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    39 KB Exalted ST Advice Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:10 No.16664498  
    Since this comes up quite often, both in /tg/ and other places, I thought I'd write a short bit of advice for people who want to ST Exalted.

    I've been STing the game since 2002, and overall had very positive experiences. Nowadays I'm taking a break from the game, but it's still my favourite fantasy RPG and will return to it eventually. So, I'll share some of my hard-earned experience here.

    Of course, this is all IMHO and YMMV: it's my storytelling style, and it worked for my players. Nothing here is meant to be a hard rule, or the One True Way. But I've found these rules to work magnificently, so I suggest you at least give it a try.

    I am not going to argue about the system and whether it sucks or not. I just want to write something useful and helpful to everyone who wants to try STing Exalted out there.

    So, let's start. For your first game, I suggest only using the core book, both for yourself and for the players.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:11 No.16664506
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    First things first: Rule Zero.
    Yeah, you know about Rule Zero, but it's so important that you can't mention enough. I've always followed my own brand of Rule Zero for Exalted: "Make It Fun".
    It's an over the top game about fantasy superheroes in a very complex and somewhat chaotic setting, with a detailed, rules-heavy system. It's easy to lose sight of the fun.
    Don't do that. For some reason, in Exalted it's easy to lose track of the fun, and mostly because of two things: the fact that the setting is very detailed, and the fact that the system is very rules-heavy.

    Simple "setting" example: A player has this totally badass idea for his PC: a northern, viking-style warrior with a giant axe that is also a firedust cannon. The setting however explains to us that firedust comes from the south, so, in the "canon setting", you couldn't have Vikings With Flamethrowers. Well, fuck the canon setting. This is your game. Make up a reasonable excuse for your player to have his Viking With Flamethrower. I'm not saying the "canon setting" isn't good: I'm saying you should never forget it's a tool in your toolbox. The final objective is Fun, not Following The Printed Setting. Change what you need.

    Simple "rules" example: A player loves Dragon-Blooded, but the others want to play Solars. He's okay with that, and he makes a character that could work well with the party (for example, they have objectives in common and stuff like that). But the problem is that he is outclassed, going by chargen rules. Well then screw chargen rules: let him buy Immaculate or other Celestial Martial Arts if he wants to. Give him extra starting charms. More bonus points. As you play, he gains more XP, or set his XP costs equal to Solars' own. Rules are another tool: change what you need.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:12 No.16664507
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    Most GM advice mentions "you shouldn't be afraid of saying "no" to your players." That is very useful, But I'll add: "don't be afraid of saying "yes", either." And if a player wants something that you don't think that would fit or work, your answer should be "no, but", followed by a useful suggestion.

    Let's move on to Rule One.
    Tailor your game to the players and their characters.
    Exalted are shakers and movers. A good Exalted game is more about them influencing the world around them, than about the world influencing them. In low-level D&D, adventurers usually start by taking quests from patrons, acting as sort of mercenaries. In Dark Heresy, they are at the orders of an Inquisitor. And so on.
    This is not a good approach for Exalted. The players are here because they want to play their over-the-top fantasy demigods that don't take no shit from anyone. Even the ones that DO follow someone else's orders (mostly, sidereals and abyssals) usually still have an enormous freedom of action, and it would just be bad STing to have their bosses perpetually perched over their shoulders bossing them around.
    In short: you shouldn't force some "mission" or "quest" on the PCs. They should feel like they have a sense of agency, that they are doing what they want, pursuing their own objectives.

    How do you do that? Motivations.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:13 No.16664516
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    PC Motivations are a very useful tool. Treat them like a flag: "I want to do this". Motivations are a mix of "my character wants to do this" and, of course, "I want my character to do this".

    The player that relishes in combat and wants to play his character like an invincible demigod of battle will probably use a Motivation like "defeat Deathlord X and vanquish his armies!" or something more abstract like "Become the best swordsman in Creation!". This is a clear sign that this player wants strong opponents, combat challenges and epic battles.

    Another player might have "Create a kingdom where people will live in peace", a sign that he wants to be involved in politics and empire-building. And so on and so on.

    Once everyone has made his character, write down all the motivations next to each other on a piece of paper, and study them carefully. If need be, ask some extra questions to your players about more in-depth details on their PCs.

    Then, come up with a campaign centered around those motivations and your PCs' personalities, histories and backgrounds. You're giving them literally what they want.

