Exalted 3E: What We Know

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Contents

General Comments

(Holden)

Also WE HAVE BEEN SITTING ON THIS SINCE SPRING OF LAST YEAR.

Q: What does Ex3 bring to the table that justifies me having to buy all the books again? (Morally ambiguous science)
A: Books that are not the books you already own, even when they touch on similar topics. Also, books which are not the books you already own, which touch on virgin territory. Also, badass ideas, mechanics, gaming materials, and writing. (Holden)

Q: Will there be an open beta for Ex3? (Maese Mateo)
A: No. (hatewheel)

Q: Can we get the complete list of heroic writers AKA as the complete Exalted Dream Team? (Gonzo)
A: Keeping this under wraps at the moment. (hatewheel)

Q: Is Eric Brennan involved with any of the 3.Ex projects? 'Cause if not, please change that. (Praetorian)
A: Would I let Holden and John start on 3e without badgering them into getting Eric in on it? (Stephenls)

Q: So are there any female writers involved, or is this going to be another sausage party? (four willows)
A: If you are looking for a date, I do not think Liz Grushcow is your type. :( (Holden)

Q: I'm finding myself concerned with the writers who either definitely or possibly aren't involved. I know Neph and Neall aren't, but recent comments have me concerned about the presence of Mr Shomshack as well. That's three of my top five favorite Exalted writers. Tacking on that I don't recall indications of Eric Minton being involved either and that's 4/5. (Demetrius7997)'
A: I am definitely involved. Thank you for your kind words! (Eric Minton)

Q: Is this some kind of joke? What's Onyx Path? (four willows)
A: This is not a joke. Further information regarding the nature of Onyx Path is forthcoming. (Stephenls)

Q: Holden, how much of 1/2e canon do you have keep in play. can you change up splat origin? Numbers etc? (Susanoo Orbatos)
A: We've received no "you must do this/you must not do this" mandates from on high. We pitched what we wanted to do, the brass liked it, and that was that. (Holden)

Q: Another question: do you consider 3e a reboot of sorts (say an 'Ultimate Exalted')?
EDIT: Or are the similarities in system and setting still so strong that you'd consider it a natural evolution of 2e? (Caldorian)
A: This is neither an evolution of or a reaction to 2e. I went back to the first six months of 1e, decided what I would change and where I would go if I were to have rebooted the game from its earliest, strongest iteration. You could definitely think of it as "Ultimate Exalted." (John Mørke)

Q: Should "lorists" still indulge in encyclopedic quotation and reference of older books when dealing with absent content (stuff 3rd edition skips). Or is "blank slate" a saner approach? I wonder whether to treat this edition as an "addition / fix / upgrade" to the old OR if is best to treat as a "reset button".
Is this the upgrade of Fallout 2 to Fallout 3.... or a remake with notable differences like "The Day After Tomorrow" or "Oceans Eleven"? (SachKreiosLucy4)
A: Reset button, particularly where 2e is concerned. (Holden)

(Stephenls)

Old lore will occasionally be referenced (when it's cool). Also occasionally contradicted or ignored (when it sucks). Generally you won't be able to win arguments over what's canon and what isn't by citing page references for a while. Most of the old lore will exist in a state of canonical indeterminacy until such time as someone finds a way to use it well.

Use whatever you want in your games, of course.

(Stephenls)

We're not going to start doing the oWoD thing where all the setting chapters are some dude's account of the world to some other dude, in-setting. Exalted 1e had four pages of fiction at the start and a page of fiction to begin every chapter and then the rest was non-narrative third-person omniscient exposition.

(Stephenls)

The trick is to create a vision so compelling and well-realized that even people who were hoping for something else can seen it's worthy of expression on the page. If you do that, people willing to be won over will be, and critics with any sense of class don't locate their criticism where it blocks enthusiastic discussion. The only people around to take the role of vocal naysayer are self-evident trolls and shit-stirrers like Guy Under The Bridge (remember him?). Exalted 1st Edition often accomplished this, with a few notable exceptions. 2nd Edition... Enhhhh... We're gonna shoot for it with 3e.

(Bid sheet)

Seriously, it was evident several years ago that Exalted needed a serious overhaul in order to return it to the glory that so many fans, ourselves included, fell in love with. But that overhaul couldn’t be accomplished without a new edition and we weren’t set up to support such a major project. Fortunately, Holden, John, and a great crew of volunteers were able to begin the thinking on how to revitalize Exalted with their Ink Monkey work and were further able to jump into suggesting how to approach a new edition. Around the same time, a lucky conversation with Geoff Grabowski, my old partner on the development side of Exalted (see the Making of Exalted booklet contained within EX1), revealed he was interested in revisiting the world he had set on its course. The path was clear: EX3.

Q: When you first pitched your outline of Ex3 to pitch to WW executives, how much of your current vision for Exalted setting and mechanics changes did you already have in mind and figured out? Have your ideas and inspiration expanded significantly since that time? (JMobius)
A: A) All of them. B) Not much. Been working on 3e mechanics since early 2011, maybe even late 2010. Been working for ideas to fix problems with the setting since 1e. (John Mørke)

(Holden)
[In response to creating a transitional book for Green Sun Princes (or whatever, in general) 2E -> 3E]

More seriously, the reason we wouldn't do this is that any of the things we're changing in the presentation of the material in question, we're changing because either a) we have a better way to handle it or b) the previous way it was handled was actively detrimental to the game. We're not gonna stock Drain-O in the beverages aisle even if we know that some people do like the taste.

Q: The key point would be to keep multiples of every interpretation so that there is no "One True Canon" for people to latch onto, things are still 'undefined' and mysterious as is befitting (And awesome), but potentials for awesome abound. That and some people just aren't as good at homebrew as others, and having pre-made things to throw at their players that are labeled "This is how to run an Incarnae/Yozi/Whatevs if you want X tone, whereas this is how to do it if you want Y tone" would be awesome. (Emeris)
A: Naw, we're not interested in making a toolbox universe in the precise fashion of the nWoD. (Holden)

Q: Finally, will there be chapter comics? (Jürgen Hubert)
A: No comics. Fiction! (Holden)

Q: I think Holden recently said he no longer had an NDA but avoided saying too much since people pull out the "rage microscope" over the smallest things. So I guess 3e might have changed things. (Scary Pancakes)
A: Naw, we've still got the same contracts as ever. Devs just get a lot of leeway as long as they seem to know what they're doing. (Holden)

(Stephenls)

If you respect your audience, and if you don't accept that working for the lowest common denominator is the best way to achieve long-term financial success (it isn't -- Avatar: The Last Airbender and Batman: The Animated Series pushed artistic boundaries and were, to my understanding, licenses to print money), then the barrier between artistic and commercial decisions disappears.

I am not aware of any decision made by Holden, John, or anyone else on the design team that has been framed in terms of a choice between making something artistically better or commercially more appealing, where the commercially more appealing choice was made. This is not how we frame design problems.

(Stephenls)

I'm not a big fan of the "Gigantic Pauldrons" school of fantasy armor design, and I don't think Exalted benefits from adhering to it, both because I personally think they look hella-stupid and because Warhammer and Warcraft pretty much have that aesthetic sewn up and it doesn't benefit Exalted to adhere to a visual style that most of the audience will associate with other properties. There are much better ways to make Exalted armor look visually impressive than to draw big shoulder pads with skulls and spikes on. The cover of Compass: Blessed Isle, for instance.

But I'm not the art guy.

Q: You know, I just noticed you have a "check out my map of Creation" link in your sig. Weren't you the one who ended up doing the 3rd Edition map for the actual book? Make a lot of changes? (Wolfwood2)
A: (Stephenls)

I did not do the map.

What I did was what amounts to a big art note, with a proof-of-concept for a new map shape, and an uncolored prototype with a shoreline revised from that, and some overlayed images with those two and the 1e map image, and a big text document. Took a while!

I sent it to John, and John'll make whatever changes he's going to make to it, and then he'll pass it on to our art director, who, by the way (I can say this now because Holden mentioned it in the New Years Livestream) is Maria Cabardo -- she did the CthulhuTech corebook, possibly the most visually attractive RPG of the past decade, so if you were worried about the cover being ugly, Nifft, that's not going to happen -- and then she'll send it on to our actual map artist. Who will have actual art cred. I think John's going to have them consult with me to the degree they believe I can be useful, which I would be unsurprised if the answer is "Not at all" because they're professionals and I'm just an enthusiastic amateur.

So yeah, I did a bunch of map design.

Q: I feel like Holden also mentioned that Mrs. Cabardo did some stuff with DC's Vertigo line. If that's true, and I'm not just losing my mind, do you happen to know what? (Rando)
A: She was the art director for the Vertigo imprint. She was also Creative Director for Wizards of the Coast back in the mid-90s, and shaped the look of Magic: the Gathering. She's done a bunch of cool stuff. (Holden)

Q: Rich, how is the layout for the Exalted books looking? Are you changing the art style from the 1E and 2E days? (Mostlyjoe)
A: I don't think changing is the right word- we're keeping hold of what we really like- like Mel Uran's seminal work- and adding to it. That's one of the reasons I reached out to maria Cabardo- she has a huge pool of artists around the world who already are creating the lush imagery we want for Exalted. (Rich Thomas)

Q: Will the artwork of 3ed. go towards a shared style, to help visualize the developers idea of the games "look" and feel? (Kim)
A: Hmm, I am not sure what you mean by shared. We are going to employ a variety of artists with different styles to keep the game's visual diversity. But my vision for how it should look will come through in the subjects. (John Mørke)

Q: Will there be at least one piece of artwork for each individual citiy (or at least the larger/more important ones) to help convey the size, architecture and geographical outlines (simply put: the sheer look) of them? (Kim)
A: We'll see. (John Mørke)

Q: Each First Edition sourcebook had a section suggesting some books (fact or fiction) relevant to the material presented in the sourcebook.
I dearly loved this, and read many of those.
Question:
Will "suggested reading" make a return in Third Edition? (UrsKR)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

(Holden)

As time goes on, you'll notice that 3e trends toward two ideas: "Words mean what they say they mean" and "we believe your Storyteller not only has a brain, but also knows how to use it."

Q: Oh, no, [3e's] still going to be Exalted. I'm not disputing that. But the differences are starting to look staggering to the point that we're looking at nearly oWoD/nWoD levels of differentiation. (Aranis)
A: Nah. (Holden)

Q: Is "Let's not retread D&D concepts and inspirations" still a major design goal for Exalted? (Peter Svensson)
A: As much as it ever was. (Stephenls)

Q: Is everything still measured in Yeddims? (Giygas)
A: No, we went Imperial. Now everything is measured in dragons. (John Mørke)

Q: I haven't ever played Exalted before, and most of what I know is secondhand stuff from the longtime fans in my play group. I'm wondering what reading or watching material you'd recommend to someone who wants to try and "get" Exalted in advance of the 3e release. Could I pick up some old sourcebooks to get a feel for the setting, or is the new edition striking a new enough tone that I'd be better off digging through, like, Lord of Light and kung fu movies. (Attorney at Funk)
A: (John Mørke) </blockquote> Number one thing to do is read Night's Master by Tanith Lee. Put Ninja Scroll on your watch-list. Read a few of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories. After you've done those three things, try to imagine them as a perfect fusion. Once you've done that, add in some Chinese and Greek mythological conventions: animism, reincarnation, gods and heroes who are larger than life; mysticism, sorcery, and the martial arts.

Now read Scavenger Sons and the Games of Divinity, and you should have a pretty good starting picture of the game you're about to play. </blockquote>

Q: This is more of a process question than a product question.
When talking about Ex3's development, I get the impression that you're very particular about when you say I (that is, you) versus we (that is, the entire development team) in terms of who is responsible for something. Could you talk a bit about this in general? Broadly, how much is Ex3 a group effort, and how much is top-down (with you, I assume, at the top)? I guess the spectrum would be pure collaboration -> team implementing your singular vision -> scam to net some sweet elfbucks for your lazy pals while you do literally all of the work. (Squizzle)
A: Ah, an easy question! EX3's vision comes from me, and the mechanics and setting are checked against my outline for the game. Holden backs me up with his organizational and mechanical skills, and acts as a foil to my thought process. So when I say "I," I am guaranteeing something I am certain about, or I'm telling you that the following comment comes straight from my brain. "We" is reserved for "Holden and I" for stuff that was changed for the better by his contribution. I also sometimes say "we" when I am talking about all of the writers collectively. (John Mørke)

(Plague of Hats)

[...]To the narrower, saner question of inspiration in the books—particularly the concerns of BrilliantRain just because I remember his posts in particular—I get the impression that Compass: Autocthonia might have been fairly well-received in certain corners of the internet. It provided immense inspiration through a smorgasbord of amazingly well-written but, size-wise, pretty small snippets, fleshing out an entire other world. This despite the fact that even if you're getting "Low Ink" warnings from your printer you more than likely can successfully run off the content on a whole nation.

Remember, the tail end of 2E was not just a shift in tone, it was a shift in style. These were pretty clearly marked as signs of things to come. The core book will necessarily be a bit different, but that's the nature of the beast. 3E is meant to be That Amazing Cornucopia: The Edition. It's the edition that forgets neither that you want awesome cool stuff to play with but also that such toys are special and they are wheels to get you where you need to go, not pictures that you stare at. It's the edition that's meant to make you weep bitter tears that you can't play in all the awesome locations Eric wrote about in a single session, at least not without being completely ridiculous.

There will be broken temple domes that hum with lightning, killing visitors. Heard of only in rumor, there are no rules for these places. There will be golems amalgamated out of the blood of gods and dragons, with detailed write-ups so that a Storyteller can plop them right down in the game and go without thinking. There will be legendary treasures whose exploits are suggested but never explained, and there will be crazy masculinity substitutes fully statted in the back of the core book.

(on porting characters from previous editions)
It should be equally easy to port characters from either edition. Maybe a little bit easier from 1e because there isn't that weird power-shift of Infinite Mastery disappearing. (John Mørke)

I really want to have something somewhere in EX3 that does paper magic-- you know, fold an origami tiger, then invest it with Essence and it becomes a real tiger that jumps out to eat your foes. Catch spells in a paper flower. Etc. (Holden)

Geoff Grabowski

(hatewheel)

I have Geoff doing the chapter fiction for the 3e core.

(hatewheel)

You can consider me the lead developer of 3e. 3e is my direction, my designs for Creation, and my book ideas. I construct my hypotheses with, and draw on the advice of Holden, but at the end of the day it is my conclusions that drive the direction of this game and my outlines that will be sent out to the writers. Grabowski offers invaluable support as someone who has been through the fire and has handled developmental crises from every angle conceivable. He has already given me a ton of valuable advice as well as support in terms of liking my ideas and warning me about the pitfalls and obstacles he faced when he was in my position.

(hatewheel)

That said, Geoff has already had some pretty great input on the Liminals. Specifically capitalizing on the name Chernozem, he suggested a bit of lore that was pure classic Exalted style, and I am going to run with it.

Q: Say, if Geoff Grabowski is coming back with the new edition, does this mean that the fears of Liminals conflicting with his original vision will be unnecessary? (Morally ambiguous science)
A: Oh, he doesn't know about them. We throw a tarp over them and whistle nervously every time he walks by. More seriously, 3e isn't about recreating Geoff's old vision of the game. It's not what we're after and it's not what he's after. (Holden)

(Holden)

For those curious, Geoff is onboard getting this book put together and launched smoothly, and is lending his legendary talents to the project, but he's not the architect of 3e (although so far he's been enthusiastic about the direction we're taking things in). We're no more interested in selling you First Edition again than we are in selling you Second Edition again-- that would be a big waste of everyone's time and money, I think we can all agree!

Q: What is the formal role of Grabowski on the team? (MissMaddy)
A: He is offering advice, looking over drafts, and doing some writing. I had him write up the money and religion sections of the core. I also had him do some fiction. I am now wrangling him into naming all the new Solar Charms. (John Mørke)

Books

See Books

2E and 2.5E

Q: So Scroll of the Monk 2 got dropped? (Tiresias)
A: Yes. (hatewheel)

Q: Can we expect any amount of backward compatibility, such that those of us who usually play Exalt types traditionally on the far end of the release schedule might still enjoy 3E? (ysadrel)
A: Backwards compatibility of mechanics is not really going to be a thing. Sorry! (Holden)

(hatewheel)

Omicron: I'd identify 2e's problem as the system was boring as shit without magical powers, and it took too long to resolve combat. In 3e, combat resolves smooth, your choices in combat are far more interesting, and combat is genuinely surprising and exciting again, with tactical layers even before you ever try using Charms.

Q: Any plans on doing anything else for 2.5 before the release of Ex3? (TranscendantGMStyle)
A: Nope. We don't have time or energy to waste working to fix an edition of someone else's mistakes. 3e was necessary for the survival of my writing team. The chains are broken. I will not put them back. (hatewheel)

Q: Out of curiousity, though, with the knowledge that 2.5 was first mentioned roughly around the time that Holden started sitting on the topic of Ex3, what was 2.5? Closure? An alpha test? (TranscendantGMStyle)
A: 2.5 has been explained many times. It was to make the game playable for the most people possible in time for Shards, so that more people (for example, Sidereal players) could be excited about Exalted and then buy Shards, which would have Sidereal Charms. And look, it paid off—platinum in four days. I only had to nearly kill my writing team to do it. (hatewheel)
A: It was exactly what it looks like. We started working on EX3 before White Wolf was certain if or when there was going to be an EX3. John said one day "We need to be working on EX3 now, because they're going to ask us to do it, and there won't be enough time when they do, and we need to be ready with answers and ideas and systems already in place when that happens." (Spoilers: A couple months later he was proven correct.) 2.5 was born during that period when 3e was a notional thing we figured was probably going to happen but had no idea when. (Holden)

Q: Was Burn Legend an experiment paving the way for a new combat paradigm? (LeTipex)
A: I'm not Holden, but I can answer that: No. Burn Legend was an exercise in paying homage to fighting games and the Street Fighter RPG. The Burn Legend system works because it is optimized for Burn Legend and makes no attempt to handle anything else. You would not want a full Exalted-sized RPG that runs on Burn Legend. (Stephenls)

Q: I'm assuming that means that errata is pretty much over for 2E, right? (Charles Gray)
A: Yeah. We've collectively put about seven grand in unpaid writing into the Scroll of Errata at this point, very very little of which touches on anything any of us have written. I'm done. (Holden)

Q: as a companion to that, was the difficulty of creating erratta that worked without changing core assumptions one of the things that convinced everyone 3E was required? (Charles Gray)
A: One of many things. (Holden)

Q: Writers: What is your favorite 2(.5)e Charm that will no longer work in the 3e paradigm without extensive changes? (Reminiscent Oasis)
A: Oooh, you don't want me to answer that one. Would cause a panic-stampede, it would. (Holden)

Q: This saturday I started to wonder: was Scroll of the Monk 2 a hoax meant never be and just cover up the void after Shards until 3e got announced? (Gonzo)
A: No. (The Demented One)
A: We asked White Wolf to cancel SOM2 so that we could focus on EX3. There were a lot of reasons for this, including the large errata we'd need to do to make the book viable, but also because the innovations we wanted to make would be better translated to a new edition. Also, because the book was so small, the majority of what we needed to write would not be covered by the wordcount and would thus be free work, with like 75% of the book being errata and a new innovative system and 25% being the Charms people expected. We also wanted to do some setting material and fiction for the book, and well, to hit all the high notes and make the book good we'd have to stop production on 3e; we'd be writing SOM2 right now and through most of August, a critical month in which we need to get the system core written so that we can begin playtesting in September. (hatewheel / John Mørke)

Q: 2nd Edition is still left broken. (Daredevil)
A: 2nd edition is unfixable, dude. It's why I begged Rich Thomas to get us the third edition we needed, back at the Grand Masquerade. I was already sick to death of slogging through four years of pre-existing mistakes and bad design decisions and the amount of work necessary to fix it all was actually greater than the work necessary to just do a new edition. And I had already done more errata work than was reasonable or sane. (Holden)

(Holden)

2e makes it very difficult to have unexpected outcomes, because all opposed action continuums basically consist of slapping two numbers together, with the bigger number proceeding directly to victory or near-victory (i.e. attack -><- DV -> Health track -> dead). Yeah, the guy who can muster a bigger number once or twice wins there-- there's almost no other outcome unless your dice do something ridiculously unlikely.

Q: Why the decision to develop a new version of the game rather than expand on the existing content? (Charisma Bonus)
A: (John Mørke)

There were a few reasons that we needed to launch a third edition. Ultimately I pushed for it to save my writers a lot of pain and misery, and to refresh the awesome player base and bring new blood back to revitalize the product, as well as attract the customers that were lost during a shaky second edition.

The pain and misery would have been in the form of a near-endless slog through tons and tons of errata that we needed to do on books in Second Edition that were published with non-functional mechanics. Not only was it impractical from a money standpoint–because we were doing any errata for free–but it’s also a waste of a writer, to make them spend all their time and creativity going over someone else’s work to fix problems. It was killing the morale and the energy and the goodwill of my team–and my team consists of some of the most solid writers for any game line of the last five years. It was just a matter of conservation of product; in order to turn out more good products, we needed our writers not to walk off the line.

It was also a matter of needing it. I think that you can gauge the health of any game by the amount of conversation it generates. I believe that after ten years of a fairly static setting, the same conversations were being had over and over and nothing new was being said. It was becoming more difficult to write new Exalted books, or expand without undoing or redoing vast tracts of what had already been laid out. As we were confronted with the last three proposed Second Edition books–Masters of Jade, Shards of the Exalted Dream, and Scroll of the Monk II– it was clear to me that the idea mill was winding down and we were almost certainly going to end up redoing Second Edition books and packaging them with errata–a situation I dearly wanted to avoid. Fortunately by that time, Holden Shearer and I had already been building the framework for EX3 for about a year. When White Wolf came to us with the possibility of a third edition, we pounced; I had a lot of plans already constructed. I am always thinking around corners.

I had just been seeing a lot of fans who needed the game’s discussion to be reset, to have it pulled back to the beginning so that the topic could be refreshed, perhaps with new ideas, new lines of thought and new conclusions to be had. I knew that the best thing for everyone would be if we were to just relaunch Exalted and give it all the love and affection we’d been showing it since Glories in ’09.

(Stephenls)

That Thousand-Forged Dragon bit about Gaia, and things similar to it, were instances of authors sneaking declarative statements about big important setting concepts into obscure minutiae entries because they'd been denied permission to put them elsewhere, usually because a developer disagreed with the declarative statement and didn't want it canon.

You can expect to see less of that.

Q: Having worked on projects before, I can say with confidence that I have found having lots of projects makes one project harder to work on individually.
It's true I'm not privy to their inner design logs, but I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that "We have the same amount of authors, but are now working on twice as much stuff as you assumed we were" is an alarming prospect when the previous product of that was already a mechanical quagmire of poor communication. Not damning. But raising concern. (Spectralent)
A: It's an unrealistic concern. Though we will/do need more mechanics for EX3, there is a certain misconception that seems to float around, unspoken, that we couldn't fix the problems of 2e because they still existed when we closed the doors. That's not true. We just decided to do all that work on a new edition that writers could draw inspiration from and contribute to and be rewarded for, rather than the misery of going over a ton of ultimately thankless errata and basically rebuilding 2e mechanically from top to bottom. You can't really assume that EX3 will be dick soup based on 2e because none of my writers were responsible for getting 2e in the quagmire in the first place. I mean, sure, EX3 will be a challenge, but we're not automatically going to inherit all the same problems as 2e. EX3 exists to wipe those problems out and a lot of consideration has gone into managing the game so that they are not repeated, and we are being given the proper time to test and turn out peer reviewed material. There are just a ton of problems that went into making a mess of 2e that aren't even an issue anymore because of the way we publish books now. (John Mørke)

Q: Respectfully, it would seem (to myself and my group) that what Exalted needed after second edition was a stripping back, perhaps a nice shave and a haircut from Ockham's Razor, rather than the addition of yet more things. Not once in all the years of playing Exalted, and especially not through the period where we were reading and rejecting 2nd ed lore, did any of us leap up and shout 'I've got it! What this game needs are more types of Exalted!' This isn't a threadcrap, just an indication that for some readers this sort of addition is going to leave you with a very hard sell. (Gorilla Zod)
A: That's fair. I also spent most of a decade satisfied with Exalted's core concepts. Where 2e lost me was where it reprinted a lot of 1e material, but in ways that just seemed tired out, like the topic was dead so why should we care? That was my initial problem with 2e. I mostly quit buying Exalted 2e over the things they were adding, though, so I realize what kind of a risk I am taking. The difference is, the ideas I am adding are there to breathe new life into the classic game, and to expand its playability and the number of stories that can be told, as opposed to the things that were added to 2e that eventually drove me out—elements which largely bulldozed over the classic game and made it irrelevant. I have also taken plenty of care to make sure that the new stuff can get out of your way if you don't like it. However, I believe Exalted needed an expansion of story possibilities so that people who were tired of the same "parts" in every story could tell the classic Exalted stories in a different, refreshing, and more openly-inviting way. (John Mørke)

Q: Sure you can. You just have to start over and figure out what went wrong. From the words of the current team over the years, they seem to have nailed one of the problems - systematically terrible project management. It's just too bad if they have also decided that the basic ideas of the setting were ever a problem. (ResplendentScorpion)
A: I haven't decided that, though I detect that you and I may vary on what those basic ideas were. I personally like my Solar to be hero without peer, who rose up in a world of gods and champions to strike out against the darkness—even if he were terrible or beautiful in his ways—and be the precursor of a final Age. Two of the biggest mistakes of 2e involved handing that promise over to the Infernals, and in making it so that the Age you usher in must look exactly like the First Age they colored in DotFA. (John Mørke)

Q: What it feels like to me, completely subjectively, is that i and others who got a charge out of running Mahabharata style games are chumps for doing so. That we're wrong for having spent time and effort and money on keeping Exalted going during the late period 2nd ed. (Muadib)
A: I like it when Exalted feels like the Mahabharata. I don't like it when Exalted feels like post-Freiza Dragonball Z.
I'm also the person who wrote the overwhelming majority of all E6+ effects in print, and I am the one saying, they did not do good things for the game. (Holden)

Q: In short, while a new edition might be something that not everyone can get into, I think that it beats having the game die flatout. Which was pretty much assured. (Aranis)
A: 2e wasn't anywhere close to dead when we pulled the plug on it-- quite the opposite, it was selling like hotcakes. And we could have certainly run at least another couple of years of supplements out of it without straining for ideas. We ended it and moved to 3e because we wanted to actually enjoy producing material again, without having to constantly errata other people's work or retcon dumb stuff or reach around our elbows to make the combat engine kinda sorta work. (Holden)

Q: But from my viewpoint? That's not the Exalted I know. This has... I guess you can say "cooled my ardor" for the Kickstarter. I'm not looking at Exalted 3rd Edition as "new edition!" I'm looking at it now as "new game!" Which means I'll be approaching it as any other new game being pitched to me. I was willing to pitch a few hundred dollars into the W20 Kickstarter because I KNEW what kind of product I was getting. I had confidence in it. (paradim)
A: (John Mørke)

We are going to be laying a lot of cards on the table with the Kickstarter, and I am doing playtests because I want Solars to feel right to the people who play them. I also hang out in the community and watch while a few angry people take giant shits on everything I do or say so I can hear people like you.

