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3E Charm Benefit Perception and Mote Economy

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  • DrLoveMonkey
    replied
    So surely this dice trick thing is mostly a Solar problem right? I’m not really seeing much of it in the DB charmset. I mean it’s there for sure, but not all over the place, right? Or am I misunderstanding something again?

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  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    The problems I've seen with players and dice-trick charms are:
    a)they don't understand the efficiency, and sometimes use a dice trick when an excellency would be better (though this is hardly a big issue, it's just wasting a mote or two)
    b)it slows them down a lot, as they're checking more charms (like AnubisXy's players, they find it difficult to remember charms that just do some fiddly stuff, whereas something like Ghost-Cutting Technique or Blazing Solar Bolt they can remember, as it creates a new ability).
    c)they look at all their charms, assume they're all useful and use a whole bunch (which causes the aforementioned issue), forgetting that half of those charms are just adding 1 or 2 extra successes (performance and presence have been the worst for this, causing the Zenith to throw down 20 successes, but without using things like Hypnotic Tongue or Fulminating Word his targets can just spend 1wp)
    d)some of them get incredibly confused by extra dice or successes interacting with their dice cap. They've got much better since we started (we had several sessions where they constantly forgot that they couldn't add 4 successes and 10 dice), but I still have to remind people, or sometimes just work out their dice caps for them sometimes.

    That last one isn't an issue of the dice tricks that do things like double 8s or re-roll 6s, but rather the ones that give you extra dice equal to your intimacy level, or successes equal to half your essence, or something like that.

    I should also say that I myself aren't sure if the extra dice you get from something that lets you "roll an extra dice for each 10 you roll" counts towards the dice cap or not. (I suspect they do, being dice from charms... but that makes them utterly crap so I've assumed they don't.)


    The absolute worst one is Craft, because you may well be combining multiple charms. I had to write this explanation for my Twilight player just so he could roll using an excellency and 2 charms:
    20 dice

    Flawless Handiwork Method (re-roll 10s)

    Bright-Forging Prana (1/story): [Supreme Masterwork Focus x3 (double 7s), Experiential Conjuring of the Void (1 success and 10 extra dice, all non-charm), Unbroken Image Focus (5 extra successes plus 1 per success rolled before double 9s, all non-charm)]

    So, in conclusion:

    Roll 20 dice, for each 10 roll an extra dice.
    7s, 8s and 9s are each worth 3 successes, 10s are worth 4

    Then roll another 10 dice, for each 10 roll an extra dice, all rolls of 7 or higher are worth 2 successes.

    Now add 6 successes

    Now take away 4 (because the roll is difficulty 5)

    You need 100 total, and can't roll more than 6 times.

    And that'd be far more complicated if he hadn't had so many gold craft points we stopped bothering tracking them.


    Anyway, this is why I mostly just take the minimum number of dice trick charms. They can be useful in combat if you're fighting other Celestials because the difficulties can be so high, but otherwise an excellency is enough (except for making artefacts).
    Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 05-01-2018, 11:51 AM.

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  • AnubisXy
    replied
    I found with my group several of the players would just forget they had dice trick charms. We'd have a big battle or whatever and then at the end of the session they'd say, "Oh, hey, I forgot, I have this charm that lets me reroll 5s Would have been nice..."

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  • Klaek
    replied
    Also to add to what Heavy Arms has said. The distribution of success chance is a big factor here. Even in your example of 12 dice vs 9 dice with excellent strike, at a DV of 7 or greater the 12 dice pool has better odds of success.

    Conversely if you consider 9 dice vs 6 dice with excellent strike, the 6 dice pool with excellent strike as better odds of success up until a DV of 4, and at DV 5 they are practically identical.

