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  • #16
    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
    But I find in games, that when there's one, say, Celestial NPC, I put a lot of effort into thinking of a personality and cool stuff for them. When there's 3, they each have a different personality but I probably didn't think through the backstory so much.
    When you go to a CoI training camp and there's 15 Solars, then they're lucky to even be a stereotype and not just "generic Zenith #3" or whatever.
    I think my issue is, when we take the idea that "more common" = "less interesting" then we end up with a situation where Dragon Blooded are inherently less interesting than Solars (since there's like 30,000 Dragon Blooded and only 300 Solars). And then Abyssals and Sidereal are inherently more interesting than Solars, and of course, Infernals are the most interesting of all.

    While this is true in real life - if every city had an Eiffel Tower, then nobody would really care about the real Eiffel Tower, in a game or in a story, how interesting something is depends entirely on how much effort the writer/storyteller puts into making it interesting.

    So while you may have encountered 20 evil wizards, the 21st one you meet could be the most interesting of all, depending on how much work the Storyteller puts into making that encounter memorable and interesting. And likewise, the first time you meet a dragon could be kind of boring if the Storyteller didn't put much effort into making it exciting.

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    • #17
      A point seems to be being made that as more of something is put in, a writer or Storyteller quite reasonably finds it difficult to come up with anything more interesting for them.


      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
      Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
        A point seems to be being made that as more of something is put in, a writer or Storyteller quite reasonably finds it difficult to come up with anything more interesting for them.
        I don't know that that is necessarily the case.

        When you have a session take place in say, Great Forks, there will likely be many gods walking around. Presumably you're not going to spend a great deal of time describing each of the hundreds of gods the players encounter on the street as they are walking towards the temple of the Lord of Cats whom they need information from. Nor would the fact that the players had seen a few hundred gods on the street detract from how interesting the Lord of Cats is when they arrive at his temple (depending on how well the ST described him).

        The fact that Great Forks is the City of Gods, and that there are thousands of deities living there, wouldn't automatically make any individual gods that the players encountered there boring or less interesting. Really, it's more a matter of focus.

        This would be an issue if the Storyteller put the same amount of focus on every deity that the players encountered (including the Lord of Cats). But presumably the Storyteller would give him more focus and more details, and therefore make him more interesting, than he would on the gods walking down the street who are essentially just extras (in the movie sense).

        It's sort of like how there may be millions of peasants on the Blessed Isle, but when your characters convince a kindly old couple to let you stay with them, and they tell you about how some bandits came through demanding food, and when they couldn't pay, the bandits kidnapped their son, then those peasants are going to be interesting. It really doesn't matter that there are millions of other peasants more or less just like them out there. That, in no way, makes this couple less interesting. Nor would the fact that there are so many more peasants in the world make wealthy Patricians inherently more interesting just because there are fewer of them in comparison.

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        • #19
          So in other words, when you've got hundreds of gods, a few will inevitably wind up being generic Zenith #3 due to lack of focus?


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
          Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
            So in other words, when you've got hundreds of gods, a few will inevitably wind up being generic Zenith #3 due to lack of focus?
            When you're watching a movie and the main character is walking down a street filled with a hundred other people, and then the camera focuses in on one guy who walks by the main character and pickpockets him, why is this a problem? Is the pickpocket less interesting because there were hundreds of other people on the street? Would he have been more interesting if, instead, it had been a lonely alleyway and only main character a pickpocket were around?

            The fact that the movie can't focus on every single one of those hundred people on the street isn't a problem (in fact, it's probably a good thing because then the movie would be a dozen hours long!)

            So yes, when you have a lot of something you'll have some that are "extras" like in a movie, but why is that even a problem in the first place? It doesn't affect how much focus the Storyteller can give to an NPC to make them interesting. In fact, like I said earlier, if anything it encourages the Storyteller to give an important NPC a bit more focus in order to set him apart, which is only a good thing if you want your NPC to be interesting or memorable.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

              I don't know if I would necessarily agree with that idea. I think, all too often, this sort of thinking, that something is interesting because it's rare, whereas common things aren't interesting, tends to end with things being done a bit lazy (I'm not accusing you of being lazy, just saying that in general, that's where I have often seen this sort of idea end up going)

              So with the former you have a situation where you ask, "Why is this dragon interesting?"

