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  • Hand-of-Omega
    started a topic How much "X" do you like in your Creation?

    How much "X" do you like in your Creation?

    This was going to be two separate posts, but I decided to conserve energy/words, and just combine them, by asking both questions in the same thread:

    1) How much Fantasy do you like in your version of Exalted? There seems to be a recent trend in Fantasy to "celebrate the mundane", so to speak, and to make settings as "plausible and believable" as possible by stripping out most of the fantastic elements. Personally, I can't stand this; if I wanted that, I'd read/watch/play Historical Fiction. I prefer to lay it on thick, with multiple moons in the sky, exotic lizard- and bird-people being pretty common, and marvels, miracles and horrors being right around the corner. But that's just me!

    How many fantastical elements do you like to see in Exalted: Barely any, outside of Charms, so it's mostly like "the real world"; a fair amount, with regular appearances of Spirits and Artifacts; or heavy usage, with the PCs constantly running into new wonders, strange creatures, and odd dimensions?

    2) How much sophistication do you prefer to portray in Creation? I was looking up that line in the 2E core about how Creation's society is a Bronze Age-level one, only to find that it actually says Bronze-Iron Age, and is largely talking about *technology*. In fact, Creation's societies have inherited intact many systems and processes from the First Age, including functioning banking (even during the Shogunate, virtually every citizen had a bank account!), accounting, corporations and companies (complete with stocks and bonds), insurance and so on. There's also fairly well-developed post offices and couriers running items and information, as well as printing presses (the major change from the First Age/Shogunate is that none of this is international anymore, it's all local to city-states).

    But I wonder how many of us recall all that. I sure didn't (although I do recall the odd mention of trading companies in various supplements)! Does this fit with your conception of Creation, or would you rather see it as a much more primitive place? Personally, I'm now looking into PC ideas based on Postal Carriers, Commodities Traders and Insurance Investigators!

  • Blaque
    replied
    1) I have this mix. I like a "midway" with weird "Every single solitary thing is alien to us" things like 2e Exalted likes and low "Might as well be Medieval fiction in another setting" stuff. As an example, I like the Black Company series since it has fairly blatent and powerful magic stuff, like the Black Castle in Shadows Linger, the Barrowlands in general, the Taken and so on. At the same time, you have people trying to deal with mundane shit like debt collectors, cops getting on you for tomb raiding and political figures involved with coups. I think it's similar to how I like comedy I guess at times: Rather normal people in fairly absurd situations (this is how Archer kind of started to me and kind of defines Frisky Dingo and The Venture Brothers).

    That said, I also am for when things going exotic and magical to do so in a way that's not as codified or often done for aesthetic reasons. Tanith Lee's Flat Earth has this a lot. You have a blatently magical world with exotic shit all over, but not all of that magic is actually real (You have a lot of false prophets and charlatan sages), not every talisman works and not every story of the Lord of Darkness is true, unless he wants it to be. So in a way, quite a bit of the fantasy being about, but it not all being fantasy.

    2) I tend to think of Creation as fairly undeveloped by modern views on some things and a few others not so much, but it's a big world. I think out of magic I tend to of late see things like the Realm being say like Arab Empire or Song China in how developed it is, while the rest of Creation is very much late Iron Age or Homeric Bronze Age (as in a very anachronistic view of the Bronze Age as seen by later Hellenistic peoples). Anachronisms serve to help in this, but not undermine it. There's concrete, public entertainment, printing and such, but Rome had these, mind. It's just that Creation doesn't operate on the assumpeiton that progress is inevitable and society has a teological better it has to work towards given some technology.

    It's also likely very mixed on what's moral about. I see the Realm probably not having a very racially orientated view on slavery like the European Colonial Era for instance. But this isn't Creation as a whole and issues with genocide, racially-based caste slavery and such might exist. Again, it'll be a mix, but I think a good idea a lot is at times look at the world pre-1000 CE more than 1 CE to get an idea of what a lot of Creation is like to me.

    And stuff.

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  • Dreamtide
    replied
    Pretty much just repeating what's already been said, but what the heck.

    I think Exalted "feels right" when it's like playing a legend or a myth. Tanith Lee's Tales of Flat Earth does a good job of this while still remaining "cohesive". And I love the demon mindset he presents. My group likes a mix that's basically that + Conan "grittiness" + anime-ish combat. But that's us.

    As far as the realism thing, I mean, the devs said this is "high fantasy". So, that's how we play it. There are definitely times when the magical/mysticalness has to be dialed back (especially out on the fringe near the Wyld. Sometimes players get that "my brain's chasing its own tail trying to imagine this" look), but overall I try to bear in mind that this is a magical, animistic land.
    ...and when gods literally walk the earth, being a mortal means you're pretty low on the food chain, all things considered. One of my favorite concepts to play with is powerful gods/spirits who more or less screw over people not because they're eeeeevil, but because they're bored and they just don't think humans really matter that much.

