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What combat builds have you found the most fun?

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  • #16
    I've played with a couple of builds:
    [Solar Twilight] Thrown / Combat sorcery: This one didn't work out too well, even after home-brewing some charms to add withering damage to thrown attacks.

    [Solar Night] Stealth / Ebon Shadow Style / White Reaper Style: This was probably my favorite build, despite it being strictly unarmed, throw in a couple of athletics charms and you can get some pretty vicious damage out of nowhere and with the right stealth charms you can set things up so that you can go off with surprise attacks every other turn or so. Eventually someone will see you and try to kill you...at which point you use thew intro Ebon Shadow charm to fake being dead and do it all over again.

    [Dragon Blooded] Wood Dragon Style & Elemental Bolt: This one is pretty good but can run out of motes real quick if you aren't careful. Use Wood Draon style when you need piercing attacks or against spirits as well as most decisive attacks and use the increased damage of Elemental Bolt for withering attacks. This build may perform differently in other games, the one I'm playing in is a school game so we are all still at essence 1 charms and not many artifacts, so Bolt is a pretty big boost, I'm planning on transitioning more into Wood Dragon (with a few archery charms thrown in) later in the game.

    Builds I have seen played but not piloted myself:
    Melee looks good if somewhat boring.
    Silver Voiced Nightingale looks like fun, chaining threats into attacks and back is useful and allows for some fun stunts.
    Single Point Shining into the Void: Too OP to actually be fun.
    Brawl looks like a ton of fun, but also requires Resistance or Dodge or some other defensive ability.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
      I haven’t had a chance to play them yet (small island nation woes) but in no particular order I am most pleased with the following Lunar builds I came up with:

      1. http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/exalted/1293395-ex-3-lunars-glorious-argent-beastiary-a-lunar-s-character-thread?p=1323681#post1323681"]Death Kitty[/URL]- The Black Cat of (Dragonblooded) misfortune! Highest Charmless Resting Accuracy in the game (probably). Also, super easy to access.

      2. http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/exalted/1293395-ex-3-lunars-glorious-argent-beastiary-a-lunar-s-character-thread#post1293395"]Knight of Bone and Ivory[/URL] - Highest Resting Soak in the game (probably), also Predator’s Menace opening gambit is very strong and super easy to access.

      3. http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/exalted/1293395-ex-3-lunars-glorious-argent-beastiary-a-lunar-s-character-thread?p=1321467#post1321467"]Aguile Ofidiano[/URL], Mistress of Creations most powerful Force: Gravity. A Quetzalcoatl Lucha Libre themed build that can just repeatedly slam you into the ground round after round for no-Soak guaranteed damage. Vicious.
      Not meant as a personal dig but a general question: Are optimal builds fun in the long run? Surely when combat is trivial it must get kinda boring no ? No sense of risk and danger when you got an optimised build ? I’m always wary these days of having an optimised character as it might make the fights that are trivial for you hard to balance for non optimised characters in the party unless you are all min maxed etc.
      Last edited by Beast of Bitter Oblivion; 09-04-2019, 07:59 AM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Beast of Bitter Oblivion View Post

        Not meant as a personal dig but a general question: Are optimal builds fun in the long run? Surely when combat is trivial it must get kinda boring no ? No sense of risk and danger when you got an optimised build ? I’m always wary these days of having an optimised character as it might make the fights that are trivial for you hard to balance for non optimised characters in the party unless you are all min maxed etc.
        Really fun. Suboptimal builds where PCs get killed by nameless demons and random guard captains aren't fun as the game grinds to a halt to roll up new characters.

        The PCs get to do cool tricks, attempt the brilliant and dramatic and they don't have to compromise what they want to be good at. If you want to play as an armored dinosaur, do you really want to be ineffective and have your armor pieced by any rando with a spear or would you rather be formidable? Would you rather the Circle come to rescue you or for you to rescue NPCs?

