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What if... there were no Excellencies?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    Narrative purposes.

    I envision the three Barbarian Demi-god Heroes from Diablo.
    I can agree with that.
    Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
    ... 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.
    Even 5e’s rest system is hard to eat a grip on sometimes. You can roll your HD on every short rest, many characters get back all or much of their resources on a short rest, and on a log rest everyone regains everything except getting back only half their HD. So you have to go pretty damn hard for consecutive days even to make some of that stick for longer than one scene.

    Thankfully the DMG suggests alternate rest systems for either amazing epic heroism or a slower pace realism, putting short rests at one per day and long rests at a week. This makes is much much easier to have 1-2 encounters per day, as many people find better suits their pacing.

    Similarly the Exalted Storyteller guide, oh wait there isn’t one yet. I mean I’m glad we actually are getting one eventually but man, if any system needed one it’s Exalted and it’s one we don’t have.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
      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).

      So... basically what I said earlier: the problem isn't Excellencies, but that the difficulty scale is calibrated poorly for what the PCs are capable of doing.

      Remove Excellencies, and Exalted are still awesome.
      Agreed, but it fails to address the crux of the idea of the thread:

      Is removing Excellencies actually the answer to the issues raised in the thread, and does it make the game more fun?

      Agree to disagree.
      And things like this are why the Arena turns me off.

      First, lets acknowledge that the entire fight hinged on Kang winning that clash. His odds of out right losing that Clash were ~33% with an additional ~11% of a tie with the ST calling the winner. Lets say they split the ties and round in Kang's favor. ~38% of the times, that fight goes to the Garda Bird instead, because it wins the clash, doesn't get crashed or smashed, gets some Init out of it, and most importantly swaps init order and takes away the delay to clash option and Kang, with just 6m, is in serious trouble if he has to deal with the Garda by exchanging normal withering attacks.

      Second, the scenario sells itself as putting things in the Garda's favor, but it actually doesn't in a few key ways. The Garda is apparently starting in phoenix form, even though it would benefit by spending the first round transforming and setting off Immolating Pyre reflexively (forcing Kang to dump motes into not taking 2 damage at the get go). The Garda used Fiery Talon Strike (which costs 3i) in a clash where it didn't have that much init banked, directly resulting it the lost clash resulting in a crash; there was no compelling reason for it to use that Charm on the first attack before it could try to bulk up its init more. And it obliges the clash at all. It could have just aimed for the round seeing what Kang was up to, or go full defense and avoid Kang's delayed normal attack. While Kang would regain some much needed motes if he lets it stalemate, the Garda could easily flip init if Kang continually burns it to try to force a clash.

      Or, basically, this perfectly meets LoveMonkey's, "Like not 2%-3% but maybe 40%-50%" as is, and the Garda could have fought a lot smarter rather than playing right into Kang's hands. And it still took 8 rounds to finish.


      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
      This can be remedied by using many many challenges in a short period of time to force mote budgeting.
      This can also be remedied by:

      Fixing the difficulty scale to something that makes more sense for Exalted.
      Bringing situational penalties back into a more prominent role (a difficulty 5, -5 dice penalty for the actual toughest feats around means +6 Excellencies are not enough).
      Tailored challenges that don't have to be huge in how many of them there are and/or are threatening to the characters even if they have motes to spare (long enough exposure to hazards where low chances of failure are going to come up, witnesses to Solars glowing, fights that will hit the PCs with enough damage to lay them up for much longer periods of time, etc.).

      Insisting that the only remedy is hours of grinding with small-ish challenges doesn't compute.

      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.
      This doesn't address the issue of ensuring Exalts have the stated level of baseline competence the setting describes, and it only really argues for Solars.

      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.
      Years of 2e experience says otherwise. Solar players spend most of their Charms specializing because of the Excellency safety net. As people have constantly been saying, the game is designed around Excellencies being easily accessed. If players don't start getting all those basic defensive Charms (or raising lots of stuff to 5s that's going to get beyond what char gen can handle fast) without having all those Excellencies? A lot of threats get way, way more dangerous. So players are going to start losing characters, and then start to look at those starter "ignore X mundane threat" Charms as must haves instead of useful but not necessary.

      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.
      Or you just get a bunch of samey characters that don't fail those things an appreciable amount of time, because players don't want to fail things (esp. things where failure has significant consequences) in their big power fantasy RPG. Hell, it's hard to get players to enjoy failing in horror RPGs where they're playing normal humans.

      Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
      *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)
      This is definitely something that Exalted could use some serious fixing. Even beyond mote management, the way that game switches between "dramatic" units of time, and "real" units of time causes all sorts of strange edge cases in the rules.

