Month: January 2015

“Ask the Developers” Thread Summary, Post #6

The Exalted developers Q&A has now left the original Q&A thread and moved on to a new thread. Here’s a compilation of dev answers to player questions from the first few weeks of the new thread!

Links to previous threads:
Q&A Summary #1
Q&A Summary #2
Q&A Summary #3
Q&A Summary #4
Q&A Summary #5


Simon Mcglynn:
Do you necessarily need to be holding a weapon to activate Evocations? Can you perhaps embed a number of Daiklaves in an enemy then activate them all on the final strike?

Lea:
It really depends on the Evocation. Volcano Cutter has a few neat tricks that key off Call the Blade; obviously you can’t use those if Volcano Cutter is already in your hand.


Simon Mcglynn:
On a largely unrelated note, and one that’s likely been answered (sorry if it was), are there any plans for something like Shards of the Exalted Dream for 3e? I really like the idea of Exalted in our world.

Lea:
This comes up a lot!

A Shards book would be really fun, but we have at least five years’ worth of other books that need priority, so.


Poop Deck:
In 2E, Solar Charms were written in a way such that the first part gave a narrative description that could be interpretted in either a positive or negative way. They would start with statements such as “It is hard for mortals to resist the shining glory of the Solar Exalted.”

Are Charms in 3E also written in such a way that they can be interpretted both rightous or sinister?

Vance:
Mostly, they just describe what legendary skill or supernal might is depicted by the Charm. It’s morally neutral, so I guess you can read righteousness or wickedness or whatever you want into it, but it really comes down to how your character uses the prowess that Charm represents.


Lontra Felina:
Would a Medicine charm (or non Ability-based equivalent) that lets you rip organs out of your body and shove them into the patient be appropriate for a Liminal?

John:
Not at all.


Andrensath:
Are Alchemicals still going to be a thing in 3e?

John:
Yes, eventually.

Thunderchild:
Is there any possibility of canon links between Creation and Autochthonia? Something small, perhaps requiring a degree of happenstance but nonetheless a way for Alchemicals to end up in Creation and other exalts to end up in Autochthonia? I’ve long felt that Alchemicals are kind of sabotaged in the narrative by essentially requiring that the group set out to run an Autochthonian campaign. Otherwise, asking to play an Alchemical in Creation essentially means asking the GM to allow for what is seen as an excessive fluke (which is odd, given that any given player character in Exalted is already a bit of a fluke, but whatever) OR a massive, setting-altering event like an Autochthonian invasion of Creation. It would be nice to have a small, little bit of a link where some cosmic quirk of the setting might allow for a small amount of cross-over (enough to justify a player character), perhaps with a single canon example of something like it happening so that Alchemicals aren’t so completely pigeon-holed.

John:
It will be a completely optional setting this time.

Isator Levie:
I wonder if “completely optional” might extend to the idea that the setting doesn’t implicitly assume that Autochthon actually absconded Elsewhere with several thousand mortals at all. I don’t know if that would mean never actually putting a word in about what became of Autochthon or just saying he disappeared a few decades into the First Age with no details widely known whatsoever.

I mean, even as other books went, there was the idea that Autochthon abducted a few thousand people and disappeared behind the Seal of Eight Divinities was a known quantity. Making it more optional might mean not making references to ancient Solars who tried to break him out of his shell.

Lea:
Well, we’re certainly going to spend a lot less time talking about how Autochthon did this, that, and the other thing this edition.

I dunno if the plans is to specifically leave him out of everything except Alchemical products or not, though.


Anu:
Can we get star maps of Creation’s sky as an add-on for the Sidereals hardback Kickstarter?

Lea:
Creation’s sky is not very static; it’d be difficult to map.


AlphaWhelp:
I know Fair Folk is really, really far away, but are you guys intending to stick to the whole 4-maws/graces idea or will we see a fresh revitalization of Fair Folk?

Lea:
Man I don’t know if we’ve even decided yet.

Vance:
Virtues are out as a system concept, which probably weighs against at least the concept of graces as feeding maws. On the other hand, graces—the physical things, the staff upon which raksha-Odin’s oaths are written or whatever—are pretty cool. I expect their precise role and function would get some adjustment, but I’d be both surprised and sad if they got cut entirely.


sakii:
In scroll of heros there was a thing about only granting godhood as a reward for heroic mortals because for an exalted (or was it a solar) it was a downgrade since being an exalted was a state of being.
Is this still true?

Vance:
“[X] can’t Exalt as a Solar, and therefore hella sucks” is a line of reasoning that has never led to good things—it’s the same thought behind the idea that the gods of Yu-Shan would consider Dragon-Bloods beneath ordinary humans because they can’t Exalt as Celestials.

Lea:
Mortals being uplifted to divine status via divine blessing will probably still be a thing; we don’t really want to obviate god-bloods and such via Exigents. The Exalted being uplifted to divine status will probably not become a thing.

Holden:
The Exalted are already uplifted to divine status.

Isator Levie:
Can gods inherit authority over an Exigent, or is it a thing considered attached to the person rather than the office?

Holden:
What gave you the idea anyone had authority over Exigents?

Lea:
I don’t actually care about whether gods are worthy of worship; not nearly as much as I care about whether that worship is devoted sincerely and what it means to the worshipper. The actual object of worship can sort of go hang; I’m just tired of the idea that we should look at it in terms of rational economic exchange rather than cultural values and heritage.

Constantly reassuring the audience that people in the setting are either justified in their actions or ripe for being convinced to change them is not what I’m here for.

Arian Dynas:
So… there’s no more of this feeling that Exalts are charlatans and liars for demanding worship, or indeed being worshipped, and that having the Cult Background is inherently a cruel and manipulative thing that 2nd Ed kinda gave the implication of being?

Holden:
Again, I’m generally more interested in exploring the motives and goals of the various actors in the setting than passing judgment on them. That’s best left as an exercise for the players.

Prometheus878:
Raziere brings up a valid point; it’s not just Exalts that seemed unworthy of worship in the setting until now, it’s everyone.

Hopefully we’ll get more characters like the field god Ten Sheaves from the Strawmaiden Janest fiction; someone who actually cares about his followers and comes across as genuinely worthy of devotion and respect.

Obviously we should still have plenty of corrupt pray-extortioners to punch, but a few honest deities will help bring some nuance to reinforce the game’s thesis of “it’s not what you are, but who you are and what you do with power that makes you good or bad.”

Holden:
Not disagreeing with your assessment of Ten Sheaves or Janest, but it’s worth remembering that the god was almost certainly going to get his fields destroyed and his Essence devoured by the Fair Folk. And Janest herself is an orphan seized in a raid on some neighboring village and raised as part of a dedicated security force to protect her (forcibly) adopted new community. Does that make them corrupt? Heroic? Dupes? Pawns of circumstance? To me, it just makes them characters in the setting with their own motives, being acted on by various forces and reacting as they think best.

Mejiro_Night:
You do have the slight awkwardness in Exalted (and a lot of other fantasy settings) that religion can be a transaction though – when a preacher comes to town preaching about some new god, then that new god may be able to offer actual concrete benefits to converts, which is not really a factor in the real world. A god that’s buggered off to Yu-Shan to live the good life could find himself ‘undercut’ by a god that actively works his worshippers – if people have the choice of worshipping the ‘god of their people’ who hasn’t been seen in living memory or a new god who has just shown up but is actively helping, than tradition can go hang, people may well go for the new hot god that’s actually there.

A lot of people will have various cultural beliefs (like Ahlat has enough followers that most will quite happily go their entire life without seeing him, or expecting any intervention) but there should be some two-way communication – in my game I had a town that used to be famed for warriors until the Usurpation when most of the population died, and afterwards it became renowned for artwork. The old town god was basically replaced by a new, more arty one, because the town wasn’t interested in his creed anymore, and he lacked the personal power to compel worship. Gods still seem to be potentially pretty locally-focused, so a town can have a falling-out with their god, or reasonably explicit arrangements (‘we give you two festivals a year, you bless 5 acres of ground for us’) without breaking the setting or feeling out of place.

Holden:
Even that isn’t enormously different from, say, a new dynasty solidifying its authority by aggressively pushing a new god or gods into prominence, citing their favor as the reason for upturns in economic prosperity, health, good harvests, etc. “Well, we were getting our asses kicked by famine, badly-run wars, and poverty when we were worshiping Amen-Whatsit, but ever since the new king had us switch to Rama-Whosit we’ve been trouncing our enemies and the cities are full of food and money’s coming in again. MAKES SENSE TO ME.”

Heavy Arms:
The fact that you, personally, don’t like what religions offer people doesn’t change their significance on a cultural level. Which is the point here. Religion is not participated in by most religious people simply as a rational exchange, so making religion in Exalted feel authentic and organic requires it to exist beyond “prayer = god-food, apply economics.”

Religion in Exalted should be there to make Creation feel more “real” as a setting. Any impact is has on the mechanics of Exalts and gods is secondary to that. Being someone that doesn’t see value in religion in their personal life doesn’t really enter the equation into how Ex3 should treat religion.

John:
Something that vanished from 2e was a sense that Creation had its own myths. Every bit of apocrypha in 1e got confirmed as “really real” canon in 2e. This is something else we’re doing away with. Just because someone in Creation holds a certain belief, doesn’t mean that belief is backed up somewhere by a god, spirit, mystical force, etc.


Kahbiel:
Turning back to Invocations, I’m seeing them as generally a way for Combat-Ability focused characters (Solar and Dragonblooded especially) to express powers and abilities typically barred behind sorcery and high essence Martial Arts charms, is that the general idea?

I’m in the midst of running a Solar game using a kludged together version of Fate, and one of my Solar players took a White Jade daiklave and Invocations that allows him to instantly raise up barriers of earth, to parry blows meant for others from far away, and to rocket the Dawn Caste toward his target on a piece of land cut from the earth through the magic of his blade. Is this the sort of thing that Invocations can do, or am I way off base here?

Holden:
That sounds about right for a fairly powerful white jade daiklave.


MagisterCrow:
Hey. So what’s the status of Anathema? I remember the team was going to be working on it for release, but I wasn’t sure if that’s still a goal.

John:
We’re not directly involved in making the Anathema tool. You need to get in touch with Sean or Urs to find out how it’s going.