    (This is also a good time to check if your PCs are compatible. If you think they have conflicting objectives, it's best to point it out to them and ask them if they want it to be this way. PC versus PC usually ends up badly, so try your best to avoid it and talk your players out of it unless you know that they are mature enough to play it properly)
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:16 No.16664529
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    Rule Two: Keep the game going.

    With all the powers and stuff your players have, they will sometimes just "forget" what they wanted to do, especially if they aren't particularly proactive players (the ones that are used to "tighter", more railroad-y games) or have a short attention span.
    Sometimes they'll lose sight of the situation and start wandering around (figuratively or literally). And believe me, it WILL happen sooner or later. Usually quite often.

    What do you do then? Well, you railroad them.
    Just a bit.

    (This also means that at least YOU need to have a very clear idea of what's going on!)

    You could remind them of the situation OOC, but the best way is to have NPC followers hanging around them. Exalted are naturally magnetic people usually, so it makes sense that they should start gathering around them followers of all sorts. You can use them as your mouthpieces to "suggest" stuff to the PCs. The PCs will still be in charge of the group, and therefore not feel railroaded, but this way you can prod them in the most interesting direction. This works particularly well if your players aren't very proactive, the kind of people that, without prodding, just loiter around waiting for a plot hook.

    If you have very energetic players, the ones that make their own plot hooks ("I'll conquer that city!" "Why?" "It's there!"), you shouldn't need to do this.

    Give them followers anyway. Players usually like to be leaders and in charge of something.
    It's a power trip. It's being mary sues. it's being super important. it's being among the movers and shakers of the world. It's escapism. it's a guilty pleasure.
    There's nothing inherently bad about any of these things. (If you think there is, you shouldn't be playing/STing Exalted)
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:19 No.16664548
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    Rule Three: Avoid boring.
    Artifacts are not +1 swords. Give a name and a short history and description to each one of them. Force your players to do likewise.

    "Shattered Bond of Fate is a jagged, single-edged soulsteel grand daiklave with five chains hanging from the dull edge that make a terrifying noise when swinging it. It was carved from the souls of ninety-nine betrayed heroes" is way cooler than "I have a soulsteel grand daiklave".

    Always keep in mind the quirks of the setting. Smack your players if they start thinking and acting like D&D adventurers. It's not in the spirit of the game.

    Dragonblooded are not orcs in a cave. They are people, and most of them are good and heroic people. Make sure that your PCs understand that and don't see them as just bowling pins to be knocked down.

    Fair Folk are not elves and are not tinkerbell fairies. Mountain Folk are not dwarves. Lunars are not werewolves and are not all ignorant conan-ish barbarian warlords that are also werewolves. Abyssals are not vampires. And so on and so on. If you want to keep your players entertained and breathe life in the setting, avoid these pitfalls.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:21 No.16664558
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    Rule Four: Keep the pacing tight and the hooks thick.

    Your PCs should never have the problem of not having anything to do. They should, instead, have the opposite problem: too much stuff to do.
    Remember when you wrote all their motivations down? Now come up with a separate plot hook for each motivation. Each plot should be something that you could play an entire campaign on.

    Done? Now add other two or three plot hooks on top of that. One about the Realm (the Realm always fits in somehow), one about the locale (like, if you're in the east near the wyld, use Fair Folk. In the west, the Lintha, or the Brass Leviathan, or whatever), and then make up some other stuff.

    Throw everything at them. Exalts never get a break. Shit needs to happen nearly all the time. Ninjas attack. Robots attack. Robot ninjas attack. Explosions. Undead pterodactyls. Demonic invasions. Fair Folk diplomats. Politics. War. Murder mysteries. Adventure. Go for broke.

    As soon as the PCs slow down or get stumped, spring something on them. A sudden shocking revelation. Have the pacing of a well-done action movie. End the session on a cliffhanger like every good-paced action cartoon or tv serial.

    The only lulls should be hard-earned moments of respite between the last explosion and the next one.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:25 No.16664585
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    Rule Five: Avoid whiteboxing.

    This is getting a bit technical. What is whiteboxing?

    Whiteboxing is when events, especially combat, happen in their own little out-of-context world, almost like in JRPGs when there's a transition between "the rest of the game" and "the combat", and "the combat" is two parties wailing on each other in a flat landscape until one side dies.

    This is TERRIBLE and should never be done no matter what. No fight should ever happen in a white box.

    There are three ways to avoid whiteboxing: physical, objectives and dynamic.

