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  • #31
    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
    If you had a character with Hardship Surviving Mendicant Spirit, Element Resisting Prana, Poison Resisting Meditation, and Immunity to Everything Technique they would stand out for that.
    No, those Charms would just turn into OTB ones because everyone would feel like they need to take them to avoid dying the second the adventure goes somewhere interesting.

    Paranoia combat didn't turn 2e combat into something interesting or fun, and didn't make characters better at standing out and shining in their specialties. It just lead to sameness by forcing everyone into buying a set of Charms to deal with common dangers.

    They would say "My character is so awesome at resistance, he can walk naked through a magical icestorm, he can devour a mixed salad of poisonous plants, he can swim in a bath of acid" the problem is that the guy who just grabbed an ox-body can too, just because the numbers are so low the excellency makes difficulty levels pointless.
    Except that this is actually a very deceptive manipulation of the numbers in a white room scenario.

    A 3/3 + Excellency + stunt Solar can dip in acid for a turn safely enough. That's nice. Now tell them they have to swim through acid to get a macguffin and it will probably take ~20 rounds to accomplish. Spending 6m a turn, with lots of turns to fail and take damage eventually leading to some wound penalties and then more fails and more damage, and that's not very impressive. Then your high Resistance invested PC does it without any risk whatsoever and actually looks awesome. And didn't blow 120m.

    A Sail character can't stand out without, you know, sailing to happen in the game. Resistance character can't stand out if things like environmental hazards don't last long enough to actually be threats.

    I don't think it is, at all, an accident that you're avoiding things like combat where it's abundantly clear that you do not want to get into a fight with just an Excellency as your only boost.

    Think about it, if nobody had any excellencies how would Solars retain the ability to so easily no-sell challenges? Yes, the charms to do so would still be there, but it would take a fairly significant investment to purchase charms for each and every one of those cases.
    Which goes back to something I said before all this: why is that good for the game? How is it fun to have to buy all those Charms to bulldoze minor (for Exalts) challenges?

    Basically Solar with an excellency and nothing else beats the absolute pants off a Vaktri, which is an elemental gemstone assassin. Without that excellency you need, I don't know, at least three or four melee charms to do it, and even then you'd still have an actual fight.
    Combat focused mortals beat the pants of a Vaktri, which isn't a specifically combat focused QC, mechanically because they only have 9 dice to hit and a DV of 3. I can easily make starting level Solar that's not even full optimized that can curb stomp one without a single Charm use.

    Hell, Attributes at 3, Melee 3, Specialty in swords, and a normal straight sword? It might be a bit of a slog (they have enough soak that if you want to crash them before making a decisive since nibbling risks them using one of their combat Charms more often, it'll take a bit), but that's plenty to beat one. The idea that you'd need multiple Solar Melee Charms without the Excellency is just silly.

    I'm sure there's better examples for you in the books.

    Even so, the problem is that you're not addressing or refuting the point that Excellencies are a symptom here. If it wasn't Excellencies, it would be Excellent Strike, or OWTB, or whatever bread and butter Charms that would set the baseline of "Solars are badass with little investment" Charms until they're all excised under this logic and then all the deep investment Charms become the new low hanging fruit and get axed and so on until there are no Charms because any Charm impedes characters from being appropriately challenged by whatever NPC QC or example hazard benchmark.

    Show me how the problem is actually Excellencies, and not all of the other things in the system that result in what you're talking about already.

    That should matter, it really, really should matter, but it doesn't.
    It does to me, because it's not about the raw numbers, but how the game tells me to translate them into narration. Solars start at Batman levels of competence and grow into Superman. It's unconvincing to say that Batman doesn't struggle with a few mooks like a beat cop would, and thus there's a problem; Batman is supposed to beat up mooks and still be above average at a minimum at lots of other stuff.

    I'm really not trying to be a dick here, but how, exactly, does giving every Solar the ability to double their dice cap for 10+ abilities for free not inflate the capabilities of players to roll lots of dice and mess up the difficulty scale?
    Because the difficulty scale is messed up anyway. The Essence developers have given whole talks about this and how it's influenced their design choices. The ease of Solars getting 15+ dice/equivalent bonus successes means a 1 to 5 scale is already wrongly calibrated.

