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Let's talk about the Charms of ExEss

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  • Let's talk about the Charms of ExEss

    I think it's appropriate to have a specific topic for this one.

    I like most of the Charms that have been published, but I'll start my first post by talking about the ones I don't like actually, don't let that make you think I'm negative about the upcoming game. These are Charms that either create more rolls when it's not necessary (to me), or that I don't think players will have a real use of because the situation rarely happens (at least in my games), or because I feel there is a sort of contradiction with the base system (the effect seems good reading it, but the system doesn't seem to actually make it good). Maybe some people will show me good reasons on why this Charm was design like this and make me change my mind about it. I understand that the devs made these decisions intentionally most of the time, I just probably don't understand their intentions.

    Flickering Shadow Evasion (and it's Close Combat counterpart)

    "On Step 4, roll your choice of Attribute + Athletics, and add your successes to your Defense against the attack." I really don't like rolling for defense, I thought that 3e did the good choice by removing rolls for defense. I think any option like "Add Ability do your Defense" would be as effective and less annoying

    Efficient Crafting Technique

    In particular, I don't understand the Solar mode : At Essence 2, the Solar waives all penalties from inappropriate tools or workspace (upgrade from negate 3 penalties). From my understanding -3 is the biggest environnemental/external penalty you can have (corresponding to some kind of Yozi curse for example), and they don't stack. I'm really unsure what this mode is for.

    Strange Tongue Understanding

    The base effect "Their understanding is not sophisticated, however. They get by with minimal reading and speech in a foreign tongue without needing to roll, but complex discussion or literature requires an Embassy roll at default difficulty." seems good on paper, but if I try to imagine a scene where this comes on I don't think it's actually appropriate. If you can actually just understand foreign tongues with an Embassy rolls, and complex discussions are at Default Difficulty (meaning 3 to me), the actual character would success understanding a basic conversation with any Embassy roll, and I don't get what this Charm is for. There is another specific mechanical bonus on this Charm after that seems good though, but it's "core effect" seems to not really work mechanically to me

    Stubborn Boar Defense

    I don't usually spam my PC's with the same social influence effect when it has failed once as it seems a bit repetitive, or at least I don't do it again during the same session. This really doesn't seem useful for my players. Do you guys have regular occurence where this Charm would be useful ? I'm genuinely curious

    Memetic Dogma Discipline

    I don't usually use rolls between my NPC's to make them convince each other, as the social system is not as "basic" as the DD one, considering you have to account for Intimacies, Virtues, repurhase of social influence, etc ... This could arguably have some effect on other PC's but I feel like this is a bit niche. I think I understand the intended purpose of the Charm, but mechanically I really don't feel like someone at my table is gonna have use of this Charm. I would have preferred something like a Venture to spread ideas through Performance, or directly "Any person in contact with the initial spectators will form a temporary Minor Intimacy towards the Exalt's ideas or make a Hard Bargain"

    Essence-Lending Method

    "Essence Font Technique (Solar): Roll Finesse + Lore against difficulty 3. On success, the Exalt generates three additional motes which may be transferred to the target in place of their own. These motes dissipate immediately if not transferred." Depending on wether you actually need to pay at least 1 mote for the Charm to function, this feels like a possible "infinite mote for my allies" shenanigan

    Cunning Warrior Regimen

    I genuinely can't tell what the difference is between this Charm and League of Iron Preparation.

    As a thing that bothers me a little, I notice a lot of the Social Charms have effects like "For the rest of the scene, gain +1 success on rolls to ..." or "For the rest of the scene, gain 1 resolve to ..." which I don't like for the same reasons that I don't like these Charms in 3e (dice adders). I guess this design comes from the fact that Exalts don't regen motes outside of combat quickly, and they noticed that without Charms like this anyone who is not a Solar for excellencies would quickly have 0 possible way to augment his rolls in any action scene past the first few rolls


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

  • #2
    Originally posted by Chausse View Post
    Flickering Shadow Evasion (and it's Close Combat counterpart)

    "On Step 4, roll your choice of Attribute + Athletics, and add your successes to your Defense against the attack." I really don't like rolling for defense, I thought that 3e did the good choice by removing rolls for defense. I think any option like "Add Ability do your Defense" would be as effective and less annoying
    I agree, but Essence definitely isn't opposed to having a lot of steps involved in things.

    Efficient Crafting Technique

    In particular, I don't understand the Solar mode : At Essence 2, the Solar waives all penalties from inappropriate tools or workspace (upgrade from negate 3 penalties). From my understanding -3 is the biggest environnemental/external penalty you can have (corresponding to some kind of Yozi curse for example), and they don't stack. I'm really unsure what this mode is for.
    I have no idea. That seems like a version thing, so I'm reporting it for errata.