    Physical ways to avoid whiteboxing: Have scenery. Tables on which to jump on or to flip, chairs to throw, improvised weapons, chandeliers to swing on, trees to kick down, carpets to pull from under the opponent. Have a fight on the wind-swept deck of an airship in the middle of a titanic fight. Arrows flying everywhere, balance rolls to stay on the ship, shit going on everywhere. Have a fight in a foundry where you can kick and punch people into the molten metal, or in a firedust warehouse where a single spark could blow everything up.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:28 No.16664599
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    Objectives to avoid whiteboxing: avoid as much as possible fights where there's side A that wants to kill side B and side B that wants to kill side A. Maybe one side just wants to buy time. Someone has hostages. A duel is called out with very specific rules. Someone wants to take prisoners. Or just to stop someone else and then persuade them to join their side. In the above examples, maybe the airship is spinning out of control and the two sides fight for the rudder. Or in the foundry they fight for the lever that will pour the molten metal which will then go somewhere someone doesn't want to. In short: In a fight, everyone should have an objective that is not "kill the other dudes". It makes sense: Exalted are notoriously hard to kill. But it also doesn't NEED to make sense: maybe someone has problems with taking lives. Or wants a honorable fight. Or a PC reminds him of his long-lost loved one and he is distraught. (And what if maybe he is! Remember: Love ALWAYS blooms on the battlefield.)
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:28 No.16664604
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    Dynamic ways to avoid whiteboxing: have the fight scene change continuously. People are punched through walls and into the next room. Or uppercutted through the ceiling and now the fight is on the roof, precarious footing and all. Or he's buffalo-punched into the flooded basement. The house crumbles and now everyone is in a pile of debris, throwing chunks of wall to each other. The airship will crash in 20 ticks and we'll see what it hits. Someone lit a fuse going to a giant pile of firedust. You're on the last floor of a tower and someone just blew up the first floor so now it's falling down, do something! You pinch a guy so hard the explosion creates a crater and you're now both trapped in a giant bowl-shaped hole with slippery sides. Another explosion releases a cloud of smoke and impairs visibility. Suddeny, reinforcements! Suddeny, more reinforcements! Suddenly, a trap! Suddenly, ambush! Suddenly, the manse/building/city/mountain transforms into a giant robot/was a behemoth all along!

    Now use all of the above. That was more interesting than "A wants to kill B and B wants to kill A, and they're both in a white, empty, featureless room", was it?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)10:30 No.16664619

    This is an awesome thread. I should be taking notes- But yes, I totally agree about 'whiteboxing'. Battles between the Exalted are over-the-top wuxia affairs; Impacts hurl the 'little people' off their feet, windows shatter, combatants get hurled through walls and come back for more.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:36 No.16664669
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    Now, let's get more technical: errata and house rules.
    A lot of stuff was errata'd in 2nd edition. Especially DB charms, which were terrible. If you use them, remember to check it up.
    All STs worth their salt will probably want to use houserules, and all the guys that ST Exalted that I know have their own sets of houserules. Of course, houserules are tailored to ST styles, campaigns, and players.
    These are the houserules I use. They're not perfect, but they work for me. Maybe they will work for you, maybe not. In any case, don't be afraid of houseruling stuff.

    A very common, practically canon house rule is that no action can be brought to a speed lower than 3, and jade bracers and the jade weapon bonus don't stack their respective speed bonuses.

    Another thing that I've seen a lot of people doing, but isn't really a "house rule", but more of a "peculiar STing style": don't punish your players for describing suboptimal actions in combat for the sake of fun and cool.

    Example. Assume a guy is a super swordsman. He describes an attack as "slamming the tip of the blade in the ground as i charge him, pole-vaulting and delivering a flying kick to his face."
    Problem is that he has very high Melee, but no Martial Arts, and his sword is far better in all respects than a simple kick.
    My solution: I say him he does just that, but in this case his kick has the damage and all the stats of his sword, if he wants.
    Why? Because he could have just attacked with his sword, but he chose not to purely for the sake of having a more varied and interesting description than the usual sword-stabbing. So I'm not going to punish him for being creative by forcing him to use his kick attack.

