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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'?

  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Mnemon Johnny.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Incidentally, Dogstar is also the name of a band that Keanu Reeves was in, so one could imagine Dogstar Ruminations as a name invoking the image of what John Wick will be contemplating regarding you after you killed his puppy.

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  • Meianno Yuurei
    replied
    Originally posted by Yamajin View Post

    Presumably, yes. I'm not really super into ancient astrological symbolism and all that jazz but it's my understanding that Sirius has been associated with bad omens in the past. Why the charm is named after a real-life star is beyond me, especially since I imagine there's a suitable Endings-related constellation or star that might have served just as well.
    As Isator states, Blorg-Star Ruminations is not immediately as communicative to the Player, who is the one reading the charm. What is Blorg? Why is Blorg associated with this? Where do I read about Blorg? This is a lot of homework to understand the name of a charm that isn't even named Blorg-Star Ruminations in-character.

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  • Chausse
    replied
    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

    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.

    I think there is a fine line with Charms, especially for Solar, where you are supposed to not go too far because else you will destroy the purpose of the system, especially if you think you can "prevent the problem" by capping them with an ability roll.

    For example, I don't know about people here, but I have no problem asking an Exalt for a roll when using Judge's Ears Technique when trying to know if a powerful enemy is lying, because I'm okay with the Charm being "absolute most of the time", but not really when it's just a straigth "are you the bad guy ?" tool

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Yamajin View Post
    Why the charm is named after a real-life star is beyond me, especially since I imagine there's a suitable Endings-related constellation or star that might have served just as well.
    Charm names are primarily for the benefit of the reader, and meant to be evocative to them. They often don't actually exist in-character.

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  • Yamajin
    replied
    Originally posted by Frostav View Post
    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?
    Presumably, yes. I'm not really super into ancient astrological symbolism and all that jazz but it's my understanding that Sirius has been associated with bad omens in the past. Why the charm is named after a real-life star is beyond me, especially since I imagine there's a suitable Endings-related constellation or star that might have served just as well.

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  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post

    On the other hand Creation has at least one level of Underdark even if it's not written as place to ever actually go to, so you never know where might have a behemoth sleeping under it for the past 10000 years.
    Indeed. Forbidden Gods, endless hordes, the Underways and such make a very largely undefined playing field for a ST to fit in/hide a lot of stuff of a quite large variety of power levels.

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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Originally posted by habitableexoplanet View Post

    I think
    That's exactly how I also interpret the Charm.

    I'm against stopping the doom entirely.

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  • Sith_Happens
    replied
    Originally posted by Frostav View Post
    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 the other hand Creation has at least one level of Underdark even if it's not written as a place to ever actually go to, so you never know where might have a behemoth sleeping under it for the past 10000 years.
    Last edited by Sith_Happens; 11-21-2020, 06:19 PM.

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  • habitableexoplanet
    replied
    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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  • Frostav
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • DrLoveMonkey
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chausse
    replied
    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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  • Chausse
    replied
    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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