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  • Lunars and interacting with the base Crafting system

    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    The Lunars biggest problem isn't what infrastructure that they have, it's whether or not they'll have Charms that will make it easier to handle things related to crafting slots, coloured experience, and the terminus to extended crafting rolls.

    ​I don't really think they should. Maybe a few things to craft a bit better than a mortal would, but particularly not things that overturn assumptions about how many magical things have been made in the Second Age. Thus, it's not a matter of Lunars being unable to make anything, just the natural assumption that they've not made much if they have to follow the base Artifact and Wonder crafting rules.

    ​Partially because I don't think it's something as natural to them when they don't have Charms extending out of the Craft Ability, and partially because it's not something I see being a particular forte of their characteristics.
    Doesn't this fly in the face of Holden's words that Lunar Exalted are capable of making amazing things in caves with boxes of scraps?

    Why shouldn't Lunar Charms grant them project slots, colored experience, or extended termini? Should they likewise be incapable of enhancing War-based strategem rolls because they don't have War Charms? Are these not both mental tasks that Intelligence Charms could cover?


    Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

    My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

  • #2
    To me it seems necessary for them to have at least some interaction with the craft system simply because having to farming enough gold crafting xp to start work on a Moonsilver daiklave, failing to hit enough successes and having to start from scratch in the knowledge that you cannot do better next time - does not seem like my idea of a good time.

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    • #3
      I suspect the only deficiency Lunars will have in the second age is the generation of White Experience, and expect them to be quite good in all other areas. Of COURSE your New Moon smith can produce daiklaves and wonders easily, just not the wonders of the First Age or works of singular artifice.

      Even then, Lunars in the Second age have created a new goddamn Loom of Fate that covers a region as large as France.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
        Doesn't this fly in the face of Holden's words that Lunar Exalted are capable of making amazing things in caves with boxes of scraps?
        Does it?

        ​I mean, just going with the base rules, occasionally producing wonders can be done with some combination of time, the right ingredients, and high dice pools, no fistful of Craft Charms or unique infrastructure required.

        ​People have done the math on this, after all. The largest single obstacle to mortals making Artifacts is that it's just not an action they're permitted by the rules to take. (The second and third obstacles being the limited Terminus and the high difficulty, respectively.)
        Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 04-16-2017, 09:12 PM.

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        • #5
          I assume Lunars will have some charms related to Crafting, but they will be filtered through their particular themes. It's not going to be so straight forward as adding more slots, dice, etc. This is a natural side effect of moving away from Lunars having I Can't Believe They Aren't Solar Charms(tm).

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          • #6
            Judging by how unhappy a lot of people are with the Crafting system, the idea that Lunars don't get to deal with it could be viewed as a plus. (Note: that's a joke).

            Now, I can understand where Isator is coming from. The Second Age is written under the assumption that Lunar Elders aren't pumping out 5 dot or N/A artifacts with any kind of regularity, which is what you would generally expect an Elder craftsman could do. Especially if elder Lunars don't need vast infrastructure to make those kind of artifacts - the natural question arises, why don't they make them? And if they can make them with some regularity, then you're left wondering why Lunars and their servants aren't often decked out with those kind of powerful artifacts.

            But I feel that simply saying, "Sorry but Lunars are the Exalted who can't craft stuff," also isn't a very good direction to go.

            I would hope that Vance and Minton can hammer out a middle ground between the two extremes.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
              Doesn't this fly in the face of Holden's words that Lunar Exalted are capable of making amazing things in caves with boxes of scraps?
              ​He said those were things like veils and amulets.

              So, probably two-dot Artifacts.

              ​By my standards, producing those things with anything less than a nicely stocked, dedicated workshop is quite an achievement. For the moment, I don't think even Solars can do it.

              ​But Solars with the appropriate tools can put a lot of dice and successes into their crafting projects, as well as extend the terminus and even cover some of the experience costs. So creating the highest level Artifacts is a lot more feasible to them.

              ​That's the thing, isn't it? The crafting system would have to grapple with the problem of how to make creation of Artifacts adhere to the presentation of the Age of Sorrows while not falling back on the old problems of being entirely locked behind age requirements or a single cap-breaking Charm for Solars, and all but forbidden to everybody else, and arrived at a solution of a base system in which the requirements to make more powerful Artifacts are standardised across the board as, well, virtually impossible.

              ​So how good that, say, the Dragon Blooded are depends on what assets they have to make it less impossible.

