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

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  • I really liked the opening fiction, but Janest is another favorite because it feels like an absolutely fabulous example of what the world of Exalted can be like.

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    • I love the Janest fiction and accompanying artwork. I think it's the strongest piece in the bunch, and given that it doesn't make a lot of sense to start with it (since the book is about the Solars!) I'm really glad they decided to end on that note.


      You finished! Congrats!

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      • Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
        I really liked the opening fiction, but Janest is another favorite because it feels like an absolutely fabulous example of what the world of Exalted can be like.
        Yeah, I've had some discussion back and forth as to the merits of the opening fiction. Best I can say about it is I like parts of it, but overall I don't like the whole thing.

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


        • Originally posted by Irked View Post
          You finished! Congrats!
          Thanks. It took me long enough, but I couldn't keep up the starting pace & still have a life. Plus, Skyrim & the NFL.

          I think I preferred the opening fiction, to be honest. It felt denser, and the characters more colourful. I think the plot of the Janest pece was better, but the opening fiction was a better story. It had more heart, to me at least.

          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.


          • Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
            Black Wind[LIST][*]A Solar-focused Soulsteel artefact? Which has been around since the first age? How do those work, given that Soulsteel is produced by the Deathlords?[*]Nasty sounding baseline ability! Although I take it they only last for one combat?[*]More intimacy-based activations. I like these, but do they throw balance concerns out a bit?[*]A principled killer... really doesn't effect the image of what the blade is about. It's perfect for one of my Solar players, but without further clarification on Abyssal stuff, I'm questioning why this is Soulsteel.

            As far as the bit on Soulsteel goes it doesn't require a deathlord to make it. Soulsteel artifacts just require ghosts and I think stone from the Labyrinth to make, so the rise of the Deathlords and Abyssals probably made it easier in some ways to aquire soul steel. Of course at the same time considering Star Metal has to come from a falling star, Orichalcum requires ritualistically purifying gold in a volcanoe, and Moon silver is confusing. It wouldn't suprise me if Soul Steel had been a lesser rarity of the magic metals to Jade in the first age. Especially considering Solars are listed as masters of artifacts and a material that wants to eat people is probaly helpful in a lot of weapons.

            Congrats on finishing at last.


            • Right, I've slept on things and have been pondering over the whole thing in a summary, insofar as that's possible. And to do that, as with much of the rest of the review, I'll be using bulleted lists!

