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  • DrLoveMonkey
    started a topic Exalted: Arena

    Exalted: Arena

    LLLLLET'S GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEE!!!

    In this thread we pit foes against eachother and I roll out the fights. Exalted is a big complex system with lots of moving parts, how much does soak impact the game, how good is this combo of grapple enhancing charms, ect. Sometimes it's just hard to figure out what to do or how good something is in context. To that end we now have the Arena. Now, the arena isn't necessarily a white room, we might import some trees for cover, or make the whole thing submerged in waist high water. Let's talk about what it is, and what it is not.


    What it is:
    • A place to gain some insight into how Exalted fights might go in particular situations
    • A place to test some tactical options that you think might be cool, but aren't sure if they work
    • A place to discuss those tactical options and implications
    • A place to see second hand the spectacle of play-by-play exalted combat

    What it is not:
    • A place to see expertly played and constructed perfectly tactical fights
    • A place to figure out what builds/exalted can never beat other builds/exalted in any situation


    I'll be running though some fights of younger DBs in groups against single Lunars next, probably. I'm going to take some more detailed notes on those to give a better idea of exactly what's going on. If anyone has any suggestions or requests I'm totally open, but keep in mind I'm doing most of these on my own so like, gigantic 10 combatant fights are difficult for me to do.


    As promised I have spun off a tangential topic from this thread into it's own thread.

    Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
    You've kind of used an Essence 5 DB here; does that imply that Essence 2-3 DBs would fare much worse, or is it more that they'd fare about the same (same kind of levels of probability or win or lose), simply because DBs tools don't really scale much up to Essence 5 in ways which are useful for this matchup? I guess my bias would be to be a bit more sanguine about the latter than former.
    I used Essence 5 DBs just to give them the best shot possible. They have some effects that are based on their Essence, as well as just giving them mote pools that were comparable to/better than the Lunars in question. As for charm usage, I don't think I used a single DB charm over Essence 3. The higher essence DB charms tend to be bigger and flashier, but not actually more accurate or powerful to be worth their cost on low hit chance attacks. Also a lot of them are teamwork based and that doesn't work in a 1v1.


    Originally posted by Maseiken View Post
    It’s not just the initiative, those distract gambits are still applying onslaught. They don’t even need to be especially good at combat to be helpful. Even a non-exalt will most likely have enough i from their JB to contribute an attack that the anathema should Really spend to avoid. Assuming even One hits, it’s about +3 to your eventual damage rolls, plus the onslaught for every attempted distraction.

    On top of that, you need Fire Aura to use it, right? Well, that limits you to the second turn of combat, but it doesn’t mean the first turn is boring. I’d advise focusing on Guard and Defend Other though, which leaves you plenty of room to use your many, many Fire based parry charms. Assuming you’re a Big Target (you’re a high-essence melee specialist so you probably are or can be), you might get the chance to use Fire Incites Water to a Riot of Clouds, but that would be pretty risky. Mostly you just want everyone to hold on to their JB result, then delay so all the distracts are happening before HFA and HFA is before the enemy resets.

    Obviously all this is melee focused, but even if you need to close distance, there’s some fire charms in athletics that can help you out. They key thing is that your target doesn’t want ANY of these things to happen, and has to either spend accordingly or pick and choose. Their best Defense against HFA is Hardness, but even if they’re significantly armoured you probably also have Dragon Soul Burst and you’re already prepped to build an aura for it.

    ANYWAY I won’t do any more DB stuff here. Will gladly contribute to an Arena/theorycraft thread.
    Unfortunately a character can only benefit from one distract gambit at a time, so stacking them up multiple times on one character isn't doable. Also stacking onslaught penalties is normally a really great idea, but doing it with distract gambits against a celestial exalt isn't really a great idea. Solars have a charm that just flat negates all penalties to defense, and Lunars have one that halves penalties, ignores all penalties from lower initiative attackers, and another one that gives them a turn long defense boost and stops them from accruing onslaught penalties from attacks that miss them.

    On the other hand, if you're going 5v1 against a young Lunar with relatively experienced DBs the Lunar doesn't really have a chance anyway, as long as everyone can fight well and is taking it seriously. No Essence 1 Lunar has the motes to full excellency and cap-burst their defense/attack, six times a round for even one round, whereas the DBs can keep going for several.

  • Chejop Kejak
    replied
    Plus, mechanically speaking, lots of strong combat characters a Resolve of around 4 (6-7 with excellencies), and if you win with a Threaten action or the like, they'll have to spend WP.

    Not a bad idea.

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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Actually, having slept on it, the dramatic thing to do is probably social influence.

