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  • #16
    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
    Truth be told, i think most of the time the writer thought the plot device/macguffin hunt first and handwaved mechanics later.
    This was 2e though, the entire combat engine was built on "no, I don't give a flying fuck how hard you think you can hit, I have a PD, you lose, go home. Uh, unless you've figured out how to exploit my Flaw of Invulnerability in which case the charm does nothing."

    It was a system designed around finding the magic special way to defeat a foe.

    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
    Also, in retrospect it bothers me deeply that Exalted 2e had not one but TWO adventures centered on forcing on us a magical plague that can't be dealt with by any charms whatsoever, require questing for that plot device-mandated miracle cure AND were possibly jumpstarted by the actions of a Deathknight. Within a year from each other - what, was there some secret required quotas of these we were unaware of?
    Would it be better or worse if they were written by the same people as well?

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    • #17
      Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post
      If you think "Here is the only solution, roll to achieve it" is fun instead of being an awful agencyless slog, we have such different expectations of an Exalted game that it's not worth continuing this conversation.
      Why would you assume that there's only one solution to the Fangblossom fight? You can't kill it with decisive damage without killing all of the vines, but you can slip past it, grapple it and throw it down a chasm, burn down the woods around it, snatch whatever it's guarding and leave. There's lots of things you CAN do, it's just if you want to kill it you need to do something that isn't hit it harder.

      Even the Emerald Bull from the 2e SAS, which is just straight up 100% invincible with no kryptonite, has many parts in the adventure where it explicitly gives the players completely open ended options to deal with it.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post
        No, no it's not a problem. It's a solution.
        This is nonsense. By this way of thinking you can phrase any problem as a "solution."

        A solution is to kill the vines first, and is the solution suggested in how the problem is phrased. As I noted, you can remove it with other options with the RAW. You only have to kill the vines first if you want to kill the bulb. If the PCs don't give a shit about killing it, and just don't want to be killed, they don't have to kill the bulb, they just have to get away from the vines (which is probably only worth running if the PCs are traveling with some NPCs that are going to need a hand with that escape thing).

        This whole "solution vs. problem" is completely ignoring any context of why the Fang Blossom is even coming into the story. There's no "you must kill X number of official stated up antagonists," rule. It's muddying things up because it's assuming that the only solutions that matter involve killing it immediately.

        Lets say the PCs want to build a road between two towns, but it turns out what looks like the best route on a map turns out to mean cutting through an area infested with Fang Blossoms. Is their immunity to incapacitation until their vines are dead a solution or a problem at this point?

        ....and that solution carries with it the problem of "Main body is un-decisiveable until then".
        Can't be killed. You can use decisive attacks on it, you just can't take it out. If you want to take away all its health boxes so once all the vines are dead only one damage is needed to finish it off? You can do that. Want to hit the bulb with a gambit (like grappling it so you can cart it off?) you can totally do that (with the caveat of probably needing/wanting some Athletics and Brawl Charms for one big enough to be dangerous).

        But that problem has nothing to do with this. Ex3's antagonists having poorly chose numbers is irrelevant.
        Of course it has something to do with this. The 3e's design is impacted by the desire to get away from 2e's mechanical arms race. That's why there's things like "deal uncountable damage" instead of, "this spell does 200L on a hit, this one does 50A, etc." It's why we have things like the Legendary Size Merit. It's how we end up with things like Fang Blossoms. Bigger numbers don't make the game more fun.

        If you think "Here is the only solution, roll to achieve it" is fun instead of being an awful agencyless slog, we have such different expectations of an Exalted game that it's not worth continuing this conversation.
        No. What I'm saying is that your answer to the "how do you encourage lateral problem solving," is not actually doing to do that, and is going to make the game more full of agency-less slogs.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          This was 2e though, the entire combat engine was built on "no, I don't give a flying fuck how hard you think you can hit, I have a PD, you lose, go home. Uh, unless you've figured out how to exploit my Flaw of Invulnerability in which case the charm does nothing."

