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My Problem With Chargen

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  • #46
    I'm pretty sure Sandact6 was intending the MtG R&D label of Timmy. Though Timmies aren't inherently casuals, or focused on doing unexpected things (unexpected things are more a Johnny focus). Timmies are actually the core of what Exalted is aiming for here: players that want to do big cool things with their characters.

    I'd wager the vast majority of people that say, "I love Exalted's setting but the system is just too much," are Timmies, or Timmy including hybrids. Of the three MtG profiles, Timmy is the least concerned with mechanics and most concerned with style. A Timmy wants to do cool epic shit,not get bogged down in numbers, and as such Exalted as generally been a frustrating thing, because theyneed to master a lot of the numbers stuff before they can actually pull off the cool epic shit that they wanted. Selling a Timmy that's bounced off of Exalted on something like Godbound is probably not a hard sell.

    To an extent how much Exalted can do at start is a Timmy appeal. Most Timmy concerns aren't the things we've been talking about in this thread. Having a giant pile of dots that lets you smash through Creation is awesome. The QCs are also a Timmy focused appeal. A Timmy doesn't care that they're no match for a Solar with minimal combat investment by Solar standards, because they exist to have fun beating up with all these cool Charms.

    The problem is that the rest of the game mechanics are very much a Johnny/Spike hybrid focused design. It rewards a Johnny's clever ability to find effective builds out of what seems like a disparate set of parts, and a Spike's ruthless system mastery. The generosity of char-gen frustrates Johnnies because a clever build that does some neat trick is still only using a fraction of your pile of points, and a lot of other players will just accident their way into similar things; its hard to feel special because you came up with a great way to stack X, Y and Z that lets you perform on par with "basic" builds despite being off-the-wall in concept. A lot of Johnny players probably don't like Exalted's approach to MA for just prepackaging the stuff they'd want to figure out how to do. That same generosity frustrates Spikes because, well, this thread. When you can drop a 1/10th of your starting resources into beating 99% of the baddies in the game, there's no challenge that was worth all that system mastery. It feels like all that time that goes into crafting the perfect Solar swordsman that can slay armies with a single draw of the blade was wasted when Solar farm boy can just toss a boulder at them and they go squish.

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    • #47
      That being the case, could Exalted just cater to Timmy by saying "Okay, that big cool thing you want to do, slaying armies with a single sword draw, that's the Dawn thing. Asking why you can't do that as the Eclipse is like asking why your fighter in DnD can't cast meteor swarm. On the other hand what your Eclipse can do is sail through a hurricane in the pitch black of night, bouncing off waves, with nothing to light your way except the occasional flash of rain-diffused lightning, and perfectly bring it to safe harbour as though it was a calm breezy sunny day."

      I'm not saying it does that now, I know it doesn't to that now, I'm saying hypothetically if things changed, could that work?

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      • #48
        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
        The game doesn't tell you to do that.

        The game tells you, explicitly, that Melee 4 is appropriate for a "properly terrifying Exalted assassin".
        It also tells you "Otso wants his character to be good at sneaking around and killing people, as well as competent in a straight-up fight".
        Not "Otso wants his character to blend every non exalt oponent", not "Otso wants his character to trivialise combat under most circumstances", just "competent in a straight-up fight". Raising Melee to 3 is literally an afterthought as it walks you through things.

        ~6 combat charms are portrayed as mearly a sensible investment in a secondary focus. Only upon moving from dex 4 melee 3 to dex 5 melee 4 via bonus points does it imply that anything exceptional is going on.

        I don't own Tomb of Dreams, but my undestanding is that they don't actually represent fully completed starting characters,

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        • #49
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

          Right I'm with you there, you'll never stop that 5% of the playerbase from doing crazy optimized stuff. The things is, I don't really see taking 5 melee as crazily optimized stuff. Like if my issue was that every player was grabbing sorcery for Invulerable Skin of Bronze as a control, cast it every night before they regain willpower, then use a hearthstone that grants them additional willpower regen overnight to let them also cast Virtuous Guardian of Flame, and stack THAT with Mela's Coil, or equivalent armor which comes bundled with a daiklave, and then use the motes they saved on not attuning to a weapon to grab a belt of Shadow Walking and...yeah I'm not balancing for that.
          This is the point where you’re dealing with minmaxers rather than optimizers. The kind of people who also dip into Larceny purely to get that dice manipulation charm rather than a character choice. You don’t need to balance for that. If a player is making such extreme boosting methods then I’m going to have a talk with them. It’s the same idea of the 10 resting parry defense build I found out a while back. It was interesting to see how it was used, but I’d never use it really makes the ST’s life a living hell.

          Now, I will say it is a different kettle of fish if every player is doing the same sort of extreme minmaxing and you agree to run with it. That’s how you get Jon Chung games where you sneak attack people with Warstrider daiklaves because nothing else would realistically work on them. Some people like that sort of game. I have absolutely no interest in running a game, and I won’t be shy to tell the players that. I won’t say what these people are doing is wrong, if they’re all having a good time then that’s their business. But if that one extreme player sample is harming everyone else’s enjoyment, then yea that talk needs to be had.


