Here’s another update to our lengthening list of summaries from the Exalted developers’ Q&A thread on RPG.net.
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
Q&A Summary #10
Q&A Summary #11
Q&A Summary #12
Q&A Summary #13
I´m interested in the Familiar background (or Merit now, right?)!
Can you have something like the Brass Leviathan as a Familiar?
Something like the lumbering Colossi in Shadow of the…?
A Mouse of the Sun?
A Dune-esque sandworm? (Who is not necessarily names Snuffles, but also not necessarily not named Snuffles.)
Generally I would not classify behemoths or enormous First Age war machines as animals, or even magical animals.
Somebody remind me; does the Brass Leviathan (as distinct from the dragon imprisoned in it) possess enough agency to even qualify as a character?
I always assumed it’d be boring if it didn’t? It probably doesn’t possess the same agency as the water spirit bound into it, though.
Sounds like we need to ask some more questions to get the devs back in here.
Name of favorite new Charm?
Drifting Leaf Elusion!
Favorite new/revised subsystem?
Combat. Runner-up: Sorcerous workings. Second runner-up: Social influence.
1) Which Direction has the most new locations mentioned in the core book?
Southeast. As far as “core” Directions go, probably the North.
Oh, does that mean there will be specific sections or at least portions of the text specifically describing locations for the all “diagonal” Directions?
Not so much the Northwest, since the description there would be “glub glub.”
2) So, the UCS is a mostly forgotten god. Can the same be said to any extent about Luna and the Maidens?
Largely, yes, though moreso for the Maidens than Luna.
3) There are a lot of unusual animals in Creation. From prehistoric stuff to outright fantastic creatures. Are there any exotic animals that are really popular as pets in some large region of Creation?
Raitons would make pretty exotic pets by our standards, what with them being dinosaurs.
I have some questions about sorcery, specifically mortal use of sorcery in 3E:
1. It has been mentioned that mortal sorcerers are “rare”; by this do you mean as rare as Exalted, or more like 1 in 10,000 or so (which I think still makes them many times more numerous than even Dragon-Bloods)
2. Do mortals need the assistance of an Exalted in order to learn sorcery? Or are there purely mortal “orders” of sorcerers out in the Threshold (I’m assuming such groups would be discovered and wiped out in the Realm, if they’re even possible)?
1. Mortal sorcerers are super rare. Of the few mortals who can become sorcerers, many of them never realize it. We’re not going to give a solid number of active sorcerers who were mortal, but it’s very small.
2. They do not. An Exalt can help a mortal who is capable learn sorcery. Re: Orders of sorcerers: Not really. There just aren’t enough. Re: The Realm had a scaling policy toward mortal sorcerers in the time of the Empress. It may have changed. We’ll be talking about this in The Realm.
Isn’t this a change from 2E, where (unless I misunderstand) everyone could at least in theory learn sorcery?
And are there more or fewer mortal sorcerers than DB sorcerers?
It is indeed a change from 2e. Every mortal in Creation cannot learn sorcery, nor do thaumaturgic rituals.
As for your second question: Probably fewer.
What’s the limiting factor? Is it just a matter of not being competent enough (like the brain surgeon analogy above), or is there some essential element that sorcerers have and regular folks don’t?
The limiting factor is narrative. The books will explain fully.
So how big a deal is a mortal sorcerer? “heads a dangerous cult” level or “The Sorcerer Queen of an entire city state that she rules by arcane arts?”
“Mortal sorcerer” is not a weight or a value, neither is “Solar Exalted.” So these kinds of questions misapprehend the circumstances at hand.
There have been mortal sorcerers who have run nations, but you hardly need arcane arts to do that. There are many mortal rulers living in Creation who use money, religion, and military force in order to rule, and a sorcerer—any sorcerer—who overlooks those things is no ruler.
In regards to the bolded text [“Every mortal in Creation cannot learn sorcery, nor do thaumaturgic rituals“], does this mean that thaumaturgy is not a big of a part in the setting anymore? If so, why has it been reduced?
I really like mortal thaumaturgy as a background element which meant that everyone knew something ‘magic’ from an OOC point of view, but to them it was utterly normal (kinda like Glorantha, where everyone knows a few magic tricks to help with day-to-day life). It adds nicely to the high magic feel of the setting. I’d be nice to know why you think cutting back on mortal thaumaturgy improves the setting.
Magic has been given a complete overhaul. The new narrative profile of sorcery doesn’t work if everyone in the setting can do it.
I was wondering about thaumaturgy, not sorcery. Thaumaturgy and sorcery are only similar from an out-of-game perspective that calls them both ‘magic’, but in-character, the two operate on fundamentally different principles. The only similarity is that sorcery can do some of the things thaumaturgy can, and can do them about 10000000% more effectively. From an IC perspective, they’re as similar as Martial Arts Charms and punching someone in the face.
You are absolutely correct, but EX3 wasn’t developed backwards from the mechanics to the setting. Everything that falls under the header of “sorcerer” has been made to fit the the “narrative profile” of sorcery, or the way sorcery is depicted in the text. The profile of sorcery is to be strange, powerful, unnatural, unnerving, and rare, because it can’t be any of those other things if it is common. In the eyes of the Developer, a thaumaturge is a kind of sorcerer.
Can the average mortal in Creation still learn and perform minor magical rituals, aka what second edition called thaumaturgy?
No, they can’t.
If not, how does this change make the setting better to play in?
I assume you are asking why this is a preferable state as a whole, rather than “why would I want to play a mortal?” There’s a lot of reasons, starting with the thaumaturge. It makes her a much more interesting personality, because she is unique. She might be her tribe’s shaman, her village elder, or the witch at the end of the lane. But because she has unique and special powers, she occupies a niche that can’t be filled by just anyone with a manual. And because thaumaturgy isn’t a necessary subset of occult rating, sorcerers might actually find some use in thaumaturgists. That’s because thaumaturgists sometimes possess unique tricks that only they can do. So, for the first part, it makes the thaumaturgist more interesting and unique and valuable to the setting as a whole.
