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A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-through of Ex3

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  • #46
    The Unsung Hero Point... What about stuff that's flat-out not explained in the core?


    Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Eric Minton View Post
      The Three Devil Princes of the Southwest, in Masters of Jade, were heavily implied to be Lunars of this sort.
      I did have those guys in mind when I was expanding the map.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
        The Unsung Hero Point... What about stuff that's flat-out not explained in the core?
        As many of us find out, some stuff is explained, some stuff is implied, and some stuff is missing, and we're not all great at determining which is true. I have stated many things that "are definitely there in the book" only to find they aren't... but I got the impression from somewhere, didn't I?

        I personally would take great interest in seeing what the "fresh look" gets out of it, but I'm hardly the forum police. It was just a recommendation. ^_^


        I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
        I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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        • #49
          Chapter 2: The Age of Sorrows, aka Setting Infodump

          Intro Fiction

          Kind of works, but I'm not really invested in it. New characters, with no real build-up. Meh

          Introduction
          • Wow, semicolons! Used properly! I'm so happy for you.
          • Still not sure on why the Poles just get more Poley at the outskirts, rather than more Wyldy. Shouldn't it be both? And if so, what's the difference?
          • The Underworld has a huge gaping maw in the West? Shouldn't someone do something about that? And why only in the West? I get the whole "boat journey to the underworld" thing, but is it more than that?
          Overall a good, tight panorama of Creation. Nice prep for the zoomed-in view.

          The Spirits of the World

          I've left in some thoughts from this section that got corrected later on, because they occurred to me while reading and it took a while for things to be corrected/explained by further text.
          • "They are invested with limited power over their domains, and garner more through worship or promotion" Snicker. Promotion. Do they do "2 for 1" prayer coupons in Yu-Shan?
          • How do gods actually happen? Is there enough to do anything, and "gods without portfolio" are too workshy to get another purview from the bureaucrats? From the picture of the Celestial Bureaucracy, I really don't see them being interested in monitoring the course of a particular river out in the sticks, so how do those small gods happen? They're obviously different from the unemployed gods mentioned on p.60, who stick around Yu-Shan.
          • "By the laws of Heaven, the gods of Creation cannot intercede in the world". So how do they monitor and correct things? My contradiction alarm is ringing...
          • Why are Gaia and the gods' creators not explained here? I know enough of 2E lore to know what they are, and that there is an attempt to create distance here, but as it's written it has an odd ontology. Is Gaia a god that was passed over? If not, why are she and the rest of the creators not detailed in this section?
          • Where are the Dragon-blooded's patrons? All the other Exalted get them detailed here... oh, they're over the page.
          • "Greater elementals rule courts of their lessers or pretend at godhood over men" - If the purview of gods is to run aspects of creation, then why aren't elementals gods? If they can generate their element to a degree they can have a degree of control, like bringing rain when it's needed. This boundary feels like it should be more fuzzy, at least at this point. Is it simply that gods are immortal while elementals aren't, for some reason?
          • GIANT SCALY OTTERS. I approve!
          • The section in demons mentions Yozis for the first time, and we finally get to know who created the world. Although the oaths are an intriguing mystery at this point.
          • Page 62 has the first mention of God-bloods. What are these things? I have an inkling, but they aren't mentioned anywhere in the section about gods, that I saw.
          • The "Through Mortal Eyes" sidebar is essential reading for getting my head around this. So may things make sense from this, like how the difference between elementals and gods is basically razor-thin to anyone not from Yu-Shan.
          A good section overall, lots of detail and you get a really nice sense of how the whole deal functions. Although it's a bit clunky in places and takes time for things to be fully explained. It doesn't help that "Through Mortal Eyes" is over the page, either.

