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Watch me fumble my way through making a Charmset in Yet Another Lunar Homebrew Thread

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  • Watch me fumble my way through making a Charmset in Yet Another Lunar Homebrew Thread

    So, one of my players decided he wants to play a Lunar. Problem is, we have no official rules for Lunars and he's... not super impressed with the available homebrew versions. ("Not super impressed", in this case, meaning he'd rather play a character with just Martial Arts and Evocations than touch those.) Not being a fan of this approach (why play a Lunar if you're only going to take Charms available for a Solar?), I took it upon myself to do my own version of Silver Solars Silver Infernals Exalted of Zoo Tycoon whatever unholy monstrosity I end up with which is almost certain to piss off someone somewhere for reasons that are probably entirely understandable.

    To do this, I'm going write up a brief outline for how I imagine the general structure of their Charmset, then read Glories: Luna for high-level thematic ideas, then go through each of the Attributes, raiding 1E Lunars, the Ink Monkeys collection, the Irked homebrew, and quite possibly even TAW for inspiration for individual Charms. Sufficiently loaded up with terrible ideas stolen from at least four different sources with wildly divergent and often mutually contradictory visions for what Lunars should be, my next step will be analyzing the 3E Solar Charmset's similar powers to see how they express specifically Solar themes, how they're structured, and to calibrate Lunar Charms' power level in relation to them, both individually and on a wider, synergistic basis.

    And, of course, after all this groundwork, write the actual goddamned Charms, but that should be the easy part.

    Suffering from a severe inability to shut my bloody mouth and focus on working, I'm also going to share the result of every step along the way, so I expect the thread to veer into a WIR direction at certain points.


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  • #2
    Basic design principles



    What I want Lunars to be:


    - Above all, adaptable. They have a bunch of other themes, but this should be their core identity. A Solar might feel helpless facing a challenge that is a poor fit for their area of expertise; a Lunar should always have options to interact with a situation. Sylvester Lambsbridge is pretty much how I imagine a Changing Moon who never uses shapeshifting.

    - Somewhat related to this point: I want picking a Lunar to feel as valid a choice as picking a Solar does. My experience with newbies is that there's a decent portion of them who feel uncomfortable with playing a Solar - they don't like the glorious golden hero aesthetics, they don't like the "I'm literally the best at what I do" angle, and in general, they feel that Solars are Mary Sues. It is also my experience that being superhumanly talented at a lot of things is more acceptable for this kind of player than being the best of the best at one specific thing - my theory is that this has something to do with Lunars' status as attribute Exalts versus Solars as ability Exalts. The kind of person who dislikes the unique snowflake-ness of being "the best swordsman" finds it easier to swallow being extraordinarily gifted at a basic attribute. I'm not looking to judge this attitude either way, so please don't start a debate about it. It's something I encountered with some regularity, and it arguably doesn't make logical sense, but it also makes perfect sense on the gut level, as a personal preference.
    In any case, I want someone who plays a Lunar in a (predominantly) Solar circle because of this aesthetic preference to feel like they can meaningfully contribute and bring their unique strengths to the table - even if they don't reach the heights of focused power Solars do.

    - Due to the above, some amount of generic power has to be bundled up with their Charmset. Someone who doesn't like the narrower thematic spaces of being a predator and a shapechanging monster shouldn't be unable to pick high-Essence capstone Charms, even though as a general rule, high-Essence Charms should express Lunar themes and power in more focused ways. That said, "Silver Solars" is also something I'd rather avoid.

    - Predatory. A Lunar should be able to become the most majestic apex predator or a terrifying pack hunter, but this theme should be a major part of how they express their power in other ways as well. Related to this point is that cannibalism should be a delicious path to power and all Lunars should have the ability to nom on people for their Heart's Blood by default. The design logic behind this is that I want the descent into indiscriminate people-eating for convenience to be an ever-present temptation, which it's hardly going to be if players who normally wouldn't even think about doing it won't ever pick the Charm because seriously, why pay for an ability you don't intend to use?