    A corollary to this is to let improvised weapons have really good stats, or just use the same stats as the weapon the character normally uses, if he could use it instead.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:38 No.16664683
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    My other house rules are:

    INCREASED EXP: For every 10 full xp points, Lunars and Sidereals get a +1 xp bonus. For every 5 full xp points, DBs get a +1 xp bonus. (Xplain: this is to run mixed games with a smaller power gap. Use this and beefier starting DBs and it will work pretty good IMHO)
    SIMPLIFIED LIMIT BREAK: When something pisses you off, roll relevant virtue and add successes to Limit gauge. Hit 10, receive +10 temporary WP. Keep control of your character. Be batshit insane. Ignore wound penalties, incapacitation and death for the duration. Enjoy. (Xplain: It's simpler this way, and easier for the players: "Oh man, that pissed me off. I'll roll Limit to show everyone at the table how pissed off I am!")
    CHEAP THAUMATURGY: Degrees cost 5 XP, or 4 if you have Occult as a favored ability. (This is only if you sue the Thaumaturgy rules from Oadenol's Codex. Thaum is fun, but needs to cost less. I also like to have it be fairly common among mortals in my games)
    TRAINING TIMES: Fuck training times. (Xplain: seriously. Fuck them.)
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)10:41 No.16664693
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    This has been really fucking helpful so far; I'm now no longer quite so nervous about running a game like Exalted.

    Most appreciated, good sir.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:42 No.16664705
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    COMBOS: Wse the Unlimited Combos rules. Plus, if characters aren't taken completely by surprise they can put up their scenelongs during the Combat Banter Scene. (Xplain: let everyone bring up scenelongs before the fight. Either that, or it's like DBZ where people charge up for hours. Unlimited Combos are http://fixalted.bazzalisk.org/index.php?title=Combos here, and they're a pretty extreme house rule, so think long and hard before adopting it. Other things I've seen is giving everyone the extra charm use DBs have and stuff like that.)
    LIMITED PERFECTS: You can use a perfect defense a number of times per scene equal to the dots you have in the linked virtue. (Xplain: this puts a hard cap on perfect defences, forcing people to use them more sparingly. In my opinion this improves the game a lot and I suggest you give this houserule at least a try.)
    INCREASED HEALTH: Stamina score also gives extra health levels: Stamina 1 gives an extra -4 health level, stamina 2 gives a -2, stamina 3 a -1, and stamina 4 and 5 give an extra -0 health level each. They are of course cumulative. (Xplain: this gives more HLs to Exalts and makes Stamina a bit more useful as a combat stat for non-lunars)
    STRENGTH AND OVERWHELMING: Ignore old overwhelming. Minimum damage ("ping") is now either Essence or (Base Strength + Essence + Overwhelming, if any)/2, rounded up, whichever is higher. (Xplain: Same reason as above: to give Strength and overwhelming more importance in combat.)
    >> That Guy !CrwtTbFNxQ 10/18/11(Tue)10:43 No.16664716
    Exalted: Weaboo-ing 101
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:44 No.16664717
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    There's a lot more to talk about, but that's mostly about very specific details. I hope this stuff will get people at least started.

    Exalted is a wonderful game. It has its problems, both system-wise and setting-wise, but, in my personal experience, they're extremely easy to fix. It DOES require a lot of care and attention on the ST's part, IMHO moreso than most other RPGs. STing Exalted succesfully isn't easy. It's VERY HARD. But it's also incredibly rewarding. I've had an enormous amount of fun doing it, and I wrote this hoping that more people will try their hand to it and manage to be succesful.

    Now go forth and be awesome. I'll hang around this thread for a while in case any of you have some specific questions, in any case.

    Until then, this is Exaltedfag, signing off.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)10:46 No.16664736
    What happened to Keychain of Creation?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)10:48 No.16664745
    >LIMITED PERFECTS: You can use a perfect defense a number of times per scene equal to the dots you have in the linked virtue. (Xplain: this puts a hard cap on perfect defences, forcing people to use them more sparingly. In my opinion this improves the game a lot and I suggest you give this houserule at least a try.)

    I really like that rule. I think I'll swipe that one. Thankfully though, my group has never gotten to the point where combat becomes 'PD everything until the other guys are out of motes'.

    On a side note, the way I handled Ping Damage was Ping damage is Essence (+Overpower, if applicable). Armor Hardness Values are halved, divided by 3 (rounded up, so Artifact Chain Shirt = Hardness 1). And this Hardness value subtracts the Ping Damage by however many points it is (to a minimum of 1). Anything that adds hardness is treated the same way (x1/3, round up), and stacks with hardness of armor.

