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  • In regards to the Bull's local counters, I imagine that Yurgen got a big local hype boost after the Battle of Futile Blood. Before, he was just an Anathema warlord from a culture of nomadic barbarians. Now he's The Bull of the North, who threw back the Realm and broke the legendary Tepet Legions. A lot of northerners aren't going to care that his victory was pyrrhic, they're going to sign on with this guy for looting rights and a few of the disgruntled satrapies are going to be wondering if things might be better under Yurgen's boot than under the Realm's. The closest regional hard counters would be Medo, the Haslanti League, and maybe Iscomay. The more powerful players(Lunars and The Lover) would probably try to subvert the Bull and bring him to their side rather than killing him.

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    • I think Iscomay is too far away, though it's a bit difficult to be sure as it's not 100% clear where the Bull's forces and empire are (though I guess his forces do have a lot of nomads, so they could move around a lot).

      Medo, interestingly, is a Tepet Satrapy, which could very much affect their response to him.


      My characters:
      Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
      Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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      • Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        I find it interesting that a lot of people feel that Dragonblood have consistently been depicted as lame and rubbish as stupid. I never really got that. When I started playing, it seemed that the Realm was a giant and powerful empire, and Solars and Lunars scared and on the run. But I wonder if that's because I played pretty much only Dragonblood games for 3-4 years before I played much Solars, and the DBs were much higher xp than the Solars (who were starting characters), and had way more experience and artefacts and so on. Also there were those combo rules that really did in Solars...
        I remember once our entire Solar party fought a single optimised Fire Aspect with Five Dragon Style and artefacts, we barely beat him.
        The main problem with Dragon-Blooded was that they weren't allowed perfect defences in their native charmset in a system that had become increasingly reliant upon them, to the point where there were spells in Terrestrial Circle Sorcery/Shadowlands Circle Necromancy that they could barely defend against.



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        • Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
          I think Iscomay is too far away, though it's a bit difficult to be sure as it's not 100% clear where the Bull's forces and empire are (though I guess his forces do have a lot of nomads, so they could move around a lot).

          Medo, interestingly, is a Tepet Satrapy, which could very much affect their response to him.

          I really wish that they gave a general outline of the Bull's empire's borders.

          Medo is looking like a good place for House Tepet to flee to if the Roseblack doesn't get the results they're looking for. The Medoans respect them and they're on an expansionist war footing and looking for firepower. Transporting Dynasts to Medo is way less troublesome than transporting Medoan cavalry to the Blessed Isle.

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          • Originally posted by HamSandLich View Post


            I really wish that they gave a general outline of the Bull's empire's borders.

            Medo is looking like a good place for House Tepet to flee to if the Roseblack doesn't get the results they're looking for. The Medoans respect them and they're on an expansionist war footing and looking for firepower. Transporting Dynasts to Medo is way less troublesome than transporting Medoan cavalry to the Blessed Isle.

            The Tepet Sidebar leads me to an...interesting idea for a game, of a Tepet Dynast traveling the old Tepet Satrapies and calling upon her families reputation to build a colitation-nation out of these disparate warrior peoples. Maybe not enough to retake the Scarlet Throne, but enough to be a new Shogunate-Successor nation (I like a Civil War that ends with many different successor states--Peleps in the West, the Prasadi breaking off in the east, etc)


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            • Originally posted by Epee102 View Post


              The Tepet Sidebar leads me to an...interesting idea for a game, of a Tepet Dynast traveling the old Tepet Satrapies and calling upon her families reputation to build a colitation-nation out of these disparate warrior peoples. Maybe not enough to retake the Scarlet Throne, but enough to be a new Shogunate-Successor nation (I like a Civil War that ends with many different successor states--Peleps in the West, the Prasadi breaking off in the east, etc)

              I always saw that as the more likely outcome of the Realm Civil War(as opposed to a new Empress taking the throne), its becoming really prominent this edition now that differences between the houses have become more prononced. My best guess is the events of the Warring States period and the Sengoku Era play out on the Blessed Isle. The Houses fragment the Realm into smaller states and the Immaculate Order splinters into countless sects and theocratic dominions.

