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Can Solar be Final Boss?

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  • Jen
    started a topic Can Solar be Final Boss?

    Can Solar be Final Boss?



    So, I have been wondering if it's possible to make a Final Boss Battle again a high-essence Solar that look interesting and feel distinctly Solar.

    The other splats can transform into T-Rex, one-wing angel or avatar of bondage play while the Solar just hold a giant hammer, run up to you and then start smashing you until you're dead, it feels kinda......underwhelming to me.

    Not to mention that you could very well be the giant one-wing angel, and it'll probably just looks weird to the reader when the human guy who shines gold is the final boss while a giant demon man is trying to stop the golden guy from casting a spell that rip out everyone heart in the area...

  • Simon Darkstep
    replied
    One of the things I like about White Wolf and Onyx Path games is that any splat can be heroes, and any can be villains. Some of them need some creativity, but it can be done!

    Leave a comment:


  • Lioness
    replied
    Originally posted by Thesaurasaurus View Post

    Honestly I've noticed the same thing. In most games I've played in, for all intents and purposes, the PCs might as well have been the only Solars in existence. And granted, this can WORK if you're putting together a bog-standard group of Chosen Ones on a grand quest to Save The World, but it can really make the setting feel weirdly...empty.
    What makes it so glaring is the radically different approach towards Abyssals. One of the more relevant criticisms I've seen of the canon setting is how utterly the rise of the Deathknights has stolen the thunder from the return of the Solar Exalted with teasing hints from 1e onwards that the Infernals were waiting in the wings poised to do something that would make the Abyssals irrelevant.

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  • Aquillion
    replied
    Solars can absolutely be a final boss, but they're not quite as suitable for it as, say, a powerful spirit for a number of reasons:

    1. If the PCs are Celestials, it can be hard to justify a Solar being significantly more powerful than the circle. There's ways around this, obviously (they could make unfortunate pacts with various powers, or have amazing artifacts, or whatever), but generally the default assumption is that a Solar is going to be roughly as old and experienced as the PCs, so they're naturally going to wonder if their characters have been just doing it wrong.

    2. Solar mechanics are generally designed for PCs. This is less of an issue in 3e (1e and 2e battles against Solars could easily devolve into an unfun slog), but they're still broadly designed for fighting as part of a group of PC adventurers. You can avoid this with artifacts, of course, or by giving them their own team.

    3. Solar aesthetics are designed for PCs. This is a more subjective problem, so there's less to say about it. You can avoid it, again, by giving the Solar Martial Arts, evocations, or Sorcery to give them more flashy aesthetics.

    Leave a comment:


  • Thesaurasaurus
    replied
    Originally posted by Lioness View Post
    Historically, the problem with Solar antagonists is that most of the canonical Solars are trapped in limbo where they got an origin story in the caste books and appear in art and comics but are otherwise not part of the rest of the setting. The setting books of the last two editions weren't calibrated on the assumption that you can be in Yane and hear that the Vanisher has claimed another victim or that there's multiple Solar Exalted active in Nexus. There's clearly enormous trepidation about integrating them into the setting even at minor levels. Unless 3e changes its approach they're basically protagonists of stories we'll never see.

    Thus when you run into a Solar NPC they're a bit like an invader from another world. Also the trend of Solar NPCs as 'failed' PCs meaning there's a very real risk that a less self-aware ST ultimately likes their antagonist way too much or that their actions are seen as favouritism by paranoid PCs.
    Honestly I've noticed the same thing. In most games I've played in, for all intents and purposes, the PCs might as well have been the only Solars in existence. And granted, this can WORK if you're putting together a bog-standard group of Chosen Ones on a grand quest to Save The World, but it can really make the setting feel weirdly...empty.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lioness
    replied
    Historically, the problem with Solar antagonists is that most of the canonical Solars are trapped in limbo where they got an origin story in the caste books and appear in art and comics but are otherwise not part of the rest of the setting. The setting books of the last two editions weren't calibrated on the assumption that you can be in Yane and hear that the Vanisher has claimed another victim or that there's multiple Solar Exalted active in Nexus. There's clearly enormous trepidation about integrating them into the setting even at minor levels. Unless 3e changes its approach they're basically protagonists of stories we'll never see.

    Thus when you run into a Solar NPC they're a bit like an invader from another world. Also the trend of Solar NPCs as 'failed' PCs meaning there's a very real risk that a less self-aware ST ultimately likes their antagonist way too much or that their actions are seen as favouritism by paranoid PCs.

    Leave a comment:


  • Simon Darkstep
    replied
    I have project update #6 , but not Backer update #6 - that I can find. I'll check kickstarter.com and see if it's in my logs there. Thanks!

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Simon Darkstep View Post
    Is the preview still accessible somewhere? I was an Ex3 Kickstarter-er, but I seemed to miss it.
    ​If you had ever downloaded it, it would still be available in your Drivethrurpg library.

    ​If you didn't, it was initially made available in the Kickstarter Backer update #6, so a usable link might still be accessible from there.

    Leave a comment:


  • Simon Darkstep
    replied
    Is the preview still accessible somewhere? I was an Ex3 Kickstarter-er, but I seemed to miss it.

    Leave a comment:


  • VioletDreamer
    replied
    That story is so cool!

