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How good are the dice trick charms?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Ferryman View Post

    I'm gonna defend my position on this one a little because I'm not sure what I was trying to say actually sunk in. Excellent Strike, taken on its own, is pretty unremarkable. It costs 3m for 1 success and reroll 1s until 1s fail to appear. You can break this apart for comparison purposes pretty easily:
    • 2m for 1 success (this is essentially the same thing an Excellency does for you at the same efficiency, and so in no way recommends the Charm because you could already do this)
    • 1m for reroll 1s until 1s fail to appear (the dice trick)
    Ignore the first part. It doesn't matter. Given the choice, no one would purchase a Charm that does the same thing that your free Excellency does. It's redundant. So the only reason anyone would ever consider purchasing ES on its own merits is for the second effect. Now, it's not a bad effect by any means. It doesn't hurt you. But, it's not very impressive either. In fact it's downright mediocre. Considering that this is all you get for your 8xp/4BP/starting Charm purchase, would you buy this Charm instead of a different Melee Charm if you had the choice? Maybe. You might. But there are a lot of other Melee Charms that do a lot more for you than this, so I think many people (including some posting in this very thread) actually wouldn't.

    ES suffers from sunk cost fallacy. You didn't buy it because you wanted to use it. You want to use it because you bought it. Its underwhelming effect is only redeemed because of the equally trivial (marginal) cost, and the only reason anyone buys it is because they have to.
    Outta the tall grass appears a wild disagreement!

    ES is amazing. The expected value of reroll 1s until 1s fail to appear is 1/9 your dice EV, and you can use it on withering attacks. That means your average swordy Dawn going to be throwing down 12 to 16 dice before stunts and excellencies, meaning it earns you about a success all on its own. Even on decisives, you're probably throwing down 13 dice before excellency on a maxed out dicepool, 8 dice on a mediocre 3 dex 3 melee character who stunts. It's still competitive with the excellency, even in the worst case!

    More importantly, the reroll 1s until 1s fail to appear stacks with excellency and breaks the dicecurve! It's not that excellent strike is always the first three motes you spend (though it probably is), it's that it's always the LAST three motes you spend, to really capitalize on the 20+ dicepools a Solar whips out when going all out. That averages out to well over an extra success (as of >18 dice). If you're stunting with a daiklave and a maxed out dicepool, you can squeeze a success and a half on top of your normal dicepool maximums. (This requires 27 dice, which is only attainable absent circumstance bonuses with a withering attack using a small artifact weapon).

    Perhaps even more importantly, it makes those 1s unavailable to enemy combatants. That's a big deal with charms like Hail-Shattering Practice on the table!

    And just for fun, it lets you pull gimmicks like the Volcano Cutter attunement bonus.

    ES is a fantastic Essence 1 charm in a book full of downright tasty Essence 1 charms. The only Melee character on which I wouldn't take it might be a Supernal Thrown Dawn who uses Melee for defense. Even then, it's somewhat tempting, since Thrown's withering options are kind of shaky.

    Edit: Forgot it's 10/9 of dice EV, not 10/9 of dice raw. Oops! Still beats the excellency for efficiency on large dicepools, in a fashion that stacks with extra dice, and it also stacks with other dice tricks. Excellent Strike makes double 9s better in the same fashion it makes extra dice better.
    Last edited by Ketrus; 09-24-2016, 10:42 PM.

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    • #32
      ES also makes botches impossible, which excellencies cannot do.


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      • #33
        WOW, an amazing dice trick, it can give you almost 3 successes on average for a freaking 27 dice pool. Three successes. Almost. On a dice pool for a pretty maxed out combat character already spending a lot of essence on it. On a charm from the most powerful overall splat, under a supposed helix-like paradigm in which entry charms are pretty broadly useful and strong.

        Sarcasm aside, yeah, color me unimpressed by it.

        That said, despite too often being of niche use and questionable efficiency, as well as potentially extending the time it takes to roll stuff and count successes, the greatest sin of some of these dice-trick Charms for me is that it makes the charm super boring when that is the only effect, just as much as having to buy Excellencies in the previous edition.

