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  • Evocations vs Charms

    So, the devs have said that evocations are supposed to extend beyond what native charms can do, but on the other hand evocations need to fit the themes of an artifact's magical material, and the themes of each magical material are extremely close to those of the exalted that are encouraged to use that material the most. How does one distinguish which effects to make charms for a type of exalted and which to make evocations of an artifact of their corresponding magical material?

  • #2
    Originally posted by rj.au View Post
    So, the devs have said that evocations are supposed to extend beyond what native charms can do, but on the other hand evocations need to fit the themes of an artifact's magical material,
    I'd say to stop there and question that assumption. The themes of each magical material are one source of evocations, but not the only one. An artifact's history and general nature are both just as important sources for evocation ideas. For example, check out the Frost-Thorn Knuckles in Arms of the Chosen. They're moonsilver, but a lot of their evocations are based around ice and general survival in cold climates, neither of which are really noted as moonsilver themes. But they work, because of the artifact's nature and history, which involve magical ice and hunting in arctic terrain, and the Frost-Thorn Knuckles themselves make sense as moonsilver because they were crafted by a Lunar, and have strong animalistic affinities, even if they don't particularly express that in their evocations.

    and the themes of each magical material are extremely close to those of the exalted that are encouraged to use that material the most.
    And that's the other assumption I'd challenge. The magical materials certainly have overlaps with the Exalted types who resonate with them. But I would disagree that they're "extremely close". Take orichalcum, for example - while several of its affinities certainly mimic Solar tricks, others don't. It lists "light and shadow", for example (emphasis mine). Light is certainly within the Solars' wheelhouse, but shadow isn't so much. At best, Night castes with Stealth can hide in shadow. But they probably couldn't create an effect that created shadows, whereas I could totally see an orichalcum lamp that could either brightly illuminate a room, or absorb all light into itself, plunging the whole area into darkness. Or could create animated shadow-puppets! And orichalcum mentions being able to "harness forceful, vibrant, or energetic natural phenomena", which is generally going to be outside the Solar charmset, I'd say.

    How does one distinguish which effects to make charms for a type of exalted and which to make evocations of an artifact of their corresponding magical material?
    As I referred to above, I'd start with the places that the affinity list doesn't overlap with the Exalted's themes, which I think occurs in all of the magical materials. Also, don't be afraid to explore "like the Exalt type in question, but even better" - a Solar can be a deadly swordswoman with any blade she picks up, but a particularly dangerous one with her cherished daiklave that she treats as an extension of her soul.

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    • #3
      "Like the Exalt type in question, but even better" can especially be true of Jade. Resonant effects are supposed to be close to solar tier, so Jade weapons are a big source of a dragon blooded's strongest powers. Orichalcum too, since solars can use everything equally well and there needs to be some incentive for them to use Orichalcum, because it is true that by using your own material, you sacrifice some of that extension of themes for power. For most exalts, it a bit of a trade off.

      That might be why starmetal is one of the more versatile of the materials, now I think about it, since sidereals are crippled more by branching out than other exalted.

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      • #4
        One factor to keep in mind with regard to the question of whether a particular effect should be a Charm or an Evocation is, "does it make sense for the Exalt to be using it without the Artifact?"

        If yes, then it's probably a native Charm*; if no, it's an Evocation.




        _______________
        *Exceptions can exist, though none have presently been written.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
          One factor to keep in mind with regard to the question of whether a particular effect should be a Charm or an Evocation is, "does it make sense for the Exalt to be using it without the Artifact?"

          If yes, then it's probably a native Charm*; if no, it's an Evocation.




          _______________
          *Exceptions can exist, though none have presently been written.
          I think this might be the best explaination of evocations I’ve seen.

          Somethings else that I might add though are that evocations tend to be very closely tied to a theme, and very self contained and specialized, where a lot of native charms are very general. Like take Volcano Cutter and it’s crazy volcano seeding suite, for instance.

          Also it seems obvious but a lot of the power of evocations is focused on the weapon itself and its legend. Like an oricalcum grimcleaver might have the amazing ability to store a miniature sun within it, and have the power with its final evocation to fully open it up and release it into the sky. Throwing a new sun into the sky temporarily isn’t really an extension of solar themes of human excellence, and stretches a bit far on their themes of sun-fire, but either way you wouldn’t have a charm that lets you store a sun in your axe without that axe being very special itself.
          Last edited by DrLoveMonkey; 01-25-2019, 11:41 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Elfive View Post
            Resonant effects are supposed to be close to solar tier,
            How close?


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            • #7
              I'm not sure, but I'd like to know, for balancing purposes.

              Has anyone done a comparison of the more straightforward evocations and similar Solar charms?

              My Godspeed Vanguard's evocations seemed pretty powerful, but they were upgrades to Solar charms or combo'd with them anyway, and it was an Orichalcum Level 4 artefact.
              (It might be that Resonant evocations on Orichalcum artefacts are roughly level with Solar charms, while Jade ones are a bit weaker. They're still good for DBs because they're better than DB charms, and good for Solars because they let them do things outside the normal Solar powerset, giving them more options. I don't know though.)


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              • #8
                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                One factor to keep in mind with regard to the question of whether a particular effect should be a Charm or an Evocation is, "does it make sense for the Exalt to be using it without the Artifact?"
                Like my concept for the moonsilver Blood-Binding Ring.

                Lunars will now have multiple methods of taking Heart's Blood from people without killing them, but their ability to leverage Heart's Blood against a living victim through Lunar Charms should be limited so that a Lunar character cannot Uncontestably Win Forever against a player character whose Heart's Blood she managed to steal.

