you will bring all hell down on yourself. But unstable and uncertain times are full of opportunities for the quick-witted…


Dulahan:
So we know the Corebook alone will certainly include playable Solars…

How ‘playable’ will other stuff be with the Corebook? As PCs? For a GM wanting NPCs?

Holden:
For a GM wanting NPCs, about the same as any other core. As PCs, not at all– you’ll have to get the relevant supplements.

Dulahan:
To elucidate. I know this is my big concern even now. I mean, DB games are great. But Solars in their full glory might be tough… At least until Exigents land!

Holden:
Exigents will be very useful for going “fake it till you make it” for the other splats until their books come out. It’s one of several reasons they’re so early in the schedule.


Isator Levie:
Also some stuff from The Knick; just how well will certain Dynasts do when they’re cut off from cocaine shipments?

Holden:
Or maiden tea shipments, for that matter. The really effective versions of the stuff need ingredients that can only be imported from the West.


aluminiumtrioxid:
Can I make an Exigent Chosen of Loss, or would that concept be better served by Abyssals?

Holden:
That sounds like something that could support an Exigent just fine. It’s not like it even particularly matters if there’s some Abyssal overlap, since that concept only needs to work for your table, not the majority of tables in the world.

John:
You can do that, but it behooves you to pay attention to the character of the god when making the Exigent. The best way to do an Exigent is to start with a Terrestrial or Celestial god and work from their purview and themes. If the god doesn’t exist you should invent one and fold it into the Divine Bureaucracy.

Siakal’s Chosen is invested in Sail and War and empowered by bloodshed. But she can also swim to ridiculous depths, breathe underwater, and bite through steel with a mouthful of fangs. We feel like the added touches make her more flavorful and interesting than just giving her the powers of an indefinite god of war.

Darth Quiris:
How many different Exalted will there be in 3e?

John:
We’re not sure how many we will publish, that’s kind of far off in the future. As for how many you can have at your table: Exigents let you make up whatever type of Exalt you want.

ADamiani:
Are Exigents all one-off special snowflakes, or will there potentially be BYO splats– castes or chosen-types?

Lea:
Yes.

Mr Stabs:
Can sufficiently powerful elementals create Exigents, or is it a god-only thing?

John:
Exigents can only be made by gods.

SrGrvsaLot:
What’s the expected power level of Exigents?

Lea:
Highly variable depending on patron and circumstance and nature of Exaltation.

(That is, we’re not making it a specific shtick of Exigents that they are individually highly variable in power based on what circumstances they’re in moment-to-moment or anything or anything like that, but any given Exigent is gonna vary from the others.)

Dulahan:
Speaking of Exigents. Any chance you could give us some info on another one? Or even just a cool concept you might have?

I’m not saying a mechanical spoiler.

Holden:
I’m currently futzing around with a ‘freak’ Exigent whose mechanics are directly inspired by Juggernaut in the Marvel Heroes PC game. One thing Exigents let us do is explore mechanical twists on Exaltation that are gimmicky or perverse enough that they couldn’t really sustain a hardback, but have significantly greater depth or impact than would be appropriate to a MA style or Evocation cascade.

Bastet:
Can the Exigence be used to create an Exalt who is an artificially created human being similar to an Alchemical or Liminal?

Lea:
The mechanics in the Exigent book would certainly be useful for creating a new, possibly-not-technically-Exigent Exalt who is as you describe.

Not sure if the Exigence-as-it-exists-in-the-setting could do that, tho. I dunno, they’re pretty fuckin’ varied.

But, like, as a general thing, for 3e we’re not going with “There are Solars and Infernals and Abyssals, and Lunars and Sidereals and Getimians, and Dragon-Blooded and Liminals and Alchemicals, and possibly the Chosen of the Deep, and beyond that every other type of Exalt has to be an Exigent stomp stomp stomp no you cannot make up new Exalted types!” If there’s some limit to the Exigence that says you can’t use it to do X, and you really want a type of Exalt that does X, you can always make up a new non-Exigent Exalt type that does X.


Uqbarian:
Probably a silly question, but are the Lesser (Elemental) Dragons elementals rather than gods in 3rd edition?

Holden:
They’re elementals… as they’ve always been.

Lea:
I’m just going to pop up and acknowledge that yes, very early in the design process of pre-publication Ex1, the boundaries between gods and elementals were blurry, and some text survives in early 1e supplements from that time, including some passages in Games of Divinity that refer to lesser elemental dragons as gods. We are aware of this. The preponderance of material refers to them as elementals from the 1e corebook on, though, and as 1e proceeded, material was more and more consistent with them being elementals. That hasn’t changed for 3e; we’re consistently writing from the assumption that they’re elementals of vast power and enlightenment who have taken on the draconic form, the only shape capable of representing their spiritual elevation and might.

Lea:
Garda birds are sufficiently weird and influential among fire elementals that the Great-Garda-as-the-origin-of-all-fire-elementals rather than all garda birds might just pop up again, albeit probably not without perfect textual support in the sense of “This is what really happened

Elementals are no longer the broken bits of Five Elemental Dragon knockoff robots created by the gods to sweep the floors, though.

Lea:
(Also, yeah, certain bits of the 1e core suggest that at some point during design, there were “Gods,” of which there were two types — “Spirits” and “Elementals.” I don’t know if that was “We had it working this way, and then we changed it, and didn’t catch the contradiction” or “The writer of this passage didn’t understand how things worked, and we didn’t catch the contradiction.”)

Wuse_Major:
I heard somewhere that some of the least elementals were going to be more akin to elementally tinged wild animals than the fully aware people we’re more used to from previous games. Is this correct? If so, can a Sorcerer summon and bind these beings via the Summon Elemental spell as usual?

John:
We shall see!


