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    Default [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Hey everyone I'm someone who backed the Exalted Essence kickstarter so I can get an early look at all the goodies. What Exalted Essence is, or what will be, is a rules lite version of Exalted making all the types of Exalted playable in one book. Its not a replacement for Exalted 3e, its just something on the side that is awesome because making actual Exalted books take way too long. So I thought I'd just my thoughts and reactions to these previews.

    Spoiler: Chapter 1
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    The first manuscript is basically an introduction to the world of the Exalted. For the most part its basic and nothing that flashy for a long time Exalted fan, all the lore is stuff that is known and normal, but its presented in a clear, concise manner to introduce new players to Exalted without much of the florid prose and flourishes Exalted usually does. If anything I'm more surprise by how little has changed than anything else.

    What I really like, is that many of the locations detailed here, while not anything new now have their inspirations listed right next to them, their real life times and locations these are all based on. This is exactly what was needed, because I could never have guessed or thought to look up any of these locations in a million years, many of these are not well known historical places, at least to my biased american education which doesn't focus on any of them. So its good to have these inspirations so that I can reference and look up what they were like myself so that people other than anthropologists and historians can know what they're talking about when discussing these locations in Exalted.

    Another good thing is that each direction and such provides a character concept section and archetypes to give you an idea of what kind of concepts would be here, what form they take so as to give you a direction of concept to pick and such, really streamlines the whole thing and provides a framework separate from the Solars to consider the archetypes of Exalted: Warrior, Priest, Savant, Criminal and Broker.

    A few other things:
    The Ebon Dragon is explicitly back in his doom incarnation from 1e. The devs finally killed snidely whiplash ebon dragon like they've always wanted. Ebon dragon is dead, long live the Ebon Dragon, who is doomed and loving it.

    apparently some Alchemicals were left behind by Autochthon, in cryo/stasis because they were the proof of concept that Autochthon used to convince the Unconquered Sun to go ahead with the whole Exalted thing in the first place. Now I imagine playing an Alchemical who is super simple archetypical normal hero in nature, whose entire reason for Autochthon Exalting them was just to do an obstacle course and slay a few dangerous animals to convince Sol.....then they were ordered by their god to go to sleep until they were needed and ended up waking up thousands of years later, Autochthon having never called them to fight with everyone else against the Primordials and is now angry that she was nothing but "some first blade made and discarded as if by an apprentice blacksmith" and sets out to prove she can be hero even if she is horribly out of date.

    Either that or an alchemical who was made in some secret underground bunker as contingency plan against something he calculated would happen in Creation and the Alchemical would there to counteract it....but it either never occurs or its something like the Fair Folk invasion or the Great Contagion and the machinery to detect those broke down before they happened, leaving them unable to help and they wake up after the problem has already been solved, and so now must figure out a new purpose for themselves. like you could get a lot of mileage out of "leftover contingency Alchemical".


    Spoiler: Chapters 2 and 3
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    This chapter focuses on character creation of the Exalted. a lot of it is providing traits that simplify and convey the themes that each Exalted type and caste are supposed to have. most of its stuff Exalted fans already know, and would serve as good introduction for everyone else.

    what I find most interesting about the section are things like these:
    -the Adamant Caste of the Alchemicals is interesting: "Adamant Caste is a teacher, artist or muse" that what they do is spiritual refinement and performances. This is different from what we know from their 2e incarnation, which has them be Autochthon super secret police that protects all of Autochthonia from the shadows as these unseen angels. If Adamant Castes have this new role of being these inspiring performers and teachers to the Autochthonians, I'm down for it. look we already have Moonsilver, Starmetal and Soulsteel Castes to be three different flavors of secret police watching the Autochthonian people and it in retrospect in didn't make that much sense for the Adamant Caste to be on its lonesome, or for these beautiful castes of spiritual faith in Autochthon to be Auto's Divine Minister black ops group. spread them out so the Adamants are a third inspiring presence alongside Jade and Orichalcum and allow the Divine Ministers to just make Moonsilver or Darksteel castes for their dirty work as appropriate, it makes more thematic sense.

    -The Infernal Castes names are now: Azimuth, Ascendant, Horizon, Nadir and Penumbra. I knew this was coming for a while now since I've read the dev thread from time to time. remaking their specific caste marks however, that was an experience. they're not just Solar caste makes colored green, they have these differences that set them apart and such. also: Infernals are just straight up resonant with Orichalcum...but not any other magical material, unlike Solars.

    Here are the renditions of their caste marks I can find:

    Top Left: Azimuth (Dawn counterpart)
    Top Right: Ascendant (Zenith Counterpart)
    Middle: Horizon (Twilight)
    Bottom Left: Nadir (Night)
    Bottom Right: Penumbra (Eclipse)

    -The Getimian Exalted: YES. finally! We get their castes and actual explanations of what they are! they have four castes: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. They come from realities that never existed, and are people that would've been great heroes as a mortal....if they ever existed in the first place and to them its as if they popped into a different Creation. I can see much potential as they allow you to tell all sorts of stories in the backstory because by the end....it'll all be gone and your character will be left with nothing but their new Exaltation and the knowledge that none of it really happened.

    here are their caste marks:


    Exigents, which are custom Exalts for people to make, are also there.

    Then there is great curse stuff, which all makes sense for their Exalted types and such. its good.

    then it goes on to list archetypes that each caste falls into as it did for the locations in Chapter 1, this is useful because it not only provides what is expected to either follow or defy as you please, but it also provides us examples of Exigents that one could make: chosen of gladiator gods, or a god of a city, or a forge god, or a gambling god, or a commerce god, which I think is a good starting point to figure out how you want to custom make your Exigent.

    the abilities list has been shortened from 25 to 14: Awareness, Athletics, Close Combat, Craft, Embassy, Integrity, Navigate, Performance, Physique, Presence, Ranged Combat, Sagacity, Stealth, and War.

    The Merit list is also pretty short, as it simplifies and gets rid of things that are unneed for this sipler game: speaking a thousand languages is simply a high Embassy skill, no need to purchase language merits while things being a beastman or being tall no longer need merits to do, so they're cosmetic in this system.

    so far, this is all pretty awesome. I can't wait to see more, the Getimians are my jam and its nice to have a rules lite version of Exalted so I know how to better translate Exalted stuff to other rules lite systems. and I look forward to people translating the stuff shown in this book to actual Exalted 3e. I'll be on the lookout for more Essence previews as time goes on.
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2021-06-02 at 05:15 PM.
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    Default Re: (Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    I just found out about this earlier.

    Infernals are my baby, they're what got me into exalted in the first place, so it's always cool to see stuff with them.

    I was sold on Getimani back when their deal was "you were meant to be great, but then the bloated bureaucracy that s the god's domain actively screwed you over so that you were never born and your destiny never came to pass. Now you exit anyway. What you gonna do about it."

    Also being a living loom of fate complete with symbiotic pattern spiders running up and down your bones and plucking the strands of fate woven through your being on your behest is creepy in all the right ways
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    Default Re: (Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Yeah and the whole Getimian thing is great, because while it technically isn't canon, at your table you can just say things as crazy as your Getimian is from a previous edition, or a shard, or was a completely different Exalt before they existed and it doesn't break, because from an outsiders perspective they just popped into existence one day with what they have, not being able to "go back", so they're stuck with the Creation they are in.

    imagine being a Getimian from Gunstar Autochthonia and just seeing vanilla Creation: everything is great because they finally found this paradise world the Exalted Host was always searching for and the Primordials are defeated....but everything is wrong, because the Exalted Host is divided against itself and are stuck are medieval or lower tech levels. and then they learn their Exaltation was made by Oramus and Sacheverell.
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    Default Re: (Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Yeah and the whole Getimian thing is great, because while it technically isn't canon, at your table you can just say things as crazy as your Getimian is from a previous edition, or a shard, or was a completely different Exalt before they existed and it doesn't break, because from an outsiders perspective they just popped into existence one day with what they have, not being able to "go back", so they're stuck with the Creation they are in.

    imagine being a Getimian from Gunstar Autochthonia and just seeing vanilla Creation: everything is great because they finally found this paradise world the Exalted Host was always searching for and the Primordials are defeated....but everything is wrong, because the Exalted Host is divided against itself and are stuck are medieval or lower tech levels. and then they learn their Exaltation was made by Oramus and Sacheverell.
    I am now imagining someone from Exalted vs The World of Darkness. He got run down and murdered by a Weaver aligned spirit because his advanced discovery that would have revolutionised the world also would have made it too chaotic.