          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          This isn't that though, this is just popping 10% of your dots into combat related traits and that's it. Bringing it to an MMO, this would be like if there was a talent point you could spend to give yourself dual and triple classes. So now your mainline healer is also a full on tank, and a full on DPS. When all your dungeons are balanced around the idea that if the tank loses aggro and the boss starts hammering the healer it's a bad time, that's not a mechanic that's going to work when the healer just also takes hits like a tank.
          This is an issue with all classless systems, it ain’t just unique to Exalted.

          But I find this only happens in the extreme late game. Like the “We’re 400 XP in, time to buy some things for shits and giggles” territory. An example I can think of was from one of my Solar games. Before the final battle all PC’s were Essence 5 and all of them had some fairly decent combat investment. The Twilight Righteous Devil + smattering of Brawl made him incredibly lethal at most distances, the Eclipse had both Nightengale + Melee but focused more on defense and support, and the Zenith had an Emperor Sloth that I had basically given up trying to balance combats with. But the Dawn, oh my jesus the Dawn. The Archery Supernal Dawn could shit out such a degree of damage on the field that was just absurd. I often needed to have battles with 13 opponents because he’d destroy anything less than that.

          The thing is none of these PC’s were slouches. All of them had essence 5 and were very damn effective in combat, but there was still a league of difference between them and the Dawn, even at Essence 5 when Supernal doesn’t matter anymore. The other PC’s had their specialties outside of combat and were way better in those, but they didn’t lag behind.

          If this is still an issue, then really the only advice I have is to stay within character. In classless games self-imposed limits are the name of the game. I often believe you’re not supposed to play as Killfuck Soulshitter the murderhobo Abyssal, but rather a character that appeals to you. Yes, RAW there’s absolutely no reason not to learn sorcery because it’s so good. But there good be some interesting character reasons they may not want to do it or OOC the player wants to see what they can do without it.


          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          Yeah, but just because they're not mechanically super deep and complex, why does that mean they can't be mechanically strong? If the Eclipse diplomat goes alone to speak with the king, and gets ambushed by those five, sure all they have is gambits and weapon tags to make their combat deep and involved, but as a ST I almost want them to be simple because I'm running five of them at once anyway, so it actually kind of works out. What doesn't work out is the five of them ganging up on the diplomat caste results in them being hopelessly outclassed because their attack pools are barely larger than the defense of their target.
          Because as I said, they don’t excite me in the slightest. They may be able to do some things regarding weapon tags and granularity, but when I can give the same weapons to a blood ape and they’ll pull it off better then that’s not a good sign. The only exception is the Smash tag, which is widely regarded as a tad overpowered for a reason. They fail to excite me at all as under the hood they’re just the same pile of numbers, slightly tweaked between each of them.

          This doesn’t matter if the Eclipse has 5/5’s in melee or has lower pools whenever by force or choice. It’s the same thing, they bore me because there’s essentially no difference under the hood. They may be unique people, but if I put them into faceless guard uniforms, switch a piercing weapon with another’s smashing weapon, and not notice a difference between them? That’s not a good sign.



          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          Agreed, but it's taking that option out of my toolbox. I can definitely run a fight with Pestletails where they do nothing the whole fight but use their action to Feat of Demolition a house, and it's all about killing them before they level the town. If you look at something like the death moa, it's not built to be that. Its merits are when it makes a decisive attack it can add overflow successes to damage, when it attacks or rushes a crashed enemy it adds two auto-successes to the roll, it can attack and clinch at Short range. It's an antagonist designed to be brawled with, to use it in any other way leaves all that behind and forces me to invent new things.

          I could also buff them, say that they're special mutant death moa with 12 attack dice and 18 damage pecks. Then the hobgoblins they face are formed from the nightmares of war veterans, making them more skilled in combat, also giving them a buff.

          Now though the guy who took Dex 5 and Melee 5 on his Twilight is noticing something. He's supposedly the best swordsman in the direction, and with Solar might boosting that, but he's not much more powerful than the mega-birds and hobgoblins he's been facing. He doesn't feel like he's the greatest solar swordsman in the direction. I've boosted the antagonists up to his level, so that he feels like he's a melee 2-3 Solar compared to everything else in the world. There are theoretically non-mutant death moa that exist that he'd trounce, but we never see them.
          There’s a limit to boosting. If enemies have 5/5 in stats, I don’t blink. If a player is upset by that, I tell him the book rankings are mortal standards and point out what I’ve said before (You start the best and get better from there).
          But no, I don’t think a player should feel like that. Your beginning charms are no more or less useful at Essence 5 than they were at Essence 1. I’m fine with things being boosted to that extent, but there is still a limit. If your NPC’s have +5 more dice than the Solar and something like +5 defense over the original, then yea I’m going to ask question. If this is a battle we’re supposed to win and not run away from, I’m going to ask the ST do they know the significance of boosting enemies, and probably a talk of why it’s a bad idea to put Solar charms on such opponents to save time (I’ve seen a lot of ST’s fall into this trap).

