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  • Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    Which is exactly what I described.

    You're not going to fight an entire Wyld Hunt, or outwit Saturn, or seduce The Lover Clad every session. These types of challenges should be what play builds up to: nine sessions out of ten will not have these challenges. The 90% will be challenges which you could cake-walk, it'll be how you choose to apply your power. Do you break Loki free from the toughest prison in the Nine Realms (yawn, easy) or do you obey your father's commands and rally his armies? You can do either trivally, but you can't do both. How many resources do you expend on these tasks? How do you use your allies? How do you expend your Essence? Does the constant attrition of low level encounters wear you down and stretch you thin? Do your adversaries, knowing you'd breeze through them in a straight fight, switch to assymetric warfare -- faking their deaths and sneaking onto the throne of your kingdom in disguise? Are you saving New York City, or are you collecting learned allies who build artifacts that let you save all of existence from the Convergance?

    Running a fight against an entire Circle of Abyssals is a lot of work. But it shouldn't be happening except at the culmination of a story. And whether you beat them because you've raised a mighty kingdom, or gathered powerful gods to your banner, or crafted invincible artifacts (or whether you lose because you've wasted your time and squandered your power) is you reaping what you've sown with the thousand choices you made on all the trival encounters building up to that moment. And it you win, you deal with the fallout of dead allies and a growing legend and that impacts the next story. (And if you lose, you take it on the chin and deal with those consequences instead.)

    Thor doesn't spend all of The Dark World effortlessly winning and brooding over his phenomenal power. But that's how he spends most of the film as it builds to an epic finale. (And when he is challenged, it's by invisible beings making a sneak attack against civilians, or by a being of roughly equal power swinging an N/A artifact.)

    Would this be easier with published high-end enemies? Probably not. The power divergence between two Essence 5 Solars is massive. You're pretty much going to have to hand-craft your Malekith, breaking all the normal rules for PCs. Having a template that says "Accuracy: 25 Damage: 30 (7)" wouldn't help me run that encounter. The best cheat sheet is the PCs own character sheets -- refluff their abilities and throw that back at them.

    I'd really love to see stats for 3CDs but "Today we're going to fight... Mara" wouldn't help me. Might as well just add six dice to all Ahlat's pools and call him Mars.
    So, it sounds like, other than arguing about semantics (like the meaning of "trivial"), we're mostly agreeing. I too was saying that fighting an entire Circle of Abyssals or whatever is happening at the culmination of a story. (Though they should pop up individually or in terms of their influence during the story, of course.) I think we're only really disagreeing about the use of published resources.

    My original point is that, when the Core Book was out, all that there was available to challenge a high-level group was a Circle of Solars (which is what I ended up using) or a Circle of Abyssals using solar rules.

    And I felt I really needed more options than just a Circle of Solars to run more than, well, the campaign of fighting a rival circle of Solars.

    Now you can also use a load of high-Essence Dragonblood, which you didn't use to be able to. And this is still fiendishly complex, because of all the charms and Aura and stuff, though at least we now actually have rules for it (we didn't when I was running e5 Exalted). (It's also not actually very difficult for a whole circle of Solars, they basically have to ambush you one or two at a time.)

    A Third-Circle would be much easier to run, and people complaining about how difficult it is to run high-essence Exalted is something that's popped up quite a lot on this thread and forum.

    But mostly I just want more options than "Circle of Solaroids", "Circle of Dragonblood", "different Circle of Solaroids". Especially as we've played Exalted so long. I actually promised my players no more Abyssal circles because they were so fed up with them.

    Having a template that says "Accuracy: 25 Damage: 30 (7)" wouldn't help me run that encounter.
    No, that bit is piss easy, as you say you can just add 6 dice to Ahlat. The point is the charms.

    You're not going to fight an entire Wyld Hunt,... These types of challenges should be what play builds up ... The 90% will be challenges which you could cake-walk,
    Believe me, if they're not split up, for a circle of e5 Solars a Wyld Hunt is... not quite a cakewalk, but not really a challenge. The time my PCs did it, I think one of them took like 2 damage and that was it. Magma Kraken collapsing a building on their head and a battle group of Greenmaws tanked most of the Wyld Hunt, while the PCs killed the other Dragonblood and chopped through soldiers. I mean, it was fine as a fun session and fight, but I wouldn't really say it was a challenge.

    The only fights that were/are really a stretching challenge, would be the fights where they were significantly outnumbered by rival Solars, or when Ahlat and 100 war-gods ambushed 3 of them. (Two of them did run away once from the First and Forsaken Lion, because one thought he was trying to kill them, but really he just wanted to be friends. So I wouldn't really count that as a difficult fight per-se.)

    And I'm not saying the pacing of the game or its difficulty level was awful, because I thought a lot about it, saw the issues of the game coming, saw how easily they chopped through Dragonblood and anything weaker, and so put them up against either 2nd circle demons or Solars (they went after the Solars and didn't really bother with the demon cult).

    I'm just saying that it was quite restrictive, having to use the stuff from the Core Book (ie Solars), and a bit hard to run fights (because each of the 5 Solar NPCs had 30+ charms). And other people have mentioned the same issues.
    (Obviously, if you've found ways around this when running e5 Solar games, I'm willing to hear any advice.)

    Now there's also high-essence Lunars, or essence-5 Dragonblood, but I'd still like more options and antagonists that can be serious nemeses for high-essence Solars, and preferably ones where I don't have to remember/check between 100 charms during the fight (as well as motes, initiative, willpower, overwhelming, etc).


    Saying all this, I stopped running an e5 game partly because I found it too tricky (and also other reasons related to the story, characters, etc), and I'm now running an e2 Lunar game, so it's pretty fine. The first two stories the PCs faced off against an army led by 10 Dragonblood, and I didn't find running/making them too bad (especially with copy-paste) as they were all essence 2-3. And other reasonable challenges might be a circle of starting Solars, or a Second-Circle Demon, or an elemental Dragon (they are in fact travelling to face the Elemental Dragon of Air herself, which probably is an unreasonable challenge, but I believe in them). So I'm happy with the resources I have. I'm just giving advice/suggestions for others who are running e5 games.
    Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-09-2019, 03:14 PM.


