Now for the final stretch!
Exalted 3rd edition is well aware that it has to provide a lot of opposition. The paradox of having Solars as protagonists is that since they’re the mightiest of the Chosen, they need some really heavy firepower to go up against them, or else they’ll simple run everything over.
To that end, the book provides a means to create Quick Characters, singular opponents that don’t need super-specific stats.
Furthermore, they also provide a wide range of opponents (and potential allies) in the book. Starting from the standard bandit, all the way to examples of the other Exalts. Each known Exalt type is given at least 1 writeup in the chapter, along with sample charms for you to get the feel of what they can do.
The Antagonists do a great job of making the game feel epic, as something as “common” as a Blood Ape first circle Demon has a few tricks that can turn a non combat Solar into a red smear if they’re not careful!
WEAPONS, ARMOR AND ARTIFACTS
The last chapter of the book talks about gear. Weapons are presented with a standardized set of stats depending on whether or not the weapon is light, medium or heavy. What differentiates them are the weapon tags that describe how each kind of weapon can enable special actions.
Armor works in a similar fashion, providing Soak and Hardness.
Artifacts are much more powerful versions with a higher number of bonuses to each stat. What really makes Artifacts interesting, however, are Evocations.
At artifact rating 3, an item can develop evocations. These are special abilities that an artifact bestows it’s owner but only after the artifact and the owner have established some sort of bond.
Evocations make for some truly storied artifacts, and the examples in the corebook are definitely interesting. But as with Martial Arts and sorcerous Rituals, I’m hoping that there will be rules in the future on how to design such artifacts. There’s so much potential here for some very good stories.
REVIEW AND CONCLUSION
Exalted Third Edition is the glorious return of a game that I had almost given up on. It’s funny how my experience with the game mirrored a lot of the in-game history.
The first edition was my First Age, full of wonder and promise that collapsed under the weight of complexity.
The Second edition was my Age of Sorrows. I wanted to like it, but it failed to capture my imagination.
This latest edition however, brings back the feel and mood that I loved, while demonstrating a stronger mechanical rigor that helps it stand despite the complexity demanded by the setting.
Each subsystem has been carefully considered and playtested, and adds a different kind of fun to different players. But what struck me the most was the fact that a lot of the gamey mechanics actually relied on a lot of role-play to pull off.
Social Influence rules are an easy example for this, as the player must think and act like they’re really looking for social leverage before they can act, or else the odds are stacked against them.
The changes to the setting are well considered, and while there are a few add-ons that feel a bit difficult to accept at first (like the Liminals) others were things that I didn’t know I wanted until I saw them, like the Exigents.
Creation is familiar and yet feels renewed once more. Solars have arrived and there’s a stronger call for them to become heroes more than ever.
Despite the delays in production, and the myriad little things that went wrong and slowed it down, the end result is a thing of beauty. I’m glad to have backed this book, and even happier to put down money to buy a print version when it finally becomes available on PoD.
If you’ve ever wanted to play Exalted, or if you’re still on the fence on whether or not this is a good evolution of the game, don’t worry, and jump in. You won’t regret it.
Finally we’ve made it to the end of this Let’s Study Series. Thanks for reading along with me!