          But if such enemies are boosted to within an area I’d call a fair challenge? I’d be happy, it seems like the enemy learned a thing or two and decided to finally send something worth the time to deal with. The tension I feel increases as it feels the stakes have now risen higher. Hell, maybe now the Dawn would be actually forced to unsheathe their katana.


          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          Worth pointing out here, in DMC the auto combat system is not the default. In DMC 1 you actually have to unlock it by sucking enough first even. Exalted is a system with a melee charm tree 48 charms large, and that's not counting how charms interact with evocations, martial arts, weapon stats, the huge list of combat actions. I think it's a lot more like DMC where it's assumed the player will be doing manual mode, and if you can't...well Exalted Essence is a thing.
          Yea, and learning the interactions between charms is what I feel is a soft push to learn about the system to achieve more system mastery. The idea is that even a Timmy should be able to learn some basic combos to greatly expand their portfolio.



          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          Either way though, taking melee 5 isn't the Timmy setting for the game. It's not like players need a boost to keep relevant, so you enable non-dawn casts to access the make-my-character-immune-to-90%-of-enemies option. It's more like the Dark Souls option to start as a depraved. Do you want to have weapons and armor, or do you want to hamstring yourself by starting with nothing?

          So yeah, no wonder nobody's opting to hamstring themselves...but then the enemies are written like 4/5ths of the party decided to start as depraved. It's not even a player skill thing, there's no skill in having a defense of 7 against an attacker's 6 die pool. It's not like they're using ultimate system mastery to combo three different charms and backflip through the combat mechanics to ultimate glory, they just sit there untouchable because the dice don't line up.
          Yes, I consider it completely normal for people to become immune to like 90% of things. Exalted sells you on being big damn heroes and that helps sell it. Likewise there will be a time where the world adjusts to you and starts sending out other 5/5’s to deal with you. I don’t consider Chungarian Exalted where a Wyld Hunt speeds towards your location with noclip the instant you Exalt, but as I said before: Power attracts power. When you become a bigger fish, the other big fish will take notice. It reminds me of a sidebar from Scion 1e, the stronger you become the more wrapped up in dangerous events you become. It’s not some secret mastermind planning everything out, it’s just that your narrative weight is causing it to happen alone.

          Again, if a player has a 6 dice pool where everyone else has 10-11, I’ll be having that talk with them about what expectations they may have. No amount of system mastery is going to get past raw math (and it’s extremely unlikely they’ll have un-x-ables either). When a game gets rolling I’d like to have some tension with my enemies, otherwise I feel empty like Saitama from One Punch Man, in that battles bore me to tears because no one else is remotely close to me. I don’t mind this at the start, as quite often I’m learning my own character both mechanically and fluffwise, but when it gets going then yea I’d like to be challenged a bit.


          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          For sure, for sure, but why does Holmes have to have Melee 5 at chargen? He should be amazing at his investigation stuff, but maybe when an elemental monster the size of a giant sequoia tree slams down its bite attack Holmes doesn't need to deftly parry the thing away with his blade with 97% reliability.
          “My first age incarnation was a peerless swordmaster, and I inherited some sort of instinctual memories from that” is a trope in the game that worked well. But outside of that no, a player should only take as much of a skill as they feel it’s appropriate for their character to have.

          The only issue I have is if the Holmes thinks he’s actually going to challenge that tree thing if it has a 75% chance or more to hit him and has a 23% chance to hit the Dawn. If the player is annoyed by this, I would’ve simply said I warned him earlier on. If he wants to keep up against things that threaten the Dawn, then you’re going to need to decide whenever you want to buy more Melee or Attribute.



          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          Again, the Dawn swordsman does that, yes, absolutely yes. Why does the Twilight investigator do that? Why does the Dynast who sent a swarm of horse sized demon-wasps to Hurcule Poirot's house get them sent pack to him in pieces with a note saying "btw, I'm the greatest detective this plane of existence has seen for three millennia...also I'm badass enough that a swarm of giant demonic asshole bees don't phase me."
          Because the player would want that to happen. Why would there be another reason? It’s up to the player if he wants to chop the wasps to pieces or use his super investigation to learn of this attack weeks in advance and leave a note for the summoner, one that says “By the way, by the time you read this message I’m already at your hidden sorcerer’s keep. I’ve also brought one of the old friends you betrayed, one who stands a very good chance of kicking your ass, and he’s dying to meet you.” In this case, the Dawn handles punching the sorcerer out, and the Holmes character is happy because he didn’t need to fight all those demon wasps, he out fucking skilled his opponent.