      ... 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.
      Honestly, I think the game would, in general, be better off if in-game time was never a mechanical factor. Having Charms key off of Sessions and Stories rather than normal units of time for things that go beyond a single scene would address a lot. Adding in a scale of Downtime that directly links to Scenes/Sessions/Stories would also be good so STs can calibrate downtime.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
        Even 5e’s rest system is hard to eat a grip on sometimes.
        Oh god, don't even get me started on 5e's issue with rest structure. At least Exalts all spend and regain motes at the same rate.

        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        Honestly, I think the game would, in general, be better off if in-game time was never a mechanical factor. Having Charms key off of Sessions and Stories rather than normal units of time for things that go beyond a single scene would address a lot. Adding in a scale of Downtime that directly links to Scenes/Sessions/Stories would also be good so STs can calibrate downtime.
        Agreed. It's metagamey, but it's metagamey in the best way. In game time is just too disconnected from...everything, really.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Fixing the difficulty scale to something that makes more sense for Exalted.
          Bringing situational penalties back into a more prominent role (a difficulty 5, -5 dice penalty for the actual toughest feats around means +6 Excellencies are not enough).
          You understand that both of those also remove the excellency safety net in a way worse way, right? Because if you just keep the current difficulty scale and remove excellencies, you stand a decent chance of losing. If you up the difficulty to match full excellencied dicepools then you now have to pay 6m for the privilage of not being totally destroyed trying to roll 8 successes on 6 dice.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Tailored challenges that don't have to be huge in how many of them there are and/or are threatening to the characters even if they have motes to spare (long enough exposure to hazards where low chances of failure are going to come up, witnesses to Solars glowing, fights that will hit the PCs with enough damage to lay them up for much longer periods of time, etc.).
          That's boring as hell, and a huge waste of time. Every time you ask the party to roll something, especially if it's the whole party, everyone has to think up stunts, collect dicepools, mark down mote expenditures, roll, count the successes, and then move on. If we're doing that 30 times in a session and only 1-2 times the dice ever come up as being failures, that's nearly pointless.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Insisting that the only remedy is hours of grinding with small-ish challenges doesn't compute.
          I did not mean to imply this, and I certainly didn't say it.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          This doesn't address the issue of ensuring Exalts have the stated level of baseline competence the setting describes
          This is fanon. In 3e we have 5 published Solars, and they don't look like that at all. True, they're not finished characters, but they're not finished because they don't have all of their merits and charms, they actually do have all their attributes+abilities and spend BP on them as well. Neither Mirror Flag nor Faka Kun even have resistance at all, Mirror Flag has 2 thrown, unfavoured, and 3 dodge as her only combat abilities, same with Iay who has 3 dodge and 2 unfavoured melee.

          This is the Exalted jumpstart, the intro into Exalted, what's supposed to teach people how it plays and what it's like. If there was any place for a safety net with characters that have a baseline competency it would be here, but it isn't. The book says things like "Solars can leap mountains" but it doesn't mean every Solar can.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Years of 2e experience says otherwise.
          2e was like that because damage was way too easy to inflate well beyond ability to mitigate it, and because one lucky hit could just end your character straight up, no hope. 3e isn't like that anymore, and on top of that it's added even more safety nets to stop your character from dying. In combat an enemy has to work up to lethal levels of initiative, and then keep that initiative until it can act again, when everyone at the table is looking at it and knows to focus fire it. With one Stamina 3 ox-body lethal initiative looks something like 25, which is a lot. Even if that happens though, or if they pull some miracle and roll 10 successes on 12 decisive damage dice with no double 10s, it's not game over, because once/story you can mitigate decisive damage by accepting a crippling injury. For mortals a permanent hindrance, for Exalted not so much.

          If you've already accepted one crippling injury that story and you get your incapacitated health level ticked off, you're STILL not dead, because at the ST discretion you linger at death's doorstep for a few rounds, giving other characters a chance to stabilize you with medical treatment. If they don't, then yes, your character dies. Which is good, because what's even the alternative to that? Your character can never die no matter what happens? Why bother with defensive charms then? Why even care if an enemy gets up to 40i if you can't die?

