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  • Mortal Kombat! (Wombat) Wherein Prototype00 thinks about Lunar Animal Forms.

    Foul Anathema, you shall tempt the souls of men, NO LONGER!

    *meow*

    There is no dissuading me, I have chased you across THREE DIRECTIONS!

    *purrrrr*

    CEASE YOUR BLANDISHMENTS, TEMPTRESS!

    *Hiss!*

    Yes, this can only end in death, make peace with your foul deity, Frenzied Moon Mad!

    Later, Anja would ponder the briefness of existence as she surveyed the wailing crowd of Shikari, Realm veterans and shocked Dynasts that gathered in the cul-de-sac. She licked the blood off her paws and padded off, just another unseen stray...
    So animal forms, get the biggest and baddest and go all Kaiju Combat, right?! Wreck absolutely everything as a Tyrant Lizard!

    Well not quite.

    1. Kaiju combat is mote expensive, and will immediately (most times) make you go iconic, which is real bad.

    2. Well what about the rad attacks? So many dice of damage! Well, I'm not 100% sure you can use an animal's damage but not their dice pool to hit. And animal accuracy is absolute cow pucky. Its real bad. Most times you will be more accurate in your human form than if you are attacking as a Pestletail.

    So what to do? I think the name of the game is Mote Efficiency. Getting the most for your 4 mote shapechange commitment.

    Take the humble Housecat, for example. Not very impressive, is it, what with it's poor accuracy and crap damage. Why would I choose that?
    .
    .
    .

    To be honest, I think the Cat is one of the deadliest forms you can take out of the core animal choices. Let me tell you why.

    1. These items are important: Re: Lunar Shapeshifting
    She may use the animal’s natural weapons, including their listed dice pool and damage value. (Note that she uses the same pool for withering and decisive attacks). Any dice over her own base (Dexterity + Brawl) count as Charm dice, but damage doesn’t count against the amount she may add with the Strength Excellency. If her (Dexterity + Brawl) pool is higher than the attack pool for a natural weapon, her withering attacks with it gain +1 Accuracy.

    She gains the animal’s innate special abilities and Merits. Dice or successes added by these count as Charm bonuses.

    She may unlock an animal shape’s mundane latent abilities (but not magical abilities) for six experience points or three bonus points each. Once she’s unlocked a latent ability for one form, it’s unlocked for all forms capable of using it. She doesn’t need to unlock latent abilities to use the distract, disarm, and unhorse gambits in animal forms.
    2 Cats have:
    Ambush Hunter: The cat adds three dice on all attack rolls made from stealth.

    Underfoot Menace (Latent): The cat treats any attack it
    makes against a larger enemy as being made from stealth
    for the purposes of its Ambush Hunter and Stalking
    Shadow Hunter special attacks.

    Tiny Creature: Cats add +2 Evasion against any attack
    made by a larger foe. In addition, larger characters subtract
    two successes from any Awareness-based roll made
    to notice it.
    Now do you see where I am going with this? No? Let's put up an example then, Anja works well.

    Lets say Anja has 5 Strength, 5 Dex and 3 Stamina (the stamina isn't important, I just put it in to demonstrate that you can still have a good value if you max Strength and Dex.)

    In cat form, she doesn't have to use the cat's attack, she can use her own unarmed attack, say, a light weapon every creature possesses.

    But her unarmed attack benefits from cat related special talents, especially the ones I mentioned above.

    1. For her attack stat, let's say she has (Dex 5 + Brawl 5) to attack, so 10 base dice, 11 with a specialty (cat-fu, say). She adds 4 for using a light weapon (unarmed) so 15, and stunts for 2 more 17. So far, so normal, most martial artists have as good a pool.

    Now she tacks on Ambush Hunter, and all of a sudden, unless she is fighting Mice of the Sun, she is rolling 20 dice with absolutely no motes spent. She still hits for 12 + threshold success damage (with 5 Str), and if she wants to keep her mote expenditure below anima flaring (i.e. 4 motes) she can roll 24 dice to attack.

    As a cat. A common, back-alley stray.

    And not only that

    2. For her defence, lets say she splurged and has (Dex 5 + Dodge 5), 11 with a specialty. So thats a base Dodge DV of 6. She stunts it for a Dodge DV of 7. Thats pretty good, really. Quite hard to hi...

    Because she's a cat and for no other reason, her dodge DV is now 9. Even with 20 dice, you are hard pressed to hit. And she hasn't even spent any motes yet. And she can hit like a master assassin.

