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  • #16
    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
    But surely the general’s tent would be marked by special heraldry? Or marking themselves with iconic armor, or by being placed next to their personal flag. It might just be a product of inaccurate fiction that I’ve consumed but I can’t recall a case where the emperor/king/general of an army slept in and dressed exactly like the rank and file for fear that if they could be picked out among their troops that they would be assassinated.

    Obviously with any group spanning an entire planet, hailing from a hundred different cultures and diverse origins you’re going to have people acting differently. I don’t want every Dynast to be a moron or anything, but I expect them to mostly go around in dress and entourage that says “your boss’s boss is still my underling.”

    Like leaving a decoy in your bed while you go to sleep with the cooks in commoner nightwear is something that’s really cool for a few Dynasts to do, but kind of lame for it to be standard practice.
    If they're descendants of a Shogunate, they certainly have heard of kagemusha.


    Yeah I think that’s the point. A tiny spider moving carefully in a darkly lit room is nearly impossible to spot. If you can activate charms and sorcery, and keep your physical stats as you can do in 2e, from that form you can easily crawl into the bed of pretty well anyone and kill them by any number of means. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve got different ideas of privacy and the room is full of guards, their ward just lets out a garbled gasp in the middle of the night because a lunar spider exalt just garrotted their neck, and is currently slipping away under the tent flap/floorboards.

    That kind of security works awesomely in the real world because assassins in the real world can’t become lethal insects, and generally can’t take the identical form of one of your guards. Unless you have a traitor in your midst but then it’s one guard among several and not an exalt to the chaff of mortal security. It gets double hard when you have a kind of setting standard for exalted primacy, where charms and other effects of exalts tend to have special exceptions to barriers against them. Even if said exception just means it provokes a rolloff where the exalt gets automatic successes to add onto their already superior dicepool. Which I know mechanics of the game aren’t setting physics but they do represent what the characters capabilities are.
    Don't most Awareness Charms tend to make it very possible to hear one spider walking along the ground, as well as grant options to do things like seeing details on said spider, potentially well enough to see a minute Tell if they're suspicious?

    The answer is yes, and it doesn't make the game particularly good if killing off all of your enemies is stupid simple. You've got to work to get that W:tA Ananasi-style brain-eating arachnid win.

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    • #17
      There's a reason many militaries in the real world forbid salutes while in enemy-adjacent territory; distinguishing someone as an officer where the enemy might be able to see makes them a target.

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      • #18
        Course for deebs wandering around in Jade is a big giveaway.

        Although you could go about decking out your army in enamel plated stuff so it looks like Jade from a distance.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          But surely the general’s tent would be marked by special heraldry? Or marking themselves with iconic armor, or by being placed next to their personal flag.
          You have to find their camp first.

          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
          Like leaving a decoy in your bed while you go to sleep with the cooks in commoner nightwear is something that’s really cool for a few Dynasts to do, but kind of lame for it to be standard practice.
          They're probably not treating every day, or even every campaign, as though Lunars will come along, but, y'know, Lunars are at about the top of their list of enemies; they have to employ some measures against them.

          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
          It doesn’t even matter if you’ve got different ideas of privacy and the room is full of guards
          It does if the guards are Exalted, stay awake, maybe have some Artifacts useful to their goal on hand, and will be wary at best of any small creature that enters the place because they know what Lunars can do.

          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
          It gets double hard when you have a kind of setting standard for exalted primacy
          Especially Terrestrial Exalted primacy, which requires them to have a way of ensuring that they don't die the first time a Lunar takes an interest in them.


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          • #20
            Originally posted by Elfive View Post
            Course for deebs wandering around in Jade is a big giveaway.

            Although you could go about decking out your army in enamel plated stuff so it looks like Jade from a distance.
            If they're in their ancestral magical armor, they're dressed for trouble already, and will not be quite so vulnerable as such.

