“Ask the Developers” Thread Summary, Post #10

Time for another update to the Exalted developers’ Q&A thread on RPG.net. This finishes up the previous summary’s Lunar discussion. More topics await!

Meanwhile, I have some new Exalted 3e writing coming up, to accompany my usual assortment of proofreading and copy editing temp assignments. This may put a dent into updating the Q&A summary, so I’m going to try and get a head start on that before the next Exalted outline hits my desk. We’ll see!

Links to previous threads:
Q&A Summary #1
Q&A Summary #2
Q&A Summary #3
Q&A Summary #4
Q&A Summary #5
Q&A Summary #6
Q&A Summary #7
Q&A Summary #8
Q&A Summary #9


Anu:
In a properly developed game, the players encourage the rules. The rules themselves must not influence the players in any direction unless there is a really, really good reason.

Lea:
…no?

I can’t support that statement at all.

Anu:
It’s a question of power. Also, going into surveillance studies will ruin your ability to enjoy things. I spend most of my time looking at how systems of rewards and punishments are used control people, so I’m quite biased when it comes to systematic forms of encouragement.

You look up an item on Amazon. Based on your shopping pattern, Amazon gives you a list of recommended items. If you buy one of those items, it’s not because you want to buy them, but because Amazon has determined that you should buy these items. Amazon now has the power to influence your decisions. The entire commercial surveillance industry is based on profiling people and encouraging them to make pre-determined purchases. People don’t notice or just don’t care because the surveillance system spits out suggestions that are designed to appeal to them.

As an entertaiment medium, tabletop RPGs provide people with a unique level of control over their characters. If you want to be in a same-sex relationship or you want to learn martial arts or you want to be a writer or you want to do any else that you can’t do in real life for whatever reason, you can do it. But you can only do it so long as you can make decisions about your character based on your interests, your priorities and your goals. If, say, the game is designed to make martial arts the superior option, then the game is taking power away from the players by leading them in a specific direction regardless of what they want to do. Exalted Second Edition did this most blatantly with Infernals, which essentially bossed players around and predetermined characters’ actions and personalities because of the way the Excellencies and a lot of the charms worked. If you want to play a charismatic Fiend, Witness to Darkness will punish you for playing wrong.

Now, if you want to make a Wuxia game, making martial arts the superior option isn’t a problem since you only want to attract players who care about martial arts anyway. Your design decisions are going to be based on what the players want, so the players will be the ones exercising power over the game, not the other way around.

Then there’s Blood and Smoke, which does an absolutely amazing job of reinforcing the game’s central themes with its system of rewards and punishments.

Giving players more character customization options with stuff like Evocations and the Exigents hardback sounds like a really obvious thing to do, but the implications are quite profound. More options means more possibilities for character customization, which in turn means that the game will have a wider appeal. It’ll also facilitate the production of new content, which is necessary in order to keep the game alive.

Lea:
Oh! You believe in free will absent response to stimuli. Yeah, we don’t have the same paradigm.

Anu:
Hmm… I don’t think that’s quite right. What I’m most concerned with is where the stimulus is located and how it relates to power dynamics. In MoEP: Infernals, the stimuli are determined by Infernal charms – if you don’t act according to the keywords in your Excellency, you’re effectively operating at a dice penalty. The mechanics are designed to push players into acting a certain way, so the mechanics are exercising power over the players.

On the other hand, if the social influence system has rules for intimidation that come with the appropriate benefits and drawbacks (works faster, but creates hostility, or whatever else) and rules for persuasion that come with the appropriate benefits or drawbacks (creates long-term relationships, but works slower, or whatever else), then I can decide which approach to take based on which benefits and drawbacks I want to prioritize. I’m still limited by the rules, but I have the power to determine my character’s actions by choosing between a range of qualitatively different options that work like I would expect them to.

If the intimidation rules are written so that anyone I intimidate immediately attacks me, then it’s clear that intimidation actions are designed to fail and that the system wants me to use persuasion instead.

Basically, I don’t want players to be mechanically penalized for having “badwrongfun” (with the caveats that Exalted’s genre precludes some character concepts, and that drawbacks, limitations and disadvantages can be considered desirable features in many circumstances).

Lea:
See, I think this is nonsensical because even in a social influence system with “the appropriate” benefits and drawbacks for intimidation, the designer has still chosen what benefits and drawbacks are “appropriate.” That you agree with their choices doesn’t make you correct; it merely indicates that your tastes align with theirs. There’s no system that doesn’t incentivize some behaviors and discourage others, and a good game designer knows what he or she is incentivizing.

EDIT: I actually meant to type “That you agree with their choices doesn’t make them correct;” I don’t know how it came out the way it did after I hit Post. Works either way, though, really.

John:
Agreed.

Holden:
Double agreed. Good game design is a long series of choices couched as “this, not this,” rather than “done right, not done wrong.”

Eric:
The archetypical example being early D&D’s experience point system, which made leveling up primarily reliant on obtaining monetary treasure. Many players complained that it was unrealistic, but realism wasn’t the point; it was intended to incentivize seeking treasure over other concerns, thus encouraging PCs to emulate the typical sword-and-sorcery protagonist’s lust for lucre (e.g., Conan, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, etc.).