Holden:
The Immaculate Order is a tool of social conditioning. It exists to condition mortals to obey the Dragon-Blooded, and to condition the Dragon-Blooded not to wreck the world with stupid excesses. So yes: It specifically does not convey moral infallibility on the Dragon-Blooded, while at the same time immunizing mortals from karmic punishment if they obey a Dragon-Blood who has his head up his ass.


Wuse_Major:
Will the Core book go into what technology is appropriate for Creation?

Lea:
Only by example woven into setting description to the usual degree. It’s a big, big book even without that.


sakii:
What is the pinnacle of terrestial sorcery? what is the most big and impressive thing that it can do?
What would be the job of a sorcerer assistant?
Do they have some magic that is not a Spell or a Working? something that they can use in the moment
Do we have some example of mind control in the core? because i may want to have a character doing a Sorcerous Working to give his eyes an hypnotic gaze
What make a great sorcerer different than a “normal” sorcerer? is it something different than the number of spells they know?

John:
1) They’re all fairly well balanced against each other. How good a spell is depends on how cleverly they are used.
2) My assistant does beer runs.
3) Some sorcerers have Charms.
4) Perhaps!
5) Roleplaying.

Anu:
In your opinion, what is the strangest thing a sorcerer can do in order to gather motes for a spell?

John:
Nothing is really all that strange, because there needs to be a kind of sense to one’s actions.


taichara:
Will the species/cultures that made up the Niobraran League resemble plesiosaurs, mosasaurs or giant turtles at all?

John:
We don’t plan to draw on the prehistoric fauna of the region for our races, though there certainly could be all manner of things lurking in the depths.


Mostlyjoe:
1. Are there any other larger (region spanning) religions that have a more complex organization than individual god cults? The nation of Harbor Head worshiping the war god I’d consider close, but you’d think they would have more organized religions. Like the Storm Mothers in the West, does their worship have an organized name? Something akin to a formal structure and tiers of priest hood? This always bothered me about the setting. That the only major factions were listed as the Immaculates, The Cult of the Illumiated, and the Hundred God Heresy (honestly who would call themselves that?).

2. This is a “Lunar did nothing 1E/2E issue.” In all that time that the Lunars and Sidereals were at odds, there were a tin handful of Solar Exaltations constantly being reborn (not captured), right? So why didn’t a handful of Lunars save a Solar Exalt and pull them into a territory they Sidereals can’t get at them? Like say taking them into the heart of the Caul and letting them learn and practice their powers? Why did the setting not have a few 100+ year old rogue Solars that the Lunars were hanging onto as say their ‘nuclear option’ when they were ready to use them? 1E had a 100+ year old Solar NPC in one of the adventures, 2E ignored this possibility.

3. There may or may not be 2-3 more unknown Exalt types. Cool. But what about other avenues of power for Mortals? What would happen if a powerful Fey or Unshaped forced open the Graces of a mortal? Would that being be close to Exalt/Godblooded power? Or perhaps a mortal entered into a pact with a powerful ghost who boned with them much like how the Dragon Kings “exalted”, granting them power from a bond. (Yes, basically Exalted Sin Eater). Or maybe a mortal through sorcery or infernal aid stealing the power of a god or spirit as their own? I know there are Infernals, but what if there was a ‘pact’ Exalt who gains powers by dire acts? Just a desire to have an Exalt type who gains power by taking it from others. Are these potential future possibilites if not for Exalted, but empowered beings?

John:
1. Yes, all kinds of religions, but word count hasn’t been dedicated to any because it isn’t important that the Storyteller know how X worships Y, the Storyteller can make up those details on their own.
2. Maybe the Lunars don’t see that as a viable option. It also paints a different picture of Creation if a Solar has been idle chilling for a century or two. Filial Wisdom works because he is a soul-ridden monster.
3. Sure, why not?


icarr757:
Is there going to be any support to bring new players into Ex3? By this I mean that 99% of the folks posting on rpg.net have some history with Ex3 and know its not your average D&d/Fate/Champions kinda game.

Will there be any adventures to show new players the ropes?
Basic adventures to show a potential new GM the ropes?
Following that, if I have a noobie player who has a idea for a game he just MUST run, how hard will it be for him to go from player to gm?
How long to turn his idea into a adventure? New player reads the book and says Lunars are their dream character, will that be doable with just Ex3 core?
New player wants to make up his own style of kung-fu, doable?

This thread has me highly jazzed for the world of Ex3 for those of us who have history with the world/game, I am just curious how friendly the book will be to introduce new players to.

Holden:
EX3 has been designed primarily with new players in mind.


Odd_Canuck:
You worry about [Anathema], but there are various reasons you don’t go full-tactical-strike when they turn up. Mostly the fallout from your actions, and it taking resources away from other things that are needed. Even if what they’re doing is somewhat problematic for you, if it’s not critical you might care but not take action.

Plus it can be advantageous at times. If an Anathema sets up shop near a kingdom that decided to break free from your guiding hand of rule a few years ago, they might well decide that things were not so bad when they had you for protection.

Lea:
…no, you pretty much do come down on them like a ton of bricks. For seven-ish centuries, the Realm had a policy of “Solars: Not Even One,” up to and including sending Wyld Hunts deep into areas like the Scavenger Lands where they had no recognized political authority in order to hunt new Solars down and kill them, because if you let one develop a power base, Jesus Christ you are so fucked fifty years from now.

Lookshy helped. They were never Solar Friendly. Had I an absurd amount of time, I would now pen a short fiction piece set during one of the Realm invasions of the Scavenger Lands where two two opposing forces of Dragon-Blooded temporarily set aside hostilities to kill an Anathema who’s using the chaos to raise a peasant army and found his own state. Alas, I don’t, so you’ll have to imagine it. (It wouldn’t be very heartwarming; I think it’d end with the Realm DBs successfully positioning things such that killing the Solar necessarily put the Lookshy squad in a position of vulnerability, and the Realm then mopped them up. There would follow an historical footnote about how this minor victory did not ultimately gain the Realm anything strategically, in the manner of Consider Phlebas.)

All the current stuff about “Well, they can let you alone if you let them alone” is really recent, largely because at the height of its power, the Realm really did have the military resources to go to absurd lengths to hunt down the dozen or so Solars who kept reincarnating, but the Realm is now at the nadir of its power and there aren’t a dozen-ish Solars anymore, there’s over a hundred. Not devoting absolutely as many resources as are needed to find every Solar you can and kill every Solar you find goes against the doctrines of every major power player in the setting; fortunately for the Solars, those doctrines are now absolutely, completely unworkable — nobody has enough resources to consistently chase down half of the Solars, let alone all of them, never mind all of them plus having capital left over to accomplish any damn other thing.

Odd_Canuck:
Yes, I was addressing what *is* rather than what was, or rather the pragmatic result of what I’d think would be.

I find the idea that there isn’t an adjustment of tactics rather… well, insulting to human nature. And not really good for the idea of the Realm as a credible threat. If they are completely utterly incapable of using the threat that Anathema represent to their own advantage but instead are dead set on “hear of an anametha, mount up and go kill it!” they’re doomed in short order. Apart from wasted effort on false reports which will be non trivial, it’s putting you in the position of steadily losing people you can not afford to lose to the anathema victories. You can pull that off if you have vast reserves of people to throw, but the Realm doesn’t as far as I understand it.

Lea:
Well, yes.

But also keep in mind that the people who are now in the position of having to leave Solars alone because there’s no resources to deal with them, or even deliberately leaving Solars alone on the grounds that they’ll cause problems for another enemy, are the same people who have, up until now, lived their whole lives (over a century, for some of them!) under a strict doctrine of “No. No. Don’t do that. Don’t try to be clever. Don’t try to play him off your other enemies. Don’t let him alone because you want to spend the effort it’d take to hunt him down on something else that was bigger on your radar before he showed up. Do not do those things. The part of you that wants to do those things is a lazy, impious, irresponsible bastard who will get us all killed. Do not listen to that part of yourself. Woman up and launch a fucking Wyld Hunt.”

Gayo:
It does seem like the cost of this policy could be staggering, given how much bigger the world is now, and how much of it is unfriendly territory for the Realm. If you don’t assume that every Solar who shows up is immediately flagged and located by Bronze Faction Sidereals then it seems like this approach would often involve mounting operations comparable to the Crusades in size and scope, since the whack-a-mole tends to push shards into the places where they’re hardest to find and destroy.

Lea:
Sidereal astrology helps with locating them. Or did, back when the numbers were manageable. Once you nail down the area, you can start asking “Hey, have you seen any glowing golden anathemic demon-gods around here lately?”

Gayo:
Hmm. Did they have a different method for cases where the Anathema were way outside of Realm territory, or were they stuck having to try to march an army all the way from the nearest garrison to some god-awful place on the edge of Creation? I imagine the whole “let us through your territory and we promise to just kill the Anathema and leave” thing must be kind of a hard sell.

I guess there was always the Sword of Creation.

Lea:
Sometimes you have to break out the Dragon Armor, bind some agata, and do an aerial insertion with a dozen highly-trained guys, several of whom are sorcerers trained in Infallible Messenger so you can make regular check-ins and progress reports from half a world away. If all else fails, Sidereals can route backup through Heaven, though they are loathe to do so.

(That’s the nice thing about being based on the Blessed Isle — nowhere in Creation is ever more than half a world away.)

Prometheus878:
Interesting.

Alright, so. I believe this is the gist of the Realm’s current status in 3E, based on Dev comments:

1. The Realm as a singular entity, as much as it ever was a singular entity, is crumbling due to the colossal power vacuum left by the Scarlet Empress.

2. However, the individual Houses, who were suppressed and set against one another by the Empress for the sake of maintaining her control, are now free to expand, accrue resources, and generally do as they see fit, making the Houses more dangerous then they were before, despite their lack of unity.

3. The Realm-wide institutions, such as the Thousand Scales and the Imperial Legions are being plundered by the Houses in preparation for civil war, either to reunite the empire, or to establish their own hegemony.

Does all this mean the Wyld Hunt will lose its power, being one of the aforementioned Realm-wide institutions? … I don’t think so.

They might not be able to pull as much manpower and resources as they did before, but I sincerely doubt the House lords will be so foolish as to abandon one of the core tenets of their follower’s faith. They’ll definitely want to keep the morale up and secure the loyalty of the religiously inclined by hunting down Anathema within their sphere of capability; not to mention that after centuries of fighting Lunar dominions, they’ll see Anathema as a major threat to their dominion, regardless of who’s problem they are right now.

