Ask an Exalted Writer!

Now that I’ve exhausted every major vein of Exalted developer quotes that I’m aware of, I’ve been mulling over some more substantial blog posts. However, my brain is still effervescing with 3e material for upcoming drafts, and for the moment I’d rather keep my creative energies aimed in that direction.

In the interim, if anyone would like to ask me questions about Exalted (or anything else), feel free to do so in the comments! I can’t provide substantive 3e spoilers, of course, but beyond that, ask away, and I’ll answer as best I’m able.

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81 comments

  1. What’s your favorite thing about Infernals?

    And actually, now that I think about it, a more personal question salient to this discussion: What’s your particular area of Exalted writing? I know there are some writers who churn out setting details and others who write mechanical widgets for fun, but I don’t actually know what *your* deal is, which limits the salience value of what can be asked.

    1. What’s your favorite thing about Infernals?

      That they’re being rewritten from scratch for 3e. Their presentation in 2e is too tangled up with setting material I’m unhappy with — the Reclamation, Yozis-as-Charmsets, Lillun — for me to view them with much enthusiasm.

      And actually, now that I think about it, a more personal question salient to this discussion: What’s your particular area of Exalted writing? I know there are some writers who churn out setting details and others who write mechanical widgets for fun, but I don’t actually know what *your* deal is, which limits the salience value of what can be asked.

      I’ve largely been a setting writer, though not exclusively so.

      My Exalted bibliography to date includes:

      • The artifacts in MoEP:Infernals;
      • The new demons in CoCD:Malfeas;
      • The Bull’s empire in CoTD:North;
      • The new hearthstones in The Broken-Winged Crane;
      • The nations of Gulak, Kamak, and Nurad in CoCD:Autochthonia;
      • The South, West, and Hell material in Masters of Jade;
      • The Modern Age in Shards of the Exalted Dream;
      • Various Charms, hearthstones, and bits of setting material in the Ink Monkeys blog.

      For the Third Edition core, I wrote up the Threshold and collaborated with Vance on the Antagonists chapter. I’ve also been working on all of the supplements currently under development.

      1. I’d just like to say that those demons you wrote are some of my absolute favourites. Particularly aalu, gethin, those lantern creatures, and motherfucking Gebre.

  2. Very cool of you to do!

    Feel free to ignore these if you like, but I think I might recycle a few of my more opinion-oriented questions from the “Ask the Devs” thread. 🙂 I’d be interested in hearing your takes on any you feel comfortable answering.

    0. From those entities in the corebook, what are some of your favorite powers that Eclipses are able to learn?

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

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

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

    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?

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

    6. What do you feel is the coolest new Wyld-/Underworld-/Malfeas-related thing in the book?

    1. 0. From those entities in the corebook, what are some of your favorite powers that Eclipses are able to learn?

      “Favorite” questions are difficult for me! But I’d absolutely love to try out Wind-Whistling Trick.

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

      [REDACTED]’s gleeful expression while battling a party of Delzahn riders.

      6. What do you feel is the coolest new Wyld-/Underworld-/Malfeas-related thing in the book?

      • In the Wyld, I think the asmani are pretty neat; they raise more questions than they answer.
      • Liminals look cool, though I don’t know that much about them yet. It might be fun to play one!
      • The sidebar on demon summoning is a delight to read.

  3. Am I correct in assuming you wrote some/all of the setting chapter for Exalted 3rd ed? Did you write anything else?

    What location are you most proud of?

    Which location did you find most difficult/rewrite the most?

    (I’d ask which bit you’re least pleased with, but I guess if there’s a part you’re not pleased with you’d have rewritten it)

    What are you working on now the Core is in editing?

    1. Am I correct in assuming you wrote some/all of the setting chapter for Exalted 3rd ed? Did you write anything else?

      You are correct. I also co-wrote the antagonists chapter with Robert Vance — specifically, mortal antagonists, Wyld creatures, Underworld creatures, elementals, gods, and demons.

      What location are you most proud of?

      That’s a difficult question! I guess maybe Randan, if only because its backstory involves a sort of writing that I’m not accustomed to.