These are three things no one bothered to do for you in EX2. Every 2e release before Glories was like going on a hayride blindfolded in the movie Deliverance. Your only clue was an occasional scream or terrifying banjo music, otherwise you were in the dark.

I feel for you, though, and understand how you could see Exalted 3 as a new game. I, and thousands of other players like me, saw Exalted 2 as a new game and we left in droves. I, from day one in Glories, have been calling those customers back.

Q: And also, both can be resources for the other.
I made a topic a while back about how the changes to Taboo Inflicting Diatribe in 3E could be potentially back-converted and improve use of it in 2E.
Similarly, for those people that do want to have their players go up against a Yozi or Incarna, whilst the conversion is likely to take a reasonable bit of work, the writeups for those from 2E are likely to be a reasonable starting point. (FearMeForIAmPink)
A: (Holden)

Heh, "a reasonable bit of work" in this case would be "starting over from scratch," pretty much. Those are not going to convert cleanly at all-- the system framework is not designed for the kind of tactics those things were built around.

Well I mean, not if you want them to work properly. Doing a quick and dirty conversion that results in poor-quality material is, as always, pretty easy.

Q: Will there be a conversion guide for bringing a 2.0/2.5 game up to 3.0 mechanics? (assuming Evocation brings a new vision to the previous artifact/sorcery/thaumaturgy systems) (babyseal)
A: No. I suggest just re-rolling the characters from scratch and then applying the same amount of XP they already earned in play-- it's what my group did when we went 1e->2e. (Holden)

Q: Fanbase still marketed the game how they marketed the game. Lot of people had their experience of the game and their idea of the game shaped by that. It was unplayable on a system level but the setting was still very cool to us and much as, yeah, there were problems, the feel was of this awesome cosmic fantasy game where you were mythic god slaying heroes and you battled giant otherworldly monsters and were basically Thor and so on.
I can, and I know that not everybody can be pleased, and that you'll do what you think the fans will like but also you like, because to do otherwise is to lack artistic integrity. That's not what bothered me, though, what bothered me is not that you said "I think this was bad and I want to go back to what came before" but rather than you essentially added "and so does everyone else" which makes me think hey, wait a second, that's not true. I am not those people.
Honest question, do I not count as part of the fandom then? Because I am interested to find out what I do count as. Same with my gaming friend who were introduced to Exalted through me as I was through the fanbase and thus played the game as I saw and as the fanbase seemed to see it as well. And it seems like, well hey we like Exalted too you know, or at least we like the idea of it and want. If you want to go a different direction, sure, but it just feels like an entire playstyle is being ignored in a kind of "well, that's not what the game really is anyway" sense which is rather offputting, as I am sure you can understand. (Solar)
A: (Stephenls)

Hmm.

Obviously we don't want to alienate you. Every bit toward the first Kickstarter'll help.

When Dead Space II was still in the previews stage I remember a really obnoxious interview where the poor creative guy had to go out and say that it'd be more action-y, and make the player feel more empowered, yet remain every bit as horror-y as Dead Space. I found it insulting. It was insulting to the readers, it was insulting to the interviewer, and it was even insulting to the creative guy who somehow had to say it with a straight face. The demands of popular marketing strategy, which state that you must be completely noncommittal lest you accidentally say something concrete enough to alienate someone, somewhere, degrade us all. I'm not going to do that.

If you really were attracted to Exalted in the first place by the immense storm of popular chatter surrounding it, then I think you will love many things about Exalted 3rd Edition, because Exalted 3rd Edition will have as many of the things that fueled that immense storm of popular chatter as possible. And it's not like we're not eventually going to publish rules for fighting Ligier -- and they'll certainly be better than 2e's rules for fighting ==igier, which were "Enh. Fight his sword. If you beat it he bows and gives you what you want."

We will have cosmic weirdness at least the equal to the 1e Sidereal Charm set; we will have heroes with the means and motive to drag the world out of the Age of Sorrows or into Oblivion. Lead armies, ruin armies, conquer and found nations, slay behemoths, plumb the Underworld for secrets long dead, make war against Heaven, force sanctions from Hell. That'll all be there.

If you really only liked Exalted because of the sheer ambition behind late 2e's increasing drive to mechanically represent every single action any entity in the entire setting could possibly take, up to and including full Charm sets and rules writeups for the Yozis that describe not only their combat prowess but their thought processes? Then no, we're not going to make you happy.

Q: Well I don't want that. That's never what I wanted (and it's never what I said I wanted) but regardless, I don't want that. (Solar)
A: That is most of what we mean when we say we're not going to cover the same sort of high-level material in 3e that late 2e covered. (Stephenls)

(Plague of Hats)

An unfortunate circumstance of discussing why things 2E did are bad for 3E is that we will say they are bad. Please don't take it personally.

Also, if the setting is what sold you on Exalted, I encourage you to recognize that punching God in the dick really wasn't that big an element of the setting until right around the end of 2E's run in traditional publishing.

(Stephenls)

Yeah, this is sort of a thing. Exalted 3e is, in many ways, a reaction to Exalted 2e. This is hardly a secret -- Guess at what the person who wrote the afterword for Return of the Scarlet Empress thought he was writing, and then look at Glories of the Most High's platinum rating on DTRPG, and then observe that the dudes who did Glories got their pitch for Ex3 approved. Then connect the dots. It's not hard.

And because Ex3 is so much a reaction to Ex2, we can't talk about what thoughts we're putting into Ex3 without discussing our thoughts on Ex2. People love hearing designer thoughts, and they hate hearing someone say bad things about something they like, so, again, this is us in an awkward position. About the only thing we can do is speak honestly and accept that some people are going be angry and offended, and then try to manage their anger and offense so that it doesn't create a big noxious bad PR cloud.

(42-)

The last few spoilers seem to give the feeling that EX3 will be wildly different from EX2. Everything seems to get toned down and the style much more grim dark Elric westerncentric inspired than eastern over the top.

However that doesn't sound very Exalted to me, so I'm sure I'm wrong, but all the little spoilers I've read seem to go that way: No magitech (yet somehow warstriders), a move from steam-punk to pulp fantasy, a decrease in powerlevels, a move from asian to western style...

I'm guessing I'm just not seeing the whole picture and most likely overinterpreting stuff, but even so it is hard to get a feel for what EX3 will be like right now.

Hopefully the Kickstarter preview materials will help clarify things for you-- we've got some fantastic art pieces coming together that should help communicate the look and style we're going for.
Worth noting: the "decrease in powerlevels" people keep worrying about is just a move back towards where things were in 1e, where you could single-handedly kill armies and destroy cities with Rain of Doom. What it mostly means in terms of what you'll see at your table is "no Infinite Mastery" so there isn't a point where you just start auto-winning fights with other Exalts. That would be boring! (Holden)

3E Overview

3E Setting

See 3E Setting

3E Metaplot

See 3E Metaplot

General 3E System

Q: What kind of system will it use? To be more specific, how beholden to the ST system will it be? (Ithle)
A: EX3 runs on a custom-built new version of Storyteller, designed from the ground up to do cinematic combat and to act as a beautiful anchor point for an endless variety of Charms. (Holden)

Q: It was inevitable that either the storyteller or storytelling system would be used (though, being a great fan of nWoD mechanically, I personally would have preferred the latter). Also, characters are going to have discrete "cool powers". Given that this is Exalted, what would they be called if not Charms? (Darth Fanboy)
A: Storytelling system is a very poor match for Exalted for a couple of reasons. One, its biggest benefit (enormous simplicity) also means that it's not granular enough for something like a Charm system to attach to very well. Two, the probability curves used for nWoD start to melt once dice pools get yea so big-- it's got a practical power ceiling way too low for Exalted. However, a lot of elements were taken from it when designing the new EX3 engine-- Merits, for example, have proved to be vastly more agile and useful as a system tool than Backgrounds. (Holden)

Q: How much 'retraining' will a group not super crunchy and intimidated by like, D&D need? (MissMaddy)
A: Very little, hopefully. (Holden)
A: Systems will be written in lively, jaunty, and friendly voice. No more VCR repair manual system sections. There will be examples. System bloat is being cut. The game is being streamlined. There will be a couple new things to learn and a ton of things from 2e to forget and that makes all the difference. I am willing to make people hunt through a list of rules if those rules are exciting and they anticipate the outcome; I found that this was not the case in 2e and so much of the game was a chore. (hatewheel)
A2: It's way easier to use. This is coming from a customer who refused to play 2e's system because it was too complex and far too constricted when it came to writing Charms. (John Mørke)

Q: With my group we have many different play styles. With what looks like a more storytelling orientation will some one that enjoys playing a system (crunch) be just as satisfied as story type players? (MetalGecko23)
A: Yep. We've got a system that is very fun to play and rewarding to mess with, for crunchy people. (John Mørke)

Q: Would you say the core system changes are more or less fundamental than the 1E->2E changes? (MissMaddy)
A: Definitely more. (Holden)

Q: What about Exalted 3e's version of Storyteller sets it apart from previous versions? (Rando)
A: The holistic, considered prioritization of fun and practicality in its construction. The combat system. (Plague of Hats)

Q: Would you guys have used a different mechanic (another type of die, another system) to create exalted were you not tied to white wolf/CCP? (Shanwolf)
A: Fuck no. (Holden)

Q: Are the rules for Creation Ruling Mandate taking the spotlight? (Ladkin)
A: The CRM is not the basis for the new system. The CRM itself may be recycled into the game at a later point; we are looking at a much more streamlined system for the core.

Q: More streamlined than CRM? Not that I ever used it, but that already looked hella sleek to me. Eh, not that I'm complaining. (Weimann)
A: The CRM in MoJ clocks in at 12k words. The core combat system of EX3 is half that. (John Mørke)

(on a playtest at AggieCon)'
Q: How did he manage to explain the rules well enough for you to play? Does he carry around a rough draft in a folder or something? On a laptop? (Mizu005)
A: The core engine is straightforward enough to explain from memory. (Eric Minton)
A: Yep. Especially if you wrote a big chunk of it it yourself. (Holden)

Q: Is the difficulty of completing a roll primarily be based on penalties like NWoD or will it be based on requiring a number of successes? (SGambit)
A: Difficulties are based on successes rolled. (Holden)

Q: Will there be changes to what Attributes and/or Skills are available? Are you working from the OWoD / Exalted or the NWoD system as your base for purposes of traits? (Or something else entirely?) (SGambit)
A: The EX2 Attribute/Ability spread are still around. There are some better spreads possible for pure gameplay (especially where Attributes are concerned), but the current spread is adequate for core system functionality and, in our opinions, a better basis for Charm design than, say, the nWoD Attributes. "Appearance Charms" are more fertile soil than "Composure Charms." The purpose many of those Att/Abilities are put to is different, though. (Holden)

Dodge is still there, as are War and Integrity. The streamlining of Dodge into Athletics in the other Storyteller systems makes a lot of sense, but we wanted to keep it because it was a very fertile ground for Charm design separate from Athletics (and frankly Athletics is already one of the most prestigious Charm resources-- we don't want to turn it into "the Dexterity of the Ability spread," so to speak). (Holden)

Q: Are Specialties still around? If so, do they function in the same way? (BryanChavez)
A: They are, and they don't. (John Mørke)

Q: Are motes keeping the same scale they are now, or are they being made more scarce to reflect that not all charms will require them? (SGambit)
A: This shall be revealed as well :D (Holden)

Q: Will I have to keep track of 3+ pools of -stuff- per character. (SGambit)
A: Has there ever been a White Wolf game where you didn't? (Health + Willpower + Magic Mojo at the very least?) (Holden)

Q: Are you using a new resource management system? Cause I would love to see a change from the essence pools, motes, and willpower, to anything that involves less tracking of numbers, and doesn’t make running someone out of a resource the obvious way to win. (AlwaysToast)
A: The Exalted still run on Essence motes. We are cutting down the amount of things you have to track, though, and fights will end based on player decisions, the mote slog is not a thing anymore. (John Mørke)

Ideally, there is a clear difference between 'the best x that can be built in the system' and OTB or something that utterly breaks the system. Nerf Creation-Slaying Oblivion Kick. (kitsune9tails)
Q: Yes, hopefully the system has built-in controls to prevent abuses such as the aforementioned Kick. (Totentanz)
A: That's what I was writing week before last. :D (The Demented One)

Q: Actually, the fact they released that Shards book gives me a measure of hope that maybe 3e will be easier to twist and do other things with. But if it isn't , no skin off my back. (ShanG)
A: That is a major feature of 3e. (Holden)

Q: How wedded to the 3rd Edition will 3rd's mechanic be? Could you run a 2ed (or even 1st) or heavily modified setting with them easily, with modest difficulty or would be better off just using another system all together? (nexus)
A: You could run 1e setting with the system pretty easily, except for Lunars. But who wants to run 1e Lunars, anyway? (Holden)

(John Mørke)

Burn Legend is a good example of throwing out what has been said about the setting and just having fun with the mechanics. We wrote it in three weeks, based off a rock paper scissors rpg system I wrote when I was just out of high school. We've been working on the EX3 core system for over a year now. EX3 is going to be fun to play, regardless of anyone's setting preferences. You can do what I did, set the setting aside to put your own interpretation in place. Whatever serves your purpose and makes the game fun. Just like I did in Burn Legend.

Q: are wacky old whitewolf-ism's like BP/XP disparity and godstats getting dealt with?
A: (Holden)

Nah. I knew at the outset that I could either use Storyteller as a base and accept a couple of bone-deep quirks, or I could go to a completely different design schema. I like Storyteller's approachability when done right[1] so I just shrugged and accepted a couple of old chestnuts. Can't fix everything. I can say that I watched a mortal fight between a 5/1/5 guy and a 1/5/1 guy, and the 5/1/5 guy won, narrowly. Dex is king, and I don't advise leaving it at 1, but it's not the only thing that matters. 2/3/2 characters are viable combatants against most opponents.
[1] People who first encountered Storyteller via EX2 are thinking I'm crazy for saying that, people who first encountered it in oWoD know what I'm talking about. Before it got buried in 500 pounds of jargon and mega-crunch, it was really really intuitive to pick up and play.

It's not like the people who really liked the hi-tech magical-science First Age can't shove it in if they want to, 3E most likely won't do another Dreams so there's this huge blank spot that's vaguely described for people to throw their fantasies at if that's what they want. (Argas)
Also, one of the things about 3E is that it's a system that's friendlier to homebrew. I certainly don't expect every laser cannon that hits the forums to be the same, but I expect one or more perfectly fine iterations to be available within the day of 3E's release. There are elements in the rules that just outright remove vast troves of contention from existence. (Plague of Hats)

Q: Have you looked at the nWOD flaw system? Or some similar setup where flaws only give you bonuses if they actually work as flaws? (Conrad Hubbard)
Q: I have never really liked the ideas of flaws as something that award points. There was a time when if I made a character who had some mental or physical challenge, it was because I wanted to make a character with an interesting difficulty to overcome. The payoff was supposed to be the fun of playing those difficulties. I really hope third edition doesn't try to bribe me to take negative character traits; I feel like it cheapens the experience of role-playing. [/elitistmode] (JimB)
A: The most likely model right now appears to be that if you decide you want to play a one-armed boxer, or a stuttering Lunar, or a guy with one eye, your reward will be that the game does indeed allow you to play a one-armed boxer, or a stuttering Lunar, or a guy with one eye. (Holden)

Q: I hope that my placement of the word "only" fits your image? Or that my original question applies? (Conrad Hubbard)
A: The only "Flaws" system I've seen that didn't openly invite abuse is the M&M/Nobilis model where you get bennies whenever your debility makes the story more interesting. But EX isn't really built around the same sort of benny-economy as those games, so that's not really a tenable approach for us. With that in mind, it seems that "no mechanical incentive for flaws, it's just a thing you can do for fun" is the best remaining option. (Holden)

(Plague of Hats)

Even with the benefit of the doubt, that the player is not just fishing for extra points, it's hard to take the argument for rewarding systemically flawed characters for being systemically flawed as anything more than expecting what has been done before. There's already a roleplaying reward somewhere in most systems. Do you really deserve extra benefits beyond the norm for being lame/one-eyed/hydrocephalic? These incentive mechanics exist to encourage playing interesting, flawed characters, but if that's what it takes to get you to play such a character, it's hard to take it on good faith that what you're after is an interesting character.

(Plague of Hats)

With the tone and system of Exalted, there's really no alternative system that is appropriate. I love the way Legends of the Wulin does it, but that's not really the way for this game. Believe me, it's not like we just were like "flaw gives +xp, throw it out" and were done. Alternatives were considered.

Q: How do you view the use of Negative Mutations in building Crafted Races/Monsters?
For example, the Dune People's vulnerability to sunlight. (Daredevil)
A: There is some merit to a point-balance mini-game when approaching it, but I think as in artifact creation it's better to avoid the kind of bean-counting, accounting sheet bullshit that first comes to mind when this subject is raised. That's not entirely definitive, and maybe not even practical. (Plague of Hats)

(on the eventual inclusion of Flaws)
The Flaws are of the variety people have been asking for. We finally figured out a way to do it without producing nasty perverse incentives or making them feel obligatory. The implementation isn't quite like any other White Wolf game, although it'll probably look obvious when you see the system implementation. (Holden)

Q: For the writers: We saw essence 5 as the hard cap for the Heaven's Reach and Modern setting. Is something like this going to happen in 3rd ed? (geeklord1)
A: Naw. (Holden)

Q: In the previous edition, it was possible for a PC reach above essence 5. My question is: Is this going to be possible in EX3? (Thiagolrj)
A: Sure. Much as in nWoD, though, we don't plan to offer much support for doing so-- not for a long time, anyway. (Holden)

I think this is a falsehood. I believe that if the Essence 2-5 stuff is actually good and gets added to constantly, then it won't be overshadowed by letting some Essence 6+ stuff in. (Solarn)
If the stated goal is for Exalts to be fully capable at E5, one is forced to logically conclude that going past E5 is pointless or wrong. (Dayen)
But it's possible. What are we supposed to do then, when we hit the point where our characters would logically go over Essence 5? Hand in our sheets, cut the rest of the campaign out and start over from scratch because Holden and co. said "Sorry guys, this game is not meant to go that far"?(Solarn)
The content of your post relies on unexamined assumptions, some of which will no longer be valid in 3e. (Stephenls)

(Stephenls)

You assume that Essence 5 represents the same effectiveness plateau in Exalted 3rd Edition as it did in Exalted 2nd Edition.

(Stephenls)

Let me frame this differently.

In Exalted 2nd edition, Essence 1-5 represented one arena of play, and Essence 6+ represented a second, separate arena. To qualify for participation in the Essence 6+ arena, you needed to reach Essence 6 or cheat into it with a cap-breaker charm.

The Essence 6 arena included many play concepts people found fun, such as the transhumanist path of the Devil-Tiger and the world-shaking social-fu and metaphysics-fu of high-Essence Solar Charms such as those found in the Dreams errata, as well as a number of threats presented as world-shaking and in need of dealing with, threats who could easily impede the agendas of Essence 1-5 PCs but who could not be thwarted by Essence 1-5 PCs.

The game therefore placed significant pressure on players to want to move their characters into the Essence 6+ arena, both because it was full of fun toys and because it was full of bigger kids who could take away Essence 1-5 arena toys at leisure. However, because the setting was divided into two arenas, moving into the Essence 6+ arena necessitated abandoning many Essence 1-5 toys.

What I am hearing a lot in this thread is concern that the Essence 6+ arena will still exist, and will still be the place where the fun toys previously found in it reside, and it will still contain threats capable of thwarting Essence 1-5 characters at leisure,...but that PCs will be barred from entering it.

Q: All of this was very illuminating, but the last section was in particular.
Can you comment on the status of where the toys will be sitting in 3E? (Aranis)
A: Within reach.
Exalted was always supposed to be the game where you don't have to grind through ten levels to get to the fun parts. (Stephenls)

Q: (Solarn)

Actually, my concern is that there will be no Essence 6+ arena at all. That there will be nothing beyond the prospect of a Solar ruling some Threshold kingdom and defending it from Realm forces and the occassional raksha. Or that everything that was previously in that separate arena will be stuffed into the Essence 1-5 range, making it crowded or losing stuff from the bottom.

Either the low end suffers and you can no longer run stories about a young Exalt running from Realm authorities and achieving small personal successes, the high end suffers and the most an exalt can ever aspire to is to rule a small kingdom somewhere and defend it from stray raksha, or there's going to be a palpable disconnect between Essence levels with nothing in-between.

Or I guess the fourth option is that the design suffers and instead of a well-crafted, intricate setting with consistent rules but also mysteries that aren't spelled out for us, we get a bare-bones scaffolding and a sign that says "LOL just decide what you want to go with."

Because if Essence 2 is the point where you can start crushing kingdoms under your heel and preparing to take on the Titans, then a young Exalt can't be threatened by the Wyld Hunt and keep on the run while achieving small personal successes. If Essence 5 is where you can finally defend your kingdom from the Legions, then Ma-Ha-Suchi, the Bull of the North and Elder Sidereals don't exist. If neither is the case, then there is no smooth progression of ability in Exalts, just a few distinct power levels.

A: We believe this, too, is a false dichotomy. (Stephenls)

Q: (Gayo)

In discussions about Essence levels, I keep seeing the assumption that the Essence scale partitions the game into distinct genres or scopes, so you tell some types of stories at Ess 2, some types at Ess 3, and so on. Insofar as this has ever been true, it was an unintended side-effect of sloppy mechanics, which create stumbling blocks in the form of "if you can't survive this attack you can't play at this level." The only thing that ever stopped you from running a game where your characters dickpunch the universe at Essence 3 was a bad system and careless statblocks. You shouldn't assume you can't tell that story just because the "20m, 1wp: Dickpunch the universe" power is Essence 4.

Insofar as Essence represents anything, it represents "how powerful your new Charm purchases are", and it's been stated that even that rule won't apply above Ess 5 in 3e. The things your character can accomplish and the scope of the stories you can tell are not determined by what Charms you are allowed to purchase.

A: That seems about right. (Stephenls)

(Aquillon)

It is really, really hard for the game's writing to support both a story of cursed-yet-mighty god-kings hunted by the remnants of the empire they once ruled and by traitorous servants who sit on stolen thrones... while simultaneously having people in the setting who can blow up the entire empire, stolen thrones at all, in one action. The writers do have to decide which they're going to go for, and allowing the blow-up-the-moon-in-one-action power-level to creep into the cursed-yet-mighty-god-kings' story is actively harmful to it because it directly undermines the importance of the things that are supposed to be important.

The game can't be all things to all people. I hope they leave the door as open as possible to adding new stuff and tweaking it to your liking, but, I mean, he's right -- adding powers that completely overshadow the stuff that's supposed to be central to the game is a terrible idea.

What I'm saying is, I think you're saying the same thing. The game is gonna primarily be about cursed-yet-awesome god-kings striving over stolen thrones, so anything that detracts from that is harming it.

Thanks for covering this for me. I might as well sign my name to it. (John Mørke)

Q: (Aranis)

So, in discussions of the high-power emphasis of Second Edition, the current line writers -- primarily John and Holden but also Plague of Hats and Stephen -- have used words like "damaging" and "unhealthy." These words have a heavy, negative connotation to them that levies moral judgment on those that participate in such ideas. In other words, the implication is that fans who like high-power are "doing it wrong." Just as importantly, "damaging" and "unhealthy" don't really communicate what sort of negative impact the high-power emphasis had on the game or the community. They only indicate some vague, harmful effect.

My request, then, would be this --

Line writers, what do you mean when you say that high-power emphasis is damaging and unhealthy?

A: "It is the sort of thing that causes your game line to develop cancerous tumors and die." (Holden)

Q: Furthermore, do you disapprove of players pursuing this sort of play in Exalted? (Aranis)
A: (Holden)

I don't care if players use Exalted to run high-school comedies where Mask of Winters slaps the moon out of the sky with his 300 mile long cock every week, do whatever you find fun. I care about what the published material emphasizes as normative for the game and what it communicates to readers.

Remember also that I'm personally responsible for, or at least had a direct hand in producing, something like 70% of the offending material.

Q: (MrInsecure)

I think I've realized why I have a problem with the people who don't like getting rid of E6+ material. They seem to be operating on the assumption that it's impossible to do the kind of epic shit Exalted advertises without going that high, and they seem to assume that the only way to represent that epicness is the way Second Edition does it right now.

Like, it never occurs to them that Essence might work differently in Third Edition and so you can still have all your cool shit without having to add those extra dots on the end of your character sheet.

A: The worse part is that even in Second Edition it didn't really work like that. It's just that once everyone read World-Scarring Solar Glory, or Guarding Star Tactics, they went "Well, that settles that." (Plague of Hats)

Q: (Day_Dreamer)
I understand that the PCs are special, xp is an abstraction, etc., but why not give NPCs something comprable (I mean, hell, it could just be an age-xp chart, where xp gain really, really rapidly decreases per year)?
There are some pretty significant foundational issues you would run into, especially with sub-systems like MA (should it be kept charms) but conceptually the universe holds together if a freshly Exalted Solar has 1/3 (or whatever) the raw power he personally will ever achieve.
A: (John Mørke)

Because realistic characters don't snowball through the world, mastering everything there is to know and do, as if they were participants inside a game. NPCs are intended to be realistic. They get to where they are going and stop. Without impetus to learn something new or develop some new talent, they stay where they are.

