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Hyoseph

Game Proposal: Exalted - Sandboxing in the Second Age

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Ok folks, so this is far from a complete idea, but I figured I would get people involved while it's still getting worked up.

 

I'm wanting to get a collaborative, mostly-open setting going much like this site used to have lots of not so long ago.

 

The Game?  Exalted 2nd Edition

 

Why?  Because I like Exalted, I think it could be fun, and I know I’m not the only one.

 

What Can I Play? Pretty much anything you want from Solar down the line. As long as it fits someplace in the Exalted-verse and can be created / played by PC's, go for it. Character generation will likely have some sort of baseline, but for the most part this is more about the stories being told than the dots on the sheet.

 

Who's The ST?  In the traditional sense of the word, there isn't one.  This is being designed as a coherent setting and rules set to allow for people to form their own stories.  There are certainly people on the board who can be considered the "Go-To" people to talk about Exalted-type things with, but there's no "This is the person everyone reports all their actions to and hands out the plot" person.

 

Will There Be Plot Events?  If players want them, sure.  Regarding who runs said events, we can cross that bridge when / if we get there.

 

What's Mostly-Open World?

Mostly open-world is Open World, with a few ground rules / guidelines in place to keep a coherent setting and frankly prevent the world from being rendered into something completely unrecognizable by strategic application of a few charms.  What those guidelines are is up in the air at this time (see “not a complete idea”) but at this point the ones I am looking at are things like:

 

- No Warping Place-With-Name - Lookshy, The Realm, Nexus, Skullstone, Gem, these and many others are iconic locations in the Exalted setting.  In the interest of having a common setting point, we ask that these areas not be destroyed, subverted, rewritten, taken over etc over the course of the game. I imagine plot events, if they happen, can be the exception to this.

 

- Creation Is Big - The above guideline is in no way intended to make it so your PC or group of PC’s can’t go out and carve out their own piece of Creation to rule over / burn down / rebel against / whatever.  Players are given full creative license to create nations, islands, cities,cultures, pretty much whatever they want within the setting to better tell their story.  If you’re worried about where to stick your creation, just remember that 1” on the map at the front of the book is roughly 500 miles, maybe more.  There’s plenty of room.

 

- Messing With Other Peoples’ Stuff - “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” - At some point, a player is going to interact with another player’s creation.  I know, it’s crazy.  When this happens, remember that this is a collaborative game and that “Don’t be a dick” is firmly in place.

Ex: If you are telling the story of “Breaker of Walls”, the Dawn Caste Akuma slave of Malfeas, dedicated to the annihilation of all cities until there is only One True Demon City, and another player is telling the story of “Origami Princess” and her goal of building the perfect city out of paper mache, unless both players are explicitly ok with it, these two should rarely, if ever, cross paths.

 

- Regarding “Person-With-Name” - If players want to tell stories involving the major Canon NPC’s (The Roseblack, Bull of the North, the Emissary of Nexus, Ma-Ha-Suchi, Yozis, Deathlords, Incarnae, etc) that’s fine.  However, doing world-shaking things (I brought the Scarlet Empress back and now I rule over the Wild Hunt) or using them as instruments of influence outside of your own personal story (Mask of Winters is my homie so I convinced him to take the Juggernaut to go step on Breaker of Walls) is not okay.

The basic idea is that the stories being told here are about your characters and what they do, not how they manage to point-and-click NPC’s at their problems.  Similarly, unless your character is directly tied to them somehow (the Liege background comes to mind) they probably should be used sparingly.

 

What Do Folks Think?

 

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Crazy idea, guys.

 

Instead of one sentence answers... if you like this idea, offer up something to help the idea.  If you see a weakness in the proposal or have a question, point it out.  Quit being reactive towards everything, like answering then leaving it alone until someone else makes it work.  If the idea is something you like, be proactive and start helping Hyoseph find a means of making this appeal to everyone on this site who is a fan of Exalted.

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Ignoring what passes for wit, with Creation being such a large place it's easy to sit about and tell stories about how awesome a character is.  What makes Exalted interesting is the conflict.  Everyone in Creation is at each others throats because of an unknown curse, but in all honesty everyone believes they are right.

