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Why are Lunars allowed to combine native charms and martial arts again?

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  • Why are Lunars allowed to combine native charms and martial arts again?

    tl;dr Summary

    Allowing Lunar native charms to access martial arts creates not only several major balance concerns but also concerns about making other characters invalidated or eclipsed by Lunars. It makes balancing martial arts from here on out far more difficult when you need to account for Lunar charms gaining access to such a thing, at least not without investing an absurd amount of time.


    Introduction

    Back when we were all shiny eyed and bushy tailed with the Ex3 Kickstarter, we all gathered around and listened with awe-eyed rapture with tales of Ex3. Those new to Exalted were introduced to the wonderful setting while even jaded veterans like myself could only dream of an Exalted game without paranoia combat or taking several hours to inflict a single level of damage on an opponent. It was back then I first heard of ideas being thrown out for the future, one of them being, “Lunars will be able to combine MA together with their native charms!”

    I immediately knew this would be a horrific idea. But naysayers shot me down. Saying wait until the charms are out, THEN give your piece of advice on this. So that’s fair. I waited, I waited for a long time. I kept my stance of combining MA and native charms would be a bad idea, but didn’t press it until we’ve seen the charms. I was concerned, but I’ve long since held the belief that if you didn’t observe the material you’re commenting on then any points or concerns you make are flimsy at best.

    But then the Lunar Kickstarter charm packet was released to the backers. And as myself, a proud backer of the deluxe hardcover (Which I can actually afford as I don’t need to worry about finding food to eat anymore) I opened up the charms early in the morning, read through the offensive and defense dexterity charms and...

    Realized every worry and fear I had about native charms and MA working together on Lunars was outright confirmed.

    You may be asking why I’m so worried? I’m worried because outside of a few specific niche builds, this change makes Lunars, bar none, the best martial artists in the entire game. To the point where if you wanted to be another splat focusing on MA then you’d be an idiot to pass up being a Lunar. I’m willing to procrastinate some things such as my Youtube videos for this, so let’s dive into it~

    DISCLAIMER

    But let’s make one thing that’s going to remain universally true throughout this entire verbal diatribe: These Lunars are still some of the best Lunar’s we’ve got. Is it worth forsaking an entire splat over the issues raised here? Hell no. I have great confidence that Lunars working within the confines of their own splat have relatively few issues. Some things will break due to how potent some animal traits are when placed on Lunars (Armoured Terror soak reduction, ELEPHANTS) but I think all of us were fully expecting that to happen even from day one. The benefits of getting an actual, working Lunars charmset with people who understand how the system actually works is a benefit that speaks for itself. What I’m concerned is about system trends going forward and showing how such things can be a problem even if you don’t do stupid minmax builds that snap the system in two. No, I’m seeking to show relatively common problems that can show up in casual play.

    Neither do I hate Lunars or Ex3 as a whole. Do I think Ex3 as a whole is flawless? Hell no, I’ve been putting off another essay for quite some time (Aura’s make me wish Elemental surcharges returned). Do I still love the line? God yes! If I didn’t care about the line I wouldn’t have dropped the dosh for a deluxe book, I wouldn’t have written literally hundreds of thousands of words of completely free material, I wouldn’t have bothered writing this essay when I could’ve been playing Nier: Automata. I write this essay because I care deeply for the line and am concerned about some core design choices. If I need to pull off Jim Sterling’s “One True Zelda fan” then so be it.

    Martial Arts: History and Raison d’etre

    My issue involves getting to know some of the more advanced concepts about charms and their balance, and to do that we’re going to need a bit of a history lesson. So what are Martial Arts? I was going to save this for a charm creation tutorial one day but I guess I can bust it out early. The answer to this question lines in the very beginning of Martial Arts: A self-contained set of charms that (most) people in the setting would be able to access. These charms would be powerful effects that, unlike other attack abilities, could be combined with each other! Those who walk the path of the Ebon Shadow could learn the savagery of Tiger style. Not only that, but martial arts allowed one to explore concepts entirely outside the theme of what their splat would normally allow or get mechanics that were not only strange but highly sought after for reasons both In Character and Out of Character. White Veil allowed one to attack in social gala’s undiscovered while Crystal Chameleon allowed one to make stealth rolls while in bonfire. These martial arts are not only cool but opened up entirely new ways to play a character!

    This made an interesting interplay where one could not only gain access to more styles and more powerful, but often required careful research on what styles are compatible. See martial arts have a feature that strictly limits what weapons and armour one may use. This caused those who truly want a martial arts character to start hitting the books. They needed to deeply research details such as what weapon their character would use in order to maximize cross compatibility, what armour to take to determine if they’d need to invest in their splat’s own native toughness charms, and lore connections detailing information about the character’s sifu or how they learned this mystical art.

    From the mechanics point of view this is accomplished by each martial art having very significant deliberately inserted in the style itself. Ebon Shadow is an excellent martial arts style that supplements stealth. It has some tricks to keep you alive, but if you’re hit then you’re going to be feeling it. To offset this a character might decide to go into Tiger Style as well, that way in the off chance he’s discovered or going up against a character that hard counters his stealth then he can still contribute in a tough battle or (more likely) want some additional power and toughness. The Ebon Shadow Stylist could instead learn some Crystal Chameleon charms, granting her the capability to hide not only in shadows but in light. But oh no! Crystal Chameleon has weapons that are compatible with Tiger or Ebon Shadow! (For sake of argument, let’s say this is the case). That means that our martial artist needs to think carefully about his choices. Would the increased flexibility be worth the loss of power from going unarmed? What about the cool evocations the weapon or armour could provide? For people who liked CharOp this was an enjoyable puzzle, trying to figure out which combination of weapons, armour, and native charms would best supplement a chosen martial arts style to make it shine.

    Now the issue with Lunars is that do you see the careful balancing MA charms needed to have with each other? Do you see the time and research needed for checking cross compatible martial arts styles? Take all of that and throw it right out the fucking window. The baby goes out with the bathwater as now Lunars can combine any martial art with a single style that’s omni-applicable to weapons/armour, can fill nearly any hole/niche your martial arts leaves with ease, and trivally do things that even those with the mastery keyword would trade their soul for.

