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  • #76
    Originally posted by Elkovash View Post
    If we're hung up on the word disingenuous I'm happy to change it, in long form "you're kidding yourself" is what I was aiming for and I feel is appropriately covered by my use of the word.
    That's clearer, yep - thanks!

    I'm afraid I/we are detracting from the main point of the thread, so maybe I'll leave off with this post, but:

    Right now and in all circumstances, the disclaimer provides zero clarity. Who is it for? The person who would take offense anyway? We already know there is no stopping such offenses. The person who wouldn't have taken offense? Well, they weren't going to anyway so it achieves nothing there. Some neutral third party gazing down on our interactions and making solemn judgement of the way we comport ourselves?
    Presumably, for the person who thinks, "I wonder why he's saying this?" I don't think such a person is an entirely hypothetical construct; I find it rather useful when someone states their motivations unambiguously, so I'm at least partly one.

    I mean, look - say it's unnecessary, as in your final remark. If the worst we can say is, "It seems like you're being clearer than you need to be," I don't think that's much of a flaw - and if it does assuage someone's concerns as to intent, that seems worth the cost. Tone qualifiers can be helpful in written form, especially given we're not all professional writers (and, for that matter, don't even all share the same native tongue) - again, better to err on the side of too much clarity than too little.

    ***

    Back on topic: the Chejop piece is the only one I really disliked. Volfer's bit is great, and I enjoyed the dark humor in the Physician's ficlet. Some of the others it was hard to divide the fiction from the art; that chapter image of the statue of the Unconquered Sun is so great I don't really remember whether I liked the fic or not.

    Prince Diamond's piece I think was underwhelming? I don't remember whether that changed from the backer release.
    Last edited by Irked; 02-21-2017, 10:37 PM.


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    • #77
      Originally posted by Elkovash View Post
      Right now and in all circumstances, the disclaimer provides zero clarity. Who is it for? The person who would take offense anyway? We already know there is no stopping such offenses. The person who wouldn't have taken offense? Well, they weren't going to anyway so it achieves nothing there. Some neutral third party gazing down on our interactions and making solemn judgement of the way we comport ourselves?
      Personally, I find that when criticizing someone's work in an anonymous or semi-anonymous place, especially when the creator is popular in that place, it's not uncommon for some people mistake your criticism of the work instead as criticism of the person and leap to defending that person from your unwarranted "attack." That's obviously not what what the critic wanted, and it often leads to that particular thread going in a direction they very much don't want it to go.

      In this case, while I'm sure Jenna can easily tell the difference between a criticism of herself and her work, other people on the forum may have a harder time distinguishing those things. So it doesn't hurt to simply be 100% clear and nip that potential issue in the bud at the outset, ensuring that everyone knows that you're not criticizing or attacking the popular author herself, but simply critiquing her work.

      At the least I have personally experienced that on quite a few occasions - when I go to discuss something I see as problematic with the creator of a game, or RPG, or book, or song and other fans take that as a personal attack against the creator and react much as you would expect. That's no fun for anybody. So making that kind of statement is more of a basic CYOA, not so much to protect yourself from the individual whose work your critiquing but rather more from their fans who may take umbrage at you doing so.

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      • #78
        I think criticizing the opening fiction for its failure to adhere to the rules of a conventional narrative is pretty fruitless, because it is crystal clear that thing is not even trying to be a conventional narrative.

        Trying to figure out what its actual creative goals are and then critiquing it for the ways it fails to live up to them (and, as it didn't work for you, it clearly did not succeed at those goals at least as far as you're concerned) is liable to produce more interesting results.

        (And, hey, I love that thing. I'm the one who proofread it. I squealed with glee when I first read it, but one of the reasons I was so happy was "Oh my God I can't believe we're actually going to use this, that's awesome!" so it's not like I didn't know people were going to find it weird as hell.)