    - Monstrous. Strange and esoteric transformations are solidly in Infernal territory, and "Alex Mercer Exalted" is probably a theme for one of the yet-unannounced Exalt types, but you should be able to become a magnificent god-monster in the vein of Fenrir or the Nemean Lion.



    What I don't want Lunars to be:


    - The "Wyld Exalted". "My splat's core theme is fucking off into the Wyld where you can't really use any of the published material that was written about Creation proper (ie. most of it)" doesn't strike me as a particularly useful approach for most tables. (Arguably, this is an incredibly hypocritical viewpoint on my part, given that I'm all about Abyssals-as-Underworld-Exalted, but the Underworld inspires me in ways the Wyld doesn't, and I'm writing this thing primarily for my own table.)

    - "Stewards". "We're the predatory, shapeshifting, animal-themed Exalted, couched in the aesthetics of Conanesque barbarism... and we're also stewards for some reason" is a massive "wait what? one of those things is not like the others!" thing for me. If you're looking for that sort of thing, the Irked homebrew does it to some extent; mine won't.

    - Shapeshifters who can steal the shape of anything. So no shifting into the form of spirits, plants or goddamn geographical features.


    Vague ideas for the Charmset as a whole:


    - I definitely want to keep the corebook version of the Excellency. "You can match a Solar die-for-die by jumping through some hoops" is fantastic. The flexibility it offers is grand (by stunting with a strong attribute, you can bring a measly 3d pool - attribute 2, ability 1 - up to 10d! Eat your heart out, glorious golden poster boys of crippling overspecialization!). The fact that it subtly favors Changing Moons and No Moons (there's a lot more situations where you can leverage a good mental or social score on physical rolls than vice versa) also helps shaking off the Lunar baggage of being an unstoppable rage monster and not much else.

    - Caste and Favored attributes should come with free Excellencies. Currently I'm thinking 2 Caste, 2 Favored. This might change, but it's unlikely to.

    - Further in the vein of "fuck having to buy Excellencies", I'm also thinking you get a free Excellency in a non-favored attribute if you buy three Charms in it. This offers parity with a Solar who can get an Excellency in every ability by sinking all fifteen of their starting Charms into non-favored abilities (except doing the same for attributes makes somewhat more sense). To make the transition from "can't use the Excellency at all" at one or two Charms to "can enhance every pool using that ability" at three smoother, something like "if you have a Charm in an attribute but no Excellency, you can enhance actions created or supplemented by that Charm as if you had the Excellency" might be in order.

    - Unlike the Solar set, which starts out on a broad base and is built around the principles of small synergistic effects and increasingly specialized but powerful capstones, Lunars should start out with a broad base, build towards mid-tier semi-capstones and their actual capstones should hone those mid-tier effects in multiple ways, resulting in fewer and less specialized, but more robust and versatile endgame tools.
    This principle has been inspired by Secret Sense Intuition, one of the Wandering Shaman archetype's Charms in the leak, which I consider to be one of the most beautiful Charms I've ever read. It lets the character make a reflexive Read Intentions action if a dematerialized spirit or a hidden charactercomes into Short Range, allowing her to detect their presence on a successful roll and make a reflexive social influence action with a -2 penalty to their Resolve. Even putting aside how incredibly fitting this effect is for an archetype whose shtick is to see beyond, notice the way the splat's wider theme of adaptation and predation comes into play here! (Presumably honey badger totem) Lunar shaman don't give a shit about your silly Stealth result; she adapts and varies her approach within the bounds of her Attribute - Awareness failed, okay, try Read Intentions, hit them in the Resolve where it hurts. Especially nasty since an assassin is unlikely to be quite as invested in Integrity as they are in Stealth. But this is not all - the Charm also lets you make a social action with what amounts to +2 non-Charm auto-successes. It does a lot, but it's also one per scene, giving it an interesting tactical dimension: which one of its effects is going to be the most useful in this particular scene?
    All in all, this is the basic idea of what I aspire to do with capstone design.

