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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


That Old Tree posted:

I think really you can't say Exalted—any edition—is or is not "a" thing. Maybe the 1e core book, but even that was full of contradictions and rushed work because of how it came about. Grabowski probably had the single strongest coherent vision there to start and, for better or worse, it was still a mess. As the line went on and more voices and less oversight crept in, and sacred cows became enshrined, it just sprawled. It makes some valiant efforts at coherence, but ultimately it just can't, especially after second edition.

Well, ultimately I think the notion of it as an "anime game"... well, as they say, I know when I see it, and I don't see it.

Granted, that's not say I haven't had Exalted characters that are super anime, but I see that more as a personal failing.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 04:01 on Mar 21, 2019

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, ultimately I think the notion of it as an "anime game"... well, as they say, I know when I see it, and I don't see it.

Granted, that's not say I haven't had characters that are super anime, but I see that more as a personal failing.
I don't think Exalted is "just" anime but it has a lot of anime in it, and trying to act like the anime inspiration isn't there is lamer than just going "Yeah we ripped off Bayonetta and Kill la Kill for this Charm tree."

IshmaelZarkov
Jun 20, 2013



I'm about a year into a 3E Exalted game atm.

It took four years for the game to be released and about two hours to strip down and hack the Mage: the Ascension rules to make a three page replacement for the entire charm system. About another hour to rewrite the Great Curse to be an interesting take on the (admittedly great) new Intimacy system.

I legit love Exalted as a setting, but fuuuuuuck running it vanilla from the book.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Exalted 3rd Edition: What Even Is An Exalted

The Exalted are champions and heroes – in the classic sense, because many of them are just loving awful people. They are the mortal champions of the gods, though there are several gods that can choose Exalts and so they come in a bunch of types. They are all set apart from mortals once chosen. They are exceptionally powerful, can heal from any wound that doesn’t kill them, almost never get sick, and age extremely slowly. Most fundamentally, however, they are able to channel Essence, the mystic power that flows through all things. By commanding Essence, they perform miracles. Some are innate, others magic learned over time, by mastery of some task. These latter are Charms, special feats that the Exalted can call on for great power.

We get a sidebar on exactly how long an Exalt can live. It varies by type. Dragon-Blooded live, on average, 250-300 years, though with mastery of their own Essence they can live longer – Mnemon, eldest living daughter of the Scarlet Empress, is nearly 400 and to all appearances has shown no signs of old age. Solars and Lunars both average between two and three thousand years before old age sets in, albeit with a lot of variance due to Essence mastery, anagathic drugs of the First Age and magic. Sidereals live three to five thousand years, and cannot extend their lives further than this. Exigents vary wildly, and Liminals seem to have no consistent lifespan, with some lasting only mortal lifetimes and others remaining active for centuries. Abyssals, in theory, will live forever, but no Abyssal has existed for longer than five years. All this said, few Exalts ever die of old age. Violence and misadventure are their primary killers. Regardless of age, they retain the physical capabilities of youth for most of their lives, and few show any signs of aging until their final decades, and remain hale and vital until their last few years.

The experience of becoming Exalted is also called the Second Breath, with the First Breath referring to the gaining of a mortal soul, which happens when a child takes their first breath. Exaltation is, functionally, a renewal and rebirth, uplifting you into a heroic state. Solars, typically, are people who have accomplished great things or excelled in some discipline before Exalting, though not all are. Some merely have immense potential, without having had the chance to exercise it. It is rare for Solars to start out as utter monsters, but not unknown. The Unconquered Sun’s blessing is inconsistent in who it picks, morals-wise. While most Solars think themselves good, their definitions vary wildly. The actual moment of Exaltation is typically one of great stress, danger or chaos, in which the newborn Solar feels a rush of energy and instinctively begins to draw on Essence for the first time. Their Caste Mark explodes forth from their brow and their anima banner – basically, a glowing aura of power – quickly builds to its full height, where it will remain for several hours. Often, the Exaltation grants the power needed to survive and triumph over whatever difficulty faces the new Exalt. There are no age requirements or limitations, nor any based on social status. While all Solar Exaltations are gifts of the Unconquered Sun, he usually doesn’t pass on a message when he does it – just the power. The exception is Zenith Caste Solars, who universally receive a short proclamation of the Unconquered Sun that tells them why they were worthy of his blessing and orders them to go forth and make the world better. This is because the Zeniths are the priestly caste of the Solars.

For other Exalts, the experience of the Second Breath is usually similar, but with key differences. Dragon-Blooded must have some trace of the actual lineage blessed by the Elemental Dragons in their veins, and the Dragons never speak to their chosen. Lunar Exaltation is similar to Solar, but Luna always speaks to their Exalts. Sidereal Exaltation is slower and more subtle, taking place over days or even weeks and accompanied by omens, dreams and portents. Abyssals are chosen at the moment they would die, and are given a choice – become Abyssal or perish. Liminals are weird, no explanation. Exigents are each unique. Very helpful, those last two.

A new concept for 3e is ‘Essence Fever,’ essentially the experience of wielding your natural Essence. It urges Exalts to act, and in specific ways based on what type of Exalt they are. Exalted are simply not going to sit there and do nothing most of the time, because their Essence pushes them to do things. As Exalts grow older, their Essence Fever tends to dim, as they come more in control of their own internal power. However, young Exalts especially are pushed to be always doing. Solars feel this as a sense of cosmic transcendence when they wield their power, which pushes them to pursue glory and victory, to always become more than they were. The experience of being a Solar is one of transcendent selfhood, always humming with joyful power. Abyssals are noted to feel similarly, but theirs is an Essence of pure darkness, thrilling in death and gothiness. They feel death as a constant companion, which makes all the experiences of life seem brighter and more vivid by comparison.

Exalts are either Celestial (more powerful) or Terrestrial (less powerful). All Celestial Exalts are marked by a Caste Mark, a symbol that appears, glowing, on their forehead when their Essence flows strongly. In the First Age, they were symbols of office and marks of pride, and they can be brought forth at will with but a moment’s focus of Essence. Dragon-Blooded do not have Caste Marks, per se, but instead have a bunch of elementally themed markings on their bodies, such as bright red hair and glowing eyes for fire, green eyes and lips or living wooden fingernails for wood, or a constant slight breeze billowing around them for air. Some Exigents have Caste Marks while others have markings closer to the Dragon-Bloods (though I, Future Mors, note that the current devs have said Exigents will not have Castes), and Abyssals have the Solar marks but black.



We also get a brief overview of the poo poo you might own – Artifacts, which are your magic gear, Demesnes, which are naturally occurring places where Essence bubbles out of the landscape and produces magic land, and Manses, which are when you built a geomantic palace on top of a Demesne to channel its power via the lost arts of mystical architecture and interior decoration. And then we move into describing what Exalts exist, with the note, again, that at the time of publishing, Solars were it for play. The next to come out, we are promised, is Dragon-Blooded in the book Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought…except that that book still isn’t out, though a full text manuscript was released last year for its Kickstarter, managed and written entirely by the new devs, well after Morke and Holden got fired.

Solars, The Guys What You Can Play As, come in five flavors: Dawn Caste, who are warriors and generals, Zenith Caste, who are priests and leaders, Twilight Caste, who are craftsmen and wizards, Night Caste, who are assassins and spies, and Eclipse Caste, who are diplomats and travelers. Solars are able to do anything! They can wield any weapon with skill and can learn any kind of martial art, even the highest and most esoteric Sidereal Martial Arts. They can learn any Sorcery, including the pinnacle that is Third Circle Sorcery. They are able to wield any kind of Artifact with equal skill, regardless of what it’s made of, for their Essence is the biggest and bestest. They are even able to force the Wyld to take shape as new lands, due to their intense vision and leadership. Their themes are…let me check my notes…anything. Glowing yellow.

