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Old 01-04-2013, 08:57 AM   #7
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Exalted: something broken, or just different power level?

On the fluff/ability difference, read the description of how your ability in Fighting or Athletics progresses as your die pool increases. 1 dot, you're kinda incompetent. 5 dots, you're a master. Now go through some typical challenges and see how much adding a 1-2 dice does for your success rate.

The game does assume that many of your enemies are going to be throw-away mortal mooks, but it also assumes (if play the default Solar option) that you'll be fighting Dragon-blooded soldiers, other celestial exalts lesser gods, freaky monsters, and possibly the Wild Hunt. As the GM, try managing a full elemental circle of semi-experienced dragonbloods: that's 50-80 charms, about 2/3rds of which are unique. That's a lot of complexity.

And while I understand the 15+ die pools was probably a deliberate choice, having people scrounge up enough dice, throw them on the table, and count out the hits seems like it would slow things down at the table. It's not impossible or unfeasible, but something simple such as house-ruling that you get the average number of hits for all but your last 10 dice would be a big help.

Finally, as to (some of) the fundamental issues that make long-term campaign play difficult: it's trivially easy to one-hit just about anybody if characters are optimized at all (ie, using artifact grand mauls and reasonable amounts of fighting/dex). So everyone needs to have a perfect defense available at all time to avoid getting splattered. Since you can only use one charm per turn, you either have to give up on all those cool charms or put them all in combos. This is not actually very interesting.

That's before you get into problems like since the sample NPCs do not have those kind of perfect defense combos, optimized PCs will tear through them like butter. So the GM needs to recreate all NPCs from scratch to make sure they're well matched against the PCs, which is a hugely difficult task because of the charm trees. It's a similar experience to playing high level D&D3, only most people are less familiar with Exalted than d20.

All of this can be (mostly) worked around with enough errata, house rules, and gentlemen's agreement at the table. But that's still a lot of work, and if you're picking up the game for the first time, my hope would be there's a better game for your purposes out there. Sadly, I don't know of one.
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