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Usurpation of Fate Chronicle [Requesting assistance for campaign]

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  • Usurpation of Fate Chronicle [Requesting assistance for campaign]

    I am brand new to this forum. I am seeking to start a campaign in 3e exalted, but would like some help brainstorming ideas that better fit in the world of exalted. As well as help finding a more natural sense of progression in exalted. I am used to DnD's xp system, CR, and a progression system based on combat; so I feel a little nervous planning out a campaign and challenges without that clear sense of progression. If I am not supposed to be asking for help for a specific campaign in this forum please let me know.

    First I will explain a very basic main plot and conflict...

    Usurpation of Fate
    That is the working title for my personal notes that spoil the endgoal of the main antogonist. A powerful and mysterious force in the underworld with a connection to the loom of fate seeks to create their own loom to replace the one in Yu-Shan and inevitably cause great catastrophe throughout Creation to achieve some diabolical goal. The players; a combination of solars, lunars, and dragon-blooded; will quickly be introduced to this foe and overtime they will uncover the conspiracy forgotten by fate and be forced to act against these abyssal powers before they can complete their plans.

    Antagonists
    Sixth Maiden: The main secret and power behind these usurpers is a sixth maiden of fate that died during the primordial wars. She has been forgotten and erased from fate. She will be some cross between deathlord/neverborn/abyssal with a maiden of fate flavor to her. She will have about ten chosen who have also been forgotten by fate as these exaltations were brought to the underworld with her. My current idea is that these chosen will be two from each current chosen path, but in the past their job was to assist pattern spiders in mending the loom, but that has been forgotten. These chosen will be to sidereals as abyssal are to solars. When they were essentially banished to the underworld they managed to smuggle one pattern spider, and since then have been creating a new loom of fate. At the start of the campaign this loom is nearly finished, the main goal as of now is to find a way to move this loom to creation and then disrupt the original in Yu-Shan.

    Deathlord: The more active antagonist will be a deathlord who cares deeply for this maiden (not sure if it will be infatuation or more of an older brother/protective care). The sidereals of the sixth maiden are mostly busy with assisting the pattern spider and divining information for the deathlord. So, the main agents of the sixth maiden are actually the abyssal servants of this deathlord. Currently in hope of not being discovered by other deathlords only the abyssal venture to creation to find information, artifacts, and to assassinate future threats the evil sidereals have divined.

    Other Factions
    Other Deathlords: This is the biggest wildcard. They will likely not be keen on this usurpation that leaves them out. They will probably be foes of this maiden if they find out. So they will serve as a "deal with the devil" kind of characters. They will likely be able to provide support for a cost, and it will mean the players will be working with beings who are still their enemies in creation. A gamble that will take a fair bit of social prowess.

    The Realm: If members of the party are dynasts, their house or member organization may be able to provide help. Furthermore, I plan on a subplot of a sidereal using an ambitious dynast heir and his/her house's resources to make a desperate incursion into the underworld with a single legion and some other dynast members. The players can maybe befriend this dynast near the end or have to face off as they all race to this new loom of fate.

    Celestial Exalts: Pretty self-explanatory. Other celestial exalts exist and throughout the story maybe they befriend some. I do plan on having a vengeful solar or lunar who will act as a mysterious ally in the mid-game, but at the end will reveal their plan to charm/enslave the sixth maiden so he can try to be in charge of this new world post-loom usurpation.

    Intro
    So the plan is to have the start of the campaign be the solar/lunar players be captured by an abyssal agent before they can exalt along with a dragon-blooded member of wild hunt who was sent to fight these abyssal. The solars and lunars were determined to be powerful allies if they could be captured before they exalt by the evil sidereals. However, the rest of the wild hunt which would include dragon-blooded players tracks them down and confronts the abyssal at sea. Throughout the conflict the players exalt. At the end of the conflict the players find that the abyssal intentionally came here in the ocean as their is a shadowland he crossed over. For the night the players and wild hunt are trapped in the underworld where a dark tower in the middle of the sea reside. Stuck in the underworld the dragon-blooded and solars/lunars are forced to cooperate to survive. This tower will be a dungeon or a mostly abandoned safehouse of the dead abyssal; either way, it will provide some information and artifact that reveal little info without proper context, but does make them all targets for the maiden and her servants.

