Very nice. I think I'll use these in my own game, but I will definitely make them Fire-aspected. I've abhored the strict DB elemental Charm monopoly since day one. Have the regular Archery Charms Wood-aspected, fine, but it's stupid to slavishly stick to it when thematic consistency and logic dictate otherwise. - Resplendence
I think that choosing to "slavishly stick to it" has resulted in a superior set of Charms, in terms of their having more interesting and complex thematics, than it would had they been Fire Charms. - willows
Willows: The thematics are almost completely arbitrary in regard to elemental aspect. It's simply a wrapping for the rules that's very important for the feeling of the game, but ultimately the elemental aspect is just a flavor and nothing else. Most of the Abilities for Dragon-Blooded could easily be tied to other aspects and have their Charms retain both their function and coolness. Some variation among Charm aspects doesn't make ranged combat a uniquely Wood affair. I agree that Jabberwocky did a good job on making these Charms Wood-aspected though. - Resplendence
Ranged combat isn't uniquely a Wood affair; Air has excellent ranged capability as well, and can adapt it reasonably well to melee. However, the ranged combatant approach is the Wood-Aspected combat approach by default, and I don't like the idea of diluting that concept, regardless of the fact that firewands are literally fueled by magic fire elemental sand. Fire Aspects aren't gunners; they're swashbucklers. Swashbuckly gunners don't strike me as people who are very good with guns, really; they seem like they would be people who can manage to do swashbuckly rigging-climbing and chandelier-swinging while shooting a gun, which is amply covered by the Fire charmset already.
Mailanka has an exercise that makes a compelling case for the idea that each Aspect has a full-featured Charm toolkit that defines, in a pretty clear mechanical way, their elemental role; each Aspect can arrive at the same goals, but the ways that they accomplish them will be different. Tying the Abilities differently would significantly damage Aspect identity. Try making a Dragon-Blooded thief, first using only Fire Aspect Charms, and then using only Earth Aspect Charms, and observe how they can both arrive at this concept, but their Aspect puts them automatically in a certain idiom, and I don't think that firewanding fits the Fire idiom nearly as well as it fits the Wood idiom. - willows
I still stick closely to the elemental themes, which is what's important IMO, not what Ability goes where. You can quite easily make a Charm of any aspect for any Ability, and easily maintain the elemental theme. This supports my argument that they were rather arbitrarily tied to their elements. Now that they are, though, all I want is specialty out-of-aspect branches that diversify the rather strict DB Charms. While it is true you can arrive at the same concept through different aspects, it only works for very broad concepts. Out-of-aspect Charm branches allows me to be more specific without betraying the elemental theme. I've made an Air-aspected archer, for example, who stays very true to his element, but just because there is an alternate Archery Charm tree doesn't reduce the basic Archery Charms in any way. They're still the most common Charms with the common effects (like the basic dice adder Charm, for example), and I avoid overlap between them and the new Charms. More important than this though, is that I get a cool character that fits very well into the world and into my game. Resplendence
I think you're missing the point entirely. The whole point of Aspect monopoly is to restrict each Aspect such that it can accomplish things in a very narrow set of ways. Obviously you disagree that this adds to the game. We have nothing else to discuss. - willows
No, my point is exactly that anything that restricts a group as large as elemental aspcts to a very narrow set of ways of accomplishing things is not inherently good. In fact, it makes me thing of old, stale RPG conventions that are best left dead. In this case, I think it is a good base, and with additional specialized out-of-aspect Charm trees to spice things up it's quite perfect. I have yet to see how this would subtract anything from a game, other than it might not agree with some people's wish to keep the game "pure". Resplendence
I was thinking of just posting that, but that'd wouldn't do anything except acknowledge there's a definite dichotomy of opinion, albeit almost completely tangential from discussing Charms. Instead, I'll tell you a secret: I found it much easier to write these Charms with a Wood schtick then trying to think of Fire-aspect Charms that were actually thematically appropriate for Fire Castes -- swashbuckly, emotionalized things they are -- rather than simply in Element. "The fire... shoots like fire. Damned hot fire, baby! +Ability in damage, old school style!"
I can imagine a complete, appropriate tree for Air before Fire: (just off the top of my head) firing matrices of Essence which hover in the air and consume Motes; or that wrap Spirits up in a cloak of silent flames; or devour Gods and convert them to preloaded ammunition, at exponentially higher cost; or trade damage to send a shot beyond its normal range, up to a narrow pin-point that does next-to-no damage, but can snipe someone off a mountain, or send them flying backwards, if you combo it with the Charm that'd do that. Not that I couldn't write Fire-aspect Charms instead, just that they'd be somewhat tailored around fire than Fire-Aspects, if only because I couldn't escape from the stereotype.
Anyways, the point being that limiting the scope of a tree gives it significant flavor. This might be why people might not think so highly of the Solar trees -- they have to rely on "holy shit, that guy just killed everyone in town!" shock factor than discrete thematics, like Terrestrial Elements, Sidereal Constellations, and, to a degree, Abyssal... Deathiness (deathosity?), in addition to the "chopping off heads like there's no tomorrow" aspect. Admittedly, Firewands are a rather trite example, since that's about as obvious an elemental connection as anything could hope to be, but I hope a point is made nevertheless.
