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Boss fights, power gaps, and some homebrew

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  • Boss fights, power gaps, and some homebrew

    Let me start with saying that I really like how fight is handled in the new Exalted. I really like the idea of withering/decisive attacks and gambits. I think that it is a genuinly good direction. At the same time, third edition generally tried to tone down both setting and gameplay which I am less happy with. In particular it heavily decreased power gaps. My general wishlist is as follows:

    1. There should be single combatants capable of fighting four nontrivial combatants and winning (power gaps are still large).
    2. Two combatants at the same tier should not autokill each other in the first round (power gaps are not boring).

    I decided to introduce some homebrew charms to this effect. I present only some initial bits for Solar Meele and Brawl. I would like to extend it further to other combat abilities and make equivalents for other splats. They are not intended to make Meele or Brawl the only viable options. Everything else needs to be rebalanced accordingly.

    The general idea is not due to myself. Someone has suggested it in a thread devoted to boss fights. I hope that the original author will chime in to receive the proper credit. The execution has been *ekhm* borrowed from Single Point Shining in the Void. The charm description certainly lacks fluff, but at this point I wanted to make mechanical ideas clear. I hope that you point out unwanted interactions or unpredicted side effects.

    I start with description of three "basic" charms which belong to Meele, Brawl, and Martial Arts trees (like excellencies, they apply to all Martial Arts. I know this is mildly inelegant). On top of this, I would like to attach some special effects for separate Abilities. I give a couple of examples of such charms as well.

    GENERAL
    Steel Faster than Thought [Fist Faster Than Thought]

    Cost: 10 m, 3i, 1 wp
    Mins: Meele [Brawl, Martial Arts] 4, Essence 3
    Type: Reflexive
    Keywords: Perilous, Heavily Apocryphal
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite Charms: Any eight Meele [Brawl, Martial Arts] Charms

    This charm cannot be learned before reaching Essence 3

    Upon paying the cost of this charm, Solar opens an additional Initiative Track. Effectively, the combatant now has two Initiative scores. The initial value of the score is determined by a Join Battle roll. Whenever the character makes a withering attack, she can make an additional attack with an additional track at the tick determined by the Initiative value in respective tracks. Initiative gathered with attacks is stored in the respective track. Whenever an enemy makes a withering attack, its their choice which track is affected. The maximal number of opened additional Initiative tracks is [Essence – 2].
    If an attack would bring an Initiative score in one of the tracks below zero, this track is closed. Remaining withering damage affects remaining Initiative tracks chosen by tthe attacker.
    If any effect other than a withering attack grants Solar Initiative, the player might add this Initiative to any chosen track. Initiative cost of charms and evocations may be paid from any track chosen by the player. Effects which substract character's Initiative, substract it from any track chosen by the player who invoked the effect.
    Decisive attacks reset all Initiative tracks to their base value. Additional initiative tracks do not allow a character to make additional decisive attacks. If a character is able to make several decisive attacks in one turn, the Initiative from different Initiative tracks may be used in these attacks. Initiative from two different tracks can never be combined in one attack.


    Unsurpassed Battle Awarness
    Cost: -
    Mins: Meele [Brawl, Martial Arts] 5, Essence 5
    Type:
    Keywords: Heavily Apocryphal
    Duration: Permament
    Prerequisite: Steel Faster Than Thought [Fist Faster Than Thought]

    This charm cannot be learned before reaching Essence 5

    This charm enhances its prerequisite. Now, one additional Initiative track is opened for free whenever Solar joins a battle or survives the initiative crash. Moreover, When crashed, the character can launch an additional withering attack each turn for free. The Initiative gathered in this attack does not increase Solar's Initiative value.

    Master's Blade Strikes [Master's Fist Strikes]

    Cost: 3m
    Mins: Meele 5, Essence 5
    Type:
    Keywords: Dual, Heavily Apocryphal
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite: Steel Faster Than Thought [Fist Faster Than Thought]

    This charm cannot be learned before reaching Essence 5

    When attacking, Solar can close one of the Initiative Tracks and make a decisive attack using Initiative exclusively from that track.
    If the rest of attacks are withering, this does not reset them to base Initiative. If the rest of attacks are decisive, this creates an additional attack that does not count towards the limit of the number of attacks generated by other charms (although the Initiative from this attack may be split into more attacks using the normal rules of charms generating these additional attacks).