Play one of the Solar Exalted if you want... posted:

  • to be a reborn hero of legend, forging a new destiny.
  • to be a master of martial arts, sorcery, or Evocations.
  • to be a forger of nations, armies, religions, wonders, or even worlds.
  • to face enemies on all sides, and struggle against an ancient curse.
  • to be mightiest among the Chosen.

Abyssals have identical caste marks to Solars, except black instead of gold. Their flavors: Dusk Caste, warriors and killers, Midnight Caste, death cult leaders, Daybreak Caste, craftsman and necromancers, Day Caste, spies and assassins, and Moonshadow Caste, emissaries and diplomats. They are known collectively as Deathknights, agents of the ancient Deathlords, who are ghosts of the First Age bound by the will of the Neverborn, the dead remains of those Primordials slain in ancient prehistory. Not all serve such masters, however, with some Abyssals riding out alone. Abyssals are usually pale white, obsidian-black or ash-gray in skin tone, because the Abyssal Exaltation makes you super goth. They tend to either become extremely sexy or gross as gently caress. They are not undead, however, but alive, and “some are moved by a strange romance, finding beauty and joy in the bleak silence of graveyards.” They’re goths. They are either cruel or gothique or both. Most follow a code of chivalry, which they instinctively sense with the Essence of death, spreading the fear of death by sparing people occasionally or giving sermons about oblivion, despair and futility.

Play one of the Abyssal Exalted if you want… posted:

  • to walk with death as your constant companion.
  • to be a warrior-poet of macabre passions and dark romance.
  • to be a master of necromancy.
  • to be a champion of the dark lords of the Underworld.
  • to uphold the chivalry of death.

Dragon-Blooded are the chosen of the Five Elements. They are weaker than the Celestial Exalts, but vastly more numerous and with elemental powers. They come in: Air Aspect, quick-thinking and subtle, Earth Aspect, patient and resilient, Fire Aspect, passionate and active, Water Aspect, adaptable and deceptive, and Wood Aspect, vital and dangerous. They primarily organize around dynastic lineages, as their power is inherited by blood. In the Realm, they are run as the Great Houses, in the military nation of Lookshy they are the gentes, and in many minor nations they form ruling or leading bloodlines. They possess the greatest wealth of any Exalts, as a whole, for the Realm is the world’s lone superpower and possesses more First Age technology than anyone else, while Lookshy maintains weapons inherited from the Shogunate. They are at the apex of most societies, born to wealth and power in the Realm, and even outside out free to exercise their abilities without any fear of calling down the Wyld Hunt. Plus, I mean, who doesn’t love being a bender? Elements are a strong-rear end theme. Future Mors notes that this is largely still accurate.

Play one of the Dragon-Blooded if you want… posted:

  • to challenge the five elements that move in your blood.
  • to be embroiled in the intrigues of a dynastic family.
  • to be a mighty scion of a world-spanning empire.
  • to be openly venerated as Prince of the Earth.

Lunars are the chosen of Luna, the great moon deity, and once they had five castes, as the other Exalted do. In the fall of the First Age, they shattered and remade themselves to better suit survival in a hostile world, however, and now they have three and a half flavors: Full Moon Caste, who wield physical power as warriors, athletes and survivors, Changing Moon Caste, who use the social power of guile, beauty and charisma, No Moon Caste, who use the mental strength of cunning, intellect and will to control the world of thought and spirits. The other flavor, Casteless, goes unmentioned here. Lunars in the core are defined by their bond to the Solar Exalts, for they were created to be guardians, spouses and seconds to the Solars, but in the fall of the First Age, they changed, the fury of their loss boiling into their very Essence and driving them to eternal vengeance on the Realm, though some Lunars are able to harness that fury to other ends. They are organized into the Silver Pact, a loose alliance dedicated to destroying the Realm. Their powers revolve around shapeshifting into people and animals, being terrifying barbarians and champions of the outsider, and wielding the power of chaos…in the core. Future Mors notes that the Lunars text has abandoned or redefined much of this description. Lunars are driven by anger, yes, but not the residual anger of the Usurpation for many of the younger ones. Rather, they are driven by rage at the oppression their peoples face, or the offenses against them personally, or the depredations of the Realm on their families. The word ‘barbarians’ is not used at all except in an explanation for why it is not used. (Morke had a love of the word, to go with his love of Conan, and refused to really address the large number of racism issues surrounding its common use.) And the Solar Bond does not define them, but rather serves as an option players can use or not – including the option to have the Solar Bond represent rivalry or enmity rather than friendship, especially since the Lunars have been around for millennia without many Solars at all…or just not to have one, because there’s more Lunars than Solars.

Play one of the Lunar Exalted if you want… posted:

  • to be a master shapeshifter, wearing a thousand stolen forms.
  • to be the inheritor of an ancient vendetta, empowered by rage to be nearly unstoppable.
  • to walk the length and breadth of Creation with a freedom few others can claim.
  • to be treated as a living god by barbarian tribes.

Next time: Sidereals, Liminals, Exigents, and ~the mystery Exalted~ (that everyone already knows the names of)

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 13:57 on Mar 21, 2019

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Wow, Lunars are even more y i k e s in 3e base than they were previously, aren't they?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, ultimately I think the notion of it as an "anime game"... well, as they say, I know when I see it, and I don't see it.

Granted, that's not say I haven't had Exalted characters that are super anime, but I see that more as a personal failing.
A game is more than what's in the text. The first edition was released in 2001 which was a very anime time to be into anime. My experiences with Exalted were all in 1st edition, and they were all extremely anime, and they were all very bad.

Leraika posted:

Wow, Lunars are even more y i k e s in 3e base than they were previously, aren't they?
And when the Lunars showed up, I knew the GM was drawing us into his Magical Realm.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Goku is a Dawn Caste.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Leraika posted:

Wow, Lunars are even more y i k e s in 3e base than they were previously, aren't they?

no one was more shocked than I that the actual 3e Lunars text recently released with the Kickstarter made me want to play a Lunar.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Exalted 3rd Edition: Teasing poo poo Only Works When We Don’t Know What It Is

Sidereals are the chosen of the Five Maidens of Destiny, each goddess of a specific stellar body. Flavors: Chosen of Journeys, who serve Mercury and oversee the fates of travelers, roads and movement, Chosen of Serenity, who serve Venus and oversee the fates love, marriage and separation, Chosen of Battles, who serve Mars and oversee the fates of armies, conflict and bloodshed, Chosen of Secrets, who serve Jupiter and oversee the fates of secrets and revelations, and Chosen of Endings, who serve Saturn and oversee the fates of death, destruction and ending. Sidereals are the weakest of the Celestial Exalted and the least numerous, yet the wield the power of fate and causality. They are known for being consummate martial artists, equaled only by Solars and only if those Solars have Sidereal teachers to bring them into the secrets of Sidereal Martial Arts, and can wield the power of the stars and astrology against foes to control their very destinies. They operate secretly out of the Heavenly City, Yu-Shan, and know the truths of the world, though they are split into the Bronze Faction (who support Dragon-Blooded hegemony and the Realm via the Immaculate Philosophy) and the Gold Faction (who would like to use the returning Solars to rebuild the world’s glories, using their own Cult of the Illuminated).

Play one of the Sidereal Exalted if you want… posted:

  • to exercise uncanny control over destiny.
  • to be a wise, inscrutable stranger to all that you meet.
  • to master ancient, secret martial arts of incredible power.
  • to live in Heaven, and command the awe of gods.