I think the split along Aspect lines that Willows touched on is a neat trick of Dragon-Blooded. And yeah, it can be a little limiting, but not like if Solars, with the fairly stereotypical roles of their Castes, had out-of-Element surcharges. Consider it in the same boat as the above paragraph. A Fire-aspect rogue will differ from Water-aspect rogue will differ et cetera. Alternatively, though, you could have five rogues, of whatever Aspect, without OoE surcharges, and they'd end up taken similar Charms. The Elemental division allows for implied deviation of stereotypical "classes"; if you want a "prestige class" augmenting that, if you'll pardon the terrible crossover analogy, you can pay an extra mote for whatever Charms you need. You'll survive.
Well, that touched on a handful of topics. This is probably bordering on Discussions material at this point, if someone wants to take the initiative. Or, alternatively, if anyone has any mechanical concerns with the Charms, or my Solar ones, I'd hella enjoy some comments on that front. _Jabberwocky
- Geez, that's like a million lines long. Sorry. _JW
Since we're on that, swashbuckly, emotionalized Charm ideas for Firewands Archery: permanent scarring that causes social penalties; "warning shots" that scare your opponent and cause penalties; sooting your opponent's heart and breaking his Virtues or his Backgrounds... this is all stuff that's a little too awesome for DBs to be able to pull it off ithapproachable Charms. - willows
I'm all for DBs having their own approach to different occupations and "classes". But ask yourselves - is that difference bases on which Abilities they pick to do their work, or the elemental theme - i.e. the exemplary Fire's passionate, extravagant and bombastic approach? I'd say it's the theme, not whether they choose to pick off targets by arrow, throwing knife or hurled food. I put some of my custom DB Charms up here for you to hate: Charms/ResplendenceDBMelee - Resplendence
As far as I'm concerned, proliferation of out-of-element DB Charms is fine, as long as they invoke the ancillary out-of-element surcharge. That is to say, each such Charm has two elements, and they're effectively out-of-element for everyone (except for Immaculate Masters who've mastered both elements). So a Fire Archery Charm is both Fire and Wood, and both Fire Aspects and Wood Aspects are out-of-element with regard to using the Charm. - Quendalon
Let me put it this way. DB Charms are so flexible, they don't even need to be out-of-Ability... I can see a Fire Melee Charm, for instance, that lets you shoot bolts of passion, and a followup Melee Charm that lets you add dice to ranged attacks, which (clearly) you can subsequently use for whatever ranged attacks you care to. There's no reason to step out of the appropriate Abilities to expand the approach. - willows
Quendalon, I don't think your idea makes much sense, at least not for me. My out-of-aspect Charms aren't meant to be that exotic or different. The idea is that the offshot out-of-aspect Charms are flavored, specialized alternatives for other aspects.
Willow, you can indeed tweak Charms to fit under very unlikely abilties and even occassionally make it cool, but you can't tell me my Melee Charms are anything but Melee. There's no way you could reasonably fit them into other Abilties. It would quickly become silly and far-fetched, which would overshadow any benefits from puritan aspect rules. Your example ranged-attack Melee Charm could work, but it would still just be a specialized Charm. I want more generic Charm trees, but not as basic as the standard Charm trees. I think it goes without saying that an Ability's Charms should roughly be connected to what the Ability is about. I don't see that happening for what I want to do if I use your system. Resplendence
I don't really find this debate very compelling (since I am not big into DBs), but I do want to point out that the published DB Charms already contain at least one blatant example of what willows is talking about: that Thrown Charm which lets you turn any melee weapon into a boomerang of death.
I also have a question for Resplendence: are you proposing that every Aspect should have its own Charm tree for each Ability, or that DB Charms in general should be rewritten to have different visuals and/ or effects depending upon which Aspect uses them (like Dragon-Graced Weapon)?
Ikselam, my opinion is more of the opinion that each aspect should have access to their own alternative and specialized Charm branches for all Abilities. It makes sense that the elemental themes ties the basic Charms to one element, but not that they have a monopoly on it. That said, I just want alternatives that make thematic sense and offer a significant, relevant and cool alternative.
The Thrown Charm that allows melee weapons to be thrown isn't a very good example. The two functions are closely related. A more interesting question would be where you'd put social Charms for Earth, if not under Socialize? I'm sure you can have some cool social applications of non-social Charms, but it quickly becomes far-fetched and silly to put them under, say, Martial Arts. - Resplendence
An Earth Aspect beaurucrat would be more defensive and steadfast than a well-spoken but inscrutable Air; passionate and progressive Fire; stolid and calculating Water; or compassionate and creative Wood. I can see social defensive Charmss in Resistance, investigative Charms in Awareness, and, well, endurance Charms in Endurance. Admittedly, there is some stretch involved, but that's why you'd take out-of-Aspect Charms for specifically unadaptable skills.
I'm not sure if I'm playing Devil's advocate or not at this point. I think the in-Aspect-encouraging Charm divisions are neat in principle, but I can't really say I have any massive problem with Elemental Charms for abilties in other Aspects. My element-choice for my Firewand Charms was originally, as I've said, to avoid a creativity-sapping stereotype. Looking briefly over your Melee Charms, Resplendence, I think I like them a lot. _Jabberwocky
Glad you like my Charms, Jabberwocky. I hope people will share my view that they don't intrude on the Fire Melee Charms, but offer optional alternatives that can spice things up. They have worked rather well in my own DB game. Resplendence
Just realized that I've rethought my position on this but never really voiced it. I think your heretical out-of-aspect Charms are great, Mike. Still wouldn't want to use them in my game - because DBs are the people Celestials don't want to be, but they're hella cool nonetheless. - willows