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  • #61
    Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
    Also no, Black Claw vs Undead and automatons is a poor analogy. If you’re fighting too many automatons and undead in places where there are not a lot of people watching AND the GM didn’t warn you ahead of time that a game would heavily feature such things? That’s a thing you can bring up with the GM. You did not know ahead of time and it is fixable.
    If you're expecting everyone in your party to have action long penalty negation charms or else they will get shredded that's something to bring up with your players beforehand.

    Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
    Bloodapes have 11 dice to attack. If you have turn long onslaught negators (Which for many Celestial Exalted are not that deep and highly recommended lest you want to be torn to shreds) then the chances of them hitting 7
    If everyone in the group has a resting defense of 7 with action long defense penalty negators, that is not what the system expects a group of PCs to be using. Just look at the antagonists! Look at how many of them have 7-8 dice to their attacks.

    Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
    And 7 soak? Anyone with a moderate investment in combat is going to scoff at such a value. Again, if your circle is fighting against Octivian and they have trouble with 7 soak? Then unless you have a Macguffin they’re not going to stand a chance in hell against Octivian.
    You could easily have a group that could beat Octavian but start having some serious trouble once 4-5 bloodapes get added to the mix.

    An Essence 2-3 Dawn caste with a solid build combined with four others who are kind of middling warriors will do just fine against him. When I say middling I mean like a combat charm list that looks like:

    Excellent Strike
    Fire and Stones Strike
    Dipping Swallow
    Durability of Oak Meditation
    Spirit Strengthens the Skin

    Hardly a stretch for an Essence 3 character. We'll say that they have 3 in each physical stat, a daiklave but mundane armor for a statline that looks like this:

    Daiklave 9 boostable to 15 (Damage 15/5 boostable to 18)
    Parry 4 boostable to 7
    Soak 8 boostable to effectively 13

    Four of those guys plus a really invested Dawn will thrash Octavian. He has 7 parry but all his defensive charms, including the parry booster, cost initiative. Critical here, he does not have any kind of penalty negating charms, and even the booster that he has is dependent on initiative, and can't be used in crash. Steel Devil works against Octavian.

    If you throw 3-5 bloodapes onto Octaivan's side, that changes drastically. Not to mention with a group like that it opens up the floodgates to use way more of the published material. You might not be using Bunyips or Emperor Sloths, but you can use things like Greenmaws and Buck-Ogres.

    Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
    I wouldn’t say the game slogs at such a level, if anything I’d say it goes rather fast because nothing is going to realistically challenge the PC’s outside of “rocks fall, you die” style stuff. Of course that’s another problem just as bad.
    That's a pretty big problem. If I made a fighter in Exalted I make a fighter so that I can have fun, kinetic, action scenes. If the ST is just skipping 90% of those because whatever it's pointless and dull, something is wrong here.

    Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
    But Steel Devil? It simply does not function. It’s an ivory tower.
    It functions against almost any enemy, especially in a group setting. Even Alhat doesn't have a penalty negator, and his only defense boosting charm costs initiative too. Against enemies like Fakharu who's got a persistent onslaught negator and a high defense it falters pretty hard, unless you're packing warstriders or Legendary Size.

    Originally posted by Epitome View Post
    I'm not disputing that most of the game is viable when going 5/5, there are plenty of 5/5'ers at my tables and we manage.

    I'm specifically disputing your claim that the "you can take a 5" sidebar proves that 3e is intended to support that style of gameplay. I enjoy 5/5 Circles, but still recognize some things in the game will fall apart because of the choice me and my fellow players made to play with very high stats.
    I too have had this problem.

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post

      Care to elaborate? In all my years playing Exalted the numbers haven't been much if at all an issue. The only time I have noticed is when you have rerollers and doublers out the arse (Solar craft/sail) or the Sidereal excellency.
      Off the top of my head, there's the way a good chunk of the antagonist section stops mattering, such as with your example of blood apes becoming free ini.

      There's also the way the difficulty scale stops making sense. Difficulty 10 is supposed to be world-shattering levels of swimming-in-the-Wyld-with-no-Charms or lying to the Unconquered Sun, but for our 5/5'ers it's Tuesday.

      Nothing that can't be solved with a little homebrew or houseruling mind you. But likewise if someone in the group wanted to go Steel Devil we'd probably just tweak a few Charms and call it a day.

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
        Secondly, Steel Devil autosuccesses are not bonus successes. Automatic successes count towards a dice cap, bonus successes do not. In your case the Lunar will be rolling 16 dice and two automatic successes
        I was counting 12 dice pool (Wits/Per 5, Awareness 5, Fast Reflexes, Specialty) + 2 dice stunt, 6m excellency + 2 autosuccesses.

        Also the reflexive activiation on the capstone is Mastery only so I really don't think there's much point in going for it as a lunar.
        Last edited by limaxophobiac; 06-28-2020, 07:23 AM.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          If you're expecting everyone in your party to have action long penalty negation charms or else they will get shredded that's something to bring up with your players beforehand.
          I do. I also like to believe I know the system well enough that when I throw an antagonist at them I have an idea of the difficulty.

          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          If everyone in the group has a resting defense of 7 with action long defense penalty negators, that is not what the system expects a group of PCs to be using. Just look at the antagonists! Look at how many of them have 7-8 dice to their attacks.
          6 defence is what I’d consider to be a cutline for such an encounter. Maybe 5 if the player knows what they’re doing or has some potent charms backing it up. 7 defence is nice, but not everyone is going to have that luxury. If you’re facing five individual blood apes with Octivian, then that’s a significant step up from everything else. If you’re remotely capable of handling Octivian and his blood ape pals, then you’re going to be almost immune to the people who have 7 or 8 dice in their combat pools*, whenever they spend excellency dice or not. Anything less is putting players through a meat grinder.

