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Arms of the Chosen

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Ulthwithian View Post
    Two things I noted.

    1) Is it the Niobaran conflict or Niobraran? The intro piece has the latter, where it is normally the former here.
    IIRC, Niobraran.


    • #17
      Chapter One, The Forging of Miracles

      ​The section on the Dawn Time is appropriately short. It doesn't dwell for ages on the prehumen races, just enough to provide a bit of historical background for Artifacts and to intrigue a bit with the possibility of the occasional pre-human wonder, before giving the origin of the art for the Exalted a bit of mythic flair that I'd say it's often been lacking (particularly the attribution of gigantic weapons to them). I quite like how a couple of (what might be considered) origin stories for Evocations are provided.

      ​It's a nice touch to open descriptions of Artifacts of the First Age with various tools for exploration, both in diversifying the image of Artifacts, and in creating a clear sense of how historical or mythological era provides different necessities to be the mother of invention. The description of the First Age doesn't overstay its welcome, and is extremely on-point; it's concrete enough to give an actual picture of the wonders it produced, rather than a vague outline, but still conveys itself in a manner of faded recollections rather than a historical treatise.

      ​It's good to focus on the Shogunate as a time that would have produced a lot of weapons (and the stories that go with them) to punctuate the note that the creation of wonders had dwindled significantly, before winding down to the latter Realm era in which there's hardly anything left to create with.

      ​It's also nice to get a sidebar acknowledging a few of the more exotic sources of Artifact production, both for story hooks and backgrounds. It gives a certain sense of there not needing to be an artificer in the Circle to have something new made. It's another area that I feel might have been a bit neglected before.

      ​Oooh, descriptions of locales that have been marked or warped by the application of Artifacts is a nice touch. I like the spear in the midst of the murderous trees particularly.

      ​Let's see, magical materials... establishes that they can overlap... lays down factors that can influence Evocations... the description of how complementary materials can create new possibilities is interesting.

      ​Ohh, a Mesoamerican illustration of a forging, that's a pleasant addition.

      So, materials:

      ​Looking at orichalcum, I'd say that providing a number of keywords is a good way to establish precisely what the material can do, as well as distinguishing exactly what kinds of elemental phenomena that this one can manipulate. I also like that description of orichalcum used prior to the Solar Exalted was like, in terms of appearance and application.

      ​Moonsilver, this is a big one to figure out...

      ​I like that idea that veins of the stuff manifest at kinds of boundaries; it's not only more accessible, but it has a certain folkloric feel to it. That's quite a number of associations for it, but not so diverse as to lack character or consistency. I'd say that there's a more solid idea of what the material can do with that, as well as bringing in some overlooked areas such as association with animals. I'm personally glad that it retained the idea that transformative effects are still generally subtle and internal.

      ​Hmm, a revised origin for starsteel, particularly that it no longer consists of actual fallen stars. I'm not sure how to feel about that, although I don't think there's anything specifically wrong with it. The little cosmological note of Creation having an anima is interesting, though. I like the idea of retaining qualities of the constellations as a way of diversifying it a bit.

      ​I'm sure some people will like the presentation of alternate origins for soulsteel, if they should find soul-forging to be wholly unconscionable. Not much to say besides that, it's about what you'd expect.

      Heh, how long will it take to go through jade?

      ​Oh, not that long; descriptions of each colour are short and to the point. Not to say that the other descriptions waffled, just... it feels appropriate that jade has the least baggage to it. It's elementally-aligned stone, simple as that. The one interesting new thing is the slight diversification of its colours and textures, which are nice.

      ​I'm glad that there's a description of Artifact temperament to elaborate on the difference between a true awareness, and more of an... emotional intent. It's probably for the best that this is phrased in terms of an opportunity for players to roleplay, rather than Storytellers saying "you must be this aligned with the personality of your weapon to advance along the Evocation tree".

      ​Mind, I'm sure that there are going to be more than a few readers who look at the line about not forcing the Artifact to be something that it's not, think "fuck you sword, you can't tell me what to do", and deliberately opt to play characters who are all about bending Artifacts to their will regardless of their temperament.

      ​Another illustration... I think that's Iron Siaka? I like the artistic direction of daiklaves so far; stylized, but not to a degree that might be distracting, or give an impression of undermining basic use.

      Rules for material affinity we already knew about, including the revision for Dragon Blooded. I'm intrigued by the sidebar talking about the occasional rare Artifact whose affinity is specified by character rather than category.