    I’m sorry it feels like I’ve stepped back in time to the 2.Xe Exalted patch era, where everyone had their own patch. Allowing MA’s with ability charms was something I’ve seen more than once, but it was shot down multiple times. Trying to seriously argue the merits of this would get you laughed at or a sidelook in disbelief. None better to argue this point is the terror of 2.Xe himself Jon Chung. To those unfamiliar to him he’s a man with extensive system knowledge. He pointed out the issues of Exalted 2e ‘paranoia’ combat, playtested the 2.5e update, and even made the prototype of the Mastery/Terrestrial keywords we see today in martial arts. He’s a condescending asshole who’s also been banned off multiple forums due to his behavior alone, but just because one’s an asshole doesn’t mean the points are not still valid. I’ll go ahead and quote one of the messages he left about regards of martial arts combining with native charms (with some slight edits):

    “(Respectable person), if you’re going to argue that combinatorial hell is not a thing re-designing charms, in the sense that you do not need to look at every charm (and special use artifact, and hearthstone power, and bullshit merit, and sorcerous buff spell, etc...) that can interact with the one you are writing while you are writing it, I’m (going to find such an undertaking quite humorous).

    The larger the set of difference bits of rules exceptions a given proposed rule exception can interact with, the higher the chances are that some kind of dumbshit broken interaction will exist: see the entire publication history of Exalted, Magic The Gathering, D&D, etc etc for choice examples. In order to reduce the number of dumbshit broken interactions in an exception-based game, said game should there try to keep the number of exception-packets any given exception-packet can interact with with a reasonable minimum, while satisfying other design goals.

    For example, if we want it to be easy to assemble NPC’s on the fly, we can simply use some of the wordcount (from other sections in the book) to make prefabricated competency-packages which can only use the set of native charms and commonly available equipment, take up vastly less space than martial arts styles, and are orders of magnitude easier to balance, as we are creating no new effects and only suggesting sets of already extant effects that work together well to accomplish some goal or satisfy some competency.

    If our only goal is this, going for Martial Arts as collections of universally available, universally interacting splat agnostic charms in order to do it is a madman’s choice. Who has the time to test all those combinations?
    Note this was called back in March 31, 2015. Nearly four years ago. Chung doesn’t know 3e as well as 2e, but I can tell you right now that passage is still accurate to this day. Chung may have been advocating for removing MA entirely, but even if we kept it we’d still need to deal with some of its ugly issues that crops up for Lunars.

    Not to say it doesn’t exist already. Martial Arts is odd in the sense that certain charms snap it in two while other sets are seen as supplementing it. For example, Dodge is considered when making martial arts as is Resistance. Martial Arts that normally rely on Dodge have an advantage defensively as expand your native charms as you please. Access to say, Melee parry charms, would completely break some of the ideas certain MA’s have, turning them from mid-tier to top tier almost instantly.

    So let’s delve into some of the crunch issues then, shall we?

    Lunars and Martial Arts: The Ultimate Team

    So you’re wondering why I’m proclaiming doom and gloom when I have no shit to back this time. Remember what I said earlier about each MA being tightly contained examples of balance? Let’s use some fun charms from the Lunar set to discuss some wonderful combat examples with Martial arts.

    CRANE

    Crane now has access to onslaught and other penalty negators. This now makes it one of the most aggravating styles to fight in the game. The one flaw a mastery stylist of Crane style had, that is piling on onslaught, is now virtually negated. You are now pounding your fists against a 10 defense wall that causes your ST or player to rip their notes in two.

    Crane’s issue of damage is all but completely eliminated as well. Crane was often heavily reliant on using a fan to bounce back damage until your capstone (Which at that point you don’t care what your initiative is so long as it’s a positive number). Even with the fan you were potentially limited by the damage your own opponent could put out. Now we don’t need to worry about that. We can use our strength charms or excellency to boost the damage of our somewhat lacking damage.

    So now we’re shattering the entire action economy across its knee, able to spam cheap counterattacks all day without anything holding them back.

    Lol, Lunars.

    SINGLE SHINING POINT INTO THE VOID

    Ah yes the meme style! Which everyone cries about how horrifically broken the style is before they learn the game devouring terror Righteous Devil becomes. Despite cries of how OP this style is you need to realize several things about it, big damn flaws the style has:
    • Its defense options are laughable. Gathering Light Concentration is more of an offense charm as it flips onslaught to the opponent. If you’re hit with this style then you can only rely on your armour.
    • Single Point stylist’s are utterly addicted to their secondary initiative track. This is because the entire style involves specializing against a single opponent until you can overkill them, and two initiative tracks barely gives the opponent time to breathe. If you’re a pure Single Point stylist then you’re going to need that second attack to keep up your pressure, as your recourse for being attacked is extremely limited.
    • Fatal Stroke Flash is one of the strongest damage adders in the game but carries an insane cost if you miss. Those running Single Point should know if an opponent has some sort of perfect defense (IE: One capable of automatically protecting against an attack, such as Seven Shadows Evasion) then chances to activating it without being sucker punched immediately after if you fail is extremely slim. To those pointing out how the capstone Blinding Nova Flare ‘solves’ this problem, it doesn’t: Clash attacks still exist. All the capstone does is merely give another option.
    • It cannot compete with upper tier accuracy adders. Solar Melee annihilates Single Point in clashes. Hell even Dragonblooded charms stand some good chance at clashing Single Point with its own charms. In terms of attack rolls Single Point offers reliability but not explosive power.

    Whether you agree with me or not Single Point being overrated the points I presented are some of the things significantly hindering Single Point style. Even with these flaws it's still a damn good martial arts style. Now what if we took all of these things holding it back and burn all to the ground? That answer is simple: We have Lunars.

    Now we have a way to get two initiative tracks at once! All of those annoy restrictions Flying Silver Dream had in place for minor details such as balance? Out the door! Now you too can have two initiative tracks for the low low price of three charm buy ins!