    Interaction with Single Point Shining in the Void

    The Initiative tracks generated by the Solar charm are considered separate from the Sword's track. Steel Faster than Thought cannot create additional tracks for the Sword.

    BRAWL SPECIFC CHARMS

    Wounded Lion Bites

    Cost: 7m
    Mins: Brawl 4, Essence 3
    Type: Reflexive
    Keywords: Withering-Only, Heavily Apocryphal
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite: Fist Faster Than Thought

    When in Initiative Crash and making a withering attack, the character may launch an additional withering attack on the same tick.


    MELEE SPEFICIC CHARMS

    Finesse of Supreme Balance

    Cost: 2m + 1m for 1i
    Mins: Meele 4, Essence 3
    Type: Reflexive
    Keywords: Heavily Apocryphal
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite: Steel Faster Than Thought

    When a withering attack would close an Initiative track, Solar may reflexively mitigate the damage by transferring the Initiative from any of the remaining tracks. This costs 1m for one point of transferred Initiative. The final Initiative value in the target track cannot exceed its value before receiving the attack.

    Solar Impossible Defense

    Cost: 4m
    Mins: Meele 5, Essence 5
    Type: Reflexive
    Keywords: Heavily Apocryphal
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisite: Steel Faster Than Thought, Protection of Celestial Bliss

    Solar may close any chosen Initiative track and add [Initiative in the closed track/2 rounded down] Initiative for one tick to the pool generated by Protection of Celestial Bliss. This may be used after the attack roll of the opponent is made but before the damage roll.



  • #2
    Currently I don't think this solution to boss fights fits Brawl all that well should have more interaction with Dodge.

    The PCs don't need to crash the boss, just get enough initiative to make their decisive attacks matter. Thus the main advantage to the boss to have this much initiative spread across multiple tracks is so that they can spend it themselves, ideally in place of motes that they're probably going to be hard up for because they're getting 5m/round while their opponents are getting that for every competent fighter they've brought along.

    Melee can negate decisive damage via Heavenly Guardian Defence creating an incentive to shut down these additional initiative tracks before it's possible to go in for the kill. Dodge can spend initiative in place of motes to raise Evasion and can take it beyond its usual maximum which makes resetting Seven Shadow Evasion a pretty realistic prospect.


    Assorted homebrew goes here.
    Please help the Ex3 wiki grow. Even if it's just posting existing homebrew there so there's less chance of losing it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Honestly, the main motivation for additional withering attacks was improcing defense:

      1. It lets the boss take back some initiative that otherwise would be in hands of the opponents and would be used to deal decisive damage.
      2. To make it harder to dogpile on a lone fighter so that the boss be a reliable threat for larger parties.

      The interaction with Heavenly Guardian Defense was intended. I forgot about interactions with the Dodge tree, but they seem ok I kind of agree that Brawl should be dealt with in a different way, but I have hard time figuring what that could be and I wanted to keep things relatively simple. However, I would be very glad to learn any suggestions what should be the Brawl tree equivalent of these charms.

      Comment


      • #4
        Which is fair, but if the PCs make a notable effort to protect their initiative (often necessary with dodge builds that allow little to nothing in the way of armour) then the boss needs to rival their essence expenditure and in long-term they can't afford to do this if they're having to spend those motes defensively as well. You can mitigate this by depending on Bloodthirsty Sword-Dancer's Spirit for +3 dice on attack rolls.

        I'm really not sure what would be in-keeping for Brawl, back in the playtest at least it was supposed to follow the philosophy that the best form of defence is a good offence.


        Assorted homebrew goes here.
        Please help the Ex3 wiki grow. Even if it's just posting existing homebrew there so there's less chance of losing it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Lanic View Post

          1. There should be single combatants capable of fighting four nontrivial combatants and winning (power gaps are still large).
          2. Two combatants at the same tier should not autokill each other in the first round (power gaps are not boring).
          My Dawns generally manage (1) quite easily. Aside from some mismatches (Solar Join Battle specialists who land an opening decisive vs. Essence 1 opponents), (2) is pretty well met.

          Can you provide a case study? Example play is useful when analyzing systemic shortfalls, and might better illustrate the utility of the charms you've written.

          Comment

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