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  • Sticky a character creation/improvement/advice thread, maybe?

    I'm kinda stunned that there's not a long-running character-build/advice/critique thread for Exalted. Exalted is rather complicated, and I'm sure I'm not the only one considering wading into the game who could use veteran advice. (Total newb, totally unsure, I don't even have the main book yet, don't look to me to start the thread rolling.)

  • #2
    Sounds reasonable. I've thought Exalted could probably do with a number of "build guides" or "advice guides" like you see on other forums.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
      I'm kinda stunned that there's not a long-running character-build/advice/critique thread for Exalted. Exalted is rather complicated, and I'm sure I'm not the only one considering wading into the game who could use veteran advice. (Total newb, totally unsure, I don't even have the main book yet, don't look to me to start the thread rolling.)
      Sounds like a good idea.

      There have been some various advice threads floating around though, just not one central one. We could link a few of those in the useful topics thread maybe?

      Anyway, as long as you're here, is there anything you'd like some advice about?


      ....

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      • #4
        Not OP, but personally I would love to see some of the charm combo guides fleshed out and finished. I started playing with 3e and it is really easy to get overwhelmed by all of the choices, even with the cascades available. However, it seems like the greatest (or at least, most ambitious) minds on the boards are more focused on homebrew material than on figuring out how to do the best with what's available.
        Last edited by uncletaco; 09-12-2016, 06:17 PM.

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        • #5
          I think any guide, or collection of guides/advice/links for character creation, character combat survival, and character backstorying would be very nice. For 3E and 2.xE, if anyone cares to write any advice for 2-2.5E.


          She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
          My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
          Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.

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          • #6
            Okay so...

            What does having an ability as your Supernal do that having it favored or other doesn't?

            How much Resistance do you have to have if you're, say, an Occult-heavy Twilight?

            Is it possible to do a khopesh as a weapon in Exalted?

            I've seen that Resistance Charms are pretty sweet. What about Integrity Charms? Is there a value to having your Integrity as your Supernal?

            What bases should you cover if you want to build an effective character?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
              Okay so...

              What does having an ability as your Supernal do that having it favored or other doesn't?
              Your Supernal Ability allows you to be treated as if you had an Essence of 5 for the purposes of purchasing Charms in that Supernal (but not other effects such as adding dice equal to your Essence to rolls). This is what makes your Supernal choice character defining since you'll be able to access the highest and most powerful Charms in that Ability.

              Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
              How much Resistance do you have to have if you're, say, an Occult-heavy Twilight?
              If you don't put any dots in Resistance then you don't have any Resistance.

              Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
              Is it possible to do a khopesh as a weapon in Exalted?
              Sure. I'd probably treat it as a short sword or chopping sword.

              Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
              I've seen that Resistance Charms are pretty sweet. What about Integrity Charms? Is there a value to having your Integrity as your Supernal?
              Absolutely. Integrity gives you powerful mental defenses making it very hard for people to sway you. It gives you boosts for regenerating Willpower, oh and the capstone Charm basically renders you completely invincible to just about everything as long as you meditate. Integrity probably a little more "situationally useful" compared to some other Abilities, but in certain campaigns it can prove invaluable.

              Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
              What bases should you cover if you want to build an effective character?
              First decide a general theme or overview for your character. What do you want to be good at? Basically, think about what Ability you want to take as your Supernal - this is a character defining choice. Always make sure your character is decent in combat. Grab an offensive Ability and a defensive Ability. Then make sure your character isn't going to be sitting around like a bump during social situations (grab some Performance, Linguistics, Socialize, Presence, etc). Work with the other PC's to find out what things they're good at so your characters don't overlap too much and work closely with the ST to determine what he expects for the campaign (you don't want to make a Western pirate with Supernal Sail if the campaign is going to be taking place in a tree-top town in Halta).

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
                Okay so...

                What does having an ability as your Supernal do that having it favored or other doesn't?

                How much Resistance do you have to have if you're, say, an Occult-heavy Twilight?

                Is it possible to do a khopesh as a weapon in Exalted?

                I've seen that Resistance Charms are pretty sweet. What about Integrity Charms? Is there a value to having your Integrity as your Supernal?