 

That conflict can make for awesome stories, especially if two PCs are at direct odds with each other.  How would one work around the inevitable PvP that could take place in an open world.  The world can't be static or it will get boring, things have to change in order to create new plot points... the best way to do that is to keep PCs at odds with something, with no ST, the next best thing each other.

 

Exalted has opportunity everywhere, since it has created a mechanic for everything.  There is a mechanic for war, for running a village/city, running a business.  Everything.

 

May my PC is pissed because another PC is encroaching on my domain.  We go to war and write awesome fics about it.  I lose one of the key battles, but we're both to weakened to continue, just yet.  Later down the road a new threat arises (maybe another PC) that neither of us are strong enough to deal with it alone.  Begrudgingly we join forces and the fics are awesome still.  That's how fics are made great, by having a reason to be writing them in first place.

 

How would you guys feel about those sorts of mechanics fitting into an Open World game?  Back in the day when we did Open World fics for Aberrant, we still rolled dice.  The results of those rolls are what went into our replies and conflicts were rarely scripted, weaker novas outsmarted stronger ones, novas were removed from fics for a few weeks while wounds healed (or we did fics the involved visiting them at their homes while they were on the mend).  We had block party fics, drama fics, war fics, battle fics, it was fun.

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Some (and likely most, honestly) of my most cherished memories of this site are from the time when exactly this sort of thing was the norm. Please consider me tentatively interested; I'm always a bit wary of attempts, however well-intentioned, to recapture something of those days. Still, I do love Exalted in all its flawed, fractured glory, and there's something oddly appropriate about discussing a truly Open World version of a game that, in many ways, is reminiscent of the similarly fragmented and potentially world-breaking Aberrant.

 

The first three items on my menu, culled from my experiences with NPrime, are thus: Character Creation Rules, Restrictions, and Conflict Resolution.

 

When I joined the forums, Aberrant was the only game in town, and char-gen was, largely, a laissez-faire process: you just made the character you wanted. Most of the time, that meant, "Make a character that can keep up with the super-powered Joneses." My first PC on the site was created, I admit, mostly to see how many points I could spend without making something completely alien and inhuman; no one so much as batted an eyelash because other characters were potent enough to sneeze her out of existence. The big rule was that you weren't allowed Q6, or any powers and so forth that required it. Sometimes conflicts were scripted, and sometimes dice were rolled- really, it all just depended on the writers, how much they trusted each other, and how communicative they were. You couldn't kill or render another PC effectively "dead" (e.g. permanent coma, catatonia, eternal magical slumber, trapped forever in the Phantom Zone, etc.) without permission, but nearly anything else was fair game, as long as it kept the narrative interesting. I remember hours upon hours of discussions about the possible ramifications of various story arcs, potential complications, and negotiations between play-writers. (I may have just made that word up, but since I like it, I'm going to keep using it.)

 

What's that got to do with this Exalted proposal in the here-and-now?

 

Simply put, for this to work, terms need to be set. Should we take a cue from this idea's NPrime roots, and create whatever character we please, or stay within certain (potentially arbitrary) statistical guidelines? Should we attempt to balance the different types of Exalted so that one isn't overwhelmingly more powerful than another? Should we limit the initial number of characters? Should we (at least initially) deny Essence 6+ and all associated effects, Charms, etc.? Should we relinquish some control of our characters and allow the decisions other play-writers make (barring god-modding) to affect them, potentially in negative ways, if it means we can think of amusing ways to obtain vengeance?

 

(My responses, in order:

Some sort of math needs to be involved to define our starting point, at least in terms of statistics. The basic character creation rules suit me just fine, honestly, and it shouldn't be difficult to gauge whether someone's character is progressing at a rate wildly inconsistent with both the quantity and quality of their writing.

 

At home, with Dave, I enjoy breaking the rule set and tinkering with balance issues between Exalted types because it's usually limited to our solo sessions and we tend to change things on the fly, anyway. Here, I would probably recommend leaving the relative strength levels of the various Exalted as-is. Ideally, we'll be more focused on the awesome things our characters are doing than on how many dice they get to roll, and I have a certain fondness for underdogs.

