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​Spun off from 'A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-through of Ex3' - Sidereal Excellency

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Irked View Post
    Concur with this entirely. One of the lessons 2e taught was that there's very, very little as important, at the end of the day, as the size of your affordable dice pools. That's what made Infinite Masteries the rock on which Celestial power was built, it's the reason that elder and deathlord stats made them virtually unkillable, and it's exactly the reason that both of those things are gone in Third.

    "Just how hard can Sidereals dicewhomp?" is a pretty critical question.
    Yep. And because it's critical, the answer should be simple, easy to compare to other splats, and appropriate relative to the other Celestial exalts.

    "Sidereal dice pools are smaller but more reliable" is a cute thematic goal that is just absolutely not worth the problems with balancing this incredibly fundamental mechanic.

    Solars can easily add 10 dice.

    Lunars can easily add 5 dice, and can add 10 dice with minimal roleplay effort (an appropriate stunt) and the slightly more restrictive constraint of need two Attributes at 5.

    I say Sidereals should be able to add 10 dice as well, with restrictions of similar strength to those Lunars face.

    It is far less hazardous to put Sidereals on an even dice-footing and express the themes and strengths through other charms, than to try to given them a baseline mathematical disadvantage and compensate them with stronger charms.

    If you want thematics, make it College-based.

    Some possibilities:
    1. You can add +College if your actions are within the scope of that Constellation, or +2 * College if you are under a Destiny of that Constellation
      1. Possibly "a Resplendant Destiny" although that awkwardly handicaps Sidereals not currently under one (maybe a good idea?)
    2. You can add +College if you're within scope, and with a stunt add +Other College if the actions are also within that scope
    3. You can always add +Essence, and add +College within scope
      1. (This makes younger Sidereals noticeably weaker, which might be a problem)
    4. You can add +Ability, and then add +College if within scope / under a destiny
    Just... please don't try to use TN modification, or permanently keep Sidereals below +10 dice.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by AtG View Post
      Yep. And because it's critical, the answer should be simple, easy to compare to other splats, and appropriate relative to the other Celestial exalts.

      "Sidereal dice pools are smaller but more reliable" is a cute thematic goal that is just absolutely not worth the problems with balancing this incredibly fundamental mechanic.
      Strongly disagree.

      Or, put another way- the *easy* solution is 'Sidereals add successes rather than dice, at 2m / success, and can add up to (Essence) successes. That gives them strict parity, higher floor and lower ceiling. In many ways, it's a very attractive solution, and if all else fails, that's an option. Finding an acceptable TN monkeying solution that also satisfies those criteria is significantly harder.

      But hard doesn't mean impossible. Easy to compare to other splats is a nice goal, but not neccesary- I don't actually care if the Sidereal Excellency *looks* stronger or weaker, I care about how it functions on 10,000 rolls. The Sidereal schtick has always been monkeying with target numbers; I want to see that continue in an acceptable fashion.


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      • #33
        Even if Sids can get the best/cheapest dicepools, they'll suffer heavily from how bad their excellency is at increasing static values. Having attack pools similar to Solars that are slightly cheaper won't do you much good when you can only raise your Parry by 1 or 2 and simply get taken-out before the Solar runs out of motes.


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        • #34
          Originally posted by Aranfan View Post

          It isn't that mathy, is it?
          I don't know about too mathy, and to me it's an improvement on the same variant with Essence (I also like the Sidereal Ability Excellency to be limited by Ability, frankly), but it feels like it adds some crufty decision complexity - "How much do I want to devote to TN / dice?". Which I guess is there anyway though, but less explicit than if they are a tradeoff.

          ....

          With the "easy" option from the OP - "* Sidereals don't get bonus dice, they only get TN reduction" - could combine that with the old Sidereal trick of "... but they can add dice to cancel penalties"? That fits with reliability. Though how important and well adjudicated are penalties anyway for this to feel substantive and to offset the feel / effect of "The Sidereal becomes materially worse on average than the Solar - they don't' gain reliability at the cost of a lower ceiling".

          Kind of feel adding epicycles to square the circles here between mechanics that are fundamentally mathematically divergent seems pretty difficult when there is a very low threshold here of how much complexity you can add to the game through such a basic function.

