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  • Quicker Quick Characters

    The following is a rough work-in-progress framework for creating Quick Characters that are easier to run than the current iteration of the concept.


    Mechanical differences:

    - Instead of motes and wp, Quicker Quick Characters have a pool called Effort. One point of Effort is roughly equivalent to 10m 1wp. QQCs can’t regain Effort mid-combat, unless a specific effect on their sheet says otherwise.

    (This serves the purpose of keeping round-to-round bookkeeping to a minimum. By far the biggest hurdle to having a circle-vs-circle combat running smoothly is the need to update everybody's character sheet at the beginning of each round at once.)

    - At the beginning of their turn, the GM must also pick a Stance for that character from the options at her disposal. The benefits of a Stance last until the beginning of the character’s next turn, and should work out to roughly 5 motes in value. Upon selecting a Stance, the GM must announce its effects to the players.

    (As long as you have a way to mark whichever Stance you picked, this should work out nicely. The main purpose of this is to have something that makes up for the lack of per-turn mote regeneration but which is also more dynamic than just bumping up every stat slightly. The fact that players are aware of what kind of bonus NPCs are benefitting from during that turn and can play around that is a nice benefit.)

    - The Stance-independent keyword denotes that bonuses from that turn’s Stance do not apply to that attack or application of Defense. This represents hitting the excellency limit.

    (Self-explanatory; we don't necessarily want big attacks to only have a decent chance of landing when the character completely neglects defense or vice versa, unless this is an explicit goal with the adversary's design.)
    - For the sake of convenience, the autosuccess gained from spending willpower on abilities with dice-adding excellencies has been converted into two dice.

    (I've actually played around with dice- and success-adding effects on the same roll but it took up way too many words compared to how much it added. Yes, having two dice instead of a flat autosuccess bumps up the standard deviation somewhat. No, I don't think this is going to have a terribly significant effect on the end result when the character's already rolling around 20 dice anyway.)
    - Unlike regular Quick Characters, QQCs do have different pools for withering and decisive attacks. Not only is this more fair (no more +5 non-Charm dice on decisive attacks for free if a character is using an artifact light weapon!), it also helps readability when the options for withering and decisive attacks are clearly delineated.


    Stylistic differences:

    - QQC sheets ditch everything not related to combat. Their primary purpose is to help the GM handle action scenes with multiple Exalted opponents; those are hard enough to run already without unnecessary info cluttering up the sheet.

    (You're welcome to add a separate utility sheet for cases where it's necessary.)

    - A QQC sheet should fit on a single page whenever possible. One and a half pages is allowed for adversaries who are especially powerful or interact with unusual mechanics.

    (The assumption here is that you have these in front of you when you run the game, and don't want to waste time by flipping to look through your options.)

    - Sheets should be immediately readable and options should be straightforward and obvious. Ideally, you should have a withering attack, a decisive attack and a defense, each with a single option to boost them for Effort. Absolutely no more than three effects in a single category of action.

    (Again, the idea is that you can look at the thing, immediately know what kind of action you want to do, then look at the options enhancing that action and decide if you want to go BIG.)



    Well that was a lot of useless wank, now let's see if this thing works out in practice. Remember, this is a very rough work-in-progress. I'm not sure if fiddling with this will go anywhere, speed up play in any meaningful fashion, or provide a more interesting play experience, although I certainly hope it will do all of the above.


    Let's see something very basic first...
    YOUNG FIRE ASPECT
    Essence: 2; Effort: 3
    Health Levels: 0/-1*3/-2*3/-4/Inc
    Join Battle: 13 dice; Combat Movement: 7 dice; Resistance: 6 dice

    STANCES:
    • Offense: gain +3 dice on attacks and +1 Defense.
    • Defense: gain +1 die on attacks and +2 Defense.
    • Mobility: gain 2 automatic successes and roll an additional die for each 10 on rolls based on Athletics or Dodge (combat movement, feats of strength, resisting certain environmental hazards and other harmful effects).
    TRAITS:
    Tamer of Fire: the Young Fire Aspect is immune to mundane environmental hazards based on fire or heat, and gains +3 soak and 2 hardness against fire-based attacks.
    Burning Heart Exertion: once per day, the Young Fire Aspect may add (Intimacy) non-Charm dice to a nonextended action that upholds an emotion-based Intimacy.
    Wreathed in Flames: the Young Fire Aspect’s anima flux deals 3 dice of damage.

