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  • #46
    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
    I wonder what happens then, like if the DB fails the perception check then it’s just like failing it normally and you don’t notice. You don’t jerk your head up and go “I was just forced to make an awareness check.” On the other hand if you succeed on the check to feel the feet of an ant that just crawled in the doorway and is moving along the baseboards do you immediately find that any suspicious? Like other ants out exploring for food don’t trigger your threat detection charm, but this one does.
    Yeah metagaming like this is a problem you sometimes have with PCs. Being asked for a roll, static value or seeing the dice pool opposing them tips the player off that something is amiss and this bleeds through into how their characters behave.




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    • #47
      Originally posted by Lioness View Post
      Yeah metagaming like this is a problem you sometimes have with PCs. Being asked for a roll, static value or seeing the dice pool opposing them tips the player off that something is amiss and this bleeds through into how their characters behave.
      In the past, my STs and I have handled this issue by asking PCs to declare in advance their "resting" defensive/detection suites and then rolling those values in secret when they come up. When it's something like an assassin coming for a PC in their bed, however, it's not much fun to turn the encounter into a simple roll-off where the winner lives and the loser dies, so I'd probably make multiple checks as the would-be killer comes up against each layer of security. Maybe the PC doesn't hear them climbing over the perimeter wall or taking out some isolated sentries, but when they enter the bedroom the character's familiar gets agitated because even if they can't locate a Night Caste or a shapeshifted Lunar they can still detect that something's not right. At that point it's on the PC to decide if they want to summon their guards, conduct a sweep in hopes of catching the intruder, or maybe just run the fuck away rather than wait for the other shoe to drop.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

        That difficulty (which might be modified a bit in the proper Lunar book) is about discerning that the animal you're looking at is a Lunar. The Dragon Blooded Charm is about perceiving the thing physically.

        If all a Lunar has for stealth is shapeshifting, and approaches a Dragon Blood in possession of that Charm with murderous intent, a successful Terrestrial will know that they're being approached by a dangerous arthropod.

        There are ways for it to be dangerous without knowing that it's a Lunar; it could be particularly venomous and unusually aggressive, it could be some other shapeshifting being, it could be a result of hostile sorcery.

        Mind, I wonder about circumstances in which making a roll to figure out that an animal is a Lunar is kind of unnecessary. That roll is about spotting their tell, isn't it? Is that really necessary if you know Lunars exist, and see an animal doing something kind of suspicious (including having your danger-honed senses lock in on one)? If you've got a sense for danger, and it brings you to an innocuous animal, a Lunar is probably going to be at the top of your list of suspects, isn't it? You might not see the signature purple eyes of Eska of the Seven Blades on that wolfhound, but you can see your son's throat clamped in its jaws, so you're better safe with the assumption that it's a Lunar than sorry with a few of your limbs missing and your house on fire.
        It's true, the Perception roll would first go against the lunar being stealthy, after which they'd know that there's a dangerous spider in the perimeter.

        After which, it depends on circumstances. Normally you can't even attempt the difficulty 7 roll to spot that the spider is a shapeshifter unless you already know the lunars tell or other physical give away. However, if a spider is inside a magically protected spider-proof perimeter? I'd allow them to make the roll. It could always be something like a magical construct or a demon-spider or an elemental or a magically inserted mundane spider with a love of biting etc.

        But my point stands that double nines is certainly helpful to spot trouble, but alone it can be fairly easily matched or overmatched with lunar or solar charms.


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        • #49
          Originally posted by Eric Minton View Post
          Things to take into account:

          1: Characters in the setting may have a good sense of their own capabilities and may be able to do a reasonable job of profiling others’ capabilities, but they can’t run the numbers to determine whether they can kill their target and get out alive with mathematical certainty.

          2: When embarking on a risky venture like assassination, “almost certain to get out alive” is not the same as “certain to get out alive.” Especially because even in situations that are almost certain to be vastly unbalanced in your favor (such as an elder Lunar warrior hunting a newly graduated Dynast), you can’t be absolutely, unequivocally certain that it isn’t a trap.

          3: By and large, Lunars aren’t suicidal fanatics. They want to destroy the Realm not for the sake of destroying the Realm, but so that they can live free of its threat, and it’s hard to live free when you’re dead.

