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Why is Fire Dragon the Worst IMA

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Alistair View Post


    No weapons because I want to combo with Snake and other styles (Steel Devil doesn't exist), which means no Overwhelming, low damage, and vulnerability to high soak. It's not that it's difficult to gain initiative, it's that the STYLE doesn't make it any easier at all except by REALLY helping crash people, which is extremely risky (You have to throw three extra motes behind each attack for SEA and commit seven motes, spend three more for the best chance of actually doing some serious hurt to people's initiatives). So forget twinblades in this discussion, they actively hurt Fire Dragon's compatibility and that's what we want in this scenario. For Eyes of the Wood Dragon you forgot that you're always Aiming at the opponent (Soul-Marking Style), you lower their soak by -4 (Piercing attack), and you can use it unarmed for extra accuracy which translates to extra threshold successes at the cost of reliable damage. There IS an insane difference between the two when you're measuring "Literally mundane attack" against "Mundane attack with +3 non-Charm attack dice, +5 damage, -4 soak reduction".

    BST is stupid bad. Even against spirits it is ridiculously bad. And as for the rest of Air Dragon? I don't care if it's the most annoying thing in the world to fight, it does not feel like a Martial Arts Style, it feels like Athletics, Dodge and Stealth Charms crammed into a style because they couldn't/weren't interested in changing the style's Charms from its older editions to something actually usable. Air Dragon Sight is amazing, but they should have taken Wind Dragon Speed and Cloud-Treading Method and turned them into actual combat workhorses, and the same thing with the vanishing-into-air Charm, and just put those in Athletics, Dodge and Stealth instead. It's a style with no actual workhorses that aid your ability to fight EVEN when you take into account its one combat workhorse, BST.

    E3+ Air Dragon is fine for the most part, but by then it's not workhorses you're throwing at people, it's lightning and thunderclaps and mother fuckin' nature itself. And that means willpower, willpower, willpower. The ONE E3+ Charm that doesn't take WP takes FIVE INITIATIVE on a style that does not aid initiative gain at all AND cannot combo with other styles without giving up ranged attacks (unless you combo with Dreaming Pearl Courtesan, and then you give up Air Dragon Form for it).

    It's better than several Solar Charms, does things Solar Athletics cannot, but it's still more limited and costly, and more importantly, it has no freaking business being a Martial Arts Charm.
    A Wood Dragon Stylist is only aiming every turn after using Soul Marking Style, which if you want to be most of the fight you need to launch a decisive right off the start and put yourself 3 damage away from being crashed, which if you went first in the combat means that your enemy now gets 2 turns in a row to crash you, getting an onslaught penalty with himself. Piercing attacks only affect soak from armor, so anything that has a (Breastplate) or (Buff Jacket) after their soak value, otherwise it’s inapplicable. So no piercing attacks against gods, fey creatures, elementals or animals. It also costs 1i to attempt so that -4 soak is getting you a 2i return on your 1i investment. You should really try it out, work with your ST to overhaul your character and play a Wood Dragon Stylist and use it.

    On the other hand, if you’re trying to combo with snake using unarmed attacks then use SNAKE damage enhancers, like Striking Cobra Technique which is like FotM on withering attacks except it doesn’t require Aura to be +5 or need you to invest in anything but then throw on Searing Edge for even more damage, which will now even more reliably trigger off your higher withering damage pool.

    I don’t really know why Air Dragon doesn’t feel like a martial art to you, it makes you into a ninja. Running across smoke trails, backflipping away from your enemy as you whip a chakram into his throat. It doesn’t need what you consider to be combat workhorse charms because if your enemy isn’t invested pretty hard into both awareness and athletics you’re not even going to get attacked. Who cares if you can’t spend 4m for +5 withering damage when you get 3-4 attacks in for every one of theirs?

