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Crane's Wing and Tiger's Claw: Prototype00 muses about Lunar Martial Artists in 3e

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  • Crane's Wing and Tiger's Claw: Prototype00 muses about Lunar Martial Artists in 3e

    So You want to be a Tiger-Tiger Stylist or a Snake-Snake Martial Artist, then welcome to my musings. First of all the rules of how it works (just in case you weren’t aware)…
    1. Lunars cannot mix Martial Arts and shapeshifting into animal forms. The two are forever separate.
    2. Lunars can never favour the Martial Arts ability, and so it’s always going to cost you 10xp per charm (whether Lunar or regular XP)
    3. Lunars get no access to Mastery effects but aren’t penalized by the Terrestrial keyword.
    Seems pretty bad, right, but….
    1. Lunar Native Charms freely interact with any and all Martial Arts Charms (!!!) this is bonkers good and no other Exalt (so far) gets access to this. It means that a Martial Arts Lunar doesn’t have to choose. His Dex Charms can be used freely with Martial Arts effects. Since Martial Arts usually cap out at Ess 3, it’s a good deal for Lunars since they don’t have Supernal charm access.
    So first of all this is how this is going to be structured (so I don’t have to do an infodump all at once…)
    • Part 1. Merits/Mutations of Note
    • Part 2. Lunar Charms
    • Part 3. Martial Arts Styles and Effects
    So part the first: Merits and Mutations:

    Lunars get access to tons of mutations via their Universal Charms, which they can use with martial arts freely in Hybrid Body and Deadly Beastman Transformation. Some caveats of course on Natural Weapons, which I will talk a bit about.

    *Note: I will only put in Merits/Mutations that are directly related to Martial Arts*

    Artifact: Probably Silken Robes (OOOO) artifact armor or Moonsilver (OOO) artifact armor depending on the specific Martial Arts. Ditto Artifact Weapons (OOO). If you have good Perception, Belt of Shadow Walking (OOO) is a real good way to dominate combat with foes not prepared for it.

    Martial Artist: (OOOO) You’ll have to take it, just grin and bear it.

    Hearthstone: (OO or OOOO) There are some really nice lesser (OO) and greater (OOOO) hearthstones for Lunar Martial Artists, the key one being the Greater Heartstone: Glory Stone which allows you to count as one Essence higher than you are for one MA charm (or any charm really) that you otherwise qualify for. Its kind of pseudo Mastery. A Lunar will never pay the dots for a greater heartstone, however, as there is a Charm for that that we’ll get to in Wits.

    Claws/Fangs/Hooves/Horns: (O or OOOO) Okay, going to level with you here, this is kind of Storyteller dependent. If they say that Tiger Style is compatible with Tiger Claws, great! You get a Medium Weapon to use with your MA. And it is encouraged by a sidebar in the Lunars book, but not guaranteed.

    Natural Weapons and Martial Arts
    Natural weapons don’t count as unarmed attacks for Martial Arts styles, but may be compatible if the Storyteller deems them similar enough to a style’s weapons. An eaglewoman could practice Tiger style with claw-like talons, and a mammoth-man might use his tusks as spears with White Reaper style.

    Unusual Hide: (O to OOOOO) It’s the most cost effective way to buy Soak in the game. You look like a freak of nature, but for Lunars that’s either not a bad thing or something they can hide if needed, so no big deal.

    Wings: (OOO or OOOOO) Lunars have some nice skirmishing charms and moving a range band up usually prevents melee enemies from attacking you, so the OOOOO version of Wings is not bad if you say fight on the ground and then jump straight up a range band to disengage. However, don’t fight in the air. -3 penalty to everything is brutal.

    Carapace/Shell: (OO) Requires Unusual Hide OO Is actually a bit of a trap, I feel. Unusual Hide and then wearing artifact armor is probably always better, unless this is some roleplay schtick you are going for.

