View Full Version : Getting started with Exalted 2nd Ed. Book recommendations?

2015-11-30, 02:10 PM
so, been a long time fan of the Exalted game and lore, and a friend of mine will be selling me the core rulebook and the the manual of Exalted power for the dragonblooded. I also noticed that a local gaming shop had a sale on quite a bit of stuff, including second edition Exalted books. now, I was planning on purchasing the Manual of exalted power for the Lunars, and I also noticed that both the books for Infernals and Abyssals are 50% off, so I might pick up one of those, but beyond that what books would people recommend for purchase?

And since I'm actually writing this, I might as well ask, do people have any suggestions or recommendations when it comes to running the game? Any tips or trics for things like creating characters, or insuring that the game runs smoothly? It's been years since I last played Exalted, so any and all advice is welcome.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Lord Raziere
2015-11-30, 04:24 PM
.....the 3rd edition core book pdf has been released to backers and the true thing is going to truly released very soon.

you picked a very bad time to start on 2nd edition.

but whatever. first I recommend downloading the Scroll of Errata. it updates everything to Exalted 2.5, which is marginally less broken and actually somewhat playable.

don't get Scroll of the Monk. its incredibly broken. Return of the Scarlet Empress is horrible, and so is Dreams of the First Age, and don't bother with the Scroll of Heroes or the Scroll of Kings.

try getting Oadenol's Codex, Shards of the Exalted Dream, The White and Black Treatises (sorcery and necromancy book) Masters of Jade, The Rolls of Glorious Divinity, they're the good stuff.

the rest is more specific: if you want play Infernals, I suggest ignoring the first two chapters, because those chapters fluff is horrible, chapters 3 onward are awesome. also, get Broken-Winged Crane and the Malfeas book. they help immensely.

if you want to play Abyssals, well, do you want to play mustache-twirling villains or necromantic vampire Drizz't except without the hope of being accepted unless you become a Solar? because those are the only two character concepts they explicitly support in the book, the Underworld book is......largely boring.

as for Lunars.....play them, get what Terrestrial Compass your playing in, and don't read any of the online arguments about them, which are endless, infinitely distracting from other issues and won't be dying down any time soon.

so yeah. thats my recommendation to you.

2015-11-30, 05:10 PM
well, I'm just hoping that 3rd edition doesn't cause everyone to drop 2nd edition.

Also, could someone be so kind as to actually explain to me what the books listed above contain/are? I'm not gonna ask why some parts of them are terrible, simply what they are.

2015-11-30, 06:30 PM
Most books in Exalted 2e fall into a category, and these categories tend to hold to certain themes or patterns.

These books talk about- well, sorcery. Its a little bit of a mixed bag, ranging from talking about artifacts and geomancy, to actual magic, to spirits and gods. The books are, in order:

Wonders of the Lost Age: This book is mainly a bunch of artifacts and equipment that you might want to use. Its not bad, but not great either.
White and Black Treatises: The actual book on sorcery (and necromancy). If you want to play a sorcerer, its something I'd recommend- the core book doesn't have a big selection of spells. It has some fluff, but mainly you want it for the large lists of spells.
Oadenol's Codex: Similar to Wonders of the Lost Age, but somewhat broader. It contains artifacts, stuff about demesnes, manses, and geomancy (magical locations, essentially), thaumaturgy (sort of lower grade sorcery?) and other magical phenomena. Pretty good book, well worth having.
Roll of Glorious Divinity I: This is about gods and elementals. Lots of fluff, lots of mechanics. Its okay.
Roll of Glorious Divinity II: This is about demons and ghosts. I like it better than Roll I, especially with the prevalence of demons in sorcery.

This set is all about places outside of Creation. Except for the first book, for some inexplicable reason. Anyway, the Compass books are largely about fluff and define the setting in exhausting detail.

Blessed Isle: This book is about the Blessed Isle, the central portion of Creation. Useful to have as it describes the Dragonblooded and the Realm a bit more, though I haven't seen the Blessed Isle come up directly in many games.
The Wyld: This book is about the Wyld, the mad chaos beyond Creation's borders. I'll admit, I had to open it again to remember what was in it. I did not use this book much.
Yu Shan: Creation's version of Heaven. Or in short, paradise as populated by savage politicians. Again, not a book I used often. Does have a roll of celestial divinities though, which might prove useful.
The Underworld: Where people go when they die and don't want to reincarnate. Generally held to be a complete mess of a book, not recommended.
Malfeas: Malfeas- hell, the demon city. While spotted with many of the same issues that plague the Underworld book, does have some interesting and useful stuff to it, but not a necessary book.
Autochthonia: About Autochthon, the machine world drifting apart from Creation. It is unlikely you will use this in the vast majority of games, but if you do want to play some alchemicals in Autochthon, its not bad.