    Edit: also just so I know your stance on it, Black Claw, Silver Voiced Nightingale, Ebon Shadow, Righteous Devil, and Dreaming Pearl Courtesan are all MA, But Air Dragon isn’t?
    Last edited by DrLoveMonkey; 05-03-2019, 10:25 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post

      the deeb charmset actually has a very strong mobility charm

      it's in Performance
      I and another poster talked to Robert about it, and he said he's going to take another look at Petal-Strewn Pavane's balance.

      Probably, it shouldn't be a dice-adder as well as a penalty-negator and flurry-easer.


      Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

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      • #18
        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

        A Wood Dragon Stylist is only aiming every turn after using Soul Marking Style, which if you want to be most of the fight you need to launch a decisive right off the start and put yourself 3 damage away from being crashed, which if you went first in the combat means that your enemy now gets 2 turns in a row to crash you, getting an onslaught penalty with himself. Piercing attacks only affect soak from armor, so anything that has a (Breastplate) or (Buff Jacket) after their soak value, otherwise it’s inapplicable. So no piercing attacks against gods, fey creatures, elementals or animals. It also costs 1i to attempt so that -4 soak is getting you a 2i return on your 1i investment. You should really try it out, work with your ST to overhaul your character and play a Wood Dragon Stylist and use it.

        On the other hand, if you’re trying to combo with snake using unarmed attacks then use SNAKE damage enhancers, like Striking Cobra Technique which is like FotM on withering attacks except it doesn’t require Aura to be +5 or need you to invest in anything but then throw on Searing Edge for even more damage, which will now even more reliably trigger off your higher withering damage pool.

        I don’t really know why Air Dragon doesn’t feel like a martial art to you, it makes you into a ninja. Running across smoke trails, backflipping away from your enemy as you whip a chakram into his throat. It doesn’t need what you consider to be combat workhorse charms because if your enemy isn’t invested pretty hard into both awareness and athletics you’re not even going to get attacked. Who cares if you can’t spend 4m for +5 withering damage when you get 3-4 attacks in for every one of theirs?

        Edit: also just so I know your stance on it, Black Claw, Silver Voiced Nightingale, Ebon Shadow, Righteous Devil, and Dreaming Pearl Courtesan are all MA, But Air Dragon isn’t?

        Oh, but guess what a Wood Dragon Stylist has in their kit to immediately gain a lot of initiative on their next round and thus avoid being crashed? Eyes of the Wood Dragon. Fire Dragon cannot recover anywhere near easily from resetting to base, Wood can. Gods also use armor, as do fey and other beings, though they could also not use it, it's case-by-case (and for them, Wood Dragon has much nastier crap in store than Fire does). And as I said, I am not reworking shit, I want a good Fire Dragon Style not a Wood Aspect character. Striking Cobra is a good damage adder, but failing the attack means you wasted 6m + any excellency motes which hurts.

        Ninja is not a Martial Art, it's Stealth and Mobility combined with actual Martial Arts Charms. See: Ebon Shadow. With Ebon Shadow you ARE a ninja. You have a single Stealthy Charm, sure, and then everything else is offense, defense, cool combat stuff. Air Dragon is a compilation of Mobility and Stealth Charms with a horrible workhorse and then horribly expensive area of effect attacks. And I absolutely disagree that it doesn't need combat workhorses, this ain't something I'm budging about.

        Black Claw is a Martial Art, most of its Charms are combat-based and it has workhorses you can just spam at everything. SVN is the same. Ebon Shadow is the same, Righteous Devil is the same, Dreaming Pearl is the same. Air Dragon's majority of workhorses are either useless (BST) or absolutely unnecessary in a MA when they could be in Abilities to give Air Dragon actual decent combat boosters, but of course you're just expected to grab Thrown 5 and Air Dragon 5 and use one or the other intermittently and fuck comboing with other MAs because AD will help absolutely none with that. Don't make me go over all those Martial Arts mentioning their workhorses one by one and how they're all better than how AD is structured.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Alistair View Post


          Oh, but guess what a Wood Dragon Stylist has in their kit to immediately gain a lot of initiative on their next round and thus avoid being crashed? Eyes of the Wood Dragon. Fire Dragon cannot recover anywhere near easily from resetting to base, Wood can. Gods also use armor, as do fey and other beings, though they could also not use it, it's case-by-case (and for them, Wood Dragon has much nastier crap in store than Fire does). And as I said, I am not reworking shit, I want a good Fire Dragon Style not a Wood Aspect character. Striking Cobra is a good damage adder, but failing the attack means you wasted 6m + any excellency motes which hurts.