Only players tend to have the attitude that their characters should keep rolling up achievements until the end of time. There's nothing stopping them, but it's not realistic.

Oh thank God. This is the first time I've ever heard anyone come out and say this.
It's not NPCs not using XP that's ridiculous and unrealistic. It's PC growing like PCs. (Stephenls)
Yes, this. Wildfire PC growth isn't there because it is realistic, it's there because it is fun. (Holden)

Q: I don't think we need these things [high-power enemies] from the start, of course, that would be silly. (Loki the Pillar of Will)
Q: I don't think that would be silly. D&D did it without any problems at all. (anathos)
A: (Holden)

Item the first: D&D has an adamantium-forged social contract in place-- D&D4 in particular-- which says "the DM will not have Orcus come lumbering out of the woods to rape your level 5 characters to death." Nor will they run into an ancient red wyrm, a lich, or a beholder, because all of those things would use them for butt floss and there's nothing they can do. They will go on adventures, run into level-appropriate encounters, and Orcus sits in his lair and waits for you to hit level 30 and come at him, bro.

Exalted doesn't work that way.

Item the second: D&D put that stuff in right from the beginning because their core experience is about leveling up to 30, killing Orcus (Tiamat, Demogorgon, whatever), achieving something resembling immortality or some other Ultimate Prize, and then rolling credits. Its earliest published material establishes normative focus for the game.

Overthrowing the Unconquered Sun or going to poke the Yozis with sharp sticks are certainly things you can do in Exalted, but they're not really core-game-experience stories we'd want to put in the immediate limelight. Stats for Mnemon, Cathak Cainan, Ma-Ha-Suchi, and Leviathan are much more useful than stats for the Unconquered Sun.

Q: Horse. Shit.
Exalted has an adamant-forged social contract in place which says "the Storyteller will not have Malfeas come lumbering out of the woods to rape your 50 xp characters to death." Nor will they run into an ancient lunar, Deathlord, or a killer behemoth, because all of those things would use them for butt floss and there's nothing they can do. They will go on adventures, run into xp-appropriate encounters, and Malfeas sits in his self and waits for you to hit Essence 5 and come at him, bro.
Bad DMing/Storytelling is bad GMing/Storytelling. (EgoTrip)

A: (Holden)

Depending on what you're playing, it ranges from "possible" to "extremely likely" that you might find yourself face to face with a Deathlord or ancient Lunar in the first session of your game. It is conceivable that you will possess the ability to threaten them with grievous injury during that session, as well (though it would probably be wisest to avoid an unprepared confrontation with such beings). In the first Exalted game I ever got to be a player in, we had to stop Arad the Hunter from rampaging through Gem in theeee... third? fourth? session.

That's not horse shit, friend, that is how D&D is put together. This is laid out explicitly in the DMG. It's sitting right over on my shelf. It tells you what the intended arc of a D&D game is, and has a whole chapter explaining how you build level-appropriate encounters and how often to dole out treasure, and in what quantities.

Exalted doesn't operate off the same assumptions and doesn't have the same focus.

Q: (Fanservice)

I got to admit I'm not exactly super keen on Exalted becoming more Conan like fantasy. I already have other RPG's for that.

I call it "Pretty much every other fantasy RPG"

Exalted being about people with titanic powers who could shape nations and ruin armies was interesting, fun and original. I don't know why you'd want to back off from that and move it towards what practically every other fantasy RPG is already doing.

A: Me either. Shaping nations and ruining armies is great.
There's a difference between shaping nations and ruining armies, and uprooting nations and throwing them at God. (Holden)

Q: As far as I can tell, something similar to bounded accuracy is actually going to be the case for 3e (as per "Kejak won't have Dex 10 Martial Arts 10 BECAUSE THAT'S INCREDIBLY LAME"). (WhammeWhamme)
A: Not "because that's incredibly lame," but "because it gives him a 100% chance to hit you, and a less than 1% chance to hit him." You can't just pick your mechanics for artistry alone, they also have to actually work. (Holden)

Q: (WhammeWhamme)

Bounded accuracy isn't about not getting more powerful - it's about not fucking with the to-hit percentages, so that the difference is how badly you maim them when you hit and how much damage you can take.

g.g. Nibbling away at a hypothetical Unconquered Sun's 100 Health Levels might leave a low end Exalt kinda screwed, not because he can't hurt him at all, but because he can't hurt him much (say he's hitting for 2-3 HL), while the higher end guy might do 20 HL in one massive smash (past defences) and thus be a more formidable threat.

This makes the traditional Zerg-Rush tactics of the setting ("throw enough Dragon-Blooded at the problem and even the mightiest Solar will fall") make perfect sense - the Usurpation was almost a foregone conclusion, but so was the Dragon-Blooded dying in droves to pull it off.

A: Yep (Holden)

(Stephenls)

It is very difficult to provide support for both Vampire Hunter D and SSJ3 Goku in the same setting. In 2e, we tried to solve the problem by attempting to create mechanics that would allow you to portray a version of D who can do D-ish things, but at an SSJ3 Goku-level of force and magnitude.

(Stephenls)

Without direct, compact, easy-to-comprehend mechanical support, there is a risk the ST may disagree that something is a reasonable goal.

This is a social contract problem.

Now, I don't actually agree with Holden that mechanics can't solve social contract problems. Fundamentally, "I shot you!" "No, you missed!" is a social contract problem, and that's what attack rolls, damage rolls, hit points and armor class solve. There is, however, a continuum of social contract problems where on one end they can be solved by mechanics trivially, and on the other end they are actually impossible to solve.

This social contract problem is not impossible to solve with mechanics, but we believe implementing the solution is not worth the solution's opportunity cost. We learned this by trying to implement it, and observing the opportunity cost.

(Stephenls)

Actually, on the subject of opportunity cost:

What is the opportunity cost of trying to provide robust mechanical support for absolutely every possible action a character might try to take in Exalted's setting?

(Keep in mind that when I say "A character" I mean "Every entity that might be thought of as a PC or an NPC.")

Q: If I were understanding you correctly, then, the cost in words and book content to solve some of these problems would not be worth the outcome? (Aranis)
(Stephenls)

It's not just words and book content.

The opportunity cost of shaping a setting so that certain forms of conflict and narrative are well-supported is that other forms of conflict and narrative will not be well-supported. I don't just mean "time spent talking about things;" if you assume that the Mask of Winters is Essence 10 and write all his material so that him being Essence 10 makes sense, the opportunity cost is that you don't get a setting where Mask of Winters is Essence 9, or Essence 8, or Essence 7, or Essence 6, etc..

Every creative decision has an opportunity cost. Every sentence written is a million sentences unwritten.

(Stephenls)

Perhaps redrawing the Essence curve and reestablishing the nature of Essence 6+ Charms as allowing more quick or convenient access to functionality already accessible at Essence 1-5 will force a reassessment as to whether Salina was really orders of magnitude more powerful than an Essence 5 PC when she did her Working.

(Stephenls)

The problem here is that creating a system for handling any conceivable sort of large-scale magical working your characters might want to perform is going to run into the same sort of problems as a point-based system for creating new Charm sets. And making something more constrained will just encourage the fanbase to think of magical projects outside those constraints as unsupported and therefore not worth consideration.

Q: (Aquillion)

Actually, thinking about Dragonball and DBZ... the series, I think, didn't start to go off the rails immediately. It went off the rails later, like you said, when power started to explode. Why?

I mean, there's lots of reasons, but I think one major issue is that because of the awkward way the power increase was handled, the story ended up outgrowing all the things that had previously been important. Characters who had been vital to the story became overshadowed and got left in the dust; the series' weird earth-planet, with its odd culture and technology, became increasingly irrelevant in the face of villains and heroes who could destroy it without blinking. Even the cosmology collapsed in meaning once it became clear that 99% of the characters who were supposedly mighty and setting-defining could be obliterated by Goku or any new villain without breaking a sweat.

Does this sound... familiar? Aberrant was designed from the start to support a ridiculously high-power game; its themes and setting are built around that. Exalted and Dragonball (while they were high-powered) weren't originally designed to be ridiculously high-powered, so when you have characters that become that powerful it makes large parts of the setting irrelevant and causes the world to seem small and empty, with nothing in it but a handful of demigods fighting over plasticine toys.

A: The sticky point for Exalted is that the Time of Tumult and the height of the First Age (as originally intimated and imagined in early 1e) are basically separate genres which happen to occupy different historical points in the same fictional setting. Their needs and demands are sufficiently different that it would be extremely difficult to build a system which adequately services the needs of both, and probably impossible to build one that does both very well; and because they are very different things in terms of genre and scope, just mixing them together indiscriminately produces very aberrant results. (Holden)

(on the genres of the First Age)
(Holden)

Hard to answer because the First age was intended to allow diverse and various interpretation of what it was, but there are valid interpretations ranging from "cosmic-scale demigod fantasy of manners" to "transhumanist Final Fantasy-flavored cyberpunk." If you're playing guys who theoretically have 8 dots of Intelligence and 10 dots of Melee, and whose conflicts casually reshape society and geography on the national level as collateral damage, you really want to reconceptualize your system so that that sort of capacity is the normal base calibration point, rather than starting from something designed to do high-octane pulp fantasy and then pushing it way past the breaking point.

What you cannot do is build a single engine that can do all of those things I mentioned above well, at the same time.

Q: I completely agree with this sort of thing. I would like to see such rules for elders, but I acknowledge that's far down the game line and at most will probably be one book.
I mean I can put my faith in you guys for injecting elders in game...
And I lost my train of thought >< (Sandact6)
A: Mmm, I'm not sure I am making myself clear. You'll get stats for Leviathan or whatever somewhere down the line, but they're going to be contextualized to make sense and function well in Exalted's setting/mechanical framework, because they are the odd outliers. I'm talking about how we'd want to build a different mechanical framework to do a game where playing Kejak was the norm. (Holden)

(Holden)

There will be no Other Traits 6+, in part because they slag the math the system runs on.

Q: (God_of_Awesome)

Let's say, just theoretically, that you make an entirely different rule set for high essence play.

Okay, in this scenario, the circle has had a long fulfilling campaign, reaching all the way up to E5. Then, hitting E6, the ST pulls out This Here Player's Handbook Guide To Playing Super Gods.

1) For his player's familiar with 3e Core and whatever splat they were using, how hard would you imagine, in this theoretical situation, would it be for them to grasp THPHGTPSG? That is, how different would the rules be?

2) How hard would it be for them to translate or 'upgrade' their characters?

A: I would probably never do that in large part because of the exact situation you describe there-- people would want to use them in regular Exalted games. (Holden)

Q: In your above example, My read of it is: the "core baseline gameplay experience" would be impacted negatively by allowing these things out into the wild because it scales the general expectations of what the players would "normally" do, and its effect on the default thought process on the paradigm of the game you will write for. If that scale-up happened, you'd have to write "Infernals 2 Electric Boogaloo" instead of retaining a consistent tone throughout. Is that right? Please correct me if I am wrong. (ParanoiaCombo)
A: That's part of it, yeah. If we explicitly say "the First Age was like a game of Nobilis" then we have to write it that way, and then that cascades into the modern setting, and then we have to deal with the fallout of that (either building in paths to scale up to become Nobilis characters yourself, or just saying 'yep they stomp you no contest,' neither of which is desirable). I'd rather write the surviving few First Age personages to be impressive and effective within the milieu of Exalted and leave the tone and character of the apex of the First Age open to various interpretation. (Holden)

Q: As a secondary question (which may erroneously infer an answer to the prior question), what is the difference between introducing higher end mechanics, and introducing splat options which might impact that tone? Example: The playerbase of W:tA shifted dramatically once other Fera became introduced as playable character options. My history with this is, it shifted the tone of what the "Werewolf" game line would be. "Mixed groups" became the norm and diluted the experience hinted at and drawn towards in the W:tA corebook, and the writers began writing towards that. How are things like this avoided, from a design level perspective? (ParanoiaCombo)
A: Figure out the experience you want to be normative, and what you want to offer as fringe experiences, and what you want to avoid, and evaluate the decisions you make at every point afterward in light of that knowledge. Two points where it can be argued that 1e failed to do this are the Abyssal hardback (which I think shifted the pivotal dramatic note of the Time of Tumult from "the Solars have returned!" to "oh shit, who can stop the Deathlords?"), and the Sidereal hardback (specifically the formulation of Sidereal Martial Arts as elevating characters to a new plateau of mechanical effectiveness against which younger characters couldn't meaningfully compete without leaning on broken builds-- this clashed against the statement implied in the corebook by putting the Charm that killed the Primordials third up in a tree at E3). (Holden)

Q: And so, as I understand, the chosen solution is to power down everyone and to create a hard "power limit" on possible Exalted power which starts on Essence 5. Essence 6+ powers do not give huge advantage over possible PC and elders do not squish them. Probably attributes/abilities are capped on 5 too or really difficult to advance after that limit or do not increase the dice pool without active resource use.
It is the workable solution but somewhat boring.
The real question is "what you character is able to do at Essence 5". So far I really have no clue. (Eternal_King)
A: Found religions, build up nations or knock them down or take them over, raise vast all-consuming armies with which to conquer as much map as you can grab and then try to weld the resulting chaos into an empire, unearth the lost glories of the time before, drag gods down from their gilded temples and behead them in front of their followers, fight giant monsters, engage in high-stakes romance with beautiful and deadly faeries from the Lands Beyond Creation, put cities to the flame in order to prosecute ancient vendettas, steer the course of history and preserve the sanctity of the shape of what must be for tomorrow to come, advance the political and financial interests of your family and followers, begin a civil war to win a throne set over the world, plumb the harrowing depths of sorcery, descend to seek knowledge or power or love among the dead and then ascend back to the world of the living, begin an eternal crusade to avenge yourself upon the world, challenge the greatest warriors alive to prove that you are the strongest fighter to have ever lived, create enduring alliances to weather the rigors of a time of chaos, amass vast wealth and live in splendor and fight off all who would seek to take what is now yours, look for purpose and meaning in a world that seems to have no place for you, sit down to play at dice or diplomacy with the Princes of Hell, forge splendid weapons of legend, attempt to restore the former splendor of a crumbling world, explore lost or forgotten or wholly undiscovered frontiers, punch Wong Bongerok in the dick, etc, etc, etc. (Holden)

(Stephenls)

And indeed if we were to include the cap-breaker Charms and power level of a hypothetically well-done 2e paradigm DotFA in 3e so that your characters could DotFA heights of power within fifty years of life, it would stand to reason the the First Age Exalts of the 3e setting would have had them within the first fifty years of the 3e First Age as well. What could they have done with them?

There's really no getting around "No, you can't do in fifty years and with five guys what three hundred guys did over five thousand."

Q: I just prefer the idea that everything is stattable in the Exalted universe. To each their own. (DoctorDogGirl)
A: (Stephenls)

The answer to this one is basically "We tried that, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. It didn't work, and trying it had negative effects we're still trying to fix." We already had an edition that wanted to be able to mechanically represent any action any entity in Creation can perform. It turns out wanting that at all is insane, because it's self-evidently impossible when framed in those terms.

So now instead of trying to mechanically represent everything (which is impossible), or wandering around writing up up mechanical representations of whatever catches our fancy without putting much thought into what having a representation of A before we have a representation of B (which was what Exalted did in the beginning, and which lead to trying to cover everything), we are putting thought into what should be represented and what shouldn't. One upshoot of this is, some stuff that wasn't represented before will be, and some stuff that was represented before won't be.

Q: I don't THINK "This is the game of kicking Zeus in the nuts" is everything Exalted is about. However, the fact you can kick Zeus in the nuts is something that distinguishes it from Dungeons and Dragons. There's literally over a 100 fantasy setting where there's gods and monsters and you can kill them. Exalted has all of the stuff I like from the other 400 fantasy games. HOWEVER, it has stuff that distinguishes it. The raw sensuality, the moral relativism (even for PCs), and yes, being able to nutkick Zeus. (DoctorDogGirl)
A: Implicit in your post is the idea that only the Unconquered Sun matters. Our setting has thousands of gods which I am willing to stat, but you are only interested in the one whose power breaks the setting and unhinges the entire premise of the game. Your comments hammer home how necessary it is that Exalted goes in the direction I am taking it. (John Mørke)

Q: Though I do hope you include a sidebar sometime for the "Kung Fu Wizard Jesus calls YVHS out" option when dealing with him. If you're leaving that behind as a relic of ROTSE, I understand.
It's just such an iconic part of my games and supported in-text I was hoping it wouldn't be. (DoctorDogGirl)
A: You can still have it as part of your game, we're just not going to stat it because it becomes the default end of everyone's game. In a similar vein, I have revised the ambitions of the Deathlords to make them less of an imposition on every story ever. (John Mørke)

(Stephenls)

Another comment on power levels:

Generally speaking we have in the past tried to provide support for Vampire Hunter D-like play and DragonBall Z-like play at the same time by:

1) Writing a ruleset for Goku-type characters that spans from Goku at the beginning of DragonBall to Goku at the end of DragonBall Z.

2) Writing a ruleset that for D-like characters that covers VHD and VHD: Bloodlust,

3) Writing an expansion to the D ruleset that covers D doing D-like things, but at a Goku-from-DBZ level magnitude.

We learned from experience this doesn't work.

(Plague of Hats)

When it comes to stat-ups for the Big Guys, to be brutally honest there's a lot of undue credit afforded them, presumably thanks to the fact that they got stat-ups at all. If you sit down and dissect them, the bulk of what's behind the Incarnae and especially the Yozis are "regular characters with big numbers, plus very generalized perfect immunities 99% of the time," which anyone can do. The few clever mechanical twists that you couldn't count on the broader fan base to come up with are out there already, because you already got Glories and Return.

As much as the tone of the game deserves not to once more tackle these subjects in this way, there's also the fact that the key parts of what everyone seems to want out of that approach is already out there, so we don't need to write it again anyway.

(Plague of Hats)

One of the key reasons that the teeming masses of mortals and other less-than-Exalted chaff seemed to matter so little it was weird the books talked about them so much was the rules. First it was persistent stacked defenses, then it was cheap perfects. Except for parts of late 2E, the setting was never really written as if the rules were true. One of the worst things that happened to the Exalted fandom was a strong adoption of the attitude that we had to fix the setting so that it matched the rules. One of the worst things that happened to Exalted was when some of the writers began to agree.

As has been mentioned before, 3E's system isn't going to have cosmos-scorching fire in the hands of every Exalt who manages not to choke on his own flimsy backstory. This goes a long way to fixing the system-setting disconnect, even as we stress that the system was never supposed to be a physics simulation engine anyway.

Q: In the interest of harmonious discussion, might it be agreeable to say that the writers of 3Ex would prefer to tighten the game's focus on specific themes of power and morality, and that to do so it is unfortunate but necessary to reduce support for certain playstyles? That might go over better than telling part of the potential customer base that they are bad. (Will Wise)
I wouldn't say that the writers of 3Ex would prefer to tighten the game's focus on specific themes of power and morality. I mean, kind of? But that by itself isn't enough to warrant cutting content. I don't think coherency in the you-know-what-sense-I-mean sense is terribly valuable -- popular and high-selling games that see a lot of play tend to provide a wide variety of theme and play style options. We're not tightening the game's focus for the sake of coherency -- we're finding a sweet spot where we provide versatility while removing support for options that we have determined tend to choke other options to death. (Stephenls)

Q: (Aquillion)

My impression has been that the power-level shift comes down to mostly a few specific tweaks:

1. No IAM or persistent dice-adders (and elders no longer break caps on abilities, though that matters less in a typical game), so nobody wins by default.

2. No Paranoia Combat, so you don't get to be persistently invulnerable as long as you have motes.

3. Fewer binary auto-negation abilities like IPP, Immunity to Everything, etc.

4. Socialize new actually requires that you tell the story of what you're doing rather than instantly brainwashing an entire society.

5. Fewer charms like As In the Beginning that overlap with Sorcery (though DB elders aside this technically isn't a huge power decrease to the setting overall, since there's still spells that can do things somewhat similar to what As In the Beginning did in terms of scope.)

6. High-essence stuff works totally differently.

But things like "leap over a mountain, kill an entire city with one spell" is still very much in... and there will be new powers to take the place of some of those. If your game didn't rely on one of those six things, its broad outlines will be similar in 3e. (I guess that's a bit hard to say, because even in groups that managed to avoid Paranoia Combat, IAM's impact was hard to avoid. But you get what I mean.)

Is that about right?

A: pretty much (Holden)

Q: I'm guessing this is less the case, perhaps even not the case at all, in 3E? (With the obvious caveats, i.e. elders of anything may get squirrelly, you may be mentally ill for other reasons, Abyssals may love ghosts more than the living, etc.) (Nessus)
A: Yeah, becoming a cosmic monster is kind of not that impressive and kind of clashes with the broader themes of "pulp fantasy" when every third Charm in every Charm set makes you a cosmic monster. (Plague of Hats)

(Stephenls)

Keep in mind we're compressing the Essence curve a bit? Like, it used to be 2-5 plus theoretically 1 for newbie Exalts nobody played, and then hopefully 6, because 6 was full of the stuff you could understand the utility of, like Protection of Celestial Bliss. And then 7-10 was an ill-defined continuum of epic effects that weren't really consistently balanced against each other.

So now instead of being 2-5, plus 6 (as an aspiration), plus arbitrary stuff at 7+, it's just 1-5, and 6+ effects are custom and unique. Like adopting a movement system other than yard measurement, it's a formalization and polishing of the way things manifested before in practical terms.

One thing that jumped out at me: starting exalts have Essence 1, not 2. (Jorlem)
The text says "newly Exalted", it doesn't say anything about starting characters. I think it's talking about someone who just exalted a couple of days/weeks ago, but PCs usually have several years as exalted when they are created. (Maese Mateo)
(Holden)

The norm in EX3 is starting at Essence 1 (giving us more of a continuum to build in). The corebook includes a chargen option for more seasoned Solars as well, who have been Exalted for more than a year or perhaps for several years, if you want to start a little ahead of the curve.

(Before anyone asks, no, sorcerers do not have to wait for Essence 3 to do their thing.)

Exalts start at Essence 1, yes, and we've lowered the Essence requirements for a lot of different powers and Charms so that players can reach them earlier. We did this because we felt that the emphasis on raising your Essence made the game about raising your Essence rather than telling good stories. (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

All I will say about it, is I don't like how movement speed was handled so we're changing it.

Q: Not sure if this has been asked, or if the developers and writers are even still answering questions in here or not, but how dependent will Eclipses be on Presence or Performance in Ex3? (KtheGreat)
A: Depends on what the Eclipse wants to do. (Holden)

Q: Will Linguistics still act like Appearance and require one of the two to actually be used? Will they be able to resolve bureaucratic interactions with Bureaucracy instead of Presence? (KtheGreat)
A: Nothing will work like 2e Appearance in 3e. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

I did a ton of crunch from 2010->2011. Some of it was good, and some of it stank. But the my biggest observation after all those Charms and all that errata, was that the system we had was just not good for representing cinematic action and there was very little room to hang Charms. I have used these observations to determine what I want to see in 3e's core systems. Holden and I have done a lot to make the game more dynamic and capable of representing cinematic action and dramatic, multi-dimensional combat. We are very happy with how the system is shaping up.

Q: Will there be an equivalent of the Creation-Ruling Mandate in the core rules? (ysadrel)
A: You will be able to run organizations out of the corebook! (John Mørke)

Q: (TwoQuestions)

The thing I'm most excited about is the rules for organizations. If you wanted to have a conflict be between noble houses, merchant guilds, kingdoms, and barbarian tribes, the best answer I ever got for how to resolve their conflicts is: "Do whatever is best for your story", or in other words: "Handwavey Bullshit". I like the rules from Masters of Jade, I just hope there's more rules/guidelines as to how our Heroic Solar Badass Bureaucrats can influence said organizations given different amounts of Backing/Influence/Resources. Kind of like how Commander Bailey in Mass Effect 3 delays the Council-ordered release of a prisoner, but he can't hold it up for long.

Will there be systems for this kind of thing, or will it be decided by how much of a dick I feel like being to my players that night?

A: Right now, I'm looking at a fast and easy simple for process resolution, because I want the core system to focus on personal scale drama and heroics. I asked Geoff to outline how bureaucracies are organized in Creation, for exactly this purpose. I am reading over his guide now!
I am probably going to offer an EX3 visitation of the CRM as a Kickstarter goal at some point in the future. (John Mørke)

This is probably the first Ex3 spoiler that I'm a bit sad about, as I was really hoping this would be a 'core' thing. As long as it doesn't get orphaned like Mandate of Heaven did (not sucking might help there), it will probably be okay though. (JMobius)
(John Mørke)

That won't happen because our port of the CRM is already written. I'm just not going to publish it in the corebook.

We cut quite a bit of extra padding from the CRM featured in Masters of Jade and it was still 12,000 words. Then, we had TDO remaster the CRM into a new EX3 system I dubbed the Legacy System. It was 6000 words, as large as the entire EX3 core combat rules.

It doesn't fit my mandate for slick and easy rules, both easy to use and easy to learn, so out it goes, sayonara.

Instead, I've got Geoff Grabowski writing graphs detailing in-setting organizational schema and explaining the structure of various bureaucratic entities in the Age of Sorrows so that I can conduct a presentation that works on the micro level, where Solar Charms live.

Just checked Nishkriya, and yeah, the CRM not being core is possibly the first decision they've made that I don't agree with at all. The Creation-Ruling Mandate being a likely add-on later on is possibly the absolute worst thing they could have done with it, too. I'd love it in the core, I'd be disappointed but understand (and not agree) if it wasn't in 3e at all, as long as Bureaucracy still did some concrete things, but not having it in the core and finding a future book to put it in is just going to be awful, since nothing is going to be built around its use. It's just on the cusp of possible that they won't fuck it up, but I'm not betting on that. (BryanChavez)
(John Mørke)

Macro magic doesn't make sense. The Solars will roll up the setting in a rug and carry it off within a year and nobody will be able to stop them, most especially other Exalts. The CRM is about macro magic, about ignoring personal, individual conflicts and abstracting those things into a dice roll. The biggest obstacle to a Solar's ascent is that he is one supernal mind/spirit among millions of mortals with various flaws, blindspots, failings, weaknesses, etc., and he has to work with and through these people to get things done. You can't make running a nation a matter of rolling his dice and using his Charms, because:

1) The Solar disappears completely on the macro scale.
2) The Solar's stats and Charms appended onto an organization makes that organization a Solar, and unstoppable except by another Solar or Exalt with comparable powers.
3) #2 entails erasing the obstacles and the roleplaying involved in this process. It also doesn't make sense. Solar Charms enhance their own actions. It smashes the setting into flinders when their Charms also enhance the actions of thousands of other people. While Exalted is an extremely high powered game, it's not okay to publish systems that make the entire setting implausible.