      Which location did you find most difficult/rewrite the most?

      It’s been ages, so it’s hard to recall, but I think Lookshy and Nexus got hit hardest with the red pen. Others got rewritten more extensively by the developers themselves, but as I didn’t rewrite them, they fall outside the scope of your question. 🙂

      What are you working on now the Core is in editing?

      Various bits of setting material for Exalted — the Realm and Exalted — Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought.

  4. If you had to choose between Demon of the First Circle, or Summon Elemental, I’m assuming you’d go DotFC, but do you feel elemental summoning has been adequately been beefed up for Ex3?

    1. If you had to choose between Demon of the First Circle, or Summon Elemental, I’m assuming you’d go DotFC, but do you feel elemental summoning has been adequately been beefed up for Ex3?

      Summon Elemental is a much cooler choice than in previous editions! The choice between it and Demon of the First Circle is now more complicated (and in more than one way).

  5. Two more questions from a friend!

    1) What’re your go-to sources for inspirations when playing/STing Exalted, and for writing for Exalted?
    2) What sort of improvements are we getting to the cultures and histories of the setting’s regions?

    1. 1) What’re your go-to sources for inspirations when playing/STing Exalted, and for writing for Exalted?

      The history section at the library; Wikipedia; and various sword & sorcery and weird fantasy authors — Glen Cook, Robert E. Howard, Tanith Lee, Michael Moorcock, Michael Shea, Karl Edward Wagner, Catherynne M. Valente, Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny.

      2) What sort of improvements are we getting to the cultures and histories of the setting’s regions?

      Histories more recent than the First Age, and neighboring peoples that are right next door rather than a thousand miles away.

  6. I have a group planning to get an Exalted game going as soon as the 3rd Edition core is available to the general public; what, if anything, would you recommend I show them in the mean time to help them get acquainted with the setting and premise of the game and get the creative juices flowing regarding character concepts?

    1. I have a group planning to get an Exalted game going as soon as the 3rd Edition core is available to the general public; what, if anything, would you recommend I show them in the mean time to help them get acquainted with the setting and premise of the game and get the creative juices flowing regarding character concepts?

      I’d start with Exalted First Edition‘s setting chapter, followed by Scavenger Sons. Then maybe the “Dreams of the First Age” chapters of the Caste books, or the “Points of the Compass” chapter of Masters of Jade.

      Alternatively, get hold of a copy of Tanith Lee’s Night’s Master. That’s the seed of Exalted, and it remains inspirational for Third Edition.

  7. Thanks for the answers!

    Have any of the places you wrote in 2nd ed, changed a lot from 2nd ed?

    More generally, which place that you wrote in 3rd (and did or didn’t write in 2nd ed) do you think has changed most from 2nd ed, or indeed 1st ed?

    For you, what is the biggest tonal change in this edition?

    What were the most significant pieces of guidance the devs gave you for writing locations (ie “make it more X”, “make sure Y isn’t there anymore,” “make sure you think about Z when writing places in the East”)?

    Do you have any unusual or non-intuitive advice for writing our own locations in Exalted?

    1. More generally, which place that you wrote in 3rd (and did or didn’t write in 2nd ed) do you think has changed most from 2nd ed, or indeed 1st ed?

      Either Gem or Halta.

      For you, what is the biggest tonal change in this edition?

      It’s either the increased focus on mortals — both individuals and societies/cultures — which grounds Exalted PCs and gives their actions and passions more meaningful context; or the shift away from the excessive categorization of 2e, restoring a measure of weirdness and exoticism to the supernatural rather than trying to slot everything into a single overarching taxonomy.

      Do you have any unusual or non-intuitive advice for writing our own locations in Exalted?

      Read about history. Not only will this give your locations more depth and context, but you’ll run into wild, stranger-than-fiction things in Earth’s history that will inspire you in unexpected directions.

  8. How much do you writers have to say about the art? Is it you who write the art notes, or is that all up to the developers?

    1. How much do you writers have to say about the art? Is it you who write the art notes, or is that all up to the developers?

      We can make recommendations, but the developers write the art notes.

  9. I’m not sure if this has been answered before, but… will Abyssal loyalists still be all about destroying the world all the time, as they were in 2ed?

