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[Exalted] Any Solar Exalted fans still around?

nexus

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Maybe its because I've been binge watching the Marvel shows on Netflicks and some shonen style anime I liked and Exalted vs WoD fan supplement was so well done and received but I've been having the wild urge to do a write up of my interpretation of Creation, more positive to the Solars than I the canon version seems to me and my circle of players. Its just a feeling. I probably don't have to the time or talent and feeling of a majority of the current fanbase are probably so different it wouldn't click with allot of folks, but the urge remains.

It was really cool seeing some of the old familiar name and some new one I didn't expect in this thread. I suspect our reasons for enjoying the character type might be different but its nice to see they aren't quite as loathed (or forgotten) as it sometimes seems at times. Its quite possible we(or misinterpreted what the intent was for the Solars but felt the its changed over the course of the game along with the perception of the fans. But Exalted has always meant, said and felt differently to different players and I can't lay any claims to owning it. Ironically, Hunter: the Reckoning came with a similar dissonance after awhile, as did (less ironically) Aberrant. Maybe we should have learned a lesson. :)
 

nexus

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I wish I had your problem, mostly because I have the problem of not finding an Exalted game lasting enough to experience anything like that. if your concern is balance between the players and not them flaking out before things can really get going, your doing pretty well then. In my experience, people can feel unequal and useless even when they're both playing Solars and having two completely different niches.
The problem came more with character being as good or better at another's focus and good at everything else and more (due to special splat only abilities. For all the criticism earlier versions of Lunar got for being one note, I found them to be the biggest issue in this regard in my play. Shapeshifting is incredibly versatile, enabling emulation or even out classing of a the stealth, inflitration possibilities of Solar Larceny and Stealth charms. Lunars were also savage (no pun intended) combatant. I ran/observed several combat arena games (not White Room, there were environments to interact with, some had a general plot sort of pen and paper fighting games) and Lunar dominated pretty often being the Champions and Dawns gradually vanished. My Dawn ans Night players felt pretty disheartened. There were some issues with other caste but those stood out most strongly, IME

In the game, it felt like the Solars suffered from the changing themes and the writer growing skill and confidence with the mechanics. Their charms felt dated and not just utilitarian but less useful or potent. This being back when there were power tiers and Solars were supposedly top notch it was more noteworthy at least the local circle of Exalted players (mine at least) so it made for a unpleasant gaming experience particularly when the issues played out mechanically in game.

These issues appear to have continued through to 3rd, so obviously they're not issues to target fans, perhaps they never run into them. But things like the Lunar build that ends up using 11 dice literally everything and I guess more in what the character focuses on was an indication.
 

Weimann

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I like the Solar idea. It's clean. Focused. Easy to grasp for a first-timer. Also, being mono-focused and the best at this one particular thing is a long-standing way to play RPGs and it's kind of neat to have a Host with lore supporting that. Being the best at their chosen area is the Solar's main strength. I can appreciate them as the Chosen of Optimization.

That said, yeah. You can do anything with them, they're malleable as clay. You know what else clay is? Grey and kind of boring. As someone who engages with the Exalted setting mostly though reading the books, not so much playing the game, I find my mind much more intrigued by Terrestrials and Sidereals. If I had written Solars, I'd have made them more thematically tied to the sun, perhaps given them great flares of power with a long cooldown or some other cost, like the full glory of their potential burns them. But I do still like them.
 

nexus

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Actually the fact they are not defined by what they are, don't have some prepackaged background and sfw they have to follow or work against is why I like them. I don't find them boring any more than I find human characters boring because I can do almost anything with them. I find most of the other splats are kind of baroque and stifled. Better for NPCs. Their powers are weird (particularly Sidereals) little about firs my imagination like the possibilities in Solars But mileage varies but I don't usually want to play out there character. Except as beginning Antagonists, Terrestrials bore me. They're so like other White Wolf Onyx path creature and I've seen elemental powers allot I like the human+ aspect of Solars.
 

Gaius of Xor

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I personally prefer most other Exalted, but third edition has given me a lot more appreciation for Solars than I had before. Maybe my tastes changed. Maybe, on a first read, I may have just not gotten that their intent was to be as flexible in terms of archetypes to draw upon as it is, and may read them too shallowly as a result. I think part of it is that EX3... I'm not sure I can word it properly, but I feel like EX3 does a better job of balancing the "raw power" side to them with the impression of immaculately skillful use.