The net result is that you stop playing Exalted and start playing a purely mechanical system that projects advancement that is wildly, hysterically disproportionate to how fast an Exalt-managed organization actually advances. I will never put a dot on your character sheet that says "and when you buy this one, you have successfully resurrected the First Age. Hooray for you."

Yeah, I get all that. I completely understand the reasoning behind not having CRM in Exalted 3e. I'm disappointed. I liked the system in Masters of Jade. But from how you're building the game, it makes complete sense not to have what you call 'macro-magic'. I love that Exalts, even Solars, will have to struggle and endure and make great effort to reform governments and the like. That's all cool. I disagree for personal reasons, since I really enjoyed the system, and wanted to see its use as a core element of Ex3. That's just me. I figure you're making the right choice, despite my misgivings, as far as that goes.
My problem is that I don't understand Holden's suggestion that he wouldn't be surprised if it showed up in another book. That's what confuses me. It suggests a lack of conviction in the product that you're producing. Like I said, it feels like the worst possible choice. Obviously it's just him hypothesizing, but still. It sends the wrong message, I feel. (BryanChavez)
(John Mørke)

Okay, I see.
Let me explain Holden's statement.

When I told him I was cutting and replacing the system, he told me "We should publish it later as a Kickstarter benefit," and I agreed. Vance is going to be paid for what he wrote; we might as well use it. I didn't really think about my answer back then, it just seemed like a good, sound idea. Mind you, what Vance wrote was pretty good! I don't like to toss out good writing.

It was taken out of the corebook because I am upholding my vision of EX3 and standing by it. I would publish it later for the same reason people want to see developer commentaries, excerpts cutting room floor, and "the making of." Because there is a market for it, and an interest in it, and because some of what we leave out is pretty good or pretty interesting in its own light.

I would not put the system back in the game until it was reworked; that's the reason I took it out.

The lack of this system won't mean a lack of substance for players with Bureaucracy, though. It just means that some things, like the success of your adjutants, is out of your hands after a certain point, and your Charms can only get them so far.

Q: So. I'm the Solar king.
How do my adjutants/minions/people fare?
What are the rules for that? (Eternal_King)
A: (John Mørke)

There aren't any.

Think about it: Exalted is about playing an Exalt. If you don't want to actually roll out what your subordinates are doing because it would detract away from playing your Exalt, I'm not going to make a system to abstract doing exactly that. No abstraction would make sense or have any bearing on your character.

Your character can influence, inspire, and unite people. He can educate them, arm them, and train them for battle. We have written rules to reflect these things in the corebook. But there isn't actually a roll to decide whether they succeed or fail because no such roll would make sense and no such system would be calibrated to the actual rate of progress an Exalt should be able to push.

There are very real reasons wars are lost, projects fail or succeed, etc., and these instances can be recreated in Exalted and exploited by your Charms, and that is what I am out to reveal in EX3.

(John Mørke)

Yes, Bureaucracy will have a place in the system.

One of the problems with the CRM was that it projected that you could, by raising dots and interacting with system actions alone, do something like maintain a Creation-spanning spy network fairly easily. This is something that is incredibly hard with Creation's current infrastructure, travel times and distances. You can abstract away the major barriers to ascent and get results much more quickly than is realistic, even for a Solar. The Legacy system is up on blocks for revision, because it needs to project a little more difficulty. The level of disconnect between the CRM of MOJ and the setting of Exalted is great enough to consider the CRM its entire own game, similar to the Exalted "board" game they released years ago. It's valid, fun, but not actually something I would include in the product for reasons of an experiential disconnect from the setting we're trying to describe.

Also, the system was incredibly complex, and we're trying to make a game that is inviting to new Storytellers and new players. It would not do to give them a leadership system that is modeled after something that came straight out of the rules heavy juggernaut of 2e. EX3 will not be a rules heavy juggernaut. We've got meaty, depthy gameplay with faster resolutions and more intuitive and exciting rules, and I'm sticking to that design approach to make the game fun for everyone.

What I don't want to do is have your Exalt rolling his stats to directly determine the outcome of other people's actions. That is what I mean when I say rolling your abilities to settle these issues doesn't make sense.

You will have training, social influence, and resource-related influence over your people and this will relate to mechanical, statistical outcomes. The whole issue is how that is presented to the players, especially new players.

If this is a deal breaker for you, I recommend that you use the CRM anyway, wait for us to publish the Legacy System, or check out the Kickstarter when it hits, because you might see something there to change your mind.

Q: (Rulebook Heavily)

And that's where you're losing people, because part of the game's concept is the idea that you can do that because you are one of the Chosen people who do that. Exactly this, right here. You are the Trickster who deceives even the Gods into unwise action, the great Warrior whose fearsome reputation alone defeats armies, and the wise Leader whose realm is run fairly, just and without crime.

By this standard right here, I can never deceive someone into taking action without then rolling exactly what that person does. I can never check to see whether my opponent fears me and takes a different course of action than attacking me, and I can never roll for my extremely efficient and thorough secret police who make sure crime doesn't exist on an official basis without explicitly rolling for each individual agent's action all the time. Game mechanics are about creating a reasonable level of entertaining abstraction of events, so why is this somehow not able to be abstracted to a more reasonable level than "you can never attempt to do this"?

Also, if you can't use Bureaucracy to actually run a bureaucracy, what is it for that can't be adequately covered with other skills?

A: You will be able to use your traits to influence and even control people.
You will not be able to use your traits to replace theirs, barring interesting, specific magic. (It would be pretty cool to possess someone.)
IE, you order your crew to go search for a needle in a sea of haystacks. You don't roll your Awareness to figure out what they found. (John Mørke)

Q: (Rulebook Heavily)

So I could never in any way influence the results of their search, such as by organizing it with Bureaucracy to grant them a bonus? (There's a simple mechanical benefit, for those asking what we're looking for: some kind of bonus-granting threshold of success based on the size of the organization being influenced would be very basic, but it would be something. Examples are nice.)

Because "influence" does not just mean influencing someone's opinion or mental state, it can mean something as simple as a mechanical bonus, like a great war leader whose tactical skill and personal bravery grants a bonus to their troops' morale. As far as I can tell, you're telling me that's completely off the table unless I either just want to skip roleplaying that search entirely or am willing to roll for every single person doing a search, which is absurd.

A: When I say influence, I am talking about mechanics.
This can take the form of bonuses—yes, Tiger Warrior Training Technique and similar effects do still exist. (John Mørke)

Q: A question regarding this awesome sounding 3rd edition: Have there been any new game related narrative based mechanics developed for 3rd edition? (Darth Quiris)
A: Aside from stunting Exalted doesn't generally go in that direction. (Stephenls)

(discussing metagame incentives)
(Holden)

If you're going to do a "bennies" system, you need to build around it from day one. FATE, Cortex, and M&M are such systems; Exalted is not and doesn't respond well to attempts to move it in that direction, generally. Willpower, being as it actually represents something rather than being a narrative chit, doesn't look or feel right when pressed into service as a replacement for the Hero/Fate/Plot Point.

Q: So, something I read recently on the White Wolf forums prompted me to ask this: For Exalted Third Edition, stunting will obviously still be a big part of the game and it's feel (right?!?). How are you/are you going to try and "fix" some of the issues that it had in 2E? (i.e. stunts feelin more required than just a bonus, the issues with mote regen, etc) (ffanxii4ever)
A: Stunts will indeed be a part of EX3, but we have unhooked them from the mote economy. They will still offer mechanical bonuses and be linked to Charms in a variety of ways. Mote return is being handled separately. (John Mørke)

Q: will there be specialties in 3e? Will they be implemented in a similar fashion to 2e? (I just noticed that you didn't mention a +3 specialty above) (Capybara!)
A: Yes, and no, respectively. (Holden)

Q: Is character creation going to be balanced in such a way that the difference between a newbie (to Exalted, not to RPGs) making a character and a long time player making a character doesn’t make life miserable for the GM who has to balance challenges for both? (AlwaysToast)
A: This isn't an issue with character creation so much as disparity between power levels. The disparity is being addressed within the core system, as we don't find chargen rules to be at fault. (John Mørke)

(Stephenls)

[...]Exalted has always been absurdly simulationist. Remember that big sidebar in Exalted: The Sidereals 1e with the rules for how many successes someone needs to keep rolling on their Craft (Fate) rolls every month for Creation to keep existing?

As if any ST would ever actually make those rolls! And yet, there it is, the establishment of the fact that you need to feed the Loom of Fate such-and-such many successes per month to prevent Creation from dissolving.

But it's been oddly narrativist at the same time, such as the helmet rule.

3e will be more consistent. It will be way less uselessly simulationist than it used to be. It will still be sort of simulationist where we think that's a good idea. Internal consistency in terms of "What would people having these powers actually mean for the setting?" is one place where it'll still try to be simmy, and that means we do have to face questions like "If people can do this, why hasn't someone already?"

(Forgites who want to complain that I'm using the term "simulationist" wrong can blow me, by the way.)

So if the game's goal is to deliver a Bond-movie-like experience rather than model the physical reality of "Bond's World", it's actually OK to have this difference. (Nemal)
Q: I'm decidedly uninterested in games that play like movies. (Lafing Cat)
A: To a significant degree, EX3 is a game designed to play like a movie. (Holden)

Q: How has the Great Curse been changed? (Mostlyjoe)
A: In the narrative, not at all. In the mechanics, we want it to be a little more entertaining for non-Solars. (John Mørke)

Q: Will there be more boats? To clarify: there are about a dozen types of boats throughout 2e, will there be more in 3e? (Dayen)
A: No, probably fewer. I mean, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of different kinds of boats in Creation, but we're not a game that needs enormous granularity in rules for "what kind of boat I have." (Holden)

Q: My ST mentioned that one of his gripes about 2e is the way water travel is handled - he says that ship travel was slow, clunky, and boring. Are there any significant changes to boat travel in 3e? (silverwinglie)
A: Not sure yet. Still waiting on the draft. I can say that there are more islands, new coastlines, and more undersea races. Boat travel should be more eventful. You don't have to keep using the Storm Mothers over and over. It was impossible to answer this yes or no. (John Mørke)

Q: Will long-distance travel be handled by Survival? (Dayen)
A: No. (Holden)

Q: Are airships going to be included in the core rules? (Dayen)
A: No. (Holden)

Q: (Excelsiortothemax)

Are mounts better now?

It was extremely difficult to use them and they mostly just died horrible deaths.

Also, the use of ships and other vehicles has been better explained? My players hated getting artifact tanks, planes and ships because they were so unwieldily and easy to destroy.

A: Mounts and ships are going to see a bit more support than before, but EX3 is not an abstract simulator the way 2e tried to be. The new Sail tree/system is going to be more relevant this time around. (John Mørke)

Q: Would vehicles and mounts operate similarly to pieces of equipment while in use then? I mean, there's no major difference, functionally, between using a Warstrider, riding a horse and sailing a frigate, other than appendages available and scale. (veekie)
A: Mounts, ships, and Warstriders are all handled differently in EX3. (John Mørke)

Q: Will running a kingdom be a fun thing to do with your downtime? (BrilliantRain)
A: My yes will mislead you. (John Mørke)

Q: Will there be other fun things to do with your downtime? (BrilliantRain)
A: Seduce the group's Lunar seems to be the default my friends in greatforks IRC have chosen. :P (John Mørke)

Q: Will there be the same or a better resources systems in it? My group always thinks it is difficult to work with an abstract system, when playing a small adventurer group and I missed examples for what couple of bread/swords/clothes/a night in the tavern/ would cost in nexus (playing nearly broke characters this can matter... as far as scenery and mood is concerned) (Asheira)
A: Same: No. (John Mørke)

We've improved the Resources system from 1e/2e, where I think it was simplified a bit too far. (Holden)

Q: Will Freebie points be making a return? (Shanwolf)
A: Yes. (Holden)

Q: Do freebie points raise traits at different rates than experience points do, such that it can be more "efficient" to use one over the other for a given trait? (Ferrinus)
A: Yep. Hell, there are some things (including lots of Merits) you can buy with freebies that you cannot buy with XP at all. (Holden)

Q: Wait, what?
Sorry if this oversteps the bounds of the thread and feel free to ignore it if it does, but why would you do that?
It seems like such an obvious bad idea that I feel like I must be missing something.
I mean, I thought you were trying to reduce the importance of bean-counting. (Sanctaphrax)
A: (Holden)

Because I value ability to customize more than paper-equivalence; because I don't want to mug you for XP because you knocked over a Guild caravan and stole some money and an artifact, or made a friend; because if we can't have actual equivalence, I'd rather have custom-crafted advancement that evokes a deliberate feel; because I like the ability to emphasize certain options at chargen vs certain options during play; and because I think paper-equivalence is fake equivalence and doesn't solve the actual problems that character disparity causes at tables (or, often, even address the causes of it).

Also, I've never really bean-counted with any of my characters, and never considered it fundamentally important.

Q: Aren't you instead mugging me for XP if I make a friend during chargen? Or, indeed, if I fail to take the options you chose to emphasize at the time you chose to emphasize them? (Ferrinus)
A: (Holden)

No, I am mugging you for bonus points, if you want to say "I have extensive contacts in the Guild" and have that just be a thing.

If you go out and make contacts during play, hey, congrats, enjoy your contacts.

Q: Do the experience point costs of Attributes, Abilities, and Merits increase with the number of the dot you're buying (i.e. the fifth dot of Melee costs more than the fourth)? (Ferrinus)
A: Merits, yes. Attributes and Abilities, not quite. (Holden)

Q: Someone mentioned that the new game will be much more fluid and not read like the VCR instructions of 2nd edition. Again, please elaborate. (Maryshelly)
A: (Plague of Hats)
Here's the opening passage on group social conflict from the Second Edition core:

While most social combat encounters pit individuals against one another, other occasions involve clashes of organized groups or individuals seeking to impose their will on such groups. As with the complementary units of mass combat, social units have the statistics of their leaders and several other traits that confer bonuses. Unlike military units, social units use all the traits of their leaders, including Essence, Virtues, Willpower and any other personal qualities. The reason for this is that the unit can be attacked as a unit only through social combat with its leader. Attacks on constituent members are also possible, but they must be resolved as normal social attacks against the characters in question rather than the unit.

Here's what might be the opening passage for the same kind of thing in Third Edition:

Mercantile conquest and the toppling of nations is not done only through fleeting scenes of a hero’s sly bargaining or the slaying of an army. Sometimes the Exalted wield bureaucrats and treasuries as weapons to shape the world.

This is a system for resolving dramatic conflicts against, within and between organizations. These rules are for the desperate filing of a last-minute pardon, for one school of philosophers to discredit another or to establish a functioning trade network despite the saboteurs riddling the government. If there is nothing but busywork to do and no rivals to challenge, it’s safe to set this system aside.

Q: Do you have a system for chases? (ErichZahn)
A: I am going to plead the fifth on this one. (John Mørke)

Call me a soothesayer but I think 3rd ed will make an effort to be more metric friendly listing meters along with yards more often then with their previous paradigm. (Eldagusto)
nope.jpg
i am a dumb American and can't be arsed to do the conversions
Not that EX3 tends to do yard-measurements very often anyway (Holden)
[3e] will still be in feet and miles, etc. This is not a reflection on the setting, it's just the system of measures we know. (John Mørke)

(Omicron)

Guys.
I know I can do that. I know there are conversion systems that aren't difficult.
I don't like it. In fact, I hate it.
I hate having to do bullshit mathematical operations in order to enjoy my literary fantasy make-believe game.
How hard is it to understand? I don't like maths. I don't like fractions and percentages and calculus and I especially don't like them when the point is to know wether my vacuum-immune Isidorite can fly faster than a spaceship so she can punch it in half.
It distracts me from my enjoyment of the game. Yes, I can get a conversion. Yes, there's Google and easy mnemotecnics and I don't fucking care. It's all bits of wasted time that I will never get back.
And I mean, I get that it's inevitable! If the system were metrics, it would simply dump the problem on someone else. We can't all be happy.
I still hate it.

Thankfully, we've eliminated most of this from the mechanics. Mostly you will just have to deal with setting material where a writer says "miles" instead of "yeddims."
Darn those imprecise bastards. (John Mørke)

Q: Can you speak broadly on how challenges that are neither social (seduce the king) nor combat-based (kill the king), but rather fall into the broad heading of traps/challenges/rogue fodder (deal with the autonomous sniper bushes on the other side of the ragged suspension bridges that are firing pine cones at supersonic speeds at you; determine what 'the penitent man shall pass' means for this trap-filled corridor when it turns out that no, person who shall not be named, it does NOT mean kneeling) will be structured and dealt with? Simple rolls with penalties for failure and/or insufficient success, or? (Nessus)
A: Where possible, the system tends toward "roll vs difficulty." Other stuff that doesn't need to be exclusively systemized isn't. System isn't valuable in and of itself, it's only valuable when it enhances something in the story in some way. (Holden)

Q: Is there still gonna be a big dumb chart you have to consult to figure out if you regain Essence depending on your splat and where? (Nessus)
A: Nope! (Holden)

Q: Out of curiosity, are you guys just blocking out all the basic/advanced systems or the various other charmsets too? (BrilliantRain)
A: Charmsets. (Holden)

Q: So, any subsystems that are going to be new instead of remade to actually be good stuff that was in 2E (like craft or astrology)? A system related to Liminal limb swapping, maybe? (Mizu005)
A: Shit yes. Evocations are obviously the biggie, but there's also the A****-B******* of the H[REDACTED BY ORDER OF THE MAIDEN OF NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS], and G******* A******, just to name two. (Holden)

Ryan: At this point it doesn't look like the Mandate of Heaven will be making a comeback. I was fond of the system too, but I think the two of us are the only people who liked it lol
The good news is that if you like it, you can pretty much just drop it right into EX3 unchanged with no trouble. (Holden)

[Average dice pool]'s been in the 8-13 range so far, mostly. You're not going to see anyone rocking a dice pool in the 20s on cruise control. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

Keep in mind that everything I am saying in this thread is still under development and subject to change.

I have done some thinking based on everyone's amazing and enthusiastic criticism of the Style Points idea, and here's where I am currently. Almost a year ago, I began building a system to help players pay for all the new powers, Charms, merits, spells, and Evocations that would be coming their way in EX3.

At the time, I realized that the rules for experience gained per session from 1e and 2e promoted a slow but reasonable advancement, and that amping it up too much would make the characters grow at a mechanical, rather than natural story-developed pace.

Yet at the same time, purchases that had to compete with core Charms were falling behind in value, making it increasingly harder for players to justify playing the characters they wanted to play.

Many possible solutions were considered, including removing Martial Arts, or writing a whole second set of Charms for each style: one for Solars, one for everyone else. These solutions were deemed terrible for many obvious reasons. And while I have an idea in place that makes Sorcery viable, it still has some deliberate disadvantages to Charms, in that you cannot ignore Charms completely in favor of spells. Sorcery is more attractive in EX3 than in 2e because of spell mechanics and the new Shape Sorcery system.

But even if I found a way of making those purchases perfectly balanced with splat Charms, I would still be facing another problem: Evocations, Merits, and tons of new Charms are now also competing for your 4XP a week.

Essentially, I realized that I did not want players to feel as if their characters had slowed to a crawl, so I began to design and implement a system of bonus XP (codename: Solar XP) that players could earn through specific kinds of roleplaying in line with their character, as established by their stats as well as their castes.

FEATURES OF SOLAR XP

Despite the name, not just for Solars.
Gained through rules to be specified in the EX3 core.
Capped amount you can gain per session.
Can only be spent on Abilities, Attributes, Merits, Martial Arts Charms, Sorcery, and Evocations.

Initially, I was planning to keep the Style Point system, to further defray the cost of advancing as a martial artist. But due to feedback pointing out the unfairness in a system which targets a specific type of player character, I am likely going to drop the Style Point idea as a relic of the past and put a little more weight on the Solar XP system (and thus, give it a little more lifting power). I feel that the Solar XP system is more fair, because it allows you to accrue benefits without having to be a martial artist, and it allows you to spend those benefits however you see fit—within the parameters of what Solar XP will buy.

I really like this idea of two separate XP pools. I'd just like you to keep in mind to make it really easy to reach this cap so you don't have people feeling like they have to grind enough points each session. (Zironic)
What I might do is make each Solar XP act like two regular XP and then cap you at two per session, so that you only have to ring the bell twice. (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

At the time, I realized that the rules for experience gained per session from 1e and 2e promoted a slow but reasonable advancement, and that amping it up too much would make the characters grow at a mechanical, rather than natural story-developed pace.

Yet at the same time, purchases that had to compete with core Charms were falling behind in value, making it increasingly harder for players to justify playing the characters they wanted to play.

Q: How does the inclusion of the PanExalted XP cover for this? The new pool is an additional thing to track, and it's kind of assumed that you'd be earning it anyway. Why not just add more XP if more XP is needed for the new paradigm? (Asmodai)
A: People would just use it to buy Solar Charms twice as fast. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

There won't be Lunar XP, Sidereal XP, etc.
Regular XP can be spent on the things Solar XP can buy.
To be clear, Solar XP is for all Exalts, but nobody else.

Solar--as in, the highest form of--XP. (John Mørke)

Q: The overview states: "In the case of opposed rolls which result in a tie, the player with the better stunt wins." Two questions. 1) At least in 2e, it wasn't particularly hard for characters to end up with equal Stunt bonuses. What happens if the ST deems both Stunts equally cool? 2) The way I see it, a player will most often compete against an NPC in this manner. That brings us to a case where the ST both decides the value of the player's and her own Stunts, which creates an awkward situation. How would you suggest handling that? (Weimann)
A: For both 1 and 2, the ST should be honest and follow the rules. That means picking a winner in #1 and in #2 realizing that if he picks his own stunt over his player's repeatedly, he's going to have a short tenure as ST. (John Mørke)

I prefer explode.
Which is actually one of my biggest concerns for 3rd edition, one of the more important Abyssal NPCs in my game is a Midnight Caste who fights with bombs. I'm a bit concerned that the new system won't handle that fighting style so well. (Lioness)
(Holden)

Explosions were one of the hardest things to model in the 2e engine. I mean, they were such a tricky thing that I spent an entire day trying to write Phlogiston Web for 2e Alchemicals, and ended up just cutting it as more trouble than it was worth.

They're dirt-simple in 3e thanks to how the system does balance metrics and how it measures distance.

Q: (light-hero)

Straight to it. The new SR5 (Shadowrun 5th ed.) is a dicepool system like Exalted (using six sided die instead of 10 sided). They also combine an attribute and a skill for the most part, when making dice pools (like exalted). Well know they have introduce "limits". A limit is essential a number which is the max amount of net success (called hits in SR5) that you can deprive from a roll with your dice pool.

This number comes in four classes. Physcial, Mental, Social and Gear. Gear always overrides the other limits when there is a conflict.

Now you can break/remove limit by spending an Egde Point (kinda of like willpower, fate points or magic/super powers application)

Now my question is: A we going to see something similar in EX3? Because we have caps, but it seems simpler to have these embedded in the system beforehand.

A: Nope. We've just been careful with our modifiers and math. (Holden)

(on scenery-based stunts) (Gayo)

The reason this doesn't work is because, as I said, the game doesn't distinguish between doing it the way I like -- incorporating the scenery meaningfully -- and just mentioning the scenery as peripheral, or a slightly fluffed-up "I attack and kick over a chair". In my experience, even among hammy, enthusiastic players who go above and beyond the call of duty in the name of drama, nearly every stunt ends up like the latter example, because you're expected to stunt every meaningful action, and going through the motions gets you the exact same result at a vastly lower cost.

Part of the problem is that you just can't represent meaningful scenery interaction as a broad numeric bonus, but it's also that you're explicitly adjudicating stunts incorrectly if you reward people more for using the scenery meaningfully than for making an action that acknowledges that it happens to take place in a physical space. The game all but says that it does not consider the difference between those two things meaningful.

Looking at the current draft of the 3e stunt rules, this shouldn't be a problem. The text does not explicitly rule out irrelevant stunts, but it implicitly rules them out in that the Storyteller can point to the rules and say, "That's not a stunt because in order to be a stunt, it must be [REDACTED], which it isn't." (In addition, the Storyteller can point to a different part of the rules and say, "That's not a stunt because in order to be a stunt, it must not be [REDACTED], which it is.") (Eric Minton)

One little mechanic I'm really curious about for 3e is the poison system, or at least what 2e would call the poison system. Months back, I started working on a project to write up a bunch of supernatural and Creation-specific drugs--some used for medicine, some for recreation, some for shamanism, some for punishment or harm, and some for stranger purposes. What I found was that Exalted 2e lacked the subtlety to convey the non-harmful aspects of drugs in a remotely useful way. (Capybara!)
(The Demented One)

3e's poison system isn't really germane to that kind of project. It treats poisons as, well, poisons, rather than trying to model any possible biochemical agent, even less so than 2e did—you won't be seeing alcohol or weed on the list of sample poisons, but you will be seeing hemlock and curare.

That being said, I suspect the underlying mechanics would be a bit friendlier in terms of being hacked into something that could handle what you're trying to do.

Yeah 2nd's poison mechanic was so difficult to understand, use and remember that I ended developing a tremendous hate for poison charms, poison styles, poison items, poison artifacts etc. I stopped using them forever in my games.
If TDO gets to write the five deadly poisons styles, there better be a clean, simple and fun system for poisons in 3rd, or I'll morph into a Gamera-like state of furious destructive Gonzo. (Gonzo)
(The Demented One)

One of my goals in writing the poison mechanics was to make them so intuitive that you would never need to flip back to the poison description after you'd read it the first time, as long as you have the stat line for the particular poison you have.

Also, to get rid of the horrible dosage mechanics bean-counting.