        I realize these little tricks in aggregate are probably gonna be what allows the Solars to pull ahead of other splats using similar dicepools, but they could at least make sure all of them are bundled with actually interesting effects (looking at you, sleep-inducing multiple "double 9s when doing this kind of Performance" Charms).


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        • #34
          Originally posted by danelsan View Post
          WOW, an amazing dice trick, it can give you almost 3 successes on average for a freaking 27 dice pool. Three successes. Almost.
          Actually his math is off. It's about half that. If the Charm averaged a return of 1 success on average per 9 dice I'd be a lot more favorably inclined, tbh. But, it doesn't.


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          • #35
            Getting 0.5-1 extra successes on an attack from Excellent Strike's rerolls isn't very impressive. Getting 0.5-1 extra successes on every meaningful attack you ever make over the course of an entire campaign is pretty huge. Excellent Strike isn't about having huge moments where you break out your awesome new charm and everyone at the table holds their breath in awe, it's just something that makes your character flat-out better at what they do. To put it another way, rerolling 1s is the same as the difference between having 4 and 5 dots in melee, or 3 and 5 dots if you pump your pool a bit. It's not as sexy as a charm like Iron Whirlwind Attack, but it's hard to argue that effectively getting 6 or 7 dots in your combat ability isn't a really, really amazingly good thing for any character.


            My homebrew: Abyssals, Infernals, Dragon Kings, martial arts.

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            • #36
              Literally every Charm is about being flat-out better at what you do.


              Share your wonders in The Artifact and Evocation Workshop

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Ferryman View Post
                Literally every Charm is about being flat-out better at what you do.
                Right, but if you would look at my entire post instead of taking half of one phrase out of context to build a tiny little strawman from and arguing against that, you would see the argument I was actually making. I think I pretty clearly addressed the difference between Excellent Strike and charms such as Iron Whirlwind Attack.


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                • #38
                  Excellent Strike also has the ability to be multiplied via Iron Whirlwind Attack, meaning any serious E2 or higher Melee Solar would want it anyways. Looking at E1 Charms...

                  Is it better than...
                  Fire and Stones Strike? Yes
                  One Weapon, Two Blows? No
                  Peony Blossom Attack? Yes
                  Dipping Swallow Defense? No
                  Solar Counterattack? Yes
                  Bulwark Stance? Yes
                  War Lion Stance? No
                  Guard Breaking... ... the one that lets you reflexively Distract for the person you are defend othering? Yes

                  For an E1 charm it is solidly above-curve. Every success matters.

                  Social dice tricks are also a special case because Harmonious Presence Methodology exists. This decreases the cost of each charm you use by 1, so the more charms you use to hit your dicecap the cheaper the effect is. I.e. With HPM up you can use Masterful Performance Technique for +1 Success and reroll 1's as well as +2 dice from your excellency for only two motes.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Root View Post
                    ES also makes botches impossible, which excellencies cannot do.
                    True, though that's not very significant. I don't think I've ever seen anyone botch in Exalted when already rolling over than 10 dice. It's possible of course, but the statistical chance is tiny.

                    Originally posted by Danelsan

                    That said, despite too often being of niche use and questionable efficiency, as well as potentially extending the time it takes to roll stuff and count successes, the greatest sin of some of these dice-trick Charms for me is that it makes the charm super boring when that is the only effect, just as much as having to buy Excellencies in the previous edition.
                    This, plus they make dice rolling slower, and my players already roll and add up slowly, since Exalted tends to want you to roll massive buckets of dice.

                    Also, because each dice trick charm is subtly different, yet boring enough to not be memorable, some of the players frequently have to remind themselves what it is their dice trick charms actually do, which makes rolling even slower.


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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by SoulGambit View Post
                      Excellent Strike also has the ability to be multiplied via Iron Whirlwind Attack, meaning any serious E2 or higher Melee Solar would want it anyways. Looking at E1 Charms...

                      Bulwark Stance? Yes
                      Mulling over the rest, but this one has certainly been of more use than Excellent Strike at my table. It is pretty common for my Solars to face more numerous opposition that is not as skilled as them. Defending against onslaught (and sometimes wound) penalties to their defense is, most of the time, more important than milking as much successes as possible for their attacks.