    Excellencies don't mess up the scale, they just acknowledge the scale isn't really for Solars. The game lacks one for them (outside of Feats of Strength anyway).

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    • #32
      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

      Well, 11 dice hits parry 7 at 31% of the time. It's not quite impossible.


      I'm no statistician, but I believe there's a fallacy to the reasoning that conflates "succeeds 31% of the time" and "has a 31% chance of working each time", and it comes down to the fact that the odds reset every time that you roll dice.


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

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      • #33
        Look.

        I think the problem is that... Solars and exalted in particular, are sold out as divine heroes. As superhuman beings who can march into a tyrants Palace, slay his guards, then yeet him off the roof, all in the literal first chapter of the story. That works. That's what it's sold as. At least to me. Exalted being able to casually punch through most challenges with some expenditure of effort isn't a bug to me, it's a feature.

        And another thing. Excellencies aren't that special. Yes yes you can spend 1 mote per extra dice to walk through a deadly sandstorm. You can eat poisonous plants. You can swim in acid. Yes. But that's 12 dice at difficulty 5, and you're going to have to spend the full 6m per turn, and you better hope to god your dice don't fail you.

        Yes. A solar with a melee Excellency can beat the shit out of a Vaktri. So what? Vaktri are mooks. Single lower level elementals. Maybe they're good antagonists for a mortal or god blooded game. But they're guys that can be summoned by the dozen by a single mortal sorcerer. So your solar gets surrounded by half a dozen Vaktri and gets shanked to death.

        If there's a problem, it's that maybe the enemies just kinda suck? I mean, literally, if I wanted lower level games I would march around to mortals and terrestrials. Not literally the most powerful and badass exalted around who are chosen of the almighty sun God.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          No, those Charms would just turn into OTB ones because everyone would feel like they need to take them to avoid dying the second the adventure goes somewhere interesting.

          Paranoia combat didn't turn 2e combat into something interesting or fun, and didn't make characters better at standing out and shining in their specialties. It just lead to sameness by forcing everyone into buying a set of Charms to deal with common dangers.
          No, it wouldn't, because third edition fixed lethality, so you get to fuck with perfects. A character without an excellency, and who isn't loaded up on 6-7 melee charms isn't a helpless lamb in the slaughter. If you don't have a resistance excellency and you have to make a difficulty 3 resistance roll or take 2 rolled lethal damage you're not ripping up your character sheet in frustation, you're, maybe, taking 2 damage if you're unlucky enough to both fail the roll and then lose a less than 1 in 6 chance on two dice.


          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Except that this is actually a very deceptive manipulation of the numbers in a white room scenario.

          A 3/3 + Excellency + stunt Solar can dip in acid for a turn safely enough. That's nice. Now tell them they have to swim through acid to get a macguffin and it will probably take ~20 rounds to accomplish. Spending 6m a turn, with lots of turns to fail and take damage eventually leading to some wound penalties and then more fails and more damage, and that's not very impressive. Then your high Resistance invested PC does it without any risk whatsoever and actually looks awesome. And didn't blow 120m.
          Indeed! And in fact I addressed this when I said...

          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          Now, I will say, it is possible to just hammer away with so many different things that require you to excellency past them that it actually does matter. That strategy is like the standard DnD adventuring day though, which might have up to 10 encounters between long rests. It's how the game is meant to be played, and it really starts to fall apart if you don't play it that way. Many people really don't like to play that way though, and find it much more natural to have one encounter per day. Which means by about 5th level Wizards are the star players of the campaign and the fighter/rogue types are henchmen support, then as you level up they become cheerleaders, and eventually almost straight up spectators.
          Although 20 rounds is a stretch. Nobody wants to sit there for the ten or twenty minutes it's going to take to stunt, shuffle motes, roll dice, count successes and move on. Three rounds maybe.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          A Sail character can't stand out without, you know, sailing to happen in the game. Resistance character can't stand out if things like environmental hazards don't last long enough to actually be threats.