    - To further the splat’s feel of independence and rugged individualism, instead of a multitude of small synergies, I'm thinking about multiple versatile scenelong and permanent Charms, and weightier/costlier individual powers. Reliable, resource-conservative performance punctuated with explosions of flashy nova effects. Individual tree design might override this principle if it’s seen as conducive to upholding the feel of an exemplar of an archetype embodied by that tree, and the 1E problem of persistent stacked defenses should be avoided, much like anything that is even vaguely similar to 2E's IAM.

    - I'm toying with the idea of multi-faced Charms that offer different benefits that can be toggled modally, but I have the nagging feeling this is probably not the best possible way of expressing the particular way Lunars are adaptable. Another idea I have is certain scenelong effects having a rider that releasing commitment to them when circumstances change in certain ways partially refunds motes on the condition that they can only be spent on Charms that are helpful specifically for the situation specified in the scenelong Charm's text. (I know this is very broadly phrased, but it is a broad idea I can't express more specifically without getting into examples that would obscure the wider point.)

    - A Lunar is more than a strict adherence to a single facet of Luna’s power. Cross-tree power synergies should incentivize branching out conceptually. At the same time, staying within the bounds of a single tree should not be suboptimal (ie. the most powerful effects shouldn't be gated behind Charms from three different Attributes, it should be more of a nice bonus).

    - The totem spirit should be a cornerstone of Lunar power. Charms that correspond to the themes of a Lunar’s totem spirit should be available at favored cost even in non-favored attributes, and it should allow a character to count their Essence as one dot higher when buying Charms in favored attributes. Obviously this requires very careful designing around in order to avoid playing favorites with certain animals or making creative, nonstandard totem choices objectively worse. Currently I'm thinking of phrasing the benefits broadly ("...a Lunar whose totem is associated with cunning in her native culture..." "..a Lunar with a totem that has a tough hide, durable shell, thick chitinous exoskeleton or other natural armor that would be represented by multiple dots of the Unusual Hide merit..."), encouraging GMs to be permissive in their interpretation of them, and limiting the number of Charms a Lunar can have with a higher minimum Essence requirement than her current Essence.

    - I also have preliminary ideas about DBT but they're preliminary, somewhat contradictory, and this post has gone on long enough as-is.
    Last edited by aluminiumtrioxid; 04-13-2017, 01:05 PM.


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    • #3
      To what degree are you interested in following the interpretation of Lunars laid down by the corebook, Q&As with the old devs and the new devs?

      As someone working on Lunars as well, I definitely encourage reading all three closely.

      EDIT: Also separating some of your thoughts would improve readability here a little bit.


      Leetsepeak's Ex3 Homebrew Hub - Hub of homebrew for Exalted 3rd Edition that I've made.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
        To what degree are you interested in following the interpretation of Lunars laid down by the corebook, Q&As with the old devs and the new devs?

        I think it's pretty obvious that I'm working mostly based on the hints the old devs have dropped here and there.


        Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
        EDIT: Also separating some of your thoughts would improve readability here a little bit.

        Better now?


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        • #5
          Maybe what you could do for non- caste/favoured excellencies is to give it at the first charm, but it costs 3 motes per die. Then it goes down to 2 motes when you buy the second charm and finally 1 mote when you buy the third. Caste and Favoured would get it at the usual cost automatically.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Elfive View Post
            Maybe what you could do for non- caste/favoured excellencies is to give it at the first charm, but it costs 3 motes per die. Then it goes down to 2 motes when you buy the second charm and finally 1 mote when you buy the third. Caste and Favoured would get it at the usual cost automatically.