          Yea, 5 defence is a 5/5 character and 6 defence is a specialty on top of that (minus charms). This is a significant investment, but unless you don’t want to get vaporized by Alhat or Octivian, both of which have high base dice pools, dice adders, potent offensive and defensive charms, a beefy amount of health levels, and assloads of soak? I’d say anything less is a TPK, miracle of RNGesus, disgustingly broken charms, or plot fait.

          *I say combat pools, because outside of combat the dice and subsystems are far more lenient in comparison. I am not in any way, shape, or form saying combat is the only thing that matters. In fact most of my games are, from what I’ve been told, combat-lite.

          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          You could easily have a group that could beat Octavian but start having some serious trouble once 4-5 bloodapes get added to the mix.

          An Essence 2-3 Dawn caste with a solid build combined with four others who are kind of middling warriors will do just fine against him. When I say middling I mean like a combat charm list that looks like:

          Excellent Strike
          Fire and Stones Strike
          Dipping Swallow
          Durability of Oak Meditation
          Spirit Strengthens the Skin

          Hardly a stretch for an Essence 3 character. We'll say that they have 3 in each physical stat, a daiklave but mundane armor for a statline that looks like this:

          Daiklave 9 boostable to 15 (Damage 15/5 boostable to 18)
          Parry 4 boostable to 7
          Soak 8 boostable to effectively 13

          Four of those guys plus a really invested Dawn will thrash Octavian. He has 7 parry but all his defensive charms, including the parry booster, cost initiative. Critical here, he does not have any kind of penalty negating charms, and even the booster that he has is dependent on initiative, and can't be used in crash. Steel Devil works against Octavian.
          If this whole setup was a way to make Steel Devil viable against Octivian then you proved nothing. Literally any other MA would not only do better against Octivian solo, but also work just as well when he’s beaten down into a corner. What you’re implying is that Steel Devil RAW is viable when your opponent has the shit kicked out of them, gifted wrapped, and then presented to you is the only way to make it viable. Versus nearly every other written style which is viable immediately out of the gate minus a very few niche circumstances for some of them.


          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          If you throw 3-5 bloodapes onto Octaivan's side, that changes drastically. Not to mention with a group like that it opens up the floodgates to use way more of the published material. You might not be using Bunyips or Emperor Sloths, but you can use things like Greenmaws and Buck-Ogres.
          Those average players will basically be able to handle the blood apes. Most Celestials will be able to dip into Bulwark Stance (or some other turn long penalty negator) for an additional charm purchase, which if you’re even early essence 3 should easily be affordable within most budgets but honestly is only needed if you plan to engage multiple blood apes at once (IE: Some players are ranged, the Dawn has Octivian tied up, so you volunteer to be the rear guard).

          Is this optimal? Probably not, but it’s a good way to keep the players engaged and invested so it doesn’t feel like “Sho Nen Hiro the Dawn vs Octivian and his minions (with friends!)”.

          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          That's a pretty big problem. If I made a fighter in Exalted I make a fighter so that I can have fun, kinetic, action scenes. If the ST is just skipping 90% of those because whatever it's pointless and dull, something is wrong here.
          Oh no, I didn’t say anything about skipping them. Good ST’s would know how to make combat interesting still, but it’s really bloody hard to do so at this level. Note that even I don’t even enjoy that level of combat if both sides have similar specs. It’s just two walls smacking against each other. This is why I like making PC’s or enemies with some weaknesses involved. Learning the weaknesses or ‘trick’ of a stronger opponent is what I think gives a combat some spice. A lot of antagonists don’t have this on by default, but I think should be rewarded in game. Example: I am fighting a wood elemental who is very plainly wood (Let’s say something like a Dyrad). RAW they don’t have a weakness to fire, but as a player I’m going to expect that a being made of wood is going to burn a lot better than normal. Likewise I wouldn’t try to use fire attacks on a fire elemental, as I wouldn’t be at the least shocked if they have a ‘born of flame’ ability like Garda birds do that heavily limits any fire damage.

          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          It functions against almost any enemy, especially in a group setting. Even Alhat doesn't have a penalty negator, and his only defense boosting charm costs initiative too. Against enemies like Fakharu who's got a persistent onslaught negator and a high defense it falters pretty hard, unless you're packing warstriders or Legendary Size.
          Correction: Steel Devil only functions against higher tier enemies with luck from RNGesus or using group mob tactics. Compared to nearly any other style that works just as well at either level.

          How many times do I need to say that literally no other MA currently written has the glaring weakness mentioned above? You are dancing around this point trying to make scenarios to justify Steel Devil RAW’s existence when every other MA in the game functions just as well if not better in the same circumstances.

          Originally posted by Epitome View Post

          Off the top of my head, there's the way a good chunk of the antagonist section stops mattering, such as with your example of blood apes becoming free ini.
          There’s a reason why a lot of combat stats are so low: It’s easier to scale up than it is down. Many new ST’s for the game won’t have the mechanical knowledge, both in charm design and system math, to ballpark an encounter unless they’re already well versed in Statistics.

