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[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
gattsuru wrote:
John Mørke wrote:
It isn't as hard as people think it is to make Lunars good. They have all the ingredients for a great design. It's the presentation that's always been the problem.

There are some pretty big mechanical and thematic issues underlying the presentation, though. If NumberCruncher, Fetich Soul of Chungira, looked at the Lunar 1E and 2E sets completely devoid of anything outside of presentation, it's going to turn around and complain. A lot. NumberCruncher will complain about everything, true, but it'll have reason here. The 2E mechanics work, in that they're actually built for this edition of the game and aren't Scroll of the Monk. They do the job, didn't need a huge amount of errata, and if you need to build a villain or NPC, done. That's different from there being no issues. Even with sizable amounts of GM fiat to avoid TurboYeddims, the backgrounds are bizarrely ill-balanced for Heart's Blood at start, Claws of the Silver Moon dominate pretty much any sort of combat deal. Pretty-Kitty Revolution is absolutely a Thing, made worse in that it's one of the very few uniquely Lunar Things.

Thematically, they don't really do very many things that are unique. Solars are The Best At Everything, even being things they aren't supposed to do. Sidereals do Impossible Things by filing them in the not-impossible category -- Avoidance Kata is the absolute closest the setting gets to a meaningful reset button or time travel, and Shun The Smiling Lady is explicitly set as more powerful than a charm should normally be, yet Sidereal Charm says screw the rules I have connections. Alchemicals aren't great at any one thing, but in a couple days they can fix your problem. Infernals are Bizarre Thematic Connections, and occupy a special case where natural character design might have a diplomat-priest that can also blast enemies from a mile away. Raksha have entire systems that you can basically only touch by becoming something more Raksha-like.

Lunars have been Silver Medal At Everything, except things that humans think of as especially human, or that don't have easy animal metaphors. They've got a strength that their specializations are a little more broad, but the Storyteller system doesn't really support that. Being Silver Medal at Alchemical stuff is an even worse solution than Being Silver Medal At Everything, but that doesn't make either variant of Silver Medals better.

((I don't personally want to remove anything from the set, but I also admit I don't have a good grasp on either the mechanical or thematic issues -- I'll admit I don't know the problem Elephant, outside of that this particular part feels a lot like the trunk of a tree.))


1: Mechanics are not separate from design.

2: The 2e core rules were bad at representing Exalted. Approaching the game from a position of what the mechanics allow is a fundamentally flawed view. Exalted as a movement was about the creativity of the ST and the players, not mindless adherence to the rules. But the 2e core established that nothing could exist without the rules and then proceeded to overfunction, so that nothing natural or original could ever occur. A lot of people, including Jon Chung, flocked to the forums to tell everyone else that this was the proper order of things and that they were wrong to approach the game from any other angle. It is something that never should have been true in the first place.

3: Lunars being second best at everything might be a feature, rather than a bug. Being second best at anything was absolutely horrible in 2e, because of the above. In a game of Exalted as intended, it's not a problem. This is not a statement about what Lunars can or can't do in EX3, but rather that rejection of a premise based on the idea of tiers is faulty, whether it be "Lunars should be able to do X as well or better than a Solar" from a Lunar fan, or "Lunars (or anyone else) should not be able to do X as well or better than a Solar." These issues are fundamentally REALLY FUCKING BORING and uninspiring and uncreative, and we have created a game in the belief that people can move on from them, but in the even stronger belief that most people don't worry about shit like this in the first place.

[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
Jm2c wrote:
John Mørke wrote:
It all goes back to my first axiom: You can never produce the best solution until you make the truest statement about what the problem is.

Over time, that has grown to encompass another statement: You may not find the best solution your first try, but the one you find will lead you to the one you need.

I think that people don't understand what was wrong with Lunars, so they avoid the problem by just getting rid of whatever they can't explain.

When/If at some point you can (my guess would be sometime around when Ex3 Lunars hits, but who knows), could you go into what you feel is the truest statement about the problem of Lunars? Not because I want to fish for what you're going to do with them (hence whenever you can), but because I genuinely like to hear designers talk about design.


It was 90% presentation.

This might sound silly, but Exalted 1e was like a "freedom movement" for the imagination. But many of the messages of Lunar 1e went against this idea. I believe this was their largest problem. They disappointed players, and not as an idea in a vacuum that is handled in an unpleasant way, but as a part of the tapestry Exalted was turning out to be. They didn't paint the picture of Exalted that people were hoping for. They lowered the expectations of the readers.