Counterpart to the Celestial Directions, Terrestrial Directions talk about all the places in Creation, the general setting. These see a lot more use, in my experience, and have some decent parts. But again, they define the setting very, very completely. This is not necessarily a good thing. Still, pretty decent picks if you like fluff with fluff on the side and fluff for dessert.

Scavenger Lands: About the Scavenger Lands, an area east of the Blessed Isle. One of the more popular areas to set games, the Scavenger Lands is a diverse bunch of city-states that form the Confederation of Rivers, a group that defies the Realm. Pretty worth having, for a setting book.
The West: Surprisingly, this book is about the West. The West has water. Lots of water. I... don't remember any games set in the west, or using much of the setting defined in this book. It has some kinda dumb bits, if you ask me. Probably get it a pass, at least for now.
The East: The only part of this book that I remember is that it contains Sijan, which is pretty cool. But similar to the West, I haven't gotten much use from this book and I don't see many games set in this direction.
The South: This is a good book. You have Gem, which is constantly on the verge of explosion in every game, Chiaroscuro, which is a cool broken city, An-Teng... I've used this book a lot, and I do see quite a few games set in the South.
The North: While I don't see a ton of games set in the North, the book has some cool stuff in it, and Gethamane inspired my favorite character. Maybe not a high priority book, but worth considering if you like Exalted and want more setting details. Or if you're playing a game in the North.

These are very important books, because they give you more character options, as well as defining many of the major factions in the game. If you want to play anything other than a Solar, you need these books. If you want to better understand your antagonists, you need these books. They're not always great books... but they're important ones to have.

Abyssals: Do you want to wear all black and lament about how you kill everything you touch? Well, that's Abyssals. The mechanics of them are almost entirely just copies of Solar mechanics, and their fluff is a bit one note. Also, the Underworld and its antagonists are just a real mess. I'm... not fond of Abyssals.
Alchemicals: Steampunk communist robo-heroes! Alchemicals are pretty cool but are rarely relevant to Exalted. In fact, I kiiinda think they're better off not being in Exalted at all, and just being their own thing. Their tendency not to show up except in Alchemical central games seems to indicate that this is a common thought. So cool, but maybe wait until you want to play Alchemicals.
Dragon-Blooded: The Dragon-Blooded are typically a major antagonist in the Exalted game, and their mechanics and book is decent. Pretty useful to have, but skippable if you don't want to run a game or play a Dragon-Blooded.
Infernals: People love Infernals, so its generally important to have this book. Their charmset is also pretty fascinating compared to pretty much all other charmsets out there. Unfortunately, half of the fluff is pure garbage (some of it setting hijacking garbage), and the while they're interesting, the mechanics of their charmset is sometimes really freaking annoying to work with. Still, a good change of pace.
Lunars: Lunars are probably one of the more popular Exalted types, but I don't have much personal experience with them. Still, shapeshifting is fun. Lunars are generally considered a bit underpowered, but there are some popular fixes for that. Worth considering.
Sidereals: Fate ninjas. Highly political fate ninjas. I've not used this book much, or seen others use it much, so I don't strongly recommend this book, but I don't have a ton to say against it either.

Just a grab bag of other stuff.

Errata: Its a bunch of errata that updates and unbreaks everything. Its free. Top priority pick up.
Fallen Races: Defines the Mountain Folk and the Dragon Kings. Kinda cool, but I've never seen either used. Low priority.
Heroes: Expands options for mortal characters, and god-blooded (or demon-blooded and etc) characters. Interesting ideas, absolutely horrendous mechanics. Not worth picking up.
Kings: Apparently this is a book. I don't know that I've ever opened it. Something about war? I think its safe to say you can ignore this.
Monk: Martial arts! Some really cool stuff, some really broken stuff. Maybe worth getting, but the mechanics are of questionable value.

There are other books that don't really fit into the other categories, and yet were not made scrolls.

