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The Castes, their abilities, and Supernals

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  • The Castes, their abilities, and Supernals

    So I was staring at the Caste ability spreads and organized them in reverse, by which ability is owned by whom.

    Archery, Brawl, Melee, Thrown-Dawn Only
    Performance, Survival-Zenith Only
    Stealth-Night only
    Craft, Medicine-Twilight only
    Sail-Eclipse Only
    War, Resistance-Dawn or Zenith
    Awareness, Dodge-Dawn or Night
    Athletics-Zenith or Night
    Integrity, Lore-Zenith or Twilight
    Presence-Zenith or Eclipse
    Larceny, Ride, Socialize-Night or Eclipse
    Investigation-Twilight or Night
    Bureaucracy, Linguistics, Occult-Twilight or Eclipse

    So, Dawn has four unique Abilities all to itself to Supernal. Basically if you want to make the best warrior in the group, you just have to make a Dawn. That's...kinda cool, actually. They could have spread the abilities out, but this did a lot to preserve the Dawn's prowess in battle.

    Performance and Survival are Zenith only. If you want to make a character who trains animals or speaks to crowds, he better* be a Zenith. I'm not sure I like that, but oh well.

    Craft and Medicine are Twilight only. All the greatest crafters and doctors are Twilights. I think I'm okay with this.

    Stealth is Night only. Cool.

    Sail is Eclipse only. An odd choice for the one unique schtick of the diplomats. They're not the sailing caste, right?

    Further analysis. Notable multi-caste abilities (to me) include Occult, which Eclipses are good at as well, and War and Athletics, which are also Zenith.

    So Dawn has the most unique Caste/Favored options at 4, Twilight and Zenith are next at 2, and Night and Eclipse are tied with 1.

    Most closely associated Castes go to Twilight and Eclipse, with 3 abilities shared. Tied with Night and Eclipse again, 3 abilities shared.

    And of course Dawn has the least in common with other Castes, having 4 unique abilities. It has nothing in common with Twilight or Eclipse at all.

    Oh, no ability is favored by 3 castes. Huh.

    *Note: I exaggerate when it comes to Supernals. You don't need a Supernal to be great at something. It certainly helps though. Personally, if I were to make a character concept that was "I'm going to be the best there ever was at X", I would be consulting this chart to make sure I picked the right caste for my Supernal. YMMV and all.



    Sorry for the mess.

    Edit addition: Night and Zenith are the only castes with something in common with every other caste.
    Last edited by Childofthesun1; 11-01-2015, 05:33 PM.


    Don't feel bad. People tell the developers they get Exalted wrong all the time. -hippokrene

  • #2
    Originally posted by Childofthesun1 View Post
    Basically if you want to make the best warrior in the group, you just have to make a Dawn.

    Performance and Survival are Zenith only. If you want to make a character who trains animals or speaks to crowds, he better* be a Zenith. I'm not sure I like that, but oh well.

    Craft and Medicine are Twilight only. All the greatest crafters and doctors are Twilights. I think I'm okay with this.
    I don't consider this accurate. Certainly Supernal helps, but I don't the intent is to be as one-stop as you paint it.

    A more accurate statement is, "If you want access to E5 offensive combat charms at chargen, you have to be a Dawn." Having E5 combat Charms might make you a better warrior, but there's a lot of effective combinations to be had from, say, E1 Melee Charms and Supernal Athletics on a Zenith, or E1 Archery Charms and Supernal Stealth on a Night. Simply having a Supernal doesn't necessarily mean you'll be the most effective fighter, just that you probably have the highest essence fighting Charms.

    Originally posted by Childofthesun1 View Post
    Sail is Eclipse only. An odd choice for the one unique schtick of the diplomats. They're not the sailing caste, right?
    Eclipses being diplomats never really was borne out by their mechanics, except for their immunity anima power. A better tagline for them is "circuit-riding lawyers who fit in with every culture they meet."

