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  • Differences between 1E and 2E setting books

    Helo

    I am curently jolting trough the Terrestrial companion to the West and while looking for some lore online I found various informations about exalted and npcs that weren't found in my sourcebook. How good of a purchase are the older setting books if I use mostly 2E stuff? Are they from a different era?

  • #2
    There's an unfortunate "hate-on" for all things 2E going on right now, which I suppose is inevitable given that people are getting psyched up for a new edition and all...So, you're going to hear a lot of negative stuff about the 2e books in this thread, I'm sure. Take it with an Endowment from the Salt Gods...

    For the record, I own virtually every book published in the line, with the notable exception of the Dragon-Blooded Aspect books, which I've seen, but only briefly. The 1E books covered fewer places, and so went into greater detail for the most part. For ex, there is no "South Compass" book, but An-Teng and Harborhead are both dealt with in separate books, and so get a lot more "space to breathe", as it were. 2E took the relevant bits and condensed them so that you could get most of the important stuff in a single book.

    For the most part, it succeeded. AFAIR, the only significant thing left out of the An-Teng write-up was the Seven-Lotus Crown, for some reason.

    Book of Bone and Ebony is another good example: After Abyssals came out, it fleshed out the Underworld for 1E...but it deals ONLY with Stygia! It goes FAR more into depth with that city than 2E, but 2E did a LOT more with the other directions of the Underworld than 1E ever went. OTOH, BoBaE has a *ton* of Necromancy and Underworld Artifacts for Ghosts, the latter of which are some of the few things that never got translated into 2E's setting, so it's probably worth it just for that alone.

    Also, 2E books tend to be a lot more focused on subject. Picking up a 1E book, you never knew what you might get: There could be a new Martial Art in it, or Artifacts in the Bestiary, or a Deathlord write-up in the Alchemical book! Yes, that all happened...

    2E also used a "copy-pasting" approach *a lot*, so if you're well-versed in those books, you're going to find a lot of the same material, just phased slightly differently. Also, 2E was more interested in codifing things so that they made sense and fit into an over-riding framework of definitions. 1E books are a little more "all over the place", and get a bit whacky at times, and sometimes have things that don't really "fit". This is being praised right now, as many feel that 2E's approach to make everything playable went too far, and defined too much. It's a philosophical, stylistic difference...Personally, I don't feel either is "bad", but YMMV. Hopefully, 3E will find a way to go both ways!

    So, I'd say it's a sound investment, if you have the money, but I'd restrict myself to areas that are of particular interest to you and/or your game. In addition to the above books, Cult of the Illuminated was about the only book that never got a "conversion" to 2E, and there's a lot of mundane, practical info about sailing and piracy in Savage Seas that wasn't reprinted. Also, there's some spells in Book of Three Circles and Savant and Sorcerer that weren't reprinted, but that may have been for good reasons.

    And in case it need be said, btw, I'm speaking purely in terms of fluff, not mechanics! Golden Lord knows that 2E had its issues, but people tend to forget that 1E did, as well. But you won't be buying them for that purpose, so...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
      There's an unfortunate "hate-on" for all things 2E going on right now, which I suppose is inevitable given that people are getting psyched up for a new edition and all...So, you're going to hear a lot of negative stuff about the 2e books in this thread, I'm sure. Take it with an Endowment from the Salt Gods...

      For the record, I own virtually every book published in the line, with the notable exception of the Dragon-Blooded Aspect books, which I've seen, but only briefly. The 1E books covered fewer places, and so went into greater detail for the most part. For ex, there is no "South Compass" book, but An-Teng and Harborhead are both dealt with in separate books, and so get a lot more "space to breathe", as it were. 2E took the relevant bits and condensed them so that you could get most of the important stuff in a single book.

      For the most part, it succeeded. AFAIR, the only significant thing left out of the An-Teng write-up was the Seven-Lotus Crown, for some reason.