Therefore, my interpretation of the assertion that the Wyld Hunt is not as powerful as it was is that it’s the difference between “Holy *&$% you are so dead” and “You might survive this, if you run now. If you can actually beat them, you’re a certified kung-fu hero (and the fight will be fantastic).”

Please tell me if I’m wrong here.

Holden:
That’s about right.

Odd_Canuck:
Never tell an expensive truth when a cheap lie will do the job.

To secure the people you don’t need to run out and kill Anathema, you just need to spread rumours to run along side all the rumours of new Anathema about your brave forces taking them down. And you have exalted that are very good at spreading just such rumors.

As for dealing with threats, I generally expect that the most wise and enlightened military commander politicians can judge the numbers. I can take what I have and throw it at this Anathema now… because it will someday threaten my interests after I rule the world… that is right now not in any way threatening me, but IS threatening my enemies… OR… I can send my forces after this minor rumor in the hinterlands of the blessed isle on the basis that we need to “protect the homefront” and then make a lot of political noise about this other threat and demand that my competitor deal with it since MY forces are already committed to anathema hunting and it’s in the territory THEY rule. Only makes sense. Their mess, they should clean it up. And the fact that they’ll be defenseless when my strongest forces return to report that it was naught but a rumor, is just icing.

Lea:
Right now, yes.

I just think it produces neat results to remember that the people making the decisions feel deeply uncomfortable about it, because it’s against everything they were raised to do.


sakii:
now that thaumaturgy is rare and enlightened essense is gone, what happens with Lookshy and Paragon supersoldiers and mortal Inmaculate exorsist???
are they gone, replaced…

Lea:
Thaumaturgy is rare, but thaumaturgist-exorcists are still a thing, especially in the context of e.g. Sijan and the Immaculate Order, because both are recognized, large-scale, heavily-bureaucratized organizations with the sort of reach that allows them to actively recruit the talented. Among areas where the Immaculate Order has a strong cultural cachet, the understanding is that if you have a talent for thaumaturgy, your duty is to go become a monk — that is, in fact, the universe’s way of telling you that priesthood is your calling.

Lookshyan supersoldiers are fast-aging guys in relic super-suits, of which Lookshy does not have enough to reliably field whole squads, but does still have.

sakii:
so now is if yo are a thaumaturgist go become a monk instead of you are a monk learn to be an exorcist

Lea:
People feel called to the priesthood for many reasons, and the Immaculate Order is quite good at distributing human resources effectively.

sakii:
there is something else for mortal monks beside assisting the exalted monks then

Lea:
There is a shit-ton for mortal monks to do beside assisting the Exalted monks. The Immaculate Order’s bureaucracy is gigantic.


Anaximander:
This is probably a silly question, but I don’t recall it ever being explicitly stated if Immaculate monks, or at least Dragon-Blooded ones, are required to be celibate. If so, how does that square with the Dynastic imperative to breed?

nexus:
I thought it was stated out right that Immaculate Monks were celibate (but IIRC, “taking matters in hand wasn’t prohibited).

Edit: and I don’t think virginity was required. Terrestrials can enter the order late in life after bearing or siring children, for instance.

Lea:
They’re supposed to be celibate, yeah. Ritual celibacy is one of the ascetic behaviors Dragon-Blooded practice during the run-up to qualifying for full-power Immaculate MA, along with sticking to mild foods, regular meditation, avoiding decadent material comforts, etc.. The do seem to genuinely have to adhere to some sort of disciplined regime to unlock that potential; it’s not just some bullshit.

Whether they have to adhere to celibate practices after unlocking the ability to learn Immaculate MA… well, hmm. Here’s a concept: “Below the resolution of the mechanics.” Like, we recognize that two horses might be of unequal quality as mounts, while both are represented by the same stats, because the stats don’t represent a fine-enough resolution picture of the setting to set them apart. Likewise, two guys of Strength 4 and Athletics 3 are probably not exactly equally strong. In-setting, there’d be a measurable difference in terms of strength, however minor, but since we’re only dealing with ten steps, that gets abstracted out.

Immaculates benefit spiritually from practicing celibacy, but at a level below the resolution of the mechanics. It’s not just some bullshit! In setting, there’s an effect! Just, I don’t know what it is, and whatever it is, it’s minor enough we don’t represent it with game rules.

Holden:
Celibacy is part of the Immaculate vows, although monks are explicitly permitted masturbation in order to maintain a balanced mind.

The Immaculate Order is, in part, a way to handle those Dragon-Blooded who are unmanageable breeding problems, and to help keep things manageable for the Empress. If she were stressing pure numbers, the Realm could easily have quadruple its current Terrestrial population, which is un-manageable even for the Empress’s impressive statesmanship skills. It would have fractured long ago. And so the Immaculate Order acts as a good repository for unruly sons and daughters, for those too morally strict to do well in the cutthroat world of Dynastic politics, and– very important!– as a place to shuffle the multitudes of lost eggs the Realm sweeps up every year. Weak-blooded mongrels from the peasant villages and the Threshold are a wild card nobody particularly wants in their House bloodlines, and so these diluted far-flung bloodlines are allowed to peter out in service to the Immaculate Order.

Holden:
The Realm is set up to demand children, but then to put roadblocks in the way of having just shitloads of kids, the most obvious probably being the utterly ruinous cost of educating a Dynastic child.

Wuse_Major:
IIrc, as regards the Celebacy and the Immaculate Order discussion, I want to make sure I’m remembering a few things correctly.

1) Not everyone who goes to the Cloister as their Secondary School eventually becomes a Monk, right? It’s like going to Catholic School on Earth, many of those kids aren’t going to join the church, they just went to religious school, right?

Holden:
Correct.

Wuse_Major:
2) Similarly, one can take the vows without necessarily having gone to the Cloister, right? Like, if you’re, say, a tired old Air Aspect who just wants to get away from the fighting, you could join the Order, yes?

Holden:
Correct.

Wuse_Major:
In the second case, you could easily have had a bunch of kids first, since you could be, like 200 years old or something, before you took your vow of celibacy, right?

Holden:
Sure.


Poop Deck:
How are mutations going to be different in 3E compared to 2E (assuming there will be a difference)?

Lea:
They’re just merits. Ex1 and Ex2 had this whole system where the mutations were originally assigned point values according to “How far does this pull you from the human average” with the intent of measuring how easy or hard it was to acquire it in the Wyld and how difficult it was to survive outside the Wyld with them, and then those also got turned into purchase value when bought as powers, but that never lined up, because something like having a ring of octopus tentacles instead of a pair of legs is clearly an abomination if wings are, but is not worth as many chargen points as self-powered flight.


sakii:
a question from my future Solar animal handler

Can we bond with only 1 familiar or (Essence) familiars?

Holden:
Neither!

sakii:
If is the latter do we buy the charms for each or can we share between them?

Holden:
Depends on the Charm.

sakii:
A familiar enhanced with the new survival charms can have solar level figthing power?

Holden:
No, that would be pretty crazy. They’re quite tough, though.

sakii:
Do we have the stats for Warhawks in the core?

Holden:
What’s that?

sakii:
they are the gigant birds that the Haltan people ride

Vance:
You can hack them really fast—eagle stats, then add in some of the size-related merits of other animals. Maybe a dash of strix to taste.

sakii:
How screw up are my enemies if i tame a tyrant-lizard?

Holden:
They’re pretty screwed.

sakii:
I know that we can bond whith god-blooded animals but what is the line between familiars and allies?

Holden:
“Do I have a soul-deep bond with this creature and also is it an animal”


Heavy Arms:
I know a lot of people that lost their virginity in that age group. Including a few that ended up with pregnancies.

I don’t recall anything in Exalted that implies that Creation has a more modern stigma against teenage pregnancies, or against being sexually active after puberty at ages we consider today to be too young for such things; it always seemed to me that the bigger stress was being careful about not causing scandals. While I understand most people wouldn’t want to play a fresh academy age dynast’s liaisons (and I’m in that category), as far as backstory/character hooks I can see someone playing an IO Monk with high Breeding (or however that’s handled in Ex3) who made a deal with their family to sire a few children for the sake of the bloodline before taking their vows.

Is there anything that would actually stop this in the setting?

Holden:
Most of Creation has no issues with 16-year-olds getting married and assuming adult responsibilities. This is hugely stigmatized in Dynastic society, not least because it gets in the way of the kid’s education and ties them down with responsibilities they are totally unprepared to uphold both socially and financially.

Lea:
I’m not sure whether maiden tea would be “made freely available to students,” because that seems like an aspect of modern culture that places like expensive boarding schools in a Realm-like competitive nobility would not share. I am reasonably certain that rich parents could pay the faculty a bit more to make maiden tea available to their children, even if on an unofficial basis (and if you think this is the only bribery going on between rich parents and faculty, I’ve got a bridge to sell you), just as I am sure that rich parents would also pay to have inconvenient youth pregnancies swept under the rug, whether by chemical abortifacents for their own kids or… other methods… for other kids who their kids have become involved with.

Children of patrician families who can barely afford tuition as it is may be shit out of luck. Should have been more appreciative of the opportunity your family worked so hard to give you, kids!

Holden:
The big restriction on handing out maiden tea at school is that the really effective varieties are expensive. Also worth remembering: Getting caught helping induce abortion in a Dynast’s kid is hugely illegal. Like, for a patrician instructor, “I am taking my life into my hands here” illegal.

Lea:
That never stopped nobody.

Holden:
In an atmosphere where the parents are positively salivating to expose scandals involving the rivals of their children, and shortening an instructor by one neck doesn’t even give them moral pangs?

Lea:
In an atmosphere where the parents are also positively salivating to prevent scandals involving their own children, and have ridiculous amounts of money to throw around?

If something’s against the law, people are doing it. Nobody outlaws shit nobody does, and outlawing a thing never totally stops it.

John:
The situation with maiden tea varies across the Realm, as political / social attitudes vary across the Realm. The Dynasty is not a monoculture. The Blessed Isle is the size of the United States. No two primary schools will react the same way to teenage pregnancy, and the reaction depends on the opinions of the Great Houses sponsoring the schools. A primary school where Mnemon parents are providing extravagant financial support will adopt Mnemon views; a school where a Tepet family provides most of the funds will follow the Tepet school of thought. Social censure remains the main pressure against teenage Dynasts flying fast and loose, but there can be layered consequences for parties involved depending on what House they belong to and especially what gender they are. The ax tends to fall much heavier on boys than girls in this sort of situation. No young Dynast in his right mind wants to get a child on a Dynastic peer, as it creates grounds for her House to lay all kinds of charges against his. No House wants to go through all the expense of raising their son and sending him to a primary school all for him to earn them a blood feud with another House.

