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EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Cythereal posted:

In all my years DMing in different systems, I've never actually tracked EXP. Players level up when I feel it makes sense for them to do so - I usually have a loose (players will be players) plan for each campaign, with a schedule for leveling up that I can adjust as necessary.

This is probably the best way to do it if the system doesn't involve spending XP as you earn it on upgrades and stuff.

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EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


darthbob88 posted:

I'd think most crime games would allow that. I know Blades in the Dark does; players can take a little bit of harm, then explain that they bribed this guard a week ago or whatever.

The Flashback mechanic is so good. You get to plan, but you also get to go "a-ha! I was prepared for this!" as well as retcon any gently caress ups, like not interrogating a guy because you killed him when asking him a question would be really useful.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Thuryl posted:

You'd probably also want to rework the PVP conflict mechanics to have stakes other than "at least one character inevitably dies".

I think that's actually pitch perfect for Madoka. In show when they turn on each other and it escalates, one of them will die. It encourages the players not to escalate to actual fighting PVP unless its something they're willing to kill/die for, which is also extremely Madoka.


Zomborgon posted:

Non-header bolding mine. I can’t even begin to unpack this idiocy.

The language for "hey you big baby, you gonna be a baby coward and not take the power?" is truly awful. But the point of "you have incredible power to stop a terrible thing and you didn't, your companions are very upset by this" described in an utlra melodramatic way is perfectly on genre.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

There's no action anime better than Dragonball Z or Final Fantasy: Advent Children. That's the top of the mountain. You can only look down from there.

I think its more that those are very popular examples that a lot of people will be aware of so they're easy touchstones rather than an honest review of what the author considers the best media of all time. And considering we've been saying "oh, thats very DBZ" over and over I think he was correct in that assumption. Also the quote listed explicitly excludes DBZ from the "awesome anime" qualifier, so, uh, its definitely right there in the text that the author doesn't consider DBZ to be very high quality.

Advent Children has a fight scene where boys with swords fly around the sky, is full of ridiculous melodrama and a boy finds a lump of his mum, absorbs it and becomes the new incarnation of a super evil crazy boy that is the main boy's ultra rival from hell. It's on genre.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


From what I've read of Mythender, tapping into the power of the gods is known to be bad and dangerous? There's no gotcha there.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Alien Rope Burn posted:

I mean, they don't really share themes, setting elements, structure, or tone with Mythenders. But you're right, they do have high-powered fighting and people have watched them widely. Good enough!

DBZ is an example of high powered fighting. That seems good enough to be listed as an example of high powered fighting which is what it is explicitly listed as? "an example of how to do a Mythending battle" That seems exactly good enough qualifications?

As for not sharing themes, setting elements, structure or tone: Even at the most basic, juvenile and puerile and surface level (which is sort of the point I think? Wallowing in that? For better or worse) both 300 and Mythenders are high testosterone, ultra macho fight things where people do rad fights and have melodramatic speeches. Thinking about it Hulk vs the big alien whale thing in Avengers and Hulk vs Thor in Ragnarok are very Mythenders. Hulk's melodrama in general is pitch-perfect Mythenders.

I'm not even saying its good. I'm just saying that misreading it and then going "oh yeah this is stupid" isn't brilliant.


Thuryl posted:

Did we watch the same show? Magical girls directly fight each other in three episodes that I can think of (plus the third movie), and in only of those does one of them kill another.

So 33% of the time they kill each other? But yeah, you're right, I was mostly thinking of the overall deaths not just to each other. I believe there are out of combat drama rules that you could use for PVP where you're not trying to kill each other.

EthanSteele fucked around with this message at 23:16 on Jun 2, 2018

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Actually, I think it precisely serves as a kind of microcosm of the thematic cargo cult nature of Mythenders, where it feels like it's aping the Greek tragedies (or, very specifically, God of War) without actually using that as a character piece - the characters will fall not because of some internal fault, or because of cycles of rebellion and oppression, or because they become what they hate, but because some gods hit a magic switch that makes them flip teams once one team is eliminated (unless you get a perfect score). Moreover, since things like the impact on the world or most NPCs that aren't those being killed or killing is set dressing, anything you explore there is mostly just dicking around.

So when it's like "Eh, just watch anything with exciting fights!" that, to me, speaks to the general kind of thematic shallowness behind the whole thing. (Also, man, I don't know if you could call DBZ "high-octane".) Mind, there's nothing wrong with something that's thematically, narratively, and descriptively shallow, but it'd need gameplay that I'd find more engaging, and it mostly feels like a really complicated dice game? It definitely has some neat ideas but it feels like the core is... really abstract in a way that it feels like Fate with way too many dice. Which I guess isn't too surprising coming from a guy who worked on both Fate and Pathfinder Mythic Adventures...