Granted, some of this is a matter of the older systems not giving a lot of room for Charm concepts or space for differentiation. When every splat has so little room for growth in a non-combat area that they feel like they're all just wielding differently sized hammers and Solars simply had the biggest ones, that don't give much space to impress me. It felt like the difference between an author telling you a character is cool versus showing. It may also be that I benefit from having a lot of examples: having a lot more Charms helped me to understand more texture and personality to their take on the Abilities. I was actually getting kind of excited reading over some of those, and thinking about cool character concepts that could be built around them. Hell, even back in the preview days, I still remember "Clever Bandit's Rook" putting a big smile on my face; that widget seemed like it injected some tricksy thief fun into being a Night. ^_^

I also like the less strict power tiers for a lot of reasons, but one of them is definitely making Solar achievements over other Exalted more impressive.* I liked that bit early on in EX3 where Solars weren't just in charge because the Unconquered Sun was in charge, but because they as a whole actually won out on their own cultivated merits. It's a difference in feel that counts for a lot.

* More examples of Solars not easily triumphing over other Exalted also makes it feel more legit when they do carry the day.

These issues appear to have continued through to 3rd, so obviously they're not issues to target fans, perhaps they never run into them. But things like the Lunar build that ends up using 11 dice literally everything and I guess more in what the character focuses on was an indication.
I feel like this is due some context: doing so requires a particular build* and then using an Excellency, shapeshifting, or both. It's a neat and useful thing for some Lunars to have in their back pockets, but it I don't regard it as a win button, just a different approach. It's off the topic, so I'm going to spoiler my prattling on that point.

* Which, it's worth noting, is not something all Lunars can or will care about achieving. It's an option they can get at chargen, but they have to build toward it at the expense of other stuff they might wanna do.

Spoiler: Show
If you're getting to 11 dice and no Ability dots with an Excellency, that gets expensive. If I correctly recall the setup in question, you have an Attribute of 3, then add 8 dice to it with the Excellency (3 from the Attribute again, and then 5 with a stunt incorporating another Attribute) for one mote apiece. For comparison, an Essence 5 Lunar's personal pool is 20. If the Lunar's in a position that requires consistent performance at that level, the Lunar's going to start flaring in a hurry. Especially if they're matched up against an Exalt specialized in that area: such a Lunar will perform better than a hypothetical member of another splat with no specialization, but they're still in trouble.

If you're doing that through shapeshifting, that's less costly (4m invested when you shapeshift, released with a new 4m invested if you go to a new shape), but:
  • A) Your Excellency can't get you any higher than 11 dice. You may get some extra bennies for the form you're in (e.g. an animal with the "Beast of Burden" merit gets double 8's on feats of strength), but you otherwise likely have few if any non-Charm benefits or other options, what with not being a specialist, so specialists remain a problem for you,
  • B) You're an animal, which means your actions are restricted. You're stuck with what that animal could perform, properties it has, and behavioral expectations others have of it, especially if you want to avoid giving the game away. Absent extra Charms, you'll probably suffer the usual penalties in social influence for trying to communicate without sharing a common language and paws/hooves/wings make a lot of things difficult-to-impossible. Also, being a tyrant lizard is awesome, unless you're trying to fit into a place that isn't big enough for one, restricts its movements, is too fragile to support that sort of weight, etc. Likewise, if you're not acting like an ordinary member of the species, people can catch onto something being amiss.
  • or
  • C) You've just turned into an animal to do the thing, likely giving away that you're a shapeshifter. That kinda puts a crimp in a lot of what Lunar powers can help you do and puts people on high alert. Also, if you're bouncing between forms a lot, those mote costs will add up (as can the initiative costs, if in combat).
It's the sort of build that doesn't strike me as strictly better or worse, just different. I'd grant it certainly helps in situations where plans fall apart (C basically stops being an obstacle if you're already a known shapeshifter). But the counterpoint is that maybe things wouldn't have fallen apart if the Lunar had specialized more and played to those strengths. :p
 

nexus

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Gaius of Xor, while I respectfully disagree with you on allot, I appreciate the detailed response. I was considering a lengthy response but its not necessary. I'm not going to argue someone out of their preferences and "Splat Wars" were fought and won (or lost depending on your perspective awhile ago) and allot of people have a game that works for them, others have either moved on or are doing homebrews of some kind.
 

nexus

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With the deemphasizing of Power tiers in this edition, how would you describe potency difference between Terrestrials and Celestials?
 