Deranged Goblin:
How far does the Realm’s influence go? Would a Solar circle operating in Ysyr have to be worried about the Wyld Hunt, for instance?

Lea:
Realm’s influence in the Southeast is weird.


Random Nerd:
Will we still have the thing where, after the gods won their “We aren’t going to be your slaves and do all the gruntwork of running the world so you can relax” war, one of the first things they decided was “You know what we need? Someone to do all the gruntwork of running the world so we don’t have to”?

Holden:
That would be “less powerful gods,” who get stuck in Creation filing paperwork on spider-webs and don’t get to live in the limitless splendor of Heaven.


Anaximander:
Will we learn more about Raiton Academy and Nightfall Island in 3E?

Will the craziness of the Sea of Mind still be around?

Will we get a better sense of political borders in 3E?

Holden:
Possibly / Sure / Yes and no– creating political contexts is something we’re interested, but locking down every inch of the map is not.


Scutarii:
To what extent are the ‘fundamental physics’ of the world run by ‘magic/essence’ or controlled by gods?

E.g.: when someone trips over and falls face first into the mud is it ‘physics’ or is it a series of interactions between a malicious god of shoelaces, the god of falling, the god of mud, the god of splattering, the god of blunt force trauma, the god of nose deformation, the god of swearing, the god of standing up, the god of bystanders laughing etc.?

Could you, theoretically, make a deal with the god of falling to make it so that you can never fall? What happens if the god of falling goes on vacation/gets promoted and not replaced/distracted by his harem of virgin boys/etc.?

Holden:
No offense, but this is the kind of question that, as content designers, we find profoundly uninteresting and not helpful from a world-building and storytelling perspective. (It generally boils down to “The Loom of Fate runs everything,” anyway.)

Holden:
I tend to find human drama or the desires that drive petty deities to be more useful ways to burn pagecount than exploring the potential metaphysics of how jar lids get opened in the mythic prehistory of the world, is all.

Lea:
We’re not doing the “Least god thaumaturgy runs the laws of physics” thing this edition at least.

Lea:
We don’t believe it’s to Exalted’s advantage to establish a venue where you can always solve problems by finding the right being and beating it up until it solves the problem for you.

Lea:
Basically gods do not have absolute power over their purviews, and whether any given god has a specific power over its purview that would be conductive to you forcing it to make its purview behave in the manner you desire or not is contextual and depends on what you want and what the god can do. So, like, maybe a volcano god can stop its volcano from erupting, but a disease god is generally much better at spreading its disease than making its disease not spread, so if you want to cure an epidemic, “Make the god stop spreading the disease” is going to be step one in a multi-step process that involves actually bringing in doctors and such. Or maybe not!

John:
Could also be that the disease is spreading and the spirit isn’t the reason.

AliasiSudonomo:
To put it another way, many organizational entities – a company, a gaming group, the United States – have a designated leader. The entity may well exist without the presence or involvement of the leader, but the leader certainly has influence over the entity. By the same token, not everything that happens within or to that entity is the leader’s fault, although it may always be the leaders responsibility.

So, the god of a river will prosper as it prospers and decline as it declines, and he can probably cause it to flood or not as people request, but it’s not always the river god’s fault.

Lea:
An imperfect but useful metaphor. And indeed it is not always possible to e.g. halt institutionalized racism in a police force by beating up the police chief.

John:
I’m not sure where the confusion is coming from. A volcano god does not benefit from an erupting volcano for the sake of eruptions “just because.” Remember that gods in Exalted are members of a corrupt bureaucracy, and they are often extortionists. A volcano god’s incentive to erupt the volcano rapidly decreases as pyroclastic flow kills off worshipers. He must walk the line between shows of terrifying divine apocalyptic force that doom whole villages, and presenting a terrifying and powerful and therefore awe-inspiring volcano while also maintaining enough of a population to generate satisfying amounts of prayer and sacrifice.

Lea:
Currently reading The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (finally), and the intro goes to some length to establish the past as a foreign country where ideas like “The powerful stay powerful by making horrific example of those who would defy them,” “The best way to dissuade misbehavior is to make the punishment for misbehavior unthinkably heinous and highly visible,” and “One of the benefits of power is supposed to be the ability to gratify yourself by hurting those who offend you” were taken as axiomatic. That’s largely the socio-historical venue much of Creation’s cultures occupy. The idea that you personally have been dealt a crappy hand when it’s time for you to pay up on your divine blackmail and/or get sacrificed to the volcano god is pretty common; even the idea that divine blackmail applied to other people, or that folks getting volcano-sacrificed in general is lamentable has a decent following. But the idea that such things are objectionable? Like, to the point where something can be done about them and therefore we must not tolerate them, not just against ourselves but against our enemies or those guys over there we don’t know? That does not have much of a following.

So people don’t generally frame thoughts like “It is bad that the Celestial Bureaucracy is a system where some prosper at the expense of others.” They don’t get many examples of systems where that’s not the case.

John:
Exalted doesn’t make much of high-fidelity modern concept “gods” like spirits of gravity or oxygen because it is approaching the game from the position of a myth. If you take a look at mythological pantheons you won’t find a major god of “shit falls when you drop it” because people were more concerned with things like “thunder scares the shit out of me” and “the ocean is a realm of nightmare and terrors beyond imagining.”

In Creation, breathable air and gravity are just facts of existence. Sky is blue, up is up, down is down, water is wet, don’t eat yellow snow, etc. These are things largely guaranteed by pattern spiders, which most people don’t know about, and pattern spiders could give a crap less if you prayed to them.

The Boardwalk and Park Place of divine purviews are daylight and moonlight, respectively. Getting a gravity assignment is like locking down a millennial posting as Mayor of Turdtown. For a spirit entering the Celestial Bureaucracy, getting handed “gravity” as your portfolio is like training for the FBI and ending up a meter maid.

