RPGs: hall of shame

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Ossian

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For me it’s D&D 5e.

Before it came out, I was excited that WoTC was simplifying the game and supposedly making it more old school and it would be easy to convert old D&D adventures. It sounded like a more refined Castles & Crusades … an official Rosetta Stone. What I got was long rests, purple elves, the worst pictures of Halflings I’ve ever seen, way too much magic, way too high powered characters, and more.

I tried running adventures league at first but just couldn’t get into it. The fact that most people eat this game up certainly reinforces the fact that my tastes are not mainstream.

Every time I find people to game with, they want to play D&D 5e. At one point, I decided I’d never run it again and put my 5e books in the ‘to sell’ pile. Soon after, my brother in law texted me to ask if I knew how to play D&D and that he had gotten a group together and they just needed a DM. I got my 5e books out of the sell pile, and did my time once again. One more session though and we’re starting Mythras Conan.
 
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Mankcam

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It doesn't really cross any lines, though. It just takes a ton of stuff that the author thought was controversial - it's an RPG with pissing and with a whore character class and with the orifice rules and stat modifiers depending on the size of your tits and it refers to character's penii as their manhood and magical effects that do things to your PC's genitals! - but it just throws it out there, with no context or meaning to it, so there's nothing to even get offended about. It's the equivalent of yelling "cunt!" in an empty room; yes, you did it, but why should we care?
Heh heh heh I don't think the arguement is great here regarding this game not crossing any imaginary (subjective) lines, but I certainly agree with you when you say that no one should really care if it had :grin:
 
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burbles

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Heh heh heh I don't think the arguement is great here regarding this game not crossing any imaginary lines, but I certainly agree with you when you say that no one should really care if it had :grin:
Arguement?!!! You want an argument, I'll give you one mate, 'argument' doesn't have a 'e' in the middle of it!!:hehe:

(Spends the next 10 minutes checking this post for errors. Thinks that its OK and presses 'Post Reply' quickly and logs off as fast as he can)

Edit: Aaaarrrgh. I suspect that its should have an apostrophe!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Arthur Frayn

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Oh man, yeah, Numenera. I thought I was getting some kind of cool Jack Vance-esque far future setting to explore, and instead got... A game where I kept getting told that exploration was the focus while 90% of the rules were about combat. Okay, no biggie I could have worked around that except that the setting itself was just so damn vague that I could never get a handle on what the game world was even supposed to look like in my head, much less be able to make it "come to life" for a group of players. I think the last straw was that there was so much implied focus on finding these mysterious relics of the past which were supposed to be so cool and important or whatever... And 99% of them were single use items that just exploded. Perhaps "my head" is one of the items somewhere on one of those random-ass charts because it was certainly what exploded next. I gave the book away shortly after.

Exalted was probably my single biggest gaming disappointment of all time. I got taken in by all the hype at RPGNet at the time which made the game sound like the Coolest Game Ever Made. However, I spent the next several nights trying to figure out how to run even one round of hypothetical combat. By the third night of wrestling with those rules I had the horrific revelation that I wasn't doing anything wrong- apparently it really did just take three days to run a single round of combat! :hehe: I think I just left the book with my roommate's stuff when I moved out, not even bothering to pack it. (Come to think of it, maybe that's why he never contacted me since.) In any case, I wish I could take back all the time I wasted trying to figure that game out and respec them into time spent actually playing Godbound.


I had a lot of fun with Shadowrun 2E back in the day, and so in a sudden fit of Nostalgia I thought I'd pick up one of the newer editions of the game. I honestly can't remember if I picked up 3E or 4E, but I can tell you that it was the *only* RPG game I have ever returned back to the store in less than 24 hours. I guess I had assumed that whoever was making the newer edition would think "you know, let's clean up/prune a lot of these needlessly complicated rules" and not "you know, let's take all of these needlessly complicated rules and add about 12 more steps to them and even bigger dice pools!"


this was back in the Wild West days, as they call it - it was a very different forum back then.