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          A lot of threats get way, way more dangerous. So players are going to start losing characters, and then start to look at those starter "ignore X mundane threat" Charms as must haves instead of useful but not necessary.
          This might be hard to believe, but I don't actually want my players to lose characters. In the past 5 years of Exalted and DnD I think I can count on one hand the number of fights my players have actually lost, and only one of them involved losing a character, and it was the combination of consistently atrocious luck and blithering arrogant stupidity. What did happen though, is they got hit in combat. They took damage. They failed at their lockpicking check and alerted the guards, which they then had to deal with. They retreated from an overwhelming force, to come back later with a plan.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Or you just get a bunch of samey characters that don't fail those things an appreciable amount of time, because players don't want to fail things (esp. things where failure has significant consequences) in their big power fantasy RPG. Hell, it's hard to get players to enjoy failing in horror RPGs where they're playing normal humans.
          I am about to give you the greatest gift ever then. BEHOLD this is Godsend from Powered by the Apocalypse. In Godsend there are no dice, because you do not fail. It skips all the rolling dice crap because nobody wants to sit around rolling 30 dice just to prove for the hundredth time that they aren't going to miss a difficulty 3 roll. While there is character building, there's no traps either, there's no "Well 2 dots says 'professional soldier' and my backstory definitely doesn't have me with professional swordsmanship training, so I'll stick with 1 dot" and then getting schooled by some punk young dragonblooded.

          In Godsend your character can destroy armies. Not can destroy armies as in if they roll well and you built a good fighter they can destroy armies, they can destroy armies because you choose to destroy armies. If you build the weakest possible character in Godsend, and the Imperial Army comes after you in it's entirety, unified, and full of rage, you tell the Storyteller "I want to destroy the army" and they say "Okay, your might is beyond limit, they lie broken at your feet. What will you do now?" Of course you could give it a more awesome description than that if you wanted to, but it's unnecessary.

          Godsend is how you make a game where the players never have to fear failure, because it doesn't dance around pretending like dice rolls matter, and thus what mechanics it does have are completely focused on "Okay you win, now what?"
          Last edited by DrLoveMonkey; 11-13-2020, 07:54 PM.

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          • #50
            Good to know the toxic Exalted Forum stuff that everyone wants to pretend we've moved past is still alive and kicking. Poke me when you have something worth responding to DrLoveMonkey

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
              Good to know the toxic Exalted Forum stuff that everyone wants to pretend we've moved past is still alive and kicking. Poke me when you have something worth responding to DrLoveMonkey
              You were the one who jumped to accusing me of shifting goal posts and being deceptive when you misunderstood my points. That hurt because I have been arguing in good faith this entire time.

              Comment


              • #52
                You shifted goal-posts, as I illustrated.

                You deceptively presented the math of environmental hazards as being less dangerous than they are by only accounting for one interval, and then started another goal post shift with a hyperbolic thing about how having to deal with multiple intervals of a hazard is badwrongfun.

                If you want me to consider your approach to this thread to be in good faith, you could correct those things. I can appreciate that it hurts to get called out, but sometimes you're getting called out because you should be. Good intentions don't always translate to good outcomes.

                The whole Godsend thing? If you seriously think that was a good honest suggestion I would appreciate? That just proves you haven't been listening to a word I've posted, which means you're not really posting in good faith because you're not actually trying to respond to what I'm saying. If you posted that like it felt, as a big, "get out of my fandom and go play some other game," that's not really good for saying that you meant it in good faith either. Did you really intend for that to not be hurtful? Do you not at all see how easily it would be taken as such?

                Edit:

                While I appreciate the support... whoever liked this? Don't? This isn't good. While I hope this can be worked through, like posts when we get past this, not during it.
                Last edited by Heavy Arms; 11-13-2020, 10:22 PM.

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                • #53
                  *raises hand*

                  Godsend sounds shitty. Who would want to play a game where there's no chance of failure?

                  All I'm saying is that Excellencies are fucking awesome at making sure that if something murders your characters, it's because it's big and dangerous. Excellencies are for making sure that your Sword 2, Dexterity 2 character can be jumped in a dark alley by a bunch of punks and beat the crap out of them using an excellency and a good sword, because you're just that good. Same way you get resistance to bleeding and poison and disease, because you don't go out like a punk. Same way you get to heal from all but the worst injuries, because no, you aren't going to get crippled by anything short of losing a limb. Your story is an epic battle and journey, not 'died in a dark alley because some pursesnatcher wanted your clothes' or 'died of dysentery' or 'fell of a tree and took fall damage'.

                  Excellencies are there to make sure you don't die like a punk because you don't want to spend stuff on poison or fighting when you're a crafter or socialize and don't want to spend charms on it, but the ST threw them at you. If you're normal and have an excellency and a few hundred bandits surround you with intent to kill, you're dead, but at least it took a few hundred bandits. Not one thug in dark alley.

                  Godsend is like... not that? Why was that even thought of as a good idea?

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    You shifted goal-posts, as I illustrated.
                    I re-read it and I still don't understand what the goalpost shift was. I was trying to say that getting rid of excellencies is a way to bring Solar dicepools into line with the difficulty scales in the book. Not because it makes it impossible for players to ever roll like that, but by making it much harder to do for so many things.

