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[Ex3] Is 'Heroic Mortal' a taboo phrase now?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    In a case like this, it's not really about specific words at all; in the absence of mechanical distinctions, I question the need to apply a specific piece of terminology that can only ever be significant as a description of what the character does in the scene; unless you do things like assign dice pools based on that terminology, and the Storyteller (or possibly players) are the ones who decide what the character does in the scene, so what does a separate branch f terminology really describe?
    But that's basically my entire point. We have mechanical distinctions.

    Most mortals are produced using the rules for Quick Characters or are treated as Trivial characters. They're not designed with the same rules in mind that those mortals who are important to the chronicle and would get full write-ups do. Some mortals are basically Living Scenery and they use the rules for Quick Characters or Trivial Characters. Some mortals are not Living Scenery, because they're important to the story, and use different rules.

    I think having different terms for describing the different mortals, some of whom are important to a story and use one set of rules, and some who aren't important to a story and use a different set of rules, is useful.

    Second Edition has the terms Heroic Mortals and Extras for describing this. I think it's only natural for people to import 2nd edition terms which basically describe the nearly the same concept.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
      Second Edition has the terms Heroic Mortals and Extras for describing this. I think it's only natural for people to import 2nd edition terms which basically describe the nearly the same concept.
      Gonna echo this. I know I personally understand that different classifications of character contributions between Fully Statted, Quick, and Trivial only apply as abstractions. I like to think that most people understand that things like "Heroic Mortal" is a metagame abstraction, much like the difference between Withering and Decisive Attacks (Abstraction, in-game the two fighters are always aiming for a kill) and charms themselves (Abstractions as a way to say 'My Solar does a thing betterer')


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      • #18
        My point was there is no power difference between fully stated and quick characters. Just how much detail there is in their character sheet. So when someone says "heroic mortal," what does it mean? A particularly talented and skilled mortal with lots of points in stats and stuff? A fully-statted out mortal? Because I'd think the former, because in the context of Exalted that's what I think "heroic" means. But a heroic mortal could be a QC or fully-statted out character in my mind.


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        • #19
          Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

          But that's basically my entire point. We have mechanical distinctions.

          Most mortals are produced using the rules for Quick Characters or are treated as Trivial characters. They're not designed with the same rules in mind that those mortals who are important to the chronicle and would get full write-ups do. Some mortals are basically Living Scenery and they use the rules for Quick Characters or Trivial Characters. Some mortals are not Living Scenery, because they're important to the story, and use different rules.
          ​Why were so many quick characters written up with interesting, audacious personalities?

          Why was it that, if they had had their druthers, every single archetypal mortal template suggested would have been attached to a little description of a heroic instance of that archetype?

          Why were Ahlat, Fakharu and Octavian written up via the quick character model?

          Quick characters are not equivalent to the Second Edition concept of extras, nor do they constitute a value judgement of the character. They're a simplification for the convenience of Storytellers.

          I mean jeez, if aforementioned hypothetical person who stands out from the crowd to speak to you comes up, they need maybe two dice pools, a Resolve, and some Willpower, with maybe a couple of straightforward Intimacies.

          Does that mean the character wasn't heroic, perhaps even significant?


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          • #20
            There is no longer assumed to be an in-setting category of mortals capable of stepping up and performing heroic acts and/or living their lives according to action genre conceits, as distinct from a larger category of mortals who cannot do those things.

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            • #21
              I agree with Isator. Quick Characters are there because you don't need to know a warrior's bureaucracy and sail score to run him in combat, not because he's less heroic.


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              • #22
                Isator, again, has the right of it, yes.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
                  There is no longer assumed to be an in-setting category of mortals capable of stepping up and performing heroic acts and/or living their lives according to action genre conceits, as distinct from a larger category of mortals who cannot do those things.
                  But there are different rules for mortals depending on how much narrative weight they have. It was my impression that that was the entire point of the Trivial Opponent mechanic - to represent NPCs who were essentially just "living scenery" and who don't represent a threat or challenge to the PCs, which was very similar to the purpose that Extras had in 2nd edition.

                  New name, different rules, but basically the same concept.

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                  • #24
                    That's correct, but something like a trivial opponent is going to vary depending on the PCs -- an NPC who's a trivial opponent in a game of 1000 XP Solars might not be in a game of newbies with no XP. Compare to the normal/heroic mortal division in 2e, which was very much implied to be an actual in-setting thing by e.g. the existence of Charms such as You Can Be More.

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                    • #25
                      Part of the reasoning behind being much more careful about reifying those sorts of abstractions within the setting, as I understand it, is they tended to lead to observed play behavior where players would have their characters value heroic mortal NPCs more as people than they value non-heroic mortals, both resource-wise and morally.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

                        But there are different rules for mortals depending on how much narrative weight they have. It was my impression that that was the entire point of the Trivial Opponent mechanic - to represent NPCs who were essentially just "living scenery" and who don't represent a threat or challenge to the PCs, which was very similar to the purpose that Extras had in 2nd edition.

