Exalted: Essence

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AsenRG

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It looks to me more like you are looking through rose tinted glasses at 1e and 2e.
We'd have to agree to disagree. Or I could go over my PDFs and tell you whether I've changed my opinion, if you prefer!

Though my overall preference is for 1e, it has plenty of clangers and the art style is all over the map as admitted in the Making of Exalted book.
Right, and I already admitted it's got some awful pieces. No disconnect there. And yes, 2e was better:thumbsup:.

OK, this guy's style would have been better for another game...:grin:

TBH 2e also has its share of low points, this example being my least favourite Exalted art of any edition.
View attachment 31617
Yeah, that sucks. Again, I never said 2e has uniformly good art, there's some real clankers there as well!
But it's also got orders of magnitude more good art than 3e, too. At least based on the books that I've seen.

Likewise, 3e has some pieces that I consider to be excellent.
I haven't seen a single one in the books I've perused.
 

Skywalker

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I haven't seen a single one in the books I've perused.

Art is ultimately subjective so there seems little point in taking this further, given my original point was just that all editions were patchy. It’s cool if you find 3e art uniformly bad I guess, but given the amount of art you are talking about that feels like you are exaggerating for effect.

For my money, the Direction landscape art in 3e was all pretty great. I also thought most of the chapter splash pages held up against previous editions, especially the one of the statue of the Unconquered Sun and the Harvest Maiden Exigent.
 

AsenRG

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Art is ultimately subjective so there seems little point in taking this further, given my original point was just that all editions were patchy. It’s cool if you find 3e art uniformly bad I guess, but given the amount of art you are talking about that feels like you are exaggerating for effect.
Actually no, I said I haven't seen anything above "middling" (or "above strictly average", because we recently had a thread about non-numbered qualifiers of skills...:grin:)
So, at best 3e has got a picture or two who had 6 out of 10 or thereabout. Previous editions have reached way higher:thumbsup:.

And I must add: this only applies to the books I've actually read! So core, jumpstart, equipment book and some random art from other books.


For my money, the Direction landscape art in 3e was all pretty great. I also thought most of the chapter splash pages held up against previous editions, especially the one of the statue of the Unconquered Sun and the Harvest Maiden Exigent.
I'll check them again and let you know what I think, if you want.


But since art isn't going to be the reason I back (or don't) Essence, I think we can safely stop it here, too:shade:.
I mean, I've bought books with below average art with no more than a shrug (no names), and I like Classic Traveller's "no fluff/art" approach (it fits well the genre, too).
Conversely, I've got one book where the art was partially the reason: Eclipse Phase 1e. (But the much bigger reason was "I like it that they're giving the PDF for free and I want to actually buy what they can't just give away". From what I know, I wasn't the only one to feel that way, either:grin:!)
So yeah, art is seldom a big part of why I buy or refuse to buy RPG books. Actually, it's easier to get me to refuse to buy by having fugly art than to persuade me with good one: I'm going to be playing the game, not cosplaying the characters in the art:tongue:!
So as long as I don't find the art distractingly bad, it should be fine:devil:!
 

Skywalker

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So as long as I don't find the art distractingly bad, it should be fine:devil:!
On that we agree. Essence’s art doesn’t reach the height of 1e or 2e. But I find it is more consistent in its quality than those editions so far, which means at least it not distracting. Not a high bar but still one that’s good to get over for a product designed to bring new and old players to the RPG.
 

AsenRG

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On that we agree. Essence’s art doesn’t reach the height of 1e or 2e. But I find it is more consistent in its quality than those editions so far, which means at least it not distracting. Not a high bar but still one that’s good to get over for a product designed to bring new and old players to the RPG.
Yeah, though we might different opinions what is the minimum bar to not be distracting:thumbsup:.
 

Skywalker

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System and Storyteller chapters are up. Not many shockers in here, which is actually a good thing IMO. It seems very much a distilled version of the system that underlies Exalted in all its versions. The concept of Power and withering/decisive attacks are there from 3e as was signaled.

Social combat has been pared back but is still more involved than most RPG systems. Mass combat has bare bones system, but we may see more in the antagonists chapter.

The Storytelling chapter is a nice touched, and will no doubt be appreciated by newcomers.
 

Rich H

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Still needlessly complicated for my eyes and brain but appreciate them releasing the draft rules so we can make our minds up properly this time. I remember 3rd edition being promised as streamlined and being anything but that.
 

