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Has anyone used Steel Devil Style?

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  • Has anyone used Steel Devil Style?

    I'm trying to understand why anyone would ever pick this Martial Art. It relies entirely upon beating the enemy's Defense multiple times. This makes it great for mortal-slaying, as an Exalt with 5 Dex + 5 MA + 1 specialty + 5 accuracy with paired artifact short swords can easily wrap around Defense 2 or Defense 3 multiple times. I don't see how it's ever going to be good against another Exalt who can easily have a Defense anywhere between 5 and 9 before an Excellency. 16 dice just doesn't let you wrap around against that unless you roll exceptionally well, so you're throwing motes away on Double Attack Technique that aren't giving you value even when you hit.

    Am I missing something here? Or is Steel Devil Style as terrible as I think it is?

  • #2
    ...How does an exalt get Defense 9 before excellency?


    I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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    • #3
      Even aside from the dubious math claims, keep in mind that PCs are often in the company of PCs. A Steel Devil user with a Solar Brawl buddy to stick onslaught penalties can get some serious synergy together.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
        ...How does an exalt get Defense 9 before excellency?
        Assume all Exalts have 5 Dexterity + 5 (Relevant Ability) + Specialty. That puts Evasion/Parry at 6 by default. Now, with that as the base:

        Crane Style Martial Artist using a Hook Sword (+1 Defense) in Crane Style Form (+1 Parry) using Full Defense (+2 Defense, no Initiative cost) is Parry 10.
        Steel Devil Style Martial Artist using paired Hook Swords (+1 Defense) in Dual-Slaying Stance (+2 Parry) is Parry 9.
        Ebon Shadow Style/Black Claw Style/Silver-Voiced Nightingale Style Martial Artist using the Form Charm (+1 Defense/Evasion) with Fourfold Shiver Binding (+1 Evasion) is Evasion 8. Used with Drifting Leaf Elusion, effective Evasion 9.

        Granted, these are all using dice added by Charms and lower the Excellency cap, but they're scene-long effects and so the defender isn't spending additional essence beyond what they've already committed to defend. Double Attack Technique is costing you 2 motes each time.

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        • #5
          Oh! OKay. I have little experience with Steel Devil Stlye, so I can't help, but that math seemed off. I hadn't considered scene long charms. I wouldn't say MA are 'easy' since it's a specific set of charms (all exalted PCs I've played with go up to 6 at most).


          I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
            Even aside from the dubious math claims, keep in mind that PCs are often in the company of PCs. A Steel Devil user with a Solar Brawl buddy to stick onslaught penalties can get some serious synergy together.
            Falling Hammer Strike is a great Charm, but there are enough abilities in the game that allow you to ignore penalties to your Defense that even a Brawl swim buddy isn't always going to be enough to make your build viable. Single Point Shining into the Void Style exists, too, and also works great with a Brawl friend, while being much more viable solo.

            The only two things I see going for Steel Devil Style is 9 Parry, and +2 on Clash attacks from paired weapons. That might be the only viable way to play the style - delay until your opponent attacks, then Clash with Double Attack Technique. That still costs you 2 Initiative each time, though, and doesn't work if they simply choose to ignore you and hit someone else.

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            • #7
              The style's not as reliant on Double Attack Technique as it looks. Dual Slaying Stance + Twin-Blade Defence is an extremely potent defensive setup, which you can combine with Crane through dual hook swords to reflexively defend other and decisively counterattack everything Team Bad Guy does. That tactic does serious work against individually powerful enemies like maxed out Exalts, should you find yourself fighting them, while the baseline of Triple Attack Techniquing people gets large amounts of damage cheaply against weaker enemies and battle groups, since they can't deal with the onslaught.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Iron Phoenix View Post
                Assume all Exalts have 5 Dexterity + 5 (Relevant Ability) + Specialty.
                This is a bad assumption, considering the book itself said otherwise.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iron Phoenix View Post
                  Falling Hammer Strike is a great Charm, but there are enough abilities in the game that allow you to ignore penalties to your Defense
                  There's a lot of solar charms that let you do that. There's also probably less than 100 solars in all creation who have focused enough on combat to have learned those charms, and a good chunk of them you should be able to find common ground with on account of having the same enemies if you run into them.

                  For other enemies onlsaught penalty ignoring abilities are pretty far from universal, and usually more expensive than Double Attack Technique is. Of the celestial exalt sample antagonists only the Abyssal has one (which makes sense since Solar and Abyssal charms are probably a lot alike except when they're exact opposites).

