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What Makes a Good Exalted Novel?

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  • #16
    I'd want it to represent the key conflicts in the setting, the feel of the world, the key underlying themes (non-exhaustively, include the nature of heroism with some element of questioning heroism, the difficulty of knowing and achieving justice, heroes as bedeviled by unintended consequences and compromises), the lack of straightforward Good vs Bad stories in favour of individuals, interests, peoples, passions and ideas, and give some sense of the kind of dramatic power and change that it's possible for player characters to achieve with the setting.

    I'd probably prefer exciting wandering picaresque adventure stories over a piece focused on courts and the problems of rulers. Though there's no reason a narrative couldn't include both.
    I would probably not look for a strong authorial voice in trying to say something about our world and our society - I'm a lot happier with that in settings where authors "own" their own setting than using one which they "borrow".

    I think the feel of Exalted for me is easier to capture in an anime than a novel though. The stylish visual action, and visual flair of characters and the world, particularly in ways reminiscent of what I'd see as the Golden Age of anime fantasy and JRPGs, is pretty important to me, and I think easier to capture in an anime as a stylized aesthetic that audiences are still able to treat seriously. But novels are of course a more practicable vehicle to realize the setting!

    I don't think named Charms and rules and so on are necessarily that important in text. I'd prefer what characters are doing to be described and roughly consistent with capability, but fidelity to in game character progression and minutiae of mechanics can be rather loose.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
      Yeah the encounter rolling was a pretty extreme example, I only brought it up because I actually know a guy who did that. He'd take out the rules for his Dark Eldar archon and roll out the fight against 4 imperial guardsmen for a plot, and then write that combat scene. I think if a miracle occurred and the archon lost the fight he'd re-roll it because yeah that'd make for a bad story.
      That's a bit weird, the tabletop game has some pretty odd rules for its setting i.e. not shooting into close combat is basically counter to how most factions conduct themselves on at least some occasions.





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      • #18
        Originally posted by Lioness View Post
        That's a bit weird, the tabletop game has some pretty odd rules for its setting i.e. not shooting into close combat is basically counter to how most factions conduct themselves on at least some occasions.


        Yeah, it also goes against some of the preconceived notions of how story marines are supposed to work. Like he had one scene where a bunch of tactical marines burst into an ork Kruza’s bridge, which had half a dozen Nobs with power Klaws, and half the marines died taking the bridge. He got a complaint from GW on that one and apparently they reached some kind of compromise.

        It DID work reasonably well to counter the trap that a lot of amateur, especially 40k, writers fall into where the more main characters feel totally out of proportion to the conflict they’re involved in.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

          Yeah, it also goes against some of the preconceived notions of how story marines are supposed to work. Like he had one scene where a bunch of tactical marines burst into an ork Kruza’s bridge, which had half a dozen Nobs with power Klaws, and half the marines died taking the bridge. He got a complaint from GW on that one and apparently they reached some kind of compromise.

          It DID work reasonably well to counter the trap that a lot of amateur, especially 40k, writers fall into where the more main characters feel totally out of proportion to the conflict they’re involved in.

          Well my curiosity is piqued, did they just not like the idea of so many marines dying?


          Raksha are my fae-vorite.

          Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by MoroseMorgan View Post


            Well my curiosity is piqued, did they just not like the idea of so many marines dying?
            In such an unglamorous way to a bunch of nameless orks. He argued that in the tabletop that happens all the time and in the lore a Nob is a ten foot tall slab of alien muscle wrapped in tough skin and a Klaw can bisect a marine in armor.

            I think the idea is they wanted the marines to feel like heroes and that tends to come with a certain expectation that death is special and heroic, and delayed against all odds.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

              In such an unglamorous way to a bunch of nameless orks. He argued that in the tabletop that happens all the time and in the lore a Nob is a ten foot tall slab of alien muscle wrapped in tough skin and a Klaw can bisect a marine in armor.

              I think the idea is they wanted the marines to feel like heroes and that tends to come with a certain expectation that death is special and heroic, and delayed against all odds.
              Give the orks names; problem solved.

              My mob of nobs is called Killork Rend, and the Nobz of Rend. They kill marines all the time.


              Raksha are my fae-vorite.

              Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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              • #22
                I used to read every BattleTech novel that came out, back in the day. Shadowrun too. It's been years since I cracked any of them open, but I still have fond memories of the good ones. So here we go!

                A good game-line novel will treat every playable faction with a little protagonist respect. For BattleTech, that meant having protagonist perspective from each of the five factions, plus mercs and so on. Not every novel needs every faction, but no faction was the antagonist faction full of faceless minions. So, for Exalted, I'd like to see a sympathetic treatment of each of the various splats - not that they're all necessarily nice, but that you could relate to them.

