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08 February 2014 @ 02:56 pm
Exalted: How did anyone ever use these stat blocks?  
I was recently poring over some of the Compasses of Terrestial Directions for Exalted 2e in order to pull out ideas for thaumaturgical rituals for that mortals game I was thinking about, and I noticed that Siakal, the western god of war, sacrifice, and sharks, had a bunch of prayer rituals to her written as thaumaturgy. Aha, I thought. I can go to the gods of the eastern forests and look them up, then do the same thing for them in case someone wants to run a priest of Caltia, the patron goddess of Halta, or one of her subordinate gods. So I flip through the book, look at her description, and then go (O_o) when I see her stat block.

[Click for HUEG]
Caltia the Eternal
The Hunter Queen, Evergreen Maenad, Patron of Halta
[blah blah blah half a page of fluff skipped]
Attributes: Strength 12, Dexterity 7, Stamina 8; Charisma 4, Manipulation 4, Appearance 5; Perception 5, Intelligence 5, Wits 4
Virtues: Compassion 3, Conviction 2, Temperance 2, Valor 4
Abilities: Archery 5, Athletics 4, Awareness 5, Bureaucracy 4, Craft (Wood) 3, Dodge 4, Integrity 2, Investigation 5, Linguistics (Native: Old Realm; Others: Forest-Tongue, High Realm, Riverspeak, Barbarian Tongues) 4, Lore 4, Martial Arts 3, Melee 5 (Knives +2), Occult 3, Performance 3 (Epic Songs +2), Presence 5, Resistance 3 (Endure Fatigue +2), Ride 5, Stealth 3 (Evergreen Forest +3), Socialize 4, Survival 5 (Evergreen Forest +3), Thrown 4 (Knives +2), War 3 (Beasts +2)
Backgrounds: Allies 4, Artifact 3, Artifact 3, Cult 4, Followers 2, Influence 4, Salary 3
Spirit Charms: Caltia has all appropriately themed spirit Charms for which she qualifies. Some important ones are specified below.
Benefaction—All-Encompassing: For 10 motes and a Willpower point, Caltia confers a one-die bonus to all dice pools for the recipient’s actions.
Essence Plethora—Caltia has 30 extra motes of Essence (largely due to her extensive worship in Halta).
Eye of Inspiration—For 15 motes, Caltia can grant a mortal the use of her First Excellency for Archery, Melee, Presence, Stealth, Survival or War. Each Ability requires a separate use of the Charm. A recipient who has his own Essence pool can use it to fuel the Excellency; Caltia can also permit the recipient to draw on her own Essence pool. At her whim, she can give free use of the Excellency or set conditions such as, “Only when fighting my enemies,” or “Only when I feel like it.” As with Caltia herself, the recipient’s player cannot add more than +6 dice to rolls. The conferred Excellency counts as dice added through Charms.
Hand of Destiny—For 20 motes and two Willpower points, Caltia can dedicate herself and all her subordinate spirits to the destruction of some chosen foe. From then on, she and they gain an intuitive sense for what they must do to accomplish this goal. Unauthorized use of this Charm is a direct challenge to the Bureau of Destiny, so Caltia must exercise some caution. For instance, she dares not use it to find an ideal means of destroying Golden-Eyed Jorst: such an
attempt to bend Fate toward the murder of a god of his rank would lead to Caltia’s own audit and possibly her own execution.
Impromptu Messenger—Caltia can speak through any creature native to the evergreen forests of the Northeast.
Materialize—It costs Caltia 65 motes to materialize.
Measure the Wind—For one mote, Caltia assesses the power of her foes or prey.
Meat of Broken Flesh—Caltia applies this Charm to her knives. When they inflict damage, she can spend one mote to drain six motes from her target and transfer them to herself.
Principle of Motion—Caltia keeps seven extra actions stored.
Regalia of Authority—For 10 motes and a Willpower point, Caltia can strike with awe and compel the worship of every mortal who knows and believes the legends about her. Anyone whose Essence is less than Caltia’s suffers unnatural mental influence to obey her; moreover, anyone whose Mental Defense Value does not exceed his own Temperance gains an Intimacy to worship Caltia. Finally, Caltia can substitute her Essence for her Appearance while this Charm lasts. The Charms remains active for a scene.Resisting such Servitude/Compulsion effects costs one Willpower point per action. Spending six Willpower points frees the character from the Compulsions, but not from the Intimacy.
Sheathing the Material Form—Caltia can evoke a glowing aura of invincibility that affects all attacks made by creatures that know who she is and believe her legends. For every two motes Caltia spends on this Charm (up to
10 motes), she adds +1 to her lethal soak and hardness, and +2 to her bashing soak and hardness.
Spirit-Cutting—For two motes per attack, Caltia can make her attacks affect dematerialized entities.
Stoke the Flame—For a scene, Caltia can inspire masses of people to revel with her, fear her or fight in her name. These are all unnatural mental influences. The Charm costs Caltia three motes times the Magnitude of the social
unit she wants to affect. Resisting the Emotion effect of the Charm costs individuals one Willpower per action; people free themselves completely once they spend two motes. To implement this Charm, Caltia must attempt a Performance-based social attack against the social unit; her player adds Caltia’s Temperance in automatic successes to the roll. For every success rolled, affected mortals gain a special “Stoked Willpower” point that they can spend only on actions related to the emotion Caltia suggested. These points vanish once the scene ends.
Tracking—All-Encompassing. By spending 10 motes and a Willpower point, Caltia can know the distance, direction and surroundings of everything to which she has committed Essence. For five motes, she simply locates a single creature or object. While this Charm enables Caltia to find the targeted creature or object, committing Essence to something for the sake of finding it later does pose some risk: a sorcerer or spirit could use that mote of Essence as an arcane link to target Caltia herself.
Excellencies—Caltia has the First, Second and Third Excellencies with Archery, Awareness, Bureaucracy, Melee, Presence, Ride, Stealth, Survival and War. She also has Infinite (Ability) Mastery with Archery, Melee, Presence,
Survival and Divine Survival Subordination.
Join Battle: 9
Attacks:
Punch: Speed 5, Accuracy 11, Damage 12B, Parry DV 6, Rate 3
Kick: Speed 5, Accuracy 10, Damage 15B, Parry DV 4, Rate 2
Clinch: Speed 6, Accuracy 10, Damage 12B piercing,
Parry DV –, Rate 1
Yagan Fangs: Speed 3, Accuracy 18, Damage 17L, Parry DV 8, Rate 4
Forgotten Shade Shot: Speed 5, Accuracy 14, Damage 16L, Range 300, Rate 2
Soak: 8L/12B (Barkcloth buff jacket, 4L/4B, +2 fatigue value)
Health Levels:-0/-1/-1/-1/-1/-1/-1/-1/-1/-2/-2/-2/-2/-2/-2/-2/-2/-4/Incap
Dodge DV: 9 Willpower: 7
Essence: 6 Essence Pool: 125
Other Notes: Caltia the Eternal’s divine panoply consists of her knives, The Yagan Fangs, and her short powerbow, Forgotten Shade Shot.The Yagan Fangs are a pair of green and red jade artifact hunting knives. Each carries the statistics of a short daiklave, with standard Speed and Damage bonuses for jade weapons when wielded by a Dragon-Blood or Caltia. In addition, when wielded paired, the first attack of any action does not count toward the determination of multiple action penalties or DV penalties. In essence, the first attack of every action is free. The Yagan Fangs can only be attuned to together, costing eight motes. As a set, they are a three-dot artifact. Forgotten Shade Shot is a jade short powerbow that automatically negates any environmental or circumstantial external penalties that apply to the wielder’s shot. For example, range, wind, and cover are negated, but DVs are not. Otherwise, Forgotten Shade Shot has the same combat statistics as a regular jade short powerbow. It is a three-dot artifact.