            I prefer my solution, to be honest - an application of the Excellency that is limited in scope in a way that's congruent with the character's area of specialization over a broad but prohibitively expensive effect. That said, I'm certainly prepared to be converted to your point of view if you explain why you think it's preferable!


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            • #7
              Well, it's basically that the excellency is supposed to be one of the most basic applications of essence, so having it suddenly click at the third charm in an attribute just seems a bit weird to me.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                Well, it's basically that the excellency is supposed to be one of the most basic applications of essence, so having it suddenly click at the third charm in an attribute just seems a bit weird to me.

                You can use the excellency just fine, as long as you're using it in conjunction with a more specific application of Essence. Ie. if you buy a Dexterity Charm that enhances movement actions, you can apply the excellency on movement actions, but not stealth or combat. Then, as you branch out and say, buy another Dexterity Charm that helps with fine manipulation, you'll be able to apply excellency on those tasks as well. And at the third Charm, it clicks and you learn how to generalize the principle to all applications of the attribute.

                Basically the problem I see with your proposition is twofold: first is that the entire reason Lunars don't get a free excellency with the first Charm is that their excellency is much broader. Making it more expensive won't change the fact that a Lunar with a triple-cost excellency is still more than three times as versatile as a Solar with an excellency in a single ability (subject to mote pool limitations; if you run out of motes on the first action you take, it won't matter that you could theoretically enhance the next two, completely different actions as well). Another thing I'm worried about it is that this has the potential to be a bit of a newbie trap: someone who doesn't quite understand the system and how much of an increase in effectiveness do those motes buy can easily overspend in one scene on not even increasing their chances by all that much, and feel comparatively lame in the next one where they can't employ much of their supernatural might even in an area of specialty.

                A somewhat less harsh version of your approach would be "first Charm unlocks the excellency at 2m per die and you can't add a second attribute even with a stunt, second Charm knocks the price down to 1m/die but you still can't add a second attribute, third Charm allows you to use the excellency in its full glory". This also puts a cap on how much newbies can screw themselves over via overspending, since it's capped at a sub-DB rate.

                Thank you for the feedback, and I'm going to look into playtesting both approaches once I have an attribute set ready.


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                • #9
                  Yeah, I guess your way does make sense when you put it like that.

                  It'll be interesting to see how the official book does it after all this.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post


                    I prefer my solution, to be honest - an application of the Excellency that is limited in scope in a way that's congruent with the character's area of specialization over a broad but prohibitively expensive effect. That said, I'm certainly prepared to be converted to your point of view if you explain why you think it's preferable!
                    What about letting them pay for early access with a charm purchase that gets refunded to them later if they meet the 3 charm purchase?

                    I'm starting and all I want is Int Charm A and the Excellency. I buy both. Later, I purchase two more Int Charms, and I get refunded back a charm purchase for the excellency?


                    Raksha are my fae-vorite.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post

                      - Above all, adaptable. They have a bunch of other themes, but this should be their core identity. A Solar might feel helpless facing a challenge that is a poor fit for their area of expertise; a Lunar should always have options to interact with a situation. Sylvester Lambsbridge is pretty much how I imagine a Changing Moon who never uses shapeshifting.
                      Interesting stuff. I think there's some caution to be given to leaning too hard on adaptability, but I suspect my hesitation there is rooted in the very particular way it tends to get interpreted for Lunars. Vance and Morke have at various times both provided capsule summaries of the 'kind' of Exalted they imagine Lunars to be, and while there's a little bit of difference, it seems more similar than not. That might be good to look at when considering this.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - Due to the above, some amount of generic power has to be bundled up with their Charmset. Someone who doesn't like the narrower thematic spaces of being a predator and a shapechanging monster shouldn't be unable to pick high-Essence capstone Charms, even though as a general rule, high-Essence Charms should express Lunar themes and power in more focused ways. That said, "Silver Solars" is also something I'd rather avoid.
                      Something that can be cool is how the write ups in the corebook provide a characterization of sections of the charmset which can help make this stuff more flavorful. It particularly bears out when you look at the QCs. Namely:

                      Physical Attribute Charms will likely draw upon this idea of rage a lot.