Holden:
And specifically calibrated to make wandering random monster encounters a stressful and undesirable obstacle to getting your loot and getting out alive– they did not want players thinking of monsters as XP on the hoof and deliberately trying to bash their way through all the goblin camps in the dungeon to maximize XP gain. That was one of the smartest pieces of historical design that people wildly misunderstood (and which later versions of D&D ran away from at full speed, producing a very different feel and focus as a result).

Paradim:
Sidereals are famously held up as a great example of mechanics and setting encouraging game play of shoehorning odd tools to accomplish various tasks.

Do you think there are areas that the different Exalt types (say Solar, Lunar and Dragon-blooded?) have distinctive challenges in directly facing and how would you describe an Exalt type as approaching resolving that challenge in an archetypical fashion?

Not looking for mechanics, but for conceptual resolutions. Maybe as an example…. Sidereals have difficulty in directly handling a conflict, and this resort to working through proxies that are destined by the Sidereal to handle the conflict as the Sidereal would prefer?

Holden:
I prefer not to generalize because people tend to take generalizations as absolutes. Like, I could say, Sidereals aren’t great at just charging in without a plan, they struggle when they have to improvise vs when they can go in prepared. And in a sense, this is true– a lot of their best Charms are Simple scene-longs, meaning that prep time is incredibly precious to them– but I’ve improvised my way out of a ton of sticky situations as a Sid via clever use of the tools I had at my disposal, so it’s not like they’re incompetent. They’re just not as good as a Solar or Lunar at the “They captured my friend and he’s in that building? I’ll just kick down the front door and tell those motherfuckers to let him go or else” approach. But a lot of people will nonetheless read it as “They’re gonna make Sidereals die every time they get caught flat-footed!” despite that Avoidance Kata has always been the best panic button in the game.

Coikzer:
I think what’s more problematic is that people start thinking of it as “Sidereals should die every time they get caught flat-footed/in combat.”

Holden:
That is very true.


Daerim:
But as a counterpoint your deflection regarding power comparisons, I would like to point out that there is an Emerald Circle spell that would serve just as well as shapeshifting in imitating the crown prince. It comes with the drawback of requiring prep time, but the advantages of covering mannerisms that shapeshifting doesn’t and not requiring the Lunar to eat the prince first.

John:
How is that a counterpoint? You can be the cat in the alley, the songbird in the garden, the rat in the cellar, the crown prince, the porter. If you’re not out of place then you are above suspicion, and a countermagic won’t drop your disguise. You didn’t have to pay XP for any of it. When the jig is up, you can be the rat, cat, porter, or bird. If you’re in the garden, you can fly away from the mess you just made. You can cut the knot by foregoing all the Stealth, Awareness, and Larceny. All the bribes, social escalating, and escape route planning. You can be what you need to be to do that far more easily and naturally than anybody else. It’s your choice to measure the character by a mechanical end, though.

Daerim:
Why? You’re aware that Exalted is a crunch heavy game and I assume you know that crunch attracts people that don’t much care for acting in a mythic way.

John:
We’re not selling a game where you can just ignore storytelling. EX3 is definitely not a game about telling the story of the mechanics, the way 2e was. I can see how, if you sit down to tell the story of Charms when you play, how you’d be disappointed in two different powers that end up tricking someone for much of the same reason, but all the coils and springs and gears in my brain explode whenever I try to go there because that way of thinking is antithetical to this game and this design.

Daerim:
On the other hand, you’ve got a Lunar community that’s scattered all across the length and breadth of every piece of shapeshifting fiction there is because shapeshifting is basically the only thing Lunars have. Two editions worth of hard work (on the part of people who knew what they were doing and had the best of intentions) haven’t given them anything else to latch on to as a core concept.

John:
Lunars had a solid core of shapeshifting in 1e and we’re going back to that. The problem didn’t appear until 2e threw out everything about 1e Lunars without a single solitary plan for what they would be. The reason Lunar fans are scattered is because 2e was scattered, presenting 82 visions of Lunars with no strong core thesis.

Daerim:
You’re trying to sell sand to Bedouins and you seem honestly surprised when they want a better sales pitch than “sand is awesome.”

John:
I’m not surprised at all by a small minority of people complaining that Lunars don’t have Solar and Sidereal magic. That’s been a pretty common personality trait of a minority of the most vocal Lunar fans since time out of mind.

DannyK:
I can see that everybody seems to want something different for Lunars.
Here’s what I’d like: a badass fantasy version of the Mongols. The real. historical Mongols who built an enormous empire, enforced the Pax Mongolica, then split up into different hordes and went native. I want the Mongols who took over the Chinese empire, started a new dynasty, and then said to some of their guys, “Hey, we need a backup here, you and your followers go back north and be nomads again so we can join you if things go wrong.” I want the Mongols who became Cossacks, who have been on every side of every conflict in Russia for centuries and scared the shit out of everyone else.

