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  • A question about 2E alchemicals

    To anyone who actually played an alchemical in 2E, how often did you actually swap out individual charms or entire charm arrays?

    I'm in the process of trying to convert our beloved robots to 3E but I realized that in practice the charm slot/attunement cost setup of 2E may not have been as modular/adaptable as the book makes it out to be.

    Please no speculation. I'd like actual play experience only. Context of what type of game you were playing would also be very helpful. I'm trying to get a sense of how modular alchemicals need to be in play and whether I need to create systems to encourage/smooth out charm swapping or not.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback!


    Check out my homebrew exalt: The Fabulists - Chosen of the Raksha here

  • #2
    I’d have to dig into my records but I ran a fairly long Alchemicals game in 2e and I don’t remember the players swapping things around too much. It was a game that took place in Nurad and I rembember trying to provide plenty of downtime between adventures for swapping and installing new charms, but I don’t think they took much advantage of it. I might just be misremembering however. I’ll ping some of them and see if they remember.

    I would say that I think charm swapping is a fundamental aspect of Alchemicals and should be encouraged, so I hope you come up with a good way to do it. Iirc, I think Vance has said that he doesn’t think both slots and attunements are necessary.

    In any case, I’ll ping my players about this and post again later.


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    • #3
      Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. Once I've got something approaching a reasonably playable conversion, I'll try to post it to see what people think. (as a hint, I'm doubling down on the idea that Alchemical charms are artifacts)


      Check out my homebrew exalt: The Fabulists - Chosen of the Raksha here

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      • #4
        So, I've played a lot of Alchemicals, both 2E and 1E. I'll limit this to 2E since that's the specific question.

        In practice, the 5 hour waiting time per Charm swap usually proved prohibitive for the circumstances of our group. It made retooling for a specific purpose either on your own schedule or one you learn of reasonably ahead of time potentially viable - retools for either combat you plan to initiate on your own or a social event were both very reasonable. However, it felt like events forced us to change gears too quickly too often for most of our group to invest heavily in backup Charms, except for a few niche areas like specialized crafting loadouts. On top of that, any time you spend outside of a friendly pat/metropolis further limits the availability of refits - it doesn't matter if you have all the great tracking and survival Charms in the world if they're stuck back in town when your train breaks down.

        I'd say about half the group had no uninstalled Charms, most of the rest only having one or two that they either didn't plan on using often or that didn't really work out in play. I only remember one person bothering with two moderately different loadouts, and I remember it being an issue for him when the plan went off the rails even a little.

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        • #5
          I'm currently ST'ing a game of alchies in creation - they have a protocol user with the "swap charms out in the field" protocol

          That protocol is used often.

          arrays though? My players don't have any - yet - but I think that'll change once they finish their creation-side vat complex


          that said - all of my players used the background where you get access to extra spare charms at chargen - this generally makes swapping charms out a lot more attractive: all of them have what amounts to two different loadouts, though there is a lot of overlap between them

          my point is: to encourage more swapping, make sure someone in the circle/assembly has the protocol for instant swap-outs - and make sure they have something they want to switch between
          Last edited by webkilla; 06-13-2018, 06:28 PM.


          Malfeas F'Tagn - go check out my epic MLP/Exalted crossover "The Scroll of Exalted ponies" @ Fimfiction

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          • #6
            HighPriest Thanks for the feedback! This is great stuff, though sadly kinda along the lines of what I was afraid of from 2E's way of doing things. While I did specify 2E, could you give me an idea of your 1E stuff as well? I've never played 1st addition myself so I'm not sure it would be as useful without the context but I'd love to hear your experiences there and what you felt was most enjoyable

            webkilla Thanks for the feedback! Can you provide any context on what kinds of charms the players were swapping most often? Did they just swap out a couple of charms each or did they rebuild their whole characters for each situation? How do they get new charms if they're in creation? What about field improvements to things like attributes? Thanks in advance!


            Check out my homebrew exalt: The Fabulists - Chosen of the Raksha here

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            • #7
              When I played, I had premade layouts Combat/Social/Crafting, etc. that I was usually able to swap out. However, some, like the Dex Aug were never uninstalled.

              In our group there was very little swapping out a few charms. A couple other players had "packages" of 4 charms they treated like blocks, though not in arrays because there were some shared charms, that they would usually swap out when we had some downtime.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
                HighPriest While I did specify 2E, could you give me an idea of your 1E stuff as well? I've never played 1st addition myself so I'm not sure it would be as useful without the context but I'd love to hear your experiences there and what you felt was most enjoyable
                So 1E was very different, and it's clear that they were already trying to make Charm swapping more of a thing for 2E because the first edition method was far less reasonable. In 1E, Alchemicals had access to a Vats Background to reflect how much clout they had with a city's vat technicians. Without the background, any change - even swapping out Charms you already have - needed paperwork and a wait period of a month. If you maxed it out at 5 dots, you could get immediate service with a verbal request. Vats background also came with a number of Charms equal to the rating, so in theory characters who maxed it at character creation would have both little wait and a number of extra "free"-ish Charms.