    So a spirit possessing a guy just hits him with a truck... And the whole thing plays out like a deconstruction of generic "reincarnated in another world" stories.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    I'm surprised that Getimians can't canonically have been Exalts in their "other life". It doesn't really break anything because they'd just have the standard Getimian powers. There's even a canonical Alchemical in second edition who used to be a Solar in a past life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth3 View Post
    I'm surprised that Getimians can't canonically have been Exalts in their "other life". It doesn't really break anything because they'd just have the standard Getimian powers. There's even a canonical Alchemical in second edition who used to be a Solar in a past life.
    The whole point, as I understand it, is that they're people who would have been great if their destinies had be allowed to be part of the canon timeline without any supernatural powers.

    "Dancing-In-Water is destined to take the dragonblooded Governor by surprise and beat him to death with an oar, then lead an armed rebellion to drive the corrupt Dynastic colonials off her Island leading to an open rebellion against the Dragonblooded across the world and thus opportunities for the Lunars and Solars to reclaim their control of the world... Better snip that thread and make sure she's never born." said the Bronze Faction Sid.

    Honestly, it's possible that once you're Exalted there's just too much mythic resonance for you to not be part of the tapestry, or that Exaltations are only the domain of Lytek and the specific deities that created and empowered them which means that no one is allowed to remove them from the Tapestry or prevent them from being born.

    Or maybe the Pattern Spiders just refuse? I mean, in previous editions the canon reason that stunts were a thing is that the Pattern Spiders thought that Exalts and other supernatural beings were cool and literally pulled strings to make sure that they could do cool stuff more easily.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Honestly the more the devs tighten things with the canonicity wrench, the more I'm inclined to ignore them when it comes to Exalted. the way White Wolf/Onyx Path handles their canon and lore while producing great well thought out worlds, can be a bit stifling at times and this Getimian "mortals only backstory plz" is one of those times. just like how I ignore their ideas on crafting and magitech so I can actually make an inventor in Exalted.
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2021-06-07 at 11:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    Honestly, it's possible that once you're Exalted there's just too much mythic resonance for you to not be part of the tapestry, or that Exaltations are only the domain of Lytek and the specific deities that created and empowered them which means that no one is allowed to remove them from the Tapestry or prevent them from being born.
    Yeah, that makes sense. On another topic, are Secrets Sidereals the best lie detectors now? They can see through any lie told by anything with equal or less Essence, and I don't think even the full Solar charmset went that far.

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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth3 View Post
    Yeah, that makes sense. On another topic, are Secrets Sidereals the best lie detectors now? They can see through any lie told by anything with equal or less Essence, and I don't think even the full Solar charmset went that far.
    In Essence they might have that. But I doubt that is what the Secrets would get it in a full classic writeup.

    as for Solars well.....seeing through lies seems like a Socialize thing, and Solar Socialize when not hiding your own motives is all about figuring out someone else's motives and intimacies, determining friend from foe in a social situation without asking, like there is a lot charms about the read intentions action and one charm allows them to read surface attitudes of multiple people at once, be aware of traps and assassination attempts, read an entire court at once and all their intimacies are connected to one another.

    detecting a lie is one thing, being able to read people so that you know what drives them, what their goals are, what they care about well....isn't that better? you can compare what they're saying to what you've read of them and figure out whether they are consistent, you not only see the lie, but also see the reason behind the lie and what they really care about and are after.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    So, it's used in previous editions that one of the Death Lords favors exalting Children, and "child exalts" are a thing in previous editions.

    And a vague concept that's been in the back of my mind for a while is someone who exalted in the 10-14 age range after living* through the kind of thing that no one should go through, especially a child as an Abyssal, or an Infernal, or maybe a Lunar, or I guess now a Gettimani might work with certain backstories what with their "rage against the heavens things."

    She claims that she wants the world to burn for what happened to her... But really she just doesn't trust anybody and wants to be strong enough to not ever go through anything like that again. She doesn't have the heart or the stomach to actually go through with the kind of indiscriminate destruction she claims to want.

    Would you say that Essence makes it easier or harder to make than 3e?

    *Or, not, in the case of an Abyssal take on the concept.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Well there is nothing in the rules saying you can't play that concept, things like merits to have cosmetic mutations and being really big were trimmed out for Essence, as in a lighter system such things can be treated as most cosmetic and thus ignored.

    So technically at least slightly easier as you don't have to find that one merit in the corebook to make you smaller. but most of the mechanics are focused on what the character would actually be talented at, so it kind of depends on what of the five archetypes such an Exalt would fall under: warrior, priest, savant, criminal, or broker. because that determines what skills are affected.

    Spoiler: Essence Chapters 4 and 5
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    Chapter 4 is systems. meaning a lot of mechanical stuff with no fluff. Yeah I'm not good at reading these sections, I usually skim over them, but I have to be better at reading them because they're important, I should try to absorb this...

    its say you either need 10 tensided dice, or d20s to play this system as long as 11-20 are treated as 1-10, basically cutting the numbers in half. you build pools from attribute + ability + relevant modifier just like in normal Exalted, and anything above 7 is a success.

    there is a sidebar about conflicting effects that double 9's and it says to double lower numbers if they overlap. huh guess they must have had problems with many overlapping double 9's in testing.

    actions....yeah this is all normal storyteller stuff, reflexive action, flurries you know.

    opposed actions are basically whoever rolls highest wins, and if there is unstoppable force/immovable object situation where two perfect effects are involved, you go to a opposed action roll off as normal.

    extended actions are called ventures, which is really broad, it probably real simplifies a lot of the different kinds of projects in Exalted, because in 3e you have: crafting projects, bureaucracy projects, sorcery projects, and so on that all run on different rules which led to things like 3e crafting charm bloat, because they Solars gave 50+ craft charms for some reason when most Solar charm trees in the 3e corebook only have like 20-25, a near freeform bureaucracy system, an actually well-loved sorcerous working system to name probably not all of them, it is just all over the place in terms of mechanics and I remember 3e being criticized for this mechanical inconsistency. the venture system of course could be a look at something more consistent and lighter for all of them.

    difficulty numbers are the same....a lot of this is the same as its just the storyteller system but lighter, so lets try and find whats different

    there is teamwork rolls, probably added to make this work as well be the dragon-blooded mechanic.

    dice limit, this is interesting. basically a bunch of rules I think are to make sure it keeps within a certain workable range of dice so that things don't get ridiculous. The math must go all wonky if they don't keep it within the range.

    oh hey attributes: Force, Finesse, Fortitude. Basically these three attributes replace the nine found in 3e. Force is everything forceful: force of strength, force of personality, direct logic, Finesse is quick thinking, dexterity or clever words, and Fortitude like physical endurance, vigilance or composure. really simplifies it down, though we don't have appearance anymore.

    then there is the abilities/skills. Close combat is a smush together of armed and unarmed combat, I don't know if we're getting martial arts charms in Essence because of this, it might be cut out.

    Embassy seems like a combination of Socialize and Bureaucracy. basically this is the politician skill all in one, also it governs the ability to speak and read multiple languages, which y'know probably needed for navigating other societies.

    Navigate is Ride and Sail combined into one, able to use any transport to go anywhere.

    Physique is a combination of Resistance and Athletics, making it so you resist poisons with the same state you lift big rocks and such.

    Ranged combat is obviously archery and thrown put together.