          The Realm
          • Nice overview of the Realm, although the picture on p.62 makes me think more of the First Age, what with airships and all. The Realm's own level of technology isn't very defined.
          • The Thousand Scales gets mentioned very early on, and not really elaborated. Are they the Realm's tax collectors and customs officials? Although their possibly more direct involvement with the ports makes me think of the East India Company.
          • (yes, I realise from later descriptions that their nearest comparison is the Guild, but the Company's ties with the British government could reflect the Thousand Scales better. I don't know at this point)
          • The text is really making me want to know more about the Immaculate Order. I know it's coming, but a lot of the earlier stuff seems to reference it enough that you almost need to go through the Order first.
          • The map of Creation is blurry in the PDF, and zooming in doesn't really help. Please tell me it'll be clearer in hard copy...
          • The p.64 sidebar suddenly throws up "Getimian Exalted". Have they been mentioned before? Do they need to be? if it weren't for them, Thulio would have been a perfect culprit for making the Liminals. Do we really need another type of Exalt that isn't mentioned anywhere else for this?
          • The letter about the Scarlet Empress' disappearance feels like a summary of the previous section, and not very well written as a character piece. It's a good summary, but it didn't need to be dressed up.
          • So how did the Empress run things, exactly? The set-up feels like a constitutional monarchy, with a veto that actually matters from the monarch. So why is the monarch actually vital? This section doesn't explain that.
          • Are the Immaculate Dragons and the Elemental Dragons the same thing? I assume so, but it confused me and my simple brain for a while. Also can't remember if this point was made in the Lexicon or not, that was a lot of words ago.
          • The summaries of the various Houses are neat. Good themes and spheres of influence. Knowing where they are geographically would have been a further help. Or are they all bickering together on the Blessed Isle?
          • Outcaste dragonblooded come up ever and anon. From the context it's clear that they're Dragon-blooded that aren't part of the Realm's governmental machinery, but what does that mean in terms of how they operate? Are they repatriated in some way or adopted by a Great House? Are they killed so their Exaltation can be freed up for the "right" sort of person? Anything between these extremes? I'm curious, and get no answers from this section.
          A good section for setting out the themes and relationships, but a little scant on detail. I know the Realm will have its own book, but a bit more on Realm "procedure" and "business as usual" and why the Empress disappearing makes a difference to that would have been good.


          Religion & Worship
          • Immaculate Philosophy, YAY! I really like the description of this.But it feels like the priesthood and the Realm are SO intertwined that you won't ever get Immaculate believers outside of the Realm. Which feels... artificial to me, even if it is purely made to justify the Realm.
          • Oh, THAT'S the difference between Elemental & Immaculate Dragons. That is very easy to miss. I (now) know Elemental = numinous and Immaculate = Incarnate, but is it a pointless semantic difference, in the end? Particularly as the antitheses aren't actual people.
          • The Measuring Time sidebar seems devoted to making a new reckoning of the seasons, which is then shoehorned into a reader's own seasonal understanding. Blech.
          Loved this section. Lots of meaty explanation of how the Immaculates work. But the Hundred Gods Heresy isn't really a Heresy... But Hundred Gods Apostasy doesn't roll off the tongue quite so well.

          The Guild

          The Guild only gets a sidebar? An organisation that is in many parts of Creation, and that has SPACE MARINES, only gets a sidebar!? This feels way too short, and I don't really want to have to patch an understanding of the Guild together from how it's mentioned in relation to other factions. Maybe I'm too lazy.

          Money in Creation
          • The Silver exchange rate feels totally separated out from the cash & jade systems, which interlink on some level. Am I missing something, or is silver purely a tool with which to bleed the vassals dry?
          • I got very confused by this section in terms of value. There were lots of weight conversions, which are essentially meaningless to the reader, and not enough examples of concrete worth for some things. I appreciate values fluctuate, but a rough benchmark would be nice.
          The Threshold

          The North
          • Several cities are mentioned that aren't marked on the map. Do we have to buy a Directional supplement simply to confirm information that's in the core?
          • The map doesn't have a scale. Is it just a copy-paste of a section of the overall Realm book? Lazy.
          • Speaking of the map, did whoever wrote the descriptions of the places actually look at it while writing the descriptions? There are places that are supposed to be surrounded by wilderness that are super close to several other settlements, and discussion of frozen wastelands to the north of cities that are on the south coast of the White Sea.
          • CAN SOMEONE EITHER TELL ME WHAT MEDO IS OR STOP TALKING ABOUT IT? I gather it's a kingdom of some sort, but it's not defined anywhere, and feels kind of important. Was an introductory paragraph to it/them cut somewhere along the line? There's a good amount of information here, but without a point of origin I can't use any of it.
          For all of the above whining, this is a good section. Lots of nice story hooks, that feel discrete enough that STs won't have to pull in everything if they set stories here. I was kind of worried about that.