    And don’t say the form is only worth using as Mastery style. It ain’t. The initiative drip is annoying but hardly crippling to the style as a whole. The sword’s damage being capped by the stylist’s own initiative is more of an important point but even then that’s enough to tear a solid chunk out of someone (Or usually just save it to activate one of the charms that require both attacks).. The only really nasty thing is losing the form when crashed as 10m per pop ain’t cheap.

    That’s because its Single Point. The entire style is busted.
    Not to this extent. Flying Silver Dream would be equivalent to the same shenanigans if it essentially gave a second track. Why are Lunars allowed to get a free pass?

    Lol, Lunars.

    SNAKE

    Snake Strikes the Heel is incredibly bullshit. Using your withering accuracy dicepool on a clash vs an opponent who probably has a -3 attack penalty on them already? A potential difference of seven dice before charms? Yea good luck. Now what if we made it better! How about we add a charm that rerolls (Essence) dice that didn’t show up as successes? You can with Lunars!

    Lol, Lunars.


    DREAMING PEARL COURTESAN STYLE

    All of my attacks now have short range? For the rest of the scene? With the only downside being using a Fan/ribbon as my potential non-unarmed weapon forever and capable of being buffed by my native charms? Mm! Yes please!

    Lol, Lunars.


    RIGHTEOUS DEVIL STYLE

    Because clearly, the one thing this style needed is more damage. So let’s go ahead and give it that. I won’t debate that Mastery is nasty on this style, but Lunar charms only adding damage to a style which is overly rich in options already doesn’t help much.

    Sandact most of the damage charms are not even out yet
    Then let’s look at other things. Well the style is locked by the range of the weapon! Firewands are short range. Capping range is something important to consider when making evocations that operate with Righteous Devil, so there’s something from stopping it to fi-

    Originally posted by ”Righteous Devil Style”
    Additionally, at the beginning of each turn, the Righteous Devil may reflexively aim against any enemy whose Resolve was overcome by the activation of this form, or by a similar influence roll made in combat (even if he resisted).
    Oh...

    You know what this means right?

    It means if we ever have a range extender Lunars can now attack medium or longer range virtually all the time. Given that this is a very common charm, it's probably gonna be in it. Fuck it, grab double firewands, become a black horse Lunar and name yourself “The Outsider”. Have fun kiting everyone ever with them having little chance to catch up if this is ever the case.

    Oh and we have Finding the Needle’s Eye, Striking Mospid Method, and Stinging Ichneumon Scourge to better hit your enemies. Because such things are clearly needed on a style the reflexively and automatically aims at nearly every single enemy once per round with an easy activation condition.

    So now we have one of the strongest style’s in the game (If not the strongest period) have its cap completely blown off by a set that allows infinite expansion and works with not only literally other MA in existence but also supplements your native charms just fine. You don’t need to worry about evocations being locked to a specific weapon and panicking if such a weapon is disarmed from you.

    Lol, Lunars.


    STEEL DEVIL

    Putting ice cream on top of a pile of garbage still has you eating garbage.

    Lol, Steel Devil.


    But there is a very important point to consider here! The old Martial Arts were admitted by Vance to be written in a different time. A time when Hungry Tiger Technique cost 1m and didn’t care whenever or not your opponent was crashed or not. It was a time when charms were a bit stronger before being toned down. Sadly (or fortunately) Martial Arts charms didn’t get the same treatment nor did we see Heaven’s Ladder style. But with this knowledge in mind can we just... ignore this problem? The core MA charms could very well have balance issues, so warning people to keep careful eye on them is much easier now that, rest assured, we have knowledge that future MA charms will be a bit more tuned.

    Yes! To a certain point that is true. The Immaculate MA’s do better on Lunars because of their charm sharing than Solars while Golden Janissary and Mantis work but add other problems: The amount of resources needed to use the styles if you’re a non-lunar and the native charm comparisons.

    The Cost of Mastery

    The resources needed to purchase martial arts as a Lunar. Well we need the merit to do so, a four dot feat tax. Expensive but all splats (so far) need to grin and bear it, so that’s not as much of a factor, so that’s not much of a factor of determining who’s stronger or weaker here.

    So the main kicker here then is that Lunars are going to pay for MA as if it were unfavored. Martial Arts cost 10 XP per pop and increasing an ability costs are current rating x2. This is compared to the Solar/Dragonblooded cost of (Current Rating x2) -1 and 8 XP per pop since they can be favored.

    What does this mean? It means that to go from MA 0 -> 5 costs 23 XP unfavored and 19 XP favored. Styles with 8-10 charms can run you 80-100 XP unfavored or 64-80 XP favored. This is a difference of 16 to 20 XP. Two favored charms, but honestly if you’re getting proper bang for your buck this isn’t that bad. Evocations cost the same amount, and depending on your weapon choice and character build, its XP well spent.

    So why do people treat this as the devil again? You’re so focused on cost efficiency you’re making a mountain out of a molehill when there’s not too terribly much of a gap to begin with. This is especially true when you can use Splat XP to purchase MA.

    But Sandact! To learn an entirely new MA will cost Lunars more in the long run!
    Why are you bothering learning another MA as a Lunar?

    You literally have no need to learn another MA as you have an omni-compatible, infinitely expandable “MA” style right at your fingertips. Hell, if you’re matching your style then you don’t even need to go all in that much even! A Snake stylist is likely going to have high Dex so he doesn’t need to spring for a whole new style. He can just buy his native charms to shore up his attack! If you need more damage you’d buy more strength, which even unfavored can potentially bring big gains with smart charm decision to cover any gaps in your MA style.

    Any issue relating to Mastery users needing to buy up other MA’s is utterly laughable in comparison. Not only can you infinitely branch out if you felt the need to, but you don’t need to buy any more dots in a style beyond the first 5 you’d need which post people in the course of the game will get to five in at least one combat ability (If not just starting with it).