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            • #21
              Can I ask... have any of you actually tried taking on the Realm with a Night Caste assassin?

              Because I was playing a Night Caste... Was.
              Now I'm dead. Because I tried ambushing an Exalt.
              I scoped out the area. I snuck in, avoiding the guards. I hid. She arrived in her private garden and did some talking via magic tree. Neither her, nor her guards, nor her pair of second-circle demons noticed me. Amazing stealth! At the end of her conversation, I struck!
              I got 17 initiative.
              She got 18.
              They beat me unconscious, threw me in prison, then executed me.

              You see, while my surprise attack hit her for plenty of bashing (I was trying to kidnap her, not kill her*), she reduced it with charms. And of course, there was the two second-circles.
              *My plan was to threaten to cut her unsconscious throat, so they'd let me go. If I had actually killed her, I'd still be fighting two second circles and a ton of guards to escape.

              This wasn't the first time I tried and failed to ambush a powerful Exalt. I previously infiltrated the camp of a powerful warlord at night. But he had so many guards, that eventually I rolled badly, and one of them rolled amazingly. While I fought and slew guards, the warlord put on his armour. I hit him with a 53-damage dice attack. He survived. Him and his guards beat me unconscious. I later escaped, but with one less hand.


              The thing is, you have to be very good at Stealth to get in, really good at doing damage to take them down (both of my targets were hit for a lot of damage but survived due to charms), and be able to escape afterwards via Athletics and Disengaging so the target's Exalted/Demonic/Whatever guards don't kill after you've revealed yourself. You can only alpha-strike one person, after all.

              And 80% of Night Castes in Creation probably have Essence 1. I don't think this is, so far, a big deal for the Realm.

              Lunars, of course, are a much bigger worry, but the issues are still the same. If you're built for stealth alpha-striking, you may have problems fighting the dead general's Sworn Kin who were guarding her.

              Saying that, I'm sure it is a problem. Which is partly why the Lunars have been slowly, slowly beating the Realm, according to 3rd edition.
              Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 10-20-2018, 01:00 PM.


              My characters:
              Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
              Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng
              Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                They're probably not treating every day, or even every campaign, as though Lunars will come along, but, y'know, Lunars are at about the top of their list of enemies; they have to employ some measures against them.
                No, and they shouldn't because that's a crappy way to live. On the other hand it's not like Lunars can only strike when you're on a military campaign against one of their holdings. You could easily have a vengeful Lunar who flutters around the Threshold, dropping in unexpectedly to assassinate any random Dynast they find. Considering the sickening, wretched things the Empire does to people it's pretty easy to imagine there's more than a few Lunars with motivation to do that.

                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                It does if the guards are Exalted, stay awake, maybe have some Artifacts useful to their goal on hand, and will be wary at best of any small creature that enters the place because they know what Lunars can do.
                I'm not sure even then there's much that can be done. Even if you get other members of the nobility to be your night guards, which is impressive enough, are they going to crawl around the interior of the crushing every millipede and swatting every gnat that they see? That's even assuming that in a room dimly lit by fire you could spot an ant shuffling through the grass/dirt. I know exalts have better awareness than mortals but DBs don't have access to Burning Eye of the Deliverer or anything.

                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                Especially Terrestrial Exalted primacy, which requires them to have a way of ensuring that they don't die the first time a Lunar takes an interest in them.
                Right, but that isn't represented by any effects that I've seen. There's no artifacts that help ferret out shapeshifters, the dragonblooded have no special charm to that end. The closest you get is Dragon's Twitching Whisker, which only does anything if you can beat their stealth roll, and have a negative intimacy for them. Also it's essence 3. I would be happy to be surprised if the Realm book comes out and mentions some ways that the Dynasts use to help guard against that kind of infiltration, but it just doesn't look like that's in their wheelhouse.