Holden:
“Congrats, Mom and Dad, I got you some very powerful mortal enemies for the holidays because I’m too stupid to practice any form of safe sex!” never goes over well.

John:
The main thing to take away from this conversation is that the primary schools are dependent on House patrons. The Houses are the backbone of society. They “create” the right response.

theliel:
Is this also layered on top of regional traditions/norms as well or are the houses strong enough culturally that when they dominate an area they pretty much take over and assimilate it?

Is there any chance in an examination of how towns/schools/etc. run by the various houses would get a rundown in a book?

John:
“How the Houses influence politics” will be the spine of the Realm book.

Irked:
Wait, is maiden tea an abortifacient? I’d always been under the impression it was a contraceptive – it’d keep you from getting pregnant, but wouldn’t be effective once you were.

Lea:
It’s a contraceptive if taken in small regular doses monthly, an abortifacent if taken in a moderate-to-large dose during pregnancy, a sterilizing agent if taken in even larger doses at any time, and potentially a fatal poison if taken in doses even larger than that. The specific doses required for each function and the reliability of its performance as a contraceptive depends on what variety you’re using; the universally 100% reliable variety requires an extract of those venomous clams the Tya use to sterilize themselves, is available only by import from the far West, and is expensive as fuck.

Holden:
In EX3, “maiden tea” is a category-name for a variety of chemical contraceptives, which vary widely in effectiveness. The 100% reliable stuff from prior editions is still around, but as Lea noted, requires some pretty far-flung ingredients and is thus dreadfully expensive. Which is to say, any maiden tea found in a primary school’s apothecary is not going to be sufficiently foolproof that you can just hand it out and let the students fuck like rabbits without any further worries.

Lea:
I should note here that even the less expensive varieties are reliable enough that they’re not useless; we don’t want to produce a situation where unless you’re very rich or playing in the West, female characters do not have meaningful bodily autonomy with regards to sexual license and the consequences thereof. Unreliable maiden tea is unreliable on the order of “Sometimes condoms break.”

Lea:
The concern being expressed here is that certain elements of human biology lead to semi-inevitable oppression of women on both a micro- and macro-scale unless glossed over or otherwise dealt with — witness how, in my example above, the solution for getting out of the consequences of an unwanted school pregnancy without chemical abortifacents for a female student is “Induce abortion some other way,” which is unpleasant but at least a choice the student makes for herself, while the solution for getting out of the consequences of an unwanted school pregnancy for a male student is… “Induce abortion some other way,” still, possibly without the mother’s consent. That is some casual violence against women right there. This extends to every other element of the setting, from the practicality of women serving in armies to the practicality of women having full autonomy w/regards to how sexually active they want to be.

Other games handwave it, which is fine, but Exalted can’t get away with handwaving that because Exalted doesn’t handwave economics or logistics. Instead, Ex1 introduce cheap, reliable, universally available herbal birth control, inspired by the actual silphium, which was (allegedly, depending on who you ask) a reliable herbal abortifacent available to the Romans which they made extinct through overuse.

What I see here is the beginning of the expression of fear that by removing maiden tea as a silphium-equivalent without considering the repercussions, we are adjusting the setting to be much less female-PC-friendly and otherwise much more inevitably filled with sexual violence against women, once you get into the logistics of how pregnancy works. That is, it introduces more conflict into the setting, but the conflict it introduces is not fun to engage with.

However, as I said above, “unreliable” maiden tea is unreliable on the level of conventional birth control, not on the level of a toss-up. The game mechanics for maiden tea, regardless of what variety you buy, are “One dose monthly for contraception, two doses at once during a pregnancy as an abortifacent, three doses at once at any time for sterility, four doses are fatal.” The unreliability of the cheaper versions exists on a larger context of statistical measurements and economic supply and demand.

Isator Levie:
The apparent desire to make the West more of an economic choke point (if I’m using the term correctly) would also seem to play its part, and the toxins used by the Tya were already there.

Lea:
Yes, that too.

ADamiani:
OK, so the intent is “the west is where we get our contraceptives, and thus important” rather than “the west is where we get the best contraceptives, but even dynasts can’t afford to use them readily so they’re basically irrelevant,” which is what I got from crossing your stuff with Holden’s. That makes a lot more sense now, thanks!

Lea:
No, it is “The West is where we get the best contraceptives,” but that doesn’t mean anything short of the best contraceptives are useless, or that Dynasts can’t afford even those. The availability of contraceptives in Dynastic primary and secondary school is a separate issue that got conflated with this.

Holden:
Dynasts are basically hoarding the best stuff for themselves, as they’re the wealthiest people in the setting on average.

Which is to say, you’re going to find the best stuff in a Dynast’s manse, not at a primary school being passed out on-request to patrician children.

It was also significantly more available ten years ago, before the impending civil war started making standard economic intercourse with the West dicey.


Isator Levie:
Some earlier points about the Wyld Hunt have me wondering… does the Realm engage in expeditionary warfare? That is, warfare not for the sake of conquest, or even local political advantages, but for the sake of breaking down forces operating outside of their organised spheres of influence so that they can’t grow into potential rivals?

Like, if a travelling Dynast returns from an extended trip to the Dreaming Sea with tales of an increasingly powerful kingdom, and those stories are corroborated, will the Empress order a self-sustaining, mobile legion to head over there, wreak general destructive havoc, and then come home with whatever plunder they can carry?

John:
The Empress did her best to suppress any kind of upwelling of power that occurred within her reach. The Dreaming Sea is a bit beyond the direct stroke of the Realm, though. That said, Dynasts regular engage in war tourism and there are many incentives for them doing so.


taleswapper:
So… I have this concept of a twilight caste blacksmith/armorer. He’d be physical primary and mental secondary with a focus in craft, melee, athletics, and resistance, but what I’d really like to know about it is how much support there’d be for an artifact hammer.

If I wanted to make an artifact hammer which would be something like forge hammer sized outside of combat, but would be goremaul sized in combat and could interact in interesting ways with crafted items (say causing mortal forged items to break up into their constituent parts and perhaps with enough momentum (or whatever is appropriate) built up doing similar to artifacts)) and maybe kitbashing items out of those constituent parts which would have a limited shelf-life (if they were more durable, I’d have to use the appropriate crafting subsystem), how easily could I build that artifact hammer with the core rules? How about with Arms of the Chosen? Or would it be largely a matter of homebrew?

John:
Solar Craft Charms already do most of these things. What you’d really have is an artifact craftsman’s hammer that enhances your Solar Charms in various ways through various Evocations of hax and awe.


LordofArcana:
Does the Realm have myths analogous to the Kingdom of Prester John? The idea that there is some small kingdom off in the middle of nowhere far beyond their cultural reach which is nonetheless composed of devoted followers of the Immaculate Faith?

I have this thought of playing a descendent of a lost egg who would be taking advantage of such a belief to justify her rule (the lost egg, not the character). My character would be sent on a mission to help generate something resembling an alliance (the expected outcome would be me bringing a couple patrician adventurers back with me).

Along the way my character exalts as an Eclipse and hilarity ensues.

Holden:
Sounds fun! Also, plausible, considering that the Immaculate Philosophy pre-dates the Order (and the modern Realm), and how many missionaries have walked off over yon farthest hill and vanished over the years. The Cinder Coast would be a particularly fertile region for such legends (and holy shit would the reality be disappointing), as would the West.

Packrat:
That said if Dragon Blooded are as potent as they were in 2e then there is nothing stopping say a brotherhood of 150 year old exalts who have finished their century plus in the Legions hiring a few hundred mercenaries, then knocking over a couple of fair sized kingdoms over a long afternoon after zipping between them using sorcery.

I know that in the prior edition at least there is simply nothing that a mortal kingdom no matter how larger can actually to do stop this, it really did not matter how many well trained and disciplined soldiers you put into the field if you were faced with experienced dragon blooded using some random guys and War charms.

Lea:
3e’s setting has more room for variance in field threads. Exigents help, as do Lunar dominions as potential bases of operation for forces who’d oppose that sort of poorly-supported imperialism, more obviously physically present elementals, and stranger things.


Anaximander:
Speaking of cultural diversity, will the West benefit from that, as well? With all those isolated islands, and just the sheers stretch of them from North to South, I always found it strange how boring the West’s cultures were, and how little variation that wasn’t Deathlord-driven.

Also, will mutations still come in “pox,” “affliction,” and “abomination”? I always found those words really inapplicable as general terms, because beneficial or neutral mutations don’t really fit.

Holden:
Nope, mutations are just merits now.


Leliel:
I’ve actually heard they’re rewiring akuma altogether; they’re more like demonic pacting in the cWoD now, where you sell your soul in percentages. 5% here nets you wealth, 10% gets you a new Charm tree access, 15% your own demonic manservant and 3% off your next purchase.

This can only be a good thing; it isn’t a complete sucker’s bet now.

Holden:
Akuma aren’t making it to 3e as a thing.

Isator Levie:
I would say that when you make questionable deals with demons for power, they tend to want something a bit more substantial than your soul in exchange for it.

Vance:
Exalted’s demons don’t really have a use for souls (unless, like Alveua, they do). I expect most people who offer that up would be met with the equivalent of a bemused stare.


sakii:
So, back to the usual thread. We were told what a Essence 5 Solar can do but what can they do at Essence 1?
They can at least survive a figth agains Leiger if they but their A game.
Can they sneak on Mask Of Winter and steal the keys to the Juggernaut from his neck or maybe seduce the Lover… and then take her on a joy ride on the Juggernaut??

Holden:
I wouldn’t really want to throw down with Ligier with an Essence 1 Circle, if I had a choice…

John:
This is an edition where a Survival Solar’s tiger familiar can get powerful enough to rip the throat out of a Second Circle demon. Keep in mind that Solars are the most powerful kind of Exalted, and that they project themselves over standard RPG threats much more quickly than your typical protagonist.

Skeptic Tank:
I think the trick is not to conflate “my tiger can rip the throat out of a second circle demon” with “my familiar can trivially dispatch Octavian”.

I think it will be closer to “my solar-boosted hypertiger can legitimately participate in a fight with a second circle demon, and even perhaps land the killing blow”, whereas such a thing would have been implausible in second edition.