    Centaur: (OO) Requires Extra Limbs (OOO) is actually quite interesting. It’s a bit expensive (but you get mutation dots in HBT and DBT anyway) but it gives you a +1 bonus to hit (+2 against battlegroups) and +1 bonus to Defense against non-mounted foes. This is specifically not charm dice, so it should stack with everything else, definitely something to think about.

    Constrictor: (OOO) Interesting possibility here, if you can say, fly. (Maybe you are some Eagle/Snake Coatl HBT?) For the grappling styles you can just keep going up and up and then let go and deal brutal falling damage (all falling damage is brutal in Exalted). Its probably the only non-charm way to move a foe while grappling. Definitely something to consider for Falcon Style.

    Deadly Weaponry: (O) Requires Claws/Fangs/Hooves/Horns. Allows you to add one of the Balanced, Chopping, Disarming, Flexible, Piercing, or Smashing tags. Cheap but also kind of average, I feel.

    Entangling Limbs: (OOO) Once again, another grapple related mutation. The usefulness of flurrying in a grapple, we shall see once we get to the grapple MAs. Does interesting things for gambits in grapple too.

    Hypermobility: (OOOO) The grapple boosters never stop, do they? This has some mundane stunt happy uses, but for our purposes, its basically one free non-charm dice to establish control of a grapple.

    Natural Shield: (OO) Hmm, interesting. You tank the damage on one of your natural attacks, but in return you can flurry the full defence action (because you have the shield tag) with no penalty to defence. (But of course you can’t attack, because of the full defence rules), there is one interesting application here, which we will get to in Crane Style.

    Please feel free to add anything I missed, and I will update the list.
    Last edited by prototype00; 06-24-2019, 09:00 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
    Lunar Native Charms freely interact with any and all Martial Arts Charms (!!!) this is bonkers good and no other Exalt (so far) gets access to this. It means that a Martial Arts Lunar doesn’t have to choose. His Dex Charms can be used freely with Martial Arts effects.
    Well, they still have to follow the general rule of Lunar Charms only being able to apply to an action using the Attribute the Charm falls under (unless it says so specifically in the Charm); you can't use your super-duper Appearance seduction Charm on a Charisma+Presence roll.

    ​Sure it gives them more versatility, since there's only nine Attributes versus twenty-six Abilities. But it is a limitation.

    ​For example, my new Lunar, Yago of Markos, went max Strength and Stamina, and Dex 2, picking up the Charms to be able to use Strength and Stamina for attack rolls and Parry defense. He's a martial artist as well, having access to Crane and Mantis. Given his Dex of 2, I obviously didn't pick up any Dexterity Charms. However, if I was to get Dexterity Charms, I wouldn't be able to apply them to my martial arts attacks, unless I use my inferior Dexterity to launch the attack.

    Comment


    • #3
      Doesn't it say somewhere that, even with the charms for replacing Dex with Str/Sta for attacks/parry, you can still use Dex charms on them?


      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

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        Doesn't it say somewhere that, even with the charms for replacing Dex with Str/Sta for attacks/parry, you can still use Dex charms on them?

        Yup. "some Charms allow the Lunar to substitute one Attribute for another for certain actions. They can enhance such actions with Charms of both Attributes."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by limaxophobiac View Post


          Yup. "some Charms allow the Lunar to substitute one Attribute for another for certain actions. They can enhance such actions with Charms of both Attributes."
          Ah, so if you have Deadly Claw Blow you can enhance MA attacks with either Strength or Dex charms and if you have Steel Paw Style you can enhance Parry with either Stamina (not much there except the excellency) or Dex Charms, presumably.

          Comment


          • #6
            Ah, okay, it'd been a couple days since I saw the book. Okay, then.

            ​Still my larger point about the applicability of the Attribute stands. If a Lunar Black Claw master employs Torn Lotus Defense against an attacker, she can't enhance its counterattack with Dexterity Charms because it's a Manipulation+Presence roll.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
              Ah, okay, it'd been a couple days since I saw the book. Okay, then.

