Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nifty

Take a gander at this frankly awesome cover of an upcoming supplement to White Wolf's game of anime-inspired ass-kicking, Exalted. Yes, you heard right: I think it's awesome.

I have no interest in playing Exalted (though I did in the past and in fact contributed to two supplements for its first edition -- shocking!), but I can nevertheless appreciate this loving nod to the greatest RPG cover ever made. It's extremely well done and, in some ways, a terrific primer on the inadequacy of being able to "hum the tune" without also "knowing the words." To its credit, Exalted is unambiguous about its new school-ness, which is why I still have a fondness for it, despite its being mechanically and esthetically far removed from my own interests and preferences.

25 comments:

  1. James,
    can you define the new schoolness of the Exhalted?

    Are you talking about dificulty checks and skill system, absence of adventure maps and keyed encounters, or something else?

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  2. Actually much more simple: Exalted explicitly defines itself as a "storytelling" game.

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  3. I think I will have to buy this book simply by its virtue of having such an awesome cover. I only own the first edition core book of Exalted and the Storyteller's Companion for same, but I unequivocally love the art for both editions.

    So much so, in fact, that I hired one of those artists to do work for my own RPG, Eiridia.

    --

    As for Exalted being of the new school of RPG philosophy, that is most definitely the case. One of James M.'s Commandments of the Old School, as I have come to ascertain, is that old school is far less dependent on Story and Plot as it is on 'freeform crunch,' which is to say, an emphasis on overcoming obstacles.

    As a wise gentleman once said, a good game is "a series of interesting choices." The old school adheres more literally to that philosophy, I think.

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  4. Thanks for the heads up!
    I will have to get a copy of that game eventually. Sounds like it may have useful elements to add to my play!

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  5. That is an awesome cover, no matter my feelings for Exalted..

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  6. If Exalted's art back in 2001-02 had been less manga-ish and more like this, I might have actually gotten on the bandwagon... An awesome cover indeed, but too little too late!

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  7. Cool cover!

    Exalted isn't ambiguous about it's new schoolness, though. It's like an "anti-old school" primer. Blech.

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  8. Interesting that they opened up the archway behind the statue, revealing what-looks-like vistas from the City of Brass to me....

    Allan.

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  9. That is absolutely extraordinary. Yesterday I would have said that pretty much any attempt to use the Trampier PHB cover in this way would be doomed to failure. Like the awful WotC one they did with 4e. But this ... jeez, it's literally as good, although in a different way. Who's the artist??

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  10. "Five anime cosplayers sack tekno-idol with help from Ernest Borgnine."

    Your interpretation may vary :)

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  11. What badmike said, and then some. The eggs-salted mission statement is that Tolkien based fantasy sucks, starting up from the bottom and raising your character up sucks, and so forth.

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  12. (Grodog) If I recall, the PHB cover was a wrap-around piece and the back cover had the window out to the city on it. THis just kinda combines both images into one (very admirable) view.

    VerWord: enisioes -- a failed line of groat-ring breakfast cereal

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  13. I agree with Grodog, that there is the City of Brass. Paying double homage to the PHB and DMG.

    Surprised so many people like it. I can't get into that style at all. I much prefer the Hackmaster PHB.

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  14. Love the comments.

    Just goes to show that the old school crowd is childish as ever.

    "If it's diferent...shoot it."

    Way to be mature, gents.

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  15. Way to let your own prejudices or prior experiences totally distort your ability to objectively evaluate the current discussion.

    I see a whole lot more positive comments than negative in this thread.

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  16. Odd, I think the game totally blows, but I praised the cover. Negative comments seemed aimed at the game itself rather than the cover. Do people even read the comments?

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  17. Heh. I know the artist who drew that; he sent me the pic to look at the other day. I was one of two people who got the reference.

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  18. Regardless of whther you like Exalted, storytelling games, anime and so forth, I've found it a heartwarming tribute to our beloved game. So, I salute the artist, and the art director who approved this cover, for showing Old School art some love.

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  19. What supplement is it for? I can't seem to find any info on what the book's about.

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  20. Scroll of Exalted is the most likely book that this will be the cover of as it is in redlining now according to the WW LJ. I'm assuming within we will get stats for some of the Exalted featured in all the previous supplements.

    If you don't know the game: each type of Exalted is in the painting: Solar, Dragon Blooded, Alchemical, Sidereal, Infernal and Abyssal. Yet, where is the Lunar? I'm guessing that's the corpse on the altar...

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  21. That's an amazing tribute! I would love to have posters of the original and this one.

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  22. Wow, I'd seen this cover a while back and I really dug it, though I didn't realize that it was a tribute. Thanks for tipping me off. I'm one of the rare few readers of yours who actually likes Exalted, and I agree with your assessment, it's not old school in any way. Hell, White Wolf claims it's the first fantasy RPG that isn't Tolkeen based, and I've not found anything to discredit that claim, so that alone throws them out of the old school category by miles.

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  23. Exalted isn't remotely old school in gaming terms, but I think it's probably more interested in pulp fantasy than most of any school.

    Until recently, I shared an office with the guy who develops it. We talked a lot about Tanith Lee, Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber, and especially Clark Ashton Smith as they relate to Exalted.

    Of course, we also talked a lot about classic D&D. I think you can be different from D&D and still in love with it, very much the way you can be a metal guitarist and still love the blues.

    I saw that cover when the sketches came in. Love it to death.

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