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What if... there were no Excellencies?

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  • #76
    Not going to lie, Godsends sounds like a preferrable option for Solar games that aren't about fighting third circle demons or other circles of Solars. The published antagonists for this setting wouldn't even make for speedbumps. If this is things working as designed then Solar campaigns are meant to be about dealing with success. Exalted is an abject failure of a system at making a game about dealing with success. Everything in the system is about ajudicating success from failure. If you're a GM and have characters that are on a roll, the game leaves you on your own with no advice on how to safely up the challenge and very lottle advice on constructing a long running campaign about highly successful characters.


    Exalted is an aesthetic.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

      They're okay for mortals. The very best mortals in the world when they try will be hitting difficulty 4-5 pretty easily, with stunts and willpower especially they'll be doing it very consistently.

      Part of the issue with extending the scale past 5 is that reading letters by touch, feeling the ink, that's difficulty 5, so what's difficulty 10? Is it taking a deep breath and reading an entire book in a library a city away by smelling the words on the page? It gets to be so silly so quickly that it's actually difficult to even imagine what you might be doing with them.
      Oh yeah, sure, I'm in agreement. Ideally that would come before the rest of the mechanics are developed really... You come up with the scale of successes needed for Exalted feats beyond mortal capability, and then design their dice math to fit it. Like if you can only design your scale so it sensibly and meaningfully goes up to difficulty 7, before you come up with things that either feel ludicrous or feel like they are better suited to being Charms in themselves, then you accept that and redefine how your mechanics work around that, and if that means working in more power that isn't about more dice/sux, so be it.

      Rather than y'know, what feels like each Exalted and supernatural being gets a certain number of expected successes because it fits a rank order of balance and then, what feats these successes are related to are kind of undefined. The difficulty scale goes where it goes and then you set the mechanics around that, rather than like "Oh, these characters are throwing out 10 sux, so let's scramble to try and find some feats that fit that".

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      • #78
        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
        Because the players get so many ability dots, which come with free excellencies, that they sacrifice almost nothing by taking them.
        15 Charms is plenty to invest ~5 in your core focus that will make breeze past things in that focus, leaving you 10 to spread around to all those little safety Charms. Doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice to me.

        This is why I brought up Paranoia Combat. Not because I want to get into a math off about how less lethal 3e is, but because of how system incentives push players. That urge players feel to do that with their Ability dots isn't some random thing, it's a justifiable (and I'd even say purposeful) reaction to the system. That urge doesn't go away because you make it more expensive to get there.

        Like if you're going through two sessions and only one person has failed anything in two weeks of play it feels like pretty much nothing matters.
        Why? How does succeeding at whatever your were trying to do make nothing matter because it turned out to be easy for you?

        As far as I can tell, it doesn't matter because you (and the people you're speaking for) aren't seeming to be putting energy into making it matter.

        I'm imagining this conversation:

        "Using your Solar might, you have demolished the slaver bandits and saved the town."
        "Yeah, but it was easy, so that doesn't matter."
        "The town loves you, they've kicked out the IO monks."
        "But it was easy and doesn't matter."
        "You can build up the start of your own piece of Creation to rule here..."
        "But it was easy and doesn't matter."
        "Your legend is going to grew and catch the attention of bigger threats"
        "Easy. Doesn't matter."
        "How does none of this matter?"
        "You have to fail at least two or three rolls in a fight or anything that happens after doesn't matter, duh."
        "... what?"

        If people are just going out, killing some QCs from the book, rest, repeat, it doesn't matter because it doesn't matter or there would be more than just going around killing things. Increasing failure rates doesn't make it matter, it just makes something inherently tedious a bit less tedious.

        It's not really a risky shortcut or a dangerous obstacle if there's almost no risk and almost no danger. The hazard, or the obstacle might as well not even exist 19 out of 20 times, that's the problem.
        You do get that not all risk and danger has to be immediate and aimed at the PCs? If the PCs are slogging through the jungle, use their motes to breeze past the obstacles, but have to rest a lot to make up for it, and then end up losing more time than if they hadn't taking the shortcut in the first place, it was a risky choice, and very dangerous for that kingdom that just got sneak attacked.

        What I'm not open to is saying that this isn't even a problem, when I've seen it be a problem.
        If... I'm offering other fixes that I think are better than axing Excellencies.. do you think I don't appreciate that there are problems even if I disagree that Excellencies are the problem?

