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Can your Big Bad Villain take 5 Solars at once?

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  • #76
    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

    Yeah, like for example in DnD. If you start out as fresh level one characters playing Dragonheist. You’re in Waterdeep, and there’s people in Waterdeep like Manshoon, the Blackstaff, Xanathar, Laeral Silverhand, Elminster, Mordenkainen, Jarlaxle. Those guys should look at the kind of monsters that can wipe out your whole party and just shrug, smiting them with a single action. Sometimes a bonus action even. Unless you have some knowledge they want, you don’t even factor into their day planner. Which is pretty cool, you’re starting out lowly heroes, but then as you progress from there and through the Dungeon of the Mad Mage you grow and learn and eventually become a power that can rival those titans who’s shadow you used to stand in. That’s not what I want from my Solar campaigns in Exalted, for the most part.

    When I made my first ex3 character, he was an intentionally bad fighter, but a legendary sorcerer. He was someone that even the greatest sorcerers in the world had to take seriously. Not quake in fear and surrender to, but somebody who would definitely factor into their plans. If there’s a big meeting of the south-eastern sorcerers, I get an invite, and when I speak at it, the people present listen because I am a Solar who has poured his soul into the occult, and that makes me their equal. Or at least almost their equal. It’s not like I can cast Burning Hands and they can cast Meteor swarm, so I have to sit at the kids table for now.

    So I guess part of the reason I’d rather not have Exalted as the big boss characters is because the Exalted get involved in the politics and running nations and forming groups, human stuff. Which for DnD or even other Exalt types is fine. I’m good with being granted an audience with the Blackstaff and have her just totally not care about us at all really, just offhandedly dealing with us as she goes about her day. If I’m playing Solars it’s because I don’t want that.
    I think there is a gap between "I want my characters to have a Big Boss Fight against the mastermind old master of mystic kung fu behind the killing of my past lives" and "I want my character to be totally ignored and irrelevant to the setting because they are too weak", and I certainly think it's possible to make the first happen without falling on the second.


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

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    • #77
      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
      [...] FIVE optimized Solars can beat Kejak. This was the case in 1E and 2.5 (not 2E). Five Solars are supposed to be able to defeat Kejak if ganging up five on one. Just like five Deebs are supposed to be able to defeat one Solar. (Not always, I can see CK beating 5 Solars who aren't combat optimized, like the Tomb of Dreams crew, just as a rule of thumb.)
      Apparently, at some point, the developers of Exalted thought that it would be a good idea for Kejak to defeat a circle of Solars. At the same time, they never thought that a beggar could. So there is clear difference with respect to which one of these is canonical. I understand that you may not like their decision from that time, but, well, it is a part of Exalted's legacy.

      By the way, canonical Deathlords are something that player characters could become in-setting (by a specific combination of events, but still, I could imagine a pc becoming a deathlord in a course of ten years of campaign), so if you think that they PCs shouldn't be undermined by things they can personally become, then you shouldn't place Deathlords next to third-circle demons.

      Third circle-demons are assets that players can reliably control, so you wouldn't like them to completely overshadow the combatants, because then only the sorcerer matters in the circle. (In my games, if you summoned a demon/have a familiar/command a battle group, that usually, you, the player, control it mechanically.)

      Canonically, Merela was fighting a Primordial one-on-one. So elder Solars of first-age and Primordials do not canonically land in totally different categories. I understand, she was punching above her weight class, but still, at some point she was able to defeat a Primordial in direct confrontation.

      Of course: if we stick to third edition and current design paradigm, then sure, what I'm proposing and doing is clearly outside of this paradigm. If we treat Exalted broadly, taking as possible anything that happened in some edition, then gaps between low Essence Solars and elder Solars are potentially obviously huge. If you don't think they were, would you agree to reintroduce high-essence charms from previous editions? (Let's say those charms that had purely narrative effects, so that we don't have compatibility issues.) Would you allow in your games an Essence 6 charm that lets you punch your enemies so hard that they will end up in Malfeas or speak a curse so compelling that the whole cities are wiped out of existence and never were?