        The game progresses on the assumption that you're going to win. You're not fighting for your life, you're fighting to save others. It's not about how powerful you are but what you do with your power. The concequences of your actions.

        "Yeah we destroyed the village but we had no choice because we're so weak" has a lot less dramatic impact than destroying the village because you choose to.

        And lets face it, unless your ST is a sadist who thinks a TPK is an achievement, your suboptimal characters are never really in danger of losing a fight. You just have less epic fights.

        As for encounter design, if you make a combat that's challenging for everyone apart from the optimized character then the subs get a tense dramatic scene and opti gets a chance to reap the benefits of their investment. (And if they don't enjoy the combat, they shouldn't have designed an unkillable character.) If you've got one suboptimal character in an optimized Circle... they're at risk of dying in routine encounters. (And if they don't enjoy constantly being on their -4 when they weren't that badass to start with you slow down play for everyone.)

        Not building characters well is far more disruptive to play than building them well.

        And did you look at those builds? Death Kitty is a Lunar with an Excellency in everything. Optimized doesn't mean "min maxed". Min-maxed is where you sacrifice one area of your character to take another aspect as high as you can. Min-maxed characters can do one thing in one niche. Optimized characters are designed to play well.
        Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-04-2019, 08:57 AM.


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

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Beast of Bitter Oblivion View Post

          Not meant as a personal dig but a general question: Are optimal builds fun in the long run? Surely when combat is trivial it must get kinda boring no ? No sense of risk and danger when you got an optimised build ? I’m always wary these days of having an optimised character as it might make the fights that are trivial for you hard to balance for non optimised characters in the party unless you are all min maxed etc.
          Yeah, what JohnDoe said. Strong Builds = Strong ability to make meaningful choices. Also:

          1. If you're building a mediocre Exalt, that seems to be missing the point of the game to me? Y'know, puissant demigods and all that? I'm not sure what favours you are doing your Circle playing the equivalent of a Wizard with no damaging spells in D&D 5e.

          2. Exalted has so many buttons to press, levers to pull and pistons to run full tilt, why would you deny yourself the fun (if you find it fun) of tinkering with it until everything purrs like a Bugatti?

          3. Here's a secret lots of folks on the Discord and whatnot never learned but we all mathed out here (Thanks JohnDoe and DrLoveMonkey!) combat vs Exalted, no matter what tier Terrestrial to Celestial, and no matter how many number crunching tricks you pulled IS NEVER TRIVIAL. An inheritor of the power of the gods is always going to be a dicey fight. 3v1 Terrestrials vs Celestials, no matter what bullshit trick you pulled, is almost always (95% of the time, I'm guessing) a death sentence for the Celestial, unless you out Essence them by 2 or 3.

          prototype00
          Last edited by prototype00; 09-04-2019, 08:54 AM.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
            Really fun. Suboptimal builds where PCs get killed by nameless demons and random guard captains aren't fun as the game grinds to a halt to roll up new characters.
            See, it sounds like you're working under the assumption that "suboptimal" means "bad," which just isn't true. The antagonists in the corebook are generally built with less optimized fighters in mind, and don't become unconquerable colossi just because you didn't start with Melee 5.

            Every one of my Exalted characters have been "suboptimal," but the only time I've had a bad time was when the group around me, and the fight, was primed for 5s across the board. Even then, it only got that bad because of some truly unlucky rolls that compounded the issue. Conversely, the most fun and dramatic fight I've experienced was one my character, an Eclipse, could not win by conventional means, forcing her to rely on social influence and the more esoteric Charms in her arsenal to scrape by a victory.

            She came to terms with death in that fight, and it couldn't have happened if she was built just to win.

            This is not to say that an optimized killer can't be fun, but it's not the only way to have fun in Exalted combat. Besides, not every fight needs to, or should, be a life-or-death struggle, because that's just... incredibly one-note. A good ST is going to have legitimate consequences for a lost fight whether or not you died in the process.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by The MG View Post
              See, it sounds like you're working under the assumption that "suboptimal" means "bad," which just isn't true.
              Agree to disagree.