Skywalker

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Agree it’s not rules lite. It distills what we had in the previous editions, rather than taking a new approach. Thats cool for me as I like the core of the ruleset for the most part.

It looks to be about as light as 1e was with a number of the things that added lots of complexity in play removed (flurries, initiative, and combos) and a couple of things added to fill gaps (social influence).

I am pretty happy with it overall. I could explain all the systems to my wife in under 5 minutes and she says she got it :grin:
 

spittingimage

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Agree it’s not rules lite. It distills what we had in the previous editions, rather than taking a new approach. Thats cool for me as I like the core of the ruleset for the most part.

It looks to be about as light as 1e was with a number of the things that added lots of complexity in play removed (flurries, initiative, and combos) and a couple of things added to fill gaps (social influence).

I am pretty happy with it overall. I could explain all the systems to my wife in under 5 minutes and she says she got it :grin:
1623266332977.png
 

Rich H

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Agree it’s not rules lite. It distills what we had in the previous editions, rather than taking a new approach. Thats cool for me as I like the core of the ruleset for the most part.

It looks to be about as light as 1e was with a number of the things that added lots of complexity in play removed (flurries, initiative, and combos) and a couple of things added to fill gaps (social influence).

... Makes me wonder if it's a revised edition by the back door.

I am pretty happy with it overall. I could explain all the systems to my wife in under 5 minutes and she says she got it :grin:

5 minutes! You're a better RPG-man than me!
 

Skywalker

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... Makes me wonder if it's a revised edition by the back door.
OP are being open about what Exalted Essence will look like, so discussions about editions are pretty redundant.

For myself, Exalted Essence is closer to what I wanted from 2e (or a 20th Anniversary of Exalted), so I will likely be giving it a good spin before making a final decision. The fact that its a single book that I can just plug into my existing collection of 1e and 2e books for lore, is kind of cool too.

5 minutes! You're a better RPG-man than me!
Possibly. I find Exalted Essence hews closer to its core mechanic, which reminds me of 1e more than the later editions. Combat and social combat are quite easy to explain once you understand that core mechanic, more so previous editions. Sure, there are some rules embellishments like gambits that I wouldn't even raise until later in a campaign, but there really isn't a lot more to the rules chapter to be honest.

The only real complexity that has been retained is around Power building and decisive and withering attacks. This was one area of 3e that I was interested in. Essence has simplified it a lot and I am hopefully that it will promote wider action types in combat than just "I attack" or "I attack lots" that previous editions often devolved into as attacking was the best combat option.

There are some cool nuances too, like the action to give someone else your Power and the way that incapacitation doesn't mean your PC is out of play, but instead becomes a drain on power building until you are back on your feet.
 

Psychopomp

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I wonder if OPP has done any brainstorming on what to do if Essence proves to be the more popular system by far.

I don't think that scenario is outside the realm of possibility.
 

Skywalker

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They really seem between a rock and a hard place. Exalted 3e follows a publishing model which is no longer really viable and has only really just started, despite having had several years.

Maybe the hope will be that with an evergreen set of rules with Essence that they can sell more of the Exalted 3e supplements, much like WotC does with 5e. However, I would expect that this would only really be viable for setting and adventure supplements. Not sure what it means for the hardcover splatbooks.
 

Jetstream

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They really seem between a rock and a hard place. Exalted 3e follows a publishing model which is no longer really viable and has only really just started, despite having had several years.

Maybe the hope will be that with an evergreen set of rules with Essence that they can sell more of the Exalted 3e supplements, much like WotC does with 5e. However, I would expect that this would only really be viable for setting and adventure supplements. Not sure what it means for the hardcover splatbooks.
To be fair, part of the assumption you're making is that there aren't enough people who like Ex3 to sustain the regular hardcover splats.

We won't know that until it happens.
 

Skywalker

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True. Its clear that the market has moved away from that model of releases and its true that sustaining that model for the years that will be required given the current pace seem a very big ask. But OP may be happy to continue to do so regardless of these factors.
 