    Sagacity I think is Lore, Occult, and Medicine all combined into one, its basically the "knowledgeable sage" stat. oh god, this is powerful. its a prerequisite to learn sorcery and to cure diseases. this is basically a required stat for people like Twilight Castes from what I'm reading here.

    in the social influence system, virtues are back, and they work like this: every character has two, one major one minor, and together this is how they interpret the world around them? the examples given are things like Ambition, Compassion, Courage, Loyalty, things like that and they are not things you can discard easily these are character defining virtues, you can only change them during the game through a story that changes the characters fundamental nature. interesting that they've did this, while still having the intimacy system of 3e with ties and principles, they've actually added something rather than taking away. weird.

    you have a similar combat system to 3e withering and decisive attack that whole system, except instead of using initiative, withering attacks build up Power, then decisive attacks use Power to deal damage, initiative is separate and focused on whether the Players or ST's characters go first, so initiative has been simplified so that your not constantly changing your initiative track in combat basically while still retaining 3e's cinematic style and flow of "a bunch of cool looking but ineffective attacks then a final effective blow to be dramatic" which I like, I can see this being houseruled in to 3e proper, because some people might not like that constant use of initiative as a secondary health bar that makes combat more complicated, but still like the concept of how 3e combat works.

    Power basically does all the things initiative did in its own stat, and everything else is much the same as far as I can tell.

    The system for running Wars basically much like an opposed roll thing, except it includes things like various obstacles that you have to roll to get over, I'm not sure on the usual war rules of 3e, but I'm pretty sure this is not the same system as the 3e system actually stats out its armies, this is just treating warfare as a bunch of scenes where you solve this or that.

    and then ventures which covers anything else long term: crafting projects, making changes to society, complex investigation, rituals, travel, chases and exploration things like that. which.....also has obstacles but no scenes. hm.

    ventures also cover "actions under duress" which basically is when you do something in a rush or when someone is holding a knife to your throat, interesting way of doing that.

    Chapter 5: storytelling Exalted
    oh finally I'm on familiar ground, what do they say about running this game?

    oh its a lot "session zero/communicate with players, lay groundwork" advice in case this is someone's first time GMing kind of deal. meh.

    then there is story hooks which offer a lot of mostly usual hooks you find for Exalts to do as a quest or story, what I find interesting is one of the examples is Struggle against Fate, about either upholding or railing against fate itself which is recommended to Sidereal, Getimians, Adamant Castes and Exigents for some reason? I guess the Adamant Castes may still have the same Autochthonian job of being the extra secret police after all, while Exigents I guess could be tied to certain gods in Yu-shan and thus care more about that? but still its kind of weird that they called out Adamant Castes specifically for this story hook.

    then there single Exalt stories which provide a summary of what a single Exalt game of this or that is like, most of these you probably already know if your an Exalted fan, so I'm focusing what I feel is different enough to comment on:
    Exigents: have echoes of superhero stories, and are intended to be about either intimate community focused stories or a journey across the eight directions to be a hero.
    Infernals: this blub says Infernals are Anarchists and liberators, exacting revenge upon the world for an unearned fate, sowing discord and chaos as they tear down corrupt structures. there is no mention of them serving Yozis just living in Malfeas when they aren't being the chaotic rockstars in Creation, unlike the Abyssal blub which mentions serving the Death Lords quite clearly.
    Alchemicals: are about community whether in Autochthonia or Creation, and in Creation it has found family vibes, so an Alchemical waking up from being a prototype from the dawn of time, finding some random community (which keep in mind may be as abstract as "freed slaves" or something) to protect is now a recommended playstyle for them.
    Getimians: "heroes from a life that never was" "Sidereals cousins ghostly echoes", cool. thier story is to infiltrate Yu-shan in espionage, get revenge, carrying out sabotage, but this doesn't make them the villains of their own story, rather it can be about them rewriting things to include things that never were but ought to have been from their perspective. basically, cool espionage fate rebel.
    Liminals: are dark fantasy and horror, they are undead exorcists hunting other undead, wandering or making their own mark upon the world but its supposed to be melancholy and your like between a bunch of things like life and death.

    but Essence is intentionally designed to support mixed Exalt games. which honestly, to my perspective was always needed. the way Exalted is written, the WoD style of having societies of one thing separate from one another is never going to work in my opinion because its a consistent world where all these Exalts are mentioned at the start and you need an entire splat book just to play one, sure all those people playing Solars thinking Solars are all they need will disagree but if you want to play anything else well, Essence has/will solve a problem with Exalted to me by making these other types of exalted more accessible.

    but yeah thats all for chapters 4 and 5.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    On Exigents having a struggle against Fate vibe... Keep in mind that, from what we've been told, not every Exigent comes from a God who got the Exigence, the piece of Divine fire from the Unconquered Sun that becomes an Exaltation when combined with another God's power, via legal means. The Exigence can be stolen between point A and Point B and there's a metaphorical Black Market for the Exigence.

    We've even been told that the Exigence can be altered or Tampered With... And that there are "Dirty Bomb" Exigents who are created when multiple spirits alter or contribute power to the same Exaltation in order to Aberrant exalts with frightening amounts of power.

    And well, the Celestial Bueiracry is corrupt and bloated, and not every deity likes the Sidereal, their superiors or rivals in the Beauracy, and so on.

    And the Immaculate Faith the Sids manufactured in order to boost up the legitimacy of the Dragonblooded also serves to make it so that Gods aren't allowed to be worshiped or gain Faith in the form of anything but a salary, which means that the lowly god of this specific mountain in Bum**** Nowhere is SoL in terms of what he can and can't do to support himself or improve his station if there are any Imaculates anywhere nearby.

    There are plenty of reasons why one or more deities might decide to make an Exigent for the purpose of defying or reforming the system of fate, or just the corrupt and bloated systems in general, without being mustache-twirling villains.

    I could see The Patron God of a material arts school that was shut down by the Imaccualtes because of some vaguely defined 'Heresy' that was actually an excuse to claim its resources, a River God who lost much of his might when hiss River was dammed on the order of someone who was in fact a disguised Sidereal doing it to stop a Rival's plans for some petty reason, a Benevolent Mountain God who did what he could for the village at the foot of his mountain one day finding the village destroyed by the actions of a Power tripping Dynast who was visiting and decided he was overcharged for his room at the in, the Patron God of a forest that was destroyed by a powerful Fire Elemental who then got off scot-free because he knew a guy who knew a guy in a certain Buearo, a separate fire elemental that got screwed over by the same guy who destroyed the Forest God's forest, A storm god whose pissed that the season his storms are part of was arbitrarily shortened as a favor to some smug city god, the god of this one stretch of particularly dry and desolate desert that used to have an oasis and a bustling trade hub until they both got moved elsewhere by a rogue Sid, a forge god who is just fed up with his boss's crap and a god of magma and ash but also fertility worshipped in one specific region where regular mild volcanic eruptions produce fertile soil for farming having his worshipers think he abandoned him because a clerical error got his eruptions canceled several years in a row and the soil is now depleted all band together to empower a single mortal with a valid grudge against some corrupt institution with power over the elements and absurd martial arts talent and then tell him to go tear dow all the world's corrupt systems.
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    that makes a lot of sense.

    I'm just imagining a bunch of disparate figures: an Infernal, a Getimian, an Exigent, a Lunar all working together to take down Yu-shan and/or the Realm. it kinda works.

    or imagine an Aberrant Exigent, that has just had a bunch of war gods stacking their power on top of each to get some makeshift Exigent equal to a Dawn Caste, an anima red with blood and all their charms only able to do fight and do war-related things without any of the other things a Solar could do.

    but Liminals are also of interest to me, they're undeath Exalts that aren't Abyssals and they have this emotional theming to them. also they have individual marks of their creator on their forehead instead of caste marks, but I'm thinking of figuring out "universal aspect marks" for them that are most commonly used in Liminal creation based on alchemy symbols

    also more evidence that the Adamant Caste's role has changed: their caste is put into the Priest role/archetype, not the Criminal role like the Moonsilver Caste, which indicates to me that the Adamant Caste's role in society may be more open, more religious, perhaps an honest and direct connection to the Divine Magisters rather than being another layer of secret police, like the Priest role is in the same category as things like Zeniths, Ascendants, Changing Moons, Fire Aspects, these are pretty openly social castes...but then again Adamant castes are also put into the Savant role like Twilights, while the Orichalcum caste have been put into the warrior role only, which is probably a simplification because Orichalcum Castes have been an attribute spread of Strength/Charisma/Intelligence, and where not just warriors in previous editions but also leaders and brilliant scientists, and since when was Jade Castes broker only? or Soulsteel Caste anything social? some of these assignments are bizarre for Alchemicals because they are more flexible than any singular role can really define, but still its telling that the Adamant Caste is being archetyped into being this knowledgeable sage-priest which makes a lot of sense given Autochthonia's culture.