    The only reason I see are character reasons or if you REALLY want a specific MA charm (EX: Crane’s wanting Crippling Pressure-Point Strike for methods to take out the opponent that don’t involve resetting) or just specific forms (Crane, Single Point, or Righteous Devil). The latter I predict is going to be far more valuable. Things like Mantis form would be welcome, but you’re probably gonna want other native charms if all you want is a form from something like that. The other, last remaining, alternative is if you picked up a weapon only style and want to branch out a bit by learning some other weapons or learning to fight unarmed in the off chance you find yourself without them (Amazing how many people forget about disarm in the heat of the moment).

    But Sandact! What about the Mastery keyword! That makes or breaks some charms! It obviously tilts the direction back towards Mastery!
    Hardly. There are some mastery bonuses which I admit make some charms downright bonkers. Lone Spark Lights the Conflagration’s Mastery bonus clearly sets it apart from its normal form. Caress of 1,000 Hells Mastery bonus is likely going to end the fight by the sheer amount of potential penalties an opponent could take. But again this doesn’t make up for the fact that you get and infinitely expandable charmset to cover and expand such holes. Even if you can’t gain access to some mastery effects you can keep up really damn well. Some cases, such as Snake clashing, you probably even exceed them in such areas.

    So you know where this really hits hard? Feeling that your character is punched in the dick by this. Feeling that another character can get far more bang for the buck compared to you because they can do better in your own niche for a cheaper and easier cost. Not only that, but Lunars can “double dip” into their styles with normal native charms and splat XP, amplifying the power of their martial arts charms with their own native charms, compared to Solars which cannot do the same or are forced to buy up an entirely new ability (which the Lunar probably doesn’t need to do).

    But Sandact! What about Supernal!?
    Supernal is a hell of a drug, but not everyone is going to be Dawns or Dusk caste’s in a game. By the time people reach Essence 3, which is the real meat of game or where most of them choose as an ending point, Supernal is going to taper off rapidly for martial arts around this point. The only exception being the rare MA that goes beyond ESS 3 such as Crane style. Immaculate MA’s also get a notable mention but some Solars may shy away from it due to having no aura. This also steps into issues of Solars feeling Supernal for MA could very well be a bust because at the moment we don’t have many martial arts that go to essence 5 right now. Beyond the Immaculate styles.

    So yes, enjoy the head start advantage. It's not going to last forever.


    The Unison of Soul and Blade

    Ah yes evocations, the new subsystem in 3e that gives artifacts life beyond a mere pile of stats or gimmicky one-trick ponies. It is no secret that evocations are extremely potent not only in power but function similar to Martial Arts. The open up entirely new ways to play your character, ranging from minor but useful effects to weapons of mass destruction. The beauty of evocations: They can be used with Martial Arts. Combined with an Artifact 5 weapon we have an infinite range to ‘expand’ our attack set to cover weaknesses our core MA cannot cover.

    It seems like we’ve all but solved our MA problem! An infinitely expandable set in exchange for nearly all your background dots and probably a glare from the Storyteller. Are we finally done with this nightmare?

    Not even close.

    Evocations are powerful but they also often have one big hole inside of them: They cannot outright replace your bread-and-butter charms, only amplify them. Bread-and-butter charms are often the lower essence workhorse charms that drive your set. They’re things that you’ll be using on every attack or every other attack from essence 1 to Essence 5. They’re things such as your Excellent Strike or some basic damage enhancing charms.

    If you want example of what I mean, let’s do an experiment and say every single non-ranged weapon in Arms is a Reaper Daiklave, have all their published evocations unlocked, and had Single Point. Gnomon would give you some additional options to attack, but wouldn’t let you hit overly harder than Single Point already does with its native charms. Forgotten Blade would let you gain some new tricks, but doesn’t outright replace your core combat set. Even if we brought back the leak version of evocations with their greatly expanded set it still does not replace the workhorse charms. At most you’ll probably be getting something like one, maybe two more.

    This doesn’t even account for the major factor that you can only use evocations on styles that have weapons in the first place. If you are using your style unarmed then you are at a significant disadvantage compared to Lunars. After all, for Lunars such charms can be ‘evocations’ to their primary combat set, for Solars it must be the other way around.

    I use the phrase “Martial Arts are evocations for Lunars” a bit loosely, as some people may think they’re the same but only in a minor bit. Yes, an artifact ranked at 4 and MA are probably going to have the same amount of charms. But this has several flaws: The weapon and Lunars not needing weapons as much.

    The thing that binds the artifact is the weapon itself. The evocations are powerful but the effects are tightly controlled. For example, look at Flying Silver Dream. It can use melee charms but has to jump through significant hoops to do this. Its balanced around this as its set is largely closed or offers power orthogonal to the native charms (That is, increasing the power of the character but in a different path than the character’s native material).

    Doing this with MA’s, as discussed, spoils the tightly considered balance. As discussed before we do have issues with combining bread-and-butter native charms with MA’s. But what we also have is the weapon itself: Lunars can use martial arts unarmed without caring overly much. Why would they? Their native charms allow compatibility with unarmed! This means that a style is Unarmed only and No armour allows a Lunar to treat it as a ‘set of evocations’ with potent charms inside of it while Mastery units who want to use it as a core combat set either need to have the style be very powerful to match such an offset or take another MA style... which has all of the issues I mentioned previously attached to it.

    But Sidereals!
    I do not give the remotest crap about a splat that’s not only not made yet, but also plagued with unending speculation and what-ifs. I am going to review the product when I see the finished form in front of my face and nothing more. Or maybe a playtest if I have time some day and find an open spot.

    Conclusion

    So yes, this has been the summary of my thoughts for the day. Maybe the newer MA’s won’t have this problem even if we’ll have an unending balance problem of factoring in Lunar charms? It's one of the harder ways, but only time will tell.
    Last edited by Sandact6; 02-23-2019, 03:37 AM.


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

  • #2
    I mean maybe just have them count as terrestrials for MA? Would that solve the problem?

    Also, this is going to be fun to read when Sidereals comes out. I'd really need to read lunars more carefully but I do trust your judgement. It seems like only specific charms should be allowed to combo.
    Last edited by Epimetheus; 02-23-2019, 03:52 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I like it. It's just less hassle than having two sets of different charms that can't be combined. And they cost more, and they're weaker than for Solars.