              Originally posted by Sunder the Gold
              Why shouldn't Lunar Charms grant them project slots, colored experience, or extended termini?
              To my mind, it starts with needing to not make the Lunars look as though they could have engaged in the same kind of crafting that Solars could have, but just failed to for unspecified reasons.

              Again.

              ​That and how I personally wouldn't see Craft as being a big thing for Lunars. Not as a case of no Lunars crafting, but rather that I wouldn't picture there as being a Lunar dedicated to it in the same way a Solar artisan or engineer would be.

              ​I would approach more from the direction of what ways a Lunar can utilise crafting to the characteristics of being a Lunar in general and their Caste in specific, and the social context that they occupy, rather than how they can use being a Lunar to come up with being the best crafter that they can be.

              ​That and I speculate on how some of those goals could be accomplished mechanically, and it does seem to come back to the old problem of doing something the way Solars would, just not as good. I think more satisfaction might be gotten out of Lunars by having them go in a different direction, and I think that the use of Attributes accomplishes that nicely. I've actually thought for a while that an advantage of Attribute Charms is being able to build a given group without having to give equal emphasis to all of the Abilities, which I think might be the best approach for Lunars if something like the eclectic weirdness of Sidereals is off the table.

              Originally posted by Sunder the Gold
              Should they likewise be incapable of enhancing War-based strategem rolls because they don't have War Charms?
              They can probably enhance rolls with their Excellency, and maybe some other Charms. If it's a question of whether there's a dedicated Lunar general to be extrapolated from their Charm cascade... I actually don't think that should be the case.

              ​It's like the example I've frequently gone back to with a Lunar sailor, in that I don't really see there as being one. I see Lunars who would be good on boats, some of whom can even do so despite not actually having any Sail (and depending on their Attributes and whether they can double dip their Excellency, might still roll as well as seasoned nautical coves), but that there isn't a sailor archetype that translates directly into Lunars. Among the alternatives is the fact that the Lunar gets to drop into the water and turn into a kraken.

              Originally posted by Sunder the Gold
              Are these not both mental tasks that Intelligence Charms could cover?
              ​That depends on what the purpose of Attribute Charms is; are they about being generally good at applying the Attribute in a manner similar to Solars with Abilities, or is it about wielding the Attribute in a manner demonstrative of the Lunar type.

              ​I don't see the Lunar Intelligence as it relates to Craft being a matter of being generally good at crafting because they're smart; I see it as including, but not limited to, the Lunar being very smart about things like how to break the possessions of enemies and prey. Or how to build things on a tight budget that can efficiently break the enemies or prey (while still actually being triggered like things on a tight budget; when you put a lot of nails and glass with kerosene into a container with a cordite trigger, you're going to get something that fills the enemy with nails and glass, and not a nuclear bomb).


              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Robert Vance View Post
                Lunars aren't "supposed" to be bad at crafting, bureaucracy, or calligraphy. There aren't things they definitely absolutely don't do. They have a distinct thematic foundation and conceptual paradigm for their power, which guides the ways in which they realize certain powers, but doesn't forbid things outright.
                As for why elder Lunars don't just keep cranking out artifacts, not every elder Lunar is a crafter, and there comes a point when the Silver Pact has enough Artifacts to keep up with and making any more would just be risking letting some fall into enemy hands.


                Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post

                  As for why elder Lunars don't just keep cranking out artifacts, not every elder Lunar is a crafter, and there comes a point when the Silver Pact has enough Artifacts to keep up with and making any more would just be risking letting some fall into enemy hands.
                  Reiterating: Yes, they're actually holding territory against the Dragon-Blooded this time instead of being pushed to the farthest reaches of Creation, but NPCs don't work like PCs. Ma Ha Suchi doesn't get to go "Hmm yes my ability to murder Dragon-Blooded is adequately developed, I'm going to start dumping my XP into crafting and become the best Lunar Craftsman there is."; he has the charms he needs to fulfill his goals and drives; the age of "Any NPC of this age would have so much EXP they just have Everything in the charmset" is supposed to be pretty well over. So "If Lunars can be good Crafters then we must assume there are workshops of 50+ Lunars pumping out 3-5 dot daiklaves with extreme frequency, which disrupts the setting, therefore Lunars must not have even a single non-excellency Crafting charm" works from faulty logic.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                    Doesn't this fly in the face of Holden's words that Lunar Exalted are capable of making amazing things in caves with boxes of scraps?
                    "Capable of" is different from "can do easily." Like I said in the other thread - just because Tony Stark can make something amazing in a cave with a box of scraps doesn't mean he does his best work there.