              And you're told, "Because it's a dragon! And there's only three of them in the whole world! So that's why it's interesting!"

              With the latter idea, when you ask, "So why is this dragon interesting?"

              They response you get is going to be, "Well, even though there are hundreds of dragons in the world, this one has the qualities X, Y and Z, which set it apart from many of the other dragons in the setting. So that's why it's interesting!"

              Generally, the former allows people to point towards its simply existence as a reason enough for being interesting and significant, whereas the latter actually requires that the writer come up with traits and qualities that make the dragon interesting. He isn't as able to get a "free pass," and I think that tends to produce more interesting characters, but maybe that's just me.

              Now, replace "dragon" with "magitech", and this is an issue Exalted faces!

              And, in fact, even the book that detailed how mass-produced Warstriders were, WotLA, still gave us 3 actual *examples* that were individual and flavorful. So, I agree that it would be very possible for the Second Age to have quite a few Warstriders/Thousand Forged Dragons/Celestial Battle Armor, etc, around and active, and still make them stand out by putting a degree of effort into making each one detailed unique and interesting, with its own history and powers, instead of starting from the notion that they're all alike, and therefore devalued.

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              • #22
                1) I'm big on the fantastical side, but I like it as an outsider element. It's the sign you're in the wild and forgotten places now between the pockets of civilization. I also like it being right on the edge of civilization and cause interesting problems and cultural routines.

                2) I like the infrastructure and civic institutions to be in places with large populations, developed technology, and surviving remnants of the First Age and the Shogunate. The farther from these pockets the less civil things become.

                Can I also add I like more "magitech" ruins and artifacts. Glimpses of a strange and greater time lost to history, not a current or contemporary technology that's lying about to be used.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Godjaw View Post

                  Can I also add I like more "magitech" ruins and artifacts. Glimpses of a strange and greater time lost to history, not a current or contemporary technology that's lying about to be used.
                  Doesn't that get a bit boring, though? "And now, as you cross the hill, here's Strange Ruin #108, which is ALSO hinting at awesome things that you can never do with it!"

                  I'm not saying don't have such things (I think there should be more strange, unusuable things left over from the Primordial Age), but if that's the standard, then players will soon get too used to it, and will be more invested in things that they can actually use.

                  One thing I did like from Scroll of Heroes was the "Damaged Artifact" flaw. What if Creation is filled with magitech that only works sometimes, or at half-strength, or is otherwise malfunctioning in some potentially hazardous way?

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post

                    Doesn't that get a bit boring, though? "And now, as you cross the hill, here's Strange Ruin #108, which is ALSO hinting at awesome things that you can never do with it!"

                    I'm not saying don't have such things (I think there should be more strange, unusuable things left over from the Primordial Age), but if that's the standard, then players will soon get too used to it, and will be more invested in things that they can actually use.

                    One thing I did like from Scroll of Heroes was the "Damaged Artifact" flaw. What if Creation is filled with magitech that only works sometimes, or at half-strength, or is otherwise malfunctioning in some potentially hazardous way?

                    Well if you depict it like that, yes it would be boring. The ruins are there for a purpose in the context of the game, they shouldn't just be a set-piece. They should add character to the world itself.

                    The Damaged Artifact would be a cool thing to bring back, though I've always assumed that much of the magitech already operated this way, and have been rigged with less advanced technology. Take Nexus, it once had an automatic cable-car system of transport, now it's operated by cranks and manpower. Or that one Solar manse that was made into a blast furnace. Not it's original purposes, but it's method of defense was made into productive applications.
                    Last edited by Godjaw; 06-29-2015, 02:50 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Help me out with this, then, with some examples...I've got some ideas, but I'd like to hear others', not just on magitech, but also on what sort of technical innovations/institutions/infrastructure you like to see across Creation, that helps build up its unique atmosphere and character.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
                        Help me out with this, then, with some examples...I've got some ideas, but I'd like to hear others', not just on magitech, but also on what sort of technical innovations/institutions/infrastructure you like to see across Creation, that helps build up its unique atmosphere and character.