        A -2 penalty in combat isn't necessarily a death sentence.
        It's not about it being a death sentence. It's about a player looking at things and saying "yeah, poisons enough of a hassle I'd rather put a Charm into it now and worry about my specialization Charms later.

        Which to me is where a lot of the fun in the combat game even comes from.
        And a lot of people don't find that fun. And here's a big point: you, who finds that fun, can make a character with the current rules, who can have that happen to them. People that don't find that fun, aren't going to want their ability to cover up those holes in their defenses diminshed.

        You could change what the difficulty scale means, which would work.
        Right.. which is why I said that would be part of it already.

        If you did that you do weaken mortals and Dragonblooded a lot, not with regards to Solars, that stays the same, but now Dragonblooded have to be a lot more careful about things. Not something I'm totally adverse to, but it would be a side effect.
        This feels rather exaggerated. It's a bit of a nerf in that it might make them have to approach certain problems smarter rather than tossing big dice-pools at them, but it doesn't weaken them in the sense of taking away the ability to do certain tasks much.

        And it does impact Solars, since being able to hit the hardest tasks reliably goes up considerably. 4/4+spec+Excellency is what 3/3+Excellency used to be in terms of getting past the bar for really hard stuff

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        • #79
          As I recall, there have been numerous attempts to get rid of excellencies for specific splats during the design phase.

          It always failed, for one simple reason: Removing excellencies means you have to waste a huge amount of space on basic competence. Yes, it allows you to have more interesting and focused dice-adding charms, but it also means you must have a separate distinct dice-adding charm for every single ability you want that type of Exalt to be competent at.

          "Oh but I meant really gone like there's no substi--" Unfortunately, no, it doesn't work that way. If you give some Exalts, and not others, the ability to significantly boost their average number of successes in a specific area, or (worse, as we saw in 2e) to guarantee successes, then an Exalt who does have the ability to significantly enhance a roll or to ensure success will utterly, effortlessly curbstomp any type of Exalt that doesn't. So you end up having to give every Exalt some sort of substitute for an Excellency in every ability that they're supposed to be good at, which amounts to all of them, which means you're now wasting huge amounts of text on stuff that the Excellencies used to cover.

          It's easy to say "removing excellencies would make other charms matter more", but those other charms, right now, were built on top of Excellencies. If you remove excellencies then you will need to either go through and make sure no holes exist anywhere by adding a bunch of new charms (which will require removing other, often more flavorful charms to make space for your more bland gap-fillers), or establish eg. "yeah, DBs just suck at this particular application of Lore and have no way to enhance it."

          Beyond that, excellencies serve a few purposes:

          1. They support the idea that all types of Exalted have a sort of comparatively easy access to baseline competence, relative to each other, in all abilities or attributes, albeit one that is somewhat affected by dice caps and the like. In a few cases you might want to fiddle with this - Sidereals are the one splat where it might be a possibility, in that you do have the option to say that their take on an ability is so arcane that they lack normal, generally-applicable "do the default thing well". And I can understand the temptation to want to make competencies more distinct or flavorful. But...

          2. They simplify the process of giving the Exalted that baseline competence by avoiding the need to print baseline competence charms in every ability. This is why you're probably, at the end of the day, not going to want to do it even for Sidereals, because even if you have a clever idea for a weird take on Craft or whatever, you probably still want baseline competence in most of the other 24 abilities... so you'll be wasting a ton of space on these similar charms anyway. With other Exalted it's even worse. Solars are, by their basic concept, supposed to be competent at all normal applications for all abilities, so if you remove Excellencies they need individual charms for every application of every ability. That's a lot of wasted space, and, again, it's going to come at the expense of charms that focused on areas most conductive to flavor.

          3. They make balance easier for both developers and players (in terms of understanding and assessing things at a glance) by ensuring that each type of Exalt reliably hits a similar baseline across all abilities. Exalted is already a hugely-complex exception-based game. Without Excellencies this complexity gets worse because now you have to remember the specific totals each type of Exalted can reach in every single ability, rather than just the baseline of their dice caps; and building a character becomes harder because it becomes less clear how to get baseline competence in an area.

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          • #80
            It seems like the idea ofusing Excellencies to get to "Baseline Competence" is doing a lot of the work there.

            But then isn't the argument of someone like JohnDoe in this thread (and the Arena thread) in part that, in 3e, "Baseline Competence" *before* you get to Excellencies, just from dots (or even without them) and how the system is built to favour PCs/Exalts is reaaaally high?