    ATTACK, WITHERING:
    Jade daiklave: 12 dice, damage 16 (min. 5).
    • Crimson Fang Bite (1E): 16 dice, damage 20 (min. 5).

    ATTACK, DECISIVE:
    Jade Daiklave: 9 dice, damage (Initiative).
    • Burning Fury Wreath (1E): 13 dice, damage (Initiative). Double 10s on the damage roll and ignore 5 Hardness.
    OTHER ACTIONS:
    Unarmed combat (Stance-independent): 9 dice withering, 5 dice decisive; Parry 3.

    DEFENSES:
    Evasion: 3, Parry (jade daiklave): 6, Soak/Hardness: 8/0 (lamellar armor)
    • Blinding Sparks Distraction (1E, Stance-independent): Parry 9 and ignore one point of penalty to your Parry against a single attack. On a successful parry, attacker must make a Stamina + Resistance roll against difficulty (2 + successes he missed by) or become blinded until the end of his next turn.

    ...and also something that's maybe a bit more complex and ambitious but also has a way higher chance to spectacularly explode into my face...

    MIDNIGHT PRODIGY

    Essence: 4; Effort: 7
    Health Levels: 0/-1*5/-2*8/-4/Inc
    Join Battle: 7 dice; Combat Movement: 6 dice; Resistance: 8 dice
    Blasphemous Lore: 11 dice; Read Intentions: 10 dice; Social Influence: 11 dice

    STANCES:
    • Bulwark: ignore all penalties to Parry. Reduce the damage of incoming attacks by one for each 1 on the attack roll.
    • Preacher: gain +1 Parry and make a reflexive social influence roll on your turn.
    • Scourge: gain +5 to attack rolls.
    TRAITS:
    Enlightened Tyrant Knowledge (Stance-independent): the Midnight can add dice equal to his Blasphemous Lore pool to any roll or half of it (round up) to a static value by spending 1E. This provides no further benefit to Stance-independent effects.
    Lessons of Ancient Battlefields (Stance-independent): if the Midnight is fighting at a place of death and he has spent at least an hour researching its history earlier, he rolls to Join Battle with his Blasphemous Lore pool and a free full excellency (21 dice total).
    Deathless Terror Mien: whenever he takes damage to his Health Levels without becoming Incapacitated, the Midnight reflexively makes a single threaten roll, applying the result against every opponent who can see him. Characters whose Resolve is overcame take (4 - his wound penalty) dice of unsoakable withering damage.
    Spiteful Prophet of Madness: whenever the Midnight crashes a character, she can accept a Minor Derangement (player’s choice, as long as it reflects the taint of Oblivion or a growing obsession with death). If she refuses, he regains 1 point of spent Effort. A character who already possesses such a Derangement is unaffected.

    ATTACK, WITHERING:
    Voice of the Abyss: 15 dice, damage 10 (min. 3), range short. Replace the target’s soak with her Resolve for the purposes of reducing this damage.
    • KNEEL BEFORE ZOD (1E): As above, but apply the result of this attack against every opponent within short range. The Midnight only gains Initiative from the largest damage roll result, plus 1 for each additional opponent hit, plus Initiative Breaks.
    ATTACK, DECISIVE:
    Voice of the Abyss: 10 dice, damage (Initiative), range short.
    • Perpetual Emptiness Revelation (1E): 10 dice, damage (divide Initiative evenly between targets hit, round up). Roll a single attack against the Defense of all opponents in a cone in front of you. The width of the cone is one range band at short and two at medium range. A character who takes at least (her unmodified Resolve) levels of damage from this attack must accept a Minor Derangement as described in Spiteful Prophet of Madness if she does not already have one, or lose 4 Initiative.
    DEFENSES:
    Evasion: 3; Parry (gnarled staff): 6; Soak/Hardness: 14/10 (soulsteel articulated plate)
    Mind-Shattering Mystery Infliction (1E): the Midnight can Clash any attack (even an ambush) made against him with a special Gambit (10 dice to attack). The difficulty of this Gambit is equal to (his attacker’s Resolve), and if he succeeds, his target becomes obsessed with a mind-wracking riddle pertaining to the nature of Oblivion, the condition of the Neverborn, or some other piece of morbid occult trivia. On each of her turns, she must use a flurriable miscellaneous action to make an Intelligence + (her choice of Lore or Occult) roll until she solves the riddle, an extended action with a Difficulty of 3 and a Goal Number of 7. A character who willingly takes or already possesses a Derangement such as described in Spiteful Prophet of Madness treats the Difficulty as 0 instead. This effect ends at the end of the scene, even if its victim failed to reach a solution. Once per scene.
    Wound-Denying Contempt (1E): halve all incoming decisive damage for one tick. Once per scene, unless reset by surviving an attack or sequence of attacks with a combined raw damage of 30+ over the course of a single tick, including through use of this power.
    Beyond Death’s Grasp (1E): after being hit by a decisive attack, the Midnight gains 4 additional -0 Health Levels and forces his opponent to reroll all successful dice on the damage roll, keeping non-successes. He then gains Initiative equal to the final number of non-successful damage dice. At the end of the scene, the created Health Levels fade, along with any damage contained therein. Once per scene.