          For those more experienced Storytellers, they are more easily capable of scaling things up to meet a challenge both themselves and the players enjoy. So long as you’re between 4 to 35 dice, the system math holds (and considering you can get +2 stunt dice with trivial ease, it’s really easy to stay in that metric). For example, I have Devil Trigger modes for some fodder teams that are meant to give stronger characters a little bit more of a challenge.

          This is something that was intended since the beginning of 2e. Hell even Holden confirmed it when asked why many antagonists are so poorly statted compared to PC’s (I’m not going to dig up over 7 years of quotes to find that single one, so feel free to dismiss that quote if you want).


          Originally posted by Epitome View Post
          There's also the way the difficulty scale stops making sense. Difficulty 10 is supposed to be world-shattering levels of swimming-in-the-Wyld-with-no-Charms or lying to the Unconquered Sun, but for our 5/5'ers it's Tuesday.
          The difficulty scaling is actually pretty useful. For many characters who don’t have a 5/5 investment in such an area then the rolls are actually feasible. 5/5’ers with heavy charm investment crush it yes, but that’s by design of Exalted. Exalts in their specialty area are going to crush most challenges thrown their way.

          Originally posted by Epitome View Post
          Nothing that can't be solved with a little homebrew or houseruling mind you. But likewise if someone in the group wanted to go Steel Devil we'd probably just tweak a few Charms and call it a day.
          Rule zero fallacy

          I’m aware I’m blowing up some of my own points to you by bringing that up but allow me to explain. There are some published enemies that are going to give some 5/5’ers some amount of difficulty (EX: Elephents, Octivian, Elephants, Alhat, Elephants, Tyrant Lizards, etc…). But Steel Devil is the only style that functions like shit against the majority of the higher difficulty opponents. I paid money to have that corebook, so I’d like the things inside of that corebook to function with a minimal amount of tweaking the core rules as necessary. Steel Devil is not that, I had to rework it from the ground up to make it remotely viable.

          In terms of enemies: The sad fact is that as a GM you will have to make your own enemies at some point. Exalted ain’t DnD. We don’t have years upon years of homebrew from people in the volume compared to DnD. DnD wipes its ass with Exalted’s playercount. This means that unless you want to fight the same demons for the 8th billionth time you’re going to have to make some shit up or do some serious hunting. Since these demons are your whims, you can give them whatever stats you want and people can’t point to a book to say how they differ because you made them. They can be tailored to the perfect difficulty of your group.

          But the fact remains that Steel Devil RAW’s reliability decreases at an exponential rate as defence increases. This is inescapable, it is baked into the math of the system. There’s no way around it. Anything Steel Devil can do, another MA can do better.

          Originally posted by limaxophobiac View Post

          I was counting 12 dice pool (Wits/Per 5, Awareness 5, Fast Reflexes, Specialty) + 2 dice stunt, 6m excellency + 2 autosuccesses.

          Also the reflexive activiation on the capstone is Mastery only so I really don't think there's much point in going for it as a lunar.
          I stand corrected by the total. I tend not to include stunt dice in figures as it’s often net zero (Enemies can do it too, so it cancels out).

          Also to clarify: There’s no much point on going Steel Devil for literally anyone.




          Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
          Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
            6 defence is what I’d consider to be a cutline for such an encounter. Maybe 5 if the player knows what they’re doing or has some potent charms backing it up. 7 defence is nice, but not everyone is going to have that luxury. If you’re facing five individual blood apes with Octivian, then that’s a significant step up from everything else. If you’re remotely capable of handling Octivian and his blood ape pals, then you’re going to be almost immune to the people who have 7 or 8 dice in their combat pools*, whenever they spend excellency dice or not. Anything less is putting players through a meat grinder.
            Octavian is badass, but he's not that badass. Adding five bloodapes to that fight would be way too overkill in the other direction, those PCs wouldn't really stand much of a chance, but adding two maybe, yeah that could work.

            Really, REALLY key here, I am not saying "Hey look at that fight, look how awesome Steel Devil is, even when Octavian saves his defensive charms, stunts and willpower to specifically counter the Steel Devil." I'm saying "Look at Octavian, fielded alone against 5 PCs who are not twinked out hyper-optimized, he died like a bitch." The Dawn even only had 4 charms in her MA style.

            I also know, I know, any other MA would work just as well in that situation, but that's the point. Steel Devil isn't useless shit garbage, it works just as well, maybe a bit worse, in some cases maybe even a tiny bit better. You can make that Octavian fight harder by adding allies to Octavian's side, but unless those allies are also second circle demons or something, they're stuff that Steel Devil works on.

            Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
            Is this optimal? Probably not, but it’s a good way to keep the players engaged and invested so it doesn’t feel like “Sho Nen Hiro the Dawn vs Octivian and his minions (with friends!)”.
            That sort of depends on the campaign really. You could have an entire session where you're delving into a first age tomb, figuring out the cyphers left there by secret loyalist factions among the builders, disarming and avoiding deathtraps, treating with the ancient spirit who still dwells there, and ultimately helping it to move on and be free, which then opens the tomb up to the possibility of restoring the dragon line beneath it and bringing life back to the barren wasteland that surrounds it now.

            In that adventure Sho Nen Hiro is sitting there pointlessly quick drawing his daiklave at every odd noise, while Doctor Cornelius Who and company unlock all the hidden mysteries and fix the land itself. That's also not the best option since the guy playing the shonen hero shouldn't be stuck around doing nothing with the character he made, but it does go both ways.

            Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
            RAW they don’t have a weakness to fire, but as a player I’m going to expect that a being made of wood is going to burn a lot better than normal. Likewise I wouldn’t try to use fire attacks on a fire elemental, as I wouldn’t be at the least shocked if they have a ‘born of flame’ ability like Garda birds do that heavily limits any fire damage.
            That is really cool, I'm pretty fond of that kind of thing myself because it gets players more engaged and thinking. It would be great if you had, for example a greenmaw, or a small pack of them, but the players brought barrrels of pitch and flaming arrows, so the zenith athletics beast picks up a huge barrel of pitch and smashes it all over the side of the greenmaw, and then the archer thumped a flaming arrow into its side to incinerate it.

            I personally find that a lot easier to do with characters who aren't super optimized for combat though. A greenmaw is a tree sized elemental made of wood, so normally you'd expect them to be the perfect fit for that kind of thing. With characters that have 15+ soak, and 6+ defense before charms though, there's no point in using tactics like that, the greenmaw doesn't do jack shit to them anyway.

            Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
            For those more experienced Storytellers, they are more easily capable of scaling things up to meet a challenge both themselves and the players enjoy. So long as you’re between 4 to 35 dice, the system math holds (and considering you can get +2 stunt dice with trivial ease, it’s really easy to stay in that metric). For example, I have Devil Trigger modes for some fodder teams that are meant to give stronger characters a little bit more of a challenge.
            That may be true, but it's not some inevitable thing that every game devolves into 35 die supermen smash fests. If that's the kind of game you're running, just don't take Steel Devil, especially since it's apparently the one style, combat suite in the whole game that doesn't hold up there. Those ranges are at the very edge of whats in the Exalted gamespace, and it's even more rare that something like that will show up completely solo.

            Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
            Since these demons are your whims, you can give them whatever stats you want and people can’t point to a book to say how they differ because you made them.
            Technically as a Storyteller if one of your players says "Hey, those aren't the stats in the book!" you can just say "Well they are in this Creation" and that's the end of it. If you tweak things too far though, the setting becomes incongruent with the players expectations, and basically everything printed. If I make a Solar who has 5 in every physical stat, 5 melee, a specialty, and a dozen combat charms, I do not expect there to be hardly anything in the world that can challenge me in a fair fight.

            Thankfully, for the game, Solars often do not go into fair fights.

            With the small beastiary that Exalted has right now, I agree 100% that you need to make up your own stuff, but I think it should be a lot like the stuff that exists right now.

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
              Octavian is badass, but he's not that badass. Adding five bloodapes to that fight would be way too overkill in the other direction, those PCs wouldn't really stand much of a chance, but adding two maybe, yeah that could work.

              Really, REALLY key here, I am not saying "Hey look at that fight, look how awesome Steel Devil is, even when Octavian saves his defensive charms, stunts and willpower to specifically counter the Steel Devil." I'm saying "Look at Octavian, fielded alone against 5 PCs who are not twinked out hyper-optimized, he died like a bitch." The Dawn even only had 4 charms in her MA style.

              I also know, I know, any other MA would work just as well in that situation, but that's the point. Steel Devil isn't useless shit garbage, it works just as well, maybe a bit worse, in some cases maybe even a tiny bit better. You can make that Octavian fight harder by adding allies to Octavian's side, but unless those allies are also second circle demons or something, they're stuff that Steel Devil works on.
              Monkey I could’ve saved you the trouble of typing all that with an earlier post: Many things in Exalted 3e fall due to mass numbers mobbing. In fact it is one of the ways that Steel Devil can actually function with some modicum of functionality. But while other MA’s do better with it, Steel Devil actually requires it in order to function with any reliability. Hell, you can make the Dawn almost literally anything else and the outcome would be almost exactly the same. You even admit that. The fact that other options exist, and would do infinitely better in those circumstances, only proves my earlier point.


              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
              That sort of depends on the campaign really. You could have an entire session where you're delving into a first age tomb, figuring out the cyphers left there by secret loyalist factions among the builders, disarming and avoiding deathtraps, treating with the ancient spirit who still dwells there, and ultimately helping it to move on and be free, which then opens the tomb up to the possibility of restoring the dragon line beneath it and bringing life back to the barren wasteland that surrounds it now.

              In that adventure Sho Nen Hiro is sitting there pointlessly quick drawing his daiklave at every odd noise, while Doctor Cornelius Who and company unlock all the hidden mysteries and fix the land itself. That's also not the best option since the guy playing the shonen hero shouldn't be stuck around doing nothing with the character he made, but it does go both ways.
              But let’s picture this: If you want to be a Dawn that wants to solo Octivian? And you’re using Steel Devil? That really isn’t happening unless you stack the deck massively in your favor, something other MA’s really won’t need to do. You’re a Dawn, a fighting caste, and you lack in the one area that the book tells you that you’re supposed to be good in. You lack because, as I demonstrated mathematically, your main withering damage adder (which your really cool decisive attack depends on) is shit. You just got dunked on in a style that’s essentially ivory tower design.

              Those other native charms that detail facts and social? They’re fine. Even DB’s have few issues with them I find. Whereas Steel Devil is the only MA that does have this problem. Why is this OK?


              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
              That may be true, but it's not some inevitable thing that every game devolves into 35 die supermen smash fests. If that's the kind of game you're running, just don't take Steel Devil, especially since it's apparently the one style, combat suite in the whole game that doesn't hold up there. Those ranges are at the very edge of whats in the Exalted gamespace, and it's even more rare that something like that will show up completely solo.
              And here lies my issue: Virtually no other MA in the game has these issues. Steel Devil is the only style in the entire game that has this issue. How and why is this acceptable? Why should it not be fixed?