Q: Will there be any system like the Creation Ruling Mandate or Mandate of Heaven in 3E?
A: No. Leadership is something significantly more lightweight and RP-focused. (Holden)

(The Demented One)

As a writer, I find it imperative upon myself to lighten the tone of the forums by means of shit-eating whimsy and caprice.

For example, the statement above is a written inspire action, rolled with my Manipulation + Linguistics!

Merits

Q: Will Backgrounds exist in this edition? If they do will they be geared towards helping further or flavor the story, or providing personal power to the purchasers? (Exalt in the Machine)
A: We are switching to a Merit system that will be able to do a lot of heavy lifting in this edition. (hatewheel)

Q: Any big changes to backgrounds? Do I still have to choose between having friends that may help me or a sword that will always be useful? (axelsoar)
A: Backgrounds have been replaced by Merits, which are simplified and fall into different categories. Some you can only have at chargen, some you need to buy with xp, and some you can only get by roleplaying. (John Mørke)

Q: Merits like the nWOD eh? Interesting. (TheLoneCleric)
A: It solves some problems. (Stephenls)

Q: Besides folding the problematic Merit/Flaw mechanic of old into the Backgrounds and allowing the St to define starting power easier? (TheLoneCleric)
A: Besides that, yes. (Stephenls)

Q: I'm afraid they'll just copy over from nWoD, not that i don't like that system, it's just not fit for exalted in my opinion. (ttovpy)
A: We are definitely not doing that. (Stephenls)

Q: For those who have played nWoD, what are the advantages of this system to traditional Backgrounds? (Daredevil)
A: The following example is a rough draft and may not reflect finished product. But here's a for-example of how not being locked into a 1-5 scale for everything can be helpful: (Holden)
Familiar (• to •••)—Story


Contacts and Allies didn't change (EndlessKng)
They didn't? (Holden)
Contacts (•, •••, or •••••)—Story


Q: Languages? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Languages will be connected to our merit system rather than Linguistics dots. (John Mørke)

Q: Will there be social merits for Exalted followers? Can I have a companion Dragon Blood/Lunar out of the gate? (Even though they'll be NPCish.) (Mostlyjoe)
A: You can have Exalted allies. (Holden)

Q: Will there be limits on starting merits? .ie to prevent someone from having a Legion at their beck and call right out of the gate? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Only on the craziest of Artifacts. You don't get chronicle-defining Artifacts unless your Storyteller is okay with it. Otherwise, why would I want to stop your barbarian warlord from starting off with a 10,000 man horde? (Holden)

Q: Will merits be tailored by Exalt/character type? Will Solars be limited on which ones they can take? Sidereals? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Naturally. (Holden)

Q: Will [Familiar] still remain a background exclusive to those capable of channeling essence or is it appropriate for anyone? I think that Exalted is one of those settings infused with subtle magic that one can form a telekinetic bond with their animal pal without needing to become more than just mortal (Unless even that is enough to boost them above the masses). (Argas)
A: Not really sure how we're handling this atm. Solar Familiars are going to be pretty awesome. (John Mørke)

The new Merits system makes it really easy to make characters like Faka Kun and Ophilis Ses right out of the gate. (Holden)

Mutations are just handled as Merits in EX3. (Holden)

Merits can be acquired in a number of ways. Merits with the 'Story' notation on them can be purchased during character creation, if you want to start with the advantage, with the usual cost. If you pick up the Merit during the course of the game, a Story merit costs no experence-- it's something you acquired through roleplaying, such as wealth or contacts or a piece of magical armor. Other merits, with different notations, might require experience points to pick up during play-- I'm still on the fence as to whether Tempered By the Elements should be Story or Purchased. (Holden)

Now might be a good time to make explicit the spoiler Holden just implicitly dropped, that 3e has the concept of skill-functionality-unlocking Merits, i.e Merits that unlock additional functionality for your Skills. Holden has already raised the possibility that one might need to purchase a Merit in order to qualify for buying MA Charms. What other historically-clumsy or problematic elements of Exalted might such an idea alleviate? (Stephenls)

Q: How many abilities benefit from merits in some capacity?
A: Lots of Abilities benefit from Merits. (Holden)

Allies (•, •••, or •••••)—Story


Contacts (•, •••, or •••••)—Story, revised version


(on what happened to the redacted Contacts mechanic from the original version)
No, I mean the "REDACTED NEW MECHANIC" from the last showing of Contacts. Holden's commentary implied it was something reminiscent of 9-again. (The MG)
It ended up being too strong to make available through Merits. (The Demented One)

Charms

See Charms

Artifacts

(John Mørke)

Warstriders are in because they are iconic. They are also rare as shit.

They also help me to demonstrate how "magitech" (which is a taboo term with me) is not superior to genre-friendly artifacts, such as daiklaves.

(And Evocations is how I get there.)

(John Mørke)

Four days ago, Holden and I were going over warstrider plans. Conversation included jumping in a warstrider to take on a setting heavy like Ahlat or Ligier, and being able to unleash an attack that burns a path to a demesne and then detonates it in a gigantic explosion, or releasing apocalypse weaponry that dissolves all magitech in a certain radius. We're not talking a big suit of armor, here. We're talking a divine weapon that speaks an alien rune language, a five metal giant that runs on prayers and, when honed by an Exalt, may strike at the heart of "God."

Q: Will Warstriders be available for various environs such as air, under the sea, etc.? Or will that simply be a decision for the ST to say, "Eh, sure, why the hell not?" (CW)
A: You can hardly call an ultimate war machine that can't go where the fighting is an ultimate war machine! (Holden)

Q: (MissMaddy)

I've come to the conclusion I hate warstriders and I think they are terible for Exalted.

Which is really awful, because I love warstriders and they are one of the things I like best about Exalted.

Allow me to explain --

The giant mech does not work in a party-based circle.

Either EVERYBODY has to have one... in which case, the party is on the same page about playing a 'Mecha' game which is swell... or, it kinda becomes a pain in the ass.

See, in games that focus on mechs and shit like that? They're everywhere ; everybody has them ; all the people that 'matter' are using them. They aren't a stylistic option. They're a mandatory genre convention that is bolted into every aspect of the setting, top to bottom.

Exalted isn't like that.

Exalted flirts with the kinda D&D party mechanic thing ; we're a group of 3-5ish freaks of uniqueness that EXPLODE INDIVIDUALITY AND CREATIVITY over everything we come into contact with (in my experience). Like, you have 3-5 'Jack Sparrows' each that unique and different and distinctive.

Rarely are they all on the same page about the mechs.

And if they aren't, when 1 guy has a mech, you're kinda usually just shoehorning him into things. Or vice versa.

This isn't an attack on the devs or 3e. It's more idle musing as to how dissapointed I am with how Warstriders in Exalted shook out.

They seemed great at first!

Hate, Holden, have you figured some way to cleverly resolve these issues ? Perhaps other people don't find them as awkward.

A: (John Mørke)

First, it helps not to think of them as mechs. They have limited flight range and are most expressive on the personal combat level, where they are swinging giant daiklaves. You may have seen art of Demetheus fighting an automaton of a similar size. So the first thing to realize is that they're not following the mech genre of space battles, but the Exalted genre of fighting giant automatons, huge mutant horrors and behemoths—things which Solars often battle without warstriders.

The next thing to remember is that we planned around the rarity of warstriders. It isn't likely a Circle of Solars would have one. A warstrider comes off as a superweapon with extremely useful application that needs to be husbanded because not everything it can do is burning a completely renewable resource. There is also the need for repair if it gets fucked up and you may not have someone who can repair it, so you need to make sure you're only bringing it out when you need it most.

As for having to shoehorn it in, yes, you might need to. Just like you might need to shoehorn in a good old trireme if one of your characters picks Sail. Only now we're looking at cool mechanics like "how to use a boat to catch and board a swimming behemoth" so that it's not so much shoehorning as expanding the awesomeness of your stories to include boat- and warstrider-based gameplay without breaking stride from the classic Exalted feeling.

Another helpful tidbit, maybe: daiklaves are going to be extremely powerful and highly coveted, due to Evocations. You don't perceive a problem with handing out one daiklave to a player because they have never been objects of game-shifting worth. But a single daiklave may be as focal and game-changing as a single warstrider. The way I see it, your players will probably be fighting over that one daiklave or that one warstrider, rather than seeing these things as either rote or peripheral. And if they don't, say hi to the Angel of the Lord the next time you leave Eden.

Q: So, to get a feel for how rare [warstriders] will be compared to 2E. How many of them will Lookshy have? The Realm? (Mizu005)
A: The Dragon-Blooded powers have fewer, and the Deathlords should be considered to have none until future books.
There is at least one nation whose dictator's rule is backed by a ferocious warstrider (and its pilot). (John Mørke)

Q: (DrLoveMonkey)

So what does this mean for stuff from the first age that were supposed to be mass produced? I heard that the first age is going to be pushed into a more hazy "We don't really know what the hell horrible wonders took place there but it bends our minds to even imagine it." kind of thing. But if the previous first age books were any indication daiklaves were rattled off of assembly lines, and subsequently some of the famous jade daiklaves at least had names like XV-332, as in the 332nd daiklave of the XV pattern. Later on XV-332 was to be used in a mighty battle where it cut down dozens upon dozens of soldiers in an battle to protect the local Solar king and became somewhat legendary in the area, or something like that.

I may be remembering that wrong, but I'm fairly sure of the assembly line thing. Basically my question is this, will there still be ironically named relics from the first age, with people wondering what arcane meaning behind the mighty blade XV-332 could possibly be? Or will daiklaves be something that even in the first age weren't produced en mass by an assembly line, like how Warstriders are treated in the book? Or will it just never be mentioned?

I'd assume that mass produced swords made in a factory will not have the same amount of magical strength as a specially made sword forged in the fires of an indebted elemental dragon and cooled in the hearts blood of a behemoth the crafter killed themselves.*
*Yes, they probably could make a factory whose fires were those of elemental dragons and that had vast vats of behemoth blood to cool the blades. But the very act of turning it into a rote mass production changes it from an epic deed that is the catalyst of a legend into, well, rote mass production. (Mizu005)
A: Mizu005 is correct. (John Mørke)

(on the rarity and importance of certain artifacts)
It will end in PCs targeting any setting character, because they have cool stuff players don't have and can't possibly have. Because I assume you intend to make artifacts far less craftable then they were in 2e (and even in 2e it was awfull waste of time and expirience).
Not that it's a bad thing, but... That's the only reasonable outcome. (Arrakiz)
Not really. Treating EX3 like an MMO will get your Exalt killed. (John Mørke)

Q: Hellstrider are Evas, pretty much word for word.
I hope they still exist and remain such! (Omicron)
A: No, no Hellstriders, Bonestriders, Godstriders, Wyldstriders, Wavestriders, Skystriders, Soulstriders, Fuckstriders, or Striderstriders.
But you can certainly have a hellish, infernal warstrider. There's no such thing as a 'Common Warstrider' any more, either. (Holden)

(Holden)

Sci-fi-looking artifacts are being toned down and pared back and, where possible, made more harmonious with the rest of the setting: Giant First Age clockwork castle! Yes! Nuclear bombs, no. Warstriders! Yes! Null-Essence Grenades, no. Great slow engines of basalt and soulsteel thundering deep within the earth, forgotten for untold ages! Yes! Plasma cannons, not so much.

"Toned down and pared back" has been exaggerated into "no magitech" by certain people for whatever reason. I imagine they'll be surprised to see warstriders in the Kickstarter promo illustrations.

Q: [H]ow will artifact attunement be handled as far as the time it will take? I know a common houserule is that you attune as soon as you touch it and harmonize (gaining an Magical Material bonuses) after the requisite 20 minutes. Might this houserule be made official? If not, no biggie, but it's always bugged us that a sword you can't lift without attunement needs to be wielded for so long! (My Cat's On Crack)
A: We've never been big fans of that weird thing where you disarm your opponent's weapon, go to grab it, and suddenly durf you're dragging around a 40 pound hunk of jade you can't do anything with. I would expect 3e will not have that problem. (Holden)

Q: What about essence cannons/weapons? Has anyone seen info on their future? I haven't been on the forums in some time. (Racerxme)
Most likely scenario? You'll have to replace the lightning ballista with a blue jade dragon statue that spits lightning from its mouth when people pray to it. Same thing, different aesthetics. (Tiresias)
A: Lightning ballistae and implosion bows are fine. (Holden)

Q: Can I still have prayer-powered blue jade dragons statues that spit lightning? (Tiresias)
A: Who in their right mind would build a manse without them?! (Holden)

Q: Could a craft invested twlight character, at character creation or shortly thereafter, have the capacity to make a truck-sized bronze and steel clockwork engine using the properties of different kinds of jade to perpetually do the work equivalent to one of the most potent water mills in Creation? Or would that be more of a "should be from the first age, but you could fix it" situations? (Odd_Canuck)
A: 1) Does your game hinge around it being cool for him to do that, or does it just get in the way of what your group wants to do?
2) The First Age wasn't powered by advanced technology, but rather by advanced magic (which occasionally resembles technology because it's a useful visual shorthand). Do you think a fresh-out-of-Exaltation Twilight is up to replicating the greater mystical intricacies of the First Age yet? (Holden)

Q: Brass Legionnaires are still going to be a thing right? (Lioness)
A: Of course! (Holden)

Q: Will we still have teh divide between artifacts that are pretty much imperishable unless you REALLY try to break them, and systems that require some form of ongoing maintenance? (Charles Gray)
A: (Stephenls)

Shrug?

Presumably you have to do stuff to maintain the connection to your artifact that lets you use evocations. Maybe this involves some sort of ritual propitiation and polishing? People keep swords oiled to keep the rust off; maybe to keep your daiklave happy you have to use expensive, sacred oils or it gets offended.P resumably this goes on in the background and there aren't any real mechanics for it. Is that really any different from keeping your magitech motorcycle-engine-sword in good condition and supplied with the right fuels and reagents so all its functions remain accessible? Do we really need pages and pages of mechanics for the latter?

Just spitballing, here. I haven't seen the relevant material yet. But this is not a difficult division to resolve.

Little gods aren't a requisite part of artifice in Exalted. (Blaque)
"Least gods are vital to the functioning of artifacts!" was a concept we had never even seen HINTED at before MoEP: Infernals, when suddenly it was dropped in as a setting axiom for, as far as I know, the exclusive purpose of differentiating "helltech" from regular Artifacts. We regard that as having been unnecessary and fairly unhelpful; you can have all kinds of cool hell-forged wonders without needing a song and dance routine to justify why they're weird and hellish-- they're weird and hellish because they were made out of stuff found in Hell. Simple! Plus in 3e, artifacts in general can enjoy the features that made hell-forged wonders neat. (Holden)

Players can have daiklaves as ancient and crazy as Volfer's out of the core. (John Mørke)

(on 3e moving away from tying Exalts to their associated Magical Material)
(Stephenls)

We're working to ensure there's reason to want to stick with your own Magical Material, and there's definitely going to be reasons in place for Solars to not particularly favor Starmetal over any other MM while Sidereals drop everything and chase fallen stars because that shit is so useful to them, and we definitely want to ensure that Dragon-Blooded are incentivized towards jade, but Solars get to use everything with equal facility for a number of reasons ranging from "John wants Solars to be especially proficient with Evocations, not just Evocations form orichalcum weapons" to "Because Solars are the primary player-character-type and it's more fun if everyone playing Solars can further differentiate their characters aesthetically via a wide range of weapon appearances."

We are aware this is a change, and believe we are doing it for the right reasons, and are working to ensure it doesn't come off as gratuitous Solar favoritism. It'll make sense. And I am not cleared to provide details.

(Also this edition will tend to have a lot more hybrid material artifacts -- Prince Diamond wields a sword made of orichalcum and Chiaroscuro glass, for example.)

Q: So Needle Klaives might be a Thing Now?! (Eldagusto)
A: 3E's weapon system makes it intensely easier to come up with new artifact weapons. (The Demented One)

Hearthstones

The Orb of Calm (Greater Hearthstone of Water)


Stone of the Nightly Reunion (Standard Abyssal Hearthstone)


Evocations

(Bid Sheet)

Evocation is the Solar-specific system by which the Lawgivers may derive unique Charms from artifacts, giving them a whole new layer of power and themes to explore.

(Holden)

Just to be clear: Arms [of the Chosen] info based off very old pitch sheet, Evocations are not a Solar-only mechanic any more.

Q: Warstriders and essence cannons makes Daiklaves and Powerbows look kinda dinky. The intent seems to be to rebalance the setting so that both of those have room to shine. The easiest way to do that in the Age of Sorrows is to make magitech more rare. (Totentanz)
A: Evocations will also serve to make genre-sustaining artifacts comparable to magitech. (John Mørke)

Q: Hmmm... what would you say is the coolest 'new' thing about EX3? (That Other Guy)
A: Evocations are going to take Solars to a conceptual level they never reached and round them out in a way that people have desperately needed for a long time now. (John Mørke)

Q: And if say, someone wants to have a character with a rod that can unleash the fiery judgement of the sun on his enemies, can evocations help him make that? (Charles Gray)
A: Totally. (Holden)

Q: Basically, every artifact has custom Charms called Evocations attached to them, which are meant to be useful at any Essence level. Think the Monado from Xenoblade-it, besides being a damned effective beamklaive, also has the ability to grant its wielder visions of the immediate future, warning him of powerful attacks and their effects if he doesn't interfere with them. It works out of combat too, saves the party's asses more than a couple times. (Leliel)
A: (Plague of Hats)

Not every artifact. We don't really need to reinvent the wheel and slap a new subsystem on the winterbreath jar, for instance.

However, if you did want to force all artifacts to be cool only through Evocations, it would be kind of hilarious when it comes to things like winterbreath jars.

Q: What's an Evocation? (bertrandhussle)
A: A Solar can interface with his artifacts, creating Charms that break theory and evoking them. He can draw upon the mighty powers of his daiklave to unleash powers and explore themes and states of being that venture beyond the confines of the Solar Charm set. Incredible, sorcerous power awaits. And the trade-off for something you would consider magitech, is trading a technical advantage for the awesome power of Evocations.' (John Mørke)'

Q: This is confusing me. Does this mean that the Exalted can have magitech or use evocations, but not both? Is magitech tech that anyone can use where evocations are what the Exalted use to interface with certain artifacts?
I can't imagine that Exalted could go without at least a moderate amount of magitech. After all, its supposed to a post-golden age setting. (Starglyte)
A: All will be revealed in time!
Also, what you consider magitech is extremely rare. It's not post-golden age. It's post apocalypse. (John Mørke)

Q: Is "magitech" (or whatever you want to call it, since you don't like the term) actually going to *have* an advantage in 3e? Because it really didn't in 2e, it was just an aesthetic. A ring of flying was the same difficulty to create and artifact level as the magitech wings or whatever. And if magitech in 3e is going to lack Evocations it'd be nice if it actually had an upside, to justify why anyone made it ever, instead of just a "solid-state" artifact.

Edit: although having read a later post, by "post-Apocalypse" do you mean that all magitech predates the Primordial War, and is stuff that the 1st Age Exalts were unable to make? (Lafing Cat)
A: (John Mørke)

"Magitech" will feature Evocations, typically limited ones, though there are some major exceptions. Alternately, they will feature powers that are automated and don't typically require an experience points purchase, nor do they care what type of Exalt you are.

Re: Edit: I mean after the Usurpation, the disastrous fall of the First Age which ate the Essence of infrastructure inside-out, subsequent generations of malfunction, degradation and sabotage, capped off by the Great Contagion and the Balorian Crusade. The Age of Sorrows is post-apocalyptic.

Q: I remember Holden saying everyone will get Evocations when Ex3 was announced, not just Solars. Did you change your mind in that regard since then? (Maese Mateo)
A: Evocations are mainly a Solar property, though other Exalts gain access to specific Evocations. (John Mørke)

Q: It seems Artifacts are going to get a major boost in power this time around. I assume Magical Material Bonuses will still be a thing. So my question is, when a Solar wields an Orichalcum weapon, will it be greatly more powerful than it would be than in the hands of, say, a DB or Lunar? (Arteliex)
A: 5M won't have flat bonuses, ideally. As a general rule for EX3, artifacts do way more for Solars than everyone else due to an undisputed mastery of Evocations. (John Mørke)

Q: Just to make it clear though, the plan that evocations will be something any exalt can use wont have changed, right? Solars will just be better at using them. (Mizu005)
A: Definitely. I am modeling the Eye of Autochthon as being loaded with crazy Evocations, and it was once wielded by a mortal. The Realm Defense Grid is packing some very potent Evocations which the Scarlet Empress has mastered. Those are two very non-standard examples, though. Solars get the biggest range of Evocations, the most power and the most benefit from the things. (John Mørke)

Q: About how big a portion of Solar power would you say lies in their mastery of Evocations vs. what they can do with their natural Charms? (CycloneJoker)
A: Really impossible to answer. It's like asking how much of their power can come from Sorcery. (John Mørke)

Q: Solars have been stated to have undisputed mastery over Evocations.
Does this mean they will be more adept at Evocations than Abyssals and Infernals? (indarkestknight)
A: Yes. (Holden)

Q: With the discussion of Solars being the masters of Evocations, etc...boiling my concerns down to a simple and binary question, are there Evocations that are Solar-only? (Mockery)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Will other exalts have evocations only they can use? (Shaula)
A: It's possible, but not yet planned. (John Mørke)

Q: Will (solar) charms interact with weapons differently, helping to avoid the issue 2E had of just grabbing the biggest weapon and finding a way to swing it as fast as possible? (that guy)
A: Evocations also exist to differentiate between weapons. (John Mørke)

Q: Is the Sidereal use of Evocations weaker than Dragon Bloods? Can you give a rough scale from Solars downward who can get the most out of Evocations? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Yes, it is. Evocations covers a number of different types of power, but the main one is power evoked from the soul of the user and the soul of the artifact (having nothing to do with least gods). Evocations depend on how much power you draw from within; by contrast, if you wear more of your power on the outside (Sidereals, Lunars, Abyssals, Infernals) you aren't as good at them. You will find that the Dragon-Blooded have a special dispensation which will be explained in future books. I don't have actual mechanics lined up, but from my notes I can say that Solars are the best at Evocations, while Sidereals are the worst. (John Mørke)

Q: Not really looking for a debate, just a definition of the externality of one's power that I can understand, which thus far from your statements I don't Thematically I can can fully understand Sidereals weakness with Invocations (from what we know of Invocations so far) as they seem to be about somewhat spontaneous blossoming of power which is in rather sharp contrast to Sidereals concept of set everything in place in advance, even if I don't understand how it relates to the metaphysical concepts hateweel is referenceing (and I at this point I have enough faith in hateweel and holden that this weakness will not translate into their overall powerset being dramatically less powerful or interesting than the others). The other exalt types I'm a bit more confused by. (Lucyfersam)
A: (John Mørke)

It's not exactly about externalization. Because while Sidereal Charms seem external to them, if a Sidereal were to argue that his Charms were an expression of his internalized self I would be inclined to agree with him.

It's about how far your Essence can carry you, and where it goes. Lunars put all of their power into their Charms, and their Charms represent all of their creative, motive energy transitioning into a visible expression of power (like DBT). In essence, Lunars aren't as good at Evocations because their Charms already evoke most of their creative, transformative potential. This is also why they stop at Celestial Circle Sorcery and can't learn Sidereal Martial Arts. It is also why, when a Lunar goes DBT, his Evocations stop working. This also helps us balance Lunars who don't use DBT against Lunars who do.

Q: (In game design terms, of course, it's obvious why you'd want Dragonblooded to have greater access to Evocations than their power level might otherwise warrant: all-Terrestrial groups rank second only to all-Solar groups in terms of party demographics, and obviously you don't want the most popular party makeups to have poor access to 3E's shiny new toys. I'm more curious about how this is going to manifest in descriptive terms.) (David J Prokopetz)
A: This is not true at all and holds no bearing on my logic.
I'll go into more detail later, I need to head out for now. (John Mørke)

Q: Could you at least explain how you are narrowing the power-gap between Celestials while introducing evocations and making Solars the undeniable masters of them?
I can't really see how that's possible without making the native solar combat Charms inferior to Lunar (-DBT) & Sidereal combat Charms. (limaxophobiac)
A: You will see. (John Mørke)

Q: Are there Sidereal specific Evocations that they can get from Starmetal? (Mostlyjoe)
A: The Sidereals do get their Evocations from starmetal. Whether they're unique to Sidereals remains to be seen. (John Mørke)

Q: Will be mechanically possible to create the Keyblade as an Artifact and then have Keyblade wielders around for creation?
a)If yes: it will be mechanically worth it?
b)If not: And the Keyblade wielder as exalted? (Giygas)
A: I have not played Kingdom Hearts, but from what I know about the Keyblade, Evocations should let you recreate it. (John Mørke)

Qa: Will Evocations as presented in the corebook allow for a sentient weapon?
Qb: If not, will Arms of the Chosen do? (Omicron)
Aa: That's the rumor, but if not
Ab: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: With Evocations sounding like weapon-specific charms based on the weapon in question, would it be possible to create something like Daubendiek, The Staff of Chuchain, The Shield of Dreibrant, Stormbringer or Mournblade (a la Elric) etc. using Evocations and possibly the new crafting rules? (Nieroda)
A: Yes to all. Stormbringer in particular. (John Mørke)

Q: (Aranis)

There are two main thoughts about what I would like to see.

First thought is the "sword spirit" idea that, as far as I know, has shown up primarily in Final Fantasy Tactics. In Final Fantasy Tactics, the Samurai class had a primary ability called Draw Out. What Draw Out did was evoke the inner spirit of a katana. Their entire class is built around expressing the power inherent in these legendary weapons, and there's a wide, wide variety of what is possible.

Second though is Zanpaktos. For those unfamiliar with the concept, they hail from the manga/anima Bleach. While this is a simplification, Zanpaktos are living weapons that grow with their users. They have multiple stages of power, the last of which is a gamebreaker ability that is something that decides the course of a conflict unless its met with an equal capability. While I don't want something quite that defined, a semi-sentient weapon that grows and empowers its user is quite cool.

All in all, having weapons that have their own personalities and empower you would be very awesome.

A: (John Mørke)

You can have both of these ideas, 100%, but this is not where the power of Evocations come from, and it's not how they work by default. I want to make sure that people who don't like Bleach / Final Fantasy or haven't had access to those things don't feel like they're missing out.