    I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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    • Solars at the height of their power seem like the kind of thing the Realm should treat as requiring the nuclear option, rather than sending a typical Wyld Hunt against them. Something that the greatest weapons in their arsenal are directed against.

      They might not be able to use the Realm Defence Grid, but one of those war manses like the one in Greyfalls seems like it could provide some artillery support to the thousand-year daiklaves and warstriders.

      And the Bronze Faction is really remiss in letting them go in alone.

      How many years are your Essence 5 Solars supposed to have been in operation anyway?


      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
      Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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      • Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
        Solars at the height of their power seem like the kind of thing the Realm should treat as requiring the nuclear option, rather than sending a typical Wyld Hunt against them. Something that the greatest weapons in their arsenal are directed against.
        Yeah, I agree. The Realm didn't just send the Wyld Hunt to take on Yurgen Kaneko, they sent whole Legions.


        How many years are your Essence 5 Solars supposed to have been in operation anyway?
        It's a bit complicated. Over a few years they became major threats to the Realm, breaking in to the Imperial Manse, murdering one of the Realm's two ruling consuls, and using the Imperial Manse to cause devastation and chaos.*

        *Most of this isn't true, but it's what the Realm thinks.

        Then most of them kind of vanished for 25 years. They returned and operated for about a year before the Wyld Hunt (led by Cynis Danu, whose kung-fu teacher was murdered by one of the PCs*) came to the area to investigate rumours of Anathema, called by a local Dragonblood dynasty who were pissed that the PCs were meddling in local politics. They expected a handful of Essence 1 Solars maybe led by an Essence 4 Lunar, maybe not. What they got was 4 essence 4 Solars and 2 essence 4 Lunars, who'd been mostly keeping their powers on the downlow until then.

        *Again, not actually true.

        The PCs ambushed the Wyld Hunt, killing half, and the other half got away.

        Of course, now the Realm knows what it's dealing with (and the Dragonblood book is out), they're sending 3 Legions, and have ended their war with Ahlat's Empire so they can ally with him against us.

        We have had a couple of Wyld Hunt attacks, but not really at our main power base. A)because they'd die horribly if they tried, and B)because their plan is to divide and conquer, and doing that might make the PCs cooperate.

        One Wyld Hunt attack was when the Eclipse spymaster (who's the worst at combat) was spying in Kirighast, and the Wyld Hunt jumped out and tried to attack her. She had no backup here, so it was a sensible plan; although she escaped, none of them were in danger from her really.

        The other... I'm not sure if they were serious about killing her or not. It might have been. It started out as a kind of retaliatory attack as part of a Mutual Destruction thing. The Eclipse sorceress-queen destroyed Ahlat's fleet with Death Ray so he couldn't invade our central temple. So a Sidereal (we assume) used Cantata of Empty Voices on one of the queen's military outposts, killing hundreds of soldiers and some monsters. They then sent her a letter saying that every time she used sorcery to nuke their side, they'd use sorcery to nuke her side, so they ought to have a straight-forward war without spells of mass destruction.
        When she went to have a look at her outpost, a Wyld Hunt of Water Aspects (including a warstrider) ambushed her from the sea. They killed her dragon-mount and one or two of her bound Second Circle Demons, but she managed to teleport away and the other Second-Circles used Hurry Home to go after her.
        I'm not sure if this was a serious attempt to kill her or just part of the warning. I assume it was the former though, as it was a pretty good plan to ambush one Solar far from any other Solars.

        The Legions should start their attack within the next couple of months, I assume the Wyld Hunt will stay in the area for ambush attacks when they can get one Solar away from the others, but I assume that to attack the whole group, they'll want to be using a whole Legion.

        So anyway, the Wyld Hunt can be a challenge for one Solar PC at high-level (though it depends on the Solar of course), but for an entire Circle, well, that's what giant invasions are for.


        I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
          What do you mean?
          Well, it's maybe not quite THAT bad, but sometimes looking at the various antagonists makes it feel like there's a disconnect between what the writers of those antagonists expect the players to be able to do, and what they can do.

          There's just a bunch of enemies in the books, and supplements even, that have like, 6-7 dice to their attacks. Like the angler lizard, fog shark, hellboar, flickerfeather or pestletail. They're absolutely zero threat to the fighters, which is okay, but they're almost no threat at all to the people who aren't either. It only takes about 10% of your starting dots to get melee 3, pick up a sword, maybe a specialty and with the free Solar excellency you're just nearly immune to those attacks for less than your per-round mote regen.

          You might think "Well 10% is kind of a lot." but I don't know if it is. If you're 90% social focused I'd say you're not a combat character, and I don't know how many non-combat focused characters I've seen with less than that, but not many. So in a group of PCs you have the weak social/mental characters who aren't threatened at all, and the big powerful combat characters who are even less than that.

          What's worse is Hellboars have all these abilities; Bone-Crunching Bite, Death Stomp, trample, Femur-Smashing Crunch. War ghosts have that cool ethereal flicker blade...with their 7 die attack. There's all these cool things I want to use them for as an ST and it's just not really working. The worst are abilities that key off decisive attacks, because for those to ever have a chance of working the enemies have to build up initiative, and then keep it for a whole turn until they can act again to try and use it.

          It's not just attacks, the ambush predators like claw striders have 6 dice to their stealth rolls and stuff. If we're saying a troupe of gorillas going apeshit on the party should be beneath the concerns of the Exalted, then fine, just don't waste my time and your wordcount to get my hopes up that I might have an interesting action scene with them. Rather than me trying and just having maybe one ape get lucky and hit in the first round of combat, every other one getting crashed, and then dead or driven off in round 2.