      Book of Bone and Ebony is another good example: After Abyssals came out, it fleshed out the Underworld for 1E...but it deals ONLY with Stygia! It goes FAR more into depth with that city than 2E, but 2E did a LOT more with the other directions of the Underworld than 1E ever went. OTOH, BoBaE has a *ton* of Necromancy and Underworld Artifacts for Ghosts, the latter of which are some of the few things that never got translated into 2E's setting, so it's probably worth it just for that alone.

      Also, 2E books tend to be a lot more focused on subject. Picking up a 1E book, you never knew what you might get: There could be a new Martial Art in it, or Artifacts in the Bestiary, or a Deathlord write-up in the Alchemical book! Yes, that all happened...

      2E also used a "copy-pasting" approach *a lot*, so if you're well-versed in those books, you're going to find a lot of the same material, just phased slightly differently. Also, 2E was more interested in codifing things so that they made sense and fit into an over-riding framework of definitions. 1E books are a little more "all over the place", and get a bit whacky at times, and sometimes have things that don't really "fit". This is being praised right now, as many feel that 2E's approach to make everything playable went too far, and defined too much. It's a philosophical, stylistic difference...Personally, I don't feel either is "bad", but YMMV. Hopefully, 3E will find a way to go both ways!

      So, I'd say it's a sound investment, if you have the money, but I'd restrict myself to areas that are of particular interest to you and/or your game. In addition to the above books, Cult of the Illuminated was about the only book that never got a "conversion" to 2E, and there's a lot of mundane, practical info about sailing and piracy in Savage Seas that wasn't reprinted. Also, there's some spells in Book of Three Circles and Savant and Sorcerer that weren't reprinted, but that may have been for good reasons.

      And in case it need be said, btw, I'm speaking purely in terms of fluff, not mechanics! Golden Lord knows that 2E had its issues, but people tend to forget that 1E did, as well. But you won't be buying them for that purpose, so...

      EDIT: Oh yeah, I see you mentioned the West specifically. The two "west" books, Blood & Salt and Savage Seas do go into much more detail regarding sailcraft, groups of pirates and the Lintha, so if those are of interest to you, then go for it! Off the top of my head, I don't recall Skullstone being written up anywhere other than Scavenger Sons, but I could be wrong...

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      • #4
        I started in about the middle of 2E, and then bought all the 1E books and I do not have buyers regret. Having read 2E, and being satisfied with the setting information, the Aspect and Caste books with their character-centric viewpoints were the best for me (because NPCs are hard to wholesale create with that level of detail/vibrancy/lack of munchkinism). I came to this view before the release of Scroll of Exalts, though, so if you're buying 1E for NPCs and are on a budget Scroll of Exalts might be the best option. For an overlap character like Cathak Mendalas (sp? Dragon-Blooded artificer) you'll get 2 pages in Scroll of Exalts and something like 10 pages in Aspect: Air (or whatever Aspect).

        If you're set in the West, I agree with Hand-of-Omega that Blood and Salt and Savage Seas are the ones to get. They have a grittier "mortal-er" view of sailing (flammable, leaky ships full of folks who must be disciplined and also drink lots of water).


        The Lunar Castebooks fan project - Complete! (Changing, Full, No, and Casteless)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tikor View Post
          If you're set in the West, I agree with Hand-of-Omega that Blood and Salt and Savage Seas are the ones to get. They have a grittier "mortal-er" view of sailing (flammable, leaky ships full of folks who must be disciplined and also drink lots of water).
          Just on that subject, I must say Blood and Salt is by far my favourite setting supplement. Blood and Salt's lands are richly populated with magical goings-on and, more importantly, Adventure Seeds littered every few pages to tell you how it would be best to get your characters in on the action. No setting piece in Exalted before or since has gotten my interested in storytelling a game here than Blood and Salt's An-Teng. A few other supplements like Houses of the Bull God tried a similar format, but never quite to the same success.

          As for differences... well. The Mountain Folk, for all the claims of 2e copypasta, changed quite a bit between editions. Oh, the Charms were copied wholesale, complete with Reflexive Charms that are actually Extra Action attacks and other such nonsense. The setting, however, changed in a few ways.

