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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


There's about as much of value in Old Changling as in Beast, just OC was a little more eye-rolling and a little less 'Wow, dude, please stop making elfgames ever'.

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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Bieeardo posted:

There's a bit of fluff somewhere that mentions the Union in general is really, really pissed with the Void Engineers, specifically for fouling projects like that up so spectacularly.

...unfortunately it also goes on to indicate that later space tragedies, like the Challenger disaster, were engineered by rival Conventions in retaliation.

sing it with me kiddos. Do not co-opt real world tragedies!

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Night10194 posted:

There's about as much of value in Old Changling as in Beast, just OC was a little more eye-rolling and a little less 'Wow, dude, please stop making elfgames ever'.

No, I don't think there's really any comparison. C:tD had a really good game and a poignant expression of the struggle to keep your dreams alive in an uncongenial world that honestly ought to be even more relevant today.

The game's main problem is that there's no consistency in how anything works. Sometimes science is bad and sometimes it's good. Sometimes there are lots of old changelings and sometimes nobody makes it to thirty. Sometimes Unseelie stand for passion and freedom and sometimes they stand for being a murderous psychopath. Sometimes growing up is hard to do and sometimes you can't trust anybody over twenty.

But the core of it is sound.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Rand Brittain posted:

No, I don't think there's really any comparison. C:tD had a really good game and a poignant expression of the struggle to keep your dreams alive in an uncongenial world that honestly ought to be even more relevant today.

Forgive me if I don't have much patience for a game that says psychotherapy and mental health treatment are an attempt to kill your dreams and crush you.

I found that part of Changeling really offensive on a personal level.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Night10194 posted:

Forgive me if I don't have much patience for a game that says psychotherapy and mental health treatment are an attempt to kill your dreams and crush you.

Well, like I said, only sometimes. The idea that your therapist is out to get you isn't in any way necessary to the game.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Rand Brittain posted:

No, I don't think there's really any comparison. C:tD had a really good game

[...]

But the core of it is sound.

No it didn't and no it isn't.

Bacchante
May 2, 2012

Friends don't let friends do sarcasm.


Oh, hey. All this discussion of terrible themes in terrible games, thank you Beast, has reminded me that I'm 90% done with the next part of the still-technically-ongoing FATAL review.

Monathin
Sep 1, 2011


Oh, wow, there's a -lot- of talk on Beast and Changeling that I feel very fine derailing with a good Storyteller System game.

I know this is a bit late so let's get right into it.



Part The Third: Character Generatiion (And Stuff I Missed)

First thing’s first! Alien Rope Burn pointed out I skipped the Southeast, which is in fact, upon further review, a drat shame cause it’s some of the newest stuff and it’s absofuckinglutely bonkers.Whereas in the old versions the Southeast was, from what I can tell, basically nothing, here we get some detail about what a cross-section of the two different poles looks like: it combines the South’s mineral riches with the East’s fertile land - and at the heart of it all, the Dreaming Sea, an ocean pouring in from beyond creation and some pretty drat strictly Wyld/Fair Folk territory. Everything you could want is here - crops, spices, gems, precious metals, you name it.

So of course it’s only natural that any and all city-states around here aree getting swallowed up by upstart empires looking to stranglehold this chunk of Creation. There’s empires, intrigue, Fair Folk running amok, rogue gods, cults, and monstrous, weird beasts warped by the Wyld and the Dreaming Sea.


Seriously, it kind of loving owns. Sounds like a good campaign setting if the Scavenger Lands weren’t like, right next door.

So what are the hotspots? Well, we’ve got Kamthahar, capital of the empire of Prasad. It’s got caste and clans with their own walled compounds in the city. Reminds me a lot of Ragnarok Online PvP, actually. Dragon-Blooded rule the city, but here the Immaculate Philosophy is warped into thinking that the Dragon-Bloods are actually gods. UNSURPRISINGLY Immaculate Monks don’t like this and sometimes show up to throw down with Monks of the ‘Pure Way’, as they call it.

There’s also Champoor, a city cloaked in eternal night on the coast of the Dreaming Sea. It’s that way because there’s an actual goddamn water dragon ruling the city. She also runs one of the few courts of like-minded gods left - the corrupt Court of Secrets. The city’s criminal classes forming priesthoods to dark gods and undersea elementals, and pretty much everyone and their mother has some sort of divine magic to do their day to day workings. Combatting rivals, transporting goods, or just good old-fashioned brawling. In exchange, they make sacrifices to these gods, in the hopes they won’t be the one caught without godly back-up.

Ysyr is a city built on First Age ruins, full of people warped by unregulated sorcerous engines that kept the old city of Pinnacle running. These people are now attuned to the power of sorcery, but only a few of them can actively tap into and master this gift - easily identified by their physical perfection thanks to sorcery, while those that can bear lesser mutations, marks of servitude and slavery, for you’re either a sorcerer or a slave.

On the isles just on the coast of the Dreaming Sea is Palanquin, which might be my favorite of the cities. Propped up by the Four Giants four colossal inhuman statues. Their feet hold the piers and ports needed to make the city thrive, while you can climb up the statues in staircases that climb past entire neighborhoods carved out of the statues.


Have I mentioned how loving killer the art is recently? Cause like, holy poo poo.

At the top you have a temple city - full of religious types that see themselves closer to Heaven than the other land-locked cities - an attitude supported by the City of Blue Gauze, a city that trades with Palanquin and is full of cloud-folk. The city itself has nobles who have cloudfolk blood and thus a “otherworldly beauty and capricious nature.” Though it’s stated Palanquin isn’t as powerful as it once was, given the sorcerer-kings of Ysyr conquered it about a hundred years ago. At the center of the city though is a defunct gateway that’s said to lead to Heaven, but instead leads to something far more sinister - Zen-Mu, the fallen celestial capital of the ancients. Probably not a good idea to go there now, though it’d make one hell of an adventure.

Last on our quick romp around the Southeast and get to Character Creation is Volivat, a city carved out of the sea in the first age, resting a hundred fathoms below sea level, kept dry by a pump and dam system that functions to this day. Rising out of the sea are towering spires where alchemists create artificially fertile miniature gardens of Eden.

