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Return of the Scarlet Empress and Under the Rose

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I just came back from Free RPG day at my FLGS where I picked up Under the Rose, a 30-page adventure. It purports to be the sequel/companion of Return of the Scarlet Empress, which apparently isn't out yet.

Both of these books deal with an optional version of the end of the 2nd Age, in which the Empress' return heralds a new Realm civil war and the Yozi invasion of Creation.

Return of the Scarlet Empress (disclaimer, I haven't seen it) is apparently a longer book that includes stats for the Empress and details about what she's up to, which include spoilers below.

Under the Rose is a mission for Solars, but probably within the abilities of any non-Terrestrial Exalted, to break into/infiltrate the Imperial Manse, turn off the Realm Defense Grid, and rescue Tepet Ejava/Roseblack who is inside of it, because some green-eyed guy you can't remember very clearly told you she's the last hope to prevent the Realm falling into the hands of the Yozis. Most of it is a fairly detailed description of the Imperial Manse, its deathtraps, its demonic and robot guards, and its cosmic weaponry, with some brief hints about what the Empress is doing to it. There are also stats for the signature Solar circle, each 230 experience points beyond where they were in Scroll of Exalts, and two Solar charms: Thunder Breaks the Clouds and Spreading Night's Shroud.

SPOILERS BELOW! For the optional metaplot in Under the Rose.

[color =000000]*The Empress has a bunch of demons busy remodeling the outside of the Imperial manse, rearranging its geomantic properties, and upgrading it into some kind of even more powerful and thoroughly Yozi-corrupted doomsday weapon. All the dragon lines in the Realm have already been corrupted.

[color = "000000"]*The Roseblack became the Shogun for 5 days, but then the Empress put her under a mind-control spell. If you rescue her without killing thousands of Dragon-Bloods, you can convince her that Anathema aren't really evil after all.

[color =000000]*The Empress killed Chejop Kejak and all the other Siderials. They're all dead (except any Siderial PCs, of course).

*The Empress blew up Thorns. It's gone. Blam.

[color = "000000"]*Mnemon is still trying to take over the Blessed Isle.

SPOILERS ABOVE!

Anyone know how to change text color?

Edited by Erinye

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You have just made me the happiest person by posting this..I didnt even know this was coming out let alone even existed..I wish it was a pdf so i could get a copy x.x

I think my brain just like died from its awesomeness.

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Ah yes, Under the Rose! Apparently they're using it as a teaser for the Return of the Scarlet Empress book due out this summer. IIRC, this takes place in one of the scenarios featured in the book, which more than hints at having several options of running the Empress' return. Sounds similar to the first edition Alchemical book's presentation of the Locust Crusade, with several options depending on your style of play.

With a little research, I was able to pull up some other info on the book, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone. :D

As for this little published adventure, it'll hit PDF soon enough, then everyone will be clamoring for the crunchiness contained within. Also, keep your eyes on the Ink Monkeys blog, since there were supposed to be more than just two new charms - one for each Solar.

I'll have to ask Vampirerevenant if this is the adventure she playtested with the writers to make sure it was balanced before publication...

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Glad it makes you happy, Joslyn!

Free RPG Day was a whole day of free adventure hand-outs and local GMs running them at the FLGS, similary to Free Comic Book Day, except that nobody ran the Exalted! I was the sad. But I played Legend of the 5 Rings for the first time instead, and that was fun. I picked up L5R's Legacy of Disaster and nice people who didn't play those respective games gave me Under the Rose and some Warhammer adventure, which I gave away to a Warhammer fan who arrived too late to receive anything. That's all I picked up -- I turned down the free D&D adventure, because I don't like that game. But that's just fine because Exalted and L5R were really the only hand-outs I came for, and free stuff is usually good. :)

Now if only there was a way to spoiler tag things, then I could fix my first post, and Sahajiya could post more spoilers... but I really shouldn't spoil any more for myself. Some day I'd love to play this, so I deliberately skipped parts of it when I read it. But here's some images:

http://wiki.white-wolf.com/exalted/index.php?title=Return_of_the_Scarlet_Empress

http://www.amazon.com/Exalted-Return-Scarlet-Empress-White/dp/1588463915

Under the Rose has a cover which features the foreground with Empress and Roseblack in color from Return, on the background of Compass of Celestial Directions: Blessed Isle.

Edited by Erinye

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I'll have to ask Vampirerevenant if this is the adventure she playtested with the writers to make sure it was balanced before publication...

