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Exalted 3e: KS Material Review

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So I know there is a wide range of opinions on the Exalted 3e coming out, especially fueled by the Kickstarter still with 11 days to go as of the time of writing. Having decided to back it, enough to obtain a PDF of the final Core Book (plus all the free material that seems to be cropping up with stretch goals), I've been going through various tidbits they have put out, and I figured I'd lay down some thoughts for you guys.

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Front Page Public Tidbits

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This is the obvious place to start, and there are several things that grab my eye.

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  • Expanded Locales: This part is the first thing of note... it is stated that there will be a great deal more description of pre-existing but less 'classic' locations like Port Calin, as well as new locations. The example: Medo, a region of tundra, snow and coniferous forests and inhabited by a barbarian warrior culture locked in strife with the Realm. Which leads me to thing Two...
  • Maps: Also on the front, public page, Onyx Path literally gives us a map of the 'new' Creation, one that is being updated over time. Currently, we are in Stage 2, which has the natural landscapes more or less completely marked - but no place names of yet. What IS undeniable, is that Creation is gargantuan now. The East has doubled in size, the South tripled, we now have a massive arctic expanse leading up to the Pole of Air where there were just fringes in 2e... don't ask about the Western Ocean. Much more space to play around in.
  • Intrigue & Mystery: Hints of plot changes and story revamps. I'll get to that later.
  • Exalted Types: There are three, count em, three new Exalted types promised: "The Getimian Exalted, drawn from stillborn destinies to serve as agents in one man’s war against Heaven. The Liminal Exalted who stand at the border between life and death, humanity and monstrosity. And finally, the “black market” champions of forbidden gods, made with divine power stolen from the hand of the Unconquered Sun." If you're wondering about that last line, there's material from later updates that clarify stuff. I'm of mixed feelings. On one hand, they all sound interesting, but do we really need so many Exalt types? Then again, we have much more space for them to interest.
  • Expanded Character Creation: The whole spiel about being able to create richer and more fleshed out characters. Nothing new, except the wording seems to say they will be giving the same space to mortal heroes already afforded to the Solars by default.
  • Merit System: Well, they don't say much on the front, but I dove into one of the first backer updates - and it seems Backgrounds are being replaced more or less by the Merit System ala New World of Darkness style. Examples are given of the revamped Familiar Merit, and a new Merit. I approve.
  • Magical Equipment: New artifacts, new weapons, new armor, more detail... what this Evocation thing? Apparently, you'll be able to gain Charms and other possible powers from being attuned to specific artifacts. Very intriguing.
  • Combat System/Charms: The last two elements are the promise to revamp the Charms sets and combat system... which of course is a given - the question is, will there be improvements? Judging by the Merits, which may be a stretch, but they may be shifting towards the nWoD angle maybe?

Because this is an unholy wall of text, I'm going to pause this post here. More posts will be coming, with more updates. Just need to breath.

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Fiction: Lunar Activities

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Exalted Third Edition is going to have a number of short fiction pieces in its books, for illustrative purposes, replacing the comics at the beginning of the chapters in 2nd Edition's case. Geoff Grabowski is the writer.

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If nothing else, that also is an improvement I've thumbs up'ed. The fact is that Grabowski has conveyed far more information, quite a bit of which is very informative and helpful, than the comics have.

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As for the story itself. Seven Devil Clever (from 2e Core) and a Full Moon Lunar go down to observe a city under assault by the Lunars, and they talk. Not much action. However, the descriptions and their dialogue give us a lot to observe.

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The city is Faxai, in a region named the Caul (undoubtedly a new item to be described in the Core book). More to the point, Faxai is controlled by the Realm, who are protecting it from the besieging Lunars. Yes, besieging. This is an important point. The Lunars, who bar a few, are running barbarian tribes on the outskirts of Creation or fumbling around with new societies, are organized enough and prepared enough to hold sieges and go to war with the Realm.

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In fact, should Faxai fall, the Lunars will completely control the Caul. So they are stronger and more prepared this edition around. There is more on a social Lunar note, but I'll get to it later.

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As for the Realm, they have kept Faxai free during a siege of years length, and able to strike up to leagues outside regardless. Even the Lunars watching the siege process are still wary of Wyld Hunts - which can still strike with impunity. So the Realm is definitely not crumbling apart. However, Faxai can't feed itself or trade, and the Realm is apparently spending vast resources to protect a far-flung satrapy. So there still is trouble on the horizon.

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Final note: there seems to be an infamous individual, His Divine Lunar Presence. Cribbing from Shards of the Exalted Dream, perhaps, but if the Lunars have a monarch - well, goes back to the organization increase.

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I love exalted, loved it since First Edition, I'm fairly impressed with what they have done with the map in 3rd, much better and more varied then the original map in my opinion.

