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

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  • Xerxes
    started a topic A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-through of Ex3

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

    I was reading through the "I am displeased with Ex3" thread, and came across this quote:

    Originally posted by Weimann View Post
    It would be interesting to see how someone who's not been on this four year long rollercoaster looks at the 3e core book. That might tell us relevant things.
    ...and thought I'd be a relatively imperfect option for this, as I have heard next to nothing about the Kickstarter up until about a month ago. I bought the PDF yesterday and ordered a hardback book, because I have every intention of running Ex3, and need to get my head around it.

    As I go through I'll be asking all the stupid questions that people who don't know a lot about the setting or have not developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the old charm trees may ask. Please chime in with answers to these, and we can potentially make a start on a set of Ex3 Newcomer FAQs.

    First, full disclosure:
    • I have played and ST'd VtM and DA:V for years, so not new to White Wolf IP altogether.
    • I have not been onboard since the Kickstarter, although I have known about Exalted since Ex2, and loved the game's premise and feel. I read part of the core (mostly the setting info), but never played or ST'd it.
    • I have read through part of the Irked Reads thread, so am already primed for some of the potential pitfalls. I may gloss over something a complete newcomer might
    • I do not have the best memory in the world. I will forget things from the previous chapters I've read as I read through.
    • I will ramble, and my sentences go long. For this I make no apology; you have been warned.
    Having gone through the suggested resources, I am familiar with the following:
    • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Several of Howard's 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. Also the Advent Children film.
    This thread has turned into quite a beast, so links are here:

    Chapter 1: The Exalted
    Chapter 2: The Age of Sorrows
    Chapter 3: Character Creation

    Chapter 4: Traits
    Castes & Abilities
    Merits & Flaws
    Willpower, Intimacies, Health, Essence & Anima Banner
    Character Advancement

    Chapter 5: Systems & Conflict
    Glossary, General System Structure, & Stunting
    Battle Groups
    Social Influence
    Crime & Investigation
    Leadership & Projects
    Environmental Rules, Illness & Lore, with some Feats of Strength & Destroying Stuff in the Mix, Just for Kicks

    Chapter 6: Charms
    General Charms Systems
    Craft - Efficiency
    Craft - Momentum
    Craft - Repairing & Reforging
    Craft - Power
    Occult & Sorcery
    Performance - Omni-applicable
    Performance - Utility
    Performance - Oratory
    Performance - Music & Singing
    Performance - Dance
    Performance - Acting
    Performance - Voice
    Performance - Sex

    Chapter 7: Martial Arts & Sorcery
    General Martial Arts Systems
    Snake Style
    Tiger Style
    Single Point Shining Into the Void Style
    White Reaper Style
    Crane Style
    Silver-Voiced Nightingale Style
    Righteous Devil Style
    Black Claw Style
    Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style
    Steel Devil Style
    General Sorcery Systems
    Shaping Rituals
    Terrestrial Circle Spells
    Celestial Circle Spells
    Solar Circle Spells
    Sorcerous Workings

    Chapter 8: Antagonists
    General QC Systems
    Mortals, Strange Folk & Monsters, and The Dead
    Spirits & gods
    Creatures of the Wyld
    The Exalted

    Chapter 9: The Grand Panoply
    The Resources System
    Mortal Weapons
    Mortal Armour
    Artefact Weapons & Attunement
    Artefact Melee Weapons
    Artefact Thrown & Archery Weapons
    Artefact Armour
    Additional Artefacts
    Hearthstones General Rules
    Elemental Hearthstones
    Celestial Hearthstones
    Evocations & Magical Materials
    Example Artefacts and Evocations & Outro

    Summary Review

    I've also created a couple of characters in going through the rules here, which are below. Neither of them have names, but the concepts are solid(ish):

    Criminal Family Matriarch - Cunning head of a criminal family who looks out for family above all else, and the rest of the world is just a stage on which to show their greatness. Initial inspiration was Don Corleone.