From a broader perspective, it makes magic stronger and more emphatic, because magic isn’t everywhere and in everything. When you open a door, it isn’t a magical communication between the knob god and the hinge spirit, the way it was purported to be in Second Edition. Natural law exists, and the ubiquitous nature of Essence is taken to be a physical phenomenon, not an overtly magical one. So, channeling Essence, for those who can channel it, is not inherently magical. “Sorcery” is a step beyond that; a movement into the uncanny, and a drifting of normal narratives. If I am a Solar, you would not expect me to cast Death of Obsidian Butterflies, yet as a sorcerer, that is within my wheelhouse. The more common strange displays of magic become, the less sorcery is anything but a mechanical differentiation, a label that otherwise means nothing.
So your position would generally be that thaumaturgy is therefore much, much rarer in the setting than in previous editions – and hence viewed as more special and exotic instead of being commonplace. But since PCs are pretty much special-by-definition, I assume that it’s not hard for a player of a mortal character to justify being one of those rare people who know some of those unique tricks?
The freedom enjoyed by the player while creating their character is pretty immense. If you wanna play a thaumaturge, you play a thaumaturge.
This is obviously not a model of the actual truth-in-fact of the setting that John’s described.
Tell us about the Cinder Isles!
The Cinder Coast is a hotbed for religious and political theater, where the Realm has only limited projection.
Does 3e have any new sword-and-sorcery content or gaming possibilities that weren’t explicitly mentioned in the older editions?
I realize that’s a bit of an odd question. What I mean is that while you could always put magitech stuff in Exalted from the very beginning, theoretically, later in 1e and especially 2e we started seeing more and more specific ideas to help out GMs who wanted to run magitech genre stuff.
Since 3e is going another direction, I’m wondering if there will be more locations, NPCs, advice sections, and so forth to help those of us GMs who want to run more sword-and-sorcery but aren’t already brimming with knowledge of the genre. I like the idea of sword-and-sorcery, but I’ve only ever read a little Conan and some short story anthologies (and early Discworld) and I’m not great at improvising it without a little inspiration.
This is a very complex question, which is why I took my time responding to it. Mostly, I had to take time to think about whether planned material actually would convey the essence of the genre. I think they will, through tone and through fiction, but also through an emphasis on atavistic gods, a stronger positioning of sorcerers, and a much higher prominence of old ruins and forgotten menace. Creation is a strange, dangerous, and predatorial place for a newborn Exalt. Growing mighty and conquering the unfathomable and nigh limitless forces measured against you is yet possible.
It will be a setting that lays out its mysteries and invites you to solve them; a setting that is rich with occult throwbacks and wicked spirits and horrendous, ancient forces. There will be guideposts on how to deal with those things, in fiction and in history, and in the Charm set, but I think ultimately any ST who takes the material and makes it their own will be doing pulp fantasy of their own just by osmosis.
1) If a solar has zero combat charms, how capable is he if he gets attacked by mortals? Would he need to fear, say, two regular guardsmen? The same really goes for a solar with no social defenses, would he be in danger if he starts talking with a socially focused dragonblood?
2) How dangerous is the non- wyld hunt world to a newly exalted solar? How many of them dies due to mortals/fair folk/low grade gods etc?
I ask because I found the invincible solars of the previous games to be frustrating as GM. If it would be possible to challenge new solars without bringing every exalt in a given direction within reach of the PCs that would make me happy 🙂
There’s lots of fun ways for the Storyteller to challenge Solars.
Approaching it from a mindset of “how many charms are needed to totally negate all danger from a certain venue” is not gonna be super helpful.
On a completely random note, when it comes to crafting Artifacts, we usually think of them as being permanent objects. Daiklaves, armor, manses, etc. Could crafting be used to create high-level powerful stuff that ISN’T so permanent? For some reason, I’m really drawn to a “God of Cooking” idea for a Solar, a Solar chef whose creations are so mind-blowing that they rival Artifacts in terms of power (if not permanence). Is this just completely goofy, or is it something that the game could permit?
This is pretty much an “ask your Storyteller” question.
An Artifact is a god-forged wonder of the First Age. It comes of imparting the inchoate with reality, and parting the mists of time to reach some impossible distance; to imagine the unimaginable. These are the narrative of Artifacts. It’s reflected in the name—Artifact—the hard evidence of a First Age whose occult remnants are of such complex design and untold genius that they make the sorcerous wonders of RY 768 look feeble in comparison.
The question boils down to whether there’s a sandwich equal to Excalibur.
Yes, there is, but only in a Kevin Smith movie.
Or in classical mythology. Nectar and ambrosia, after all, were the food of the gods and granted immortality.
Neither of those things got its power from the preparation, though, and neither of those things makes you the ruler of Camelot, grants you the power of Thor, etc. A cup of celestial wine can grant immortality, but an Artifact can give you the power to rule Creation. Even then, you’re dealing with the consumption of things that are tremendously rare and powerful. You aren’t going to find a sandwich in Creation that gives you the powers of the Daiklave of Conquest, because that’s dumb.
I think you’re being unnecessarily dismissive. Of course “exalted cooking” sounds silly if you reduce cookery to its silliest possible manifestation.
I don’t reduce it to its silliest possible manifestation. Unfortunately it’s my job to listen to people’s ideas, so I’ve heard it a few dozen times. You think I pulled magic sandwich out of my ass, but alas I did not.
By this logic, we might as well eliminate performance charms, because an Exalt that sways the hearts of multitudes with a limerick is dumb.
A moving song is not an Artifact. A beautiful poem is not an artifact. And food that makes you feel good is also not an Artifact. I am responding to the thirtieth request to equate the roll that makes food exquisite with the system that lets you forge Islebreaker. Yes, we do have Performance Charms to influence emotion, conjure up memories or rewrite them, and do a number of other things, but we also draw a distinction between music and Artifacts, just like we draw distinctions between cooking and building a daiklave.
