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  • #16
    He's the person responsible to the whole "The Ebon Dragon is the Devil who is a Loser", right ? Then I'm glad he's not touching any of Ex3, I don't like the Yozi from Manual: Infernal at all.


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    • #17
      Originally posted by Jen View Post
      He's the person responsible to the whole "The Ebon Dragon is the Devil who is a Loser", right ? Then I'm glad he's not touching any of Ex3, I don't like the Yozi from Manual: Infernal at all.

      Yup.

      On the other hand, I'm told he's also the person who wrote Mnemon's chapters in Aspect Book: Earth, which were really good, and some of his ideas for Abyssals interest me even though I overall prefer the different direction 3E is taking with them. His work on Yozis and Infernals, on the other hand, leaves me cold (to say the least).


      I made dis

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post
        I was a late-comer to the game line, so I don't know if Neph is responsible for the stuff I loved about Infernals, the stuff I loathed, or a mix. He wasn't the Lillun author, was he?
        I admit I had a moment like that... Though with Scion 2E.

        "Neall wrote parts of the Infernals book!"

        Me: ... Which parts?

        (Turns out, I believe he did some work on the Charms, and a lot of the Storytelling chapter. So, parts of Infernals that I liked)


        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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        • #19
          I have been a fan of Neph since his early writing in First edition. he recall some his homebrew that he posted on Livejournal during First edition was *incredibly* creative and helpful, and that is what lead me to closely follow his work.

          I very much enjoyed his take on Abyssals, and Glories Most High was one of my favorite sources books in the later days of 2Ed and served as a mine for countless storyhooks for my players back then.He was always willing to comment on here and offer respectful, clear, and polite insight to his writing for Exalted.

          For a longtime, to me, Neph was the heart and soul of Exalted. When he left the Exalted team I was devastated, and almost gave up on the game entirely It was actually Neph talking to me personally and telling me to continue playing and supporting EX3 that kept me with game!
          Last edited by Keichiokami; 04-11-2017, 05:04 AM.


          "May you live in interesting times"

          Storyteller of The Hakura Chronicle

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          • #20
            I have misgivings about a lot of things with his name on, but as Lioness points out we don't know what went on behind the scenes.
            Like I think Mnemon being allied with the Mask of Winters was a truly terrible decision that made the impending Realm Civil War feel irrelevant but was that actually his call? The Ebon Dragon showing up to crash the party is just as bad and that's got roots going back to when Grabowski was still calling the shots.

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            • #21
              Mostly said my piece in the other thread, but: in his interactions with the forum, Neph was polite, respectful, and about as great of a PR guy as you could possibly want. When he wrote mechanics, he was the first and only person to actually follow through on the game's promise that yes, there were cosmic-level entities out there, and no, you didn't need to automatically hand in your character sheet when you decided to punch one in the face. That's still a feat of game design I haven't seen replicated anywhere else.

              He was the biggest mechanical talent the game has had, and maybe still its single most prolific author. I don't know exactly what happened when he (and very shortly afterwards, Neall) left the line, but that period towards the end of 2e where he and his (at the time) minions functionally were Exalted was my absolute favorite time to play the game.

              I know he had a lot going on at the time; I hope he's happier now than he was then.


              Homebrew: Lunar Charms for 3e

              Solar Charm Rewrite (Complete) (Now with Charm cards!)

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Irked View Post
                When he wrote mechanics, he was the first and only person to actually follow through on the game's promise that yes, there were cosmic-level entities out there, and no, you didn't need to automatically hand in your character sheet when you decided to punch one in the face. That's still a feat of game design I haven't seen replicated anywhere else.
                That was always important to me. The story of Exalted begins with winning a war with the Primordials, the game needs to follow through with that promise.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Hark View Post
                  That was always important to me. The story of Exalted begins with winning a war with the Primordials, the game needs to follow through with that promise.
                  Which doesn't mean "Your game should be Primordial War 2.0" - but if you can't see how your character could ever be like the guy who did the things in prehistory, then all of that "Legendary hero born again!" stuff is just cheap heat.