    I’ve heard that the Deathlord-Abyssal relationship will be more teacher/student than master/servant – does that mean it’s possible for an Abyssal to do their own thing while staying in a “friendly” relationship with their Deathlord, as long as said own thing isn’t against the Deathlords interests?

    Last but not least, a specific scenario:
    An Abyssal and a Lunar team up to drive the Realm out of a country, combining the “barbarian cannonfodder” strategy the Lunars use with the “ancestor cult” thing Abyssals have, resulting in a barbarian tribe that gladly fights not only to the death, but beyond – would something like this be plausible? And if yes, how terrifying would it be?

    1. I’m not sure if this has been answered before, but… will Abyssal loyalists still be all about destroying the world all the time, as they were in 2ed?

      Nope!

      I’ve heard that the Deathlord-Abyssal relationship will be more teacher/student than master/servant – does that mean it’s possible for an Abyssal to do their own thing while staying in a “friendly” relationship with their Deathlord, as long as said own thing isn’t against the Deathlords interests?

      Yup!

      Last but not least, a specific scenario:
      An Abyssal and a Lunar team up to drive the Realm out of a country, combining the “barbarian cannonfodder” strategy the Lunars use with the “ancestor cult” thing Abyssals have, resulting in a barbarian tribe that gladly fights not only to the death, but beyond – would something like this be plausible? And if yes, how terrifying would it be?

      Sounds like a scary plan that a couple of PCs might plausibly cook up!

  10. Many thanks for the answers! Two more inquiries

    Which 1-3 splats have you most enjoyed in the past (whether in concept or execution)?

    Which 1-3 splats are you most looking forward to in the new edition (whether to write or in principle)? Naturally, no names if they’re one that’s yet unrevealed.

    1. Which 1-3 splats have you most enjoyed in the past (whether in concept or execution)?

      I’m a big fan of the Dragon-Blooded! Dynasts and outcastes alike are wonderfully useful NPCs. I also have some affection for Lunars and Abyssals.

      Which 1-3 splats are you most looking forward to in the new edition (whether to write or in principle)? Naturally, no names if they’re one that’s yet unrevealed.

      I’m excited to write and play Exigents!

  11. If you could run or play in an Exalted 3e game, what is the name of the location you would most want the game to be set in?

    1. If you could run or play in an Exalted 3e game, what is the name of the location you would most want the game to be set in?

      That’s a difficult question! There are lots of places in the 3e core where I’d love to run or play a game. But if I had to pick just one, it’d probably be Champoor, the Nighted City.

      1. Is there anything you can tell us about Champoor? Doesn’t have to be anything major; something like the cultural aesthetic (from the name, I’d guess South Asian) would suffice.

        The same goes for any of the new locations that’ve been spoilered so far. Personally, I wouldn’t mind hearing more about Ixcoatli, since I’m considering running a game thereabouts.

      2. Is there anything you can tell us about Champoor? Doesn’t have to be anything major; something like the cultural aesthetic (from the name, I’d guess South Asian) would suffice.

        It’s got a dark sword & sorcery vibe; you could picture Conan or Elric or Azhriaz having misadventures there.

        The same goes for any of the new locations that’ve been spoilered so far. Personally, I wouldn’t mind hearing more about Ixcoatli, since I’m considering running a game thereabouts.

        Ixcoatli has a Mesoamerican feel.

  12. What’s the Bronze Faction’s problem with the Exigents? The Immaculate Order puts them in the same category as God-Blooded & the Immaculate Order is the Bronze Faction’s puppet so they’re the ones responsible for the antagonism. Why is that?

    1. Your question seems to come from a perspective wherein it would be natural and normal for the Immaculate Philosophy to embrace Exigents, and only Sidereal meddling would make it otherwise. Why would a positive approach to Exigents be inherent to the Philosophy as it has been presented?

      1. It wouldn’t necessarily be negative either. The Bronze Faction set up much of the Immaculate Philosphy to kill Solars & Lunars & put the Terrestrial’s as the rulers of Creation. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Immaculate Order will persecute Exigents. Are you not able to properly answer this question because you want to save it for when the books are published? If so I’m willing to drop this inquire.

