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{Poll] Should Martial Arts be Superior to the other Combat Abilities?

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  • {Poll] Should Martial Arts be Superior to the other Combat Abilities?

    So, here's the thing. Exalted draws from many sources, some Western, some Eastern. The Eastern sources are mostly from the vast canon of Wuxia and other things which are based in that canon and share tropes with it. In my admittedly very basic knowledge of Wuxia, one of the tropes that seems to come up a lot is the idea that "If you're not a Martial Artist, then you're a scrub and easily dealt with by a true member of the Lakes and Rivers."

    The Western sources don't really have that. Certain people might be bad-asses, but it's likely to be due to innate talent or a divine blessing or just normal soldier training, instead of super special Kung-Fu training. Conan, Hercules, and Samson are all powerful fighters, but none of them achieved that via special chi-training or anything that I think of as Martial Arts.

    This has left Exalted with a bit of a schizo feel to it, because half of the game's DNA is saying "Martial Arts should be BETTER than all other combat options," and half is saying "Hey, these other options should be just as good as your Ti Kwan Leep Style."


    So, it's made me curious to know who supports what option. If you want to vote, like the post or posts that you agree with and then feel free to comment in the thread.


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  • #2
    LIKE this post if you think that Martial Arts should be the BEST combat option.


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    • #3
      LIKE this post if you think all combat options should be more or less EQUAL
      Last edited by BrilliantRain; 05-22-2017, 01:13 AM.


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      • #4
        LIKE this post if you think Martial Arts should be WORSE than the other options.


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        • #5
          LIKE this post if you think it DEPENDS and should vary based on Exaltation type or other external factors.


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          • #6
            As for myself, I feel like, if we're gonna charge mortals 4 background dots to learn MA, then they should get some kind of extra benefit for it. That said, I'd also be perfectly fine with getting rid of that requirement for mortals, in which case I think the effectiveness of the options should be equal.


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            • #7
              In general I feel that each combat style should be fairly close in terms of combat viability to every other style, such that there isn't such a a clear-cut "best" style that makes players feel as if they are are actively hurting their character's combat capabilities by not picking it.

              "Martial Arts" does require a significant investment - if you want to master 3 styles, you have to raise your Martial Arts Ability to 5 three times, whereas to master Melee or Archery, you only need to raise an ability to 5 once. Martial Arts balances this by having a lot of versatility within the styles, making each style feel like a grab-bag of awesome effects, that may have required a player to invest in multiple different Abilities to be able to do those things, while also offering combat viability on part with more dedicated combat Abilities. Other styles offer unique synergy with various Abilities.

              Overall, I feel that Martial Arts in 3rd edition seem to work well enough. They're neither overpowered nor underpowered in comparison to other options, at least for Solars. We'll see how Martial Arts feels in comparison to other Exalted when they come out.

              It's also important to remember that you can represent someone in the setting as a martial artist without having to give them Martial Arts. You could make a Kyudo-themed archer who uses Archery. You don't have to create a unique bow and arrow-focused Martial Art style for them, or for every other character who is a martial artist.

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              • #8
                The Martial Arts Ability, if you're buying it for a mortal, shouldn't require a merit. The entire purpose of the merit is to gate off access to the Charms, which mortals can't buy anyway.

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                • #9
                  I admit, I never got the point of the merit. The Charms for Tiger Style are already "balanced" behind the fact that you have to spend experience buying up the Tiger Style Ability, which will only let you purchase the Tiger Style Charms. This means you are spending the experience/BP to raise an Ability to 5, and at most you will only ever be able to learn 11 Charms.

                  Meanwhile the player who spent same amount of experience/BP getting his Melee to 5, has access to dozens of Charms and can create new Charms (insofar as the ST allows).

                  The merit isn't terrible for some mortals, in that learning a Martial Art style allows the mused both unarmed and weapon-equipped attacks. But then the weapons available tend to be fairly limited compared to an Ability like Melee or Archery, and none of that doesn't apply to styles like Righteous Devil or SPSItV Style which simply can't be used unarmed. In fact, a mortal learning those limited-weapon/no-unarmed-strike styles should probably treat the merit as a Flaw and get some bonus points out of the deal.