John:
Think about it: a meteor falls outside Harborhead and makes a huge explosion. The priests of Ahlat claim it was brought down by the southern god of war and cattle as a sign of his power and displeasure, or as an omen of good war or heavy sacrifice, whatever—it all leads to Ahlat getting more worship. Meanwhile, out in the foothills of Kirighast, the cult of a sky god claims that the meteor was brought down by their master, so worship and praise her! Over in Varang, they saw (and predicted) its fall, praise be to the efficacious spirits of wise and auspicious augurers for revealing this heavenly movement! Then there are the guys who worship the meteor itself, which is now just a huge crater. How many gods in Creation will argue that “giant smoking hole” is their bailiwick?

You are going to go through half a dozen or more visible gods with their hands out and nobody is suddenly going to think about a spirit of “shit falls down” unless one appears in front of them, and if he’s doing it within clubbing range of Ahlat he’d better be damn impressive. Short of that, nobody is going to even consider something like gravity, and if a scholar who saw the star fall and was divinely inspired to spout off something like Newton’s Law (which exists in some form or another in parts of Creation, but is in no way ubiquitous) then he’s probably right about to gain his Solar Exaltation, in which case he just became the most interesting god in the whole entire scenario.

Plus, no god ever wants to get handed a purview that is mostly being handled by pattern spiders, because it is essentially something the Maidens have locked down.

Long story short: life sucks for a god of something nobody gives a crap about.

Lea:
I think I can at least partially answer the question being repeatedly raised here in a way that doesn’t step beyond the bounds of spoiler propriety: Gods are still expected to be primarily observers, but we will not hammer so hard on the legalistic “Gods are not supposed to do anything; they’re supposed to file reports and wait for Sidereal operatives if action must be taken, because direct action by gods contravenes the Creation-Ruling Mandate and violates the terms of Exalted sovereignty in Creation” thing. There will be a bit more room for “The god of the river is supposed to make sure the river’s behavior lines up with Heaven’s plan for the river’s behavior.” This, furthermore, still leaves room for “The god of the river taking his own initiative and making the river flood to extort worship is acting corruptly” and “Some places the lines of communication have been so thoroughly and effectively broken for such a long time that a state of brokenness has effectively become the precedent, and gods are doing what they want because they do not reasonably expect those lines of communication to be restored, ever.”

David J Prokopetz:
Thanks. If I’m reading you correctly, what we can take away from that with respect to the line of enquiry upthread is roughly as follows:

1. Our hypothetical volcano god isn’t supposed to make the volcano erupt whenever he feels like it, but he can theoretically do it if sufficiently provoked. (Subject to the usual narrative and mechanical limitations for characters pulling region-shaping effects out of their behinds, anyway.)

Lea:
Yeah. That doesn’t mean he can always not make it erupt if it’s building up to an eruption, though. You may go to beat up the god, and then discover that what you’re actually doing is calling his bluff, and he’s not strong enough to make it stop erupting and has been claiming to be responsible because it’s better to be hated and feared than held in contempt, and now you have to go do a thing to help him stop it from erupting instead of punching him until he agrees to snap his fingers and make the problem go away. Or something. Likewise you cannot always ensure a good harvest by beating up Ten Sheaves, or blackmail him into feeding everyone so the farmers don’t have to work.

David J Prokopetz:
2. The sphere of a god’s “legitimate” (i.e., Heaven-sanctioned) responsibilities will at least occasionally involve taking a more direct hand than just filing paperwork. (So we’re not left in 2E’s strange position of it being effectively illegal for Terrestrial gods to ever actually spend Essence on anything.)

Lea:
Yeah that was always kinda dumb.

Lea:
There’s also situations where someone in Heaven wants a destiny involving a big plague, and the easiest way to do that is to send a memo to a local plague god that reads “Yo, brew up a big plague, will you?”

I mean, as long as we have the idea that there’s this thing called destiny and it is, in broad and somewhat inaccurate terms, Heaven’s agenda, and it gets planned out by gods in Heaven, why the fuck not have them use the gods of Creation as agents to make that shit happen?

John:
This brings up a good point about how the books were written. There were a lot of specific, independent examples of how gods worked, because there were a lot of specific, independent writers on the line. I think that’s a good thing, as long as the material is internally consistent.

Lord Raziere:
I’m actually wondering if we are really all have the same idea of Exalted in our heads. there are so many ways to spin it that well….

one Exalted setting has its metaphysics devolve into an extended use of social persuasion, and suddenly your confused as to how different Twilights and Zeniths are, if the Zeniths can just persuade a god to do all the things that a Twilight has worked hard to learn weird rituals and such to do. (I really don’t want a Zenith be able to shout “GODS! BECOME A FORTRESS!” when a Twilight is supposed to y’know, actually build it or use a powerful sorcerous ritual to create it)

one Exalted setting where its this post-modern take on everything: all the mystical ruins you delve into are just former malls and superstores, your slowly becoming transhuman, magitech is just another thing Exalts have, and so on and so forth.

one Exalted setting that is hardline classical myth and tragedy because its “more meaningful” somehow and you focus on how things suck instead of celebrating what rocks.

another is that is kung fu mania crossed with political shenanigans, crossed with exploring the consequences of every magical thing that you have.

and really? I’ve read fan fics about Exalted. no two stories are similar. Keychain of Creation is different from Glorious Shotgun Princess, which is different from Chorus of the Neverborn, which is different from Untruths of Time, which is different from Fate and the Iron Tiger, which is different from My Little Exalted.

its why I support 3e, even if the setting won’t exactly be the one I like: Exalted needs a more coherent picture of itself that establishes a more consistent tone and feel. right now the setting requires too much interpretation, the whole thing feels very…..scattershot.