    What I need help with...
    After that I don't know how to proceed. I would like some ideas for subplots throughout the campaign before I bring back the plot of the abyssal. Also any critiques of my ideas would be really appreciated no matter how blunt. I would like the players to eventually try to seek out their own ambitions so they have cool armies or artifacts to use later. I have ideas for plot points throughout, such as a lunar player being the mate of one of the abyssal, deathlord attempting to make an abyssal lunar, rumors arising that dynast players are working with anathema, a dragon-blooded girl with an ability to seemingly, perfectly raise people from the dead and is being hunted by abyssals and liminals. However, those are all tied to the main plot...I would like some adventures to provide a break from the heavy, undead conspiracy.

    But honestly any comments, tips, questions, or guides for my campaign or running a campaign in general would be so appreciated by me!




  • Kelly Pedersen
    replied
    Originally posted by mcmuffinfluffin View Post
    Do you all think it is better one way or the other? I feel already being exalted allows for easier book-keeping and just a smoother first session. However, exalting during the session makes their capture more justifiable and honestly just allows for a more dramatic story in the session.
    Personally, I lean towards "exalt in the first session" (or even later - in my current campaign, I think the first character Exalted in the 2nd or possibly even the 3rd session, and the majority of the characters a session after that). I wouldn't worry too much about advancing them, though. I'd suggest building the characters as starting Exalted, and then saying "okay, you get all the stuff on your sheet except the actual charms or things that need essence to use" (e.g., artifacts). Then, when they Exalt, they just get access to those things. Technically, the book suggests that even a starting character is someone who's been Exalted for about a year, and their initial charms represent the learning they've been doing during that time, but different Exalts can also unlock different power levels during their moment of transcendence, so I'd just handwave it.

    Originally posted by mcmuffinfluffin
    I did not think of that, but I absolutely love it! How would you suggest having the wyld hunt interact with that? Should I cut the wyld hunt in favor of the maiden faction's seeming heroes or have the wyld hunt be the other offer trying to prevent them from going with being of the underworld?
    The Wyld Hunt could still be around, I don't see any reason why not. Especially since the evil Sidereals could potentially be infiltrating the Wyld Hunt. If there were no "good" Sidereals in this particular Hunt (which is really the vast majority of Hunts, given the relative proportions of DBs to Sids), the "evil" ones could fit in just as well. Maybe the death-allied Sidereals even steered the Hunt towards the Abyssal in order to thwart his plans.

    Originally posted by mcmuffinfluffin
    And on that note do you have any suggestions, critiques or subplot ideas on the main plot?
    I think your main plot seems workable. However, one thing I would definitely suggest doing is seriously thinking about the motivations of the antagonists. Another thing I've found when running Exalted is that simple one-note or unsympathetic villains tend to be unsatisfying. If they're just cacklingly evil, there's really no reason for the PCs not to destroy them, and they'll do so at the first opportunity. This cuts off a lot of dramatic potential, and usually means you don't even get in a good rant before they go down. Whereas if the antagonists have more sympathetic motivations, or at least more complex ones, the PCs can get sucked into debates about whether just killing them is the right thing to do, and might be willing to listen to them at least a little. Long enough to get in a few solid minutes of exposition, anyway. :-)

    In this case, I guess my main question is why do the evil Sidereals serve the Sixth Maiden? Blind loyalty is probably the most boring answer here, so I'd suggest something more nuanced. And what is the purpose of the plot to replace the Loom with their Underworld version? I'd have at least some of them believe that when they do it, things will legitimately improve for at least some fraction of Creation or the Underworld. For instance, perhaps one of them wants to make it much easier for people to stay as ghosts after death, so that normal, everyday people become ghosts, not just the obsessed and desperate. They're doing the whole Underworld-Loom thing because they think it will actually lead to a better society, effectively granting people a form of immortality.

    On the topic of the "evil Sidereals", you might want to look into the topic of the Getimian Exalted. Those are a new type of Exalted introduced in 3rd Edition, and are explicitly a foil or nemesis towards the Sidereals. Rather than manipulating the Loom of Fate, they have sort of little miniature Looms inside themselves, and can generate their own fate. They are Exalted from among people who have had their Fate and existence negated by the machinations of Fate. They kind of sound like what you're thinking of for the "evil Sidereals", it sounds to me. Canonically, they were released from some sort of binding by a rogue Sidereal, but there's nothing preventing you from changing that, or elaborating on it - maybe the Sixth Maiden was the original patron of the Getimians, and most of their Exaltations were sealed away, but a few were free and able to serve her in the Underworld?