              ​Still my larger point about the applicability of the Attribute stands. If a Lunar Black Claw master employs Torn Lotus Defense against an attacker, she can't enhance its counterattack with Dexterity Charms because it's a Manipulation+Presence roll.
              Since it's a counter-attack that creates a Social Influence, yes, you are right you would only be able to use Manipulation charms (or charms that specifically don't discriminate against other attributes like Argent Songbird).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
                Since it's a counter-attack that creates a Social Influence, yes, you are right you would only be able to use Manipulation charms (or charms that specifically don't discriminate against other attributes like Argent Songbird).
                Right. We can't just combine any Martial Arts Charms with any Charms from any Attribute. Just what's compatible. The restriction is looser, but the rulebook hasn't been thrown out the window.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Oh, certainly. I think that's pretty obvious. I didn't assume Prototype00 was thinking that you can use Appearance charms on damage rolls.

                  Incidentally, I suspect that there's some wicked combos with Black Claw and Lunar social charms, especially the Appearance charms for instilling ties of lust.




                  On merits, the only thing I really looked into was Poison stuff for my Snake-Snake user.

                  But I actually found that the poison merits, poison charms from Stamina, and Poison charm from Snake don't work together; the Potent merit (which is really good) only applies to the Poison merit, the Stamina charms only upgrade Adder Fang or a poison you're using in animal form (not DBT or human with the Poison merit), and so none of them interact at all with the pinnacle charm of Snake.

                  I would actually therefore recommend that a Snake-using Snake-Lunar doesn't bother with HBR or uses it for stuff like scales, and either takes the poison tree (to enhance your normal strikes) or the pinnacle charm of Snake, but not both, unless you have a ton of XP. Then you can save Snake's pinnacle for crashed opponents and use the poison tree otherwise.

                  I will say though, that the poison tree is way better (especially at high xp) if you are in the form of a snake, not a human. Adder Fang doesn't have a high enough difficulty, but it's Protean effect is really good.

                  So, overall, I'd recommend combining Snake style with scales, Strength charms and Dexterity charms, not the poison tree like I did.


                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                    Oh, certainly. I think that's pretty obvious. I didn't assume Prototype00 was thinking that you can use Appearance charms on damage rolls.

                    Incidentally, I suspect that there's some wicked combos with Black Claw and Lunar social charms, especially the Appearance charms for instilling ties of lust.
                    Usually the Social Charms have enough rules in them to preclude being used for combat purposes. Even Stamina is kind of hard to put in to punching someone.


                    On merits, the only thing I really looked into was Poison stuff for my Snake-Snake user.

                    But I actually found that the poison merits, poison charms from Stamina, and Poison charm from Snake don't work together; the Potent merit (which is really good) only applies to the Poison merit, the Stamina charms only upgrade Adder Fang or a poison you're using in animal form (not DBT or human with the Poison merit), and so none of them interact at all with the pinnacle charm of Snake.

                    I would actually therefore recommend that a Snake-using Snake-Lunar doesn't bother with HBR or uses it for stuff like scales, and either takes the poison tree (to enhance your normal strikes) or the pinnacle charm of Snake, but not both, unless you have a ton of XP. Then you can save Snake's pinnacle for crashed opponents and use the poison tree otherwise.

                    I will say though, that the poison tree is way better (especially at high xp) if you are in the form of a snake, not a human. Adder Fang doesn't have a high enough difficulty, but it's Protean effect is really good.

                    So, overall, I'd recommend combining Snake style with scales, Strength charms and Dexterity charms, not the poison tree like I did.
                    As always, Unusual Hide (OOOOO) is best Merit/Mutation. I think Centaur is a hidden gem though, it basically makes up for the defense penalty of DBT and it gives you a +1 to hit. (Imagines Tiger Centaur Tiger Stylist with Medium Weapon Claws...)
                    Last edited by prototype00; 06-23-2019, 06:05 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Part 2: Lunar Charms.