Broken Winged Crane: A small book with some extra Infernal/Yozi content, and one of the most popular tidbits of Infernal mechanics out there: Devil-Tigers. If you do end up wanting to play a rebellious overpowered infernal, this is the book you need. Also you need to descend into insanity and make your own charmset, because "design your own charms it'll be cool" is definitely good game design. Still, some neat bits.
Dreams of the First Age: About the First Age, before the fall of the Solar Exalted. Largely irrelevant to every game ever.
Glories: About the major divine powers. Interesting, but most irrelevant unless you really have a hankering to try and fight the Unconquered Sun and yet are too bored to think of ways to mechanically say "lolno."
Graceful Wicked Masques: The book about Fair Folk. Some really cool stuff, some really weird stuff, some horrible rules that got massively rewritten in the Scroll of Errata. A cool pick if you like Fair Folk and/or breaking games in half under the tutelage of resident Fair Folk expert Meschlum.
Masters of Jade: A pretty cool book the Guild and commerce. Also a really nifty set of rules for starting and running large organizations. Sometimes has hints or name drops of things that don't exist anywhere else without making this clear, a fact which really annoys me, but otherwise a nice book.
Shards of the Exalted Dream: A weird but pretty nifty book about alternate realities of Exalted. Want to be a Solar in Exalted's version of Battlestar Galactica? How about Mass Effect? Or maybe you'd rather skip Sci-Fi and shoot for Street Fighter, or just the plain old modern world? If nothing else, a lot of the alternate rules in Shards are useful for implementing elsewhere, like the Resonance mechanic for Abyssals (which makes them much less likely to play out as over the top tragic figures). A good book.
Splinters of the Wyld: A small expansion to the Wyld directions book. Has some more mutations and stuff.

My recommendations, from these?

Scroll of Errata: Its free, a ton of games use it, its good reworking of the system, get it, no question.
Oadenol's Codex: More artifacts is good, manse rules and more hearthstones is good, you'll almost always find uses for these.
Infernals: Lots of people like infernals, and there is some useful stuff in there. You'll get mileage out of it for sure.

Beyond that-
White and Black Treatise: If you want to play a sorcerer.
Scavenger Lands/The South: If you want setting books, these are the two to consider first.
Shards of the Exalted Dream: If you want a crazier setting or some interesting alternative rules.
Masters of Jade: For the Guild and the cool organization rules.

2015-11-30, 06:45 PM
That was extremely helpful. Thank you so much for taking time to write such an exhaustive post on the books.

2015-12-01, 03:00 PM
First let me agree ing etting the Scroll of Errata.
While the new Building rules are neither better nor worse than the old version, just different, the mechanical Changes, especially regarding Dragonblooded, are REALLY important.

As for the Recommendations: I REALLY suggest getting MOEP. Infernals. Its quite good.
Also add other MOEPS if you feel like playing them, I suggest Lunars and Graceful Wicked Masques (for coolness not "will actually be played"^^).
The Celestial Compass-Variants are very to somewhat helpful.
as ar B&W Treatises and OC.

Al the others are optional me thinks. :)

2015-12-01, 04:54 PM
Pretty much echoing what others have said before.

Pretty sure 3 isn't going to just kill off all the 2.5 stuff, not right out the gate anyway. I have a heard a couple huge gripes on it. But anyway, really, what has been said before, it almost proves the axiom behind Exalted. Specialize. Don't generalize. Find out what you want. If it's in books a-d, not e,f and k, but h has something neat of interest, then buy those specific books, not all of them.

My friend only owns all of them because he is the 'central depository' for my rl groups rp books.

2015-12-01, 07:13 PM
I forgot to add some important Stuff above:

Make your group/yourself decide IF and WHAT Crossover is allowed/intended.
Because while machanically all Celestials are easily crossovereable (ouside of specialized campaigns with good if not perfect balance/compatability) integrating Dragonblooded with their, especially with more XP, Powerlessnes and the Raksha with their ... Alienness can be close to impossible.

Speaking of personal experience: I have had the best running groups with Solar only, Solar-somewhat-freespirited Infernal and SSolar Lunar Groups.
And one single marvellous Dragonblooded Politic-campaign starting a good 25 years prior to the original Timeline which sadly died due to players leaving the country.... ;)

And another go on the Mechanics:

I am pretty well versed in all Splats but Sidereals (never liked them much) and Alchemicals (never found a group for them).

The Solars are the least problematic and most adaptable (including fluff), the Abyssals ... simply kill, metaphorically and well REAL, the Infernals are fascinating, fluffful and sometimes ennervatingly written and the Lunars, while a bit underpowered, offer great variety due to their shapeshifting.
GWM is simply great stuff to read, but needs a very specific grpoup. And Shaping Combat is confusing.
For the Dragonblooded they sadly cut most of first Eds Fluff, but its still a good Book.