    Okay that's enough now I really should go to sleep. Blah blah PEACH blah blah comments and notes welcome.
    Last edited by aluminiumtrioxid; 01-10-2020, 10:35 PM.


    Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
    Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

  • #2
    Nice improvement, I like it. Since the goal is to reduce QCs to their essence, I think it would really help to forego the books' natural language in favor of reducing word count to a minimum.

    Comment


    • #3
      I like it very much I'll try to see how I can combine this with my own homebrew for QC


      My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

      Comment


      • #4
        After a more thorough read I really like it. The only difficulty is actually coming with the numbers and ideas to make the QQC but at its core it seems really cool. The Stance idea is so good I'm so totally going to try to steal it !


        My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Chausse View Post
          After a more thorough read I really like it. The only difficulty is actually coming with the numbers and ideas to make the QQC but at its core it seems really cool. The Stance idea is so good I'm so totally going to try to steal it !
          Pretty much my reaction too. Simplifying down to a few strong Charms helps a lot, I like the way you broke up the categories, and Stances are indeed quite cool.

          The only downside is I still don't really have a sense of how to pick numbers without just picking them out of a hat

          Comment


          • #6
            Maybe a standard QC to QQC conversion example might help?

            Comment


            • #7
              I think the answer is quite basical but what is needed is a list : you take a good look at what kind of power or effects there is in the game (OP here puts a little sample that illustrates quite nicely the idea : the Dragon Blooded got dice adders in offense, defense and movement, the Midnight got penalty negator, supplementary actions), you divide each of them into some sort of ranks or types, and you make the damn list.

              Here would my example :

              Depending on the power of the character, you chose which power level you want to his stances to be. All stances contain 3 different power level expressed like this : (weak/medium/strong).

              Offense stances :

              Scourge : gain (+3/+5/+7) to attack rolls
              Heavy : gain (+2 and +2/+3 and +5/+5 and +8) to attack rolls and damage rolls (withering)
              Balance : gain (+2 and +1/+4 and +1/+6 and +2) to attack rolls and defense
              Retributor : When you are targetted by a melee attack, you can make a counterattack (after being damaged/after being hit but before being damaged/before being hit)

              and the list goes on...

              The list should be inspired by the already existing powers and stats scores existing in the Core (you can have a look at the homebrew in my signature to find a small list of pre-compiled stats for characters), and I believe it would be some hard work but with no more than 6 hours of intelligent work you can regroup almost all pre-existing powers into stances and also come up with some ideas of Charms to be fueled by the Effort system of the OP.


              My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

              Comment


              • #8
                This looks pretty interesting. I'll have to try it out sometime.

                Chausse All Stances are composed of effects worth roughly 5m, such as the Fire Aspect's +3 on attacks (1m per +1) and +1 Defense (2m) or its Mobility Stance (equivalent to 4m spent on Stoking Bonfire Style). The Midnight's Bulwark Stance is just the Solar Charm Fivefold Bulwark Stance, which likewise costs 5m.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by The MG View Post
                  This looks pretty interesting. I'll have to try it out sometime.

                  Chausse All Stances are composed of effects worth roughly 5m, such as the Fire Aspect's +3 on attacks (1m per +1) and +1 Defense (2m) or its Mobility Stance (equivalent to 4m spent on Stoking Bonfire Style). The Midnight's Bulwark Stance is just the Solar Charm Fivefold Bulwark Stance, which likewise costs 5m.
                  Yeah but the Stance last for the whole round. Plus, you can expect stronger characters to have more efficient powers/mote spent that allows them to keep higher bonuses throughough the fight. Furthermore, the stances of the OP represent 5m for one action, while the stances last for the whole turn, so they do not represent a real 5m cost. But it doesn't matter because wanting to rule the Antagonists the same way you rule the player characters is a bad idea from the start, and I truly believe a system like this is what we should have gotten from the very beginning, instead of the actual Antagonist section from the book (from the combat perspective at least).
                  Last edited by Chausse; 01-11-2020, 01:03 PM.