                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    You deceptively presented the math of environmental hazards as being less dangerous than they are by only accounting for one interval, and then started another goal post shift with a hyperbolic thing about how having to deal with multiple intervals of a hazard is badwrongfun.
                    I think dealing with 20 consecutive rolls would be an annoying thing for a game, but that three might be fine. Even at 3 though, characters have enough motes to get through that. Solars start the game with 46 motes, or 35 if they've got artifact attunements, so it takes a lot of excellencies in a short period of time to get them to think twice about using one. Which I'm comfortable doing, but many people are not and might want to modify things to reflect that.

                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    The whole Godsend thing? If you seriously think that was a good honest suggestion I would appreciate? That just proves you haven't been listening to a word I've posted, which means you're not really posting in good faith because you're not actually trying to respond to what I'm saying. If you posted that like it felt, as a big, "get out of my fandom and go play some other game," that's not really good for saying that you meant it in good faith either. Did you really not intend for that to not be hurtful?
                    Yes, I recommend Godsend to every person who wants to play really high powered zero failure Exalted, as can be seen in this thread here. It's by far the best game I've ever seen that really, actually is all about the consequences of success, and barely anything about the if of success. It does this by just saying that success is inevitable, pretty much the ultimate power fantasy.

                    Exalted purports to be that kind of game, but the mechanics don't back that up. I don't think I need to say any more than you roll dice in Exalted. If you're rolling dice, there's an expectation that you're rolling to see if you pass or fail. Failing isn't always fun, but succeeding when you could have failed is really fun.

                    I was playing DnD yesterday and I failed my stealth check against the dragon, meaning somebody had to get within 5 feet of it to let me sneak attack. In response to that the warlock popped his wings and flew up into the air right next to it, putting himself at greater risk but letting get that sweet sweet damage. I was trying to succeed, but failure made some interesting tactics and outcomes happen. It also makes it all the more sweet when I get the stealth off on the next round and can tell the badly wounded warlock that he should just Dimension Door out of there and patch himself up.

                    I like that in Exalted too. I like maybe getting poisoned, it adds some fun little tension while I'm rolling up my dice, and if I do get poisoned fun choices to make. If only two of the four of us got poisoned is it worth trying to wait it out? Can the medicine person cure us before we take damage? Did they bring their anti-toxin mixes or are they going to have to scrounge some from the local flora? If we have to make it through this temple while suffering poison/wound penalties we need to actually pay attention. Maybe the person who's amazing at resisting the toxins goes back through the flowers to get the healer the stuff he needs, being a big damn hero for everyone in the process.

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                    • #55
                      Accelerator

                      I haven't look at Godsend in detail, but if it's designed by people that pay attention to successful no-dice PbtA based game design (of which I'm a fan of a few)? There isn't a chance of randomized failure (because there's no random).

                      The core of dice-less PbtA games is that everything has a narrative price to it. They can be very fun when you want to narrow in on character's making moral/ethical/emotional choices as the primary conflict of the game. You have to accept that the game is going to as the GM (or group) to come up with consequences to pick from. Do you wipe out an enemy army completely, and risk the loyalty of your people as you seem to be a power mad tyrant to them? Or do you go easier on your enemies, letting them remain a threat but keeping your people from worrying about your benevolence?

                      I'm sure Godsend might fit some things some people might want out of an Exalted game better than Exalted does. I just haven't expressed that set of desires for a system.
                      Last edited by Heavy Arms; 11-13-2020, 11:41 PM.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                        *raises hand*

                        Godsend sounds shitty. Who would want to play a game where there's no chance of failure?
                        It's because Godsend actually enforces the consequences of you success. In Godsend there's an action you can take, you can just take it any time, and use it against a powerful foe like an army, a divine monster, whatever, it's called Unleash the Fury of War. When you do so, you defeat them immediately in combat. Then you pick 3 additional things equal to your Valor that also happen.
                        • You fully defeat your enemy, preventing them from fleeing, recovering, or regrouping; wou will never have to Unleash the Fury of War against them again
                        • People see the might of your divinity and they worship you for it, your faith grows by +1
                        • You learn something about another enemy of yours, the GM will inform you of something perilous
                        Then you choose 3 things equal to your Will that will NOT happen
                        • You are Harmed in the process. <= When you choose to be Harmed you then pick from a list of effects that can trigger when you are harmed, some based on your archetype. Most of which are beneficial, like getting to remake your character, or instead reflecting the harm onto another of your enemies. The downside is each can only be selected once, so you will eventually die. The upside to that is when you die you get to do one final supremely awesome thing before remaking a new god avatar to play
                        • Something or someone important to you, or the god you're an avatar of, suffers some manner of unfortunate consequences as the GM makes a move.
                        • The field of battle is ruined for the remainder of this age, and for all the next Age to come, erase all terrain features here and give the area the Devastated Detriment.