 

One character, to start. There's no point diluting things right out of the gate. We can consider opening that up again in six months or so, if this gets going.

 

Essence 6+ should be completely off the table for at least a year, real-time, and I'm leaning towards framing that as a year of play-  no bringing in a brand-spanking new character at that level on the 1-year anniversary of (insert forum name here), "just because." I'd also suggest that Essence 6, and any increase beyond that, require approval.

 

I'm willing to let Bad Things happen to my character, provided the perpetrator can maintain an open dialogue about the direction of the story and possible consequences/retaliation. Fair's fair, after all, and if it makes for good story, it's worth it. I'm all about the communication, though, so absent that, it's a no-go. This is meant to be collaborative, after all- not competitive.)

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Vivi / Dave - Nailed it in one.

 

Re: Conflict / Mechanics - The thought that I was having when the idea first came into mind is that *because* Exalted has mechanics for everything under the sun, a sort of situational approach would be used.  The majority of the time, a general rule of "Successes = half your pool, round up(if Exalted) or down(if Mortal)" for most things and use the chat bot if dice are required / desired.

That said, I'll be the first one to say that I didn't get a good luck at the mechanics underneath the open world games back in the olden days but I would be more than willing to learn more about how they worked and/or work with the people who were more "in the loop" than I was at the time to make it work.  

 

As far as inter-PC conflict is concerned, I'm actually strongly in favor of it so long as the people involved remember that there's more to combat than "I hit it with my magic solar sword", especially in this game.  (If players want to run an "influence war" between characters and have mechanics behind it, that's more than possible.)

 

Re: Character Creation - I am in full agreement with the "one character to start" situation with possible later expansion.  The caveat that I would place on later expansion would be something along the lines of "Only one Solar-tier(Solar, Abyssal, Infernal) character per player at a time.  Ever".  Add to that some sort of standardized progression of xp and a "floor" so that new PC's didn't find themselves being utterly stomped on by the XP disparity.

 

Re: Essence 6 - I am in full agreement.  Essence 6, if allowed at all (remember not everyone can even get it) should be after a year in play minimum and honestly tightly regulated.  (Essence 5 is phenomenal power, Essence 6 is essentially going Super-Saiyan)

 

 

Would folks be interested in a sort of "Oversight Committee" keeping an eye on things like that?

 

 

 

 

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Yes, we could use some 'mods' as oversighters. And yes, one Solar-tier period. They are intentionally more powerful at raw core than all the rest... and I think we probably may want to steer clear of DBs unless there are those willing to accept the plain disparity.

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Re: Dragon Blooded - I'm actually of the mind that Dragon Blooded should be our #2 most-supported type, if not #1.  The reason for this is because all the networking and social interaction that made the previous open world games work... that's what they do!  

 

Ridiculous soirees, gossip mongering, sociopolitical maneuvering, the Realm is made of this :)

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Okay, guess I should try to redeem myself for my ill-fated attempts to troll Rev. :)

 

What I'd like to see is something of an emphasis on narrative, particularly with regards to PCs conflicting with PCs. Collaboration becomes key then to resolving in-character disputes. Before writing the thread, if the participating players can hobnob and get at least a general 'shape' for the conflict and/or what they want to achieve with it, I think a looooooooot of bad feelings can be avoided. I know this detracts from gameplay, but I've seen so many of these things explode because of little things like, 'I used a skill to try to convince your character I'm right,' that when the stakes go up to cities and nations, it can only go downhill from there.

 

Bear in mind, I'm kind of writing this as I think of it, so it is not being presented as a fully-fledged plan. Rather, I'm trying to decide what I want, and I'm takin' you along for the ride. :)

 

But in general terms, if Bob the Warlord decides he wants to conquer the small communities South of the Realm in preparation for a big push north to make a play for the Throne, then he will know that Bob is going to have to deal with Herb, who has placed the community of New Herbingston under his personal protection. There's a few ways it COULD be handled. Bob could whip out his army, and Herb could plan out his defense, and they could go five rounds with the mass combat rules...perhaps spicing it up with some mano a mano combat too. They could confer OOC and compare forces and decide, 'well, Bob's army is pretty huge, I don't see how Herb could really hold out against it...but lets be frank and admit that it would cost Bob quite a bit to do it,' and then narrate it out based on that outcome. They could meet IC and try to deal with it diplomatically as well...would Bob be satisfied if Herb gave him some goods, or let him recruit from Herbington? And that could be done via opposed rolls, or decided on in advance as well. Herb could even approach other PCs and ask for help...and then they'd have to get involved too...or turn him down, of course.