              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
              Technically as a Storyteller if one of your players says "Hey, those aren't the stats in the book!" you can just say "Well they are in this Creation" and that's the end of it. If you tweak things too far though, the setting becomes incongruent with the players expectations, and basically everything printed. If I make a Solar who has 5 in every physical stat, 5 melee, a specialty, and a dozen combat charms, I do not expect there to be hardly anything in the world that can challenge me in a fair fight.

              Thankfully, for the game, Solars often do not go into fair fights.

              With the small beastiary that Exalted has right now, I agree 100% that you need to make up your own stuff, but I think it should be a lot like the stuff that exists right now.
              You’re cherry picking at this point. Reread the entire section you took that quote from in context: No other style needs kids gloves with the amount of padding that Steel Devil does. Falcon/Mantis really go for grabs and Black Claw is a poor match if only mindless opponents exist on the battlefield. The difference is those styles can at least put up some sort of front. They can at the lower values in play and they can at the higher values. The math holds universally. Steel Devil does not, it is the only one that becomes exponentially worse as defense increases.


              Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
              Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                Monkey I could’ve saved you the trouble of typing all that with an earlier post: Many things in Exalted 3e fall due to mass numbers mobbing. In fact it is one of the ways that Steel Devil can actually function with some modicum of functionality. But while other MA’s do better with it, Steel Devil actually requires it in order to function with any reliability. Hell, you can make the Dawn almost literally anything else and the outcome would be almost exactly the same. You even admit that. The fact that other options exist, and would do infinitely better in those circumstances, only proves my earlier point.
                In those cases where you can do things like stack onslaught penalties*, or wound penalties, like if you're partnering with a Water Dragon Stylist, or a Earth Dragon Stylist who is going to smash them prone, I don't think other styles really do what Steel Devil does infinitely better. Adding 10+ damage for 3 motes, chaining into decisive attacks that don't reset your initiative, cap-breaking post-roll parry enhancers that chain into disarm gambits with double 9s, that chain into AoE decisive attacks that also don't reset to base initiative, are all pretty good. Other styles may be better, but I don't know about infinitely better.

                *which is any time your circle is engaged in fighting unless you've gone off on your own or something, or engaging a lone creature with legendary size without a warstrider.

                Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                But let’s picture this: If you want to be a Dawn that wants to solo Octivian? And you’re using Steel Devil? That really isn’t happening unless you stack the deck massively in your favor, something other MA’s really won’t need to do. You’re a Dawn, a fighting caste, and you lack in the one area that the book tells you that you’re supposed to be good in. You lack because, as I demonstrated mathematically, your main withering damage adder (which your really cool decisive attack depends on) is shit. You just got dunked on in a style that’s essentially ivory tower design.
                Because the threshold for being a badass Dawn doesn't start at being able to solo the most powerful second circle demon in Hell. The game promises that as a Dawn you will kick serious ass, and then the antagonist chapter informs you about what manner of creatures Creation is populated with. Dogs of the Unbroken Earth, jungle stalkers, clawstriders, bloodapes, hungry ghosts, storm serpents, greenmaws. If you can kick their asses, you're a badass exalted warrior.

                The description for Erymanthus is that they strike faster than the eye can see, and bellow loud enough to shatter stone and steel, and you eat them for breakfast.


                Besides soloing Octavian isn't something every other style lets you do easily anyway. Look at Silver Voiced Nightingale. It has an easier time of it than Steel Devil, but you're wearing light armor against an enemy with a 14 die attack with 19 base damage, a Solar excellency, 110 mote essence pool and who can attack twice a turn. With 10 willpower and Cult 2 to resist a ton of social influence as he fights, and with intimacies like "I will test my strength against the world" he will definitely be spending to resist those effects.

                I admit, I don't know SVN that well, one of my PCs used it in a campaign, but that was a while ago. Still looking through the charms again I don't see how it particularly wrecks Octavian's shit in a 1v1.

                Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                The math holds universally. Steel Devil does not, it is the only one that becomes exponentially worse as defense increases.
                Right, but antagonist's defenses are not meant to be peaking that high on a regular basis without being able to get around them. They do in your games, of course, and that's okay, but that's not the environment Steel Devil was written to function in. The reason it's okay, and allowed to be like that is because that's how it was thought the game would be played when it was written.


                DnD balance has a hell of a lot of this, especially for wizards. If the players are allowed to have a 5 minute adventuring day, then the awesomeness of the Rogue and the Fighter completely dissolve. If the party is pressed really, really hard, to the point where the wizard never ends a day with any spell slots left, the Rogue and the Fighter look like unstoppable tanks that terminator their way through obstacles without even slowing down. A wizard who's liberal with their spells will end up being their cheerleader in the second half of the day.

                Which actually is an enormous problem, because a lot of groups, maybe even most groups, that homebrew their own stuff do this. They'll have a haunted house with like, two encounters in it, and nothing pressing for time so the group goes and takes a long rest between them. Then you look at the published adventures and their haunted house has like 8 encounters in it, and the house has little girl trapped in an airtight coffin in the basement. Tick tock.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                  It may certainly be! But being the weakest doesn't actually mean it's bad. In the last Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix the last driver to cross the finish line was Robert Kubica. Robert Kubica is a bloody fast driver. That man can put a car down some pavement really, really fast. Being last place doesn't change that.