It was the Time of the Great Flame Wars. So many became heroes, so many fell.
It was the Best Western of times, it was Worcerstershire sauce of times

The Wild West Days on that forum are admittedly some of my fondest memories on the entire internet. I have no idea if they still even have a link to the Cliffs Notes history or if they've tried to bury it, but I wish things had stayed that way. Anyone who wasn't there during that time should really look over them sometime just to see the difference.
 

Silverlion

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Huh, maybe I need to take a closer look at Exalted 1e but demigod powers doesn't match the many wuxia films I've seen, a handful have overtly supernatural powered characters in films like Buddha's Palm, etc. but not nearly at the level of demigods imo.

Which anime would y'all say are an influence on Exalted?
Instead of Wuxia, try "Feng Shang Bang" its the epic god/magic Chinese fantasy. The art always made me think of Final Fantasy stuff, Berzerk, and a few other things.
 

Mankcam

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Arguement?!!! You want an argument, I'll give you one mate, 'argument' doesn't have a 'e' in the middle of it!!:hehe:

(Spends the next 10 minutes checking this post for errors. Thinks that its OK and presses 'Post Reply' quickly and logs off as fast as he can)

Edit: Aaaarrrgh. I suspect that its should have an apostrophe!!!!!!!!!!!
heh heh good point, this makes the argument entirely invalid heh heh :grin:
 

burbles

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Instead of Wuxia, try "Feng Shang Bang" its the epic god/magic Chinese fantasy. The art always made me think of Final Fantasy stuff, Berzerk, and a few other things.
Could you expand a bit on your comment please? What thing were you refering to (book/manga/game/anime)? There seem to be a number of adaptations. The comment about 'art' has thown me a bit as to what you're referring to.
 

Doctor Wombat

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Holy tomatoes, yes, Exalted! Forgot about that monstrosity. :grin:

This was, perhaps the worse one. Worse than Nobilis upthread because we started playing it and were having fun, quite a bit of fun and then I guess we hit that point where the PCs got to a certain level of power and therefore needed to really face off against other Exalted. The campaign had developed so that a circle of Abyssal exalted were required as antagonists and there were no short cuts in 1st edition to creating these or advice to running them smoothly/easily (I'm not even sure later editions adequately address it either but that's irrelevent) so after getting halfway through creating them I just got utterly pissed off with the game and realised from here on in it would only get worse - I could see purgatory stretching out as far as I could see! The options online to shortcutting this were just dumb fudges and the power differential between the PCs was significant too (even though they were all built on the same XP) so that made it even worse. In the end I just gave up in frustration. But, yeah, it was upsetting and thoroughly annoying because until then it had been pretty good. I've often thought about trying to use a better ruleset for it but really just can't be arsed. I've looked at the latest edition and it just made me laugh my arse off; if anything it looks even worse and the 'light' variant they have put out is an abuse of that word, in my opinion too.

Yep, Exalted. Into Room 101 with you.

Anyways, "thanks" so much for reminding me about this one! :thumbsup:

I ran Exalted 1e for a year of weekly sessions. It was a very successful campaign and it just about killed me for exactly the reasons you describe. Since there were no shortcuts, I just bit the bullet and cranked out Exalted opponents by the bushel.

The climax of the campaign feature a giant battle played out on my living room floor between the Solar PCs and their army and a circle of Abyssal Exalted and their even larger army. I threw in nearly every damned thing in the books: Warstriders, Thousand-Forged Dragon, Thousand Corpse War Frame, you name it. I think it took us two entire sessions to play out.

I don't regret it, but any time the players ask me to run a sequel, my immediate response is, "Nope." Looking back, I have no idea how I had that much free time.
 

Chaotic Wooster

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Zweihander is likely the worst offender I can think of. I backed the kickstarter, and sold my limited edition book within days of receiving it. It had one job, to replicate Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing, and it fails monumentally. Boring to read, confusing to understand, laborious to make characters for.