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Since.

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I can't take it anymore, dude. I've been reading your posts for over a year now and I can't take it any more. You've loved Exalted SINCE First Edition. Not sense, since.

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Since means 'from then until now'. Sense relates to one of the senses.

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You know, I'm not great at spelling, so I normally let a spell checker catch misspellings, but that does allow for some words to slip through, like that one. So, fixed it, since it was bothering you that much.

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Having seen the Liminals preview, I gotta say I loved the intro fiction, and the concept sounds neat, but I'm not exactly sure about what their niche is. I mean, Zenith Caste solars can already purify dead bodies to ensure they don't become undead and their anima scares unholy and undead creatures. My initial thought is that they're some sort of response by Creation/The Underworld/Whatever-That-Dark-Mother-Thing-Is against the rise of the Deathlords and their abyssal exalts.

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Actually, if you will, Rubio.. my impressions of the Luminals is that one, they stand between life and death.. and two, that they sort of fill a void covering the underworld version of the Dragon Blooded.. not quite, but close, which I rather like.

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I also like the apparent changes to the Abyssal and Infernals that I just finished reading over..

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Fiction: Lunar Activities

,,

Exalted Third Edition is going to have a number of short fiction pieces in its books, for illustrative purposes, replacing the comics at the beginning of the chapters in 2nd Edition's case. Geoff Grabowski is the writer.

,,

If nothing else, that also is an improvement I've thumbs up'ed. The fact is that Grabowski has conveyed far more information, quite a bit of which is very informative and helpful, than the comics have.

,,

As for the story itself. Seven Devil Clever (from 2e Core) and a Full Moon Lunar go down to observe a city under assault by the Lunars, and they talk. Not much action. However, the descriptions and their dialogue give us a lot to observe.

,,

The city is Faxai, in a region named the Caul (undoubtedly a new item to be described in the Core book). More to the point, Faxai is controlled by the Realm, who are protecting it from the besieging Lunars. Yes, besieging. This is an important point. The Lunars, who bar a few, are running barbarian tribes on the outskirts of Creation or fumbling around with new societies, are organized enough and prepared enough to hold sieges and go to war with the Realm.

,,

In fact, should Faxai fall, the Lunars will completely control the Caul. So they are stronger and more prepared this edition around. There is more on a social Lunar note, but I'll get to it later.

,,

As for the Realm, they have kept Faxai free during a siege of years length, and able to strike up to leagues outside regardless. Even the Lunars watching the siege process are still wary of Wyld Hunts - which can still strike with impunity. So the Realm is definitely not crumbling apart. However, Faxai can't feed itself or trade, and the Realm is apparently spending vast resources to protect a far-flung satrapy. So there still is trouble on the horizon.

,,

Final note: there seems to be an infamous individual, His Divine Lunar Presence. Cribbing from Shards of the Exalted Dream, perhaps, but if the Lunars have a monarch - well, goes back to the organization increase.

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.....So my favorite Splat is now even more awesome. I love these writers

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Fiction: Chosen of the Field Gold

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Honestly, I should have put up my review of this earlier fiction piece a while ago. Again, it is a 'win' piece of writing, especially for the poignant role of Ten Sheaves.

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In summary, the Fair Folk have sent a new army, the first since the Balorian Crusade, into Creation. Directly in their path is an unnamed village in an unnamed valley - which though a tributary to the Realm is defenseless - all imperial officials and authorities have been gone since the last year, so the Realm is suffering from overstretch now.

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The Fair Folk are but the morning away - and Strawmaiden Janest, a local acolyte of the sole god around, is summoned to meet Ten Sheaves, the field god himself by his command. Meeting and talking in private, Ten Sheaves observes that Janest, though orphaned, considers the entire village her family and would do anything to protect it. He also shows her a glimpse of Yu-Shan and then talks about the Solar Exalted, and the Exigence, the divine fire that empowers Exalted.

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Then the stunner - Ten Sheaves has applied for and gotten permission from the Unconquered Sun to Exalt Janest as his champion. Furthermore, it will mean his sacrifice of existence as the price to support his champion... but he will die if the Fair Folk come tomorrow anyway.

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Janest is Exalted, and finally the story ends as Janest strides out with a transformed artifact scythe to meet the entire Fair Folk force in battle.

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Aside from a good story, we learn a bit more of interesting information. It seems that all Exaltation (at least above the Terrestrial level) seems to be dependent on the use of the Exigence in some manner by the deity or being who wishes to empower their Exalted - and furthermore, the Infernals pdf elaborates on this by revealing that there is a literal Law of Diminishing that weakens anyone who Exalts a champion. Or in Ten Sheaves' case, consumes him entirely.