    like I can just imagine the Adamant Castes being an open part of Autochthonia culture now, being built to be this caste that speaks directly to the Divine Magisters and knows more about the technology than anyone else, and fills this "above/detached from any one nation" role where they advocate for the good of all of Autochthonia rather than serving in the shadows, because I don't really see them continuing to be those secret agents with this social/knowledge focus and themes of inspiration and teaching.
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    Spoiler: Chapter 6:Charms and Sorcery Part 1
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    Charms work differently here. See there are universal charms, but each charms has modes that modify what each Exalt's capabilities are for each universal charm to differentiate them. I like this concept. they're actually providing a universal framework for people to make their own charm sets: just take the universal charms without any of the modes attached and make new modes to modify them. this also makes it clearer what their capabilities are and makes their equivalencies clearer, because say you have a charm to swing a sword better if you have a bunch of separate charms each with own flowery name it gets confusing to refer and cross reference them, but if you got a universal base that you can show how each Exalt deviates or builds upon, that makes it clear what all Exalts can do and how you can mess around with things so you them do things differently.

    ahahahahahha, Infernals have a charm that has the flavor text "Family dinners bring out the worst in people" and its about making actions to increase enmity towards people at a meal, oh Kimbery......

    another noteworthy charm is Sidereals being able to do something like open an unopened chest you forget to check....in their memories. but can't harm people in the "dream" they reexamine. writing around the no time-travel rule, eh devs?

    but really there is a bunch of charms with all sorts of things. notably, a lot of Sidereal and Getimian modes I've seen so far are mentioned as being the same, not all of them but they share a lot.

    oh cool sorcerous and necromantic initiations right beside each other!

    oh frack, the spirit slaying stance modes for various Exalts are not kind to spirits: aside from just killing them permanently, Sidereals can bind spirits to their service, Infernals inflict a curse that makes spirits unable to dematerialize with approval and has a single health level, and Abyssals? permanently destroy them no matter what, but may choose to temporarily hold the spirit from death just to interrogate, hear their final worlds or taunt them. wow. just imagine the jerk Abyssal that kills a god but then goes "I'mma keep you alive just a little longer so I can hear you lament while I cackle about how your already dead just so you suffer as much as possible" thats....perfectly extra in all the right ways for an Abyssal.

    A Getimian can steal something....then make people think they've always owned it and therefore no theft has taken place. while the authorities question the person who originally had it. oh thats.....that good:
    Getimian: *takes a potato chip from someone else's bag*
    Person: hey! thats my potato chip!
    Everyone: no, that was always the Getimian's potato chip, question is, what was it doing in YOUR bag huh!?
    Person: what!? But- but- that makes no sense!
    Everyone: Does it? We remember seeing them have a bag of potato chips just like that before! Maybe you took it from that bag and it in yours!
    Person: that makes no sense why would I do that!?
    Everyone: we're not criminals like you, we don't know how you think
    Getimian: *takes the whole bag*
    Person: see they just took the whole bag!
    Everyone: well clearly that potato chip bag was theirs the whole time and was just reclaiming it from you.

    so yeah....there is a lot charms here and I didn't cover all of them, but nevertheless its interesting to see what each Exalted can do and what warrants exceptional modes and what doesn't. this seems to only be apart of Chapter 6 and and doubt we're through with all of them. we haven't even gotten to the sorcery spells.
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    I really should make some time to read the backer chapters.

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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    I have a question.

    A very important question.

    Since Infernal Charms are tied to abilities now... Which ability do I need if I want to eventually be able to solve all of my problems by shooting them with blasts of Radiactive Fire/Cosmic Energy/Lightning in various shades of green as is right and proper for all Princes of the Green Sun?

    Also... Spirit of the Living World? Back a decade ago we were told that the "make a world in your soul" and "spin-off aspects of your personality as powerful demons" Aspects of being a Devil Tiger were being folded into regular Infernal charms... Though less as "Become a Primordial" and more "Imitate a Primordial" Anything like that?
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    Well. on the first one, thats easy: in Essence, firing a bolt of essence is called Glorious Exalted Bolt and it has many Exalted modes, and the Infernal mode grants you a two dice damage bonus against targets you have a negative intimacy for, so perfectly in theme for your Azimuth Caste to hateburn their enemies to nothing with the pwoer of Malfeas. Requires either Ranged Combat or Sagacity 2. (Sagacity is your Lore/Occult/Medicine all in one stat for Essence)

    so....yeah, pretty easy to blast the Green Sun's fury around.

    as for Spirit of the Living World....I haven't seen it. But! remember that it was a pretty unique charm, that I don't we've seen the entirety of the charms or the chapter, this preview was only 53 pages long. and it was all about the Universal charms. here is my interpretation of that: there are some charms you simply can't do with modes, because they are not similar enough to something else to lump it under those, this was all stuff that any Exalt could do with some modifications involved.

    so there is probably a section with Exalt specific charms that don't have analogues in others, and Spirit of the Living World is probably one of them. this is stuff that is universal to all Exalts primarily, including things I'm surprised they allowed to be universal such as Irresistible Presence Technique, which is basically the Solar's Hypnotic Tongue Technique but for everyone, though Solars, Abyssals and Infernals get a mode that makes it better for them.

    Spoiler: Exalted Essence Preview 5: Chp 6-2
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    Yeah, I was right: there are sections for each Exalts with unique charms. For ease of reading I'll break this down into certain sections so I can comment on each charmset presented on its own:

    Abyssal Charms:
    Oh cool each section has a blurb summarizing their themes, Abyssals have: death, penalizing the enemy and more damage.

    first interesting charm: Corpse Questioning Technique. its basically speak with dead as an awareness 1 charm. so a E1 Abyssal can kill someone and question their corpse without needing interrogation. yikes.

    the next awareness charm after is basically one that allows an abyssal to determine morbid things like "who did this guy kill last? how many people have they killed?" at a glance. okay they're going full death metal with Abyssals here.

    one of their close combat charms trapping someone in an iron maiden suit armor to kill them and bring them back as a corpse cataphract to serve them. okay. just.....lets.....hm...

    ah theres the charm that allows Abyssals to kill with speeches......and an upgrade that allows them to literally kill with a look. just glare at someone and they die. Exalted: Onyx Path's ever continuing quest to make metaphors into things that are actually physically dangerous

    the basic Abyssal integrity charm helps defend positive ties to the living or dissuade them from violence. they're REALLY going all in on "murder death sith lord" thing here. really going all in.

    okay note: don't listen to Midnight Castes talk, sing, don't look at them or try to interpret their sign language, they can kill you with any social medium.

    oh no, Abyssals can learn charms to be near unkillable.....except if ghost-eating technique is used on them. lol. so you imitate spirits, big deal.

    and the war and sagacity charms are all about raising undead armies to fight for you

    overall, they're really hammering home how grandiloquently evil Abyssals are here. just as intended, just as expected.

    Alchemical Charms:
    These charms are based on the Essence attributes huh. one of the first charms is one that basically allows the Alchemical to be a walking toolkit of whatever mundane thing they need, just be able to take tools out compartments in themselves to do this or that. already starting strong.

    one of their charms though allows them to copy another persons power temporarily, so thats weird.

    a lot of these charms are about efficiency and machine like as expected. nothing seems out of place here.

    Dragon-Blooded Charms:
    These charms unique to them are things that are either hearth oriented or very obvious element oriented, such as Elemental Burst Technique, Dragon Vortex Attack, Ramparts of Obedient Earth, Oath of the Ten Thousand Dragons, Wind Carried Words technique, all the DB classics that feel right only they have.

