Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Alchemical Exalted - Charm Slots or Installation Costs

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Alchemical Exalted - Charm Slots or Installation Costs

    The Devs said that in third edition they would probably not use both installation costs and charm slots, but would just go with one or the other.

    I did some thinking and I have found myself on the side of Installation Costs.

    The main benefit of Charm Slots for the player is that you can, theoretically, buy more of them so you can increase your holding capacity for charms, while you can't increase your personal essence capacity. So with one way you can have more charms than the other. However, that presents a problem to the developer in several ways because a charm slot can only hold one charm. Because of the charm tree setup, high essence charms need to have all of their prereqs installed too, so getting a particular charm might require expending four or five slots along the way, each of which needs to be worth that expense. And, if you put a charm in more than about seven charms deep, it starts to get problematic. In fact, if you build a "charm bush" with more than seven charms in it at all, it can cause problems, especially since you don't necessarily get more slots free as you go up in essence and qualify for new charms. This means that charm "add-ons" start becoming more necessary and each charm has to do lots of things and every charm soon becomes five pages long.

    The other issue is that this can potentially result in Alchemical Exalted who buy as many slots as they have charms. This is counter to the desired playstyle for Alchemicals and causes the player to miss out.

    Alternately, if one can just assign an Installation cost from 0-3 to each charm, things get much more predictable for the designer and more convenient for the player. The designer can make a particular "charm bush" as big as it needs to be, without making it too huge to actually use by including 0 cost charms in it. They can also balance multiple bushes against each other by ensuring that a player cannot install both at once until they reach a particular Essence rating. Also not every charm needs to have the same degree of utility. The designer can include underpowered or situational charms in the set and reduce their installation costs appropriately so that a character can install them without impacting their effectiveness as much. Alternately, a slightly overpowered charm can have an increased installation cost to compensate.

    For the player, every time they increase their essence, they unlock the ability to have more charms installed at the same time they gain access to a bunch of new charms, so that's good timing. And, assuming the system is well designed, the player should be able to get everything from a specific bush for a given level of mastery for roughly the same amount as another set of a similar type.

    For example, if you set 2 points as basic competence, 6 points as intermediate, and 10 points or above as mastery, a designer could take any number of charms and adjust their costs to fit that rubric and make sure that an "intermediate punch good" bush could be easily swapped out for an "intermediate shoot good" bush without having to recalculate your entire loadout.

    One issue I can see is that, if a player really, really wants a specific loadout but they don't have enough essence to cover the cost, they're SOL until they boost their essence. To address this issue, a "Battery (X)" keyword could be added to indicate that you could buy an addon for (X) XP to reduce the installation cost of that charm by 1. This would allow the players more freedom to combine bushes while still keeping things balanced. And, if two charms absolutely should not be together, you can always leave off the keyword. Alternately define an Incompatible keyword which means it can't be combined with certain other charms.

    Another issue is that, if the game is designed such that a given alchemical can only hold 3-4 bushes at a single time, then the characters will likely need to swap charms much more often than they might with the slot method. So, the vat infrastructure will need to be set up with frequent swapping of lots of charms in mind and alternate methods of charm swapping might need to be explored.

    What do you think?


    Placeholder

  • #2
    I agree with you on Installation costs. Charm slots for me give too much of a Dungeons&Dragons vibe, with its Vancian magic system (different level spell slots, preparing spells, etc), and you're right in that a Charm slot system wouldn't function properly with the whole concept of prerequisite-laden Charm trees/bushes. I also would like that every Alchemical at the same level of power (in permanent Essence) would have the same pool of resources to use on Charms, so I don't like the concept of buying more Charm slots.

    The main problem with Installation costs on the other hand comes with balancing this hugely variable system properly. 0-cost Charms would be a nightmare to balance, since what's to stop an Alchemical to just grabbing them all and then have an answer (albeit, an inefficient, situational and/or poorly suited) for almost everything?

