Posts by: Stephen Lea Sheppard

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[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 9/6/2018
My personal preference is for the bond, and magics that tie into it, to be the emergent result of thousands of years of emotional connection, and not something you can duplicate with a spell or working without at least a thousand years.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 8/15/2018
The core of the withering/decisive split was the video game Dissidia Final Fantasy (original PSP version) and the phrase "Initiative isn't rolled, it's seized." Beyond that it was an attempt to create a system where "Miss miss miss miss miss miss miss hit and now someone is grievously injured" is fun during the first part when it's still just miss miss miss miss miss. Because during a fight scene in a story, or even a real sports fight, that first half where each side is trying to put the other down and failing? Isn't boring. It's most of the fight. And you can see the initiative (in the colliquial, not RPG sense) shifting, with one side gaining advantage and moving the other side into peril, and the other side trying to defend themselves and turn the situation around. An interesting fight is a series of reversals -- someone has the upper hand! No, now the other side has the upper hand! Etc., until one side finally manages to create a situation where they have enough of an advantage that they can end it, conclusively, or perhaps one might say decisively.

This is also a hell of a lot more "realistic" than a fight system where each side repeatedly lands hits and there's some arbitrary threshold beyond which one side can't take any more and dies (because when fighting with real lethal weapons, the first blow that lands solidly is often the, er, decisive one), like takes on D&D where every point of HP damage taken is e.g. a stab wound, and it's even more "realistic" than a system where every miss means the state of advantage during the conflict hasn't shifted at all one way or another.

I would say part of the problem is that withering is a bad word to have used and we should have thought up a better one, because I can use "initiative" colloquially to refer to the ebb and flow of advantage during a fight and you know what i mean, and I can use "decisive attack" to refer to the blow dealt to end the fight after one side has fully seized the initiative and is now in a position to end things and you know what I mean, but withering means nothing and sounds like bullshit game-y nonsense. Holden did spend a long time trying to come up with a better term than that and never could, though. Sometimes that's how creativity works.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 8/15/2018
People spent the entire run of 2e looking for fixes for the lethality/perfect problem, though. By the latter half of 2e, "Don't nerf perfects before addressing lethality" wasn't an admonition, it was a catchphrase.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 8/14/2018
Don't! :clap: Nerf! :clap: Perfects! :clap: Before! :clap: Addressing! :clap: Lethality!

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 8/2/2018
Yeah, this went nowhere. Instead of putting time into improving my drawing, I got into painting miniatures.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/20/2018
Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
Personally, i don't get why this change in 3e happened.
Then I’ll be happy to explain!

The Dragon-Blooded play venue is the primary “social play” venue of Exalted; just as people who want to play “typical fantasy” in Exalted are most likely to choose Solars, people who want to play games centered around intrigue, politics, and intrigue- and politics-flavored social drama are most likely to play Dragon-Blooded. Given the large number of LGBT players who want to see their own lives reflected in the game, and given the recent wave of gay marriage being legalized in real life, the prospect of leaving gay marriage out of our primary social venue in our notoriously LGBT friendly fantasy game felt churlish and distasteful.

So, there. Now you can’t say you don’t get why this change in 3e happened anymore.

Unless that’s not what you meant. If you meant you did get it, but just didn’t agree, then I suppose you could keep saying that. But in that case you should say that.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/17/2018
As a side note, I am so glad our “Actually remember to publish animal styles” initiative is resulting in so many cool ideas.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/16/2018
Well, what I don’t want to see out of additional animal styles is multiplication of complexity beyond the sort of “Here is the name of the style, and all the Charms of the style; now here is the next style” design we see in e.g. the corebook. I don’t think we need multiple styles of the same name or regional variants with one Charm swapped out for another—and I think handling it that way is both sort of nonsensical considering that there’s not enough Exalted, Charm-using MA practitioners for multiple supernatural variants of any given MA to be believable, and doesn’t much mesh with the “Supernatural MA’s expression of fundamental cosmic truth re: this archetype” shtick that usually comes up when it’s time to explain why Sidereals have proficiency with it.

(Besides, you run into the how-do-I-learn-both-variants problem, where your solutions are going to be something like “You can’t,” which people always hate, “You can but you have to buy the whole style again,” which people always hate and which comes with variants like “you get a discount on the redundant charms in the style the second time” which just demonstrates that your approach is broken and you’re patching it half-assedly and you know it, or “You can just learn both versions of the Charm,” in which case you don’t have regional variants, you’ve just expanded the MA cascade by one, and why are you sticking a moose and an elephant charm in your male bovine style MA and diluting its themes thereby just because males of both those species also happen to be called bulls?)

