Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Can your Big Bad Villain take 5 Solars at once?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #91
    Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
    Because the system as written makes being outnumbered an enormous disadvantage.
    Being Outnumbered kind of works out that way in real life too, regardless of skill. Amazing, that.


    The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary. - James. D. Nicoll

    Comment


    • #92
      Are there any game systems out there that convincingly and elegantly make 5 opponents piling in against 1 small opponent *not quite* as good as you might expect?

      You often see this trope in movie fights (if maybe not reality) where you have 5 guys piling in against "the hero" or some badass villain, and they are not that effective, not much more effective than one-on-one, as the more skilled party is able to turn the confusion of close battle and their superior spatial and combat awareness to their advantage.

      Does Ex3 have the kind of tools in its system to make this happen? (Even if it does not, as base written).

      Comment


      • #93
        Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
        Are there any game systems out there that convincingly and elegantly make 5 opponents piling in against 1 small opponent *not quite* as good as you might expect?

        You often see this trope in movie fights (if maybe not reality) where you have 5 guys piling in against "the hero" or some badass villain, and they are not that effective, not much more effective than one-on-one, as the more skilled party is able to turn the confusion of close battle and their superior spatial and combat awareness to their advantage.

        Does Ex3 have the kind of tools in its system to make this happen? (Even if it does not, as base written).
        You can always battlegroup enemies who are mobbing somebody if you want them to be ultimately not very effective. On the other hand multiple people all attacking from different angles is handled by onslaught penalties. Powerful exalted can generally ignore these for some kind of cost though.

        Comment


        • #94
          Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
          Are there any game systems out there that convincingly and elegantly make 5 opponents piling in against 1 small opponent *not quite* as good as you might expect?

          You often see this trope in movie fights (if maybe not reality) where you have 5 guys piling in against "the hero" or some badass villain, and they are not that effective, not much more effective than one-on-one, as the more skilled party is able to turn the confusion of close battle and their superior spatial and combat awareness to their advantage.
          Well, of course it depends what you mean by "convincingly and elegantly", but yes, many system in the '90s used to embrace power gaps enabling the single fighter not to be overwhelmed by five opponents. DnD 3rd edition did that. Warhammer did that. Old World of Darkness games did that, Earthdawn did that, Shadowrun I guess did that (I own 3ed and 5 ed rulebooks but I never happened to play them), Burning Wheel did that. Honestly, it was a pretty normal thing. Arguably, systems back then were generally not "elegantly" designed going by current standards, but I wouldn't say there were bad.

          JohnDoe244 DrLoveMonkey As I said, I think it's good to break discussion in two points:

          1. What relative power levels we want to have in Exalted,
          2. If we want a circle of five Solars to be beatable by a single opponent, how can we reach it.

          Let me resume your points, to see whether we are not talking past each other. We were essentially completely ignoring point 2. and focusing completely on point 1. You're saying this:

          Originally posted by No one actually
          The essential feature of Exalted is that a Solar character, right after being created can be literally the top warrior in the world. If you gather five such Solars, any enemy of roughly human type should be beaten by them, because otherwise the statement that Solar can be really top warriors becomes meaningless. This feature is so fundamental to Exalted that changing it completely changes the basic premise of the game (say, like getting rid of the Masquarade in Vampire).
          Is that an accurate summary of your opinion?

          Now, my point is this: It's clear that the game mechanic of Exalted, the third edition supports your opinion. It is really how developers tend to depict things. Everyone agrees with that. What you say is the core feature of Solars in the current edition. We know that we are explicitly goldruling away something that really is a premise of Exalted: Third Edition.

          What I don't agree with is that this feature is somehow indeed fundamental to Exalted:
          - I don't see it really in the first edition rulebook. The tone seem to be rather sword and sorcery adventure;
          - I don't really see it really in the second edition rulebook; JohnDoe244, you yourself agreed that elders were so powerful in 2e as to completely dominate starting characters, even combat-optimised.

          Now, JohnDoe244 you said that in fact that feature was present in first edition. I went to the passages you hinted at and honestly, none of them seems to support the view that Solars should start near the top. We can discuss concrete passages, but reading the ones you already suggested, I remain unconvinced.