          That is how the player styled on his enemy. It’s in a different way than raw combat, but it’s no less of a path than winning with style.



          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          Well part of that is I think the cool shit for the investigator should be in Investigation and Awareness and stuff. Okay so they only get Excellent Strike, Fire and Stones Strike, One Weapon Two Blows, Peony Blossom Attack, Dipping Swallow Defense, Bulwark Stance, Call the Blade, Summon the Loyal Steel, Nimble Reaving Wind, Arc Shedding Rain Technique, Hail Shattering Practice, and any evocations they meet the Essence prerequisites for.

          They're the detective, their awesome cool shit abilities are Mind Manse Palace and Truth Rendering Attitude, and Ten Magistrate Eyes. I would say that eleven melee charms, plus any evocations they want to get from their weapon, if they want an artifact weapon, could be enough for the detective character to have fun with. He's not the melee supernal Dawn.

          The upshot of this, is that if they enter combat along side the Dawn, I can just use pretty well straight book antagonists, because even though they'll plink off the Dawn, the Twilight will actually engage with them. They might even get to the point where the Dawn feels he's really needed for his skill which is leaps and bounds better than the detective. Which makes up for the Dawn sitting there with his Investigation 0 watching the Twilight piece together the entire crime based off one scrap of cloth.
          Unless you’re using very powerful opponents, the Twilight will easily keep up with the Dawn. They won’t be able to kill an enemy ten times over, but killing a enemy three times over is more than enough. The difference here is that when nasty endgame tier enemies start appearing (AKA: Deathlord or 3CD level) then the Twilight is still able to keep up. He may not do as much in combat immediately as the Dawn, but he won’t be a liability either. There may be times where the Investigation 0 Dawn may need to sit on the side for the investigation procedure, but as long as it doesn’t hog too much time and the Dawn player is aware of it then I see no foul. In my Lunar game for example my Lunar is both a sage and a martial artist full moon. There are times where the sneaky Lunar and the Social Lunar play their stealth or social game. My Lunar is terrible at these two things, but I was well aware of these people were doing at the start. I likewise find my niche when my character wants to be a teacher (I have enough social to at least deal with some mortals) and combat.


          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

          I believe it’s the idea that somebody might be playing a character that has difficulty remembering all the moving parts of the system, charms especially, like they might have to look up excellent strike every time and half the time they forget they have excellent strike. Designing for Timmy is designing the badass monsters of the setting to be easily trounceable by somebody who may forget that excellencies are a thing.
          Essentially, also what Heavyarms said. Timmy’s do what seems cool, and they may not realize that a Dex 2 Melee 4 character isn’t going to be the “Cool sword dude” they thought it was in their head.

          Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
          Oh not the players. I have to prod my players into remembering what's on their sheets. I think "Timmy" is a bit degrogatory but I played a two year Pathfinder campaign with someone who asked every combat what they added to their d20 roll to hit. The players exist, no doubt.

          I meant game design.

          Why would you design adversaries for game as complicated as Exalted for players who can't play Exalted?

          That doesn't make sense. It's dumb.

          "We made zombie wounds difficulty 5 to avoid infection, assuming that your players will forget that they're immune to infected wounds and that you'll forget that the zombies have this ability."

          That's dumb.

          Like, that's the worst choice that Holden and Morke ever made (and it's flabberghasting that Vance and Minton have taken it forward)... or the game isn't designed on the assumption that you'll take fifteen Melee Charms but never use them because you don't remember what they do.

          Because such players make up the vast majority of your customer base. We may be the diehard fans that help keep it alive, but the majority of the hauling is done by timmies. If you wonder why look back to my DFO example. There’s little point in making things only 5% of the playerbase are going to realistically handle, but they make enemies who are capable of appealing to both time to time. Look at Viator of Nullspace for example. An extremely strong opponent designed to take on an enemy party. It has lethal charms that are an issue for all types of players. However, Viator may also have whatever other spirit charms you want it to have, meaning it can be at the base presented or tailored to handle the 5%.

          It is not just Exalted that does this. Every game does this.


          Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
          Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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          • #50
            I'm not going to reply to a good chunk of what's already been said and instead chime in with something I think is part of the problem that no-one has really touched on from what I see here. One of the big problems with 3E as far as something that allows a PC to be good at just about everything is that unless you're actively trying not to, chances are you are going to start with 10 excellencies at least. This gives you the ability to brute force 40% of the abilities in the game, giving you a solid amount of competency over just about everything you could want. The example in the original post of every PC rolling like 4+ on Awareness is a good example of this- with only 1 dot in Favored Awareness and at least 3 Perception you can throw 8 dice at Awareness rolls even though your character is an absolute amateur by the standards set by the game.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              This is the point where you’re dealing with minmaxers rather than optimizers. The kind of people who also dip into Larceny purely to get that dice manipulation charm rather than a character choice. You don’t need to balance for that. If a player is making such extreme boosting methods then I’m going to have a talk with them. It’s the same idea of the 10 resting parry defense build I found out a while back. It was interesting to see how it was used, but I’d never use it really makes the ST’s life a living hell.