Volivat was flooded over during the Great Contagion in an attempt to quarantine the city, nomads found the city, reactivated the pumps, and found many relics and texts of the former Exalted, deciding to shape themselves in the image of the city’s founders. They call themselves ‘Yennin’, Children of Ten Fathers, and an ancient formula found allowed for the creation of offspring with up to ten fathers, each contributing to the birth of a single child. This basically allows them to pick and choose the best qualities in a Gattaca-esque Ubermensch, only the best of the best contribute to the next generation, which has hilariously hosed over clan/family bonds and any sense of separate family lines, mentioned as being “largely incomprehensible to outsiders.” Because of this, though, Volvidat have some of the strongest mortals in creation. “Enhanced by the combined strength, wit, and Essence of eleven parents, the greatest Yennen champions are a match for the sorcerer-princes of Ysyr and the Dragon-Blooded warriors of Prasad.”

So, that’s the Southeast! It doesn’t such - quite - as much as Scavenger Lands, but where it sucks, it really sucks. Now, onto some actual crunch.

Character Creation



Like all the chapters, this one is a prelude to a story. Unlike the others, though, this is a short one-page story involving a Liminal - I mentioned how they’re sort of like Exalted Prometheans, but this is one of the stories I actually really like, and it actually sells me on the idea of playing one of these composites. It tells of Echoing Breath, a liminal hunting down the ghosts of Dragon-Blooded that hunt the land - coming face to face with the one who fave her her own patchwork face.


It helps, again, that the art is kind of bad-rear end.

So! Characters! Exalted gives us a brief primer on the basics of putting together a character for its system. To put down in words what you want your character concept to be, the pump your DM/ST for information that’ll make it easier to put together a concept for a specific character in that chunk of Creation, and, most importantly, to think larger than life. It then goes into a quick overview of the Storyteller system - though not a whole lot, it simply gives us an overview of how abilities and attributes are rated (1-5 dots), with one dot being poor, two being average, three being average, four being exceptional, and five being masterful. While the setup is closer to oWoD’s arrangement of attributes than nWoD’s - for example, Composure isn’t here, and the whole idea of Force/Finesse/Resistance isn’t applied, it plays like relatively modern Storyteller - as explained previously, your dicepool is the combined number of Ability + Attribute d10s, with modifiers from miscellaneous things like Charms and the like. Unlike standard Storyteller. You then roll those dice, and any dice that comes up 7-10 is a Success, with 10s counting double. The way the math works out on that is that, on average, you’ll want about double the dice for the number of successes you want to roll, barring other factors.

The first step they give you is to figure out your Concept and Caste. Figuring out a simple beat to sketch your character from. I’ll use my own character from my currently-running Exalted campaign as an idea. Grasping the Sky With Hands Outstretched (‘Grasping Sky’ or ‘Sky’ for short) is a man who called the far-western city of Onyx his home. Rising through the rankings of Onyx’s own military - to near the highest one could get without taking the long nap. Having found out the truth of Onyx’s death-based culture (and a Soulsteel forge using ‘missing’ souls from the city as power), Sky decided he didn’t want anything to do with Onyx - and became an Exalt as he was forced to fight the undead legionaires of Onyx on his way out. Now, he wanders the lands as a travelling warrior, hoping to right wrongs and ease his own peace of mind. The original concept being a Ryu-esque Wandering Warrior who had a reason he didn’t want to go home.

Now that the concept is done, we figure out the Caste. Sky’s was easy - I wanted him to be a peerless fighter, so I made him a Dawn caste, but a quick overview once more of the Solars, since it’s been a hot minute since we went into them.

  • Dawn: your Fighter. Warriors and champions without peers.
  • Zenith: your Paladin. Equal parts fighter and holy man, commander of armies, leaders of men.
  • Twilight: your Wizard. Loremasters, occultists, and sorcerers with access to world-shaping magic.
  • Night: your Rogue. Assassins and thieves, they are as deadly as they are stealthy - and there are none stealthier.
  • Eclipse: your Bard. Travellers, diplomats, and socialites without equal, who can cast magic in a pinch.

Once you’ve chosen your concept and Caste, it’s time to figure out what your Attributes are. Much like in standard Storyteller fare, You’ve given three categories, and asked to allocate each one to Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary, split among Physical (Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina), Mental (Perception, Intelligence, Wits), and Social (Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance). In Blue Book nWoD/CofD, you’re given 5 points for your Primary, 4 points for your Secondary, and 3 points for your Tertiary. That’s chump change, this is Exalted, motherfucker. Exalted gives you eight points for Primary, six points for secondary, and four points for Tertiary. You’re a demigod among men, and you’re gonna drat well have the stats for it. As always, the first point is free. Like CofD, the fifth point doesn’t cost you double - and Exalted encourages you to take a five if it fits with your style.


Of course, I had to go into the next chapter to find this, but points for the attempt, OPP.

Then we get to Abilities, which is really where the differences between 2nd Ed and 3rd Ed start to shine. Abilities are your ‘skills’. They’re divided up in general areas of knowledge, with 25 (Or 26. depending how you count Martial Arts, but we’ll get to that much later) skills in all: Archery, Athletics, Awareness, Brawl/Martial Arts, Bureaucracy, Craft, Dodge, Integrity, Investigation, Larceny, Linguistics, Lore, Medicine, Melee, Occult, Performance, Presence, Resistance, Ride, Sail, Socialize, Stealth, Survival, Thrown, War. From these 25, you pick ten. Five of which come from your Caste, and five of which come from personal preference, called Favored. Caste and Favored abilities are important for a couple reasons. The first is the ability to Excellency these rolls, adding dice to them by spending points from your Mote Pool (again, something we’ll cover later). You can never more than double these rolls, but it works in pretty much all circumstances you would want it to. The second is that Favored/Caste abilities have lesser experience requirements than their peers - it’s generally easier levelling up one of your chosen abilities to 5 dots than the others, and charms for your Favored/Caste abilities cost significantly less, when you add it up. The book provides us with a handy summary of who gets what Caste abilities.