          4: Young Lunars who do lean toward the attitude of “I’ll assassinate random Dragon-Blooded until one of them kills me” may rack up a sizable body count during their tenure, but they typically don’t live long enough to become respected mentors teaching a new generation of young Lunars.

          Lunars do indeed assassinate Dragon-Blooded on a semi-regular basis, but it’s usually specific targets for specific reasons. Become too high-profile of an assassin and you’ll find yourself the target of Dragon-Blooded or Sidereal counterintelligence efforts to take you down, which is dangerous for both parties; it’s not something for Lunars to take lightly.

          Lunar mentors will generally teach their students that Dragon-Blooded are threats to take seriously. PC Lunars are, of course, free to do with this information what they will.
          Hmm. I'd like to discuss some of these points further, if you're amenable. In particular, the ones about Lunars not being suicidal fanatics and the risks of gaining too high a profile. Both of those would seem to imply some condition in which it's possible for a Lunar to not be targeted by Dragon-Blooded and Sidereals (either directly or via pervasive efforts to just make life miserable). Furthermore, they would seem to imply the risk of upsetting that condition by acting too aggressively, either by drawing too much attention or by alienating key allies who help to keep a Lunar alive and under the radar.

          My question is: is such a condition even possible? It's one thing to keep a low profile and try to stay out of harm's way, but the impression I get from the books is that the powers that be will not live and let live. The calculus involved in sending a Wyld Hunt has less to do with a given Anathema drawing ire than with how much blood and treasure must be spent in killing them. The Solars and Lunars whose positions are the most secure don't seem to be the ones who kept their heads down and didn't draw too much heat, but the ones who made the price of attacking them too ghastly to consider (the Bull, Ma-Ha-Suchi, etc).

          I mean I get that caution and discretion are still important factors, but I have a hard time seeing how Solars and Lunars can avoid those clandestine efforts to murder them except by destroying their enemies' capacity to make war.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Thesaurasaurus View Post
            Hmm. I'd like to discuss some of these points further, if you're amenable. In particular, the ones about Lunars not being suicidal fanatics and the risks of gaining too high a profile. Both of those would seem to imply some condition in which it's possible for a Lunar to not be targeted by Dragon-Blooded and Sidereals (either directly or via pervasive efforts to just make life miserable). Furthermore, they would seem to imply the risk of upsetting that condition by acting too aggressively, either by drawing too much attention or by alienating key allies who help to keep a Lunar alive and under the radar.

            My question is: is such a condition even possible? It's one thing to keep a low profile and try to stay out of harm's way, but the impression I get from the books is that the powers that be will not live and let live. The calculus involved in sending a Wyld Hunt has less to do with a given Anathema drawing ire than with how much blood and treasure must be spent in killing them.
            A Wyld Hunt is typically either something thrown together on the fly to deal with a specific local Anathema, or an Immaculate- and legion-backed assembly aimed at eliminating a newly Exalted Lunar or thwarting a known militarily aggressive Anathema. The Realm does not maintain 300+ standing Wyld Hunts to constantly track down every Lunar 24/7. This would, in fact, face the same basic problems as a Lunar hunting Dragon-Blooded 24/7. Wyld Hunts must be careful and precise, and even so, shikari have a high attrition rate.

            If you're a Lunar and you don't want to be fighting Dragon-Blooded all the time, you can do things like, say, go off adventuring in the deep Threshold; hole up in a fortified position that's not easy to crack; or simply be subtle in your movements and activities in the near Threshold, such as by not actively assassinating Dragon-Blooded. At some point or another, you may still find yourself targeted by a Wyld Hunt, or even find your dominion under assault by the legions! But the safest way to avoid fighting Dragon-Blooded on your lonesome is to not spend all your time hunting Dragon-Blooded on your lonesome. This is a pretty low bar to clear, even for combat-hungry Lunar PCs.

            Or, from another perspective: Risk is not binary. It's not a choice between "always about to be murdered 24/7" and "completely safe." And constantly picking fights with enemy Exalted, even if you're working to ensure those fights are on your terms, is closer to the former than the latter. A typical Pact mentor may discourage hiding and not contributing to the war against the Realm, but she'll also encourage you to pick your fights carefully for maximum gain.

            (And there are second-order effects to your actions. Even if you do successfully murder every young Dynast to tour your chunk of the South, that'll just encourage the next graduating class to go to the North under heavy guard or stay home or whatever, which means that if it turns out that targeting a specific newly graduated Dynast would be valuable next year, she'll be much more difficult for you to reach.)