                      Social Attribute Charms have the whole trickster archetype to play with.

                      Mental Attribute Charms have shamanic, worldly themes. John mentioned songlines a long time ago, and those are a great example of how you could potentially do charms or abilities related to knowledge.

                      Obviously there'll be crossover between them all and different kinds of Charms in each, but as basic guiding visions, I find those very helpful.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - Predatory. A Lunar should be able to become the most majestic apex predator or a terrifying pack hunter, but this theme should be a major part of how they express their power in other ways as well. Related to this point is that cannibalism should be a delicious path to power and all Lunars should have the ability to nom on people for their Heart's Blood by default. The design logic behind this is that I want the descent into indiscriminate people-eating for convenience to be an ever-present temptation, which it's hardly going to be if players who normally wouldn't even think about doing it won't ever pick the Charm because seriously, why pay for an ability you don't intend to use?
                      Predatory behavior is remarkably versatile, too. If you've ever heard of Werewolf: The Forsaken for the Chronicles of Darkness, the 2nd Edition does a great job of incorporating this into a rather diverse powerset. It'd be good reading for capturing just how versatile the idea of imagining Lunar Charms in a predator fashion can be.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - Monstrous. Strange and esoteric transformations are solidly in Infernal territory, and "Alex Mercer Exalted" is probably a theme for one of the yet-unannounced Exalt types, but you should be able to become a magnificent god-monster in the vein of Fenrir or the Nemean Lion.
                      Neat.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      What I don't want Lunars to be:

