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Trying to get a sense of scale with exalted.

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  • #61
    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post

    In this particular example, I'm sure that's what they mean by heroic, they're just saying it in a fancy way.
    I came back to this thread to say that I had realised that the difference between us was that I read the line as saying "the baseline for actions that you bother to roll (and indeed, undertakings in gameplay generally) are extraordinary and audacious, out of keeping with what typical people engage in", where you are reading it as "something that is kind of hard for people with low Abilities and pretty easy for those with high".

    But you've gotten ahead of me with things I'll want my laptop to respond to.

    For the time being, I'll say that quite apart from appealing to my own biases, I think my reading is more fitting to the tone of the game's narrative and system (which is inclined more towards drama than simulation), and matches an explanation Holden gave shortly after the book came out about why the difficulty was written like that.

    Edit: To ensure that there is no confusion, I am referring to this exchange:

    Originally posted by Weimann
    On page 185, the book describes the difficulty appropriate in general rolls. However, it seems to make a difference between what heroes and "run-of-the-mill individuals" would find difficult. The way I read it, it implies a different (undisclosed) difficulty scale for normals. How does that work out?
    Originally posted by Holden

    Nobody plays Bob the Janitor unless he's a secret kung-fu master, so scaling things for Random Townie #3 is mostly just something we opted not to care about. I mean, yeah, we could introduce another scale for the Foot Clan jobbers, but would that actually be worth the hassle of learning and using?

    edit: To unpack that thought, Second Edition spent a lot of time worrying about how well the mechanics represented the life of the setting, so to speak-- "do these rules reflect standard trade negotiations between the Guild and the Council of Entities? Does this look like the kind of haggling a citizen of Lookshy would do at the market? Will this produce results that reasonably replicate the historic survival rate of plague victims with access to only pre-modern medicine?" In other words, it was very concerned with holding up under thought exercises wherein NPCs used the system in their day-to-day lives.

    Third Edition spends almost no time at all caring about what happens when two NPCs interact without players' characters present, because the GM can just resolve that however it suits his story best. The system is calibrated to help the PCs participate in exciting stories, and really doesn't even try to do anything else.
    Last edited by Isator Levi; 06-24-2019, 11:26 PM.


    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
    Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

      I came back to this thread to say that I had realised that the difference between us was that I read the line as saying "the baseline for actions that you bother to roll (and indeed, undertakings in gameplay generally) are extraordinary and audacious, out of keeping with what typical people engage in", where you are reading it as "something that is kind of hard for people with low Abilities and pretty easy for those with high".

      But you've gotten ahead of me with things I'll want my laptop to respond to.

      For the time being, I'll say that quite apart from appealing to my own biases, I think my reading is more fitting to the tone of the game's narrative and system (which is inclined more towards drama than simulation), and matches an explanation Holden gave shortly after the book came out about why the difficulty was written like that.

      Edit: To ensure that there is no confusion, I am referring to this exchange:


      Okay, so you want the basic things that PCs ever roll, at difficulty 1, to be pretty impressive stuff. With things that aren't very impressive unrolled. And I certainly see no reason for PCs to roll for routine stuff like cooking dinner or whatever. So I can get that, but there is a problem. I don't want to rush ahead and read in too much though, and you said you had more to write, so I'll just check; are we talking about PCs with great skill, or no real training in the area?


      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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      • #63
        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        so you want the basic things that PCs ever roll, at difficulty 1, to be pretty impressive stuff.
        It's not what I want, it's what the system is. Look at the things that I quoted; Weimann was on the same page as me, and Holden's response corroborates it and explains how and why it was the point.

        It rather handily covers your bugaboo about appendectomy and all; this isn't something that just any surgeon or physician in Creation would do, and when it's rolled (i.e. when it's a thing that characters in an actual story of the Exalted genre, rather than a routine procedure of non-existent medical drama games), it's something noteworthy, possibly even a bit improvised.

        I must say that having quickly found the Holden quote that effectively articulates and validates what I've been talking about diminishes my sense that I need any more elaborate argument going into minutiae of your statements.
        Last edited by Isator Levi; 06-25-2019, 05:25 AM.


        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
        Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
        https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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        • #64
          As long as you are happy and the OP who asked for advice is happy, sure. I gave him/her my advice, you disagreed, he/she can use whichever one seems more practical for their game. This is what works for me, it may not work in your game.
          Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 06-25-2019, 08:25 AM.