    Excellent strike is better for large dice pools, or for smaller dice pools where you need to roll average or below. At around 12-13 base dice pool is when the the swingyness of just excellency starts to lose out to the effect of rerolling 1's. That's when the excellency is better for a DV of 10 or higher but with only a 20% chance of success.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    I'm not dissing ES here... but it's kinda silly to say, "Use ES every time because it's more efficient, even though I just acknowledged it isn't actually always more efficient." Not everyone plays optimized. A Dex 4, Melee 4, specialty applies character is still a base of 9 dice on a decisive attack (or using a mundane heavy weapon) which is hardly "neglecting combat" even if not eking out every dot. Hell, Dex 3/Melee 3 without a specialty can't stunt to 9 dice on a decisive, and that's not 'neglectful' for a non-combat primary that might want to invest in some Melee as their combat Skill. There's three entry Melee Charms, so if you're going to use it as your main combat skill even if you're not the group's heavy hitter... you're going to avoid it and only take Dipping Swallow and Call the Blade?

    Yes, if you're a combat focused character Melee specialist, you're going to want to use ES all the time. If you took Melee because it's got a simple entry to offense and defense as your combat focus but most of your stuff goes into other stuff? You're not always going to want to use ES. It's a great Charm for a starter Charm. It's a great example of how Essence 1 Charms don't disappear later in the game. It's a great example of why dice-tricks are worth taking. But don't say it's always worth using when it isn't.

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  • Lanaya
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    There are a few here and there that can be. I mean, it's hard to say, but I have a feeling you only really see it if you're never fighting things with Charms that do things like key of off your 1s. If you're only fighting mortals, Excellent Strike slightly less efficient than your Excellency.
    Numbers time! Rerolling 1s effectively removes one of the fail results from your dice, shifting the proportion of successes:dice from 5:10 to 5:9. Like any dice trick, this becomes more powerful, and thus more efficient in comparison to just adding more dice with the excellency, as your dice pool grows, so if you're already rolling lots and lots of dice ES is clearly better. But the point where it becomes more efficient is a lot lower than you might think. With nine dice on your attack, ES gets you (9 / 9 * 5 = 5 rolled, +1 autosuccess =) 6 average successes, whereas adding three dice with the excellency gets you twelve dice for (12 / 10 * 5 =) also six average successes, so the two charms are precisely equal at that point in terms of expected successes (though the excellency has more variance, so it's better if you need to roll well and ES is better if you just need to not roll badly). Any dice beyond nine will therefore tilt the average in favour of ES being the more efficient way to boost average successes. Given that stunts and weapon accuracy are things that exist, any character who hasn't completely neglected combat should be rolling at least ten dice on their attacks, and if you have neglected combat to that point you probably haven't bought Excellent Strike (and shouldn't have), so unless your dice pool is being shredded by wound penalties or something similar ES should always be more mote-efficient than the excellency. It also has the side perks of beating a bunch of charms that prey on 1s and giving you a substantially bigger maxed out accuracy pool (if you go all-in on a light artifact weapon withering attack, ES plus 8m excellency gives 14.333... average successes compared to 13 with a straight full excellency).

    tl;dr: Excellent Strike is more efficient than the excellency, use it on every attack.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    My biggest issue with the dice-tricks isn't that they're dull. I mean they are to an extent, because the excitement comes from play not that Charm. When someone gets 20+ successes because a dice-trick went crazy, it's exciting in a different ways than other Charms let you do crazy things.

    My issue with them is that the game has too many of them, with too many internal Charm variations, and too many require more rolling. I really don't like things like "roll a straight," or," if you roll a 10, roll more dice, and with an upgrade charm even more dice."

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  • DrLoveMonkey
    replied
    Okay so some fast generalities before we get into a specific example. Firstly, yeah you might be stuck in anathema mode a bit. When normal people see a solar anima they think their doom is nigh, when those same people see terrestrial animas they feel like The Avengers just showed up.

    Secondly Dragonblooded are less powerful, so you have to adjust for that a bit. You’re not likely to fuel a Solar to death, and a pack of claw striders being lead by a buffed up claw strider Alpha is something Dragonblooded have to take somewhat seriously. They’ll win, you just can’t let 4/5 of the party sleep through the encounter.

    Thirdly they do interact with the mechanics a bit more than Solars do. They can only ignore certain kinds of cover, they get things like bonuses to smash attacks, stuff like that. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re out of motes and your opponent is out of health levels, you win.