John:
The specific historical stuff about ponies and yurts and fermented mare’s milk is not so important, but I’d like Lunars who, like the Mongols, are able to combine great learning and incredible ferocity, who can melt into any society but still stand out as proud warriors. Men and women who can play the game of civilization incredibly well, or drop it overnight and retreat into the hills and the old ways.

I think you’ll love them.

DannyK:
I’m also going to say something that a lot of Exalted players will disagree with, which is that balance between Exalts is almost meaningless. I’ve never had trouble having different flavors of Exalts in the same game. Having interesting concepts and powers is much more important than who can beat whom in white room combat. I hope the development team doesn’t spend too much time trying to balance these things, because I honestly don’t think it can be done.

John:
I develop the game under the firm assumption that imbalance is fun. Things that are a bit overpowered are extremely fun and should be a part of the game. That doesn’t mean we let game-breaking shit wreck the game and don’t check against mechanics that are stronger than they should be. If something is unintentionally too good, we will fix it. But we are also willing to allow some things to be intentionally over the top because we side with the good players and the STs over “that guy” who sets out to ruin every game he joins through metagaming.

Single Charms and spells form a microcosm of this, but it can also be seen in the special aptitudes of splats: Solars with their sorcery, Sidereals with their martial arts, and Lunars with their shapeshifting.

John:
Most Exigents rolling around the Threshold look at Lunars as being “the” Exalted. The biggest and baddest of the Chosen. The pinnacle.

The Lunars finally are something Exalted needs. The Lunars are finally something that cannot be replaced.


Scoop Life:
1) how much do you think it should inconvenience a Lunar to not want to kill people/animals and eat their hearts? More like “Solars who skip sorcery,” or “Sidereals who skip martial arts?” Acknowledging that Lunars aren’t being made yet and stuff’s just being thrown at the wall if course.

2) Are gunzosha armors coming back, and do they still eat peoples’ life force? If mortals get to drive warstriders now, how do gunzosha compete?

Also there was a sidebar about magical materials and color coordination that I missed out on, so I’d just like to throw in that purple is a neat color and there should be some kind of purple magical material.

John:
1) The heart’s blood issue is a thorny one. It’s definitely going to be the default way Lunars steal shapes. How they evolve beyond this—and whether they should—still bears some discussion. The pitfall to avoid is giving them something that doesn’t fit what they are.

2) Mortals can still use gunzosha armor, and they still do eat at a mortal’s life force. They don’t really compare to warstriders.

3) I would allow someone to rock purple as a variant of black jade, probably. Not sure I am going to canonize a purple material though. I figure those who want awesome pink daiklaves will find a way. lol

John:
The argument that having to take heart’s blood makes you uncomfortable and therefore we should change it has absolutely zero traction with me. It’s like, you know, maybe Lunars aren’t your bag. Maybe they aren’t what you need from a character. If it were an rpg about vampires and you wanted to not have to drink blood so that you could play a pacifist I’d react the same way. I’d also point out that a pacifist vampire who still has to drink blood is a fascinating character. Of course, if it’s not fascinating to you, then you shouldn’t be playing it.

Godjaw:
I think this is wrong to assume because the main draw for Lunars is their strange shapeshifting power, not how they acquire shapes. I know personally if I had the choice of stealing shapes, or killing and taking them, i’d steal them as the idea is so much more evocative to me as a shifting trickster.

John:
I get that, but it’s also putting cart before the horse.

As I said a few posts earlier, it’s a thorny issue. Because any new method has to match what they are, and has to be offset against the huge power a Lunar gets from being able to change forms.

John:
Person A “I want Lunars to be god-monsters!”
Person B “But only if they can be completely sanitized and never have to kill!”

This is a pretty common formulation of all Lunar conversations. You can switch the facts, the ultimate contradictions are still the same (and sometimes even more pronounced).

Icarus1138:
I think part of the disconnect is that a lot of posters view the Lunars as the “Shapeshifting Exalted”. Starting from that assumption, any hard limits to how they can gather shapes seems odd, especially if there’s a requirement to kill your target.

Others (including the Devs, I think) view them as the “Mysterious Beast-Men Exalted, Wise and Red in Tooth and Claw” or some other variant of that. From that point of view, shapeshifting is just an expression of their theme, not the theme itself. Changing the mechanics of the shape-stealing in a way that negatively impacts the primary theme (in the case of murdering your target, the red in toth and claw starts to slip) is a no-go.

My point is if you’re going to debate over what Lunars should do, you should check your basic view of them first so you know if the other person is starting from the same premise. Are they Shapeshifters that often look like animals, or are they bestial embodiments of man’s split between civilization and nature that can also change shape?

John:
Brilliantly stated.

Holden:
Lunars are a particular type of thing. This necessarily negates them being certain particular other types of things. While there may well be room to steal someone’s form by ritually stealing something important from them other than their life, how do you meaningfully express that when you’re talking about a shark or a cobra? What is a ‘shamanic’ approach? If a character makes an effigy of a thing out of paper and wood and then burns it by the light of the moon, thereby gaining the ability to become it– that may be very cool, but it’s also a very different kind of character than the bloody-fanged hunter who becomes that which he hunts. How do you reconcile the worker of paper magic and the bloody-fanged beast as being fundamentally the same thing?

