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A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-through of Ex3

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  • In some campaigns/stories...I do use some people homebrews but my main issue with homebrew isn't mechanical balance, it mostly depends if I like the fluff behind some of the homebrew and sometimes I can be picky about it.

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    • Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style

      Weird... my index doesn't actually have Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style listed. Can this be fixed in an update to the PDFs, as it's a PDF-only problem?
      • Subtle style that gets into people's trust and, presumably, specialises in the Post-Coitus Stab Technique.
      • Dreaming Pearl Courtesans use dance moves, light weapons and improvised weapons. That's a nice touch. And, naturally, it's incompatible with armour.
      • The complementary abilities are.. interesting. Naturally Performance, but no mention of Socialise to get close to the target.
      Demure Carp Feint
      • Courtesan effortlessly and naturally evades blows.
      • Bonus to Defence and Disengage attempts. If Appearance is higher than the target's Resolve, this goes up. Defending against an opponent with such a lower Resolve, she gains initiative. Those with mastery make their opponent lose initiative when they gain it. When disengaging, this loss applies to all enemies.
      • I... never wanted to contemplate the image of a fishy courtesan.
      Elegant Weapon Repertoire
      • Anything can be a weapon in the hands of the Dreaming Pearl Courtesan.
      • Adds accuracy bonus of a weapon to the withering damage roll, or an additional die of decisive damage. Can imbue an object with Essence to make it a weapon with various tags. Those with mastery adds to the Overwhelming value of the weapon for the duration of the fight.
      • This really feels like it should be a Permanent charm, or part of the form. It's all about the style using improvised weapons as a matter of course, which feels (to me) like it should be more than just individual strikes, which is what Instant Supplementals imply.
      • The disarming tag requires weights to be there...? That feels a little unnecessary. What if your paramour has just bought you a new dress? Can this not be used with it before you've taken to it with a sewing machine?
      Pearlescent Filigree Defence
      • Courtesan is shiny!
      • Clothes act as light armour. Compatible with this style, but not any others that forbid armour. Courtesan can spend up to her Appearance in motes, adding a point of armoured soak for each mote thus spent. Those with mastery can gain hardness and 3 motes once they successfully defend against an attack, that can be spent on this charm, Resistance charms or other defence-boosting effects.
      Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Form
      • Courtesan is an elegant death-dealer.
      • Make attacks out to short range. Clothing enchanted with Pearlescent Filigree Defence gets the attributes of Light Artefact Armour, and Elegant Weapon Repertoire weapons gain Artefact traits. May be reflexively activated when she successfully disengages with 5 or more successes.
      Flurry of August Leaves
      • There is grace in falling leaves, which makes the Courtesan's killing beautiful.
      • Adds bonuses to courtesan's attack based on the weapon's tags. Disarming costs no initiative and weapon goes out to medium range. Shields may give a reflexive full defence action. A successfully Piercing attack sets Hardness and Soak to zero vs the courtesan for the next 2 rounds. Waive the initiative cost of the grapple, add Essence to the number of rounds of control gained, and make grapples from short range.
      • This feels like a really versatile style, simply because it interacts with weaponry in different ways. I may just have to suck up the additional book-keeping, because this feels like a neat system.
      Vindictive Concubine’s Pillow Book
      • Letting a Dreaming Pearl Courtesan into your bed is a surefire way to be killed.
      • Get double 10s on a decisive damage roll. Get double Xs down to 7s for each of a list of criteria that is fulfilled. Most oft these are based on intimate knowledge of the target. Dragon-blooded can use this once per fight, resets if they successfully defend against an attack with 15+ dice on the attack roll. Those with mastery treat being in the Form as an additional criterion for doubling numbers.
      Fragrant Petal Fascination Kata
      • Dreaming Pearl beguiles her enemies with hypnotic movements, and possibly perfume.
      • Add the Courtesan's Essence bonus to attempts to incite love, lust, mercy, distraction or similar. No penalties for multiple opponents. With stunts, may be applied to other kinds of social actions. In combat, anyone whose Resolve is beaten loses a point of initiative, which is gained by the courtesan, up to a maximum of their Appearance. Once someone has been exposed to this charm, they're immune to it for the rest of the scene.
      • Hmmmm. One of these is not like the others. Distraction is not an emotion. How do you incite distraction, as it's not an emotion?
      • Also, rather than listing specific examples, a guide to what sort of emotions to go with would have helped. As well as distraction, mercy feels weirdly out of place, although I appreciate that there's the Honoured Matres defence for that.
      Seven Storms Escape Prana
      • Catching a Dreaming Pearl Courtesan is like remembering a dream.
      • Subtracts Appearance-based dice from rolls opposing the Courtesan's attempts to disengage, to rush the Courtesan, or to control a clinch against her. If Courtesan's successes on the opposed action exceed the opponent's Resolve, must pay willpower or autofail. Those with mastery can extend this to a round, imposing penalties on all applicable actions.
      Invoking the Chimera’s Coils
      • Masters of the Dreaming Pearl style cast aside all illusions of selfhood, and embrace their Essence, which is apparently some sort of many-eyed fish-gazelle half-breed, regardless of the stylist's personal nature, past, desires or anything else. Everyone is secretly a many-eyed fish-gazelle, they just don't know it.
      • May activate at 15+ initiative or when all -2 health levels are full. These are conditions for the charm's initiation, not its continuation. Courtesan may fly, and adds her Essence to her soak. Counts bonus dice from Demure Carp Feint as non-charm dice, can create weapons from thin air using Elegant Weapon Repertoire, Pearlescent Filigree Defence gives Medium Artefact Armour bonuses with no mobility penalty, Flurry of August Leaves may convert an additional number of successes based on her Appearance, doubles rolled on an action supplemented by Vindictive Concubine’s Pillow Book allow rerolls of fails, Fragrant Petal Fascination Kata lets you steal more Essence and can only be resisted by a Decision Point, and Seven Storms Escape Prana can supplement any movement action. If the courtesan takes a -4 health level of damage, she disappears from Creation. Those with mastery make others roll to resist gaining an intimacy of obsessive fascination, and roll Join Battle again. Dragon-blooded must stay at initiative 11+ to maintain this form. If she makes a decisive attack she has until the end of her next turn to regain that initiative. They can also only use it once per fight.
      • The secret of all Essence is that it's a bizarre fish-gazelle hybrid? What the hell? And that's before we even get into how they can even think about manipulating objects while in this form. This charm's rules are awesome and fantastic and need something big to make it go off. Becoming a hybrid of two entirely inoffensive animals that aren't (to my knowledge) linked to each other or associated with desire really isn't it. Particularly for a charm based on leveraging people's desire. What could possibly be desirable about an odd cross-breed like this?
      ...What? Sidebar
      • This might as well be the "suck it up bitch, it doesn't happen too often, what are you complaining about?" sidebar. Not helpful at all. I guess it might be some use if the reader is flicking through for abilities and doesn't have much knowledge of the other styles, but otherwise this is at best a waste of space, and at worst the writer telling people to take their dislikes and shove them. I know White Wolf has a history for this sort of thing, but that's no excuse.
      • The point about bizarre capstones is fair enough I guess, but for something that feels entirely unrelated to anything to do with the rest of the charm tree, it really feels patronising.
      This style is really nice, up until the last charm. Which I really have no idea what it's doing there.

