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What limits should there be on High Essence Solar Charms?

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  • What limits should there be on High Essence Solar Charms?

    Or more accurately, if you're an all-mighty god king, what can you *not* do? What limit and what guideline should be upon you?

    So let's say that you're a Lore supernal. You.. are so good at lore and at knowledge that you can basically be the sage that can call down doom and prophecy upon your opponents. Once a year, or with experience points,you can, with a bit of fiddling and good dice, able to call down total destruction upon nearly anything. Ranging from hurricanes, to floods, to behemoths or deadly meteorites.

    Is there any way to block this? Because based on Prophet of Seventeen Cycles a solar has once a year to use the equivalent of an unstoppable nuke... anywhere. Anywhere that doesn't have powerful fate bending magic. And based on the Sidereal limits on manpower, that's a lot of places.

    One: Is this normal?
    Two: Should there be a guideline of 'wow, wait, no, that's way too overpowered'?

  • #2
    Of note that Lunars do have a particular countermagic charm against effects such as God-King's Shrike, with it not unreasonable to assume Sidereals can have such as well, and a group of Dragon-Blooded can always try and murder the Solar [no longer as joke-tastiic as in the past] to terminate her prophecy early.

    So I would say "things that are Absolutely Impossible for anyone else to overcome or engage with are not okay". Prophet of Seventeen Cycles basically says "do as I say or suffer arbitrary penalties", but an opposing Exalt can angle to overcome the penalties with raw Exalted power and the like.

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    • #3
      One: Yes.
      Two: This is the guideline. No Charms more powerful than the published ones.

      The question is "what happens next?"

      Dogstar Ruminations requires you to commit thirty motes for a week. Given the restrictions on Prophet of Seventeen Cycles, I absolutely believe that the Solar Doomsday Proclamation shows up on the Loom of Fate.

      Flaring your anima in a library and setting off alerts throughout the Loom of Fate lets you do amazing things, sure. But don't imagine for a single second that your actions won't have concequences.

      "I unleash a Behemoth to destroy the Imperial City!"

      Okay, you've killed a million civilians, disrupted the geomancy of Creation's most dangerous superweapon, unleashed a threat that all the Dragon-Blooded in the Imperial City couldn't defeat, and revealed yourself as an Anathema to everyone in Nexus. Much power. Super impressed.


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

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      • #4
        The absolute limit of Solar power is kind of fuzzy. For one there’s a lot of balancing factors, Essence requirement, charm prerequisite requirement, mote/wp/HL/xp costs, cool downs, counter play etc. Also there’s some things to consider that Solars don’t have in their theme. No solar charm, no matter how powerful, lets them turn into Cthulhu, or fire their fist off as a rocket punch on a retractable chain.

        That said, the limit should be somewhat in scale with the setting, and shouldn’t be so comprehensive as to skip stories. For example in Star Trek Adventures every single Starfleet ship has photon torpedoes with the explosive yield of the Czar Bomba each. The captain gives the word and any city gets nuked. Thing is, in the Star Trek universe one city is kind of small. You’re dealing with issues on a planetary scale and adventures on a galactic one. Same with a game of Rogue Trader except even more so. Creation is just one planet and a few other adjacent planes of existence, so the power to blow up a city needs to be treated like a much more serious thing, it’s not in proportion with the size of the world.

        As for story skipping it’s like this. Imagine a story of a plague, it’s ripping through a city like wyldfire, but there’s a Solar. The Solar can diagnose a person with a glance, give treatment that’s nearly always successful, and in desperate occasions even cure with a touch. That could be a story about organizing people, convincing them to listen to the doctor, taking the absolute most sick people and turning their fortunes around, guiding the population, and returning the place to better health than it started with even. You could have scenes where a desperate mother makes a trek to see you with her sick child, begging for a piece of your limited resources to save them, then when you’re trying to make a speech about the importance of staying socially distant she stands up in the crowd and shouts down by dissenting voices, your character runs themselves ragged moving from bed to bed ministering treatment, popping bottles of liquid and mashing them with handfuls of herbs that nobody ever even realized had medicinal properties until your genius revealed them, stuff like that.

