[Exalted 3e] The Sun Will Rise

Had the first real session of an online Exalted 3e game set in the 100 Kingdoms which I am running in a Shonen Burning Wheel fashion with a heavy emphasis on challenging intimacies and limit. The initial scenario surrounds the assassination of a beloved prince of a broken nation during a meeting of princes to join the principalities back together.

Tonally, we're going for more of a Warring States feel than a Game of Thrones feel.

Here are the PCs.

Broken Lion, an infamous swordsman with a dark past who saved the prince many years ago and is now a trusted friend and confidant of the prince. Zenith Caste. Integrity Supernal.

Laughing Mountain, a sometimes loyal warrior and sometimes bandit from the steppes. His people have a tenuous alliance with Beloved Prince Rasha. The assassination shakes everything up. Dawn Caste. Resistance Supernal.

Deshi, a living weapon honed by his master, Eastern Star, to hunt down the Crimson Lotus, the mystical assassins responsible for the Prince's death. There is history there. Night Caste. Stealth Supernal.

Khidara Aya, a mortal scion of a Great House of the Realm, and the young prince's new bride. The player wants to Exalt in play. Will be Eclipse Caste. Socialize Supernal.

The initial scenario was worked out with the players before hand and I had planned to frame them right into the Bang from the start. However, after talking with the players we all decided we needed some time to get to know these PCs before things really kick off so I framed some initial scenes in Great Forks to help us to know who these characters are.

Laughing Mountain and Broken Lion were in Great Forks to meet up with Aya's Honor Guard and ensure she reaches Rasha safely. We first meet them as Laughing Mountain is haggling with a merchant over a finely crafted breast plate only to realize he has no money. There is a tense exchange as Laughing Mountain declares everything under the Golden Sun belongs to him and cows the merchant into simply giving up the armor. Broken Lion chooses his friendship with Laughing Mountain over his sense of honor when the merchant call him on not stepping in to help.

We then focus on a brief exchange that Aya has with one of her handmaiden's over choosing the right dress, but is really about her falling in love with Rasha even though they have never met. Some of her brother's men come to retrieve her.

Meanwhile we see Khidara Aris, proud Dynast and leader of men and now leader of a mortal's honor guard for the first time as he meets Broken Lion and Laughing Mountain. This conversation was a lot of fun to play out as Broken Lion and Aris felt each other out and ended up developing mutual respect. The intent behind this scene was to test Broken Lion's Major Principle I Bow No Knee to the Unworthy.

These scenes were interspersed with Deshi and his mentor, Eastern Star mystically watching over these scenes and commenting on them. I should have challenged Deshi's sense of his mentor a bit more, but there's plenty of time to do that later. Eastern Star challenges Deshi to follow the others and learn more about their connection to the Crimson Lotus.

The caravan comes together in short order and we play out a scene between Deshi, now disguised as one of the Honor Guard, and Broken Lion who suspects something about Deshi momentarily, but is assayed otherwise.

Flash forward to a week into the month long journey. It's night time and camp is set. We learn that Broken Lion has taken a special interest in Aya and is quite protective of her. She seems pretty appreciative. A set of Dogs of the Unbroken Earth assault the camp at night having not received their offering. Laughing Mountain, Deshi, now in ninja garb, and Broken Lion engage in combat while Aya attempts to find out what's going on. Some quick thinking on Aya and Broken Lion's part involves a quick offering which sates the small gods.

The challenge in the small god fight was mostly to see how these Solars would handle the small gods while in the presence of a Dynast, playing off some of Broken Lion's and Aya's intimacies. I wanted to see how much they would reveal to each other, particularly if Deshi would go full ninja and reveal his presence. Broken Lion gave all the credit to Aris in an interesting twist, really talking him up.

The final scene of the game took place as the caravan approaches the border of Orlan, much earlier than expected. They are met by a strange warrior dressed in red and white backed up by a retinue of mercenaries claiming to be here for Aya. Deshi recognizes this man is bearing the markings of the Crimson Lotus. This seems quite brazen. Aren't these guys supposed to be secretive assassins?

There is a brief exchange where Deshi warns Broken Lion not to trust this guy. Broken Lion rebuffs Deshi until Deshi flashes his caste mark to Broken Lion. Fade to black.

Comments

  • So one of the issues I am having so far is a rough transition from games with overt agendas and principles towards something that is more opaque. Most of the time I tend to favor more transparent Story Now games like Burning Wheel, Sorcerer, and Monsterhearts. It's been so long since I have run a traditional game that I am somewhat at a loss.

    The intimacy mechanics that run right through the core of the game's reward, social influence, and limit mechanisms provide hints of a focused experience that it should be possible to find. I just feel like I'm reading tea leaves to a certain extent.

    I find that in places that I am relying on experiences with Blades in the Dark, Sorcerer, Monsterhearts, et al. in a very haphazard way. I received extremely positive feedback from the first session, but I still feel somewhat disjointed.
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