      DrLoveMonkey Dnd is constantly invoked here and I think it is a serious strawman. No one here proposes dnd-like progression. As far as I know, Dnd 5ed flattened things out, but I think that what I, probably Chausse and possibly other people are suggesting here is more like starting with a 15th level character in DnD. Already very competent, very well known, invited to sorcerous councils, listened there. Simply, still with some nontrivial room for developement and still possibly challenged by some more powerful foes (human-type).

      JohnDoe244 DrLoveMonkey One last question, not purely rhetorical. Are you ok with sorcery being gated behind Essence ratings?

      Because that's exactly the kind of progression I would like to see. As you said: you start as a competent powerful sorcerer. But then, you can still become a super-sorcerer, matched only by strange legendary witches from deep jungles. But then, you can still become something more, a sorcerer straight from a different era. You already have these power gaps, but strangely concentrated in one place.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by Lanic View Post
        and possibly other people are suggesting here is more like starting with a 15th level character in DnD. Already very competent, very well known, invited to sorcerous councils, listened there. Simply, still with some nontrivial room for developement and still possibly challenged by some more powerful foes (human-type).
        There’s really nobody in the world of DnD that can solo fight five level 15 characters without being themselves a demon lord or some kind of god like Tiamat. A level 15 Wizard, Sorcerer, cleric, fighter, rogue party annihilates a level 20 anything. The only hope of not dying is if they’re a level 20 wizard and they have a clone which activates. If any 5-person level 15 party had trouble with a level 20 antagonist, it’s not because that antagonist could take them all in a fair fight.

        Level 15 DnD characters are definitely Solar style feels.

        Originally posted by Lanic View Post
        JohnDoe244 DrLoveMonkey One last question, not purely rhetorical. Are you ok with sorcery being gated behind Essence ratings?

        Because that's exactly the kind of progression I would like to see. As you said: you start as a competent powerful sorcerer. But then, you can still become a super-sorcerer, matched only by strange legendary witches from deep jungles. But then, you can still become something more, a sorcerer straight from a different era. You already have these power gaps, but strangely concentrated in one place.
        I’m good with sorcery being that because, mostly, sorcery is a game changer in ways that other charms and abilities aren’t. You can summon and bind Ligier, somebody who actually can fight a whole circle of Solars and win. That’s beyond just the power to wipe out a city, it’s like your own personal city wiper for a year and a day.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
          But why should Kejak get to be a Big Bad Boss who can fight five Solars at once, but Blind Frog not get to be a Big Bad Boss?
          Because Kejak is a thousand year-old badass who's practically in charge of heaven. He gets crazy-ass mechanics because he's mastered, like, every Sidereal Martial Art and has learned to combine them in ways that should be impossible, and he's called in centuries worth of favors from war gods, and he's armed himself with some of the greatest weapons ever created. If the players manage all that, they can get multiple turns too.

          Speaking of talking past each other, though... Supernals or no, there's a very big difference between a being who can stand up to a circle of Essence 1 Solars and one who can stand up to a circle of Essence 5. I would absolutely expect Kejak to kick the asses of the former single-handedly, and I'd expect the latter to make him look like a fool if he tried to fight them all by himself.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by Lanic View Post
            Canonically, Merela was fighting a Primordial one-on-one.
            That's a meme. Merela defeated a Primordial with her bare hands i.e. brawl charms, Stephen Lea Sheppard who created the version of Queen Merela that we're familiar with has said he didn't intend for it to be a solo feat.


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            • #81
              Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
              Because Kejak is a thousand year-old badass who's practically in charge of heaven. He gets crazy-ass mechanics because he's mastered, like, every Sidereal Martial Art and has learned to combine them in ways that should be impossible, and he's called in centuries worth of favors from war gods, and he's armed himself with some of the greatest weapons ever created. If the players manage all that, they can get multiple turns too
              Hmmm, what about five Essence 1 Dawns?