    There's currently no official rules for the Getiminans, and probably won't be for a while, so if you're going to use them, you'll have to homebrew them, or find someone else's homebrew version you like.

    Leave a comment:


  • mcmuffinfluffin
    replied
    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post

    I would actually disagree with the idea that the circumstances of Exaltation determine the caste. I think that caste is much more determined by what a character is good at overall before Exalting, where their aptitude lies. That's not necessarily going to be the same as the moment of heroism that provokes the actual Exaltation. I think pretty much any caste could justify having their moment of exaltation during a fight, and also during many other moments. For example, a Solar Dawn-caste could Exalt in a quiet moment as she contemplates a battle map and suddenly sees the enemy's whole strategy in a moment of perfect insight, or as she climbs a cliff in the driving rain, refusing to accept defeat and struggling against the elements rather than any mortal foe. Or a Twilight could Exalt in the middle of a raging battle as he bravely wades into the fight against a demon, carving occult runes onto its stony hide to bind its power and send it back to Malfeas.
    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    Actually, my bad there. That's how it used to work in past editions.
    Narrating it as mortals is fine if that's what you want to do. It's just not what I'd do. I like the idea of them having been Exalted better (helps justify Merits etc.).

    Do you all think it is better one way or the other? I feel already being exalted allows for easier book-keeping and just a smoother first session. However, exalting during the session makes their capture more justifiable and honestly just allows for a more dramatic story in the session.

    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
    Dragon-bloods also get a generally weaker set of charms overall than other Exalted types, especially the Solars (roughly speaking, Dragon-Blooded charms define the lower bound of Exalted power and Solars define the upper). That's not to say that a Dragon-Blood will always lose against a Solar, but there's definitely a gap. If you've got someone wanting to play a Dragon-Blood in a group of otherwise Solars and Lunars, I'd strongly recommend starting the DB at something like Essence 3, instead of the default Essence 2 most DBs start at (Solars and Lunars start at Essence 1). That will give the DB a chance to buy some more powerful charms, including some of their Signature charms, the big special tricks of the DB charmset, which should put them at a bit more even footing with the other Exalted. If anyone knows the Exalted setting particularly well among your group, this is a good role to encourage them to take, as it lets them, as an experienced Exalt who's probably been around the block a few times, explain setting details to the other PCs in-character.
    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    I also like Dragon-Blooded. Sounds like a good approach.
    I like that idea of encouraging experienced players to be experienced dragon-blooded, I am not sure if there will be takers as I feel the experienced group of player enjoys the more powerful sets of solar charms, but I will still suggest it.


    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
    I think this is pretty reasonable, yeah. The Immaculates are fanatic, typically, but they aren't stupid, and I think they can generally figure out that working together for the greater good is best. With both sides acknowledging that this is strictly a temporary situation, and as soon as the current crisis is done, they'll go back to trying to kill one another. Also, in 3rd Edition, more well-educated Immaculates are actually aware that Solars and Lunars are Exalted, not just golden or silver demons that possess people and consume their souls. They just believe that the power of the Sun or Moon is simply too great for any mortal to bear, and will inevitably drive them to madness. But someone who knows that can still plausibly work with a newly Exalted person, on the grounds that the power probably hasn't driven them mad yet, and they can still have good motivations.
    I haven't read too heavily through newer the realm and dragon-blooded books yet, so that is an interesting take. Could provide a bit of drama of having these old allies turning on them as the solars gain notoriety or perhaps provide moral conundrum for dragon-blooded members of the group. Should prove fun.

    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
    That's definitely the route I'd suggest, yes. One suggestion for the whole intro scenario - you've mentioned the idea that the PCs would be captured by the evil Sidereals on the grounds that they could be powerful allies. The idea that the death-aligned Sidereals could be trying to recruit the PCs makes sense, I think that's within what Sidereals can and do do. But trying to recruit them as allies by capturing them doesn't make as much sense - few people are happy to be coerced into service, and the more potent they are, the less cooperative they'll be. So, instead of being captured by Sidereals working for the Sixth Maiden, I'd suggest having the starting Abyssal actually work for another Deathlord or other faction, opposed to the Sixth Maiden, and be someone who found out about the PCs, and captured them to try to prevent their recruitment. Then, the servants of the Sixth Maiden can actually show up near the end of the adventure and help the PCs out, establishing a reason for the PCs to trust them. That, in turn, sets up more drama - the Sixth Maiden faction can then actually try to recruit them with some hope of success, and the PCs have an actual dilemma to consider: do they sign up with these people who've helped them (and can probably offer them sweet signing bonuses), or do they stay suspicious and investigate their true purpose? Or both!
    I did not think of that, but I absolutely love it! How would you suggest having the wyld hunt interact with that? Should I cut the wyld hunt in favor of the maiden faction's seeming heroes or have the wyld hunt be the other offer trying to prevent them from going with being of the underworld? Or perhaps have it be a final fight where the abyssals offer a guaranteed way out at the cost of trusting them or siding with the wyld hunt who they were fighting alongside the whole time, but is unwilling to go with these abyssals? or any other ideas, I have not explored this possibility yet, but am quiet happy with it.