    I also changed Piercing to reduce Soak values by the character's Strength Value (or Dex, if it's a Ranged Attack). The flat 1/2 value modifier for Piercing was a bit much... especially on big fucking weapons like Grand Goremauls.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)10:49 No.16664756
    There's nothing Weaaboo about playing a gun-slinging Were-Tiger that rips people's throats from their neck, and chews down their heart to shapeshift into their form.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)10:50 No.16664766
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    Those are fairly good houserules too. I never addressed Piercing, but if I will I'll do it your way. STR needs to matter more in combat.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)10:53 No.16664781
    I agree, which is part of the reason I opted for that. Plus it just makes sense.

    After playing with it, a notorious min-maxer in our group went from 'all dex, all the time' in his phys stats, to an even mix of dex and strength. I think overall, it worked out nicely!

    It should be noted that this guy is actually still a good roleplayer. He just makes some very lopsided characters.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)11:06 No.16664866
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    >There are three ways to avoid whiteboxing: physical, objectives and dynamic.

    Pretty much all of these. Exalted opponents are boss-battles and supposed to be breath-taking affairs. Scenery is always going to be infinitely easier to hit than the Invincible Sword Princess, and nothing makes a combat scene more tense than forcing her to hold the collapsing temple ceiling up with a single use of Heavenly Guardian Defense, as she's forced to fight all-comers at a stand-still with her unarmed offhand.

    Its shit like that which makes it all worth it.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)11:13 No.16664907

    If I remember correctly, the author is still recovering from tendinitis.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)11:47 No.16665092
    I don't really have much to add, but I thought I'd bump this so more of /tg/ can see this.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)11:53 No.16665131
    >Sidereals are not Sailor Scouts

    ...Unless it's funny.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)11:53 No.16665132
    Wait, does all that mean that any Exalted fight should look like something from the Dead Fantasy series? (Or nearly anything Monty Oum makes, for that matter)
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)11:56 No.16665155
    >LIMITED PERFECTS: You can use a perfect defense a number of times per scene equal to the dots you have in the linked virtue. (Xplain: this puts a hard cap on perfect defences, forcing people to use them more sparingly. In my opinion this improves the game a lot and I suggest you give this houserule at least a try.)

    ....eeehhh....that's...not such a good idea, until lethality is fixed. It's far too easy to explode.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)12:07 No.16665229
    Just like DBs are not Power Rangers

    Unless its funny
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)12:07 No.16665231
    It was funny Once, in the same campaign where the Abyssal was Dracula, the Solar was Goku, the Lunar was Inuyasha and everyone fought the Dragonblooded Power Rangers on the weekend.

    None of us played in that game, let it die alone.

    Would picturing that improve your game from "two dudes slug it out like Rock'em-Sock'em Robots until someone falls over"? Then by all means, yes.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)12:10 No.16665257

    One fix I thought of to solve the exploding problem is to multiply all the health levels by 5, with Ox-Body making that 6 (or 7 or more depending on how many you buy).
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)12:18 No.16665312

    Health levels mean effectively nothing, and even with that addition, it's...really easy to blow though them.

    From what I've heard, though, there's an official fix in the works, and it's coming along -very- nicely.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)12:21 No.16665339
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    >Hey you should do all this cool shit instead of CHARGE FULL ATTACKING your players every action.

    >Well dang guy, what about this whole Perfect Defense thing.

    Its like you did not even read this thread.
    >> MR. RAGE !D9l9S8Lio6 10/18/11(Tue)12:25 No.16665375


    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)12:31 No.16665413

    Any idea what the official fix is?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)12:50 No.16665468
    If the opposition is like this thread recommends, (rare-Exalts, too busy focusing on enabling your flashy cool shit) then there are less focused flurries being tossed around, which reduces the need for immediate, 24/7 Perfect Protection. The attacks which are threat-cases do not end up being pool-withering terror slams when a Perfect is required.

    This is just "hey lets play this the fun way" in long-form. Why is that so hard to wrap ones head around?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)12:51 No.16665473
    By the time the game has reached the levesl of 'insta-explode' (which is not 50xp, btw), your players really should be looking more into conquering a nice chunk of Creation, and possibly finding/building some super fucking mechs to pilot.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)13:21 No.16665483
    Fix Piercing to not cut Soak by half, and reduce Ping Damage by 1/3rd of Hardness, and Armor suddenly becomes a viable means of reducing the damage you take from most attacks.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)13:41 No.16665516
    You know, I can't help but think all of this could be fixed by gutting the system and replacing it. A nice supers system should work just fine.

    Because let's face it, when the only way of playing the game is to have perfect defenses up constantly, because every enemy can casually one-shot you with every single attack, something is just fucked up.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)13:42 No.16665559

    This is MOSTLY guessing, understand? But, here's what I got.