                The other option, of course, is just that sometimes a hotshot Lunar DOES get crazy assassination happy, and on their fourth or fifth big name target the world just goes all...wrong...and a pair of counter-assassin Sidereals slip out of the fabric of reality itself. Then that story gets passed around and you have Lunars with a reasonable excuse to hold themselves back. It helps that Sidereals are exactly the kind of exalt that's good at ferreting out hidden assassins, and tracking/trapping them where they can be fought.



                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                Can I ask... have any of you actually tried taking on the Realm with a Night Caste assassin?
                Well, once or twice. My group actually assassinated Mnemon once, in the imperial palace even. After giving her an ultimatum and ruining our surprise.

                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                I got 17 initiative.
                She got 18.
                The thing is, you have to be very good at Stealth to get in, really good at doing damage to take them down (both of my targets were hit for a lot of damage but survived due to charms), and be able to escape afterwards via Athletics and Disengaging so the target's Exalted/Demonic/Whatever guards don't kill after you've revealed yourself. You can only alpha-strike one person, after all.
                That's kind of a... unlikely game-y thing to have happen. I suppose it could represent that they just managed to get their guard up fast enough, it's just kind of odd that there's no penalty to going first when you're being ambushed. Actually, that's probably by design, being ambushed and killed in one shot can kind of suck, but that might be a case where mechanics are promoting a better narrative than a realistic outcome. Either way though, you must have been facing one seriously godlike DB if they rolled fifteen successes on their join battle.

                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                And of course, there was the two second-circles.
                Oh Jesus, what?! Two second-circle demons? Were YOU assassinating Mnemon? Because there's only one DB in the whole world who can even attempt that summoning. I think on the hole you can assume not every Dynast abroad, or even at home considering I don't see why you'd be any safer there, will have that kind of backup.

                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                This wasn't the first time I tried and failed to ambush a powerful Exalt. I previously infiltrated the camp of a powerful warlord at night. But he had so many guards, that eventually I rolled badly, and one of them rolled amazingly. While I fought and slew guards, the warlord put on his armour. I hit him with a 53-damage dice attack. He survived. Him and his guards beat me unconscious. I later escaped, but with one less hand.
                Okay, that wasn't a DB that survived a 53 damage dice attack though. Dragonblooded resistance, I think quite intentionally, has exactly one charm that can be used outside of Aura against decisive attacks and it just adds +1 hardness. I think DB resistance is an awesome tree with a lot of cool effects, but defending yourself against an ambush is notably absent from that list. Even Air Dragon Style, which has a charm to protect against surprise attacks, specifically calls out it doesn't work against ambushes.

                Now, compare that to the Solar exalted charm tree, with both Surprise Anticipation Method AND Reflex Sidestep technique, as well as there being little to no restriction on their decisive protection charms. Solars are good at not being ambushed.

                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                Lunars, of course, are a much bigger worry, but the issues are still the same. If you're built for stealth alpha-striking, you may have problems fighting the dead general's Sworn Kin who were guarding her.
                But you have to be able to make them stick around for that, right? Like you need to be able to stop them from becoming a swallow and just bolting, then recouping.

                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                Saying that, I'm sure it is a problem. Which is partly why the Lunars have been slowly, slowly beating the Realm, according to 3rd edition.
                Yeah, definitely. Also probably why it's so important to keep the war going in the Caul. There might be lot more Lunars doing death-tours around the Realm if not for them staying in the Caul and doing it to Faxai, where the exalted population totally is reasonably paranoid.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                  Can I ask... have any of you actually tried taking on the Realm with a Night Caste assassin?

                  Because I was playing a Night Caste... Was.
                  Now I'm dead. Because I tried ambushing an Exalt.
                  I scoped out the area. I snuck in, avoiding the guards. I hid. She arrived in her private garden and did some talking via magic tree. Neither her, nor her guards, nor her pair of second-circle demons noticed me. Amazing stealth! At the end of her conversation, I struck!
                  I got 17 initiative.
                  She got 18.
                  They beat me unconscious, threw me in prison, then executed me.

