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Mastering an Enemy's Martial Arts

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  • Mastering an Enemy's Martial Arts

    I think most of us can say that we have seen in some form of fiction with a character so talented at martial arts that they learn martial arts techniques simply from fighting an opponent that uses them or even simply by observing someone use them in a fight.

    It seems to be completely fitting for a Solar Martial Artist to be fighting against and Immaculate Monk and in the middle of the fight simply start throwing the monk's moves right back at them. The real question is how do we go about doing this in Exalted? I kind of feel like most STs would simply allow a Solar with Martial Arts as Supernal to simply spend XP and it just happens, but can we make the process more rigorous and more general? Should there be a charm so that anybody can do it? Should you make a roll to study your opponents techniques first? Should other exalts be able to do it? Dragon-Blooded? Lunars? Sidereals?

    Just thought it would be a fun topic for discussion.

  • #2
    Well it would depend on the speed and extent of it I'd think. In most games I've been in I'd probably have an easier time justifying picking up parts of the style and such after watching/engaging another combatant than I would arguing for spontaneously picking up charms.

    I feel like a merit would fit best since it just tends to be a shonen protagonist thing. Maybe word it as being able to count life or death struggles against masters of the art as training under a mentor for the purpose of training time. Would also go a ways as to explain why they might learn dot one or two of a style over the course of 2-3 engagements in a week without making it open for them to be able to just master an art in no time flat.

    If you wanted to go full on photographic reflexes/ instant mastery untrained to master of the style, so long as they have enough xp, in a single fight we'd probably be talking an N/A merit, maybe 5 dots if we restrict it to just MAs, but I admit I wouldn't feel great about the last one.

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    • #3
      I'd be completely receptive to "I copy his style" as the basis for a Stunt or series of Stunts. I'd be open to "Hey, I just spent a fight copying that dude's style. Can I learn it now?".
      But one thing I absolutely do not want somebody doing in the middle of a fight is pausing the action to fiddle with spending their XP. Doubly so if it'd involve looking up and learning new Charms.

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      • #4
        I did suggest a Charm for Lunars to mirror an attack right back at the originator (due to their themes of the moon, mirrors and mimicry) a la Naruto (specifically Kakashi and his weird Sharingan eye).

        I wonder if anyone actually would request something like that for the expansion book.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post
          I'd be completely receptive to "I copy his style" as the basis for a Stunt or series of Stunts. I'd be open to "Hey, I just spent a fight copying that dude's style. Can I learn it now?".
          But one thing I absolutely do not want somebody doing in the middle of a fight is pausing the action to fiddle with spending their XP. Doubly so if it'd involve looking up and learning new Charms.
          My only regret is I have but one Like to give.

          Exactly this. Combat is slow enough, and this idea is kinda cheesy and not really how Solar's work anymore. But it's awesome as a Stunt.


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

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hark View Post
            It seems to be completely fitting for a Solar Martial Artist to be fighting against and Immaculate Monk and in the middle of the fight simply start throwing the monk's moves right back at them.
            Maybe kind of, bit I think this is one of those instances where fiction emulation needs to give way to the fact that this is a game system that endeavours towards balanced rules (as well as some of its own metaphysics).

            Besides, this would be a proposition reliant either on a character buying not only the Charms but actual dots in the style (recalling that all styles have their doors purchased separately) or else something to ignore the need to buy individual style dots altogether, which seems kind of cheesy.


            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
            Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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            • #7
              Sifu: People who fight me.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post
                I'd be completely receptive to "I copy his style" as the basis for a Stunt or series of Stunts. I'd be open to "Hey, I just spent a fight copying that dude's style. Can I learn it now?".
                But one thing I absolutely do not want somebody doing in the middle of a fight is pausing the action to fiddle with spending their XP. Doubly so if it'd involve looking up and learning new Charms.
                This is one of the factors in why my answer to this is "do I trust the player to not make my life a misery?"

                Another key one being that sometimes when I make an antagonist whose a Martial Artist, I don't actually know what the style's progression is because they're a quick character with a style that hasn't been rewritten for 3rd edition yet. I'd hate to feel I needed to frontload and write a whole style for each of them in case a player tried to learn it on the spot.


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                Please spare a thought for updating the Exalted wiki.

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                • #9
                  I would allow a player to buy dots in a martial art they see others using in combat, but charms need to be out of combat.

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                  • #10
                    There is also the possibility of a rule like this giving rise to 'Schrodinger's Exalt' where a certain type of player is going to bank a considerable amount of xp and wait until particular charms are needed to collapse the waveform.
                    So rather than creating a martial arts master who learns techniques at a glance you instead facilitate a character with no fighting ability of their own until they antagonistically copy others.

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                    • #11
                      I'd probably allow "I just had an extended fight with a master of the Single Point Style, could I spend some XP to pick up some Dots in the ability?"


                      Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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                      • #12
                        The concept doesn't translate well in Exalted, because in stories this happens when the enemy's martial arts is superior or for some reason impossible to counter with the protagonist's current arsenal. In Exalt you normally always stand a chance regardless of the Martial Arts you use, so it doesn't actually make sense to learn an enemy's style on the spot since you don't need it to win.

                        This might make a good Story where i.e. a Solar faces off against a Sidereal Martial Artist, and the Solar is outclassed until they learn the SMA themselves. But overall this will be specific to the story/players. So the best way to make it happen is to arrange how things will unfold with the ST in advance. For instance the ST could tell you which Charms you can learn before the game, that way when you successfully learn the style in-game you're already ready to use it and you don't grind combat down to a halt.

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                        • #13
                          Something like
                          Mastery of the Moving Sun - Essence 4, Brawl 5 or Martial arts 5 in 3+ Martial arts - Prerequisites (IDK) - Cost: Xm, 1wp, (+3a) - So great is the solar's mastery of combat that they are a bright burning effigy to the shadow cast by others. All martial arts are a pale imitation of the splendor of the Solar's natural abilities. After watching another being enter a martial arts form or use a martial arts capstone, the Solar may spend the original mote cost of a form, or 3a and the orignal mote cost for a capstone to mimic the effect. If the capstone or form enhances other charms, the Solar is considered to know them as well and may pay the cost to use them. At the end of the scene the Solar may spend exp to learn charms from the style as if tutored by another Solar, but can but no more than to the form in a single scene.

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                          • #14
                            Nice clause at the end there. No stealing SMA permanently.

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