    Originally posted by Childofthesun1 View Post
    *Note: I exaggerate when it comes to Supernals. You don't need a Supernal to be great at something.
    Glad you acknowledge this

    My biggest complaint with Supernal is it reinforces and even encourages caste stereotyping, which I've always found to be boring and reductive.
    Last edited by Zelbinnean; 11-01-2015, 05:41 PM.


    "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

    "Happiness is very brittle and short-lived in the Exalted community, because ressentiment is our cultural touchstone." --Gayo

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Zelbinnean View Post
      I don't consider this accurate. Certainly Supernal helps, but I don't the intent is to be as one-stop as you paint it.

      A more accurate statement is, "If you want access to E5 offensive combat charms at chargen, you have to be a Dawn." Having E5 combat Charms might make you a better warrior, but there's a lot of effective combinations to be had from, say, E1 Melee Charms and Supernal Athletics on a Zenith, or E1 Archery Charms and Supernal Stealth on a Night. Simply having a Supernal doesn't necessarily mean you'll be the most effective fighter, just that you probably have the highest essence fighting Charms.


      Eclipses being diplomats never really was borne out by their mechanics, except for their immunity anima power. A better tagline for them is "circuit-riding lawyers who fit in with every culture they meet."


      Glad you acknowledge this

      My biggest complaint with Supernal is it reinforces and even encourages caste stereotyping, which I've always found to be boring and reductive.
      Yep, Supernals aren't everything, but they are big.

      Yeah, perhaps thankfully, combat is about more than just hitting stuff with your choice of pointy object. Having a third of the Brawl tree at chargen with your Supernal might be nice, but the second you get kited by an archer or actually get hit, you'll wish you'd put more in Athletics or Resistance.

      I think Supernal works fine for what it does, which is differentiating two characters that favor melee and have it at 5 dots. I don't think it pigeon-holes characters too badly, though I am wondering what I'm going to say to my player who loves Night Caste characters and wants to make a pokemon trainer with the new Survival or Occult Charm trees. That'll be frustrating, I think.


      Don't feel bad. People tell the developers they get Exalted wrong all the time. -hippokrene

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Zelbinnean View Post
        My biggest complaint with Supernal is it reinforces and even encourages caste stereotyping, which I've always found to be boring and reductive.
        Everything but this makes sense to me. At what point does caste identity become caste stereotyping? Are anima powers forcing stereotypes too? I can't see where these things go too far.


        When all the world was very young
        And mountain magic heavy hung
        The supermen would walk in file
        Guardians of a loveless isle

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Childofthesun1 View Post
          Sail is Eclipse only. An odd choice for the one unique schtick of the diplomats. They're not the sailing caste, right?
          Originally posted by Zelbinnean View Post
          Eclipses being diplomats never really was borne out by their mechanics, except for their immunity anima power. A better tagline for them is "circuit-riding lawyers who fit in with every culture they meet."
          Also, while they can't take it as supernal, they're the only ones who can natively learn Eclipse charm-share powers. It's named after them, after all.


          Also, I think it's interesting that while you looked at what the "unique" abilities said about these castes, I was looking at where they overlap, and what roles would fit in that edge territory.

          Note, I'm generalising from now on. You can't talk about statistics and trends without generalising. You can't even say "Things fall down" without generalising, since helium balloons and Haslanti Air ships float up. So any "Reducing castes to stereotypes" - yes, I do that, and it's necessary for this kind of conversation.