          I'm not saying you can't use any antagonist in the book, there's ones that are good. A big pack of claw striders ambushing the party at night with environmental penalties might force them to spend some motes, which might be relevant later on. Or you might have a first age ruin with an entire battlegroup of Walking Statues, and their automation commander. Even then, the party isn't in danger, they'll just be actually spending motes, which might matter for the next scene that they're in.



          The other side of that is a lot of solar powers that seem to have been written for fun, but got kind of out of control because there's nothing really to battle that needs them. Like Divine Executioner Stance or Aegis of Invincible Might. Or the sail system, where the excellency is all you need to win basically any fight, and then you've just got like 20 charms that make it progressively more overkill, completely pointlessly.

          Bulding off of how difficult it is to land a decisive attack with initiative for a lot of enemies, there's all these charms in medicine and resistance that give you more health levels, or let you heal those health levels faster, but they're such a waste if you never take health level damage.



          I don't even want my PCs to succeed 90% of the time, I want them to win MORE than 90% of the time, like 99% of the time, as long as they're not being completely suicidal in the battles they pick. What I do want is for them to actually have to think for a second to win rather than me just pointlessly rolling 7 dice to try and hit their parry of 8 over and over, and for there to be some back and forth. Like maybe PC take a level of health damage and now they're wounded for a day or two, or get slammed through the floor only to pick themselves up, dust off and win anyway.

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          • Thanks I think you summed up what I expect from this game and what I failed to understand about the game for my first year of STing it. I got better at it now that I homebrew something to have better and more flexible NPC's but there is still more to go.

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            • Our current game has been interesting in terms of combat. We started out with a PvP tournament arc and that set the bar pretty high for combat, so everything since has been difficult but manageable (a lesser elemental dragon, a Wyld Hunt with a full wing of the Silent Legion and a Sidereal) or surprisingly easy (A less-prepared Wyld Hunt with two hundred above-average mortal battle groups, a lone abyssal vs. a lone solar) and most of the time the real conflict comes from our characters personal hangups about when and whom it is okay to fight.

              Essence 2 party, btw. One Night, two Twilights, one Zenith, one Full-Moon, one Dusk (formerly one Eclipse instead of the full-moon).

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              • I can see that; if the PCs started out fighting the most powerful combatant type in the world (Solars), they probably invested more and more in combat. I've noticed that the nature of the game pushes PCs in different directions; if you do a lot of combat they'll end up strong in combat and weak in socialising, and vice-versa.

                I play two Essence 5 games, and in one the players are way better at combat than the other (and built more optimally generally), because the game has just involved a lot more danger. But also, partly because they're each so individually powerful, they cooperate less. And they're more traumatised. So the conflict is frequently between the PCs, whereas the other game... well, people don't always agree, but when they don't they tend to ignore each other rather than go against each other.


                I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                  Well, it's maybe not quite THAT bad, but sometimes looking at the various antagonists makes it feel like there's a disconnect between what the writers of those antagonists expect the players to be able to do, and what they can do.

                  There's just a bunch of enemies in the books, and supplements even, that have like, 6-7 dice to their attacks. Like the angler lizard, fog shark, hellboar, flickerfeather or pestletail. They're absolutely zero threat to the fighters, which is okay, but they're almost no threat at all to the people who aren't either. It only takes about 10% of your starting dots to get melee 3, pick up a sword, maybe a specialty and with the free Solar excellency you're just nearly immune to those attacks for less than your per-round mote regen.

                  You might think "Well 10% is kind of a lot." but I don't know if it is. If you're 90% social focused I'd say you're not a combat character, and I don't know how many non-combat focused characters I've seen with less than that, but not many. So in a group of PCs you have the weak social/mental characters who aren't threatened at all, and the big powerful combat characters who are even less than that.
                  Ah, I see what you mean. Though it's less the charms (well, there is the excellency, and I find low-combat characters spam the excellency as it's all they've got to spend motes on) than the character creation system for Solars, I think. By which I mean how incredibly easy it is to get an enormous Parry at character creation, if you know what you're doing.

                  This might be partly the old World of Darkness issue, where NPCs are written for players who don't know the system that well, and don't build very effective characters. I once ran a game for a whole group who'd never played Exalted before, and I was shocked by how low their Defences were compared to my normal players.

                  Whereas the normal players, when they play Solars, basically always have a Defence of at least 5, which plus a stunt needs more dice to hit than most NPCs.

                  One thing I've enjoyed about my Lunar game is that, due to the different character creation system (it looks similar, but the subtle changes make a big difference) the character's attack pools and Defences are much more reasonable. My 6 Lunar PCs have Defences of 6, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, and not all of them started with defensive excellencies. Plus they can't raise it more than 1 or 2 without an appropriate stunt.
                  Thus, things like bears can actually hit them.

                  What's worse is Hellboars have all these abilities; Bone-Crunching Bite, Death Stomp, trample, Femur-Smashing Crunch. War ghosts have that cool ethereal flicker blade...with their 7 die attack. There's all these cool things I want to use them for as an ST and it's just not really working. The worst are abilities that key off decisive attacks, because for those to ever have a chance of working the enemies have to build up initiative, and then keep it for a whole turn until they can act again to try and use it.
                  I think the thing with a lot of the animals is they're actually designed primarily with Lunars in mind. A Hellboar isn't actually designed to be a challenge to a combat-competent Solar, it's there to be a suit for a Lunar that gives the Lunar a bunch of abilities. And the Lunar can just use their own Strength or Dex + Brawl, plus excellencies.

                  Some animals (Tyrant Lizard) are designed to be challenges for groups of Solars, and some are there because it's just useful stats, and don't have a load of special abilities (horse, wolf, etc). But mostly they're there for Lunars.