    Plus, I mean, the spells and charms don't really feel "mundane" in and of themselves. That's not to say that I think Exalted couldn't be tweaked to play "realistically", but I do agree that it's well suited for mystical high fantasy.

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  • TheCountAlucard
    replied
    Re: violence: I'm probably not gonna narrate the guts spilling out of a guy's opened torso with any more visceral language than I'm using in this very post.

    The swing of a daiklave split's a man's skull to the teeth, another man's chest to the breastbone.

    The Realm lobs a jar of flaming oil on your deck, and screams can be heard as it catches three of your sailors in the conflagration.

    The Dragon-Blooded drives his palm into your chest, and for a moment you feel yourself actually drowning as blood fills your lungs.

    The stink of a hundred bodies is blown your way as the damned vessel rows nearer.

    The damage done by the siege weaponry has made a red ruin of the captain's arm; while it's within your ability to save his arm, he's more likely to live if you amputate now.

    Octavian takes the arrowhead lodged in his skin and drives it deeper until he opens the vein.

    The Eristrufa's vulnerability revealed, its flesh goes up like kindling when you spray it with the flaming oil.

    The grisly remains sit heavily in the hold, three people shredded by the demon; enough is intact for you to see two were children.

    The fighter's burns are severe, but more urgent is the metal head of a ballista bolt lodged in his armpit.

    The sawblade edge of the tentacle rips through jacket and flesh alike.


    There's blood, and there's death, and only seldom does one find glory in it, but it's not Torture Porn.

    On that note, one line I don't cross is torture; if it goes beyond talking, we Cut to Black.

    (I do go a little further with undead and blatantly-inhuman creatures, I've noticed; Mulhecturous is fun because she's a horrible gory half-rotted crab-monster.)
    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 10-08-2015, 07:24 PM.

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  • Tikor
    replied
    Originally posted by SuperG View Post
    And, like the real Renaissance, vast chunks of the world don't have all the "modern" techs.
    I think this part can be generalized to all of recorded human history, and I would highly suggest any Exalted setting have geographical/cultural variations in tech.

    Leave a comment:


  • semicasual
    replied
    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    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!)
    I occupy a funny space where I don't like my violence to be graphic, but I do like it to be anatomically correct.

    Leave a comment:


  • SuperG
    replied
    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    This was going to be two separate posts, but I decided to conserve energy/words, and just combine them, by asking both questions in the same thread:

    1) How much Fantasy do you like in your version of Exalted? There seems to be a recent trend in Fantasy to "celebrate the mundane", so to speak, and to make settings as "plausible and believable" as possible by stripping out most of the fantastic elements. Personally, I can't stand this; if I wanted that, I'd read/watch/play Historical Fiction. I prefer to lay it on thick, with multiple moons in the sky, exotic lizard- and bird-people being pretty common, and marvels, miracles and horrors being right around the corner. But that's just me!

    How many fantastical elements do you like to see in Exalted: Barely any, outside of Charms, so it's mostly like "the real world"; a fair amount, with regular appearances of Spirits and Artifacts; or heavy usage, with the PCs constantly running into new wonders, strange creatures, and odd dimensions?

    2) How much sophistication do you prefer to portray in Creation? I was looking up that line in the 2E core about how Creation's society is a Bronze Age-level one, only to find that it actually says Bronze-Iron Age, and is largely talking about *technology*. In fact, Creation's societies have inherited intact many systems and processes from the First Age, including functioning banking (even during the Shogunate, virtually every citizen had a bank account!), accounting, corporations and companies (complete with stocks and bonds), insurance and so on. There's also fairly well-developed post offices and couriers running items and information, as well as printing presses (the major change from the First Age/Shogunate is that none of this is international anymore, it's all local to city-states).

    But I wonder how many of us recall all that. I sure didn't (although I do recall the odd mention of trading companies in various supplements)! Does this fit with your conception of Creation, or would you rather see it as a much more primitive place? Personally, I'm now looking into PC ideas based on Postal Carriers, Commodities Traders and Insurance Investigators!

    I tend to a blend of the fantastic and the mundane; people trap the fire-beavers the same way they would trap any other wild animal, they find the nearby peoples normal even if they're beastmen, and find outsiders strange even if the only difference is a few shades of skintone. I've also tended to have a lot of weird stuff show up just because, but I'm not so enthusiastic about that anymore (er... even less so than the rest of the game).