Blaque

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Exalts in general can reach similar levels of power in some areas, but Celestial Exalts can do it more consistently, with less effort, and in more total areas than Dragon-Blooded mostly. In exchange, Dragon-Blodoed often have capabilities which other Exalts likely can't do outright, even if those abilities are not necessarily greater "power" besides ability to do such things.

Solar Exalted show this with having the most straight-forward Excellency, broadest and often easiest access to most "splat independent" magics like Martial Arts, Evocations, and sorcery, as well as access to Supernal which allows them broader access to a certain depth of power earlier than other Exalts.

Lunar Exalted show this through strong raw stats due to Exaltation and shapeshifting, as well as a very flexible Excellency, but have less ability to specialize quite like a Solar can. They can equal Solars at the use of moonsilver artifacts, and practice of necromancy, but have to put in greater work to use Martial Arts, although can achieve laterally different power through them if investing. Shapeshifting and the themes of the Lunar Exaltation also just gives them avenues to either do things Solars outright can't (mainly in forms of shapeshifting and some exotic effects, or the nature of Attribute instead of Ability-driven magic), or to achieve Solar-like feats with some extra effort (usually through use of Protean Charms).

Something notable with Celestial Exalted in general this edition is that there's never something like 2e's always-active passive dice-addings ave some Lunar shapeshifting, which has other limitations. Exalts of all sorts have to put in some effort to gain effect above their impressive base prowess. This is a bit with the whole Solars being toned down. They're still very impressive and powerful, it just doesn't lead to omnipotence.

Being Terrestrial means that you in total can't probably achieve the levels of power Celestial Exalted do, but this doesn't close you off from having power, and still being Exalted above mortals. The "floor" is lower, with access often to equivilant effects of the other Exalted in the form of Evocations, Marital Arts Charms without the Terrestrial tag, and so on. But while Solars and Lunars achieve great things with effort, Dragon-Blodoed have to put additional effort to match that. Their highs are not as high, but their feats are still impressive. They also again, get powers that are powerful and outright not something other Exalts do. Dragon-Blooded can call typhoons into war, turn their bodies into living flame, create a turret tree, and fly through the air like Goku in DBZ. These are potent effects that just give them options other Exalts don't have, which means whether it's more pwoerful or not is kind of sketchy a comparison.

Basically the way to think of it is that in previous editiosn, the gap was presented such that the gap between Celestial and Terrestrial Exaltw as such that Dragon-Blooded could be disposable or individually never notable in context of Celestials. Every Exalt is valuable and powerful. It's that what are the heights of that power, and how many of those heights are unreachable with other Exalts that feesl flattened a bit this time around.
 

Gaius of Xor

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Being Terrestrial means that you in total can't probably achieve the levels of power Celestial Exalted do, but this doesn't close you off from having power, and still being Exalted above mortals. The "floor" is lower, with access often to equivilant effects of the other Exalted in the form of Evocations, Marital Arts Charms without the Terrestrial tag, and so on. But while Solars and Lunars achieve great things with effort, Dragon-Blodoed have to put additional effort to match that. Their highs are not as high, but their feats are still impressive. They also again, get powers that are powerful and outright not something other Exalts do. Dragon-Blooded can call typhoons into war, turn their bodies into living flame, create a turret tree, and fly through the air like Goku in DBZ. These are potent effects that just give them options other Exalts don't have, which means whether it's more pwoerful or not is kind of sketchy a comparison.
The Aura mechanic struck me as an elegant way of getting to their position. Through careful application and use, Terrestrials can access more power in their native Charmset than they normally could, but it's trickier and not nearly as consistent as a Solar or Lunar's power. I'm not mechanically savvy enough to know how much it narrows the gap, but it certainly serves the presentation: they need to work harder to get the most out of their capabilities.

Things like the restrictions on Signature Charms (many of those potent effects Blaque mentioned come from these) and greater investment in Occult before they can access Sorcery also play into the idea.
 
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