    TLDR: Biggest Beast is not best beast. You want mote efficency? Cat-punch things to death, highest accuracy and DV boost for 4 mote commitment.

    Did I get that wrong, am I dreaming, please do tell me. In the meantime, I'll keep combing for unexpected gems.
    Last edited by prototype00; 02-20-2019, 07:10 PM.

  • #2
    A lot of that, yeah, you're right. Big forms are quite expensive. Though I'd argue there's mote efficiency in getting that bigger dice pool, at least if you're attacking with a high damage weapon (it's not worth it if you're using a low damage weapon).

    But, without fists, I'm not sure you actually can use your own Unarmed attack. It's a good point, and I think I'll ask it.




    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

    Comment


    • #3
      For other good shapes maybe Clawstrider or Dog? Pack Hunting is very good if you have the latent upgrade and also several human allies (or if you just have several same species allies). Clawstriders get a 15-damage attack, and ambush hunter for even more accuracy (though nothing like underfoot menace). Dogs get some nice defend other effects.

      On the less attack-oriented side, you can get some very high soaks without having to wear armor, admittedly many are legendary size. Impenetrable Armor (-1 overwhelming) goes well with this, especially against people without artifact weapons. Also, I am amused by the image of an evasion 6 pestletail.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think we all know the ultimate hit-and-run form is... the giant stick insect!
        Hide with Camouflage, attack with Ambush Hunter, and flurry a disengage... which auto-suceeds!
        You can always grow your leg back later.

        (On a more serious note, if you have lots of Ox-Bodies go with Bear. Berzerker is very useful.)


        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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
          1. Kaiju combat is mote expensive, and will immediately (most times) make you go iconic, which is real bad.
          Where does this come from? Maybe I missed a Charm or two on the matter but I'm not sure why it's mote expensive? Cite/link? (I am a KS backer so have access to backer-only stuff if it's in there).

          Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
          2. Well what about the rad attacks? So many dice of damage! Well, I'm not 100% sure you can use an animal's damage but not their dice pool to hit.

          And animal accuracy is absolute cow pucky. Its real bad. Most times you will be more accurate in your human form than if you are attacking as a Pestletail.
          I mean that is a specific example and probably one of the worst tbh. Yeah the pestletail's dice pool sucks, but others are better. Tyrant lizard is biting at 11, which is basically maxed Attribute + Ability + Specialty with a heavy mortal weapon, 1 less than an Artifact heavy weapon accuracy, but the slam is 12, so the same as an Artifact heavy weapon for to-hit. Talons are 13 dice, so falling between Artifact medium and heavy melee weapons to hit. Though all of these have fewer raw damage dice than comparable-accuracy Artifact weapon withering damage stats assuming maxed Strength like your Anja.

          This is also before considering some of the special attack and merit benefits, though those benefits in an animal form have to be weighed against the likelihood of comparable or better Evocations if you're using an Artifact in human form.

          Looking through - Armored Terrors, bears, claw striders, great cats, and quoll-lions also all have at least decent "weapon" stats, though "decent" is certainly contextual.

          At the same time, probably the best user for some of these higher power animal forms is frankly not your Str 5/Dex 5/Brawl 5/Dodge 5 optimized warrior, but someone with much less investment in physical attributes, to whom 11-13 dice and 14-16 damage dice are a big upgrade to what they might be able to throw around in human form

          Is this disappointing? Maybe, idk, it depends on what role you think shapeshifting should play and your personal expectations. I am not sure there is a way to make a given animal-form with a given set of stats/dice pools mutually appealing to both the combat-optimized 5/5/3 berserker and the physical-tertiary sorcerer who didn't even favor a physical attribute at all.

          The alternative is scaling stats meaning instead of assuming a given stat block you just get +s and -s to different stats on top of your base stats as applicable (like things work with the different forms in Werewolf), which is both more complicated, and IIRC just more ripe for "abuse" (such as it is) when layered on top of the high end combat-character's high-end physical stats getting pumped even higher (see also: 2e DBT's stat increases).

          As I flip through the animal forms in the Core it is obvious that the dice pools are balanced against essentially the concept of "how would this animal do if attacking a normal human," which makes sense since most people in Creation are normal humans even if probably 99% of PCs in Exalted are, well, Exalted. The stats are designed around "what makes sense in an in-setting context" not "what provides a particular challenge vs an Exalt"; most Exalts are not going to be worried about a pestle tail hitting them unless they have some significant penalties stacked up, whereas mortals should rightly be concerned being around these things.