Evocations mainly give your daiklave a story that intertwines with your own and lets you draw great power from the coexistence of hero and weapon. (And some daiklaves insist that they are the hero in that equation!)

Q: Why might someone want to Craft a specific daiklave when it's easier to find one in a ruin somewhere?
A: Evocations. (John Mørke)

(Aquillion)

Ehhhh.

I mean, that's totally cool, but the fact is, if I say "hey, ST, I want my first-age incarnation to have had this daiklave here, which isn't currently in the setting / canonically was destroyed long ago; and then I want to find this daiklave in a tomb," most STs are going to say "sure!"

I mean, in my experience, if I say "hey, I really want this daiklave, so can we change the timescale of the game a bit so I'll be able to craft it?" most STs will be very eager to just say "no, no, don't bother with that; here, we'll just fudge things and arrange for you to find it" -- people don't like having Crafting in their game, since it fundamentally changes everything if the group really wants to use it.

This is partially true, of course, for other stuff like Sail; but in my experience those things are also underused for the exact same reason; but Sail doesn't require the dramatic timescale changes or infrastructure that people tend to want for Craft. Once someone in the group starts talking about a workshop or, heaven forbid, a manse dedicated to crafting, timescales measured in seasons, and things like that, the game becomes completely different from what it was before.

My experience has generally been that if you're a player who wants to focus on that kind of thing, you'll be seen as "that guy" by the group -- the guy everyone else has to change their concepts and plans to accommodate -- and nobody is going to like you for it. When the thing you're trying to use is very powerful -- if crafting is even stronger in 3e, say -- this actually makes the problem worse, because now you're not just that-guy-who's-demanding-we-change-the-entire-scope-of-the-game-for-him, you're gonna be seen as the-guy-demanding-that-we-change-the-scope-of-the-game-because-he's-a-munchkin.

Which is to say that there is a lot of pressure on STs and other players to just say "you find this artifact; we don't want to bother with craft." Just saying "these artifacts don't exist in the setting, so you have to craft them!" isn't likely to budge most people.

Of course, I recognize that if you just want one specific daiklave rather than the concept of being a master craft, mastering Craft might not be the way to go anyway; and of course a lot of this is player-issues rather than rules-issues -- if your group really honestly doesn't want crafting in their game, that's not something the rules can ever fix. But historically I've always felt that magical crafting is one of the biggest points of "tension" in that respect, and that the rules have made it worse by making it simultaneously incredibly cool and powerful (so many people want it) and by fundamentally requiring that you reorganize the game around it if you want to use it (so many other people are reluctant to let it in.)

(John Mørke)

Oh yeah, there are definitely time and scope issues that I am still addressing behind the scenes. But let's say you got a daiklave out of a ruin and it got destroyed? You won't be out whatever theoretical experience you put into it. Even if that means I write a clause in the rules saying you get your experience points back.

The point is, if you can resurrect a daiklave, you can resurrect its Evocations. If you can build a daiklave that only exists in theory, you are building a vector for Evocations. In essence, you have the option to build your own custom Evocations by building a wholly original artifact.

Should artifacts take so long to craft?

At the end of the day, Exalted creates a painful dichotomy on purpose: It is easier to find the remnants of the First Age and your lost legacy than it is to rebuild them. Story-time and event-time are dissonant on purpose.

That said, I am looking into the problem.

Q: (Gaius)

This is a somewhat tangential point, but I was wondering how "locked in" Evocations are within a given Artifact. If the design and theory are such significant factors, does this generally mean a particular daiklave has a certain "full potential" of Evocations to be unlocked, independent of whomever does the unlocking? Might it instead be possible for two different wielders of that daiklave to ultimately wind up with very different sets of Evocations, appropriate to the relationships and legends forged with them?

I like the idea of an Exalt finding the legendary sword of a prior incarnation and reawakening all the magic it once commanded, or of making such a wonder and achieving with it all the potential (and more) he'd had in mind at its forging. I just also like, for an example, the idea of a hero finding a blade, steeped in the especially bloodthirsty intent of its crafting and of its subsequent history, and -- while finding it relatively easier to master Evocations prone to incredibly brutal effects with lots of collateral damage with it -- through great effort, numerous trials, and nigh-inhuman dedication, can draw from it Evocations deeply against that initial and past nature, capable of protecting or even healing others. Both are cool, but is that latter example the sort of story one is meant to be able to tell with this concept?

A: Evocations are mostly fixed, because I want people to compete for artifacts.
This is not the full answer, I am not ready to give that much detail yet. (John Mørke)

Q: (BrilliantRain)

If I have multiple Artifacts can I pull Evocations from more than one of them? Like, if I have a Spear and Magic Helmet, can I get Evocations to make my magic spear hurt people better and Evocations to make my helmet protect me better?

Or is that like trying to date two people at the same time? (i.e. you can do it, but you'll have to be careful and organized, and it will eat up a lot more of your time and resources than you might initially think.)

Or is it just flat out something you can't do?

A: You can, actually!
For example, there are some paired daiklaves that require you to be using both to do some of their Evocations, while otherwise having individual Evocations. (John Mørke)

Q: One of my players had a question as well, though admittedly it's about something that probably isn't even on the radar yet: how will Alchemicals handle Evocations? (K0npeito)
A: It's our instinct at this early time that they do not have them. (John Mørke)

Q: Will essence-created artifact weapons and armor, like Glorious Solar Saber or Refining the Inner Blade, include their own Evocations? (Sparda219)
A: Doubtful. (Holden)

(Stephenls)

In the 1e Dawn Castebook, there's a memory of a Solar during the First Age awakening on the night of the Usurpation. He is surprised to discover that his Lunar spouse wants to defend him; he'd assumed she merely tolerated their marriage. There's a brief bit about him feeling his daiklave's anger and sense of betrayal at the Dragon-Blooded, its alert at the threat against him, and its eagerness shed the blood of his enemies.

This is a thing in 3e. Artifacts, especially weapons with evocations, will tend to be willful and possess personalities -- not necessarily intellects as such, but intent.

The evocations you can draw from your daiklave are to some extent a function of how successfully you connect with it -- how much affinity you feel for it, how much it feels for you, how much of its history you know and respect; how far with you it's traveled and how much of your life it's shared.

They are not tied to your sword's dot rating. It's not like you get a two-dot daiklave and it can only learn level two evocations, but if you upgrade to a five-dot daiklave it can learn up to level five evocations. I'm pretty sure there isn't such a thing as a two-dot daiklave or five-dot daiklave anymore.

(Also, as far as I know, "level two evocations" and "level five evocations" are both nonsense phrases. Like, that's me explaining how it doesn't work, not hinting in any way at how it does.)

Q: (Jim Lee)'

(Can I make a green jade cudgel which sprouts vines, and leaves flowers wherever it touches the earth? And also causes those vines to wrap around anything it hits and start seeping some dreadful contact poison?)

(This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I get a spontaneous erection anytime anyone so much as says "Ill Lily Style".)

A: An evocation system that doesn't let you do that would be like an Abyssal ruleset that doesn't let you make Vampire Hunter D! (Stephenls)

(John Mørke)

Sample of Evocations: The daiklave called Stormcaller sleeps in its sheathe. When drawn, a hurricane begins to form overhead. Its Evocations both draw from the storm's ferocity, and add to it. The character must carefully draw down and disperse the storm before sheathing Stormcaller. Apex Evocation involves sheathing the weapon early to disperse the storm in a massive directional stormblast capable of flooring a behemoth.

(talking about the main character of the manga "Sword of the Emperor")
(The Free Man)

Q: One thing has me puzzled though, one of his souls is talking about the highest levels of swordsmanship, and brings up wielding weapons using nothing but willpower and Ki (i.e. telekinetically).

Is this valid design space for Solar Melee charms, or is it too "inhuman"?

A: This is the kind of thing where Evocations will be very helpful. ^_^ (The Demented One)

Q: Aren't evocations inherent powers of artifacts? What he's talking about is clearly an inherent power of the swordsman, not his sword, so it wouldn't be apropriate to model it as a power of the sword, because that takes the agency away from the hero and puts it into his weapon, no? (Arrakiz)
A: An Evocation is not extrinsic to the hero. (The Demented One)

Maybe I'm wrong, The Great Demented One is free to correct me, but I just read the comment as "you can do it as a charm, or you can do it as an evocation for a particular artifact". (Arrakiz)
Not was I was trying to say. The point I was making is that Evocations aren't just buttons you mash on your artifact to activate effects X, Y, or Z. (The Demented One)

Kickstarter Update #59

(Aliasi)

I think the idea is pretty sound. Plenty of characters in the media Exalted draws from are defined partially through their epic weapons. (Trivial examples: Elric and Stormbringer, Monkey and his sky-spanning staff, King Arthur and Excalibur, hell, Captain America and his adamantium shield.)

I'm also assuming the idea is this is for daiklaives with a lot of history behind them and similar things. That is, not every daiklaive is going to have a full Evocation tree (it'd be weird if the almost-mass produced jade daiklaives the Realm uses did) but certainly the weapon of your First Age Incarnation that turned the tide of dozens of famous battles during the Primordial War and First Age would. On the flip side, this also gets away from the idea that there is such a thing as "just a daiklaive".

Actually, Volcano Cutter is intended to be an example of "your average, bog-standard daiklave." (Holden)

Q: I'm a complete idiot for charm writing... I'm afraid I won't be able to customize my own set of charms for my "death of obsidian butterflies daiklaive". Will the evocations chapter give me some guidelines to write balanced evocations? (Gonzo)
A: Not really, but you should be able to easily adopt the lessons from Exigents to that task. (Holden)

Also, Evocations are almost giving me a Bleach Vibe. (Dulahan)
When I asked Holden a couple of months ago whether there was a Senbonzakura Evocation, he said "There better be." (Stephenls)

(on improvised weapons and Evocations)
(Eric Minton)

Evocations are born out of the shared legend of the Exalt and her weapon, who grow together out of time and long use. You do not draw Evocations out of a random rice paddle you just picked up, but you do not draw Evocations out of a random sword or spear you just picked up, either. Wielding a mundane weapon -- whether or not it's improvised -- with supernatural skill is the domain of Charms, not Evocations.

If you forge a rice paddle out of orichalcum and wrap its handle in dragon's scales, creating an artifact rice paddle, I guess you could beat people up with it and eventually develop martial Evocations? I could see such a rice paddle primarily used in cookery and developing cookery Evocations, and if you happen to have it to hand and beat people up with it when needed, it might also develop a few martial Evocations that somehow tie in thematically with its household uses -- presumably non-lethally. But constructing a non-weapon artifact tool solely to use it as a weapon seems silly, and only appropriate to comedy-oriented games.

(Holden says, "I'd be more inclined to think that your spoon of asswhooping might eventually begin to develop something of a martial spirit about it that made it amenable to being re-forged as a component for an actual weapon, myself. But again, this seems like a comedy game thing.")

There's been a fair amount of discussion on Solar XP on the [RPGnet Ask the Developers] thread lately, but the thing that has most of my attention is the revelation of a new Evocation to go at the end of Volcano Cutter: All of Creation Turns to Ash. (Isator Levi)
Not "the end." Explicitly "the last published Evocation," because to my ongoing surprise, Evocations, unlike Martial Arts, are limitless, and you can create new ones at will. (Chejop Kejak)
An artifact has a limitless potential for Evocations that could be awoken from it, both so that homebrewers have room to write in new Evocations, and so that you can change trees around to fit your character. Most will have a limit on how many Evocations they can sustain at one time. (The Demented One)

Sorcery / Necromancy / Thaumaturgy

Q: Oh! Oooh! Maybe we could get new, shiny and revamped sorcery, too, worthy of the effort of acquiring it and enough to make an Exalted sorcerer someone to be feared and respected? (Lurks-no-More)
A: Ha ha ha. Ha HA HA. MWA HA HA HA HA HA! *lightning in the dark clouds above* Hee hee. (Plague of Hats)

Q: Do you mean "That was the 1st/2nd/3rd/etc thing we looked at and it's been done for days/weeks/months/etc", or do you mean "it's fine the way it was in 2e"? Because the first is very encouraging, the second very much not so. (Steel Eagle)
A: Sorcery will be recognizably different and more exciting in Third Edition. (Plague of Hats)
A: I mean I have the framework for the fix sitting on my hard drive. (hatewheel)

Q: Will Sorcery rock? (Totentanz)
A: It will be Elric all over the place. (Holden)

Q: What sort of awesome things might a sorcerer or necromancer do on a battlefield in 3E? (ysadrel)
A: No comments on Sorcery, except to say that we are really excited about where it is and we're trying to be careful with it because it has so much potential. (John Mørke)

Q: Is there a necromancy rules in core book? (riodepanlima)
A: No. I wouldn't expect it to pop up until the Abyssals or Liminals book, but that's a guess, not a certainty. (Holden)

Q: Im very excited to see where Sorcery will be in this new edition, and Im sure you guys will make it great. But I am curious: Will Sorcery be relegated to long Rituals only? (Arteliex)
A: No. I probably have to nerf it as it stands. Early projections show it being way too good. (John Mørke)
A: To clarify, before someone's head lights on fire: That's "nerf from our current model," not "nerf from where it was in EX1 and EX2." (Holden)

Q: Will Sorcery and Necromancy utilize the same mechanics in casting spells? (Arteliex)
A: Can't say yet. (John Mørke)

Q: Does learning the "Magic Science" by which Creation operates, represented in previous editions by such things as Thaumaturgy and Magitech, still give in game bonuses of some kind? (depending on how you've rejiggered things, I could see this as simply being represented by having Occult dots, rank 4 or 5 in an ability, special specialties, thaumaturgy, or something else, so conceivably such bonuses might simply take the form of "more dice on the various mini-games we've got going to represent your characters doing things in Creation." However, they're still bonuses, so they count for the above question.) (BrilliantRain)
A: No word on this yet. (John Mørke)

Q: Will building a sorcery focused character be a valid (and mechanically working) character concept (in contrast to Ex2, in which it felt, as if focusing on sorcery makes you impressive on paper but weak as far as mechanics are concerned) ? (Asheira)
A: Impressive and valid? Yes. Paper weak? No. My current model probably needs to take a nerf. (John Mørke)
a. for solars? (Asheira)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)
b. for dragonblooded? (Asheira)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)
c. for mortals? (Asheira)
A: You can't really call a mortal who does Sorcery mortal anymore. (John Mørke)

Q: Can normal mortals initiate into Sorcery or do they need some kind of outside influence to make this feasible? (Asmodai)'
A: A sorcerer is anything but a normal person. (Holden)

Q: In 3E... does learning sorcery do more to a character than just let them cast spells? (The Free Man)
A: Yes. (Holden)

Q: I wonder if it means that unexalted sorcerers won't be able to exalt in 3E? (Anteros)
A: Hell nope. Just that the rare unExalted human who learns sorcery has taken power into her hands that goes beyond the scope of human ability. (The Demented One)

Q: Thaumaturgy... Will it still be as much as a pain in the ass to learn? (Sucal)
A: YMMV (John Mørke)

Q: It the voltron spell still in? And more importantly, does it play well with Lunars this time? (404GoonNotFound)
A: I can think of ways to do it right, but it might be goofy enough that we just never redo it. If it does make it into 3E, it's probably not going to show up for a while.
Regardless of that particular spell, the entire edition has an eye toward curtailing ridiculous numbers. (Plague of Hats)

(John Mørke)

Enlightened mortals in the sense of having mote pools is going away.

There are mortal sorcerers, though. It's incredibly rare, but there are. They can get a damn sight more powerful than in previous editions.

Re: Sorcery: I have already nerfed my design. What got nerfed will never be revealed.

The way Sorcery works as of right now, in its unfinished state, is that you gather the motes using special actions and unique Charms, and when you have enough for the spell you fire it off. It does not spend from your mote pool. This is also the spell's (variable) recast timer. However long it takes you to shape the spell is however long it takes to cast.

That could be "instantly" if you are a Solar, and had the right tools.

Q: Will taking those actions/using those Charms be as detrimental as the Shape Sorcery action? I don't like that a sorcerer doing his signature Thing has to be removed from the game for a few turns and also are a sitting duck, to be picked off at will. (Slightly Lions)
A: I designed against the liabilities of the previous edition. (John Mørke)

Q: Hey, I don't think "is there a way to create sorcerous effects that aren't those of a specific spell you spent xp to learn" is over-specific or implicitly critical! (Ferrinus)
A: You're right!
The answer to that is "yes." (Holden)

Q: Does Sorcery still require initiation of some sort? I am REALLY loving how it sounds like it works so far and am wondering if the initiation charms are still in there somewhere or if those have been supplanted with sorcery-supporting charms instead like I hope. (Sparda219)
A: Every sorcerer's got to start somewhere. (Holden)

Pretty much all the classic spells are going to come back at some point during the edition. As to what makes it into the core-- we'll have to see how much we can fit in :D (Holden)

(Nu Soard Graphite)

It is my hope that they base sorcery on ESSENCE score, rather than categorizing them in terrestrial, celestial and solar tiers of power. that way, this opens up the possibility of essence 1 and essence 2 grade spells, which could be termed "mortal sorcery" and essence 3 and up would be the perview of the exalted.

This also opens the path for very powerful spells at essence 6 and up. and this level of power may be completely denied to terrestialsif the ST declares that terrestrials cant normally increase their essence above 5.

Now the question i have is did the developers say anything about esssence 6+ development? i thought i've seen some discussion of getting rid of it, but not sure if this is something thats going to be a part of ex3 or just something the fans were discussing.

I won't do that, because Solar Circle Sorcery contains E6+ effects. Likewise, Terrestrial and Celestial circles contain spells that are out of the scope of their Essence brackets. Sorcery intentionally gives you access to powers that are beyond your Essence score. (John Mørke)

In the current build, necromancy is a style of sorcery that produces some unique spells. (John Mørke)

Q: Testing the waters with a question: is the sorcerous working system set apart from "spells" in such a way that it's possible to have one but not the other, or to have one at a different circle than the other? Not necessarily for corebook Solars specifically, just in general. (Gayo)
A: Yes, essentially. (The Demented One)

Q: Hmmm... Would it be reasonable to assume that the Salinian Working was pulled off the the Sorcerous Working system? If so, and if one wanted to do something of similar power in modern times, would it be mechanically doable with the system? It doesn't have to (and almost certain shouldn't) be easy to accomplish in play, but I'm curious whether the system can handle it. (BrilliantRain)
A: The Salinian Working is name-dropped as being the upper end of what the sorcerous working system can accomplish (again, under the current, provisional write-up of the system). (The Demented One)

Q: When Thaumaturgy got Errata so Essence-user can't use motes to bypass all the ritual-y process there was some pretty unhappy people, I wonder if the same gonna happen to 3rd Edition Sorcery, does people with the "I'm an Exalted, all this chanting and bowing is for freaking extra !" mentality really exist ? (Jen)
A: I don't anticipate that being an issue, but cannot yet explain why. (The Demented One)

Q: (vampire hunter D)

Do you think they'll still have Spells (which were nothing more than jacked up charms in most ways)? Or make it more freeform?

Persoanlly, I've thought for a long time that Exalted Sorcery shoukd have been mkre like Mage true magick. You get limits on what you can do in certain fie!ds, but not specific effects. Basically all sorcery is otherwise is just access to another whole list of charms.

A: Spells still exist as fixed effects, although there is more differentiation between them and Charms than there was in previous editions. Sorcerous workings lean much more towards the freeform end of the scale. (The Demented One)

Q: Do we now if learning sorcery will be requiring more than unmodified starting essence? (Anteros)
A: It will not. (The Demented One)

Necromancy still has its own circles. When we get to the necromancy mechanics, you will see where I had the writers work to blur the distinctions a bit. In previous editions, there were some spells shared between Sorcery and Necromancy. That is still true. The difference is that the two disciplines use entirely different Shaping techniques in order to cast spells, resulting in characters that act and feel different, and deploy the same spells differently. (John Mørke)

I wonder if there will be some relation between the Thaumaturgical arts, such as demon summoning, and sorcery in the way there is for martial arts. i.e. you can be a demon summoning mortal but being an exalted lets you use the full power and potential of the art. (Exthalion)
Thaumaturgy isn't intrinsically related. There are some places where they interact and some places but they overlap, but by and large they are two totally separate systems. (The Demented One)

I hope things that are just manipulations of the natural ways of creation (Like Life's Little Luxuries Blend or whatever the procedure was) aren't thaumaturgy under occult. (PlotVitalNPC)
Making soap and breeding horses aren't gonna be thaumaturgy in Third Edition. (The Demented One)

Crafting

Q: Artifact/Manse creation: When PCs decided to build them. Is building them going to be Fun? Not just picking out the powers, but figuring out how long it will take to build in game. (AlwaysToast)
A: Yes. I am very excited about our manses. I am also very fond of point buy systems and crafting/construction, so you should expect a lot of meat from this part of the game. (John Mørke)

Q: Is Item creation going to get a new subsystem like Social Influences? If so, how? (Mostlyjoe)
A: I am looking at point build systems and giving magical materials laundry lists of special merits and powers and Evocations, and letting you build alloy weapons and armor so you can incorporate the bennies from different MMs into a single artifact. (John Mørke)

Q: In Exalted 2e Crafting has been left to NPCs in many groups because it requires lots of time and effort into solo work instead of adventuring with the party. Some have said that Crafting needs to be difficult otherwise it's easier to just make something new rather than fighting over it. On the other hand, for some it's been easier simply to suggest an item that's desired to the ST and go dungeoning for it, leaving Crafting completely out of the game.
What have you done to help make Crafters feel part of the party, and not just a helper that sits in town without making it so trivial to create new items that there's no reason to go look for new tech? (teeeyevee)
A: (John Mørke)

Crafting is a sticky wicket, isn't it? The impetus of most gaming groups is to roll out in a group and do things. But crafting is necessarily an "indoor" hobby; the narrative craftsman is a lonely, solitary icon of myth. In a story, he is a stoic, admirable, irreplaceable facet of our understanding of epic narrative; in a game he fits the archetype of NPC: alone and working off camera. This is not an easy problem to solve; while EX3 allows you to derive immense enjoyment from social interaction, how much of that can possibly take place in a workshop?

Because artifacts can be magnitudes more powerful than in previous editions, I am unwilling to make it a matter of hours to craft a new daiklave. What I can do is make it less punitive to leave a project unfinished, making more room for the crafter to participate in group activities; from there, it is up to the ST and the player to pace stories around the idea of the crafter, who will need time to craft. This is no different than making room for the sailor who needs opportunities to sail, or the socialite who needs opportunity to socialize. Essentially, it is not a problem to be solved, but rather a natural circumstance that is a challenge to work around. My goal is to make crafting so interesting and rewarding that people will want to deal with the challenge it presents to storytelling.

One mechanical idea comes by way of a Solar Charm that lets you cordon off a small piece of your mind to create a grand workshop within; so that even when you are away from your physical workshop, you can be imagining, planning, and building your next masterpiece in your mind. This can have a lot of crazy interesting benefits, including being able to rip a completed daiklave or fully-realized manse out of the Wyld with Wyld-Shaping Technique. Or maybe even without it? I am not through writing the Craft Charms yet; we'll see.

Q: Will Craft: Genesis return, and if so, will it see an expansion of ability or examples? (CW)
A: No (Holden)

Q: Will you be able to make cool things with Craft that are not, themselves, Artifacts? (BrilliantRain)
A: Sure. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Crafting be a fun thing to do with your downtime? (BrilliantRain)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

(Plague of Hats)

In 3E the assumed method of artifact crafting is not going to be "2000 x 1010 times longer than crafting a similar mundane item, and the system 'hook' is finding ways to mitigate that bullshit." If you're absolutely set on just sitting at a forge for ever and ever to create The Bestest Sword +2 that's fine, but that's the "if you don't want to come up with anything interesting and don't want to handwave it either" option.

Also no grabbag hearthstones.

Q: Will there be support for nonmagic buildings of the sort we've had for manses, or for the various land-holding merits from nWoD where you can define the structure as a collection of well-defined features with attached values? (A_Raving_Loon)
A: That's something I need to take under consideration. There is definitely going to be support for manses. (John Mørke)

Q: How about similar guidelines for fine-tuning vehicles, or other equipment?
Could such layers of investment and customization lay the groundwork for creating an artifact? (A_Raving_Loon)
A: The artifact crafting system will stand apart from mundane crafting. (John Mørke)

A full-blown manse creation system is in the cards for a later supplement. (Holden)

I am looking into a Sorcery/Craft synergy that allows you to incorporate spells into the artifacts you build. For example, you might build a suit of armor with a series of Evocations that allow it to generate a burning aura and the tendrils of the magma kraken, allowing you to move and attack using its great, burning arms. (John Mørke)

Q: Have you solved the Crafting bloat yet? Don't really care about the precise solution, just that there is/might be one.
A: Kinda. (Holden)

Combat

See Combat

Social Mechanics

Q: is epic motivation dead? (Mizu005)
A: Dead as Zed. (Holden)

Q: Nice! This made my day. Good info, glad to see your guy's work. I do have some questions, but I'm not sure you can answer all of them at this time. Still! If 3e is lacking an epic motivation, will they have Virtues and/or Intimacies? If not, what type of thing is currently planned to replace them to represent the moral and emotional aspects of the world that White-Wolf loves to put in their games, if anything? (SGambit)
A: This shall be revealed! (Holden)

Q: If anything, [Intimacies] deserve greater refinement and focus to produce a strong and interesting social rules system. (Hark)
A: I agree. (The Demented One)

(The Demented One)

Actual spoilers: if you liked the Motivation trait, either as a way of representing current short-term goals or long-term overarching agendas, then you won't be disappointed with 3e's personality mechanics, even though Motivation is no longer in it. If you didn't like Motivation, or occasionally wanted to play characters without fixed or defined Motivations, you'll also be happy.

(Plague of Hats)

One of the problems with Motivation is that it was more of a goal than an actual element of personality. Goals arise from feelings and ideas, they are not feelings and ideas themselves. This meant that you had to come up with the most important goal for your character, and the system resisted your changing it even though people change their goals all the time, and usually have more than one goal that is really important to them.

