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How to use resistance charms?

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  • How to use resistance charms?

    I am building a resistance supernatural Dawn, and I was looking for advice on how to make that rumoured "almost unkillable" resistance build that i read in some threads. What i found was to basically have a decent Defence rating a go the diamond skin route.

    1) Is this enough?

    2) Even if i go this route, I am not sure how to use it in actual play. Do I set up all the buffs and burn all my motes on that charm that can double my soak on every turn?

  • #2
    First, get Stamina 5, Resistance 5, and an Ox-Body. If you're not planning on wearing armor, buy up to Diamond Body Prana at minimum, but try to get Iron Kettle Body and Adamant Skin Technique as soon as you can. Body Mending Meditation is also a good choice.

    Now, take at least one of Brawl, Melee, Martial Arts, or Dodge as one of your Caste abilities and put at least 3 dots in it. You want to have something in your Parry or Evasion score and a dice adder to boost it.

    In combat, you want to activate Diamond-Body Prana as your first action to boost your soak and hardness. After that, you have options.

    Is the attacker's dice pool less than twice your defense rating? Then it will probably fail to hit. Don't worry about it unless there is enough damage to kill you in one hit (which ...is unlikely)

    How much damage does the incoming attack do? If the incoming attack does less damage than your soak or hardness, then you probably don't need to do anything.


    If the attack pool has more dice than twice your defense rating or is going to do more damage than your soak or hardness, go through the following checklist and find the option that costs the least essence:

    Use the excellency to boost your defense until it is above half the attacker's pool.

    Use Durability of Oak Meditation to reduce the attacker's damage by 2 and increase hardness by 2. If this is enough to put their attack's damage below your soak or hardness, you're done.

    If the attack has lots and lots of damage associated with it or you're being attacked by lots and lots of people who each do significant damage, you can activate Iron Kettle Body against a Withering attack to make all the post soak damage go down by half and then use Spirit Strengthens the Skin to get rid of any damage that makes it through. Doing this will be expensive.

    If the Withering attack is unsoakable, you can use Iron Skin Concentration to soak it anyway, and any other charms you might want.

    If there is a Decisive attack coming at you, and the damage is less than your hardness, you can ignore it. If the damage is less than your hardness+4, you can use Durability of Oak Meditation to ignore it. Otherwise, you're going to need to activate Adamant Skin Technique and/or use Iron Skin Concentration. AST will reduce the amount of damage by letting you apply your soak and ISC will create a bunch of extra HLs to take any rolled damage first.

    If an opponent does something crazy, like dropping a mountain on you, activate Adamant Skin Technique to live through it.


    You are likely to get hit and hurt, but, provided you have essence to burn, you probably won't die.


    ....

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    • #3
      In my opinion, the first thing to understand about Resistance is that its a fail state tree. It only comes into play when you have been hit and methods of pure avoidance have been exhausted. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that you can easily overinvest into something that's not going to happen very often when you also invest into other defenses.

      The first decision is wether you want to be armored or unarmored. Armored means Glorious Solar Plate which is an incredible charm. Unarmored means Diamond-Body Prana and meshes well with martial arts. Either way, Unusual Hide + Sublety are merits to look into, as is Sorcery for Invulnerable Skin of Bronze (Which doesn't mesh well with MA though).

      If you really want to be unkillable, there is no way around Ox-Body Technique. This meshes well with a dip into medicine for Wound Mending Care Technique in combination with Body-Mending Meditation. This lowers your healing significantly. At higher essence, developing into Body Sculpting Essence Method lets you heal yourself instantly for very significant numbers.

      There are a few hidden gems in the tree that are often overlooked:
      1. Wound-Knitting Excecise heals your -0 health levels, one every two rounds at resistance 5.
      2. Front Line Warrior's stamina lets you roll half you health levels and gain Initiative equal to the successes. This can be flurried with Wound-Knitting Excercise.
      3. Essence-Gathering Temper lets you draw up to [Sta*2] motes from a withering attack.

      The crux about resistance is that you have to accept the fact that you will get hit, which makes initiative a problem. Objectively speaking, avoiding damage is better than mitigating it. Regardless of how high you push your soak, there is always overwhelm damage.

      Sadly, the system doesn't lend itself to the get hit and shrug it off playstyle because you need high soak to mitigate the withering damage. However high soak almost universally comes with high hardness which in turn acts as a floor on decisive damage. As a result of that, any decisive attack you'll be facing actually hurts, necessitating high amounts of health levels and inducing wound penalties. It certainly works and can be loads of fun but there's no two ways about it that avoiding damage via parry or dodge is simply better.