                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                    He said those were things like veils and amulets.

                    So, probably two-dot Artifacts.
                    I wouldn't go that far. For one thing, it's boring! You do want to be able to tell stories of artifacts, like Tony Stark's armor, that were made in difficult and unlikely situations.

                    However, the key here is difficult and unlikely. Tony Stark making his armor in a cave from a box of scraps is legendary because it is hard, even for him - in a comic or movie we sort of gloss over what that means, but he was driven by a mortal injury, and we can assume he wouldn't be able to do it under lesser circumstances.

                    Doing it in Exalted works the same way. I think they can make more than two-dot stuff in a cave - but even more than usual, making really world-shaking stuff under those conditions takes great time, and effort, and personal investment, and perhaps a degree of risk, whether it's risking failures, or taking more mundane risks to raid and seize arcane ingredients that they need, attracting attention to themselves; or cutting deals with spirits and so on.

                    (Of course, you could argue that when you're cutting deals with spirits and stealing supplies from caravans, beyond a certain point your cave isn't so much a cave as it is the heart of a huge web of schemes to get you the stuff you'd normally have in a well-equipped lab - but it's doable, at least. WST aside, you can't just make a four or five-dot artifact from nothingness, but it's perfectly plausible that an obsessive enough Lunar with enough time to brood over it could get their hands on what they need.)

                    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                    Why shouldn't Lunar Charms grant them project slots, colored experience, or extended termini? Should they likewise be incapable of enhancing War-based strategem rolls because they don't have War Charms? Are these not both mental tasks that Intelligence Charms could cover?
                    Well, again, there's a huge amount of space between "capable of" and "gets all the tools Solars get." Read Vance's post more carefully. Lunars do have an approach to crafting, but Vance is careful to word it lightly (it's something that "isn't forbidden outright".)

                    Whereas, say, for Solars or Alchemicals (or most Ability-based Exalted), crafting is central. It gets entire charm trees and massive focus. Lunar crafting is more like, say... Solar teleportation or illusions or summoning hard-light constructs. These are things that their charmset does (even if it sometimes avoids the exact words), when it's appropriate; but it's not something presented as core to being a Solar or as something a typical Solar would specialize in, and there's no one charm tree you'd go into to be a Solar Master of those things. Whereas, say, an Infernal might have a dedicated charm-tree for each, making it easy to play an Infernal who has mastery in one of those areas as their "thing."

                    To be more specific, the way I see Lunar crafting working is in a bunch of charms scattered over their charmsets that help you craft often-incidentally (plus perhaps a few more directly craft-focused upgrades to these.) For example - you might have the ability to turn hairs from your tail or head into duplicates to help you with tasks; or you might have an Intelligence charm that lets you make a general plan to help you with something complex; or a Strength charm that lets you both sunder things and change their shape; and these will also help you craft (possibly with rules for interacting with the crafting system), and may have upgrades that do nothing but help you craft.

                    But I wouldn't be surprised if Lunars lacked a single, dedicated, one-stop crafting charm tree like the one used by most Ability-based Exalted. Thematically, this would move away from the idea that "crafter" is a core Lunar concept - it's still available as eg. something your "clever Lunar" or "tricksy Lunar" does with their cleverness or tricksiness, but it isn't a "default" build the way eg. Melee Dawn or Craft Twilight is; it is just one small facet of your New Moon's cleverness, whereas you can easily make a Twilight for whom crafting is their whole thing.

                    I think this is what Vance meant when he mentioned a "distinct thematic foundation and conceptual paradigm for their power, which guides the ways in which they realize certain powers" (since it was presented as a "but" to the fact that they do have crafting powers.) Crafting is something they do, but it's something they do on the leaves and edges of their charm tree rather than being a central branch, so to speak.
                    Last edited by Aquillion; 04-17-2017, 03:37 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aquillion View Post
                      Well, again, there's a huge amount of space between "capable of" and "gets all the tools Solars get."
                      Yes, but Solars have a lot of tools related to project slots, crafting experience, and terminus-extension.

                      There's a huge difference between Lunars getting a few Charms of that sort, and them getting NO Charms of that sort.


                      But I wouldn't be surprised if Lunars lacked a single, dedicated, one-stop crafting charm tree like the one used by most Ability-based Exalted.
                      They've NEVER had one. Not even in First Edition's incestuous Lunar Charm trees.