          I don't think it is, at all, an accident that you're avoiding things like combat where it's abundantly clear that you do not want to get into a fight with just an Excellency as your only boost.
          Not at all! I've got some time this weekend, I'll run some fights in the arena and show you exactly how amazing an excellency can be. When you boost your parry equal to the number of dice on the enemy attack pool you tend to do very well.

          Sail is also maybe the most egregious example of overpowered charms to underpowered setting in the whole game, even stacking a dozen mote-draining scenes before it doesn't do dick-diddly to balance Sail. A Solar sailor gets double 9s, vanishing 6s, vanishing 1s, a pool of 25+ dice, and all to fight enemies like the mighty kraken! Dozens of yards long, and made from nothing but colossal muscle and armored plates, the description "easily capable of crushing a trireme to flinders." It has 8 dice to its naval maneuver pool, with no dice tricks.

          "Oh well the Exalted are supposed to treat things like that like mooks." Really? A sea monster that's longer than two buses stacked end-to-end, and has five unique naval maneuvers in its writeup, that's a mook that you're just supposed to smash through without a second thought? Well, that being the case what isn't a mook to a Solar sailor?

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Combat focused mortals beat the pants of a Vaktri, which isn't a specifically combat focused QC, mechanically because they only have 9 dice to hit and a DV of 3. I can easily make starting level Solar that's not even full optimized that can curb stomp one without a single Charm use.
          If a Vaktri isn't supposed to be a combat encounter, why does it have three combat charms and reference assassination in its writeup? What is a combat QC, if Vaktri doesn't make the cut? What is a vaktri for? Outside of combat all of its actions are 7-8 dice as well.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Hell, Attributes at 3, Melee 3, Specialty in swords, and a normal straight sword? It might be a bit of a slog (they have enough soak that if you want to crash them before making a decisive since nibbling risks them using one of their combat Charms more often, it'll take a bit), but that's plenty to beat one.
          Stats of that character vs Vaktri

          9 = 9 Withering Attack
          7 < 9 Decisive Attack
          5 > 3 Defense
          12 < 16 Damage
          10 < 12 Soak (Assuming mundane heavy armor on the mortal)

          So your mortal or totally combat-charmless exalt is beat or matched in every area except defense, and on top of that the Vaktri has offensive and defensive charms, and 8 willpower. I'd say the mortal here has a shot, but it's worth fighting, it's not something that's a complete cakewalk. In my opinion an actual non-combat spirit is the disease god on page 510.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Show me how the problem is actually Excellencies, and not all of the other things in the system that result in what you're talking about already.
          The issue is that you get 10 of them for free right off chargen, which I've also said. If you want to make a sorcerer-socialite you take occult charms, maybe lore charms, presence charms, socialize charms obviously, and either favour melee, or just take Dipping Swallow Defense and Excellent Strike with your 3 melee. Except you didn't just get Dipping Swallow and Excellent Strike, you also got the Melee excellency, which you can now use to boost your parry up from 5 to 8, and turn that vaktri hit chance from a 47% to 7%.

          "So what? Then everyone has to be scared of vaktri all the time? What you're saying is just going to make everyone have to take a huge list of charms just to achieve base competency!" No, that's not what I'm saying, I'm saying that maybe the vaktri and things like it shouldn't be mooks to characters who take the most passing interest in combat. Mooks to characters like that are career soldiers, warrior monks, assassins, zombies, bonesiders, etc.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          It does to me, because it's not about the raw numbers, but how the game tells me to translate them into narration. Solars start at Batman levels of competence and grow into Superman. It's unconvincing to say that Batman doesn't struggle with a few mooks like a beat cop would, and thus there's a problem; Batman is supposed to beat up mooks and still be above average at a minimum at lots of other stuff.
          Right, and if you're playing Batman, the vigilante stealth-brawler who knows every martial art even invented and then developed some of his own, that makes total sense. What if, instead of that, you're playing the mad scientist, the gentleman thief, or the charming socialite? Even then, it's a fun action game, they should be able to beat up street-toughs right? Well they can, it's just vaktri aren't street-toughs. Again, I'll direct comparison the statline for bandit with vaktri.