              If this is still an issue, then really the only advice I have is to stay within character. In classless games self-imposed limits are the name of the game. I often believe you’re not supposed to play as Killfuck Soulshitter the murderhobo Abyssal, but rather a character that appeals to you. Yes, RAW there’s absolutely no reason not to learn sorcery because it’s so good. But there good be some interesting character reasons they may not want to do it or OOC the player wants to see what they can do without it.
              I don't think this is an inevitable result of a classless system. The example I gave back in the thread:

              ability 1: 3 total xp cost
              ability 2: 7 total xp cost
              ability 3: 13 total xp cost
              ability 4: 21 total xp cost
              ability 5: 31 total xp cost

              Say you get 70xp to spread among them, you could have 5 melee, 5 occult, and 2 awareness, but thems your only abilities, everything else is zero, no integrity, no resistance, no athletics. Meaning no charms in any of those abilities, not even the excellency. It's technically possible to do, but you're discouraged so hard by giving up so much that I don't imagine it would be nearly the same problem. You'd still have a Dawn with 5 melee for sure, but the Twilight would have to think pretty hard if he also wants 5 melee, or maybe a few dots sprinkled around lore and resistance and the like.

              You could go even lower, say a 50xp starting ability budget, then you literally can't do it, but it's still a classless system, and it absolutely does not have the problem where everyone is a legendary fighter in addition to everything else they are.

              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              Because as I said, they don’t excite me in the slightest. They may be able to do some things regarding weapon tags and granularity, but when I can give the same weapons to a blood ape and they’ll pull it off better then that’s not a good sign. The only exception is the Smash tag, which is widely regarded as a tad overpowered for a reason. They fail to excite me at all as under the hood they’re just the same pile of numbers, slightly tweaked between each of them.

              This doesn’t matter if the Eclipse has 5/5’s in melee or has lower pools whenever by force or choice. It’s the same thing, they bore me because there’s essentially no difference under the hood. They may be unique people, but if I put them into faceless guard uniforms, switch a piercing weapon with another’s smashing weapon, and not notice a difference between them? That’s not a good sign.
              Right, that's why you personally find them boring to use in play. Why is it that they should be mechanically incapable of threatening the Eclipse? Let's assume they had huge mechanical depth, like deeper than any edition of DnD by a half. Why can they not have numbers capable of threatening a non-combat focused character?

              You might say that having 5 melee means he is a combat focused character, but when it's 10% of just his starting chargen resources, how is that a focus?


              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              There’s a limit to boosting. If enemies have 5/5 in stats, I don’t blink. If a player is upset by that, I tell him the book rankings are mortal standards and point out what I’ve said before (You start the best and get better from there).
              But no, I don’t think a player should feel like that. Your beginning charms are no more or less useful at Essence 5 than they were at Essence 1. I’m fine with things being boosted to that extent, but there is still a limit. If your NPC’s have +5 more dice than the Solar and something like +5 defense over the original, then yea I’m going to ask question. If this is a battle we’re supposed to win and not run away from, I’m going to ask the ST do they know the significance of boosting enemies, and probably a talk of why it’s a bad idea to put Solar charms on such opponents to save time (I’ve seen a lot of ST’s fall into this trap).

              But if such enemies are boosted to within an area I’d call a fair challenge? I’d be happy, it seems like the enemy learned a thing or two and decided to finally send something worth the time to deal with. The tension I feel increases as it feels the stakes have now risen higher. Hell, maybe now the Dawn would be actually forced to unsheathe their katana.
              Okay, but the book tells me that those statlines are the statlines of directional wargods and lords of the greatest empires in Hell. Those foes are the top end of some of the things that exist in the setting. I don't want to play a game in a setting where huge published parts of it are automatically worthless to any story I'm going to tell or game I'm going to play. Nobody is publishing Godbound books with 200 pages of various statted up peasant militia antagonists.

              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              Yea, and learning the interactions between charms is what I feel is a soft push to learn about the system to achieve more system mastery. The idea is that even a Timmy should be able to learn some basic combos to greatly expand their portfolio.
              I agree. I also don't want to gatekeep but I do think that there's a certain point that if you're not that mechanically savvy maybe you could just wait around for Exalted Essence to see if that's more your style. Not everything needs to be accessible to everyone.

              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              Yes, I consider it completely normal for people to become immune to like 90% of things.
              But you're not just immune to 90% of things. You're immune to 99.999999% of things. You're immune to 90% of the published antagonists. In DnD once you get to level 10 you're easily immune to 99% of the things in most DnD worlds. There's millions of peasants and animals who live there that you would cut down like wheat. If the Exalted are immune to 99.99999% of the creatures in Creation, which they probably are, publish antagonists consisting of the 0.00001% which are not that. Also don't let players accidentally take 2 melee, because your game isn't designed that way.