Terrible.
 
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Necrozius

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Zweihander is likely the worst offender I can think of. I backed the kickstarter, and sold my limited edition book within days of receiving it. It had one job, to replicate Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing, and it fails monumentally. Boring to read, confusing to understand, laborious to make characters for.

Terrible.
I empathize. I also backed the Kickstarter. If I didn’t like the artwork so much I’d sell it too.
 

Gabriel

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I'll toss FATE Core on the pile. I bought it for about $20 from Amazon a long time ago. I figured it would at least be a fun read. Despite attempting to read and absorb it at least a dozen times, I still have absolutely no clue what it is trying to convey and explain. I've said before how I have grown to believe it is written in an alien language which only superficially LOOKS like english.

To me it's ironic that I consider my style of RP to be very narrative with character and story above all, and FATE claims the same thing, yet doesn't speak to me in any intelligible fashion.
 

chuckdee

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I'll toss FATE Core on the pile. I bought it for about $20 from Amazon a long time ago. I figured it would at least be a fun read. Despite attempting to read and absorb it at least a dozen times, I still have absolutely no clue what it is trying to convey and explain. I've said before how I have grown to believe it is written in an alien language which only superficially LOOKS like english.

To me it's ironic that I consider my style of RP to be very narrative with character and story above all, and FATE claims the same thing, yet doesn't speak to me in any intelligible fashion.
If you're still interested, The Book of Hanz has helped many people understand what they don't grok.

 

PolarBlues

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I'll toss FATE Core on the pile. I bought it for about $20 from Amazon a long time ago. I figured it would at least be a fun read. Despite attempting to read and absorb it at least a dozen times, I still have absolutely no clue what it is trying to convey and explain. I've said before how I have grown to believe it is written in an alien language which only superficially LOOKS like english.

To me it's ironic that I consider my style of RP to be very narrative with character and story above all, and FATE claims the same thing, yet doesn't speak to me in any intelligible fashion.

I think Fate Core sort of killed my interest in the system.

I was an early adopter of Fate, brack from the 2.0 days. I played and ran a lot of it in the 3.0 days, Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands is a kind of Fate. But when Fate Core came out, my reaction was on the lines of "Ah hell, I'm not learning this all over again".

As I see it, Fate always navigated a fine balance between a game made for hippy art students and one for uptight computer scientists. With each new revision it feels like the hippies have been driven back while the computer scientists perfectly the beautiful, crystalline algorithms.

I still play it. Still prefer it to tons of other systems out there. But it's no longer a system I follow or care for.
 

spittingimage

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It's funny, Ive never heard aything but complaints and bad things about that game, but it got three editions. Might even still be getting published (?)

Like somebody is buying it, even though everyone (and I mean this is close to 20 years, I do mean EVERYone) hates on it. I don't believe I've ever seen it get any praise at all
It's the best game with the worst system I've ever played. Hell, I made my own lite adaptation rather than tackle the rules gumbo that was the actual system.
 

Rich H

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I love the background though. I'm glad I hardly ever use the system that settings come with. We played Exalted in Fate and are now playing it in Lords of Gossamer and Shadow.

You have any notes on those two games in FATE, pal, would be interested to see conversion guides/hacks/etc for them!
 

Mankcam

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Ahh yes Fate, one of my favourites until Everywhen kinda made things feel lighter in my headspace.
For me I am able to portray characters very easily with Fate Core, on account of Aspects/descriptors, but I just found it hard to use the Create Advantage rules with Aspects at times, and almost considered returning to Fudge.
Then I stumbled across Tricube Tales which captures the ideas of descriptors-as-rules without all the the headaches I get reading Fate Core, so Fate Core for me has now been superceeded by a little indie game that does this kind of thing so much simplier.
 
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TristramEvans

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If you're still interested, The Book of Hanz has helped many people understand what they don't grok.