                (As I write this, I'm imagining what would turn out if I borrowed the Draconis Combine's Ghost Regiments, and had a young Dynast warlord recruit the Realm Yakuza into a Ghost Legion.... )

                Pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the game rules is good too. Especially if it foreshadows additions to those game rules. BattleTech had some great examples of this. The Star League data core foreshadowed the recovered LosTech - and also set up some ethical choices for how those new goodies would be distributed. The first encounter with the Clans had a lot of mystery about the strange 'Mechs, and led right up to the new Technical Readouts that came hand in hand with those novels.

                Coupling the new ideas in the novels with new supplements is a good idea too. Especially if it can give the overall setting a sense of changing and developing over time. Exalted, as a setting, seems to be fairly static, in that it presents a single default starting point, which doesn't really change as new players join the game. This isn't a bad thing, but using novels plus supplements to describe a few possible major storylines might be really nice. Imagine if RotSE was accompanied by the Second Edition novel series.


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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Simon Darkstep View Post
                  This isn't a bad thing, but using novels plus supplements to describe a few possible major storylines might be really nice. Imagine if RotSE was accompanied by the Second Edition novel series.
                  ...Oh god.





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                  • #24
                    I'm a long time out of Warhammer. Is that Oh-God good or Oh-God bad?


                    Check out Momentum Exalted!

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                    • #25
                      Ok. Well... since this probably is on-topic...

                      How does one.... get to the excited, blood-rushing part of Exalted? How does one maintain interest in the protagonist? Because I'm trying to write a fanfiction crossover involving Exalted. But it just. falls. flat.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Simon Darkstep View Post
                        I'm a long time out of Warhammer. Is that Oh-God good or Oh-God bad?
                        It's bad.
                        End Times was a shitty mean-spirited ending to Warhammer Fantasy Battle that made me at least appreciate that we weren't locked into the events of Return of the Scarlet Empress and that it wasn't the last book in the line, as it was intended to be.
                        Last edited by Lioness; 11-21-2018, 02:19 AM.


                        Onyx Path Forum Moderator
                        Please spare a thought for updating the Exalted wiki.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                          Ok. Well... since this probably is on-topic...

                          How does one.... get to the excited, blood-rushing part of Exalted? How does one maintain interest in the protagonist? Because I'm trying to write a fanfiction crossover involving Exalted. But it just. falls. flat.
                          Hmm I’m not 100% sure what you’re trying to say here. Are you talking about the exalted action? And what makes you feel like your readers will be losing interest in your protagonist?

                          One thing I can see being bad in a crossover is that crossovers in general kind of just exist for novelty more than telling a good story. Like hey what if the X-men teamed up with Captain Kirk?

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                            It's bad.
                            End Times was a shitty mean-spirited ending to Warhammer Fantasy Battle that made me at least appreciate that we weren't locked into the events of Return of the Scarlet Empress and that it wasn't the last book in the line, as it was intended to be.
                            Thanks for clarifying!

                            I hate to tempt a derail, but now I'm curious how mean spirited you have to be to sour a setting like Warhammer.

                            I did (obviously) like RotSE and how it was structured as a bunch of plot ideas. I thought it mainly suffered by being spread very thin to try to simultaneously cover every splat. Maybe splitting it up into something the size and focus of the Caste books? Dunno!



                            Check out Momentum Exalted!

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                              Ok. Well... since this probably is on-topic...

                              How does one.... get to the excited, blood-rushing part of Exalted? How does one maintain interest in the protagonist? Because I'm trying to write a fanfiction crossover involving Exalted. But it just. falls. flat.

                              Where does it fall flat? If it's a crossover, are your Exalts the ones going out-of-setting?


                              A guess here, but maybe revisit the mighty passions and personality flaws (intimacies and limit) of the Exalted, and not only the Charms?


                              Check out Momentum Exalted!

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Simon Darkstep View Post
                                Thanks for clarifying!

                                I hate to tempt a derail, but now I'm curious how mean spirited you have to be to sour a setting like Warhammer.

                                I did (obviously) like RotSE and how it was structured as a bunch of plot ideas. I thought it mainly suffered by being spread very thin to try to simultaneously cover every splat. Maybe splitting it up into something the size and focus of the Caste books? Dunno!
                                Basically if RotSE had a novel series on a par with End Times it'd largely consist of the Scarlet Empress' forces steamrolling everything at a rate that doesn't allow for any satisfactory pacing and canon characters who'd been absent for an edition or more showing up to remind people they existed then getting killed off for non-existent shock value. It's like someone listened to The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny and took it 100% seriously.



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