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  • Request for Help: Building a Character

    So, I'm building a character for the first time, mostly to learn the character-building process, and have a few issues for which I could use some advice from experienced Exalted players.

    1) Intimacies. I think I may be overthinking it, but I'm having trouble putting together good ideas. Would maybe thinking about them like Wraith Passions be a better method?
    2) The anima banner: I just don't know how to describe a decent anima banner. I've got nothing here.
    3) Charm selection: I really, really like the Awareness Charms. Like all of them. But, I don't want to make a character that would be terrible at anything not Awareness-related. Not to mention Investigation has some nice Charms that pair well with Awareness... Choices, choices...

    Thank you for your thoughts and insights.


    "At the risk of sounding like a murder hobo"

    Attributed to Nyrufa.

  • #2
    I'll help as best as I can.

    1) Intimacies are people places and things. The book explains the intensities for them, so using that method a good mini exercise would be to make a small sample intimacy list that you yourself would place on yourself. Do you life by any strong principles or guidelines? Do you have any particular items or places you place great value upon? How much do you enjoy these things? Do you like them enough to kill time, enough to put yourself at risk, or enough to put yourself at significant risk?

    2) Anima banner is a bit tricky, hell I'm more than guilty for forgetting it exists. I'd say is there anything in particular that stands out for your character as a metaphor? The best example I can think of is the Blazblu sigils or backgrounds to some Touhou spellcards. A headstrong soldier who takes challenges head on could have one of an ox, a man who bears the burden of king can have his anima be a spectral army standing by his side with countless blades clashing, an elegant noblewoman could have her anima be that of a paper fan with ghostly butterflies while the smell of cherry blossoms fill the air. Each of these things are metaphors of the character themselves.

    3) A good rule of thumb I had is if something is your supernal roughly half your charms should go into it, spreading the rest out amongst other abilities. Solar charms are pretty strong so often you don't need many to be good in an area, like one or two at most. For Investigation I got along just fine with just two charms: Crafty Observation and a homebrew charm that was Crafty Observation but allowed me to case profile instead. Those two charms lasted me well into ESS 3. For combat its less of "What do I take to keep up with the combat monkey" and more "What do I need to do to avoid being a liability in combat if I do actually want to take part"? Again the barrier for entry isn't high, often you only need two or three charms from melee or brawl. If going Thrown/Archery there is a high chance of being wedded to Dodge (Or being REALLY tanky with Resistance).


    Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
    Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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    • #3
      Why don't you tell us about your character more? What are they like, what do you want them to do?

      1) Intimacies: Here is my character, Salzan, a Craft Supernal Twilight who forges demons into artifact weapons. On the left are his Positive Intimacies (things he likes or cares about). On the Right are his Negative Intimacies (dislikes and hates). So you can see he things very highly of crafting, and one of his major beliefs in life is that demons and corrupted brass (Malfean resources) are safe to use, and he is super defensive about that because it's the core of his worldview. His minor intimacies are where his small pleasures lie: Salzan makes a metric ton of money being an artificer, so his tastes run towards the expensive. He blows through money, loves gambling, and is prodigal with luxuries. His Negative intimacies are his hangups in life: he is afraid of sea monsters (because they are completely outside his control and weapons do not work on them, something that nullifies the power he has in life) and he looks down his nose on Potion Makers because he sees that as an inferior version his trade, crafting. Contempt of Fallacious Reasoning is his reaction to dogmatic mudfarmers quoting scripture at him about demons and wickedness- again, his whole life is based around the idea that It Is OK To Use Demons, and as a Craftsman he has a lot of professional respect for other crafts, so wanton destruction of artworks, buildings, sculptures, etc grinds his gears. These all tell you things about how Salzan sees the world and his place in it. He is a master crafter who bases his identity on his amazing ability to make artifacts and use demons, and his prodigious life style reflects that.

      2) Anima. What kind of thing would be your characters heraldry, or flag? What kind of image would you use as the background of a wallpaper with them on it? Salzan has an artifact anvil that he made, his Anima is a giant burning black anvil behind him.

      3) Charms. There are tons of philosophies about how to allocate charms. Keep in mind these two maxims:
      1- You need to be able to do stuff IN combat, and do stuff OUT of combat.
      2- It's ok to Specialize, just don't be a burden out of your specialty. It's ok to Generalize, as long as you can handle your specialty.


      ..."But I've bought a big bat, I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me"

      Message me for Japanese translations.

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      • #4
        Other people are fare more qualified to address the Charm question, and the nice thing about anima is it's pure aesthetics that you don't need to sweat at all, so here's a simple method to making a character with Intimacies.