    And on that note do you have any suggestions, critiques or subplot ideas on the main plot? I feel like most of the smaller details will need to wait for the payers, but a temporary outline or a small list of possible sub-plots to throw at the party couldn't hurt.

    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    Might want to explain that to the players when pitching your campaign idea.

    I will make sure to! Most of my group is understanding and am sure they will appreciate a refresher after playing a dnd campaign.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kelly Pedersen
    replied
    Originally posted by mcmuffinfluffin View Post
    I must have missed this in my read-through of the book. The main reason for them exalting in combat on the ship is to justify them all being captured as mortals rather than exalts.
    I would actually disagree with the idea that the circumstances of Exaltation determine the caste. I think that caste is much more determined by what a character is good at overall before Exalting, where their aptitude lies. That's not necessarily going to be the same as the moment of heroism that provokes the actual Exaltation. I think pretty much any caste could justify having their moment of exaltation during a fight, and also during many other moments. For example, a Solar Dawn-caste could Exalt in a quiet moment as she contemplates a battle map and suddenly sees the enemy's whole strategy in a moment of perfect insight, or as she climbs a cliff in the driving rain, refusing to accept defeat and struggling against the elements rather than any mortal foe. Or a Twilight could Exalt in the middle of a raging battle as he bravely wades into the fight against a demon, carving occult runes onto its stony hide to bind its power and send it back to Malfeas.

    Originally posted by mcmuffinfluffin
    I think the main reason I leave them open is I like dragon-blooded more personally, but I feel like I can say with 85% confidence no one will play one. I guess I am not familiar with higher level of play of exalts as the character creation of both seem similar save for supernal abilities and dragon-blooded having more merit points.
    Dragon-bloods also get a generally weaker set of charms overall than other Exalted types, especially the Solars (roughly speaking, Dragon-Blooded charms define the lower bound of Exalted power and Solars define the upper). That's not to say that a Dragon-Blood will always lose against a Solar, but there's definitely a gap. If you've got someone wanting to play a Dragon-Blood in a group of otherwise Solars and Lunars, I'd strongly recommend starting the DB at something like Essence 3, instead of the default Essence 2 most DBs start at (Solars and Lunars start at Essence 1). That will give the DB a chance to buy some more powerful charms, including some of their Signature charms, the big special tricks of the DB charmset, which should put them at a bit more even footing with the other Exalted. If anyone knows the Exalted setting particularly well among your group, this is a good role to encourage them to take, as it lets them, as an experienced Exalt who's probably been around the block a few times, explain setting details to the other PCs in-character.

    Originally posted by mcmuffinfluffin
    As for a story reason, the Wyld Hunt will work with anathema for the sole reason of both being trapped in the underworld together over night.
    I think this is pretty reasonable, yeah. The Immaculates are fanatic, typically, but they aren't stupid, and I think they can generally figure out that working together for the greater good is best. With both sides acknowledging that this is strictly a temporary situation, and as soon as the current crisis is done, they'll go back to trying to kill one another. Also, in 3rd Edition, more well-educated Immaculates are actually aware that Solars and Lunars are Exalted, not just golden or silver demons that possess people and consume their souls. They just believe that the power of the Sun or Moon is simply too great for any mortal to bear, and will inevitably drive them to madness. But someone who knows that can still plausibly work with a newly Exalted person, on the grounds that the power probably hasn't driven them mad yet, and they can still have good motivations.