I used to know a Hanz. Austrian guy. We'd go mountain climbing together with his mother.
One day when all three of us were scaling a mountainside, Hanz's line broke and he fell.
I turned and said "Look Ma - no Hanz"
 

TJS

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Two games for me were the Song of Ice and Fire rpg and Symbaroum. Both of the them I ran for quite some time, patching the systems as I went, in both cases it became obvious after awhile that no really worthwhile playtesting process could ever have been gone through and that the math was fundamentally borked.

I still have an element of respect for the former for what it was trying to do, which at least makes it in my mind a kind of honourable failure, but my lingering feeling of bitterness for Symbaroum comes from how utterly lazy the design effort turned out to be.
 

The Butcher

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For me it’s D&D 5e.

Before it came out, I was excited that WoTC was simplifying the game and supposedly making it more old school and it would be easy to convert old D&D adventures. It sounded like a more refined Castles & Crusades … an official Rosetta Stone. What I got was long rests, purple elves, the worst pictures of Halflings I’ve ever seen, way too much magic, way too high powered characters, and more.

I tried running adventures league at first but just couldn’t get into it. The fact that most people eat this game up certainly reinforces the fact that my tastes are not mainstream.

Every time I find people to game with, they want to play D&D 5e. At one point, I decided I’d never run it again and put my 5e books in the ‘to sell’ pile. Soon after, my brother in law texted me to ask if I knew how to play D&D and that he had gotten a group together and they just needed a DM. I got my 5e books out of the sell pile, and did my time once again. One more session though and we’re starting Mythras Conan.
I get the disappointment with D&D5 but I don’t quite share it because I guess I never had great expectations about it.

It was an edition built to get the TSR/OSR people, the D&D3/PF people and the D&D4 people to sit down and play with each other and quite frankly I feel it was as successful as it could be in this regard; that such an edition was inevitably going to feel not quite perfect to anyone was more or less a given.

But as far as I’m concerned it’s good enough. Could be better? Absolutely.

Zweihander is likely the worst offender I can think of. I backed the kickstarter, and sold my limited edition book within days of receiving it. It had one job, to replicate Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing, and it fails monumentally. Boring to read, confusing to understand, laborious to make characters for.

Terrible.
I have been holding off on passing judgement on Zweihänder until such time as I can test it in actual play, but from what I’ve read so far I’m inclined to agree with everything you’ve said.
 

burbles

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You suspect? :ooh:
Well, noone expects the Spanish Inquisition, but they always seem to turn up!

Bugger. It sounded better in my head that when I wrote it. It would work better if I wrote 'noone suspects the Spanish Inquisition' but
a) that's not the line (so I'd get caught for a misquote), and
b) what exactly would one be suspicious about them for - their love of red uniforms??
 

Fenris-77

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iu
 

Silverlion

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Could you expand a bit on your comment please? What thing were you refering to (book/manga/game/anime)? There seem to be a number of adaptations. The comment about 'art' has thown me a bit as to what you're referring to.
Exalted. Sorry. Specifically that its artistic style tends to resemble certain anime/manga works with: Oversized weapons, characters of exaggerated proportions (5E's art may not be perfect but much of it has people with for their race pretty normal proportions.) Etc.
 

burbles

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Exalted. Sorry. Specifically that its artistic style tends to resemble certain anime/manga works with: Oversized weapons, characters of exaggerated proportions (5E's art may not be perfect but much of it has people with for their race pretty normal proportions.) Etc.
Ha ha ha. :weep: I thought you were refering to Feng Shang Bang (not Exalted)!
 

Stumpydave

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Changeling the lost, 2nd ed.
I love Changeling the Dreaming so CtL should have been my game but my group imploded just as 1st ed came out. I flicked through a copy a couple of times and it had all the stuff CtD missed like fetches, true Fae and that sense of hidden horror that I love.
Then CtL 2ed was published, I had a different group so I said I'd run it.

Before I'd read it.
Big mistake.

Huge.

