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Exalted 3rd Edition $24.99
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Ronald C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2020 14:51:05

It pains me to give EX3E a low rating.

I've been a Exalted fan since 1E, but as is fairly typical for White Wolf; great ideas, settings and themes, with poorly thought out mechanics that swiftly became excercises of abuse management or simply made no kind of sense. I won't wax on about the flaws in 1E/2E, other than to say I had a tragic love affair with the setting, but came to hate the sloppy rules and ultimately resorted to adapting the setting to other rule systems.

Despite OPP being (IMO) a better studio, 3E's big failure point is it's combat system, and it's a very significant failure. The system sounds great in the read, but in practice it becomes a drudgery that players and ST alike will become bored or overwhelmed by. It is rife with required resource management that expands progressively the more capable a character becomes. Added to this is a bloat to the charm trees granting only marginal improvements that are blatant taxes to slow down a character's power growth, causing players to go for maximum optimization similar in practice of what was pursued in 2E.

My table spent several months getting all the various parts down in the hope of making combat scenes as fun and exciting as we had hoped it would be, but we eventually concluded not only not worth the effort, but RAW actively robbed us of the desire to play the characters at all due to the sheer tedium of 3E's system. For a fantasy anime themed game, this was a critical failure for us. We attempted to house rule a number of elements to make it less tedious, but eventually gave up and used the setting and it's creative lore in another rule system's framework.

3E's other systems in contrast, work quite well and are a genuine pleasure to use, particularly Social Influence. Investigation, naval conflicts, nation building, and cooperative world building via inserting Facts through Lore are all done well and give players and ST's alike a set of clear tools and systems to pursue ideas and resolve them quickly and smoothly. Sorcery and Martial Arts were designed with a great deal more flavor and versatility, allowing for some very interesting MA concepts where their social assets were key components.

Sorcery in particular got a conceptual upgrade in the form of Workings and shaping rituals which govern how spells are powered and cast. Spells also have significant improvements if they're one a character declares as mastered. Workings are a form of ritual magic that characters can pursue with a fair degree of flexibility in performing and designing them, which is where the majority of what being a Sorcerer comes online. It does however, suffer from the same limitation as previous editions in that spells are treated as charms, with a lot fewer to choose from unless one translates 2E material.

3E also created a entire new region that is very creative and full of potential that extends the world map into the SE region, along with little creative rewrites of former setting lore (though the bulk of the setting's lore from previous editions is still present). The additional creative additions to the setting, and more attention to the variety of Exalted one can play, all make the 3E a significant improvement over previous editions material.

3E's crafting system is sadly, another significant failure point. If one stays with RAW, a Crafting Supernal can quickly become absurdly productive and overpower the setting with how quickly and to the sheer extent it can amplify a group's capabilities. Due to the drudgery of 3E's combat system and the (IMO) broken crafting system, I am compelled to rate the title at 2 stars overall.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Exalted 3rd Edition
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