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Hopes and Desires for Manses in Third Edition

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  • #16
    Oh dear; even with being drawn more to manses be primarily sources of hearthstones, I'm finding certain issues.

    ​I was thinking about some of those Hell manses put in one of the Ink Monkeys articles once. They were neat places, and I'd say they used sample manse powers and features in combinations that were about as effective as could be managed, but I'm left with the indelible question of why one would bother to own them or enter them. Particularly when a lot of their powers, and manse powers in general, were focused on repelling intruders; it raises the question of why somebody is trying to get past those defences in the first place.

    ​The classic answer is that you attack a manse to sabotage the hearthstone, but that has its own problem. I like hearthstones, and think a lot of the example ones are fairly neat, but almost none of them really warrant the effort of building, defending, or breaking a manse.

    ​Not to mention how that whole side of it runs into the persistent problem of significant mechanical elaboration of something that is likely to often happen off-screen. If ninjas invade the manse while none of the players are there, does the Storyteller resolve their navigation of its defences in detail while the players are engaged in whatever scene?


    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)

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    • #17
      I'd have thought the value of having a manse with powerful defences is that you live in it, and it defends you. Or you keep your stuff there, nice and safe.

      If ninjas attack while you're out, then the ST probably isn't going to roll in detail, but they'll probably take the defences into consideration when deciding what happens. If there's no defences, the ninjas get in; if there's some defences, most ninjas get past them but a couple die; if there's strong defences, maybe some die and the rest flee.


      "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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      • #18
        A manse-as-fortress serves the purpose of any fortress. It is a location from which you can project some power with impunity, store precious rescources, and with draw to in case of trouble. I think its noteworthy that more than a few cities have a manse or 2 as their center.
        Now, that being said, I like the idea of manses granting evocation like powers or having more unique functions tied to refining their demense. The key thing to me about a manse is that its most useful if your not playing a globe trotting game. Or, if you are, it's the place to come home to when your done and need to refurbish supplies, examine captured relics, or any of that sort of thing.
        For a globe trotting game, manses are of middling use (the 1 player I have in my Dreaming Sea-tour game that has a manse is using it to run his arms dealing buisness. A former player had her palace in Ysyr as a manse as well, tapping into it's volcanic core for power).
        Sunder the Gold your aware that purchasing a manse grants you the hearthstone and demense right? I mean, I had a player grab a manse explict for that purpose (He grabbed a solar hearthstone, which might need some explaining plot wise later, but meh...). A linked greater heathstone is actually only 4 dots at character creation, and comes with the benefits of the other 2 merits.
        As for hearthstone utillity, I like most of them. The mile radius ones are good for mortals/settlements. Most have niche utillity (gem of fair winds seems like a boon for sailing), altough I love the ones that add evocations to their artifacts.


        I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
          I'd have thought the value of having a manse with powerful defences is that you live in it, and it defends you.
          ​Do you not think that's a bit hard to incorporate into this kind of game?

          It might be a bit exaggerated, but I keep having this image of player characters learning that they're under attack, and then just... staying still in the heart of their manse and waiting to see if the enemy makes it through all of the defences. Maybe they play a board game to pass the time and strike a distinct image if the enemy actually makes it to them.

          Even then, it still doesn't quite resolve the question of what warrants the realisation of this concept in the form of needing to build your fortress on fonts of mystical energy, rather then building them out of superior materials with good engineering.

          ​Or any benefits of sorcery; I don't find manses to be sufficiently distinct in the way that Artifacts are such that they warrant having capabilities that you wouldn't get from using a working, and I don't think it's enough for manses and Craft (Geomancy) to be the option available to the character or Circle that happens to lack sorcery.

          ​Maybe I need a bit of a paradigm shift here; to acknowledge the manse-as-fortress (and a few other applications) as something that does not have equal utility between players and something that exists in the world. That doesn't cover all of my issues, but it's at least something.


          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)

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
            I like hearthstones, and think a lot of the example ones are fairly neat, but almost none of them really warrant the effort of building, defending, or breaking a manse.
            That's because you're looking at the wrong thing. You're putting the cart before the horse.

            The horse - the manse - is the most important part of this equation. Without a manse, there is no hearthstone. Understand that this is a magnitude more severe than saying "a hearthstone is worthless without a manse", because I mean that a Hearthstone is literally nothing - nonexistent - without a manse.

            Many manses are needed to power mobile artifacts; you build a manse to repel attackers to protect your artifact's power source.