          Second edition was changed in the Scroll of Errata, ok. I understand. It was changed even more in third edition. But we are now discussing whether it is completely out of tone for Exalted to have powerful elders. My argument is: no. At some point, quite a few developers thought that it was a cool idea to have elders who completely dominate everyone else in the setting. You can argue that they were fundamentally wrong about what game Exalted should be, but this really requires some very strong arguments.

          For quite a few years, going by published charms, elders were vastly more powerful than the fresh Exalts. Therefore it's not contrary to the core premises of the game. I get that you may not like it, but what criterion do you even propose then of what is and what is not the essence of Exalted? What does it even mean to be the core premise in the game if it can change? The core premise in Exalted as such, not Exalted: third edition. We explicitly don't want to stick to premises of third edition in some respects. In my opinion, you are treating some features of Solars which you obviously enjoy and which clearly hold in current edition as the central premise of that splat.

          I would never claim that Lunars being twisted Wyld monsters is somehow the core premise of Lunars, precisely because it changes from edition to edition. Their being shapeshifers definitely is. It never changed and it's not likely to ever change.

          Learning Exalted, it never occurred to me that Solars starting literally at the top is the core premise of the setting and, judging by the number of threads that ask the precise same question, some people also don't see that as something obvious.

          For what it's worth, I tend to see the core premises of Solars as:
          - absurdly high power level (in the terms of narrative powers. You can shoot exploding arrows, because you're such a great archer. Doesn't mean that no one is better);
          - shiny heroes;
          - reborn rulers of the world;
          - chased by usurpers.

          Building on the tropes on which Exalted is partially built: mostly that of anime or wuxia stories, I would like to see more room for characters honing their skills and truly becoming a cosmic power.

          That was longish. I think that it's maybe pointless to discuss what the core premise of Solars is, because we obviously disagree about that and I couldn't possibly imagine what criteria can we apply to settle this issue (we could do deep exegesis of Exalted books, but honestly, it doesn't seem worth the effort).

          EDIT: One disclaimer. I know about Exalted definitely much less than you, and in this discussion, it's actually very relevant. However, I really think that with this experience comes certain baggage, as the impression of fresh reading becomes deeply entangled with numerous recollections from sessions, Internet discussion etc.
          Last edited by Lanic; 02-10-2020, 11:24 PM.

          Comment


          • #95
            I'm going to respond by saying not why IS it like that, but why it should be like that.

            1. It gives Solars a really cool and unique place, not just among the Exalted, but even among Tabletop RPGS in general. Not utterly unique, but pretty unique. If your whole circle wants to be warriors, then the five of you combined can fight literal mile-high behemoths, or the elder rulers of the world. Chejop Kejak doesn't get to look down his nose at you and scatter you to the winds like trash all on his own.

            In so many other settings, and so many other systems, you start out weak with major players totally beyond you in scope. Almost any WoD game, DnD, Shadowrun, Warhammer, Edge of Empire, Dark Heresy, all that is great for being awesome heroes that actually still don't hold a candle to the people really in charge, until you've reached the endgame and actually stand with them. It's nice for that not to be the case, for a change.


            2. It helps to counterbalance the crazy disadvantages that Solars start with. They have no infrastructure in place to catch them as they exalt like the Lunars, Sidereals and Dragonblooded do. A Sidereal is scooped up and flown in to Heaven to become enlightened and part of the workings of Heaven itself, Lunars are rescued from the jaws of the Wyld Hunt and taken to fortress-nations outside the easy grasp of the realm to learn in schools from their Shahan-ya, and their peers. Dragonblooded are raised from birth to grasp the helm of the greatest empire in the world, and exalted as elemental saints by the worlds greatest religion.

            Solars don't have any of that, or anything like it. They even suffer more than any other Exalted from the Great Curse on top of it all. The only thing they have is their personal strength. Even then, it's no match for the forces arrayed against them. They still need allies, they still need more experience and to grow in power as they adventure. Maybe not in martial power if they just dumped all 15 of their starting charms into combat right away. Nobody but a Dawn can do that anyway though. Everyone else is going to have to get theirs the slow way.


