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Orichalcum: The Orphan Magical Material

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  • #16
    Originally posted by pcontop View Post
    Four of the five magical materials are the better material for a kind of exalted or supernatural being.

    Jade is for the DBs
    Moonsilver is for the Lunars
    Starmetal is for the Sidereals
    Soulsteel is for the ghosts, and later for the abyssals.

    Orichalcum is the odd man out. Solars can resonate with this magic material, but it has no intrinsic advantages for them.
    No magical material gives an intrinsic advantage to any exalt other than resonance. Solars are resonant with orichalcum.
    Originally posted by pcontop View Post

    I propose that each type of exalted will prefer much more to use the magical materials they are resonant with, to create their artifacts - it makes no sense to create for them artifacts that are not handicapped. The magical materials are, mostly, large enough to accept most, if not all, themes. So, lunars will mostly create moonsilver artifacts, terrestrial jade ones, and so on.

    So, given the rarity of orichalcum, and the existence of other magical materials that are much more abundant (jade and soulsteel), it'd make sense that the solars created most of their artifacts not of orichalcum, but from the other magical materials. Yet the setting associates solars with orichalcum.
    I feel it's counterproductive to restrict artifact creation when you already have the stimulus of resonance to make artifacts you want to use in the first place. I'd rather not dwell on that idea.
    Originally posted by pcontop View Post
    For what practical reason would the solars care more for making and using orichalcum artifacts?
    Orichalcum has a certain "in your faceness" pressure that the other materials can only pretend to have. You want to leash demons, beat people with the power of friendship and revert a river's course? Orichalcum lets you.


    Check my Exalted homebrew!

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    • #17
      I think it's easy enough to make an argument that, say, Black Wind couldn't be made out of anything other than soulsteel, just as a response to the idea that the magical materials are broad enough to be practically interchangeable. I can agree that most of the as-yet published orichalcum Artifacts don't quite have that vividly distinct quality.

      One thing I think is worth looking at is not just the straightforward summaries of what the Artifact evokes, but the process and personality in how it gets there. Things like when they have the unique traits to pay for Evocation activations and the like.


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

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      • #18
        I will point out that the core mentions that Orichalcum resonated with the charms of solars more than the other metals. Basically all artifacts resonated with Solars, but Orichalcum was the one that Solars felt did the best at amplifying their own abilities. Add in the ability to harness, amplify, and hone other magics I wouldn't be surprised if, baring mixed component artifacts, Orihalcum was used by Solars because they felt it had the best potential to be usable in whatever ways they felt they wanted or needed.

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        • #19
          The thing is, deathlords aside, ghosts aren't resonant with soulsteel. They're not powerful enough.

          So in the first age, soulsteel had as much basis for being the "solar material" as orichalcum did, if you go by resonance alone. But it wasn't. Why is this? Because that's not all there is to it.

          Orichalcum is the metal of the Sun. It is associated not just with them, but with their divine patron. That means that it is absolutely the solar's true favoured material, despite the fact that they can use the rest with equal aptitude. And they know this. So Orichalcum becomes a badge of office, a way to tell the world "I am a solar exalted" without having to flare their caste mark all the time.

          It had social weight, beyond any mechanical advantages that honestly, the characters can't see nearly as well as we can.

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          • #20
            This doesn’t seem to be remembered often but Vance has been pretty clear when discussing artifact design that not all Evocations are created equal. The differences are smaller than anywhere else but some mind is still paid to which kinds of Exalted will have access to an artifact’s full power, with the consequence that orichalcum is the strongest magical material and jade the weakest except where native Charm prerequisites sneak in and redraw the lines.

            Before you ask the opposite question (“Why do Solars ever NOT use orichalcum then?”) the answer is because versatility is its own kind of strength so it’s okay to pay a price in raw power for an artifact that does things you entirely wouldn’t be able to do without it.

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            • #21
              That can come into play even with other exalts. Why use an artifact you're not resonant with? Because it allows you to do something far outside your wheelhouse.

              The whole reason solars are resonant with everything is to avoid making them overly one note. Resonant evocations usually come out roughly solar tier. That's a big boost to most exalts, but it also serves to avoid making other materials a downgrade for solars. So yeah, you can say that resonant orichalcum is a little more pushed, but it's also worth bearing in mind that the boost isn't going to be as big as other exalted get from using their own material.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                That can come into play even with other exalts. Why use an artifact you're not resonant with? Because it allows you to do something far outside your wheelhouse.
                Besides, with the way that the world is set up, if an Artifact made of your non-Resonant material just happens to come into your possession by way of being what turns out to be in the depths of a tomb or something offered in payment, what are you gonna do, not use it? Are you spoiled for choice?

                That wouldn't be the driving reason behind a Solar using orichalcum, and it's not even a concern for their Artifact assignment, but it's worth considering in setting and character.