                        So you win. You win the fight, every single time that you want to, and this isn't even the only way. There's also a move to convince anyone of anything, perform a miracle, tons of stuff. You never have to worry about failing, because you never fail. On the other hand, what are the consequences of doing that? You might choose that neither you, nor anyone or anything you care about will be harmed, but in doing so for all of this age, through to the turning of the next age, and even through the turning of that the destruction you wrought will devastate this land. Which works really well because the GM here didn't just go "Okay well, mister god-avatar-man, guess what, your battle destroys this land" and just sucker punches you with consequences, you choose the consequences.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                          I re-read it and I still don't understand what the goalpost shift was.
                          The case went from:

                          Excellencies are too good in that they devalue higher investment in Charms.

                          To:

                          Excellencies are too good because challenging Solars is too much work if they can throw around high numbers so easily.

                          ...but by making it much harder to do for so many things.
                          Insert all the things I've asked about why it should be considered a good thing to force players to invest lots and lots of XP just to get basic Solar level competency at each sub-set within a given Ability.

                          It's an inconsistent position. You're arguing that you want Solars to be able to steamroll problems with massive dice-pools, and that things are too easy for them for too many things. You're trying to thread the eye of the needle by conditioning it on Solars being able to steamroll some things and then be challenged by others. But that's already the case (even with a Solar's massive starting Excellencies, they're going to have Abilities they don't have one in to be challenged with), and it's only delaying the inevitable.

                          As was said up thread, take out Excellencies and Solars are still awesome. So taking them out isn't going to solve things like you're claiming they will. If you actually want to do what you're saying.... you'd basically be following a path similar to the Essence team: addressing things on a more fundamental level.

                          Even at 3 though, characters have enough motes to get through that.
                          As you ignored, on average that's going to cost them 18m, 1L damage dealt (because 15% over three rolls is going to probably fail at least once), Anima banner glowing, and all that.

                          The issue remains that you're selling something as too easy... because you're undercutting any difficulty it could pose. A 10 second swim through acid being the only obstacle for a whole day sounds like... a fairly boring game to me. That's not even a scene. That's not something with context around it. It's like calling one round of combat all the rolling you should do for a big set piece fight. It doesn't work with the system to get the desired results.

                          Which I'm comfortable doing, but many people are not and might want to modify things to reflect that.
                          And yet you're consistently arguing against all the other possible ways to modify things as somehow worse for addressing the actual systemic problems instead of focusing on the one problem that's not specific to the concept of Excellencies.

                          Yes, I recommend Godsend to every person who wants to play really high powered zero failure Exalted,...
                          When did I say I wanted a zero failure Exalted game?

                          Since I didn't, I think you can follow my issue from there...

                          Exalted purports to be that kind of game, but the mechanics don't back that up. I don't think I need to say any more than you roll dice in Exalted. If you're rolling dice, there's an expectation that you're rolling to see if you pass or fail. Failing isn't always fun, but succeeding when you could have failed is really fun.
                          Exalted doesn't actually purport to be that kind of game. It purports to be that kind of game if you're confronted with mortal problems (and it does generally deliver on that... which this whole thread is actually arguing to get rid of....), and that facing more potent threats starts to get more iffy. It is very much a game of escalation in that sense.

                          That doesn't mean Exalted does a great job at enabling those higher level threats to be fun for the ST to run (as all of use that have run a 5 on 5 Solar vs. Abyssal fight can attest), but this is getting very far from Excellencies.

                          I like that in Exalted too.
                          So why all the push back at actually making it work with the tools in place?

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                            The case went from:

                            Excellencies are too good in that they devalue higher investment in Charms.

                            To:

                            Excellencies are too good because challenging Solars is too much work if they can throw around high numbers so easily.
                            Ahh okay I see now, I apologize.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            Insert all the things I've asked about why it should be considered a good thing to force players to invest lots and lots of XP just to get basic Solar level competency at each sub-set within a given Ability.
                            I don't believe in the idea that every Solar should have a base competency of being able to ignore threats that are deadly to mortals if it's an area they don't specialize in. Maybe mortal threats as in actual mortal thugs or something, but not the black plague, or breaking a man-eating horse born in the depths of the Wyld while a forest fire rages around you.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            It's an inconsistent position. You're arguing that you want Solars to be able to steamroll problems with massive dice-pools, and that things are too easy for them for too many things. You're trying to thread the eye of the needle by conditioning it on Solars being able to steamroll some things and then be challenged by others.
                            This is it exactly. If you're a Resistance Supernal Solar with 5 Stamina, 5 Resistance and a bunch of Resistance charms, you should be golden if you want to swim through acid or jog through a hail of icicles, no problem. If you're not that though, and you only spent a small fraction of your chargen resources on being good at that, I think that most of the stuff in the book should be worth rolling for.

