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Any Mandatory Charms Effects?

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  • Any Mandatory Charms Effects?

    So, we've gotten three different official Charm sets for 3e and years now to experiment with some of them. Has any particular group of effects come up as a critical thing to a particular Ability or even broad archetype? At the end of 2e, the mandatory Charm effects had gotten pretty well known (perfect defense, surprise negator, cheap UMI, etc.) and certainly made the Devil-Tiger Charm sets easy enough to put together and be viable, but 3e is still young and I haven't had as much chance to get play experiences in as I used to - apparently a decade makes a difference in how much free time you have - so I figured I should reach out and see if anyone has noticed such things. I plan to work up another couple of homebrew Charm sets and I'd like to have them be able to stand up next to other Exalts and contribute.



    Dead But Not Gone: Ghosts
    Ghosts: A Revision (2nd Edition)
    Masters of the Industrial Elements
    Upon the Rock of Tradition: The Memorial Exalted
    ​From The Crucible: Crafting As A Struggle

  • #2
    3E is written on a different set of assumptions.

    In 2E there were published characters who could throw out multiple infinite damage attacks. It wasn't a weird fluke that PCs could do if they broke the game: it was just how 2E worked. Now an ST didn't have to use these antagonists, but they appeared in adventure modules and (by the time of Infernals) paranoia combat was how the game was meant to be played.

    3E doesn't have that. The Mask of Winters isn't going to attack you with 10 attacks that always hit and do infinite damage. The way NPCs are written, if you want to play a Deadalus style craftsman you don't have to also be the most graceful, best trained swords fighter, who can parry heartbreak and cut mountains in half. You can just be an old man crafter and the game still works.

    That said, if you want to be good at combat there are some staples, in order of importance:

    1. Onslaught negator. Onslaught kills.
    2. A Clash enhancer. Losing a clash is a death sentence. This can be something as simple as Excellent Strike to help you break your cap.
    3. Ox-body Technique or equivalent. You need health levels now.
    4. A Withering damage enhancer*. You don't want to be Crashed. If Crashed, you want to Shift. Initative is good.
    5. A movement enhancer. Ranged characters want Disengage. Melee wants at least Rush -- but Disengage stops you getting tar pitted whilst the real enemy gets away.

    And everything else is gravy. Decisive damage enhancers are great. Soak/Defense boosters are strong mechanically, if boring in play. Penalty negation is great if your ST comes up with interesting scenarios. Multiple attacks (whether true or split Initative Decisives) are incredibly powerful this edition as you can't just flurry them. Perfect Defenses look like a nice "oh shi-" button. My PCs have nearly died from lack of (poison) Resistance -- make sure you have the Excellency.

    The 3E Corebook lists a number of abilities marked "this ability is important in combat": you only need one combat ability, but all the others are important in combat.

    ****

    Crafters need Craftsman Needs No Tools. Craft is fun for every use that ISN'T making artifacts. But if you want to make artifacts here -- don't say I never give you nothing.

    ****

    *So there is a weird Dawn Caste Athletic Shadow Assassin build and a Willpower 10 Sorcerer Sniper build that both just ignore making Withering attacks for back-to-back Decisives. Both are perfectly viable but a little cheesy.
    Last edited by JohnDoe244; 10-25-2020, 05:35 AM.


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

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    • #3
      Excellencies, you need to take excellencies, they are really useful. :3

      After that it depends on what build you're aiming for as to what would qualify as mandatory beyond the literally mandatory charm.

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      • #4
        What JohnDoe244 is the truth and applies 99.995% of the time (recurring probablility, of course). You should listen to JohnDoe244. (Oh, the Sorcerous Sniper build, I love that one, lol)


        However, there are two weird "conditionally, you win" things that I have noticed:

        The first is that Belt of Shadow Walking (Artifact OOO) paired with the ability to hit Incorporeal Creatures allows you to be incorporeal and hit corporeal creatures.

        This is big for three reasons:

        1. If your foe can't see incorporeal, they are literally blind against you. Ambush away!

        2. If your foe can't hit incorporeal, they literally can't touch you while you turn them into fine red mist.

        3. You can attack incorporeal creatures freely, which is nifty against spirits and whatnot.

        So uhh, if your enemy is a QC with no ability vs incorporeal whatsoever, you win, I guess. Depending on your campaign, this could be a common or uncommon thing (there is indication that in Creation at least, it isn't the most common ability to be able to punch ghosts). For note, if your ST took the easy route with core QCs, none of the Dragonblooded QCs have the ability to see/affect incorporeal, for example.



        Okay, thats the first thing, and thats legitimately scary. The second thing is, according to some, worse.