    Your foe is there, waiting for you to attack. They're not attacking until you do. Their advantage in this combat is steadily bleeding away. Now is the time to try and talk them down.
    Last edited by JohnDoe244; 12-30-2020, 05:18 AM.

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  • Chejop Kejak
    replied
    Yeah, Simple Charms are also good. In a teamfight, it sometimes makes sense to Full Defense whilst your allies advance their portions of the battle, but that's obviously a losing plan one-on-one. Disengage, if you need an action which still makes them spend motes twice this round. If you're leading a Battlegroup, maybe try Rally For Numbers (ugh, that name), but I'm less sure of that, since I wouldn't let someone clash a BG unless they had a Charm which explicitly allowed that.

    Mostly, just never attack into it unless you're REALLY sure that you have the advantage - they've already spent resources trying to force you to do that.

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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
    I maintain that if your opponent does that, you answer by taking the Aim action, and just letting them bleed Initiative
    Aim is great because it's giving you 3 dice for the next Clash. Aiming every Delay to bleed Initiative probably drags out Arena fights longer than they need to be. And it's not great if it's not one-on-one. But, generally speaking, if someone Delays to Clash and you have Simple Charms to activate, then now is the time to get your buffs up.

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  • Chejop Kejak
    replied
    Originally posted by limaxophobiac View Post
    Even disregarding an edge-case the people who wrote the clash and defend-other rules probably didn't consider, I'm not a fan of how game-warping clashes are... If you say no on mutual defend other it effectively limits the shenanigans to celestials who can defend other reflexively.
    Yeah, I would definitely argue that, while clashes are overtuned, it's Defend Other that breaks the game. Vance has said elsewhere (though I believe it was in logs of a campaign he was running, so not in an official capacity) that two people Defend Othering each other causes the universe to unravel. That would be a "no" on using that strategy, but also a scathing indictment of how nutso that particular action is. One of the most frustrating things when running fights for this thread is not getting to just implement basic fixes, such as not making a fundamental combat trick throw space-time into madness (I recommend "set you parry equal to the defender's, or get +2, whichever is better" - I would be sympathetic to a flat +2).

    As for Clashes themselves... I get why they work like they do. In other systems with similar "beam war" (Big Eyes, Small Mouth, Mutants & Masterminds) or "Iado duel" (Legend of the Five Rings) mechanics, winning that kind of attack is stronger than hitting with a normal attack, which makes sense because it's (1) often harder, (2) a dramatic moment in play, and most importantly (3) rare. I bet that when Clashes got written into Exalted, they weren't yet thinking about how even DBs would be able to force them using Charms, and it even took this thread a while to adopt Delay -> Clash as a major combat tactic (incidentally, I maintain that if your opponent does that, you answer by taking the Aim action, and just letting them bleed Initiative), so they expected it to be a lot less common.

    But there's another key difference: those other systems don't have Excellencies. When the single biggest pressure in most fights is maintaining effective attacks and defenses as cheaply as you can, only needing to spend motes half as often is a game-changer. That's the biggest way that non-Charm Clashes distort the system, and probably the reason why a damage buff on top always feels like too much. But it also gets into the always-complicated questions of whether Excellencies make for good gameplay, and I'm already running late, so nevermind.

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  • limaxophobiac
    replied
    Yeah but per Vance ruling, that means the clasher still hits you and you eat the penalties for losing a clash. If you mean direct your attack against the person taking defend-other from the start there's nothing in the rules that says you can't take mutual defend-other actions.

    If you let two melee DBs Flame-Warden Stance eachother the one attacked can then Comet Deflection/Fire Incites Water with the other parrying in the clash, which is pretty much a guaranteed clash-loss for the attacker even when they hit the DB that's parrying.

    If you say no on mutual defend other it effectively limits the shenanigans to celestials who can defend other reflexively.

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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Just hit the defender.

    ****

    That said, Clashes don't need the bonus damage, nor do they need the defence penalty. Just being able to block with an attack (and the various Clash bonuses from Charms and equipment) is powerful enough, IMO.

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  • limaxophobiac
    replied
    Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
    Short update on this: after a few runs, it seems to me that it's a pretty even fight between an optimal Essence 2 cat Lunar and three Essence 3 shikari if you CANNOT use Clashes in reply to attacks against someone you are Defend Other-ing, and a solid DB win if you can. Whatever else we have learned from this thread, it bears repeating: however good Clashes look, they're probably better. Also, Defend Other just plain should not exist as written.
    If the DBs have clash builds and the time to set up defend other any lone celestial might be done for even if you can't clash for someone you're protecting with defend other, as you can as written, do the reverse and defend other for someone in a clash. Which at least by Vance interpretation of how that works out leaves the person in the clash without someone defending-other for them pretty screwed: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/exalted/1069023-ask-the-devs?p=1117984#post111798

    Even disregarding an edge-case the people who wrote the clash and defend-other rules probably didn't consider, I'm not a fan of how game-warping clashes are.