    Getimian Charms:
    now we're getting into the real interesting stuff. Getimians as a reminder have two modes to their charms: Flowing and Still, if they have more motes of one type, they are currently in that mode. you have more Flowing motes, your Flowing for example. which means that if I spend a lot of flowing motes to the point where my Still pool is more, that means I go into Still mode, and vice versa. hm.

    okay so they can make potions to give others Power, can gain dice from people refusing to bargain with them, cross distances instantly and without any trace of passage, summon people and resources from their origin world just out of thin air by spending motes what. thats....thats allowed? as....an Essence 3 charm with no othe prerequisites? WHAT!?

    oh and they use attributes, not skills, so basically: all the fatebending nonsense of Sidereals meets the flexible attributes of Lunars. Getimians are going to freaking insane.

    next they can instill intimacies by feeding people potions which depend on what mode your in, be in two places at once, edit someones memory-then make them infect other people with the edited memory so they remember it that way to, slay a god and either make sure no one remembers the god....or hack the Loom of fate and redefine reality within the gods purview up to including doing things like "reviving a never-forged empire". and that this leaves obvious errors in fate and are subject to storyteller approval.

    Next up we have Getimians being able to talk with people as if they remember something from an alternate reality, then stealing other peoples legends and merits, reverse social standings so troops turn on a general or a prince is forced into exile, permanently transforming things by passing through them, and then just teleport themselves and their allies with a Fortitude 5, E3 charm to anywhere they've already been in Creation or in their timeline okay, and oh then a charm to make targets confront their own lies called "Truth is Relative" which I think I'll personally call "The Persona 5 charm".

    their artifact making charm is pull a temporary one from their timeline that can kill extras and replace them with extras from their own timeline fighting on their side that then vanish along with the weapon when it vanishes. okay.

    overall, a lot of things where they either summon or change the world to be more like the one they left and some where they just outright break the laws of Creation and cause rifts in space. I already love Getimians with all my heart because all this insanity makes Sidereals pale in comparison. I mean sure, fate ninja bureaucrats are cool I still like them, but I think the Getimians just from this have usurped their place in my heart and rewritten my heart so that I always liked them more before I ever knew they existed.

    Infernal Charms:
    Devil Body incarnation, the first one we have, starts off strong with just allow you to transform into a form that reflects your innermost nature with no prereqs. customizable, can be purchased repeatedly to enhance and customize it more. okay. cool.

    bunch of charms to get rid of positive intimacies I'm seeing, but these are Malfeas and Ebon Dragon charms with the yozi ties erased so they're just general Infernal stuff now. so makes sense.

    most of these just seem to be normal infernal charms updated from 2e, but Ceaseless Demon Hunger seems to be inspired by Metagaos given that it allows you to eat any mundane substance. thats.....pretty broad.

    with Dark Miracle Mimicry they can copy charms and magical abilities like the Alchemicals can but this one explicitly focuses on towards people you hold negative intimacies for only, and cannot copy abilities based on "light, sanctity or positive meotions"

    Inner Devil unchained allows you to turn people into demons, so thats back.

    and another charm allows you to curse people rather than kill them. placing curses on people seems to be a running theme with Infernals.


    and um.....thats all unfortunately. um.... no Spirit of the living World I can see. which is not the best thing BUT.....we still got Devil Body Incarnation which means that the devs haven't forgotten about the whole "Infernals inner world" thing. and on the kickstarter there are people who are already expressing the lack of "become an inner world and make my own little spirit pantheon" concerns about the Infernal charms here. so possibly could be fixed this is only a preview, and if not well.....between the fact that Solars have a E5 charm in 3rd edition to literally create spirits and raksha from thin air and the Getimians are just full of effects to whip out stuff from their Origin timeline, I think we have enough mechanical foundation to just homebrew the Devil Tiger stuff back in if we want to.
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2021-06-16 at 09:05 AM.
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    Spoiler: Exalted Essence Preview 6, Chapter 6-3:
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    now for Liminals, Lunars, Sidereals, Solars, and Strawmaiden Janest. (they're using her as the example Exigent for all of this but being listed like this feels like an "And Zoidberg" moment: here are undead exorcists! the shapeshifting rebel guerilla heroes chosen by the moon! agents of destiny from Yu-shan! the most powerful heroes chosen by the Unconquered Sun themselves! and this one farm girl chosen by a random farm god.)

    Liminal Charms:
    Liminal charms have an interesting mechanical wrinkle: they have nature modes and aspect modes. nature mods shift as they act more undead and thus depend on actions they actively take and aspect modes are purchaseable and tie into their origin (probably the emotion they're made from?) and the listed natures are basically the five aspects of Liminals (Blood, Breath, Flesh, Marrow and Soil) as modes you can go into by doing things like harvesting flesh, or suffering injuries, or spending a scene in places dominated by this or that. really going for the gothic tone there.

    the first charm is basically a self-healing/regeneration charm, Corporeal Reformation, but it already has like the five modes just listed to further heal in various ways depending on their actions and circumstances, for example in Breath Mode the character can spend 1 anima to heal one health level when they defeat an opponent or destroys the undead and gains an additional health level if they are Breath Nature. things like that. already we can see general themes forming.

    the next charm after that is another regeneration charm for properly doing funeral rites for a sentient creature with additional benefits depending on their nature.

    ok third charm is when it gets weird: the charm itself is just asking dumb undead or corpses to get answers to a specific question. okay. but then Blood nature gets to ask "places of great passion or violence" as if it was an intelligent person, while Flesh can do the same for weapons or living animals. now I just the image of a Blood Aspect Liminal coming to a battlefield and yelling out "Hey Battlefield, what happened here?" and the battlefield responds to them "First of all my proper name is the Battle of Red Jiara, second of all it was AWESOME MAN, so many people died to make me, it was sick!" or a Flesh Aspect asking someone holding a sword "hey sword did your wielder use you to kill my friend, has this description?" and sword is like "yeah I remember cutting into someone like that, that was me being shoved in". this feel like a thing Sidereals should be able to do for some reason, but hey I'm happy to spread around the weirdness.

    Life Death and Rebirth is a very versatile charm that involves spending health levels for various effects. hm. can't really describe it all that well because there is so many things it can do, but it exists.

    Scent of Blood is a charm to track people that gets enhanced by wounds, if the quarry is undead, if they've killed recently and intimacies related to this or that. basically its a thematic tracking charm

    Towering Corporeal Pillar basically allows Liminals to Hulk out and grow larger with various benefits. LIMINAL SMASH!

    and the final general charm with no real prerequisites is Undying body which is a soak/hardness increaser with various effects depending on Mode. okay there given how many charms are like this already? I feel as if a lot of Liminal charms are going to have long mode/nature stuff in them so I'm going to stop mentioning them and focusing on core effect.

    Finesse? how Liminals use attributes apparently, noted.

    Then there are charms to: make someone have an intimacy towards someone else out of nowhere by speaking their names, become aware of undead, gain specialties from a corpse, with a scene spent in discussion they can heal someone of an injury, disease or other malady if they voluntarily give up a minor intmacy framed as playing psychiatrist to cut through pain and regrets, learns history from touching objects, become connected to their allies and reduce incoming damage with it, perform an autopsy with a glance, a charm to tether an opponent so they don't escape, make people resisiting your social influence have a minor tie of fear or obsession towards you, may become resonant with a magical material by integrating a limb or organ from a dead Exalt (!!!) even more regeneration and hulking out charms except these have an "overload beyond safe limits" cost to attached, heal someone or destroy a corpse with the same charm, learn about their enemies mid combat by tasting their breath, make a ghost materialize by spending health levels, breathe in another's mental suffering to gain social bonuses, and the final charm is the ability to make homunculi including animal undead, "champions" that can pass as mortals if nothing supernatural looks at the and outright any undead creature.

    all in all, pretty cool. Liminals are giving me a lot of detective, psychologist, exorcist and such vibes. and obviously Frankenstein, Dark Souls and Hulk ones to. y'know what this also reminds me of? Hollow Knight. like if you want to run a post-apocalyptic Creation where your character is the last hope alive or a straight up Exalted/Dark Souls crossover, Liminals are THE Exalt to use as the hero, because they lend themselves to that low-key action-horror atmosphere real well.

    Lunar Charms:
    these seem to be just streamlining the 3e Lunar charms that already exist, so *shrug* seems good to me.