                  You see, while my surprise attack hit her for plenty of bashing (I was trying to kidnap her, not kill her*), she reduced it with charms. And of course, there was the two second-circles.
                  *My plan was to threaten to cut her unsconscious throat, so they'd let me go. If I had actually killed her, I'd still be fighting two second circles and a ton of guards to escape.
                  Most Solars would have trouble catching a Supernal Stealth Night Cast if they play it right. If you put 18 charms into stealth you can get away with anything. If you roll into combat with Stealth using Blinding Battle feint modified with Fivefold Shadow Burial You can sometimes Crash foes on join battle.Flashing Nocturne Prana makes you super hard to catch. Also its very confusing to attempt to even catch you Because of Charms like Shadow Crossing Leap Technique as well as Mental Invisibility technique. All while mitigating the chance of failure thanks to Perfect Shadow Stillness.

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                  • #24
                    Now, let's see what I can do when I'm posting from a computer rather than a phone for the first time in about a month.

                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                    No, and they shouldn't because that's a crappy way to live. On the other hand it's not like Lunars can only strike when you're on a military campaign against one of their holdings. You could easily have a vengeful Lunar who flutters around the Threshold, dropping in unexpectedly to assassinate any random Dynast they find. Considering the sickening, wretched things the Empire does to people it's pretty easy to imagine there's more than a few Lunars with motivation to do that.
                    It seemed to me that the proposition was centred on the image of a Lunar who goes for the Exalted at the top of an army in the field because it's there, and because many Lunars have a deadly agenda towards the Realm and its Chosen. A Lunar who is not currently occupied by something that takes higher priority gets wind of a legion on the move, and makes a beeline for the target because one of the major strategies of the Silver Pact is to render the Threshold highly unwelcoming to the Realm.

                    … Like, as an image of why they would do it if they could, and what would be so disruptive to the setting if it had extremely high efficacy. They can do stuff like what you propose, and are highly motivated to go out of their way to do so, Dominions seem kind of pointless, don't they?

                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                    Even if you get other members of the nobility to be your night guards, which is impressive enough
                    This statement seems bizarre to me. Dynastic Dragon Blooded join the legions; they are there to provide dutiful military service, and have distinctly useful capabilities. The officer class of the Realm are not... you know, honestly, I'm not sure there's even ever been a real life aristocratic officer class that were ever truly dysfunctional in a military capacity. Maybe the Cavaliers?

                    The point is, if you need protection, and you've got Exalted warriors to hand, it seems rather sensible to include them in some of your lines of defence.

                    Or they're outcastes. Sooo many outcastes in the legions, what with it being literally one of the two things that they're allowed to do with their life (at least for the first few decades). Somebody who survived damn Pasiap's Stair isn't going to get stroppy over the idea that they need to apply their skills towards preventing one of the face stealing murder monsters from messing up the chain of command and removing the senior commander. It's, errr, it's pretty important. Probably carries a bit of prestige.

                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                    are they going to crawl around the interior of the crushing every millipede and swatting every gnat that they see?
                    There might be even some mundane methods of keeping a bivouac secure against that, and a few more magical ones. One might conceivably have a situation in which something managing to make it through the perimeter in the first place is cause for suspicion.

                    Otherwise, don't do it to all of them, do it to any that seem to be suspiciously making their way towards the sleeping charge in a manner that the vast majority of tiny creatures are specifically inclined not to do.

                    Maybe also give the general a mosquito net. Becomes pretty suspicious when the mosquito manages to break through that.

                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                    That's even assuming that in a room dimly lit by fire you could spot an ant shuffling through the grass/dirt.
                    Jeez, ancient world generals could get fancier digs than that. It's not actually that difficult to lay down easily transported wood panelled floors, if you're important enough to get the dedicated wagon space. Maybe some nicer lighting, but that's an area in which it might be important to fall back on genre conceit/the actual system; the penalty for dimly lit conditions is not actually all that punishing.