Q: Is there anything that you can tease out about what social/mental combat looks like, now? (JMobius)
A: It's not two guys screaming at each other until one of them runs out of Willpower. (John Mørke)

Q: And what about social combat? Is it a separate subsystem or the combat engine with words? (pwsnafu)
A: EX3 doesn't have social combat. It has social influence mechanics. (Holden)

Q: Will the social influence rules in 3e be written in such a way that the use of social charms is not automatically considered some form of sinister magical mind control? (SrGrvsaLot)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: On the other side of the coin, will those of us who desire it be able to utterly dominate the will of our targets or is that more of an Abyssal skillset? (First and Forsaken Brian)
A: For specifics you'll have to wait for the previews. (Stephenls)

Q: I always find the "mind-rape" conversation so weird, because I can't really imagine a (non-aesthetic) difference between someone being so magically convincing that you will always agree with them, and someone magically making you agree with them. (AilphanG)
A: (Stephenls)

It's the difference between "Superpowers you never have to feel guilty about using, no matter how wantonly you use them," and "That other set of superpowers that are awful and never okay to use, which are part of a category of superpowers called out as its own thing to throw the good superpowers into contrast." As long as there are clearly mind-rape superpowers, then all non-mind-rape superpowers are okay to spend your XP on because not being mind-rape-superpowers makes them okay.

It's a false dichotomy created by those portions of the fanbase who can't handle either a) moral ambiguity or b) the thought that sometimes spending XP on something doesn't put you in the moral right to spam it relentlessly on everything in sight.

My contention at this point, sadly, is that as much as we try to create a social influence system that doesn't support this dichotomy, there will be some point of division the fanbase at large will settle on, with Mind Rape on one side and Not Mind Rape on the other, and this interpretation will spread far and wide, lo, as unto T-Rexes in F-14s, and within two years we'll be back where we started. But we are aware of the problem and its nature and are trying to prevent its reestablishment.

(Plague of Hats)

Any influence system that provides any amount of real mechanical support for ensuring your "convince a guy" roll actually convinces a guy will leave a foothold for someone calling it mind rape. Therefore it's kind of hard to care about the issue beyond "don't fuck it up hard like 2E did."

(Stephenls)

Yeah pretty much.

The problem here is that "What's the moral difference between supernatural mind control and just being really convincing while talking to someone who is not very good at not being convinced of things?" is both a profoundly uncomfortable question and something that has direct bearing on our real lives. (Also, "What's the moral difference between learning methods of supernatural mind control and learning to be more persuasive?") Exalted in particular tackles it head-on by just straight-up declaring that there's no meaningful difference between having a Convince That Guy dice pool of 8 because you've got 4s in your relevant attribute and ability, and having a dice pool of 8 because you have 2s and are boosting your competence with a dice-adder effect.

People as a whole will invent a way of looking at this that prevent them from having to think about it. There's very little you can do.

Well. We can come online and bitch at people who insist on trying to make stupid interpretations dominant within the fanbase, I guess. That's a storied tradition.

EDIT: I should clarify my motives here. Somewhere there is a human being whose first introduction to Exalted is going to be Exalted's section of the Mind Rape entry on TVTropes. I would like that person not to come away with the impression that Exalted is idiotic and not worth further perusal. If a dumb interpretation of Exalted's social influence paradigm is dominant within the fanbase, the chance of Exalted's entry on that TVTropes page being dumb increases.

Q: [...]I think for nearly all players, getting a reward for being convinced would make social combat go down much smoother. (Wolfwood2)
A: Exalted generally does not go for that sort of metagame reward system. I know we're all very excited about the hints being dropped over in the God-Machine Chronicles thread about Conditions and Beats and taking setbacks in exchange for Beats, but don't assume Ex3 goes in the same direction. (Stephenls)

Q: (Tiresias)

I think Holden mentioned in the New Year's Eve Awesomestravaganza that social influence is heavily based on manipulating people based on their "intimacies".

I also think he mentioned on Twitter that Intimacies were being replaced by Policies, but that was a couple of months ago, so I don't remember it that well.

It sounds a hell of a lot more interesting than what we have now though.

A: Intimacies aren't being replaced. They are, however, being expanded. (The Demented One)

Q: (Major)

So, as Social Combat is on it's way out replaced by Social Influence, how will Social Influence affect characters and NPC's?

Will characters uninterested in having strong Kung-fu (relying on friends) be able to find a niche with social influence as they did with Social Combat?

Will characters weak in Kung-fu have any social tricks to get them out of combat or to prevent combat from occurring?

A: The problem with this sort of mechanical ideal is that it could allow reliable immunity from harm. It could work if it were to be limited. (John Mørke)

Q: I'm probably a horrible person for always running my signature character, but she's a social combat monster. I don't care if I can't immediately brainwash people, I just want to know she's useful. (Stalker of Shadows)
A: Useful in what way?
Will she be able to talk to people in such a way that she changes their minds about things and gets them to do things they otherwise wouldn't? Sure. She'll even be able to do this in the middle of combat. Is there something else you had in mind for her? (Holden)

Q: Will I be able to convince someone to stop attacking me once he's already started? (Social combat in combat time or whatever the 3e conventions are) (The Invisible Voice)
A: Depends on how convincing you are and how invested he is in attacking you. (Holden)

Q: This line of argument doesn't work for me, because we don't expect players to be able to sword fight in order for their character to be able to win with combat mechanics. (ubergeek2012)
A: This is actually the point he's making. We don't expect players to learn to sword fight; we have mechanical support for characters doing that while players only choose broad intents. Mechanical support for characters making persuasive arguments while the player only dictates broad intent likewise eliminates the need for players to engage in genuine debate. (Stephenls)

Q: Unfortunately having a system for social interaction tends to necessarily conflict with the need to have actual relevant social interaction in game, and by extension the need for characters to develop logical, defensible viewpoints and positions. Since the results of a given conversation are going to largely be determined by the actual social mechanics the relevant characters possess there is is little incentive for a given character to think up compelling arguments or seek out the information needed to defend them, as all this will be secondary (if relevant at all) to the character's actual abilities. (Rando)
A: Not in EX3. (Holden)

(Holden)

This thread is a wonderful case study for why we did not use the EX2 social combat mechanics as our starting base and then build up on top of them, but instead came at it from an entirely different direction.

If you want to make someone shut up, beheading them is a pretty final way to get it done-- hard to talk with no head-- but it has its own problems (like the fact that you are now playing an insane murderer who kills at the drop of a hat).

Of course, all this batshit crazy behavior ultimately sprung from the fact that EX2 social combat modeled conversation as shooting infinite ammo Dominate lasers of nearly unlimited power at people-- "I roll to make him blow me *clatter* *collect blowjob*" is not the foundational model of EX3. :p

(Stephenls)

The entire social interaction paradigm has been burned to the ground and built back up from the empty lot.

Q: The system concept of introducing a change to policy that changes how people in an organisation act may not directly map to the setting presence of a law being passed and everybody dutifully following it. (Isator Levi)
A: Ding. (Stephenls)

Q: Any system that requires an organization to have a codified leader is going to fly in the face of social models where actions arise spontaneously out of larger social trends[1], or where leadership arises out of difficult-to-quantify interactions between a small-to-medium-sized group. (Stephenls)
A: Such as the Guild's Directorate, or the Council of Entities. Yes. (Holden)

(Lioness)

My speculation on Minor vs. Major Intimacies is that the distinction exists to create a divide between a woman's fondness for cats (minor) and her love for her baby (major).
In 2nd edition social combat the two intimacies have equal value* which is kind of silly and the only way you can get her to love her kids more than cats without magic is to work them into her Motivation but that's pretty damn clumsy, especially if she was an established NPC with goals before she had a child.

*before willpower expenditure at least, but that should be an executive veto rather than a fallback from the system not making as much sense as it should.

A: Bingo. (Holden)

Q: Since Intimacies have grown, do they apply to people, places, artifacts? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Might be misunderstanding: If you're asking "Can I have an intimacy for [noun]?" The answer is yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Tell me about Exalted 3's social system. Will I have mechanical incentive to follow what a persuasive character wants? (decoboco)
A: We haven't fashioned the social influence system as a mechanical structure for conversations. It is a much more natural rail, in that it disappears entirely if you're not looking, but comes back to guide you as soon as conflict arises. That said the choices you make at the end of the day will be dramatic ones. If we force you, then we're creating unnatural behavior. If we reward you, we're also creating unnatural behavior. That's not a no, but rather that our interest lies in making the game spontaneous and natural, not mechanical and artificial. (John Mørke)

Q: Is there an equivalent to a battle group in the social influence rules, or some other abstraction for influencing a bunch of people at once? Or does the system works in a way that doesn't need that sort of thing? (danelsan)
A: No comment on this atm (John Mørke)

Q: Based on the Charm previews thus far, I gather that intimacies are a critical part of the new social rules. Will Virtues also be integrated, either as targets for social attacks or in another fashion? (Stephanie Vega)
A: You are correct about Intimacies. The Virtue system is still being balanced, but we expect it to have a place in the social system. (John Mørke)

Virtues will be entirely different, folded into the social system. (John Mørke)

The role of Virtues is massively reduced because we realized the expanded Intimacy system obsoletes their old functions and performs them with much greater customizability and nuance. The Great Curse is much more flexible, situationally nuanced,, and Storyteller-adjustable than before---- rather than "you will periodically flip out and kill your friends because they were out of Rocky Road at Ben & Jerry's" (Holden)

(on Virtues being removed from 3e)
Q: Can you link or provide a quote for context? I haven't heard this at all, and would be very curious as to why it is being removed, and if it is being replaced with something else. I always thought the Virtue system was something that really distinguished Exalted from other games. (Ejtaka)
A: It was in for a while, but ended up just being completely redundant with what the Intimacy system was doing. (The Demented One)

Q: So, Seduction. Is that an action in and of itself, distinct from other social influence? Because these charms give me that sense. (BryanChavez)
A: No, but it' certainly a thing you can talk about as a discrete thing within the milieu of social influence, just as you might have a Charm to make you better at convincing people to lend you money or make your lies more convincing. (Holden)

Q: Also, I may have missed the explanation and if I have I apologize, but I noticed in the charm writeup the mention of "Resolve". Is that going to be like the social combat version of momentum? Or is it a derived social defense stat? (Aldath)
A: It's similar but not identical to MDV. (Holden)

I believe that Intimacies are things you care about - people, places, nations, teddy bears, so on and so forth. I believe that Principles are more like mission statements - "The Realm must fall", "Pine Trees should be burned because they are an affront to my god", "I will defend the innocent". (Kyeudo)
Ties and Principles are two sub-categories of Intimacies. You've correctly profiled Principles. (Holden)

I wonder if the line between Intimidation and Instill (Fear of Me) is as fuzzy as it seems, or if there's a clear difference between the two. (Inugami) As crystal. (The Demented One)

I wonder if sexual seduction is a sequence of Instill (Lust) followed by Persuade (Have Sex), or just Bargain by itself.

It might depend on the seducer and the target. If the seducer is very attractive to the target, and the target would gladly hop into bed with anyone attractive, it might only require a Bargain action. Someone with more restraint would need to be Persuaded, which requires that they care about the seducer in some particular and specific way. (Inugami)
Context-sensitive. If you're just playing out the classic pulp trope of "hero seduces the powerful sorcerer to get something he needs," it'd be a Bargain (although using some Instill actions to get them liking you beforehand would be helpful!) If you want to like, actually get someone to want to be committed sex buddies, which is not an action I see ever being taken in a game of Exalted but whatever, that would be Instill. (The Demented One)

NPC Creation

Q: Will there be explicitly different rules to handle character creation and/or character management for NPCs? (Day_Dreamer)
A: For those who want to use them, yes. (Holden)

"Prep and NPC design not a squamous writhing nightmare for Storytellers" is one of the top five priorities for 3e. (Holden)

Q: Are you planning to make any significant changes to the 2.0 stat-block for NPCS? (babyseal)
A: Yes. (Holden)

Q: Question from a beleaguered ex-Exalted ST: is there any potential for simplified npc creation rules and powers? Ultimately that's what ran my game into the ground, just too much time being sunk into prep and tracking everything during combat. Rules specifically for antagonists, focusing on iconic powers and mechanics for challenging the PCs, would be an amazing godsend. (mirober)
A: Yes, Quick NPCs are a thing. (Plague of Hats)

It's not like you have to use Quick NPCs if you don't want to. There's just no real middle ground here. You don't get a "Finish and release all the books in a single week" option. (Plague of Hats)
What Hats is getting at here is that there is indeed something in the book called Quick NPCs. Quick NPCs are a thing that is happening. (Stephenls)
Yes, the important thing is "Yay, new, useful tool." (Plague of Hats)
Yes. People who want to fully stat up NPCs can still do that. People who find fully statting up NPCs (or running NPCs using the full set of PC rules) prohibitively time-intensive will have a carefully thought-out and playtested alternative. (Stephenls)

Q:(Scutarii)

I think the concern would be that the NPCs are either too basic or too simplified that they don't stand up meaningfully to the amount of options and customisation that a PC has so they cease (or never are) a threat. Or, to avoid that issue, they are inflated in power and thus require some concerted character building to match.

Plus, opposition Exalts won't feel right if they aren't using abilities that you are used to seeing or know that they can use. E.g.: you have a Dragon-Blood in the group and face off against some other Dragon-Bloods. If none of the opposition are using abilities or powers/Charms/Combos like the Dragon-Blood in your group is then there's a disconnect between what you expect to see and what you actually see.

A: The purpose of Quick Character stat blocks is to keep Storytellers from tearing out their own pubes and eating them at the prospect of having to prep for their game every week. If you've got an NPC that is intended to be an important, recurring character, by all means, give it a full PC-quality stat block. If it's Fire Aspect #3 that will be showing up in one scene alongside the Wyld Hunt and probably never again in the game, you don't really need to know how many dots he has in Bureaucracy, do you? (Holden)

Q: At which point I need to stop the session to stat a character that I didn't put the little bit of effort into stating properly. (Harkmagic)
A: Then you have an easy solution: Fully stat all your NPCs. (Holden)

[Quick Character creation] looks pretty good so far. If there's one suggestion that I'd have, it is that wordcount permitting, they should reproduce (possibly truncated) versions of the Willpower and Essence Pool charts in here. I'd prefer if all the information I need to make a QC is right there, rather than requiring flipping around to various tables. (JMobius)
(Holden)

The Essence pool charts will be arranged in a table in a sidebar over by the Exalts in the Antagonists chapter (which this sits at the beginning of). You can look at the Exalt you want, move down to the relevant Essence rating, and there's your number.

Same goes for gods and faeries in their respective sections.

Inhabitants of Creation

Q: A friend of mine, not really following this even as well as I have, thinks that the abundance of Exalted types feels like an indication that non-Exalted beings are being neglected in 3E. What about the gods, demons, Fair Folk, behemoths, mortals, etc? Can we be reassured that these are going to be interesting and worthwhile enemies or allies? (SmilingBeast)
A: Non-Exalted antagonists will be more viable as opponents for Exalted PCs in 3e, not less.

(We intend for them to be more interesting than heretofore as well, but that is a subjective measure and thus may not hold true for all groups.) (Eric Minton)

Q: All the talk about the Exalted he hears - indirectly, from me and others - somehow led him to think that the Exalted themselves were the only element of the setting that the devs find interesting. (SmilingBeast)
A: Absolutely not the case. We are working to ensure that the non-Exalted elements of the setting are more interesting and engaging than they were in previous editions. (Eric Minton)

Q: Will the gods and elementals be more impressive for the Exalted and are there mechanics to back it up? (Asheira)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Are problematic Spirit charms due to be revised in form or function? some seem entirely too useless for the spirit to use (Benefaction), while others are overwhelmingly powerful when activated (Sheating the Material Form, Ride), making it difficult to find an appropriate grade of difficulty for antagonists. (babyseal)
A: Spirits aren't going to get a universal Charm set in 3e, beyond a very few super-common basics like Measure the Wind. (Holden)

Q: Will ghosts receive any increase of power or influence which would cause Exalts to pay more attention to them? (babyseal)
A: Answer is too complicated to compress down here. (Holden)

Q: Are you going to address how animals are represented in the game mechanics? Meaning: The standard storyteller stats tend to break down for very small and very large animals. Lots of things animals do are not very well represented in stat blocks. Exalted has never had a "Big book of animals." This always causes problems with Lunars. Is this still going to be a problem? (AlwaysToast)
A: Yes, have some clever ways of representing animals. I also intend to release a bestiary that includes a huge list of animals. I have personally designed animals in EX3 with Lunars in mind. (John Mørke)

Q: Since a bestiary was discussed, is there any chance 3E will return to 1E's use of prehistoric animals to flesh out Creation's fantastical fauna? Or at least make it clearer to the art direction? (insomniac)
A: I loves me some megafauna. (Holden)

Q: Will I be able to ride a Claw Strider and feel fucking awesome for it? (Omicron)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: It has been said that big number stats can do undesirable things to the storyteller engine. And I'm assuming Lunars will still be able to turn into animals. Is something being worked on to avoid problems with big animals having incredibly high Strength values, or avoiding it causing balance concerns for Lunars? (danelsan)
A: Of course (John Mørke)

The playtests indicate that it's not change you need to fear in EX3, anyway.
It's tyrant lizards. Those fuckers bite HARD. (Holden)

We've also been told a number of playtesters have been eaten by Tyrant Lizards, I have the feeling that once I have my hands on the 3e core first thing I'll do is look up those Tyrant Lizard stats. (Zironic)
Those were mortals! And yes tyrant lizards are scary. (Holden)

Q: Holden, am I to read into this that you are not opposed to eventually printing a book which DOES include stats for the Incarna and/or Yozis and other "high-level" NPCs, but that they will not be in the core?
If so, I'm fine with it. My problem has largely, if not solely, been with the claim that statting them at all, ever will totally ruin "low-level" play forever. (Segev)
A: I don't think that book would look like what you'd want or expect from it. (Holden)

Q: Will the Mice of the Sun by in 3rd edition? I love those things. (nexus)
A: Yes! (John Mørke)

Q: Can we hope to say anything new and interesting with the Jadeborn in 3rd Edition? (glamourweaver)
A: I should hope so. I can't think of any reason why we'd want to make them dull. (Stephenls)

Q: Will we finally see tangible rules for using Lintha as fleshed out N/PCs in the future? (CW)
A: Possibly. (Holden)

Q: Going back to the more mysterious world structure of First Edition, will we see new 'one-of-a-kind' creatures or factions or heroes or loci geared toward more inscrutable ends (i.e. Bagrash Kol, the Well of Udr, the Forest Witches, Mother Bog, etc.)? (CW)
A: Yes. (Holden)

Q: Will we see a new category of enemy never seen before in previous editions, I mean something that is no raksha, deathlord or yozi related? (Gonzo)'
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

(on non-Exalted challenges)
Q: will there be full stat blocks for these assorted creatures/things? (finaliteration)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: As for a question, I'd really like to revisit my Behemoth query. Are there any plans to pin down a mechanics system to create them, other than the standard "Uh, they have, like, 18 strength, and, um, 400 health levels. Yeah." I would really like to see some giant monster love, even as a standalone book down the road. I don't know if they appear at all in the fluff for Third, but they did in Second and First, but there never appeared a reasonable or satisfying way to put one together as an adversary, mechanically.
Obviously, if they are absent in Third then it's a moot point, but reading about awesome monsters and then having no way to properly include them in the game was my biggest 'let-down' of the prior two editions. (Rylan)
A: There will be behemoths and we will have comprehensive stats for them. (John Mørke)

The problem I foresee with this approach is that one of the things people will want to do with behemoths is make their own. The other problem I see is that unless exalted 3rd edition has some kind of challenge rating type system, it seems that it will be very difficult to judge a unique, uncatergorizable creature against the circle's power rating (or adjust a behemoth's stats to make it a better fit for a particular game). SrGrvsaLot
It's easy to make up a giant monster and stat it in EX3. (John Mørke)

Q: (That Rough Beast)

This may be a bit of a personal bias, but one of the things I really missed in the transition from 1e to 2e were the portrayals of various NPCs. I was never that excited by Dace or Swan, but the Caste books and Aspect books from the first edition usually gave a glimpse of several other example characters, and more importantly gave them some in-character commentary on things. In comparison, perhaps just because of the brevity of the chapter comics, perhaps because of some unconscious intent, the NPCs in 2e seemed a lot less detailed, often erratic, and sometimes just blatantly villainous.*

Granted, the NPCs should be secondary to the PCs and all, but you need them to be well-drawn to flesh the setting out. I'd take Huyla, the frog faced Nexus ninja, over most of the psychopaths with a page long charm listing any day. Granted, you had your Lytas in 1e, but at least they seemed to be part of a spectrum.

*Actually, my pet theory is that this was caused by the attitude that the Exalted MUST be created with an epic motivation, like ending slavery forever or toppling the Realm, instead of wanting to care for their village or protect a specific place or something. By its insistence on the epic, 2e stripped out the humanity that gives those stories meaning.

A: I agree wholeheartedly. Lyta and Havesh were great characters when they were part of a tapestry. While I don't have caste/aspect books in mind, I do have a mind to get more NPCs written up. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Sharkdad return in 3E? (A_Raving_Loon)
A: We couldn't have an edition without him. (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

The following stat blocks have been redacted to obscure sensitive technical details of the system. Brackets represent obscured mechanics. Ability descriptions constitute production notes, not final copy. As always, this material is in preview form and subject to change.
Tyrant Lizard
Base Initiative: 4
Join Battle: 8 dice
Bite: 8 dice, 17L (Strength 10 + Terrible Jaws +7L). [May be used in either attack mode.]
Tail Lash: 8 dice, 14B (Strength 10 + Tail Lash +4B). [May be used in either attack mode.] Inflicts knockdown upon inflicting more than (target’s Stamina) damage. When directed at a character protected by Defend Other, attack is applied to defender as well as the initial target.
Special Attacks:
Stomp: 7 dice, [decisive attack] only. +10 raw damage against prone targets. [Can become a chain attack with Tail Lash under a certain condition.]
Ferocious Bite: 7 dice + 3 automatic successes, [decisive attack] only. + 10 raw damage. The tyrant lizard’s [combat momentum is reduced by this attack regardless of success]. He may not use it again until his [combat momentum] is 6+.
Mighty Roar: The tyrant lizard roars, asserting his authority, automatically dropping the damage of all [decisive attacks] against him by 2, and gaining 2 [combat momentum] for each weakened attack. Attacks from Battle Groups automatically fail for the rest of the turn, also granting 2 [combat momentum]. Effect persists for two combat rounds. Mighty Roar can only be reset by a 2 point stunt in which the tyrant lizard causes destruction, terror, or injury.
Defense: Parry 3, Dodge 2
Soak: 8L/13B
Health: -0x4/-1x4/-2x3/-4x2/Incap. Tyrant Lizard attempts to flee upon suffering 9 damage, unless cornered or fighting to protect its young.
Willpower: 7
Merits: Incredible Might: Tyrant Lizard can easily hoist 10+ tons with its jaws.
Relentless Tyrant Lizard’s Pursuit: The tyrant lizard’s sense of smell is so advanced it can make Survival-based tracking rolls to pick up the scent of a target anywhere under the influence of the nearest Elemental Pole.
Notes: Tyrant lizards can never choose to attack their original target when that target is the beneficiary of Defend Other. Tyrant Lizard only fails Valor checks against supernatural fear-induction.

Lunar fans pay attention. You can turn into that (John Mørke)

(on animal statblocks)
kinda depends on the animal. A monkey is like, +3 to brachiation, 5 dice to fling shit, done. Tyrant lizard's supposed to be a bit more swank lol (Holden)

I'm glad it has a "done-in-one" feel it. I'm more interested in seeing spirit statblocks - I remember those being a nightmare, as there were often 2 or 3 books required just to parse the abilities of a single spirit. Hopefully there'll be an overall reduction of cross-referencing by putting all the stats you need in one place. (Alien Rope Burn)
Very much so. Spirit stat blocks are going to resemble the 2e spirit stat blocks that were published before Roll of Glorious Divininty I, i.e. all the Charms will have their descriptions right in the block, so you won't need to flip any pages to see what the hell the spirit can do. And I think the rest of the stats will be built on the quick character rules. (Stephenls)

If they're inconsistent with the text.... well, I feel like we've been down that road before with previous editions. (BrilliantRain)
*shakes fist at raitons* (Satchel)
I'm pretty sure "Get the raiton right" is on the to-do list this edition, at least. Dinosaurs are kickass. (Stephenls)

Q: Are beastmen vulnerable to diseases suffered by either parents' species? (TheCountAlucard)
A: Ex3's disease system isn't granular enough to distinguish between diseases that affect humans but not animals (to be fair, I'm pretty sure no rpg has a system that nuanced). My intuition is that hybrid vigor would kick in here, and they wouldn't be especially vulnerable to diseases that only afflict their animal parent. Maybe they could catch it, but only suffer minor annoyance from it. (The Demented One)

Q: Does the corebook have stats for a platypus?
A: Sadly we are platypus-free. Platypi will appear in a year two supplement. (Holden)

Q: Can you play an Exalted Beastfolk without spending all your Bonus Points on mutations?
A: Beastfolk should generally only need a few points of Merits to account for their awesome fangs / wings / chitinous armor / horrifying projectile corkscrew dicks / whatever. (Holden)

You can totally have a tyrant lizard familiar. (John Mørke)

(Stephenls)

Everyone loves the djala, but they're not "Not quite human." They're just pygmies with a weird skin coloration thing, outside Earth's range of ethnic phenotype variance but well within Creation's. It's like people from the East having green hair, or people from the West having blue hair. They won't all have enlightened essence again, that's for sure -- they never did before Scroll of Heroes, and they weren't written on the assumption that they did afterward. That was just something that particular author thought up that nobody else much liked.

People of the Air will probably still be around? They're sorta cool. In 1e they were just a long, long, long, long-extinct created race that went extinct because they actually could not exist or reproduce without artificial food and artificial wombs done via First Age infrastructure and magic/technology that doesn't persist anymore, though. I think it unlikely that will be reinstated.

The whole idea of there being a "People of the Sea" as distinct from pelagothropes seems caught up in a bunch of pure-blooded-humans-good, mutants-and-beastmen-bad bullshit I'm not fond of and that Ex3 will refute with the Heroes of the Niobraran and the Empire of the Feathered Serpent; I don't see why they exist beyond a desire for unnecessary symmetry with the People of the Air and Earth, and a desire to provide a not-those-icky-pelagothropes option for playing aquatic people.