      2. The 3e corebook touches on this.

        In any case, it’s best not to put too much weight on the Immaculate Philosophy as a constructed religion. Depending on one’s personal beliefs, either all or almost all real-world religions were constructed by people, and all of them have seen further revision by people over the course of their development — often for reasons as much pragmatic as philosophic. The Immaculate Philosophy differs from them in degree rather than in kind. It’s best to view it as a “real religion,” for better or worse, rather than as nothing more than a checklist of some Bronze Faction agenda wired to mind-control Charms.

        (This is genuinely useful for comparisons with real-world situations. The Bronze Faction is in the same position as the Vatican with regard to practice and doctrine; push too hard against the wishes and preconceptions of the majority of adherents, and what you get isn’t a change in course for the faith, but a schism.)

  13. What’s something that you wish you could spend more time on? Like a place or person that you wish you could have spent pages on but had to cut back on for space/time?

    1. I dunno that I can answer that effectively; I write about so many things! Every project that contains multiple components, like a region’s locations or NPCs, gives me more ideas than I can include, and I usually write extra material with the intention of cutting back later. That results in tight, information-rich writeups.

  14. Ohh, another question. Crafting!

    Crafting has always been pretty much a mere utility skill. That it was used in artistry was mentioned in fluff, but there were never rules for “deeply moving picture/statue/sand mandala”.

    Which meant, if you wanted to be an artist, you had two choices: Be a poet (because linguistics had *actual rules*), or hope your storyteller is good at winging it (and write some custom charms).

    Is this going to change? Can I be a solar sculptor whose version of “the thinker” *actually* makes people sit down and take a moment to think about things? A painter whose scenery pieces make people swell with national pride? (A cook whose spicy chilly makes people want to punch things?)
    (Note: None of these things are supposed to be artefacts. Making everything an artefact only causes artefact inflation, and we had enough of that, and I also agree that artefact soup is silly. If linguistics can do it with a “mundane” (but supernaturally inspired) poem, then craft should be able to do it with “mundane” (but supernaturally inspired) art.)

    Or, if the rules don’t support social influence through craft yet, how hard would it be to “wing it”?

  15. Is the Neck going to be revisited in Ex3? What sort of stuff would be a good idea to look at to capture the right “feel” for the Neck?

    1. Which Yozi would you be most excited to write third-circle souls for and why?

      The Ebon Dragon, because the old boy needs some rehabilitation. 🙂

      Why are manses awesome in Ex3?

      For the same reasons they were awesome in previous editions? Also, hearthstones are better-implemented in 3e, so yay.

      (I haven’t started work on Towers of the Mighty yet, so I don’t yet know the specifics of 3e manse mechanics as compared to, say, Oadenol’s Codex.)

  16. More questions! This time, Solar/Lunar bond, and sorcerous workings (and immortality).

    First, bond.
    I was always a fan of the idea of the bond, but never of its implementation (a common thing in 2ed – nice ideas, bad execution).
    From their numbers (300 Solars, ~400 Lunars) and various developer quotes, I’ve gathered that definitely not every Lunar, and probably also not every Solar has a bond mate.
    So, my first question would be – how does such a bond come to be? Does it come with the Exaltation? Is it forged afterwards? Sometimes one, sometimes the other? Always a bit of both?
    The second question would be, how “common” are bonds? How many Solars have a Lunar mate? Half of them? More, less? I know the effective number is “as many as you need for your story”, but I’m curious if there’s an intended presentation about how common they are (“rare happenstance” vs. “oh, and he’s got a mate, too”).

    Secondly, Sorcerous Workings (and immortality).
    One quote about sorcerers mentioned a guy who hid his life away in an egg. So, does that mean that in principle, Lich-style immortality (kill me and I just come back, but do X and I die) is possible? Could a Sorcerer use a Working to do Garda Bird-style “come back in flames in case of death”-immortality (which may need to be renewed each time he dies)?