              Not taking a 5 locks you out of Charms. Not Essence 5, estoric charms, Essence 1 workhorse charms.

              Of course, this doesn't make you "bad" in an absolute sense: a weak Exalt is still a powerful character. But you're locking yourself out of options... for no reason or benefit. That's relatively bad. In my opinion.
              The antagonists in the corebook are generally built with less optimized fighters in mind, and don't become unconquerable colossi just because you didn't start with Melee 5.
              Of course, if you didn't start at Melee 5, it'll cost as much XP as a Charm to get there from 4 in play. I have more fun with more options from more charms.

              Every one of my Exalted characters have been "suboptimal," but the only time I've had a bad time was when the group around me, and the fight, was primed for 5s across the board. Even then, it only got that bad because of some truly unlucky rolls that compounded the issue.
              Play your game. If you're having fun, more power to you.
              Conversely, the most fun and dramatic fight I've experienced was one my character, an Eclipse, could not win by conventional means, forcing her to rely on social influence and the more esoteric Charms in her arsenal to scrape by a victory.
              Now imagine if you were having that dynamic fight against a foe who actually mattered. Talking down Ahlat, or even The Sun.

              She came to terms with death in that fight, and it couldn't have happened if she was built just to win.
              If I want to play Call of Cthulu then I will. I'm glad you had fun.

              This is not to say that an optimized killer can't be fun, but it's not the only way to have fun in Exalted combat.
              Not a case I was ever making. Play the game that appeals to you. Beast of Bitter Oblivion asked if playing optimal characters is fun: I say they are.

              (If you want to be an optimized killer, well I guess that's fun too.)
              Besides, not every fight needs to, or should, be a life-or-death struggle, because that's just... incredibly one-note. A good ST is going to have legitimate consequences for a lost fight whether or not you died in the process.
              Eeeeehhhhh.

              Not every fight should be to the death. Absolutely. But chances are you're playing Anathema being run down by zealots. Losing generally means losing something. Being taken hostage, losing an eye, watching the town you're defending burn... all fun, dramatic, interesting concequences. But they're not great vectors for advancing the story or giving the players agency. The game is as hard as the ST makes it, and the players advance the plot through their choices and their victories. Losing is always a railroad -- which is still fun if you trust the ST to take you where you want to go. (Losing is also more work for the ST.) And if it's really important that you lose, the ST can always throw optimized opposition at you.

              Being optimized means you aren't going to lose a fair fight against XP appropriate stock NPCs one-on-one. It doesn't mean you can't lose.
              Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-04-2019, 10:40 AM.


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

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              • #22
                Some points:

                a) Having a character who's not that great at the thing they're supposed to be good at is really frustrating.

                b) Exalted is fun because it's big and dramatic and the characters are powerful and influential. But being powerful and influential in the game isn't quite the same as having enormous stats, because it's what happens with the stats that matters. Having 20 melee charms isn't what makes you the greatest swordsman, beating the other swordsmen in combat is.

                c) Having a character who's very powerful... and then realising someone else has a character who's way better at the thing you wanted because they're better at the character creation mini-game is really irritating.

                d) More charms is more options. Options are fun.

                e) Combat is fun because it's risky. If combats are too easy, they're dull (it's fine if the combats are quick, but one thing that was infuriating with 2nd ed was that being amazing at combat didn't really make it quicker, it actually made it slower because of all the multi-attack charms and penalties to work out. 3rd ed isn't quite as bad, but it should be born in mind). Of course, combats can also be frustrating if you can't achieve anything.
                A point was made about the ST scaling up antagonists to fit your abilities. But this isn't always possible because of the plot, or because you're a bloody Solar with Supernal whatever and are literally one of the best at it in the world, so he can challenge you? Also, in my case, I am simply better at optimisation and mechanics than my two STs. I'm not going to say I'm perfect, I frequently make small mistakes when running combats because there's so much going on of course, but when it comes to building characters, yeah I'm better.

                f) Every single time I've made a character because I thought that character would be really good mechanically, or decided to tweak my concept slightly because it makes me way more powerful... that character has been quite boring to play and I wished I'd done it differently.