Thank you! This is so much better for me than what some people have said that just come across to me as willfully misreading/misrepresenting what was written. And yeah! From what I can see Mythenders does exactly one thing, which is a dice trick based fighting minigame with everything else being windowdressing in service of driving the players to do that and do it in the most over the top way possible. If that mechanical game itself isn't engaging then it pretty much doesn't have anything else going for it beyond being a simpler(??) Exalted combat with the expectation of huge Stunt descriptions as the norm.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


The king would probably be really pissed that you shot his daughter 4 times when you were supposed to rescue her. Do Not Shoot The Damsel.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Its worth noting that a lot of the things you have problems with are actually really good in AW games that aren't just changing things for apparently no reason (like making it 2d10 instead of 2d6??). The ask the players whether they deserve extra XP is fine because you're not playing with assholes who go "give me 3 xp even though we all know we didn't do the thing" because they have to justify it and everyone has to agree you did actually earn it. Uneven XP earning is also fine in good AW games because each individual "level" isn't super crazy power growth like in DnD or something, its more about options and each character has different options anyway. Which is also why its good that most of them have a cap on +3 as a stat, to force you to not rely on the same tool every single time. Yeah you made a Punch Guy, but Superman is boring when all he does is punch. Sure, punch a lot and be good at it, but also do other things.

AW itself has the dares thing, except you highlight a stat to use rather than give a specific task to complete, so yeah, you give the gun guy xp if he uses +Weird which encourages him to step outside his comfort zone and make interesting choices. He can still earn XP from the regular channels, there's just also incentive to not do the same thing over and over.

Apocalypse World is a really good system that Kult has just hosed up. Apparently they're a bunch of people that thinks rules aren't necessary anyway and just freeform everything and just went with PbtA as a system frame because its popular at the moment.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


ZeroCount posted:

Yeah by that logic that example should be a guy who works at a homeless shelter or something. Someone who does have a home but knows from past experience how to help those who don't.

Could be that the guy sends people to shelters for food and a dry place to sleep but personally never does any of that and just hangs out living the worst way possible.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Nurgle's the best one! He has an enticing thing of "whatever happens, you will live and will not suffer and be in rapturous joy" compared to Khorne's "go fight and if you die well thats fine too" and Tzeentch's "all according to plan, even if it goes wrong its good. For me."

Nurgle is also the one that is least self-defeating. Not to say that he isnt, because as much as people talk about how rad being sick is its a tough sell and if people don't convert they just die of super plague and he's such a chill dude that if anything goes wrong he just laughs and is all "wow, didn't except that! Hahaha!" like when the nurgling drank the Ultimate Plague or the fact that he keeps the only being capable of countering his bullshit (the Elf goddess of healing and health) locked up, but testing poo poo on her so she creates vaccines and cures for it which she then is able to share with the mortal realms. Sickness and disease aren't driven by anything and have no real plans, and neither does the god that embodies them. Nurgle is opposite Tzeentch, who plans everything meticulously because diseases, plagues and pathogens just spread as they will at random.

Tzeentch will never get his spells back because he's put the worst dude on the task so he won't get betrayed and his plans directly counter each other. Khorne cares not who dies, as long as blood flows which means that one day his armies and those who worship will be gone and then he's done because the end point is mutually assured destruction. Slaneesh just sits jacking off all day instead of doing anything productive and all of the top people are maximum narcissist to the point they don't even care about Slaneesh so nothing gets done by them either.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Gotta start your Wardancer career somewhere.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Ryuutama has a merchant class that deals with trading bulk goods.

Burning Wheel crossbows kill you every time, just annihilate anyone not in the heaviest armour, and even then its close.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Joe Slowboat posted:

While Exalted does have a lot of combat emphasis I've found the system shines when you do only have one fight at most per session, and this was also true in 2e for a much more muted ''shines.'
There's a ton of non-fighting stuff Exalts can focus on, and ideally every player will have a variety of interests outside that arena. My multi-year 2e campaign (Solars only and post 2.5 rebalance) had trade wars, religious disputes, intrigue, and emotional drama taking up much more time than combat, with action scenes punctuating things with big set pieces.

Anything that's not a wild setpiece or extremely character-meaningful I would simplify down to an opposed check or two (where that cuts off will depend hugely on the degree of combat skill the players invested in, but if they haven't invested much in combat, it means combat should only happen to them when things go very wrong for them).

Exactly! You can just say that this fight is a difficulty 2 melee test because you're fighting a guy who is pretty good but still a chump compared to you so we don't have to bust out the full system right now because its not important enough for anyone to risk losing their life over. Everyone in Exalted can fight because its a wuxia game and kung fu can solve all sorts of problems, but a lot of people don't see that 4 out of 5 Solar castes do a thing and then have combat as a secondary focus and think that maybe the Dawn should do something similar and have a secondary focus they can use when running around and applying swords to problems isn't appropriate. You have a bunch of non-caste favoured abilities! Pick something that isn't fighting so you can join in with everyone else! But that falls under the general sorting out expectations between everyone around the table.

A Dawn in one game i saw had a Limit Trigger of "Whenever I solve a problem with violence" which is incredible.

Burning Wheel has the Fight! rules, but it also has the Bloody Versus rules, for when sequencing out a fight isn't appropriate but someone should be getting hurt.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Only War has a sort of prototype of that sort of thing with the commanding officer you pick that gives various bonuses or penalties based on their temperament.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


inklesspen posted:

NGE appears to be a mecha show, but it's actually pretty much entirely about emotional distance and mental trauma (which goes a long way to explain why Bliss Stage is like that). The Evangelion v Angel fights serve the same purpose as a monster-of-the-week fight in Sailor Moon; they're vehicles for learning about the characters, not worthwhile fights in their own right.

Accordingly, you would need some kind of system that would let you do mecha v kaiju (or senshi v youma) fights with that understanding baked into the mechanics. Otherwise you're just going to end up with the same flaws AdEva has, because you can't get at what the show is actually about if you engage directly with the symbols instead of with their meanings.