    And linking the questions, because I just got an idea, would it be possible to link two people (including, possibly, bond mates) together so that if only one of them dies, he’ll come back to life after a while as long as the other one still lives (I’m thinking of Gargoyles, Daemona and MacBeth), leaving “kill both of them within a certain time frame” as the way to kill them?
    (With a botch on the working meaning that if one of them dies, both die?)

    1. I was always a fan of the idea of the bond, but never of its implementation (a common thing in 2ed – nice ideas, bad execution).

      Holden has stated that the dynamics of the Solar/Lunar bond will change in 3e. Details have not been made public. (The Lunars book is a ways away anyway.)

      One quote about sorcerers mentioned a guy who hid his life away in an egg. So, does that mean that in principle, Lich-style immortality (kill me and I just come back, but do X and I die) is possible?

      Yep!

      And linking the questions, because I just got an idea, would it be possible to link two people (including, possibly, bond mates) together so that if only one of them dies, he’ll come back to life after a while as long as the other one still lives (I’m thinking of Gargoyles, Daemona and MacBeth), leaving “kill both of them within a certain time frame” as the way to kill them?

      That seems feasible, though the ST should be careful not to make it too tricky for enemies to bypass; maybe the resurrection time is long, or maybe there’s also a proximity restriction. (Likewise, it shouldn’t be too easy to bypass; this is powerful sorcery!) Ultimately it’s a Storyteller call.

      1. I just realised that this means I could possibly make 3×3 Eyes expies.

        Which isn’t even that far-fetched – binding your bodyguard’s lives to yours in a one-way-line (they die, they come back – I die, they die) is a *really* good way to motivate them, and you don’t have to re-train them if they die!

  17. What would be your advice for how to portray the setting as an ST to the players? Specifically, I’ve always had an issue working out how much characters (both PCs and NPCs) should know, what Creation looks like from the ground instead of the more omniscient view presented in the books, that sort of thing.

    1. This is tricky in part because the sort of people who play Exalted are typically the sort of people who know about real-world historical and supernatural minutiae as well. Ask the average person on the street about the Hundred Years’ War, the Spring and Autumn period, the Nicene Creed, or foo dogs, and you’re bound to get a blank stare. For that matter, the history we know tends to be overcompressed and predigested into factoids, without the details or context necessary to actually understand it. Expecting our characters to by default have a better understanding of their post-apocalyptic world than we do of our university-researched, Internet-compiled world is just silly.

      Maybe you can talk to each player about some of their favorite fantasy media; find a book or movie or TV series where an enormous amount of information unfolded to the protagonist over the course of the story; and say, “Your character, being at the start of her story, knows as much about her portion of the setting as the protagonist of [your favorite book/movie/TV series] knew about his portion of the setting at the start of his story.”

  18. (This may be a “too soon! The Sidereal book won’t come out for years” question)

    Any narrative guidance on how a Sidereal would go about looking for information on the loom? What kinds of information can a Sidereal find out when they are physically at the Loom of Fate compared to when they are using their charms in Creation?

    For example, how does a Bronze Faction Sidereal find newly exalted Solars on the loom?

  19. As a writer, do you find things that are easy to write about to usually be the things that are fun to write? For example, let say you had two projects: write about a nation of people, and write about the history of a setting (first age ruin let’s say). If it was easier to write the setting (I’m choosing arbitrarily here) would that imply that it is the more fun subject for you to write about? Or do you ever find the fun subject to be difficult ones?

    I can’t tell if my question makes sense, but as a hopeful writer myself I’m very curious about the process and perspectives on it.

    1. By and large, the more research I do and the more I outline for a specific assignment, the quicker and easier that assignment is to write. At that point, pretty much anything becomes fun to write!

      For the Dragon-Blooded and Realm books, the sections I thought would be the least fun — on the Realm military and its economy — turned out to be the most fun, because I was nervous about writing them and thus did much more research for them than I did for Blessed Isle locales.

      1. This is awesome! Followup: any advice for where to find the right balance between 1) useful and juicy details, and 2) an open ended mystery for the players/storyteller to take it and put their own creativity into it? Obviously, there must have been a lot of trial and error over the years, but hopefully you have some input on this.