      Okay, design; let's look at some of the parameters they've laid down.

      ​So, Artifact 3 is enhancement of skill and accomplishing particular feats, with occasional distinctly powerful Evocations that are still defined by the application of wielder's skill. Artifact 4 creates a unique playstyle that redefines what a character can accomplish, capped by incredible miracles. Artifact 5... is still a bit vague, with the main guideline seeming to be "bigger than prior", although it at least specifies this in service to diversity in the forms they can take.

      ​Then there's Artifact N/A, which is... how should I put this... it specifies a certain lack of specificity. It leaves things primarily up to Storyteller fiat, but lays down the idea of being able to accomplish things impossible elsewhere, up to and including breaking conventions of the setting. A kind of guideline in the form of negative space; if I wanted to figure out what one could do, I could start with a convention of the setting and say "something contrary to that". It certainly gives the impression of them being immensely rare.

      ​The description of custom Evocations is good for providing a concrete example of how a weapon might grow out of its wielder, while also rooting things in the idea that most published cascades should be considered unique to the player using them at the time.

      ​The description of Evocation design is less comprehensive than I might have liked, but I can acknowledge the impracticalities of that in the space allowed, and still think it does a fair amount. The description and clarification of ultimate powers for them is fairly useful.

      ​My final word on Evocation description and parameters is that none of it contradicts the model that I came up with for the progression of an Artifact's power, and several parts complement that, so I would continue to use that as a guideline for my own designs while also giving consideration to some that are put together in a few different ways.

      ​Don't really have anything to say for the errata, other than it reclaiming a couple of Charms for actually having a function.

      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
      Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.


      • #18
        Like, I just bought Oathbringer on my lunch break. Now I have to choose which book to read tonight? That's not fair. :/

        Dex Davican wrote: I can say without exaggeration or dishonesty that I am the most creative man ever to have lived


        • #19
          Originally posted by Hark View Post
          Pretty sure that is a Chillikin still being constructed. Though it is odd because they are supposed the be engineered lifeforms, not literal artifacts to put put together like some robot to be turned on when complete.
          It's not being constructed, it's an old one found in a tomb.

          Scion 2E: What We Know - A wiki compiling info on second edition Scion.


          • #20
            Originally posted by Ulthwithian View Post
            Two things I noted.

            1) Is it the Niobaran conflict or Niobraran? The intro piece has the latter, where it is normally the former here.
            The Niobrara Chalk Formation is the thing after which it was named.

            Originally posted by Ulthwithian View Post
            2) The Era entry for most of these seems... unintelligible. Is there somewhere I can go to decipher timeframes for these?
            No, I don't think so. The developers have a thing for "dropping names, detailing nothing," this edition. Places, characters, events, and now eras. They are all intended to be evocative and poetic hooks on which you can hang your own hat.


            • #21
              I was only able to find the book in the Ex3 section of Drivethru, even when I type the full title on the search bar it brings AD&D products... Weird.


              • #22
                Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
                I was only able to find the book in the Ex3 section of Drivethru, even when I type the full title on the search bar it brings AD&D products... Weird.
                It apparently takes a while for the search engine to learn about new releases.


                • #23
                  The first chapter is really the meaty one, so the most amenable to a comprehensive reaction. If I was to do the same for each Artifact, I'd be here all day, so I'm going to limit myself to concise responses to them.

                  ​Courante and Galliard: The idea of bonded daiklaves intended for close allies is an interesting one to start with, and I'd say this one makes good use of the Initiative-based combat system to realise it. Right before it goes kind of crazy with yet another version of Solar-Lunar fusion, although honestly, it's the kind of thing that makes more sense as an Evocation then a Solar Charm anyway.

                  ​The Distaff: Before even getting to its powers, I like how the origin story for this one is particularly obscure and legendary, without feeling a need to directly describe itself as such (or worse, undermine the legend with an immediate statement of underlying concrete fact). It's also interesting to see a non-oricalcum weapon that has powers specific to the use of Solars. It's certainly a very unusual kind of daiklave, with the focus on disabling opponents rather than killing them, as well as various creative or healing applications. It's a very flavourful weapon, whose nature already prompts me to think of unique stories about how it might have ever been used. It even addresses the story hook of pulling away the silk and wielding it as a blade again.