            Else the manse itself performs a function that you can access from afar through the connection of its hearthstone.

            Hearthstones are weak. Their powers are pointless and unworthy of mention. Exalted do not make Hearthstones for the Hearthstones, but for the Artifacts they want to fuel with a Manse's energy. Not a Hearthstone's energy; a Manse's.


            ​Not to mention how that whole side of it runs into the persistent problem of significant mechanical elaboration of something that is likely to often happen off-screen. If ninjas invade the manse while none of the players are there, does the Storyteller resolve their navigation of its defences in detail while the players are engaged in whatever scene?
            I imagine those defenses matter most when the Exalt is actually there to take advantage of them as he defends his home personally.

            Otherwise, they matter as much as the storyteller and player agree they matter, for the sake the story they want.


            Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

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            • #21
              I will be honest. I loved the point system build and I am glad the devs have said that they are going back to it.

              I have no great hopes for specific powers but I despise few things more than an entire system boiling down to 'here, the only people that will enjoy this are those with considerable talent for balancing and with a great deal of free-time to homebrew.' Which is why making them anything like artifacts makes me really wary, since that is what artifacts and evocations are looking like atm (hopeful Arms will have more structure).

              What little else I do want is that powers continue being merely descriptive, it is always fun to put together a set of powers and then brainstorm cool ideas as to how they work and the story they tell overall.
              Last edited by Gigaton-Falcon-Emu; 10-01-2017, 12:21 PM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
                As for hearthstone utillity, I like most of them. The mile radius ones are good for mortals/settlements.
                Mortals can't make manses.

                Even if they could, building manses would be the work of kings.

                Sorcerors, kings, and gods usually don't prioritize the little people. Even if they did, they don't need the Hearthstone when the manse itself can project the magic that improves lives.


                manse-as-fortress serves the purpose of any fortress. It is a location from which you can project some power with impunity, store precious rescources, and with draw to in case of trouble. I think its noteworthy that more than a few cities have a manse or 2 as their center.
                Right. The Castle of Lions, the Thundercat Lair, the Autobot Arc and later Autobot City.


                Now, that being said, I like the idea of manses granting evocation like powers or having more unique functions tied to refining their demense.
                Agreed.

                The key thing to me about a manse is that its most useful if your not playing a globe trotting game.
                That just means you need the right kind of manse.

                , altough I love the ones that add evocations to their artifacts.
                The Freedomstone is a terrible joke, though.


                Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                  Mortals can't make manses.

                  Even if they could, building manses would be the work of kings.

                  Sorcerors, kings, and gods usually don't prioritize the little people. Even if they did, they don't need the Hearthstone when the manse itself can project the magic that improves lives.
                  No, but I assume that there isn't total control on hearthstone production. An a hearthstone has the ability to be moved to desirable regions to show favor. I mean, the picture we have shows a hearthstone in small shrine with a single guard. It'd be a way to show favor on communities.


                  Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                  The Freedomstone is a terrible joke, though.
                  Really? The last two evocations there would have saved the life of 1 Dragonblooded and avoided the near murder of 2 of my solar players.


                  I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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                  • #24
                    "Really? The last two evocations there would have saved the life of 1 Dragonblooded and avoided the near murder of 2 of my solar players."

                    The Evocation to slip free of bonds.

                    If I am tying someone up, I'm stripping them of their fancy magical bangle and jewel. What good does it do them, them?


                    Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                      "Really? The last two evocations there would have saved the life of 1 Dragonblooded and avoided the near murder of 2 of my solar players."

                      The Evocation to slip free of bonds.

                      If I am tying someone up, I'm stripping them of their fancy magical bangle and jewel. What good does it do them, them?
                      You're assuming that you're not using charms mid combat to try and tie people up. If you're trying to get free of a net or vines or what-have-you tangling you up then the freedom stone is actually quite potent.

                      That's still only one out of three evocations and isn't a prerequisite for the other two. The two grapple related ones are damn handy.

                      Then again I agree that the majority of the hearthstone powers are quite low-use. Especially ones where you actually need a second hearthstone to allow you to gain the benefits of the first. IE the 'Dependent' keyword is bullshit. You'd need at least 12 dots of merits (one hearthstone amulets(00) and matching armor(000), and a greater manse(00000) and a lesser hearthstone(00))directed to gaining a single non-charm success to shape sorcery actions with the Hierophant’s Eye. You'd also get an artifact armor out of this, but that's only a three dot value compared to all the rest and you'd arguably get more benefit from the armor than the rest combined

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                      • #26
                        Did we all forget wild-born hearthstones are a thing?