Beats, tilts, conditions, metacurrency out the arse, rules systems that require their own rule systems to function and writing so dull it killed my desire to run it. Ever!
 

Arthur Frayn

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One of the two main reasons FATE never did click for me was because you had this whole dizzying tag/compel/aspect system that I could barely comprehend, but from what little I could understand all of it basically amounted to... Just adding a +2 to a roll? If so, I would have greatly preferred that they replaced the entire Tag/Compel/Aspect system with just one concise rule like "a player may spend a Fate point to add a +2 to a roll but they have to narrate how" or something. (And I'm sure there's some good reason that wouldn't work I just can't comprehend the system well enough to know what it is.)

In any case, Tricube Tales looks like it might fill the same niche as FATE but seems much more written in a way I can quickly follow.



I get the disappointment with D&D5 but I don’t quite share it because I guess I never had great expectations about it.

It was an edition built to get the TSR/OSR people, the D&D3/PF people and the D&D4 people to sit down and play with each other and quite frankly I feel it was as successful as it could be in this regard; that such an edition was inevitably going to feel not quite perfect to anyone was more or less a given.

But as far as I’m concerned it’s good enough. Could be better? Absolutely.


I have been holding off on passing judgement on Zweihänder until such time as I can test it in actual play, but from what I’ve read so far I’m inclined to agree with everything you’ve said.


I don't really get the hate for 5E either. I mean, I don't play it (Black Hack is more my speed) but it does seem like it was successful at edition bridging so various groups could play together.
 

Silverlion

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Ha ha ha. :weep: I thought you were refering to Feng Shang Bang (not Exalted)!
Oh! Nope, Feng Shang Bang appears in movies, television (sadly none of them very well adapted), novels (Investiture of the Gods, again our translation to English are apparently not the best), and even animated movies. It's a genre all about the mythic god's of China and is a lot bigger scale than wuxia, more fantastic stuff, wilder magic, gods, demons, spirits, etc. A friend who knows about it explained it to me, and I've been reading what I can, and hoping for better translations.
 

The Butcher

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Changeling the lost, 2nd ed.
I love Changeling the Dreaming so CtL should have been my game but my group imploded just as 1st ed came out. I flicked through a copy a couple of times and it had all the stuff CtD missed like fetches, true Fae and that sense of hidden horror that I love.
Then CtL 2ed was published, I had a different group so I said I'd run it.

Before I'd read it.
Big mistake.

Huge.

Beats, tilts, conditions, metacurrency out the arse, rules systems that require their own rule systems to function and writing so dull it killed my desire to run it. Ever!
CoD/nWoD2 as a whole had some weird design choices. And reading CtL2 in particular it felt like they scrubbed some of the flavor out — I can’t quite put my finger on it.
I don't really get the hate for 5E either. I mean, I don't play it (Black Hack is more my speed) but it does seem like it was successful at edition bridging so various groups could play together.
We all want to go back into the loving embrace of the Great Ampersand. D&D is the original sin, and/or the Oedipus complex of the hobby.

Judge D&D5 as you would judge any other RPG regardless of preference and popularity and you will see a game that is neither amazing nor terrible. And it’s recognizably D&D, which is a plus in my book.
 

JamesV

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The backers have received a draft manuscript of the rules. I backed it, so I have it. Are you interested in anything specifically?
I have a question as a 1e Exalted GM. How does it address the exploding dice pool issue? Sometimes it's fun to roll a bunch of dice, but you don't have to have endgame level PCs to roll a few dozen (or more) dice to resolve an action. With combat that's a point of pain.
 