      Steel Devil Style up next. Which will hopefully have a more sensible apex charm...
      Last edited by Xerxes; 07-10-2016, 05:11 AM. Reason: Spacing...


      A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
      Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

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      • Originally posted by Irked View Post
        With three and a half years on the clock to Jan 1 2020? I wouldn't think it's hyperbole at all; if Dragon-Blooded, Exigents, Lunars, Sidereals, and Abyssals precede Infernals - as feels plausible-ish - then they'd need a new splatbook every seven months to beat that timeframe.

        Like, that's not a dig; just, that already feels pretty accelerated for the current development model. It'd require, for instance, that DBs is done and up for sale no later than October.
        When I was doing schedule predictions, I guessed 2026 for Infernals. My first couple of predictions have proved overly optimistic, but that doesn't mean this one will be too.

        Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
        ...What? Sidebar[LIST][*]This might as well be the "suck it up bitch, it doesn't happen too often, what are you complaining about?" sidebar. Not helpful at all. I guess it might be some use if the reader is flicking through for abilities and doesn't have much knowledge of the other styles, but otherwise this is at best a waste of space, and at worst the writer telling people to take their dislikes and shove them. I know White Wolf has a history for this sort of thing, but that's no excuse.
        To me it feels more like a long-winded attempt to avoid admitting the real reason for the gazellecarp, which is that it's always been there.

        I would've been a bit peeved to see DPC without the carp, for what it's worth.

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        • Originally posted by Sanctaphrax View Post
          To me it feels more like a long-winded attempt to avoid admitting the real reason for the gazellecarp, which is that it's always been there.

          I would've been a bit peeved to see DPC without the carp, for what it's worth.
          But why has it always been there? For what reason? It may be an old gazellecarp, does that make it any more sensible? If there were some other core MAs that are similarly "esoteric" I could overlook it, but there is nothing comparably weird in the other styles, so it's currently an anomaly in the setting as well as in general feel.


          A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
          Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

          Comment


          • There is a reason, I suppose, why Gazellecarp gets its own sidebar.