          6 < 9 Attack
          2 < 3 Defense
          11 < 16 Damage
          6 < 12 Soak
          3 < 8 Willpower

          You can have a character that easily beats up a bandit, but have them not be so powerful that they breeze past combat elementals.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Because the difficulty scale is messed up anyway. The Essence developers have given whole talks about this and how it's influenced their design choices. The ease of Solars getting 15+ dice/equivalent bonus successes means a 1 to 5 scale is already wrongly calibrated.

          Excellencies don't mess up the scale, they just acknowledge the scale isn't really for Solars. The game lacks one for them (outside of Feats of Strength anyway).
          Right, but it doesn't have to if every Solar didn't come bundled with the ability to double their dicepools on almost everything. As I've said, earlier in this post even, it's not that big of a problem if the ST is willing to throw so much at the players that they have to budget against full-excellency on everything, but if you don't want to run that kind of game because you find it exhausting, maybe taking out the excellencies could work to keep that balance.

          Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

          I'm no statistician, but I believe there's a fallacy to the reasoning that conflates "succeeds 31% of the time" and "has a 31% chance of working each time", and it comes down to the fact that the odds reset every time that you roll dice.
          I'm not a statistician either, but I am an engineer who's taken a stats courses, and to my knowledge there is no difference. You may be thinking of the misconception that if you flip a coin 50 times and get 50 heads that the 51st time is very likely to be tails, when in fact it's still got a 50% chance to just be heads again.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
            No, it wouldn't, because third edition fixed lethality,
            3e fixed Paranoia Combat and rocket tag that stemmed from it. It didn't remove lethality from the game.

            The whole problem with this line of reasoning is that it's fundamentally based around a circular argument: A 3/3+Excellency PC can survive X instances of Y, thus they will never face more than X instances, thus Y is insufficiently threatening, thus Excellencies are too good. You're not actually making a broad case against Excellencies, you're just saying that if you only throw the PCs at situations where a medium dice pool and an Excellency is enough, the PCs aren't going to be incentivized to get bigger and better stuff; skipping over the whole universe of things that cannot be overcome that easily.

            Of course, there's also the whole, "fun" thing I keep asking for you to get around to addressing, rather than very sweeping generalizations of how axing Excellencies is going to absolutely lead to specific results.

            A character without an excellency, and who isn't loaded up on 6-7 melee charms isn't a helpless lamb in the slaughter.
            No, but they'd be a hell of a lot less of a drag in combat where the Supernal Melee PC actually has a reason to whip out all their cool shit if they at least have an Excellency. You don't want your combat heavy PCs to get bored because you never toss some heavy hitters at the group, right? Excellencies are part of the reduced lethality in 3e because it offers a major boost to effectiveness with minimal investment. STs are more free to toss tougher opponents in because the non-combat-focused PCs can still invest enough in combat to not get squished via simple things like Excellencies.

            If you don't have a resistance excellency and you have to make a difficulty 3 resistance roll or take 2 rolled lethal damage you're not ripping up your character sheet in frustation, you're, maybe, taking 2 damage if you're unlucky enough to both fail the roll and then lose a less than 1 in 6 chance on two dice.
            And, again, you're underselling that one of the bigger threats to environmental hazards is their intervals.

            If the point of environmental hazards was to only have to roll against them once... why do they have reoccurring intervals? Some explicitly short enough to be factors in combat?

            Indeed! And in fact I addressed this when I said...
            No you didn't. You talked about multiple different events over a limited course of time to drain PC resources (which is also a thing that can happen in Exalted, and I'd argue Exalted somewhat assumes will happen on some level).

            You didn't address what it's like for a 3/3+Excellency character to face one hazard that's going to last multiple intervals.

            Although 20 rounds is a stretch.
            20 rounds is, generally, around one minute. Or the time it would take an average person to swim around 60 yards. Not exactly an unreasonable distance for something someone put surrounded by a pool of acid to keep people from getting it.

            Nobody wants to sit there for the ten or twenty minutes it's going to take to stunt, shuffle motes, roll dice, count successes and move on.
            ... you do understand the whole point of the example is that there are clear situations where tossing the Excellency at the problem just isn't going to work, making investing in more Charms worth it?