    Speaking of which let’s look at essence 2 melee for a specific on why you might want to use otherwise inefficient charms.

    Lets assume you’re fighting some essence boosted swordsman, and buffed your join battle by 5 dice to start the combat. Lets also say you’re dual wielding short daiklaves, which is a fire aspect classic. So you’re looking to clash. You pay the 2i to delay your action until your opponent goes, and then you fly at eachother.

    At the start of your turn you regain those 5 notes you spent, and go in for an all-out attack. You spend 6m to full excellency, 5m on Crossfire Flash, 1m 1i on Blinding Spark Distraction, and 3m 1WP on Crimson Fang. So in total that’s 15m spent out of your peripheral pool, so you’re totemic now.

    Now you might wonder what’s the point in using Crossfire Flash, it costs as much as an excellent adding 5 dice but it adds only 2 and a rare effect for more. The reasons are that firstly you actually want your anima up, because next turn he’s going to eat a bonus couple of dice of lethal from it, as well as boosting your resistance to any fire attacks he might have. On top of that you really want to win this clash, and by as wide a margin as you can. Each success over his will both grant you bonus damage and make him more likely to be blinded for your follow up attack. But that’s not all, you’re a DB, which means teamwork, and if you catch off that Blinding Spark on him, he’s blind for all your allies as well.

    So it’s a tactical choice, you wouldn’t always want to do it certainly, and not against foes that aren’t super deadly, but against something that you need to squeeze out just that extra bit of power on, it’s worth it.

    It’s like the difference between Full Speed and Flank Speed on a ship. One being maximum efficient speed, and the other being absolute max speed, fuel and engine stress be damned.


    Edit: also I think the only actual dice trick in essence 2 melee is that charm, none of the rest of them are.
    Last edited by DrLoveMonkey; 04-30-2018, 01:22 PM.

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  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    Unlike some of the others here... I agree, dice-tricks are extremely dull. Charms that do nothing beyond re-roll 5s and 6s, etc, are dull and fiddly (I don't mind double 9s or double 8s so much, they're easy to read, and it is a little fun to sometimes get enormous results).
    But there's plenty of other charms to take.

    My Night Caste has 46 charms plus excellencies. In terms of dice-tricks, with those fiddly re-rolls or whatever and nothing else, he's got... Excellent Strike, Lightning Speed, Flawless Handiwork Method, Motive-Discerning Eye. That's less than 10% (some of the other charms also do dice tricks, but they do other stuff too, like Racing Hare Method). Admittedly, there's maybe another 5 charms that just add dice, but they're mostly really good (Increasing-Strength Exercise to give him Strength 8, for example).

    My Zenith has 56, and that includes about 3 dice tricks.

    Now, admittedly some concepts are worse for this than others. Presence and Performance are replete with dice-tricks (that are generally too expensive to be worth using, unless you're going up against really high difficulties, compared to an excellency: this is why they're two of my least favourite charmsets), whereas a Sorcerer/Occultist is going to have much less.

    But generally, my advice is just to not take many dice tricks. The game forces you to take more than you want, but if you pick the right trees it's not so bad.
    I think one issue is they tend to be near the bottom of the charm trees, so if you decide to take, say, 3 charms from 5 different abilities at character gen, you'll probably end up with 8/15 as dice tricks. As you go up the trees, you get more interesting stuff.

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  • Hark
    replied
    None of the dice tricks are obviously worth it, and you need to do math to show it.

    What really makes dice tricks a pain is that they take a lot of effort to handle during online play as they take a lot more coding ahead of time or a lot more effort put into regular dice rolls.

    Really, though very few players are interested in fiddly little math bits, they want exciting new charms and 3e forces players to slog through a mess of dull dice tricks to get to anything exciting.

    The only reason Excellent Strike sees any use at all is because I have two players with wildly different dice luck. One will regularly turn up with half of his dice as 1s, and Excellent Strike might be enough to bring him up to an average number of successes, and another with exceptional dice luck, if he rolls a one and he uses excellent strike odds are in his favor of turning that 1 into a 10.

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  • DrLoveMonkey
    replied
    Originally posted by Aredin View Post
    .