John:
We want to be very clear about supporting many different views of Creation while presenting something that is more cohesive at its core. We plan to leave plenty of questions unanswered, and many roads unmapped for the players to fill in the blanks. We will also have a lot of variations on similar ideas inside the books because that makes the world more alive and interesting. 🙂

Huntress:
One of my Exigent ideas is a character called The Hundred God Heretic whose charmset is built on the idea of animism.

He’s kind of a light parody of characters who’ve previously annoyed me by exploiting the animism of the setting by expecting ridiculous Charisma + Performance rolls to help them with any problem if not solve it for them outright by highlighting how bizarre it is to regularly do things like pray to the god of the room you’re thinking of entering to ask if there’s anyone waiting to ambush you inside or to try and get someone’s equipment to betray them (because I shit you not, both of these actually happened).

I should point out that there’s really no indication that the least gods can commit equipment sabotage like that even if they had the inclination which is kind of my main problem with what these players were doing, using the animism of the setting for carte blanche magical powers.

John:
That should never happen, yeah. It turns the game into a farce.

varradami:
Will there be guidelines for the storyteller? Will you explain the different ways a storyteller might want to handle gods and how they shouldn’t? Or do you intend to just not mention it?

John:
Sounds like a good idea for a storytelling section to me!

ADamiani:
Doesn’t this contribute to the general feeling that gods are…. well, kinda useless? I mean, what good is a volcano god that can’t even decide when the volcano blows?

Lea:
Well, for starters, he might be able to point you to how to prevent it from blowing, or you might be able to aid him in preventing it from blowing. He just doesn’t always have fiat-level control over that.

John:
Not too long after the Niobraran War, the volcano gods of the West formed a zaibatsu and the strongest of them puffed his chest up at Heaven and threatened to darken the sky with ash. Volcano gods have indeed had the power to challenge Heaven in the past.

John:
The idea of “a god” is getting spread really thin. Don’t think of a river god as a guy who “has the power of rivers.” Not only is it not very coherent when you start to think about it, but it also robs the entity of a lot of unique and interesting qualities. How is the spirit of a mountain which sleeps for a thousand years, ending its slumber in a massive conflagration different from the spirit of a small volcano that is constantly erupting? It does not suffice at all to look at them and say “they’re volcano gods” and leave it at that. They might be vastly different spirits with different origins and positions in the celestial hierarchy. Take nothing at face value where spirits are concerned.


Mr Stabs:
How many Tyrant Lizards would it take to threaten a group of newbie solar exalted?

I hope the number is low. I want the newbies to poop themselves when a Lunar turns into one.

Holden:
One. It’s not going to take out the whole group, but Tyrant Lizards are very deadly.

Delgarde:
And if a regular Tyrant Lizard is deadly, how much more so one powered by a Lunar Exaltation?

John:
Terrifying. But if you pick tyrant lizard you have to give up other advantages. Them’s the breaks.


Thirdtwin:
Anyway another question. Are yeddim still being used as a benchmark for charm effects?

Lea:
I went and ruined everyone’s fun by figuring out how heavy yeddim are actually supposed to be (about as heavy as a paraceratherium, because they’re about as big as a paraceratherium and look suspiciously like a shaggy paraceratherium), which turns out makes them somewhat less useful for Charm benchmarks because back when they were “You know, pretty heavy, like a couple of tons” it was reasonable to describe picking up a yeddim as the iconic example of something a pretty supernaturally strong person could do, but now they are fifteen tons and Jesus Christ that’s heavy.

I did this entirely because I was tired of people joking about how they must be pencil-thin and composed mostly of hair. I hate fun and jokes.

Exalted Third Edition: Now With Less Fun, More Accurate Yeddim Weight.

Blaque:
Bit late on this, but as a random question, this does confirm what I thought since Scavenger Sons that yeddim are actually Paraceratherium and not just some made-up patchwork critter? Or more weirdly, Megatheriums, which never made sense in my mind at all as giant pack animals.

Lea:
Yeddims are yeddims. They may or may not originally have been Paraceratherium in a cunning disguise, but at this point we’re not going to e.g. change an established yeddim fact to more obviously hint that they’re Paraceratherium (even the weight thing is just me taking a shortcut instead of actually figuring out their dimensions and applying the square-cube law).

They’re definitely not giant ground sloths, because one of the KS backers chose giant ground sloths as 3e megafauna, so those are going in the book separate.

Holden:
Actually, two KS backers picked giant ground sloths. I let one of them do a re-pick so as not to waste his wish. (Which of the two people got to re-pick was decided on the very scientific basis of “which one of these people once bought me lunch at a convention?”)

Odd_Canuck:
Question (mostly to SLS) on Yeddim. How tall are they? I’ve tried extrapolating from the pictures, but I’ve get to get a reasonable answer, with results ranging from 10′ at the shoulder to 25′.

Lea:
1e core says 18 feet tall at the shoulder.


Anaximander:
Poking around my Drive Thru library today, I came across the “previews” for Abyssals, Liminals, Infernals, and Dragon-Blooded from the Kickstarter. How relevant are they still? Have any big changes been made, especially seeing how it’s been much longer between preview and implementation than anticipated at the time?

Also, about Infernal Shintai. If I recall from around the KS, they’re sort of taking the place of Devil-Tigering in “changing the Infernal in new and exciting ways.” But, and this is just going from the aforementioned preview, are they purely “physical”? I mean, are the powers they convey to the Infernal strictly “punch harder” rather than “call down a storm of Malfean green fire”?

John:
Re: Previews: Things are shifting as time goes on. Even during the Kickstarter, we decided to cancel a major premise in the Infernal preview. They still represent largely accurate ideas, but we’re not locked down to anything in them at this point in time.

Re: Shintai: No, they are intended to be fairly eclectic.


Proteus:
Question: Is there a “hard and fast” reason why no two daiklaves are identical?

