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Posted (edited)

Last year PingosHusband, after noodling around Exalted (2nd edition) and World of Darkness rulebooks (Vampire the Masquerade 2nd edition, Werewolf the Apocalypse, Mage the Ascension, etc.), announced that he'd like to run an Exalted game set in the World of Darkness.

 

We, his friends and loved ones, said “What, are you crazy? Have we not long joked about how unplayable and internally inconsistent the World of Darkness is; how its timeline makes no sense and its rules and worldbuilding are buried and often mutually contradictory; how foolish and suicidally incurious the various groups are regarding each other; and how so many of its many tragic angsty world-destroying problems could be solved if only each isolated group got its head out of its backside and actually talked to one of the others?”

 

He said, “Hear me out,” and since we have long experience of his keen ability to run entertaining campaigns, we heard him out.

 

See, PingosHusband has a knack rather like Alan Moore's ability to take unpromising old third rate comic book series and turn them into fascinating multifaceted mythic dynamos, or Neil Gaiman's ability to mine world mythology to create astounding and consistent and multilayered worlds, or James Burke or Kenneth Hite’s ability to take fascinating historical and technological developments and spin them into stories of human interconnectivity or disturbingly deep illuminati conspiracies for game use, respectively.

 

More than once PingosHusband has taken historical oddments, played “What happens if this is taken seriously and assumed to make sense somehow?” and produced some wonderful story or game setting or world.

 

(One of them won awards.)

 

So apparently he did this with Exalted and World of Darkness, getting under the hood, finding the core of what worked and what didn’t, seeing what could be connected to what else and what made sense, what was clearly absurd, what needed tweaking, what could be fun, what couldn’t be possible, why things happened, and who could have done them. He looked keenly at characters, places and situations, saw potential for fun in a campaign, wrote up background, and presented us with an introductory players’ handout.

 

I’ll get to particulars later. The simple version is that the world looks basically like the World of Darkness, except that all of a sudden a tiny number of people have Exalted with memories of the world of Exalted (“Creation”) and powers derived from it. There are five to begin with (the PCs), although more will come soon enough.

 

I have to say, this game has so far been tremendous fun. Our group has been playing together for over thirty years and I have rarely seen all of us this excited about a game. Our teenage / adult children are also involved and we have been having vivid family conversations over meals about history, strategy, and characters.

 

I’ve (of course) been painting up miniatures for the game. I’m having a lot of fun with these too. I’ll put links to Show Off threads when I have them up.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pingo
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I've been thinking of doing something similar for some time now, but keep moving cities and losing my player base. I'd be really keen to hear how this goes!

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Awesome!  I've liked and had issues with all of the above.  I've also merged them into our real world histories for time bending fun (Exalted in North America, and World of Darkness in medieval Europe).  I've actually never considered merging all of it at the same time.  Mostly, I liked the systems in some of the settings (not all) and I like the capabilities characters can have.  I am most interested in how Exalted and Mage characters are going to interact.  Vampires and Werewolves (and even Exalted) are mostly linear, but Mages can ramp into some OMG! (which always made them fun to play)  It does give him a way to have bad guys that can overpower the team.  

Thematically, I like the Exalted campaign... though the world needed more.  Is there going to be a place where we can read about this?

Oooohhh... Exalted in Shogun in a World of Darkness... uh oh... that could balance out the missing segments of my Crusader campaign... Nooooooooooo... I don't have time!

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This interests me (that's why I suggested starting it in it's own thread), but now I'm wondering how well I'm going to be able to follow as I know practically nothing about Wod or Exalted.  I watched Kindred: the Embraced (yes I know V:tM aficionados pan the series, but I don't have any game world baggage and liked it back in the 90's) and I briefly played the Jihad CCG.  As far as Exalted goes I have one or two minis that's Reaper put out and that's it.

 

So I'll be following for ideas but may not understand any of the subtleties of gameplay.  Or why something is an elegant fix of what was broken.

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47 minutes ago, Grayfax said:

Awesome!  I've liked and had issues with all of the above.  I've also merged them into our real world histories for time bending fun (Exalted in North America, and World of Darkness in medieval Europe).  I've actually never considered merging all of it at the same time.  Mostly, I liked the systems in some of the settings (not all) and I like the capabilities characters can have.  I am most interested in how Exalted and Mage characters are going to interact.  Vampires and Werewolves (and even Exalted) are mostly linear, but Mages can ramp into some OMG! (which always made them fun to play)  It does give him a way to have bad guys that can overpower the team.  