    2) Yeah, not iron/bronze age. If anything, my Creation has been more Renaissance - the tech tree is missing gunpowder and knights, but the setting as a whole always feels more modern than a "standard" fantasy world. And heck, firedust and plate armour in the corebook. The only reason for no Knights is because this simply isn't a Medieval Europe based fantasy setting (and the dominance of Dragon-Blooded - who can't really use horses in combat - on the battlefield is the IC reason for why you don't put your heavily armoured dudes on horseback).

    It fits much better with the idea of building a grand new present, too, imo; the world is actually on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, if your circle is willing to light the flame...Rather than something completely weird and made up.


    And, like the real Renaissance, vast chunks of the world don't have all the "modern" techs.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tikor
    replied
    So much awesome in this thread.
    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    1) How much Fantasy do you like in your version of Exalted?
    I like everyone to have a supernatural story of some kind. But in my Exalted, from a mortal point of view, it is a horror setting. All of these supernatural people/things are likely to kill you and should be avoided! These supernatural stories are words of caution, about how shortly after their uncle's death their cousin started acting strangely and later it was pieced together that his soul was possessed by a ghost that caused their cousin to commit a murder/suicide. Scary!

    Of course, those possessing some supernatural power themselves are vastly more often immersed in the supernatural and often have a more sophisticated reaction than horror to those powers. But they're shunned by most normal folk, off in their own society. Even the Dragon-Blooded have an entire class of patricians to buffer between themselves and most mortals.

    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    2) How much sophistication do you prefer to portray in Creation?
    Imagine the Industrial Revolution if steam didn't provide any net work and the electrical system was already built but finite (without literally moving mountains) and 1% of the populace happened to be batteries.

    Some people would have access to riches produced by this system beyond the imagination of feudal peasants. Those riches could not be adopted by the masses because of the finite 'electrical grid' of dragon lines, Manses and Essence wielders. To top that off, the Dragon-Blooded are limited in their understanding of Essence due to simply not being old enough most of the time. It's like they're trying to build circuits with resisters, powersources, capacitors and inductors, but no transistors or understanding of how to construct the latter from the former. Sure, you can get stuff done, but you can't really reach the limits of the possible. Further, the First Age had built a society that could literally move mountains and even make them out of the formless Wyld. Not only could they expand but they could optimize the Essence flows. Even some things were out of their reach for political and technical reasons, but it wasn't because they weren't capable, it's because they didn't have the time or inclination. Only Autochthon ever demonstrated the ability to cap a Demense rated higher than 5 for example. The Cauldronists were habitually blocked in the Deliberative from using Wyld energy to unmake and remake parts of Creation they deemed "sub-optimal".

    In my imagining here, the normal 'steam-punk' type avenue to mortal advances simply doesn't work due to the 'narrative logic' I like to use in Creation. There's a reason there's an Occult and Lore skill and not an Applied Mathematics and Engineering skill - because knowledge of stories and spirits gets stuff done and the other is only good for banking and siege weapons - which the Bronze Age had in their limited forms.

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  • AnubisXy
    replied
    On graphic violence, it really just depends. Typically, nine out of ten times, I just tend to skip over graphic violence - "You cut off his head, and his eyes blink in surprise as his head rolls across the floor," is about as graphic as I'll get.

    Now, once in awhile I do get graphic. Maybe the PCs have killed a hated rival or enemy and I know they would feel a sense of satisfaction with a more detailed death of an NPC. There have also been a few occasions where an NPC died in a particularly amusing way, so I went ahead and described his death for the comedy.

    The other time I will sometimes graphically describe violence will be when I'm trying to build sympathy for a particular NPC. I describe the torture they undergo at the hands of another, and most likely the players will sympathize with the victim or revile the agressor.

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  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by Zelbinnean View Post
    With violence, it's important to emphasize actions having consequences and nothing existing in a white room. There is a reason great soldiers become war weary and sick of death, there's a reason that people say that war is a young man's game, etc. creation is a fairly unforgiving and brutal place where people die of infection on a frequent basis. There's a good place to set the graphic violence dial between "we killed these people and moved on and never dwell on the moral implications" and "gore porn."
    Another thing that can be of much use in dialing up and down such things is working on intervals between fights - the periods of time a group of combatants big, small or anything in between spends looking for a place to regroup or hide out when a major battle ended in defeat, relocating to a new position to keep the fight advancing or because a commander needs some secondary operation done to get the main push to work, periods of guarded rest when they are in an actual city instead of a battlefield in the open plains, mountains or the middle of nowhere, not to mention periods of preparation, drudge work and occasional boredom peppered with character messes in camp or the lull before battle - or after it. How much time one has between fights and what happens during them all can play a role in how one feels and looks at war and violence in general.

    The Sharpe books while more modern than Creation's milieu, are great examples of the use of these and makes for interesting reference much like a number of books of historic fiction with a military bent. Or outright fantasy ones, like the Black Company or Malazan Books of the Fallen series.