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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
    And that's worth noting, because most DBs are Essence 2*. Especially ones who are off risking their lives in the Hunt. In an odd way, that makes E2 DBs the most important measure for power in the whole setting.
    That gels with the QCs in the Corebook and my own read. (If that helps.)

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  • DrLoveMonkey
    replied
    Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
    I’m personally a fan of WDC as that can get you Balanced (or Reaching or Smashing) as required, WDC are considered a paired weapon (so 21 accuracy in clash, no stunts or motes spent) and it has no attunement cost. And of course Evocations to be decided later.

    So overall is the math still that Optimized Celestial can pip two DBs (also combat oriented) but 3 such DBs still have the advantage?
    Yeah I think so, but there's also a lot of complexity there. With the right setup against the right, otherwise powerful, opponents a DB can go 1v5 against Solars. I think it proooobably shakes out something like a very powerful celestial build can take on three combat focused but non-optimal terrestrials at Essence 2, but it tips to the terrestrial's favour at Essence 3, or 5 terrestrials.

    There's also a lot of variables here. For example a Celestial might be packing 5-dot artifacts, and be empowered not only by Wood Dragon Claw, but also Invulnerable Skin of Bronze, Stalwart Earth Guardian, or even sorcerous workings to do things like cause environmental hazards whenever they take decisive damage. You could also stack that with several instances of the Twice-Striking Lightning Prism, so now all effects that use (Essence) are now (Essence + 4). At which point it's probably leaning a lot more towards the celestial, but you kind of have to decide for yourself if that's beyond reason or not.

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  • Chejop Kejak
    replied
    Oh, I have plans for a flight + ranged grapple build, have no doubt. It seems pretty good, because Exalted inexplicably made falling damage the deadliest of natural hazards when it's totally harmless in most cinematic action fiction... of course, assuming they cannot just negate it with a moderate Athletics roll, which the book implies but doesn't expand on. But that's for later.

    And cat Lunars don't care a ton about wound penalties. They're not exactly Berserkers, but the worst thing about a wound penalty is the defense hit, and they're super immune to that part.

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  • autXautY
    replied
    I don't think it's good here, since it doesn't benefit in clashes, but I've also been thinking about Blood Lash as a weapon for Death Kitty.
    It's an artifact weapon with nothing committed, several tags (most are only useful for countering specific advantages, but that's better than not countering those) and a free reduction of wound penalties. It also grants some free charms, though only when you have a wound penalty. In particular, I wonder if you can exploit wings + Endless Crimson Coils to grapple people at short range from the ground, bring them into the air, then use your grapple action to drag them, and let go to drop them from medium range, potentially with literally nothing to grab onto.

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  • Chejop Kejak
    replied
    Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
    So overall is the math still that Optimized Celestial can pip two DBs (also combat oriented) but 3 the DBs still have the advantage?
    Basically.

    My last go around saw an Essence 2 Lunar win against 3 DBs, but it was very, very close. She had a pretty specialized build which is really well-suited for that kind of fight, too.

    I haven't tested it (though I probably should), but I feel like 3 Essence 2 DBs should be pretty doable for a number of Essence 2 Lunars (and, by extension, Essence 2 Solars without a relevant supernal). As DLM says, Essence 3 DB is a huge power upgrade, so it's no great surprise that those charms have been the most pivotal DB abilities in each fight - mostly Melee clash charms, but also Fiery Blade Attack. Obviously, you'd still have to possess the mote economy for a long fight against Exalts, but honestly that's the only challenge I foresee - the main E1-2 DB Charms which have come up are excellencies.

    And that's worth noting, because most DBs are Essence 2*. Especially ones who are off risking their lives in the Hunt. In an odd way, that makes E2 DBs the most important measure for power in the whole setting.


    * At least, that's how I read "Generations In The Dynasty" on p.100 of What Fire Has Wrought. Someone could instead interpret "young members of the current generation" as including the 60-100 year olds at Essence 3, in which case, nevermind.

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  • prototype00
    replied
    I’m personally a fan of WDC as that can get you Balanced (or Reaching or Smashing) as required, WDC are considered a paired weapon (so 21 accuracy in clash, no stunts or motes spent) and it has no attunement cost. And of course Evocations to be decided later.

    So overall is the math still that Optimized Celestial can pip two DBs (also combat oriented) but 3 such DBs still have the advantage?
    Last edited by prototype00; 12-27-2020, 08:24 PM.

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