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What limits should there be on High Essence Solar Charms?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

    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.
    It's a fine line, definitely. On the one hand, you don't want to no-sell a player's supermove--that's just not fun. At the same time, the Solar isn't creating a random disaster out of nowhere, they're predicting one that could plausibly strike. That means that normal disaster-preparedness strategies should work (at least to the extent that you can prepare for a behemoth waking up in the middle of your city). If your target has ways to find out about the disaster, they should be able to respond, just not so effectively that it nullifies the Charm.

    If you predict that a meteor is going to hit Nexus and someone something fate magic bull**** so it hits the middle of the ocean instead, that's no fun. If someone sees it coming and organizes mass evacuations... well, you've still got one of the biggest cities in Creation in smoking ruins, hundreds of thousands of refugees, entire economies collapsing, and all kinds of horrible horrible stuff. The Charm worked, a great disaster happened, just not in the exact shape you asked for.

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    • #17
      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?

      Sorry for the random nitpicking, but i'm pretty sure Raksi's domain is Mahalanka/Sperimin, not Rathess, that was a Dragon King capital.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Baaldam View Post


        Sorry for the random nitpicking, but i'm pretty sure Raksi's domain is Mahalanka/Sperimin, not Rathess, that was a Dragon King capital.
        Right, I somehow crossed the two jungle temple capital cities in my head.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

          Right, I somehow crossed the two jungle temple capital cities in my head.

          It happens.
          Once upon a time, someone somewhere in Creation did the same and caused the fate-ninjas a crapload of extra work.
          It's partly why the other jungle temple capital city, Ma-Ha-Suchi's, shall remain nameless....

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          • #20
            The term "no-sell" has come up a few different times in this thread. It might be helpful to return to the professional wrestling origin of the term, where selling a (fake) hit involves reacting in the expected way by, I guess, moving backwards, grimacing in pain, and so on. The one thing that is clear about God-king's Shrike is that, whatever the final outcome, the ST should sell it really, really hard, by describing all the consequences it had - even if this primarily involves the first-age Artifacts and elder Sidereals lost in the quest to avert the disaster.

            In general I think the way the Charm is written is specifically to give the ST as much leeway as possible to interpret it in a way that is badass and cool but doesn't break their planned story in half if they don't want it to.

            I think, though, that these issues may be somewhat theoretical. I was trying to give an example of how you should rule it based on (1) the style of game and the type of story and (2) what the player is trying to achieve. But I failed completely to come up with a likely scenario for using this Charm.

            If you have a game focused on Realm politics, and one of the players wants to blow up the Imperial City, you might have a bigger problem with one of the players not being cool with the direction of the game than you do with any particular Charm.

            If the players are in the Threshold, fighting a war against the Realm, even if they were 100% successful at blowing up the Imperial City as planned, that wouldn't really help them, as almost all the Imperial Legions would survive, and they are now pretty much public enemy #1 for all those Legions' commanders.

            If the players are not directly in a war against the Realm, why do they want to blow up the Imperial City?

            I guess some other targets, in particular Mahalanka, may be more plausible, as destroying that city really could end the threat posed by Raksi, if Raksi is a threat to you for some reason.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by habitableexoplanet View Post
              I guess some other targets, in particular Mahalanka, may be more plausible, as destroying that city really could end the threat posed by Raksi, if Raksi is a threat to you for some reason.
              I think the opposite would be true; Raksi is probably the single most equipped Lunar to survive the destruction of Mahalanka, and you've just dumped a lot of free time onto her plate. Those hours previously spent managing her Total Control Zone can now be devoted to figuring out and exacting a very complete, distinctly unpleasant revenge.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post


                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.

                There’s like what? 5 Lore Supernal Solars in all of Creation, maybe two of whom have Dogstar Rumination, and if they’re npcs, they probably only perceive it as a prophetic ability based on reading signs and ancient clues, not actually something they can use intentionally against a chosen target?


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                • #23
                  Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                  I think the opposite would be true; Raksi is probably the single most equipped Lunar to survive the destruction of Mahalanka, and you've just dumped a lot of free time onto her plate. Those hours previously spent managing her Total Control Zone can now be devoted to figuring out and exacting a very complete, distinctly unpleasant revenge.
                  She’s also the example user of the Charm that lets you roll against God-King’s Shrike, but that’s just why you don’t try it on her without a relevant specialty for the (Essence) average success advantage.

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                  • #24
                    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.
                    Actually, nothing in the reading of this charm says that the doom definitely cannot be stopped or mitigated. The "prophecy" will cause the doom to arrive, but the exact effects are not mandated.
                    Of course, to be called Doom it needs to be truly threatening, so obviously it cannot be something that can be trivially countered, A Behemoth is not likely to attack the Imperial city if the Empress is there to off it with RDG. If the empress is gone however, there should be an option of someone else braving the depths of the Imperial Manse as a last ditch effort to stop the beast. Or for a legion to sacrifice themselves in order to draw the danger away from the city.
                    A tidal wave might be stopped by a miraculous engineering project that, through the effort of all citizens, against all reason built a massive wall within a week. Or by someone going to the sea and making a deal with the local sea gods.

                    And such attempts should have at least some chance of succeeding. They should not be automatically, definitely doomed to fail. Remember, Exalts are supposed to be heroes with the potential to achieve the impossible, and that is not limited to Solars alone.