It is...>.> It definitely is. And the Thunder Breaks the Clouds charm is hilarity incarnate.

(Hi, everyone! *slinks off to the shadows, hissing at the light*)

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Just a heads up the pdf is now on Drivethrurpg and its free :)

Must say it was everything i expected and then some, has me all excited for RotSE..Here hoping that it comes out pretty soon.

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Just a heads up the pdf is now on Drivethrurpg and its free :)

Must say it was everything i expected and then some, has me all excited for RotSE..Here hoping that it comes out pretty soon.

Projected release date for RotSE is sometime in August. That's a best guess from people more knowledgeable in these things than me. :)

Also, Erinye, there's an option to change text color in the toolbar next to Fonts and Sizes, but I don't think you can use it in Fast Reply. As an example, all of this text is in black, to better blend into the standard SnE background color. The only problem would be if someone is using a background that isn't black. :)

Edited by Sahajiya

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When I reply I am only ever given the quick reply option. I never receive any option to do color, size, italic, bold, etc. And that's using the regular skin. On the lo-fi skin, I get nothing.

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I just clicked on the Fast Reply section of the thread, and it does bring up the same menu that is present when you click on the Add Reply button just above and to the right of the Fast Reply field (directly under where it says ← Previous Topic | Exalted | Next Topic → ). The top bar of the menu that appears says "Other styles," "Fonts" and "Sizes," then has what looks like an upper-case A with a paint brush. That's where you can do text colors. :)

If it's not appearing for you, there may be an issue with your browser not having permission to display certain web features, at which point I can only suggest switching to a new browser or tweaking the settings of your current one. Someone more internet-savvy than me will have to speak to that point, however, I just know what pops up when I use Firefox. :D

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There are some positives. The information on the Imperial Manse is awesome. With a little retooling, it could be used in ANY game that uses it as a setting. The brief and somewhat subtle explanation of how the Empress lived so long is kind of funny, if you like Str 10 behemoths who aren't allowed to hurt anyone. The two Charms in the back of the book (printed to make the adventure, as printed, viable) are really awesome.

Unfortunately, there are more negatives than positives.

For starters, the particular metaplot of this story takes away from any players who want to go save Thorns. Personally, I would have created another location that could have been like a second Thorns and blown it up. You'd have the same dramatic result without boning the players. A Terrestrial Akuma took out every Sidereal. I know, Terrestrials gain Exp at a stupid rate that would make any of them that lived more than a few years more powerful than any Celestial, but that's easily fixed by giving ALL Exalted the same annual exp. I'm sorry, one Terrestrial Akuma, even if she's the bride of Fra--the Ebon Dragon, shouldn't be THAT powerful. So yes, now in any continuing games, Sidereal Exalted are not applicable. Gee, thanks, White-Wolf, for setting up a scenario like that!

The idea of the Roseblack suggesting that the characters teleport with her to Lookshy struck Me as odd, if she's not trying to kill the Solars. Lookshy, upon having a Circle of Anathema and a self-proclaimed Shogun from the Realm teleporting in to their city would attack with everything that they could. I've never thought that the Roseblack was supposed to be a moron. If she beat Mnemon in the civil war, then she sure as hell wasn't! Of course, a book full of major metaplot like this means the same thing that 1e Alchemicals did.

They're ending the gameline and about to throw Third Edition Exalted at us. Before people get excited, let's see what this really means.

1. Only Solars and mortals will be available as PCs, and we've only recently got the full package of playable options.

2. Nothing from 2nd ed will be able to easily convert without a bunch of damned homebrew rules.

3. There are literally TONS of things that could be done with the setting, from additional Dreams of the First Age releases, to a Shogunate era setting and releases for that, to Caste Books 2nd ed style for all Exalted types, to further adventure packs, and more. Everything that we see in the books is really a toolkit to which to build and add. Sadly, White-Wolf are historically not that imaginative. Their "best ideas" are always setting-crushing metaplot that strips too much from the players.

I would dearly love for a White-Wolf employee in the know who is being completely honest (don't misread, I am NOT accusing them of being liars) to get on here and tell Me that I'm wrong, and that problem number 3 is not happening. I'm not unreasonable. I could live with 3, IF 2nd ed was made intentionally convertible into the rules set, and we don't have to go through 9/10ths of an addition for all of the player types to be playable. I'm really tired of, "okay, it's all out, but you don't have time to really use it to any extent before we swap". I'd even be okay with (even if not particularly fond of) 1 and 2, if 3 wasn't happening.