      Which is not to say I don't see the point here. You probably can build some brutal combos. (But then, offensively, you can do that with MA anyway).

      And certainly, many styles have specific weaknesses built in. Though when that weakness is defence... well, a Single Point stylist can't combo it with Melee, but they can just use Dodge, or Resistance.


      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


      • #4
        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        I like it. It's just less hassle than having two sets of different charms that can't be combined. And they cost more, and they're weaker than for Solars.

        Which is not to say I don't see the point here. You probably can build some brutal combos. (But then, offensively, you can do that with MA anyway).

        And certainly, many styles have specific weaknesses built in. Though when that weakness is defence... well, a Single Point stylist can't combo it with Melee, but they can just use Dodge, or Resistance.
        Here here!

        My sentiments exactly, it seemed like a pipe dream when people tossed the idea of letting Lunars build off of something like Snake Style natively way back when we only had the 3rd ed core. I’m curious to see how this play out. I was always fond of making Lunars viable Martial Arts Masters, and Solars still have their Mastery, and Sidereals will have their Sutras.


        It is a time for great deeds!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
          I like it. It's just less hassle than having two sets of different charms that can't be combined. And they cost more, and they're weaker than for Solars.

          Which is not to say I don't see the point here. You probably can build some brutal combos. (But then, offensively, you can do that with MA anyway).

          And certainly, many styles have specific weaknesses built in. Though when that weakness is defence... well, a Single Point stylist can't combo it with Melee, but they can just use Dodge, or Resistance.
          I'm still going through the charms but lunars have charms that aren't worse than solars and in some cases better than them in certain situations. We still haven't seen the full charmset. The real issue is just how easy a lunar can get his own native charms and combine them which I can see as a problem because a solar doesn't exactly get that luxury offensively.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
            I mean maybe just have them count as terrestrials for MA? Would that solve the problem?
            I would believe that would be an extreme solution to the problem. It would make martial arts very weak for Lunars. Outside of a few handful handful of charms (Crane form) then there's not much of reason to spec into martial arts at all.

            Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
            Also, this is going to be fun to read when Sidereals comes out. I'd really need to read lunars more carefully but I do trust your judgement. It seems like only specific charms should be allowed to combo.
            Keep in mind that the Lunar charms in themselves are fine on Lunars. They probably break when interacting with some animals but lets not kid ourselves and pretend this was ever not going to be the case. The problem comes with introducing some problematic Lunar charms to MA's and visa versa. The MA's in Dragonblooded were not only more refined, but probably made with more seamless cross compatibility in mind.

            Locking specific charms would help, but we'd have issues. For example: How do we make interesting parry enhancements to Crane? I damn well tried but I'm not egotistical enough to claim my way is the only one, but even with Golden Tiger Stance means Crane becomes insufferable. Hell, ignoring half of penalties makes it already amazingly good.


            Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
            I like it. It's just less hassle than having two sets of different charms that can't be combined. And they cost more, and they're weaker than for Solars.

            Which is not to say I don't see the point here. You probably can build some brutal combos. (But then, offensively, you can do that with MA anyway).

            And certainly, many styles have specific weaknesses built in. Though when that weakness is defence... well, a Single Point stylist can't combo it with Melee, but they can just use Dodge, or Resistance.
            Actually as a side note Single Point is so bad at defense you could simply just ditch using defend with Single Point and use Melee's defense tree. But we still have the issue of needing to pay for a second ability.

            Dodge and Resistance and usually omni-applicable for MA's, but that was almost always made with the intent in mind. Even Brawl greatly welcomes Dodge as it does a much job at defending than Brawl parry does (It has a few tricks but Defense Melee or Dodge it ain't). Resistance almost always has been the holy grail of dedicated martial arts users who are forbidden to wear armour and don't have many options existing in their native styles.

            I have no issue with these. But rather its the styles that rely on parry defense that get somewhat shafted by the far more efficient native cousins. A Lunar with Revolving Crescent Defense is likely only going to pop that charm after being attacked once or twice, as its a method to negate onslaught penalties without needing to jump through hoops and provides a hefty buff on top of it.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post

              I'm still going through the charms but lunars have charms that aren't worse than solars and in some cases better than them in certain situations. We still haven't seen the full charmset. The real issue is just how easy a lunar can get his own native charms and combine them which I can see as a problem because a solar doesn't exactly get that luxury offensively.
              And defensively in terms of styles that rely on parry.

              With Single Point you're most likely going to need to use Dodge. Gathering Light Concentration is more useful in niche circumstances (Especially with the mastery). Lunars have absolutely no issue whatsoever and can treat Single Point as if it were their melee skill in terms of defense. They don't need the extra investment of another ability score.


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

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              • #8
                Hmm... okay, Sandact, context. My main game is MA focused: we're all Solars who got called together originally for a Martial Arts tournament, and everyone has a different style. Thus I have some MA knowledge, but MA vs non MA is less my area. I'm no balance-head, I can't engage on all the points you've shown here, but I've a couple of reactions based on stuff I've seen/know

                Crane

                Crane now has access to onslaught and other penalty negators. This now makes it one of the most aggravating styles to fight in the game. The one flaw a mastery stylist of Crane style had, that is piling on onslaught, is now virtually negated. You are now pounding your fists against a 10 defense wall that causes your ST or player to rip their notes in two.
                This was already a problem. If you want a really annoying defence, Crane/White Reaper can provide thanks to Revolving Crescent Defence (with Mastery, a trick Lunars lack). Yeah, you have to sink more dots into using multiple styles, but anyone who wants to optimize won't think twice about doing that. It also provides more damage boost options with Halos and keying to a high Strength. I'd argue the Crane/Reaper has it easier than a Lunar, who needs to spread out across two native charmset trees to get that stuff while the dual stylist has it nice and compact within the WR subsystem

                Righteous Devil

                It means if we ever have a range extender Lunars can now attack medium or longer range virtually all the time.
                Erm.... RD already has a Range Extender. Blossom of Inevitable Demise. It's the first charm in the style and that effect's not Mastery-Locked. So guess you can ring the alarm bells on that one. The big hits Mastery gives the style are Cloud of Ebon Devils no longer being able to set you up for an Alpha Strike turn one (which'd let you activate the form reflexively) and Kiss of the Sun Concentration getting a debuff. (which is obviated for a master by Phoenix Flies still usually being about as strong). The real hit to the style IMO is the Terrestrial keyword, there's a couple of other Mastery bits but it's Terrestrial that's the big downgrade. I guess Lunar damage boosters could help, but the style already has those: the crazy big hit possibilities you're speculating about seem like they'll drain you pretty fast.