            3. Decentralizing the power of major NPCs outside of making them personally invincible lets the Storyteller and the Players better able to deal with them in a variety of ways and using a variety of characters, and lets the storyteller tailor the experience more. This is the only one that doesn't apply to just Solars. The Mask of Winters as he was in 2e was not able to be fought by almost any group of Solars. If you had a balanced circle of Solars, with maybe a pretty powerful Dawn, and everyone getting a bit involved in combat, they would still get destroyed by the Mask. Just the Mask, nevermind his Abyssals and other minions that you'd have to find some way to also deal with.

            He was beatable by some very specific Solars in some very specific ways, but that's about it. Even then step one of making those Solars was "Start the game at Essence 5". It's always a really hard balance point in any RPG, but it gets blown to absurdity in Exalted. In 5e DnD you can at least expect that everyone in a level 17 party can fight really well, there's no such thing as a class that can't put the hurt on people. Also DnD is pretty easy to optimize for, and doesn't require to to optimize that much. Your wizard with 18 intelligence is just fine.

            Exalted is not that at all. it's got a huge variety of characters, and a lot of them just can't fight. If your circle consists of the Warrior (Dawn), the Preacher (Zenith), the Messenger (Night) the Tinkerer (Twilight) and the Diplomat (Eclipse) then it really helps if you don't absolutely require five really epic warriors in the final conflict.


            4. Shouldn't really be in this list but I kind of don't understand why a Third Circle Demon or an epic Fey lord, doesn't fit the bill for a nemesis. They're not human, sure, but that doesn't make them not characters. Like what's wrong with this guy? He even has a convenient excuse as to why he doesn't just teleport over to the pathetically weak PCs and slay them. He's also powerful enough to fight the Unconquered Sun to a standstill, which is definitely powerful enough to fight a whole Solar circle.

            From the Compass of Celestial Directions: Malfeas: He relishes the attention given to him for his station, arrogant, an adept sorcerer and smith. He'll even do commission work for the right price, whatever that is. When you need something from him he invites you into one of his seven decadent parlours to treat with you, he'll even treat with mortals if they offer him a legitimate request. He rules one of the largest and most powerful feifdoms in Malfeas,

            He's not like a xenomorph or anything.

            Comment


            • #96
              Originally posted by Tymeaus Jalynsfein View Post

              Being Outnumbered kind of works out that way in real life too, regardless of skill. Amazing, that.
              I don't want to be mean but you can't really argue that in one of the rare fantasy non-narrativist game where one person can defeat 1000 enemies abstracted in a single entity almost right from the start.

              Edit : Awesome my first part of the answer was deleted when I decided to quote someone else.

              I just wanted to say I think my position is a little different from Lanic : I don't want "elders to all be stronger than Solar forever", I want tools to "sometimes make a fight against an elder a long trial for a group of Solars without having to learn 15 Charms for 1 NPC". This same elder might not have these same mechanics when they encounter him later, or if he is deemed unimportant to the story. I don't believe consistency on this kind of things is the most important thing. I guess my point ultimately comes back to a well discussed topic on this forum "How do you make strong and simple NPC's that can pose a challenge to the players."
              Last edited by Chausse; 02-11-2020, 05:04 AM.


              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


              • #97
                Originally posted by Lanic View Post

                Well, of course it depends what you mean by "convincingly and elegantly", but yes, many system in the '90s used to embrace power gaps enabling the single fighter not to be overwhelmed by five opponents. DnD 3rd edition did that. Warhammer did that. Old World of Darkness games did that, Earthdawn did that, Shadowrun I guess did that (I own 3ed and 5 ed rulebooks but I never happened to play them), Burning Wheel did that. Honestly, it was a pretty normal thing. Arguably, systems back then were generally not "elegantly" designed going by current standards, but I wouldn't say there were bad.
                ​OK, but I'm not talking about if it does so by making a single fighter specifically generally and generically strong, but by emulating a specific fictional trope. One where strong, skilled fighters actually do not face as much of a disadvantage as thought, because their skill allows them to exploit the chaos of a multiple enemy chaotic melee much better than their less skilled opponents.

                Are you talking about that same thing when you say that Warhammer, oWoD, Shadowrun etc did?

                Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                You can always battlegroup enemies who are mobbing somebody if you want them to be ultimately not very effective. On the other hand multiple people all attacking from different angles is handled by onslaught penalties. Powerful exalted can generally ignore these for some kind of cost though.
                Yeah, battlegroups sprung to mind as arguably an abstract emulation of the trope I'm talking, but they aren't very useful for situations where players won't want or characters can't be abstracted into them. Yeah, also under Exalted can negate onslaught penalties, though that's more of a "remove disadvantage" rather than "gain a new advantage".

                (Fictive example of specific trope with a reference that is less manky and decrepit than most I go to: Opening episode of "The Witcher", where you see Geralt's skill against a bunch of mooks come out in that they are confused and uncoordinated in the big brawl, *less* than the sum of their parts, while he knows exactly where to move and how to be effective. That could be played as removing an onslaught penalty, but I also think you could go beyond that.)

                Comment


                • #98
                  Anyway my issue with multiple initiative tracks is simply the standardised nature of it.

                  I don't mind if a boss breaks the rules enemies normally follow if the result is interesting, but if all bosses break the rules in the same way I'm not sure that interest will be sustained especially since it partially mitigates the opportunity for the boss to be clever about this on their own terms.


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

                  Comment


                  • #99


                    DrLoveMonkey
                    Ok. For the completeness of the discussion let me just briefly say what is my personal preference as to power-levels. I played rather little DnD and I know that in the US gaming community comparisons to DnD are very natural for the US rpg community and I think that this comparison slightly blurs the picture.

                    My reasons why I want potentially powerful elders:

                    1. First and the most important for me, personally: if you start near the ceiling, then this makes your ceiling not so impressive. You want your game to be manageable, so you'll be afraid for the powers near the ceiling to break the game. You will not hand powers that completely change the game. You will not have an Awarness charms that, say, lets you eavesdrop conversations anywhere in Creation. You won't have a version of Hypnotic Tongue that lets you affect the whole court. You won't have a Brawl charm that lets you send someone to Malfeas.

                    I loved that in Mage games, they would never shy away from giving your players really narrative-breaking capabilities. In Exalted, I would probably make them more restrictive, say once per story, but other than that -- I just love that you actually don't handwave the category of plot devices, but you hand them to your players.

                    However, I wouldn't like to start any campaign that high, because then the use of these powers lack appropriate gravity. You want to build up to that moment. It's something completely different when you do it after two years of weekly play. There are NPCs you care about, places in the game you care about. You are extremely powerful and yet deeply anchored.

                    There are some powers in Exalted 3ed which really feel that powerful. But incidentally, what really stands out, is Solar Circle sorcery. I think that the reasons why I would like to gate more powerful charms behind more experience points, is that I would like them to be similarly powerful.

                    2. I like to introduce such grandiose effects as plot devices in my games. Often they appear just as hints, legends, stories of unclear source. It introduces a deep atmosphere of mystery that I also love. Moreover, these stories involve Exalted, not otherworldly beings. That's because it brings certain promise: you can play in the same category as these creatures of cosmic myth. If the players start near the ceiling, these plot devices and legends feel simply fake, a pure decoration. And if these stories involve, say, demons, then, honestly, this makes me feel players are even less important. It's a very different and powerful message, when you say: "some day, you can be a part of cosmic myth."

                    The bottom line is this: if either me or my players would play literally the best X in the world, then we wouldn't feel great. The world would feel small. (Half-jokingly, it feels like our discussion might be related to some deep cultural differences. In the US, you can really see that people have this deep feeling of agency.)

                    3. The tropes that Exalted invokes: that of great reborn heroes, just scream to me "stories of personal growth". Finding your mentor, overcoming your pride, growing up to your role, and finally overcoming the foe who killed your past incarnation.

                    Ok, just to finish: DrLoveMonkey, JohnDoe244 I think I now really better understand your position. I think that when we think of Solars' power, we tend to think of two distinct things: absolute and relative power.

                    I am very attached to the idea that Solars are, in principle, powerful in the absolute sense. Essentially, I view them as a splat that realises crazy cosmic tropes of Mage, but in a fantasy setting, and with a wider arrange of possible roles.

                    As far as I understand, you really mostly want Solars to be simply the best and it's less important what the actual power levels are. Let's take this to extreme: if we tell a story about a boxer, or a physicist who is literally and by far the best in the history, but set in the real world, where the said boxer can be gunshot and the physicist will simply not be able to build time machine, then nevertheless, these are deeply "Solar" characters and right inspirations of how Solars should function.

