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  • [EX3 Mechanics] Minimum initiative gains

    Since I steal from other games all the time, I thought why not.

    The rule change is simple.

    MINIMUM INITIATIVE GAIN ON ATTACKS

    Each weapon in Exalted has an Overwhelming value, which represents the minimum amount of initiative one may gain from an attack. By default, most weapons have an overwhelming value of 1, meaning you will always gain 1i from hitting an opponent even if you deal no damage. If you do deal damage, you'd instead gain that higher value but the opponent only loses initiative equal to the successes rolled. For example, a medium mundane sword hits an armoured Ragara footsoldier and is reduced to minimum damage of 2 (Minimum of 1 plus balanced). The attacker rolls two dice and gets a single success. The Ragara footsoldier loses one point of initiative, but the attacker gains 2i from the attack, as his Overwhelming makes the minimum amount of initiative gained from an attack always a minimum of 2.

    Higher Overwhelming values increase this amount. Artifact weapons have higher overwhelming values, meaning a Light weapon allows a character to obtain a minimum of 3i per attack, medium weapons 4i per attack, and heavy weapons 5i per attack. The Balanced tag increases these values by one each.

    Charms do not stack with the minimum amount of initiative gained. For example, an Essence 3 Lunar using Ferocious Biting Tooth on an attack adds his weapon overwhelming and the charm's additional overwhelming for rolling damage, but only the higher of the two is used for determining the amount of minimum initiative he'd gain from an attack. (Example: An Essence 4 Lunar with a Light artifact weapon uses Fercious Biting Tooth. The Lunar would roll 7 dice of damage against the opponent to see much initiative he could strip away from the opponent [Light Weapon Overwhelming of 3 + 4 from the charm = 7 total]. However if the Lunar rolled two successes on the opponent then the opponent would lose 2i but the Lunar would gain 4i, as Ferocious Biting Tooth adds four Overwhelming and that is higher than 3).


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  • #2
    Conceptually neat idea, but I'm not sure it would work well without a bunch of other house rules as well. If you don't have a reliable way to increase post-soak damage, it creates a huge bias towards maxing out your overwhelming over any other weapon considerations.

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    • #3
      I understand the desire to ensure more steady Initiative gain, but it's worth noting:
      Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
      For example, a medium mundane sword hits an armoured Ragara footsoldier and is reduced to minimum damage of 2 (Minimum of 1 plus balanced). The attacker rolls two dice and gets a single success. The Ragara footsoldier loses one point of initiative, but the attacker gains 2i from the attack, as his Overwhelming makes the minimum amount of initiative gained from an attack always a minimum of 2.
      In this scenario, the attacker would already gain 2i: one for hitting, and one for rolling a level of damage. I believe that your rule is trying to say the attacker would now gain 3i (one for hitting plus a further minimum of Overhwelming), but it's possible that you intended to have the Withering damage roll show 0 successes, instead.


      "For me, there's no fundamental conflict between really loving something and also seeing it as very profoundly flawed." -- Jay Eddidin

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        Conceptually neat idea, but I'm not sure it would work well without a bunch of other house rules as well. If you don't have a reliable way to increase post-soak damage, it creates a huge bias towards maxing out your overwhelming over any other weapon considerations.
        It does incentivize you getting huge overwhelming values yes, but I've included anti-stacking measures. The highest source of overwhelming I know of is Heavy weapon + Balanced. Are the others I should be concerned about?

        Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
        I understand the desire to ensure more steady Initiative gain, but it's worth noting:

        In this scenario, the attacker would already gain 2i: one for hitting, and one for rolling a level of damage. I believe that your rule is trying to say the attacker would now gain 3i (one for hitting plus a further minimum of Overhwelming), but it's possible that you intended to have the Withering damage roll show 0 successes, instead.
        No it would be 2i.

        See the intention here is that Overwhelming says "You will always gain X initiative upon hitting an opponent". In that example I gave, the overwhelming value is 2, the damage done is one. The attacker gains 2i (Overwhelming of weapon) and defender loses 1i. If an Exalt attacked that character with a grand daiklave and did one damage, then the Exalt would gain 6i (Overwhelming value of grand daiklave) and the enemy loses 1i. Even if the Exalt rolled no successes on the damage roll, they'd still gain 6i.

        The damage doesn't add to the result, it's more "Take the greater value." I tried to present that in the initial post, but I'm wondering if that was clear.



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        • #5
          I can't think of any other ways to get lots of overwhelming.

