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Shards of the Exalted Dream $17.99
Average Rating:4.8 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Shards of the Exalted Dream
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Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Will B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/26/2012 13:22:07
Despite my unending love for the writers of this game, I had low expectations for this book. I bought it to support the game line, but I did not anticipate using any of this material for my games.

What was I thinking?

This book blew my mind. I spent the entire first day devouring every word of it. It hooked me from the first paragraph and I couldn't put it down. By the end of the day I had 3 new series ideas and it has sparked weeks worth of planning and plotting for a space opera game (my favorite of the proposed settings). Burn Legend is an amazing side-system for the martial artist enthusiast in me, and the Modern setting is just spot on. I loved all the added and refined mechanics in the appendix and it's sparked the creative drive within me for writing all over again.

I highly highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys GMing in Exalted, as it's a brilliant series of takes on the setting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jan S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2012 15:02:57
Going through loops to prove that this book is probably one of the best, if not the best supplement to Exalted 2ed is quite pointless, because the overwheliming excellence of it has already been proved enough by previous reviewers. While it is certainly not the most groundbreaking supplement, its quality - not only in fluff, but in crunch as well, which is (or was) something very rare in 2ed - shows what the current writing team is capable of - and fills me with hope that upcoming 3ed will finally fulfill all the many promises Exalted has made as a system.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Adam M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/30/2012 22:19:14
We've been waiting for this for a while. Space Opera Exalted? Modern Setting? COOL!

Of course, that's just half the scenarios we got, and we were left kind of boggling at the other half. But let's go step-by-step.

Gunstar Autochthonia: What if the Exalted _lost_? One of the core assumptions of the setting is overturned, and the fallout makes for a radically different game. The Sun himself has turned on his Chosen, Luna has fled with Gaia into space--yes, outer space--but the original Exalted types (Solar, Lunar, Sidereal, and Terrestrial) have escaped in the world-body of the Great Maker, accompanied by his Alchemical Exalted. One of the writers for the chapter cited Gurren Lagann as an influence, which I can see. Most other people cite Battlestar Galactica (practically given props in the title of the Shard), which I haven't seen and thus can't comment. But if a setting with Terrestrial fighter pilots and Lunar Exalted wearing the skins of interstellar behemoths doing battle with the armies of the Primordials sounds cool? Here you go.

Also, this chapter has a complete Infernal charmset for Theion, the Primordial king. If you wondered what Malfeas was like (or at least COULD have been like; the writers have gone on record that this isn't the definitive Time of Glory version of Malfeas OR Creation) once upon a time, the difference is...drastic.

Heaven's Reach: Our Space Opera. Whereas Gunstar Autochthonia set itself in a single world travelling across star-systems and centuries, the setting of Heaven's Reach is much, much broader. Once again, there is an empire straddling much of the known worlds. But rather than the Terrestrial Exalted ruling, His Divine Lunar Presence instead has taken the throne. A setting full of sufficiently-advanced science (in which the Yozis are planet-sized supercomputers and the Great Celestial Mountain--analogous to the Heavenly city of Yu-Shan--is a sort of intergalactic internet with the capacity for physical entry) makes for an interesting and well-thought-out setting, but out of the three detailed, this was ultimately the one to grab me the least.

Burn Legend: Did I just say three? But aren't there four shards?

Yes there are, but one of them is pretty much an entirely new game with a few trappings thrown in. This isn't to be wholly dismissive of this chapter; I have yet to give Burn Legend a spin, but it looks like a straightforward, simple system to learn. Aside from the most cursory elements, Burn Legend is all mechanics; it's Exalted: the Street Fighter RPG. Character types have trappings and oblique references to the extant Exalt types, but that's about it, and the system is so different from the standard that it has its own character sheet. It's very simple, and it doesn't try to be anything more; barring personal tests I'm inclined to say it succeeds at its goal.

Modern Age: In an alternative timeline, the Incarnae made the world, only to be assaulted by the wicked Yozis. In Creation's defense, the Exalted of the Sun and the Stars took arms against their attackers. Some among the Solar Exalted took on the powers of their enemies, only to turn on their fellows at the last second and claim the world for their own.

Fast forward centuries later. The Lunar Exalted were created, but arrived far too late to do any good, having fallen in servitude to the Infernal Exalted who now rule the world. Said world, despite being a plane floating in the sea of chaos, also has space, stars, planetary bodies, etc. It also has television, cars, planes, and all the accouterments of modern living.

