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GM manual progression: Charm build combos

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  • GM manual progression: Charm build combos

    While doing my GM guide I'm also doing a small section based on charms themselves, and one section talking about what charms some players can get to get some neat effects because lets face it, it is a rather daunting number of them.

    This DOES NOT aim to analyze each and every charm, but rather what I think are bread and butter or noteable combos within them for both people who have it Supernal'd, ones who wish to invest heavily, or others who want a dabbling interest.

    FOR PLAYERS: BUILD ADVICE

    Now for the beginning players, opening the charm section and looking through it may elict many emotions. First being bewilderment on the sheer volume, possibly followed by confusion on what to actually take. Not just what to take to look cool or take to fill a concept, just what to take period. Thankfully I am here, and I rip apart charm lists for breakfast.

    For this section I will break down each ability and go over their corresponding charms. I’ll have ‘bare bone’ selections on what to take early on to accomplish things I think are cool or particularly effective, followed by a Supernal suggestion which over very powerful combos which one can do if that ability is their supernal ability or if one has Essence 5. I’m not going to go over the charms one by one, that’d take over, but I will mention noteworthy ones.

    In general, for people who manually want to pick out their charms, keep the following in mind:

    Keep your essence level in mind. All the charms in the book are arranged so that you have Essence 1 charms first followed by later essence charms.
    Essence 1 charms are going to be your bread and butter. They’re not something you buy then become obsolete by another charm at Essence 3 or 4. Even dabblers in a charm area would find their capabilities improved many times over with a simple 2-3 charm selections at Essence 1.

    My breakdowns are simple, mentioning what the ability can do with Solar charms followed by the charm packages, listing the charms needed and the requirements needed to do so. For charms I took liberty of counting the amount of charms one would need to buy in order to complete this combo, including prerequisite charms (if any).

    BRAWL

    Brawl in Exalted is the ability one wants to take when they want to inflict real soviet damage to their opponent, breaking opponents across their knees rather quite literally. It has some defenses but they pale in comparison to Dodge or Melee. Brawl instead focuses on being good at clash attacks as part of their offense, and if they fail its going to hurt for you. For this reason is is suggested that one grab Dodge as a main defense or grab some Resistance charms to make it really hard to lose initiative (The fact that some Brawl charms work on Stamina is a good synergy). Athletics is a suggested ability to pair with Brawl, as you do not has nearly as reliable ranged attacks as melee so contesting an opponent’s disengage roll or chasing after them is very important.

    Brawl also has a few main ‘paths’ go down in melee, which are often deeper and do their own thing, but have amazing rewards as well. Such as the striking tree, the grapple tree, and the onslaught tree.

