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  • #61
    Wonder if Crucible of Heroes will have anything about that...

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Reminiscent Oasis View Post
      Based on the sample Elder Lunar charms, that definitely seems to be the case.
      It's also something that I'm nearly 100% sure was a developer stated design goal. Essence 5 is the most powerful charms get, you don't need more than that to kill the Primordials, but Essence 6+ start becoming less charms for your exalt type and more charms just for you and your own personal legend that's especially distinct from all others.

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      • #63
        Regarding Ma-Ha-Suchi. He's a Changing Moon whose focused on intimidation and leadership of armies rather than gentler methods of persuasion. It's a symptom of power levels running away with the game to have this urge to treat the beastfolk horde he's been amassing as scenery and basically recasting him as a Full Moon to fight five Solars on his own.


        Onyx Path Forum Moderator
        Please spare a thought for updating the Exalted wiki.

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        • #64
          Lioness DrLoveMonkey
          I admit that maybe the example with Ma-Ha-Suchi was a bit unfortunate, but let me remind, why I even mentioned him and let me analyze your responses against this background.

          DrLoveMonkey claimed that hypothetical Essence 8 Sidereal exalts will likely fill in the gap I feel. The gap is the lack of beings which are standalone threats of completely overwhelming power who are an extreme threat to the protagonists by virtue of their personal might, not influence or infrastructure. The threat, on the other hand, is not meant purely as a narrative device. It can be overcome in a direct confrontation, by personal power of the protagonists. However, this will be possible only after some special training, preparation, or after a long story arc in which we can very clearly see character development - both on the personality and on the power side. At some point the protagonists will be able to stand against that immense threat. It will still be dangerous, but now manageable. I claim that we haven't yet seen anything that really supports it and that this is one of the main narrative purposes of Essence 6+.

          Here, "direct confrontation" and "personal might" do not necessarily mean combat prowess. It can be some kind of really scary mind-control; the ultimate scheming and plotting proficiency, or some yet another completely unique powers, like some serious control over fate. The point is: you cannot just substitute that opponent with some mildly competent lieutenant with exactly the same resources and expect the same kind of narrative, even if the net effect is the same. Vader's power's don't really make difference when you stand against the Galactic Empire, but it's still important that you are fighting Vader, not random moff number 5.

          I don't assume that you also would like to represent this kind of stories. It's your personal preference. However, I do hope that you understand what I mean, because this kind of story structure is pervasive in some kind of sources upon which Exalted builds.

          Now, I just said that extrapolating from what we saw, it's very unclear whether hypothetical Essence 8 Sidereals will be able to play this role. I mentioned Ma-Ha-Suchi, because he seems closest to what I meant, but I honestly cannot imagine this kind of story for a circle of Solars built around Ma-Ha-Suchi. I cannot imagine this kind of story built around Raksi as currently presented either. Their personal power is insufficient for them to become this kind of nemeses.

          You noticed that Ma-Ha-Suchi is not necessarily intended to function in a way I described. You might be right, I really don't know. My point is this: there is such a role in stories to be played by someone or something in the setting and it is very important that it relies on that being's personal prowess. Even if we take someone strategic skills as the main theme of power, then this should be reflected by the ability to win battles and wars in an almost impossible way by pure strategic genius, which completely surpasses that of starting protagonists, who in turn completely surpass mundane generals. In particular, it should not rely on the antagonists actually having a stronger army.

          I understand if you have no interest in this kind of opposition. However, I think that there is some space of narrative figures which should be considered given the setting and what it draws upon. For instance, I was never especially excited about meaningful pets in the stories. However, people like them and they figure meaningfully in many relevant sources, so it would be some kind of unhappy omission if there were no space for funny pets. Even more so, if the developers would openly express their dismissal of the concept of pets and insist that if you like pets you should instead invest in mounts, because they indeed figure prominently in the kind of bronze-age aesthetics we now want to emulate. I mean, I kind of understand it. Our metaphorical pets got really silly at some point, so the reaction is rather natural. Still, I think it robs us of something important and quite central.
          Last edited by Lanic; 01-09-2020, 03:21 PM.

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          • #65
            Just give them the ~90 Charms they’d have if they were a PC with enough XP to be Essence 8. Done.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Lanic View Post
              Here, "direct confrontation" and "personal might" do not necessarily mean combat prowess.
              The thing is that's basically what it has meant for the previous two editions and is a major part of my objection to essence 6+ being the thing that increases trait caps.