 

I think what I'd like...is that the players in question at LEAST meet beforehand to discuss what METHOD of resolution they want to use. I don't see an inherent flaw in any of these approaches, but deciding on one or another in advance and then agreeing to deal with the results might help keep things civil. To the extent that it's possible. I just don't want to see situations where Bob says, "Okay, I'm attacking your town Herb. Lay out your defenses for me and prepare to die." Lets keep the 'conflict' part of conflict resolution as IC as possible, and OOC focus on collaboration. Recognize that being on the losing end of a conflict doesn't have to be the end of your character's story, nor makes your character a 'loser.' Most really cool stories begin with a defeat, or involve a character stumbling and falling before getting up and rising even farther. And frankly, even a tragic end can be pretty cool sometimes. Don't be afraid to let another character throw a wrench into your works.

 

That said...eventually it will come to pass that players disagree on how to do things. For that, I agree we would need some kind of arbitration. Peer review at the very least. I think what I am cautiously in favor of, in theory at least, is a system where we have a small cadre of moderators to deal with strictly mechanical issues, and a less formal system of peer review to deal with more thematic ones.

 

So if Herb thinks Bob is misusing that charm, he'd petition the Mod Squad. There'd really need to be at least three, I think. If Herb thinks the whole 'conquer the South' thing is lame, and is going to really mess the game up, he can put it out there for everyone to comment on. Not that he'd need permission to do that, but it'd be good to have at least a semi-formal option to say, "Hey guys, lets peer-review this...I think it's stupid, he thinks it's awesome, weigh in if you give a crap." Ideally, of course, that'd happen BEFORE it started...

 

I mean, I'd like to imagine that Bob could embark on that campaign and Herb, sharing his player's misgivings, would react in-character to thwart him and run around gathering allies and in general DEMONSTRATING that the conquest is stupid and wrong...but I am enough of a realist to know that there'll be times people just have to take things OOC. We should be ready for that.

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Peer review is something we did back in the day.  Before we had mods we'd simply just ask another member of the site: "Hey, could act as arbiter for this?"  To give an example, when Revenant and Wakinyan had their massive fight and they leveled 2 miles of land in the process, we asked Jess to arbitrate any disputes.  Now, Waki and I didn't have any real disputes to handle for that fiction save for a few bad ideas people spoke up about (which we changed as we wrote), but over all it was simple as asking someone to simply 'play ref'.

 

If people want mods, three has usually been the agreeable number.

 

Why would we steer clear of DBs?  If anyone thinks a Dragon Blood is weak simply because they're the foot soldiers of the Exalted I'd be more than happy to make a single starting DB that could own any two starting Lunars or Solars in combat.  Keep in mind DBs have all the power, all the artifacts, all the land (relatively speaking).  As a DB you have the military, the arsenal, the political clout and sheer numbers.  It's not just one Dragon Blooded against the Anathema, it's the 9,999 others behind them and the millions of soldiers at their beck and call.  Every ally is a DB, for ever soldier the Anathema can muster to their cause the Dragons have five willing to die for em.  They have the essence cannons, they have the warstriders and they have all the resources.

 

The 'Chosen' have their work cut out for them.

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Ok, a more complete response then, your point is a fair one, so I'll go into more what I'd want to see from a game like this, I'd like clearer mechanics for what's allowed and not, and a few other things.