Liminals are tied to the elements of life and death, made by mortal creators trying to resurrect the dead. They’re…Prometheans. They just straight up stole Promethean to be Exalts. Flavors: Blood Aspect, created out of lust, greed and ambition and so passionate and good at binding, Breath Aspect, made out of regret or repentance and so reactive and able to possess and motivate, Flesh Aspect, who are made out of rage, insanity or vengeance and therefore are aggressive and able to transform, Marrow Aspect, made due to curiosity or obsession and so calculating and perceptive, and Soil Aspect, made from sorrow, yearning and despair and so introspective and masters of decay and omen. Liminals have no place in the world naturally, and…they’re Prometheans, so humans come to hate and fear them over time and exposure. They are made out of patchwork corpses and can replace parts of their own bodies to gain power, but become horrifying as they use Essence and reveal their true nature. As long as their brain is intact, they can revive from death, unless they drown. They are tied to their creator, linked by dreams and drawn back to each other, and when the creator dies, it causes Problems unless the Liminal can link to a new living person.

Play one of the Liminal Exalted if you want… posted:

  • to be created rather than born.
  • to have a strange, powerful, patchwork body.
  • to explore what it means to be human, and alive.
  • to hunt the dead who walk among the living.

Exigents are new, and honestly the only new Exalt type I consider to be actually important and good. They are unique Exalted, Chosen by gods who wield a fraction of the Unconquered Sun’s gifted power to create them, and are blessed by that patron god. Most Exigents are one-of-a-kind, with power that is shared with no other, though a few gods have multiple Exigents. Their power varies wildly, with most being Terrestrial but a rare few being on par with a Celestial Exalt. The Exigence costs the gods that create Exigents, often consuming them utterly and always weakening them, so Exigents are not made lightly. Exigence is not as permanent as other Exaltations – few Exigents reincarnate as most Exalts do or spread via blood as Dragon-Blooded can. The transition of power from one Exigent to their successor is rare and strange. Some of the Exigences are stolen rather than gifted by the Unconquered Sun, and may be corrupted or polluted by forbidden or dark gods. The examples: Strawmaiden Janest, the Harvest Exalt, who was chosen by a small god of fields to defend a farming village and now wanders the world with her mystic scythe, Nurlissa, Chosen of Masks, who traded her face for Exaltation and whose powers take the form of magic masks that alter her abilities, the Bleak Warden, Chosen of the Seals, who was Exalted by a god meant to guard an ancient prison of forbidden magic, who can seal foes and unleash the magic he guards, Thousand Venoms Mistress, Chosen of Toxins, who is the latest in a line of assassins to bear her Exigence and who can turn her blood into deadly poison, and Willow Specter, Chosen of the Dice, who won her Exigence from the god Plentimon, lord of gamblers, and who now wields luck as a weapon. Future Mors notes that the Exigent book is intended to double as a Charm design guidebook, and will contain three optional varieties of Exalted – the Hearteaters, Dream-Souled and Umbrals, who were hinted at by Morke and Holden as “canon” Exalts but who the new devs have relegated to optional status.

Play one of the Exigents if you want… posted:

  • to be something unique in all the world.
  • to define your own powers and agenda.
  • to do or be something none of the other Exalts offer.

The final part of this section offers “And the tale of the Exalted continues” to hint at Exalt types not yet named. Except…they flat out said what they’d be, and of the three, only one is actually new. Alchemicals, the Chosen of the Primordial Autochthon, and Infernals, corrupted Solar Exaltations in control of the Yozis (the imprisoned but surviving Primordials of the ancient war) were both in past editions, and for some reason just not listed here. The third, new type of Exalt that was not relegated to optional status by the new devs are the Getimians, who are some kind of anti-Sidereal group that work for a renegade Sidereal. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Holden and Morke apparently intended to just keep inventing new types of Exalted to, presumably, keeping making and selling books, but the new devs seem much less interested in doing so. (The Getimians also, explicitly, are led by a Sidereal dude named Rakan Thulio, who turned against Yu-Shan and declared war on causality itself because the dude he was in love with decided to be with someone else. No, really.)

This brings us into the setting chapter. Broadly: Creation is a giant flat plane, with the Pole of Earth at the center, in the middle of the Blessed Isle, seat of the Realm and heart of the Inland Sea. The South is a land of heat, growing into a massive desert as it approaches the Pole of Fire, known for its wealth and its many lost cities. The East is a fertile land of forest and jungle, dominated by the Pole of Wood and home to a confederation of nations that resisted the Realm’s conquest. The cold North is home to the Pole of Air, full of harsh ice, strong people and poor crops. The West is a great ocean dotted with many island nations, thanks to the Pole of Water, and even the Realm has limited influence there, having never truly expanded westward due to the mighty seas.

The world of Exalted is full of spirits of several kinds. Many are gods, spiritual beings meant to oversee the order of reality by guarding and watching over places, things or ideas. They monitor their domains and ensure they continue to exist as they are meant to by the fates decreed in Yu-Shan. Fields, rivers, towns and storms are all overseen by gods, among other things, and the gods out in the world that manage places and things tend to report to the gods of Yu-Shan, who oversee the broader concepts in the Heavenly Bureaucracy. Gods have limited power over their domains, gaining more by the worship of mortals or promotion within the Bureaucracy. Heaven’s laws state that gods must not interfere in the world, which belongs to the Exalted, but in the current age many gods openly defy these rules, threatening or bribing mortals into worship in exchange for boons or favor. They may have children with mortals, the God-Blooded, who wield a tiny fraction of their power – not so much as an Exigent, but more than a normal human. Gods in theory belong to various courts based on their responsibilities, but most such courts no longer exist. Rather, modern spirit courts are less formal affairs in which strong gods dominate their weaker local neighbors, who compete for favor and power. Even the gods of Heaven focus more on expanding their power than doing their jobs, most days, abusing bureaucratic procedures to ignore the problems they are sent reports about.

The greatest gods are the Incarnae, the patrons of the Celestial Exalts. These seven deities were the first to empower mortals as their chosen, and the leaders of the divine rebellion against the Primordials. Now, they rule from the Jade Pleasure Dome in Heaven, rarely speaking to outsiders. The Unconquered Sun is the greatest of them, invincible and mighty but bound to never harm his creators. He was the one who came up with the idea to grant Exaltations. He turned away from the mortal world at some point in the First Age, after some terrible blasphemy of the Exalted angered him. Luna is second, and is the most active of the Incarna. She, he or they – they change faces and genders as easily as the moon changes phases – attends every Lunar Exaltation, and many mortal cults worship them in many aspects. (The core calls Luna ‘her’ but the Lunars book makes it clear that Luna has no constant gender identity whatsoever.) Luna’s greatest love, however, was Gaia, the Emerald Mother, one of two Primordials to side with the divine rebels. The last five Incarnae are the Five Maidens, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. They are the Ladies of Fate, who speak little and in riddles, overseeing the fates of the world. They focus on ensuring that what must happen does, and even the Sidereals don’t really understand them.

Other spirits are elementals, creatures born of one of the five elements. They are ancient beings, older than humanity, who naturally coalesced from the way Creation was made. They are born from the natural energies of the world, and come in amazing variety, from wind bears that herd clouds to fire orbs that travel the desert in packs. They spread their element and birth new members of their kind. They are ageless, but unlike gods they can be slain and will not return to life. As they age, they grow more unique and powerful, eventually transforming into lesser elemental dragons, who oversee the laws of Yu-Shan in the spirit courts. (In theory; in practice, the elemental dragons often grow corrupt and ignore their duties, as the gods do.)