                What bases should you cover if you want to build an effective character?
                Not in order:

                The main benefit of Supernal is that, for the purpose of charm minimums, you are treated as having Essence 5 in your Supernal Ability. So, you are only restricted from buying charms in your Supernal by your rating in the ability and any advanced benefit that unlocks at high essence is already unlocked for you. Which means that, if you want, you can start the game with Essence 5 charms in your Supernal ability. That said, sometimes you really just want to start with that specific Essence 2 charm and that's fine too.

                The problem with building an effective character is defining "effective." Exalted is a game where you can run a campaign where characters fight armies of Fae from beyond the world, engage in comedies of manners and backstabbing politics among the Dragon Blooded Houses of the Realm, conquer and rule empires, be the freakin Batman, or reenact The Princess Bride. A character who can fight a war and win by themselves will not be very effective in a game that revolves around politics and social manipulation.

                So, talk with your ST about what kind of game they're planning and what kind of game you want to play, to make sure everyone is on the same page.

                If you're worried, there's a box in the character creation section that gives advice on not dying. Read that.

                I'll come back later with more advice.


                ....

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                  If you don't put any dots in Resistance then you don't have any Resistance.
                  Perhaps I deserve that. Okay, can I as a Twilight get away with just Ox-Body Technique (or two?) and be pretty sure I can hold out until my big magic is at the ready? Can I use armor? How helpful are the Ressitance Charms if you're not trying to invest a lot in them, is what I'm asking,

                  Also, who is better off as a brawler: the guy who acquires enchanted gauntlets, the guy who buys up a bunch of martial arts, or the guy who buys up as many Brawl charms as he can? I'm correct in assuming there isn't a lot of overlap allowed from magical weapons, Charms, and martial arts?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
                    Perhaps I deserve that. Okay, can I as a Twilight get away with just Ox-Body Technique (or two?) and be pretty sure I can hold out until my big magic is at the ready? Can I use armor? How helpful are the Ressitance Charms if you're not trying to invest a lot in them, is what I'm asking,
                    You are going to want some kind of defensive capability on your character - Melee (for Parry), Dodge or Resistance. In general, Resistance is more of a "back-up" defensive tool than a primary one like Parry or Dodge. Taking a few levels of Ox Bodies are fine, but you're still going to want a decent Parry or Dodge to go along with it.

                    Casting spells is not inhibited by armor in any way.If you don't want to spend big on defensive Charms, I think you'll get the most bang for your buck by investing in a few Dodge Charms than in a few Resistance Charms. If you're looking to combine some combat capability too, then Melee is by far your best bet (you get access to offensive and defensive Charms in that Ability). That said, an Ox Body or two is a good idea for those times when you do get it. I always recommend at least one Ox Body to everybody.

                    Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
                    Also, who is better off as a brawler: the guy who acquires enchanted gauntlets, the guy who buys up a bunch of martial arts, or the guy who buys up as many Brawl charms as he can? I'm correct in assuming there isn't a lot of overlap allowed from magical weapons, Charms, and martial arts?
                    In general the guy with a bunch of Brawl Charms is probably going to be the best brawler, especially when it comes to stuff like grappling or wrestling people, though if you're just looking at who can win a fight, any one of them could be the "best" depending on actual fight design, Charms each possesses, stat load-outs, etc,

                    I'm not certain what you mean by "overlap allowed from magical weapons, Charms and martial arts."

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                      In general the guy with a bunch of Brawl Charms is probably going to be the best brawler, especially when it comes to stuff like grappling or wrestling people, though if you're just looking at who can win a fight, any one of them could be the "best" depending on actual fight design, Charms each possesses, stat load-outs, etc,

                      I'm not certain what you mean by "overlap allowed from magical weapons, Charms and martial arts."
                      I had gotten the impression that enchanted gauntlets, martial arts, and Charms don't often stack their effects. So your character can either get nice magical equipment, study Martial arts, or invest in Brawl Charms.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
                        What does having an ability as your Supernal do that having it favored or other doesn't?
                        The biggest thing that Supernal does is allow you to ignore the Essence requirement of Charms in that Ability. So your Supernal Ability has access to the heights of those Charms powers right out of the gate, while your other Caste/Favored Ability Charms have to wait for you to gain normal XP until your Essence goes up.

                        A character that takes Supernal Martial Arts can start with all of the Charms in a single Martial Art Charm tree if they want. Just having Martial Arts as Caste/Favored means you can only go as deep into the style as you can before the Charms start requiring Essence 2.

