In Garden's Exalted game I noticed something strange. All of the Solar PCs had essence 5. The reason they gave for buying essence 5 varied but basically boiled down to getting more motes. They had no charms that required essence 5 and no real reason to have it in character, and I began to think...
I propose to introduce a house rule in my own games (that I may or may not run in the future) that you can only increase your essence if you have at least five charms that require your current essence to use. In other words, to buy essence 3 you must have at least five charms that require essence 2. In this way you can demonstrate an increasing control over essence as you progress, and prevent people having strangely incongruous essence ratings.
What do you think? - CorlanDashiva
On the one hand, I like it :)
On the other hand, that could make the jump between three and four Essence a bit hard on a non-combat type, as (IIRC) the majority of Essence 3 Charms are Dawny. Not a serious problem, save for the Twillights in the audience.
On the third hand, I don't quite see the issue with just letting PCs buy up their Essence and get more motes. Has that actually posed some problems for you, or is there just an increasing amount of felt setting incongruity? Maybe you should just notch up the pace of challenges the PCs are facing a bit, so they don't have the time needed to train up their Essence increases. - DariusSolluman
Well it didn't really help that we'd decided not to use training time... The main problem I found was that a lot of things will not affect or will have trouble affecting people with essence higher than your own, so everyone rushes to increase their essence without any sort of in character reason. It just struck me as wrong, but I'd be happy to hear other ways to prevent it.
Of course it's all a learning experience. Never again will I ignore training times, for example :-P - CorlanDashiva
Yeah. That's what I've found with Exalted- I'm used to house ruling to hell and back White Wolf games, to get them just so. But the more stuff I changed in Exalted, rather than try and think about the setting as a whole, the more dissatisfied I got.
Next game, I'm running almost by the book, with the addition of the Mass Combat stuff. - DariusSolluman
I'd use a modified form of this rule - 2 Charms. This is easy enough to get, and fulfils the purpose of 'demonstrating basic competence' without making people contrive Charms just to get to the next Essence rank. From what I can tell, Essence is a measure of quality, not education; the fact that you have to go and sit on a mountain to raise your Essence is more about retaining the structure of the game (raising Traits of any kind requires a training time and experience expenditure) than it is about simulating any kind of in-game reality. You could think of it as 'realizing what you can already do' rather than 'expending your abilities', I guess. So I wouldn't expect people to be honing their Essence manipulation to raise their Essence Trait; rather, I want them to be having spiritual breakthroughs (CLANG! The axe split a stone at Jauhareh's feet. She did not remember stepping away... but she must have, because she was still alive). - FourWillowsWeeping
From what I've heard about the new Power Combat rules, high Essence ratings become more than just getting access to more motes. - RichardX1
I'd be overjoyed if my players asked to blow 32 XP to get +10 motes and the occasional extra die in some Charms. What's the problem here? -- BillGarrett
- Actually, as RichardX1 indicated, Power Combat makes Essence far more critical; it's added to all your Dodge rolls, and (even more importantly) determines your minimum damage. Also, the Twilight and Zenith anima powers scale with Essence. --Toram
- That's still fine :) Minimum damage is the biggest factor there; I personally don't use Power Combat, and even so, 32 XP for Essence 5 is worth that benefit. I think my big objection with the "N Charms requiring Essence X" idea is that you must intend to buy Charms (which have an obvious mechanical use in the game) before you are allowed to buy Essence (which has an obvious mechanical use in the game), and that you are just fine if you take one but not if you take the other. What the hey? :) Must you create Essence 5 Charms if none are in print that you want? -- BillGarrett
- To put my last point in another way, let's say a Solar said "I want to buy Nephilpal's hypothetical Blazing Soul Discipline Charm, which gives me +10 motes". This is not an Essence raise, and the end result is the same as the players' stated goals, and is simultaneously cheaper and less generally useful. Would this be blocked? And if not, why the difference? The original poster's point amounts to "my PCs want Ess 5 for motes. this is bad, I want to block it."
- The only real objection I seem to see is "Essence raises should have clearly-defined reasons in the specific form of Charm requirements". But as has been pointed out by several people here, Essence benefits many other things. Is the problem that the players only focus on the higher Essence pools? As far as the perceived mismatch, it doesn't seem incongruous at all that someone should develop a higher mastery of Essence, and THEN later (or not at all) develop a specific technique to put that general mastery to use. As a programmer, I often have to develop a neat trick in response to a specific coding challenge, but just as often, a new coding project springs to mind BECAUSE I learned a new general trick. -- BillGarrett
Regarding the original poster's question, imposing charm prereqs on Essence seems like trying to fix the hole left by removing training times with a patch that's not the right shape. Training times are a relatively important part of the mechanical balance, and if you remove them, it's going to break things, as you discovered. --Toram
On that note about Twilights, it wouldn't be bad for them if you let spells count as charms. Then they have enough essence 3, and the most 4 and 5 charms of anyone. Myrlan
As i understand it, a Solar should be able to get Essence 3 from freebies at char generation, then Essence 4 later through Exp they need to meditatate for at least 3 months and it costs 24 EXP, now then they need somewhere safe and out of the way where they won't be disturbed by anyone. To get Essence 5 you must be Exalted for a minimum of a normal mortal lifespan say 30 years </i> , it costs 32 exp and takes 4 months of solid meditation as a minimun depending on dice rolls. Any PC who does this is going to be high essence sure but assuming you ignore the min time requirements to get Essence 5, with those 56 EXP you can get a few charms or ability increases and pummel the Essence 5 characters into the next incarnation. Plus interupting their meditation time is a really fun way for people to upset those Essence 5 wannabe's. Eldmar
- Actually, that's Essence 6. You can reach Essence 5 in play without too much trouble. - FrivYeti
Really? I guess that must be a house rule that our Solar's ST came up with and we are using then. I asumed that this was cannon. where abouts does it say this in the books? I can flash it under his nose and say gimme gimme! (perhaps its just to prevent my twighlight getting solar circle yet.... hmmm!! Eldmar
- Player's Guide, near the end when it's talking about downtime experience. In the core it just says that getting to Essence 6 <i>usually requires longer than a mortal lifespan. -grypph having played characters at Essence 6+
Still need to meditate for 4 months though, by canon.
Excellent! thank you... I will look it up tonight then give our ST my new and updated exp list on Sunday. As for the training times, the way we get around them is by writing up a list of the next few things we want to get, then organising the game in a way that we can get them, for example say I want to increase my Occult (currently 4) I would arrange to spend some time in the public Libraries or those of prominent citizens of the cities we might be in (high status characters). If I am near home I will make an excuse to stop off there and spend time in my own Artifact 5 Library. that way when i have enough exp to raise the rating I can justify getting it because I have already done the training time. the ST generaly helps out with this when he writes his stories as he knows in advance what we want for our characters and that way every body wins. Eldmar
I have add a rule in my game to include minimal age for Essence 4 and 5. 50 years for Essence 5 and 30 years for Essence 4. That include Pre-Exaltation time too. Black Angel