            That is, in 1e/2e, maybe you can argue that PCs need across the board Excellencies to punch them up to levels of "Baseline Competence" from gritty mortal level (where, notionally, you can't so much as pop around the corner to buy a can of coke without being destroyed by dangerous threats)... but in 3e this is not really a live or relevant issue because the system already gives you tons of competence/armour.

            (Or am I getting this wrong?)

            (And does it really get easier or harder to gauge how strong Solars, etc. are in Melee, etc. with or without Excellencies? It seems like I'd expect the ton of Charms and how they might interact might make it hard (or not do), and the Excellencies themselves don't really serve to do much on that in either direction...).

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            • #81
              The term basic competence is getting abused throughout this thread. Basic competence is stunts and willpower. Outside of sorcery and crafting, there really isn't much in the game as written that demands the numbers of dice players can generate. This doesn't mean that nothing they do matters but it does mean that the dice rolling doesn't. When you think about how long it takes to manually resolve 25 dice + tricks - that's not good. Something that breaks up the gameplay like that had better freaking matter.
              Last edited by Steamfunk; 11-15-2020, 05:05 PM.


              Exalted is an aesthetic.

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              • #82
                Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                IThat is, in 1e/2e, maybe you can argue that PCs need across the board Excellencies to punch them up to levels of "Baseline Competence" from gritty mortal level (where, notionally, you can't so much as pop around the corner to buy a can of coke without being destroyed by dangerous threats)... but in 3e this is not really a live or relevant issue because the system already gives you tons of competence/armour.
                Remember that 1e didn't have Excellencies. Some Charms filled that role, but frequently - and highly unevenly - at inexplicably varied levels of cost and utility. I think a lot of the "don't get rid of Excellencies" camp comes from remembering how frustrating 1e was. I get "baseline competence" might feel like doing a lot of heavy lifting, but the point is the standardization Excellencies accomplished. 1e Solars generally had ways to max out their dice-caps in every Ability. The thing was, on Ability might be able to do it with two Charms, another might take four, and another might take constantly mixing and matching between ten of them. One might cost 1m per die, another 3m per die, and yet another 1m per 2 dice, and another might not even directly let you buy dice with motes (esp. the mix and match lots of Charms ones). Everyone had the same potential competence, but there was no solid baseline or benchmark to build off of, so it resulted in wildly uneven characters.

                And yes, 3e does have a problem with how high the PC competence bar is set compared to the difficulty bar 3e puts forward. The argument we're trying to make is that the good thing Excellencies do (provide that even across the board baseline of Exalted flex) getting removed from the game doesn't work. You end up back at 1e's mess.

                That doesn't mean the idea of "nerfing" Excellencies is bad. Making Excellencies more binary, or less powerful doesn't get rid of the vital part of what they do for the system.

                For example, if you added the house rule that you can't spend more than [Essence x2]m on an Excellency, you've massively nerfed them in terms of bulldozing your way through problems, but you've also maintained their primary benefits. Though I'd probably have some exceptions to that (Supernal Abilities count as Essence 5 for it, Lunar Stunting Excellencies can go higher, etc.), but that, I feel, is appropriate for people that are OK some Excellency bulldozing as long as its not as widespread as it currently is.

                But I think those of us in the "keep Excellencies" camp feel that 3e's problems, as they're more fundamental than Excellencies, want to see solutions that address the fundamental underlying problem. Maybe we're wrong, bu we're presuming fixing the underlying problem means Excellencies as-is stop being part of said problem.

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  15 Charms is plenty to invest ~5 in your core focus that will make breeze past things in that focus, leaving you 10 to spread around to all those little safety Charms. Doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice to me.
                  Putting 5 into one ability is fine, but a lot of character concepts need more than that one ability. Like if you're a socialite you need Socialize for Guile, Integrity for Resolve, and usually Persuasion or Performance to apply influence to other people. Especially without excellencies letting you blow past things, you might want more than just 1-2 charms in each ability.