Now, here’s why I like this. In 2e, each Caste got 5 abilities with no overlap. This 1: Made things a bit cookie cutter with character generation, 2: Made it harder for one caste to fill another’s role, and 3: Had the side effect of making Eclipse feel really useless since they got a lot of the more “situationally useful” skills, like Ride and Sail . WIth this setup, there’s enough overlap that while each Caste is still distinct, they can nominally fill each other’s roles - an Eclipse has access to Sorcery, a Zenith can pick up Socialize and be the diplomacy specialist or specialize further in combat trees and be the bruiser instead of having someone play a Dawn. About the only thing that has very little overlap is the Night Caste’s schtick of being extremely stealthy, but even that, to some degree, can be covered by an Eclipse with a focus on Larceny. Thirdly, it just allows more diversity - picking five out of seven charms for each of the Castes, with five others favored, gives everyone in the party a wider range in terms of character expression and utility - although, it is recommended for the classes that aren’t Dawns pick up some form of combat ability or charm.

Once you’ve picked your ten abilities, you pick one of your five Caste abilities to be your Supernal Ability. This is your most powerful ability, it’s the one in which your Essence (which is a rough gauge of your power level, from “newly Exalted” to “the ultimate demigod”.is ignored for meeting prerequisites to obtain charms. I’ll be honest, this is most useful at chargen, getting a headstart on the bigger charm trees, but maybe I wasn’t using it correctly, maybe there’s just too many charms I’ve been dealing with, but Supernal has not really helped me stay appropriately ahead of the curve in terms of abilities. It -does- let you get some sick poo poo early, which we’ll cover when we start covering Charms.

Once you have your Caste, Favored, and Supernal Abilities locked in, you split 28 points between them. Unlike Attributes, Abilities start at 0, and no Abilities can be raised above 3-dot without spending some of your end-of-chargen bonus points, and Favored abilities must have at least one dot. You can put dots in abilities that aren’t your caste/favored, and the book actually recommends you do this now, since it’s easier than buying them later. After that, you assign four ‘specialties’. Which give you a bonus dice on checks when the circumstance is met. Specialties can be or broad or as narrow as you want, though the Storyteller is specifically said to have the final say, and there has to be cases where they can’t apply that would come up in play. Some skills, notably Craft and Lore, come with a specialty baked in - with the caveat that you have to use that specialty for those skills. All others, you can use without invoking your specialty if you need to.

After that, we get into Merits. Merits are yet another beast I’ll cover later, but they’re simple enough to summarize - these are often your ‘intangibles’. Special skills, little quirks, things that set your character apart from the rest. Rest assured they’re similar to standard Storyteller fair - you have ten points to buy up Merits, that you can purchase at various dot ‘levels’. Naturally, there are some that you wouldn’t expect in CofD - Cult, Artifact, etc. But there’s still say, Mentor, Contacts, Resources, and most all the ones you’ve come to know and expect.

Next, you get your Charms. The Charm list is several miles long and I intend to cover in excruciating detail when we get to that chunk of the book. Though I guess it’s worth mentioning right now that I think Charms in 3rd Edition are much, much better than their 2nd Ed counterparts. I know there was some complaints of not being able to untangle the flavor text from the effect of the attack, but I don’t think there’s much of an issue with 3rd Edition Charms as there have been in the past. For now, just know that Charms are how you do all the most ridiculous of Exalted stunts, and you’ll start out with fifteen. This is where Supernals come in handy, because there might be a charm you -really- like that’s Essence 2 (All the Exalted start at Essence 1) that you want. Said Charm can be picked up at chargen if it’s in your Supernal Ability. It’s important to note here that if you’re a user of an Artifact, a Martial Artist or a Sorcerer, you can exchange one of your fifteen starting charms for a Martial Arts Charm, Spell, or Evocation (Charms, but for Artifacts) on a one-for-one basis. It’s pretty nice.

Intimacies and Limit Trigger come next. Intimacies are the backbone of Exalted 3e’s Social System, and they’re the things you care about, for good or for bad. They can be a material thing; a place, person, an object (called a Tie) or it can be a concept, idea, or philosophy (called a Principle). All Solars must have -some- intimacies when they start the game. At least one Defining (a core part of your character concept), one Major (not as important as Defining, but still important to note), one negative (a thing your character hates) and one positive (a thing your character likes).

Limit Triggers are the way this book manifests the Great Curse of the Exalted. The Limit Trigger is a scenario in which your character accrues Limit, which may end up making things harder later - it’s, essentially, a situation your character never wants to find himself in. Naturally, a good Limit Trigger is one that has some flexibility - enough for it to come up once in a while, but no so common that it comes up all the time.

And then, to wrap it all up, we get Bonus Points - 15 for your character to spend on rounding your character out, with a handy block of bonus point costs:



They explicitly make it easier to shore up your Tertiary so that your character isn’t -completely- lacking in an area you were forced to commit as a Tertiary attribute, but otherwise the rest of the fare is standard.

After that, it talks about the static values you’ll be putting together for your character. You get seven Health Levels, five Willpower, and a default Essence of 1, a Pool of 13 Personal/33 Peripheral Motes. After that, it goes into some roleplaying tips - thinking about who the character was before they Exalted, and that Exaltation is very much a life-changing event, and of course, to collaborate with your players so that you all aren’t bringing the same thing to the table.

And that’s it for character creation! I was gonna show off a sample character created in the book (Isthus Fithi, a Night Class former assassin on the run), but I’ve been wrestling with the interactive character sheet stalling out my PDF reader for about 90 minutes now and it’s honestly not worth it to fight through, so here’s that chunk since it’s not that long to read:



Next: Chapter 4: Traits, or “Maybe we should have put this somewhere else in the book instead of one hundred thirty pages in.”

Monathin fucked around with this message at 01:16 on May 3, 2016

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


Would just like to thank Nifara for their awesome Spellbound Kingdoms writeup, which got me to pick up the book. After reading through the whole thing, I'm happy to say it holds up - it's a little clunky in places, the warrior class is boring as ever, and there's some little rules niggles that arise from the conversational tone, but on the whole - it's really loving cool. You can tell there's a lot of heart put into it. I'd love to see a v2 that's a little more streamlined with some prettier layout (you can really tell all the sheets were put together with Word's drawing tools...) but doubt that'll ever happen.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Monathin posted:



Have I mentioned how loving killer the art is recently? Cause like, holy poo poo.

As HELLA RAD as the giant quartet of statues holding up a city with other cliff-dwelling cities hanging off the statues is, My inner 12 year old needs to point out the statue on the right is the proud site of 'Butt Town'.

kajitsukai
Oct 9, 2012


Crasical posted:

As HELLA RAD as the giant quartet of statues holding up a city with other cliff-dwelling cities hanging off the statues is, My inner 12 year old needs to point out the statue on the right is the proud site of 'Butt Town'.