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To be fair, we're only getting one small piece of the RotSE scenario (and, if rumors are to be believed, only one piece of one possible scenario), with enough backstory to set up the start of this game and no more. Really, you can't go into the minute details of what happened and why in a small quickstart booklet like that. There could be some perfectly rational (and/ or extraordinary) explanations as to why certain things happened/ are happening, but we're not going to find out until August.

As for the fear of Exalted 3rd, it's unlikely but not impossible. I got excited about the Alchemicals book in first edition, and I had players jonesing for it, but no one wants to play the old edition when new rules come out. That ended the game right quick. And considering I JUST STARTED a new Exalted game, I'm not thrilled about the prospect - however remote - of a new edition coming out in a year or two. I may just throw in the towel at that point.

But let's not go doomsaying all over the place just yet. After all, RotSE isn't even out yet. Let's see what they have advertised in the book before we start sharpening the pitchforks.

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To be fair, we're only getting one small piece of the RotSE scenario (and, if rumors are to be believed, only one piece of one possible scenario), with enough backstory to set up the start of this game and no more. Really, you can't go into the minute details of what happened and why in a small quickstart booklet like that. There could be some perfectly rational (and/ or extraordinary) explanations as to why certain things happened/ are happening, but we're not going to find out until August.

As for the fear of Exalted 3rd, it's unlikely but not impossible. I got excited about the Alchemicals book in first edition, and I had players jonesing for it, but no one wants to play the old edition when new rules come out. That ended the game right quick. And considering I JUST STARTED a new Exalted game, I'm not thrilled about the prospect - however remote - of a new edition coming out in a year or two. I may just throw in the towel at that point.

But let's not go doomsaying all over the place just yet. After all, RotSE isn't even out yet. Let's see what they have advertised in the book before we start sharpening the pitchforks.

Under the Rose was less designed as a snippet of Return of the Empress item and more as a quick start Con item. It took some of the possibilities thrown at people from Return of the Empress and ran with some to be used as a quick adventure someone can demo Exalted with. Stuff like the manse info,etc are extra goodies on top of that.

The New Ebon Dragon and general Yozis charms in RotE..very cool stuff.

Edited by SiderealEX

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Damnit, to the lucky bastards who got a copy of RotSE early.. The charms for the ED look amazing, and I'm excited as all hell to finally know for sure what aspect the empress was originally. Though cant say i'm to surprised at what it was.

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I'm iffy about the whole book. It's something to run when you're ending a campaign. Otherwise it doesn't serve much purpose other than to make Me dread that 2nd ed is getting scrapped so that we can all go buy a 3rd edition.

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I'm iffy about the whole book. It's something to run when you're ending a campaign. Otherwise it doesn't serve much purpose other than to make Me dread that 2nd ed is getting scrapped so that we can all go buy a 3rd edition.

I kinda agree with you on that point, but at the same time as a long time fan of exalted I'm most interested in the fluff and story then anything. Rather or not I actually play it will be left to whether or not it looks worth the time to put an end to the game like that. It would feel to me like something that could only be played through once without feeling predictiable. But I havent read the book, nor gotten a copy. x.x

I am thinking its the end of 2nd ed. I'm only somewhat interested in a 3rd ed, if it is indeed the end. But I really dont know what route the game would take at that point I mean without reading RotSE I cant say where they could be taking the game after it.

I'm curious though and thats the only reason I'm giving it a shot LOL

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hm I'm disappointed. :( I got a copy of RotSE today..been reading it and well honesty it feels..like a huge let down and thats just from the initial skim through/reading what jumped out at me. I'm going to read the entire thing over the next couple of days today i just have a killer headache and cant focus worth shit.

While I'm finding some of the fluff interesting, its exactly as I thought it would be.The end. And thats how it feels the whole time i'm reading which makes it hard to enjoy.

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3. There are literally TONS of things that could be done with the setting, from additional Dreams of the First Age releases, to a Shogunate era setting and releases for that, to Caste Books 2nd ed style for all Exalted types, to further adventure packs, and more. Everything that we see in the books is really a toolkit to which to build and add. Sadly, White-Wolf are historically not that imaginative. Their "best ideas" are always setting-crushing metaplot that strips too much from the players.