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              • Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                The main problem with Dragon-Blooded was that they weren't allowed perfect defences in their native charmset in a system that had become increasingly reliant upon them, to the point where there were spells in Terrestrial Circle Sorcery/Shadowlands Circle Necromancy that they could barely defend against.
                Yeah, I think when we started neither we nor the ST were mechanically savvy enough to be wielding the flurry-of-grand-goremaul that totally smashed everything. And of the 7 PCs, I think 4 had power armour (and another was a Water Monk, so had a really good defence anyway).

                So actually, when we started the combats worked quite well, as our power armour's soak stopped anything being too lethal, and the Solars we fought tended to be armed with regular daiklaives, not massive double-handed weapons.

                Whereas later when we did other DB games where we didn't wear power armour, every now and then someone would be horribly be killed by a goremaul (another PC basically killed mine by accident with a Grand Goremaul) or Direlance+Five Dragon Force Blow. But it was only like, once a year. Not all the time.

                And in the Solar game we did, I played a Twilight for about 7 years with no perfect defence, but the ST tended not to throw very dangerous foes at us.

                All-in-all it made a much more satisfying combat experience than later on once we'd twigged to how to break the combat system.

                Originally posted by HamSandLich
                I really wish that they gave a general outline of the Bull's empire's borders.
                As it's a nomadic empire, it shouldn't be too distinct, but some kind of indication would be good.


                My characters:
                Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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                • Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post

                  Yeah, I think when we started neither we nor the ST were mechanically savvy enough to be wielding the flurry-of-grand-goremaul that totally smashed everything. And of the 7 PCs, I think 4 had power armour (and another was a Water Monk, so had a really good defence anyway).

                  So actually, when we started the combats worked quite well, as our power armour's soak stopped anything being too lethal, and the Solars we fought tended to be armed with regular daiklaives, not massive double-handed weapons.

                  Whereas later when we did other DB games where we didn't wear power armour, every now and then someone would be horribly be killed by a goremaul (another PC basically killed mine by accident with a Grand Goremaul) or Direlance+Five Dragon Force Blow. But it was only like, once a year. Not all the time.

                  And in the Solar game we did, I played a Twilight for about 7 years with no perfect defence, but the ST tended not to throw very dangerous foes at us.

                  All-in-all it made a much more satisfying combat experience than later on once we'd twigged to how to break the combat system.


                  As it's a nomadic empire, it shouldn't be too distinct, but some kind of indication would be good.
                  Yes an accident that’s totally what it was and then the Satrap issued a general Pardon .

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                  • The Satrap who killed my bureaucrat? Yes, he did pardon himself, but I don't know how well that'd stand up when the dead Sesus's family investigated.

                    Still, I'm secure in the knowledge that satrap was later tricked into signing his own death warrant.


                    My characters:
                    Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                    Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

                    Comment


                    • Those of you who have followed Onyx Path products throughout the years, do you have any approximate guess as to how long it will be before I can order the physical copy of this wonderful book ? I really have no clue as to how long this pre-release process usually takes. Like many Game Masters, I do loath having to read PDF's (although this book is not the worst having as a PDF, since it does not contain mechanics), and I am very much looking forward to be able to buy the real book so I can bring this beauty to my table
                      Last edited by Magnus K; 06-06-2019, 06:19 AM.

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                      • Month or two, probably.

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                        • So the Imperial Navy is something that I found What Fire Has Wrought to effectively clarify and consolidate exactly what its place in the Realm’s military structure was and the precise nature of House Peleps’ authority over it, right down to the fun detail that the ruling council of the House does double duty as the Admiralty. Now that gets expanded upon with the command hierarchy organised beneath that board, as well as the composition and duties of the Navy; the Earth Fleet absorbing the old duty of the Merchant Fleet in dealing with pirates and smugglers, and the other four being concerned not merely with projecting imperial force in the form of dealing with lesser fleets and ferrying the legions, but the unique concerns of the setting of needing to deal with supernatural opposition from the relatively conventional (ala naval forces commanded by Lunars) to the particularly unusual such as dangerous sea monsters.

