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A Closer Look: Solars vs Dragonblooded

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  • #16
    I adore the narrative of Solars. And my storytelling is usually more story oriented and mechanics-lite. Probably why I'm more tolerant to it.


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    • #17
      So that's combat, what about social? I haven't made time to read the book yet but from what I hear the gap might be far narrower there.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
        So that's combat, what about social? I haven't made time to read the book yet but from what I hear the gap might be far narrower there.
        *Cracks knuckles*


        Eh...tomorrow...

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        • #19
          Originally posted by SpruceStripedGoose View Post

          The DB do have some of those dice tricks but they seem a bit less arbitrary to me, they feel more like a clear bonus and less like matching three cherries on a slot machine.

          Our group kinda did the same thing feeling out Solars, through a series of medium length campaigns we learned the in and outs of playing EX3 Solars and pretty much found every trick and option to make them more playable and challenge them...but then we moved on to other systems for a bit and realized looking back that we have literally ZERO interest in playing EX3 with Solars ever again, and its not like we just got burnt out on them for the time being, with the benefit of hindsight we are really certain that they just aren't something that we consider worth wasting the time and effort on to massage a satisfactory experience out of playing them.
          Yeah I have to say STing for Solars and even playing one was an odd experience. I felt almost as if they were out of scope with the world they were in. To which some people would reply, "Of course they are, that's the point!". That's not really what I mean though, it's just that the challenges that the game seemed to be leading me toward my players were just so far beneath them, and I couldn't plausibly come up with harder ones. I ended up having to make a river spirit dragon as powerful as a directional censor to get the kind of plot I wanted out of it, and that just felt wrong.

          Maybe the scope that I wanted to play at just wasn't Solar scope? I preferred smaller games centered around a single kingdom, but all the threats of the wilderness or the gods just ended up crumpling to my players without having to pass over a second thought. I might come back to ST them if I want to play a truly epic game where the world is being torn apart and I can justify some of the stuff better. Otherwise it can feel at bit like playing Superman in the Nolan Batman films.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
            So that's combat, what about social? I haven't made time to read the book yet but from what I hear the gap might be far narrower there.

            I would say that looking at the DB charms they are still numerically way less powerful in terms of the social systems, but the saving grace there is that EX3 does a pretty good job of making the social system something that can't be "won" or "lost" unlike like the combat system. So even if Solars are way more likely to wildly succeed in social actions, the result of those actions are usually way more nuanced and flavourful, in contrast to that same sort of threshold success attached to a sword strike utterly obliterating someone.

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            • #21
              I think tellings stories for Solars is like the good comics for Superman, that is, the best and most compelling Superman stories are not about him being challenged by comprable power, but rather How he deals with the consequences and problems of having so much power. These arnt the easiest stories to tell, and tell good, but this may be part of it. I am not trying to say anyone is playing the game wrong, but rather that the types of stories that Solars excel in may be narrower than other splats. Thoughts?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Saipjas View Post
                I think tellings stories for Solars is like the good comics for Superman, that is, the best and most compelling Superman stories are not about him being challenged by comprable power, but rather How he deals with the consequences and problems of having so much power. These arnt the easiest stories to tell, and tell good, but this may be part of it. I am not trying to say anyone is playing the game wrong, but rather that the types of stories that Solars excel in may be narrower than other splats. Thoughts?
                Agreed. Those are also my favourite superman comics. Although I admit sometimes watching big blue struggle can be good too. Even something as simple as needs the help of Lex Luthor's secretary to remove his kryptonite necklace.

                Either way I have definitely head this before. The problem there is threefold in my opinion. One is that it requires a lot of buy in from all the players. You need to have a party that's basically willing to sit there and have interesting philosophical debates about how much of their power is too much, at what point do they ceaS being leaders and start being slaves to the million injustices of the world, how can they give their people free will and security, etc.

                Another is just that those stories are hard to craft. I consider myself a pretty veteran ST, and I struggle to do that kind of plot on a weekly basis.

                The third is that you actually don't need to be as powerful as all that to tell those kind of stories. Well, okay to be One Punch Mans Saitama you do. DBs are perfectly capable of telling those stories though. A Solar might tear down a Satrap effortlessly and then the story would be about what are the consequences of living in a place that's been a satrapy so long that their culture has started to entwine itself with each other, can you even separate them anymore? Do you deport the troops who surrendered? What of the ones who fought for the realm loyally but were natives?

                You can actually tell those stories with Dragonblooded protagonists too, but the focus is more split I guess. Whereas in some satrapies I might jus tell let the circle walk into the throne room and hand wave the ensuing combat to get to the good stuff, I mean what's he got? A couple young DBs and a few mortal guards? Whereas there'd be at least a few sessions of terrestrials setting up this coup.