                        How much Resistance do you have to have if you're, say, an Occult-heavy Twilight?
                        This really isn't an answerable question. Occult-heavy Twilight and Resistance using Twilight aren't linked in any meaningful way. It depends a bit on if Occult heavy also means Sorcerer or not.

                        Like most things that don't have a direct synergy, you're either going to do best with a small investment for a few key Charms (like getting Ox-Body and Wound Mending from Resistance), or a major investment to get some of the higher tier stuff. Trying to go 50/50 isn't the worst idea, but probably isn't the best either.

                        Is it possible to do a khopesh as a weapon in Exalted?
                        Sure. If you don't find any of the existing weapons sufficiently similar (I'd call a khopesh a slashing sword - based on the design favoring slashes with the sharp curved section - and move on), or give it whatever tags you think are appropriate (though it's worth remembering that you don't want to make other weapons of the same class flat out worse by being the same as something else but with more beneficial tags) like dropping balanced for Bashing and Disarming (to represent the blunt hook section of the weapon).

                        What about Integrity Charms? Is there a value to having your Integrity as your Supernal?
                        Integrity is kind of the social influence Resistance. Like Resistance, it isn't going to make it any easier to beat people up while making it really hard to beat you up, Integrity Charms make it really hard to use social influence on you even though it doesn't make you any better at influencing other people. It also has a bunch of fun stuff like defying supernatural curses, and the ability to literally feed people with the power of your convictions. If you want to make a character that is highly respected because their dedication to their beliefs is so strong it bleeds into other aspects of their lives, and even uplifts others without having to resort to being a charismatic leader, Supernal Integrity is great for starting there.

                        What bases should you cover if you want to build an effective character?
                        As covered in the books, you should probably have at least some investment in combat, with at least one offensive and one defensive Charm with the free Excellency/Excellencies those will provide. This will help make sure you don't become too easy of a target in combat to become a drag on the rest of the group when fights break out. Some form of Awareness boosting (not all have to be from the Awarness tree) for Join Battle or helping spot danger, and some form of social defense boosting are also good to have at least one Charm in, but less vital. Otherwise, it's more important to look at what you want to be able to do out of the gate, and what you want to build towards in the short term..

                        Edit:

                        Geez I'm being slow on the typing.

                        Anyway to address this:

                        I had gotten the impression that enchanted gauntlets, martial arts, and Charms don't often stack their effects. So your character can either get nice magical equipment, study Martial arts, or invest in Brawl Charms.
                        This isn't true.

                        Brawl and MA don't "stack" but they aren't mutually exclusive in general. If you have a MA Charm you like for defense you can use that will using Brawl to punch something.

                        Artifact weapons are compatible with any Ability the mundane version is compatible with. If you have Smashfists, you can absolutely use them with Brawl, and Brawl Charms. Any Evocations you buy may or may not mesh well with the Brawl Charms you have, but they're not RAW incompatible.
                        Last edited by Heavy Arms; 09-13-2016, 07:06 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post

                          I had gotten the impression that enchanted gauntlets, martial arts, and Charms don't often stack their effects. So your character can either get nice magical equipment, study Martial arts, or invest in Brawl Charms.
                          There are Brawl Charms that, for example, make your hands as hard as iron and allow you to deal great damage if you don't have gauntlets on. If you do have gauntlets, such a Charm won't do you much good. But you can freely use 99% of Brawl Charms (and melee Charms) with armored gauntlets, and you can use any kind of Martial Art that allows hand-to-hand attacks with Gauntlets (some Martial Arts can only be used with specific types of weapons, like firewands or slashing swords).

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SpectacularTentacular View Post
                            What bases should you cover if you want to build an effective character?
                            These are some pieces of advice that I've given to new players at my table that I hope help yield effectiveness with minimal system knowledge.