If this is true, then it's really a great shame. White Wolf creates utterly awesome settings, but there are so many suppliments they could publish that they never do. I know that every publication needs to actually sell and make some kind of profit, but a toolkit-style RPG isn't impossible: even with a smaller budget than what White Wolf has, GURPS is almost all toolkit, by design. With a single, detailed setting such as Exalted, making an interchangeable, well-oiled toolkit should be easier than building a generic system, not harder. Caste books are the sort of thing that might work as pdf-only releases even if they aren't economically feasible as physical books anymore. Shogunate and more First Age would just be awesome, almost on principle.

I truly hope this does not signal the end of Exalted or even the end of 2nd edition, but it is sounding similar to the Time of Judgement books that brought the WoD to an end.

I hope it's not. I love Exalted, it rocks, and I have never had the chance to play it. I don't want it to go out of print before I ever get that chance, like the WoD did.

Edited by Erinye

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If this is true, then it's really a great shame. White Wolf creates utterly awesome settings, but there are so many suppliments they could publish that they never do. I know that every publication needs to actually sell and make some kind of profit, but a toolkit-style RPG isn't impossible: even with a smaller budget than what White Wolf has, GURPS is almost all toolkit, by design. With a single, detailed setting such as Exalted, making an interchangeable, well-oiled toolkit should be easier than building a generic system, not harder. Caste books are the sort of thing that might work as pdf-only releases even if they aren't economically feasible as physical books anymore. Shogunate and more First Age would just be awesome, almost on principle.

I truly hope this does not signal the end of Exalted or even the end of 2nd edition, but it is sounding similar to the Time of Judgement books that brought the WoD to an end.

I hope it's not. I love Exalted, it rocks, and I have never had the chance to play it. I don't want it to go out of print before I ever get that chance, like the WoD did.

Compiled physical copies of some material is going to come out if memory serves. Like a compiled Glories of the Might High. In addition a three part pdf of the Direction Book for Autuchthonia will be coming out. As well as more love from the Ink Monkeys in the forms of massive Sidereal errata, Dawn caste fixes and other Solar fixes, a ton of Lunar love expanding on their charm themes, Abyssal love as well as a large Infernals update that looks to include the Lintha charm set, the Kimbery charmset, and more Infernal charms.

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I have to happily, to some degree, eat crow. First of all, Holden flat out said that there are no designs, at present, to do a 3rd Edition of Exalted. That doesn't rule it out, but this is *not* a precursor to Exalted 3.0.0.1. In fact, between now and July, 2011, there will be three Compass of Celestial Direction books that focus on Autochthonia. There's also an Exalted SAS in the works, with the possibility of more. What White-Wolf is doing, and if I understood right, this is with ALL systems, is that after 2011, they are only doing PDF's and are done printing solid books (I imagine that such a thing will reverse when the economy gets back to normal, if it does). It seems that White-Wolf actually thought of the same bit of common sense that I did (shocking), that they have a very viable product line with plenty of room to release other material within it. The problem is, however, the overall viability of printed RPG books, hence why they are phasing them out in favour of PDF-only material. If I understood right, this is NOT just with Exalted. I may be wrong on that part, however.

I have points that I like and dislike. The scenarios really pigeonhole the Infernals to the point that all of the Green Sun Princes are dedicated to the Reclamation. If this were right after they all Exalted, I could almost buy that. Given that they have the most potential to tell their "masters" to piss off, and given their mindsets, I think that it's a bit of a stretch. I think that you'd have a FEW (no more than 3) who feel regret for what they are and try to take the side of the gods. You'd have a good number (maybe around 10) who are just apathetic and don't give a damn. There would be a number who realize the kind of power that they can have, who would each prefer to carve out their own kingdoms in Creation (probably a significant number, say, maybe 15), and the Yozis be damned! Of the remaining Green Sun Princes who stay loyal to the Yozis, I would think that many could see the Reclamation as a good intent but a useless way by which to go about attaining their goal of freedom and revenge, in which case, they would thwart the Reclamation in the name of better serving the Yozis.

From there, pretty much, if you're not a Green Sun Prince or a Solar, you just suck. Abyssals are unable to do harm to the Ebon Dragon? Really? Okay, so they lack Holy (although some ST's, Myself included, allow those with Unconquered Hero's Faith to access Holy - but not without a remaining weakness to it, they are still Creatures of Darkness), but that doesn't make them weaklings. In fact, they can have another of the Ebon Dragon's greatest weaknesses, virtue.