Underneath the surface, though, the world isn't all sunshine and laughter. In some ways the world feels more like the World of Darkness that informed Exalted's development rather than Creation itself. The result is still _interesting_, though--see Ledaal Kes re-imagined as a suave James Bond-esque super-spy, and Panther's origin not as a pit fighter, but as something straight out of the movie Galaxy Quest--and with the Solar Exalted returning, the Terrestrial Exalted being a new development, and the Alchemical Exalted with a wholly new origin...the world is far from doomed.

Ultimately, this is the setting that grabbed my attention the most. It's fun, interesting, and the shout-outs to the standard Creation are scattered throughout.

Appendix: Let's face it. In space-age and modern settings, your characters may need to know how to drive, how to use a gun, and how to use a computer. And all of the above are here. There's also a couple other things: a way to handle Alchemicals in a world where they don't have vats to swap out charms; an alternative system for Abyssal Resonance which omits the elements of slavery and servitude while playing up the nature of the Abyssal as a killer; there's also a system for Sidereal Astrology which is greatly streamlined. It's no longer as powerful, but it's much less convoluted than the standard system.

******

All in all, this was a fun book. It explored several different takes on the game, did so well, and was worth every penny. My only real regret is a lack of art inside the cover, but it sounds like this is something endemic to the PoD format.

I'll deal, for things like this.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Brian R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2012 14:45:25
Wonderful product. Invaluable to those looking for ways to expand the scope of Exalted beyond what has been previously made available. The writing is excellent, and the different Shards lend themselves to wildly different interpretations of Exalted. This book is essential for the Exalted enthusiast looking to inject new life into the game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2012 13:51:16
Quite possibly one of the best Exalted supplements I've ever read, and an excellent sendoff to the game's second edition. The alternate settings are pretty good, and all of them feel new and fresh. The mechanics hew to the high standard of the recent Scroll of Errata and the Glories of the Most High supplements, and bring at long last official support for "modern" Exalted (my first Exalted Modern campaign was in 2004 or thereabouts).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by ryan p. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2012 12:27:47
Shards of the Exalted Dream is more than just the Mirrors book for Exalted. Unlike its sister book, Shards doesn't just give you the keys to do whatever you want to there system. Because they already did that with Mirrors. Shards is like getting 4 new cars that those keys can start. It makes Exalted the best Action Adventure RPG ever again.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Adam E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2012 20:32:30
PHYSICAL PRODUCT: The book is a little shoddy, but this seems to be the new normal for the POD (softcover, btw). The book is not full bleed, which is annoying. Paper feels cheap and lacks weight.

RATING: 2 stars.

GUNSTAR AUTOCHTHON: Awesome. Pure. Awesome.

Theion is a terrible name for the primordial, however. I am willing to believe this was an accidental naming and not a slam on Christian dogmatics. If it wasn't an accident, we get it White Wolf! We get it, you don't really like Christian dogmatics...

Other than that, very cool. Tyrant Star was awesome. The whole Battlestar Galactica feel was neat.

RATING: 4 stars.

HEAVEN'S REACH: Surprisingly bland. It's... ok, but no great shakes. The vehicles are hilariously slow. The starship guns would require you to be so close that you'd ram the person in the next second at realistic speeds. Basically, it showed its homework and its homework got a C-.

RATING: 2 stars.

BURN LEGEND: Cool system but... well... out of place. Not useful to general Exalted or even to an Exalted shard. This is a different game that is really cool, but borderline useless here.

RATING: 3 stars (would be 4 if it had a better treatment).

EXALTED MODERN: Very cool reinterpretation of the setting. Interesting takes on the story. Evocative use of the Exalted. Thoughtful, insightful take on things. Easily tied with Gunstar Autochthon for best part of this book.

RATING: 4 stars.

APPENDIX: Mixture of useful Charms and weapons & vehicles that are horribly statted. Mixed bag of some things useful and others not.

RATING 3 stars.

OVERALL: With Exalted 3rd edition on the way, the only two parts of this book that are worth it are Gunstar Authchton and Exalted Modern. Both of which may be rendered somewhat useless with the release of Exalted.

I would not buy until Exalted 3E, then I'd re-evaluate whether or not it's worth it.

OVERALL RATING: 3 Stars.