                            Attributes:
                            Dexterity is the strongest stat in the game. It is used for attack pools, defense values, combat movement, stealth, and a couple more things. No PC ever should have less than dex 3; if they hope to involve themselves at all in combat they should have dex 5. This is a rather contentious balance discussion topic but I'm giving advice on RAW chargen so this is basically an unavoidable fact.
                            Wits is probably the second strongest attribute. It is used to calculate join battle and resolve, and it's a very commonly rolled stat. I'd recommend getting this at 3 unless you have a really good reason not to.
                            Because of how attributes are purchased with xp, it is very important that you max out your most important stats on chargen. Any stat you will ever want at 5 should be at 5 before you begin play. It is most efficient to set attributes at odd values. So your primary should be 5/5/1 or 5/3/3, secondary 5/3/1 or 3/3/3 and tertiary 5/1/1 or 3/3/1.
                            For physical attributes, dex is obviously the greatest priority. If this is your tertiary category, then str 1 dex 5 sta 1 is probably what you should get. This is unfortunately not optional. Stamina is generally useful, but only really pays off if you invest in Resistance charms. If posible I suggest getting it at at least 3 because of Ox-Body Technique (more on that later). Strength is useful in general but only really shines with particular charms and martial arts, which makes it the safest dump in this category.
                            For mental attributes, wits is as I've said the most widely useful, so at least 3 is recomended. Perception keeps you safe from stealth and is useful socially, but isn't essential, Intelligence is key to sorcerers, crafters and other twilight-y archetypes, for everyone else it's the safest dump in this category.
                            For social stats, the choice between charisma and manipulation is mostly dependent on flavour and approach. It will colour how your social influence is usually portrayed, but mechanically you'll mostly stick to one and only use the other one on ocassion, so a lopsided spread here is okay. I should mention that manipulation is used to calculate guile, which will be very important for some social characters, but it is also posible to play a low-guile social character. Apperance gives you extra non-charm dice when it exceeds your opponent's resolve, this is very useful for characters who focus on social influence and are willing to put in the investment, but in general it's a stat you should either max out or ignore; middle ground will yield disappointing results.

                            Abilities:
                            This will vary very wildly between concepts and campaigns, but there are still some useful things to keep in mind. Like before, any abilities central to your character should be maxed out now.
                            Everyone should have a combat ability and a defensive ability as caste/favoured (these can be the same) and at least 1 social ability. Integrity, socialize and awareness excellencies will serve anyone very well so they're good candidates too.
                            Awareness is a very useful skill both in combat and social situations, put it at 3 if posible.
                            Athletics is also very widely used, so unless you're playing a bookish type or it otherwise doesn't fit your concept, consider putting it at 3 (specially if you're a close-range fighter).
                            Socialize is the most versatile of social abilities, since it is used for influence, read intentions and guile calculations. Unless it doesn't fit your concept, consider putting it at 3 at least.
                            Integrity is used to calculate resolve. Although it is rarely rolled, getting influenced easily is something nobody wants, so most characters should at least get this to 3.
                            All characters should have a combat ability rated at 5+specialty at chargen in order to meaningfully participate in combat (this is really a rather minor investment). Melee and Brawl are most friendly since they serve for attack pools and defence values at the same time (Melee is by far the most dip-friendly combat ability in my opinion). Ranged abilities can of course allow you to fight at a safer distance but they don't grant any defensive options, so they should always be complemented by at least dodge 3. Martial arts have a rather steep entry price at 4 merit dots, but can be great for characters whose main focus lies elsewhere since their charms can be bought with solar xp. For social characters, styles such as black claw, silver-voiced nightingale and others allow them to apply their social prowess to combat, making them very attractive options.

                            For bonus points, spend them all on abilities, then merits, and if you can't think of anything else willpower. Everything else is horribly expensive when compared to xp costs, so you should only spend in those areas if really really need/want something and can't wait 1 or 2 sessions.

                            As for charms, every character should have at least one purchase of Ox-Body Technique. This is not optional. Having put stamina at 3 will pay of thanks to this charm. In the case of first-time players, I almost always insist on 2 purchases.
                            Every character should have either Dipping Swallow Defence of Shadow Over Water (or an equivalent for martial artists), this is a very low investment that will go a very long way towards keeping you alive.

                            If I think of anything else I'll add it in later, but I hope it helps someone.


                            Are you in the market for some Martial Arts? Perhaps some custom Artifacts for your campaign?

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                            • #15
                              ....Ok, when do you actually roll Wits? Maybe I'm just used to it being a dump stat from previous editions, but aside from being combined with Integrity to get Resolve and as part of Join Battle, when do you roll Wits?


                              ....

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