            Originally posted by Thesaurasaurus View Post
            The Solars and Lunars whose positions are the most secure don't seem to be the ones who kept their heads down and didn't draw too much heat, but the ones who made the price of attacking them too ghastly to consider (the Bull, Ma-Ha-Suchi, etc).
            Ma-Ha-Suchi has largely kept his head down; he's dug in deep in the wilderness where it's as hard for him to reach the Realm as vice versa, and his force's raids haven't presented a major, sustained threat to Realm activities, other than throttling access to the Dreaming Sea. Meanwhile, the Bull of the North made himself a target, and his victory over the Tepet legions was pyrrhic; he and his Circle have paid a significant price.

            [QUOTE=Thesaurasaurus;n1262187]I mean I get that caution and discretion are still important factors, but I have a hard time seeing how Solars and Lunars can avoid those clandestine efforts to murder them except by destroying their enemies' capacity to make war.

            The Pact's approach is to do so with minimal loss of Lunar lives. Conveniently, this is favored by Lunars on an individual basis.


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            • #51
              To be clear, my reading of this thread is that there are two parallel discussions, one about "How do I kill this specific Dragon-Blood?" and the other about "How do I kill off every single Dragon-Blood I can find until the Realm falls apart?" My post above is aimed at the latter, not the former.


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              • #52
                Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post

                After which, it depends on circumstances. Normally you can't even attempt the difficulty 7 roll to spot that the spider is a shapeshifter unless you already know the lunars tell or other physical give away. However, if a spider is inside a magically protected spider-proof perimeter? I'd allow them to make the roll. It could always be something like a magical construct or a demon-spider or an elemental or a magically inserted mundane spider with a love of biting etc.
                No, again, I'm asking if you think it's even necessary to make a roll to try and see the shapeshifted Lunar's Tell if they're acting in a manner that somebody who knows what a Lunar is would be on guard against.

                You come across a wolfhound murdering a younger Dynast, is it really necessary to confirm that they have purple eyes to conclude that it's quite likely to be a Lunar, and respond accordingly? What do you really have to lose?

                Unless the Tell ends up being written in a manner that actively imposes upon people's thoughts and behaviour, it strikes me as kind of silly to refer back to it in a discussion of resolving a situation in which somebody is aware of a suspicious animal showing up.


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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                  No, again, I'm asking if you think it's even necessary to make a roll to try and see the shapeshifted Lunar's Tell if they're acting in a manner that somebody who knows what a Lunar is would be on guard against.

                  You come across a wolfhound murdering a younger Dynast, is it really necessary to confirm that they have purple eyes to conclude that it's quite likely to be a Lunar, and respond accordingly? What do you really have to lose?

                  Unless the Tell ends up being written in a manner that actively imposes upon people's thoughts and behaviour, it strikes me as kind of silly to refer back to it in a discussion of resolving a situation in which somebody is aware of a suspicious animal showing up.
                  I dunno, I think it's entirely reasonable for a DB to attempt to ascertain the nature of the threat they're facing. A magical spider-construct with deadly (to DB) poison is a very different thing than fighting an actual exalt. Just because a spider is crawling into your mundane-spider-proof perimeter doesn't automatically make them a lunar. So yeah, as a player I'd want to be able to amke the roll.

                  You keep going on about 'spotting the tell' but you should re-read that section in the antagonist chapter. The difficulty 7 roll is to see if the creature is a shapeshifter. It has nothing to do with spotting the tell, except that you don't normally even get the roll unless you've seen the tell, or some physical give away which you know about. That last part I take to mean something along the lines of a certain way they walk, an eye twitch, etc.

                  Technically, if the lunar sneaking in is one the guards have never seen before, they wouldn't get the roll, but I feel like the circumstances would warrant the attempt to spot what's really going on. Difficulty 7 isn't exactly easy to overcome, regardless


                  Edit: To be clear here, I feel there's a lot more weird animals running around than there are lunars. Hell, even when someone who you know and trust walks up to you, and they suddenly ping as an enemy, you aren't going to know that it's a lunar. Could be your buddy was subverted somehow, could be a solar disguise, could be any number of things. My point is that if you successfully identify them as a shapeshifter, that massively shapes how you react to the threat. If you treat every threat as 'shapeshifter unless proves otherwise,' you actually reduce your effective response against other types of threats. As a DB guard, your job would be to deal with any threat, not just lunars.
                  Last edited by armyofwhispers; 10-22-2018, 03:50 PM.