          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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          • #65
            Originally posted by Chausse View Post

            I actually thought a lot about your answer and I kinda like it, it would help me a lot managing the power of excellencies that sometimes bother me. However I still have some unresolved issues with the limitations of difficulty at 5 : what happens when someone tries to open the aforementionned crafted by a demi god lock while the palace is crumbling around ? Is it still difficulty 5 ? The problem I have is the same of you fix the ceiling of difficulty higher : anything difficulty N would be difficulty N+1 under some circomstance, so defining a hard ceiling seems impossible. However I think the ceiling difficulty 5 is too low and doesn't allow for good adjustment, that I dont know how to resolve. Furthermore, there is an example of difficulty 10 state a fact in Miracles of the Solar Exalted, which made me think difficulty 5 is not the hard ceiling it seems to be in the core book
            5 is not a hard cap. You could push it to whatever you want.

            If the lock is normally difficulty 5, and you're picking it whilst vultures eat your eyes, with one hand behind your back, whilst the palace collapses around you then obviously that's going to be N+X difficulty (let's say 9).

            I wouldn't. I would rule that the task straight-up is impossible without charms. If the lock is so sophisticated/enchanted/difficult that it's already a difficulty 5 task, then any complicating factors are either going to be trivial (and thus not up the difficulty) or make the task "impossible" (even though a Solar with an Excellency probably could succeed "on paper" if you let them roll).

            It's like social combat. Just because you can roll 20 successes, doesn't make the task possible.

            But that's definitely a "soft cap". If the roll is dramatically appropriate, I'd allow it. But routinely, if a normal person can't do it without magic then a Solar can't do it without magic. If the difficulty is more than five then it's probably not possible without magic.

            If it wouldn't challenge someone then it's usually not a roll. Routine stuff is difficulty zero. Something interesting is difficulty 1. Complicating factors can push that up to 5. Unless failure has dramatic consequences, I just assume the PCs will succeed. If the PC is chucking 11+ dice at removing Nameless NPC#244's appendix, then they succeed without a roll. If they're throwing 23 dice with double 7s, exploding 10s, and reroll 1s and 6s then I don't mind them auto succeeding on a difficulty 5 roll to remove that appendix without the proper tools in the dark during a hurricane.

            The challenge isn't the thing you overcome by throwing buckets of dice at. Solars are meant to be awesome. The challenge is the "whys" and "what's nexts".

            Think of video games like Oblivian. When every faceless bandit "levels up" to match your capabilities there's no real sense of scale. I don't like building worlds where every random NPC has a lock crafted by the Unconquered Sun himself, and combat is only ever against Tyrant Lizards who turn out to be Lunars.

            Solars are meant to walk over Difficulty 5 tasks, and tasks aren't meant to be harder than Difficulty 5. This is why you're playing Exalted, not D&D.

            Embrace the awesome.

            Your Solars are like Batman. If it can be done by a human in peak condition, then they can do it. No matter how hard or implausible it may seem.

            But if it can't be done, then it can't be done.*

            *until you chuck charms that make the impossible possible at it

            If the best human long jumper in the world can maybe jump a 29-foot-chasm on their best day as a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, then your podgy Dex 1 Athletics 0 Twilight gets to roll that difficulty 5 task. But if you want to jump 30-feet straight-up into the air, then you need a jumping charm, no matter how many successes you can roll.
            Last edited by JohnDoe244; 06-27-2019, 04:30 AM.


            Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
              5 is not a hard cap. You could push it to whatever you want.

              If the lock is normally difficulty 5, and you're picking it whilst vultures eat your eyes, with one hand behind your back, whilst the palace collapses around you then obviously that's going to be N+X difficulty (let's say 9).
              I see it differently. The difficulty 5 first age lock is difficulty 5, whether I'm doing it with all the time in the world and no one observing, or I'm doing it while vultures peck at my eyes in the middle of a volcanic eruption, while fighting off some insidious Yozi poison coursing through my veins. Its just that there is no penalty for the first roll, and a hefty penalty for the second one.
              I'm still going to do it, because I'm a Solar, and have charms to give me a dice pool that will crush the task.
              Difficulty 5 is a semi-firm cap for the task, and penalties are extra things added beyond the difficulty of the task.

