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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Exalted 3e: First sessions went on, first impressions are mostly positive!

First, I must admit: despite being a KS backer, I didn't expect the system to be as good as it is.
Still, I decided to give it a honest shot, and pitched a one-shot on Halloween. As of now, three days later, we're waiting for the third session - which should be before the end of the week.
So much for the system delivering a fun game. It works. So far, it works without major flaws.

So, what are the most fun things about it?
First, social combat. Making persuasion depend on what the person being persuaded believes in, is a [B][I]very[/I][/B] big step forward. Well, I think the difference between Minor and Defining intimacy is underrated...but that's a matter of fine-tuning. At least for a change, all of my players will pay attention to what their characters believe in.

Second, physical combat. This time around, it does feel like something that has the back and forth of a real fight with weapons. Fun fact: both players in my group that practice historical fencing thought the system is quite logical and intuitive. The players that don't practice anything had trouble imagining what a Withering attack is, and how it differs from a Decisive attack.
That is, until we explained and demonstrated. "This is a withering attack against an extra from a battlegroup. This is an withering attack against someone who knows not only what end of the sword to grip, but also how to stick the pointy end in you. This is a decisive attack against the same person".
Seems to work.

The themes it encourages, however? Those are great!
We started in Grieve, where people go looking for immortality...with a catch. Of course, we started on the first day of Calibration: can't get closer to Halloween!
First actually interesting thing for the day, finding a soulless body!
Find the sorceress that did it. Release the souls she had gathered by, well, being a Zenith that can see spirits. Then beat on her until she decides she's outmatched...despite being a Dawn caste.
By this time, everything but our Night is flaming we run to preserve our identities. On the way, you meet a thousands-years-old ghost...or at least one that claims to be one. They didn't bother to check.
Talking with the Dawn. The lack of empathy was disturbing, and she seems to love Mara. Oh, great!
The Dawn is, however, willing to negotiate, so a Bargain was accepted: she shall not kill people while in Grieve, nor steal their souls. The Zenith didn't like that, at all.
Negotiations concluded, the new Dawn left.
The next day, they find some guy who was kicked into pulp by his own friends. He had fought some chick whose appearance is curiously familiar...and his friends beated him for being a bully. And let's not forget, she didn't kill anybody, so by their deal, she is in the right!
It also helped that he himself believed having assaulted the poor, weak, innocent thing. And they managed to not just nurse him back to health: on this night the word "overheal" was crafted.
(Yes, all of the above was driven by mechanical effects from the book).

Let's see now whether they would be able to help a Dragon-Blooded recover a missing token of one of his late relatives. Namely, it's said relative's leg that was ignobly stolen...and they say the guy who stole it has a very dangerous, protective girlfriend. Maybe they'd get to learn what are these mysterious Sea Children Exalts?
But that's for next session. Don't tell my players yet!

Granted, the BP/XP split is still there, and the rules could be clearer. I houseruled the XP to be linear for anything but Merits, and any not-quite-clear rules work the way that makes sense to me (with possibly changing my mind). Seems to be solving all the issues so far!