                    Am I right? I'm asking, because this seems a good test case: I would distinctly not tend to think of these characters as essentially Solar. For me, Solar phycisist is the one who actually managed to build a time-machine, even if his main competitor did that already 20 years ago and better.
                    Last edited by Lanic; 02-11-2020, 10:00 AM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                      Are you talking about that same thing when you say that Warhammer, oWoD, Shadowrun etc did?
                      No, I actually meant just general power levels.

                      Lioness I actually tend to think of these as of "boss-level" excellencies. But I can see where you're coming from.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                        Lioness I actually tend to think of these as of "boss-level" excellencies. But I can see where you're coming from.
                        Might be useful to give a more specific example. There's been some straw manning of your approach with giving a blind beggar extra initiative tracks to fight Volfer etc it could help people understand each other better.


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

                        Comment


                        • I’m Canadian, not American, but close enough I guess.


                          I’m not personally much of a fan of Solars reaching the kind of cosmic heights that other people are. Partially I think because I just can’t figure out how to adjudicate those games. Like if two nations are fighting and a player wants to stop them by removing the concept of conflict from reality...I’m lost and I don’t know how to progress.

                          Like if cosmic power we’re talking about this kind of thing: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...n/CosmicEntity

                          So for my games it’s probably a lot more reasonable for Solars to start much closer to the top, if they try hard enough. Even if they’re only halfway there, five times 50% of an elder is overwhelming to the elder.

                          “ 3. The tropes that Exalted invokes: that of great reborn heroes, just scream to me "stories of personal growth". Finding your mentor, overcoming your pride, growing up to your role, and finally overcoming the foe who killed your past incarnation.”

                          I don’t disagree with this is any way whatsoever though. My epic spirit shackling occultist that I mentioned started that campaign really meek, afraid of everything, very dependant on others, and ended the campaign riding a soulbreaker orb into the maw of a ravenous world eating monster.

                          There’s lots of personal growth that doesn’t necessarily translate directly to power. Also on top of that you go from having nothing to, maybe, leading the entire world as a single nation or something, which is massive growth as far as power is concerned.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            I’m Canadian, not American, but close enough I guess.
                            I see that my post could come off as borderline offensive. I'm sorry if it was.

                            I mostly meant that (at least in some places) in US, you really have this feeling of history being done just right now, just right here, and I think that this experience really might transfer to the habits we have in our hobby.

                            DrLoveMonkey You stated previously (also in different threads) that you don't personally enjoy "cosmic heights". I know it, and I think that this difference in preferences is largely the cause of different preference as to the role of "elders", broadly understood.

                            Lioness You,re right. I posted previously in this thread one mechanical solution which we're currently playtesting in our campaign. I planned it to be handed in some splat-adjusted version to other kinds of Exalts, much like excellencies are roughly the same across splats and abilities. (I know, Sidereals. Roughly.) After some time, maybe I'll post on the forum how the playtest went and propose some actual homebrew for the interested.

                            I didn't want to focus overly on the particular implementation, since I wouldn't bet my money on whether it works fine. Additionally, there many parametres we should take into account. For example, we should decide first whether we are ok with asymmetric mechanic or not (I'm ok with it when necessary, but generally reluctant).

                            But you're right, I should probably be more specific.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Lanic View Post
                              I see that my post could come off as borderline offensive. I'm sorry if it was.
                              Nah don't worry about it. Canadians are always "On the contrary, we're more British than American, I think you'll find." or "Yeah, crazy Europeans, am I right?" when convenient.

                              Comment


                              • Anyway, what I meant by this, because I think I could've been clearer in expressing the idea.
                                Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                                If you're going past essence 6 it's not all that difficult. The charms that create extra actions become a game changer if there's a significant difference in mote pool sizes.
                                In theory you could boost every attack a charm like Iron Whirlwind Attack gives you with a full excellency, it's just ruiniously expensive but if there's a significant essence pool disparity between you and the people you're fighting you can create cascades of attacks where the purpose isn't to kill or harm them but to grind them down to a point where their subsequent participation in the combat will be limited but yours won't be.
                                Last edited by Lioness; 02-12-2020, 05:11 PM.


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

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X