                (Also the sodding Form never works for me, to the point of it almost being a running gag. :P Not being able to combo presence charms into it hurts.)

                Dreaming Pearl

                All of my attacks now have short range? For the rest of the scene? With the only downside being using a Fan/ribbon as my potential non-unarmed weapon forever and capable of being buffed by my native charms? Mm! Yes please!
                Okay, this style hasn't been used much in our game. (though it did cause me a headache briefly) That said I don't get why boosting damage on it is a big deal? The short range weapons stats are locked into mundane: boosting it up will help, but those boost charms could hit an artifact weapon just as easily. Does raw damage really do that much for the DPC?


                Also I am kinda disappointed that Nightengale is not something you noted. Like, IDK if it's more balanced or you just didn't pick it as an example, but I really wish the style that used to be created by a Lunar was good for Lunars to use. As is the lack of Mastery makes it (at a glance) less compelling

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                • #9
                  I'm pretty weak in theory crafting, but from an "actual play" experience- how much of this will actually matter, at the table with your friends? are we making a storm in a teacup here?

                  My Single Point-er also grapples and uses firewands. My ISoB/Melee Sorcerer is unoptimized as fuck. My Zenith Athletics supernal (lol insane rush charms) asked to use a different white wolf splatbook because Ex3 charms are too time consuming and and the combat takes too long for him to actually get the nitty gritty. My Archery-Craft Twilight has made a total of 3 things in 10 sessions because the craft rules are needlessly complicated.

                  I don't mean to speak for the entire fandom, but Exalted is simply too much game for us and there's so much going on that honestly, if you doubled your attack pools and killed the Battlegroup in 2 turns instead of 4 while the rest of the Circle is trying to overcome the BBEG's broken ass basic 10 charms in Ride/Melee defense it probably will never matter.

                  I love Exalted so much. It's such a goddamn nightmare to play mechanically. Seriously, Look At This Chart. If it's broken to increase a step there somewhere, its barely going to affect me because the system to insane. I barely even use Battlegroup rules instead of just giving them a number of bodies equal to HP because why the fuck is a common enemy type spread over 3 pages of rules and more than 5 metrics of crunch.

                  I dunno, maybe its me. I love the setting of Exalted and the power scope but it's all too much to make workable.


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

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                  • #10
                    Because they can't use Martial Arts charms while in a non-human shape. The inability to combine them with their native charmset (which is based on Attributes) would basically make Martial Arts useless and counter-productive to Lunars.


                    Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
                      I'm pretty weak in theory crafting, but from an "actual play" experience- how much of this will actually matter, at the table with your friends? are we making a storm in a teacup here?
                      For most people, no. But I can see Sandact6's point that some power-gamers will look for brutal overpowered combos, etc, and they shouldn't really be available.

                      Also, something else to add, Sandact6:
                      Martial Arts is supposed to be powerful because you can combine different styles. That's why it needs a 4-dot merit and you have to buy each Style's ability seperately (and... you can buy it with Solar/Lunar/Dragon XP because the designers were worried that it wouldn't be considered powerful enough? Umm...).
                      Of course, at the beginning you can't really combo a lot, but over time you can pick up a second or third style, and then combo them.

                      If a Lunar takes a single Martial Art and doesn't combo it... it's kind of weak. They're buying a 4-dot merit so they can buy an Ability that doesn't combo with being an animal (I can use my Snake Style 5 to punch people, but when I'm sneaking about as a Viper, I'm limited by my Brawl, which is only 3).

                      And then the charms themselves are both more expensive and weaker than they would be for a Solar.
                      Not to mention, of course, that unlike a Dawn, you can only start with about 3 charms from 1 style. Out of 15 combat charms, that's pretty insignificant. So you need to have some other applicable combat charms.

                      So, in a sense, the fact that Lunars become powerful martial arts when comboing is a feature, not a bug. It's the only way they can approach Solar competency.

                      Which is not to say you can't find some broken combinations, because you can, but generally speaking I think it's better than not letting them combo.

                      Of course, like the Solar comboing, this will become more powerful over time. But Solars become more powerful over time at a pretty quick rate, in terms of the power of their high-essence charms, so again... shrug?

                      Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord
                      I don't mean to speak for the entire fandom, but Exalted is simply too much game for us and there's so much going on that honestly,
                      This is partly why I like that Lunars can simply combine Martial Arts and Dex, so you don't have to go "hmmm, I can use my Martial Arts charms to attack or my Dex charms, and then to Parry I can use Martial Arts charms or Dex charms, and if I use these three charms I can't use those two..."
                      With Solar Martial Artists, combining with Melee or Brawl can be powerful, but is mechanically quite fiddly.

                      Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord
                      I barely even use Battlegroup rules instead of just giving them a number of bodies equal to HP because why the fuck is a common enemy type spread over 3 pages of rules and more than 5 metrics of crunch.
                      I actually ran battle groups a lot when I was running it, because I found them simpler to run than regular NPCs.
                      Or rather, I'd generally have a battle group and 1-2 normal NPCs together. I found that worked well.

                      They're a bit of a hassle to calculate the stats for, but I used this tool: https://colin-fredericks.github.io/ex3-battle-groups/
                      It even lets you adjust the size down as you go and re-calculates all the stats for you.