                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                    I know exalts have better awareness than mortals but DBs don't have access to Burning Eye of the Deliverer or anything.
                    They do have sensing vibrations, though.

                    Ohhh, I have that delightful pdf access again... let's see...

                    All-Encompassing Earth Sense is an Essence 1 Charm that activates itself when an enemy on ground comes within short range to roll with double-9s to detect them. At Essence 2, it can be repurchased for elemental variations, so you can feel something hostile and flying at close range if you take Air.

                    Also at Essence 2, you can take Feeling the Dragon's Bones to create a mental image from sense of the earth through out to medium range that can be sustained continuously if you're in Earth Aura, and which waives the mote cost of All-Encompassing Earth Sense. That sounds pretty damn useful for keeping track of any tiny creatures that wander close, don't you think?

                    Going into the Signature Charms... Horizon-Spanning Echoes, indefinite Charm to let one have a standing order to listen out for a specified sound within a radius of miles that triggers a decently enhanced Awareness roll to pinpoint its location if it comes close (and puts you on alert to proximity even if the roll fails). If you've got an idea about what hostile things there are to listen for, that's not bad. Eye of Blazing Truth lets you see in total darkness and shoot fire from your eyes to reveal and incinerate enemies approaching by stealth.

                    I think that's enough to make the point that, barring the Lunars being given some options that are excessive and incredibly boring in how absolute they are, there's enough there to make for an interesting contest.

                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                    There's no artifacts that help ferret out shapeshifters
                    Do you feel restrained against making one?

                    I'm not talking about something standardised and numerous, mind. Think of how many variations of daiklaves and armour you can get working on the thesis of vigilance against obscure dangers. Imagine the scenarios in which these coveted and legendary items are assigned to a given legion's security detail. Think about how the mission statement of the Silver Pact wants to steal or break these things, because they'll be hard to replace.

                    There wasn't a powerbow to summon a giant wolf as a loyal pet, until there was.

                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                    The closest you get is Dragon's Twitching Whisker, which only does anything if you can beat their stealth roll, and have a negative intimacy for them. Also it's essence 3.
                    Both seem like reasonable things to assume of Exalted in a position of importance in a legion.

                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                    I would be happy to be surprised if the Realm book comes out and mentions some ways that the Dynasts use to help guard against that kind of infiltration, but it just doesn't look like that's in their wheelhouse.
                    If ways to prevent being killed by Lunars unawares are not in their wheelhouse, then they all died five hundred years ago.

                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                    The other option, of course, is just that sometimes a hotshot Lunar DOES get crazy assassination happy, and on their fourth or fifth big name target the world just goes all...wrong...and a pair of counter-assassin Sidereals slip out of the fabric of reality itself. Then that story gets passed around and you have Lunars with a reasonable excuse to hold themselves back. It helps that Sidereals are exactly the kind of exalt that's good at ferreting out hidden assassins, and tracking/trapping them where they can be fought.
                    It's not really the best presentation of Dragon Blooded to say that their only viable defence against a Lunar approaching with a stealth method as elementary as turning into a very small animal is to hide behind the skirts of Sidereal Exalted.


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                    • #25
                      So the way I see it there aren't really reliable ways to stop a general from being assassinated in the field if a Lunar or Night really want them dead. That's kind of the point, since it would be rather dull if one could just set up a circle and bam you've invalidated an entire caste of Solars. That said Exalts are a rather tenacious bunch and it wouldn't surprise me if more than one DB general has survived an assassination attempt not because the assassin was stopped, but because DBs are hardier than mortals and so what would have been a lethal strike against a non-exalt failed to kill the DB, or the quick response of sorcerous and/exalted medics to save the general.

