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  • The Supernal-Must-be-in-caste mechanic

    To avoid derailing The aura thread more than it’s already been derailed.

    So personally I don’t see much value in limiting the supernal to the caste abilities? It basically massively reduces the scope of character concepts you can have at chargen, often with bizarre exclusions.

    You can’t be a Twilight making an academic study of strategy with War.
    You can’t be a Dawn caste admiral.
    You can’t be a Zenith writing holy commandments into stone.
    You can’t be a Dawn caste battle-sorcerer
    Burning Exorcism Technique is absolutely unavailable to a Zenith at chargen, as is any kind of high-essence medicine effect. Exorcism and healing the faithful isn’t in theme for them?

    To be clear, I’m not badmouthing the caste ability distribution. I think it works just fine. I just don’t get why Supernal being limited to it is necessary or helpful.

  • #2
    My understanding is that it’s partially game balance and partly to preserve some themes.

    Currently you can’t be a Twilight with Survival Supernal, which is likely because being able to use all the familiar boosting charms on a Blood Ape or something would be hella broken right out of the gate.

    On the other hand, right now only Twilights can achieve the ultimate pinnacle of Craft right out of the gate, which cements their status as the preeminent craftspeople of the Exalted. You also have to be a Dawn if you want to do supernal violence to people, which reinforces their status as the preeminent combat specialists in Creation.

    Does this disable some starting options? Yes, but I think that it generally works well.


    ....

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    • #3
      I think it depends on what you think those characters are doing with those abilities. You don't have to have Supernal in something to be good at it. I'll take just one example of this, your first one, but for most of them they basically fit into the same thing

      If the Twilight is making an academic study of War, do they need Supernal War? Why do they need access to charms past Essence 1 when at War 5 they're already one in tenthousands in terms of skill, and the addition of Solar Charms makes them better? If they're actually a general leading armies, they're a Dawn, if they're doing it for a scientific study basis, that reads more like someone who has general knowledge; why is Lore or Occult an unacceptable Supernal for them, with specialties in things like 'History of War' and 'Elemental Battle Tactics' plus War and some War charms? If the character is entirely focused on War and leading battles, they should probably be a Dawn. At Essence 1, any character who favors War can summon armies from nothing by bringing them to her call, she can train them to be immune to demoralization and ignore strategic maneuver penalties for being hungry, sick, or tired. The Solar can perfectly understand the terrain with a single glance, creating Strategic Maneuvers without knowing anything about their foe, double 9s to all command actions, and rally her forces with a single word. With just two of these effects and War 5, a Solar would already outclass almost any mortal general.

      I sort of agree with the Dawn thing and think it's silly that Sail is only Supernal for Eclipses, but that's really the only thing.

      In the same way as the first one, you don't need to have Linguistics Supernal to make a compelling message in a rock, especially when you have the ability to assign meaning to that message from your Presence and Performance, and you definitely don't need Craft Supernal to make a 10 Commandments style stone. With just a single charm purchase in Linguistics you have access to the decently powerful effect of doubling 9s with a 2 mote cost, to understand those speaking in tongues you don't understand for short bursts of time, and to communicate without speaking. In Craft you have exploding 10s, and a free Craft Excellency once per week. Major projects aren't that hard to complete, I would argue, and between those and, if you really want to go all out, Supreme Masterwork Focus' double 9s, you should be casually completing them. All at Essence 1.

      A Dawn can already start with Sorcery, Ghost-Eating Technique, and other powerful effects for exorcism which are available at Essence 1 without needing Occult Supernal.

      A Zenith at Essence 1 with Medicine Favored already has access to the ability to cleanse Plagues, even including the Great Contagion, with just a single charm and Attribute + Ability focus in that area.

      If you feel like one of these absolutely requires the Supernal addition of a different caste, the question is what makes them the caste that doesn't have it Supernal in the first place. If everyone could pick any Supernal, the Castes themselves would basically be meaningless, and people would just pick whatever has the best ability spread in Castes plus the best Caste Powers, rather then thinking of why their Exalt would be that caste.

      The current abilities already do a lot to offer this sort of 'cross-classing' by making very early charms incredibly powerful. To get caught up with 'yeah they're strong but I can't get (Insert Essence 5 Charm) so they aren't worth it' is missing the trees for the forest.

      It's also useful niche protection, because I remember late 2E where there was no reason for a Dawn to even show up because the Zenith could do all the things they did and didn't have to worry about 2-4 useless abilities.
      Last edited by Flare; 04-21-2019, 12:11 PM.

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      • #4
        Zeniths aren’t the only ones who can be priests of the Sun. They are simply the ones who are the Sun’s priests automatically, even if they don’t want to be.


        Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

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        • #5
          Yes, but exorcism seems like something a Zenith should be able to focus on as their main thing.

          I mean, I literally play a Zenith-caste exorcist monk. I have more Occult charms than anything else. But my Supernal ability is Integrity, because I'm a Zenith so I'm not allowed to have exorcism charms as Supernal (luckily, my Essence is 4, so it doesn't matter too much). I only actually have about 4 or 5 Integrity charms, whereas I have most of the Occult tree.


