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Third Ed Exalted Combat is Awesome!

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  • Third Ed Exalted Combat is Awesome!

    So for the first time on Saturday I played in a game of Solars with a seriously combat hamstringed party. The first session of a new campaign where out of our perfect circle one was a complete pacifist and one was somebody who really doesn't like fighting. I was the MA supernal dawn who had three dex, zero dots of MA and one for of brawl/melee, we also had a twilight thrown with two combat charms and a night martial artist with just the excellency, although otherwise pretty optimized.

    We fought a group of six beastmen barbarians and it was fuckingn great. I got smacked backwards into the ox-cart by a bear man only to run back up to the guy, bear hug him, and then next turn full on decisive suplex him. The combat went on for like four or five rounds so I actually had time to activate Increasing Strength Exercise without missing out on the fight, one of the NPCs got their three round crash reset, we used gambits, positioning, and teamwork. The system worked great with everyone clashing into the fray, working strategically around the combat, and making for a high energy fun ride.

    My original concept was a dawn who only knew brawling and melee but wanted to find a more gentle way to deal with foes because his great strength was only matched by his great compassion, but now I'm really glad it's going to take 4 in game months to even start learning crane style. I don't want to go back to a fight starting and then I counter everyone in the first round of combat and then we win.

    So partially I wanted to say thank you to the developers for designing a really fun system that's awesome and does exactly what I would want out of an exalted combat, even if the power of Solar charms really ruins it almost all the time, and also to say I'm even more excited for DBs and Liminals and stuff who I hope can keep this kind of fun energy and cinematic style without intentionally gutting your own character as a fighter.
    Last edited by DrLoveMonkey; 03-14-2017, 12:44 PM.

  • #2
    We had something like that with a spearman in an enclosed area fighting a bandit-dude.
    And then something similarly awesome but playing on the overpowering of a fighter exalt against something else less fighty.

    Exalted 3e combat is awesome

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    • #3
      The pedantic in me wants to ask how you have a MA supernal with no dots in MA, which is strictly forbidden by the written rules, and pretty harshly against the spirit of the rules... but honestly I'm just glad someone else is having as much fun with the system as my group is.

      Our party of 3 has no one (including the Dawn) with a dex of more than 3 and it's made every combat much more interesting. Hell, our first combat was us 3 Solars against 1 DB Earth Immaculate (straight from the back of the book) and he was HARD to kill. That was FUN. There was real threat from him!

      So by and large I just agree with your statements and I'm glad to see you guys having fun.


      I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
      I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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      • #4
        Originally posted by The Unsung Hero View Post
        The pedantic in me wants to ask how you have a MA supernal with no dots in MA, which is strictly forbidden by the written rules, and pretty harshly against the spirit of the rules... but honestly I'm just glad someone else is having as much fun with the system as my group is.

        Our party of 3 has no one (including the Dawn) with a dex of more than 3 and it's made every combat much more interesting. Hell, our first combat was us 3 Solars against 1 DB Earth Immaculate (straight from the back of the book) and he was HARD to kill. That was FUN. There was real threat from him!

        So by and large I just agree with your statements and I'm glad to see you guys having fun.
        Yeah I got a special exception because my idea was I wanted to start from knowing nothing, finding a master of crane style and learning from them from the very begining.

        The thing with the beastmen fight is that it wasn't even hard, there was basically a 0% chance any of us were going to be seriously injured or killed, but it actually had some back and forth, we got hit with withering attacks, some enemies took more than one decisive to bring down because we couldn't just quadruple our decisive damage.

        Normally what happens in previous campaigns is we start the fight, everyone gets to do something in the first round, which is usually crashing the enemy into oblivion while simultaneously deftly avoiding any and all of their attacks, then either the dawn unleashes an AoE decisive to kill everything or we all just smash down the crashed enemies at the end of that turn. But THIS, this was great! At no point did I ever feel like my character was in danger of losing a limb or anything, but I actually got to activate scenelongs and go crashing through a stack of hay and tumbling around the battlefield while wrestling a seven foot man-bear. Awesome.

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        • #5
          (reading just the thread title) Well, yeah, I coulda told ya that.

          ​(reading the actual post) Glad to hear you had fun, dude.

          ​As for your concerns about overwhelming others, as a reminder, the Dawn in my Okeanos game is Brawl Supernal and has accumulated enough XP to attain Essence 3. Rather a lot of it was spent in combat Charms, including enough Resistance for Diamond Body Prana. He still doesn't "ruin" fights; even just fighting three tigers feels a lot more suspenseful in Ex3 than it ever did in 2e.
          Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 03-14-2017, 11:54 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
            So for the first time on Saturday I played in a game of Solars with a seriously combat hamstringed party. The first session of a new campaign where out of our perfect circle one was a complete pacifist and one was somebody who really doesn't like fighting. I was the MA supernal dawn who had three dex, zero dots of MA and one for of brawl/melee, we also had a twilight thrown with two combat charms and a night martial artist with just the excellency, although otherwise pretty optimized.