                  The game promises you can stand up to the giants in the playground. Actually seeing those giants, and seeing that they were giants in ways that "+20 to AC and BAB" don't convey, and seeing that the promise was still true, was beautiful.
                  Last edited by Irked; 04-11-2017, 12:27 PM.


                  Homebrew: Lunar Charms for 3e

                  Solar Charm Rewrite (Complete) (Now with Charm cards!)

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                  • #24
                    Neph was a great guy. I wish more RPG writers were as willing to engage with the community as he was. I do agree with Isator that he tended to put a bit too much of himself into his work, though I don't know if that was necessary a bad thing. He did bring some changes to the setting which some people liked and others did not.

                    Overall, I think much of wrote he wrote was some of my favorite material in the Exalted gameline.

                    Originally posted by Jen View Post
                    He's the person responsible to the whole "The Ebon Dragon is the Devil who is a Loser", right ? Then I'm glad he's not touching any of Ex3, I don't like the Yozi from Manual: Infernal at all.
                    The Ebon Dragon was written to be, "The Antagonist," a force of opposition, and was presented as much a loser as any of the Yozi are. I understand some people may not care for that, but overall I rather liked that interpretation of the Ebon Dragon. The only thing I was upset about was that Neph focused so much on that aspect, it missed out on some of the other aspects of the Ebon Dragon that Rebecca had introduced back in Games of Divinity. I just wish he had done a slightly better job of balancing them.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Keichiokami View Post
                      For a longtime, to me, Neph was the heart and soul of Exalted. When he left the Exalted team I was devastated, and almost gave up on the game entirely It was actually Neph talking to me personally and telling me to continue playing and supporting EX3 that kept me with game!
                      Yeah, I was in the same boat. When I heard he was not going to be working on 3rd edition I was on the verge of dropping the line, and mentioned as much to him during a conversation. He urged me to stick around and give 3rd edition a try. He said even if it was diverging from his vision, that Morke and Holden had good visions as well and that 3rd edition would still be a great game. I know there were some hard feelings that Neph had when he left the line, and in retrospect it's amazing how positive and professional he always was when dealing with the community.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                        The Ebon Dragon was written to be, "The Antagonist," a force of opposition, and was presented as much a loser as any of the Yozi are. I understand some people may not care for that, but overall I rather liked that interpretation of the Ebon Dragon. The only thing I was upset about was that Neph focused so much on that aspect, it missed out on some of the other aspects of the Ebon Dragon that Rebecca had introduced back in Games of Divinity. I just wish he had done a slightly better job of balancing them.

                        With all due respect to Neph, this is literally his design philosophy for the Ebon Dragon, in his own words:


                        The Ebon Dragon doesn't get to be cool for being wicked. Everyone else is playing with their high-rated alternative lifestyle Virtues and he's the guy who fails at all them simultaneously. He exists on the human plane of what failure at Virtue means. It's more extreme for him, because his failure is more extreme. It doesn't make him weak. It doesn't make him less dangerous. But it makes him a failure. If you are trying to find a way to make the Ebon Dragon's philosophy cool in its own right, you're doing it wrong. He doesn't get to win at his own game. He gets to lose at the Sun's game, but he has the power to make other people lose worse and that's all he wants, really.
                        (...)
                        The Ebon Dragon isn't playing the same game as everyone else. The design logic behind his magic is not predicated on being awesome, but on his ability to deny others their awesome and make them feel bad for their awesome. The Ebon Dragon isn't trying to win. He's trying to make you lose. He's trying to make the game stop being fun for other people. That's his win condition. He has fun entirely at the expense of others. He has no redeeming qualities at all. He's not a hero. He's a villain, through and through.
                        At his core, the Ebon Dragon doesn't want anyone else to get to play Exalted, because he actively hates the idea that people get to be cool and win.



                        I don't believe he was ever interested in "balancing" what he wrote with the way the Ebon Dragon was originally supposed to be. (I also think this is a self-evidently terrible design direction for any antagonist, and the general way he wrote Yozis as, in his own words, "paper titans and nigh-omnipotent idiot savants" is... not particularly usable at the gaming table.)