          And as we all know, "what makes sense in an in-setting context" not "what provides a particular challenge vs an Exalt" is a very different kind of antagonist design mentality than say D&D's, for both good and ill.
          Last edited by Zelbinnean; 02-20-2019, 04:24 PM.


          "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

          "Happiness is very brittle and short-lived in the Exalted community, because ressentiment is our cultural touchstone." --Gayo

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by prototype00 View Post

            TLDR: Biggest Beast is not best beast. You want mote efficency? Cat-punch things to death, highest accuracy and DV boost for 4 mote commitment.

            Did I get that wrong, am I dreaming, please do tell me. In the meantime, I'll keep combing for unexpected gems.



            ....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Zelbinnean View Post

              Where does this come from? Maybe I missed a Charm or two on the matter but I'm not sure why it's mote expensive? Cite/link? (I am a KS backer so have access to backer-only stuff if it's in there).
              Towering Beast Form isn't in the stuff previewed in the Kickstarter, but a few months ago a playtester wrote a thread revealing some stuff.

              One thing they said was that taking the form of something with Legendary Size took not 4m, like most forms, but 15 motes... and you have to spend 4m a round in combat, or 4m an hour outside combat.


              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

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't think I interpreted this (quoted) as allowing you to use your unarmed attack's Accuracy on Withering attacks. (If Anja was using her unarmed profile and Strength to attack, would an animal form's talons and fangs have the Bashing tag?) It seems as though animals use the same pool for withering and decisive, with an optional +1 Accuracy to Withering if your Dex/Brawl exceeds the animal's dice pool.

                She may use the animal’s natural weapons, including their listed dice pool and damage value. (Note that she uses the same pool for withering and decisive attacks). Any dice over her own base (Dexterity + Brawl) count as Charm dice, but damage doesn’t count against the amount she may add with the Strength Excellency. If her (Dexterity + Brawl) pool is higher than the attack pool for a natural weapon, her withering attacks with it gain +1 Accuracy.
                If Dex + Brawl, here, does not include Accuracy, Anja is limited to a dice pool of 11+Attr+Attr (let's say 21 + stunt) because anything in excess of her Dex+Brawl would be Charm dice.

                If it does, as in your example, then Anja gets 5+5+1+4 (acc) + 1 (acc bonus for dex+brawl in excess of form's dice pool) + up to 10 Charm dice = 26 + stunt.


                I attack people with giant insects both on and off the court.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Commoner slaying house cats are back baby! Now let's take out a party of low-level adventurers.

                  I think you are onto something here, for the most part, I suspect that such a small creature - while good on the offense is going to be very vulnerable to large clinches and other potential gambits, like trampling. You have your dex charms to keep you safe for a while, and the strength helps a lot as well though.
                  Last edited by Nabirius; 02-20-2019, 04:58 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                    A lot of that, yeah, you're right. Big forms are quite expensive. Though I'd argue there's mote efficiency in getting that bigger dice pool, at least if you're attacking with a high damage weapon (it's not worth it if you're using a low damage weapon).

                    But, without fists, I'm not sure you actually can use your own Unarmed attack. It's a good point, and I think I'll ask it.
                    I'm not sure you need Fists to unarmed attack in Exalted because, I'm not 100%, but isn't the unarmed mortal weapon just describing brawling without a weapon? But indeed, a good question to ask the Devs (and if you don't, I will)

                    For other good shapes maybe Clawstrider or Dog? Pack Hunting is very good if you have the latent upgrade and also several human allies (or if you just have several same species allies). Clawstriders get a 15-damage attack, and ambush hunter for even more accuracy (though nothing like underfoot menace). Dogs get some nice defend other effects.

                    On the less attack-oriented side, you can get some very high soaks without having to wear armor, admittedly many are legendary size. Impenetrable Armor (-1 overwhelming) goes well with this, especially against people without artifact weapons. Also, I am amused by the image of an evasion 6 pestletail.
                    The soak is the best thing about the large sized creatures in my opinion. There are reflexive charms that let you shapeshift in response to attacks, so they have their uses. Dogs and eagles were actually the next couple I was eyeing thanks to the special attacks and merits.

                    mean that is a specific example and probably one of the worst tbh. Yeah the pestletail's dice pool sucks, but others are better. Tyrant lizard is biting at 11, which is basically maxed Attribute + Ability + Specialty with a heavy mortal weapon, 1 less than an Artifact heavy weapon accuracy, but the slam is 12, so the same as an Artifact heavy weapon for to-hit. Talons are 13 dice, so falling between Artifact medium and heavy melee weapons to hit. Though all of these have fewer raw damage dice than comparable-accuracy Artifact weapon withering damage stats assuming maxed Strength like your Anja.
                    Their Dice pool are better, but not... y'know 20 dice pool hurled round with no mote expenditure. I know I did hyper focus on accuracy here, but when I look at the cost of going T-Rex an the fact that the housecat can absolutely murder given a character with good attributes (so it's good for a combat focused Lunar, even) I thought I'd point it out.