So, yeah. After reading that, I can see the attraction the OSR has to stat blocks that can fit onto a single line. I mean, I get that the detail of an NPCs stat block should reflect the importance they have in the game, and that it's better for the rules to provide full stats because it's easier for GMs to chop out everything they don't want instead of coming up with new information that isn't provided, especially on the fly...but even so. Statting out every single NPC the same way that PCs are is good in a CRPG that can handle hundreds or thousands of discrete NPCs at the same time, but for a PnP RPG, there are much better ways to do things since NPCs and PCs don't fulfill the same function in game even if the PCs don't have any special narrative weight. I'm curious how they'll reduce all that to the simplified stat blocks that they're planning to on in Exalted 3e.

It does make me more interested in a mortals game, where I can reduce a lot of stats down to something like "Fightin' 3, Shootin' 4, Talkin' 3, Resistin' 5, Virtues: 2" and even full stat blocks won't have that many crazy powers. The most powerful beings the PCs would likely interact with would be low-power elementals, fair folk, or various god-blooded. A single Fair Folk Cataphract is a huge challenge for a group of mortals, and they'll never come into conflict with anyone like Caltia. Which is fine with me.
 
 
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q99q99 on February 8th, 2014 09:42 pm (UTC)
That is one thing about Exalted, the charms and powers meant you had a heck of a lot to keep track of (though the abilities up top are pretty easy to deal with. There's a block of them, but it's obvious which one you need at a time).


The White Wolf system is in some ways more suited to Vampire-like abilities, where you'd have very few special powers.


And to make things worse, Exalted 2ed tends to boil down to 'paranoia combat' resource wars anyway where people just perfect'd til they ran out of moots because non-perfect defenses left way too high chances of being splattered in one hit.
dorchadasdorchadas on February 9th, 2014 12:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know about paranoia combat from reading all the Exalted 2e threads on RPG.net. I know people had a problem with stacked persistants from 1e, but it turns out that the cure is a lot worse than the disease. Stacked persistants certainly worked out without any real problems in my 1e game.

I actually prefer rolling for defense anyway, though not necessarily when you also have to roll for damage and soak.
q99q99 on February 9th, 2014 11:18 pm (UTC)
Yea, I liked stacked persistents. A long battle fits better, and overpowering them was possible.

They could've lowered them a bit without going for the style of combat they did... or, as you say, removing damage roles.