Lea:
“A fox’s teeth are very sharp. And with a flick of her tail, she was gone.” -Neil Gaiman, Sandman: The Dream Hunters

(Incidentally, as much as it looks like I’m supporting the no-cannibalism-necessary position here, I’m really just being a contratrian smartass; in reality I am the most hardline proponent of cannibalism-only skin-thieving for Lunars. The point is, you don’t need to be rampaging and blood-soaked to be a cannibal skin-thief.)


Santino:
So got a few questions here that id like to throw out summing up a few of my favorite things, because i love crafters, sorcerors, and goddamn it I have a desire to play a twilight for 3e so damn bad it hurts.

1. Is getting sorcery out of the box going to be the kind of thing that will bankrupt your bonus points or will it be more accessable? (due to the requirement, Essence for non solars pretty much took up 2/3rds of their bp, and solars about 1/2)

2. Will crafting and sorcery work together in any way shape or form? Also Wyld shape will it still be useful for crafters or sorcerors creating epic places and objects out of the wyld ether?

3. Are we going to have a few defined crafts or subsets like fire, or water from 2e, or things like tailoring or metalsmithing an option? I guess in a way will i be a virtual Renaissance man with multiple skills under a single craft header, or will i be par excllence in a chosen more defined field.

4. Will i have to be a virtual badass (3/4s) in several different attributes to craft, honestly id like to know if its dex or intelligence, or if i have to have the dex/perc/int trifecta to even touch an artifact.

5. Will sorcery sort of have an inherent devils deal for power built into it, you know the good awesome where if you want good ol power it comes with a hefty price? Or will it be the sort of thing that has a “this tall to ride” mentality to affect the raw power of the world and doing that brings its own consequences.

6. Will sidereal animas get any polish when you guys get around to them, always had trouble finding a way to use the secret one without holding up a sign that says “Holy shit am i unsubtle and lets fight off the social influence and mind reading” Also will we see lunars taking a more direct hold in the setting with areas or cities held by lunars who arent a few thousand years old?

Thanks for all your consideration, answers and the like and thanks again for being awesome both for answering questions, spreading understanding of the game and in general being an awesome development team. I am so looking forward to this finally dropping, as I am sure you guys are to have it in our hands.

John:
1) You will find that Sorcery is more

2) Yes

3 4 5) Wait and see!

6) Yep!

You’re welcome Santino 🙂


icarr757:
Now that charms are done, charm cards?

John:
Yes, I believe that was part of the plan.


MichaelWMattei:
I remember hearing somewhere back during the kickstarter that Shards of the Exalted dream was going to get a 3e update PDF after 3e came out. Was I mistaken? If I am not mistaken, is that still in the cards?

John:
We don’t have plans for that currently, but never say never.

Vance:
I’m personally invested in that happening, but am currently neck-deep in Dragon-Blooded Charms with a thumb stuck in some Lunar pies. The spirit is willing, but linear time is a cruel tyrant!


sakii:
It was said that workings are a long procces, but how long is long??
To me it was no less that one month but im thinking of things that would take no more that a week.
For example something a thought for my future exalted Onmyouji, to make strips of paper that would explode on contact, i would write Conflagration in a paper with ink made from the sorcerer blood mixed with ashes from a fire started and blessed by a fire elemental. That would take 2 days top, should i add more thing to make it longer ??

Vance:
It really depends on too many factors to generalize. The skill of the sorcerer, the scope and power of the working, certain decisions on how to implement the working, all that comes into play.


SrGrvsaLot:
It seems obvious to me that if you’re going to have three castes based on the Hunter, Trickster, and Shaman archetypes, you should have three default shapeshifting methods. We already have the hunter method. It shouldn’t be too hard to create a trickster method and a shaman method.

John:
I will think on this.


Solar:
Yeah I mean it is very perspective based. I think a few people probably feel that the attitude towards Solars actually is a bit negative amongst fans and the devs, all about how they are now less powerful and have less scope to impact the setting now, but as a big fan of the splat it does feel a little lime “okay, enough about what they can’t do and more about what they can, and what makes them awesome”

John:
The Solars haven’t changed at all, the setting has. Everything in the setting has been adjusted to fit EX3. 2e didn’t raise the power level, it just redefined what power looked like in terms of modern comic books and shounen anime.


Gaius of Xor:
It’s conceivable things have changed or will change, but at the moment, I think there’s a bit of confusion. Lunars aren’t as good as Solars,* and they have the caveat that they can’t use Evocations at all when in Deadly Beastman Transformation. But Sidereals are the ones explicitly called out as the worst with Evocations.

* Who have equal faculty and access to all levels of Evocations for all artifacts. It’s unclear the degree to and manner in which other Exalted are less good, at this point. Aside remarks that a) Abyssals and Infernals are also not as good as Solars, and b) Dragonblooded have “a special dispensation” regarding Evocations.

John:
Whatever has been said about Lunars and Evocations are just things we’re considering, not concrete isms.


Gaius of Xor:
Here’s a question on a different topic: Deathlords.