    BRAWL SKELETON PACKAGE
    • Charms (4): Fists of Iron Technique, Falling Hammer Strike, Ferocious Jab, Wind and Stones Defense OR Iron Battle Focus, Thunderclap Rush Attack (OPTIONAL)
    • Requirements: Brawl 4 Essence 1
    • This is what I personally regard as the very core of Solar Brawl, in which a tiny bit more investment is needed it takes off but takes off in an amazing way. Falling Hammer Strike makes it so that your attacks have their onslaught remain on the enemy while Ferocious Jab makes it so that attacks deal +1 damage per onslaught point the opponent suffers with no upper cap to both withering and decisive attacks. This makes it so that most enemies fighting a Brawl specialist will want to take them out literally as quickly as possible, as the longer the battle goes on the more in favor it turns towards you. Fists of Iron Technique makes so that you can potentially ignore a large amount of soak even at Essence 1, while the decisive option lets you deal lethal damage (Nice, but not important in most cases). It’s worth noting that also all the charms I mentioned also cost 1m each, so you only need to spend 3m per attack which is basically amazing for the amount of power you potentially get. For defense one can pick Wind and Stones Defense or Iron Battle Focus. The former is better against single targets while the latter is better if you’re surrounded. If you’re going deep into Dodge you can ignore the defense options most likely and just focus on Dodge. Lastly Thunderclap Rush Attack is optional but a highly recommended charm. Its great if you want to go ahead of an opponent, in which it saves you from a bad join battle roll, or you can use a decisive attack then safely counter with this on the next turn immediately to hardly ever expose a weak spot, or just take a move action then activate this charm to move up to two range brands in a single turn!
    • Also on another note, charms that let one ignore onslaught penalties DO NOT let one potentially ignore the extra damage from Ferocious Jab. Those charms let you ignore it to you defense, not outright eliminate it. Only charms from Gathering Light Concentration let one completely remove onslaught penalties from themselves. This comes from the word of god, AKA the developers themselves. It is highly suggested to do this as Brawl is otherwise kneecapped heavily in one aspect.
    ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA!
    • Charms (3): Hammer On Iron Technique, Falling Hammer Strike, Ferocious Jab
    • Requirements: Brawl 5 Essence 2, as high Stamina or Strength as possible (Ideally 5)
    • The goal for this build is to get onslaught as high as possible immediately from the start of the battle. As soon as you have the initiative to launch the full amount use Hammer On Iron Technique with Falling Hammer Strike. This will cost 9m 1WP, but the result is that you opponent now treats their onslaught value as suffering 4 attacks from the get go (Assuming Strength or Stamina at 5). This allows one to have a fairly hefty damage boost right out of the gate with Ferocious Jab with the potential of also fighting a crippled opponent. Ferocious Jab can also be used with the multi-attack, bringing the total cost of the action up to 13m 1WP but with a fair bit more attack added to it. This effect is greatly enhanced when one has Fivefold Fury Onslaught, not only increasing the attack to a potential 6 but also increasing the damage of an attack by +2 with Ferocious Jab, meaning the 6th attack deals +12 bonus damage! This is often enough to outright paste most opponents, but the downside is that this is an expensive opening at 17m 1WP.
    STRONGER THAN STEEL
    • Charms (8): Falling Hammer Strike, Ferocious Jab, Aegis of Invincible Might
    • Requirements: Brawl 3, Resistance 5, Essence 5, ideally Stamina 5
    • A great supernal build for Zeniths and Dawns, this allows you to use the defensive might of Resistance to the fullest extent while concentrating purely on offense. The main purpose of this build is to bait the opponent into a decisive attack, which at that point you activate your trap card into Adamant Skin Technique and Aegis of Invincible Might. So long as Aegis is up you’re nearly invincible, but it has the condition of making a decisive attack each turn or spending +8m on offensive charms. 3 damage decisive attacks are weak as hell while +8m per turn on offensive charms can rapidly drain your resources. With Falling Hammer Strike and Ferocious Jab however none of this matters, as you can basically smack the opponent with decisive attacks all day with impunity. Combine this with the build mentioned in ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA! and you can be a major nigh invincible threat to an opponent while hardly ever worrying about damage.

    MELEE

    Melee in Exalted is often called the ‘do everything’ ability, and for good reason. Not only are you really good at swording to hit people (Or spearing, or whatever weapon you pick), but you also obtain a potent defense suite that while not as focused as Dodge, is still extremely good. Melee also contains charms that allow one to attack at range and be a threat regardless of what initiative they actually are. All this allows Melee to be a potent combination of offense and defense in one ability, and those who find their favored abilities to be spread thin may find a lot of utility in melee, as it should comfortably meet the needs of almost anyone.

    In terms of charms, melee does better the more charms you go into it, moreso than any other ability. Out of nearly all the abilities I find that Melee charms synergize the most with each other, and those who Supernal this ability will be horrifically lethal almost regardless of their initiative, and turn the tides of battle like no other ability can.

    CHARM PACKAGES

    MELEE SKELETON PACKAGE
    • Charms (3): Excellent Strike, One Weapon Two Blows, Dipping Swallow Defense
    • Requirements: Melee 2 Essence 1
    • This is the default melee package one should aim for at the start ideally, allowing for both great offense and defense right out of the gate. Excellent Strike may seem questionable with +1 success and a 1/10 chance to gain more dice, but its main power is denying 1s to opponents who use those 1s their advantage, such as if someone use Bulwark Stance (Which gives a -1 success to your attack roll for each 1 you had in your attack roll). One Weapon Two Blows allows for an immediate attack once your initiative becomes higher than the opponent’s, allowing for a rapid loss in initiative for the opponent or just attacking another opponent. Dipping Swallow Defense allows you to keep your defense score high and gain initiative if you successfully parried, turning what could be a massively reduced onslaught score into something one can easily parry with.