            From my own perspective, I both love and hate it. On the one hand, I like super-esoteric martial arts stuff, and (to me) it does feel like a logical continuation of the whole "blurring what is possible" aspect of the style to end by unmasking your soul - maybe this is just the sort of madness which comes from reading a lot of other stuff by the style's original creator - she tends to do "weird transcendence" a lot. On the other hand, I feel like the assertion that everybody's soul is a flying gazellecarp is both driven by a needless adherence to the idea that Martial Arts Charms are the same regardless of who uses them (unlike native Charms) and a distracting piece of unintentional comedy.


            "For me, there's no fundamental conflict between really loving something and also seeing it as very profoundly flawed." -- Jay Eddidin

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            • I don't know why they added it originally. If I had to guess, I'd blame Jenna Moran's unique sense of whimsy.

              But I like weirdness, so I'm glad it's there. I'd like to see more stuff like it.

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              • Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
                But why has it always been there? For what reason? It may be an old gazellecarp, does that make it any more sensible? If there were some other core MAs that are similarly "esoteric" I could overlook it, but there is nothing comparably weird in the other styles, so it's currently an anomaly in the setting as well as in general feel.
                This was always my favorite style, largely because of the core concept of the style and its capstone, so forgive me for waxing on about it a bit.

                When Dreaming Pearl Courtesan originally appeared in the Player's Guide, the Chimera form was meant to evoke the the power of the Dreaming, a place that existed as a confluence of all mortal dreams. While Creation itself was the greatest piece of art ever made, the Dreaming was the most magnificent part of Creation. So why does the form resemble a mix between a gazelle and a carp with ten thousand eyes? Because it's crazy and feels dreamy. Yeah, that's about it.

                For what it's worth, I remember Grabowski saying back in First Edition, just after the Players Guide came out and people were saying "WTF is this gazelle-carp thing?" he said it wouldn't be unreasonable for an ST to allow each person to customize the appearance of their own Chimera dream form; it was just a "standardized" shape due to the fact that it was a Martial Arts Charm which required a certain amount of standardization, but that if a player wanted their own unique form, it wouldn't hurt anything to let them do that.

                I was a little disappointed when the style was re-released in 2nd edition and didn't have that as an option, and even more disappointed when the style was re-re-released in 3rd edition and still didn't have that as an option. But oh well.


                Now, to actually explain why Invoking the Chimera's Coils is part of the Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style.

                First, remember that every style is based around a different concept. Some are straight forward, like Tiger and Mantis. Others are a bit more complex like Righteous Devil. Dreaming Pearl Courtesan was originally designed around the concept of, "Dreams encroaching on reality."

                So, okay. If that's the concept, where the heck did the courtesans come from? Well, this goes hand in hand with the idea is that courtesans are people who, "briefly make dreams real." In other words, time spent with a courtesan is time in which reality is overwritten by dreams. In this respect, a courtesan embodies the concept of the style in a similar way to a mantis who embodies Mantis Style or a tiger that embodies Tiger Style.

                The style starts out based around "Courtesan" but slowly becomes more and more dreamlike as you go into it - the "Dream" theme begins encroaching on the "Courtesan" theme, which circles back into the original theme - dreams encroaching on reality. In other words, the actual Charms and the Charm tree itself reflect the theme of the style!

                Seriously, how awesome is that?

                To make it more clear. the idea of, "Dreams encroaching on reality" was reflected by the actual way that the mechanical nature of the style was designed. At first, Dreaming Pearl Courtesan is fairly straight forward, giving you attack and defense Charms and representing a skilled courtesan/performer. But, as you progress in that style, the Charms start to become more and more dreamlike. Fragrant Petal Fascination allowed you to place other people into a waking dream, with Seven Storms Escape Prana, you would momentarily dissolve into a dream before you reappearing, and then with Invoking the Chimera's Coils you would actually turn yourself into a living dream for a time.

                I think some of that flavor hasn't carried over between editions very well, so it feels like in Third Edition, rather than the style having the theme of "Dreams encroach on reality," which is embodied in the person of the Courtesan, instead the theme of the style is "Courtesans are sexy and desirous." Rather than courtesans being the symbol of the style's theme, they have themselves become the style's theme.

                In other words, dreams don't feel like the central concept for the style anymore, which in turn makes Invoking the Chimera's Coils seem like something completely out of left field rather than a (somewhat) logical capstone.

                *EDIT* Sanctaphrax, I don't think Jenna had anything to do with the original Dreaming Pearl Courtesan - neither of her names appear in the credits for the First Edition Players Guide, and I don't remember her ever claiming to have written it...
                Last edited by AnubisXy; 07-10-2016, 03:20 PM.

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                • Huh, cool. I didn't know that.

                  Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                  *EDIT* Sanctaphrax, I don't think Jenna had anything to do with the original Dreaming Pearl Courtesan - neither of her names appear in the credits for the First Edition Players Guide, and I don't remember her ever claiming to have written it...
                  Almost certainly not her, then. Guess I guessed wrong.