Everybody knows Butt Town has the best parties.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Aw yiss. Gonna take the girl on a ride to Butt Town.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I live on 69 South Dong Street.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Butt Town's nice but the framerate tanks when the weekly fog rolls in.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



BinaryDoubts posted:

Would just like to thank Nifara for their awesome Spellbound Kingdoms writeup, which got me to pick up the book. After reading through the whole thing, I'm happy to say it holds up - it's a little clunky in places, the warrior class is boring as ever, and there's some little rules niggles that arise from the conversational tone, but on the whole - it's really loving cool. You can tell there's a lot of heart put into it. I'd love to see a v2 that's a little more streamlined with some prettier layout (you can really tell all the sheets were put together with Word's drawing tools...) but doubt that'll ever happen.

Warrior is actually terrifying - I'd bet on them over literally any other class in a fight.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



We worked extra hard on the Afterthought intro this week, so go listen to it! Otherwise we talk about games that really go outside the regular conventions of RPGs and then answer questions for a long, long time.

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest!
The rightest!


Yeah, for Spellbound Kingdoms it's worth mentioning that the warrior actually is legitimately the best bar none at fighting, to the degree of probably being able to take on multiple opponents at once. Using your full armor score instead of just half is in of itself basically insane.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





BinaryDoubts posted:

Would just like to thank Nifara for their awesome Spellbound Kingdoms writeup, which got me to pick up the book. After reading through the whole thing, I'm happy to say it holds up - it's a little clunky in places, the warrior class is boring as ever, and there's some little rules niggles that arise from the conversational tone, but on the whole - it's really loving cool. You can tell there's a lot of heart put into it. I'd love to see a v2 that's a little more streamlined with some prettier layout (you can really tell all the sheets were put together with Word's drawing tools...) but doubt that'll ever happen.
I tried putting together some slightly cleaner layouts for some of the styles, just to see how they'd turn out. It's not that hard now that I've got the svg file set up, so maybe I'll do the rest if people think it's worth it.
Free Sword
Great Weapon
Swashbuckler

Double circles mean M, red means (r), squares are balancing moves. I think it's a lot easier to read that way.

This game could be vastly improved with the judicious application of an editor and a layout person, IMO.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



^ Great Weapon seems to have Whirlwind from Free Sword in place of Devastation.

Lupercalcalcal
Jan 28, 2016

Suck a dick, dumb shits


BinaryDoubts posted:

Would just like to thank Nifara for their awesome Spellbound Kingdoms writeup, which got me to pick up the book. After reading through the whole thing, I'm happy to say it holds up - it's a little clunky in places, the warrior class is boring as ever, and there's some little rules niggles that arise from the conversational tone, but on the whole - it's really loving cool. You can tell there's a lot of heart put into it. I'd love to see a v2 that's a little more streamlined with some prettier layout (you can really tell all the sheets were put together with Word's drawing tools...) but doubt that'll ever happen.

Now I just need to actually get my poo poo together and finish it.

But thanks!

Bacchante
May 2, 2012

Friends don't let friends do sarcasm.



Because apparently I hate myself enough to finally keep going. Geez, where were we.

Part 8: Body

... nope. Nope. Nopenopenope, I am out of here.

Hngh, but I swore I'd finish this eventually so let's bite the bullet. We all know what's coming here. Let's just... yeah. Again; you may just want to skip past this post, as it contains mentions of gross sexism and paedophilia. Because FATAL.

So, I haven't been talking about the art a lot apart from a brief mention of its constant pornographic nature but I'm going to pull out two examples real quick. The first one is absolutely not safe for work, plus it might be illegal depending on your country of origin, and is here. If you don't click on the link, and nobody should begrudge you that, it includes an image of a presumably prepubescent girl on the left, a busty maiden in the middle, and an obese presumably elderly lady on the right.

I will also note that in the original PDF the image rotates out every second page during the whole section with a matching one for men; only the female one stuck in the revised version. Stay classy, FATAL.

The other bit I want to call out is safe for work, and it's here. It's actually not terrible, so if anyone can tell me who Byron Hall stole it from I'd be delighted to know.

Now, without further ado let's do this horrible, horrible thing.

Let’s talk about some bizarre edition differences before we begin. Chapter 3: Body starts on page 65 in the original pdf, and on page 39 in the revision. Why? Because, for some reason, they decided that rolling for your random physical appearance is more important than your stats and, thus, it’s become Chapter 2 instead. Nevermind the fact that several parts of the body chapter reference your changing or being changed by your stats.

The first part is safe! Well, apart from the inane, “Each of the standard features must be randomly determined” part. It's just starting ages. We see the book's obsession with overcomplicating things pop up as, in the revised edition, all the ages have gone from sane flat number rolls with a single added amount anywhere from 1d20 to 1d8, to something... well... stupider. A lot stupider. How much stupider?

Everyone is now some combination of 4d100 divided by various numbers and then another number subtracted at the end, except for Dwarves who are now a 1d1000 roll. The minor issue of potentially having a negative age is 'solved' by saying that you take the absolute value of the equation, meaning a negative value becomes a positive. You can still end up as an infant or newborn quite easily, though; which is realistic, because all people were babies at some point in time so obviously you should have to play one.

The table for lifespan is pretty innocuous and even includes a note that females live (1d10)% longer than males! Amazing that this nod to realism is allowed for here, but that ‘unfortunate limitation’ for intelligence is included later.

Then we get height. Also pretty innocuous but, once again, Hall’s weird obsession with the law of averages comes in when every race has to roll an average of 6d6 to add to some uneven number for their height. Another edition difference here as well; the table for height modifiers appears here in the revision.

Males get an increase in weight, strength and bodily attractiveness based on height difference from the average, females just get weight and strength. The bonuses, of course, markedly differ based on race. The most egregious one I can see is Ogres; males get +20 Strength for every inch taller than average, while the females get +8. Anakim are second, at +15 and +5 respectively. Because even inhuman and monstrous women are weaker than men, right guys?

