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How many Combat Abilities do you/your players use?

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  • How many Combat Abilities do you/your players use?

    I was thinking about characters who mix Melee with a little Brawl and it got me thinking. My group has a Single Point/Brawler. But then the others are just Melee, Melee + Survival Pet, just Thrown. So really only one of us uses two combat abilities, while another has a combat ability and a pet.

    What is you experience?


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  • #2
    Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
    I was thinking about characters who mix Melee with a little Brawl and it got me thinking. My group has a Single Point/Brawler. But then the others are just Melee, Melee + Survival Pet, just Thrown. So really only one of us uses two combat abilities, while another has a combat ability and a pet.

    What is you experience?
    Same thing here no one invests in multiple combat abilities, which I find a little sad, but that's expected of a system where investing in Melee doesn't have portability to Brawl. If I invest 6 Charms on Melee, I will not switch to brawl (which has more or less the same characteristics given the Tag effects are quite situational) just to show off, I'll keep using Melee because that's where my character invested.

    I don't know how Lunar Charms work exactly, but if Melee and Brawl Charms share common Charms under Strength/Constituion/Dexterity charms, it might be easier to mix different abilities in fighting.


    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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    • #3
      We've had characters withThrown and Melee, and one with Thrown and MA in my groups on the past. (As serious Combat abilities, not just grabbing Thunderclap Rush Attack or Cascade of Cutting Terror for some utility). Not counting Sidereals, though, it's pretty uncommon. That's why they added the new Dawn abilities, after all.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
        I was thinking about characters who mix Melee with a little Brawl and it got me thinking. My group has a Single Point/Brawler. But then the others are just Melee, Melee + Survival Pet, just Thrown. So really only one of us uses two combat abilities, while another has a combat ability and a pet.

        What is you experience?
        I don't have a character anymore *sniff*. But the 3.5 PCs in the game I ST:

        Cynis Ganan used Earth Dragon Style reasonably exclusively, but carried javelines and used Thrown when fighting flying foes... Which happened maybe twice. But he did switch up between tetsubo and unarmed, and just built a firewand.

        Mnemon Danireya mostly uses Occult (The Burning Name) but also uses Melee (+Presence).

        Gracious Pealing Melody uses Archery and occasionally Survival (and her stegosaurus).

        Cynis Jinabar used Melee and Thrown (Elemental Bolt Attack).


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

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        • #5
          Knight Raiton uses Brawl, Dodge, and Thrown.
          ​Robin uses Dodge and White Veil Style.
          ​Invisible Horse Princess uses Ebon Shadow, Crystal Chameleon, Laughing Monster, and Hidden Horse Style, with some backup Dodge.
          ​Lyse has Brawl, with a backup dot in Dodge.
          ​Kithri has Melee, Dodge, and some backup Thrown.

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          • #6
            Of the two characters in my campaign, one uses Brawl+Dodge, and the other uses Melee+Occult (for sorcery and a lightning variant on the Burning Name)

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            • #7
              It kinda depends since 3e added a lot of combat utility to Abilities that aren't "combat Abilities" as one generally uses the term. Evens Survival's mundane animal companion boosting is fairly significantly improved from 2e, and Solar Survival goes way farther for a beast trainer approach now. I'm operating under the assumption that bread & butter stuff like Awareness for max JB and Athletics for combat movement, while combat important, aren't the focus of this. I'm also assuming MA is handled RAW where each one is a different Ability (so buying Wood Dragon for range and Mantis for up close still counts as two).


              My experience so far with 3e:

              Solars - usually around 2, one primary and one to fill in gaps. Ranged fighters want Dodge or Resistance to avoid getting smashed if someone gets in close. Melee fighters tend to want enough Brawl to avoid a grapple ruining their day. Brawl and MA fighters tend to vary a lot depending on approach/style.
              Mortals - 3 or 4.. mortals don't really have a choice in combat but to diversify since they don't get Charms and all that.
              DBs - around 3, though some of that might be a shorter game without getting as much of a hang of 3e DB's and aura management. DBs tend to be more like Mortals in that they're not going to be able to rely on Melee Charms to fight at range like Solars can, so branching out to cover more bases felt more important.
              Lunars - Very limited experience, but all over the place. Without a lot of focus on specific Abilities jack-of-all-trades builds seem very effective, but so does a Lunar that just goes head first into Brawl and let shapes/Charms do things like cover distance and so on.

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              • #8
                In my experience generally only one combat ability, unless they’re ranged in which case they also have dodge. For my characters personally I try to have more than one if they’re a fighter. It just doesn’t make sense to me that they were a gladiator with Melee 5 and Brawl 0, or a prodigy soldier with Melee 5 who somehow was never even taught the basics of how to use a bow or sling.

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                • #9
                  Ranged combat characters are generally going to want a second combat ability, as neither Archery nor Thrown have a defensive option built in. Most characters take Dodge, which personally I consider a combat ability. Behind that, I've seen a fair amount of Thrown paired with Melee (throwers are often holding a pointy thing that can serve as a potential melee parry weapon) and Archery with Brawl (archers don't generally want to parry with a bow, unless they want to end up with a broken stick instead of a primary weapon).

                  Sometimes, if I'm playing a character with some fighting in their background, I'd also take a dot or two of Brawl/Martial Arts regardless of what their primary abilities would be. It was hardly mandatory, though, and I rarely bother with Charms.

                  When you start talking about Lunars, Alchemicals, or Infernals, their combat Charms often (not always) work regardless of ability used. I've seen a fair amount of additional ability diversity there, since competence is generally as cheap as picking up a second ability to 3 or so - usually primarily ranged combatants picking up enough Brawl/Martial Arts/Melee to also use the character's Charms in close combat in a pinch, or vice versa.