  20. Will the 3E books (either the core, or The Realm, or some other book) include some details about the Immaculate and other common beliefs about the history of the world, cosmology, and other things a learned character would believe if they DON’T know the real truth about Creation and Celestials? The 1E corebook had a short section of world history from the Immaculate perspective — will there be anything like that to help players get a handle on what people actually are taught in the Realm or elsewhere?

  21. You mentioned earlier to read history (which I do, it was my major). Which history books did you find most useful for writing Exalted? Any books you’d particularly recommend generally?

    1. I found Pagan Holiday: On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourists (originally published as Route 66 A.D.) to be useful and engaging; it’s good inspiration for the interrelationship between the Realm and the Threshold. There’s neat info on ancient professions in Working IX to V. The Ornament of the World is specific to al-Andalus, but is very well-written and can inspire interesting ideas about societal change, religion, scholasticism, and where specific individuals fit into these larger patterns. (I’m sure there are other good ones I’ve read, but the problem with taking stuff out of the library is that it can be hard to keep track of your reading list.)

      General recommendations would include Debt: the First 5000 Years and Seeing Like a State.

      1. Oh, and what is Five Days Darkness like?

        Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Corebook. But he’s pretty cool, so he’ll probably turn up in a supplement somewhere.

  22. In the Dreaming Sea, do people speak Firetongue or Forestongue? Also, are the Fair-Folk who dwell there fire-aligned, wood-aligned, or something crazier?

    Do you know if (not counting the Realm) the countries/city-states that got a lot of focus in the last 2 editions (Nexus, Chiaroscoro, Whitewall, Haslanti, Wavecrest, Coral, Paragon, Sijan, etc) will be getting similar write-ups for 3rd ed in the Compass-esque books, or will they just be mentioned in the Core, with the focus being entirely on new places?

    1. In the Dreaming Sea, do people speak Firetongue or Forestongue?

      Not specified in the core. I’d lean toward Forest-tongue, as so much of the East uses Riverspeak, leaving Forest-tongue not so useful. Prasad likely has a mix of languages.

      Also, are the Fair-Folk who dwell there fire-aligned, wood-aligned, or something crazier?

      Southeastern Fair Folk largely have their own flavor.

      Do you know if (not counting the Realm) the countries/city-states that got a lot of focus in the last 2 editions (Nexus, Chiaroscoro, Whitewall, Haslanti, Wavecrest, Coral, Paragon, Sijan, etc) will be getting similar write-ups for 3rd ed in the Compass-esque books, or will they just be mentioned in the Core, with the focus being entirely on new places?

      We’re not doing “Compass-esque” books in 3e, but rather books covering specific regions in the vein of Blood & Salt. Within the scope of the region(s) each such book covers, I expect to see both old and new locales extensively detailed side by side.

      1. Do you know which locations will get books, or has it not been decided yet (or decided partially)?

        When writing locations, how much do you base them on real world locations? I mean, did you, say, imagine that Champoor is full of Indian-looking people who follow a caste system and have names like Lakshmi and Sanjit? I find that, in order to make sure all the details hang together and have people visualise areas, my group often shorthands to this kind of thing.

        I’m very excited about the Dreaming Sea (it’s near the current location of both the game I run and the game I play). Can you tell me what are the main things that differentiates it from the West? What kind of naval-based games do you think would fit better in the West, and which ones would fit better in the Dreaming Sea?

      2. Do you know which locations will get books, or has it not been decided yet (or decided partially)?

        All we have on the schedule so far is Different Skies, which covers the River Province and the War in the West.

        When writing locations, how much do you base them on real world locations? I mean, did you, say, imagine that Champoor is full of Indian-looking people who follow a caste system and have names like Lakshmi and Sanjit? I find that, in order to make sure all the details hang together and have people visualise areas, my group often shorthands to this kind of thing.

        I get a lot of inspiration from real-world locations, but I never base an Exalted locale entirely on a single real-world culture. This is especially true of naming schemas; these require a light touch! For instance, it’s one thing to use obscure medieval European names to add flavor to a locale based in part on Venice; it’s another thing to have a bunch of Marias and Giovannis running around. Locations that feel too much like they belong in the real world stop feeling like they belong in Creation.