There’s another interesting difference between editions when we hit weight. Originally, stronger characters weighed more; which kind of followed logically. Now it’s the inverse; if you weigh more, you’re stronger; again, that also kind of follows logically but it's also worth remembering that, in the original, you knew what your strength score actually was by now.. Hall also puts some information about the Cube-Square law in a footnote to try and seem learned.

The revision makes you calculate your BMI, because that's fun, and, predictably, males are less attractive if underweight or overweight but most females are generally more attractive if underweight because, as we all recall, Hall thinks the ideal woman has a tiny waist but giant tits. Notably, however, males being overweight get an increase to strength which I believe counteracts the reduction in attractiveness in some way. The one exception, in a startling demonstration of what is almost real worldbuilding, is trolls; who find both thin and fat women repulsive! Ogres don’t find thin women repulsive, but still hate fatties; this seems to be the only thing that all the races have in common. Stay classy, FATAL, stay classy.

Before the two PDFs link up again we also have Body Part Proportion. Because you’ve always wanted to know how large your head was relative to your groin, right? Of course you have. Plus this table is absolutely vital in combat because you can use it to determine hit locations at random, with varying proportions based on species. Also; apparently Anakim, Bugbears, Elves, Humans and Kobolds all have identical body proportions, as do Dwarves and Ogres. But only two types of Troll share proportions; In all seriousness, there could have been a lot of unpleasant 'jokes' in this section regarding groin/nose sizes for Anakim and Kobolds, given I still suspect the latter of being a poorly veiled stand-in for ethnic Jews.

Most Attractive/Repulsive feature baffles me. You roll 1d100 twice, rerolling if the second matches the first, and then if the result blatantly contradicts the reality of your existing stats, such as your Facial Charisma being super high and rolling a repulsive face, you consult the Aedile to see what to do. There’s also a minor modifier to the stats in question.

Now, the weird thing is that this should really be after the stats chapter for this very reason. You’d just say, “Take your highest Charisma as your most attractive feature and your lowest as your most repulsive” and done. Easy.

I and Syrg before me have said a few words about Hall’s obsession with randomisation but it bears repeating. You randomly determine your character’s Skin Color, Hair Color, Hair Length, Hair Thickness and Type, Eye Colour, Reach, Visual Acuity, Facial Features…

And, at last, we come to the final straw.

Sexual features.

Look, what is there to say about this? I’ll just pick out a few of the worst features. For example, even with the lowest modifier, a -95 for an infant, you can apparently fit two fingers into an anus or a vagina without difficulty, because that’s the lowest the table goes.

We all know about the ripped orifice rule that leads to instant death. As well as hymen resistance. Actually, I’ll talk about that as well because what the gently caress. “Every time a male inserts his Manhood into a female with an intact hymen he must roll 1d100 + [(Manhood Circumference divided by Vaginal Circumference Potential) * 100] and if the result exceeds Hymen Resistance then it was broken.” Rolling for Sperm Count is obviously very important as well.

… and something I just now noticed is that the original table only had a modifier of up to -25 for both anal and vaginal circumference. Why? Because it only went as low as puberty. Apparently between the original writing and the remake Byron Hall decided he really needed to include modifiers for if someone absolutely had to try and gently caress a baby.

Moving on. Foot Size. Fist Circumference. Handedness. Head Circumference. These are all, apparently, ‘Rare features’. They are ‘not usually determined during character creation unless the player so desires’ and, apparently, they ‘rarely become necessary components of the game, but are detailed here for the sake of comprehensiveness.” Because knowing if you can fit something into a baby vagina is vital to the playability of the game, but whether you’re left or right handed is not.

It also asks you to roll for allergies if your Health is low but don’t forget that you’ve not actually determined that stat yet. Why this chapter was moved is beyond me. The rules for intoxication and disease are included in here for some reason, as well as new rules for waking up and being sleep deprived in the new version.

Of the choicer tidbits in the disease section is, of course, Tourette’s. Because FATAL. As expected, it’s reduced to randomly shouting obscenities at the whim of the Aedile. Apparently the outburst is ‘always honest’, as well.

Pages Done: 102/981

I’m switching to the revised edition number now that the two pdfs have caught up to each other at Chapter 4. Closing thoughts on Body? There’s not a lot to say about this. For as memetically famous as this part of FATAL is the chapter is really one of the least offensive bits of this entire book. Yes, there are implications of Hall wanting to enable pedophilia in his game but, on the whole, it’s just more wanking of the glory of random determination of characters. Apart from odd ducks like the repulsive/attractive features most of these rolls are just... dumb. Not even funny dumb, just dull.

With all that in mind, this bizarre fixation with not allowing you any control over your final character in the name of ‘realism’ flies in the face of every other unreal decision made in this, ”The most difficult, detailed, realistic and historically/mythically accurate role-playing game”.

I'm sure the next section will be much more offensive, however, as we step the two-axis alignment system as interpreted by Byron Hall.

Next up: Disposition why do i do this to myself

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


megane posted:

I tried putting together some slightly cleaner layouts for some of the styles, just to see how they'd turn out. It's not that hard now that I've got the svg file set up, so maybe I'll do the rest if people think it's worth it.
Free Sword
Great Weapon
Swashbuckler

Double circles mean M, red means (r), squares are balancing moves. I think it's a lot easier to read that way.

This game could be vastly improved with the judicious application of an editor and a layout person, IMO.

Those new sheets look GREAT. Yeah, the game could definitely use a solid editor (and some reorganization...) but man I'd be super excited if you did some more of those sheets.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


Crasical posted:

As HELLA RAD as the giant quartet of statues holding up a city with other cliff-dwelling cities hanging off the statues is, My inner 12 year old needs to point out the statue on the right is the proud site of 'Butt Town'.

That's where I'm gonna put the slums in my game.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

Bedlamdan posted:

That's where I'm gonna put the slums in my game.

It's a good place for them! In my current game the slums proper are in a network of lashed-together ships around the feet of the statues - Butt Town is instead the city's den of vice, demonology and revolutionaries.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Guys, please don't talk about butts (or other orifices) right after the FATAL post:baby::barf:

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


Flavivirus posted:

It's a good place for them! In my current game the slums proper are in a network of lashed-together ships around the feet of the statues - Butt Town is instead the city's den of vice, demonology and revolutionaries.

