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This page is for commentary on Sol Invictus, my high essence Solar fansupplement!


First of, I mean I'm still going through it and I haven't really found anything I don't think is infinitely useful. Question though, Material Conjuring Gesture on pg 96 starts to explain that you can spend 1WP and an additional... the sentence just sort of trails off. Any thoughts? - Mr. Squeakers

Looking at it, I think that was suppose

d to be something like "1 WP and an additional 3 motes per Resources dot to summon more expensive materials." I'll fix it in the 1.1 release. -- Charlequin

Agreed with Mr. Squeakers. Reading this makes me think, "Man, I hope the Charms in Second Edition are this good, or I'm not sure I'll want to update!" A couple of questions: 1) Is there an Actual Play somewhere of the playtest for this? I'd be fascinated to see what sorts of opponents you threw at characters who had these Charms, and how it went from there. 2) Several Extra Action Charms talk about rolling a single attack and "applying" the attack multiple times, be it against the same target or many targets. How does this work in Combos? Do I need to kick in, say, a Supplemental Charm just once for the attack, or as many times as I end up applying the attack roll? ~ SabreCat

1) Yes, there are posted logs from our Sol Invictus games, but they don't include the dice rolls or anything like that. But we've whupped ass on undead behemoths, evil ghosts, gods of massive power and lots of weird god-Exalted things.
2)For the EA Charms that involve rolling once and applying it multiple times their awesomeness lays in the fact that yeah, you only have to pay for supplementals and reflexives affecting the attack ONCE. It's badass. - Telgar
Nice. Any chance of a link to said logs...? ~ SabreCat
SI Play Reports - the game page for Sol Invictus. - Telgar

Iron Steed Approach: duration Scene in the header, 5 turns in the text? - Hapushet, ready for the cavalry charge

Five turns. I'll fix it. -- Charlequin

Ten League Stride: This is meant to be a multiplier of 5 times the Essence? Just wondering since this makes it 25 to 50 times faster (in theory). Not that I care all that much, but it's pretty nice. You figure a horse runs at 25 mph, then it'll go 625 mph an hour through "even through the most difficult and dangerous terrain", which could even mean water depending on how the ST allows it. - haren

It is indeed ~25 times faster than normal. 625 MPH is pretty fast but it's still not as fast as some other easily obtained methods of travel in Exalted, so I don't consider it to be particularly worrisome. It basically just lets you treat mounted travel as equivalent to plane flights instead of car rides. -- Charlequin

Charlequin, I'm curious as to the degree this stuff has been playtested. Sol Invictus looks absolutely brilliant, and it has seriously discouraged me from investing into 2nd Ed for a good while. But what measures have you taken to ensure Charms aren't broken? I'm a bit new to the Wiki, so I may not be aware of how long you worked on this or how you went about pulling it all together. --UncleChu

Quin started up a high-powered Solar game which is, in fact, still on-going. He originally had five playtesters, of which I was one. Then we were down to four, then I left but two others joined so now he's at 6. It's run for nearly two years, I think. Not all the trees have been explored, but the combat trees, the Awareness tree and several others were well-explored. And he also had, not to be unmodest, some of the best charm-crunchers on the Wiki (myself, FourWillowsWeeping, Kraken) in the game helping fine-tune. - Telgar
T-T-Telgar vouched? Thats a powerful argument, as I keep printouts of Telgar's artifacts in my wallet in case I'm ever stranded somewhere and need to pretend I have a Spider of Verdure to heal the spearwound I got from the pygmy natives.--UncleChu
I'll just pop in to concur that, yes, not only do I have around 18 months of solid playtesting in a game that I myself ran (and during which I have extensively modified the combat toolkit in the Sol Invictus book to balance over- and under-powered effects) but I've also played in a game using these rules run by another GM and have knowledge of 5+ other games that used it before its wide release and which trickled information back to me. I can't say that every single combat Charm has been tested in play but a lot has been done to beat it into shape. -- Charlequin

Hmm. In my first read of this spiffy fan-supplement, I'hve had two amusing thoughts so far (and I'm just on page 12). 1) I might do something amusing, like printing out the front and back page as one sheet of thin card, with an approipriate thickness of red between them: prining out the pages, double-sided: and taking it to a place I know that does book binding at a good price. Then I can have a hardcopy, that is indistinguishable from the other stuff on my Exalted Shelf! Huzzah! Because it looks like Good Stuff. Secondly, as I write this, I have come across the line,

'no Solar Charm should allow dematerialization, teleportation, or duplicate creation, for example.'