            Of course nobody wants to try that. That's kinda the point! However, it's going to let your Survival Supernal with Element-Resisting Prana shine as they drop 5m (assuming they hadn't already) and ignore the acid completely. The presence of Excellencies doesn't make this pool of acid a nothing obstacle, and they don't make more investment in Charms pointless. And I didn't add enemy Charms, or whatever. Just used the hazard rules as written to make something challenging enough that getting past it is a big deal even for a Solar.

            Three rounds maybe.
            Even with the repeated underselling here...

            Statistically that means your "safe" PC with just an Excellency has burnt 18m, taken 1L, and is at least Glowing Anima (and is out of personal if that's the case). If that's the only thing your character faces that day? Sure, no big deal. Presuming they're not skinny dipping in acid for fun though, they probably have more to deal with where some or all of that setback is going to matter.

            And if you never make any of that setback matter... is it really the system doing things wrong?

            I'll run some fights in the arena and show you exactly how amazing an excellency can be.
            I don't need you to pump out some cherry picked scenarios where just an Excellency is plenty (you already did that with the Vaktri as it is), and things like tapping all your motes and glowing at bonfire don't matter as consequences after the fight.

            Show me how you're going to take on three grizzled mercs that aren't getting lumped into a BG with low level combat stats and just an Excellency, in public where risking your Anima is going to mean lots of trouble for you if you can't win the fight within 5 rounds of going Glowing to make sure you have a head start to get running.

            Sail is also maybe the most egregious...
            Stop goal-post shifting (or derailing with irrelevant ranting). The point isn't how badly designed Solar Sail Charms and oceanic enemies are. The point is that a character that wants to invest in Sail needs a chance to sail for it to matter at all.

            Not having hazards that last enough intervals to actually be majorly dangerous to a mortal that fails all their rolls, is for the Resistance/Survival crowd, like not having any boats beyond ferrying across calm river fords for Sail PCs.

            If a Vaktri isn't supposed to be a combat encounter, why does it have three combat charms and reference assassination in its writeup? What is a combat QC, if Vaktri doesn't make the cut? What is a vaktri for? Outside of combat all of its actions are 7-8 dice as well.
            First I said, "which isn't a specifically combat focused QC" not, "is not supposed to be a combat encounter."

            Second, assassins are not inherently good fighters... the whole point of most assassins is to kill you in ways other than getting into a fight.

            Third, context, "The glittering, deadly vaktri serve as emissaries to the subterranean spirit courts of earth elementals and deep gods.
            ...
            These taciturn, expressionless beings seem to have unlimited patience in discharging their duty, whether that be investigation, negotiation, or assassination."

            I'm not sure what part of that says, "these are supposed to be serious threats to dedicated combatants." Esp not with those really good social Charms they have.

            Fourth? Their combat Charms are garbage against a decent fighter. They get two decisive simple attacks, but they don't have the withering dice-pools to build up initiative to actually make use of them. One's mildly useful against one opponent (they have no reason not to try it at least), and the other is an area attack that is only useful against a single opponent if they've already taken damage... with no negating that wound penalty on their attack rolls. Their soak Charm is almost great, but that 3i cost is steep since, again, they're going to whiff a lot meaning they aren't going to be keeping up in the Initiative contest, and the hardness boost doesn't work if they get crashed. So you beat them at the init game, crash them, and wail on them for three turns as their combat Charms all become useless. If they survive they should be at hefty enough wound penalties any chance of hitting you goes out the window.

            So your mortal or totally combat-charmless exalt is beat or matched in every area except defense,...
            You and I both know how big of a deal that DV mismatch is. With 9 withering attack dice I hit over 90% of the time, any stunts/WP/etc. is also going to mean I'll average better than minimum damage as well. 7 decisive attack dice is also solidly above their DV, so when I choose to unload, it's highly unlikely to miss. Their higher withering damage doesn't make up for their ~48% hit rate. Focus on stunting Parry instead of attacks until it's time to go big on decisive, and you'll easily keep ahead of them on init.

            Anyway, even with all this, the point is abundantly clear that these are not combat heavies that require major Charm investments to beat. They don't even require Charms to beat, just decent stats. Any combat Charm investment is going to make for an easy fight.