                  The other side of that is a lot of solar powers that seem to have been written for fun, but got kind of out of control because there's nothing really to battle that needs them. Like Divine Executioner Stance or Aegis of Invincible Might. Or the sail system, where the excellency is all you need to win basically any fight, and then you've just got like 20 charms that make it progressively more overkill, completely pointlessly.

                  Bulding off of how difficult it is to land a decisive attack with initiative for a lot of enemies, there's all these charms in medicine and resistance that give you more health levels, or let you heal those health levels faster, but they're such a waste if you never take health level damage.
                  Continuing the above point, I think the thing is that Solar games are expected to battle Abyssals, Sidereals, experienced Dragonblood, giant monsters, etc. Whereas what you've got in the Antagonists section is... well, mostly not. It does have some stuff there that's appropriate (Octavian, Ahlat, the Immaculate Monks) but a lot of things there (like the War Ghost you mentioned) are only really supposed to be fighting Solars as a battle group (and I actually found that Battle Groups of Elite Soldiers, especially with a Commander, really can be a big threat to Solars, they just go down quite quickly against multiple Solars).

                  But the book doesn't really explain that half the charms in there are designed primarily for fighting stuff in other books (a lot of which isn't out yet, like Abyssal Sail which I guess is what high-essence Solar sail is for).

                  Also, because the book doesn't have a ST section talking about this kind of thing, people go "Hmmm, I want to be an amazing admiral, I'll take 10 sail charms" and don't realise that 1 Sail charm plus the excellency is going to win them 95% of sailing encounters that aren't against Exalted admirals.

                  Hmmm... maybe I didn't explain that well. I mean that it's not very clear to some, maybe, that taking 3 or 4 charms in an Ability means you are utterly amazing at it compared to most, and anything above that is really only for challenging the world's greatest heroes and biggest threats. Which I guess is because Exalted's power level is so much higher than most games.


                  I don't even want my PCs to succeed 90% of the time, I want them to win MORE than 90% of the time, like 99% of the time, as long as they're not being completely suicidal in the battles they pick. What I do want is for them to actually have to think for a second to win rather than me just pointlessly rolling 7 dice to try and hit their parry of 8 over and over, and for there to be some back and forth. Like maybe PC take a level of health damage and now they're wounded for a day or two, or get slammed through the floor only to pick themselves up, dust off and win anyway.
                  Yeah, exactly that. I got a bit frustrated with my Solar game because they just barged through most stuff utterly unworried about what anyone else thought of them, because they knew they could win basically every situation. So they became kind of bullies, tbh. (I don't just mean combat challenges, I mean other stuff as well, although the fact that they knew the local King had absolutely no way to oppose them in terms of soldiers did bleed into the non-combat stuff, as some of them tended to just intimidate everyone.)

                  My Lunar PCs do it a bit as well, but they're not as bad, perhaps because of the characters or perhaps because they know they can't just succeed at everything without even trying. Or it may just be because they're lower essence. I've never played 3rd ed 0xp Solars, maybe this isn't such an issue.

                  Again, I don't want them to actually fail. I just want them to have to put a little bit of effort and thought in rather than wandering into the throne room and saying "I'm in charge now, what you going to do about it?"


                  I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                    Well, it's maybe not quite THAT bad, but sometimes looking at the various antagonists makes it feel like there's a disconnect between what the writers of those antagonists expect the players to be able to do, and what they can do.

                    There's just a bunch of enemies in the books, and supplements even, that have like, 6-7 dice to their attacks. Like the angler lizard, fog shark, hellboar, flickerfeather or pestletail. They're absolutely zero threat to the fighters, which is okay, but they're almost no threat at all to the people who aren't either. It only takes about 10% of your starting dots to get melee 3, pick up a sword, maybe a specialty and with the free Solar excellency you're just nearly immune to those attacks for less than your per-round mote regen.

                    You might think "Well 10% is kind of a lot." but I don't know if it is. If you're 90% social focused I'd say you're not a combat character, and I don't know how many non-combat focused characters I've seen with less than that, but not many. So in a group of PCs you have the weak social/mental characters who aren't threatened at all, and the big powerful combat characters who are even less than that.

                    What's worse is Hellboars have all these abilities; Bone-Crunching Bite, Death Stomp, trample, Femur-Smashing Crunch. War ghosts have that cool ethereal flicker blade...with their 7 die attack. There's all these cool things I want to use them for as an ST and it's just not really working. The worst are abilities that key off decisive attacks, because for those to ever have a chance of working the enemies have to build up initiative, and then keep it for a whole turn until they can act again to try and use it.

                    It's not just attacks, the ambush predators like claw striders have 6 dice to their stealth rolls and stuff. If we're saying a troupe of gorillas going apeshit on the party should be beneath the concerns of the Exalted, then fine, just don't waste my time and your wordcount to get my hopes up that I might have an interesting action scene with them. Rather than me trying and just having maybe one ape get lucky and hit in the first round of combat, every other one getting crashed, and then dead or driven off in round 2.

                    I'm not saying you can't use any antagonist in the book, there's ones that are good. A big pack of claw striders ambushing the party at night with environmental penalties might force them to spend some motes, which might be relevant later on. Or you might have a first age ruin with an entire battlegroup of Walking Statues, and their automation commander. Even then, the party isn't in danger, they'll just be actually spending motes, which might matter for the next scene that they're in.



                    The other side of that is a lot of solar powers that seem to have been written for fun, but got kind of out of control because there's nothing really to battle that needs them. Like Divine Executioner Stance or Aegis of Invincible Might. Or the sail system, where the excellency is all you need to win basically any fight, and then you've just got like 20 charms that make it progressively more overkill, completely pointlessly.

                    Bulding off of how difficult it is to land a decisive attack with initiative for a lot of enemies, there's all these charms in medicine and resistance that give you more health levels, or let you heal those health levels faster, but they're such a waste if you never take health level damage.