                            Which they are, or can be, if enough stuff happens in a short enough period of time to make the mote expenditure count for something, but that's not always so easy for everyone.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            But that's already the case (even with a Solar's massive starting Excellencies, they're going to have Abilities they don't have one in to be challenged with), and it's only delaying the inevitable.
                            There are a limited number of abilities that include things that a player must get through, rather than chooses to do. For example you might not have a performance excellency, but how often does your ST call for everyone to roll Wits + Performance to resist something? With some abilities, like Sail outside of places with boats, or Bureacracy outside of, well any place with a bureacracy, you might even be struggling to even come up with places where you can get to roll them.

                            If you grab Athletics, Awareness, Integrity, Resistance, and melee, you're good for the vast majority of stuff that can happen. If you want toss in Dodge too, you still have 10 ability dots to fill out anything else you might want.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            As was said up thread, take out Excellencies and Solars are still awesome. So taking them out isn't going to solve things like you're claiming they will. If you actually want to do what you're saying.... you'd basically be following a path similar to the Essence team: addressing things on a more fundamental level.
                            If you remove them and everyone just abandons their character archetype to take the 15 most basic excellency replacing charms they can, then I agree, it doesn't fix the problem. If you get rid of them and after that people don't take those charms, then they're relying on their unenhanced stats + stunts + willpower to beat those rolls, which will mean a lot more of the time somebody is going to fail and change something based on that.


                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            As you ignored, on average that's going to cost them 18m, 1L damage dealt (because 15% over three rolls is going to probably fail at least once), Anima banner glowing, and all that.
                            Well, almost, 0.85*0.85*0.85=0.61, so you're still probably going to beat it even then, and if you fail you also have more than a 1/3 chance of avoiding damage by just not rolling a success on either die. The odds are not super great. You're glowing, but not really brightly and in the middle of an ice-storm, so I don't think within vision of anyone besides the people physically close to you. Then hiding out wherever you take shelter and 15 minutes later it's gone and you're good. Wait two hours there and you have all your motes back.

                            Well just don't let the PCs do that. I agree. If you wanted to let the PCs do that and still have consequences for being in that horrible storm though, you need to change something about how the characters work.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            The issue remains that you're selling something as too easy... because you're undercutting any difficulty it could pose. A 10 second swim through acid being the only obstacle for a whole day sounds like... a fairly boring game to me. That's not even a scene. That's not something with context around it. It's like calling one round of combat all the rolling you should do for a big set piece fight. It doesn't work with the system to get the desired results.
                            You're looking for a daiklave that's also the badge of kingship for the Threshold kingdom you're in right now. You find out it's in the catacombs, go down there, but it's been safeguarded by placing it in the bottom of a pool of acid. You go down to grab it, and come back up. You wait for your anima to die down and motes to come back, then go proclaim yourself king. That's the context.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            And yet you're consistently arguing against all the other possible ways to modify things as somehow worse for addressing the actual systemic problems instead of focusing on the one problem that's not specific to the concept of Excellencies.
                            Fixing the entire system would be better, but also way harder. Removing excellencies is a really simple patch that might get the job done.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            When did I say I wanted a zero failure Exalted game?
                            You said players don't like to fail things in their big power fantasy RPG. I think that if that's actually the case, then they shouldn't even be playing Exalted. If you want to flip the table every time your character gets thrown through a window, or gets their face scuffed up then Exalted will not be the best system for you. Not because you fail all the time, but because you fail at least some of the time, theoretically. There are other systems out there where that never happens. If you're playing Exalted, you should expect that sometimes you will fail at a particular action that you're doing, and it might have consequences which you will then need to use your incredible powers to deal with.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            Exalted doesn't actually purport to be that kind of game. It purports to be that kind of game if you're confronted with mortal problems (and it does generally deliver on that... which this whole thread is actually arguing to get rid of....), and that facing more potent threats starts to get more iffy. It is very much a game of escalation in that sense.
                            What is mortal about breaking a wyld-spawned man-eating horse in the middle of a raging forest fire? Or reading a letter in pitch blackness by feeling the ink on the paper, or plucking a gem from a nest of serpents while the building your in collapses around you without being harmed? If you're easily hitting difficulty 4-5 that's not easily navigating a tightrope without a pole, it's sprinting across a tightrope without a pole in a high wind, and you're not even good at it by Exalted standards.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            So why all the push back at actually making it work with the tools in place?
                            I'm not adverse to it. I have an entire thread with big long adventuring day style suggestions on how to do big long adventuring days. I made that thread, specifically, because so many people have really seriously major problems coming up with stuff like that. If you read through that thread and still can't do it, then something else needs to change, otherwise every game you run is just going to be an essence bulldozer where nobody ever actually feels like they're in an adventure appropriate to their character's skill. Or if they are it's because you put such an incredibly difficult task in front of them that failing actually does risk losing a character.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                              I don't believe in the idea that every Solar should have a base competency of being able to ignore threats that are deadly to mortals if it's an area they don't specialize in.
                              What counts as "ignore," and "specialize in," since frankly, these things seem far too loosely used as your arguments waffle around between "everything is too easy!" and, "if you try to make it hard it becomes impossible to manage!"