        1) Pick a Defining-level Intimacy that gives you something to do and for the Storyteller to put threats in front of. If you're familiar with 2e at all, this is what Motivation was: a way you want the world to be different than it is, and which defines your overall goal in life. "I will kill the Mask of Winters," "All humans should be immortal," whatever. Don't worry about nuance, just pick something big and deal with the consequences of trying to chase it in play.
        2) Pick a Major-level Intimacy that's orthogonal to your goals and relates to your self-concept, and ideally can cause trouble for you, like "no one is above the law" for a righteous king type or "my family (loyalty)" for a traditionalist Dynast.
        3) Pick a Minor Intimacy that gives a complicated relationship to another PC that doesn't interfere with your ability to cooperate. You've got a crush on them but would consider a relationship inappropriate, or you think they're your rightful leader but also kind of a dumbass, or they're pure and their purity needs to be protected by your willingness to do the dirty work, or whatever. Discuss with the other player so it's fun for both of you.
        4) Pick a Minor Intimacy that establishes an independent NPC (or whatever) that it would be fun to have as part of the campaign. This post about "knives" in D&D is a good breakdown of the utility of this kind of thing, and also a good source for thinking about Intimacies and background elements in general.

        If your Storyteller has a specific region in mind, or other players have introduced setting elements in their backstories, find a way to tie them into your Intimacies.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Matthias View Post
          This post about "knives" in D&D is a good breakdown of the utility of this kind of thing, and also a good source for thinking about Intimacies and background elements in general.
          Just a minor gripe here, but usually newer players tend to avoid "knives" because of the reasons outlined therein: it's an excuse for the Storyteller to stab your character in the back with something. Seriously, probably 90% of DnD adventurers are orphans just for this reason.

          Intimacies help you as much as harm you. It is much, much harder to be convinced to go against your intimacies when the social combat starts. Someone with the Major Tie of "I love my wife" is going to be incredibly hard to seduce. Someone with the Defining Tie of "Loyalty to my Country" will die before turning traitor, etc. on the other hand, it's also much harder to go against them when you want to, having the Major Tie of "Protect the Helpless" is going to make you feel obligated to pull a Moses and assault the slavemaster. It creates hooks in both ways.


          ..."But I've bought a big bat, I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me"

          Message me for Japanese translations.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
            Why don't you tell us about your character more? What are they like, what do you want them to do?
            So, the idea is a fairly rural upbringing as a shepherd. Numiel exalts as a result of returning home from wandering around, as he often would at the time, only to come back to the village being pillaged by bandits. After returning home, he finds his father's corpse, flayed, and his mother missing, presumed taken by the bandits. He heads out into the world looking to find his mother and crush the bandits who devastated the only home he knew while learning to cope with the road as his new home. The expectation would be that Numiel would actually start play a while after his exaltation, having had time to learn more about his newfound power.

            I've figured him to be a Night Caste, and his concept to be "seeker of the lost and hidden". His starting scores without spending bonus points are: Str, Dex, Sta are all 3 dots. Cha and App are 3 dots, Man is 1 dot. Per 5 dots, Wits 3 dots, Int 2 dots.

            Favored abilities: Athletics (3), Awareness (3), Brawl (2), Dodge (3), Investigation (2), Melee (2), Resistance (1), Stealth (2), Survival (3), Thrown (2). His supernal ability is, of course, Awareness. Non-favored abilities are Integrity (1), Lore (1), Medicine (1), and Ride (2). Specializations: Under, Over, Through (Athletics), Even the Quietest Things (Awareness), Nimbly Avoids Projectiles (Dodge), and A Life on the Road (Survival).

            Charms: Graceful Crane Stance, Lightning Speed, Monkey Leap Technique, Sensory Acuity Prana, Keen Taste and Smell Technique, Keen Hearing and Touch Technique, Studied Ear Espial, Awakening Eye, Drifting Leaf Elusion, Shadow Over Water, Watchman's Infallible Eye, Excellent Strike, Easily-Overlooked Presence Method, Precision of the Striking Raptor, Steel Storm Descending.

            Merits: Ambidextrous (1), Boundless Endurance (2), Direction Sense (1), Fleet of Foot (4), and Hearthstone (2). I figure he just sort of fell into the hearthstone, or more likely the other way around. I haven't figured out which hearthstone yet, I need to do more reading.