Ding ding ding, we've got a winner. Every mecha game falls down because the people are trying to make a thing about the mecha and managing the minutiae of that, which no mecha thing has ever been about and then they wonder why its unsatisfying and doesn't evoke the show and its themes properly.

I think an Eva game would be like Monsterhearts or Hillfolk for out of mech stuff. Misato only ever Turns Someone On or Shuts Someone Down. The Eva fights only matter as an extension of themes and doing it as a tactical game is already bad because a tactical game you can't ever "lose" because the entire game ends is not a good one. Of course you can play Hardcore Ironman on it and waive the Berserk mode safety net, but that is a very different game trying to tell a different sort of story than Evangelion is. It's tough to come up with a thing that works at both levels, but the main cost of the Angel fights would be how hosed up you get before it goes down, with Berserk Bailout being 100% hosed up and having to refit the Eva and petition for more spare parts from the UN is 10% hosed up. High collateral damage would also be important. The point wouldn't be to defeat the angel, because you always will, but to make it as painless as possible, which is way harder. Being the jerk whose Eva is in mint condition because you used the school building for cover so now NERV got a bill for that and everyone hates you because you blew up the final bastion of normalcy in their lives is the sort of stuff that should happen.

An Eva combat Move PbtA would be: When you attack an angel deal 1 harm and roll 2d6: On a 10+ deal +1 harm and nothing goes wrong, on a 7-9 deal +1 harm and choose 1 of the folliowing: No Collateral Damage, you take 0 harm, you don't leave your partner in a bind.

That means you always deal damage to the Angel when you attack, but getting a good result speeds up taking it down leaving less time for stuff to go wrong. The options would always basically be you suffer, another player suffers and the city at large/someone else suffers. Cutting the power cable would be a Soft move. Running out of Power is the Hard move. It's basically Foreshadowing Future badness??

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


wiegieman posted:

LANCER does not fall down, but that's because it literally uses a separate tactical combat ruleset when mechs are involved.

That wasn't what I said made them fall down? I think most mech rpg go with what is basically two separate games, one for on-foot and one for mech-time and mash them together and a lot of the time only one of them will be good. I'm not commenting specifically about Lancer because I haven't played it or even read the rules since the third ever update and I'm definitely saying such a result is inevitable. My main point was mostly specifically talking about things based on existing properties and trying to translate them into RPG form and deciding the important bit of Gundam is the tech wankery (its not) or that Gurren Lagann really cares about the specific fuel loads of its various robots (it doesn't) being where they gently caress up.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Joe Slowboat posted:

I do think this is one place where 'author stance' is really meaningfully different from 'character identification' as a game strategy?

If your goal is less 'to recreate Gundam' overall, and more to have players 'experience being a Gundam protagonist at a safe fictional remove' then you do in fact want tactical combat to matter. If the intended purpose of the RPG is to be an experience engine for the desirable parts of Being Amuro (or Char) then the tactical decision-making level being robust matters. This doesn't require anything like the obnoxious simulationism of AdEva, but it does generally point towards the tactical layer being meaningfully robust.

If you just want to be Billy Zaku Ace or Johnny GM Pilot shooting stuff then there are loads of things you can reskin and that still leads directly into my point that the sort of person that tries to directly convert X Mecha Show experience into an RPG usually completely misses the point and thinks its all about the robots and guns and not the character drama and how the robot parts are an expression of that.



08th MS Team is the Gundam example that best fits wanting tactical combat to matter. Narratively Norris wins because his tactics and strategy are superior, he even has an alternate win condition that isn't just "kill the other guys", he'd be a great RPG fight. Legend of the Galactic Heroes is another good example of a thing where the robust tactical and strategic stuff would be super important and the the character drama and Risk map shuffling feed into each other in a way that a lot of Gundam doesn't really have. G Gundam is Exalted.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Cease to Hope posted:

i think y'all are selling elaborate combat systems short.

it's extremely important to the characters in almost every real robot show and most related genres that they are very good at fighting, even if that is taken for granted by the viewer and isn't especially related to the themes. one of the ways to make combat important to the player in the same way it is important to the character is to make it an elaborate, high-stakes subgame.

it's pretty far from the mark for evangelion because it's core to the story that these kids are so unsuited to this, but once you're talking about recreating gundam, shinji is not amuro.

Well.... he is the Amuro of the first few episodes, but I get your point! I'm not saying they're unnecessary, but certainly less important than a lot of mech RPGs think they are when they try to recreate the feel of whatever show they're trying to evoke.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


OvermanXAN posted:

Meanwhile on the subject of the Super Robot Wars stuff, no, Shinji is never actually treated like that in any of the games, it's entirely stupid 4chan memes, of course. He's just around people who are actually supportive of him and trying to help him through his depression instead of being around, well, NERV. Anno has been vocally supportive of having Evangelion in Super Robot Wars (In fact going so far as to actively demand to Gainax executives that they let Banpresto use it).

Yup! The best SRW takes are where Shinji just has a support network and he ends up a happier person because he's surrounded by people that genuinely care about him while the hot-blooded super robot pilots tell Gendo to piss off because they know a thing or two about bad dads and he is definitely a bad dad.

