Review – The Broken-Winged CraneNovember 12, 2010
It’s been several minutes since I last declared my undying love for the Infernals, and White Wolf has produced yet another product to guarantee my love will continue to be undying. The Broken-Winged Crane is the latest PDF-only product disgorged by the Exalted line, and let me assure you, it is the finest five dollars you will ever spend on Exalted material. I purchased it the moment it was available on Wednesday, and I haven’t stopped reading it since.
The book itself is mostly mechanics: the opening chapter has a description of the Broken-Winged Crane, a blasphemous tome of Infernal prophecy within the game world itself, but the majority of the contents are crunch. This is not a bad thing, nor do these delectable tidbits lack in their own fluffy flavor. This product contains more material within its limited pages than I could have ever imagined.
First, we have long-awaited Infernal hearthstones. The Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals promised they would be in The Compass of Celestial Directions: Malfeas, while the Compass promised they would be in the Manual. Needless to say, we’ve been looking forward to these for some time, and they don’t disappoint.
However, in my opinion, the REAL treasure of The Broken-Winged Crane is the Infernal Charms. Each of the five Reclamation Yozis gets a little time in the sun, so to speak. Further, one of the conspirators (Kimbery, the Sea that Marched against the Flame) is finally given a basic charmset, which we are assured will continue to receive expansion as the Ink Monkeys are available to produce them. Given her themes as aquatic monster, smothering mother, and self-made martyr, I have no doubt that her Charms will fit neatly with the rest of the Infernals.
The best part is probably the new Heretical Charms. These Charms use a base of prerequisites from two or more Yozis to form entirely new Charms, Charms the Yozis themselves cannot learn or duplicate. While The Return of the Scarlet Empress gave us the path of Infernal transcendence into a Yozi by duplicating their parent’s Charms, The Broken-Winged Crane gives us an entirely new method of transhumanist evolution, permitting the Infernals to use these Heretical Charms to become something completely unique, neither a Yozi nor a Primordial, but something more. This includes designing new Charms and themes for your own character, rather than being shackled to an existing Yozi’s themes.
All-in-all, this is a fantastic product, and if I could somehow rate it higher than a perfect 10/10, I would. Even the art, though entirely recycled, fits the book perfectly, as it has been given new tints and tinges of color and style that fit the evolving Infernals to a T. If you play Exalted, buy this book. It is a resource that gives tremendous insight into the metaphysics of the Infernal Exalted, and opens entirely new vistas of imagination for their players.