Repurposing L5R's Twenty Questions to Exalted

For general talk about Exalted, its setting, mechanics and playing the game
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Aramithius
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I'm not sure if this is just Ex3, but it feels like Exalted is missing a framework to construct ideas of characters that really flesh them out. Yes, there's the intimacies system, but the book basically says "think up four" and leaves it at that.

Legend of the Five Rings, on the other hand, has a 20 questions to be answered as part of character creation. Granted quite a few are centred around game-specific concerns, but I think these can be adapted.

This is the list, with some of my initial thoughts on how to tweak the things that are system-specific. Would love to hear people's thoughts on how this could be adapted.

WHAT CLAN DOES YOUR CHARACTER BELONG TO? - Replace with Exalted-specific details, like Exalt type and caste
HOW WOULD OTHERS DESCRIBE YOUR CHARACTER’SAPPEARANCE?
IS YOUR CHARACTER A BUSHI, SHUGENJA, MONK, OR COURTIER? - Replace with either the profession or societal role they had pre-Exaltation, or "what's the character concept in a sentence". The second of those could make things a bit broad, however.
WHAT FAMILY DOES YOUR CHARACTER BELONG TO? - Maybe adapt, maybe not. I can see this being vital for DB games or places where characters are more sedentary, but not particularly relevant in more mobile games. Maybe replace with whtere they come from/who "their people" are or were more generally.
WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER’S MAIN MOTIVATION?
WHO IS THE PERSON YOUR CHARACTER TRUSTS MOST?
WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER’S GREATEST STRENGTH? GREATEST WEAKNESS?
WHAT DOES YOUR CHARACTER THINK OF BUSHIDO? - adjust to thoughts on the Immaculate Order or other dominant faith in the region where the chronicle is happening.
WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER’S OPINION OF HIS OWN CLAN? - maybe adapt to something about the process of Exaltation. Are they willing to accept everything that means? Will they work with other Exalted just because they're Exalted etc
IS YOUR CHARACTER MARRIED? - Not necessarily relevant, but worth considering or asking about family in general, as quite often characters seem to be created in a social/familial vacuum.
DOES YOUR CHARACTER HAVE ANY PREJUDICES? - Probably worth making more particular to each campaign's setting (eg attitudes towards the Realm, the people from the tribe in the next valley etc)
TO WHOM DOES YOUR CHARACTER OWE THE MOST LOYALTY?
WHAT ARE YOUR CHARACTER’S FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE THINGS?
DOES YOUR CHARACTER HAVE ANY RECURRING MANNERISMS?
WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER’S EMOTIONS? - A little more important in L5R because of masking etc, but having an idea of general dispositions is helpful.
HOW WOULD YOUR CHARACTER HANDLE A SUBORDINATE’S IMPROPER BEHAVIOR?
HOW WOULD YOUR CHARACTER’S PARENTS DESCRIBE HIM?
WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER’S HIGHEST AMBITION? - worth highlighting that this and main motivation need not be the same thing. Motivation is likely a general Principle, whereas ambition is achieving something, which is more specific
HOW RELIGIOUS IS YOUR CHARACTER?
IF YOU COULD, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR CHARACTER?

Would love to know people's thoughts on how suitable this is and/or what they'd adapt.
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Kittlefish
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The '20 questions' is an older and broader concept than just L5R, so there's ideas floating around out there. For a quick starter, here is a system - agnostic if somewhat unfocused list, and here is a discussion on building your own list.

I was in an Exalted group that used an Exalted-tailored 20 questions but left on less than friendly terms, but I'll see if I can recover the question list from old data.
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andrix
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I seem to remember previous versions of Exalted at being better at prompting some of these questions but I'm not sure if I'm just imagining it. I suspect this is the sort of thing that would have been culled for page count in 3e if it ever existed but possibly would have been better served getting included than some stuff.

An additional wrinkle for exalted is that I suspect whats worth including on these questions is going to be very different from splat to splat. A dragon blooded is going to have specific prompts such as what House they are (if any) and how they relate to the immaculate philosophy etc. Meanwhile an abyssal is going to be asked about how they died and who their liege is. There's a cool little exercise in potentially putting something together if someone wanted to do all 10+ splats
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I definitely agree that these questions would need to be more tailored. The setting for Exalted seems more broad than with L5R and the emphasis on a particular Exalt type or even broad game type would really change up what is being asked. Like in a DB game set in the Realm asking about your House if any super important. Lunar game set in the Northeast? Not so relevant. Instead another question perhaps more broadly about family could be worked in. Also if I were to want to use these in Exalted some of these questions would be good to tie in to systems. Like if you are asking about a characters emotions they tend to display that is prime opportunity for an Intimacy.
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This is something I've repeatedly tried to do, because I think the 20 Questions is an excellent way to get people into their character's minds, but I've never found a set that 'works' for Exalted. Sometimes it 's hard to get players to buy in or they can't answer specific questions and get frustrated. But I want to keep working on it because I think it is ideal.