The series' original creators get as much input as they want and have final say on stuff that absolutely cannot be changed under any circumstances and its on record that Anno is very hands on with Gunbuster and Eva and even getting old man Tomino's permission to do stuff with Char's Counterattack because he's a lunatic who thinks it is a "cultural heirloom for future generations" so he's been doing weird crossover fan fiction with Eva on and off for years to varying degrees.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Barudak posted:

And again, Shinji is a fuckload tougher than people give him credit. I mean dude nearly suffocates to death while trapped in a parallel dimension and the only reward he has to look forward to is sleeping in a lovely apartment before somebody wakes him up and yells at him to get back in the robot and face some other horrific form of possible death while being constantly told any mistake he makes will doom all mankind and nobody tells him a god drat thing about whats going on.

It's why the "Shinji get in the drat robot" meme is so strange. He does get in the robot. Sure, he initially refuses but then less than 1 minute later says he'll do it because there's an injured girl that is going to be forced to do it instead. He even knows she got injured while piloting the drat robot and he still does it.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Xiahou Dun posted:

Ugh fine then maybe I'll write a Torchbearer review soon.

Short version : the author really hates elves for some reason.

In Burning Wheel Elves are just The Best because it goes hard on Tolkien stuff. They're the best but also they can just loving die of sadness, like Dwarves are pretty rad but covet things and if you get too greedy you go hole up in a cave somewhere with all your treasure. They can even use their Grief and Greed scores for bonuses so you want to skirt the line between it being high enough to make you unstoppable and so high you die.

Elves are so superior they recommend against having a mixed party and if you do then you should make the Elf 1 or 2 lifepaths less than the other player characters. It'll be interesting to see how Torchbearer messes with that.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


PurpleXVI posted:

"Yes this charm allows you to ~cure tetanus~! Truly, a legendary wonder for the ages." I mean, yeah, in a game where any PC would ever conceivably catch some piddly loving disease.

It's not to cure yourself or your friends, it's to cure literally everyone else. Being able to heal the sick has been a staple power of Hero-Kings since.... forever.


Halloween Jack posted:

I'm at a loss to think of anything dumber and more White Wolf than a rule that says you have to care about something.

You get to choose how you care about the thing, whether you like it or hate it, are just curious and want to know more or even just extremely suspicious of someone that just walked up to you and said "I'm ya best mate from 100 years ago, how you doin" and the fact that you think they might be right and that could mean you've been ensorcelled. The guy that said "this is your reincarnated wife, you want to gently caress her?" was doing it real bad and that's definitely not what is encouraged in 3E which says at length you don't have to gently caress and that shouldn't be the default.

This is where I bounce like the other person cos I apparently also have a very different view on Exalted than a lot of other people and I don't want to stink the place up!

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Mors Rattus posted:

Well, the long and short of it is that after a playtesting leak, they pulled all playtests completely, so about, uh, half of the system never got playtested.

https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?action=showpost&postid=492583084

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


PurpleXVI posted:

Everything about Limit Breaks also seems to assume that you're using the whole intimacy mechanic to the hilt and constantly engaging with characters that use it. In the Exalted games I've played, I think that personal intimacies came up as something that gave boosts/penalties all of once. Because intimacies are largely towards people, and unless you're hanging around in very much the same place a lot, a lot of those people you have intimacies towards, at least some of which are likely non-Exalts, will stay home engaging with mortal-level challenges so they don't get eaten by a Behemoth. A travelling party just has little reason or chance to engage with that mechanic at all.

Intimacies are a huge deal and should be coming up constantly. You have Ties and Principles. Ties can be to people or things, specific or general, like you can really like Brother Three Dog Night or Monks in general, or you can care about The Guild as a whole or one particular merchant prince who's dick you want to rip off. Principles are.. well, principles. Stuff like "Violence is always a last resort", "All slaves should be set free" and "I will fix what is broken" and they obviously are things your character can care about wherever they go. Intimacies are the core of the entire social influence system which doesn't work without them, its a game about big idiots caring about stuff. You're supposed to gain and lose minor intimacies very frequently, the social system is about targeting people's intimacies and using them as leverage to get people to do things. Minor intimacies can be things you care about but don't pop up very often, like a character really likes plum cakes or a particular flower which aren't huge deals but give you a bit of personality and then someone finds out you like plum cakes and delivers a whole bunch to your house to start the process of building up a positive intimacy towards them so they can get you to murder the satrap.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


PurpleXVI posted:

It feels like fiddly bookkeeping for relatively small gains mechanically, with regards to intimacies. I'm just not a fan of the idea.

I respect you saying that, but you saying previously when you played they only came up once gives me the impression that you haven't seen them in action properly and how they interact with the social system (they are the entire social system). A lot of people that hate the game like the way the social system works and intimacies are the core of it and what takes it out of "I roll my persuade and convince the man" territory into an actual system that lets you do the Three Kingdom's court politics nonsense. Writing and erasing minor intimacies over and over would be fiddly bookkeeping, but that's not how it works in practice in actual play.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Derangements are absolute garbage and I hate them. One of the only worse times for it was Eclipse Phase's General Anxiety Disorder where it says you're a barely functioning wreck of a human being that needs their hands held at all times. Exalted Derangements are trying to pull double duty of representing stuff like depression and other mental illnesses (poorly) and at the same time Folk Tale Mythological Fiction "madness" which ends in a really insulting place.

At least you don't have to take one to earn maximum Solar XP I guess!

