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  • Exalts and their areas of expertise

    In your opinion what are the area where the various Exalts primarily shine?

  • #2
    Solars: Everything
    Lunars: Turning into animals
    Dragon-Blooded: The thing Cybermen are better than Darleks at


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

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    • #3
      Are we talking like things they can do better or stories they can tell better? Like campaigns that better suit them?

      If it’s the former then yeah basically Solars are best at anything under any ability. If you want somebody to lift something really heavy with athletics a solar is the best, if you want somebody to kill people with a sword Solars are the best at it.

      Lunars are the “best” at versatility though. A Lunar with 5 in all physical stats vs a Solar with 5 in all physical stats say. If the Solar unexpectedly has to make a thrown attack and they have no dots in thrown, they’re making it with their 5 dice and no magic enhancements. The Lunar in the exact same situation can excellency up to 15 dice with whatever attack charms she bought for her other combat abilities. Which goes for anything else too, a solar loremaster may be pretty bad at bureaucracy, but a Lunar loremaster will at least be solidly good.

      Also shapeshifting is a godsend, the ability to access any animal form and their abilities for cheap is probably the best single tool in the game.


      Dragonblooded are a bit different, they don’t really have anything that puts them into a special spot because...well 15,000 of them are deadlocked in a war against ~300 Lunars. Even with that war being asymmetrical the DBs can’t be too powerful or versatile. The things that they’re “best” at mostly involve doing weird things in ways that Solars don’t. So for example DBs have a presence charm that lets them breathe out a massive area of effect attack that deals decisive damage to everyone, massacres battlegroups, and counts the attack roll as an AoE threaten roll as well. That doesn’t really make Dragonblooded ‘better’ at presence than a Solar because what a Solar can do because Solar presence masters just grab the social system by the handlebars and drive it wherever they want, but a DB master of presence gets bonus health levels, combat threat control and attack charms to go along with their social boosters. They don’t really shine except in that they have their own unique take on things like that.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
        Dragon-Blooded: The thing Cybermen are better than Darleks at
        Savage.

        Ten freakin' chars.

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        • #5
          I'd say those are complicated answers across the board, let's see...

          You know, there's an old line about how Solars are the strongest because they don't have any areas where they lack capability, but I think that now the other Exalted are becoming more sophisticated that's being round out a bit. For instance, I find that Solars don't quite have the power to inflict deleterious mental states that Lunars do. They're not exactly deprived for the lack of it, but it's still an absence.

          So, jumping off from that, I think I could say that Solars shine when they take full advantage of both the depth of specialization and more varied options within it afforded by their Supernal Ability, rounded out with the fact that their starting Charms across Abilities often have a strength and versatility to make the character at least competitive in whatever skills they have. There's generally a directness to their Charms, requiring less setup, less esoteric conditions, often cutting straight to what one would apply that Ability to. They also get some more big ticket Will or Wrath of God type stuff.

          In terms of building a Lunar, I think they done from the manner in which they cover a wide variety of options with less stat investment from the outset than other Exalted. It's easier for them to develop a large and varied toolkit in both their Charms and their shapes, and there are areas in which combining the two can particularly excel. There's a lot that allows a Lunar to come at a problem from any number of obscure angles, as well as deeply insinuating themselves on the personal or societal level. I'd say it doesn't take too much to make a Lunar that is both flexible and able to press back with extreme physical or emotional power.

          I think Dragon Blooded constitute a kind of middle ground between these; each of the five elements is its own form of strongly characterized specialty, and the manner in which they're found throughout each of the Abilities confers its own kind of flexibility. I propose that they have a distinct way to benefit from finding synergies across multiple different Abilities because of how the elements build on and interfere with one another, and will be at their best when one has a good idea of each element's strengths and how they can be sequenced together. I think they may also have some more direct environmental manipulation powers. They're offset a bit by just how dependent they are on those elemental synergies, such that their flexibility can end up undermining them, so they'll shine when they... don't do that.