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      • #4
        The Dawn in my game has Supernal Resistance and wears orichalcum heavy armour.

        His combat style works like so:
        Enemies attack him. They gain no intiative, he gains initiative and motes. They attack him again. They gain no intiative, he gains initiative and motes. They give up and run away,


        STing Bronze Age Exalted

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Beaumis View Post
          2. Front Line Warrior's stamina lets you roll half you health levels and gain Initiative equal to the successes. This can be flurried with Wound-Knitting Excercise.
          I'm not actually sure that's the case. Both are Simple Charms, which can't be put in a flurry.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Beaumis View Post
            In my opinion, the first thing to understand about Resistance is that its a fail state tree.
            Yeah, no. AST and Aegis of invencible might are so good that i have seen players letting themselves be hit on purpose just to activate them.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Broken25 View Post

              Yeah, no. AST and Aegis of invencible might are so good that i have seen players letting themselves be hit on purpose just to activate them.
              Also that, RAW, Resistance charms are activated in step 2 of attack resolution, the same with every other defense charm.


              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 that, RAW, Resistance charms are activated in step 2 of attack resolution, the same with every other defense charm.
                Depends on the charm. Durability of Oak Meditation and Iron Kettle Body are activated at step 2, but many of the others specifically say that they are not. Spirit Strengthens the Skin is activated after you get hit. Iron Skin Concentration is activated after Decisive Damage is rolled.


                ....

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                  The Dawn in my game has Supernal Resistance and wears orichalcum heavy armour.

                  His combat style works like so:
                  Enemies attack him. They gain no intiative, he gains initiative and motes. They attack him again. They gain no intiative, he gains initiative and motes. They give up and run away,
                  And what charms is the Dawn using for this? If they attacked him a third time would the Dawn have enough motes to keep doing that?


                  ....

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bozwevial View Post
                    I'm not actually sure that's the case. Both are Simple Charms, which can't be put in a flurry.
                    The way I read it, flurry allows you to take two actions as long as they aren't the same action. This does not refer to simple, reflexive etc. but exists to ensure you don't use it to attack several times. Using two simple action charms that do different things is exactly what a flurry exists for.

                    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                    Enemies attack him. They gain no intiative, he gains initiative and motes. They attack him again. They gain no intiative, he gains initiative and motes. They give up and run away,
                    Intriguing. Could you explain how that works please?`

                    Regarding the Fail-State, there seems to be misunderstandings. Its not about charm activation and not a statement of inferiority. It means that most resistance charms deal with soak, hardness and healthlevels which only come into play when your first line of defense (parry & evasion) have been breached. You have "failed" to defend and now need to mitigate rather than prevent.

                    Resistance is quite powerful, I am well aware of that. But it is a playstyle that differs from normal defenses and I think that warrants pointing out.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Beaumis View Post
                      The way I read it, flurry allows you to take two actions as long as they aren't the same action. This does not refer to simple, reflexive etc. but exists to ensure you don't use it to attack several times. Using two simple action charms that do different things is exactly what a flurry exists for.
                      Simple charms very explicitly cannot be placed in a flurry. It's sort of a huge balance point for them.

                      Regarding the Fail-State, there seems to be misunderstandings. Its not about charm activation and not a statement of inferiority. It means that most resistance charms deal with soak, hardness and healthlevels which only come into play when your first line of defense (parry & evasion) have been breached. You have "failed" to defend and now need to mitigate rather than prevent.

                      Resistance is quite powerful, I am well aware of that. But it is a playstyle that differs from normal defenses and I think that warrants pointing out.
                      The thing is that the way that withering attacks are weighted means you are going to get hit.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Beaumis View Post
                        Intriguing. Could you explain how that works please?`
                        Okay, looking at these charms I realise it probably only works so well because Fulgens the Djala Dawn Caste is Essence 5 (well, 4 would also work) and Stamina 5.

                        If he gets hit, he pays 1i for Essence-Gathering Temper to get motes equal to half the pre-soak damage (max 10 for a 20 damage attack).
                        Now remember of course, that pre-soak damage is virtually always 10 or higher in this system, generally more. A strength 2 guy punching you with his hand does 9 pre-soak damage. A strength 3 guy with a sword does 12, before extra successes.
                        So it's generally getting him 6 or 7 motes, sometimes more.