Holden:
Yes.

The tendency of posters to immediately make the jump from the statement “X can challenge Y” to “Y is always completely helpless in the face of X, and should not even get out of bed and put pants on that day” baffles me. And I see it almost daily. I know combat in 2e was super-deterministic but…

Ghosthead:
To some extent that argument about the starting Twilight vs starting Dawn so First Circle Demons have to have a certain level of power seems like it could be weird, as you could make the same argument for Dragonblooded – that if a Dragonblooded sorcerer can use DotFC to summon up a Blood Ape, then a Dragonblooded warrior of the same degree of experience should be able to best it as easily.

Still, hopefully if a pack of Blood Apes is to be a foe to a Solar they can have some battle tactics or variety in their style and approach that makes it more interesting and cinematic than just “I kill one, then I kill another one”.

Re: tactical considerations, yeah. I think one of the points about Exalted 3e is that it is very specifically being built to allow a lot of possibilities for character powers and builds, without any real intent of building in any “challenge level” or “power level” progression very much to make it open plan where players can build whatever character you want.

And that means that if GMs aren’t oriented to specifically think about building foes specifically to counter and balance players capabilities, and players aren’t thinking about using their characters capabilities to counter foes, rather than thinking in terms of levels of power, they will both end up having bad fights and bad challenges, because the game has no in built mechanism to ensure fights are tactically balanced and the outcome uncertain, which is usually what makes fights fun. So specifically thinking about who tactically balances who is important.

(I’m sort of cribbing from comments in the http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?…-Up-On-Exalted here).

Re: Solars being able to leap past certain classes of RPG foes, OK. On the flip side, in Exalted 2e at least, I remember there being lots of memes about “Exalted isn’t the game of whether you can do something; it’s the game of whether you should do something”. Which, while moral dilemmas are interesting, didn’t quite totally square with Exalted being inspired by lots of cool action anime where the question, yes, really was whether the heroes could tactically overcome this particular fearsome foe and how cool they’d look doing it (not just whether they ought to). Kind of implied this game of invincible supermen making weighty moral decisions with success a foregone conclusion rather than a game of tactical cinematic war, combat and intrigue against real tests of skill. I think that meme was just a product of Solar “class” characters being seen as more overpowered than really made sense for them. So just for context.

Holden:
This is broadly correct. Fighting in EX2 and to a lesser degree in EX1 was largely an exercise in using magic to banish tactical considerations, then using more magic to whomp hard. Then he who had no weaknesses and could whomp hardest won. (In 1e this meant Solars and Sids usually won, since they could most effectively get rid of their weaknesses before measuring whomp-sticks. In 2e Solars were the clear winner, since they could banish all tactical considerations trivially and completely, then whomp way harder than anyone else.)

Fighting in EX3 doesn’t work that way. Tactics remain important at all levels, although you can use whomping power to compensate for bad or sloppy tactics when there’s a sufficient power gap– i.e. a Solar can afford to sloppily steamroll a mortal if he’s willing to burn Essence like a drunken sailor, but only if he’s willing to do that– if he tries to conserve his power, he’d better fight smart. If he’s fighting something that can hit dangerously hard or marshal big pools, he’d better fight seriously every time, because good tactics can beat sheer power in EX3, especially in group fights.

SrGrvsaLot:
How is this accomplished? What is the theory underpinning the new combat system that makes this possible?

Lea:
To some degree, it’s just a matter of writing offensive tactical considerations such that you wouldn’t need to negate them entirely in order to deal with them, and then not including ways to completely negate them.

SrGrvsaLot:
Are second circle demons no threat to the solar exalted?

EDIT: Actually, let me rephrase the question in a less confrontational way. I’m not at all sure what you’re getting at, regarding respective power levels. My worry is that “Solars are the most powerful kind of Exalted” translates into “Solars are the most powerful kind of anything” and that what we’ll see is that solar pcs can “outgrow” entire classes of enemies. Like, there’s no point statting a second circle demon as an antagonist, because the Solar’s Familiar can dispatch it, and presumably that means the solars themselves, acting as a Circle, have nothing to fear from any demon whatsoever.

Do the different classes of non-exalted potential antagonists have more longevity than in editions past?

John:
There’s a world of difference between a Solar with no exp and a Solar with a thousand exp. So when you say “can a Solar do this / that” without qualification it is hard to answer your question. When I talk about a Survival Solar with a tiger familiar, I’m not asking you to imagine a useless animal from a previous edition, buffed up by an Exalt with one Charm that lets it auto-slay demons. I am talking about someone who has plowed a lot of time, training, and meditation into building his Essence into a thing which empowers his tiger as a inexorable stalking beast with devil-rending jaws. There is no standard Solar, so “can Solars do this” as a line of thought, is going to produce inaccurate assumptions about the splat.

LordofArcana:
If I want a 1st Circle Demon to be a grand antagonist to a group of fresh solars, are there any options available to it that aren’t to a mortal?

John:
You could give it stronger Charms and increase its mote pool.


Skeptic Tank:
How much territory does the Bull of the North cover in this edition? I’m assuming that he’s still around, considering I haven’t heard alot of hate on him from the devs, but I know that the sheer size of his territory seems to have been conceived of under an edition that hadn’t figured out his sizes again. Will he still be a military concern for Gethemane and Linowan simultaneously? Or has his territory been scaled down?

I know the Bull gets a lot of hate from some parts of the fanbase. I don’t share it, but even I have to admit that having an active and aggressive threat which covers that much territory can get rather unwieldy for many STs. Given the “10-year view” that we’ve been told the books will be examining, I would imagine the Bull was a topic of much discussion when discussing the new setting.

Holden:
We haven’t really discussed him very much to be honest. But I doubt his domain will cover like, a seventh of Creation, as it has at some points in the past.


Wuse_Major:
So, we know that there are some new exalted types about which you, the Devs, have carefully said nothing. Are there going to be any info about any of those exalted types in the Core? Like at all? Or are we going to need to wait on those for future books?

And I don’t mean like “full NPC writeups” or anything. Right now I’d be satisfied with an Exalt type name, possibly a factoid too. Anything really.

John:
A little of both.


Colapso:
– Is the Lunar-Opposite (in the vein of Getimians/Sidereals and Liminals/Abyssals) going to be mentioned in the core? If not, how soon?

Holden:
Wait and see :O

(Also Liminals really have nothing to do with Abyssals.)

Gaius of Xor:
Indeed. I’ve mostly settled on calling them “foils” to the classic Exalted. Part of the stated idea behind those new splats is to strengthen and clarify the themes of the classic Exalted,* so “foils” feels like the right word for that angle.

* And to have their own themes strengthened and clarified in turn, of course: the devs have said these new splats should make for solid gameplay experiences on their own merits.

John:
Foil is a much more accurate term. It should be noted that Liminals stand off on their own in this model. They are not linked to any other splat directly.

Colapso:
– Is there a simplified craft system with the properties of the MMs in the Core, or is all that going into Arms of the Chosen?

Holden:
The full craft system is in the core. We don’t currently have any plans to supercede it in a future suppement.

Colapso:
– What sorts of new things will the underworld have?

Holden:
Black rivers flowing with the nightmares of dead gods. Sunless kingdoms. Ancient heroes, bound up in raiment and arms of their own legend, who have forgotten the living world. A great dark tower lost in an eternal storm.

Colapso:
– You mentioned Truculee will probably remain; will the Silver Chair remain, also?

Holden:
We don’t really have a plan for when and where to talk about either of those things, at the moment. But they’re more in-line with EX3 than the Daystar.

John:
The Lunar “opposite” type, I don’t want to say yes or no. I’ll answer more questions after the core drops. As others have said though, you might be confused if you think of them as opposites. Also, there are two new types of Exalts for the Lunars, not just one.

The Craft system in the core is entirely new and not simplified from another system.

The Underworld’s ghosts will be a lot different. So will the map. Think dark reflection in a shattered mirror.

That was years ago. I no longer have any plans for the Truculee. Silver Chair is not returning in EX3.


Excrucian:
Is it possible to have sorcery as a starting character? It used to require Essence 3, but you’ve reworked sorcery pretty heavily, so that’s probably no longer the case.

Also, about how large is an “average” class at one of the Realm’s secondary schools? (As in “graduating class of RY 752.”)

John:
1) Yes.
2) It varies. Not a large number.


You can find the next compilation here:
Q&A Summary #7

“Ask the Developers” Thread Summary, Post #5

I’ve spent the past month nursing my husband through bronchitis, after which I experienced a nasty bout of strep throat. Between that, Arms of the Chosen revisions, and prep for upcoming Exalted projects, I’ve remained preoccupied with non-blog activities. I’m hoping to get more blogging done in the near future, even if it’s just recipes or Magic: The Gathering decklists or whatever other non-Exalted material is handy.

In the meantime, the Exalted developers Q&A proceeds apace. I’ve summarized everything through the end of the original Q&A thread (now closed to avoid exceeding the forum’s maximum post count). I’ll put up another post covering the first few weeks of the new Q&A thread shortly.

Links to previous threads:
Q&A Summary #1
Q&A Summary #2
Q&A Summary #3
Q&A Summary #4


John:
Hey guys,

We are on reddit tonight as a part of the Onyx Path AMA.

http://www.reddit.com/r/rpg/comments…r_another_ama/


Nabla:
Does fighting with a spear feel different that fighting with an axe?

Lea:
A bit, yeah. Weapons are just light, medium, heavy, with same stats across every class, and oviously a spear and an axe both do lethal damage, but weapon tags differentiate weapons and the spear and axe have different tags that make them better at different things.


Praetorian:
This is close to finally being in our hands, isnt it?

John:
Yes. We’re crazy excited.


Huntress:
How would the story of the Little Mermaid be different if Ariel was…

A. A Chosen of the Depths?
B. One of the Spoken?

Holden:
There would be significantly more ninja ballets and/or apocalyptic storms sweeping An-Teng into the sea.

John:
Everything but the crab’s undersea propaganda song would be different.


nexus:
I understand the First Age is going to be left more of misty question in 3rd. I assume that includes the Usurpation, its cause and the ultimate question of its necessity and righteousness?

Holden:
For a game like Exalted, you get much better results from exploring the motivations and goals of the actors involved, rather than passing judgment on them on behalf of the reader.