          I'm more concerned with how even a minimum like 4 would completely change up combat as it is. If there's no drawback or something, some characters getting x2 or x3 more initiative a hit seems like it just makes combat really lopsided.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            I can't think of any other ways to get lots of overwhelming.

            I'm more concerned with how even a minimum like 4 would completely change up combat as it is. If there's no drawback or something, some characters getting x2 or x3 more initiative a hit seems like it just makes combat really lopsided.
            This was a concern of mine, but I feel that the alternative (Getting no initiative from soakbeasts) is a worse.

            It may need some testing, especially since Adamantine Fists and Heavy Balanced weapons means a minimum of 6 initiative per turn. That can be quite hefty. My hope though is that I'm just raising the floor. Those who can punch someone and get dozens of initiative per attack don't really need this, but those who struggle against soakbeasts do. Plus it provides an incentive to use heavy weapons. The ceiling for higher end character is still there, I just bring those at the ground floor up a bit.


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            Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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            • #7
              I'm not sure it really boosts heavy weapons that much (and even then it's not like most of those are Balanced). A diaklave having overwhelming 5 with more accuracy dice and that defense boost seems like it's far better than a grand diaklaive for just the 1 difference in overwhelming. Hit more and getting hit less is certainly going to make up for it.

              I think the hole in the floor that's going up is any character that doesn't rely on Artifact weapons or a specific high-overwhelming magical attack option. While Artifact weapons trump non-artifact weapons all else being equal, it's not by such a margin that a character that doesn't want to go after an Artifact is either forced to go down a very specific path, or just accept not being able to do much in combat. With the way overwhelming is assigned, you basically need an Artifact or a specific magical attack or you're not going to keep up with the house rule.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                I'm not sure it really boosts heavy weapons that much (and even then it's not like most of those are Balanced). A diaklave having overwhelming 5 with more accuracy dice and that defense boost seems like it's far better than a grand diaklaive for just the 1 difference in overwhelming. Hit more and getting hit less is certainly going to make up for it.
                True. A true fix to heavy weapons is going to require a bit more than this. Not what I'm focusing on ATM. Just a nice tangential side benefit I realized when making this.

                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                I think the hole in the floor that's going up is any character that doesn't rely on Artifact weapons or a specific high-overwhelming magical attack option. While Artifact weapons trump non-artifact weapons all else being equal, it's not by such a margin that a character that doesn't want to go after an Artifact is either forced to go down a very specific path, or just accept not being able to do much in combat. With the way overwhelming is assigned, you basically need an Artifact or a specific magical attack or you're not going to keep up with the house rule.
                That's intended yes. Solars have a serious case of "First Splat-itus". Ideally I'd recommend people use Diamond Hew Blow from my Close Combat revamp (Grants minimum damage). Archery/Melee have artifact weapon creation while Brawl has Adamantine Fists (It sucks its essence 3 but that soak reduction really gives a lot of damage early on. Thrown is left out to try, but that's because thrown has always been the red-headed stepchild of the combat abilities. The main pain point would be those in Martial Arts, in which case they'll need to dip into something that gives overwhelming or use Diamond Hew Blow (Which I made and is explicitly compatible with Martial arts, because raising your overwhelming value hardly shatters things).

                What I want to encourage for people is that if you want a big buff to your combat, get overwhelming. There are many ways to get it, it expands your minimum capabilities just by having it (a lot more in this fix), and it's a very low bar to obtain it. This isn't a super kill charm that only the Dawn or serious combat investment characters will ever realistically get. It should be easily obtainable even for a person who casually dips into combat.



                Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                  See the intention here is that Overwhelming says "You will always gain X initiative upon hitting an opponent". In that example I gave, the overwhelming value is 2, the damage done is one. The attacker gains 2i (Overwhelming of weapon) and defender loses 1i. If an Exalt attacked that character with a grand daiklave and did one damage, then the Exalt would gain 6i (Overwhelming value of grand daiklave) and the enemy loses 1i. Even if the Exalt rolled no successes on the damage roll, they'd still gain 6i.
                  I just want to be totally clear that, in your first example (though not the Grand Daiklave one), the attacker gains the same amount of Initiative regardless of the rule that you're proposing.

                  Originally posted by 3E Core, p.191
                  Step Four: First, you gain one point of Initiative simply for landing a successful withering attack. Then count up the successes on the damage roll. Subtract that amount from the target’s Initiative, and add it to your character’s Initiative.
                  One for hitting, then an amount equal to damage. Hit for 1i, gain 2i. And you would never "get no Initiative from soakbeasts," barring Charms on their part, because the minimum is 1i. If you haven't been playing it that way, you may want to try it out before making a house rule. If you have been doing that, I apologize for my misunderstanding.

