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Wizard's Panoply - How to play a mage in Exalted [Collection, WIP]

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  • Wizard's Panoply - How to play a mage in Exalted [Collection, WIP]

    Playing as a sorcerer in Exalted is like playing a Real-Time-Strategy video game. They cast their spells only in safety and privacy. Flinging firefalls at enemies is not what a Sorcerer of Creation does.
    For all who still want the alternative, this thread. I'm trying to collect ideas, Artifacts, Charms, Backgrounds, Merits, Mutations and even Houserules that help design a mage type playable character as envisioned by D&D, Mage: the Awakening and similar games:
    Freeform magic, prepared Spells, summoned minions, magic that helps even inside combat time. And throwing fireballs at enemies, laughing manically!
    Please comment or post other suggestions. This list is not complete, but it wants to be once it's grown up. Only you can help with that!





    So far this list is about 2.5E, I will add a list for 3E once it's out.



    This list uses following tags to be easily searchable:
    • [MINION] allows you to summon/control/bind a creature and use their powers for yourself
    • [TRIGGER] allows preparation of Spells long before their usage
    • [FREEFORM] allows freeform magic
    Wizard's Panoply





    Artifacts
    • Metasorcerous Phylactery - prepare Spells and bind them to triggers; or warp their manifestation (DOTFA2, p. 117) [TRIGGER]
    • Crucible of Tarim - prepare Spells as usable vials with a long ritual (BOS3, p. 42) [TRIGGER]
    • Spell-Capturing Cords - catch other's or prepare your own Spells with a misc. action (BOS3, p.39) [TRIGGER]
    • Yasal Crystal - captured Spirits allow you to use their Charms (CORE, p. 381) [MINION]
    • Singing Staff - manipulate earth into a specific shape (CORE, p. 392)
    • Fire Lance - a large staff like object that can shoot fireballs? great! (BOS1, p.77)
    • Essence Wall Projector - allows creation of barriers (BOS1 , p.68)
    • Barrier Sand - create stable walls everywhere you want (MOEPI, p.186)
    • Living Jade Stuff - boosts Terrestrial Elemental Charms immensely (DOTFA2, p. 179)
    Backgrounds
    • Manse - Hearthstone powers deliver all kinds of magical powers
    • Style Background - Wyld stunts allow you to make improvised freeform magic (???) [FREEFORM]
    • Sign of Chaos - Hearthstone which gives you the equivalent Style background (IM) [FREEFORM]
    ​Charms
    • The Time Is Now - summon demons within any single hour [MINION]
    • Most Yozi Charms (only listing especially helpful ones)
    • Mind-Hand Manipulation - use telekinetic force, Principle-Invoking Onslaught makes it freeform magic [FREEFORM]
    • Phantom-Conjuring Performance - allows phantasms and can make actions seem magically enhanced
    • Memory-Reweaving Discipline - sufficiently advanced performance is indistinguishable from magic [FREEFORM]
    • Instant Treatment Methodology - replaces "healing spells" for Solars
    • Anointment of Miraculous Health - buff party members with additional health levels
    • Wyld-Shaping Technique - if you houserule the total breaking of Crafts away it still allows a simple and very useful form of freeform magic [FREEFORM]
    • Shinmaic Calibration - endgame Charm that allows freeform magic in a wider sense than any other [FREEFORM]
    • Keen Understanding of the Core Imperfection - allows you to find a way to destroy objects which is a primary job for every mage
    • Generalized Ammunition Technique - use objects as projectiles [FREEFORM]
    • Many Missiles Bow Technique - change arrows into special effects [FREEFORM]
    ​Mutations
    • Hive - another form of using minions in battle (CORE, p. 290) [MINION]
    • Essence Attack - throw projectiles out of essence, like a fireball (SOH, p.134)
    Houserules
    • ?
    Last edited by Nephtys; 09-03-2014, 06:35 PM.


    Complete the Wizard's Panoply [How to be a mage in Creation]

  • #2
    *reserved*


    Complete the Wizard's Panoply [How to be a mage in Creation]

    Comment


    • #3
      For Dragon-Blooded wizards, the Living Jade Staff is a must. It gives a host of enhancements to DB Charms, allows use of Elemental Expression and functions as an improved elemental lens (it bolsters healing charms as well as damage). Dragon-blooded elemental attack charms are probably the best fit for D&D style fireball attacks.