    Manifold Hunter's tactics might even be better than how the Lunars 3e did alternate hearts blood hunt, because those were all separate charms put at the beginning of every attribute, but this just puts them all into one charm that you can repurchase as many times as you want to get your preferred method of stealing other peoples shapes, thus not needing to hunt around for them, it saves time.

    but yeah, nothing new just streamlined for Essence

    Sidereal Charms:
    oh boy, Sidereals haven't had a good charmset yet, and its now competing with Getimians which I've already seen. this might be an uphill battle for them, but when is it not an uphill battle for Sidereals, really?

    the return of Absence AKA the old Sidereal trick of "haha, I was never here in the first place!" teleporting away and making everyone forget they were here. Invisible motion and the ability to move anywhere within one range band but not pass through walls is here....

    hey, Efficient secretary Technique, good to see you back, how you hanging?

    Last Vision is basically seeing the last moments of a corpse before they die so....."Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice: the charm"

    Mending Warped Designs is about repairing things caused by basically anything bad, and I think it neatly explains how Sidereals actually clean up after all this fate nonsense when it gets broken: they have a charm for it!

    End Debate is socially powerful, it does exactly what it says, and I can imagine it being useful with particularly quarrelsome people or Exalts if they can't decide on anything, and people can't talk about the same topic for FIVE DAYS. this is basically "ok time to give you all a timeout" the charm.

    Secret Sinecure Agreement is new. its basically about offering gods new jobs, but in return the Sidereal is owed a big favor. though if a Sidereal recklessly abuses it, Yu-shan will be angry, so don't go repeatedly doing it to rack up favors.

    Fortuitous Wandering allows you to retroactively be in some place already not as teleportation but as "heading there are already". then In the Nick of time is basically "a wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to" the charm.

    Sculpting the Wildlands is....new. Huh. it allows the Sidereal to reshape the land around them like mountains....forests.....rivers.....y'know, just geological features. oh and relocate towns. guess the image of a Sidereal pull an entire town somewhere else using Dodge was just too bizarre to last. oh well, this works to.

    Defense of Shining Joy: basically now Sidereals can also dodge people through dancing, Solars? you have competition for your dance offs.

    Shun the Smiling Lady is still there, but I think its been modified to be more general and applicable, its still love, but its suppressing ANY intimacies based on love, so that can be interpreted in numerous ways.

    But yeah, there are few new Sidereal charms, but mostly its all the same just updated to be more functional. nice, like it, but Getimians still new fave.

    Solar Charms:
    Alright. lets see what is so Solar that only Solars can do them. cause we know how much that the fandom loves speaking about how great the Solars are! That aside, it'll be good to finally see what separates Solars from being "generic everyman Exalt" so they aren't the basis for everything.

    lots of sun-stuff of course. wait hypnotic tongue technique is separate from that universal charm? huh? oh well, whatever.

    Wyld-Shaping Technique is Solar only. with no Infernal equivalent. hm. whelp. no sure how I feel about that. it makes sense if Abyssals don't have it but Infernals not having something like this....?

    yeah, there is a lot here that is just "universal charm but better and sun flavored". okay.

    overall, I feel as if they did more Solar charms here than they did Infernal charms with Infernals....

    Strawmaiden Janest Charms:
    and here is our example Exigent. so Janest how does it feel being the representative of an entirely new Exalt type AND coming after the fanbases beloved core Exalt? yeah probably nerve wracking.

    okay first interesting charm: she can use plants to survey the area by touching one plant and extending her senses through them. cool.

    she can determine the origin of basically anything natural by tasting it, such as food, blood things like that....

    she can hear anyone people calling for help and what they are like. useful for a hero of the common people.

    she can brew beer.....from grain and her own blood....and thus make people become better soldiers if they drink it. okay. now getting into some truly weird stuff....

    and this charm allows her to bleed on a field....and turn the FIELD against her enemies. like, have the grass warn her when they're coming, or entangle them to slow them down, or attack them....y'know. normal things every field can do.

    she can talk to animals.....gain bonuses for helping the community, can treat clothes as armor, oh and she can grow to become a giant just because, she can sing to the sky to change the weather (Song of Storms the charm), draw a line in the dirt to make a field where threats can't cross, shout away "enemies of the community" things like that.

    like Strawmaiden Janest charms are very "common hero farm worker and plant" stuff. and overall I like the things I see, it differentiates her from what a Solar Exalted is in many ways because she does things that normally be Dragon-Blooded or normally Lunar-like, its a lot of things that make sense for her themes but seem random on the outside. like this is a wide variety of things just from one minor god, and she also has access to the universal charms to, so keep that in mind. I think its a good example and could be used for all sorts of things we might want, like making Homestuck Classpects with this system, because I can now see charms working for that kind of thing.


    But yeah the highlights for this part are Strawmaiden Janest and the Liminals for me, because Solars and Lunars have nothing new, Sidereals are the same as they've always been just with a tune up and a new coat of paint, so nice to know that their abilities aren't all that much changed so know how to portray them because Sidereals have always been the hardest to translate to other things for me and now they have the universal charmset and these charms to clarify their general capabilities better than 2e's incarnation which was mystifying.

    overall, Abyssals, Getimians, Liminals they're all solid, Strawmaiden Janest is a good first example for Exigents to start with especially since we have universal charms to have a foundation, DB's, Lunars, Solars, Sidereals nothing new or exciting in those but they are all functional and convey what they are nicely, Infernals might need some work though? its not bad, I just wasn't wowed like some of the others charmsets here, and Infernals are one of my favorites so thats not good enough for me, y'know?
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    This all sounds like it'd be really fun though.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Yeah, all the charmsets I'd say are well designed, there is none I'd say that are bad. my problem is just the Infernals being a little lacking, but thats not a big problem or a dealbreaker for me, and according to other commenters on the kickstarter there are plans for a Compendium supplement to add even more charms for every Exalt type for Essence and that apparently they're running up on their word count limit, so we're reasonably confident that they wanted to do more, but they literally can't. so if your disappointed that Spirit of the Living World isn't there, don't worry other people are to and there is good chances that it will be added in later and until then, Essence is designed to be accessible and customizable and I've already seen someone make Infernal homebrew charms for the inner world thing based on Essence design.

    now none of this will help with figuring out the fluff of all this but whatever, players make their own anyways, hopefully I can figure out this system so I can put together some Hearteater, Dreamsouled and Umbrals homebrew
    I'm also on discord as "raziere".



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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Eh, as long as I can make my devil princess setting up her own personal fiefdom where all will love her and despair while destroying threats with poisonous fire I'll be happy. I don't need a palace within mysoul and an army of custom demons to do that.

    ..How do merits like cults, followers, or having a manse workout?
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    Spoiler: Ode To Meteors, By zimmerwald
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
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    To the floor
    Where my other
    Rocks
    Are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    Eh, as long as I can make my devil princess setting up her own personal fiefdom where all will love her and despair while destroying threats with poisonous fire I'll be happy.

    ..How do merits like cults, followers, or having a manse workout?
    Cult.....is not a merit listed in Preview 2, but Followers is, so reading more.... Cult was rolled into Followers it seems like, while the Hearthstone merit exists so thats still there. so.....probably not too different. I can see the cult thing just being a combo of Followers and Influence in this system. you want to recover essence faster that seem to be purely the domain of the manses/hearthstones here.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    So it shouldn't be too hard to establish a character whose "thing" is that they're decently well established, maybe a fortress with a small community somewhere in the area that the lion share of the chronicle is taking place in and access to a resource of some kind.
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    Spoiler: Ode To Meteors, By zimmerwald
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
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    Where my other
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    So it shouldn't be too hard to establish a character whose "thing" is that they're decently well established, maybe a fortress with a small community somewhere in the area that the lion share of the chronicle is taking place in and access to a resource of some kind.
    Not hard at all. there are two different ways for pick merits at character creation, one of them is more limited but the other is the optional default 10 merit points, spend them how you like deal, and you have like up to even five dot merits as usual.

    like this whole system is just the usual Storyteller system but lighter. if you can do it in usual Exalted 3e, you can probably do it in Essence just with less rules more efficiently. and if you can't, you can probably take the charm that does it and convert it over to work in Essence easily.

    the next preview will be martial arts and sorcery, so that will interesting to look at, and will a preview happening on my birthday, the 19th. what a present. considering how they've stripped down the four usual combat skills into just "close combat" and "ranged combat" its going to be interesting to see how they deal with martial arts charms which are their own little packets of charm trees themselves. like how do you compress so many styles down into something lighter that still covers their general effects? are they just going to focus on a certain few MA they feel are important? I'll also be interested in how Necromancy will turn out since I doubt that Sorcery will be majorly different given what I've seen so far, but we no idea what the form of Necromancy will be last I heard it wasn't regarded as something well designed in 2e, so I'm curious to see what they do with that to.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    If nothing else thank-you for alerting me to the existence of a streamlined version of Exalted. It increases the chance I'll get to play it some day because it will be (hopefully) easier to teach. Still don't have the group to teach it to but someday...