                        There are likely a fair few hearthstones with no connection to a manse at all just knocking about creation. Hell, after the wyld came in there might be a few orphaned manse-born hearthstones in there, as long as they were steady.

                        I think it would actually make more sense for the setting if the option to forgo a hearthstone for extra manse power didn't return. The way wild-born ones work they just seem to be a natural consequence of concentrating the power of a demesne. You build a manse to channel that power, and the way you have to do it means a useful rock just always pops out as a bonus. Why would an exalt make this stone? They literally couldn't help it.

                        That helps with the weirder powers too, if it's just random unless you specifically aim for a certain stone. Most manse builders don't actually care what hearthstone pops up, and since it's extra work to specify they just leave it to chance.

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                        • #27
                          Also you could stick the freedom stone in a daiklave and send it Elsewhere. Good luck disarming someone of that.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                            Did we all forget wild-born hearthstones are a thing?
                            Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                            I like the "Wild-born" Hearthstones; they're neat, and a good way to spice up Creation. But they are something so different from Hearthstones that they shouldn't even be called Hearthstones. When you don't need to build a manse to get it, it doesn't help you respire motes, it can't be used to power a Warstrider, and it continues working even when the demesne is destroyed, it's not really a Hearthstone. It's just a magic rock. I prefer to call them "Wildgems".

                            They're still better than the actual Hearthstones, though.
                            No, we did not.


                            I think it would actually make more sense for the setting if the option to forgo a hearthstone for extra manse power didn't return. The way wild-born ones work they just seem to be a natural consequence of concentrating the power of a demesne. You build a manse to channel that power, and the way you have to do it means a useful rock just always pops out as a bonus. Why would an exalt make this stone? They literally couldn't help it.

                            That helps with the weirder powers too, if it's just random unless you specifically aim for a certain stone. Most manse builders don't actually care what hearthstone pops up, and since it's extra work to specify they just leave it to chance.
                            That runs against the name "Hearthstone" and the idea that this rock is so important to the manse that carrying it around with you is like standing in the manse.


                            Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                              That runs against the name "Hearthstone" and the idea that this rock is so important to the manse that carrying it around with you is like standing in the manse.
                              I'm not sure that idea is really a thing, honestly. You could justify it just fine with something like "geomantic resonance". Like, it's a coalesced chunk of the demesne you can carry around with you.

                              Maybe "hearthstone" came about as a name because a completed manse always produces one. It appearing is the opening ceremony, basically. It means the manse is complete. And wild-born ones, which have always been a thing even before they invented manses, used to have a different name but ever since they figured out they were basically the same thing people just started calling them by the name of the more accessible manse-produced version even though it's not really accurate.

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                              • #30
                                I've revised a few of my opinions. I've got some images in mind that serve as an inspiration or reference point for what functions manses might serve, and may go into them later, but at the moment my basic standard for how to assess their use in gameplay extends from a single, key observation:

                                ​The game currently contains powers that can only be used once per story.

                                ​That's not necessarily a matter of manses having powers that, in their function, can only be used once per story, but about giving me a frame of reference for powers built with the assumption that they can't or won't be used frequently. To think of the powers of manses not in terms of "this thing needs to have persistent use within the chronicle", but rather about powers that would warrant regularly (if infrequently) returning to the manse for the sake of making use of them.

                                ​That even provides a basis for the value of a manse as a fortress if I assume that it means that players have somewhere to which they can retreat and make a stand if confronted with an enemy that might be more dangerous than they want to deal with in the open, that can also be expected to chase them home.

                                ​These being in cases where the nature of the chronicle (or a few stories within it) are taking place within a consistent zone that radiates out from the manse, and is running based on assumptions of more persistent access to it.

                                ​I think that I can also make better sense of manses if I don't think of them in terms of a power plant and more as a sacred space that becomes amenable to the processes that take place within. If I set up a brazier for a sacred hearth fire or an orrery for certain astrological observations set up in a building constructed according to precise parameters atop a space resonating with the sun or stars, the objects aren't inseparable from the floor or walls, or having Essence channelled into them as though it was electricity, as... the spot has been consecrated to the functions you want to perform within it. If that makes sense as a distinction.


                                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)

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