“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

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