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Third Edition in Retrospect, Thus Far

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  • Third Edition in Retrospect, Thus Far

    I've had some experience running a Third Edition Exalted game now, and I've had some time away from that game to reflect on what I really liked about how this edition has done things, and what I would have liked to see done differently. Things that have made my game better, and things that made my game worse.

    Pros
    1) The combat system was fairly intuitive for the players to pick up on. Not all of them exactly liked it, but that's because said player is a Pathfinder/D&D 3.5 system junkie who self-admittedly values mechanics over 'make believe'. For the rest of them, it was easy enough to dig into the base mechanics and play around with them to satisfaction.

    2) The setting as it exists right now has just enough interesting things for me to poke at and flesh out on my own that I was able to get players invested in building the world around them up. Not a lot of people made Lore rolls to do so unfortunately since it's so counter to how every other RPG we've ever played did it, but we made some good use of it anyway.

    3) It did a great job of making the players feel empowered to take on whatever it is they built their characters to do well, right out the gate.

    Cons
    1) Solar Charms are a bloated mess to maneuver through. Individual Charms feel like they don't do a lot on their own, and require building along with a bunch of others to do so. This by itself wouldn't be all that bad, but it dramatically slowed down play when everyone had to keep referring back to the book to figure out how to play their characters even when we all knew how the base mechanics worked. Eventually I just got to copy-pasting Charms out of the book to reference them more easily.

    2) Evocations. I love the idea of Evocations, of Artifacts with their own super special unique custom powers, but the reality of it all has just made a mess for me. The pre-created Evocation trees in the books are great, and I've made use of them as much as I can, but when one of your players is a Twilight Caste with Craft Supernal who is doing their utmost best to (and mechanically, can) churn Artifacts out and has a bunch of ideas for what they want the things to do I'm busy hitting my head against a desk. It's gotten to the point where I would have preferred we just be given a nice, clean, universally applicable point-build system to design effects for Artifacts with. It would lose a lot of the flavor of Evocations, but it would be much more playable for my group than what we have.

    3) A deficit of things to throw against my players. Recent supplemental pieces have alleviated much of this issue, but back when we just had the Corebook I was hankering for a Monster Manual to throw at my players.

    I'm sure I'll think of others later, but this is what came to mind while I'm sick at home.


    Revlid wrote:
    Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

  • #2
    Pro:
    Love the setting more then ever.
    Combat system is fun!
    Charms!

    Con:
    Can’t have quick simple combat anymore, it is now always an investment of time.
    Can’t have one off Strikes. Like in game we wanted to have someone way up the SPSitV user and have him Strike with his blade because he wakes up on guard but we had no rules for doing that since combat is no longer simulationist, not it’s more videogamy in its abstraction.


    It is a time for great deeds!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
      Can’t have quick simple combat anymore, it is now always an investment of time.
      I've seriously never had a simple quick combat in 2e that wasn't against something 3e would just designate as a trivial opponent, and let you kill with a single roll. If a 2e opponent was worth rolling dice against, it almost invariably took 4+ hours, even if the fight ended in less than thirty seconds in-character.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
        Can’t have one off Strikes. Like in game we wanted to have someone way up the SPSitV user and have him Strike with his blade because he wakes up on guard but we had no rules for doing that since combat is no longer simulationist, not it’s more videogamy in its abstraction.
        I'm not clear what you mean by 'One off Strike' in this context; could you clarify?


        A tinkering effort at bringing Raksha into Ex3: Fair Folk: The Beautiful Thieves

        A tinkering effort at bringing fate ninjas into Ex3: Sidereals: Where Fate Has Led - Album of the Charm Trees thereof.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by wastevens View Post

          I'm not clear what you mean by 'One off Strike' in this context; could you clarify?
          I mean a simple roll one attack. Like the example I gave a swordsman was sleeping and he is trained to strike if his sleep is disturbed as a survival thing. I can’t quite do that now because combat doesn’t work that way with initiative. The closest I can get is to use his wake up strike using the Trap rules.


          It is a time for great deeds!

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          • #6
            Oh heck... let's see..

            Pros:

            1) Ex3 has the best iteration of the setting so far.
            2) The idea of witherings and decisives is cool...
            3) Weapon categories are way better than having separate stats for a knife, a kukri dagger and a karambit.

            Cons:

            1) Ex3 needs a ton of micro-managing to play: mote regeneration, onslaught penalties, number of turns in crash, crash reversal bonuses, double 6s if..., keep track of your anima level, aura, shifting initiatives, relative rangebands between characters to determine pools and penalties... etc etc etc... As an adult, I simply don't have enough time to master all of these things, so I keep breaking rules and playing as well as posible, but never exactly by the rules

            2) There are no solar level antagonists... and you can't always bring a deathlord to every session unless you have some sort of he-man skeletor relation... or some crap like that.

            3) I don't get why gaining momentum and advantage towards an enemy lets me throw a powerful decisive attack to another enemy over which I hold no tactical advantage... I may be playing it wrong I don't know, see #1 of this list.

            4) Ex3, the book, is messy... too big, too many charms... I don't like it very much.

            I really really REALLY hope that the new devs get the chance to write and put out a lighter version of Ex3 (I recall one of them mentioning something similar to that). The game is amazing, but there are lots of things that could be polished. I'd definitely pay for a new set of rules or add ons that could make the game easier to run, like in Ex1 when that included the famous power combat in the Player's Guide.