                      Snip

                      Vague ideas for the Charmset as a whole:
                      Awesome.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - I definitely want to keep the corebook version of the Excellency. "You can match a Solar die-for-die by jumping through some hoops" is fantastic. The flexibility it offers is grand (by stunting with a strong attribute, you can bring a measly 3d pool - attribute 2, ability 1 - up to 10d! Eat your heart out, glorious golden poster boys of crippling overspecialization!). The fact that it subtly favors Changing Moons and No Moons (there's a lot more situations where you can leverage a good mental or social score on physical rolls than vice versa) also helps shaking off the Lunar baggage of being an unstoppable rage monster and not much else.
                      In the absence of other ideas, it seems good to me.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - Caste and Favored attributes should come with free Excellencies. Currently I'm thinking 2 Caste, 2 Favored. This might change, but it's unlikely to.
                      Sounds right to me. Talking to 2e Lunar players, they felt like this was a good solution that I arrived at, too.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - Further in the vein of "fuck having to buy Excellencies", I'm also thinking you get a free Excellency in a non-favored attribute if you buy three Charms in it. This offers parity with a Solar who can get an Excellency in every ability by sinking all fifteen of their starting Charms into non-favored abilities (except doing the same for attributes makes somewhat more sense). To make the transition from "can't use the Excellency at all" at one or two Charms to "can enhance every pool using that ability" at three smoother, something like "if you have a Charm in an attribute but no Excellency, you can enhance actions created or supplemented by that Charm as if you had the Excellency" might be in order.
                      This sounds a bit clunky.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - Unlike the Solar set, which starts out on a broad base and is built around the principles of small synergistic effects and increasingly specialized but powerful capstones, Lunars should start out with a broad base, build towards mid-tier semi-capstones and their actual capstones should hone those mid-tier effects in multiple ways, resulting in fewer and less specialized, but more robust and versatile endgame tools.
                      This principle has been inspired by Secret Sense Intuition, one of the Wandering Shaman archetype's Charms in the leak, which I consider to be one of the most beautiful Charms I've ever read. It lets the character make a reflexive Read Intentions action if a dematerialized spirit or a hidden charactercomes into Short Range, allowing her to detect their presence on a successful roll and make a reflexive social influence action with a -2 penalty to their Resolve. Even putting aside how incredibly fitting this effect is for an archetype whose shtick is to see beyond, notice the way the splat's wider theme of adaptation and predation comes into play here! (Presumably honey badger totem) Lunar shaman don't give a shit about your silly Stealth result; she adapts and varies her approach within the bounds of her Attribute - Awareness failed, okay, try Read Intentions, hit them in the Resolve where it hurts. Especially nasty since an assassin is unlikely to be quite as invested in Integrity as they are in Stealth. But this is not all - the Charm also lets you make a social action with what amounts to +2 non-Charm auto-successes. It does a lot, but it's also one per scene, giving it an interesting tactical dimension: which one of its effects is going to be the most useful in this particular scene?
                      All in all, this is the basic idea of what I aspire to do with capstone design.
                      No Moons have great potential for really cool charms in the Mental Attribute trees. The leak ones have a lot of flavor to them.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - To further the splat’s feel of independence and rugged individualism, instead of a multitude of small synergies, I'm thinking about multiple versatile scenelong and permanent Charms, and weightier/costlier individual powers. Reliable, resource-conservative performance punctuated with explosions of flashy nova effects. Individual tree design might override this principle if it’s seen as conducive to upholding the feel of an exemplar of an archetype embodied by that tree, and the 1E problem of persistent stacked defenses should be avoided, much like anything that is even vaguely similar to 2E's IAM.
                      I think part of the fun of Charms is actively using them, so I guess I would just try to be cautious about doing this too much.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - I'm toying with the idea of multi-faced Charms that offer different benefits that can be toggled modally, but I have the nagging feeling this is probably not the best possible way of expressing the particular way Lunars are adaptable. Another idea I have is certain scenelong effects having a rider that releasing commitment to them when circumstances change in certain ways partially refunds motes on the condition that they can only be spent on Charms that are helpful specifically for the situation specified in the scenelong Charm's text. (I know this is very broadly phrased, but it is a broad idea I can't express more specifically without getting into examples that would obscure the wider point.)
                      I think toggling between too many different effects within a single Charm might just be overstuffing, but I do think it's cool. I think it would be a cleaner implementation on your refund motes idea if they're simply Charms which contextually provide bonus motes, potentially limited by the Attribute charm tree or the activity that they were gained in.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - A Lunar is more than a strict adherence to a single facet of Luna’s power. Cross-tree power synergies should incentivize branching out conceptually. At the same time, staying within the bounds of a single tree should not be suboptimal (ie. the most powerful effects shouldn't be gated behind Charms from three different Attributes, it should be more of a nice bonus).
                      I think for the sake of diversity of builds and interesting constructions for Lunars, it's wise to not go too far in making things cross-tree. I think the Solar Charm tree is instructive in the example it provides of explicitly cross-Ability Charms, though a Lunar Charmset could potentially use it more often than a Solar Charmset.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      - The totem spirit should be a cornerstone of Lunar power. Charms that correspond to the themes of a Lunar’s totem spirit should be available at favored cost even in non-favored attributes, and it should allow a character to count their Essence as one dot higher when buying Charms in favored attributes. Obviously this requires very careful designing around in order to avoid playing favorites with certain animals or making creative, nonstandard totem choices objectively worse. Currently I'm thinking of phrasing the benefits broadly ("...a Lunar whose totem is associated with cunning in her native culture..." "..a Lunar with a totem that has a tough hide, durable shell, thick chitinous exoskeleton or other natural armor that would be represented by multiple dots of the Unusual Hide merit..."), encouraging GMs to be permissive in their interpretation of them, and limiting the number of Charms a Lunar can have with a higher minimum Essence requirement than her current Essence.
                      I'm concerned that this will be too clunky to implement and further compound the Tyrant Lizard problem rather than rectify it.

                      The Devs have stated a lack of interest in providing Supernal equivalents to the non-Solar splats, which is just something to keep in mind. I do not think Holden and Morke were interested in doing it either.