People of the Earth... I don't know what's up with those. In Scavenger Sons there was an anecdote about someone exploring the caverns under Gethamane and meeting up with a weird humanoid with blue skin who traded the poor lost traveler passage back to the surface in exchange for one of the traveler's eyeballs; the People of the Earth seems like someone went "Hey, what if that was just a race of people who live underground and happen to have blue skin?" It feels like a waste of potential to me.

As a general rule, I don't expect the idea of created races who are distinct primarily because they were created will have much traction in 3e. There are more and better ways to make exotic cultures interesting than saying they exist because a wizard did it two thousand years ago.

(Stephenls)

I think I may have said something other people will find confusing, so here's another statement about People of the Air:

Even though People of the Air, when they were introduced, were just an irrelevant long-extinct curiosity, and even though I sort of think it would have been cooler if they'd been left that way, and even though Ex3 is deliberately returning to the feel of 1e in a lot of ways... I think if the People of the Air return in 3rd edition, they're not going to reappear as an irrelevant long-extinct curiosity. There'll be winged people around in modern Creation, if the topic comes up.

(The Demented One)

You probably won't see a whole book on the Lintha.

You probably will see a whole lot of cool Lintha shit.

I'd like to see more ghostly things besides humans (other than a passing reference to camels and horses via charms). Hekatonkhires, weird extinct things, half remembered loyal companions. (Locutus of Autochthon)
There are some weird things in the 3e corebook's antagonists section. (Eric Minton)

If at all possible, the first character I make for 3E is going to have a Mouse of the Sun as a familiar. Possibly be a sorcerer as well. (JayTee)
It's very possible. (The Demented One)

Mutations are in the core, but there'll be lots of options for Wyld monsters and fauna that aren't just normal stuff + mutations. The antagonist section has examples of both. (The Demented One)

Exalts

See Exalts

Primordials

See Primordials

God-blooded

Q: Is the core book going to offer some support to playing Ghost/God/Fae/Celestial-blooded characters, and if no is there going to be a book that deals with them in the conceivable future? Basically, where do you see the Whatever-blooded in your vision for 3E? I find Godblooded and their ilk the red-headed stepchild of Exalted - they have to be included for completeness' sake, but get almost no spotlight apart from filling a niche in between regular mortals and REAL heroes like the exalted. I find them interesting, but there doesn't seem to be much (good) support, at least officially - I think they only get Scroll of Heroes? Mechanically, apart from some abuses their power is somewhere in between mortals and exalts - above, but not completely beyond, non-exalted mortal heroes. These are the kind of figures that are normally the high heroes in mythology, but in Exalted they rank fairly low. On the other hand, this is what makes things so interesting for them - exploring the change of how their archetype works in Creation, their heritage issues, their place in society and how those help shape their life. (4uk4ata)
A: God-Blooded playable out of the corebook: Kinda-sorta-not-really. Not the awakened-Essence kind with Charms, anyway. Later support: I want to give them a 164-page-ish softcover book somewhere down the road. (Holden)

Q: Are the children of the Exalted and humans/weird creatures still endowed with some kind of power? (Asmodai)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

For me, god-blooded characters are there to be liaisons for specific gods or be standalone characters with their own agendas. On the first point, this can be in a martial, societal, or religious sense. God-blooded characters could be their parents' enforcers against the unruly, diplomats to get their parents' way through peaceable means, or their head priests. To contrast, they could simply use their legacy on their own to pursue whatever goals they want to, but that legacy is going to show up in various ways, most obviously the powers that they employ. (Aranis)
Hmm. I see the point you are building, but the main reason I don't subscribe to it is because God-Blooded do not automatically obviate mortal priests. Sometimes a spirit has no God-Blooded nor any priests and approaches mortals for bargaining and mutual gain, and this kind of irreligious relationship is also a standard worth noticing. (John Mørke)

Fair Folk / Raksha

Q: Will the Echo keyword be making a comeback? (Ganurath)
A: Good God, no. We can design without needing horrible sutures and band-aids to hold things together now. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

The Ishvara will be back.

(John Mørke)

Raksha will be playable, and they will be awesome.

Q: Any word on the relative power levels, or will is the expectation still that they will define themselves as the glorious and recurring rivals of beings which can kill them with half a thought? (Mozart)
A: (John Mørke)

We're unable to answer questions like this without confirming to people the existence of absolute power tiers.

We intend that there be a middleground.

Q: Will we be able to fake up some Fae NPCs with just the Core? (BrilliantRain)
A: Yup. (Holden)

Q: Are you planning to go back to the original vision of the Fae from the 1e outline, of Eurofae tropes overlaid onto radioactive mutants and Lovecraftian Aliens, or are you sticking with the Indian vibe of Raksha or will they be more individualized living stories? (BrilliantRain)
A: They'll be something a bit different than in either previous edition, as we're not really satisfied with how those turned out. (Holden)

Q: If I want to play a fair folk/raksha/wyld thing, how easy will it be for me to be that? (MadxHatter0)
A: Impossible until their book comes out. After that, very easy. (Holden)

Q: What will be the themes of these new wyld born monstrosities? (MadxHatter0)
A: Diverse and manifold. I think it was boring to have faeries that could look like anything but were really all just one thing. (Holden)

Q: More options are good, but I hope that the obnoxious Mary Sue metagamer faeries remain an option for the playable sorts. I know that a lot of folks considered them to be immersion-breaking and unutterably twee, but to my mind, the ability to step back and interface with the mechanics directly - manipulating their own character sheets, awarding themselves stunt dice, literalising the system's baked-in narrative conceits, and so forth - is what really distinguishes Exalted fae from the generic Cthulhu elves they could have been. (David J Prokopetz)
A: Nope! (Stephenls)

Q: Ah. Generic Cthulhu elves, then?
My concern here is that without the meta-narrative wackiness, Exalted's version of the fae is - and always has been - incredibly bland. Without that hook, they've really got nothing to set them apart; depending on which iteration you're looking at, either they're Anne Rice vampires in elfish drag, or else they're monsters whose themes aspire to the Lovecraftian, but fail badly because they don't live in the right sort of cosmos for those themes to have any resonance. The goofy meta-narrative stuff was the only interesting thing about them. (David J Prokopetz)
A: Nope! (Stephenls)

Q: Hmm. Now, there's two possible ways this "nope!" can be interpreted: (David J Prokopetz)
A: Nope! (Stephenls)

Q: 1. 3E fae will not thematically resemble 1E or 2E raksha. (David J Prokopetz)
A: Only insofar as 1e and 2e fae were very badly executed (read the link) and 3e won't be. (Stephenls)

Q: 2. 1E and 2E fae themes were not boring without the meta-narrative stuff.(David J Prokopetz)
A: (Stephenls)

Well, yes and no, inasmuch, again, as the failures of execution rife throughout the 1e and 2e Fair Folk books made them boring for reasons largely orthogonal to their metanarrative elements.

Okay. Remember how the 1e Lunar ST chapter came at the Lunars from the angle that a) Lunars are all about manly barbarian adventuring, b) manly barbarian adventuring is boring and dumb, so c) maybe you should make sure that all your characters are using different types of weapons, like one guy can be Sword Guy and another guy can be Axe Guy, because that way they'll feel slightly more distinct, and slightly less boring and dumb, while they're having boring and dumb manly barbarian adventures?

Trying to fix the Fair Folk by playing up their twee metanarrative elements is a lot like trying to fix 1e Lunars by suggesting that the players make sure all their characters have different signature weapons.

And, I mean, David, I know and you know that you are in love with twee intellectual perversity. You want to marry twee intellectual perversity and form a zillion babbies with it. This does not mean an overt focus on twee intellectual perversity is the right thing to make the foundation of our creative product about beautiful dark angels made entirely of lies.

Will Fair Folk in 3e be boring, stereotypical Cthulhu elves? No, although Cthulhu elves is sort of the idea space they emerge from (you will note I did not include "boring" in that caveat). Will they be dour Ricean vampires? Uh, no, although they do share certain elements with Ricean vampires (you will note I did not include "dour" in that caveat). Will they be a clean break from 1e and 2e Fair Folk? No! Or, at least, they won't be a clean break from the good, strong ideas at the foundations of the 1e and 2e Fair Folk, the ideas were nearly smothered under a heaping pile of poor execution.

So, in summary, once again:

Nope!

Q: I think you're slightly mischaracterising me here. I never suggested that the goofy metanarrative shenanigans are in any way inextricable from the concept of the Fair Folk in Exalted as written; I merely asserted that the goofy metanarrative elements were the only non-boring thing about them. Was it foundational? Not really - but it was something interesting stuck in a pile of microwaved leftovers from the early 90s Gothic revival craze. (David J Prokopetz)
A: (Stephenls)

Yes, there you go with the "Make sure your dudes are using different weapons, it'll help distract from how our premise sucks" thing again. There is a reason why people like Cthulhu elves. There is a reason why people like Ricean vampires. There is a reason why people like drow. There is a reason, in fact, why people like high-energy kung-fu fights between dudes wielding swords the size of surfboards. If your execution begins with "This premise is animu crap for babies/angsty bullshit for emos" and continues on there you are going to make a product that sucks, no matter how much you try to liven it up by spending too many words on an ancillary element that happens to catch your fancy and distract you from the tedium of writing a subject you find in no way interesting.

We're not going to make a pile of microwave leftovers from the early 90s gothic revival craze, but there's a reason why gothic revival lead to a craze in the first place, and if we can't find that original vein of inspiration and mine it productively then we shouldn't be working on Exalted at all, since it's a pulp adventure revival game in the first place and that is another thing that often seems mined completely out.

Q: With that in mind, I'm sure you can understand why a person might have reservations when you say that you're getting rid of the only novel thing about them (at least a written), and responding to any queries about what might be replacing it with coy monosyllabic one-liners. :p (David J Prokopetz)
A: No. Really, no. If you honestly think that novelty for novelty's sake is the only thing worth pursuing, then I don't know what you're doing here. (Stephenls)

Q: (The posted link is interesting, but it doesn't tell those of us who haven't had the privilege of seeing the original design document it refers to much that we didn't already know.) (David J Prokopetz)
A: I guess you'll have to wait, then. (Stephenls)

(Stephenls)

The real problem here, and the reason why I started posting monosyllabic one-liners, is that David's original question amounted to "Given that Exalted's Fair Folk are dull as dishwater, are you going to keep in the one joke that makes them interesting?" As far as questions go that's up there with "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

Nope! Question's wrong!

Q: Let me rephrase, then: insofar as the breadth of the Fair Folk schtick excluding the twee metanarrative folderol has not historically offered them a niche that doesn't substantially overlap with those of other, more prominent and iconic splats, can you offer any hints with respect to how the scope of that schtick is being expanded to escape from that trap? (David J Prokopetz)
A: Not really. I don't think they suffer the problem of occupying a niche completely overshadowed by other splats who do everything they do better. (Stephenls)

(John Mørke)

The Fair Folk is a term that now describes more beings than just the raksha. Raksha will be playable and will have distinct mechanics from other Fair Folk. My projection is that the other Fair Folk will be playable as well.

We are throwing out the Unshaped as an amorphous blob of sentient anything, and we are tossing out Shaping Combat as well. "Pre-shape" raksha may possess powers in the Wyld that they do not in Creation, but a shaped raksha who travels back into the Wyld will regain these powers.* There will not be a big power difference between raksha before and raksha after taking shape.

*This is a projection that is subject to change.

Q: (David J Prokopetz)

Like I said in the previous thread, that wasn't a consequence of the existence of playable Fair Folk so much as it was a consequence of the puzzling insistence that every Wyld beastie ever had to be build on exactly the same rules as PC Fair Folk.

(I'd still be interested to know what the 3E designers feel the raksha thematic niche is once the goofy meta stuff has been set aside, though. Like I said last thread, I can't think of much that one of the major Exalted splats doesn't cover as well or better.)

A: They're exiled vampire nobility with psychedelic dream-conjuring powers. But the nobility tropes they hit are tropes the DBs don't hit, the vampire tropes they hit are tropes Abyssals don't hit, and the exile and psychedelic dream tropes they hit are tropes Lunars don't hit. They occupy a fortuitous thematic space between three other major splats.
They do overlap a bit with the Lintha in being bishi predatory Melneboneans. (Stephenls)

As for the Fair Folk, they're getting radically simplified from a mechanical perspective, and probably structured in a way that doesn't look like the other things in Exalted. Not in that they're baroque and hard to grasp, but in that their power set probably looks more like a World of Darkness splat than an Exalted one, with easy power ladders rather than a labyrinthine Charm set. They need to be fun to play, but also very easy for STs to understand and run as NPCs. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

One of the minor goals with the Fair Folk was always to use their mechanics to make them feel like they were alien outsiders, not native to Creation. I think that was a good idea, but the method used-- giving them enormous metaphysical and mechanical complexity-- was at odds with how people wanted to use them in play. Giving them a structural profile reminiscent of another game system, but which is simple and easy to grasp, seems like a better way to hit that goal, at least to me. It makes them easy to grok, and gets across he idea that they're real aliens to the setting.

(Holden)

"Faerie" is a broad umbrella under which most of the things that live in the Wyld fall. Raksha are what we're used to thinking of as Fair Folk nobles. "Fair Folk" is a term the Creation-born came up with to avoid offending the mighty and capricious lords of chaos. (Most people in Creation don't know the first goddamn thing about the taxonomy, biology, or social structures of the fae.) It technically should only apply to raksha, but generally people will slap it on anything fae-like that comes out of the Wyld, because they can't generally tell the difference and the fae rarely explain themselves. (This will immediately go from flattering to offending most raksha-- they don't like being lumped into the same category as a hobgoblin).

The Pearl Court, the Winter Folk, and Mabande's Serpents are all different derivations of raksha. A hobgoblin, Northern howler, tinker-gremlin, and silverwight are all four completely separate types of things that live in the Wyld, which are commonly created or enslaved by the Fair Folk.

Oh, and the Hannya would also technically fall under the "Fair Folk" umbrella, but are not raksha. They're higher-order beings on par with the raksha, though. (Holden)

In play, I'd like raksha to feel strange and alien without immediately disappearing up their own ass. Like: You have a raksha in the party, and most of the time it's like having Namor in the party-- he's a supercilious prick and irritatingly aware that he's immortal and beautiful and awesome, and when a fight starts up he jumps in and yells IMPERIOUS REX and punches stuff in the face and it's all good. Most of the time. Then occasionally he'll say or do something and it's like "oh, right: this is an alien monster without a soul." (Holden)

Q: (Isator Levi)

So, if raksha are probably being decoupled more from the lesser kinds of fae, such that of the faerie hosts the actual Fair Folk constitute an even smaller quantity...

Does that mean the raksha can become commensurately more powerful? Or rather, have their growth curve evened out more, so it doesn't go from "weaker than a Terrestrial" to "about mid-level Celestial"?

A: Not having to use their power set to represent hobgoblins and silverwights and lesser panjandrums will certainly make it easier to write raksha who can play alongside Exalts without feeling like third wheels. (Stephenls)

Deathlords

Q: will you be moving deathlords away from "evil overlords" and more towards passion enthralled ghosts? (Aeroz)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

It is impossible to predict what the Deathlords will look like in 3e if you come at them purely from a reaction to 2e. (John Mørke)
Q: and for the people coming at it from a 1e perspective? (Low Key)
A: Well, there were some problems with them in 1e also. But sometimes I differ about where the problems were, and which features were actually bugs. My goal with the Deathlords, foremost, is to make them interesting and different from one another. (John Mørke)

Q: Can you tell us anything about the Deathlords? Do you write new deathlords into the rank? (riodepanlima)
A: I don't think we need more Deathlords. I think we need the Deathlords we already have to be more varied and interesting than "Skeletor #1-13." (Holden)

Q: I really hope Deathlords aren't usurpation solars anymore, I'd love to see them reinvisioned as expresions of a different nature, avatars from the void or whatever, I'll cross my fingers to see something new and awesome. (Gonzo)
A: (John Mørke)

What would be gained by doing this that you can't already have from the current Deathlords?

(I know what would be lost, among those things the awesome new backstory for Larquen Quen Holden and I spent the last two days writing.)

Q: Does the idea of a Deathlord "projecting" himself from his stronghold seem like a feasible idea to you? (TCA666)
A: Yes. I sketched up an Abyssal Charm last night that lets you meditate while in a graveyard or other place of death, and project yourself into a bank of fog or into the shadow of a cloud passing over the moon, and other phenomena. I imagine the Deathlords know this trick. (John Mørke)

Q: Will we by chance see any of the Deathlord line-up change or any new faces? (CW)
A: Define "change" (Holden)

Q: is "the Black Fleet of the Bodhisattva Anointed by Dark Water," going to be a thing in 3e? (CrownedSun)'
A: Fuck. No. (Holden)

Q: What about "Island Five", as a thing that exists? (CrownedSun)'
A: Motherfuck no. (Holden)

All of the Abyssals and Deathlords working to dump Creation into Oblivion will not be returning. The Deathlords mostly present regional threats in this edition, because having every single game of Exalted ultimately culminate in a battle with every single Deathlord was really disheartening. (John Mørke)
Q: Do they still have a collective agenda of any sort? (Gayo)
A: Wait and see. (John Mørke)

Q: Still unsure what the Deathlords will consider a victory though. Dragging everyone in Oblivion? Avenging the Usurpation? Giving Creation the taste of torment they've suffered? (emeraldstreak)
A: 13 individuals, 13 different desires. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

"Let them go if they want to go; let them be free. Eventually, they will bring darkness to the world, as surely as we, the Solars once did."
—The Bodhisattva Anointed by Dark Waters

(John Mørke)

What I have for the Walker atm, is that he marches his spectral army around Creation, and his Shadowland marches with him, like a dark cloud moving over the landscape. He offers his military services to embattled nations for a grim price.

Still very philosophical. I love the idea of him kneeling in a courtroom, accepting an honor from a king, while the queen is backed up in her throne as far as she can get, the whole court is aghast and terrified, and swimming with living shadows, an he is holding a bleeding rose up to the queen in offering.

Oh, I always planned him to remain a warrior poet. The mercenary angle is to make him more accessible, a character that kings and leaders have actually treated with.

The question is always whether you can pay the Walker's price. It's a bit of a monkey's paw.

I'm curious how statable the new Deathlords are intended to be, given that they have a more present role in the setting than the Incarnae or Yozis. (glamourweaver)
Very stattable. (Holden)
Q: The obvious next question is, are you planning on officially statting any of them? (Mizu005)
A: Yup! (Holden)

Q: Do all the Deathlords seek to end the world? (MiltonSlavemasta)
A: They're supposed to-- but they tend to have their own ideas about what to do with a deathless eternity stretching out before them. (Holden)

Q: Do any Deathlords dream of making war on the Neverborn? (MiltonSlavemasta)
A: Yes, even as they are aware of how futile such a war would be. (Holden)

Heroic Mortals

Q: Do Heroic Mortals have new machanics to make combat more interesting for them? In both 1st and 2nd Editions, Heroic Mortal combat was just a matter of rolling dice until your opponent falls, you didn't have much options without Charms. While the game is called Exalted, not Heroic Dude, mortal games offer a new possibility that was completelly ignored in previous editions (and when it was adressed, the options where boring). (Maese Mateo)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: [W]ill Heroic Mortals have more tools and resources at their disposal to be antagonic to an Exalted Circle? One of the main problems with 2nd Edition was the difficulty to come up with good antagonists who present a challenge (and that are not other Chosen) to the Circle. Since Creation has plenty of mortals to deal with, there is a lot of potential to be explored there. Of course more powerful the character become, less likely is that to happen, but at least it should be an option for newly made characters. For example, I would like to run a Solar game (all new characters) where the first villain is a Crime Syndicate from some big city where only mortals are involved. (Maese Mateo)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: (Maese Mateo)

Is the possibility of an Enlightened Charm Tree for extremely Heroic Mortals (like I said on a previous thread, a couple of social charms, a couple of physical charms and a couple of mental charms, you don't need hundreds of charms to make it work and be fun) been considered at all?

Will Heroic Mortals in 3rd Edition be able to access Terrestial Martial Arts and Sorcery like theid did before? If so, will it be easier, harder or the same for them to unlock these options?

If the previous question is "Yes": Will Heroic Mortals in 3rd Edition be able to create simple Terrestial Martial Art Styles (or individual Charms) or Emerald Spells? I'm not saying it's a good or a bad idea, I'm just curious if that is even been considered as an option.

A: No comment yet. Keep watching! (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

Without the context of heroic mortals and antagonists, playing Exalted is a meaningless exercise.

Q: (Odd_Canuck)

Actually, slight spoiler request, if one of the freelancers is willing to answer.

Will it be possible to pull off a mortal/enlightened mortal type character with equipment that raises him to the effectiveness of a weak exalted? The Batman or Ironman type of character? On the one hand, mortals boosting themselves up with first age tech they found and becoming a power is a cool story. On the other hand, such things have historically lead to players having whole legions of mortals in high end battle armor and high end weapons that can defeat almost any nation.

A: I don't like the idea of enlightened mortals and I don't think it is healthy to think of Batman or Iron Man as "not Exalted;" a mortal will be able to gain power, but the question will become "where do you draw the line between mortal and Exalted?" I believe in blurring those lines a bit, for a more satisfying exploration of the themes of Exalted. (John Mørke)

Q: Coupled with the confirmation of additional "minor" types of Exalts beyond the big five, I'm guessing we're looking at a scenario where, instead of "enlightened mortals", we have a classification of of minor Exalted that's basically "regular dude who meditated on a mountaintop or something until he achieved enlightenment". (David J Prokopetz)
A: You guess wrong. 2e was about boxing and labeling everything. I despise that kind of mentality. (John Mørke)

Q: Will there be mechanical benefits to playing a humanoid character? (Shanwolf)
A: If there should be. I mean, you might have claws, or wings. Those don't stop working. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

We will not be revisiting enlightened mortals, which actually means we will not be revisiting mortals with mote pools who can do sorcery and supernatural martial arts.

But you will see mortals doing some pretty amazing things which I cannot yet disclose.

Q: Are mortal PC's possible with core book, and will mortal pc's be able to contribute in a mixed party?
A: Yes, you can play mortals. Yes, you can play them with a mixed party, though Solars will be hilariously stronger. But if someone wants to be a mortal sorcerer, or martial artist, or the plucky warstrider maintenance technician/love interest, or whatever, they can do that. (Holden)

Storytelling 3E

Q: How easy/difficult will it be for me to run a game for a group of players who have never read any Exalted material at all (and will not read the 3E core book) and to whom I will presumably have to explain the rules orally? (Omicron)
A: Moderate difficulty-- the core concepts are very easy to explain, the difficulty comes from playing catch-up with little caveats like mount modifiers and grapples for the first few weeks as situations come up. (Holden)

Q: Actually, I do have a question - is an effort being made to provide something of a "default" setup (or a number of suggestions with some useful info) to ease new Storytellers in and so on? One problem with have a setting as vast in scope as Creation (which is only getting more vast!) can be deciding where to start, and what you're doing, and to be honest, it's an area I feel like most previous WW games (including Exalted) have been a little lacking in. Also, if you have players who just aren't much for the long-term planning, will there be suggestions for/ways of handling this, given that there seems to be a focus on setting up a regional power-base and so on? (Eurhetemec)
A: The Storytelling chapter is going to be about how and where to begin an Exalted game, choosing genres, locations, and demonstrating how to tell a story that gets bigger in scope over time. (John Mørke)
A: We're doing something a bit different with our Storytelling chapter, on the grounds that we've never felt that previous Exalted (or White Wolf in general) Storytelling material was nearly as useful as it should have been in addressing a lot of the topics you mention there. (Holden)

(on non-Solar protagonism)
(Stephenls)

It is very easy to imagine scenarios where the arrival of the Solars shakes up the status quo enough to serve as a catalyst for non-Solars to rise up and make meaningful change to the world. Creation was in a destructive, entropic spiral (whether that be destructive and entropic in the sense of the Wyld or Oblivion or just nasty societal phenomena) before the Solars returned, but their disruption of the current historical pattern could be enough to allow potentially anyone to shake free of the oppressive historical cycle of conflict.

Q: This here is the difficulty. When I hear Exalted, I don't necessarily associate it with a lot of different play-styles. I like me some dark fantasy. Scion was awesome, as a concept, even if it (IMO) stumbled on the mechanics. Selfish gods bickering amongst themselves while the world is sliding to oblivion. Very nice. I like doing epic fantasy in a post-apocalyptic world - I still run Scarred Lands minicampaigns with Pathfinder rules.
However, beyond basics on default setting background, Solars and Dragon-Blooded (2nd edition), I don't really have a reference for all these other things you listed above. I suppose what I'm asking is this: if the Solars are the default PCs and the Dragon-Blooded are the default antagonists, do I need both the core and DB book to run a good game? (Telperion)
A: (Holden)

You can run a bang-up game with the corebook alone (many people did exactly that throughout both the first and second editions). If you were only going to pick up one of the big, hardcover supplements, I'd probably suggest getting the Dragon-Blooded one, since they're the most common Exalts to show up in almost any game, so getting a higher degree of setting and mechanical fidelity for them can be very useful, if simply for variety's sake. Not mandatory, though.

On the other hand, getting the Dragon-Blooded book lets you play Dragon-Blooded as well as use them as NPCs, and that roughly doubles the amount of awesome you can extract from Exalted. :D

(But no, not necessary. Just very cool.)

We will have cosmic weirdness at least the equal to the 1e Sidereal Charm set; we will have heroes with the means and motive to drag the world out of the Age of Sorrows or into Oblivion. Lead armies, ruin armies, conquer and found nations, slay behemoths, plumb the Underworld for secrets long dead, make war against Heaven, force sanctions from Hell. That'll all be there. (Stephenls)
(Bolding Mine)
Q: Mh. Will this really be there and not smiled down onto by the authorial intent?
Because killing that sort of goal is what I feared when I heard that Grabowski would play a hand in Ex3.
I'd like to not be made feel like the poor, dumb, uneducated and low-brow idiot for trying to move Creation into an honestly brighter future. I don't want to be made feeling bad for not making it all a big, epic, tragedy without any real hope. (Matt.Ceb)
A: Yeah, that'll really be there. (Stephenls)

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