                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  Why? How does succeeding at whatever your were trying to do make nothing matter because it turned out to be easy for you?
                  It tends to go something like this:

                  "So after that you keep going a bit, but find yourselves getting a bit lost, roll to keep your bearings here."
                  *Difficulty demolished*
                  "Okay, next day, wake up and again everyone roll for that insect-disease"
                  *Everyone passes easily*
                  "Sure, lets get going then, you find the temple with the old cultural artifact, but it's being guarded by Greenmaw elementals"
                  *Pre-combat, everyone excellencies their JB and goes first*
                  *Round 1 of combat everyone withers, no attacks miss, greenmaws crashed*
                  *Greenmaws go, they attack, not one of their attacks connects*
                  *Round 2 players all decsisive attack, slaying most of the Greenmaws*
                  *Remaining greenmaws go, they attack, not one of their attacks connects*
                  *Round 3 players go and finish off remaining greenmaw(s) with base decisive attacks*
                  "Okay, so you get in there and find that cultural artifact, use the rest of the day to track back."
                  *party trecks back and sleeps*
                  "Next day, everyone test against insect plague again"
                  *A miracle happens and one person fails*
                  "Okay now keep moving on, as you break for lunch a group of Jungle Stalkers is attracted by the scent of your food and looks like they're willing to kill you for it"
                  *Pre-combat everyone full-excellencies their JB, the party all goes first*
                  *Round 1, everyone attacks, not a single attack misses, all the jungle stalkers are crashed*
                  *Jungle stalkers attack, not a single attack connects.*
                  *Round 2, everyone decisive attacks, slaying all the jungle stalkers, or enough to make the final one flee*
                  "Okay at the start of the new day everyone roll against disease again."
                  *Everyone beats the virulance, and the one infected person beats the morbidity, getting over the disease*

                  Session 2
                  "You get back to the river that you crossed before, again blocking your path."
                  *everyone gets over it no problem*
                  "Alright you get back to the town and unfortunately they disbelieve that what you hold is what you claim, and tries to convince you that you're all frauds."
                  *Everyone raises integrity and nobody is affected*
                  "You need to convince him it IS what you say it is."
                  *Face rolls and utterly destroys the Persuade*
                  "He believes you, and invites you to dinner that night. At the dinner everyone roll percep+aware"
                  *everyone destroys this roll*
                  "You all notice that your food seems off, it's been poisoned, but you all catch it before you ingest enough to roll."
                  *everyone excuses themselves to go to the kitchen and investigate*
                  "The cooks there realize they've been found out and move to kill you all with their butcher knives, they also show signs that they're more than simple cooks, and even inhumanly powerful."
                  *Pre-combat everyone excellencies their JB and goes first*
                  *Round one, the players go, withering the battlegroup into oblivion and gaining initiative for it, also crashing the two independant characters in this fight*
                  *Two remaining enemies go, attempting to strike back, none of their attacks connect*
                  *Round 2 players go, a miracle happens and one of them misses a decisive attack, the rest land and slay the remaining enemies*
                  "Okay, having found out the assassins the people seem grateful, but now ask that you find somebody to replace them for the midsummer feast, as this is a holy day that they must have very specific meals for."
                  *Loremaster rolls to introduce a fact that there's a group of wandering foodmasters passing by the area soon.*
                  "Okay but it's back across that river through the woods, you can set out the next day."
                  *Everyone goes back into the woods, passing their insect infection rolls*
                  "You get to the river, everyone roll to cross it again."
                  *All pass*
                  "You make it to the road, cut back enough to avoid the insects, you travel along it long enough to meet the wandering cooks. Give me an int+occult"
                  *Three pass*
                  "Okay, you notice the telltale signs that this isn't a person at all, but a fairy cataphract imposter, and their band of goblin-nightmares."

                  Session 3
                  *Players full excellency join battle, all go first, except one who manages to flub the roll.*
                  *Round 1 players all attack, all of them hit, battlegroup destroyed, surviving enemy characters crashed before the person who flubbed their roll goes, so ends up going first anyway*
                  *Remaining enemies go, all miss attacks*
                  *Round 2 players use decisives to finish the enemies*
                  "Okay after dispatching them you may continue down the road, after a few hours travel you find the actual group you're looking for. However their leader is an exalt and doesn't want to change their destination."
                  *Face rolls to bargain and blasts their resolve, agreeing to come with but only to go along the roads*
                  "Okay, so it takes two days, but you're back at town with the group. Unfortunately key ingredients for this super special feast are missing."
                  *Players debate just using their unstoppable power to convince the people and the god that the feast is unnecessary, decide just to go get it anyway because six of one half-a-dozen of the other.*
                  "Okay so you're setting out into a less insect infested part of the jungle, so after a day and a half of travel you reach it, but the area that you're getting this stuff from is deep in a poison bloom."
                  *Players decide only the really tough one has to go in and grab it, he easily beats the poison back and returns with their prize*
                  "Okay, you make it back safely with the feast on."