Why not, In your view? Teleportation is a perfection of movement. Dematerialization, arguably a perfection of mobility or stealth. Dematerializing in a golden haze, as you permeate yourself with the Unconquered Sun's ethereal radiance: the light that shines everywhere, but is seen only by It's affect on it's surroundings. Or, as the light of the Sun is present across all creation, flowing instantly from one spot to another, so can THe Exalt, Moving as light between one location and the next. I'm pretty sure with a bit of thought, I could come up with an argument for the creation of multiple doubles of Solar light. - Molikai

His argument is not that you can't make the effects somehow sun-themed, it's that they don't fit within the canon aesthetic that Solars have. I could make the Abyssal blood-chains Charm a Sidereal Charm if I put enough effort into it, but in the end, making chains out of blood isn't what Sidereals do. Dematerialization, teleportation, and duplication are spirit effects; gods and demons do that stuff. Solars are still bound by Creation to some degree, and so have to operate within the domain of their patron to warp reality. -- Will
Gonna have to disagree with you. There are two flaws in your argument: scope and Essence. In terms of scope, well, they're all using the same bag of tricks - they do things that mortals can't. They all have ways to avoid damage, and ways to manipulate situations. Can a Solar have a charm to convince someone of something? Of course - even though manipulation is kindof a Sidereal thing. Can a Dragonblooded do something well? Sure - just not as well as a Solar with the same effort and training. At the end of the day, they all have charms, that all do things. It's the flavor text that matters. As for things like teleportation and dematerialization, you claim that's the "scope of gods and spirits and such". By Essence 6, Exalts (Solars in particular) are like gods and spirits. They've completely surpassed mortal limitations. I mean, we've got canonical awareness charms that let you see anything the Sun can. That's a lot. That's stopping on the street, and seeing if it's raining in Tokyo. That's driving down the highway, and knowing that the 81 North interchange is backed up, and you should turn early. We're talking things that are nearing omniscience. We're talking about dodge charms that let you burst into beams of light, ignoring nearly any negative effect. Heck, with a combo, you can SSE+Leaping Dodge method and cover so much ground it's ridiculous. Sure, at Essence 2-4, you won't see things like teleportation. But honestly, if you don't have teleportation, what is there at Essence 8? Essence 9? By Essence 7, Athletics charms should be doing things like "In a given turn, at any given point, a character can choose to be anywhere within a sphere Essence*5 yards in diameter, whichever suits him best. This charm allows him to ignore movement penalties, attack foes regardless of the distance required to move to reach them (as long as they are in the sphere) and often prevents opponents from attacking the Solar, as he can choose to be behind them at the moment of their attack." Real weird stuff. How hard is it to put teleportation a bit higher? -- GregLink
Needless to say, I disagree with GregLink's argument. If you reread the Charm creation chapter in Sol Invictus, you'll see that I address some topics that help explain my reasoning here. To my mind, thematics are vitally important in designing powers for Exalted, because the difference between different varieties of supernatural beings is almost entirely in thematics. As such, I hold the rules a bit more rigidly than I would if, say, Solars were the only type of Exalt. Solars' theme is to do human things better. As I discuss in the book, there are circumstances under which this theme lets them do completely unsubtle magical effects -- summoning a boat of light or whatever. However, those are limited exceptions that only really occur in places where several Solar themes come together. The three effects mentioned are all very obviously impossible feats, and none of them fall cleanly into a realm of mortal competence -- they're all just "here's a useful magical effect." That lack of correspondence keeps them from fitting into the power structure that Solars have, as the one Exalt type that hews closely to ability's definitions rather than veering off on tangents in their power effects. The fact that all three are signature spirit powers and that allowing Exalts to use them would rob spirits of basically their three coolest powers helps, too. By putting these effects off-bounds, it helps keep the thematic concept of Solar Exalted clear and thereby makes them cooler.
I'll just have to disagree with your claim that because Ess 6 Charms are powerful, Solars are "basically spirits." The human element of an Exalt means that they'll always be drastically different in personality, and their freedom of choice and will to power guarantee that they'll act and advance differently. Keeping spirits very thematically distinct from Exalts can only help in using them effectively in a campaign.
Finally, as a closing note, the beams of light dodge is on page 132, and the move anywhere in a sphere Charm is on page 44. -- Charlequin
So, Charlequin. I'm a bit confused. Your arguments against my points are well said, and I can't really fight against them without getting into personal preference, so I won't try. I am a bit confused, however, as to the closing. You point out two charms that (apparently) already in SolInvictus, that I kindof assumed someone had made. I assumed such things existed, and then extrapolated that if you can already dodge-into-a-beam-of-light and can make your position anywhere in a sphere, how far is it from that to teleportation? More usefully, how far is it in practice? Are we splitting beans in terminology, disagreeing about if Solars can eventually teleport or not, when it doesn't actually matter? My claim, to be precise, is that by Essence 8, a Solar, for all intents and purposes, can be anywhere he dang well pleases. Whether he does it by running, climbing clouds, or calculating his own position so precisely to be where he wants, that he must be there, he has the effect of teleportation. While a spirit might actually discombobulate, and a earth-aspected DB might sink into the earth, spread his essence free, and reform elsewhere, at Essence 8, something akin to teleportation is possible. Same with everything else we're discussing. In summation, what are you disagreeing with: (a) Solars, at Essence 8-ish, can't have teleportation-like effects or (b) Solars, at Essence 9-ish, can't discorporate themselves and appear elsewhere? -- GregLink