                  I would say that regardless of what you're looking at, most of the above are more dabblers in their second skill, just getting what they need to meet how combat capable they see the character.

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                  • #10
                    The sad truth is that the charm system (For Solars & DBs) really rewards a deep-dive in one ability over multiple abilities. Multiple MA styles is much more common than say Melee and Thrown in my experience. The dedicated Archery characters seem to have the broadest array, usually Archery as their primary focus, with a backup in Brawl/Melee and dodge as well. Although the dodge may just be 5 dots and an excellency rather than a bunch of charms. The Most I have ever personally used is three for a Wood Dragon MA stylist who needed MA, Archery & Dodge.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by satoshi View Post
                      The sad truth is that the charm system (For Solars & DBs) really rewards a deep-dive in one ability over multiple abilities.
                      Eeeeeeehhhhh.

                      System Mechanically? Sure. Agree 100%.

                      In play? What are you fighting?

                      Unless you're wailing on the mile high volcano monster, or a dozen Deebs, or a circle of 5 Ahlat level gods, dipping, like, four charms is probably fine.

                      Cynis Ganan had no Thrown Charms, Melee 3 with two Charms and Thrown 0. Which was plenty for wild cats, eagle familiars, battle-ready soldiers, and singular Blood Apes. (He has Earth Dragon Style 5 and an artifact tetsubo, and like, 12 Charms in his primary combat ability -- so, it's not like he didn't have a safety net if things went South in combat.)

                      Blood Apes, Quel-Lions, battle-ready soldiers, warrior-monks... they're all Defense 4. Dex 5 Accuracy +4 Stunt +2 is basically all you need to pile reliable Withering damage. And that's 90% of combat.

                      I ran this Dex 3, Martial Arts 3, 2 Charms character through back to back fights where he beat a pirate captain, a fog shark and a manticore (between parlaying with gods, navigating a hurricane and building a raft from a ship-wreck).

                      PCs really don't need the level of combat investment people think they do.
                      Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-16-2020, 06:24 AM.


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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                        Eeeeeeehhhhh.

                        System Mechanically? Sure. Agree 100%.

                        In play? What are you fighting?

                        Unless you're wailing on the mile high volcano monster, or a dozen Deebs, or a circle of 5 Ahlat level gods, dipping, like, four charms is probably fine.

                        Cynis Ganan had no Thrown Charms, Melee 3 with two Charms and Thrown 0. Which was plenty for wild cats, eagle familiars, battle-ready soldiers, and singular Blood Apes. (He has Earth Dragon Style 5 and an artifact tetsubo, and like, 12 Charms in his primary combat ability -- so, it's not like he didn't have a safety net if things went South in combat.)

                        Blood Apes, Quel-Lions, battle-ready soldiers, warrior-monks... they're all Defense 4. Dex 5 Accuracy +4 Stunt +2 is basically all you need to pile reliable Withering damage. And that's 90% of combat.

                        I ran this Dex 3, Martial Arts 3, 2 Charms character through back to back fights where he beat a pirate captain, a pair of fog sharks and a chimera (between parlaying with gods, navigating a hurricane and building a raft from a ship-wreck).

                        PCs really don't need the level of combat investment people think they do.

                        I think a lot of us are formatted by DD games and other RPG/video games to think about optimization, which makes it hard to casually play a character we see as "poor mechanically"


                        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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                        • #13
                          Previous (short) game was similar to most others' experiences above, everyone was very mono-focused on a sole 'the pointy end goes in the other man' skill, with dodge also taken by the ranged fighters. Charms were overwhelmingly from one tree.

                          For our current (DB) game, after some trial and error, we've used a modified version of the Dynast education template from 2e, with Thrown being subbed in for archery if preferred and Linguistics 1 and Occult 1 also added. Every player spent all their bonus points on abilities, with a couple of merits maybe, so people are still rocking 5s in their points of focus but they all make more sense as people than previous, which has been nice.

                          We've also recently been having NPCs use ranged weapons, smashing attacks or disarm gambits much more than in the past, which has encouraged not relying on always having your Buster Sword of Doom to hand and also having some Dodge (I like the fact 3e uses Dodge to rise from prone and disengage – even if you're a Melee 5 badass you need that skill at some point), while Dragon-Graced Weapon has been used to conjure javelins a couple of times.

                          The most combat-obsessed player had, from chargen, Melee 5 (Grand Goremaul) with a load of charms, Dodge 3 (Armoured, inevitably) with just the Excellency, Brawl 3 (Bare Fists) with just the Excellency (has proven useful to stop grapples), and Thrown 1 (and, also inevitably, Dex 5).

                          Short of the Big Bads of our game, he walks most combats and is keen to branch out into more non-smashy pursuits.
                          Last edited by Moss Reynholm; 09-16-2020, 06:17 AM.

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                          • #14
                            I think there needs to be a bit of a separation between Ability dots and Charms when it comes to how optimization impacts things.

                            The system (esp for Solars/DBs) rewards deep diving into Ability dots for multiple combat Abilities, while encouraging only deep diving into one Ability's Charms. An Excellency + 2 or 3 Essence 1 Charms goes a long way with a good Ability score for dealing with 99% of the baddies in Creation. especially if you're mostly stalling for a chance to return to your main combat tactics.

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                            • #15
                              I think it depends on whether you build for thematics or for mechanical effectiveness. Building for effectiveness seems to reward deep-diving one offensive ability and one defense whereas building for thematics means you often spread your dots a bit more.

                              As an example of a more thematic build look at the stats for Olaf Keelbreaker I posted in the Lunar Characters thread a while back. He has 2 dots in thrown and 4 dots in brawl despite being a primary melee fighter, having no charms that support them, and having terrible stats for actually using those two abilities simply because it felt right for someone with a background as an icewalker to have those things.

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