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Masters of Jade $10.99 $8.24
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Masters of Jade
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Masters of Jade
Publisher: White Wolf
by Chris L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2012 13:57:45
If this is any indication of the shape of things to come, then Exalted might actually be showing signs of moving towards being a game accessible to new fans once again. Exalted has had a rocky history, and despite being a huge fan of the game from its earliest days I think it's fair to say that the game has catered to it's audience more and more without really trying to reach out to new players. You really have to proselytize the game to entice new players, and all too often the focus is on the extreme, dinosaurs in fighter jets cliche that cropped up midstream through 2nd Edition. Plenty of people love that about Exalted, and read jokes like that as a positive "you can do anything!" statement, but there's always been a significant audience who is turned off by the kind of absurdity that all too often became the norm in fan circles.

Masters of Jade is not that kind of book, though it has value for the die-hards like me who will buy anything published for the line these days. In terms of talented, passionate writers Exalted has never been in a better place than it is right now. I'm not sure any White Wolf game ever has, going back to its 90's heyday. What they've laid out in Masters of Jade is much more than just a guidebook for integrating the Guild as an interesting, useful and mechanically supported actor within your games. I might be imagining it, but what I see between the lines is a return to a world without boundaries. Exalted has become a well-mapped sandbox, and most of us who follow or play the game are well acquainted with all of the toys. What this book does so well is question our assumptions that we already know everything about Exalted there is to know. Trust me, we don't.

On virtually every page, there are mysteries and hints of things we've never heard of before. For someone like me who has become rather accustomed to a well explained setting with no new secrets, these aren't just plot hooks. They're reminders that Exalted used to be a world without limits, before we knew precisely how many Exalts there were, precisely when, where and why the gods of Yu Shan did everything from make the grass grow to the sun shine, or the secret identities and agendas of every NPC. It's a reminder that there are still places on the map that can rightly be labeled "here there be dragons", and it does it without discarding what's come before. It just expects more from its audience than a bunch of Pavlov's dogs slavering at the site of warmed over concepts we've all heard before.

That's my philosophical reasoning for why any Exalted fan, or even seeker of curiosities, should buy this book. It makes the world exciting again. Other people here will no doubt write exceptionally good reviews of the bureaucracy system found in its Appendix, which in any other game line would rightfully be a marquee chapter of its own. It's light, extremely flexible, and probably the best large-scale rules addition since the introduction of Overdrive mechanics by many of the same authors when they operated under the Ink Monkeys banner. I won't rehash the details here, except to say that it's worth a purchase by itself. What you'll get in addition are four chapters brimming with more creativity than any release since Scavenger Sons, back when Creation was new.

The wonder is back, and the future of this game is very bright indeed.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masters of Jade
Publisher: White Wolf
by shawn w. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2012 12:57:37
I won't get overly wordy. I'll just say that this book is one of the few absolute must haves for any Exalted game. The guild is such a major part of the setting and the book written so incredibly well that it would be a disservice to any fan and their game to not own this book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masters of Jade
Publisher: White Wolf
by Jesse C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2012 12:51:07
For a very long time, since First Edition, Exalted has lacked a comprehensive, cohesive financial system, abstracting the mechanics of purchases through the Resources background and leaving large portions of the resultant bargaining to GM discretion. This has been frustrating to some players, especially since Bureaucracy is one of the Abilities on the character sheet. Without a functional Bureaucracy system, many players found the acquisition of wealth or the domination of mercantile empires to be an unsatisfying endeavor fraught with handwavium. Moreover, one of the major economic organizations in Creation, the Guild, has had little to no description, leaving it a toothless spectre of a threat, a faceless antagonist without much real punch.

All that has changed with the release of Masters of Jade, the latest release in the Exalted line. Ostensibly (and functionally) a sourcebook detailing the Guild from the lowest slave to the highest hierarch, it additionally provides a new system for representing organizational interactions. Produced by the Ink Monkeys we fans have come to know and love, the book is a full and imaginative look at the world of Exalted through the lens of a Creation-spanning organization dedicated to financial domination.

From a personal standpoint, this book is a masterpiece, a shining victory. Fans have long been clamoring for a system for Bureaucracy that makes the Eclipse caste a useful entity outside their anima power. Not only does this book deliver in spades, with a new system that interacts well with the existing Solar Bureaucracy Charms, it also uses that system to model large-scale military actions (using War), social actions (finally giving Socialize something to do), and criminal organizations (making Larceny useful outside the immediate, personal arena). It gives a system for detailing the specifics of a world-spanning organization from top to bottom, including subsidiary organizations, as well as starting businesses and an economic model for competition and assimilation.

All this is in addition to the frankly breathtaking detail given to the Guild and its policies, activities, mindset, and allies. Long have fans wondered how a mortal organization (and make no mistake, the Guild is predominantly run by mortals who remain free of supernatural influence) can exist in the face of the existence of the Exalted, and Masters of Jade delivers with broad strokes and pinpoint accuracy in equal measure. It gives an amazing toolbox to the GM to offer competition and challenge to players who wish to compete with the Guild, as well as detailing out the articulate and imposingly Byzantine structure that prevents supernatural beings from simply waltzing in and taking over. If that weren’t enough, the plot hooks fall like fruit from this book, with nearly every paragraph suggesting some amazing new bit of the world never seen before. And all of that is in addition to the hints of things to come, including a new type of Exalt.

All in all, this book is a must have for anyone who wishes to utilize some of the more decrepit Abilities on the character sheet. It is a fantastic read, pleasant from cover to cover, and it fleshes out the mechanics and setting in ways I would never have imagined possible. Five stars, two thumbs up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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