                              It's also inevitably arbitrary. Whatever number you set doesn't have any specific actual external benchmark. I say 5-7 dice and 1-2 Charms, you say 7-9 dice and 4-6 Charms, someone else says 11 dice and 15 Charms? Who's right? None of us. There's nothing to weigh right or wrong on. As you've noted, when we're talking about dice, there's always a chance of failure so you can never completely ignore things (I once botched with 13 dice twice in a row, statistically insane... or not with the sample size of how many times I've rolled for Exalted in almost 20 years).

                              Even talking about things like fail percentages are radically different depending on how many rolls are involved. Your average D&D game sees lots of 1s getting rolled despite a 5% chance, because you tend to roll a lot in D&D and the odds of someone getting that nasty 1 (assuming an edition/etc. of D&D where 1s are botches instead of just bad rolls) are generally very high.

                              If you want a 40% chance of someone getting a bad roll in a scene, you don't want to boost the difficult up to 40% odds of failure per roll (because that's going to be a ton of failures in a roll heavy scene). You want the odds down around 5% so that it's one memorable fail or two.

                              This is a huge source of my frustration with your argument. It treats the math of the game like the only thing that matters are the odds of one player rolling once. I've never been in an Exalted game where scenes that actually break out dice stop at one roll by one player unless the dice rolling was basically showing off by a specialized character or a Charm requires a roll before heading off some obstacle (and even then I've seen those rolls get hand waved).

                              The moment I suggest more things happen than one roll in the scene, I'm somehow advocating for massive ST headaches where the players have to roll a hundred times for an hours worth of in game events.

                              It just feels like a lot of equivocation.

                              If you're not that though, and you only spent a small fraction of your chargen resources on being good at that, I think that most of the stuff in the book should be worth rolling for.
                              The book fails to meet this expectation.

                              You can either nerf the players, boost the stuff in the books, or some sort of middle ground.

                              I would argue you're going to get a lot more out of boosting the stuff in the books (a lot of things in their are way easier than they're described as being) than nerfing the players. Esp. a drastic nerf like completely cutting all Excellencies from the game.

                              There are some nerfs that seem more feasible (mote regen has been discussed, as has getting rid of the real time unit stuff so players can't just wait an hour for things to reset), but it still comes down to there being this big list of stuff people are unhappy with, and an odd insistence on coming up with every reason not to find actual patches to those problems, and try to shove it all on Excellencies despite all the things people have brought up about how that's not inherently a great idea.

                              If you get rid of them and after that people don't take those charms, then they're relying on their unenhanced stats + stunts + willpower to beat those rolls, which will mean a lot more of the time somebody is going to fail and change something based on that.
                              So, are you going to force players to specialize somehow?

                              What's the incentive to not spread around a good chunk of your Charms picking up those basic "this will ensure I can survive the basic threats presented in the book," Charms?

                              What's hook for the players that aren't already bought into the idea that failing can still be fun?

                              If you wanted to let the PCs do that and still have consequences for being in that horrible storm though, you need to change something about how the characters work.
                              Except you don't. You need to change how you set up your scenarios. Changing how the rules work can make it easier, but it's not necessary... as I've shown repeatedly.

                              You're looking for a daiklave that's also the badge of kingship for the Threshold kingdom you're in right now. You find out it's in the catacombs, go down there, but it's been safeguarded by placing it in the bottom of a pool of acid. You go down to grab it, and come back up. You wait for your anima to die down and motes to come back, then go proclaim yourself king. That's the context.
                              And a perfect example of what I mean by purposefully underselling how much this could suck by taking out all the risks of consequences by having the whole thing boil down to one simple obstacle that the PCs are under so little pressure to accomplish they can sit around resting for two hours after finish. What's even the point of this version's context? Who wants to play that?