It was not that their ingredients were flawed, but rather their recipe, or the organization / presentation of their ingredients. This also includes the mechanics that were painful in 1e, and the mechanics that were lackluster / disappointing in 2e, as well as overly rigid. Mechanics are part of the presentation.

Watch Master Chef if you get a chance. You will see chefs given immaculate, gourmet ingredients, and compete to make the best dish, with only one rule. For example: "Beef must be the star of the dish."

Well, they're all great chefs with access to the same ingredients, but one will make something great and another will make something that doesn't taste right. This comes from emphasizing certain ingredients and underutilizing others, but it also comes from plating it so that it comes off the wrong way.

[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
Jm2c wrote:
John Mørke wrote:
It all goes back to my first axiom: You can never produce the best solution until you make the truest statement about what the problem is.

Over time, that has grown to encompass another statement: You may not find the best solution your first try, but the one you find will lead you to the one you need.

I think that people don't understand what was wrong with Lunars, so they avoid the problem by just getting rid of whatever they can't explain.

When/If at some point you can (my guess would be sometime around when Ex3 Lunars hits, but who knows), could you go into what you feel is the truest statement about the problem of Lunars? Not because I want to fish for what you're going to do with them (hence whenever you can), but because I genuinely like to hear designers talk about design.


It was 90% presentation.

This might sound silly, but Exalted 1e was like a "freedom movement" for the imagination. But many of the messages of Lunar 1e went against this idea. It was not that their ingredients were flawed, but rather their recipe, or the organization / presentation of that material. (This also includes the mechanics that were painful in 1e, and the mechanics that were lackluster / disappointing in 2e, as well as overly rigid. Mechanics are part of the presentation.)

Watch Master Chef if you get a chance. You will see chefs given immaculate, gourmet ingredients, and compete to make the best dish, with only one rule. For example: "Beef must be the star of the dish."

Well, they're all great chefs with access to the same ingredients, but one will make something great and another will make something that doesn't taste right. This comes from emphasizing certain ingredients and underutilizing others, but it also comes from plating it so that it comes off the wrong way.

[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
Lunar mechanics were not broken in 2e. Perhaps they disappointed you, but they functioned fine. They certainly weren't unplayable, the way Sidereals were.


[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
As a customer, I'd find it a disappointing cop-out if the guys working on EX3 just copied the Alchemical design into Lunars. It doesn't even make sense.

It isn't as hard as people think it is to make Lunars good. They have all the ingredients for a great design. It's the presentation that has always been the problem. A good presentation breaks down biases and eliminates misconceptions about your ideas. This is one of the fundamental concepts of good design.

People turn away from classic Lunars and change them into something else because they aren't good at design.

It's not a habit I foster with anyone I work with. I push them to understand the reason why something failed, to get to the closest statement of a problem in order to supply the best solution.

It all goes back to my first axiom: You can never produce the best solution until you make the truest statement about what the problem is.

Over time, that has grown to encompass another statement: You may not find the best solution your first try, but the one you find will lead you to the one you need.

I think that people don't understand what was wrong with Lunars, so they avoid the problem by just getting rid of whatever they can't explain.

This has caused Lunar fans to ask me to remove the following things:

-Tattoos
-Tells
-Shapeshifting
-Shapeshifting into animals
-Solar bond
-Association with barbarians
-Elder Lunars
-The Silver Pact
-The lost castes

Given the tremendous ingredients above, when what you have left isn't identifiable as what you started out with, you're doing it wrong.

[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
As a customer, I'd find it a disappointing cop-out if the guys working on EX3 just copied the Alchemical design into Lunars. It doesn't even make sense.

It isn't as hard as people think it is to make Lunars good. They have all the ingredients for a great design. It's the presentation that's always been the problem. A good presentation breaks down people's biases and eliminates their misconceptions about your ideas. This is one of the fundamental concepts of good design. People turn away from classic Lunars and change them into something else because they aren't good at design. It's not a habit I foster with anyone I work with. I push them to understand the reason why something failed, to get to the closest statement of a problem in order to supply the best solution.

It all goes back to my first axiom: You can never produce the best solution until you make the truest statement about what the problem is.

Over time, that has grown to encompass another statement: You may not find the best solution your first try, but the one you find will lead you to the one you need.

I think that people don't understand what was wrong with Lunars, so they avoid the problem by just getting rid of whatever they can't explain.