That said, I’d like to conclude that it’d be great if you didn’t jump into this thread and disrupt it with a lot of disingenuous nonsense. It’s disingenuous because you didn’t read what I was responding to; it’s nonsense because music is one of those things every fantasy tradition in literature agrees has power. Even in Exalted, it has power—the makers of Creation were tremendous musicians. If you want to run a game where Creation was baked though, go ahead, but this ain’t Burger Time and I don’t care if you think that’s dismissive, because what’s dismissive to you is just factual to me, and whatever facts don’t fit your pet ideas are naturally going to dismiss them.
It’s obvious that there wouldn’t be a “sandwich of power” in Creation,
It’s really not obvious to some people. I’ve seen the exact idea put forth and used. Also in this very thread someone asked if the chef concept could be equated with the Artifact crafter concept. I’ve seen people desire to play vegan Vampires, too. Nothing is really obvious to some people until you point it out to them.
but what about a confectioner whose cherry cordials unleash a patron’s dark desires?
Sounds like a stunt or a custom Charm.
Or a mother whose home-made soup is so wholesome it can miraculously cure the sick and heal the wounded?
I don’t think Creation should have potion crafters cranking out healing in a bottle and don’t see how this is different.
What about banquets so delicious, all other food, forever after, is bland and unsatisfying?
This actually happens without magic. It’s called Chipotle.
And that’s not to mention that something like celestial wine requires a certain degree of specialized craft to make.
Yeah, but it requires those peaches. That’s kind of important. Because in every other case, you’re dealing ostensibly with nothing at all that’s magical. Peaches of immortality and Zarlath honey are not actually the products of good cooking, but try to make Zarlath tinctures or celestial wine without them.
This generally sounds like Fair Folk and spirit mojo, not so much crafting an artifact souffle.
A Solar can prepare a banquet so exquisite that princes will fight over his services, but that just means that ultimately that just boils down to an amazingly satisfying meal, not one that fans your passions or restores health levels. That sort of thing is probably in the wheelhouse of a Solar who has really hardcore specialized as a chef, but at the outside, that would be custom Craft Charms, not artifacts.
The difference between something like cooking and what you are apparently defining as “artifacts” is not one of epic tone, but of the ephemeral versus the permanent.
Yes, a meal is intrinsically ephemeral, but so is a song or a kiss, and it would be absurd to say that there is no place for the fantastic in them.
You can’t craft an artifact kiss or song, either, generally speaking.
Okay, any of y’all watch Chef’s Table? It’s all about some of the major important working chefs. The first episode opens with footage of an earthquake – me and the friends I watched it with all went ‘wait, did we cue the right thing? did I fuck up?’ – then wheels of cheese languishing in broken and busted cellars. It opened like this because the chef featured had heard about that calamity, had realised it would destroy the economy associated with the cheese (and possibly the life of the cheeses in the sense of the cultures used and so on, if those producers went bankrupt). So he created a simple recipe that used the cheese, began publicising it using his enormous talent and reputation, and thus saved parmesan reggiano and the producers, by making this recipe popular.
If you cannot bump that up to Exalted without ‘BUT THE CHEESE IS MAGIC’ then I feel like you’re missing a point. You barely have to change a thing to make that story Exalted, to make a chef capable of changing the face of Creation, using cheese. You certainly don’t need to mangle the place of artefacts within the game to make a chef an amazing character with an incredible narrative, all about the food they’ve made and their epic skill in making food. In Exalted terms that chef would have saved a region, saved lives and an economy, not just from damage but from the Wyld because if a region loses it’s economy in Creation what happens? There are no friendly countries offering financial aid. There are predators waiting on the sidelines to strip the flesh from their bones though.
So after watching this, we all said “Massimo Battura is a goddamn solar”.
Beatrix gets it. A region could literally fall into the Wyld if trade were demolished, especially after a loss of life. Using a recipe to stave off disaster is absolutely in the Solar wheelhouse. No magic cheese dinner needed. Just the profound understanding of cooking and ingredients on a level that he could develop a recipe easy enough for everyone to follow.
Assuming that the Realm is still as Artifact-heavy as in previous editions, I have a question:
How does that tally with the fact that the average group of Solars will have half a dozen extra artifact weapons and armour after their first encounter with a group of Dragonblooded? I’m not sure how a GM is meant to keep artifacts feeling super-special-rare-awesome if one of the default opponents for the the basic PC splat comes loaded down with at least a couple of artifacts each.
When I was a baby, I had a teddy bear, and it was the best bear. It had powers. It could keep the devils away. I still think about it sometimes. And I am not sure, given my history, that the bear didn’t have powers—if only because there was very little else that could get me to sleep when I was burning with fever, or when the things in the shadows came crawling and whispering my name.
Artifacts are a lot like that—they exist in a narrative lens between “real” and “imagined” power. As products of the First Age—which is an uncanny rather than defined space in Third Edition—they are also uncanny, in that they can be “just a really amazing sword (bear)” when you aren’t telling a story about them; power comes from the character’s imagination. When you are, then they can do literally whatever you need them to do.
That said, “How do I make multiple Artifacts awesome?” is secondary to “How do I make the Dragon-Blooded carrying them awesome?” As with anything in the entire game, if you try to tell every story at once, smoke is going to pour out of your ears, and your story will probably fall apart. In the interest of helping you along, though, we have Evocations—powers which help to differentiate Artifacts from one another. These should be seen as a Storytelling aid, not the limit of an Artifact’s power.
Sunder the Gold:
How do Sorcerous spells approach or touch upon healing wounds or curing ailments? Sorcery has done everything else, in the past.
I wouldn’t expect to really see Cure Light Wounds or direct equivalents in sorcery, though you might see broader or stranger health-encouraging effects.
Hey guys, I remember reading somewhere that one of the maidens (mars, I wanna say) told sidereals to leave Lookshy alone, is that still going to be a thing? If so what’s the game rationale behind it?
That’s probably not going to stick around.
I think the cooking stuff has been asked and answered.
Anyway, moving down my list of “Awesome Things Wulin Does that I Hope Exalted 3E Also Does,” one of the Secret Arts in Wulin is Predictionism. Basically, you’re a classical, learned Chinese scholar who can impose facts on the whole world. In-game, this means that you’ve studied a situation, applied your awesome learning and analytical capabilities, and predicted that something will happen. For example, based on your knowledge and study of regional economics, trade patterns, political unrest, etc., you predict that the Northern Crane clan is doomed. Mechanically, this makes it easier for people to attack or undermine that clan, and harder for people to defend that clan.