    BrilliantRain I just want to stress, that the GM was running a pre-written published encounter, we knew that "a guy" was there, the GM just followed through with what was published and the dice fell in a comically lethal fashion to all of our surprise. Considering the setting was Deadlands, which is a horror genre, we accepted casualties as a possibility. Also, that's the only character I ever lost to a kill, and both that character and the character that followed are remembered fondly. I have no regrets, just lessons learned.

    Elfive I'm not that worried about Solar combat (or much of Solars at all really). Just Dragon-Blooded. That said, there are some such as Excellent Strike, mentioned earlier. Also, after the point made about trying to enable Dragon-Blooded to weaponize animas, I started to see the merits to having heavier costs. It still chafes a bit though.
    So before I write a few paragraphs based on a misunderstanding, are you worried that Dragonblooded won’t be powerful enough to hold their own, that their charms aren’t good compared to their ecellencies, or that they don’t have any cool devastating powers?

    EDIT: wait I reread some of your posts and I think I get it now, Monday reading comprehension.
    Last edited by DrLoveMonkey; 04-30-2018, 11:20 AM.

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  • Ketrus
    replied
    Originally posted by Aredin View Post
    Heavy Arms in our game, there were several Dragon-Blooded in the city, one was a crafter that was trying to drive our crafter out of business. One was a crime lord that had sent thugs to kidnap and blackmail elements of our own criminal operation. Another was a law inforcement official. Didn't matter whether the hunt would happen right this second, but the main contention would be, the one to 5 and the angry mob they brough with them, the freezing of assets, the potential retaliation against our non-exalted associates/family/friends/etc. Sure their wouldn't be immaculates on our door in 3 rounds, but the I'm long term consequences would be drastic, to say the least, as we were very invested emotionally, financially, and socially in the city as characters.

    BrilliantRain I just want to stress, that the GM was running a pre-written published encounter, we knew that "a guy" was there, the GM just followed through with what was published and the dice fell in a comically lethal fashion to all of our surprise. Considering the setting was Deadlands, which is a horror genre, we accepted casualties as a possibility. Also, that's the only character I ever lost to a kill, and both that character and the character that followed are remembered fondly. I have no regrets, just lessons learned.

    Elfive I'm not that worried about Solar combat (or much of Solars at all really). Just Dragon-Blooded. That said, there are some such as Excellent Strike, mentioned earlier. Also, after the point made about trying to enable Dragon-Blooded to weaponize animas, I started to see the merits to having heavier costs. It still chafes a bit though.
    Oh no! Someone's maligning Excellent Strike!

    http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...773#post975773

    And back into the shadows I go!

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    OK... but in 3e the drama of what you're talking about is where the Solar Charm set has a huge number of Mute Charms. Not flaring your Anima shouldn't have been a problem because you'd have a ton of Charms to use without revealing yourselves. Investigation, Larceny, Performance, Socialize, and Stealth all have strong Mute options... and what you want to kick ass in criminal politicking (Persuasion would help too, but is usually less Mute happy than Performance for swaying crowds to your side).

    .Avoiding the non-Mute Charms would make it harder to fight off Terrestrials that are openly using their Charms against you, but not impossible.

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  • Aredin
    replied
    Heavy Arms in our game, there were several Dragon-Blooded in the city, one was a crafter that was trying to drive our crafter out of business. One was a crime lord that had sent thugs to kidnap and blackmail elements of our own criminal operation. Another was a law inforcement official. Didn't matter whether the hunt would happen right this second, but the main contention would be, the one to 5 and the angry mob they brough with them, the freezing of assets, the potential retaliation against our non-exalted associates/family/friends/etc. Sure their wouldn't be immaculates on our door in 3 rounds, but the I'm long term consequences would be drastic, to say the least, as we were very invested emotionally, financially, and socially in the city as characters.

    BrilliantRain I just want to stress, that the GM was running a pre-written published encounter, we knew that "a guy" was there, the GM just followed through with what was published and the dice fell in a comically lethal fashion to all of our surprise. Considering the setting was Deadlands, which is a horror genre, we accepted casualties as a possibility. Also, that's the only character I ever lost to a kill, and both that character and the character that followed are remembered fondly. I have no regrets, just lessons learned.