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              • #82
                Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                Hmmm, what about five Essence 1 Dawns?
                I don't think usuallu they have the same curriculum, neither the same character development at this point.

                Do we agree that we agree on the fact that an elder Exalted is a cool challenge for a young circle of Solar, and than our only disagreement is about how to handle this challenge mechanically or am I missing something ?


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

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                • #83
                  Personally speaking, I'm less in favour of elder power and more dangerous/forbidden power, there's overlap but I wouldn't like to confuse the two.

                  Lets look at Filial Wisdom the Dawn Caste who first appeared in Ruins of Rathess. I'm cool with the idea that all the time he's spent with Han-Tha has given him access to dark power that could give him an unfair advantage in a fight. However, I actively resent the idea that spending the last 109 years in a jungle ruin being forgotten by the rest of the world makes him a better Solar.


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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Chausse View Post
                    To took one of your good examples : You taught me (truly a good advice) to ignore enemies that were useless in fights when they were not good enough for fight, in order to simplify combat. It's a good advice, and I take it. It's of course inspired, for example, from the rule that says "If a character is too weak just make a roll of (Dexterity + brawl) against him and be done with it". So obviously, when a Solar optimized PC encounter a DB freshman with 7 in fighting abilities, I won't spend my time doing a real fight and apply your advice. But what happens the way around ? Would you just look at a player with a freshman DB encountering a Solar that wants to fight him, tell the player "Ok roll (Brawl + Dexterity) ? 6 successes ? Well you're dead you can roll a new character." I tend to think you wouldn't do that, and instead try to let player escape or find a way around his imminent death, because the narrative is not the same from the player perspective (disposing of weak enemies vs surviving a killing machine). Does it mean that suddenly "You broke the rules and the setting doesn't make sense anymore ?". Well obviously no, you just adapted the mechanic at your disposal to fit the narrative going on.
                    The difference here is that the optimized Solar will win the fight against the DB freshman if you play the fight out fairly using the full combat rules.

                    So if you simplfy that to a single dice roll... nothing has changed. Either way the Solar wins.

                    If you fight five Solars against a single Sidereal, the Sidereal loses.

                    If you complicate the rules so that the Sidereal wins, then you've changed the outcome. Changing the outcome breaks the setting.

                    What you're proposing when you say "give elders five Initative tracks" is exactly the same mechanically as saying "Because a Freshman DB with dice pools of 7 can't beat an Optimized Solar in a fair fight, you should let the DB roll (Dexterity+Brawl) to automatically win the fight."

                    Which... does not make sense to me.

                    Originally posted by Chausse View Post
                    Do we agree that we agree on the fact that an elder Exalted is a cool challenge for a young circle of Solar, and than our only disagreement is about how to handle this challenge mechanically or am I missing something ?
                    A single elder Exalt fighting solo against a young Circle of Solars is explictly NOT a cool challenge for a young Circle of Solars. The Circle should pound that Elder into the ground.

                    An elder Exalt who leverages her control over mortals, allies both Exalted and Divine, sorcerously bound demons, powerful war manse full of traps, thousand year daiklave to manipulate the Circle into fighting at night, in the rain, whilst poisoned, and up against the clock as an army marches on their home town... now that is a cool challenge for a young Circle of Solars.

                    Which is why when you look at the write up for any of the published elders, they all say "this elder can usually be found with at least one of their protégés and a massive bunch of mortal troops".

                    Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
                    Because Kejak is a thousand year-old badass who's practically in charge of heaven. He gets crazy-ass mechanics because he's mastered, like, every Sidereal Martial Art and has learned to combine them in ways that should be impossible, and he's called in centuries worth of favors from war gods, and he's armed himself with some of the greatest weapons ever created. If the players manage all that, they can get multiple turns too.
                    Why isn't all that enough? Why isn't mastering every Sidereal Martial art and having centuries worth of favors and the greatest weapons created enough so that you have to add on extra Initative tracks?


