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  • Getting back into Exalted

    So I'm getting back into the game after several years. I have fond memories of playing Exalted back in college, and now I've got a family of my own and a bit of free time. I got the Ex3 core book a little after it came out but haven't been able to touch anything in the game since 2nd Ed. Infernals. I tried reading through the system, but it's fairly Byzantine where I expected it to be smoother. So, all that brings up two situations that I'd like to ask for your help and advice on.

    One is that I'd love to sit down and run a game for my kids. We played John Wick's "Cat" and the kids absolutely loved it. My wife got stuck on generating content and I simply didn't have the inspiration that fit with the setting, so we set it aside. I've been ruminating about running Dragon Bloods for the kids because it offers a much longer scale to challenges than starting with Celestials and encourages teamwork with their Charms. I don't have the source book, though, and was wondering about your advice on getting a PDF or a hardcover. I'm leaning towards a hardcover, but Drive Thru doesn't explain at all the difference between "Premium" and "Standard;" does anyone have any insight on that? And is Dragon Blood a good choice for my audience?

    The other thing is that the mechanics in the Core book are really complex. Ideally I'd like to run something that's a lot easier for them to grasp than the strict mote economy, initiative, withering, and crash, though maybe I'm over estimating how difficult it is to keep track of and explain all these concepts. Do any of your have experience doing anything similar? Is there a "Quick Start" or simplified system? Or is it something that's easier to grasp and learn than what I'm concerned about?

    My wife would almost certainly help me run the game and my kids are preteens. They're experienced in a lot of normal board games, though this would only be their second RPG. Thanks for any advice you have!

  • #2
    There is a quick-start called Tomb of Dreams that does a very nice job introducing a lot of the mechanics in small bites. (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...tion-Jumpstart)

    On Premium vs Standard, the premium pages are nice, but I don't personally think they're worth the extra scratch.

    3E as a whole is much crunchier at the onset, but all the parts combine MUCH smoother than past editions. Its rough at first, but is far more bombastic and becomes really easy once it clicks.

    DB vs Solar, though, neither is really easier than the other. For new players I'd recommend either the jumpstart or, mortals. Seriously. Mortals aren't an instant death sentence, all the core mechanics work the same, and you have less moving parts.


    Exalted Behind a Screen of Jade, Savant of the Immaculate Texts, No Moon Scholar, Seeking Awakened, Cloaked Changeling, Disciple of the Antler Crown, Wraith, Good Sitting Dog, Best Lurking Cat with Bones, Pioneer Pooch, Scion with Shield of Knowledge, Director

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    • #3
      Seriously. Mortals aren't an instant death sentence, all the core mechanics work the same, and you have less moving parts.
      Well, unless you intend on throwing them against Perfectly Spherical Dawn Castes on the regular.

      I ran a fight scene between a mortal and a pack of hobgoblins led by a Fair Folk Lorelei. He took an injury but he routed them pretty damn thoroughly.

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      • #4
        Oh god no, not Zeal, bring anything back but ZEAL! Eh? 2e veterans? Eh?*


        Otherwise, welcome back! I'm happy to see that returning to RPGs is possible after starting a family! So, the thing with Exalted 3e is that it's one of the more complex RPG systems, but it works well for epic ninja fights. There's a lot of movement stuff, for example, that took me a while to get in my head, but it's pretty finely tuned. Take this with a bit of a pinch of salt, because I have favouritism here, but I think you should start with mortals, and maybe introduce mechanics to them slowly even then, and then exalt as Dragonblooded.

        As mortals you can introduce them to the dice pool mechanics, spending willpower, then things like athletics and awareness which are super simple, and then grow in complexity and do combat and social stuff. Then you can add charms on top of that later once they Exalt.

        Solars are good because their charms are very straightforward power expressions, it's pretty simple to understand doing something mortals do but better, but some of the charm trees have 40+ charms in a single cascade, and with Supernal abilities they have access to all 40 from Essence 1. Also their charms have a good/bad habit of being really combo happy as you layer on multiple different effects, but that adds to the complexity of an already complex system.

        Dragonblooded are good because of mostly the opposite. A lot of their charm trees are greatly condensed, and each charm will tend more towards giving a new tool in the toolbox, rather than adding a new feature to an already existing tool. They're also bad because they have a new aura mechanic that can be tricky to get around, but on balance I think they come out ahead. They're also a smoother progression of abilities from mortal onward. Again, I have a bias, although that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

        Also you might want to feel out what they'd want to play before delving into it, because some systems like the social system are complex enough that you don't want to learn them right away if you don't have to. So if one of the kids wants to be a super nerd loremaster you can look into how to introduce facts and how the training and meditation charms work, but otherwise you can leave it. The new systems work MUCH better than 2e though.


        And, of course, you can always come to the forums for help with like how to explain combat, or what's the difference between Instill Persuade and Inspire. There's a few explanations out there already but I might make my own thread of it.



        *Seriously though for anyone who doesn't get it I mean no offense to Zeal the forumite. Epic Zeal of (Virtue) was a charm in 2e that broke the tenuously balanced combat system apart worse than almost anything else. So that's the joke.