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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    glad I can help, Cluedrew. in all honesty, a stripped down version of Exalted might exactly be what it needs- we can't keep hoping for a big crunchy 3e system book filled charms to detail how Exalts do each little thing in their own unique way with super-meticulous worldbuilding, great baroque visuals and art, and so on and so forth. Its good to have such high expectations and those high expectations being met but given the pace of its releases, those expectations might be a little too pie in the sky/pipedream in nature given Exalted's small team working on it. Exalted's own high expectations may be just what keeps it from becoming more popular. a simpler version will be more accessible to more people and perhaps get more people to make Exalted more popular and get a larger team for faster releases.

    But enough about that....
    Spoiler: Essence Preview 7: Martial Arts and Sorcery
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    okay so MA have two modes: Celestial and Terrestrial. the weirdest thing is that Alchemicals sorted into the Terrestrial tag, despite being Celestial Exalts last time I checked. perhaps its just their MA that is Terrestrial.

    and here is Crane style....4 charms. they cut it down to four charms. huh. Ebon shadow: 3 charms, Mantis style: 4 charms, Righteous Devil Style: 4 charms......yeah it seems consistent that in Essence these are 3 or 4 charm packets. they seem to capture the core of these styles well.

    Sidereal Styles. oh no. SMA's have returned everyone! prepare for weirdness, awesomeness and hopefully no mechanical brokenness. wait, its only one detailed here? and its four charms. kay. whew. that was less than I dreading/hoping for.

    and now....to necromancy and sorcery.

    there is nothing I find much noteworthy about what Exalts can learn what sorcery/necromancy-wise. all the usual set ups from last edition still apply, aside from Lunars which learn the Second Circles of both Sorcery and Necromancy where previously they were limited to only the first circle of necromancy.

    For the new guys:
    -Getimians have the same set up as Sidereals: 2nd Circle Sorcery, 1st Circle Necromancy but with the potential to do a thing to invert that.
    -Exgents can learn the 1st circles of both but depending on the god may allow them to learn the 2nd circle of either, with even potential for a god of a "very particular" purview allowing an Exigent to learn Third Circle Sorcery which is incredibly rare because that would be bonkers, your literally talking about some random Exigent having power to match Infernals and Solars in terms of occult power.
    -Liminals may only learn First Circle Necromancy, but a rare few might be able to learn Sorcery instead, in a reverse of how it is for Dragon-blooded.

    sorcery is basically the same as it in 3e. all the shaping rituals are streamlined.

    oh, necromancy shaping rituals lets see what these are:
    -being a Disciple of the Void with an Old Law tattooed on them (the Old Laws are....BEFORE THE NEVERBORN!? Impossible! The Neverborn created the Underworld!......or did they? *Twilight Zone theme*)
    -Half Souled, where you take a part of your HIGHER SOUL and turn it into soulsteel as a token you use to focus your spellcasting. this sounds like a bad idea
    -Skull Diarist apparently carries around a skull that whispers and babbles to them and they sacrifice living things to the skulls to gain their secrets. not a sign that your going crazy at all, no sir....
    -Student of the Raiton Academy: you have a Ph.D in Deathology now.
    -Wanaasan Exorcist: people that drown themselves to gain knowledge.

    Summoning is a venture in this system. huh.

    next we have Universal Spells. okay. so sorcery and necromancy are modes for these, got it.

    Death of Obsidian Butterflies is considered universal, but Flight of the Brilliant Raptor is a sorcery mode.....okay.

    so yeah, there is overlap between the two, mostly in terms of destruction and cursing others.

    Sorcery only spells:
    things only sorcery can do: make a fire that cures diseases, toxins and impurities from from everything, Silent Word of Dreams and Nightmares, Spoke the Wooden Face, make your skin into stone and oh hey there is once again MAGMA KRAKEN! and there is Total Annihilation the Sorcery spell for when you absolutely want to say "screw everything in that general area"

    Necromancy only spells:
    create a door to the underworld, make a ghost able to experience the world as if they were alive thus and intimacy of devotion towards the sorcerer, make an army of zombies rise to fight for you without the need of a long summoning ritual, temporarily turn a summoned ghost into an Abyssal hearthstone (because hey if your a necromancer who summoned a ghost probably against their will why not top off you slavery by using them as glorified essence battery?), make all ghosts and underworld denizens visible.

    huh, the Gentle of Call of Lethe and the Rune of Sweet Passing are one spell and are now Second Circle Necromancy. in 2e they were both 1st circle. Why the change? now only Lunars, Solars, Abyssals, Infernals and some Getimians can cast this. most DB's and Alchemicals can't even use Necromancy at all, so all this really affects, not counting Exigents, is Sidereals and Liminals.....who are the Exalted with the Chosen of Endings caste and the Exaltation that primarily can cast 1st circle necromancy in the first place who both have jobs dealing with the undead and getting people to move on you'd think they'd be able to learn the spell to get ghosts to pass on to Lethe easier! am I missing something? I'm not angry, I'm just confused. do they not need Gentle of Call of Lethe to function? weird.

    other 2nd circle spells of necromancy include using an undead horde as a shield, and going into a trance to astral project yourself like a ghost to travel the world.

    3rd circle necromancy spells, hopefully they're better than 2e's were.....but I also hope BOSS is still a thing but probably not.

    3rd necromancy can: step into one mirror to emerge from another no matter the distance as long as its on the same plane of existence, make a citadel of black iron somewhere conferring various necromany bonuses...then if you cast the spell again to build another somewhere else, anyone inside the old one is consigned to the Void- no reincarnation, nothing. So if an Abyssal necromancer leaves his place undefended and their troops are all gathering sacrifices, DO NOT go in to try and capture the fortress they left, got it.

    sorcerous workings: usual limitations and systems apply here, blah blah blah.

    First Circle workings can apparently change sexual characteristics, so transgender Exalts have good reason to learn First Circle sorcery.

    Second Circle is various usual sorcerous stuff.

    Third Circle involves things like completely transforming a region, custom afterlives, make cities that defy the laws of reality, remake demons into gods, create powerful beings, y'know, all that fun playing god kind of stuff.


    so yeah, it seems even with slimming it down to 3-4 charms per MA, they still could only do a limited selection of Martial arts to show here. must be really running up on the word count limit. But hey, its better than nothing, we have Necromancy finally shown post-2e, and we even have an example SMA. Essence MA homebrew will probably be a popular thing.

    the last preview will be chapters 7 & 8, which are antagonists and equipment and artifacts to use on the 22nd, that will be a good thing to wind down on. great start to my birthday.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Hippie Birdies raz.

    Since Glorius Exalted Bolt and, presumably, anything in the future that builds on it, can be gotten with sagacity, I am now thinking that my hypothetical Devil Princess is an Occultist who sets up her fortress and the small community of followers she trusts and rules it with a sorcerous fist...
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    Spoiler: Final Preview: Chapters 7, 8 and appendix
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    Chapter 7: antagonists.
    this has general guidelines for making threats to the characters, advice for making social threats. there are a lot of qualities here for social, divine, battle groups, supernatural in general, I think its a better system that the quick characters in the 3e corebook, they've had time to refine the process. they even have actual examples of what abilities the god-blooded may get from their heritage when its always been "eh, you figure it out I guess if they have a really strong inheritance" before.

    there is a specific statblock for "Agent of the Wyld hunt" which can be true immaculate believers or adventure-seeking opportunists as you decide. notably they have this Oath to make sure its harder to dissuade them from pursuing the hunt or defending their comrades. they are always DBs it seems. the Sidereal assassin variant doesn't have the oath, but still is harder to dissuade them from their mission and are supposed to be Bronze Sids upholding the rule of the DBs.