    Originally posted by mcmuffinfluffin
    it seems maybe after an introduction I should allow the players to go after their own ambitions whether it be investigating what happened to them or following their own motivations...then possibly weaving my plot into their own stories so they have personal ties to investigating further.
    That's definitely the route I'd suggest, yes. One suggestion for the whole intro scenario - you've mentioned the idea that the PCs would be captured by the evil Sidereals on the grounds that they could be powerful allies. The idea that the death-aligned Sidereals could be trying to recruit the PCs makes sense, I think that's within what Sidereals can and do do. But trying to recruit them as allies by capturing them doesn't make as much sense - few people are happy to be coerced into service, and the more potent they are, the less cooperative they'll be. So, instead of being captured by Sidereals working for the Sixth Maiden, I'd suggest having the starting Abyssal actually work for another Deathlord or other faction, opposed to the Sixth Maiden, and be someone who found out about the PCs, and captured them to try to prevent their recruitment. Then, the servants of the Sixth Maiden can actually show up near the end of the adventure and help the PCs out, establishing a reason for the PCs to trust them. That, in turn, sets up more drama - the Sixth Maiden faction can then actually try to recruit them with some hope of success, and the PCs have an actual dilemma to consider: do they sign up with these people who've helped them (and can probably offer them sweet signing bonuses), or do they stay suspicious and investigate their true purpose? Or both!

    Leave a comment:


  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Originally posted by mcmuffinfluffin View Post
    I must have missed this in my read-through of the book. [...] Original plan was to narrate the mortals as the moment something relevant happens they would exalt. But I am now convinced post-exaltation will just be a smoother ride.
    Actually, my bad there. That's how it used to work in past editions.

    Narrating it as mortals is fine if that's what you want to do. It's just not what I'd do. I like the idea of them having been Exalted better (helps justify Merits etc.).

    I think the main reason I leave them open is I like dragon-blooded more personally, but I feel like I can say with 85% confidence no one will play one. I guess I am not familiar with higher level of play of exalts as the character creation of both seem similar save for supernal abilities and dragon-blooded having more merit points. But if that is the case I will warn players if they so choose to do this route, letting them know their only advantage is connections to the most powerful entity in creation rather than personal might.

    As for a story reason, the Wyld Hunt will work with anathema for the sole reason of both being trapped in the underworld together over night. I also plan on conveniently killing off the more senior and zealous members of the Wyld Hunt
    I also like Dragon-Blooded. Sounds like a good approach.

    Truthfully my players are all familiar with the game, I am the one with the least experience (I played a very short one-shot adventure in 2E). I may still do something along these lines, so I personally can have some easy encounters to practice running them.
    Might want to explain that to the players when pitching your campaign idea.

    Leave a comment:


  • mcmuffinfluffin
    replied
    Originally posted by Chausse View Post
    I believe you can also discuss with them the idea of the plot you want to follow and help them create characters that will be in line with this plot.
    Originally posted by Chausse View Post

    As a player I'm really excited to try to fit in a plot well thought by a ST but I need a bit of guidance and confidence than the ST has some sort of plan that I can have fun to follow or else my character will indeed break out of the plot easily thanks to the great power bestowed upon the Exalted

    I think I might do something along these lines. Tell them this will be a campaign with an undead theme to it, and then ask them what they wish for their characters to personally accomplish and hopefully be able to incorporate it all.


    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    Generally the circumstances of Exaltation determine the caste.

    Secondly, are you going to narrate the Celestials as being mortals, or are you going to have them make mortal character sheets? The former makes me wonder why you don't just start them Exalted. The latter is really going to slow down the fight scene if they have to write up a new character sheet. (Neither approach is insurmountable -- if it fits your vision then go for it, you just need to have a plan.)

    I must have missed this in my read-through of the book. The main reason for them exalting in combat on the ship is to justify them all being captured as mortals rather than exalts. But, I suppose having multiple abyssals capture them, and then one transport would work just as well and let me skip over the complications of multiple exaltations in the matter of a few minutes. Plus it will allow the characters to already have exalt-worthy ambitions at the start of the campaign I can plan for.

    Original plan was to narrate the mortals as the moment something relevant happens they would exalt. But I am now convinced post-exaltation will just be a smoother ride.

    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    I'm also not sure why a Wyld Hunt is going to team up with Anathema. Balancing Dragon-Blooded and Solars/Lunars is also really difficult -- a Terrestial matches a starting Solar once they hit about 150 XP, but that Solar isn't going to stay starting level. You'll be playing a game where the players are Superman and Lois Lane... if Lois hated Superman and thought he was a demonic enemy of Earth and Superman thought Lois was a cog in the evil American empire which destroyed his homeland. (Mixed Exalt games are the best, and your players might not mind being wildly unbalanced. But it's a LOT of work to keep things fun -- mixed Exalt games are also the worst. You've got a Vision of Gold. I would strongly suggest limiting the PCs to just Solars and Lunars, but if you're willing to put in the effort then your idea sounds really, really cool.)