              The 100+ enemies in the books there to just say "Look at this badass thing, well it's worthless compared to you. Look at this badass thing, well it's worthless compared to you"

              Again here, it's not because that way even very unskilled players can participate. An enemy with a 5-7 die pool just hits a wall when trying to attack somebody with a 7 Parry, even if they totally forget that excellencies are a thing.

              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              “My first age incarnation was a peerless swordmaster, and I inherited some sort of instinctual memories from that” is a trope in the game that worked well. But outside of that no, a player should only take as much of a skill as they feel it’s appropriate for their character to have.

              The only issue I have is if the Holmes thinks he’s actually going to challenge that tree thing if it has a 75% chance or more to hit him and has a 23% chance to hit the Dawn. If the player is annoyed by this, I would’ve simply said I warned him earlier on. If he wants to keep up against things that threaten the Dawn, then you’re going to need to decide whenever you want to buy more Melee or Attribute.
              I would say that not keeping up with the Dawn in combat is a feature of being a Dawn. You're not supposed to keep up with the Dawn in combat, if you want to do that be a Dawn. You can absolutely contribute with just 3 dex and 3 melee and the charms that 3 melee gives you, you're not going to keep pace, but you're not supposed to either. If you want to know why ask the Dawn to take the wheel of the ship at night during a hurricane and see how well he keeps up with your Supernal Sail.

              Except if he took Sail 5 Wits 5 he actually would be perfectly capable of that. The thing is that's just not something I see all the time, I do see people thoughtlessly taking 5 melee all the time.

              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              Because the player would want that to happen. Why would there be another reason? It’s up to the player if he wants to chop the wasps to pieces or use his super investigation to learn of this attack weeks in advance and leave a note for the summoner, one that says “By the way, by the time you read this message I’m already at your hidden sorcerer’s keep. I’ve also brought one of the old friends you betrayed, one who stands a very good chance of kicking your ass, and he’s dying to meet you.” In this case, the Dawn handles punching the sorcerer out, and the Holmes character is happy because he didn’t need to fight all those demon wasps, he out fucking skilled his opponent.

              That is how the player styled on his enemy. It’s in a different way than raw combat, but it’s no less of a path than winning with style.
              The reason being that it's screwing with the functioning of the antagonists, because the investigator is casually slicing through demons the way a Dawn should be, and the Dawn is so far beyond even that that it's pointless to bring almost anything into a fight. Somebody sent a bunch of militia guys to the investigators house? Yeah, okay, he's a Solar, even if he's a little good with his hands those guys are doomed, and should be.

              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              Unless you’re using very powerful opponents, the Twilight will easily keep up with the Dawn. They won’t be able to kill an enemy ten times over, but killing a enemy three times over is more than enough. The difference here is that when nasty endgame tier enemies start appearing (AKA: Deathlord or 3CD level) then the Twilight is still able to keep up. He may not do as much in combat immediately as the Dawn, but he won’t be a liability either.
              I'm not talking about endgame anything, I'm talking about session one, right off the bat. If session one Essence 1 I have to start busting out Deathlords and 3CDs there's issues. I want to be able to have an Exalted battle with giant sandworms, and angry storm elementals, but I can't, I need to start things off with the Mask of Winters and then just have nowhere to go.

              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              Essentially, also what Heavyarms said. Timmy’s do what seems cool, and they may not realize that a Dex 2 Melee 4 character isn’t going to be the “Cool sword dude” they thought it was in their head.
              Somebody with Dex 2, Melee 4 and a specialty has a 10 die attack with their daiklave, boostable up to 16 with +16 base damage, a base 5 parry boostable to 8 before anything else like Hail Shattering Practice, and bitchin charms like Sandstorm-Wind Attack and Peony Blossom Attack.

              He fucking IS a cool sword dude. He makes storm elementals cry like little babies while he smashes them multiple times in a turn. He takes a manticore and turns them inside-out with ease. Plus even without spending any essence that 5 parry alone makes him effectively immune to enemies like brigands and medium infantry. What's not cool about that?

              You should assume that people aren't going to be total min-maxing monsters in all your games, but you have to assume they're not going to be completely dumb and decide that with the concept of "cool sword dude" they're going to take physical tertiary, melee 3, use none of their 4 specialties on anything sword related, and don't take one of the cool magic swords in the cool magic sword section of the book.