    Strange Tongue Understanding

    The base effect "Their understanding is not sophisticated, however. They get by with minimal reading and speech in a foreign tongue without needing to roll, but complex discussion or literature requires an Embassy roll at default difficulty." seems good on paper, but if I try to imagine a scene where this comes on I don't think it's actually appropriate. If you can actually just understand foreign tongues with an Embassy rolls, and complex discussions are at Default Difficulty (meaning 3 to me), the actual character would success understanding a basic conversation with any Embassy roll, and I don't get what this Charm is for. There is another specific mechanical bonus on this Charm after that seems good though, but it's "core effect" seems to not really work mechanically to me
    I think that's mostly flavor text, but it could also lead to some roleplaying wrinkles. The odd thing to me is that, rules-wise, an "unsophisticated" understanding of a language does nothing to impede your own actions, but does make you resistant to influence. Then, if you buy the upgrade, your "better" grasp on the language takes away that bonus, and does give you a penalty - in fact, two-success penalty, which is actually worse than the three-die penalty for being cursed by the Yozis themselves.

    Nothing suggests that you take that penalty if you succeed at the Embassy roll to use the Charm without the upgrade, nor that you can waive the upgrade once you've bought it.

    I guess what I'm getting at, I like the idea behind the limitation, but think the mechanics are, at best, not described very clearly - surely the intention is that you take a penalty to actions with the first version, too, for example.

    Stubborn Boar Defense

    I don't usually spam my PC's with the same social influence effect when it has failed once as it seems a bit repetitive, or at least I don't do it again during the same session. This really doesn't seem useful for my players. Do you guys have regular occurence where this Charm would be useful ? I'm genuinely curious
    This is a little tricky. "Keep spamming the same influence action over and over" is a classic abusive tactic in many influence systems, so having an answer for that isn't crazy... but doesn't it make more sense as a general rule that something you have to not only buy as a Charm, but also spend two motes on? Even without accounting for the apparent ease of ignoring influence in EE, that's a really steep buy-in.

    Memetic Dogma Discipline

    I don't usually use rolls between my NPC's to make them convince each other, as the social system is not as "basic" as the DD one, considering you have to account for Intimacies, Virtues, repurhase of social influence, etc ... This could arguably have some effect on other PC's but I feel like this is a bit niche. I think I understand the intended purpose of the Charm, but mechanically I really don't feel like someone at my table is gonna have use of this Charm. I would have preferred something like a Venture to spread ideas through Performance, or directly "Any person in contact with the initial spectators will form a temporary Minor Intimacy towards the Exalt's ideas or make a Hard Bargain"
    Yeah, the only clear use I see for this is to double dip on Teamwork effects for an ally, which is probably not a great place to be. I do really like the idea of creating a specialized Venture, though.

    Essence-Lending Method

    "Essence Font Technique (Solar): Roll Finesse + Lore against difficulty 3. On success, the Exalt generates three additional motes which may be transferred to the target in place of their own. These motes dissipate immediately if not transferred." Depending on wether you actually need to pay at least 1 mote for the Charm to function, this feels like a possible "infinite mote for my allies" shenanigan
    Yikes. I hadn't thought of that, but I had noticed that two Solars with this Charm can pretty easily go infinite (which also extends to the rest of the group). I think that must be an oversight, and am reporting it for errata.

    Cunning Warrior Regimen

    I genuinely can't tell what the difference is between this Charm and League of Iron Preparation.
    Hard to say until we get to Antagonists. LoIP makes noncombatants into "Conscripts," which might be better than some lesser statblock? It also gives them Regular Drill, and can eventually upgrade them to an even-better statblock. CWR does one thing and one thing only: increase the Outnumber quality, whatever that means.

    This is, admittedly, made muddier by LoIP also being able to increase Outnumber, possibly without an upper limit. Definitely something to try and double-check once we know more.

    As a thing that bothers me a little, I notice a lot of the Social Charms have effects like "For the rest of the scene, gain +1 success on rolls to ..." or "For the rest of the scene, gain 1 resolve to ..." which I don't like for the same reasons that I don't like these Charms in 3e (dice adders). I guess this design comes from the fact that Exalts don't regen motes outside of combat quickly, and they noticed that without Charms like this anyone who is not a Solar for excellencies would quickly have 0 possible way to augment his rolls in any action scene past the first few rolls
    I can see that - Second Chance Approach and Dread Tiger's Symmetry at least incentivize specific types of action, but Harmonious Presence Methodology in particular just adds dice to everything. At that point, it seems like it could be "Commit 1 mote, get free social Excellencies for the scene," to keep thing s streamlined (with a really sweet Solar mode to make up for the base effect being useless to them).


