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Okay, just bought into Exalted Essence

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  • Okay, just bought into Exalted Essence

    So, what's everyone thinking? Will it do enough to simulate the heavy lifting, while being easy enough to lure new people in?

  • #2
    We have an Essence thread, but if this one is more about how we feel it'll do for "Exalted outreach"... I think it will help, it's certainly less complicated than Ex3 core. It isn't as not-complicated as some people would have liked, but to be perfectly honest I don't think Onyx Path sees a need to rewrite Fate or Godbound but with a d10 die pool. It's right about at the D&D5 level, which is where you'd probably want to be.

    There's bits I'm not sure of. There's other bits that need to be in a theoretical Exalted 4e. I am pleased with what I've seen so far, in general.


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    • #3
      It looks like it will be easier to run online which is good. I really like the world of Creation but have not been able to share it with some friends I would know would enjoy it. With these rules more along the lines of D&D 5e difficulty I think it might just work. Honestly there being a lot less charms and each charm being more useful as well as no dice tricks so far has been fantastic.

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      • #4
        I am worried. The combat remains... complicated. I feel like we were led to believe that if Ex3 combat is a 10 in difficulty and complexity, ExEss would be like a 5. But right now I feel it is more like an 8 or 9. And the combat made Ex3 almost unplayable for me. The reintroduction of Steps in combat also worries me, having to go step by step through every action in the second edition made combat painfully slow.

        The charms are the other thing that raised my eyebrow. I knew we were going to get fewer charms, but just 3 or 4 for every ability, and they are shared among all exalted types... cmon. Counting the exalt-specific charms, every type of exalted gets 6 or 7 per ability. So, yeah, exalts are not going to feel different enough, charms-wise. And even though I haven't read them all, many of my favorite charms are missing for solar and DB.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Embustero View Post
          I am worried. The combat remains... complicated. I feel like we were led to believe that if Ex3 combat is a 10 in difficulty and complexity, ExEss would be like a 5. But right now I feel it is more like an 8 or 9. And the combat made Ex3 almost unplayable for me. The reintroduction of Steps in combat also worries me, having to go step by step through every action in the second edition made combat painfully slow.

          The charms are the other thing that raised my eyebrow. I knew we were going to get fewer charms, but just 3 or 4 for every ability, and they are shared among all exalted types... cmon. Counting the exalt-specific charms, every type of exalted gets 6 or 7 per ability. So, yeah, exalts are not going to feel different enough, charms-wise. And even though I haven't read them all, many of my favorite charms are missing for solar and DB.
          I see that. I think it could be pared down a bit more, but I think that, in general, they've done a good job. A lot of the most tedious things about Ex3 (initiative swinging up and down constantly to shift turn order repeatedly, the large number of motes, and the number of dice tricks) are good removals. I disagree that the greatly reduced charm list is an issue. I think that's a feature. Characters no longer need to invest as much to be good at an ability, and I can see a lot of my close combat characters not taking all the close combat charms. Even still, the game seems geared towards mixed groups more than ever, so people will be heavily differentiated by their modes and exalt specific abilities, to say nothing about things like martial arts. Ultimately, the sheer number of charms you needed to remember in the base game was definitely one of the largest difficulty spikes. I like that the base system hasn't been *too* simplified, but the "add-ons" are slimmer.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Embustero View Post

            The charms are the other thing that raised my eyebrow. I knew we were going to get fewer charms, but just 3 or 4 for every ability, and they are shared among all exalted types... cmon. Counting the exalt-specific charms, every type of exalted gets 6 or 7 per ability. So, yeah, exalts are not going to feel different enough, charms-wise. And even though I haven't read them all, many of my favorite charms are missing for solar and DB.
            Two things that increase exalt differences - some universal charms have bonuses or variants for specific exalted types, which ups the number of unique effects each exalt type has. Also, I think anima powers are a bit stronger/more frequently useful in Essence, and with fewer charms make up a larger portion of your powers.

            A Chosen of Battles who intuitively understands people's military nature, gets free successes for her and her allies on non-attack martial rolls, and can randomly generate power out of anima, is quite different from a Dawn who slaughters extras effortlessly, intimidate people, and can flurry 2 attack against different people without penalty, even if they have the exact same charms.

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            • #7
              I have become optimistic. It seems to me they have attempted - and mostly succeeded at - to keep many of the concepts while removing many of the unnecessary complexities. I have not actually tried the rule set in game play yet, which is likely to change or affirm my view of that, so we'll see.

              The number of charms does not worry me. It seems it will be easy to create new ones as needed. Most games see players use the same handful of charms and Essence seems to cater to that idea. (Also, no one ever needed 50+ craft charms anyway, and I am happy to see that bloat disappear.)

              Right now - at least until I get some gameplay done - my only real opposition, more of an annoyance really, is the change in abilities, and to a lesser degree attributes. It seems so unnecessary. 14 or 25 abilities does next to nothing for a game's complexity, and it seems they tried to combine the 25 into fewer abilities just because. Still, it is minor, and seems to be easy to reverse if one is so inclined. The new attributes both intrigue and annoy me, so where that will end up I do not know.

              To sum up, I feel they've achieved - at least on paper - most of what they said they set out to do. To create a simplified system that invites roleplaying (instead of systemic complexity - sorry, those of you who really enjoy Ex3, I do not share your appreciation). I am impressed by that, and give my sincere thumbs up.

              There will always be details in any game that does not fit one's preferences or game style, and that is ok. In this case, I feel, it does not detract from what seems like a very well-crafted system.

              I don't know if it will lure new people in, but it stands a far better than average chance of luring this old gamer, equally old gaming group included, back into Exalted.


              Avatar by Raven & Blue Jay.

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              • #8
                I never even tried to play Exalted because of the complexity. I mostly just like the setting, though I did develop a couple characters and do like some backstory for them. That being said, I like a lot of what people are saying about Essence and I might actually pick it up when it comes out on DTRPG.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                  I never even tried to play Exalted because of the complexity. I mostly just like the setting, though I did develop a couple characters and do like some backstory for them. That being said, I like a lot of what people are saying about Essence and I might actually pick it up when it comes out on DTRPG.
                  I'm in exactly the same boat. I loved the setting, but the complexity and strategizing of the base game is for much younger minds not already packed to capacity on gaming systems. And the decreased number of Charms....*chef's kiss*. Finally can get a character doing what I want it to do relatively quickly out the gate instead of having to build up to what I wanted.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post

                    I'm in exactly the same boat. I loved the setting, but the complexity and strategizing of the base game is for much younger minds not already packed to capacity on gaming systems. And the decreased number of Charms....*chef's kiss*. Finally can get a character doing what I want it to do relatively quickly out the gate instead of having to build up to what I wanted.
                    I like RP, but I’ve never been much of a strategist lol.

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                    • #11
                      Every time I show the monster that is exalted third edition to my players, they run away in fear. Now seriously, as some people said above for me this is a case of loving the setting and not liking the system. It's not that I think it is bad per se, it just has too many moving parts, too many options, and too many things to take into account. A game where you play demigods larger than life in world shattering adventures needs a dynamic and fast system above anything else. I'm afraid those are two adjectives I wouldn't use with exalted.
                      That's why essence feels like someone had finally answered my prayers, mostly. I like it for the most part, but I believe that they have simplified some sections too much, like skills and attributes, and some not enough, like combat. In any case, I believe they are doing a great job and I can't way to have a final version to show my players, so they can ask me to play instead of run away.

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