Posts by: Holden

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[#][F] Holden - 7/16/2016
Glad to hear you're okay, LeTipex.

[#][F] Holden - 7/13/2016
Ilio Stara will return (significantly revamped) in an upcoming supplement.

[#][F] Holden - 7/4/2016
We didn't really make "short combat" a priority, just "interesting combat." The idea was that combat being over in 15 minutes might not be desirable if the combat were actually fun and engaging on its own merits, so we focused on that.

[#][F] Holden - 7/3/2016
That's a prose oversight, they're not intended to be spend-able on damage rolls.

Game won't break horribly if you allow it, of course, although it's a bit strong on decisive attacks.

[#][F] Holden - 6/13/2016
Yeah any Solar who advertises their presence to Lookshy is going to get a Wyld Hunt in response.

[#][F] Holden - 6/12/2016
Originally posted by Ikari Gendo View Post
I like the direction 3rd ed. is taking magic.

Magic in 2nd ed., especially artifacts, was very mechanistic, with a strong Clarke's Law feel to it. It had a sense that any common technological device of the modern world or near future was routinely replaced with an equally convenient and reliable magical equivalent. This can give an interesting science-fiction-with-magic-ray-guns feel to a story, but I have always been uncomfortable with that, because it quits FEELING like magic.

I know many of you grew up with video games where magic is very formulaic. You find the right ingredients and put them in the cauldron in the right order to make the potion. You wave the wand or recite the words to cast the spell. The actions have no meaning of themselves . Anyone who performs these actions can get the same consistent results.

This is not magic. This is technology disguised as magic.

The evocations and control spells make magic much more personalized in 3rd ed. and that is what is I want. If two solar sorcerers with equal skill levels in Occult and Craft(Weaponsmith) each make a goremaul, these will not be a pair of identical (except for the decorations) orichalcum goremauls. The Twilight with Stormwind Rider as a control spell might create a blue jade weapon whose evocations are based on movement and hurl back groups of opponents or allow its user to spring forward across multiple range bands. Such a weapon might look more like a gigantic fan (think the palm frond fans wielded by slaves of Egyptian royalty in old sword and sandal movies). A sorcerer whose control spell is Death of Obsidian Butterflies may create a goremaul of roughly shaped volcanic glass in an orichalcum haft with evocations of sharpness and area damage. Such weapons have some game mechanic differences and significantly different stage dressing, but more importantly, they FEEL different.

A few general things about magic for those of you who aren't familiar with Frazer's "The Golden Bough" http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3623/3623-h/3623-h.htm:

The two most important principles of magic are sympathy and contagion. Sympathy is the idea that actions create similar actions. Contagion is the idea that if two things are ever connected, they can never be completely separated. A classic example of both of these principles is the curse doll, which is built around a possession or a piece of the victim, and its creator harm on the victim by damaging the doll.

Power accumulates at the edges of things, both physically and metaphorically. Doorways and gates are places pf power, and these can be abstracted as grandly as the trilithons of Stonehenge or as simply as the 19th century American slave tradition of jumping over the broom into the land of matrimony.
Power also accumulates at the edges of time. Sunrise, sunset, solar noon, the change of seasons and years; these are all times of power, and Exalted has always had Calibration, which is this concept writ large. I remember all the mystical panic about the calendar flipping over from 1999 to 2000, and the end of the fifth baktun in 2012. Even ringing in the New Year at midnight is a vestige of this.

Astrology is important, not just for divinations, but simple folk astrology like planting grain and squash when the moon is waxing and root crops when the moon is waning. Sorcerous workings and artifact creation should be timed to the phases of the moon. The full moon is a time to reveal things. The new moon conceals. The gibbous moon is a flint knife in the sky for sacrifice. The cresent moon is bow drawn to rain down arrows of desire or ill fortune.

Magic words have meaning. "Abracadabra" was an actual incantation which would be shortened by one syllable in each iteration until it disappeared, or written as a triangular talisman, shortened by one letter in each line. This is a magic for making things like diseases or curses disappear. Charlatans would show its effectiveness by using it to make small objects disappear before selling their services as doctors or exorcists. Other magic words may be the names of gods or demons or great wizards who bound them. These are not just some randomly generated mystical passwords.

I hope this gives some you ideas for making magic a more interesting part of your game.
Very glad to hear it's working well for you and your group

[#][F] Holden - 6/3/2016
I deliberately minimized the amount of merits that were basically just doubling-down on a specialty.

[#][F] Holden - 6/2/2016
Originally posted by Deinos View Post

GNS is about what the mechanics are supposed to reflect. Early D&D tended towards lots of gamist and a little bit of simulationist, 3e and 5e are just gamist, 4e is gamist and narrativist (solos, minions, encounters, and dailies are all justified, explicitly so, in their role in the narrative). Offhand, Promethean, for example, strikes me as particularly narrativist in nature, as your whole sub-experience system, vitriol, depends on you fulfilling the narrative of your dubiously successful quest for humanity.

They definitely don't correspond to how highbrow or lowbrow the actual party's playstyle is: simulationism is just that, rules that are based off your attempt at simulating reality. For example, trying to model weapons based off your understanding of how they interact with armor is simulationism, while trying to set up weapons to make them balanced based off how many skill points they need or how costly they are and so forth is more gamism.

If you're just using the rulebooks and not houseruling anything, no matter how your style goes, you're not affecting its place in the GNS spectrum.