This has caused Lunar fans to ask me to remove the following things:

-Tattoos
-Tells
-Shapeshifting
-Shapeshifting into animals
-Solar bond
-Association with barbarians
-Elder Lunars
-The Silver Pact

[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
Kukla wrote:
John Mørke wrote:
Taurus II wrote:
The devs have refused to post system spoilers for reasons which seem good to them.


It this little thing called an NDA, and wanting there to be a product to sell down the road rather than one that was given away for free on the interwebs.


But I want better products for free! ;_;


I agree. It makes the product better when I read bad ideas and false conjecture and disagree with it, and move the product in the complete opposite direction.

For actual review of core systems, I'll be organizing playtests.




[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
Infernal Charms were fucking awesome.

For Second Edition.

New edition, folks.


[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
Taurus II wrote:
The devs have refused to post system spoilers for reasons which seem good to them.


It this little thing called an NDA, and wanting there to be a product to sell down the road rather than one that was given away for free on the interwebs.

[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
The first known appearance of a Liminal was some time after the Great Contagion.

She was found in a shadowland by a farmer. She followed him home and killed a vicious ghost that was living in his barn and ruining his livestock. The Quiet People called her the Chernozem. The Guild picked up the story and popularized the sobriquet. But the name may have even deeper roots...

[#][F] John Mørke - 3/20/2013
JMobius wrote:
hatewheel wrote:
I am probably going to offer an EX3 visitation of the CRM as a Kickstarter goal at some point in the future.


This is probably the first Ex3 spoiler that I'm a bit sad about, as I was really hoping this would be a 'core' thing. As long as it doesn't get orphaned like Mandate of Heaven did (not sucking might help there), it will probably be okay though.


That won't happen because our port of the CRM is already written. I'm just not going to publish it in the corebook.

We cut quite a bit of extra padding from the CRM featured in Masters of Jade and it was still 12,000 words. Then, we had TDO remaster the CRM into a new EX3 system I dubbed the Legacy System. It was 6000 words, as large as the entire EX3 core combat rules.

It doesn't fit my mandate for slick and easy rules, both easy to use and easy to learn, so out it goes, sayonara.

Instead, I've got Geoff Grabowski writing graphs detailing in-setting organizational schema and explaining the structure of various bureaucratic entities in the Age of Sorrows so that I can conduct a presentation that works on the micro level, where Solar Charms live.

[#][F] Holden - 3/20/2013
Tis the only way to avoid assassination by magitech afficianados!

[#][F] Holden - 3/19/2013
BrilliantRain wrote:
Holden wrote:
Chaka wrote:
It's so true. I remember when Lunars was the bestest book ever. It was a pretty long period of time.


Pretty much right up until Infernals came out and ran rings around them in the Charmset department, I think. And then the rest of the nails went into the coffin when Alchies once again had a better-designed Attribute set.

(In Pete's defense, the Alchie Charmset works so well in both editions in part because it is able to cheat on several fundamental elements of Charmset design. Coming up with a good structural thesis for an Attribute set is much harder than an Ability set, as I've learned doing system projections for EX3.)


Cheat how? Now you've got me curious.


Mostly in that they can partially ignore non-favored cost bumps, and they can brute-force raise their Attributes to meet minimum values without having to actually raise the Attribute itself. As a result, they only have to give a very limited amount of fucks about what Attribute a Charm belongs to, or what its mins are-- two issues Lunars can't ignore and which have hampered the structural elements of their Charm design in the last two editions. It's a really tough issue to address for an Attribute Exalt.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 3/19/2013
Segev wrote:
I try to look towards pre-modern pseudo-science and mysticism for "how things actually work" in Creation.
This is always a good initial approach!

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 3/19/2013
DShomshak wrote:
Well, I admit I didn't see Sharkdad as too tonally inconsistent with the rather grim nature of Luthean society. But keep in mind that I created the Vampire Dad for Time of Thin Blood, wrote the "Behind the Mask of Normalcy" essay for the Vampire Player's Guide, and suggested a Sabbat Holiday Special about discovering the true meaning of Palla Grande. When I see something wholesome and heartwarming, I look for the nastiness and insanity that it conceals.

It may be a character flaw.

Dean Shomshak

You have a point, but Exalted isn't the World of Darkness, and the ideal approach for portraying a TV show on a Pentex-owned network television channel isn't the ideal approach for portraying a fantastical lost underwater city in a pulp revival adventure setting.