      The Sign of Chaos is a hearthstone that grants the Style background.

      Also a hearthstone that lets you send people to sleep by looking at them. And one that lets you shoot from your eyes. Could be just the thing.
      Last edited by Crumplepunch; 08-24-2014, 05:41 PM.


      Currently writing for Exigents.

      Comment


      • #4
        On the offchance that I ever end up running an game before 3rd Edition, I've come up with the following houserules for Sorcery:

        You only need to Initiate in to the highest level of Sorcery available to you.
        You gain 5 free spells when you take Terrestrial Sorcery, 3 free spells when you take Celestial Sorcery, and 1 free spell with Solar Sorcery.
        All spell costs are halved if you possess a level of Sorcery higher than the circle you're casting from.

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        • #5
          The thing is that playing a sorcerer in Exalted is less about what you play and more about how you play it. Sadly when you start playing a sorcery character strategically, many people dislike it because it bypasses direct combat.

          I had a sorcerer character that started with just three spells and a Trap Manse, he was able to crush nations. Use Shadow Theft to get some ones shadow, use Demon of the First Circle or Summon Elemental (your choice to fit your character) to get a supernatural delivery minion to take the shadow crystal to your trap manse, then you can just sit back and wait for the target to go looking for their shadow, eventually going to that manse and being killed. The third spell in the arsenal was Disguise of the New Face and was used when making deals with the npcs who would replace the people who would lose their shadows. This way you start generating a massive number of background dots in Resources, Influence, Allies, etc. and no one can easily identify you because you never show your true face or use your real name in these meetings.

          If we are talking AD&D style mages here, throwing Fireballs left and right is only a fraction of the play styles available. Illusionists, Necromancers, Abjurers, Conjurers, etc. are all valid builds and play styles. But if you think about it, Mages are supposed to be highly educated individuals who favor a cerebral approach to things, casting fire balls is the mage equivalent to "I bash it with my axe".

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JayTee View Post
            On the offchance that I ever end up running an game before 3rd Edition, I've come up with the following houserules for Sorcery:

            You only need to Initiate in to the highest level of Sorcery available to you.
            You gain 5 free spells when you take Terrestrial Sorcery, 3 free spells when you take Celestial Sorcery, and 1 free spell with Solar Sorcery.
            All spell costs are halved if you possess a level of Sorcery higher than the circle you're casting from.
            Ooof. I think you may be underestimating how potent Terrestrial and Celestial sorcery are. Five spells is a vastly better deal than anything else characters could get with that XP cost.

            Oh hey, I thought of another thing for Dragon-blooded wizards. Aside from Elemental Bolt, they have two overtly magical attacks in Awareness and magical attack/defence in Performance. You could even defend by playing your Singing Staff.


            Currently writing for Exigents.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Crumplepunch View Post
              For Dragon-Blooded wizards, the Living Jade Staff is a must.
              I searched both my books and google. Can you give me a page reference for the staff?


              That being said, I'm amazed how much Terrestrial Charms scream mage to me. Awareness, Peformance, Lore of course, and a lot more. Never really considered that before.


              Complete the Wizard's Panoply [How to be a mage in Creation]

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Nephtys View Post
                I searched both my books and google. Can you give me a page reference for the staff?


                That being said, I'm amazed how much Terrestrial Charms scream mage to me. Awareness, Peformance, Lore of course, and a lot more. Never really considered that before.
                It's under Saibok Guato's profile in Lords of Creation. It badly needs nerfing (overwhelming ten!), but overall it's very cool. I recommend switching out its base profile for a 2.5 Grand Goremaul or just cutting it to O3 and calling it a day. It has a number of very useful utility powers which combined make it a solid but not game-breaking Artifact 5.
                Last edited by Crumplepunch; 08-25-2014, 09:53 AM.


                Currently writing for Exigents.