Other spirits are demons, the souls and creations of the Yozis, trapped like their masters in the prison of Malfeas, who is himself the leader of the Yozis but was also turned into their prison-city outside the world. Not all demons are malevolent beings, but they tend not to care about humanity in any real way. They seek worship in order to gain power, and they seek to escape from Malfeas, as the Yozis do, because Malfeas is an awful place. Demons of the First Circle are those made to serve, and are not souls of anyone but themselves. Demons of the Second Circle are the souls of the Demons of the Third Circle, who are the souls of the Yozis. They are alien beings, all, with urges that humans can rarely understand, and so are always dangerous to deal with. They most often enter Creation due to being called by sorcerers, as the surrender oaths of the Yozis bind the demons to serve when so called. Many tales exist of demons tricking and overcoming their summoners, allowing them to escape into Creation, but the Exalted have long had measures to ensure that summoning is a safe and useful tool, and these events rarely actually happen in reality.

Beyond these categories are the Five Elemental Dragons, children of Gaia, who created the Dragon-Blooded. They are no mere elementals, but transcendent beings, though they rarely interact with the world. Gaia herself was a Primordial that sided with the gods, out of love for Luna, and she negotiated the surrender of the Yozis, her family – and they will never forgive her for it. She is described as a majestic woman in green, but she has not been seen since the early First Age. She has few cults, and the gods will not speak of where she has gone.

The Realm is the greatest nation in Creation, its sole superpower, and all of Creation is shaped by its presence. Under the Scarlet Empress, it enforced its will on the other nations of the world, smashing opposition with its mighty legions of mortal soldiers led by Dragon-Blooded officers. In economic might, it is rivaled only by the Guild, and its state religion, the Immaculate Order, is the largest in Creation. They preach a hierarchy in which Dragon-Blooded are at the top, living saints, and Solars and Lunars are Anathema, monstrous beings that must be slain for the good of the world. The Realm has been ruthless in its expansion and conquest, ready to crush any resistance to the Empress’ will, and while its lands are too vast for absolute control, she was immensely good at spotting and crushing rebels. Since her disappearance, the Realm has been ruled officially by the Regent, Tepet Fokuf, who is basically just a puppet for the Deliberative, the governing body of elder Dragon-Bloods that served to advise the Empress.

I hate this loving book posted:

For now, Fokuf acts as a rubber-stamp for the senators of the Deliberative when not pleasuring himself in his bedchambers to the more erotic passages in the Immaculate Texts.

That line is not, technically, new to 3rd edition – it was an offhand mention in earlier editions that Holden and Morke often cited as one of their favorite characterizations of Fokuf, so they deliberately kept it in. Why would anyone need or want this?

Next time: More setting material.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Mors Rattus posted:

no one was more shocked than I that the actual 3e Lunars text recently released with the Kickstarter made me want to play a Lunar.

Holy crap. For real?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Dawgstar posted:

Holy crap. For real?

legit, I really like the new devs' take on Lunars.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Wait, you mean when the GM told me "This furry was your wife in another life a thousand years ago, why don't you gently caress her" that was actually built into the setting? The devs built this Magical Realm?!

I wish we'd played something less weird and with better rules, like Immortal: The Invisible War.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Halloween Jack posted:

Wait, you mean when the GM told me "This furry was your wife in another life a thousand years ago, why don't you gently caress her" that was actually built into the setting? The devs built this Magical Realm?!

I wish we'd played something less weird and with better rules, like Immortal: The Invisible War.

The new devs' take on the Solar Bond is 'you must have an intimacy towards your bondmate, once you meet them, if they exist.'

There are no rules about the context of that Intimacy. You have to care about them, but 'I hate you and want you to die' counts as caring.

Also there are no rules for it from the Solar side of the equation and never have been. Lunars have to care; Solars don't.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




I'm at a loss to think of anything dumber and more White Wolf than a rule that says you have to care about something.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I should also note that the Solar Bond in the new Lunars book is explicitly a way to empower Lunars - a number of their charms have riders that make them better when used on your bondmate or when dealing with stuff your bondmate does.

(also one elder NPC is explicitly written to be looking for her bondmate's reincarnation solely so she can show him up at anything he tries to do because she's a competitive and hilariously petty jerk)

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




If I had to be stuck with my immortal existence being defined by some glowy rear end in a top hat I'd have some Opinions about it too.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Mors Rattus posted:

The new devs' take on the Solar Bond is 'you must have an intimacy towards your bondmate, once you meet them, if they exist.'

There are no rules about the context of that Intimacy. You have to care about them, but 'I hate you and want you to die' counts as caring.

Also there are no rules for it from the Solar side of the equation and never have been. Lunars have to care; Solars don't.

I hope they might retroactively go back and apologize to poor Lilith.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Dawgstar posted:

I hope they might retroactively go back and apologize to poor Lilith.

Desus got deleted. Never existed.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Ah yes, good ole Fokuf. Or Fuckoff as I remember calling him at least once or twice in the Dragonblooded campaign that was my gateway to the setting since my character was a Tepet.
Also yes, that implication has been in the game since forever it feels like. Didn't really pay much attention to it back then and now in hindsight it's just kinda awkward.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Those Liminals just make me want to go back and read the Promethean books, which I'd love to see a proper review of here. Always seemed like such a neat setting I had no idea how to run a game in.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Mors Rattus posted:

That line is not, technically, new to 3rd edition – it was an offhand mention in earlier editions that Holden and Morke often cited as one of their favorite characterizations of Fokuf, so they deliberately kept it in. Why would anyone need or want this?

More than an offhand line, there was an entire chapter comic about this. That doesn't make it better, but does give me an excuse to subject the thread to it!

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



I remember Holden or Morke getting really upset when someone questioned their choice to do all these new Exalted in some cases before classic varieties (I think Liminals were pretty early in their schedule? Not that it meant much) when they were taking forever to get the core book out, let alone any splats.

I still find Rakan Thulio as their big new setting shaking NPC being an Incel and having an entire order of Exalted dedicated to this completely impossible to take seriously.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




gourdcaptain posted:

I still find Rakan Thulio as their big new setting shaking NPC being an Incel and having an entire order of Exalted dedicated to this completely impossible to take seriously.

Although as a friend pointed out when I groaned about it on Discord it's a very greek myth inspired motivation. Which I hope was the original intention.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


PurpleXVI posted:

"Yes this charm allows you to ~cure tetanus~! Truly, a legendary wonder for the ages." I mean, yeah, in a game where any PC would ever conceivably catch some piddly loving disease.

It's not to cure yourself or your friends, it's to cure literally everyone else. Being able to heal the sick has been a staple power of Hero-Kings since.... forever.


Halloween Jack posted:

I'm at a loss to think of anything dumber and more White Wolf than a rule that says you have to care about something.

You get to choose how you care about the thing, whether you like it or hate it, are just curious and want to know more or even just extremely suspicious of someone that just walked up to you and said "I'm ya best mate from 100 years ago, how you doin" and the fact that you think they might be right and that could mean you've been ensorcelled. The guy that said "this is your reincarnated wife, you want to gently caress her?" was doing it real bad and that's definitely not what is encouraged in 3E which says at length you don't have to gently caress and that shouldn't be the default.

This is where I bounce like the other person cos I apparently also have a very different view on Exalted than a lot of other people and I don't want to stink the place up!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I would like to note: I quite like the Exalted 3e that has developed after Morke and Holden left. It's mostly the core book that I hate, and honestly not on most of its setting material. (Some of that material should absolutely have been excised, though, like Fokuf's hobbies.)

