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Random Thoughts on 2E in Retrospective: What did it do well?

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  • #46
    Evocative Charms.

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    • #47
      Let me think...

      ​I still really like the manner in which the core described the setting, particularly the Realm; I think it was comprehensive and gave a good sense of what made each of the Directions distinct and attractive. I especially like the sidebar in which it lays down the agendas and priorities of each of the Great Houses as they draw battle lines, which is the kind of information that I think the upcoming books should have an idea of.

      ​The manner in which it consolidated Dynast and Outcaste information and playstyles into a single Manual was a good move in my eyes.

      It had some particularly strong and thoughtful descriptions of gods and their powers in a few Compass Books, prior to the universal spirit Charms being put out.

      The description of the Labyrinth in Compass: Underworld was new to the Edition, and strong in several respects.

      ​The Infernal Charm set was very well constructed in a technical sense, in a manner that really broadened ideas about what Charms could be and how they could shape and represent playstyles.

      ​Lands of Creation actually has some very nicely detailed locales and societies, several of which even have a more mystical flavour.

      ​I think Return of the Scarlet Empress had some well-designed ideas about unfolding crisis and disaster around various parts of the setting, and if it's accepted on its own terms, a pretty good and elaborate presentation of a doomsday scenario.

      ​And Thousand-Correct Actions was a good realisation of an in-character document that informed several ideas about how to conduct characters and stories.


      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
      Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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      • #48
        Oh, right, also: 3e has its work cut out for it measuring up to 2e's Alchemicals. I love me some Alchies and 2e's presentation of them was dangerously close to flawless.


        Shameless Technocratic shill.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Croakamancer View Post

          Heh. Funny story, I have used that fluff with my current character. It wasn't a major part of his story or anything, but I found his use of the public baths an illustrative point about his thought process and relation to Whitewalls wider culture and privacy issues. Hell, I had to expand on it because even the paras there are pretty vague about how the baths operate.

          So, yeah. I find details like that useful at the table.
          As illustrative as those four paragraphs may be, they are very low on what the excellent Joseph Manola calls conceptual density. But this discussion is getting off-topic now.


          Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
          Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Dex Davican View Post
            Evocative Charms.
            Agreed. A lot of 2e charmsets were just plain fun to read, in a way that 3e, so far, really isn't.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by WarDragon View Post
              Agreed. A lot of 2e charmsets were just plain fun to read, in a way that 3e, so far, really isn't.
              I agree on the fun to read aspect. That also really helps when dealing with going power shopping during chargen if you've already been reading through the book and enjoying the Charm sets.

              It's a bit of a pain when you have a player who isn't familiar with the book and they have to weed through fluff to discover what a Charm actually does. I really wish the Charm sets were organized differently - a section of fluff for each Ability (or each major branch, as some have) to evoke storytelling ideas, and then a dense, consistent section of actual rules laid out for superduperfast reference or being printed onto cards.

              But yes, I'll gladly call this one a 2E win.


              Check out Momentum Exalted!

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Simon Darkstep View Post

                I agree on the fun to read aspect. That also really helps when dealing with going power shopping during chargen if you've already been reading through the book and enjoying the Charm sets.

                It's a bit of a pain when you have a player who isn't familiar with the book and they have to weed through fluff to discover what a Charm actually does. I really wish the Charm sets were organized differently - a section of fluff for each Ability (or each major branch, as some have) to evoke storytelling ideas, and then a dense, consistent section of actual rules laid out for superduperfast reference or being printed onto cards.

                But yes, I'll gladly call this one a 2E win.
                I would just be happy if the charms were written with a paragraph/sentence of fluff then clear paragraph break and then section on the mechanical meat. So you could still have the fluff but easily skip over it when just needing the mechanics.

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                • #53
                  Yeah, that would help.


                  "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                  • #54
                    As someone preferring 2.x over the other editions, I would have to say it did a lot of things well (and, well, quite a few things a bit less good). I came into Exalted after all of the second edition books had been released, so it was that edition that formed my perception around what Exalted is. I was recommended to look at Exalted while I was looking for something specific, and Exalted wasn't at all what I was looking for. So it took a little while more until I looked at it for what it was.

                    As my take on Exalted probably is about 50% second edition, 30% of both first and third edition, 20% my own interpretations and ideas, I actually have a hard time mention specific things. But to name a few:
                    * The first age being a high (magi-) tech almost sci-fi setting, putting it far away from the standard static setting of most other fantasy worlds.
                    * A lot of ideas that I can use, often with just minor tweaking (I summed up all the pages of the PDFs once, and while I don't recall the page count, I think it was slightly north of 8500 pages).
                    * The segment based combat.
                    * While I still have a hard time wrapping my head around how to use the Fair Folks, I love all the variants they can be.
                    * The automatic homing missile Exaltation shards; making them amoral and out of the hands of their creators.
                    * The comics.

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                    • #55
                      Yes, the comics! Those were great. First thing I always read when I got a book.


                      "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                      • #56
                        The art. The production values look lower now, because the hobby keeps improving in that regard, but at the time it was a huge step up from 1e. And gosh, yes, do I miss those comics.