    I think the main reason I leave them open is I like dragon-blooded more personally, but I feel like I can say with 85% confidence no one will play one. I guess I am not familiar with higher level of play of exalts as the character creation of both seem similar save for supernal abilities and dragon-blooded having more merit points. But if that is the case I will warn players if they so choose to do this route, letting them know their only advantage is connections to the most powerful entity in creation rather than personal might.

    As for a story reason, the Wyld Hunt will work with anathema for the sole reason of both being trapped in the underworld together over night. I also plan on conveniently killing off the more senior and zealous members of the Wyld Hunt, leaving a couple dragon-blooded who are really there to fulfill their duty to the realm rather than their religion. Hopefully, that merits enough reason to stay each other's blades. If a player wants to be dragon-blooded then they will have an "in" on the realm for future endeavors, and if not...then the surviving dragon-blooded npcs will serve as an amiable call-back when I introduce a realm-related plot.


    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    I would definitely have the Tower be a traditional D&D style dungeon. Include lots of clues (say, 8 levels of tower, each taking about an hour to play through, each with one lead on what to do after leaving the tower). You can use the structured dungeon environment to railroad the PCs through a tutorial -- this is how combat works, social combat, Craft, Introducing a Fact, Feats of Strength, Environmental Hazards etc. Have the first two sessions be a linear introduction to the game, aiming to finish session 2 with their escape. Then session 3 starts with the PCs having multiple different leads to follow up on (ideally these will all be linked in some way to the PCs own goals -- hence why their fate is so important). Maybe the next step in Fate's evil plan involves attacking one of the PCs homelands or whatever. Let the PCs prioritise what they want to do next, where they want to go and how they want to do it.

    If you can get a Session 0 in to make characters and explain the broad outline of Exalted to the players then (assuming you game weekly), that gives you three weeks to come up with what happens in the campaign between the Tower (which you can start designing now) and the Abyssal and the endgame (which you should start drafting now but be prepared to alter as you go)
    .

    Truthfully my players are all familiar with the game, I am the one with the least experience (I played a very short one-shot adventure in 2E). I may still do something along these lines, so I personally can have some easy encounters to practice running them.

    This is all great advise, thank you! It seems I was lacking on the focus on player's motivation which I will need to focus on when we make characters.

    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post

    I hope I haven't discouraged you from running your campaign entirely! While I definitely agree that running Exalted is different than D&D, I do think you've got a decent campaign framework here that people can have fun with. It's just that, in Exalted, it's really important to have player characters who have good reasons to go along with your story. Bear in mind, it's both possible and desirable to talk to your players before and during the character creation process, to make sure you're all on the same page and that they'll fit in with the story you want to tell.

    Since you're familiar with D&D, here's a bit more advice that I hope will be helpful - you can think of running starting Exalted characters a lot like running mid-to-high level D&D characters, in the level 10-15 range. At that level, they've got a lot of power and options to accomplish their goals, and the general ability to go a lot of places or do various things they want to. Try to plan your campaign like you were introducing a bunch of characters about that level to a new campaign, rather than leveling them up from 1st level. In those circumstances, you'd want to make sure that they all had strong motivations for doing what you wanted them to do, and would have to be ready to overcome a lot of barriers that would stymie lower-level ones. Even if the powerset isn't exactly the same, I think that sort of thinking will still help when preparing for Exalted characters.
    You haven't discouraged me from running, just holding off on outlining until it is an appropriate time to make characters. I am 100% on board running this. So from the really helpful and kind advice from you and others it seems maybe after an introduction I should allow the players to go after their own ambitions whether it be investigating what happened to them or following their own motivations...then possibly weaving my plot into their own stories so they have personal ties to investigating further.

    I generally play lower level games, so this is fairly new waters. But I think I get what you are saying, character motivation is key to an exalted story.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kelly Pedersen
    replied
    Originally posted by mcmuffinfluffin
    Well it seems I may need to make another post in the future it all works out. I was hoping to plan out major points earlier rather than later, but it seems Exalted story telling is a much different beast than dnd's DMing.
    I hope I haven't discouraged you from running your campaign entirely! While I definitely agree that running Exalted is different than D&D, I do think you've got a decent campaign framework here that people can have fun with. It's just that, in Exalted, it's really important to have player characters who have good reasons to go along with your story. Bear in mind, it's both possible and desirable to talk to your players before and during the character creation process, to make sure you're all on the same page and that they'll fit in with the story you want to tell.