                              Even in D&D that wouldn't be a whole dungeon crawl, that would be a single trap oriented room. If that was the whole adventure your player would be confused, at best, at why you even bothered.

                              Fixing the entire system would be better, but also way harder. Removing excellencies is a really simple patch that might get the job done.
                              Well, since AFAIK, we're not talking about a thing for someone that's running the game tomorrow and is in desperate need of a hot patch this instant... we have time to discuss the better but harder option to have a good version of it to present to people later don't we? Instead of shooting it down every time I bring it up?

                              You said players don't like to fail things in their big power fantasy RPG.
                              Yeah. And if you concluded that meant that I personally want to play Godsend? It means you need to really work on your listening skills.

                              That doesn't mean I want a game where nobody fails in their big power fantasy RPG, it means when talking about things like incentives of what Charms the players will pick after you cut Excellencies, I don't believe that most players are going to go, "I'm fine with poison ganking my character, I totally want a seventh Presence Charm more."

                              It means I need a game where players have a decent sense of confidence in broad character competence, but where I can still throw challenges at them that can still pose some realistic threats of both immediate complications, and long term consequences. Which Exalted fits fairly well in combination with other preferential factors between myself and my groups. So when my players still do fail anyway, because they do because it happens if you roll enough on things you don't have "I Win" Charms for (actually that reminds me of a I time I did call for an unexpected Performance check that was failed, and it was fun, because it was basically the "Are you not entertained" scene from Gladiator after a Solar demolished his opponents in a martial arts tournament and ended up terrifying the crowd instead of impressing them) I can fairly easily manage things so they don't get put off by it, and keep them memorable and fun instead of frustrating,

                              Which means no, Godsend was not a good suggestion, and that was actually fairly obvious from what I actually said if you were actually listening.

                              I think that if that's actually the case, then they shouldn't even be playing Exalted.
                              And yet.... we're on page 4 (maybe 5 after this post) all started because some people feel Solar PCs don't fail enough...

                              Also, to be very blunt, I do not give a single shit about your decision to gatekeep around who Exalted is the right system for. We have fun playing Exalted, so we should be playing it. Your feeling to the contrary is just pointless needling; that you probably honestly think you're somehow helping with it just twists the jab in harder.

                              What is mortal about breaking a wyld-spawned man-eating horse in the middle of a raging forest fire? Or reading a letter in pitch blackness by feeling the ink on the paper, or plucking a gem from a nest of serpents while the building your in collapses around you without being harmed?
                              Evidence that the difficulty chart is poorly written and a lot of those should be high-ish difficulties with situational penalties instead.

                              Some of the examples don't even mesh with the situational penalty rules as they stand. Breaking a horse is an action with a set difficulty (either as a some sort of social action against Resolve, or using the ones for training animals in the animal section of the antagonists chapter), which means the raging forest fire should be a penalty rather than increased difficulty.

                              For whatever reason 3e wanted to shove everything in a 1-5 Difficulty scale and then kept the huge dice numbers of previous editions, it makes calibrating challenges way harder than things need to be.

                              As it stands, walking a tight rope being, say, difficulty 3... it only leaves me two levels of making it harder to compress all other factors into (though the pole could be equipment instead of a difficulty/penalty issue). If situational penalties were default part of consideration, tight rope walking would be difficulty 3, and then I'd have lots of room to play with how hard the situation actually is.

                              I'm not adverse to it.
                              And yet... so many of your responses in this thread feel like they basically amount to, "ignore what I advocated in this other thread, that's all crap."

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                                You're looking for a daiklave that's also the badge of kingship for the Threshold kingdom you're in right now. You find out it's in the catacombs, go down there, but it's been safeguarded by placing it in the bottom of a pool of acid. You go down to grab it, and come back up. You wait for your anima to die down and motes to come back, then go proclaim yourself king. That's the context.
                                Cool idea, but it needs a bit more spice. What if, say, the pool of acid the daiklave sits at the bottom of is also infested with acid-breathing sharks, or aquatic demons, or a corrupted elemental of water who was transformed into an acidic abomination by the taint of the daiklave's curse, or really anything else.

                                Run a combat in the acid. The player is having to swim a few range bands down to the bottom and then pull the daiklave out from the pool's bottom, all the while contending with acid piranhas or something on top of rolling every turn to avoid taking damage from the environmental hazard. Much more Exalted-worthy, and probably an example of how a character invested in Resistance Charms would have huge ups on somebody who's just rocking the Excellency.

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