            Intimacies: [Ties] Find my mother, Defining (Filial Love); Seek and defeat the bandits who devastated my village, Major (Rage); [Principles] Seek out the lost and hidden even/especially if there is danger involved, Defining (Curiosity); Bullies need to be put in their place, Major (Anger)

            His limit trigger is the suffering of common folk. Any time hard decisions need to be made about protecting, preserving, or otherwise helping commoners is when this comes into play.

            So, that's what I have so far...
            Last edited by Inertial Frame; 10-02-2018, 08:47 PM. Reason: Added Charms and Intimiacies


            "At the risk of sounding like a murder hobo"

            Attributed to Nyrufa.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post

              Just a minor gripe here, but usually newer players tend to avoid "knives" because of the reasons outlined therein: it's an excuse for the Storyteller to stab your character in the back with something. Seriously, probably 90% of DnD adventurers are orphans just for this reason.

              Intimacies help you as much as harm you. It is much, much harder to be convinced to go against your intimacies when the social combat starts. Someone with the Major Tie of "I love my wife" is going to be incredibly hard to seduce. Someone with the Defining Tie of "Loyalty to my Country" will die before turning traitor, etc. on the other hand, it's also much harder to go against them when you want to, having the Major Tie of "Protect the Helpless" is going to make you feel obligated to pull a Moses and assault the slavemaster. It creates hooks in both ways.
              Which is why it’s important to explain to new players that getting stabbed in the back is where the fun is. I mean, ok, sure you can just go around being an orphaned murder hobo, but is slicing your way through the text of the Hundred Devils Night Parade and armies of humans really that interesting?

              Or would you rather have a vendetta against the person who killed your father? A romantic comedy between a PC and a demon that loved your past life? Would you rather be threatened with death or with the destruction of the town you helped build?

              Knives add spice and direction to the game and more people need to realize that. I honestly didn’t know how to articulate that feeling before I read that, so I think it’s a good metaphor
              Last edited by BrilliantRain; 09-30-2018, 05:47 PM.


              ....

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Inertial Frame View Post

                So, the idea is a fairly rural upbringing as a shepherd. Numiel exalts as a result of returning home from wandering around, as he often would at the time, only to come back to the village being pillaged by bandits. After returning home, he finds his father's corpse, flayed, and his mother missing, presumed taken by the bandits. He heads out into the world looking to find his mother and crush the bandits who devastated the only home he knew while learning to cope with the road as his new home. The expectation would be that Numiel would actually start play a while after his exaltation, having had time to learn more about his newfound power.

                I've figured him to be a Night Caste, and his concept to be "seeker of the lost and hidden". His starting scores without spending bonus points are: Str, Dex, Sta are all 3 dots. Cha and App are 3 dots, Man is 1 dot. Per 5 dots, Wits 3 dots, Int 2 dots.

                Favored abilities: Athletics (3), Awareness (3), Brawl (2), Dodge (3), Investigation (2), Melee (2), Resistance (1), Stealth (2), Survival (3), Thrown (2). His supernal ability is, of course, Awareness. Non-favored abilities are Integrity (1), Lore (1), Medicine (1), and Ride (2). Specializations: Under, Over, Through (Athletics), Even the Quietest Things (Awareness), Nimbly Avoids Projectiles (Dodge), and A Life on the Road (Survival).

                Merits: Ambidextrous (1), Boundless Endurance (2), Direction Sense (1), Fleet of Foot (4), and Hearthstone (2). I figure he just sort of fell into the hearthstone, or more likely the other way around. I haven't figured out which hearthstone yet, I need to do more reading.

                His limit trigger is the suffering of common folk. Any time hard decisions need to be made about protecting, preserving, or otherwise helping commoners is when this comes into play.

                So, that's what I have so far...
                Looks good to me. I would suggest using bonus points to buy your Awareness to 5, since you know you want several Awa charms and it’s your Supernal. After that, you probably want to go for the following charms:

                Sensory Acuity Prana, which give nice sense boosts across the board and is required by nearly every Awa charm.
                Keen Taste and Smell Technique, which lets you hunt and track by scent, which fits your concept
                At least one other Keen Sense Technique, because they’re cool and you need a second one for:
                Awakening Eye, which gives you a nice combat boost

                That’s five charms which is a third of your starting allotment and probably a good place to sit. However, both Foe Scenting Method and Unsurpassed Taste and Smell Discipline would seriously boost your tracking ability, so they’re worth considering too.

                After that, you probably want to diversify a bit. Are there any non-favored abilities you want an excellency for? If so, you should consider grabbing the base charm from that ability.

                You look like you want to focus on finding stuff and combat. What do you want your style to look like? Are you a knife fighter? Do you want to focus more on punching?