                  It's at this point that the ST is wondering what's even the point of getting players to go through the rigamarole of bringing out the dice, rolling them, counting them up, verifying success. Also why enemies seem to have abilities that are only usable on decisive attacks, or that cost initiative, or that require a successful hit before triggering, because there's never a situation where that happens.

                  It doesn't feel like the rolls are doing anything. It's not an adventure it's just a Sunday walk. It's just "Hey here's an obstacle, oh look you passed it no problem. Hey look here's another one, oh look you passed it no problem" which would be bad enough in DnD where rolls are lightning fast, but in Exalted that's a lot of time that amounts to nothing being different if the ST didn't call for a roll at all.

                  I would personally compress all of that into like, one or two days of in-game time, but there's STs out there that find that idea silly. Like everything is just within an hour's walk, and the path there is so full of horrors that you encounter two in less than 60 minutes? I would rather it be silly than have the game mechanics fall apart, but not everyone feels this way.

                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  It's not about it being a death sentence. It's about a player looking at things and saying "yeah, poisons enough of a hassle I'd rather put a Charm into it now and worry about my specialization Charms later.
                  You said that they would do it because it would gank them, neutralize them in the fight, make them not matter anymore, totally useless. A -2 penalty doesn't neutralize you, with a withering pool of 10 (3 dex, 3 melee, 2 mundane light weapon, 2 stunt) you've still got 80% of your attack dice, and no impact on your damage. For combat purposes that's even an unreasonably weak character, I pretty well never see anyone with less than 5 in their combat stat and a specialty. I also rarely see anyone without an artifact weapon, even if they have to keep it wrapped up and hidden in town.

                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  And a lot of people don't find that fun. And here's a big point: you, who finds that fun, can make a character with the current rules, who can have that happen to them. People that don't find that fun, aren't going to want their ability to cover up those holes in their defenses diminshed.
                  So why even suggest to bring up the difficulty scale, or cut mote regen to force budgeting? Both of those suggestions would also increase the failure rate.

                  I resent the implication that I'm trying to gatekeep Exalted. I want more people to be in Exalted. I want Exalted to be equal to DnD in culture popularity. I want people to start saying

                  "I play DnD."
                  "What's that?"
                  "Oh it's like Exalted except it starts out a lot less epic."
                  "Oh that sounds like it could be fun."

                  But if you don't find it fun to manage resources, or adapt to success and failure, why would you play a system with a so much resource management, and so many deep and intricate systems hinging around pass-fail rolls? If the failing isn't fun why not just skip the pretense that you'll fail basically any roll and get to the good stuff 100% of the time?

                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  This feels rather exaggerated. It's a bit of a nerf in that it might make them have to approach certain problems smarter rather than tossing big dice-pools at them, but it doesn't weaken them in the sense of taking away the ability to do certain tasks much.
                  If you buff everything by 2-3 difficulty I think it would definitely hamstring mortal heroes, or Exalted with much lower access to excellency charms. Like a standard lock to pick is now Difficulty 3, which with 3/3 + stunt still has a pretty decent chance to fail. Given the huge ability dot pool you get at chargen though that's probably a good thing, grabbing 3 dots in an ability you have a passing interest in is pretty trivial anyway.

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                    It doesn't feel like the rolls are doing anything.
                    OK.

                    First off? Nobody is saying that the stuff in the core book is actually sufficiently challenging to Solars. There is definitely a problem with the core book presenting a bunch of standard system rolls and QCs that might be fine for a mortals game, maybe a DB game, but just can't hold a candle to Solars, and having Solars be the core Exalted.

                    What I'm saying? Getting rid of Excellencies isn't going to actually fix that. It might delay it a few sessions (depending on player system mastery), but Solar Charms without Excellencies are going to make all what you posted happen all the same. Solars steamroll that stuff. Possibly even worse since there are plenty of low level Solar Charms that are auto-wins, not just statistical easy wins.

                    Thus... the focus on fixing things need to be elsewhere.

                    So why even suggest to bring up the difficulty scale, or cut mote regen to force budgeting? Both of those suggestions would also increase the failure rate.
                    No, they give the ST more control over the failure rate, to adjust it up or down as they feel would make things more fun.

                    Changing the mote regen interval to scene instead of hour doesn't mean a scene will tax players, it just make it easier to do so.

