Posts by: John Mørke

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[#][F] John Mørke - 4/28/2016
Solar power defines Exalted. We're not done with them—not nearly! We will revisit them eventually. The core book and the backer PDF is not the end, just the beginning.

[#][F] John Mørke - 4/28/2016
Originally posted by Arian Dynas View Post
So... non backers can get in on this too, right?

Yes indeed!

[#][F] John Mørke - 4/28/2016
Greetings all ye Chosen!

Now that the awesome hardcover is starting to ship I just wanted to drop in and remind you of more good news. The Solar "Backer Charm" book is headed your way in the near future. This book was written as the result of a stretch goal we reached during the Kickstarter. It features 48 brand new Solar Charms that were purchased by our awesome backers.

For this special book we focused on writing Charms that were very, very, V-E-R-Y powerful. We're talking power level turned up until the pages hum and crackle with Essence. We made it our mission to write Charms that would magnify the legendary badassdom of the Solar Exalted, letting you stand out and shine even brighter in your selected purview. Now you truly can burn like the sun, all thanks to our glorious Kickstarter backers!

ALSO as a BONUS we wrote 33 additional Solar Charms as a BIG thank you for all the incredible support and enthusiasm you've shown for what we're doing.

This book WILL be going on sale—soon! Art assets are being completed.

Solar players should consider these new Solar Charms a must-have for expanded play. These new pinnacle Charms are just too good to pass up. Get your Supernals ready!

The Solar Backer Charm PDF is coming soon!

As the tale of Exalted continues...

[#][F] John Mørke - 4/19/2016
In today's Monday Meeting ( we learned that the pdf and pod goes on sale Wednesday.

Congratulations, everyone. We made it.

[#][F] John Mørke - 3/9/2016
Anybody in Texas?!

Holden and I are going to be guests at Aggiecon 47 ( April 1-3.

We're going to be playing EX3 and floating some Dragon-Blooded spoilers so if you're in Texas you should definitely make the trip.

[#][F] John Mørke - 1/9/2016
Originally posted by Mushroom King View Post
This is a really great discussion Root! Keeping charms as part of the plan instead of the plan itself is good writing.

Great to hear, John! You guys have been busy writing a lot of great books .
Maybe you could come up with a "challenges of the Exalted" type book? Situations where the players have had time to understand their abilities and/or grow in power, and the old challenges seem insufficient (or at least need to be executed differently?)
For example, "these are the basic challenges, or some sample challenges a brand new group of Solars/Dragonblooded/Exigents face, then here's what's likely to go wrong as they grow in power (craft new artifacts or projects, raise and train their armies or businesses, create a sorcerous working). And finally, here are the types of challenges a pack of Essence 5s is likely face.

Or, if you want to do it from a player's perspective, here are some challenges your powers are likely to fix that you may not have considered.

Does that help? I'm sure you've dealt with at least some of that in the new core (haven't seen the book yet ) but wondering how to handle a group's growing power is something I struggle with when I ST, and it seems to be a problems for a lot of other GMs as well (including many I've seen outside of Exalted).

One of the big things we want to do with supplemental setting material is to make the material seem alive and current. The mood should be the farthest thing from reading like a scroll you dusted off, a concrete history that is dead the moment you lay hands on it.

One of our ideas for handling that is to link setting material with dice rolls. For example, "This is the Lore difficulty to introduce a fact about [First Age secret you just read] and this is the Lore background you need to even recognize this material in play" and "If you roll [this many] Lore successes and have the appropriate background, you can introduce one of the following facts:[list of details about a lost culture being discussed]."

IE, we have recognized a link between higher levels of interactivity with the setting material and the perception that the setting feels alive, and thus setting books are necessary.

[#][F] John Mørke - 1/9/2016
Originally posted by Lioness View Post
I'd like more support for supernatural complications, at least somewhere down the line.

I can basically go basically anywhere that discusses rpgs or creative writing and ask "so these characters are building a bridge what can realistically go wrong with that and how can I make it interesting?" but how likely it is for gods to involve themselves is something that the Exalted fanbase has little consensus on and overusing "the spirits consider this an affront" runs the risk of the players blaming the gods for the setting's technological stasis or thinking that the Immaculate Order has the right idea.

Similarly, having the antagonist factions constantly trying to wreck your shit is very Saturday morning cartoon villainy.
I have seen a lot of call for a book that opens up the setting for "hot use" by teaching players how things work, aside from just telling them to go read things.

I haven't figured out exactly how to do it yet, but I am on the case. For now, I highly suggest devouring the books in the suggested reading list at the front of the core.

[#][F] John Mørke - 1/9/2016
If you think you might have trouble fighting an outbreak in a foreign land: Lore, Linguistics, Socialize.

Also known as your friend, the Eclipse.

[#][F] John Mørke - 1/9/2016
Mantra of the Solar Hospitaler:

If you want to know the illness, which medicine to use, and the dose: Medicine
If you want to know which plant or animal parts are used to make the medicine and where to find them: Lore
If you want to avoid dying in the jungle or touching dangerous plants while harvesting medicinal herbs: Survival
If you want to synthesize medicines from harvested herbs: Craft
If you want to figure out how people are getting infected: Investigation
If you suspect a plague spirit might be behind it: Occult
If you think market practices are to blame: Bureaucracy

[#][F] John Mørke - 1/9/2016
Interesting post Root.

