View Full Version : [Exalted] Charm Design Experiments

The Demented One
2009-10-12, 07:28 PM
Okay, so I'm looking for some thoughts on a couple areas of design space that haven't been explored yet (Glories, please don't make a fool of me). I'm just going to outline a couple of these, and then throw out a couple charms to show what they might look like. A good deal of these charms are probably Very Bad Ideas that will break the game completely, so don't go using them–but do give me whatever feedback you have.

Alternate Combo Costs
This one's pretty simple–Charms that let you replace the Willpower cost to activate a combo with an alternative cost, or else to create a way to regain that Willpower. The problem, of course, is that combos are a pretty fundamental part of high-end Celestial combat; tinkering with how they work risks knocking out some of the system's load bearing mechanics. So with that in mind, here's a Solar example of what this might look like:

Ascending Phoenix Arete
Cost: –
Mins: Integrity 5, Essence 4
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Phoenix Renewal Tactic

The heart of the righteous Lawgiver overflows with virtue, strengthening his heroic resolve and driving him to epic feats. The Solar may spend a channel of his primary Virtue in place of a point of temporary Willpower in order to activate a Combo.

Here's an Infernal charm that looks at a different way to go about things–mitigating the cost instead of changing it.

Self-Satisfied Villainous Laughter
Cost: –
Mins: Essence 4
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Selfishness is Power

The Ebon Dragon serves only himself, and takes no small pleasure in it. This Charm permanently enhances Selfishness in Power. Whenever the Charm's recipient invokes a Combo in an action, he may reflexively reclaim the point of temporary Willpower spent to activate it if he is awarded a three-die stunt for any part of that action. This does not replace the normal benefits of the stunt, and explicitly includes stunts enhanced by the Selfishness is Power Charm.

And finally, here's a Dragonblooded charm. Note that it's balanced against the assumption that the PC's will be a sworn brotherhood, and thus paying the lower cost. Eclipse Castes and the like are prevented from gaining the brotherhood discount because Combos are much more valuable to Celestial Exalts than Dragonblooded, who have free reflexives.

Ten-Thousand Dragons Fighting Spirit
Cost: –
Mins: Integrity 5, Essence 3
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Ten-Thousand Dragons Fight As One

As long as a Dragon-Blood has his sworn allies at his back, his heroic courage will never fail him. Whenever the Dragon-Blood activates a Combo, he and four allied Dragon-Blooded in the same scene may all reflexively spend four motes each in place of a point of temporary Willpower. If all five are part of a sorcerous sworn brotherhood, the cost is reduced to two motes apiece (note that Eclipse Caste Solars, Moonshadow Caste Abyssals, and Fiend Caste Infernals can never gain this benefit, even if they are part of a sworn brotherhood).

If the last one was tinkering with load-bearing mechanics, this one is gonna do some sledgehammering. The basic idea is to provide cost discounts to perfect defenses under specific circumstances–basically, giving the Exalt a way to gain an edge in upper level, mote-attrition combat by thinking tactically. Here's a Lunar example (it's a Stamina charm because this is a really weird effect to fit into the Lunar trees).

Graceful Conflict-Dodging Gazelle Heart
Cost: –
Mins: Stamina 5, Essence 5
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: External Hide Perfection

The Stewards are granted the blessing of exaltation for surviving unimaginable danger and hardship–how, then, can they fail to survive anything after that? Graceful Conflict-Dodging Gazelle Heart enhances any of the Lunar's Charms that have a Flaw of Invulnerability. The benefit depends on which Virtue their Flaw is tied to:

Compassion: Whenever the Lunar invokes the enhanced Charms and is awarded a stunt that resonates with one of his Intimacies for it, their cost is reduced is reduced by one mote.

Conviction: Whenever the Lunar invokes the enhanced Charms while in Limit Break, their cost is reduced by one mote.

Temperance: Whenever the Lunar invokes the enhanced Charms while he is incapable of moving away from his attacker, either due to being cornered, being trapped by other obstacles, or being immobilized, their cost is reduced by one mote.

Valor: Whenever the Lunar invokes the enhanced Charms to defend against an attack made by a character with a higher Essence score, or an attack made by a mass combat unit while he fights as a solo unit, their cost is reduced by one mote.

Expanding Virtues in Social Combat
This one may be a bit more kosher. The idea is to make virtues less utterly useless in social combat by letting you do things with virtue channels besides channeling them, at the cost of willpower. Because that's dumb. Solar charm:

Pure-Hearted Innocence Approach
Cost: –
Mins: Integrity 4, Essence 2
Type: Permanent
Keywords: Social
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Temptation-Resisting Stance

The Solar Exalted defy all attempts at blinding or subjugating their mind, secure in the pure virtue of their heart. When resisting unnatural mental influence, the Solar may spend channels of Temperance in place of points of temporary Willpower.

Bypassing Mass Combat
This is really less of a design space than a niche, but it seems like a bad idea, so I guess it fits. The goal is to provide characters who haven't invested in War charms and mass combat in general a way to still participate in it. The problem, of course, is that it lets people just bypass the whole mass combat system, making things like armies comparatively useless. It's also really tricky to give prereqs to, because they're logically War charms, but requiring a high investment in War things kinda negates the point. So here goes. Solar charm.

Conqueror of Nations Stance
Cost: 10m, 1wp
Mins: War 1, Essence 5
Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Obvious, War
Duration: One scene
Prerequisite Charms: Any War Excellency

The god-king needs no army but his red right hand raised up in righteous wrath. As he invokes this Charm, a crown of golden fire surmounts his brow, proclaiming his mastery of the battlefield. As long as the Solar fights in mass combat as a solo unit, his abilities are not capped by his War rating when making attacks. In addition, he reduces any bonus successes on attacks against him or external penalties on his own attacks due to Magnitude ratings by half his Essence.

This is stupid and bad. Nothing should ever reduce the speed of anything below 3. Ever. This charm should be taken as an example of the fact that no matter how high its Essence minimums, a charm that lets you do this is going to be horribly broken. I could be off here, and maybe Glories will have some stuff that executes super-speed well, but I can't see it working within the system. Solar.

Lightning Warrior Prowess
Cost: 6m
Mins: Melee 7, Essence 7
Type: Simple (Speed 2, DV -0)
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Fire and Stones Strike, Invincible Fury of the Dawn

The sword of the Lawgiver is as the sunbeam, swifter than mortal eyes can can hope to see. Invoking this Charm, the Solar may make a Melee attack, benefiting from the reduced speed and DV penalty of this Charm. At Essence 10, the Speed of this Charm is reduced to 1, and Holden develops a twitch.

And now we've got something that's risky design space for a different reason. Any charm designed to prevent botches is going to suffer from the fact that it A) is probably going to look like an attractive choice to people unfamiliar with the system, and B) going to be outperformed by the 2nd Excellency. I think the best way to execute the concept would be through a permanent charm, and even then it might be too weak. Solar.

Unfailing (Ability) Competence
Cost: –
Mins: (Ability) 1, Essence 1
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Any (Ability) Excellency

The Solar Exalted know not the name of failure. The Lawgiver can never botch a roll made with the relevant Ability, regardless of the roll's result.