                      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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Croakamancer View Post

                        Crane


                        This was already a problem. If you want a really annoying defence, Crane/White Reaper can provide thanks to Revolving Crescent Defence (with Mastery, a trick Lunars lack). Yeah, you have to sink more dots into using multiple styles, but anyone who wants to optimize won't think twice about doing that. It also provides more damage boost options with Halos and keying to a high Strength. I'd argue the Crane/Reaper has it easier than a Lunar, who needs to spread out across two native charmset trees to get that stuff while the dual stylist has it nice and compact within the WR subsystem
                        Revolving Crescent comes with a weakness: It only lasts next turn until mastery. Otherwise on Lunars its more of a last ditch effort. You'd need to use the parry unarmed (Because Crane and White reaper have no other cross compatible weapons) and reflect the attack using the to turn an attack back on an opponent. On the other hand I've seen some ST's refuse such things under the logic being "You didn't parry with the fan, therefore it doesn't count". This means that you're probably going to be using White Reaper charms for offense too. This works but is gonna be expensive after a while.

                        Crane/Reaper has some benefits, mainly some offense Crane requires if you lack a fan. But as mentioned in my original post Lunars have this cheaper. Why waste the XP buying another ability up to 5 when I can just buy some charms? Willpower? Attributes? By the time I buy several charms I can cover most of the things I'm probably lacking in my original style. I mean accuracy sure as hell won't be an issue anymore.

                        Revolving Crescent is good if you're a Solar... but it lags off a bit as a Lunar. The power of the charm is instant. You can use its full power without needing to jump through hoops and you get a large power boost to defense. Otherwise you might stick to your native charms as that 4m 1i tag kind of adds up when spamming it in response to all attacks.


                        Originally posted by Croakamancer View Post
                        Righteous Devil


                        Erm.... RD already has a Range Extender. Blossom of Inevitable Demise. It's the first charm in the style and that effect's not Mastery-Locked. So guess you can ring the alarm bells on that one. The big hits Mastery gives the style are Cloud of Ebon Devils no longer being able to set you up for an Alpha Strike turn one (which'd let you activate the form reflexively) and Kiss of the Sun Concentration getting a debuff. (which is obviated for a master by Phoenix Flies still usually being about as strong). The real hit to the style IMO is the Terrestrial keyword, there's a couple of other Mastery bits but it's Terrestrial that's the big downgrade. I guess Lunar damage boosters could help, but the style already has those: the crazy big hit possibilities you're speculating about seem like they'll drain you pretty fast.

                        (Also the sodding Form never works for me, to the point of it almost being a running gag. :P Not being able to combo presence charms into it hurts.)
                        Dread Tiger's Symmetry is a permanent charm that works on all intimidation rolls. It helps.

                        I forgot about Blossom's dual keyword truth be told. I read the text earlier today and assumed it just fueled decisive attacks. The fact it can do such a thing at such a range makes me sigh even in more disbelief for how strong the style is.

                        Lowering an enemy's defense is useful, but against the highest defense opponents (Crane) you'll be welcoming all the accuracy you can get.

                        Also its probably going to be compatible with Lunar damage enhancement charms, or at least a solid chunk of them. This style already has one of the highest offensive ratings in the game, why does it need this? I mean there's Sekhem, but that comes its own heap of downsides.


                        Originally posted by Croakamancer View Post
                        Dreaming Pearl


                        Okay, this style hasn't been used much in our game. (though it did cause me a headache briefly) That said I don't get why boosting damage on it is a big deal? The short range weapons stats are locked into mundane: boosting it up will help, but those boost charms could hit an artifact weapon just as easily. Does raw damage really do that much for the DPC?
                        Adding your accuracy to damage is pretty spiffy considering its cost, but that's not the issue. For me its the form. Making all of your attacks short range for the rest of the scene? While making them light artifacts? That you combine with all your native charms?

                        DPC seemingly has some interactions but it doesn't have many. Crane shares a form weapon but is armour banned so you can't use DPC's armour charm (ST might let you do the soak boost though), but even if you get past that Crane style is utterly addicted to its form counterattacks. You could bounce back a decisive counterattack, but I don't see why a Lunar wouldn't simply grab their native counterattack charm along with several defense charms.


                        Originally posted by Croakamancer View Post
                        Also I am kinda disappointed that Nightengale is not something you noted. Like, IDK if it's more balanced or you just didn't pick it as an example, but I really wish the style that used to be created by a Lunar was good for Lunars to use. As is the lack of Mastery makes it (at a glance) less compelling
                        That's because it didn't have problems I mentioned that affect all the styles.


                        Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
                        I'm pretty weak in theory crafting, but from an "actual play" experience- how much of this will actually matter, at the table with your friends? are we making a storm in a teacup here?
                        That honestly completely depends on the people at the table.

                        Are there going to be people who don't notice or care such a thing.

                        Then there's going to be people like me who feel punched in the dick for not picking a Lunar when I want to martial arts, despite how much a Snake girl snake stylist would be fun to play.

                        I'm also not going to deny Ex3 is a crunchy game. The Exalted series has always been a crunchy game. If you find it too difficult for yourself and your group then look up replacement systems. Fate Core can run Exalted just fine with some modification (Atomic Robo rules especially help), Chuubo, Godbound, there's options out there for people who haven't memorized the majority of the corebook.


                        Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
                        Because they can't use Martial Arts charms while in a non-human shape. The inability to combine them with their native charmset (which is based on Attributes) would basically make Martial Arts useless and counter-productive to Lunars.
                        And do we allow the complete opposite by opening the floodgates to all the charms? Despite how much conflict there is in the styles? Despite how it makes other splats feel like chumps?


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

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
                          I'm pretty weak in theory crafting, but from an "actual play" experience- how much of this will actually matter, at the table with your friends? are we making a storm in a teacup here?

                          My Single Point-er also grapples and uses firewands. My ISoB/Melee Sorcerer is unoptimized as fuck. My Zenith Athletics supernal (lol insane rush charms) asked to use a different white wolf splatbook because Ex3 charms are too time consuming and and the combat takes too long for him to actually get the nitty gritty. My Archery-Craft Twilight has made a total of 3 things in 10 sessions because the craft rules are needlessly complicated.