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                  • #54
                    For the record, I'm not talking about Lunars indiscriminately killing every single Dragon-Blooded target of opportunity that presents itself, but I would think for a Lunar to remain safe, they would have to be proactive in denying ground to the Realm. In particular:

                    Originally posted by Eric Minton View Post
                    Or, from another perspective: Risk is not binary. It's not a choice between "always about to be murdered 24/7" and "completely safe." And constantly picking fights with enemy Exalted, even if you're working to ensure those fights are on your terms, is closer to the former than the latter. A typical Pact mentor may discourage hiding and not contributing to the war against the Realm, but she'll also encourage you to pick your fights carefully for maximum gain.

                    (And there are second-order effects to your actions. Even if you do successfully murder every young Dynast to tour your chunk of the South, that'll just encourage the next graduating class to go to the North under heavy guard or stay home or whatever, which means that if it turns out that targeting a specific newly graduated Dynast would be valuable next year, she'll be much more difficult for you to reach.)
                    The bolded portion here seems like a pretty significant victory in its own right. With the Dynasts with field experience in your particular domain dead and the rest leery of invading for fear of ending up the same way, you now have a lot of additional breathing room. It gives you space to act openly with less fear of being immediately targeted by Imperial forces, because their leadership and most-loyal subordinates are either dead or fled and any standing armies they've left behind are likely demoralized and in disarray. It's also a massive blow to the Realm's image in the region, which undercuts their ability to maintain diplomatic ties and makes you a much more attractive option for filling the power vacuum they've just left. They can still move against you, but now they'll have to mobilize a major invasion force from outside, with all the absurd human and economic costs that entails, and hold those vulnerable supply lines against attacks by either you and your allies or by opportunists who smell blood in the water. If they opt for covert action, then they now bear the additional operating costs of working in the dark, constantly watching over their shoulders.

                    Conversely, without making significant trouble for the Realm, it feels as if your life should just get harder and harder, year after year, as they build their strength and expand their operational reach, rolling all the blood and treasure between them and you into a big Katamari of violence as empires are wont to do. I don't know, maybe I'm misreading the sourcebooks, but I never got the impression that the Realm did peace and stability when conquest and expansion were on the table. Maybe it's more nuanced than that, and the Empress sometimes invested in her peripheral holdings to build up stable alliances abroad, but from my reading, scorched-earth devastation is the default mode of all empires ever, abating only when it begins to pose an unacceptable risk to an empire's governing elite.

                    TL;DR my read on Lunars in 3e has always been kind of like the XCOM games - if you're not constantly seizing the initiative and taking the fight to the enemy, you're losing. And this is not a fight you can afford to lose.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post

                      You keep going on about 'spotting the tell' but you should re-read that section in the antagonist chapter. The difficulty 7 roll is to see if the creature is a shapeshifter. It has nothing to do with spotting the tell, except that you don't normally even get the roll unless you've seen the tell, or some physical give away which you know about. That last part I take to mean something along the lines of a certain way they walk, an eye twitch, etc.
                      I'm leaving it because it's my habit, but I'm not really feeling the stuff that I'm saying in these brackets.
                      {You mean this section?
                      Spotting a shapeshifted Lunar for something other than what it appears to be is treated as a roll to recognize a disguised character (p. 224), with a flat difficulty of 7. This can’t be attempted unless the observer is already aware of a unique tell or physical give-away that the Lunar possesses in his true human form, which subtly translates in some way into his other shapes.
                      Kind of specifically says shapeshifted Lunar.

                      And you're there saying that it has nothing to do with spotting the tell, while acknowledging that you only even get to make the roll if you're familiar with the tell... why do you think you're only able to make the attempt if you're already familiar with the tell?}

                      No, wait, scratch that... it now reads more to me like you think that I'm under the impression that somebody who knew nothing about the Lunar could see aberrations in their other forms, rather than needing to know what to look for in the first place. A bit nitpicky, but fair enough.

                      Hmm, this whole post dissatisfies me, and I feel as though I've lost touch with my point in favour of arguing minutia... not really sure what to do now.