          The East
          • Hang on, there are Liminals openly operating in the Scavenger Lands? And, I assume, everywhere else outside of the Blessed Isle and Threshold? Doesn't that cheapen the whole notion of hiding Exaltation, if the Wild Hunt is stopped by border control?
          • Why would pilgrims go to Three Forks? Did a bunch of gods just decide to set up their own prayer marketplace? That's what it feels like, but I don't see why mortals would be drawn to that. This feels like a setting where gods need mortals more than mortals need gods, in many cases. Although if such a place does exist, it makes total sense for it to be a hub for Exigents.
          • In fact, pilgrimage to honour distant gods feels altogether backwards in Exalted. Why pray to gods who either aren't prescribed through the Immaculate Calendar or who aren't doing you and yours an obvious favour? There's nothing in the setting (so far) that would inspire traditional distant theistic devotion, which is what a place like Great Forks needs in order to work.
          • Once again, it feels like there are locations detailed here that aren't on the map of the East. Where actually ARE Nechara and the Great Southeastern Way?
          • Once again, cultural lifting happens. It's nice to see Aztecs involved in a fantasy setting, but there could have been SOME attempt to hide the origin, couldn't there?
          • Palanquin looks very cool. And it has a portal to some kind of hell, should it ever be opened. What's not to love?
          Lots of nice locations, very well-detailed. Not quite so many plothooks. It feels like the East is... more established in the minds of the writers than the North, because there are far less "it could be this..." type options. Which is bad for players who don't already know what's going on. The descriptions merged a bit too much for me towards the end.


          The South
          • Lots of description, few plot hooks for most locations.
          • Yaay Delzahn!
          • They're called Anathema in Gem? Does the Realm's power extend that far? That needs to be spelled out.
          • That's actually something that's been bugging me for a while... there are only hints of places that are Realm satrapies or not. It feels very up to the ST how far the Realm's power extends in each direction, apart from a few key cities. That is fine in itself, but either being told it's up to us to outline where the Realm has satrapies and where it doesn't, or more precisely where such boundaries are, would be helpful. Or are they all Realm Satrapies and I missed the text which says this?
          • The Far South is a huge exception to the "few plot hooks" of the general south. There feels like something for STs to use almost every other sentence here. That might be an exaggeration, but it feels a lot richer than the East. Or it could be that I respond better to a particular kind of writing for plot hooks.
          • Yes, the maps are a simple copy-paste of the bigger one, because we finally have a scale!
          • (by the way I've also stopped looking at the map to actually understand the geography - any given location doesn't feel likely to be meaningfully marked there, so I don't waste time looking for it)
          • The Southwest has suddenly become easier to pinpoint where Realm satrapies are and aren't.
          Really liked this area. Very nice to read about. That said, the only area I would feel confident STing "out of the box" is the Southwest, because the rest doesn't leave that many areas with interesting mysteries.

          The West
          • Pirate crime family. Awesome idea.
          • Are Poles actual physical places, or just a way of talking about the extreme instances of any particular element? I'm not clear on this, and I'm not sure the book is either.
          • "As the West is the least populous and accessible part of the Threshold" OK, so the Directions are part of the Threshold? I must have missed that earlier, it's the first time that's registered with me.
          • The Tya are another interesting take on gender roles. I love this so much about Exalted, and I think they are a great way to throw curve balls at players.
          • "The obsidian towers of Onyx" makes me want to cry. Are they made of obsidian, or Onyx? Or did the writer just think "hur hur, they're both black stones!"?
          • Moon-Touched? What are they? Don't think they've been mentioned anywhere before now.
          • Ethnotypes section is good. Not sure if it shouldn't have been earlier on in this chapter, before people's mental images get fixed. Also, "epicanthic folds" is a good new phrase for me to know.
          I enjoyed this read through. A lot of decent material.

          Which rather felt like it segued rather suddenly into...