                  My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chausse View Post
                    Yeah but the Stance last for the whole round. Plus, you can expect stronger characters to have more efficient powers/mote spent that allows them to keep higher bonuses throughough the fight. Furthermore, the stances of the OP represent 5m for one action, while the stances last for the whole turn, so they do not represent a real 5m cost. But it doesn't matter because wanting to rule the Antagonists the same way you rule the player characters is a bad idea from the start, and I truly believe a system like this is what we should have gotten from the very beginning, instead of the actual Antagonist section from the book (from the combat perspective at least).

                    As originally envisioned, the Stance system has a massive unspoken assumption at the heart of it: that you break out QQCs in a situation where they roughly match the PCs in numbers. This means that on average, a QQC will make one attack and have to defend against one attack per round. The entire purpose of having to announce a QQC's Stance for the round is to inform PCs about the bonus, allowing them to plan their actions in a way that minimizes the benefit a QQC can gain from their Stance. (An example with the two characters above: if the GM announces that the Young Fire Aspect will go into Defense Stance while the Midnight Prodigy picks Scourge, it makes sense for a Circle of three PCs to focus their attacks on the Midnight, because that way they effectively deny up to 12 motes' worth of bonuses from their opposition. Of course, the Midnight is also a far stronger character, so by focusing their offensive effort on the Young Fire Aspect, they could possibly kill her, gaining the upper hand in both the mote and action economy. Thus, a meaningful choice is created.)

                    By the way, here's a couple other interesting things you can do with the Stance system, from a pair of yet-unpublished sheets I hope to dump on the community soon:


                    INEXPERIENCED SWORDSMAN

                    STANCES:
                    • Offense: gain +4 dice on attacks.
                    • Defense: gain +2 Defense.
                    • All-in (1E): gain the benefit of both Offense and Defense Stance for the round.

                    YOUNG AIR ASPECT

                    STANCES:
                    • Sorcery: gain +3 dice on sorcery rolls* and +1 Evasion.
                    • Defense: gain +2 Defense and two automatic successes on disengage actions.
                    • Hex-Eater: if you choose this Stance for two consecutive rounds and take no actions other than countering and distorting enemy spells during this time, you regain 1 point of spent Effort.
                    * The following actions fall under this category: countermagic, distortion, shape sorcery, and sorcerous attack rolls.


                    Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                    Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I really like your work. It would be so good to have more content from your ideas, I would instantly use them instead of the normal QC it there was a big enough list of stances to build a good variety of antagonists.


                      My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I like this as a core idea; I am handily convinced that it represents a cool and interesting way of making a Quick Character focused on combat. I'd be interested in making a few of these myself, using your handy rubric.

                        I'd probably like to note that Resolve is 100% an important in-combat number to have available; enough of my PCs have abilities that have an effect on beating Resolve (gain initiative, force hostility, force to spend WP) that I need it in combat.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Resolve is also the easiest to bullshit up. It's a flat 3-4 for anyone not specifically focusing on it (which is "most twinked-out combat characters"). If your players care a lot about moment-to-moment Resolve, you can either make a Stance for it ("+1 Defense, +2 Resolve" is a fair one), plug in a 1E boost, or make a Boon for it. We'll talk about Boons later today.


                          Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                          Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Time for another QQC and a breakdown of how she's been put together!

                            YOUNG WOOD ASPECT



                            Essence: 2; Effort: 3 Health Levels: 0/-1*3/-2*3/-4/Inc
                            Join Battle: 11 dice; Combat Movement: 8 dice; Resistance: 7 dice

                            STANCES:
                            • Offense: gain +3 dice on attacks and +1 Evasion.
                            • Defense: gain +2 Evasion and two automatic successes on disengages.
                            • Regrowth: if you choose this Stance for two consecutive rounds and take no actions other than Aim during this time, regain 1 point of spent Effort.
                            TRAITS:
                            Boundless Vitality: the Young Wood Aspect is immune to mundane plant-based poisons and doubles 9s on rolls to resist other poisons and diseases.
                            Venomous Thorns Rebuke: characters who take damage from the Young Wood Aspect’s anima flux are exposed to a poison (damage 2i/round, duration 6 rounds, penalty -1).