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

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
                  I will point out that the core mentions that Orichalcum resonated with the charms of solars more than the other metals. Basically all artifacts resonated with Solars, but Orichalcum was the one that Solars felt did the best at amplifying their own abilities. Add in the ability to harness, amplify, and hone other magics I wouldn't be surprised if, baring mixed component artifacts, Orihalcum was used by Solars because they felt it had the best potential to be usable in whatever ways they felt they wanted or needed.
                  Nice in theory, but this is nowhere defined in the rules as they are. There is no intrinsic benefit to Orichalcum. This fluff was probably before they decided to make solars resonant with everything, as from what I heard it was a late-stage decision.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Synapse View Post
                    No magical material gives an intrinsic advantage to any exalt other than resonance. Solars are resonant with orichalcum.I feel it's counterproductive to restrict artifact creation when you already have the stimulus of resonance to make artifacts you want to use in the first place. I'd rather not dwell on that idea.
                    Yes, solars are resonant with orichalcum AND every other magic material. There is no particular reason for them to take on the MM as their own. And as such, orichalcum artifacts are bound to be rare, even on solar tombs.

                    Originally posted by Synapse View Post
                    Orichalcum has a certain "in your faceness" pressure that the other materials can only pretend to have. You want to leash demons, beat people with the power of friendship and revert a river's course? Orichalcum lets you.
                    Well, I don't know if you want to make it just one artifact of all of that (that's tonally messy). You could use orichalcum, but you also could use:
                    - Leash Monstruosities: White Jade (Gorgon), Moonsilver (Karvara).
                    - Beat people with the power of friendship: Red Jade (Heartsong).
                    - Revert a River's Course: Black Jade, White Jade, Starmetal, Moonsilver.

                    And I would say that the Base Wonder that is going to be used on the artifact has much more to say than the MM choice. With an artifact containing a Celestial Wind God, I could use any MM and have a powerful weather-controlling daiklave, changing only minor details, if anything.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by pcontop View Post
                      Well, I don't know if you want to make it just one artifact of all of that (that's tonally messy). You could use orichalcum, but you also could use:
                      - Leash Monstruosities: White Jade (Gorgon), Moonsilver (Karvara).
                      - Beat people with the power of friendship: Red Jade (Heartsong).
                      - Revert a River's Course: Black Jade, White Jade, Starmetal, Moonsilver.

                      And I would say that the Base Wonder that is going to be used on the artifact has much more to say than the MM choice. With an artifact containing a Celestial Wind God, I could use any MM and have a powerful weather-controlling daiklave, changing only minor details, if anything.
                      This "orphans" the other materials just as much. Griping over this is just about perspective.


                      Check my Exalted homebrew!

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by pcontop View Post

                        Yes, solars are resonant with orichalcum AND every other magic material. There is no particular reason for them to take on the MM as their own. And as such, orichalcum artifacts are bound to be rare, even on solar tombs.
                        Well, if you want orichalcum to be rare in your games, you are more than welcome to do so.

                        But your complaint doesn't really work unless you assume that every saga has the same expectations on magical material rarity.

                        Orichalcum, like all the magical materials, has associations that allow you to make specific artifacts that express its unique properties. Saying it needs a specical buff just because solars need to use it isnt nessicary. They'll make and obtain artifacts made of it if they need its themes- and thats fine.

                        Its associated with them because it has sun themes, and it can be useful to them because it augments their own power and thematics- but saying it needs a special benny just to get people to use it is the kind of logical that leads to deviation from a very specific game vision being punished for no real reason.

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                        • #27
                          OK so... I'm still not really seeing what the actual issue here is beyond a certain level of aesthetics.

                          That said, would the following be a functional house rule?

                          Evocations can't (not just as a guideline, just flat can't) build on native Charms unless the MM matches the character's association.

                          So, Solars use Orichalcum as a default because it's the only MM that can incorporate, expand, or boost Solar Charms. That alone it plenty reason to favor your "native" MM over others unless you have a strong thematic reason to make one out of something else, but doesn't get into mucking things up by trying to make Orichalcum flat out better than the rest mechanically.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by pcontop View Post
                            There is no intrinsic benefit to Orichalcum. This fluff was probably before they decided to make solars resonant with everything, as from what I heard it was a late-stage decision.
                            Arms of the Chosen says, "Orichalum channels Essence and sorcerous energies better than any other magical material."

                            I think something to consider, too, might be Evocations and the nature any given Exalt might pull from an artifact. Evocations are dependent on the user of the artifact, and a Dragon-blooded will have different ones from an orichalum artifact than a Solar, let alone the latter's resonance with it.

                            Also, in the First Age orichalum was certainly more abundant than in the Age of Sorrows, hence any historicity with Solars.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by pcontop View Post
                              Nice in theory, but this is nowhere defined in the rules as they are.
                              It is. If you skim through Arms the orichalcum artifacts have the most Evocations on average that build on Solar Charms.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by pcontop View Post

                                Nice in theory, but this is nowhere defined in the rules as they are.
                                Not having a strict mechanic representation for it does not mean the effect does not exist. Just as the case of some MMs being better (or even required) for artifacts with specific thematics is not something that is clearly defined in a strict mechanical way, but is still there, and should not be ignored.

                                Basically, you are ignoring large parts of worldsetting because they are "fluff" and not "mechanics", in an argument that revolves around worldsetting, not mechanics.

                                You may think that people playing Solars may not have any special reason to prefer Orichalcum over other magical metals, because it does not offer any numerical benefits, but this is not the same as claiming that Solars themselves, in-world, have no reason to do so. They do - you just ignore those reasons because they are not presented as easily understandable numbers.



                                The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.

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