              Onyx Path Forum Moderator
              Please spare a thought for updating the Exalted wiki.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                The thing is that's basically what it has meant for the previous two editions and is a major part of my objection to essence 6+ being the thing that increases trait caps.
                As a matter of fact, I think that trait caps is not really the most important issue. I personally houseruled them to function in a traditional way to give some small "oomph" to the elder Exalts, but I think that the general design philosophy of Essence 6+ charms is much more important thing. Especially the design statement that they do not increase power, but rather, say, add colour.

                EDIT: By the way, Vampire Requiem second edition has a supplement on elder vampires which contains a discussion what traits 6+ should mean narratively.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                  Here, "direct confrontation" and "personal might" do not necessarily mean combat prowess. It can be some kind of really scary mind-control; the ultimate scheming and plotting proficiency, or some yet another completely unique powers, like some serious control over fate. The point is: you cannot just substitute that opponent with some mildly competent lieutenant with exactly the same resources and expect the same kind of narrative, even if the net effect is the same. Vader's power's don't really make difference when you stand against the Galactic Empire, but it's still important that you are fighting Vader, not random moff number 5..
                  There is certainly a place for giant singular threats that can fight a whole circle, like Third Circle Demons, Behemoths, Ishvara, Incarna, ect. They just don’t need to be elder Exalted. The Exalted don’t really function like that anyway, they’re still fundamentally human heroes, not monstrous titans. They punch up super hard but kind of fumble around trying to punch down. If you want to punch down have something like Mahicara where intrinsically every punch hits the entire group fighting it. Also you have a bit of an issue if Chejop is a good and difficult match for an entire circle of Solars because he also has the entire Bronze Faction of Sidereals and a good chunk of heaven on his side. Even if he isn’t much more powerful than an Essence 5 Sidereal he’s going to be an amazingly powerful antagonist.

                  I don’t agree that you could just replace Raksi with any random Lunar and have it make little difference though. Part of who Raksi is is the leader of her great nation. Some other random Lunar doesn’t rule over the Total Control Zone from her throne within a man ancient city. Or, rather, if you wanted you could make an unpublished Lunar Dominion of your own with some other random Lunar who has a massive army, first age Artiface, sorcery, spies, an entire school of Lunar students, spirit allies, and servant automatons, but then they wouldn’t just be some random Lunar at that point.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                    There is certainly a place for giant singular threats that can fight a whole circle, like Third Circle Demons, Behemoths, Ishvara, Incarna, ect. They just don’t need to be elder Exalted. The Exalted don’t really function like that anyway, they’re still fundamentally human heroes, not monstrous titans. They punch up super hard but kind of fumble around trying to punch down. If you want to punch down have something like Mahicara where intrinsically every punch hits the entire group fighting it. Also you have a bit of an issue if Chejop is a good and difficult match for an entire circle of Solars because he also has the entire Bronze Faction of Sidereals and a good chunk of heaven on his side. Even if he isn’t much more powerful than an Essence 5 Sidereal he’s going to be an amazingly powerful antagonist.

                    I don’t agree that you could just replace Raksi with any random Lunar and have it make little difference though. Part of who Raksi is is the leader of her great nation. Some other random Lunar doesn’t rule over the Total Control Zone from her throne within a man ancient city. Or, rather, if you wanted you could make an unpublished Lunar Dominion of your own with some other random Lunar who has a massive army, first age Artiface, sorcery, spies, an entire school of Lunar students, spirit allies, and servant automatons, but then they wouldn’t just be some random Lunar at that point.
                    Ok. Do you agree that there is a valid space for great singular threats which do admit human interaction? Like Vader (or the Mule from Asimov's "Foundation" to give non-fight threat)? I think it is really a crucial point that they are actual antagonists, not monsters. And I think that it really an important narrative context that the gap can be theoretically bridged in the protagonists pursue to become a master themselves. Again: this is a specific kind of story. Not every campaign will be like that. But it is a very important story and we should have a chance to retell it.

                    I think we are talking a bit past each other. Seriously, is it more or less clear what kind of story arcs I have in mind? It seems to me something so fundamental about some genres important to Exalted that I am genuinely confused by the answers.

                    And now: I don't say that Raksi is a disposable or random character. But simply, while being very non-random character, she can no more play this exact role of an overwhelming singular threat, simply because she is not terrifyingly powerful herself. Of course, there is an important role she might play. A powerful witch-queen of a monstrous nation also strikes familiar chords. However, she's now more like an antagonist from Sword and Sorcery or like Dr. Moreau rather than Vader. (I see. I'm a bit overusing this example, but it's really a clear-cut case of what I mean). She's not there to make the audience feel "they're doomed" when she personally meets the party. For instance, ganging up on her, when isolated would be a valid strategy for Solar protagonists. And you don't just gang up on Vader. You first have to become someone different.
                    Last edited by Lanic; 01-09-2020, 04:53 PM.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                      I think we are talking a bit past each other. Seriously, is it more or less clear what kind of story arcs I have in mind? It seems to me something so fundamental about some genres important to Exalted that I am genuinely confused by the answers.
                      Do you see Vader being able to fight 5 Luke Skywalkers simultaneously in Cloud City?