          It was a system designed around finding the magic special way to defeat a foe.
          Yes, PD spam was very much a 2e combat thing, but with its faults it was still possible to bring some dynamism and tricks here and there. Still feels forced and lazy writing.


          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          Would it be better or worse if they were written by the same people as well?
          Now that's a pretty good question indeed. That said, Disease seems to attempt to bring something of faction play and dealing with hard choices as major aspects of the adventure that could add a strong social and supernatural intrigue dimension to the adventure that Contagion of Law does not seem to possess. In fact i'd say the super-disease is kind of unnecessary - the macguffin would definitely make an appealing quest target on its own and most of the conflict and drama would still be there anyway.


          Guess i'll try to tackle giving both of them a long read just to see what comes to mind, assess them after so much time and maybe toy with suggestions on reworking them. But that's a subject for another topic i guess.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

            Would it be better or worse if they were written by the same people as well?
            Disease of a Wrong Genre Savviness

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
              So....
              How would you force Exalted PCs to have to think on their feet to come up with unusual combat solutions instead of just using their best combat Charms to overpower enemies that are supposed to be beaten through lateral thinking?
              By introducing "soft immunity" type mechanics, or, better, by going along the main theme of the game - allowing the "direct solution" to work, but having it apply unintended consequences.

              So, either the bulb can instantly regain some amount of damage per each still surviving vine - in which case you can start killing vines and make it easier on yourself, or pile up some massive damage to just straight out overcome this damage reduction factor. Or, make it so the bulb can, in fact, be killed without killing the vines first, but if done that way, it would cause every single surviving vine to burrown underground to grow and eventually transform into new bulbs. Or do both.

              Besides, this is exalted. Killing stuff is the easy thing - and often, instead of solving your problems only creates new ones.



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

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Astralporing View Post
                By introducing "soft immunity" type mechanics, or, better, by going along the main theme of the game - allowing the "direct solution" to work, but having it apply unintended consequences.
                I'm not sure how the Fang Blossom isn't already an example of "soft immunity." It's not immune to physical damage, it's immune to physical damage until a condition is met. It's immunity "soft" in that it's situational/temporary/conditional/etc. rather than some flat out immunity (the memetic diseases are a better example of "hard" immunity being an issue).

                I really don't understand how "direct solutions have unintended consequences" can be classified as a theme of the game, let alone being "the main" theme of the game. Exalted is a game where power having unintended consequences is certainly a major theme of the game, but it's never couched in some qualifier of how power is used. The Sidereals are all about subtle and indirect uses of power... and damn if they cause a lot of unintended consequences with it.

                So, either the bulb can instantly regain some amount of damage per each still surviving vine - in which case you can start killing vines and make it easier on yourself, or pile up some massive damage to just straight out overcome this damage reduction factor. Or, make it so the bulb can, in fact, be killed without killing the vines first, but if done that way, it would cause every single surviving vine to burrown underground to grow and eventually transform into new bulbs. Or do both.
                But what's really changed in either or both? This doesn't add any real incentive to try to come at things in a way other than "blast it with your best combat Charms" it just, like the existing rules for it, adds some extra steps to deal with.

                Where is the pressure to come up with unusual combat solutions? What's the point of the PCs (assuming they're trying to kill it) doing anything but wailing on it with their best combat stuff?

                That was the question I posed: how to you design enemies that encourage lateral problem solving to defeat, without giving them some sort of "rule breaking" ability?

                Just different ways of making the fight last longer than "I Solar up a huge Initiative pool on Join Battle, and then I Solar up a massive decisive attack on the first actions of combat," is ultimately something to be addressed, but the point isn't just other ways of making antagonists last longer than that opening salvo.

                Besides, this is exalted. Killing stuff is the easy thing - and often, instead of solving your problems only creates new ones.
                And Exalted is supposed to have fun and enjoyable combat. Giving the ST tools to make antagonists that are actually fun to fight instead of anticlimactic one-hits or massive slogs should be a design consideration as well.