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


PurpleXVI posted:

Getting hit with a mind control mallet, whether rhetoric followed by a social attack roll, or magic/psionic/nanites mind control, feels distinctly different. Because someone's literally reaching in and rewriting my character, something that I have no counter for or way to undo once it's happened. This is now no longer my character, more or less, it's someone else's character that I'm forced to keep playing(unless I decide it's bullshit and get up and leave the table). My decisions and participation for this character have actively ceased to matter and are just a formality for the remainder of the effect(or game, if it's permanent).

That's not how it works. It's fine that you find the idea of a character being able to make you get a Minor Intimacy of respect for the King of the City you're in abhorrent and character destroying, but it isn't objectively so by its very nature. It's clear you've had some really bad experiences with bad GMs doing bad bullshit, but that doesn't mean every social influence thing in every game is bad. Exalted, Burning Wheel, Monsterhearts all have great systems for getting players to do things, some of them even form binding contracts where you all agree that's the result of what went down and now you have to act in accordance with that and if you don't then everyone calls you a huge fucker because you're not playing fair because you all agree that you're going to play the game and abide by the rules and see where that goes. It's not your thing, that's fine, but the idea is not inherently bad.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Alien Rope Burn posted:

One of my biggest issues with Exalted 3e is that they really, really needed to put combat and non-combat options into different silos. I have no idea why they siloed mundane vs. solar charms instead; one of the biggest issues is balancing combat when somebody can just sink everything into Linguistics, Integrity, and Socialize while somebody else is rocking a magic superpowered deathsword that creates miniature volcanoes and a ton of Melee and Resistance charms.

It was already an issue with 2e but it's even worse with 3e because most abilities now have so many charms you can dive deep into them for ages before scraping the bottom.

The issue with that is you don't try and craft an encounter that challenges the Fight Man because that will always be a thing that wipes the floor with everyone else. You do an organic encounter and if the Fight man wipes the floor with them then he does just that because he made a fight man and that's what they do. The base difficulty of a thing is 1-2 and the average defence of a guy is 2 or 3 and the minmax'd Fight man is rolling 10 die minimum before any of his fancy charms. He's going to win every fight and he should! Just like the other guy should steamroll through his stuff because he's also a super genius poet.

As the Zenith with all the talking skills your fighting ability is that the Dawn is loyal to you.

Forcing people to have their characters be equally good at everything sucks.


gourdcaptain posted:

My very first Exalted character was "hey, there's a Bureaucracy skill, this is amazing, I should build a character around this" followed by insufficiently investing in combat abilities and just spending an entire first session realizing the ability I'd invested in was mostly useless and I couldn't hit anything with 2 Dex + 3 Melee and almost no combat charms and was in trouble if ever targeted.

Was this 3E? Cos that's good enough in 3E. You don't need 5+5 to succeed and someone ran the numbers that a 3 dex, 3 melee guy with 2 melee charms relying on the Excellency could stand with the hardest fight in the corebook and at the very least not die.

The guy with 2 Dex and 3 Melee and two melee charms (the good attack one and the good defence one) can style on the average soldier who is coming in at a whole +1 die and no Excellency or charms.

If the game had a GM advice chapter it would theoretically tell GMs that they don't need to make fights to challenge the Dawn at raw fighting, because they can't. You challenge them with extra objectives where killing the Dawn/the opponent isn't the win condition. This is a game where the average difficulty for a task is 1-2 and you roll 10 die minimum if you're minmax'd at that thing.

Bureaucracy in my experience is super fuckin' strong and amazing and has been one of the standout abilities in a couple of games. Again, GM advice chapter could help!

The not being able to spend XP thing also sucks and in 3E a using the skill counts for training time, you just need to also say you spend an hour each night or whatever focusing on what you've learned. You even train multiple things at once! Train your Dex, Strength, Stamina, Athletics, War and Melee all the same time with sword kata that you do every night before bed.

And that's another thing that would be solved by a GM advice chapter because a lot of the complaints and bad stories people are posting seem completely avoidable if the GM had any advice on what to expect and how to structure and pace the drat game. It's not like DnD where you give them a CR5 encounter to match them and of course Exalted sucks if you play/run it like DnD, you shouldn't even have a fight every session as the default! You can have badass fights, but they don't happen every session. Exalted is a game about steamrolling through 90% of stuff in over the top cool ways with the difficulty being choosing which things you steamroll and then dealing with the fallout.

You see a lot of people complain that Solars are impossible to challenge because they throw 20 dice at every problem and go to max anima flare and then the next day they do it again. People seem to either make everything happen in a week so there's no downtime or make stuff wait for the characters to be at full strength and never suffer any consequences for going all out every time. Beating a dead horse but GM advice chapter would help with this...

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


The book tells you to not feel like you have to take a 5 in a stat to be competent. The game is designed so you can make a guy who isn't Literally The Most Dexterous Man and still have a good time because you got to put those points into other stuff to be more well-rounded. It's not that the game is designed so specialists crush everything, it's that you don't have to be a specialist to be successful. Sure, if you want to be Lu Bu you take 5 in the stat and have an int of 1 but Liu Bei? He's not hitting above a 4 anywhere, but he's not going to be below a 3 either and the game is built to handle not being minmax'd, unlike a lot of games where if you don't take Cure Light Wounds or the equivalent you might as well not play.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


gourdcaptain posted:

2e. 3e failed the test of "can I bring myself to read this interminable morass of a charm section enough to actually build a character?"