          Ninja is not a Martial Art, it's Stealth and Mobility combined with actual Martial Arts Charms. See: Ebon Shadow. With Ebon Shadow you ARE a ninja. You have a single Stealthy Charm, sure, and then everything else is offense, defense, cool combat stuff. Air Dragon is a compilation of Mobility and Stealth Charms with a horrible workhorse and then horribly expensive area of effect attacks. And I absolutely disagree that it doesn't need combat workhorses, this ain't something I'm budging about.

          Black Claw is a Martial Art, most of its Charms are combat-based and it has workhorses you can just spam at everything. SVN is the same. Ebon Shadow is the same, Righteous Devil is the same, Dreaming Pearl is the same. Air Dragon's majority of workhorses are either useless (BST) or absolutely unnecessary in a MA when they could be in Abilities to give Air Dragon actual decent combat boosters, but of course you're just expected to grab Thrown 5 and Air Dragon 5 and use one or the other intermittently and fuck comboing with other MAs because AD will help absolutely none with that. Don't make me go over all those Martial Arts mentioning their workhorses one by one and how they're all better than how AD is structured.
          You attack, use Soul-Marking Style, drop to 3 initiative, they attack, if they deal at least 3 damage they add at least 9 initiative to their join battle +3. The round resets, they now have 15 initiative to your 0, they go first, decisive attack dealing 6 lethal levels. Yeah, you’ll recover really well after, you’ll even get an initiative shift out of it, but if you think waiting all day to get motes back is bad try waiting all week to get your health levels back, and you better hope you don’t get in another fight, or another enemy in the combat because you’re suffering a wound penalty and are way closer to death. You could avoid that, probably, by pumping motes into your defence, but now you’re down 21 motes and you’ve barely done anything.

          Then what are you going to do next turn? Because you’re using a Martial Art and your form isn’t even up. If you’ve taken enough damage you can use Mind over Body for 5m 1wp and hope that you roll well enough to heal up a wound penalty so you can reflexively activate the style, otherwise you just wasted a turn and a willpower healing 1-2 HLs that you wouldn’t have taken if you’d just withering attacked the first turn. You probably don’t really care though because just look at what Wood Dragon Form does at Essence 2, it gives you two -1 health levels until the end of the scene where they then fade and don’t even take their damage with them, they dump it back into your health track. You’re comparing that favourably to Fire Dragon adding pre-attack onslaught penalties and killing decisive attackers initiative? Who’s activation condition is just to win Join Battle? And it’s 3m cheaper? Look at the whole style, don’t cherrypick the beat parts and compare to Fire Dragon. Or better yet go play a Wood Immaculate and see how it works.

          With Fire Dragon, and Snake for that matter, you do what the whole combat system is designed to do, gain initiative by safely knocking down opponents out of the range to harm you with decisive attacks until you can finish the fight, and then end it. You’re not granting initiative breaks because you aren’t anywhere close to being crashed, enemies aren’t acting twice in a row by switching turn orders, they aren’t activating powerful initiative costed charms or using gambits, none of that.

          There is one published got that has armor, Ahlat, and one published fey creature that does, a Buck Ogre, and no published elementals that do. The piercing attack that Wood Dragon has is quite useful, but only situationally.