                I will note that you can use both Melee and Dodge to defend and with enough dots in Resistance you can parry with your face, so you don’t necessarily need charms in all of those areas. You should probably pick a primary method of attacking and a primary method of defending and focus on those to start with.

                Note that I’m not saying you should rethink you ability choices. It’s just that you only have 15 charms to start with and you get nice benefits if you grab 5 charms from the same ability instead of 5 from all over.

                Once you do have a better idea what charms you want, you’ll need to go back and use your bonus points to boost your abilities to the required ratings.


                ....

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                • #9
                  BrilliantRain: I like your thinking on the Awareness charms. I really, really would like to just outright purchase Eye of the Unconquered Sun, but you're probably right to hold off on that. Athletics, Brawl, Dodge, Investigation, Stealth, and Survival are all on my "would like charms from" list. Just a couple of the starters from Brawl and Dodge, a little more from Athletics and Investigation, and I'm not sure on Stealth and Survival. I haven't read up on the charms that deep in the ability list just yet.


                  "At the risk of sounding like a murder hobo"

                  Attributed to Nyrufa.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Survival is actually pretty simple. It only has three Essence 1 charms, so unless you have it as Supernal, there are only three charms you can take.

                    Food-Gathering Exercise, which lets you go out and get food even in the harshest environments.
                    Hardship-Surviving Mendicant Spirit, which lets you ignore harsh but survivable environments for a day.
                    Friendship with Animals Approach, which makes herbivores love you and predators tsundere towards you.

                    If you want to prep for getting Unshakeable Bloodhound Technique later, you could grab HSMS now, because it’s a prereq, but, unless you want to redesign your character around starting with Unshakeable Bloodhound Technique, those three charms up there are the only ones you can start with.


                    ....

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                    • #11
                      For an Awareness-Supernal Night Caste who wants to find lost things, you could have an Anima that appears as a thousand pairs of eyes shining out of a dark cloud. Or something like that.

                      I personally like expressing my Intimacies as sentences. So some examples that I've liked - some with room for an intensity to be decided...
                      Like deserves like - defining principle
                      I can't let myself relax - major principle
                      I shall ascend to power - _____ principle
                      I adore fluffy pets - _____ tie
                      I hate wasteful conflict - ____ tie
                      Discussion is the birthright of all people - major principle
                      I enjoy painfully spicy food - minor tie
                      All lost secrets belong to me - defining principle
                      I despise those who destroy true lore - major tie
                      I envy possession of great storehouses of lore - minor tie
                      I warily respect the power of sorcerous colleges - minor tie
                      I must discover the purpose of my Exaltation - major principle
                      I am emotionally overwhelmed by being Exalted - _____ principle
                      I do like the attention, though - minor principle



                      Check out Momentum Exalted!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post

                        Which is why it’s important to explain to new players that getting stabbed in the back is where the fun is. I mean, ok, sure you can just go around being an orphaned murder hobo, but is slicing your way through the text of the Hundred Devils Night Parade and armies of humans really that interesting?
                        Well, even if you're "playing to win", intimacies are better armor than weapons. Y'know that old saying "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything"? It definitely applies to Exalts.

                        Defining: Beloved Adorei, my sword-waifu.
                        Major: I hate losing battles.

                        There y'go, one defining, one major, one positive and one negative, good job! Nobody can get any leverage on you with those, can they?

                        But your enemies can also write on this beautifully blank slate you've made, because you left all that space for them to scribble in. A couple successful Instill actions later, you suddenly have these intimacies too:

                        Minor: Pleasures of the flesh are to be savored.
                        Minor: The priesthood of Mara are pretty cool.

                        Now you have two intimacies you didn't ask for, and your newfound love of ale'n'whores can easily be used to strengthen your budding infernalism to Major.
                        Last edited by Amayad; 10-01-2018, 12:06 PM.

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                        • #13
                          For Dodge a good basic package is:

                          Reed in the Wind, which lets you spend init to boost your Evasion above even where the Excellency can put it.
                          Drifting Leaf Elusion, which can be invoked after the attack roll and makes ties go in your favor.
                          Shadow Over Water, which lets you ignore any and all penalties to your Evasion.

                          In a pinch, I’d skip Reed in the Wind.

                          For Brawl, do you wanna punch people or grapple people? Because there are different charms for that.
                          If you wanna punch people, you should know that Brawl has lots of charms that key off your opponent’s Onslaught penalty, so a good one to try for is this:

                          Thunderclap Rush Attack, which lets you rush forward and just attack a dude even if it’s not your turn.
                          Falling Hammer Strike, which causes your opponent’s Onslaught Penalty NOT to reset. So, you can keep whaling on a person until they can’t defend against you.