    Caste: Eclipse
    Supernal: Presence
    Concept: Crime Family Matriarch

    Physical (tertiary): Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2+1
    Social (primary): Charisma 4, Manipulation 5, Appearance 2
    Mental (secondary): Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 4

    Caste: Bureaucracy 3, Larceny 3, Linguistics 1, Presence 2+3, Socialise 3
    Favoured: Brawl 2+1, Dodge 1, Integrity 1, Investigation 1, Resistance 2
    Others: Athletics 2, Awareness 2, Stealth 2

    Bureaucracy (corruption)
    Socialise (cutting deals)
    Larceny (smuggling)
    Presence (threats)

    Contacts (underworld information sources & family syndicate) 3
    Followers (family syndicate thugs, fences and business owners) 3
    Influence (Threshold traders) +3
    +Language (Guild Cant)
    +Language (Low Realm)
    Retainer (sister who is consiglire) 2
    Resources 2+1

    Awareness: Sensory Acuity Prana
    Brawl: Fists of Iron Technique, Iron Battle Focus
    Bureaucracy: Deft Official's Way, Measuring Glance, Enlightened Discourse Method
    Larceny: Seasoned Criminal Method, Spurious Presence
    Presence (supernal): Listener-swaying argument, Excellent Friend Approach, Harmonious Presence Meditation
    Socialise: Mastery of Small Manners, Motive-Discerning Technique
    Resistance: Durability of Oak Meditation, Ox-body Technique

    Family looks after family (defining)
    The Ends Justify the Means (defining)
    Consiglire Sister (love) (minor)
    Consiglire Sister (admiration) (minor)
    Consiglire Sister (distrust) (major)
    Daughters (love) (major)
    Sons (love) (minor)
    All immediate and extended family (motherly concern) (major)
    Respect Must Be Earned (major)
    Reputation is Everything (major)
    The Realm are the worst thieves (minor)
    Realm factor of X (disdain) (minor)
    Province of X (patriotic attachment) (major)
    The Immaculate Philosophy is good for other people (minor)

    Limit Trigger: Someone successfully acting against my interests

    Willpower: 5+1

    15 freebies
    14 (Brawl 3)
    11 (Presence 5)
    8 (Stamina 3)
    7 (Resources 3)
    4 (Influence 3)
    2 (2 languages)
    0 (Willpower 6)

    Wyld-Shaping Moses - an unmoving bastion of strength, who shapes the Wyld through elaborate katas to build his people a home. Inspired by the image of Wyld-Shaping Technique combined with tai chi, which then grew to include ideas of "make people a home", "former student of the House of Thirty Seals" and "immovable solid thing that creates other solid things". I have an image of Panther's appearance in my head when I think of this character.

    Caste: Zenith
    Supernal: Lore
    Concept: Wyld-Shaping Moses

    Physical (primary): Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4
    Social (tertiary): Charisma 3, Manipulation 2, Appearance 2
    Mental (secondary): Perception 2, Intelligence 4, Wits 3

    Caste: Lore 5, Resistance 3, Survival 2, Integrity 2, Presence +3
    Favoured: Awareness 1, Brawl 2 (Martial Arts 3+2), Occult 2, Ride 1, Survival 2
    Others: Linguistics 2, Craft 3

    Lore (the Wyld)
    Occult (demonology)
    Martial Arts (full defence)
    Resistance (the Wyld)

    Martial Artist (4)
    Boundless Endurance (2)
    Direction Sense (1)
    Followers (Exiles from <<PLACE>>) (3)
    Demesne (4)

    Brawl: Fists of Iron Technique
    Craft: Craftsman Needs No Tools
    Integrity: Integrity-Protecting Prana
    Lore: Wyld-Dispelling Prana, Chaos-Repelling Pattern, Order-Affirming Blow, Harmonious Academic Methodology, Bottomless Wellspring Approach, Lore Inducing Concentration, Truth-Rending Gaze, Wyld-Shaping Technique
    Martial Arts (Crane Style): Empowering Justice Redirection, Fluttering Cry of Warning
    Resistance: Ox-Body Technique, Durability of Oak Meditation, Spirit Strengthens the Skin

    My people/followers (paternalistic love) (Defining)
    We will not submit to [Ruling Authority of some sort] (Major)
    Violence Solves Nothing (Major)
    Rulers of [Place we escaped from] (hatred) (Major)
    My Wyld-Shaped Domain is a place of sanctuary (Minor)
    I must provide for my people (Major)
    The Fair Folk (Hatred) (Minor)
    The Wyld (wary respect) (Minor)

    Limit Trigger: When allies suffer because of my actions, or inaction.

