Last night was the first session of Doug’s Exalted game. I’ve played a lot of Exalted, but it was new to Doug, Jeff, and Pat.
The game last night consisted of an introductory combat. A couple of Dragonblooded on a giant, flaming bird attacked the airship we were riding. Jeff gives a rundown here.
Pat hadn’t actually given his PC any charms yet. We didn’t figure this out until about a third of the way through the game. He still held his own. I’d made Jeff’s character and it seemed to work out pretty well. He made excellent use of Monkey Leap Technique. I’d never played an archer in Exalted before, so I was having fun with that.
I was sort of relegated to running a combat tutorial, which was fine with me. I went through some of the more complicated things: flurries (aka multiple actions), piercing damage, coordinated attacks, and things like that. We didn’t really get into the stunt mechanics, despite the fact that everyone was doing things that qualified as stunts (Jeff jumped onto the back of the firebird to attack its rider, Pat was maneuvering tactically to find openings in his opponent’s defenses, I shot a guy in the face with my bow while standing on the edge of his shield)… but that’s OK. There was enough for them to learn.
One thing that this brought home is that Exalted is fiddly. It has a number of exceptions to the rules that are often legacies from earlier versions of the storyteller system. Some of these things can get confusing. For example, wound penalties apply to die pools. This has, pretty much, always been the case. Of course, Exalted PCs have some statistics (notably defense values) that are calculated as 1/2 your die pool. So, whereas you would normally subtract your wound penalty from whatever you are doing, you subtract one-half of it from your defense values. Awkward.
On the other hand, the system for initiative seemed to work more smoothly than I expected it would with this group. More importantly, everyone seemed pretty happy with the ludicrous kung fu that was going on…