          In 1e, the Mountain Folk lived entirely beneath the Blessed Isle with only a few references to them having outposts elsewhere. There were scant dozens of Enlightened Undercastes who were treated as bizarre anomalies, and the Jadeborn were constantly on a knife-edge of extinction against the threat of the Darkbrood. The Mountain Folk were virtually unknown on the surface except to the most learned savants. The total population of Mountain Folk was two million.

          Come 2e, only a quarter of the Mountain Folk live in Urvar, the city under the Blessed Isle, with (a little) more detail given of cities elsewhere throughout the Threshold and beyond. The number of Enlightened Undercastes now rival the number of Artisans, a figure given as ten thousand. The Darkbrood are now treated as little more than a constant nuisance hemming in the empire's borders and attacking outlying groups. The Mountain Folk now hire out state mercenaries Switzerland-style to several wealthy nations, including Halta, the Haslanti League and An-Teng. The total population of Mountain Folk is ten million.
          Last edited by Crumplepunch; 08-08-2014, 10:40 AM.


          Currently writing for Exigents.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Crumplepunch View Post

            Just on that subject, I must say Blood and Salt is by far my favourite setting supplement. Blood and Salt's lands are richly populated with magical goings-on and, more importantly, Adventure Seeds littered every few pages to tell you how it would be best to get your characters in on the action. No setting piece in Exalted before or since has gotten my interested in storytelling a game here than Blood and Salt's An-Teng. A few other supplements like Houses of the Bull God tried a similar format, but never quite to the same success.

            As for differences... well. The Mountain Folk, for all the claims of 2e copypasta, changed quite a bit between editions. Oh, the Charms were copied wholesale, complete with Reflexive Charms that are actually Extra Action attacks and other such nonsense. The setting, however, changed in a few ways.

            In 1e, the Mountain Folk lived entirely beneath the Blessed Isle with only a few references to them having outposts elsewhere. There were scant dozens of Enlightened Undercastes who were treated as bizarre anomalies, and the Jadeborn were constantly on a knife-edge of extinction against the threat of the Darkbrood. The Mountain Folk were virtually unknown on the surface except to the most learned savants. The total population of Mountain Folk was two million.

            Come 2e, only a quarter of the Mountain Folk live in Urvar, the city under the Blessed Isle, with (a little) more detail given of cities elsewhere throughout the Threshold and beyond. The number of Enlightened Undercastes now rival the number of Artisans, a figure given as ten thousand. The Darkbrood are now treated as little more than a constant nuisance hemming in the empire's borders and attacking outlying groups. The Mountain Folk now hire out state mercenaries Switzerland-style to several wealthy nations, including Halta, the Haslanti League and An-Teng. The total population of Mountain Folk is ten million.
            2e's treatment of Mountain Folk also went into... (sunglasses) greater depth on various subterranean features and hazards in its ST section. It even fit in radioactive minerals, with hints that the Jadeborn might be trying to harness them for some function, which the others thought might destroy them all.

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            • #7
              I prefer the new version, personally. Seems more hopeful. The Geas is weakening for some reason (possibly because Autochthon is dying, but maybe he just half-assed imposing it in the first place on purpose) and they're not on the verge of extinction.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                I prefer the new version, personally. Seems more hopeful. The Geas is weakening for some reason (possibly because Autochthon is dying, but maybe he just half-assed imposing it in the first place on purpose) and they're not on the verge of extinction.
                I agree, I liked 2e's Mountain Folk better.

                In 1e they were the only playable splat where the closest thing to a signature character literally gets eaten in the chapter fiction. Saying 2e was more hopeful is an understatement.


                Currently writing for Exigents.