        (Another possible valid avenue of critique would be at the developers and editor, for choosing to run an opening fiction that provokes reactions like "Oh my God I can't believe we're actually going to use this, that's awesome!" instead of "Yes, that's a pretty solid intro to the setting and game; I'm sure people new to the book will come out of it knowing everything they need to know to start playing!" Which is, let's face it, what the 1e intro fiction was, and it was one of the best intro fics ever in an RPG.)
        Last edited by Stephen Lea Sheppard; 02-21-2017, 11:14 PM.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
          (Another possible valid avenue of critique would be at the developers and editor, for choosing to run an opening fiction that provokes reactions like "Oh my God I can't believe we're actually going to use this, that's awesome!" instead of "Yes, that's a pretty solid intro to the setting and game; I'm sure people new to the book will come out of it knowing everything they need to know to start playing!" Which is, let's face it, what the 1e intro fiction was, and it was one of the best intro fics ever in an RPG.)
          Honestly, like I said earlier, that's about my only real criticism with the story. I read it and thought it was fairly alright, but then the other players in my group (who aren't as into Exalted or literature as I am) read it and their collective response was pretty much to shrug and say, "Oooookay...?"

          While I respect you guys for being willing to put a story like that in the front of your core book, I do hope future books have stories that make my group say, "That's awesome!" when they're done reading instead of leaving them scratching their heads and feeling kind of bewildered.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by Irked View Post
            I mean, look - say it's unnecessary, as in your final remark. If the worst we can say is, "It seems like you're being clearer than you need to be," I don't think that's much of a flaw - and if it does assuage someone's concerns as to intent, that seems worth the cost. Tone qualifiers can be helpful in written form, especially given we're not all professional writers (and, for that matter, don't even all share the same native tongue) - again, better to err on the side of too much clarity than too little.
            Well, yes I am pushing it bit far from the original intention of the topic, apologies. I'll just end that it's not that I think it's just unnecessary, I think it detracts from the thrust of the rest of the critique as it stands as a direct contradiction to it. Like trying to punch the words "I don't like it when people punch other people" into someone's forehead to prove a point.

            Actually, there is an example- i just used a simile to describe my feelings on the matter; my intention is focused on the hypocrisy of the example rather than the physical violence inherent in its use but I've witnessed people making the assessment that since the image I used was violent, I am obviously equivocating the subject of my example with violence as well. now, that's not true, and I would accept the criticism and offer a different example for more clarity if it caused issue. I could have prefaced the statement with the words "now I don't mean to make this sound like I think Kyman is punching people" but if i truly felt that way enough to make the statement, I should just change the statement itself to something more in line with my expectations. Where I follow from that is that I don't think its possible to truly divorce critique of a work from critique of the person's ability in creating it (and thus themselves by extension) which is why the preface feels... contrary to its own stated intention.

            Anyway, I'll leave this alone since I don't want to move too far from the purpose of the thread- I've said my piece and feel I've clarified enough. My feelings on the writing in the books themselves have already been covered by others and I feel I have little else to add. Stephen summed up my feelings in particular.


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            • #81
              Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
              (Another possible valid avenue of critique would be at the developers and editor, for choosing to run an opening fiction that provokes reactions like "Oh my God I can't believe we're actually going to use this, that's awesome!" instead of "Yes, that's a pretty solid intro to the setting and game; I'm sure people new to the book will come out of it knowing everything they need to know to start playing!" Which is, let's face it, what the 1e intro fiction was, and it was one of the best intro fics ever in an RPG.)
              My frustrations with it are essentially this, rather than its construction, so I'd be interested in exploring this line of thought more. That's not say that the construction also doesn't bother me, but it's not like I've never been in an English class before, I'm aware that it's a subjective and not wholly productive topic, and... ultimately I don't care, I read it once, I moved on.


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              • #82
                Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
                (Another possible valid avenue of critique would be at the developers and editor, for choosing to run an opening fiction that provokes reactions like "Oh my God I can't believe we're actually going to use this, that's awesome!" instead of "Yes, that's a pretty solid intro to the setting and game; I'm sure people new to the book will come out of it knowing everything they need to know to start playing!" Which is, let's face it, what the 1e intro fiction was, and it was one of the best intro fics ever in an RPG.)
                I can definitely appreciate the Aliens style approach of "We're never going to make a better slasher movie in space than Alien, so lets not even try. Let's make an awesome ACTION horror movie with those same aliens!".