                            ATTACK, WITHERING:
                            Jade powerbow: 9 dice plus range (-1/+5/+3/+1/-), damage 15 (min. 4). In Offense Stance, the attack ignores 3 points of penalties from visual obstructions (poor lighting, smoke, etc.).
                            • Death from Nowhere (1E, requires aim): 13 dice plus range and aim, damage 15 (min. 6). Ignore all penalties from visual obstructions and 5 points of soak from armor.
                            ATTACK, DECISIVE:
                            Jade powerbow: 9 dice, damage (Initiative). In Offense Stance, the attack ignores 3 points of penalties from visual obstructions (poor lighting, smoke, etc.).
                            • Arrow Thorn Technique (1E): 13 dice, damage (Initiative). Ignore all penalties from visual obstructions and add up to 2 threshold successes on the attack roll to damage. After the roll, may spend up to 2 initiative to reroll a non-1 failed die per point.
                            OTHER ACTIONS:
                            Arbor Sentinel Technique (Simple): the Young Wood Aspect’s bow grows into a tree, providing heavy cover and preventing her from getting disarmed. This effect ends if she moves further than close range from it.
                            Attack (backup dagger): 11 dice withering (damage 10, min. 1), 7 dice decisive.

                            DEFENSES:
                            Evasion: 5, Parry (dagger/unarmed): 3, Soak/Hardness: 7/0 (chain shirt)
                            • Hopping Firecracker Evasion (1E): +1 Evasion and ignore (1 + attack roll 1s) points of penalty to your Evasion. If your attacker misses by 2 or more and you are not crashed, you may pay 2i to move a single range band in any direction without having to disengage.

                            My Young Dragon-Blood writeups are shooting for Essence 2 and a power level where they can meaningfully challenge but not outshine a reasonably combat-focused Dragon-Blooded PC straight out of character creation. They're meant to represent Dynasts who finished in the top 20% of their combat classes in their secondary school. This translates to 9 dice in their main area of focus, usually representing a 4/4/1 split which allows for an excellency limit of 5 dice (or +2 points to a static value).

                            Right now, my feelings say that an Essence 2 Dragon-Blooded QQC writeup should operate at one of three distinct tiers: 7 dice for the lower end of combat-effective characters (representing a 3/3/1 split and an excellency limit of 4d/+2), 9 dice for strong enemies (see above), and the maximum 11 dice for uniquely powerful adversaries (hopefully I'll get to writing one up at some point). This does not mean that the typical Dragon-Blooded opponent must have a combat pool of at least 7 dice or be relegated to irrelevance, just that a/ you can represent such characters with a sheet even simpler than a QQC writeup, and b/ if your PCs are weak enough that such a character provides a meaningful combat challenge to them, you're in the privileged position of being able to get away with using heroic mortals who require even less bookkeeping than QQCs, and should probably enjoy that while it lasts.

                            Since I'm still just discovering the limits of the system and playing around with it, one of my main rules is "cheating should be kept to a minimum". The best way to ensure that QQCs created with the system have the same rough power level as NPCs painstakingly pieced together from the book is to limit myself to effects that are actually available to an NPC of the same power level. This also colors how the Effort pool is determined - bringing us to Boons.

                            An Essence 2 Dragon-Blood has 13 personal and 31 peripheral motes, for a total of 44. So that means we should just say "let's call it 4 Effort, they even attuned to an artifact", right? Well... no. In general, I believe it's important to introduce inefficiencies - partially because it's very rare for two groups of characters to just have a go at each other with everybody being at 100%, and partially because you... actually want your side to lose. Your PCs are the stars of the story, which means the design succeeds if, at the end of the combat, they go "that was a worthy opponent, but in the end, I was better". They should have an edge, even if they're also Essence 2 Dragon-Blooded fresh out of character creation with 9 dice in their primary combat pools.

                            (Also, it's actually quite difficult for a Dragon-Blood to blow 10m 1wp's worth of stuff on Join Battle, but they'd also be stupid not to use an excellency on it, which means you're best off if you just straight-up deduct that expenditure from their mote pool. Initiative Shifts are so rare it's almost never going to make a difference.)

                            Enter Boons.

                            Boons are basically what you use to round a QQC's Essence pool down to a nice even number before converting to Effort. You take a situational effect, make a rough guess of how many times that's going to be relevant in the average fight, then deduct it from the pool. Repeat until you have number that's divisible by 10.