        I’m very excited about the Dreaming Sea (it’s near the current location of both the game I run and the game I play). Can you tell me what are the main things that differentiates it from the West? What kind of naval-based games do you think would fit better in the West, and which ones would fit better in the Dreaming Sea?

        The Dreaming Sea is far more sword-and-sorcery oriented, while the West has more of an Age of Exploration vibe. The Dreaming Sea is also more enclosed; naval-based games there should feel like they’re set in a high-magic Mediterranean of galleys and dhows, while the West’s distant, scattered islands are more suitable to galleons and ocean-going junks.

      3. [[Can you tell me what are the main things that differentiates it from the West? What kind of naval-based games do you think would fit better in the West, and which ones would fit better in the Dreaming Sea?]]
        This is a very important question!

        (Actually, the real question is: how do you make indentation and italics happen in these comments?)

      1. The PCs: Barbus, barbarian son of a thunderbird Queen. Dawn Caste on a quest for the head of the Frog Queen.

        Hogane, pirate captain, unknowingly a Lintha fathered off Bluehaven (perhaps that’s why they’re trying to kill him). Scourge Caste, but we’ll probably respec him heavily when 3E rolls around.

        Seamstress, adopted daughter of the Silver Prince, graduated with honors at the necrosurgery college only to begin operating on herself. Daybreak Caste.

        PCs met in the Neck; another PC, dead now, tricked the satrap into granting them a ship and letters of marque, then convinced the others to go off and be pirates (“privateers”)! They slew an Abyssal pirate, then attempted to cheat the Realm out of their share of the take (without bothering to do anything to hide the obvious wealth they rolled into port with!), and inadvertently exposed Hogane as Anathema.

        Hogane took the opportunity to disappear off to a mountain and call Octavian across the Endless Desert unbound per an agreement they’d arranged prior. Barbus, next PC in the chain of command, wanted to “join” the Wyld Hunt, but the Realm suspected that this barbarian would turn on them first chance he got, and eventually gave him his own ship just to get him to go away (emphasis on “go away”).

        Barbus gets tasked by the Ocean Father to drive the Realm out of the Neck (since, legal or not, like eighty percent of the Neck has him somewhere on the family tree). They decide Hogane’s too useful to leave to the Realm’s mercy, so they plan to scoop him up before assaulting the Realm.

        Seamstress gets her own MacGuffin quest to stop some ghosts and the Abyssal pirate (not so dead after all!) from resurrecting a Deathlord from torpor. She convinces the others to come along, but they run into the Realm while collecting Hogane, and now all three are outed as Anathema.

        One MacGuffin quest later, Barbus and Seamstress return to the Neck, and Hogane sails for Hell.

        Barbus has started some Neck natives (mostly Cyanin) on a Solar training regimen when a new PC, Misu, rolls in. Misu is an Eclipse pirate captain and the high priest (and grandson!) of Kireeki.

        The satrap has basically called in all his favors and got the biggest Wyld Hunt in the Neck’s history to sweep the isles. Fifty or more ships, and among them, no less than three mighty First Age vessels. Moreover, one of the Dragon-Blooded on the fleet is a sorcerer who has summoned mist-demons to patrol the waters and slay any pirates, God-Blooded, Anathema, or priests of the Hundred Gods Heresy.

        The PCs have elected to sneak from the Cowries to Solid Shell to sabotage the fleet.

        Meanwhile, Hogane is at a dinner party with no less than four of Erembour’s souls, all of whom are interested in him.

        There’s more to tell, but this should be plenty.

      2. Hogane is in Hell, and is of Lintha blood. Madelrada could appear to him as part of a scheme to use Hogane and/or the Lintha to further some diabolic scheme (perhaps to settle an old debt with the Frog Queen; undermine the Realm; or capture the torpid Deathlord and bring it back to Hell?), or simply to offer her services to counter the current Wyld Hunt, so that Hogane will be in her debt.

        Note that “How do I use Madelrada in my game?” is putting the cart before the horse. The goal is to further the PCs’ stories. You’ll use her (or any other NPC) in situations where she happens to be an effective tool to further those stories.

