So we managed to have our first game of Exalted this week, where our circle of new Solar Exalted have managed to drive off a pirate ship and its two(?) dragonbloods and find a mysterious island…

We have a wiki for our campaign, where we’re posting up character backgrounds and session logs and stuff – my friend Rudi is currently our scribe and is writing up our session logs quite a cool way, as if it’s a story.

So, here’s a post about my thoughts so far on Exalted and its system, as well as showing my speed-painted character too!

Sorcery is highly situational, but powerful

First things first: The five of us playing are completely new to the game system, and our storyteller (Jeff) is relatively new as well (he’s currently playing in a different campaign too).

Exalted works on a D10 system: roll however many D10s you get through attribute+ability that you’re using (so, dex+melee if you’re swinging a sword for example), 7+s count as 1 success with 10s counting as 2 successes.

With that in mind, here are my initial thoughts:

Combat resolution in Exalted is relatively slow – say, Inquisitor rather than Mordheim. With 10 steps for attack resolution (although a lot of the time you won’t need all 10, maybe 5 or 6 of the steps), each attack takes a while to resolve. Of course, since we’re all new and have to constantly look up stats and rules, that takes a lot of time – but even when we get better, I can forsee adding in charm effects and further on combos which slow it down as well.

That being said, combat itself is extremely fast – our whole entire session actually only covered less than a minute of game time (excluding trying to chase down the enemy ship at the end). With each tick equalling one second, and average action speed being about 5 ticks, it’s REALLY fast. My character’s actions literally consisted of:

  • join combat (4 ticks)
  • stumble out of his cabin (3 ticks)
  • prepare to cast spell (5 ticks)
  • cast spell on enemy ship which has just collided with us, then stumble back to cabin to get weapons (4 ticks)
  • get weapons (5 ticks)
  • stumble back out of cabin (2 ticks)
  • (attempt to) shoot enemy (5 ticks)
  • prepare to cast spell again (5 ticks)
  • cast spell on enemy ship again – which is now running away from us – and recover (6 ticks).

That was our whole entire encounter. 39 seconds, from start to finish.

Anyone who is an Exalted in… Exalted… is rather powerful, as long as they have motes to spend on boosting your attacks or defences. Mortals on the other hand – and especially Extras – die really really easily. Also, getting hit hurts unless you have heaps of soak (usually via armour) or charms that reduce the damage taken – with standard people only having 7 health levels, and ordinary swords doing 5ish dice worth before taking into account strength or accuracy of the hit…

I can’t judge social combat or anything else at this stage – since we’ve only had one session which consisted of 39 seconds of combat so far – but it looks like a good system – rolling more dice at a time seems to make it more “fun” than say D&D where you only ever roll a D20, yet the more realistic damage model makes it a bit more tense, as you can’t simply say “oh, I’ll eat the next attack, it’ll only take me to 57 HP”. Instead, you have to weigh up offence vs defence, as each attack reduces your defence by 1 and you can only use one charm an action, so you can’t use an offensive charm in the same action as a defensive one.

I think it will get better as we get more experienced with it, and spend less time looking up stuff or adding up dice. It’s a cautious yes from me so far – I’ll post updates as our campaign progresses.

It's a flame-throwing pistol-like device. Seriously.

Model-wise, I’ve (speed) painted up my character which I converted last weekend. Flat GW colours (Ice Blue vest, Astronomican Grey trousers, Adeptus Battlegrey jacket, and Elf Flesh, Bestial Brown, Boltgun Metal, Shining Gold for the relevant bits) and a quick wash of Devlan Mud and he was done! I have to get him varnished soon, before he starts chipping though.

Character-wise, he’s a sorceror-scholar, with lots of points in intelligence, lore, and occult, and not much in pretty much everything else. Which I found out to my detriment, meant he can’t keep his balance on a ship in a storm very well…

However, sorcery, although relatively slow (5 ticks to prepare, plus rejoining battle afterwards which can take up to 6 ticks), is comparatively powerful, at least against mortals. My one attack spell completely annihilates extras and at least severely wounds mortals (if not knocking them unconcious anyway) in a 10-yard radius, which proves very useful when you’re about to be boarded by an enemy vessel. On the downside, you’re pretty much defenceless during the preparation as well as the casting of the spell, as you can’t use charms during that time.

Anyway, it looks like it’ll be a good game and campaign so far – our next session is this Friday, but I’ll post updates randomly as notable events occur or I have something to talk about.

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