                          I don't mean to speak for the entire fandom, but Exalted is simply too much game for us and there's so much going on that honestly, if you doubled your attack pools and killed the Battlegroup in 2 turns instead of 4 while the rest of the Circle is trying to overcome the BBEG's broken ass basic 10 charms in Ride/Melee defense it probably will never matter.

                          I love Exalted so much. It's such a goddamn nightmare to play mechanically. Seriously, Look At This Chart. If it's broken to increase a step there somewhere, its barely going to affect me because the system to insane. I barely even use Battlegroup rules instead of just giving them a number of bodies equal to HP because why the fuck is a common enemy type spread over 3 pages of rules and more than 5 metrics of crunch.

                          I dunno, maybe its me. I love the setting of Exalted and the power scope but it's all too much to make workable.
                          The actual mechanical change that the developers need to do is change a single line saying that "you can combine native charms with MA" to "you cannot combine native charms with MA", which might be the least work any balancing change has ever needed. If your group doesn't like the mechanics and ignores them, that doesn't mean the mechanics should be made bad or not balanced just because you won't interact with them, because a lot of us out here have spent several years exploring every last niche of this system we love and want it to be in the best possible state it can be.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                            Revolving Crescent comes with a weakness: It only lasts next turn until mastery. Otherwise on Lunars its more of a last ditch effort. You'd need to use the parry unarmed (Because Crane and White reaper have no other cross compatible weapons) and reflect the attack using the to turn an attack back on an opponent. On the other hand I've seen some ST's refuse such things under the logic being "You didn't parry with the fan, therefore it doesn't count". This means that you're probably going to be using White Reaper charms for offense too. This works but is gonna be expensive after a while.

                            Crane/Reaper has some benefits, mainly some offense Crane requires if you lack a fan. But as mentioned in my original post Lunars have this cheaper. Why waste the XP buying another ability up to 5 when I can just buy some charms? Willpower? Attributes? By the time I buy several charms I can cover most of the things I'm probably lacking in my original style. I mean accuracy sure as hell won't be an issue anymore.
                            Mmm. Hard to give a certian evaluation without strength, but my starting one is 'Reaper is comprehensive and stronger'. Plus you need less of it: take Crane up to Form you've got most of its defensive tricks online and you can focus on Reaper. It'd take a Lunar stylist a lot more than a few charms to get a defense package as comprehensive as Crane up to form, I'm gonna guess it'd take most of the tree to approximate Reaper.

                            I guess that's my point here. I'm not seeing much a Lunar could do that a Solar with the right style combination couldn't do. Sure, that Solar's had a mildly less efficient way to get there, but he's going to get possibilities with a second style that a Lunar won't have similarly easy access to with their native charms. The benefits Lunars can gain from combos at this point sound akin to an alternate mastery in the main to me. Useful, yes, potentially big... but not game breakingly amazing.

                            Dread Tiger's Symmetry is a permanent charm that works on all intimidation rolls. It helps.
                            Have it. Still keep losing. :P I blame Intimacies.

                            I forgot about Blossom's dual keyword truth be told. I read the text earlier today and assumed it just fueled decisive attacks. The fact it can do such a thing at such a range makes me sigh even in more disbelief for how strong the style is.
                            Hey, don't sigh at that. Sigh at the wonderful craziness of a Lunar using Burning Judgement Halo and then shifting to Tyrant Lizard next turn. AFAICT that won't end the effect, since Halo is instant and has very specific end conditions

                            Lowering an enemy's defense is useful, but against the highest defense opponents (Crane) you'll be welcoming all the accuracy you can get.

                            Also its probably going to be compatible with Lunar damage enhancement charms, or at least a solid chunk of them. This style already has one of the highest offensive ratings in the game, why does it need this? I mean there's Sekhem, but that comes its own heap of downsides.
                            Why does it need that? The style's already damage intensive as it is. Sure, more is better in abstract, but there's a diminishing returns factor here: how many damage boosters do you need when you have Azure Abacus anyway? (plus a ST could make a pretty good argument that it's not compatible with Strength charms since a firewand doesn't use Strength in its damage calculations. You could then maybe use them if you went to melee with the style, but that's a different bundle of worms.)

                            Accuracy IMO is probably the style's biggest stumbling block. Yeah, it's got the aims from Form, but even with that it's a mote intensive style and that makes relying on the Excellency for accuracy wretch. Lunars legitimately have some advantages here, but they're not clear cut enough to make me think they've got a significant upper hand. What a Lunar stylist invests into Acc boosts, I can throw into alternate trees like Sorcery or Resistence. I don't think there's anything Lunarshave that is clear cut good enough to make me regret going Solar.

                            Adding your accuracy to damage is pretty spiffy considering its cost, but that's not the issue. For me its the form. Making all of your attacks short range for the rest of the scene? While making them light artifacts? That you combine with all your native charms?

                            DPC seemingly has some interactions but it doesn't have many. Crane shares a form weapon but is armour banned so you can't use DPC's armour charm (ST might let you do the soak boost though), but even if you get past that Crane style is utterly addicted to its form counterattacks. You could bounce back a decisive counterattack, but I don't see why a Lunar wouldn't simply grab their native counterattack charm along with several defense charms.
                            Bowing out here: I do not know DPC well enough to comment.(I didn't even remember that the form gave the artifact weapon traits)

                            That's because it didn't have problems I mentioned that affect all the styles.
                            I figured. :P Just kinda depressed that it's not a great style for Lunars and wanted to half-jokingly moan a little.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Clownpiece View Post

                              The actual mechanical change that the developers need to do is change a single line saying that "you can combine native charms with MA" to "you cannot combine native charms with MA", which might be the least work any balancing change has ever needed. If your group doesn't like the mechanics and ignores them, that doesn't mean the mechanics should be made bad or not balanced just because you won't interact with them, because a lot of us out here have spent several years exploring every last niche of this system we love and want it to be in the best possible state it can be.

                              I think that line would outright kill Lunar MA since why go spec into something when you don't get mastery and can't favored.

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