            *Starts praying.
            Last edited by Gonzo; 02-04-2019, 03:54 PM.


            Join the Strife

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            • #7
              Should we list problems if they were also problems for us in 2e and just kind of carried over? Or just pro-con about the changes?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                I've seriously never had a simple quick combat in 2e that wasn't against something 3e would just designate as a trivial opponent, and let you kill with a single roll. If a 2e opponent was worth rolling dice against, it almost invariably took 4+ hours, even if the fight ended in less than thirty seconds in-character.
                There are a lot of beings that can hurt you but you can crumple in one blow, like a lot of animals.

                And not all combats are to the death. The example I gave isn’t really serious combat but it’s a story bit to complicate things with a bloody wound.


                It is a time for great deeds!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                  Should we list problems if they were also problems for us in 2e and just kind of carried over? Or just pro-con about the changes?
                  If the problem carried over, I think 'Them carrying this problem over is causing problems' is a fair thing to note.


                  Revlid wrote:
                  Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post

                    I mean a simple roll one attack. Like the example I gave a swordsman was sleeping and he is trained to strike if his sleep is disturbed as a survival thing. I can’t quite do that now because combat doesn’t work that way with initiative. The closest I can get is to use his wake up strike using the Trap rules.

                    The only difference I see between 2e and 3e for that example would be rolling initiative for the sleeping guy before making the attack. Is that what you mean?


                    A tinkering effort at bringing Raksha into Ex3: Fair Folk: The Beautiful Thieves

                    A tinkering effort at bringing fate ninjas into Ex3: Sidereals: Where Fate Has Led - Album of the Charm Trees thereof.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Oh... does Mr. Negative over here join this little shindig? *sigh* Might as well. Let's see

                      Pros
                      #1: Balanced, workable engine that doesn't rely on houserules or errata
                      #2: Interesting new mechanical ideas, like the withering/decisive split, the Aura system or Introduce a Fact

                      Cons
                      #1: Combat is slooooow. It can get molasses level when opponents are roughly evenly matched. Fights haven't given me the same air of excitement or memorability as 2e did, and encounter balance is hard to eyeball. Shoutout to my poor Storyteller who has had a fair share of what looked like potential recurring villains die really frecking early.
                      #2: Every single setting change, bar 'remove obviously gross thing', was for the worse. Yes, all of them. I only put this on the list because, while it's subjective, the fact that the setting is so different from the way I like it makes it really annoying to ST: it's hard to lay down changed fluff to players who're jumping on board now and don't have the older books.
                      #3: How much stuff is left in the Storyteller's hands? Evocations, the Leadership system, difficulties on rolls... while freedom for the ST is appreciated, giving a baseline to work from in some of these situations would've been really helpful.
                      #4: Craft is a bloated gnarled tree that needs to be cut down, and is counter to immersive play
                      #5: Charm bloat make the system really hard to approach for new players. Even for those used to it, the sheer number of charms gets kinda ridiculous. Didn't people used to make fun of DotFA NPCs for having full page charm lists?

                      *sigh* Weirdly, while this list is stacked negative, I'm optimistic about where the line goes from here? Most of these are just problems I had with Core that haven't gone away. Dragon Blooded hasn't changed my overall feelings towards Ex3 as it stands, but it's sold me on this dev team, and I'm looking forward a lot to the Storyteller's Guide for mechanical advice.

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                      • #12
                        I think we had very similar experiences with Ex3 Croakamancer.


                        Join the Strife

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                        • #13
                          Oh, another weird con that's very exclusive to Solars but that stood out to me in my game.

                          4) The decision to exclude Sorcery from the usual 'You get to take everything up to Essence 5 in your Supernal' way of doing things. We had an Eclipse Caste with Occult Supernal who wanted to be the world's greatest sorcerer, kinda like the Twilight Caste was the World's Greatest Craftsman and the Night was the World's Greatest Horseman, but they couldn't be. Oh they were probably better at the first circle of sorcery than anyone else could be with how they were built, but by the time the game stopped they never got a chance to use the second circle at all.

                          It's especially sad, because while I'm going back I'd say the sorcery systems are definitely one of the pros of the game otherwise.


                          Revlid wrote:
                          Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

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                          • #14
                            Mortals can actually interact with the mechanics meaningfully now.

                            While it might not be what many want from this system and this title, *most* of the issues posted so far in this thread effectively go away once you stop playing Exalted and start playing mortals. Im not kidding

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aiden View Post
                              Oh, another weird con that's very exclusive to Solars but that stood out to me in my game.

                              4) The decision to exclude Sorcery from the usual 'You get to take everything up to Essence 5 in your Supernal' way of doing things. We had an Eclipse Caste with Occult Supernal who wanted to be the world's greatest sorcerer, kinda like the Twilight Caste was the World's Greatest Craftsman and the Night was the World's Greatest Horseman, but they couldn't be. Oh they were probably better at the first circle of sorcery than anyone else could be with how they were built, but by the time the game stopped they never got a chance to use the second circle at all.

                              It's especially sad, because while I'm going back I'd say the sorcery systems are definitely one of the pros of the game otherwise.
                              I think it's because it would otherwise take only three starting Charm slots to become capable of melting cities from the word go. That's both a much shorter path than any other Supernal needs, and kind of has a more profound impact than any Supernal besides Lore (which is a lot more restricted in mass destruction than sorcery is).


                              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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