    Elfive I'm not that worried about Solar combat (or much of Solars at all really). Just Dragon-Blooded. That said, there are some such as Excellent Strike, mentioned earlier. Also, after the point made about trying to enable Dragon-Blooded to weaponize animas, I started to see the merits to having heavier costs. It still chafes a bit though.
    Last edited by Aredin; 04-29-2018, 10:11 PM.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Originally posted by Aredin View Post
    I reckon I'm still in a Anathema splat mindset, that if I go too far in a given scene, the following one I will need to be ready to deal with a non-insignificant measure of fallout as a matter of GM's personal style and maintaining dramatic tension.
    Solars and Lunars do need to be careful a bit depending where they are, but Creation is bigger in 3e (like literally there's more map) so there's more places that aren't dominated by the Immaculate Philosophy, and there's more kinds of Exalted not all of which are regarded as Anathema. Exigents aren't automatically Anathema for example, and most people in Creation don't know the differences between all the Exalted. So it's easier to let your anima flare a little without summoning the Wyld Hunt on your head, even if you might get some monks investigating that you have to deal with. As well, there's plenty of Charms with the Mute keyword (and some that don't have it in the Keyword entry but can be muted in the text); especially in Abilities that aren't Combat focused. Thrown has a but of Mute Charms too as the "ninja" Solar combat set.

    I've also had the rather unpleasant experience of being pressured to go all out by another player, then being killed instantly from full health by a random figure that came out of a dark corner after spending my last resources. Note: this was in a printed scenario for a different system/setting, but I wanted to note it since it has changed the way I make choices.
    With the caveat that a bad GM can always find ways to kill a PC unless the game has an active player ability to fight such things, 3e makes this really unlikely if a GM isn't out to do it.

    One-shotting characters takes a lot of work to setup even against ones that don't have motes and willpower left. Solars aren't invincible. Send enough waves at them, even of just well trained and led mortals and eventually they're going to go down if you don't give them time to rest.

    If a Solar is completely tapped, a mortal assassin is still going to struggle to land a killing blow in a surprise attack. An Exalted assassin can probably pull it off, but even then there are protections in the game to get away from it (like taking a flaw instead of dying). Getting a big enough attack to kill someone in one hit is hard to do without engaging in combat to gain Initiative, or through Charms that can add the damage you don't have for a big decisive hit.

    [USER="617"]Factor in dishing out an attack and defending each round if you're lucky you won't need to need to cover multiple defenses.
    This feels like a 2e mindset hold over to me.

    You can afford to risk taking a few hits in 3e, even from other Exalts. Not getting hit is great, and is important for a Supernal Dodge character, but otherwise worrying about throwing motes at everything (even in combat) is probably a questionable use of resources.

    If you're already in a situation where you really need to be throwing motes at offense and defense faster than you can recover it in combat, you're in a situation where it's probably worth flaring. Whatever you're fighting is as bad for you as the Wyld Hunt, or worse.

    We were playing in Champoor, flaring at all was a huge issue as you started putting the whole circle (and our support structure) at risk of the Hunt.
    I don't entirely follow. Sure, Champoor was conquered by Prasad, but Prasad doesn't have the infrastructure the Realm does for Wyld Hunts. Champoor itself is a city where lots of people have secrets.. it's kinda the whole point.


    Originally posted by Elfive View Post
    Ok, I've been looking through the solar combat charms that are less efficient than an excellency, but I've hit a small snag.

    I can't find any.

    What the hell are you talking about?
    There are a few here and there that can be. I mean, it's hard to say, but I have a feeling you only really see it if you're never fighting things with Charms that do things like key of off your 1s. If you're only fighting mortals, Excellent Strike slightly less efficient than your Excellency. The second you fight something that keys of the number of 1s you roll though, it's insanely good. Onslaught negation usually requires facing a few opponents to be efficient unless - again - you're fighting something with Charms like a Brawl Solar.

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