With the recent announcement of Exalted 3rd Edition coming later this year, I find myself in a strangely optimistic mood. I’ve been a big, big fan of Exalted when it was first released, having played the first edition in the early days of it’s release. I still recall checking the White Wolf website almost constantly to get to the Caste previews for the Solar exalted and saving up all my cash for the eventual release of the books. It was a good time, and the early vision of Exalted was one that I certainly could get behind.
My experience with Exalted’s first edition was pretty good. Sure the charms could get unwieldy, but I could overlook that. I had fun.
The book bloat eventually made it very difficult for me to keep up. New Exalt types, various sub-systems and weird ways for charms to work all resulted in a strangely confusing if absolutely gonzo world. The more rules-y types caught the more aberrant rules, but I didn’t really mind. Eventually the sheer weight of all the books and knowledge that I had to catch up on was enough to make me call it quits. It was a fun ride, but I couldn’t keep up.
When I heard of a 2nd Edition was coming out, I was about ready to try starting over. A new edition with a new developer? Sure I’ll give it a shot. I bought the corebook, and was instantly overwhelmed. Suddenly everything just got more complicated. The rules were sound, but they were a lot crunchier than I last remembered them to be. After a few test sessions, I decided that it wasn’t for me. It didn’t improve on the 1st edition in my eyes, but it just got even more arcane and difficult to run.
I sold my corebook to Sheimaruen, who gratefully accepted the book, and it has seen much use then in his games. At least the purchase didn’t go to waste.
Since then I’ve been watching Exalted’s progress with the distant gaze of someone who remembers the past, but won’t begrudge the present for what it is. “Maybe it’s moved on without me.” I figured, and let it go on its merry way. I never regretted that decision, though I did try picking up the Qwixalted rules hack that was born in RPG.net and ran a successful game with it. The setting was still fun and interesting as ever.
So now we’ve heard that 3rd Edition is coming out. It’s been under playtest for the longest time, and the people handing it are well respected in the Exalted community for their work in making 2.5 “playable”. It’s the kind of news that makes me turn back to the time when I first discovered the game and loved the heck out of it, rules and all.
I’ve got hopes that the changes will make the game more accessible for new players and for lapsed gamers like myself who enjoyed the game once, but were driven away by the mechanics. I’m already setting aside some funds in preparation of picking it up at release (and maybe even contributing to the Deluxe Edition Kickstarter that they’ve been talking about.) Exalted deserves another chance, and I’m hoping that this is the one that will finally make it perfect in my eyes.