Exalted 3rd Edition: The Realm

The social system of the Realm is the Perfected Hierarchy, enforced by Immaculate doctrine. At the top are the Dragon-Blooded, of course, and especially the Great Houses that descend from the Empress. Beneath them are the patricians, houses of largely mortal nobility with fewer Dragon-Blooded members, who mostly descend from military heroes of the Realm’s history, members of the Lesser Chamber of the Deliberative and wealthy merchants. They are the height of mortal society, rich and powerful, but cannot equal the Dragon-Bloods directly. Under them are the peasants, who work the land and serve the nobility. They are forbidden weapons and must have documentation to travel outside their home province. Under them are slaves, typically imported as tribute from the Realm’s satrapries and distributed by House Cynis, one of the Ten (formerly Eleven) Great Houses. The actual Great House identities are largely not super important to understand for the core, since Solars will rarely need to care much about them directly. Slaves are not the bottom rung – that’d be outlaws, who have no legal rights whatsoever. There are not many of them, but entire peasant communities may be outlawed if they can’t keep their criminals or dissidents under control, and some Great Houses are now using the threat of dispossession to seize land now that the Empress isn’t there to stop them. This is not making the peasants happy. The Threshold’s primary interactions with the Realm are the satrapies and Legions. The satrapies are the tributary states of the Realm, who rule over their nations in exchange for paying a regular and quite high tax to the Realm proper. Satraps are often quite disliked by their subjects, because they usually make up the tax by enslaving or taxing their own citizens. The Legions, of course, were the Realm’s fist, serving as satrapial military advisors or an army of conquest to take over new lands. There used to be 40, with at least 36 in fighting shape at any one time, but the Legions have since been recalled to the Blessed Isle and placed under control of the Great Houses, who are preparing for what seems to be an inevitable civil war.

The largest religion in Creation is the Immaculate Philosophy, overseen by the Immaculate Order of monks. They teach that a soul is enlightened over the course of multiple incarnations, with rebirth as a Dragon-Blood being the peak of human existence. Once a Dragon-Blood dies, they teach, they achieve unity with the Five Elemental Dragons, who created the world and are masters of all elemental Essence. The unity of souls with them strengthens Creation and creates new souls. Every individual must pursue spiritual advancement by developing strong, orderly communities in which people can prosper. Dragon-Bloods are held as superior to mortals. Schismatic beliefs within the Order are acceptable, as long as they accept this Dragon-Blooded primacy. Besides justifying the Realm’s political setup, the Immaculates also work to restrain selfish and wicked gods. Left on their own, many gods would demand terrible tributes from mortals, and some gods even enjoy consuming human sacrifices or forcing people to pray unto starvation and death. The Immaculate Philosophy dictates that all gods must receive their fair, ordered share of human worship by a strict procession of holidays and worship periods, and anything outside of this must be restrained by the Dragon-Blooded among Immaculate monks, who go out and hunt down gods that break the rules and beat them into submission.

Per Immaculate dogma, the Five Elemental Dragons once incarnated as five individual Dragon-Bloods, the Immaculate Dragons, during the early destruction of the Anathema, as they call the Usurpation; these beings are fictional, but their heroic stories draw on many actual historic events in which heroic Dragon-Bloods fought against the Solar and Lunar rulers. They are also held up as ideals of faith which all people should strive to be like, and veneration of the Immaculate Dragons is vital, with later philosophers also coming up with the idea of anti-Immaculates, abstract figures that represent everything you shouldn’t be. Danaa’d, Arbiter of the Immaculate Complaint, was a Water Aspect whose determination led her to dive into the bottom of the sea and lock the Anathema away in the Underworld forever, and her devotees expose themselves to danger and hardship to cultivate themselves. Her antithesis is the Unmanly Babbler, who demands others fix all their problems without working to better themselves. Future Mors notes that Danaa’d will be declared to have been a trans woman in the DBs text. (She’s still fictional, but this forms a religious basis for trans acceptance in Dragon-Blooded societies.) Hesiesh, Reciter of Loud Prayers and Efficacious Hymns, was a Fire Aspect who only ever used his Essence once, burning away all the corpses left by the war with the Anathema so that the billions of dead would not rise as hungry ghosts. His careful management of his Essence is his core lesson, teaching restraint and care rather than wild abandon. His antithesis, the Illiberal Churl, hoards treasure without reason and follows traditions blindly without understanding why. Mela, Petitioner of Clouds Accordant to the Call of Battle, was the first and eldest, an Air Aspect who introduced the training that builds the Immaculate Martial Arts, and whose winds defended the Dragon-Blooded host against the powers of the Anathema. Her antithesis, the Sickly Whore, squanders natural gifts in hedonism and selfishness rather than sharing them with the community. Sextes Jylis, He Who Hath Strewn Much Grass, was a Wood Aspect who is said to have wandered Creation planting forests and meadows to rebuild after the devastation of the Anathema war, and is the example of proper stewardship by the Exalted, laboring without end or failure to care for the world. His antithesis is the Inconsiderate Horseman, who makes his own life easier by making the world worse for everyone else. Pasiap, He Who Illuminates Both Worlds with Majesty and Power, was the last to emerge, an Earth Aspect who taught the secrets of geomancy and engineering, leading the Dragon-Blooded to rebuild the world and perfect themselves in arts and labor, to ensure that there would always be a world for new heroes. His antithesis is the Ostentatious Peasant, who hoards treasures and knowledge in order to gain wealth without ever repaying society by passing it on to others.

Most people in the Realm, including the Dragon-Bloods, are genuine believers in the Immaculate Philosophy. The doctrine of spiritual elevation by service, humility and good behavior keeps people obedient, but also stresses the responsibilities of the Exalted in caring for their lesser. It gives them political legitimacy, but also limits their behaviors, and monks are not afraid to criticize Dragon-Blooded who abuse those below them. It has proven a pretty effective religion in terms of keeping the Dragon-Blooded focused on the task of bringing order to the world and defending it against outside threats by defeating the Anathema, Fair Folk and other dangers. This is not comforting, however, to most people victimized by a “regrettable but understandable” moral failing of a Dragon-Blooded. The Immaculates also run the Wyld Hunt, the ad hoc military groups that form to take out Anathema. Formally, Anathema are any beings the Order finds to be a continued danger to order and prosperity, but automatically includes all Solars and Lunars; it can just also potentially mean Fair Folk, beastmen, elementals, gods or demons if they threaten people enough. That said, most lay people just assume it covers Lunars and Solars.

The next most common “religion” is the Hundred Gods Heresy, a blanket Immaculate term for the worship of gods outside of proper Immaculate doctrine. It is largely unknown on the Blessed Isle, but extremely common outside the Realm, though in various satrapies there is usually some lip service given to the Immaculates to keep everyone happy-ish. The gods in those areas avoid major misbehavior in order to maintain this balance, because if they get greedy, the Immaculates will come beat the poo poo out of them.

The other important world organization to remember is The Guild, a mortal-run trade association that crosses all of Creation. It is easily the largest and most powerful mortal organization in the world, spanning the entire Threshold. Its trade fleets and caravans are what keep Creation in communication, connected by money and goods. Its efforts may bring good things to a lot of people, but it is ultimately an engine purely for profit, and it has no morals. Drugs and slaves are some of its most common commodities, and the most daring Guild slavebrokers even deal with the Fair Folk, buying up the hollowed out husks that remain after they eat their victims’ souls. The Guild is not afraid to wield its economic might against anyone that dares to try and stop its growth and power, either. I could go into detail about how money works, with the silver and jade standards and exchange rates, because they sure as hell spend three pages on that, but I’m not going to because Exalted doesn’t actually care. Wealth is abstracted out to the Resources background and no one ever has to care about how many obols or jade talents or whatever you have on hand.

The Threshold refers to everything between the Inland Sea and the edges of the world. We get an overview of locations, which I’m going to truncate. Most are interesting but lacking in direct hooks because these are just a mountain of tiny writeups. They’re probably one of the better parts of the book, honestly, it’s just there’s a ton of them and individually none are really worth covering in depth, especially since the writeups go all the way around the Directions just constantly dropping city and tribe names and brief descriptions of them. We get a sidebar on “ethnotypes by region” which I feel is kind of odd. The North is full of pale people with pale hair, the Scavenger Lands are home to everyone that the random slider of any Elder Scrolls game could imagine, the East is usually tall people with bark-colored skin and green or brown eyes, the South is darker skintones, ranging from olive to black, with curly, wavy or kinky hair, and the West is “bronze or golden” skin with hair the colors of the sunset. The Blessed Isle is home to light skin, dark hair and dark eyes, and…”epicanthic folds are common enough in many prefectures to be considered unremarkable.”