                      Here we’ll go through the Universal and Physical Attribute Charms and I’ll do a quick skim and point out any gems in the other sets. MA specific combos we’ll leave to the MA chapter. (Best Charms IMO are in Bold)

                      Universal (Ess1)

                      Hybrid Body Transformation: Stellar. See all those handy dandy mutations I previously listed? With this charm, choose 6 dots worth of them (presumably in theme for your spirit shape) and just put them on, whenever you’d like. Take Natural Weapons, Unusual Hide, Wings, E.t.c.

                      Chimera Soul Expression: I have a feeling that a fair amount of Martial Artists might be Chimeras, as this allows you to take another animal (6 more dots of mutations) and mash them together with your first one.

                      Shifting Beast Nature: Allows you to choose another HBT form (and 6 points of mutations) and shift into it instead of your original HBT form. Is kind of situational, you’d need to choose two really different mutation suites if you want to use this, like Combat/Social. For most Martial Artists, they would want to throw on their A-game fighty mutations onto their HBT and have done with it.

                      Universal (Ess2)

                      Perfected Hybrid Interaction: Is basically just piling on those mutations. You get to pick 4 dots more mutations that you can activate when you want for a mote apiece. You can buy this charm as many times as you want up to Essence, but sincerely it feels a bit like gilding a lily at this point. Just take HBT and Chimera Soul Expression and have done with it (that’s 12 dots of mutations!).

                      Universal (Ess3)

                      Changing Phases Transformation: Lets you swap 2 attributes points around when you HBT. Seems somewhat situational, but you guys tell me if I’m missing some gold here.

                      Universal (Ess5)

                      *Note* - While Behemoth and Flea Mastery at this level looks rad (switching between your Mountainous Spirit Expression Legendary Size and back as a Reflexive action), upon closer reading, it seems to preclude HBT forms (and DBT) and is animal only as Quicksilver Second Face (which it is based on) is limited to animals only. Sad face.

                      Up Next: Strength Charms!
                      Last edited by prototype00; 06-23-2019, 09:33 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lets split this up by Essence, there are way too many charms for me to write up in one post. Once again, outstanding ones bolded, tell me if I missed anything.

                        Strength Heart's Blood and Offense (Ess 1)

                        Towering Beast Form: Rawr, Rawr, Tyrant Lizard! Is unfortunately useless for you as Martial Arts is not compatible with animal forms. However it is a pre-req for Mountainous Spirit Expression (Ess2) which is just pure cheating for lots of builds, but especially grapple, so you have to take it.

                        Deadly Claw Blow: Here is that Lunar Flexibility (cheating) that we’ve all come to love. You basically get to sub in your Strength for determining your pools for Heavy Weapons, Unarmed Attacks and Natural Weapons (note that if you got a mutation for tiger claws that your ST agrees with the books can be used with Tiger Style this is basically medium weapons too). So basically double dipping on Strength, for both attack and damage, you can ignore Dexterity altogether for that purpose, but for defense, you might want some (or a charm in Stamina that we’ll get to). Bonus: You get to apply both Strength and Dexterity Charms freely to your Martial Arts.

                        Ferocious Biting Tooth: Paradoxically, this + (Ess) overwhelming to withering or +lower of Ess/Str will be a real nice workhorse around Ess 3 or so, right now at character creation it is a bit underwhelming.

                        Divine Predator Strike: This one is kind of random to really qualify as a “must take charm” (10s add to withering or decisive damage, up to lower of Ess or Str)

                        Snarling Hound Strife: Chalk one up for another gambling charm, this one a clash one. 1s on an enemy’s clash subtract successes. Gambling’s not really my thing for builds, really, so I’m not fond of it.

                        Tiger Claw Swat: Is hilarious, and basically free defense. Whenever you block or clash successfully, you backhand a foe a range band away and they land prone. The best. However you need to take the previous three gambling charms as pre-reqs. Choices, choices.