From what else I’ve heard, the plan is to make them more interesting and distinctive than Skeletors #1-13, and that Abyssal Charms will, in places, reflect the powers of the Deathlords. I dig this greatly, and I’d like to ask about one in particular.

What sort of changes are you rolling around for the Dowager, her plans, her relationship with her deathknights, and powers Abyssals might acquire that would point to her?

John:
We have some exciting plans for the Dowager, but she is such a uniquely powerful character that talking about her alone would skew people’s perceptions of Deathlords in EX3.


Anu:
If Chejop Kejak had a Blacklist with the names of Creation’s most dangerous criminals, who would be the top five?

John:
Rakan Thulio would be on it, most definitely.


pwsnafu:
Have you finalized an order for publication? We know Solars then DB then Exigents. What comes after?

John:
It’s a secret.


SmilingBeast:
Is Necromancy going to be in the core book?

Vance:
No, but it would be very easy to hack together a functional version to use until it is published, if you’re comfortable with writing up spells.


Ithaeur:
How are disease going to work in 3e? Are they still grouped by virtue, as in 2e? (I may be in the minority, but that was a touch I liked.)

Vance:
The disease rules are totally new.


Nathan Colon:
Here’s a random question, what’s the viability of Flamenco style music and dance in creation, and follow up question, is there a martial art for combat-flamenco?

John:
Creation is huge! Make a case with your ST. 🙂


Chomp-Chomp:
Non-Lunar Questions!

1.) Are there non-offensive actions characters can take in physical combat to assist their fighty companions? We know that “social combat” can exist within physical combat, but I always seem to run into players who want to do clever things like knock over carts or shoot out lanterns or distract opponents rather than actually harm them or engage them in conversation.

2.) Can you spoil any new giant monsters? Something like Juggernaut, Kulkla, Ishiika, or Oliphem (not a monster, but big and rad).

3.) Does Willpower still exist?

4.) What is the most intriguing new Creation-wide threat? Or maybe, which of the previous Creation-wide threats have been polished and made much, much better? Servants of the Yozi? The Deathlords and their armies? The Raksha? Some unknown thing the Sidereals have to clean up?

5.) Without spoiling any mechanics, what’s the coolest new Solar charm name you’ve seen?

John:
1) Yes. There are special actions that can cover this.

2) The giants of Distoch, who capture people and do sorcerous experiments on them.

3) Yes.

4) The Wyld, an eternal threat to Creation, has been spiced up in a lot of ways, both in how it behaves and what kind of horrors creep out of it. It doesn’t always manifest in Creation as a radioactive field of No in this edition. And there are plenty of things other than raksha, such as migratory spores that blow through Creation to die.

5) I am biased. Maybe we should ask Vance or Holden.

Holden:
I’m a fan of both Prophet of Seventeen Cycles and Drifting Leaf Elusion.


Anaximander:
Does your typical Liminal spend most of their time in Creation or in the Underworld? Or does that depend on their individual mission from the Dark Mother or personal proclivities?

John:
Creation.

Simon Mcglynn:
What do liminal animas look like?

Holden:
Like Dragon-Blooded, they have pretty varied animas depending on Aspect.


Solar:
Quick and simple question then, is it possible to create a martial art style which revolves around using evocations?

John:
Sure.


Mr Stabs:
How easy is it to disarm a Melee specialist?

Holden:
This is going to sound like a smartass answer, but it is the most honest one I can give you: that varies enormously based on both who’s doing the disarming and how good they are at it, and what kind of Melee specialist they’re fighting.


JasonK:
1. Any chance we’ll see the return of the Third-Arm Glaive? An artifact that was weapon and visible battle-standard in one has great appeal.

Holden:
No current plans to have it come back, but also no current plans not to have it come back. If it does, it’ll probably be somewhere around Sidereals.

JasonK:
2. Do Solar Charms in 3E still fit into the conceptual space of Righteous Avenger’s Aspect, Red Dawn Ascending, and (most especially) Final Ray of Light? Will some Solar Charms work “when confronting an opponent who has defeated him” or “in the course of trying to defend those weaker than yourself”? In other words, will their Charms merely enable Solars to behave like mighty god-kings or will they actively incentivize it?

Holden:
None of those particular Charms are returning in the corebook, but you should be able to put together a very mighty god-king indeed with what’s in there. Solars have enormous breadth in 3e and aren’t really pushed into narrow channels.

JasonK:
3. On the flip side, is there space to say that “the land and the king are one”? Can Sidereal Merlin say to Solar Arthur “You will be the land, and the land will be you. If you fail, the land will perish; as you thrive, the land will blossom”, and Arthur then learn the Solar Charms to back that up?

Holden:
Hmm, how do you see that as a statement for individual Charms as opposed to holistic storytelling?


sakii:
Since artifacts are super rare now what is going to happen with the picture of all Dynast having at least 1 or 2 and all those lended to the big wyld hunts.
Are they just so rich that they can afford it?

John:
They still have all their stuff. 🙂


Tony Harbo:
Question about the two new types Exalted tied to Lunars:

What kind of stories can be told about these Exalts?