Better than Masters of Jade by a lot.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Todd V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/22/2012 20:22:24
Four detailed alternate settings for Exalted, including one that uses a greatly simplified and completely new martial arts-based combat engine. Support for modern and futuristic technology out of place in Exalted's usual fantasy setting. Rules hacks to simplify Sidereal astrology and moderate the effects of Abyssal Resonance. Charms for the King of the Primordials before his fetich death.

I'll say more, but chances are you can decide whether to buy this book on that paragraph alone. This is something of a niche product, and if you came to Exalted for its unique and detailed setting, you might not be interested. (Although Gunstar Autochthonia, the first of the alternate settings, hews fairly close to the tone of Exalted's standard setting, if high on the magitech action.) If you want to divert from the standard setting, Shards might be what you need.

Gunstar Autochthonia is the standout surprise from the book, an alternate history where the Exalted Host lost the Primordial War. A militarized microcosm of the First Age now plays out within the fleeing body of Autochthon, while enduring sabotage attacks from Infernal forces and mysterious intervention from an Abyssal third party. This is easily the setting that feels the most Exalted out of the four, though it won't appeal to those looking for lower-scale swords and sorcery tales.

Heaven's Reach is a space opera where humanity's advanced technology is the origin of both the Exalted cores and the Stellar Intelligences who were defeated and rendered into Tomb-Stars and Yozis, where Solar Exalted rise in frontier worlds on the edge of the hegemonic Central Empire ruled by His Divine Lunar Presence. It left me cold; it felt like an exercise in transferring, renaming and reskinning the various elements of Exalted into a science-fiction milieu in the most prosaic ways. Others' mileage may vary.

Burn Legend is the freshest material in the book, a setting that diverges massively from standard Exalted. For one, it happens on Earth. For a second, the various "Exalted" aren't the chosen of the gods, but martial artists who've honed ki power from spiritual lineages, dark pacts, lifelong training in secret arts, or sheer determination. That might sound like a turn-off, but I greatly enjoyed the very different feel of the Exalted in this setting, who feel much more flexible and versatile narratively. Burn Legend uses a completely different system from standard Exalted, a David Sirlin-esque mindgame of emergent complexity where numbers come into play, but the most essential element of battle is predicting your opponent's technique and choosing a counter move to shut it down. I found Burn Legend's system to be a fun diversion appropriate for one-shots and short arcs, but while the system is easy to learn, the mindgame is taxing enough that longer campaigns might prove exhausting. That may not be too much of a problem, as Burn Legend is also the least detailed setting of the four, with fewer grand setting mysteries or wide-spanning hooks to hang an entire campaign on.

The Modern Age took time for me to warm to, but I follow it enough. It's essentially a spy thriller where Solars and Alchemicals new to the world are on the run from a world-spanning conspiracy of the Exalted Host. The setting resembles Earth more than it does Creation, despite using names like Meruvia and An-Teng, but there are some nice touches, like a less immediate and more transcendent view of the nature of the Yozis. It could have done a better job of conveying the thriller atmosphere it means to present, but it's a solid enough setting to run in. I expect that most people looking for a Modern Exalted will swipe the Drive and Firearms rules from the appendix and mostly run things in Earth instead, though.

Players of regular Exalted games looking for rules hacks alone probably shouldn't look to this book, as hacks that could be implemented in the standard Exalted setting are few. What is there is good; simplified Sidereal astrology is not only easier to run but more thematically appropriate, and the Doom of the Black Exaltation, while hewing a bit too close to being a Limit Break painted black, is a more playable level of curse for Abyssal players. The Charms of the King of the Primordials could also fit into a standard Exalted game if some appropriate plot device were employed, for Infernal fans. The chase rules presented aren't setting-specific, though I found them more complicated than they needed to be. Unless you want guns in your game, that's about it. But I know people like their guns.

Overall, more of this book is good than not, and some of it is excellent. The question is whether the reader is looking for it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Philippe S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/21/2012 20:23:06
I won't go into too much detail, since the excellence of this product has been explained many times already in these reviews.

But there's one thing I want to say, and that's that I found Burn Legend truly inspiring. It's a beautiful piece of game design, and after reading it I want to write my own versions of it for social and economic battles.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Samantha R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/20/2012 10:50:11
Exalted is very much outside of the mould for many games, and was something of a breath of fresh air after DnD and WoD. Its got its problems, as every game has, but ultimately its a lot of fun.

