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Exalted Superhero Campaign/Setting

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  • Exalted Superhero Campaign/Setting

    How would you do a Exalted Superhero campaign/setting?

  • #2
    I'd start by asking myself what sort of themes I wanted to explore, then do a deep dive into source material for inspiration.


    He/him

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    • #3
      Here's the first question.

      1. What kind of superhero setting. You've got watchmen, DC, Marvel, Superstars, and supergod.

      2. Just how much of politics are there? Are Iranian superhumans going to break a blockade? Is China going to send out superheroes as propaganda pieces? Is American superheroes going to replace drone strikes? Will there be war... Using superhumans?

      3. Are the Exalted the only superhumans there are?

      4. How much are the Exalted going to change the world? In other words, is status quo god? Remember. Exaltation selects for those who would use this power.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
        4. How much are the Exalted going to change the world? In other words, is status quo god? Remember. Exaltation selects for those who would use this power.
        I've never tried using the Exalted system to run a superhero game, but I HAVE run Exalted games using a superhero system, and I think this is the key difference.

        A system like Mutants and Masterminds is built around the idea of status quo. Abilities with the potential to turn things inside-out are often lacking, poorly supported, dramatically underpriced, or some combination thereof. You're supposed to save the world, not change it.

        Exalted the system, on the other hand, is ALL about changing the world. That's the core of its fiction, and it continues throughout things like projects, crafting, and social Charms. The fact that a character can chuck a t-rex off a cliff is, in a lot of ways, irrelevant-- what matters is the guy who can change the world with a poem or turn random peasants into the world's greatest army.

        So Accelerator's question becomes the vital point: do you want an Exalted game with superhero trappings, or a superhero game with Exalted concepts? Because if it's the second, you'll probably have a lot more fun with a dedicated superhero system.

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        • #5
          Yup.

          For starters, you have bureaucracy charms. Social charms. The internet. You can speed up or slow down any kind of organisational action, like, say, pushing a bill to discriminate against minorities, while speeding up your reforms to the healthcare system. You can easily have wealth and power beyond most normal people. Low powered charms can let you tell if someone lies. High powered charms? Well, they change the game.

          You can prance around on the internet with 20 or so dice being thrown at the screen. Ever heard of 'I have a Dream' or 'Ask not what your country can do for you' or 'you ain't kennedy'? Well, imagine that in every single interaction. Ever. Perfect posture, body language, lighting (with a charm). You throw out witty comebacks at the moment, not 5 hours later in the shower. You have the perfect lines, perfect jokes, perfect smile and poise. You're like a movie star character in reality, while everyone else is on the level of a high school actor.

          Even if you don't have the social and performance charms, you can still move mountains. You're, with excellencies alone and a few good stats, a match for any world class human being, ranging from Usain Bolt to Alexander Fleming to Ben Carson (in surgery) and Stephen Hawking. And that's with exellenciess alone. A solar or DB with a few years under their belt are going to have at least 15 different charms. And with a supernal, Essence 5. Wanna see what happens when a War 5 Solar starts rampaging? Or Performance supernal? Or Bureaucracy?

          Exalts not only have world-shaking powers, but are also *expected* to use them. They're *expected* to topple a few kingdoms, shake up the geopolitical scene, and at the very least, not only ignore the powers that be in authority above you but actually become one. How many superhero comics do that, and do it as *not* a villain? As in, it would be perfectly in character for a Solar to exalt in, say, a southeast asian or african dictatorship and topple the dictator and take over. If comics-verse did this, it would be a supervillain.

          edit:

          Like, let's look at superman in DC. At least, the common tropes and knowledge. He flies around, saves the day and... not much else? Does Superman topple dictators? No, I don't think so. Not recently. Does superman topple tyrants? No. What about delivering food aid? What about money? It takes millions or even billions to launch a satellite, not counting in things like time, bureaucracy, and infrastructure costs. What does superman need? A good handhold. He can get, say, 20 million per satellite launched, and it'll be a good bargain for whoever pays him. And he can use that money very, very well. There's a famine in Yemen that can be really use some donations (on the level of 50million). There's plenty of places that need high powered fast delivery to remote places, like charity for rural areas with little to no infrastructure. Being able to grab an asteroid can easily allow us to forget about rarity of metals and material for the near future.