                But a ring can be lost, stolen, or destroyed as Lunar Charms cannot be, so an artifact ring can be allowed to give the Lunar additional power over her victims than her own Charms should ever be allowed.


                Also, Kirke's Staff. Elder Lunar Exalted will have the power to transform others into beasts, but Kirke's Staff -- as something which can be lost, stolen, or destroyed -- justifies having an easier time of literally beating someone into a new shape.


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                • #9
                  Yes, but ...has anyone here really ever taken an artifact away from a player? Like, for good? If so, how much whining was there afterwards?


                  ....

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                    (It might be that Resonant evocations on Orichalcum artefacts are roughly level with Solar charms, while Jade ones are a bit weaker. They're still good for DBs because they're better than DB charms, and good for Solars because they let them do things outside the normal Solar powerset, giving them more options. I don't know though.)
                    Doubtful. The choice of magic material doesn't pose a hard limitation on what an item can do, you can have an orichalcum reaper daiklave that creates storms because it's got an imprisoned storm demon. Nothing good comes from allowing people to make a better Volcano Cutter out of orichalcum.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      Has anyone done a comparison of the more straightforward evocations and similar Solar charms?
                      I think it's also worth comparing Evocations in Arms of the Chosen to ones in What Fire Has Wrought.


                      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                        Yes, but ...has anyone here really ever taken an artifact away from a player? Like, for good? If so, how much whining was there afterwards?
                        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                        Lunars will now have multiple methods of taking Heart's Blood from people without killing them, but their ability to leverage Heart's Blood against a living victim through Lunar Charms should be limited so that a Lunar character cannot Uncontestably Win Forever against a player character whose Heart's Blood she managed to steal.
                        I was talking about artifacts being used against PCs, not by PCs.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                          (It might be that Resonant evocations on Orichalcum artefacts are roughly level with Solar charms, while Jade ones are a bit weaker. They're still good for DBs because they're better than DB charms, and good for Solars because they let them do things outside the normal Solar powerset, giving them more options. I don't know though.)
                          Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                          Doubtful. The choice of magic material doesn't pose a hard limitation on what an item can do, you can have an orichalcum reaper daiklave that creates storms because it's got an imprisoned storm demon. Nothing good comes from allowing people to make a better Volcano Cutter out of orichalcum.
                          It's worth noting that there's a difference between Evocations with Resonant effects, and Evocations locked behind Solar Charms.


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                          My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                          • #14
                            Speaking more generally on the topic. The magic material is one aspect of an item's Evocations and it's shape and story might ultimately prove bigger factors.

                            Personally speaking. I've got a system for Evocations that divides a bunch of interesting mechanical effects by appropriate weight/tags to create some initial character that I or the player can build upon.
                            i.e. a Direlance might have initial properties derived from how long it is (Reach) its ability to puncture armour (Piercing), it's applications when used on horseback or the fact it's pretty big even for an artifact weapon (Heavy, Two-Handed).

                            Now the magic material may already be influencing the trait I want to emphasise, the Earth themes of White Jade can work well with sheer weight. The patience associated with Earth Aspected Dragon-Blooded also compliments the Two-Handed tag. Clashes can be very powerful and worth the initiative cost of delaying your action in order to set up. Similarly a super reaching spear suggests manoeuvrability and flexibility but the idea of it literally being able to extend is Moonsilver as hell.
                            Working with Piercing/Impaling (yeah that’s a thing, core book page 203) is more material agnostic, it could be a ghostly lance tip phasing through someone’s armour or rupturing their defences with a surge of essence pressure.

                            Name is another important component of this. If I was creating a direlance on the fly for a player who didn’t have any idea what they wanted their artifact to do, I’d consult this random name generator here and see what it came up with.
                            Lightbringer
                            King's Defender
                            Lament
                            Corrupted Prick
                            Primal Harpoon
                            Apocalyptic Yew Spike
                            Lightning Ironbark Skewer
                            Reign, Chopper of the Nightstalker
                            Hail, Slayer of the Incoming Storm
                            Wolf, Memory of Illumination

                            A rule to keep in mind with random name generators, always Google a name before you make it a pivotal part of your character in case there’s baggage associated with it that you might have missed. Suffice to say; I’m not in a hurry to have one of my PCs wield the Corrupted Prick. I might have an NPC wield some tainted disease spreading direlance and add some levity to the situation by having them really not thinking their weapon name through.

                            So let’s work with Lightbringer, King’s Defender and Lament.
                            Let’s play Lightbringer straight and not tie it to a certain Fallen Angel. Good for the Good God, Smite the Evildoer and all that jazz. I might say its Piercing Attack reduces a Creature of Darkness’ soak by an extra -2, not huge but it it’s establishing what it’s here for.
                            King’s Defender is another one that’s advertising its purpose. Maybe it could let the wielder Clash on behalf of another person as a sort of combined delay/defend other?
                            Finally Lament doesn’t open itself to any obvious function. The name’s a bit morbid but its meaning depends on the wielder’s state of mind. The name on a weapon implies regret suggesting the creator didn’t want it to be wielded except in a last resort.
                            So let’s go with that. I’m thinking a discount on Delaying Actions by 1, suggesting a “speak softly and carry a big stick” approach that lets you measure the scene and give your allies a chance to defuse the situation before things escalate. Either because you genuinely don’t want to fight or because you’re the kind of assassin who doesn't want to get their clothes bloody.

                            That's obviously not how everyone should do it, just my approach.
                            Last edited by Lioness; 01-26-2019, 02:26 PM.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                              Suffice to say; I’m not in a hurry to have one of my PCs wield the Corrupted Prick.
                              Isn’t that exactly what Shockwave Technique is for though?

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