                All the talk of a Fang Blossom's immunity is ignoring the story parts of the entry... like the idea that Fang Blossoms are frequently Creation's equivalent to the "gator flushed down the sewers" myth as Fang Blossoms are actively cultivated in some parts of Creation to guard gardens and crops from animal pets, but kept small enough to not pose a risk to humans. Having a large dangerous one frequently is the consequence of poorly thought out actions (like some DB PCs defeat a Lunar NPC that used them for this purpose and the locals are all dying from monster flowers instead of thanking the DBs for saving them from an Anathema).

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  Exalted is a game where power having unintended consequences is certainly a major theme of the game, but it's never couched in some qualifier of how power is used. The Sidereals are all about subtle and indirect uses of power... and damn if they cause a lot of unintended consequences with it.
                  I also tend to not like doing this to players because it feels cheap and unfair. Like if you have a PC that's just going full Heaven Thunder Hammer and destroying everything, so one day you say "Yeah you knocked that temple guard good, right through 3 supporting pillars, the temple starts collapsing around you and the people your circle is trying to protect" it feels like punishing success, or just pulling the rug out.

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                  • #24
                    I think there's a lot in execution (esp. in making sure to be consistent rather than "one day your reliable super-punch happens to cause lots of problems" and try to setup consequences before they happen so they don't feel like ass-pulls, like describing the temple as looking like it's a miracle its still standing).

                    There's also a subjective line here. My first Exalted game ended on a huge combat scene that had a lot of negative consequences for the PCs despite winning... but it was the last game. Most of my players thought the bittersweet and compromised victory was a fun ending that helped make the stakes of what they accomplished feel more earned, but one player felt it cheapened everything and wanted a more clear cut victory (there was also that odd thing where his PC suffering the largest setbacks from it that wasn't just death was seen as worse than the PC that actually died in the finale).

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                    • #25
                      Premade adventures are kind of "railroady" by necessity in that they can't take into account every possible power that every character in a player group might have. Still, one of the fundamental ideas in Exalted is that they can accomplish the impossible and kill the unkillable (or at least mangle them so badly that death starts looking pretty good; see the Neverborn or the Juggernaut).At the same time though, some of the mythological inspirations for Exalted do involve characters faced with hard roadblocks that they're forced to find new ways to overcome. For example when Heracles fights the Nemean Lion, the lion's skin is so thick that it's immune to any sort of weapon. Swords, arrows and clubs just bounce off so he's forced to strangle it with his bare hands.

                      If I were to run a Nemean Lion inspired fight in Exalted, I might make the behemoth immune (or nearly so) to any sort of weapon damage forcing characters to use unarmed attacks. This would, of course, suck for players who invested heavily into Melee or Archery or Thrown. So I might include something like baby Nemean Lions which, though strong, haven't had their skin thicken to the point of being immune to weapon damage. So when the brawler rushes in to confront the Nemean Lion, its babies start charging in to kill the brawler, so the rest of the circle has to fight them off. This would be a fight where the brawler gets the spotlight, but at the same time the rest of the group contributes because if the brawler had to fight the lion and all of its cubs at the same time he'd die.

                      So I guess under specific circumstances I'm okay with something in Exalted having a hard "NO" for what can affect it, but I would use those very rarely and judiciously. I wouldn't say, "Okay guys, another Nemean Lion approaches you. Yes this is the 9th one you've fought, so sorry to everyone who still hasn't invested in unarmed fighting, I guess you get to sit this fight out. Again.

                      Ultimately the idea of "things that can't be defeated until you find their weakness or figure out a way to bypass their strength" is a staple both in Exalted and in the inspirations that Exalted are based on, so I'm okay with seeing stuff like that occasionally crop in Exalted. Again though, it has to be fairly rare and STs shouldn't be using it as a cheap way to fuck over their players. Things like that are only good when it allows a player to briefly get the spotlight and have a cool moment (eg; this ghost is basically invincible until the scholar recites the poem he uncovered that negates the ghost's power and causes its minions to turn on it - now the rest of the players can slaughter it).