 

A clear definition of what kinds of characters everyone would prefer to allow and the arena they are involved in, the main four are easy, Solar, Lunar, Sidereal and Dragon Blooded, but what about Alchemicals and Infernals, both of those have different origins in a connected(Malfeas) or not so connected world(Autochthon), do we want to let them into the sandbox?  What about Fair Folk, God or Demon-blooded, for that matter these characters have the potential gods and demons, do we want to allow those kinds of characters?  Personally, I think it would be kind of cool to negotiate with a PC deity, but not everyone might like that idea.  What about the Dragon-Kings and Mountain Folk?  They have potent that I wouldn't be adverse to exploring with other players, and for that matter, while it's not everyone's cup of tea, heroic mortals can be interesting too. 

 

Second, a set of guidelines for character creation, I'm assuming from the tone of things, that people are considering characters at different levels of experience, well I'd like a set of groupings, something along the lines of the following would be nice: New Exalt (Normal Character Creation rules), Experienced Exalt (+100-300 XP), Established Exalt (300-600 XP), Powerful Exalt (600-800 XP).  I'd suggest also limiting folks to only one of each level the higher level characters in this case, and going with the 4-3-2-1 split in those cases, to keep folks from overloading on one aspect of a character.

 

In general, I'd be willing to jump into a game like this, I have some old characters and new characters I'd love to try, but I need a clearer vision of the shape of the game.

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A clear definition of what kinds of characters everyone would prefer to allow and the arena they are involved in, the main four are easy, Solar, Lunar, Sidereal and Dragon Blooded, but what about Alchemicals and Infernals, both of those have different origins in a connected(Malfeas) or not so connected world(Autochthon), do we want to let them into the sandbox?  What about Fair Folk, God or Demon-blooded, for that matter these characters have the potential gods and demons, do we want to allow those kinds of characters?  Personally, I think it would be kind of cool to negotiate with a PC deity, but not everyone might like that idea.  What about the Dragon-Kings and Mountain Folk?  They have potent that I wouldn't be adverse to exploring with other players, and for that matter, while it's not everyone's cup of tea, heroic mortals can be interesting too.

 

The world needs boogie men.  Now, while I'd love to try my hand at play an evil character, I assure you, I would have half the board pissed off at me in a week.  So, lets go with a few of my opinions, to break the ice.

Alchemicals - IMO these guys are just alien and never did fit into Creation.  Their story is weak and frankly they just don't play well with others as a whole.  I've ignored them since their inclusion into the Exalted world, I try to pretend they just don't exist.  Others love these guys, and I can respect that, but I think they belong more in Autocthon.  If the majority want them involved, I'll concede.

 

Infernals - These guys are better as antagonists than PCs.

 

Abyssals - Abyssals are hard to play in a cadre of non-Abyssals, since Resonance will seep into them and quickly make everyone's life a living hell.  Trust me 1 Resonance/scene is nothing to laugh at, and as a player, I will ride the ass of whomever thinks they could play an Abyssal in Creation and ignore their Resonance...

 

Fairfolk - Like the Infernals, these guys make better antagonists than PCs.

 

Spirits/Ghosts/Elementals/etc - Again, these are better left as antagonists or plot devices.  Mentors, allies, contacts, sure... but not really PbP PC material.

 

Along with all the 'blooded', frankly, if that's what you wanna go with, I don't see a problem with it.  I would look very carefully at people making 'blooded' PCs and trying garner a powerful parent spirit out of it and using that parent as leverage or to fight their battles for them.  It's common for some players to try that and I'm not opposed to Ghost-Eating Technique solving the problem.  A player should play their PC, not their more powerful parent.

 

The rest are a toss up and if that's what people wanna do, make non-Exalts, then bully for them.  My Solars generally tend gather a small following of Heroic Mortals and God-Blooded anyway, so it's not uncommon for those sorts of PCs/NPCs to be seen in Creation.

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I'd be okay with like one or two alchemicals ending up in Creation as isolated accidents or experiments, but I don't like the whole 'Autocthonians are invading' subplot much. There's enough crap happening in Creation without that. It's the sort of thing we could add in later on, as a complication, if the game world seems like it's getting too routine.

 

I agree with Ref on the subject of Infernals and Abyssals.

 

I don't have a problem with players playing 'villain' PCs myself...though I think it'd be a challenge both IC and OOC, and not to be taken lightly.