Thematically, I like the Exalted campaign... though the world needed more.  Is there going to be a place where we can read about this?

Oooohhh... Exalted in Shogun in a World of Darkness... uh oh... that could balance out the missing segments of my Crusader campaign... Nooooooooooo... I don't have time!

 

I'll be posting on this thread as well, but because Pingo is a player I'm going to have to avoid giving away too much that the Players don't already know.

 

The differences in fundamental cosmology between Mage and Exalted were some of the trickiest to work out.  Fundamentally, Exalted magic is based on the world having fundamental processes put in place by the Primordials when they made the world, whereas Mage magic depends on consensus reality.  At first these might seem insurmountable, but there was one aspect of Exalted that could be turned into something like Consensus: namely the powers of the Fair Folk which depend on imposed story telling to cause effects.  But these powers were confined to Raksha, so I needed to do some finagling to make human belief produce similar effects.

 

However, there is an odd little bit about humans in Exalted.  They were originally created to be just weak enough to be afraid, and just imaginative enough to pray for help.  In other words, humans were originally tools that turned fear into prayer and prayer in Exalted has power.  In the transition I set up between the Exalted World and the World of Darkness, the Gods became inaccessible, so the massed human prayers created localized magical effects (consensuses) which the first Mages used to shape the world around them.  In terms of power, this means that Mages can do a lot, but the Exalted can usually overpower them unless the consensus has serious backing or a very large mass effect.

 

There are a few more relevant elements in this, but those aren't yet fully understood by the PCs, so I'm going to have to leave it at this.

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What we knew as players at the beginning was intriguing.

 

In Exalted the world, Creation, is flat, rectangular, and huge, bordered on all four sides by the changing chaos of Faerie and the malevolent ever-hungry Fae.  There is a heavenly city, Yu-Shan, in its own pocket dimension where all the gods have residences and the heavenly bureaucracy runs things.  The Sun is a god who traverses the sky every day and rests every night.  The five planets are gods who control human fates.  There are hundreds of Exalted who help keep the world running -- some of them corrupted by awesomely malevolent powers.  There are things so big and powerful that they could annihilate much of the World of Darkness without noticing.

 

In the World of Darkness the world looks more or less like the world.  However weird its details and inhabitants, it is a sphere roughly 12,700 km in diameter hanging in space, orbiting the Sun, which is a 1.4 million kilometer diameter ball of flaming gas who never gets time off.  The planets are also gigantic spheres orbiting the Sun.  There are no Exalted (until the game begins).  And the world has no trace of the enormously powerful forces and creatures who could eat it for breakfast.

 

Something Big had clearly happened.

 

Or, as our sixteen-year-old put it, "Everything went sphere-shaped."

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19 minutes ago, Pingo said:

In the World of Darkness the world looks more or less like the world.  However weird its details and inhabitants, it is a sphere roughly 12,700 km in diameter hanging in space...

More like a depressed ovoid.

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Sort of a quick explanation for those unfamiliar with Exalted (2nd edition)

 

In Exalted the Exaltations are like extra souls with a spark of godly power in them which fuse with a mortal and make them an Exalt.  The mortal person is still themself, but now they have extra powers and sometimes little bits of memory from earlier people who had that same Exalt.  The memories are supposed to be all scrubbed away between Exaltations, but sometimes little bits persist.  The Exaltation itself does not have a personality, although it often has some sort of a slant or requirement that shows up as similarities between people who have borne it over the ages.

 

Personalities do not persist with Exaltation; that's all on the person.  Which means the last Exaltation could be a total crumb, but this one be nice.

 

This matters because some of the Exaltations are paired off.  Each Solar Exaltation has a Lunar "mate" who's supposed to take care of them.  That's the Exaltation, not the person.  Woe betide someone who's "mate" is simply awful.

 

In this campaign something has gone wrong with the heavenly memory-scrubbing machinery, and all new Exalts have full memories of the last person who had this particular Exaltation, as well as possible memories of earlier lives (these last were something PCs could buy as part of character creation).

 

Warning:  Even deeper game esoterica follows.