    Willpower: 5+2

    15 freebies
    11 (4-point Demesne)
    9 (Martial Arts 5)
    6 (Presence 3)
    2 (Fists of Iron Technique)
    0 (Willpower 7)

    Now to the cover, prelude fiction and TOC.

    • The art looks interesting, if sketchy. The [guy/girl/I can't really tell, is that sideboob or sloppily-done pecs?]'s face looks like a watercolour had an argument with a coffee stain and could really have been better defined, but otherwise it's a nice piece.
    • "Ex3" as a title? Really? Do you expect that to pull people in who don't know what the setting's about? I appreciate this isn't going to be sitting in a bookshop, but that feels way too casual a title for a book that's not aimed purely at existing buyers.
    Intro Fiction
    • I really like the style and language of this piece. It also subtly introduces elements of the setting and how they relate - Heaven is a bureaucracy, the Solars are chosen and Anathema, the Dragon-Blooded run things. But it feels quite disjointed, and the flashbacks don't meld with the present-day narrative well. This might mostly be the way things are laid out, the worst swings are between pages, but I'd hope the layout matches the page spread. It may make more sense as a folio piece.
    • I also kind of want to run something in Wu-Jian, thanks to the shanty-spires artwork.
    • The sentence structure is awful. I'm not sure if it's part of what contributes to the "charm" of the writing (yes, that was the first sentiment that popped into my head reading it), but the flow the and words and the flow of the punctuation really don't match up. Ah well, that' just the grammar obsessive in me jumping up and down, I guess.
    • Hang on, are there hints of Solar-worshipping cults that survived the purge in this? Cool!
    • ...and then a 144-word sentence. Gah!
    Overall, nicely written. Feels quite anime (particularly the obsession with meat buns), which is weird for prose, but appropriate for Exalted I guess. Felt a bit long, but it's of similar length to intro fiction in VtM. I just tended to skip those.

    Table of Contents
    •, lots of words! Is this a TOC or an index!? Very useful for a linked PDF, though.
    • Character creation comes even before we discuss traits? Leaving charms etc until later I can understand, but most of the RPGs I know at least talk you through some basic action resolution before talking about character creation.
    Not much else to say for now. But the amount of subheadings is terrifying. Are these detailed ones becoming common now that playing with PDFs on tablets is a thing? I'm used to just chapter headings.

    Overall, the intro whets the appetite, once the cover is over with. The TOC is worrisome, and the structure looks weird to me. But that might just be personal preference. We'll find out later!

    Next up, Chapter 1!

    Incidentally, if focusing on different things could help, or I just need to shut up, let me know.
    Last edited by Xerxes; 10-03-2016, 01:50 PM. Reason: Updating TOC

  • BrilliantRain
    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!

    Leave a comment:

  • Robert Vance
    Congratulations! It's been an enjoyable read.

    Leave a comment:

  • Major
    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.

    Leave a comment:

  • ManusDomine
    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.

    Leave a comment:

  • Xerxes
    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.

    Leave a comment:

  • nalak42
    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.

    Leave a comment:

  • Xerxes
    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.

    Leave a comment:

  • Kyman201
    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.

    Leave a comment:

  • Irked
    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!

    Leave a comment:

  • Leetsepeak
    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.

    Leave a comment:

  • Kyman201
    Beloved Adorei
    I rather like the personality shown with Adorei and could see myself making a character around that. Also, I remember when the book first hit, a friend of mine noted that while some people might read the "Take a penalty if you use a sword that's not Adorei" as her being a bit possessive. And my friend noted that to use most of Spring Razor's charms you need Dex 4+ and App 4+, or a specialized fighting style.

    So yeah, Adorei may huff a bit if you use another sword, but at least SHE'S not judging you for being ugly, average-looking, or even "Y'know pretty but not jaw-dropping".

    Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
    And... CLIFFHANGER! Would like to hear more of Janest at some point, if she lives. But I doubt we'll ever find out.
    Actually, I think Janest is one of the iconic Exigents, like Volfer, Perfect Soul, Shen, and the others are for the Solars. So, this implies that one, she lived, and two, we'll be seeing a LOT of her.

    But yeah, I think the Janest fiction is my absolute favorite fiction in the book.