                    Adjusting the difficulty scale doesn't mean players will suddenly be facing Diff 9 or Diff 5 Penalty -5 every roll. But those are available instead of the difficulty stopping at 5.

                    I resent the implication that I'm trying to gatekeep Exalted.
                    I find a lot of the inferences I find myself making from your posts frustrating. I'm trying to be charitable about it, but it helps to not call them implications.

                    But if you're telling people they're playing a game wrong... that's getting into gatekeeping territory (esp. when it's a matter of playstyle, not something like massively getting the rules wrong).

                    I want more people to be in Exalted.
                    So... all the more reason we could be discussing actual solutions to systemic problems in the system instead of debating the merits of something that is, at best, a quick patch?

                    If you buff everything by 2-3 difficulty I think it would definitely hamstring mortal heroes, or Exalted with much lower access to excellency charms. Like a standard lock to pick is now Difficulty 3, which with 3/3 + stunt still has a pretty decent chance to fail. Given the huge ability dot pool you get at chargen though that's probably a good thing, grabbing 3 dots in an ability you have a passing interest in is pretty trivial anyway.
                    Who said, "buff everything by 2-3 difficulty?"

                    It is not helpful that you keep phrasing approaches to changing how difficulty is determined as if it will be done in a slapdash and ill-considered method

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      First off? Nobody is saying that the stuff in the core book is actually sufficiently challenging to Solars.
                      So, here's the crazy thing. I actually DO think that most of the stuff in the corebook is sufficiently challenging to Solars. This is how I'd run that game.

                      First off, the feast is tonight, and the special holy cutlery is hidden away in a temple that nobody's come back from since they put it there a year ago, nobody knows why, the players need to get that shit by today. Getting there is an extended Wits + Survival roll, difficulty 3, goal number 10 to get there, each interval is an hour, it has no terminus but if your rolls getting there and back total more than 5 hours it's too late.

                      Keep the river rapids like a 5 minute walk before the temple entrance, difficulty 3 Strength + Athletics roll or take 2B dice of damage in the attempt to get across. The temple is sealed, you can open it with a difficulty 3 pick the lock, failure breaks the delicate picks in the hefty lock, or smash it as though it were an iron-shod door.

                      Once inside they find the main hall over grown with plantlife, a difficulty 2 int+survival tells that the blooms and thorns here are a form of deadly nightshade. Anyone scratched by them has to test against hemlock. It's not quite so thick that a roll is needed to get through it, but as the players move into the hallway the doorway becomes darkened with the forms of several greenmaws, who come to devour them. The ground is difficult terrain, and each turn the player can choose to either take a -3 penalty for having to fight while dodging and avoiding the tangle of thorns, or test against hemlock poisoning.

                      Once dealt with nothing else assails the players as they move deeper into the temple. The staircase to the lower level has been destroyed by the overgrowth, leaving an open hole in the floor that would be a Medium fall to drop down, players have to find a way. At the bottom is one last Greenmaw, but an ancient one, with size so Legendary that a small group of panthers rest upon his boughs. He speaks to the players, telling them that a few months ago it became curious about what it thought was an abandoned temple, and in its curiosity to explore it all and exude wood essence it unintentionally, although unapologetically, destroyed it.

                      Change the stats of a greenmaw to give it legendary size, resolve 5, guile 3, 10 dice of social influence, and some appropriate intimacies. If attacked the panthers join in to defend it, use the stats of great cats, and again end the fight when the combat becomes obviously won. It rests against an iron grate behind which the cutlery is stored. It can be convinced to move and give it up if the players don't want to fight, but it will attempt to convince them that it has rights to this place after the humans abandoned it for a year.

                      An Intelligence + Craft(masonry) roll at difficulty 2 reveals that the way the walls have shifted due to the roots this grate is now an integral part of the structure, opening it or pulling it out will result in the temple becoming unstable. It can be opened with a difficulty 2 lockpicking check, or as per a locked portcullis. Once opened the building begins to collapse, grabbing what's needed is a difficulty 4 Wits + Dodge roll, failure leads to grabbing the items but taking 3B dice of damage. The players must then escape the collapsing temple, rolling past another difficulty 2 Dex + Dodge roll with 3B damage on a fail.

                      After which they just have to cross the river again, and make the extended survival roll back to the town in time to get the stuff back. If the players ever waited for an hour to regain motes, take that away from the required terminus.


                      There are no, or very few, liberties taken with what the corebook suggests there, but I still feel confident that most groups would feel some sort of squeeze there.

