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Houserules for Artifacts and Resonance

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  • Houserules for Artifacts and Resonance

    As things stand now, we have a situation where there are artifacts that are resonant, dissonant and neutral with some exalted types, but they cost exactly the same, be their costs as merits, or their evocations. This is not a problem for the solars, who are resonant with everything. But for other exalted, it leaves something to be desired. It discourages the purchase of out of type artifacts, and that reduces the value of artifact companions such as Arms of the Chosen, because they come with very few artifacts of the same material.

    What I want to accomplish is to make varied artifacts a little more 'cost-beneficial', and less of an explicitly bad idea. If you have a concept that makes for your character having an out-of-type artifact, you shouldn't have to be penalized for this.
    • The artifact merit costs one point less for out-of-type materials. So, a dragonblooded that got a level 3 starmetal artifact gets to pay 2 dots at character creation, not three. This represents the fact that such artifacts are not so desirable for the characters and in-universe, as equivalent artifacts of the correct material.
    • Evocations can be purchased in three levels: Dissonant level costs <normal cost -2>xp, Neutral level cost <normal cost> xp, and Resonant level costs <normal cost + 2> xp. This is evocation by evocation - evocations that don't have a resonant or dissonant effect are, by definition, neutral.
    For extra flexibility, a character may even choose to attune with a lower level of an evocation. For instance, he could purchase an evocation at dissonant level, for less XP, and later (if the evocation has a resonant level and is resonant with the character) upgrade it to a higher level by paying the difference.

    So what are your ideas on that?


  • #2
    The great majority of our Artifacts are bespoke written for the characters who bear them. As such, they don't have Resonant or Dissonant keywords. ( "I'm writing my signature weapon to be cooler in the hands of somebody else!")

    We also have a table understanding that we're not doing a high-fatality game (so we can explore more character dramas) nor a steal-your-stuff game (so variations in resonance don't mean as much).

    The only specific house rule we've had to do was to replace the Lunars' DBT penalty for Resonance. We'll be testing a 1m / turn cost to maintain DBT to replace the Resonance drawback. We might just disregard it entirely and assume that Resonance and Dissonance are present in the Artifact, but don't affect the same character as long as they consistently own it.


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    • #3
      Also just because an artifact is slightly less powerful in your hands doesn’t make it not powerful, considering how getting to explore a set of powers outside your normal themes is worthy of consideration all on its own. A Dragon-Blooded wielding Gnomon is not particularly missing out on anything just because she’s not as good with it as a Solar is.
      Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 06-12-2019, 05:20 PM.

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      • #4
        Well, yeah, we could each build our artifacts and evocations. But it'd be like, work. And, I like the flavor of dissonant/resonant effects. So, we tend to mostly use published artifacts and stick to those rules otherwise.

        I had the idea of working with resonance and dissonance when two players from my group built lunars that had killed Dragonbloded on their backgrounds. One of them wanted to purchase an artifact from this story, but then it'd be more than likely jade. So, I started to think: how would I not penalize her by doing that? How would I interest a player in investing in evocations from an artifact that isn't 'optimal'?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
          Also just because an artifact is slightly less powerful in your hands doesn’t make it not powerful, considering how getting to explore a set of powers outside your normal themes is worthy of consideration all on its own. A Dragon-Blooded wielding Gnomon is not particularly missing out on anything just because she’s not as good with it as a Solar is.

          A Dragonblooded with Gnomon won't access several evocations, and can't have the peaches. The! Peaches! Of! Immortality! I can't even parse your argument!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pcontop View Post


            A Dragonblooded with Gnomon won't access several evocations, and can't have the peaches. The! Peaches! Of! Immortality! I can't even parse your argument!

            Solution: "Uh, guys, this is totally not Gnomon, this is its Blue Jade brother Chronos. Totally guys. Swear on me mum. Has all of Gnomon's Evocations and pretty much works the same way though."

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            • #7
              Some things to consider :

              -I don't think it makes sense to reduce the dot cost of the artifact, since only the evocations are weaker. The artifact still has its maximum number of Evocation and the general scope of its powers determined by its dot rating. Reduced cost per Evocation makes sense though.

              -Since you're not interested in creating custom Evocations and the artifact isn't likely to be used by someone else, I'd recommend simply treating the player as resonant out of game and calling it a day.

              -Since your player is a Lunar, one way you could solve the problem would be to give them a custom (Wits - Cache) Charm that makes them resonant with an artifact if they own the shape of a previous owner who was resonant with it. Or simply houserule that all Lunars can do that if you don't want to bother with a custom Charm.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pcontop View Post
                A Dragonblooded with Gnomon won't access several evocations, and can't have the peaches.
                First off, the Evocations that even two people of the same splat get with the same weapon won’t be identical; the way they’re presented to us is meant to be there as guidelines. Nobody will get all the possible Evocations of an artifact because the bond an artifact develops with a wielder is going to be dependent on their relationship.

                Second, so what? He’s still capable of interrupting an enemy’s charge to dig a pit filled with sharpened sticks at the bottom. Out of the two I’d argue that’s the more impressive feat.

                Originally posted by pcontop View Post
                I can't even parse your argument!
                Try.
                Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 06-12-2019, 06:02 PM.

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                • #9
                  Honestly, I'd rather just ignore Resonance/Dissonance if I felt like it/the PC convinced me. It's not really like the balance is so fine on the artifacts that it really screws with stuff. All it does is mucks with Solars being the best at everything.... which is a feature as far as I'm concerned, not a bug! :P (And they still have extra charms on pretty much every artifact in Arms anyway)

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                  • #10
                    So I had an idea after rereading through all the ideas here.