                    I don't even want my PCs to succeed 90% of the time, I want them to win MORE than 90% of the time, like 99% of the time, as long as they're not being completely suicidal in the battles they pick. What I do want is for them to actually have to think for a second to win rather than me just pointlessly rolling 7 dice to try and hit their parry of 8 over and over, and for there to be some back and forth. Like maybe PC take a level of health damage and now they're wounded for a day or two, or get slammed through the floor only to pick themselves up, dust off and win anyway.
                    See this is what I'm complaining about.

                    You are playing Exalted. Exalted.

                    "We're saying a troupe of gorillas going apeshit on the party should be beneath the concerns of the Exalted"?

                    No. We're saying an army of a thousand barbarians who've drilled for war since birth, equipped with the finest weapons and armor in Creation, mounted on the backs of Tyrant Lizards are beneath the concerns of the Exalted. (At character creation, this is obviously hyperbole. For an Essence 5 Solar Circle, I'm being literal and sincere.)

                    Look at the difficulty chart on page 185. The Exalted rule.

                    You're playing the people who cast down the gods of the gods. Not Robert Baratheon. Pigs should not be a meaningful threat to you.

                    The point of most antagonists is how dangerous they are to mortals and to each other. Not how trivial they are to the PCs. Which is why the Might abstraction exists -- there's a world of difference between a war ghost and a blood ape, but to the PCs? Not so much.

                    I realize my references are dated, but the PCs are Marcus Hamiliton and the Antagonists are Illyria. They might have interesting abilities but really, they're just not that cool.

                    Antagonists are set pieces used to either show how amazing the PCs are, or to force some kind of concequence (like spent motes). They're quick characters used to gague your abilities by (PS: you are awesome).

                    Now if an Abyssal puts you in your -4s, then his pack of ghostly followers becomes a threat as you try to escape. Burning motes to detect ambushing claw striders leaves you down for when their Lunar mistress attacks. Hellboars suck... untill you're facing a magically enhanced familiar.

                    If every random person who died could challenge a Solar, death would be one heck of an upgrade and the Primordials wouldn't have stood a chance in the War. If a gorrilla could match a god of war... that'd be a pretty pathetic god.

                    You might be able to handily beat a Bride... wanna go totemic in front of the Satrap's guards? Yes you saved the village from zombies. This time. What happens next time the dead rise? How do the villagers feel about their new hero? What do they expect from you? Are you spending motes in a Shadowland before you adventure into the Underworld proper? What are the concequences of your actions?

                    The word count argument I get. NPCs might have been better off getting the same treatment as Weapons and Armor -- Weak, Competent, Elite with one QC stat block (just like in 1E) and Tags to differentiate a tiger from a battle-ready soldier.

                    A troupe of gorrillas, in and of themselves, is a trivial challenge the PCs shouldn't have to spend a thought on. They should be scattered and cast down by round two. I don't want a two hour fight against some flea bitten vermin. Scratch off the Excellency motes and throw the next challenge at me. On session ten when I fight Harambe The Gorrilla God and his endless army of the Souls of Righteous Gorrillas Past then I can be challenged, thrown to the ground, forced to use Aegis, maybe take some health levels, maybe the Eclipse takes a Critical (and the Twilight gets something to heal). But a level of damage on a trivial random encounter? No way! Being wounded is definitely a concequence of one of the 1-in-10 fights, it shouldn't be a bread-and-butter thing. How often is Superman wounded? How often is The Terminator wounded? If you really want to knock the PCs prone, have all the NPCs gang up on the weak one and use a grapple gambit. But frankly, I don't see why you'd want to.

                    Use the Skip It rules on 212. 7 dice can't hit Parry 8 (not enough to win), so Skip It. System working as intended.

                    At the beginning of Castlevania 64, lightning hits a tree which becomes the first obstacle you face in the game. You're supposed to trivially overcome this obstacle by pressing the jump button once -- it's about setting the scene and raising the drama, not dealing damage to you. Likewise the wild gorrillas at the foot of an ancient and foreboding temple should be narrated as an interesting and significant thing... but it shouldn't be a head scratcher, the Exalted should deal with them in one, maybe two, rolls. Narrate the drama. Tell a good story. But mechanically, it's two stunts maximum -- that troupe should be a single Size 1 Poor Drill battlegroup unless you've got a very compelling reason to want to drag this out.

                    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                    Yeah, exactly that. I got a bit frustrated with my Solar game because they just barged through most stuff utterly unworried about what anyone else thought of them, because they knew they could win basically every situation. So they became kind of bullies, tbh. (I don't just mean combat challenges, I mean other stuff as well, although the fact that they knew the local King had absolutely no way to oppose them in terms of soldiers did bleed into the non-combat stuff, as some of them tended to just intimidate everyone.)

                    Again, I don't want them to actually fail. I just want them to have to put a little bit of effort and thought in rather than wandering into the throne room and saying "I'm in charge now, what you going to do about it?"
                    I agree with everything you've posted apart from this.

                    I want trivial threats to be trivial, and the story to be about whether the Solars stay good people or become bullies. That's the point. I explicitly, expressly, absolutely want Solars to be able to steamroller mortal kingdoms and slap down a "what are you going to do about it" because this is the central theme on which Exalted is based. That you can do this is the point of the game. And as I can do it, I'd rather do it in one roll than spend an entire four hour session slogging it out.

                    Originally posted by 1st Edition Corebook
                    Exalted is a cinematic game [...] most combats aren't gritty, life-or-death struggles for the hero, where every sword blow may be the last. That sort of tension is reserved for the real fights, when the protagonist faces off against the real villains [...] The average enemy the hero faces is a nameless, expendable bad guy. These opponents' purpose in combat is to get beaten up or killed in order to provide a visual spectacle, complicate the narrative and demonstrate how badass the protagonist is. [...] Storytellers shouldn't be surprised when the PCs battle through hordes of [NPCs] without serious injury. The rules are set up to make it happen that way.
                    Last edited by JohnDoe244; 11-10-2019, 10:09 AM.