                        New name, different rules, but basically the same concept.
                        No. There are different rules for CHARACTERS depending on how much narrative weight they have.

                        It is not at all connected to whether or not they are a Mortal. A Blood Ape in a crowd during a Malfeas bar brawl or the adoring oompa-loompas of your Raksha lord would qualify.

                        Not only is it a relative category, but it is not one that's chained to mortality.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
                          That's correct, but something like a trivial opponent is going to vary depending on the PCs -- an NPC who's a trivial opponent in a game of 1000 XP Solars might not be in a game of newbies with no XP. Compare to the normal/heroic mortal division in 2e, which was very much implied to be an actual in-setting thing by e.g. the existence of Charms such as You Can Be More.
                          Yes, obviously as an "in-setting" thing it no longer exists (I never said it did). What I have been saying is that different mortals have different narrative weight in Exalted Third Edition and that they have different mechanics depending on how important they are to the over all story.

                          In 2nd Edition, a character with important narrative weight was a Heroic Mortal and one who wasn't was an Extra. These two terms git a bit fuzzy as the gameline went on, since they started representing something. in-setting, even though the idea wasn't initially meant to be used that way.

                          Still, the "out-of-setting" concept of an Extra lines up fairly closely with the idea of a Trivial Opponent (including the idea that what might be a Trivial Opponent or Extra at one time could be a real threat at a different table).

                          People are going to bring in some of the old 2nd edition terminology and mold it onto similar concepts in 3rd edition (like lining up Trivial Opponents and Extras which fill basically the same mechanical, out-of-game niche). I think there is the understanding that powerful supernatural beings in 3rd edition, like demons or Exalts won't be trivial opponents, in the same way they weren't supposed to be Extras in 2nd edition, but I could be wrong on that.

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                          • #28
                            I'll grant you that trivial opponents vs everything else is a mechanical representation of narrative weight. Fully-statted vs QC, however, isn't about narrative weight or importance, though. It's just about level of detail and the amount of effort the ST wants to put into making their NPCs.

                            I could have a very narratively important NPC that only comes up for one scene of rping and needs very few stats. I'm going to make them a QC. I might also have a less important plot B character who none the less has come up quite a bit in a variety of circumstances, and I might fully stat them up so I can cover those circumstances more easily. With that in mind, "heroic mortal" doesn't really map to anything on the mechanical side with respect to fully-statted vs QC.

                            (Honestly, I have yet to ever fully stat up an NPC. Everyone, no matter their narrative importance, has been a QC. Because I'm a lazy ST.)

                            (EDIT: I don't even know how part of my text got posted before I was finished typing it.)
                            Last edited by Limited Reagent; 06-15-2016, 10:38 PM.


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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Limited Reagent View Post
                              Fully statted vs QC isn't about narrative weight or importance, though, it's about how much work the ST wants to put into making NPCs and how much detail those NPCs have. Sometimes a very narratively important NPC

                              True enough. I would tend to guess that the NPCs an ST puts the most time into designing and are probably more important to his campaign than NPC's he only spends a couple of minutes on, but it is definitely something that varies by table. Heck, I knew one ST who would spend hours writing out stats for random monster and spend no time at all writing out stats for important NPCs who were literally called on by the PCs to make different kinds of rolls every session.

                              I do think there is a sense among a fair number of people that a "Heroic Mortal" is a mortal with a fair amount of narrative weight in a given story behind him, unlike Trivial mooks whose existence isn't terribly important to an ongoing chronicle. Certainly I'm not the first person to use that term in that way, and I imagine you'll be seeing that sort of usage crop up again.

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                              • #30
                                Trivial opponents are situational. The Storyteller may rule that a lone soldier is a trivial opponent when pitted against the Circle's enraged Dawn, but not a trivial opponent when that same lone soldier confronts the Circle's bookish Twilight. This does not change the nature of the soldier.

                                Similarly, the distinction between a Quick Character and a fully statted-out character has only a limited relationship with narrative weight. The Storyteller may fully stat out Dynast X to fill a specific role in the story, but when writing up the equally narratively important Dynast Y, she may use QC stats because she's been busy that week and simply doesn't have time to write up a full sheet. And the next week she may fully stat out Dynast Y. And the week after that, she loses Dynast Y's fully statted-out character sheet, and runs her as a QC again. None of this impacts Dynast Y's narrative weight, and she is still the same character no matter which set of stats the Storyteller is using at any given moment.

                                Similarly, Raksi may be the central antagonist to a story, but if she does most of her scheming offstage and hardly ever shows up personally, the Storyteller may stick to a QC write-up. Meanwhile, the Eclipse's bodyguard may not be a particularly important part of the story—he's just there—but because he's always around doing a variety of stuff that requires dice rolls, the Storyteller may fully stat him out despite the fact that he's far less important to the story than Raksi.

                                And, of course, some Storytellers will never fully stat out any NPC, relying solely on QC stat blocks. That's fine, and says nothing metaphysically about the characters or the setting.


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