As in, if a Twilight craftsman sets out to produce the Five Blades of the Morning with identical Evocations, is there anything stopping him from doing so?

Or is it just that since it’s not the First Age anymore and daiklaves are rare and special, that the likelihood of encountering two identical ones is negligibly low?

Lea:
This is going to sound like circular reasoning, but no two daiklaves are identical because each daiklave is unique. Like, if you see a daiklave you think is cool, and you go “I want to make another daiklave just like that,” then your creative process in this context will lack the spark of inspiration that allows you to actualize your dream into the form of a magical material miracle. Likewise, if you have an idea for two identical daiklaves as part of a matched set then awesome, go get on that, but if you want to create a systemized process by which you can stamp out identical daiklaves from an assembly line, you’ll rapidly discover artifact-creation doesn’t work like that because the sword you’re making right now is informed by both your creative process and e.g. this month’s unique astrological conjunction, which, if swapped out for another astrological conjunction at some point in the future, will allow you to create another blade but not a copy of this one. (Or whichever particular bit of unique behemoth bone your occult research reveals you’ll need to icorporate into the hilt to make the enchantments catalyze. Or whatever.)

Lord Raziere:
yea, the whole artifact/daiklave thing seems to be more art than science, and Twilights in some ways are artists just as much as they are scientists. considering how some people consider artists and scientists not all that different at least in the way they think…..I guess that makes sense. and Sol probably goes around Exalting artists for the virtues their art represents rather than whether they serve any actual use. practical sword? anyone can make that. a big statue dedicated to how compassionate somebody was in spite of the local tyrant having him executed, placed right where everyone can see it? EXALTATION.

meaning all the Twilights who get Exalted to make daiklaves at all probably approach it as an artist would anyways. it would be like trying to make a second Mona Lisa: the result just wouldn’t feel right and wouldn’t turn out as well as the original, at least not without putting your own spin on it and going in some other direction with it.

Lea:
Art and science is a false dichotomy in this context. Someone who makes artifacts is an artisan. It’s not quite the same thing as an artist per-se, but they’re related!

Ranx:
Artisan-made just means ‘not mass produced’. Whenever you make an individual object by hand, cook a meal, whatever, there are going to be a lot of little differences that come out of the specific quirks of the materials used, the circumstances in which it was made, minor changes to the production process because it’s a person doing everything and not a machine, and so on. It’s not quite an art, because you’re creating a practical thing for a practical purpose. But every thing you make will be a little different.

Lord Raziere:
but the way they phrase it implies that artifacts might only be created through artisanal methods. like there is some metaphysical importance there that keeps artifacts from being anything that can be mass-produced. if its mass-produced, it might be by definition not an artifact.

which raises the question as to what you call something that is magical and CAN be reproduced. certainly nothing as powerful as an artifact. but then again, a first age tub of ice cream is apparently considered an artifact worthy of showing off according to Holden… so who knows.

Lea:
We were talking about daiklaves and similar artifact weapons capable of manifesting Evocations, not artifacts in general.

Lord Raziere:
ah. so Evocation artifacts are unique, but artifacts can be reproduced? gotcha. now I see the difference. you might be able to say, reproduce artifacts that have nothing to do with Evocations, but not daiklaves.

which raises the question in mind: can you make artifact swords that are not a daiklave? or is any artifact sword by definition a daiklave?

Lea:
There may be something about artifact melee weapons (and e.g. ranged weapons that depend on the wielder’s muscle power: bows, chakrams, etc.) that requires a unique spirit to catalyze. I’m not sure. It’s certainly possible to make artifact armor that conforms to established designs, because dragon armor is right over there, being non-unique and having a limited array of immediately-accessible powers but no capacity to manifest Evocations. I think? That may not be finalized yet; obvs we don’t have dragon armor in the core.


Mostlyjoe:
1. How impactful will an individual Dragon Blood feel in a mix Exalt party specifically a Realm friendly one with a Sidereal and possible Exigent in it?

John:
How do you measure impact when every ST runs games for a different reason? A Dragon-Blooded Dynast’s “real” impact is cultural penetration into the upper echelons of the most powerful and exclusive society in the world. Does that matter in a game run by an ST who measures the value of Exalts by the power of their punches? Not really.

Mostlyjoe:
2. Besides the Bronze Faction Sidereals, does the Realm have any new Exalted allies? Exalted allies that don’t invoke the Immaculates to freak?

John:
Since the word alliance implies a partnership of relative equals, the answer is no.

Mostlyjoe:
4. Will there be Dragon Blooded factions covered beside the Realm and Lookshy?

John:
Sure.

Mostlyjoe:
1. Could an Black Market Exigent be much like a curse? A powerful, dangerous, fate marked chosen that represents something horrible like Hopelessness, or some aberration that reincarnates into some poor soul every time the previous host is killed?

John:
Could be, but sounds more appropriate to a “dirty bomb” type of Exaltation.

Mostlyjoe:
Will there be mechanical incentive to play a lower powered Exigent?

John:
We consider unique powers to be a form of mechanical benefit.

Mostlyjoe:
2. Will the generation gap between new Lunars and their Elders be played up more? On the hatred for the Realm, etc? (I’m asking from the POV of mixed play groups.)

John:
Yes.


Overshee:
Does the prospective recipient of an Exigence have to accept the God’s offer of power like Abyssals and Infernals?

John:
Heroes aren’t receiving an Exigence. They are getting an Exaltation, and they work in a manner of different ways, just like all of the other Exaltations.


MagisterCrow:
This is an odd question, but how do evocations differentiate when used by different exalts? Like, if a solar picks up a starmetal daiklave and attuned to it, can he use the same evocations as a sidereal wielding the same?

Holden:
Two different Sidereals aren’t guaranteed to get the exact same Evocations out of a starmetal daiklave.

