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How do you introduce Exalted before the game starts?

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  • Megapope
    started a topic How do you introduce Exalted before the game starts?

    How do you introduce Exalted before the game starts?

    Like the title says, how do you introduce the enormity of the setting to your players so they have a basic understanding?

    Do you have a favourite online introduction that you always use? Have you written something you feel sums up Creation pretty well?

  • Simon Darkstep
    replied
    Assuming the person to whom I'm introducing has some experience with RPGs, I'd make use of some comparisons.

    It's fantasy, but it doesn't fit entirely into the Tolkien mold.

    It's a RPG, but instead of hoarding a ton of inventory, you probably have a (relatively) few signature things and do more with them. And instead of stacking bonuses based on going shopping or standing in a particular square, bonuses sometimes/mostly come from a good description of what you're doing.

    There's a progression of power, but rather than being a lockstep improvement up a scale of challenge ratings, you start with an assumption of being powerful already and dealing with the consequences of your own actions reverberating throughout the world from the get-go.

    There are patterns of behavior and things important to you, but instead of an alignment table and its accompanying similarities and opposites, you define your own Intimacies, which may be your desires, code of ethics, or faith... and then you get some bonuses from them depending how strong they become.

    There's combat on the personal scale and grand scale, but it isn't (necessarily) about tactical movement, threatening hexes with your impending attacks, and manipulating range and line of sight and fog of war. Instead it's more about describing the action and interplay of characters and groups.

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  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    Isn't that for Deathlords and Abyssals specifically?

    But, considering that the Solars who caused the most trouble for the Realm pre-date the release of 95% of Solar exaltations (The Bull and Samea, assuming they still do), and it's difficult to measure (there have always been a tiny number of Solars), and the distraction of the civil war, I could well imagine that House leaders are getting reports saying there's been a significant uptick in Solars reported by the Wyld Hunt's spies, and they're not really sure what's going on. Is there a 300% increase in Solars? Are formerly-hiding Solars just coming out of the woodwork because Realm troops are withdrawing? Is the Immaculate Order just getting worked up about nothing? Is the Wyld Hunt just trying to restore the funding that's been cut from them?

    So, in the short term, I guess it's somewhat plausible that a few DBs think that the Anathema are getting uppity, rather than there being a lot more. I can't see it lasting ages, but when it's only been a few years and you live on the Isle, never visiting the threshold, I guess it's possible for some.

    But for the Climate Change equivalent, I think it's really more that most DBs are too busy to do anything. Of course, they know that returning Solars is a big problem. It's a problem they'd like to solve. They're just not willing to put many resources into dealing with it, compared to the more immediate issue of the succession.
    Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 06-24-2018, 06:23 AM.

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  • Elfive
    replied
    No, no, this is something Vance and Minton have confirmed. You might have certain houses that are going "uh, guys, we might have a problem here" like Ledaal but for the most part everyone else is too distracted by politics and stuff to have really noticed. And some are just in straight up denial.

    I think it got compared to, like, climate change.

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  • Saur Ops Specialist
    replied
    Originally posted by Elfive View Post
    Yeah, later on you can start introducing the idea that the dynastic worldview isn't totally accurate.

    Also, generally speaking, most dragonblooded don't realise the solars are back. In their eyes anathema are 90% silver aura'd shapeshifting monsters. They know about solars, but as far as they're aware they're super rare.
    It's been five years, so I doubt that it's a minority of Dragon-Blooded who know that there are way, way more Solars and things that are like Solars but even more evil cropping up with disturbing frequency.

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  • Cryo-Seraph
    replied
    Current 3rd edition writing handles who the subject is very well, so core book and DB books so far are good in the general content sections about the world only having so much revealed about it (a nod here or there about an unnamed advisor to the mouth of peace is the closest I've read to any suggestion of sidereals)

    So keep their reading to 3rd edition material ( maybe 1st ed, no spoileriffic 2nd ed stuff) and it should help a lot

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  • Lundgren
    replied
    I made the list in this post to introduce certain aspects of the settings http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...st-of-creation

    It is a "what would the character know, even if they have lived under a stone" type of thing. Then I expand on that depending on the response I get from the player. The player of a ghost-blooded Lunar, whom's father was a Dragon Blooded officer that died during the Great Contagion, got a completely different introduction to the Immaculate Faith than the player of a Solar that grew up on the streets of a small city.

    Personally, I'm avoiding using official material as I would prefer if they are oblivious about Sids, Abyssals, and Infernals for the time being.

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  • Elfive
    replied
    Yeah, later on you can start introducing the idea that the dynastic worldview isn't totally accurate.

    Also, generally speaking, most dragonblooded don't realise the solars are back. In their eyes anathema are 90% silver aura'd shapeshifting monsters. They know about solars, but as far as they're aware they're super rare.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sagara
    replied
    Oh, that.