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

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                    • I wholly agree, John.

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                      • Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                        See this is what I'm complaining about.

                        You are playing Exalted. Exalted.

                        "We're saying a troupe of gorillas going apeshit on the party should be beneath the concerns of the Exalted"?

                        No. We're saying an army of a thousand barbarians who've drilled for war since birth, equipped with the finest weapons and armor in Creation, mounted on the backs of Tyrant Lizards are beneath the concerns of the Exalted. (At character creation, this is obviously hyperbole. For an Essence 5 Solar Circle, I'm being literal and sincere.)
                        I sort of agree here, though "beneath the concerns of the Exalted" kind of sounds like it's utterly irrelevant. When our Dawn was attacked by his own Tiger Warriors riding flying, fire-breathing giant lizards with almost the stats of Tyrant Lizards, it was a concern. Obviously he beat them, but he did have to spend some motes. And then there was the political fallout, morale effect on his infantry when they'd been attacked by their own allies, etc.

                        If your point is that an army of barbarians on Tyrant Lizards isn't a serious threat to a circle of Essence 5 Solars, I agree (unless, of course, they're all non-combat focused).

                        It's just that I think, when people start saying like anything mortal is "trivial" or "beneath their concern" it's not really good for the game.

                        Pigs should not be a meaningful threat to you.
                        Definitely. And I think that's why I agree with DrLoveMonkey about how the rules for Solars and Antagonist sections are like for different games; but I don't think the answer is that hellboars and gorillas should be more of a threat, I think that they're just not important for Solar games. That's why 2nd ed gave most animals a very, very small section.
                        Anything smaller than a dinosaur* isn't generally important unless it's actually a Lunar or its a familiar you're going to buff.

                        *Except horses, which are important.

                        Which is why the Might abstraction exists -- there's a world of difference between a war ghost and a blood ape, but to the PCs? Not so much.
                        I agree with you there: I'm never going to run a PC vs a War Ghost as a proper combat, they're only going to be fighting 30 War Ghosts. But I can see DrLoveMonkey's point about how frustrating it is that they have these cool abilities that they basically aren't going to use (as Battle Groups just use Might, not offensive/defensive charms).

                        The word count argument I get. NPCs might have been better off getting the same treatment as Weapons and Armor -- Weak, Competent, Elite with one QC stat block (just like in 1E)
                        That's not a bad idea.
                        The only thing in the Antagonists section that doesn't have Essence 2+ that I've actually found useful is mortal soldiers, which work that way, as they come in three levels; Militia, Battle-Ready Soldiers, and Elite Soldiers.
                        I use them for all kinds of encounters, even for things that aren't mortal soldiers (for example, when Ahlat ambushed the PCs backed up by 100 minor War-Gods, they were Elite Soldiers with Elite Drill and Might).
                        I wouldn't be that bothered if wolves, gorillas, war golems, etc, were based off these stats.

                        and Tags to differentiate a tiger from a battle-ready soldier.
                        That'd work well for Lunars as well actually.

                        I mean, the shapeshifting rules actually do work well for Lunars... once the players have worked out all the numbers, which I've found most find very tricky. I ended up just writing out the actual used stats and excellency caps for some of my players' main animal forms. (It's the excellency caps that mainly confuse them, though there are other bits. And obviously when you've got 10 forms that doesn't make it easier.)

                        The exception for this trickiness is low-level animals, which effectively end up being a couple of merits and special attacks because your own stats are better. For example, if my Lunar takes her totem form, she basically gets Tiny, Camouflage, and a poison bite, but she's still using all her own stats (which is way less confusing than when other players turn into gorillas or bears or whatever).

                        Use the Skip It rules on 212. 7 dice can't hit Parry 8 (not enough to win), so Skip It. System working as intended.
                        I use this all the time and strongly encourage others to do so. My STs have started using it too, which has worked well.

                        Last session, for example, I turned into a bear on top of a thatched house, and fell through the roof on top of the leader of the extremists trying to purge the moderate members of our revolution. Then of course his goons opened up on me with their AK-47s. But a Full Moon vs 3 monkeys with assault rifles is going to just involve a lot of rolling and then I'll win anyway, so he just had me roll once.

                        And that's how I run 60% of the fights in the game, because they're just set-piece fights.

                        But, again, I can see DrLoveMonkey's frustration that 70% of the stuff in the Core Book's antagonist section has a bunch of cool moves and abilities and rules that, if you run a Solar game well, are hardly ever going to come up, because they're there to challenge mortals or be a Lunar-suit.
                        And I can also see why it might get new STs to go "oh, presumably all these animals are there because a circle of Solars vs 5 wolves is a challenging encounter" which it is not supposed to be. Whereas if you actually want to give your Solar circle a difficult challenge you need to use Octavian, Ahlat, or stuff that's in completely different books (most of which still aren't out).

                        I agree with everything you've posted apart from this.

                        I want trivial threats to be trivial, and the story to be about whether the Solars stay good people or become bullies. That's the point. I explicitly, expressly, absolutely want Solars to be able to steamroller mortal kingdoms and slap down a "what are you going to do about it" because this is the central theme on which Exalted is based. That you can do this is the point of the game. And as I can do it, I'd rather do it in one roll than spend an entire four hour session slogging it out.
                        I guess this is a slightly different point from some of my others.

                        So, at Essence 1, I think taking over a petty mortal kingdom should take a few sessions (and probably won't be very difficult).