That, and anyone I knew who wanted to play Exalted I'd already cut ties with due to an incident arising out of an Exalted 2e game that went to badly (although rooted in existing issues) that my entire social life was basically destroyed for most of a year.

Dang, that sucks and I hope you're doing better!

And yeah, from what I've heard 2E was 5 and 5 and the perfect defence charms or you die and I'm glad I never played it.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Going back to the "why a complex system" thing, the book does say that if a fight isn't important enough to play out, have the character roll their combat skill vs a difficulty of 3 or whatever. The complex system is for when the fights do need to be complex and crazy, which isn't every single fight.

gourdcaptain posted:

I'm still skeptical of "anything that is combat doesn't challenge the Dawn who needs other goals" because that sounds like utter hell to GM for me,

That's good that you got out the bad situation though!

It's basic stuff like why the fight matters in the first place. Who are the players/bads protecting, what they after, how long until the fight becomes untenable, choose between taking down a bad guy or saving some innocents. Basically anything to make it so a fight isn't just "kill or be killed" because it's rare a wuxia fight is ever just that. Even just encounter design of throwing in some archers to force the Dawn to run up a building to get to them (or the Zenith to smash it down). Again, the sort of thing covered by a dang GM advice chapter!

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


PurpleXVI posted:

The problem with the setup that is "The Dawn is Fight Man, everyone else is Other Stuff Man." Is that you end up splitting the game so that literally only one character is really relevant at once. It's fine if the spotlight shifts from time to time, it should shift from time to time, but everyone should be able to contribute something to every situation. If the Dawn literally can't do jack poo poo when no one's being murdered, and the rest can't do jack poo poo while murdering is going on because everything has to be adjusted for the Dawn's extreme power disparity at murdering things, the game balance has failed.

The setup isn't that though, you've just decided it is. You've just stated a scenario where only one can contribute at a time in a scene and yeah, that scenario is bad, but that's not the scenario in play unless you gently caress up.In 3E you can go against the toughest guy in the core book with 3 dex 3 Melee and the two lowest charms in the tree. It's trivially easy to make someone that can contribute meaningfully to fights (2 dex, 3 melee, 1 resistance with 2 melee charms and an ox-body +excellency is competence, so 3 charms and up to 3 skill pips at chargen and you're set for a very long time) and the game advises you to not specialise with such laser focus. You have 5 things from your caste which are all the fight things for Dawns and then you get 5 favoured which are literally anything else that you have to put at least one point in. Every other caste can do the same with one of the favoured picks being a fight move. The scenario where one guy picks literally no fighting ability and the other picks nothing but fighting ability is one where the players and the DM have messed up because they've all created their guys in isolation and haven't made something appropriate for the game they're going to play. Same thing would happen in DnD when they show up with a Ranger and a Druid with 8 Cha in a city based politicky talky game.

And like I said before, you don't adjust for the power disparity because that's how you get lovely games where only people that have gone all in on whatever the challenge at the time is can contribute. Talk to your dang players so they don't make guys that can only do one thing and if they do, after they see how super strong they are at the thing you can try to convince them that maybe they don't need a 17th combat charm. And if they still doing it after that and then complain, then they did it to themselves and it doesn't matter what game they're playing they were going to gently caress it up.

"Hey dude, you made a guy that can't fight, there are going to be fights, are you ok with that?" "No" then they fix it. "Yes" then they don't. Same with the Fight Man. You can even do a game where the fights become about protecting the princess that can't fight at all as long as everyone is down for that.

I'm not saying Exalted doesn't have an issue where players can trend towards hyper specialising and that the system allows that in a way that DnD and other games doesn't, like you have to try to make a Wizard or Druid with absolutely no fight ability, but one of the few pieces of advice the book does give is to not do that and I don't feel "talk to each other about the game you're about to play" is too much of a barrier of entry for having a game where everyone can contribute every scene or everybody is ok with not doing that.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, I really don't like how Supernal was implemented, I wish it had been A) more modest, maybe like a +1 or+2 on the Essence cap and B) not restricted to caste abilities, which would give you more room to explore concepts that weren't so tightly tied to caste. As it is, there are some abilities that if you want to Supernal you have to play a certain Solar caste, even with their expanded purviews. Martial Arts and Dawn is the most glaring offender, but there are others.

Yes! The coolest and most useful tricks tend to be essence 3 anyway. Yeah the capstones are really fancy, but the good stuff is at 3. I definitely agree that being able to supernal any caste or favoured ability would be way better. One game ended up getting houseruled because we had 3 Zeniths because they were the only ones that got the abilities they wanted as supernals so the Athletics brawly man got switched Dawn anima abilities and so on.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Mors Rattus posted:

Basic dicepools are as they have ever been - add some stats together, roll that many dice. Difficulty is how many successes you need to succeed on the roll, with Difficulty 1 being stuff that a mortal would find challenging but an Exalt can do fairly easily, like picking a lock or performing an appendectomy. Yes, those are their examples. Difficulty 2 would be something challenging or under duress, like doing either of those things in the dark, in the middle of a storm. Difficulty 3 is stuff that's hard even for Exalts, such as grabbing a gem out of a mass of snakes without getting bit or taming a man-eating, Wyld-tainted horse. Difficulty 4 is doing those under duress, such as while in the middle of a forest fire. Difficulty 5 is things that are nearly impossible even for heroes, such as reading a letter in total darkness by feeling the texture of the ink or safely landing in a hay cart from hundreds of feet up or running for three days straight.