                    Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                    Apparently, at some point, the developers of Exalted thought that it would be a good idea for Kejak to defeat a circle of Solars. At the same time, they never thought that a beggar could. So there is clear difference with respect to which one of these is canonical. I understand that you may not like their decision from that time, but, well, it is a part of Exalted's legacy.
                    Still waiting on a citation for that. If you're just going by unErrata'd statlines... then at some point the devs thought the Mask of Winter's couldn't read.

                    Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                    By the way, canonical Deathlords are something that player characters could become in-setting (by a specific combination of events, but still, I could imagine a pc becoming a deathlord in a course of ten years of campaign), so if you think that they PCs shouldn't be undermined by things they can personally become, then you shouldn't place Deathlords next to third-circle demons.
                    Technically, you could become a Third-Circle Demon too...

                    Heck, you can become a new breed of Titan or the Unconquered Sun.

                    But these are qualitively different to just growing in power as an Exalt.

                    Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                    Of course: if we stick to third edition and current design paradigm, then sure, what I'm proposing and doing is clearly outside of this paradigm. If we treat Exalted broadly, taking as possible anything that happened in some edition, then gaps between low Essence Solars and elder Solars are potentially obviously huge. If you don't think they were, would you agree to reintroduce high-essence charms from previous editions?
                    So I love 2E. But 3E is not 2E. (I also love 1E.)

                    The gap between Essence 6+ and Essence 1-5 Exalts of any kind was huge. Absolutely.

                    An Essence 10 Solar could walk over a dozen Essence 5 Solars. Without breaking a sweat.

                    3E getting rid of that power disparity was an important themeatic and mechanical change.

                    And, I have nothing against you house-ruling that change back in. I won't be, but you can if you like.

                    Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                    JohnDoe244 DrLoveMonkey One last question, not purely rhetorical. Are you ok with sorcery being gated behind Essence ratings?

                    Because that's exactly the kind of progression I would like to see. As you said: you start as a competent powerful sorcerer. But then, you can still become a super-sorcerer, matched only by strange legendary witches from deep jungles. But then, you can still become something more, a sorcerer straight from a different era. You already have these power gaps, but strangely concentrated in one place.
                    Sorcery (and Evocations and Eclipse Charms) aren't Solar Charms.

                    Just like I'm ok with Primodials having five Initative tracks, I'm ok with Solars not having Supernal access to powers which are not Solar powers.

                    Likewise I'm ok with Solars not having Supernal access to Essence 6+ Charms because they represent a personal refinement of power not an increase in power.

                    (DrLoveMonkey raises a valid point about the scope of Sorcery, and I "get" that you want more power tiers and don't want Solars to start near the top of their area of expertise, but it's not really the same thing. A Solar Occultist who wants to start play as the best Occultist in Creation, can do so.)

                    If we're going by anything that ever got published under the Exalted name ever... have you considered *shudders* starting play as Dragon-Blooded then Exalting again as Solars? That'd give you a pretty clear power up and preserve the whole "returning heroes" themes.

                    ****

                    For clarity there are 3 things I object to in Exalted:

                    1. This NPC is more special than you.
                    2. The Exalted aren't powerful enough, let's buff them.
                    3. The Exalted are too powerful, let's nerf them.

                    In Exalted you play an amazingly powerful demi-god. Embrace the awesomeness.
                    Last edited by JohnDoe244; 02-10-2020, 02:38 PM.


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

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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Chausse View Post
                      Do we agree that we agree on the fact that an elder Exalted is a cool challenge for a young circle of Solar, and than our only disagreement is about how to handle this challenge mechanically or am I missing something ?
                      It really depends how you build it up. If you build the Solars a certain way, not a “bad” way or the “wrong” way, maybe even the most “right” way, then Kejak doesn’t need any fancy tricks to win. Just give him White Reaper, maybe Wood Dragon or something, and the Sidereal excellency. Added help from any sidereal resistance charms or Citroen Poxes, the SMA is just racking up the score. I think that’s just fine.

