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I'm going to fix the Lunar charm tree.

Yes, I do like undertaking Herculean tasks.

So, my basic guideline here is...:

a) They must socially be equal in strength, but weaker in flexibility, than Sidereals. b) They must in combat be greater than Sidereals all-around, weaker-than Solars, and possibly equal to Solars at their pinnacles. c) In wilderness and wyld survival, they must be more potent than everyone.

Little or no scene-lengths appear to be the rule, though instants are all over the place. This leaves the only good place to power up a lunar being a) Charms whose effects last over several rounds, or can take effect several rounds down the road, and b) Charms that permanently enhance the lunar.

What appeared to have been an original intent in the charm design, that was never elegantly executed, was a) Charms tying in from various trees, and b) Reliance on attributes over abilities (which was only given a nod in passing.)

The big problem is that Lunars must climb pretty high in the charm tree to be effective, even though they have absurd charm costs. Sidereals have the same costs; their charm trees are kept low and wide. You're effective just by buying into the tree; Lunars have to climb as high as Solars, without the same power. ...So, I'm going to remove redundant charms, fix durations, tie them in more, etc. I'll also try to "flatten" the trees a bit; you could still climb as high in the tree as you did before, but be effective just by buying into it.

Yes, I will likely never finish. Shit happens. Still, I'm going to try.

Addendum: The reason this isn't all happening charm-by-charm under Fixing The ____ Charms is because I intend on overhauling /all/ the charms, with some interweaving - this isn't just going to be a charm-by-charm fix. Some charms just shouldn't exist. Some need to be recreated entirely. I will eventually link to this page from the Fixing The ____ Charms page, though.



And where are the Appearance-based Charms? It's a stat too- and one that a Lunar must acquire up to 3 and 4 to advance in rank at the appropriate times! &Arafelis thinks WoD 2 did some good at least.

I don't plan on inserting any appearance-based charms. Partly because of GCG's reason - that people should feel free to play horrible beastly lunars without being penalized (just like playing horrible-looking abyssals, who don't make any charms based on App) - and partly because I can't think of any charm that would be appropriate with Appearance as a linked attribute. I'd say this screws Changing Moons, who get their XP break on only 2 of 3 attributes, where everyone else gets it on 3 attributes, but there are also more Charisma / Manipulation charms than any other attribute. - Miedvied

GCG's reason is crap. By that same logic, you should be free to play horrible idiot lunars and pathetic clumsy lunars and lunars who manage to cling onto life despite having weak constitutions! But you can't. Appearance is one of the nine basic Attributes; that means (to me) that one of the game's assumptions is that the mightiest people are the most beautiful. So there should be Appearance Charms, unless you want to remove it from the Attribute array altogether (though I think this makes for a very different game), and if you want to do that I have no argument. - willows

No, one of the game's base assumptions is that the mightest people are the most beautiful /or/ the most horrible. Abyssals are a good example; you can't exceed Ess. 3 unless your App. tops 4, or maxes at 1. Lunars are the only ones for whom this affects Charms, but they're the only ones whose charms are based on Attributes, too. - Miedvied

Abyssals are clearly a specific exception to a general rule. If you were to take the same approach for Lunars, then you should include trees with high App minima and low app maxima (an unprecedented stroke!), making both apporaches interesting and viable, instead of leaving them undistinguished by putting a whole attribute in the doghouse. - willows

Except that he uses the exact same logic for Lunars, which came before Abyssals. So... no, I don't think they're an exception. The Abyssals are required to be beautiful or horrible without being penalized for which choice they make; everyone else has the option of being beautiful or horrible without being penalized for it. The Lunars mechanics simply make it clear that if you do link Charms to appearance, you've penalized them - removing that option. Unless you design two equally potent charm trees for appearance, one based around low app, and one around high app, you're going to screw lunars. - Miedvied typed at the same time as you; getting screwed with "page saved while you typed"

Addenda: The problem being with two trees is that it's damn hard to come up with even a handful of social charms that link to Appearance (when Shapeshifting is governed by manipulation and charisma), much less two full trees worth. App just isn't a handy attribute to work with, unless you use it to govern all charms that affect appearance, in which case it gets almost all the shapeshifting Charms, and those are completely unrelated to pretty or ugly - so stat requirements are all thrown out the window. (and Charisma / Manip get almost no charms. ) -Miedvied

There are plenty of good ideas for Social Appearance. Appearance is the trait of the first impression. Maybe someone looks at you and goes "They just don't look like a murderer... better look for the real killer." I mean, it's not just how you look, but how you hold yourself. Someone can look like an angel one moment, then turn it into the visage of a heartless devil. - haren

An effect that is so much more fitting for Charisma or Manipulation, and is already covered by the existing Lunar social charms. - Miedvied

No, it's not more fitting for Charisma or Manipulation, for the very reason that it deals with innate and instant perceptions before they talk to you or even get near you. Charisma is making people want to do what you want because they like you or feel like you know what you're talking about. Manipulation is convincing people through rhetoric or guile. Neither has to do with innate appeal or first impressions. Just because I make a charm that makes people feel like you have this unseen aura of desirability and call it a Charisma charm, doesn't mean it should be. People make mistakes and put Charms in places that aren't suitable due to choices by others. - haren

You want a Social charm that affects Social rolls before the opportunity for Social rolls arises. By the time you can attempt a social roll, you've already engaged in an action that calls upon Charisma or Manipulation. "He's pretty, I like him" is useless until you try to use that likability to your benefit. I see no point in creating a second charm that is "Auto-sxx on social rolls" and simply labelling it Appearance. That's the same redundancy that plagues the Lunar charm tree as it stands. "Hey, look, a dice-adder for unarmed combat! And a dice-adder for wrestling!" "Isn't all wrestling unarmed combat?" "..." - Miedvied

Charms that are based on nonverbal communication should be based on Apperance, just like skill checks based on nonverbal communication should (usually) be based on Apperance. Just because most Storytellers choose to call for Charisma or Manipulation rolls doesn't mean it's meta-technically correct; obviously, in their own games, they do as the will, but the Appearance attribute shouldn't be a waste of points.