Overall, it wasn't a great potential endgame scenario, but it wasn't terrible, either. I do like the aspect of flexibility within it, and that everything is presented as a "could be" and not a "will be". It explains what would happen if the Unconquered Sun were to be killed and how that might very well happen. It also has some neat expansions with regards to the Ebon Dragon's Charms (among some other Yozis). It still has ideas, without which I could not build off to go in the directions that I would prefer to take them. Overall, I'm still undecided as to where I rate this book. I want to read it through a few more times.

If this is true, then it's really a great shame. White Wolf creates utterly awesome settings, but there are so many suppliments they could publish that they never do. I know that every publication needs to actually sell and make some kind of profit, but a toolkit-style RPG isn't impossible: even with a smaller budget than what White Wolf has, GURPS is almost all toolkit, by design. With a single, detailed setting such as Exalted, making an interchangeable, well-oiled toolkit should be easier than building a generic system, not harder. Caste books are the sort of thing that might work as pdf-only releases even if they aren't economically feasible as physical books anymore. Shogunate and more First Age would just be awesome, almost on principle.

I truly hope this does not signal the end of Exalted or even the end of 2nd edition, but it is sounding similar to the Time of Judgement books that brought the WoD to an end.

I hope it's not. I love Exalted, it rocks, and I have never had the chance to play it. I don't want it to go out of print before I ever get that chance, like the WoD did.

If by "similar to the Time of Judgment books", yes. If you include the ending the series part, then no. It's not written as a definitive end to the series. It's a very particular possible ending, which in of itself is presented with a multitude of variables, of which all of them don't begin to point at the real number of such potential ends. As I said before, this is not the end of the books. More are coming out, although there is still some question about the format of their releases.

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Good to hear there are no plans to end the line or 2nd edition, though the plan to end all paper books, even for large publications, really bums me out. I can't stand pdf ebooks. But if that's really the only possible way they can continue publishing Exalted, it's better than ending it.

Edited by Erinye

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Curator

All I'm going to say is its a shame they can't do Exalted 3rd ed; I appreciate it would be a massive drag, discommode people a lot, bloody expensive for everyone involved...

... But I might get a ruleset that works roughly as I want without bolting on the whole universe to a still at root flawed situation from it. So... yeah. Screw you guys, give me my fully working Exalted! :P

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Donor

They aren't phasing out paper books entirely (Print on Demand is currently being investigated for best product for value, etc) but standard print as the default is being phased out.

This kind of saddens me, but if going to PoD means better bound and printed books, I will happily cough up the extra to avoid having to go through another series of books falling apart from being looked at, after mere months.

That said, there are no plans to do a 3rd edition right now, because they are still fixing the system as it stands. Let's face it, we all hate feeling that our books are redundant when a new edition comes out, though the new edition is supposedly meant to fix what is wrong with the books. Where as the errata system we have now is very strongly fixing the mechanics, adding lots of depth and building a stronger framework for the future. Say 4 or 5 years from now, WW will look at a 3rd edition to simplify and bring the amazing second edition revised awesome to the world. It is my hope that by then the lessens of the first two editions will be internalized and 3rd will reinvent the system again, but better.

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Curator

Starting with Perfect or Die I hope. Which is the one major flaw they haven't been allowed to touch in errata.

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Donor

Starting with Perfect or Die I hope. Which is the one major flaw they haven't been allowed to touch in errata.

That's the general hope, yeah.

Given the acuity and personas behind the writing now, one assumes they will (if given the chance) take steps to fix that huge flaw first.

it would be nice to see Martial Arts disassembled, and the styles given over to the various weapons they use, while retaining Brawl as the unarmed combat ability.

There are a large number of glaring errors that need rectifying, but it would be nice to have them accounted for in second before moving along:

This includes the much anticipated Sidereal, Lunar, Sorcery and Scroll of the Monk errata.

It also includes making Social Combat, and Mass Combat actually work.

Frankly, they have a long ways to go, with a lot of material they could cover before 3rd becomes a necessity. Still, in 5 years...then we'll see.

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Curator

The Sidereal errata is horrendously needed yes. I'm trying to design a Crimson Panopoly of Victory style for shits and giggles at the moment with the express intention of it fitting in nicely with the Shieldbearer caste abilities... and I'm constantly mocking myself for making something that depends on a reed that broken.

There's plenty to be done. But I'm impatient.

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