                      Then of course there's just setting up procedures to try and prevent the general from being caught. High ranked officers normally have guards and if you can get a god-blood, an exigent, a DB, or whatever to handle guard duty then that'll work and they can check in at semi-random intervals to try and minimize the chance that an assassin manages to be in the room without being noticed, and I'm sure traps can be rigged up to prevent a lunar who snuck in by virtue of an innocuous beast form from being able to shift to a dangerous form without anyone being the wiser.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                        On the other hand it's not like Lunars can only strike when you're on a military campaign against one of their holdings. You could easily have a vengeful Lunar who flutters around the Threshold, dropping in unexpectedly to assassinate any random Dynast they find.
                        To be honest, I think this might be more common. It's easier to kill a Dragonblood in a random town when they're relaxed, than surrounded by an army with their guard up.

                        Originally posted by WalkingEye
                        Most Solars would have trouble catching a Supernal Stealth Night Cast if they play it right.
                        My point was that my Stealth was fine. I infiltrated her city, her private garden, lay in wait for her, and no one noticed me. There were no problems with my Stealth. But being amazing at Stealth only got me to the ambush; all it did in the combat was give her -2 Defence. And even if I had killed her, I'd still get dog-piled by her bodyguards.

                        Originally posted by WalkingEye
                        If you put 18 charms into stealth you can get away with anything.
                        Who the hell has 18 charms to put into Stealth? Only PCs.
                        Your average Solar in 768RY has... about 18 charms, total. Put all those into Stealth and you've got an excellent spy, but they're little better than a mortal when it comes to actually stabbing Dragonblood.

                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                        I suppose it could represent that they just managed to get their guard up fast enough, it's just kind of odd that there's no penalty to going first when you're being ambushed. Actually, that's probably by design, being ambushed and killed in one shot can kind of suck, but that might be a case where mechanics are promoting a better narrative than a realistic outcome.
                        Well, you do roll JB with Wits+Awareness, so it does represent noticing movement as someone leaps out.

                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                        15 successes
                        Yeah, she was incredibly lucky on her roll.
                        The problem is, assassinations are so delicate, that someone only has to get lucky once and you're in trouble.

                        So, sure, your Solar assassin might murder 3 or 4 Dragonblood, and then fluff the fifth one, and they're screwed. And there are over a hundred Dragonblood for each Solar. Sure, if you're a fanatical killer who doesn't care if you die it's not such an issue, but I doubt many Solars are.

                        But anyway, you're right they weren't Dragonblood. They were Solars.
                        But I was an Essence 5 Night Caste. In the canon setting of 768RY, there may well be 0 of those in the entire world.

                        I think all the principles are the same, with an Essence 1-2 Solar vs Dragonblood.

                        Sure they won't have second-circle demons as allies; but they will have other Dragonblood. I can well imagine that a Dragonblood general battling a Lunar horde might sleep together with their officers so that if a mouse sneaks in to murder them, they've got 4 Dragonblood allies ready to fight that Lunar.

                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                        I think DB resistance is an awesome tree with a lot of cool effects, but defending yourself against an ambush is notably absent from that list.
                        Ox-Bodies. Ox-Bodies are excellent at defending against ambushes. That's how I did 8 lethal to the warlord (after he'd reduced it all with his Resistance charms) and that just got him to like his first -2 or something.
                        A Dragonblood can potentially have 22 health levels. That's a hell of a lot of damage to do with your alpha-strike.
                        Especially if you've put 18 charms into Stealth like WalkingEye suggested, so you don't have hardly any combat charms to increase damage.


                        But you have to be able to make them stick around for that, right? Like you need to be able to stop them from becoming a swallow and just bolting, then recouping.
                        Lunar sneaks up to the general's tent.
                        First round: Transforms into a bestial woman with silver daiklaive. Half-sleeping guards go "Whuh?"
                        Second round: Lunar girl stabs general in head, killing him. Screaming guards wake up the general's hearth mates who grab their weapons and roll out of bed (or summon weapons from the air, or are going to fight with their fists.
                        Third round: Lunar turns into a swallow. Swallow is attacked by four Dragonblood.
                        Fourth round: If the Lunar is still alive, she's surrounded by Dragonblood. She tries to fly out from amongst them. They all try and stab her.
                        Fifth round: If the Lunar is still alive, she flies out of the tent. Dragonblood shoot her with elemental bolts, giant jade bows, etc, while running after her (though she's a bit ahead of them).
                        Sixth round: She keeps flying. They aim.
                        Seventh round: She keeps flying. They shoot her again.
                        Eighth round: If she's still alive, she can probably hide or get out of range by now.