Is that something that Solars can do, through Sorcery or otherwise? Is that more of a Sidereal schtick, if anything?
You will enjoy 3e Solar Lore.
Belatedly, though (since this is actually something I was wondering about earlier): The problem there is just making cranking out a generic cure-all as a common thing, right?
I assume Medicine can be used to produce tinctures, salves, potions and so on as a treatment for certain more specific medical problems. I mean, that’s something people have done throughout history in the real world without even needing any magic, so I assume that even a mortal healer in Creation can diagnose someone, then use a Medicine roll to produce a salve or other consumable to treat certain specific ailments. And while in some cases this might just be a stunt on a medicine roll, I’d assume a master of medicine (even a purely mortal one) could do things like eg. provide the appropriate salve or tincture for a specific ailment just based on a description of the symptoms, without having to meet the patient; or produce a large amount of it when a particular ailment is widespread.
Obviously this depends on what you’re trying to treat, and I’d assume that actual panaceas are the providence of rare and powerful magic — you can brew a tincture to help with a fever, but you can’t brew a salve of heal-broken-leg or something. Still, even if games like D&D take it too far, something akin to “healing in a bottle” is something with both a lot of mythological heft and extensive real-world history, so I’d expect it to be a major part of Exalted’s medicine system. (And, well, given the providence of the term panacea it’s obviously in-theme somewhere for the setting, even if it’s something that only a particular powerful god can make as a boon or something.)
(Amusing fact that I came across recently related to this: Nostradamus, before he was famous as a prophet, was famous for… well, I’ll quote his Wikipedia article: “After his expulsion, Nostredame continued working, presumably still as an apothecary, and became famous for creating a “rose pill” that supposedly protected against the plague.” My favorite part of that entire article is that the very next section says, near the beginning, “In 1534 his wife and children died, presumably from the plague.” But this was the kind of thing that people at least believed in throughout history, and some of the herbal medicines they discovered were a bit more effective than that. People have been trying to produce healing in a bottle throughout history with varying degrees of success.)
What I mean is — Creation has apothecaries, right? They make stuff like tinctures you can drink if you’re suffering from a headache rather than generic D&D healing potions you drink to restore health levels, but are they in-theme? Is it reasonable to play as one using Solar Medicine, with dispensing strange potions, herbs, salves, and poisons being your main thing? Would that fall under Medicine, Craft, or Occult?
You could do it with just Medicine, but there’s something in sorcery that fits that character concept so well I gotta include Occult.
This is a very complex and interesting question.
Let’s consider Solar Medicine for a moment: It allows you to compensate for lack of medicines or tools. It also allows a lot of narrative flex in how you apply treatment. Your treatment could involve feeding someone soup, although the Craft-based quality of that soup is not necessarily where the healing comes from. You can apply unguents and other medicinal treatments as a part of your stunt. The “method” is important, but the specifics of that method will vary from player to player. It is your Essence and your talent that makes the treatment supernaturally effective. Essence, being a resource that renews much faster than health levels, means that Solars can influence health regain at a rate determined by Essence return by way of Charm cost. They don’t actually need magical stimulants or rare expensive drugs.
Conversely, rare expensive drugs and miracle medicines have their application limited by availability and effectiveness. The difficulty of obtaining such things and their generally lower effectiveness combine to keep Solar Medicine as the most effective healing option. If magic from outside Medicine can take an everyday product like soup and make it a tremendous miracle healing whomp, then it needs to be weaker or less viable, so as not to replace the viability of Solar Essence with the viability of soup. Moreover, Solar Charms want you to interact directly with other characters. They want you to treat a patient directly for the most powerful benefit, not make a healing balm that can deliver the healing of a Solar Charm from third person.
So yes, there are apothecaries, healing unguents, and so on, but they vary in effectiveness. A mortal legendary doctor needs all of these things and the best facilities to produce results that are best case scenario for a mortal patient. They almost never have some way of completely removing a disease or healing an injury without invoking a spirit or calling on a demon for aid. A Solar doctor is a miracle worker, ten times more effective without appearing to use any kind of magical aid, just straight up medical knowledge and efficacious procedure.
Knowing how to make medicine and which medicines to use falls firmly under Medicine and Lore. Knowing how to harvest medicinal herbs and where to look for them requires Survival, and that knowledge can be enhanced by Lore. Lore represents knowledge and understanding, but not necessarily practical experience. Lore can tell you what X looks like, and where to find it. Survival can also represent that specific knowledge, but also entails the actual ability to seek it out and find it more skillfully and accurately. Lore represents knowledge of “magical” medicines as well, but Lore again represents solid theory. You really want to use Medicine to mix up medicines, and you were correct in your analysis that you need Medicine to figure out which is the best one to use. So while Medicine represents medical lore, and Survival represents Survival lore, both of these depend on some amount of direct practice or exposure to the things you are working with. Lore itself is a kind of amplifier for every knowledge base there is (within reason), allowing you to encompass things you’ve only come across in books, or in theory.
Occult and Craft don’t have any natural facility for healing people, but can be bent to the task through strange means.
Suggests sort of a weird swing point, doesn’t it? If I and ten tiger warriors jump my archenemy, we kill him, because that’s ten terrifying hard-core dudes, and we run them as individuals. If I and thirty tiger warriors jump him, we lose, because that’s a battle group.
Or, I mean, adjust numbers appropriately – but that’s the complicating factor with “diminishing returns”-style battle groups, right?
EX3 doesn’t allow that discretion. If you have three or more similar guys who aren’t story-important figures or DB-caliber supernatural badasses, they’re a battle group. In-character actions acknowledging this mechanical abstraction are explicitly against how the game’s played, and are something the Storyteller is instructed to shoot down.
Gaius of Xor:
1) I recall some implication that Lunars will no longer be Stewards. If so, what new nickname do you have in mind?
2) It’s been mentioned that Liminals are also known as the Chernozem, but what sobriquet will Getimians get?
