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How good is Exalted at exploring the consequences of success?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
    I don't think that's the intended story for most char-gen Dawn Castes, but rather a potential end-point for a late-game/career Dawn Caste.
    I agree, but there's a lot of people who ask "So, what's this Exalted thing, and why should I care?" and get the answer "Okay, so your character is basically totally invincible, can kill the whole world, and the question isn't 'can you' but 'will you' so, basically, yeah, it's that level of epic."

    Then the game doesn't actually live up to that at all, unless you super-optimize. Then again, super-optimizing isn't exactly hard to do, especially after a few campaigns to see how it works, and then if your group does that you're basically playing the invincible characters. Except Exalted just has no capacity to properly support that game, so you're flying completely blind. Even Crucible of Legends can't fix this issue. It's like trying to get the same experience as you get from the game Flower, by trying to replicate it it with custom maps for Super Smash Brothers Melee. The tools just aren't there, and additionally you have a slew of awesome flashy characters and fighting game mechanics that you ignore in the attempt.

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    • #32
      I also don’t want to give the impression that exalted games shouldn’t have consequences for actions, that’s silly. DnD games even should have those. It’s just that if that’s the only thing you’re looking for out of exalted, you’re looking at the wrong system, although perhaps not the wrong setting, with some tweaking at least. I think exalted works really well when you look at the consequences of success, but that should be a manageably small part of the overall game, with tons of other stuff to offer that may include your characters opting not to attempt something that they may fail at.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Chausse View Post
        The difficulty I have with the whole "exploring the consequences of successes" is that a lot of my players take a really long ass time to take a decision. I'd like it better if I could help them decide faster, if anyone got any useful tips ?
        First of all I tend to call it a "ripple effect" when discussing this with players, as consequences can sound like I'm punishing them for going off script.

        In some cases it's necessary to remind people that Exalted is a game, thus there'll always be a new source of conflict that's either present or brewing on the horizon until the chronicle ends. Thus, trying to insulate yourself and not make waves just means those conflicts will tend to be impersonal and big enough to get your attention.


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        • #34
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          I agree, but there's a lot of people who ask "So, what's this Exalted thing, and why should I care?" and get the answer "Okay, so your character is basically totally invincible, can kill the whole world, and the question isn't 'can you' but 'will you' so, basically, yeah, it's that level of epic."
          Onyx Path is only so responsible for Exalted's memetic reputation.

          They can work to fix the damage, but it's not exactly their fault that some players took one potential but limited experience in the game, from previous Editions where Solars could become statistically invincible, and sold that to other people as the intended play experience.


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          • #35
            Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
            Onyx Path is only so responsible for Exalted's memetic reputation.

            They can work to fix the damage, but it's not exactly their fault that some players took one potential but limited experience in the game, from previous Editions where Solars could become statistically invincible, and sold that to other people as the intended play experience.
            Yeah I mean I like discussing with you people, but I must say there are sort of "preconceptions" when it comes to discussion to Exalted, and I'm pretty sure none of them are clearly fleshed out in the book. I think this gives the game a reputation that does not necessary match what the game is trying to do. Maybe the dev implicitly agrees and want to implement the elements of this reputation in the game, and that's what we will have for the future books.


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            • #36
              Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
              Onyx Path is only so responsible for Exalted's memetic reputation.

              They can work to fix the damage, but it's not exactly their fault that some players took one potential but limited experience in the game, from previous Editions where Solars could become statistically invincible, and sold that to other people as the intended play experience.
              So I think the answer to the title question is probably “not particularly good, but also I don’t think it’s trying to any more than World of Darkness, or DnD, or Mutants and Masterminds. Unlike Godbound and Godsend.”

              On the other hand I have heard developers recently state that Exalted is, indeed, not about success or failure, but instead the consequences of success. The mechanics just have nothing to do with that statement and the setting is better than a lot of settings certainly but I don’t think a complete standout.

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              • #37
                Most games aren't really about success or failure.

                Your level 1 D&D characters don't fight level 10 dragons. Exalted is upfront about it.


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                • #38
                  True, but there are consequences for failure. If you fail to notice a trap it springs on you and you lose HP. If you don’t manage your spells properly you’ll run dry half way through the day, there may even be cases where you retreat from a powerful foe if you’re not ready to fight them. In my weekly DnD game last week we raided an evil wizard’s monster factory attempting to break as much stuff as we could, we got maybe 70% of the rooms we ran into non-functional and were going to burn the rest down when we finally screwed up and garnered the attention of a kind of enslaved demicelestial who came and downed our fighter in one shot. We then opted to retreat rather than stick around to see if that was a one off ability or not. Also along the way we had to puzzle out who would risk dropping invisibility to attack, how loud we were going to be in breaking things, when do we bust out the alchemist fire and literally start torching it, etc. Those chooses mattered. As did the choice to go shopping for alchemist fire before that. And a net because the fighter was screwed against the flying enemies without my net.