I'm also inclined to point at Shadow-stepping Motion (page 70, Castebook: Night). & motes, 1 willpower: instant, simple, MA 5, essence 5 teleport effect. max range of (Essence) miles. And it is noted that it will be blocked by sorcerous wards which exist to block teleportation, which is what the charm is. Now, It is /generally/ agreed that the catch with MA's is that they can't use anyone else's Schtick: so that implies to me that teleportation is a faurly common ability for an Exalt. I see further confirmation in the implication that wards against it exist: which implies it was a relatively common concern, amongst secure places. These secure places being built before abyssals existed. :) I would certainly take al lthat to be, that any type of exalt can potentially teleport. And I concur with GregLInk : How is there a difference between 'Howl of the night wolf' which is, to my senses, a short-range teleport, or 'scattered sunlight attitude' which /is/ a short-range dodge, and a long-range dodge except the p[ower of the effect? Or 'Unconquerable Sun Stance' which gives you 2 extra arms - is that really so great a leap from me creating my own double of light? or, indeed, is creating a warrior of light to fight beside me really that different from creating crew for a ship? - Molikai
But it's misleading to reference Ebon Shadow Style as in any way indicative of what Solar Charms might do, because it's not a Solar Charm tree. It's martial arts. What's important is not the effect, but the theme; thus, for a Solar to leap with such speed and agility that they arrive at any location within their line of sight effectively instantaneously, weaving and twisting through gaps so small that they rationally shouldn't be able to so much as pass a finger in them, is perfectly in-theme, because that's superhuman athletics. For a Solar to turn into a rain-cloud which spits out a bolt of lightning, which then coalesces into the Solar, is completely out of theme, because that's an elemental effect. Yet both Charms could have the mechanical text "The character may, upon activation of this Charm, place himself in any location that he can see, unless that location is protected by sorcerous wards against teleportation. Vargo Teras
See below for some address of these points. Unconquerable Sun Stance and Howl of the Night Wolf are MA Charms and can cheat. SSA is maybe pushing the boundaries slightly but note that it doesn't actually provide any beneficial movement effect -- in sunlight form the PC can only move at his usual movement rate, and unlike if he were dematerialized his options for action are drastically limited. Finally, creating a warrior of light is pretty distinct from creating a second physical self. I considered a "Talon of the Sun" Charm that created sunlight warriors and really only didn't write it because there wasn't an obvious place for it; I think it'd fit well in 2E's new War ability. I don't think a single warrior as competent as yourself would be appropriate, though; it doesn't seem apropos. -- Charlequin