                          On the point of fleet composition, one major departure from prior depictions such as in Savage Seas is that the differing priorities of the fleets means that they have varied ship layouts, rather than repeating “30% triremes, 40% biremes, 5% tenders and the rest are small craft for marines” six times without any alteration. Even bigger than that is how the Water Fleet is finally directly attributed with a concern for blue water craft so that it can actually make the trips to the Western satrapies (in addition to the Air Flate having such ships so that it can range at least as far north as the white sea); in fairness, the Water Fleet of prior Editions existed in a context in which the Realm had dominated in the West for a lot longer and so its duties could plausibly have consisted if coastal patrols of those islands, but it was still a bit of an oversight (especially if they were supposed to be dealing with pirates).

                          Incidentally, I prefer the ranks given to the highest commanders of each fleet being grand admiral rather than fleet admiral, just because I think it sounds cooler (and it recalls fond memories of Skies of Arcadia). For those beneath them, I appreciate the direct statement about how the Exalted fill the ranks of the admirals (and what their duties are), particularly the point with how family connections to Peleps (and sometimes significant talent) ensure that other scions might achieve the ranks, and that otherwise the officers of the conceivably still vast numbers of ships are almost entirely mortal. The idea that a peasant who has the skill and fortune to be appointed captain of a ship is promoted in status of the Realm as well is especially interesting; it implies to me that there’s a unique prestige attached to the Navy, both in affording its commissions the power to raise a person like that and the sense that it would be unacceptable for one to have the rank of captain and be anything less than a patrician.

                          Sorcerers would obviously have uniquely valued capabilities for ships, while it’s fun that the typical distance maintained from them complements the characteristic superstition of sailors to create an especially lonely position; I suppose that the navy must compensate such volunteers particularly well. It’s likewise fun for the sailors of the navy to find the prospect of offending maritime spirits terrifying enough that, whenever a monk isn’t attached who can keep an eye over their shoulder, they’ll forego Immaculate propriety altogether in favour of propitiating such spirits (as well as outright worshipping an Immaculate Dragon, which I imagine many monks would find even more offensive).

                          I quite like how the hard delineation between navy and legions, in combination with the fact that the heart of the Realm is an island and thus 100% dependent on sailing, creates an environment of mutual disdain between them. Particularly the combination of how legionnaires don’t like the sense of powerlessness inherent to being stocked into the holds of a ship and entirely reliant on the sailors to get them safely to another shore, with how such powerlessness (and any other compromising positions) being the only thing sailors tend to see of the legionnaires kind of undermines their mistake and cultivates an unimpressive image.

                          And then the Water Fleet’s reconfiguration in keeping with the West now being presented as an exciting new frontier is capitalised by the point that Peleps is investing even more heavily in making it seaworthy for the sake of their expansionist ambitions in that Direction. This dynamic future and being given a strong emphasis in the greater naval makeup is in particular contrast to how First Edition portrayed the Water Fleet, as the most hard pressed owing to the Time of Tumult rendering its theatre of operations the least tenable to the point of it being described as shrinking drastically.

                          As for the Merchant Fleet, I find something particularly different in the feel of it when it’s directly addressed as having previously been the sixth fleet of the Imperial Navy; it makes the transition feel like a stronger characteristic of it. That’s something that leads nicely into the point that the Fleet has not yet thoroughly come under the control of V’neef; they got rid of the Peleps, but retain enough veterans (on whom they are probably quite dependent) who hold some older loyalties to leave the new power compromised. I had imagined that this rendition of the Merchant Fleet would be more concerned on providing the cargo vessels, but it would appear that it still consists of warships, just applying them to escort and pirate hunting purposes (I’m especially amused by the idea that they engage in entrapment to round out their income with prizes); nevertheless, I would like to imagine that the Fleet operates a few gigantic treasure ships in the event that a Great House wants to lay claim to some sizable treasure as tribute. I like the way that V’neef’s ambitions in the West amount to leaving more of the tribute vulnerable (which creates the interesting scenario that even satrapies that are trying to keep their payments going are coming up short), and the idea that they’re still opposing any efforts of rival Houses to develop fleets sufficient to protect their tribute seems like a cunning long-term strategy, a means of leveraging their limited but highly valuable power into survival across a civil war (especially the point that all they have to do is withhold services rather than proactively attack).