The examples are awful and I hate them. Like ok, difficulty 1 you can extrapolate to a wider selection of things and difficulty 2 being "difficulty 1, but there's something distracting you" is easy enough and then difficulty 3 is "grab a gem from a mass of snakes without getting bit" and I have no idea how to extrapolate that to other things at all.

Stunting is something I'm still really bad at, it's a neat idea but the execution is rough. For starters a 1 Point Stunt gives you 2 die? Brilliant, great. Just call them Minor/Major/Defining Stunts. It's not hard to remember a basic one gives you 2 die (or+1 point to a static value), but it's still irritates me. Most player's instinct is to go "ok, so I don't know if this roll is going to hit, let alone do any damage, so, uh, I throw a huge haymaker at the guy's head?" level stuff which is obviously never going to get you a 2 point stunt and it took me a long time cos I'm stupid to learn how to get away from that without going too far in the other direction and ending up with a level of description that makes make my 10ft tall 5 Strength demigod that can outpull a T-Rex look like a chump when he doesn't instantly annihilate a regular soldier with whatever I described. Took a long time to get to "I crack him across the jaw with a haymaker and as he's reeling I kick him in the chest, sending him crashing through the window behind him." and then if I miss or don't do any damage that's fine because it all happened, I just didn't get any advantage (withering) from it for whatever reason. It's definitely a skill you have to learn and it's not easy to get to "the thing you say always happens, it just doesn't net you mechanical advantage in terms of the combat" style of descriptions.

I keep saying it, Gm advice and more examples of things would help a lot, both with adjudicating and the sort of descriptions you come up with.


Halloween Jack posted:

It's hilarious to me that almost nothing White Wolf has ever done is better-designed from a mechanical standpoint than Street Fighter: the Storytelling Game.

This is hosed up and also extremely true.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Mors Rattus posted:

Insofar as you can tolerate Solar Charms: yes, but you will have greater opportunity costs unless the Dawn is also focusing on something else, since you'll be doing your combat schtick and also whatever nerd schtick you were planning on.

I'm pretty sure that's why Martial Arts charms use Solar XP and not your regular XP, so you can spend your regular XP on charms for whatever your schtick is and your solar xp on your combat stuff. So while you won't be Supernal Fight like the Dawn, you're still pretty dang good. Obviously the Dawn can be spending his Solar XP on evocations to make him the ultimate fight man and he always we will be even if he doesn't, but the combat charms and your regular deal charms are not mutually exclusive if you go the Martial Arts route.


Rand Brittain posted:

Having a spirit familiar pocketed in your anima at all times is not to be underestimated. My Twilight was probably the strongest member of our circle until the Dawn joined by virtue of a modest investment in Solar Melee and having a giant snake a finger-snap away at all times.

Being a sorcerer who's combat ability is a Blood Ape battlegroup is also a valid combat build.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


gourdcaptain posted:

Although the dabbler route requiring a 4 dot merit is kinda weird then... The MA requires a merit approach in general is kinda strange.

Your question wasn't about being a dabbler, it was about being as good if you really try and if you're spending the maximum amount of Solar XP on Martial Arts charms you aren't a dabbler, that's you doing that as a secondary thing.

The merit thing is because the martial arts are really strong, almost exponentially so if you combine multiple styles and being able to spend Solar XP on charms is also strong. You have to level up multiple skills to do that, but it's definitely worth it and levelling up skills is cheap anyway. You can get spells with your xp too letting you get "summon a demon" so you can have a demon (or 10) fight for you instead. Still not as good as the Dawn at fighting but, he's the fighter, so, he should be the best one.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Desiden posted:

Its not perfect, and there's some wonky elements (for example, from a mechanical perspective summoning 5-6 fighty demons and having them fight individually can be way more powerful than they would be as a battlegroup), but it does cover the biggest cases where farming init might emerge.

Worth nothing that while 5 dudes versus 1 is way stronger than 1 battle group versus 1, because battlegroups attack multiple people, that battlegroup can attack more than 5 targets as well as benefit from all your War charms so it's not quite as straight forward that they're five times worse. They're definitely not as amazing in general, but there are cases where they shine. It's all the inverse-ninja law bullshit or whatever. Guy shows up with one Blood Ape? Oh poo poo, that's a strong demon. He shows up with 100? Well now those are obviously a bunch of mooks!

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


The Solar craft charmset has a combo that lets you roll literally thousands of dice which obviously completely breaks everything and it wasn't a very robust system to begin with. I like the three criteria to prevent you from sitting in a cave making 1000 swords, but otherwise it's kinda piss.

Ithle01 posted:

If people have a problem with losing some agency over their character they should probably play a different game? I don't mean that to be a dick, I mean, it as actual advice because it's been in the game since the beginning and is a fully intended part of the game experience. Exalted is fairly up-front about all of this and even tells you so at character creation. So if you have a problem with social influence being used against you then don't play Exalted. The tricky part is making that happen in a good way without pissing people off and Exalted has consistently failed to deliver on this, 3rd edition is no exception. It's not a surprise why so many Exalted hacks use Fate.