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So we know the Exigents are definitely champions of various different deities not at the Incarnae level of the celestial food chain... but this more generally raises questions as to if the Exaltations endure after death and pass on to someone else - or not.

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On a positive note, this gives more credible explanation as to why the gods would only created such a handful of Celestial Exalts when they were preparing for rebellion - and there are so few in general. Make more Exalted, you severely weaken yourself, so judiciousness is clearly required.

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Also, totally awesome picture just released with regards to the fiction:

image-270840-full.jpg?1370697105

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Looked into Exirgent a bit.. I thought at first that this was a version how a solar exaltation can be received, but no.. each Exirgent is their own exalt, they follow a different path mainly framed by the god who chose them.. and not every god is consumed when they select a champion, so you could be chosen of say, Grandmother Bright, and your charms and powers would likely evoke that of a city goddess and a goddess of vengeance, but she herself would still exist, she just had to give a portion of her power, and gain the favor of the Unconquered Sun to exalt you, something he has only begun to favor doing again as his chosen reappear in the world.

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Janest here is apparently a Harvest Exalt, since she was chosen by a god of the harvest, and her charms will revolve around that idea, and I can just imagine how many ideas that can evoke.. especially in this case, Reaping..

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From what I understand from the information left by the 3rd Edition developers, a the Exirgents are going to be a bit like devil-tigers in that each will have a unique charm set created by the player and ST.. apparently their book, when it comes out, is going to give guidelines in how to do this.

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Also, new Iconic characters.. say goodbye to the old Iconic Zenith Panther.. and hello to new Iconic Zenith Perfect Soul

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image-265952-full.jpg

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Quoting a post of mine from the WW Forums:

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,, ,, I've really been a fan of the Exigents. Not only was that Kickstarter story about Strawmaiden Janest nicely poignant - it was where I got a good answer to the question I had for a long time. Namely, why did the Incarnae make a relative handful of Celestial Exalts and slightly more Terrestrials?

That and this opens the door to a variety of awesome custom Exalts, meaning all kinds of concepts can be really explored.

Shortly ago, I remembered a PBP forum, and the Exalted game we were running there, before I dropped.

Note: If Thorn, JayTee, Reaver or any of the others are reading this, I'm sorry. Got distracted, busy, now I'm all meshed in college. Don't have that much time like I did - plus I have some actual TT groups to play with.

But I loved it, and regret not being around anymore. The concept was an 'us in Exalted'. Player characters literally based on ourselves, and dragged from Earth by a Q-like being into Creation and granted Exaltations. 5 Solars and a Lunar.

After some initial misadventures, we got split ala Breaking of the Fellowship... and my Twilight and the Night Caste ended up heading to a nearby village, having devised new names and passing as God-Bloods. After rescuing them from Fair Folk raiders, we said we were going to stick around and aid them. Guidance, bringing in gunpowder, concrete and a whole lot of modern Earth advancements, step by step.

A year later, we'd succeeded in getting Lookshy's attention and started negotiating an alliance with it and the Confederation, several new Celestial deities had been created (and formed a faction to bind them together and with us), and Immaculate representatives were hoping to set up a local temple.

Also, I'm sure Sidereals had broken into our new school. emotion-4.gif

Point is, it would have been totally epic - I miss it, but you get this sort of opportunity agin, with Exigents.

-- Because there is a townhouse, clumped with its neighbors around a small boulevard. This domicile and its counterparts would make any patrician or merchant house proud to own; but this being Yu-Shan, the lot is Shantytown.

-- Because Jezerson is the God of Mortal Empowerment. He knows that mortals could be the true power of Creation, that the world could be ruled by and for mortals if their potential is unlocked. He is the spark in peasant hearts that dare to rebel against the Realm. He is an idea that cannot be totally stomped out. He is also a perpetually weak god of a concept that runs counter to the hierarchy of the gods, treated as an ineffectual, pathetic brat. It grates, frustrates, bedevils Jezerson no matter what he tries.

-- Because Auliufa is the Goddess of Invention. Not simply tangible items, but systems, forms of government, belief systems, things that at their Essential heart, are new and capable of great change. Her heyday was in the First Age, but the Solars are overthrown, and their works are now old bits of ancient refuse. The Immaculate Order shook things up, but all she has to gain are tiny leavenings of Essence. Aulifia only can see mockery, nostalgia, how much she's lost.

-- Because two gods, he the disdained angry young punk of Heaven, she a has-been wanting to regain her glory, living together have found they have much in common and their goals align quite well. Intending to get their way, no matter the cost, they will have an Exalt of their own. And once their protege gets going, it won't matter what charges are thrown at them.
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Enjoy the idea. Savor it. :D

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