                        At Essence 5, taking over a mortal kingdom... yeah, sure, steamroll it, its just on the way to your big fight with the circle of Abyssals or Dragonblood or whatever, which is the actual plot.
                        I just found that I, personally, did not enjoy watching them steamroll mortal kingdoms. It's all very well saying "will they become righteous kings or bullies? What will they do with their power? Isn't this an interesting thing to explore?" but then they become bullies, and I didn't enjoy it that much (not to say I hated the game, there were plenty of bits I did enjoy, just not that).
                        What they could have been doing at Essence 5, that I'd have enjoyed more I think, is invading the Realm or casting down Deathlords or battling a circle of Infernals, but at the time none of that was really available.
                        Now that Dragonblood is actually available, my friend who's taken over the game is able to run the PCs battling a massive Realm invasion (also the Realm is allied with Ahlat who's leading a conspiracy of Gods who want to conquer the South, and have their own circle of Exigents), but I couldn't really do that because there weren't really rules for making loads of Dragonblood including high-essence ones.

                        Also, tbh, our previous 2nd ed game (which went from 0xp to 500xp) ended up with massive world-shaping events, and I think people wanted to do a smaller, more pulp-focused game, rather than stopping another Deathlord destroying the world. But that wasn't suitable for Essence 4 characters, honestly. Rather than starting a 3rd ed game with their old characters in the same area 25 years later, I should have just started an entirely new game in that area 25 years later, with 0xp characters. It would have worked better.

                        And as I can do it, I'd rather do it in one roll than spend an entire four hour session slogging it out.
                        Hmmm... I don't think I'd want to do it one roll, there should be a few more scenes to showcase local politics (so people can get use out of all their socialise or bureaucracy charms, for one thing), and opportunities for PCs to consider issues and ethics, but I on't really want to spend ages doing it.
                        The problem was sometimes I let a player take over stuff with just a few rolls in downtime rather than running 3 games of that one PC running around putting out various issues (easily), and then other players complained I'd made it too easy for that player and I should have run properly all the different social problems that PC would face. Which would have taken ages while the other players would be sat around doing nothing, and no-one would really have enjoyed it.

                        Anyway, so this point and the above one are partly about the game, but partly about me and my players. I just don't enjoy "Essence 5 Solars interact with mortal kingdoms" the way it's supposed to work (at least, more than once or twice; there were bits I enjoyed of them seizing control of puppet kingdoms, it just got old), and I'd really rather run "Essence 1 Solars interact with mortal kingdoms" or "Essence 5 Solars take on the (Elder?) Gods themselves".
                        I'm not saying "Essence 5 Solars take on mortal kingdoms" should be hard, I'm just saying it's not the game for me.

                        I was quite happy with my Essence 1-2 Lunars (sort of) saving a mortal kingdom from conspirators, saving it (sort of) from Raksha, and then using their influence to decide which mortal became the new Queen. And I'm quite happy that they're now going to tackle the Elemental Dragon of Air.
                        It's just the first one I wouldn't have enjoyed if they'd been Essence 5.
                        Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-10-2019, 02:10 PM.


                        I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

                        Comment


                        • Couple comments:

                          1) Eh, invoking 1e's "Mooks" section is kind of a double edged thing, because 1e was trying to specifically sell its audience on an action movie trope (Disposable Ninja #325, etc), and 1e was often pretty specific on who should *never* be treated as a "Mook" (to mixed reaction, e.g. Dragonblooded). People may disagree about who should be a "Mook" even if they agree there should be some.

                          2) It's kind of a weird thing about Exalted now that I think about it that there has never really been a "high level" adventure book in all it's years. 90% of material (Caste Books, 1e's Direction books) is focused on fairly low Essence games.

                          Quite proper as I think as a priority as this is probably where the main interesting inspirations of Exalted lie - "Walk The Earth!" / Vanilla Exalted Sword & Sorcery / pulp adventuring (Ninja Scroll, Rurouni Kenshin, Conan, Elric, and whatnot), where Solar characters are uniquely powerful enough to be destabilizing to the power structure without backing and able to be champions or leaders to oppressed mortals, and be the nail that stands up but is not beaten down, but not really strong enough to easily dispense of local powers like The Perfect or the Linowan or the Lintha Family or the Forest Witches and the like. That's where the heart and soul of the vision of game really is.

                          But it does create a problem that there really isn't too much there for when experience accumulation pushes characters higher than this! This doesn't seem by design!

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                            "We're saying a troupe of gorillas going apeshit on the party should be beneath the concerns of the Exalted"?

                            No. We're saying an army of a thousand barbarians who've drilled for war since birth, equipped with the finest weapons and armor in Creation, mounted on the backs of Tyrant Lizards are beneath the concerns of the Exalted. (At character creation, this is obviously hyperbole. For an Essence 5 Solar Circle, I'm being literal and sincere.)
                            I think before we continue the discussion we need to pin down exactly what we mean by trivial here. When I say I want my players to battle a troupe of gorillas, I don't mean then when an angry forest god incites a furious anger in a group of nearby apes, who then decide to express that anger by trying to beat the PCs to a pulp, I don't want them to look sorrowfully at their character sheet and say "But...I really like my character, I don't want her to die...maybe we should just run?" I don't want a group of gorillas have any real chance at all, and I mean like 1 in 10,000 of winning that fight, if even that high.

                            Even DnD is like that. Last session I ran the level 5 party ran in to a group of a dozen goblins, the wizard was pissed at them because her last encounter with them was so annoying that she snapped her fingers and incinerated them all in a fireball in round 1, rolling enough damage that even passing their saving throw dealt more than their total HP. In fact, I think, in the past two or three years of playing DnD 1-2 times a week I can only remember one battle that the PCs ever actually lost? They rarely felt trivial though, even if victory was completely assured somebody got hit at some point, I got to use some of the monsters cool abilities.

                            Yes, yes, I know, it's selfish, but the ST is a player too, and the antagonists are the storyteller's characters that they get to have fun with. I like when my players annihilate, absolutely destroy, a group of enemies, but I like it even more when at some point in the fight the lithe chain fighter sweeps out the barbarian's legs and he tumbles to the ground, and then right after he goes Hulk to her Loki.