                  Let me put it this way: if I know the game won't reach E3, I'd much rather play a Steel Devil Stylist than a Fire Dragon Stylist. The Steel Devil at least gets the broken Form that gives +2 Parry that stacks with medium weapons. That's how bad Fire Dragon is.


                  Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                  Right, but it's not just the average you're raising. You're also cutting your chance of flubbing rolls, and raising the chance of smashing them. on a 16 die join battle you've got about a 18% chance of getting 6 or less, which sucks, but if you roll twice pick the highest that drops to 3%.

                  Likewise you've got about a 10% chance of getting 12 at least successes normally. Rolling twice and picking the highest jumps that to ~19%.

                  So yes the average increases, but that's not really why you care, it's the reliability and spike potential, in addition to the damage.

                  If you care about reliability, you can just use the excellency to buy auto-successes. As for spike potential, an additional 9% chance to get an outstanding Join Battle result is rarely going to be worth spending 11 motes, especially when you can use 8m on Ten Thousand Dragons Fight As One plus Pasiap Preempts Haste instead, which garners you a... 54.27% chance to get at least 12 successes if you started out with 16 dice.


                  Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                  What? Why? If the initiative order is like this:

                  19i BBEG
                  15i Water Dragon Stylist
                  <==== Round is currently here
                  -4i Fire Dragon Stylist

                  The Fire Dragon is going to try and wither the BBEG, and if he manages to lower their initiative to below the Water Dragon, then they get to go first. Then the Water Dragon can smack them down even further and stop them from being nearly as much of a threat. Not to mention with 19i the BBEG is probably going to be launching a deadly decisive attack on their turn when they get to go, so taking away points of initiative is good no matter what, since it reduces their damage.

                  You don't only smack enemies to farm initiative for yourself, part of it is stopping enemies from getting enough initiative to deal damage.

                  Yes. The problem is that other styles get straight damage adders, which also accomplish the goal of lowering your opponent's Initiative, while also netting you extra Initiative. Our point of comparison here isn't "SEA or nothing", it's "on a starting Dragon-Blood, SEA takes away 2i from the BBEG and gets you nothing, while in-Aura Force of the Mountain takes away 2.5i and nets you the same amount, and these two Charms cost the same".


                  Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                  It's not that similar. It's (wound penalty) charm dice vs 1 non-charm autosuccess. Against unwounded targets the Water form doesn't do anything, against enemies in their -2s it's about equal, except that it isn't non-charm dice and enemies in their -2s already have a flat -2 to their defenses anyway, so hitting is going to be much less of an issue. Incidentally, if you're often encountering enemies with their -2 health levels Steel Devil kicks ass against that.

                  The soak bonus is probably better than the decisive initiative drain, but it's also most expensive, and has a reflexive activation trigger that's not exactly harder to get, but comes online later and encourages early decisive attacks which might not be what you want.

                  The problem with that line of reasoning is that the Water Dragon also gets the highest possible defense values across all IMA, a perfectly adequate withering-enhancer, a ridiculously effective decisive damage booster, and the ability to steal motes from her opponents. Meanwhile, the Fire Dragon has a maybe sometimes better Form, if her opponent can't negate onslaught.


                  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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                  • #69
                    Sandact6 DrLoveMonkey sums up my thoughts better than I could have presented them myself. At this point I believe we are talking past each other so I'll bow out.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      Let me put it this way: if I know the game won't reach E3, I'd much rather play a Steel Devil Stylist than a Fire Dragon Stylist. The Steel Devil at least gets the broken Form that gives +2 Parry that stacks with medium weapons. That's how bad Fire Dragon is.
                      Okay

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      If you care about reliability, you can just use the excellency to buy auto-successes. As for spike potential, an additional 9% chance to get an outstanding Join Battle result is rarely going to be worth spending 11 motes, especially when you can use 8m on Ten Thousand Dragons Fight As One plus Pasiap Preempts Haste instead, which garners you a... https://anydice.com/program/1c6d0&quot;]54.27% chance[/URL] to get at least 12 successes if you started out with 16 dice.
                      That’s also good, but you’re comparing the combination of an Integrity and Awareness charm with 5 charm purchases against half of the effect of the first MA charm on the style. If it weren’t better those charms would need a pretty serious buff. With the other effect being an Essence 5, 5 mote Fire and Stones Strike on your first decisive attack that round.

                      You can even combo them together with the fire aspect anima ability to get another 4 non-charm dice. So that’s 16 motes for 21 dice, with double 9s, roll twice pick the highest result, and your first decisive attack that round overflows 5 successes onto damage.
                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      Yes. The problem is that other styles get straight damage adders, which also accomplish the goal of lowering your opponent's Initiative, while also netting you extra Initiative. Our point of comparison here isn't &quot;SEA or nothing&quot;, it's &quot;on a starting Dragon-Blood, SEA takes away 2i from the BBEG and gets you nothing, while in-Aura Force of the Mountain takes away 2.5i and nets you the same amount, and these two Charms cost the same&quot;.
                      It probably should have been Essence, minimum 3. It’s a bit weak at 2 without the aura restriction.