3) What is a sobriquet for a splat you’ve not yet named for us?
We’re doing away with most of the sobriquets, actually. Most of them felt compulsory.
What kind of alliances would you see between Getimian and Lunar interests? Put another way, which in maybe important ways is a different question, what overlap is there between Rakan Thulio’s war against Heaven and that of the Lunars?
This is something we’re very interested in discussing when we’re closer to having those books out. The difficulty in discussing it now is because both Lunars and Getimians will experience some shift between now and then. But just for fun, let’s take a look at a friend’s player character Lunar concept for EX3. She does not represent every Lunar, but it should be interesting.
She is one of those Lunars who is consistently lashing out against Realm interests, but she is a very introverted, solitary type, and draws peace from roaming empty tracks of Creation and being alone with nature. She wants to rely on her own strength and wits to outmaneuver the Sidereals and their Dragon-Blooded assassins. There are other supernatural beings she might draw into her war, but its against her disposition to ask for favors from beings who are in her weight class. She has no problem using mortal pawns or agents, particularly those who have a legitimate beef with the Realm, because they walk the road she’s on already. Her first inclination, not knowing anything about Getimians, is distrust, or simple disregard, as if it were another Exigent. But if she sees one being pursued by Sidereals and confounding his pursuers with his magic, she might be intrigued. If he survives his encounter without help, she might let him leave her territory in one piece. There is a definite hierarchy of socialization and while he is in her “zone of pursued prey” they can’t really be friends. She has no real reason to try to draw him into her plot. In all likelihood, he disappears off the radar. But say he returns, announcing himself and gaining an audience in a properly submissive way—in deference to her territory and her tremendous killing power—then she will be more inclined to cooperate, if only to hide him or use him as bait.
There’s not a way (yet) to speak for the Lunars or Getimians in general. But we’re getting there. 🙂
I’ve never really had a good handle myself on how much of a spirit’s power in its panoply was supposed to be treating those things as Artifacts and how much was just an expression of their powers distinct from how the Exalted (of the time) did it.
It’s like, you’ve got Talespinner with his flute (which can be transferred or stolen, even while being written as Charms) and Octavian with his acorn (that was a gift and has to be replaced if it is broken), and you’ve also got, say… what’s her name, the Eastern hunting goddess with a jade whistle made from her predecessor.
Are there many examples of existing gods known to have Artifacts distinct from their own power?
Ahlat’s write-up includes some Charms that are notionally Evocations of his spear Bloodspike and his bow Glad-of-War.
Interesting. Can critters other than the gods associated with them develop Evocations for godly weapons?
This is something that hasn’t been nailed down yet, I think. I would expect to see more on that as we see more about gods and various other types of magical beings later in the line.
Ooh! Thought, earlier in this thread or somewhere, I read a concept of a Solar using Ride to hang out on his Yeddim and travel creation. What level Familiar would a Yeddim be?
Two dots seems about right.
Here’s a setting question:
What’s the diversity range of human-to-animal features for beastmen? Do they all have to be really beastlike, such as dudes with parrot-heads and wing-arms? Or can you have folks that are more like the Thundercats (classic or modern) in appearance? Is that too far into the Lunars’ wheelhouse?
I ask because I have an idea for marginalized beastmen nomads who are shunned by both humans and “true” beastmen, because they’re too close to either end of the spectrum for either group to accept them.
I imagine you could get a pretty wide range of variation after a few generations of interbreeding.
I wonder if when we get down to it, is “beastfolk” not more likely to be a cultural and political designation than a significantly biological one?
Having feathered wings that you can use to fly is a bit more than a cultural difference.
On the other hand, the Empire of Itzcoatl’s cultural and political identities revolve around beast-heritage. There may also be beastfolk whose bloodline has become more human-like over the generations, or beastfolk whose anatomy is small enough of a difference from the human norm that it would largely be a social construct.
I meant distinction from other mutated humans.
…. I think.
I don’t think Yasi Iril, who quested into the Wyld to discover her true name and face according to the shamanic traditions of her tribe and came back winged with glory, is gonna mistaken for a hawkwoman. A mutant is probably going to have an easier time passing as a beastperson that baseline humans and vice versa, but that’s still going to involve exploiting others’ ignorance and maybe some disguise.
Is there going to be any idea like the Autochthonian Polar Mutants having the logical drawbacks of their adaptations represented in terms of a points-balance kind of thing?
They would go the way of Flaws, which I think have been discussed already.
Okay, but is an assumption of flaws going to be inherent to at least certain kinds of mutant?
The Autochthonian polar mutants were sort of unique in being presented as sub-races with a balanced template of mutations—most of the time, I expect a Storyteller’s just gonna slap wings on a gorilla and let physics weep. If there is a group of mutants homogenous enough to template, a Flaw could be included, and if you want to play a mutated character whose mutation has drawbacks, you can do that.
Man, I feel like I’ve been talking like Ex-Men.
Gaius of Xor:
I’ve recently been reading a Secret of Mana Let’s Play, and it’s put me in the mood for a character with a white dragon mount, able to be summoned by a little handheld drum, the dragon’s favored toy in childhood. I am delighted that other answers leave me confident I’ll be able to do all or most of this straight out of chargen. ^_^ So, my questions are
A) If the dragon lacks any significant means of attack, how many dots of Familiar would it likely need?
B) How much is this particular character likely to love Survival Charms?
[B] Like a dog loves bacon.
I just realized something…
If Creation is flat, then how are smart/wealthy people going to have globes to show how learned/fancy they are?!
Very elaborately carved tabletops.
How are the disguise charms going to work??
In all the editions medicin had the “this is not Lay Hand and heal” clause, you were using herbs, chicken soup or fixing a missing limb with a sharp stone, but disguise was described as essence enveloping you and changing your looks. His this still the case or the charms are going to start needing some makeup and clothes to work?
Legendary spies in most fiction are presumptively using mundane disguises, but achieve the impossible. Crazy face masks in Mission Impossible are the first thing that come to mind. Keep that in mind.