                So my overall conclusion has been that the best way to do things is come up with a really cool and interesting and fun concept, and then build that concept in an optimal way. For example, spend freebies to get Brawl 5 (+1 specialty), not Brawl 3 and an extra Brawl charm.

                But absolutely do not go "hmmm, actually my Zenith Brawler could be a Dawn Brawler and they have better anima powers" or "my idea was for a total badass that is also dumb as ****, but it's actually easy to build one who's pretty bright and he'll need it for Join Battle, so actually I should take Wits 5" because then you will find your character is dull as white bread and you don't enjoy it.

                I'm Beast's ST, and I can understand why he feels the way he does; his two most interesting Exalted characters were the first one he ever played, before he knew what he was doing, and the one he plays now, who is not very optimised (he's not bad; he has 4 in every physical attribute and Brawl 4. But it would be more optimal to have Dex 5 and Str 3 and buy Str 4 later).
                Whereas the characters he played for most of my 2nd ed game, which he made to be really optimised and powerful, were, to be frank, pretty boring. And samey.

                Of course, some of that is objective. But I am a recovering power-gamer; power-gaming is an addiction that ultimately sucks out the fun from games.



                I will also say, and this is fairly important, that I am reasonably confident in my ability to build an encounter for one really optimised PC and a bunch of less-so ones, but not all STs may be.
                Well, I thought that, until the optimised combat-walrus's player didn't turn up until halfway through the fight, I depowered the combat slightly, but then one PC lost an arm, one was knocked out (he'd have been decapitated but the enemy wanted him alive) and the Changing Moon died. This was a band of 5 Lunars fighting 2 Essence 2 DBs and a battle group. (To be fair, the optimised combat-walrus was also the only Full Moon, but I'm not sure that takes away from the argument).
                So... actually maybe balancing is pretty difficult.


                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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                • #23
                  Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                  Agree to disagree.

                  Not taking a 5 locks you out of Charms. Not Essence 5, estoric charms, Essence 1 workhorse charms.

                  Of course, this doesn't make you "bad" in an absolute sense: a weak Exalt is still a powerful character. But you're locking yourself out of options... for no reason or benefit. That's relatively bad. In my opinion.
                  Of course, if you didn't start at Melee 5, it'll cost as much XP as a Charm to get there from 4 in play. I have more fun with more options from more charms.
                  This assumes that you want the tools and options locked behind Ability 5. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't.

                  Though, now I have a question: what do you consider to be an optimized character? We might very well have different definitions.

                  Now imagine if you were having that dynamic fight against a foe who actually mattered. Talking down Ahlat, or even The Sun.
                  I'm going to have to disagree with your idea what foes matter, because that's ultimately going to be the foes the players and characters are invested in. Ahlat only matters insofar that the players care about fighting him or interacting with him, just as the Sun or the Yozis or Mnemon only matter if they are made to matter; their power does not inherently make them consequential.

                  Besides that, you... don't actually know what the enemy I mentioned was, and if it mattered. (It did, directly because of how my character dealt with it. Had she been a better fighter, it would have been a quicker and significantly less meaningful fight.)

                  Not every fight should be to the death. Absolutely. But chances are you're playing Anathema being run down by zealots. Losing generally means losing something. Being taken hostage, losing an eye, watching the town you're defending burn... all fun, dramatic, interesting concequences. But they're not great vectors for advancing the story or giving the players agency.
                  They absolutely are, though. Better yet, they're vectors for taking the story in new directions and introducing or revealing new aspects of the character you're playing.