                    I don't think I interpreted this (quoted) as allowing you to use your unarmed attack's Accuracy on Withering attacks. (If Anja was using her unarmed profile and Strength to attack, would an animal form's talons and fangs have the Bashing tag?) It seems as though animals use the same pool for withering and decisive, with an optional +1 Accuracy to Withering if your Dex/Brawl exceeds the animal's dice pool.

                    See, the thing I'm doing here is I'm not even using the animal's attack at all. I thought about the difficulty of making the cat's attacks work for me (they have poor accuracy, damage is decent if you can get the accuracy up) and decided to use my own Unarmed attack pool which I am calculating in the usual fashion. Nothing in the rules that I have seen so far says that tiny creatures (miniscule probably has some rules about this) do less damage with their Unarmed attack pool compared to full sized creatures? So I am calculating the unarmed attack from scratch.

                    The important word here in the description is "May" which I highlighted in the original post. You may use their attacks. But my post was that if you had other attack pools that you could reconstitute (like unarmed brawl for example) you could also use that, which turns out in the case of the Housecat to be a mote-efficient unhittable blender.

                    I think you are onto something here, for the most part, I suspect that such a small creature - while good on the offense is going to be very vulnerable to large clinches and other potential gambits, like trampling. You have your dex charms to keep you safe for a while, and the strength helps a lot as well though.
                    I agree (they are going to be smaller whenever that applies), but they still have to hit to grapple, which isn't trivial. Also, hilariously, housecat can probably wear Moonsilver armor. You aren't using martial arts or anything, wear the best Moonsilver light armor you can afford with bp!

                    Edit: ARRRGH! I was referencing Anya Silverclaws (who is a cat totem Lunar in the lore) when I made the example, but I spelled her name wrong! Frack it, it's okay. Anja it is then. You're my first bootleg, obviously stolen, Drizzt style, character, hooray!
                    Last edited by prototype00; 02-20-2019, 06:48 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Anja also "may" attempt any Feat of Strength the form is capable of, which - by this interpretation of "may" - would mean that the subsequent provisions about the limits of the form's Strength are irrelevant, as she can opt to instead use her own Strength "from scratch", yes?


                      I attack people with giant insects both on and off the court.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Five Eyes View Post
                        Anja also "may" attempt any Feat of Strength the form is capable of, which - by this interpretation of "may" - would mean that the subsequent provisions about the limits of the form's Strength are irrelevant, as she can opt to instead use her own Strength "from scratch", yes?
                        She may attempt any feat of strength that the animal is capable of performing. If the animal’s effective Strength rating is lower than her own, she’s limited to the lower value. If the form doesn’t list a Strength rating for the purpose of feats, it’s assumed to have Strength 1.
                        I think this specific rule covers Feats of Strength. For everything else:

                        When she takes an action the animal has a listed dice pool for, she may use its dice pool. Any dice over her own base (Attribute + Ability) pool count as Charm dice and are subject to her dice cap (p. XX), potentially preventing her from using a form’s full dice pool. If the animal’s pool is lower than hers, or it has no listed pool, she may use her own dice pool, although the Storyteller may assess penalties if her shape is ill-suited to that action.
                        Edit: Checked with Vance, apparently completely legit
                        :
                        When a Lunar is Shapeshifted into a form of an animal, do they have to use the listed attacks in the animal's QC block? (The text says "may use") Would it be possible to use their own human brawl pool and attack with the unarmed stats? (I.e. Dex + Brawl) but use the animal's special qualities?

                        Originally posted by Robert Vance View Post
                        They can use their own pools if they're higher. The only exception is Strength rating to qualify for feats of strength.
                        Last edited by prototype00; 02-20-2019, 07:05 PM.

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                        • #13
                          You don't spell combat with a k without creating certain expectations! I was expecting D'vorah as a bee totem.


                          Onyx Path Forum Moderator
                          Please spare a thought for updating the Exalted wiki.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                            You don't spell combat with a k without creating certain expectations! I was expecting D'vorah as a bee totem.
                            For a certain segment of people, I don't think it's possible to spell that word pairing with a C anymore.

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                            • #15
                              I’m pretty sure we’ve only had an Anja Silverclaws in the lore ever.


                              ....

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