        Flip side, a charm that lets you touch the ground and cure all illness in a 100 mile radius isn’t a story. The Solar doctor there gets to do one thing at the start of the session and then sit on her hands until the next health crisis, where she’ll just push the cure-all button again and move on. You could still say “what if you could do that and let’s play out a world where I could just go eradicate all disease everywhere forever” and that’s an interesting story, but it shuts down cool mystical healer stories in favour of trans human utopia stuff. Which is again, not bad, but it’s not really what I want from my exalted medicine.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
          Anywhere that doesn't have powerful fate bending magic.
          Or any books written about it.

          I think a Storyteller should be carefully reserved about saying that an intended target has no valid research on it within available reach of the Solar at that time, but is also within rights to sometimes require the player to go through some steps to attain what is needed for the research process.

          Originally posted by Accelerator
          based on Sidereal limits on manpower, that's a lot of places.
          I don't understand the basis of this statement.

          If we assumed every single Zenith and Twilight was Lore Supernal, that's still only sixty people who can do such a thing once a year presuming they don't have the means to reset it down to once a season (which for Storyteller characters depends on what kind of setting the Storyteller intends to create).

          Sidereal limits on staffing force them to adopt an order of priorities, which might be subject to change if big scary things become apparent. "I'd sure like to relocate myself to stop Nexus from being hit with a tsunami, but the schedule says I need to make that burgher choke on some gristle, and it is ironclad". I don't believe that Solars have the capacity to bombard the world with the thing, presuming that anybody would want to.

          And yeah, there are other elements where a Solar might want to consider whether or not such destruction will entail consequences they do not desire, including their role being divined by powerful enemies.

          I don't really understand the intention of this thread. Is it reflecting on this specific Charm or is it trying to figure out whether or not all Essence 5 Solar Charms are equivalent, which... should be apparent from the written book.

          I mean, this is a Lore Charm that explores the edge of a weird space in a manner much like Wyld-Shaping Technique. It is particular to the premises of Solar Lore, which includes such a powerful effect being mediated through the need to research the target location first. It's not a guidepost to Melee Charms or something, which come out as more subdued and something you can use more than once per year. It isn't even a guidepost to the other Essence 5 Lore Charms.


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
          Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
            Flip side, a charm that lets you touch the ground and cure all illness in a 100 mile radius isn’t a story. The Solar doctor there gets to do one thing at the start of the session and then sit on her hands until the next health crisis, where she’ll just push the cure-all button again and move on. You could still say “what if you could do that and let’s play out a world where I could just go eradicate all disease everywhere forever” and that’s an interesting story, but it shuts down cool mystical healer stories in favour of trans human utopia stuff. Which is again, not bad, but it’s not really what I want from my exalted medicine.
            Better idea.

            You want to cure the world of all diseases but people want to do things that don't work for it. Like go to war, worship their gods, have parties, or even don't want to rewrite their social structure. Or you want to have the resources to cure everyone, but you can't have it, because others are using it. So you start invading, ass kicking, and taking over the place.

            All to create a utopia where no one gets sick.

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            • #7
              Hmm... OP some other balances there to that Charm might be:

              1) if you're the mad, cackling prophet of doom*, then that's a big social disadvantage, and if you're not the mad prophet of doom, being assaulted by bleak visions of death and destruction is the right kind of psychological state that someone can use on you. Not to mention the experience having your thoughts warp the nature of reality (of which you will be aware) - seems to me like you'd end going "Max Cohen as epic hero" but yeah. This is subjective though - you may play such characters as in some untroubled by all this!

              2) they're absolutely not omnipresent "teacup ninjas" but I'd guess, if you're continuously effectively altering The Way Things Are to make disasters happen against what Heaven plans to be The Way Things Should Be, you're pretty much the thing that the Sidereals' nature and Charms bends most towards stopping. If they can't simply no-sell what you're doing, they'll still have a lot of might that increasingly bends fate such that it speeds a blade towards you or anything you positively try to achieve, in proportion to how much you disrupt The Plan...

              (Completely speculatively, I do think there might be some preemptive no-sell by Heaven on places that are just-that-critical and have way too many downstream consequences like the Imperial Manse, but obviously that should be limited to balance against that it should still be a serious power, and you may not even deem that appropriate in your game!)

              It's a strong power, but the prophet of destruction whose visions warp the nature of reality itself should be something there are counters to...

              *Yes, I know the way the flavour of the Charm converges and diverges from this, but it still seems fundamentally close.

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              • #8
                Seconding “What is this thread about exactly?”