                  The game is as hard as the ST makes it, and the players advance the plot through their choices and their victories. Losing is always a railroad -- which is still fun if you trust the ST to take you where you want to go. (Losing is also more work for the ST.) And if it's really important that you lose, the ST can always throw optimized opposition at you.
                  Losing is only a railroad if the ST is already railroading you.

                  EDIT:
                  Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                  Every single time I've made a character because I thought that character would be really good mechanically, or decided to tweak my concept slightly because it makes me way more powerful... that character has been quite boring to play and I wished I'd done it differently.

                  [...]

                  But absolutely do not go "hmmm, actually my Zenith Brawler could be a Dawn Brawler and they have better anima powers" or "my idea was for a total badass that is also dumb as ****, but it's actually easy to build one who's pretty bright and he'll need it for Join Battle, so actually I should take Wits 5" because then you will find your character is dull as white bread and you don't enjoy it.
                  Thank you. This is the perfect example of what comes to mind when I hear "optimization" and, worse, the word "suboptimal:" builds that are for the build itself, and not in service of the character.

                  So my overall conclusion has been that the best way to do things is come up with a really cool and interesting and fun concept, and then build that concept in an optimal way. For example, spend freebies to get Brawl 5 (+1 specialty), not Brawl 3 and an extra Brawl charm.
                  For me, that one extra Brawl Charm is so much more fun and satisfying to have than just bigger numbers. The numbers say nothing, while the Charm can add a whole new dimension to a character.
                  Last edited by The MG; 09-04-2019, 02:15 PM.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                    Some points:

                    a) Having a character who's not that great at the thing they're supposed to be good at is really frustrating.

                    b) Exalted is fun because it's big and dramatic and the characters are powerful and influential. But being powerful and influential in the game isn't quite the same as having enormous stats, because it's what happens with the stats that matters. Having 20 melee charms isn't what makes you the greatest swordsman, beating the other swordsmen in combat is.
                    I agree on both counts. (With the caveat that scaling is important and, generally, having those Charms is how you beat those swordsfighters.) Certainly it's possible to over-spec, and it's the story which is the interesting part of the game.

                    c) Having a character who's very powerful... and then realising someone else has a character who's way better at the thing you wanted because they're better at the character creation mini-game is really irritating.
                    Don't hate the playa. I, personally, begged Holden not to include the CC-minigame. XP is so easily replaced with BP.

                    But if someone who wants to be a good swordfighter takes three dots in Brawl and one dot in Melee, then it's not my fault that my 5/5/1 swordfighter is better than theirs. The CC-minigame is a pain, and I wish it didn't exist (I houserule it away). But it's not an argument against optimization.

                    e) Combat is fun because it's risky.
                    Rollercoasters aren't fun because they're risky. You're not going to die on Space Mountain.

                    They're fun because of the illusion of risk.

                    The art of stoytelling is to convey the feeling that everything hangs on a razor's edge... when really we're talking about pencil dots on a sheet of paper. And even if you're going to win a combat, there's plenty you can do to keep the tension up: starting with putting innocent bystanders in danger and working up.

                    A point was made about the ST scaling up antagonists to fit your abilities. But this isn't always possible because of the plot, or because you're a bloody Solar with Supernal whatever and are literally one of the best at it in the world, so he can challenge you?
                    Behemoths. Third Circle Demons. Ahlat.

                    Or even regular mortals. Your Solar can eat an optimized Dragon-Blooded swordfighter for breakfast. How does she deal with the Dragon-Blooded, her retainer-level mortal lieutenant chucking poison javelins and her Size 5 Elite Legion?

                    Sure you can kill one Dragon-Blooded. Can you kill four?

                    Action economy is king.

                    f) Every single time I've made a character because I thought that character would be really good mechanically, or decided to tweak my concept slightly because it makes me way more powerful... that character has been quite boring to play and I wished I'd done it differently.
                    Thanks for sharing your personal experience. In my experience, when I've been asked to tone down my optimized characters, they've turned out boring to play as I couldn't achieve anything.

