I’ve decided it’s high time I actually GM a game of Exalted. I’m nervous because I don’t feel like I’m the best at verbally communicating things or thinking on my feet, but gotta start somewhere I suppose. I set up and gathered 3 friends whom have never seen Exalted before, and tried to not make them run scared. It seemed to work reasonably well.
Character creation rules:
- All Splats (including Nocturnals!) are available for choice, except:
- Fae: Too difficult to properly balance for new players and new GM
- Abyssals: Man, I hate working with Abyssals.
- No Perfect attacks or defenses (Sidereals are exempt)
- No mass combat/mass scale just to keep things simplified.
- Free excellencies and Ox-Body techniques.
I ended up with a terrifyingly focused Solar Dawn, able to asplode heads nearby by just looking at them (not really, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he could literally do that soon.) A Raptor dinosaur beastman Nocturnal Nebula cast with a habit of scamming everyone and stealing their wallets, and an archer Chosen of Secrets Sidereal. I’ve given the beastman a commission token to carry Wyld drugs for House Cynis, so that should give him enough leeway to not be shot on sight.
The first session was one more of a way to gauge how the players acted, so there wasn’t a whole lot there. (I had also forgotten about the whole “GM screen” thing, so was constantly looking for reference notes and stuff. my mistake.) But I started off the Sidereal with a failed disguise roll–otherwise he would have been too well hidden to participate in the group.–but the group still thinks of him as just a weird heroic mortal archer, in a taver–I mean… “tea house” that was being assaulted by Blood Apes.
The Solar made quick work of them before the other two even had a chance to react. Nocturnal player was perfectly fine with this, stealing the coinpurses off the cowering mortals, but I could see the Sidereal player was none too pleased about not being able to act.
They quickly followed my breadcrumbs (need to make them less obvious and railroady) up the mountain to a desecrated shrine, where campaign antagonist was doing his thing. The antagonist is an Infernal Defiler, who is a literal sociopath–no care at all for other people, but otherwise not as horrible a villain as you can make. He just has an urge to rule the world and discover baleful secrets, then be left alone, you know? He’ll reason with you if its in his favor, and he has no particular urge to harm or harass the people he’s forcibly enslaving….
But the Solar managed to stab him, and I had to use his fleeing held sorcery action. (Custom spell: basically an anti-summon. You bind a demon to the spell, and then you kill it and its fleeing spirit takes you with it back to Malfeas. You still have to cross the sands, so 5 days to Hell, then another 5 days if you want to leave.)
The party thinks he will return to this village after those 10 days, and that’s where we left off. (He won’t. He doesn’t care about this village, he just needed to fulfill his urge to dominate for a bit.)
A short session, with very little actually gone on. As a GM, I need to:
- Make sure I have my GM screen and all the stats in one place for reference. Derp.
- Describe the scene with more imagery.
- Disguise and muddy up any breadcrumbs I have.
- Open up the world to explore more.
The Solar Dawn caste is way more terrifying than I thought. I knew he would be good in combat, but that Iron Whirlwind attack build….I need to seriously think on how to let him have fun, but not so that he murders everything he sees. Most likely will be making enemies out of melee range.
The Nocturnal Nebula doesn’t seem very interested in the game. I think he’s mostly there to spend time with his boyfriend, the Sidereal player. That’s perfectly fine, but I need to think of ways to make it so he can care and be involved too. (So he doesn’t get bored and ruin things to entertain himself.)
The Sidereal is a problem. He clearly doesn’t know how to use their charms to the extent they need to be in order for him to have fun. It’s not his fault, but I need to do something about it. I mean, he didn’t even take Efficient Secretary Technique or Yellow Path! I plan to:
- Tell him that Sidereals “Bend the rules until they mean something, but never break them.”
- Never thought I would have to tell a player that, and it feels wrong.
- As a balance to his natural disadvantage of not understanding the setting to break it, I’m going to give him access to a Sidereal Martial arts of his choice: the prerequisites and charms up to the Form charm. That’s going to probably hit me in the end, but it should be interesting.