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                        I also tend to not like doing this to players because it feels cheap and unfair. Like if you have a PC that's just going full Heaven Thunder Hammer and destroying everything, so one day you say "Yeah you knocked that temple guard good, right through 3 supporting pillars, the temple starts collapsing around you and the people your circle is trying to protect" it feels like punishing success, or just pulling the rug out.
                        I feel as though it's the wrong priority to play scenery damage as demonstrating unintended consequences, but the battle having been so intense that the building it takes place in starts to fall and the characters need to escape or help other people within to escape (possibly by trying to hold sections of the masonry up) also sounds like it would be a suitable way to cap an action setpiece.

                        I'm not saying to always do it, more that some ways to frame it should have higher priority. Setting it up closer for collateral damage seems like it should be reserved for playing off of occasions where somebody is deliberately playing their character as very cavalier about collateral damage, and maybe occasionally for something where the tone is concerned with depicting high levels of destruction.

                        As for the topic, my perspective on the thing is very direct with the idea that for all of the game's mechanical intricacies and narrative weight given to the Exalted themselves, sometimes you just might want something that makes for a particular kind of action sequence or weird encounter, and it's not a bad thing to take an expedient route in depicting that.

                        Although I'm wondering about our hypothetical Nemean Lion, if withering attacks would still work.


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

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                        • #27
                          Exalted is not a hidden information game.

                          Defensive abilities are declared after attacking abilities.

                          If a player Decisives the Ghost House with 9,001i the ST should declare as part of the defense, before the roll, that the house isn't going to die.


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

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                          • #28
                            I feel like some of it would be based on how you present the things. Like the haunted house not taking damage because its shunting damage to areas the players aren't seeing, possibly to cause them problems later when that wall they tried to obliterate results in missing floor, especially if it fits the theme or mood you're trying for. The bulb thing on the fang blossom, yeah if you just go "Okay you break past the vines hit it as hard as you can with your goremaul as you can and nothing happens because the minion vines are still in place." Yeah the player is probably gonna be miffed bit better if its, "Right you break past the vines smash the main bulb into the dirt with your goremaul, the bulb looks crushed and gooey. The vines are still going, and they just tighten like they're digging in deeper and you're watching as the main bulb just in moments doesn't look much worse for wear than before you smashed it." I admit hardly perfect, but it gets the idea of what needs to be done to make the bulb stay dead while giving some reason why the big hit failed to kill the thing.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                              Also, in retrospect it bothers me deeply that Exalted 2e had not one but TWO adventures centered on forcing on us a magical plague that can't be dealt with by any charms whatsoever, require questing for that plot device-mandated miracle cure AND were possibly jumpstarted by the actions of a Deathknight. Within a year from each other - what, was there some secret required quotas of these we were unaware of?
                              What I find so silly about that is that (outside of some stuff in DotFA) Solar Medicine isn't an effective tool for stopping an entire plague and more just saving the people directly in front of you.


                              I’ve moved to Sword of Creation, thank you to everyone who helped made the Exalted community these past few years.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                                That was the question I posed: how to you design enemies that encourage lateral problem solving to defeat, without giving them some sort of "rule breaking" ability?
                                Usually you do it by making kiling the enemies to not be the best (or even good) solution. If it is, people will default to just piling more power. Unless you introduce some railroad mechanics that a lot of players will end up having problems with.

                                Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                                I also tend to not like doing this to players because it feels cheap and unfair. Like if you have a PC that's just going full Heaven Thunder Hammer and destroying everything, so one day you say "Yeah you knocked that temple guard good, right through 3 supporting pillars, the temple starts collapsing around you and the people your circle is trying to protect" it feels like punishing success, or just pulling the rug out.
                                That's not the type of unintended consequences i had in mind. More like that, while killing enemies may solve some of your problems, it's almost certain to introduce new ones - some of which you may not like. So, it often pays to think of other potenial solutions that might be better in the long run.




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

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