Re: fighting a plague: you will find that a Solar with Medicine alone will have a problem, but one with Investigation, Lore, Survival, and Craft can do it.

Investigation and Lore helps the Solar figure out the source of the plague. Survival can help them confirm it in the case of getting close enough to carrier animals. She could be led to discover the source lies in bush meat trade and even isolate the monkeys causing it. In some cases, bad water supply is to blame, and Craft can help her engineer solutions. Medicine helps her figure out what kind of solutions are plausible. Lore can also help if historical records reveal any sort of effective response used in the past.

Bureaucracy can also help in creating market models that espouse safe practices, while Lore can be used to educate people on things like hygiene and how to avoid spreading disease when hygiene won't cut it.

There isn't a Charm to just end a massive plague outbreak, but with some elbow grease and time the Lawgiver can fight a fire that it takes a modern national relief effort to quell. All of these things require time, and an emphasis on roleplaying and storytelling.

We decided to try to avoid ever writing Charms that resolve conflicts, because those conflicts are where the game lives. It is impossible to feel like you are playing a Solar if you are never challenged to use your Abilities.

[#][F] John Mørke - 1/6/2016
We designed the Caste Ability and Supernal rules the way they are after looking at all the structural problems caused by the original rules across two editions. If you expand Supernal so that Castes can make whatever they favor into a Supernal Ability, you will recreate the old problem that made Dawn and Eclipse superfluous. The Supernal rules are there to protect Caste positioning, while the Essence 1 buy in Charms Solars out-of-Caste to be significantly powerful. Every decision we made about the design was informed by rigorous observation and testing, so you should be careful about undoing it on a whim.

In the case of Dawn Caste, western stories conceptualize physical strength as necessary for superhuman agency, but Exalted is an eastern conception, where physical strength is less central to the character of the warrior. In Exalted, the character with superior combat-infused Essence swinging a giant sword hits way harder than Hercules, even if they are built physically like Cloud Strife.

[#][F] John Mørke - 12/13/2015
Originally posted by Lioness View Post
This glimpse of Mnemon herself intrigues me, given how Wicked Witch of the West the character's been portrayed in the past.

Aye, Mnemon's presentation has shifted. I love writing about her so expect to see more.

[#][F] John Mørke - 12/12/2015
It's common in the South to see jewel/mineral names and names based on things in the desert. Southern princes often have names like Onyx, Slate, Sand, Simoom, etc.

[#][F] John Mørke - 12/12/2015
Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
Oh, huh, I admit I didn't think that you'd pop down to answer me, Morke. Yeah, that clears a few things up.

Yes. I also want to make it clear that you can make several valid interpretations of the Caste based on this premise. You can certainly make a Zenith who refuses to fall into the trap of thinking this way, but in order for that character to be interesting, you have to make sure to fill the world with conflicts that will test his resolve and compel him to present his actions as righteous when they're really not. That kind of conflict is available to the Zenith Caste now, and before you even put a single dot on the character sheet.

[#][F] John Mørke - 12/12/2015
Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
As much as I like Perfect Soul's writeup (and GOD do I like it), there was one early passage that stood out.

... Okay, I'm going to be charitable and assume that you were going for something more akin to "There IS no objective righteousness, but rather righteousness is subjective", but it's very easy to parse that as a blanket "In Exalted, might makes right, period".

Again, I don't want to interpret it that way, but some of my players and I noted that it is very easy to do so.

Pointing out that some people in Creation believe in "might makes right" is not an endorsement of that attitude, either in Exalted or by me. Even so, righteousness in Exalted is blatantly a "might makes right" attitude, because no depiction of righteousness has ever existed that was not propped up by martial authority or martial action. A religion that has no such power, has no presence anywhere. Without presence, no one cares what they say is righteous. The only difference is that there is a question in the real world about whether there is some moral arbiter secretly behind the scenes, giving us a sense of whether our actions are just or virtuous, aka righteous. The Exalted universe is amoral so there can be no righteousness.

But characters living in Creation don't necessarily know that. The Unconquered Sun believes in righteous action, and he tells the Zeniths that their will creates a righteous world. This is clearly a "might makes right" endorsement, because a Solar who takes no strong actions, takes no righteous actions. Some Zeniths are aware of the dangers of this sort of attitude. Others believe in it unironically. Still others will try to raise a code of laws of moral and right action that reflect something like what we would consider good or moral. These are the dramas that make characters complex and worthy of our attention and interesting enough to draw our judgment or criticism. These kinds of complex discussions are what makes Exalted stand out from other games.

In other words, if the Unconquered Sun is the ultimate being, and King of Heaven, then when he says something is righteous, no one can gainsay him. That is in fact the case; he says the Zeniths get to decide what is righteous, and none can gainsay him. He confers this tremendous power of decision upon the Solar Exalted, but no code to follow. The Exalted are the ultimate deciders. It is their free will to do things we would consider good or evil, and to call those things righteous, to build holy crusades around their causes and tie themselves up with the will of Heaven backed by the power to say what's right and to vilify anyone who disagrees.