    Since you're familiar with D&D, here's a bit more advice that I hope will be helpful - you can think of running starting Exalted characters a lot like running mid-to-high level D&D characters, in the level 10-15 range. At that level, they've got a lot of power and options to accomplish their goals, and the general ability to go a lot of places or do various things they want to. Try to plan your campaign like you were introducing a bunch of characters about that level to a new campaign, rather than leveling them up from 1st level. In those circumstances, you'd want to make sure that they all had strong motivations for doing what you wanted them to do, and would have to be ready to overcome a lot of barriers that would stymie lower-level ones. Even if the powerset isn't exactly the same, I think that sort of thinking will still help when preparing for Exalted characters.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ludek
    replied
    1. Find reason for PC to be together.. you may ask players to make their own but it will be like herding cats. Just give therem reason and ask them to adapt PC for it. My example would be some god who fallen in love with mortal and mortal's death wish was take care of city/people/region (just make it well defined).PC are recruited by god for this task.
    2. Do not mess with reason developed above at least if there is altrrnative and players confirm it fits their PCs.
    3. Bring some NPCs scharing same goal it will be pool for rivaliers/betrayals/deaths/friendships/loves those NPC will be very interactive with PCs. By default i would make npc less capable than pc and never more.
    4. Players (not PC)have thair fancies: sideline npc they do not like , flesh out/make more acessible ones they like.
    Last edited by Ludek; 09-06-2019, 08:57 AM.

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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Couple of thoughts:

    Generally the circumstances of Exaltation determine the caste. If you're Exalting in combat, then you're probably looking at Dawn Caste Solars and Full Moon Lunars. This isn't set in stone or anything, but it's something to be aware of. (Maybe the shadowland as a mystic place of power bends Fate or something -- Exalting under less than typical circumstances could be a clue for the campaign?)

    Secondly, are you going to narrate the Celestials as being mortals, or are you going to have them make mortal character sheets? The former makes me wonder why you don't just start them Exalted. The latter is really going to slow down the fight scene if they have to write up a new character sheet. (Neither approach is insurmountable -- if it fits your vision then go for it, you just need to have a plan.)

    I'm also not sure why a Wyld Hunt is going to team up with Anathema. Balancing Dragon-Blooded and Solars/Lunars is also really difficult -- a Terrestial matches a starting Solar once they hit about 150 XP, but that Solar isn't going to stay starting level. You'll be playing a game where the players are Superman and Lois Lane... if Lois hated Superman and thought he was a demonic enemy of Earth and Superman thought Lois was a cog in the evil American empire which destroyed his homeland. (Mixed Exalt games are the best, and your players might not mind being wildly unbalanced. But it's a LOT of work to keep things fun -- mixed Exalt games are also the worst. You've got a Vision of Gold. I would strongly suggest limiting the PCs to just Solars and Lunars, but if you're willing to put in the effort then your idea sounds really, really cool.)

    Apart from that, your idea seems great.

    I would definitely have the Tower be a traditional D&D style dungeon. Include lots of clues (say, 8 levels of tower, each taking about an hour to play through, each with one lead on what to do after leaving the tower). You can use the structured dungeon environment to railroad the PCs through a tutorial -- this is how combat works, social combat, Craft, Introducing a Fact, Feats of Strength, Environmental Hazards etc. Have the first two sessions be a linear introduction to the game, aiming to finish session 2 with their escape. Then session 3 starts with the PCs having multiple different leads to follow up on (ideally these will all be linked in some way to the PCs own goals -- hence why their fate is so important). Maybe the next step in Fate's evil plan involves attacking one of the PCs homelands or whatever. Let the PCs prioritise what they want to do next, where they want to go and how they want to do it.

    If you can get a Session 0 in to make characters and explain the broad outline of Exalted to the players then (assuming you game weekly), that gives you three weeks to come up with what happens in the campaign between the Tower (which you can start designing now) and the Abyssal and the endgame (which you should start drafting now but be prepared to alter as you go).

    Hope you have fun.

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  • Chausse
    replied
    I believe you can also discuss with them the idea of the plot you want to follow and help them create characters that will be in line with this plot.