However, this release is a shoddy attempt to twist a unique setting into Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Street Fighter and Shadowrun and is essentially a waste of money - GMs can do this on their own without a book to help them out.

Perhaps focus on something the fans have actually been asking for - a Shogunate book, something to actually explain the Immaculate Philosophy, a real fix to Sidereal charms...I can think of many other things fans would rather have access to and spend their money on.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Blair S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/18/2012 20:07:15
Four brilliant visions of the themes of Exalted, written with the keen eye for mechanics and cleverly-used established concepts that we've come to expect from the current writers for the line. The most engrossed in a roleplaying book I've been in a long time.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Ethan M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/18/2012 16:27:14
This is fantastic. As an Exalted player from the earliest days of the first edition, I can honestly say I love this supplement, and it brings all sorts of the best things that made up its roots into a new context. From the very first listing of inspirations (which included Final Fantasy 7, obviously) it was clear Exalted is a fresh, creative and unique take on the genres it borrows from, completely unique into itself even as it bows deference to its source dreams.

I am barely into the second scenario, and already I have story after story burgeoning out of my imagination. Reinventions of my old characters, new ideas for the unique updated shards; even some of the subtler elements of the setting giving me thoughts on campaign elements I'd like to run and play.

But honestly one of the things I like best is savouring the subtle aromas of pop culture that flow through what I am reading. Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Warhammer 40k, 2001, and more, all sorts of incredibly cool concepts built around the turn of a coin and the angles of possibility that come with rooting origins in myth and legend. Beautiful work and I tip my hat to the creators.

Looking foward to using this, and the arrival of my actual hardcover book; if you like exalted, and even if you don't, this book is an awesome buy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Andrew L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/18/2012 14:27:42
YOU THERE. You. Reading this review.

Yes, you.

Yes, exactly you, personally, no one else.

You're presumably an Exalted fan, or at least want to learn some of what all the fuss is about.

Here's the thing. Remember how, in the core book, and the descriptions, Exalted promised high-wire fantasy, wuxia, and anime combat?

Remember how the execution and mechanics were... Kinda... Flawed, in that regard?

They got it right.

And it's in here.

It's called Burn Legend, and when you can all sit around chompin' popcorn while you teach fools the art of the combination attack, everyone does something every round (less chaotic than it sounds), which, combined with an emergent complexity rather than an emergent simplicity means that, in the end:

-- Combat takes less time overall (or, if it doesn't (23+'rounds' on one occasion), it sure FEELS like it takes less time.)
-- Unexpected upsets happen, and happen fairly often ("AND IT'S THE WALNUT-CRACKING FINGER HOLD! THIS COULD BE THE END!")
-- It's just generally a lot more fun to tool around in and get into a scrap.

Add in setting information, actual gun statblocks that make a certain degree of sense, and some of the most optimistic writing I've ever seen out of White Wolf (See also: Heaven's Reach), and I think it is well worth the cost of admission.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jesse C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/18/2012 09:05:03
With a wealth of new, alternative settings for Exalted, as well as simplified Astrology rules, chase rules, firearms, cars, new Charms, new Primordials... it's an excellent product, truly on par with the high quality of work I've come to expect from this team. While certainly not a must-have, it has elements that can easily be added to any existing campaign, and would enrich any setting, whether or not it utilizes the new settings presented. A+, as usual.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Earlen F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/17/2012 05:17:57
How can I not love something that gives me the rules for giant magical chainsaw swords?

In seriousness, Shards of the Exalted Dream is a fantastic piece of writing in which the authors' love of the game blazes forth like a, uh, totemic anima banner? From the amazing Gunstar setting to Burn Legend's not-so-subtle lifting of almost every major fighting game technique, the various settings presented in the book manage to take a setting that was already about everything and the kitchen sink and reimagine in ways that I couldn't have expected or hoped to have conceived of on my own. As I read each chapter, my only thoughts were on how to work each new bit of awesome into the game I'm running. I wanted to run a game of Sidereal secret agents. I wanted to host an elementally themed kungfu tournament. I wanted to watch my players dogfight the Sun in Veritech fighters. I wanted to captain a tramp freighter just trying to make a living on the fringes of the Central Empire.

If there was only one other book aside from the corebook that I could own, it would be Shards. It showcases that you can make your Exalted game do anything, be anything, so long as you aren't afraid to dream big. The British SAS says that "who dares, wins" and with Shards, the Exalted game line has won big.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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