A Solar con man getting into his disguise is going to be using the same skills he used before Exaltation. Props, make-up, changing body posture, whatever method fit their style. But now he’s a demigod, affirming his achievements with Essence. Everything builds on that set of skills—it’s not an illusion, or shapeshifting, or telepathic projection, not that it makes much of a difference to the rubes he’s suckering with his Flawlessly Impenetrable Disguise.
1) The thing that Mirri Maz Duur did to Drogo in game of thrones, would it be a spell or a working?? Because it feels working like but it only took one nigth to cast.
I think Mirri would be represented as a thaumaturge, rather than a sorcerer.
3) Making love potions and things like that, would it be craft or working?
This is more a ST/table call than something I can just definitely pin down.
Are the Five Trials of Sorcery still a thing? If so, how do they work and figure into the setting? Are they the effects in part of the Salinan Working?
Lea’s written eloquently about the narrative purpose of the Five Trials. Once we cracked how sorcerous initiations should work in Ex3, it became pretty clear that they could do all that and more.
That said, if you want to play a sorcerer who initiated by undergoing the Five Trials, guided by the Salinian Working, you can totally do that.
Given that thaumaturgy is mostly focused around singular miracle-workers now. and sorcery has a defined role, and I’m assuming Occult has some say in this, what would a cult of mortal men and women who sacrifice the blood of virgins to dark powers, taking on their youthfulness as immortality and eternal juvenescence be? Thaumaturges? Sorcerers? Occultists?
Off the top of my head their youthfulness would be a sorcerous working performed by their dark patrons. Having a cult of ordinary mortals trained in Occult and offering up blood sacrifices is an example of the kind of thing that makes your workings easier to complete.
What about a hag who lives in the far swamps, practicing strange alchemy? What if her love tonics actually work?
An old woman who reads tea-leaves, knows many auguries and consults her orrery?
Sound like archetypal thaumaturges.
Or a village shaman, who fasts for three days to prove his holiness, before burying himself in a cloud of hallucinogens to seek answers from the Gods? What does he do if he wishes to ask the spirits of the stars to intercede with the gods of war for the sake of his people?
You don’t need to be a thaumaturge to be a priest or a shaman. But you could be!
Sweet, so it’s still an option; I do like the Five Trials, although, can you give us some specifics on the Salinan Working and what it’s like in 3E? You guys mentioned it was behind held up as the high end example of what Sorcerous Workings could do, and really all I know about it from other editions even is that Salina and the greatest sorcerers of her age… embedded sorcery into the world, somehow, so that the knowledge of things like the Adamant Circle could never be lost, and that spirits were involved somehow?
It’s not something that’s directly touched on in the chapter on sorcery, but I think it’ll click as soon as one reads the sorcerous working system.
i was checking the new projects in the onyx path page and found this: “Exploring the Age of Sorrows: Essays on the World of Exalted”, never heard of this.
What is it?
One of the stretch goals the KS hit. Book of essays by Exalted creators about the creative process behind it.
Hm! I wonder. I wonder if there are rules for dysentery in 3rd edition?
I think so, but I don’t recall my full list of diseases of the top of my head.
Gaius of Xor:
Per my usual preface: This may be too mechanical, or give away more than you’d presently like, but hey!
Some time ago, you teased the gist of the new Eclipse anima power for being taught the powers of other supernatural beings.* From those entities in the corebook, what are some of your favorite powers that Eclipses are able to learn?
* Only powers specially identified as such, not Charms of the Exalted, etc.
I’m a fan of Prismatic Sea-Spoor Streamers and the garda bird’s Immolating Pyre.
so, a sorcerer has the power to give your closest retainer rage laser beams or something like that with a working. But how are those powers modeled??
would that be a merit??
It could be any of a broad number of things, based on what the sorcerer’s player is going for and how she and the Storyteller work out that representation. Sure, it could be a Merit—Merits are great for random powers and stuff. But it doesn’t have to be. Sorcerous workings aren’t about boxing you in to certain mechanical choices, but letting you work your will on the world and then bending mechanics to serve your purpose.
I’ve got a sudden urge to play Ouyang Feng, most likely as a Sidereal.
Can you tell us if there are snakes or other venomous animals that can be used as familiars in the corebook? Or maybe Wood Elementals?
Yup, it’s got snakes.
And if you go super hard into Solar Survival, you might have a tiger whose fangs drip with venom, or a siege lizard whose tail spikes inject all sorts of deadly stuff on contact.
I’ve been thinking about doing a Haltan Air Aspect Scavenger Lord and I’d like to give her a small, clever familiar, but not go with any thing usual, like a monkey, squirrel, or ferret. I’m considering a raccoon, but I was wondering if there was anything a bit more esoteric in the Core Book that might fit the bill? Like in the “Simhata, Omen Dog, Raiton” category of more or less normal animals that don’t exist on modern Earth, sort of thing.
Would a tanystropheus work?
…I was thinking something more pocket sized actually.
I guess you could fit an ichneumon hunter in a pocket, but that might not be the best idea.
According to the Monday Meeting updates some of the upcoming books are already in the first or even second draft phase (Arms, DB, etc.). So is it possible that the writing team might be already working on Exigents?
There are a few words written for Exigents already, but that’s just me working ahead. No outline has been done and nobody’s been hired yet.
I really only have one question about Exalted 3rd edition.
I spent a pile of money on a pile of books for 1st edition because I loved the setting and it all seemed so cool. I tried mightily to run it without success. Everyone got tired of struggling against the system very quickly. I spent an even bigger pile of money on an even bigger pile of books for 2nd edition including a big pile of hardbacks. I have never used any of it.
Why buy into another edition of Exalted?
That’s a good question, and the first one we asked when we started laying the groundwork for EX3. I mean, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to come to the end of EX2 and then turn around and buy all those books for a third time in a row. I’ll break down the answer into setting and system.
