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  • DrLoveMonkey
    started a topic Thoughs on 'Rule Breaking'

    Thoughs on 'Rule Breaking'

    So in a lot of campaigns have kind of BS things go on in them. For examples..

    Contagion of Law: There's a contagion you can inflict on someone using the Contagion of Hate artifact. So as a disease any Solar healer could just- nope, it's not ACTUALLY a disease, it just functions like one in every way, but it's a mind thing, your Solar medicine charms specifically don't work on it.

    Disease of an Evil Conscious: Oddly...just the same thing. It's a disease that no charm or sorcery can touch. Also in this adventure the Emerald Bull, an invincible behemoth that can only be tripped up or distracted, not incapacitated directly.

    Dungeon of the Mad Mage: No teleportation can get you from floor to floor, the walls and floors are immune to magical destruction, no magical message can reach those within from without.

    Forlorn Manor from Hundred Devil Night Parade: Ghost house's heart can not take any decisive damage and doesn't suffer initiative crash as long as it has one zombie remaining, and otherwise all other parts of the house are invincible and rebuild one round after being destroyed.

    Fang Blossom, also from HDNP, although less of an 'adventure' here: Main bulb also just doesn't die no matter what until all its vines are dead first.



    There's a lot of stuff in there that's just not something I think I would ever personally do? Does it ruin Exalted to tell the Dawn "Yeah I know you just dealt like, 60 damage to this thing, but as long as the Heart of Cruel Iron remains unshattered, it does not die"

    Or does it actually bring it more in line with a lot of the myths associated with it? The hydra can't be slain by just chopping its head off, no matter how hard or how many times you do it, you need to burn the stumps. The Nemean Lion will not be slain by club or spear, it MUST be strangled, or it won't die. The Chimera can only be slain by driving a lead spear into its fire breathing mouth. A werewolf can't be killed by bronze or iron, only silver, if you don't have silver, you need to get some first.

    Obviously it depends on the group and blah blah blah, but worth considering doing more of?

  • Jefepato
    replied
    The thing from Dungeon of the Mad Mage doesn't bother me as much because warding against teleportation and whatnot is something you can actually do within the D&D rules.

    Warding the entire goddamn dungeon sounds like an unreasonably large endeavor, but it's not strictly against the rules. Apparently Halaster Blackcloak has nothing better to do with his time.

    It's obnoxious, and definitely lazy writing (it would be more interesting if there were some ways around it), but nowhere near as bullshit as "no Solar Charm can affect this disease."

    The walls, floors and ceilings being totally immune to magic is 100% bullshit though. I'd be fine with it being unusually difficult, or needing to make a caster level check, but it shouldn't be impossible.

    (Also, it's not "no magical message can reach those within from without." It's just, very specifically, "Sending spells targeted at Halaster from inside Undermountain get redirected to his secretary." Any other communication stuff, other than that one spell targeted at that one guy from within that particular dungeon, works fine.)

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  • Lioness
    replied
    Yeah, Medicine's better than it was in 2nd edition but that's because the game moved away from perfect spam and rocket tag rather than any particular insights into its role.

    It's weird for Ex3 especially because Craft went out of its way to have a system that made you view every interaction as a potential opportunity for crafting while leaving Medicine focused characters to wait for the next PC injury or plot point.
    Last edited by Lioness; 12-31-2021, 11:48 AM.

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  • Aquillion
    replied
    Originally posted by Lioness View Post
    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.
    Yeah, part of this is scenario writers trying to cram traditional fantasy-RPG quests intended for a lower-power setting into Exalted like a square peg in a round hole... but when it comes to medicine specifically, part of the problem is that Exalted has never really had a clear grasp of what a Heroic Medicine story looks like.

    Medicine often comes across as binary in a very awkward way - either you activate one charm and make the entire story go away, or it does nothing and provides no help whatsoever. You can play out the Healing of Éowyn, but that's pretty much it, and even then Medicine's narrative heft is pretty much limited to that one scene "I can heal this, which no one else can." On top of that even that story has serious problems that make it hard to use as a central point of the game (Exalted can't really be full of ailments that strictly require a Solar to heal, because that would sort of suck when you lack a Solar Healer in your circle. Even requiring a Celestial healer or even an Exalted Healer runs into the same problems.)
    Last edited by Aquillion; 01-02-2022, 10:41 PM.

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  • Simon Darkstep
    replied
    When I get stuck in one of these, I ask my players why something might not work. "Help me out guys, it'll be a short adventure if you can bypass this already!"

    Also, we have a mechanic called Tilt. It's an explicitly cheaty pile of extra dice that evil bosses and the like can use. If we need to use it, Tilt decreases as the Circle completes story sections and dismantles more of the Bad Guy Fun Stuff. The players are aware of it, and I allow something like a dramatic War roll to size up relative power levels, including the present Tilt.

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  • Astralporing
    replied
    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.

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  • Lioness
    replied
    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.

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  • nalak42
    replied
    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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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    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.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    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.

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  • AnubisXy
    replied
    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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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    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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  • DrLoveMonkey
    replied
    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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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    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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  • Astralporing
    replied
    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.

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