    The news on 2.5 is the same as I reported a long time ago in a thread I've forgotten.

    It fixes lethality, removes perfect spam, nerfs mote reactors, makes a broader array of defensive choices, and makes Overdrive more central to winning a fight. We will have to buff/errata some old Charms, as well as nerf a few old Charms + Charms from Ink Monkeys and the Dawn Solution, but that's not a big deal.

    The writers are back on the case, and I have been seeing daily updates on progress for about a week now. Everything looks good. It's really exciting to see how close it is to being ready.

    "makes a broader array of defensive choices"... that sounds like they're adding more. But I don't know...

    Also, one part of it is a global reduction of weapon-damage. ...possibly.


    Yeah...um, it really is.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)13:43 No.16665579
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    What this guy said.

    I just rechecked the sheets from one of my old games. The campaign ended with the players at 493 XP.

    I never had this "emormously enormous instakill damage" problem that MR. RAGE mentions.

    Now, I'm not saying it's not a problem. If everyone is so worried about it, it probably is. I'm saying I've never even SEEN this kind of thing happen in my games, so I'm not sure how to answer.

    Another example of YMMV, I guess.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)13:57 No.16665722

    Objection about the constant "things to do" thing.

    A GM did this in one of our one games, backed by a player who's attitude towards downtime was "Why the fuck do you want to do that?"

    Exalted has enough problems with being written as literally everything falling to pieces in a rapid fire order. This is fine yes, but for god sakes PLEASE give your players some downtime every now and again. Attributes take forever and a day to raise and combos can likewise take months to master (And you may not have access to training charms). People often fail to realize that things moved quite slowly back in the dark ages, and the second age in Creation is probably just this. Hell, if you're empire building you'll need it in order to raise your kingdoms up. Researchers and crafters need time to make things, Warlord's need time to make the command structure, etc...

    Basically don't treat downtime as a pointless thing
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)13:58 No.16665735

    It's a system Landmine. Like sorcery being bad, or MAs being an XP sink.

    It's not always an issue, but when it is...
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)14:00 No.16665765

    Oh dear god, if you want to craft shit, you need so much time, even with craft speeders.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)14:05 No.16665822

    I'm in a game where the insta-kill problem exists somewhat. 370 XP in and +12 extra BP (those extra BP can mean a lot for alchemicals). Two of the PC's are tanks from hell while the others "merely" have superheavy plate and the mortal guy has an Infinite Resplence Amulet. It is quite tricky to make things that actually do damage to the group at times, and usually most things I make have to do either 22L or greater per strike or at least 7 dice of post soak. The raw damage is scary to the "lighter armored" people while the ping still poses a threat to the upper combat monsters.

    The only time I nearly OHKO'd a player is when I had a deluxe mook sneak attack him. It had 20 dice post soak, which seemed like nothing at first as the PC has nearly 18 HL's. Then by some bizzare freak accident the damage came out to be nearly 16 HL's.

    It was at that point I made a new houserule saying you can't kill heroic people unless you use coup de grace on them simply to prevent another accident like that. I know characters need to die, but... my characters die in other games like that all the time, so my demigod will take a bit more effort than that to die.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)14:07 No.16665841

    Depends on the artifact. The craft monkey in my game could make an artifact 4 ship in only three weeks, while the Alchemical crafter in my game needed only three months to make her brand new cannon.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)14:14 No.16665893
    I want to add another tip to the list, based on what I saw in this game, and what I saw worked in this game.

    Dole out small chunks of occasional XP that MUST be spent in a certain area. "10xp that can only be used for resistance" or "5xp that must be used for socialize". This encourages something very important to keeping your game from being a maim-slaughter-kill-fest. It encourages Vertical expansion instead of Horizontal expansion.

    In vertical expansion, the characters become good (but not game breakingly so) in a multitude of areas. The dawn, instead of being a whirlwind of rape, is an unbeaten swordsman who can lead an army and manage both the combat and logistics of said army.

    In horizontal expansion, the dawn just grabs every melee charm he can and stabs every problem he sees.

    Not only does it keep your game from being broken, but encouraging your characters to spread out their XP allows them to do more things. Comparing this game (where the players never once said "we've run out of things to do"), by the end of a 600xp game I was personally in practically every PC was saying how they ran out of things to buy, because they were as good as they could get in their minor area of specialization.

    tl;dr specialization breaks the system so encourage your players to not do it
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)14:14 No.16665895

    Thats just simple pacing. If your ST knows what they are doing and aren't simply tossing shit at the wall to see what sticks, eventually there comes a point where you have to take a breather and say "important shit is happening, just not Right Now."

