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Sanity's Edge
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You all meet at a tavern... And it's filled with ninjas!

14 Mar 2011, 12:34

I'm a newbie story teller and could really use some advice for an upcoming, four player campaign. The characters I have to work with are...

Sseleman, a Fiend and Black Claw Stylist, he uses Cecelyne's wish granting charms to spearhead his cult (a cult which consists mostly of his personal harem and eunuch bodyguards). When he was a mortal he tried to shelter a Solar only to have his whole village destroyed when a Wyld Hunt attacked, he blames the death of his friends and family upon the Solar and now has the power to seek revenge. While he subconsciously wants to replace the people he's lost and has an overinflated need to be loved/appreciated his stated motivation is to rid the world of oppression.

Firebrand, a Phoenix Totem Lunar, Bandit King and Righteous Devil Stylist. He grew up in a tribe that had been forced to steal out of sheer necessity so he doesn't really see anything wrong with theft. Despite Exalting he chose to stay with the tribe out of a sense of duty and shaped them up into an intimidating and expanding empire of bandits. His motivation is to become the greatest thief in all Creation, largely so that he can bring honour, pride and glory to his people. Firebrand and Ossio formed an alliance as part of their backstories.

Ossio, an Air Aspect and rogue Dynast. Ossio is a Sky Pirate who's main strengths are money, manpower, weapons and connections. A member of House Tepet he grew up disillusioned by the low expectations that were being heaped on him. Eventually he fled and tried to completely remake his life, his lead him to join a pirate crew where his eventual Exaltation elevated him far above the rest of the crew and soon enough secured his place as Captain. Having gained an outsider's perspective of the Empire he sees it as corrupt and unjust, his motivation is to change the Scarlet Empire so that the power is in the people's hands (though how much of this is just trying to prove himself is uncertain).

And finally an as of yet unnamed Scourge. He comes from a clan of powerful assassins who are encouraged to kill each other to become head of the clan. The rationale is partly social darwinism but it also forces each member of the clan to become intimately familiar with assassination techniques and how they're prevented. Not only that but if you're raised to see even your own family as things to be killed for your own profit then you'd have no qualms about doing the same to strangers. His motivation is to usurp his father as the head of his clan, even if it means systematically killing his siblings.

As you can see there's a lot of plot hooks here and consistent themes of power, weakness, oppression, authority and rebellion. I have lots of ideas for stories that I can get from all of this, I've even got a starting adventure/location in mind. But there's one simple yet necessary thing that's got me stumped. How do I get them to all meet up and agree to work together for the length of a campaign?

How do you usually get a circle together in Exalted and what would you recommend for these guys in particular?
 
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Re: You all meet at a tavern... And it's filled with ninjas!

14 Mar 2011, 15:01

lets see, you've got

1) a fiend with a cult/harem+goons. Wants to get rid of oppresion.

2) a lunar with a tribe/gang of thieves. wants to be the biggest thief.

3) DB sky pirate (so he has an airship?) + crew. change the scarlet empire

4) scourge assassin (who might gain control of his family of assasins) Get control of family

thats four players with their own crew

to bring them together I, as a fellow ST, usually see two options:

1) simply tell your players to figure out a way to get along. there is nothing more annoying that players constantly killing each other

2) find out some way to link up their motivations.

the second one is usually the better, as it gives the players an actually good reason to work together. the DB and the fiend seems to be an obvious match. the lunar could join in for the loot (as the DB and fiend will have no shortage of wealthy targets) - but that leaves the scourge.

the scourge, imo, does not appear to have much of an epic motivation. gainging control of his family? well, the dude has exalted - it should take about a day's work to kill off the head of the family. have the player for the character ready a new and slightly more awesome motivation (like being the worlds greatest assasin?) to reflect what his character wants to do, once he's head of the family.
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Re: You all meet at a tavern... And it's filled with ninjas!

16 Mar 2011, 07:23

Did all your characters make their characters privatly before bringing them to the table?

It's usually better to come up with a 'group concept' before anyone makes their characters. Even though Exalted rarely meet before, they need some kind of common goal in order to risk their lives together. A few example group concepts that work in Exalted are:
- Shared goal: They all are in the same place for the same reason (more or less), and its natural for them to group up. They still need to work out how their personalities mesh.
- 'I know you...' : The characters knew each other in past lives, and were the best of friends. Fate conspired to have them meet, and they remember each other. Have fun coming up with 3000 year old memories that tie them together.
- Friend-of-a-friend: Better for Dragon-Blooded, where everyone is a school mate, or family member, or battle companion from a Wyld Hunt. Basically they all knew each other from one way or another, linking everyone like a chain (but not like a keyring, if you know what I mean).
- Under the same flag: Like 'shared goal' but more about hierarchy. Some superior being has them all place in the same team for a task. Works good for Abyssals with the same Deathlord, or Infernals with the same Yozi. Then they don't have to like each other, they're forced to carry out orders. Works better if they -do- like each other, unless your players like character-to-character social conflict. Also works with Lunars if they are all in the same society of the Silver Pact. Same with Sidereals of certain Factions or Conventions. For Solars, this is harder, but possible if they all were saved by the Cult of the Illuminated.
- War friends: One of my favorites. A major conflict in the past (like a war) had them all meet one way or another, and they have already saved each other's lives more than once. This means they should already be used to risking their lives for each other. They don't need to be 'friends' but they know they can trust the other, because of this shared experience in the past conflict.

So, in the situation like this when you didn't make a group concept first, you need to come up with one after, which is harder. You need to have an open discussion with your players to answer the question "Why are we helping each others?"
Let them know that this is essential to make the group work, and it may be necessary to alter backstories to make characters more inclined to work together.

In the end, do NOT have them meet in-game. They should already have this established backstory where they all met and decided to work together before your first session, as it reduces the risk of no one getting along, or contrived forced friendships, where they only work together because the players know that those characters are PCs.

If you need them to meet in game, you need to have everyone on board with a pre-planned way for people to meet and make nice with each other. That's a little more "fake" since it'd be scripted, but if it's better for your plot that way, then I hope your players would be in to that.

Does that help? Is there any other concerns you have about this kind of thing?
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