If you’re asking if there are such things as “Sidereal-only” Evocations– maybe!

insomniac:
Two Sidereals might not get the same Evocations out of the same starmetal daiklave? So if, say, a Dynast inherited his mother’s sword, it might work differently in his hands than it had in hers?

Lea:
Yes.

(This doesn’t mean the corebook has three different sets of Evocations for Volcano Cutter for use depending on the personality of the character wielding it, though.)

Gaius of Xor:
Oh! Possibly related question. That daiklave Holden mentioned earlier in this topic with Evocations that let one keep diseases and/or other afflictions at bay: what magical materials went in to let it pull that off?

Holden:
Green jade.

Mechanix:
I want a character who has wings made of floating swords whose configuration and powers shifts as she moves from battle mode to battle mode and changes which swords she is actually wielding in her hands.

Lea:
I… think that’d be pretty easy to model as, mechanically, a single daiklave with a bunch of evocations that are skinned as switching which sword you’re holding….


Mr Stabs:
What’s publishing like in Creation? How widespread is literacy? Who generally has the resources to be able to purchase a book or a broadsheet or a serial? I want to introduce a famous author to the game and I’m trying to get a handle on what her fanbase might look like.

Lea:
Try a famous playwright instead?

Holden:
The Realm certainly has novelists.


Handigar:
I take it we can expect more…”period appropriate” terms than “Black Market” and “Dirty Bomb” in the published book? Both terms are perfectly evocative while sounding quite out of place.

Lea:
Black market feels period-appropriate to me; the book often talks about things like criminal cartels, and generally avoids terms like “thieves’ guild.” “Dirty bomb” Exaltation… yeah, I’d be surprised if that actually makes it into a book.

John:
Black market is a term that works in the text. Dirty bomb is not. It’s just a way I had of explaining the idea in a modern context. 🙂

Dulahan:
On a further Exigent tangent, given the discussion of this thread. Dirty Bombs, terminology aside? What can ‘twist’ a Dirty Bomb? I realize only Gods can make Exigents. But can Elementals, other Exalts, Demons, etc ‘twist’ said exaltation before it goes to whatever god ends up imbuing it to someone?

John:
Demons and elementals can’t tamper with them. It’s something gods have the trick of that other spirits don’t.

DeusExBiotica:
You know, the more discussion I hear about these, the more convinced I am that I am failing to grasp the analogy. As I understand it, a dirty bomb is what you do if you want to nuke people but your tech isn’t up to snuff – you just use conventional explosives to throw radioactive stuff as hard and as far as you can, and hope for the worst. A “Dirty Bomb Exaltation,” however, is apparently an Exigence which “has passed through the hands of multiple spirits who have modified the power inside. This only happens for nefarious, terrible reasons, as the resulting Exigent is always an aberration of enormous power.”

I… can’t really find a link between those concepts. Does a Dirty Bomb Exaltation, due to its nefarious nature, somehow corrupt or poison things around it, radiation sickness-style? Is it less controlled by the spirit to “trigger” it, in the vein a dirty bomb’s unpredictable efficacy? Can it somehow be cobbled out of an Exigence which no longer has… some indefinable quality which would allow it to be used as a “normal” Black Market Exaltation, just as a dirty bomb is destructive resort when attempts at full-on WMDs fail? None of that quite makes sense to me, so I assume I am missing a vital piece of context here.

John:
You are correct—there is no literal link between the two ideas. The similarity comes through the clandestine, illegal, and dubious construction of terror mechanisms that create similar bureaucratic nightmares for Heaven, usually on the back of political gain for the enemies of Heaven, with a similar unpredictable “damage range” and unknowable epicenter. If you think like a Sidereal then it makes perfect sense.


Kahbiel:
Given that the charm trees are getting enormous, what sort of things can Solar’s do with previously under-used abilities (Say in Lore, Occult, Survival &/or any you’d prefer to name) that they couldn’t do before?

Not looking for anything mechanical, just something to be (even more!) excited about. What sorts of things will cause me to look at the Charm tree’s and go Oooh! Even better if you can couch your example in terms of in character or mythic/folklore sorts of examples.

Third, I have a player who is heavily interested in building an Alchemist sort, someone who uses their Solar genius to create high essence charm effects through regents, tincture’s, unguents, etc. Could these effects be modeled as a Sorcerous Project?

Off-Beat question for any of the dev’s/writers, did you have any mood music up as you were writing charms/setting material? Any that you might suggest or might surprise us?

And thanks for taking the time to post here.

John:
Thaumaturgy is a completely different beast in EX3, and much more rare.

Lore and Occult have been given systemization that is amenable to dice rolling, and the Charms reflect that now.

Re: Alchemy: We’ll see. Though you will likely never see something easily reproduce Solar Charms.

When I wrote the Solar Charm set, I listened to a mix of things. Sometimes I listened to music from various JRPGs, sometimes I listened to Eminem, sometimes I listened to Iron Maiden, etc.

Icarus1138:
That sounds promising, thank you. Could you tease us with one of the ways [Thaumaturgy is] different, perhaps a usage (ghost warding, enhanced prayer, etc) that is new to the setting or an established one that has been set aside or transferred to a different part of gameplay?

Lea:
You know those stories about how grandma had the gift of reading tea-leaves, and your parents didn’t and none of your siblings did but you do?

(Thaumaturgy means miracle-working.)


Anaximander:
Is the Eye of Autochthon still around in 3E? Any new hints to its location?

Lea:
We’d never cut the Eye from the setting, but nor would we nail down where it is in Creation.


John:
We’re doing manse rules in a later supplement.


Mr Stabs:
How much does an individual with high occult and lore know about how heaven works?

John:
Lore and Occult ratings don’t pertain to all knowledge ever, so there’s no way to answer that.