                            The Young Fire Aspect writeup from earlier affords us an excellent opportunity to see Boons in action. We start with a combined mote pool of 44, deduct 5 for the artifact attunement (leaving us with 39), then deduct 5 for the anima power, converting it into a Trait (Tamer of Fire), and dump the remaining 4 motes into Join Battle (bringing it up to 13 dice from a default 9). Nice and simple, as well as terribly inefficient - Tamer of Fire is almost never going to be relevant, unless the PCs have a habit of starting fires everywhere. All our goals are accomplished.

                            The Young Wood Aspect has a bit more complex situation going on with her Boons. She has an artifact powerbow (5m) and an anima power activation (5m) as well as +4 dice on her Join Battle. (She started with 7 dice - as an archer, her best strategy is engaging the enemy from afar, which means having to aim between attacks, which means she's only going to be able to shoot on her second turn. She won't get to act early no matter what, making the initial roll a secondary concern for her. Additionally, from a fairness perspective, Dragon-Blooded Archery Charms care a lot about the user's Perception, which would mean fewer points remaining for Wits.)

                            So far, this looks exactly like the Young Fire Aspect's deal.

                            Except, well, her anima power is even more useless. It's a benefit she'd gain anyway as soon as she hits bonfire anima; there are not terribly many plant-based poisons detailed in the game and the double 9s averages out to less than +1 success per roll; and as a backline character, her chances of getting hit with poison in the first place are pretty slim. The Young Fire Aspect's thing at least makes a difference when it comes up - this one is both situational and bad. At the same time, since it activates whenever she hits bonfire anima, I'd have to write the trait up anyway, and simplifying it to always-on would mean one fewer thing to have to pay attention to.

                            However, as an archer, there's another thing she needs to be good at: running away when an angry person closes in with her, swinging an oversized slab of jade. Unfortunately, Dragon-Blooded Dodge is extremely light on disengage-enhancers at Essence 2, so I can't really give her a power that costs 1E without going outside the Charmset. I could give her a Disengage Stance, but I feel that the ability to regain Effort mid-combat really fits the whole growth theme Wood has going on, which means she'd have to give up Offense or Defense.

                            Fortunately, disengage actions fall into exactly the same kind of situational effect that can trivially be turned into Boons! It's obviously less situational than an early anima power activation, but we could just say "well I expect it to be used 2-3 times during the average fight, so let's say she has a trait called Threshold Warding Stance which provides 1 automatic success on disengages and eliminates environmental penalties on the roll, and we're counting it as worth 5 motes". I could even ditch the useless anima activation in favor of this!

                            ...Except that would complicate the sheet, and the last thing we need for a shitty throwaway Essence 2 character is to have a complicated sheet where the GM has to actively track her anima.

                            So in the end, I decided to split the difference: Defense Stance went from "+1 attack, +2 Evasion" to "+2 Evasion, +2 autosuccesses on disengages", and the shitty poison resistance trait stayed.


                            Next up, we'll continue from here with how the rest of the sheet was made. (Spoiler: the answer's exactly what you expect.)
                            Last edited by aluminiumtrioxid; 01-13-2020, 01:34 PM.


                            Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                            Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Action pools and Health Levels

                              The Fire and Wood Aspects were made with the assumption of using a standard physical primary distribution. The Fire Aspect uses a 4/4/3 spread, while the Wood uses 3/4/4 - the former needs a high Strength score to wring maximum benefit out of Crimson Fang Bite, while the latter really wants to get a decent duration out of her anima poison. This, in turn, determines their Resistance pools: since it's an ability that's reasonably important to any combat-focused character but doesn't feel like a core part of either's concept, we'll go with 3 dots in the ability for a total of 6/7 dice. Combat movement is a basic 8 dice for both of them: ability 3 is not an option because being limited to a single autosuccess would allow any halfway competent PC to run circles around them, while ability 5 would feel off, as quickness is not really a defining characteristic for either of them to the point where it should equal their main combat pool. Our reasoning complete, we apply the -1 mobility penalty to the Fire Aspect due to her medium armor, and we're done.

                              As for Health Levels, they should both be tougher than an average mortal, but not by a lot: durability is not an integral part of either character's concept, and we don't really want a fight against them to drag on too much, as they have neither the power nor the dramatic weight to justify that. This means a single level of Ox-Body Technique, appropriate to their Stamina (a -1/-2). Feel free to add another if you're using the statblock to represent a particularly important character or one who has a reputation for being a tough SOB (DOB?).

                              Traits

                              These are literally just Fire/Wood Aspect anima powers. Other statblocks will have more going on in this department.