Incidentally, Lunars can't play a horrible bestial barbarian and expect to do well in the Silver Pact; they must have an Appearance of at least 3 before gaining the rank of ikth-ya (The Respected, the rank of a hero), and an Apperance of at least 4 before getting Face 8 (high murr-ya, prerequisite to shahan-ya- though most PCs will not advance to that rank during play, powerful and respected NPC Lunars *must,* canonically, be beautiful). (page 113, of The Lunars). Changing Moon caste isn't getting screwed, Charm-wise; in fact, they're getting boosted unduly, since they only need to focus on two stats, while the other two Castes need three. The Appearance stat is what's maligned, and thus, anyone who wastes points in it. Charms such as Serpent Eye Defense and Animal Magnetism are blatantly suitable for Apperance-trait Charms and yet they are consistantly relegated to other stats. $.02 &Arafelis thinks that horrific or angelic Appearance should require 5 dots, as it's the impact that matters

Yes, the rank thing is stupid. The Lunar book was compiled by several people that failed to communicate with one another effectively. That much is obvious, repeatedly throughout the book. We have charms that do things like "Add X dice to Unarmed Combat Rolls" and another charm, with the previous one as a prereq, "Add X dice to Unarmed Combat Rolls if wrestling." With the same cost. WIth the same dice-adder cap. And they do not stack. .... The fact that the Lunar book was put together with the least amount of attention of detail and consistency than any other Exalted book, that much is clear. Miedvied
I'm still working on my own list of Lunar design pet peeves, but in my opinion, the Attribute minima for ranks just need to go. It creates a wide range of silliness where a respected Lunar has to be not just beautiful but ridiculously supercompetent at everything in a way that no other Exalt type is required to be, and this just seems a little silly to me. -- AntiVehicleRocket (who is still split on Appearance Charms, herself, but would like to see viable Lunar concepts with actual Attribute weaknesses)
"would like to see viable Lunar concepts with actual Attribute weaknesses" -- So would I! They should be difficult but viable with any Attribute weakness you care to devise, though. I think it's totally stupid that all Lunars have exactly one weak Attribute. - willows
Yeah, it really does get sort of ludicrous. Anyway, after a bit of a discussion with Arafelis, I should probably clarify that by "Attribute weaknesses," I just mean "not terrific." After all, one can easily play a perfectly reasonable Dawn with 2 Intelligence or a Twilight with 2 Strength; why should every Full Moon ever have to end up with 4 Intelligence? -- AntiVehicleRocket

Lunars not having appearance charms is a strength, not a weakness. It just means any social charms that might be better off in Appearance end up in Charisma or Manipulation. There are no "holes" in the trees. It just means you don't have to raise another attribute if you don't want to. -Fifth

Yes, it is a strength- especially for the Changing Moons, as I've said above. I agree. I disagree that it's a necessary strength, or one that particularly makes sense; if there are going to be nine attributes, why is one of them arbitrarily completely pointless? &Arafelis

Except that only you've decided that appearance is pointless because there are no app-based charms. Appearance is no more pointless for Lunars than it is for any other being in Creation, it's just not more useful than it is for any other being in Creation. Miedvied

It is, actually, more pointless for the Lunars than for other beings in Creation, because their Charms are based on attributes (as you've said- there are no app-based charms, but there are Charms based on the other eight attributes; on the other hand, there are no Abilities for Solars, Abyssals, Sidereals, and Dragon-Blooded mysteriously lacking in Charms). However, I feel also that there are many situations in which a skill check should be based on Appearance, but is rolled with one of the other two social attributes instead. I can't address this problem except by educating players and other STs about how Appearance should be used (at least as I interpret the book; Appearance governs 'innate appeal' and generates 'instinctive responses' in others, pg 128, and thus in my opinion relates to body language etc) as long as it's going to be one of the stats. Likewise, I can address in forums devoted to reworking the attribute Charm trees how it deserves to be a fully-fledged statistic of its own; and get at least a couple people to agree with me. &Arafelis

In redesigning the lunar charm trees, I considered Appearance very heavily. I think that it's a bad attribute, but I decided not to scrap it. I decided that lunar charms could be categorized into nine areas, one for each attribute.

  • Strength - Hardening and sharpening and charms which create weapons or focus on brute force.
  • Dexterity - Charms which focus on moving the lunar, like into position. Die adders and defenses.
  • Stamina - Hardening for defense and healing self, endurance, resistance, etc.
  • Charisma - Releasing the beast within, taking on animal attributes/DBT/etc.
  • Manipulation - More specific, precise shapechanging.
  • Appearance - Emotional or mental manipulation.
  • Perception - Sense enhancing or perception enhancing.
  • Intelligence - Raw essence manipulation/lunar ritual
  • Wits - Affecting others physically with charms, harnessing instinct

Yea, I chose them kind of arbitrarily, but it works. And it provides structure for lunar trees. - Morpheus