              Then you write a book where you're just assuming that well, basically only one party member wants to be a cool sword dude, surely TWO people wouldn't have that inclination? So an enemy with a 5 die attack should fit nicely, he can be involved in combat with the not cool sword dudes.
              Last edited by DrLoveMonkey; 02-21-2021, 08:10 PM.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Yamajin View Post
                I'm not going to reply to a good chunk of what's already been said and instead chime in with something I think is part of the problem that no-one has really touched on from what I see here. One of the big problems with 3E as far as something that allows a PC to be good at just about everything is that unless you're actively trying not to, chances are you are going to start with 10 excellencies at least. This gives you the ability to brute force 40% of the abilities in the game, giving you a solid amount of competency over just about everything you could want. The example in the original post of every PC rolling like 4+ on Awareness is a good example of this- with only 1 dot in Favored Awareness and at least 3 Perception you can throw 8 dice at Awareness rolls even though your character is an absolute amateur by the standards set by the game.
                Also true. Which also means the people who default to take 3 awareness, and usually 5 if I'm being honest, they're starting at 8, and with those same three motes are jumping up to 11 now.

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                • #53
                  Dear thread,

                  Timmy is the one who likes big numbers.

                  Sincerely,
                  Magic players

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                    I don't think this is an inevitable result of a classless system. The example I gave back in the thread:

                    ability 1: 3 total xp cost
                    ability 2: 7 total xp cost
                    ability 3: 13 total xp cost
                    ability 4: 21 total xp cost
                    ability 5: 31 total xp cost

                    Say you get 70xp to spread among them, you could have 5 melee, 5 occult, and 2 awareness, but thems your only abilities, everything else is zero, no integrity, no resistance, no athletics. Meaning no charms in any of those abilities, not even the excellency. It's technically possible to do, but you're discouraged so hard by giving up so much that I don't imagine it would be nearly the same problem. You'd still have a Dawn with 5 melee for sure, but the Twilight would have to think pretty hard if he also wants 5 melee, or maybe a few dots sprinkled around lore and resistance and the like.

                    You could go even lower, say a 50xp starting ability budget, then you literally can't do it, but it's still a classless system, and it absolutely does not have the problem where everyone is a legendary fighter in addition to everything else they are.
                    First of all, as someone who has been playing with xp-based character generation for basically this reason I want to voice my agreement with this (incidentally, using starting characters at 65 xp for abilities, and 65 solar xp for general purposes, and I think the PCs started with 1 and 2 abilities at 5).
                    Secondly, I think your math is slightly off - raising an ability costs (current rating)*2, maybe -1 for favoring, not new rating.
                    So I think the total costs would be
                    1: 3 xp
                    2: 4/5xp
                    3: 7/9xp
                    4: 12/15xp
                    5: 19/23xp

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by autXautY View Post

                      First of all, as someone who has been playing with xp-based character generation for basically this reason I want to voice my agreement with this (incidentally, using starting characters at 65 xp for abilities, and 65 solar xp for general purposes, and I think the PCs started with 1 and 2 abilities at 5).
                      Secondly, I think your math is slightly off - raising an ability costs (current rating)*2, maybe -1 for favoring, not new rating.
                      So I think the total costs would be
                      1: 3 xp
                      2: 4/5xp
                      3: 7/9xp
                      4: 12/15xp
                      5: 19/23xp
                      Oh I wasn't considering using the system from the book, I just pulled a random one out of nowhere that I thought would have a harder curve and encourage less abilities at 4-5

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Speedbump View Post
                        It also tells you "Otso wants his character to be good at sneaking around and killing people, as well as competent in a straight-up fight".
                        Not "Otso wants his character to blend every non exalt oponent", not "Otso wants his character to trivialise combat under most circumstances", just "competent in a straight-up fight". Raising Melee to 3 is literally an afterthought as it walks you through things.

                        ~6 combat charms are portrayed as mearly a sensible investment in a secondary focus. Only upon moving from dex 4 melee 3 to dex 5 melee 4 via bonus points does it imply that anything exceptional is going on.
                        Secondary what?

                        It's an assassin. Killing folks is his entire deal. It's literally the core of the character's focus. Isthar is "an assassin, a blade-for-hire who grew up on the street". That's the entire concept. Melee is the joint highest ability. This is a primary combatant character.

                        And the game recommends 2-5 combat charms for everyone. Taking 6 when your entire character concept is "dude who shanks folks" isn't unreasonable.

                        And yes, taking Melee 4 and Dexterity 5 is the point where things get exceptional. That's... that's the crux of my entire argument? If combat isn't your primary focus, don't spend bonus points to maximise your combat potential. Dex 3 Melee 3 is fine. Melee 4 makes you a "properly terrifying Exalted assassin" who can blend every non-exalt.

                        (And before spending bonus points Isthar's attributes are described thusly "He’s stronger than most, much tougher than he looks, and his work has sharpened his reflexes until they’re plain scary." That's Dex 4. Plain scary. And Melee is hardly an "afterthought" it's literally the first favored ability chosen "Otso then selects Isthus’s five Favored Abilities. He picks Melee" and the first Specialty "Now, Otso selects Isthus’s Specialties. Melee (Knives)".)

                        I don't own Tomb of Dreams, but my undestanding is that they don't actually represent fully completed starting characters,
                        The Tomb of Dreams characters have spent all their Attribute, Ability, and Bonus Points. Their corestats are at the same level as starting characters. (They're missing Merits and five Charms.)