BlitzKitty:
…OK, something that bugged me about infernals in 2e mechanically. I know you’re still in notes, bulletpoint yes/no decisions etc about infernals for 3e but have you decided if Infernals will have their own magical material this time around? It kind of bugged me that they got vitriol-tainted MMs, since those came across as a weird position in being the best and worst at the same time. I’m not actually asking WHAT it is, just if they’ll have their own MM or if we’re sticking with vitriol-tainted stuff. Personally, I’d prefer to see something like brass ripped from Malfeas’ own body but… Eh. That’s me.

John:
There’s another option on the table than the ones you’re naming.

Anaximander:
Speaking of magical materials, since starmetal will no longer be forged gods, will soulsteel still be forged ghosts?

Lea:
Yes.


sakii:
What kind of battles can be affected by the War skill and charms. Could a 6 vs 3 barfigth count as war if the teams were battle groups?

Vance:
The battle group system is something the Storyteller brings in. You could run that barfight as a fight between two battle groups, but there probably won’t be a good reason to. Now, if the Devil-Slaying Tiger General and some of her elite soldiers go out carousing and a fight breaks out, it may well make sense to treat the mortals as a battle group so that the Tiger General can use the applicable charms, and save time by compressing their actions into one.


Gayo:
Oh, man, are there going to be “carousing” rules like other WW/OPP games? I’M ROLLING 30 DICE + 5 AUTOSUCCS TO CAROUSE

Lea:
I think that’d fall under the inspire action in the social influence system. Same basic rules as when you sing a song or recite a poem or story or something to evoke emotion in your audience, except the performance is “Being the life of the party” rather than singing or chaunting.

Odie:
Yes yes yes. “Inspire action” is absolutely the kind of thing I want to see adjudicated by a social influence system. “They think favorably of you” or “they’re your friend” as outcomes are so wishy-washy, completely up to the GM. “They agree to assist you in reclaiming your birthright” or “they will cut you a deal, just this once, because you’re friends” are much better outputs when it comes to mechanical arbitration.

Lea:
…it’s not quite do what you’re thinking of. The inspire action inspires a particular mood or emotion in an audience, of your choice; they do something as a result, but to affect what that something is, you’ll need to do other things.

It’s a bit like putting on a play for your uncle, who you suspect killed your dad.


Prometheus878:
This is kind of a dumb question, but on the What is Exalted page on the Onyx Path website, it says the game is appropriate for 2-8 players.

Now, does that include the Storyteller, or is that just counting PCs?

Holden:
I wrote that page! I always count the Storyteller as a player. So it definitely includes the Storyteller.

You could have more people but wow that’d be hard to run.


Scutarii:
If I am not carrying/wearing/wielding my artifact – it is, in fact, across the continent in my vast fortress estate – can I use all the Evocations?

Lea:
Some of them.

Scutarii:
Are there plenty of things for me to be spending my XP on that aren’t magic items (addendum: that advance my character’s focus/interests).

Assuming a middling amount of XP, say…the amount you’d expect to earn during a few months of gameplay, I know you’ll run out of options eventually and it will be sooner if you choose to cut out a segment of options. But if I have 100xp do I have lots of options to spend it on that make me a better soldier? Or am I really expected to be running around with something magical at my hip like a game of D&D does after a couple of adventures?

Lea:
You’re not going to run out of native Charms to buy for a while if you want to concentrate on them. Not everybody has to have a deep and meaningful bond with a signature magic weapon.

John:
A Solar with nothing but bare fists and Brawl Charms would trounce a Solar using a daiklave and nothing but Evocations.

Blaque:
Kenpachi and Ichigo are odd examples, as a note, as their weapons expliclty do do stuff in theory, but neither initially did anything with it. Kenpachi is especially this. He just got more powerful. He had what was in effect a daiklave that he didn’t give a shit to spend xp on Evocations for, and instead just bought his stats up.

I just don’t see what’s the issue with your excellent blade being 1) Just a hyped-up normal big ass sword or 2) a daiklave you just took for the stats. Becuase to my mind, that’s all such an excellent blade is.

Holden:
Pretty much. Kenpachi, in Exalted, would be a Dawn Caste who has a daiklave because yay unbreakable face-wrecking sword, but then he dumped all his Solar XP into raising Attributes, Abilities, Merits, Willpower, etc, while ignoring Evocations.

Which is a thing you can do. It’s not a bad idea, either. Attributes, Abilities, etc are useful.

Holden:
The Solar Charm set does indeed lack any Charm (that I can remember off the top of my head) as singularly jaw-dropping as Volcano Cutter’s final published Evocation[1], All Creation Turns to Ash. (Yes, we extended the cascade by one more effect.) ACTtA does… not quite what it says on the tin, but change the name to “Hey, Where’d Nighthammer District Go?” and you’re pretty close.

But if you don’t have fundamental combat skills, you will never, ever, ever manage to actually perform the necessary set-up for that Evocation’s deployment, much less use it without killing yourself and your whole Circle in the process.

[1] Except maybe Wyld-Shaping Technique.


Mostlyjoe:
Evocations seem to me to be a sneaky way to add thematic flavor from other Exalted into your own style. So a Jade Artifact might allow for elemental Evocations that you can ‘Solar’ up. Etc. Or visa versa.

SmilingBeast:
Basically, the question is about the scope of Evocations. Are Evocations DEFINED by over-the-top concepts with awesome special effects, as everyone assumes but I haven’t seen anything definitive on – Volcano Cutter and the poison sword are great examples, surely, but nothing has been said about how Evocations are EXCLUSIVELY this – or is there room for Evocations in less showy concepts as well? Just approached from the standpoint of my character concept.

Holden:
The corebook doesn’t have any particularly low-key daiklaves, although there are some tiger claws with no overt “special effects,” just a ladder of increasingly aggro and hard-to-deal-with chain combo Evocations. (Think the Sidereal style from Burn Legend.)

Vance:
Evocations have a very wide range, and you can definitely have an artifact weapon whose Evocations aren’t tied to some external concept like “volcanoes” or “poison.” They are where the most visually flamboyant, anime-like powers are going to appear, but not every Evocation necessarily has to be that over the top.

Anu:
Since we’re on the topic, what do you consider the weirdest Artifact in the corebook in terms of Evocations?

Holden:
Black Wind, the soulsteel skycutter, probably.


AliasiSudonomo:
And that’s reasonable, in the same way “a sorcerer coming to a fight with zero charms other than sorcery is going to get their ass beat” is pretty reasonable for the vibe Exalted has had traditionally and Ex3 seems to be going for.

However, neither of these are the same as saying Evocations or sorcery are useless in a fight. Someone using Volcano Cutter is probably going to have options they wouldn’t otherwise have, and a sorcerer who alpha-strikes with Death of Obsidian Butterflies to clear away the mooks or who buffs up with Wood Dragon’s Claw and Skin of Bronze beforehand is likewise using options their non-sorcerous counterpart would not have.

Holden:
Trying to rock a character with nothing but Evocations is a bit like playing Street Fighter, picking Ryu, and trying to win using no moves other than the dragon punch. Unlessyour opponent forgot to plug his controller in, that is not going to work out for you.


Odd_Canuck:
Note that if that’s the case it also means that you can start a year 0 solar game with people just exalting, and NOT have them spending half a decade of backstory tomb raiding to justify having “Solar” artifacts at the start of game. It opens up the possibility that you took that sword from a defeated DB and have bonded it it and brought out more power than any the last 8 generations of Exalted realized it possessed.

And likewise it means you’d NOT have to have every tomb crawling with Solar loot that they were buried with “because that’s just how funerals worked back then, okay?”.

Lea:
We’re pretty much keeping the whole “Lavish funerals held by the DBs for the Solars they slaughtered, stocked with potent artifacts to appease the Solars’ angry lower souls, and hidden within deadly manse-tombs filled with unfathomable magical traps built with ancient, forgotten artifice to both keep those hungry ghosts locked away from the world and to prevent tomb-delivers and scavengers from freeing them” thing, because it’s awesome, but yes, “I took this jade daiklave off a dude I killed and in my hands it’s worthy of a Solar Exalt” is one of the benefits of Evocations.

Wuse_Major:
For the record, I’d enjoy knowing why “A gazillion hovering swords cutting apart anything that gets within 100 yards of the tomb” was chosen as a security measure over something like “burying it under a mountain and filling the hole with concrete or solid stone.” I mean, I know dungeons traditionally have traps that look like what the guy from Saw would build if he had phenomenal cosmic power and an unlimited budget, but Exalted tries to be realistic with the societies and politics and everything, so it makes me wonder sometimes why the tombs sometimes look like a Grimtooth’s Traps Showroom.

I suppose it sorta makes sense if you’re a First Age Solar who is semi-sane at best, to build an edifice to your greatness that will absolutely destroy anyone who tries to sully its perfection, but, if you’re a group of DBs who are trying to raise an anti-ghost ward around a dead Solar in the few days before the ghost wakes up, I feel like they’d do something direct, simple, and elementally oriented.

What am I missing that makes these traps more sensible?

Lea:
Sorcerers, man.

Random Nerd:
Burying it can be gotten around by a dozen dudes with pickaxes and time. Baroque murdertraps pretty much require one of the Exalted to break in.

Lea:
More seriously, yeah, an entirely passive tomb is going to be raided, regardless of how much defensive power you put into it. The ancient Egyptians don’t seem to have managed to have built a single tomb that didn’t get raided sooner or later. Even burying it under a mountain and filling the hole with concrete probably isn’t enough, and additionally that may not count as a tomb for the purpose of the ghost. You need something that serves as a memorial.

Murder-traps are handy because not only do they keep your tomb safe, they kill people trying to raid it. It’s the equivalent of password security that includes an auto-lock after five attempts. There were periods during the Shogunate when “Raid a Solar’s tomb for its armaments, because otherwise the next lord over is going to annex all my land and have me and my entire family put to the sword” seemed like a good idea; you needed something that would discourage motivated Exalts as much as it discouraged anyone else, and a hole in the ground filled with concrete is not exactly perfect security against an Earth DB, is it?

As for why spinning blades or inescapable pools of night, well, much has been lost. It’s entirely possible that the spinning blade tomb was a perfect memorial for the specific Solar buried in it, and while other things might have served also, that particular trap was chosen for a reason. Likewise the Tomb of Night. Note that, for Grimtooth’s Traps’ exhibitions, Solar tombs are pretty sensible; there’s nothing in them designed to make them “Difficult, but passable by the clever, in the manner of a Gygaxian dungeon.” They are just made to be impenetrable and will straight-up murder you no matter how clever you try to be.