xanther

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It doesn't really cross any lines, though. It just takes a ton of stuff that the author thought was controversial - it's an RPG with pissing and with a whore character class and with the orifice rules and stat modifiers depending on the size of your tits and it refers to character's penii as their manhood and magical effects that do things to your PC's genitals! - but it just throws it out there, with no context or meaning to it, so there's nothing to even get offended about. It's the equivalent of yelling "cunt!" in an empty room; yes, you did it, but why should we care?
....
I think it is a bit more than just yelling "cunt" in a room, and if the above and more so the description and tone accompanying is not enough to let you know this is a game about misogyny in its true and vile and pure form...the overall how to play the game and setting stuff makes it clear this is a game promoting and trying to normalize rape.
"
Warning...this is some pretty vile stuff basically promoting in-game rape, and trying to normalize it and rules on how it is a minor offense (so tried to hide it with spoiler function so do not have to see quoted from the rulebook from another's review...hoping do not need to describe how this crosses so many lines. It's all pretty egregious and disgusting but bolded two parts that are particularly so...and note the author does not think rape of a 15 year old is child; rape...

Know I'm getting a bit strident here but FATAL in my view should not be normalized as just some mildly offensive thing.

For the record I find everything quoted below from the game vile and repeat it only to show how vile and over so many lines this game is

"Rape

In an average community, an average of twenty rapes occur annually. In 80% of cases, rapes are committed by between two and fifteen characters.

They force the female's door at night, do not disguise themselves, and either rape the victim in her home and in the presence of terrorized witnesses, or drag the victim through the streets into one of their houses, where they have their pleasure all night long. In 80% of cases, the neighbors do not intervene. Almost all rapes involve extreme brutality, though they never attempt to wound or kill her.

The rapists come from all levels of society, but the majority are artisans and laborers. Less than 10% of rapes occur by thugs. In 50% of cases, human rapists are between 18 and 24 years old. The group is composed, on average, of 6 characters. Only 20% of the rapes are committed by 10 or more characters. Half the male youth participate at least once in gang rape. Sexual violence is an everyday dimension of community life. There tends to be less in smaller communities such as hamlets and more in larger communities such as cities.

If identified, rapists are imprisoned for weeks, though no more than a month. If the victim withdraws the complaint, the rapist is freed immediately. Imprisonment for rape consists of flogging, unless the rapist is an outsider, in which case the rapist is banished. When freed from imprisonment, a rapist is not considered criminal nor considered to be bad.

The social reaction to rape is rarely favorable to the victim. The human victims of gang rape are between the ages of 15 and 33. Child rape is rare. The rape of a child under the age of 14 or 15 is considered a serious crime. The victim loses her good name in almost all cases, and encounters difficulty in regaining her place in society and family. If the victim of rape is single, then fewer males desire her as a wife. If she is married, her husband may abandon her."
 

Gringnr

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I think it is a bit more than just yelling "cunt" in a room, and if the above and more so the description and tone accompanying is not enough to let you know this is a game about misogyny in its true and vile and pure form...the overall how to play the game and setting stuff makes it clear this is a game promoting and trying to normalize rape.
"
Warning...this is some pretty vile stuff basically promoting in-game rape, and trying to normalize it and rules on how it is a minor offense (so tried to hide it with spoiler function so do not have to see quoted from the rulebook from another's review...hoping do not need to describe how this crosses so many lines. It's all pretty egregious and disgusting but bolded two parts that are particularly so...and note the author does not think rape of a 15 year old is child; rape...

Know I'm getting a bit strident here but FATAL in my view should not be normalized as just some mildly offensive thing.

For the record I find everything quoted below from the game vile and repeat it only to show how vile and over so many lines this game is

"Rape

In an average community, an average of twenty rapes occur annually. In 80% of cases, rapes are committed by between two and fifteen characters.

They force the female's door at night, do not disguise themselves, and either rape the victim in her home and in the presence of terrorized witnesses, or drag the victim through the streets into one of their houses, where they have their pleasure all night long. In 80% of cases, the neighbors do not intervene. Almost all rapes involve extreme brutality, though they never attempt to wound or kill her.

The rapists come from all levels of society, but the majority are artisans and laborers. Less than 10% of rapes occur by thugs. In 50% of cases, human rapists are between 18 and 24 years old. The group is composed, on average, of 6 characters. Only 20% of the rapes are committed by 10 or more characters. Half the male youth participate at least once in gang rape. Sexual violence is an everyday dimension of community life. There tends to be less in smaller communities such as hamlets and more in larger communities such as cities.