                  As for goofily high Overwhelming values, my go-to example of those is Lunars stacking animal forms with Claws of the Silver Moon. That can easily hit Overwhelming 10, with options to take it further - Hippo form + Mountainous Spirit Expression + Claws of the Silver Moon + Ferocious Biting Tooth for Overwhelming 15 at Essence 2! It's also worth noting that DBs have some surprisingly beefy Overwhelming boosters, most obviously Demon-Crushing Wolf Bite, so don't be surprised when optimized Terrestrial builds periodically spit out Overwhelming 6-10 attacks.

                  Lastly, if the main goal of this rule is to speed up combat by making Initiative gain more reliable, it's worth playing with to see how that goes. But if your premise is that high Overwhelming isn't good enough in 3E as-is, I have to say that doesn't fit with my experience. I find that Overwhelming is a huge deal in fights between combat Exalts, where it's almost impossible to reliably keep up with all the Soak tricks your enemies might be stacking with their Artifact armor. I've wound up having to remind myself to not overvalue Overwhelming boosters when I consider Charms for more "normal" play patterns, because it can be totally meaningless if you don't face soak monsters, but it's already the answer when you do face them.

                  (Well, other than Withering their friends and only ever launching Decisives against high-Soak targets, but this rule wouldn't change that either way.)
                  Last edited by Chejop Kejak; 06-12-2021, 12:36 AM.


                  "For me, there's no fundamental conflict between really loving something and also seeing it as very profoundly flawed." -- Jay Eddidin

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post

                    I just want to be totally clear that, in your first example (though not the Grand Daiklave one), the attacker gains the same amount of Initiative regardless of the rule that you're proposing.

                    One for hitting, then an amount equal to damage. Hit for 1i, gain 2i. And you would never "get no Initiative from soakbeasts," barring Charms on their part, because the minimum is 1i. If you haven't been playing it that way, you may want to try it out before making a house rule. If you have been doing that, I apologize for my misunderstanding.
                    That's fair. I wanted to use a mundane example to illustrate, but I'll bump it up to an artifact weapon so the intention is clearer.

                    Under this rule you wouldn't get the 1i for hitting. This is a loss if you get over soak yes, but I don't think that 1i for a hit is going to add up to any meaningful amount if you're routinely doing above the minimum amount of initiative this fix provides (Even RAW it only let me to 1-5 extra init at most).


                    Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
                    As for goofily high Overwhelming values, my go-to example of those is Lunars stacking animal forms with Claws of the Silver Moon. That can easily hit Overwhelming 10, with options to take it further - Hippo form + Mountainous Spirit Expression + Claws of the Silver Moon + Ferocious Biting Tooth for Overwhelming 15 at Essence 2! It's also worth noting that DBs have some surprisingly beefy Overwhelming boosters, most obviously Demon-Crushing Wolf Bite, so don't be surprised when optimized Terrestrial builds periodically spit out Overwhelming 6-10 attacks.
                    Except I did account for this.

                    Originally posted by Sandact6
                    Charms do not stack with the minimum amount of initiative gained. For example, an Essence 3 Lunar using Ferocious Biting Tooth on an attack adds his weapon overwhelming and the charm's additional overwhelming for rolling damage, but only the higher of the two is used for determining the amount of minimum initiative he'd gain from an attack. (Example: An Essence 4 Lunar with a Light artifact weapon uses Fercious Biting Tooth. The Lunar would roll 7 dice of damage against the opponent to see much initiative he could strip away from the opponent [Light Weapon Overwhelming of 3 + 4 from the charm = 7 total]. However if the Lunar rolled two successes on the opponent then the opponent would lose 2i but the Lunar would gain 4i, as Ferocious Biting Tooth adds four Overwhelming and that is higher than 3).
                    In the example you gave, the maximum amount a minimum damage would reward here is 5, that's because it's the highest single value of onslaught out of that entire combo. Legendary Size and CotSM would be counted as their own sources, thus compared individually. You'd roll the entire 15 dice of overwhelming, but even if you bust out you'd be getting a minimum of 5i from every attack.

                    I'll clarify this more when I finish my game. Thanks for pointing out the areas which I need to clarify more.


                    Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
                    Lastly, if the main goal of this rule is to speed up combat by making Initiative gain more reliable, it's worth playing with to see how that goes. But if your premise is that high Overwhelming isn't good enough in 3E as-is, I have to say that doesn't fit with my experience. I find that Overwhelming is a huge deal in fights between combat Exalts, where it's almost impossible to reliably keep up with all the Soak tricks your enemies might be stacking with their Artifact armor. I've wound up having to remind myself to not overvalue Overwhelming boosters when I consider Charms for more "normal" play patterns, because it can be totally meaningless if you don't face soak monsters, but it's already the answer when you do face them.

