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What do you guys think of Dreams of the First Age?

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  • What do you guys think of Dreams of the First Age?

    It’s the first thing I ever read for Exalted.


    The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

  • #2
    Originally posted by Penelope View Post
    It’s the first thing I ever read for Exalted.
    The Dreams box set epitomized Exalted 2nd Edition, for better or worse. One's opinion on Dreams is inseparable from one's opinion on 2E.

    I loved Dreams. It felt like vindication for every rebuffed claim I ever made during 1E. It was the natural successor to Wonders of the Lost Age which (admittedly unintentionally) had set the tone for 2E.

    Dreams was to Exalted as Warhammer 30k was to Warhammer 40k. (Or as 40k was to Warhammer.)

    Dreams was Pathfinder 1 to 3.5.

    Dreams was Vanilla Coke.

    Dreams was Chocolate Milk.

    If you hated how 2E robbed away all the mystery of 1E, you must have loathed Dreams. But if you delved into every scrap of lore, every hint, every background picture to obsessively piece together Exalted's secret history then Dreams was the Holy Grail of sourcebooks.

    People joke about Exalted being "Rapters in an F-16", but Dreams really was Rapters in an F-16. Power Armored police detaining a suspect's ghost! ApplePay made of hardened magic! It was a realistic, down to Earth game that was completely off the wall and filled with magic robots.

    Don't get me wrong. I like 3E. 3E is far more playable than 2E ever was. I could never "go back". And I understand that lots of people hated it.

    But I loved Dreams.


    Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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    • #3
      Dreams of the First Age was both wonderful and terrible. You got genuine glimpses of the way a society with Exalted could have been like at its height... you also got a lot of very bad and lazy writing. I don't just mean the charms and mechanics, although those were absolutely terrible in execution; Dreams is what we have to thank for the "Every Lunar is abused by their Solar spouse like this was an old Jerry Springer show", the "Dragon-blooded are trash who are barely above mortals", and similar things that were ultimately harmful to the line, in my opinion.

      But on the other hand, there's a lot of other things I thought were great. Manuals for military commanders to handle one of their soldiers suddenly Exalting (and the Exalted generally not oppressing mortal humans as much as you might think because the next of their number could come from there - although of course there were exceptions), Hell being considered so utterly subjugated that the Deliberative offered members tours through it as a tourist attraction...

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      • #4
        I wanted to like Dreams but ultimately consider Glories of the Most High to be a much better First Age supplement.

        By reintroducing the Celestial Incarna as stated NPCs to be interact with rather than setting decoration it made the setting larger and more mythical. The charms in Glories, especially the Solar Charms are First Age charms and tell a story of their excess (accessing Abyssal charms, abusing the Solar Bond etc) while the ones in DotFA were just high essence.

        Now Zeal arguably said something, but if it did then that tone wasn't carried forth into the rest of the supplement.





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        • #5
          We don't talk about Zeal.


          Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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          • #6
            You got me curious. What is Zeal ?


            My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chausse View Post
              You got me curious. What is Zeal ?
              A broken charm.

              Like, not broken in the sense of being non-balanced, but broken like a couple of other 2nd edition charms as originally printed in that it literally did not work. It attempted to be a 'transperfect' charm, i.e., an attack that could break through a perfect defense charm. Except what balance 2e combat had was entirely predicated on "defense always wins ties". If I have a "I will always hit you no matter what" charm, and you have a "I parry absolutely everything, no matter what" charm, your charm always wins, as described in the 2e corebook.

              Which meant either Zeal did literally nothing, or it actually broke what little balance the combat system possessed since now any kind of attack from ambush was guaranteed to vaporize whatever it hit, from a sufficently powerful Solar.

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              • #8
                Nitpick.

                Zeal still did something and was still broken even if the core rules didn't allow it to function as a transperfect attack as the author intended, because even without that aspect of the charm it was still an underpriced perfect effect that could be used with any ability provided the action aligned with a Virtue.