                        Now, it's possible for her to kill the general and escape. But you can definitely see that it's risky. Not something Lunars can just do trivially.

                        (Which is why I suggested that murdering Dragonblood in their satrapies is probably easier than when they're on the march. Much easier to find a Dragonblood who's alone.)

                        My point is not that Celestial assassins can never kill Dragonblood. Just that it's not so easy to kill them and escape that they're doing it all the time.

                        Originally posted by Isator Levi
                        This statement seems bizarre to me. Dynastic Dragon Blooded join the legions; they are there to provide dutiful military service, and have distinctly useful capabilities. The officer class of the Realm are not... you know, honestly, I'm not sure there's even ever been a real life aristocratic officer class that were ever truly dysfunctional in a military capacity. Maybe the Cavaliers?

                        The point is, if you need protection, and you've got Exalted warriors to hand, it seems rather sensible to include them in some of your lines of defence.

                        Or they're outcastes. Sooo many outcastes in the legions, what with it being literally one of the two things that they're allowed to do with their life (at least for the first few decades). Somebody who survived damn Pasiap's Stair isn't going to get stroppy over the idea that they need to apply their skills towards preventing one of the face stealing murder monsters from messing up the chain of command and removing the senior commander. It's, errr, it's pretty important. Probably carries a bit of prestige.
                        Even though the Cavaliers lost, they were still not a push-over. They were trained warriors on horses with good armour.
                        Anyway, you're right. There are quite a lot of Dragonblood per Legion, and some are lower-ranked than others. And at the end of the day, Legions need to be effective against Lunars. Face-stealing monsters is a prime threat that all Dragonblood are invested in watching out for.
                        After all, if you and four other Outcastes are guarding the general, you're not alone in your own bed where a Lunar can kill you.

                        (This occurred to me because, after pointing out that Realm generals have bodyguards, it occurred to me that Lunars may well try to slowly pick off less experienced, lower-ranked Dragonblood who don't have Exalted or demonic bodyguards, because killing a demigod is still enough to terrify the ordinary legionairres.)

                        Originally posted by Isator Levi
                        Both seem like reasonable things to assume of Exalted in a position of importance in a legion.
                        Yeah, I'm pretty sure most Dragonblood have negative intimacies to Lunars, what with having grown up hearing that Lunars are the ultimate enemy for their entire lives.

                        Originally posted by nalak42
                        So the way I see it there aren't really reliable ways to stop a general from being assassinated in the field if a Lunar or Night really want them dead. That's kind of the point, since it would be rather dull if one could just set up a circle and bam you've invalidated an entire caste of Solars. That said Exalts are a rather tenacious bunch and it wouldn't surprise me if more than one DB general has survived an assassination attempt not because the assassin was stopped, but because DBs are hardier than mortals and so what would have been a lethal strike against a non-exalt failed to kill the DB, or the quick response of sorcerous and/exalted medics to save the general.

                        Then of course there's just setting up procedures to try and prevent the general from being caught. High ranked officers normally have guards and if you can get a god-blood, an exigent, a DB, or whatever to handle guard duty then that'll work and they can check in at semi-random intervals to try and minimize the chance that an assassin manages to be in the room without being noticed, and I'm sure traps can be rigged up to prevent a lunar who snuck in by virtue of an innocuous beast form from being able to shift to a dangerous form without anyone being the wiser.
                        Yeah, I think this is a pretty good summary.
                        Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 10-21-2018, 05:26 AM.