                              Withering attacks

                              The Young Fire Aspect's base pool of 9d +3d accuracy gives us a total of 12d on her default attack pool, damage is 12 base + 4 Strength for a total of 16. Her Crimson Fang Bite is identical to the Charm of the same name, providing +4 (=Strength) raw withering damage, which eats up 3m 1wp from our 10m 1wp budget. (It's important that we use CFB over the otherwise superior Demon-Crushing Wolf Bite, because the latter is a Wood Charm, and we want to keep these characters mono-elemental if possible.) With 7m capacity left over, we could just add a 5m excellency, make the effect Stance-independent, and call it a day, but we're not going to do that: instead, we add a 2m excellency and two additional dice that represents a Willpower spend, for a total of 5m 2wp. Since the value of 1wp is roughly equivalent to 4-5 motes, we're well within our rights to do this, especially given that the Young Fire Aspect has no way to regain Effort, so this represents, at maximum, spending 6 points of Willpower - a score that is eminently reachable for the average starting character. The reason we do this is that our mantra of "a Stance represents 5 motes' worth of effects, divided between one attack and a single application of Defense" is a big fat lie. QQCs are deliberately designed to be weaker than PCs, which means that in a fight between two groups of equal size, it will very probably be a QQC who drops first, which immediately distorts the action economy in favor of the PCs. From that point on, even in the specific use-case we're designing for (one QQC for every PC), defensive Stances will provide more value than the offensive options, as the other side will be able to make more attacks per round. We should design our offensive options with this in mind, making sure that in order to maximize their chances of landing a hit, a QQC will need to forgo the benefits of their generally more potent defensive Stance.

                              The Young Wood Aspect has a very similar setup: weapon accuracy on top of a base pool of 9, plus 12 + Strength withering damage, plus a note about the excellency benefit of Unobstructed Hunter's Aim, which she gains automatically in Offense Stance. However, we immediately deviate from the canonical Charms with Death From Nowhere by limiting it to attacks that benefit from aiming. The reason for this is very simple: this option represents a combination of Death From Nowhere (4m), the withering version of Arrow Thorn Technique (3m) plus a 2m excellency and a willpower. Both of the non-excellency Charms in that combo feature incredibly minor differences based on whether the supplemented attack benefits from aiming or not. We don't need this level of granularity, so we just note down the better version and restrict its usage. To compensate, we assume a wildly unrealistic Perception of 5 on the part of the user. (Note that even so, we’re barely better off than a spear-wielder making a Piercing attack.)

                              Decisive attacks

                              The Young Fire Aspect's Burning Fury Wreath is a combination of the Charm of the same name (3m) plus Crimson Fang Bite (3m 1wp) plus a 2m excellency and 1wp. This is slightly more mote-efficient than our expected baseline, but we're not terribly worried about that: since it's a decisive, it's very unlikely that this attack will be used more than once per combat, and the average Dragon-Blood can easily be expected to wring at least 3m out of Stoking Bonfire Style over the course of a fight, barring extremely unfavorable circumstances. We simplify the powers a little. Burning Fury Wreath would normally ignore 2 + (attack roll 10s) Hardness, double that in Fire Aura, which we lowball to a flat 5 - any time our Fire Aspect is in a position to deliver a decisive, she would probably be in Aura for a minimum of 4 points of ignored Hardness, and anything beyond that is tremendously unlikely to matter a lot, since this is already enough to pierce even artifact heavy articulated plate with a mere 6 Initiative. Crimson Fang Bite loses the (Strength) limitation on the number of 10s it can double, because let's be real, your crappy throwaway QQC is not going to get to 30+ Initiative where the limitation starts to matter, and even if she does, if she lands an attack like that, it'll probably splatter a PC anyway. We’re done.

                              The Young Wood Aspect’s Arrow Thorn Technique is a combination of the decisive version of Arrow Thorn Technique (3m), plus Spring Follows Winter (2m), plus 2m 1wp’s worth of extra dice. At 7m 1wp, this is kind of wimpy, but not having to worry about being in Aura for Spring Follows Winter probably makes up for it. Arrow Thorn Technique gets a slight buff, not needing to aim in order to trigger the full 2 threshold successes on damage, but honestly, that situational 1 die bonus probably never made a difference in anybody’s game, ever.