              The Good
              • I may be biased in this as it's what sucked me in in 2E, but the setting is fantastic. There are underlying themes here that just don't get explored in other games, alongside some really off-the-wall awesome places to give players and STs ideas for plots and characters.
              • These settings and places are presented in such a way that it's very easy to develop story hooks. There is so much I want to do with this setting, just from a simple read-through.
              • It's a system-heavy game, but each system feels like it kind of works, crafting excepted (I'll get to that). The combat in particular takes a while to grok, but once you understand that it's simulating cinematic combat, a lot of my misgivings fall away.
              • There are some charms in there that are obvious lead-ins to building character concepts. Again, some things in this book make my imagination really pop.
              • The fiction is, by and large, decent. The longer pieces in particular give a great picture of the world, even if the exact writing could be tightened a little in places.
              • The book is very open about its "if it's not there, make it yourself" philosophy. It's a good message and is broadcast repeatedly.
              • The colour rules are one of the best meta-rules I've ever seen in any game, and need to be hammered into the heads of every roleplayer, regardless of what system they play.
              • I love that we have a trans character front and... to the right a bit on the cover. It underlies something else that runs throughout the book, that a whole range of cultures, ethnicities, gender identities and sexual preferences can be developed and explored in the game.
              The Bad
              • Quite a few of the details of the well-crafted systems get lost in the text. I found myself wondering about how certain things meshed together or interacted, only to find an explanation buried in an off-hand comment in another section. This is fine if you can take the time to read through it and make crib notes, but it makes it difficult to use the rulebook as a troubleshooting reference. The actual systems are really clearly laid out, but exceptions and elaborations to those take quite a bit of digging to get to.
              • All of the different systems, while nice on their own, feel like a lot to run together. This isn't too much of a problem in actual play, but as a "do I want to run this game" consideration, it feels quite daunting.
              • The charms. There are a few subsections to this:
                • There are so many of them, and the language that they use to describe their effects takes a lot of unpacking. As I said, if I wasn't doing the review, I wouldn't have bothered reading through them all.
                • The language makes it hard to get an impression of what each one actually does. I note the term 'dice tricks' bounced around a lot to describe minor effects. In my read-through, I often couldn't get as far as identifying what those actually did, and thereby how the interactions work. This possibly comes with play experience, but when building a character in a white-space environment, it's hard work to figure out.
                • The descriptions of what they look like are quite monotonous. A large amount of them could be summed by "Solar does their thing, which glows in a particular way". This makes having a flavour/crunch split, which could solve some of the other problems, a really bad idea to make them engaging reading.
              • The overall layout is frustrating. This is a combination of minor things like sidebars being in the wrong place to things like character creation coming before the traits description, and evocations only happening right at the end. This means that, as a straight read, new players aren't going to understand what they're building or how it all works together. It's also meant that, as a new ST, I have had difficulty signposting my players to relevant parts to consider during character creation, although that is also possibly due to my own lack of understanding.
              • The level of detail about various points in both the setting and the rules are just at the point where I was given enough information for my mind to run with the possibilities and then fall over some stones strewn in the way. It felt like it was complex enough to need further explanation, but the thing is already nearly 700 pages long. There is a particular dearth of examples to illustrate points. I know a lot of this will be answered in coming publications, but several of them felt like they needed an explanation NOW. Which will be great when the line is complete however many years down the road, but frustrating for now.
              • The lack of examples particularly hurts for social abilities. I still have only a vague idea where Presence ends and Socialise begins, and my understanding of how Bureaucracy happens is only slightly better.
                • I dislike how much Bureaucracy seems like a useless appendix. It doesn't connect with any system apart from its own charms.
              The Ugly
              • This is not a book for people new to roleplaying. The rules expect a confidence with homebrewing and an awareness of gaming conventions that can only really come from experience with other roleplaying systems. The reference to Gary Gygax in particular is one of the most infuriating examples of this.
              • Allied to that, this thing really needs a storyteller's guide section. You are dealing with characters of immense power, and given very little guidance on how to run meaningful plots and antagonists in that context. This is a huge problem. The "projects" section goes some way to remedying this, but it isn't really a projects section. It's a "how to run an Exalted game" section, and needed to be treated as such.
              • The crafting system feels like needless number crunching. I have read RAW crafting, and Sanctaphrax's crafting system, and will without hesitation say I will always use the latter. There are just far too many pointless things to keep track of in RAW crafting.
              • It feels like the system needs a very collaborative approach to character creation, in order to keep everything on track. While this isn't a problem in itself, the book doesn't spell this out, which could lead to serious problems at the table.
              Despite all the bad and ugly this is still a game I desperately want to play, and run. The list of "bad" is quite extensive, but they aren't dealbreakers for me. I enjoyed most of the read, will carry on following the game because it is a fundamentally awesome idea with decent execution, but needs a lot of interpretation that will result in frustrated newcomers and very different games (at a rules level) at each table it is played at.

              Thanks to all my readers. You've helped make an interesting ride much more fun, and at times kept me going. I hope that this thread has been some measure of helpful, amusing or both.

              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.


              • Right, I don't know if this is against the rules, but Sanctaphrax asked me to give you his congratulations on finishing this, so have both his congratulations and mine.

                This was definitely a worthwhile read.

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                • Thanks Xerxes, you really helped bring attention to many things. I found your review enlightening for things I was taking for granted despite there being no proof to back up my thoughts. I also found the review demonstrated a fairly neutral tone allowing people to discuss their confusions or interpretations in a manner less combative than many other threads. Good work.


                  • Congratulations! It's been an enjoyable read.

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                    • From the sample artifacts with evocations, the patterns seem to be: Maximum of 5 Evocations per weapon/armor with an Essence cap of the weapon's/armor's artifact rating.

                      Also congrats for finishing!