                    So my overall conclusion has been that the best way to do things is come up with a really cool and interesting and fun concept, and then build that concept in an optimal way. For example, spend freebies to get Brawl 5 (+1 specialty), not Brawl 3 and an extra Brawl charm.

                    But absolutely do not go "hmmm, actually my Zenith Brawler could be a Dawn Brawler and they have better anima powers" or "my idea was for a total badass that is also dumb as ****, but it's actually easy to build one who's pretty bright and he'll need it for Join Battle, so actually I should take Wits 5" because then you will find your character is dull as white bread and you don't enjoy it.
                    This I also agree with.

                    ****

                    Originally posted by The MG View Post
                    Though, now I have a question: what do you consider to be an optimized character? We might very well have different definitions.
                    Tell:

                    An optimized character is the best that character can be.

                    This has two components. The first is mathematical: the so-called character creation mini-game is primarily mathmatical. If a 2-dot ability costs 1BP or 1XP whilst a 5-dot ability costs 1BP or 7XP then the character who spends XP on 2s and BP on 5s is more optimized than the character that does this in reverse. Additionally, some Charms are mathematically poor: Battle-Dancer Method adds 2 (no more, no less) to your Defence for 4m as a Charm bonus, just use the Excellency (even Shadow Over Day saves you upto 2m). (If you want Mighty Thew, buy it at character creation.)

                    In Dragon-Blooded, the difference between a perfectly optimized and completely suboptimal character is 276XP. Don't flush 30 sessions of XP down the toilet -- build intelligently.

                    The second component is the metagame: you don't want Sail unless your game is set on a ship, then you REALLY want Sail. You want to take the abilities that your character is going to find useful. Want a swordsfighter? Max out Awareness. Want a Crafter? Performance 3 is your friend. Playing a game of politics and intrigue? Socailize 5. And I'll Form The Head? Socailize 0. You always want Dexterity 5 and Wits 5. Appearance should be 1 or 5. Strength and Stamina should never be 4. Consider which Innate merits you really want. What's your campaign going to be like? Who else is in the Circle? RL, Skype or PBP? What's the ST like? Any houserules? What do you, the player, want to achieve? What does your character want to achieve? Stock NPCs or custom? PG-13 or X-rated?

                    Show:

                    The Lunar builds that prompted this discussion are great examples of this. Especially Death Kitty.

                    Death Kitty is dangerously close to being the perfect Lunar build. Lunars are all rounders and Death Kitty gets (with a Stunt) at least 11 dice with any Ability roll. 21 (resting) Accuracy. 8 (resting) Defence. 17 Soak. 6 Guile. Sorcery. Flight. Intangibility. Kitty can do exactly what you want a Lunar to do. It's a Caste-agnostic build that's easily tweaked into any Circle. Metagame wise, it's a damn near perfect build (mathematically it's pretty good, could be better).
                    Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-07-2019, 02:42 PM.


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

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      In my experience, optimized characters are fun when everyone at the table has about the same level of optimization. What's not fun is when one guy shows up, throws 20 dice at something out the gate, and the rest of the party is like "uh, here's my 10 dice." You then get a scenario where either the optimized character is a walking "I win" button, or the weaker characters get obliterated.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post

                        Don't hate the playa. I, personally, begged Holden not to include the CC-minigame. XP is so easily replaced with BP.

                        But if someone who wants to be a good swordfighter takes three dots in Brawl and one dot in Melee, then it's not my fault that my 5/5/1 swordfighter is better than theirs. The CC-minigame is a pain, and I wish it didn't exist (I houserule it away).
                        I'm curious : Could you present your houserule ? I'm starting to think I would like one because I don't really like Character Creation but I haven't started to fix it so I'd be interested what other people might propose

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          I solved it by running an all-Lunar game.
                          Totally fixed the borked character gen system. No problems. All the characters are balanced; one character is totally built for combat, but this gives him other weaknesses. No-one feels to me like they've "won" or "lost" character gen. Works great.