The answer as to why Solars can't dematerialize or teleport is thematics. It's not a Solar theme to become a ghost-form or snap your fingers and be across Creation in a poof of smoke. Sure, at Essence 8 you can snap your fingers, throw down a smokebomb, RUN across Creation and then be there to throw down another smoke bomb and reappear almost-but-not-quite instantly. But that's moving really fast, not teleporting. Solars might be able to move so fast they are effectivly teleporting but that isn't the same thing.
We have six types of Exalted. To distinguish between them requires mechanical differences as well as thematic differences and these mechanical differences MUST rely on the thematic differences because otherwise they're just arbitrary limits without meaning. And that's not cool. We have to work within the thematics, allow the thematics to dictate mechanics. Sure, it's totally inside Solar power scope to do anything a DB can do..but it is NOT within solar thematic scope to do anything a DB can do. While both a DB and a Solar should, in theory, be able to move vast distances very quickly the Solar will be running, jumping or sprinting across that distance while the DB might fly on the Air or transform into smoke or sink into the water or earth to move that distance. An Abyssal would shadow-walk it and a Sidereal might just teleport. These all have different thematics and mechanics but they do the SAME THING. And that is what Quin is saying. You can do the same thing, but you must do it in different ways or else you lose the wonderful distinction between the splats and the flavor that the distinction provides. - Telgar

Ah, but THat's not what Im' arguing. I agree with you completely about theme: But I don't see teleportation, say, as being out-of-theme for Solars, and have yet to hear any convincing arguments. We can, of course, just agree to disagree: but what I've been trying to show with my original set of examples, was that I see them as being in-theme. - Molikai
The thing is that teleportation is not a derivation or version of something a human can do. Solars do human things at inhuman levels. At no level of inhumanity can someone stop being where they are and start being somewhere else without moving between the space seperating the two places. They have to move through that space, at ANY level of humanity or inhumanity. Solars, thus, must move through space to reach other places. They can do so instantly or at invisibly high speeds, but not via teleportation which is moving from A to B without moving across line AB. Similarly, Solars can't dematerialize for long periods of time because at no point on the list of Things That Humans Can Imagine Doing does the ability to cease having a material body come into play. They might be able to call on sunlight-magic to turn into something immaterial for short periods of time, but not just flat out be immaterial as long as they wish. If it is totally beyond the scope of things humans can do, Solars have to use sunlight magic to do it. And Solar Sunlight Magic is fairly limited. - Telgar
Just to beat a dead horse a bit, I disagree yet again. You claim that dematerialization isn't a level of inhumanity. You claim that teleportation isn't a level of inhumanity. But what about lock-opening touch? Simply brushing your palm against a lock opens it? What about CNNT? Muttering and whispering to steel to get it to change its shape? Flawless disguise technique - making clothes appear out of thin air, and reshaping your body via thought? Take an archery charm, "Arrow of Light", that allows arrows to pass through obstacles - essentially ignoring physical objects between source and destination (SolarArchery/Telgar). It's not a big step to allow a Solar to ride his own arrow to a destination, and suddenly, you've got a character teleporting through objects. There are dozens of instances throughout the core book that certain Solar effects aren't just superhuman, they're flat-out unreal. Admittedly, they are in the minority - I'd suggest that less than 20% of all charms have this 'unreal' feel to them, but I'd also claim that it's more than 3%, and thus, can happen. I also suggest that while yes, the vast majority of Solar charms are as you say, there are obviously canonical exceptions, and as such, when creating Solar charms, you should focus on the superhuman, and allow 'unreal' effects for every, say, 1 out of 6 charms. To paraphrase a former politician - "I don't want to outlaw totally superhuman Solar charms. I think they should be safe, legal, and rare." Your claim that 'thematics' is everything is great and all - it provides ballast for the game. But time and time again we see Solars doing dang near anything they want, and it can only get worse as their Essence levels increase. Over time, it becomes very difficult to find yet another 'nearly human' extension of the same dang thing you've been doing for the past 6 Essence levels, as you've put in all the superlatives you can. Eventually, you need to bite the bullet and realize that by Essence 8, that "Sun magic" you speak of is pretty dang useful, and with all the power you've got, pretty easy to handle as well. I'm not saying that the Solar teleportation charm shouldn't have fluff text like
          • "Exploding in a flash of light, the Solar runs,jumps, and swims to their destination faster than any eye can see, and any charm can track. His awe-inspiring presence surging ahead of him, the tiny gods of Creation can do nothing to stand in his way, allowing him to reach any destination in range, regardless of mundane obstacles in his path. His progress can only be slowed by a barrier reinforced by one of the five magical materials, and even then, it must have been thaumaturgically prepared to resist the external influence of others."
Yes, he's running. Yes, he's dropping a smoke bomb. The only thing that can stop him is a thaumaturgical barrier. Is it teleportation? I don't know. But it follows your example of something superhuman, and it follows my definition of teleportation. So are we even disagreeing? -- GregLink
Yup, we are. - Telgar
To try to cut down on the length of my posts, and to see if there isn't some middle ground here, then, can I ask you for a favor? Could you write down (as concisely as possible) what your claim is, and what mine is, and how they differ? I can't imagine that we're that different, just saying it in different ways. -- GregLink, citing a recent study that noted that there's only a roughly 50% chance of correctly interpreting the tone and intent of an email, which is very similar to Wiki-writing...
I don't really understand why this debate is still ongoing, nor why it's requiring such long responses. The reasoning is very, very simple: Solars do only things that are magically enhanced versions of real human activities except in very constrained circumstances. These activities don't fall into those circumstances, but DO fall into another supernatural being's set of unique, special theme powers. To me, it's basically equivalent to asking why a Solar can't have a Charm that makes spirits bring him presents, or an Abyssal a Charmtree about turning into ravens and wolves.
As for the Charms you mention above, the difference is that those Charms are focused on the ability they fall into, while you keep discussing a specific capability you want to shoehorn in somewhere. If the natural evolution of an ability like Athletics or Larceny or Dodge leads to something very close to teleportation -- and it does, for all three -- then it's reasonable to tread closely on that line. What's not reasonable is to create any Charm whose purpose and primary effect is teleportation, especially the sort of unencumbered teleportation that is clearly implied here. That's just creating an effect because you want to do it, even though it violates the fundamental rules of Solar Charm design. Solars should never have the ability to bamf around like Nightcrawler or open portals to ease their friend's travel -- if they want to get around fast, they use their feet or horses or boats like a mortal might, or they learn Sorcery. -- Charlequin
Actually, in Athletics, there would be a fair enough reason to put in a teleportation charm just for the sake of it, as there's a whole big tree generally focussed on just getting somewhere faster than the next guy. FluffySquirrel