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        • #5
          Actually, Monkey, Epic Zeal of (Virtue) was an altogether different Charm, which let you rewrite how your brain interprets the Virtue in question and turns any roll of the Virtue into five auto-successes. The Charm just named “Zeal” is the one you’re thinking of, which let you beat perfect defenses.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
            Actually, Monkey, Epic Zeal of (Virtue) was an altogether different Charm, which let you rewrite how your brain interprets the Virtue in question and turns any roll of the Virtue into five auto-successes. The Charm just named “Zeal” is the one you’re thinking of, which let you beat perfect defenses.
            Whaaat? Didn’t epic zeal of virtue let you ignore PDs a number of times per story equal to that virtue? It’s been a long time and my group never played in that space really so I’m probably mixing two effects together.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

              Whaaat? Didn’t epic zeal of virtue let you ignore PDs a number of times per story equal to that virtue? It’s been a long time and my group never played in that space really so I’m probably mixing two effects together.

              Nah. It's essentially whenever you channel the virtue that you have Epic Zeal/Cosmic Transcendence for you gain automatic successes instead of having to roll your virtue.

              And then redfines Compassion to be "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" and makes your compassion revolve around some sort of greater good.
              Conviction you have a perfect defense against charms that target existing intimacies, beliefs or memories; with the inability to act against an intimacy unless you spend a willpower.
              Temperance does the same for attempts to build an intimacy or exert an emotion over the character and prevents acting dishonestly or breaking promises without spending a willpower.
              Valor means succeeding at all valor checks, all mental influence to instill fear or alter behavior off fears is an unacceptable order.

              Nothing about ignoring perfect defenses.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Uknown DarkLord View Post
                And then redfines Compassion to be "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" and makes your compassion revolve around some sort of greater good.
                The greater good!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                  The greater good!
                  Stop saying that!


                  Exalted Behind a Screen of Jade, Savant of the Immaculate Texts, No Moon Scholar, Seeking Awakened, Cloaked Changeling, Disciple of the Antler Crown, Wraith, Good Sitting Dog, Best Lurking Cat with Bones, Pioneer Pooch, Scion with Shield of Knowledge, Director

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the advice. I'll look into mortals, then. I'm thinking of starting small, like from a Dynastic House and dispatching them for "jobs for the family" at first to get them used to the mechanics and see where we go from there. They do very well when presented with options and this is would be and easy way to introduce everyone to the setting in a manageable way. I remember when I first got my hands on RPGs and Exalted in particular and saw Charms almost as discrete, separate "spells" unto themselves rather than an extension of the character's competence, and mortals might be a good way to avoid that pitfall. I should've clarified that we'd just start off with a few Excellencies so they had a slightly larger dice pool for some threats, but starting out as mortals makes *perfect* sense. They're even right around the age where most DBs exalt! I think it would be fun for them to learn about the setting and their characters to have that jump in power.

                    I checked out the Tomb adventure and it looks good (it even has Mirror Flag in it!!!), but it seems patently for Solars. I'm avoiding Solar Exalted for a bit, but it's something I'll keep in mind. I could probably scale down the challenges to something more appropriate to the characters.

                    Thank you again for your advice!

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                    • #11
                      Keep in mind that the characters in Tomb of Dreams aren’t fully built; they only have about two-thirds the Charm allotment of a starting character.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                        Well, unless you intend on throwing them against Perfectly Spherical Dawn Castes on the regular.

                        I ran a fight scene between a mortal and a pack of hobgoblins led by a Fair Folk Lorelei. He took an injury but he routed them pretty damn thoroughly.
                        Yeah. My first dabbling with 3E put my players against some silverwights and then a Cataphractoi. I could have been more aggressive with the Cataphractoi's charms, but even against something with much larger pools they walked away victorious. Missing a few bits, sure, but they won.

                        Sorcery is accessible as a mortal, and the new systems actually make it not absolutely worthless to them after a single spell.

                        I also nearly killed a 200xp dawn caste with six mortal spearmen because the player didn't think he'd need to flex that hard and wasn't paying attention.


                        Exalted Behind a Screen of Jade, Savant of the Immaculate Texts, No Moon Scholar, Seeking Awakened, Cloaked Changeling, Disciple of the Antler Crown, Wraith, Good Sitting Dog, Best Lurking Cat with Bones, Pioneer Pooch, Scion with Shield of Knowledge, Director

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                        • #13
                          So getting ready for the game, it looks like there's a lot of resources out there that are only sort of known by word of mouth. The Storyteller's Vault seems like a huge resource; I poked around there and the ST handbook "Intersecting Fates" seems like it might be helpful. I was thinking about introducing my kids to mechanics using a "Monster of the Week" style of adventures based around X-Files episodes, substituting demonic or underworld cultists for aliens.

                          I joined the Exalted Discord; that seems like it might be a great resource.

                          I poked around a bit and found the blurb in the Dragon Blood book about how their excellencies work (aside: oh and I am looking forward to the Sidereal book!!!) to sort of think things through.

                          Do you have any recommendations for good resource hubs? How useful have you found the Discord or ST Vault? Any hidden gems in there?

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                          • #14
                            What do you think is the most important to you right now? Advice on how to set up antagonists, simplified mechanical breakdowns, advice on how to construct a session, advice on character generation...?

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                            • #15
                              Simplified mechanical breakdowns would be great! I know the kids will want some combat, so getting a good flow of join battle, initiative countdown, withering attacks leading into decisive attacks and such would be extremely helpful. I've reread the combat section at least once this morning and it's a little obtuse. I'll probably get out some dice and walk myself through it, but that's something that I would love for advice or resources to make smoother.

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