                  That type of thing could also happen in Exalted, absolutely. It could not happen in Godsend unless you the player initiating the raid wanted it to happen. In Godsend you tell the ST “I will annihilate the monster factory” and it is wiped off the face of the earth, no roll. Then any calamity that you did not prevent happens, and here again there is no option to avoid them, unless you pull some serious one-off strings you will unleash a calamity by invoking your supreme power. Whereas in the DnD game if we’d been more lucky/careful and had more foresight we maybe could have pulled that whole raid off without getting nabbed.

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                  • #39
                    Yeah, Exalted hasn’t ever been about “what if success in all things was guaranteed,” but about “what if you had the power to achieve the incredible?” The catch is, so do the other demigods.


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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Dex Davican View Post
                      The catch is, so do the other demigods.
                      Well, a catch, anyway.

                      “Mere” mortals can also surprise these demigods from time to time as well, after all.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Epitome View Post
                        The ST I played under ran his games with a specific philosophy:
                        Originally posted by Epitome View Post

                        When faced with a dilemma, a great mortal is one who makes the best choice they can and lives with the consequences.
                        A great Exalt, on the other hand, is one who rejects the dilemma altogether and creates a better answer to the problem.

                        So to him the "consequences of victory" were what happens when you don't "think like an Exalt", and it was the job of the players at the table to be cunning/creative/resourceful enough to find a perfect solution to every problem.
                        I wonder what this person would make of Wake's dilemma with the Touman Clans. What's the clever solution beyond mortal ken to "I'm torn between staying with these people whom I've grown to love (and are facing their own difficulties with regards to divisions over how to govern their new territory) and either leading them off to war against an enemy I know to be powerful or departing from them for good"?

                        I've often observed an interesting contradiction in how some people most emphatically talk about the game. They simultaneously idealise the Exalted as the ultimate exemplars of modernism, endowed as nobody else with the capacity to actually govern with total logic and efficiency and objectivity (a viewpoint they regard as intrinsic to the game despite literally no character or scenario presented in any of the books playing out like that), while also often seeming to be deeply enamoured of the idea of the Exalted as capable of indulging in every passion and whimsy to the extremes and without consequence. They go at the game in terms in terms of competing to find the most exaggerated possibility of rapace or cruelty, with maybe the occasional gesture in the direction of "wow, it sure would be terrible if people could actually act like this, let's think of the next demonstration of what would be the worst way for things to be", and then they also ascribe that to the game's presentation.

                        I find either approach to not be deeply concerned with engaging with the humanity of the setting. If they acknowledged something like Wake's situation at all, with its historical weight and conflicting agendas even down to the level of individual people and its numerous cultural idiosyncrasies, they often seem to regard them with a kind of contempt, as something that is obviously and inevitably swept aside with ease by the Exalted to impose their own obviously superior system and either just kind of glory in their own reign or move on immediately to the real game of dealing with behemoths and Primordials and the other Exalted.

                        I agree with Dex Davican's point. That the game makes its statement by presenting a scenario such as that of the Touman, layered and compelling, such that some form of resolution is logically an ongoing process, and one that players would hopefully be enthusiastic to come back to repeatedly. The game provides tools for navigating those conflicts in a manner other than with violence which can lend credibility to the idea of them taking time and requiring deft to be brought to a close. And even if violence is entailed, well... I hope that there are angles in the system that allow for forms of victory for opposition that are not absolute, whether that be through mortal assault or the curses of ghosts that harass and confuse and weaken or the recruitment of mercenary or opportunistic gods that can wield similar powers and sure, up to the level where other Exalted come in but where they feel like they're being drawn organically into the conflict as it exists rather than simply coming along to impose their own baggage.

                        To my mind, failure in Exalted doesn't necessarily need to be about constantly facing the risk of death, just the possibility that you might end this storyline of the chronicle a bit worse off than you started it. You were wounded, you were deceived, you were driven off, you were obligated to destroy something you'd have preferred to leave intact.


                        Originally posted by Dex Davican View Post
                        Yeah, Exalted hasn’t ever been about “what if success in all things was guaranteed,” but about “what if you had the power to achieve the incredible?” The catch is, so do the other demigods.
                        Given the situation of the Touman, I should think there are also catches such as achieving the incredible not quite solving everybody's problems, and that you can love and hate people who aren't demigods at all enough that your power twists you in multiple directions.

                        That's also why I've never much cared for the idea of the Exalted being surely the most intelligent that some people attach hard to; I alternately see it as not being present and as not being nearly as relevant as some people seem to think it is ("ha, I can see right through Sangerel's attempt to leverage her closeness to me into a convincing argument to remain and devote my energies towards supporting the urban factions... and now to devote my considerable mental prowess towards... doing that.")


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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                          On the other hand I have heard developers recently state that Exalted is, indeed, not about success or failure, but instead the consequences of success. The mechanics just have nothing to do with that statement and the setting is better than a lot of settings certainly but I don’t think a complete standout.
                          From my perspective as a dev, Exalted is about the consequences of your decisions. This is not the same thing as the consequences of success. Your decisions necessarily involve things like assessment of risk, and choosing to take actions that may risk various sorts of failure.


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