                              Other actions

                              The Young Fire Aspect’s only option in this category is flailing around ineffectually with her fists. This is a Stance-independent effect, because we want her to be kind of helpless without her sword. Disarming should be an immediately obvious and attractive option against opponents who rely on their weapons.
                              The Young Wood Aspect can use Arbor Sentinel Technique to gain heavy cover, pumping up her Evasion to a hair-raising 7 before stunts, Stances and Effort. Of course, this eats her action and isn’t particularly useful unless someone shoots back at her - if an opponent closes in, she wants to get away immediately, causing her tree to wither and die. We waive the 5m cost as irrelevant, because the ability is useless in Regrowth Stance and prevents her from benefitting 3-4 motes’ worth of effects in the other two, making it a net gain of maybe 1 or 2 motes (which is immediately made up for by her lackluster options for spending Effort). Her other option is stabbing her opponents with a dagger, an attack that’s not Stance-independent, but still weak enough to be a desperate last resort.

                              Defenses

                              The Young Fire Aspect is assumed to have Dodge 3 under the same logic we used to determine her Resistance, wears medium armor and wields a daiklave for a total of Evasion of 3, Parry of 6, and soak of 8. This means she can go up to Parry 8 every round just by picking Defense Stance, making it rather difficult to land a decisive on her without a significant investment. However, she lacks meaningful penalty negation and quickly runs out of Effort, so this is probably fine unless your PCs are severely under-optimized Dragon-Blooded.
                              Her big defensive trick is a combination of Graceful Flowing Defense (2m 1i) + Blinding Sparks Distraction (1m 1i) + 4m excellency + 1wp. Since we’re sticking to the mono-element concept, we’re using the weaker version of Graceful Flowing Defense. We allow her to gain a full defensive excellency, partially because without it, we’d be at 3m 2i 1wp which is nowhere near the worth of 1E, and partially to incentivize picking Offense Stance by making her able to bring the full extent of her defensive power to bear in it.

                              Time for us to take stock: we’re at 7m 2i 1wp. We waive the Initiative costs; since the value of 1i is roughly equal to 1m, this brings us up to 9m 1wp. Considering that the final version of the power removes the Perilous tag from her penalty negator and allows her to retain her Fire Aura benefit (marginal as it is) while using it, this is more than enough.

                              The Young Wood Aspect’s Evasion is made up by the same 4/4/1 formula we used for her attack pool, since not being hit is just as essential to her as being able to land a hit. We’re not sweating the specialty too much; a Brawl- or Melee-focused character could trivially have a specialty in their weapon of choice, applying it both to their attacks and defenses, and a free +1 on top if they’re wielding a medium weapon. Considering this, even a Dodge specialty in “Evasion” could be considered fair game. For her Parry, we’re just assuming a score of 3 in both Brawl and Melee, which would be tremendously pointless on an actual PC, but saves us the headache of having to track whether she has her backup weapon out when she gets hit by an undodgeable attack. (This might seem like pointless busywork, but Death of Obsidian Butterflies is an available option at all tiers of play.) She’s wearing light armor because mobility penalties would cramp her style. This puts us at Evasion 5, Parry 3, Soak 7.

                              Her defensive power is a combination of Hopping Firecracker Evasion (3m 2i) + Flickering Candle Meditation (1m 1i) + the wood aspect anima power (3m) + 1wp, for a total of 7m 3i 1wp. This does not include an excellency, because between her 8m Defense Stance and +2 non-Charm bonus from Arbor Sentinel Technique, she’s already overloaded enough defensively. Instead, we waive the initiative cost on Flickering Candle Meditation (8m 2i 1wp). It’s nowhere near good enough of a Charm for the Perilous restriction to be actually important, or to make it reasonable for her to auto-crash herself whenever she tries to pull out her big defensive trick at base Initiative. Hopping Firecracker Evasion, on the other hand, is really strong (especially since she has a pretty good chance to trigger it if she has her Arbor Sentinel going), so the Initiative cost and the usage restriction stays. This brings us to a total of 8m 2i 1wp’s worth of effects, which is more than fair, considering how important Spring Follows Winter is to her decisive accuracy, and that the multiple Fire-tagged Charms in this combo would normally lock her out of it.



                              ...So that's basically how these characters are done! About 90% digging around in the books for appropriate effects and 10% fudging about comparatively minor points. As we go higher on the power scale, this strategy will quickly become untenable, but it's important to do the work on the basics in the reliable but boring way so you can get a rough feeling for the kind of power level you can expect out of a given splat at a given Essence level.

                              As of now, I have complete writeups for the remaining Aspects, but I'm not sure what would be the most useful thing for me to start working on. Your input is welcome. (In the absence of such input, I will probably keep making more Dragon-Blooded until the Sun goes out.)


                              Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                              Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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