Posts by: Stephen Lea Sheppard

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[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/6/2017
Crow the Boy is a sample Night Caste (I think?) from the castebooks. She's called Crow the Boy because she posed as a boy when she was running with youth gangs in Nexus before she Exalted; she Exalted, she's still in youth gangs, but now she leads one, and she's no longer pretending to be a boy but Crow the Boy as her name has stuck. She may or may not be some sort of LGBT or genderfluid representation depending on how you read her.

She wasn't one of the characters who got a full writeup; she just got a summary at the end of the book under "Other Night Castes." She did get a portrait.

In Aspect Book: Wood, Tepet Ejava tells the story of hunting down and killing a child Solar in some city somewhere as part of a Wyld Hunt, but the illustration very clearly uses Crow the Boy's character design for the child Solar she's killing. We have word from the writer of that section that it wasn't intended to be any Solar in particular the Roseblack killed (and, indeed, writers do not write art notes, so they couldn't have known that scenario would get an illo), so the likeliest explanation is that the artist was trying to be clever. (Specifically the sort of cleverness that would leave me absolutely livid if it happened under my nose during the process of developing a book, but maybe that's just me.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/6/2017
Hey, "An artist got cheeky and drew something they weren't asked to draw" is how we got Jean Grey dead for a decade. Never let it be said that artists doodling random bullshit doesn't affect canon.

(I prefer Crow not being dead, but, look, regardless of what the writer intended, that's a picture of Tepet Ejava killing Crow. There's no way the artist accidentally drew her killing a random Solar urchin who just happens to look like Crow.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/4/2017
Someone tell Andrew Hussie.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/4/2017
Y'all may be overestimating the degree to which the scenario takes into account the pregens' backgrounds.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/3/2017
Those could certainly be a reasonable set of choices.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/3/2017
I was going to be coy and neither confirm nor deny guesses, but, yeah, that Karal Fire Orchid picture does sort of give the game away. So.

Iay Selak-Amu is clearly the pregen Twilight, and Karal Fire Orchid is the pregen Zenith. People want to try guessing the remaining pregens based on that pattern and what they know of me as a creative type?

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/3/2017
Only one of those three Zeniths is a pregen in Tomb of Dreams. Can you guess which one?

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/22/2017
I think criticizing the opening fiction for its failure to adhere to the rules of a conventional narrative is pretty fruitless, because it is crystal clear that thing is not even trying to be a conventional narrative.

Trying to figure out what its actual creative goals are and then critiquing it for the ways it fails to live up to them (and, as it didn't work for you, it clearly did not succeed at those goals at least as far as you're concerned) is liable to produce more interesting results.

(And, hey, I love that thing. I'm the one who proofread it. I squealed with glee when I first read it, but one of the reasons I was so happy was "Oh my God I can't believe we're actually going to use this, that's awesome!" so it's not like I didn't know people were going to find it weird as hell.)

(Another possible valid avenue of critique would be at the developers and editor, for choosing to run an opening fiction that provokes reactions like "Oh my God I can't believe we're actually going to use this, that's awesome!" instead of "Yes, that's a pretty solid intro to the setting and game; I'm sure people new to the book will come out of it knowing everything they need to know to start playing!" Which is, let's face it, what the 1e intro fiction was, and it was one of the best intro fics ever in an RPG.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/20/2017
I think I love that story for all the reasons you hate it.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 2/16/2017
Originally posted by The Unsung Hero View Post
IIRC, the jumpstart is supposed to have both the 1e/2e circle AND the new 3e circle as premade characters to play the adventure with. So Dace, Panther, Arianna, Harmonious Jade, and Swan, and then Volfier, Perfect Soul, Shen, Novia, and Prince Diamond... again, this is pulling from some VERY old info in my brain.
That was the original plan, then I realized a couple of things:

1) There's no use putting a signature character as playable in the JS unless the JS both presents what makes them cool and gives them an opportunity to use that coolness during the scenario.
2) Between them, the ten signature characters cover pretty much every ability, every Charm tree, and every scenario and behavior type supported by the game.

I'm not putting in Prince Diamond without including Ember and familiars and horsemanship, f'rex, but the scenario-concept that made me sit up and go "Hold on, I can do this!" and pitch it to Holden during the KS doesn't allow for that, and I'm not shucking the scenario I want to do in order to do a different scenario that does allow for familiars and horsemanship and also the signature thing for the other nine of 'em.

So the JS has a smaller, more curated list of pregens.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 12/12/2016
Originally posted by Ren9077 View Post
The characters shouldn't have full knowledge of the combat system, but that combat system should be trying to model what's happening in-character. Knowing that really impressive shiny armor can no-sell attacks isn't exactly a secret that one can only discover via trial-and-error. When my PC is faced with a heavily armored enemy, he knows in-character that he's going to have to hit them better to make them feel it. While my character is not aware of Initiative as a discrete quantity, he can spot openings that he has created and recognize an opportunity to strike a telling blow. I, as a player, am seeing the numbers and making math assessments that my character isn't aware of, but those numbers represent things that my character is very aware of.
Yes, this. Player knowledge doesn't map one to one to character knowledge, but players making choices based on player knowledge models characters making choices on character knowledge.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 12/11/2016
Hardness isn't secret; generally speaking, people will just not take attacks that hardness nullifies. So I envision hardness as "Some armor is so effective that it's especially hard to find an opening."

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 12/8/2016
(In all seriousness read Clarke Ashton Smith's The Eternal World and then think about how to apply it to descriptions of beings such as the Yozis. It's short!)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 12/8/2016
Originally posted by Prometheus878 View Post

Naturally, degenerate survivors of these untold eons lurk in the forgotten places of the world. Whatever resemblance they bear to humans or near-humans is misleading, and they howl with ancient fury for the blood of their usurpers' inheritors, the modern humans and exalted.

Bloated, warped patriarchs of reptilian, amphibian things crouch on stone thrones, cataract-clouded eyes creaking open to pronounce blood feuds against our heroes; vengeance ages overdue for the fall of empires that were old when the world knew not green grass or blue sky.

Expect mountains with a high chance of madness.

(But consider also: Clarke Ashton Smith, who even Lovecraft thought was better than Lovecraft at similar subject matter.)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 12/7/2016
I generally go with "Uncounted aeons," and in the context of the now-no-longer-relevant Dreams of the First Age timeline (which I wrote), that easily translates into "Millions of years at least, probably." It depends on how long you think an aeon should be, and how many of them you need to have before it's poetically useful to start describing that amount as "uncounted."

Significantly more time passed before the Divine Rebellion than has passed since, though. The history of humanity's time in Creation is a punctuation mark at the end of a very, very long story, now almost entirely lost -- in part because of the actions of the Exalted during that war. Their actions would seem less momentous if they, with their overthrow of the enemies of the gods, hadn't put an end to a span of history of so great as to stagger anyone who contemplates it.