Skywalker

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Charm previews have started. Here are two staples:

[Ability] Excellency
Prerequisite
: [Ability] 1
Whatever the Exalt attempts, she does so with superhuman ability.
When purchasing this Charm, choose an Ability. Spend 1 mote. This applies on Step 1 during combat. Outside of combat, this may be used to boost passive values. Add that Ability as a dice bonus to an applicable roll involving the chosen Ability. You may add Close Combat dice to Close Combat attacks, or add Integrity dice to Integrity rolls to resist the sway of a Deathlord, but may not use Stealth dice to add to a Close Combat attack or Ranged Combat to add dice to a Navigation roll. This Charm may be purchased more than once, but you must choose a different Ability every time.
Alchemical, Getimian, Lunar, and Liminal Mode: When purchasing this Charm, also choose an Attribute. If your Attribute is higher than the chosen Ability, you may add it as a dice bonus instead.

Ox Body
Prerequisite
: None
By virtue of her Exalted health, the character endures greater levels of injury.
The Exalt gains an additional -1 level. This may be purchased a number of times equal to the character’s Physique.
  • Lunar: The Exalt gains an additional -1 and -2 Health Level. This may be purchased a number of times equal to Fortitude.
  • Liminal: The Exalt gains an additional 0 Health level. This may be purchased a number of times equal to Fortitude.
  • Abyssal, Infernal and Solar Mode: The Exalt gains their choice of an additional 0 or two -1 Health levels.
  • Dragon-Blooded: The Exalt gains an additional -2 Health Level.
  • Getimian and Sidereal: The Exalt replaces the default -1 Health level with a 0 Health level.
  • Alchemical: If Fortitude is higher than Physique, this may be purchased a number of times equal to Fortitude, instead.
  • Strawmaiden Janest: Janest gains Ox Body as a Solar Mode.
 

Jetstream

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True. Its clear that the market has moved away from that model of releases and its true that sustaining that model for the years that will be required given the current pace seem a very big ask. But OP may be happy to continue to do so regardless of these factors.
I'm just sayin', Lunars and Dragon Blooded both got over 2300 people out to buy the fuckers. Somebody likes 'em. If Exigents tanks, maybe you're right, but until then... Eh?
 

Skywalker

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I am not suggesting that OP do anything TBH. If they continue as they have over the last 5 years, as they look like they are intending to do, good for them.

But that doesn't change the observation that OP will need to continue on this current course for another 15+ years at its current pace if it is to release all of the main Exalted books. I can't think of any RPG that has managed to sustain itself over that length of time, so that would be an impressive achievement.
 

AsenRG

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Charm previews have started. Here are two staples:

[Ability] Excellency
Prerequisite
: [Ability] 1
Whatever the Exalt attempts, she does so with superhuman ability.
When purchasing this Charm, choose an Ability. Spend 1 mote. This applies on Step 1 during combat. Outside of combat, this may be used to boost passive values. Add that Ability as a dice bonus to an applicable roll involving the chosen Ability. You may add Close Combat dice to Close Combat attacks, or add Integrity dice to Integrity rolls to resist the sway of a Deathlord, but may not use Stealth dice to add to a Close Combat attack or Ranged Combat to add dice to a Navigation roll. This Charm may be purchased more than once, but you must choose a different Ability every time.
Alchemical, Getimian, Lunar, and Liminal Mode: When purchasing this Charm, also choose an Attribute. If your Attribute is higher than the chosen Ability, you may add it as a dice bonus instead.

Ox-Body is fine, but...so a Solar with Dex 5 Close Combat 1 adds only 1 die with this excellency, but the Liunar/Alchemical/Getimian/Liminal with the same stats adds 5 dice? Weren't Solaroids supposed to be strongest and shit:shade:?

I prefer playing sidereals and lunars, so I'm not impacted...I just find it curious. Or possibly a bit of misguided design, as expected for Exalted:thumbsup:!
 

spittingimage

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Ox-Body is fine, but...so a Solar with Dex 5 Close Combat 1 adds only 1 die with this excellency, but the Liunar/Alchemical/Getimian/Liminal with the same stats adds 5 dice? Weren't Solaroids supposed to be strongest and shit:shade:?

I prefer playing sidereals and lunars, so I'm not impacted...I just find it curious. Or possibly a bit of misguided design, as expected for Exalted:thumbsup:!
I believe Solaroids are meant to be skill monsters and Lunars were always the physical stats monsters. I don't know about the new Exalt types.
 

AsenRG

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I believe Solaroids are meant to be skill monsters and Lunars were always the physical stats monsters. I don't know about the new Exalt types.
Yeah, but then as written the Solaroid with Skill 5, Attribute 1 gets 5 bonus dice. Same as the Lunar who didn't raise the attribute at all, just the one skill...