        *Really, you don't have to read on if you don't want to, DISCLAIMER: I take no responsibility for this whatsoever if it shows up in game.*

        Okay, you asked for it. Yasal Crystal (OO) and Sorcery.

        Whats that now? How does a piddly two dot artifact allow you to dominate? Well, here's how.

        Step 1. Learn Demon of the First Circle. Cast it and summon up say... a Blood Ape, ask them for a year and a day service.

        Step 2. Kindly ask the Blood Ape to remain in the Yasal Crystal and provide it's charms for your use (promise it kittens to sweeten the deal if required).

        Step 3. Oh no! Dragonblooded Shikari! What will I do!

        Step 4-9: Using Principle of Motion attack 6 times in one turn on your initiative with your nastiest attack each time at no penalty while inflicting unbelievable onslaught penalties.

        Step 10: Oh, look, problem gone.

        By word of dev, the spirit in the Yasal crystal is responsible for paying for their charm use (a la Aladdin, I suppose, so that mortals with no mote pool can also use the demon in the ring/lamp) so with their pretty big mote pools, demons can really let you wreck face with this if you are a semi decent Exalted combatant.


        Whats nice (alarming) is that both of these strategies are available for a song at CharGen. And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go back into hiding from angry STs.
        Last edited by prototype00; 10-25-2020, 05:58 AM.

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        • #5
          Did the Yasal Crystal trick miss a couple of steps? I am not sure how Principle of Motion is being used to make 6 attacks.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bastet View Post
            Did the Yasal Crystal trick miss a couple of steps? I am not sure how Principle of Motion is being used to make 6 attacks.
            The demon has enough Willpower and Essence to let you (yes you the bearer of the Yasal Crystal uses their charms) use Principles of Motion 5 times:

            Once imprisoned in yasal crystal, spirits can communicate
            with anyone who touches the stone, but they cannot escape
            on their own or use any of their Charms. Instead, whoever
            touches the stone can use a captive spirit’s powers as if
            they were his own, if the holder of the stone has the spirit’s
            permission.
            This is Principles of Motion:

            Principle of Motion (10m, 1wp; Reflexive; Instant;
            Essence 2): The blood-ape moves with blinding speed,
            taking a flurry without the usual restrictions—it can flurry
            two of the same action if desired, and it ignores the usual
            penalties to dice pools and Defense.
            Ah, you are right, though, my bad. It only allows you to make one unencumbered flurry per turn, my bad. 5 strings free flurries per day is still unbelievably good, however, maybe just not game winning. (And you can have 5 per day, because if you use up Ol' smashy in the crystal, you can just take the time to summon up his identical twin brother that evening).

            Edit: I guess attacking once with a withering attack and then again with a decisive is probably kosher however, based on the wording of Principle.
            Last edited by prototype00; 10-25-2020, 06:12 AM.

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            • #7
              Prototype is correct, so don't read this as downplaying, because it's accurate (Cynis Ganan has a Belt of Shadow Walking and a Yasal Crystal for a reason). But...

              1. Ambushes are a little more complicated than just being invisible.

              2. It's pretty easy to just give QCs the ability to hit spirits. Like, I flat disbelieve that Mnemon can't see immaterial demons. Cynis Cogen's chapter fiction is how he beats up a god... But his write up doesn't include the ability to touch gods.

              3. I've houseruled Yasal Crystals as user pays. You should too.
              Last edited by JohnDoe244; 10-25-2020, 06:14 AM.


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

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              • #8
                Alternative fix for Yasal Crystal is that both spirit and Exalt have to pay, and the Charm doesn’t work if one of them can’t.


                He/him

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                  Prototype is correct, so don't read this as downplaying, because it's accurate (Cynis Ganan has a Belt of Shadow Walking and a Yasal Crystal for a reason). But...

                  1. Ambushes are a little more complicated than just being invisible.
                  Indeed, you are right, but being invisible and able to phase through solid objects does get you like 70% of the way there.

                  2. It's pretty easy to just give QCs the ability to hit spirits. Like, I flat disbelieve that Mnemon can't see immaterial demons. Cynis Cogen's chapter fiction is how he beats up a god... But his write up doesn't include the ability to touch gods.
                  Once again, indeed. It does render a lot of dangerous mortal enemies (like all megafauna for example) a lot easier. And as mentioned, it might be that the Exalted you're fighting doesn't have the ability to punch ghosts, not all do, after all. (Maybe just the specific ones your ST has you fight, now and into eternity, lol)

                  3. I've houseruled Yasal Crystals as user pays. You should too.
                  A sensible house rule, but still a very strong ability.
                  Last edited by prototype00; 10-25-2020, 08:23 AM.