Anaximander:
Will the Air Courts still be pogroming the Water Court in 3E? It was appropriate, I guess, to the theme of “The Celestial Bureaucracy is FUCKED UP,” but I admit elemental genocide always made me a bit squeamish (so did Marama’s Fell, but that was at least in the past). I just want my Bear-Dragons to be cuddly, not literal Hitlers!

Lea:
The air vs. water thing won’t be as universal, because we want to make elementals more diverse. If I had to guess I’d say it’ll show up in a specific region; in the same way that the Court of Orderly Flame is The Big Elemental Thing in the central coastal South, an air vs. water elemental war might be The Big Elemental Thing somewhere else.

Holden:
Depends, pending internal discussions. I always found that angle to be stunningly uninteresting.

Lea:
It always felt so disconnected from the rest of the setting! And the Five Bear Elemental Dragons are so dull! And the water side of the conflict had no interesting personalities invested in it! (I actually like Ogime and her horrible kids, but they’re specifically not invested in it.) And and and….


Mostlyjoe:
1. What is the highest tiers of Sorcery and Necromancy that a Exigent can learn?

2. When do you expect the non-disclosed Exalts will show up? Like the Lunar counter parts, the ones from the War set to return, etc.

3. When do you expect to do a book on Sorcery/Necromancy/and Martial Arts again? (I know a lot is going to be covered in the main Exaltet X books, but like Arms of the Chosen there are some areas that would be nice to flesh out.)

4. Would you say the new Southeast has enough going on with it to merit it’s own book? I’m serious curious about there.

5. Would the Caul be covered in the Lunar core? Or in a Lunar Holdings and Dominions companion book? Or a book about the west? Is there enough Lunar holdings to merit a book detailing their history and such?

John:
1. That’s the same as asking what sorcery can an Exalt achieve. It depends on the Exalt.

2. Not saying. Certain decisions are not solely ours to make. We have to get approval for certain books.

3. We plan on doing a book on sorcery ASAP.

4. We plan to cover the Dreaming Sea at some point. Not sure if it will be its own book or not.

5. It won’t be covered in the West material.


Smugtisser:
Hey Stephen Lea Sheppard, how is it going with the charm editing? Can we have a little progress update teaser?

Many excited people would love to know. We’re all cheering on you.

Lea:
I get to do interesting things, but because they pertain to interesting subjects, I can’t tell you about them.

I like the Charm set, though. It has at the very least the best smelling-and-tasting-based Awareness Charm I’ve ever seen.

Prometheus878:
You just ran into that charm that made you “Whoa” like Keanu Reeves, didn’t you?

We all have one, some just haven’t seen theirs yet.

Lea:
Actually, no. I took a moment to step back and contemplate the whole thing. There are a lot of individual Charms in here that are neat (although the set in general is admirably restrained in terms of having Charms that are mostly hella-impressive in terms of their synergies with other Charms or which only seem super-great when you stop to really think about what they mean), but it’s mostly the combination of the setting chapter, the traits chapter, contents of the general mechanics chapter, the Charms, the breadth and depth of sorcery, the antagonists chapter, Jenna’s opening fiction, the ending Strawmaiden Janest fiction you’ve already seen, and the art Holden’s showed me that’s impressed me with the general level of quality and cohesiveness here, which I am lucky to be in a position to enhance.

I mean, it’s probably going to be the size of an original Xbox, but it’s going to be really cool.

Gayo:
Even the traits chapter is good? I mean, I guess you would never say “no”. But it definitely tended to be the driest material (though I remember Revised Vampire and the nWoD blue book positively).

Lea:
Good ability descriptions, good spread of merits, cool caste writeups and caste powers… yeah.

I mean, it tends toward the dry the same way all traits chapters tend to, but it’s solid stuff.


Sly9:
My question is this…Will the satrapy of An-Teng, and some of the big cities in that area (Salt, Steel Lotus, City of Dead Flowers etc) be getting any love in Ex3? I always felt like the South West got little attention. With the revamp of creation I’m hoping more detail will be added to this region. What will the theme of the SW be?

Lea:
Man I remember the moment Holden realized we forgot to put An-Teng in the setting chapter and started to panic. Fixing that error became high priority for a week or so.


Isator Levie:
How long can Gem go with food supplies coming down the Diamond Road cut off before people become desperate enough to try eating firedust?

Lea:
Gem’s description makes it clear it’s not the only place down there. It’s actually quite a politically dynamic region, apparently — to repurpose a Grabowski quote, to leave that whole area of the map blank except for one dot on it that says “Gem” is a lot like leaving the entirety of subcontinental India blank except for a dot that says “Delhi.” (Of course, our map does exactly that, but whatever.)


nexus:
I think this is an odd question but it comes from one of the longest lasting disagreements I ever had with another Exalted GM. Solar Brawl charms are often phrased in terms of hand blows, fist, etc. Can they be used with kicks and other blows (headbutts, knees, etc) with just narrative reskinning or do, as this other GM insisted, need to come up with totally new charms for that.

Lea:
The other GM is wrong. Stunt how you like.


Geoff Watson:
So Martial Arts is Brawl++ still?
I thought they were changing that.

Lea:
We have not yet disclosed the implementation of Brawl and Martial Arts in Ex3. Anything you hear is speculation.


DeusExBiotica:
Here’s something which occurred to me as I thought back on past discussions and revelations – a number of writers have said that in the early stages of working on the 3E setting, there were false starts and things that had to be changed when people noticed the assumptions underlying them were rooted in things which would no longer be true (Stephen Lea Sheppard’s anecdote about focusing more on Lookshy’s Artifacts than its Exalts is particularly notable).

What would you highlight as the biggest or most interesting thing you changed you mind on, working on 3E?

Holden:
Probably that time we decided to cancel the Lunars hardback.

I’m kidding, put the pitchforks down.

No, put them down.