                  So maybe not so great if you're going to fight a ton of solars and corrupted solars, but those guys are incredibly rare and onslaught will hurt the vast majority of opponents in the world.

                  Still Single Point probably is better than Steel Devil at everything but clashing and parrying, and Melee is better than both at pretty much everything.
                  Last edited by limaxophobiac; 07-17-2017, 08:52 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Yeah...I can say with 100% certainty that "all exalts have a maxed out combat pool" is simply not true in my games, even among PCs.

                    As for Steel Devil, I will agree it can have some trouble when used solo, especially if you are not using it alongside other martial arts, and offensively tends to falter against effects that protect against onslaught penalties, so I would not necessarily be against house-ruling some slight buffs to it

                    That said, even damn mighty supernatural opposition often lacks Charms for that. Even the freaking directional wargod Ahlat, for all that he has some pretty amazing combat Charms, lacks an onslaught negator (and his parry is 6, not in 7-10 that optimized Exalts can hit). So, for most opposition, in a PC-group environment in which onslaught penalties are very likely to be applied, Steel Devil should be fine, even against a "boss battle" like Ahlat.

                    Legendary Size creatures have one of the best onslaught negators possible, but also often have low defenses. If you are playing a Behemoth Hunter, you may want to pick a different martial art, though. Presumably Lunars that can become giant beasts can get this too, but likely paying accordingly. It probably costs more, in some way, to become a pestletail than a turtle.

                    Even against exalts, well, we still have to find out (hopefully soon!) what Terrestrial onslaught negation looks like, it might be enough less powerful or more costly than the Solar options as to not be so worrying as a Steel Devil. The QCs in the Corebook hint at limited amounts of penalty negation, or negation that costs motes and initiative, and perhaps a lack of long duration options.

                    In short, I could be for house-ruling some buffing for the style, but I don't think the situation is as dire as the OP puts it.




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                    • #11
                      Eh. I gave it to a bossfight the PCs fought, and she did some damage before they killed her. Haven't run it on a PC, but it seemed serviceable enough, particularly paired with a couple of daiklaves (with poison evocations to get the enemy's defenses down a bit) and a couple Dragonblooded minions (to bring the Onslaught penalties).


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                      • #12
                        Max statting white-rooming is not the definitive word on a character's viability.

                        There is no such thing as a perfectly balanced game, specially not one with the mechanical heft of Ex3.

                        "Winning" is not the only reason to have combat capability. Surviving and helping others win are also important.

                        If you want to be "the Best", you should probably branch out and get Charms from other Styles and Abilities.

                        Why would someone pick Steel Devil over SPSItV?

                        Because it is a viable combat option against most things in the setting. Because they want to. Because they like the aesthetics.

                        Maybe they like Aoshi more than Battousai.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Iron Phoenix View Post

                          Assume all Exalts have 5 Dexterity + 5 (Relevant Ability) + Specialty. That puts Evasion/Parry at 6 by default. Now, with that as the base:

                          Crane Style Martial Artist using a Hook Sword (+1 Defense) in Crane Style Form (+1 Parry) using Full Defense (+2 Defense, no Initiative cost) is Parry 10.
                          Steel Devil Style Martial Artist using paired Hook Swords (+1 Defense) in Dual-Slaying Stance (+2 Parry) is Parry 9.
                          Note that using a martial art for your parry (intead of melee) means that you can't use the extremely good solar onslaught negators. Which means that you can surpass that parry piling onslaught with, say, brawl charms.

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                          • #14
                            So what I'm gathering so far is:

                            1) No, nobody has played a PC in a game using Steel Devil Style. (This kind of reinforces my point. People aren't finding it cool/good enough to take it.)
                            2) Outside of Lanaya's suggestion to take Crane Style with it, nobody has ideas how to make it work besides "pair up with Onslaught buddies."

                            I was hoping there was something inside the style that I misunderstood or overlooked that made it better than my base assumptions, but based on the responses here, that doesn't seem to be the case.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Iron Phoenix View Post

                              1) No, nobody has played a PC in a game using Steel Devil Style. (This kind of reinforces my point. People aren't finding it cool/good enough to take it.)
                              Well now I kinda want to. Steel Devl wasn't on my radar because I prefer unarmed fighters aesthetically (whether brawl or MA) and as such didn't consider it (I also didn't consider Shining Point Into the Void, but eh).


                              I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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