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          • #35
            Do we have any evidence whatsoever that in this edition Sidereals are intended to function on a "lower dice but more consistent result" paradigm in their math at all? What assumptions are we using here? This is a serious question, not a threadcrap.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by ParanoiaCombo View Post
              Do we have any evidence whatsoever that in this edition Sidereals are intended to function on a "lower dice but more consistent result" paradigm in their math at all? What assumptions are we using here? This is a serious question, not a threadcrap.
              Well, that's the core concept behind their TN manipulation, as the Sidereals have had since 1e and as their Excellency write up in 3e suggests they retain.

              I mean- it is an assumption, but I feel like it's a grounded assumption.


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              • #37
                Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                Kind of feel adding epicycles to square the circles here between mechanics that are fundamentally mathematically divergent seems pretty difficult when there is a very low threshold here of how much complexity you can add to the game through such a basic function.
                You ain't wrong


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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post

                  I don't know about too mathy, and to me it's an improvement on the same variant with Essence (I also like the Sidereal Ability Excellency to be limited by Ability, frankly), but it feels like it adds some crufty decision complexity - "How much do I want to devote to TN / dice?". Which I guess is there anyway though, but less explicit than if they are a tradeoff.
                  Mathematically, always TN then do bonus dice after. IIRC
                  Last edited by Aranfan; 07-29-2016, 06:07 PM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by wastevens View Post

                    Do you mean +(Essence /2) dice cap, or did you mean TN reduction having a limit of (Essence)?



                    There's a risk in allowing success purchasing of trivializing some tasks; it's a space I've been leery of exploring, let alone for something as general as an excellency.



                    Eeeh. Tying specialties to excellencies is kind of in the Dragonblooded experience.



                    My inner Solar fanboy is sad at other people having higher ceilings than Solars.

                    In response:

                    1) Yes, (Essence/2) dice cap. Basically, looking the math with the mark 1 eyeball, I think a Sid adding 3 dice and reducing TN by 3 looks very similar to a Solar adding 10 dice. Note that this is "rounding up", so even newbie Siddies are quite strong.

                    2) Success buying and TN reduction both make getting at least *some* successes more likely. Autosucceeding on low difficulty tasks is... close to what it was leading to anyway.

                    3) Sure, but that's kinda the point: give them a DB-esque *cheap* excellency. Dicewhomping for *cheap* (note that unlike 1. I didn't suggest raising the cost of TN reduction), but for less than Solar absolute max seemed like a potentially viable alternative.

                    4) An Essence 5 sid having an advantage, not factoring in assorted Solar Dice Tricks that reverse the math again, means that the Solar still wins in their areas of expertise - or, for that matter, against younger Sidereals.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Aranfan View Post

                      Mathematically, always TN then do bonus dice after. IIRC
                      Specifically: Adding a die is, on average, half a success [6/10 nothing, 3/10 one success, 1/10 2 successes]. Adding a TN modifier is 1/10th of a success per die. Any time you have 5 or more dice, -1 TN is better than +1 die.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by SuperG View Post
                        4) An Essence 5 sid having an advantage, not factoring in assorted Solar Dice Tricks that reverse the math again, means that the Solar still wins in their areas of expertise - or, for that matter, against younger Sidereals.
                        This is basically my view on the whole matter. Yeah, Sids have a great excellency, and at E5 it's vastly better than the Solar excellency, but compared to 300 XP worth of Solar charms a potent excellency just doesn't mean very much. If Sids end up having an overly powerful charmset then they'll be able to make Solars look like chumps thanks to their excellency, but in that case the problem wouldn't be with the excellency. Besides that, this whole issue isn't anything new. Sidereals had exactly the same TN-reduction mechanic all throughout 2nd edition without being stronger than Solars, and while they had to spend a charm on that, they got auspicious successes out of it too, and Solars didn't have dice tricks of their own to compete with it.


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                        • #42
                          Is there an element there though, if the Solars need to leverage a lot of varied dice tricks and Charms to work well against a Sidereal, who lacks a lot of options that build on their Excellency, the Solar becomes the higher "System Mastery" and more math mastery option? Which might be bad or not. Something to consider.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Lanaya View Post

                            This is basically my view on the whole matter. Yeah, Sids have a great excellency, and at E5 it's vastly better than the Solar excellency, but compared to 300 XP worth of Solar charms a potent excellency just doesn't mean very much. If Sids end up having an overly powerful charmset then they'll be able to make Solars look like chumps thanks to their excellency, but in that case the problem wouldn't be with the excellency. Besides that, this whole issue isn't anything new. Sidereals had exactly the same TN-reduction mechanic all throughout 2nd edition without being stronger than Solars, and while they had to spend a charm on that, they got auspicious successes out of it too, and Solars didn't have dice tricks of their own to compete with it.