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                • #9
                  I'm going to take a relatively uncommon, and possibly unpopular, stance. Everything in Exalted fluff wise is good and useful. Every book has useful and interesting information. Rule-wise... it's pretty good, but you do have to keep an eye on it. I would recommend every first Ed book. I'm reading them all now, one by one, and I'm enjoying them. As with everything, you have to pick and choose what you are going to use. There is too much to put into one campaign. Much of it won't really fit in to the campaign themes you are trying to use. If you aren't looking to spend a whole bunch of cash on the 1st Ed books, pdfs are great. They're reasonably cheap. We might even see a Bundle of holding if we're really lucky, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Crumplepunch View Post

                    Just on that subject, I must say Blood and Salt is by far my favourite setting supplement. Blood and Salt's lands are richly populated with magical goings-on and, more importantly, Adventure Seeds littered every few pages to tell you how it would be best to get your characters in on the action. No setting piece in Exalted before or since has gotten my interested in storytelling a game here than Blood and Salt's An-Teng. A few other supplements like Houses of the Bull God tried a similar format, but never quite to the same success.
                    Agreed, it is pretty sweet! And it is one of the cases where condensing the material in 2E hurt it, it works much better being allowed to sprawl across the pages. Another thing that rereading B&S really brought home is just how well the Lintha work with An-Teng. It's sometimes easy to forget that they're close neighbors, right off the Violet Coast, but they actually fit together really well!

                    I

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                    • #11
                      1e has a lot of good setting books, and a not-small amount of 2e info came from those 1e books. I'd say 2e is better at providing a glimpse at more areas per book, but if you want a lot of in-depth information about certain areas you can't beat the 1e books.


                      "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

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                      • #12
                        A bit on what Hand-of-Omega said on breathing room, it kind of went both ways due to the nature of the Compass books. Countries like An-Teng and Harborhead, which had a lot of depth, got a bit compressed and at times some flavor or themes got lost along the way. At the same time, nations which never had a full write-up beyond a couple pages were expanded into whole chapters, even when the original nation wasn't really suited for such in-depth thinking. THis is especially since a lot of countries followed the "First Age, Usurpation, Shogunate, Contagion, Recent History" line, even with nations that might not of been served well with it.

                        In case of bredth, I think 1e did have better books like Scavenger Sons, which along with An-Teng, 2e didn't actually add any nations to save the ones in the North (Saltspire League, Shanarinara, and a couple more). There's also a vibe in 1e when I rerea things of nations being a bit more independent from one-another save a few cases of pre-map-expansion (Halta-Linowa, Gem-Paragon, Varang-Harborhead, and Coral-Wavecrest conflicts being the big ones). So it wasn't perfect.

                        I will say though that in regional stuff things feel more written with an eye towards bieng plot hooks or giving an outline for the ST to describe so to get new nations out of or charcter concepts for. 2e often did things exhaustively, which had some neat tidbits about but also at times either over-thought things (I am not a big fan of Chaya in 2e), with a bit of "missing the point" (Paragon as somewhat pro-totalitarian dictatorship), or trying too hard to fix some previous conceptions (Lookshy becoming even mor emagitech reliant and somehow shinier in 2e over time was weird).

                        And stuff.


                        And stuff.
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                        • #13
                          2e didn't have Castebook Eclipse.
                          [/thread]



                          (kidding, obviously, though it is one of my favorites.)


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                          • #14
                            There is one other really interesting thing about the 1E books. If you read them, and then the 2E books, you can see how things change. One of the first things you notice is fewer canon characters like Havish the Vanisher. There are fewer instances where the narrative pre-judges things for you. Characters aren't written with the idea that they are 'evil' or 'good' and the books take a neutral position. You can also see how things evolve, and the theory of the game have evolved. 1st Ed looked at small things. 2nd Ed looked at bigger things, and linked them up... which had its good points and its bad. I find it interesting to look at how the game has changed between the first Core Book, until the more recent Masters of Jade and Shards books.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tikor View Post
                              Blood and Salt and Savage Seas are the ones to get. They have a grittier "mortal-er" view of sailing (flammable, leaky ships full of folks who must be disciplined and also drink lots of water).
                              But not salt water - that shit'll kill ya.



                              No, seriously, though, both the suggested reads are excellent choices - sometimes I flip open Savage Seas just because.



                              Also seriously, don't drink salt water, I wasn't kidding, it'll mess you up.
                              Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 07-22-2016, 06:05 AM.

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