    Alternately, if one can just assign an Installation cost from 0-3 to each charm, things get much more predictable for the designer and more convenient for the player. The designer can make a particular "charm bush" as big as it needs to be, without making it too huge to actually use by including 0 cost charms in it. They can also balance multiple bushes against each other by ensuring that a player cannot install both at once until they reach a particular Essence rating. Also not every charm needs to have the same degree of utility. The designer can include underpowered or situational charms in the set and reduce their installation costs appropriately so that a character can install them without impacting their effectiveness as much. Alternately, a slightly overpowered charm can have an increased installation cost to compensate.
    Hmm, I was thinking that there could be a mechanic similar to Solar Charms' "later Essence repurchase"/"At Ability x+, Essence y+, upgrade" for this: make underpowered and/or situational Charms that have a low installation cost, and then allow Alchemicals to install them with a higher cost to make it more competitive or remove some of the situational conditions?

    Another issue is that, if the game is designed such that a given alchemical can only hold 3-4 bushes at a single time, then the characters will likely need to swap charms much more often than they might with the slot method. So, the vat infrastructure will need to be set up with frequent swapping of lots of charms in mind and alternate methods of charm swapping might need to be explored.
    I'm fine with this, it also opens the door for interesting mechanics, such as jury-rigging a "single-use Charm" in the middle of combat from scrap and Essence, or interfacing with another Alchemical and swapping a Charm between them. I would like to see interesting stories crop up from Alchemicals "behind enemy lines" or "off the grid" where they have to make do with what they have and can fashion themselves, instead of relying on the vat infrastructure.


    This thread also got me into thinking about if they would use similar mechanics such as these to represent the Liminal's ability to swap bodyparts and gain new powers from them.

    Comment


    • #3
      Depends how its handled.

      I like the physical nature of Alchemical charms and how they're literally augmentations, it sounds like I should like charm slots but I don't like how charm slots only care about being dedicated or general rather than where on the Alchemical's body they're supposed to be. They could be better implimented but at the same time there's nothing to stop charms limited by installation cost in motes noting when they have a set location that cannot be shared with other charms.




      Simple Exigent Guidelines, a work in progress

      Comment


      • #4
        My superficial view and advocating for the pro-slots side for the hell of it: Tradeoffs between how many powers you have access to and how much juice you have in a situation don't seem fun to me. Slots don't do that; a slot is a slot and you fill as many as you have.

        That's the only real difference I see between them, as the rest is detail on how much a slot costs, how many you can have, whether one Charm always fits a slot, whether you can expand essence pools but only for Charms, etc.

        But this depends on what playtesters and experienced players of this splat enjoy really.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by The Hug Ninja View Post
          Depends how its handled.

          I like the physical nature of Alchemical charms and how they're literally augmentations, it sounds like I should like charm slots but I don't like how charm slots only care about being dedicated or general rather than where on the Alchemical's body they're supposed to be. They could be better implimented but at the same time there's nothing to stop charms limited by installation cost in motes noting when they have a set location that cannot be shared with other charms.

          The problem here is that then they would step on the Liminals' turf a bit too much for my taste. "Physical augmentations" where you would need to put certain Charms into different body parts just screams "Liminal" design space for me. Also, getting more body parts would then increase your Charm slots too? Then all Alchemicals would be many-headed, many-armed mechanical Hindu gods.... which I'm actually not against, that's just delightfully Asura's Wrath!

          Comment


          • #6
            I wonder if it would be unbalancing for Alchemicals to be allowed Augmentations that would enhance their personal mote pools.

            ​Hmm, even if not unbalanced, presumably having the issue with being almost mandatory (which I presume is the reason why Solars had no such Charms this time around).


            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
            Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
            https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cenrei View Post
              The problem here is that then they would step on the Liminals' turf a bit too much for my taste. "Physical augmentations" where you would need to put certain Charms into different body parts just screams "Liminal" design space for me.
              That's not how Liminals work according to the sample antagonist in the core.
              Their charms are techniques which overcharge their artifical bodies (sometimes to the point that they actually start breaking down) While Alchemical charms have always been artifact-like components which is why they have a limit and require trips to the Vats.
              Originally posted by Cenrei
              Also, getting more body parts would then increase your Charm slots too?
              Adding extra limbs would probably require a charm that would occupy the appropriate slot.