The Threshold has many Lunar dominions, in which the Realm has no sway. They are united in the Silver Pact, aiding each other in defense and working against the Realm and the Sidereals of Yu-Shan, as well as working to try and rescue as many young Lunars as possible from the Wyld Hunt. They also use magic tattoos to set the castes of these young Lunars, if allowed; without these, a Lunar has no Caste. Future Mors notes that while the game says these dominions are largely set up as weapons of war against the Realm, the Lunars book will do a better job of explaining both what that means and how the Pact is actually not super united in either tactics or specific goals, so the dominions often vary massively. It will also recharacterize a lot of the Lunar elders mentioned in this section, such as Ma-Ha-Suchi and Sha’a Oka. There’s a discussion of conflict between Lunars and Dragon-Blooded over control of the mystic island called the Caul, a sacred island to both groups, but Future Mors notes this will be detailed much better and more interestingly in both the DBs and Lunars books.

The Wyld is the Chaos beneath and outside Creation, and it has bubbling presence within the world as well, wherever the Fair Folk have established enough presence to damage reality by their process of stripping away and devouring the dreams and souls of mortals or various other methods. Much of Creation has fallen to the Wyld since the First Age, lost forever in the roiling chaos. The Wyld is a place of impossibilities and fantasy, wearing away at mortal sense of self and tainting and mutating people with its touch. The Fair Folk are its natives, immortal monsters also called the Raksha, who wield impossibility and dream and who hate Creation instinctively for shattering the purity of chaos and creating something that could not be changed, fixing in place the flow of time and forcing shape upon them. They also love it for its beauty, its presence, which fulfills the gnawing hunger in them to truly exist, for the Raksha are not real the way normal people are, having to constantly reinvent and explain their own existence to the world.

The Underworld is the land of the restless dead, left behind by imperfections in the cycle of reincarnation. Some linger due to unresolved passions, others due to dark magic or simple errors of the world. Some ghosts are people, with minds, while others are essentially ravening beasts, hungering for life. These are usually formed by improper burials or failure to fully follow local funerary customs. Most ghosts yearn for the feeling of living, sustained by the passions they felt in life. The Underworld is their ‘native’ land, a darkness that should never have existed. The Immaculates forbid contact with or worship of ancestral ghosts, for fear of spiritual pollution, but ancestor worship is common outside their controlled areas. Veneration of the dead can empower them and grant them the sensations of life they so crave. The areas where the Underworld and normal Creation overlap are called Shadowlands, places tainted by great death, and animals often avoid such places, save for spiders, rats and corvids. Colors leech from the land, and food there often tastes bitter and wrong. The Underworld is largely ruled over by the Deathlords, ancient ghosts of sorcerer-kings, though other, lesser ghosts of power hold sway over some regions. The Deathlords are rarely spoken of openly, for fear of attracting their attention, and they constantly fight amongst themselves for power. Until recently, they ignored the living world, but the birth of the Abyssals has driven them to begin looking to Creation in pursuit of conquest and service to Oblivion.

And then, if you need any weird poo poo that doesn’t cover? You can just say it’s a behemoth. Behemoths are just giant monsters of any kind that don’t make sense as a thing that exists as a species. They’re giant one-off monsters made by ancient Primordials or First Age Exalts, titans from a lost era, ancient machines of mystic power…whatever the GM needs them to be. They’re your catchall for poo poo that doesn’t make sense as anything else.

Next time: Chargen

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory

The monkey, he is a sign of Stromfel's favor. Since I got him, I have not been scratched in battle.

The Animals and Transport chapter is a little cursory, so I'll be going over it quickly. The most important things to note here are that you can get a trained monkey to help you as a thief or entertainer, and that a Ratcatcher's dog actually does get a combat bonus over a normal dog; they all have Warrior Born because they have the hearts of champions. Also that a full Bretonnian raised warhorse is a hell of a mundane mount, having +1 Movement, 18 Wounds, and attacking at WS 35 for 5 Damage a swing; that's a not-inconsiderable boost to a PC's fighting ability. There are also rules for purchasing barding for your horse, giving them armor like a PC in case the GM keeps aiming for your horse; a fully barded warhorse (Bret or not) is 9 DR and has 14-18 wounds, so they'll have a tough time bringing that down. All actual fighting horses are quite expensive, starting at 300 GC for a basic Light Warhorse (though some PCs, like Roadwardens and Bret Knight Errants, get to start with one) and going up to 750 for a Bretonnian trained charger. Still, moving faster and getting your mount to kick in an extra, not-inconsiderable attack every round is a reasonable use for the money.

The Travel rules are mostly reproduced from the core book and mostly serve to reinforce that if you can go somewhere by ship or riverboat, do that. Coaches are slower and more expensive, and walking on the Empire's roads can be rough in the best of times; in 2522 with the Storm having just happened, the northern roads are even more bandit and beastman infested than normal. Stagecoaches are also pretty expensive, but their routes are usually cleared by the Roadwardens and the fortified coaching inns along the way are usually safe to stay in. Even PCs on foot or riding their own horses will often stop each night at another coaching inn because it's a safe place to pick up supplies and rest.

Which brings us neatly to the first parts of the Business and Property chapter. Now, when I first looked at this chapter, I didn't see much use for it. It's listings of how much urban and rural land costs, how much a nice house vs. a normal house costs, what average Imperial rents can be like, etc. But I think I see the actual use of this section now; what it's useful for is contextualizing wealth. Much like the stuff on the costs of living helps you see PCs are bringing in huge amounts of money for their escapades, the stuff on the actual cost of property and business tells you they're not making rich people money. The rich noble meeting them in his townhouse to negotiate over price paid 21000 crowns for the house alone, let along the 18000-27000 for the actual acres of property in a rich part of town. Your PCs are small time next to that kind of money, even as the peasantry gapes at watching PCs pulling down 50 crowns a job (which is about 5 years earnings for the average worker). The guy asking you to hunt down a possibly-demonically-backed group of brigands for 40 crowns is offering a lot of money to the average person, but he's quibbling over the literal money found behind his couch. The wealth gap in the Old World is immense.

The other use for all of these prices on businesses and property investments is that you might actually run a Warhams Fantasy game where the players are primarily seeking to get actual Rich Person money. It's a classic motivation, after all; a bunch of lower class adventurers getting a taste for actual money from their mercenarying pay and trying to make the kind of money that will let them retire in style. The costs for businesses, property, and major investments work as goals for a party that's trying to get Rich Person Rich and seeking to make enough money to become landlords and wealthy merchants. A quest for actual status and wealth can easily make you stumble on all kinds of other plots, or even work great as a way to tie together a bunch of shorter vignette adventures and minicampaigns as your party keeps chasing the big score that will get them townhouses, servants, and wine at every meal.

It also ties into the fact that Adventurers don't really fit neatly into Old World society. You have money, but you don't have money. You fight, but you're not soldiers. Most people of the Old World are really suspicious of Adventurers until a party does something helpful in their town or neighborhood, because what kind of lunatic goes out there and looks for trouble with only a couple mates for backup? This has always been one of my favorite parts of the theming of Adventurers in 2e; you're edge cases, oddities, and unusual characters. By the economic and social status you don't fit into, you're directly encouraged to play unusual people. I've always enjoyed that about Hams Fantasy because it encourages you to come up with wild character concepts. The Bretonnian Lady Knight is an obvious and classic example, but I've also seen all kinds of other weird characters like an elf princess who stumbles into becoming a crime lord or a dwarf runesmith whose constant, accidental adventures meant he advanced too quickly and broke all kinds of social conventions just by doing his best. Or the university dropout who got into tomb raiding (ahem, Archeology) and became a 17th century Indiana Jones, signature hat and everything. You're encouraged to be weird, because you don't fit in anyway.