Butt town is where all the guys dressed up like banchos, with mohawks and pompadours, hang out.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Flavivirus posted:

It's a good place for them! In my current game the slums proper are in a network of lashed-together ships around the feet of the statues - Butt Town is instead the city's den of vice, demonology and revolutionaries.

"The sun hasn't shone on Butt Town since the start of Creation."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I'm going to bring up the more critical issues with Exalted chargen, since I've just gone through it:
  • If you want to create a combat character, it'll almost always be a Dawn, since only they get access to offensive skills as Supernal skills. Some other castes can take supplemental or defensive Supernals, but Dawns can Supernal most of those too, if they really want...
  • A lot of people complain about the use of BP, but to me, that's a minor issue. The main issue comes with curved XP costs later on, which encourages distorted sheets where everything is a 1 or 5 since you can save 50+ XP in future costs that way. Granted, this is also true of most World of Darkness games, but it's something that's been fixed in other contemporary lines.
  • Of course, the XP curve also distorts the value of BP buys. The best buys are improving caste and favored abilities from 3 to 5 or to improve Willpower, while the worst buys are charms and spells. The difference isn't small, either- improving abilities to high ranks gives you three times the XP return of buying charms.
  • The merits are all over the place balance- wise, where things like "+1 health level" and "magical armor that gives you superpowers" are somehow equivalent.

:ssh:

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

kajitsukai posted:

Everybody knows Butt Town has the best parties.

When you live in Butt Town, you better get down.

Doodmons
Jan 17, 2009


BinaryDoubts posted:

Would just like to thank Nifara for their awesome Spellbound Kingdoms writeup, which got me to pick up the book. After reading through the whole thing, I'm happy to say it holds up - it's a little clunky in places, the warrior class is boring as ever, and there's some little rules niggles that arise from the conversational tone, but on the whole - it's really loving cool. You can tell there's a lot of heart put into it. I'd love to see a v2 that's a little more streamlined with some prettier layout (you can really tell all the sheets were put together with Word's drawing tools...) but doubt that'll ever happen.

The Warrior's in a sort of weird place in Spellbound. Pretty much every other class comes with some sort of built in plot hooks or really awesome thing that they get at higher levels - the Savage is a good example, being the other smashman class, in that it gets a Savage Tribe organisation, vision quests, Beast World features and eventually a unique fighting style. The Warrior pretty much just gets more and better combat features. The important difference to me is that the Warrior is actually, genuinely the best at combat. Arguably this is not a good excuse for a class that could be considered boring but I'll disagree - I played one right the way up to level 20 and I can tell you that the Warrior fulfils all the D&D Fighter's wildest dreams of being an unstoppable murder god on the field of battle. As long as you know what you're getting into with the Warrior - that you're signing up to be the combat character who smashes lesser mortals over your knee - the Warrior is perfect. If you want more peripheral stuff, the Savage is right there.

I seriously can't exaggerate how dangerous the Warrior is. Twice the hits of anyone else (probably more than twice the hits, since you'll be wearing the best and heaviest armour) with incredible, bone-shattering amounts of bonus damage and more combat styles than you will know what to do with. Not for the Spellbound Kingdoms Warrior the old-fashioned D&D Fighter ways of having all your combat feats stacking on top of a single weapon, so you can only ever use it instead of actually being the flexible combat master that's advertised. A 20th level warrior can have 5 masteries and an apprentice style, which could get you: Arrowheart to be a master of bows, Free Sword for your general day-to-day needs, Five Seasons for unarmed combat, Black Powder and Crimson Blade for your light-armoured swashbuckling needs, Guardsman to protect your shittier teammates and Parapet Defense should you need to murder a mage. Every single one of those styles is dangerous on its own and lethal in the hands of a Warrior - the sheer variety of death-dealing you can get away with is awe-inspiring. Also thanks to Talents, you can also be a Charismatic leader of men, tactical genius and master smith without needing to cross class at all. The Warrior delivers.

All you need to know is that when I played one, I Eviscerated a Sky Kraken without breaking stride and now that I'm GMing a campaign I wince a bit every time I stat a bad guy up as a Warrior.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

The joy of a F.A.T.A.L post is that everybody can unite in disgust at the unholy abomination of game. I actually remember trying to make a character for that game which was perhaps one of the most frustrating things I have ever tried to do.

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!




Part 4: Aspirations, Breaking Points and Experience

Aspirations are goals your character wants to accomplish and broken up into Short Term and Long Term aspirations. Short Term aspirations can be reasonably completed in one game session. For our example characters they might include something like ‘Investigate Client’ for Jennifer and ‘Patrol Territory’ for Michael. Long Term aspirations for the two might be ‘Find the Truth behind the client’ and ‘Eliminate a rival gang’ respectively. These are things that would take several sessions to accomplish. All of these serve to give you a bit of character and remind you of both the plot and your character’s life outside of it. You might be dealing with a missing person but you still have to go to work, take your kids to soccer practice and attend to your other responsibilities. Aspirations are known by the ST and they should take a bit of effort to make sure they can come up if it’s reasonable. If you accomplish an aspiration you can replace it between sessions. Likewise you can replace it if it is no longer possible or relevant. It should also be noted that if you don't know what the campaign is going to be about you can wait to fill out your aspirations until you get a little bit more information about what's going on.

Breaking Points and Integrity have replaced Morality from World of Darkness. Morality had several issues. One being it a sort of rough measure of objective good and evil more than anything else. Moving down it required committing increasingly heinous crimes. To reduce your character to 0 humanity and finally lose control of them required, if I recall correctly, things on the level of genocide. There was a long list of potential sins at each level. Going down on the humanity scale also could involve getting derangements, which were largely mental illnesses. As you can imagine, while innovative at the time, it’s a bit insensitive especially when being evil results in things like bulimia, schizophrenia and ‘multiple personality disorder.’

Now we have Integrity which functions more as a representation of your current mental well being than it does how good or evil you are. Doing things that are unacceptable in society, deeply out of character or being exposed to the supernatural can all be breaking points, which represent things your character has seen or done that they just can’t handle or rationalize. These are going to vary from character to character but to help the ST get a feel for what might cause a breaking point they present several questions to ask.

What is the worst thing your character has ever done?
What is the worst thing your character can imagine himself doing?
What is the worst thing your character can imagine someone else doing?
What has your character forgotten?
What is the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to your character?