            The issue is that you get 10 of them for free right off chargen, which I've also said.
            Technically you alluded to, but that was part of my point: this is a goal post shift. This isn't, "Excellencies are bad," but, "Solars get too many for free." If you think Solars get too many for free... the solution is to change that, not drop Excellencies all together.

            I'm saying that maybe the vaktri and things like it shouldn't be mooks to characters who take the most passing interest in combat.
            Maybe they shouldn't have chump DVs then? A DV of 3 is going to solidly land most things in the mook bin. The second weakest mortal soldier QCs have a DV of 4. If you want a low DV character to be a non-mook, you better have something a lot more than a high soak and baseline Health boxes.

            Why do you think the vaktri stat block is actually one that represents what a serious face-to-face combat encounter QC should be, instead of looking at those numbers and going, "yeah, this isn't something to challenge combat capable PCs in a stand up fight?"

            You can have a character that easily beats up a bandit, but have them not be so powerful that they breeze past combat elementals.
            Sure, but lets talk about actual straight up combat focused elemental QCs like garda birds if you want to have something that's not a combat encounter for the "oh I have a combat Excellency I'll be fine," crowd. You're not going to Excellency your way through a fight with a garda bird unless you've at least sunk enough dots into getting yourself up to 5/5 instead of 3/3.

            Right, but it doesn't have to if every Solar didn't come bundled with the ability to double their dicepools on almost everything.
            And as I've pointed out repeatedly, Solars have quick access to more than enough ways to blow past Difficulty 5 that all this does is delay it and put it behind XP. Taking away Excellencies, at best, takes it away at the start of the game. Solars will be at that point soon enough anyway. It doesn't solve the core problem you're saying it would, just delay it, and it doesn't address all the issues taking them away (again for everyone, not just Solars) would cause.

            As I've said, earlier in this post even, it's not that big of a problem if the ST is willing to throw so much at the players that they have to budget against full-excellency on everything, but if you don't want to run that kind of game because you find it exhausting, maybe taking out the excellencies could work to keep that balance.
            It wouldn't work, because it doesn't "keep that balance," as that balance doesn't exist. For all the talk of STs being exhausted by the system, things like Excellencies are better because they're simple, uniform, and predictable. They give you a way better idea of what the PCs can do, and thus tailor your games to whatever threat level you want, than 15 Charms for each player that all do different things at different levels of effectiveness. Yet again, the obvious answer is to either fix the system, or to hack away at pretty much everything but Excellencies rather than cut out the one easy to remember dice Charm.

            Your hyperbole before doesn't actually change anything here. You don't have to run pure exhaustion numbers (as I illustrated), you just have to enforce some consequences and not let players completely recharge between every event in the game.

            Comment


            • #36
              I’m not a statistician either, but I am an engineer who's taken a stats courses, and to my knowledge there is no difference. You may be thinking of the misconception that if you flip a coin 50 times and get 50 heads that the 51st time is very likely to be tails, when in fact it's still got a 50% chance to just be heads again.
              Most of this conversation is way too... something... for me, but I can comment on this part: the difference is sample size. “31% chance odds of success” approximates “succeeds 31% of the time” over many trials, but it probably won’t be exactly thirty-one successes in one hundred trials.


              Hey, check out my first original RPG, Post-Mortem, here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/307131/PostMortem

              Or read my Exalted novella The Silence of Our Ancestors here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...looded-Novella

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              • #37
                Fundamentally, Excellencies allow the Exalted to do two things that are necessary for the setting and the game to work:

                1- Succeed at tasks that are almost mathematically impossible for ordinary mortals to achieve (or that are supposed to be mathematically impossible for mortals to achieve, like First Aid artifice).
                2- Consistently succeed at tasks that ordinary mortals should be able to do.

                You want your mythic, bigger-than-life Champions to be able to take on threats and challenges that are beyond "common" heroes because that's what builds up their legend, and you don't want them to whiff their roll on relatively simple tasks because that would undercut their legend.

                Now, you don't need Excellencies specifically, but you are going to need something to fill that role, and from a design perspective, "Spend X motes, gain X dice" is a very simple and very clean answer to the problem.