 

The various iterations of Exalted types and other supernatural origins are less of an issue for me. Since we'll all be able to see each other's sheets and follow each other's character design process, the peer review process will be in force right from the start. I'm sure we can rely on one another to reign in our more extreme impulses. :)

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Im the newbie but ill throw my 2 cents in for what they are worth.

 

I like the idea of the open world and i really do want to play in an Exalted game but i want it to be a game not just writing stories in the same setting and borrowing form each other.

 

Both you, Dave ST, and Hyoseph mentioned plot points to keep the setting evolving. 

I would like to see plot points or story hooks that the various players could use as a starting point for example a village with a desired resource under some sort of threat two players could individually begin writing about this same village and once the stories are posted they see where they are both going at the same hook from diffenrt anglres and that could lead to either cooperation or pvp as you say.

 

does that make any sense

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I have a feeling there'll be two main sources of stories in the game.

 

1) A player says to him/herself, "Hey, I want to do (something). I wonder if anyone else will be interested in joining the fun?" So that player posts up on the OOC forum (or even perhaps a special Classified Ad thread we make for this specific purpose) I WANT TO DO [sOMETHING]; IT'LL BE BOSS. WHO'S WITH ME? And some people who have nothing better to do, and no ideas that conflict, will shrug and say 'sure.' And then they'll all work out the starting conditions and so on, and the thread will begin.

 

2) We all agree for a large event or Plot Event to take place. The specifics of that Plot Event could be whatever we can agree on. We can then post individually or in teams, about how that Plot Event affects us, and what we do about it.

 

I'm sure there'll be more complicated examples. For one thing, the dividing line between Plot Event and a player-instigated circumstance might be slim sometimes. When Bob the Warlord decides to invade Lookshy, that's something that could affect a lot of people, and have ramifications that change the setting in big ways. This is where the peer review process comes in handy. When Bob's player posts his Classified Ad to get folks involved in his invasion story, it gives us all a chance to read it and go, "Uh...Bob...that sounds like a Plot Event to me. Lets come at it from that perspective."

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Dangit, ninja'd by Max while pecking out a reply! :P

Nina, yes, you made sense. I think, though, that some clarification might be in order so we're all on the same page. Using the collaborative system we've been describing, the two play-writers in your example would be writing the same story instead of writing two separate, complete stories and looking at them afterward. If Bob and Herb (thanks, Max!) both had an interest in writing together, or both replied in the plot idea thread that they wanted to get involved with the village, they would start a new thread for the tale and start posting. It's more interactive than reactive. :) I'm at work on my phone, but I'll check in during the evening when I can, in case I misunderstood or you have questions.

Also, I, uh, kind of made a Chosen of Endings, just in case.

Edited by Vivi OOC

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Dangit, ninja'd by Max while pecking out a reply! :P

Nina, yes, you made sense. I think, though, that some clarification might be in order so we're all on the same page. Using the collaborative system we've been describing, the two play-writers in your example would be writing the same story instead of writing two separate, complete stories and looking at them afterward. If Bob and Herb (thanks, Max!) both had an interest in writing together, or both replied in the plot idea thread that they wanted to get involved with the village, they would start a new thread for the tale and start posting. It's more interactive than reactive. :) I'm at work on my phone, but I'll check in during the evening when I can, in case I misunderstood or you have questions.

Also, I, uh, kind of made a Chosen of Endings, just in case.

 

ok that clears it up more for me, thanks

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Also, if you're not familiar with the collaborative ST style, kick back and read a few starting fictions at first to see exactly how things happen.  It's basically a game where everyoneis the ST and everyone are the players all at once.  Because of this, the only that keeps us in check, is ourselves.