    Geography: We own the world, except for barbarians far from the Isle. North is cold, East is woody, South is hot, West is islands. Center is awesome.
    History: Evil Anathema back then. We kicked them out. Later, super plague-combo-Alien invasion happened. We win thanks to the awesome Empress. We rule since then.
    Religion: We're awesome because Dragon blood. Others can become more awesome in their next life if they serve our society well. Gods should obey us, and be reminded of it if they start going rogue.
    Politics: We work together to serve the Empress. We help the backwater countries thrive, and they pay us for it. Dead things, demon things, alien things and Anathema things try to topple the system.

    Of course it's full of holes and generalisations and lies, but it's fast and easy and the closest you'll get to the "party line".

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  • Megapope
    replied
    I should clarify, I've given the initial pitch of what Exalted is geeeeeenerally about and they're on board, so now it's 'how much do I tell them about the setting and history to start out with, especially given they're playing educated Dynasts, before their brains start leaking out of their ears'

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  • Clophiroth
    replied
    I tell them it is a game about epic fantasy, with both anime and mythological influences, where they are playing badass kung-fu demigods. You have a lot of power, consequences are the meat of the game, and expect both epic combat and epic drama.

    If they are interested, I talk to them about Creation, but in very broad strokes. Plain world, in middle of Chaos. Big Empire in the middle, ruled by Elemental Noble Houses, imagine Game of Thrones mixed with Avatar. Yes, you can play as them, although the default is playing with Solars, reincarnated God-Kings of the ancient past (I won´t bog the introduction talking about Primordials, and the origin of Exaltation, or the Usurpation. If they like the game, and are interested in its background, let´s talk, but this is a pitch, not a Exalted College Class). There are gods and spirits and weird shit everywhere, and a good deal of them are corrupt. Don´t expect the label to do the moral thinking for you, demon doesn´t mean evil, god doesn´t mean good. Then, I talk a bit about the Directions (North, colder and colder, until Faeland, here is where we can play if you are interested in Viking aesthetics, or in tundra nomads fighting against evil spirits, South is hotter and hotter, from Mediterranean to Arabia to THE FLOOR IS LAVA, Thousand and One Nights games, Indiana Jones-like adventures in desert ruins, and such. In general, the aesthetic and obvious inspirations for each Direction, to see what catches their imagination, and what kind of games they would like to play. Are they still interested? Okay, what Direction or place did they choose? Let´s decide on something, let´s start an awesome campaign.

    What Lioness says is true. I found my players tend to prefer the South and the Dreaming Sea... And they are my favourite regions, so I think they get influenced by my more excited descriptions.

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  • Megapope
    replied
    I think this thread has solidified my thoughts of 'if you want something done right, do it yourself'

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  • Lioness
    replied
    The main problem I have with other people's introductions to the setting is that sometimes the author's enthusiasm (or contempt towards) towards a particular aspect of the game shines through and influences a player's expectations in a way you may find undesirable. Like for me, a lot of them fail to encapsulate what I consider to be the appeal of playing a Dragon-Blooded in favour of essentially telling us that they've got the power to reproduce.

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  • BrilliantRain
    replied
    Yeah. Honestly, most people don't really need the whole Primordial War, First Age, Shogunate, Fae Invasion/Great Contagion history lesson. At least not to start with. If they ask, you can say that "long ago, the Solars used to be God-Kings, but they fucked up and the DBs overthrew them, and that's why the DBs are in charge now." but I wouldn't go into more detail. At least not in the opening pitch.

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  • szp
    replied
    In explaining Exalted to new players, I think we need to be mindful of some things. At least that's what I discovered when I've been appealing Exalted to Korean players, for which I never could use official promo material without extreme labor.

    One thing is that Exalted we know, play, love, and have done so for years may be different from both Exalted that might intrigue new players and Exalted that has reached more than a decade of evolution. When we think of Exalted, we tend to focus on our biggest play moments and most memorable bits of the setting and the system. But, in my opinion, they are only big and remarkable due to their context. If the entire game was nothing but big moments and awesome setting bits, then it would be too stimulating to be worth anything.

    Not only that, explaining Exalted based on its extreme peaks makes the game sound too over the top. This particular bit resonates with my experience since only most hyperbolic intros and explanations of Exalted ever reached Korean gamers who read up on RPG news and talk. Surely Exalted is about grand and epic (in the Greek sense) stories, but it's also about other things, too. Disregarding them because they aren't as interesting as the game's best moments destroys the context which is what makes the interesting parts interesting.

    Furthermore, while I shouldn't assume, I have this feeling that many of us have stuck to Exalted since 1e or 2e. Exalted 3e is taking a different approach to how to think and feel about itself (which is pretty damn evident in writing so far) but it could be that our first impression of Exalted hasn't updated to keep up. I imagine many of us feel the temptation to talk about how there are heroin-pissing dinosaurs and how PCs used to punch God to death and how kung fu masters fight giant robots. Which makes sense -- those bits are hella memorable. But those interesting and intriguing bits may need to adjust themselves to current direction of Exalted.

    There are other practical bits, like how new players' attention span is usually one or two sentences and how Exalted needs to fit the cultural/pop-cultural context of the people the game is being appealed to, but that is so individualistic.

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