                [Ex3] Why Gods Need the Exigence - Plot hooks for Exigent characters of various gods.
                [Ex3] Homebrew Solar Charms - I can see the future, and it is glorious.
                [Ex3] The Glass Library - My Exalted Third Edition Blog (Updated 24/04/2016)

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Tiresias View Post
                  Fundamentally, Excellencies allow the Exalted to do two things that are necessary for the setting and the game to work:

                  1- Succeed at tasks that are almost mathematically impossible for ordinary mortals to achieve (or that are supposed to be mathematically impossible for mortals to achieve, like First Aid artifice).
                  2- Consistently succeed at tasks that ordinary mortals should be able to do.

                  You want your mythic, bigger-than-life Champions to be able to take on threats and challenges that are beyond "common" heroes because that's what builds up their legend, and you don't want them to whiff their roll on relatively simple tasks because that would undercut their legend.

                  Now, you don't need Excellencies specifically, but you are going to need something to fill that role, and from a design perspective, "Spend X motes, gain X dice" is a very simple and very clean answer to the problem.
                  Okay... but WITHOUT an Excellency, you can run for three days straight without food, water, or rest... Or read a letter in the dark by feeling the ink with your fingertips... is that not almost impressive enough? With max mortal stats and a basic stunt, you can do that nearly 80% of the time (90% if you spend a Willpower, 96% if you can manage a level 2 stunt).

                  Without an Excellency, you can pick a lock, in the dark, without proper lockpicking tools 99.02% of the time. Are you saying that a 0.98% chance of failure isn't "consistent"? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred isn't good enough for you?

                  What is a threat beyond common heroes?

                  In the South, people would rather eat their dead than risk a manticore rising. They are dread beasts, the stuff of nightmares.. but with 3 Dex, 3 Martial Arts, and 2 Charms, a Solar can bend a Manticore over and beat them without even trying.

                  With 3 Dex, 3 Melee, and just the Excellency, you can beat an Essence 4 war elemental.

                  Don't get me wrong, I don't think Excellencies are a bad thing... but let's be clear on exactly what we're talking about here.

                  Remove Excellencies, and Exalted are still awesome.

                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  Sure, but lets talk about actual straight up combat focused elemental QCs like garda birds if you want to have something that's not a combat encounter for the "oh I have a combat Excellency I'll be fine," crowd. You're not going to Excellency your way through a fight with a garda bird unless you've at least sunk enough dots into getting yourself up to 5/5 instead of 3/3.
                  Agree to disagree.

                  But you need more than the Excellency to fight them 2-on-1 so... that's something? I guess...
                  Last edited by JohnDoe244; 11-13-2020, 12:53 PM.


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

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                  • #39
                    I'd go on the side of complexity: Exalted is on the limit of complexity for a lot of players the way it is. If it forces them to combo several charms every turn to do things, this can go over the limit for them. I've had new players using characters with only excellencies, and they felt empowered and had fun.

                    Even now, I know several players with dozens of Charms who mostly user Excellencies. They won't remember their other Charms in the heat of the moment and use excellencies as a rule. And that's fine! They are not technically proficient, but they bring other things to the table. With time, may can even 'get it' and start using the more advanced Charms. Or not. Either way, that's fine!

                    Excellencies act as safeguards for non-technical players, remove Excellencies and their game experience will worsen.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                      Remove Excellencies, and Exalted are still awesome.


                      http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/exalted/1305398-exalted-arena?p=1423564#post1423564&quot;]Agree to disagree.[/URL]

                      But you need more than the Excellency to fight them 2-on-1 so... that's something? I guess...
                      You’re a Saint John Doe.


                      Obviously my points aren’t coming across properly, so I’ll just do a list:

                      I think that characters who have a minimal to mediocre investment in an area should fail at it some appreciable percent of the time. Like not 2%-3% but maybe 40%-50%.

                      Given the abundance of attribute and ability dots getting 3 in a stat is a small investment. It takes only 10% of your starting ability dots, discounting any you buy with BP.

                      Using an excellency with those stats causes your curve to push past the point where you’re likely to fail even the most difficult tasks.