    Leave a comment:


  • ParanoiaCombo
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

    ​Your post has put me on some intriguing lines of thought regarding ways that a character's power might be felt at a distance, a greater scope than their individual person, and win conditions based on interlocking details. Thank you for that.
    By the way, we ended up fleeing the satrapy with our tails between our legs after he kicked our stupid asses. Even if we managed to kill him, and there was no guarantee that we could, he had effectively framed us and mindwhammied people into believing we had assassinated the king at the behest of "Realm Imperialist Elites". He cornered us, politically and the optics were super bad.

    We fled back to the Blessed Isle after basically blowing up player's 5 dot Mentor (erased from the sheet, the favor of getting traitors back into the realm was a huge big deal that broke their relationship). We did some grunt work for the houses, joined the wyld hunt, killed a few babby-Solars, then led house legions back to the satrapy with the intent of retaking it by force and purging the place.

    He kicked our stupid asses. Again. You see, while we were out leveling up (sic), he also never stopped getting better and refining. He was also a Solar with a chip on his shoulder. He managed to convince the Lunars we THOUGHT were behind things before into actually getting involved.They thrashed our legions, scuttled our boats with troops on them on the inland sea. We defeated a few Lunars and even a Gold Faction Sid (with help from a Sid ally of our own), but we could not defeat that fucking Solar. The towns had been turned against us, even people who were ostensibly corrupt and easy to bribe like we had before. They were either dead, gone, or too scared to help us, or in rare cases (like my character's mortal lover), completely turned against us emotionally.

    We did manage to beat him, eventually, but not before he took almost everything from us. That's another story though. Hope anything you find here to use makes your games more enjoyable.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by ParanoiaCombo View Post
    I think Solars make excellent long-term foils for non-solar characters. One of the first non-Solar Exalted games I played in was a DB game where we were sent to pacify a satrapy. Civil war broke out and the group basically hijacked it and declared it their own fief and acted as mercs to the great houses. Fun game. Later on down the line, a persistent mortal antagonist, a courtier in the court of the puppet king we had propped up became a Solar. We didn't know that. We were coasting on easy street, and suddenly our plans would get shut down and countered in tons of avenues.

    Our enemy turned out to be a Bureaucracy focused Solar, who knew us well enough. The real terror, as others have pointed out, is being outclassed. While I know it might not jive with some groups, because Exalted is power fantasy, but man it was horrifying to feel such a weight of antagonism against us. Not even the pressure of house Elders to rejoin the fold ever felt as tough as this guy just clogging us up, distracting us, and keeping us on the back foot. We thought it was Lunar insurgents. Nope. We thought it was house politics/gamesmanship. Nope.

    When we finally figured out it was him, we realized it was because he LET us find out, so he could savor that moment of realization crossing our faces. The key thing that made this work for me and not perceive it as no fun was the reveal was just as much a surprise to me, a player, as it was for my character. So my final summation is, Solars make excellent final bosses, but only if your ST is good enough to bring to bear their overwhelming power in way that doesn't feel contrived or unfun because of the setup. I'd say it's a skilled ST who can do this, so use-with-caution.
    ​Your post has put me on some intriguing lines of thought regarding ways that a character's power might be felt at a distance, a greater scope than their individual person, and win conditions based on interlocking details. Thank you for that.

    Leave a comment:


  • ParanoiaCombo
    replied
    I think Solars make excellent long-term foils for non-solar characters. One of the first non-Solar Exalted games I played in was a DB game where we were sent to pacify a satrapy. Civil war broke out and the group basically hijacked it and declared it their own fief and acted as mercs to the great houses. Fun game. Later on down the line, a persistent mortal antagonist, a courtier in the court of the puppet king we had propped up became a Solar. We didn't know that. We were coasting on easy street, and suddenly our plans would get shut down and countered in tons of avenues.

    Our enemy turned out to be a Bureaucracy focused Solar, who knew us well enough. The real terror, as others have pointed out, is being outclassed. While I know it might not jive with some groups, because Exalted is power fantasy, but man it was horrifying to feel such a weight of antagonism against us. Not even the pressure of house Elders to rejoin the fold ever felt as tough as this guy just clogging us up, distracting us, and keeping us on the back foot. We thought it was Lunar insurgents. Nope. We thought it was house politics/gamesmanship. Nope.

    When we finally figured out it was him, we realized it was because he LET us find out, so he could savor that moment of realization crossing our faces. The key thing that made this work for me and not perceive it as no fun was the reveal was just as much a surprise to me, a player, as it was for my character. So my final summation is, Solars make excellent final bosses, but only if your ST is good enough to bring to bear their overwhelming power in way that doesn't feel contrived or unfun because of the setup. I'd say it's a skilled ST who can do this, so use-with-caution.
    Last edited by ParanoiaCombo; 01-20-2018, 07:31 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Epee102
    replied
    Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
    Hmm... Well, if the weapon stats are similar enough that it is functionally balanced, I suppose you might!

    Well, given that "fire from your mouth" is thrown, yeah, I think Archery might cover some abillity (I wonder what determines that for ranged-magical/merit things).

    Final Boss Solar mode, however, might also have some Solar Working level effects kick in as well. It's not technically unique, but in a given game, it might be.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ghosthead
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    I don't know; you can use Archery as the Ability in general projectile attacks, I think.
    Hmm... Well, if the weapon stats are similar enough that it is functionally balanced, I suppose you might!

    Leave a comment:

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