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                  I don't really understand the intention of this thread. Is it reflecting on this specific Charm or is it trying to figure out whether or not all Essence 5 Solar Charms are equivalent, which... should be apparent from the written book.
                  Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
                  Seconding “What is this thread about exactly?”
                  May I be blunt?

                  Accelerator got warned for thread crapping on MaryShelly's thread because Colin_Fredericks said that Essence 1 NPC Solars should be using Dogstar Ruminations to destroy a Realm city every year, and Accelerator said that it was a bullshit charm. So Accelerator made a legitimate thread to discuss the setting implications of giving Solars this massive, city-destroying Sidereal power in 3E. And thus far the thread has been a reasonable civil discussion of the high end of Solar Charms in 3E without turning into an edition war. That's what the thread is about.

                  Then, in the interests of having a real conversation and not a cheeky side-step of a mod warning, Accelerator and DrLoveMonkey went down a perfectly on-topic tangent about how high end medicine charms might be used to tell an interesting story. If you want to contribute meaningfully to the thread, I suggest taking a high end Solar Charm and explaining how it can be used to tell a cool story (if you think the Charm is valid) or explaining how it kills creative stories and shouldn't exist (if you don't think the Charm is valid).

                  I hope that helped.

                  ****

                  Obviously, NPC Solars should not be using Dogstar Ruminations to just randomly wipe out the Imperial City FOR TEH LULZ. Just like how NPC Solars should not randomly assassinate the PCs in their sleep with busted Stealth Join Battle Charms.

                  But if your PC Solar wants to do it, I say go for it. As ST, I'm going to make it interesting (see above), but I have no problem with a starting character Solar investing 6 Charms for the ability to nuke a city. I don't see a design problem with the Charm. But I do think that as an Essence 5 Charm, this represents the height of Solar power -- any other city-destroying power must be at least this limited.
                  Last edited by JohnDoe244; 11-10-2020, 08:19 PM.


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

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                  • #10
                    I wonder if the Sidereal book will specifically call out this charm, because it's also great fodder for Sidereal games.

                    "Somebody just tore the Loom, Chiaroscuro is doomed."

                    "What?"

                    "A week from now the entire city will become a shadowland and the dead will surge forth into Creation."

                    "Hoookay, who? How?"

                    "We have a lead. Time to suit up."


                    Then bam, you have one week to find this Solar and convince them to take back their proclamation or witness power of the Maiden of Endings.

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                    • #11
                      Like... to be frank? I have at least, some suggestions.

                      How about this? For the prophet of seventeen cycles or whatchacall it, it's not 'unstoppable except for powerful fate magic'. I say that it can be countered, by high level DBS with a lore specialty that can try to bypass or neutralize its effects. For example, by figuring out ways to propiate the elementals that would normally attack Mnemon's troops, or use underpasses not on any map to bypass snow buildup. Not easily, not simply, by

                      Same for Dogstar Ruminations. Intrepid Dragonblooded and her sworn brotherhood can go around in a crazed attempt to buy the city some time, weaken the curse, evacuate the city, or just plain-ass run. That way when Dreaded Solar/ Infernal/ Abyssal (because you most definitely know there'll be analogues) pronounces a doom and curse upon the Realm, the DBs within the Imperial City can run around, smashing up portents and signs and replacing them with signs of good fortune and prosperity, beating back the universe's attempt to murder them all.

                      I'm fine with solar being able to backhand and annihilate any number of gods, demons, elementals, or mortals. That's pretty normal. But I never liked 'hahaha orbital attack' effects. I've never liked 'oh yeah, DB's can't defend against shaping from Celestial Exalted' or 'Yeah, Db's can't defend against mental attacks from those with higher essence' (which by the way, makes you wonder how Immaculate hit squads work at all).

                      Exalted should be able to glare at near-impossible odds and punch them in the face. Even when it's an Essence 1 Solar with a Lore Supernal proclaiming death on the city they live in.

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                      • #12
                        There's kind of an argument to be made that the Dogstar charm doesn't necessarily always work exactly. I mean what happens if you used it on the Realm while the Scarlett Empress was still around, and a giant behemoth rose to attack the city, and she fired the Imperial Defense Matrix at it? Does it just no-sell the genius work of the entire First Age Exalted host, channeled through the only N/A manse in the world, and slay 1,000 terrestrial exalted with their sorceries and charms and artifacts just because the charm says it works so it does?