Hi all, this is my first time posting on the wiki. Absoloutley love the supplemant, will be implementing all, or almost all of this into my game for certain. Have you given thought at taking a crack at Lunars and their charm balance like you did with the Solars? You definitley have a solid handle on Charm Theory. Enkindu594

I believe that Quin has decided that Lunars aren't worth the effort and he'd have trouble getting his playtesters to play. - Telgar
I'd honestly consider it but I wouldn't be satisfied with anything short of a literal ground-up redesign and I wouldn't want to undertake something like that with the 2E Lunars book still in the offing. -- Charlequin

After considerably more reading of SI, I think I have only one tiny criticism: absurd overuse of the "Prana" and "Approach" and "Technique" appends! With so many Charms, reading those things again and again starts to make the words dissolve in the brain from overuse. Just opening the book up randomly: "Heart of the Sun Meditation": just "Heart of the Sun" is fine. "Savant Needs No Tutor Approach": "Savant Needs No Tutor" (Worked for the craftsman, why not the savant?). "Theft of Faces Technique": "Theft of Faces". No need to trim it out everywhere, as it is a canonical theme, but sometimes less is more, mew. -- SabreCat

Very interesting, any plans for an update to 2E? -- VaticanT

I'm updating chunks of it on the White Wolf wiki. Come check my place over there. -- Kukla

A small change in the subject, more to do with the making of the book itself. How easy was it to make an Exalted supplement book? Did you have to get in touch with White Wolf or anything? Did you make any money from it? How long did it take to make? I ask this because I have a lot of material about the New Race I am constructing, The Chosen of the Archangels ( this is the title, i may make a better name at some point)., and I need all the advice I can get. Also, I don't exactly have the best test players...


Blig, Quin did not make any money from SI. He wrote it for, essentially, his own enjoyment. As far as I am aware, WW has not had any contact with him about it though I think he did inform them of it. But not for any legal reasons. There's no more obligation to inform them that he wrote SI then there is to inform them he wrote some Charms on the Wiki. Only difference is that he formatted and presented his very nicely. I believe Quin worked for several months on SI, updating as playtest results from the game came in and getting various people to help him edit and format. - Telgar