    Any game suffers from player-fatigue if held at a breakneck pace over long periods of time.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)14:31 No.16666077
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    Yes. I forgot to mention it, but I did this too, and endorse this.


    I don't require training times and fudge artifact creation times exactly for this reason.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)14:34 No.16666106
    I'm going to chime in here for a second about enemies as well. In my experience there are two kinds of enemies.

    1) Active defense enemies. Most of their defenses are usually active instant or action long. Exalts tend to fit in this catagory.
    2) Passive defense monsters whose defenses are always on 24/7. Can often get disgusting soak, HL's, and attributes higher than section 1. A good example of this are Behemoths and Spirits.

    The difference between fighting section one and section two are incredibly different. The standard for fighting Exalts of "Iron Whirlwind spam until tapped" doesn't work on section 2. They simply have far too much health or soak for your attacks to be effective. Likewise, the "instant kill" combos that make section 2 a chump just makes section 1 laugh, thanks to Perfect Defenses they can negate it with fairly trivial effort.

    As a person preference I tend to use section 2 things a lot more than section 1. Behemoths and Spirits are insanely hard to kill unless your team has GET. Even then many Behemoths tend to have a loophole around that. They tend to make for great recurring enemies. Section 1 enemies tend to be gone forever when killed (Exalts).

    It also helps that section 2 tends to be a lot more open than section 1. Spirits can be literally anything and can be custom tailored to fit your group without much effort. Behemoths have the advantage of "A monster whose origins the GM doesn't need to explain beyond the fact that it came from the wyld/primordials (though it does certainly help)". Plus landing a hit feels SO much more satisfying that hearing your attack being dodged or parried for the 10 millionth time.

    But that's just me.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)14:36 No.16666130

    Right, and for the people who do use the training times? I don't really think "throw things at the PC's constantly" is a good idea. If anything the setting needs less of that. One of the mistakes of 2e was the fact that every book seemed to try and one-up the "Apocalypse incoming" feeling. If a person wants to do something like be a part of the Realm civil war and have that last like three decades, then he should be able to.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)14:46 No.16666228
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    As long as there are things happening continuously during those three years.

    Basically my advice is "never let your players get bored". Downtime where nothing is happening should be a hard-earned luxury, not the normal state of things.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)15:00 No.16666387

    Point noted. Again I apologize if I was coming off as an asshole, just that the dude in that game really bothered me when I had nearly 70 XP, GM enforced training times, and he bitched and complained whenever we wanted to take two weeks off to train, let alone three months for essence.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)15:08 No.16666457

    Issue with your conception of downtime is that it becomes very artificial... self-improvement makes a character better, but also requires an investment of time. For a farm boy in the hinterlands the time spent improving his melee is time he isnt tilling the fields to ensure food over the winter. For a Dynastic politician time spent meditating to increase his understanding of Essence is time his opponents in the Imperial City are free to maneuver against him. Its about the character deciding what he is willing to give up in order to spend that time training himself rather than pursuing his immediate goals or saving the world.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)15:18 No.16666559
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    Don't worry about it. I'd just like to take up the chance to explain why I think training times are terrible.

    Think of pretty much any story you could consider "epic", especially a fantasy or science fiction one. Now, examine its plot and see if the heroes are under some kind of time constraint. There's a pretty big chance that they are.
    In Lord of the Rings, the ring must be destroyed before Sauron's armies roll over the free people and all is lost!
    In Star Wars, the Death Star is about to blow up the rebel base and it must be destroyed before it can get in position!
    And so on. It doesn't need to be an actual ticking clock: it can be pretty vague. Even in some JRPG, the plot puts the heroes under some sort of time constraint ("we must stop Sephiroth before he can call Meteor and fuse with the Planet, or we're all doomed!") even if in practice there is no actual in-game ticking clock. Why?

    Simply because it makes everything much more dramatic. If there isn't a big threat looming over the horizon, you could just say "Well, that isn't important, it can wait." And if it really can wait, why worry about it at all? Just put it off indefinitely.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)15:19 No.16666571
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    Now, for example, Essence takes a long time to raise. Months. So you have a choice: you either save the world / rescue the princess / defeat the bad guy / do whatever your Big Heroic Objective is with what you have now, or you spend months doing essentially jack shit to increase your Essence rating.