 

It's sounds a bit convoluted at first, but once it kicks off it's butt loads of fun because no one is ever waiting around for an ST because all of us are usually willing to write a story with someone for any reason.  That's what we do here, we're writers.  :)

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(Hyo Here)

 

I'm still all sorts of down with getting this thing going.  I imagine that once some general ground rules are established (chargen, primarily, restrictions on things like Backgrounds - not to be confused with backstory - etc) then it's just a matter of getting a forum going and, well, going :)

 

For my part, as I personally like writing antihero stories but also definitely understand that there are certain aspects of the "Dark Solar" books that make it so that they don't play well with others and/or smash the basic setting conceits into little pieces and need to be adjusted accordingly.  (Shards of the Exalted Dream's take on Abyssal Resonance, 3E's approach to Infernals, Reclamation is a delusional pipe dream but the Yozi's don't know that, etc)

 

Similarly, I'm of the mind that if someone wants to play an Abyssal Emissary to the Courts of the Dead, that's fine and well within "canon" for the character type.  They just shouldn't expect to get much RP from people who don't fall under the same purviews. 

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Still interested, actually, thanks for the nudge Vivi, was thinking about giving it a gentle shove myself.  Still, I feel we need some character creation rules that everyone agrees too to get this on the road, so to speak.

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Still interested. Been a bit busy, but I haven't forgotten this. I agree with Krul as well, lets get some chargen hammered out.

 

I think I'd prefer not starting with super experienced characters, though in an open world game parity between PCs isn't necessarily as important since the PCs are free to group with their peers as they see fit.

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First thing we need to do is state whether or not we're making starting or experienced characters.

 

Second, Creation and where we're going to be sand boxing.  Now it might be cool to think, "Hey, Creation is huge, we can spread out!", but it's also so huge that it makes characters who are too far apart (like all the way out in the West when everyone else is in the Threshold) unlikely they will ever meet to discuss things.  The things about OW games is that they run in Real-Time.

 

Real-Time means that if it takes 3 months to train your essence to 4 and you start training in January 1st, you don't get the benefits of it until April 1st.  That includes travel times as well.  Since most fictions take anywhere from 4-6 weeks and span only a couple of days to write and finish, most characters can flow from one fiction to the next since the time between fictions is considered 'down time'.  The point being, is that we should select a section of creation and sandbox it around there, like the Threshold, or The North, or The South.

 

Traveling to other places is all fine and dandy, Exalts travel (and have awesome means of doing so), but the key to staying alive is keeping a low profile or having an army to watch your back.  Zipping all over countryside with Stormwind Rider might sound cool, but it draws a lot of attention, it's incredibly easy to follow a tornado and constant use of it is considered 'derpy'.

 

So, before we dive right in to making PCs... lets tackle those issues real quick.

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Characters: I'd like the option to make both experienced and new characters, limits are good, but not every exalt in creation has the same degree of training and experience, I'd like to allow for us to have a degree of difference in experience between characters.   So My Suggestion:  Any New Exalt (Normal Character Creation rules), Experienced Exalt (+200 XP), Established Exalt (400 XP) ||  Limit players to one Established and one Experienced exalt, total, all other characters would have to be new exalted.  || Besides this, I also think the limit of a maximum of One Solar, One Lunar, One Sidereal, and any number of Dragon-Blood is also set. 

 

But if everyone else would prefer to stick to starting characters only, I'd be willing to accept that.

 

Location: I suggest a focus on the Scavenger lands and the three rivers, it's a huge area, with Nexus in the center, as the great trade city of the world, there's plenty of room for just about any story someone wants to run with, from exploration to intrigue, to ruling your own kingdom or running your own mercenary group.  The gold faction and the lunars are active in the area, lookshy has it's own activities, Walker and Mask of Winters are activate agents, Three Forks  the Raksha and the guild are active in the area, and the realm has tributaries here.. shoot, the story potential is huge.  Also, with connection to the three rivers, travel is faster and easier then almost anywhere but the ocean, those rivers are like amazon river huge.. and the area is much more filled with life then the oceans in the west, at least on the surface, plus the rivers are fresh water..  Besides, with Nexus being a trade hub, you can have come from anywhere, to the great crossroad city and then moved out from there.  Furthermore, there's more room to make up your own ideas about what you might had and where in this location.

 

 

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Keep in mind: the average Exalt earns 10XP/year (seriously, look it up).  That's why older Exalts are more powerful and possess higher Essence scores.  200XP and 400XP Exalts are well in the 20-40 years worth of experience range.  This would handicap Solars since they've not even been out of the prison for 10 years (if we consider the Reclamation storyline date).