                        The social system. Again, this was thinner on the ground circa 2006 than it is today, but for all its eventual flaws, it's important to remember that this was (nearly?) WW's first attempt to have any actual mechanical support for the idea of playing a supernaturally persuasive character who might bump into other supernaturally persuasive characters.

                        The simplification of the 1e combat system. The realization that, no, we didn't need both sides to roll full dice pools for every attack forever and ever.

                        The organization. Most - not all, but most - of the content you'd want to locate is in a book you'd expect to find it in, and the books taken as a whole largely agree on what the setting looks like and does. I don't know if I can effectively convey how rare that was for a WW book at the time.

                        The mechanical clarity. It's relatively easy, reading through a Charm tree, to get a clear picture of what all the Charms involved do. Several splats - Alchemicals or Abyssals or Infernals, say - will also lead to periodic moments where you will remark to yourself, "Well, heck yes I can do that."

                        The sheer, beautiful chutzpah to say, "You know these giant movers and shakers that we've been presenting as walking around in every single book of the line? The gods above all gods, the creator-monsters? The ones the lore specifically says you're able to fight against? Let's make that actually possible at your table."

                        2e was sometimes a nightmare, but it will always be a nostalgic nightmare for me. The step forward from what had come before was (in some regards) so great that it took a long time to see how far it had still to go.


                        Homebrew: Lunar Charms for 3e

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

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                          Also worth bearing in mind:

                          We didn't see the development of Exalted 2e. The counting of 2e as being 6 years in from the publication date of the core to the publication date of the last book. Saying 3e has been going the same length only works if you're starting from the Kickstater, not the release of 3e core; which is a drastically unfair comparison.
                          The core book for second edition was published five months after the last book of first edition. While I guess it is possible they were doing both editions for along time, I find that highly unlikely.

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                          • #58
                            Re:Charms, I must admit my stereotyped image of how Charms in each edition worked is something like:

                            1e/2e: There are a fairly small number of core Charms (and you largely ignore the supplements unless you don't want to), each of them is obviously the way to "do something" in particular. Building a character then, is that you simply decide what the character you're playing is good at and what they should "do" and then pick the Charms that are more-or-less the only way to do that.

                            (And in theory, assuming that the mechanics live up to that promise, I actually... *like*? that.)

                            3e: There are large number of core Charms, none of them really are designed to "do" any particular task; rather each of them generally improves your dice pools at an ability in fairly complex, non-transparent ways that can provide strategic and tactical advantages in particular mechanical situations that you probably won't understand until you've played the game a lot, and they have complex and subtle synergies between them. Building a character then, is about attempting to perceive mechanical synergies and relative advantage in a very large and thick set of atomized mechanics which aren't strongly tied to any particular imagery.

                            This said, this is probably somewhat stereotyped and hyperbolic, and I think you could argue certainly that, 1e and 2e only "appeared" to be as I describe and the reality still largely was about picking mechanical synergies and tactical advantage, and the reality was just that the edition didn't really help anyone to do so, and that ultimately, 3e's mechanics actually *work* better.

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                            • #59
                              It had plenty of books. Seriously, they might had been not very well balanced, and regularly needed errata, but they did well to picture the different aspects of the world and characters, for we could make any kind of PCs and NPCs.

                              Upd: I understand, that it's a hard work to balance the new edition as it is intended to be: convinient and smooth, but... well, one of my players wants to play her Abyssal character only, so I just cannot yet take 3ed for our group, and we still have to play 2.5ed.
                              Last edited by Aleksay; 03-13-2018, 05:18 PM.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by rickayelm View Post
                                The core book for second edition was published five months after the last book of first edition. While I guess it is possible they were doing both editions for along time, I find that highly unlikely.
                                Um, it's actually very, very likely.

                                RPGs looking at an edition winding down, and a new edition, are frequently working on both in tandem. Things are a bit different these days where we have more prominent RPGs coming out of smaller publishers that can't afford to have some people supporting a current edition, and other people working working on a new edition at the same time. But even Onyx Path is big enough to keep up dual publishing teams (actually way more than two). Onyx Path has technically put out 1e CofD material after the new 2e book was published so games that haven't gotten updated yet could be included in books like the Dark Eras series.

                                Developing a new edition, especially one with major foundational rules changes that have a lot of knock-on effects to develop, doesn't happen in 5 months. 5 months is a ridiculously short turn around time. 2e probably wasn't in full scale development for more than two years (books like the 1e Players Guide are always a sign that the developers are starting to seriously eye a new edition because it's clear they've been brainstorming major overhauls to account for issues with the current one), Again, WOD: Mirrors, a CofD 1e had a lot of rules stuff in it that was clearly stuff that was on the CofD 2e developers' minds and was also something put out slightly more than two years before hand.

                                I'd be surprised if Exalted 2e took five or less months to go from a completed manuscript to a full edited, laid out, and art filled book (esp. with the comics) that had proofs from the printed already sorted and approved. We just didn't see that time frame sort of stuff in the past. The old White Wolf (even under CCP) could afford to put off telling fans about stuff until it was way farther down the pipeline to avoid disappointment with delays and so on. To an extent, they had to when dealing with the old supplement treadmill scheme; if you have to keep putting out a book every so often, you can't stop just because you're working on a new edition too.

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