 

Our GM gave us some tinkered experience point rules ("XP costs are halved", for example, and "age restrictions on Essence will not apply.") and guidelines for beginning characters:

 

Characters could be one of four types of Exalt: 

  • Solar -- "Lawgivers", Champions of the Unconquered Sun, the most powerful
  • Lunar -- Champions of Luna (the moon), ferocious shapechanging warriors
  • Sidereal -- Champions of the Five Maidens (the planets), manipulators and administrators of Fate
  • Alchemical -- android-like assistants created by Autochthon, the maker of the world

Interestingly, PCs could not be Terrestrial Exalts (a.k.a. the Dragon-Blooded, shock troop hordes of low grade, low-powered Exalts).  No one seemed too upset at this, since the Terrestrials were basically the figurehead dupes of the Sidereals after the Sidereals betrayed and slew all of the Solar Exalts and imprisoned their Exaltations, and no one much likes them.

 

Nor could anyone be Abyssal or Infernal Exalts.  These had been corrupted Exaltations stolen by evil factions in the last age, but for some reason they had all now reverted to their original Solar forms.

 

In other words, one could be a former Abyssal or Infernal, with all the awful memories that implies.  (The GM said that if one wanted to play a former Abyssal or Infernal, one would have to read the entire -- rather nasty -- Abyssal or Infernal splatbook to simulate the PTSD that such a character would have.)

 

The GM also implied darkly that no one had better try to play a Fae without some really seriously convincing arguments.

 

As for the World of Darkness backgrounds, the GM said that a lycanthrope can only Exalt as a Lunar, at which point they would have a higher Rank than any lycanthrope, and a vampire can only Exalt as an ex-Abyssal and they will revert to human upon Exaltation.  Only mages ("or possibly one of the odder types of lycanthropes") could know Sorcery immediately upon Exaltation.  Only someone who had been a martial artist before Exaltation could be one upon Exaltation.

 

The GM requested that the party of PCs consist of at least one each of Solar, Lunar, and Sidereal Exalts, and no more than one Alchemical.

 

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Posted (edited)

Blending Lunars with Uratha would be a lot of fun and have some interesting correlation between the Spirit world and the Celestials.  Hmm... a veil that the Exalted have fallen beyond, eh?  And suddenly everything can work easily!  Ok, now I'm just taking notes!  So very cool!  

 

Edit: Garou.  Some of the weird world-myth around these guys is fine if you are in a Viking campaign, but in lots of cases is very problematic.  I much prefer the Uratha over the Garou for this reason.  I have trouble not blending the two sets of WOD, though.  And yeah, there is waaaay too much reading on some subjects.

Edited by Grayfax
Garou
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Posted (edited)

I've finished three of the five PC miniatures (and the last two are close to done).  In celebration, here are the characters the players came up with to start the game.

 

“Motivation” refers to the character’s core heroic impulse that makes them worthy of Exaltation. Each character (naturally) has secrets and information the others don't know yet.

 

Lee Ha-neul

 

South Korean, teenage girl, member of a pop singing group, unaware of the World of Darkness before she Exalted (and shocked and delighted by it afterwards). Exalted (very visibly while performing in a video – although most viewers thought it was SFX) as a Sidereal, Chosen of the Maiden of Serenity (Venus). In her last life she was one of a close-knit circle who performed covert operations for the Maidens. Her motivation is to bring joy.

 

Dr. Isaiah Maxwell

 

Scottish, mid-thirties, a mage of the Sons of Ether, a therapist for would-be reformed vampires and werewolves. Exalted as a Solar of the Twilight caste. Most of his Exalt’s past lives were working on the problem of the Wild and Faerie incursions. In his last life he Exalted in a Terrestrial (Dragon-Blooded) family and had to flee to White Wall to avoid being murdered by his relatives as an anathema. His motivation is to restore every individual’s humanity to proper working order.

 

Rokhsana

 

Persian, former vampire, eight point five centuries old (appears nearly thirty). She reverted to human upon Exaltation (which was a shock because it means vampires are human and alive – the dead cannot Exalt). Exalted as a Solar of the Zenith caste. In her last life she was an Abyssal. She has issues, not to mention a very messy family tree. Her motivation is to bring humanity to those who lack it.

 

All-Three-for-web.jpg.8bf6816dc35fa7213264430052a317bd.jpg

L to R:  Lee Ha-Neul, Dr. Maxwell, Rokhsana (links go to their Show Off threads)

 

(Miniatures for the next two will be edited in when done have been edited in below)

 

Samsone Howe, Jackson Knott, Inkblot (and many other names)

 

American (USA), Bastet (were-cat), mid-late twenties, a naturalist who has published several acclaimed nature books. Exalted as a Lunar of the Half Moon caste. In his last life he was a Lunar general in the East of Creation fighting the Fae. His motivation is classified for the moment.

