[Exalted 3E] Charm Spoiler Feedback

Posted: January 30, 2013 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Exalted, Roleplaying Games

So this week saw the first Charm Spoiler of the new edition of Exalted. I’ve been hoping that this edition will be the one to finally get me back into Exalted so I was excited to see what it was like.

Here’s what we got:

Taboo-Inflicting Diatribe
Cost: 3m, 1wp; Mins: Socialize 3, Essence 2; Type: Simple
Keywords: Compulsion
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: King of All Courts Stance
The Exalt speaks with the tongue of kings and the heart of heroes. All know that her word is law. The Solar may use this Charm to make an automatically successful Instill Action against the leader of a group, granting him a Defining Principle in favor of or against a behavior designated by the character. This Charm requires that the target have a Major or Defining positive Intimacy toward the Lawgiver. After being affected by this Charm, the leader will immediately order the offending action to be ceased, or will order specified behavior to commence; he will also begin to set policy for his group reflecting the Solar’s wishes. However, the taboos inflicted by the Solar are tied to her relevance to the group. Unless the group directly benefits from accepting the Principle the Lawgiver has bestowed on them, they will cease practicing this behavior as soon as she leaves the group’s area of influence. Defining Principles created by this Charm cannot be weakened normally; instead they vanish when the Exalt is no longer present, returning only when she next interacts with the group’s leader, so long as his positive Intimacy remains, and only if she recalls the behavior she once outlawed or inflicted.

On Taboo-Inflicting Diatribe
Groups affected by Taboo-Inflicting Diatribe may come to eventually accept a behavior or a ban if there are benefits to doing so. A Lawgiver might be able to curb a ritual of human sacrifice for the duration of her stay, but as soon as she leaves, the group will have to contend with a spirit who is likely wroth over the delay in sacrifices. In such circumstances, there is no clear value to the Lawgiver’s edict, and no reason to continue the practice. Furthermore, other beneficial behaviors are not immediately obvious; a Lawgiver who wants a group to realize the wondrous benefits of regular bathing should remain in the area long enough for these benefits to materialize.

Okay, that wasn’t exactly the easiest of Charms to start off with, but it’s a good window into the nature of the 3rd Edition.

First off, let me say thank you to the development team for kicking things off with a social charm. The social conflict side of Exalted 2nd Edition was something of a well-intentioned mess that quickly fell to weirdness once certain players decided that the best way to avoid “mind control” was to draw a sword and initiate combat.

Needless to say it made for weird games.

But back to the matter at hand. Let’s go have a look at Taboo-Inflicting Diatribe for the 3rd Edition. Cost, Keyword, Duration and Prerequisite Charms are all old holdovers from the previous edition and I don’t have any problem with them still being around.

That said, there seems to be a rather lot of capitalized terms running around the description: Instill Action, Defining Principles, Major or Defining Intimacies. These haven’t been defined just yet, but thankfully you can still sort of make out what they might mean by pure context.

Going by the rules for the charm, there’s a shift towards a more organic feel that incorporates story opportunities to qualify for the use of a Charm. Taboo-Inflicting Diatribe’s own requirements necessitate that the player character actually go out of his way to build a good relationship with the leader of a society before he can use the Charm. It’s a better defined means of encouraging more roleplaying opportunities baked right into the mechanics.

Another nice touch is how the effect stays or dissapates depending on how the change is actually beneficial (or in some cases, harmful) to the society. The charm supernaturally augments the start of the policy change, but maintaining it is a function of the policy’s own merits and the society it is applied to.

So, opinion time. Overall I’m still a little wary of the complexity of the rules. The above is a sample of a single charm in what is most likely a huge list of them. However, I didn’t have a problem with the powers in say… Fantasy Craft, so why should Exalted be any different?

That said the changes in the charm and how it works is a big plus for me. Charms that operate in this way, being augments that highlight crucial moments in a hero’s story as opposed to “I Win” powers are a big step to winning me over.

Overall, while I’m still a little worried about the complexity, the way it was executed has me looking forward to seeing the rest of Exalted’s ruleset as it is revealed in the coming days.

  1. jademonolith says:

    Long time Exalted player (GM) here. All I have to say is that this preview is a bit underwhelming and a little short of disappointing. It might just be me but I was hoping that the current system really needed to be re-worked from the ground up. They needed to drastically change everything about the game but retaining the flavor and themes of Exalted. The problem with Exalted 2nd was that it was trying to be a crunchy game while being confined to a rules lite system (Storyteller). The first edition didn’t suffer as much from this as it did not have the same conceit.

    This Charm spoiler however confirms what I have been dreading about the new edition: the developers sticking to the same charm format and using Keywords which, imho, was one of the most confusing points of the 2nd edition (see MOEP: Infernals) as the keywords themselves were pretty much open to player/gm interpretation and may require needless cross-referencing.

    The moment I saw the charm costs, minimum requirements and charm types my enthusiasm for the upcoming product was knocked a few notches down — this clearly does not veer away drastically from the previous edition and is, in actuality, part of the problem. Players hated tracking multiple resource values during combat; (willpower/motes) and put a heavy burden for the GM — creating multiple Exalted NPCs based on charmsets and implementing them during play was a record-keeping nightmare.

    I certainly hope this new edition does not turn into just another massive re-printing in order to errata the previous iteration and that they have at least overhauled the combat engine into something as far away from the preceding editions as possible.

    – Jademonolith/Kaiser

    • Hi there Jademonolith,

      I have to admit that I did have the same knee jerk reaction when I first saw the formatting for the charms. That said, I eventually settled on the fact that the existence of keywords and mote costs and such existed even in the first edition of Exalted so it didn’t worry me that much.

      I share your issues with the crunch of 2e. After trying desperately to run it, the crunch eventually turned me off from running the game entirely. I’m still holding out to get more information on the rest of the system before I make a verdict on the state of 3e. I’m still holding out in hopes that there will be some sort of streamlining, as I agree that it is definitely something that is long overdue.

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