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What are "hooks" and why do they matter?

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  • What are "hooks" and why do they matter?

    Before I post my actual question I think it's good for people to identify themselves sometimes, especially when dealing with modes of communication where emotion isn't always visible. I've been an avid fan of Exalted since before 1E; I obsessed over original spoilers and have loved every edition of this game, including some of the worst parts of 2E. I'm sure that I'll love 3E. I'm so sure that I'll love it spent hundreds of dollars backing the kickstarter and even made my classes work from the campus computer lab so I'd have an excuse to be on a computer when the kickstarter went live. In short, I'm excited for the what the current developers are working on.

    This last update made me pretty dissatisfied with the nature of the project. Since forever ago writers and developers have been talking about system hooks to hang charms on. I have no idea what that means and I think it's a pretty big cop out when details are not given regarding systems or those charms. Still, cop outs are okay. The thing that is making me concerned is the prevalence of this term and the fact that every system is supposedly being designed with "lots of hooks" to "hang charms on." The repetition of this term and the lack of details are concerning since it seems to indicate that "hooks" and "hanging charms on them" are a very real and significant design paradigm/choice. The issue is then, that this design paradigm has very few examples and subsequently, we have no real indication on whether this will even work. The whole concepts of hooks is vague and could be a terrible design choice that turns the community off, since we really don't know what it means. Or it could be incredible. I don't think keeping such a massive design direction in the dark is totally awesome though. I for one, would like to see clear examples of a mechanics hook and how charms interact with that in an interesting way.

    I know that the developers have been reluctant to reveal mechanics simply due to the caustic nature of the community. But I think that people have already spent real money on this project and that revealing something about mechanics that people have already paid for isn't too much to ask.

    [PS, that evocation preview was totally weak. In the future, just send us pictures of napkin notes so the base can engage the update better.]

  • #2
    Dude the Evocation preview totally rocked!

    But I think hooks is just referring to meaty reasons to use the power. Like how social charms have things like using cultural Mores to your advantage, rather then all purpose I win button. I think that is a hook. But I may be wrong.

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    • #3
      I reallllly loved the description of Volcano Cutter. I totally didn't like the fact all we got was an unexplained charm(evocation) tree. I don't know what molten rage core is or why I should be excited about it.

      I'd be disappointed if hooks were just "reasons to use a power" because the "reason to use a power" should be a narrative thing instead of something mandated by a system.
      Last edited by QuintessenceX; 04-08-2014, 04:39 PM.

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      • #4
        There's a thread about system hooks: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...-hooks-edition


        [Ex3] Why Gods Need the Exigence - Plot hooks for Exigent characters of various gods.
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        • #5
          This question has been answered already in the forums.


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          • #6
            In addition to everything that's been said, hooks also often encompass the various mechanical things that you can tweak: target numbers, dice-pool sizes, the meaning of die-faces, time per roll, dice/movement/appearance penalties etc, are all aspects that can be hooked into by a power, from a mechanical perspective.

            In craft they are things like the amount of exotic ingredients needed, the amount of rolls, the meaning of a botch or an exceptional success, the meaning of each ingredient, the bonuses from magical materials, the conditions that allow crafting (Craftsman Needs No Tools), the place where the crafting happens (for ex. changing it from "in a workshop" to "in your head") etc.

            (For an other example, the "conditions" system in GMC Craft is hella full of hooks. GMC did a really good job of adding a buttload of hooks to the social system too.)
            Last edited by Fata-Ku; 04-08-2014, 06:24 PM.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by QuintessenceX View Post
              [PS, that evocation preview was totally weak. In the future, just send us pictures of napkin notes so the base can engage the update better.]
              When you're commenting about the caustic nature of the community, this isn't the sort of thing you want to include when trying to convince the devs to talk to you. Also, I liked the evocations preview, even though it pretty much cements EX3 as mechanically heavier than I was really hoping for.