                        Unstoppable Beast Force Blow: If you are launching low initiative decisive attacks, then this one is a winner. Why are you doing that though? (Might have some application in some multi-attack MAs like Centipede)

                        Prey Hobbling Bite: Inflicts Crippling injuries (-1 to all rolls) on a decisive that deals damage, might be a good combo With Unstoppable Beast Force Blow, but a bit pricey at 4m.

                        Mighty Ram Smash: Decent for cinematic stunts involving scenery, but I feel you need to have a High Init to pull off the effects, why not just go for the jugular. Quite expensive as well with Willpower costs.

                        World Shaking Slam: Once again, if your decisive knocks a foe prone or a range band back, you get auto damage, and it’s quite cheap too. Hmm, combined with the clash function from Tiger Claw Swat, might be actually quite useful on a regular basis.

                        Grizzly Bear Embrace: Oh the Grapple Greatness starts here. A 2m workhorse charm really, but a decent one, it adds extra successes on the attack roll to both the initiative roll and potentially the control roll. Great if you can become a legendary sized ANIMAL due to protean effects, but not applicable to Martial Artists.

                        Mangling Grasp Might: Has some workhorse effects, like double 9s on Withering Damage and whatnot, the real winner is here: The number of forfeited rounds of control she can benefit from on a throw or slam is doubled, and she can throw enemies out to short range. Since Legendary Sized grapplers can just roll unopposed Control rolls against most foes, you can really rack up those numbers high. And you can throw them out to short range… straight up? Then they fall for more bashing damage. A charm with a lot of possibilities, if expensive at 6m.

                        Kraken Arm Lash: Basically make your Grapple out to Medium Range. Interesting utility against Ranged Foes.

                        Foe Hammer Technique: Use one grappled mook to hit another mook. The visuals are fun, but the once/scene WP and high mote cost make me a bit leery on the value of this one.

                        Throat Bearing Hold: Makes restrains really cheap in terms of rounds of control. You become ace at locking down a particular enemy if you want your friends to just keep whaling on them as it also inflicts an onslaught penalty.

                        Deadly Beastman Transformation: Ah there’s the good stuff. It wastes your first turn with it’s simple activation but look at all these crazy benefits!
                        • She adds (Strength) dice on withering damage rolls, feats of strength, and movement actions. (!!!)
                        • She adds (Strength) natural soak. (!!!)
                        • She treats her Strength as (Essence) higher for determining what feats of strength she may attempt.
                        If you’re going into a Life or Death Kung Fu battle and even odds the enemy isn’t going to just bad touch you round one, this is a heck of a bonus battlesuit to put on.


                        Terrifying Ogre Alteration: Extra Mutation dots that only activate in Deadly Beastman Transformation (four to be exact), I’m not personally a fan, as I think you can get enough mutation dots via Chimerism and HBT, but if you just have to have something else added…
                        Last edited by prototype00; 06-27-2019, 09:16 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          DBT does give you -1 Defence. That's a pretty big drawback.

                          I think if you've got Strength 5, it's worth it; +5 withering damage, +5 on rush, +5 on disengage, +5 soak. Definitely worth -1 Defence.

                          But for Strength 3, I'm less convinced.

                          There's also the downgrading of your Evocations, but that's not an issue generally.


                          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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                            DBT does give you -1 Defence. That's a pretty big drawback.

                            I think if you've got Strength 5, it's worth it; +5 withering damage, +5 on rush, +5 on disengage, +5 soak. Definitely worth -1 Defence.

                            But for Strength 3, I'm less convinced.

                            There's also the downgrading of your Evocations, but that's not an issue generally.
                            I'd advise if you're taking DBT, don't half-ass it, and have a Strength 5. Its not a major hurdle, especially for Full Moon types.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yeah, it's not really something great for a social character or sorcerer to dip into. Unlike in 2nd ed.
                              Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 06-23-2019, 02:02 PM.


                              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

                              Comment

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