          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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          • #6
            If there's an area where solars are particularly ahead of the pack it's probably crafting. Mostly because the setting is kinda built on that being the case. But yeah, being the best at things is kinda their shtick, so they're good at everything.

            Lunars are pretty good at most things too. They particularly excel at combat and infiltration, and just being able to do basically anything competently with only minimal investment.

            What dragon blooded lack in individual potency they make up for in numbers. They're the best suited to actually form organisations because there's enough of them to fill all the roles.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
              Lunars are the “best” at versatility though. A Lunar with 5 in all physical stats vs a Solar with 5 in all physical stats say. If the Solar unexpectedly has to make a thrown attack and they have no dots in thrown, they’re making it with their 5 dice and no magic enhancements. The Lunar in the exact same situation can excellency up to 15 dice with whatever attack charms she bought for her other combat abilities. Which goes for anything else too, a solar loremaster may be pretty bad at bureaucracy, but a Lunar loremaster will at least be solidly good.
              Eh.

              This is true at the starting blocks. But as soon as that Solar picks up one Charm in Thrown they jump from 5 to 12 dice vs 15 (and that Charm is either adding Accuracy or extending Range to Long). And how often does it come up? Further, Solars can build with an Excellency in every Ability from character creation if they want to be omni-capable.

              I'm not saying Lunars aren't more versatile, but Solars are great at being versatile and being versatile is not as useful as being specalized.


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

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                Lunars are pretty good at most things too. They particularly excel at combat and infiltration, and just being able to do basically anything competently with only minimal investment.
                I feel as though we're going to need to build towards a mindset of readily bringing up the phenomenal social stuff they can do now.

                (And no, infiltration doesn't cover it, since about half of Appearance and basically all of Charisma is very concerned with being seen)

                Originally posted by Elfive
                What dragon blooded lack in individual potency they make up for in numbers. They're the best suited to actually form organisations because there's enough of them to fill all the roles.
                I feel as though any time the numbers thing comes up it requires a bundle of qualifiers, because there are a lot of practical ways in which it barely matters.

                There have been so many times in the past that people have tried to bring that up as an advantage and it's like, great, you're still playing no more of them than you would be in a Solars game. And if you are in a Solars game, facing of against thirty Dragon Blooded at once probably would be a bit overwhelming, but it's never going to happen because it's too unwieldy and maybe kind of breaks the system.


                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)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                  Eh.

                  This is true at the starting blocks. But as soon as that Solar picks up one Charm in Thrown they jump from 5 to 12 dice vs 15 (and that Charm is either adding Accuracy or extending Range to Long). And how often does it come up? Further, Solars can build with an Excellency in every Ability from character creation if they want to be omni-capable.

                  I'm not saying Lunars aren't more versatile, but Solars are great at being versatile and being versatile is not as useful as being specalized.
                  I don't actually think they're remotely close in that regard.

                  A Lunar and a Solar swordsmen who both have 15 charms in their combat abilities, say 12 offensive ones and 3 parry ones, and then want to pick up something like Archery as well are not comparable. They both need dots in Archery and Dodge, and then since they're just dipping maybe 2 charms in each. Except now the Lunar has 14 offensive archery charms and 5 dodge charms where the Solar still has 2 and 2. Their excellency caps are now closer at 16-18 but the Lunar has way way more combat options, and the best part is that there's still a lot of available charms that the Lunar can purchase that help her be a better swordsman and a better archer at the same time.

                  Adding shapeshifting on top of that just cements it. For 4 merit dots a Lunar can have a library of 30+ shapes that give anything from flight, to limitless water breathing and mobility, to stealth, to feats of strength, to huge soak boosts, to special attacks.


                  Now, does any of that matter? Well that depends on what you care about. Do you just want your character to be the best and most undefeatable fighter ever? Then no, you probably want to be a Solar. On the other hand if you're trying to build a character who's a great archer, spear fighter, brawler, who can throw deadly shuriken and explore the depths of the great western sea, who can slip like a shadow unnoticed through the streets of Harbourhead and fly into the sky to treat with the people of the clouds, then you want a Lunar. A Solar trying to do all of that at once is going to be beaten by the Lunar in all areas.