                      I think I'm gonna leave this subject be for a while, and if I come back maybe have ideas that are more brief and holistic.


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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Eric Minton View Post
                        Even if you do successfully murder every young Dynast to tour your chunk of the South
                        Originally posted by Thesaurasaurus View Post
                        With the Dynasts with field experience in your particular domain dead
                        It looks like we're talking past each other, so I'm going to withdraw from this discussion.


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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Eric Minton View Post
                          It looks like we're talking past each other, so I'm going to withdraw from this discussion.
                          If you wish, but I mean... if the problem was that young Dynasts saw your homeland as a great place to visit to hone their skills at plunder and conquest, and you made them so afraid that they stopped doing that... that seems like a meaningful win in its own right? Even if the Empire is inevitably going to launch a retaliatory strike, it's not as if they weren't planning to kill you and grind your nation to dust eventually. It doesn't mean you have to Leery Jenkins into the tent of every single Imperial General in your Direction, but I'd expect the main answer to "why don't Solars and Lunars launch decapitation strikes as a matter of course" to be "they do, it's just not always successful and the Realm's organized chains of command mean that they can lose generals without losing the war so your efforts might be better-spent elsewhere."

                          To be clear my main objection is to the idea that for a Solar or Lunar can avoid being a target by not being too much of a problem for the Realm and the Bronze Faction, since the whole idea behind the Wyld Hunt seems to be that every single Solar or Lunar eventually will become a problem so it's better to kill them early. I'd think that it wouldn't be enough to stay away from the Realm's borders; you'd have to actively prevent those borders from reaching you.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                            I'm leaving it because it's my habit, but I'm not really feeling the stuff that I'm saying in these brackets.
                            {You mean this section?
                            Spotting a shapeshifted Lunar for something other than what it appears to be is treated as a roll to recognize a disguised character (p. 224), with a flat difficulty of 7. This can’t be attempted unless the observer is already aware of a unique tell or physical give-away that the Lunar possesses in his true human form, which subtly translates in some way into his other shapes.
                            Kind of specifically says shapeshifted Lunar.

                            And you're there saying that it has nothing to do with spotting the tell, while acknowledging that you only even get to make the roll if you're familiar with the tell... why do you think you're only able to make the attempt if you're already familiar with the tell?}

                            No, wait, scratch that... it now reads more to me like you think that I'm under the impression that somebody who knew nothing about the Lunar could see aberrations in their other forms, rather than needing to know what to look for in the first place. A bit nitpicky, but fair enough.

                            Hmm, this whole post dissatisfies me, and I feel as though I've lost touch with my point in favour of arguing minutia... not really sure what to do now.

                            I think I'm gonna leave this subject be for a while, and if I come back maybe have ideas that are more brief and holistic.
                            So the first bolded section, to me, means that is someone succeeds at the roll, they can identify that the creature is a shapeshifted lunar. However, The second bolded section specifically shows that you don't need to spot the tell to be able to spot the lunar, but you'd need something else to show that the creature isn't a normal animal. Or at least that was the interpretation I was working under previously, but now that I'm re-reading it again, I feel a bit of a fool, since it's pretty clear that the second bolded section simply rolls into the first and it's merely describing what the tell is.

                            Regardless, though, in the case of a spider walking into an area warded against mundane spiders or similar, I'd still give the DB the roll to see if they can identify that it's a lunar, but, importantly, I even if they succeeded, I wouldn't allow them to know the lunar's tell unless the lunar shifts back to human form. So basically, I wouldn't give them carte blanche to always be able to tell it's the lunar if they meet her at a party after the spider escapes the area or similar normal circumstances.


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                            • #59
                              TBH, if I was the bodyguard of a Realm general fighting a Lunar Dominion and I noticed a spider in the tent, I'd swat it just in case, regardless if there was something odd about it or not.


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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                                TBH, if I was the bodyguard of a Realm general fighting a Lunar Dominion and I noticed a spider in the tent, I'd swat it just in case, regardless if there was something odd about it or not.
                                Plus I mean demon spiders, and gods only know what kind of horrors a sorcerer could do with a spider. Most importantly though you don't get rid of that spider you just know its going to bite you in the worst area and that's just it for the next week while you're desperatly trying to get people to scratch it since you can't reach.

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