                Personally I really liked the story and liked how everyone in it felt like actual good actors in the narrative with their own stories. I may be thinking too much of the worst of the exalted chapter comics when I remember this, but I seem to recall a lot of "Look at this amazing guy/girl, and his/her foes which are so much scenery both in personality and ability to affect the story." I understand you can only do so much in a comic, but truly great comic book writers/artists can do a whole lot with limited space. Not to say I didn't enjoy some of them either, but they often felt a bit empty.

                This exalted intro felt like it had character, and those characters had actual lives, and also, on a much more base note, it did actually feel like a decently fair matchup. It's pretty clear that Sabriye is pretty clearly WELL more powerful than any of her opponents, being able to best her jade wielding opponents while caught by surprise, outnumbered and naked, save for a paring knife. It actually felt like a clash between great heroes and not a stage to highlight the hero against a bland background. Exalted benefits a lot from the imagery of a comic, which really gets the imagination going in terms of the heroics that your character will be performing, I think it benefits a lot MORE from having longer character interactions with an easier avenue to give character.

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                • #83
                  To be honest, I saw how vague the opening fiction was and didn't read further. I preferred to stay in previous editions rather than risk 3E clouding my general opinion of the game. Still glad I backed it, though.

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Argonometra View Post
                    To be honest, I saw how vague the opening fiction was and didn't read further. I preferred to stay in previous editions rather than risk 3E clouding my general opinion of the game. Still glad I backed it, though.
                    Holy thread necro, Batman.

                    Still, yeah, that was something that had happened with people I had tried to share with. I have two friends who tried to read Ex3 and didn't get past the intro fiction. The comment of there being critique in putting forth the fiction they did as the first impression many will have of the new edition NOT being the best foot forward.

                    As for what happened to me... Well, days turned into weeks and then into almost-a-month, and well, I was looking at the other assorted Chapter Fiction. Most of them are... Okay. Not great, not particularly bad. Hell I can probably bang out the other assorted chapter fiction in one post before getting to the Closing Fiction, which I do have a lot to say about.

                    Anywho, I'll say to you, buddy... Don't let your lukewarm impression of the Intro Fiction taint your impression of the new Edition. It's a good system that doesn't deserve to be set aside because the intro fiction wasn't to your taste.