                It's loathsome to me for the same reason Void Avatar Prana was, because a lot of people identified it right away and went "as long as we don't use that, the rest of the book is basically fine..." in both cases that was very wrong.
                Last edited by Lioness; 08-20-2020, 10:31 AM.


                Onyx Path Forum Moderator
                Please spare a thought for updating the Exalted wiki.

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                • #9
                  Sidereal Martial Arts too, for that matter.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aliasi View Post

                    A broken charm.

                    Like, not broken in the sense of being non-balanced, but broken like a couple of other 2nd edition charms as originally printed in that it literally did not work. It attempted to be a 'transperfect' charm, i.e., an attack that could break through a perfect defense charm. Except what balance 2e combat had was entirely predicated on "defense always wins ties". If I have a "I will always hit you no matter what" charm, and you have a "I parry absolutely everything, no matter what" charm, your charm always wins, as described in the 2e corebook.

                    Which meant either Zeal did literally nothing, or it actually broke what little balance the combat system possessed since now any kind of attack from ambush was guaranteed to vaporize whatever it hit, from a sufficently powerful Solar.
                    Seems interesting. I'd like they don't do that in 3e. Also, does transperfect exist ? All I can find is a company and some LinkedIn stuff.


                    My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

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                    • #11
                      The errata charms for dreams helped a lot, as someone fond of elder play I was very happy with it. It also gave us the only hard numbers for what an allies 3 or mentor 4 meant with an exalt. From a fluff perspective I enjoyed it a lot, seeing the interconnections to the age of sorrows locations, ancient wonders and cities repurposed, and also just fun stuff like the immaculate order being a postal service originally.

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                      • #12
                        I really like DotFA, except for the part about Lilith being abused. I also liked Glories of the Most High. I never actually played Exalted or read the 2e corebook (did read 3e), so idk which is better overall.


                        The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chausse View Post

                          Also, does transperfect exist ?
                          She means transcendantly perfect. An effect which is better than the perfect effects.


                          Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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                          • #14
                            I think that Dreams of the First Age is a fine option for what the first age looked like. I blanch at it being the only option, the canon option, or that there even is a canon first age.

                            IMO The first age should be fairly nebulous so that, if the specifics of it matter at all, they can be specifics set by a storyteller to reinforce the themes and plot points of the story the group is telling.


                            Exalted is an aesthetic.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aliasi View Post
                              Dreams of the First Age was both wonderful and terrible. You got genuine glimpses of the way a society with Exalted could have been like at its height... you also got a lot of very bad and lazy writing. I don't just mean the charms and mechanics, although those were absolutely terrible in execution; Dreams is what we have to thank for the "Every Lunar is abused by their Solar spouse like this was an old Jerry Springer show", the "Dragon-blooded are trash who are barely above mortals", and similar things that were ultimately harmful to the line, in my opinion.
                              Pretty sure those bits of toxic memetic fluff were doing their tasteless job a bunch of books before DotFA, harkening to at least CoCD1 in the case of the Dragon-Blooded, probably even before in the case of Lilith & Desus. In fact, ain't Desus gone from canon in 3e? If so, honestly good riddance.

                              Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                              I wanted to like Dreams but ultimately consider Glories of the Most High to be a much better First Age supplement.

                              By reintroducing the Celestial Incarna as stated NPCs to be interact with rather than setting decoration it made the setting larger and more mythical. The charms in Glories, especially the Solar Charms are First Age charms and tell a story of their excess (accessing Abyssal charms, abusing the Solar Bond etc) while the ones in DotFA were just high essence.
                              Agreed, on oh-so many levels - the accessing Abyssal charms one i used as springboard for a major "Deathlord but not" npc i would introduce in my games, among other things. And i mine Glories for inspiration to this day even while making no appearance of the Incarna whatsoever. It's a great book indeed that delivers the mythic in a manner that only Scion comes close to in its own way i guess.
                              Last edited by Baaldam; 08-20-2020, 01:50 PM.

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