    As a player I'm really excited to try to fit in a plot well thought by a ST but I need a bit of guidance and confidence than the ST has some sort of plan that I can have fun to follow or else my character will indeed break out of the plot easily thanks to the great power bestowed upon the Exalted

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  • mcmuffinfluffin
    replied
    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
    Ok, first some general advice about running any Exalted campaign: always consider the consequences of the players' actions. What this means is that, in Exalted, even starting characters generally begin with the ability to accomplish most goals that they set themselves, as long as they're within their wheelhouse. That means, in turn, that it's difficult to build drama and tension in the story if the question is "will the characters accomplish these goals?". Everyone knows the answer to that already. So, instead of focusing on whether the characters will accomplish their goals, instead, I find it's best to build drama by asking "how will the characters accomplish their goals?" and "what are the consequences of those goals being accomplished?". One of the main themes of Exalted is the question of power - if you were given the power to do everything you wanted, what would you do with it? Would you be good? Bad? Wise? Foolish? In order to support all this, it's a good idea to have a) multiple routes for accomplishing each goal, and b) ideas for consequences of those different routes, both positive and negative.


    I see, I suppose it does make sense that they should relatively be able to accomplish whatever they want as solar/lunar given time and resources. I will have to work more on this, as of now I have a planned out introduction, and then an over-arching plot with a few ideas for sub-plots related to this plot to place throughout the campaign. This is a far cry from the kinds of campaigns I run in Dungeons and Dragons, but I really like that and think it is part of the reason I want to run a game. I just pray I will be able to adapt to running a game focused on the "how" rather than if they actually do it. The closest thing I feel l have that has more of a focus on the players' personality and goals would be a plot involving a player's solar mater being an abyssal antagonist, but I will need to brew more possible quest lines with this mentality in mind.

    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
    An important part of this is making sure you know what the goals of your characters are. Have your players built characters already?


    No, we are in the latter part of dnd campaign and I am planning this as the follow up. I am keeping it on the down-low as I don't want to unintentionally make players look forward to the end of the dnd game my friend is running.


    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
    If they haven't, this may be premature - you've going to want to build a campaign around what the main characters want to do, rather than building the campaign first and assuming that any PCs will just slot into it. If nothing else, Exalted PCs tend to be very good at getting out of plots they don't want to be in. I would definitely recommend figuring out who your PCs are going to be before going too much further in building the campaign. If they're already built, could you provide a brief description of them? I think that would help us help you quite a bit. :-)
    Well it seems I may need to make another post in the future it all works out. I was hoping to plan out major points earlier rather than later, but it seems Exalted story telling is a much different beast than dnd's DMing. All I can say with confidence is that it will probably be a mix of lunars and solars and that is it. Normally they play good-intentioned characters, but going to exalted may change their mentalities.

    Thank you nonetheless! It is a little disheartening that I will have to wait and hope the players will fit in my ideal plot, as I was having a lot of fun trying to come up with the over-arching plot. But once I feel it is appropriate to bring up planning characters for a new game I will come back here for help on the main plot and adapting to player's ambitions.

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  • Kelly Pedersen
    replied
    Ok, first some general advice about running any Exalted campaign: always consider the consequences of the players' actions. What this means is that, in Exalted, even starting characters generally begin with the ability to accomplish most goals that they set themselves, as long as they're within their wheelhouse. That means, in turn, that it's difficult to build drama and tension in the story if the question is "will the characters accomplish these goals?". Everyone knows the answer to that already. So, instead of focusing on whether the characters will accomplish their goals, instead, I find it's best to build drama by asking "how will the characters accomplish their goals?" and "what are the consequences of those goals being accomplished?". One of the main themes of Exalted is the question of power - if you were given the power to do everything you wanted, what would you do with it? Would you be good? Bad? Wise? Foolish? In order to support all this, it's a good idea to have a) multiple routes for accomplishing each goal, and b) ideas for consequences of those different routes, both positive and negative.

    An important part of this is making sure you know what the goals of your characters are. Have your players built characters already? If they haven't, this may be premature - you've going to want to build a campaign around what the main characters want to do, rather than building the campaign first and assuming that any PCs will just slot into it. If nothing else, Exalted PCs tend to be very good at getting out of plots they don't want to be in. I would definitely recommend figuring out who your PCs are going to be before going too much further in building the campaign. If they're already built, could you provide a brief description of them? I think that would help us help you quite a bit. :-)

    Leave a comment:

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