[Irrevocably Broken Games] the idiom of faux-Exalted?

edited July 2009 in Story Games
Posted By: joepubI will forever hateBrilliant Aura, the game that purports to be a cross between Exalted and modern supers.
It's broken, because the set skill list is vastly overpowered by the freeform, user-defined Powers system.
This makes it impossible to play common folk well, and yet the premise and structure REQUIRE some players to play common folk.
This is total bullshit!
They make a game where you need some people playing common folk, and then punish those who are willing to with mechanical disempowerment.
So I am told apparently I am designing the second edition to this travesty of a roleplaying game. As if such could even be justly saddled with that title. I feel the poster's anguish over this ridiculous mishmash. But! That is no excuse for defeatism; I shall endeavor to lift this property from the mire of mediocrity that is the American mainstream, to achieve true Art and Emotive Integrity. But to show the masses their way, I first need their help!

Now, you do not need to tell ME how do design a game! Even the most oblivious of forumgoers is no doubt familiar with the cohesion and artistry of my first effort, Manse of Silver. embedding true dream-state imagining into a framework of rules is my stock in trade. But I I confess I am lost on the subject matter. These are the supposed tropes of the so-called "Geek Culture", yes? I call on you Geeks (so-called) to relieve me!

I acquired a PDF scan of the first edition game, but soon deleted it in disgust. Such pseudo-rationalist drivel! I'll instead ask directly the devotees of these idioms. Now, the idiom of "modern supers" is no difficulty. As the writer of Fabricated American, I am well-acquainted with deconstructing the pregnant symbolism of the United States' anarcho-facist fantasies.But this "Exalted". . .? I am lost, having avoided all such exposure to this particular species of juvenilism. What are its themes? What, however garbled, speaks to inner soul of mankind, in this game? I have inquired on other forums where such gaming is de rigeur, and got nothing but rantings about "anime" and "stunts" and rolling of dices. Very confusing. So tell me, Story games! What in Exalted speaks to you, in your human heart?

Jopel Kuresaare
Amsterdam, 02:56 20 July, 2009


  • edited July 2009
    You ask what are its themes? You ask what in Exalted speaks to me, in my human heart?

    To me, the themes of Exalted are unimaginable power - the world (nay, the entirety of existence) is saved or destroyed on your actions. Also the chance of corruption - you are a mighty being always on the edge of sliding into madness, decadence, or other dangerous behavior. It is a game of the outcast - you are the top dog, the shining sun god, but you have no home and few friends; and many enemies.

    You shake the very world and are hounded from all sides by enemies who think you are the evil you purport to slay - and perhaps they are right.
  • As the author of the extremely fine game Brilliant Aura 1st Edition, I am shocked and appalled that you are the one writing the second edition to my game! Embedding Dream States?! Speaking to inner souls?! None of this is what Brilliant Aura is at its core! Brilliant Aura is about simple themes, not anything so full of faux-intellectualism as anything you cited above!

    No. Brilliant Aura is (was? how terrible a thought) about those who have power, what they do with it, and where the handling and use of this power leads them. It's also about the normal people involved with them and how they react to a world full of the powerful when they themselves have none.
  • The scale. It's fun to occasionally play anime-style huge sword wielding dudes who can accurately throw knives 1000 feet, kick down castle walls, and charm princes at the start of the game.

    I wish the game didn't focus as much, from there, on continuing advancement, but whatever; it's there.

    Some people have apparently mentioned that the world of Exalted "has a setting", however, I have never used any of it in any of the campaigns I ran.
  • Joel,
    I have played and Ran Exalted many times. Here is some of what I like about it:
    1) The promise of power. OK, the setting robs you of this, right off the get-go, but that promise is there.
    2) Moral ambiguity. I do not like this IRL. But in a game of competing factions, it is brilliant. Nearly every faction has been betrayed by nearly every other faction. No one in all of Creation can honestly say, they are in the right. That they hold the moral high ground. Solars are supposed to be the heroes, but the Solar deliberative was a fascist regime that artificially elevated the Solars above all others.
    3) Kitchen Sink, the trick of Exalted is, you don't know what game you will get until it is well underway. They threw every conceivable idea they could think up into this setting. From intricate political intrigue to mechs!
    4) An honest attempt to portray how all of this power affects mortals. I do not know if they succeeded but, you can see where the designers earnestly tried to show how having demi-gods wielding vast power has had a real impact on the daily lives of the disenfranchised.
    5) A different feel. The different types of Exalted really do feel and play differently, I think this is brilliant and really inspires me to try all the Exalted types out!
    6) Reality is a mechanic, Unlike a lot of other games, characters in Exalted can, if they want, literally change reality. This is something that is both brilliant and terrifying. So far, none of my groups have ventured to try this, but I think it will be awezsome when they do.

    Well, that's a lot, but I hope it goes a good way to answering your question.
    Dave M
  • Thank you all. I knew I could depend on the crowd of the Stories Games culture (so-called). You are truly a breed apart of geekdom!

    Alexander, your words are proud and bold. Assuredly, this is the stuff of True Resonance and would that the misbegotten designer of the First Edition had drunk from that same well.

    Andy, your words confirm my suspicion, of the juvenilism of this Power Fantasy. I suppose, though, there is a lesson there if I am to pander and design for the crowd of gamers who actually play to have fun. A poignant dilemma!

    Dave, you have obviously thought long and hard on this packaging of themes. I am only sad that you have had to thus labor to extract the nectar of Truth from such a rambling mess of a game, without the guiding light of a genuine auteur to coalesce these elements into a brilliant whole. Fear not--I Jopel Kuresaare, will deliver you!

    Thank you all once again for your help.

    Jopel. Kuresaare

    PS. Stephen, Stephen, Stephen. I almost pity you in your infantile state of design sophistication. I wish I could apologize to you for wresting this work from your clumsy hands, but I cannot. Brilliant Aura is a mistreated lover which needs the supple touch of a master, to coax it into its true culmination of bliss. Take heart, my friend, for your simplistic themes are the start of genius, but I will be the end of it.

    Perhaps one day you will yourself journey through that Dark American Protofascist Valley into the true light at the other end. Until then, good day.
  • This whole thread has me hankering to play Exhalted with the Dying Earth rules for some reason.

    And that combination is swiftly becoming Liquid Win in my mind! (Turjan-or-higher level characters whose petty bickering ruins the lives of those they purport to lead...)
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