On the setting side of things, the new edition is a significant departure from EX2. Stylistically, we’re trying to steer things back to the tone and content-delivery of Scavenger Sons, with punchy bits of world-building rather than the exhaustive drill-into-every-named-map-dot approach of the 2e Compass books. As for the setting itself– this is a re-imagined Creation, rather than a re-presented one. If you remember and love something from prior editions, it’s probably still there, but Creation’s about half again as big as it used to be, with a number of new locales and elements. The Southeast has gone from “savannah I guess” to being an enormous region of far-flung and exotic empires scattered along the shores of a great inland sea; sheltered as they are by desert and by mountain, they’ve had only the most limited contact with the Realm. The Southwest has become a brutal frontier land, with rich slaver-states and demon-haunted islands scattered along the Cinder Coast and especially clustered around the Bay of Kings. North of that area is a great isolated landmass known as the Caul, a land sacred to both the Lunar Exalted and the Dragon-Blooded, which they have waged war over for centuries. The West has been pushed out farther from the Blessed Isle than in prior editions, and is regarded by the rest of Creation as a distant land of mystery, opportunity, and wealth for those daring enough to venture forth to claim it. The Great Houses are preparing to stake independent claims on the West as the Blessed Isle draws closer to civil war, and the great Western powers grow increasingly nervous about the Realm’s brazen incursions; they warily eye the monstrous power of the Skullstone Archipelago as a possible rallying point in opposition to the foreign invaders.
There’s a lot going on. Classic locations like Chiaroscuro, Nexus, and Onyx are joined by new settings such as the slum-port of Wu-Jian, gateway to the West; the haunted forests and hills of Medo, whose soldiers are carried away by the Realm to serve as hostage-janissaries; the great distant city of Ysyr, where thaumatocrats rule in sorcerous splendor over a huddled populace, attended by fae slaves; a great beastman empire in the far East; and more.
On a system level, two of our major priorities were making the game easier to run, with less stress and prep-time for Storytellers; and designing a system that was easy to use, faster than either prior edition, and most of all, was fun and exciting rather than predictable and tedious. I feel like we hit those goals pretty well. It’s still by no means a lightweight game, but it works, and once you have a little practice with it, it’s pretty easy to handle.
If yoy can deliver on the cool and awesome thing I saw when I read the 1st edition core rulebook but could never quite reach during play, I will buy every book you put out.
That’s what we’re aiming for– bringing out more of that pure pulp fantasy goodness that launched the game with a bang, coupled to a system designed from the ground up to deliver it in a fun, usable package, rather than wedding the setting to a slightly hacked version of Vampire: the Masquerade.
Iv’e got a question about that– I’ve also played exalted since 1E andfinding new stuff, especially the stuff you’re talking about is pretty nice.
But…is there any consideration on how quickly you’ll be able to get to it? I mean, granted, location books tend to be less crunchy then core books, but it’s still a lot of words.
Just to put it out there, if you did things in the model of the autocthon setting books– 4 or (x), individual PDF supplements followed by a larger book, I’d likely buy both.
Compass: Autochthonia isn’t a model that’s likely to be followed– that release model was based on market research about how people preferred to consume PDF products that has since proven… erroneous, and was intended to fill a year-long gap of no other supplements. I mean, it wasn’t written that way. We delivered the whole manuscript at once, and it could have been released all together. I don’t see any reason to artificially lengthen a release these days.
What about the West makes it a source of wealth so attractive to the rest of the world? In previous editions the West always felt… impoverished and kind of backwards. Frightened islanders throwing people into volcanos and paying their taxes in sea shells. Even the impressive parts had that sort of looming over them. Sure, this guy is the ultimate authority here, but he’s still going to pay you in sea shells if you don’t buy in to his petty kingdom.
The West has never been my favorite Direction, but I’m down for swashbuckling on the high seas so there’s always some dissonance.
The vibe I got with how the West has been talked about in the video they did way back when is that instead of this backwater impoverished place, it’s this land of spice islands and riches. It’s much more the Carribean, East Indes and Horn of Africa now than what I gather almost htis fantasy ghettoland it was in previous editions. There’s all sorts of exotic, hard to get, weird stuff out there that people want.
Pretty much, yeah. Plus there’s the degree to which anything that comes from there is desirable purely because of the isolation and difficulty of importing anything from the West. I mean, there are Dynasts that collect Western tribal painted masks simply because, hey, they have a connection with House V’neef who can get the things and nobody else can, no matter how rich they are. That’s setting aside rare spices and plants (the most efficacious variety of maiden tea requires herbs that only grow in the West), black pearls the size of your fist, etc.
Are there any new Dragonblooded groups that AREN’T Lookshy or Realm tied?
Yes, though none of comparable population figures to either of those two powerhouses.
The Dragon-Blooded congregate in lineages of power. It’s what they do. It’s what they are!
Oooo. This is giving me Ideas.
So a small lineage of Dragon-Blooded ruling a nation somewhere off in the Threshold is a valid party concept? I can already see all sorts of fun characters and intraparty interactions coming from that prompt.
Treading close to dangerous territory, but… how do Lunars and far-flung Dragonblooded groups interact? Is it all wary circling with their possessions held close to hand, or are there less hostile interactions?
It really depends on the Lunars and Dragon-Blooded in question. As much as the Realm likes to paint the Lunars as a slavering nightmare-horde of lockstep cannibal monsters, they’re really as diverse as any other Celestial Exalted. Ma-Ha-Suchi isn’t really going to tolerate any other Exalted presence in his territory; Black-Wing Lilac is a pragmatic opportunist who will work with whoever she runs across to get what she wants.
How universal is the Immaculate faith and how much of the Lunars’ war is against the Realm as opposed to the Dragon-Blooded, I guess.
The Immaculate Philosophy has pretty far-flung penetration across Creation, though of course the farther you get from the satrapies, the less hold it has. Mind, it’s not like devils have a particularly wonderful reputation in regions that haven’t embraced Christianity, you know? The Immaculate Philosophy doesn’t have to spin the propaganda wheel very hard to make the Lunars look absolutely terrifying.
The Lunar war is against the usurpers of the First Age– the Shogunate and its successor-states, particularly the Realm. There’s not really necessarily an ideology of “fuck all Dragon-Blooded” in place, but, well, Lunars are human. I’ve known enlightened, upstanding men and women who went off to war in Iraq and Afghanistan and upon returning had to carefully and deliberately un-train the reflexive anger they found themselves projecting at any and all individuals of Middle Eastern descent. War teaches pattern thinking and distancing, dehumanizing behavior. Lunars are as prone to that stuff as anyone.