    "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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    • #3
      Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post

      I agree, but Essence definitely isn't opposed to having a lot of steps involved in things.
      I'd say there is a difference between having lots of steps and rolling a lot of steps

      I think that's mostly flavor text, but it could also lead to some roleplaying wrinkles. The odd thing to me is that, rules-wise, an "unsophisticated" understanding of a language does nothing to impede your own actions, but does make you resistant to influence. Then, if you buy the upgrade, your "better" grasp on the language takes away that bonus, and does give you a penalty - in fact, two-success penalty, which is actually worse than the three-die penalty for being cursed by the Yozis themselves.
      I don't think it is flavor text because the flavor text actually includes a mechanical description at the end of the sentence. I don't believe they usually do this with flavor text.

      This is a little tricky. "Keep spamming the same influence action over and over" is a classic abusive tactic in many influence systems, so having an answer for that isn't crazy... but doesn't it make more sense as a general rule that something you have to not only buy as a Charm, but also spend two motes on? Even without accounting for the apparent ease of ignoring influence in EE, that's a really steep buy-in.
      I didn't think it could serve against abuse. Hopefully that makes it really useless at my table because I won't bully my players then !


      Yeah, the only clear use I see for this is to double dip on Teamwork effects for an ally, which is probably not a great place to be. I do really like the idea of creating a specialized Venture, though.
      I'm honestly suprised I see so few Venture-creating actions in Charms (only in War I think). This is probably their greatest design idea in ExEss so far, which answers most of the problems I've had mastering Ex3 and that the system had no answer for, but I feel like they don't use it to its full potential by not interacting that much with Charms.

      Yikes. I hadn't thought of that, but I had noticed that two Solars with this Charm can pretty easily go infinite (which also extends to the rest of the group). I think that must be an oversight, and am reporting it for errata.
      I'm unsure they consider these kinds of things as errata, though. They seem very adamant that a lot of balance questions are design decisions, not errors they are expecting backing for from us

      Hard to say until we get to Antagonists. LoIP makes noncombatants into "Conscripts," which might be better than some lesser statblock? It also gives them Regular Drill, and can eventually upgrade them to an even-better statblock. CWR does one thing and one thing only: increase the Outnumber quality, whatever that means.

      This is, admittedly, made muddier by LoIP also being able to increase Outnumber, possibly without an upper limit. Definitely something to try and double-check once we know more.
      I mean, LoIP also makes conscript into soldiers, and can also give Outnumber Quality, and is apparently stackable (as suggested by "Each benefit provided by this Charm can only be applied to a given unit once:" mention). So it's possible to train soldiers to give them Outnumber Quality, not only non-combattants. If Cunning Warrior Regimen serves only to train things that are not non combattants, conscripts and soldiers over LoIP, it seems a bit niche. Especially considering that at Essence 3, LoIP can also train "spirits, animals or other non-humans", so basically everything. It's as if Cunning Warrior Regimen served only for the specific feature of giving any Battlegroup an Outnumber Quality during Essence 1 and 2 because LoIP covers it at Essence 3.


      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Chausse View Post
        I don't think it is flavor text because the flavor text actually includes a mechanical description at the end of the sentence. I don't believe they usually do this with flavor text.
        You're right, in an edition with actual separated-out flavor text, that was poorly put. What I meant is that's there to inform roleplaying, and maybe sometimes have the ST say "no, you cannot convey your philosophical treatise on how Oblivion is superior to reincarnation using a combination of pidgin and hand signs."

        I didn't think it could serve against abuse. Hopefully that makes it really useless at my table because I won't bully my players then !
        To be clear, I meant "abuse" as in a tactic for getting game rules to do things they're not designed to do, not as in abusing your fellow players. That would be way worse!

        I'm unsure they consider these kinds of things as errata, though. They seem very adamant that a lot of balance questions are design decisions, not errors they are expecting backing for from us
        I am trying very hard to only file errata when a rule does not work, or I don't understand what it is trying to tell me. However, "unlimited motes for the whole party all the time" is such a major power level issue that I honestly believe it must be me not understanding the Charm's intention. I guess we'll find out when the backer PDF happens.

        It's as if Cunning Warrior Regimen served only for the specific feature of giving any Battlegroup an Outnumber Quality during Essence 1 and 2 because LoIP covers it at Essence 3.
        Actually, you may have solved it there - it seems like we could be looking back into a version of the rules where Charms still had other Charms as prerequisites. I am not so confident of that as to submit errata, but I wouldn't be shocked if one of those becomes a repurchase of the other.


