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Exalted Tournaments

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  • Exalted Tournaments

    Has anyone made a tournament for their campaigns before?

  • #2
    I'm playing in a game where th eDM has run a fighting tournament. It's...lead to some ruminating on how to do an engaging Martial Arts tournament in Exalted, in order to avoid the pitfall of "1v1 fights, with other players doing little". I'll post more later tonight.

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    • #3
      I'm not a huge fan of tournament-based stories, but I think you could do some good stories around tournaments.

      Assume that your characters will win any arena bout that isn't the final grand melee, isn't a doped or sabotaged fight, or against any NPC(s) that they really get a hate on for.

      Maybe give them a chance to describe their moves as they work their way up, and have all the actual story take place in the pits and on the sidelines.

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      • #4
        When I have an approach that requires a party to split up for any reason (tournaments work for this) I give NPCs to the other players and let them run it. It gives them something to interact with and I as GM just deliberate stunts, environment, and audience stuff.

        We once did this when 1 player was in a sky-race while the rest of the party was delving into a tomb. The racer got opponents out of the other players, and the tomb raiders got a mighty foe out of the racer player. Everybody gets to participate.

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        • #5
          In one currently!

          Worth noting, this uses a PvP tournament as its introduction setup. The PCs are all contenders, and are the majority of the contenders in fact.


          • #6
            Done this a couple times. What are you looking to know?


            • #7
              Now that I have the time: Unsung Hero hit a great idea. It can also let your players try out some different fighting styles than they're used to.
              I'd also consider doubles/teams matches as another solution, over 1v1s.
              And consider ways that non-fighters might influence the match. Maybe some sort of mechanic where the crowd cheering gives a fighter a bonus? Or using buerarcy to rig fights? Or training that can be used as stored stunt fodder?

              The Book of Laughing Serpents Series(Latest Here)
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              San Jeanro Co-Op writer. Volume 1 here Volume 2 here Volume 3 here
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              • #8
                IMO tournaments do not work as standalone events - it has to be part of something greater, to give a context and a reason for the players to fight.

                Also, is it against mortals? against exalts? what?

                I recall once I had a circle of solars where the players had made nice with Lookshy, after helping stop a coup, and convinced the general staff that the deathlords were about to make the sun blow up.

                But... for Lookshy to marshal its forces and march into the underworld, it would require a lot of prep work and whatnot to get everything ready. How to cover for that?

                Why, Lookshy hosted the Lookshyan Games! Cue tournament arc, where the challenge was to weed out abyssals and spies from Thorns and the Realm, while also not freaking all the visitors out too much from the fact that anathema were participating in the games.

                Thus, it wasn't just a question of winning (and the players did want to win in the disciplines they were participating in) they had more to do. And they had great fun doing it

                ...and boy were they pissed when the wood-DB using Orgiastic Fugitive Style combined with some really creative alchemical poisons and drugs kicked the guy who had made it to the final's ass - though they did recognize that he had a very unique and effective one on one fighting style.

                it all also doubled as great entertainment for the troops being made ready to go into the underworld
                Last edited by webkilla; 01-22-2018, 06:42 PM.

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                • #9
                  My co-author and I wrote a tournament fiction set in Exalted's First Age, from which you might find inspiration.

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                  • #10
                    Just to touch on references - try and look back at the GOOD tournament arcs out there. One recent instance is RWBY's Vital Festival that started as straight-up team fights, and moved on to intrigue and a more complex story. The only downside it had is some of the mains got a few episodes of time-out, but that can be written around in your own story.

                    Utena is also a great story-spanning tournament arc. Looooots of character drama for everyone involved, although non-mains tend to dissapear from the spotlight for quite a while.
                    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is also a good touching point, because it allows multiple contestants on stage at once.
                    FF IX's Festival of the Hunt is also a nice fighting-focused, multiple-character-friendly event.

                    Anyone got more ideas to share?


                    • #11
                      My Hero Academia sports festival arc. Pure, straightforward tournament arc but with SO MUCH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.


                      • #12
                        If you're doing a tournament straight, Yu Yu Hakusho had a fairly decent one. It did mark a decline in the writing quality from story to sorting power levels, but taken as individual episodes was watchable.

                        Early Naruto had a passable one. It was improved by the context around it, that it was part of an international (interclannical?) detente and recruiting drive and final exams all rolled together. I like how they used it to simultaneously introduce the large number of characters and factions needed to step out beyond the Leaf Village, while the main beats of the story were off the tournament field, and eventually leading up to a Real Problem with a ninja invasion. Be careful in a RPG context of adding a lot of characters this way though... it could turn into an infodump.

                        Late-ish Fairy Tail had a good but bad one. The individual bouts were fine if you take them by themselves. But it happens so late in the story, with the leading characters already introduced and developed, that it played like a whole season of filler. (Which, I believe, it was, while the manga progressed.) The guild had already had their own promotion tournament (which was just a smidge less filler-y) , stopped time from being destroyed , stopped the orbital doom ray from being fired , gone to a parallel world and sorted their mess out , faced off against the dragon of death incarnate , and incidentally done a bunch of fart jokes with a gang of bandits in skin-tight bodysuits. But yeah, gotta go put themselves, here at the peak of their power and development, on somebody else's stage to perform for the crowd.

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                        • #13
                          In the game I'm running, one of my players is the head of a school that teaches White Reaper Style, among other things. A mortal Snake Style master moved to his city from Wu-Jian, and in proper Wu-jian style started mafia-ing up the place. The Snake students had run-ins with my player's students, so he went to their area of town fully intending to make an example of them, but he got into a brawl with the Snake master's top two students, and had this really dramatic fight where he made a point of beating them without spending motes, even if it meant he took a few licks in the process. Having thrashed the two brothers, they led my player to the Snake dojo, where the master got out of his asskicking by saying that if the player's students weren't so weak they wouldn't be having any trouble, and that if the masters fought it wouldn't prove which school was truly superior.

                          So, it was a tournament arc of sorts, but one that involved the circle being on the sidelines of an underground martial arts tournament, dodging the town watch trying to put a stop to it, and other criminal powers trying to interfere with the matches (both sides were sworn to fight off any interference at the matches themselves, but if you were too foolish to even make it to the fight, then that proved your school's weakness). I wish I'd done a little more to make each round unique, but it went pretty well regardless.