          I think sometimes Supernal being part of a particular Caste works well. It stops people from taking silly power-gamer combinations. You can't be a Twilight who's the greatest master of combat around, and you shouldn't be. Similarly, you can't be the greatest scholar around unless you're a Twilight.

          (And I think what inspired the Devs is the old Dawn problem; Dawns were not really that stand out in combat, so frequently if you wanted a character who was really good at combat, you wouldn't take a Dawn)

          On the other hand, while I don't really think a Twilight should be the greatest general around (what's wrong with a mental-primary, physical-tertiary Dawn?), sometimes stuff doesn't fit, no. A Zenith who is the most powerful exorcist around, a Dawn admiral, an Eclipse foot-courier*, these all seem like good concepts to me.

          *This is an example that came up in a game my friend's play. The ST decided to have a 2pt merit for people to take a non-Caste Supernal if appropriate, to have an Eclipse with Athletics-Supernal. But in fact... I don't think it worked very well from what I've heard, but from other reasons that lead into the whole issue of Castes and how restrictive they are because all concepts must fit into 5 archetypes. And to what extent restricting choices in order to inspire concepts and avoid broken bland messes, vs allowing choices to fit any concepts, is a good idea. Which maybe is a much bigger subject.


          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
          Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

          Comment


          • #6
            I really don’t think selecting a different Supernal is particularly breaking the game or undermining caste thematics.

            For one thing, the Familiar merit specifies that it refers to a beast of Creation, survival merits don’t apply to demons.

            I’ll admit the twilight isn’t the best example, but Sail being exclusive to Eclipses is plainly ridiculous, and absolutely undermines niches and thematics.

            Why? Because if a Dawn whose whole concept is their total domination of naval combat is attacked by an eclipse whose concept is the supremely efficient transportation of goods, they will go down like an absolute chump.
            You’re right, if I wanted to make a Zenith around being supremely well written, I could just take the essence 1 charms and take, say, performance Supernal.

            My main two issues are that, again, while an eclipse’s Linguistic mastery is perfectly in theme for them, They are also way better than my Zenith at the stuff that my Zenith Actually cares about.
            Also: I really don’t want to take Supernal in an ability from which I don’t particularly want high essence charms.

            Niche protection in terms of anima powers is debatable I guess, but I can say pretty definitively that Dawns no longer suffer from filling out every combat ability, and that their anima Power is far, far more suited to almost any combat build.
            Unless you specifically want to kill creatures of darkness, that sounds pretty Zenithy.

            Also just as a side note, Balance wise, a Supernal MA character has a stupendously expanded list of high essence charms to take. But that’s only for Dawns.

            Which like, yeah. They’re Dawns. Everyone here is Solars. balance is a weird proposition, but Supernal isn’t going to combo with other caste abilities in any way that favored abilities wouldn’t accomplish.

            The only real concern is Supernal comboing with Anima Powers. Which I guess they do a bit, but few things will be as useful as Melee comboing with a Decisve Reset Of 4.
            Last edited by Maseiken; 04-21-2019, 01:01 PM.

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            • #7
              An academic study of strategy would probably fall under Lore. Actually knowing about how to direct forces across battlefields and toward long-term objectives is somewhat different, not that it stopped Zhuge Liang and various other figures from having both ends covered to a great and profound degree in addition to their legendary inventing, statecraft, cooking, etc.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Maseiken View Post
                I really don’t think selecting a different Supernal is particularly breaking the game or undermining caste thematics.
                It really depends on if you're doing it because it fits your character or as a min-maxing power thing. Which... applies to a lot of stuff at character gen, I guess.

                For one thing, the Familiar merit specifies that it refers to a beast of Creation, survival merits don’t apply to demons.
                Twilights can turn demons or elementals into Familiars.

                I’ll admit the twilight isn’t the best example, but Sail being exclusive to Eclipses is plainly ridiculous, and absolutely undermines niches and thematics.

                Why? Because if a Dawn whose whole concept is their total domination of naval combat is attacked by an eclipse whose concept is the supremely efficient transportation of goods, they will go down like an absolute chump.
                I definitely agree with this. Though I'm not 100% sure the problem is that Dawns can't take Eclipse abilities as Supernal (I don't think it'd be appropriate for a Dawn to have Socialise Supernal or Linguistics Supernal). I wonder if actually the issue is that Sail should be a Dawn ability.




                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
                Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Maseiken View Post
                  I really don’t think selecting a different Supernal is particularly breaking the game or undermining caste thematics.

                  For one thing, the Familiar merit specifies that it refers to a beast of Creation, survival merits don’t apply to demons.

                  I’ll admit the twilight isn’t the best example, but Sail being exclusive to Eclipses is plainly ridiculous, and absolutely undermines niches and thematics.

                  Why? Because if a Dawn whose whole concept is their total domination of naval combat is attacked by an eclipse whose concept is the supremely efficient transportation of goods, they will go down like an absolute chump.
                  You’re right, if I wanted to make a Zenith around being supremely well written, I could just take the essence 1 charms and take, say, performance Supernal.