          Lunar Dominions
          • Started off thinking these were all in the West. I is confused!
          • After the initial blurb, it talks about "the truth" which Lunars pass on. Like the bitter, embattled guerrillas who haven't stopped fighting a war for thousands of years are going to have a clear view on how things started. This confuses god-view perspectives again...
          • Lots of good ideas, but it has the usual locations problem. Where is all this happening? Only that it's worse here, as it's not just absent from a map (most of the time), but also no situated alongside the geographical area where it's supposed to be happening. Makes things difficult to connect up, and this is me doing almost nothing else but read this in my spare time currently. What's someone reading this chapter over a week going to take away from it?
          • Lots of lovely plot hooks and antagonists. Unless the book doesn't tell us how to stat them later and this is just a teaser for the Lunars book. In which case I will be disappointed; there's a ton of neat ideas here, and I want to be able to at least be given the tools to maybe run them. Unless of course the book is assuming all its readers will have a conversion from 2.5 Lunars somewhere.
          • I heart the Caul. Lots and lots of potential stories there.
          Lots of depth to this section, and lots of ideas being thrown around. However, I can't help but picture all of them happening in a jungle because of how they are removed from their actual locations.


          The Wyld
          • The Raksha are the future PCs for a splatbook, the Hannya future NPC antagonists.
          • Where does this stuff happen, again?
          Eh, I tried to like this section. But there was nothing really to get my interest. Yes, chaos. Yes, weird dreamscapes. Where is all this happening, and why does it matter? There is this ocean of forever-something just outside of Creation, wanting to take it back. But as hardly anywhere outside this section references the Wyld, it just doesn't come off as interesting, or an interesting threat. The allure of the fae is an interesting idea, but I get the feeling that most players will know to stay away from the shiny and attractive crack, and so not bring their characters near it.

          The Grave and Beyond
          • The intro about how different cultures see death and what it means to them is really interesting. And then completely thrown out of the window by "The Restless Dead" section, which again goes for the "this is The Truth" angle, with no connection to the intriguing beliefs mentioned previously, or trying to reconcile how they happened given the reality of the underworld. Seriously disjointed here, which is a shame. I feel like some of the more subtle and interesting cultural takes will be chucked by many people in lieu of the simpler, absolute stuff.
          • The idea of ghosts resurrecting and puppeteering their own corpses is a really cool one.
          • Shadowlands are good. Well-explained, interesting resolution for the "borders" between the living and the dead.
          • Deathlords are neat, but suffer from the same disconnection from the regions they are active in as the Lunars. Unlike the Fae, they have been bigged up elsewhere and so seem more of a threat.
          • The different possible goals and personalities for the Deathlords help make these things work very well.
          • Do the Deathlords even have an endgame? I love the different possible goals here.
          Really liked this. While things are a little vague and not centred on anywhere, the thematics are clear and the possibilities given by the named Deathlords are solid story threads. I was expecting to hear more about the Yozis in this section, but I guess they're meant to be mysterious for now. I can live with that.


          Behemoths
          • These are big, bad, plot puzzles.
          • A few examples of some being active before the destruction of Thorns would have been helpful here.
          Not really enough meat to excessively like or dislike these. I like their potential, though.

          This was a LOT to take in. Possibly because I'm also rushing slightly to keep posting on this. But overall this was an awesome read. My eyes glazed a bit as practices which weren't connected to pre-established things in the world, but I'm sure would certainly provide decent backdrop if I needed it. The plot hooks are also nice and plentiful, which is good; introducing a whole new world can leave people wondeing where to start. This chapter really helps with that.

          Random thought - is there actually any narrative need for the Great Contagion? The population needs to be almost wiped out so that the Wyld can encroach, but why have this be an external Because Plot Says So event? Wouldn't it be more interesting (and potentially make the current crisis in the Realm more urgent) if it was simply that the Shogunate tore itself and most of Creation to pieces using the Solar's weapons? Misunderstandings of how they functioned and resultant "ooops" moments could also produce significant collateral damage, and the disappearance of the Scarlet Empress could provoke "remember what it was like last time this happened" terror among historians. Or was the Contagion an explicit concoction of the Fae, to prepare for their invasion? Having a Random Apocalypse Disease out of nowhere when there are plenty of ways to engineer death with the existing narrative tools feels odd to me.

          So now we know what the world is like, now we dream up people to fill it. Character creation next stop!
          Last edited by Xerxes; 04-24-2016, 04:44 PM.