John:
They are both Exalts that travel in the same circles as Lunars. I can’t be much more specific than that, but they are built for conflict.

Tony Harbo:
If I had a Circle composed of only one of the new Exalted, what would they be best suited to deal with?

John:
There is a certain mindset that Exalts should exist for some Great Purpose, and we aren’t necessarily following that logic in EX3. We’re more interested in play spaces. “What is this Exalt about and what is it like to play one?”

Wuse_Major:
So…. What are they about? What is it like to play one?

And, if you can’t answer that, can you give us any ideas when we’ll be able to find out more about these Exalts? For instance, do you think you’ll be referencing them in that upcoming book about the East and West?

John:
I can’t say much more than this: Neither type is an Exigent.

Keep your eyes open, you might be surprised at what you find lurking in the pages of this edition.


Poop Deck:
Is the Loom of Fate important to everything in Creation in “a mechanical way” in the Core book? By that, I mean: does the Core book describe the effect of spending a lot of essense in Creation (whatever that number means; I’ve never been sure) and how it results in causality mishap?

John:
Nope!


taichara:
Question, although it may be a repeat (apologies!): will hearthstones be working in a similar fashion as 1e and 2e, or have they been changed?

John:
There’s some really neat things with how hearthstones interact with Evocations. 🙂


Anu:
And speaking of hearthstones, will you be adding any completely new manse powers in Towers of the Mighty?

John:
That’s the rumor!


Lea:
Now that eclipse charmshare between Exalt types is no longer a thing, I will be lobbying as hard as I can for astrology to be folded into the Sidereal Charmset.

Holden and John are not obligated to give a single fuck about my lobbying, of course.

Wuse_Major:
Why do you think it should be included in the Siddy charmset?

Lea:
Small discrete powers that can be purchased individually and designed for optional synergy (or mandatory synergy by making one a prerequisite for another) are just really convenient.


Sunder the Gold:
Can the Warstrider rules be easily used for non-artifact warstriders (warwalkers?) that represent the fragile and cheap “real robots” that the Artifact “Super Robots” tend to chew up like popcorn to make the important characters look cool?

Basically, the melefs to the Warstriders’ guymelefs.

John:
Sure. I’d just take the stats of an automaton for one of those.


Wuse_Major:
You guys have mentioned that the Dragon Blooded are being worked on. Have you changed their Aspect Abilities from previous editions at all? How closely tied to a given element is each ability? If I have a Water Aspect using Dodge, is fire still going to come out?

Vance:
One of the things I’m working on is giving each Ability at least a splash of a few elements other than the one it’s associated with. Drawing on your Aspect’s element in other abilities is both possible and rewarding, although I expect the majority of Dragon-Blooded to have at least a few Charms from elements other than their Aspect.

There hasn’t been a reason to alter Aspect Abilities so far, and I don’t expect there to be.

AlphaWhelp:
I don’t care just give War to Fire.

John:
We’re not moving Dragon-Blooded Abilities around. Earth is the central element of Dragon-Blooded Essence, so it makes sense for War to be there.

It’s very good that we show Tepet (Air) and Cathak (Fire) to be the big military Houses, because it helps to show a difference between Caste and Aspect. The emulation of Mela, the Air Dragon and perfect warrior, is the second most popular emulation in Creation, second only to Pasiap.

insomniac:
No love for Sesus to be found. 😦

😉

John:
All the Houses are getting spiced and spruced up for their Third rendition. 🙂

Isator Levie:
Elemental as a keyword does feel a bit extraneous in the same way that Holy does to me…

Vance:
3E’s Elemental keyword is very different from 2E’s. For starters, it isn’t even called Elemental.


Solar:
Currently I am thinking of a very old Sidereal Sensei as an NPC for a Solar game who trains up a character in Martial Arts or something. Give him the instrument, which he claims to be strung from threads stolen from the Loom of Fate. To which the Solar might ask, but surely that’s not possible master? And the Sensei responds by whacking them with a broom and telling them to not be so inflexible when it comes to what is and what is not possible.

They also might give various different explanations as to the origins of the instrument. But I do like the idea of someone who has rebelled against Fate a bit to have done such a thing. Plus I am sure that the Loom can survive, I mean as the GM I can ensure it does!

John:
Sounds like an amazing N/A artifact.


Scoop Life:
Is there a god of rainbows in Creation, or is that Under the Sun’s domain? (I got a bug up my butt about a potential Exigent but I don’t want to put the cart in front of the horse.)

John:
Sure!


Yo! Master:
This might have been asked before, because i kinda remember something; sorry in that case:

Is the increased attunement cost for artifacts from MM other the ones corresponding to an Exalted type still a thing?

In fact, is attunement costs still a thing, to begin with?

Holden:
See first post of original thread.

Yo! Master:
P.S. Was the original idea for the increased attunment cost mentioned above, besides driving Exalts to artifacts of the appropriate MM, a way to curb to a degree an issue that exists in D&D & all sorts of other RPGs with magic items: that the GM must take into account the fact that if they give magic items to opponents & the PCs then beat them they get to keep them? Did feel like that to a degree, making the equipment of, say, a beaten Wyld Hunt cool loot but still not optimal.