                        My characters:
                        Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                        Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng
                        Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
                          So the way I see it there aren't really reliable ways to stop a general from being assassinated in the field if a Lunar or Night really want them dead. That's kind of the point, since it would be rather dull if one could just set up a circle and bam you've invalidated an entire caste of Solars.
                          As opposed to invalidating the Dragon Blooded player's concept of being alive the first time that the Storyteller throws a Night Caste at them?

                          Why do so many of these conversations turn so binary; you'd think people took the card game analogies very literally, and assumed success was based on immediately giving the win to whomever has the bigger number.

                          There's a reason that my last line in the prior post was about presenting a challenge, rather than forming an impenetrable cordon.

                          And I personally find the idea that the stealthy assassin needs to ultimately resolve things with a standard Kung Fu battle to be far more invalidating than if they failed outright.


                          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                          Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                          https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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                          • #28
                            You make some good points Isator. It's always a good idea to remember how un-binary actual games/stories/real life situations are. They're very much not something where "if X>Y, X=Victory".


                            Though I will say that PCs are pretty much immune to being stealth-killed, at least the first time per story. Even if your Dragonblood takes 9 or 10 lethal (which is a high number for a knife-wielder or sniper to do, tbh), you can soak it down to -4 with a crippling injury.

                            So I wouldn't worry too much about Solar assassins easily murdering PCs, though of course that doesn't mean it shouldn't be something for the ST to consider at all. Like all powerful enemies, an ST should be careful to give a challenge while simultaneously not just murdering all the PCs.

                            (And the crippling injury rules make that much easier: in the 2nd ed game I ran a few PCs died, but in the 3rd ed game none died, just one lost an arm fighting a circle of Solars and another was blinded by Ahlat.

                            And, to put it the other way, 2 sessions ago in one of the games I play, a lone Solar PC was ambushed by five water aspected assassins, one in Crusading Spear of the Depths. She lost a couple of magical minions, but escaped. Ultimately, ambushes just aren't that easy, when you take the rules seriously rather than assuming assassins can just waltz in.)
                            Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 10-21-2018, 07:45 AM.


                            My characters:
                            Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                            Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng
                            Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

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                            • #29
                              I asked the origional question to get an idea how I can make it fun for my future solar groups traditional stealth supernal night caste. Maybe I should ask every player in my group what they imagine would be a "good time" for their characters in the campaign.

                              I have learned a lot from you all. In the end we must assume that the unstoppable force that halts a Realm legion, loaded for bear dead in its tracks, is the PC group of magical super bad-asses. Not some NPC lunar muppet cos' da rulez sez so.

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                              • #30
                                Under ideal circumstances, I'd think an Imperial General's primary means of avoiding assassination are multiple redundant layers of protection, including but not limited to: Resistance and Awareness Charms, Artifact gear, sorcerer advisers who can see and/or command spirits, round-the-clock protection from a cadre of Dragon-Blooded bodyguards whose skill and dedication are second to none, spies monitoring enemy movements, allies and auxiliaries who can help shoulder some of the burden of watching for trouble (or at least put some more warm bodies between them and a shapeshifting devil-beast that wants to eat their heart), body doubles, misdirection, well-established lines of retreat, and tending to travel with of an entire legion of crack troops that a would-be assassin must negotiate before they get a shot at the big boss.

                                Of course, ideal circumstances have been much fewer and farther-between since the Empress' disappearance. Troops, artifacts, and officer postings have been parceled out according to political agendas rather than any unified strategy, and with the Great Houses at each others' throats, who's to say where the loyalties of those bodyguards really lie? Tensions are flaring, vital alliances are fraying, and while the Realm might need sorcerers and spies, few Dynasts in their right mind would ever trust one. Ganking an Imperial General in their tent should still by no means be an easy feat, but even so, it's never before been quite so scary to be a Dynast in hostile territory.

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