    “I DON’T CARE WHAT YOUR SOAK IS”
    • Charms (2): Fire and Stones Strike, Strength Increasing Exercise (Athletics)
    • Requirements: Melee 3, Athletics 3, Essence 1, as high strength as possible
    • This build allows you to deal massive damage to opponents who have seemingly monstrous soak values by just plain letting you ignore most of it. Strength Increasing Exercise increases your effective Strength score for the scene, allowing you to hit harder yes, but the main draw here is Fire and Stones Strike, which makes it so you add one die post soak per mote spent (That is, after soak is applied to raw damage). Spending 10m is rather expensive on an attack yes, but this can allow one to do nearly +10 additional dice of post soak damage! With an Artifact Sword Daiklave, this is 14 damage die that cannot be soaked. If you’re Essence 2, Leaping Tiger Attack from Athletics can make this +28 dice minimum! This is very expensive however, and should only be reserved for tanks with large amounts of soak
    ILLUSION SWORD DANCE
    • Charms (5): Invincible Flurry of the Dawn, Fire and Stones Strike, Hungry Tiger Technique
    • Requirements: Melee 5, Essence 3, ideally one physical attribute at 5
    • Iron Whirlwind Attack has special synergy as a multiattacking charm, which is that charms that enhance the attack only need to be paid for once for the entire set of attacks, where most other abilities do not have this luxury. 3m of Fire and Stones Strike allows one to transfer up to 3 threshold successes into decisive attacks, but when combined with Hungry Tiger Technique it just multiples up to (3 or Essence, higher) threshold successes, allowing for potentially +6 damage per decisive attack. The bonus initiative from Invincible Flurry of the Dawn allows the character to make such attacks even at base initiative easily, and with the sheer amount of attacks coming out some are bound to hit. High hardness, such as heavy artifact armour, may knock a lot of the teeth out from this build, but against those who do not have some way to guard their defense or high hardness, this build will simply shred them into a paste. For added laughs and fun, Peony Blossom Technique allows you to fire off another volley of these attacks immediately after the first, in case they’re still not dead. Lastly, if combined with Immortal Blade Triumphant, this turns up to (Essence) dice on the damage roll into automatic successes, per attack. Meaning even at Essence 2 this deals 10 automatic levels of damage if all attacks hit.

    SOCIALIZE

    With the advent of the Guile stat in 3e, Socialize is now much more important for the dedicated socialite or even spy wishing to hide their own secrets. Socialize’s goals are twofold: First is to make it so that people do know what your intimacies are, and secondly to find out what intimacies other opponents have. In this role it plays a bit like dodge as a solid defense ability akin to what Dodge is for physical combat while using a tiny bit of sluth work to find out one’s innermost secrets just by observing a person. Remember in order to make a social influence Persuade roll to work on needs to know intimacies to properly key off of them, but if one does not know any intimacies than you may as well be talking to a brick wall, as the opponent will painfully need to build up intimacies that they themselves instill to be absolutely certain. Resolve may stop you from spilling your darkest secrets from a random guy on the street, but Guile makes it so that no one will even know what your secrets are while learning all about theirs.

    In terms of charms Socialize is very dense, one of the largest charm trees in the game. Allowing you to not only figure out exactly what an opponent wants, but by protecting intimacies so well that you may as well be another person (in which, you literally become). Those who take Socialize as Supernal may not the alter ego charms, but those are very deep in the tree. Taking all of these will make you into a super one trick pony, so don’t go full into that part of the charmtree at the start. Spread yourself out a bit.

    SOCIALIZE SKELETON BUILD
    • Charms (3): Mastery of Small Manners, Motive-Discerning Technique, Shadow Over Day
    • Requirements: Socialize 3, Essence 1
    • This is a good core build for socialize, and even those wishing to make a character with a secondary social focus would do well with these charms. Mastery of Small Manners lowers negative intimacies towards the character, gives a chance to them to immediately have a minor intimacy, and stops the character from being out of place or committing minor cultural blunders (EX: Things that would be a -1 or -2 die penalty). All of this combine to make a very good charm and generally makes any social encounter much easier. Motive-Discerning Technique gives those who dumped Perception a chance to be amazing at Read Intentions actions, or generally anyone who wants to Read Intentions period. It allows one to read other characters like a book, potentially allowing one to read multiple intimacies in one Read Intimacy. Shadow Over Day increases Guile for a much cheaper price than excellencies normally would, and it’s also a prerequisite for other more potent charms such as Easily-Discarded Presence Meditation (Make person ignore you for scene when they fail to pierce your Guile) and Guarded Thoughts Meditation (+3 Guile indefinitely for 4m committed? Why not). Night Passes Over is useful in case you get hit by an Instill action (Remember, emotions are considered major intimacies, so hiding them still is great) while Intent-Tracing Stare is great for people who wish to avoid having intimacies read while unaware of someone (Normally you take a large Guile penalty).