                        I made dis

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                        • #27
                          I did not like his vision for Exalted and I am not a fan of his work.

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                          • #28
                            Re: Irked and Hark's discussion, yes, Nephilpal really did try to go up to the scale of battles and conflict between cosmic entities, and none of the other writers really did. Though they never really had a brief to, frankly. Personally, obviously, I don't think it really worked. There are games out there that start with the premise of the players being cosmic entities and acting on that scale, where Exalted (to me) built that all up in pretty ramshackle manner around its demigod protagonists.

                            There is still a bit of a division division between the folks who see the Primordial War as a point and promise of Exalted - you really can punch out Cthulu and wield the powers of a cosmic god! - or where it's more of a frame story for stories at epic scale and demigod scale, beneath the cosmic scale, about human virtue, choice, morality, tragedy and magic. (For the latter better expressed than I have, read Stephen Lea Sheppard's excellent introduction to the Jumpstart a few times. And look between the lines as well.)

                            (I have a bias here though: If you look at the promise of playing Exalted to be standing up to the Primordials, and defeating the mightiest powers of the world, and to be wielding cosmic scale sorcery, then, well, the Dragonblooded, Sidereals, Lunars, they start to look like failures to play within the space the Second Age allows them, and they're the character types I find most interesting.)

                            More positively, I'd still quite like (perhaps in an alternate reality) to have seen more of what Nephilpal could have achieved with the scale and goals that were far less than cosmic. There's probably more of that in what he wrote than we might remember (e.g. he ran a pretty tight and cool sounding Solars game as I remember).

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

                              Yeah, I was in the same boat. When I heard he was not going to be working on 3rd edition I was on the verge of dropping the line, and mentioned as much to him during a conversation. He urged me to stick around and give 3rd edition a try. He said even if it was diverging from his vision, that Morke and Holden had good visions as well and that 3rd edition would still be a great game. I know there were some hard feelings that Neph had when he left the line, and in retrospect it's amazing how positive and professional he always was when dealing with the community.

                              Nail right on the head! I am glad I decided to stick with EX3 on Neph's advice. It has made for some good times at the gaming table. Interestingly enough, Neph did very interesting things when he actually diverted from Exalted 2 Ed design principles in his non-canonical games he ran for his gaming group. He once shared on the forums these plots that broke core rules but turned into wonderful stories. Like the Black-Sun antagonist who was immune to perfect defenses unless the Solar was channeling through a Virtue, or the Eclipse who discovered the Office in Heaven in charge of enforcing Eclipse Oaths and grinding to a halt using Bureaucracy Charms, resulting in a tear in the fabric of Creation which ending up expanding into a portal to the Demon Realm.

                              I would love to see what find of unique and interesting content Neph would produce using Third edition design principles.


                              "May you live in interesting times"

                              Storyteller of The Hakura Chronicle

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post

                                There is still a bit of a division division between the folks who see the Primordial War as a point and promise of Exalted - you really can punch out Cthulu and wield the powers of a cosmic god! - or where it's more of a frame story for stories at epic scale and demigod scale, beneath the cosmic scale, about human virtue, choice, morality, tragedy and magic. (For the latter better expressed than I have, read Stephen Lea Sheppard's excellent introduction to the Jumpstart a few times. And look between the lines as well.)
                                Its interesting that you bring up this dicotomy. Because in discussions with Nepth himself about my long term plans for the Hakura Chronicle, He was very supportive of the idea that Exalted stories would always begin on the epic and demigod scale. Exalted characters would get a chance to grow, develop and change both themselves and the world around them. Then over time things would scale up to the point the challenge would reach a Cosmic level, and Exalted heroes would save Creation at the Climax of the Chronicle. This was the ideal Exalted game to Neph, and also the ideal Exalted game for me and many of the players that have come across my gaming table.

                                These are not mutually exclusive styles of play. It is possible, and in fact I would argue preferable that Exalted facilitate both styles.


                                "May you live in interesting times"

                                Storyteller of The Hakura Chronicle

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