                          Originally posted by Jancarius
                          In my experience, optimized characters are fun when everyone at the table has about the same level of optimization. What's not fun is when one guy shows up, throws 20 dice at something out the gate, and the rest of the party is like "uh, here's my 10 dice."
                          Yeah, that's fair. Not exactly easy to ensure though.

                          Originally posted by The MG
                          For me, that one extra Brawl Charm is so much more fun and satisfying to have than just bigger numbers. The numbers say nothing, while the Charm can add a whole new dimension to a character.
                          Sure... but you can buy the Brawl charm later for 8xp, whereas 3 (5 with excellency) more dice is going to cost you 17xp. At character creation they're the same. If it was a choice between Brawl 3 and a charm or Brawl 5 and no charm I'd agree, but you get loads of charms at character creation anyway. Without spending freebies, you don't get any high numbers at all.

                          Originally posted by JohnDoe244
                          Don't hate the playa. I, personally, begged Holden not to include the CC-minigame.
                          Yeah, me too. Though like you, I have found a solution.

                          They're fun because of the illusion of risk.
                          Well yeah. It feels risky because my character might lose a limb. It's an illusion because it's just a game and even if he dies, I can just make a new character who'll probably have a similar amount of xp.

                          The CC-minigame is a pain, and I wish it didn't exist (I houserule it away). But it's not an argument against optimization.
                          It's an argument for everyone optimising to a similar level. Except that's actually really hard to do (how do you measure it?), so it's a better argument to have a better character creation system. But as discussed, both of us have found solutions to that.

                          Behemoths. Third Circle Demons. Ahlat.
                          There's rules for a handful of behemoths,* no Third Circle Demons, and you can only fight Ahlat a handful of times before it's enough.

                          I mean, actually Ahlat is one of the primary antagonists of our game, but in 35 sessions or whatever it is, we've fought him once (and the Dawn will duel him again soon). You can't just fight Ahlat all the time.

                          *My ST promised me we could fight him and we still haven't. I think it's because he finds behemoth-plot dull.

                          Or even regular mortals. Your Solar can eat an optimized Dragon-Blooded swordfighter for breakfast. How does she deal with the Dragon-Blooded, her retainer-level mortal lieutenant chucking poison javelins and her Size 5 Elite Legion?
                          By bringing the rest of the circle?

                          Sure you can kill one Dragon-Blooded. Can you kill four?

                          Action economy is king.
                          And I'll be honest, I actually would put money on our Dawn with basically every Resistance charm and heavy artefact armour against 4 Dragonbloods. I wouldn't say he'd definitely win, but he's got a good chance.

                          Our ST has sometimes ambushed PCs by themselves with multiple Dragonblood, which is a good strategy, but it just doesn't make sense for them to do it a lot. The story has to make sense or it stops being fun.

                          when I've been asked to tone down my optimized characters, they've turned out boring to play as I couldn't achieve anything.
                          I've found the issue about being asked to tone down optimised characters is... how much do you tone it down? Everyone has different standards. I made a character for a PbP game once with 3 or 4 abilities at 5, and the ST was like "how does your backstory explain being one of the best in the world at 4 different abilities" and I was like "well tbh I've got 15 freebies, what else am I going to do with all of the bloody things?"

                          But anyhow. It sounds like both you and me have actually solved this issue in our own games (you with a houserule, me with no Solars), so I'm not sure it matters that much.

                          So shall we get back to which builds are fun to play?

                          Originally posted by satoshi
                          [Solar Twilight] Thrown / Combat sorcery: This one didn't work out too well, even after home-brewing some charms to add withering damage to thrown attacks.
                          Was it just because the damage was too low then? Thrown looks like it has some interesting effects, but other than Thrown/Stealth, I'm not sure if it's any good.
                          Originally posted by satoshi
                          Melee looks good if somewhat boring.
                          That's my experience.