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  • Zelbinnean
    replied
    With violence, it's important to emphasize actions having consequences and nothing existing in a white room. There is a reason great soldiers become war weary and sick of death, there's a reason that people say that war is a young man's game, etc. creation is a fairly unforgiving and brutal place where people die of infection on a frequent basis. There's a good place to set the graphic violence dial between "we killed these people and moved on and never dwell on the moral implications" and "gore porn."

    Leave a comment:


  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by Lundgren View Post
    2) The real world Bronze age required a fairly advanced level of trade, which made the bronze age kind of more sophisticated than the first few hundred years of the the Iron age. When the trade resumed, iron based technology had become good enough so it was worth it to continue to use them (still crap compared to bronze; but required just one resource that was, in comparison, fairly common). The Minoans had plumbings http://www.historywiz.com/minoanplumbingandheating.html and the list of finds from the Uluburun wreck (late bronze age) might be of interest https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uluburun_shipwreck#Cargo Well, some areas might have been blessed with both copper and tin, so they could stick with it a while longer.

    Personally, I'm a bit allergic to when Exalted is referred to as a bronze age setting. I use the term "Age of Bronze" at times, but that has nothing to do with technology but with the fact the Bronze faction and the Dragonbloods has been running the show for some 1,500 years. To me, the Baloran crusade was more or less a "nuked backed to the stone age" event, the big different is a lot of knowledge were preserved due to when immediate survival wasn't an issue anymore, there were still people/beings around remembering the pre-catastrophy days. So in a way, it has been more of a question of rebuilding (and reshaping) than reinventing.

    When it comes to how sophisticated Creation is, technology wise, I see it held back due to political and traditional ideas; and that quite a bit is kept secret as there isn't even a corrupt ill managed patent system. Also, just as the use of iron was held back by bronze in our world, quite a bit isn't explored because of Essence. Why explore how boiling water can be used for propulsion, when you can just use something essence driven or a Yeddim? So there is probably someone who has made an essence driven horseless carriage, and it was seen as curiosity for a while and a fun toy, but no one could see any practical use for it. Infallible messenger is most likely why no one have developed something like cable based Morse system. But there probably is a way to redirect pigeons.

    Then there is probably a group of Sids who have figured out that explosives is the first step to city destroying weapons, and don't want mortals having access to something that powerful. So they kill off anyone who figure out how to make gunpowder.

    Still, I want there to be places where irrigation and using an ox to pull a plow are considered high tech. But Creation is a big place, so I see no problem with having both
    As an aside, there's evidence of steam-powered machinery in roman times, it was simply treated as a novelty/curiosity for entertainment and some specific public works and never implemented in a widespread scale like what happened more than a millenium later in the industrial revolution.

    That said, i mostly run Creation as "pulpy/Pegana/Hyborian/Zotique"-esque, "Herodotus' style ancient" and such care not a bit whatsoever about technical-technological level details, specially because these things were far from cut & dry in real life itself (where do mayas, inca & aztecs fit exactly, for example?). That said, i also try to avoid most of the kind of "fantastic call-outs to contemporary/cyberpunk-esque imagery" that DotFA seemed to bleed by droves and seems to have contaminated many people's image of the Shogunate. Seriously, international business and intrigue existed long before the Renaissance, no need for crap like hard motes & etc or I AM to be lowered to playing self-aware fantasy internet and Deliberative as Exalted West Wing to do that.

    As far as fantasy goes, well, i make it sort of widespread. Some people will know bits and pieces of esoteric lore with little understanding of its meaning, like having crows, black dogs or a readhead in one's boat is lucky for sailors, sick people fashioning or buying imitations of a problematic body part and offering it to a disease god as appeasement or people saying the river god is pissed with them after a flood happens - and a number of times people are right about those things. Strange beings and places exists - some are abandoned manses or unexplored demesnes but others are wyld zones, the stomping grounds of elementals and gods or more peculiar things.

    Exalts exist and they are many but the world is a big place and in some areas one may live its whole life without ever meeting one, while some centers will attract them by dozens or even hundreds, though most people idea of an exalt is a dragon-blood or exigent, that are frequently mistaken for god-bloods and truth be told the term "god-blood" similarity to the Terrestrials' moniker only helps to colaborate to the confusion of divine byblows with Exalted among mortals, for whom "exalted" is frequently just another word for "empowered by gods/dragons/demons/whatever". Spirits, their descendants and mortals that frequently serve or deal with them are far more frequent associates or foils for the Chosen.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 10-08-2015, 08:29 AM.

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  • LeTipex
    replied
    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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  • The MG
    replied
    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    So, X=Violence.

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  • Raziere
    replied
    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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