                        But the more important part is that Fulgens generally uses Iron Kettle Body when attacked. This is 6m (for the whole turn, so also applies against attacks from other people, not just the one guy), and halves post-soak damage (so doesn't weaken Essence-Gathering Temper, which is generally going to get him back all the motes he spent on Iron Kettle Body). However, at essence 3, it also makes the enemy lose 1i for each 1 they rolled, and at Essence 4, he gets this initiative.

                        So, when he was fighting another Solar (a sorcerer who used Wood Dragon's Claw) the guy would throw 25 dice at him, and thus roll 2 or 3 1s. He'd hit with a small number of successes (Fulgens obviously has Defence 6), but his damage was only 13+extra successes, and Fulgens has a soak of 17, so he'd generally be pinging. 1 or 2 damage meant that Fulgens initiative would stay the same or go up a little, and the sorcerer's initiative would either go up a small amount, stay the same as his initiative was stolen, or even go down by 1 occasionally. And he was throwing 10 dice excellencies to ensure he hit, while Fulgens was getting most of his motes back (or all of them; and this isn't counting the 5m a round he gets back).
                        So, they fought for a few rounds, and then the Solar's Lunar mate turned up with his DBT claws, and found the same issue except worse because his ping was lower.
                        So, after a while they gave up and trying to kill him, and the sorcerer (an expert in Medoan grappling) grabbed Fulgens and threw him off the building they were fighting on (which I think did 1 bashing). Then they flew away while he was climbing the building again (though he did shoot at them with his flamepiece). After that the NPC circle decided it was best to just stay away from Fulgens (he's not exactly fast) and try and hit other, non-Dawn Caste PCs, when he's far away. Though that didn't work when he mounted up his heavy cavalry, outmaneovred them strategically (he has every war charm), and smashed their army, killing their Zenith in a battlefield duel (who also tried stabbing him with her daggers and melee charms, with predictable irrelevant results).
                        I think he only has 2 melee charms, 1 of which is an excellency, but since his enemies find it so difficult to hurt him he still wins combats at this level.
                        Now, I guess it wouldn't be so easy against another high-essence Dawn, especially one using a heavy or anti-armour weapon, but how common are those? Not very.
                        Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 10-21-2016, 07:59 AM.


                        STing Bronze Age Exalted

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Anasurimbor View Post
                          Simple charms very explicitly cannot be placed in a flurry. It's sort of a huge balance point for them.
                          I only ever looked at the flurry rules but made a wordsearch after this statement and you're right. It does say so in the definition of simple charms. Thanks for pointing that out.

                          Originally posted by Anasurimbor View Post
                          The thing is that the way that withering attacks are weighted means you are going to get hit.
                          I feel that's how the game is supposed to work, but not how it actually does. An attribute 5, ability 5, specialty & medium weapon character has a roughly 50/50 chance to hit himself before charms come into play (14 dice vs 7 defense). I've found it pretty easy (and cheap) to change that ratio in the defender's favor to the point where my current character is hit about 1/3 of the time. Stunt + Fivefold Bulwark Stance + DSD + 4 Excellency motes gives me parry 11 while running mote neutral with normal combat regeneration. It takes a lot of dice to beat that on a regular basis, especially when I also get to use Hail Shattering Practice on top. My Evasion is only 4 and I still avoid most attacks with a stunt and an excellency.

                          You're right however, you will get hit eventually, but I don't see the system being weighted for that to happen too often unless you face light weapons and don't utilize any defense bosters. Is your experience different?