                Comment


                • #9
                  So do you have plans on posting any specific build splats that takes advantage of the panoply?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Savare View Post
                    So do you have plans on posting any specific build splats that takes advantage of the panoply?
                    The problem is that there aren't many "general" builds. If you want to be covered for all purposes, a Sidereal with CCS and Yasal Crystals is king. If you want to use brute force sorcery, a Malefactor with a Metasorcerous Phylactery.
                    Then there are the thousands way to play around with sorcercy described by Toth.

                    Sorcery in 2E is so damn broken that there is only insanely lame (Imbue Amalgam and Co) or totally useless. No one can play a Sorcerer for real without help by the ST (in form of specific artifacts, scenes utilizing specific spells, or complete houserules). You cannot optimize for such cases, because it's houserule territory. Of course you can also build templates about style, which is a far better guideline here. So far I can't seem to split up "mage characters" into multiple aspects (which would be great for a general guide), but I'm sure someone will be able to.


                    Originally posted by Crumplepunch View Post

                    It's under Saibok Guato's profile in Lords of Creation. It badly needs nerfing (overwhelming ten!), but overall it's very cool. I recommend switching out its base profile for a 2.5 Grand Goremaul or just cutting it to O3 and calling it a day. It has a number of very useful utility powers which combined make it a solid but not game-breaking Artifact 5.
                    Holy sh*t, I'm always overseeing those artifacts... great stuff!


                    Complete the Wizard's Panoply [How to be a mage in Creation]

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Thoth View Post

                      If we are talking AD&D style mages here, throwing Fireballs left and right is only a fraction of the play styles available. Illusionists, Necromancers, Abjurers, Conjurers, etc. are all valid builds and play styles. But if you think about it, Mages are supposed to be highly educated individuals who favor a cerebral approach to things, casting fire balls is the mage equivalent to "I bash it with my axe".
                      I m not sure if exalted will ever quite get to the level of feeling like a wizard in the way of DnD. In DnD it's pretty easy to get a large spell book and feel like the master of conjuration as well as the standard wizard trappings of prestidigitation and unseen servant and such. Exalted spells being available for use and costing the same xp as charms just doesn't allow for that. In DnD featherfall is a great spell to prepare, it's one of maybe ten in your daily list and it's situationally very helpful. In exalted it would never be worth the 8xp for the sparse times that you'd use it (this is ignoring the fact that most exalts can survive terminal velocity falls)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                        I m not sure if exalted will ever quite get to the level of feeling like a wizard in the way of DnD. In DnD it's pretty easy to get a large spell book and feel like the master of conjuration as well as the standard wizard trappings of prestidigitation and unseen servant and such. Exalted spells being available for use and costing the same xp as charms just doesn't allow for that. In DnD featherfall is a great spell to prepare, it's one of maybe ten in your daily list and it's situationally very helpful. In exalted it would never be worth the 8xp for the sparse times that you'd use it (this is ignoring the fact that most exalts can survive terminal velocity falls)
                        The weird thing is that the mechanics of AD&D mages partially forces the player to think in a tactical mindset since unlike charms the spells have to be selected ahead of time.

                        In Exalted the mechanics tend to allow for a more frenetic pace and mind set. But at the same time there is still the possibility for tactical play styles, the players just have to be more creative about it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Thoth View Post

                          The weird thing is that the mechanics of AD&D mages partially forces the player to think in a tactical mindset since unlike charms the spells have to be selected ahead of time.

                          In Exalted the mechanics tend to allow for a more frenetic pace and mind set. But at the same time there is still the possibility for tactical play styles, the players just have to be more creative about it.
                          I sadly can't remember AD&D, I was just getting into it when 3.0 was coming out. 5.0 is pretty good though. It lets you have a wide range of fairly powerful skills, but picking them beforehand prevents the absolute applicability from getting out of hand and only having a certain amount per day makes it a damn big deal when you bust out that x-level spell, where x is the level you just got. Exalted did get that feel for sure, when you crack off a Total Annihilation it's a pretty big deal, even if it's the majority of your mote pool you did something epic.

