status report

Status Report: August 12, 2014

On the Exalted front, it’s still Arms of the Chosen all the time. I’ve finished my first drafts of five Evocation-based weapons, ranging from a couple of rather esoteric daiklaves to a peculiarly lethal direlance. Two of the weapons will need significant rewrites once I’ve finished the rest of the first draft; the others are good to go for playtesting.

With that out of the way, I’m working on the book’s collection of miscellaneous, non-Evocation Artifacts. (Yes, these are still a thing.) Whereas the majority of the Evocation-based weapons are brand new, almost all of the miscellaneous items are classic 1e/2e devices. Some have appeared in both editions; others only in one. On Lea’s suggestion, I’ve just updated an item that hasn’t been reprinted or even referenced since 2001, which is cool.

It’s good to get a crack at writing equipment again. A big chunk of my early game design career was based around equipment design; the only two game books where I have lead author credit have been equipment books. Of course, Paranoia isn’t exactly a mechanically rigorous or balanced game! Exalted design is much more demanding. On the other hand, we have an active design and development team that provides ready feedback on mechanics, and access to playtesters with the interest and know-how to assess balance issues.

For those interested in the difference between design and development, this Magic: The Gathering article—while it obviously deals with a very different game built using different processes—provides a useful grounding in the distinction between the two.

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Status Report: August 1, 2014

Exalted Third Edition continues to occupy my time. While I’ve finished working on the corebook, I’m currently hip-deep in Arms of the Chosen, the equipment book that kicks off the upcoming slate of 3e supplements. For those who haven’t seen it, here’s the book’s blurb from the Onyx Path website:

Exalted – Arms of the Chosen: The definitive tome of artifact weapons and armor for the Exalted. Arms expands and develops the Evocation system introduced in the corebook, by which the Chosen may derive unique Charms from artifacts, giving them a whole new layer of power and themes to explore. The book will feature not only a much wider selection of weapons and armor than the corebook, but it will also have a section dedicated to Warstriders. Developers: John Mørke and Holden Shearer. 64 pages. PDF/PoD.

My share of the book is a mix of setting material and mechanics. I’ve been collaborating with Robert Vance on mechanics; this seems to be working out pretty well, and it’s a lot of fun. It certainly produces better results than solo work!

Other than that, not much to report—vacation is over, temp work is slow, and I’m heading out to watch Guardians of the Galaxy. (I’m going to call that “research.”) Catch you later!

Status Report: July 26, 2014

Latest updates on my involvement with Exalted Third Edition:

I’d planned to start off by saying that I’d completely wrapped up my role on the 3e corebook, having finished my revisions to the setting and antagonist chapters and turned in my art notes. But I’ve been given a chance to make some last-minute flavor tweaks to mortal antagonists, so that’s back on my plate. Hopefully I can finish up in time to get to the beach before my vacation ends!

Myrtle Beach, SC

I’ve started on my first post-corebook assignment. I cannot discuss details, but a sword may be involved.

Last night, I was up until 4am on a conference call with the rest of the writing and development staff. We talked about what’s left to do on the corebook and about ideas for both immediate and long-term upcoming projects, focusing largely on Dragon-Blooded and Lunar material. I also inadvertently got everyone excited about printing out their own 11″x17″ copies of the Ex3 map. Hopefully they’ll post their own blurry photos of the map, like the one in this old post.

On Wednesday, I’m meeting up with a new writer who happens to live in my city. We hope this will bring about a new era of peace and creativity!

Status Report: June 28, 2014

Right now I’m busy prepping for a Werewolf game I’m joining, which means boning up on motorcycle terminology so I can properly play out my character’s interests. I’m also moving from prepping for yesterday’s Exalted session to prepping for next week’s session, which is less turnaround time than usual. So the parts of my brain normally dedicated to blogging are otherwise in use.

As to upcoming material for the blog:

  • I’ll be writing up and posting playtest reports from yesterday’s Zhaojun game and last weekend’s Rock’s Fall game;
  • Currently getting approval for two separate 2e/2.5e Infernals posts, one from me and the other a Robert Vance guest post;
  • Either more Magic: The Gathering, more of Creation’s beverages, or thoughts on language groups or imperial militaries.

Anyway, got to run—the mail won’t pick itself up from the post office box—but I’ll be reading the comments. Given the usual restrictions on content, in that I can’t post anything that might otherwise be turned into paying 3e work, please let me know what you’d like to see!

Status Report: June 16, 2014

Hey there, dear readers! Here’s a quick list of what I’m up to, slanted toward the Exalted audience:

  • The next Rock’s Fall playtest game—the one I said I was planning to play in yesterday—has been postponed, again. Bummer.
  • The second Zhaojun Chronicle playtest game has also been postponed yet again. We’re hoping we can make it happen next week, assuming that we can get everyone’s schedules to align.
  • I have the playtester feedback and session notes for the fourth Marst Chronicle playtest game. Expect to see an edited version later this week.
  • Later this week I’ll be booked up with an editing assignment, so my availability to post and respond to comments may be limited.

Due to the playtesting lull, my ability to post Exalted material will be somewhat limited in the immediate future. As much as I’d enjoy posting homebrew material, I prefer to focus my energies on material that can actually be published. Right now I’m practicing Solar Charm design to sharpen my mechanical chops, in hopes of getting good enough that the developers will allow me to design Charms for upcoming 3e supplements. (My work is getting better; Vance’s reply to my latest Socialize Charm was “THIS IS RAD.”) Obviously I can’t post any of those Charms, both because I might cannibalize them for elements of later publishable material and because the 3e mechanics are under NDA.

That means what you’re most likely to see are either posts on random Exalted-related subjects that catch my attention (or ire!) on various Internet fora, or posts about other games. I could always review some casual iPad/iPhone games, or maybe post some homebrew Magic: The Gathering cards. Please comment to let me know what you might like to see!