                    Additionally, what one charm can do, another can try to counter. It's not out of the question, for example, for another Solar, or a Sidereal or group of Sidereals to arrive at an additional prophecy that reveals a possibility in which the doom can be averted. Or for an Abyssal to arrive at a key point, take ownership of the Doom and redirect it to a target they would prefer better. Sure, such charms are not written yet, but it doesn't mean those options definitely do not exist. And there's still a possibility of charms that might act as a direct counter.

                    Basically, i don't see this charm as unstoppable, but rather as something that can still be countered or mitigated by putting an effort into it that is appropriately massive to be in scale with the incoming Doom. As long as it would fit/compliment the original narration.
                    Last edited by Astralporing; 11-19-2020, 08:50 PM.



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                    • #25
                      Who is using the Charm and what effect is it having on the story?

                      If it's an NPC predicting doom on your PC's hometown... why are you even using a Charm?

                      If it's a PC using the powers they've invested in, why do you want to block them?

                      I'm not interested in discussing the Charm in a vacuum, because it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Dogstar Ruminations is the mechanical representation of a PCs ability -- it doesn't exist as a discreet, in universe thing. It's only function is it's function as an RPG power at the tabletop.

                      At the tabletop, I don't think it's good-form to say "against all reason built a massive wall within a week and your power fails" when the PCs use a high level Charm. I'm not saying you can't do it, I just can't envision the circumstances when I would do that.


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

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                        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.
                        That's something I've tried to argue every now and then in Exalted with my players and on the forum : Try to avoid "Single Best Solution Ever" (especially when considering Sorcerous Workings), because 1) it makes the world more unique and non-scientific (the world doesn't work exactly the same everywhere in Creation, so a Fit-all solution doesn't work) and more importantly 2) It's boring as hell to tell this kind of stories with the system/setting of Exalted


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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                          Who is using the Charm and what effect is it having on the story?

                          If it's an NPC predicting doom on your PC's hometown... why are you even using a Charm?

                          If it's a PC using the powers they've invested in, why do you want to block them?

                          I'm not interested in discussing the Charm in a vacuum, because it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Dogstar Ruminations is the mechanical representation of a PCs ability -- it doesn't exist as a discreet, in universe thing. It's only function is it's function as an RPG power at the tabletop.

                          At the tabletop, I don't think it's good-form to say "against all reason built a massive wall within a week and your power fails" when the PCs use a high level Charm. I'm not saying you can't do it, I just can't envision the circumstances when I would do that.
                          I think it's okay when a PC uses a major Charm to say "The story advances in an unexpected direction, resulting from the power of your Charm and the unpredictability from the world". So the idea of a New Empress/Emperor rising from the use of a Doom Charm that will totally change the politics of The Realm and set the setting on a new way for the PCs to fight seems cool to me.


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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Chausse View Post
                            2) It's boring as hell to tell this kind of stories with the system/setting of Exalted
                            Yeah I was thinking about the other day of an investigation charm that's an Essence 5 Solar one. When you find a piece of evidence you roll against difficulty 5, and each threshold success brings you closer to the ultimate culprit. So, for example, you find a piece of torn fabric at a kidnapping scene. So if you roll 10 successes that tells you that the fabric comes from a uniform of a dock worker of a specific company, then it tells you that company has side finances with a group of traders that visit the wyld tainted zones often, then it tells you those traders are involved in illegal dream eaten slave trading, and that the head of the operation is a man named Thadfur Daneel, it then tells you that he lives near and frequents a bar near the docks so you can go get him right now.

                            That kind of charm tells me you're not actually interested in playing Law and Order: Fucking Badass Solar Magistrate. You just want to find a crime story, skip to the end, and move on.

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                            • #29
                              People often seem to forget that God King Shrike doesn't let you like, magically make a behemoth come out of nowhere. The disaster has to be something that could actually happen.

                              On another note, what is the "Dogstar" in its second name (why do some charms have second names to begin with...?) referencing? The star Sirius?

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                                Who is using the Charm and what effect is it having on the story?

                                If it's an NPC predicting doom on your PC's hometown... why are you even using a Charm?

                                If it's a PC using the powers they've invested in, why do you want to block them?

                                I'm not interested in discussing the Charm in a vacuum, because it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Dogstar Ruminations is the mechanical representation of a PCs ability -- it doesn't exist as a discreet, in universe thing. It's only function is it's function as an RPG power at the tabletop.

                                At the tabletop, I don't think it's good-form to say "against all reason built a massive wall within a week and your power fails" when the PCs use a high level Charm. I'm not saying you can't do it, I just can't envision the circumstances when I would do that.
                                I think the theory is something like the PCs realize that all the campaign's villains are in a single city, they decide to wipe the city off the map, the ST doesn't want to throw out their plans and make new ones. This is a plausible scenario, but I don't think it's a particularly hard one. You can just say something like:

                                "While [the city] was destroyed, [villain] managed to escape. In addition to their power base, they lost [a key lieutenant]. However, they still have [a powerful artifact] and now plot their revenge. How was the city destroyed? By [a dangerous thing with harmful consequences the players may have to deal with]."

                                and adjust the parameters so the effect feels as powerful as possible while still allowing a modified version of your original plans to continue.

                                This isn't even aggressively reinterpreting the Charm, only one of the great dooms from the Charm text (falling star annihilates everything, behemoth plows through multiple cities, army of the dead wreaks havoc) sounds like it would kill everyone and destroy everything in the region, rather than just most people or most things.

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