Holden:
I doubt it, since you could get basic use of off-MM artifacts for the basic attunement cost; full attunement was only necessary for MM bonus, after all. And if you were upgrading from a regular sword to a daiklave in previous editions, that was a HUGE step up, to the point that you’d be nuts to balk at loss of MM bonus.


chaoticag:
On one hand, pretty excited this is game is nearing release, on the other… well, it seems pretty intimidating trying to explain what exactly exalted is to someone who’s going to be new to the game. Anything you guys got that’d help explain enough of the setting that a character concept is possible to someone that more or less hadn’t played a World of Darkness game?

Holden:
This page was designed to be a fast summary of the game and setting for new people.


Gaius of Xor:
1. In your personal favorite piece of EX3 art (of those you’ve seen), what feature(s) stand(s) out most prominently to you?

Vance:
I still haven’t seen a lot of pieces based on the art notes I wrote, so I will reserve judgment on that for now.

Gaius of Xor:
2. Of all the characters in the book, what hair color (or hair analogue) strikes you as most unusual and interesting?

Vance:
Blue. No, yell—

Gaius of Xor:
3. What do you feel is the least conventional fighter (or fighting style) featured or alluded to in the book?

Vance:
The offshoot schools of Silver-Voiced Nightingale.

Gaius of Xor:
4. What do you think is the “best” species of creature in the book…
a) … out of only real-world, non-extinct animals?
b) … out of only extinct animals or creatures specific to Exalted?
c) … overall?

Vance:
a) I’ve always liked bears as enemies in games, because no matter what system, that bear is gonna fuck you up.
b) I’m very pleased with what Creation’s version of the thylacoleo ended up looking like.
c) Tyrant lizard strongest one there is.

Gaius of Xor:
5. If anything, what about EX3 — text, art, concept, whatever — moved you when you read, saw, or heard about it?

Vance:
I was very skeptical about the concept of Exigents at first, which lasted until Holden sent me the backstory for Strawmaiden Janest.

Now that my work on the core is done? Between the fiction and art, and the strength of the setting chapter, I really envy new players who are going to get their first glimpse of Creation from this book.


hippokrene:
In 1st Edition, I felt as though the Deathlords were the Big Bads of the setting. A bog-standard campaign might involve Solars beginning the game running from the Wyld Hunt, but eventually they’d come into conflict with the Abyssals, and the climax would be them defeating one of the Deathlords. It felt like there was a lot of discussion about how a group of PCs might get into the Underworld or lure a Deathlord out, and how GMs could best create an interesting story about taking one down that wasn’t just [insert massive battle.]

In 2nd, Deathlords weren’t as prominent. The Infernals and Yozi seemed to take a lot of their spotlight. I expect a lot of this is simply antagonist fatigue; you can only get exited about taking down the Mask of Winters so many times.

In 3rd, will you presenting Deathlords as the standard Big Bads of the setting? Do you have any new entities to fill that role?

John:
Deathlords vary from “disconnected non-threat” all the way up to dumping one of the Seven Great Dooms on all of Creation, with “regional menace” being a middle-ground.

There are a lot more things to have huge fights with in EX3.


Solarious:
!!!

MA can now have offshoot schools?

Rocket Propelled Grenade:
Okay, this? This is one of the best pieces of news I have heard so far. I am extremely excited for this. Mostly excited for the mechanical implications (or semi-mechanical ones which are still probably off-limits, like how closely Even Blade style as presented in Scroll of the Monk would work under this new approach), which I’ll have to wait for, but I do hope we can get some kind of elaboration.

So…is there anything that can be said on this front? Particular media that inspired the decision, styles with extremely cool or divergent offshoots, the most challenging style to create a variation on? Something like that?

Vance:
It’s not really a matter of big mechanical variations. Nightingale’s offshoots are just in a sidebar.

The concept of there being different schools or regional variants of martial arts is just a pervasive motif of fiction, so of course it’s true of Creation’s supernatural styles.


Lea:
I feel like Regent Fokuf being canny is sort of the obvious “clever reveal,” which doesn’t hold up under scrutiny — he’s a mortal and he was chosen as a compromise candidate specifically by superlatively skilled Terrestrial politicians. Like, I guess you could read that as me saying mortals ain’t worth shit, Exalts 4Ever, bad guys win or something, but not everything needs to be subject to a dramatic reveal of that sort.

Honestly the best thing we could do with Fokuf, and this is a recurring theme with me but okay, is not not talk about him much, because the more we talk about what Fokuf is up to and the less we talk about the machinations of the people around him, the more tempting it becomes to dramatically reveal that he’s been getting all this focus because he’s actually really important, when by design and intent he really is the least important, interesting person in any room he’s standing in. Unless you really love masturbation jokes.

Sigilistic:
Wait, he’s a mortal?

Lea:
Yes, except for in one book in 2e where the writer deliberately changed it because he thought it was proposterous that DBs would put a mortal on the throne and expect the Empress to kill the mortal for the temerity of sitting on it and not the DBs who had the temerity to put him there.

Simon Mcglynn:
but blasphemy is a crime in the Realm.