                          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                          Okay, looking at these charms I realise it probably only works so well because Fulgens the Djala Dawn Caste is Essence 5 (well, 4 would also work) and Stamina 5. [...]
                          I see, thanks for the explanation. I'd like to point out a few things though:
                          1. A supernal resistance could use that at essence 1 since the Iron Kettle Body upgrades are simple unlocks not variables.
                          2. Iron Kettle Body halves post-soak damage, not pre-soak damage. I am unsure if that means the damage roll or the successes, but its pretty awesome either way. I wonder how this interacts with overwhelm damage.
                          3. Essence Gathering Temper needs to reset by soaking a 10+ withering without taking damage. Since Iron Kettle Body rounds up, even a single success on the damage roll prevents this because you still lose initiative. You gain it back right after true, but I think the charm considers the individual steps not the sum. I don't think there are any hard rules for this though, so it would be an ST call. Another interesting question is if you can use it on the same attack that resets it.
                          4. Excellent Strike and its variations completely negate the mechanic and sound like very common charms to me.
                          As a sidenote, in my game we have actually halved all soak and hardness values (post calculation) across the board. Our reasoning for this was that getting hit already happened rarely and we only ever used overwhelm damage (about 80%). This led to us slogging along the initiative board so slowly it dragged out combat and made it both boring and deadly because hardness acts as a floor to the decisives you'll take. There basically were no light wounds in our game. Since we halved the numbers, our experience is a lot closer to the playstyle the book describes. Your mileage may vary.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Beaumis View Post
                            I see, thanks for the explanation. I'd like to point out a few things though:
                            1. A supernal resistance could use that at essence 1 since the Iron Kettle Body upgrades are simple unlocks not variables.
                            2. Iron Kettle Body halves post-soak damage, not pre-soak damage. I am unsure if that means the damage roll or the successes, but its pretty awesome either way. I wonder how this interacts with overwhelm damage.
                            3. Essence Gathering Temper needs to reset by soaking a 10+ withering without taking damage. Since Iron Kettle Body rounds up, even a single success on the damage roll prevents this because you still lose initiative. You gain it back right after true, but I think the charm considers the individual steps not the sum. I don't think there are any hard rules for this though, so it would be an ST call. Another interesting question is if you can use it on the same attack that resets it.
                            4. Excellent Strike and its variations completely negate the mechanic and sound like very common charms to me.
                            Sorry, I meant post-soak damage, that's why I said it doesn't weaken Essence-Gathering Temper.
                            As to the reset, it doesn't say "doesn't take damage" it says "doesn't suffer initiative loss". So since even on an Overwhelming ping he's only taking 1 or 2 damage, if he steals that much initiative he hasn't suffered initiative loss. And if necessary, you can always use the Essence 3 unlock of Spirit Strengthens the Skin to ignore 1 or 2 damage, though that's a bit pricey. Anyway, I wouldn't say he's going to be using Essence-Gathering Temper every round, but I think he used it 2 or 3 times in the combat.
                            He did spend motes, but a lot less than his enemies, essentially.

                            As to Excellent Strike... yes, but I wouldn't say it's extremely common. Most Melee Solars, but not other combat abilities, and he was fighting two brawlers.

                            Other Exalts don't seem big into re-rolling 1s with basic charms, from what we've seen so far.
                            DB's can spend a wp to re-roll Essence failures on any ability though.
                            But admittedly, it's a bit difficult to tell right now though as they don't have their own books.

                            Actually, the Zenith he fought had Excellent Strike, but he still took only a small amount of damage since she was trying to fight a man with Soak 17 using a pair of daggers, so he still cut her to pieces.


                            Originally posted by Beaumis
                            As a sidenote, in my game we have actually halved all soak and hardness values (post calculation) across the board. Our reasoning for this was that getting hit already happened rarely and we only ever used overwhelm damage (about 80%). This led to us slogging along the initiative board so slowly it dragged out combat and made it both boring and deadly because hardness acts as a floor to the decisives you'll take. There basically were no light wounds in our game. Since we halved the numbers, our experience is a lot closer to the playstyle the book describes. Your mileage may vary.
                            That's interesting, since until recently in my game initiative seemed to fluctuate all over the place. Almost every PC had artefact weapons and no armour (although the Full Moon could grow armour). And they were mostly fighting unarmoured martial artists. So everyone did tons of damage when they hit.
                            It's only now that the man with full plate armour has turned up that it's different.
                            (Though actually a lot of the party are still unarmoured but with artefact weapons. More than half the party have a soak of 5 or lower, but there's only of the 7 PCs who doesn't have an artefact weapon, because she's a non-combat character)

                            Are your characters the opposite? Are they all using heavy armour and light weapons, or are they more in the middle?
                            Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 10-21-2016, 08:15 AM.


                            STing Bronze Age Exalted

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                            • #15
                              Hm im not aure thats how it works. You are suffering initiative loss, you're just getting some back. But as I said, likely an ST call. The downside of natural language.

                              My group has only three players, two of which wear heavy armor. One has the soak merit at four dots and by now everyone has stamina five. My character wears light armor but uses invulnerable skin of bronze with it. Before we adjusted soak combat was a real slog even with artifact weapons. Since the change it got exciting again.

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