    Aristocrat seems to be a mortal with connections and money and can be as wide as diplomats, captains, Guild officials, landlords, traders, or an heir to an estate.

    Abyssal Deathspeaker seems to assume Midnight or Moonshadow.

    Champion is an elite mortal warrior who well-armed, trained and such and is supposedly dangerous to even Exalts, are rarely extras, particularly dangerous in groups. they have an Infernal Vanquisher variant who is all about upending authority both mortal and divine, killing gods and being an enemy of empires.

    Savant is basically your brainy scholar mortal, and has a Solar Historian variant.

    Soldiers are extras, representing any trained soldier, but has a Young Dynast variant which are not extras.

    the last ones are civil administrator....with Lunar God-Queen as the variant, which was quite a left turn.

    oh hey, rules for Behemoths. they are insane, their dicepools are big, they have lots of qualities and some of them are fated to never die unless specific conditions are met. they can attack at extreme range they always qualify for outnumber qualities even if they are only one person. they're the kind of thing you throw at the players when your REALLY tired of the Dawn making things too easy.

    the Celestial gods have low pool for "working hard (or hardly working?) have a Resolve of 2 (3 for the "rare virtuous god") ....yup the gods are as corrupt as ever.

    and then.... the Deathlords. they are immortal and can only be killed under certain conditions, they're immaterial, can slay trivial characters for one mote up to extreme range, has void circle necromancy.... they're no longer the ridiculous 2e deathlords that know both solar and abyssal chars and whatnot, but they're nothing to sneeze at.

    Third Circle demons and Deathlords both have max 15 dice pools...

    there is Raksha and Imperial Raksha. Raksha are your normal fae who eat souls, but Imperial Raksha are nobles, have their own holds, have various servants mortals and wyld- they may even have Exalts in their employ

    the rest are just normal undead.

    Chapter 8: Panoply
    same rules for items and artifacts as 3e. nothing new here.

    Adamant is detailed as a magical material, its a translucent glass-like crystal with a faint blue hue, and is crystalline so still pretty much the same.

    Cache Egg is a new artifact, its basically the Exalted version of a bag of holding: its an egg made of jade, you store things within it, seal it with a mote, then can banish back to Elsewhere and relfexively call it whenever. typically it materializes when the user dies, but a Celestial Exalts later incarnation can access a Cache Egg hidden by their predecessor. this actually kind of explains how a celestial Exalt could just get a panoply of artifacts to use out of nowhere that doesn't involve some ruin adventure to randomly get the thing you want.

    Translation Crystals translate things to old realm, but can used to translate it to native language, cool.

    artifact weapons still have evocations, the madmen that are the devs still having them in apparently.

    Mantle of the First Sorcerer is an artifact 5 artifact for raising your sorcery circle by one, so.....Lunars, Abyssals, Getimians and Sidereals? your artifact if you want to wield Adamant Circle Sorcery. it doesn't work with necromancy.

    next are hearthstones, which have a bunch of effects as usual.

    Appendix:
    this is the section for Exigents and custom charm creation. and its......decent, it recommends taking pre-existing charms and modifying them, so good.

    also these rules assume a certain level of good faith on the charm makers. this is not a system for intentionally breaking the game, and there is always potential for unpredictable or undesirable results, so they're pretty much asking us to not be jerks and to work with the group to keep it sane and such.

    and the charm guidelines are real reasonable to and focus on making a theme and not just making all-around superior charms to universal ones, but focus on those that are in theme for this or that Exalt.

    I think I'll reference this section a lot for guidance in my homebrew. its a lot of advice but with Universal charms as a base, it does give good guidelines for making my own Exalted, and I'll be looking forward to making Dream-souled homebrew with this.

    then there is the Exalted 3e conversion guide, which outright says what Essence skills map to what, and I'm pretty on point with all my guesses. I think it explains the differences pretty well, and how to do it, so it all seems pretty good to me.


    and yeah thats all of it. they really set out to pack a lot into this one book and pack it in they did. this is a toolkit that will be used for all sorts of things both for actual roleplaying and for Exalted 3e in general. like this is vital for any Exalted homebrewer going forward I'd say, as well as anyone who wants a lighter Exalted but didn't want to use something like Godbound or convert some other system. while also being a good introduction to Exalted in general for anyone new. it explains the setting, it communicates the themes of all the major players in a short amount of time, and what the capabilities of the Exalted actually are in general so you know what is and isn't possible. if I have any complaints with it, its minor things like "oh this Exalt doesn't have these charms" or something that can be fixed with a conversion by myself. the system is pretty much mostly the same, its just a lot of charms got slimmed and streamlined because they are the most cumbersome part of Exalted, as well as being clearer on the setting in general, because Exalted sometimes does make the mistake of getting too fancy in describing itself, too up in its own head about this and that whereas this is more plain language, more direct, more clear about its intentions. and this is just the preview version that hasn't gone through any editing or refining that probably needs to be done, and when Essence comes out as an actual book, it may just be one of the most important Exalted books you could ever have, simply for all the stuff it outlines and gives you the basics for so you can do your own thing with them. and there is some new and exciting stuff like Getimian and Liminal charms, actual mechanics for Abyssals, Infernals, Alchemicals, even Exigents when we didn't expect to see these things for years to come, thats amazing to me. this book will be a godsend for people like me who want mixed splat games and not worry about the crunchy stuff.

    now if your an Exalted classicist whose opinion is that Exalts should have intricate deeper charm trees, crunchier mechanics, should be focused on one Exalted type for a campaign, and focus on Solars as the saviors above all for theme reasons, know the lore already and don't like any of the new Exalt types, well this book isn't for you. But I know I'll certainly enjoy what is in this.
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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    Are there any particular hearthstones you think are interesting?

    And a question I've been meaning to ask: Is the chrysalis grotesque still a thing?

    I know from other sources that the Unwoven Coadjutor is still a thing, albeit more of a receptacle of knowledge than anything else, bit is the "spend several days in a chrysalis composed of demon flesh as the demon's essence and the Exaltation it carries merge with your personal network of souls and rebuilt your body into a testament of Hellish Glory" still a thing with these infernals?

    Like, iiin general what is the expected Origin with Infernals? From what I remember of the previews forever and a day ago the original plan was that the Reclamation had been thrown out, as had the "the third circle csouls gang rape you and try to rewrite your consciousness to a degree" and instead the focus is on the "Rock Stars of Hell" thing from the second half of the 2e book, with th Yozis finding people who could have been Solars but who failed for some reason and giving them power in the hopes that they'll take glorious vengeance, or live a life of hedonism, or just go out and be awesome so that the Yozis can live vicariously through the lives of their Exalts.

    But there's been writer changes since then. Is that still the idea?
    Last edited by Rater202; 2021-06-22 at 06:49 PM.
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    Spoiler: Ode To Meteors, By zimmerwald
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Meteor
    You are a meteor
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    You soar your
    Way down the air
    To the floor
    Where my other
    Rocks
    Are.

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    Default Re: [Lets Read] Exalted: Essence Previews

    lemme check....not just Essence, but a few other things because thats very specific and my memory is that it doesn't go too into detail about the specifics of each Exaltation the devs might've said something in the ask develops thread on Onyx path forums but that would take awhile to find, so....

    Checking Essence:
    can't find anything specifically, they are generally said to be rebels, freedom-fighters upending social order, rock stars of hell and so on.

    Checking Dev thread:
    They've said "No Lillun" but that hasn't said anything about Chrysalis Grotesque itself. Apparently (and this is 2019, so.....two years out of date but still, current writers) they have not nailed down the specifics of the process of what Infernal Exaltation looks like post-2e. But definitely no Lillun.
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2021-06-22 at 07:57 PM.
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