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The Exalted Thing..


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Since I've been looking for some idle reading of late, I've started working my way through some of the Exalted rpg stuff.


Which, actually comes across quite entertainingly over-the-top exuberant. I was wondering whether anyone actually has any hands-on experience with it and how it plays?


I mean, it's a White Wolf product line that isn't at heart dark, grim, or depressingly anguished. It's almost like Ninja Scroll meets Crouching Tiger pressed with a lot of Western attitudes.


In one of our games, the No Moon keeps bugging the Twilight to build her a volcano. In the middle of the Scavenger Lands.


Not to refine orichalcum, mind, she just really wants a volcano to toss her enemies into. She's from the West. It's a comfort zone thing.

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues


tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

It has the worst combat mechanics of any game I've played because the developers insist that the game be 'lethal' while 'conforming to lore.'


If you're wearing the best armor and buff up on health, you can still die in one hit. Not a magical hit, no, just a regular swing of a mace by another exalted character can kill you. There are four magical 'perfect defenses' and that cost mana to use, so what happens is that combat quickly becomes casting a perfect defense and auto-attacking. If your opponent also has a perfect defense, they'll do the same, and whomever starts with the most mana will always win. All those other combat powers become useless because they cost mana.


Outside of combat, it's a fun game.

"When is this out. I can't wait to play it so I can talk at length about how bad it is." - Gorgon.

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  • 3 months later...

Exalted is fun, but if you play with a powergaming group, combat will be a mess. If you play with a group that is more on the roleplaying side, it's great fun. Our group still plays first edition, because the combat in second edition had too much book keeping for some of our players. We rarely buy the perfect defense charms (only if it would fit the character), but combat isn't really what our sessions are about anyway.


The setting is a bit more grim and dark than you'd expect though. You are hunted and hated, the world is being attacked from every possible angle and everything is basically going to hell. And as a player you're cursed. It certainly doesn't have to be played like that though, it can just be good fun.

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  • 9 months later...

Exalted is my favorite pen and paper game, despite its (many) flaws.

Mind you, I believe we usually play with house ruling. There's a lot of errata you'll have to look up, and the newer books are just better.


The game group I play with has a good balance of people who prefer roleplay and people who prefer combat. Newest errata has been added to make perfect defenses less broken, though there's plenty of non-perfect combat charms that make you incredibly hard to kill. Having few hitpoints doesn't make you squishy: having no armor or ability to dodge, on the other hand, does.


I could go on and on about the setting or about how fun to play is, but one of the things I like best is that the system actually encourages players to become better storytellers.




They also reward you for making the game more awesome for everyone. You get extra dice (as well as extra motes, xp or wp if you succeed) for "stunting" which is perhaps my favorite system in any tabletop game. By their nature, you can't repeat the same stunt. They can be used to describe how you attack, defend, steal, bribe, talk, anything. Exalted is definitely not all about combat, and when it is, it can also be combat on a massive scale.

Some examples of stunting:

1 dice: instead of saying "I block the attack," something, you make it interesting. I.e. "When he lunges at me, I fall back, wrap my legs around him and swing him to the ground."

2 dice: Similar to the above, only you use the environment. Another benefit of this is that, if something hasn't been described, but fits the setting (i.e. a tapestry in a grand hall) you can bring it to existence by stunting with it. i.e. "I grab the tapestry, run across the wall holding it, then launch myself to swing around him and roundhouse kick him in the back of the head."

3 dice: the biggest, and hardest to define. It's hard to give an example, but basically, anytime you do something that leaves everyone grinning, laughing, or going "woah," its probably a three dice stunt.


There's also the whole motivation system. One of the first things you have to fill out, and actually important to the gameplay in several ways, is your characters motivation. Their goal, the thing they would die for, the thing they most want to achieve, and why. And if your an exalt, it has to be Heroic. They don't use Heroic to mean you have to be a nice guy who saves kittens, but you have to dream big. It could be to end slavery or lead the greatest army that has ever walked creation, or to conquer and subjugate the world under your rule. Good or bad doesn't matter, only that its big. Obviously, it should be something that fits your character. But outside of exalted, this is the most important thing to playing a good and consistant character. Kudos to white wolf for making it part of the system.


(I'd also like to note, that with the exception of Sidereals, who are all about messing fate, Exalts aren't awesome because they're the chosen ones. They become chosen because they're already awesome. Playing through original exaltation is actually my personal favorite way to play.)


Oh man, do I have some amazing exalted stories, and so much love for the game. But I shall hold myself back, at least for now. :p Hopefully, I haven't rambled too much already.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Exalted is both awesome and horrible. It has one of the best fantasy settings I've ever seen, with great canon NPCs, an incredible amount of adventure seeds and the possibility of both light-headed and adult themes in the games.


The rules (even their 2.5 iteration) suck a lot though. I'd rather just use Fudge.

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I played in an exalted game that felt very much like I was part of early 90's anime, this might just be down to the GM of the game but that's how it felt.


That and all the players were drunk, that may have had an affect.

None of this is really happening. There is a man. With a typewriter. This is all part of his crazy imagination. 

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