Monday, 1 June 2009

Exalted, Or I Hand In My OSR Membership Card

This arrived from eBay today. A nice glossy booklet with a quickstart set of rules for Exalted Second Edition and a scenario "Return To The Tomb of 5 Corners". Originally this was a freebie, I had to pay 99p off the 'Bay but that's cool.

But-but-but; I hear you splutter, this is the antithesis of Old School Play! PCs croak only when dramatic necessity requires it, PCs start as mega-high-level demigods in the first play session and it's by those Gods of Railroading (and tedious pretensions), the frilly-cuffed, goth hipsters from White Wolf! What are you playing at?

It's simple. For a couple of years now I've promised my old gaming mate and his wife an RPG of some description. She had never heard of the concept of a tabletop RPG until we had this "lets play again" conversation despite being a big fan of modern fantasy trilogies and console JRPGs. Normally I would have reached for WFRP and if not that then probably my new Swords and Wizardry Lulu acquisition. I fancy getting into Trail of Cthulhu but can't see that working with a new player especially one who borrowed my entire HPL library and decided that she didn't like him. :(

Anyway Exalted looked good - there's a free PDF of the two versions of this scenario (for both editions*) and I downloaded it and decided it would work well for a novice for a number of reasons

1 - It only uses d10s avoiding the problem that I find afflicts all newbies - give them multiple dice and they will always confuse the d8 with the d10 and the d12 with the d20.

2 - It's a relatively simple core mechanism (several d10s, each 7+ is a success with a 10 being two successes) so I can say to novices - just roll n dice and tell me how many successes you get.

3 - High Level Shenanigans might make it an easier sell than a game of low level OD&D where the party gets confronted with kobolds and giant centipedes and a high chance of dropping dead in the first melee round. WFRP isn't quite as bad, but it's low fantasy is generally only attractive to someone who has already tired of high fantasy - saying "You're a ratcatcher, you're an ex-lockkeeper off the canals, you're a runaway altar boy and you're a manual labourer. Oh and you all met in an alleyway full of shit and mutant corpses" isn't going to excite people who think fantasy = high fantasy and were expecting to play a blatant Sephiroth clone.

4 - I think novice players will feel at home and less lost at the start of the game if there is a clearly-marked out plot route to follow.

5 - Shortly after downloading the 1st edition version of this scenario I managed to get the original 1st edition hardback for 99p off eBay (still waiting for that to drop through the letterbox as well...)

So while I love all things OD&D when it comes down to it I believe that Exalted 1st Edition or the cut-down 2nd Edition is going to serve me better for that all important first game.

Also, I like mumblers...

(*) First edition version here, Second edition version here.

1 comment:

  1. O Coop, what is the world coming to :P

    Exalted is one of my guilty pleasures. I won a copy of it at last Furnace and periodically flip though its shiney manga-big-titted-bulging-muscles-BIG-FOOK-OFF-SWORD pages. Its like Conan and Hong Kong Action Cinema jaming in Led Zepplin. Intimidates the hell out of me but one day I will run it...oh yes.