                    What if.... Dissonance was presented along the lines of being a Flaw? If you're Dissonant with one of your Artifacts, and it has an effect at a dramatic moment, you can take a penalty in exchange for an Exalted XP.



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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Simon Darkstep View Post
                      So I had an idea after rereading through all the ideas here.

                      What if.... Dissonance was presented along the lines of being a Flaw? If you're Dissonant with one of your Artifacts, and it has an effect at a dramatic moment, you can take a penalty in exchange for an Exalted XP.

                      That's actually a neat idea~ Though I doubt being Dissonant with an Artifact will often lead to dramatic moments, considering it's a small distinction usually, and you can't really say "Drat! If I had had this neutral-locked Evocation I would have succeeded at X!" most of the time either. I'd just treat it as a Flaw that comes online when you use a Dissonant-tagged Evocation.

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                      • #12
                        Love the idea of a Dissonance flaw.

                        Here are some other ideas for alternate Resonance rules :

                        -Simple no-nonsense rule : Resonance is a 3 or 5 Dot Merit you can purchase for each Artifact, where 3 Dot = Neutral and 5 Dot = Resonant. If your character is neutral/resonant with an Artifact you simply get the appropriate Merit for free for that Artifact.

                        -More involved rule : While you are attuned to an artifact it gains normal exp when you do. When you reach 50 normal exp with an Artifact its affinity goes up 1 level. So a dissonant E1 Artifact becomes neutral after 50 exp and then Resonant after another 50 exp.

                        -Harsher rule : For each Essence level you have above an Evocation's Essence requirement, you gain 1 level of affinity for that Evocation. For instance, a dissonant E1 Evocation becomes Neutral when you hit Essence 2 and Resonant when you hit Essence 3. So everyone can use an Artifact to its full potential but it takes longer for those who aren't Resonant.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Alistair View Post


                          That's actually a neat idea~ Though I doubt being Dissonant with an Artifact will often lead to dramatic moments, considering it's a small distinction usually, and you can't really say "Drat! If I had had this neutral-locked Evocation I would have succeeded at X!" most of the time either. I'd just treat it as a Flaw that comes online when you use a Dissonant-tagged Evocation.
                          The idea would most definitely need some development!

                          How can Dissonance be part of the story, rather than a bit of crunch, I wonder? What does Dissonance feel like? Could it be a stunt?


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                          • #14
                            My house rule for Resonance is that you can be Resonant to any artifact that contains a magical material you are Resonant to.

                            For instance, a weapon that is a Moonsilver and Jade Daiklave is resonant to Solars, Lunars, and Dragonblooded, plus any Exigent who is Resonant to Moonsilver or Jade.

                            The idea to me is that this encourages a player to think about how a different magical material interacts both with them as a splat and their magical material. It lets them look for overlapping themes and how one material encourages another, without limiting them on how they pick a weapon. Too much freedom to me creates a mush that isn't super enticing, while slightly stretching the boundaries or playing with how a weapon might change by you adding a new magical material to it to better attune to it, what Evocations might be empowered nad what might reduce.

                            Admittedly I love making artifacts so often what happens is that I make the artifacts and evocations for everyone that have ideas of themes and paths to explore and see where my players want to take them. Usually they'll say what kind of weapon they want and a brief overview of the powers it should have and I'll make an artifact for them in response.

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                            • #15
                              Personally, I'm not really bothered; my game is a Lunar game, so they're only Resonant with Moonsilver artefacts, but the Lunar book has a ton of moonsilver artefacts in anyway. Similarly, the Dragonblood book has 11 Jade artefacts.

                              I don't think it's going to break stuff if you make evocations a little cheaper when they're dissonant, but as Epitome pointed out, letting Dragonblood buy non-Jade daiklaives for 2 dots is a bit cheap; I mean, a daiklaive is way better than most 2-dot artefacts, even if you don't buy any artefacts.

                              I'd also point out that because of the way the themes of materials line up with the themes of that splat, they can sometimes be a bit less useful for that splat anyway.

                              For example, the black jade crossbow in Arms lets you run on water... which Water Aspects can do anyway. Its charms for helping with Naval Combat are much more useful for a Lunar than a DB, because DBs have a bunch of other charms to help with Naval Combat, and Lunars don't.

                              I was thinking of kitting out a DB NPC with the red jade bow that shoots emotions into people, but I realised that DBs have loads of charms for inspiring emotions anyway. It's probably more useful for a Sidereal (and indeed, that's who's wielding it in the art).

                              The Jade firewand and Jade flamepiece in Arms start off with an evocation that lets you reload a firewand reflexively; something DBs have an Archery charm for anyway, something I expect that Abyssals, Liminals and Sidereals won't have.

                              The soulsteel mace that lets you trap ghosts and learn magic from an ancient ghost is probably less useful for an Abyssal (who probably knows a bunch of ghosts anyway, and likely has plenty of charms for dealing with them) and more useful for a Sidereal or Alchemical, who don't really have that much.

                              And the most obvious example is the Moonsilver cloak which turns into wings; much less useful for the splat that can already grow wings (Lunars) than the ones who can't (Solars, DBs, Sidereals, Liminals, most Exigents, Abyssals... I guess Alchemicals possibly can).

                              This isn't always the case; having a flying sword that can attack by itself or a sword-loom that can produce cloth-servitors or just as useful for Lunars as they are for anyone else.
                              But it's something to bear in mind.


                              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
                              Avatar by Jen

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