Using these you can generally get a feel for the kinds of things your character would consider breaking points. If you do or experience something something that would be a breaking point for your character you roll Resolve+Composure. Success means that your character is a bit shaken but otherwise okay, failure means you cannot deal with the event, you question yourself, your sanity or your worth and your integrity drops. Either way you’ll get a condition which we will cover later.

You also gain situational modifiers for breaking points. It’s much easier to justify defending yourself against a mugger than it is committing premeditated murder.



Experience
Experience is how you improve your character. It’s broken up into Experience Points and Beats. 5 Beats turn into a single Experience Point. Now while this may seem rather unfair there are many ways to quickly rack up beats.

Any time your character fulfills an aspiration, take a beat, and your character generally starts a session with 3 of them. This also includes a session in which you spend time working on a long term aspiration.
If you resolve a condition, the terms of which are stated with it, you gain a beat.
If you fail a roll you can opt to turn it into an automatic dramatic failure to gain a beat.
If you become filled up with lethal damage, take a beat.
If your character ever risks a breaking point, you gain a beat.
At the end of every session, no matter what happens, you get a free beat.

Realistically you can expect to get 3 to 5 beats a session, which can add up rather quickly. Of course you can play dangerously and take risks to increase that number but that’s going to be on you. Spending Experience is one of the largest and most welcome change between Chronicles and World of Darkness. World of Darkness had escalating costs depending on how high the skill is, that is a higher ranked skill costs more to raise. While this may not sound that bad it heavily incentivized min maxing at character creation and the costs at higher levels were astronomical considering how quickly you gained Experience Points. Now everything has a separate, flat, cost that doesn’t vary based on the current level.

quote:

Attribute: 4 Experiences per dot
Merit: 1 Experience per dot Skill
Skill Specialty: 1 Experience
Skill: 2 Experiences per dot
Integrity: 2 Experiences per dot

Playing and Rolling Dice!
First some advice from the book

quote:

The Storyteller is responsible for…
…bringing the Chronicles of Darkness to life through description.
…deciding where scenes start and what’s going on.
…portraying characters who don’t belong to other players.
…involving each player and her character in the ongoing story.
…putting players’ characters in tough spots, encouraging interesting decisions.
…facilitating the actions players’ characters take, while making sure there are always complications.
…making sure that poor dice rolls affect but don’t stop the story.

The players are responsible for…
…creating their own individual characters as members of the cast.
…deciding what actions their characters take.
…making decisions that create drama and help keep the story moving.
…highlighting their characters’ strengths and weaknesses.
…confronting the problems the Storyteller introduces.
…developing their characters’ personalities and abilities over time, and telling personal stories within the overall story of the game.

Everyone is responsible for…
…giving other players chances to highlight their characters’ abilities and personal stories, whether that’s by showing them at their strongest or weakest.
…making suggestions about the story and action, while keeping in mind the authority of players over their characters and the responsibility of the Storyteller to occasionally make trouble.

Alright, we’re ready to start rolling some dice. Most rolls are going to consist of an attribute and skill. Add the dots together, possibly subtract a number based on the difficulty or your opponent, and count the successes, if any. Some examples are:

Wits+Composure to notice something. This is sort of the default perception roll in Chronicles and will likely come up on a regular basis.
Strength or Manipulation+Intimidation by coercing someone through fear. Now you’ll notice you have a choice between attribute to use. This is to represent the difference between someone grabbing someone by the collar and and lifting them off the ground and just telling them new and terrible ways you’ll make their life a hellscape.
Strength+Athletics for Jumping and a wide variety of other athletic tasks. Heavy lifting, climbing, swimming and the like might all use this depending on the circumstances.
Intelligence+Investigation for investigating a crime scene and look for clues as to the perpetrator.
Intelligence+Crafts to repair something, which might be quick or might be an extended action depending on the extent of the damage.
Dexterity+Stealth to sneak around, if someone is looking for you’ll they’ll need to beat your successes on a Wits+Composure roll.

Investigation
Because mystery and the unknown play such a huge role in Chronicles of Darkness they’ve actually developed a system to handle these occurrences in an interesting way. It starts off with some basic but important advice about running that kind of game. Don’t try to plan out everything beforehand because your players may not think like you do and be ready to improvise. No roll should cause the investigation to immediately fail, try instead to raise or change the stakes, like the culprit is now aware of the investigation or have time to strike again. Finally it’s important to describe what’s happening from scene to scene and how it all fits together. You shouldn’t just make an investigation a long series of consecutive rolls to keep things engaging and interesting.

It then describes a new resource available to characters in the form of Clues. These are resources which can be expended to gain bonuses to the investigation or, if enough are gathered, can be used to straight up solve the mystery. While it’s still definitely possible to figure out the mystery without expending clues this provides a resource to use if they’re not fans of detective work or just can’t figure out where to go next. They can also be used in social situations as leverage, with the book example being someone investigating a rival for evidence to use as blackmail. It also encourages a wide array of skills that might contribute to an investigation outside of the investigation skill. An investigation is likely going to require lab work (medicine or science), grilling witnesses (persuasion or intimidation) or maybe chasing down people through dark alleys (athletics) so try and stay open minded as to how you can help out. In fact you suffer progressively greater dice penalties for using the same skill repeatedly over the course of an investigation.

The ST should figure out how many clues they need related to how complex of large in scope the investigation is, ranging from 1 to 5. Unfortunately there are a few things that might get in the way. Failing a roll in the investigation gives you an Incomplete clue. This can only be used to give you a bonus on another roll. A Tainted clue comes from a dramatic failure and makes all further rolls more difficult. If they get enough clues they can just solve the case, the ST tells them what happened framed by what they know. If they come up short on clues every one missing it adds a potential complication to the conclusion of the investigation like the culprit having an alibi or pursuing him could damage them politically or professionally.

Overall this seems like something World of Darkness has always needed and seems fairly simple to implement in game.

Social Maneuvering
Another new edition to Chronicles of Darkness is the Social Maneuvering system, designed to make manipulating someone more transparent and understandable, as well as moving away from just one roll completely changing someone’s mind. This isn’t for just convincing a bouncer that you know the owner or having a pleasant blind date but for something of a greater scope like convincing the mayor to bulldoze the haunted rec center.