          A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
          Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

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          • #50
            In previous editions, it eventually came out that some of the Deathlords magicked up the Great Contagion in an effort to kill the world. Didn't quite work.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
              In previous editions, it eventually came out that some of the Deathlords magicked up the Great Contagion in an effort to kill the world. Didn't quite work.
              Makes sense I guess. Although a little bland.


              A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
              Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
                Outcaste dragonblooded come up ever and anon. From the context it's clear that they're Dragon-blooded that aren't part of the Realm's governmental machinery, but what does that mean in terms of how they operate? Are they repatriated in some way or adopted by a Great House? Are they killed so their Exaltation can be freed up for the "right" sort of person? Anything between these extremes? I'm curious, and get no answers from this section.
                Dragon Blooded exaltations don't work like Celestial ones. They don't "fly off" when the dragon blooded dies to find a new host. They're born when the dragonblood exalts and they die along with them. The power's in their blood.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
                  Random thought - is there actually any narrative need for the Great Contagion? The population needs to be almost wiped out so that the Wyld can encroach, but why have this be an external Because Plot Says So event? Wouldn't it be more interesting (and potentially make the current crisis in the Realm more urgent) if it was simply that the Shogunate tore itself and most of Creation to pieces using the Solar's weapons? Misunderstandings of how they functioned and resultant "ooops" moments could also produce significant collateral damage, and the disappearance of the Scarlet Empress could provoke "remember what it was like last time this happened" terror among historians. Or was the Contagion an explicit concoction of the Fae, to prepare for their invasion? Having a Random Apocalypse Disease out of nowhere when there are plenty of ways to engineer death with the existing narrative tools feels odd to me.
                  Headcanon accepted.


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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
                    "The obsidian towers of Onyx" makes me want to cry. Are they made of obsidian, or Onyx? Or did the writer just think "hur hur, they're both black stones!"?
                    Onyx is the location's name. It's why it's capitalized and in bold font, like every other city name has been.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
                      Onyx is the location's name. It's why it's capitalized and in bold font, like every other city name has been.
                      "Hey man, check those towers. They look like they're made of onyx."
                      "Hey, that should be the place's name."
                      "Um, guys? This tower seems to be made of obsidian."
                      "... Onyx is a cooler name."


                      Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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                      • #56
                        Xerxes, just out of curiousity, could you tell us which (if any) of the suggested resources you're familiar with? I feel like approaching the setting material with the question of "How would I use this to tell stories like that?" really helps put it into a usable context, and even if it wouldn't necessarily fill in some of the blanks, it can give you some inspiration for what sort of things might fit.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Wandering View Post
                          Xerxes, just out of curiousity, could you tell us which (if any) of the suggested resources you're familiar with?
                          A few, but not many:
                          • A Song of Ice and Fire
                          • Several Conan short stories, as well as the Schwarzenegger film and the Saturday morning cartoon Conan the Adventurer. Not the anthology mentioned in the resources, though.
                          • A comic book version of The Illiad
                          • The Book of Judges
                          • Howl's Moving Castle
                          • Final Fantasy VII, although I don't remember it all that well
                          That probably should be part of the initial post, explaining my background. I'll update it now.


                          A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
                          Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
                            Several Conan short stories, as well as the Schwarzenegger film and the Saturday morning cartoon Conan the Adventurer.
                            Holy cow, you watched that too?!


                            Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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                            • #59
                              Religiously. Along with many other heroic ones that didn't make the cut. Prince Valiant wasn't exactly Exalted, but I still loved it. And on reading the anima banner stuff, my mind immediately goes to Bravestar...


                              A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
                              Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
                                Religiously. Along with many other heroic ones that didn't make the cut. Prince Valiant wasn't exactly Exalted, but I still loved it. And on reading the anima banner stuff, my mind immediately goes to Bravestar...
                                ..And thus is born my horse-themed Lunar with an artifact Firewand ... might need to work on the names of Thirty-Thirty and Sarah-Jane though ... not ideally Exalted!

                                Loving the PoV Xerxes ... I'm about to start re-reading 3rd Ed again and it's interesting comparing your read through with my own impressions and just how much I'm filling in the blanks that the current text leaves a little open.

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