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                  • I personally am not a fan of the gazellecarp, but I still like having it in the game. I don't want MA to feel formulaic or similar, and DPC kinda breaks the Animal-Concept Model nicely by including this sort of ecstatic leap to something out of an acid trip.

                    That being said, I'd favor a transformation into a "dreamlike representation of the soul," with gazellecarp as an example/default.

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                    • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                      For what it's worth, I remember Grabowski saying back in First Edition, just after the Players Guide came out and people were saying "WTF is this gazelle-carp thing?" he said it wouldn't be unreasonable for an ST to allow each person to customize the appearance of their own Chimera dream form; it was just a "standardized" shape due to the fact that it was a Martial Arts Charm which required a certain amount of standardization, but that if a player wanted their own unique form, it wouldn't hurt anything to let them do that.
                      If one of my players asked if their Chimera's Coils could be an endless storm of swirling flowers, and they'd make attacks by summoning swirling autumn leaves instead of ethereal carp fins, I'd say "Heck yeah, go for it"

                      Also, Xerxes funny story about the Martial Arts in this book. See, when the Kickstarter happened, back in the planning stages, they were planning on putting in a style called Celestial Ladder Style, or something. It was a style based around fighting with a ladder. Apparently it was supposed to be included to show how weird Martial Arts in Creation could get.

                      But for the Kickstarter, there was a backer tier which said "Hey, pick a couple Martial Arts, and we'll put them in the core". Originally, only two slots were open for that tier, but somehow THREE people got in. So the writers let all three of them pick styles to write up for the core.

                      I don't recall off the top of my head which Styles were included by backer choice, but I do know that among them were Black Claw Style and Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style. On wrecking social-fu until you rip someone's heart out, and the other turns you into a dream-creature.

                      So someone decided "Okay maybe those are enough to show how weird Martial Arts can get in Creation. Vance! Make up a more grounded style, we'll put Celestial Ladder in another book."

                      So Celestial Ladder was removed, and instead we got Steel Devil.

                      (Note: If I got any of the details wrong, feel free to correct me, but I'm pretty sure I got the major points right)


                      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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                      • The original fluff for DPC style makes a lot more sense than the current fluff...huh.

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                        • Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                          I don't recall off the top of my head which Styles were included by backer choice, but I do know that among them were Black Claw Style and Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style. On wrecking social-fu until you rip someone's heart out, and the other turns you into a dream-creature.
                          If I remember correctly, the other backer style was Silver-Voiced Nightingale, so yeah.

                          "I was looking for a martial artist to join me on my quest. Let's see what we've got. So this guy fights by having rap-duels with his opponents? And this one fights by turning into a weird gazelle carp? And this one fights by making people fall in love with him and then ripping out their heart? Ehh, I was hoping for someone more normal... oh! A guy who fights with a ladder? You know what? In comparison that doesn't sound very weird at all. I'll choose you."

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                          • Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                            If one of my players asked if their Chimera's Coils could be an endless storm of swirling flowers, and they'd make attacks by summoning swirling autumn leaves instead of ethereal carp fins, I'd say "Heck yeah, go for it"
                            True... the older fluff makes more sense for that. It just feels disconnected from that... all the "fade away" stuff is connected to being light and airy, like perfume etc, which goes with the seduction thing nicely, but not so much with the dream stuff.

                            Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                            I don't recall off the top of my head which Styles were included by backer choice, but I do know that among them were Black Claw Style and Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style. One is wrecking social-fu until you rip someone's heart out, and the other turns you into a dream-creature.

                            So someone decided "Okay maybe those are enough to show how weird Martial Arts can get in Creation. Vance! Make up a more grounded style, we'll put Celestial Ladder in another book."

                            So Celestial Ladder was removed, and instead we got Steel Devil.
                            The thing is, Black Claw's style I can totally see. You understand someone's heart, and they want to give it to you, so you can get it and do all kinds of horrible stuff to it. It all works thematically. Whereas the final charm of Dreaming Pearl Courtesan makes no sense with the rest of it, without the focus on dreams and stuff that was apparently there before.


                            A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
                            Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

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                            • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

                              If I remember correctly, the other backer style was Silver-Voiced Nightingale, so yeah.
                              I think there were six added...

                              I think Tiger, Snake, Single Point, Celestial Ladder, and Righteous Devil were going to be in at the start...

                              Which would make Nightengale, Ebon Shadow, Dreaming Pearl, Black Claw, Crane, and White Reaper the Backer Styles... Which sounds right.

                              And then Celestial Ladder was replaced with Steel Devil.

                              Oh, right, Xerxes. It wasn't just your copy of the PDF that was lacking a bookmark for Dreaming Pearl Style. I had to put mine in myself.


                              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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                              • What's Celestial Ladder, and did that ever make it to draft form?


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