Doors represent how hard someone is to convince, and start at the lower of their resolve or composure. It can increase depending on how opposed they are to it, how dangerous it is and complications that may arise. First Impressions are also important and determine the length of time between rolls. By default you start at average which leaves a week between rolls to influence them. Thankfully there are many ways to raise this, referred to generally as Soft Leverage. Appealing to their vice, bribes in the form of money or favors, and other forms of leverage can raise their opinion of you. At the highest level you can roll every turn to get what you want from them.



Like investigation you can use a variety of skills to open doors, doing things that coincide with their goals, making them happy, making sound arguments or just making yourself a part of their life and trust you more. Once you’ve opened the required doors they’re going to either do what you say or offer a viable alternative. You might be in a desperate situation, or running out of time in which case there’s Hard Leverage. This is escalating the situation and driving home that you need them to act NOW. It can be threats, kidnapping, torture and other things which are almost guaranteed to be breaking points. These will likely open up at least one door but will poison any further dealings you have with them. People tend to take those things personally.

Chases!
Given this is a game of noir and horror (when it isn’t about driving trucks full of explosives into monsters of flesh and iron) so you’ll occasionally find yourself chasing after or running from something important. Basically it becomes a race to come up with 5 successes before the other person does. There’s a rather large list of things that impact that number and make it easier or harder respectively. Being faster, quicker to react and the like all reduce the amount of successes you need with the reverse also being true. From their you determine who has The Edge in the chase. If one person has a clear advantage they start with it, otherwise it’s a roll off. The example they use is someone on foot being chased by people in a car in a crowded street filled with foot traffic. The individual with the edge can essentially dictate which rolls will be used over the course of the chase, likely choosing ones that favor them. For example if Ms. Walters, our lawyer was chasing someone she might choose Presence+Expression to tell people to get out of her way, forcing the person she's chasing to roll the same. If the player does not have the edge it advises to give the player the opportunity to Seize the Edge to turn the tables and make it more exciting. After the dice roll has been determined the player can guess how many successes they will roll. If they guess correctly events change so that they are the one with the advantage in the chase, which seems like a good rule. Whoever gets the requisite successes determines how it ends. If the runner gets theirs first they get away, if the pursuer does it drops to initiative and combat and goes on from there.

We also have Doresh's young gang leader, Michael Beck.

He's tough, good in a fight, and more importantly a good leader. He has allies in the form of his gang and, when acting alongside them, inspire them to perform better. He has specialties in weaponry(switchblades), Expression(Motivating), and Larceny (Breaking into Cars). His aspirations include what you'd normally expect a gang leader to do as well as the goal of figuring out what that glass fingered creature was.

Next up: COMBAT

unzealous fucked around with this message at 03:41 on May 7, 2016

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Hunt11 posted:

The joy of a F.A.T.A.L post is that everybody can unite in disgust at the unholy abomination of game.

We were already doing that with Beast, though.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


PantsOptional posted:

We were already doing that with Beast, though.

F.A.T.A.L will never have anyone unironically referencing 'SJWs' so it's a step up.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Mr. Maltose posted:

F.A.T.A.L will never have anyone unironically referencing 'SJWs' so it's a step up.
True, but you know that's only because the term didn't exist yet.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

"Trolls consider all women repulsive" has been borne out as true on the internet, so F.A.T.A.L. gets at least one thing right.

Monathin
Sep 1, 2011


Alien Rope Burn posted:

I'm going to bring up the more critical issues with Exalted chargen, since I've just gone through it:
  • If you want to create a combat character, it'll almost always be a Dawn, since only they get access to offensive skills as Supernal skills. Some other castes can take supplemental or defensive Supernals, but Dawns can Supernal most of those too, if they really want...
  • A lot of people complain about the use of BP, but to me, that's a minor issue. The main issue comes with curved XP costs later on, which encourages distorted sheets where everything is a 1 or 5 since you can save 50+ XP in future costs that way. Granted, this is also true of most World of Darkness games, but it's something that's been fixed in other contemporary lines.
  • Of course, the XP curve also distorts the value of BP buys. The best buys are improving caste and favored abilities from 3 to 5 or to improve Willpower, while the worst buys are charms and spells. The difference isn't small, either- improving abilities to high ranks gives you three times the XP return of buying charms.
  • The merits are all over the place balance- wise, where things like "+1 health level" and "magical armor that gives you superpowers" are somehow equivalent.

:ssh:

I want to address a few of these things, at least:

  • A combat master doesn't -always- need to be a Dawn, though if you want to take a combat ability as a Supernal, it'll be a Dawn. Speaking from experience in my game, we have a Night Caste who picked up Melee and is considered pretty drat proficient and a worthy counterpart to my Brawl-Supernal Dawn Caste (admittedly I was not as good at chargen as I am now, but :ssh:). Presumably, the fact that Dawns are the only one to get most of the combat supernals is a snapback from second edition, where Dawns were... kind of not all that great, since a lot of the other types could do fighting better than them (including, again, Night Caste).
  • This is, unfortunately, one of the bigger problems with having the oWoD-Style Storyteller System running under the hood. (The other being that Dexterity is a God-King Stat, as we'll discuss when I get to the in Chapter 4.) I find it isn't -that- big of a deal overall, and I think some of it is offset with Solar XP, which I hope to get to next update.
  • Completely agreed, but I think it's intentional, at least for bonus points. Charms are the least efficient buy, and improving your main abilities/attributes to five early pays dividends, especially with the way Charms work. I'm not sure that's entirely a problem and more like an intended feature of the game - you already get 15 charms at start, getting more for cheap might upset early game balance, since at best you're buying them once every two sessions.
  • I plan to cover Merits in the next section, since they finally show up in Chapter 4, but you're right, there are some... oddities. And not all Merits are created equal.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Zeniths and Nights can be really dangerous combat types if they pick Resistance or Dodge (respectively) for their Supernal traits. I will also point out that Zeniths get access to War as a Supernal trait, which while not strictly speaking being a combat trait is utterly devastating when you can apply it in combat.

Keiya
Aug 22, 2009

Come with me if you want to not die.


Mr. Maltose posted:

F.A.T.A.L will never have anyone unironically referencing 'SJWs' so it's a step up.

On the other hand, Beast will never have a two-spell combo that forces someone to shove eggs up their butt for the rest of their life.

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Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Yes but that's text and not discussion of the text.

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