Posts by: Holden

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[#][F] Holden - 8/1/2016
Originally posted by Solar View Post
Essence not costing XP is a great move

Also in play the BP/XP split has made a difference in terms of how people created their characters and developed them, but didn't really cause any problems in terms of equivalent capability. The Dawn has spent loads of XP getting to 5s in all physical attributes and could solo the rest of the party, because even though his build is maybe a bit sub-optimal in terms of BP/XP maximising, he's also got like, fifteen melee charms and therefore he's like lol Ebon Shadow Night Caste you're so small and weak
That's what I usually hear, yeah. Player skill and build matter vastly more than XP optimization, and there are so many viable builds that you rarely see significant duplication in a game.

[#][F] Holden - 8/1/2016
Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post

This brings to mind why I appreciate Solar XP and also how the CofD developers have attempted to remedy the same problem of exp expenditures on Power Stats. Vampire the Requiem introduces Blood Beats in its storyteller chapter to help with that problem, and Mage: the Awakening (to its GREAT benefit, IMO) introduced the fabulous concept of Arcane Beats as an incentive for exploring the world as a Mage would, allocated specifically for the purpose of raising your Arcana (your main magic trees) and your Gnosis (your power stat.)

I know Solar XP is an inversion of that concept, but I definitely think that's to the benefit of Exalted because Charms are a central draw for experience spending.

Credit where credit is due, Arcane XP (from Awakening 1e) played a huge role in inspiring Solar XP, even though it's kind of a functional inverse, yeah.

[#][F] Holden - 8/1/2016
Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
I really hated it in first edition of New World of Darkness, but that's because the scaling was less "16 exp at most" and more like "this next dot costs 86 experience"

So when they got rid of it for flat costs, I was happy.

Then I saw how it worked in Exalted and I was mad again. Then I actually started playing and I realized it wasn't a big deal.

Admittedly, coming from Chronicles of Darkness, I'm used to not really thinking about raising Attributes or Skills by too much in play, but it's a different genre of game and different expectation. So it's not been a big deal thus far.

Exalted gives you a shitload of attribute dots, too!

Speaking purely as a player, my issue with nWoD XP wasn't scaling, it was that the costs shot into the stratosphere quickly and it was so. slow. and then most of the stuff you could buy was very weak on top of that. CofD at least has powers and stuff that are worth buying, you get WAY more bang for your buck, but it still feels slow as molasses to me.

This is why Essence doesn't cost XP in 3e and nothing has inherited the kind of crazy cost it used to have, incidentally. Saving up for 10 sessions was never fun.

[#][F] Holden - 8/1/2016
Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
Before Solar xp, IIRC, there was a problem of EVERYONE taking MA over combat charms, or no one would bc why spend xp on non-charm things? This...was a problem. So part of the solution was making it so you could invest in both without overlapping pools (you can pay for MA charms entirely with Solar Xp, and have regular xp left over for charms).

I could be super wrong tho. I'm a little hazy on the exact details.

No, not at all. The issue was that Martial Arts and sorcery were both huge resource-sinks that directly competed with being able to do, well, anything else, while lacking the flexibility of native Charms and in no way making up for it with greater power. But you still saw players wanting to do them because they were a lot of fun, yet constantly unhappy that it felt like the game was punishing them for being martial artists or sorcerers.

So we let them get spells and kung-fu with an extra "fun money" XP supply, rather than forcing them to compete with the kind of character growth the system primarily incentivizes.

[#][F] Holden - 7/30/2016
The People of the Air were specific things constructed by the pulp fantasy science-sorcery of the Solars, and they probably took all kinds of special alchemical diets and stuff to remain viable. The Wyld, by contrast, may just give someone wings, gratis, enjoy your wings. BUT. Wyld mutations don't tend to be heritable outside of the Wyld (that's not an absolute, but it's definitely a trend), people with really crazy mutations sometimes start to break down outside of the Wyld, and if you go into the Wyld hoping for wings, it may very well give you a talking asshole or an evil twin named Consuelo instead.

[#][F] Holden - 7/30/2016
Data point: The most common reports I get these days are of Storytellers attempting to institute a BP-XP "fix" as a house rule, only to have their players either become enormously unhappy or outright refuse to use the proposed fix, because they're not running into any problems with the published rules and they don't like the increased workload, loss of customization, or different feel that comes with the usual "fixes." The fact that there are very vocal proponents of certain house rules doesn't mean they're actually broadly popular.

I mean, if you and your group want to fiddle with the rules to suit your desires better, by all means, do so, the book is bound with glue, not magic. In fact, that's actually the first commandment in the rules chapter, and I meant every word of it when I wrote the Golden Rule into place. But the idea that nobody likes the traditional-style chargen and advancement schema is simply not true, and three years of people insisting otherwise has not made it so.

[#][F] Holden - 7/30/2016
Merits seem to cover mutations just fine, structurally. Obviously as we get deeper into supplement territory there'll be more opportunity to talk about Wyld exposure and the like, but nothing about merits seems to require a system separate from merits to represent them once you have the things.

[#][F] Holden - 7/16/2016
Glad to hear you're okay, LeTipex.

[#][F] Holden - 7/13/2016
Ilio Stara will return (significantly revamped) in an upcoming supplement.

[#][F] Holden - 7/4/2016
We didn't really make "short combat" a priority, just "interesting combat." The idea was that combat being over in 15 minutes might not be desirable if the combat were actually fun and engaging on its own merits, so we focused on that.

