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  • Question About Excellencies

    So I recently got back into Exalted and it feels like there were more significant changes to the game design than I realized. Excellencies in particular seem to have changed for Dragon-Blooded. I don't quite understand the design decision to make some of them automatic success purchases and some of them dice adders, and some of them a little more. I can understand it, for sure; some things should not be left up to chance, whereas in other areas it's work it to have a shot at more spectacular success. I don't understand why some Charms are automatic successes and some are dice adders, though.

    I've grown a new appreciation for the common Storyteller complaint of hiding mechanics behind too much prose, so maybe my eyes are just glazing over the explanation, but I was hoping that someone in the community had a resource so I could both understand and explain to others why DB Excellencies were so... esoteric. Honestly, I might just Houserule that Excellencies work a particular way, but we're not there yet.

    Additionally, for those of you who have seen Lunars, does this concern apply there, too?

  • #2
    DB Excellencies are strange because DBs have to actually buy them, so they get a little something extra to make up for it. Devs have stated that you can convert auto-successes into 2 extra dice, so Excellencies that grant auto-successes are really more "in addition, you can choose to get auto successes instead of extra dice" as a small bonus for that Excellency.

    Lunar Excellencies are fairly straightforward. You get (attribute) dice by default, and a second (attribute) if you include that attribute in your stunt (max 10).

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    • #3
      The idea with the successes/dice divide is that for some abilities extra successes are important, like in combat, but for others consistently reaching a target difficulty is more useful. The dragon blooded excellencies were designed to have whichever form was better for that ability plus a bonus power to bring them up to the value of a full charm, since they don't get them for free unlike everyone else.

      In one (I think?) case, awareness, both dice and successes are equally useful (join battle needs dice, everything else wants successes) so its "extra power" is that you get to pick.

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      • #4
        The general idea behind DB exies in 3e seems to be that, while they must be purchased as Charms unlike those of Solars and Lunars (and probably anyone else), they get a little extra bonus tacked on to make them more palatable. Thus the rerolling 6s, the exploding 10s, and so forth.

        As for why most of them are success-adders, I think it's a little balancing act between assurance and efficiency. A DB can spend 2m on, say, a Socialize roll and buy one guaranteed success. A Solar (or Lunar) can spend 2m on the same roll and buy two dice, which could get him between zero and four successes (the latter if he rolls 10s on both those dice). Buying dice is theoretically four times as cost-efficient as buying successes. Presumably, the devs thought it made sense that in most cases, for equal mote expenditure, the DB gets a fixed guaranteed gain while the Solar (or Lunar) gambles with a potentially bigger payout.

        (Personally, and entirely because I am a huge dork, I like to think of this as also reflecting the Bronze Vision/Gold Vision dichotomy. Putting the DBs on the throne was the "lesser but safer" option, while trying to reason with the coked-out Solars was the "bigger potential success, but not a sure thing" option.)

        As for why there are some Excellencies that are dice-adders when most are success-adders, I think that's because the devs didn't feel comfortable with certain things being able to get guaranteed successes with the exy. Anything you attack with (Archery, Brawl/MA, Melee, Thrown, Occult for many attack spells) is a reasonable thing for that concern. Craft, Medicine, and War are probably because the devs don't want you to be able to auto guarantee beating Difficulty 3 for crafting rolls, treating diseases, or strategy/rally rolls, at least not with the exy alone.

        The specific bonuses to each Excellency vary, but each is often a dicetrick that is repeated in the Aspect's charms. Water gets a lot of reroll-6, Fire explodes 10s, Air uses 10s to reroll non-1 fails. Earth and Wood don't really have the same kind of consistently associated dicetricks, but both have a decent amount of "ignore such and such penalty" in their Excellencies. And then Stealth, Larceny, and Socialize are Mute because those are the sneaky ones.

        I personally don't find the DB Excellencies esoteric at all, but I've probably just had longer to get used to them. Lunar Excellencies are a lot simpler, with the only wrinkle being "you can stunt in a second Attribute to raise your Excellency cap".

        EDIT: Epitome, that's certainly news to me! Where'd they say this?
        Last edited by Beans; 08-08-2019, 12:35 PM.


        Abyssals: Whom Death Has Called, a PEACH-as-heck attempt to make an Abyssal 3E holdover.

        Where I try to make Artifacts. When I finish them I'll probably post them in the Artifact Workshop thread so people can help me hammer them into shape.

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        • #5
          Thank you! Those explanations help tremendously!

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          • #6
            Yeah, each one I think is actually well-balanced.

            Saying that, while I found them fine in theory, when I actually ran DB NPCs, I found them incredibly irritating, because a DB with 10 excellencies meant 10 very similar but marginally different charms to learn, which I found quite difficult to remember.

            Still, perhaps I'll remember them better as I use DBs more, I've only used them a bit.


            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.

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            • #7
              Beans Huh, I can't seem to find where I read that. Maybe someone else knows and can help here, or maybe I hallucinated the whole thing.

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              • #8
                Somebody remind me; with the Balanced Keyword, Excellencies are still capable of setting up an Aura if one is not there, while not disrupting a contrary Aura when it is, yes?


                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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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                  Somebody remind me; with the Balanced Keyword, Excellencies are still capable of setting up an Aura if one is not there, while not disrupting a contrary Aura when it is, yes?
                  Yes. That is how Balanced charms do work; excellency or otherwise. Using a Balanced charm does not interfer with entering nor staying in Aura of any element, and if you only use Balanced charms you can activate Aura for any one of their elements.

                  So if you only use Unobtructed Archers Aim while in Fire Aura , then you can stay in Fire Aura or switch to Wood Aura.

                  Plus, I think all excellencies are Balanced as well as keyed to their Ability's Element. This may need checking.
                  Last edited by Greyman; 08-08-2019, 10:49 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I'm pretty sure they are.


                    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
                      Also if you want to enter your own aspect's aura, but none of your balanced charms are aligned with it, you can spend a mote to throw in an elemental effect as a stunt and that does count as using your anima power.

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                      • #12
                        Vance has confirmed I was speaking bollocks above, RAW you can't change a DB Excellency from a success to dice if the Excellency Charm doesn't mention the ability to gain bonus dice.

                        He also mentions that taking dice instead of successes would normally not be as good for Excellencies that don't allow it. So if you houserule this it won't break anything, but you might be making yourself weaker.

                        quote

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                        • #13
                          The problem I have with DB excellencies is how it slows down the game. I was used to Solar excellencies for my 2 last campaign, and it went pretty fast for rolls where people had excellency and no really other Charms to apply.

                          But in my 2 games of DB, having to go look into the book just to know if it was +2 automatic successes or +4 dice, or it there is a 6 reroll every hird night of the month when the gnome is up the hill was a pain. I understand why the devs had to make a choice like this to make excellencies more attractive, but I think it makes them annoying in a certain way

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Epitome View Post
                            Vance has confirmed I was speaking bollocks above, RAW you can't change a DB Excellency from a success to dice if the Excellency Charm doesn't mention the ability to gain bonus dice.

                            He also mentions that taking dice instead of successes would normally not be as good for Excellencies that don't allow it. So if you houserule this it won't break anything, but you might be making yourself weaker.

                            quote
                            I think what you might have been thinking of is Vance saying that if two different charms put you over your dicecap, you can choose which effect to discard.

                            QUOTE
                            Last edited by JohnDoe244; 08-12-2019, 05:02 PM.


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

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                              I think what you might have been thinking of is Vance saying that if two different charms put you over your dicecap, you can choose which effect to discard.
                              Bingo, that is correct.

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