    Leave a comment:

  • Xerxes
    And the final section is done! I've had a hell of a week, otherwise this would have been up earlier. But without any more ado, Example Artefacts and Evocations!
    • Nice that theses are designated as "examples". Taken with the rest of the book, the message to make your own is definitely there.
    • The "these are for Solars" bothers me. Having some examples of non-Solar artefacts would be good. Although "unless otherwise stated" leaves that door open. Still, makes me mildly irked, in any case.
    Beloved Adorei
    • A blade made to temper the spirit of a rougeish Solar, which wound up falling in love with him.
    • This is a really good example of the "communion" with an artefact.
    • Three hearthstone sockets!? So we're supposed to give those things out like sweets? I was kind of thinking "they'll have one, if they're lucky or if they take one at chargen".
    • Weapons with intimacies. Is this a standard thing for artefacts, or just this one? It's a neat idea, but will take much book-keeping, I think.
    • Maybe just this one. Pointing out that it speaks doesn't feel usual.
    • Loving the "quoth the Daiklave", it's a little cheesy but gives a good sense that this thing has a personality.
    • The evocations are very specific... Given some comments in another thread I gather this is intentional, but it makes crafting them from scratch all the harder to balance.
    • The cultivation of intimacies fits the intention of the blade really well. I like!
    Quest to Resurrect Beloved Adorei Sidebar
    • Nice example of a narrative hook from an artefact.
    • Poetry to revive it! I like it, although I shudder to think of some of the things that could be produced for this.
    Brilliant Sentinel
    • Yay, tragic backstories!
    • Are all artefacts linked to intimacies? It's one of the easier ways of making abilities context-dependent, I suppose.
    • Glowing armour. It had to be done, I guess.
    • And anima channeling. Again, specialised and awesome.
    • Beloved Adorei is a 3-dot, and has 5 evocations. Brilliant Sentinel is a 3-dot, and has 2. What makes the rating the same, even with different amounts of evocations? Something to do with special attunement abilities, as evocations are bought separately anyway?
    • No "quoth the armour"? Shame!
    Moonlit Huntress
    • Lunar-made but used by both Lunar and Solar. Interesting possibilities, wonder if this shows up in the evocations anywhere?
    • The initiative-dependent bonuses threw me at first - I was thinking that they referred to Lunar castes.
    • This evocation feels like a "you win at archery" thing.
    • Still 3-dot, even with just 1 evocation? It feels like the passive bonuses decide the base rating, but I don't think this is stated anywhere.
    Shining Ice Mirror
    • The katana-based art in this book is... urgh. I keep on thinking that they're magical batons or something. Being presented without a proper background doesn't help much, either.
    • OK, so Solar-level artefacts can be made by anyone, the evocations are really wielder-dependent. This has been stated before, but the reinforcement here is good.
    • The historical records angle for this makes for neat reading.
    • Auto-balancing as additional attunement. Neat.
    • Special activation rules for evocations. A really nice idea, but I can see this getting frustrating if a player doesn't manage to fulfil them after a while.
    • ...and it turns into a proper mini-charm tree. Expected, but hard to wrap my head around at first.
    Spring Razor
    • Lovely notes on artefact forging. Again, good ideas for stories.
    • Oooh, dragon-blooded!
    • Poison effects as damage supplement, which then acts as a requirement for the other evocations. Really nice thematic there.
    • The restrictions on buying evocations are nice, but I can potentially see players getting frustrated if they find out an artefact they have has conditions like that. At least there's work-arounds.
    • Hang on, are Dex and Appearance ratings both required, or is it either/or? The wording isn't clear.
    Freedom's Cadence
    • ...the description says sleeveless and the picture has sleeves. *facepalm*
    • Ah, so the artefacts are "this can be used by a Solar or..." to give some indication of what their artefacts can be like.
    • I've stopped paying attention to the artefact ratings by this point. Really not sure if they mean much.
    • Lots of "fated" effects. Yes, Sidereal.
    • Talking about "the first/second evocation of Freedom's Cadence" without using the name really threw me, for some reason.
    Orichalcum Hunting Hawk
    • A bow made in honour of what seems like an actual bird.
    • Allows the target to be seen through poor visibility conditions, or when the wielder is blind.
    • The bow that can make you fly higher!
    • Cloud-Blending Camouflage's activation condition may be a challenge, given what others have said about antagonists in this book...
    • This is a really interesting set of abilities... again with the evocative feel and distinct style, although I imagine this will make kiting a real problem for an ST.
    • An uberprotective suit of armour. Not that the guy it was made for sounds like he needs it...
    • Sudden change in colour for the Evocations heading!
    • I was kind of expecting bonuses vs battlegroups given the flavour text of this, although I guess the reduction in onslaught penalties is pretty similar.
    • "The evocation from which the amour gets its name" has nothing to do with the armour's name. I am confused.
    • And later we get onto the more obvious effects of ignoring wound penalties. A nice progression, if a little confusing.
    Black Wind
    • 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.
    Volcano Cutter
    • Love the picture! A bastard sword-cum-bat'leth.
    • Very nice legend of DOOM for this blade. A very killy-sounding thing, and the inverted forge-manse is a beautiful idea.
    • ...and I've just realised, given the outlandish description of the manse in which his was built, we have no example manses to go on, just the general guidelines. Shame.
    • Free evocations again!?
    • And... incredibly long evocation descriptions! Someone REALLY likes this blade.
    • Suitably destructive evocations. I've only just realised it's a five-dot artefact because of this. So the dots system does have some relevance, it's just incredibly unclear exactly how.
    • Hitting the earth and causing explosions is nicely cinematic, but possibly a little monotonous to describe.
    • What kind of battle will last long enough to generate 5 eruption points?
    These are all really neat artefacts, with lots of examples of artefact construction and Evocations to fire the imagination. However, most leave me terrified at the thought of trying to balance for them.