          And please tell me you didn’t just complain that using motes on an attack that misses wastes motes. That’s literally every mote enhanced attack in the game, and guess what? If you’re trying to activate Soul-Marking Style with Wood, and you miss? You’re down 3m + excellency plus 4-5 initiative depending on if you had more than 10 at the time, and you don’t even get your weapon accuracy bonus to the attack because it’s decisive. I’d way rather be slashing away with my high accuracy unarmed attacks and stopping my enemies from getting enough initiative to do anything. That’s not even considering how enemy charms that have an initiative cost are unusable while they’re in crash.


          If your only criteria for an MA is that it has a spamable withering attack enhancer, then we’re done with that conversation because I do not agree with that. Air Dragon Style is an extremely effective combat style and does not in any way require investment into thrown.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

            If your only criteria for an MA is that it has a spamable withering attack enhancer, then we’re done with that conversation because I do not agree with that. Air Dragon Style is an extremely effective combat style and does not in any way require investment into thrown.
            Nice strawman you've got there, but my criteria is not solely spammable withering attack enhancer, it's spammable ANYTHING that does something in combat related to protecting yourself or attacking others. Air Dragon is effective but it has no business being a self-contained Martial Arts set when it could perfectly have taken the mobility and stealth stuff, dumped them into Athletics, Dodge and Stealth, and then given AD actual bonuses to attack, damage, soak, or whatever else you need in a style. Literally all other styles have a defense booster (Air Dragon Sight exists, correct), an offensive booster (BST sucks ass), sometimes something niche like mobility in a single Charm (sure, ONE Charm like that is fine, not three), and then the Form and the post-Form Serious Business Charms. This has Defense (good), Mobility, Mobility, Attack (Awful), Stealth, Serious Business. Regardless of how effective it is in combat, it's not a good Martial Art design.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Alistair View Post

              Nice strawman you've got there, but my criteria is not solely spammable withering attack enhancer, it's spammable ANYTHING that does something in combat related to protecting yourself or attacking others. Air Dragon is effective but it has no business being a self-contained Martial Arts set when it could perfectly have taken the mobility and stealth stuff, dumped them into Athletics, Dodge and Stealth, and then given AD actual bonuses to attack, damage, soak, or whatever else you need in a style. Literally all other styles have a defense booster (Air Dragon Sight exists, correct), an offensive booster (BST sucks ass), sometimes something niche like mobility in a single Charm (sure, ONE Charm like that is fine, not three), and then the Form and the post-Form Serious Business Charms. This has Defense (good), Mobility, Mobility, Attack (Awful), Stealth, Serious Business. Regardless of how effective it is in combat, it's not a good Martial Art design.
              It has excellent defence, the form has a +1 Evasion bonus and the style uses a ranged weapon that has maximum accuracy regardless of the distance from the target. Which means the most important part of the defence is the mobility. It stays at short range from people with brawl, melee, and other close ranged MAs, and closes to close range against archers, who suffer from a -5 accuracy penalty in close range, which stacking with the +1 Evasion from the form gives them a wretched chance to hit you. Against somebody with both archery and melee it dodges in and out of combat, forcing the target to flurry a Ready Weapon action whenever it attacks to bring out the correct range weapon again, so that’s -3 accuracy and -1 defence.

              The only time that trick doesn’t really work is against another character that has really good athletics, in which case they stand a chance at stopping your disengage, although even then probably not a good one, or if they use thrown weapons, which barely any PCs use, and I can’t even think of any NPCs that do apart from the air Immaculate antagonist. Even then you’re not screwed because you can keep dodging in and out of stealth, getting 3 autosuccesses between the form and Shroud of Unseen Winds, and not requiring any justification for where you’re hiding. It is definitely a fallback through, and also doesn’t work perfectly against somebody who has really good perception + Awareness, but now we’re basically building a character specifically to counter the Air Dragon which is not the mark of a garbage MA.

              I can see why you would want them in Athletics and Stealth trees though, they’re exceptionally good at what they do, but that’s why they’re Immaculate Dragon charms.

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