                          Silver Voiced Nightingale looks like fun, chaining threats into attacks and back is useful and allows for some fun stunts.
                          Hmmm, that's kind of interesting.

                          Single Point Shining into the Void: Too OP to actually be fun.
                          I found Single Point a bit overcomplicated, but with some cool stuff. Interestingly, the double-attacks, which should be amazing, never lasted long because the "extra attack" always got crashed; which is very good because that's not you being crashed. But anyway, not how I expected.

                          Brawl looks like a ton of fun, but also requires Resistance or Dodge or some other defensive ability.
                          Dodge I think is quite straightforward; it has a lot of permanent charms. And Resistance is straightforward too. So I don't think they deplete from the fun of Brawl, other than in terms of XP spent I guess.


                          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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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Chausse View Post

                            I'm curious : Could you present your houserule ? I'm starting to think I would like one because I don't really like Character Creation but I haven't started to fix it so I'd be interested what other people might propose
                            Sure:

                            Whenever a character would earn XP they gain an equal amount of BP instead. (So generally, 5BP per session.) You advance your character using the character creation BP costs. Should something not have a BP cost (something you could only buy with XP, like Latent abilities), then you pay it 1-for-1 with BP. Should something have a cost in XP or BP, then always use the BP cost.

                            Whenever any character would earn Solar XP then all PCs (whether the player is present or not) gain half (round up) that amount in Solar BP to a max of 4 Solar BP per session. Solar BP are Bonus Points which can be spent on anything but (you guessed it) Solar Charms.

                            You hit increased Essence at the normal thresholds.

                            Characters advance faster (new Charm every session instead of every other session, take an ability to 5 in two sessions instead of 4), but with less wonk at character creation: a fair trade in my book. (Plus training times help keep things in line.) Characters are still incentivised to buy non-favoured Charms with their default allowance, but I like that motivation to start play with well rounded characters. You also get a wider base of powers before hitting each Essence threshold, which also helps round characters out, but you hit the Essence thresholds after the same number of sessions.

                            Doesn't directly fix the Dex 5/Wits 5 problem. But faster advancement means more scope to buy Charms that alter your essential pools, and means you're not punished for buying upto 5 in play.

                            I love math, but BP is less fiddly than scaling XP costs, which can cause confusion. Alternatively, you could not give characters any free dots/charms/BP and give them ~700XP to build their character. But that causes crazy wonk -- you're making the CC-minigame worse.
                            Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-05-2019, 04:00 AM.


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

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                            • #29
                              Well thanks I would not have thought of converting XP to BP in play but rather the opposite, but I think your system makes sense so I'll certainly try it.

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                              • #30
                                Well since this thread jumped off there rail into a discourse on the nature of minmax, let me go back to the original question: Fun combat builds.

                                I've only ST'ed for 3e, but here are my players: the Pirate Captain, the Sorcerer Tank, and the Atheist Archer Engineer.

                                Pirate Captain is an Eclipse-Sail mix of Grapple Brawl, Single Point, and War. He commands a hardcore badass legion of unstoppable pirates- these thugs held off an army of Mortwrights in the dark. He usually leads with a Grapple gambit and immediately turns that into damage, then busts out the katana.

                                Sorcerer Tank is a Twilight-Occult Sorcerer with Bronze Body and a decent investment in Melee. he has a 3 dot Familiar Otter Water Demigod, which has its own cult. The two of them are virtually unkillable with Soak and Health levels.

                                The Archer Engineer Twilight-Craft makes Siege weapons and crossbows, while hiding behind her Elemental bodyguards who exclusively throw themselves in front of any attacks directed at her. Also very hard to kill. Also doesn't believe in the gods, but has met several of them, because she's crazy.

                                I did make a Twilight Craft Sorcerer with Melee, Demon Summoning, and Artifact Forging. Bronze Body + Demon Bodyguards + Melee + Resistance = Combat Hilarity.


                                ..."But I've bought a big bat, I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me"

                                Message me for Japanese translations.

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