                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      The problem with that line of reasoning is that the Water Dragon also gets the highest possible defense values across all IMA, a perfectly adequate withering-enhancer, a ridiculously effective decisive damage booster, and the ability to steal motes from her opponents. Meanwhile, the Fire Dragon has a maybe sometimes better Form, if her opponent can't negate onslaught.
                      Fire Dragon has one of the few cap-bursting decisive attack enhancers available to Dragonblooded, which is also a decisive damage enhancer, which combos with their cap bursting attack enhancer of a form, and their decisive damage boosting join battle charm. Water Dragon is still probably better even with that, but Fire Dragon doesn’t have nothing.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                        DnD balance has a hell of a lot of this, especially for wizards. If the players are allowed to have a 5 minute adventuring day, then the awesomeness of the Rogue and the Fighter completely dissolve. If the party is pressed really, really hard, to the point where the wizard never ends a day with any spell slots left, the Rogue and the Fighter look like unstoppable tanks that terminator their way through obstacles without even slowing down. A wizard who's liberal with their spells will end up being their cheerleader in the second half of the day.

                        Which actually is an enormous problem, because a lot of groups, maybe even most groups, that homebrew their own stuff do this. They'll have a haunted house with like, two encounters in it, and nothing pressing for time so the group goes and takes a long rest between them. Then you look at the published adventures and their haunted house has like 8 encounters in it, and the house has little girl trapped in an airtight coffin in the basement. Tick tock.
                        IMO this is a good example of something that can be balanced in the abstract sense where the total power level of two characters is equal but not balanced in the sense that the power level of characters in a given situation is equal, or differs in a fun way. Some reasons are:

                        Character balance changes with level. At least in 3rd edition (which I'm most familiar with), low level wizards have a very small number of spells useful in a fight, so your character might accomplish almost nothing special in most fights, while at higher levels, you only need to conserve your most powerful spells, and fighters and rogues start feeling less effective.

                        Character balance changes based on narrative, in a way that's not particularly fun or interesting. For certain adventure types (e.g. politics), it makes sense to have fewer combat encounters per day than for others. If the DM wants to maintain character balance their pressured to force adventures to fit a certain mold.

                        The resource economy that determines when the party can keep going and when they have to slow down is determined by the actions of only a few characters (the spellcasters), and the others can do little to affect it (except avoid taking damage).

                        Running out of spells can lead to dull gameplay.

                        In 4th edition, they tried to fix this by giving each character the same mix of per-day, per-encounter, and at-will powers. IMO it would be best to not go all the way, to keep more of the differentiation between character classes, but still not make them as different as they are in some of the other editions.

                        The reason I'm getting into it is because this is how I feel about Steel Devil. In my opinion, its power varies too much between situations, and it does so in a way that increases power differentials already present in Exalted's system, and that (to my mind, not having played it) doesn't seem particularly fun. (But the person here who has seen people play it multiple times also said they didn't find it particularly fun. Rather than tweaking its balance to be more powerful, it would be better to redesign some of the mechanics entirely.

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                        • #72
                          I somewhat disagree that running out of spells leads to dull gameplay. If you run out of spells it’s because you took the first three encounters of the day and we’re the superstar MVP player. Then you get to watch the fighter and rogue do the same in the second half. That even applies to Exalted as well, if you take off on the first turn of the first combat, spend 35m and 3wp in one turn to end the encounter before anyone else even acts, that’s awesome, but after that it’s your turn to take a back seat.

                          For balance DnD at least had the advantage of assuming all characters are about equally useful in combat heavy adventure days. If you make a diplomat in DnD you make like, a Lore bard with max charisma, but that lore bard can cast fireball at level 6 and incinerate a whole swarm of goblins in one action. Exalted on the other hand expects some characters to be wildly different in their combat ability, but that in different scenes different characters will shine, depending on their skill.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            I somewhat disagree that running out of spells leads to dull gameplay. If you run out of spells it’s because you took the first three encounters of the day and we’re the superstar MVP player. Then you get to watch the fighter and rogue do the same in the second half. That even applies to Exalted as well, if you take off on the first turn of the first combat, spend 35m and 3wp in one turn to end the encounter before anyone else even acts, that’s awesome, but after that it’s your turn to take a back seat.
                            I don't think it's terminally bad or anything, for the reason you say. But I think it's not optimal. In part, to avoid going too far off topic, let me discuss it like this:

                            For instance I think it's better if (like in Exalted) everyone can spend resources to go all out in a particular fight. In D&D, if you're in a dungeon with many encounters and then the final boss is a big, powerful villain, the wizard should probably be saving spells in the first few encounters, making the fighter and rogue look like badasses, before pulling out stops in the last encounter, making them look like wimps. In Exalted, every character type has resources to husband during the early encounters and then can act like a badass in the last one.

                            I think it's cool that Exalted gives you a drip of a few motes so, when you run out, you can still use your different powers, you just have to spend them more carefully, rather than having a simple list of powers that you can use and then lose. Earning Willpower with stunts, when you're low on Willpower, feels like a great reward, in particular because it unlocks some of the most powerful Charms.

                            For balance DnD at least had the advantage of assuming all characters are about equally useful in combat heavy adventure days. If you make a diplomat in DnD you make like, a Lore bard with max charisma, but that lore bard can cast fireball at level 6 and incinerate a whole swarm of goblins in one action. Exalted on the other hand expects some characters to be wildly different in their combat ability, but that in different scenes different characters will shine, depending on their skill.
                            Yeah, for this kind of reason, I feel like balancing a game of Exalted requires balancing skills equivalent to some of the Solar Athletics Charms in Exalted...