                      You need a picture altered to fit your Exalted character, or just looking for some visual inspiration? Check out the twice-reborn Exaltification thread. And here is my Deviantart page

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                      • #41
                        You have to have four people focus fire you before Bulwark Stance becomes more mote efficient than Dipping Swallow. Also once you put up Bulwark Stance, if the goal is attrition, the combatants can go to another target to force them to spend motes. Like, it's good. I'm just not sure it's enough better than Dipping Swallow to justify putting it above Excellent Strike, especially with Battle Groups being a thing.

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                        • #42
                          Since I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, I'm going to mention that I made a tool specifically for comparing dice tricks:

                          The Exalted 3rd Edition Dice Trick Comparison Grapher!

                          It doesn't do every trick, and it doesn't do combined tricks, but it's a good first pass. Plus, the code is on GitHub if anyone knows Javascript and wants to add more.


                          Current project: Stranger Creations, unofficial settings and NPCs for Exalted.

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                          • #43
                            I loathe the dice trick charms. I feel as though they're lazy, weak, and time consuming. They're lazy because instead of getting flavorful charms that do something, we get something that could have been made into a single excellency like charm that spans all the abilities. They tend to be overly priced, unreliable which makes them a waste of exp, and then they slow the game down because each time you make use of one the consistent rules changed and now you have to recalculate what your roll is.

                            If they were at least consistent (for example, instead of various exploding this or reroll, that we only examine 10's) and somewhat effective (10's count as tripples and/or refund motes) for an effective price (1-2 motes), I would accept them as a nice mechanical bonus to use with excellencies.

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                            • #44
                              They tend to be overly priced
                              I disagree.

                              Leaving behind their cap-breaking effect, most dice tricks tend to cost way less than 1 mote per dice added.

                              Some examples:

                              Four glories meditation rerolls 6's, forever, at no cost. Rerolling a number is exactly equivalent to 1 sucess with 20 dice.

                              Iron battle knowledge prana gives double 9's for 3m. With a 20 dice pool, that's an average of 2 more successes, or 4 extra dice.

                              Masterful Performance Technique gives 1 success and reroll 1's for 2 motes, or 1 mote with HPM active.

                              Rising sun slash has a 2/3 chance of giving Essence dice +1 success for 1 mote. With the upgrade, it has negative cost.

                              ------

                              If anything, dice tricks are among the most powerful charms around, because they are efficient success adders, and you live and dice in your successes. Which it's why it's a shame that they are so devoid of flavour.

                              (Honestly, i think that there shouldn't be any pure dice tricks; They should give some new capacity in addition to the math manipulation).

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                              • #45
                                By "overly priced" I assume he meant in terms of benefit to the experience points you spend on the Charm, not the Essence cost of the Charm.

                                With Four Glories Meditation for example, you're basically spending 8 experience points for 1 extra success, but you will only get that success if you also spend an extra 10 motes on your War excellency to get 5 successes. In other words you're spending 8 experience so that, when you purchase 5 successes with an Excellency, you get a 6th success for free. That means that from a certain point of view, Four Glories Meditation is about as useful as 1/5th of an Excellency..

                                Now consider that instead you could have spent that 8 experience to purchase Transcendent Warlord's Genius or Battle-Visionary Foresight (You have just activated my Trap card!). Both of those are much more interesting, much more powerful and much more game altering than the (maybe) 1 extra success you could be getting with Four Glories Meditation. Or you could have spent those experience points picking up a Charm from another Ability - hell, spending those 8 experience points on a Charm from another Ability could have even netted you a free Excellency if that was the first Charm you purchased for that Ability.

                                If characters had infinite experience points with which to purchase Charms, those dice trick Charms would be awesome. But when experience points are a limited resource, then you have to start considering what you get with those 8 experience points vs what you could have gotten by spending those 8 experience points on something else. And many dice trick Charms end up leaving you feeling like they were somewhat of a poor investment compared to other places you could have spent your experience points.

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