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/16/2018
I see a Bull Style that’s based on male bovines, and then we can spend any wordcount that might be necessary to cover Bull Moose Style, Bull Elephant Style, etc. on other styles. And if someone has a good idea for one of those it can just be Moose Style or Elephant Style I guess.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/16/2018
Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
And falcon?
For Falcon I think the ideal would be something like a style that involves a lot of leaps, but which synergizes unusually well with Lunar forms that allow for flight.

But we'll probably never see that. It's not like we're doing a book with a bunch of unanounced MA styles where it would fit perfectly or anything.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/16/2018
Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
What would Bull Style even be like?
Charges and tackles and bodyslams? I don't know. Maybe base it on sumo.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/16/2018
So the Solar Castes have animal nicknames. The Dawns are Bronze Tigers, the Zeniths are Golden Bulls, the Twilights are Copper Spiders, the Nights are Iron Wolves, and the Eclipses are Quicksilver Falcons. When Castebook Dawn came out, it had Tiger Style in it. "Oh," said us on the forums. "I bet that means we'll get a new animal style in each of the castebooks, corresponding to the animal nicknames of the castes!"

That didn't happen.

So my answer remains, eternally, Bull Style, Spider Style, Wolf Style, and Falcon Style. That's been my answer to this question since 2001, and that will be my answer forever.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/15/2018
Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
Yeah, why didn't he just stat a gun, make it no stronger than a good bow and say that's the best you can do with guns? I mean, even for an exalt a gun wouldn't be much better than a slightly stronger bow. It seems like the issue has nothing to do with guns and more to do with the aesthetic of guns. You already have ballista cannons and other weapons that imitate conventional warfare but they also look a lot more medieval than a modern canon does.
Because the history of attempting to stat guns in D&D is the history of people complaining that guns with reasonable stats are underpowered, and he didn't want to deal with people complaining that his no-stronger-than-a-good-bow Creation guns were underpowered.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/15/2018
Originally posted by Verzio View Post
Actually, you can just find saltpeter lying around; it's extracted from manure. You can even sometimes find crystals of it in old manure piles.
There was a whole episode of Star Trek about that, in fact!

Originally posted by Aliasi View Post
In addition, the "I build assault rifles and win every fight forever" is a fallacy in and of itself, as Shards of the Exalted Dream set out to demonstrate.

Exalted don't stop being Exalted because someone has a gun. I don't expect Shards to ever get a 3e update, but I think the philosophy still holds. Wuxia isn't the only ingredient in the stew, and "Kung fu fails before guns" is not a thing in Exalted. All that happens is you give some bright person the idea to start inventing Firearms charms.
From context, it was clear that Grabowski knew that’s a fallacy—which is exactly what would have made it so unbearable for people to keep throwing it at him as something that ought to be possible for as long as he ran the gameline. So he did an end-run around it by doing small flamegout weapons instead. The issue is as much how people expect guns to work as it is how guns actually work, and he estimated that bringing in rifled slugthrowers would inevitably invoke the myth of the gun as the great equalizer against which all elites must fall, and he just didn’t want to deal with saying “No, that’s not how it works here” over and over again.

[#][F] Stephen Lea Sheppard - 7/14/2018
Originally posted by SpoonR View Post
Also, IIRC "cannon" type artillery are either alchemy (beam o'death) or steam based (scary hissy boiler lofting pumpkins/cannonballs with a mighty hiss)
Shore cannons were powered by huge amounts of firedust in 1e, and then in 2e they were changed to be steam-powered to address the question "If you can build firedust cannons, why can't I scale that down to firedust rifles and then use Craft Charms to upgrade them to modern assault rifles and win every fight forever?" In 3e we changed them back to being firedust-powered because we're satisfied with the answer "Because firedust doesn't combust like gunpower below a certain quantity threshold, which is too big to fit in a personal-scale weapon" and because the description of the firing mechanism for the steam-powered shore canons (the canonball seals the pressure chamber and is held in place by a plank, and then you fire it by pulling the plank aside really quickly) was, uh, dumb. And because we figured giant bronze shore cannons cast from a single piece of metal are cooler than clanking hissy steampunk canons powered by a boiler. Not everything is made better by sticking some gears on it and calling it steampunk.