    LOOK INTO MY EYES
    • Charms (8): Face-Charming Prana, Soul Void Kata
    • Requirements: Socialize 5, Essence 3
    • This is a good set up for fragile socialites or those who merely wish to get away from a specific person. Face-Charming Prana forces those you successfully use a social attack against to spend 2 willpower in order to resist using a Read Intentions action on you (And with Face-Charming Prana keying off a defining intimacy, it will be difficult to counter). If your opponent cannot Read Intentions well enough, then Soul Void Kata renders them comatose for the rest of the scene, allowing you to make a quick getaway in case something has gone south.
    Socialize is harder to come up for combos with, mainly because it seems "Take what seems cool"
    Last edited by Sandact6; 04-21-2016, 12:02 AM.


    Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
    Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

  • #2
    Great idea! I was just thinking about making a thread along these lines yesterday to cover some of the neat combos my players have been tossing around. I'll put some up tomorrow.

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    • #3
      Ooooh, I'll look at that Brawl Resistance Combo.

      Like, Melee may be a more ROUNDED combat ability, but I think Brawl is my favorite.


      Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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      • #4
        Fantastic idea! Do you mind others contributing on this thread?

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        • #5
          By all means if you have some interesting combos, then go right ahead.

          I was going to break MA's down charm by charm though as they're really dense.


          Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
          Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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          • #6
            If I may humbly volunteer (and of course I invite correction should my surmises prove inaccurate).

            Athletics:

            Any Withering Attack Booster + Graceful Crane Stance + Monkey Leap Technique -> Foe-Vaulting Method

            A favored combination of my Martial Artist Dawn, if you can build up your initiative with a successful withering attack, you can immediately make an Unexpected Decisive that will more than likely splatter your foe.

            Tiger Style: (You obviously need Supernal Martial Arts if you want to try out all these combos from the get go)

            Strength 5 + Increasing Strength Excercise + Striking Fury Claws = So much Withering Damage (+Str to Withering Post Soak damage Max of (Extra Successes on attack Roll)
            Strength 5 + Increasing Strength Excercise + Tiger Form = What, you mean you get even more Withering Damage?!! (+Str to Withering Raw damage Max of (Extra Successes on attack Roll)
            Strength 5 + Increasing Strength Excercise + Celesial Tiger Hide = And you add Strength to Soak?!!! (+Str to Soak, scenelong)
            Raging Tiger Pounce = You basically just knocked a Deathlord prone, with no check, no save. I hope you're happy with yourself.
            Strength 5 + Increasing Strength Excercise + Angry Predator Frenzy = And now you basically never have to make a Withering Attack again, just keep killing. (+ Str to Decisive attack pools, +Str/2 to Base Initiative (So Base 3 + 3 from half strength + 1 from Dawn Anima banner, if you want you can literally throw 7 dice decisives against everyone until everything is dead at Essence 1)

            Note: I would be remiss if I didn't say that Angry Predator Frenzy also adds up to +Str in Extra successes to raw damage for Decisive attacks, so that 7 dice is a minimum if you do well on the attack roll it can be up to 13 dice at Essence 1, which is really scary to be able to do round after round after round.

            *By the way, having 7 Initiative when you reset to base is a great way to get around the limitations on Foe Vaulting Method. Make every attack Unexpected! As long as they don't have 7 initiative, just go buck wild on them!*

            Note: A good starting pool of Tiger Charm Styles is: Striking Fury Claws (your withering booster) + Crimson Leaping Cat Technique (basically a pre-req, becomes more useful towards end of charm tree) + Tiger Form (grrreeeat! see above) + Celestial Tiger Hide (v. good soak booster) + Raging Tiger Pounce (This is how you cheese 1v1s vs tough foes)

            Ebon Shadow:

            Foe Vaulting Method (Athletics) + Seven Points of Weakness Strike: Ignore up to 10 soak on enemy
            Foe Vaulting Method (Athletics) + Throat Slitting Shadow Atemi: Extra successes on attack roll are automatic successes on the decisive damage roll with no upper limit