                    Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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                    • #85
                      So, as mentioned earlier, most of these stories are... Y'know, they're alright. They're short enough that I can sum them up simply, and most of them have at least one thing about them that at least somewhat stuck with me.
                      • Chapter 1 - Exaltation of Perfect Soul
                        • Y'know what, this one's pretty good. Nice description of the temple and storms, and giving proper weight to when Mnemon draws the eye of the Sun. Also showing the Realm being Imperialistic Dickbags while trusting the readers to get this is bad without banging it into our heads, so points to that.
                      • Chapter 2 - Seven Devil Clever on Caul
                        • I remember this being teased at one point, during the Kickstarter. It didn't leave an impression on me then, and it didn't leave an impression on me now. I honestly remember more people talking about the whole thing about the name debate between 'Seven Devil Clever' and 'Seven Devils Clever'.
                        • Rereading it, this is... There. Nothing really jumped out at me, it reads like a story snippet that stopped JUST before it got interesting, which makes me roll my eyes.
                      • Chapter 3 - Echoing Breath the Liminal
                        • Okay, I've been vocal in my all-encompassing dispassionate disinterest in Liminals. So for what it's worth, this snippet here? It did more to make me curious about Liminals than literally anything else Liminal-related. It comes at the end, where one passage implies that the Liminal is here to hunt and slay the ghost of the person she was meant to replace.
                      • Chapter 4 - Prince Diamond's Negotiations
                        • This made me remember one of the comics from the 2E book, where Swan was holding negotiations between a human and a shark-man, but to be fair if you take the premise of "Eclipse Strikes A Deal Between Mortal And Spirit" there's gonna be similar things. That said, I liked Prince Diamond here, and his actions show a good in-universe example of say, Read Intentions rolls using the Social Influence system.
                      • Chapter 5 - Marani in the Rain
                        • Okay, I'm not gonna lie, this one kind of kicked ass. Showing how a tired and betrayed-feeling loyal Dynast might be compelled to forsake the Realm and join up with an Anathema. Read this one for yourself, it's pretty good.
                      • Chapter 6 - Volfer and the Teahouse
                        • This one is, hands-down, the funniest fiction for me. And it also stands out in an example of a story that, while not IMPOSSIBLE to tell as a comic, would certainly be more difficult to tell as a comic. It's easier to use writing to say 'He was wearing a seal placed only on goods approved of by the Empress herself over his jockstrap' than it would be to draw him with the seal on his crotch and have a Legionnaire say "Hey, that's only supposed to be on goods inspected by the Empress!"
                      • Chapter 7 - Shen and the Demon
                        • This one's fairly nice too, if only because it lets us have a look into how Shen works, such as him taking pride in how good he's doing at his cover identity, but also establishing him as QUITE the doctor and Sorcerer. Also, a bit of a sucker for poetic or dramatic retribution. It's one thing to cure a subject of a demonic illness, but it takes a special level of 'Fuck You' to summon the demon who brought about that illness and infect her with it before banishing her back to Malfeas. I can appreciate that.
                      • Chapter 8 - Daily Life in Thorns
                        • This one I quite like. Not only for the line that deserves to be remembered of "Who knew that practicing black magic would involve so much cobbler's twine?", but also in showing how utterly bored and jaded the Physician is when it comes to crafting such macabre mockeries of the living.
                      • Chapter 9 - Kejack's Morning
                        • This one I heard called boring... And I can see why Irked would say as such. I personally don't think it's the worst thing ever, but I think it may be one of the weaker works in the core. I can't say that there's anything WRONG with it, just that it left me only with one big "... That happened, I guess". If the purpose of it was to try and introduce readers to what Kejack is like, I would personally sooner point them at the ending comic of the 2E core, which has actually been discussed in this thread. I've got nothing to add to the merits on that.
                      And that covers all but one. Because I have a LOT to say about the Janest fiction... And honestly, I can't say I'm unbiased in it. I'll TRY to be fair and still note places where I think it can be improved, or places where I feel it falls short, but it's really no secret that I adore the Janest fiction.

                      That may get done in the next couple days.


                      Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
                        I think criticizing the opening fiction for its failure to adhere to the rules of a conventional narrative is pretty fruitless, because it is crystal clear that thing is not even trying to be a conventional narrative.

                        Trying to figure out what its actual creative goals are and then critiquing it for the ways it fails to live up to them (and, as it didn't work for you, it clearly did not succeed at those goals at least as far as you're concerned) is liable to produce more interesting results.
                        I feel like the intro fiction was a terrible comic, because it only had one picture. These people clearly don't understand comics like I do.

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                        • #87
                          Just to prove once more that that everything is completely subjective (though that ground has been rehashed dangerously many times)... I'd rate the stories in almost reverse order, all the way through. The opening fiction is the best part of the book, while Janest is entirely forgettable, the sort of thing I'd find in a generic fantasy novel from the 80s. I'd put Kejack's Morning well above Janest in 'did I enjoy this' order, and Volfer right near the bottom. ^^;;

                          Oh, Marani in the Rain was pretty good though. We can agree on that.

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by BlueWinds View Post
                            Just to prove once more that that everything is completely subjective (though that ground has been rehashed dangerously many times)... I'd rate the stories in almost reverse order, all the way through. The opening fiction is the best part of the book, while Janest is entirely forgettable, the sort of thing I'd find in a generic fantasy novel from the 80s. I'd put Kejack's Morning well above Janest in 'did I enjoy this' order, and Volfer right near the bottom. ^^;;

                            Oh, Marani in the Rain was pretty good though. We can agree on that.
                            Taste is a funny thing, and that's why I try not to call anybody wrong for disagreeing with me. The only thing I'm a real expert on is my own opinion, and sometimes even that's uncertain.


                            Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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