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                        Do you see Vader being able to fight 5 Luke Skywalkers simultaneously in Cloud City?
                        I mean, obviously? The whole point was that fighting Vader directly at this point was an intentionally set trap and basically a desperate move for Luke, not a viable tactic. The fact that Luke even managed to stand against Vader for a while was presented as an impressive feat.

                        More importantly, if there was a team of five Lukes, then Vader would be scaled up, so that they be clearly defeated, because this was the whole point of Vader in The Empire Strikes Back that encountering him in what appeared to be a fair fight was a trap in itself, at least at this stage. Slightly worse example (in that it is further from the genre), Bohnart from the Witcher books
                        who single-handedly defeats a gang which Ciri joined, and whose all members were consistently described as extremely badass, basically an equivalent of five Lukes
                        .

                        And even if these are not the best possible examples for some reason: do you sincerely think that I am invoking some empty or marginal trope I am making up for the need of the discussion? Really, the trope seems so clear and so pervasive that I'm not sure how I would even start convincing someone that it really is there. I know that singular boss is a difficult thing to make in a game, but it really seems extremely common in all other kinds of media.
                        Last edited by Lanic; 01-09-2020, 05:36 PM.

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                        • #72
                          If we’re talking Sidereals here their static value Charm bonus cap is (Essence) so...

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                          • #73
                            This problem fundamentally stems from the fact that an E1 Solar(oid) has access to more raw power than an E5 any-other-Exalt. It's very difficult for the BBEG to be a credible threat when Danny Dawn started the game with better combat charms, Zoey Zenith with better social charms, and etc etc. Then you add in the fact that it's a three-five on one fight and things just get horribly ugly.
                            If Solar(oid)s didn't start with E5 charm access, then you could say "OK, Lucy Lunar is E5, E5 Lunar charms are sufficiently superior to E2 Solar charms that she'll be a terrifying fight until the PCs make it up to E3." but you can't. There is no power curve for Solars who don't want one. There's a utility curve, but a Solar can start at the top of their power curve in a niche and fill in the utility later.

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                              that encountering him in what appeared to be a fair fight was a trap in itself, at least at this stage.
                              Right and if you want to try soloing Ma-Ha-Suchi with your Essence 1 Lunar then you’ll get a very similar experience. He has more than twice your motes, he has max stats in almost every relevant ability, he has powerful high essence charms, and all his calculations for those charms beat yours by 5. Vader used his army and wit to manipulate Luke into a 1v1 duel where he knew he could win. That still makes him a great villain, and terrifying.

                              Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                              And even if these are not the best possible examples for some reason: do you sincerely think that I am invoking some empty or marginal trope I am making up for the need of the discussion? Really, the trope seems so clear and so pervasive that I'm not sure how I would even start convincing someone that it really is there. I know that singular boss is a difficult thing to make in a game, but it really seems extremely common in all other kinds of media.
                              Oh yeah, they totally should exist, and do in fact. They just aren’t elder exalted. They’re third circle demons, behemoths, incredibly powerful fey, Deathlords, jotun, directional war gods. All for some variation of “good fight”.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post
                                This problem fundamentally stems from the fact that an E1 Solar(oid) has access to more raw power than an E5 any-other-Exalt. It's very difficult for the BBEG to be a credible threat when Danny Dawn started the game with better combat charms, Zoey Zenith with better social charms, and etc etc. Then you add in the fact that it's a three-five on one fight and things just get horribly ugly.
                                If Solar(oid)s didn't start with E5 charm access, then you could say "OK, Lucy Lunar is E5, E5 Lunar charms are sufficiently superior to E2 Solar charms that she'll be a terrifying fight until the PCs make it up to E3." but you can't. There is no power curve for Solars who don't want one. There's a utility curve, but a Solar can start at the top of their power curve in a niche and fill in the utility later.
                                If you’re having trouble challenging your players and making things scary you can scale things up. Like have the Realm send 75-100 Dragonblooded after them in a massive Wyld Hunt or something. Or maybe a Faerie invasion with millions of hobgoblins, and thousands of Cataphracts.

                                There’s a bit of a problem that I don’t like where Solars can’t really be used well to play games that are smaller than that though, which does suck but that’s what the other Exalted are for.

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