                  On the other hand if you as a player are sitting there and aren't even a twinge jealous that they have all that capability because you're a better combatant, then you probably shouldn't ever play something that isn't a Solar.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                    On the other hand if you as a player are sitting there and aren't even a twinge jealous that they have all that capability because you're a better combatant, then you probably shouldn't ever play something that isn't a Solar.
                    Yeah. Agreed. (Rant in spoilers. Your analysis is sound and I think your last sentence that I've quoted unironically sums up my position nicely -- Lunars aren't "for me", and I honestly hope that everyone who enjoys playing Lunars continues to enjoy them.)

                    My Solar swordsman is a better combatant than your Lunar Jack of All Weapons.

                    If, for some reason, my Solar needs to pick up a bow then with one Charm I am better than every mortal in Creation and 90% of the Exalted. If. And your Lunar might be better with a bow than me, but that doesn't matter because you can't use the bow and a sword at the same time -- in combat my options with a sword are better than all your options with sword, fist, claws, boomerang and bow in almost every situation. And on the rare occasion where using a bow is better, my skill with a bow is going to be good enough -- I won't be better than you, but I'll be good enough.

                    The issue isn't whether 15 Archery charms are better than 1. The issue is that if Archery only comes up in one session of an entire campaign and one charm is enough to get the job done, then what difference does it make?

                    *shrug*

                    And yeah. Lunars are better than Solars at transforming into animals. No contest. But if a Solar needs to breathe water or fly, there are other options available. Changing into an animal is cheaper. No contest there either. But it's not like a Solar can't explore the depths of the great western sea, slip like a shadow unnoticed through the streets of Harbourhead or fly into the sky to treat with the people of the clouds.

                    And I'm not convinced that the increased entry costs for Solars neccessarily put them behind Lunars: sure a Lunar needs to spend less XP to fly up to the cloud people but how much do they have to spend to treat with them at Solar-level? Yes, a Solar might have to suffer the inconvenience of summoning a tidemare or crafting a Belt of Shadow Walking when a Lunar can just turn into a fish or a cat... but the reason a Solar Jack of All Trades costs more is because their abilities are better. Your fish can't haul up the sunken treasure and your cat can't slip through a keyhole: to say nothing of what happens when we need to summon a fire elemental.

                    Lunars are a swiss army knife: they can do anything.
                    Solars are a Snap On Toolset.


                    I've yet to see a Lunar build that I think is better than a Solar. I've yet to see a campaign where a Lunar character would do better than a Solar. And sure, that's just my opinion -- certainly Lunars are supposed to be more versatile than Solars.

                    To quote my last post:
                    I'm not saying Lunars aren't more versatile, but Solars are great at being versatile and being versatile is not as useful as being specalized.

                    ****

                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                    So, jumping off from that, I think I could say that Solars shine when they take full advantage of both the depth of specialization and more varied options within it afforded by their Supernal Ability, rounded out with the fact that their starting Charms across Abilities often have a strength and versatility to make the character at least competitive in whatever skills they have. There's generally a directness to their Charms, requiring less setup, less esoteric conditions, often cutting straight to what one would apply that Ability to. They also get some more big ticket Will or Wrath of God type stuff.

                    In terms of building a Lunar, I think they done from the manner in which they cover a wide variety of options with less stat investment from the outset than other Exalted. It's easier for them to develop a large and varied toolkit in both their Charms and their shapes, and there are areas in which combining the two can particularly excel. There's a lot that allows a Lunar to come at a problem from any number of obscure angles, as well as deeply insinuating themselves on the personal or societal level. I'd say it doesn't take too much to make a Lunar that is both flexible and able to press back with extreme physical or emotional power.
                    Yeah, that's fair.
                    Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-02-2019, 05:17 PM.