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              • #67
                If the difficulty is already set for the lock don’t additional complications just add dice penalties?

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                • #68
                  According to the book, you generally only use penalties for when you can't put the difficulty up (say, opposed rolls). Otherwise you just raise the difficulty.
                  I mean, not that it makes much difference either way, statistically.


                  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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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                    According to the book, you generally only use penalties for when you can't put the difficulty up (say, opposed rolls). Otherwise you just raise the difficulty.
                    I mean, not that it makes much difference either way, statistically.
                    Ahh I see I misremembered that section. I’m honestly not sure I like that, there’s a lot of charms that do things like ignore penalties due to certain things, just as an example, weather. If you just up the difficulty then that charm technically doesn’t apply there, so your Clear Sight Through Thunder charm or whatever doesn’t actually help you see an object through torrential rain, it only helps if you’re trying to see past somebody’s opposed stealth roll through the rain.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                      I’m honestly not sure I like that, there’s a lot of charms that do things like ignore penalties due to certain things, just as an example, weather.
                      I think in those circumstances, using the charm would simply mean the difficulty was reduced. I wouldn't nerf a charm just because it wasn't, technically, a "penalty".

                      In general, I suspect that 3e has pushed things towards "increase difficulty" as opposed to "reduce number of dice rolled" because of the prevalence of dice tricks. Raising the difficulty by 1 may be mathematically equivalent to subtracting two dice, but only when you don't have some charm effect going on that gives you double 7s, or rerolls 5s, or something like that. Increasing the difficulty lets players use those dice tricks a bit more.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                        Ahh I see I misremembered that section. I’m honestly not sure I like that, there’s a lot of charms that do things like ignore penalties due to certain things, just as an example, weather. If you just up the difficulty then that charm technically doesn’t apply there, so your Clear Sight Through Thunder charm or whatever doesn’t actually help you see an object through torrential rain, it only helps if you’re trying to see past somebody’s opposed stealth roll through the rain.
                        Yeah, I honestly didn't realise that until I went back and reread it, because you're right.

                        I think Kelly's suggestion is the best way to deal with it.


                        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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                        • #72
                          A big issue we have right now is that the core was done up by the previous developers who had a different paradigm when it came difficulty and penalties, which seems to have avoided penalties as much as possible. Both Dragon-blooded and lunars seem to have been written under a new paradigm which seems to operate at extremely low difficulties but with multiple sources of penalties.

                          Until the new devs release the new core rules that DB's and lunars operate under we are going to have to keep patching up the holes as best we can.

                          For what it is worth my group has used Kelly's solution to some success. Its not great but better than raw.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Calboon View Post
                            A big issue we have right now is that the core was done up by the previous developers who had a different paradigm when it came difficulty and penalties, which seems to have avoided penalties as much as possible. Both Dragon-blooded and lunars seem to have been written under a new paradigm which seems to operate at extremely low difficulties but with multiple sources of penalties.

                            Until the new devs release the new core rules that DB's and lunars operate under we are going to have to keep patching up the holes as best we can.

                            For what it is worth my group has used Kelly's solution to some success. Its not great but better than raw.
                            Kind of like an Exalted 3.6, well it's not great but it's not terrible.

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                            • #74
                              Exalted is extremely crunch heavy (ok you don't roll on a table to determine your AC, but between project slots and craft points, and how many types of XP and character resources I think that's a fair position to take). The preference for vague "natural" language instead of precise system terms and the massive changes between 2E and 3E, I think are more to blame than a shift of lead developers.

                              In the corebook, Legend Soul Revival (p305) and the sidebar for its prereq talks of dice penalities rather than increased difficulty. Mind Cleansing Prana (p306) likewise removes upto -2 in penalities. Spirit Tempering Practice (p308) uses "penalty" in the natural language sense.

                              The balance suggested by Mind Cleansing Prana is that negating -2 in penalities is equivalent to +2 Charm successes (for Solars). I think I prefer equating 2 penalty dice to 1 difficulty (round up).


                              Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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                              • #75
                                Just a quick question. Sometimes a Charm specifies you need "Magic" to counter it's effects (I believe some Stealth or Detect lies charms), I guess Excellencies don't count as magic for the purpose of these. Like you can't lie to someone with the Solar Charm that detect lies with Excellencies alone, you'd need a "Lie charm" ?

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