                  ​Fist of Titans: Bah, a hammer in the shape of two fists can only ever make me picture the weapon of Sardonyx. In all seriousness, I quite like this one as an example of a weapon that captures the character of a destructive natural phenomenon in its strikes, rather than just being the standard "weapon causes manifestation of natural disaster".

                  ​Frost-Thorn Knuckles: Already saw the start of this one, but to reiterate, it feels like a good example of the predatory aspect of moonsilver, as well as having a nice description of the actual forging process. It's actually a good deal more violent than I was expecting. It's also interesting to see how one application of Evocations is that the resonance with an Exalt would allow them to enhance certain Charms to keep from being rendered redundant; to enhance a Solar's native capacity to endure elements, rather than having a separate power that might be unnecessary in the face of a Solar's Charm.

                  ​The Hawk Star's Jess: This one feels fairly utilitarian and without flash, which seems appropriate to starmetal, while it still has an interesting hook in the form of its unobtrusive Doom mechanic.

                  ​I've got some things that I need to do now, so I'll resume a bit later.

                  I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                  Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.


                  • #24
                    Well... I am exceedingly pleased. Only a scan through but the background for Kavara is especially awesome because it shows how insane the feats the Exalted host is capable of when they are not busy bickering.

                    Well-worth the wait so far.


                    • #25
                      I think this is an amazing book. Every artifact is well-storied and brings unique effects.I think it's great.


                      • #26
                        Minorly Noteworthy: Mountain Folk mentioned as a prehuman race like the Dragon Kings (as in keeping with late 1E and all of 2E). Makes it less likely they’re reverting to “Mountain Folk are just the Fair Folk of the Pole of Earth” model of their early 1E description. Nothing definitive though.

                        Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow


                        • #27
                          Heartsong: This one looks like it's especially suited to Fire Aspect Dragon Blooded, and has an amusing take on the archetypal image of Cupid's arrow. I quite like the illustration, since the image of odd energy effects around arrows and characters inscribed in fire are ones that I've always had a fondness for. It's interesting to see an Artifact that is still focused on combat, but not in the form of inflicting physical damage. Also, Lover's Quarrel is a solid pun.

                          ​Heaven and Earth Gauntlets: The theme of this one is a bit harder to grasp, although seemingly not inconsistent. I guess it's a kind of... struggle against adversity weapon. Nothing wrong with it, just the one that has the least interest to me so far.

                          ​Irenio's Bell: Our first shield. I'm glad that its one whose power builds around its application in defence, as well as when it turns forces back on an attacker. A few of its additional qualities, such as resonating with demons, adds some welcome character.

                          ​Rainwalker: Ahh, here's an interesting one. I cannot recall if razor parasols were in the core, but it's novel to me in any case. I also can't recall if there was ever any ambiguity about graces continuing to be a thing, so that's also clarified here. As for the Artifact itself, it's another odd one, with the way that it kind of uses the image of an umbrella to extend a metaphor into various defensive applications. If nothing else, it expands on some of the possibilities for Artifacts.

                          ​Razor Dancer and Wise Steel: Och, there's a wonderfully grim story behind this one. As soulsteel goes, it seems a bit unusual in the way that it evokes the personalities of the ones who it was made from, but that's still fitting to the material and I find it a strong basis for a weapon with a history such as this.

                          ​Summer Thunder: This is a very specific one, linked to a particular archetype of archery. I'd almost wonder if that wouldn't qualify it for a dot higher, but... no, none of its own powers create the horseback riding, they're merely another instance of enhancing that way of fighting. In any case, it makes me feel as though bows are among the stronger examples for giving Evocations that feel very weapon specific.

                          ​Oy this is taking a while. And there are dozens of pages left in this chapter alone.

                          ​I think I'm going to streamline readings of the remaining Artifacts, including the armour. Might give a more detailed response to the wonders, and certainly to the warstriders.

                          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                          Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.


                          • #28

                            Ex3 Craft rewrite.
                            ExEssence Community Homebrew Compilation
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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                              ​Oy this is taking a while. And there are dozens of pages left in this chapter alone.

                              ​I think I'm going to streamline readings of the remaining Artifacts, including the armour. Might give a more detailed response to the wonders, and certainly to the warstriders.
                              I'm enjoying the detailed readings!

                              Developer for Exalted.

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                              • #30
                                Is Fist of Titans supposed to be +5 Accuracy, despite being a heavy weapon? That seems like a really big deal