                            Man. Stardew Valley is a helluva drug.

                            *cough*

                            That said, we've gotten a fair smattering of what Essence 4+ Solar Charms look like- and there's not very much in the way of extending their expected success range. They tend to be more on the lines of 'voted most likely to be scarier to get hit by' rather than 'voted most likely to hit'

                            Which is good! That helps prevent elder Exalts from becoming passively invincible or passively deadly.

                            But I think it also means we can't just take as granted that Solars at arbitrary Essence will reach a position of exceeding the expected successes of the as-written Fateful Excellency at Essence 3+.


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                            These Mean Streets - Advise and systems for street-level punk-noir Vampire larp

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by wastevens View Post
                              Well, that's the core concept behind their TN manipulation, as the Sidereals have had since 1e and as their Excellency write up in 3e suggests they retain.

                              I mean- it is an assumption, but I feel like it's a grounded assumption.
                              We've been told multiple times that the Excellency in the QC section is just a placeholder that can be revisited.

                              But hard doesn't mean impossible. Easy to compare to other splats is a nice goal, but not neccesary- I don't actually care if the Sidereal Excellency *looks* stronger or weaker, I care about how it functions on 10,000 rolls. The Sidereal schtick has always been monkeying with target numbers; I want to see that continue in an acceptable fashion.
                              With respect to their Excellency, I think that's a sacred cow that just has to be slaughtered.

                              Precedent really shouldn't be carrying too much weight here. Firstly because Sidereals in both editions were broken, and secondly because the 2E Sidereals were basically a quick copy-paste of 1E; they shouldn't really "count" strongly for precedent.

                              TN manipulation located in the Excellency is especially bad in 3E because of the dice trick idioms established so far. For instance, "reroll 6s" takes on a different meaning if 6s can be successes (I know that mathematically it's pretty similar but 3E at least is trying to pretend like there is a difference between rerolling 6s, 1s, and 10s).

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by wastevens View Post
                                But I think it also means we can't just take as granted that Solars at arbitrary Essence will reach a position of exceeding the expected successes of the as-written Fateful Excellency at Essence 3+.
                                Melee probably has the best tricks, here: Excellent Strike, obviously, or a decent chance of Rising Sun Slash if you dropped a full Excellency. At absolute best, at Essence 5 we're talking about a Decisive pool of 24d + 2s, rerolling 1; that's... just over 15 successes average, I think, at a cost of 12m. Brawl mmmmight be able to pull something in that range, depending on how you interpret Increasing Strength Exercise + Devil-Strangling Attitude.

                                At that same point, an Essence 5 Sid with just QC Excellencies throws 16d, with successes on 4 and up; that's 12.8 successes average, so notably lower.

                                On the other hand:
                                • Melee is by far the best at this; Thrown and Archery are going to be much worse, and I tend to believe the Brawl trick above shouldn't work. The non-Melee options are going to underperform the Sidereal Excellency, throwing 21d for 10.5 successes.
                                • Even Melee isn't guaranteed to get this to work. 5d and 1s of that roll above is coming from Rising Sun Slash, which might not trigger. Some very rough back-of-the-envelope math suggests that you'll get RSS a little over 60% of the time, on a max pool. The other 40% of the time, the average drops to about 12.5 successes - again, underperforming relative to the Sid with just a QC Excellency.
                                • The Sidereal is still only paying 8m for this trick, or 2/3 what the Solar is.
                                • Anything that increases these pool sizes - Withering attacks and stunts, most notably - favors the Sidereal. A level-1 stunt and +5 weapon dice put even the Melee-with-RSS Solar and the Sidereal into a statistical dead heat.
                                • Weirdly, lowering the starting Att + Ability values from their max (and so decreasing the pool sizes) also benefits the Sidereal, because it cuts into the Solar Excellency size.
                                Last edited by Irked; 08-01-2016, 10:59 AM.


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