        "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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        • #5
          Originally posted by Chausse View Post
          Efficient Crafting Technique

          In particular, I don't understand the Solar mode : At Essence 2, the Solar waives all penalties from inappropriate tools or workspace (upgrade from negate 3 penalties). From my understanding -3 is the biggest environnemental/external penalty you can have (corresponding to some kind of Yozi curse for example), and they don't stack. I'm really unsure what this mode is for.
          I think the penalty from trying to do, say, gemcutting, without any tools at all, could be very steep, and potentially better than -3. Social influence without talking is a 2-success penalty (similar to 4 dice) even with a suitable Charm.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by habitableexoplanet View Post
            I think the penalty from trying to do, say, gemcutting, without any tools at all, could be very steep, and potentially better than -3. Social influence without talking is a 2-success penalty (similar to 4 dice) even with a suitable Charm.
            There's very little textual support for that. That social influence penalty is a pretty extreme outlier (I wonder if it was meant to be two dice), and the rules only let it be that bad due to coming from a Charm. "Outside of Charms, a situational or environmental penalty should not exceed three," according to the Bonuses and Penalties section.


            "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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            • #7
              Meanwhile, in the Dragon-Blooded Charms preview: does anyone have a reasonable guess about what "the Exalt must be able to make a decisive attack area of effect" is trying to say?

              It seems like that sentence is supposed to explain the size and range of the attack (and maybe whether it applies its full Power to all targets), but I have no specific guesses.


              "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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              • #8
                Originally posted by habitableexoplanet View Post

                I think the penalty from trying to do, say, gemcutting, without any tools at all, could be very steep, and potentially better than -3. Social influence without talking is a 2-success penalty (similar to 4 dice) even with a suitable Charm.
                I mean, even if that's the case, Charms that reduce dice penalties do not reduce success penalties I believe. And -3 is really bad, I really just don't see telling someone "You wanna go some gemcutting without tools ? My poor man, it's even harder than having literally woven into Fate that you can't cut gems"

                Since they put environment penalties and tool penalties in the same pool, and from what I understand (but I might be wrong) they don't stack, I just don't get how this is supposed to work


                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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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
                  Meanwhile, in the Dragon-Blooded Charms preview: does anyone have a reasonable guess about what "the Exalt must be able to make a decisive attack area of effect" is trying to say?

                  It seems like that sentence is supposed to explain the size and range of the attack (and maybe whether it applies its full Power to all targets), but I have no specific guesses.

                  My guess is DB are gonna have different Charms that allow them to make "Decisive attack area of effect". If it is it should be clear enough


                  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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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chausse View Post


                    My guess is DB are gonna have different Charms that allow them to make "Decisive attack area of effect". If it is it should be clear enough
                    that or maybe its a weapon tag? one of the two

                    Edit: Scratch that, got a confirm from Monica that's in the sorcery part. Said it is likely something they will move


                    .

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Iceblade44 View Post

                      that or maybe its a weapon tag? one of the two

                      Edit: Scratch that, got a confirm from Monica that's in the sorcery part. Said it is likely something they will move
                      Yeah I just saw someone confirming this on the Discord as well, I'm really curious about it now !

                      Iwonder if this means that the DB will necessitate to have prepared the AoE spell to activate the Charm, or he just needs to master it and can use the Charm without having to cast the spell ?


                      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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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chausse View Post
                        Yeah I just saw someone confirming this on the Discord as well, I'm really curious about it now !

                        Iwonder if this means that the DB will necessitate to have prepared the AoE spell to activate the Charm, or he just needs to master it and can use the Charm without having to cast the spell ?
                        I don't think so.

                        The key clue is the word decisive. To make a decisive attack against a single target, you need Power at least equal to their Hardness. So to make a decisive area of effect attack, how much Power do you need? Maybe the maximum Hardness of any target, or the number of targets, or something else? Whatever the answer to that question is, I'm pretty sure that the rule is contained in the Sorcery section, and that rule is what the DB Charm is referencing.

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                        • #13
                          Or if "able to make a decisive attack area of effect" is defined as X Will, or (11 Power - Essence), or who even knows what else.

                          It's not shocking to have orphaned rules in a sneak preview, of course, but I don't think I would have guessed that the general rules for handling any particular native Charm would be under Sorcery. I'm glad to hear that's (probably) going to move.


                          "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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                          • #14
                            Someone remind me, is the Air version of Dragon-Graced Weapon in non-Essence 3e a Cold attack or a wind gust for knock back?


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                              Someone remind me, is the Air version of Dragon-Graced Weapon in non-Essence 3e a Cold attack or a wind gust for knock back?
                              Cold.

                              Air: Wind chills the weapon to a deadly cold. An ene-
                              my damaged by a decisive attack takes a −1 penalty on
                              physical rolls until the end of his next turn.


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

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