I'm actually basically porting the idea into a Deviant; The Renegade game right now as well
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Embarrassingly I actually am working on a "20 Questions" post for the Tools and Resources section but for worldbuilding instead of characters, so I'm glad people seem OK with the format and don't think it's cliche  :D

As for why Exalted's not great at getting you to think about this stuff, I think it's because there's just so much background setting to think about, from geopolitics to metaphysics, that you can't really get across without a whole potted history of your part of the setting. And because the early books - Core especially - aren't laid out very well and heavily assume you know how this all works from previous editions, if you're coming in fresh you're left to rely on your ST to start the campaign with an "OK, here's how it works" spiel and then work it out with their players who/what they want to be from there.

Plus it's baked into Core that you're playing Solars who could come from anywhere and be anything, as opposed to a DB or a Lunar who's part of a much bigger cultural context (the Realm, the Pact etc) their characters would already know going in, and have more concise info on how being a DB/Lunar works to prompt them to think about it.
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Aramithius
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theshockmaster wrote: Thu Feb 03, 2022 4:00 pm Embarrassingly I actually am working on a "20 Questions" post for the Tools and Resources section but for worldbuilding instead of characters, so I'm glad people seem OK with the format and don't think it's cliche  :D
Awesome. I look forward to seeing it!

theshockmaster wrote: Thu Feb 03, 2022 4:00 pm As for why Exalted's not great at getting you to think about this stuff, I think it's because there's just so much background setting to think about, from geopolitics to metaphysics, that you can't really get across without a whole potted history of your part of the setting. And because the early books - Core especially - aren't laid out very well and heavily assume you know how this all works from previous editions, if you're coming in fresh you're left to rely on your ST to start the campaign with an "OK, here's how it works" spiel and then work it out with their players who/what they want to be from there.
That being the case, is it worth developing more than 20 questions for the template, and have a designated "use Section X for questions 12-20 if you're a Solar, Section Y for questions 12-20 if you're a Lunar" etc?
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theshockmaster
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Splitting it up by groups like that would certainly help, though I think it would end up varying wildly in terms of how many questions are needed for each. The Dragonbloods could end up having a lot more granularity than the others due to whether they're part of the Realm (and if so, what house?), one of the other powers like Prasad or the Forest Witches, or a lost egg. Lunars on the other hand would just need to know if they're part of the Pact and if so how much and which Dominion, and Solars not even that.

Careful wording might be able to get around that problem though, like making the questions more "Who do you answer to in your organization?" rather than "If you are in House Cathak, do you work for Greg Fireboi or Sarah Tsunami*" or whoever, otherwise it'd be hundreds of questions long!

*Hey, it's not any weirder than the actual Dynast naming convention!
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I now feel duty-bound to have an NPC called Greg Fireboi some day
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Ha! What does surprise me, rereading what I just wrote, is that "Sarah" is in fact a perfectly viable Dynast name. Consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel-consonant. I'm not sure if I should have a laugh about that with my players at tonight's game or just troll them by putting it in the game someday.
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On the Exalted Fancord a few years ago, I adapted these off the cuff. They're not tailored to any one character type in the setting, but they're fun things to think about.
1. What culture does your character belong to?
2. How would you describe your character's appearance?
3. What profession is your character engaged in, and how does it reflect their social station?
4. What kind of family or kinship group does your character belong to?
5. What is your character's most Defining Intimacy?
6. Who is the person your character trusts the most?
7. What is your character's greatest strength? Their biggest weakness?
8. What sort of social code or etiquette was your character raised with or which greatly influences their current situation? How do they feel about it?
9. What is your character's opinion of their culture?
10. Is your character married, or otherwise engaged in in some other kind of cultural union with another person or multiple people?
11. Does your character have any prejudices?
12. Who is your character most loyal to?
13. What are your character's favorite and least favorite things?
14. Does your character have any recurring mannerisms?
15. How does your character manage their emotions? Are there particular situations which draw out strong emotions from them?
16. How does your character handle being challenged by others?
17. How would your character's parents or primary caregivers describe them?
18. What is your character's highest ambition?
19. How religious is your character?
20. If you could, what advice would you give your character?
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