I’ve been paying special attention to Exalted again for the first time in a long time due to the upcoming Exalted 3rd Edition. All across the internet, people are in deep and colorful discussions about the game line. What they like about it, what they don’t and why the new crop of writers are doing it wrong.
Just another day in the Internet, I suppose.
That said, I’m here to show my support to the current crop of writers and developers because I think what they’re doing is right. I’m guilty of linking to this particular article far too many times, but I need people to understand the concept of Mystery being a source of wonder.
So take a bit of time and read up on J.J. Abrams on the Magic of Mystery as he certainly explains the point in much more detail (and love) than I could.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Cool, now that you’ve read that, let’s go back to Exalted 3rd Edition. This edition is an opportunity for the writers to bring the setting back to its roots and build up from there. In doing so, they bring back the mystery of the setting giving much more leeway for GMs to make the game their own.
I have to admit that in some ways the second edition of the game felt like someone handed me a coloring book with most of the illustrations partially filled in already, and with a coloring guide right next to each illustration so I know that I’m doing it wrong the moment I tried something different. Sure there was space for me to experiment, but I knew I was doing so by running something so different from the game’s “Default” that it could have been anything at that point.
Sometimes there’s a point when the fluff begins to intrude into the GM’s creativity. I can’t rightly say exactly at what point that is, and perhaps it’s purely a matter of taste. I for one, find the fluff of Legend of the Five Rings to be relatively nonrestrictive, and I felt that the first edition of Exalted was just the right spot to be in. However, second edition went somewhere that I couldn’t really follow.
And so this is why I’m waiting for the third edition. It’s a chance to do things over in a fashion that I hope I can follow. I desperately love the game, and I mourn the fact that it went and changed and become something that I couldn’t say I liked. It’s another chance for me, and call me selfish perhaps, but I’m glad it’s happening.