                  My main two issues are that, again, while an eclipse’s Linguistic mastery is perfectly in theme for them, They are also way better than my Zenith at the stuff that my Zenith Actually cares about.
                  Also: I really don’t want to take Supernal in an ability from which I don’t particularly want high essence charms.

                  Niche protection in terms of animal powers is debatable I guess, but I can say pretty definitively that Dawns no longer suffer from filling out every combat ability, and that their anima Power is far, far more suited to almost any combat build.
                  Unless you specifically want to kill creatures of darkness, that sounds pretty Zenithy.
                  I can't argue with Sail because I'm currently in a game where I want to have Sail Supernal for a Pirate King but am having issues fitting it into what I'm looking for otherwise. But I can discuss the other ones.

                  Why is your Zenith a Zenith if they want to be distributing commands from on high through the diffusion of rules and laws rather then booming proclamations? those abilities fall into Socialize and can easily fit a Priest King Eclipse rather then a Zenith.

                  Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                  I definitely agree with this. Though I'm not 100% sure the problem is that Dawns can't take Eclipse abilities as Supernal (I don't think it'd be appropriate for a Dawn to have Socialise Supernal or Linguistics Supernal). I wonder if actually the issue is that Sail should be a Dawn ability.
                  I think it's more that only Eclipses can favor and thus Supernal Sail more then anything. If Either Dawns or Zeniths could, you'd have more flexibility in how you assign your caste. Especially since a lot of Sail is somewhere between War, Integrity, and Occult in how it functions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I can see why a Dawn's best ability would be Sail. But it doesn't really fit Zeniths to me.

                    (I don't mean a Zenith can't be good at Sail. Just that I can't really see it as their most powerful ability.)


                    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
                    Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      I can see why a Dawn's best ability would be Sail. But it doesn't really fit Zeniths to me.

                      (I don't mean a Zenith can't be good at Sail. Just that I can't really see it as their most powerful ability.)
                      I don't really see it either. I was thinking maybe something like Jason and his Argonauts as a support basis, where he's more bringing his friends along and providing moral support. Maybe Nights instead? To go with their other traveling abilities.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just... as far as I can see this is a dual concern of avoiding game-breaking combos and and immersion-breaking concepts.

                        The first one, I don’t know. There’s no combination of abilities with Supernal abilities that isn’t accessible to anyone with access to that Supernal, so you’re Just looking at Supernal/anima powers.

                        If there’s a combo in there that is truly, completely game-breaking I would I guess it’s In Night caste. Once you get to essence 3 anyone can swallow their anima, but before that muting is handy. I don’t think it substantially makes the game unfun broken though.

                        As for the second...? Frankly, if I made a no moon lunar with a Lion spirit shape and by ST informed me that actually only Full Moons can have predator spirit shapes, that would be plain nonsense. My No Moon might be full strength DBT just Wrecking House, and nothing would prevent it from doing that completely and fully.

                        And maybe if have a good reason to make that character No Moon or maybe I don’t. That’s resolvable in conversatiom about my character concept.
                        There’s a whole spread about how to make a Dawn, Zenith, Twilight, Night, or Eclipse. What they’re about, how they do their thing. I’m not going to Accidentally make a Supernal Sail Dawn into an Eclipse.
                        Last edited by Maseiken; 04-21-2019, 01:21 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                          Twilghts can turn demons or elementals into Familiars.

                          Ok yeah I had not spotted that, and I’ll admit that’d combo well with high essence survival.
                          I’d say that just combining principle of motion with Essence Lending Method and its upgrade is a better use of that familiar but that is a combo.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                            I definitely agree with this. Though I'm not 100% sure the problem is that Dawns can't take Eclipse abilities as Supernal (I don't think it'd be appropriate for a Dawn to have Socialise Supernal or Linguistics Supernal). I wonder if actually the issue is that Sail should be a Dawn ability.

                            There may exist a problem with Moray Darktide being a Dawn all the way since the Dawn book as an example of how to Dawn. It's not like Sail is super-defining of Eclipses, either; arguably, that would be Bureaucracy, which they nonetheless now share with Twilights (in addition to Linguistics), and Socialize, which is similarly on-dock for Nights.

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                            • #15
                              (I’m replying a Lot, sorry, just trying to get through responses, not trying to spam)

                              As for a Linguistic Zenith, I mean, Perfect Recollection Discipline and Mind Scribing Method are both high essence linguistics charms that are also examples of miracles in several real-life holy texts. And I know Zeniths aren’t Just priests that do priest things, but composing and memorising a a series of volumes on virtuous and proper living while wandering the desert or imprisoned for false heresy seems like an Extremely Zenith Thing to do?

                              Like, I don’t get that Shouting is a super Zenith thing to do to the exclusion of writing or engaging in rhetoric?
                              It’s not to say that eclipses shouldn’t have linguistics or should have it less, Quite the opposite! Both approaches are solid, but only one is supported.

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