Of course, directly, you're not really going to find any use for detailed rules for rolling to see how much your blacksmith's shop makes each month, especially not if it demands you, the PC, actually spend all that time running it instead of investing in it like it does here. The intent here seems to be to provide a venue where your character can retire temporarily and earn money during a timeskip before the campaign moves on, or to provide goals for a PC who actually wants to retire and become an NPC. It's also an excuse for the authors to talk about the enormous number of professions and things possible in the Old World, and to give a price on a Rat Catcher franchising out to hire other, younger Rat Catchers to do the catching, equipping them with their standard issue dogs and pokey sticks and collecting their earnings.

Another good thing this section drives home is just how little privacy or 'personal space' you get in the Old World. Almost everyone sleeps in common rooms (only the wealthiest can afford private rooms and most coaching inns and inns barely have any anyway). The cities are full of buildings rammed together because property prices are high and everyone wants to live within the walls. Most people in the Old World just don't get a lot of space or time to themselves; you're going to be dealing with other people in close quarters all the time. Privacy is a luxury for the extremely wealthy, and until campaign's end, it's very likely you aren't one of them.

Next Time: Surprisingly Useful Hirelings

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




EthanSteele posted:

You get to choose how you care about the thing, whether you like it or hate it,
I don't care and I hate it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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given that it's explicitly optional and opt-in as written by the new devs, I think this is more on you than anything else

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Halloween Jack posted:

Wait, you mean when the GM told me "This furry was your wife in another life a thousand years ago, why don't you gently caress her" that was actually built into the setting? The devs built this Magical Realm?!

This reminds me unpleasantly of Elfquest.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Now, the very "Where's Poochie?" approach that Holden and Mørke took to their favored new Exalts is pretty dumb. I don't remember if it was public or not, but for some reason it was very important to distinguish Getimians, Liminals and other hypothetical "favored" Exalts as not being Exigents because…? This was a pretty odd new hierarchy to inject into the game when all pre-existing Exalts' redesigns and the Exigence itself was supposed to tear down the rigidly defined hierarchy of power that became enshrined in 2E. Especially with how singular and rare Liminals seem to be even compared to the traditional Celestials.

But I'm going to go ahead and defend the basic premise of Getimians, as it was explained in dev meetings, because it's cool. Now, there absolutely is an element of entitlement to Thulio's motivation, but it's not just "This guy didn't want to fall in love with me and now I'm going to destroy the universe." He fell in love with this guy, and then found out it was Heaven's plan that it wouldn't be reciprocated, so he decided to overthrow Heaven and replace it with something better. Of course, you could just do this as some "standard" Sidereals forming their own rebellious faction. In fact, you totally should! But, despite the sprawling mess of 3E in specific, when done well a game like Exalted makes it fun to create new, different magical powers, and when you smash the weird cataloged rigidity of 2E, it's also fun to create new heroes, villains and monsters to populate the world (which is what the Exigence was all about—an in-universe justification for an endless supply of mythic folk-heroes to fight your other mythic folk-heroes).

(Footnote: This gets into the absolute mess that is Fate, Destiny and all that stuff in Exalted, but if you pick at any of these threads long enough you might as well just walk away because it's all very precarious.)

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 18:00 on Mar 21, 2019

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


Kaza42 posted:

More than an offhand line, there was an entire chapter comic about this. That doesn't make it better, but does give me an excuse to subject the thread to it!


:hmmyes: This is a very serious and deep setting where a head of state talks like a stoner.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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That Old Tree posted:

But I'm going to go ahead and defend the basic premise of Getimians, as it was explained in dev meetings, because it's cool. Now, there absolutely is an element of entitlement to Thulio's motivation, but it's not just "This guy didn't want to fall in love with me and now I'm going to destroy the universe." He fell in love with this guy, and then found out it was Heaven's plan that it wouldn't be reciprocated, so he decided to overthrow Heaven and replace it with something better. Of course, you could just do this as some "standard" Sidereals forming their own rebellious faction. In fact, you totally should! But, despite the sprawling mess of 3E in specific, when done well a game like Exalted makes it fun to create new, different magical powers, and when you smash the weird cataloged rigidity of 2E, it's also fun to create new heroes, villains and monsters to populate the world (which is what the Exigence was all about—an in-universe justification for an endless supply of mythic folk-heroes to fight your other mythic folk-heroes).
The core absolutely does not communicate this adequately, or indeed at all.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory

Bruno, get me away with this treachery if you would

So, hirelings. Weirdly, hirelings are actually very helpful! At pretty much all stages of play! Another useful thing about this book is giving you more things to spend your money on, and hiring some extra backup before a really rough fight, or a party with no scholars hiring on a competent translator for a dive into some ancient ruins? All these things are handy and surprisingly affordable. If your party is lacking an important character type for an adventure, or you just need some extra muscle, throwing down some extra money and paying a share to a hardened merc or a Journeyman Wizard can pay big returns.

For some reason (probably the fact that you can hire doctors), this is also where we get the first of several 'make medical treatment suck and kill PCs' optional tables for the line. This one is cited as an update of a 1990 WHFRP1e table doing the same, and again, I hate these things. It doesn't actually add anything to the game to include a significant chance you die on the operating table while trying to get your broken arm repaired so you don't have to amputate it. Critical hits, disabled limbs, all these are nasty enough. Adding in a -30% Heal check because you took a heavy crit and you've broken that arm before (with failure by 2 degrees killing you instantly)...what does that actually add to the game besides someone being able to say 'oh well that's just realistic!?' You know what'd be realistic? If everyone in the Empire was using pikes instead of halberds. But we don't complain because halberds are metal (this is the stated reason halberds are used instead, from the original writers of Warhams). Having medicine actually work okay if you have enough skill in it is fine; it gives physician PCs something really useful they can do. Not only that, throwing around -20 or -30 or whatever lightly because it 'seems reasonable' is how you get the line's dogshit adventure design where they keep deciding that characters with a base 35% 'should' get -10 to whatever they're trying to do because 'it should be hard'.

Anyway, hiring an actual full hireling with 6 advances in their career is only 2 GC a week. An 18 advance henchmen (the most powerful ones actually listed in this section) costs 4 GC, but if your henchman has more advances than any of your PCs they can grow disloyal, something we know well from pokemon. There's a whole loyalty table based on whether you're known to pay on time, how often you're known to get your henchmen killed (if you send them into traps all the time or whatever you're going to have a hard time hiring more), whether you seem to be wealthy, a wizard, etc. Cruel and murderous leaders will be penalized by disloyal henchmen. A PC who generally treats the people they hire like people will find it much easier to command them. Asking henchmen to do things usually takes a Fel test to see if they'll take your orders; if I order my merc follower to start a fight, they'll check if they think they're going to get paid and how much they like me before deciding if they'll do it. In practice, as long as you're decent to the people and ask them to do things in their wheelhouse, they'll do as they're asked. Offering more money in an emergency will also make things much easier on you.

You also get a d100 table to roll on to give each henchman at least one little quirk or characteristic, which is kind of cute.