                          Ferocious Jab and Wind and Stones Defense both key off an opponent’s Onslaught penalty, so they’re a good match here. Hammer on Iron is a nice multi attack charm, once you hit essence 2.

                          For Athletics, you might well want the combat bonus charms which are

                          Monkey Leap Technique, which lets you use your reflexive movement to jump a full range band, no roll.
                          Increasing Strength Exercise, which boosts your Strength and the damage of your attacks.
                          Thunderbolt Attack Prana, which lets you rush a target another range band away and seriously boosts your damage.

                          I am personally very fond of Graceful Crane Stance, which lets you balance on the thinnest ledge and do all that cool Wuxia wire fu stuff. It pairs well with Monkey Leap. If you do grab GCS and MLT, you can get Foe-Vaulting Method which, if you can beat their Evasion with an Athletics roll, lets you make a Surprise attack against a target.


                          ....

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                          • #14
                            On anima banners:

                            If you're ever at a loss, you pretty much can't go wrong with a big glowy thematically appropriate animal emblem. A stalking wolf, an owl with its wings unfurled, a snake, a raven.. Thankfully, quite a lot of animals signify cunning, stealth and wisdom.


                            On intimacies; You have a pretty good selection already, you just need to decide how much your character cares about each one. At the very least, you want to hit some of these notes:

                            *Hatred of bullies and tyrants.
                            *A thirst for knowledge (in general? About a specific thing?)
                            *A desire to protect the low-born.
                            *Finding your mother and the bandits that took her.

                            On charms: I second most everything BrilliantRain said., but mind that you get Excellencies for free, pretty easily, so you might not need to invest actual charm picks into everything you want to be good at. Just having Survival 3-5 with the ability to grab more dice as needed means that you are a master outdoorsman of the sort that can go out into the wilderness with a stone knife and come back having gained weight. If you want to walk out into the Far North in the dead of winter and still come back smiling, then you'll need to invest in Survival charms.

                            I'd consolidate some of your abilities - say, ditching Melee to buy up your Brawl and Investigation to 3, then set everything at 3 to 5 when you spend BP.




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                            • #15
                              BrilliantRain: For the second time, you've hit charms I already love in Drifting Leaf Elusion and Shadow Over Water. In Athletics, Monkey Leap Technique is definitely something I see Numiel having, and going for Foe-Vaulting Method has been on my mind as a potential way to go. And to answer your weapons choice question a couple of posts ago, as a shepherd before his Exaltation, I see the staff and knife as his primary, and will grab things that are handy to throw. ln fact, I might go Melee for primary combat method to start, to show his still relative lack of experience in hand-to-hand combat compared to using his staff and knife almost every day in his and his flock's defense.

                              Amayad: I see where you're going with the consolidation idea, but I also like the "still has room for improvement in many things" feel of characters that still know something in many fields. I see Numiel at basic chargen as still a fairly young man, maybe at most in his upper teens and think of his charms as experience and need over the course of a year or so. A wide* variety of abilities at lower ratings is something I actually aimed for. If I couldn't come up with a good reason to have an ability, I skipped it entirely. And I prioritized from Awareness to everything else that makes some semblance of sense for a young-ish aged Solar with his background. On the Anima Banner, though, you definitely give food for thought. I just need to figure out what would be a good hearing-based banner. Finally, yeah, I was thinking of "Finding my mother and the bandits that took her" would be a good Defining Tie.

                              The Charms so far: Athletics: Graceful Crane Stance, Monkey Leap Technique, Lightning Speed; Awareness: Sensory Acuity Prana, Keen Taste and Smell Technique, Keen Hearing and Touch Technique, Studied Ear Espial, Awakening Eye; Dodge: Drifting Leaf Elusion, Shadow Over Water; Investigation: Watchman's Infallible Eye; Melee: Excellent Strike; Stealth: Easily-Overlooked Presence Method: Survival: Hardship-Surviving Mendicant Spirit; Thrown: Precision of the Striking Raptor.

                              Intimacies: Defining Tie: Find my mother and the bandits that took her. (Filial Love)
                              Major Tie: ???
                              Defining Principle: Seek out the lost and hidden, even (especially) if there is danger involved (Curiousity)
                              Major Principle: Bullies need to be put in their place. (Anger)

                              Anima Banner: Still looking...







                              *For varying definitions of wide, in this case.


                              "At the risk of sounding like a murder hobo"

                              Attributed to Nyrufa.

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