            We fought a group of six beastmen barbarians and it was fuckingn great. I got smacked backwards into the ox-cart by a bear man only to run back up to the guy, bear hug him, and then next turn full on decisive suplex him. The combat went on for like four or five rounds so I actually had time to activate Increasing Strength Exercise without missing out on the fight, one of the NPCs got their three round crash reset, we used gambits, positioning, and teamwork. The system worked great with everyone clashing into the fray, working strategically around the combat, and making for a high energy fun ride.

            My original concept was a dawn who only knew brawling and melee but wanted to find a more gentle way to deal with foes because his great strength was only matched by his great compassion, but now I'm really glad it's going to take 4 in game months to even start learning crane style. I don't want to go back to a fight starting and then I counter everyone in the first round of combat and then we win.

            So partially I wanted to say thank you to the developers for designing a really fun system that's awesome and does exactly what I would want out of an exalted combat, even if the power of Solar charms really ruins it almost all the time, and also to say I'm even more excited for DBs and Liminals and stuff who I hope can keep this kind of fun energy and cenematic style without intentionally gutting your own character as a fighter.

            It really is fun when it's a fight instead of a slaughter. I just wish we had more tools for making that fight.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
              (reading just the thread title) Well, yeah, I coulda told ya that.

              ​(reading the actual post) Glad to hear you had fun, dude.

              ​As for your concerns about overwhelming others, as a reminder, the Dawn in my Okeanos game is Brawl Supernal and has accumulated enough XP to attain Essence 3. Rather a lot of it was spent in combat Charms, including enough Resistance for Diamond Body Prana. He still doesn't "ruin" fights; even just fighting three tigers feels a lot more suspenseful in Ex3 than it ever did in 2e.
              Thanks! I think my whole group hasn't been this excited to get back into cool fights in basically a year. Except maybe the pacifist guy who's rejiggering some stuff because he liked his support role but wanted to expand it I think.

              I'll definitely agree it's way better than 2e, but I need to see a blow by blow to see how that works at essence 3 without being a one two punch fight. I had a supernal brawl in one of my games and he killed 4 fog sharks in two rounds without being scratched by so much as a withering attack. He just hammered one with a withering while dodging their low accuracy shots and then stacked them against the wall. It would have been a fun and funny end to a fight if it was a bit of an unexpected outlier of combat or something, I would have loved it, but that's basically how the three or four preceding fights went as well.

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              • #8
                I am the pacifist character in this campaign, and was a Dawn in the previous campaign.

                We have had some fun fights in our previous games, but generally speaking the only way they were ever fun was if they were massive boss battle style events where we were pushing hard on the limits of being outnumbered/outpowered. NONE of our smaller fights have been any more that a one or two turn speed bump when we have had a supernal combat Dawn in the party. Fog Sharks, Pirate Crews, Dinosaurs, even a circle of young DB have been mowed down.

                This fight against the beastmen was very possibly the best fight yet, and the other fight competing for that position was actually a bandit raid from a two-session mortal game. So I am definitely seeing a pattern here where the EX3 combat system works best around mortal levels. I think the problem we have seen is that the EX3 combat mechanics are actually a very balanced and robust set of rules until you introduce solar combat charms into the mix which bust the mechanical dynamics by design. I really feel like the EX3 mechanics are some next gen game design...but just a bad fit for Solar focused Exalted play. My hope is that DB will come out and they will be the perfect fit for the system, not too far above mortals in their ability to supersede the mechanics with their charms.

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                • #9
                  Actually something that makes me even more hopeful of that is gambits and weapon tags. Gambits and tags are fantastic but as a Solar I've never felt the need to use them. Even in cases where they'd be useful I just forgot about them because I don't need them. This is the first time I used a grapple, not because I was a grapple focused character, but because I didn't have enough damage to punch through his soak so I needed to grapple to keep him focused on me and squeeze every bit of bonus overflow I could out of it. The sample DB that we have though has charms that interact with tags and I think maybe gambits? Like maybe instead of Thunderbolt Attack Prana we'll have a charm that adds the chopping bonus damage to decisive as well, or increase it or something.

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                  • #10
                    Question for good-at-mechanics people: If Solars are too strong to be able to play well with the Ex3 system (and I have no experience to say one way or the other), how easy would it be to depower them to around where you'd expect DB level to be, for a non-canonical game, not even necessarily Exalted setting, that plays to the strengths of the system? Are there a few pillars you can knock down easily - supernals, dice pools, levels of sorcery, Mastery effects in MA - and then make use of their Charmset fairly easily or is their advantage too diffuse across their powerset that you can simply knock down a few pillars and get them adjusted to where you want them to be?