          War and Resistance is both Dawn and Zenith - obvious for the dawn (leading armies and getting hit a lot), but also fitting for the religious leader - war helps with crusades, and resistance because "enduring hardship" seems to be en vogue with these kind of guys.
          Awarness and Dodge for Dawn and Night - either can be a ninja, depending on which half of "Silent Killer" you want to focus more on. (A Dawn is far more likely to end up as a bright purple highly visible ninja.)
          Athletics can be either Zenith or Night. Although I guess this comes from focusing on different aspects of this ability - the expected focus for night is mobility, while a Zenith can play Samson. Turning that around is an exercise left to the player.
          Integrity and Lore - be it the wise guru or the power-hungry mage, both are a rich in knowledge and will.
          Presence - Priest and diplomat do have this in common, I guess. The diplomat just prefers the one-on-one talk, hence, no performance for Eclipse.
          Night and Eclipse both have everything necessary to be James Bond style socialite spies - just replace cars with horses.
          Twilight and Eclipse both deal with spirits - one in his function as seeker of secrets and power, the other as mediator. One studies ancient languages for knowledge, the other talks to everyone. Both keep organisations running, because, I guess, the Twilight needs the backing for his craft/sorcery projects, while the eclipse needs his information networks and circle of contacts. They don't seem to actually share a role, yet they have a huge overlap in competencies.


          Silencing Whisper, Eclipse; Amethyst, Changing Moon;
          Daughter of Charcoal and Ash, Dusk, and her Full Moon sister;
          Broken Crystal, Infernal (Night-, or maybe Twilight-equivalent).

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          • #6
            Your character can throw out four attacks and not care about onslaught penalties regardless of how many opponents they are fighting at essence 1 with Melee. Supernal Melee is really cool but actually probably more so beyond character creation so you can leap up to those essence 3-4 charms. Your starting character bread and butter is actually those incredibly efficient essence 1 charms like Excellent Strike, One Weapon Two Blows, Peony Blossom Technique, Dipping Swallow Defence, Bulwark Stance and Solar Counter-attack. Half a dozen charms that turn you into an enemy shredding monster on the field.

            Of course, from there as a Dawn with Supernal Melee you can take Heavenly Guardian Defence, Flashing Edge of the Dawn and the Fire And Stones Strike into Rising Sun Slash into Foe Cleaving Focus and Perfect Strike Discipline. Now that's scary. "Okay you attacked me, so I am going to use Flashing Edge of the Dawn to interrupt you now, and spend 1wp to get a free full excellency(!) and probably some motes back if I roll a couple of 10s or more, and then convert some of my excesses into straight up auto-successes on the withering damage roll... and now using all of that initiative I just took off you I'll roll a free decisive damage attack that doesn't even reset me! Oh you're already dead? Cool, cool."

            What I want to know is, if they go first and I Flashing Edge of the Dawn and actually reduce their Initiative below my own, can I then reflexively activate One Weapon Two Blows? Because if you can then oh man. Oh man. That's so fucking scary. You're not dead after all that? Okay I'll stab you again now. And I haven't even had my go yet.

            Sorry, I've just been making a Supernal Melee Dawn today and Ex3 Melee is cool as fuck you guys.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Solar
              Ex3 Melee is cool as fuck you guys
              Yes, while I love all of the combat Abilities (and all of them in general), there's something about the Melee I find indescribably striking more than the others. Particularly Blazing Solar Bolt, which I think really lives up to its image for the first time ever. Perhaps it's because I keep comfortably seeing them all being wielded by the Lord of Cinder (which is also why I keep fixating on Fiery Solar Chakram). Although... does War count as a combat Ability?


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

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              • #8
                Literally the only thing in the melee charms that saddens me is the 1wp cost to Glorious Solar Saber (sic). I'd use that as my sole weapon, if it wasn't for the wp cost.

                Blazing Solar Bolt is spectacularly cool though, yes. With Sharp Light of Judgement Stance you can also enhance it to do Aggravated Damage to people you hate, which is a nice little touch. In fact thinking about it, I guess you can use plenty of melee charms to enhance Blazing Solar Bolt, and perhaps you can use it when another charm lets you use a decisive attack as well? That'd be fun, as a GM I'd probably allow it. After all, BSB aint cheap to use!