                      On the other hand what I usually see is that the twilight bureaucrat has Dex 5, melee 5, specialty in swords, Awareness 5, specialty in ambushes, a daiklave, artifact heavy plate, and spells like Invulnerable Skin of Bronze stacked on top of that. If every character is built like that, and then the Dawn just has 18 melee charms, the 18 best ones, then Kejak needs to bring in reinforcements to win that fight. The one Dawn there might be Essence 1 but yes poised to be a warrior who is legendary even among the ranks of the Dawn caste, and everyone else there is a world class fighter who’ve honed their Solar Essence to break far beyond mortal limits.

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                        It really depends how you build it up. If you build the Solars a certain way, not a “bad” way or the “wrong” way, maybe even the most “right” way, then Kejak doesn’t need any fancy tricks to win. Just give him White Reaper, maybe Wood Dragon or something, and the Sidereal excellency. Added help from any sidereal resistance charms or Citroen Poxes, the SMA is just racking up the score. I think that’s just fine.

                        On the other hand what I usually see is that the twilight bureaucrat has Dex 5, melee 5, specialty in swords, Awareness 5, specialty in ambushes, a daiklave, artifact heavy plate, and spells like Invulnerable Skin of Bronze stacked on top of that. If every character is built like that, and then the Dawn just has 18 melee charms, the 18 best ones, then Kejak needs to bring in reinforcements to win that fight. The one Dawn there might be Essence 1 but yes poised to be a warrior who is legendary even among the ranks of the Dawn caste, and everyone else there is a world class fighter who’ve honed their Solar Essence to break far beyond mortal limits.
                        A single elder Exalt fighting solo against a young Circle of Solars is explictly NOT a cool challenge for a young Circle of Solars. The Circle should pound that Elder into the ground.
                        I mean I like you both really, but I don't think our discussion is leading anywhere. We don't want the same thing apparently, so we won't have the same thing. It's fine, but I don't believe this discussion has any purpose except showing we have different expectations about the game.


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

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                          Why isn't all that enough? Why isn't mastering every Sidereal Martial art and having centuries worth of favors and the greatest weapons created enough so that you have to add on extra Initative tracks?
                          Because the system as written makes being outnumbered an enormous disadvantage, and "giving the boss an extra turn" is a really simple and straightforward way to address the imbalance.

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
                            Because the system as written makes being outnumbered an enormous disadvantage, and "giving the boss an extra turn" is a really simple and straightforward way to address the imbalance.
                            It’s an enormous but not insurmountable disadvantage. Revolving Crescent Defense from White Reaper cancels all onslaught penalties and instead turns them into a parry bonus. That’s pretty damn good, it just doesn’t mean much if all five incoming attacks are 23-28 dice backed by a charm that rerolls 1s and another that gives non-charm automatic successes. Especially when your attacks back are all met with super heavy artifact plate. Which is a thing Solars can do, but they don’t have to.

                            I won’t have the time to run it tonight but I bet if I made a pretty conservative Kejak using only one or two martial arts from the current published material he could beat a circle of Solars. He just won’t beat a circle of Solars who’ve all got max combat stats and as many combat charms as they can grab at their essence.

                            This is also why I said yesterday that if we don’t pin down what we mean by that this discussion is pointless. The difference between Essence 5 and Essence 1 is insignificant compared to the difference between Melee 5 and Melee 1.

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                            • #89
                              Just to illustrate my point. Who wins in a fight? The Essence 5 guy with 1s in all his combat abilities, or the Essence 1 guy with 5s in all his combat abilities?

                              Assuming no shenanigans like “well is resistance technically a combat ability? And what about occult for combat sorcery?”

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
                                Because the system as written makes being outnumbered an enormous disadvantage
                                The system or the setting?


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

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