Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: Exalted 3rd Edition from Onyx Path Publishing

Exalted is a game I've followed and had a keen interest in since it's 1st Edition from White Wolf. It's art direction combined with pushing the Storyteller System to it's limits really grabbed me, in the past. However, in 1st Edition, I was looking for lighter games and while I enjoyed 2nd Edition, after processing it, I knew I would need the books in print AND PDF and that was a deal breaker, at the time.

I'm please to say that Exalted 3rd Edition from Onyx Path takes everything that I loved about Exalted in the past and cranks it all up a notch. The art direction has evolved, and I find the book beautifully laid out, with some amazing illustrations. And while they have diverge from their earlier aesthetic, I applaud the direction they have chosen and I find it to be a breath of fresh air.

Creation is still here and the Solars still fill their niche there.

Much of the system is as I remember it, and the PDF was a godsend for helping me keep track of things as I relearned it.

Exalted 3E boasts "cinematic combat", something I've seen other games boast, so I was a bit dubious at first. But the design team nailed it in such a simple, yet creative way.

When in combat, there are withering and decisive attacks. 

Withering attacks are the strike/parry/thrust/parry/riposte that we see so often in melee battles on film. They are the ebb and flow of the fight and when a blow lands it affects the attacker and defender's Initiative. In essence it's like gaining momentum by pushing your foe up a staircase, causing them to fall, or finding an opening.

Decisive attacks are the blows that maim or kill your opponent, the death strike. You actually use your initiative as dice to make a decisive attack, which does cause your foe wounds and if it doesn't finish the fight, your initiative is reset and the battle continues.

I won't lie, the first time I read through it, I was a bit taken aback. I sat there perplexed because I was thinking in terms of traditional initiative in other RPGs. But then I thought of Luke and Vader battling on Cloud City and it all clicked.  It really made me want to run this game.

If you love Exalted there is no reason not to buy this game. If you are interested in Exalted and like Big Damn Heroes and over-the-top cinematic action, there is no reason not to buy this game.

In fact you should just buy this game. It lives up to it's roots, maintains it's familiar and fun d10 dice pool system, which has been given a face lift by a company and design team that truly loves it.

The PDF is available here.

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