              "The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground." -G.K. Chesterton

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              • #8
                Originally posted by blackwingedheaven View Post
                even though it pretty much cements EX3 as mechanically heavier than I was really hoping for.
                Rules-light Exalted wasn't really a thing that was going to happen, especially when one of the first things we found out was the built-in hooks for better Charm integration.



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                • #9
                  Okay, so, system hooks. These are changes to the system designed to accommodate richer charm design. We are told there are a lot of them, particularly in combat, but full-text previews have focused mainly on things understandable in 1e/2e terms, and there have been none given for combat. Meanwhile, as you note, the devs have said little about these hooks beyond mentioning the momentum mechanic, and have expressed a desire not to give away isolated snippets of the new system as spoilers.

                  It should be obvious in this context that they are abstaining from any fulltext spoilers that would tell us much about these system hooks, because they want us to encounter them in situ when the book is done, and not have 30-page freakouts on the basis of snippets, the way we have 30-page freakouts about literally every piece of information they release. Now, you can say "if they don't tell me anything about them I have no reason to have faith that they're done well", and, well, that's reasonable, but it's not a reasonable complaint. Either you already paid for the book with even less information than you have now, in which case the objection seems silly, or you are waiting to see what people say about it when it's out, in which case...wait to see what people say about it when it's out.

                  This is pretty much just the:"I wish there were meatier mechanical spoilers" complaint reiterated. Before and during the KS there was an argument for spoiling more than they did, but I'm hard pressed to imagine any way that releasing more detail about their "hooks" would actually help at this point, and it's easy for me to imagine ways it wouldn't. Whether or not the devs have you convinced that their decisions will be good ones is not particularly relevant at this point. If you're concerned that you might not like the game, well, you aren't getting it before it's out anyway, so wait and see what people say then. If you're concerned that the devs aren't getting feedback, take heart in the fact that they have a crapload of playtesters, and this is a scandalously long playtest and development for a White Wolf/OPP product.

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                  • #10
                    The update did nothing for me. I worry that my enthusiasm will continue to lessen for every extra month we will have to wait. It makes me sad as I would really want to be excited for spoilers, but I hardly care anymore.


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                    • #11
                      RE: "system hooks"

                      Charms are what some called exception-based design - normally, action X is resolved in way Y, but with Charm Z it can be resolved differently. Some Charms do this by fiddling with the variables (dice pool, difficulty, TN, time per roll etc.), some do so by throwing the whole resolution mechanic away and substituting something else (e.g. perfect defenses completely bypassing all normal attack resolution), and some create entirely new actions (e.g. Wyld-Shaping Technique, which is something only Solars with this Charm can do - compare perfect defenses, where everyone gets a chance to defend against an attack, but guys with a PD Charm resolve it differently to their benefit).

                      Now, consider:
                      Combat in Exalted is a very complex system. You have ten steps for resolving each and every attack, you have the tick counter, a whole slew of different actions, and a plethora of variables (attack pool, DV, Speed, DV Penalty, flurry penalty, raw damage, post-soak damage, hardness, final damage... just off the top of my head). Mass combat adds another layer on top, with it's own set of variables.

                      Social Combat is still pretty complex, but not quite as much - there are still actions of differing speed, there are DVs and attack pools, but there's no "social soak", "hardness" nor "damage". It introduces a few considerations of it's own - modifiers for Motivations and Intimacies, WP cost to resist a successful attack. Again, mass social combat slaps it's own layer of variables on top of it.

                      Pretty much everything else in the game is handled by a simple or extended dice roll, which may be contested or not. Not many variables here - dice pool, TN, difficulty, target number, time per roll... and that's pretty much it, if memory serves me right. Definitely less variables than either kind of combat.

                      Another word that's sometimes used is "granularity" - combat in Exalted is pretty granular (lotsa variables), other actions, much less granular (less variables).

                      These variables are what John and Holden call "system hooks" - they are the defined places where you can fiddle with the resolution mechanic when writing Charms.