[#][F] Holden - 7/3/2016
That's a prose oversight, they're not intended to be spend-able on damage rolls.

Game won't break horribly if you allow it, of course, although it's a bit strong on decisive attacks.

[#][F] Holden - 6/13/2016
Yeah any Solar who advertises their presence to Lookshy is going to get a Wyld Hunt in response.

[#][F] Holden - 6/12/2016
Originally posted by Ikari Gendo View Post
I like the direction 3rd ed. is taking magic.

Magic in 2nd ed., especially artifacts, was very mechanistic, with a strong Clarke's Law feel to it. It had a sense that any common technological device of the modern world or near future was routinely replaced with an equally convenient and reliable magical equivalent. This can give an interesting science-fiction-with-magic-ray-guns feel to a story, but I have always been uncomfortable with that, because it quits FEELING like magic.

I know many of you grew up with video games where magic is very formulaic. You find the right ingredients and put them in the cauldron in the right order to make the potion. You wave the wand or recite the words to cast the spell. The actions have no meaning of themselves . Anyone who performs these actions can get the same consistent results.

This is not magic. This is technology disguised as magic.

The evocations and control spells make magic much more personalized in 3rd ed. and that is what is I want. If two solar sorcerers with equal skill levels in Occult and Craft(Weaponsmith) each make a goremaul, these will not be a pair of identical (except for the decorations) orichalcum goremauls. The Twilight with Stormwind Rider as a control spell might create a blue jade weapon whose evocations are based on movement and hurl back groups of opponents or allow its user to spring forward across multiple range bands. Such a weapon might look more like a gigantic fan (think the palm frond fans wielded by slaves of Egyptian royalty in old sword and sandal movies). A sorcerer whose control spell is Death of Obsidian Butterflies may create a goremaul of roughly shaped volcanic glass in an orichalcum haft with evocations of sharpness and area damage. Such weapons have some game mechanic differences and significantly different stage dressing, but more importantly, they FEEL different.

A few general things about magic for those of you who aren't familiar with Frazer's "The Golden Bough"

The two most important principles of magic are sympathy and contagion. Sympathy is the idea that actions create similar actions. Contagion is the idea that if two things are ever connected, they can never be completely separated. A classic example of both of these principles is the curse doll, which is built around a possession or a piece of the victim, and its creator harm on the victim by damaging the doll.

Power accumulates at the edges of things, both physically and metaphorically. Doorways and gates are places pf power, and these can be abstracted as grandly as the trilithons of Stonehenge or as simply as the 19th century American slave tradition of jumping over the broom into the land of matrimony.
Power also accumulates at the edges of time. Sunrise, sunset, solar noon, the change of seasons and years; these are all times of power, and Exalted has always had Calibration, which is this concept writ large. I remember all the mystical panic about the calendar flipping over from 1999 to 2000, and the end of the fifth baktun in 2012. Even ringing in the New Year at midnight is a vestige of this.

Astrology is important, not just for divinations, but simple folk astrology like planting grain and squash when the moon is waxing and root crops when the moon is waning. Sorcerous workings and artifact creation should be timed to the phases of the moon. The full moon is a time to reveal things. The new moon conceals. The gibbous moon is a flint knife in the sky for sacrifice. The cresent moon is bow drawn to rain down arrows of desire or ill fortune.

Magic words have meaning. "Abracadabra" was an actual incantation which would be shortened by one syllable in each iteration until it disappeared, or written as a triangular talisman, shortened by one letter in each line. This is a magic for making things like diseases or curses disappear. Charlatans would show its effectiveness by using it to make small objects disappear before selling their services as doctors or exorcists. Other magic words may be the names of gods or demons or great wizards who bound them. These are not just some randomly generated mystical passwords.

I hope this gives some you ideas for making magic a more interesting part of your game.
Very glad to hear it's working well for you and your group

[#][F] Holden - 6/3/2016
I deliberately minimized the amount of merits that were basically just doubling-down on a specialty.

[#][F] Holden - 6/2/2016
Originally posted by Deinos View Post

GNS is about what the mechanics are supposed to reflect. Early D&D tended towards lots of gamist and a little bit of simulationist, 3e and 5e are just gamist, 4e is gamist and narrativist (solos, minions, encounters, and dailies are all justified, explicitly so, in their role in the narrative). Offhand, Promethean, for example, strikes me as particularly narrativist in nature, as your whole sub-experience system, vitriol, depends on you fulfilling the narrative of your dubiously successful quest for humanity.

They definitely don't correspond to how highbrow or lowbrow the actual party's playstyle is: simulationism is just that, rules that are based off your attempt at simulating reality. For example, trying to model weapons based off your understanding of how they interact with armor is simulationism, while trying to set up weapons to make them balanced based off how many skill points they need or how costly they are and so forth is more gamism.

If you're just using the rulebooks and not houseruling anything, no matter how your style goes, you're not affecting its place in the GNS spectrum.

Promethean was sim. All World of Darkness games up to Blood & Smoke were like 95% sim with a couple of narrative rules for garnish (usually the Humanity trait or something like it), even though the aims of the game are obviously narrativist and the play style wants you to be narrativist, the rules weren't really congruent with that. Most games, historically, up until the 2000s are primarily sim, even if that's not what they're really going for (and even EX3 uses that as its bedrock layer-- one of the reasons I tend to think sim is a questionably category, but hey if you're working with Big Three, it was part of the original model).