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                  • #10
                    I’d be instead be inclined to make Yasal crystals be only the spirit pays, but the spirit uses the charm. So principle of motion let’s a blood ape flurry any two actions they could take in a crystal, but charms that generate external effects still work (and can be used by mortals)

                    I agree with assuming many quick characters have unmentioned spirit-fighting charms, including the immaculate minis whose primary job is fighting spirits

                    I’d argue belt of shadow walking is still too powerful, since “never lose a fight to mortals” is stronger than a 3-dot artifact and 2 essence 1 charms should provide.
                    Last edited by autXautY; 10-25-2020, 08:33 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                      Alternative fix for Yasal Crystal is that both spirit and Exalt have to pay, and the Charm doesn’t work if one of them can’t.
                      So my actual house rule was that the Spirit pays the cost of the charm, but the wielder loses as many motes/willpower/initative as the Spirit spends.

                      So if you have no motes, but the Spirit does, then the effect still goes off (thus mortals get some use from the crystals).

                      But it was too much bookkeeping to track motes, Initative and willpower for a spirit inside a rock so I simplified. Ain't nobody got time for that.


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

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                      • #12
                        Things I always try to get:

                        Withering damage adder.
                        Resistance excellency
                        An emergency out (something that will save you from 1 attack that would otherwise kill you) be it a perfect defense, uncanny shroud defense or something similar.
                        At least 10-11 health levels. Dealing 7 decisive damage in one hit is rarer in play than theory crafting, but can still happen. Dealing 10-11 in one hit is rather unlikely, so this lets you survive at least one really bad hit.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kyeudo View Post
                          I plan to work up another couple of homebrew Charm sets and I'd like to have them be able to stand up next to other Exalts and contribute.
                          Coming at this from a 2e mindset you're far more likely to accidentally break the game rather than make something that doesn't stand up.

                          Theoretically in 2e you played the game using your PDV and DDV to defend against attacks, MDV to defend against social influence, soak to soak damage that got through, etc. How the game was actually played though revolved around perfect effects like PDs and perfect mental defenses. So somebody getting introduced to for the first time reading MoEP: Infernals might see Ablation of Brass and Fire and go "Damn, this breaks the game kinda doesn't it?" but no, it doesn't break the game, it actually facilitates the game, and you need it to achieve base competency. If you tried to fix the game by taking away those perfects you'd just break it harder.

                          In 3e you actually do defend with your parry and evasion, and soak is helpful to tank hits, intimacies and social stats are integral to defending yourself from social influence. In that you can look at the Belt of Shadow Walking and say "Damn, this breaks the game kinda doesn't it?" and say yes, and remove it and everything keeps working. It's not like every splat has its own cheap charm version of the belt and the whole game now revolves around the ability to hit dematerialized foes.

                          Otherwise everything John said is good and works. You don't even really need to be that combat capable, as long as 1-2 people in your circle are, they can protect you from basically any threat. Unless your ST is sending you right up against Malfeas himself right off chargen or something. The nice flipside to that is if you're, for example, a social character because the big heavy combat hitters likely don't also have godlike social stats they need you to protect them from aggressive social influence. In theory anyway, if the ST is doing their job.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                            5. A movement enhancer. Ranged characters want Disengage. Melee wants at least Rush -- but Disengage stops you getting tar pitted whilst the real enemy gets away.
                            Just a quick comment on this that some movement abilities (those that move you and don't just let you use your normal movement) get around the need to disengage (often specifically getting around the need to disengage to attack someone else) and this is useful.


                            Perfect Defenses look like a nice "oh shi-" button.
                            Can confirm that they come in handy.


                            So there is a weird Dawn Caste Athletic Shadow Assassin build and a Willpower 10 Sorcerer Sniper build that both just ignore making Withering attacks for back-to-back Decisives. Both are perfectly viable but a little cheesy.
                            I don't think this is actually that uncommon - I think even without making a specialized build, you will often find yourself in a situation where you don't need to make Withering attacks, although of course you won't be able to eschew Withering attacks entirely. In Solar Brawl, you can stack up Onslaught with Falling Hammer Strike and then make back-to-back Decisives with Ferocious Jab. With Solar Melee or Mastery White Veil Style, it's not hard to gain more Initiative from your enemy's attacks than from your own (and, more standardly, White Veil Style itself allows Decisive attacks that don't cost Initiative).

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                            • #15
                              Re: No Withering

                              The two builds JohnDoe mentioned are specifically built to launch Decisives from the first attack to the last and bypass the hardness of every published QC in the game up to now (so each attack is potentially a crippling blow).

                              They are kinda glass cannons as you end up on low init 24/7 and can be crashed by any unlucky hit, but I think it’s different from “I might have picked up 5 init in that last exchange so I can launch a decisive again now”

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