                            Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                            I want trivial threats to be trivial, and the story to be about whether the Solars stay good people or become bullies. That's the point. I explicitly, expressly, absolutely want Solars to be able to steamroller mortal kingdoms and slap down a "what are you going to do about it" because this is the central theme on which Exalted is based. That you can do this is the point of the game. And as I can do it, I'd rather do it in one roll than spend an entire four hour session slogging it out.
                            I don't think that the two things are mutually exclusive. Going back to DnD again, I've had parties of all levels spend entire sessions doing nothing but debating the various courses of action and weighing what the consequences and the costs of each. What parts of themselves are they willing to give up to achieve their goals? In fact, I think it was made even better by the idea that at least some of those consequences were not easily solved.

                            In Exalted it can often feel like Gamora asking Thanos "What did it cost?" and he just shrugs and says "Nothing." If you want to talk about consequences, the consequences actually have to matter or else it's totally uninteresting.


                            On the other hand if you're making a game where anything less than a third circle demon is not worth busting out the dice for, then I can get into that, probably not for very long campaigns but I can for a bit. Just don't write this absolutely enormous setting, detailing all the places that don't matter, and giving stats for things that never come into play. Pigs shouldn't be a threat, agreed, so don't write a huge setting book detailing all the different kinds of pig farms, filled with different kinds of pigs that have different stats which are all too low to matter, and full of interesting pig-based abilities that sound really cool and fun for me, and don't matter a bit.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                              Couple comments:

                              1) Eh, invoking 1e's "Mooks" section is kind of a double edged thing, because 1e was trying to specifically sell its audience on an action movie trope (Disposable Ninja #325, etc), and 1e was often pretty specific on who should *never* be treated as a "Mook" (to mixed reaction, e.g. Dragonblooded). People may disagree about who should be a "Mook" even if they agree there should be some.
                              Anyone play 4th edition DnD? The Minion system I think always worked better than most of the "mook" rules for Exalted.
                              Minions had very competitive defences and attacks, but had 1hp and did a few points of damage. It wasn't a matter of rolling again and again and achieving nothing, but also they died like chumps and just wore you down a bit, rather than actually killing you.

                              2) It's kind of a weird thing about Exalted now that I think about it that there has never really been a "high level" adventure book in all it's years. 90% of material (Caste Books, 1e's Direction books) is focused on fairly low Essence games.
                              Hmmm... Glories of the Most High probably doesn't count. Return of the Scarlet Empress maybe?

                              And there was the Deathlords, but they were so insanely powerful (often with nearly every single Solar/Abyssal charm, and Sidereal Martial Arts) that they didn't even fit well for Essence 5 games, plus even if you did beat them (which I've seen, partly because the ST found it difficult to remember the entire charmset in the middle of combat) they possibly have plot-immunity and just come back.

                              But it does create a problem that there really isn't too much there for when experience accumulation pushes characters higher than this! This doesn't seem by design!
                              Yeah, I think is the main problem I found, and probably why I'm finding an Essence 2 game way easier to run than an Essence 5 game.
                              Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 11-10-2019, 02:56 PM.


                              I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                                I think before we continue the discussion we need to pin down exactly what we mean by trivial here. When I say I want my players to battle a troupe of gorillas, I don't mean then when an angry forest god incites a furious anger in a group of nearby apes, who then decide to express that anger by trying to beat the PCs to a pulp, I don't want them to look sorrowfully at their character sheet and say "But...I really like my character, I don't want her to die...maybe we should just run?" I don't want a group of gorillas have any real chance at all, and I mean like 1 in 10,000 of winning that fight, if even that high.

                                Even DnD is like that. Last session I ran the level 5 party ran in to a group of a dozen goblins, the wizard was pissed at them because her last encounter with them was so annoying that she snapped her fingers and incinerated them all in a fireball in round 1, rolling enough damage that even passing their saving throw dealt more than their total HP. In fact, I think, in the past two or three years of playing DnD 1-2 times a week I can only remember one battle that the PCs ever actually lost? They rarely felt trivial though, even if victory was completely assured somebody got hit at some point, I got to use some of the monsters cool abilities.

                                Yes, yes, I know, it's selfish, but the ST is a player too, and the antagonists are the storyteller's characters that they get to have fun with. I like when my players annihilate, absolutely destroy, a group of enemies, but I like it even more when at some point in the fight the lithe chain fighter sweeps out the barbarian's legs and he tumbles to the ground, and then right after he goes Hulk to her Loki.




                                I don't think that the two things are mutually exclusive. Going back to DnD again, I've had parties of all levels spend entire sessions doing nothing but debating the various courses of action and weighing what the consequences and the costs of each. What parts of themselves are they willing to give up to achieve their goals? In fact, I think it was made even better by the idea that at least some of those consequences were not easily solved.

                                In Exalted it can often feel like Gamora asking Thanos "What did it cost?" and he just shrugs and says "Nothing." If you want to talk about consequences, the consequences actually have to matter or else it's totally uninteresting.


                                On the other hand if you're making a game where anything less than a third circle demon is not worth busting out the dice for, then I can get into that, probably not for very long campaigns but I can for a bit. Just don't write this absolutely enormous setting, detailing all the places that don't matter, and giving stats for things that never come into play. Pigs shouldn't be a threat, agreed, so don't write a huge setting book detailing all the different kinds of pig farms, filled with different kinds of pigs that have different stats which are all too low to matter, and full of interesting pig-based abilities that sound really cool and fun for me, and don't matter a bit.
                                I think you underlined one of my main complaint about the game : The ST is a player too, and he doesn't want to spend 5 hours of preparation, reading, and conception of a scenario or a setting for nothing. Your second and 3rd paragraph in particular really resonate with me, because lots of the time I think I had a lot of cool ideas with my scenario and setting but when the time came for them to go into action mechanically they did not deliver accordingly mechanically.

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