As for why you hire these guys and put up with this, let's look at a basic Mercenary hireling, at 6, 12, and 18 Advances (So 2, 3, and 4 GC a week and a share of treasure). A completely basic mercenary comes with 2 attack, WS 47, BS 34, SB 4, TB 4, Agi 30, some okay armor (Mail shirt, leather jack), Strike Mighty, Strike to Stun, and a sword and shield and crossbow. If your party is lacking for a primary fighter or you just think you're going to need some extra backup, Hans the Merc is going to be able to handle that for you just fine; he's kind of a badass. Let's look at his big sister Sigurd, at 18 Advances: Full mail armor, 5 more WS, 10 more Agi, a great axe tossed in with that other good equipment, still has Strike Mighty (and Strike to Injure), and 2 attacks. A 52% WS character who hits for Damage 5 (and Damage 5 Impact if using their Great Weapon) while coming with DR 7 and decent wounds? That's actually useful at every level of play. The non-combat henchmen are similarly competent, with Translators knowing tons of languages, Guides being good rangers, Field Docs being excellent medics, etc.

So for not that much money and a share of the treasure, if you're lacking in anything on your team, you can find someone else who will do the job. Henchmen are very useful and helpful additions to your PCs' arsenal of tools. Even more advanced Henchmen are possible, and there are also rules for converting any of these existing profiles into an Elf, Dwarf or Halfling by applying a simple template and replacing their Free Human Talents (clearly marked in their writeups) with the other racial stuff. These NPCs lack for Fate and all, and they're not main characters like you guys, but still. It's nice that these rules are actually pretty robust and useful, giving the party another really handy thing to spend money on.

Next Time: Treasures, a final word on the Armory

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





SirPhoebos posted:

:hmmyes: This is a very serious and deep setting where a head of state talks like a stoner.

Does the Regent still mostly hide in his room and rub one out to the saucier holy texts?

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

The clues might be on this very page.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory

Glittering gold, trinkets and baubles. Paid for in blood.

So, treasure. Treasure is actually worth a hell of a lot of money. It's not very exciting, and the actual 'roll on a random table for the value of the art object you picked up' table is pretty unbalanced (the most expensive artwork, for instance, can just turn out to be with 16,000 GC, which can immediately throw off a campaign's pacing if you can get anywhere near that price for it), but it's nice to have some reference points for what the stuff you find is worth. I'd ease back on how quickly the upper end of treasures ramp up, because most of the treasure table is 'worth a couple silver' and then a suddenly, 10% chance of 'worth enough to retire on, or buy all the Best Equipment you ever wanted' is more than a little out of place.

You can also find unusual coins, jewelry, all sorts of stuff. An old pre-Grudge-War elven colonial Silver Leaf is worth a full 250GC, so a rumor of a chest of those things will see people killing one another over them. Tilean Talents are widely recognized to be the first actual currency in the Old World produced by humans, and so these small slabs of gold are worth 15GC each when found in old treasure hordes. Gold Kokus appear to be very ancient Cathayan coins, predating anything the Cathayans use now but carrying Cathayan script, and they're worth 25 GC each because they're pure gold and very old. Pre-Imperial coins, especially those dating back to or before the Actual Age of Actual Sigmar, are generally worth about five times what a modern coin of their denomination would be. Gems are obviously very valuable, and very portable. Adventurers finding a well cut ruby or sapphire are in for a hell of a payday if someone doesn't kill them and steal it.

And at the end of the day, that's kind of all there is to say about the treasure rules. They give you some good estimates of how much the stuff you find is worth, though it gets a little crazy at the upper ends of cut gems and art objects. I suppose the difficulty with those is finding a buyer and not getting the item stolen back from you. With that, we're done with the Old World Armory.

So, let's talk about the book a bit to wrap up. Old World Armory is one of the more superfluous books in the line. It was written early in the line's history, and it focuses almost exclusively on the Empire. It does fill in some nice material culture for the Empire, stuff that's missing from the actual Empire book, but I feel like this is indicative of part of the problem with Sigmar's Heirs: It feels like everything in Sigmar's Heirs was split up into other books and thus the book doesn't give a great sense of the Empire. What amazes me about OWA isn't that it's a little dull; the system doesn't have room to make it anything else. It's that (aside from that one lovely sidebar about Distinguishing Hand Weapons/Great Weapons) it doesn't break the game at all. There are a couple optional super-items added for players to aspire to, rules for weapons made of super-materials and powerful elf and dwarf armor, but almost all of it stays within the lanes set by the normal game mechanics.

Which is one of the strengths of WHFRP2e: It's generally careful to limit itself. There's a lot of restraint in the rules writing and aside from a few examples like Bret Virtues (which are awesomely powerful) there isn't that much actual power creep in this line. The only classes that break the normal 'caps' on, say, Strength and Toughness advances are classes not normally intended for PCs like Exalted Lord of Chaos. The system is generally careful to keep things within agreed upon bounds. Damage reduction generally outpaces damage slightly because equipment adds more to overall toughness than it does to attack strength. Even when they break the 'normal' caps they never really go above the +40 max for stats. The weapon and armor design in this book is the same, which doesn't leave it much room to be an 'Old World Armory'; the material on culture and costuming and wealth is much more useful than the actual weapons and armor because the book just doesn't have much room to add new weapons and armor.

This book is totally skippable; it's not very important to WHFRP2e. Still, I like the sections on trade and taxation and material culture, because they help with the lived-in feeling of the setting and help remind you that there is extensive international contact. Hell, Altdorf even makes money as a tourist destination, since it's world famous and wealthy people with the means to reach it do so regularly. The book helps contextualize money, and gives you some useful or colorful new ways to spend your wealth as you get it. The book isn't the best book in the line, but it's not the worst, either; trust me, I've played 40kRP and seen the reams and reams of mostly pointless power-creep gear porn that make up many of its expansion and add-on books, and I am very grateful this book avoids being just that.

I still really don't get the hard-on for including lots of optional 'medicine fucks you over rules', though. I suppose there will always be an audience clamoring for 'gritty realism' in a game full of fantastical elements.

So, that's Old World Armory. I admit I only really did this one because I'm starting to run out of Hams.

Next Time: Ill conceived 4chan project number 2? Or City Books for the Empire?

punishedkissinger
Sep 20, 2017



You should do the 4e Ubersreik guide!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


kidkissinger posted:

You should do the 4e Ubersreik guide!

I'm sticking to the 2e project since it's what I have experience with directly.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


EthanSteele posted:

It's not to cure yourself or your friends, it's to cure literally everyone else. Being able to heal the sick has been a staple power of Hero-Kings since.... forever.

Having a charm that can cure you and your friends of very bad stuff and also cure incidental NPC's of minor bad stuff so they regard you as noble and benevolent(or because you're just not a dick and actually are noble and benevolent) would be good. But something that literally eats up your highly limited chargen points for only the latter is bad game design, in my mind. It's like if D&D clerics had a spell that could only heal NPC's.

And I feel like if they wanted to add more splats to Exalted, they should have unwritten some of the previous ones first.

We already had, let's see... Solars, Lunars, Abyssals, Infernals, Sidereals, Dragonblooded, Alchemicals, Fair Folk(not technically exalts, but they WERE playable), Dragon Kings, Jade Dwarves(whatever the gently caress they were called) and a couple of other options. That's like ten loving ones not counting that I believe there were also rules for divine and elemental chargen tucked away in one or two of the books. It's already goddamn bloated, stop making it worse.

Also I was always annoyed with the Casteless, because in 2E, and 3E if they didn't change it, Lunars basically needed MAGICAL TATTOOS so their AMAZING SHAPESHIFTING POWERS(which generally sucked rear end compared to just boning up on Dex charms/excellencies, outside of a few very good combos, due to shapeshifting heavily favouring Strength and Soak boosts, in a game with Godstat Dex) didn't melt them into that creature from The Thing over time. Those things were called Chimeras, and were protean badasses that were also sadly universally insane so you couldn't play this cool thing, SORRY MAN. JUST LOOK, NO TOUCH.

Becoming a Chimera should have been just as valid an apex Lunar charm tree as their other options.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



You're going to enjoy Lunars 3e when I eventually get there.

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