  23. Not sure if this would be better for you, TDO, or rpg.net (I assumed you’d be okay since you’re in it), but in regards to the Tower of Spoilers, how relevant is that information now? We know Different Skies, The Realm, What Fire Has Wrought, Exigents, and Arms of the Chosen are all confirmed, but what about Heroes of the Niobraran? Of Crown And Sword? Scarlet Manual of Proper Bearing? Heptagram book(s)? Exalted vs The World of Darkness?

    I know none of these can be confirmed since it’s too far away and CCP and etc etc etc, but are they still on the table? Anything else on the table you can talk about?

    (except what’s announced, Towers, of course)

    1. No new information on that score. However, the devs have publicly talked enough about the Niobraran book that they’re almost certainly going to get it on the schedule at some point, while the Exalted/WoD crossover has never been more than speculative.

  24. I thought that, since Vance’s post is getting more attention (it’s more recent), I should come back here and ask something…

    Problem is, I don’t know whom of you to ask what. (I hope that sentence makes some sense and is not as Yoda-ish as it looks to me. I mean, I don’t know which questions are better handed to you, and for which questions I’d better ask Vance.)
    And insight into that, or should I just randomly ask away?

    And to give some insight into what horrors my random questions lead:
    For each circle, which demon would be, respectively, the best girlfriend, the best boyfriend, and the best unspecified significant other (by your opinion, obviously)?

  25. Oooh, a less random question came to mind! It *may* have been answered, but if so, I haven’t found it…

    Conky brings back the Solars as a second chance for the world, and they’re supposed to be heroes in his stead.
    The Deathlords (or at least the Neverborn) want to end the world, be it quick or slowly, and they assume that Abyssals will either help them intentionally or just as a side effect of just doing stuff.
    …but what’s the Yozi’s game? What do they want Infernals for? I kinda doubt that it’s going to be yet another Reclamation.

    …and I wouldn’t be surprised if this can’t be answered just yet, but I got to ask anyway >.>

    1. The devs haven’t revealed that yet. Infernals are a long way off in any case, and their activities are sufficiently fringe that you shouldn’t need to worry about it in non-Infernal 3e games.

      1. At this point, I’d guess that the Infernal’s goals are some combination of “cause trouble in Creation, because we hate those jerks,” “Further the goals of one or more Demon Princes,” and “pursue my own personal goals, now that I have THE POWAH!” With heavy emphasis on the last one, obviously.

  26. Which parts of Arms of the Chosen did you work on? Which of the artifacts in there is your favorite and can you tell us a bit about it?

    Which part of Creation would you MOST like to personally visit and why? Which part of Creation would you LEAST like to personally visit and why?

    1. Which parts of Arms of the Chosen did you work on?

      I wrote the introduction, several weapons, and most of the miscellaneous artifacts and hearthstones. I overwrote extensively, though, so I’m not sure what’s actually going to get into the book and what isn’t.

      Which of the artifacts in there is your favorite and can you tell us a bit about it?

      I’m rather fond of the daiklave Gorgon, which does what it says on the tin.

      Which part of Creation would you MOST like to personally visit and why? Which part of Creation would you LEAST like to personally visit and why?

      Oh, I wouldn’t want to visit Creation personally! It’s a dangerous place, and I don’t speak any of the languages. I’d be dead within a narweek. (Which is six days, I believe.)

      1. Visitors to Creation are advised to come equipped with a Babel Fish, towel, Electronic Sub-Etha Signaling Device, and of course a couple of good Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters.

  27. For some reason it won’t let me reply to your reply to my reply to…

    Well! Anyway!

    Hogane’s player has had to bow out, unfortunately – time constraints. 😦

  28. Is there are a character that being involved in 3rd ed’s made you itching to play (that you didn’t use for playtests)?

    1. I’m holding off on getting excited about any specific character concept until I know the specifics of whatever game I join, since concept is so closely tied to origin for me. But some concepts I’d be interested in playing include a Randanese ceramicist-swordswoman, a scrapper from the mines of Fortitude, a criminal Champoor nightpriest, or one of Prasad’s Pure Way monks.

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