                      I suppose there isn't great harm in it though if you don't construct the set with this as an embedded expectation, though, since it's the kind of thing you can easily layer onto it if you feel the need.

                      I'm not unsympathetic to it. For my own work I contemplated giving the same thing to Lunars but through the lens of a specific, Incarnate Attribute chosen from among their two Caste Attributes, though with the confirmation about not having an equivalent mechanic, I've gotten a bit cold on the idea.



                      Leetsepeak's Ex3 Homebrew Hub - Hub of homebrew for Exalted 3rd Edition that I've made.

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                      • #12
                        For the totem, you might try creating a bunch of tags, like cunning, attractive, brawny, sturdy, etc. then you pick, say, three that are associated with your totem when you choose it and then you get some kind of additional benefit on charms that have one of the tags. Maybe the tags tie into the attributes in some way?


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                        • #13
                          I've done a bit of Lunar stuff myself.

                          I'm...partway through essence 3? If you want to take a look at it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                            Interesting stuff. I think there's some caution to be given to leaning too hard on adaptability, but I suspect my hesitation there is rooted in the very particular way it tends to get interpreted for Lunars. Vance and Morke have at various times both provided capsule summaries of the 'kind' of Exalted they imagine Lunars to be, and while there's a little bit of difference, it seems more similar than not. That might be good to look at when considering this.

                            Yeah, when I say "adaptability", I don't mean it in the overt physical transformation sense, more like Charms that provide second chances and options to change venues when a certain approach fails. The leak Charm I raved about is a good example.


                            Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                            Something that can be cool is how the write ups in the corebook provide a characterization of sections of the charmset which can help make this stuff more flavorful. It particularly bears out when you look at the QCs. Namely:

                            Physical Attribute Charms will likely draw upon this idea of rage a lot.

                            Social Attribute Charms have the whole trickster archetype to play with.

                            Mental Attribute Charms have shamanic, worldly themes. John mentioned songlines a long time ago, and those are a great example of how you could potentially do charms or abilities related to knowledge.

                            Obviously there'll be crossover between them all and different kinds of Charms in each, but as basic guiding visions, I find those very helpful.

                            I'm not a fan of Lunars as rage monsters, but bestial fury is a good sub-theme for Strength. I wouldn't want Dexterity Charms drawing on it, and I'm not particularly keen on sticking it to Stamina either (but making Stamina interesting and thematically consistent is kind of a challenge in general, because you also want to avoid making it entirely passive - still, not sure if diluting something I view as Strength's niche is the way to go to solve that particular problem).


                            Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                            Predatory behavior is remarkably versatile, too. If you've ever heard of Werewolf: The Forsaken for the Chronicles of Darkness, the 2nd Edition does a great job of incorporating this into a rather diverse powerset. It'd be good reading for capturing just how versatile the idea of imagining Lunar Charms in a predator fashion can be.

                            Yeah, I'm looking at WtF 1E for inspiration (2E is a bit too laser-focused for my liking). Also VtR 2E, which really gets into the primal "sexmurder aesthetics" I associate with Lunars and does graceful and monstrous social predators amazingly.


                            Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                            This sounds a bit clunky.

                            I'll take "a bit clunky" over "you'll have to wait for six sessions if you want to pick a new excellency" or "yeah, sure, grab a Charm that adds up to 10 dice to a wide variety of tasks - including but not limited to movement, attack, defense, crafting, stealth, fine manipulation and probably a bunch of other things I'm forgetting - for the price of one". Dexterity as a godstat kinda ties my hands here.


                            Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                            I think part of the fun of Charms is actively using them, so I guess I would just try to be cautious about doing this too much.