              Simple Exigent Guidelines, a work in progress

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cenrei View Post
                The main problem with Installation costs on the other hand comes with balancing this hugely variable system properly. 0-cost Charms would be a nightmare to balance, since what's to stop an Alchemical to just grabbing them all and then have an answer (albeit, an inefficient, situational and/or poorly suited) for almost everything?
                By making sure that most if not all 0-cost Charms are gated behind Charms that actually requirement commitment, and that almost none of these free Charms serve as stepping stones to other free Charms.

                The 0-cost Charms would be designed only to supplement committed Charms, so they would be useless on their own.


                The sole exception would be Charms like the Excellencies. I like the idea that an Alchemical has an Excellency automatically equipped for free whenever they have any other Charm of the same Attribute installed. Do you have the Piston-Driven Megaton Hammer? Then you have a Strength Excellency!

                If you don't have any Dexterity Charms equipped, then I like the idea that you need to commit 1-mote to have the Dexterity Excellency. Because if it didn't cost you anything to install, then it's not so much a Charm as an Anima Effect, since there would never be a reason to have any Excellency uninstalled.


                Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  That's not how Liminals work according to the sample antagonist in the core.
                  Their charms are techniques which overcharge their artifical bodies (sometimes to the point that they actually start breaking down) While Alchemical charms have always been artifact-like components which is why they have a limit and require trips to the Vats.
                  Ex3 Core, page 50 - Liminal Exalted

                  "RAGGED MEN
                  The Liminals are assembled from patchwork corpses, and continue to replace body parts throughout their lives. Many can steal the cleverness from a liar's tongue, or the prowess of a swordsman's arm. Others simply restore old body parts to keep themselves eternally refreshed and renewed."

                  This to me tells that a Liminal could dig up Usain Bolt's legs, and graft them to their body in order to become one of the best runners in the world.

                  My theory is that the sample antagonist doesn't have these abilities since he's in essence just a Quick Character, and the devs didn't want to give him a complicated mechanic of scavenging different body parts (also, they probably didn't want to lock down the mechanics until the actual Liminal book comes out)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think that bodypart-swapping for Liminals is their equivalent of Heart's Blood shapeshifting or Sidereal Astrology.

                    A universal power that all Liminals have, regardless of Charms. Some Charms may modify or assist this sub-system, but otherwise no Charms are dependent upon it.


                    Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I never liked installation costs. All that does is just reduce your ability to use charms, so why bother installing. Slots though, that I kinda like the idea of, though I'd have to see how it's handled this time. The idea you can have lots of charms, but only have a few on you to use at any given time, gives an interesting dynamic and also would force you to think ahead to how you're equipped for various missions. Do you try to go very general, and be prepared for more possible events? Or go specialized and be able to handle a few possiblilities very well? Just as long as the rule is handled well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by vampire hunter D View Post
                        I never liked installation costs. All that does is just reduce your ability to use charms, so why bother installing. Slots though, that I kinda like the idea of, though I'd have to see how it's handled this time. The idea you can have lots of charms, but only have a few on you to use at any given time, gives an interesting dynamic and also would force you to think ahead to how you're equipped for various missions. Do you try to go very general, and be prepared for more possible events? Or go specialized and be able to handle a few possiblilities very well? Just as long as the rule is handled well.
                        But... Installation Cost does the excact same thing?!
                        Like, you can still only install a limited number of Charms (like with slots), because they cost you to install and be equipped, so you need to consider the exact same questions as with the slots. (generalised or specialised set?)

                        There is no conceptual difference between

                        Charm Slots: 2
                        Slot 1: Charm X
                        Slot 2: Charm Y
                        = no more room for Charm Z

                        and

                        Charm limit: 10 pts
                        Charm X (6 pts)
                        Charm Y (3 pts)
                        = no more room for Charm Z (2 pts)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by vampire hunter D View Post
                          All that does is just reduce your ability to use charms, so why bother installing.
                          Because... if you don't install any charms... you can't use them?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I will grant that someone could make slots work, but I think you'd have to remove the simple "One Slot holds One Charm" rule, at which point they're basically Installation Costs by another name.


                            Placeholder

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                              Because... if you don't install any charms... you can't use them?
                              Right.

                              Mote pools have much simpler formulae now, and it's easy to set Alchemic personal pools large enough to handle the right number of Charms.

                              It's not like all those motes would make a lightly-loaded Mixed Martial Arts Master overpowered.


                              Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X