            Note: Ebon Shadow Form is Mute, if you have enough stealth to reliably activate it (see below) you can transition to Tiger Form more or less painlessly if you don't want your anima to start becoming iconic

            Wood Dragon's Claw + Above: You now have a cheap Artifact Light Weapon that you can summon or dismiss as you like (5SM is super cheap) that works with all the combos above and that you can choose an evocation tree for. (I recommend Spring Razor)

            With the artifact merit points that you just saved, pick up the belt of Shadow Walking which gives you + 3 to Stealth all the time (Great with Ebon Shadow stuff mentioned above) and lets you basically attack anything risk free that can't target Dematerialized beings (all the Dragonblooded antagonists in the QC chapter, for example) if you have Spirit Detecting Glance (Occult) + Spirit Cutting Attack (Occult) and 10 motes of essence.

            Oh forgot this one from Brawl (for the Martial Artists out there):

            Fist of Iron Technique + Iron Battle Focus: Your MA charm tree doesn't have an Onslaught negator? Well, with just two more points in Brawl and 2 charms, you don't have to worry about it ever again.

            prototype00
            Last edited by prototype00; 04-22-2016, 08:38 PM.

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            • #7
              Yea Tiger is often a fun one, mainly because of how high its power ceiling is.

              Also with the new ruling to Reflexive defenses, Iron Battle Focus is really only worth it if you're going to have some heavy brawl investment.
              Last edited by Sandact6; 04-22-2016, 08:55 PM.


              Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
              Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                Also with the new ruling to Reflexive defenses, Iron Battle Focus is really only worth it if you're going to have some heavy brawl investment.
                Actually, it works just fine, as it prevents onslaught entirely rather than simply preventing it from affecting parry.

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                • #9
                  ...

                  And Subscribed.

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                  • #10
                    Iron Battle Focus falls under the Reflexive defence rules? I should ask about this because it doesn't remove onslaught penalties, but just makes you immune. BRB.

                    prototype00

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Anasurimbor View Post
                      Actually, it works just fine, as it prevents onslaught entirely rather than simply preventing it from affecting parry.
                      The way its worded I'd say the intent was to make it only apply the immunity to PDV.

                      Its basically RAW vs intent, and I'd say the latter takes place here after the new reflexive ruling. Until we have a word of god, I'll just eer on the safe side of caution.


                      Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
                      Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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                      • #12
                        I mean, by the rules it also helps out the Brawler who is depending on dodge defence equally. (Which isn't a Defence Value linked to Brawl)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                          The way its worded I'd say the intent was to make it only apply the immunity to PDV.
                          Hrm. What about it makes you think that? It's clear that, for instance, Battle Fury Focus' "reduce wound penalties by -1" applies to all static values, so it would just be the fact that you can make a parry out of Brawl. But by comparison with something like Dipping Swallow Defense, Iron Battle Focus doesn't interact with static values at all, it just interacts with a type pf persistent penalty that happens to apply purely to static values. Moreover, nearly all of the Brawl defense charms that do enhance a static value, including one that requires Iron Battle Focus, explicitly work on both Parry and Evasion, which leads me to surmise that they're intended to be omni-applicable.

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                          • #14
                            Oh, another reason to have 3 Brawl for Martial Artists, Thunderclap Rush Attack. "I always go first" is a great strategy for any fight.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gayo View Post

                              Hrm. What about it makes you think that? It's clear that, for instance, Battle Fury Focus' "reduce wound penalties by -1" applies to all static values, so it would just be the fact that you can make a parry out of Brawl. But by comparison with something like Dipping Swallow Defense, Iron Battle Focus doesn't interact with static values at all, it just interacts with a type pf persistent penalty that happens to apply purely to static values. Moreover, nearly all of the Brawl defense charms that do enhance a static value, including one that requires Iron Battle Focus, explicitly work on both Parry and Evasion, which leads me to surmise that they're intended to be omni-applicable.

                              Battle Fury Focus is a Resistance charm, it applies to nearly every combat style anyways so I don't need to worry about that nearly as much.

                              Given the case though I really don't think Battle Fury Focus applies. It costs 2m less than Bulwark Stance, and while it may apply to your defense, simply just going Brawl 3 and grabbing it and not worrying about onslaught values regardless of what defense you use (MA, Dodge) makes me think something is very fishy and too good to be true.

                              If I am wrong than I am wrong, but if I am right than investing in some other defense sources would be a safer bet.


                              Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
                              Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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