                      This can be remedied by using many many challenges in a short period of time to force mote budgeting.

                      With mote regeneration, especially from resting, combat, and hearthstones, being what it is, this generally means not having these challenges separated by a span of more than an hour or two.

                      Many Storytellers find the large number of challenges and necessary doom clock artificial and difficult to consistently fabricate.

                      Why does removing excellencies help?

                      Because if there aren’t excellencies, then players have to choose with their 15 starting charms to get all the charms that boost their pools against poison, disease, persuasion, fighting, losing balance, etc or to do with them what they would have done before, and buy mostly charms within their specialty.

                      I suspect that many players would choose to buy the charms that for their character archetype rather than going around getting all the graceful crane stances and the element resisting pranas and the like.

                      If that is true, then they would not be able to boost their dice pools past the point of all but negating even difficult challenges, and failing an appreciable amount of the time in things that they haven’t invested charms in. See point 1.

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                      • #41
                        Further to that...

                        The Exalted don't roll for routine tasks. They roll for challenging fare for heroes.

                        If your Dexterity 3 Larceny 0 character comes across a locked door, and has to pick it with a needle and a Bobby pin... You succeed 72% of the time. 92% with Willpower. At Dex 3 Larceny 0. Without the Excellency.

                        You don't have to just throw back-to-back challenges at the PCs. You have to throw back-to-back EPIC challenges at them.

                        Stuff like "fight a combat focused elemental" does not, remotely, cut it.

                        As for system complexity... That's literally why Exalted Essence is being developed. And I would posit that forcing players to learn how to play the game would increase their enjoyment in the long term, but YMMV.

                        (Working at the weekend and have a 3k Essay due so won't be running the 3/3 vs Grizzled Mercs fight, but my gut tells me that one is much harder than a Guards Bird. Will definitely need either a long range weapon or twin batons.)


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

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                        • #42
                          Of course some sample size 1 battlegroups include a bar brawl and alleyway thugs so, what purpose does it serve to make these grizzled mercs not a BG?

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                          • #43
                            I think getting rid of excellencies is a big change to the math assumptions all the other charms are based on to work well. I do agree with the basic problem Grod and Dr M have articulated though.

                            A big disadvantage of Excellencies RAW is mote efficency. What about doubling down on this by making the Excellency cost 2m per die, 4m per success AND reducing the mote recharge for Exalted from 5m per hour to "you get all motes back after a good nights sleep". That way you can still blow past problems with the excellency, but your not going to get all those motes back within 2 hours anymore.

                            Or maybe saying you can only use Excellencies to get half your dice cap?

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                              Of course some sample size 1 battlegroups include a bar brawl and alleyway thugs so, what purpose does it serve to make these grizzled mercs not a BG?
                              Narrative purposes.

                              I envision the three Barbarian Demi-god Heroes from Diablo.


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

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                              • #45
                                The attrition aspect to adventure design is honestly pretty widespread among crunchy RPGS, but Exalted is worse than most:

                                *You regain motes pretty quickly, which means that you have to cram challenges even closer together. It also implies (at least to me) that they're not really meant to be hoarded--you should be spending them fast.
                                *As a subset of that, mote regen often doesn't line up well with time scales. If I'm making one Sail roll an hour to navigate through a storm, and I'm getting 5m back an hour, I have literally no reason not to start throwing dice at the problem. Things like crafting are even worse, but really--anytime events are being spread out over an amount of in-game time, a lot of normal reasons to restrain yourself go away. That, in turn, leads to number bloat (see: crafting)
                                *Excellencies let characters burn resources extremely quickly and efficiently--if you want, you can blow through your full pool in 3 or 4 rolls--meaning that "going nova" is really strong.
                                *Combat takes a long time. The system isn't terribly quick, characters are complicated and create a lot of back-and-forth, and PCs are strong enough that you need big complicated fights to get something engaging. Trying to run a D&D style gauntlet of a dungeon crawl would take ages.

                                ... Now that I think about it, the first two points suggest a solution. What if mote regen (or at least some of it--your Personal pool, say) was "per adventure" instead of being based on in-game time? That at least makes it a lot easier to have long enough adventuring days that players have to conserve motes.

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