Sorcery probably underwent the most radical design about-faces during development of the book, though there were a number of other elements that we ended up dropping out fairly late in the process. Early 3e development contained a fair bit of material that was a direct reaction to how 2e did stuff, either elaborating on or refuting this or that. As time went on, we pruned most of that material out as we increasingly realized they were dead-letter issues now. There were also a couple of new Exalts that ended up on the cutting room floor as we got an increasingly solid feel for what the game would support and what was pushing things too far, or what we thought there was room for (but it later turned out there wasn’t).

The long wait for EX3 sucks because waiting always sucks, but it has given us the opportunity to do iterative design work on the game, and that is a very good thing, and something very few games have the luxury of doing. We felt it was important to do the EX3 core that way, even though it takes ages, because whatever we end up releasing in the core, we have to live with for the next decade as we stack 7+ hardback supplements on top of it, each of them rivaling your average game line’s corebook for content-volume and interaction complexity. That demands a very sturdy base.

Paradim:
I enjoy hearing about details like this and so along this vein, I have a question.

Was there a change the development team seriously considered, but then decided not to implement? If so, can you share the abandoned idea and why you thought it would not have worked out as you initially thought?

Holden:
There were several, but nothing off the top of my head I could go into now. Ask again after the book drops.

DeusExBiotica:
Thanks for the reply, Holden – very interesting stuff!

Re-reading the What We Know wiki, I was struck that while we talk about bad things that have gotten a free pass (The Realm is an evil empire, Paragon is in no way utopian, etc.), there is also a goal to avoid the “shitdark” tone of 2E. What’s an example of something bright or hopeful in Creation?

(Other than “that heroic PCs can exist there.” Something already in the setting-as-written.)

Holden:
The return of the Solar Exalted. They’re back to do more than burn down your farm and rape your livestock this time!


Anu:
And to stay on topic, can you tell us anything new about Warstriders? Anything at all?

John:
They’re more than meets the eye. *Seven Shadow Evasion*

Hmm, something new: Holden is writing up Warstriders for Arms of the Chosen. I think that’s new.

Holden:
You’re going to get to read about one named Alkalest the Sea Devil in fairly extensive detail.


Smugtisser:
How long does the layouting process of these books usually take? I’ve heard about everything from around 6 weeks to the better part of a year, and it’s having me really confused.

Holden:
Usual layout time is about a month, but in this case, Maria is building a new visual style for the edition, not applying or tweaking an existing template, so ?????.

I can’t imagine it would be “the better part of a year,” though.

Tokezo Tenken:
I’m very excited to see the new style.

Also congratulations on this beginning the final stages!

Holden:
Thanks. It’s been… god, counting pre-starting day brainstorming, about four years of my life now poured into this, and every single time something had the opportunity to go wrong during production it did, enthusiastically, but we’re finally here and I am very happy with the final result. Can’t wait to get it out to you guys.


Anaximander:
1E is supposed to be more of an inspiration for 3E than 2E. What is one thing from 1E, though, that will NOT be reused, reimagined, or whatever?

Holden:
Abyssal killswitch.

Anaximander:
What is one thing 2E did well that will be returning?

Holden:
Customizing manses!

John:
1e: What Holden said.

2e: What Holden said, plus I liked the Wyld in 2e, as well as the slums of Yu-Shan and the undersea races, and those things have had some important influence on EX3.


Andrensath:
Are there still going to be things that are just straight-up impossible to do even with magic (time-travel, resurrection, etc.)?

Lea:
Yeah, it’s still time travel, resurrection, and… uh… what’s the other one? It’s the same three.


You can find the next compilation here:
Q&A Summary #5

Arms of the Chosen Playtest #7

ronald_reagan_riding_a_velociraptor_by_sharpwriter-d55rsh7In our most recent playtest—split up over two sessions—we followed the Night Caste bounty hunter named, um, Hunter, and his Eclipse Caste younger brother Scep on their caravan trip into the jungles southeast of the Scavenger Lands. There, instead of encountering the tyrant lizards they’d been hired to hunt down, the caravan was ambushed by a pack of claw striders. And as Scep’s player had to leave early, we swapped in Shane’s Eclipse Caste, Icas, from the previous Arms playtests.

The encounter was quick and brutal, as a single battle group of claw striders was no match for a combat-heavy Solar (plus limited backup from a combat-light Solar). Within moments, half the striders were torn to ribbons and Hunter was chasing them down through the jungle while whooping cheerily, drenched from head to toe in dinosaur blood.

At this point, the Storyteller, having been somewhat confused by the language in the relatively early claw strider draft, concluded that claw striders were meant to appear as individual opponents rather than in a battle group. So we decided that the first pack of striders were young and unpracticed, and that later in the day a foursome of full-grown striders would come after us. This proved to be a much fiercer battle.

Jiao_Long__Velociraptor_by_Tsabo6Bursting from the undergrowth, the claw striders caught Icas by surprise and pinned him to the ground, ripping and tearing at him with their needle-sharp teeth before the Solars could react. Hunter counterattacked, freeing Icas from the grapple and giving him a bit of breathing room, but the Eclipse was too badly shredded at this point to contribute effectively to the rest of the fight.

At this point, Hunter counterattacked, aided by the brief appearance—and then disappearance—of a Batman-like Zenith Caste named Cloaked Lantern. (We had another playtester show up for the session, but unfortunately he arrived late and had to leave early, so he didn’t get much of an opportunity to contribute to the battle.) After a bit of back-and-forth as he struggled for combat advantage, the Night Caste poisoned and shredded two of the striders with a barrage of Charm- and Evocation-backed attacks, and the other two fled back into the jungle.

Overall, it was a dynamic fight that seamlessly incorporated surprise and grappling. Numbers continue to tell, and a Solar with minimal combat competence is genuinely vulnerable to mundane threats without having to worry about being instantly turned into a red paste.