    All the innocent people the bad guy murders in cold blood while you're locked in a monastery somewhere to contemplate your navel? Tough luck.

    Basically, Training Times force a choice: "You want to Do Awesome Stuff, or not?"
    And then you are punished for chosing to Do Awesome Stuff by not being allowed to spend your XP.

    This is HORRIBLE game design because it actively and maliciously gets in the way of Fun. It was done in some kind of misguided attempt at being "simulationist", so in kind of good faith I hope, but it's terrible and you should seriously consider to ignore it in your game.

    Plus, an extra problem: What if a player wants to spend three months navel-gazing for Essence but the other players want to Go Out There And Do Stuff? You split your party? FOR MONTHS?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)15:41 No.16666765

    It was said that Exalts often split apart for years in the first age to do their own little things. I don't see the problem at least fluff wise. Hell, unless you're an Infernal you're going to level for 200 years. You can spare a few years.

    It mainly boils down to your group. I have one of the groups who are bitching at me right now in order to give them downtime. If you're doing an empire game, then you're probably need at least a decade before it starts to bare real fruit if you're doing it from scratch.

    I find most people are spoiled by the rapidity of life these days compared to the snails pace of when it happened back in the dark ages. At the end of the day it really depends if your players want to take years to accomplish things or want to speed run things. It's just group preference and neither method is superior compared to the other.

    Also note that training times don't really say how to train for something other than the 8 hour per day rule (aside essence). You could train for melee by saying the war sharpened your skills. IRL training doesn't work like that, but in a game like it sure as hell can.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)15:54 No.16666866
    To be fair, lots of works have the protagonists training as they accomplish their objectives. Lord of the Rings, for example, has shitloads of fucking downtime where the characters do various stuff that doesn't involve fighting orcs and saving the world.

    Besides, it fits very well with the Asian theme of the game, as loads of anime and wuxia have the theme of the characters spending a lot of time gaining new skills in order to accomplish their objectives. The "find the master that will teach me this one move I need" trope is basically a staple of both genres, as is training alone to achieve the next level of power.
    >> Exaltedfag !FUN.c/zE2U 10/18/11(Tue)16:07 No.16666970
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    YMMV, as usual. I tend to play Exalted as more of a fast-paced action-adventure romp through the setting, and the "no training times" houserule complements that very well. Slower-paced games might be less hurt by that rule, though I think that training times should, in all cases, defined more vaguely and left more "up to the player and the ST".
    For example, instead of "train for X weeks, Y hours a day", I'd probably just say "have a well-described training montage taking however much time your ST considers appropriate.

    Also, I'm not arguing that training times make no in-character, fluff-wise sense. Quite the opposite: as >>16666765 mentions, it makes a lot of sense. I'm just looking at it from an out-of-character PoV.
    >> Flamespinner !p89NLGAAV2 10/18/11(Tue)16:26 No.16667143
    I'll share an experience that's related to the training time thing from the game we finished about six months ago. It was me (a Night Caste), a friend (a Twilight Caste) and another friend (a Malfeas free Infernal).

    We finished the quest in the big city we had been trapped in/hiding from the Hunt in, and we decided to head for Great Forks, as it seemed to be the closest non-Deathknight-infested city (I'm looking at you, Thorns). It took us about a year to get there, as we were on foot and not near any water, and during that time we all did our downtime training.

    We were in the city for about two weeks, and our ST houseruled that Charms and the relevant Caste/Favored Abilities had no training times. Which made it really easy to get new charms, increase our pools, etc.

    During the downtime, our ST let us write up a story of what our characters did during their trek to Great Forks, and he gave us experience for it. It worked out pretty well, I do have to admit that the training times would have been a bitch for Caste/Favored Abilities and Charms had he kept them.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)18:32 No.16668325
    Not every game can be Pendragon.

    >Besides, it fits very well with the Asian theme of the game, as loads of anime and wuxia have the theme of the characters spending a lot of time gaining new skills in order to accomplish their objectives.

    Yes, but the problem with that and the "find the old master to teach me things" tropes is that they fall down when groups come into play. In mixed Circles this is even worse. If you alternate Mentor subplots for everyone, you'll be spending more time working on Preparing for the plot than actually pursuing it.

    No one wants to play through the filler episodes of their campaign.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)20:41 No.16669695

    Keeping caste/favored ability training times? Aren't those instant anywho?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/11(Tue)21:10 No.16669920
    They SHOULD be, unless there was more than just odd houserules at work.

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