                          Heh, with the fact that the ships owned by the other Houses include the occasional ship to protect cargo vessels, I wonder if any Dynasts have ever chanced their arm at trying to pass off tribute as regular commercial shipping in order to cut Peleps or V’neef out of their cut. I’d also wonder if their paramilitaries might have better relations with the privately owned ships that ferry them than the Imperial forces do with one another. I’m guessing that Cathak still has ships to serve that purpose for their legions in the way that Sesus and Tepet do (or did), just not as many merchant or similar ships to supplement them. It’s a good look to address the matter of how Peleps becoming an enemy of the other Houses might roundly transform the Scarlet Dynasty’s relationship with the sea; facing the prospect of losing the familiar methods of transporting the legions, needing to appropriate merchant shipping into impromptu war vessels (always a good time, and successful more often than you’d think), and particularly that idea that the outbreak of war could cut the Blessed Isle off from the Threshold (definitely militarily, possibly totally if they lack the forces to keep the sea lanes safe). It’s an intriguing premise just for the planning sessions and developments of military theory that it might entail for the characters.

                          To double back a bit, I mostly like that picture of a ship at sea; the scarlet sails seem like a fitting way for Imperial ships to proclaim themselves, the sun in the distance looks very good, and I like the look of the officer’s uniform, kind of a fusion of 18th century naval and what I think old Korean might have looked like. I do wonder if the number of masts is fitting to something that I suppose is a galley, but that might be nitpicking… if it was meant to be a trireme, it should technically have two more rows of oars.

                          As for the sidebars, I’m surprised at how strong the navy comes across; I wouldn’t have expected the marines to have such high traits (although that might be offset a bit by the lower likelihood of being commanded by the Exalted), and the blue-water vessels look particularly heavily armed; perhaps not quite enough to capture Age of Sail gunships exchanging broadsides, but as close as you’ll get in typical Exalted. I also like how the battle group traits account for different sizes and quality of other personnel that will be found upon the different classes of ship. For the treasures, I would find it to be expected that they could acquire a decent number of items seized from enemy ships, but what’s interesting is how their access to First Age weapons differs from that of the legions; the ancient ships might not be in the best condition, but at least Peleps had access to them, which affords them a distinct means of retaining control for themselves in the absence of the Empress. It probably helped that such power had somewhat less range than warstriders would have (although the dangers inherent to using them to blockade the Blessed Isle or rampage through the West…).

                          I think the section on the Realm’s maritime power does a good job of making their activities an engaging focus for stories, and it comes across as quite strong in the things that are made dependent on it. I would have found it in the past to be a bit of a static element of the setting, and not the most vivid part of the Realm in particular, but the points on how it is or could evolve through the Time of Tumult give it more presence.


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                          • Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                            Yeah, I think when we started neither we nor the ST were mechanically savvy enough to be wielding the flurry-of-grand-goremaul that totally smashed everything. And of the 7 PCs, I think 4 had power armour (and another was a Water Monk, so had a really good defence anyway).
                            At that level it is pretty difficult to notice a significant problem unique to Dragon-Blooded, since comparisons to the Solar play experience are offset by the quantity of unexpected attacks in the Abyssal arsenal.


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                            • All right, just a short bit of the chapter left. I’ll catch up soon I’m sure, seeing a decent window.