Oh, absolutely. But the books seemed to do it, too. If I remember correctly, the Scarlet Empress was down on the whole seashell thing too, for example. Really, there’s no difference between fantasy silver currency and fantasy seashell currency but the whole picture was just… cargo cults, headhunters, volcano appeasers trading riches they didn’t know they had for seashells.
I mean, really, 2e just comes right out and says there isn’t much of value in the Neck.
2e had a lot of issues.
I don’t know; Compass: West has to be one of the better ones (being under the helm of Lea without even any prompting to use the word “shinma”), and I’m pretty sure the statement “nothing happens in the Lap” is entirely ironic.
Compass: West was probably my favorite of the Terrestrial series. It’s still the one that gave us Insane Torture Culture Leviathan and Island Five. 2e had a lot of issues.
Is there still a design premise for things like Essence 2 Charms that they’re less powerful individually but will get a lot more milage out of being diversely combined?
I don’t know if that was already asked in this thread or any of its predecessors, but…
Combos. Will they be easier for new players to grasp/create, or still be a stumbling block of tags/keywords/concepts that was hard to keep straight for many “casual” players?
Combos are no longer a mechanical Thing that you have to calculate weird xp costs and pay extra for. So, yes?
They don’t really exist any more as a formalized concept. The timing rules are fairly simple and largely boil down to “you can’t use two Simple Charms at the same time; otherwise, go nuts.”
Is there anyone in Creation that preaches, for lack of a better word, goody-goody stuff like peace, love and tolerance that isn’t using it as a cover or justification for some kind of atrocity? A just king, noble freedom fighters, honest magistrates… anyone?
It would be nice to see someone at least trying, without it being a Sidereal plot to sucker someone.
Sure. They usually get about as far with that as people do in the real world. Then again, that’s the kind of person the Unconquered Sun tends to go “you know, I like your moxy, kid, go forth and make the world a righteous place as best you know how,” so…
Setting and feel question!
The upcoming Realm book and the promise of a reinvigorated Scarlet Empire is making so curious about the Blessed Isle! After all, what better place to highlight the struggle against the Dynastic overlords than the heart of the empire itself?
I want a Blessed Isle that’s a study in contrasts: A place where the arrogance and grandeur of the Dynasty is on full display in the teeming metropolises, palatial estates, and myst-shrouded temples; supported upon the backs of the quiet yet proud towns and backwater villages; bordered by the vast, strange and wonderful untamed stretches wilderness, where only heroes, bandits, and monsters dare go. A place that is as thick with solar tombs, hidden treasure vaults, and untouched ruins as anywhere in the Scavenger Lands, left there for adventurers to find, even in the heart of a nation of demigods. A land where the domain of death leaves the shadows and takes hold in the coming darkness, where daring Fae Princes march forth to seize glory from the chaos, long bullied spirits take the chance to grab hold of splendor forbidden to them for so many centuries, and friendly beastman tribes descended from menagerie slaves struggle to simply live in a land that would sooner see them in chains.
A place where there is as much adventure to be had and long-lost fortunes to reclaim by Solars, Dragonbloods, or any hero or villain as anywhere in the Threshold!
Is my desire anywhere near the depiction we’ll find in 3E?
That’s the Scavenger Lands you’re describing. The Realm is the heartland of a decadent empire that is now tearing itself asunder. It has a different vibe– it was once the homeland of the gods, and then the seat of power for the Solar Exalted in the First Age, the roost of the Shogun, and now the center of the world’s last great global empire. It’s a place of deep history deliberately forgotten, and a dangerous past that won’t quite stay buried. It’s a land of warring demigods seeking to rule over the heart of the universe.
This sounds like a really cool setting for a campaign, but in a literal sense it’s also what the Realm has always been, which leaves me wondering why no one ever thought of presenting it from this angle before.
Yeah a lot of 3e setting presentation is going to turn out like that, I think.
What’s the coolest thing about the following:
– Nightingale Style
I don’t think I can tell you about the wrackstaff I’ve written for Arms of the Chosen just yet, but it is probably one of my favorites.
Solar Circle Sorcery
There is no singular “coolest thing” because Solar Circle Sorcery is just “holy shit” from start to finish.
If you’re a dude on the Blessed Isle, and someone in really obvious jade armor with a daiklave on his back comes tromping down the road like you own it, do you
a) get over to the shoulder really fast and bow your head, or
b) stop him and aggressively question whether or not he is, in fact, one of the Terrestrial Exalted and a scion of the Scarlet Dynasty?
I would suggest that very few people are gonna pick B, because your two most likely results for that course of action are
1) it’s a Solar in disguise, and he ganks you and stuffs your body in the bushes before you can make a scene or
2) it is in fact a Dynast, and he beheads you without breaking stride for your insolence. If he’s in a really forgiving mood, maybe he just kicks you into a tree instead.
I understand from other comments that MA Charms can’t normally be comboed with regular Solar Charms. Can MA Charms be comboed with Evocation Charms (for appropriate MA weapons, of course)?
Ya’ know, this whole separation of MA and regular combat charms might sound weird to people, and it does to me too a little (can a MA stylist use defensive charms from say, Snake and Dodge? Or only between styles?)
But I realize that, with the advent of Solar Xp, this is actually a boon. It allows mentally or socially focused characters to learn MAs with Solar Xp and be effective in combat, because Martial Arts will be balanced with the understanding that a stylist will probably be relying on these styles for most of their fighting ability. They can spend regular Xp being brainy or talky, and use Sxp to advance down the style trees and everything will be cool!
It’s not really any weirder than not being able to toss an Archery Charm and a Melee Charm on the same attack.
Okay, let’s go at this from a different angle. Do combos still count attack and defense actions as a single thing? If you make an attack with a weapon-based martial art, does that keep you from turning around and using a Melee defense, like Heavenly Guardian Defense or whatever?
You can find the next compilation here:
Q&A Summary #15