                            There's definitely a balance to be struck, but part of the reason for what I internally call the Adaptation keyword (the refund motes idea) is to allow you to cycle between a bunch of different effects without tanking your mote pool entirely in the long term. "Do I stick with this passive bonus or do I swap it out for something different? Or maybe I should cash it in to gain a big flashy bonus on my next move?" provides interesting gameplay while being somewhat easier to keep track of than ten-fifteen different synergistic effects in a single ability, and I want my Lunars to be ever-so-slightly more approachable for the kind of player who has to ask on a per-session basis how to calculate his withering attack pool than Solars are. (Mainly because I game with some of those people. And they actually like Exalted! They don't even think the mechanical complexity is an issue! But seeing them play suboptimally and ignore obvious combos bugs me.)


                            Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                            I think it would be a cleaner implementation on your refund motes idea if they're simply Charms which contextually provide bonus motes, potentially limited by the Attribute charm tree or the activity that they were gained in.

                            They'd hardly reflect the theme of adapting to circumstances if you could use them to adapt to any circumstance, but playtesting will show how viable is the idea and whether it needs to be tweaked. I certainly don't think I'm infallible, and ideas that sound good on paper can end up not working out in practice (or, y'know, not working out in practice and actually sounding horrible even on paper to anybody who isn't the one who came up with them).


                            Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                            I think for the sake of diversity of builds and interesting constructions for Lunars, it's wise to not go too far in making things cross-tree. I think the Solar Charm tree is instructive in the example it provides of explicitly cross-Ability Charms, though a Lunar Charmset could potentially use it more often than a Solar Charmset.

                            Just as the Solar Charmset subtly goads the player into making characters who correspond to the ideals of the Unconquered Sun's champions (mainly by locking the majority of an ability's Charms behind a minimum requirement of 5 dots and making new ability dots dirt cheap at chargen), so am I hoping to push people toward branching out via this mechanic. A Lunar should be multi-talented - Conan was incredibly strong and tough, but also way faster than expected from someone of his size, a veritable genius, and very perceptive. But yeah, these should be more in the vein of cool bennies rather than must-have abilities.


                            Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                            I'm concerned that this will be too clunky to implement and further compound the Tyrant Lizard problem rather than rectify it.

                            I'm not familiar with the Tyrant Lizard problem (albeit I'm guessing it has to do something with Tyrant Lizard being objectively the best choice of totem). Could you please elaborate why you feel this would exacerbate the problem?


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MoroseMorgan View Post
                              What about letting them pay for early access with a charm purchase that gets refunded to them later if they meet the 3 charm purchase?

                              I'm starting and all I want is Int Charm A and the Excellency. I buy both. Later, I purchase two more Int Charms, and I get refunded back a charm purchase for the excellency?

                              Well it still kinda runs into the problem that you're getting way more than one Charm's worth with the initial Excellency purchase.


                              Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                              For the totem, you might try creating a bunch of tags, like cunning, attractive, brawny, sturdy, etc. then you pick, say, three that are associated with your totem when you choose it and then you get some kind of additional benefit on charms that have one of the tags. Maybe the tags tie into the attributes in some way?

                              That's a possibility. I generally try to avoid overtly systemic language and restrict the use of keywords as much as possible, partially because I think it's a poor fit for the aesthetics Exalted is going for, and partially because certain players are just as annoyed by that sort of thing as proponents of technical language are by Charms written in natural language (not to mention the learning curve - if a Charm says "reroll 1s until they fail to appear", its effect is going to be apparent even for a casual player, while "recurring-1s" is probably going to elicit a "remind me again, what are recurring-Xs?" if we try to get back to a game after a few months of hiatus). In this particular case, though, putting a "Totem: [adjective]" line at the end of each affected Charm's text could work reasonably well.


                              Originally posted by MonkofLords View Post
                              I've done a bit of Lunar stuff myself.

                              I'm...partway through essence 3? If you want to take a look at it.

                              Sure. Just don't ask for feedback unless you're prepared for endless nitpicking. (Irked's homebrew has elicited howls of incoherent rage from me on multiple occasions.)


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