 

Tears of Azure

 

Alchemical, Adamant Caste, newly decanted. Previously unaware of the World of Darkness. An Alchemical is all this one has ever been. This one’s motivation is to restore Autochthon, the architect of the world who has gone missing since Creation ended.

 

1-Two-Exalted-together-for-web.jpg.9f135f6e2502b7a4e81d389af1615ca2.jpg

L to R:  Samson Howe, Tears of Azure  (links go to Show Off threads)

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pingo
links to lynx
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We did something similar years ago.  There was this one spell.  It would put a building into elsewhere and the place would only return to creation when specific conditions occured.  Our Exalts ended up in an ancient tower under one of these spells and stayed there too long, and got trapped along with an abyssal and his zombie hordes.

 

DM then shifted to a Vampire campaign that involved some hunt for a mystery Clan founder.  Said campaign ended up at, you guessed it, a mysterious tower that appears out of nowhere.  Our Vampires were annhilated and a small pack of Exalts walk out of the tower into the modern world.  Full Circle +1 Lunar.

 

From what I remember we had no access to Peripheral essence at first.  Personal only.  Which seriously limited the damage we could do to the world.

Was fun.....turn full on apocalypse bythe end but yeah lots of fun.

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10 hours ago, GreyLurker said:

We did something similar years ago.  There was this one spell.  It would put a building into elsewhere and the place would only return to creation when specific conditions occured.  Our Exalts ended up in an ancient tower under one of these spells and stayed there too long, and got trapped along with an abyssal and his zombie hordes.

 

DM then shifted to a Vampire campaign that involved some hunt for a mystery Clan founder.  Said campaign ended up at, you guessed it, a mysterious tower that appears out of nowhere.  Our Vampires were annhilated and a small pack of Exalts walk out of the tower into the modern world.  Full Circle +1 Lunar.

 

From what I remember we had no access to Peripheral essence at first.  Personal only.  Which seriously limited the damage we could do to the world.

Was fun.....turn full on apocalypse bythe end but yeah lots of fun.

 

That sounds like marvelous fun. 

 

This situation is a little more complex than that.  The GM has actually worked out how, using in-game logic, the world of Creation was turned into the World of Darkness.  This is a GM who enjoys reading everything multiple times over, ruminating on it, and then building a gigantic internally consistent world from it.  We the players don't know all the ins and outs of what happened and what's going on, but the things that have been revealed have been kind of mind boggling. 

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Over the course of this week, Pingo has been doing a huge amount of painting because of tomorrow's adventure. She's posted them in Show Off and WIP.

 

For those of you who know the World of Darkness, it's the PCs and some NPC Exalted invading Iteration X's base AutoChthonia.  For those of you who know Exalted.  That isn't the real AutoChthonia. 

 

The initial fight is going to be insane (the players already know and are eagerly anticipating it).  It's 5 PCs and 4 NPCs against a huge number of cyborgs and robots.  And that's just the beginning of it.  The adventure gets more complicated, but the messiest fight happens at the start.

 

One fun thing about this game is that I can run things that in a WOD campaign would be final battles of the campaign, or adventures so hard as to be impossible for any party of WOD characters.  This is that kind of adventure.  This place is meant to be impossible to attack.  So, it's difficult for Exalted characters.  The PCs and NPCs will have to pull out all the stops. 

 

Designing this adventure lead me to the realization that the idea of a Boss Fight as a the hardest battle is militarily strange.  In general, the most difficult fight when attacking someone is the first breach of a siege.  That's the bloodiest and most complex part.  The attempts to have easy beginnings leading to harder endings require setting up strange and artificial series of challenges that are more akin to a Mystery Cult initiation ceremony than they are to anything military.

 

The Lord of the Rings has three big battles and all of them are breach attempts:  Helms Deep, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the fight at the Black Gate.  And none of them are how the important matters are resolved.

 

I will neither confirm nor deny the relative importance of this opening battle to the resolution of the adventure. 

 

 

 

 

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When I first read the title I saw "Transformers Mash-up Campaign" and was quite disappointed when I saw that there were no Transformers being introduced into WoD.  At least I give you some voices to choose from for your robots.

 

 

If the first battle is a TPK it will be relatively important to the resolution of the adventure.

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They *are* on a quest to find Autochthon. There's already an Alchemical plus Iteration X involved. Transformers may not have been mentioned yet, but I wouldn't rule them out. 

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