Bottom line: as written, Solaroids need high skills, period (which are more numerous and XP-intensive). The four types of Exalts always get the better of the two. How is that not a big advantage:smile:?
It's like rolling a straight d10 or 2d10 pick higher, and claiming "it's fine, the upper limit is the same"...:wink:

I mean, if they just say outright "those four types pick an attribute instead", that's fine. Though that's also an XP sink for everyone else (15 skills vs...how many attributes), and Solar excellencies don't seem stronger to compensate. But the Charm as written is even worse:gunslinger:.

So Lunars aren't going to be just generalists, but generalists who do in each area as well as Solars with more XP invested. Cool for Lunar players. Sucks for Solaroid players:evil:.

Worse, that's definitely not in line with "solaroids are the Big Power" theme of earlier editions, which is also a setting theme...
Until now, Solar Excellency simply allowed Solars to add more dice, so it was acceptable. This time? Seems the Excellency does the same for everyone, except for those who can choose whether to gain the same number of bonus dice via attribute or skill.

So this is, as of now, the edition where Solar Excellency is inferior to Lunar Excellency, as well as to New Types Excellencies:shade:. Unless they change it before release, of course.
But given the experience with OP KSs, I won't be holding my breath:tongue:!

Mistaken rules are the Essence of Exalted, it seems, as the Creation-Slaying Oblivion Kick can attest:devil:!
 
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Roseblack

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Ox-Body is fine, but...so a Solar with Dex 5 Close Combat 1 adds only 1 die with this excellency, but the Liunar/Alchemical/Getimian/Liminal with the same stats adds 5 dice? Weren't Solaroids supposed to be strongest and shit:shade:?

I prefer playing sidereals and lunars, so I'm not impacted...I just find it curious. Or possibly a bit of misguided design, as expected for Exalted:thumbsup:!
This has always been the case. The only difference here is that Excellencies always give the maximum dice for one mote instead of making you buy up to that number at one mote per die, that Solars now don’t even have to pay that one mote (but in return aren’t adding quite as many dice), and that Lunars et al. now only get to apply their attribute Excellency bonus to a single ability (whereas before they had it for any application of that attribute).

So on balance Lunars actually get nerfed a little bit, with the caveat that you don’t take an Excellency in something you’re not good at unless you’re a Lunar type, in which case you get to cheat with your attribute, to demonstrate your supreme adaptability or whatever.

It’s a pretty good distillation of what’s come before.
 

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Given the advantages that the Solars have, I think they remain supreme despite some flattening in this one example. For example, they use Excellencies for free, which with lower Essence pools will be useful. They also get better Charms, Modes, and can regain Essence faster.
 

AsenRG

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Given the advantages that the Solars have, I think they remain supreme despite some flattening in this one example. For example, they use Excellencies for free, which with lower Essence pools will be useful. They also get better Charms, Modes, and can regain Essence faster.
OK, guys, sorry, I didn't know about "free excellencies" caveat. Now yes, if you have that, the balance is pretty much fine:thumbsup:.
Still acts as a free booster for Lunars, but yes, when applied to one ability only, it's acceptable, since "cheating" should be part of their shtick anyway:grin:!
 

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Given the advantages that the Solars have, I think they remain supreme despite some flattening in this one example. For example, they use Excellencies for free, which with lower Essence pools will be useful. They also get better Charms, Modes, and can regain Essence faster.
Agreed. And since, with limited charm picks per character, a Solar is not going to bother with an Excellency for an ability with less than 4 or 5 dots, they’re probably still throwing around the biggest dice pools in most circumstances.


OK, guys, sorry, I didn't know about "free excellencies" caveat. Now yes, if you have that, the balance is pretty much fine:thumbsup:.
Still acts as a free booster for Lunars, but yes, when applied to one ability only, it's acceptable, since "cheating" should be part of their shtick anyway:grin:!
Yeah, I think they’ve got the balance pretty good here. Or as good as Exalted is going to get, anyway. The trick, I guess, is to make Solars feel predictably awesome and make others feel extra awesome in more context-sensitive ways, which this seems to do.
 

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Yeah, but then as written the Solaroid with Skill 5, Attribute 1 gets 5 bonus dice. Same as the Lunar who didn't raise the attribute at all, just the one skill...