                  Though it's also possible the merit was intended to "future proof" if the idea that was floated some years ago, about giving Martial Artists access to unique gambits depending on their style ever ends up going through, in which case non-Charm Martial Arts may need a merit to balance it against other combat styles.

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                  • #10
                    Huh? Melee is Martial Arts. Watch a wuxia film, people are always cutting each other with swords.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                      It's also important to remember that you can represent someone in the setting as a martial artist without having to give them Martial Arts. You could make a Kyudo-themed archer who uses Archery. You don't have to create a unique bow and arrow-focused Martial Art style for them, or for every other character who is a martial artist.
                      That´s how we represent it in our group. Want to be a Niten practitioner? Pick Melee with a "Two Swords" specialization, Judo, Brawl with a Grappling specialization, and such. Martial Arts is specifically for the supernatural, weird, mystical styles.

                      But it´s true the only one who has picked a Martial Art (a Dreaming Courtesan Style bodyguard-dancer) picked the Merit, and I have always feel I should have known better and give him the Merit for free. He wasn´t interested in other Martial Arts, so he has 4 less merit points that others, in exchange of a lack of variety and progression... XD

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                      • #12
                        Martial Arts should be superior to the other combat abilities... outside of combat and equal but different to them for combat applications.

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                        • #13
                          Depends on your definition of better/worse.

                          Obviously melee/archery/thrown are also martial arts, just accessible to all exalt types. I also believe it is inevitable that MA will be better for some, such as Sidereals and their mirror-splat, if only because of access to Sidereal martial arts which is their 'thing'.

                          Anyway, there will be a lot MA and the sheer variety and flexibility to tailor (and flavor) a character's fighting style will certainly always give them the edge, for me anyways. As for whether it is better mechanically than the native combat abilities depends on how well their other charms trees synergize with the published MA as well as the other MA's. Problem here is that MA need to be able to play nice both with all of these and not break anything. I believe this is a bit much to ask and unwanted combo's will certainly arise. Arguably, we're already there.

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                          • #14
                            I've actually changed my answer (from "should be equal"), because I think all of the options presented don't quite cover the range of what is available.

                            ​It seems to me that Martial Arts can't really be considered equal to other combat Abilities and the Charms they convey for reasons including the matter of how, if you want to learn Charms in Solar Melee, you only need Melee 5 once and that gives you access to everything so long as you get the prerequisites, and it can all be rather diverse, whereas with Martial Arts, Styles can vary such that a whole range of them can afford a lot of capabilities, but you need to learn a new Martial Arts Ability for every one of them in addition to the Charms.

                            ​And at the same time, different Styles can have varying levels of kill power based on what their theme is. I would hesitate to call Black Claw Style equal to Solar Brawl.

                            ​But that's not as simple as anything being inferior or superior, because Black Claw Style is a good expression of the slightly obscure thing that it wants to do, so whether it's a matter of character focus or circumstantial tactical avenues, it functions effectively.

                            ​I think there's something to take from the Wuxia sources above and beyond merely designating Martial Arts as a distinct thing, but I think that debate plays out better in the battlefields of people's campaigns rather than on forums. Which is to say, the thing to take from Wuxia isn't "martial arts is the best" but rather "the desire to fight people to prove that martial arts is the best can be a compelling impetus for stories".

                            ​(I mean, even if one martial artist managed to beat all challengers, it would still be wrong in the manner that all expressions of survivor bias are wrong, but it can still be a compelling motivation)


                            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                            • #15
                              I voted for DEPENDS, because that was the closest option to what feels right for me.

                              I think Martial Arts should be better than other combat options, for the specific thing for which the martial art is designed. Martial arts aren't like other fighting arts - they grant esoteric, themed tricks that don't easily fit into other Abilities.

                              Righteous Devil should be better than Archery... but only for the purpose of doing firewand tricks. Black Claw should be better than performance... but only for the purpose of making you look like a victim even as you tear someone's heart out. Single Point Shining Into The Void should be better than melee... but only for single-stroke battles. Martial Arts are powerful, but each one is lacking in diversity compared to the main 25 Abilities, and you can't use more than one Form charm at a time.


                              On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

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