                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      I find a lot of the inferences I find myself making from your posts frustrating. I'm trying to be charitable about it, but it helps to not call them implications.

                      But if you're telling people they're playing a game wrong... that's getting into gatekeeping territory (esp. when it's a matter of playstyle, not something like massively getting the rules wrong).
                      I said I like when a failure happens in a game that makes me change the plan, or make counter moves, risk resources, whatever. You said "maybe you like that, but other people don't find that fun," maybe you're not one of those people and you also find it fun when there's a lot more back-and-forth in a game. For the people who don't find back-and-forth fun Exalted is, and I do not use this word lightly, objectively not the best system you could be using.

                      Not a bad setting necessarily, I think Exalted probably has the greatest setting in the entire hobby, but the system is about rolling dice for successes, and passing or failing based on the successes you roll. There's even botches which aren't just failure, but epic failure. If you stop having fun when you fail a roll, you will stop having fun playing Ex3 a lot more than other systems on the market.

                      In fact, I received a PM, today even, from another forumite thanking me for mentioning Godsend, because it sounded so intriguing in its ability to actually deliver on a game where the question isn't "if" but "should you".

                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      So... all the more reason we could be discussing actual solutions to systemic problems in the system instead of debating the merits of something that is, at best, a quick patch?

                      Who said, "buff everything by 2-3 difficulty?"

                      It is not helpful that you keep phrasing approaches to changing how difficulty is determined as if it will be done in a slapdash and ill-considered method
                      I don't really have the time to completely overhaul the entire system from the ground up, but I do have time to suggest quick patch. If you could do that and make it work, that would be awesome, and I would have something concrete to direct people to when they come to me with this problem.

                      Which I have had, constantly. I've had people complain that certain builds, or even huge sections of the various charmsets, which look like they're supposed to work, don't, What's actually going on there is the ST is making every single enemy either something on the scale of Alat, or a custom built Solar from the corebook with dozens of charms in a bunch of areas. They're doing it because they don't want to run more than one fight, so they just keep stacking that one fight higher and higher in power until it breaks a lot of game assumptions.

                      I've also had it from the ST side of things, where the ST complains that no one thing they can do will ever make their players slow down. They were making modifications to their QCs to try and make Cathak Cainen able to fight an entire circle of fresh Solars on his own, to use one actual example. I would love it if you did a whole system revamp to fix that problem and let them run their games the way they want, because, again, I'm not gatekeeping, I want them to be able to play Exalted and have fun doing it so they'll stay in the hobby and keep contributing to it and enjoying themselves. They're not having fun playing with what they have, so they need to either change the system they're using, or change the way they're using it.

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                        I don't really have the time to completely overhaul the entire system from the ground up, but I do have time to suggest quick patch. If you could do that and make it work, that would be awesome, and I would have something concrete to direct people to when they come to me with this problem.

                        Which I have had, constantly. I've had people complain that certain builds, or even huge sections of the various charmsets, which look like they're supposed to work, don't, What's actually going on there is the ST is making every single enemy either something on the scale of Alat, or a custom built Solar from the corebook with dozens of charms in a bunch of areas. They're doing it because they don't want to run more than one fight, so they just keep stacking that one fight higher and higher in power until it breaks a lot of game assumptions.

                        I've also had it from the ST side of things, where the ST complains that no one thing they can do will ever make their players slow down. They were making modifications to their QCs to try and make Cathak Cainen able to fight an entire circle of fresh Solars on his own, to use one actual example. I would love it if you did a whole system revamp to fix that problem and let them run their games the way they want, because, again, I'm not gatekeeping, I want them to be able to play Exalted and have fun doing it so they'll stay in the hobby and keep contributing to it and enjoying themselves. They're not having fun playing with what they have, so they need to either change the system they're using, or change the way they're using it.
                        I haven't done one properly, but I have had a much better experience with Solar games since I changed difficulty scales like this :

                        - No bonus dice from Stunts. Stunts lvl 1/2/3 bonus are now 0/1/2 automatic successes, and that's all. This game has way too many dices already.

                        - Most supernatural effects are at 1-3 more difficulty than their counterpart mundane effects, depending on the power of the entities that set said supernatural effects. Travelling a dangerous forest is Difficulty 3, travelling a forest haunted by the ghost of a mad king would be 4-5, travelling the forst haunted by the Ghost of The Mad King, who reigned upon the frightful 1000 Clay Warriors, would be difficulty 5-6.