Lea:
Tomb of Dreams is being worked on, subject to the following modifiers:

1) Finalizing my plans for it wasn’t possible until I received the full manuscript, and once I did receive the full manuscript, I had to devote my whole attention to editing it, with no time left for working on Tomb of Dreams.
2) I actually really need to fulfill my obligation to Jenna Moran and get Fortitude: The Glass-Maker’s Dragon out of editing, a process which will take less time than finishing Tomb of Dreams.
3) After spending almost every waking free moment for a month and a half (including most of my two-week vacation from my day job) editing the text of Ex3, I really, really need a break from Exalted.

Tomb of Dreams will happen soon, though.


Irked:
Hm. Is Solar XP, in the sense of a distinct pool only spendable on specific things, still a thing, then? I had somehow gotten the impression that had been pulled back.

Lea:
Solar XP, as in a silo of XP kept separate from your main XP, is still a thing. We liked it in Mage: The Awakening.

(I assume that when the Dragon-Blooded book hits, it will have rules for Dragon-Blooded XP or Terrestrial XP or something, with somewhat different rules for aquisition and spending, and this will carry forward across all the other hardcovers, but that’s just me assuming. I mean, I remember when it was announced we got a lot of “What? Special XP just for Solars? What about the other Exalts? That’s so stupid!” flak, so I just want to point this out.)

The rules for Solar XP basically remain that you can spend it on anything except Solar Charms, and that it’s capped to a certain number of points per session, contingent on meeting certain conditions.

Tyrrell:
If you can use it on everything except solar charms, it seems to me that you’ve got the silos labeled backwards.

Lea:
Nah.

taleswapper:
My guess, based on no additional information, is that the labeling has more to do with how the xp is acquired than anything else, but I suppose some other distinction I haven’t considered is also possible.

Lea:
No, that’s exactly it.

Problem: Corebook has a lot of Solar Charms. Like, a lot. Like, if all you want to do is buy Solar Charms, you’re not going to run out any time soon. I don’t think we’re actually at the point where every single cascade is comparable in scope to the largest 2e cascade, but it’s close. Also, they’re great, and they synergize really well. It’s sort of stretching to call this a problem, but see my next point.

Actual problem: The tiny minmaxer voice at the back of the player’s head whenever he or she spends XP, saying “You know, Solar Charms are really great, and there’s at least four I want right now. I want that third dot of Lore, because everyone should have three dots of Lore, but I should probably spend this XP on Solar Charms. I am letting myself down and my group down if I don’t spend this on Solar Charms!”

Solution: Pool of XP that can’t be spent on Solar Charms, so the player has a resource that’s useful for e.g. Attributes and Abilities and Evocations and MA and Merits and sorcery without feeling guilty about anything.

Further problem: We get accused of not respecting players’ free will and right to choose and ability to prioritize. Solution: We don’t care.

Tyrrell:
I’m pleased to read that it can be spent on anything except solar charms. I had from previous posts got the impression that it could possibly be only for sorcery/martial arts/evocations. Opening it to nearly everything seems, from my not yet seen the book perspective, to be a much better choice.

Lea:
It’s evolved somewhat. Originally there was going to be a separate pool of XP that could be spent on sorcery, gained by doing stuff appropriate for sorcerers, so if you don’t want to be a sorcerer just don’t bother with it, and also a separate pool of XP that could be spent on MA, gained by doing stuff appropriate to martial artists, like participating in tournaments or spending time up a mountain punching rocks or in a time-accelerated hypergravity chamber or whatever, and if you’re not into MA who cares? Then fans said “That sounds complicated” and John agreed, and they got merged. From there, folding Evocations into it was obvious, since Evocations are the third leg of the universal magic table, and from there folding basic stats into it felt pretty obvious, too.

John:
In truth, I came up with the idea of an alternate “experience currency” for Evocations first, not Sorcery. I just bundled the new currency together with Sorcery and eventually Martial Arts to alleviate the strain on players from week to week, who, per the rules of EX3, would not be getting vastly more regular XP per week than in previous editions. I didn’t want to just pile “more XP” on them, because I want dabblers to have more freedom to dabble rather than to buy out Solar Charms exclusively. I also wanted to extend the life of the Solar Charm set, and making it significantly easier to climb the Charm trees would screw up that goal. Also, Essence advancement is different in EX3, and getting more regular XP per session would alter the real-time curve we’ve set up and muck up our projections for emergent gameplay.

Coikzer:
So how exactly is introducing another sort of XP that has to be tracked and spent separately, and spends differently, than regular XP a better solution than just reducing XP costs or giving free Charms or something? Seems to me that it’s potentially just adding another, potentially needless, layer of complexity to an already complex game.

Holden:
If we just busted Solar Charms down to 4XP a pop, or just gave you twice as much XP, or whatever, people would simply buy twice as many Solar Charms, while still agonizing about how much XP you had to divert away from that to be a martial artist or sorcerer or raise your Appearance or whatever. Nothing whatsoever solved. Giving them a “crazy money” XP fund that can’t be spent on primary Charm advancement doesn’t run into that problem, and makes XP spending more fun and less stressful.

SmilingBeast:
“Essence advancement is different in EX3”

Presumably, this means you don’t buy it directly with XP.

I’m imagining something like Legends of the Wulin’s Cultivation mechanic.

Holden:
Not actually familiar with Cultivation (have not had time to read LotW in detail) but I never thought it was fun to have to put the brakes on all your XP spending for weeks (or months) to save up to raise your Big Power Stat, either in Exalted or any of the other Storyteller games. (Arete in Mage, Power Stat in all the nWoD games, etc.)

Notsteve:
While we’re on the subject of spending experience, has anything been changed about training times? Most campaigns I’ve played in ignored those rules completely, and the one that didn’t had issues giving us enough downtime to ever spend our XP.

Lea:
If you don’t like training times you’ll have to houserule them out, which is easy enough. The game works from the position that, much like in the real world, unexamined field experience is valuable but field experience combined with periods of deliberate training and/or instruction from those who’ve perfected their skills is better — see also e.g. elite military categories getting their own training courses which they’re recalled from the field to attend, certification courses in corporate environments where people are taught specific skills, and the martial arts trope of retreating up a mountain to punch rocks. There’s a reason Rocky prepared for his big fight by training and not just by getting into a bunch of smaller fights. Field experience is where you get new ideas, but training is where you practice and perfect them in low-risk contexts, and instruction is where other people explain to you new ideas that you may never have come up with by yourself.

Eco-Mono:
So it’s obviously good for realism. But we’ve discussed before how, while Exalted tries to be real to human struggles, 3e’s system also favors genre-appropriate story generation over strict simulation. The frustration with training times, from what I’ve read, generally seems to be “we’ve got this OOC resource that’s way too hard to spend because we never have any of the corresponding IC resource to spare”. What words of encouragement would you have vis that pain point? Is it addressed – if not mechanically, than at least via advice to the ST and players? Or do you perceive it to be less of a problem than it’s often made out to be?

Lea:
I think STs who run campaigns with less downtime than the default should probably house-rule mechanics that rely on having that downtime.

John:
EX3 has training times, but they are not based so much in realism as in drama. Holden put a lot of effort into making training times and training sessions merge nicely with the drama systems and I think he did a good job of making them important without making them all-encompassing. Something that should be a chore IC should not be a chore OOC.

Holden:
It helps that EX3 defaults “training” to “practice some katas at dawn, more after lunch, then some more before bed” rather than “go to dojo, clock in, punch a board for 8 hours for today to count toward training time,” i.e. you don’t have to put the game on hold to get anything done.

Heading up onto a mountaintop to really focus can get things done much faster, of course.


Lea:
One thing I want to do with First Age ruins is look at Glimmering Stone from the Black Company books for inspiration.

Basically, it’s a supernatural phenomenon that people put wards around, and then later other people made use of those wards for other purposes, and then those other purposes got wards put around them, and etc.. So rather than having a ruin that’s miraculously untouched and unlooted from between when it first fell to ruin and now, or a ruin that has been looted and is therefore now valueless, you end up with a ruin that’s been looted and used to hell and back, and a lot of its value is tied up in the ways it was looted. Sort of like Nexus is doing with using its Tomb of Red Hot Iron to power a refinery, but taken several levels deeper.


MAXedOUT:
I tried asking this a few pages ago and got lost in the shuffle i think, but do we know for sure that we are rolling D10s, and if so do we know what a ‘1’ on the die is, and what a ’10’ is? What value is a success? 7 -8-9-10?

Vance:
The basic “how to roll dice and count up successes” rules are the same as they’ve been.


Proteus:
Devs: I’m interested in the South at the moment. Is there anything you can tell me about Urim or Zoatham?

Holden:
Urim is one of the Varang City-States. 🙂


13thSyndicate:
Hey there! My only experience with Exalted outside of this thread was a one-off 1E game that a player in our regular game ran when our GM was out, but it was one of the most fun experiences of my life. The entire premise was “a misfit crew of DB pirates win a treasure map gambling and go find it”, and involved little actual combat but lots of botched rolls running us towards (and then, very very swiftly away from) things that could’ve eaten us for breakfast.

Assuming the requisite books are out (like, well, the DB book), how much support is there in 3E for GMs who prefer running this kind of odd, off-the-wall game instead of the “You all are part of the major War for Creation” type story?

John:
It fully supports that style of storytelling.

Holden:
There will be tons of support for that kind of game.

Plumy Namesake:
I’m curious to what this entails. I realize the devs cant say much here, but I wonder what this means, in concrete terms.

Perhaps an easy way to answer would be by contrasting; what would an exalted system need to do to *not* support it?

Holden:
Publish reams and reams of material about stuff like Titan Directional Fortresses, Island Five, Yozi apocalypse plans, Deathlord stats that let them solo a Direction trivially, Incarnae boss fights, First Age WMDs, Essence 9 mountain-throwing Charms, etc. The more heavily you layer that crap in, the harder it gets to focus any material on stuff of lesser scope.

nexus:
Will there be support for more high end world shaking play?

