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Karma Folds (Sorcerer Exalted)

September 13, 2011

I’ve been playing my Sorcerer Exalted game on Google Plus with a couple of friends. We closed up our first scenario, and it went well despite the rough edges.

Social Context

We’re all late 20’s to early 30’s, and have gamed together here and there, usually about a year or two at a time, but due to geography, haven’t been able to for a few years now.

Les and Dave both have played an Exalted campaign or two – none of us are totally stuck on setting canon, which is good, because I’m only really familiar with the Solar Exalted core book and the rest of the stuff I never got into.

We all share a strong common background in movies/anime/videogames we’ve seen/played, so it forms a good common reference set.

Color & Inspiration

The setting of Exalted is a fantasy Asia, somewhere between Hero, Ninja Resurrection and older Final Fantasy games. This game started in the city of Bei Long, a city built around a massive library.

The look of magic is anime- Solar Exalted use powers and glow with an anima banner of power, fast fighting, people get slammed around, and nearly all magic has some kind of overt energy blast kind of thing going on. The demons are all the past lives of the Exalted, usually appearing in dreams, flashbacks or momentary hallucinations.

The Sorcerers

Kwan is a young paper artist of 19. His family was killed during the great Machine Rampage a decade ago, and he was taken in by Master Mei, and trained in the arts. (Her daughters were killed in the same accident).

Stamina 5 (Laborer, Ascetic lifestyle)
Will 3 (Natural Exuberance)
Lore 2 (Memories of a Past Life)

Covers (Papermaster 5, Twilight Caste 3)
Price: Infamous – the sole survivor of the Machine Rampage -1 to all human interactions.

Demon: (his past life) Han Fei, the Geomancer (power 9). A sorcerer obsessed with creating life, sentient life, just to see if it could be done.

Hui Jin is a civic engineer in his early 30’s, whose ingenious machines and alchemy has produced numerous projects over the years. His greatest failure, though, is the automated mill that became possessed and began the Machine Rampage, forcing him to seal it in alchemical salt.

Stamina 4 (simply healthy)
Will 5 (driven, believer in destiny)
Lore 1 (Hapless fool)

Cover: Alchemist & Engineer 5, Night Caste 4

Price: Overconfident -1 to first die roll of any scene

Demon: (past life) Lao Jie the Breathstealer (power 9). An alchemist seeking immortality… by alchemizing his own blood into different substances.

Play

As I mentioned before, the game started out rough between technical issues and me poorly prepping, but it ended well.

Important background stuff: two of Han Fei’s creations Tan and Kai-ti, sentient beings made of paper, had been looking for his new incarnation and came into town 10 years ago.

Tan had been despondent, and attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself into the new automated paper mill (made by Hui Jin), which then went berserk with his rage and despair. The people he killed, were turned into paper, and their souls sealed in along with him when Hui Jin tossed a Contain on the whole affair.

Now: the Imperials have sent troops to “rectify” the library as well as find the “paper which can contain souls” as their divination had indicated.

Some highlights:

– A ghost trapped in paper, coming back to frame Kwan for murder
– Hui Jin using crazy alchemy to gas Imperial troops into unconsciousness by throwing chemicals into various lanterns in the area.
– Kwan freeing the city god and vowing to find all of the wayward “children” he created in the past life
– Mei, Kwan’s master, thanking him for finding vengeance against the man she believes responsible for her daughters’ deaths, but letting him know they would be enemies if they met again.

System Observations

Voice chat makes online gaming actually playable for me. That said, I still found having to use a dice roller a bit clunky and tried to avoid doing the multiple rolls whenever possible (“Roll cover to get bonus dice to make a primary roll”). That may disappear with some practice.

The 90 minute sessions work fine. I found it’s short enough people don’t get distracted on the computer, which is a constant danger with online play.

There was a lot more swinginess to the dice than I expected. I saw more than a few rolls where someone came out with 5-7 successes (!). I’m hoping that’s just how it is, and not some wackiness on the part of the dice roller.

For Sorcerer, everything hinges on Humanity checks/gains, which hinges upon your Kickers and relationships. In this game, it’s about making/restoring relationships – Kwan had several to use – ghost dad, his adopted mother/teacher, his two paper golem “children”. Hui Jin didn’t have any and that became a problem for engaging the character, and the player played cautious as well. Hopefully I can get over that next session.

Humanity to stat gains: It was really interesting- Hui Jin got all the stat raises, while Kwan didn’t get any- even though Kwan had all the Humanity gains throughout play.

We’re excited to do some more, and next go around I’m going to push for stronger Kickers and prep from that.

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