Promethean was sim. All World of Darkness games up to Blood & Smoke were like 95% sim with a couple of narrative rules for garnish (usually the Humanity trait or something like it), even though the aims of the game are obviously narrativist and the play style wants you to be narrativist, the rules weren't really congruent with that. Most games, historically, up until the 2000s are primarily sim, even if that's not what they're really going for (and even EX3 uses that as its bedrock layer-- one of the reasons I tend to think sim is a questionably category, but hey if you're working with Big Three, it was part of the original model).

[#][F] Holden - 6/1/2016
Originally posted by kingcrackers View Post
I thought the GNS was primarily an approach to running games. Which is to say, it's how the players want to do things and interact. A gamist Exalted game would be "beat up everyone" and "crown myself king." A narrativist Exalted game would be "Let's deal with our issues and see how our characters collide." A simulationist game would be "And then now my long-lost son appears because it's dramatically appropriate" or "And now we deal with the enemy's supply lines."

That's not what the Big Three model was designed to map out, no. It's supposed to be a game design tool.

[#][F] Holden - 6/1/2016
Originally posted by CapitanTypo View Post

Then how do you define Narrativist gaming that it is independent from the mechanics of the game?
You cannot describe any game's structure independent of its mechanics. The nar/sim/gamist triad is a model for describing mechanics. So, a narrativist game is one that is first and foremost interested in modeling a certain style of telling stories or emulating the peculiarities of a particular genre, at the system level.

[#][F] Holden - 6/1/2016
Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post

Glad you are. I'm just noting that I'm glad to take breaks from reality for my game, since playing an average mortal (not a Heroic Mortal, who are emphatically not normal, but rather EXTRAORDINARY) would probably not be very fun.

I think you'll find that the term "heroic mortal" is not used a single time in Third Edition.

[#][F] Holden - 6/1/2016
Originally posted by Boston123 View Post


I understand. And, that is basically what my game is, and this is actually reflected in my story. Most of the PC's use shields because they, well, don't want to die, but the guy with the Longaxe is a regular face-wrecker. He has Specialty: Longaxe, Specialty: Formation Fighting, plus he likes to stunt every chance he gets. Sure, he has to be careful of arrows and other projectiles, and avoid fighting too many opponents at once without backup, and he knows this, but, believe me, he earns all his glory.

I put so much focus on shields in my current story because the location, a Norse/Finnish-thing set in the Northeast, draws on that (the Finnish-expies, for example, don't use shields very much because, well, they have plentiful trees to use as cover, plus they strike from ambush a lot). Most "elite" troops (Huskarl-equivalents) don't use shields, and use two-handed weapons with heavy armor. Most "common" warriors, which is what the PCs started out as, don't have armor. Iron and Steel was very expensive "back then".

One of my PCs actually dropped their shield and picked up a waraxe and a sword, once they got some armor. They understood the defensive penalties, but the ability to go "full Viking" (in their words) was worth it. They, and the Longaxe guy above, negated some of these penalties by fighting with their lackeys in a shieldwall, who used the Defend Other action to help them out.

I must say: mortal games in 3E are much more possible, and much more fun now, both for the players and for me as the ST. So, great job on that.

That sounds awesome, and I'm glad your group is having a good time with it =D

[#][F] Holden - 5/31/2016
(Like, there are going to be a couple of X-Y-Z combinations if you ascribe to that method that I think would only end up occupied by Jenna Moran games. Nobilis is probably the only Sim-Abstract-Middleweight game kicking around out there, while Chuubo is the rare Narrativist-Abstract-Superheavy example)

[#][F] Holden - 5/31/2016
Originally posted by ParanoiaCombo View Post
Exalted is, from where I'm sitting, a high-crunch maximalist game that designed it's mechanics on narrative, rather than gamist or simulationist logic. I don't see how the game has difficulty reconciling narrativist desires.
Yep, although it dips into gamist design quite a lot as well-- it is very interested in being a playable game as well as a story-telling framework-- it just doesn't ever give that top priority, in contrast to say D&D4.

It is probably helpful to look at design as occurring along at least a set of X-Y axes rather than just as a flat list of three styles, because a lot of the problem in this thread-- it's completely turned Totentanz around!-- is coming from conflating "narrativist" with "light" or "abstract" design, and they don't necessarily correspond at all. It might be more useful to consider the goal of the game (gamist, sim, nar) and the method of attaining that goal (trad/rooted, abstract) as two separate matters, with maybe a Z axis for light and heavy systems as well, although I think you'll find that one doesn't have as much variance as expected.

[#][F] Holden - 5/31/2016
Originally posted by Monkipi View Post

I really agree with this. I also think that Ex3 is uniquely designed as a crunchy vehicle for narrative, in some ways like the Powered by the Apocalypse games where things start and end with the narrative and mechanics occupy a lot of the liminal space there. Ex3's mechanics are a scaffold for unfolding narratives, and so they lay in structures and expectations for how things should and will go. They underlie things to an extent that, in my experience, they often don't do much to poke their head out and rub against the narrative in undesired ways.

Generally, call for rolls when dramatically appropriate and things are in question, utilize the game's scaffolds for narrative, and ignore those rules that you find to make the first two difficult. I'm an intensely narrativist player and I find that this works for me well, and that the 3 ed rules play really, really nicely with my narrative mindset and I am usually crunch averse to some extent.

EX3 leans strongly toward narrativist-style goals and design ethos, but comes at it from a core of traditional design and bending trad tools to those ends, rather than the highly-abstract systems that are the norm for narrativist games (such as FATE, CORTEX, and the excellent PBtA engine). Very few other designers are trying to do that right now, so it can be a bit of a challenge to quantify.