                        I think it's not compatible with Mortal games, but for Solar games it has been a very good choice for my experience as a ST to design encounters and such.


                        My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                          There are no, or very few, liberties taken with what the corebook suggests there, but I still feel confident that most groups would feel some sort of squeeze there.
                          The squeeze is going to depend a lot on the characters. Knowing the challenges ahead of time, of course, it's easy for me to build a group that can breeze past that. A Survival Supernal, a Presence Supernal (since the elder greenmaw is open to social-fu), and , one decent investment in Larceny and one in Dodge (Supernal not required, so those can be the same PC, or one of the others), and a sorcerer with Cirrus Skiff basically gets past everything with ease except for the "several" standard greenmaw fight. The hemlock is an odd choice since there's no reason to risk exposure (the damage interval is outside of combat time, but the penalty is a big -4, so take the -3 instead seems obvious) unless you have a Charm that ignores/negate poison; curare might be weaker but it offers a better temptation to risk it even if you don't have something to ignore poison.

                          Of course, I can also build a group that would get trounced by that. The biggest question is really whether or not someone takes enough Survival for what amounts to only getting 4 rolls on the extended check since that's a make or break action for the group.

                          For the people who don't find back-and-forth fun Exalted is, and I do not use this word lightly, objectively not the best system you could be using.
                          I still find it odd that we're in a thread talking about how easy it is for Solars not to fail, and you're saying that players that don't like a lot of "back and forth" in terms of successes and failures are picking the wrong system. How can the game be simultaneously in need of a reduction in the PCs' ability to bulldoze through things for a significant number of playstyles, and the RAW be bad for people that like how easily the PCs can bulldoze through things?

                          If you stop having fun when you fail a roll,...
                          I never actually said this, so it just feels like pointless hyperbole. I said that there are players that don't find failure fun, not that it ruins the game for them when it happens, not that they flip the table over an unlucky roll, just that they don't enjoy the more "fail forward" approach of failures being just as much fun as successes. So they like the RAW because, well, it makes failing rare.

                          A lot of people have been in games where failing frequently brings the game to a stop. The PCs missed a vital plot point, or failed their checks to figure out the next step. Etc. While that's more a GM problem than a game system problem (though lots of games aren't great about helping avoid it), it's a formative experience for plenty of people that makes them failure-averse in RPGs.

                          In fact, I received a PM, today even, from another forumite thanking me for mentioning Godsend, because it sounded so intriguing in its ability to actually deliver on a game where the question isn't "if" but "should you".
                          So making me feel like shit worked out well for you emotionally, and you felt the need to share. Thanks?

                          I don't really have the time to completely overhaul the entire system from the ground up, but I do have time to suggest quick patch.
                          OK. We're on what.. day 5 of this thread? The two of us have typed up at least half of the content in it? You have time for all this back and forth that frankly I'm not even sure where you're trying to go with it... but you don't have time for more constructive discussions? That feels kind of a weird claim.

                          If you could do that and make it work, that would be awesome, and I would have something concrete to direct people to when they come to me with this problem.
                          I don't generally bother posting my fully worked up house rules on here any more (not an Exalted forum specific thing). For various reasons I'm not the type to have a link in my sig to all the house rules I've come up with that I'm then going to curate.

                          If people want to brainstorm and theory craft stuff with me in a thread like this... it tends to be more productive for me in terms of getting something useful out to the community.

                          I'm also not really of the mind to right my own version of Essence since that's already being done officially. I'm not a dev or writer, I'm not getting paid for any of this. I have my own stuff outside of all this to be dealing with too.

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                          • #88
                            I feel some of the stuff here is getting a bit personnal and maybe everyone should try to remind that everyone else participating on this thread is making its best to find an interpretation of Exalted that suits him the most, because usually people are civil and respectful around here, so I don't think there is anyone participating in bad faith.


                            My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

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                            • #89
                              The threadcrapping is strong here and I'm inclined to shut down the thread. Anyone want to give me a reason not to?


                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                              • #90
                                If work shopping some of the alternate suggestions to just eliminating Excellencies (nerfing them, adjusting the Difficulty scale, adjusting the relationship between in-game time and narrative time) doesn't count as threadcrapping, I think there's lots of good discussion to be had in that area. I know I'll need to stop my fingers on a number of topics I've going on about, but I can do my best to limit myself.

                                If you'd rather see those moved to a different thread? Nah, I got nothing.

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