                        I gotta say the meteor is kind of a hard one, but if you fired it off at Raksi is there no chance she could defend Rathess against an undead plague?

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                        • #13
                          Lore charm shenanigans aside, I like the E6 charms Lunar Elders have- some Very Specific Thing they can do unique to their personality and abilities.

                          So a Solar Melee Dawn might get a special army cutting slash, a Stealth Night ceases to exist for a minute, a Performance Eclipse can sing a song heard across the world, etc.


                          Please be warned: this is not champagne, this is most likely a duck.
                          -Chausse

                          Message me for Japanese translations.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            There's kind of an argument to be made that the Dogstar charm doesn't necessarily always work exactly. I mean what happens if you used it on the Realm while the Scarlett Empress was still around, and a giant behemoth rose to attack the city, and she fired the Imperial Defense Matrix at it? Does it just no-sell the genius work of the entire First Age Exalted host, channeled through the only N/A manse in the world, and slay 1,000 terrestrial exalted with their sorceries and charms and artifacts just because the charm says it works so it does?

                            I gotta say the meteor is kind of a hard one, but if you fired it off at Raksi is there no chance she could defend Rathess against an undead plague?
                            The Solar and the Player don't choose the form of the Doom though. The ST does.

                            So if the ST thinks the Scarlet Empress can nuke a Behemoth with the Realm Defence Grid, then obviously a Behemoth isn't the threat here -- maybe the RDG explodes instead.

                            I read it as putting on the ST specifically to come up with a Doom and the reasons why it can't be stopped.

                            I don't know if that reads better or worse for you, just clarifying how it works.

                            Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                            Like... to be frank? I have at least, some suggestions.

                            How about this? For the prophet of seventeen cycles or whatchacall it, it's not 'unstoppable except for powerful fate magic'. I say that it can be countered, by high level DBS with a lore specialty that can try to bypass or neutralize its effects. For example, by figuring out ways to propiate the elementals that would normally attack Mnemon's troops, or use underpasses not on any map to bypass snow buildup. Not easily, not simply, by
                            Well... you can. That's how the Charm works.

                            Prophet of Seventeen Cycles levies a penalty. It doesn't stop you doing what you want to do. And if you can get a bonus, that bonus can cancel out the penalty.

                            Same for Dogstar Ruminations. Intrepid Dragonblooded and her sworn brotherhood can go around in a crazed attempt to buy the city some time, weaken the curse, evacuate the city, or just plain-ass run. That way when Dreaded Solar/ Infernal/ Abyssal (because you most definitely know there'll be analogues) pronounces a doom and curse upon the Realm, the DBs within the Imperial City can run around, smashing up portents and signs and replacing them with signs of good fortune and prosperity, beating back the universe's attempt to murder them all.
                            *Shrug* Who's the PCs?

                            If it's a DB game, then, sure. I have no objection to protagonizing the PCs instead of saying "Solar Charms go brrr!"
                            If it's a Solar game, and a heavily invested Supernal commits 30 motes to their trademark super-effect, turning around and saying "Storyteller says no!"... is undesirable to me.

                            I strongly feel like the consequences of action are more useful for organic storytelling than limiting action.

                            But if you really hate the Charm, just ban it at your table.

                            I do think that Dogstar Ruminations should have the Apocryphal keyword.

                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            I wonder if the Sidereal book will specifically call out this charm, because it's also great fodder for Sidereal games.

                            [...]

                            Then bam, you have one week to find this Solar and convince them to take back their proclamation or witness power of the Maiden of Endings.
                            I would be surprised and disappointed if it wasn't given this treatment.
                            Last edited by JohnDoe244; 11-11-2020, 08:28 AM.


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

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post

                              The Solar and the Player don't choose the form of the Doom though. The ST does.

                              So if the ST thinks the Scarlet Empress can nuke a Behemoth with the Realm Defence Grid, then obviously a Behemoth isn't the threat here -- maybe the RDG explodes instead.

                              I read it as putting on the ST specifically to come up with a Doom and the reasons why it can't be stopped.

                              I don't know if that reads better or worse for you, just clarifying how it works.
                              Okay yeah, that makes sense, although I do think there should be some reasonable limit to it. Not that it should be easily dealt with, just in some places where it's not absolutely certain doom.

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