Bottom line: as written, Solaroids need high skills, period (which are more numerous and XP-intensive). The four types of Exalts always get the better of the two. How is that not a big advantage:smile:?
It's like rolling a straight d10 or 2d10 pick higher, and claiming "it's fine, the upper limit is the same"...:wink:

I mean, if they just say outright "those four types pick an attribute instead", that's fine. Though that's also an XP sink for everyone else (15 skills vs...how many attributes), and Solar excellencies don't seem stronger to compensate. But the Charm as written is even worse:gunslinger:.

So Lunars aren't going to be just generalists, but generalists who do in each area as well as Solars with more XP invested. Cool for Lunar players. Sucks for Solaroid players:evil:.

Worse, that's definitely not in line with "solaroids are the Big Power" theme of earlier editions, which is also a setting theme...
Until now, Solar Excellency simply allowed Solars to add more dice, so it was acceptable. This time? Seems the Excellency does the same for everyone, except for those who can choose whether to gain the same number of bonus dice via attribute or skill.

So this is, as of now, the edition where Solar Excellency is inferior to Lunar Excellency, as well as to New Types Excellencies:shade:. Unless they change it before release, of course.
But given the experience with OP KSs, I won't be holding my breath:tongue:!

Mistaken rules are the Essence of Exalted, it seems, as the Creation-Slaying Oblivion Kick can attest:devil:!
I mean. In 3E proper Lunars have 9 attributes to worry about while Solars have 25 skills to worry about.

Also, "Solaroid" is a fan term, not a game term.
 

AsenRG

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Yeah, I think they’ve got the balance pretty good here. Or as good as Exalted is going to get, anyway. The trick, I guess, is to make Solars feel predictably awesome and make others feel extra awesome in more context-sensitive ways, which this seems to do.
I think that's the key, here:grin:!

Also, Solaroid is a fan term because two of the "other Exalted" types are literally Solars pushed through an Essence Grinder:thumbsup:!
 

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I think that's the key, here:grin:!

Also, Solaroid is a fan term because two of the "other Exalted" types are literally Solars pushed through an Essence Grinder:thumbsup:!
My point is that it’s not an official “category” that the devs use to create stuff.
 

AsenRG

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My point is that it’s not an official “category” that the devs use to create stuff.
So? It's still a category that makes sense within the setting. I mean, the Solaroids were created from Solar essences because the Solars were THAT powerful it was worth the effort needed to locate, capture and change them.
If the devs aren't making it an official one, their call. But due to setting constraints, they still end up being similar.
 

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I see from today’s preview that all the “make weapon/armor out of solidified sunlight and panache” Solar charms are now a single charm, which is nice. It was at least four different ones previously.
 

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You can also see from the Solar Charms that many grant 1 Anima. I don’t think that will be true of all Exalted, and given the increase of power of anima, that would also be a boost.

I also think Solars ability to win all ties is almost like adding 1 success to some rolls.
 

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I see from today’s preview that all the “make weapon/armor out of solidified sunlight and panache” Solar charms are now a single charm, which is nice. It was at least four different ones previously.
That's exactly what I want to hear. I was legitimately dismayed when I first handled a copy of 3E and realised it was more suited to clubbing seals than gaming.
 

Skywalker

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Ox-Body is fine, but...so a Solar with Dex 5 Close Combat 1 adds only 1 die with this excellency, but the Liunar/Alchemical/Getimian/Liminal with the same stats adds 5 dice? Weren't Solaroids supposed to be strongest and shit:shade:?

It’s also worth noting that Lunars and these other Exalted types no longer get Attribute Excellencies like they did previously. They still choose an Ability for Excellencies and can revert to using their Attribute if higher when using that Ability. That’s a reduction in power to straight Attribute Excellencies, though still reflective of the core concept of the greater versatility from raw power that they had before.
 

Roseblack

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Since attributes are now one of three broad approaches (as opposed to one of nine specific attributes), it’s probably less of a power reduction than it seems, but it is a necessary adjustment to keep a Lunar from being able to apply a single Excellency to just about every roll in the game.

So now you can get a large dice bonus for this thing you’re technically mediocre at, as long as you’re doing it with finesse, for example. I expect Lunars et al. will still tend to take Excellencies in things they’re good at, so in practice it might not mean much, but it’s an additional option for them to shore up weaknesses without having to buy the actual ability dots.
 
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