If identified, rapists are imprisoned for weeks, though no more than a month. If the victim withdraws the complaint, the rapist is freed immediately. Imprisonment for rape consists of flogging, unless the rapist is an outsider, in which case the rapist is banished. When freed from imprisonment, a rapist is not considered criminal nor considered to be bad.

The social reaction to rape is rarely favorable to the victim. The human victims of gang rape are between the ages of 15 and 33. Child rape is rare. The rape of a child under the age of 14 or 15 is considered a serious crime. The victim loses her good name in almost all cases, and encounters difficulty in regaining her place in society and family. If the victim of rape is single, then fewer males desire her as a wife. If she is married, her husband may abandon her."
Christ on a crutch

That's literally depressing to read

For content, there us a shorter and less detailed, but similarly jarring reference to rape in Alma Mater.
 

Luca

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I have a question as a 1e Exalted GM. How does it address the exploding dice pool issue? Sometimes it's fun to roll a bunch of dice, but you don't have to have endgame level PCs to roll a few dozen (or more) dice to resolve an action. With combat that's a point of pain.

Disclaimer: I haven't read Exalted 3rd, so I don't know if this is the same or different from Exalted: Essence.
In Essence, dice pools do not explode. You roll (Attribute + Ability + modifiers) dice. Which, as far as I can see, can still go in the high tens for high powered characters (absolute max dice add from any combination of effects is +10 to a single pool, and max +5 successes).
7, 8 and 9 count as one success. 10 count as two. There are a bunch of effects which can make 9, 8 etc. also count as two successes.

A summary explaining exactly how the Essence rules are lighter would do the trick.

Three attributes instead of 9. 14 abilities instead of 25.

Charms still occupy the biggest part of the book (Charms + Martial Arts + Sorcery = approx 180 pages out of 416, and keep in mind it's pure text with no art in it yet), but on the other hand, this gives you every ability for every Exalted type (Solars, Lunars, DBs etc. including the more exotic ones like Liminals and Getimians).
They are divided into two main types: universal and type-specific. The universal charms give a basic effect, and then most of them have "modes" which are essentially free bonus effects for a specific Exalted type. Some have only modes for a few types, others have a different mode for every Exalt.

[classic example: Ox-Body gives you an additional -1 health level. If you're Solar/Abyssal/Infernal ("Solar Mode"), it also gives you either an additional 0 or two -1 health levels (player's choice). If you're Lunar, it gives you one more -1 and one -2 health level. And so on.]

This whole thing makes for a greatly reduced list of exceptions to remember.


Two types of attacks: Withering attacks let you build Power. When you have enough Power accumulated (at least enough to overcome target's Hardness), you switch to Decisive attacks which actually do damage (if they hit; if you miss, you only spend one Power).
Gambits are special attacks for when you want to do other stuff than just skewer your enemy (disarm, trip etc.). You still need Power to do them.

"Ventures" are what everyone else would call "extended actions". In there you find stuff for crafting (from trinkets to manses), traveling (if needed for e.g. time critical actions), intelligence gathering, or social/diplomatic actions like guiding organizations, intrigue etc. Plenty of examples, and I like how this touches on something Godbound did and which was sorely missing in Exalted (how do I actually change the setting instead of just punching supermonsters into the face). Godbound is still clearly superior, though (disclaimer: I'm a Crawford's fanboy).


Tl, dr: my first impression is that Essence greatly reduces useless mechanical creep while mantaining most of the Exalted feel. That said, it still is nowhere near a light or even middle-crunch system, it still works as a giant list of exceptions, and Godbound still does everything Exalted does, and much more still, with less than 1/10 of the effort required from both the GM and the players.
But then, it would be unfair to ask that of Essence, as that was never its purpose.
 
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