Lea:
Not if you’re a Dragon-Blood.

And if you’re a mortal, “A Dragon-Blood not liking your looks” is a crime, so.

Simon Mcglynn:
Well yeah, but a Dragon-Blooded killing a mortal in the Realm would be like an angel smiting a lay person in the Vatican. If they were wrong that raises some serious doubts on the legitimacy of all this and that can’t happen.

Lea:
Not… quite.

John:
Regent Fokuf is a Tepet, chosen as regent specifically because he is from a fallen House and has zero ambition. He’s mortal because a Dragon-Blooded could be hard to scrub out if they become intractable. They wouldn’t elect a Dragon-Blood to be regent of all the Realm.

Holden:
The Immaculate Philosophy doesn’t posit that Dragon-Blooded possess infallible judgment. In fact, one of the basic tenets of the faith is that they don’t. This is why they need the Immaculate Dragons as spiritual guideposts.

Delgarde:
The specific rule is that mortals cannot go wrong by following the directives of the Dragon Blooded, right? The DB *can* be wrong, but the bad karma falls exclusively on him – not on the less-enlightened souls who follow him.

Lea:
Yes. Mortals always advance themselves spiritually by following the Dragon-Blooded, because that’s a mortal’s place, but a Dragon-Blooded is perfectly capable of fucking up his own spiritual advancement by e.g. mistreating mortals.


Wuse_Major:
So, I recently skimmed an old D&D adventure that managed to convince me that Baba Yaga is actually a Time Lord, possibly even a version of the Master.

What would Baba Yaga be in Exalted?

Lea:
I would say “An ancient Lunar” but mostly because I dig media where Baba Yaga is the ancient god-monster patron of old-timey Russia. I don’t think she’s actually a good fit for it beyond that, though — certainly I don’t know what I’d make her totem if I were handling it that way.

Colapso:
It’s not like Raksi’s Totem is much of a intrinsic part of her, and Baba Yaga is basically Raksi. Hell, if you’d plopped her into Creation, she’d probably be Raksi’s big rival.

Chicken? Owl? Or something known for being ugly as sin, like a Rat.

Lea:
I guess Raksi is basically a Baba Yaga + The Rakshasa + She-who-must-be-obeyed, yeah. So there’s you’re answer — if Baba Yaga were in Exalted, she’d be syncretized with other archetype to create something that feels wholly original to the setting rather than an obvious homage to a single, specific thing.


Daerim:
I kind of get the feeling that the Exigents are taking the conceptual place of endowed God-Blooded.

Are God-Blooded (general usage) going to be more of a presence in the setting and player character tableau now that mortals are given more oomph and spirits are going to be more playable than in the past? I’ve always liked the idea of local gods having children as primary agents and the wandering, ghost-sired exorcist and have used them as NPCs, but never as a PC.

John:
God-Blooded are going to get an update and will be pretty awesome.


sakii:
I was re reading the fiction about Janest and the Fair Folk says that she has a god weapon. Is this just a fancy word for artifact or is there something else in there?

Lea:
It’s another way of referring to certain artifacts.


sakii:
“certain”…

Lea:
Don’t read too much into that; there’s no separate mechanical category of artifacts in 3e called god-weapons. It’s just… there are probably artifacts for which calling them god-weapons would feel out-of-place. Like, say, something that’s clearly more of a ghost-weapon.


The Ent:
Probably a silly question but…will the book include a “this literature, movies, anime, etc inspired the game & is awesome & should be read/watched for inspiration and general awesomeness!” list like 1e did? 🙂

John:
Yes, definitely.


Solarious:
To all our writers: what are you looking forward to writing about the most? Broad, cryptic, or [REDACTED] terms are fine.

Holden:
At this moment? Exigents.

Vance:
Dragon-Blooded Charms!

John:
Lunars, certain Exigents, and all three of the unmentioned new Exalts.

Gaius of Xor:
Encouraging! Looking forward to learning more about them all.

As a point of “just in case” clarity, Exalts like the two Lunar foils would NOT be included in that count of three, correct?

John:
They are!

Daerim:
Three unmentioned Exalts as in the ones you haven’t named but have stated exist, or three beyond anything we’ve heard anything about?

John:
Three I haven’t named but stated exist. Sorry for my poor clarity.


Anu:
What’s your favourite weapon?

John:
Daiklave 🙂


Wolfwood2:
How important is it to keep the Sidereals down to only 100 Exalts? They have such a big role in the setting and are involved in so many things that 100 sometimes seems a little limiting. Especially their politics. You have 5 PCs who agree something, and that’s a huge block of Sidereals. What would change if I declared, “fuck it, each Maiden has 100 Sidereals”?

I guess the reason I’m asking is hearing that the Lunars get two entire Exalted types as foils. If anything, the Sidreals seem like the ones that need more Exalted they can talk with and play off.

John:
Their numbers will remain at 100. But the Sidereals have Getimians, all the different Exigents, and a new an unnamed Exalt to bother about. That’s aside from Solars, Lunars, Dragon-Blooded, etc.


You can find the next compilation here:
Q&A Summary #11

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