    • A village about to be attacked by the Fae, in nice flowing sentences.
    • Who are also apparently raiders. Vikings, anyone?
    • And Janest is selected to be an Exigent, in a nicely set-up but somewhat rushed piece of exposition.
    • VERY cool artwork.
    • Typo on page 632: "spoke for the first timesince"
    • And Ten Sheaves is mighty but suddenly a "little god" when next to Yu-Shan. Nice touch.
    • Yet when he talks about his destruction Ten Sheaves feels way too clinical. Not sure what I was expecting, but not "its price will be my consumption".
    • The next paragraph makes up for that.
    • Really interesting description of the Exaltation process from inside. But for some reason it feels quite subdued.
    • The description of the Fair Folk horde is nicely done. Not exactly panoramic, but almost.
    • And... CLIFFHANGER! Would like to hear more of Janest at some point, if she lives. But I doubt we'll ever find out.
    And that's it for Ex3 core! it's been quite the read, longer than I expected when I started in May. If I hadn't have been doing this review, I doubt I would have read the whole thing, even as an ST, but it's definitely been mostly fun. I will be posting up a summary post, pulling together thoughts, at some point in the next day or so.

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  • The Unsung Hero
    Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
    True. It's been a while since I read the experience cost bits, so that didn't really factor into my thoughts.
    Surprisingly, I have yet to have a player really want an awakened artifact. I mean, they want one, but they tend to want charms first. An artifact really does shape your playstyle, and my players just haven't chosen to go that direction yet. They still have a lot of charm ground to cover first.

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  • Xerxes
    Originally posted by Elfive View Post
    Also artifact leather is totally a thing. At least in 2e.
    That's good to know. I expect to see it in Arms of the Chosen.

    Originally posted by The Unsung Hero View Post
    First, I think you're overthinking what each material's theme "means" when you're trying to delve into "attack pool" or "damage pool". There are broad themes. If you think your fire artifact should do a damaging attack, then do it, there's nothing wrong with that. It's way more broad and open than that.
    Fair point.

    Originally posted by The Unsung Hero View Post
    You won't see a lot of weapon power collecting from PCs because it's an investment to unlock those powers, and frankly a role-playing opportunity that the ST could strongly encourage (or enforce I suppose). And if you have a foe with a badass magical weapon and your party kills them, but you don't want them to unlock it's hidden power? Sorry guys, the weapon doesn't resonate with you as a wielder. It's just a nigh-unbreakable badass weapon, but it remains silent to your pleas.
    True. It's been a while since I read the experience cost bits, so that didn't really factor into my thoughts.

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