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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I do want to look back over Fangs at the Gate at some point, but I think it may be that in a fight between a Solar and Lunar, sure the latter will never be as strong, but I think there are distinct strengths in there that can make them a tricky challenge if they play to them properly. Like say in Dexterity, there's a certain stronger focus on harassment, mitigating the advantages of an opponent, pressing the attack on an enemy on the ropes, and being able to reserve committing to some defensive bonuses or rewards until after you've already successfully defended.

                      I'm vaguely picturing a scenario in which a Lunar puts a lot of force behind an attack that a Solar needs to respond to by spending a lot of Initiative on Heavenly Guardian Defence, and then the Solar is in trouble because of what is triggered by having a lower Initiative than a hostile Lunar. I'd need to check back on the specifics.

                      I do personally see the option of coming with a variety of weapons as not being very significant in that schema. Maybe having an offensive suite that benefits both close quarters and ranged attacks is useful for some of the stuff for falling back and going into stealth, but I think it might not be the crux of the thing.

                      Indeed, I think that being able to use weapons for different combat Abilities doesn't quite function as Jack of all Trades when the weapons themselves aren't enormously different and the Lunar Charms maintain distinct methods for using them.

                      That gets into the point that I alluded to earlier in that it's difficult to summarise the Exalted effectively, now more than ever, because explaining what they're good at kind of requires going into detail. It's a thing I think especially for Lunars now that their Charms are so tight and flavorful, while also needing to go against many years of people summarising their capabilities or approach as shapeshift or animal references.

                      Certainly, I think each Attribute can be summarised after the fact for the sake of recognising what ties their varied capabilities together, but that's still only really useful when you've seen what that variety is.

                      Really, a more accurate question than "what situations do they shine in" would be "what do they need to (or are simply going to) do in any given situation to shine", because the answer is always going to be something. Even in an area that might specifically be one in which they lack strengths, there's probably still a particular way that they can show off and advance towards a resolution.


                      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)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                        My Solar swordsman is a better combatant than your Lunar Jack of All Weapons.

                        If, for some reason, my Solar needs to pick up a bow then with one Charm I am better than every mortal in Creation and 90% of the Exalted. If. And your Lunar might be better with a bow than me, but that doesn't matter because you can't use the bow and a sword at the same time -- in combat my options with a sword are better than all your options with sword, fist, claws, boomerang and bow in almost every situation. And on the rare occasion where using a bow is better, my skill with a bow is going to be good enough -- I won't be better than you, but I'll be good enough.

                        The issue isn't whether 15 Archery charms are better than 1. The issue is that if Archery only comes up in one session of an entire campaign and one charm is enough to get the job done, then what difference does it make?

                        *shrug*

                        And yeah. Lunars are better than Solars at transforming into animals. No contest. But if a Solar needs to breathe water or fly, there are other options available. Changing into an animal is cheaper. No contest there either. But it's not like a Solar can't explore the depths of the great western sea, slip like a shadow unnoticed through the streets of Harbourhead or fly into the sky to treat with the people of the clouds.

                        And I'm not convinced that the increased entry costs for Solars neccessarily put them behind Lunars: sure a Lunar needs to spend less XP to fly up to the cloud people but how much do they have to spend to treat with them at Solar-level? Yes, a Solar might have to suffer the inconvenience of summoning a tidemare or crafting a Belt of Shadow Walking when a Lunar can just turn into a fish or a cat... but the reason a Solar Jack of All Trades costs more is because their abilities are better. Your fish can't haul up the sunken treasure and your cat can't slip through a keyhole: to say nothing of what happens when we need to summon a fire elemental.

                        Lunars are a swiss army knife: they can do anything.
                        Solars are a Snap On Toolset.
                        There is almost never a time where a particular Solar wouldn't do the job better, but you don't get to play every Solar in a game, you get to play one Solar. He can't be a craftsman, a ninja, a sorcerer, a melee god, a great archer, a herculean demolisher, a survivalist and a master of social manipulation all at the same time. Well, he can try, he can certainly have dots and charms in all of those abilities, but he's not going to look like a Solar in combat.