                However, even at Vats 5, the actual swap then took a week, either to install new Charm slots or rearrange the existing slots. So the wait was quite long, even with the background maxed.

                It's obvious that 2E was already intended to be a streamlining of the process. I don't recall anyone ever using the system in 1E unless they really had to. Unless your game already has week long downtimes between most sessions, it just didn't work.

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                • #9
                  HighPriest holy crap! Yeah I can see how that would be completely useless. I find 2E's system to be not very good at incentivizing charm swaps, though clearly people made some use of them. and it was certainly better than what 1E had

                  I'm definitely catching themes of 'requires a lot of downtime' and 'only works when near cities with a VATS'

                  I'm thinking there's room for a better/faster/more independent way to allow for players to swap stuff out without allowing mid-battle loadout changes.


                  Check out my homebrew exalt: The Fabulists - Chosen of the Raksha here

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
                    Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. Once I've got something approaching a reasonably playable conversion, I'll try to post it to see what people think. (as a hint, I'm doubling down on the idea that Alchemical charms are artifacts)
                    I'm guessing going with an Artifact/Evocation model, where instead of having to actually attune to every charm, you attune to one "base" charm and then have evocations off of that? You could still have addons to the base that do need additional attunement, as a knob for balance.


                    Raksha are my fae-vorite.

                    Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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                    • #11
                      If you keep the "has to be committed using personal essence" part of installation you might be able to get away with simply letting them summon them wherever they are, since peripheral refills first and that would make it hard to swap them out in the middle of a fight.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                        I’d have to dig into my records but I ran a fairly long Alchemicals game in 2e and I don’t remember the players swapping things around too much. It was a game that took place in Nurad and I rembember trying to provide plenty of downtime between adventures for swapping and installing new charms, but I don’t think they took much advantage of it. I might just be misremembering however. I’ll ping some of them and see if they remember.

                        I would say that I think charm swapping is a fundamental aspect of Alchemicals and should be encouraged, so I hope you come up with a good way to do it. Iirc, I think Vance has said that he doesn’t think both slots and attunements are necessary.

                        In any case, I’ll ping my players about this and post again later.
                        I do recall Beacon doing a little bit of shifting around from time to time between a full combat set and mixing in a few social Charms, but for the most part she stuck with combat gear because it was good enough for physical labor and she had to be ever cautious of the threat of the Void.

                        Came down to what was going on in that specific game, rather than a general statement on the design of Alchemicals.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
                          HighPriest Thanks for the feedback! This is great stuff, though sadly kinda along the lines of what I was afraid of from 2E's way of doing things. While I did specify 2E, could you give me an idea of your 1E stuff as well? I've never played 1st addition myself so I'm not sure it would be as useful without the context but I'd love to hear your experiences there and what you felt was most enjoyable

                          webkilla Thanks for the feedback! Can you provide any context on what kinds of charms the players were swapping most often? Did they just swap out a couple of charms each or did they rebuild their whole characters for each situation? How do they get new charms if they're in creation? What about field improvements to things like attributes? Thanks in advance!

                          Example:

                          A crafting-monkey alchy who likes to swap between the mega-ton piston hammer charm and his industrial survival frame - one is for risky tunneling, one is for rightous suck beatings.

                          Another is the assemble's medical and social specialist - he swaps between his medic/combat charms and all of his mind-probe charm (his form of social combat is rather... non-consentual)


                          Malfeas F'Tagn - go check out my epic MLP/Exalted crossover "The Scroll of Exalted ponies" @ Fimfiction

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                          • #14
                            If you cut out all the tedious faffing around then having to change out at the vats could sort of work like it would in a videogame.

                            You get a mission, you open the options menu to reconfigure stuff, you head out, and once you're done you come back.

                            Probably need to introduce some sort of portable vats complex or something for away-missions. If everyone is taking the charm-swapping protocol that says to me that it should be a standard feature instead.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
                              HighPriest holy crap! Yeah I can see how that would be completely useless. I find 2E's system to be not very good at incentivizing charm swaps, though clearly people made some use of them. and it was certainly better than what 1E had

                              I'm definitely catching themes of 'requires a lot of downtime' and 'only works when near cities with a VATS'

                              I'm thinking there's room for a better/faster/more independent way to allow for players to swap stuff out without allowing mid-battle loadout changes.
                              Do you have access to Shards of the Exalted Dream? Because the Modern Shard had a very different origin for Alchemicals and they had new rules to reflect that. You might find looking at those useful.


                              ....

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