                So maybe that's it, the Solar focus is just different, the combats are kind of supposed to be compelling for their one sidedness. Like maybe I should play out that throne room brawl just to remind everyone how easy it is, and then contrast that to how hard the other parts are. Either way I think i like the lower power version better.

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                • #23
                  I wonder if Infernals and Abyssals will fall into the same "easy mode" problem as solars do. It might be unavoidable, all things considered.

                  Still, I suppose they'll at least have the solars to fight. And finally provide a challenge to the same.

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                  • #24
                    Has anyone looked into what anti-HTH options DBs have?


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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Ekorren View Post
                      Has anyone looked into what anti-HTH options DBs have?
                      There is an essence 3 resistance charm that can reduce knockback called immovable mountain technique. It’s up to the ST for the effect but it suggests HTH might half the successes for the purposes of determining knockback.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                        "Great analysis"
                        I would be excited to see you do this for DB vs Lunars (when we get them) as they are enemies and have been for a long time.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by light-hero View Post
                          I would be excited to see you do this for DB vs Lunars (when we get them) as they are enemies and have been for a long time.
                          Thanks! Stay tuned in this thread for my non-combat analysis! I might split it into non combat and social.

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                          • #28
                            DrLoveMonkey I think you raise VERY valid points and I absolutely agree these are not easy to run stories. I think it might have been an added benefit of mine that I was running by weekly not weekly. I think you accurately put it that a Solar games focus is different than the others, by nature of who it is. When I ran my Solar Shard, I typically came at the party indirectly, or at an angle from what they were used to. Typically the main villains were trying to use their own strength against them, and in that way it creates drama and tension. Though like supes, the only ones who could challenge them on an equal footing were things massively outside the league of anything else in setting.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                              Maybe the scope that I wanted to play at just wasn't Solar scope? I preferred smaller games centered around a single kingdom, but all the threats of the wilderness or the gods just ended up crumpling to my players without having to pass over a second thought.
                              And, to be fair to you, a lot of the flavor for Solar Exalted in first and third edition seems to agree with what you want to play. Like, the book suggests against a global perspective, but that can be hard to do when you have to go up to Second Circle Demons, other Celestial Exalted, or Directional Gods of War to challenge players meaningfully for combat. I've yet to find a full fix for it, but here's a couple of things I've tried.
                              • First is just kinda buffing most things in the book. The EX modes in Sandact6's amazing bestiary are a good approach to this.
                              • Actually, just use Sandact6's bestiary. If you get past the trolling in its writing, the thing is full of mechanical blocks that you can reskin into basically any game to make combat more challenging for PCs.
                              • Another trick I have taken to is making battle groups more powerful. For starters, I've made Might much, much more common. It's still rare to see things running around with might all the time, but any god worth its salt can hand out Might to their people for important battles. Secondly, attacks from battle groups inflict onslaught penalties equal to the group's Size; fighting an opponent in the middle of their Size 5 battle group is now mostly suicidal.
                              • With the new Dragon-Blooded content, I haven't had a chance to try this stuff, but you'd better believe that boss-tier Dragon-Blooded do not play by the same rules for Aura mechanics. Wanna fight a narratively important Dragon-Blooded? Their Aura is going to be what they want it to be, elemental keywords be damned.
                              • The other trick is, as people in this thread mentioned, players choosing intentionally suboptimal builds. I highly recommend this one. One of my friends is running a game where the game-contract agreement was "No Combat (Archery, Brawl, Martial Arts, Melee, Thrown) Supernals" and it runs much closer to what the text suggests Solars should feel like. Our circle is running a kingdom, shaking the world, and being the talk of the region, but we're also dreading and preparing the day that the Realm, Lookshy, Prasad or (gulp) all three notice us
                              When it comes to Dragon-Blooded PCs in Solar parties, I actually think that they're in a good spot. They're going to underperform the other PCs, but they can do weird elemental shit that Solars don't get (without evocations) and being in a party with Solars actually covers one of their main weaknesses for combat - needing to be doing well consistently. Lastly, I think that the nature of the current Dragon-Blooded set is such that the only real buffs they need in a Solar party are some tweaks on experience numbers. This is a really slapdash fix, but bringing Evocations down to 10xp (or lower, if necessary) can put a serious bandaid on that power scale. Same with giving a player some free Terrestrial XP each session for being a Terrestrial in a Celestial group.



                              Exalted is an aesthetic.

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                              • #30
                                What do you think of the DB's chances with the Immaculate Styles? I'm only a few charms in but they seem stronk


                                Raksha are my fae-vorite.

                                Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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