          But these things most definitely aren't the focus of most comic book stories.

          Last edited by Accelerator; 11-24-2020, 11:48 AM. Reason: superman scenario

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          • #6
            I will echo Grod_the_giant - the super universe's of Marvel and DC do not often address the idea of super beings involved in geo-politics. They have a vested interest in keeping their worlds "like the world you know, but with super-beings!". The shared universe conceit also limits how much you want to upset the status quo. and lastly, for the most part, traditional supers are supremely altruistic - they use their powers to protect people from threats and menaces too great for normal people to handle. Very few supers in these settings seek wealth, fame or power as a goal within itself, even if a being with their power could do more substantial things than punching out bad guys. It may not be all that adventurous or challenging, but when you have a long term serial property, blowing up the world (or at least making it unrecognizable) can be a bad investment. Smaller imprints and publishers can be more experimental, mainly because they have a single story to tell and don't expect to keep publishing books about their characters indefinitely.

            As for using Exalted in a super-hero context, you may wish to look at Aberrant (in either first edition or the soon the be released 2nd edition). It comes from roughly the same period of gaming as Exalted. These games (along with Scion), grants the player God-like power and expects them to use it to make a mark on the world. It would be a good resource for what you are proposing. For other inspiration, I can recommend The Authority, Empire, Supreme Power vol.1, and the Ultimates. All of these series and settings where the presence and actions super-beings alters the world stage considerable.
            Last edited by Reighnhell; 11-24-2020, 03:46 PM.


            The Artificer's Workshop - A collection of Exalted Artifacts
            Curios, Relics, and Tomes - A collection of Relics (Cursed and Otherwise)
            The Horror Lab - A collection of Beasts, Monsters and less definable things.
            Strange Places - A collection of Dark, Mysterious, and Wondrous Locations
            Twilight Menagerie - A collection of Ephemeral Entities

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            • #7
              I would set it in Creation, I would leave the geopolitics of the setting mostly as they are, I would establish that the level of technology matches that of our world (using charms from Shards of the Exalted Dream), I would emphasize the All-Seeing Eye's role in the Wyld Hunt while at the same time de-emphasizing the role of the Immaculate Order, and I would have the various Celestial Exalted be more inclined to wear colorful costumes.


              Loch Ness monsters. On vacation. On a pillow.


              My wife is on Spotify!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Reighnhell View Post
                I will echo [USER="12314"]and lastly, for the most part, traditional supers are supremely altruistic - they use their powers to protect people from threats and menaces too great for normal people to handle. Very few supers in these settings seek wealth, fame or power as a goal within itself, even if a being with their power could do more substantial things than punching out bad guys. It may not be all that adventurous or challenging, but when you have a long term serial property, blowing up the world (or at least making it unrecognizable) can be a bad investment. Smaller imprints and publishers can be more experimental, mainly because they have a single story to tell and don't expect to keep publishing books about their characters indefinitely.
                Yup.

                Like... holy shit. This is a huge thing. Marvel and DC heroes are, for the most part, not psychologically human. You can be good most of the time. You can be great sometimes. You can go out of your way to help people sometimes. But all the times? They're not perfect, but a damned sight better than any human has any right to be. This kind of no holds barred charity is the kind of thing in legend, not in human beings.

                Like... imagine someone with superman's powers going down to help people on earth. All the time. If I had to do half the shit that superman did, and with a tenth of the things he went through? I would just say, 'fuck it'. Maybe go on myself to Mars, or just kick the shit out of people. Or say, people like the X-men. Several genocide attempts, and they're kinda still protecting the human race? Or the pure evil of Marvel governments makes it rather comical no one's overthrown it yet?

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                • #9
                  Go for The Boys as inspiration. Homelander comes off as a First Age Solar

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by vampire hunter D View Post
                    Go for The Boys as inspiration. Homelander comes off as a First Age Solar
                    Dear lord no. Not that one. I read the comics. That was enough.

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