                          The thing is, spells like The Parting of the Seas can be used cleverly in a few different ways, it's mostly really damn good at it's one job. Which would be fine for a DnD spell, you have it in your spellbook, likely from a former encounter, and you prepare it for whatever plan you have or if you might think you need it, but it's okay if you only ever use it once. A spell in exalted that you only ever use once feels like a huge waste, especially since there are even spells like summon demon which you can use the crap out of, although I don't really feel like being a person who summons demons for everything that a demon could be used for, it's okay for some characters, but I'd prefer others to accomplish goals with epic sorcerous workings.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            I sadly can't remember AD&D, I was just getting into it when 3.0 was coming out. 5.0 is pretty good though.
                            I guess my 1980's are showing. I still remember AD&D 1.0 and all its wonky mechanics. I really got into it in 2nd edition and switched to White Wolf products just as 3.0 came out.

                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                            The thing is, spells like The Parting of the Seas can be used cleverly in a few different ways, it's mostly really damn good at it's one job. Which would be fine for a DnD spell, you have it in your spellbook, likely from a former encounter, and you prepare it for whatever plan you have or if you might think you need it, but it's okay if you only ever use it once. A spell in exalted that you only ever use once feels like a huge waste, especially since there are even spells like summon demon which you can use the crap out of, although I don't really feel like being a person who summons demons for everything that a demon could be used for, it's okay for some characters, but I'd prefer others to accomplish goals with epic sorcerous workings.
                            I think part of the issue for me is that with exalted mechanics there is little reason to be as creative as other games forced you to be.

                            Consider the "River of Blood" terrestrial sorcery spell. To most people that I discussed it with, it is an under powered spell that is a gimmick at best and a waste of xp at worst. You can only use it in specific circumstances, it doesn't technically do much but foul a water source for a limited time and the local plant life suffers. It is more of a plot device for an NPC to use as symbol of their power.

                            How ever I have used it to produce mass amounts of fresh blood to feed a ghostly army, which makes undead armies in Creation far more viable. I have used it as method to bait ghosts who are avoiding my group in a game. I have used it as a defoliant to clear over grown ancient cities since all plant life within a mile of its use wither and die. I have used it as a siege weapon that destroys a water source and automatically causes a sickness affect in mortals who stay in the area. If you also have the spell "Water from Stone" then you can produce a water source pretty much where ever you want and can then use "River of Blood" with far greater utility.

                            So you can sort of see what I am talking about how a person uses a given spell is just as important as what spells they know. Total Annihilation is a sweet spell, but at the same time you don't have to wait until Solar Circle Sorcery to bring a city to its knees or to feel like an all powerful sorcerer.

                            As a side note I did find a way to replicate the feel of the old AD&D mage mechanics in Exalted. You play a Terrestrial sorcerer with access to a manse that has both an integrated utility artifact crucible of tarim and then a guardian (high power elemental or bound god) which has access to celestial circle sorcery. Before leaving for your adventure you have to pick what spell vials are created and how many of them you can safely carry. Once you use those spell vials, that is it until you can get back to the manse. Incidentally I found this to be a great way to increase the power of Wyld Hunts without needing to add sidereals to them.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Thoth View Post

                              As a side note I did find a way to replicate the feel of the old AD&D mage mechanics in Exalted. You play a Terrestrial sorcerer with access to a manse that has both an integrated utility artifact crucible of tarim and then a guardian (high power elemental or bound god) which has access to celestial circle sorcery. Before leaving for your adventure you have to pick what spell vials are created and how many of them you can safely carry. Once you use those spell vials, that is it until you can get back to the manse. Incidentally I found this to be a great way to increase the power of Wyld Hunts without needing to add sidereals to them.
                              That does sound pretty awesome, lets you keep a vast repertoire of abilities without going overboard.

                              Totally agree with river of blood, there's other spells like that too like impenetrable sphere of water/air. Use it to fill a submerged cavern with breathable air, protect yourself from noxious gasses, drink it in the desert ect. Its great and almost always well worth the XP cost. I don't have my books at the moment, but I recall some being less...open to creative use. Like one that shatters a ships mast? It's cool and really good at the one thing it does well, which isn't a bad thing at all. I just wish there was a less exploit-ey way to get access to it without spending xp. I'm not quite sure how to do that without being too close to DnDs prepared spells, but then again I'm not too sure that is a thing that should be explicitly avoided. Isn't it kind of a theme for pulp fantasy sorcerers to have certain things prepared, talismans and rites and focuses and components and stuff?

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