                      The difference in granularity is why there's so many combat Charms in the game and why non-combat abilities tend to have so many Charms that either create new actions or let you automatically succeed on actions governed by said ability, or a subset thereof. There's simply not enough variables to make as many and as diverse Investigation Charms as there are Melee Charms.

                      The idea is roughly to change it by making the basic ruleset more robust and more granular outside of the combat engine, allowing for easier creation of more and more diverse Charms across all abilities.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Morangias View Post
                        The idea is roughly to change it by making the basic ruleset more robust and more granular outside of the combat engine, allowing for easier creation of more and more diverse Charms across all abilities.
                        Yes, but note that it's not about making more system hooks, it's about having the right system hooks. Look at the notorious poison/crippling/disease/knockback rules from second edition, lots and lots of variables that noone ever used because they were complicated without being interesting. Second Edition was written as a mundane system with charms layered on top, third edition will as I understand it be written with the charms in mind at the system layer to make sure there are interesting things that could be done.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Zironic View Post

                          Yes, but note that it's not about making more system hooks, it's about having the right system hooks. Look at the notorious poison/crippling/disease/knockback rules from second edition, lots and lots of variables that noone ever used because they were complicated without being interesting. Second Edition was written as a mundane system with charms layered on top, third edition will as I understand it be written with the charms in mind at the system layer to make sure there are interesting things that could be done.
                          Sure, granularity itself doesn't equal quality.

                          2e's base system was kinda designed around the idea that Charms will make it obsolete anyway, which explains a lot when you think about it. It was also explicitly designed with the idea that playing as a mundane human is supposed to suck balls, with the Charms and other features of the "Exalted template" letting you ignore the suckage. This is not entirely unlike the Air-Breathing Mermaid problem - some of these rules were only there so the next page could say "but Exalted don't have to care about this!" These ideas are toxic to the system even if they produce more granularity.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jutlander View Post
                            The update did nothing for me. I worry that my enthusiasm will continue to lessen for every extra month we will have to wait. It makes me sad as I would really want to be excited for spoilers, but I hardly care anymore.
                            Listen, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but: it's OK not to ride the hype train. It's been a long time, and it's true that we aren't getting a lot of material to batten on here. This isn't like holding your hands in the air for Goku's spirit bomb -- if you find your enthusiasm flagging, you should just push it out of your mind for a while. Go play some other game, mark out about some fandom or other, work on RL stuff, whatever. Most of the time when I back a Kickstarter, I completely lose interest in and forget about it for ages until suddenly the thing is out and then I'm like, "oh hey, it's this thing!"

                            If you try to string yourself along as a superfan through two years of drought, there's a good chance the game itself won't live up to the hype, but the good news is, it doesn't actually matter to anyone but you whether or not you do that! If you're not feeling it, it's okay to not feel it. Take a sabbatical and we'll meet back here when the PDF drops, yeah?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gayo View Post

                              Listen, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but: it's OK not to ride the hype train. It's been a long time, and it's true that we aren't getting a lot of material to batten on here. This isn't like holding your hands in the air for Goku's spirit bomb -- if you find your enthusiasm flagging, you should just push it out of your mind for a while. Go play some other game, mark out about some fandom or other, work on RL stuff, whatever. Most of the time when I back a Kickstarter, I completely lose interest in and forget about it for ages until suddenly the thing is out and then I'm like, "oh hey, it's this thing!"

                              If you try to string yourself along as a superfan through two years of drought, there's a good chance the game itself won't live up to the hype, but the good news is, it doesn't actually matter to anyone but you whether or not you do that! If you're not feeling it, it's okay to not feel it. Take a sabbatical and we'll meet back here when the PDF drops, yeah?
                              What may work: MegaMek is free. BattleTech, without the need to freeze the game for an hour when someone uses an LB-X 20 or MRM-40 and manages to hit with each projectile and you have to roll each hit location separately! Java does it for you in a matter of seconds!

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