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                              In those cases where you can do things like stack onslaught penalties*, or wound penalties, like if you're partnering with a Water Dragon Stylist, or a Earth Dragon Stylist who is going to smash them prone, I don't think other styles really do what Steel Devil does infinitely better. Adding 10+ damage for 3 motes, chaining into decisive attacks that don't reset your initiative, cap-breaking post-roll parry enhancers that chain into disarm gambits with double 9s, that chain into AoE decisive attacks that also don't reset to base initiative, are all pretty good. Other styles may be better, but I don't know about infinitely better.

                              *which is any time your circle is engaged in fighting unless you've gone off on your own or something, or engaging a lone creature with legendary size without a warstrider.
                              In most cases other styles do indeed do better than Steel Devil. I’ve tested other styles in the past compared to Steel Devil before remaking the entire style. Also saying you’re better with other people proves nothing. Any style, hell virtually any fighting tactic works better in terms. Again the only exception would be Throne Shadow style (Which your form weapons are other people).

                              It’s also funny you mention that additional damage and decisive attack, because they basically rely on pulling a lucky card. Something that which, if you’re by yourself and ever facing an enemy with a parry negator or defence adder, you’re screwed. Higher end enemies in the game exist and you become far less effective to them vs other MA’s. Quit dodging my question. Why is this acceptable for Steel Devil when no other style needs to jump through as big of a hoop?

                              The AoE attack is cute and the gambit is useful. The latter is conditional but a little easier to pull off. Otherwise you can see what I think of the charge as parry feature in my linked essay.


                              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                              Because the threshold for being a badass Dawn doesn't start at being able to solo the most powerful second circle demon in Hell. The game promises that as a Dawn you will kick serious ass, and then the antagonist chapter informs you about what manner of creatures Creation is populated with. Dogs of the Unbroken Earth, jungle stalkers, clawstriders, bloodapes, hungry ghosts, storm serpents, greenmaws. If you can kick their asses, you're a badass exalted warrior.

                              The description for Erymanthus is that they strike faster than the eye can see, and bellow loud enough to shatter stone and steel, and you eat them for breakfast.


                              Besides soloing Octavian isn't something every other style lets you do easily anyway. Look at Silver Voiced Nightingale. It has an easier time of it than Steel Devil, but you're wearing light armor against an enemy with a 14 die attack with 19 base damage, a Solar excellency, 110 mote essence pool and who can attack twice a turn. With 10 willpower and Cult 2 to resist a ton of social influence as he fights, and with intimacies like "I will test my strength against the world" he will definitely be spending to resist those effects.

                              I admit, I don't know SVN that well, one of my PCs used it in a campaign, but that was a while ago. Still looking through the charms again I don't see how it particularly wrecks Octavian's shit in a 1v1.
                              SVN is one of the style’s that do work better with others, but in a way that’s intentional rather than a byproduct of mechanics. SVN would have a much harder time against Octavian. If you go RAW charms at Essence 3 (A time when most combatants would be able to comfortably pull this off solo) then really only Lunars would be able to pull something off, as otherwise the damage is hard to get around. Hell, Flashing Blade Harmony alone already kicks the shit out of any sort of utility seeks to provide. Shattering Discord Cacophony liquifies enemies outright when mobbed, and god help those enemies if an ally has a multi-attack charm (as the bonus damage will proc on every hit). And unlike Steel Devil I don’t need to worry about a miniscule chance for my charms to activate. They’ll be activating 100% of the time.

                              I admit SVN is going to have a hard time against Octivian Solo, but probably better solo and certainly far better in a group.


                              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                              Right, but antagonist's defenses are not meant to be peaking that high on a regular basis without being able to get around them. They do in your games, of course, and that's okay, but that's not the environment Steel Devil was written to function in. The reason it's okay, and allowed to be like that is because that's how it was thought the game would be played when it was written.
                              The reason why it’s not OK with me Monkey is because virtually no other MA in the game has these issues. Black Claw can still fight against mindless, White Reaper can still fight solo, Righteous Devil can fight without aiming, SVN can fight against emotionless things, but Steel Devil fails hard against those with high defences. This is not ideal as this is not a “paladin falls” level of difficulty to pull off and absolutely hoses you when it happens. I’ve seen it happen to myself and I’ve seen it happen to other players who immediately regret their choice when their functionality goes down the shitter. Their super badass demigod doesn’t live up to the stories he’s been hearing about while the songtress of the group contributed far more to the benefit of the group.

                              So let me ask you: Why is it acceptable for Steel Devil to have these problems?


                              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                              DnD balance has a hell of a lot of this, especially for wizards. If the players are allowed to have a 5 minute adventuring day, then the awesomeness of the Rogue and the Fighter completely dissolve. If the party is pressed really, really hard, to the point where the wizard never ends a day with any spell slots left, the Rogue and the Fighter look like unstoppable tanks that terminator their way through obstacles without even slowing down. A wizard who's liberal with their spells will end up being their cheerleader in the second half of the day.

                              Which actually is an enormous problem, because a lot of groups, maybe even most groups, that homebrew their own stuff do this. They'll have a haunted house with like, two encounters in it, and nothing pressing for time so the group goes and takes a long rest between them. Then you look at the published adventures and their haunted house has like 8 encounters in it, and the house has little girl trapped in an airtight coffin in the basement. Tick tock.

                              That wasn’t the point I was trying to make. Steel Devil’s users are effectively kneecapped and barely function compared to the alternatives.

                              You also filled a space on my card, thanks.


                              Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
                              Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                                Your attitude is not exactly forum friendly. We're all here to have fun. Please dial it down or leave the thread.


                                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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