                        I've always liked the idea of the Haslanti developing their flying machines on principles of their ancestors ancient flying machines, so much so that I considered making one of their cities a derelict vessel, and that a major god they give prayer to being Vanileth.

                        Chiaroscuro is clearly a city of toppled skyscrapers with some rooms beings temperature controlled, but their greatest wonder is the still operational seabreak mechanism made from glass, a surviving and operational remnant of the First Age. Yet they are instead lauded for their Firedust cannons, which were put there after the fact.

                        Or that the White River is actually a canal, with a jade device inset into it's bottom to force the flow of water, but it's been so long that it's considered a river by most.

                        Or that the Heptagram was metaphorically built on the ruins of (school I can't remember the name of) which in turn was built upon the ruins of the works of sorcerers of the Celestial Exalted, and their culture and institutions.

                        The key is the intact wonders should be few and remarkable, but most of Creation's current infrastructure, institutions, and innovations were built upon the ruins of the earlier advanced age, working them with less advanced methods, this ultimately is a facet of post-apocalyptic fiction, and Exalted is a post-apocalyptic world after all.
                        Last edited by Godjaw; 06-29-2015, 03:08 PM.

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                        • #27
                          This was going to be its own thread, but then I remembered this one, and it would fit right in here, if I simply changed the value of "X"!

                          So, X=Violence. I remembered an anecdote some friends were once gleefully telling me, about how their PCs suffered Limit Break and enthusiastically beat an NPC to death...VERY graphically. This is something I would probably have shied away from, had I been STing. Which brings up the question, How violent is your version of Creation?

                          Storytellers, do you linger on gruesome details of the violent effects of the character's action-filled lives, and the casual cruelty that infuses the setting? Players, do you go out of your way to graphically Stunt the harmful things you do to your enemies? Where do you draw the line? How much is TOO much? Is there such a thing as too little?

                          (And if anyone wants to chime in on the previous "X"s, then please feel free to do so!)

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                          • #28
                            1. I like a lot of fantasy in my Exalted, just as I do in all my RPGs. I don't do low fantasy.

                            2. I like sophisticated.

                            so yeah, no argument there. and I guess I agree with the magitech being unique and such.

                            as for violence.....I like action I guess? but I don't dwell on gory details no. I mean kicking ass yes, but probably not so much the bloodier parts of violence so, I dunno....

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
                              So, X=Violence.

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                              • #30
                                1. I tend to go halfway on the fantasy side of things. For me, most people in Creation will see minor supernatural events at least once or twice in their lives. Maybe a sorcerer lives on the other side of the valley, maybe your local god appears every year at the harvest festival, maybe your grandfather took you out at night when you were a child to see the flight of the lighting serpents.

                                If you live in a big metropolis, or out in the wilderness, you'll probably see a lot more : Exalted and sorcerer in the streets, guild merchants haggling with spirits, or simply elemental courts and roaming fair folks where man doesn't usually thread.

                                In games, since protagonists are Exalted, they tend to attract supernatural attention, and thus their world is a little bit more extraordinary, but I try to be careful and mix it up with scenarios centered on family, economic or social concerns.

                                2. My Exalted is mostly bronze to iron age, due to the "reset button" that was the Contagion and the Crusade. Good steel is rare outside of the Realm and the Scavengers lands, there are no Age of Sail ships anywhere, and pseudo-feudal system are not the main form of government.

                                Of course, people usually imagine the bronze age as a lot less advanced that it was. The greek made complex bronze mechanisms, the mesopotamians had a full-fledged banking systems and government-controled corporations, and armies fielded by the persian, romans or alexander were a lot bigger than anything seen until the XVII century.

                                3. Violence is... complex. Whether my Creation has a lot of graphic violence usually depends the story and mostly on the members of my group. I don't go loking to put more violence in my games, but sometimes it makes sense (war and slavery are ugly things and I will not whitewash them either, for exemple). ns sometimes it can also be fun to go all out. This is probably out of the three what varies the most.


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