                              With the number of times that the book has referred to making war with the Lunars and the larger context of presenting them as the major opponents of the Realm, it makes a lot of sense to have a dedicated analysis of such warfare from the perspective of the Realm. I like how there’s a common broad strategy in which Lunars can effectively build up extremely motivated forces to hit more directly from the front, while the Exalted themselves can employ their varied and subtle talents to soften up the legions from the side and back, making them more susceptible. I feel as though this section in particular is being written with a certain in-character bias; that the Realm would delegitimise the motives of Lunar dominion inhabitants by attributing their acts to religious fervour generated by Exalted, rather than grievances from the rapine of the empire. I see something similar in their perspective of the kinds of powers and other advantages that the Lunars and those behind them can bring to bear.

                              I think there’s a good sense of escalation to the processes used in opposing Lunars, from the relatively basic of being heavily drilled to use good anti-infiltration tactics, to having good fortification tactics to mitigate empowered armies, up to using their supernatural assets to counter Lunars as best they can directly. I especially like how it places the Dragon Blooded into context of how significant they are in forcing the Silver Pact’s prevailing strategy; that when a full legion or more is massed together, such a large number of those Exalted is enough to give even powerful Lunars paused. I find an interesting balance presented for Lunars in making a major show of force against the Realm, with the idea that such a thing exposes their dwindling arsenals of First Age to attack, but only by way of becoming the target of such, even if the framing is in terms of the Realm’s own reluctance to commit such force. I think it can make some campaigns involving Lunars, in backstory or otherwise, into a series of interlocking dynamics; Lunars trying to make a big enough nuisance of themselves to expose an irreplaceable weapon and then make a risky go at it, and Dragon Blooded commanders needing to decide whether things have gotten bad enough to take that chance yet.



                              Heh, if there was ever going to be something to demonstrate the Realm’s complacency over the return of the Solars, and sell me on the value of the icewalker forces behind Yurgen having been severely damaged in the act of destroying Tepet, it would be the idea that the Scarlet Dynasty as a whole can view that war from afar and be pleased that it was a victory on their part. I also have a liking for that idea that limitations to information transmission and Dynast priorities and self-absorption mean that they don’t even fully believe that the Solars have returned en masse; I think it gives their own society a lot more credibility when their internal politics don’t exist in the context that a resurgence of Solars is a widely spread theme, as well as setting the stage for scenes of extreme shock at just how big a deal Solars can truly be. The sidebar in particular is very good for presenting this in terms of its value for player characters; I especially like the point of how the wider apathy affords an unoccupied niche in which player Terrestrials can make a name for themselves, while Celestial Exalted ought to consider balancing the window afforded by the lowest backing ever for the Wyld Hunt and not making such a big fuss of themselves too early that the Realm manages to pull together in opposition to them.



                              Finally, having established all of the facets of imperial military power, the game looks forwards to the times developing in its dramatic recent withdrawal. I like how, for a start, it gives rebellious Solars and Mnemon’s reprisal an uncertain position; it’s enough to establish a scenario in which Realm forces can still throw down, but also illustrates the weaknesses of dividing the legions among Houses and still gives the Solars a chance to bounce back. The next two examples of places capitalising on a complete withdrawal of Realm power are nice snapshots of new locations (I have nothing specific to say, but that’s not a sleight on them), but for Medo I particularly like how, given its backstory and the terms in which it was initially described to us (one of the first new locations of the Edition), I have a real fondness for the idea that the lack of Realm oversight is finally granting them an opportunity to resume the empire building that got them into trouble in the first place, with the notion that they’d actually like the survivors of their Tepet overlords to join in being the icing on top; it’s a very distinct international relationship.



                              The military stuff has been pretty good; much like the bureaucracy, more than knowing its composition I always wanted a strong picture of what it did, both on a day-to-day basis and in the grand scheme of the empire. I think that a fine job of that has been done here, providing not only a framework for devising the actual manoeuvres of the legions and navy, but the significance of how they’re being appropriated and a decent general frame for stories or chronicles focused around involvement in an army on the march.


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                              • I for one, really enjoyed the fact that a Lunar is working with Dragon Kings in the military chapter. Blood sacrifice aside, I'm glad to get some more DK mentions in 3e. In hindsight, its a bit of a given that (semi)enlightened DKs and Lunars would be easy allies, they're bound to have territorial overlap after all.

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