                        I actually wrote a giant thing comparing a bunch of different abilities to shapeshifting, but I thought of a better idea. How many charms/spells/artifacts do you think it would take a Solar to match everything a Lunar can do with 40 shapes in her heartsblood library? Like, specifically, what would that look like? And can you do that with enough xp leftover to become the kind of invincible, unbeatable sword-god that some Dawns can be, with maxed out awareness, resistance, dodge, melee, etcetera?

                        I've given it a shot below.



                        Phys: 5/5/1 Soc: 5/1/1 Ment: 3/1/5

                        Abilities

                        5 Athletics
                        5 Awareness
                        0 Brawl
                        1 Craft (Tailoring
                        3 Dodge
                        3 Lore
                        0 Martial Arts
                        5 Melee
                        5 Occult
                        5 Resistance
                        5 Stealth
                        5 Survival

                        Spec
                        Athletics Feats of Strength
                        Melee Daiklaves
                        Dodge Armored
                        Occult Sorcery

                        Merits
                        3 armor
                        3 weapon
                        3 resources
                        5 contacts (Exotic materials)

                        Charms

                        Sorcery (Cloud Skiff)
                        Summon Demon
                        Summon Elemental

                        Increasing Strength Exercise
                        Ten Ox Meditation
                        Monkey Leap Technique
                        Thunderbolt Attack Prana
                        Graceful Crane Stance
                        Lightning Speed
                        Feather Foot Style
                        Spider Foot Style

                        Hardship Surviving Medicant Spirit

                        Excellent Strike
                        Fire and Stone Strike
                        One Weapon Two Blows


                        So with that the Solar can run straight up walls, pull a cart out of quicksand, survive harsh climates, fly on the cloud skiff, and with a bunch of xp start making artifacts to try and make up for the rest. They're still not quite the same though. If you want to plunge down to the bottom of the ocean in a tidemare, you're in a 9 health level bubble that if it's destroyed by some behemoth means you're dead, you can only survive (Stamina x 2) rounds in combat under water. You also need at least a 4 hour summoning and binding ritual beforehand, so it can't be on too short notice.

                        Also you only have 3 melee charms, you're not exactly killing Octavian in a single perfect strike.

                        Compared to a Lunar with Emerald Grasshopper and Towering Beast form with things like yeddim, tyrant lizards, ants and sharks in their library, I think the Lunar has it. The Lunar also never relies on things that can be killed, dispelled, distorted, stolen or broken for any of it's stuff. It's good that those things exist in the game, Solars need to be able to tell stories about going to the bottom of the ocean, that's not something that only Lunars and Water Aspects should be able to take part in, but it's different and carries more risk to use outside effects like that.


                        There's also another thing that might make a generalist feel better overall, and that's the just the fact that a dedicated Solar is pretty much of out of scale with the rest of the world. So it may be true that a social Lunar who uses the form of a sky titan to reach the clouds isn't going to be as much of a powerhouse as a social Solar who also somehow got up there, but Cloud People have 3 resolve and no magic to boost it, so you don't exactly need to punch out 22 successes on a persuade roll to convince them to do something.

                        Not to say Solars are pointless, there's sometimes when you might want that kind of thing, like if you were riddling with an Ishvara or something like that. In a lot of stories though the still QUITE powerful charms that Lunars have will be more than sufficient.

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                        • #13
                          And let’s not forget the Legendary Consort Lunar caste they make unbeatable companions to suit all tastes vis a vi shapeshifting and appearance charms. Nobody else can match that.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Beast of Bitter Oblivion View Post
                            And let’s not forget the Legendary Consort Lunar caste they make unbeatable companions to suit all tastes vis a vi shapeshifting and appearance charms. Nobody else can match that.
                            An Eclipse who’s met a Neomah once can match that.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                              An Eclipse who’s met a Neomah once can match that.

                              Not quite. The shapeshifting aspect yes, but not the unbeatable companion part. Lunars are waaaaaaay better at seducing than anyone else is right now. Also at scaring.

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