                        Volfer, the Dawn, is the only character with Melee 5.
                        Karal, raised in the Lookshy military, a decorated officer in full armor with a sword, is Melee 4.
                        Iay, the spear wielding hunter who lives by his wits, is Melee 2. Professional soldier level.
                        Faka Kun is Melee 0 (but an absolute blender with her Thrown and Dodge investments).
                        Mirror Flag is Melee 0. Dodge 0. Brawl 0. Archery 0. Martial Arts 0. He has Thrown 2. With a Parry/Evasion of 2 from his Dex 3.

                        That's how you are expected to build a Circle. That's the level NPCs are pitched at.

                        Not five Melee 5 combat monsters.

                        Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                        Because such players make up the vast majority of your customer base. We may be the diehard fans that help keep it alive, but the majority of the hauling is done by timmies. If you wonder why look back to my DFO example. There’s little point in making things only 5% of the playerbase are going to realistically handle, but they make enemies who are capable of appealing to both time to time. Look at Viator of Nullspace for example. An extremely strong opponent designed to take on an enemy party. It has lethal charms that are an issue for all types of players. However, Viator may also have whatever other spirit charms you want it to have, meaning it can be at the base presented or tailored to handle the 5%.

                        It is not just Exalted that does this. Every game does this.
                        The vast majority of players aren't hyper optimized min-maxers? Sure, agree.

                        The vast majority of players don't remember Excellencies exist? Absolutely reject. You're gonna have to back that up with some kind of evidence. Because I can point to four actual plays where they use Excellencies.

                        Using your DFO example, most players couldn't handle the new raid... but they COULD handle the rest of the game's content. Most Exalted players aren't building characters that can solo an Elemental Dragon but they are building characters that can solo a Storm Serpent. There's a difference between catering to the majority of the player base and catering to the bottom 5%.
                        Last edited by JohnDoe244; 02-22-2021, 07:11 AM.


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

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                        • #57
                          I think there's a bit of hyperbole there regarding the Timmy mentality.

                          It's not that Timmies forget that mechanics exist, it's that they're not focused on them. Excellencies, to a Timmy, only really exist for when "doing something big," means, "throwing everything at an Excellency for a huge dice-pool." If you're sitting there weighing Excellent Strike + Melee Excellency, or just Melee Excellency, you're probably going to lose a Timmy's attention because that sort of careful calculation isn't what motivates them. A Timmy is, generally, more focused on building up to unleash Peony Blossom Technique because that's a cool big thing to do instead of juggling dice-tricks.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            I think there's a bit of hyperbole there regarding the Timmy mentality.

                            It's not that Timmies forget that mechanics exist, it's that they're not focused on them. Excellencies, to a Timmy, only really exist for when "doing something big," means, "throwing everything at an Excellency for a huge dice-pool." If you're sitting there weighing Excellent Strike + Melee Excellency, or just Melee Excellency, you're probably going to lose a Timmy's attention because that sort of careful calculation isn't what motivates them. A Timmy is, generally, more focused on building up to unleash Peony Blossom Technique because that's a cool big thing to do instead of juggling dice-tricks.
                            In which case Timmy is being perfectly catered for by the suggestion that they play a Dawn if they want to have big combat tricks.


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

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                            • #59
                              Timmy's aren't inherently based on combat, it's an artifact of the term coming from MtG.

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                              • #60
                                Well, bottom line I think is that somebody wrote the Agata statline with a 6 die claw attack and a 5 die poisonous sting attack, designed a poison for that sting attack and specified it can only be used while flying, and then wrote a couple combat charms for the agata. Whoever did that did it with the assumption that SOMEBODY is going to have a defence of 2-3. Even if for whatever reason you consider the agata in particular as not being intended to enter into a fight, no idea why it has two combat charms custom designed for it if that’s the case taking up word count and idea space, there’s a dozen other enemies like it.

                                Also I think the Tomb of Dreams characters as actual examples of PCs does some work there.

                                That clashes with the chargen system that makes it so trivial to get a defence of 6+. You don’t need to be the top 5% of players to recognize that when you’re designing your exalt tossing two bonus points into your combat ability gives you a huge advantage for a small investment. Which means in practice the only way I see defence values less than six is by pleading with players not to do that, when it’s definitely possible to write rules that encourage it.


                                Edit: Also, you don’t even hit a Solar with a base defence of 3 using a 5 die pool unless they want to give you the chance, they’ll easily double it to 6 with charms/stunt whatever, it’s just that at least there’s enough of a point that motes got spent to totally nullify the attack. The only way an agata hits a Solar who’s using his charms to defend himself is if his defence is 1-2 base, like 2 dodge, 1 Dex pretty much. Even then they have a good chance to miss.
                                Last edited by DrLoveMonkey; 02-22-2021, 10:10 AM.

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