                      Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                      My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                        They've NEVER had one. Not even in First Edition's incestuous Lunar Charm trees.
                        Well, yeah, but Lunars have not-had a lot of things, and no version of their charmset has ever been ideal. I wouldn't expect them to have it even in 3e, though; and I think that that covers a lot of what people are discussing above (ie. Lunars are capable of crafting, but aren't really craft-focused.)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Aquillion View Post
                          Well, yeah, but Lunars have not-had a lot of things, and no version of their charmset has ever been ideal. I wouldn't expect them to have it even in 3e, though; and I think that that covers a lot of what people are discussing above (ie. Lunars are capable of crafting, but aren't really craft-focused.)
                          Apologies; I think I was not clear.

                          I didn't understand why anyone would complain about the Lunar Exalted lacking a singular Crafting-related Charm tree. I've never seen anyone argue that they should have one, and they have never had one before, so it seemed like an odd point to bring up at all.


                          In any case "Project slots are an abstract representation of how well the character can split focus between multiple significant projects at once." Splitting focus is definitely something Lunar Exalted can be good at, though of course a Solar craftsman should be much better at applying this to crafting.

                          I honestly don't know how Lunar Charms should be able to approach Artifact crafting, or even Superior Projects.

                          What might be neat are Charms which reward Lunar Exalted with more crafting experience for the (relatively) fewer projects he DOES undertake and complete. All of the criteria for earning crafting experience seem important to Lunars -- wooing people, helping people they love, and solving practical problems. This would, in turn, allow Lunars to get by with crafting far less, while stocking up points to spend on the few serious projects they attempt.


                          What might also be neat is a Charm that permanently gives a Lunar a FOURTH criteria for earning crafting experience: Fashioning a trophy or functional tool out of the corpse of something whose Heart's Blood the Lunar took. It might also work when fashioning such a thing for another Lunar, if they were the one to take the kill and Heart's Blood.


                          Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                          My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Aquillion View Post
                            I wouldn't go that far. For one thing, it's boring! You do want to be able to tell stories of artifacts, like Tony Stark's armor, that were made in difficult and unlikely situations.
                            ​Speaking as a person who recently got through a tirade of calling the depiction of the akuma in prior Editions boring, I feel as though "that's boring" has become another one of those overused generic criticisms that has kind of stopped meaning anything, like when people call basically every character beat that they personally dislike "deprotagonizing".

                            Still, I'm sure there's a fallacy describing the act with engaging with an argument by its terminology rather than its substance, so...

                            ​Personally, I don't really want to tell stories of Artifacts like that. No, that's not right... I don't want it to be standardised and codified in the way it would be with a Charm. As I said elsewhere, the in-character resources needed for any given project are already abstract, so for narratives relating to exceptional circumstances where a character, even a Solar, creates a sister for Volcano Cutter in a much less sophisticated environment than that inverted volcano manse, I would be inclined to bring that more out of setup in the game, with stunts, a sequence of roleplaying events, and a bit of fast-talking the Storyteller.

                            It's not as if Solars don't already have a lot of Charms to boost the actual mechanical side of it, so it's nowhere near a case of just reducing the thing to the dreaded Storyteller fiat, it's just one particular aspect in which I think presenting it as extraordinary is something that I think should be hovering outside of mechanical resolutions.

                            ​When it comes to Lunars, my current inclination is towards the idea that pulling off whatever caper is required to make the most powerful Artifacts despite most of the infrastructure being in the hands of the enemy is something that has been done, it's not a thing that Lunars do. It's a character's story, rather than a detail of the archetype from which the Lunar gameplay emerges.

                            ​I'm not trying to guess at what John or Holden or Vance or Eric have in mind, just expressing my own preferences combined with my lines of inspiration that come out of a statement like that.

                            ​Also trying to feel out the limits that the crafting system might present to different characters. It's like Alveua; she's a Second Circle Demon with a crafting focus who has been given a fairly decent Charm that can efficiently produce two-dots, reasonably pull off three, and on occasions where she's very lucky get four, so I would shape some of my expectations on what you ask her to make out of that.

                            ​There's also the matter of, having established that the infrastructure is important, one is a bit limited in how much can be given to characters without it. Maybe there could be compromises in which one writes a Charm with a lot of caveats and conditions for how it can be used, but I think that makes for unattractive Charms in general, I wouldn't find it to fit with my understanding of what even Lunar Charms are, and it feels like putting the cart before the horse.

                            ​Still, I'd also have a sense of a Charm to reduce the time required before making the first roll of a low-level Artifact to be really quick, quicker than the Solar Charm, offset by not having anything like the rest of the crafting suite.