                    (Well, other than Withering their friends and only ever launching Decisives against high-Soak targets, but this rule wouldn't change that either way.)
                    I'm aware of the other issues with soak. That's why I revamped soak in my Solar resistance revamp (Implemented a cap, provided burner initiative). I think that's far more expansive, and in the year I've been testing it it's been working well for myself and otherwise. However some may balk at it for whatever reason. In this case I'm presenting another option.
                    Last edited by Sandact6; 06-12-2021, 01:15 AM.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                      Under this rule you wouldn't get the 1i for hitting. This is a loss if you get over soak yes, but I don't think that 1i for a hit is going to add up to any meaningful amount if you're routinely doing above the minimum amount of initiative this fix provides (Even RAW it only let me to 1-5 extra init at most).
                      I assume that there's no special consideration for battlegroups under this proposed houserule? You just gain Overwhelming Initiative for hitting them (and they lose nothing and your successes don't matter)?


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

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                      • #12
                        Thank you for the clarifications, Sandact. I understand what you're saying much better now.

                        That said, I don't think I've got a very good grasp on how this this rule will interact with multiple other new rules and Charm trees. Good luck with your playtesting!


                        "For me, there's no fundamental conflict between really loving something and also seeing it as very profoundly flawed." -- Jay Eddidin

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post

                          This was a concern of mine, but I feel that the alternative (Getting no initiative from soakbeasts) is a worse.

                          It may need some testing, especially since Adamantine Fists and Heavy Balanced weapons means a minimum of 6 initiative per turn. That can be quite hefty. My hope though is that I'm just raising the floor. Those who can punch someone and get dozens of initiative per attack don't really need this, but those who struggle against soakbeasts do. Plus it provides an incentive to use heavy weapons. The ceiling for higher end character is still there, I just bring those at the ground floor up a bit.
                          I thought adamantine fists didn't work with weapons?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post

                            I assume that there's no special consideration for battlegroups under this proposed houserule? You just gain Overwhelming Initiative for hitting them (and they lose nothing and your successes don't matter)?
                            Correct, this rule allows you to get far more initiative off battlegroups. Nothing about battle group are damaged is changed, just that you'd gain additional initiative per hit.


                            Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
                            Thank you for the clarifications, Sandact. I understand what you're saying much better now.

                            That said, I don't think I've got a very good grasp on how this this rule will interact with multiple other new rules and Charm trees. Good luck with your playtesting!
                            Solars feel the brunt of the sting as they don't have good overwhelming adders. Melee has Fire and Stones yes, but that's not overwhelming. In this case I'd recommend people port my Diamond Hew Blow charm over to Brawl/Melee to make it work, otherwise you're stuck waiting for ESS 2 (melee) or ESS 3 (Adamantine Fists). There's a similar charm I made for Ranged Combat that functions the exact same, so it can be ported to Archery/Thrown.

                            Dragonblooded have fewer issues with this as Overwhelming is a bit more common for them.

                            My predictions are that it's going to make combat faster with those who struggle with it and nerf soakbeasts builds. Both of which are positive things.

                            Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                            I thought adamantine fists didn't work with weapons?
                            It doesn't normally, I'm pointing out that Adamantine Fists can reach a fairly decent Overwhelming value.


                            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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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                              Correct, this rule allows you to get far more initiative off battlegroups. Nothing about battle group are damaged is changed, just that you'd gain additional initiative per hit.
                              My play experience has pretty clearly been different from yours, so take this with a grain of salt, but that change worries me.

                              An an ST, the big advantage of battlegroups is that you can use them to beef up a fight easily, and unlike most "not a serious combat Exalt" stuff out there, they're not just pinatas full of Initiative. Dedicated combat characters don't like to "waste" attacks getting a single Initiative off of something which their allies can kill without them, less-fightey PCs get to look cool styling on a horde of mooks with simplified combat rules, Command actions and attacks on multiple PCs at once mean they do bleed resources and sometimes even create scary moments when people crash, and everybody wins. If they start giving out more than 1i per hit, there really is nothing you can put in a fight besides combat statlines fit to challenge the group's main bruiser, because everything else puts the whole battle into easy mode.


                              "For me, there's no fundamental conflict between really loving something and also seeing it as very profoundly flawed." -- Jay Eddidin

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