                Willpower. That's what a Solar Swordsman needs. Willpower! It's probably the Dawn's most needed resource. Initiative you can get easy, resets you get a free one, motes you can recharge and there are charms for that too, but Willpower is the tricky one due to the sheer amount of fantastic melee charms that cost wp. Maybe there are other charms that I need to investigate for that...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Solar View Post
                  Literally the only thing in the melee charms that saddens me is the 1wp cost to Glorious Solar Saber (sic). I'd use that as my sole weapon, if it wasn't for the wp cost.
                  I feel like the guy who wills a sword into existence to kill people must have a lot of strong convictions. He's probably not doing that because someone cut in line. So I think that works pretty well, actually - what kind of powerful beliefs can you give to your character that would keep the WP flowing?

                  To be clear I'm not advocating gaming intimacies to get easy WP (e.g. Defining Principle of I must fight people with a sword made of sunshine). In fact it's kind of the opposite: how can your character be so righteous that he will often speak up and, if necessary, pull out the GSS to settle the matter? He should be making some trouble of his own rather than waiting for it to come to him.


                  When all the world was very young
                  And mountain magic heavy hung
                  The supermen would walk in file
                  Guardians of a loveless isle

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Which is cool and all, but it's like, the previous Charm in that run is Summoning the Loyal Steel, which lets me bring a Daiklave into existence for, like, 3m. And sure, I have to already own that Daiklave and all, but it's literally doing almost the exact same thing but it's not actually made of golden light. You can buy evocations for it... just like a regular Daiklave. You can make it really awesome on top, which is extra cool... but costs another Willpower. 2wp is a very substantial cost in Ex3.

                    Not insurmountable, mind. But still, just seems a bit steep. And it's a simple action to do. Of course, it is incredibly cool to just create this flaring golden blade of molten sunlight and then start slashing away with all of the other sweet, flashy melee charms as well. A Solar with Glorious Solar Sabre and Heavenly Guardian Defence can literally be standing naked on top of an exploding volcano and go "nope" which is awesome.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Solar View Post
                      Literally the only thing in the melee charms that saddens me is the 1wp cost to Glorious Solar Saber (sic). I'd use that as my sole weapon, if it wasn't for the wp cost.
                      Thinking about it from a BP point of view, another WP costs 2BP and a 3 dot Artifact costs 3BP. You can think of Molten Sun Blade like a free evocation, many of which cost 1WP.

                      So you're down an action, and you've got regen to worry about if your into multiple combats a day, but you're up a bonus point and you're swinging around sunshine.


                      Sidereal Jumpstart (3e fanwork Charmset)
                      Cascades (the above in flowchart form)

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                      • #12
                        Being down an action makes me sad too. I'd like a custom charm that lets me use GSS reflexively and lets me pay one wp to create the blade, but thereafter it is stored in elsewhere forever (so effectively you only have to pay the charm cost once). The additional effect of molten fire you'd still have to pay each time however, scene length duration.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Solar View Post
                          Being down an action makes me sad too. I'd like a custom charm that lets me use GSS reflexively and lets me pay one wp to create the blade, but thereafter it is stored in elsewhere forever (so effectively you only have to pay the charm cost once). The additional effect of molten fire you'd still have to pay each time however, scene length duration.
                          I feel like a decent E4 upgrade Charm would make the Charm reflexive as long as you drew the blade on your turn, and would waive the willpower cost. Cool idea.


                          Don't feel bad. People tell the developers they get Exalted wrong all the time. -hippokrene

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Childofthesun1 View Post

                            I feel like a decent E4 upgrade Charm would make the Charm reflexive as long as you drew the blade on your turn, and would waive the willpower cost. Cool idea.
                            I would make the Charm reflexive without the need to drew it on your turn, but anyone with an essence sight can see you have a blade around you. Or the blade can come out reflexively when you move up from dim level anima for the first time in the combat.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tikor View Post
                              Thinking about it from a BP point of view, another WP costs 2BP and a 3 dot Artifact costs 3BP.
                              doesn't even out. You have to pay the willpower each time you use the blade, which might be more often then you can regain willpower.


                              Silencing Whisper, Eclipse; Amethyst, Changing Moon;
                              Daughter of Charcoal and Ash, Dusk, and her Full Moon sister;
                              Broken Crystal, Infernal (Night-, or maybe Twilight-equivalent).

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