                            ​Really, my initial examples of things like slots and coloured exp may not even be the best support of my own idea, since some kind of manipulation of those feels like it could go along with an image of Lunars who get out things that are quick and cheap for circumstantial benefits. The specifics did not matter back there, I was just trying to focus on what is in the actual Crafting system, and what Solars get to manipulate it, to find key points to contest for other crafters.


                            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                            Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aquillion View Post
                              I think this is what Vance meant when he mentioned a "distinct thematic foundation and conceptual paradigm for their power, which guides the ways in which they realize certain powers" (since it was presented as a "but" to the fact that they do have crafting powers.) Crafting is something they do, but it's something they do on the leaves and edges of their charm tree rather than being a central branch, so to speak.
                              I think this tree thinking is quite a fruitful (groan) way of thinking about it; what are the actual tree structures we're thinking about for "Craft Charms" for Lunars?

                              A couple of extremes along here are:

                              1) An approach where you have what is essentially a Craft tree embedded within a single Attribute. So your Lunar pumps her Intelligence, or whatnot, to meet whatever the maximum requirements for her Craft Charms, and then you just buy linearly up for her through increasing Craft Charms that are all in that Attribute.

                              Pros: This actually allows players with an interest to play a Craft specialised Attribute Exalted.

                              Cons: Seems is a little dull, in that it's just emulating the Ability based set up, and gives not much flavour of being an Attribute based as opposed to Ability based Exalted.

                              2) The approach which I think Aquillion describes, where Craft Charms are all leaves in the Lunar forest. You'll stumble across them as you journey through the forest, and eventually you'll accumulate a nice enough set of them to put something serious and nice together, but you couldn't systematically build up quickly to be very good at crafting very well or quickly.

                              Pros: Really far away from being Ability based.

                              Cons: Really quite a frustrating design if your goal is for your character to be good at anything covered by an Ability niche, like Craft, and to fit into a mixed Circle with Ability Exalts as a specialist.

                              There are a *lot* of middle structures between thesee.

                              One that seems naively quite appealing to me would be as follows:

                              1. Lots of fairly low prereq Craft boosters across a bunch of different Attributes - Strength, Stamina, Dex, Perception, etc. Represent applying the Attribute, shapeshifting power and animal qualities to Craft (speed, strength, precision, tirelessness, keen senses, etc). These are easy to buy into for a character who *hasn't* really specialized into that Attribute at all, and who doesn't have that Attribute as favoured. They're also easy entry, so you don't have to buy through a lot of unrelated Charms around combat, environmental perception etc. to get to them.

                              2. However, a large bulk of Craft stuff is also within one of two mental attributes. Probably Wits (quick or intuitive crafting) and Intelligence (slower, planned, deliberate, reasoned). These mostly build on one another. So it is possible to invest in a few places and build up a Craft specialist.

                              So I think that strikes a nice balance between avoiding the downsides of a set up where you just have a Craft subtree within an Attribute, and you're virtually Silver Solaring it, while also avoiding the pitfalls of a Charmcloud, where everything you want to play a specific archetype or specialist is so randomly strewn that there's an element of forced multiclassing and playing a specialist isn't so possible.

                              Really though, this is just an example, to illustrate the possible space of structures around that the Lunars have to play with. Before the extreme of "leaves in the forest" you can play a bit more with spreading between more Attributes, but still having some primaries, and gating Charms after non-Craft focused Charms, but still having them mostly not.

                              Everyone really has different views about the degree to which players playing a Lunar *should* be able to play a specialist in a similar area to an Ability. Though bear in mind the Abilities are basically selected to represent the primary types of interactions present in the heroic genre Exalted has, so how far do you really want to walk away from them, without messing with Lunar characters' ability to meaningfully contribute to Exalted stories? I'm probably more at the end of suspecting Lunars probably need to be able to specialize fairly robustly around specific applications to be engaging to play in a mixed Circle.

                              (Parenthetically, I think there is also a difference between GSPs having, for'ex a Teleportation focused tree, which is built around that, or a Lunar having for'ex, a Strength tree. Teleportation is a specific kind of application, just an inhuman one that's at the edge of Exalted's genre one that does not have an Ability for it. Having a tree like that supports being a specialist with a good role to play in a group. A Strength tree doesn't seem quite the same thing, in that it could gives rise to a character who has a high general capacity, but might be much weaker at any specific application (covered by an Ability) than any character in the same Circle who has specialised along an application (Ability) based tree.)

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