 

If we start the game at Realm Year 768 (the canon start date) then Solars haven't even been out of the prison for 5 years yet.  While all hell's currently breaking loose, older Exalts are going own any solar that's created since you can't Exalt with 400XP (you can, but that's just lame sauce).

 

I'm on the fence about 'experienced' characters.  For example, the average 40 year Solar is made with 10/7/5 for Atts, 33 abilities, an average Essence of 4-5, and about 18-30 charms.  That's a powerhouse, especially since Solars get all the good discounts on experience costs.  Opening the with experienced characters just means that the younger PCs are going to quickly bite some pillows as the older Exalts go in dry.

 

If we do experienced PCs I'd recommend lowering it to the 50XP-75XP point range.  Why?  Well, I've a Solar I could put to paper that's only 350XP and he can lay waste to Magnitude 4 units single handed... from 5 miles away.  Seriously, that's not cool as a 'starting character'.  As much as I'd love to play a high powered character (and I do), I think it'd run the game into a downward swiftly.  Kinda like some of the players who think mass producing Artifact 5 items is a great idea (and totally feasible using Wyld Shaping Technique for unlimited funds!)... I'd like to avoid the high powered right out of the gate.

 

If people want, and all agree, that experienced is the way to go, then I'm cool with it.

 

Location: The Scavenger Lands would be an excellent place to congregate.  Using the rivers or the coastline you can get to most places within a few weeks.

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Scavenger lands as a general rule is a great idea.  I am sure there are those who would want to have scenes and fictions set in other, more exotic places, but legitimately it would not be hard to have SL be the "unless otherwise stated" base location for most things.

 

I am personally in favor of starting with a base Exalt and going from there.  Gain xp over time and see where the game takes you.  So long as there is something resembling an "xp floor" for the people who would be bringing in new characters after the start of the game this could be good.  (Expecially in Exalted, falling behind on XP means you can and likely will be outclassed very quickly unless your cheese fu is STRONG.

 

 

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I concur our starting characters should be starting characters.

 

Scavenger Lands are where the action's at too. I mean, plenty of room for globetrotting, but yeah. I think we're all pretty much agreed on the principle here.

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What's the timeline? Are we playing with the disappearance of the Scarlet Empress being a Thing? If so, has it happened yet? (Or has she already returned?)

 

I ask mostly because, in the massive Aberrant "game" we had going, major canon events could be affected by PC actions; one of the hottest topics, for example, was the possibility that the Night of Long Knives might never happen.

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I'm generally against the Scarlet Empress coming back in any way shape or form since it means one of two things, both of which are worldbreaking.

 

1) Reclamation

2) Sword of Creation / Realm Defense Grid is back online

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Yeah, first one means we'd probably all die because we'd be too low level to make a difference.   Second one means the Empress Can Nuke us.   Which means we All will Die.

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That's not entirely true.

 

In the 700 years that the Empress has had control of the SoC she's only used it once because the price is incredibly steep.  Keep in mind that while the Empress is incredibly powerful, she's still just a Terrestrial Exalt trying to use Solar Technology.  Sure, the Yozi's could make it work but if we start in the middle of the reclamation... that'd be dumb, so that idea is out.

 

My point being is that the SoC is a moot point.  Seriously, why the hell would we start a game where the Big Bads had a weapon that could wipe us out in a single use?  That would make for a short game and it's pretty ignorant to go through all this trouble just nuke the PCs.

 

That said, starting in RY768 would prolly be our best bet.  The Empress has been gone 5 years, the Dynasty is falling apart through infighting and greed and the Threshold is starting to shake the yolk of the Empress's rule.  The PC's have the opportunity to begin as freshly squeezed Exalts or an Exalts who's been around for at least 5 years (since the Jade Prison broke).

 

Well, if we've been Exalts for 5 years, I get 50XP, right?

No.  You've either just gotten all shiny, or you've spent the last 5 years understanding your new condition (which takes time) or you've been focusing on your survivability and future plans (reflected by your backgrounds).  Regardless, it provides the base as to why everyone is about the same in power but come from different backgrounds, walks of life, and various realms.

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