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                    • #11
                      Leaving aside whether Solars are too powerful, or whether they can engage with gambits/tag attacks I'm not sure taking them down to the DB level really changes things. (At least, from the examples we do have of DB effects.)

                      The Earth shikari is incentivized to use the weapon tag attacks more... but only because their form is giving direct bonuses to smashing attacks. Air gets knockdown without using Smashing, and Fire seems to be under the philosophy that the best status effect is 'dead'.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                        Question for good-at-mechanics people: If Solars are too strong to be able to play well with the Ex3 system (and I have no experience to say one way or the other), how easy would it be to depower them to around where you'd expect DB level to be, for a non-canonical game, not even necessarily Exalted setting, that plays to the strengths of the system? Are there a few pillars you can knock down easily - supernals, dice pools, levels of sorcery, Mastery effects in MA - and then make use of their Charmset fairly easily or is their advantage too diffuse across their powerset that you can simply knock down a few pillars and get them adjusted to where you want them to be?
                        In my experience it's a bit too baked in. I've seen more than half a dozen dawns in ex3 and using a wide variety of combat styles, even within the same ability, and I can't see any of them easily being reigned in. You'd basically have to redesign the whole charmset, or gimp things in really complex ways. Basically I'm going to see how this campaign goes and really restrain myself in how impressive I make my character. Right now I'm not sure we could take a circle of Shikari, which is a huge departure for us. I might tune t up to where I want to be and then just stop.

                        Originally posted by Endings View Post
                        Leaving aside whether Solars are too powerful, or whether they can engage with gambits/tag attacks I'm not sure taking them down to the DB level really changes things. (At least, from the examples we do have of DB effects.)

                        The Earth shikari is incentivized to use the weapon tag attacks more... but only because their form is giving direct bonuses to smashing attacks. Air gets knockdown without using Smashing, and Fire seems to be under the philosophy that the best status effect is 'dead'.
                        Also the elder DB, he's got attacks that remove the defence and initiative penalty for smashing attacks as well as giving them a minor bonus. Having two out of the five available DBs having charms that interact with weapon tags when, I think, not a single Solar one does, makes me think maybe it's a thing.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                          In my experience it's a bit too baked in. I've seen more than half a dozen dawns in ex3 and using a wide variety of combat styles, even within the same ability, and I can't see any of them easily being reigned in. You'd basically have to redesign the whole charmset, or gimp things in really complex ways.
                          That's what I thought, too. From what I've seen there aren't any easy fixes if you consider the power gap between Solars and...well, everyone else...to be a problem. It's shot through almost every part of the game.

                          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                          Basically I'm going to see how this campaign goes and really restrain myself in how impressive I make my character. Right now I'm not sure we could take a circle of Shikari, which is a huge departure for us. I might tune t up to where I want to be and then just stop.
                          I'm starting to think that this is really the only thing to do. Players may need to exercise some restraint in "powering up" their character if they want to retain a satisfying degree of challenge in combat. That might be hard for some, since many games have trained us to strain against character limitations in order to be effective because the bar is lower. The ceiling is so high for 3E Solars that if you want to trivialize combat entirely, it doesn't require much effort to do so.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            In my experience it's a bit too baked in. I've seen more than half a dozen dawns in ex3 and using a wide variety of combat styles, even within the same ability, and I can't see any of them easily being reigned in. You'd basically have to redesign the whole charmset, or gimp things in really complex ways. Basically I'm going to see how this campaign goes and really restrain myself in how impressive I make my character. Right now I'm not sure we could take a circle of Shikari, which is a huge departure for us. I might tune t up to where I want to be and then just stop.
                            Ah, thanks. Taking things at the other end and taking heroic mortals and building up would seem to be at least as much work? So, no easy fix if you wanted to use Ex3 to play something powerwise between heroic mortal and Solar (esp. if that's where the system feels like it plays most fun), without the weirdness that the lower powered splats would offer (and not that those splats exist yet anyways...)

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                            • #15
                              Add more minions also works well to adjust the difficulty of a combat. Battlegroups in Ex3 (collections of identical lower-power enemies) have a lot of direct mechanical advantages for a ST in addition to making fights more cool.
                              1: They attack everyone nearby at once, very handy for helping to occupy several exalts at once.
                              2: They become more powerful the more there are. Throw a few thousand squirrels and sparrows at your Solars and it becomes an interesting fight.
                              3: Because they're not a source of initiative, the players need to decide between whittling down the mega army or fighting the Big Bad Guys, often a tough call that can leave them more vulnerable.


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