Yeah! Some people will accept nothing less than inviolable control of their characters and that's fine! But a game that doesn't give you that isn't a bad game per se, just a bad fit for that player. Monsterhearts 2 is a great game mechanically and the only way to not have your character be turned on by the Turn Someone On move is to be asexual, and then it turns into the Shut Someone Down move instead. You are constantly told how your character feels about things. Pendragon tries to force you to act in accordance with your traits if they are 16 or above, the 16 Cruel guy will be a shithead more often than he isn't and the 18 Cowardice guy will run away all the time (use your free 16 on Valorous). Burning Wheel's social system doesn't tell you how to feel, but it does tell you what you believe. This doesn't make them bad games intrinsically. Whether the systems are handled well or not is a different matter, but the idea itself isn't terrible.

jakodee posted:

Even if you aren’t very good at debating you can still usually gain a compromise, or I use the non-skill based strategy parts of the system to gain an advantage. Also your farmer or knight or what-have-you getting verbally destroyed is the first step in the path to being able to argue with god himself.

Burning Wheel is a game that has the following advice for when a roll is out of your reach: either lobby for advantage, try and fork as many things as you can and try your very best to get the amount of dice needed, or Look the GM square in the eye, roll your dice and without even looking at them go "I fail, your move" and then work towards levelling up the skill so that one day you will destroy the motherfucker that sold you some magic beans. Burning Wheel is good.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


A fan has done charm cascades which help a lot and I honestly think they should just hire that person or have it as a stretch goal on kickstarter to get them money and put it in the dang book.

On Monkey Leap Technique, I've always taken it as supplemental being it means that you could do that anyway with an Athletics roll, but this charm let's you do it without a roll. I definitely think making it a reflexive charm and it just saying "this replaces your reflexive move for the turn" is the cleanest/most elegant way.

My big criticism of it is that it's called Monkey Leap Technique and then it describes you as leaping "with the speed and grace of a striking hawk." how about you leap like a flippin' monkey, you jokers.

The two Strength Increasing charms have reason to be different as well. One is for an instant do a thing right now really quickly the house is falling down right now and the other is scene long because its a combat charm that gives you an extra effect beyond just increasing your strength. I think a little sidebar that points out that you don't always have time to turn on all your charms is good, though that would be better handled by a general example in an advice chapter with a little reminder here of "why would I want this?" because the main limitation of Simple charms is they take an action/turn to activate and time pressure is one of the main ways to challenge a Solar, so having a little example of how that as a concept is good. It's bringing up a problem, that as you say most ST wouldn't think about, but it's good that they bring it up for precisely that reason! It's definitely not an Air-Breathing Mermaid thing.


Kaza42 posted:

Not really. Most people take charms that all combo off each other, so you aren't thinking "Which of A B C D E F G should I use?" but rather saying "I use A B C D E F G" every turn, with maybe different combos for Withering vs Decisive. As your motes drop down, people may reduce the size of the combo, but it's all pretty apparent and pre planned

Would be real nice for a theoretical GM advice chapter to say that some players might need help getting their pre-planned combos together so they can go "for 9 motes I do A, B, C and D and that's my standard decisive attack" or whatever so you don't get people trying to remember all the moving parts because some people definitely do struggle with that. My current GM ran a game where 2 of the players, after 6-8 sessions still didn't know any of their basic die pools for withering and damage, let alone what charms they could activate for each thing.


gourdcaptain posted:

Huh. That... also seems disappointing to me in a "all that complexity for a "repeat the same action" result" way.

Maybe the system might not be as super complex as you think! You can definitely get wild with it, combining all the different Martial Arts, for instance, but you don't have to.

EthanSteele fucked around with this message at 16:14 on Mar 28, 2019

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EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Mors Rattus posted:

That's the thing. They bring it up to solve an issue that would not itself exist if they didn't make a sidebar entirely for that issue. They literally invent and specifically tell STs to make a problem just so the Charm can solve it, because the Charm they wrote was otherwise solving a problem that would never come up.

I'm pretty sure its the opposite, it is an issue which should come up and they are making a charm to help deal with that problem. The main way you challenge Solars is time constraints, they can't solve 3 problems because by the time they've done 2 of them it's too late for the last one. It feels like you've looked at the thing and then deliberately read the order of events in a way that makes it stupid instead of the one that makes sense. One version means they're stupid, the other is what makes the game work at all and makes it so players aren't just throwing maximum excellency at every problem and activating all of their charms before they do anything because they're never pressured for time. The designers aren't infallible and there's a bunch of boneheaded moves, but this feels particularly uncharitable and if the designers did it by mistake then they've accidentally done a really good thing so it's fine.

Problem: Time constraints.
Solution: Charm that does thing quickly.

makes sense and makes the designers not really stupid

Problem: Charm that does thing quickly is pointless
Solution: Time constraints,

The place for first mentioning that time constraints are a challenge and a thing that should be considered is definitely not a sidebar in the charm list because it leads to people reading it as you have and going "what the gently caress, there's never any time limit on anything" instead of going "yeah, having a thing that is quicker is good in some situations because time is often a factor". It's only air-breathing mermaid if its a problem that shouldn't exist and time constraints as a problem is the main way of challenging Solars because they will always steamroll their chosen field. Just because most people won't think of applying it as a problem, doesn't mean it shouldn't be a problem and this is the games way of pointing out that time should be a factor. At the same time it's a really loving terrible way of pointing out time should be a factor, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't point it out at all because that would be even worse.

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