Lea:
To the same extent that early 1e material did. For context, the early 1e playtest game run by Elizabeth “Formerly Known As Deidre” Brooks featured Sidereals (lead by an NPC consistently described as Kung Fu Dumbledore) wiping out cities with Cantata of Empty Voices (deployed remotely as bomb-vials via the Crucible of Tarim) and fights at the top of the Imperial Mountain between PC Solars and NPC Alchemicals with jetpacks. It is much, much easier to take “low-power” Exalted and scale it up to late 2e than to take late 2e Exalted and scale it back down to a lower baseline.


Anaximander:
So in preparation for 3E next year *crosses fingers*, I’ve been rereading 2E. I just read Abyssals, and was wondering will the Neverborn be so damn micromanagey in 3E?

Holden:
They’re dead gods dreaming mad and hateful dreams at the nadir of a suppurating wound in the fabric of the Underworld. Which is to say, no. They’re more of an infectious miasma than coherent actors at this point in time.

DeusExBiotica:
While that does make sense, does them not being “coherent actors” imply they had less/no explicit link to the Solars’ return?

Lea:
They never had an explicit link to the Solars’ return. In previous editions, that was the Deathlords.

Poop Deck:
I’m of the folk who likes the Neverborn as a focus. Is the act of making them more central going to be “challenged” by the printed set rules/mechanics? Or is it more of a storyteler-flavor kind of thing?

John:
The core rules are concerned mainly with giving the tools for playing Solar Exalted, though it has core resolution that monsters (also featured in the core) and other Exalted will use (in later hardbacks). Nothing in there will prevent a storyteller from including the Neverborn in his game. 🙂


MAXedOUT:
I was thinking of playing a tracker type character on my first game of Ex3. I want to be a outdoors man who knows about herbs and how to live, or even thrive going from place to place. I think i want him to know about plants and have the ability to make salves and herbs for healing, track and hunt, navigate from city to city and be able to weather the great outdoors. If you were this character, what ways would I need to train myself in? Crafts or Lore for the herbs and salves? Survival or Lore for the travel between cities? Is craft setup like it was before (i.e. elemental and then all the other esoteric ones?)

John:
You would use Survival. Craft is completely different.


Arian Dynas:
What I meant is do we expect to see more of a mythic beasts angle come into Lunars? Lunar warlords who warp themselves into horrifying creatures, like the Nymph Scylla, and become horrors and monstrosities? I see that to a degree in Ma-Ha-Suchi, but yeah General Leviathan wasn’t very compelling…

Or Lunars who can take the forms of animals to improve their kung fun based on an animal style, who can take on the aspect of a dragon to spit fire, the stymphalian birds to throw secateur like feathers, or take the eyes of a catoblepas to petrify their enemies, or the manner and bearing of Uktena to call followers to them like wild game or the invisibility and formlessness of the A Bao A Quo.

John:
I think there might be a quote out there somewhere, circa Ink Monkeys, where we said we were looking at linking Lunars to mythical monsters (using examples from ancient Greece). That was a long time ago and Lunars have gone through all kinds of changes. All I can say at this time is that it’s too early to start dropping spoilers. 🙂

Bersagliere Gonzo:
What about Sidereals? I always found hard to get a good idea for a PC that wasn’t “agent of heaven”. I know people like this aspect of sids, but for me it came more as an obstacle rather than a source of ideas. In fact that’s why I’ve never been able to pull a Sidereal character out of the NPC grounds.

I would like to see more options for sidereals and less “strict” backgrounds for them (things like bureaucratic stuff… man if I wanted a character who did paperwork I’d go find an office job in real life!). Anything that can make me see them differently will be an upgrade. I don’t expect them to be completely changed, but maybe I’m too dumb and can’t stop feeling like the previous writing wants me to see them as kung fu police officers, I would really like to see something fresh and new in Ex3.

John:
We’re going to work on how they are presented so that they don’t sound like they just do paperwork.


Volivat:
Just a quick side-note: I have been drooling over the new map since the artists posted it. Great job!

Some buds of mine and me are looking at the dreaming sea as a perfect starting point for our campaign when EX3 hits. In liue of that, could you give a small description of Volivat? (Our dream location, based off the map) We would love to get some spoilers on it so we could start to plan our campaign around it, minimizing time between launch of EX3 and actually starting to play it.

John:
I’m not going to be specific, but I will tell you that the Dreaming Sea region is very Howardian and Moorcockian, and is both far away from the Realm, and behind the Lookshy power bloc, factors that limit the Realm’s interference in the region.

Blaque:
Are places like Ascension and those cities down by the Cinder Isles under Realm influence as well, out of curiousity? Just kind of curoius what’s part of the Realm bloc about myself.

John:
The Cinder Coast is not strongly under the influence of the Realm. It still has some presence there, but it is limited. The Realm presence is stronger in times when the Realm controls the Caul…

deluge:
Roughly how far to the Southeast does the realm have satrapies? I’ve been thinking about writing up a city where the road between Ember and Kamathahar intersects the mountains, and was wondering how influential the realm would be there.

John:
Pretty far. Whether they hold that vital trade passage is another matter.


Wolfwood2:
How am I going to teach this game to people I want to run it for?

I know that may be too open-ended. I guess, from playtest feedback, how hard is it to get people who are experienced RPGers but have no experience with Exalted to understand both the setting and the game mechanics? I mean, every time I try to explain the setting it’s so big I don’t even know where to start.

John:
Start by just playing Solars. Exclude any of the game’s lore that is not included in the corebook’s intro. Fashion your games to teach your players the terms in the lexicon. Ignore the other Exalts, the origins of the gods and Creation, the Yozis and the Neverborn, etc., until they have the fundamentals. Start just by playing Solars.

Lea:
I would actually go so far as to say: Start by playing mortals. Exalt during play, maybe three or four sessions in.

Holden:
I would not do it that way. That’s like teaching someone how to play baseball by having them run the bases for two hours before you break out a bat and ball. If you enjoy games where you build up to Exaltation, cool, but definitely I would not recommend that as a teaching tool.

Matt.Ceb:
Will there be rules for that included? Stuff like: How many bonus points are given, how attributes are raised, how the PCs acquire the knowledge of their new charms and such?

Lea:
Yeah, there’s a sidebar with rules for mortals and for Exalting them during play.

Irked:
I’m planning to run a party under basically exactly those conceits; none of them have ever played Exalted before, and at least one has never role-played at all. What kind of concepts would you recommend as good candidates for early antagonists?

Lea:
Some asshole warlord, his hired mercenaries, and a god he’s cut a deal with.

John:
Yes. Monsters, horrors, and gribbly shit out of the Wyld gives you a big variety of potential monsters, and allows you to teach your players about the Wyld, and what life is like on the edges of the world.


sakii:
i konw that w sorcery doesnt have a Fireball spell but is it possible to do a Working to create somthing like a blasting rod that shoots fireballs, im thinkg of a rod carved from the branches of a tree that grows in the elemental pole of Fire

John:
Might take a little Craft, but yes, absolutely.


Dr. Tran:
Have things progressed far enough that we might get a character sheet for a preview?

Holden:
That’s probably going to be the last thing produced.


nexus:
I’d asked about this earlier but I think it was lost in the shuffle or maybe I missed the response, but there’s been some discussion of the assumed “power level” (scope and the level of impact and influence on the Creation that characters are assumed to have by default) being different though there’s room for other notions. What is the assumed level that books are going to aim for?

John:
Because “power” is subjective, that’s a really difficult question to answer.


Anu:
Can I make a Terrocotta Army as an Artifact (presumably using jade or other magical materials instead of terracotta)?

Vance:
Yeah.

Anu:
If yes, what would be the most likely Artifact rating?

Vance:
If every individual statue-soldier is a superhumanly powerful warrior, they’d probably each be a fairly high end Artifact. If the individual statue-soldiers are a little weaker and you just want them to form up in a battle group, you’ll be able to give a rating based on other Merits that give you access to military forces.

Anu:
Also, could I get Evocations out of it?

Vance:
Automata are probably the the type of Artifact that are least likely to give rise to Evocations. On the other hand, if your clay soldiers are to you what her daiklave is to the Invincible Sword Princess, they march behind you as named and honored companions, and you have a strong personal, emotional, and magical bond with them…

Delgarde:
I like it.

I can also imagine a Dawn commissioning a sorcerer to create an army of automata he could use in practice battles – only to have the Twilight massively over-deliver on expectations, having gotten a bit carried away with the project. As they do, you know.

Lea:
Lololol seriously though we do assume that most people in the history of the setting who have built weapons of mass destruction such as armies of Brass Legionnaires did it with the intent to make use of them, and not because it would be funny for supercompetent crafters to make WMDs on accident like 2e often presented it.

Lea:
Here’s a thing:

If Contentious Sword commissioned an ultimate sparring partner from Bright Shattered Ice, then yes, it could be sort of cool if she returned, out of pride in her own abilities, and ultimate sparring partner that was also an ultimate combatant, simply because anything capable of keeping up with him in the ring could devastate any lesser fighter.

If Contentious Sword commissioned an army of sparring instructors for his, well, army of mortal and dragon-blooded combatants, and Bright Shattered Ice returned, out of pride in her own abilities, an army of deadly killing automatons, then that’s cookoopants, because the labor difference between making a single deadly killing automaton and making a legion of them is substantial, and (especially in Third Edition) artifacts cannot really be mass-produced according to a template such that once you’ve got the prototype down, it’s just about setting up a factory and delegating supervisors to get technicians to fix bits of it that wear out. Presumably Bright Shattered Ice has projects of her own to get to; we’re talking about the difference between a couple of years and a couple of centuries.

The person with the army of Brass Legionnaires has them because she wanted an army of deadly killing automatons, not because she wanted something else and her crafting abilities were so great that making that something else fulfill the role of deadly killing automatons too was no big thing. As a general rule we want to shy away from disaffected portrayal of our protagonists’ wondrous abilities this edition, and having Solars get absolutely bored of their own excellence on a wide-spread and systemic level is not something that we want to see slip into the portrayal of the First Age as a result. Solars can do amazing things, and they can even do amazing things without noticing, but mostly their amazing feats should feel like they required effort.

(Cue Lunar fans angry I just suggested the Solars are our protagonists….)


sakii:
3ed is removing charms that do things instead of the character, does this includes Cecelyne wish granting charms too? Since im going to try to turn the Infernals to 3ed when exigents comes out i want to know if my Evil Genie is still a possible character

Holden:
Nobody in EX3 is going to be using Yozi Charms, except the Yozis, generally speaking. But granting wishes at a cost is certainly something some characters in the setting can do.


You can find the next compilation here:
Q&A Summary #6